The Leopard Woman by Stewart Edward White
Chapter XXX. Winkleman Appears
With the riches thus unexpectedly placed at his disposal, and legitimately his by the fortunes of war, Kingozi was enabled to proceed to the final grand exchange of gifts that assured his friendship with M'tela and sealed the alliance. He was spurred to his best efforts in this by the news, brought in by an alarmed Mali-ya-bwana, that Winkleman had escaped. However, by dint of rich presents, supplementing the careful diplomatic negotiations that had gone before, he arrived at an understanding.
"And now, oh, King, I must tell you this," he said boldly. "Of white men there is not merely one but many kinds, just as among the African peoples. There are strong men and weak men, good men and bad men, and men of different tribes. Of the tribes are the Inglishee to which I belong, which is the most powerful of all--like your own people of the Kabilagani in this land--and also another tribe called the Duyche, only a little less powerful. These two tribes are now at war."
"A-a-a-a," observed M'tela interestedly.
"One of the Duyche is in your country, oh, King. I have met him and defeated him by my magic. Some of these people you see here were his people; and of his goods I have everything."
"But it may be," suggested M'tela with a slight cooling of cordiality, "that many more Duyche will follow this one."
"They cannot prevail against my magic. Talk with Simba, with my men, and know what virtue is in my magic. But beyond that, oh, King, have you not heard of the wars of the Wakamba? of Lobengula? of the Matabele and the Basuto? has not news come to you from the north of the battles of the Sudan? Have you not heard of Lenani, the king of all Masai, and of his advice to his people? All these wars were won by Inglishee; Lenani's words of wisdom spoke of Inglishee. Have you ever heard of the victories of the Duyche? No. There were no such victories!"
[Footnote 18: Kingozi here took shrewd advantage of the fact that German East Africa was peacefully occupied without necessity of the spectacular tribal wars of Matabeland, Zululand, Basutoland, and the Wakamba district of British East Africa. Lenani's advice to his people was given at the close of the Wakamba war. Said he: "There is no doubt that the Masai are a greater people than the Wakamba, and in case of war we could fight the white man harder than the Wakamba fought him. Undoubtedly, too, my people could kill a great many of the English. But this I have noticed: that when a Wakamba is dead, he remains dead; but when a white man is dead ten more come to take his place." In consequence of this advice the Masai--one of the most warlike of all the tribes--negotiated with the English, and today remain both at peace and unconquered.]
After an hour's elaboration of this theme Kingozi judged the moment propitious to return to the original subject. M'tela offered the opportunity.
"This Duyche whom you have conquered--you killed him?"
"He is still alive and in your land. Let order be given to search him out."
"That shall be done," said M'tela after a moment's thought.
Mali-ya-bwana and Simba set out with a posse of M'tela's men. They had no great difficulty in getting track of the missing Bavarian. Winkleman had arrived to find the camping site deserted. He had, indomitably, set out on the track of his safari. To eat he was forced at last to beg of the wild herdsmen. M'tela's dread name elicited from these last definite information. The search party found Winkleman, very dirty, quite hungry, profoundly chagrined, but still good humoured, seated in a smoky hut eating soured smoky milk. He wore sandals improvised from goatskin, a hat and spine-pad made from banana leaves ingeniously woven.
"Ach!" he cried, recognizing Kingozi's two men. "So it is you! What have you done with my safari?"
"I led it to my bwana," replied Simba.
"Where you may now lead me," said Winkleman resignedly. "By what means have you thought of these things, N'ympara?" "By the magic of this," replied Simba with becoming modesty, producing the precious bone.
"Ach the saurian!" cried Winkleman. "I remember. It had gone from my mind. It is a curious type; I do not quite recognize. Let me see it."
But Simba was replacing carefully the talisman in its wrappings. He had no mind to deliver the magic into other hands--perhaps to be used against himself!
They led Winkleman directly to Kingozi's camp. Winkleman followed, looking always curiously about him. His was the true scientific mind. He was quite capable of forgetting his plight--and did so--in the interest of new fauna and flora, or of ethnological eccentricities. Once or twice he insisted on a halt for examination of something that caught his notice, and insisted so peremptorily when the savages would have forced him on, that they yielded to his wish.
It was early in the morning. Kingozi, as ever, sat in his canvas chair atop the hill. He was alone, for the Leopard Woman, always on the alert and always staring through her glasses, had caught sight of the little group before it plunged into the papyrus; and had retired to her tent. Winkleman plowed up the hill blowing out his cheeks in a full-blooded hearty fashion.
"Oho!" he cried in his great voice when he had drawn near. "This is not so bad! It is Culbertson!"
"I am sorry about this," said Kingozi briefly--"a man of your eminence-- very disagreeable."
Winkleman dropped heavily to the ground.
"That is nothing," he waved aside the half-apology, "though it would not be bad to have the bath and change these clothes. But fortunes of war--it is but the fortunes of war--I would have done worse to you. How long is it that you have arrived?"
"Long enough," replied Kingozi briefly. "Oh, Cazi Moto, bring tea! I have had your tent pitched, Doctor Winkleman; and you must bathe and change and rest. But before you go we must understand each other. This is war time, and you are my prisoner. You must give me your parole neither to try to escape nor to tamper with my men, with M'tela, or any of his people. If you feel you cannot do this I shall be compelled to hold you closely guarded."
Winkleman laughed one of his great gusty laughs.
"I give it willingly. What foolishness otherwise. What foolishness anyway, all this. War is nonsense. It destroys. It interferes. Consider, my dear Culbertson, here was I safely in the Congo forests, and for two, three months I have lived there, like a native quietly; and of all the world there is to amuse me only the fauna and the flora--which I know like my hand. But I discover a new species--a papilio. But all the time I live quiet, and I wait. And at last the people, the little forest people, little by little they get confidence; they come to the edge of the forest, they venture to camp, slow. Suppose I wave my hand like that--pouf! They have run away. But I wait; and they come forth. So I camp by myself in the forest--for I leave my safari away that it may not frighten this people. And by and by we talk. I am beginning to learn their language. Culbertson, I find these people speak the true click language, but also I find it true sex-denoting language most resembling in that respect the ancient Fula!"
"Where was this? Impossible!" cried Kingozi, interested and excited.
"Ah!" roared Winkleman with satisfaction. "I thought I would your interest catch! But it is true; and in the central Congo."
"But that would throw the prehistoric Libyan and Hamitic migrations farther to the west than----"
"Pre-cisely!" interrupted Winkleman.
"What sort of people were they? Did they show Hamitic characteristics particularly? or did they incline to the typical prognathous, short- legged, stealopygous type of the Bushmen?"
But Winkleman reverted abruptly to his narrative.
"That is a long discussion to make. It will wait. But just as I get these people where I can put them beneath my observation, so, there comes an ober-lieutenant with foolishness in the way of guns and uniform and askaris and that nonsense; and my little people run into the forest and are no more to be seen."
"Hard luck!" commented Kingozi feelingly.
"Is it not so? This ober-lieutenant is a fool. He knows nothing. Dumkopf! All he knows is to give me a letter from the Kaiserliche dumkopf at Dar-es-salaam. I read it. It tells me I must come here, to this place, with speed, and get the military aid of this M'tela and so forth with many details. It was another foolishness. I know this type of people well. There is nothing new to be learned. They are of the usual types. It is foolishness to come here. But it is an order, so I come, and I do my best. But now I am a prisoner, while I might be with the little people in the Congo. I talk much."
"I fancy we are going to have a good deal to talk about," interjected Kingozi.
"Ach! that is true! That is what I said--that I am glad this is Culbertson who catches me. Yes! We must talk!"
Cazi Moto glided to them.
"Bath is ready, bwana," said he.
Winkleman puffed out his chest and protruded his great beard.
"This war--foolishness!" he mumbled.
"Yes, we have much to talk about. Nevertheless," said Kingozi with slight embarrassment, "it is necessary that I do my duty according to my orders. And my orders were much like yours--to get the alliance of this M'tela. But I have told him that you are my enemy; and he sent his men with mine to find you; and now, as you can well comprehend, I must----"
But Winkleman's quick comprehension leaped ahead of Kingozi's speech.
"I must play the prisoner, is it not?" he cried with one of his big laughs. "But so! Of course! That is comprehend. How could it be otherwise? I know my native! I know what he expects. I shall be humble, the slave, your foot upon my neck. Of course! Do you suppose I do not know?"
"That is well," said Kingozi, much relieved, "I shall tell him that you are a man of much wisdom and great magic; and that I have saved your life to serve me."
"So!" cried Winkleman delightedly; and departed to his tent and the waiting bath. A few moments later he could be heard robustly splashing in the tent. A roar summoned Cazi Moto.
"Tell your bwana I want n'dowa--medicine--understand? Need some boric acid," he yelled at Kingozi. "Eyes in bad shape."
Kingozi ordered Cazi Moto to take over the entire medicine chest; then sent a messenger for M'tela, who shortly appeared.
"This enemy of mine is taken, thanks to your men, oh, King. I have him here in the tent, well guarded."
"How shall we kill him, papa?" inquired M'tela.
"That has not yet been decided," replied Kingozi carelessly. "He must, of course, be taken to the great King of all Inglishee."
M'tela looked disappointed.
"In the meantime," pursued Kingozi, "as he has much knowledge, and great magic, I shall talk much with him, and get that magic for the benefit of us both, oh, King. He cannot escape, for my magic is greater than his."
This M'tela well believed, for the reports industriously circulated by Simba anent his magic bone had reached the King, and had not lost in transit.
So when Winkleman came swashbuckling up the hill M'tela was prepared. The blue-black beard and hearty, deep-chested carriage of the Bavarian impressed him greatly.
"But this is a great bwana, papa," he said to Kingozi. "Like you and me."
"This is the prisoner of which I spoke to you," said Kingozi in a loud voice.
Winkleman, a twinkle in his wide eyes, but with his countenance composed to gravity, stepped forward, salaamed, and placed his forehead beneath Kingozi's hand in token of submission. Thus proper relations were established. Winkleman seated himself humbly on the sod, and kept silence, while high converse went forward. At length M'tela departed. Winkleman immediately plunged into the conversational gap around which, mentally, he had been, impatiently hovering for an hour.
"But this articulation of the saurus" he broke out. "What of it?"
"The magic bone," chuckled Kingozi.
"Pouf! Pouf! It resembled much the cinoliosaurus, but that could not be."
"Why not?" demanded Kingozi quickly.
"It has been found only in the lias formations of the Jurassic," stated Winkleman dogmatically, "and that type of Jurassic is not here. It is of England, yes; of Germany, yes; of the Americas, yes. Of central Africa, no!"
"Nevertheless----" interposed Kingozi.
"But the cryptoclidus--that greatly resembles the cinoliosaurus-- perhaps. Or even a subspecies of the plesiosaurus----"
"Simba," called Kingozi.
"Bring here the magic bone. The bwana wishes to look at it. No; it is all right. I myself tell you; no harm can come."
Reluctantly Simba produced the bone, now fittingly wrapped in clean mericani cloth, and still more reluctantly undid it and handed it to Winkleman. The latter seized it and began minutely to examine it, muttering short, disconnected sentences to himself in German.
"Now here is what I have said," he spoke aloud. "See. By this curve----"
He broke off, staring curiously into Kingozi's face. The latter sat apparently looking out across the hills, paying no attention to the fact that Winkleman had thrust the bone fairly under his nose. The pause that ensued became noticeable. Kingozi stirred uneasily, turning his eyes in the direction of the scientist.
"Glaucoma!" ejaculated Winkleman.
Kingozi smiled wearily.
"Yes. I wondered when you would find it out."
"You are all blind?"
"I can distinguish light." Kingozi straightened his back, and his voice became incisive. "But I can still see through eyes that are faithful to me! Make no mistakes there."
"My dear friend; have I not given my parole?" gently asked the Bavarian.
"Beg your pardon. Of course."
"It is serious. You should have a surgeon. But why have you not used the temporary remedy? Of course you know the effect of drugs?"
"I know that atropin is ruin, right enough," said Kingozi grimly.
"But the pilocarpin----"
"Of course. I only wish I had some."
"But you have!" came Winkleman's astonished voice. "There is of it a large vial!"
Kingozi gripped the arm of his chair for a full minute. Then he spoke to Cazi Moto in a vibrating voice.
"Bring me the chest of medicines. Now," he went on to Winkleman, when this command had been executed, "kindly read to me the labels on all these bottles; begin at the left. All, please."
He listened attentively while Winkleman obeyed. The pilocarpin was present; the atropin was gone.
"You have not deceived me?" he cried sharply. "No--why should you--wait----"
He thought for some moments. When he raised his face it was gray.
"One of the bottles was broken. I had reason to believe it the pilocarpin," he said quietly. "Can I trespass on your good nature to make the proper solution for my eyes?"
"It is but a temporary expedient," warned Winkleman. "It is surgery here demanded. I know the operation, but I cannot perform. One makes a transverse incision above the cornea----"
"I know, I know," interrupted Kingozi. "But the pilocarpin will give me my sight. Let us get at it."