12. Four Missionaries See Light in their Mission
A spasm of incredulity, a vast relief, and that sharp joy which comes of reaction chased
each other across my mind. I had come suddenly out of very black waters into an
unbelievable calm. I dropped into the nearest chair and tried to grapple with something
far beyond words.
'Sandy,' I said, as soon as I got my breath, 'you're an incarnate devil. You've given Peter
and me the fright of our lives.'
'It was the only way, Dick. If I hadn't come mewing like a tom-cat at your heels
yesterday, Rasta would have had you long before you got to your hotel. You two have
given me a pretty anxious time, and it took some doing to get you safe here. However,
that is all over now. Make yourselves at home, my children.'
'Over!' I cried incredulously, for my wits were still wool- gathering. 'What place is this?'
'You may call it my humble home' - it was Blenkiron's sleek voice that spoke. 'We've
been preparing for you, Major, but it was only yesterday I heard of your friend.'
I introduced Peter.
'Mr Pienaar,' said Blenkiron, 'pleased to meet you. Well, as I was observing, you're safe
enough here, but you've cut it mighty fine. Officially, a Dutchman called Brandt was to
be arrested this afternoon and handed over to the German authorities. When Germany
begins to trouble about that Dutchman she will find difficulty in getting the body; but
such are the languid ways of an Oriental despotism. Meantime the Dutchman will be no
more. He will have ceased upon the midnight without pain, as your poet sings.'
'But I don't understand,' I stammered. 'Who arrested us?'
'My men,' said Sandy. 'We have a bit of a graft here, and it wasn't difficult to manage it.
Old Moellendorff will be nosing after the business tomorrow, but he will find the mystery
too deep for him. That is the advantage of a Government run by a pack of adventurers.
But, by Jove, Dick, we hadn't any time to spare. If Rasta had got you, or the Germans
had had the job of lifting you, your goose would have been jolly well cooked. I had some
unquiet hours this morning.'
The thing was too deep for me. I looked at Blenkiron, shuffling his Patience cards with
his old sleepy smile, and Sandy, dressed like some bandit in melodrama, his lean face
as brown as a nut, his bare arms all tattooed with crimson rings, and the fox pelt drawn
tight over brow and ears. It was still a nightmare world, but the dream was getting
pleasanter. Peter said not a word, but I could see his eyes heavy with his own thoughts.