The Great Impersonation
The trouble from which great events were to come began when Everard Dominey, who
had been fighting his way through the scrub for the last three quarters of an hour towards
those thin, spiral wisps of smoke, urged his pony to a last despairing effort and came
crashing through the great oleander shrub to pitch forward on his head in the little
clearing. It developed the next morning, when he found himself for the first time for
many months on the truckle bed, between linen sheets, with a cool, bamboo-twisted roof
between him and the relentless sun. He raised himself a little in the bed.
"Where the mischief am I?" he demanded.
A black boy, seated cross-legged in the entrance of the banda, rose to his feet, mumbled
something and disappeared. In a few moments the tall, slim figure of a European, in
spotless white riding clothes, stooped down and came over to Dominey's side.
"You are better?" he enquired politely.
"Yes, I am," was the somewhat brusque rejoinder. "Where the mischief am I, and who are
The newcomer's manner stiffened. He was a person of dignified carriage, and his tone
conveyed some measure of rebuke.
"You are within half a mile of the Iriwarri River, if you know where that is," he replied,--
"about seventy-two miles southeast of the Darawaga Settlement."
"The devil! Then I am in German East Africa?"
"Without a doubt."
"And you are German?"
"I have that honour."
Dominey whistled softly.
"Awfully sorry to have intruded," he said. "I left Marlinstein two and a half months ago,
with twenty boys and plenty of stores. We were doing a big trek after lions. I took some
new Askaris in and they made trouble,--looted the stores one night and there was the
devil to pay. I was obliged to shoot one or two, and the rest deserted. They took my
compass, damn them, and I'm nearly a hundred miles out of my bearings. You couldn't
give me a drink, could you?"