Greenmantle HTML version

19. Greenmantle
Peter scarcely looked up from his breakfast.
'I'm willing, Dick,' he said. 'But you mustn't ask me to be friends with Stumm. He makes
my stomach cold, that one.'
For the first time he had stopped calling me 'Cornelis'. The day of make-believe was
over for all of us.
'Not to be friends with him,' I said, 'but to bust him and all his kind.'
'Then I'm ready,' said Peter cheerfully. 'What is it?'
I spread out the maps on the divan. There was no light in the place but Blenkiron's
electric torch, for Hussin had put out the lantern. Peter got his nose into the things at
once, for his intelligence work in the Boer War had made him handy with maps. It didn't
want much telling from me to explain to him the importance of the one I had looted.
'That news is worth many a million pounds,' said he, wrinkling his brows, and scratching
delicately the tip of his left ear. It was a way he had when he was startled.
'How can we get it to our friends?'
Peter cogitated. 'There is but one way. A man must take it. Once, I remember, when we
fought the Matabele it was necessary to find out whether the chief Makapan was living.
Some said he had died, others that he'd gone over the Portuguese border, but I
believed he lived. No native could tell us, and since his kraal was well defended no
runner could get through. So it was necessary to send a man.'
Peter lifted up his head and laughed. 'The man found the chief Makapan. He was very
much alive, and made good shooting with a shot-gun. But the man brought the chief
Makapan out of his kraal and handed him over to the Mounted Police. You remember
Captain Arcoll, Dick - Jim Arcoll? Well, Jim laughed so much that he broke open a
wound in his head, and had to have a doctor.'
'You were that man, Peter,' I said.
'_Ja_. I was the man. There are more ways of getting into kraals than there are ways of
keeping people out.'
'Will you take this chance?'