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Chapter 11. Escape
Dian glanced downward and shuddered. Her tribe were hill people--they were not
accustomed to swim- ming other than in quiet rivers and placid lakelets. It was not the
steep that appalled her. It was the ocean--vast, mysterious, terrible.
To dive into it from this great height was beyond her. I couldn't wonder, either. To have
attempted it myself seemed too preposterous even for thought. Only one consideration
could have prompted me to leap headforemost from that giddy height--suicide; or at least
so I thought at the moment.
"Quick!" I urged Dian. "You cannot dive; but I can hold them until you reach safety."
"And you?" she asked once more. "Can you dive when they come too close? Otherwise
you could not escape if you waited here until I reached the bottom."
I saw that she would not leave me unless she thought that I could make that frightful dive
as we had seen Juag make it. I glanced once downward; then with a mental shrug I
assured her that I would dive the mo- ment that she reached the boat. Satisfied, she began
the descent carefully, yet swiftly. I watched her for a moment, my heart in my mouth lest
some slight mis- step or the slipping of a finger-hold should pitch her to a frightful death
upon the rocks below.
Then I turned toward the advancing Hoojans-- "Hoosiers," Perry dubbed them--even
going so far as to christen this island where Hooja held sway Indiana; it is so marked now
upon our maps. They were coming on at a great rate. I raised my revolver, took deliberate
aim at the foremost warrior, and pulled the trigger. With the bark of the gun the fellow
lunged forward. His head doubled beneath him. He rolled over and over two or three
times before he came to a stop, to lie very quietly in the thick grass among the brilliant
wild flowers.
Those behind him halted. One of them hurled a javelin toward me, but it fell short--they
were just beyond javelin-range. There were two armed with bows and arrows; these I
kept my eyes on. All of them appeared awe-struck and frightened by the sound and effect
of the firearm. They kept looking from the corpse to me and jabbering among themselves.
I took advantage of the lull in hostilities to throw a quick glance over the edge toward
Dian. She was half-way down the cliff and progressing finely. Then I turned back toward
the enemy. One of the bowmen was fitting an arrow to his bow. I raised my hand.
"Stop!" I cried. "Whoever shoots at me or advances toward me I shall kill as I killed