oar was of considerable assistance. I noticed, though, that whenever one looked tired and lagged, she let it slip past. But I noticed, also, whenever one, with a show of fight, tried to break past, that her eyes glinted and showed bright, and she rapped it smartly with her club.

“My, it’s exciting!” she cried, pausing from sheer weakness. “I think I’ll sit down.”

I drove the little herd (a dozen strong, now, what of the escapes she had permitted) a hundred yards farther on; and by the time she joined me I had finished the slaughter and was beginning to skin. An hour later we went proudly back along the path between the harems. And twice again we came down the path burdened with skins, till I thought we had enough to roof the hut. I set the sail, laid one tack out of the cove, and on the other tack made our own little inner cove.

“It’s just like home-coming,” Maud said, as I ran the boat ashore.

I heard her words with a responsive thrill, it was all so dearly intimate and natural, and I said:

“It seems as though I have lived this life always. The world of books and bookish folk is very vague, more like a dream memory than an actuality. I surely have hunted and forayed and fought all the days of my life. And you, too, seem a part of it. You are - “ I was on the verge of saying, “my woman, my mate,” but glibly changed it to - “standing the hardship well.”

But her ear had caught the flaw. She recognized a flight that midmost broke. She gave me a quick look.

“Not that. You were saying - ?”

“That the American Mrs. Meynell was living the life of a savage and living it quite successfully,” I said easily.

“Oh,” was all she replied; but I could have sworn there was a note of disappointment in her voice.

But “my woman, my mate” kept ringing in my head for the rest of the day and for many days. Yet never did it ring more loudly than that night, as I watched her draw back the blanket of moss from the coals, blow up the fire, and cook the evening meal. It must have been latent savagery stirring in me, for the old words, so bound up with the roots of the race, to grip me and thrill me. And grip and thrill they did, till I fell asleep, murmuring them to myself over and over again.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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