and on, seeking for one who is lost. They crossed the burning desert, they crossed the snow-clad mountains, and reached the land of the Kukuanas, and there they met thee, oh Infadoos."
"Surely thou art mad to talk thus," said the astonished old soldier.
"Thou thinkest so; see, I will show thee, O my uncle. I am Ignosi, rightful king of the Kukuanas!"
Then, with a single movement, he slipped off the "moocha," or girdle round his middle, and stood naked before us.
"Look," he said; "what is this?" and he pointed to the mark of a great snake tattooed in blue round his middle, its tail disappearing in its open mouth just above where the thighs are set into the body.
Infadoos looked, his eyes starting nearly out of his head, and then fell upon his knees.
"Koom! Koom!" he ejaculated; "it is my brother's son; it is the king."
"Did I not tell thee so, my uncle? Rise; I am not yet the king, but with thy help, and with the help of these brave white men, who are my friends, I shall be. But the old woman Gagool was right; the land shall run with blood first, and hers shall run with it, for she killed my father with her words, and drove my mother forth. And now, Infadoos, choose thou. Wilt thou put thy hands between my hands and be my man? Wilt thou share the dangers that lie before me, and help me to overthrow this tyrant and murderer, or wilt thou not? Choose thou?"
The old man put his hand to his head and thought. Then he rose, and, advancing to where Umbopa, or rather Ignosi stood, knelt before him and took his hand.
"Ignosi, rightful king of the Kukuanas, I put my hand between thy hands, and am thy man till death. When thou wast a babe I dandled thee upon my knee; now shall my old arm strike for thee and freedom."
"It is well, Infadoos, if I conquer, thou shalt be the greatest man in the kingdom after the king. If I fail, thou canst only die, and death is not far off for thee. Rise, my uncle.
"And ye, white men, will ye help me? What have I to offer ye! The white stones, if I conquer and you can find them, ye shall have as many as ye can carry hence. Will that suffice ye?" I translated this remark.
"Tell him," answered Sir Henry, "that he mistakes an Englishman. Wealth is good, and if it comes in our way we will take it; but a gentleman does not sell himself for wealth. But, speaking for myself, I say this: I have always liked Umbopa, and so far as in me we will stand by him in this business. It will be very pleasant to me to try and square matters with that cruel devil, Twala. What do you say, Good, and you, Quatermain?"
"Well," said Good, "to adopt the language of hyperbole, in which all these people seem to indulge, you can tell him that a row is surely good, and warms the cockles of the heart, and that, so far as I am concerned, I'm his boy. My only stipulation is that he allows me to wear trousers."
I translated these answers.
"It is well, my friends," said Ignosi, late Umbopa; "and what say you, Macumazahn; art thou too with me, old hunter, cleverer than a wounded buffalo?"
I thought awhile and scratched my head.
"Umbopa, or Ignosi," I said, "I don't like revolutions. I am a man of peace, and a bit of a coward" (here Umbopa smiled), "but, on the other hand, I stick to my friends, Ignosi. You have stuck to us and played the part of a man, and I will stick to you. But, mind you, I am a trader, and have to make my living; so I
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