The Man of the Island

Fromthesideofthehill,whichwasheresteepandstony,aspoutofgravelwasdislodgedandfellrattlingandboundingthroughthetrees.Myeyesturnedinstinctivelyinthatdirection,andIsawafigureleapwithgreatrapiditybehindthetrunkofapine.Whatitwas,whetherbearormanormonkey,Icouldinnowisetell.Itseemeddarkandshaggy;moreIknewnot.Buttheterrorofthisnewapparitionbroughtmetoastand.

Iwasnow,itseemed,cutoffuponbothsides;behindmethemurderers,beforemethislurkingnondescript.AndimmediatelyIbegantopreferthedangersthatIknewtothoseIknewnot.Silverhimselfappearedlessterribleincontrastwiththiscreatureofthewoods,andIturnedonmyheel,andlookingsharplybehindmeovermyshoulder,begantoretracemystepsinthedirectionoftheboats.

Instantlythefigurereappeared,andmakingawidecircuit,begantoheadmeoff.Iwastired,atanyrate;buthadIbeenasfreshaswhenIrose,Icouldseeitwasinvainformetocontendinspeedwithsuchanadversary.Fromtrunktotrunkthecreatureflittedlikeadeer,runningmanlikeontwolegs,butunlikeanymanthatIhadeverseen,stoopingalmostdoubleasitran.Yetamanitwas,Icouldnolongerbeindoubtaboutthat.

IbegantorecallwhatIhadheardofcannibals.Iwaswithinanaceofcallingforhelp.Butthemerefactthathewasaman,howeverwild,hadsomewhatreassuredme,andmyfearofSilverbegantoreviveinproportion.Istoodstill,therefore,andcastaboutforsomemethodofescape;andasIwassothinking,therecollectionofmypistolflashedintomymind.AssoonasIrememberedIwasnotdefenceless,courageglowedagaininmyheartandIsetmyfaceresolutelyforthismanoftheislandandwalkedbrisklytowardshim.

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