Whereupon planting his feet firmly against two opposite planks of the boat, the gigantic negro, stooping a little, presented his flat palm to Flask's foot, and then putting Flask's hand on his hearse-plumed head and bidding him spring as he himself should toss, with one dexterous fling landed the little man high and dry on his shoulders.
And so shouting, he pulled his hat from his head, and stamped up and down on it; then picking it up, flirted it far off upon the sea; and finally fell to rearing and plunging in the boat's stern like a crazed colt from the prairie.
They ran along the bank until they were opposite to the boats, then throwing by their weapons and buffalo robes, plunged into the river, waded and swam off to the boats and surrounded them in crowds, seeking to shake hands with every individual on board; for the Indians have long since found this to be the white man's token of amity, and they carried it to an extreme.
The boats now sought the first convenient place for encamping.
I remember one beautiful day, when the boats left early and the reports of the hunters' guns grew dim and distant and died away as they scattered far and wide over the sea.
"If she comes out of there," he said, "hard and snappy, putting us to windward of the boats, it's likely there'll be empty bunks in steerage and fo'c'sle."
Then the second man climbs out of the boat
and comes to help him, and they get in each other's way, and hinder one another.
As fast as we hooked a net the two ends of it, buoy and boat
, came together as they dragged out astern; and so many buoys and boats
, coming together at such breakneck speed, kept the fishermen on the jump to avoid smashing into one another.
As soon as they got to the place where their other boat
lay, they ran their boat
into the beach and came all on shore, hauling the boat
up after them, which I was glad to see, for I was afraid they would rather have left the boat
at an anchor some distance from the shore, with some hands in her to guard her, and so we should not be able to seize the boat
I felt mortified to be of so little use in the boat
; but, there were few better oarsmen than my two friends, and they rowed with a steady stroke that was to last all day.
At night they landed, hauled up their boat
to dry, pitched their tent, and made a rousing fire.
We made a race of it, and I would never have believed that a common boat
's crew of a merchantman could keep up so much determined fierceness in the regular swing of their stroke.
But, it happened now, that a slant of light from the setting sun glanced into the bottom of the boat
, and, touching a rotten stain there which bore some resemblance to the outline of a muffled human form, coloured it as though with diluted blood.
As for himself, he was not sure that enough strength remained in his wasted muscles to launch the boat
. It was all a gamble.
Dorothy got in, Toto in her arms, and sat on the bottom of the boat
just in front of the mast.