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After a few minutes he returned with a telegram in his hand, and, sitting down under the punkah lamp, wrote out a reply. Superintendent Amari stood in the doorway.
"All right, Superintendent," said Evans; "send the men off one time under Sergeant Mensah. Stop at the postmaster's on your way down, and get this sent off to Accra without delay."
Superintendent Amari of the Gold Coast police saluted and withdrew.
"Good man, Amari," said Evans, subsiding into his deckchair, "he got his men ready within half an hour.”
"What's it all about?" said I.
"Oh, another stunt at Acora; read it yourself as you're nearest the lamp."
I took the form and read aloud. It was addressed to the Superintendent.
"Urgent priority. Send every fit available man Acora immediately. Consult D.C., and report time of departure." "How many are going?" "Twenty-eight, which leaves only Corporal Musa, my orderly, and one man with guinea-worm to hold the fort. And of course there's Amari himself."
"What about the guard for the Bank?" began Brown.
"The Bank must take its chance like the rest," replied Evans, "until I can think of something. Wait a minute!" he exclaimed presently; "tomorrow I'll make out a list of all the men in this town who are 'known to the police,' and
swear them in as special constables. I'd use the prisoners too, only I can't trust the warders not to make fools of themselves."
"And the Boy Scouts?" asked Brown, who had recently formed a troop of these auxiliaries.
"Well, that's up to you, Brown, but you might post 8 few at the Bank. What I fear is the Kroo boys. I've already seen 8 deputation of their headmen, and they say they can't answer for the boys if the rice gives out. The Mission has already cut down the ration, as the town is short of rice, and heaven knows when we'll get supplies. But, on the other hand, I hear there is plenty of rice at the Mission, and they may be thinking of making a 'corner' in it. You're both chopping with me to-night, so we can talk things over.'
We stayed for dinner. It was about 9 o'clock when we heard hurried footsteps approaching the bungalow and mounting the verandah. It was the Superintendent again.
"Well, Amari, anything gone wrong?"
"The men left two hours ago, sir, but the wire's down; they can't get the message through to Accra."
"There's the coast line."
"A remarkable coincidence, eh, Superintendent ? "
"There's more than that, sir." Amari hesitated, and glanced at the unofficial Brown.
"Carry on, Superintendent," said Evans, interpreting the
look. "We're going to mobilise Mr Brown's Boy Scouts." "Well, sir, I've got it from a pretty good source that there's going to be an attempt made to get off to Togoland in a surf-boat tonight by Mr Struve and some other Germans at the factory." Evans sat up: there is nothing seemingly that is beyond the scope of a D.C.'s employment, as I've heard him say.
"Do you think this is true?"
"I think it is, sir, for as I was coming up Corporal Musa reported that a boat's orew were collecting on the beach. I sent the corporal back to the barracks to put off his uniform, and see if there was anything unusual happening at the factory."
We all got up at this and went on to the back verandah. Half a mile across the valley stood the Mission factory. It was well, or, as it seemed to us, unusually well lit up, and the lights seemed to shift about from room to room, though this, towards bedtime, was nothing out of the
to the north the lightning gleamed over the "bush" of the cocoa district. The land breeze had now set in and
chilled us with its damp, while the sea, broken on the reef, shot up in miniature foamy waves at our feet.
Our hurried plans were completed; we knew that somewhere within hail the Superintendent and Corporal Musa were watching, and that farther off a few of Brown's Boy Scouts, dressed only in their cloths, were on outpost duty. But we did not suppose that the presence of three white men, gathered together under such unusual circumstances, would escape the notice of any prowling native, or, above all, of the boat's crew, if they were on the look-out.
It struck me that to sit and wait for escaping patients of mine on a smelly beach in the middle of the night was strange employ for a middleaged Medical Officer, and equally strange that the friends with whom we played tennis should be setting out in this fashion for their own colony, to which they had never seemed the least anxious to return.
be difficult after this to separate the sheep from the goats, -in this instance, the Prussian from the Swiss."
I began to feel very drowsy; even the smell of innumerable fish-ovens in the native town acted rather as a sedative than as an irritant. My pipe dropped from my mouth, and I pulled myself up with a start and idly watched a falling star low down out to sea, off Takoradi point, and wondered at its portent.
"Did you see that light?" whispered Brown, for we had all quite naturally dropped our voices like men engaged in some nefarious midnight enterprise.
"Falling star you mean," I replied.
"Yon's no' a falling star, man"- Brown comes from somewhere in the West of Scotland-"I doubt it's a ship's flare." We were all wide awake now, and presently saw a glimmer of light kindled from the point. We looked at our watches; it was 11.30.
"They'll not come this night, I'm thinking," said Brown, and we were pretty much of his opinion. Then, as we held a council of war under that weary canoe, a figure moved between us and the skyline. It was Superintendent Amari. "They're gone, sir," said he to Evans, who was now on his feet.
"The boat-boys." "Damn!" began Evans, "they've fooled us properly, Have you seen the factory?"" "Lit up still, sir."
We concluded to quit, as they say on the other side. A heavy dew was falling, not a light showed in the native town; the noise of harmoniums was stilled in in the olerks' quarters; only the cry of the fruit-bats circling round the ancient palaver tree in the market-place remained to make night hideous.
We made for the factory, whose ill-timed illumination seemed to mock us. But this was not the worst. Pinned to the locked door was a scrap of paper with the words in neat handwriting
"Deutschland über alles."
I pulled it down and was about to tear the paper to shreds when Evans stopped me. "This," he declared, "will be documentary evidence in the ease."
There are times when one loathes the legal mind.
Well, to finish now with the Mission factory, Evans hoisted the Union Jack over it in the morning, and the sick constable with his carbine and bandaged leg squatted on the doorstep.
upside down. What in the demanded to be put ashore at world was 8 German ship the nearest British port. The doing in Takoradi Bay, and German skipper and his enabove all, what was the mean- gineer told them to go to hell, ing of that flag? But we or its Teutonio equivalent, agreed that she wanted either whereupon the Kroo boys a doctor or the police, possibly seized the ship, locked up the both. officers, and headed for Takoradi.
When we got down to the scene of last night's fiasco there was quite a crowd of natives gathered on the shore, laughing and clapping their hands. Soon afterwards we pushed off in the Customs' boat, Evans with his orderly, the Superintendent, the boarding officer, and myself. As we drew nearer we saw a row of grinning black faces leaning over the side, and several white faces, not grinning, looking out of the port-holes.
We tied up on the other side of the ship, a mammy chair was lowered, and we made the usual undignified ascent to the main deck. Here we were greeted with an impressive salute from a gigantio Kroo boy, clad only in a loin-cloth and a German topee.
"You be de big Commis
Evans admitted that he was. "Where's the Captain?" "Captain he no lib, sar, he be German; I be captain now." It's no use to interrupt a native, for he gets his say in the long-run; but seldom ean a Kroo boy have had such an attentive audience. His story came to this: he and his crew were shipped at Sierra Leone as usual to work the ship down the coast. When beyond Berracoe they got the news of the war, and at once
"Morning time," continued the headman, "we see canoe near de river and we t'ink we get plenty fish" he pronounced it "fiss." "Here we see four five white men lib for canoe, so we go softly, softly, an' by-an'-by dem white men laugh an' sing an' point to de flag. Then I t'ink dey no be proper white men but Germans. So I stop de engine and ask what's matter?' They say, 'Where de Captain?' and I tell him Captain he be sick."
"Where did you put the Captain?" we asked.
"Massa, we put all German in No. 1 hold under de hatch. Then de canoe come very near an' I see plenty plenty gun, but de gun no lib for dere hand, gun lib for canoe' they had evidently put their revolvers on the thwart,"they say, 'Headman, lower de mammy chair,' so I say, 'all right,' an' I lower de mammy chair quickly, an' de canoe break, an' all German men lib for water. Soon dey catch rope an' come aboard all same black man, an' dey curse plenty too much, massa. But de man who speak for canoe who got big belly"-indicating a person of ample girth-"I no look him again, I t'ink one dam shark chop him. I look all men proper (watch them),
'Massa, Captain want you,' an' dey say, 'all right.' Den all boy take German to chop room (saloon), an' dey say, 'Massa, wait small time, we go call Captain.' Then I go for door, an' say, 'you be tomfool, dis be English ship, I be Captain;' den I lock de door."
This then was how we recovered our Mission friends who had given us the slip the night before, and got out to sea in their canoe at the river's mouth. Their next journey
was under escort. The Willi Woermann henceforth sailed the seas as the Lady Clifford, taking motor-lorries and supplies to Togoland. The orew were, I hope, suitably rewarded for their double capture. Evans sent in an official report of the whole matter in due course, but up till now the watchers on the beach of Takoradi have not received the thanks of the Colonial Government. Nor do they expect it.
C. H. P. LAMOND.