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14. CHAPTER FOURTEEN
A GREAT EVENT HAPPENS IN THE VALLEY--THE ISLAND TELEGRAPH--SOMETHING BEFALLS TOBY--FAYAWAY DISPLAYS A TENDER HEART--MELANCHOLY REFLECTIONS--MYSTERIOUS CONDUCT OF THE ISLANDERS--DEVOTION OF KORY-KORY--A RURAL COUCH--A LUXURY--KORY-KORY STRIKES A LIGHT A LA TYPEE
IN the course of a few days Toby had recovered from the effects of his adventure with the Happar warriors; the wound on his head rapidly healing under the vegetable treatment of the good Tinor. Less fortunate than my companion however, I still continued to languish under a complaint, the origin and nature of which were still a mystery. Cut off as I was from all intercourse with the civilized world, and feeling the inefficacy of anything the natives could do to relieve me; knowing, too, that so long as I remained in my present condition, it would be impossible for me to leave the valley, whatever opportunity might present itself; and apprehensive that ere long we might be exposed to some caprice on the part of the islanders, I now gave up all hopes of recovery, and became a prey to the most gloomy thoughts. A deep dejection fell upon me, which neither the friendly remonstrances of my companion, the devoted attentions of Kory-Kory nor all the soothing influences of Fayaway could remove.
One morning as I lay on the mats in the house, plunged in melancholy reverie, and regardless of everything around me, Toby, who had left me about an hour, returned in haste, and with great glee told me to cheer up and be of good heart; for he believed, from what was going on among the natives, that there were boats approaching the bay.
These tidings operated upon me like magic. The hour of our deliverance was at hand, and starting up, I was soon convinced that something unusual was about to occur. The word 'botee! botee!' was vociferated in all directions; and shouts were heard in the distance, at first feebly and faintly; but growing louder and nearer at each successive repetition, until they were caught up by a fellow in a cocoanut tree a few yards off, who sounding them in turn, they were reiterated from a neighbouring grove, and so died away gradually from point to point, as the intelligence penetrated into the farthest recess of the valley. This was the vocal telegraph of the islanders; by means of which condensed items of information could be carried in a very few minutes from the sea to their remotest habitation, a distance of at least eight or nine miles. On the present occasion it was in active operation; one piece of information following another with inconceivable rapidity.
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