“We have them Sir,” Called Mowett, from outside the stockade, “ the Chief and the last few of his men, we,have them bottled up in a small fortress at other end of the Island, and they have the throne with them!”
“Thank you Mr Mowett,” cried Jack “well done! Go and keep the cork in the bottle until I get there.”
“Stephen! Stephen! Come along, bear a hand! We have him!"
“We have who, Jack?” said Stephen, turning from his drawing.
“Why that damned renegade chief, and we can have that damned throne back to the Pasha, and be on our way, if we don't miss the tide, so hurry along, there's a good fellow.”
An hour later, Jack lowered his telescope and murmured to Mowett, “Well, it doesn't look much of a fortress to me, more of a thatched house with a stockade around it. We can't afford to open fire, we might damage the throne.”
“Jack,” said Stephen, turning from studying the trees around the stockade, “It seems to me that the roof of that grass hut, or house, is sustained by those ropes attached to the trees outside the compound, do you think we might induce our men to climb the trees and cut the ropes? Then perhaps if the house collapses we could invade the compound and recover the throne without further loss of life.”
Jack looked at him for a moment, then turned to Bonden. “Bonden?”
“Won't take a moment Sir!” said Bonden, grinning, and loped away.
Jack looked at the cloud of dust, grass and flying splinters. The few men who could crawl were dragging themselves out of the wreckage of the Chief's house, while Stephen dealt with the more seriously injured.
“I think I know what happened Sir,” said Mowett, as they stared at the body of the chief, crushed beneath several hundredweight of jewel-encrusted throne.
“The Doctor couldn't have known, but they must have hidden it in the roofspace, and when Bonden cut the rope, down it came.”
“Well,” said Jack, “Well, so much for the peaceful way.” Then his blue eyes twinkled. “Stephen! I say, Stephen!”
Stephen turned a baleful eye on Jack, for he recognised the tone. 'Not levity, not now,' he thought, but he said, carefully “What is it Jack?”
“Why there's a lesson here, d'you see? A moral lesson for us all.”
“And what would that be, Jack,?”
“Why it's obvious!” said Jack, grinning,”People who live in grass houses, shouldn't stow thrones.”
© 2005 Homermeyn