Early one morning, just as the trade wind began to lift the white
mountain mist which enveloped the dark valleys and mountain slopes of
the island, Denison, the supercargo of the trading schooner _Palestine_,
put off from her side and was pulled ashore to the house of the
one white trader. The man's name was Handle, and as he heard the
supercargo's footstep he came to the door and bade him good morning.
"How are you, Randle?" said the young man, shaking hands with the
quiet-voiced, white-haired old trader, and following him inside. "I'm
going for a day's shooting while I have the chance. Can you come?"
Randle shook his head. "Would like to, but can't spare the time to-day;
but Harry and the girls will be delighted to go with you. Wait a minute,
and have a cup of coffee first. They'll be here presently."
Denison put down his gun and took a seat in the cool,
comfortable-looking sitting-room, and in a few minutes Hester and Kate
Randle and their brother came in. The two girls were both over twenty
years of age. Hester, the elder, was remarkably handsome, and much
resembled her father in voice and manner. Kate was of much smaller
build, full of vivacity, and her big, merry brown eyes matched the
dimples on her soft, sun-tanned cheeks. Harry, who was Randle's youngest
child, was a heavily-built, somewhat sullen-faced youth of eighteen, and
the native blood in his veins showed much more strongly than it did with
his sisters. They were all pleased to see the supercargo, and at once
set about making preparations, Harry getting their guns ready and the
two girls packing a basket with cold food.
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