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The story of a weird revenge, and the unhuman bellow that came across the lake from an eery bamboo forest in the South American jungle

Bellowing Bamboo

By Anthony Rud

FROM the moment Lieutenant Natheshire of the British Guiana Provincial Police heard of Selwyn Landrigan's coming, the officer frowned and became moody. Still, as guardian of the peace on the upper Mazaruni and Cuyuni Rivets, Natheshire could do no less than make a pretense of welcoming Landrigan —and then stick close to him.

Landrigan was hated, with sufficient reason. In spite of that fact he had become a personage in the affairs of the trading company. And this company, which handled most of the foreign trade of British Guiana and Venezuela, and also owned more than a hundred stations on the jungle rivers, could make or break men like Natheshire.

In his secret thoughts, Natheshire feared that the pompous and foppish Landrigan was returning to be murdered. Not that anyone would mourn; but Natheshire sincerely liked the man who had reason to do the murder.

Lake Maza-Cuyuni is formed by the junction of these two swift jungle rivers, with the addition of the Essequibo. From the lake to the sea at Demerara, the more sluggish stream is called the Essequibo. On the lake itself, the British maintain a large and well-guarded prison colony, similar to the French penal colony at the Isles du Salut.

Directly across the ten-mile lake from the prison is a shando [tropical inn], which serves as a half-way house for white men. Natheshire had quarters here; and the company agents came here from the rivers, whenever the rain and mildew of the jungle got too much for them. This day three men sat at a small table on the screened gallery of the shando. Selwyn Landrigan was speaking, arrogantly as usual.

"The Cuyuni River station is the most important and profitable in all this jungle!" he stated, smoothing the glistening white silk stock at his neck. He drained the last of his tinkling rum swizzel, then set down the glass and nodded profoundly across at the younger of his listeners, Bisbee Alden.

The latter had been a sub-agent on Trinidad, and was going upstream from Lake Maza-Cuyuni on the morrow.

At Landrigan's left sat Natheshire, a tall, stern man. He was scowling a little over his drink, which was made of Holland's mixed with quinine water.

"I rather expected we would never see you upstream again, Landrigan," drawled the policeman, a cutting edge of criticism underlying the dry statement. He looked as if willing to amplify it, too.

Landrigan stiffened instantly.

"I am company manager for British Guiana now," he answered with hauteur. "Naturally I came to help Mr. Alden take charge of my old station. Also I have a few other matters of business. I suppose you refer to that uprising of the Indios? To that most unfortunate killing of Smith's young brother?"

"Quite," agreed Natheshire dryly. "To that—and to Smith himself."

"I shall make a point to see Mr. Smith before I return. He has an explanation to make to the company. Though I can appreciate why he might not care to live any longer in that bungalow among the bamboos, moving the station from the mouth of the Mazaruni clear up to the foot of the rapids—twenty-five miles— was absolutely unauthorized! I wish to know why."

He pushed back his chair, preparatory to arising.

"I would advise against it," said Natheshire, deadly serious now. "It is my job to keep peace in the jungle."

"Wha-at?" gasped Landrigan. "You actually mean that Smith threatens me— through you?"

"Nothing so absurd!" retorted Natheshire bruskly. "No, sit down a moment!" —this as the manager moved as if to r...

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