Twala turned and motioned to his son, who advanced with his spear lifted.
"Now's your time," whispered Sir Henry to me; "what are you waiting for?"
"I am waiting for the eclipse," I answered; "I have had my eye on the sun for the last half-hour, and I never saw it look healthier."
"Well, you must risk it now or the girl will be killed. Twala is losing patience."
Recognizing the force of the argument, having cast one more despairing look at the bright face of the sun, for never did the most ardent astronomer with a theory to prove await a celestial event with such anxiety, I stepped, with all the dignity I could command, between the prostrate girl and the advancing spear of Scragga.
"King," I said; "this shall not be; we will not tolerate such a thing; let the girl go in safety."
Twala rose from his seat in his wrath and astonishment, and from the chiefs and serried ranks of girls, who had slowly closed in upon us in anticipation of the tragedy, came a murmur of amazement.
"Shall not be, thou white dog, who yaps at the lion in his cave; shall not be! Art thou mad? Be careful lest this chicken's fate overtake thee and those with thee. How canst thou prevent it? Who art thou, that thou standest between me and my will? Withdraw, I say. Scragga, kill her. Ho, guards! seize these men."