"Yes, yes, I know that," I went on; "but what does it mean in your
"Why, that I've found my message."
"And that you are delivering it to Tahiti?" I demanded
"Sure," he answered simply; and later on I found that he was, too.
When we dropped anchor, lowered a small boat into the water, and
started ashore, the Nature Man joined us. Now, thought I, I shall
be pestered to death by this crank. Waking or sleeping I shall
never be quit of him until I sail away from here.
But never in my life was I more mistaken. I took a house and went
to live and work in it, and the Nature Man never came near me. He
was waiting for the invitation. In the meantime he went aboard the
Snark and took possession of her library, delighted by the quantity
of scientific books, and shocked, as I learned afterwards, by the
inordinate amount of fiction. The Nature Man never wastes time on
After a week or so, my conscience smote me, and I invited him to
dinner at a downtown hotel.
He arrived, looking unwontedly stiff and uncomfortable in a cotton
jacket. When invited to peel it off, he beamed his gratitude and
joy, and did so, revealing his sun-gold skin, from waist to
shoulder, covered only by a piece of fish-net of coarse twine and
large of mesh. A scarlet loin-cloth completed his costume.