Adventure by Jack London


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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Adventure, by Jack London

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Adventure

Author: Jack London

Release Date: April 25, 2005 [eBook #1163]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


Transcribed from the 1911 Thomas Nelson and Sons edition by David Price,


"We are those fools who could not rest
In the dull earth we left behind,
But burned with passion for the West,
And drank strange frenzy from its wind.
The world where wise men live at ease
Fades from our unregretful eyes,
And blind across uncharted seas
We stagger on our enterprise."



He was a very sick white man. He rode pick-a-back on a woolly-headed,
black-skinned savage, the lobes of whose ears had been pierced and
stretched until one had torn out, while the other carried a circular
block of carved wood three inches in diameter. The torn ear had been
pierced again, but this time not so ambitiously, for the hole
accommodated no more than a short clay pipe. The man-horse was greasy
and dirty, and naked save for an exceedingly narrow and dirty loin-cloth;
but the white man clung to him closely and desperately. At times, from
weakness, his head drooped and rested on the woolly pate. At other times
he lifted his head and stared with swimming eyes at the cocoanut palms
that reeled and swung in the shimmering heat. He was clad in a thin
undershirt and a strip of cotton cloth, that wrapped about his waist and
descended to his knees. On his head was a battered Stetson, known to the
trade as a Baden-Powell. About his middle was strapped a belt, which
carried a large-calibred automatic pistol and several spare clips, loaded
and ready for quick work.

The rear was brought up by a black boy of fourteen or fifteen, who
carried medicine bottles, a pail of hot water, and various other hospital
appurtenances. They passed out of the compound through a small wicker
gate, and went on under the blazing sun, winding about among new-planted
cocoanuts that threw no shade. There was not a breath of wind, and the
superheated, stagnant air was heavy with pestilence. From the direction
they were going arose a wild clamour, as of lost souls wailing and of men
in torment. A long, low shed showed ahead, grass-walled and
grass-thatched, and it was from here that the noise proceeded. There
were shrieks and screams, some unmistakably of grief, others unmistakably
of unendurable pain. As the white man drew closer he could hear a low
and continuous moaning and groaning. He shuddered at the thought of
entering, and for a moment was quite certain that he was going to faint.
For that most dreaded of Solomon Island scourges, dysentery, had struck
Berande plantation, and he was all alone to cope with it. Also, he was
afflicted himself.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Thu 13th Jun 2024, 13:26