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The description of Tom Willoughby's Scouts

Tom Willoughby's Scouts by Herbert Strang

Among the passengers who boarded the Hedwig von Wissmann at Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika, one June day in 1914, there were two who engaged more particularly the attention of those already on deck. The first was a tall stalwart man of some fifty years, with hard blue eyes, full red cheeks, a square chin, and a heavy blond moustache streaked with grey. He stepped somewhat jerkily up the gangway, brought his hand stiffly to his brow in response to the salute of the first officer, and was led by that deferential functionary to a chair beneath the deck awning.

The second presented a striking contrast. Equally tall, he was slim and loosely built, with lean, sunburnt, hairless cheeks, a clean upper lip that curved slightly in a natural smile, and brown eyes that flashed a look of intelligent interest around. He walked with the lithe easy movements of athletic youth, turned to see that the porter was following with his luggage, a single travelling trunk and a rifle case, and satisfied on that score, picked up a deck-chair and planted it for himself where the awning would give shade without shutting off the air.

Both these new arrivals wore suits of white drill, and pith helmets; but whereas the elder man was tightly buttoned, suggesting a certain strain, the younger allowed his coat to hang open, showing his soft shirt and the cummerbund about his waist.

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