Three days later two men were seated face to face in a long wooden house, the largest and most important in Buckomari village.
Smoking a corn-cob pipe and showing in his face but few marks of the terrible days through which he had passed was Scarlett Trent - opposite to him was Hiram Da Souza, the capitalist of the region. The Jew - of Da Souza's nationality it was impossible to have any doubt - was coarse and large of his type, he wore soiled linen clothes and was smoking a black cigar. On the little finger of each hand, thickly encrusted with dirt, was a diamond ring, on his thick, protruding lips a complacent smile. The concession, already soiled and dog-eared, was spread out before them.
It was Da Souza who did most of the talking. Trent indeed had the appearance of a man only indirectly interested in the proceedings.
"You see, my dear sir," Da Souza was saying, "this little concession of yours is, after all, a very risky business. These niggers have absolutely no sense honour. Do I not know it - alas - to my cost?"
Trent listened in contemptuous silence. Da Souza had made a fortune trading fiery rum on the Congo and had probably done more to debauch the niggers he spoke of so bitterly than any man in Africa.
"The Bekwando people have a bad name - very bad name. As for any sense of commercial honour - my dear Trent, one might as well expect diamonds to spring up like mushrooms under our feet."
"The document," Trent said, "is signed by the King and witnessed by Captain Francis, who is Agent-General out here, or something of the sort, for the English Government. It was no gift and don't you think it, but a piece of hard bartering. Forty bearers carried our presents to Bekwando and it took us three months to get through. There is enough in it to make us both millionaires.
"Then why," Da Souza asked, looking up with twinkling eyes, "do you want to sell me a share in it?"