At four-thirty sharp Marj Saint eagerly switched on the radio receiver in Shell Mera. This was the moment when the big news would come. Had the men been invited to follow the Aucas to their houses? What further developments would Nate be able to report?

She looked at her watch again. Yes, it was at least four-thirty. No sound from Palm Beach. She and Olive hunched close to the radio. The atmosphere was not giving any interference. Perhaps Nate’s watch had run a little slow.

In Arajuno, Marilou and Barbara had their radio on, too. Silence. They waited a few minutes, then called Shell Mera.

“Arajuno calling Shell Mera. Arajuno standing by for Shell Mera. Any word from Palm Beach, Marj? Over.”

“Shell Mera standing by. No, no word as yet. We’ll be standing by.”

Not a crackle broke the silence.

Clinging To Little Hope

Were the men so preoccupied with entertaining their visitors that they had forgotten the planned contact? Five minutes … ten minutes … No, it was inconceivable that all five would forget. It was the first time since Nate had started jungle flying in 1948 that he and Marj had been out of contact even for an hour.

But—perhaps their radio was not functioning. It happened occasionally. The women clung to each little hope, refusing to entertain the thought of anything’s really having gone wrong. Their suspense was the sharper because most of their missionary friends on the network were unaware that Operation Auca was in progress. In Arajuno, Barbara and little Beth Youderian had primped up a bit, since it had been planned that Roj would come to Arajuno that night, while Pete took a turn sleeping in the tree house. Surely the little plane would come winging over the ...

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