Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/239

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Blueskin, the Pirate

the papers upon his desk and cocked his feet upon its slanting top. “Hiram,” said he, abruptly, “Hiram, do you know that Levi West is forever hanging around Billy Martin’s house, after that pretty daughter of his?”

So long a space of silence followed the speech that the Squire began to think that Hiram might not have heard him. But Hiram had heard. “No,” said he, “I didn’t know it.”

“Well, he is,” said Squire Hall. “It’s the talk of the whole neighborhood. The talk’s pretty bad, too. D’ye know that they say that she was away from home three days last week, nobody knew where? The fellow’s turned her head with his sailor’s yarns and his traveler’s lies.”

Hiram said not a word, but he sat looking at the other in stolid silence. “That stepbrother of yours,” continued the old Squire presently, “is a rascal—he is a rascal, Hiram, and I misdoubt he’s something worse. I hear he’s been seen in some queer places and with queer company of late.”

He stopped again, and still Hiram said nothing. “And look'ee, Hiram,” the old man resumed, suddenly, “I do hear that you be courtin’ the girl, too; is that so?”

“Yes,” said Hiram, “I’m courtin’ her, too.”

“Tut! tut!” said the Squire, “that’s a pity, Hiram. I’m afraid your cakes are dough.”

After he had left the Squire’s office, Hiram stood for a while in the street, bareheaded, his hat in his hand, staring unwinkingly down at the ground at his feet, with stupidly drooping lips and lackluster eyes. Presently he raised his hand and began slowly smoothing down the sandy shock of hair upon his forehead. At last he aroused himself with a shake, looked dully up and down the street, and then, putting on his hat, turned and walked slowly and heavily away.

The early dusk of the cloudy winter evening was settling fast, for the sky was leaden and threatening. At the outskirts of