Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/258

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

both the bag and the captive within, knotting it again and again and drawing it tight. Only once was a word spoken. “If you’ll lemme go,” said a muffled voice from the bag, “I’ll give you five thousand pounds—it’s in that there box.” Hiram answered never a word, but continued knotting the rope and drawing it tight.


The Scorpion sloop-of-war lay in Lewes harbor all that winter and spring, probably upon the slim chance of a return of the pirates. It was about eight o’clock in the morning and Lieutenant Maynard was sitting in Squire Hall’s office, fanning himself with his hat and talking in a desultory fashion. Suddenly the dim and distant noise of a great crowd was heard from without, coming nearer and nearer. The Squire and his visitor hurried to the door. The crowd was coming down the street shouting, jostling, struggling, some on the footway, some in the roadway. Heads were at the doors and windows, looking down upon them. Nearer they came, and nearer; then at last they could see that the press surrounded and accompanied one man. It was Hiram White, hatless, coatless, the sweat running down his face in streams, but stolid and silent as ever. Over his shoulder he carried a bag, tied round and round with a rope. It was not until the crowd and the man it surrounded had come quite near that the Squire and the lieutenant saw that a pair of legs in gray-yarn stockings hung from the bag. It was a man he was carrying.

Hiram had lugged his burden five miles that morning without help and with scarcely a rest on the way.

He came directly toward the Squire’s office and, still sun rounded and hustled by the crowd, up the steep steps to the office within. He flung his burden heavily upon the floor without a word and wiped his streaming forehead.

The Squire stood with his knuckles on his desk, staring first at Hiram and then at the strange burden he had brought. A sudden