Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/284

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

to infect Mainwaring with a feeling somewhat akin to that which appeared to disturb his visitor. “I know not what you mean, sir!” he cried, “by asking if I care to hear your news. At this moment I would rather have news of that scoundrel than to have anything I know of in the world.”

“Thou would? Thou would?” cried the other, with mounting agitation. “Is thee in such haste to meet him as all that? Very well; very well, then. Suppose I could bring thee face to face with him—what then? Hey? Hey? Face to face with him, James Mainwaring!”

The thought instantly flashed into Mainwaring’s mind that the pirate had returned to the island; that perhaps at that moment he was somewhere near at hand.

“I do not understand you, sir,” he cried. “Do you mean to tell me that you know where the villain is? If so, lose no time in informing me, for every instant of delay may mean his chance of again escaping.”

“No danger of that!” the other declared, vehemently. “No danger of that! I’ll tell thee where he is and I’ll bring thee to him quick enough!” And as he spoke he thumped his fist against the open log book. In the vehemence of his growing excitement his eyes appeared to shine green in the lanthorn light, and the sweat that had stood in beads upon his forehead was now running in streams down his face. One drop hung like a jewel to the tip of his beaklike nose. He came a step nearer to Mainwaring and bent forward toward him, and there was something so strange and ominous in his bearing that the lieutenant instinctively drew back a little where he sat.

“Captain Scarfield sent something to you,” said Eleazer, almost in a raucous voice, “something that you will be surprised to see.” And the lapse in his speech from the Quaker “thee” to the plural “you” struck Mainwaring as singularly strange.

As he was speaking Eleazer was fumbling in a pocket of his