Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/300

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

presented itself, he felt himself ready to embrace any adventure with the utmost eagerness, no matter whither it would have conducted him.

At home (where he was a clerk in the counting-house of a leading merchant, by name Jeremiah Doolittle), should such idle fancies have come to him, he would have looked upon himself as little better than a fool, but now that he found himself for the first time in a foreign country, surrounded by such strange and unusual sights and sounds, all conducive to extravagant imaginations, the wish for some extraordinary and altogether unusual experience took possession of him with a singular vehemence to which he had heretofore been altogether a stranger.

In the street where he stood, which was of a shining whiteness and which reflected the effulgence of the moonlight with an incredible distinction, he observed, stretching before him, long lines of white garden walls, overtopped by a prodigious luxuriance of tropical foliage.

In these gardens, and set close to the street, stood several pretentious villas and mansions, the slatted blinds and curtains of the windows of which were raised to admit of the freer entrance of the cool and balmy air of the night. From within there issued forth bright lights, together with the exhilarating sound of merry voices laughing and talking, or perhaps a song accompanied by the tinkling music of a spinet or of a guitar. An occasional group of figures, clad in light and summer-like garments, and adorned with gay and startling colors, passed him through the moonlight; so that what with the brightness and warmth of the night, together with all these unusual sights and sounds, it appeared to Jonathan Rugg that he was rather the inhabitant of some extraordinary land of enchantment and unreality than a dweller upon that sober and solid world in which he had heretofore passed his entire existence.

Before continuing this narrative the reader may here be informed that our hero had come into this enchanted world as the