supercargo of the ship Susanna Hayes, of Philadelphia; that he had for several years proved himself so honest and industrious a servant to the merchant house of the worthy Jeremiah Doolittle that that benevolent man had given to his well-deserving clerk this opportunity at once of gratifying an inclination for foreign travel and of filling a position of trust that should redound to his individual profit. The Susanna Hayes had entered Kingston Harbor that afternoon, and this was Jonathan’s first night spent in those tropical latitudes, whither his fancy and his imagination had so often carried him while he stood over the desk filing the accounts of invoices from foreign parts.
It might be finally added that, had he at all conceived how soon and to what a degree his sudden inclination for adventure was to be gratified, his romantic aspirations might have been somewhat dashed at the prospect that lay before him.
The Mysterious Lady with the Silver Veil
At that moment our hero suddenly became conscious of the fact that a small wicket in a wooden gate near which he stood had been opened, and that the eyes of an otherwise concealed countenance were observing him with the utmost closeness of scrutiny.
He had hardly time to become aware of this observation of his person when the gate itself was opened, and there appeared before him, in the moonlight, the bent and crooked figure of an aged negress. She was clad in a calamanco raiment, and was further adorned with a variety of gaudily colored trimmings, vastly suggestive of the tropical world of which she was an inhabitant. Her woolly head was enveloped, after the fashion of her people, in the folds of a gigantic and flaming red turban constructed of an entire pocket-handkerchief. Her face was pock-pitted to an incredible degree, so that what with this deformity, emphasized by