Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/302

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

the pouting of her prodigious and shapeless lips, and the rolling of a pair of eyes as yellow as saffron, Jonathan Rugg thought that he had never beheld a figure at once so extraordinary and so repulsive.

It occurred to our hero that here, maybe, was to overtake him such an adventure as that which he had just a moment before been desiring so ardently. Nor was he mistaken; for the negress, first looking this way and then that, with an extremely wary and cunning expression, and apparently having satisfied herself that the street, for the moment, was pretty empty of passers, beckoned to him to draw nearer. When he had approached close enough to her she caught him by the sleeve, and, instantly drawing him into the garden beyond, shut and bolted the gate with a quickness and a silence suggestive of the most extravagant secrecy.

At the same moment a huge negro suddenly appeared from the shadow of the gatepost, and so placed himself between Jonathan and the gate that any attempt to escape would inevitably have entailed a conflict, upon our hero’s part, with the sable and giant guardian.

Says the negress, looking very intently at our hero: “Be you afeard, Buckra?”

“Why, no,” quothed Jonathan; “for to tell thee the truth, friend, though I am a man of peace, being of that religious order known as the Society of Friends, I am not so weak in person nor so timid in disposition as to warrant me in being afraid of anyone. Indeed, were I of a mind to escape, I might, without boasting, declare my belief that I should be able to push my way past even a better man than thy large friend who stands so threateningly in front of yonder gate.”

At these words the negress broke into so prodigious a grin that, in the moonlight, it appeared as though the whole lower part of her face had been transformed into shining teeth. “You be a brave Buckra,” says she, in her gibbering English. “You come wid