Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/318

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

handkerchief beneath a lace cocked hat was tied tightly around the head, and a pair of silver earrings, which caught the light of the candle, gleamed and twinkled against the inky darkness of the passageway beyond.

This extraordinary being, without favoring our hero with any word of apology for his intrusion, immediately thrust himself forward into the room, and stretching his long, lean, bird-like neck so as to direct his gaze over the intervening table, fixed a gaping and concentrated stare upon the figure lying still and motionless in the centre of the room.

“Vat you do dare,” said he, with a guttural and foreign accent, and thereupon, without waiting for a reply, came forward and knelt down beside the dead man. After thrusting his hand into the silent and shrunken bosom, he presently looked up and fixed his penetrating eyes upon our hero’s countenance, who, benumbed and bedazed with his despair, still stood like one enchained in the bonds of a nightmare. “He vas dead!” said the stranger, and Jonathan nodded his head in reply.

“Vy you keel ze man?” inquired his interlocutor.

“Indeed,” cried Jonathan, finding a voice at last, but one so hoarse that he could hardly recognize it for his own, “I know not what to make of the affair! But, indeed, I do assure thee, friend, that I am entirely innocent of what thou seest.”

The stranger still kept his piercing gaze fixed upon our hero’s countenance, and Jonathan, feeling that something further was demanded of him, continued: “I am, indeed, a victim of a most extravagant and extraordinary adventure. This evening, coming an entire stranger to this country, I was introduced into the house of a beautiful female, who bestowed upon me a charge that appeared to me to be at once insignificant and absurd. Behold this little ivory ball,” said he, drawing the globe from his pocket, and displaying it between his thumb and finger. “It is this that appears to have brought all this disaster upon me; for, coming from the