Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/322

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

moment, every power of thought and of sensation. All that perturbation of emotion that had before convulsed him he discovered to have disappeared, and in its stead a benumbed and blinded intelligence alone remained to him. As he stood in the presence of this second death, of which he had been as innocent and as unwilling an instrument as he had of the first, he could observe no signs either of remorse or of horror within him. He picked up his hat, which had fallen upon the floor in the first encounter, and, brushing away the dust with the cuff of his coat sleeve with extraordinary care, adjusted the beaver upon his head with the utmost nicety. Then turning, still stupefied as with the fumes of some powerful drug, he prepared to quit the scene of tragic terrors that had thus unexpectedly accumulated upon him.

But ere he could put his design into execution his ears were startled by the sound of loud and hurried footsteps which, coming from below, ascended the stairs with a prodigious clatter and bustle of speed. At the landing these footsteps paused for a while, and then approached, more cautious and deliberate, toward the room where the double tragedy had been enacted, and where our hero yet stood silent and inert.

All this while Jonathan made no endeavor to escape, but stood passive and submissive to what might occur. He felt himself the victim of circumstances over which he himself had no control. Gazing at the partly opened door, he awaited for whatever adventure might next befall him. Once again the footsteps paused, this time at the very threshold, and then the door was slowly pushed open from without.

As our hero gazed at the aperture there presently became disclosed to his view the strong and robust figure of one who was evidently of a seafaring habit. From the gold braid upon his hat, the seals dangling from the ribbon at his fob, and a certain particularity of custom, he was evidently one of no small consideration in his profession. He was of a strong and powerful build, with a