Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/323

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The Ruby of Kishmoor

head set close to his shoulders, and upon a round, short bull neck. He wore a black cravat, loosely tied into a knot, and a red waistcoat elaborately trimmed with gold braid; a leather belt with a brass buckle and hanger, and huge sea-boots completed a costume singularly suggestive of his occupation in life. His face was round and broad, like that of a cat, and a complexion stained, by constant exposure to the sun and wind, to a color of newly polished mahogany. But a countenance which otherwise might have been humorous, in this case was rendered singularly repulsive by the fact that his nose had been broken so flat to his face that all that remained to distinguish that feature were two circular orifices where the nostrils should have been. His eyes were by no means so sinister as the rest of his visage, being of a light-gray color and exceedingly vivacious—even good-natured in the merry restlessness of their glance—albeit they were well-nigh hidden beneath a black bush of overhanging eyebrows. When he spoke, his voice was so deep and resonant that it was as though it issued from a barrel rather than from the breast of a human being.

“How now, my hearty!” cried he, in stentorian tones, so loud that they seemed to stun the tensely drawn drums of our hero’s ears. “How now, my hearty! What’s to-do here? Who is shooting pistols at this hour of the night?” Then, catching sight of the figures lying in a huddle upon the floor, his great, thick lips parted into a gape of wonder and his gray eyes rolled in his head like two balls, so that what with his flat face and the round holes of his nostrils he presented an appearance which, under other circumstances, would have been at once ludicrous and grotesque.

“By the blood!” cried he, “to be sure it is murder that has happened here.”

“Not murder!” cried Jonathan, in a shrill and panting voice. “Not murder! It was all an accident, and I am as innocent as a baby.”

The new-comer looked at him and then at the two figures upon