Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/334

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

continued without intermission his uproarious pounding upon the gate.

At length, in answer to the sound of his vehement blows, the little wicket was opened and a pair of eyes appeared thereat. The next instant the gate was cast ajar very hastily, and the pock-pitted negress appeared. She caught him by the sleeve of his coat and drew him quickly into the garden. “Buckra, Buckra!” she cried. “What you doing? You wake de whole town!” Then, observing his dripping garments: “You been in de water. You catch de fever and shake till you die.”

“Thy mistress!” cried Jonathan, almost sobbing in the excess of his emotion; “take me to her upon the instant, or I cannot answer for my not going entirely mad!”

When our hero was again introduced to the lady, he found her clad in a loose and an elegant negligee, infinitely becoming to her graceful figure, and still covered with the veil of silver gauze that had before enveloped her.

“Friend,” he cried, vehemently, approaching her and holding out toward her the little ivory ball, “take again this which thou gavest me! It has brought death to three men, and I know not what terrible fate may befall me if I keep it longer in my possession.

“What is it you say?” cried she, in a piercing voice. “Did you say it hath caused the death of three men? Quick! Tell me what has happened, for I feel somehow a presage that you bring me news of safety and release from all my dangers.”

“I know not what thou meanest!” cried Jonathan, still panting with agitation. “But this I do know: that when I went away from thee I departed an innocent man, and now I come back to thee burdened with the weight of three lives, which, though innocent I have been instrumental in taking.”

“Explain!” exclaimed the lady, tapping the floor with her foot. “Explain! explain! explain!”

“That I will,” cried Jonathan, “and as soon as I am able!