Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/89

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The Ghost of Captain Brand

I am bid to say that you must show me a piece of paper that you have about you before we go a step farther.”

“Very well,” said Barnaby; “I have it here safe and sound, and see it you shall.” And thereupon and without more ado he fetched out his wallet, opened it, and handed his interlocutor the mysterious note he had received the day or two before. Whereupon the other, drawing to him the candle, burning there for the convenience of those who would smoke tobacco, began immediately reading it.

This gave Barnaby True a moment or two to look at him. He was a tall, stout man, with a red handkerchief tied around his neck, and with copper buckles on his shoes, so that Barnaby True could not but wonder whether he was not the very same man who had given the note to Miss Eliza Bolles at the door of his lodging house.

“‘Tis all right and straight as it should be,” the other said, after he had so glanced his eyes over the note. “And now that the paper is read” (suiting his action to his words), “I’ll just burn it, for safety’s sake.”

And so he did, twisting it up and setting it to the flame of the candle.

“And now,” he said, continuing his address, “I’ll tell you what I am here for. I was sent to ask you if you’re man enough to take your life in your own hands and to go with me in that boat down there? Say ‘Yes,’ and we’ll start away without wasting more time, for the devil is ashore here at Jamaica—though you don’t know what that means—and if he gets ahead of us, why, then we may whistle for what we are after. Say ‘No,’ and I go away again, and I promise you you shall never be troubled again in this sort. So now speak up plain, young gentleman, and tell us what is your mind in this business, and whether you will adventure any farther or not.”

If our hero hesitated it was not for long. I cannot say that