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Spanish ragamuffins are stowed away, by Saint Patrick but I will make free to waken you with the point of this cutlass here, and in a way by no means ceremonious at all, at all;" and suiting the action to the word, he gave the sable Morpheus a very sufficing progue with the point of his weapon, about the region of the midriff, which instantaneously extracted a yell worthy of any Bengal tiger that I had ever tumbled up to see. Presently the howling subsided into articulate sounds, but not one of the party could make anything shipshape out of the barbarous exclamations.
“Now, my darlin',” continued wee middy, "try toder tack, dear"; and he again excited the savage's corporeals, after a very sharp fashion, with the same instrument, and the howl was louder than before.
“Now, may the devil fly away with me," quoth the imp, waxing wrath, “but I will blow your brains out, you drunken thief of the world, if you don't give me a legitimate reply. Spake, you ill-bred spalpeen, youAnswer me in English, you scoundrel"; whereupon, to our very great surprise indeed, out spoke our sable acquaintance.
“Hillo, where de debil is I? Who you, eh? What you wantee here? I hab no slave to give you. De Caridad, him do get every one I get. So, good men, go to hell all of you-do-very much go to hell—do."
The barbarian again fell back on his seat, either asleep or feigning to be so, and began to snore like a rhinoceros. By this time Davie Doublepipe's attention was attracted to a noise within the house. "Now, Master Blueskin," said he, have the kindness to open the door there"; then, as if suddenly recollecting himself, in a voice of thunder
he exclaimed: “Surround the house, men! one who tries to escape !"
This seemed to arouse our sluggish friend, who immediately got up, and staggered a few paces towards the margin of the wood, where a most remarkable object met our eyes.
It was a fetish hut or temple, composed of a shed about ten feet square, raised on four bamboos. From the eaves or thatch of the roof to the ground might have measured ten feet, and three feet below the roof there was a platform rigged, on which sat the most unearthly and hideous production of the hand of man that I had ever witnessed. It was a round, pot-bellied, wooden figure, about three feet high, with an enormous head, a mouth from ear to ear, and little, diminutive spindly legs and arms. A human skull, with the brain scooped out, but the red scalp, and part of the hair and the flesh of the face adhering to it, while the lower jaw had been torn away, was hung round this horrible-looking image's neck. Immediately beneath there was a heap of white smouldering cinders, as if the embers of a large fire had been swept together, with three or four white bones protruding from the fissures in the cake of white ashes; which, from their peculiar shape and extraordinary whiteness, gave me some shuddering qualms as to the kind of living creature they had belonged to. The whole space round the heap, under the platform on which the fetish stood, as well as the posts of the rude and horrible temple itself, was sprinkled with fresh black spots like newly-dried blood. I doubted exceedingly whether the same had ever circulated through the hearts of bulls or goats.
“Now, my good man, bestir you, and let us into the house," said I, by this time renovated by another small pull at a marine's canteen.
The surly savage, who, in his attempt to escape, had fallen headlong, and had all this while lain as motionless as a coiled-up hedgehog, now slowly opened his eyes, and peered at me with a sort of drunken gravity, but he did not speak. I took the cutlass from the midshipman. “Now, my man, if you don't speak, it is spitting you on this same that I will be after"; and accordingly, to corroborate my word, I made a most furious demonstration with the naked weapon, when he sung out, in great terror: "Stop, massa, me is Sergeant Quacco, of deWest India, and not savage nigir natural to dis dam country. Long live Kin Shorge, massa."
“Why,” said Lieutenant Sprawl, "how came you here, my beauty ? tell us that."
"Surely," quoth blackie, “no objection in the wide world, but
Here our people had forced the door of the long shed, on the opposite side from where we were, and we could hear from their shouts that they were now in the interior of the house. This entirely discomposed our new friend, and seemed to sober him all on a sudden, if, indeed, the appearance of inebriety had not been from the first assumed for the occasion. "Ah, dere; all is known -all known. Call off your people, gentlemen, call off your people. Oh, what is dat?"
Here several pistol-shots were fired in the house, and the clink of steel was heard, and loud shouting, in Spanish as well as in English.
"Who are in the shed ?" Lanyard called out. "Who are concealed there?"
"How de debil can I tell ?" said the man. "How de
debil can I say?" and he started from his chair, where he had again bestowed himself, and made a bolt, with intent to escape.
I tripped up his heels. "Now, you scoundrel," said I, as the fellow lay sprawling on the ground, “confess who are concealed there, or I will run you through where you lie.”
"I will confess,” shrieked he; “I will confess—de crew of dat dam polacre is dere, and her cargo of one hundred fifty slave is dere; so sink, burn, and destroy them all, if dat will pleasure massa. But don't cut my throat, please, massa; don't, I beg you, cut my throat! God bless you, massa! Oh, oh, no cut my throat, please, good massa !"
My attention was here attracted by what was going on elsewhere. Leaving the vagabond where he sat, I turned a step or two towards the long barn-like building.
The noise in the interior continued. "Hillo!" sung out the first lieutenant, “Hillo, men; what are you after? Haul off; come out, will ye? come out”; and he began to thunder at the low door with his pillar-like trams, each of which might have made a very passable battering-ram.
The uproar increased. "Zounds !" said he, "the fellows are mad"; and he started off round the northernmost end of the shed, finding that all attempts to force the door on the side next us proved futile. Presently the topman and two marines, who had remained beside the negro, also bolted to "see the fun on the other side of the house," and left me alone with the savage.
It was now “the uproar, with variations," as Old Bloody Politeful's two voices swelled the row. I looked at the negro, and weak and worn-out as I was, I began to feel rather comical. “Can I manage him, in case he shows fight?” thought I. He seemed to be taking the
same measure himself; for by this time he had gathered himself up, and advancing a stride or two from his seat or bench, he appeared to balance himself, and weigh his gigantic proportions against my comparatively tiny thews and sinews. All at once, like a tiger about to make his spring, he drew suddenly back, and crouched, evidently concentrating all his energies. “Time to make a demonstration,” thought I; and thereupon drew a pistol from my belt, and opened the pan, slapped it with my right hand, to see that the priming was all right, and in immediate communication with the charge in the barrel. He looked rapidly, but keenly, all round, and then
I grasped the weapon firmly in my right hand. He rose, upset the bench on which he sat, in a twinkling screwed out a leg of it, and was in the very act of making a blow at me, when the shouts and yells in the long shed increased to an infernal degree of vivacity, and a hot sharp crackling, and a thick stilling smoke, that burst in white wreaths from the corners of the building, arrested his uplifted arm. "You infamous renegade, if you don't lay down the leg of that stool, I will, on the credit of a Kilkenny man by the mother's side, send a bullet through your breadbasket; if I don't, never fear me."
He had now made up his mind, and advancing, nothing daunted, made a spring and a blow at my head, which, if I had not dodged, would have sent me to answer for many a sin unrepented of. As it was it descended with great force on my left shoulder; but on the instant I shot him through the muscle of his uplifted arm, and down he tumbled, roaring like the very devil. I had started up the instant I pulled the trigger. The door