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Trenton, Illinois
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April 29, 1926     The Sun Newspaper
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THE TRENTON SUN. TRENTON, ILLINOIS. Porto Belle, Gold CHAPTER X--Contlnued --12- The silence was oppressive as we ascended the poop ladder. A last bab- ble of Latin ended on an hysterical note. The Spanish captain stalked to the far side cf the deek, rumbling curses, and fixed his gaze upon the purple hills of Hlspaniola. Behind the steermg-wheel the black reek of rellglous gathered closer under the great, gilded lanthorn which crowned the high, pulpit-like recess Intended to proteet the helmsman; and amongst those cowled shaved heads and shape- less swathed forms the slim graee and sunny blue eyes of Mob's O'Donnell were as patent as the growing fear with which her father met us. "Don Ascanlo has placed the conduct of matters In my hands. What is next? Must you--" he began. He gestured expressively toward the Vssel beneath us. - It seems-- I--I find myself 'Tis a n'euseatlng prospect-- Several hun- dred men--and priests and nuns. Mur- ray-- Aye, a cardinal sin, one I'll never have absolution for, whatever betide--" "You concern yourself without cause." said Murray soothingly. "We have arranged It differently, and to that end I shall act a part with your daughter which you must support; aye, to the offering of violence. And now, tell me, where is the treasure?" "In the lazaret." "Master Saunders !" called my great- uncle, "Take fifty men and break out a quantity of treasure from the iazaret of the prize." "Aye, aye, sir," returned Saunders. and the pirates fell over themselves in their alacrity to have a hand in his business. My great-uncle concluded the dean- lag of his sword, crossed to the lar- board railing and tossed the bloodied handkerchief overboard. "Oh, Master Martin." he hailed the mate on the poop of the Royal James, "Be so good as to have a whip rigged from the foreyard-arm to sling aboard the treasure which Saunders ls break- ing out." "Aye, aye, sir, I'll attend to it all myself," Martin assured him. '- my eyes for a and all 'the Twelve Apostles, blast 'am for a lot of 2 "A pungent fellow. Martini" com- mented my great-uncle, recr0ssing the deck. "But we must play our little comedy here. You, chevalier, are cast for the Anguished parent. I am ,the Aged Libertine. Peter is the Mute with the bowstrings--be gentle. Peter. Robert--humphl I scarce know how to describe your role, Robert. You, shall we say, are to he Youth? YOu shall be Youthful Wantonness, and did we adopt all the exigencies of the plot 'twould be necessary for you fi- nally to strive with me for the pos- session of the maid. But we will wave that anon. Play up to me, nephew I You, too, Peter i" He left us and walked with a minc- ing gait, entirely different from his real catlike prowl, up to the black- garbed cluster surrounding Mistress O'Donnell. "Stap me, a fair piece, this!" he drawled. "Too fair to bloom unseen. Come hither, mistress l" But the maid answered him so dauntlessly that it made the blood prickle In my neck. "A black shame on you. old enough to be the father of me and these oth- ers here i I know you for what you are. Captain Rip-Rap, and if yon will ! thinking I am one to fear you it is a sorry wakening you will have. Oh, you might better he down on your knees, asking pardon for the wicked- hess you have wrought, than plotting fresh evil, and threatening holy folk with your dreadful torments!" "So yo reognlse me?" said my grut-uncle. "'Tis an honor, mistress. ]But I fear yon have heard much to my prejudice, and I must press you to vMt my ship and learn the contrary." "8tap forward, colonel, and defend her," I muttered under my breath to her father. He had the grace to blush, but he acted upon my suggestion with a sem- blance of sincerity. 'Sir, sir, what is thls you do?" he cried. "Certes, there Is some limit to your law-breakingl The maid Is my daughter;" My great-such went through his snuff ritual with an artful exaggera- tion which was comical to one who knew him. "Unfoate I" he drawled. "I wish I could sympathize with you, sir." And to toe- "Robert, you wtll conduct the lady to the flames." For the first time Mistress O'Don- nell's glance lighted fair upon my face. "Master Ormerod l" she gasped. "You'd best come quietly, mistress," I snapped. She flung her hands to fend me off and the fat monk and the two nuns cast thmnselvea upon us, the monk stdklnE at my head with his heavy crucifix and the nuns scratching and dawing so that I was put to It to pro- tact my eyes, They were surely three of the bravest people who ever lived and but for Peter thly would have worsted me. Tha big Dutchman waded stolidly into the confusion, shoved O'Donnell from hls path, apset the monk and pushed the two nuns out of the way. "YOU take de' little gal, Bob," he Resked. She struggled with all the strength fit her lissome  body, but I pinned her hands and tossed her over my shoal- A v Arthur D. H0wden Smith Cpyrht by Arthur D. Howd Smith WNU Service derand then her father attacked me, with the Spanish captain, whose pa- tience had been exhausted by this last outrage. Murray drew his sword and forced the Spaniard back and Peter slung O'Donnell over his shoulder as easily as I had the maid. 'q got" him. Ja," he announced to Murray. My great-uncle sheathed his sword. "Carry hln along," he said. "Since he 18 so much onerned as to his daughter's fate. we will permit him to watch it. Afterward, it may be, he can afford us some additional amusement. SUp me, a most persist- ent fellow t" A line of pirates staggered across the decks, backs stooped beneath bur- dens of portly casks and Iron-bound chests, wire-wrapped and padlocked, each a-dangle with leaden seals im- pressed with the arms of the Spanish king, They leered at my writhing captive, but they all looked quickly away as my great-uncle descended to US, "Can you manage her alone?" he asked me curtly. "I'll manage her or go overboard with her." I barked. He smiled. "The right spirit, ladI Tut, tut, mis- tress," as she wrenched a hand free and dug at my eyes. "You concern yourself for nothing. We have but played at a game. Observe your falher's attitude." "The greater his shameI" she hissed. "That he should have suffered -ou to take me alive!" "We are friends," urged my rela- tive, lowering his voice. "'Tis but a pretense we make-----" "FrlendsI Ah. you are friends to the Powers of Evil." "Be patient a little longer, Molra." pleaded her father from his perch on Peter's shoulder. "I'll explain--" She went of a sudden entirely limp and burst into a passion of weeping. "Oh. padre, padre, to think of you a cowardi 'Tin worst of alll" O'Donnell swore helplessly. I climbed by way of a carronade on to the larboard bulwarks, holding Mis- tress O'Donnell with one arm while I took a strand of rigging with the other; and even as I collected myself to Jump the gap that separated the two vessels she twisted free of me and would have slid overside--to be crushed to death, most likely, for the two hulls were continually grinding together, I caught her in the nick of time, letting go my clutch upon the rigging, and was near to being dragged down with her. teetering back and forth as aimless as a feather blown, by the wind. So that. what with her struggles and my own loss of balance, I gritted my teeth and Jumped most precariously, hit or miss, and, I am bound to admit, landed upon the James' bulwarks rather by good for- tune than skill. I dropped to the deck in no very pleasant mood. "An ill recompense for one that hath been at pains to I Caught Her In the Nick of Time. spare your father's reputation, mls. tress," I growled, as surly as any pi- rate of the crew. "You might ha' been my death." She looked at me, too surprised to answer at once, and before she had recovered herself, my great-uncle and Peter Joined us, Peter still placidly carrying Colonel O'Donnell like a flour sack. Mtlrray cast a swift glance of ap- praisal around his ship. "We have come through very credit- ably," he remarked. "Martin, let me know as soon as the prizes treasure Is all aboard." He turned to us, 'q3e curtain is ready to fall upon our comedy. Will yon accept mY arm, Mistress 0'Donnell? A glass of and a btte of sailor's fare will taste better than Robert's ear, which your hunger promnted .you to nibble, fie, my las/l" She stared at him with utter horror yet suffered him to place her upon his arm. The spirit was gone out of her, exhausted hy the strain she had been subjected to. She wu like a butterfly spiked, on a thorn, Something of the sam sensation must have affected my relative, for he patted the limp hand on his arm with a truly paternal kindness. "Come. come, did I not say the com- edy was ended?" he chided her. "You are as safe llere as in your Spanish convent. But tile deck ts too public for our revelstlons. We will seek the seclusion of the cal)in, and there the complete tale shall be unfolded for your reassurance, with your father a witness to support it." She shook her head. "II know not what you mean." "To be sore." he agreed 'But you soon shall. Peter, good friend, prithee take three steps within the companion- way and there deposit Colonel ()'Don- hal with decent propriety upon the two limbs Nature intended for his lo- comotion. Ah I Excellent i Allow me, mistress I" Ben Guns and the two negro lack- eys ushered the party to their seats. Mistress O'Donnell sank into hera with a weariness that was pathetic. She was quite regardless of her surround- ings. Peter took his accustomed place at the opposite end, and I sat bside her. "Let me give you a glass of this aqua vitae, my lass." said by great- uncle. "'Tls efficacious for fatigue and the migraine. See, I taste It my- self. 'TIs quite all right. You, too. chevalier? Excellent ! Perhaps you will pass the flask to Master Corlaer yonder. And Master Ormerod yonder --my nephew. But I belleye you and your daughter have had previous ac- quaintance with him." O'Donnell muttered Something none too civil, but the maid bestirred her- self, and her eyes examined me again with the mingling of horror and stu- pefaction which governed her mood. 'How come you here?" she asked. "You--you are you also a pirate?" "I am a captive as surely as your- self," I returned. "Aye, more so." I "A captive!" she exclaimed, her In- terest fanned alight. "But surely My great-nncle Interrupted her. "Please. Mtstress O'Donnell ! Our tale Is sufficiently complicated. Let us not make it more difficult to com- prehend by confusing It at the begin- ning with side-Issues. First. that there may be no misunderstanding, 'tis true :hat I am he who ls known as Captain Rip-Rap." She shrank away from him in a renewed access of terror "I have already told yop that you have no cause to fear me." he went on gently, "and to prove that to you I will add that I am an outlawwhat is. called a pirate, althmgh I detest the word myselfbecause I am a Ja- cobite. I believe, too, I may claim your father as mY friend." He looked inquiringly at O'DonnelL The Irishman drained his glass. "'Tls true," he assented. "This gen- tleman Is one Andrew Murray, who was out in the '15 and was afterward in trouble in New York province on the score of intrigues with our friends and the French, Molra. He hath been a good servant to King James." "But for why will you have been the death of all the poor folk on the Santlsslma Trinidad7" she cried." "'Tis regrettable that Spaniards had to die, lass," answered my great- uncle, lowering his voice to a proper depth of emotion. "But I call to your mind that Spain has not helped the Good Cause as she might when there was a bonny chance of fetching the Stuarts home." "That is God's truth," she admitted with quick passion, "but I am think- ing 'tis not overhonest." "You talk nonsense, Molra," blus- tered her father. "Is It not better that this treasure should be employed to recover England and all the lands per- taining to the English crown for their rightful rulerswho will assist In the restoration of the True Faiththad it should be laoured into the pockets of the king's favorites at Madrid? Why, lass, there are great lords, aye, a prince of the Church. no less. that set te seal of their approval to what we do. The people of Spain will be thanking us for the use to which we turned their treasure--and then we'll pay it back" he added with a happy inspiration. "Odds, that We will!" Indorsed my great-uncle. "What's a million and a half pounds to royal Spain? Aye, or to an England that waxes grandly prosperous under wise Stuart rule?" She was silent. His suave manner conveyed subtly an implication of the Importance he attached to her approval. "I would not inflict a dose of the material philosophy of age upon one so young and charming, my dear," he went on; "but possibly you will for- give me If I Indicate to you the regret- table circumstance that the Ideal Is seldom attainable? In order to secure the means for re-establishing King James and what your father so quaint, ly terms the True Faith In the British Isles. It hath been necessary for s gentleman of questionable legal status mysclfassectated with others of more dubious antecedents and repute, to procure the death of divers Spanish persons, who, of themselves, had never wrought any harm against us or the cause we served. 'Tls by precisely such contraventions of prec- edent .and lettered laws that epochal events are brought about. I trust my reasoning is clear?" O'Donnell emptied a glass with an impatient growl that masked an oath. "You are was,rig time, Murray. Molts is a good lass, and my daughter; but what she thinks of this venture--" "-,-is of considerable importance to me." my great-uncle protested. 'q was compelled In the beginning of our ac- quaintance to give her a wrong Im- pression of my character, and I am extremely desirous to have her good opinion." 'But why is ,Xhster Ormerod a cap- tive? Why does he say I am a cap- tive, If--" "You are not a captive," returned my great-uncle "At least. I say that under the hnpresslon that. as your father's delighter anti a devout Ja- cobite, you would not. whatever your personal feelings mlht be. undertake to Interfere with or plans." "I am wonderlnare you all mad,' she said blankly. "You may well ay so !" I exclaimed. "The truth Is this. mistress: Master Murray hath besides his own ship's company a scond hand (,f pirates the which are restless beneath his thumb. He desired me to be his lieutenant to help blm hold them In restraint. and--" "You restrained them bravely aboard the ,qantlsslma Trinidad!" she said. "That was to save you.'" I declared. "Troth. and I'm saved." she echoed sarcasttcal]y. "Yes, you and year father." said Murray gravely. "Colonel O'Donnell risked everything on this cmu of ours. To protect hln 'twas essential it should never be known he was privy to It. We had thp choice of two means to that end. One was to mink the Sanihsima Trinidad wlth nil hands except yourselves. The other was to arrange to remove the, two nf volt |U such fashion as to et'}>llsh your inno- cence. I am free to say tile first was the easiest course. The dh'tates of humanity, however, prevailed. How he rolled that last sentence. "And what do you know of human- lty that soaked the decks of the San- tlsshna Trinidad with blood?" she an- swered. "You that the Spaniards cite as a byword for cruelty and wicked- ness l I will not believe a word that you say. I will not belteve any man here. You are all smirched with the same bdness." Peter leaned his great bulk forward upon the table. "Don't talk no more. you." he com- manded the Irishman. "Neon. I talk! Little gel Bob andt I we don't come wit' .Inrrny because we like to. He makes ns. Ja! .He uses us. IIe uses your fat'er. Fie uses you. But wen we are wit' him we do what we can to take care of you. It is not goodt for little gals to be on pirate ships. Neen !" IIe leaned back. "Dot's all." Her blue eyes dwelt seriously upon his vast, flat face. with Its Insl'nlfi- cant features blobbed here and there. "I believe you," she said "Stap fne," jeered Murray. "Our Peter is discovered a squire o' dames --a preux chevalier. Peter, you ha' disguised your talents. We must know more of them." "Ja," said Peter vacantly. Mistress O'Donnell rose. "Sir--" she addressed my great- uncle---"you will be excusing me If, I do not linger for more conversation. What you do hath no concern with me. I am very distraught, and my heart is slck with the black sorrow, and I--I--" she swayed a little--"I would lie me down and--and--weep." I slipped from my seat and steadie4 her, i "Take her to your stateroom. Rob- err," sald my great-uncle. "You must lodge with Peter." He rose, himself, bowing with the fine courtesy which became him nobly. I guided her as far as the stateroom door. She thanked me faintly as I opened It for her, and I was abruptly impelled to recover her friendship. "What I tried to tell you was the truth," I murmured, the words spilling fast from my tongue. "Indeed it was so! Peter Corlaer had the right of it. We two are no pirates, and all that we ha' done has been intended to make smooth your way." There was a wistful light in her eyes as she lifted them under long, black lashes. "God :send you be honest, sir" she said. "I-2-I must wait to Judge. The world Is gone all twirly-round, Even the padre--" She choked back a sob. "You will not misunderstand," she ended with quiet dignity, "if I say no more that maybe already ha' said too muCh." CHAPTER Xl The Dead Man's Chest When I returned to the main cabin Ben Gunn was placing food on the table and my great-uncle was remov- ing the liquor from Colonel O'Don- nell's reach. Nothing was said until the steward and the negroes had retired. Then Murray sat forward In his chair. "There ls a certain matter of Ira- ( " portance to be discussed, col )nel, he announced. "I must have your atten- tion. O'Donnell nodded sulkily. "As you know. the crew of my as- sociate, Captain Flint, some of whom you saw In New York. are not under the same dlscipllne as my own men. I must have the security of the Ren- dezvous, and for that I must needs pay Flint. Also. I may have need of him in other ways. This venture Is not yet cousummated. 'Tls contrary to my Instinct to break with Flint if It can he avohled. 'Tls shuilarly con- trary to my instinct to trust him far- ther than I must. and in thls Immedi- ate case I am loath to trust hhn." "What's to do?" rasped O'Donnell. "Raise his price?" "No, no. My suggestion is that we should stow away our friends' portion of the treasure before we return ts the Rendezvous." "Where?" "I have been turnlng lhat In my mind for several weeks. There Is an island south of Porto Rico in the Vlr- 7/Ill !!!! !! ! |ll iii i illll I il tltllll IIIIIII IlINIl "Lest o' the Ruddy Boys ie Comin' Aboard, Sir," He Said. gin group, a barren dot. hated by all seamen for sorry memories of ship- wreck and sufferlng. They call it the Dead Man's Chest." The Irishman frowned. "What? Damp this gold we have risked so much to win on a sandbar for the first passing fellow to--" "I have said no man will go there If he can help it." "1 like It not !" scowled O'Donnell. "My friends would have ugly things to say did the stuff slip from our hands [n that.way." " 'Tis less likely to slip from our hands on the Dead Man's Chest than aboard the Royal James." answered Murray. 'Bethink you, chevalier! 'Twill glee us time to let the hue and cry of the Spaniards die down and to arrange with your friends for Its re- ception." I "Whatever you say, 'tls a miserable alternative." protested O'D o n n.el L "Let us rather hold north and set the treasure ashore In France." "To run the gauntlet of French and English cruisers?" my great-uncle de- manded scornfully. "'Odsblood, man, you are out of your mtndl And when you had landed it, what would you do? How much of It would go to your friends and how much to grease the pockets of French officials?" My great-uncle took snuff, tapping the box thoughtfully after he had dusted the powder In his nostrils. "To be strictly houest with you gen- tlemen," he remarked at last, "I am disposed to return to Plint because I foresee a possibility of my desiring to sacrifice him to cover our tracks. I have no definite plan in mind, but a situation might shape itself in, which it would be desirable to supply a fugitive for Spaniard, Frenchman and English to chase. I should vastly prefer--as I am sure you would, too fhat the fugitive be the Walrus and not the James. Also. until that situ- ation arises, the Rendezvous is the safest hldlng-place I know this side of Africa." A step clumped in the companlon- way, and Martin stuck his grizzled head in the cabin. "Last o' the ruddy-boys is comin' aboard, sir," he said. "What course will ye set?" Murray looked at the Irishman. "Here's the moment for decislon, sir," he said. "'Tis for you to say what shall be done." O'Donnell smacked hls open hand upon the" table top. A truce to argulngl" he exclalmed. "I am in your hands, Murray, whether It pleases me or not. Do whichever you think best." 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