’But he is said to keep chiefly in the Caribbean Sea.”
“He is a man to be any where, and every where. The King would pay him well who put the rogue into the hands of the law.”
“A thing easier planned than executed,” Wilder thoughtfully answered.
“That is as it may be. I am an old fellow, and fitter to point out the way than to go ahead. But you are like a newly fitted ship, with all your rigging tight, and your spars without a warp in them. What say you to make your fortune by selling the knaves to the King? It is only giving the devil his own a few months sooner or later.”
Wilder started, and turned away from his companion like one who was little pleased by the manner in which he expressed himself. Perceiving the necessity of a reply, however, he demanded,—
“And what reason have you for believing your suspicions true? or what means have you for effecting your object, if true, in the absence of the royal cruisers?”
“I cannot swear that I am right; but, if sailing on the wrong tack, we can only go about, when we find out the mistake. As to means, I confess they are easier named than mustered.”
“Go, go; this is idle talk; a mere whim of your old brain,” said Wilder, coldly; “and the less said the soonest mended. All this time we are forgetting our proper business. I am half inclined to think, mister Robert, you are holding out false lights, in order to get rid of the duty for which you are already half paid.”
There was a look of satisfaction in the countenance of the old tar, while Wilder was speaking, that might have struck his companion, had not the young man risen, while speaking, to pace the narrow room, with a thoughtful and hurried step.
“Well, well,” the former rejoined, endeavouring to disguise his evident contentment, in his customary selfish, but shrewd expression, “I am an old dreamer, and often have I thought myself swimming in the sea when I have been safe moored on dry land! I believe there must soon be a reckoning with the devil, in order that each may take his share of my poor carcass, and I be left the Captain of my own ship. Now for your Honour’s orders.”
Wilder returned to his seat, and disposed himself to give the necessary instructions to his confederate, in order that he might counteract all he had already said in favour of the outward-bound vessel.
——“The man is,
notwithstanding, sufficient;—three thousand,
ducats;—I think I may take his bond.”—Merchant of Venice.