“Yes, all; and what is it, after all? What price is too high for blood which calls for retribution? Besides, Cornelius, it must be all yours again when I die; but I shall not die yet—no, no.”
“Well, mother,” replied Vanslyperken, “if it must be so, it shall all be yours—not that I can see what difference it makes, whether it is called yours or mine.”
“Then why not give it freely? Why do you hesitate to give to your poor old mother what may be again yours before the leaf again falls? Ask yourself why, Cornelius, and then you have my answer. The gold is here in my charge, but it is not my gold—it is yours. You little think how often I’ve laid in bed and longed that it was all mine. Then I would count it—count it again and again—watch over it, not as I do now as a mere deposit in my charge, but as a mother would watch and smile upon her first-born child. There is a talisman in that word mine, that not approaching death can wean from life. It is our natures, child—say, then, is all that gold mine?”
Vanslyperken paused; he also felt the magic of the word; and although it was but a nominal and temporary divestment of the property, even that gave him a severe struggle; but his avarice was overcome by his feelings of revenge, and he answered solemnly, “As I hope for revenge, mother, all that gold is yours, provided that you do the deed.”
Here the old hag burst into a sort of shrieking laugh. “Send him here, child;” and the almost unearthly cachinnation was continued—“send him here, child—I can’t go to seek him—and it is done—only bring him here.”
So soon as this compact had been completed, Vanslyperken and his mother had a consultation; and it was agreed, that it would be advisable not to attempt the deed until the day before the cutter sailed, as it would remove all suspicion, and be supposed that the boy had deserted. This arrangement having been made, Vanslyperken made rather a hasty retreat. The fact was, that he was anxious to recover the fragment of Snarleyyow, which his mother had so contemptuously thrown out of the casement.
In which Mr Vanslyperken is taken for a witch.
Mr Vanslyperken hastened into the street, and walked towards the heap of cabbage-leaves, in which he observed the object of his wishes to have fallen; but there was some one there before him, an old sow, very busy groping among the refuse. Although Vanslyperken came on shore without even a stick in his hand, he had no fear of a pig, and walked up boldly to drive her away, fully convinced that, although she might like cabbage, not being exactly carnivorous, he should find the tail in status quo. But it appeared that the sow not only would not stand being interfered with, but, moreover, was carnivorously inclined; for she was at that very moment routing the tail about