“That won’t do. Wish you good-evening, sir. Many thanks for the scheedam—capital stuff!” and the man rose from his chair.
But Mr Vanslyperken had no intention to let him go; his avarice induced him at first to try if the man would be satisfied with his promise to reward him—a promise which would certainly never have been adhered to.
“Stop! my dear sir, do not be in such a hurry. Take another glass.”
“With pleasure,” replied the man, re-seating himself, and drinking off the scheedam. “That’s really prime; I like it better every time I taste it. Now, then, shall we go to business again? I’ll be plain with you. Half is my conditions, or I don’t inform.”
“Half!” exclaimed Vanslyperken; “half of ten thousand pounds? What, five thousands pounds?”
“Exactly so; half of ten is five, as you say.”
“What, give you five thousand pounds?”
“I rather think it is I who offer you five thousand, for the devil a penny will you get without me. And that I will have, and this bond you must sign to that effect, or I’m off. You’re not the only vessel in the harbour.”
Vanslyperken tried for some time to reduce the terms, but the man was positive. Vanslyperken then tried if he could not make the man intoxicated, and thus obtain better terms; but fifteen glasses of his prime scheedam had no effect further than extorting unqualified praise as it was poured down, and at last Mr Vanslyperken unwillingly consented to the terms, and the bond was signed.
“We must weigh at the ebb,” said the man, as he put the bond in his pocket. “I shall stay on board; we have a moonlight night, and if we had not, I could find my way out in a yellow fog. Please to get your boats all ready, manned and armed, for there may be a sharp tussle.”
“But when do they run, and where?” demanded Vanslyperken.
“To-morrow night at the back of the Isle. Let me see,” continued the man, taking out his watch; “mercy on me! how time has flown—that’s the scheedam. In a couple of hours we must weigh. I’ll go up and see if the wind holds in the same quarter. If you please, lieutenant, we’ll just drink success to the expedition. Well, that’s prime stuff, I do declare.”
In which the crew of the Yungfrau lose a good prize, and Snarleyyow loses his character.
The next morning the Yungfrau was clear of St Helens, and sounding the eastern part of the Isle of Wight, after which she made sail into the offing, that she might not be suspected by those on shore waiting to receive the cargo. The weather was fine, and the water smooth, and as soon as she was well out, the cutter was hove-to. In the hurry of weighing, Mr Vanslyperken had not thought, or had not known perhaps, that the wife of Jemmy Ducks was still on board, and as he was turning up and down on the quarter-deck, he perceived her on the forecastle, laughing and talking with the men.