The Laird's Luck and Other Fireside Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about The Laird's Luck and Other Fireside Tales.

Jacques le Bec, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, spoke a word or two rapidly in French.

Brother Bartolome turned to Evans.  “Yes, I go with you.  For you, my child!”—­He felt for his crucifix and held it over the Carmelite, who had dropped on her knees before him.  At the same time, with his left hand, he pointed towards the altar.  “For these, the mockery of the Crucified One which themselves have prepared!”

I saw Evans pull out his knife and leap.  I saw him like a man shot, drop his arm and spin right-about as two screams rang out from the gallery over his head.  It must have been I who screamed:  and to me, now, that is the inexplicable part of it.  I cannot remember uttering the screams:  yet I can see Evans as he turned at the sound of them.

Yet it was I who screamed, and who ran for the door and, still screaming, dashed out upon the staircase.  Up the stairs I ran:  along the corridor:  and up a second staircase.

The sunshine broke around me.  I was on the leads of the roof, and Panama lay spread at my feet like a trodden garden.  I listened:  no footsteps were following.  Far away from the westward came the notes of a bugle—­faint, yet clear.  In the northern suburbs the dogs were baying.  I listened again.  I crept to the parapet of the roof and saw the stained eastern window of the chapel a few yards below me, saw its painted saints and martyrs, outlined in lead, dull against the noonday glow.  And from within came no sound at all.


The Story is Told by Dom Bartholomew Perestrello, Governor of the Island of Porto Santo.

It was on the fifteenth day of August, 1428, and about six o’clock in the morning, that while taking the air on the seaward side of my house at Porto Santo, as my custom was after breaking fast, I caught sight of a pinnace about two leagues distant, and making for the island.

I dare say it is commonly known how I came to the governance of Porto Santo, to hold it and pass it on to my son Bartholomew; how I sailed to it in the year 1420 in company with the two honourable captains John Gonsalvez Zarco and Tristram Vaz; and what the compact was which we made between us, whereby on reaching Porto Santo these two left me behind and passed on to discover the greater island of Madeira.  And many can tell with greater or less certainty of our old pilot, the Spaniard Morales, and how he learned of such an island in his captivity on the Barbary coast.  Of all this you shall hear, and perhaps more accurately, when I come to my meeting with the Englishman.  But I shall tell first of the island itself, and what were my hopes of it on the morning when I sighted his pinnace.

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The Laird's Luck and Other Fireside Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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