“It is rather strange,” said Charles Holland, “that just as we were speculating upon the probability of his doing something of this sort, he should suddenly do it, and in this singular manner too.”
“Oh,” said the old admiral, “I told you I saw his eye, that was enough for me. I knew he would do something, as well as I know a mainmast from a chain cable. He can’t help it; it’s in the nature of the beast, and that’s all you can say about it.”
THE MISADVENTURE OF THE DOCTOR WITH THE PICTURE.
The situation of Dr. Chillingworth and Jack Pringle was not of that character that permitted much conversation or even congratulation. They were victors it was true, and yet they had but little to boast of besides the victory.
Victory is a great thing; it is like a gilded coat, it bewilders and dazzles. Nobody can say much when you are victorious. What a sound! and yet how much misery is there not hidden beneath it.
This victory of the worthy doctor and his aid amounted to this, they were as they were before, without being any better, but much the worse, seeing they were so much buffetted that they could hardly speak, but sat for some moments opposite to each other, gasping for breath, and staring each other in the face without speaking.
The moonlight came in through the window and fell upon the floor, and there were no sounds that came to disturb the stillness of the scene, nor any object that moved to cast a shadow upon the floor. All was still and motionless, save the two victors, who were much distressed and bruised.
“Well!” said Jack Pringle, with a hearty execration, as he wiped his face with the back of his hand; “saving your presence, doctor, we are masters of the field, doctor; but it’s plaguey like capturing an empty bandbox after a hard fight.”
“But we have got the picture, Jack—we have got the picture, you see, and that is something. I am sure we saved that.”
“Well, that may be; and a pretty d——d looking picture it is after all. Why, it’s enough to frighten a lady into the sulks. I think it would be a very good thing if it were burned.”
“Well,” said the doctor, “I would sooner see it burned than in the hands of that—”
“What?” exclaimed Jack.
“I don’t know,” said Mr. Chillingworth; “but thief I should say, for it was somewhat thief-like to break into another man’s house and carry off the furniture.”
“A pirate—a regular land shark.”
“Something that is not the same as an honest man, Jack; but, at all events, we have beaten him back this time.”
“Yes,” said Jack, “the ship’s cleared; no company is better than bad company, doctor.”
“So it is, and yet it don’t seem clear in terms. But, Jack, it you hadn’t come in time, I should have been but scurvily treated. He was too powerful for me; I was as nigh being killed as ever I have been; but you were just in time to save me.”