There was a long silence, and then the Skipper shut his knife with a click, and rose from the table, holding out his hand.
“You are a good man, Senor Pike,” he said. “I think no worse of you, and am glad to make the acquaintance. With regard to this child, I shall remind you,”—here he shook his head with a backward gesture in which there was something at once proud and humble.—“I shall remind you that there are powers very high, more high than of prophets; and that God will do the works as seems Him good. I may have the honour to wait upon your distinguished lady at a future day; I think to be some days in this place, for purposes of selling my cargo, as well to take in wood and water. Never before in these parts, it is for me of interest to observe the place and people. You will take a lemonade that Franci brings? Hola, Franci! This is Senor Pike, Franci, at all times to be admitted to the schooner.”
“Pleased to meet you!” said Mr. Bill Hen.
“Servicio de Usted!” said Franci, who did not understand English except when he thought the speaker was likely to interest him; and they sat down to the lemonade.
“Franci!” the Skipper called up the companion-way, when his visitor had taken his departure.
“Senor!” said Franci, putting his beautiful head over the rail.
“Bring me here the child, hear thou!”
“Si, Senor,” said Franci. He went forward, and pulling aside a pile of canvas that lay carelessly heaped together in a corner of the deck, disclosed the boy John, curled up in a ball, with one monkey in his arms, and the other sitting on his shoulder.
“Here, you, Sir Schoolmaster, the Patron ask for you. I give you my hand to hellup you up! I like to put a knife in you!” he added in Spanish, with an adorable smile.
“You’d get one into yourself before you had time!” said Rento, getting up from the spot where his length had been coiled, and speaking with a slow drawl that lent emphasis to the words. “You ever lay a hand on that boy, and it’s the last you lay on anybody,—understand that?”
“Oh, yays!” said Franci, gently, as he pulled John out of the tangle of canvas and ropes. “But I am ’most killed all my life with looking at your ugly face, you old she monkey! A little more killing make not much difference to me.”
Rento advanced toward him with uplifted hand, and the agile Spaniard slipped round the mast and disappeared.