Nautilus eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 113 pages of information about Nautilus.

“What was he saying?” asked John, vaguely feeling that something was wrong.

“Nothin’, nothin’ at all,” Rento said, quietly.  “He was givin’ me some talk, that was all.  It’s all he has to give, seemin’ly; kind o’ fool person he is, Franci; don’t ye take no heed what he says.  There, go ‘long, youngster! the Skipper’s lookin’ for ye.”

At this moment the Skipper’s head appeared over the rail, and John became quite sure that he was awake.  Dreams were so curious, sometimes, one never knew what would happen in them; and this whole matter of piracy had been so strange and unlooked for that all the while he had been hidden under the sail (where he had retreated by the Skipper’s orders as soon as Mr. Bill Hen Pike appeared in the offing), he had been trying to persuade himself that he was asleep, and that the monkeys were dream-monkeys, very lively ones, and that by-and-by he would wake up once more and find himself in bed at Mr. Scraper’s.

But now there could be no more doubt!  He could not dream Franci, nor the queer things he said; he could not dream Rento, with his kind, ugly face and drawling speech; least of all could he dream the Skipper, who was now looking at him with an amused smile.

Certainly, he did not look in the least like a pirate!  In the first place, Malay pirates did not wear anything, except a kind of short petticoat, and something that flew in the air behind them as they ran.  For in the geography-book pictures a Malay was always running amuck, with a creese in his hand, and an expression of frantic rage on his countenance.  How could this be a Malay?  Perhaps he might have been in fun!  But John was not much used to fun, and it seemed hardly likely that so grave a person as the Skipper would play at pirate.  On the whole, the little boy was sadly puzzled; and the Skipper’s first words did not tend to allay his anxiety.

“Ha! my prisoner!” he said.  “That you come here, sir, and sit down by me on the rail.  The evening falls, and we will sit here and observe the fairness of the night.  Remark that I put no chains on you, Colorado, as in the Malay seas we put them!  You can swim, yes?”

John nodded.  “I swam across the river last week,” said he.  “I was going to—­” He meant to say, “to rescue some people from pirates,” but now this did not seem polite; so he stopped short, but the Skipper took no notice.

“You swim?  That is good!” he said.  “But Sir Scraper, he cannot swim, I think, my son, so for you there is no rescue, since Rento has pulled in the plank.  Are you content, then, to be the captive of the ‘Nautilus?’”

John looked up, still sorely puzzled; perhaps he was rather dull, this little boy John, about some things, though he was good at his books.  At any rate, there could be no possible doubt of the kindness in the Skipper’s face; perhaps he was in fun, after all; and, anyhow, where had he ever been so happy as here since the good mother died?  So he answered with right good-will,—­

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Nautilus from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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