“Not so square as you seem to think,” said Henry Stuart, who at that moment stepped from behind the stem of the tree, which had prevented the party from observing his approach.
“Why not?” said Bumpus, making room for the young man to sit beside Alice on the grass.
“Because,” said Henry, “Gascoyne won’t agree to escape.”
“Not agree for to escape!”
“No. If the prison doors were opened at this moment, he would not walk out.”
Bumpus became very grave, and shook his head. “Are ye sartin sure o’ this?” said he.
“Quite sure,” replied Henry, who now detailed part of his recent conversation with the pirate captain.
“Then it’s all up with him!” said Bumpus; “and the pirate will meet his doom, as I once heard a feller say in a play—though I little thought to see it acted in reality.”
“So he will,” added Dick Price.
Corrie’s countenance fell, and Alice grew pale, Even Poopy and Toozle looked a little depressed.
“No; it is not all up with him,” cried Henry Stuart, energetically. “I have a plan in my head which I think will succeed, but I must have assistance. It won’t do, however, to discuss this before our young friends. I must beg of Alice and Poopy to leave us. I do not mean to say I could not trust you, Alice, but the plan must be made known only to those who have to act in this matter. Rest assured, dear child, that I shall do my best to make it successful.”
Alice sprang up at once. “My father told me to follow him some time ago,” said she. “I have been too long of doing so already. I do hope you will succeed.”
So saying, and with a cheerful “Good-by!” the little girl ran down the mountain-side, closely followed by Toozle and Poopy.
As soon as she was gone, Henry turned to his companions and unfolded to them his plan,—the details and carrying out of which, however, we must reserve for another chapter.
BUMPUS IS PERPLEXED—MYSTERIOUS COMMUNINGS, AND A CURIOUS LEAVE-TAKING.
“It’s a puzzler,” said Jo Bumpus to himself,—for Jo was much in the habit of conversing with himself; and a very good habit it is, one that is often attended with much profit to the individual, when the conversation is held upon right topics and in a proper spirit,—“it’s a puzzler, it is; that’s a fact.”
Having relieved his mind of this observation, the seaman proceeded to cut down some tobacco, and looked remarkably grave and solemn as if “it” were not only a puzzler, but an alarmingly serious puzzler.
“Yes, it’s the biggest puzzler as ever I comed across,” said he, filling his pipe; for John, when not roused, got on both mentally and physically by slow stages.
“Niver know’d its equal,” he continued, beginning to smoke, which operation, as the pipe did not “draw” well at first, prevented him from saying anything more.