Sambo and his master exchanged a few words in low whispers, and then gliding down the path that led from the stout merchant’s house to the south side of the village, they entered the woods that lined the shore, like two men bent on a purpose which might or might not be of the blackest possible kind.
“I don’t half like this sort of work, Sambo,” observed Thorwald, speaking and treading with less caution as they left the settlement behind them. “Ambushments, surprises, and night forages, especially when they include Goat’s Passes, don’t suit me at all. I have a strong antipathy to everything in the way of warfare, save a fair field and no favor, under the satisfactory light of the sun.”
“Ho!” said Sambo, quietly; as much as to say, “I hear and appreciate, but having no observation to make in reply, I wait for more from your honored lips.”
“Now, you see,” pursued Thorwald, “if I were to follow my own tastes, which, it seems to me, I am destined not to be allowed to do any more in the affairs of this world, if I may judge by the events of the past month,—if I were to follow my own tastes, I say, I would go boldly to the prison where this pestiferous pirate captain lies, put double irons on him, and place a strong guard round the building. In this case I would be ready to defend it against any odds, and would have the satisfaction of standing up for the rights of the settlement like a man, and of hurling defiance at the entire British navy, at least such portions of it as happens to be on the island at this time, if they were to attempt a rescue—as this Bumpus hints they are likely to do. Yet it seems to me strange and unaccountable that they should thus interest themselves in a vile pirate. I verily believe that I have been deceived; but it is too late now to alter my plans, or to hesitate. Truly, it seemeth to me that I might style myself an ass, without impropriety.”
“Ho!” remarked Sambo; and the grin with which the remark was accompanied seemed to imply that he not only appreciated his master’s sentiment, but agreed with it entirely.
“You’ve got eleven men, I trust. Sambo?”
“All good and true, I hope—men who can be trusted both in regard to their fighting qualities and their ability to hold their tongues.”
“Dumb as owls, ebery von,” returned Sambo.
“Good! You see, my man, I must not permit that fellow to escape; at the same time I do not wish to blazon abroad, that it is my friend Henry Stuart who is helping him. Neither do I wish to run the risk of killing my friends in a scrimmage, if they are so foolish as to resist me; therefore I am particular about the men you have told off for this duty. Where did you say they are to meet us?”
“Close by de point, mass’r.”
A few minutes’ walk brought them to the point, where the men were awaiting them. As far as Ole could judge, by the dim light of a few stars that struggled through the cloudy sky, they were eleven as stout fellows as any warrior could desire to have at his back in a hand-to-hand conflict. They were all natives, clothed much in the same manner as Sambo, and armed with heavy clubs; for, as we have seen, Thorwald was resolved that this should be a bloodless victory.