“What are you laughing at?” he added, suddenly, on observing that a bright smile had overspread Alice’s face.
“At the idea of you being taken for a pirate,” said the child.
“Hee! hee! ho! ho!” remarked Poopy.
“Silence, you lump of black putty!” thundered the aspiring youth.
“Come, don’t be cross to my maid,” said Alice, quickly.
Corrie laughed, and was about to continue his discourse on the events and rumors of the day, when Mr. Mason’s voice was heard at the other end of the house.
“That’s me,” cried the boy, promptly springing up and rushing out of the room.
“Here, my boy; I thought I heard your voice. I want you to go a message for me. Run down, like a good lad, to Ole Thorwald, and tell him to come up here as soon as he conveniently can. There are matters to consult about which will not brook delay.”
“Ay, ay, sir,” answered Corrie, sailor fashion, as he touched his forelock and bounded from the room.
“Off on pressing business,” cried the sanguine youth, as he dashed through the kitchen, frightening Alice, and throwing Toozle into convulsions of delight,—“horribly important business, that ’won’t brook delay;’ but what brook means is more than I can guess.”
Before the sentence was finished, Corrie was far down the hill, leaping over every obstacle like a deer. On passing through a small field he observed a native bending down, as if picking weeds, with his back towards him. Going softly up behind, he hit the semi-naked savage a sounding slap, and exclaimed, as he passed on, “Hallo! Jackolu; important business, my boy—hurrah!”
The native to whom this rough salutation was given was a tall, stalwart young fellow, who had for some years been one of the best-behaved and most active members of Frederick Mason’s dark-skinned congregation. He stood erect for some time, with a broad grin on his swarthy face and a twinkle in his eye, as he gazed after the young hopeful, muttering to himself, “Ho! yes—bery wicked boy dat, bery; but hims capital chap, for all dat.”
A few minutes later, Master Corrie burst in upon the sturdy middle-aged merchant, named Ole Thorwald, a Norwegian, who had resided much in England, and spoke the English language well, and who prided himself on being entitled to claim descent from the old Norwegian sea-kings. This man was uncle and protector to Corrie.
“Ho! Uncle Ole; here’s a business. Sich a to-do—wounds, blood, and murder! or at least an attempt at it;—the whole settlement in arms, and the parson sends for you to take command!”
“What means the boy!” exclaimed Ole Thorwald, who, in virtue of his having once been a private in a regiment of militia, had been appointed to the chief command of the military department of the settlement. This consisted of about thirty white men, armed with fourteen fowling-pieces, twenty daggers, fifteen swords, and eight cavalry pistols; and about two hundred native Christians, who, when the assaults of their unconverted brethren were made, armed themselves—as they were wont to do in days gone by—with formidable clubs, stone hatchets, and spears. “What means the boy!” exclaimed Ole, laying down a book which he had been reading, and thrusting his spectacles up on his broad bald forehead.