“Exactly what the boy says,” replied Master Corrie.
“Then add something more to it, pray.”
Thorwald said this in a mild tone; but he suddenly seized the handle of an old pewter mug which the lad knew, from experience, would certainly reach his head before he could gain the door if he did not behave; so he became polite, and condescended to explain his errand more fully.
“So, so,” observed the descendant of the sea-kings, as he rose and slowly buckled on a huge old cavalry saber; “there is double mischief brewing this time. Well, we shall see—we shall see. Go, Corrie, my boy, and rouse up Terrence and Hugh, and—”
“The whole army, in short,” cried the boy, hastily; “you’re so awfully slow, uncle, you should have been born in the last century I think.”
Further remark was cut short by the sudden discharge of the pewter mug, which, however, fell harmlessly on the panel of the closing door as the impertinent Corrie sped forth to call the settlement to arms.
SUSPICIONS ALLAYED AND REAWAKENED.
Gascoyne, followed by his man Jo Bumpus, sped over the rugged mountains, and descended the slopes on the opposite side of the island soon after nightfall, and long before Captain Montague, in his large and well-manned boat, could pull half way round in the direction of the sequestered bay where the Foam lay quietly at anchor.
There was not a breath of wind to ruffle the surface of the glassy sea, as the captain of the sandal-wood trader reached the shore and uttered a low cry like the hoot of an owl. The cry was instantly replied to, and in a few minutes a boat crept noiselessly towards the shore, seeming, in the uncertain light, more like a shadow than a reality. It was rowed by a single man. When within a few yards of the shore, the oars ceased to move, and the deep stillness of the night was scarcely broken by the low voice of surly Dick, demanding, “Who goes there?”
“All right, pull in,” replied Gascoyne, whose deep bass voice sounded sepulchral in the almost unearthly stillness. It was one of those dark, oppressively quiet nights which make one feel a powerful sensation of loneliness, and a peculiar disinclination, by word or act, to disturb the prevailing quiescence of nature,—such a night as suggests the idea of a coming storm to those who are at sea, or of impending evil to those on land.
“Is the mate aboard?” inquired Gascoyne.
“He is, sir.”
“Are any of the hands on shore?”
“More than half of ’em, sir.”
Nothing more was said; and in a few minutes Gascoyne was slowly pacing the quarter-deck of his little vessel in earnest consultation with his first mate. There seemed to be some difference of opinion between the captain and his officer; for their words, which, at first were low, at length became audible.