“Sure, I telled ye she bes well,” replied the befuddled fisherman. “Well, d’ye say? Aye, she bes plump as a pa’tridge, a-livin’ on the fat o’ the land—the fat o’ all the wracks that comes up from the sea. An’ a beauty she bes, altogether. Saints presarve ye, sir, she bes the beautifulest female woman ever come ashore on that coast. She was desperate bad wid the fever, was Nora, when first the skipper took her home wid him; but now she bes plump as a young swile, sir, an’ too beautiful entirely for the likes o’ meself to look at.”
Mr. Darling’s face went white again.
“The skipper?” he asked, huskily. “For God’s sake, man, what are you saying? Why does she stay in Chance Along? What has she to do with that damned big black beast you call the skipper?”
“Now you bes a-gettin’ excited, sir, all along o’ that Nora girl,” protested Dick Lynch. “She bes a-livin’ wid Mother Nolan, in the skipper’s own house. The skipper bes figgerin’ on coaxin’ of her ’round to marry wid him; but I hears, sir, as how she telled him as how she’d marry no poor, ignorant, dacent fisherman at all, but a king wid a golden crown on his head. Aye, sir, that bes the trut’. The likes o’ she be well able to keep Black Denny Nolan in his place.”
“Thank God!” exclaimed Mr. Darling, sitting back in his chair again.
Dick Lynch eyed him with drunken cunning.
“Ye knows that grand young woman, sir?” he queried.
“Yes,” said Mr. Darling. “She crossed to London aboard my ship three years ago. We—we were good friends.”
“Aye, ye would be,” returned Dick with a drunken leer. And then, lurching forward, “Ye’ll be makin’ a trip ’round to Chance Along I bes t’inkin’, sir, to put the comather on to this Dennis Nolan? Sure, an’ why not? The dirty squid bes as full o’ gold an’ riches as any marchant. I’ll be goin’ along wid ye, sir—if ye gives me two pistols an’ takes two yerself. I’ll show ye where the harbor bes, an’ his own house wid Nora in it—an’ all. If we gets to the harbor quiet, about the middle o’ the night, we’ll shoot the skipper in his bed, the black divil, afore he kin so much as lay a curse on to us. I bes wid ye, sir. Ye kin trust Dick Lynch as ye would yer own mother.”
Mr. Darling said that he had a great deal of business to attend to in the city, but that he would meet Dick Lynch in this very room, at nine o’clock in the morning, five days later. He did not mean a word of it, for he would not have trusted that worthy any farther than he could have thrown him over his shoulder. But he arranged the meeting and promised to supply plenty of pistols for the expedition. Then he said good night and went out of the warm room and fumes of rum to the mud and driving sleet of the night, leaving Dick Lynch smiling to himself at thought of what his enemy, the skipper, would say when he woke up in bed some fine morning and found himself dead.