“Without doubt, sar.”
“She’s a corker, isn’t she?”
“I do not know as to that,” Allan demurred. “What may be a carker?”
“I mean she’s beautiful.”
“Oh, h’indeed so! And her h’eyes—like h’ink spots, as you say.”
“Was she wearing a denim dress when you saw her?”
“Yes, yes,” eagerly agreed the negro. “Oh, there is no mistake. It was a red dress.”
“No, it wasn’t. It was blue.”
“H’exactly, sar—a sort of reddish blue.”
“And she was—petite?”
“Rather more dark, I should say.”
“I mean she was small.”
“Oh, it is the same female. It is h’exciting, is it not?”
Kirk acknowledged that it was exciting, for, now that he had a full day in which to besiege No. 89, he felt certain of gaining a word at least with his inamorata. He was in good time, it seemed, for hardly had he taken his customary station before the Cathedral bells awoke the slumberous echoes of the city.
“Praise God, she will be coming soon!” Allan exclaimed. “I shall h’expire from fright. Look! There! There!”
Down the wide stairs leading from the living-rooms of Senor Torres came two women, and the negro danced in excitement. As they emerged upon the sidewalk the younger one flashed a glance at the men opposite, and Kirk saw that she was a mulatto—evidently a housemaid. His eager eyes flew back to the entrance. Allan hissed at him:
“Yonder goes! Quick, or you will be losing she.”
“There! The young female in w’ite. It is h’indeed the Senorita Torres.”
“That!” Anthony stared at the girl amazedly as she cast him a second and more coquettish flash of her black eyes. “Why, damn it, that—why, she’s a—nigger!”
“No, no!” shrilly expostulated the Jamaican. “It is she. H’alas! They have turned the corner.”
Kirk wheeled upon his detective in overwhelming disgust. “You idiot!” he breathed. “That girl is a ‘dinge.’ So, she’s the one I’ve been—Oh, it’s unspeakable! Let’s get away from here.”
“You h’informed me in particular that she is dark,” protested Allan.
“Come on!” Kirk dragged his companion away as fast as he could. His thoughts were too deep for tears. As soon as his emotion permitted coherent speech, he launched into a tirade so eloquent and picturesque that Allan was reduced to a state of wondering awe. Pausing at length in his harangue, he turned smouldering eyes upon the black boy.
“I ought to punch you right in the nose,” he said, with mournful calmness. “Let me feel your head.” Allan obediently doffed his cap, and Kirk rapped the woolly cranium with his knuckle. “Do you feel that? Is there any sensation?”
“Yes, sar! Shortly I shall suffer a swelling.” Allan stroked the spot tenderly.
“It’s all imagination; there’s no feeling to solid bone. You’ve got an ivory ‘nut,’ my friend, just like a cane.”