The Ne'er-Do-Well eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 342 pages of information about The Ne'er-Do-Well.
street fight; this was deadly; he must beat off these fellows or be killed.  But, as fast as he cleared them away, others appeared as if by magic, until a dozen or more were swarming upon him like hungry ants.  They clung to his arms, his legs, his clothing, with a desperate courage wholly admirable in itself, while strokes were aimed at him from every quarter.  Time and again they dragged him off his feet, only to have him shake them loose.  But though most of their blows went wild or found a mark among their own numbers, he was felled at last, and a moment later, with head reeling and wits flickering, he was dragged to his knees by handcuffs like those on Allan’s wrists.  The pain as the chains bit into his flesh brought him to his feet despite the blows and kicks that were rained upon him, crying hoarsely: 

“Let me go, damn you!  Let me go!”

But a wrench at the gyves took the fight out of him, for he felt that the bones in his wrists must surely be crushed.  One side of his head was strangely big and numb; a warm stream trickled down his cheek; but he had no time to think of his condition, for his assailants fell upon him with fresh fury, and he reeled about, striving to shield himself.  Every movement, however, was construed as resistance, and his punishment continued, until at last he must have fainted from pain or had his wits scattered by a blow on the head; for when he recovered consciousness he found himself in a filthy, ill-lighted room, flung upon a wooden platform that ran along the wall, evidently serving as a bed.  Near him Allan was huddled, his black face distorted with pain and ashen with apprehension.

VIII

EL COMANDANTE TAKES A HAND

“Where are we?” queried Anthony, as he took in the surroundings.

“This is the prison, sar.”

“Gee!  I’m sick.”  Kirk lay back upon the platform and closed his eyes.  “Did they hurt you much?”

“Oh yes.  Very considerably.”

“Sorry I got you into it, Allan, I never thought they’d be so cranky.”  Again he groaned.  “I want a drink.”

“Let me get it.  Those Spiggoties will not give it to you.”

Allan went to the door and called to the guard.  An instant later he returned with a tin cup.

“I guess they knocked me out,” Kirk said, dazedly.  “I never was hit like that before—­and jailed!  Say!  We must get out of her.  Call the chief or the man in charge, will you?  I can’t speak the language.”

“Please, sar, if you h’anger them they will beat us again.”

“Beat!  Not here?”

“Oh yes.  They might kill us.”

“They wouldn’t do that!”

“A white man they killed lahst h’autumn, and several of my people have passed away in this prison.  Nobody can ’ear nothing.  Nobody knows what ’appens ’ere.”

“Oh, well, they wouldn’t dare touch us—­I’m an American citizen.  I’ll notify the consul.”

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The Ne'er-Do-Well from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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