Chapter 8


On the fourth evening after the removal of our two midshipmen to the palazzo of Don Rebiera, as they were sitting in company with Agnes and Don Philip in their own room, a friar made his appearance at the door. They all started, for by his height they imagined him to be the friar Thomaso, but no one addressed him. The friar shut the door without saying a word, and then lifting up his cowl, which had been drawn over it, discovered the black face of Mesty. Agnes screamed, and all sprang from their seats at this unusual and unexpected apparition. Mesty grinned, and there was that in his countenance which said that he had much to communicate.

“Where is the friar, Mesty?” inquired Easy.

“Stop a little, Massa— suppose we lock door first, and den I tell all.”

Taking this precaution, Mesty threw off the friar’s gown, and appeared in his own dress, with the bag of dollars slung round his body.

“Now, Massa Easy, I hab a long tory to tell— so I tink I better begin at the beginning.”

“It is the most approved method,” replied Jack; “but stop when I hold up my finger, that we may translate what you say to the lady and Don Philip.”

“Dat all right, sar. Friar and I get on two mule as soon as it quite dark. He make me carry all tousand dollars— and we ride out of town. We go up mountain and mountain, but the moon get up shine and we go on cheek by jowl— he nebber say one word, and I nebber say one word, ’cause I no speak his lingo, and he no understand my English. About two o’clock in de morning, we stop at a house and stay dere till eight o’clock, and den we go on again all next day, up all mountain, only stop once, eat a bit bread and drink lilly wine. Second night come on, and den we stop again, and people bow very low to him, and woman bring in rabbit for make supper. I go in the kitchen, woman make stew smell very nice, so I nod my head, and I say very good, and she make a face, and throw on table black loaf of bread and garlic, and make sign dat for my supper; good enough for black fellow, and dat rabbit stew for friar. Den I say to myself, stop a little; suppose friar hab all de rabbit, I tink I give him a lilly powder.”

“The powder, Mesty?” exclaimed Jack.

“What does he say?” inquired Don Philip.

Gascoigne translated all that Mesty had communicated. The interest of the narrative now became exciting. Mesty continued:—

“Well, Massa Easy, den woman she go for dish to put stew in, and I take de powder and drop it in de pot, and den I sit down again and eat black bread, she say good enough for black man. She tir up de stew once more, and den she pour it out into dish, and take it to friar. He lick um chops, by all de powers, and he like um so well he pick all de bones, and wipe up gravy with him bread. You tink it very nice, Massa Friar, tink I; but stop a little. After he drink a whole bottle of wine, he tell em bring mules to de door, and he put him hands on de woman head, and dat de way he pay for him supper.

“The moon shone bright, and we go up all mountain, always go up, and ’bout two hour, he got off him mule and he put him hand so, and set down on de rock. He twist, and he turn, and he groan, for half an hour, and den he look at me, as much as to say, you black villain, you do this? for he not able to speak, and den I pull out de paper of de powder, and I show him, and make him sign he swallow it: he look again, and I laugh at him— and he die.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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