About mid-day a canoe, the first which they had seen, came staggering toward them under a huge three- cornered sail. As it came near, they could see two Indians on board.

“Metal floats in these seas, you see,” quoth Cary. “There’s a fresh marvel, for you, Frank.”

“Expound,” quoth Frank, who was really ready to swallow any fresh marvel, so many had he seen already.

“Why, how else would those two bronze statues dare to go to sea in such a cockleshell, eh? Have I given you the dor now, master courtier!”

“I am long past dors, Will. But what noble creatures they are! and how fearlessly they are coming alongside! Can they know that we are English, and the avengers of the Indians?”

“I suspect they just take us for Spaniards, and want to sell their cocoa-nuts. See, the canoe is laden with vegetables.”

“Hail them, Yeo!” said Amyas. “You talk the best Spanish, and I want speech of one of them.”

Yeo did so; the canoe, without more ado, ran alongside, and lowered her felucca sail, while a splendid Indian scrambled on board like a cat.

He was full six feet high, and as bold and graceful of bearing as Frank or Amyas’s self. He looked round for the first moment smilingly, showing his white teeth; but the next, his countenance changed; and springing to the side, he shouted to his comrade in Spanish—

“Treachery! No Spaniard,” and would have leaped overboard, but a dozen strong fellows caught him ere he could do so.

It required some trouble to master him, so strong was he, and so slippery his naked limbs; Amyas, meanwhile, alternately entreated the men not to hurt the Indian, and the Indian to be quiet, and no harm should happen to him; and so, after five minutes’ confusion, the stranger gave in sulkily.

“Don’t bind him. Let him loose, and make a ring round him. Now, my man, there’s a dollar for you.”

The Indian’s eyes glistened, and he took the coin.

“All I want of you is, first, to tell me what ships are in La Guayra, and next, to go thither on board of me, and show me which is the governor’s house, and which the custom-house.”

The Indian laid the coin down on the deck, and crossing himself, looked Amyas in the face.

“No, señor! I am a freeman and a cavalier, a Christian Guayqueria, whose forefathers, first of all the Indians, swore fealty to the King of Spain, and whom he calls to this day in all his proclamations his most faithful, loyal, and noble Guayquerias. God forbid, therefore, that I should tell aught to his enemies, who are my enemies likewise.”

A growl arose from those of the men who understood him; and more than one hinted that a cord twined round the head, or a match put between the fingers, would speedily extract the required information.

“God forbid!” said Amyas; “a brave and loyal man he is, and as such will I treat him. Tell me, my brave fellow, how do you know us to be his Catholic majesty’s enemies?”

The Indian, with a shrewd smile, pointed to half-a-dozen different objects, saying to each, “Not Spanish.”

“Well, and what of that?”

“None but Spaniards and free Guayquerias have a right to sail these seas.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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