The region thus denominated exhibited the most unaccountable symptoms. A low, rumbling sound was heard; and a sort of undulation was discernible beneath the thin cotton frock.
Colic, sir? suggested a bystander.
Colic be hanged! shouted the physician; who ever heard of anybody in a trance of the colic?
During this, the patient lay upon his back, stark and straight, giving no signs of life except those above mentioned.
Ill bleed him! cried Johnson at lastrun for a calabash, one of you!
Life ho! here sung out Navy Bob, as if he had just spied a sail.
What under the suns the matter with him! cried the physician, starting at the appearance of the mouth, which had jerked to one side, and there remained fixed.
Praps its St. Wituss hornpipe, suggested Bob.
Hold the calabash!and the lancet was out in a moment.
But before the deed could be done, the face became natural;a sigh was heaved;the eyelids quivered, opened, closed; and Long Ghost, twitching all over, rolled on his side, and breathed audibly. By degrees, he became sufficiently recovered to speak.
After trying to get something coherent out of him, Johnson withdrew; evidently disappointed in the scientific interest of the case. Soon after his departure, the doctor sat up; and upon being asked what upon earth ailed him, shook his head mysteriously. He then deplored the hardship of being an invalid in such a place, where there was not the slightest provision for his comfort. This awakened the compassion of our good old keeper, who offered to send him to a place where he would be better cared for. Long Ghost acquiesced; and being at once mounted upon the shoulders of four of Captain Bobs men, was marched off in state, like the Grand Lama of Thibet.
Now, I do not pretend to account for his remarkable swoon; but his reason for suffering himself to be thus removed from the Calabooza was strongly suspected to be nothing more than a desire to insure more regularity in his dinner-hour; hoping that the benevolent native to whom he was going would set a good table.
The next morning, we were all envying his fortune; when, of a sudden, he bolted in upon us, looking decidedly out of humour.
Hang it! he cried, Im worse off than ever; let me have some breakfast! We lowered our slender bag of ship-stores from a rafter, and handed him a biscuit. While this was being munched, he went on and told us his story.
After leaving here, they trotted me back into a valley, and left me in a hut, where an old woman lived by herself. This must be the nurse, thought I; and so I asked her to kill a pig, and bake it; for I felt my appetite returning. Ita! ita!oee matteemattee nuee(no, no; you too sick). The devil mattee ye, said I give me something to eat! But nothing could be had. Night coming on, I had to stay. Creeping into a corner, I tried to sleep; but it was to no purpose;the old crone must have had the quinsy, or something else; and she kept up such a wheezing and choking that at last I sprang up, and groped after her; but she hobbled away like a goblin; and that was the last of her. As soon as the sun rose, I made the best of my way back; and here I am.
He never left us more, nor ever had a second fit.
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