Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

perienced as put your faith in “testi- your attention in the advertising monials ?" You will not even send columns ? Is it of more conseto the library to borrow (much less quence that you should yawn over buy) the book, which a page of adver à trashy book, which you have seen tised “opinions of the press as praised as a chef d'oeuvre, than that sures you is the most splendid work you should ruin your health because of the day, thrilling in incident, pro à charlatan praises his medicafound in thought, brilliant in style, ments ? replete with humour and pathos, and We conclude with an anecdote : with every other quality which a A friend of ours, long a victim to book could have. You are deaf dyspepsia, was earnestly recomto these trumpets. You order a mended to try a “digestive powder” book of which none of these things which promised to restore any are said—about which there is no amount of lost “vigour.” The reflourish whatever.

[ocr errors]

And you are

commendation came from one who wise. But why does this wisdom had great confidence in the powder, desert you when a Pill or a Lotion because he knew that the advertiser is placarded on the walls, or arrests made a very good living out of it.

CAPTAIN CLUTTERBUCK'S CHAMPAGNE.

A WEST INDIAN REMINISCENCE.

CONCLUSION, - CHAPTER XV.

It is necessary now that we take ing, only intensified his apprehennote of Mr Chitty's movements. sions. He could extract no definite After descending from the mess- suspicion from the meagre evidence, room, and after doing all that was and felt the need of counsel and in his heart as regarded the con confidence. How to get these was sumption and purloining of viands, the question. To call Christy from Menelaus bethought him of that the festive board to listen to a cockexpression used by Tom Gervaise and-bull story (as this would be, during dinner, which had unplea- even when lavishly embellished santly affected his nerves, and which with lies), would have no effect save still, whenever he thought of it, to bring down anathemas on his caused an unaccountable misgiving. head as an old idiot: to call on The fact was, that Nick's mind had Melhado would bring blows in adbeen for some days much unsettled dition to abuse. In this dilemma -indeed, since Brune's appearance he betook himself to a keener wit at Crystal Mount. That appearance than either of theirs, and as soon Nick conceived to bode no good to as he could eat and drink no more, Christy's family arrangements; it and had bestowed his movable was, moreover, associated with the plunder, he started off through the pang arising out of a suspected un- bush to Kingston, and stopped not derstanding between Leander and till he arrived at the door of MelRosabella ; so that, altogether, it hado's house, where he craved an excited a disagreeable foreboding, audience with that gentleman's which various small incidents ap- mother. preciable to Chitty's keen percep The old lady was at that time tion had augmented. Wine and seated on a rocking-chair in her feasting, as is generally the case in saloon, which was lit by a numrancorous minds, far from dissipat- ber of wax-lights under brilliant

I beg you,

glass shades.* Her spectacles were nearly blinded me this minute, and
on, and the Rev. Laurence Sterne's there's another up my nose while I
Sentimental Journey lay open be- speak : come here."
fore her; for she was a wilful old "No, no, no, no!
dame, and not to be deprived of my sweet Missy, I beg you !"
the enjoyment of real wit and sen Come when I tell you. It will
timent by nonsensical squeamish be worse for you if I have to rise.”
ness. Show her any of your cor “ Hi-yi-yi-yi!” howled Bunchy;
rect moderns who could write like me goin' for get fum-fum : me
him, and she would think your will dead. Oh, my king! Oh,
prejudice entitled to attention ; but fader!”
you knew very well you couldn't. “Very well, I must fetch you,

A young negress with a red hand then," said the old gentlewoman, kerchief on her head, and wearing preparing to rise; whereupon Bunchy one solitary garment, the name of raised the most dreadful squealing, which we are not at liberty to com and set her back and the palms of municate, but whose material was her hands against the wall, while osnaburgh, brandished a flapper,with she rapidly struck the floor with which she chased the mosquitoes her alternate naked feet.

On a from her "Missy," and controlled sudden the squealing and dancing the frolics of moths, bats, crickets, ceased, the head was raised attenfiddlers, cockroaches, and a host of tively, and the small voice saidwinged insects which made a dis “Hei, Missy! somebody comin' agreeable humming and buzzing, dis side ; make I go see who dere." and were continually dashing them And Bunchy glided like a dark arselves against the glass shades in row from the presence of her misattempts to get at the lights : occa- tress, to reappear in an instant, and sionally they took headers against announce that Mr Chitty was withthe old lady's eyes and cheeks. As out, desiring to speak with her on is the case with many strong impartant bisnis.” minded persons, Mrs Melhado was “ Now then, Nick, what brings not gifted with extreme patience; you here at this time of night? I and whenever a crawley-bob suc- thought you were at camp with ceeded in charging her, she sharply your master," said Mrs Melhado, chid her attendant. Sometimes she sharply, as Mr Chitty entered and aimed a vicious blow, which the made his obeisance. small obscurity generally evaded. He explained that he had been The subtle plotter, who never ceased at camp through the dinner, which to keep a watch upon Brune, knew en passant he characterised as a of his visits to Crystal Mount, and 'plendid ting of de kind, an' werry of the rescue at the Ferry. She elegant in de legs of beef and cusfelt sure that these things had a tards;" that he had heard several great significance, and was much dark hints which he understood to disturbed in consequence, so that bode no good to either Miss Wiley the child was experiencing a crosser or to nyoung massa ; that he had time than usual.

considered the propriety of calling “Bunchy, you little aggravating the attention of Mr Arabin or Mr toad," said Mrs Melhado, “what Melhado to his suspicions, but in did Í tell you ?"

his discretion, under the circum“Missy say she mash for me stances of meat and drink, he had wortless head de nex one dat touch refrained from consulting those she!”

gentlemen, and thought it his duty “I did ; and now come here: one to consult Mrs Melhado.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

* The reader who has not visited the tropics will reflect that, where windows and doors are open, and every breath of air is invited to enter, candles must speedily be blown out if not protected.

signifies."

say?"

man

"Right, Nick," said the old lady; mus' hab someting running in for "you've got some gumption. I don't dem troats, and when the wine no think either of them would have run down, de talkee run out. De listened to your story if you had noise dem make, my! and de wine gone to them. Tell me, now, what it make dem more wiciouser dan was said, and I shall know if it mules, and dem swear an' holler;

mus a mad. Den Massa Shane be“ You see, Missy," said Nick, gin to cuss * nyoung Massa Manuel, “ dem drink in de wine faba 'ponges. and say he wish him head mash, an' Where dem put it all, me can't Miss Wiley too good for him. Kim rightly say: tink dem mus be holler say so, Missy, but him don't 'peak inside, de same as de rum puncheon. de trut'. Me allis say dat Massa De more dem swaller, de more room Manuel de biggest buckrah gentledem seem to got. Dat ole Cap'n man in de place. Me allis ’tand up Gerbaise an' Massa Shane find at for massa when dem cuss him. Me las' dat dem not able for drink fas'

say all time" enough out of de long glass, and “Do get on, Nick; what did they dey ax for tumbler.

Den it go down more faster dan a water-'pout. Ax for you pardon, Missy. Me Couldn't sarve dem fas' enough." is not de soart of pusson to weaste

"But get on, Nick," interrupted time in talk. Ebberybody know the old lady. “I want to know dat Nick Chitty one berry silent what was said."

- berry circumspec : him see Mr Chitty, being well corned, was good many ting dat him not tell unusually loquacious, and not very nobody, ceptin' to dose dat it clear. His perspicuity was further consarn. Now, if Missy will please impaired by the conduct of small to listen, me will tell de 'tory in Bunchy, who, clambering noiseless- berry few words." ly on to a writing-table behind her Nick then went back to the beMissy's back, executed a series of ginning. Mrs Melhado perceived dumb-shows of an insubordinate and that her only plan was to let him contemptuous character. The gleeful have his way; so she set herself spirit of healthy childhood — Hea- resolutely, though not very patientven's gift to white and black, to ly, to listen. The moment her atbond and free-broke forth, regard- tention became fixed, Bunchy's ecless of the risk of detection and of centricities assumed a more daring sharp vengeance. There stood the character. The small body, without little imp mowing and grimacing, creating a sound, writhed and gestiand mimicking the old lady, at culated not altogether ungracefully. every turn of whose head she flitted Standing on alternate feet, she to the floor in silence, like the sha- kicked, or made believe to spring, dow of a bird, and then mounted at the old lady; or she threw herand began again. Had Mr Chitty self into attitudes of mock defiance been alone with the child, he most and scorn : then, flourishing her assuredly would have inflicted con little weapon like a sword, she made dign chastisement for such liberties sweeps and passes with it through taken in his august presence ; but the air, and finally delivered cut the freemasonry of race deterred No. 7 towards Mrs Melhado's crown, him from betraying her to the white as if the little hand and arm had lady.

belonged to Shaw, and the flapper Spite of his difficulties, Menelaus had been the sabre of that redoubtbegan again : “Missy mus' hab de ed life-guardsman. Mr Chitty congoodness to wait lilly bit: me is tained himself admirably, and in due talking as fas' as me can—me can't time picked up the thread of his talk no faster. Well, you see, dem discourse. Then he proceeded

* To curse often signifies no more than to abuse.

Ready

“ Massa Pat Shane, him cuss Melhado was too shrewd not to nyoung massa, and say bim no know the spite with which fate regood enough for Miss Wiley; and gards such compacts as her treaty ole Cap’n Gerbaise him say, 'Look with Christy Arabin. Smooth as out, boy, to-night; him will be everything looked, a false move, or sarve a trick dat he little tink of

an accident, or a counter-stroke, before de morning. Den dem cock might upset the scheme. deir yeye, and nod deir head, an' and strong - willed herself, she retink all right.

cognised instinctively the same qua“ It may be only some nonsense, lities in Brune, and felt an undefinafter all,” said Mrs Melhado; "was able dread of him, such as she was there nothing more?”

accustomed to inspire in others. “ No nonsense, Missy, no non- Scarcely knowing the young man sense,” said Nick, eagerly. “You by sight, she had learned his chartink ole Nick no sabey when dem acter and acknowledged its force. goin' to do de real wickedness? Me She did not dare to reckon on sucknow dem not makin' fun.”

cess till all should be accomplished; The old lady mused : " Perhaps and she was haunted by a presentiyou are right," said she. “I think ment of mischance, which her selfthat this matter, though it may command barely enabled her to mean nothing at all, should be conceal. looked to. Take a mule from the She slept not that night. stable, and go up, now, with all Mr Chitty emerged from Melhaspeed, to Crystal Mount. Don't go do's house with spirits much lightto bed, but observe all that is going ened by the largesse which his tidon in the premises. If you see the ings had obtained, and by the proleast cause for alarm, send down for spect of occasioning a little disapyour master at once your master, pointment and misery ere long. mind : it won't be sufficient to ac In the stable he found a spur, quaint Mrs Arabin. I have never hich he girded to one of his heels, felt easy since you told me of Mr and soon placed in close communiBrune being up there lately. Here, cation with the flank of his mule ; take this : I always requite useful the spurring of whom, mingled service. And now, be off !” with administrations of supple

Having dismissed Nick Chitty, jack,* quite stayed his appetite for the old lady was much disquieted, mischief, and caused him to gallop and paced the room hurriedly, quité along pleasantly, and to think calmforgetting little Bunchy, who, squat- ly over what he had to do. He ting in a gloomy corner, did not soon decided that, in case of sumeven roll her eyes, lest the motion moning old Christy home, he must should attract attention, and employ a messenger in whom he adjourned ceremony of fum-fum be could place some confidence. Now consummated. Her mistress was, Leander Mr Chitty at once rejected however, occupied with far other in his mind. “Him no good, him thoughts. Though she had been wortless," thought he, and passed on interrupted, and had inserted her to the consideration of other serspectacles at that pathetic page in vants, among whom he found it diffithe Sentimental Journey where the cult to make a satisfactory selection. fair and gushing Rambouliet tem- For Nick was aware that, on the porarily retires from the scene, she knowledge of Big Massa being out did not resume her reading. She for a jovial night, and of many reflected with extreme anxiety that neighbouring Massas being simithe success or failure of her plan larly engaged, a great Obeah ceremight depend on the discretion and monial had been arranged on the fidelity of Mr Nicholas Chitty. Mrs estate, and that the adorers of

* A tough withe, used as a whip.

Mumbo Jumbo were expected to the magnitude of the power which attend in large numbers from the he had provoked, and the dire rewhole neighbourhood. If, there sults which might follow, smote fore, he could succeed in finding a his craven conscience with staggermessenger, he could by no means ing force. What if the Obeah man, depend on the message being car

while seemingly bland and respectried quickly, or at all. After re- ful, had secret notice of his calum. volving then all available emissa- nies and impiety! What if the ries, as we see the Cardinal Duke caution given him to beware of ande Richelieu do in Sir Edward other professor was simply a mode Bulwer Lytton's play, he, with the of communicating a coming doom prompt decision of that minister, which he felt that he so justly defixed on our friend Domingo, whom served! As these thoughts gained he had used on former occasions, strength Nick was getting on to and whose loyalty and zeal he a dark and legendary part of the thought he might be sure of for road, where his heart stood still the nonce. Accordingly he pulled with terror. It is not recorded up the panting mule at Domingo's that his hair stood on end on this hut, and desired him on no account or any other occasion, but there to go abroad that night, as there were symptoms sufficient to confirm might be work for him which would the fact of his pot-valiant bluster bring a rich reward. He likewise being thoroughly subdued, and of promised a particular intercession his mind being in such a nervous with the Obeah sage on Domingo's and superstitious condition as to behalf; and this promise seemed account for the scene which soon warranted by the intimacy and followed. He tried to feel plucky consideration which he enjoyed on emerging into a more open road, with that distinguished person. faltered an oath or so, and essayed Large numbers of the people, both to whistle, but produced only a male and female, were already tremulous asthmatic hissing which about the fields and paths, but it must rather have amused the spirits was too early for any of the Obeah whom he was braving. A little rites.

more light was unquestionably a Mr Chitty's own mind on the relief though, and a pull at his rum subject of Obeah could not be de- flask was not without a reactionscribed as one and indivisible, forary effect. Helped by these stimuli, he wandered sometimes into ex Nick contrived to get off the mule's tremes of superstition and of scep- saddle and bridle, and to turn him ticism, and traversed all degrees into a piece of guinea-grass as soon between those states. By night, as he got home. Then he took his and in times of difficulty or afflic- measures for observation and contion, his faith was more or less cealment. Two or three times he lively; but prosperity and daylight thought he heard footsteps behind, shook his affiance-yea, even to but persuaded himself that it was scoffing and reviling. He had on fancy. The moon was not up, but it more than one occasion so far for was far from dark; and after recongotten himself as to use very strong, noitring the house and premises, he contemptuous, and bad language selected for his post a small building touching the solemn meeting which consisting of two rooms, one over was now assembling; and that the other ; the upper being a gay notwithstanding his interest with little pavilion, commanding a fine the Obeah man, and his expecta- view, and the lower a homely gartion of assistance from that source den-house, to whose height the in his suit to Rosabella. The re building was screened by shrubs, collection of this profaneness cross except that the doorway was clear, ed his mind as he saw his single- and had a good view of two hearted brethren collecting; and sides of the dwelling-house, and of

« AnteriorContinuar »