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of the vast, dim cavern of spare room that served for the steerage.
"I want him very much," Carlos said. “I like him. He would be of help to us.”
"It's as your worship wills," Castro said gruffly. They were both at the bottom of the ladder. “But an Englishman there would work great mischief. And this youth"
“I will take him, Tomas," Carlos said, laying a hand on his
"Those others will think he is a spy. I know them," Castro muttered. “They will hang him, or work some devil's mischief. You do not know that Irish judge-the canaille, the friend of priests."
“ He is very brave. He will not fear,” Carlos said.
I came suddenly forward. “I will not go with you," I said, before I had reached them even.
Castro started back as if he had been stung, and caught at the wooden hand that sheathed his steel blade.
Ah, it is you, señor," he said, with an air of relief and dislike. Carlos, softly and very affectionately, began inviting me to go to his uncle's town. His uncle, he was sure, would welcome me. Jamaica and a planter's life were not fit for me.
I had not then spoken very loudly, or had not made my meaning very clear. I felt a great desire to find Macdonald, and a simple life that I could understand.
"I am not going with you," I said, very loudly this time.
He stopped at once. Through the scuttle of the half-deck we heard a hubbub of voices, of people exchanging greetings, of Christian names called out joyously. A tumultuous shuffling of feet went on continuously over our heads. The ship was crowded with people from the shore. Perhaps Macdonald was amongst them, even looking for me.
"Ah, amigo mio, but you must now," said Carlos gently—"you must
And, looking me straight in the face with a still, penetrating glance of his big, romantic eyes, “ It is a good life," he whispered seductively, “and I like you, John Kemp. You are young-very young yet. But I love you very much for your own sake, and for the sake of one I shall never see again.”
He fascinated me. He was all eyes in the dusk, standing in a languid pose just clear of the shaft of light that fell through the scuttle in a square patch. I lowered my voice, too. “What life?" I asked.
I “ Life in my uncle's palace," he said, so sweetly and persuasively that the suggestiveness of it caused a thrill in me.
His uncle could nominate me to posts of honor fit for a caballero.
I seemed to wake up. “Your uncle the pirate!" I cried, and was amazed at my own words.
Tomas Castro sprang up, and placed his rough, hot hand over
"Be quiet, John Kemp, you fool!” he hissed with sudden energy.
He had spruced himself, but I seemed to see the rags still flutter about him. He had combed out his beard, but I could not forget the knots that had been in it.
“I told your worship how foolish and wrong-headed these English are," he said sardonically to Carlos. And then to me,
. If the señor speaks loudly again, I shall kill him." He was evidently very frightened of something.
Carlos, silent as an apparition at the foot of the ladder, put a finger to his lips and glanced upwards.
Castro writhed his whole body, and I stepped backwards. “I know what Rio Medio is," I said, not very loudly. “It is a nest of pirates.”
Castro crept towards me again on the points of his toes. Señor Don Juan Kemp, child of the devil,” he hissed, looking very much frightened, "you must die!”
I smiled. He was trembling all over. I could hear the talking and laughing that went on under the break of the poop. Two women were kissing, with little cries, near the hatchway. I could hear them distinctly.
Tomas Castro dropped his ragged cloak with a grandiose gesture.
“By my hand!” he added with difficulty.
He was really very much alarmed. Carlos was gazing up the hatch. I was ready to laugh at the idea of dying by Tomas
Castro's hand while, within five feet of me, people were laughing and kissing. I should have laughed had I not suddenly felt his hand on my throat. I kicked his shins hard, and fell backwards over a chest. He went back a step or two, flourished his arm, beat his chest, and turned furiously upon Carlos.
“ He will get us murdered,” he said. “Do you think we are safe here? If these people here heard that name they wouldn't wait to ask who your worship is. They would tear us to pieces in an instant. I tell you—moi, Tomas Castro-he will ruin us, this white fool'
Carlos began to cough, shaken speechless as if by an invisible devil. Castro's eyes ran furtively all round him, then he looked
He made an extraordinary swift motion with his right hand, and I saw that he was facing me with a long steel blade displayed. Carlos continued to cough. The thing seemed odd,
. laughable still. Castro began to parade round me: it was as if he were a cock performing its saltatory rites before attacking. There was the same tenseness of muscle. He stepped with extraordinary care on the points of his toes, and came to a stop about four feet from me. I began to wonder what Rooksby would have thought of this sort of thing, to wonder why Castro himself found it necessary to crouch for such a long time. Up above, the hum of many people, still laughing, still talking, faded a little out of mind. I understood, horribly, how possible it would be to die within those few feet of them. Castro's eyes were dusky yellow, the pupils a great deal inflated, the lines of his mouth very hard and drawn immensely tight. It seemed extraordinary that he should put so much emotion into such a very easy killing. I had my back against the bulkhead, it felt very hard against my shoulder-blades. I had no dread, only a sort of shrinking from the actual contact of the point, as one shrinks from being tickled. I opened my mouth. I was going to shriek a last, despairing call, to the light and laughter of meetings above, when Carlos, still shaken, with one white hand pressed very hard upon his chest, started forward and gripped his hand round Castro's steel. He began to whisper in the other's hairy ear. I caught:
“You are a fool. He will not make us to be molested, he is my kinsman."
Castro made a reluctant gesture towards Barnes' chest that lay between us.
We could cram him into that,” he said. “Oh, bloodthirsty fool,” Carlos answered, recovering his breath; is it always necessary to wash your hands in blood? Are we not in enough danger? Up-up! Go see if the boat is yet there. We must go quickly; up-up- He waved his hand towards the scuttle.
"But still," Castro said. He was reluctantly fitting his wooden hand upon the blue steel. He sent a baleful yellow glare into my eyes, and stooped to pick up his ragged cloak.
"Up-mount!” Carlos commanded.
Castro muttered, “Vamos," and began clumsily to climb the ladder, like a bale of rags being hauled from above. Carlos placed his foot on the steps, preparing to follow him. He turned his head round towards me, his hand extended, a smile upon his lips.
Juan,” he said, “ let us not quarrel. You are very young; you cannot understand these things; you cannot weigh them; you have a foolish idea in your head. I wished you to come with us because I love you, Juan. Do you think I wish you evil? You are true and brave, and our families are united.” He sighed suddenly.
"I do not want to quarrel!" I said. “I don't.”
I did not want to quarrel; I wanted more to cry. I was very lonely, and he was going away. Romance was going out of my life.
He added musically, “You even do not understand. There is someone else who speaks for you to mé, always someone else. But one day you will. I shall come back for you—one day." He looked at me and smiled. It stirred unknown depths of emotion in me. I would have gone with him, then, had he asked me. One day,” he repeated, with an extraordinary cadence of tone.
His hand was grasping mine; it thrilled me like a woman's; he stood shaking it very gently.
“One day," he said, “I shall repay what I owe you. I wished you with me, because I go into some danger. I wanted you. Good-by. Hasta mas ver.”
He leaned over and kissed me lightly on the cheek, then climbed