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- Self-Raised - 80/128 -
habit of a lay-sister of the Benedictine Order, and seated within a curtained recess, and engaged in reading her "office." She was probably doing duty as duenna to the beautiful widow.
STILL ON THE TRACK.
One sole desire, one passion now remains, To keep life's fever still within his veins,-- Vengeance! Dire vengeance on the wretch who cast On him and all he loved that ruinous blast. --_Moore_.
Our party drove back to the hotel to await the coming of the steward with Sally. Mr. Brudenell had not yet returned.
Ishmael sent for the clerk of the house and bespoke proper accommodations for the servants.
But Katie rebelled, and protested that she would not leave her old master until bedtime, when she should insist upon his locking her in her bedroom and taking charge of the key, for fear she should be bewitched and stolen again.
At about six o'clock Miguel Manello arrived, having Sally in charge. According to instructions left with the waiters they were immediately shown up to the apartments of Judge Merlin.
Miguel Manello, a little, dried-up, mahogany-colored old man with blue-gray hair, came in, bowing profoundly.
Sally followed him, but suddenly stopped, opened her mouth and eyes as wide as they could be extended, and stood dumb with astonishment.
As she could not speak a word of Spanish, nor the steward of English, she could not be made to understand where he was bringing her. So she had not the remotest suspicion that she was approaching her master until she actually stood in his presence. Astonishment makes people break into exclamations; but Sally it always struck speechless. So it had been with her when the viscount and his accomplices entered her room that night of the abduction. So it was with her now that she was brought unexpectedly to the presence of the beloved old master whom she had never hoped to see again on this side of the grave.
How long she might have remained standing there, dumfounded, had she not been interrupted, is not known; for old Katie made a dash forward, caught her in an embrace, kissed her, burst into tears, and said:
"Oh, Sally, it is all come right! Ole marster done come here and he gwine to buy us all back and take us to my ladyship, and we gwine be witness ag'in my lordship and de shamvally--which I hopes dey'll be hung, and likewise de whited saltpeter as is de wuss ob de t'ree!"
The tears began to steal down poor Sally's cheeks and she looked appealingly from old Katie to Judge Merlin and Ishmael, as if to entreat confirmation of the good news.
"It is all quite true, Sally. You are to return to England with us, and then, I hope, we shall all come back to old Maryland, never to leave it again," said Ishmael.
"Oh, Marse Ishmael, dat would be like coming out'n purgatory into heaben! Thank de Lord!" fervently exclaimed the girl, while tears-- tears of joy--now streamed down her cheeks.
"There, now, Sally; go with your aunty into the next room, and have a glorious old talk, while we settle some business with the steward," said Ishmael, pointing to the door of the anteroom.
When they had retired he beckoned the steward to approach. Miguel Manello advanced with a series of genuflexions, and laid upon the table a document which proved to be a bill of sale for the girl, Sally.
"The senor will perceive," he said, "that I paid the trader twelve hundred dollars for the negress. My mistress, the Senora Donna Eleanora Pacheco, has instructed me to deliver the girl up to the senor at his own price. But the senor will not, perhaps, object to paying the same sum I paid for the girl."
"Certainly not," answered Ishmael.
Judge Merlin produced the money, and the sale was immediately effected. The steward took up his hat to depart, but Ishmael made a sign for him to stop.
"You were present at the sale of this girl?"
"Assuredly, senor; since I purchased her."
"There was an old woman sold at the same time?"
"Yes, senor; the one that I found in here."
"Exactly. There was also a young man?"
"Can you tell me who became his purchaser?"
"Certainly, senor. He was bought by the Senor Don Filipo Martinez, who lives in the Suburb Regla."
"Can you give me directions how to find the place?"
"Certainly, senor. I will write it down, if the senor will permit me the use of his writing-case."
Ishmael placed a chair at the table, and signed for the steward to take it. Miguel Manello sat down, wrote out the directions, handed them to Ishmael, and then with a deep bow took his leave.
When they were alone Ishmael said:
"The Suburb Regla is on the other side of the harbor. We cannot with propriety visit it this evening. In the morning we will set out early. We must either make a long circuit by land, or else take the shorter cut across the harbor. I think the last mentioned the best plan."
"I agree with you," said the judge; "but I fear we are greatly trespassing on the time and the official duties of our friend," he added, turning with a smile to the consul.
"Oh, not at all! I am sufficiently attentive to my business to afford to take a day now and then, when necessity demands it," replied Mr. Tourneysee pleasantly, as he arose and bid his friends good-evening.
He had scarcely left the scene when the door opened and the truant, Herman Brudenell, entered.
"You are a pretty fellow to back your friends. Here we have been overwhelmed with business and beset with adventures, and you gone!" exclaimed the judge, whose spirits were much elated with the successes of the day. "Give an account of yourself, sir!" he added.
"Well," said Mr. Brudenell, throwing himself into a chair and setting his hat upon the table with a wearied, but cheerful air, "I have been walking around the city to see all that was interesting in it. I visited the cathedral, where the ashes of Columbus repose; saw the Government Palace; the Admiralty; the Royal Tobacco Factory; several interesting old churches, and so forth. Last of all, I ran up against a very dear friend of mine, whose acquaintance I made at the court of Queen Isabella when I was at Madrid, some years ago. And Don Filipo insisted on my returning home with him to the Suburb Regla, where he has a beautiful house standing in the midst of equally beautiful grounds. Well, I dined there; and I got away as soon after dinner as I decently could."
"'Don Filipo? Suburb Regla?'" repeated Judge Merlin, as his thoughts ran upon the purchaser of the negro boy Jim.
"Yes. Do you know him? Senor Don Filipo Martinez--"
"No, not personally; we have heard of him, though. Sit still, Brudenell, I have got something to tell you. We have met some old acquaintances also since you left us," said the judge.
"Ah, who are they? The Tourneysees, I presume."
"We have met the Tourneysees of course; but we have met others."
"Then you will have to tell me, judge, for I should never be able to guess among your thousands of friends and acquaintances who were the individuals encountered here."
"What would you say to me if I should tell you that Ishmael met our old Katie in the street and brought her hither?"
"I should say that you or I were mad or dreaming," said Mr. Brudenell, staring at the judge.
"And yet I tell you the sober truth. That infamous villain, Malcolm, Lord Vincent, taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by his residence on a remote part of the sea coast, and his connection with a crew of smugglers, actually succeeded in kidnaping Lady Vincent's three servants and selling them to the trader, who brought them to this island and sold them again."
"Am I awake?" exclaimed Mr. Brudenell, in amazement.
"As much as any of us, I suppose. There are times when I fancy myself in a strange dream."
"What could have been the man's motive for such a crime?"
"Partly, no doubt, cupidity; for he is as mean as marsh mud! partly revenge; for he hates these negroes for their devotion to their mistress; but mostly caution; for one of these negroes became possessed of a secret compromising the reputation, and even the personal liberty of the viscount."
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