Part 23 (1/2)

”Zounds!” exclaimed the inn-keeper, suddenly; ”but there's somethin'

heavy in it.” In attempting to lift the valise from the wagon it had fallen to the ground under its great weight. The inn-keeper shook his head and rubbed his hands. ”Had a lucky voyage, I reckon,” he concluded.

”More than eighty pounds of solid gold in that,” returned t.i.te, coolly.

The mention of so much gold astonished and delighted the inn-keeper.

”There'll be such a time when the town hears that!” said he. ”There'll be enough o' them that'll call you their friend.”

”Left three times as much more in the city,” resumed t.i.te. ”And there's enough on an island in the Pacific to buy a town as big as Nyack. And I know where it is.”

”Eighty pounds of solid gold!” said the inn-keeper, looking enquiringly at t.i.te, then stooping down and testing the weight of the valise with his hands. ”It's so. I always did know you'd come home a rich man.”

They now carried the valise into the veranda, knocked at the door, and listened for footsteps within. The big old dog had been growling and barking fiercely for several minutes. Now he recognized the friendly voice of the inn-keeper, and barked them a welcome. He then ran to the little room where Hanz was sleeping, and only ceased barking when he got up.

Soft footsteps were heard inside, a dim light shone through the little window opening into the veranda, and a voice inside enquired: ”Who comes t' mine house sho late?”

”Open the door, friend Toodleburg,” replied the inn-keeper. ”Shouldn't have disturbed you at this hour; but there's a gentleman here would like to see you--an' I'm sure you'd like to see him.”

The old man opened the door at the sound of Bright's voice, and stood gazing at the visitors with an air of bewilderment. ”You prings me goot news, eh, Bright?” he enquired. ”Yes, I am shure you prings me shome news ash ish goot.”

”Father, father,” said t.i.te, advancing with his right hand extended, ”you don't know me?”

”Ton't know mine own t.i.te? Mine poor poy t.i.te!” exclaimed the old man in a paroxysm of joy. ”Yes I does.” And he raised his hands, and threw his arms around t.i.te's neck, and wept for joy. ”Ton't know mine own t.i.te,”

he repeated, raising his head and looking up in t.i.te's face, ”yes I does. Yes, I shay mine t.i.te will c.u.m home; an' he c.u.ms home--and mine poor old heart he pees sho glat. Yes, he pees you, mine t.i.te. You prings shoy into mine house. Mine poor t.i.te--he com'd home t' mine house. Tar pees no more shorrow now in mine house.” The old man was overcome with joy. The idol of the house was home again, and true happiness reigned under that little roof.

”You ton't go away no more, mine t.i.te,” he continued, patting him on the shoulder and pressing his hand.

Angeline heard t.i.te's voice and came rus.h.i.+ng into the room frantic with joy. ”Thank G.o.d! thank G.o.d!” she exclaimed. ”He has brought our boy safe back to us.” And she embraced him, threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him again and again.

”And I am so glad to get back to you, mother,” he replied, returning her affection, and pressing her to his breast fondly. ”It is so good to be in my old home, where I can receive your blessings, and be good to you.”

And Angeline looked up in his face with such a sweet smile, as she patted him on the shoulder, and their tears mingled in the sweetest of joy as she invoked G.o.d's blessing on his head. Truly, G.o.d had heard their prayer, had blessed them, and had again made their little home bright with joy.

”I wish Chapman could look in here now,” said Bright, ”there'd be a lesson for him on what happiness is worth.” And he shook t.i.te by the hand, told him to remember that his house was always open to him, and left for the night.

Even the old dog seemed anxious to join in welcoming the young gentleman back, for he would look up affectionately in his face, draw his body close to his feet, and lay his huge paw on his knee.

And now a fire was lighted, and Angeline prepared supper for t.i.te, for he had eaten nothing since morning. The chair that had stood empty so long was filled now, and the happiness that reigned under that little roof was such as gold could not purchase.

CHAPTER x.x.xV.

HOW HE GOT AWAY FROM THE ISLAND.

When supper was over, t.i.te proceeded to give his parents an account of the voyage, and the manner of escaping from the island with the treasure. The reader has already heard that portion which carries the story up to the death of old Dunman, the pirate. It will be only necessary then to give that part of it which relates to what took place afterward.

”Poor old Dunman,” said t.i.te, ”he was so kind to us all, and tried so much to relieve our sufferings and make us feel contented that we all liked him, and felt his death was a severe loss to us. There was something so terrible in the story of his life that we used to talk about it at night, and fancy all sorts of strange spirits haunting the place where his money was buried. It was this that made us all impatient to get away from the dreary place. Three or four days after we had buried him, we removed the stones he said the gold was buried under, and there found, as he had told us, bags and boxes of gold and silver, in bars and coin of various kinds, heavy silver and gold ornaments that had been plundered from churches and convents, with pearls and diamonds and other precious stones, enough to fill two iron chests two feet square and two feet deep. There was the thought that it was the price of so much crime. And what good after all was this gold and silver to do us, if we were to die on the island, like old Dunman? We divided it among us, just as we would something of little value, not caring which got the biggest portion. Then, after keeping out what we thought we might want, each buried his part in separate spots, and marked the places with piles of big stones.

”I always had a presentment that some vessel would come along, and afford us the means of getting away; but after several months of disappointment my companions began to despair, and saying they might as well die one way as another, fitted up the boat, and with sails made of prepared seal skins, and such scanty provisions as they could obtain, set sail in search of an island described by old Dunman to be two leagues distant, inhabited, and a place where whalers had been known to touch. Each took two bags of gold with him, promising that if they were successful they would return and rescue me.