Chapter 30





CHAPTER XXX.

WHEN they got aboard the king went for me, and
shook me by the collar, and says:

"Tryin' to give us the slip, was ye, you pup!
Tired of our company, hey?"

I says:

"No, your majesty, we warn't -- PLEASE don't, your
majesty!"

"Quick, then, and tell us what WAS your idea, or
I'll shake the insides out o' you!"

"Honest, I'll tell you everything just as it hap-
pened, your majesty. The man that had a-holt of me
was very good to me, and kept saying he had a boy
about as big as me that died last year, and he was
sorry to see a boy in such a dangerous fix; and when
they was all took by surprise by finding the gold, and
made a rush for the coffin, he lets go of me and whis-
pers, 'Heel it now, or they'll hang ye, sure!' and I
lit out. It didn't seem no good for ME to stay -- I
couldn't do nothing, and I didn't want to be hung if
I could get away. So I never stopped running till I
found the canoe; and when I got here I told Jim to
hurry, or they'd catch me and hang me yet, and said I
was afeard you and the duke wasn't alive now, and
I was awful sorry, and so was Jim, and was awful glad
when we see you coming; you may ask Jim if I
didn't."

Jim said it was so; and the king told him to shut
up, and said, "Oh, yes, it's MIGHTY likely!" and
shook me up again, and said he reckoned he'd drownd
me. But the duke says:

"Leggo the boy, you old idiot! Would YOU a done
any different? Did you inquire around for HIM when
you got loose? I don't remember it."

So the king let go of me, and begun to cuss that
town and everybody in it. But the duke says:

"You better a blame' sight give YOURSELF a good
cussing, for you're the one that's entitled to it most.
You hain't done a thing from the start that had any
sense in it, except coming out so cool and cheeky with
that imaginary blue-arrow mark. That WAS bright --
it was right down bully; and it was the thing that
saved us. For if it hadn't been for that they'd a jailed
us till them Englishmen's baggage come -- and then --
the penitentiary, you bet! But that trick took 'em to
the graveyard, and the gold done us a still bigger
kindness; for if the excited fools hadn't let go all
holts and made that rush to get a look we'd a slept in
our cravats to-night -- cravats warranted to WEAR, too
-- longer than WE'D need 'em."

They was still a minute -- thinking; then the king
says, kind of absent-minded like:

"Mf! And we reckoned the NIGGERS stole it!"

That made me squirm!

"Yes," says the duke, kinder slow and deliberate
and sarcastic, "WE did."

After about a half a minute the king drawls out:

"Leastways, I did."

The duke says, the same way:

"On the contrary, I did."

The king kind of ruffles up, and says:

"Looky here, Bilgewater, what'r you referrin' to?"

The duke says, pretty brisk:

"When it comes to that, maybe you'll let me ask,
what was YOU referring to?"

"Shucks!" says the king, very sarcastic; "but I
don't know -- maybe you was asleep, and didn't know
what you was about."

The duke bristles up now, and says:

"Oh, let UP on this cussed nonsense; do you take
me for a blame' fool? Don't you reckon I know who
hid that money in that coffin?"

"YES, sir! I know you DO know, because you done
it yourself!"

"It's a lie!" -- and the duke went for him. The
king sings out:

"Take y'r hands off! -- leggo my throat! -- I take it
all back!"

The duke says:

"Well, you just own up, first, that you DID hide
that money there, intending to give me the slip one of
these days, and come back and dig it up, and have it
all to yourself."

"Wait jest a minute, duke -- answer me this one
question, honest and fair; if you didn't put the money
there, say it, and I'll b'lieve you, and take back every-
thing I said."

"You old scoundrel, I didn't, and you know I
didn't. There, now!"

"Well, then, I b'lieve you. But answer me only
jest this one more -- now DON'T git mad; didn't you
have it in your mind to hook the money and hide it?"

The duke never said nothing for a little bit; then he
says:

"Well, I don't care if I DID, I didn't DO it, anyway.
But you not only had it in mind to do it, but you
DONE it."

"I wisht I never die if I done it, duke, and that's
honest. I won't say I warn't goin' to do it, because I
WAS; but you -- I mean somebody -- got in ahead o'
me."

"It's a lie! You done it, and you got to SAY you
done it, or --"

The king began to gurgle, and then he gasps out:

"'Nough! -- I OWN UP!"

I was very glad to hear him say that; it made me
feel much more easier than what I was feeling before.
So the duke took his hands off and says:

"If you ever deny it again I'll drown you. It's
WELL for you to set there and blubber like a baby -- it's
fitten for you, after the way you've acted. I never
see such an old ostrich for wanting to gobble every-
thing -- and I a-trusting you all the time, like you was
my own father. You ought to been ashamed of your-
self to stand by and hear it saddled on to a lot of poor
niggers, and you never say a word for 'em. It makes
me feel ridiculous to think I was soft enough to BELIEVE
that rubbage. Cuss you, I can see now why you was
so anxious to make up the deffisit -- you wanted to
get what money I'd got out of the Nonesuch and one
thing or another, and scoop it ALL!"

The king says, timid, and still a-snuffling:

"Why, duke, it was you that said make up the
deffisit; it warn't me."

"Dry up! I don't want to hear no more out of
you!" says the duke. "And NOW you see what you
GOT by it. They've got all their own money back, and
all of OURN but a shekel or two BESIDES. G'long to bed,
and don't you deffersit ME no more deffersits, long 's
YOU live!"

So the king sneaked into the wigwam and took to
his bottle for comfort, and before long the duke tackled
HIS bottle; and so in about a half an hour they was as
thick as thieves again, and the tighter they got the
lovinger they got, and went off a-snoring in each
other's arms. They both got powerful mellow, but I
noticed the king didn't get mellow enough to forget to
remember to not deny about hiding the money-bag
again. That made me feel easy and satisfied. Of
course when they got to snoring we had a long gabble,
and I told Jim everything.



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