|Chapter Title||THE RECOGNITION.|
|Newspaper Title||The Macleay Chronicle (Kempsey, NSW : 1899 - 1952)|
|Trove Title||The Last of the Pirates; Or Doom Driven. A Romance of the End of Ocean Outlawry|
'The Last of the Pirates; DOOM X3» XC X TT XX XUT ,
. ? * — = ? ~ .? - i A. Romance of the End. of Ocean Outlawry^:
? « ? ^.;. Bv Cot,. Prentiss Ingraham, Author of ' Merle the Mutineer,' &c, &1.
CHAPTER XXVII. THE RECOGNITION.
It never struck Captain Delorme, until his carriage was turning into the massive gateway of ' The Castle,' that he had not yet heard the name of the new master. He had not been down to the town.
or on board his vessel, since the funeral, and so had not learned it. He felt that be should have waited until a later day for his visit, but then his anxiety to see if the stranger looked like Andrea De Costa caused him to go the day alter the suicide's funeral. -* Calling to his coachman, he asked if he had heard the name ot the new owner of ' The Castle.' The coachman had not. And so the carriage rolled up to the door, the captain descended and went up the marble steps, a butler in livery received his card, and ushered him into the grand parlour, which he knew so well, having been a frequent visitor upon the former master, whose rare wines he greatly enjoyed. Soon steps were heard in the spacious hallway, and two gentlemen were heard conversing as they ad vanced towards the parlour. The naval officer rose, advanced a step, stopped, started, set his teeth together hard, and bowed low to con ceal his emotion, while he thought : ' A startling resemblance, indeed !' '.Senor Don Delorme, I am some what surprised that you should be the first to welcome Don Andrea De Costa back to Spain.' The words fell in low, distinct tones from the lips of the slaver captain. 1 It is he J Caramba !' It was all that Captain Delorme could utter for the moment. He stood, swaying as though foolish with wine, his face ghastly, his eyes «6taring, while before him, calm, smiling, and triumphant, was Andrea De Costa, the man whom he believed dead, as he had hired men to kii! him. At one side of De Costa stood Basila Bartona, as he then called himself, also calm and rather enjoying the situation. By a mighty effort Senor Delorme gained control of himself, and then said, in a voice that was husky with passion and dread commingled : ' I came hither to welcome one who had come as a stranger in our midst Had I known that it was you, Don Andrea De Costa, I would never have crossed the threshold of your house. I bid you oiks' * One moment, Senor Don Captain Delorme.' The naval officer hesitated. ' I am Don Andrea De Costa, the once poor lover of Senorita Isabel Henriquez. 'You robbed me of my bride, you hired assassins to kill me, and after long years I return, rich, powerful, unmarried, and revengeful. ' That your wife loves me, her swooning at the grave when she met my eyes proves. ??I am come, Senor Don Delorme, to kill you and marry your widow. ' We met across an open grave. ' It was an ominous meeting. ' This gentleman is my friend, my guest, Senor Basila Bartona, and he will arrange, with any. friend, of yours who may: seek hint as your representa tive. . . ? Adios, Senor Don Captain De iorme, until our next meeting, over an open grave !' The Spanish officer had not moved during these words of the man he had wronged. He seemed incapable of speaking a word. When at last Don Andrea De Costa ceased and bowed with mock respect, he walked slowly from the room, entered his carriage, and was driven to his home. His wife was seated hy an open window overlooking the Baiden. Her face was thoughtf-'. sad, and worried. She glanced up at his coming, and she saw that something had happened. He looked years older, haggard, and his expression was as fierce as a mad beast's. She seemed to feel that she '.new all before he spoke, though f ' : did not know of his early visit to 1 : : new master of ? The Castle.' 'I have called upon the master of ?The Castle,' senora,' he said, humbly, as he stood before her. ? Indeed 1' ? Yes.' * How do you like him ?' « I hate him.' ' He is not the gentleman you ex pected to find ?' '?No.' - His money will not make him popular with your set, then ?' 'No.' I Do you not know who he is ?' I 1 have heard that he bears a name which you command me never to utter.' ' Andrea De Costa?' ?Yes. ?It is he.' ' I thought he was dead.' ' So I supposed, after his mysterious disappearance. But he has come back, and is rich.' ? Indeed 1' * Yes. And it was your recognition
of him at the grave yesterday that caused you to faint.' ? I confess it.' * You love him yet ?' ' Was it not enough to shock me to behold one I had loved in my girlhood, whom I told you I would never forget, though your wife — one whom I believed dead, suddenly ap pear before meS^;* 1 1 came notVhere to answer your questions. Your old lover, no longer poor, but rich and powerful, has returned. This world is not large enough for us both, living, so one must die. 1 am fond of Hie, and I am determined that he shall be the one to die.' ' Without another word he left the room, while from the lips of his beautiful wife came the prayer, ' Holy Mother, protect him 1' in behalf ol her husband — or her lover f CHAPTER XXVIII. AN AFFAIR OF HONOUR. ' Matters are shaping themselves, Senor Basila, just to suit me,' said De Costa, as he and his guest sat together after dinner the day after Captain Delorrae's visit to ' The Castle.' 1 He will doubtless send his second to you,' observed Basila. . . . ? ? ' Yes, for he is a man of undoubted courage, and as I have informed him of my intentions, he will be most anxious to get rid of me.' I And the weapons?' I 1 have no choice, my dear Basila.' 1 And Captain Delorme — do ? you know aught of his prowess with blade or pistol ?' ' It seems to me that I Temember him as holding the name of a dead shot and perfect swordsman, while he has killed two men in duels, I learn..' ' Well, I feel no dread of your skill, senor.1 ' Nor I, and I assure you that my cause is a just one. ' I was a good man, Basila, when I was young, and I would have iived an honourable lite. 'There was but one woman in the world to me, and she was Isabel. ' She could have made me all that it was possible for me to become as an honourable man. ' He plotted against my life, as I have told you, and all I suffered made me what I am. ' I have been as wicked as man can ?be in this world, I guess ; but when my revenge is consummated, when that man is in his grave, I will be different. ' When Isabel becomes my wife, I will be ennobled, and my riches, gained by sin, shall go to those who are in need. I For her sake my past life shall be forgotten, I will atone for my crimes, and she shall know me only as one who has a good heart and loves her ? Ah, here comes a volante, and I suppose it is Captain Delorme's' friend, for I see brass buttons and gold lace on the visitor.' Don Andrea was not wrong, for the visitor did come from Captain Delorme. He was an army officer — a colonel of lancers, and was noted for his affairs of honour. He dressed like an exquisite, prided himself upon his good looks, and was rather proud of the thought that he had half a dozen lives on his hands, all taken at the muzzle of a pistol or point of a sword on the dueling-field. His card was sent in, and upon it Basila read — ENDEROS QUITELIA, Colonel of Lancers. ' He asked me for the Senor Basila Bartona, senor,' said the servant, who brought the card in on a silver salver. Basila arose, and went into the parlour. The colonel greeted him with a smile. The greatest pleasure on earth to him was being the principal in a duel. The next greatest enjoyment was in acting as second for a friend. So he was in great humour. He quickly . made-.knowu .why he had come, and theLpreliminaries were speedily arranged for a meeting. The colonel was delighted with Basila, and readily accepted his in vitation to accompany him to the dining-salon for a glass of wine. Basila presented him to Don Andrea, who bade him welcome, and the colonel was pleased with the Don. He left in thorough good-burhour, and bis parting remark was significant: I 1 shall have the pleasure of rrieet ing you again very soon, senors.' 1 Well, Don, I arranged for swords as weapons, the place a spot suggested by the colonel, and time at sunset to-day,' said Basila, when they were again alone. ' It suits me perfectly, my dear Senor 'Basiia,. and I shall enjoy a good night's rest after killing Don Delorme,' was the quiet response. Two hours after, the Don and his guest drove away from the mansion. Their destination was a point on the coast below the town. They reached the spot to which the coachman had been directed, 'and found they were the first upon the scene.
* But a boat was seen approaching, and in it, besides the oarsmen, were several officers. '?? The footman, at the order of Senor Basila, took a case from the carriage, and carried it to a spot beneath the trees near by. Then the boat had landed, and three officers approached. Captain Delorme was in undress naval uniform, but Colonel Enderos Quitella had rigged himself out in full-dress regimentals for the affair. The third of the party was the surgeon of the captain's ship. ' The- officers saluted as they iap proached, and Don Andrea and Basiia bowed, the former with a smile upon his face. Don Delorme was in grim humour, to judge by his face. He knew that he was to meet a man who would be merciless towards him, and had just cause to be. But the Spanish naval officer was aware of the fact that he had never met his superior with a sword, and in a friendly encounter had disarmed the famous colonel of lancers, who made up his mind that he would never quarrel with the captain. 1 It cannot be that two men live who are my superiors with a blade, so Delorme will kill him,' he had said to himself, on the way to the field. In his quiet way Senor Basila made his preparations for the meeting. The swords were taken out, and, after testing them, Colonel Quitella decided that they were even superior to his magnificent weapons, and con cluded that the duel should be fought with them. ' They are beyond compare, Senor Basila Bartona — beyond compare. Have they ever been baptised?' he said, with enthusiasm. ' Do you mean used in mortal combat, Senor Colonel f ? ' Yes, senor.1 1 They have both bee'n dyed with Human blood, Senor Colonel. Take your choice, please.' There was no choice, and the colonel selected one at random. Then the two men were placed in position.' This is to be a duel to the death, as I understand it, senors, though I know not the cause of your quarrel,' said Colonel Quitella. ' It is to be a duel to the death, Senor Colonel,' responded Basila. Then the swords crossed, and the duel begun. Both handled a weapon with a skill that was remarkable, and the colonel was wild with admiration. ' Don Delorme was as fierce as a tiger in his thrusts and lunges, while he glared savagely at his enemy. Don Andrea was as cool as an icicle, and wore on his face a wicked smile. Long and furious the combat waged, first) one and then the other giving ground, and neither yet showing that 'he was overmatched. At length, as if by common con sent, the swords were lowered and the two men stood at rest. But only for a few moments, for Don Andrea raised his blade again as a signal for the fight to be re sumed. He fought even more coolly than before, whiie Captain Deiorme seemed to be even more savage in his attacks. Presently the sword-point of the slaver touched the shoulder of his enemy, drawing blood. Then it just scratched his neck. A third time it cut a gash into the other shoulder, and Captain Delorme became maddened, for he felt that his adversary held him at his mercy. Another skilful movement of the wrist, and the chin of the naval officer was laid open. ' Great Heaven, he plays with him now !' cried the colonel. But still Don Andrea did not strike the fatai blow. He seemed to wish to torture his foe to the utmost, to make him feel that death was before him, and all that death implied. The Spanish officer was wild with rage, and Colonel Quitella called for a cessation of the combat for rest, fearing that his principal was being tired out, and hoping that a short respite would strengthen him. ? If you interfere, Senor Colonel,' you shall answer to me.' The colonel of lancers started, It was Senor Basila that ad dressed him, and he saw' that the second of Don Andrea knew what he was about, and, feeling that he was wrong, he said : ' I was wrong, senor* for it is a duel to the death.' 'Yes, to the death: His words were repeated, and by Don Andrea, Who the moment after drove his sword to the very hilt in the body of Captain Delorme, piercing through his heart CHAPTER XXIX. . THE PROMISE. Don Delorme, the famous naval officer, was dead. There was no denying that fact. And he had been killed in a duel with the stranger who had purchased for cash the grand home of the senor who had committed suicide when he saw his fortune going from him. -r . Then- rumours set the usually quiet Spanish town half-wild with excitement. Who was this very mysterious stranger who had so much money at his command, and who also had run through the heart the best swordsman in Spain 7 This question could only be answered with : ? He is Don Andrea De Costa, of the Castle.' The cause of the quarrel no one seemed to at first understand. Then it leaked out, in .some mysterious manner, that Captain
Delorme, years ago, had done «ome great injury to Don Andrea— had, m fact, gotten him kidnapped by a Moorish vessel, the crew of which had not put him to'ideMi, 'as' the. officer had decided they.shoujd, and paid them to do, but had sold him into slavery,' where some years he had remained, until at last he had become Mohammedan, then arose to power and wealth, and, returning to Spain, had sought revenge. Itwas also said that Captain Delorme had stolen from Don Andrea his bride, the beautiful Senora Isabel. , With these rumours going about, and set afloat by Don Andrea hint self in a secret way through Senor Basiia, the spmpathy of the people was with the avenger. Don Delorme .was never popular, and as he was dead, the populace' determined to show their apprecia tion of his dying by all going to the funeral. . It was an affair that dwarfed the burial of the suicide. But the Senora Isabel did not attend. It was said that she was overcome by the shock. At any rate she remained in the seclusion bf her elegant home. And irom its seclusion, after the funeral several days, she learned that Don Andrea was becoming a great favourite in the town . His purse was ever open to the poor, he was generous to all, courtly and kind, and, above all; he gave the finest dinners that had ever been known in that part of Spain. ,. ' It was not very long before the army and navy officers made Don Andrea their hero, and the citizens vied with each other in showing him honour. Bis guest, too, Senor Basila, was greatly admired, and when it was given out that he was to return to his plantations in the Uem of the Antilles, all seemed to regret that he was not going to make his home for ever with Don Andrea. n . ^ . One afternoon, some two months after the death of Captain Delorme, Don Andrea De Costa was riding on horseback along the beach. He had gone alone, as Senor Basila had accompanied a naval officer out to drive. Suddenly Andrea came upon a scene which he had not certainly expected to do. Seated in a crevice among the rocks, sketching the scene along the curving shores, was a lady. She was alone, and so en grossed in her work that she did not hear the hoof-falls of the horse in the yielding sand. Her mantilla had fallen from her shoulders, her veil did not conceal her face, as it had been thrown back behind her, and her eyes were upon the work of her pencil. In an instant the Don had dis mounted. He had never ridden that path before, and now he remembered that he was upon the grounds of the Delorme mansion, which was situated back upon the hill, nearly a quarter of a mile distant. But he did not need to know this, to under stand who it was that he beheld. It was Isabel Delorme. In an instant he was advancing towards her, and from his lips fell her name — 'Isabel!' .. . : She sprung to her feej: in alarm.. Her album of sketches, pencil, and mantilla fell at her feet. Her face flushed crimson and then became deathly white. But then her lips parted with the low uttered name — ? Andrea !' To Be Continued.