Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Dead Men Tell No Tales E. W. Hornung

Chapter XIII The Longest Day of My Life

Page 5 of 7

Table Of Contents: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

My heart and I stood still together. But my right hand tightened on stout wood, my right forefinger trembled against thin steel. The sound was not repeated. And at length I continued on my way down, my teeth set, an excuse on my lips, but determination in every fibre of my frame.

A shadow lay across the kitchen floor; it was that of the deaf mute, as he stood on a chair before the fire, supporting himself on the chimney piece with one puny arm, while he reached overhead with the other. I stood by for an instant, glorying in the thought that he could not hear me; the next, I saw what it was he was reaching up for - a bell-mouthed blunderbuss - and I knew the little devil for the impostor that he was.

"You touch it," said I, "and you'll drop dead on that hearth."

He pretended not to hear me, but he heard the click of the splendid spring which Messrs. Deane and Adams had put into that early revolver of theirs, and he could not have come down much quicker with my bullet in his spine.

"Now, then," I said, "what the devil do you mean by shamming deaf and dumb?"

"I niver said I was owt o' t' sort," he whimpered, cowering behind the chair in a sullen ague.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

"But you acted it, and I've a jolly good mind to shoot you dead!" (Remember, I was so weak myself that I thought my arm would break from presenting my five chambers and my ten-inch barrel; otherwise I should be sorry to relate how I bullied that mouse of a man.) "I may let you off," I continued, "if you answer questions. Where's your wife?"

"Eh, she'll be back directly! " said Braithwaite, with some tact; but his look was too cunning to give the warning weight. "I've a bullet to spare for her," said I, cheerfully; "now, then, where is she?"

"Gone wi' the oothers, for owt I knaw."

"And where are the others gone?"

"Where they allus go, ower to t' say."

"Over to the sea, eh? We're getting on! What takes them there?"

"That's more than I can tell you, sir," said Braithwaite, with so much emphasis and so little reluctance as to convince me that for once at least he had spoken the truth. There was even a spice of malice in his tone. I began to see possibilities in the little beast.

"Well," I said, "you're a nice lot! I don't know what your game is, and don't want to. I've had enough of you without that. I'm off to-night."

"Before they get back?" asked Braithwaite, plainly in doubt about his duty, and yet as plainly relieved to learn the extent of my intention.

"Certainly," said I; "why not? I'm not particularly anxious to see your wife again, and you may ask Mr. Rattray from me why the devil he led me to suppose you were deaf and dumb? Or, if you like, you needn't say anything at all about it," I added, seeing his thin jaw fall; "tell him I never found you out, but just felt well enough to go, and went. When do you expect them back?"

Page 5 of 7 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Dead Men Tell No Tales
E. W. Hornung

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004