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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, October 22, 1924, Image 24

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The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
(Continued from Yesterday's Star.)
Peter Blood alone, escaping' these
excessive sufferings, remained out
wardly unchanged, whilst inwardly
the only change in him was a daily
deeper hatred of his kind, a daily deeper
longing to escape from this place where
man defiled so foully- the lovely work
of his Creator. It was a longing too
vague to amount to a hope. Hope
here was inadmissible. And yet he
did not yield to despair. He sat a
mask of laughter on his saturnine
countenance and went his way. treat
ing the sick to the profit of Colonel
Bishop, and encroaching further and
further upon the preserves of llie two
other men of medicine in Bridgetown.
Immune from the degrading pun
ishments and privations of his fel
low-convicts, he was enabled to keep
his self-respect. and was treated
without harshness even hy the soul
less planter to whom he had been
sold. He owed it all to gout and
megrims. He had won the esteem of
Governor Steed, and—what is even
more important—of Governor Steed’s
lady, whom he shamelessly and cyn
ically flattered and humored.
Occasionally lie saw Miss Bishop,
and they seldom met but that she
paused to hold him in conversation !
for some moments, evincing her in- I
terest in him. Himself, he was never
disposed to linger. He was not, he
told himself, to be deceived by her I
delicate exterior, her sapling grace, |
her easy, boyish ways and pleasant,
boyish voice. In all his life—and it
had been very varied —he had never
met a man whom he accounted more i
- beastly than her uncle, and he could
not dissociate her from the man. She i
■was his niece, of his own blood, and I
Some of the vices of it, some of the |
remorseless cruelty of the wealthy |
planter, must, he argued, inhabit that I
pleasant body of hers. He argued I
this very often to himself, as if an- 1
swering and convincing some instinct j
that pleaded otherwise, and, arguing j
It. he vaolded her when it was possi
ble. ahd was frigidly civil when It 1
was not.
Justifiable as his reasoning was, j
plausible as it may seem, yet he |
would have done better to have trust- I
ed the instinct that was in conflict |
with it. Though the same blood ran i
in her veins as in those of Colonel |
Bishop, yet hers was free of the vices I
that tainted her uncle’s, for these I
vices were not natural to that blood; J
they were, in his case, acquired. Her i
father. Tom Bishop—that same Colo
nel Bishop’s brother had been a
kindly-, chivalrous, gentle soul, who,
• broken-hearted by the early death
of a young wife, had abandoned the
Old World and sought an anodyne for
his grief in the New. He had come
out to the Antilles, bringing with him |
his little daughter, then five years of
age. and had given himself up to the
life of a planter. He had prospered
from the first, as men sometimes will
who care nothing for prosperity.
Prospering, he had bethought him of
his younger brother, a soldier at
home, reputed somewhat wild. He
had advised him to come out to Bar
bados; and the advice, which at an
other season AVilliam Bishop might
have scorned, reached him at a mo
ment when his wildness was begin
ning to bear such fruit that a change
of climate was desirable. William
came, and was admitted by his gen
erous brother to a partnership in the
prosperous plantation. Some six
years later, when Arabella was fif
teen, her father died, leaving her in
her uncle's guardianship. It was per
haps his one mistake. But the good
ness of his own nature colored his
views of other men; moreover, him
self, he had conducted the education
of his daughter, giving her an inde
pendence of character upon which
perhaps he counted unduly. As things
were, there was little love between
uncle and niece. But she was dutiful
to him, and he was circumspect in his
behaviour before her. All his life.
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and for all his wildness, he had gone
in a certain awe of his brother, whose
worth he had the wit to recognize:
and now it was almost as if some of
that awe was transferred to his
brother’s child, who was also, in a
sense, his partner, although she took
no active part in the business of the
Peter Blood judged her—as we are
all too prone to judge—upon insuffi
cient knowledge.
Ho was very soon to have cause
to correct that judgment.
One day toward the end of May,
when the heat was beginning to grow
oppressive, there crawled into Car
lisle Bay a wounded, battered Eng
lish ship, the Pride of Devon, her
freeboard scarred and broken, her
coach a gaping wreck, her mizzen so
shot away that only a jagged’stump
remained to tell the place where it
had stood. She had been in action off
Martinique with two Spanish treasure
ships, and although her captain swore
that the Spaniards had beset him
without provocation, it is difficult to
avoid a suspicion that the encounter
had been brought about quite other
wise. One of the Spaniards had fled
from (he combat, and if the Pride
of Devon had not given chase it was
I probably because she was by then
i in'no case to do so. The other had
j been sunk, but not before the Eng
-1 lish ship had transferred to her own
I hold a good dea! of the treasure
| aboard the Spaniard. It was. in fact,
j one of those piratical affrays which
i were a perpetual source of trouble
1 between the courts of St. James and
j the Escurial, complaints emanating
■ now from one and now from the other
1 side.
I Steed, however, after the fashion of
| most colonial governors, was willing
| enough to dull his wits to the ex
tent of accepting the English sea
man’s story, disregarding any evl
| dence that might belie it. He shared
| the hatred so richly deserved by ar
j rogant, overbearing Spain that was
common to men of every other na
j tion from the Bahamas to the Main.
I Therefore he gave the Pride of Devon
j the shelter she sought in bis har
• bor and every facility to careen and
I carry out repairs.
j But before it came to this, they
1 fetched from her hold over a score
| of English seamen as battered and
i broken as the ship herself, and to
! gether with these some half-dozen
j Spaniards in like case, the only sur-
I vivors of a boarding party from the
Spanish galleon that bad invaded the
English ship and found itself unable
to retreat. These wounded men were
conveyed to a long shed on the wharf
and the medical skill of Bridgetown
was summoned to their aid. Peter
Blood was ordered to bear a hand in
| this work, and partly because he
spoke Castilian—and he spoke it as
fluently as his own native tongue—
partly- because of his inferior condi
tion as a slave, he was given the
Spaniards for his patients.
Now Blood had no cause to love
Spaniards. His two’ years in a
Spanish prison and his subsequent
campaigning in the Spanish Nether
lands had shown him a side of the
Spanish character which he had found
anything but admirable Neverthe
less, he performed his dlctor’s duties
zealously and painstakingly, if erno
tionlessly. and even with a certain
superficial friendliness toward each
of his patients. These were so sur
prised at having their wounds healed
instead of being summarily hanget
that they manifested a docility very
unusual In theih kind. They were
shunned, however, by all those char
itably disposed inhabitants of Bridge
town who flocked to the improvised
hospital with gifts of fruit and flow
ers and delicacies for the injured
English seamen. Indeed, had the
wishes of some of these inhabitants
been regarded, the Spaniards would
have been left to die like vermin, and
of this Peter Blood had an example
almost at the very outset.
r ( mo use qgmvimo it- ] fpoosoe' ebvT) *
) i'r»t a flat FA»uoß.e. / \ i Feet so*»y f
j 'IM
( TeteePAPH T s' ****'< a
) Wlßer To 6TA-TIOM B-L-A-H. <6* St.-J S
f 5oy!(! s!•*ky
<,ee »m! MAjce
- \ y
With the assistance of one of the
negroes sent to the shed for the pur
pose, he was in the act of setting a
broken leg, when a deep, gruff voice,
that he had come to know and dis
like as he had never disliked the
voice of living man, abruptly chal
lenged him.
“What are you doing there?"
Blood did not look up from his task.
There was not the need. He knew
the voice, as I have said.
“I am setting a broken leg,” he
answered, without pausing in his
"I can see that, fool.” A bulky
body interposed between Peter Blood
and the window. The half-naked
man on the straw rolled his black
eyes to stare up fearfully out of a
clay-colored face at this intruder. A
knowledge of English was unneces
sary to inform him that here came an
enemy. The harsh, minatory note of
that voice sufficiently expressed the
fact. “I can see that, fool; just as I
can see what the rascal is. Who gave
you leave to set Spanish legs?”
"I am a doctor. Col. Bishop. The
man is wounded. It is not for me to
discriminate. I keep to my trade.”
"Do you. by God! If you'd done
that, you wouldn’t now be here.”
"On the contrary, it is because I
did it that I am here.”
"Aye, I know that’s your lying
tale.” The colonel sneered; and then,
observing Blood to continue his work
unmoved, he grew really angry.
"Will you cease that and attend to
mo when I am speaking?"
Peter Blood paused, but only for an
Instant. "The man is in pain.” he
said shortly, and resumed ills work.
"In pain, is he? I hope he is, the
damned piratical dog. But will you
heed me, you insubordinate knave?”
The colonel delivered himself in a
roar. Infuriated by what he con
ceived to be defiance, and defiance
expressing Itself in the most un
ruffled disregard of himself. His long
bamboo cane was raised to strike.
Peter Blood's blue eyes caught the
flash of it and he spoke quickly to
arrest the blow.
"Not insubordinate, sir, whatever I
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may be. 1 am acting upon th® ex
press orders of Gov. Steed.”
The colonel checked, hts great face
empurpling. Hts mouth fell open.
"Gov. Steed!” he echoed. Then he
lowered his cane, swung round and,
without another word to Blood, roiled
away toward the other end of the
shed where the governor was stand
ing at the moment. I
Peter Blood chuckled. But his
triumph was dictated less by humani
tarian considerations than by the re
flection that he had balked his brutal
The Spaniard, realizing that In this
altercation, whatever its nature, the
doctor had stood his friend, ventured
in a muted voice to ask him what had
happened. But the doctor shook his
head in silence and pursued his work.
His ears were straining to catch the '
words now passing between Steed and
Bishop. The colonel was blustering ■
and storming, the great bulk of him
tow«rln» above tho wizened little
overdressed figure of the governor.
But the little fop was not to be brow
beaten. Hie excellency was conscious
that he bad behind him the force of
public opinion to support him. Some
there might be, but they were not
many, who held such ruthless views
as Col. Bishop. His excellency assert
ed his authority. It was by his or
der* that Blood had devoted himself
to the wounded Spaniards, and his
orders were to be carried out. There
was no more to be said.
Col. Bishop was of another opinion.
In his view there was a great deal to
be said. He said it, with great cir
cumstance, loudly, vehemently, ob
scenely—for he could be fluently ob
scene when moved to anger.
"Tou talk like a Spaniard, colonel,”
said the governor and thus dealt the
colonel's pride a wound that was to
smart resentfully for many a week.
At the moment It struck him silent
and sent him stamping out of the
shed In a rage for which he could
find no words.
(Continued In Tomorrow’s Star.)
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