“You cost me that place. You did. Speak!... You did that and that would be enough, without more. How dared you come betwixt me and a young woman I liked? … When didn’t you? It was you as always give Old Orlick a bad name to her.”
“I come upon her from behind, as I come upon you to-night. I giv’it her! I left her for dead, and if there had been a limekiln as nigh her as there is now nigh you, she shouldn’t have come to life again. But it warn’t Old Orlick as sis it; it was you. You was favored, and he was bullied and beat. Old Orlick bullied and beat, eh? Now you pays for it. You done it; now you pays for it.”
We touched the stairs lightly for a single momnt, and he was on board and we were off again. He had a boat-cloak with him, and a black canvas bag, and he looked as much like a river-pilot as my heart could wish.
“Dear boy!” he said, putting his arm on my shoulder, as he took his seat. “Faithful dear boy, well done. Thankye, thankye!”
Still in the same moment, I saw the prisoner start up, lean across his captor, and pull the cloak from the neck of the shrinking sitter in the galley. Still in the same moment I saw that face disclosed, was the face of the other convict of long ago. Still in the same moment I saw the face tilt back ward with a white terror on it that I shall never forget, and heard a great cry on board the steamer and a loud splash in the water, and felt the boat sink from under me.
That there were, still living, people enough who were able and willing to identify him, I could not doubt. That he would be leniently treated, I could not hope. He who had been presented in the worst light at his trial, who had since broken prison and been tried again, who had returned from transportation for a life sentence, and who had occasioned the death of the man who was the cause of his arrest.