« السابقةمتابعة »
matter wid him — but den what make him go about looking dis here way, wid he head down and he soldiers up, and as white as a gose ? And den he keep a syphon all de time
“Keeps a what, Jupiter ?”
“Keeps a syphon wid de figgurs on de slate - de queerest figgurs I ebber did see. Ise gittin to be skeered, I tell you. Hab for to keep mighty tight eye pon him noovers. Todder day he gib me slip fore de sun up and was gone de whole ob de blessed day. I had a big stick ready cut for to gib him d-d good beating when he did come — but Ise sich a fool dat I hadn't de heart arter all -- he look so berry poorly."
“Eh ?— what?--- ah, yes !— upon the whole I think you had better not be too severe with the
fellow -don't flog him, Jupiter — he can't very well stand it
- but can you form no idea of what has occasioned this illness, or rather this change of conduct ? anything unpleasant happened since I saw you?"
“No, massa, dey aint bin noffin onpleasant since den - 'twas fore den I'm feared — 'twas de berry day
you was dare."
"How? what do you mean?”
“De bug - I'm berry sartain dat Massa Will bin bit somewhere bout de head by dat goole-bug."
“And what cause have you, Jupiter, for such a supposition?"
“ Claws enuff, massa, and mouff too. I nebber did see sich a d-d bug — he kick and he bite ebery ting what cum near him. Massa Will cotch him fuss, but had for to let him go gin mighty quick, I tell you den was de time he must ha got de bite. I didn't like de look ob de bug mouff, myself, nohow, so I wouldn't take hold ob him wid my finger, but I cotch him wid a piece ob paper dat I found. I rap him up in de paper and stuff piece ob it in he mouff — dat was de
“And you think, then, that your master was really bitten by the beetle, and that the bite made him sick?”
“I don't tink noffin about it - I nose it. What make him dream bout de goole so much, if taint cause he bit by de goole-bug? Ise heerd bout dem goolebugs fore dis.”
“But how do you know he dreams about gold?”
“How I know? why cause he talk about it in he sleep dat's how I nose.”
“Well, Jup, perhaps you are right; but to what fortunate circumstance am I to attribute the honor of a visit from you to-day?"
“What de matter, massa ?” “Did you bring any message from Mr. Legrand ?"
“No, massa, I bring dis here pissel ;” and here Jupiter handed me a note which ran thus:
« MY DEAR
: Why have I not seen you for so long a time? I hope you have not been so foolish as
to take offence at any little brusquerie of mine ; but no, that is improbable.
“ Since I saw you I have had great cause for anxiety. I have something to tell you, yet scarcely know how to tell it or whether I should tell it at all.
“I have not been quite well for some days past, and poor old Jup annoys me, almost beyond endurance, by his well-meant attentions. Would you believe it? — he had prepared a huge stick, the other day, with which to chastise me for giving him the slip and spending the day, solus, among the hills on the mainland. I verily believe that my ill looks alone saved me a flogging.
“I have made no addition to my cabinet since we met.
“ If you can, in any way, make it convenient, come over with Jupiter. Do come. I wish to see you tonight, upon business of importance. I assure you that it is of the highest importance.
“ WILLIAM LEGRAND."
There was something in the tone of this note which gave me great uneasiness. Its whole style differed materially from that of Legrand. What could he be dreaming of? What new crotchet possessed his excitable brain? What “ business of the highest importance" could he possibly have to transact? Jupiter's account of him boded no good. I dreaded lest the continued pressure of misfortune had, at length, fairly
unsettled the reason of my friend. Without a moment's hesitation, therefore, I prepared to accompany the negro.
Upon reaching the wharf, I noticed a scythe and three spades, all apparently new, lying in the bottom of the boat in which we were to embark.
“ What is the meaning of all this, Jup?" I inquired. “Him syfe, massa, and spade.”
Very true; but what are they doing here?” “ Him de syfe and de spade what Massa Will sis pon my buying for him in de town, and de debbil's own lot of money I had to gib for em.”
“But what, in the name of all that is mysterious, is your “Massa Will' going to do with scythes and spades?"
“Dat's more dan I know, and debbil take me if I don't blieve 'tis more dan he know, too. But it's all cum ob de bug.”
Finding that no satisfaction was to be obtained of Jupiter, whose whole intellect seemed to be absorbed by“ de bug," I now stepped into the boat and made sail. With a fair and strong breeze we soon ran into the little cove to the northward of Fort Moultrie, and a walk of some two miles brought us to the hut. It was about three in the afternoon when we arrived. Legrand had been awaiting us in eager expectation. He grasped my hand with a nervous empressement which alarmed me and strengthened the suspicions already entertained. His countenance was pale even
to ghastliness, and his deep-set eyes glared with unnatural lustre. After some inquiries respecting his health, I asked him, not knowing what better to say, if he had yet obtained the scarabæus from Lieutenant G
“Oh, yes," he replied, coloring violently, “I got it from him the next morning. Nothing should tempt me to part with that scarabeus. Do you know that Jupiter is quite right about it?"
'In what way?" I asked, with a sad foreboding at heart.
“ In supposing it to be a bug of real gold.” He said this with an air of profound seriousness, and I felt inexpressibly shocked.
“ This bug is to make my fortune,” he continued, with a triumphant smile, “ to reinstate me in my family possessions. Is it any wonder, then, that I prize it? Since Fortune has thought fit to bestow it upon me, I have only to use it properly and I shall arrive at the gold of which it is the index. Jupiter, bring me that scarabeus!''
“What! de bug, massa ? I'd rudder not go fer trubble dat bug — you mus git him for your own self.” Hereupon Legrand arose, with a grave and stately air, and brought me the beetle from a glass case in which it was enclosed. It was a beautiful scarabæus, and, at that time, unknown to naturalists - of course a great prize in a scientific point of view. There were two round, black spots near one extremity of the back, and a long one near the other. The scales were exceed