But this was not to be the sum total of the destroyer’s programme. There came a sudden burst of firing, and the boys saw the water churned into foam around the spot where a few seconds before that queer tube had been sighted.
The golden coils drooped above her chips. “Yes—yes. Just a minute. Hayley, you’ll have to pay for me.—There,
“Mamma,” said Frances, “how can I go back? He told me to go and leave them.”
"Turn the Stinkers out, Mister," Nef command-banded.
"Good, healthy game," he commented, staring rather contemptuously. "Keeps you in the open air."
Poirot turned away. Over his shoulder he said with a peculiar smile:
up, an' he say out loud: 'Gent'men, take all. Take my plantation, my house an' furniture, my horses an' cattle an' stock an' ev'ything. I'm a bankrup', but I'm a honest man.' An' dey try ter smoove him down, an' arter a while dey went off.
The conclusion to be drawn from the facts laid before us is, that in an age of remote antiquity (M. Boucher de Perthes, the well-known French author and antiquarian, has written a book to prove that it was prior to the Deluge) the entire face of the earth was covered by a nomad people, speaking the one language, and living after the same rude fashion, with no other weapons than sharpened stone. This race passed away, and no research has ever yet discovered their name, their language, their religion, or the era of their existence. Not an inscription, not a word, not a letter graven on any stone have they left to allay the torturing curiosity of the inquirer. Yet traces of them have been found from Mexico to Japan; from the steppes of Tartary to the Pampas; round the shores of every European sea, and along the coasts of the two oceans. Wherever man’s foot has trodden within historic times, they trod before all history. Even in this outlying isle of ours vestiges of this people are strewn so thickly that the very soil seems made of their remains. Then another race swept across Europe—a comparatively cultured race, bearing with them the chief element of civilization—a knowledge of metals. They spread over both sides of the Danube; left their footprints in Italy and on the shores of the Baltic; overran Switzerland, France, and Belgium, giving names to the rivers they passed, the mountains they crossed, and the towns they founded, which names cling to them even to this day. From Belgium they spread to Britain, and from thence, or by the seacoast of Spain, they reached Ireland, where they founded the existing Irish race, and brought with them the knowledge of metals, the art of music and poetry, and the still existing Irish language. Historians name287 these people the Celts. On the Continent they were gradually crushed down beneath the Roman and Gothic races, and in Britain also by successive conquests. But Ireland suffered no conquest. Here the old Celtic race lived and flourished, and here alone their language, which everywhere else melted into a compound with the Gothic and Latin, maintained its distinct existence. The English language is the gradually formed product and result of the successive conquests of England. But no invading people ever gained sufficient strength in Ireland to influence the original language. It exists still amongst us, living and spoken the same as when thousands of years ago the Celtic people first crossed the Danube and gave it the name it now bears. For this reason all the archæologists of Europe turn their eyes to our sacred isle, as to the one great museum of the Celtic race. Thus, Professor Keller, of Zurich, anxiously studies the formation of Irish crannoges, to compare them with the Swiss; and the learned Pictet, of Geneva, demands the long-deferred completion of the Irish Dictionary, with an ardour that puts to shame our own apathy, as without it comparative philology wants its chief corner-stone. The great facts of our Museum, illustrated, described, and laid before the learned of Europe in a comprehensive form, will go far to correct the crude, imperfect notions of Continental writers concerning Irish antiquities. For instance, Professor Lindenschmidt, of Mayence, asserted in one of his earlier published works, that all the ancient bronze articles found on this side of the Alps were imported from Etruria, as a people so barbarous as the Irish could never have produced them. The fact being, that the largest, most varied, most highly decorated collection of bronze celts existing is to be found in our Museum, along with numerous specimens of the moulds in which they were cast, discovered on the very spot where the ancient workman had lit his furnace. This universal interest and demand for information are enough to stimulate our learned men to exertion, seeing that they are, in a measure, answerable to Europe for the proper preservation of our antiquities, the very rudest of which can tell some tale of the past, as the mere furrows along the streets of the dead Pompeii show that life once passed there.
“I resaved” ses the auld gintleman, stepping into the hall, “a nonnymuss epissle this marning. Ordinary I ignoar sich things, but me suspishuns had alreddy been aroused. I tuk it upon mesilf to play the detictive to-nite. When me sun left the house I followed him here. I saw him inter ye’re place be way of the—er—bastemint” ses he hortily. “I wayted around a bit and thin desided to spake to you personally. You—er—probably appreeshiate me position” ses he. “I of coorse, shall absolutely refuse to reckynise anny foolish shcrape of the yungster—he’s a mere boy” he adds loftily.
“Only for a little wile” ses he “joost to consillerate dad. He thinks” ses he smilling scornfully, “that I’m not in airnest darlint. He offers to put me to the test. He’s guv me his ward that he’ll put no obsticle in me parth if I’ll be gone for 6 months. Darlint” ses he “you kin wate that long for me. Otherwise I don’t see what we can do. I haven’t a red cent and we cuddent live on nothing.”
"How would you like to go to India?" he asked her, dallying with the prospect of taking her there, visualising her bright presence in his bungalow.
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