Read CHAPTER XLI of Jack Harkaway's Boy Tinker Among The Turks, free online book, by Bracebridge Hemyng, on ReadCentral.com.

A DOSE OF PALM OIL.

Having settled the hash of jovial Captain Robinson, we now proceed to the pleasant task of measuring out justice to others.

Messieurs Murray and Chivey are the persons we mean.

Those gentlemen, having taken such excellent precautions to cut off young Jack Harkaway’s communications with the outer world, fancied themselves tolerably safe.

Yet every now and then Murray’s nerves were shaken as he thought of the vindictive Lenoir.

What had become of that dangerous individual?

The police had gone to the spot where Murray told them he had left the coiner senseless, and there they certainly found traces of a severe struggle, but Lenoir had disappeared.

The peasant also had done his duty as a French citizen by reporting the affair to the first gendarme he met on his road.

But though Marseilles was thoroughly searched, no trace of the man could be found, either in the town or the surrounding rural districts.

“There’s one consolation, guv’nor,” observed Chivey, “he won’t dare show his ugly mug in Marseilles any more, so you’re safe enough here.”

“He’s desperate enough for any thing.”

“It’s galleys for life if he’s collared, and he knows it well enough.”

“Galleys! ugh!”

And Herbert Murray gave a convulsive shudder, in which he was sympathetically joined by Chivey.

“Ain’t it ’orrid to see them poor devils chained to the oars, and the hoverseer a walkin’ up and down with his whip, a-lashin’ ’em?” said Chivey.

“’Tis, indeed.”

Murray again paused and shuddered, but after a moment, he continued

“But it would be jolly, though, to see Harkaway and his friends at it.”

“Crikey! and wouldn’t I jest like to see that old beast of a Mole pulling away on his stumps. D’ye think they’ll all get it?” asked Chivey.

“Yes, unless they manage to communicate with their friends or the consul.”

“Then I had better just stroll up and see if our old pal the gaoler has stopped any more letters.”

“Yes, go by all means, for if we don’t call for them, he’s likely enough to give them up to

Murray hesitated, but Chivey instantly supplied the word.

“The rightful owners, you mean, guv’nor.”

“Cut away!” sharply exclaimed Murray, who was annoyed at the liberties taken by his quondam servant.

Chivey strolled up towards the prison, and was just in time to meet the gaoler coming out.

“Mornin’, mossoo,” he said, with a familiar nod, “rather warm, ain’t it? What d’ye say to a bottle of wine jest to wash the dust out o’ yer throat?”

The Frenchman did not comprehend a fourth part of this speech, but he understood that he was to partake of a bottle of wine, and at once signified his willingness.

Vid moosh plaisir, m’sieu.”

And he led the way to a cabaret where they sold his favourite wine.

“Now have you got any letters for me?” said Chivey, when they were comfortably seated at a table, remote from the few other customers, who were engaged in a very noisy game of dominoes.

“No understand,” said the man, shaking his head.

“Any letters billy duxes?”

The man made a gesture to indicate that he did not understand.

“Thick-headed old idiot,” muttered Chivey; then calling in pantomime to aid his lack of French, he produced the first letter Jack had written to the consul.

“Letter, like this.”

The gaoler’s eyes twinkled; he nodded and half drew from the breast-pocket of his uniform the very document Chivey was so anxious to get hold of.

“Hand it over, old pal,” he said, holding out his hand.

The gaoler smiled as he again concealed the letter.

Then he in turn held out his hand, and made signs that he required something to be dropped into it.

“Old cormorant wants more palm oil,” muttered Chivey, and most reluctantly he drew from his pocket one of the gold pieces Herbert Murray had given him for the purpose of bribing the gaoler.

But the Frenchman shook his head.

“Two; I cannot part with the letter under two,” he said, in much better English than he had hitherto spoken.

“Well, I’m blest! Why couldn’t you speak like that before? We’d have come to business much sooner.”

“I thought Monsieur would like to exhibit his extensive knowledge of the French tongue, but here is the letter.”

“And here’s the coin. I will buy as many as you can get at the same figure.”

“You shall certainly have the first chance.”

Chivey helped himself to another glass, and asked

“When is the trial to be?”

“The judge, unfortunately, has been taken ill, and the prisoners will have to wait about three weeks for an opportunity of proving their innocence.”

“That’s unfortunate. What do you think they’ll get?”

“If found guilty, twenty years at the galleys.”

“What, old wooden legs and all?”

“The gentleman who has lost his limbs will be probably sent to some other employment.”

“What a pity. Well, good-bye, old cock; keep your weather-eye open.”

Au revoir, monsieur.

Cocking his hat very much on one side, Chivey stalked out of the place.