The giant raft ...

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
The giant raft ...
Physical Description:
2 v. : ill, map ; 19 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Verne, Jules, 1828-1905
Gordon, W. J ( William John )
Benett, Léon
Hildibrand, Henri Théophile
Charles Scribner's Sons
Donor:
Baldwin Childrens Literature Endowment ( endowment )
Publisher:
Charles Scribner's Sons
Place of Publication:
New York
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cryptography -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Judges -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Death -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Marriage -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Indians of South America -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Juvenile fiction -- Amazon River   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1881   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1882
Genre:
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Jules Verne ; translated by W.J. Gordon.
General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Hildibrand after L. Benett.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is in the Public Domain for expiration of the term of copyright protection.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002239207
notis - ALH9733
oclc - 03142143
System ID:
AA00009636:00002


This item is only available as the following downloads:


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THE GIANT RAFT.

(PART II.)


THE CRYPTOGRAM.
























































His special alphabet was in one hand, the cryptogram in the other.
Frontispiece.







THE GIANT RAFT
(PART II)




THE CRYPTOGRAM





JULES VERNE



TRANSLATED BY W. J. GORDON










NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1882
[All rights reserved]























CONTENTS.





CHAPTER I.

MANAOS .

CHAPTER II.
THE FIRST MOMENTS .

CHAPTER III.
RETROSPECTIVE .

CHAPTER IV.
MORAL PROOFS .

CHAPTER V.
MATERIAL PROOFS. .

CHAPTER VI.
THE LAST BLOW .

CHAPTER VII.
RESOLUTIONS .

CHAPTER VIII.
THE FIRST SEARCH .

CHAPTER IX.
THE SECOND ATTEMPT .


PAGE
3
* 3






22



34


S 48



S* 57


75


S 84


S96









CONTENTS.


CHAPTER X.

A CANNON SHOT. .

CHAPTER XI.
THE CONTENTS OF THE CASE

CHAPTER XII.
THE DOCUMENT .

CHAPTER XIII.
IS IT A MATTER OF FIGURES?

CHAPTER XIV.
CHANCE! .

CHAPTER XV.
THE LAST EFFORTS .

CHAPTER XVI.
PREPARATIONS .

CHAPTER XVII.
THE LAST NIGHT.

CHAPTER XVIII.
FRAGOSO .

CHAPTER XIX.
THE CRIME OF TIJUCO.

CHAPTER XX.
iHE LOWER AMAZON .


PAGE
S 104



. 119



S 129



S 146



62



S177



S 189



S 202



* 215



S 228



S. 240
















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.




His special alphabet was in one hand, the cryptogram in the
other. Frontispiece.
PAGE
The fashionable promenade at Manaos 8
The Giant Raft at its moorings near Manaos 18
Judge Jarriquez was there, his back turned towards the window 39
The Judge leant back in his chair. 48
" This is a much stranger affair than I ever thought it would be 56
" We saw him turning towards the Amazon 6
Manoel and Fragoso saw two men standing face to face to each
other .. ..... .63
Torres and Benito stepped forward 70
He disappeared beneath the waters of the river 73
Five minutes afterwards the four boats started from the raft .83
The river bottom was stirred up in every direction 90
"Nothing ?" she asked .. 95
Benito was lowered into the stream 103
Near him was a tangled mass of reeds and twigs 10
It was the carcass of a huge cayman 112
It slowly ascended to the surface of the Amazon 118
Not a single exterior movement betraying that he still lived 120
A dock of birds of prey pounced on the floating body 125








VIll LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


PAGE
Judge Jarriquez was at last in his true element 133
"And now, young man, just look at it!" 155
His servants, black or white, dared not come near him 166
A flock of humming-birds betook themselves to flight .. 170
Benito, Manoel, and Minha tried to extract the secret from the
document 177
They arrived in front of the prison 191
By the afternoon all was ready 200
Hardly ever did he mention the document 203
" To fly is to dishonour myself, and you with me 10
The gallows. .. 215
It was Fragoso .. 216
" And the name of that friend was ? "-" Ortega" 218
Judge Jarriquez flew from his study into the street, shouting,
"Halt! Halt!" 227
Jarr!quez at rest at last 239
Into the midst of magnificent forests 246
Numerous vessels were descending the river 248
Joam was received with absolutely frantic applause 252




















THE GIANT RAFT.
(PART II.)


THE CRYPTOGRAM.














..

















THE CRYPTOGRAM.




CHAPTER I.

MANAOS.

THE town of Manaos is in 3 8' 4" south latitude, and 670

27' west longitude, reckoning from the Paris meridian. It

is some 420 leagues from Belem, and about ten miles from

the embouchure of the Rio Negro.

Manaos is not built on the Amazon. It is on the left

bank of the Rio Negro, the most important and remark-

able of all the tributaries of the great artery of Brazil,

that the capital of the province, with its picturesque

group of private houses and public buildings, towers above

the surrounding plain.

The Rio Negro, which was discovered by the Spaniard
B 2







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


Favella in 1645, rises in the very heart of the province of

Popayan, on the flanks of the mountains which separate

Brazil from New Grenada, and it communicates with the

Orinoco by two of its affluents, the Pirichin and the

Cassiquary.

After a noble course of some 1700 miles it mingles its

cloudy waters with those of the Amazon through a mouth

IIoo feet wide, but such is its vigorous influx that many a

mile has to be completed before those waters lose their dis-

tinctive character. Hereabouts the ends of both its banks

trend off, and form a huge bay fifteen leagues across, ex-

tending to the islands of Anavilhanas ; and in one of its

indentations the port of Manaos is situated. Vessels of

all kinds are there collected in great numbers, some moored
\
in the stream awaiting a favourable wind, others under

repair up the numerous iguarapes, or canals, which so

capriciously intersect the town, and give it its slightly

Dutch appearance.

With the introduction of steam-vessels, which is now

rapidly taking place, the trade of Manaos is destined to







MANAOS.


increase enormously. Woods used in building and furni-

ture work, cocoa, caoutchouc, coffee, sarsaparilla, sugar-

canes, indigo, muscado nuts, salt fish, turtle butter, and

other commodities, are brought here from all parts, down

the innumerable streams into the Rio Negro from the west

and north, into the Madeira from the west and south, and

then into the Amazon, and by it away eastwards to the

coast of the Atlantic.

Manaos was formerly called Moura, or Barra de Rio

Negro. From 1757 to 1804 it was only part of the cap-

taincy which bears the name of the great river at whose

mouth it is placed; but since 1826 it has been the capital

of the large province of Amazones, borrowing its latest

name from an Indian tribe which formerly existed in

these parts of Equatorial America.

Careless travellers have frequently confounded it with

the famous Manoa, a city of romance, built, it was re-

ported, near the legendary lake of Parima-which would

seem to be merely the Upper Branco, a tributary of the

Rio Negro. Here was the Empire of El Dorado, whose







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


monarch, if we are to believe the fables of the district,

was every morning covered with powder of gold, there

being so much of the precious metal abounding in this

privileged locality, that it was swept up with the very

dust of the streets. This assertion, however,, when put

to the test, was disproved, and with extreme regret, for

the auriferous deposits which had deceived the greedy

scrutiny of the gold-seekers turned out to be only worth-

less flakes of mica!

In short, Manaos has none of the fabulous splendours

of the mythical capital of El Dorado. It is an ordinary

town of about 500ooo inhabitants, and of these at least 3000

are in Government employ. This fact is to be attributed

to the number of its public buildings, which consist of the

Legislative Chamber, the Government House, the Trea-

sury, the Post-office, and the Custom-house, and, in addi-

tion, a college founded in 1848, and a hospital erected in

1851. When with these is also mentioned a cemetery on
the south side of a hill, on which, in 1669, a fortress,

which has since been demolished, was thrown up against







MANAOS. 7


the pirates of the Amazon, some idea can be gained as

to the importance of the official establishments of the city.

Of religious buildings it would be difficult to find more
than two, the small Church of the Conception and the

Chapel of Notre Dame des Remedes, built on a knoll which

overlooks the town. These are very few for a town of

Spanish origin, though to them should perhaps be added

the Carmelite Convent, burnt down in 1850, of which only
the ruins remain. The population of Manaos does not

exceed the number above given, and after reckoning the

public officials and soldiers, is principally made up of

Portuguese and Indian merchants belonging to the

different tribes of the Rio Negro.

Three principal thoroughfares of considerable irregu-

larity run through the town, and they bear names highly
characteristic of the tone of thought prevalent in these

parts-God-the-Father Street, God-the-Son Street, and

God-the-Holy-Ghost Street!

In the west of the town is a magnificent avenue of
centenarian orange-trees, which were carefully respected







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


by the architects who out of the old city made the new.

Round these principal thoroughfares is interwoven a per-

fect network of unpaved alleys, intersected every now

and then by four canals, which are occasionally crossed

by wooden bridges. In a few places these iguarapes

flow with their brownish waters through large vacant

spaces covered with straggling weeds and flowers of

startling hues, and here and there are natural squares

shaded by magnificent trees, with an occasional white-

barked sumaumeira shooting up, and spreading out its

large dome-like.parasol above its gnarled branches.

The private houses have to be sought for amongst

some hundreds of dwellings of very .rudimentary type,

some roofed with tiles, others with interlaced branches of

the palm-tree, and with prominent miradcrs, and projeet-

ing shops for the most part tenanted by Portuguese

traders.

And what manner of people are they who stroll on to

the fashionable promenade from the public buildings and

private residences ? Men of good appearance, with black






























































The fashionable promenade at Manaos.


Page S.







MANAOS.


cloth coats, chimney-pot hats, patent-leather boots, highly-

coloured gloves, and diamond pins in their necktie bows;

and women in loud, imposing tilets, with flounced

dresses and headgear of the latest style; and Indians,

also on the road to Europeanization in a way which bids

fair to destroy every bit of local colour in this central

portion of the district of the Amazon !

Such is Manaos, which, for the benefit of the reader,

it was necessary to sketch. Here the voyage of the

giant raft, so tragically interrupted, had just come to a

pause in the midst of its long journey, and here will be

unfolded the further vicissitudes of the mysterious history

of the fazender of Iquitos.







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


CHAPTER II.

THE FIRST MOMENTS.


SCARCELY had the pirogue which bore off Joam Garral, or

rather Joam Dacosta-for it is more convenient that he

should resume his real name-disappeared, than Benito

stepped up to Manoel.

"What is it you know ? he asked.

I know that your father is innocent! Yes, innocent!"

replied Manoel, "and that he was sentenced to death

three-and-twenty years ago for a crime which he never

committed !"

He has told you all about it, Manoel ?"

"All about it," replied the young man. "The noble

fazender did not wish that any part of his past life should







THE FIRST MOMENTS. It


be hidden from him who, when he marries his daughter, is

to be his second son.'
And the proof of his innocence my father can one day

produce ? "

That proof, Benito, lies wholly in the three-and-twenty

years of an honourable and honoured life, lies entirely in

the bearing of Joam Dacosta, who comes forward to say

to justice, 'Here am I! I do not care for this false

existence any more. I do not care to hide under a name

which is not my true one! You have condemned an

innocent man! Confess your error and set matters

right.' "

"And when my father spoke like that, you did not

hesitate for a moment to believe him ? "

'" Not for an instant," replied Manoel.

The hands of the two young fellows closed in a long

and cordial grasp.

Then Benito went up to Padre Passanha.

Padre," he said, take my mother and sister away to

their rooms. Do not leave them all day. No one here







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


doubts my father's innocence-not one, you know that!

To-morrow my mother and I will seek out the chief of the

police. They will not refuse us permission to visit the

prison. No! that would be too cruel. We will see my

father again, and decide what steps shall be taken to

procure his vindication."

Yaquita was almost helpless, but the brave woman,

though nearly crushed by the sudden blow, arose. With

Yaquita Dacosta it was as with Yaquita Garral. She had

not a. doubt as to the innocence of her husband. The

idea even never occurred to her that Joam Dacosta had

been to blame in marrying her under a name which was

not his own. She only thought of the life of happiness

she had led with the noble man who had been injured so

unjustly. Yes On the morrow she would go to the gate

of the prison, and never leave it until it was opened !

Padre Passanha took her and her daughter, who

could not restrain her tears, and the three entered the

house.

The two young fellows found themselves alone.







THE FIRST MOMENTS.


"And now," said Benito, I ought to know all that my

father has told you."

"I have nothing to hide from you."

"Why did Torres come on board the jangada ?"

To sell to Joam Dacosta the secret of his past life."

"And so, when we first met Torres in the forest of

Iquitos, his plan had already been formed to enter into

communication with my father ?"

"There cannot be a doubt of it," replied Manoel. "The

scoundrel was on his way to the fazenda with the idea of

consummating a vile scheme of extortion which he had

been preparing for a long time."

"And when he learnt from us that my father and his

whole family were about to pass the frontier, he suddenly

changed his line of conduct ? "

"Yes. Because Joam Dacosta once in Brazilian terri-

tory became more at his mercy than while within the

frontiers of Peru. That is why we found Torres at

Tabatinga, where he was waiting in expectation of our

arrival."







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


"And it was I who offered him a passage on the raft! "

exclaimed Benito, with a gesture of despair.

"Brother," said Manoel, "you need not reproach your-

self. Torres would have joined us sooner or later. He

was not the man to abandon such a trail. Had we

lost him at Tabatinga, we should have found him at

Manaos."

"Yes, Manoel, you are right. But we are not concerned

with the past now. We must think of the present. An

end to useless recriminations! Let us see!" And while

speaking, Benito, passing his hand across his forehead,

endeavoured to grasp the details of this strange affair.

How," he asked, "did Torres ascertain that my father

had been sentenced three-and-twenty years back for this

abominable crime at Tijuco ?"

"I do not know," answered Manoel, "and everything

leads me to think that your father did not know that."

"But Torres knew that Garral was the name under

which Joam Dacosta was living ?"

"Evidently."







THE FIRST MOMENTS.


"And he knew that it was in Peru, at Iquitos, that for

so many years my father had taken refuge?"

He knew it,' said Manoel, but how he came to know

it I do not understand."

One more question," continued Benito. "What was

the proposition that Torres made to my father during

the short interview which preceded his expulsion ?"

"He threatened to denounce Joam Garral as being

Joam Dacosta, if he declined to purchase his silence."

And at what price? "

"At the price of his daughter's hand! answered

Manoel, unhesitatingly, but pale with anger.

"The scoundrel dared to do that exclaimed Benito.

To this infamous request, Benito, you saw the reply

that your father gave."

"Yes, Manoel, yes! The indignant reply of an honest

man. He kicked Torres off the raft. But it is not enough

to have kicked him out. No That will not do for me.

It was on Torres's information that they came here and

arrested my father; is not that so ?"







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


"Yes, on his denunciation."

"Very well," continued Benito, shaking his fist towards

the left bank of the river, "I must find out Torres. I

must know how he became master of the secret. He must

tell me if he knows the real author of this crime. He shall

speak out. And if he does not speak out, I know what I

shall have to do."

"What you will have to do is for me to do as

well!" added Manoel, more coolly, but not less reso-

lutely.

"No Manoel, no, to me alone !"

"We are brothers, Benito," replied Manoel. "The right

of demanding an explanation belongs to us both."

Benito made no reply. Evidently on that subject his

decision was irrevocable.

At this moment the pilot Araujo, who had been observ-

ing the state of the river, came up to them.

Have you decided," he asked, if the raft is to remain

at her moorings at the Isle of Muras, or to go on to the port

of Manaos ?"







THE FIRST MOMENTS.


The question had to be decided before nightfall, and the

sooner it was settled the better.

In fact, the news of the arrest of Joam Dacosta ought

already to have spread through the town. That it was of

a nature to excite the interest of the population of Manaos

could scarcely be doubted. But would it provoke more

than curiosity against the condemned man, who was the

principal author of the crime of Tijuco, which had formerly

created such a sensation? Ought they not to fear that

some popular movement might be directed against the

prisoner? In the face of this hypothesis was it not better

to leave the jangada moored near the Isle of Muras on

the right bank of the river at a few miles from Manaos ?

The pros and cons of the question were well weighed.

"No!" at length exclaimed Benito; "to remain here

would look as though we were abandoning my father and

doubting his innocence-as though we were afraid to

make common cause with him. We must go to Manaos,

and without delay "

"You are right," replied Manoel. "Let us go "

VOL. II.







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


Araujo, with an approving nod, began his preparations

for leaving the island. The manceuvre necessitated a good

deal of care. They had to work the raft slantingly across

the current of the Amazon, here doubled in force by that

of the Rio Negro, and to make for the embouchure of

the tributary about a dozen miles down on the left

bank.

The ropes were cast off from the island. The jangada,

again started on the river, began to drift off diagonally.

Araujo, cleverly profiting by the bendings of the current,

which were due to the projections of the banks, and assisted

by the long poles of his crew, succeeded in working the

immense raft in the desired direction.

In two hours the jangada was on the other side of the

Amazon a little above the mouth of the Rio Negro, and

fairly in the current which was to take it to the lower

bank of the vast bay which opened on the left side of the

stream.

At five o'clock in the evening it was strongly moored

alongside this bank, not in the port of Manaos itself,






























































The Giant Raft at its moorings near Manaos.


Page 18.







THE FIRST MOMENTS.


which it could not enter without stemming a rather

powerful current, but a short mile below it.

The raft was then in the black waters of the Rio Negro,

near rather a high bluff covered with cecropias with buds

of reddish brown, and palisaded with stiff-stalked reeds

called froxas," of which the Indians make some of their

weapons.

A few citizens were strolling about the bank. A feeling

of curiosity had doubtless attracted them to the anchorage

of the raft. The news of the arrest of Joam Dacosta had

soon spread about, but the curiosity of the Manaens did

not outrun their discretion, and they were very quiet.

Benito's intention had been to land that evening, but

Manoel dissuaded him.

"Wait till to-morrow," he said ; night is approaching,

and there is no necessity for us to leave the raft."

So be it! To-morrow !" answered Benito.

And here Yaquita, followed by her daughter and Padre

Passanha, came out of the house. Minha was still weeping,

but her mother's face was tearless, and she had that look

C2







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


of calm resolution which showed that the wife was now

ready for all things, either to do her duty or to insist on

her rights.

Yaquita slowly advanced towards Manoel.

Manoel," she said, "listen to what I have to say, for my

conscience commands me to speak as I am about to do."

"I am listening," replied Manoel.

Yaquita, looking him straight in the face, continued,

"Yesterday, after the interview you had with Joam

Dacosta, my husband, you came to me and called me-

mother! You took Minha's hand, and called her-your

wve! You then knew everything, and the past life of

Joam Dacosta had been disclosed to you."

"Yes," answered Manoel, "and Heaven forbid I should

have had any hesitation in doing so! "

Perhaps so," replied Yaquita; but then loam Dacosta

had not been arrested. The position is not now the same.

However innocent he may be, my husband is in the hands

of justice; his past life has been publicly proclaimed.

Minha is a convict's daughter."







TIE FIRST MOMENTS.


"Minha Dacosta or Minha Garral, what matters it to

me ?" exclaimed Manoel, who could keep silent no longer.

"Manoel! murmured Minha.

And she would certainly have fallen, had not Lina's

arm supported her.

Mother, if you do not wish to kill her," said Manoel,

"call me your son!"

"My son my child !"

It was all Yaquita could say, and the tears, which she

restrained with difficulty, filled her eyes.

And then they all re-entered the house. But during the
long night not an hour's sleep fell to the lot of the unfor-

tunate family who were being so cruelly tried.







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


CHAPTER III.


RETROSPECTIVE.


JOAM DACOSTA had relied entirely on Judge Ribeiro, and

his death was most unfortunate.

Before he was judge at Manaos, and chief magistrate in

the province, Ribeiro had known the young clerk at the

time he was being prosecuted for .the murder in the

diamond arrayal. He was then an advocate at Villa Rica,

and he it was who defended the prisoner at the trial. He

took the cause to heart and made it his own, and from an

examination of the papers and detailed information, and

not from the simple fact of his position in the matter, he

came to the conclusion that his client was wrongfully

accused, and that he had taken not the slightest part in


_







RETROSPECTIVE. 23


the murder of the escort or the theft of the diamonds-in

a word, that Joam Dacosta was innocent.

But, notwithstanding this conviction, notwithstanding

his talent and zeal, Ribeiro was unable to persuade the jury

to take the same view of the matter. How could he

remove so strong a presumption ? If it was not Joam

Dacosta, who had every facility for informing the scoun-

drels of the convoy's departure, who was it ? The official

who accompanied the escort had perished with the greater

part of the soldiers, and suspicion could not point against

him. Everything agreed in distinguishing Dacosta as the

true and only, author of the crime.

Ribeiro defended him with great warmth and with all

his powers, but he could not succeed in saving him. The

verdict of the jury was affirmative on all the questions.

Joam Dacosta, convicted of aggravated and premedi-

tated murder, did not even obtain the benefit of ex-

tenuating circumstances, and heard himself condemned

to death.

There was no hope left for the accused. No commuta-







TIE CRYPTOGRAM.


tion of the sentence was possible, for the crime was com-

mitted in the diamond arrayal. The condemned man was
lost. But during the night which preceded his execution,

and when the gallows was already erected, Joami Dacosta

managed to escape from the prison at Villa Rica. We

know the rest.

Twenty years later Ribeiro the advocate became the

chief justice of Manaos. In the depths of his retreat the

fazender of Iquitos heard of the change, and in it saw a

favourable opportunity for bringing forward the revision

of the former proceedings against him, with some chance

of success. He knew that the old convictions of the

advocate would be still unshaken in the mind of the judge.

He therefore resolved to try and rehabilitate himself. Had

it not been for Ribeiro's nomination to the chief justiceship in

the province of Amazones, he might perhaps have hesitated,

for he had no new material proof of his innocence to

bring forward. Although the honest man suffered acutely,

he might still have remained hidden in exile at Iquitos,

and still have asked for time to smother the remembrances







RETROSPECTIVE.


of the horrible occurrence, but something was urging him

to act in the matter without delay.
In fact, before Yaquita had spoken to him, Joam Dacosta

had noticed that Manoel was in love with his daughter.

The union of the young army doctor and his daughter

was in every respect a suitable one. It was evident to

Joam that some day or other he would be asked for her

hand in marriage, and he did not wish to be obliged to

refuse.

But then the thought that his daughter would have to

marry under a name which did not belong to her, that

Manoel Valdez, thinking he was entering the family of

Garral, would enter that of Dacosta, the head of which was

under sentence of death, was intolerable to him. No!

The wedding should not take place unless under proper

conditions Never!

Let us recall what had happened up to this time. 'Four

years after the young clerk who eventually became the

partner, of Magalhaes, had arrived at Iquitos, the old Portu-

guese had been taken back to the farm mortally injured.







26 THE CRYPTOGRAM.


A few days only were left for him to live. He was alarmed

at the thought that his daughter would be left alone and

unprotected; but knowing that Joam and Yaquita were in

love with each other, he desired their union without delay.

Joam at first refused. He offered to remain the pro-

tector or the servant of Yaquita without becoming her

husband. The wish of the dying Magalhais was so urgent
that resistance became impossible. Yaquita put her hand

into the hand of Joam, and Joam did not withdraw it.

Yes! It was a serious matter! Joam Dacosta ought

to have confessed all, or to have fled for ever from the

house in which he had been so hospitably received, from

the establishment of which he had built up the prosperity !

Yes! To confess everything rather than to give to the

daughter of his benefactor a name which was not his,

instead of the name of a felon condemned to death for

murder, innocent though he might be!

But the case was pressing, the old fazender was on the
point of death, his hands were stretched out towards the

young people Joam was, silent, the-marriage took- place,







RETROSPECTIVE.


and the remainder of his life was devoted to the happiness

of the girl he had made his wife.

"The day when I confess everything," Joam repeated,

"Yaquita will pardon everything! She will not doubt

me for an instant But if I ought not to have deceived

her, I certainly will not deceive the honest fellow who

wishes to enter our family by marrying Minha! No! I

would rather give myself up and have done with this life "

Many times had Joam thought of telling his wife about

his past life. Yes! the avowal was on his lips whenever

she asked him to take her into Brazil, and with her and

her daughter descend the beautiful Amazon river. He

knew sufficient of Yaquita to be sure that her affection for

him would not thereby be diminished in the least. But

courage failed him!

And this is easily intelligible in the face of the happiness

of the family, which increased on every side. This happi-

ness was his work, and it might be destroyed for ever by

his return.

Such had been his life for those long years ; such had been







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


the continuous source of his sufferings, of which he had

kept the secret so well; such had been the existence

of this man, who had no action to be ashamed of, and

whom a great injustice compelled to hide away from

himself!

But at length the day arrived when there could no longer

remain a doubt as to the affection which Manoel bore to

Minha, when he could see that a year would not go by

before he was asked to give his consent to her marriage,

and after a short delay he no longer hesitated to proceed

in the matter.

A letter from him, addressed to Judge Ribeiro, acquainted

the chief justice with the secret of the existence of Joam

Dacosta, with the name under which he was concealed,

with the place where he lived with his family, and at the

same time with his formal intention of delivering himself

up to justice, and taking steps to procure the revision of

the proceedings, which would either result in his rehabilita-

tion or in the execution of the iniquitous judgment delivered

at Villa Rica.







RETROSPECTIVE. 29


What were the feelings which agitated the heart of the

worthy magistrate? We can easily divine them. It was

no longer to the advocate that the accused applied, it was

to the chief justice of the province that the convict ap-

pealed. Joam Dacosta gave himself over to him entirely,

and did not even ask him to keep the secret.

Judge Ribeiro was at first troubled about this unex-

pected revelation, but he soon recovered himself, and

scrupulously considered the duties which the position im-

posed on him. It was his place to pursue criminals, and

here was one who delivered himself into his hands. This

criminal, it was true, he had defended; he had never

doubted but that he had been unjustly condemned ; his

joy had been extreme when he saw him escape by flight

from the last penalty; he had even instigated afd facili-

tated his flight! But what the advocate had done in the

past could the magistrate do in the present ?

"Well, yes !" had the judge said, my conscience tells

me not to abandon this just man. The step he is taking

is a fresh proof of his innocence, a moral proof, even if he







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


brings me others, which may be the most convincing of

all! No I will not abandon him! "

From this day forward a secret correspondence took

place between the magistrate and Jdam Dacosta. Ribeiro

at the outset cautioned his client against compromising
himself by any imprudence. He had again to work up

the matter, again to read over the papers, again to look

through the inquiries. He had to find out if any new facts

had come to light in the diamond province referring to so

serious a case. Had any of the accomplices of the crime,

of the smugglers who had attacked the convoy, been ar-

rested since the attempt ? Had any confessions or half-

confessions been brought forward ? Joam Dacosta had

done nothing but protest his innocence from the very

first. But that was not enough, and Judge Ribeiro was

desirous of finding in the case itself the clue to the real

culprit.

Joam Dacosta had accordingly been prudent. He had

promised to be so. But in all his trials it was an immense

consolation for him to find his old advocate, though now







RETROSPECTIVE.


a chief justice, so firmly convinced that he was not guilty.

Yes! Joam Dacosta, in spite of his condemnation, was a

victim, a martyr, an honest man to whom society owed a

signal reparation! And when the magistrate knew the

past career of the fazender of Iquitos since his sentence,

the position of his family, all that life of devotion, of work,

employed unceasingly for the happiness of those belong-

ing to him, he was not only more convinced but more

affected, and determined to do all that he could to procure

the rehabilitation of the felon of Tijuco.

For six months a correspondence had passed between

these two men.

One day, the case being pressing, Joam Dacosta wrote

to Judge Ribeiro,-

In two months I will be with you, in the power of the

chief justice of the province !"

"Come, then," replied Ribeiro.

The jangada was then ready to go down the river.

Joam Dacosta embarked on it with all his people. Dur-

ing the voyage, to the great astonishment of his wife and







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


son, he landed but rarely, as we know. More often he

remained shut up in his room, writing, working, not at his

trading accounts, but, without saying anything about it, at

a kind of memoir, which he called "The History of My

Life," and which was meant to be used in the revision of

the legal proceedings.

Eight days before his new arrest, made on account of

information given by Torres, which forestalled and per-

haps would ruin his prospects, he entrusted to an Indian

on the Amazon a letter, in which he warned Judge

Ribeiro of his approaching arrival.

The letter was sent and delivered as addressed, and the

magistrate only waited for Joam Dacosta to commence

on the serious undertaking which he hoped to bring to a

successful issue.

During the night before the arrival of the raft at Manacs

Judge Ribeiro was seized with an attack of apoplexy. But

the denunciation of Torres, whose scheme of extortion had

collapsed in face of the noble anger of his victim, had

produced its effect. Joam Dacosta was arrested in the







RETROSPECTIVE.


bosom of his family, and his old advocate was no longer

in this world to defend him !

Yes! the blow was terrible indeed. His lot was cast,

whatever his fate might be; there was no going back for

him And Joam Dacosta rose from beneath the blow

which had so unexpectedly struck him! It was not only

his own honour which was in question, but the honour of

all who belonged to him I


VOL. II.







34 THE CRYPTOGRAM.


CHAPTER IV.

MORAL PROOFS.


THE warrant against Joam Dacosta, alias Joam Garral,

had been issued by the assistant of Judge Ribeiro, who

filled the position of magistrate in the province of Ama-

zones, until the nomination of the successor of the late

justice.

This assistant bore the name of Vicente Jarriquez. He

was a surly little fellow, whom forty years' practice in

criminal procedure had not rendered particularly friendly

towards those who came before him. He had had so

many cases of this sort, and tried and sentenced so many

rascals, that a prisoner's innocence seemed to him a prior

admissible. To be sure, he did not come to a decision







MORAL PROOFS. 35

unconscientiously ; but his conscience was strongly fortified,
and was not easily affected by the circumstances of the
examination or the arguments for the defence. Like a
good many judges, he thought but little of the indulgence

of the jury, and when a prisoner was brought before him,

after having passed through the sieve of inquest, inquiry,
and examination, there was every presumption in his eyes

that the man was quite ten times guilty.

Jarriquez, however, was not a bad man. Nervous, fidgety,
talkative, keen, crafty, he had a curious look about him,
with his big head on his little body; his ruffled hair, which
would not have disgraced the judge's wig of the past; his
piercing gimlet-like eyes, with their expression of surprising

acuteness; his prominent nose, with which he would as-

suredly have gesticulated had it been movable; his ears

wide open, so as to better catch all that was said, even

when it was out of range of ordinary auditory apparatus;
his fingers unceasingly tapping the table in front of him,

like those of a pianist practising on the mute; and his body

so long and his legs so short, and his feet perpetually







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


crossing and recrossing, as he sat in state in his magistrate's

chair.

In private life, Jarriquez, who was a confirmed old

bachelor, never left his law-books but for the table which

he did not despise; for chess, of which he was a past

master; and above all things for Chinese puzzles, enigmas,

charades, rebuses, anagrams, riddles, and such things, with

which, like more than one European justice-thorough

sphinxes by taste as well as by profession-he principally

passed his leisure.

It will be seen that he was an original, and it will be

seen also how much Joam Dacosta had lost by the death

of Judge Ribeiro, inasmuch as his case would come before

this not very agreeable judge.

Moreover, the task of Jarriquez was in a way very simple.

He had neither to inquire nor to rule ; he had not even to

regulate a discussion nor to obtain a verdict, neither to

apply the articles of the penal code nor to pronounce a
sentence. Unfortunately for the fazender, such formalities

were no longer necessary; Joam Dacosta had been arrested,







MORAL PROOFS.


convicted, and sentenced three-and-twenty years ago for

the crime at Tijuco; no limitation had yet affected his

sentence. No demand in commutation of the penalty

could be introduced, and no appeal- for mercy could be

received. It was only necessary then to establish his

identity, and as soon as the order arrived from Rio Janeiro

justice would have to take its course.

But in the nature of things Joam Dacosta would protest

his innocence; he would say he had been unjustly con-

demned. The magistrate's duty, notwithstanding the

opinions he held, would be to listen to him. The question

would be, what proofs could the convict offer to make good

his assertions ? And if he was not able to produce them

when he appeared before his first judges, was he able to

do so now ?

Herein consisted all the interest of the examination.

There would have to be admitted the fact of a defaulter,

prosperous and safe in a foreign country, leaving his refuge

of his own free will to face the justice which his past life

should have taught him to dread, and herein would be one







TIE CRYPTOGRAM.


of those rare and curious cases which ought to interest even

a magistrate hardened with all the surroundings of forensic

strife. Was it impudent folly on the part of the doomed

man of Tijuco, who was tired of his life, or was it the

impulse of a conscience which would at all risks have

wrong set right ? The problem was a strange one, it must

be acknowledged.

On the morrow of Joam Dacosta's arrest, Judge Jarriquez

made his way to the prison in God-the-Son Street, where

the convict had been placed. The prison was an old mis-
sionary convent, situated on the bank of one of the princi-

pal iguarapes of the town. To the voluntary prisoners'of

former times there had succeeded in this building, which

was but little adapted for the purpose, the compulsory

prisoners of to-day. The room occupied by Joam Dacosta

was nothing like one of those sad little cells which form

part of our modern penitentiary system: but an old monk's

room, with a barred window without shutters, opening on

to an uncultivated space, a bench in one corner, and a

kind of pallet in the other.


























































Judge Jarriquez was there, his back turned towards the window.

Page 39.







MORAL PROOFS.


It was from this apartment that Joam Dacosta, on this

25th of August, about eleven o'clock in the. morning, was

taken and brought into the judge's room, which was the

old common hall of the convent.

Judge Jarriquez was there in front of his desk, perched

on his high chair, his back turned towards the window, so

that his face was in shadow while that of the accused

remained in: full daylight. His clerk, with the indifference

which characterizes these legal folks, had taken his seat at

the end of the table, his pen behind his ear, ready to record

the questions and answers.

Joam Dacosta was introduced into the room, and at a

sign from the judge the guards who had brought him with-

drew.

Judge Jarriquez looked at the accused for some time.

The latter, leaning slightly forwards and maintaining a

becoming attitude, neither careless nor humble, waited

with dignity for the questions to which he was expected

to reply.

Your name ?" said Judge Jarriquez.







40 TIE CRYPTOGRAM.

"Joam Dacosta."

"Your age ?"

Fifty-two."

"Where do you live?"

"In Peru, at the village of Iquitos."

Under what name? "

"Under that of Garral, which is that of my mother."

And why do you bear that name ? "

Because for three-and-twenty years I wished to hide

myself from the pursuit of Brazilian justice."

The answers were so exact, and seemed to show that

Joam Dacosta had made up his mind to confess every-

thing concerning his past and present life, that Judge Jar-

riquez, little accustomed to such a course, cocked up his

nose more than was usual to him.

And why," he continued, "should Brazilian justice

pursue you ?"

"Because I was sentenced to death in 1826 in the

diamond affair at Tijuco."

You confess then that you are Joam Dacosta ?"







MORAL PROOFS.


"I am Joam Dacosta."

All this was said with great calmness, and as simply as

possible. The little eyes of Judge Jarriquez, hidden by

their lids, seemed to say,-

"Never came across anything like this before."

He had put the invariable question which had hitherto

brought the invariable reply from culprits of every cate-

gory protesting their innocence. The fingers of the judge
began to beat a gentle tattoo on the table.

"Joam Dacosta," he asked, "what were you doing at

Iquitos ?"

"I was a fazender, and engaged in managing a farming

establishment of considerable size."

It was prospering ?"

"Greatly prospering."

How long ago did you leave your fazenda ?"

"About nine weeks."

"Why ?"

"As to that, sir," answered Dacosta, I invented a pre-

text, but in reality I had a motive."







42 THE CRYPTOGRAM.


What was the pretext ?"

"The responsibility of taking into Para a large raft,

and a cargo of different products of the Amazon."

Ah and what was the real motive of your departure ?"

And in asking this question Jarriquez said to himself,-

"Now we shall get into denials and falsehoods."

"The real motive," replied Joam Dacosta, in a firm

voice, "was the resolution I had taken to give myself up

, the justice of my country."

You give yourself up! exclaimed the judge, rising

from his stool. "You give yourself up of your own free

will ? "

Of my own free will."

"And why?"

Because I had had enough of this lying life, this obli-

gation to live under a false name, of this impossibility to

be able to restore to my wife and children that which

belongs to them; in short, sir, because-"

Because ?"

'" I was innocent 1"







MORAL PROOFS.


"That is what I was waiting for!" said Judge Jarri-

quez aside.

And while his fingers tattooed a slightly more audible

march, he made a sign with his head to Dacosta, which

signified as clearly as possible "Go on! Tell me your

history! I know it, but I do not wish to interrupt you in

telling it in your own way."

Joam Dacosta, who did not disregard the magistrate's

far from encouraging attitude, could not but see this, and

he told the history of his whole life. He spoke quietly

without departing from the calm he had imposed upon

himself, without omitting any circumstances which had

preceded or succeeded his condemnation. In the same

tone he insisted on the honoured and honourable life he

had led since his escape, on his duties as head of his

family, as husband and father, which he had so worthily

fulfilled. He laid stress only on one circumstance-that

which had brought him to Manaos to urge on the revision

of the proceedings against him, to procure his rehabilita-

tion-and that he was compelled to do.







44 THE CRYPTOGRAM.


Judge Jarriquez, who was naturally prepossessed against

all criminals, did not inteirupt him. He contented him-

self with opening and shutting his eyes like a man who

heard the story told for the hundredth time ; and whe;i

Joam Dacosta laid on the table the memoir which he had

drawn up, he made no movement to take it.

"You have finished ?" he said.

"Yes, sir."

"And you persist in asserting that you only left

Iquitos to procure the revision of the judgment against

you."

"I had no other intention."

"What is there to prove that ? Who can prove, that

without the denunciation which brought about your arrest,

you would have given yourself up ? "

This memoir in the first place."

"That memoir was in your possession, and there is

nothing to show that had you not been arrested you

would have put it to the use you say you intended."

"At the least, sir, there was one thing that was not in







MORAL PROOFS. 45


my possession, and of the authenticity of which there can

be no doubt."

"What ?"

The letter I wrote to your predecessor, Judge Ribeiro,

the letter which gave him notice of my early arrival."

"Ah you wrote ? "

Yes And the letter which ought to have arrived at

its destination should have been handed over to you."

"Really !" answered Judge Jarriquez, in a slightly in-

credulous tone. "You wrote to Judge Ribeiro."

"Before he was a judge in this province," answered

Joam Dacosta, "he was an advocate at Villa Rica. He

it was who defended me in the trial at Tijuco. He never

doubted of the justice of my cause. He did all he could

to save me. Twenty years later, when he had become chief

justice at Manaos, I let him know who I was, where I was,
and what I wished to attempt. His opinion about me

had not changed, and it was at his advice I left the

fazenda, and came in person to proceed with my rehabi-

litation. But death has unfortunately struck him, and







40 THE CRYPTOGRAM.

maybe I shall be lost, sir, if in Judge Jarriquez I do not

find another Judge Ribeiro."

The magistrate, appealed to so directly, was about to
star up in defiance of all the traditions of the judicial

bench, but he managed to restrain himself, and was con-

tented with muttering,-

S"Very strong, indeed; very strong !"
SJudge Jarriquez was evidently hard of heart, and proof

against all surprise.

At this moment a guard entered the room, and handed

a sealed packet to the magistrate.

He broke the seal and drew a letter from the envelope.

He opened it and read it, not without a certain contrac-

tion of his eyebrows, and then said,-

I have no reason for hiding from you, Joam Dacosta,

that this is the letter you have been speaking about, ad-

dressed by you to Judge Ribeiro and sent on to me. I

have, therefore, no reason to doubt what you have said on

the subject."

Not only on that subject," answered Dacosta, but on







MORAL PROOFS. 47


the subject of all the circumstances of my life which I have

brought to your knowledge, and which are none of them

open to question."

"Eh! Joam Dacosta," quickly replied Judge Jarriqucz.

"You protest'your innocence; but all prisoners do as much !

After all, you only offer moral presumptions. Have you

any material proof ? "

"Perhaps I have," answered Joam Dacosta.

At these words, Judge Jarriquez left his chair. This was

too much for him, and he had to take two or three circuits

of the room to recover himself.







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


CHAPTER V.

MATERIAL PROOFS.


WHEN the magistrate had again taken his place, like a

man who considered he was perfectly master of himself, he

leant back in his chair, and with his head raised and his

eyes looking straight in front, as though not even noticing

the accused, remarked, in a tone of the most perfect in-

difference,-" Go on."

Joam Dacosta reflected for a minute as if hesitating to

resume the order of his thoughts, and then answered as

follows,-

Up to the present, sir, I have only given you moral

presumptions of my innocence grounded on the dignity,

propriety, and honesty of the whole of my life. I should




























































The Judge leant back in his chair.
Page 48.







MATERIAL PROOFS.


have thought that such proofs were those most worthy of

being brought forward in matters of justice."

Judge Jarriquez could not restrain a movement of his

shoulders, showing that such was not his opinion.

"Since they are not enough, I proceed with the material

proofs which I shall perhaps be able to produce," continued

Dacosta; "I say perhaps, for I do not yet know what

credit to attach to them. And, sir, I have never spoken

of these things to my wife or children, not wishing to raise

a hope which might be destroyed."

"To the point," answered Jarriquez.

I have every reason to believe, sir, that my arrest on

the eve of the arrival of the raft at Manaos is due to in-

formation given to the chief of the police ? "

"You are not mistaken, Joam Dacosta, but I ought to

tell you that the information is anonymous."

It matters little, for I know that it could only come

from a scoundrel called Torres."

And what right have you to speak in such a way of

this-informer ?"

VOL. II. E







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


"A scoundrel! Yes, sir!" replied Joam, quickly.

"This man, whom I received with hospitality, only came

to me to propose that I should purchase his silence to offer

me an odious bargain that I shall never regret having

refused, whatever may be the consequences of his de-

nunciation !"

"Always this method!" thought Judge Jarriquez;

"accusing others to clear himself."

But he none the less listened with extreme attention to

Joam's recital of his relations with the adventurer up to

the moment when Torres let him know that he knew and

could reveal the name of the true author of the crime of

Tijuco.

"And what is the name of the guilty man?" asked

Jarriquez, shaken in his indifference.

"I do not know," answered Joam Dacosta. "Torres

was too cautious to let it out."

"And the culprit is living-"

"He is dead."

The fingers of Judge Jarriquez tattooed more quickly,







MATERIAL PROOFS. 51


and he could not avoid exclaiming, "The man who

can furnish the proof of a prisoner's innocence is always

dead."

"If the real culprit is dead, sir," replied Dacosta, Torres

at least is living, and the proof, written throughout in the

handwriting of the author of the crime, he has assured me

is in his hands! He offered to sell it to me!"

"Eh Joam Dacosta! answered Judge Jarriquez, "that

would not have been dear at the cost of the whole of your

fortune i"

It Torres had only asked my fortune, I would have

given it to him, and not one of my people would have

demurred! Yes, you are right, sir; a man cannot pay

too dearly for the redemption of his honour! But this

scoundrel, knowing that I was at his mercy, required more

than my fortune "

How so ?"

My daughter's hand was to be the cost of the bargain !

I refused ; he denounced me; and that is why I am now

before you! '







52 ITIE CRYPTOGRAM.


"And if Torres had not informed against you," asked

Judge Jarriquez-" if Torres had not met with you on

your voyage, what would you have done on learning on

your arrival of the death of Judge Ribeiro ? Would you

then have delivered yourself into the hands of justice ?"

"Without the slightest hesitation," replied Joam, in a

firm voice; "for, I repeat it, I had no other object in

leaving Iquitos to come to Manaos."

This was said in such a tone of truthfulness, that Judge

Jarriquez experienced a kind of feeling making its way to

that corner of the heart where convictions are formed, but

he did not yet give in.

He could hardly help being astonished. A judge

engaged merely in this examination, he knew nothing of

what is known by those who have followed this history, and

who cannot doubt but that Torres held in his hands the

material proof of Joam Dacosta's innocence. They know

that the document existed ; that it contained this evidence ;

and perhaps they may be led to think that Judge Jarriquez

was pitilessly incredulous. But they should remember that







MATERIAL PROOFS.


Judge Jarriquez was not in their position; that he was

accustomed to the invariable protestations of the culprits

who came before him. The document which Joam Dacosta

appealed to was not produced ; he did not really know if it

actually existed; and to conclude, he had before him

a man whose guilt had for him the certainty of a settled

thing.

However, he wished, perhaps through curiosity, to drive

Joam Dacosta behind his last entrenchments.

"And so," he said, "all your hope now rests on the

declaration which has been made to you by Torres."

'cs, sir, if my whole life does not plead for me."

Where do you think Torres really is? "

I think in Manaos."

And you hope that he will speak-that he will consent

to good-naturedly hand over to you the document for

which you have declined to pay the price he asked ?"

"I hope so, sir," replied Joam Dacosta; "the situation now

is not the same for Torres; he has denounced me, and con-

sequently he cannot retain any hope of resuming his bar.







TIE CRYPTOGRAlM.


gaining under the previous conditions. Iut this document

might still be worth a fortune if, supposing I am acquitted

or executed, it should ever escape him. Hence his interest

is to sell me the document, which can thus not injure him in

any way, and I think he will act according to his interest."

The reasoning of Joam Daccsta was unanswerable, and

Judge Jarriquez felt it to be so. He made the only possib

objection.

"The interest of Torres is doubtless to sell you the

document-if the document exists."

"If it does not exist," answered Joam Dacosta, in a

penetrating voice, in trusting to the justice of men, I must

put my trust only in God !"

Atthese words Judge Jarriquez rose, and, in not quite such

an indifferent tone, said, "Joam Dacosta, in examining'you

here, in allowing you to relate the particulars of your past

life and to protest your innocence, I have gone further than

my instructions allow me. An information has already

been laid in this affair, and you have appeared before the

jury at Villa Rica, whose verdict was given unanimously,







MATERIAL PROOFS.


and without even the addition of extenuating circumstances.,

You have been found guilty of the instigation of, and com-

plicity in, the murder of the soldiers and the robbery of the

diamonds at Tijuco, the capital sentence was pronounced

on you, and it was only by flight that you escaped execu-

tion. But that you came here to deliver yourself over, or

not, to the hands of justice threz-and-twenty years after-

wards, you would never have been retaken. For the last

time, you admit that you are Joam Dacosta, the condemned

man of the diamond arrayal ? "

"I am Joam Dacosta "

"You are ready to sign this declaration ?"

"I am ready."

And with a hand without a tremble Joam Dacosta put

his name to the foot of the declaration and the report

which Judge Jarriquez had made his clerk draw up.

The report, addressed to the minister of justice, is to

be sent off to Rio Janeiro," said the magistrate. Many

days will elapse before we receive orders to carry out your

sentence. If then, as you say, Torres possesses the proof of







TIE CRYPTOGRAM.


your innocence, do all you can yourself-do all you can

through your friends-do everything, so that that proof can

be produced in time Once the order arrives no delay will

be possible, and justice must take its course."

Joam Dacosta bowed slightly.

Shall I be allowed in the meantime to see my wife and

children ?" he asked.

"After to-day, if you wish," answered Judge Jarriquez;
"you are no longer in close confinement, and they can be

brought to you as soon as they apply."

The magistrate then rang the bell. The guards entered

the room, and took away Joam Dacosta.

Judge Jarriquez watched him as he went out, and shook

his head and muttered,-

Well, well! This is a much stranger affair than I ever

thought it would be 1"



























































"This is a much stranger affair than I ever thought it would be!"

Page 56.







THE LAST BLOW. 57


CHAPTER VI.

THE LAST BLOW.


WHILE Joam Dacosta was undergoing this examination,

Yaquita, from an inquiry made by Manoel, ascertained

that she and her children would be permitted to see the

prisoner that very day about four o'clock in the after-

noon.

Yaquita had not left her room since the evening before.

Minha and Lina kept near her, waiting for the time when

she would be admitted to see her husband.

Yaquita Garral or Yaquita Dacosta, he would still find

her the devoted wife and brave companion he had ever

known her to be.

About eleven o'clock in the morning Benito joined







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


Manoel and Fragoso, who were talking in the bow of the

jangada.
Manoel," said he, I have a favour to ask you."

What is it?"

And you too, Fragoso."

I am at your service, Mr. Benito," answered the barber.

What is the matter ?" asked Manoel, looking at his

friend, whose expression was that of a man who had come

to some unalterable resolution.

You never doubt my father's innocence ? Is that so ?"

said Benito.

"Ah !" exclaimed Fragoso. Rather I think it was I

who committed the crime."

Well, we must now commence on the project I thought

of yesterday."

To find out Torres ? asked Manoel.

"Yes, and know from him how he found out my father's

retreat. There is something inexplicable about it. Did

he know it before ? I cannot understand it, for my father

never left Iquitos for more than twenty years, and this







THE LAST BLOW. 59


scoundrel is hardly thirty! But the day will not close

before I know it; or, woe to Torres !"

Benito's resolution admitted of no discussion; and

besides, neither Manoel nor Fragoso had the slightest

thought of dissuading him.

"I will ask, then," continued Benito, "for both of you

to accompany me. We shall start in a minute or two.
It will not do to wait till Torres has left Manaos. He has

no longer got his silence to sell, and the idea might occur

to him. Let us be off!"
And so all three of them landed on the bank of the

Rio Negro and started for the town.

Manaos was not so considerable that it could not be

searched in a few hours. They had made up their minds

to go from house to house, if necessary, to look for Torres,

but their better plan seemed to be to apply in the first

instance to the keepers of the taverns and lojas where the

adventurer was most likely to put up. There could hardly

be a doubt that the ex-captain of the woods would not

have given his name; he might have personal reasons fur







00 THE CRYPTOGRAM.


avoiding all communication with the police. Neverthe-

less, unless he had left Manaos it was almost impossible for

him to escape the young fellows' search. In any case,

there would be no use in applying to the police, for it was

very probable-in fact, we know that it actually was so-

that the information given to them had been anonymous.

For an hour Benito, Manoel, and Fragoso walked along

the principal streets of the town, inquiring of the trades-

men in their shops, the tavern-keepers in their cabarets,

and even the bystanders, without any one being able to

recognize the individual whose description they so accu-

rately gave.

Had Torres left Manaos? Would they have to give up

all hope of coming across him ?

In vain Manoel tried to calm Benito, whose head seemed

on fire. Cost what it might, he must get at Torres !

Chance at last favoured them, and it was Fragoso who

put them on the right track.

In a tavern in Holy Ghost Street, from the description

which the people received of the adventurer, they replied

























































"We saw him turn towards the Amazon."


Page 61.







THE LAST BLOW.


that the individual in question had put up at the loja the

evening before.

"Did he sleep here ?" asked Fragoso.

"Yes," answered the tavern-keeper.

"Is he here now?"

"No. He has gone out."

"But has he settled his bill, as a man would who has

gone for good ? "

"By no means; he left his room about an hour ago, an

he will doubtless come back to supper."

"Do you know what road he took when he went out ?

"We saw him turning towards the Amazon, going

through the lower town, and you will probably meet him

on that side."

Fragoso did not want any more. A few seconds after-

wards he rejoined the young fellows, and said,-

I am on the track."

He is there !" exclaimed Benito.

"No; he has just gone out, and they have seen him

walking across to the bank of the Amazon."







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


"Come on !" replied Benito.

They had to go back towards the river, and the shortest

way was for them to take the left bank of the Rio Negro,

down to its mouth.

Benito and his companions soon left the last houses of

the town behind, and followed the bank, making a slight

detour so as not to be observed from the jangada.

The plain was at this time deserted. Far away the

view extended across the flat, where cultivated fields had

replaced the former forests.

Benito did not speak; he could not utter a word.

Manoel and Fragoso respected his silence. And so the

three of them went along and looked about on all sides as

they traversed the space between the bank of the Rio

Negro and that of the Amazon. Three quarters of an

hour after leaving Manaos, and still they had seen

nothing!

Once or twice Indians working in the fields were met

with. Manoel questioned them, and one of them at length

told him that a man, such as he described, had just passed




























































Manoel and Fragoso saw two men standing fate to face to each other.
Page 63.







THE LAST BLOW.


in the direction of the angle formed by the two rivers at

their confluence.

Without waiting .for more, Benito, by an irresistible

movement, strode to the front, and his two companions

had to hurry on to avoid being left behind.

The left bank of the Amazon was then about a quarter

of a mile off. A sort of cliff appeared ahead, hiding a

part of the horizon, and bounding the view a few hundred

paces in advance.

Benito, hurrying on, soon disappeared behind one of the

sandy knolls.

"Quicker! quicker!" said Manoel to Fragoso. "We

must not leave him alone for an instant."

And they were dashing along when a shout struck on

their ears.

Had Benito caught sight of Torres ? What had he seen?

Had Benito and Torres already met ?

Manoel and Fragoso, fifty paces farther on, after swiftly

running round one of the spurs of the bank, saw two men

standing face to face to each other.







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


They were Torres and Benito.

In an instant Manoel and Fragoso had hurried up to

them. It might have been supposed that in Benito's state

of excitement he would be unable to restrain himself

when he found himself once again in the presence of the

adventurer. It was not so.

As soon as the young man saw himself face to face

with Torres, and was certain that he could not escape, a

complete change took place in his manner, his coolness

returned, and he became once more master- of him-

self.

The two men looked at one another for a few moments

without a word.

Tbrres first broke silence, and in the impudent tone

habitual to him, remarked,-

"Ah! How goes it, Mr. Benito Garral ?"

"No, Benito Dacosta! answered the young man.

"Quite so," continued Torres. Mr. Benito Dacosta,

accompanied by Mr. Manoel Valdez and my friend

Fragoso !"







THE LAST BLOW. 65


At the irritating qualification thus accorded him by the

adventurer, Fragoso, who was by no means loth to do him

some damage, was about to rush to the attack, when

Benito, quite unmoved, held him back.

"What is the matter with you, my lad ?" exclaimed

Torres, retreating for a few steps. I think I had better

put myself on guard."

And as he spoke he drew from beneath his poncho

his manchetta, the weapon, adapted at will for offence or

defence,. which a Brazilian is never without. And then,

slightly stooping, and planted firmly on his feet, he waited

for what was to follow.

"I have come to look for you, Torres," said Benito, who

had not stirred in the least at this threatening attitude.

"To look for me ?" answered the adventurer. "It is

not very difficult to find me. And why have you come

to look for me'?"

"To know from your own lips what you appear to know

of the past life of my father.'

"Really I"

VOL. nT.







66 THE CRYPTOGRAM.


"Yes. I want to know how you recognized him, why

you were prowling about our fazenda in the forest of

Iquitos, and why you were waiting for us at Taba-

tinga ? "

"Well! it -seems to me nothing could be clearer!"

answered Torres, with a grin. "I was waiting to get a

passage on the jangada, and I went on board with the

intention of making him a very simple proposition-which

possibly he was wrong in rejecting."

At these words Manoel could stand it no longer. With

pale face and eye of fire he strode up to Torres.
Benito, wishing to exhaust every means of conciliation,

thrust himself between them.

"Calm yourself, Manoel!" he said. "I'am calm-even

I!"

And then continuing,-

"Quite so, Torres; I know the reason of your coming
on board the raft. Possessed of a secret which was doubt-

less given to you, you wanted to make it a means of ex-

tortion. But that is not what I want to know at present."







TIE LAST BLOW.


"What is it, then ?"

"I want to know how you recognized Joam Dacosta in

the fazenda of Iquitos ? "

How I recognized him ?" replied Torres. "That is

my business, and I see no reason why I should tell you.

The important fact is, that I was not mistaken when I

denounced in him the real author of the crime of

Tijuco !"

"You say that to me I exclaimed Benito, who began

to lose his self-possession.

"I will tell you nothing," returned Torres; "Joam

Dacosta declined my propositions He refused to admit

me into his family I Well! now that his secret is known,

now that he is a prisoner, it is I who refuse to enter his

family, the family of a thief, of a murderer, of a condemned

felon, for whom the gallows now waits "

Scoundrel! exclaimed Benito, who drew his manchetta

from his belt and put himself in position.

Manoel and Fragoso, by a similar movement, quickly

drew their weapons.







O0 THE CRYPTOGRAM.


"Three against one!" said Torres.

"No one against one !" answered Benito.

"Really I should have thought an assassination would

have better suited an assassin's son!"

"Torres !" exclaimed Benito, "defend yourself, or I

will kill you like a mad dog!"

"Mad so be it! answered Torres. "But I bite, Benito

Dacosta, and beware of the wounds!"
And then again grasping his manchetta, he put himself

on guard and ready to attack his enemy.

Benito had stepped back a few paces.

"Torres," he said, regaining all his coolness, which for

a moment he had lost; you were the guest of my father,

you threatened him, you betrayed him, you denounced

him, you accused an innocent man, and with God's help

I am going to kill you!"

Torres replied with the most insolent smile imaginable.

Perhaps at the moment the scoundrel had an idea of

stopping any struggle between Benito and him, and he

could have done so. In fact, he had seen that Joam







THE LAST BLOW.


Dacosta had said nothing about the document which

formed the material proof of his innocence.

Had he revealed to Benito that he, Torres, possessed

this proof, Benito would have been that instant disarmed.

But his desire to wait till the very last moment, so as to

get, the very best price for the document he possessed, the

recollection of the young man's insulting words, and the

hate which he bore to all that belonged to him, made him

forget his own interest.

In addition to being thoroughly accustomed to the

manchetta, which he often had had occasion to use, the

adventurer was strong, active, and artful, so that against

an adversary who was scarcely twenty, who could have

neither his strength nor his dexterity, the chances were

greatly in his favour.

Manoel by a last effort wished to insist on fighting him

instead of Benito.

"No, Manoel," was the cool reply, "it is for me alone

to avenge my father, and as everything here ought to be

in order, you shall be my second."







TIE CRYPTOGRAM.


Benito! "

"As for you, Fragoso, you will not refuse if I ask you

to act as second for that man ? "

So be it," answered Fragoso, though it is not an office

of honour! Without the least ceremony," he added, "I

would have killed him like a wild beast! "

The place where the duel was about to take place

was a level bank -about fifty paces long, on the top

of a cliff rising perpendicularly some fifty feet above

the Amazon. The river slowly flowed at the foot, and

bathed the clumps of reeds which' bristled round its

base.

There was, therefore, none too much room, and the

combatant who was the first to give way would quickly be

driven over into the abyss.

The signal was given by Manoel, and Torres and Benito

stepped forward.

Benito had complete command over himself. The de-

fender of a'sacred cause, his coolness was unruffled, much

more so than that of Torres, whose conscience, insensible





























































Torres and Benito stepped forward.


Page 70.







THE LAST BLOW.


and hardened as it was, was bound at the moment to
trouble him.

The two met, and the first blow came from Benito.

Torres parried it. They then jumped back, but almost at

the same instant they rushed together, and with their left

hands seized each other by the shoulder-never to leave go

again.

Torres, who was the strongest, struck a side blow with

his manchetta which Benito could not quite parry. His left

side was touched, and his poncho was reddened with his

blood. But he quickly replied, and slightly wounded Torres

in the hand.

Several blowswere then interchanged,but nothing decisive

was done. The ever silent gaze of Benito pierced the eyes

of Torres like asword blade thrust to his very heart. Visibly,

the scoundrel began to quail. He recoiled little by little,

pressed back by his implacable foe, who was more deter-

mined on taking the life of his father's denouncer than in

defending his own. To strike was all that Benito longed

for; to parry was all that the other now attempted to do.







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


Soon Torres saw himself thrust to the very edge of the

bank, at a spot where, slightly scooped away, it over-

hung the river. He perceived the danger; he tried to

retake the offensive and regain the lost ground. His

agitation increased, his looks grew livid. At length he

was obliged to stoop beneath the arm which threatened

him.

Die, then !" exclaimed Benito.

The blow was struck full on his chest, but the point of

the manchetta was stopped by a hard substance hidden

beneath the poncho of the adventurer.

Benito renewed his attack, and Torres, whose return

thrust did not touch his adversary, felt himself lost. He

was again obliged to retreat. Then he would have

shouted-shouted that the life of Joam Dacosta depended

on his own He had not time!

A second thrust of the manchetta pierced his heart. He

fell backwards, and the ground suddenly failing him, he

was precipitated down the cliff. As a last effort his hands

convulsively clutched at a clump of reeds, but they could




























































I-Ie disappeared beneath the waters of the river.
Page 73.







THE LAST BLOW. 73


not stop him, and he disappeared beneath the waters of

the river.

Benito was supported on Manoel's shoulder.; Fragoso

grasped his hands. He would not even give his com-

panions time to dress his wound, which was very
slight.

To the jangada he said, "to the jangada !"

Manoel and Fragoso with deep emotion followed him

without speaking a word.

A quarter of an hour afterwards the three reached the

bank to which the raft was moored. Benito and Mancel

rushed into the room where were Yaquita and Minha, and

told them all that had passed.

My son My brother! "

The words were uttered at the same moment.

"To the prison !" said Benito.

"Yes! Come i come!" replied Yaquita.

Benito, followed by Manoel, hurried along his mother,

and half an hour later they arrived before the prison.

Owing to the order previously given by Judge Jarriquez







74 THE CRYPTOGRAM


they were immediately admitted, and conducted to the

chamber occupied by the prisoner.

The door opened.

Joam Dacosta saw his wife, his son, and Manoel enter

the room.

"Ah Joam, my Joam !" exclaimed Yaquita.

Yaquita! my wife! my children replied the prisoner,

who ope ied his arms and pressed them to his heart.

My Joam, innocent!"

Innocent and avenged !" said Benito.

"Avenged ? What do you mean ?"

"Torres is dead, father ; killed by my hand "

Dead !-Torres!-Dead gasped Joam Dacosta. ".My

son 1 You have ruined me!"







RESOLUTIONS.


CHAPTER VII.

RESOLUTIONS.


A FEW hours later the whole family had returned to the

raft, and were assembled in the large room. All were there,

except the prisoner, on whom the last blow had just fallen.

Benito was quite overwhelmed, and accused himself of

having destroyed his father, and had it not been for the

entreaties of Yaquita, of his sister, of Padre Passanha, and

of Manoel, the distracted youth would in the first moments

of despair have probably made away with himself. But he

was never allowed to get out of sight, he was never left

alone. And besides, how could he have acted otherwise ?

Ah! why had not Joam Dacosta told him all before he left

thejangada ? Why had he refrained from speaking, except







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


before a judge, of this material proof of his innocence?

Why, in his interview with Manoel after the expulsion of

Torres, had he been silent about the document which the

adventurer pretended to hold in his hands ? But, after all,

what faith ought he to place in what Torres had said ?

Could he be certain that such a document was in the

rascal's possession ?

Whatever might be the reason, the family now knew

cvcrything, and that from the lips of J oam Dacosta himself.

They knew that Torres had declared that the proof of the

innocence of the convict of Tijuco actually existed; that

the document had been written by the very hand of the

author of the attack ; that the criminal, seized by remorse

at the moment of his death, had entrusted it to his com-

panion, Torres ; and that he, instead of fulfilling the wishes

of the dying man, had made the handing over of the docu-

ment an excuse for extortion. But they knew also that

Torres had just been killed, and that his body was qn-

gulphed in the waters of the Amazon, and that he died

without even mentioning the name of the guilty man.







RESOLUTIONS. 77


Unless he was saved by a miracle, Joam Dacosta might.

now be considered as irrevocably lost. The death of Judge

Ribeiro on the bne hand, the death of Torres on the other,

were blows from which he could not recover It should

here be said that public opinion at Manaos, unreasoning

as it always is, was all against the prisoner. The unex-

pected atrest of Joam Dacosta had revived the memory of

the terrible crime of Tijuco, which had lain forgotten for

three-and-twenty years. The trial of the young clerk at

the mines of the diamond arrayal, his capital sentence, his

escape a few hour. before his intended execution-all were

remembered, analyzed, and commented on. An article

which had just appeared in the 0 Diario d'o Grand Para,

the most widely circulated journal in these parts, after
giving a history of the circumstances of the crime, showed

itself decidedly hostile to the prisoner. Why should these

people believe in Joam Dacosta's innocence, when they were

ignorant of all that his friends knew-of what they alone

knew ?

And so the people of Manaos became excited. A mob







THE CRYPTOGRAM.


of Indians and negroes hurried, in their blind folly, to sur-

round the prison and roar forth tumultuous shouts of death.

In this part of the two Americas, where executions under

Lynch law are of frequent occurrence, the mob soon sur-

renders itself to its cruel instincts, and it was feared that

on this occasion it would do justice with its own hands.

What a night it was for the passengers from the fazenda !

Masters and servants had been affected by the blow!

Were not the servants of the fazenda members of one

family ? Every one of them would watch over the safety

of Yaquita and her people On the. bank of the Rio Ne-

gro there was a constant coming and going of the natives,
evidently excited by the arrest of Joam Dacosta, and who

could say to what excesses these half-barbarous men might

be led ?

The time, however, passed without any demonstration

against the jangada.

On the morrow, the 26th of August, as soon as the sun

rose, Manoel and Fragoso, who had never left Benito for

an instant during this terrible night, attempted to distract







RESOLUTIONS. 79


his attention from his despair. After taking him aside

they made him understand that there was no time to be

lost-that they must make up their minds to act.

Benito," said Manoel, pull yourself together Be a

man again Be a son again !"

"My father exclaimed Benito. I have killed him !"

"No!" replied Manoel. "With Heaven's help it is

possible that all may not be lost! "

Listen to us, Mr. Benito," said Fragoso.

The young man, passing his hand over his eyes, made a

violent effort to collect himself.

Benito," continued Manoel, Torres never gave a hint

to put us on the track of his past life. We therefore can-

not tell who was the author of the crime of Tijuco, or under

what conditions it was committed. To try in that direction

is to lose our time!"

"And time presses !" added Fragoso.

Besides," said Manoel, "suppose we do find out who
this companion of Torres was, he is dead, and he could not

testify in any way to the innocence of Joam Dacosta.




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