Mr. James Nuttall made all speed, regardless of the heat, in his journey from
Bridgetown to Colonel Bishop's plantation, and if ever man was built for speed in a hot
climate that man was Mr. James Nuttall, with his short, thin body, and his long, fleshless
legs. So withered was he that it was hard to believe there were any juices left in him, yet
juices there must have been, for he was sweating violently by the time he reached the
At the entrance he almost ran into the overseer Kent, a squat, bow-legged animal with
the arms of a Hercules and the jowl of a bulldog.
"I am seeking Doctor Blood," he announced breathlessly.
"You are in a rare haste," growled Kent. "What the devil is it? Twins?"
"Eh? Oh! Nay, nay. I'm not married, sir. It's a cousin of mine, sir."
"He is taken bad, sir," Nuttall lied promptly upon the cue that Kent himself had afforded
him. "Is the doctor here?"
"That's his hut yonder." Kent pointed carelessly. "If he's not there, he'll be somewhere
else." And he took himself off. He was a surly, ungracious beast at all times, readier with
the lash of his whip than with his tongue.
Nuttall watched him go with satisfaction, and even noted the direction that he took. Then
he plunged into the enclosure, to verify in mortification that Dr. Blood was not at home.
A man of sense might have sat down and waited, judging that to be the quickest and
surest way in the end. But Nuttall had no sense. He flung out of the stockade again,
hesitated a moment as to which direction he should take, and finally decided to go any
way but the way that Kent had gone. He sped across the parched savannah towards
the sugar plantation which stood solid as a rampart and gleaming golden in the dazzling
June sunshine. Avenues intersected the great blocks of ripening amber cane. In the
distance down one of these he espied some slaves at work. Nuttall entered the avenue
and advanced upon them. They eyed him dully, as he passed them. Pitt was not of their
number, and he dared not ask for him. He continued his search for best part of an hour,
up one of those lanes and then down another. Once an overseer challenged him,
demanding to know his business. He was looking, he said, for Dr. Blood. His cousin was
taken ill. The overseer bade him go to the devil, and get out of the plantation. Blood was
not there. If he was anywhere he would be in his hut in the stockade.