"Diamonds?" I said. "But you stated these stones were red."
"Indeed I did," replied Walker. "Rare pink diamonds, to be precise. Found nowhere else on earth. It is my belief that Sir Julius, hearing of them, decided to ‘kill two birds with one stone,’ as it were, and plunder the nation of both its people and minerals."
"I still fail to see my connexion," I said.
"It is simple, my friend. I seek to revenge myself and my people upon Sir Julius. I have already eliminated the option of violence. Therefore, I have resolved to take something precious from him. I would like you to steal the diamonds."
I took a quick drink of coffee while I squelched my indignation. "Sir, I fear you have misjudged me. I am no thief. If that is all," I said, rising to leave, "then I shall bid you good day."
"Wait a moment," he said, grasping my wrist, and seeing my desire to leave, added, "please."
"You are correct, I have misjudged you. My apologies." His voice was somewhat hoarse.
"Accepted," I said, somewhat stiffly.
To my shock, Walker dropped his head suddenly into his hands. "By God, I despair," he gasped. "In truth, I have no more schemes, no more plots. I had pinned all my hopes upon you. Will this fiend never be punished for his crimes?"
I felt a great wave of pity swell within me, which was an unfamiliar emotion. A second, unfamiliar emotion followed fast on its heels, and it took me a few moments to realise that it was some form of guilt. Walker had saved me at the Captain’s house; would I now abandon him to his fate? Would the lives and freedom of countless Negroes never be avenged?
"Be of good cheer," said a voice, and I was startled to discover it was my own. "While I shall not steal, I shall be as the wasp or the hornet, and I shall think of some other method by which to sting Sir Julius."
Walker looked at me with something akin to hope. "You shall?"
"I shall," I replied, in all seriousness. "I am your man." Thievery did not appeal to me, but if I could think of some other method to relieve this foul slave trader of his wealth, then why not? After all, many tricksters lay very great stress upon some definite moral purpose, at which they profess to aim their works. Why should I be any different?
The Life, Times, and Misadventures of Dennis St. Michel, Viscount of Stokington, Soldier, Gambler, Diplomat, Scoundrel, Notorious Rakehell, and Lord of Menacing House, in his Own Words.