Doubloons and the Girl
by John Maxwell Forbes
CHAPTER I. ON THE BLIND SIDE OF CHANCE
CHAPTER II. TYKE
GRIMSHAW AND HIS
CHAPTER IV. THE
CHAPTER V. A
CHAPTER VI. THE
CHAPTER VII. A
THE SCOURGES OF
GETTING DOWN TO
CHAPTER XI. A
CHAPTER XII. A
CHAPTER XV. THE
THE STORM BREAKS
CHAPTER XVIII. A
CHAPTER XX. THE
CHAPTER XXI. “IF
CHAPTER XXIII. A
CHAPTER XXV. THE
LAKE OF FIRE
THE GIANT AWAKES
BY FAVOR OF THE
CHAPTER XXX. THE
FLAG OF TRUCE
CHAPTER XXXI. A
THE BATTLE IN
THE BATTLE IS ON
DOUBLOONSAND THE GIRL
JOHN MAXWELL FORBES
INTERNATIONAL FICTION LIBRARY
CLEVELAND, O. NEW YORK, N. Y.
MADE IN U. S. A.
Copyright, 1917, by
SULLY AND KLEINTEICH
All rights reserved
THE COMMERCIAL BOOKBINDING CO.
DOUBLOONSAND THE GIRL
CHAPTER I. ON THE BLIND SIDE OF
Allen Drew, glancing carelessly about as he started for the
shore-end of the pier, suddenly saw the girl coming in his direction.
From that momentdating from the shock of that first glimpse of
herthe current of his life was changed.
Women were rare enough down here on the East River docks; one of the
type of this gloriously beautiful girl seemed an impossibilityan
hallucination. Curiosity was not even blended with his second glance at
her. An emotion never before conceived in his heart and brain gripped
Somehow she fitted the day and fitted, too, his mood. The very
spirit of April seemed incarnated in her, so springy her step, so
lissom the swaying of her young body, so warm and pink the color in her
cheeks. Her dress, of some light gray material, had a dash of color
lent to it by the bunch of violets at her waist. Her figure was slender
and slightly above the middle height. A distracting dimple dented the
velvet of her right cheek, and above her small mouth and perfectly
formed nose a pair of hazel eyes looked frankly out upon the world. Her
oval face was surmounted by a dainty toque, from under which a vagrant
tendril of hair had escaped. This blew about her ears, glistening like
gold in the sunshine.
Drew saw beautiful women every day of his life. He could not fail to
do so in a city where they abound. But aside from the day and his mood,
there was much about this slip of a girl that stirred him mightily and
set his pulse to galloping.
He had lunched heartily, if not sumptuously, at one of the queer
little restaurants that seem to have struck their roots into Fulton
Market and endured for generations. There were no shaded candles on the
table, and finger bowls would have evoked a puzzled stare or a frown
from most patrons of the place. But the food was abundant and well
cooked, and at twenty-two, with a keen appetite and the digestion of an
ostrich, one asks for little more.
Drew paid his check and stepped out into the crooked side street
that led to the East River, only a block distant. From force of habit,
his steps turned in the direction of the chandlery shop where he was
employed. On reaching South Street, he remembered a commission that had
been given him to execute; so, turning to the right, he walked briskly
toward the Battery.
It was a glorious day in early April. A sudden shower, vanishing
almost as quickly as it had come, had washed the rough pavement of the
old street to a semblance of cleanliness. In a very real sense it had
also washed the air until it shimmered with the translucence of a
pearl. A soft wind blew up from the south and the streets were drenched
It was a day that might have prompted a hermit to leave his cave, a
philosopher to renounce his books, a miser to give a penny to a beggar.
It spoke of youth and love and growing things, of nest building in the
trees, of water rippling over stones, of buds bursting into bloom, of
grass blades pushing through the soil.
Yet, despite thisor perhaps because of itAllen Drew was
conscious of a vague restlessness. A feeling of discontent haunted him
and robbed the day of beauty. Something was lacking, and he had a sense
of incompleteness that was quite at variance with his usual complacent
outlook on life. He was not given to minute self-analysis, but as this
feeling persisted and bothered him, he began harking back to the events
of the morning in the hope of finding an explanation. Was there
anything he had done that was wrong or anything that he had neglected
to do that came in his province? He cudgeled his brains, but thought of
nothing that should give him uneasiness.
He had corrected that imperfect invoice and sent it on to White &
Tenny. He had reminded his employer that their stock of compasses was
low and should be replenished. He had directed young Winters to answer
that cablegram from Kingston. Try as he would, he could think of no
omission. The books were strictly up to date and everything was moving
in the usual routine.
Ah, there he had it! Routine! That was the key to the enigma. It was
just that unvarying smooth routine, that endless grinding away at the
same familiar things that to-day, when everything about him spoke of
change and growth and freedom, was making him restless and perturbed.
He was just a cog in the ever-turning wheel. He was a slave to his
desk, and not the less a slave because his chains happened to be
It won't do, he murmured to himself. I've got to have a
With the springtime fermenting in his blood and stirring him to
rebellion, he went on, turning out now and then to avoid the trucks
that, with a cheerful disregard for police regulations, backed up on
the sidewalks to receive their loads from the warehouse doors, until he
reached Wall Street. Just beyond was Jones Lane, whose sylvan name
seemed strangely out of place in the whirl and hubbub of that crowded
district. Here he turned, and, picking his way across the muddy street,
went out on the uncovered pier that stretched for five hundred feet
into the river.
The pier was buzzing with activity. Bales and boxes and barrels by
the thousands were scattered about in what seemed to be the wildest
confusion. Gangs of sweating stevedores trundled their heavy burdens
over the gangplanks of the vessels that lay on either side, and great
cranes and derricks, their giant claws seizing tons of merchandise at a
time, swung creakingly overhead to disgorge their loads into yawning
Drew threaded his way through the tangled maze until he reached the
end of the pier where the bark Normandy was lying.
Captain Peters around anywhere? he asked of the second officer,
who was superintending the work of the seamen, and had just relieved
himself of some remarks that would have made a truck driver envious.
Below in his cabin, sir, was the answer, and Drew went aboard,
walked aft, and swung himself down the narrow stairs that led to the
He found the skipper sitting at his table, looking over a sheaf of
bills of lading.
Good afternoon, Captain Peters, was Drew's greeting.
Howdy, responded the captain. Jest sit down an' make yerself
comf'table. I'll be through with these papers in jest a minute or two.
His work concluded, the captain shoved the bills aside with a sigh
of relief and looked up.
I s'pose ye come to see me about that windlass? he remarked. But
first, he added, as Drew was about to reply, won't ye have somethin'
to wet yer whistle?
He reached for a decanter and a couple of glasses. Drew smilingly
declined, and the captain, nothing daunted, poured out enough for two
and drank it in a single Gargantuan swallow.
I just came to say, explained Drew, as the captain set down the
glass, smacking his lips complacently, that we'll have that windlass
over to you by to-morrow, or the next day at the latest. The factory
held us up.
That's all right, replied the captain good-naturedly. I haven't
been worryin' about it. I've been dealin' with Tyke Grimshaw goin' on
twenty year an 'he ain't never put me in a hole yet. I knew it would
come along in plenty of time fur sailin'.
By the way, when do you sail, Captain? asked Drew.
In a week, more or less. It all depends on how soon we get our
What are you carrying?
Mostly machinery an' cotton prints fur China and Japan.
And what will you bring back?
Ain't sure about that yet. Owners' orders will be waitin' fur me
when we get to Hong Kong. Probably load up with tea and such truck.
Maybe get some copra at some of the islands.
China, Japan, the South Seas! Lands of mystery, adventure and
romance! Lands of eternal summer! Azure seas studded with islands like
emeralds! Velvet nights spangled with flaming stars!
The wanderlust seized on Allen Drew more fiercely than before, and
his heart sickened with longing.
It must be wonderful to see all those places, he ventured.
Huh? said the captain, looking at him blankly.
I mean, explained the landsman, half ashamed of his enthusiasm,
that everything is so differentso oldso mysteriousso
beautiful. You know what I mean, he ended lamely.
The captain sniffed.
Pooty enough, I s'pose, he grunted. But I never pay no 'tention
to that. What with layin' my course an' loadin' my cargo an' followin'
owners orders, my mind's what ye might call pooty well took up.
The irony of it all! The captain who did not care a copper for
romance was going into the very thick of it, while he, Allen Drew, who
panted for it, was doomed to forego it forever. Of what use to have the
soul of a Viking, if your job is that of a chandler's clerk?
The captain applied himself to the decanter again and Drew roused
from his momentary reverie.
Well, he observed, as he took his hat from the table on which he
had thrown it, I'll keep a sharp eye out for that windlass and see
that it is shipped to you the minute it reaches us from the factory.
All right, responded the captain, rising to his feet. I'll be
lookin' for it. I wouldn't dare risk the old one fur another v'yage.
They shook hands, and Drew climbed the stairs, crossed the deck and
went out on to the wharf.
The river was a scene almost as busy as that which lay behind him in
the crowded streets of the metropolis. Snorting tugs were darting to
and fro, lines of barges were being convoyed toward the Sound,
ferryboats were leaving and entering their slips, tramp steamers were
poking their way up from Quarantine, and a huge ocean liner was moving
majestically toward the Narrows and the open sea beyond.
Drew took off his hat and let the soft breeze cool his brow. Things
seemed hopelessly out of gear. He felt like a trapped animal. So he
imagined a squirrel might feel, turning the wheel endlessly in the
narrow limits of its cage. Or, to make the image human, his thoughts
wandered to the shorn and blinded Samson grinding his tale of corn in
the Philistine town.
He found himself envying a man who leaned against a neighboring
spile. He was a tall, spare fellow, dressed a little better than the
common run of sailors, but unmistakably a sea-faring man. What Drew
especially noted was that the stranger had only one eyeand that set
in a rather forbidding countenance. Ordinarily he might have pitied
him, but in his present mood Drew envied him. The stranger's one
remaining eye had, after all, seen more of the world than his own two
good optics would likely ever see.
From these fruitless and fantastic musings he roused himself with an
effort. A glance at his watch startled him. This would never do. As
long as he took Tyke Grimshaw's money he must do Tyke Grimshaw's work.
Back to the treadmill, he said to himself, grimly; and it was
then, as he started for the head of the pier, that he first saw the
He slackened his pace instantly, so as to have her the longer in
sight, mentally blessing the bales and boxes that made her progress
slow. Not for the world would he have offended her by staring; but he
stole covert glances at her from time to time; and with each swift
glance the impression she had made upon him grew in strength.
She came on, seemingly unconscious of his presence, until they were
almost opposite each other. One hand held her dress from contact with
the litter of the dock; in the other she carried what appeared to be a
packet of letters. The path she chose led her to the very edge of the
Drew would have passed the next instant had the girl not stopped
suddenly, a startled expression becoming visible on her face. The young
man turned swiftly. The one-eyed seaman, whose appearance he had
previously marked, stood almost at his elbow and confronted the girl.
She stepped back to avoid the seaman, and her foot caught in a coil
of rope. For a moment she swayed on the verge of the dockthen Drew's
hand shot out, and he caught her arm, steadying her. But the packet she
carried flew from her hand and disappeared beyond the stringpiece of
The girl uttered a little cry of distress. Drew shot a belligerent
glance at the one-eyed man.
What do you want? he demanded, with truculence. Isn't the dock
broad enough for you to pass without annoying the lady? Get along with
The one-eyed man uttered an oath, but moved away, though slowly.
Drew turned to the girl again, hat in hand, a smile chasing the frown
from his face.
CHAPTER II. TYKE GRIMSHAW AND HIS
I beg your pardon, Drew said, bowing low, but can I be of any
The girl looked up at him a little doubtfully, but what she saw in
his frank brown eyes must have reassured her, for she spoke without
You are very kind, she answered, but I fear it is too late. I had
some letters in my hand, and when I slipped they went into the water.
I'm afraid you can't get them.
Mentally resolving to dive for them if such a procedure became
necessary, Drew stepped upon the stringpiece of the pier beside her and
She gave a joyous exclamation as she saw the package lying in the
bottom of a small boat that floated at the stern of a steamer moored to
Oh, there they are! she cried delightedly. How lucky! Then her
face changed. But after all it is going to be hard to get them, she
added. The pier is high and there don't seem to be any cleats here to
climb down by.
Easiest thing in the world, returned Drew confidently. I'll go
aboard the steamer, haul the boat up to the stern, and drop into it.
But the stern is so very high, she said, measuring it with her
That doesn't matter, he replied. If you'll just wait here, I'll
go aboard and be back with the letters before you know it. He glanced
around swiftly. I don't think that fellow will trouble you again.
I am not at all afraid of that man. He only startled me for the
moment. But I hate to put you to so much trouble, she added, looking
at him shyly.
It will be a pleasure, protested Drew, returning her look with
another from which he tried to exclude any undue warmth.
It is to be feared that he was not altogether successful, judging
from the faint flush that rose in her cheek as she dropped her gaze
His mind awhirl, the young man hurried up to the gangway of the
steamer where he found one of the officers. He briefly explained that
he wanted to secure a package that a young lady had dropped into the
boat lying astern, and the officer, with an appreciative grin, readily
granted permission to him to go aboard.
Drew hurried to the stern, which, as the steamer had discharged her
cargo, rose fully twenty feet from the water. He hauled in the boat
until it lay directly beneath. Then he gathered up the slack of the
painter and wound it about a cleat until it was taut. This done, he
dropped over the rail and let himself down by the rope until his feet
touched the thwart of the tender.
He worked his way aft carefully, and picking up the package placed
it in his breast pocket. Then he caught hold of the rope and climbed
up, hand over hand.
It was unaccustomed work for a landsman, but Drew was supple and
athletic and he mounted rapidly. Not for a fortune would he have
faltered with those hazel eyes fixed upon him. With the girl watching
him, he felt as though he could have climbed to the top of the
It was his misfortune that he could not see the look of admiration
in her eyes as they followed his movementsa look, however, which by
the exercise of maidenly repression she had changed to one of mere
gratitude when at last, breathing a little quickly, he approached her
with the packet he had recovered in his hand.
Oh! she exclaimed, taking it eagerly and clasping it tightly, how
very good of you to take all that trouble! I don't know how to thank
It was no trouble at all, Drew responded. I count myself lucky to
have happened along just when you needed me.
His speech won him a radiant smile, and he promptly decided that the
dimple in her cheek was not merely distracting. It was divine!
There was a moment of embarrassed silence. The young man was wild to
pursue the conversation. But he was too much of a gentleman to presume
on the service he had rendered, and he knew that he should lift his hat
One feeble resource was left by which he might reconcile duty with
It's very hard getting about on this crowded pier, he ventured,
and you see there are some rough characters around. You might perhaps
like to have me see you safely to the street when you are ready to go?
She hesitated for a moment, her own inclination evidently battling
with convention. But convention won.
I think not, she said, flashing him a smile that softened her
refusal and at the same time completed his undoing. You see it is
broad daylight and I am perfectly safe. Thank you for the offer though,
and thank you again for what you have done for me.
It was dismissal, none the less final because it was gracious, and
Drew yielded to the inevitable.
He glanced back once or twice, assuring himself that it was his
plain duty to keep her in sight in order to see that nothing happened
to her. He found himself wishing that she would drop the letters
overboard againthat the one-eyed man would reappearthat something
would occur, however slight, to call him to her side once more. It was
with a thrill of exultation that he saw her approach the gangplank of
Then, for a moment, at least, he was sure he was going to have his
wish. He spied the one-eyed man coming into view from behind a heap of
freight and approach the boarding-plank. He spoke to the girl and she
Drew was on the point of darting back to the girl's rescue. But the
seaman's attitude was respectful, and it seemed that what he said was
not offensive. At least, the girl listened attentively, nodded when the
man had finished speaking, and as the latter fell back she tripped
lightly aboard the Normandy, and so disappeared.
Drew's curiosity was so great that he might have lingered until the
girl came ashore again, but the one-eyed man was coming up the dock and
the young fellow was cooler now and felt that it would not be the part
of wisdom to have another altercation with the rough looking stranger.
Perhaps, after all, the one-eyed man had merely spoken to the girl to
ask pardon for having previously startled her.
Well, Drew said to himself, Peters knows her and can tell me all
about her. Anyhow I know her name and I'll find out where she lives if
I have to search New York from end to end.
For on the envelope that had lain uppermost when he had picked up
the package from the grating of the tender, he had seen the name, Ruth
Adams. The address had escaped him in that momentary glance, and
although he could have easily repaired the omission while he was
passing back along the steamer's deck, his instincts revolted at
anything that looked like prying.
But there was nothing in his code that forbade his using every
legitimate means of searching her out and securing an introduction in
the way dictated by the approved forms, and he promised himself that
the episode should not end here.
Hope springs eternal in the human breast, especially when that
breast is a youthful one, and Allen Drew's thoughts spun a dozen
rainbow visions as he made his way back to the shop whose insistent
call he had for the last hour put aside. He walked automatically and
only that sixth sense peculiar to city dwellers prevented his being run
down more than once. But the objurgations of startled drivers as they
brought up their vehicles with a jerk bothered him not a whit. His
physical presence was on South Street but his real self was on the
crowded pier where he had left Ruth Adams.
Still moving on mechanically, he entered the door of the chandlery
shop, over which a signboard, dingy with age, announced that T.
Grimshaw was the proprietor. He nodded absently in response to the
salutations of Sam, the negro porter, and Winters, the junior clerk,
and sat down at his desk.
The building that housed the chandlery shop was a very old one,
dating back to a time previous to the Revolution. When it was erected
the Boston Tea Party was still in the future. If its old walls could
have spoken they might have told of the time when almost all New York
was housed below Chambers Street; when the Bouwerie, free from its
later malodorous associations, was a winding country lane where lads
and lasses carried on their courtships in the long summer evenings;
when Cherry Hill, now notorious for its fights and factions, was the
abode of the city's wealth and fashion; when Collect Pond, on whose
site the Tombs now stands, was the skating center where New York's
belles and beaux disported themselves; when merry parties picnicked in
the woods and sylvan glades of Fourteenth Street.
Those same walls, looking across the East River, had seen the prison
ship Jersey, in whose foul and festering holds had died so many
patriots. And they had shaken to the salvos of artillery that greeted
Washington, when, at the end of the Revolutionary War, he had landed at
the Battery and had gone in pomp to Fraunce's Tavern for a farewell
dinner to his officers.
In its day it had been a stout and notable building, and even now it
might be good for another hundred years. But the inexorable march of
progress and the worth of the land on which it stood had sealed its
doom. Grimshaw had occupied it for twenty years, but when he sought to
renew his lease he had been told that no renewal would be granted. He
could still occupy the building and pay the rent from month to month.
But he now held possession only on sufferance, and it was distinctly
understood that he might be called upon to vacate at any time on a few
But threatened men live long, and it was beginning to look as
though the same might be said of the old building. For two years the
months had come and gone without any hint of change, and Tyke had
settled down in the belief that the building would last as long as he
did. After that it did not matter. He had no kith or kin to whom to
leave his business.
He was a grim and grizzled old fellow, well on in his sixties. In
his earlier days he had been a master mariner, and had sailed all the
Seven Seas. He had rounded the Horn a dozen times; had scudded with
reefed topsails in the roaring forties; had lost two fingers of his
left hand in a fight with Malay pirates; had battled with waterspouts,
tornadoes and typhoons; had harpooned whales in the Arctic; had lost a
ship by fire, and been shipwrecked twice; and from these combats with
men and nature he had emerged as tough and hardy as a pine knot.
The profits of a notable whaling expedition from which he had
returned with the tanks filled to bursting, barrels crowded on the
deck, and the very scuppers running oil, together with a tidy little
inheritance that fell to him about the same time, had enabled him to
buy the chandlery shop from its former proprietor and settle down to
spend the rest of his life ashore and yet in sight and scent of salt
How he had gained the name of Tyke, by which everybody called him,
nobody knew. He himself never volunteered to tell, and in all his bills
and accounts used only the initial T. Some of his employees favored
Tyrus, others Titus. One in a wild flight of fancy suggested
Ticonderoga. But the mystery remained unsolved, and, after all, as the
checks that bore the scrawl, T. Grimshaw, were promptly honored at
the bank, it did not matter.
He was not what could be called an enterprising business man and
there were many houses in his line that made a more pretentious
appearance, carried a larger stock, and had a much more extensive
trade. But he lived frugally, discounted his bills, and had such a
broad acquaintance among seafaring men that each year's end showed a
neat profit on his books.
His store force was modest, being only three in number. Allen Drew
was a sort of general manager, and Tyke was growing more and more into
the habit of leaving the conduct of the business to him. Winters was
the junior clerk. He had come direct from high school and was now in
his second year of service. Then there was Sam, the colored porter and
man of all work, whose last name was as much a mystery as Grimshaw's
Drew took up some papers that had been laid on his desk during his
absence, and tried to fix his mind upon them. He was dimly aware that
somebody had entered the store door, had spoken to Winters, and that
the junior clerk had shown the visitor into Grimshaw's private office.
But Allen Drew's thoughts were too far afield to be caught by this
incident, or to become easily concentrated upon humdrum business
affairs. He laid down the papers, and sighed.
He began to day-dream again. In the whole category of feminine names
was there ever one so pretty as Ruth? And surely never did a girl, in
both form and feature, so fit the name.
Suddenly he realized that the door of the private office was open
and that Grimshaw's head was thrust out.
Hey! Come here a minute, Allen, he called.
There was a note of trouble in the old man's voice, and Tyke's face
expressed some strong emotion. Alert on the instant, Drew rose to obey
his employer's summons.
CHAPTER III. HARD HIT
Drew was not surprised to find that his employer was not alone. A
man whom he now recognized as the agent of the estate controlling the
building was seated at one end of the desk and was drumming upon it
with his fingers.
Tyke was hunched up in his big revolving chair with a look of
agitation on his face. His hands were clenching and unclenching
rapidly. It was evident that something much out of the ordinary had
occurred to rob him of his usual placidity.
He motioned Drew to a seat.
Well, Allen, began Grimshaw, in a voice that he tried in vain to
render calm, it's come at last. We've got to get out of the old
What? cried the young man; yet this only confirmed the suspicion
which his recognition of the visitor had suggested.
We're sorry, of course, purred the agent, who had tried to break
the unwelcome news to the old man as easily as possible. But, of
course, you know that you held the place on the distinct understanding
that we should take possession at will.
I ain't denying that, Mr. Blake, admitted Tyke. There's isn't
anything underhand or wrong about what you're doing. I kept on here
with my eyes wide open and I'm ready to take my medicine. But all the
same, it comes as a shock. I'd hoped to hold on to the old craft as
long as I lived.
I wish you could, both for your sake and ours, returned Blake. We
haven't a tenant anywhere who pays his rent more promptly and bothers
us less about repairs. But the trustees of the estate have had an offer
from parties who want to put up a more modern building on this site,
and it was too good to decline.
When are they going to start? asked Drew.
They're in something of a hurry, replied the agent. You see this
is the right time of the year for construction work, and they want to
have the foundations laid by fall.
It's only a matter of days then before we have to find another
place? went on Drew.
Oh, I should hardly say that, replied Blake, soothingly. You know
how those things are. They'll have a lot to do in the way of plans and
contracts before they get down to the actual work of building. Still,
he went on, more cautiously, they may get busy on wrecking the old
building at almost any time, and I'd advise you as a friend not to let
the grass grow under your feet. You've got a lot of stuff here, and it
will take a good deal of time to move it. If I were you, I'd figure on
being out in a week or ten days.
Ten days! groaned Tyke. An' I haven't even got a place to go to.
It may take some hustling, admitted the agent. But a good deal
can be done in a short time when you have to. I'll look around, and if
I learn of any place that would suit you I'll let you know.
There was little else to be said, and after another expression of
regret at the unpleasant duty he had had to perform, Blake took his
The two men left in the office, contrasting types of age and youth,
looked at each other for a moment without speaking. Allen Drew had a
real affection for his employer, who for some time past had treated him
more like a son than an employee, and he was genuinely shocked to see
how this blow had affected him.
Don't mind, Mr. Grimshaw, he said cheerily. It doesn't mean the
end of the world. We'll find another place that is just as good. And
this time we'll get a lease, so we won't have to worry about being
routed out in this way.
Tyke shook his head dismally.
That's all very well for you youngsters, he replied. You're at an
age when you'd as soon change as not. But I've kind o' stuck my kedge
deep into the old place, an' it's like plucking my heart out to have to
up anchor and make sail for another port.
The younger man thought it would be best to leave Grimshaw alone for
a while, and he rose briskly to his feet.
If you say so, I'll go out and look around, he suggested. I've
had this thing in the back of my mind for some time past, and I know of
two or three likely places that may fill the bill.
All right, assented Tyke apathetically. Jest tell Winters to look
after things in the shop while you're gone. I reckon I won't be much
good for the rest of the afternoon.
Drew went out, and after imparting the news, which shocked Winters
and Sam, put on his hat and left the office.
That morning he had been hoping for a change. This afternoon he was
getting it with a vengeance.
It was desirable from every standpoint that the new place should be
as near to the old one as possible. This consideration limited his
choice to two buildings which he knew were vacant, and toward these he
bent his steps.
The first place he visited had just been rented, but at the second
he had better luck. He returned about four o'clock and burst into the
store, flushed and jubilant.
I've found it, he announced, going into the private office. Just
what the doctor ordered. Plenty of room, a better pair of show windows
than we have here, and a long-time lease for a rent that's only a
trifle more than we're paying now.
Tyke looked up with the first sign of animation he had shown since
Where is it? he asked.
Just on the next block, answered Drew. Turner's old place.
We'll go right over now an' look at it, said Tyke, rising and
putting on his hat.
After inspecting the three floors thoroughly, Grimshaw agreed with
his young manager that they were in luck to get the building. A visit
to the agent followed, and before they left his office Tyke had handed
over a check for the first month's rent and had a five-year lease in
A good piece of work, Allen, my boy, he said, as they parted
outside the shop that night. I don't know what I'd do without you. But
I'm mighty sorry to have to leave the old place. No other will ever
seem exactly like it.
Poor old Tyke, mused Drew, as he looked after the retreating
figure that suddenly seemed older than he had ever seen it. He's hard
In all the stir and bustle of that crowded afternoon, Drew had been
conscious of a glow at his heart that was not due to mere business
excitement. One name had been upon his lips, one thought had sought to
monopolize him. And now that business was over for the day, he yielded
utterly to the obsession of that meeting on the wharf.
Instead of striding uptown as usual, he turned in the other
direction and went down to the Jones Lane pier, now for the most part
deserted and quiet in the waning light. Here and there a watchman sat
on a bale smoking his pipe, while occasionally a sailor lay a more or
less unsteady course for his ship.
Drew made his way to where the Normandy was moored, and asked
for Captain Peters.
Gone ashore, sir, said the man he addressed. Some friends of his
came aboard this afternoon and he's gone off with them to celebrate.
There was a grin on the man's face as he spoke, and this, together
with his recollection of the decanter, left no illusions in Drew's mind
as to the character of the celebration.
Any message to leave for the captain, sir? the man inquired.
Nothing important, returned Drew carelessly. I may drop around
and see him to-morrow. And he blessed the belated windlass which would
give him a reasonable excuse for returning.
But even though the captain was absent, there were other things at
hand that spoke of the girl with the hazel eyes. There was the place
where she had dropped the letters. There was the post against which she
had leaned as she watched him recover them. And there, as he bent over
the edge of the pier, he saw the little boat that had played its part
in the day's happenings.
How musical her voice was! And she had smiled at him onceno,
twice! Smiled not only with her lips but with her eyes.
He thought of her as he went slowly uptown. He thought of her until
he went to sleep and then his thinking changed to dreaming.
Decidedly, Tyke was not the only one who was hard hit on that
CHAPTER IV. THE SHADOWS OF ROMANCE
When Allen Drew opened his eyes the next morning, he was conscious
of an unusual feeling of elation. He lay for a moment in the twilight
zone between sleeping and waking, seeking the reason. Then in a flash
it came to him.
He was out of bed in a twinkling. Life was too full and rich now to
waste it in sleep. Yesterday morning it had seemed drab and
commonplace. To-day it sparkled with prismatic hues. He was a new man
in a new world.
He found himself whistling from sheer excess of good spirits as he
moved about the room. He hurried through his shower and dressing in
record time. Then he despatched his breakfast with a speed and
absent-mindedness that were most unusual for him and evoked the mild
astonishment of his landlady. A few minutes later he had joined the
hurrying throng that was moving toward the nearest subway station. He
left the train at Fulton Street and surprised Winters by appearing at
the shop a half hour earlier than his usual time.
There were two reasons for pressing haste on this morning. The
moving from the old quarters to the new involved an amount of work that
was appalling. There were a thousand things to be done, and for the
next week or ten days the force of three employees must work at top
speed. Current business would have to be attended to as usual, and in
addition there was the colossal task of removing the contents of the
three crowded floors from the old building to the new.
There was a second task which, in Drew's secret heart, seemed the
more important. That was to discover the address of the girl he had met
on the pier and learn what he could about her.
In the first flush of determination this had seemed to be a
comparatively easy matter. The very fact that he wanted it so badly
seemed to guarantee his success. Such difficulties as suggested
themselves he waved airily aside. No young Lochinvar coming out of the
West had felt more certain of carrying off his Ellen than Allen Drew
had felt the night before of finding Miss Ruth Adams. But when he
applied his mind to the task in the cold light of day, it did not seem
so easy and he was hazy as to the best way to go about it.
He opened his desk, and before looking at the mail that mutely
besought his attention, he reached for the huge city directory and
opened to the letter A. He was appalled to find how many Adamses
there were. There were dozens, scores, hundreds! Even with the firm and
corporation names eliminated, the individual Adamses were legion. And
not one of them had Ruth before it.
This, however, he had hardly expected. She was too young to be
listed separately, and would probably be included under the name of her
father or her mother.
He had had a vague idea that, if there were not too many Adamses, he
might take them one by one and by discreet inquiries in the
neighborhood of each find out if the family included a young lady named
Ruth. If he succeeded, that would be a great point gained. What he
should do after that he would have been puzzled to tell. But he had a
desperate hope that, hovering in the vicinity, some way, somehow, he
could manage to secure an introduction.
But now, with this formidable array of names before him, his plan
vanished into thin air. Life was too short, and he could not wait for
And how did he know that she lived in the city at all? It was
probable, but not at all certain. She might simply be here on a visit;
and for all he knew her permanent home might be Chicago or San
Clearly, he must see Captain Peters without loss of time. The girl
had gone aboard his bark, and the probability was that her errand had
been with him.
He looked hastily through the mail, and was glad to see that it
included a notification from the freight department of the railroad
that a windlass consigned to T. Grimshaw had arrived and was awaiting
I'll just drop around to see Peters and set his mind at rest about
that windlass, he said to Winters, reaching for his hat.
I thought you did that yesterday, replied Winters.
I told him we expected it, said Drew, flushing a little; but he
may be worrying about it, being delayed on the way. He's an old
customer of ours and we want to keep on the right side of him.
Winters looked his surprise at this sudden spasm of business
anxiety, but said nothing further, and Drew hastened down to the Jones
Lane pier and boarded the Normandy. But again he was doomed to
meet with disappointment.
Sorry, sir, said the second officer, biting off a chew from a plug
of tobacco, but the skipper can't be seen just now. Just came aboard a
little while ago and there was a friend on either side of him. You know
how it is, and he winked. He's below now, sound asleep, and 'twould
be as much as my billet's worth to disturb him.
Well, Drew said thoughtfully, that windlass he ordered has
arrived and I'll see that it's carted down here to-day. But there was
another matter I wanted to speak to him about.
Better wait a day or two if it's any favor you want to ask the old
man, advised the seaman. Let his coppers get cooled first. A better
navigator than Cap'n Peters never stepped, and he don't lush none
'twixt port and port; but he's no mamma's angel child when his coppers
is hot, believe me!
Thanks. I'll remember, Drew said. Of course you did not notice
the young lady who came aboard here yesterday afternoon just after I
Didn't I, though? responded the second officer of the Normandy. My eye!
Do you know who she is? blurted out Drew.
No, sir. But the skipper does, I reckon.
All right, Drew said, and turned to descend the plank to the dock.
As he did so he found himself confronting the one-eyed man who had
figured in the incident on the dock the previous afternoon.
The fellow's countenance was raised to his own as Drew came down the
plank, and the latter obtained a good view of the scarred face.
It was almost beardless, and even the brows were so light and scanty
that they lent no character to the remaining shallow, furtive blue eye.
The empty socket gave a horribly grim appearance to the whole face.
Momentary as Drew's scrutiny was, he saw that the one-eyed man was
intoxicated. Not desiring to engage in a controversy with a stranger in
that condition, he would have passed on quickly, but the fellow would
not step aside.
Just let me pass, will you? Drew said, eyeing the other warily.
You lubberly swab! the one-eyed man said thickly, and with it spat
out a vile epithet that instantly raised a flame of hot anger in Allen
He plunged down the plank, his fists clenched and his eyes ablaze.
The one-eyed man was by no means unsteady on his legs; he met the
charge of the young fellow boldly enough.
But Drew dodged his swing, and having all the push of his descent of
the plank behind the straight-arm jolt he landed on the other's jaw,
the impact was terrific.
Whee! yelled the second officer of the Normandy, leaning on
the rail, an interested spectator. That's a soaker!
Others came running to the scene. A fight will bring a crowd quicker
than any other happening.
The one-eyed man had been driven back against the nearest pile of
freight. Drew was after him before he could recover from that first
blow, and he got in a couple of other punches that ended the
encounterfor the time being, at least. His antagonist went to the
floor of the dock and stayed there.
Beat it, 'bo! advised a seaman at the Normandy's rail.
Here comes the cop.
Drew accepted the advice as good, dodged around a tier of freight,
and so escaped. He was not of a quarrelsome disposition; yet somehow
the memory of those three blows he had struck gave him a deal of
I never supposed those sparring lessons at the gym would come in so
handy, he thought, hurrying officeward. Then he chuckled. Yesterday I
was grouching because nothing ever happened to me. And look at it now!
That fellow had it coming to him, that's all. I wonder who he is. Like
enough I'll never see him again.
But he was never more mistaken in his life than in this surmise.
Grimshaw had come in by the time Drew got back to the shop, and was
busy in his office. Winters and Sam were condoling with each other over
the amount of work that lay before them.
It's a whale of a job, complained Winters, looking about the
Ah kin feel de mis'ry comin' into ma back ag'in, groaned Sam, who
had formerly been a piano mover, but had been obliged to seek a less
strenuous occupation because of having wrenched his back. Ah suttinly
will be ready fo' de hospital when Ah gits t'rough wid dis movin'.
Oh, you're just plain lazy, Sam, chaffed Drew. It won't be half
so bad as you think. We'll have a gang of truckmen and their helpers to
do most of the heavy work. But I suppose we've got our hands full,
packing these instruments so they won't be broken and scratched. And
'hustle' is the word from now on.
But think of the junk upstairs! groaned Winters. Why doesn't the
old man call in the Salvation Army and give them the whole bunch on
condition that they take it away? He's got the accumulation of twenty
years on that top floor, and it's not worth the powder to blow it up.
It beats me why Tyke keeps all that old clutter.
It doesn't seem worth house room, admitted Drew; and now that
we're moving, perhaps we can get rid of a lot of the stuff. I'll speak
to Tyke about it. But let's forget the upper floors and get busy on
this one. There's a man's job right here.
A giant's job, to my way of thinking, grumbled Winters, as he
looked around him.
It was indeed a varied and extensive stock that was carried on the
main floor. To name it all would have been to enumerate almost
everything that is used on shipboard, whether driven by wind or by
steam. Thermometers, barometers, binoculars, flanges, couplings,
carburetors, lamps, lanterns, fog horns, pumps, check valves, steering
wheels, galley stoves, fire buckets, hand grenades, handspikes,
shaftings, lubricants, wire coils, rope, sea chests, life preservers,
spar varnish, copper paint, pulleys, ensigns, twine, clasp knives, boat
hooks, chronometers, ship clocks, rubber boots, fur caps, splicing
compounds, friction tape, cement, wrenches, hinges, screws, oakum,
oars, anchorsit was no wonder that the force quailed at sight of the
work that lay before them.
They set to work smartly and had already made notable progress when
Tyke stepped out of the private office. He looked around with a
Dismantling the old ship, I see, he observed to Drew.
Right on the job, replied the young man, glad to note that Tyke
seemed to have somewhat recovered his equanimity after the trying
events of the day before.
Grimshaw watched them for a while, making a suggestion now and then
but leaving most of the direction of the work to his chief clerk while
he ruminated over the coming change.
At last he roused himself.
Better leave things to Winters now and come upstairs with me, he
said to Drew. There's a heap of stuff up there, and we want to figure
on where we're going to stow it all in the new place.
Drew followed him and they mounted to the second floor. Here the
surplus stock was held in reserve, and there was nothing that could be
dispensed with. But the third floor held a bewildering collection that
made it a veritable curiosity shop. When they reached this, Drew looked
about and was inclined to agree with Winters in classifying it as
All the discarded and defective stock of the last twenty years had
found a refuge here. And in addition to this debris there was a pile of
sailors' boxes and belongings that reached to the roof. Tyke had a warm
spot in his heart for sailormen, especially if they chanced to have
sailed with him on any of his numerous voyages; and when they were
stranded and turned to him for help they never met with refusal.
In some cases this help had taken the form of money loans or gifts.
At other times he had taken care of the chests containing their meagre
belongings, while they were waiting for a chance to ship, or perhaps
were compelled to go to a hospital.
In the course of a score of years, these boxes had increased in
number until now they usurped a great part of the space on that upper
floor. Drew had often been on the point of suggesting that they be got
rid of, but as long as they did not encroach on the space actually
needed by the business this thought had remained unspoken. Now, when
they were about to move and needed to have their work lightened as much
as possible, the time seemed opportune to dispose of the problem.
Tyke listened with a twinkle in his eye as Allen repeated the
suggestion of Winters that the contents of the floor be held for what
it would bring or given to the Salvation Army.
Might be a good idea, I s'pose, he remarked. Them old things
ain't certainly doing any one any good. An' yet, somehow, I've never
been able to bring myself to the point of getting rid of 'em. Seems as
though they were a sort of trust. Though I s'pose most of the boys they
belonged to are dead and gone long ago.
I don't imagine there's anything really valuable in any of the
chests, remarked Drew.
No, I don't think the hull kit an' boodle of 'em is worth twenty
dollars, acquiesced the old man. Although you can't always tell.
Sometimes the richest things are found in onlikely places. But I kind
of hate to part with these old boxes. Almost every one of 'em has
something about it that reminds me of old times.
You know I ain't much of a reading man, Grimshaw went on, an'
these boxes make the only library I have. I come up here an' moon
around sometimes when I git sick of living ashore, an' these old chests
seem to talk to me. They smell of the sea an' tell of the sea, an' each
one of 'em has some history connected with it.
Drew scented a story, and as Tyke's tales, while sometimes
garrulous, were always interesting, he forebore to interrupt and
disposed himself to listen.
Now take that box over there, for instance, continued Tyke,
pointing to a stained and mildewed chest which bore all the marks of
great age and rough handling. That belonged to Manuel Gomez, dead ten
year since. He went down in the Nancy Boardman when she was
rounding the Cape. Big, dark, upstanding man he was, an' one of the
best bo'suns that ever piped a watch to quarters in a living gale.
An' he was as good a fighting man as he was sailor. Nobody I'd
rather have at my side in a scrap. He was right up in front with me
when those Malay pirates boarded us off the Borneo coast. Those brown
devils came over the side like a tidal wave, an' no matter how many we
downed, they still kep' coming on.
It was nip an' tuck for a while, but we were fighting for our
lives, an' we beat 'em off at last an' sent what was left of 'em
tumbling into their praus. As it was, they sliced off two of my
fingers, an' one fellow would have buried that crooked kriss of his in
my neck if Manuel hadn't cut him down jest in time.
Of course, I was grateful to him for saving my life, an' he sailed
with me for several voyages after that. That scrap with the pirates
never seemed to do him an awful lot of good. He had pirates on the
brain anyway. You see, he come from Trinidad on the Spanish Main, where
the old pirates used to do their plundering an' butchering, an' I
s'pose he'd heard talk about their doings ever since he was a boy.
He used to talk about 'em whenever he got a chance. Of course,
discipline being what it is on board ship, he couldn't talk as free
with me as I s'pose he did with his mates. But once in a while he'd
reel off a yarn, an' then he'd hint kind of mysterious like that he
knew where some of the old Pirates' doubloons were buried an' that some
day, if luck was with him, he'd be a rich man.
I'd heard so much of that kind o' stuff in my time that I used to
laugh at him, an' then he'd get peevedthat is, as peeved as he dared
to be, me being skipper. But that wouldn't last long, and after a while
he'd be at it again. Jest seemed as though he couldn't get away from
the thought of it.
Perhaps there was something in it after all, said Drew, to whom
just now anything that savored of adventure appealed more strongly than
More likely his brain was a bit touched, replied Grimshaw
carelessly. I lost sight of him for several years when I quit the sea.
But just before he went on his last voyage, he wanted me to take charge
of this chest of his until he returned. Said he didn't dare trust it
with any one else.
'All right, Manuel. No diamonds or anything of that kind in it, I
s'pose?' I says with a laugh and a wink.
But he didn't crack a smile.
'Somet'in' wort' more zan diamon's,' he said solemnly, an' went
away. I never saw him again, an' a few months later I heard of the
Nancy Boardman's going down with all hands.
Why not examine the chest? cried Drew eagerly.
The recital of the grizzled veteran had fired his blood. All that he
had ever read or heard of the old buccaneers came back to him. In fancy
he saw them all, Avery, Kidd, Bartholomew Roberts, Stede Bonnet,
Blackbeard Morgan, the whole black-hearted and blood-stained crew of
daring leaders ranging up and down the waters of the Spanish Main,
plundering, sacking, killing, boarding the stately galleons of Spain,
sending peaceful merchant ships to the bottom, wasting their gains in
wild orgies ashore capturing Panama and Maracaibo amid torrents of
blood and flame. Silks and jewels and brocades and pearls and gold!
From the whole world they had taken tribute, until that worldtried at
last beyond bearinghad risen in its might and ground the whole nest
of vipers beneath its wrathful heel.
Tyke looked at the young man quizzically.
Thinking of the pirate doubloons, Allen?
Why not? Drew defended himself, albeit a little sheepishly.
Perhaps the key to treasure is right over there in that old chest of
Then Tyke laughed outright.
CHAPTER V. A SETBACK
I wouldn't bank on finding treasure, Grimshaw advised. What those
old pirates got they spent as they went along. They warn't of the
saving kind. 'Easy come, easy go' was their motto.
That's true enough of the majority of them, no doubt, conceded
Drew. The common sailors got only a small portion of the loot anyway.
But some of the leaders were shrewd and far-sighted men. They didn't
look forward to dying as pirates. They wanted to save enough to buy
their pardons later on and live the rest of their lives ashore in peace
and luxury. What was more natural than that they should hide their
shares of the plunder on some of the little islands they were familiar
with? They wouldn't dare to keep it on their ships, where their throats
might be cut at any moment if their crews knew there was treasure
That's true enough, admitted his employer.
And if they did bury it, pursued the young man, encouraged by this
concession, why shouldn't a good deal of it be there yet? Gold and
silver and jewels don't perish from being kept underground. And as most
of the pirates died in battle, they had no chance to go back and dig
the plunder up from where they had buried it.
But some of the crews must have been in the secret, objected Tyke,
an' after the death of their captains what was to hinder them from
going after the doubloons an' getting 'em.
There might have been a good many reasons, answered Drew. In the
first place, the captains seem to have had a cheerful little habit of
killing the men who did the digging and leaving their skeletons to
guard the treasure-chests. And even when that didn't happen, what
chance would the common sailor have had of going after the loot? He
couldn't have got a ship without giving away his secret, and the minute
he'd given it away his own life wouldn't have been worth a copper cent.
And then, too, went on Drew, warming to his subject, look at all
the traditions there are on the subject. Where there is so much smoke
there must be some fire. A single rumor wouldn't amount to much, but
when that rumor persists and is multiplied by a thousand others until
it becomes a settled belief, there must be something in it. The rumors
are like so many spokes of a wheel all pointing to a single hub, and
that hub istreasure!
I declare! you're getting all het up about it, grinned Tyke, as
Drew paused for breath. But all the same, my boy, you want to get back
to earth. You've got as good a chance of finding hidden treasure as I
have of taking first prize in a beauty show.
What's the matter with taking a look in Manuel's box and finding
out what it was he was so anxious about? questioned Drew, a little
dashed by Tyke's skepticism.
Well, perhaps we shall some time later on, conceded Tyke, somewhat
doubtfully. We can't think of doing it until we git moved an' settled.
We've got enough on hand now to keep us as busy as ants for a good many
days to come.
Drew was disappointed, but as his employer had spoken there was
nothing more to be said, and he regretfully followed Grimshaw to the
The chronicle of his life for the rest of that day and the two
following could be summed up in the one word, workhard, breathless,
unceasing work. A reminder had come from Blake that the moving must be
expedited, and from Tyke himself down to Sam no one was exempt.
Not that the thought of Ruth Adams was ever for long out of Drew's
mind. But the colors had grown more sombre in his rainbow of hope. He
had snatched a few moments from his noon hour on the second day to run
over to the Normandy, and although this time he saw Captain
Peters, it was only to learn that he could expect no help from that
The captain was curt and irritable after his prolonged drinking
bout, and answered chiefly in monosyllables. No, he had not seen any
young girl come aboard two days before. Did not know of any one who
Now you git out, snarled Peters in conclusion. You'll git no
information here. Make no mistake about that!
Drew was startled by the change in Captain Peters' manner and look.
The skipper glared at him as though Drew were a strange dog trying to
get the other's bone. The young man's temper was instantly rasped; but
Peters was a considerably older man than he, and he seemed to be
laboring under some misapprehension.
I assure you, Captain Peters, Drew said, my reasons for asking
were perfectly honorable.
You needn't assure me of anything. Just git out! roared the
skipper of the Normandy; and, seeing that there was nothing but
a fight in prospect if he remained, the young man withdrew. On deck he
saw the second officer, and that person winked at him knowingly and
followed him to the plank.
Old man on the rampage? he asked.
Seems to be, said the confused Drew.
Chance was, that that Bug-eye you knocked out the other day is a
pertic'lar friend of the skipper's. But gosh! you're some boy with your
Drew might again have tried to find out from this fellow about the
girl, but he shrank from making her the subject of any general inquiry
or discussion. To him she was something to be kept sacred. His heart
was a shrine with her as its image, and before that image he burned
imaginary tapers with the fervor of a devotee.
One thought came to him with a suddenness that made him quake. Could
it be that she was already married?
He tried to remember whether Mrs. or Miss had preceded the name
on the letter. For the life of him he could not recall. He had so
utterly assumed that she was unmarried, on the occasion of their
meeting, that any thought to the contrary had not even occurred to him
then. He was somewhat comforted by the probability that, had she been
married, her husband's name or initials would have followed the Mrs.
instead of her given name. Yet, this was a custom that was becoming as
much honored in the breach as in the observance, and the use of her own
given name would not be at all conclusive.
Then, with a great wave of relief, the memory came to him that he
had placed the letters in her left hand and had noted that she had no
rings on that hand at all. The thought had come to him at the time that
no ornament could make those tapered fingers prettier than they were.
His heart leaped with elation. She was unmarried then! She wore no
There was still greater cause for jubilation. She wore no ring of
any kind! She was not even engaged!
She probably was somewhere in this teeming city. Many times their
paths might almost cross, perhaps had already almost crossed since that
first meeting on the pier.
Fantastic musings took possession of him. Who was it that, in a
burst of hyperbole, said that if one took up his station at Broadway
and Thirty-fourth Street, he would, if he stayed there long enough, see
everybody in the world go past? Or was it Kipling who said that of Port
Where should he take his stand? What places should he frequent with
the greatest likelihood of meeting her? Theatres, the opera, art
galleries, railway stations, Central Park?
He recalled himself from these fantasies with a wrench. How foolish
and fruitless they were! He was no man of leisure, to do as he pleased.
He was bound as securely to his desk as the genie was to the lamp of
Aladdin, and he must answer its call just as unfailingly.
So, alternately wretched and elated, tasting the torments as well as
the joys of this experience that had revolutionized his life, he tore
desperately into his work, but with the girl's face ever before him.
On the third day after Tyke had received notice to move, the
preparations were far advanced. Delicate instruments had been carefully
wrapped; heavier objects had been clothed with burlap; truckmen were
notified to be ready on the following day. Tyke and Drew had made
frequent pilgrimages to the new place and had arranged where the stock
could be placed to the best advantage. New bills and letterheads had
been ordered from the printers, and even the old sign over the door,
which Tyke obstinately refused to leave behind, had been taken down to
have the old number painted out and the new one substituted.
There was no elevator in the old building. Drew had often urged
Grimshaw to have one installed, but the old man was dead set against
any such new-fangled contraptions. So, everything from the upper
lofts, when it was called for, had to be carried or rolled down the
rickety stairs, a proceeding which often roused rumbles of rebellion in
the breast of Sam, upon whom fell the brunt of the heavy work.
He had spent most of that afternoon in getting down the boxes from
the third floor so that they might be within easier reach of the
truckmen when the moving should begin. He was on his way down with one
of them, perspiring profusely and tired from the work that had gone
before, when, as he neared the lowest step, he slipped and dropped his
He was fortunate enough to scramble out of the way of the box and
thus escape injury. But the box itself came to the floor with a crash,
and split open.
Drew and Winters sprang to the help of the porter, and were relieved
to find that he was not hurt. He rose to his feet, his black face a
picture of consternation.
Dat ole mis'ry in ma back done cotched me jes' when Ah got to de
las' step, he explained. Ah hope dey ain't much damage done to dat
Pretty badly done up, it seems to me, remarked Winters, as he
surveyed the broken chest critically.
Never mind, Sam, consoled Drew. It wasn't your fault and the old
box wasn't of much account anyway.
Just then Tyke thrust his head out of his office to learn the
meaning of the crash. At the sight of the broken box he came into the
How did this happen? he asked.
Ah couldn't help it, Mistah Grimshaw, said Sam ruefully. Ma back
jes' nacherly give way, an' Ah had to let go. Ah'm pow'ful sorry, sah.
Sam was a favorite with the old man, who refrained from scolding him
but stood a moment looking curiously at the box.
Carry it into the office, he said at last to Sam. And you, Allen,
CHAPTER VI. THE BROKEN CHEST
Sam lifted the big chest, and, very carefully this time to make
amends for his previous dereliction, carried it into the private
office. He placed it on two chairs that his employer indicated and then
withdrew, closing the door softly behind him and rejoicing at having
got off so easily.
Well, Allen, remarked Tyke, wiping his glasses and replacing them
on the bridge of his nose, you're going to get your wish sooner than
either one of us expected.
What do you mean? asked Drew wonderingly.
Don't you see anything familiar about this box? replied Tyke,
answering a question in Yankee fashion by asking one.
I don't know that I do, responded the other. Then, as he bent over
to examine the broken chest more closely, he corrected himself.
Why, yes I do! he cried eagerly. Isn't this the one you pointed
out to me the other day as belonging to the man who fought with you
against the Malays?
That's it, confirmed Tyke. It's Manuel Gomez's box. Queer, he
went on reflectively, that of all the chests there were in that loft
the only one we thought of looking in should burst open at our very
feet. If I was superstitious (here Drew smothered a smile, for he knew
that Tyke was nothing if not superstitious), I might think there was
some meaning in it. But of course, he added hastily, we know there
Of course, acquiesced the younger man.
Tyke seemed rather disappointed at this ready assent.
Well, anyway, now that it has opened right under our noses, so to
speak, we'll look into it. I guess we've got far enough ahead with our
moving to take the time.
Drew, who was burning with curiosity and impatience, agreed with him
The chest had split close to the lock, so that it was an easy matter
after a minute or two of manipulation to throw the cover back.
A musty, discolored coat lay on top, and Tyke was just about to lift
this out when Winters stuck his head into the office.
Some one to see you, sir, he announced.
Tyke gave a little grunt of impatience.
Tell him I'm busy, he snapped. Then he caught himself up. Wait a
minute, he said. Did he tell you his name?
No, sir, returned Winters. But I'll find out. In a moment he was
back. Captain Rufus Hamilton, he says.
The petulant expression on Grimshaw's face changed instantly to one
Bring him right in, he ordered.
Drew, thinking that Grimshaw would wish to see his friend alone,
rose to follow Winters.
I suppose we'll put this off until after he's gone, he remarked.
But his employer motioned to him to remain.
Stay right where you are, he directed. Cap'n Rufe is one of the
best friends I have, and I'm glad he came jest now.
The door opened again, and Winters ushered in a powerfully built man
who seemed to be about fifty years of age. He had piercing blue eyes, a
straight nose with wide nostrils, and a square jaw, about which were
lines that spoke of decision and the habit of command. His face was
bronzed by exposure to the weather, and his brown hair was graying at
the temples. There was something open and sincere about the man that
caused Drew to like him at once.
The newcomer stepped briskly forward, and Tyke met him half way,
gripping his hand in the warmest kind of welcome.
Well met, Cap'n! cried Tyke. I haven't seen you in a dog's age. I
was jest wondering the other day what had become of you. There's nobody
in the world I'd rather see. What good wind blew you to this port?
I'm just as glad to see you, Tyke, replied the visitor, with equal
heartiness. I've been in the China trade for the last few years, with
Frisco as my home port. You can be sure that if I'd been hailing from
New York I'd have been in to see you every time I came into the
Tyke introduced Drew to the newcomer, and then the two friends
settled down to an exchange of reminiscences that seemed sure to be
prolonged for the rest of the afternoon.
After a while Captain Hamilton leaned back to light a cigar, and in
the momentary nagging of conversation that ensued while he was getting
it to going well, his gaze fell on the open chest.
What have you got here? he asked with a smile. Looks like a
And that's jest what it is, answered Tyke, recalled to the work on
which he had been engaged when the captain's coming had interrupted. I
declare! your visit put it clean out of my head. It's the box that used
to belong to Manuel, that old bo'sun of mine that I guess I've told you
about in some of my yarns. The one that was with me off Borneo when I
lost these two fingers.
That run-in you had with the Malays? returned the captain. Yes, I
remember your telling me about him. Saved your life, I think you said,
when one of the beggars was going to knife you.
That's the one, confirmed Grimshaw. He was shipwrecked later off
the Horn. He left his box here with me to take care of for him.
Seems to be pretty well broken up.
The porter dropped it coming downstairs, explained Drew.
You had it brought in here to save room, I suppose, said the
captain. I noticed that you were all cluttered up outside.
Why, it wasn't that exactly, replied Tyke, slightly embarrassed.
You see, Allen an' I were rummaging around in the top loft the other
day, an' among other things our eyes fell on this box. That started me
off yarning about the tight places Manuel an' I had been in together,
an' how he'd hinted that some day he'd be rich. Then I told Allen of
how Manuel said, when he left his box with me, that there was something
in it worth more'n diamonds an' then
Yes, I can guess the rest, said Captain Hamilton, with a quiet
smile. And then you both got a hankering to see what was in the box.
Allen did, admitted Tyke, 'an' I ain't denying that my fingers
itched a little too. But I put it off until we had got moved into our
new place. Now, didn't I, Allen? he demanded virtuously.
Drew assented smilingly.
Why didn't you wait then? gibed the captain.
We would have, affirmed Grimshaw eagerly, conscious that here at
last he was on firm ground, but that black rascal, Sam, the porter,
dropped the box on his way downstairs an' it split wide open, as you
see. If I was superstitious here he glared challengingly at both
of his listeners, who by an effort kept their faces grave, I'd sure
think it was meant that we should look into it right away. What do you
say, Cap'n Rufe?
I agree with you, replied the captain. The man is dead, and the
box is yours by right of storage if nothing else. This Manuel didn't
have wife or children that you know of, did he?
Nary one, responded Grimshaw. When he'd been drinking too much he
used to cry sometimes an' say that he hadn't a relative in the world to
care whether he lived or died.
That being the case, heave ahead, advised the captain. You don't
owe anything to the living or the dead to keep you from finding out all
you want to know.
Reinforced by this opinion, the old man again lifted the coat from
the top of the box.
What lay beneath was a curious medley of articles such as might have
been gathered at various times by a sailor who was familiar with all
the ports of the world. Mingled in with old trousers and boots and
caps, were curiously tinted shells, clasp knives with broken blades,
grotesque images of heathen gods, a tarantula and a centipede preserved
in a small jar of alcohol, miraculously saved from breakage.
But what especially attracted their attention in the midst of this
miscellaneous riffraff was a small cedar box, about eight inches long
by six inches wide and deep. It was heavily carved, and was secured by
a lock of unusual size and strength.
Wonder if this is the thing that was worth more'n diamonds,
grunted Tyke, with a carelessness that was too elaborate not to be
It must be that, if anything, replied Captain Hamilton, who had
let his cigar go out and was now vigorously chewing the stub.
Drew said nothing, but his cheeks were flushed and his eyes brighter
Grimshaw fumbled with the lock for a moment, but found it immovable.
Jest step out, Allen, and get all the keys we have an' we'll see if
any of 'em fit, he directed.
Drew did so, and returned in a moment with the entire collection
that the shop boasted. Tyke tried them all in turn, but none fitted.
I guess there's no help for it, he said at last. I hate to spoil
the box, but we'll have to force the lock. Get a chisel, and we'll pry
the thing open.
The chisel was brought and did its work promptly. There was a
rasping, groaning sound, as if the box were complaining at this rude
assault upon its privacy, then, with a hand that trembled a little,
Tyke lifted the cover.
All three heads were close together as the men bent over and peered
in. Their first glimpse brought a sense of disappointment. They had
half expected to catch the sheen of gold or the glitter of jewels.
Instead they saw only a piece of oilskin that was carefully wrapped
about what proved to be some sheets of paper almost as stiff as
Huh, grunted Tyke. Pesky lot of trouble with mighty little
result. I told you I thought Manuel was a bit touched in the brain, an'
I guess I was right.
Wait a minute, said Captain Hamilton. Don't go off at half-cock.
Let's see what's in that oil-skin.
Tyke opened the packet. The others drew up their chairs, one on
either side, as he unfolded the oilskin carefully on his desk.
There were two sheets of paper inside, so old and mildewed that they
had to be handled carefully to prevent their falling to pieces.
One of the papers seemed to be an official statement written in
Spanish. The other consisted of rude tracings, moving apparently at
random, with here and there a word that was almost illegible.
The three men looked at this blankly. Drew was the first to speak.
It's a map! he exclaimed eagerly.
CHAPTER VII. A MYSTERIOUS DOCUMENT
The two captains scanned the document closely.
It certainly is a map, pronounced Captain Hamilton decisively.
That's what it 'pears to be, admitted Tyke.
And it's the map of an island, went on Hamilton. See, he pointed
out, these wavy lines are meant to represent water and these firmer
lines stand for the land.
The others followed the movement of his finger and agreed with him.
Well, after all, what of it? asked Tyke, leaning back in his chair
with affected indifference.
There's this of it, said his visitor throwing his extinguished
cigar into the waste-basket and drawing his chair still closer. I feel
that we have a mystery on our hands, and we should examine it fore and
aft to find what there is in it.
I s'pose the next thing you'll be saying is that's it's a guide to
hidden treasure or something like that, jeered Tyke feebly, to conceal
his own growing excitement.
Stranger things than that have happened, replied the captain
Have it your own way, assented Tyke, rising and going to the door.
Winters, he called, jest remember that I'm not in to anybody for
the rest of the afternoon.
Yes, sir, replied Winters dutifully.
Having locked the door as an additional guard against intrusion,
Tyke rejoined the two at the desk.
Fire away, he directed. What's the first move?
The first thing is to make out what's written on this other paper,
said the captain, handling it gingerly.
The three bent over and studied the document closely.
Why, it's some foreign lingo; Spanish probably! exclaimed
Grimshaw. Not a word of English anywhere, as far as I can make out.
That's so, agreed the captain, a little dismayed at the discovery.
We've struck a snag right at the start. If we have to call in any one
to translate it, we'll be taking the whole world into the secret, if
there is any secret worth taking about.
Don't let that worry you, Drew intervened. I think I know enough
Spanish to be able to make out the paper.
There was an exclamation of delight from Captain Hamilton and a
snort of surprise from Tyke.
Why, I never knew that you knew anything about that lingo! the
I don't know any too much about it, returned Drew, modestly. But
the South American trade is getting so big now that I thought it would
be a good thing to know something of Spanish; so I've been studying it
at night and at odd times for the last two years.
Well, don't that beat the Dutch! cried Tyke delightedly. Now if I
was superstitioushe stared truculently at the suspicious working of
Drew's mouthI'd be sure there was something in this that wasn't
natural. We want to look into the box, an' it busts open in front of
us. We want to read that Spanish lingo, an' you know how to do it. I'll
be keelhauled if it don't make me feel a little creepy. That is, he
corrected himself quickly, it would if I believed in them things.
Well, now that we know you don't believe in them, said Captain
Hamilton, with the faintest possible touch of sarcasm, and since our
young friend here is able to read this paper, suppose we go to it.
You bet we'll go to it! cried Tyke eagerly. You jest take a
pencil an' write it down in English as Allen reels it off.
There won't be any 'reeling off', warned Drew, as with knitted
brow he pored over the document. In the first place, the Spanish used
here is very old, and some of the words that were common then aren't in
use any more. I can see that. Then, too, the ink has faded so much that
some of the words can't be made out at all. And where the paper has
been folded the lines have entirely crumbled away.
Sort o' Chinese puzzle, is it? queried Tyke dismally.
A Spanish puzzle, anyway, smiled Drew. I need something to help
out my eyes. I wish we had some microscopes in our stock, as well as
We'll get the best there is in the market if necessary, declared
Tyke. But jest for the present, here is something that may fill the
He reached into a drawer and brought out a reading glass that could
be placed over the paper as it lay on the desk.
The very thing! exclaimed Drew as he applied it. That helps a
There was a tense air of expectancy over all three as he began to
read. Tyke kept nervously polishing his glasses, and Captain Hamilton's
hand was the least bit unsteady as it guided the pencil. Drew's voice
trembled, though he tried studiously to keep it as calm as though he
were reading off the items on a bill of lading in the ordinary course
But if the work was exciting, it was none the less very slow. Once
in a while there would be a word that was wholly outside Drew's
vocabulary. In such cases the captain put it down in the original
Spanish for Drew to study out later by the aid of his dictionary. Then
at the points where the story seemed most important, there would be a
crease in the paper that would eliminate an entire line. Other words
had faded so completely that the magnifying glass failed to help.
But at last, despite all the tantalizing breaks, the final word was
reached, and the captain sat back and drew a long breath while the
younger man refolded the paper.
Well now, said Tyke, lets have it all from the first word to the
last. An' Cap'n, read mighty slow.
Amid a breathless silence, Captain Hamilton commenced reading what
he had taken down.
Trinidad, March 18, 17.
In the name of God, amen.
I Ramon ...... rez unworthy sin .......... ...... fit .... ......
name ...... .... lips .... ...... ...... knowing ..... .... .... ....
.... mercy ........ ...... ...... shown none, expecting .... .... ....
.... .... .... deepest hell yet .... .... .... .... .... Mary .... ....
.... .... saints .... shriving .... .... Holy Church .... .... ....
confess .... .... .... life.
.... .... .... wild .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Tortugas
.... French .... Reine Marguerite .... .... .... .... .... ....
From there we ran to Port au Spain .... .... .... plundering ....
.... .... .... city, .... many men and boys and .... .... .... women
and ..... Off one of Baha .... Cays .... .... .... galleon .... ....
.... .... fought stoutly .... .... .... .... walk .... plank. Other
ships .... .... .... .... .... forgotten. We took great spoils ....
.... .... .... accursed ... ... spent .... .... living,
I .... .... .... captain. Down in the Caribbean Sea we .... ....
caravel .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... one hundred and
twenty. Lost ship in tornado .... .... .... .... got another.
Many more .... .... .... .... .... .... .... weary .... ....
telling we .... .... .... God .... man.
At last .... .... ten .... .... .... butchery .... frigates ....
.... ch ..... Fled to one of the .... islands .... careened. Tired
knowing .... .... sooner or later I made up my mind .... .... .... ....
one more rich prize .... .... wickedness.
We captured the .... Guadalquiver ..... Desperate .... .... blood
..... thousand doubloons .... pearls .... .... price.
I knew of an island off the beaten track where there was good
hiding .... .... found, night. Cutter .... .... ashore, mutiny ....
.... killed them both. And there the booty is still .... .... .... ....
Now standing .... .... .... .... .... hell, I have made ....
drawing .... .... island where .... buried. I give it freely ....
Mother .... .... .... .... cand .... .... .... altar and .... ....
masses .... .... unworthy soul.
(X) Al .... ....
Attest Pablo Ximenes, notary.
The captain laid the paper on the desk and glanced at the intent
faces of his companions.
Now, what do you make of that? he asked.
CHAPTER VIII. THE SCOURGES OF THE SEA
Tyke's eyes were staring and his face was so apoplectic that Drew
Make out of it? Tyke spluttered, getting up and nearly overturning
his chair. I make out of it that Manuel was right when he said that
the old chest held something worth more'n diamonds.
Grimshaw was so shaken out of his usual calm that Captain Hamilton,
too, shared Drew's alarm.
I tell you what we'd better do, he suggested. We're all too much
excited to discuss this thing intelligently now. We've got a whole lot
to digest, and it will take time. This thing will keep. Suppose we have
our young friend here take this rough draft home with him and piece out
the missing parts as well as he can. In the meantime we'll all mull it
over in our minds, look at it from every angle, and meet here fresh and
rested to-morrow morning to decide on what we'd better do.
I guess you're right, assented Tyke, mopping his forehead. This
old head of mine is whirling around like a top.
Tyke locked the map carefully in his safe and committed the other
paper and the captain's partial transcription to his chief clerk with
solemn injunctions to take the utmost care of them.
But the latter stood in no need of the admonition. He would have
defended those papers with his life. They meant for himwhat did they
Romance, adventure, wealth! Now at last he would have something to
justify his search for Ruth Adams and his suit for her hand. Now he
could frame his jewel, when he found it, in a proper setting.
The three men prepared to leave the private office. Captain Hamilton
was first at the door, and he unlocked it. The instant he pulled the
door open, Drew heard him ejaculate:
Thunderation! Mr. Ditty! What are you doing here?
You told me to follow you here, Captain Hamilton, said a
respectful voice. They told me you were inside, and so I waited for
Humph! quite right, Mr. Ditty, Captain Hamilton said hastily. Then
he thrust his, head back into the office. My mate's come for me, Tyke.
We've got an errand on Whitehall Street. See you to-morrow. Good night,
Both the captain and the other man had gone when Drew went out into
the larger room. The remainder of that afternoon he spent in a dream.
When the day's work was over, Drew dined hastily and then shut
himself in his room where he worked busily until midnight, filling in
the vacant spaces in the rough draft of the confession. He was critical
of his efforts, recasting and revising again and again until he was
satisfied that he had caught the full meaning of the old document as
far as it was humanly possible. Only then did he lay it asideto dream
Drew was at the shop before his usual time the next morning, and
Tyke and Captain Hamilton came in soon afterward. The three went at
once into secret session, leaving the entire conduct of the chandlery
business to Winters, much to the mystification of that youth.
All three were fresh and cool this morning as they buckled down to
the problem they had to solve, and the wisdom of the previous night's
adjournment was clearly evident.
I got to talking this thing over with my daughter last night, said
Captain Hamilton. You'd forgotten I had a daughter, Tyke? Wait till
you see her! Well, she was aboard the schooner for dinner with me, and
she said: 'Daddy, if there is a real pirate's treasure, please go after
it. Then you can stay ashore and not go sailing away from me any more.'
So, I've a double incentive for pursuing this thing, and the captain
Yes, that's like the women-folk, observed Grimshaw. They're
always for a man's leaving the sea.
That isn't what made you leave it, Tyke, Captain Hamilton said
An' it won't be women-folk that sends me back to it, neither,
growled the older man. An' now, Allen, he added, as they settled
comfortably into their chairs, how did you git along with the paper?
Have you got it so that it makes sense?
I'll let you judge of that for yourselves, replied Drew, taking
the revised draft from his pocket. Of course, I can't say that it's
exactly right. Some of the missing words and sentences I had to guess
at. But it's as nearly right as I know how to make it.
He waited while Grimshaw and Captain Hamilton lighted their cigars,
and then proceeded to read:
Trinidad, March 18, 17 .....
In the name of God, amen.
I, Ramon Alvarez, unworthy sinner that I am and not fit to take the
name of God upon my lips, and well knowing that I deserve no mercy who
have ever shown none, expecting to be plunged into the deepest hell,
yet basing my only hope on the Virgin Mary and the blessed saints and
the shriving of Holy Church, do hereby confess the misdeeds of my life.
From my youth up I was wild. I was with the buccaneers who, off the
Tortugas, captured the French ship, Reine Marguerite, all of
whose crew and passengers we put to death. From there we ran to Port au
Spain, ravaging and plundering. We captured the city, killing most of
the men and boys and carrying off the women and girls. Off one of the
Bahama Cays we took a Spanish galleon, and although her people fought
stoutly, we made them finally walk the plank. Other ships we captured
whose names I have forgotten. We took great spoils, but the money was
accursed and was soon spent in wild living.
I myself soon became a captain. Down in the Caribbean Sea we won a
caravel and killed all on board, one hundred and twenty. I lost my ship
in a tornado, but soon got another.
Many more evil deeds we did that would make me weary with the
telling. We feared neither God nor man.
At last, after ten years or more of butchery, the nations sent many
frigates in chase of us. I fled to one of the islands and careened my
ship. Tired, knowing I would be taken sooner or later, I made up my
mind that I would capture one more rich prize and then be done with my
We captured the ship Guadalquiver. The fight was desperate
and the decks ran with blood. We took ...... thousand doubloons, many
pearls and jewels of price.
I knew of an island off the beaten track where there was good
hiding to be found. I took the cutter one night and went ashore to bury
treasure. Two men with me mutinied and I killed them both. And there
the booty is still, unless it has been taken away, which God forbid.
Now, standing mayhap on the very brink of hell, I have made this
drawing of the island where the treasure is buried. I give it freely to
Holy Mother Church, and beg that part be spent for candles to be burned
before the altar and for masses to be said for my unworthy soul.
Ramon (X) Alvarez.
Attest, Pablo Ximenes, notary.
Good work, Allen, commended Tyke, as the reader stopped.
Very cleverly done, added Captain Hamilton.
Drew flushed with pleasure.
Those old fellows were well called 'the scourges of the sea,'
weren't they? he said. Now here! There are just two things missing
that it would be the merest guess-work to supply, he added. One is
the date. We know the century, but the year is absolutely rubbed out.
The other is the number of doubloons captured with his last prize. That
was in a crease of the paper and had crumbled away.
Yes, replied Captain Hamilton; but neither is so very important.
Of course, the later the date, the less time there has been for any one
to find the doubloons and take them away. We have the names of some of
the ships that were captured though, and we might look the matter up in
some French or Spanish history and so get a clue to the date.
As to the extent of the treasure, we'll find that out for ourselves
when we get it, if we ever do. And if we don't get it, the amount
It seems to be a pretty good-sized one, from the way the rascal
speaks about it, remarked Tyke.
Plenty big enough to pay for the trouble of getting it, agreed
Well, now that we know what the paper says, let's git right down to
brass tacks, suggested Grimshaw. In the first place, this particular
pirate, Alvarez, was evidently a Spaniard. The language the paper is
written in proves that.
Not necessarily, objected the captain. Spanish is the language
spoken in Trinidad, and even if the dying man were a Frenchman or an
Englishman, the notary would probably translate what he said into
Spanish. Still, the first name, and probably the last, indicate Spanish
birth. I guess we're pretty safe in considering that point settled.
But I thought most of the pirates, the leaders anyway, were French
or English, persisted Tyke.
So they were, answered the captain; but the Portuguese and
Spaniards ran them a close second. As a matter of fact, those fellows
acknowledged no nationality and cut the throats of their own countrymen
as readily as any others. The only flag they owed any allegiance to was
the skull and crossbones.
But how comes it that this confession was made before a notary?
asked Drew. I should think it would have been made verbally to a
Well, said the captain thoughtfully, there are various ways of
accounting for that. Alvarez may have been taken sick suddenly, and the
notary may have been nearest at hand. Even if the priest had been
summoned, the sick man might have feared that he would die before the
priest got there and wanted to get it off his mind. He didn't seem to
have much hope of heaven, from the way the paper reads.
I don't wonder, put in Tyke, dryly.
But whatever chance there was, he wanted to take it, finished the
I wonder how the paper ever got into Manuel's hands, pondered
The churches and convents seemed to suffer most in those wild
days, said the captain. They were sacked and plundered again and
again. It might very well be that this paper was stolen by ignorant
adventurers, and in some way got into the hands of one of Manuel's
ancestors and so came down to him. Probably most of them couldn't read
and had no idea of what the paper contained. Could Manuel read? he
asked, turning to Grimshaw.
Why, yes; but rather poorly, answered Tyke.
I've seen him sometimes in port looking over a Spanish newspaper,
moving his finger slowly along each line.
That explains it then, said the captain. He was able to make out
just enough to guess that the paper and map referred to hidden
treasure, but he wasn't able to make good sense of it.
I s'pose that was the reason he was always trying to git me
interested in his pirate stories, put in Tyke. He was kind o' feeling
me out, an' if I'd showed any interest or belief in it, he'd have
probably tried to git me to take a ship and go after it with him.
Not a doubt in the world, agreed Captain Hamilton.
Well, now we've looked at the matter of the paper from most every
side, remarked Tyke; an' I guess we're all agreed that it looks like
a bona fide confession. We've seen, too, how it was possible for
it to git into the hands of Manuel. Now let's see if we can make head
or tail of the map.
He brought out the paper from his safe and the three men crowded
around it. Here, after all, was the crux of the whole matter. By this
they were to stand or fall. It booted little to know merely that the
doubloons were buried somewhere in the West Indies. They might as well
be at the North Pole, unless they could locate their hiding place with
some degree of precision.
The dark, heavily shaded part in the center of the map was evidently
meant to mark the position of the island itself. Quite as surely, the
light, undulating lines surrounding it were intended to show the water.
There seems to be just one inlet, said Captain Hamilton, pointing
to an indentation that bit deeply into the dark mass of the island.
Lucky there's even one, grunted Tyke. I've known many of those
picayune islands where there was no safe anchorage at all.
The island was irregular in shape and seemed to have an elevation in
the center. But what most attracted their attention were three small
circles some distance in from the shore that seemed to indicate some
There's some writing alongside of these, announced Drew, after a
sharp scrutiny. If you'll hand me the reading glass I think I can make
The glass was quickly brought into use, and Drew stared at the
writing hard and long.
'The Witch's Head.' 'The Three Sisters', he translated.
Sounds like a suffragette colony, muttered Tyke.
But Drew was too deeply engrossed with his task to notice the play
Thirty-seven long paces due north from the Witch's Head.'
'Eighty-nine long paces due east from The Three Sisters,' he went on.
Now we're getting down to something definite! exclaimed Captain
That's all, announced Drew. What do you suppose it means?
It can mean only one thing, it seems to me, said Tyke excitedly.
It's pointing to the spot where the doubloons are buried.
Yes, agreed the captain, I should take it to mean that if you
mark off thirty-seven long paces north from the Witch's Head and
eighty-nine long paces east from The Three Sisters, the spot where
those paths cross would be the place to dig.
Do you see anything on the map that would give a hint as to the
latitude and longitude? asked Grimshaw anxiously.
No, answered Drew. Wait a minute though, he added hastily.
Here's something that looks like figures down in the lower left hand
corner. Fifty-seven .... No! Sixty-seven-three is one, and thirteen-ten
is the other.
That can only stand for longitude and latitude! cried Tyke.
Quick, Allen, git down that Hydrographic Office chart. That'll cover
CHAPTER IX. GETTING DOWN TO BRASS
In a moment the chart was taken down from its hook and spread out on
Tyke's big desk. With shaking fingers the old man found the line of
longitude indicated on the pirate's map, and followed it down till he
came to the thirteenth degree of latitude.
Thirteen-ten; sixty-seven-three, he muttered. Thirteen degrees,
ten minutes latitude; sixty-seven degrees, three minutes longitude.
There it is! and he made a mark with his pencil on the chart. Right
down there in the Caribbean, west of Martinique. Glory Hallelujah!
The old man was as frisky as a colt, and under the stimulus of
excitement the years seemed to drop away from him.
Captain Hamilton was quite as delighted, though he did not give so
free a rein to his emotions.
Splendid! he beamed. When we can actually get down to figures, it
begins to look like business. Of course, there are innumerable small
islands down that way. But it won't take much cruising around to try
Once more he studied the shape and the size of the island, and his
brows knitted almost to a scowl, so close was his concentration.
That elevation in the middle looks something like a whale's hump,
Captain Hamilton jumped as though he had been shot.
That's it! he cried. By Jove! I know that island! I remember
thinking that very thing about it one day some years ago when I was
coming up from Maracaibo. My mate was standing by me at the time. It
was just as sunset, and the island stood out plain against the sky. I
remember saying to him that it looked to me just like the hump of a
whale. Now we've located it sure. I'll recognize it the minute my eyes
fall on it whether it's charted or not. My boy, you're a wonder. You've
helped us out at every turn in this business.
That he has, declared Tyke enthusiastically. Neither the paper
nor the map would have been any good without Allen to translate 'em.
I'm proud of you, Allen.
The young man flushed with pleasure and murmured deprecatingly that
it was just a bit of luck that he happened to know Spanish.
Luck! 'Tisn't luck that makes a man dig out a foreign lingo, said
Tyke. An', anyway, you've been smart at every point with your
suggestions, an' helped us out as we went along. You started things
with your eagerness to look into Manuel's box an' you put the cap sheaf
on when you jest now gave Cap'n Rufe that last pointer.
An' now, Tyke went on, when they had sobered down a little, let's
get down to brass tacks. There's jest one thing that remains to be
done, but it's a mighty big thing. We feel pretty sure that there is a
treasure, an' we think we know where that treasure is. Now the question
is, how are we going to git it?
Drew experienced a feeling of dismay. He had been so engrossed with
the preliminary work that he had hardly given a thought to the
practical problem involved. He had taken it for granted that it would
be easy enough to get a ship to go after the pirate's hoard.
Now with Tyke's bald statement confronting him, a host of
perplexities sprang up to torment him. Where were they to get the right
kind of ship? How could they escape telling the captain of that ship
just where they were going and what they were going for?
But if the matter puzzled Tyke and his chief clerk, it bothered
Captain Hamilton not at all. He lighted a fresh cigar, crossed his legs
and smiled broadly.
That's an easy one, he remarked. Give me something hard.
Tyke looked at him in some surprise and Drew's face reflected his
Seems to me it's hard enough, grumbled Tyke.
What do you mean? asked Drew quickly.
I mean, said the captain complacently, that we'll make this
voyage in my schooner.
The two others jumped to their feet.
Splendid! cried Drew.
Glory be! ejaculated Tyke.
The plan seems to suit you, smiled the captain.
Suit us! shouted Tyke. Why, it's jest made to order. But how're
you going to git the owner's permission? How do you know he'll be
willing to have the ship chartered for such a cruise? An' how are we
going to keep the secret from him?
As I happen to be the chief owner, as well as the captain, I guess
we won't have any trouble on that score.
Owner! exclaimed Tyke, in astonishment. I hadn't any idee that
you had any int'rest in her outside of your berth as captain. You've
been pretty forehanded to have got so far ahead as to own a craft like
I haven't done so badly in the last few years, said the captain
modestly; and as fast as I saved money I kept buying more stock in the
old girl. Mr. Parmalee encouraged that idea in his captains. He knew
human nature, and knew that when a man's own money was invested in the
deck under him he was going to be mighty careful of the ship's safety
and would have a personal interest in seeing that she was a money
maker. The old man's dead now, but his son has inherited a third
interest in the Bertha Hamilton, while I hold the other
two-thirds. I renamed her when I got control of the bonny craft. I hope
some day to buy out Parmalee's share and become the sole owner.
You're a lucky man, congratulated Tyke warmly. It must be great
when you tread the plank to feel that you're not only boss for the time
being, but that you actually own her. What is she like? How big is she?
And how much of a crew do you ship?
She's three stick, schooner rigged, replied the captain. A
hundred and fifty feet over all and carries a crew of about thirty. Oh!
she's a sailing craft, Tyke. She's not afoul with steam winches and the
like. And she's a beauty, he added, his eyes kindling with pride.
There are mighty few ships on this coast that she can't show a pair of
heels to, and she's a sweet sailer in any weather. She stands right up
into the wind's eye as steady as a church and when it comes to reaching
or running free, I'd back her against anything that carries sails.
But how about your other engagements? suggested Grimshaw. Is she
chartered for a voyage anywhere soon?
That's another rare bit of luck, returned the captain. I had an
engagement to-day with Hollings &Company, who were thinking of having
me take a cargo for Galveston. If I hadn't run plump into this treasure
business as I did, there isn't any doubt but I would have closed with
them to-day. But now it's all off. I'll see them this afternoon and
tell them they'll have to get somebody else.
Tyke sat down heavily in his chair and wagged his grizzled head
It's beyond me, he said. It must be meant. Here we might be weeks
or months before we could git a ship that suited us, if we got it at
all; but along comes Cap'n Rufe here with the very thing we want. If I
was superstitious,before his stony stare they sat unwinkingI'd
think for sure there was something in this more'n natural. It can't be,
after all this, that we're going on a wild goose chase.
Well, replied Captain Hamilton cautiously, it may be that after
all. Things certainly have worked to a charm so far, but that doesn't
prove anything. 'There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip,' and
this may be one of them. When all is said and done, it's a gamble. For
all we know, the doubloons may have been taken away a hundred years
ago, and all we'll find after we get there may be an empty hole in the
ground. But 'nothing venture, nothing have'; and with all the evidence
we have, I'm willing to take a chance.
So am I! cried Tyke heartily. Of course, we stand to lose a tidy
little sum if it should turn out to be a fluke. There's the outfitting
to be done, the crew's wages to be paid, an' a lot of other expenses
that'll mount up into money. But it's worth a chance, and if we lose
I'm willing to stand the gaff without whining.
It goes without saying that Drew heartily echoed these sentiments in
his mind, but he felt some delicacy about expressing them. After all,
it was Captain Hamilton and his employer who would have to provide the
funds for the expedition and stand the loss if there were any. He
himself would be called on to risk nothing.
And with this thought came another with the suddenness of a stab. On
what was he building his hopes for a share in the profits of the
adventure? After all, he was only Tyke's employee. The very time he was
spending in unraveling this mystery belonged to Tyke and was paid for
by him. He felt again the weight of his chains, and the air castle he
had built for Ruth's occupancy suddenly took on the iridescent colors
of a bubble.
Well, now that we've got down to brass tacks as you say, Tyke,
let's get along to the next point, said the captain briskly. I don't
suppose you could come along with me?
You don't! snorted Tyke. Well then, you're due for another guess.
You bet your binoculars I'm coming along. I'd like to see anything that
would stop me!
Drew's heart sank. If Tyke were going, that would mean that he would
have to stay behind to look after the interests of the chandlery shop.
But your business? objected the captain.
Business be hanged! roared Tyke. It can go to Davy Jones, for all
I care. Anyway, I can leave it in good hands. But I'm going to have one
more sight of blue water before I turn up my toes for good, no matter
what happens. An' I'm going to take Allen along with me!
Drew was struck dumb for the moment and could only stare at the
excited old man.
Yes! repeated Tyke, he's going to have his fling along with the
rest of us. We ought to be back in a couple of months, if we have any
kind of luck. Winters is a bright boy, and he can keep things going for
That'll be fine, said the captain with enthusiasm. I'd like
nothing better than to have the two of you for messmates.
But say! broke in Tyke, as a thought suddenly occurred to him,
what about that fellerParmaleewho has a third int'rest in your
craft? Of course, he'll want to know, an' he'll have a right to know,
why you don't take this Galveston cargo an' why you're going on this
cruise of ours. How are you going to git around that?
That is something of a problem, the captain replied slowly, and
especially as he thought of going with me to Galveston for the sake of
his health. He's lame and delicate, and the doctor told him that a sea
voyage was just what he needed to build him up.
Of course, he went on, I'm the principal owner of the ship, and
what I say, goes. I could do this against his will, if I wished,
although of course in that case I'd be bound to see that he got as much
profit as he would have done if I'd taken the Galveston job.
What kind of feller is this Parmalee? asked Grimshaw cautiously.
As fine a lad as you'd care to meet, answered the captain
heartily. Friendly and good-hearted and white all through. He's sickly
in body, but his head's all right. And just because he is that kind, I
don't want to do anything that would hurt or offend him.
But that's a matter that can wait, he continued. In any event it
won't affect our plans. Either I'll fix the matter up with him
satisfactorily in a money way, or, if you think best, we'll let him
into the secret and take him along.
Would that be safe? inquired Tyke dubiously.
Absolutely, affirmed the captain. He's a man of honor, and if he
promised to keep our secret, wild horses couldn't drag it from him. I'd
trust him as I would myself. Maybe he'd like to come along with us.
He's too rich to care anything about the doubloons, but he's romantic,
and he might like the fun of hunting for it.
Well, said Tyke, we'll have to leave that matter to you to settle
as you think best. Any one you vouch for will be good enough for me.
And now, said Captain Hamilton, there's one thing more that we
haven't touched on yet. I suppose we understand, Tyke, that you and I
put up the expenses of this expedition, fifty-fifty?
Sure thing, agreed Tyke.
And if nothing comes of it, we simply charge it up to profit and
An' let it go at that, finished Tyke. We'll have had a run for
our money, anyhow.
On the other hand, the captain continued, if we find the
treasure, and it proves to be of any size, we'll first deduct the cost
of the trip, lay aside enough for Parmalee to make things right with
himhe may not want it, but we'll make him take itand then divide
what's left into three equal shares?
Three! Drew uttered the ejaculation, and the blood drummed in his
That's right, assented Tyke placidly. One for you, one for me,
and the third for Allen.
CHAPTER X. CAPRICIOUS FORTUNE
Drew experienced a thrill of delight. But he felt that he ought to
I'm not putting up anything toward the expense, he said. If
things go wrong, you'll lose heavily. I have nothing to lose and
everything to gain. It doesn't seem the square thing.
Let us do the worrying about that, smiled the captain. You've
done your fair share already toward this adventure. We'll all share and
You bet we will, chimed in Tyke. There wouldn't be any cruise at
all if it hadn't been for you. Who suggested searching the box? Who
translated the paper and the map? You've been the head and front of the
whole thing from the beginning.
But began Drew.
'But,' nothing, interrupted Tyke. Not another word. Remember I'm
And Drew, glad enough for once in his life to be bossed, became
silent. But the walls of his air castle began to grow more solid.
How long will it be before you can have the schooner ready to
sail? Tyke inquired, turning to the captain.
Oh, in a week or ten days if we are pressed, was the response. It
won't take us more than that to get our supplies aboard and ship our
The crew is an important matter, reflected Tyke. It won't do to
pick up any riffraff that may come to hand. We want to git men that we
can trust. Sailors have a way of smelling out the meaning of any cruise
that is out of the usual order of things, an' if there's any
trouble-makers in the crew who git a hint that we're out for treasure,
they'll cause mischief.
They won't get any hint, unless some of us talk in our sleep,
replied the captain. I know where I can lay hands on quite a few of my
old crew, but I'll be so busy with other things that I'll have to leave
the picking of most of the men to Ditty.
Ditty? said Grimshaw inquiringly.
He's my mate, explained the captain. Cal Ditty. As smart a sailor
as one could ask for. But that about lets him out.
Why! don't you like him? asked Tyke quickly.
No, I can't say I do, replied the captain slowly. I've never
warmed toward the man. There's something about him that repels me.
Why don't you git rid of him then?
Well, you see it's like this, explained Captain Hamilton. He
saved Mr. Parmalee's life one time when the old man fell overboard, and
naturally Parmalee felt very grateful to him. He promised him that he
should always have a berth on one of his ships as long as he lived. Of
course, since the old man is dead, we could do as we liked about firing
Ditty, but young Parmalee feels that it's up to him to respect his
father's wishes. So rather than have any trouble about it, I've kept
Ditty on. But he's a lush when he's ashore, and I don't fully trust
him. That may be unjust too, for he's always done his work well and
I've had no reason to complain.
Well, anyway, warned Tyke, I'd keep my weather eye peeled if I
was you. When you feel that way about a man, there's usually something
to justify it sooner or later.
Well, now, suppose I'm ready in a fortnight, how about you? asked
Oh, we'll be ready by that time, replied Tyke confidently. Of
course we've got this moving to do, but we're pretty well packed up
now, an' before a week is over we'll have everything shipshape in our
We'll race each other to see who'll be ready first, laughed
Captain Hamilton. In the meantime, if you're not too rushed, come over
and take a squint at the Bertha Hamilton. And if you don't see
the niftiest little craft that ever gladdened the eyes of a sailorman,
you can call me a swab.
Where is she lying? asked Drew.
Foot of Franklin Street, North River. You'll find me there most all
the time, but if you don't just go aboard and look her over anyway.
You'll be on her for some weeks, and you might as well get acquainted.
Tyke and Drew promised that they would, and, with a cordial
handshake, Captain Hamilton left the office.
Grimshaw carefully stowed the map and paper away in his safe, and
then turned to Drew.
Named his craft after the daughter he spoke of, I reckonBertha
Hamilton. Well, perhaps it'll bring us luck. Cap'n Rufe is some
seaman, an' no mistake. Then he added, with a quizzical smile: Quite
a lot's happened since this time yesterday.
I should say there had! responded Drew. My head is swimming with
it. It'll take some time for me to settle down and get my bearings. I'm
tempted to pinch myself to see if I'm not dreaming. If I am, I don't
want to wake up. You're certainly good to me, Mr. Grimshaw, he added
Tyke waved aside Drew's thanks by a motion of his hand.
Everything does seem topsy-turvy, he said. I thought that the old
hulk was laid up for good. But now it seems she's clearing for one more
cruise. An' it's all come about so queer like. Now if I
Tyke checked himself and rose to his feet.
Well, now we've got one more reason for hustling, he declared.
You'll have your hands full from this time on, my boy, an' so will I.
You want to begin to break Winters in right away, so that he'll be able
to take charge of things while we're gone.
How shall I explain it? asked Drew. What shall I give as a reason
for the trip?
Tyke reflected for a moment.
Jest say that we're going for a cruise in Southern waters with an
old sea cap'n friend of mine. Tell him that you've been sticking pretty
close to your desk, an' that I thought it would be a good thing for you
to go along. Don't make any mystery of it. Tell him that we'll be back
in a couple of months, an' that it's up to him to make good while we're
One thing more, he added, as Drew turned to go. Tell him that I'm
going to raise his salary, an' he'll feel so good about that that he
won't waste much time thinking about us and our plans.
The recipe worked as Tyke had predicted, and after the first
expressions of surprise, Winters speedily became engrossed in his added
responsibilities and the increase in his pay, leaving Drew untroubled
by prying questions.
For the next three days all worked like beavers, and by nightfall of
the third day the moving had been effected and the stock arranged in
their new quarters.
Guess we're going to be ready for that cruise before Cap'n Rufe
is, grinned Tyke, as he surveyed the finished work.
But he exulted too soon. That very evening, Drew received a
telephone message from St. Luke's hospital saying that Mr. T. Grimshaw
had been brought in there with an injured leg as the result of a street
accident. He had requested that Drew be summoned at once.
Shocked and grieved, the young man hurried to the hospital. He was
ushered at once into the private room in which Tyke was lying.
The leg had been bandaged, and Tyke had recovered somewhat from the
first shock of the accident. He was suffering no special pain at the
moment, and was eagerly watching the door through which Drew would
The latter's heart ached as he saw how wan and gray the old man's
face looked. But his indomitable spirit still shone in his sunken eyes,
and he tried to summon a cheery smile as Drew came near the bed.
Well, Allen, my boy, he remarked, I guess I crowed too soon this
afternoon. I didn't think then that the old hulk would be laid up so
soon for repairs.
Drew expressed his sorrow, as he gripped Tyke's hand affectionately.
How did it happen? he asked.
Cruising across the street in front of an auto, replied Tyke.
Thought I had cleared it, but guess I hadn't. I saw that one-eyed
feller standing there
What one-eyed fellow? Drew asked, interrupting.
Why, I don't know who he was. Looked like a sea-faring man,
returned Tyke. Oh! That does hurt! Doctor said it would if I moved
Don't move your leg, then, advised Drew. What about the one-eyed
Why, repeated Tyke, reflectively, I saw him on the curb jest as I
jumped to git out of the way of that auto. I ain't as spry as I used to
be I admit; but seems to me I would have made it all right if it hadn't
been for that feller.
What did he do to you? asked the anxious Drew. Of course, there
was more than one sailor in the world with only one eye; yet the young
I saw his hand stretched out, an' I thought he was going to grab
me. But next I knew I was pushed right back an' the car knocked me
flat. B'fore I lost my senses, it seemed to me that that one-eyed swab
was down on his knees going through my pockets.
Robbing you? gasped Drew.
Wellmebbe I dreamed it. I've been puzzling over it ever since
I've been lying here. I didn't lose my watch, nor yet my wallet, that's
sure, and Tyke grinned. But it certainly was a queer experience. An'
I'd like to know who that one-eyed feller is.
How badly is your leg hurt? asked Drew.
Might have been worse, answered Tyke. Doctor says my knee's
wrenched an' the ligaments torn, but there's nothing that can't be
mended. I'll be off my pins for the next month or two, they say. So I
guess old Tyke won't be Johnny-on-the-spot when you dig up them
Don't worry about that, protested Drew. The only important thing
now is that you should get well. The treasure can wait. We'll postpone
the trip until you get ready to go.
No you won't! declared Tyke energetically. You'll do nothing of
the kind! You'll go right ahead and look for it, an' I'll lie here an'
root for you.
He was getting excited, and at this juncture the nurse interposed
and Drew had to go, after promising to come again the first thing in
He sent a message on leaving the hospital to Captain Hamilton, and
the next morning they went in company to visit the patient.
They were delighted to learn that he was doing well. There were no
complications, and it was only a matter of time before the injured leg
would be as well as ever.
The captain had been grieved to hear of his old friend's mishap. He
expressed his entire willingness to postpone the trip till some time in
the future when Tyke could go along. But the latter had been thinking
the matter over and was even more determined than he had been the night
before that his injury should not prevent the expedition going forward
One man more or less don't make any difference, he declared. Of
course, I'd set my heart on going with you, an' I ain't denying it's a
sore disappointment to have to lie here like some old derelict. But it
would worry me a good deal more to know that I was knocking the whole
plan to flinders. Our agreement still stands, except that I'll have to
be a silent partner instead of an active one. Allen can represent me,
as well as himself, when you git to the island. But I can do my part in
outfitting the expedition as well as though I was on my feet. My leg is
out of commission, but my arm isn't, an' I can still sign checks, and
he chuckled. You fellers go right ahead now and git busy.
There was no swerving him from his determination, and, although
reluctantly, they were forced to acquiesce. The captain went ahead with
his preparations, and Drew redoubled his activities, as now he had to
do two men's work. But his superb vitality laughed at work and he
became so engrossed in it that he forgot everything else.
Except Ruth Adams!
Consciously or sub-consciously, her gracious memory was with him
In the first rush of exultation that he felt when he found himself
admitted as an equal partner in the possible gains of the expedition,
he had overlooked the fact that it meant an absence, more or less
prolonged, from the city where he supposed Ruth Adams to be. How many
things might happen in the interval! Suppose in his absence some
fortunate man should woo and win her? A girl so attractive could not
fail to have suitors. He felt that the golden fruit he might get on the
expedition would turn to ashes if he could not lay it at her feet.
So, tossed about by a sea of alternate hopes and fears, the days
went by until but forty-eight hours remained before the time agreed
upon for sailing.
On Tuesday, Allen had occasion to confer with Captain Hamilton. Up
to now, their meetings, when it had been necessary to see each other on
business connected with the trip, had been in the South Street office.
And, what with the multiplied demands on his time and his daily calls
on Tyke at the hospital, Drew had not yet visited the Bertha
Hamilton. He had planned to do so more than once, but had found it
out of the question. He told himself that he would have ample time to
get acquainted with the schooner from stem to stern when they had left
New York behind them and were heading for the island in the Caribbean.
But to-day the conference was to be aboard the Bertha Hamilton. Drew was forced to confess, on reaching the pier at which the schooner
was moored and on catching his first glimpse of her, that the captain
was justified in his enthusiasm. She was indeed a beauty. With her
long, graceful, gently curving lines, she seemed more like a yacht than
a merchant vessel. She was schooner rigged, and, although of course the
sails were furled, the height of her masts indicated great
sail-carrying capacity. Everything about her suggested grace and speed,
and Drew did not doubt that she could show her heels to almost any
sailing craft in the port.
As his appreciative eyes swept the vessel throughout its entire
length from stern rail to bowsprit, his admiration grew. He was glad
that such a craft was to carry the hopes and fortunes of the treasure
hunters. She seemed to promise success in advance.
He went over the plank and turned to go aft in search of the
captain. Then he stopped suddenly. His heart seemed to cease beating
for an instant. He found himself looking into the hazel eyes of the
girl of whom he had been dreaming day and night since he had first seen
her down on the East River docks!
CHAPTER XI. A DREAM REALIZED
For a moment Drew almost doubted his own eyesight. But there was no
mistake. There could be only one girl like her in the world, he told
himself. She was wearing a simple white dress and her head was bare.
The bright sunshine rioted in her golden hair, and her eyes were
luminous and soft. A wave of color mounted to her forehead as she came
face to face with Allen Drew.
She had turned the corner of the deck house, and they had almost
collided. She stepped back, startled, and Drew collected his scattered
wits sufficiently to lift his hat and apologize.
II beg your pardon, he stammered. I ought to have been more
Oh, it was my fault entirely, she answered graciously. I
shouldn't have turned the corner so sharply.
What next he might have said Drew never knew, for just then there
came a heavy step and the sound of a jovial voice behind him, and
Captain Hamilton's hand was grasping his.
So you did manage to come over and get a look at the beauty, did
you? What do you think of her?
The most beautiful thing I've ever seen! answered Drew fervently.
He might have had a different beauty in mind from that which the
captain had, and perhaps this suspicion occurred to the girl, for the
flush in her cheek became slightly more pronounced. But the
unsuspecting captain was hugely gratified at the tribute, though
somewhat surprise at its ardor.
A glance from the girl reminded the captain of a duty he had
I was forgetting that you two hadn't met, he said. Drew, this is
my daughter, Miss Hamilton. Ruth, this is Mr. Allen Drew, the young man
I've been telling you so much about lately.
They acknowledged the introduction and for one fleeting, delicious
moment her soft hand rested in his.
So she was Captain Hamilton's daughter! Her name was not Adams! What
a blind trail he had been following!
But Drew's thoughts were interrupted by the girl's voice.
We have met before, Daddy, Ruth said with a smile. Don't you
remember my telling you about the young man who came to my aid that day
when I went on an errand for you to the Normandy? You
rememberthe day I dropped the letters over the side? That was Mr.
You don't say! exclaimed the captain. And here we've been seeing
each other every day or so and I've never thanked him. Drew, consider
yourself thanked by a grateful father.
They all laughed, and then the captain put his hand on the young
Come into the cabin and let's get that business settled. You'll
excuse us, won't you, Ruth? he added, turning to his daughter. We've
got a hundred things to do yet, and we can't afford to lose a minute.
Ruth smilingly assented, and Drew was dragged off, raging
internally, his only comfort being the glance she gave him beneath her
He tried to listen intelligently to the captain's talk and give
coherent answers to his questions. But bind himself down as he would,
his mind and heart were in the wildest commotion.
So she was Captain Hamilton's daughter! Her name was not Adams! The
thought kept repeating itself.
But he had found her now, he wildly exulted. The search that might
have taken yearsthat even then might not have found herhad come to
an end. He had been formally introduced to her. He need no longer
worship from afar. Her father was his friend. He could see her, talk to
her, listen to her, woo her, and at last win her. Poor fellow! he was
so hard hit he scarcely knew how to conduct himself.
As I was saying, he heard the captain remarking in a voice that
seemed to be coming from a great distance, young Parmalee has finally
made up his mind to come with us. His doctor insists that the one thing
he needs just now is a sea voyage. Not the kind that he might get on an
ocean steamer, with its formality and heavy meals and chattering
crowds, but the kind you can get nowhere but on a sailing craft.
I suppose you had to tell him just what we were going down there to
look for? Drew forced himself to say.
Yes, I did, after putting him on his word of honor never to breathe
a word about the object of the cruise to anybody. I'd as lief have his
word as any one's else bond.
What did he think about our chances in such an enterprise?
Now, there's a thing that rather surprised me, replied the
captain. To tell the truth, I felt a little sheepish about mentioning
the doubloons to him, for I rather expected him to laugh. But he took
it in dead earnest, and honestly thinks we have a chance.
Is he perfectly willing, as far as his interest in the schooner
goes, that she shall be used for this purpose? Drew queried.
Perfectly. In fact, he was enthusiastic about it. Wouldn't even
hear of any compensation for the use of the vessel. Said he expected to
get his money's worth in the fun he'd have.
He seems to have a sportsmanlike spirit, all right, commented
Drew, with a smile.
He surely has, confirmed the captain. I think you'll like him
when you come to know him.
How old is he?
About your own age I should judge. You're twenty-two, I think I've
heard you say? Parmalee is perhaps twenty-three or twenty-four, but not
more than that.
Have you got your full crew shipped yet? Drew inquired, after a
Well, some of them are aboard, was the answer. We've got two
dozen in round numbers, but we still need five or six more men before
we get our full quota. Ditty's ashore looking them up now.
Do you think they're going to suit you?
Oh, I've seen better crews and I've seen worse, answered the
captain. There are some of them whose faces I don't just like, but
that's true in every ship's company. I guess they'll average up all
There's one thing I want to show you, went on the captain, opening
the door of a closet built into the cabin.
Drew looked, and was surprised to see as many as a dozen rifles, as
well as several revolvers and a sheaf of machetes.
Why, it looks like a small arsenal! he exclaimed, in surprise.
What on earth will we want all these for? One might think that we
expected to have a scrap ourselves with pirates on the Spanish Main.
Not that exactly, said the captain laconically, but in an
enterprise like ours it's wise to take precautions. 'Better to be safe
than be sorry.' If it's known that we're after treasure, there may be
sundry persons who will take an unwholesome interest in our affairs.
Do you mean members of the crew?
Not necessarily; though they may. It's not likely, for it's
probably nothing but a turtle cay, but there may be people living on
the island where we're going who would seriously dispute our right to
take anything away and might try to stop us. Few of those small islands
are inhabited; still, I'll feel a good deal more comfortable to know
that I've got these weapons stowed away where I can get them at a
moment's notice. By the way, do you know how to shoot?
Yes, answered Drew. I belong to a rifle club, and I'm a fairly
good shot with either a pistol or a gun.
A useful accomplishment, commented the captain. You never know
when it may come in handy.
Drew was wild to go on deck again to talk with Ruth. He had scarcely
exchanged three sentences with her, and there were a thousand things he
wanted to say. The time was getting so terribly short! In two days more
he would be sailing away with her father, leaving her behind, and
months might elapse before he could see her again.
It was his eager desire just now to get her interested in him to
some extent, so that she would think of him sometimes while he was
away; to give her some hint of the tumult in his heart; to let her
guess something of the wealth of homage and adoration she had inspired.
Surely, if he could talk with her, she could not fail to see something
of what he felt. And seeing, she might perhaps respond.
I suppose you'll find it hard to leave your daughter behind? he
ventured to say.
The captain looked at him in surprise.
Bless your heart, I'm not going to leave her behind! he exclaimed.
She's going with us after those doubloons, and he laughed.
CHAPTER XII. A SATISFACTORY OUTLOOK
Drew was transported with delight, but he threw a certain
carelessness into his tone as he observed:
I remember. Does she know what we're going for?
Oh yes, replied her father. She and I are great chums, and I
don't keep anything from her. She wanted to go with me anyway when I
was thinking of taking on a cargo for Galveston, and now that she knows
treasure is in the wind, she's more eager than ever. You know how
romantic girls are, and she's looking forward with immense pleasure to
this unusual venture of ours.
Drew would have liked to ask whether the captain's wife were going
too, but he felt that he might be treading on delicate ground, so he
used a round-about method.
I don't suppose there'll be any other women in the company? he
No, replied the captain, a little soberly. When my wife was alive
she used to go with me occasionally on my voyages. The schooner's named
for her. But she's been dead for three years now, and as Ruth is the
only child I have, she and I will be thrown together more closely than
ever. She's finished school.
But I'm keeping you, he added, rising from the table at which they
had been sitting; and I suppose you've got more work on your hands
than you know how to attend to.
Drew rose with alacrity.
I am pretty busy, for a fact, he assented. That accident to Mr.
Grimshaw has just about doubled my work. But it isn't getting the upper
hand of me, and by the time we are ready to sail I'll have tied all the
That's good. By the way, speaking of Tyke, how did you find him
this morning? I suppose you stopped in at the hospital on your way
downtown as usual?
Yes. He's getting along in prime shape, but he's as sore as the
mischief because he can't go along.
It's too bad, remarked the captain sympathetically. I'd have
liked to have him along, not only for his company, but for his
shrewdness as well. He's got a level head on those shoulders of his,
and his advice at times might come in mighty handy.
I won't go on deck with you, if you'll excuse me, continued the
captain, reaching out his hand for a farewell shake, because I've some
work to do in connection with my clearance papers. Good-bye.
The young man was perfectly willing to be deprived of the captain's
further company, much as he liked him. The captain's daughter would
make a very good substitute. He hoped ardently that she, unlike her
father, would have no business to keep her below.
His hopes were realized, for he caught sight of her leaning on the
rail and gazing out upon the river with as much absorption as though
she had never seen it before.
Possibly it did interest her. Possibly, too, she had forgotten all
about the handsome young man who was in conference with her father in
the cabin. Possibly she had not been stirred by the adoration in his
eyes or the agitation in his voice. So many things are possible!
Anyway, despite a heightened color in her cheeks and a starry
brightness in her eyes, her start of surprise, as she looked up and saw
Drew standing beside her, was done very well indeed.
So you conspirators have got through plotting already, she said
Yes, Drew laughed; we've been going over every link of the chain
and have decided that it is good and strong. Not that my judgment was
worth very much, I fear, this morning.
Why not? she asked demurely.
Because I couldn't put my mind on it, he answered. My wits were
wool gathering. I scarcely heard what your father said. I'm glad he
isn't a mind reader.
So few people are.
I wish you were, he said earnestly.
She stiffened a little, and from that he took warning. He must check
the impetuous words that strove for utterance. He had but barely met
her. How was she to know the feelings that had possessed him since
their casual encounter on the pier? He must not frighten her by trying
to sweep her off her feet. This citadel was to be captured, if at all,
by siege rather than by storm. He would risk disaster by being
Do you know, he said in a lighter tone, that it was the surprise
of my life when I found that your name was Hamilton?
Why should it have been a surprise? she asked.
Because I had been thinking all along that your name was Adams.
What made you think that? she inquired in genuine surprise.
Wwhy, he stammered, I saw that name on one of the letters when
I picked up the packet from the grating of the boat.
You mustn't think, he said earnestly, that I tried to pry. If I'd
done that, I'd have found out the address at the same time. The name
just looked up at me, and I couldn't help seeing it.
His tone carried conviction, and she unbent.
I can see how you made the mistake, she smiled. The letter on top
of the packet was addressed to a very dear friend whose first name
happens to be the same as mine. She and I were great chums in boarding
school. The letter had been sent to her by a girl we both knew and who
had been traveling abroad, and as Ruth knew I would be interested in
it, she sent it on for me to read.
That explains the foreign stamp, he commented.
You noticed that too, did you? she asked, flashing a mischievous
glance at him. Really, you took in a lot at a single look. You ought
to be a detective.
I wish I were, said Drew, as he thought ruefully of the unavailing
plans he had made to find her. I'm afraid I'm a pretty bungling
Well, you were only half wrong, anyway, she answered. The first
part of the name was right.
Yes, he admitted. But that didn't help me much. The last one
didn't either for that matter. There are so many Adamses in the city.
How do you know? she challenged.
He grew red. II looked in the directory, he confessed.
She thought it high time to change the subject.
I suppose it will be quite a wrench to say good-bye to your people
here, she remarked.
I haven't any, replied Drew. My father and my mother died when I
was small. The only brother I have is out West, and I haven't seen him
for years. I've been boarding since I came to the city, five years
Oh, I'm sorry, she said with ready sympathy. I know something of
how you feel, because I lost my own mother three years ago. I've been
in boarding school most of the time since then. So I know what it is to
be without a real home. Sometimes our only home was on shipboard.
But it's always possible to make a real home, said Drew daringly.
Then he checked himself and bit his lip. That troublesome tongue of
his! When would he learn to control it?
She pretended not to have heard him.
I have my father left, she went on; and he's the best father in
And the luckiest, put in Drew.
He didn't want to take me on this trip at first, she continued,
but the most of my relatives and friends are in California, and I knew
I'd be horribly lonely in New York. So I begged and teased him to let
me go along, and at last he gave in.
Of course he would, Drew said with conviction. How could he help
He knew that if she should ask him, Allen Drew, for the moon he
would promise it to her without the slightest hesitation. He wished he
dared tell her so.
Have you ever been to sea? she asked.
No, replied Allen. But I've always wanted to go.
And he told her of the longing that had sprung up in him when
Captain Peters had spoken so indifferently about the wonder-lands of
mystery and romance to which his bark was sailing.
While he talked, she was studying him closely, as is the way of
girls, without appearing to do so. She noted the stalwart well-knit
figure, the handsome featuresthe strong straight nose, the broad
forehead, the brown eyes that sparkled with animation.
Drew was at his best when he talked, especially when his audience
was attentive, and there was no doubt that his audience of one was
that. She listened almost in silence only putting in a word now and
The thought came to him that he might be boring her, and he stopped
If I keep on, you'll be talked to death, he said apologetically.
Not at all, she protested. I've been intensely interested. I'm
glad you feel so strongly about far-off places, because you're sure to
find plenty of romance where we are going.
And treasure, the doubloons, toodon't forget the doubloons, he
laughed, lowering his voice and looking around to see that no one was
And that too, she agreed. I suppose you've spent your share
already? she bantered.
Well, I'm not quite so optimistic as all that, he laughed. But I
really think we have a chance. Don't you?
Indeed I do! she exclaimed. I don't think it's a wild goose chase
I'm glad you feel that way about it.
Even if things go wrong, we can't be altogether cheated, she went
on. We'll have had lots of fun looking for our treasure. Then, too,
we'll have had the voyage, and the schooner is a splendid sailing
She's a beauty, assented Drew. I don't wonder you're proud of
It was really quite flattering that you men should tell me what you
were going for, she said mockingly. You're always saying that a woman
can't keep a secret.
I don't feel that way, protested Drew. And to prove it, I'll
Listen! said Ruth hurriedly. Wasn't that my father calling me?
I didn't hear him, he replied, looking at her suspiciously.
I think I'd better go and make sure, decided Ruth, moved by a
sudden impulse of filial duty.
Let him call again, suggested Drew.
But Ruth was sure that this audacious young man had said quite
enough for one morning, and she held out her hand.
Good-bye, she smiled. I know from what my father has told me that
you have an awful lot to do to get ready for the trip.
Have I? rejoined Drew. I'd forgotten all about them.
He held the soft hand and fluttering fingers a trifle longer than
was absolutely necessary, and after he released them he stood watching
her lithe figure until she disappeared.
When Drew left the Bertha Hamilton he was treading on air and
his head was in the clouds.
His dream had come truepart of it at least. He had found her, had
talked with her. He was going to sail in the same ship with her. They
would be thrown together constantly in the enforced intimacy of an
ocean voyage. He would see her in the morning, in the afternoon, in the
evening. And at last he would win her. The last part of his dream would
be realized as surely as the first had been.
But when he got back to the shop he found that he was in a practical
world whose claims refused to be ignored. Winters still needed a lot of
coaching, and the time was short. The business must not suffer while
Drew was gone.
One thing lifted from his shoulders some of the weight of
responsibility. Tyke would be at hand to superintend things and to keep
a check on Winter's inexperience. To be sure, he would be in the
hospital for some time to come, but Winters could go to see him every
evening, and get help in his problems.
The Bertha Hamilton was to sail at high tide on Thursday
morning, and by Wednesday night Drew had sent his baggage on board and
had settled the last item that belonged to Tyke's part of the contract.
Everything from now on was in the hands of Captain Hamilton.
He went up to the hospital to report to his employer and to say
farewell. They talked long and late, and both were strongly moved when
they shook hands in parting. Who knew what might happen before they met
again? Who knew that they ever would meet again?
Good-bye, Mr. Grimshaw, said Drew. I hope you'll be as well and
as strong as ever when I get back.
Good-bye, Allen, responded Tyke, with a suspicious moisture in his
eyes. I'll be rooting for you an' thinking of you all the time.
Good-bye an' good luck.
At daybreak the next morning Drew stepped on board the Bertha
Hamilton and the most thrilling experience of his life had begun.
CHAPTER XIII. STORM SIGNALS
Naturally Drew's first thought as he glanced about the vessel, was
of Ruth. But it was too early for the young lady to be in evidence.
Captain Hamilton met him with a cordial grasp of the hand, and took
him down to the room assigned to him for the voyage. It was one of a
series of staterooms on either side of a narrow corridor aft, and,
although of course small, it was snug and comfortable.
There was a berth built against one side of the room. Apart from a
tiny washstand, with bowl and pitcher, and a small swinging rack for a
few books, a chair completed the equipment of the stateroom. The room
was immaculately neat and clean, and in a glass on the washstand was a
tiny bunch of violets. Drew wondered who had put it there.
Rather cramped, laughed the captain; but we sailors have learned
how to live in close quarters, and you'll soon get used to it. There
are some drawers built into the side where you can put your clothes,
and your trunk and bags can go under the berth.
Drew, with his eyes and thoughts on the flowers, hastened to assure
the captain that there was plenty of room.
The stateroom next to yours, I had set aside for Tyke, said
Captain Hamilton regretfully. It's too bad that the old boy isn't
coming. The one on the other side is Parmalee's.
I suppose he hasn't come aboard yet? half questioned Drew, as he
unstrapped his bags, preparatory to putting their contents in the
Oh, yes he has, returned the captain. He came aboard last night.
I suppose he's still asleep. Haven't heard him stirring yet.
What time do you expect to pull out? asked Drew.
Almost any minute now. We've got everything aboard and we're only
waiting for the tug that will take us down the bay. The wind's not so
fair this morning.
The captain excused himself and went on deck, and a little later,
having finished his unpacking, the younger man followed him.
The one person on whom his thoughts were centered was still
invisible, and Drew had ample time to watch the busy scene upon the
schooner's deck. The members of the crew were hurrying about in
obedience to shouted orders, stowing away the last boxes and provisions
that had come on board.
The sails were in stops ready to be broken out when the vessel
should be out in the stream. A snorting tug was nosing her way
alongside. A slight mist that had rested on the surface of the water
was being rapidly dissipated by the freshening breeze, and over the
Long Island horizon the sun was coming up, red and resplendent.
Drew made his way along the deck until he came near the foremast,
where the mate was standing, bawling orders to the men. He was a tall,
spare man, and in his voice there was a ring of authority, not to say
truculence, that boded ill for any man who did not jump when spoken to.
His back was toward Drew, but there was something about the figure that
While he was wondering why this was so, the man turned, and, with
amazement, Drew saw that the mate of the Bertha Hamilton was the
one-eyed man with whom he had had his unpleasant encounter upon the
Jones Lane wharf.
There was a flash of recognition and plenty of insolence in that one
eye as it was turned upon Drew, but the next moment the man had turned
his back and was again bellowing at the sailors.
Drew had a feeling of discomfort. He knew from the look the mate had
given him that he still cherished malice. It was unpleasant to have a
discordant note struck at the very outset of the voyage. And then,
there was the suspicious circumstance of Grimshaw's accident. A
one-eyed seaman had figured in that. Should he go to Captain Hamilton
and report his vague suspicions of this fellow?
He had no time to pursue the thought, however, for at that moment he
heard the clang of a gong, and an ambulance came dashing out on the
pier just as the moorings of the Bertha Hamilton were about to
be cast off.
Drew's first thought was that an accident had happened, and he
hurried over to the starboard rail. The ambulance had stopped, and two
white-clad attendants were helping out a man who had been reclining on
a mattress within. They stood him on one foot while they slipped a pair
of crutches under his arms. The man lifted his head, and, with a yell
of delight, Drew leaped to the wharf.
It was Tyke Grimshaw! Pale and haggard the old man looked, but his
indomitable spirit was still in evidence and his eyes twinkled with the
old whimsical smile.
Hurrah! yelled Drew.
The cry was echoed by Captain Hamilton, who had likewise leaped from
the taffrail to the pier.
Didn't expect to see me, eh? queried Tyke, while the ambulance men
stood by, grinning.
No, I didn't, roared Captain Hamilton, gripping him by one hand
while Drew held the other. But I can't tell you how glad I am that you
made up your mind to come.
We might have known you'd get here if you had to walk on your
hands, cried Drew jubilantly.
Had to fight like the mischief to get them doctors to let me come,
chortled Tyke, evidently delighted by the warmth of the greeting. They
told me I was jest plumb crazy to think of it. But after Allen, here,
left me last night I got so lonesome an' restless there was no holding
me. Seemed like I'd go wild if I'd had to stay in that sick-bay while
you fellers were sniffing the sea air. So I jest reared up on my hind
legs, as you might say, an' they had to let me come.
And you got here just in the nick of time, said the captain. Ten
minutes more and we'd have been slipping down the river.
Carefully supporting him on either side, for he found the
unaccustomed crutches awkward, Captain Hamilton and Drew helped him on
board the vessel and seated him comfortably in a deck chair.
Tyke drew in great draughts of the salt-laden air and his eyes
glistened as he scrutinized the lines and spars of the schooner, noting
her beauties with the expert eye of the sailor.
Great little craft, he said approvingly. I wouldn't have missed
sailing on her for the world. A cruise in a tidy schooner like this
will do me more good than them blamed doctors could if they fiddled
around me for a year.
How is your leg feeling now? asked Drew solicitously.
Better already, grinned Tyke. In less'n a week I'll be chucking
these crutches overboard. See if I don't.
Suddenly Tyke fell silent. Drew turned swiftly and saw that the old
man was staring under bent brows at the mate of the schooner.
Who's that? Tyke finally demanded.
That's Dittymy mate, said Captain Hamilton. I told you he was
no handsome dog, didn't I?
Ugh! grunted Tyke, and said no more.
Before Drew could ask the question that was on the tip of his
tongue, a musical voice at his elbow said:
Good morning, Mr. Drew.
He was on his feet in a flash, holding out his hand in eager
greeting. I was wondering when I was going to see you! he exclaimed.
You'll probably see too much of me before this voyage is over,
Ruth said demurely. I expect you men will be frightfully bored with
one lone woman hovering around all the time.
Drew's eyes were eloquent with denial.
Impossible! he said emphatically. Then he became conscious that
Tyke was looking on with some curiosity.
Oh, I forgot, he said. Mr. Grimshaw, this is Miss Hamilton,
Captain Hamilton's daughter. Miss Hamilton, this is Captain Grimshaw.
Ruth held out her hand, but Tyke deliberately drew her to him and
kissed her on the cheek. She extricated herself blushingly.
An old man's privilege, my dear, said Tyke placidly. An' I've
known your father going on thirty years.
Drew wished that it were a young man's privilege as well.
So you're Rufus Hamilton's daughter, went on Tyke. My, my! An'
pooty as a picture, too.
Ruth flushed a little at so open a compliment, but smiled at
Grimshaw and said brightly:
I'm so glad you can come with us. I was dreadfully sorry to hear of
your accident. It would have been horrid for you to stay cooped up in
that old hospital. Father has told me how much you had counted on the
The old craft isn't a derelict jest yet, replied Tyke
complacently. I'm afraid I'll be something of a nuisance till I get
steady on my pins again, but I'll try not to be too much in the way.
We'll all be glad to wait on you, I'm sure, protested Ruth, with
another smile that won Grimshaw completely.
I'll go down now and see how Wah Lee is getting along with
breakfast, the girl continued. I've no doubt you folks will be hungry
enough to do justice to it.
This air would give an appetite to a mummy, declared Drew.
I'm some sharp set myself, admitted Tyke, as the fragrance of
steaming coffee was wafted to him from the cook's galley. Jest the
very thought of eating in a ship's cabin again makes me hungry.
Drew's eyes followed the girl as she disappeared down the
companionway, and when he looked up it was to find Tyke regarding him
So that's the way the wind blows, is it? the old man chuckled.
Nonsense! disclaimed Drew, although conscious that his tone did
not carry conviction. She's a very nice girl, but this is only the
second time I've met her. To avoid further prodding, he added: I'll
go down to your room and see if that Jap has put things shipshape for
As he went to the room reserved for Grimshaw, he met Ruth just
coming out of it. Her skirts brushed against him in the narrow corridor
and he tingled to the finger tips.
I've just put a few flowers in Mr. Grimshaw's room, she said.
They seem to make the bare little cubby holes a bit more homey, don't
you think? I thought they would be a sort of welcome.
Drew agreed with her, but the hope he had been hugging to his breast
that he had been singled out for special attention vanished.
I was foolish enough to think that I had them all, he confessed
with a sheepish grin.
What a greedy man! she laughed. No, indeed! Did you think I was
going to overlook my father or Mr. Parmalee? You men are so conceited!
As though the mention of his name had summoned him, the door of a
neighboring stateroom opened just then and a young man stepped out. He
smiled pleasantly as his gaze fell on Ruth.
Good morning, Miss Ruth. I'm incorrigibly lazy, I'm afraid, he
remarked, or else this good air is responsible for my sleeping more
soundly than for a long time past.
Ruth assured him that it was still early.
If you are lazy, the sun is too, she said, for, like yourself, it
has just risen.
That makes him lazier, returned Parmalee, for he went to rest a
good deal earlier than I did last night.
Ruth laughed, and, after introducing the young men to each other,
she vanished in the direction of the captain's cabin.
The pair exchanged the usual commonplaces as they moved toward the
companionway. Parmalee walked with some difficulty, leaning on a cane,
and Drew had to moderate his pace to keep in step. When they emerged
into the full light of the upper deck, Drew had a chance to gain an
impression of the man who was to be his fellow-voyager.
Lester Parmalee was fully four inches shorter than the trifle over
six feet to which Drew owned, and his slender frame gave him an
appearance of fragility. This impression was heightened by the cane on
which he leaned and the lines in his face which bespoke delicate
health. His complexion was pale, and seemed more pallid because of its
contrast with a mass of coal black hair which overhung his rather high
forehead. His nose and mouth were good and his eyes dark and keenly
intelligent. Some would have called him handsome. Others would have
qualified this by the adjective romantic. All would have agreed that he
was a gentleman.
His physical weakness was atoned for to a great extent by other
qualities that grew on one by longer acquaintance. His manners were
polished, his mind trained and well stored. He was a graduate of
Harvard and had traveled extensively. His inherited wealth had not
spoiled him, although it had, perhaps, given him too much
self-assurance and just a shade of superciliousness.
The two young men as they chatted formed a violent contrast. If Drew
suggested the Viking type, Parmalee would, with equal fitness, have
filled the role of a troubadour. The one was powerful and direct, the
other suave and subtle. One could conceive of Drew's wielding a broad
axe, but would have put in Parmalee's hands a rapier. Each had his own
separate and distinct appeal both to men and women.
Drew introduced Parmalee to Grimshaw. Then the captain came along,
and all four were engaged in an animated conversation when Namco, the
Japanese steward, announced:
Lady say I make honorable report: Bleakfast!
And high time for it! cried the captain. I'm as hungry as a hawk
and I guess the rest of you are too. We'll go down and see what that
slant-eyed Celestial has knocked up for us.
Wah Lee had done himself proud in this initial meal, which proved
to be abundant, well-cooked and appetizing.
All were in high spirits as they gathered about the table.
Ordinarily, the mate would have formed one of the company while the
second officer stood the captain's watch. But the narrow quarters and
the unusual number of passengers on this trip made it necessary that
the mate should eat after the captain and his guests had finished.
The captain sat at the head of the table while Ruth presided over
the coffee urn at the foot. Tyke sat at the captain's right, and the
two young men were placed one on either side of their hostess.
She wore a fetching breakfast cap, which did not prevent a
rebellious wisp or two of golden hair from playing about her pink ears.
Her cheeks were rosy, her eyes sparkling, and her demure little
housewifely air as she poured the coffee was bewitching. The excitement
of the start, the novelty of the quest on which they had embarked, and
the presence of two young and attentive cavaliers put her on her
mettle, and she was full of quaint sayings and witty sallies.
Her father gazed on her fondly, Tyke beamed approvingly, and
Parmalee's admiration was undisguised. As for Drew, the havoc she had
already made in his heart reached alarming proportions. He found
himself picturing a home ashore, where every morning that face would be
opposite to him at the breakfast table with that ravishing dimple
coming and going as she smiled at him.
How do you like your coffee? she asked him, her slender fingers
hovering over the cream jug and the sugar tongs.
Two lumps of cream and plenty of sugar, he responded.
She laughed mischievously.
We always try to please, she said; but really our cream doesn't
come in lumps.
I surely did get that twisted, he said a little sheepishly.
Suppose we put it the other way around.
I guess your mind was far away, she jested. You must have been
thinking of the treasure.
That's exactly right, he returned, looking into her eyes as he
took the cup she handed him. I was thinking of the treasure.
CHAPTER XIV. BEGINNING THE VOYAGE
Ruth bent a little lower over her coffee urn to hide the additional
flush that had come into her cheeks, and after that she guided the
conversation to safer ground and took care to leave no opening for
The meal over, all went on deck. The captain took charge and sent
Ditty and Rogers, the second officer, below to get breakfast. The crew
had already breakfasted.
Tyke had been carefully helped up by Drew and Captain Hamilton and
placed in a chair abaft the mizzenmast, where his keen old eyes could
delight themselves with the activities of the crew. Ruth had fussed
around him prettily with cushions and a rest for his injured leg, until
the veteran vowed that he would surely be spoiled before the voyage was
They had passed the Battery by this time, and were moving sluggishly
with the tide. Behind them stretched the vast metropolis, with its
wonderful sky-line sharply outlined by the bright rays of the morning
sun. The Goddess of Liberty held her torch aloft as though to guide
them in their venture. At the right the hills of Staten Island smiled
in their vernal beauty, while at the left, white stretches of gleaming
beach indicated the pleasure resorts where the people of the teeming
city came to play.
Ditty had come on deck again. Unpleasant though his countenance was,
and as suspicious as Drew was of him, it was plain that the mate of the
Bertha Hamilton was a good seaman.
He looked now at Captain Hamilton for permission to make sail. The
latter signed to him to go ahead. Useless to pay towage with a favoring
wind and flowing tide.
Ditty bawled to the crew:
Break her out, bullies! H'ist away tops'ls!
The halyards were promptly manned. One man started the chorus that
jerked the main topsail aloft.
Oh, come all you little yaller boys
An' roll the cotton down!
Oh, a husky pull, my bully boys,
An' roll the cotton down!
In a trice, it would seem, her three topsails were mastheaded and
the foretopsail laid to the mast. The fore-braces came in, hand over
hand, the hawsers were tossed overboard and the tug fell astern. The
Bertha Hamilton leaned gracefully to the freshening gale, and was
shooting for the Narrows.
It is perfectly beautiful, isn't it? cried Ruth.
Magnificent, agreed Drew.
It's the finest harbor in all the world, to my mind, declared
I wonder when we'll see it again, mused Ruth, with a touch of
apprehension in her voice.
Oh, it won't be long before we're back, prophesied Parmalee.
And when we do come back, we'll have enough doubloons with us to
buy up the whole city, joked Drew.
Don't be too sure of that, smiled Ruth. Those who go out to shear
sometimes come back shorn.
We simply can't fail, asserted Drew. Especially as we're taking a
mascot along with us.
The mascot may prove to be a hoodoo, laughed Ruth. I've thought
more than once that I shouldn't have teased my father to take me
He'd have robbed the whole trip of brightness if he had refused,
It's nice of you to say that, returned Ruth. But if any serious
trouble should come up, fighting or anything of that kind, you might
find me terribly in the way.
We'd only have an additional reason to fight the harder, declared
Drew. No harm should come to you while any of us were left alive. But
really, there's nothing to worry about. This trip is going to be a
Nothing more serious to fear than the ghosts of some of the old
pirates who may be keeping guard over their doubloons and may resent
our intrusion, said Parmalee.
I'm not afraid of ghosts, cried Ruth. It's only creatures of
flesh and blood that give me any worry.
If anything should come up, said Drew, we're in pretty good shape
to give the mischief-makers a tussle. Your father has a good collection
of weapons down in the cabin.
Yes, assented Ruth; and I know how to load and handle a
Drew put up his hands in pretended fright.
Don't shoot! he pleaded.
Thus with jest and compliment and banter the time passed until they
were off Sandy Hook. The breeze, while brisk, was light enough to
warrant carrying all sails, and a cloud of canvas soon billowed from
aloft. One after another the sails were broken out on all three masts
until they creaked with the strain. The Bertha Hamilton heeled
over to port, and with every stitch drawing before a following wind
gathered way until she boomed along at a gait that swiftly carried her
out of sight of land. Before long the Sandy Hook Lightship sank from
view astern, and nothing could be seen on any side but the
foam-streaked billows of the Atlantic.
When the schooner was fairly under way and the watches had been
chosen, the captain gave her into charge of the mate and rejoined Tyke.
That grizzled veteran was enjoying himself more than he had done at
any time for the last twenty years. As the old warhorse sniffs the
battle from afar, so he already anticipated with delight the coming
battle with wind and waves.
Well, Tyke, what do you think of her? the captain asked.
She's a jim dandy! ejaculated Tyke enthusiastically. She rides
the waves like a feather. Jest slips along like she was greased.
She's a sweet sailer, declared the captain proudly. Just wait
till you see how she manages against head winds. Even when she's jammed
up right into the wind, she's good for six knots, and with any kind of
a fair gale, she's good for ten or twelve.
With ordinary luck, then, we ought to git to the Caribbean in ten
or twelve days, said Tyke.
Unless we meet up with something that strips our spars, returned
the captain confidently. Of course, a hurricane might knock us out in
our calculations. Taking it by and large though, and allowing for the
time we may have to cruise around before we find the island we're
looking for, I'm figuring that we'll make Sandy Hook again in two
months all right.
Better count on three and be sure, cautioned Grimshaw. You know
it isn't a matter of simply finding the island, staying there mebbe a
day or two an' coming away again. This is more'n jest sending a boat's
crew ashore for water. We may be a month hunting around and trying to
find the pesky thing.
And even then we may not find it, laughed the captain.
Well, it'll be some satisfaction if we even find the hole it used
to be in, said Tyke. That'll show that we weren't altogether fools in
taking the paper an' map for gospel truth.
I don't know that there'd be much comfort in that, returned
Captain Hamilton. If you're hungry it doesn't do much good to look at
the hole in a doughnut. There isn't much nourishment except in the
doughnut itself, and he grinned over his little joke.
The wind held fair for the rest of the day, and the schooner kept on
at a spanking gait, reeling off the miles steadily. By night the
increasing warmth of the air showed how rapidly the South was drawing
Ruth was a good sailor and felt no bad effect from the long ocean
swells as the ship ploughed over them. Drew, too, who had no sea-going
experience at all and had inwardly dreaded possible sea-sickness, was
delighted to find that he was to be exempt.
Parmalee, however, although he had traveled extensively, had never
been immune from paying tribute to Neptune. He ate but little at the
noon-day meal, and when the rest gathered around the table at night he
did not appear at all.
Drew felt that he should be sympathetic, and, to do him justice, he
tried to be. He visited Parmalee in his cabin, condoled with him, and
offered to be of any possible service. But Parmalee wanted nothing
except to be let alone, and, with the consciousness of duty done, Drew
left him to his misery and joined the rest at the table.
I'm awfully sorry for poor Mr. Parmalee, remarked Ruth, as she
poured Drew's tea.
Poor fellow, chimed in the young man perfunctorily.
You don't say that as though you meant it at all, objected Ruth
What do you expect me to do? laughed Drew. Weep bitter tears?
I'll do it if you want me to. In fact, I'll do anything you want me to
dojump through a hoop, roll over, play dead, anything at all.
I didn't know you had so many accomplishments, remarked Ruth, with
a touch of sarcasm.
Oh, I'm a perfect wonder, replied the young man. There isn't
anything I can't do or wouldn't dofor you, he added, dropping his
voice so only she could hear it.
Ruth, however, pretended not to hear, and addressed her next remark
How do you like Wah Lee's cooking? she asked.
Fine, replied Tyke. There's no better cooks anywhere than the
Chinks. Want to look out that he don't slip one over on you, though, if
the victuals run short. Might serve up cat or rat or something of the
kind an' call it pork or veal. An' he'd probably git away with it,
Ruth gave a little shudder.
Cat might not be so bad at that, remarked her father. Down in
Chili, for instance, they haven't any rabbits and they serve up cats
instead. 'Gato piquante' they call it, which means savory cat. I've
never tasted it, but I know those who have, and they say that it makes
the finest kind of stew.
Why not? commented Drew, with a grin. Catfish is good. So is
catsup. Why not cat stew?
I think you men are just horrid! exclaimed Ruth. Taking away poor
Wah Lee's character like this behind his back.
Well, I guess we won't have to worry about his falling from grace
on this cruise, laughed her father. We're too well stocked up for him
to be driven to try experiments.
When they went up on deck, the moon had risen. Its golden light
tipped the waves with a sheen of glory and turned the spray into so
much glittering diamond dust. Under its magic witchery, the ropes and
rigging looked like lace work woven by fairy fingers.
The crew were grouped up in the bow, and one of them was playing a
concertina. Mr. Rogers paced the deck, casting a look aloft from time
to time to see that the sails were drawing well. The wind had a slight
musical sound as it swept through the rigging, and this blended with
the regular slapping of the water against her sides as the Bertha
Hamilton sailed steadily on her course.
The air was the least bit chilly, and this gave Drew an excuse for
tucking Ruth cozily into the chair he had placed in a sheltered
position behind the deckhouse. His fingers trembled as he drew the rugs
and shawls around her. She snuggled down, wholly content to be waited
on so devotedly, and perhapswho knows?sharing to some degree the
emotion that made the man's pulse race so madly.
CHAPTER XV. THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER
Drew placed his own chair close beside Ruth'sas close as he dared.
And they talked.
There was something in the witchery of that moonlit night that
seemed to remove certain restraints and reserves imposed by the cold
light of day, and they spoke more freely of their lives and hopes and
ambitions than would have been possible a few hours earlier.
The girl told of the main events that had filled her nineteen years
of life. Her voice was tender when she spoke of her mother, whose
memory remained with her as a benediction. After she had been deprived
by death of this gentle presence, she, Ruth, had stayed with relatives
in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles during her vacations and had passed
the rest of her time at boarding school. She had neither sister nor
brother, and she spoke feelingly of this lack, which had become more
poignant since her mother's death. She had felt lonely and restless,
and the bright spots in her life had been those which were made for her
by the return of her father from his voyages.
Of her father she spoke with enthusiasm. Nobody could have been more
thoughtful of her comfort and happiness than he had been. The fact that
they were all that were left of their family, had made them the more
dependent for their happiness on each other, and the affection between
them was very strong.
It had been her dearest wish that he should be able to retire from
the sea entirely, so that she could make a home for him ashore. As far
as means went, she supposed he was able to give up his vocation now if
he chose. But he was still in the prime of health and vigor, and she
had little doubt that the seathat jealous mistresswould beckon to
him for years to come.
This time she could not bear being left behind, and as the voyage
promised to be a short one, he had yielded to her persuasions to be
Drew listened with the deepest sympathy and interest, watching the
play of emotion that accompanied her words and made her mobile features
even more charming than usual.
Encouraged by her confidences, he in turn told her of his
experiences and ambitions. He could scarcely remember his parents, and
to this degree his life had been even more lonely than her own. He had
come to the city from an inland town in New York State when he was but
little over seventeen, and had secured a position in the chandlery
shop. He had worked hard and had gained the confidence and good will of
his employer, of whose goodness of heart he spoke in the warmest terms.
His own feeling for Tyke, he explained, was what he imagined he would
have felt for his father if the latter had lived. He had felt that he
was progressing, and had been fairly content until lately.
But nowand his voice took on a tone that stirred Ruth as she
listenedhe had been shaken entirely out of that contentment. He had
suddenly realized that life held more than he had ever dreamed. There
was something new and rich and vital in it, something full of promise
and enchantment, something that he must have, something that he would
give his soul to get.
He had grown so earnest as he talked, so compelling, his eyes so
glowed with fire and feeling, that Ruth, though thrilled, felt almost
frightened at his intensity. She knew perfectly well what he meant,
knew that he was wooing her with all his heart and soul. And the
knowledge was sweet to her.
But he had come too far and fast in his wooing, and she was not yet
at the height of her own emotion. To be sure, he had attracted her
strongly from the very first. From the day when she had met him on the
pier, she had thought often of the gallant young knight who had aided
her in her emergency, and his delight when he had found her on her
father's ship had been only a shade greater than her own.
But, although her heart was in a tumult and she secretly welcomed
his advances, she did not want to be carried off her feet by the sheer
ardor of his passion. She wanted to study him, to know him better, and
to know her own feelings. She was not to be won too easily and quickly.
An obscure virginal instinct rather resented the excessive sureness of
this impetuous suitor.
So she roused herself from the soft languor into which the moonlight
and his burning words had plunged her, and rallied, jested and parried,
until, despite his efforts, the conversation took a lighter tone.
You've made quite an impression on daddy, she laughed. He thinks
it was wonderfully clever of you to get at the meaning of that map and
the confession as quickly as you did.
I'm glad if he likes me, Drew answered. I may have to ask him
something important before long, and it will be a good thing to stand
well with him.
He'll be on your side, she replied lightly. I wouldn't dare tell
you all the nice things he has said about you. It might make you
conceited, and goodness knows
Am I conceited? he asked quickly.
All men are, she answered evasively.
I don't think I am, he protested. As a matter of fact, I'm very
humble. I find myself wondering all the time if I am worthy.
Worthy of what? she asked.
Worthy of getting what I want, he answered.
The doubloons? she asked mischievously. Dear me! I can hardly
imagine you in a humble role. To see the confident Mr. Drew in such a
mood would certainly be refreshing.
Don't call me Mr. Drew, he protested. It sounds so formal. We're
going to be so like one big family on this ship for the next few weeks
that it seems to me we might cut out some of the formality without
What shall I call you then? she asked demurely.
There are lots of things that I should like to have you call me if
I dared suggest them, he replied. But for the present, suppose you
call me Allen.
Very well, thenAllen, she conceded.
His pulses leaped.
I don't suppose I'd dare go further and beg permission to call you
Ruth? he hazarded.
Make it Miss Ruth, she teased.
No, Ruth, he persisted.
Oh, well, she yielded, I suppose you'll have to have it your own
way. It's frightful to have to deal with such an obstinate man as you
It's delightful to have to deal with such a charming girl as you
They laughed happily.
It's getting late, she said, drawing herself up out of the warm
nest that Drew had made for her, and I think I really ought to go
Don't go yet, he begged. It isn't a bit late.
How late is it? she asked.
He drew out his watch and looked at it in the moonlight.
I told you it wasn't late, he declared, putting the watch back in
You don't dare let me look at it, she laughed.
It must be fast, he affirmed.
You're a deceiver, she retorted. Really I must go. You wouldn't
rob me of my beauty sleep, would you?
Leave that to other girls, he suggested. You don't need it.
You're a base flatterer, she chided.
Drew reluctantly gathered up her wraps, and, with a last lingering
look at the glory of the sea and sky, they went below.
It was not really necessary for him to take her hand as they parted
for the night, but he did so.
Good night, Ruth, he said softly.
Good nightAllen, she answered in a low voice.
His eyes held hers for a moment, and then she vanished.
It was the happiest night that Drew had ever known. He had opened
his heart to hernot so far as he would have liked and dared, but as
far as she had permitted him. And in the soft beauty of her eyes he
thought that he had detected the beginnings of what he wanted to find
there. And she had permitted him to call her Ruth. And she had called
him Allen. How musical the name sounded, coming from her lips!
It was fortunate that he had the memory of that night to comfort him
in the days that followed.
Ruth was more distracting than ever the next morning when she
appeared, fresh and radiant, at the breakfast table. But in some
impalpable way she seemed to have withdrawn within herself. Perhaps she
felt that she had let herself go too far in the glamour of the
She was, if anything, gayer than before, full of bright quips and
sayings that kept them laughing, but she distributed her favors
impartially to all. And she was blandly unresponsive to Drew's efforts
to monopolize her attentions.
It was so all through that day and the next. There was nothing about
her that was stiff or repellant, but, nevertheless, Drew felt that she
was keeping him at arm's length. It was as though she had served notice
that she would be a jolly comrade, but nothing more.
Poor Drew, unused to the ways of women, could not understand her. He
tried again and again to get her by herself, in the hope that he might
regain the ground that seemed to be slipping away from under him. But
she seemed to have developed a sudden fondness for the society of her
father and Grimshaw, and she managed in some way to include one or both
of them in the walks and chats that Drew sought to make exclusive.
Then, too, there was Parmalee.
That young man fully recovered from his seasickness after the third
day out and resumed his place in the life of the ship.
Ruth had been full of solicitude and attentions during his illness,
and when he again took his place at table, she expressed her pleasure
with a warmth that Drew felt was unnecessary. His own congratulations
were much more formal.
Parmalee seemed to feel that he had appeared somewhat at a
disadvantage in succumbing to the illness which the others had escaped,
and the feeling put him on his mettle. He made special efforts to be
genial and companionable, and his conversation sparkled with jests and
epigrams. He could talk well; and even Drew had to admit to himself
grudgingly that the other young man was brilliant.
Ruth, always fond of reading, had turned to books in her loneliness
after her mother's death and had read widely for a girl of nineteen,
and their familiarity with literature made a common ground on which she
and Parmalee could meet with interest. He had brought along quite a
number of volumes which he offered to lend to Ruth and to Drew.
Ruth thanked him prettily and accepted. Drew thanked him cooly and
All three were sitting on deck one afternoon, while Tyke and the
captain talked earnestly apart. Ruth's dainty fingers were busy with
some bit of embroidery. Her eyes were bent on her work, but the eyes of
the young men rested on her. And both were thinking that the object of
their gaze was well worth looking at.
Ruth herself knew perfectly well the attraction she exerted. And she
would have been less than human if she had not been pleased with it.
What girl of nineteen would not enjoy the homage of a Viking and a
She was not a coquette, but there was a certain satisfaction that
she could not wholly deny herself in playing one off against the other.
It would do Drew no harm to make him a little less sure of himself and
of her. In her heart she liked his Lochinvar methods, while, at the
same time, she rather resented them. She was no cave woman, to be
dragged off at will by a determined lover.
She had a real liking for Parmalee. He was suave, polished and
deferential. His attentions gallant without being obtrusive, and his
geniality and culture made him a very pleasant companion.
We're like the Argonauts going out after the Golden Fleece,
Parmalee was remarking.
Yes, Ruth smiled, looking up from her work, it doesn't seem as
though this were the twentieth century at all. Here we are, as much
adventurers as they were in the old times of Jason and his companions.
Let's hope we'll be as lucky as they were, said Drew. If I
remember rightly, they got what they went after.
And yet when they started out they weren't a bit more sure than we
are, rejoined Parmalee.
And we won't find any old dragon waiting to swallow us, as they
did, laughed Ruth.
Well, whether we find the treasure or not, we'll have plenty of fun
in hunting for it, prophesied Parmalee. Somehow, I feel that we are
on the brink of a great adventure. I think I know something of the
feeling of the old explorers when they first came down to these parts.
Do you remember the way Keats describes it, Miss Ruth?
I don't recall, answered Ruth.
I'll go and get the book. I have it in my cabin. Or wait. Perhaps I
can remember the way it goes. He paused a moment, and then began:
Then feel I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacificand all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
What noble verse! exclaimed Ruth.
Drew remained silent.
The very air of these southern seas is full of romance, went on
Parmalee. And of tradition too. Have you ever heard the story of
What is it? asked Ruth.
The old drum of Sir Francis Drake that called his men to battle is
still preserved in the family castle in England, explained Parmalee.
It went with him on all his voyages. It beat the men to quarters in
the fight with the Spanish Armada and in all his battles on the Spanish
Main, when, to use his own words, he was 'singeing the whiskers of the
King of Spain.' He was buried at sea in the West Indies, and the drum
beat taps when his body was lowered into the waves.
The story goes that when Drake was dying he ordered that the drum
should be sent back to England. Whenever the country should be in
mortal danger, his countrymen were to beat that drum, and Drake's
spirit would come back and lead them to victory.
And have they ever done it? asked Ruth, intensely interested.
Twice, replied Parmalee. Once when the Dutch fleet entered the
Thames with a broom at the masthead to show that they were going to
sweep the British from the seas. They beat it again when Nelson broke
the sea power of Napoleon at Trafalgar.
Here's what an English writer supposes Drake to have said when he
'Take my drum to England, hang it by the shore,
Strike it when your powder's running low;
If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port of heaven
And drum them up the Channel, as we drummed them long ago.'
How stirring that is! cried Ruth, clapping her hands.
Yes, admitted Drew, a little dryly. They must have forgotten to
beat it though at the time of the American Revolution.
It was a discordant note and all felt it.
Oh, how horrid of you! exclaimed Ruth. You take all the romance
out of the story.
I'm sorry, said Drew, instantly penitent.
I don't believe you are a bit, declared Ruth. And Mr. Parmalee
told that story so beautifully, she added, with a wicked little desire
to punish Drew.
Cross my heart and hope to die, protested Drew, to appease his
divinity. Put any penance on me you like. I'll sit in sackcloth and
put ashes on my head if you say so, and you'll never hear a whimper.
He seems to be suffering horribly, said Parmalee, a bit
sarcastically, and you know, Miss Ruth, that cruel and unusual
punishments are forbidden by the Constitution. I think you'd better
Ruth laughed and the tension was broken. But there was still a
little feeling of restraint, and after a few minutes Parmalee excused
himself and strolled away.
Ruth kept on stitching busily, her face bent studiously over her
Drew looked at her miserably, bitterly regretting the momentary
impulse to which he had yielded. He knew in his heart that he had been
jealous of the impression that Parmalee, by his easy and graceful
narration, had seemed to be making on Ruth, and he hated himself for
Ruth, he said softly.
She seemed not to have heard him.
Ruth, he repeated.
Yes? she answered, but without looking up.
CHAPTER XVI. GATHERING CLOUDS
Ruth, Drew pleaded. Look at me.
She dropped her work then and met his eyes.
You're angry with me, aren't you? he asked.
No; I'm not angry, she replied slowly.
But you're vexed? he suggested.
I should say rather that I am sorry, she answered. Everything has
been so pleasant between us all up to now, and I hoped it was going to
It was that impulsive tongue of mine, he said. The words slipped
out before I thought.
What you said was nothing, she replied. But the tone in which you
spoke was unpleasant. It seemed as though you were trying to put a
damper on things. It came like a dash of cold water, and I'm sure that
Mr. Parmalee felt chilled by it.
You seem very much interested in Mr. Parmalee's feelings, he said,
with a return of jealousy at the mention of the other's name.
No more than I am in those of any of my friends, she answered. I
think he is very nice, and I was very much interested in what he was
saying, she added, with a tiny touch of malice.
But she repented instantly as she saw the pain in Drew's eyes.
Let's forget all about it! she exclaimed. It was only a trifle,
You forgive me then? he asked.
Of course I forgive you, you foolish boy! And to prove it, I'm not
going to make you do any penance, she added gaily.
From that time, a smile from Ruth raised Drew to the seventh heaven,
but when her smile was bestowed on Parmalee, he was dashed to the
One thing especially was calculated to torture the jealous heart of
a lover. Several times Drew observed Ruth and Parmalee engaged in what
seemed to be a peculiarly confidential talk. Their heads were close
together and their voices low. They seemed to be talking of something
that concerned themselves alone.
The first time he saw them together in this way, he strolled up to
them, but they changed instantly to a lighter and more careless tone,
and introduced a topic in which he could join. But Ruth's face was
flushed and Parmalee was scarcely able to disguise his impatience at
After the first time, Drew left them alone. His pride refused to let
him be a third in a conversation plainly designed for two.
In his secret musings Allen Drew dwelt on and exaggerated the
advantages which Parmalee possessed. To be sure, he was weak and
delicate, while Drew had the strength of a young ox. But Parmalee had
wealth and standing and a polished manner that appealed strongly to
women. Why should he not, with his suavity and winning smile, fascinate
an impressionable girl?
Ruth herself, warned by the chilliness between the men that grew
more pronounced with every day that passed, did her best to be prudent.
The mischievous pleasure of having them both dangle when she pulled the
strings had been replaced by a feeling almost of alarm. She realized
enough of the fervor of Drew's passion to know that he was in deadly
earnest and would brook no rivalry.
Tyke had been enjoying himself hugely from the start. He had utterly
cast aside all thoughts of the business he had left behind him, and
when Drew sometimes referred to it he refused to listen. The sea air
and the delight of being once more in the surroundings of his early
days had proved a tonic. His leg mended with magical rapidity, and by
the time they had been ten days at sea he cast aside his crutches and
managed to get about with the aid of a cane. Almost every moment of the
day and evening when he was not at meals, he spent on deck, exchanging
yarns with Captain Hamilton, studying the set of the sails, or gazing
on the boundless expanse of sea and sky.
The weather so far had been perfect, and the schooner had slipped
along steadily and rapidly, most of the time carrying her full
complement of canvas. The captain thought that in about two or three
days more they would be in the vicinity of Martinique. Once there, to
the westward of that island, they would cruise about until the cay
shaped like the hump of a whale should appear on the horizon.
But despite the good weather, there had been for some time past a
shadow on the face of the captain which betrayed uneasiness. The young
people, absorbed in their own affairs, had not noticed it, but Tyke's
shrewd eyes had seen that all was not well, and one day when the
captain dropped into a chair beside him, he broached the subject
What's troubling you, Cap'n Rufe? he asked. Out with it and git
it off your chest.
Oh, nothing special, replied the captain evasively.
Yes there is, retorted Tyke. You can't fool me. So let's have
Well, to tell you the truth, said Captain Hamilton, I don't quite
like the actions of the crew.
No more do I, said Tyke calmly.
Have you noticed it too?
I've still got a pair of pretty good eyes in my head. But heave
Well, in the first place, said the captain, it's about the worst
set of swabs that ever called themselves sailors. Some of 'em don't
seem to know the spanker boom from the jib. Of course, that isn't true
of all of 'em. Perhaps half of them are fairly good men. But the rest
seem to be scum and riffraff.
What did you ship the lubbers for? asked Grimshaw.
I didn't, answered Captain Hamilton. I was so busy with other
things that I left it to Ditty.
An' there you left it to a good man! Tyke said scornfully. I've
been keeping tabs on that Bug-eye, as they call him, since I come
aboard. He's a bad actor, he is. Listen here, Cap'n Rufe and the
old man, with a warning hand on Captain Hamilton's knee and in a low
voice, repeated what he had told Drew in the hospital about the
one-eyed man being at the scene of his accident.
And was it Ditty? gasped Captain Hamilton.
Surest thing you know. An' I don't believe I dreamed he went
through my pockets. What was that for, when he didn't rob me of my
watch and cash?
The master of the schooner shook his head thoughtfully, making no
Ditty's a pretty good sailor himself, I notice, went on Tyke.
None better, assented the captain.
An' he knows a sailor when he sees one? continued the old man.
Of course he does, the captain affirmed. And that's what has
seemed strange to me. He's often picked crews for me before, and I've
never had to complain of his judgment.
Well then, concluded Tyke, it stands to reason that if he's
shipped a lot of raffraff this time, instead of decent sailors, he'd a
reason for it.
It would seem so, admitted the captain uneasily.
Have you put it up to him? asked Tyke.
I have. And he admits that some of the men are no good, but says
that he was stuck. He left it to some boarding-house runners, and he
says they put one over on him by bundling the worst of the gang aboard
at the last minute.
A mighty thin excuse, commented Tyke.
Of course it is; and I raked Ditty fore and aft on account of it.
I'm through with him after this cruise. I've only kept him on as long
as I have because Mr. Parmalee wanted it so. But he finds another berth
as soon as we reach New York.
I've noticed him talking to some of the men a good deal, remarked
That's another thing that's worried me, said the captain. Up to
now, Ditty has always been a good bucko mate and has kept the men at a
distance. Did you see the man I knocked down the other day when he
started to give me some back talk?
Yes, grinned Tyke. You made a neat job of it. Couldn't have done
it better myself in the old days.
But the peculiar thing about it, continued the captain, was that
I had to do it although the mate was a good deal nearer to the fellow
than I was. Ordinarily, Ditty would have put him on his back by the
time he'd got out the second word. But this time he had paid no
attention, and I had to do the job myself.
Well, what do you make of it all?
I don't know what to make of it, and that's just what's troubling
me. If I could only get to the bottom of it, I'd make short work of the
How's your second officer, Rogers? Is he a man you can depend on?
He's true blue. A fine, straight fellow and a good sailor.
I wish he were mate in place of Ditty, muttered the captain.
Well, he ain't, replied Tyke. An' to make any change jest now
with nothing more'n you've got to go on, would put you in bad with the
marine court. We'll jest keep our eyes peeled for the first sign of
real trouble, and' if them skunks start to make any we'll be ready for
I wonder what the matter is with Drew and Parmalee over there!
exclaimed the captain suddenly. More trouble?
Tyke followed the direction the captain indicated and was astonished
to see that the young men seemed to be on the verge of an altercation.
Their faces were flushed and their attitude almost threatening.
The captain hurried toward them, and Tyke hobbled after him as fast
as he was able.
The tension between Parmalee and Drew had been slowly but steadily
tightening. Little things, trifles in themselves, had increased it
until they found it hard to be civil to each other. In the presence of
Ruth and the two older men, they suppressed this feeling as much as
possible; and except by Ruth it had been unsuspected.
The purest accident that afternoon had brought the matter to a
Ruth was detained below by some duty she had on hand, and Drew was
pacing the deck while Parmalee, leaning on his cane, was standing near
the rail looking out to sea.
As Drew passed the other, the ship lurched and his foot accidentally
struck the cane, which flew out of Parmalee's hand. Deprived of the
support on which he relied, the latter staggered and almost lost his
balance. He saved himself by clutching at the rail. Then he turned
about with an angry exclamation.
Drew stooped instantly and picked up the cane, which he held out to
I'm sorry, he said. It was an awkward accident.
Awkward, sure enough, sneered Parmalee.
As to it's being an accident He paused suggestively.
Drew stepped nearer to him, his eyes blazing.
What do you mean? he asked. Do you intimate that I did it
Parmalee regretted the ungenerous sneer as soon as he spoke. But his
blood was up, and before Drew's menacing attitude he would not retract.
You can put any construction on it that you please, he flared.
Just then Tyke and the captain came hurrying up.
Come, come, boys, said the captain soothingly, keep cool.
What's the trouble with you two young roosters? queried Tyke.
They looked a little sheepish.
Just a little misunderstanding, muttered Drew.
I fear it was my fault, admitted Parmalee. Mr. Drew accidentally
knocked my cane out of my hand, and I flew off at a tangent and was
nasty about it when he apologized.
Nothing mor'n that? said Tyke, with relief. You young fire-eaters
shouldn't have such hair-trigger tempers.
Shake hands now and forget it, admonished the captain genially.
The young men did so, both being ashamed of having lost control of
themselves. But there was no cordiality in the clasp, and Tyke's keen
sense divined that something more serious than a trivial happening like
the cane incident lay between the two.
Tyke had never seen the French motto: Cherchez la femme,
and could not have translated it if he had. But he had seen enough of
trouble between men, especially young men, to know that in nine cases
out of ten a woman was at the bottom of it. He thought instantly of
He decided to have a serious talk with Drew at the earliest
opportunity. But as he looked about, after the young men had departed,
he saw signs of a change in the weather that in a moment drove all
other thoughts out of his head. He limped into the cabin companionway
to look at the barometer.
Jumping Jehoshaphat! he shouted, we're going to ketch it sure!
She's down to twenty-nine an' still a-dropping!
CHAPTER XVII. THE STORM BREAKS
Tyke was not the only one who had noted the falling barometer.
Captain Hamilton was already standing at the foot of the mainmast,
shouting orders that were taken up by Ditty and Rogers and carried on
to the men.
To the north, great masses of leaden-gray clouds were heaped up
against the sky. The sea was as flat as though a giant roller had
passed over it. A curious stillness prevailedthe wind seemed hushed,
holding its breath before the tempest burst.
The hatches were battened down and the storm slides put on the
companionway. Most of the sails were reefed close, and with everything
snug alow and aloft, the Bertha Hamilton awaited the coming
This wait was not long. A streak of white appeared along the sea
line, and this drove nearer with frightful rapidity. With a pandemonium
of sound, the tempest was upon them. The spars bent, groaning beneath
the strain, and the stays grew as taut as bowstrings. The schooner
careened until her copper sheathing showed red against the green and
white of the foaming waves.
The screaming of the wind was deafening. Hundreds of tons of water
crashed against the schooner's sides and poured over her stern. The sea
clawed at her hull as though to tear it in pieces. Tatters of foam and
spindrift swept over the deck and dashed as high as the topgallant
yards. The spray was blinding and hid one end of the craft from the
Staggering under the repeated pounding of the tumbling, churning
waves that shook her from stem to stern, the Bertha Hamilton
plunged on, her bow at times buried in the surges, her spars creaking
and groaning, but holding gallantly.
Ruth had been ordered by her father to go below, and he had advised
Parmalee and Drew to do the same. But the fascination of the storm had
been too much for the young men to resist, and they crouched in the
shelter of the lee side of the deckhouse, holding on tightly while they
watched the unchained fury of the waters. As for Tyke, he was in his
element, and nothing could have induced him to leave the deck.
For nearly twenty-four hours the storm continued, although its chief
fury was spent before the following morning. But the billows still ran
high, and it was evening before the topsails could be set. Later on, as
the wind subsided, the schooner, having shown her mettle, settled once
more into her stride and flew along like a ghost.
Then, for the first time since the storm had begun, the captain laid
aside his oil-skins and relaxed.
That was a fierce blow, chuckled Tyke. A little more and you
might have called it a hurricane.
It was a teaser, asserted the captain. Did you see how the old
girl came through it? Never lost a brace or started a seam. Hardly a
drop of water in the hold. Didn't I tell you she was a sweet sailer,
either in fair weather or foul? But the crew! Holy mackerel! what a
gang of lubbers.
You're right to be proud of the craft, assented Tyke. Has it
taken her much out of her course?
A bit to the north, but nothing more. For that matter, we've passed
Martinique. I figure it out that we may raise the hump-backed island
to-morrow, if we have luck.
A feeling of relief was experienced by the rest of the after-guard
when at last the danger was past, and it was a happy, if tired, party
that gathered about the captain's table that evening.
Supper over, they went on deck. The tropical night had fallen. There
was no moon, and a velvety blackness stretched about the ship on every
side, broken here and there by a faint phosphorescent gleam as a wave
reared and broke.
The schooner still rose and plunged from the aftermath of the storm,
and the slipperiness of the wet decks made the footing insecure. The
captain was fearful that Ruth might have a fall, and after a while
urged her to go below. Drew and Parmalee offered to accompany her, but
she was very tired after the excitement and sleeplessness of the
previous night, and excused herself on the plea that she thought she
would retire early.
Drew and Parmalee were standing near each other just abaft the
mizzenmast, while Tyke and the captain were aft, talking in low voices.
An unusually big wave struck the schooner a resounding slap on the
starboard quarter, causing her to lurch suddenly. Drew was thrown off
his balance. He tried to regain his footing, but the slippery deck was
treacherous and he fell heavily, striking his head on the corner of the
How long he lay there he did not know, but it must have been for
several minutes, for when he recovered consciousness his clothes were
wet where they had absorbed the moisture from the deck. His head was
whirling, and he felt giddy and confused. He put his hand to his
forehead and felt a cut that was bleeding profusely.
Drew had a horror of scenes, and instead of reporting to Tyke or to
the captain, he resolved to go quietly to his room, bind up the wound
as well as he was able, and then get into his berth with the hope that
a good night's rest would put him in good shape again.
He wondered in a dazed way where Parmalee was. Why had not the other
young man sought to help him? He had been standing close by at the time
and could not have failed to notice the accident. Was it possible that
Parmalee still nourished a grudge, and had refused the slight service
that humanity should have dictated? No, Parmalee was not that kind.
There was no love lost between the two, but Drew refused to do him that
But Drew's wound demanded attention, and he was too confused just
then to solve problems that could wait till later. So he picked his way
rather unsteadily to the companionway and went down.
He had to pass the captain's cabin on his way to his own room. As he
did so, the light streamed full upon him, and Ruth, who had not yet
gone to her own room, looked up from her sewing and saw him. She gave a
little scream and rushed toward him.
Oh, Allen, Allen! she cried, taking his face in her hands. What
has happened? Your head is bleeding! Are you badly hurt?
Don't be frightened, Ruth, he returned. I was stupid enough to
fall and cut my head a little. Bu it's nothing of any account. I'll
bind it up and I'll be as right as a trivet in the morning.
You'll bind it up! she exclaimed. You'll do nothing of the
kind. You'll come right in here and let me fix that poor head for you.
She drew him in and he went unresistingly, glad to yield to her
Ruth found warm water, ointment, lint and bandages, and deftly bound
up the wound. She was a sailor's daughter, and an adept in first aid to
the wounded. Her soft hands touched his face and head, her eyes were
dewy with sympathy, and Drew found himself rejoicing at the accident
that had brought him this boon. She had never been so close to him
before, and he was sorry when the operation was ended.
Through so soon? he asked regretfully.
She laughed merrily. She could laugh now.
I can take the bandage off and start all over again if you say so,
she said mischievously.
Do, he begged.
Be sensible, she commanded. Go at once now and get to bed.
Remember, you're my patient and must obey orders.
She shook her finger at him and tried to frown with portentous
severity. But the dancing eyes and mutinous dimple belied the frown.
If you're my nurse, I'm going to be sick for a long time, he
He tried to grasp the menacing finger, but she eluded him and
playfully drove him out of the room.
The sun was shining brightly through the porthole of his room when
he awoke the next morning, and on reaching for his watch he found that
he had waked later than usual. He dressed himself quickly. He felt a
little light-headed from the effect of his wound, but nothing more.
There was an exclamation of alarm from Tyke and the captain when
they saw his bandaged head.
Only a cut, said Allen lightly. And he briefly narrated the
details of his misadventure.
Lucky it was no worse, commented Tyke.
Wasn't there any one near by at that time? asked the captain.
Why began Drew, and stopped. To say that Parmalee had been
near him would have been an indictment of the former for his seeming
heartlessness. He did not want to take advantage of his absent rival.
If there had been, he'd have certainly picked me up, he evaded,
Ruth greeted him in her usual gay and gracious manner, but he sought
in vain for any trace of the tenderness of the night before. She was on
her guard again.
How is my patient this morning? she smiled.
Fine, he answered. If you ever want any recommendation as a nurse
you can refer to me. Only I wouldn't give it, he added.
Why not? she asked.
Because I want to be your only patient.
She hastened to get off perilous ground.
I wonder what's keeping Mr. Parmalee this morning, she observed.
He's even more of a sleepy head than you are.
Tired out, I guess, conjectured the captain. This storm has used
us all up pretty well.
Ruth summoned Namco and told him to knock on Mr. Parmalee's door.
The Japanese was back in a minute.
Honorable gent no ansler, he reported.
That's queer, remarked the captain. I'll step there myself.
He returned promptly, looking very grave. He isn't there, he
Perhaps he's gone on deck to get an appetite for breakfast,
suggested Drew lightly.
It's not alone that he's absent, said the captain in a worried
tone. His bed hasn't been slept in!
There was a chorus of startled exclamations. Drew and Tyke jumped to
their feet and Ruth lost her color.
Oh, Daddy! she cried, it can't be that anything's happened to
Don't get excited, Ruth, said her father soothingly. There may be
some explanation. I'll have the ship searched at once.
They all hurried on deck, and the captain summoned the mate and Mr.
Rogers. He told them what he feared and ordered that the ship be
Rogers turned to obey, but the one-eyed mate, Cal Ditty, stopped him
with a gesture.
No use, he said. Mr. Parmalee ain't here.
How do you know? cried the captain.
Because he was thrown overboard last night, was the sudden grim
Ruth gave a smothered shriek and the others gasped in amazement and
What do you mean? shouted the captain.
Just what I said.
Who threw him overboard?
He did, declared Ditty, pointing to Drew.
There was a moment of terrible silence as the others looked in the
direction of the mate's pointing finger.
Drew stood as though he were turned to stone. His tongue was
paralyzed. He saw consternation in the faces of Tyke and the captain.
He glimpsed the horror in the eyes of Ruth. Then, with a roar of rage,
he hurled himself at the one-eyed mate.
You lying hound! he shouted. If crime's been done, you've
Ditty slid back a step and met the younger man's charge with a
coolness that showed his taunt had been premeditated and that this
result was expected. As the enraged Drew closed in, the mate met him
with a frightful swing to the side of his bandaged head.
Drew's head rocked on his shoulders, and for a moment he was dazed.
Blood flowed from under the bandage, and in an instant his cheek and
neck were besmeared with it. The bucko, with the experience of long
years of rough fighting, landed a second blow before the confused Drew
could put up his defense again.
But that was the last blow Ditty did land. Drew's brain cleared
suddenly. Hot rage filled his heart. He forgot his surroundings. He
forgot that Ruth stood by to see his metamorphosis from a civilized man
into an uncivilized one. He forgot everything but the leering face of
the lying scoundrel before him, and he proceeded to change that face
into a bruised mask.
His skill and speed made the mate, with only brute force behind him,
seem like a child. Drew closed Ditty's remaining eye, split his upper
lip, puffed both his cheeks till his nose was scarcely a ridge between
them, and ended by landing a left hook on the point of the jaw that
knocked the mate down and out.
As Drew fell back from the fray, which had lasted only seconds, so
swift was the pace, Tyke seized him.
You've done enough, boy! You've done enough, Allen! he exclaimed.
Leave life in the scoundrel so we can get the truth out of him.
CHAPTER XVIII. A SEA COURT
Mr. Rogers, take the deck! commanded Captain Hamilton sharply.
You bullies, get forward with you! he added to the curious men of the
watch. Don't any of you lose sight of the fact that if it were a
seaman instead of a passenger who attacked Mr. Ditty, he'd be in the
Drew, you and Tyke come below with me. When you've washed your
face, Mr. Ditty, I want to see you there too. Mr. Rogers!
Aye, aye, sir! responded the second officer, smartly.
Pass the word forward. Has anybody seen Mr. Parmalee or does any of
them know personally what's happened to him? No second-hand tales, mind
Aye, aye, sir.
With all his rage and confusion of mind, Drew realized that
easy-going, peace-loving Captain Hamilton had suddenly become another
and entirely different being.
Even Ruth descried no softness in her father's countenance now. She
noted that his eye sparkled dangerously. He waved her before him, and
she fled down the companionway steps ahead of Drew and Grimshaw.
Now, what's all this about? the master of the Bertha Hamilton
demanded, facing Drew across the cabin table.
Oh, Father! gasped Ruth. ThatthatMr. Ditty says Mr. Parmalee
is murdered and that Allen did it!
That's neither here nor there, said the captain sternly. I don't
believe that any more than you do. But what is this between Ditty and
Mr. Drew? They went at each other like two bulldogs that have nursed a
grudge for a year.
Now, I want to know what it means, Drew. I heardRuth told meof
the little run-in you had with Ditty the day you first met my daughter
on the Jones Lane pier, pursued Captain Hamilton. Ruth was carrying a
letter to Captain Peters for me. The Normandy is bound for Hong
Kong, where I'd just come from, and Peters and I have mutual friends
out there. I forgot something I wanted Ruth to tell Captain Peters, and
I asked Ditty, who had shore leave, to waylay her and give her my
message. She'd never seen Ditty, and he startled her. He isn't a
beauty, I admit. But now, what happened after that between you two,
Nothing at all that day, said the young man promptly. But another
day I was over there, at the Normandy, to seeerCaptain
Peters, and this fellow showed up half drunk and gave me the dirty side
of his tongue. I knocked him down.
Seems to me you're mighty sudden with your fists, growled Captain
And Mr. Grimshaw can tell you something about Ditty, too, Drew
began; but the master of the schooner stopped him.
Never mind about that. We're discussing your affair with Ditty.
I've got to judge between you two. I'm judge, jury, and hangman in this
caseuntil we make some port where there's a consul, at least. Now,
here's the mate. No more fighting, remember or I'll take a hand in it
The battered Ditty stumbled down the cabin steps. He could scarcely
see out of his single eye; but that eye glittered malevolently when it
fell upon Allen Drew.
Sit down, Mr. Ditty, said the captain evenly. We've got to get to
the bottom of this business. You've said something, Mr. Ditty, that's
got to go down on the logand it's going to make you a peck of trouble
if you don't prove it. You understand that?
I know it, snarled Ditty, through his puffed lips. He done it.
You lying hound! muttered Drew.
Captain Hamilton ignored this. He said:
What makes you say that Mr. Drew flung Mr. Parmalee overboard?
Because I seen him do it, answered Ditty.
Drew started for the mate again, but Tyke held him back.
Go ahead, Mr. Ditty. Tell your story, commanded the captain
They was both standin' abaft the mizzen, the mate began, and I
heard 'em quarrelin' about something. I went there, thinkin' to stop
'em if it was anything serious, and jest as I got near 'em I seen Mr.
Parmalee up and hit Mr. Drew on the head with his cane. Then, before
you could say Jack Robinson, Mr. Drew picked up Mr. Parmalee as if he
had been a baby and threw him over the rail.
There was a stifled murmur from the group.
Why didn't you give the alarm and lower a boat? asked the captain.
I was goin' to, but Mr. Drew turned round and saw me. He whipped a
gun out of his pocket and swore he'd shoot me if I gave the alarm or
said a word. He held me under the point of his gun till it was too late
to lower a boat, and only let me go after I promised him I'd keep mum
about the hull thing.
You're a fine sailorman, charged the captain bitterly, to let a
man drown without doing anything to help him! Why didn't you take a
He had the drop on me, mumbled the mate.
The captain turned to Drew.
What about it? he asked.
Do I have to deny such a yarn? the young man burst out hotly.
What can I say except that this infernal scoundrel is lying? The whole
ridiculous story is as new to me as it is to you. The last time I saw
Mr. Parmalee was when he was standing beside me on the deck last night.
I never laid a finger on him!
Where were you standing? asked the captain.
Just where Ditty says I was, replied Drew frankly. That part of
the story is true. And it's the only thing in it that is true.
Did you have any unfriendly words with Mr. Parmalee?
Not a word, was the answer.
Ask him if he ever had any quarrel with him afore that, snarled
I know all about that, replied the captain sharply. I was there
myself. It was just a little misunderstanding, and it blew over in a
Ev'ry one on board knows there was bad blood 'twixt 'em, put in
the mate, and they come pretty nigh to guessin' the reason for it,
too, he added with a leering glance at Ruth.
Stop, you dog! shouted the captain in sudden rage. If you say
another word along that line I'll knock you down!
The mate took a step backward, and mumbled an apology.
Go on, Drew, ordered the captain. When did you lose sight of Mr.
I slipped on the deck and struck my head on the corner of the
hatch-cover. Mr. Parmalee was with me at the time. I lost my senses
from the blow, and when I came to, Parmalee wasn't there. I remember
thinking it strange that he hadn't helped me when I fell, but I was
dizzy and confused and soon forgot about it. If I thought of him at
all, it was to suppose that he had gone to his room. I fully expected
to see him at the breakfast table this morning, and I was as much
surprised as you were when he didn't turn up.
His story was told so frankly and simply that it carried conviction.
But Ditty still had a card up his sleeve. He went over to the open
Give me that cane, Bill, he called to a sailor standing at a
The man obeyed, and a thrill went through the group as they
recognized it as having belonged to Lester Parmalee. Ruth was making a
strong effort for self-control.
Look at the blood-stains on this cane, said Ditty triumphantly, as
he handed it over to the captain.
There were, in truth, dark red stains on the end of the cane,
standing out clearly in contrast with the light oak color of the stick
That's where the cut on Mr. Drew's head come from, jest as I says,
And what's more, he went on, there ain't any blood on the edge of
the hatch cover.
No, there wouldn't be, muttered Tyke, for the deck was washed
down this morning, of course.
Do you own a pistol, Drew? asked Captain Hamilton, after a painful
Yes, admitted the accused man. I have an automatic. It's in my
stateroom now. But I haven't carried it since I came on board the ship.
I didn't have it on me last night.
The captain mused for a moment in evident perplexity.
Well, he said, rising to his feet, that's all, Mr. Ditty. I'll
think this over and figure out what it's best to do.
Ain't you goin' to put him in irons? asked the mate truculently.
That's none of your business, snapped the master of the schooner.
I'm captain of this craft, and I'll do as I think best. You are
relieved from duty for the present. Lord man! but you're a sight.
Ditty wavered as though some impudent reply were forming on his
tongue; but he thought better of it beneath the steady gaze of the
captain's eyes and turned to go. He could not, however, forbear a
You can see from the way he went at me what a savage temper he's
got, he said. He'd 've killed me if he could 've. And if he'd do that
to me for what I said, what would 've stopped his doin' it to a man who
had already hit him?
That'll do, Mr. Ditty! snapped the captain again.
Tyke left no doubt as to where he stood. Out of respect for the
captain, he had left the inquiry entirely in his hands, but now he
hobbled over to Drew and clapped him vigorously on the shoulder.
Brace up, my boy! he exclaimed. I don't know jest what the motive
of that swab is, but I know he was lying from first to last. Ruth was
sobbing, and could not speak, but her little hand stole into the young
man's, and he grasped it convulsively.
I can't believe that you did it either, Drew, declared the
captain; but there was a lack of heartiness in his tone that Drew was
quick to detect. I'll have to look into the whole matter as carefully
as I know how. Parmalee's disappearance must be accounted for. All we
know now is that he isn't to be found. I'll have the ship searched, but
I have little doubt but the poor fellow has gone overboard. In itself
that doesn't prove anything. He may have fallen over. But we can't get
away from the fact that one man says he knows how Parmalee came to his
death. He may be lying. I think he is. I hope to God he is. But the
whole matter will have to be taken up by the proper authorities as soon
as we get back to New York.
Drew's brain reeled. He saw himself in a court of justice, on trial
for his life, charged with a horrible crime that he had no means of
refuting, except by his own unsupported denial. And even if he were
acquitted, the black cloud of suspicion would hang over him forever.
But I'm going to believe you're innocent until I'm forced to
believe the contrary, continued the captain; and God help Ditty if I
find he's been lying!
He is lying, protested Drew passionately. I never dreamed of
injuring Parmalee. Did I act like a murderer last night when you bound
up my head, Ruth?
No! no! sobbed the girl.
Did I act like a murderer at the table this morning? Drew
continued, conscious that he was proving nothing, but clutching eagerly
at every straw.
You're no more a murderer than I am! almost shouted Tyke, moved to
the depth by Drew's distress.
You're going to have the benefit of every doubt, my boy, the
captain assured him soothingly. But now you'd better go to your room
and try to pull yourself together. We're all upset, and talking won't
do us any good until we've got something else to go on. But you have
got to promise me that you'll leave Ditty alone.
I'll leave him alone if he leaves me alone.
That is all I ask. I'll warn him to keep away from you.
Drew released Ruth's hand. She threw herself on her father's breast,
and the young man groped his way to his room. Once there, he sat down
and tried to face calmly the terrible indictment that had been made
He did not delude himself as to the bits of circumstantial evidence
that might be used to piece out that indictment to make it plausible.
What was Ditty's motive? He racked his brain in vain to find it.
There was, to be sure, the row upon the pier, but that had been only a
trifle, and the world would never believe that for anything like that a
man would swear away the life of another.
The previous quarrel between him and Lester Parmalee seemed to
establish the fact that there was bad blood between them. There was the
cut upon his head, received at the very time that Parmalee disappeared.
There were the blood stains on the cane, carrying the inference that
that stick in the hand of Parmalee had inflicted his wound. He owned a
revolver, which would bear out Ditty's statement that the mate had been
intimidated by it. Then there was his own savage attack on Ditty, which
showed his hot and impetuous temper.
He groaned as he saw what could be made of all these things in the
hands of a clever district attorney. He could see the picture that
would be drawn for the benefit of the jury. The old, old storya
beautiful woman with two young and ardent suitors; one quarrel already
having occurred; a meeting in the dark; a renewal of the quarrel; an
attack by the weaker with a cane; the blow that turned the stronger
into a maddened beast and prompted him to grasp his frail rival and
throw him into the sea. What was more possible? What was more probable?
Jealousy had caused thousands of similar tragedies in the history of
And when to these damaging circumstances was added the testimony of
a declared eye-witness who seemed to have no sufficient reason for
lying, what would the jury do?
Drew shuddered, and his soul turned sick within him.
And Ruth! He ground his teeth in rage at the thought of her name
being dragged into the terrible story, as it certainly would be.
Even supposing that he should be given the benefit of the doubt and
discharged, his life would be utterly wrecked. He could not ask her to
share the life of a man who the world would believe owed his escape
from the penitentiary to luck rather than to his innocence. Even if she
were willing, he could not ask her to link her life with his.
All through that day and part of the next, he lived in an inferno.
By tacit consent, the members of the party refrained from talking of
the one thing about which all were thinking. When they met, they spoke
of indifferent matters, but there was a hideous feeling of restraint
that could not be dispelled, and gloom hung over them like a pall.
The morning of the second day, as they were cruising about in the
longitude and latitude indicated by the map, the voice of the lookout
resounded from the masthead.
Where away? shouted Rogers, who chanced to be officer of the deck.
Three points on the weather bow, was the answer.
Rogers reported instantly to the captain, who came rushing on deck,
followed by the other members of the party.
The captain adjusted his binoculars and looked hard and long at a
black speck rising from the waves. Finally he dropped the glass.
The hump of the whale! he announced.
CHAPTER XIX. FOREBODINGS
The hearts of all on board were thrilled. Crew and passengers alike
were delighted, although the latter had a special reason for excitement
of which the former were supposed to be ignorant.
The schooner had been proceeding under full sail, but as she
approached nearer to the land whose outlines at every moment became
more distinct, the topgallants were taken in until the Bertha
Hamilton had just enough canvas drawing to give her good steerage
Before long the schooner approached near enough for those on board
to see the island plainly with the naked eye. It seemed to be several
miles in length. It looked like an emerald floating in the sunlight.
Lush vegetation extended to within a hundred yards of the sea, and a
silvery stretch of beach edged the breakers that curled and burst with
an unceasing roar.
There was no sign of human habitation anywhere. No hut broke the
smooth expanse of the beach or peeped out from among the trees. The
impression of an uninhabited wilderness was heightened by great numbers
of pelicans and cranes, who stood sleepily on one foot or stalked
solemnly about pursuing their fishing in the shallows.
There was only one place where the outline of the coast was broken.
At the eastern end the claws of a reef extended for about half a mile
into the sea, making a barrier behind which the water was comparatively
calm, though at the opening, of about two hundred yards, there ran a
That must be the inlet shown on the pirate's map, whispered Tyke,
who was standing at the rail of the Bertha Hamilton close beside
That's probably what it is, replied Captain Hamilton, his voice
showing the agitation under which he was laboring. But before we put
her through the opening, I'm going to take soundings. Mr. Ditty! he
called, heave to and lower a boat to take soundings.
Aye, aye, sir, responded the mate.
In a twinkling the necessary orders were given, the Bertha
Hamilton lost way and rounded to, and a boat manned by six sailors
was dropped from the davits on the lee side.
Pull away smartly now, my lads, called the mate as he took the
It required smart seamanship to get through that rushing raceway
without capsizing; but, whatever Ditty's faults, he did not lack
ability, and the work was done in a way that elicited an unwilling
grunt of admiration from Tyke.
In less than two hours the requisite soundings had been taken, and
Ditty came to report.
Plenty of depth, sir, he reported. No less than ten fathoms
anywhere. And a good bottom.
All right, Mr. Ditty, replied the captain. Put the canvas on her
now and we'll take her through.
The captain himself assumed charge of this critical operation, and
under half sail the Bertha Hamilton dashed through as though
welcoming the end of her journey. She made the channel without mishap,
and let go her anchor within a quarter of a mile of the head of the
Inside the breakwater the sea was almost as smooth as a mirror. The
water was wonderfully transparent, and they could see hundreds of
tropical fish swimming lazily at a great depth. On the beach the waves
lapped in musical ripples, in striking contrast to the thundering surf
on the reef.
The captain wiped his perspiring forehead and drew a long breath of
relief. So far so good, he remarked. It won't be long now before
we'll know whether we've come on a fool's errand or not.
There's one thing about which the map hasn't lied, anyway, said
Drew. It pointed out the inlet just where we found it. That's a good
omen, it seems to me.
Let's hope the rest of the map is all right, replied the captain.
But it's nearly time for dinner now, and we'll have that before going
All were so feverishly impatient, now that they were almost in sight
of their goal, that none of them paid much attention to the meal, and
it was soon over.
Do you s'pose the crew have any idee why we're stopping at this
island? asked Tyke. There was a grim look on his seamed countenance,
and both the captain and Drew looked at him curiously.
What's milling in your brain, Tyke? asked Captain Hamilton. I've
kept my eyes peeled, and I swear I haven't seen anything more to
suggest treachery. Ditty's on his best behavior
Yes; that's so, agreed Tyke. But did you spy the men he took with
him in the boat jest now, when he came in here to make soundings?
I didn't notice, the captain confessed.
The orneriest ones of the whole bunch. An', believe me! this is the
wo'st crew of dock scrapings I ever set eyes on, growled Tyke. Ditty
did a lot of talking in the boatI watched 'em through my glass. Them
six are his close friends, Cap'n Rufe. They've laid their plans
Holy mackerel! exclaimed Captain Hamilton. What are you saying,
I've figgered out that we aren't going to have things our own way
down here, the other said earnestly. I've been waiting for you to say
something, Cap'n Rufe, ever since that Bug-eye accused Allen like he
did. Ditty's on to our gamehas been on to it right alongan' he
selected this crew of wharf-rats for a purpose.
I agree with you, Mr. Grimshaw, Drew declared eagerly. That's
what Ditty was after when he tried to rob you at the time you were
knocked down by the automobile. You were right. He did push you back in
front of the machine, and then he searched your pockets while you were
on the ground.
For what? demanded Captain Hamilton, staring.
For the paper and the map. Ditty believed Mr. Grimshaw carried that
confession in his pocket, Drew replied.
The master of the schooner rose and began to walk about in
That's it! He was lurking outside your office door that day, Tyke,
when we first found the papers in Manuel Gomez's chest. I see it now.
He was aboard the schooner that very evening, too, when I told Ruth at
dinner about the pirate's doubloons. He might have been eavesdropping
An' I bet he flung poor Parmalee over the rail himself, said Tyke.
Hamilton's expression changed and he shook his head at that.
He'd git rid of one of the after-guard that way, urged Tyke.
Parmalee could shoot. An' if it comes to a fight
My soul! groaned Captain Hamilton suddenly. And Ruth with us!
What about Ruth? asked that young lady cheerfully, coming from her
cabin. Aren't you all ready yet? I am going ashore with you.
Yes; you'd better come, said her father gloomily.
Why, what is the matter? she demanded.
We were just wondering, said Drew quickly, assuming a casual tone
to cover their real emotion, if the crew suspected our reason for
touching at this island.
Captain Hamilton picked up the ball at once.
But I don't believe they do, he said. Of course, it would have
seemed strange to the mate and to Rogers if I hadn't given them some
explanation, especially as we came out in ballast. So I dropped hints
that we were out on a survey expedition that couldn't be talked of just
now. They probably have the idea that we're looking up a suitable
coaling station for the Government, or something of that kind. To carry
that out, I've got some surveyor's instruments here that we'll take
along with us, just for a blind.
Let's hope it'll work, said Tyke dubiously. An' it won't do any
harm to take our guns along.
There's a pair of revolvers for each of us, replied Captain
Hamilton, opening the closet where he kept the arms that Drew had
previously seen; and we'll take half a dozen guns along with us in the
boat. There may be snakes or wild animals on the islands.
I must have a revolver too, Daddy, said the girl.
Of course, my dear, agreed the captain.
Mebbe you'd better not put any cartridges in it, Cap'n Rufe, said
Grimshaw, taking Ruth playfully by the arm, They'd be more dangerous
to us than to anything else.
It's mean of you to say that, Mr. Grimshaw, pouted Ruth. You'll
find that I can use a gun as well as anybody.
Mebbe so, mebbe so, my dear, said Tyke indulgently.
Hadn't we better take some provisions along? asked Ruth, as she
slipped the cartridges into her revolver and put the weapon in the
pocket of the sports skirt that she had donned.
That won't be necessary, replied the captain. We'll be back
before nightfall. This is just a little preliminary scouting. We won't
have time for more than that this afternoon. The real work of searching
for the treasure will begin to-morrow.
The preparations finished, the party went on deck.
Crew had their dinner yet, Mr. Ditty? Captain Hamilton asked of
his first officer.
My watch have, sir, was the answer. The others are eating now.
Pick out half a dozen men and lower the boat, ordered the captain.
We're going ashore for a few hours. We'll be back for supper.
How long will we lay up here, sir?
Can't tell yet. Perhaps two or three days. Possibly a week or
How about shore leave for the men, sir?
Beginning to-morrow, they can go ashore in batches of ten. This
afternoon, Mr. Rogers and a boat's crew can take the long boat and some
casks and go ashore to look for water.
Very well, sir, replied the mate, with a curious expression on his
As he turned away, his one eye fell on Drew. They had not met since
the fight two days before. They stared at each other for several
seconds, until Ditty's eye fell before the concentrated fury in those
of the young man.
Ruth, who had witnessed the interchange of looks, put her hand
lightly on Drew's arm.
Aren't you going to help me into the boat, Allen? she asked.
His rage at Ditty vanished in an instant as he turned to her. She
was trying to smile, but there was no laughter in her dewy eyes. But
Drew saw there something deeper and sweeter and tenderer. There was
immense sympathy andwhat was that other fugitive expression that he
caught before her eyelids lowered?
He bent toward her, but just then Grimshaw and the captain ranged
alongside, and they had to take their places in the boat.
The members of the crew who had been told off for the service, bent
to the oars, and, at a rapid pace, they approached the shore. The beach
shelved gradually, and they had no trouble in making a landing. The
sailors leaped out into the shallow water and drew the boat well up on
the strand, and the party disembarked.
Drew wished that they had found it necessary to wade. With what
delight he would have carried Ruth in those strong arms of his!
We'll be back in an hour or two, my lads, said the captain. You
can scatter about and do as you like until we return, as long as you
keep within hail of the boat.
With the captain and Tyke in the lead, and Drew following behind to
help Ruth over the hard places, they plunged into the unknown forest.
After all, they went slowly, for Tyke had to favor what he called his
For all the evidence that the wood afforded, it had been untrodden
for many years. Giant ceiba trees reared themselves two hundred feet
into the air. Lianas hung in festoons from the boughs like monstrous
boa constrictors. Parrots flew squawking from branch to branch, and
humming birds and butterflies of many hues and gorgeous beauty darted
like bright arrows among the flowers.
The underbrush was thick and in some places impenetrable, and the
treasure seekers would have found their progress very slow if it had
not been for certain irregular trails that seemed to have been hewn
through the woods at intervals. In some places these trails were many
yards wide, while at others they narrowed to a foot or two. Nothing
grew upon them, but they were covered by dead leaves and twigs of
Wonder how these trails came here, said the captain. There are no
footprints on them, and yet they must have been made by animals or
Better keep our eyes peeled, warned Tyke.
The captain, who had scraped away some of the accumulated leaves and
rubbish, gave a sudden exclamation.
Why, this path is made of stone! he cried. He dropped on his knees
and examined more closely. When he rose to his feet his face was grave.
It's lava! he stated.
Then the island must be volcanic! exclaimed Drew, startled by the
Nothing very surprising about that when you come to think of it,
Tyke declared. We're right down here in the earthquake zone, where the
earth's liable to throw a fit any time. Like enough this old whaleback
is a sleeping volcano. She may blow up again some time.
Just as it did at Martinique, confirmed the captain. Perhaps that
may explain the absence of people hereabouts. They may have all been
wiped out by some eruption, or they may have been so scared that they
left the island for safer quarters.
I don't think we have much to worry about, remarked Tyke. There
ain't any doubt but this hill we're heading for has been at some time a
volcano. But likely it's been quiet for hundreds of years. An' it's not
likely that it's going to git busy now jest for our special benefit.
Let's hike along.
There's one good thing about it, anyway, remarked Drew, as they
resumed their march. It's burned out these paths and made the walking
easier. And it's pointed out just the way we want to go. All we have to
do is to follow this path and it can't help but lead us right up to the
That's the point we want to head for, replied the captain,
consulting the map. You'll notice that these circles seem to be on the
slope of the hill not so very far from the top. Besides, that pirate
fellow would be likely to go quite a way in from the shore to bury his
Half a mile further on, a little stream ran through the forest. The
party went over to it, and Drew, bending down and making a cup of his
hands, bore some of the water to his lips. He made a wry face and
Sulphur! he exclaimed. It's full of it.
Captain Hamilton, too, tasted.
Another proof, if we needed it, that the island is volcanic, he
observed. Then, in a tone that only Drew heard, he added: What I don't
like about it is that it shows there's brimstone in the old whale's
hump yet. If there wasn't, the water would have sweetened long ago.
Tyke and Ruth each took a few drops of the water, and then the party
went on a little more soberly than before. The trees soon became more
scattered, though the undergrowth was dense. Before long they emerged
on a sort of plateau above which was lifted, at a height of two hundred
feet or more, the whale's hump.
Its sides were heaped with masses of hardened lava in all kinds of
grotesque shapes. It was utterly desolate and bare. Ruth shuddered as
she looked at the weird scene.
I don't wonder that some place around here is called the Witch's
Head, she remarked. This must be like the place where Macbeth saw the
witches brewing their potions.
Except that they brewed them 'in lightning, thunder and in rain',
said Drew. Those are the only things that are missing.
He had scarcely spoken when there was a rumbling that sounded like
thunder. Drew was startled, and Ruth grew slightly pale.
That's funny, remarked Tyke. Weather's as clear as a bell too.
This ain't the hurricane season.
The captain was in a brown study, seemingly unheedful of the
rumbling sound. In a moment he roused himself and said:
Well, now let's scatter about and see if we can find anything that
looks like The Three Sisters or the Witch's Head.
Grimshaw sat down to rest, not wishing to put too heavy a strain on
the leg that had been injured, and the others wandered about for half
an hour trying to discover anything that might be identified as the
places named on the map. But their efforts were fruitless, and the
captain, looking at his watch, called a halt.
Nothing more doing now, he said. We have only time to get back to
the boat. But we've got our bearings and have done a good afternoon's
work. To-morrow's a new day, and we'll get on the job early.
Reluctantly, the little party went back to the boat. They found the
crew waiting for them and were pulled rapidly to the schooner, whose
anchor lights were already gleaming like fireflies in the sudden dusk.
CHAPTER XX. THE EARTH TREMBLES
It was with a feeling of relief after their surroundings of the last
few hours, that the treasure seekers found themselves again on board
the Bertha Hamilton and seated in the bright cabin at the
appetizing and abundant meal that Wah Lee had prepared for them.
All four felt jubilant at the discoveries they had made. Drew and
Ruth were sure that they were on the very brink of finding the pirate
hoard, and might, that very afternoon, have uncovered it if they had
had a few more hours of daylight. To-morrow, they felt sure, would find
them in possession of the doubloons.
Drew's personal trouble had been for the moment obscured, although
the thought of it was sure to return to torment him as soon as the
excitement of the afternoon's search was past.
One thing served to delight and to torture him at the same time. He
was almost sure that he had surprised a secret in the eyes of Ruth. He
was thrilled as he thought of it. But the next moment he groaned in
anguish as he remembered the frightful charge hanging over his head.
What had he now to offer her but a wrecked career and a blackened name?
The exhilaration all had felt on their return was followed soon by
reaction. Ruth withdrew early to her room, pleading weariness. Tyke was
thoughtful, thinking of the thunder he had heard just before they had
left the island. The captain went on deck only to find in the report of
the second officer more cause for gravity.
Mr. Rogers came up to him as he emerged from the cabin.
Couldn't get any water this afternoon, sir, he reported. Found
some; but it tasted strong of sulphur, sir.
Yes, I know, Mr. Rogers, replied the captain. I tasted some
myself while I was ashore, and found it no good. Still, we've got
plenty on board, so it doesn't matter.
Still the second officer lingered.
What is it, Mr. Rogers? asked the captain, who saw that the man
had something on his mind.
Why, I hardly know how to put it, sir, answered the second
officer, a little confusedly. Perhaps it's foolish to speak about it;
and there may be nothing in it, after all.
Out with it, Mr. Rogers, ordered the captain, all alert in an
Why, it's this way, sir, returned the second officer. I don't
like the way the men are acting. I never was sweet on the crew from the
beginning, for the matter of that, not meaning any disrespect to Mr.
Ditty, who had the choosing of most of them. There's a few of them that
are smart seamen, but most of them are rank swabs that don't know a
marlinspike from a backstay. Seem more like a gang of river pirates
than deep-sea sailors.
I know that most of them are a poor lot, replied the captain. But
they've managed to work the ship down here, and I guess they can get
her home again.
But it isn't only that, sir, went on the other. There's
altogether too much whispering and getting into corners when the men
are off duty to suit me. And they shut up like clams when I pass near
'em. And they're surly and impudent when I give 'em orders. I've had to
lick a half dozen of 'em already.
Well, you've got Mr. Ditty to help you out, said the captain.
That's another queer thing, sir, continued the second officer,
evidently reluctant to speak against his superior. Mr. Ditty is
usually quicker with his fists than he is with his tongue; but I never
saw him like he is on this voyage. Seems like at times as though he
took the men's part, sir.
That's a hard saying, Mr. Rogers, said the captain.
True enough, sir; but you told me to speak out. I had trouble with
some of the men this very afternoon, sir, when I went over to the
island. They found the water tasted of sulphur, and some of 'em started
in saying that the devil wasn't very far off when you could taste
brimstone so plain. Of course, sailors are superstitious, and I
wouldn't have thought anything of that, only it seemed as if the bad
ones were just making that an excuse to get the others sore and
discontented. They were growling and muttering amongst themselves all
the time they were ashore.
I've got it off my chest now, sir, and maybe you'll think it's
foolish, but I thought you ought to know. There's something going on
that I can't understand, and it bothers me.
You've done quite right to tell me what you have, Mr. Rogers,
replied the captain, and I'm obliged to you. I'll think it over. In
the meantime, keep your eyes wide open and let me know at once if
anything comes to light. By the way, did you ever find anybody who saw
what happened to Mr. Parmalee?
Not a man among 'em will own to having seen anything. It was a dark
night, replied Mr. Rogers, touching his cap and turning away.
Captain Hamilton sought out Tyke immediately and related to him what
Rogers had said.
How many men that you know you can depend on have you got in your
crew? asked Tyke quickly.
Not more than a dozen that I'm sure of, admitted Captain Hamilton.
That many've sailed with me on a number of voyages and they came home
with me from Hong Kong. They are as good men as ever hauled on a sheet.
But even some of them may have been affected by whatever it is that's
brewing. It takes only a few rotten apples to spoil a barrel, you
A dozen, mused Tyke reflectively. Those, with you and Allen and
me would make fifteen.
Don't forget Rogers, put in Hamilton.
Sixteen, corrected Tyke. That leaves only eighteen, if Ditty's
got 'em all. Counting himself, that's nineteen. Sixteen against
nineteen. Considering the kind of muts they are, we ought to lick the
tar out of 'em.
We could if it came to open fighting. But if they're up to
mischief, they'll know what they're after and will have the advantage
of striking the first blow.
That is, he went on, if there's anything in it at all. Perhaps
we're just imagining they mean something serious, when after all it may
be only a matter of sailors' grumbling. Rogers may have only uncovered
a mare's nest.
Perhaps, admitted Tyke. All the same, I've never trusted that
rascal, Ditty, from the minute I clapped eyes on him. An' since he lied
so about Allen, I know he's a scoundrel.
I hope he did lie, said the captain doubtfully.
Hope! cried the old man hotly. Don't you know? Look
here, Rufe Hamilton, you an' me have been friends for going on thirty
years, but we break friendship right here and now if you tell me you
don't know that Ditty lied!
There, there, Tyke, soothed the skipper, have it your own way.
But what we have on hand just now is how to get the better of Ditty and
Gradually Tyke's ruffled feathers were smoothed and he devoted
himself to the matter in hand.
They talked late and long, but in the face of only vague
conjectures, could reach no definite conclusion. One thing they did
decide: It was so to manage matters as to leave Rogers in command of
the schooner when the captain himself should be ashore. Unless Ditty
were actually deposed, and as yet there was no valid excuse for doing
this, the only way they could carry out this plan was to see that Ditty
was on shore at the same time that the treasure seekers were.
The next morning when the party was ready to start, Captain Hamilton
spoke to Ditty.
Mr. Ditty, he directed, you will take ten of the men ashore on
leave this morning in the long-boat. I am going myself with the crew of
the smaller boat. Mr. Rogers will remain in charge of the ship. If you
find sweet water, send back for the casks.
Ditty started to make an objection.
Beg pardon, sir, but I don't care for shore leave myself. Mr.
Rogers can go in my place if he wants to, sir.
You heard what I said, Mr. Ditty. Mr. Rogers went yesterday, said
the captain curtly. Have both boats lowered at once.
There was no help for it, and Ditty yielded a surly obedience.
What time shall I bring the men back, sir? he asked.
When I give you the signal, replied the captain. Perhaps not till
late afternoon. Take your dinner grub with you.
The boats left the ship's side together, and in a few minutes both
reached the beach. With instructions to Ditty to keep his men on the
east end of the island, the captain's party entered the jungle.
They easily found the path they had trodden the day before, and were
well on their way to the whale's hump when they were startled by a
queer vibration of the earth. There was no sound accompanying it. On
the contrary, everything seemed hushed in a deathlike stillness. The
cries of birds and the humming of insects had stopped as though by
magic. Nature seemed to be holding her breath.
Then came a second quivering stronger than the firsta shock which
threw the four treasure hunters violently to the ground.
CHAPTER XXI. IF I WAS
What is this?
The island is sinking!
We'll have to get out of this!
Such were some of the cries of the treasure hunters as the earth
trembled beneath them.
For perhaps twenty seconds the sickening vibration continued. Then
it stopped as suddenly as it had begun. The swaying trees finished
their dizzy dance, and the rocks that had seemed to be bowing to each
other like so many mummers resumed their impassive attitudes. Their
lawless frolic had ended!
Drew had caught Ruth by the arm as she went down, and thus had
broken the violence of her fall. But all were jarred and shaken.
As the more agile of the quartet, the young man was first on his
feet. He tenderly assisted Ruth to rise, while the others scrambled up
Are you hurt? Drew asked the girl solicitously.
Not a bit, she answered pluckily, and Drew reflected on what a
thoroughbred she was.
The others also had sustained no injury. But their forebodings as to
their safety on the island had been quickened by this striking example
of nature's restlessness. The giant in the volcano was not dead. He was
uneasy and had turned in his sleep. It was as though he resented the
coming of these interlopers, and was giving them warning to go away and
leave him undisturbed.
Now if I was superstitious, remarked Tyke, I should say that
something was trying to keep us from getting this treasure.
Let it try then, said the captain grimly. We haven't come as far
as this to turn tail and run just when we're on the point of getting
what we came for.
Good for you, Daddy! cried Ruth gaily. We're bound to have that
They quickened their steps now. This was no time for leisurely
investigation of the phenomena of earthquakes. They soon reached the
point they had attained the day before. But as they had explored that
section of the hillside already, they did not halt there, but pushed on
to the west.
Now, said the captain, as he and Drew disburdened themselves of
the spades and mattocks they had brought along, carefully wrapped under
the guise of surveyors instruments, we'll go at this thing in a
scientific way. We'll make a rough division of this whole sectionhe
included with a wave of his hand a space half a mile squareinto four
parts. No, three parts. Tyke must rest his leg. Then each must search
his section to find some rocks that look like those beauties marked on
The three scattered promptly, and began the search. They looked
diligently, but for a long time found nothing to reward their efforts.
Drew tried as conscientiously as the rest, although at times he could
not make his eyes behave, and his gaze would wander over in Ruth's
direction. It was in one of these lapses from industry that he saw her
lift her arm and wave eagerly in his direction. He did not wait for a
second summons, but hurried over, after calling to the others to
The girl was flushed and excited.
What have you found? Drew asked, as soon as he got within speaking
Look! she answered. Doesn't that big rock over there seem to you
like a witch's headwild and ragged locks, and all that?
From where he was then standing, he could trace no resemblance, but
when he reached her side and looked from the same angle he raised a
The very thing! he cried. There can't be any doubt of it.
The rock in question stood apart from the rest on the slope of the
hill. Nature had carved it in a moment of prankishness. There were all
the features of an old crone, forehead, nose, sunken mouth, nut-cracker
jaws, while small streams of lava, hardening as they had flowed, gave
the similitude of scanty tresses.
Tyke and the captain, soon came up, and all their doubts disappeared
as they gazed.
The Witch's Head! they agreed exultantly.
With that to start with, the rest will be easy, cried Drew. The
Three Sisters can't be more than a few hundred feet or so away.
Ten minutes' further search revealed a group of three rocks, which,
while having no resemblance to female faces, were the only ones that
stood apart from all the rest as a trio.
The hands of the three men trembled as they got out the old map and
pored over it.
Thirty-seven big paces due north from the Witch's Head; eighty-nine
big paces due east from The Three Sisters, muttered the captain.
Paces, even big paces, is rather indefinite, commented Drew. If
it were yards or feet, now, it would be different. But one man's paces
differ from another's, and a short man's differ from a tall man's.
It was very inconsiderate of that old pirate not to tell exactly
how tall he was, jested Ruth.
Well, we can't have everything handed to us on a gold plate, said
the captain. We may have to dig in a good many places before we strike
the right spot.
Let's do this, suggested Tyke. Each one of us men will mark off
the paces, taking good long strides, an' see where we bring up. Then
we'll mark off a big circle that will include all three results. It's a
moral certainty that it will be somewheres in that circle if it's here
They acted on this suggestion, Ruth, with pencil and paper, serving
as scribe, while the men did the pacing. She was elated at the part she
had played in the discovery.
It was an easy enough matter to make thirty-seven big paces from one
point and eighty-nine big paces from another, but, as every student of
angles knows, it was very difficult to make the two lines converge at
the proper point. But though their methods were rough, they succeeded
at last in getting a very fair working hypothesis. A rough circle of
forty feet in diameter was drawn about the stake Drew set up, and
within that circle they were convinced the treasure lay.
By this time the sun had reached the zenith, and before they started
to dig they retreated to the shade in the edge of the jungle and ate
Hadn't you better wait until it gets a little cooler by and by?
asked Ruth anxiously. It will be frightful under this hot sun. This is
the hour of siesta.
I guess we're too impatient for that, answered her father. But
we'll work only a few minutes at a time and take long resting spells
Fortunately the ground was moderately soft within the circle, and
their spades sank deep with every thrust. Tyke was not allowed to share
in this work of excavation, much to his disgust. As for Drew and
Captain Hamilton, their muscular arms worked like machines, and they
soon had great mounds of earth piled around their respective pits.
But fortune failed to reward their efforts. One place after another
was abandoned as hopeless.
They were toiling away with the perspiration dripping from them,
when Drew was startled by a cry from Ruth. He leaped instantly out of
his excavation, and ran to her. Ruth was standing in the shade of the
jungle's edge; but she was staring across the barren hillside toward
What is it? demanded the young man. What do you see?
II don't know. I'm not sure I saw anything, she admitted.
Some of the seamen? demanded Drew. I've been expecting that,
though your father is so sure that Ditty and his gang will remain at
the eastern end of the island.
Oh, Allen! Not Ditty! Not one of the sailors! II could almost
believe inin ghosts, and she tried to laugh.
What is it, my dear? asked Tyke, who had come over. What's
happened? Did you see something?
Yes. It moved. It was there, and then it wasn't there. The space it
stood in was empty, said the girl earnestly.
For the love o' goodness! cried Tyke, mopping his brow. You've
got me all stirred up. Now, if I was superstitious
You will be if I tell you more about thatthat thing, Ruth said.
She said it jokingly, and Tyke turned away, going over to where Captain
Hamilton was still at work.
It must have been the spirit of the old pirate come back to guard
his hoard, Drew said lightly.
Ruth looked at him very oddly.
What do you think? she whispered, when Tyke was out of hearing.
Why should the ghost of Ramon Alvarez look so much like Mr. Parmalee?
Drew paled, and then flushed.
Do you mean that, Ruth? he asked, and he could not keep his voice
Yes, she said. Then she flashed him a sudden smile. Of course, it
was merely an hallucination. But, 'if I was superstitious' and she
quoted Tyke with a look which she tried to make merry.
CHAPTER XXII. BURIED ALIVE
Ruth pointed out to Drew exactly where the figure that had so
startled her had stood. It was down the slope of the hill to the
westward, and directly between two lava boulders at the edge of the
The figureman, apparition, what or whoever it washad lingered in
sight but a moment.
Before returning to work in his excavation, Drew went down to the
spot Ruth had pointed out. There was not a sign of anybody having been
there. The earth between the huge lumps of lava seemed not to have been
disturbed. He could find no broken twigs or torn vines at the edge of
She dreamed itthat's all, muttered Drew. Poor Parmalee!
He thought of the man whose tragic end was so linked with his own
existenceof the body buffeted by the waves somewhere in the blue
expanse that stretched easterly from this little island.
Of what use would the pirate treasure, if they found it, be to Allen
Drew? This bitter query obsessed him. He would gladly give every coin
and jewel Ramon Alvarez had buried here, were it his to give, to see
Parmalee, leaning on his cane, walk out of the jungle.
He was so lost in these gloomy musings that he started when he felt
a light touch on his arm.
He looked up to find Ruth standing beside him.
Did you find any trace of him, Allen? she asked, in a voice from
which the tremor had not entirely gone.
Not the slightest sign, he answered. The man or thing, whatever
it was, seems to have vanished into thin air.
It must have been mere fancy, she murmured, though without
Our nerves play strange tricks sometimes, Drew rejoined lightly.
We are all of us in such an excited state just now that anything may
I've always felt that nerves had been left out of my composition,
said Ruth, smiling faintly. But when it comes to the pinch, I suppose
I'm just as liable to them as any one else.
No, you're not, denied Allen Drew warmly. You're the most perfect
thoroughbred of any woman I ever knew.
Perhaps your experience has been limited, she suggested, with a
flash of her old mischief.
I'm perfectly willing it should be limited from this time on to
just one woman, he was on the point of saying, but bit his lip just in
It is strange that this apparition, for want of a better name,
should have taken the form of Parmalee, he continued, his jealousy in
spite of himself taking possession of him. Perhaps you were thinking
of him, just then, he hazarded.
Not at all, returned Ruth frankly. Just at that moment I'm afraid
my mind was fixed on nothing else but the hunt for the pirate's
Drew felt somewhat reassured by this, and they had turned to retrace
their steps when he suddenly stood stock still.
What is it? asked Ruth in some alarm.
I thought I saw an opening in the side of the mountain over there,
he replied. Perhaps the ghost, or whatever it was, is hiding in that,
he added jestingly. At any rate I'm going to take a minute and see
what it is.
He made a step in the direction he had indicated. Ruth sought to
Don't you think you had better call my father and Mr. Grimshaw
before you venture in there? she asked. You don't know what may be
Nonsense, laughed the man lightly. They'd only be vexed at being
interrupted in their digging. At any rate they're within easy callif
there should be any need of them.
Ruth was silenced though only half convinced. Together they went
over to a gaping rent in the side of the hill.
As a matter of precaution, Drew had taken his revolver from his belt
and held it ready in his hand. He had really no expectation of meeting
anything hostile in human shape and he did not believe that any animal
that would be at all formidable ranged the island.
If it's a ghost, I don't suppose this revolver would do any good,
he joked, more to relieve Ruth's uneasiness than any that he felt
himself. At the very least I'd have to have a silver bullet or one
that had been dipped in the river Jordan.
The opening before which they stood was irregular in shape and
seemed to have been made by one of the convulsions of nature that
apparently were so common to the island. It was, roughly speaking,
about four feet wide and nine high, and from the glimpse they got into
its depths seemed to widen out in the interior. There was nothing about
it to speak of human occupancy and the ground leading to it bore no
marks of footprints. Nor were there any bones scattered about that
might indicate that it was the lair of wild beasts.
Drew cupped his hands to his mouth and sent forth a ringing call.
Hello, in there! he shouted.
There was no answer, but the reverberations of his own voice that
came back to him seemed to show that the cave extended inward to a
Hello! he shouted again. If there's any one in there, come out!
We're friends and won't hurt you.
Again there was no answer.
Doesn't seem to be sociably inclined, muttered Allen grimly.
I guess there's nobody there, said Ruth. Let's go back to the
others, Allen. We've spent too much time already on this foolish notion
It wasn't foolish at all, protested Drew. As a matter of fact it
may prove to be of the greatest importance. We ought to sift the matter
to the bottom. If there's anybody on this island we don't know about,
it ought to be our first business to find out. I think I'll take a peep
into this mysterious cave.
He made a step forward, but Ruth's hand tightened on his arm and he
Do you think you'd better risk it, Allen? she asked. How do you
know what may be in there. Supposesuppose
Suppose what? he asked with a whimsical smile.
Suppose anything should happen to you? she half whispered.
Nothing will happen to me, he rejoined. Not that it matters much
anyway, he added bitterly, as the thought swept over him of the black
cloud of suspicion that hung above him.
Just give me a minute, Ruth, he pleaded, hating himself for his
reckless words as he saw the pained look in her eyes. I won't go in
for more than twenty or thirty feet, just to see if there's anything
about this place that we really ought to know. You stay here and I'll
be back before you fairly know I've gone.
She reluctantly loosened her grasp of his arm and he plunged forward
into the darkness.
For the first ten feet or so, the going was rendered rather
difficult by projecting bits of rock that caught at his clothes and
impeded his progress. But then the passage widened out steadily until
he could not feel the sides even when his arms were stretched to their
The light that had followed him from the small entrance finally
vanished, and he went forward with the utmost caution, carefully
planting each foot for the next step. At any moment, for all he knew,
he might find himself on the brink of a precipice.
Black as Egypt in here, he muttered to himself, as he felt for the
matches he carried in an oilskin bag in the pocket of his coat. I
guess I'd better strike a
But he never finished the sentence.
A deafening roar resounded through the cavern and he was thrown
violently forward on his hands and knees. Again came that dizzy,
sickening shaking of the earth, that nauseating sense of being lifted
to a height and suddenly let fall, that squirming of the ground beneath
him as though it were a gigantic reptile.
His earlier experience in the open air had been bad enough, but
there at least he had had the sense of space and sunlight and
companionship. Here in the darkness and confinement the horrors of the
earthquake were multiplied.
For more than a minute, which seemed to him an hour, the convulsions
of the earth continued. Then they gradually subsided, though it was
some minutes later before the quivering finally ceased.
Dazed and bewildered, Allen Drew scrambled to his feet. His hands
were scraped and bleeding, though he thought little of this in his
His thought turned instantly to Ruth. What might have happened to
her while he was away from her? The trees were thick near the mouth of
the cave. Suppose one had fallen and caught her before she could
He started to rush back to the entrance, but to his astonishment,
could see no trace of the light that had marked the place where the
opening had been.
He stopped short, puzzled and alarmed.
That's queer, he muttered. I guess that jar I got has turned me
around. It must be in the other direction.
He hastily retraced his steps. But as the cave grew wider and he
found no sign of the narrow passage by which he had entered, he knew
that he was wrong.
Must have had it right the first time, he thought, but it's
strange that I didn't see any light. Perhaps there was a bend in the
passage that I hadn't noticed.
Again he went back, feeling his way. The path narrowed and his
outstretched hand came in contact with a shred of cloth that had been
torn from his coat when he had entered. This was proof positive that he
was on the right track. But where then was the light?
The answer came to him with startling suddenness when he plunged
violently into a mass of earth and rock that barred his way.
The entrance to the cave had vanished!
In its place was a vast mass of earth, a slice of the mountain side
that had been torn loose by that last mighty writhing of tortured
nature and that now held him as securely a prisoner as though he were
in the center of the earth.
CHAPTER XXIII. A DESPERATE SITUATION
Mechanically, Drew took his handkerchief from his pocket and wiped
the cold sweat from his brow. He tried to steady his reeling brain and
bring some semblance of order into his thoughts.
This then was the end! Trapped like a rat in a cage, shut out
forever from the world of men, doomed to die miserably and
hopelessly,sealed in a tomb while yet alive!
All the dreams he had cherished, all the hopes he had nourished, all
the future he had plannedplanned with Ruth
The thought of her wrung his soul with anguish, but it also woke him
from his torpor.
He would see her again! He would not surrender! He would
not die! Not while a breath remained in his body would he give in
to despair. There must be some way out. Fate would not be so cruel as
to carry its ghastly joke to the very end. He would call on all his
resources. He would struggle, fight, never give up for a moment.
His brain cleared and he took a grip on himself. The blood once more
ran hot in his veins. His youth and manhood asserted themselves in
dauntless vigor and determination.
The first thing to do was to attack the wall of fresh dirt and rock
that hemmed him in. Perhaps it was less thick than it seemed. He had no
implement to help him; but his muscular arms and powerful hands might
suffice to dig a way to freedom.
He sought to fortify himself by calling to mind all that he had ever
read about prisoners digging their way to freedom. Their cases had
seemed desperate, but often they had succeeded. He too would
succeedhe must succeed. Ruth was outside waiting for him, working for
him, praying for him.
He set to work with a dogged resolution and fierce energy that soon
had the perspiration flowing from him in streams. Behind him the dirt
and debris piled up in a rapidly growing mound. His hands and nails
were torn, but his excitement and absorption were so great that no
sensation of physical pain was conveyed to his overwrought brain.
At times he stopped to rest a moment and to listen for the stroke of
pick or shovel from the opposite side of his living grave. But no sound
came to him. He seemed to be in a soundless universe except for the
rasp of his own labored breathing.
It was after one of these intervals of listening that he was about
to resume his frenzied efforts when he thought he heard a slight sound
in the cave behind him.
His heart seemed to stand still for a moment while he strained his
There was no mistake. Some living thing was in the cave besides
Instinctively, his hand gripped the butt of his revolver. Then with
a bitter smile he put it back in its place. Why should he hurt or kill
anything that was alive? Death seemed sure enough for any occupant of
He went back stealthily until he reached the wider part of the cave,
where he had been when the shock came that had entombed him.
Again that faint sound, undeniably human, came to his ears. Pacing
cautiously in the direction from which it came, his foot struck against
something soft. He reached down and his hand came in contact with a
In an instant he had gathered the yielding form in his arms.
Ruth! he shouted.
Allen! came back faintly from her parted lips.
For an instant everything reeled about Drew and his mind was awhirl.
Then he laid his burden down and fell frantically to rubbing her hands.
Incoherent cries came from his lips as he sought to restore her to
His vigorous efforts were rewarded a few moments later when Ruth
stirred and tried to sit up.
I must have fainted, she said; or perhaps I struck my head
against the side of the cave when the shock came.
Don't try to talk yet, said Drew. Just lie still a few minutes
till you are stronger.
She obeyed, while he sat beside her holding her hand.
I can sit up now, she said after a few minutes. My head is
perfectly clear again.
Are you sure you didn't hurt yourself when you fell?
I think not, she answered, as she passed her hand over her hair.
My head doesn't seem to be bruised or bleeding anywhere. It must have
been the shock.
Thank God it was nothing worse! returned Drew fervently. But tell
me how you happened to be here. It seems like a miracle. The whole
thing staggers me. I thought I left you outside of the cave when I went
So you did, she assented with a touch of her old demureness, but
that doesn't say that I stayed there.
I see it doesn't, he replied. But why didn't you?
I guess it's because I'm not used to obeying anybody except my
father, she answered evasively.
Tell me the real reason.
Well, she said, driven to bay, I was afraid there might be
something dangerous in here andandI didn't want you to have to face
it aloneandhere she paused.
Drew's heart beat wildly.
And so you came in to stand by my side, he said with emotion.
But now, said Ruth hastily, following up her advantage, we must
hurry and get back to the others. Father will begin to worry about me.
Anguish smote Drew. Ruth had evidently not the slightest idea that
anything stood between her and freedom. How could he break the dreadful
news to her? He felt like an executioner compelled by some awful fate
to slay the one he loved most dearly.
You mustn't look at me after we get outside until I've had a chance
to arrange my hair, she warned him gaily. I must look a perfect
Every innocent word was a stab that went straight to the man's
His mind was a tumult of warring emotions. At first there had been a
wild delight when he had found himself in the presence of his heart's
desire, after he feared that he would never hear her voice again. In
the excitement of bringing her back to consciousness and listening to
her story, the fearful peril in which they stood had been relegated to
the background. Now it came back at him with re-doubled force, and he
had to close his lips tightly to suppress a groan.
He could have died alone, if escape had proved impossible, and met
death like a man. But to have to watch Ruth diedie perhaps after
enduring unspeakable sufferingthe mere thought threatened to drive
And she was here because she had feared that he might encounter
danger and wanted to meet it at his side when it came. But for that
courageous impulse, she might at this moment be safe and sound out
under the open sky instead of being buried alive in this island tomb.
Moreover her very presence here made their danger all the greater.
There was little chance now of help coming to them from the outside. No
doubt Tyke and Captain Hamilton would grow uneasy at their absence and
look them upprobably they were hunting for them now. But they did not
know of the existence of the cave, and now that the entrance was closed
there was not the slightest chance of finding them. They would explore
the mountain side, search every foot of the island, but their quest
would be doomed to failure from the beginning.
While these thoughts had been hurrying through his tortured brain,
Ruth had arranged her disordered hair as best she could in the darkness
and stood ready to go.
Well, Allen, what are we waiting for? she asked. You men are
always complaining that the girls keep you waiting, but this time
you're the guilty one.
He tried to adopt her bantering mood, but failed miserably.
I'll have to throw myself on your mercy, he said. But wait here a
moment, Ruth, till I see if the path is clear.
Even in the darkness, he was almost conscious that she looked at him
in surprise. But he needed time to get his thoughts together and decide
on the easiest way of breaking the terrible news that weighed on his
He cudgeled his brain to find the gentlest, most reassuring phrases
that would alarm her least and keep up her courage. But there was the
stark, hideous fact that could not be blinked or dodged, and when at
last his lagging steps returned, he was no nearer a solution of his
problem than before.
I declare you sound like Tyke coming along the passage, Ruth
laughed merrily. They say bad news travels fast. So your news must be
good, or you wouldn't be coming so slowly.
I only wish you were right, he said, grasping at the opening. But
to tell the truth my news isn't any too good. Oh, nothing to be alarmed
about, he added hastily, as he caught her stifled exclamation. A
little loose earth seems to have come down the slope of the hill and
blocked up the entrance. I'll get to work at it and clear it out in a
He tried to throw a world of confidence into his tone, but it failed
to ring true. In the darkness he heard Ruth catch her breath.
Let's go and see just how bad it is, was all she said, and Drew
with a chill in his heart, led the way.
What is this dirt in here? asked Ruth, as she stumbled over a
mound that Allen had thrown behind him in his frantic digging.
Oh, that's some that I've dug out already, Allen replied with
assumed carelessness. I just wanted to find out how hard the dirt was
and whether it would give way easily. It's fresh and soft and we'll get
the whole lot out of our way in no time.
He was about to start in again at the task when Ruth laid her hand
upon his arm.
You didn't dig all this out in that minute you were away from me
just now, she said quietly. You must have been working while I lay in
there unconscious. Come now, Allen, tell me the whole truth. Remember
that I am a sailor's daughter and am not afraid to face things, no
matter how bad they may be. The cave entrance is badly blocked up,
God bless your staunch, plucky heart, Ruth, blurted out Drew, his
own heart kindling at her courage. You're one woman in a thousand,
yes, in a million. I might have known you'd face the truth without
weeping or hysterics. You're right about the landfall. I'm afraid it's
a heavy one. I've been digging at it for some time without making much
impression. But after all it's all guess-work and it may not be so
thick as it seems to be. We may let daylight through at any minute. At
any rate I'm going at it like a tiger. I worked hard before when I
thought I was alone, but now that I've got you to look out for I'll do
ten times as much. I've only begun to fight. We're just going to get
out of this and that's all there is about it.
And I'll help you, cried Ruth.
Not with those little hands, replied the man vehemently. You just
stand back there and pray while I do the work.
Those little hands, as you call them, are stronger than you think.
I'm going to work with all my might and help you out. And that won't
keep me from praying either. I guess the cave women used to work and
fight just about as much as the men, and I'm a cave woman now if I
never was before.
Again Drew sought to deter her, but she was determined and he had to
let her have her way. The only concession he could gain was to make her
put on a pair of buckskin gloves that dangled at his belt. They were
woefully large for her shapely hands and at any other time would have
furnished a subject for jesting. But nothing now was further from their
minds than laughter. They were engaged on a grim work of life or death
and both of them knew it.
But though brave, there was a limit to Ruth's physical strength, and
under such strenuous and unaccustomed effort it was not long before
that limit was reached. Drew discerned it coming before Ruth herself
would admit it.
He took her gently but firmly by both wrists and fairly compelled
her to sit down on one of the mounds, where he improvised a seat that
enabled her to rest her back against one side of the cave. Then he
returned to the work with redoubled vigor, tossing the dirt aside as
though he were a tireless steam shovel.
But though Ruth's body was resting, her mind was working actively,
darting hither and thither in an effort to find a way of escape from
their fearful predicament.
Allen, she said, as he stopped for an instant to rest, come here
and sit down beside me.
He had never hesitated before at accepting that coveted invitation,
but just now he wondered whether he ought to stop even for an instant.
His herculean efforts had brought him to the very edge of collapse, but
he was feverishly eager to keep on.
Ought I, Ruth? he questioned. Every minute now is precious, you
I know it, she admitted, but you'll drop dead from exhaustion if
you don't stop and rest. You must rest.
The gentle tyrant had her way and Drew yielded. He sat down beside
her, his chest contracting and expanding under the stress of his
Poor boy! she said softly, and Drew thrilled at the sympathy in
I've been thinking, Allen, that perhaps we had better not rely
entirely on your digging for getting out of here, she continued. It's
all a guess as to how thick that wall of earth and rock is, and we may
be using on it the strength that we need for other things. If you had
an implement of some kind it would be different. But with your bare
hands together with what little help I can give you it may be
Yes, he was forced to concede, I can't go on forever. Sooner or
later my strength will give out. But what can we do but keep on trying?
I'd go raving mad if I didn't keep on taking the one little chance we
But is it the only chance we have? she argued. Did you bring your
revolver with you?
For answer he took it out of his belt and put it in her hand.
Have you any extra cartridges? she asked.
Not a single one, but the revolver itself is fully loaded. That's
just six we have to count on.
She was silent for a moment.
There isn't any likelihood we'll have to use these for defending
ourselves, she said at length. There doesn't seem to be any living
thing in this cave of which we need to be afraid. But, nevertheless,
suppose we keep two for emergencies. That would give us four to
experiment with, wouldn't it?
Experiment? How? he inquired.
I was thinking that perhaps fatherhere her voice faltered a
littleand Tyke might be somewhere in the neighborhood hunting for
us. If we should discharge the revolver they might possibly hear one or
more of the shots and get some idea of where we were. I know it's only
a forlorn hope, but we've got to try everything just now.
It's a good idea! exclaimed Drew, though he knew in his heart how
slender a chance it offered. And in the meantime, I'll keep on
digging, so that if the shots aren't heard we won't be any worse off
anyway. You fire the four shots at intervals of a minute or two and
we'll see what happens.
He went savagely to work again and Ruth at short intervals
discharged the revolver. The noise and the echoes in that compressed
space were deafening and it certainly seemed as though the sound ought
to penetrate to the world outside.
But though they fairly held their breath as they listened for a
response, no answering sound penetrated from the outside into the
cavern, and their hearts sank as they realized that one more of their
few hopes had failed them.
It's of no use, observed Ruth sadly, as she handed the weapon back
to Allen. Either they didn't hear the shots, or, if they did, they
thought it was some sound made by the volcano. We'll have to try
Both were silent for a few moments, immersed in bitter thoughts that
were as black as the darkness that surrounded them.
Can you ever forgive me, Ruth, for having gotten you into such a
trap as this? he burst out suddenly.
You didn't get me in it, protested Ruth. I came in of my own
I don't mean that, explained Drew. But you tried to persuade me
not to enter the cave in the first place, and if I'd only had sense
enough to listen to you; we'd both of us be out in the sunlight at this
minute. Headstrong fool that I was! he ended in an agony of self
Now don't blame yourself a bit for that, Allen, said Ruth
earnestly. You only did what you thought you ought to do, and
ninety-nine times out of a hundred no harm would have come of it.
And it was our luck to strike the hundredth time, replied Drew
Besides, said Ruth with a trifle of hesitation, I think I'd have
been a little disappointed at the time if you had done as I asked. I'd
have felt that perhaps in your secret heart you did it apparently to
please me, but really because you were glad enough not to have to take
any chances of what you might meet in here.
Drew was somewhat puzzled at this bit of feminine psychology, but he
gathered some comfort from it, and this was perhaps after all the
result that Ruth was seeking.
Do you notice, Allen, how fresh the air seems to be in here? she
I've been wondering at that, he answered. To tell the truth my
worst fear has been that it would get too close and foul for us to
breathe. But it seems to be just as sweet now as it was at the
What do you suppose is the reason?
It must be that the cave is a little larger than it seems to be. It
seemed to be getting bigger and bigger as I went further into it. If
that is so, it accounts for the fact that the air supply has not yet
begun to be vitiated.
But mayn't there be any other reason? she asked.
I can't think of any other, he answered. Then as a thought
suddenly struck him, he jumped as though he had been shot.
Why didn't I think of that before? he fairly shouted. There may
be another entrance!
CHAPTER XXIV. THE ALARM
Unaware of the possible tragedy that was being developed within a
few hundred yards of them, Tyke and Captain Hamilton had kept on
digging in the excavation. For Tyke had refused to be kept out of the
work of recovering the treasure, and when Drew had strolled off with
the intention of discovering what had frightened Ruth and had been
followed shortly after by the latter, the old man had seized Drew's
abandoned shovel and had gone lustily to work.
Too much of a strain on that game leg of yours to be heaving up
those shovelfuls, the captain protested.
Nary a bit of it, answered Tyke. I ain't ready to be put on the
shelf yet, not by a blamed sight, and I guess if it came to a showdown,
Rufe, my muscles are as good as yours.
You're a tough old knot all right, admitted Captain Hamilton, his
eyes twinkling. But there's no sense in your doing Allen's work. Where
in thunder has the boy gone anyway?
Oh, he'll turn up in a minute or two, returned Tyke. Wherever he
is you can bet your boots he's doing something connected with this here
work of treasure seeking. It simply ain't in that boy to lay down on
Drew makes a hit with you all right, laughed the captain.
And why shouldn't he? asked Tyke belligerently. He's been with me
for some years now, and I've had plenty of chances of sizin' him up. If
there was a yellow streak in him, I'd have found it out long ago. If
I'd had a son of my own, I wouldn't have asked for him to be any better
fellow than Allen is, and nobody could say any more'n that. He's got
grit an' brains an' gumption, an' more'n that he's as straight as a
Go ahead, laughed the captain, as Tyke paused for want of breath.
Don't let me stop you.
I don't mind tellin' you, Rufe, what I've never told yet to any
human soul, continued Tyke, waxing confidential, an' that is that
when I lay up in my last harbor, Allen is goin' to come into everything
I've got. He don't know it himself yet, but I've got it down shipshape
in black and white an' the paper's in my office safe.
He's a lucky fellow, commented the captain briefly.
An' let me tell you another thing, Rufe, said Tyke, an' that is
that Allen would make not only a good son, but a mighty good
He nudged the captain in the ribs as he spoke, with the familiarity
of old comradeship.
Lay off on that, Tyke, said the captain, flushing a little beneath
You don't mean to say that you haven't seen the way the wind was
blowin'? rejoined Tyke incredulously. Why, any one with a pair of
good eyes in his head can't help but see that those two are just made
for each other.
I'm not blind, of course, returned the captain, who now that the
ice was broken seemed not averse to talking the matter over with his
old comrade. I know of course that I can't keep Ruth forever and that
some time some fellow will lay me aboard and carry her off right from
under my guns. And I'm not denying that up to a few days ago, I'd
rather it would have been young Drew than any one else. But now here
Well, but now, repeated Tyke.
You know just as well as I do what I'm meaning, blurted out
Captain Hamilton. This matter of Parmalee's death has got to be
cleared up before I'd even consider him in connection with Ruth. You
can't blame me for that, Tyke.
The old man's face clouded.
I ain't exactly blaming you, Rufe, he conceded, for despite his
ardent partisanship of Allen, he could realize how Captain Hamilton as
a parent must feel; but I'm mortal sure that thing will be cleared up
before long. You know just as well as I do that Allen didn't kill
Parmalee any more than you or I did.
That's what I want to believe, returned the captain. I mean, he
corrected, as he saw the choleric flash in Tyke's eyes, that's what I
It's that scoundrel, Ditty, that did it himself, growled Tyke
savagely. He cooked up the whole thing and then shoved it off on
Allen. You've seen enough of him since then to know that he's capable
Yes, admitted the captain, he's a dirty dog. But don't you see,
Tyke, that even allowing that Allen is innocent, he's been charged
with doing it. And to lots of people, that's just about the same as
though he were actually guilty. Then, too, the matter will have to be
tried out in the courts. Allen will have to stand trial and even if he
gets off, as I hope he will, there'll be a cloud on his name as long as
he lives. How could I let Ruth marry a man who had been charged with
murder and who got off because there wasn't evidence enough to
Mebbe Ruth would be willing to take the chance, persisted Tyke
Maybe she would, agreed the captain, but she'd never do it with
my consent. She's too good and sweet and pretty a girl to link her life
with a man whose name was smirched. I wouldn't stand for it for a
Tyke was framing a reply when suddenly the earthquake which wrought
such dire results to the two of whom they were speaking shook the
ground. The two men were thrown against each other and both went in a
heap to the bottom of the ditch. The breath was knocked out of their
bodies, and every thought was driven from their minds except the
instinctive desire to remain alive until nature's onslaught had ceased.
When the worst was over, they scrambled to their feet, brushed the
dirt from their clothes and faces, and stared grimly at each other.
If it didn't seem too conceited to think that all this fuss was
being made on our account, growled the captain, as he picked up his
spade. I'd surely make up my mind that something was trying to shoo us
away from this treasure hunting.
Yes, agreed Tyke. Now, if I was superstitious
I wonder, broke in the captain with sudden alarm, as he thought of
the two errant members of the party, where Ruth and Allen were when
this quake happened.
The only safe thing is to say that they were together somewhere,
said Tyke. I notice that they're never far apart. Don't you worry,
Rufe. Allen will take good care of her.
But the captain was already climbing out of the excavation. He gave
Tyke a hand and helped him up.
Where did you last see them, Tyke? Hamilton asked, as his eyes
scanned the surrounding landscape without catching a glimpse of the
figures he sought.
The last I saw of Allen he was going down toward them trees,
replied Tyke, indicating a corner of the jungle, an' a little later,
out o' the corner of my eye, I saw Ruth going in the same direction.
Now, don't fret, Rufe. They'll turn up as right as a trivet in another
minute or two.
The jungle! gasped the captain in alarm. Don't you see, Tyke,
that some of those trees have been shaken down. Maybe they've been
caught under one of them. Hurry! hurry!
He set off, running hurriedly, and Tyke hastened after him as fast
as he could.
They were soon at the jungle's edge. Several giant trees had fallen
victims to the earthquake's wrath, but a frantic searching among their
trunks revealed no traces of the missing ones.
The captain wiped his brow and gave a great sigh of relief.
So far, so good! he exclaimed. They've escaped that danger
anyway. I had a fearful scare. I don't mind admitting that my heart was
in my mouth for a minute.
Same here, assented Tyke, who despite his faith in Drew's
resourcefulness had secretly shared the captain's alarm. But if
they're not here, where in Sam Hill can they be?
They raised their voices in a shout, but no answering sound came
Several times they repeated the call, but all to no purpose.
Strange, muttered the captain uneasily. It isn't like Ruth to go
off to any distance without telling me about it beforehand.
Nor Allen neither, put in Tyke loyally.
You might almost think the earth had swallowed them up, pursued
the captain, little thinking how near he was to guessing the truth.
Well, the only thing to do is to keep looking for 'em until we find
'em, said Tyke. You take that side of the hill, Rufe, and I'll take
the other. We'll come across them probably before we meet up with each
The two men separated on their quest, calling out at frequent
intervals. It did not take them long to skirt the base of the whale's
hump, but when at last they met each saw only disappointment and a
growing alarm in the eyes of the other.
We'll have to try it again and make a wider circle, exclaimed
Hamilton desperately. We've simply got to come across them somewhere
Of course we shall, said Tyke heartily, though the crease in his
forehead belied the confidence of his words.
Once more they made the round of the hump, this time ranging out
much further from the base. Still their efforts were fruitless, and
when they met once more, neither tried to disguise from the other the
growing panic in his heart.
Ruth, Ruth! groaned the captain.
Come now, Rufe, brace up, comforted Tyke. While there's life
That's just it, replied the captain. But how do we know there is
life? Something serious must have happened to them, or they'd never
stay away like this. They'd know we'd be worried about them after that
shock came and they couldn't have come back to us quick enough, if
they'd been able to come.
Tyke could not deny the force of this.
Well now, Rufe, let's get down to the bottom of this, he said.
I'm afraid just as you be that they're in trouble of some kind. Now
what could make trouble for them on this island? There ain't any wild
beasts of any account here, do you think?
Not that I ever heard of, replied the captain. We're too far
south for mountain lions and too far north for jaguars. There may be an
occasional wildcat, but it wouldn't be likely to attack a single person
let alone two together. There may be snakes here though for all I
Nothing doing there, said Tyke decisively. Mebbe there's boas,
but if so there're a mild and harmless kind, such as those they make
household pets of in some places to keep away the rats. And if there
are any poisonous snakes, it's against all likehood that both Ruth and
Allen would be bitten. One of them would come scurrying to us at once
for help for the other.
Besides, he went on, I know that Allen had his revolver along
with him and he's a sure shot. No, I don't think we have to worry about
animals or snakes.
What is there left then? groaned the captain.
There's two things left, replied Tyke reflectively. One of 'em is
old nature herself. What she can do is a plenty, as we've seen since we
come to this island.
This infernal island, broke in the captain viciously. I wish to
heaven we'd never seen it. I wish some one of these earthquakes had
sent it to the bottom of the sea.
I don't blame you much, assented Tyke. But being here, we've got
to take things as they come. Now, as I was saying, old nature may have
taken a hand in causing trouble for the two young folks. But for the
life of me I don't see how. We've already seen that they weren't caught
under those falling trees. And there didn't any lava flow come with
that last quake. And that being so I can't see where nature's got into
Now, he continued, there's just one thing leftand that's men!
There may be some natives on this island that feel sore at our butting
in on 'em and they may have come across them youngsters and captured
I don't think that's at all likely, rejoined the captain. There'd
certainly have been some sign of them, some boat, some hut or something
else of the kind. But we haven't seen hide or hair of anything since we
landed. The boat's crew, too, have been roaming over the island and
they'd have reported to us anything they'd seen that looked as though
people lived in this God-forsaken spot.
Yes, assented Tyke. And it stands to reason that Allen with his
automatic would have put up a fight and we'd have heard the sound of
shots. But there are other men besides natives on the island.
What do you mean? asked the captain in surprise.
I mean Ditty and his gang of water rats, replied Tyke.
You don't think that skunk would dare spluttered the captain.
I think that one-eyed rascal would dare almost anything, answered
Tyke. And it struck me as barely possible that he might have come
sneaking around to see what we were doing and perhaps run across Allen
and Ruth. There's bad blood there, as you know, and it wouldn't take
much to bring about a scrap.
Not that I think that has happened, he went on, because it isn't
likely that Ditty's plans are far enough forward yet for him to show
his hand. Still I may be wrong. I tell you what I think you'd better
do. You can git around faster than I can with this old game leg of
mine. Suppose you run back to the shore and see if Ditty is hanging
around there. If he is and everything seems shipshape we can leave him
out of our calculations. Then we'll have to figure out what we're to do
It was grasping at straws, but in their utter ignorance of the real
facts they had nothing but straws to grasp at. The captain set off
hurriedly, while Tyke went once more around the mountain base in the
forlorn hope that this time something tangible would come to reward his
Once he thought he heard something that sounded like shots and he
stopped short in his tracks. His old eyes, keen yet, despite his years,
looked eagerly around. But as far as his eyes could reach there was
nothing to be seen, and he came to the conclusion that he must have
imagined the sounds or that they were caused by some rumbling of the
In a surprisingly short time, the captain was back, panting and
winded by his exertions.
Well, asked Tyke eagerly, did you find out anything?
The men were all huddled down on the shore evidently scared out of
their wits. I guess we can cross them off our slate. But how about you?
Did you find any clue?
Nary a thing, answered Tyke dejectedly. I thought at one time
that I heard shots, but when I come to look it up there was nothing in
We must find them! cried the captain excitedly, pacing back and
forth like a wild animal and digging his nails into his palms as he
clenched his fists in anguish. We'll go over every foot of this
island. I'll get out every man on the ship and set him to work
I wouldn't do thatat least not yit, adjured Tyke, laying his
hand on the captain's arm. Of course we may have to do that as a last
resort. But you know what sailors are, an' we don't want to have 'em
cracking their jokes 'bout Allen an' Ruth going off together. Wait a
bit. The day's young yet an' they may turn up any time of their own
accord. In the meantime, we'll explore places that we haven't tried
before an' mebbe we'll run across 'em. If everything else fails, then
we'll turn out every man jack of the crew and go over every inch of the
To the agonized father, everything that savored of delay seemed
intolerable, but he yielded to the wisdom of Tyke's suggestion and once
more they started out in their desperate search.
CHAPTER XXV. THE LAKE OF FIRE
Drew was all animation in an instant at the new hope that sprang up
within him with its offer of possible safety for his companion and
Why didn't I think of it before? he repeated, his voice shaken
You didn't think of it before, because you were working like a
slave. No man can work like that and think of anything but what he is
doing. Oh, Allen, won't it be great if you are right?
I'm going to see if I am right, he replied.
How can you tell? she asked divining that he was fumbling at his
In this way, he answered, drawing out the oilskin bag that
contained his precious matches.
He struck a match and held it aloft.
At first the flame mounted straight up in the air. Then an instant
later it was deflected and stood out at a distinct angle from the
See, cried Allen jubilantly. There's a current of air in the
cave. It's too slight for us to feel, but the flame feels it. If we
were sealed up utterly in the cave, the air would be still. Somewhere
the air is coming in from the outside world and it's up to us to find
Thank God! murmured Ruth tremulously.
In the sudden transition from despair to hope, they took little
account of the difficulties they might have to overcome before they
reached that other entranceor the exit, from their point of
viewwhich they had reason to believe existed. But as their first
jubilation subsided somewhat, a soberer view began to thrust itself
Admitting that there was an exit, what guarantee had they of
reaching it? Suppose a fathomless gulf barred their way? Suppose the
passage narrowed to a point too small for them to thrust themselves
through? Suppose when the coveted exit should at last be found it
should prove to be in the ceiling of the cave instead of the side, and
hopelessly out of reach?
But they quickly dismissed these dismal forebodings. Those problems
could wait for solution until they faced them. The present at least was
illumined by hope.
Come along, Ruth, cried Allen gaily. Pack up your trunks and
let's be moving.
Only too gladly, the girl responded, falling into his mood. I
never did care much for this place anyway.
But suddenly a reflection came to her.
How are we to find our way in this pitch darkness? she asked. I
don't know how many matches you have with you, but at the most they
can't last long. And the time may come when a match would be more
precious than a diamond.
Drew took out his bag again, and, taking the greatest precautions
not to drop one, counted the matches by the sense of touch.
Just thirty-two, he announced when he had counted them twice.
Only thirty-two! echoed Ruth. And we may need a hundred and
thirty-two before we get to the other mouth of the cave.
For a moment Drew pondered.
You're right, as always, Ruth, he agreed. We can't depend on the
matches alone. We'll have to get something that will serve as a torch.
While I was digging, I remember I came across many branches of trees
that had been carried down by the slide in its rush. We'll see if we
can't make some torches out of them.
He set lustily to work and soon had as many as ten good-sized sticks
that promised to supply his need. He was afraid that not being seasoned
wood they would prove difficult to light. But there proved to be a
resinous quality in the wood that atoned for its greenness, and before
long he had a torch that burned steadily though rather murkily.
Eureka! he cried waving it aloft.
Good for you, Allen, applauded Ruth. Now give me the rest of
those sticks to carry and you go ahead with the lighted torch.
I'll carry them myself, he protested.
No you won't, she said decidedly, at the same time gathering them
up in her arms. You'll have the torch in one hand and you need to have
the other free for emergencies.
He recognized the common sense of this, but found it hard to let her
It's too much like the Indians, he said. You know that with them
the buck carries his dignity, while his squaw carries everything else.
But I'm not your squaw, slipped saucily from Ruth's lips before
she could realize the possible significance of her remark.
Not yet, replied Allen daringly, wanting to bite his tongue out a
moment later for having taken advantage of her slip.
But let's hurry now, Ruth, he went on hastily to cover their
mutual confusion. Follow close in my steps and don't keep more than
two or three feet behind me at any time.
They set off on the unknown path whose end meant to them either
deliverance or death. The chances were against them, but their hearts
were high and their courage steadfast.
They had need of all their fortitude, for they had not advanced
forty paces before danger menaced them.
Drew holding his torch high so as to throw its light as far ahead as
possible, stepped on what seemed to be a crooked stick in the path.
Instantly the stick sprang to life, and a powerful, slimy coil wound
itself around the man's leg as high as the knee.
His first impulse was to spring back. His next was to grind down
with crushing force on the squirming thing beneath his heel. The second
impulse conquered the first and he stood like a statue while a cold
sweat broke out all over his body.
For he had realized by the feel that it was the reptile's head that
was beneath his heel and must be kept there at all costs until the life
was crushed out of it.
Gradually the writhings grew feebler, until at last the coils
relaxed and fell in a heap about his foot.
What is it Allen? asked Ruth in alarm at his sudden stop and rigid
pose. Do you see anything?
There's no danger, he assured her, though his voice was not quite
steady. I must have stepped on a lizard or something like that, and it
gave me a start.
He kicked the mangled reptile out of the path, but not before Ruth's
horrified glance had seen that it was no lizard but something far more
Here was a new terror added to the others. For all they knew there
might be a colony of the reptiles in the cave. And in that
semi-tropical region, the chances were vastly in favor of their being
poisonous. At all events it behooved them to advance with redoubled
They kept a wary lookout for anything that looked like a crooked
stick after that, and their progress, already slow, became still slower
as they went on.
Before long they came to a place where the cave seemed to divide
into three separate passageways. Two of them had nothing to distinguish
them from each other, but in the third they distinguished a faint light
in the distance.
The blessed light! exclaimed Ruth fervently.
I guess that's the path to take, all right, exulted Drew. In all
probability that light comes from the outlet of the cave. Hurrah for
Ruth echoed his enthusiasm, and they accelerated their pace. The
hope that they had cherished seemed now about to become certainty.
But the way was rougher now, and at one place they had to make a
long detour. But they made no complaint. As long as no impassable
barrier of rock loomed up before them they could feel that they were
getting nearer and nearer to freedom and life.
But before long both became conscious of a steadily-growing heat in
the air of the cave. The perspiration flowed from them in streams. At
first they were inclined to attribute this to their strenuous exertions
and the mental strain under which they were laboring.
Strange it should be so frightfully hot, remarked Drew, as he
stopped for a moment to wipe his brow.
It's no wonder, responded Ruth. It's hot enough on this island
even when you're in the outer air, and it would naturally be worse
still in this confined place.
But we didn't feel that way ten minutes ago, objected Drew.
We've done a good deal of walking since then, said Ruth, though
rather doubtfully. But let's get along, Allen. I'm just crazy to get
to the outlet.
They were about to resume their journey, when a great flame of fire
leaped to the very roof of the cave about a hundred yards in front of
They stopped abruptly, and in the smoky light of the torch both of
their faces were white as chalk, as they faced each other with a
question in their eyes.
Fire! gasped the man.
Yes, assented Ruth quietly but bitterly. What we thought was
daylight is nothing other than fire.
Shall we keep on? debated Allen.
We're so close that we might as well, advised Ruth. Perhaps we
may be able to get around it somehow.
They went forward, though with excessive care, and a moment later
stood on the brink of the most awe-inspiring spectacle they had ever
In a deep pit perhaps six hundred feet in circumference was a lake
of liquid fire! The molten lava twisted and writhed as though a
thousand serpents were coiling and uncoiling. A vapor rose from the
fiery mass that glowed with a hideous radiance in all the colors of the
At intervals, huge geysers of living flame spurted up from the
surface to a height of many feet and fell back in a glistening of
molten gold and coruscating diamonds.
It was a scene that if it could have been viewed with safety would
have drawn tourists in thousands from every corner of the globe.
But to the two spectators the thought that they were looking on one
of the marvels of the world brought nothing but desolation and despair.
This must be the source of the lava flow when the whale's hump is
in eruption, said Drew in a toneless voice.
I suppose so, said Ruth in a voice that for dreariness was a
replica of his own. Do you think it's possible for us to get around it
in any way, Allen?
Not a chance in the world, answered Drew. You can see that the
passage we followed ends at the brink of the crater. From there on,
there's just a wall of solid rock. The only thing left for us to do is
to get back to the place where the cave split into three parts.
They retraced their steps with hearts that grew heavier at every
step. The passage that had seemed most promising had yielded nothing
but bitter disappointment. Only two other chances remained, and who
could tell that they led anywhere but to death?
At the juncture of the passageways, they hesitated for a moment
only. There was absolutely nothing to indicate that they should take
one of the remaining two paths rather than the other. Impenetrable
blackness covered both.
Which shall it be, Ruth? asked Drew.
You do the choosing, Allen, Ruth responded.
At a venture he took the one leading to the left, but had not
proceeded more than a hundred feet when he stopped abruptly on the very
brink of a chasm that spanned the entire width of the passage-way.
There was no ledge however narrow to furnish a foothold along its
sides. Once more they were absolutely blocked.
Drew checked a groan and Ruth stifled something suspiciously like a
sob. The tension under which they were was fast reaching the breaking
Never mind, said Drew, stoutly recovering himself. There's luck
in odd numbers and the third time we win.
First the worst, second the same, last the best of all the game,
responded Ruth with an attempt at heartiness.
Again they went back and took the only way remaining. Upon the
ending of that passage their life or death depended.
But as they advanced steadily and no barrier interfered, their
spirits rose. Then suddenly they cried aloud in their joy, for on
turning a sharp bend in the path a rush of air almost extinguished the
torch that Drew was carrying.
A hundred feet ahead was an opening thickly covered with bushes, but
large enough to admit of forcing a passage!
Ruth dropped her load of surplus torches. Drew, grasping her arm,
hurried her along. He forced the bushes apart and pushed her through.
Then he followed. They heard a wild shout and the next minute Ruth was
sobbing in her father's arms, while Tykehardy grizzled old Tykehad
thrown his arms around Allen in a bear's hug and was blubbering like a
CHAPTER XXVI. HOPE DEFERRED
There was a wild babble of questions and answers, and it was a long
time before all had calmed down enough to talk coherently.
The captain and Tyke in their frantic search had come just abreast
of the outlet at the moment when Ruth and Allen had burst out into
daylight and safety.
Their hearts thrilled as they listened to the dreadful perils
through which had passed the two who were dearest to them on earth and
the narration was punctuated with expressions of consternation and
Well now, suggested Ruth after a half hour had passed, let's get
back to work.
No more work this afternoon, ejaculated the captain. You're going
straight back to the ship.
Indeed I'm not, Daddy, rejoined Ruth. I'm all right now and I'll
be vastly happier sitting here and seeing you go on with the work than
to feel I've made you lose a day. We've got some hours of daylight
The captain protested, but Ruth coaxed and wheedled him till he
consented and they all went back to the ditch they had started and went
to work, Ruth alone of the party being forbidden to lift a finger.
They excavated to the volcanic ledge in half a dozen places. In none
did they find a trace of treasurenot a sign that this soil had ever
before been disturbed by the hand of man.
Bad mackerel! grumbled Captain Hamilton, finally climbing out of
his last pit. This looks as if we'd been handed a rotten deal from a
Tyke looked up from his work, and began:
Mebbe thatNow, if I was superstitiousOh, well, he went on
hastily, you can't expect to find a fortune in a minute.
But we got the bearings all right, according to the map, didn't
we? demanded the captain with some asperity.
We certainly did, Drew put it.
We can't dig over the whole island, complained Captain Hamilton.
It would be foolish. Hush! What's that?
A rumble, a sound from the very bowels of the hill, smote upon their
ears. Ruth ran to them.
Oh, Daddy! she cried, is there going to be another earthquake?
Look there! Drew said pointing upward.
Over the summit of the whale's hump hung a balloon of smoke, or of
steam, its underside of a lurid hue.
I say I've had enough for one day, declared the master of the
Bertha Hamilton. Let's get back to the schooner before anything
else occurs. Maybe a night's sleep will put heart in us. But I tell you
right now, I, for one, would sell my share in the pirate's treasure at
a big discount.
The captain was the most outspoken of the treasure seekers; but they
were all despondent. They hid their digging tools, and departed for the
shore of the lagoon, the volcano rumbling at times behind them.
They emerged from the forest just as the sun was setting. As they
came out on the beach they were surprised to see that it was bare.
Neither the longboat nor the smaller one was in sight, nor could
anything be seen of the crews.
The captain called some of the men by name. There was no response.
Then he cupped his hands at his mouth, and his stentorian voice rang
over the waters of the lagoon.
In a moment there was an answering hail, and they soon saw that a
boat was being manned. It came rapidly inshore, propelled by four
members of the crew, and, as it drew nearer, they could see that Rogers
was seated at the tiller.
As the boat reached the beach the second officer stepped out.
What does this mean, Mr. Rogers? asked the captain sternly.
Mr. Ditty's orders, sir, replied the second officer. The men got
scared at the earthquake this morning, sir, and after that second quake
they flatly refused to stay ashore. So Mr. Ditty let them go back to
But why didn't he leave the other boat's crew waiting for me?
asked the captain. If they were afraid to remain ashore they could
have stayed in the boat, rigged an awning to shield them from the sun,
and laid off and on within hail.
That's what I thought, sir, and I said as much to Mr. Ditty. But he
shut me up sharp, and said it would be time enough to send a boat when
you should come in sight, sir.
The captain bit his lip, but said no more, and the party stepped
into the boat. They soon reached the Bertha Hamilton, and all
climbed aboard. The first officer was standing near the rail.
Come aft and report to me after supper, Mr. Ditty, ordered the
Aye, aye, sir, replied the mate.
As soon as supper was over and Ruth had gone to her stateroom the
captain started to go on deck, but Tyke put his hand on his arm.
Going to give Ditty a dressing down, I suppose, he remarked.
He's got it coming to him, snapped Captain Hamilton.
He surely has, agreed Tyke. But have you thought that perhaps
that's jest what he wants you to do?
The captain sat down heavily.
Get it off your chest, Tyke, he said. Tell me what you mean.
I mean jest this, said Tyke. Often there's trouble in the wind
that never comes to anything because the feller that's brewing it don't
git a chance to start it. He fiddles 'round waiting for an opening; but
if he don't find it the trouble jest dies a natural death.
Now, this Ditty, I think, is looking for an opening. As far
as his letting his own boat's crew come on board when you had told him
to keep them on shore for the day is concerned, that can be overlooked.
You can't blame the men for being scared, an' any mate might be excused
for using his own judgment under those conditions.
But his not keeping your boat's crew waiting for you, even if they
stayed a little away from the shore, was rank disrespect. He knew you
would take it so. He knew it would weaken your authority with the crew.
An' he expects you'll call him down for it. Isn't that so?
Of course it is, agreed Captain Hamilton.
Well then, pursued Tyke, if he did that deliberately, expecting
you'd rake him fore and aft for it, it shows that he wants you to start
something, don't it? An' my principle in a fight is to find out what
the other feller wants and then not do it. He wants to provoke you.
Don't let yourself be provoked or you'll play right into his hands.
I might as well make him captain of the ship and be done with it,
cried Captain Hamilton bitterly. I've never let a man get away with
anything like that yet.
An' we won't let this feller git away with it for long, answered
Tyke. We'll give him a trimming he'll never forgit. But we'll choose
our own time for it, an' that time ain't now. Wait till we've found the
treasure an' got it safe on board. Then, my mighty! if he starts
anything, put him an' his gang ashore an' sail without 'em.
You think, then, he wants me to knock the chip off his shoulder?
mused the captain.
Exactly, replied Tyke. An' if you don't, he may be so
flabbergasted that before he cooks up anything new we'll have the whip
hand of him.
Well, I'll do as you say, though it sure does go against the
Tyke's recipe worked; for when Ditty sauntered to the poop a little
later to receive the rebuke which he expected and which he was prepared
to resent, the wind was taken out of his sails by the captain's good
nature and pleasant smile.
Quite a little scare the men got, I suppose, when they felt the
quake this morning? Captain Hamilton inquired genially.
Yes, sir, replied the mate. There was nothin' to do but to get
back to the ship. Some of 'em was so scared that they would 've swum
the lagoon, and I didn't want 'em to do that for fear of sharks.
Quite right, Mr. Ditty, returned the captain approvingly. That is
Still Ditty lingered.
I ordered the men in your boat to come back too, he said, eyeing
the skipper aslant.
That was all right too, replied the captain absently, as though
the matter was of no importance. The ship was so near that it wasn't
worth while keeping the men out there in the sun all day.
Ditty stared. This was not the strict disciplinarian that Captain
Hamilton had always been. He hesitated, opened his mouth to say
something, found nothing to say, and at last, with his ideas
disordered, went sullenly away. If he had planned to bring things to a
crisis he had signally failed.
Captain Hamilton watched the retreating back of his mate with a
somber glow in his eyes that contrasted strongly with the forced smile
of a moment before, and then retired to the cabin to go again into
conference with Grimshaw.
CHAPTER XXVII. THE GIANT AWAKES
Allen Drew had not been a party to the conference between Captain
Hamilton and Grimshaw after supper. After the strenuous exertions of
the day he had felt the need of a bath and a change of linen.
Once more clothed and feeling refreshed, Drew paced the afterdeck
with his cigar, hearing the voices of Captain Hamilton and Tyke in the
former's cabin, but having no desire just then to join them.
Although his body was rejuvenated, his mind was far from peaceful.
He had not lost hope of their finding what they had come so far to
search for; he still believed the pirate hoard to be buried on the side
of the whale's hump. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but hope
had not been long enough deferred in this case to sicken any of the
party of treasure seekers. Yet there was a great sickness at the heart
of Allen Drew.
That particular incident of the afternoon that had brought the
remembrance of Parmalee so keenly to his mind, had thrown a pall over
his thoughts not easily lifted.
It had shown, too, that Parmalee's strange and awful death had
strongly affected Ruth. That mystery was likely to erect a barrier
between the girl and himself. Indeed, it had done so already. Drew felt
ithe knew it!
There was in her father's attitude something intangible, yet certain
enough, which spelled the captain's doubt of him. As long as Parmalee's
disappearance remained unexplained, as long as Ditty's story could not
be disproved, Drew felt that Captain Hamilton would nurse in his mind a
doubt of his innocence.
And that doubt, if it remained, whether Drew was ever tried for the
crime of Parmalee's murder or not, just as surely put Ruth out of his
grasp as though his hands actually dripped of the dead man's blood.
Captain Hamilton would never see his daughter marry a man under such
a cloud. Drew appreciated the character of the schooner's commander too
thoroughly to base any illusions upon the fact that Hamilton treated
him kindly. They were partners in this treasure hunt. The doubloons
once secured, the Bertha Hamilton once in port, Drew well knew
that Ruth's father would do what he felt to be his duty. He would be
Drew's accuser at the bar of public justice. That, undoubtedly, was a
Plunged in the depth of these despairing thoughts, Drew was startled
by the light fall of a soft hand upon his arm, and he descried the
slight figure of Ruth beside him.
Walking the deck alone, Allen? she said softly. I wondered where
Just doing my usual forty laps after supper, he responded, trying
to speak lightly.
I should think your work to-day in the digging, to say nothing of
our experience in the cave, would have been as much exercise as you
really needed, she said, laughing. And all for nothing!
We could scarcely expect success so soon, he replied.
No? Perhaps success is not to be our portion, Allen. What then?
Well, and he tried to say it cheerfully, we've had a run for our
A run for the pirate's money, you mean. Let's see, she added
slyly, that confession did not state just how many doubloons were
buried, did it?
The amount specified I failed to make out, he told her. Time had
Then we are after an unknown amountan unknown quantity of
doubloons. And perhaps we are fated never to know the amount of the
pirate's hoard, and she laughed again. Then, suddenly, she clutched
his arm more tightly as they paced the deck together, crying under her
breath: Oh! look yonder Allen.
A strangely flickering light dispelled the pall that hung above the
hilltop. The cloud of smoke or steam, rising from the crater and which
they had first seen that afternoon, was now illuminated and shot
through with rays of light evidently reflected from the bowels of the
The volcano is surely alive! cried the young man.
The crew, loafing on the forecastle, saw the phenomenon, and their
chattering voices rose in a chorus of excitement. Tyke came up from
below and joined Drew and the captain's daughter. The glare of the
volcano illuminated the night, and they could see each other's features
Looks like we'd stirred things up over there, chuckled the old
man. There are more'n ghosts of dead and gone pirates guarding that
Itit is rather terrifying, isn't it? Ruth suggested.
It is to them ignorant swabs for'ard, growled Tyke. Good thing,
though. They'll be too scared to want to roam over the island. We want
it to ourselves till we find the loot. Don't we, Allen?
That's true. The disturbance over there may not be an unmitigated
evil, was the young man's rejoinder.
Captain Hamilton called Ruth through the open window of his cabin,
and she bade Grimshaw and Allen Drew good night and went below. Tyke
remained only long enough to finish his cigar, then he departed.
The light over the volcano faded, the rumblings ceased. Drew, in his
rubber-soled shoes, paced the deck alone; but he could not be seen ten
feet away, for he wore dark clothes.
He knew that Mr. Rogers had long since gone to his room. Most of the
crew had either sought their bunks or were stretched out on the
forecastle hatch. Yet he heard a low murmur of voices from amidships.
When he paced to that end of his walk, the voices reached him quite
clearly and he recognized that of the one-eyed mate. The other man he
knew to be Bingo, the only English sailor aboarda shrewd and
rat-faced little Cockney.
Blime me, Bug-eye! but wot Hi sye Hi means. The devil 'imself's
near where there's so much brimstone. If that hull bloomin' 'ill blows
hup, where'll we be, Hi axes ye?
Jest here or hereabouts, growled Ditty.
Drew stepped nearer and frankly listened to the conversation.
Hi'm as 'ungry for blunt as the next bloke, an' ye sye there's
plenty hin it
Slathers of it, Bingo, said the mate earnestly. Why, man! some of
these islands down here are rotten with buried pirate gold. Millions
and millions was stole and buried by them old boys.
Yah! Hi've 'eard hall that before, Hi 'ave. Who hain't? said
Bingo, with considerable shrewdness. Honly hit halways struck me that
if them old buccaneers, as they calls 'em, was proper sailormen, they'd
'ave spent the hull blunt hinstead o' buryin' hof hit.
Holy heavers, Bingo, they couldn't spend it all! exclaimed Ditty.
There was too much of it. Millions, mind you!
Millions! My heye! croaked the Cockney. A million of yer
Hamerican dollars or a million sterling?
You can lay to it, said Ditty firmly, that there's more'n one
million in English pounds buried in these here islands. And there's a
bunch of it somewheres on this island.
Then, Bug-eye, wye don't we git that map hand dig it hup hourselves
on the bloomin' jump? Wye wite? We kin easy 'andle the hafter-guard.
The boys are balkin', that's why, growled Ditty. They're like
youafraid of that rotten old volcano.
Blime me! Hand wye wouldn't they be scare't hof hit? snarled the
That bein' the general feelin', Ditty said calmly, why we'll
stick to my plan. Let the old man dig it up hisself and bring it
It'll save us the trouble, won't it? And mebbe we can git rid of
some of the swabs, one at a time
Huh! chuckled Bingo. One's gone halready. Hi see yer bloomin'
Well, then, said the mate, rising from his seat, keep it to
yourself and take your orders from me, like the rest does.
Hall right, matey, hall right, said Bingo, and likewise stood up.
Drew dared remain no longer. He stole away to the stern and stood
for a while, looking over the rail into the black waterno blacker
than the rage that filled his heart.
He felt half tempted to attack the treacherous Ditty with his bare
hands and strangle the rascal. But he knew that this was no time for a
reckless move. There were only himself, the captain, and Tyke to face
this promised mutiny. Probably they could trust Rogers, and some few of
the men forward might be faithful to the after-guard. The uncertainty
of this, however, was appalling.
After a time he went below and rapped lightly on the captain's door.
The commander of the Bertha Hamilton opened to him instantly. He
was partly undressed.
Eh? That you, Mr. Drew?
Sh! Put out your light, Captain. I'll bring Mr. Grimshaw. I have
something to tell you both, whispered the young man.
All right, said the captain, quick to understand.
His light was out before Drew reached Tyke's door. This was
unlocked, but the old man was in his berth. Long years at sea had made
Tyke a light sleeper. He often said he slept with one eye open.
That you, Allen?
Yes. Hush! We want you in the captain's roomhe and I. Come just
as you are.
Aye, aye! grunted the old man, instantly out of his berth.
The light was turned low in the saloon. Drew did not know whether
Ditty had come down or not; but unmistakable nasal sounds from Mr.
Roger's room assured him that the second officer was safe.
Tyke, light-footed as a cat, followed him to Captain Hamilton's
door. It was ajar, and they went in. The commander of the schooner sat
on the edge of his berth. They could see each other dimly in the faint
light that entered through the transom over the door. Captain Hamilton
had drawn the blind at the window.
Well, what's up? he murmured.
Drew wasted no time, but in whispers repeated the conversation he
had overheard between Bingo and the mate. When he had finished, Tyke
I'd 've bet dollars to doughnuts that that was the way she headed.
Now we know. Eh, Cap'n Rufe?
Yes, grunted the captain.
What shall we do? asked Drew.
Do? Keep on, Captain Hamilton said firmly. What d' you say,
Yes, agreed Grimshaw. Ditty is playing a waiting game. So will
we. An' we have the advantage.
I don't see that, Drew muttered.
Why, we know his plans. He don't know ours, explained the old man.
We haven't got to worry about them swabs till we've found the
If we find 'em, murmured the captain.
By George! we're bound to find 'em, Tyke said, with confidence.
That's what we come down here for.
His enthusiasm seemed unquenched. Drew could not lose heart when the
old man was so hopefully determined.
But Miss Ruth? Allen suggested timidly, looking at Captain
Don't bother about her, answered the captain shortly. She'll not
be out of my sight a minute. She must go ashore with us every day. I'll
not trust her aboard alone with these scoundrels.
They talked little more that night; but it was agreed to take all
the firearms and much of the ammunition, disguised in wrappings of some
kind, ashore with them in the morning and conceal all with the digging
Jest as well to take them all along, Tyke had advised. I hope we
won't have to use 'em. But if we're going to take Rogers with us
to-morrow and leave Ditty in charge here, the rascal might go nosing
around an' find them guns.
I hate to leave Ditty in possession of the schooner, returned the
captain, with a worried look.
So do I, admitted Tyke. But after all, it isn't only the schooner
he wants. She's no good to him until we git the treasure aboard. The
only men it will be wise to take with us to-morrow are Rogers an' a
boat's crew that you know you can trust.
Immediately after breakfast the next morning the captain summoned
the second officer.
I want you to take me ashore this morning, Mr. Rogers, he said;
and as I have a lot of heavy dunnage that the men will have to carry,
I'll want a husky crew. Take six men; and I want you to take special
pains in picking out the best men we have. Men whom we can trust and
who haven't been mixed up with the whispering and the queer business
that you mentioned.
The second officer's eye flashed, and he nodded understandingly.
Aye, aye, sir, he replied. As for the men, sir, he went on
reflectively, there's a dozen I could stake my life on who wouldn't be
in any crooked game. Suppose, he counted off on his fingers, we take
Olsen and Binney and Barker and Dodd and Thompson and Willis. They're
all true blue, and I don't think they're in such a funk over the
volcano as some of the others.
They'll do, assented the captain. They're the very men I had in
mind. Call some of them down now and have them get this stuff up on
deck. And tell the cook to send dinner grub along, for we may be gone
Aye, aye, sir, answered Rogers, as he left the cabin.
A little later the party gathered at the rail, and the captain spoke
to the mate.
Mr. Rogers is going to take us ashore, Mr. Ditty, he said
pleasantly. There are no special orders. You can let some of the men
have shore leave if they want it, although after yesterday I don't
suppose they will.
I suppose not, replied Ditty surlily. They'll all be glad when we
turn our backs on this cursed island.
The captain pretended not to hear. The goods were stowed in the
boat, the party and crew took their places, and the craft was pulled
smartly to the beach.
Now, my lads, said the captain briskly, as he stepped ashore,
there's quite a trip ahead of you and you've got a man's job in
carrying this stuff, but I'll see that you don't lose anything by it.
Step up smartly now.
The men shouldered their burdens and started off on the trail that
had now grown familiar to the treasure seekers. The men were able to
maintain a fairly rapid pace, and before long the party arrived at the
edge of the clearing within which the treasure was supposed to be
The captain took Rogers aside.
Take your men back to the beach now, Mr. Rogers, he directed.
Remember, I want none of them poking about here. We'll rejoin you in
good season for supper, if not before.
Aye, aye, sir! was the cheerful reply.
Rogers turned with his men, and the captain watched their backs far
down the forest path, until they were lost to sight in the greenery of
Well now, he remarked, as he turned again to the others, lively's
the word. Let's get busy and. Great Scott! Look at that! he
exclaimed, staring at the top of the whale's hump.
A column of black smoke was rising from the crater.
Looks like the whale was going to blow again, Tyke said, with a
feeble attempt at levity to disguise his apprehension.
The next moment the ears of the party were deafened by a terrific
CHAPTER XXVIII. BY FAVOR OF THE
No thunder that had ever been heard could be compared with the sound
of the explosion. It was like the bellowing of a thousand cannon. It
was as though the island were being ripped apart.
The earth shook and staggered drunkenly beneath the feet of the
treasure seekers. Great trees in the adjacent forest fell with
tremendous uproar. The slope of the whale's hump was ridged until it
looked like a giant accordion. Crevasses opened, extending from the
summit of the hill downward. Rocks came tumbling down by the score, and
a column of smoke and flame rose from the crater to a height of two
hundred feet or more.
None of the party had been able to keep on a footing. All had been
thrown to the ground by the first shock, and there they lay, sick from
that awful seismic vibration.
A cloud of almost impalpable dust spread broadly and shrouded the
sun. There was not a breath of air astir. Not a living thing was to be
seen in the openeven the lizards had disappeared.
The spot where they had delved the day before, was now in plain view
to the treasure seekers. They saw the hillside yawn there in an awful
paroxysm, till the aperture was several yards wide. Then, from beneath,
there shot into the open, smoking rocks, debris of many kinds,
andsomething else! Drew, seeing this final object, shrieked aloud.
His voice could not be heard above the uproar, but the others saw his
mouth agape, and struggled to see that at which he was pointing so
The crevasse closed with a crash and jar that rocked the whole
island. It was the final throe of the volcano's travail. The lurid
light above the crater subsided. The dust began to fall thick upon the
treasure seekers as they lay upon the ground. They sat up, dazed and
horror-stricken. It was some time before their palsied tongues could
speak, and when they did, the words came almost in whispers.
Drew found that his arm was around Ruth. She had been near him when
the first shock came, and he had seized her instinctively. Now he
turned to her and asked:
You're not hurt, are you, Ruth?
Nno, she gasped, but dreadfully frightened! Oh, let's get away
She realized that he was holding her and drew away with a faint
blush. He released her and staggered to his feet.
Tyke and the captain followed suit, and the three men looked at each
Now, if I was superstitious began Tyke in a quavering voice.
Never mind any 'ifs' just now, interrupted the captain. We've got
to get away from here just as fast as the good Lord will let us. I
don't believe in tempting Providence.
And leave the doubloons? queried Tyke, in dismay.
Yes, and leave the doubloons, replied the captain stubbornly. If
Ruth weren't here, we men might take a chance, but my daughter is worth
more to me than all the pirate gold buried in the Caribbean.
Drew, if inaudibly, agreed with him. Let's get Ruth down to the
shore, anyway, he said. Then, if you'll come back I saw something
just at that last crash.
By the great jib-boom! roared Tyke, so did I. What did you see,
Allen? Something shot up out o' one o' them pits we dug yesterday. I
saw it. An' it wasn't a lava boulder, neither!
You're right, there, Drew agreed. It was a box or something. Too
square-shaped to be a rock.
We can't fool with it now, Captain Hamilton said, with
determination, though his eyes sparkled. Come, Ruth. I must get you
down to the boat.
But here the girl exercised a power of veto. I don't go unless the
rest of you doand to remain, too, she declared. I am not a child.
Of course, I'm afraid of that volcano. But so are you men. And it's all
over now. If Allen really saw something that looked like a box or a
chest thrown out of that opening, I'm going to
She left the rest unspoken, but started boldly for the barren patch
where they had dug the day before. It looked now like a piece of plowed
ground over which were scattered blocks of lava of all sizes and
Captain Hamilton hesitated, but Drew ran ahead, reaching the spot
first. Anxious and frightened as he had been at the moment of the
phenomenon, the young man had noted exactly the spot where the strange
object had fallen. Half buried in a heap of earth was a discolored,
splintered chest. Its ancient appearance led Drew to utter a shout of
I guess we've got it, he remarked in a tone that he tried to keep
calm, but which trembled in spite of himself.
A cry of delight rose from all. The men joined Drew, and helped him
clear away the earth. The chest soon stood revealed. Then by using
their spades as levers, they pried it loose and by their united efforts
dragged it over to the shade at the jungle's edge. They sat beside it
there, panting, almost too exhausted from the excitement and their
tremendous efforts to move or speak.
Ruth fluttered about like a humming bird, excited and eager. She
looked somewhat less disheveled and begrimed than the men. But if they
looked like trench diggers, they felt like plutocrats, and their hearts
were swelling with jubilation.
The map had not lied! The paper had not lied! That old pirate, Ramon
Alvarez, who had probably told a thousand lies, had told the truth at
last in his ardent desire for the shriving of Holy Church. The treasure
lay before them!
And how wonderfully the chest had been revealed to them! Not by
their own exertions had the pirate hoard been uncovered!
A moment more and they were on their feet, Tyke panting:
Now, if I was superstitious
They would have plenty of time for resting later on. Now a fierce
impatience consumed them. They must see the contents of the box!
The chest was about five feet long, two feet wide and three feet
deep. It was made of thick oak, and was bound by heavy bands of iron. A
huge padlock held it closed.
The box had originally been of enormous strength, but time and
nature and the earthquake had done their work. The wood was swollen and
warped, the iron bands were eaten with rust. But the lock resisted
their efforts when they sought to lift the cover.
Stand clear! cried Captain Hamilton, raising his spade.
He struck the padlock a smashing blow. Then he stooped and lifted
the cover, which yielded groaningly.
A cry burst simultaneously from the treasure seekers.
Priceless treasures heaped in careless profusion, glinting, glowing,
coruscating, scintillating threw back in splendor the rays of the
None of them could remember afterward quite how they acted in those
first few minutes of unchained emotion. But they laughed and sang,
cheered and shouted, and it was a long time before the rioting of their
blood ceased and they regained a measure of self-control.
There was no attempt made to measure the value of the treasure
trove. There would be time for that later on. What they did know beyond
the shadow of a doubt was that wealth enough lay before them to make
them all rich for the rest of their lives.
Gold there was, both coined and melted into bars; Spanish doubloons,
Indian rupees, French louis, English guineas; cups and candelabra;
chains and watches; jewels too, in whose depths flashed rainbow hues,
amethysts, rubies, diamonds, emeralds, strings upon strings of
The discoverers bathed their hands in the golden store, running the
coins in sparkling streams through their fingers, all the time feeling
that they were moving in a dream from which at any moment they must be
At last the captain's voice, a bit husky from emotion, brought them
back to practical realities.
Well, the first log of our voyage is written up, he said. But now
let's get down to the question of what we're to do next. How are we to
get this stuff aboard?
All sobered a little as they faced the problem.
We can take the chest just as it is, said Tyke. A four-man load,
What will the crew think? Drew asked somewhat anxiously.
Let 'em think and be hanged to 'em! replied Captain Hamilton.
Yet, he added a moment later, with things in the shaky condition
they are and that rascal, Ditty, planning mischief, we don't want to
take too many chances.
Couldn't we make a number of trips back and forth and take some of
the treasure with us each time until we got it all on board? suggested
Ruth. We could carry a lot in our clothes and we could wrap some up to
look like the bundles we brought ashore.
Take too long, objected her father.
How would this do? was Drew's contribution. As has already been
said, the men would be surprised to see us bring a box aboard if they
hadn't first seen us take it ashore. Now, suppose we take one of the
ship's chests, load it with some worthless junk that would make it as
heavy as this box, and bring it ashore. We could bring it up here,
throw away the contents, put the treasure in it, and then call on the
men to take it back to the ship. They'd recognize it as the same one
they'd brought over, and their thinking would stop right there.
By Jove, I believe you've hit it, Allen! exclaimed the captain.
That sounds sensible, conceded Tyke. I guess it's the only way.
Well, now that that's settled, went on the captain, what are we
going to do with the treasure in the meanwhile? It's getting late now.
We can't get it aboard to-day. We'll want eight men besides Rogers.
Then, there's all this hardware, and he indicated the firearms.
Couldn't we leave it just where it is until we come back
to-morrow? ventured Ruth. There isn't a soul on the island, and we'll
be here the first thing in the morning.
A little too risky, I'm afraid, said Tyke. It's dollars to
doughnuts that there's no one on the island but ourselves and the
boat's crew; yet we'd go 'round kicking ourselves for the rest of our
lives if we found to-morrow that some one had been here an' helped
Let's pile some of these loose lava blocks on top of the chest,
said Drew. Make a regular mound. It will look as though the earthquake
had done it.
That plan seemed the best, and they acted on it. They closed the
cover after one more lingering, delighted look at the chest's gleaming
contents, then they built the cairn.
One sure thing, observed Tyke. There isn't anybody going to come
up here for jest a little pleasure jognot much! That volcano's likely
to spit again 'most any time.
The party started for the lagoon with their hearts bounding with
exultation. But as they entered the forest path they were startled by
the sight of Rogers and his men hastening toward them.
The captain was about to utter a rebuke, but when he saw the pale
and frightened faces of the men he checked his tongue.
Well, Mr. Rogers, what is it? he asked. Got a pretty good scare,
I suppose, like the rest of us. I guess the quake's all over now.
I hope so, sir, replied the second officer. I thought sure it was
all over with the lot of us. But it isn't that, sir, that I came back
for. The boat's gone.
Gone! exclaimed the captain, staring.
Yes, sir. It must have pushed away from the shore when the earth
shook so. Just down here below a bit is a place where you can see the
lagoon, and I caught sight of the boat about half-way between the shore
and the ship.
Oh well, if that's all, there isn't any great harm done. Mr. Ditty
will send out and pick up the boat.
But there's something else, sir, went on the seaman hoarsely. As
I looked out, it seemed to me, sir, as if the reef had closed up behind
What? roared the captain.
It's gospel truth sir, persisted the second officer. I thought at
first I must be dreaming. But I looked carefully, sir, and you can call
me a swab if it isn't so! I couldn't see any sign at all of the passage
where we came in, sir.
The captain's bronzed face paled, as the full significance of the
news burst upon him.
Come along and show me the place where you can see the schooner,
he commanded, and started to run, followed by the whole party.
They had not far to go. At a place where the earthquake had rooted
out a monster tree, a clear view could be had of the entire lagoon.
There lay the Bertha Hamilton, straining at her cable in the
commotion of the waters that had been stirred up by the earthquake. And
there was the small boat tossing about like a chip. But the captain
wasted not a second glance at these. He had seized his binoculars and
his gaze was fixed upon the reef. As he looked, his visage became
The passage through which the ship had come into the lagoon was
A barrier had been thrown up from the ocean floor, and this
completely landlocked the lagoon in which the schooner rode at anchor.
The lagoon had welcomed the ship as though with extended arms. Now
those arms were closed and the hands were interlocked.
The captain groaned at the magnitude of the disaster.
Oh, Daddy, dear! cried Ruth, darting to his side. Don't take it
so hard! There'll be some way out!
Never! cried the captain. The Bertha Hamilton is done for.
There's no way to get her out. She'll lie there now until she rots.
And we're prisoners on this island, gasped Drew.
They looked at each other, appalled. This last statement seemed to
be irrefutable. They were captives on the island, which seemed itself
to be in the throes of dissolution.
CHAPTER XXIX. MUTINY
Drew was the first to rally from the shock of this discovery.
It is a terrible situation, God knows, he said. And I know, too,
Captain, how you must feel the loss of the schoonerif it is lost. But
there may be a chance left of releasing her. The reef looks solid from
here, but when you get close to it there may be a crevice through which
she can be warped.
She don't draw much water in ballast, comforted Tyke, although in
his heart he had little hope. An' you've got some giant powder on
board. Perhaps we can blast a passage.
The captain straightened up and took a grip on himself.
We won't give up without a fight, anyway, he said; and Ruth
rejoiced to hear the old militant ring in his voice. The first thing
to do is to get on board the ship. Come along down to the beach.
The others hurried after him as fast as they could, but, owing to
the number of trees that had been thrown down, their progress was
exasperatingly slow. But even in the turmoil of his emotion, Drew
blessed the chance that made it possible for him to hold Ruth's arm,
and in some especially difficult places to lift her over obstacles.
They reached the beach and the captain hailed the ship. Again and
again he sent his voice booming over the water, and the others
supplemented his efforts by waving their arms. It was impossible that
they should not have been heard or seen; but the Bertha Hamilton
might have been a phantom vessel for all the response that was evoked.
The captain fumed and stormed with impatience.
What's the matter with those swabs? he growled.
Ah! now they're lowering a boat, cried Drew.
They've taken their time about it, growled the captain.
The boat put out from the side and headed for the beach. When
half-way there, the rowers overtook the captain's boat and secured it.
Then, instead of resuming their journey, they turned deliberately about
and rowed back. The boats were both hoisted to the davits and quietness
again reigned on the schooner.
The stupefied spectators on the beach felt as though they had taken
leave of their senses.
Well, of all the raged Captain Hamilton, when he was
interrupted by the sound of a shot fired on the schooner. Two others
followed in quick succession. Then came a roar of voices. A moment
later a man leaped from the mizzen shrouds over the rail. He was shot
in midair, and those ashore heard his shriek as he threw up his arms
and disappeared in the still heaving waters of the lagoon.
Mutiny! roared Captain Hamilton.
Yes, echoed Tyke; mutiny!
Horror was stamped on every face. One blow had been succeeded by
another still more crushing. It was now not only a question of the loss
of the schooner. Their very lives might be threatened.
That scoundrel, Ditty! gasped the captain.
It's too bad we pulled Allen off him the other day, ejaculated
Tyke savagely. We ought to have let him finish the job.
Thank God we've got the weapons anyway! exclaimed Captain
Don't think that he hasn't got some too, warned Tyke. You heard
those shots. No doubt the rascal's got all the guns and ammunition he
wants. You can gamble on it that he isn't figuring on fighting us with
his bare hands.
The captain turned to Rogers and the boat's crew.
What do you know about this, Mr. Rogers? he said quietly. Can we
count on you?
That you can, Captain, replied Rogers heartily. I only know what
I've told you before, sir.
And how about you, my lads? Captain Hamilton continued, addressing
the boat's crew. Are you going to stand with your captain?
There was a chorus of eager assent. Not one of them flinched or
wavered, and indignation was hot in their eyes.
Good! cried the captain approvingly. I knew you'd sailed with me
too long to desert me when it came to a pinch.
That makes ten of us altogether, observed Tyke Grimshaw.
Eleven, put in Ruth. Don't forget me.
Eleven, repeated the master of the Bertha Hamilton, looking
at her fondly. You're a true sailor's daughter, Ruth. I'm proud of
you, my dear.
Eleven, said Drew. That leaves twenty-five on the ship, including
Twenty-four, put in Tyke. There's one less than there was a few
Yes, agreed the captain sadly. And I've no doubt the poor fellow
was killed because he wouldn't join the rest of the gang. Twenty-four,
then. That's pretty big odds against eleven.
Beggin' your pardon, sir, said Barker, who was the oldest man of
the crew, but there's some of our mates over there that wouldn't never
fight on the side of that Bug-eyemeanin' no disrespect to the mate,
sir. Whitlock wouldn't for one, nor Gunther, nor Trent. I'd lay to
No, sir, put in Thompson; an' Ashley wouldn't neither. No more
I believe you, my lads, replied the captain. They've sailed with
us before. But even if they don't fight against us, they can't fight
with us as things stand now. The very least that Ditty will do with
them is to hold them prisoners until he's put the job through.
But he isn't going to put it through, cried Drew, his eyes
Not by a jug full! declared Tyke. But we'll know we've been in a
fight, I s'pose, before we can prove that to him. He's put his head in
the noose now, an' he'll be desperate.
I only hope I get a chance at him before the hangman does,
There's not much to be done until those fellows come over here,
said the captain reflectively. We've no way of getting out there to
the schooner. This thing will have to be fought out on land.
Do you suppose they'll attack us right away, or try to starve us
out? Drew asked. They've got the advantage in having provisions.
No chance of starving us, replied Captain Hamilton. There's
plenty of fruit here, and then there are birds and small game. I saw an
agouti run by a little while ago.
Oh! Why, that's a rat, Daddy! Or is it a sort of 'possum? cried
Ruth, with a shudder. And you men were hinting the other day that poor
Wah Lee might serve us up some dainty dish like that! she added with a
By George! Tyke suddenly shouted. There's cookee an' the steward!
We forgot them in our calculations. How about 'em, Cap'n Rufe?
Oh, that's so! cried Ruth. That little Jap boy never would turn
against us, surely!
Nor Wah Lee, said Captain Hamilton reflectively.
Neither of 'em would be much good, remarked Tyke. You know how
them critters areboth Chinks and Japs. Cold-blooded as fish. They'll
keep on cooking for the mutineers an' serving 'em. It's none of their
pidgin whether that rascal, Ditty, bosses 'em or you are at the helm,
Well, I expect you're right, agreed Captain Hamilton. They're
poor fish to fry. We can't count on them to supply us with grub, that's
sure, and he laughed shortly.
An' look here! exclaimed Tyke, coming back to their former
discussion. How about water? We might git along on this sulphur water
for a little while, but we couldn't stand it long.
That's a little more serious, admitted the captain. But we can
get milk from the cocoanuts. There's plenty of them. And there's the
chance of rain, too.
But I don't think it will come to a siege, he continued, aside to
Tyke. Ditty will figure that he's got to have quick action. He knows
that a vessel of some kind may come along any time, and then his cake
will be dough. Besides, that bunch of rough-necks will be impatient for
the loot that I've no doubt he's promised them.
Where are you going to wait for him? asked Tyke.
Up at the whale's hump, replied the captain. We can build a sort
of fortification there that will help make up for our lack of numbers.
They'll have to come out of the woods into the open up there, too. We
might wait here on the beach, but they could keep out of gunshot, and
we wouldn't get a decision. They can't land too quick to suit me.
Acting on this decision, the party started back at once, dropping
Rogers by the way at the ledge that overlooked the sea, so that he
could bring to them a report of any action taken by the mutineers.
Ruth's presence at his side was very dear to Drew as they toiled
along, but he was deeply apprehensive for her safety. The men of the
party had only death to fear if the worst came to the worst, but his
heart turned to ice as he thought of Ruth left without protection in
the hands of the mate and his gang.
She seemed to realize his thoughts, for she looked up at him
I wish I had the carpet of Solomon here, he said.
Why? she smiled.
I'd put you on it and have you whisked off to New York in a flash.
Suppose I refused to go?
I would! Why should I go to New York? All whom I love are here.
Here? he breathed eagerly.
Surely. I love my father dearly.
Oh! he said disappointedly.
You don't seem to approve of filial devotion, she observed,
darting a mischievous look at him from under her long lashes.
It's a beautiful thing, he answered promptly. But there's another
We'd better hurry, the girl broke in hastily. We're letting them
get too far ahead of us.
They hastened on, and the words that were on Drew's lips remained
After all, he thought to himself as the old bitter memory, forgotten
in the excitement, came back to him, it was better so. They must not be
spoken. They never could be spoken while he was under the awful cloud
of suspicion. The love that had grown until it absorbed all his life
must be ruthlessly crushed under foot.
The party emerged upon the slope of the whale's hump. Nothing had
disturbed the cairn they had built over the treasure chest, nor were
the rifles and tools displaced. Captain Hamilton's decision to make the
stand here was admittedly a wise one. Here was enough lava, rubbish to
build a dozen forts.
Jest the spot, Tyke said vigorously, waving his hand in the
direction of the heap of lava blocks that hid the pirate's chest. What
do you say, Cap'n Rufe? Shall we make that pile o' rocks the corner of
Good idea, Tyke, agreed the captain. But pass guns around first,
boys. All of you can handle a rifle, I suppose?
Aye aye, sir, said Barker, you'd better believe we kin.
If it comes to bullets, said Captain Hamilton, those swabs will
be so near to us we can scarcely miss 'em. That is, if they come out of
Suppose they circle around and come at us from above? Drew
We'll build a circular fort, by gosh! cried Tyke. An' build the
back higher'n the front. How about it, Cap'n Rufe? Then if them swabs
climb the hill to git the better of us, they can't shoot over.
You're right, Tyke, agreed the master of the Bertha Hamilton.
I don't believe, said Drew, that Ditty and the men have many
firearms. Nothing like these high-powered rifles, that's sure.
That's so, Drew, I'm sure, said the captain promptly. Now, boys,
get to work, he added. Roll 'em down! Here, Barker, you're
chantey-man. Set 'em the pace.
Weirdly, echoing back from the wall of the jungle and hollowly from
the hillside, the improvised chantey was raised by Barker, and the
chorus line taken up by the other seamen as though they were jerking
aloft the schooner's topsails.
Oh, Bug-eye's dead an' gone below,
Oh, we says so, an' we hopes so;
Oh, Bug-eye's dead an' he'll go below
He's deader'n the bolt on the fo'c'sle door,
Oh, we says so, an' we hopes so;
Oh, he'll never knock us flat no more,
Under the impetus of this dirge with its innumerable verses the men
rolled the boulders down. The fortification began to take form and give
promise of shelter in time of need.
And there was no telling how soon that time might come!
CHAPTER XXX. THE FLAG OF TRUCE
The seamen rolled the larger boulders to the line Tyke indicated.
Captain Hamilton himself and Drew chocked the interstices between the
larger blocks with broken lava. A chance bullet might slip through into
the fort, but under a rain of lead those within the fortification would
be fairly well protected.
In two hours, and not long before sunset, the work was finished.
Facing the jungle, from which the expected attack would come, if at
all, the wall was breast high; in the rear, it rose higher so that no
man unless he stood fairly in the lip of the crater above, could shoot
over the barrier.
And take it from me, said Tyke Grimshaw, those bums ain't going
to run their legs off to reach the top of this volcano. They're scared
to death of it.
And our own boys aren't much better, muttered Captain Hamilton.
See 'em looking over their shoulders now and again? They're expecting
a shoot-off any minute.
Well, the older man agreed, that may be so. But it strikes me
that the volcano and the earthquakes have been mighty helpful to us.
Now, if I was superstitious
How about locking my schooner in that blasted lagoon? growled the
master of the Bertha Hamilton. This island is hoodooed, I've
half a mind to believe.
Next the rifles and revolvers were carefully cleaned and loaded, and
the ammunition distributed.
How are we off for cartridges? Drew asked.
None too well, answered the captain. If these fellows were sure
shots, there'd probably be all we'd need. But they'll waste a lot. I've
got several hundred in a box under my berthand clips for the
automatics, too. I certainly wish I'd brought 'em along.
S'pose Ditty's gobbled 'em? inquired Grimshaw.
I don't think he'd find them. But they're no good to us now,
groaned the captain.
At this moment Rogers came hurrying up.
They're putting off from the ship, he reported breathlessly.
How many of them? asked the captain.
Ten in the longboat and seven in the other, was the answer.
Seventeen in all, mused the captain. I wonder where the rest
Probably dead or prisoners, put in Tyke. The men who wouldn't
join him he's likely killed or triced up an' left 'em under guard of
one or two of the gang.
That's probably so, agreed the master of the Bertha Hamilton. Well, that reduces the odds somewhat; but they're heavy enough just
the same. We'll have action now 'most any time.
They had been so excited and absorbed in their preparations that
they had not thought of food. Now the captain insisted upon their
eating what Wah Lee had put up for them that morning. But he portioned
out water from the cask very sparingly.
Another hour passed, and still they heard no tread of approaching
feet. It would soon be dark. But suddenly they were startled when a
voice hailed them. It came from the direction of a big ceiba tree a
hundred yards down the forest path.
Ahoy, yourself! shouted back the captain.
A stick was thrust from behind the tree. A white cloth was tied to
the end of it.
This is Ditty talkin', came the voice.
I know it is, you scoundrel, roared the captain.
No hard words, Cap'n, came the answer. It'll only be the worse
for you. I want to have a confab with you.
Come along then and say your say, replied Captain Hamilton.
You won't shoot?
Not you, promised the captain. I hope to see you hung later on.
No tricks, now, said Ditty cautiously
I said I wouldn't and that's enough, responded the captain. You
can take it or leave it.
The mate emerged fully from behind the tree and came into the open
space. At fifty paces from the fortress he halted.
There's guns coverin' you from behind them trees, if anything
happens to me, he said in further warning.
I don't wonder you think that every man's a liar, Ditty, the
captain replied bitterly. You judge them out of your own black heart.
Now, what do you want? Why have you seized my ship? Why have you killed
one of my men?
I hain't seized your ship, answered Ditty sullenly. You left me
in charge of it. An' I didn't kill any of your men. Sanders got drunk
an' fell overboard.
Don't lie to me, you rascal, returned the captain. We heard the
shooting and saw the man shot as he leaped overboard. You'll hang for
that yet, if I don't kill you first. You're a bloody mutineer and you
know it. Now stow your lies and get to the point. What do you want?
We want them doubloons! fairly shouted Ditty, stung by the
captain's contempt, an' we're goin' to have 'em.
Doubloons? What do you mean? asked the captain.
The treasure you come here to dig for, answered Ditty. You can't
fool me. I've been on to your little game ever since before the
schooner left New York. I got sharp ears, I have, pursued the mate,
his one eye gleaming balefully as he looked at the heads above the line
of the breastwork. I know you found a map an' some sort of a paper
what explained about that old pirate treasure. It was in a sailorman's
chest in Tyke Grimshaw's office. Like enough Tyke stole it from the
poor feller. An' I heard you tellin' Miss Ruth about it that night at
dinner, he added, with a leering glance at the pale-faced girl.
So that's why you shipped me such a lot of scum and riffraff, was
it, you villain? Captain Hamilton asked.
You can think as you like about that, answered Ditty. But this
here kind of chinning won't git us anywhere. I know all about the map
and that paper, an' I know that you come here lookin' for that loot.
An' I bet you've found it a'ready. Now, to put it short an' sweet, me
an' my mates want it.
Suppose you got it? parleyed the master of the Bertha Hamilton. It wouldn't do you any good. The schooner is landlocked and can't get
Even so it'll do us as much good as it will you, countered Ditty.
We've got the longboat an' we can easily make one of the islands near
by where we can find a ship to take us to the States.
And suppose I have the treasure and refuse to give it to you?
pursued the captain.
Then we'll take it! threatened Ditty, his one eye glowing with
malevolence. We'll take it if we have to kill every last one of you to
Hey! Barker! Olsen! The rest of you bullies! he added, raising his
voice, you know blamed well the after-guard won't do nothin' for you
fellers but let you git shot. You better come with us.
We're nearly two to one, anyway, an' you've got no chance, he
added to Captain Hamilton.
We haven't, eh? exploded the captain, his pent-up rage finding
vent. Do your worst, you black-hearted hound! And if you're not behind
that tree in one minute, may God have mercy on your soul!
CHAPTER XXXI. A DARING VENTURE
With an expression of baffled rage convulsing his features, Ditty
turned and made for shelter. Once safely there, he hurled back the
wildest threats and imprecations. So vile they were that Ruth shuddered
and put her hands to her ears.
I said I'd kill you all! the mate shouted. I'll take that back.
I'll kill all but one!
The threat was easily understood. Captain Hamilton's face went
white, and he glanced hastily at Ruth. But he only said:
Keep down out of sight, men. They know where we are, but we don't
know where they are. They may try to rush us, but I don't think they
will at first. Aim carefully and shoot at anything that offers a fair
target, but don't waste the ammunition.
He had hardly finished speaking before there came a volley, and the
bullets pattered against the rocks. They came from several directions.
Ditty had arranged his men in the form of a semicircle. They had ample
cover, and the only chance for the besieged lay in the chance that one
of the enemy should protrude his head or shoulder too far from behind
Many times in the next hour the fusilade was repeated. It was plain
that the mutineers were armed only with pistols.
Probably Ditty laid in a stock before he left New York, the
captain muttered to Tyke. Automatics, too.
His ammunition won't last long if he keeps wasting it this way,
replied Tyke. An' an automatic ain't always a sure shot.
Just then a cry from Olsen showed that the mutineers' cartridges had
not been wholly wasted. A bullet had caught the Swede in the shoulder.
He dropped, groaning.
Ruth was by his side in an instant. She bound up his wound as best
she could, and, putting a coat beneath his head, made him as
comfortable as possible.
One knocked out, muttered the captain. I wonder who'll be the
Ah! Good boy, Allen! he cried delightedly.
One of the enemy had thrown up his hands and, with a yell, had
crashed heavily to the ground. He lay there without motion.
Leaned his head out a little too far, remarked Drew composedly.
That was the cockney, Bingo.
An' a dirty rat, Tyke said grimly. That evens up the score.
Not exactly, replied Drew. We'll have to pot two of them to every
one they get, to keep the score straight. And they'll be more careful
now about exposing themselves.
He was right; for in the short moments of daylight that remained
they lessened no further the number of their foes. Nor did any bullet
find its billet in the body of any of the besieged. But one ball
knocked a splinter from a rock and drove it against the knuckles of
Binney's right hand, making it difficult for him to use his rifle.
Now darkness fell, and the enemy seemed to have withdrawn.
The real fight will come to-morrow, prophesied Captain Hamilton.
This was only a skirmish to feel us out.
Do you think they'll try to do anything to-night? asked Drew
I don't believe so, was the reply; but we'll post sentinels, and
if they come they won't take us by surprise.
As a matter of fact, the captain went on, I wish they would adopt
rushing tactics. Then they'd be out in the open and we could get a good
crack at them. As it is, we're concentrated and they're scattered, and
their bullets have a better chance than ours of finding a mark. These
sniping methods are all in their favor, if Ditty has sense enough to
stick to them.
They've gained already by this afternoon's work, pondered Tyke.
When they started in we were seventeen to 'leven. Now, as far as we
know, they're sixteen to our nine, for neither Olsen nor Binney's what
you might call able-bodied. The odds are getting bigger against us.
All the ammunition we have spent has accounted for only one man,
added the captain. Their cover has served 'em well. And our ammunition
is short. I figure out that we haven't much more than thirty cartridges
apiece left for the rifles. That won't last us long.
Why not dash out and charge them? suggested Drew.
We will when our cartridges get low, agreed the captain. But I'm
hoping they'll charge us first in the morning. We could drop a bunch of
'em before they closed in on us, and then we'd have a better chance in
After dark the captain posted three men some distance within the
forest, with the promise that they should be relieved at midnight and
with strict injunctions to keep a vigilant watch and report to him at
once should anything seem suspicious.
Rogers was delegated to make his way down to the beach, where it was
supposed the mutineers would encamp for the night, to see if he could
gain any information as to their plan of attack on the morrow.
To Ruth this whole situation was a most terrifying one; but nobody
displayed more bravery than she.
She had attended to the two wounded men skilfully. She had been
obliged to arrange a tourniquet on Olsen's shoulder, or the man would
have bled to death; and she had done this as well as a more practised
nurse. The wound was a clean one, the bullet having bored right through
Binney's wound was merely painful, and he could not use his rifle
effectively. But he could handle an automatic with his left hand.
The departure of the mutineers and the coming of night released
their minds and hearts from anxiety to a certain degree. Night fowls in
the forest shouted their raucous notes back and forth, and there were
some squealings and gruntings at the edge of the jungle that betrayed
the presence of certain small animals that might add to their bill of
fare could they but capture them.
We'll forage for grub to-morrow, said Captain Hamilton. It's too
dark to-night to tell what you were catching, even if you went after
those creatures. Ruth says she doesn't want agouti because they're too
much like rats; but maybe there are creatures like polecats hereand
they'd be a whole lot worse.
A daring idea came into Drew's mind, but he did not mention it to
Tyke or the captain because he felt sure that they would not approve.
He acknowledged to himself that it was a forlorn hope, but he knew,
too, that forlorn hopes often won by their very audacity.
He knew that the moon rose late that night, and as darkness was
essential to the execution of his plan, he rose shortly and said:
Think I'll go out and do a little scouting on my own account.
The captain looked at him in some surprise.
Well, he said slowly, we can't get any too much information; but
we're fearfully short of men, and you're the best shot we have. Better
Yes, do be careful, Allen! exclaimed Ruth. For my sake, she
added in a whisper.
Do you care very much? he responded, in the same tone.
Care! she repeated softly. It was only one word, but it was
eloquent and her eyes were suspiciously moist.
He pressed her hand and she did not try to withdraw it.
I'll be careful, he promised, releasing it at last. Another moment
and he had surmounted the barrier and was swallowed up in the gloom of
From his repeated trips over the trail, Drew had a pretty good idea
of the locality, and had it not been for the fallen trees that had been
torn up by the cataclysm of the morning, he would have had little
difficulty in gaining the beach. But again and again he had to make
long detours, and as the darkness was intense he had to rely entirely
on his sense of touch; so his progress was slow.
Nearly two hours elapsed before he caught sight of a light beyond
the trees that he thought must come from the campfire of the mutineers.
He crept forward with exceeding care, for at any moment he might
stumble over some sentinel. But, with the lack of discipline that
usually accompanies such lawless ventures and relying upon their
preponderance in numbers, the mutineers had neglected such a
With the stealth of an Indian on a foray, Drew approached the beach
until he was not more than a hundred yards from the fire. There he
sheltered himself behind a massive tree trunk and surveyed the scene.
He saw Rogers nowhere about. The mutineers had made a great fire of
driftwood, more for its cheerful effect than for any other reason, for
the night was oppressively warm. At some distance from it the men were
sitting or lying in sprawling attitudes. Some were sleeping, some
singing, while one tall man, whom Drew recognized as Ditty, was engaged
in earnest conversation with two others, probably his lieutenants.
Drew counted them twice to make sure there was no mistake. There
were sixteen in all. Only one, then, had been accounted for that
afternoon. And there were but nine able-bodied men in the fort,
counting Binney as able-bodied.
Sixteen to nine! Nearly two to one! And men who would fight
desperately because in joining this mutiny they knew that they stood in
peril of the hangman's noose or the electric chair.
Drew's resolution hardened. The fire cast a wide zone of light on
the beach and the surrounding water. But over the eastern end of the
lagoon darkness hung heavily. Keeping in the shelter of the palms, he
went northward, following the contour of the lagoon until he reached
the point where vegetation ceased and the reef began.
Although this reef was volcanic (indeed the whole island had
undoubtedly been thrown up from the floor of the sea by some
subterranean convulsion in ages past), the coral insects had been at
work adding to the strength of the lagoon's barriers. The recent quake
that had lifted the reef had ground much of this coral-work to dust.
Drew found himself wading ankle deep in it as he approached the water.
The little waves lapped at his feet. There was a shimmering glow on
the surface of the lagoon, as there always is upon moving water.
Outside, the surf sighed, retreated, advanced, and again sighed, in
unchanging and ceaseless rotation.
Drew disrobed slowly. He could not see the schooner, but he knew
about where she lay. Indeed, he could hear the water slapping against
her sides and the creaking of her blocks and stays. She was not far off
And yet he hesitated before wading in. He was a good swimmer, and
the water was warm; the actual getting to the schooner did not trouble
his mind in the least. But, as he scanned the surface of the lagoon,
there was a phosphorescent flash several fathoms out. Was it a leaping
His eyes had become accustomed to the semi-darkness. Drifting in was
some objecta small, three-cornered, sail-like thing. Another flash of
phosphorescence, and the triangular fin disappeared. Drew shuddered as
he stood naked at the water's edge. He could not fail to identify the
creature. Something besides the Bertha Hamilton had been shut in
the lagoon by the rising reef.
And I venture to say that that shark is mighty hungry, toounless
he found poor Sanders, muttered the shivering Drew.
He then waded into the water.
CHAPTER XXXII. THE BATTLE IN THE
Making as little disturbance as possible, Drew sank to his armpits
in the pellucid waters, and then began to swim. He believed the shark
had started briskly for some other point in the lagoon; but he knew the
eyes of the creature were sharp.
All about him, as the young man moved through the water, there were
millions of tiny organisms that would betray his presence, as they had
the shark's, at the first ripple. These minute infusorians would glow
with the pale gleam of phosphorescence if the water were ruffled.
Therefore, he had to swim carefully and slowly, when each second his
nerves cried out for rapid, panic-stricken action.
He came at last to the schooner's stern without mishap. He could see
her tall hull and taller spars above him. There was no light in the
after part of the vessel; nor was there even a riding light. The
mutineers whom Ditty had left aboard had evidently thrown off all
Finding no line hanging from the rail aft, Drew swam around the
schooner to her bows. Here was the anchor chain, and up this he
clambered nimbly to the rail.
Cautiously he raised his head above the rail and looked about him.
There was a light in the forecastle, but most of the deck was in deep
shadow. Very slowly he pulled himself inboard and dropped down in the
bows. Then, on hands and knees and avoiding any spot of light, he crept
noiselessly toward the forecastle and looked in.
By the light of the lamp swinging in its gimbals, he could see five
men seated on the floor with their hands tied behind them. At a little
distance two other men were seated, both with revolvers thrust in their
The nearest of the guards was talking at the moment, and Drew easily
heard what was said.
You're a bloomin' fool, I tell you, Trent, he was saying to one of
the prisoners. Ditty has got the old man dead to rights. The
after-guard hain't got the ghost of a chance. You'd better pitch in an
take your luck along with the rest of us.
You're a lot of bloody murderers, growled the one addressed, and
you'll swing for this business yet.
Not as much chance of our swingin' as there is of you gittin' what
Sanders got, retorted the other. He's 'bout eat up by the sharks by
this time. An' when Ditty comes back with the loot; he ain't goin' to
let you live to peach on 'im. No, siree, he ain't. Dead men tell no
Drew waited no longer. He had no weapon with him, not even a knife.
But he counted on the advantage of surprise. He gathered himself
together, and, with the agility of a panther, leaped upon the shoulders
of the man seated beneath him. They went to the deck with a crash. The
fellow was stunned by the shock, and lay motionless; but Drew was on
his feet in a second.
The other mutineer leaped up, but when he saw the white and dripping
figure of the unexpected visitor he dropped the automatic and fell back
against the mess table, shaking and with his hands before his eyes.
It's a ghost! yelled Trent, no less frightened than the others,
but more voluble. It's Sanders been an' boarded us!
The prisoners, crowded together on the deck of the forecastle,
glared at the apparition of the naked man in horror. After all, the
mutineer had the most courage.
Blast my eyes! he suddenly shouted. Sanders wasn't never so big
as him; 'nless he's growed since he was sent to the sharks.
He sprang forward to peer into Drew's face. The latter's fist shot
out and landed resoundingly on the fellow's jaw.
Nor he don't hit like Sanders, by mighty! yelled the fellow. Nor
like no ghost. It's that blasted DrewI knows 'im now.
And you're going to know more about me directly, said Drew,
between his teeth, following the fellow up for a second blow.
But the mutineer had recovered himself, both in mind and body. He
was a big, beefy chap, weighing fifty pounds heavier than Drew, despite
the latter's bone and muscle. No man, no matter how well he can spar,
can afford to give away fifty pounds in a rough and tumble fight and
expect not to suffer for it.
The fellow put up a good defense, and Drew suddenly became aware
that he himself was at a terrible disadvantage. He was a naked man
against one clothed and booted. He could defend himself from the
flail-like blows of his antagonist and could get in some of his own
swift hooks and punches. But when he was at close quarters the fellow
played a deadly trick on him.
As Drew stepped in to deliver a short-armed jolt to the mutineer's
head, the latter took the punishment offered, but, with all his weight,
stamped on Drew's unprotected foot.
The groan that this forced from the young man's lips brought a
diabolical grin to the mutineer's face. Even the satisfaction of
changing that grin to a bloody smear, as he did the very next moment by
giving a fearful blow to the mouth, did not relieve Drew's pain.
He had to keep the fellow at arm's length, and that was not
advantageous to his own style of fighting. He could make a better
record in close-up work. But the mutineer wore heavy sea-boots, and
Drew already felt himself crippled. His own footwork was spoiled. He
limped as badly as had Tyke Grimshaw for a while.
There was not room for a fair field in the crowded forecastle, at
best. The big sailor was very wary about stepping near the five
prisoners, but he forced Drew, time and again, against the body of the
prone and unconscious man on the deck. Three times his naked antagonist
all but sprawled over this obstruction.
In fact, Drew was not getting much the best of it, although few of
the mutineer's blows landed. This fighting at arm's length never yet
brought a quick decision. And that was what Allen Drew was striving
for. For all he knew, Ditty might take it into his head to come off to
the schooner before bedtime. If he were caught in this plight, he would
be utterly undone.
This thought harried the young man's very soul. All he had risked in
swimming out to the schooner would go for nothing. Not only would his
object in coming fail of consummation, but if Ditty caught him, the
besieged party up on the side of the whale's hump would lose its best
Thus convinced of the necessity for haste, Drew suddenly rushed in.
He stifled a cry as the heavy boot crunched down on his foot once
again. This was no time for fair fighting. He seized his antagonist by
the collar of his shirt, jerked him forward, and at the same time
planted a right upper-cut on the point of the jaw.
The fellow crashed to the deckdown and out without a murmur. Drew,
panting and limping, leaving a trail of blood wherever he stepped,
secured some lengths of spun yarn and tied both mutineers hand and foot
before he gave any attention to the murmuring prisoners.
Now, men, he said, turning to the five, you know me. I'm Mr. Drew
and I'm no ghost.
You don't hit like no ghost, grinned Trent. I'm mighty glad you
come, Mr. Drew. It would have been all up with us when old Bug-eye come
back if you hadn't.
You're fine fellows and all right to stand up for your captain,
replied Drew; and you'll find that you've not only been on the right
side, but on the winning side. However, we've got to hurry. Where's a
You'll find one in that fellow's belt, said Whitlock, pointing to
one of the mutineers.
Drew secured it and cut the ropes that bound the prisoners. They
fell to rubbing their arms and legs to get the blood to circulating.
As soon as you can move about, get the dinghy ready, directed
Drew. Stow in it all the provisions it will hold together with some
casks of water. And you'd better bring Wah Lee and the Jap along. I've
got to go to the captain's cabin, but I'll be back before you're ready.
Smart, now, for we don't know what minute Ditty may take a notion to
Drew hurried aft and into his own room where he quickly got into
some clothing and bandaged his crushed foot. Then he pushed into the
captain's stateroom. There was no light there, but he dropped on his
hands and knees and felt under the berth.
His hand touched the sharp corner of a box. He dragged it out and
hurried up the companionway where he could examine it by the light of a
lantern. He recognized at once the label of a well-known ammunition
company, and knew that these must be the cartridges of which the
captain had spoken. That box perhaps spelled salvation for the treasure
With his heart throbbing with elation and tightly clutching the
precious box, Drew hastened to the rail where the men were preparing to
launch the boat. Wah Lee and Namco stood by, blinking with true
Oriental stolidity. They betrayed neither eagerness nor reluctance, nor
was there the slightest trace of curiosity. For them it was all in the
The seamen heaped in all the provisions and water that the boat
would hold and still leave room for its occupants. Drew advised
muffling the oars, and with barely a sound the craft moved toward the
shore. Heavily laden at is was, the progress was slow. They kept
cautiously out of the zone of light cast by the mutineers' campfire,
which now, however, was dying out. Finally the craft grated on the
Under Drew's whispered directions, the men shouldered the stores,
and the party commenced the toilsome march inland to the little fort.
It was fully midnight when they were challenged by the sentinels at
the edge of the wood.
Ahoy, there! called Drew, hailing the fort.
Ahoy, yourself! came back the answer. Is that you, Allen?
Yes. And some friends with me.
Friends? There was surprise in the tone. Who are they?
I'll let you see for yourself.
The besieged, whose sleep had been fitful, had all been aroused by
the colloquy, and they crowded to the front of the barricade. The moon
had now risen, and their faces could be clearly discerned. Ruth
lovelier every time he saw her, Allen thought, stood beside her father.
Why, it's Whitlock! cried Captain Hamilton jubilantly. And
Guntherand Trentand Ashleyand Barnes! he went on in
ever-increasing wonderment and excitement, as he recognized the
weather-beaten faces. And blest if here isn't that old heathen, Wah
Lee! And the Jap! Glory hallelujah!
There was a moment of wild exclamations and handshakings.
Bully lads! cried the master of the Bertha Hamilton, with
deep emotion. So you broke away and came to help your captain, did
you? Good lads.
We didn't exactly break away, Cap'n, said Gunther. Though God
knows we wanted to bad enough. But it's Mr. Drew you want to thank for
our bein' here. He done it all.
I knowed it! I knowed it! cried Tyke. I felt it in my bones when
I first saw 'em! Glory be!
He did it all? inquired the captain. What do you mean? Tell us,
Oh, there isn't much to tell, replied Drew. I was lucky enough to
reach the schooner and I found the men there with their hands tied. I
cut the ropes and brought them along.
You reached the schooner! the captain repeated. How?
Did you git the boat from under the eyes of them fellers? asked
No. I swam over.
Swam! ejaculated the captain.
Ruth gave a little shriek and put her hand to her heart.
Oh! she cried. The sharks!
Haven't I always told you that boy was a wonder? chuckled Tyke.
But here Whitlock touched his cap.
Beggin' your pardon, Cap'n, he said apologetically, but if Mr.
Drew was as slow with his fists as he is with tellin' his story,
meanin' no disrespec', me an' my mates wouldn't be here.
Go ahead, Whitlock, said the captain. It is like pulling teeth to
get anything from Mr. Drew.
Whitlock told the story, which lost nothing in the telling.
There was a pause, tense with emotion, and all eyes were turned on
Drew. Tyke's hand clapped him on the shoulder, but the old man did not
trust himself to speak. Ruth's eyes were wet, but the tears could not
obscure a look that made the young man's heart thump wildly.
Allen, said the captain, taking his hand, it was the pluckiest
thing I ever heard of. If we get out of this place alive, we shall owe
it all to you.
You make too much of it, disclaimed Drew, red and confused. But
hadn't we better stow away these things the men have brought along?
Here's the box of cartridges I found under your berth.
The captain fairly shouted.
That puts the cap sheaf on! he exulted. Now Ditty and his gang
are done for. They can't come too soon.
CHAPTER XXXIII. THE GHOST
The camp quieted down after a time. In one corner, Ruth had a
shelter of rugs which had been brought up from the boat, and she
retired to this after helping her father dress and rebandage Drew's
The captain, as so many skippers are, was a good amateur surgeon;
and as far as he could discern there were no bones broken. But the foot
was so very painful that the young man could not coax the drowsy god.
He tossed restlessly on the hard bed of lava rock, and, though his eyes
closed at times, they opened again as though fitted with springs.
The exciting events of the day and the chances he had taken were
repeated over and over in his mind. For the first time in his life he
had aimed a deadly weapon at another human being.
He knew that Bingo had fallen by his hand. But, oddly enough, that
fact did not sear his conscience. He had been accused of drowning
Lester Parmalee, and the thought of that accusation now made him shrink
He was guiltless of Parmalee's awful end; still, he shuddered at the
thought that he might have been guilty. At one time he had felt such
rage and animosity, through jealousy, that he might have struck
Parmalee a fatal blow.
Drew had considered the missing man his rival for Ruth's affection.
Fate had removed that rival from his path. Yet, in doing this, fate had
likewise raised a barrier to Drew's own happiness with Ruth.
The man groaned aloud at this thought. Then, fearing that some of
the others would be disturbed, that Ruth might hear him, he arose and
hobbled to the barrier.
He felt in a pocket of the coat he had put on while aboard the
schooner and found pipe and tobacco. He filled the pipe and fell to
smoking, hoping to soothe his jumping nerves, while he stared out
across the moonlit open.
The tropical moonlight revealed every object to the edge of the
jungle as clearly as though it were broad day. It was a peaceful
sceneso peaceful that it was hard to imagine that daybreak might
change it to a place of carnage.
Suddenly he took his pipe from his lips and peered more closely at a
spot near the edge of the jungle. Something had moved there.
It could not be one of the sentinels. Attack was not expected from
the west. Nor was it one of the small, night-roaming animals of the
forest. Drew was sure there were no beasts of prey on this island. It
was too far from the mainland and the larger islands.
The something which he had seen moved farther out from the line of
verdure. It was a man.
Although the distance was fully a cable's length, Drew's eyes were
keen. The moonlight for a full minute shone on the face of the figure
before it moved again.
The sight of the pallid countenance, with the black hair above it,
smote Drew with an emotion akin to terror. He could not understand the
apparitionhe could scarcely believe his eyes; yet that face was
In a moment more the man had disappeared. The figure seemed to have
melted into the black background of the jungle.
Without a grain of superstition in his being, Allen Drew felt that
he was in the presence of the supernatural. He had not imagined the
figure. It was no figment of a waking dream.
This was what Ruth had seen. This was what had so startled her on
the occasion of the treasure seekers' first visit to the whale's hump.
She thought she had imagined the appearance of Lester Parmalee. Drew
knew he had seen it!
He was tempted to arouse Captain Hamilton. Yet he shrank from that.
He could not utter the missing man's name to Ruth's father, knowing, as
he did, that the captain was doubtful of his, Drew's, innocence in
connection with Parmalee's disappearance.
He whispered to the man on guard that he was going outside, and
quickly surmounted the barrier. He had his automatic revolver; and,
anyway, he did not think any of the mutineers were in the neighborhood.
Having marked well the spot where the ghostly figure had presented
itself to his startled vision, Drew hobbled directly to it, forgetting
in his excitement the painful foot. He did not halt to search for
foot-prints, but looked instead for an opening in the jungle, into
which the figure could have disappeared.
It was thereone of those strange lava paths through the thick
vegetation. The moonlight scarcely illuminated it, for it was narrow;
but Drew entered boldly. This matter must be brought to a conclusion.
He felt that the mystery had to be solved without delay.
There was light enough to show him the black wall of the jungle on
either side of the path. There were no openings. Tropical undergrowth
is not like that of a northern forest. Here the lianas and thorns
intermingled with strong brush, make an impervious hedge. One could not
penetrate it without the aid of a machete.
Drew heard no sound as he went on. The man he followed was not
struggling through the jungle in an attempt to escape pursuit. Allen
hastened his footsteps, his hand on his revolver. Was that a figure
moving through the semi-dusk ahead? Should he call? His lips formed the
name of Parmalee, but no sound came from them.
Suddenly he came to a clearing, perhaps a dozen yards across. Here
the lava had formed a pool and cooled in this circular patch. The
moonlight now revealed all.
A figurethe same he had seen upon the edge of the junglewas
crossing this opening in the forest. The pursuer sprang forward.
Wait! he gasped. It's IDrew! Wait!
The other whirled. He held only a club as a means of defense. He was
in rags. His black hair hung in dank locks about his pale brow.
Who are you? he cried. Keep off!
Allen Drew rushed in, making light of the club, and seized the other
in his arms.
My God, man! don't you know me? How came you here? Are you real?
Is it you, Drew? queried the other, brokenly. Lord! don't take my
breath, old fellow.
They accuse me of taking your life! ejaculated Drew, with
hysterical laughter. Don't mind a little thing like being hugged. Gad,
Parmalee! how glad I am to see you!
Accused you of taking my life! the other exclaimed, amazed.
Ditty, the black-hearted hound, accused me of throwing you
overboard. Said he saw me do it. Captain Hamilton half believes it yet.
Heavens, Parmalee, but you're a sight to put heart into a man!
Only, Drew added, you quite took the heart out of me just now
when I saw you standing there at the edge of the forest staring at the
The fort. Yes. That's what puzzled me, Parmalee said. I wasn't
sure which party was defending it. The sailors mutinied, didn't they?
You're fighting them?
I should say we are, the
He got no further. In their eagerness, the two men had been talking
in ordinary tones and had paid no attention to their surroundings. A
voice suddenly crackled through the other sounds of the night.
Well, we've got two of 'em. Hands up, or we'll blow your heads
It was Ditty with half a dozen of the mutineers at his back. They
held Drew and Parmalee under the muzzles of their automatics.
It was useless to attempt to escape. Even Drew, reckless as he had
shown himself at times, would not take his life so lightly in his
hands. And, besides, he knew well that Ditty would be only too glad to
His hands, as well as Parmalee's, went up promptly. One of the
seamen, laughing a little, came forward and searched them both, taking
away Drew's weapon. Parmalee had dropped his useless club.
The young men, so suddenly made captives by the mutineers, stood
with their backs to the strong moonlight, their faces in the shadow.
The moon was now sinking behind a buttress of the volcano. As yet,
neither had been recognized by their captors. But now Ditty came
forward, and first of all thrust his face into that of Parmalee.
Who the devil are you? he demanded.
The young man lifted his head and stared into the mate's pale eye.
Ditty started back with a shriek.
Whatwhat Who is it? chattered the mate. His henchmen gazed
at him in amazement. Suddenly Ditty came forward again, and whirled
Parmalee around so that he faced the sinking moon.
Mr. Parmalee! he whispered.
The latter smiled faintly.
It's Parmalee, all right, he said. You didn't expect to see me
again, I imagine, Mr. Ditty.
The sound of the man's voice seemed to reassure the mate. The other
mutineers chattered their surprise. Finally Ditty, licking his dry
II thought that youyou were
No thanks to you that I'm not drowned, Mr. Ditty, if that's what
you mean, said Parmalee bitterly. You tried your best to murder me.
Not me! declared Ditty, with a gesture of denial, turning his
single eye away from the other's accusing gaze. It was that swab,
Drew, threw you overboard.
Liar, declared Parmalee evenly. Drew lay on the deck unconscious
from his fall. I was stooping to help him. Though you crept up behind
me, I knew you when you seized me in your arms, you villain. And I hope
to see you punished for it.
Ditty, with a curse, would have struck Parmalee, but Drew stepped
between them and received the blow intended for his comrade.
If you must hit a man, hit one of your own size, he said quietly.
Drew! Drew himself! shouted the mate, recognizing the second
captive. The very one we wanted! Hi, bullies! we've got the whip-hand
now. We've got the old man's right bower! An' him an' the gal an' Tyke
Grimshaw will pay us our price for the freedom of this laddy-buck, to
say nothin' of Parmalee. Bring 'em along!
CHAPTER XXXIV. THE BATTLE IS ON
Helpless and almost hopeless, the two captives were led deeper into
the forest paths. Drew realized that they were skirting the barren
hillside and gaining a position nearer to the treasure seekers' fort.
Finally they saw a fire in the now dark wood, and soon came to a
stockade. Several fallen trees formed this barrier, and in addition to
the protection they afforded, a number of branches had been so arranged
as to form an abattis. The work had been hastily done; but with
determined men behind it, it would offer a formidable obstacle to an
At a fire in the further end of the enclosure the mutineers were
preparing their breakfast. Ditty went over and talked earnestly with
some of his men, but finally broke off abruptly and came back to the
prisoners, who had both been tied, wrist and ankle.
So I've got you where I've wanted you at last, have I? he taunted
Drew. Little moonlight walks don't always pan out as you expect.
Drew disdained to reply.
You wont talk, eh? the mate snarled, kicking him in the ribs with
his heavy boot. Well, I know some cunnin' little ways of makin' people
talk when I want 'em to. But I'm goin' to wait a while before I try 'em
on you. I want somebody here to see you cringe and hear you howl. Bless
her pretty eyes, how she'll enjoy it!
Then Drew's eyes flashed and he strained at his bonds.
You vile scoundrel! he cried. If my hands were free I'd choke the
life out of you!
So you can talk, after all? sneered the mate, his cold eye
becoming still more reptilian.
And more than talkgive me the chance, Drew flung back at him.
Smart boy, jeered the mate. Smart enough to translate Spanish and
the pirate's old map, eh? An' now you're goin' to smart more when you
see me an' my mates walk off with the doubloons, and he laughed.
Yes. When I do! the young man said boldly. You'll be a deal older
when that happens, Ditty.
I'll show you! ejaculated the mate, and kicked him again.
The brute! gasped Parmalee.
Parmalee, Drew said in a trembling voice, I never wanted the use
of my hands so much as I do now. When I do get free, I shall be tempted
to kill that fellow.
He deserves itthe double-dyed villain! groaned Parmalee. And he
threw me overboard.
I knew he must have done so, said Drew. But why did he do it? Not
just to put the crime on me? How were you saved and how did you get
here? Let's hear it all.
I had overheard the rascal plotting with some of the men, returned
Parmalee. Ditty must have caught a glimpse of me. I suppose he felt
the time was not ripe for exposure; so he put me out of the way. He
must have been lurking near us that night when you fell. I was stooping
to help you when he grabbed me and flung me over the rail. I didn't
have time to cry out.
I'm a good swimmerone of the few active accomplishments I
possessand I swam as long as I could. Just as I lost strength, my
hand touched a cask lashed to a grating that must have fallen from some
vessel, or been thrown from it. That held me up till morning. By that
time I was about all in. But just then a sloopa turtle catcher she
wasbore down on me, sighted me, and answered my frantic appeal, and
picked me up. It was a terrible experience.
It must have been, breathed the other. Go on. How did you get
here to this very island where the doubloons were buried?
Are they here? asked Parmalee eagerly. Do you know?
Sh! whispered Drew. Don't say a word. We have 'empecks of them!
And jewels and other stuff besidesenough to make us all as rich as
Humph! commented Parmalee, with sudden gravity. And he had asses'
ears. I'm afraid this mess we're all in shows that we did an asinine
thing in coming down here after the doubloons. What is wealth compared
to life itself?
True, murmured Drew. And what we've been through besides. But go
on. Tell the rest.
When those turtle catchers landed here I had no idea that this
island was the one marked on the pirate's map which Captain Hamilton
showed me, pursued Parmalee. I was treated well enough. But I
happened to have no money in my pockets, and the men disbelieved my
claim that I would pay them if they would get me to a civilized port!
So they made me work. That was all right, but the work was too heavy
for me; so I went off into the interior of the island to see if there
were not some inhabitants. Then the first earthquake came. It
frightened those half-breeds and negroes blue. They set off in the
sloop, leaving me behind.
Day before yesterday I came up this way. I guessed that the
fortification must have been thrown up by one party from the Bertha
Hamilton and that this was the island we had been seeking; but
hesitated to come nearer, unarmed as I was, fearing that Ditty and his
gang of cut-throats were fortified here.
Ruth saw you, Drew volunteered. She thought you were an
apparition. And so did I, this morning. But you must have had a
frightful time of it.
I've been keeping myself alive on fruit and shell-fish since the
turtle catchers deserted me. It's not a satisfying diet, Parmalee said
with a little laugh.
During this low-voiced conversation between the two prisoners, the
mutineers had been eating breakfast. They offered the young men none;
but neither Drew nor Parmalee was thinking of his appetite.
Sit up close behind me, Parmalee, whispered Drew. I believe I can
work on that cord that fastens your wrists. If I can get you free, you
can free me.
Good! We'll try it, said the other confidently.
That will do. Get close to me and let me pick away at this knot.
Ditty's too busy to come over here now. Besides, they're getting ready
to attack our people, I think. He believes we're safe here, and he'll
need all his men with him.
You're getting it, Drew, old fellow, whispered Parmalee eagerly.
Bet your life! One of the easiest knots a seaman ever tied. Now try
Parmalee did as directed, and the knot that fastened Drew's wrists
soon yielded. But the latter still kept his hands behind him and
assumed a pose of deep dejection, his companion doing the same.
As Drew had conjectured, Ditty had made up his mind to attack. He
was still unaware of what had taken place on the schooner during the
night, and was confident that he outnumbered the besieged by about two
to one. Time was pressing, for a ship might appear at any time. He
resolved to hazard all his chances on one throw.
At the head of his band he left the stockade. Drew and Parmalee
waited till they felt sure that all had gone and that no guard left
behind was stealthily watching them through the trees. Drew then got
out his pocket knife and severed their ankle lashings.
At that moment a volley of shots was heard in the direction of the
barricade. It was followed by another and still another. The fight had
Come on! cried Drew excitedly, and he dashed out of the stockade
followed by Parmalee.
Day was just breaking. Overhead the twittering of doves, the
squeaking of parrakeets, the countless sounds of bird and insect life,
welcomed the sun.
But the fusilades of gun shots hushed the clamor of wild life, and
sent the birds and the animals shrieking away from the vicinity.
CHAPTER XXXV. THE
Great was the consternation in the little fortress when it was
discovered that Drew was absent. And as the time dragged by and he did
not return, his friends knew that either he had been killed or was a
prisoner in the hands of the mutineers. And if the latter, they knew
only too well what mercy he had to expect from the mate. One murder
more or less was nothing to that scoundrel now.
Grimshaw and Captain Hamilton were abnormally grave, and Ruth's eyes
were wild with anguish and terror. She no longer had any doubt of her
feeling for Allen. She knew that she loved him with all her heart.
At the first sign of daylight, the master of the Bertha Hamilton
put his little band on a war footing. The ammunition was distributed,
and he rejoiced to see how abundant it was. That he had Drew to thank
for. Ruth prepared lint and bandages for the wounded from supplies
which Allen had also brought, then she stood ready to reload the extra
rifles and small arms, or, at need, to use a revolver herself. Her eyes
were clear and dauntless, and if her father looked at her with grave
anxiety, it was also with pride.
Breakfast despatched, the men took the places assigned to them. The
captain had formed his plan of battle.
They'll rush us after a few volleys, he asserted. Wait till they
get within thirty feet before you fire. Then let them have it, and aim
low. If they waver, and I think they will, jump over the breastworks
when I give the word, and we'll charge in turn. If we once get them on
the run, they'll never rally and we'll hunt them down like rats until
they surrender. We're going to win, my lads!
The answer was a cheer, and Captain Hamilton had no doubt as to the
spirit with which his little force was going into the fray.
The outposts came hurrying in with the news that the mutineers were
coming. And not long after, this was confirmed by a spatter of bullets
against the rocks.
The defenders made a spirited reply, and several volleys were
exchanged. But the mutineers were in the shelter of the wood.
Ditty knew that the pistol bullets of his men would do little damage
at long range.
There came an ominous pause.
They're getting ready now, said Captain Hamilton quietly. Mind
what I told you, my lads, about shooting low. And when you see me jump
over the rocks, come close on my heels. I'll be up in front.
It was a nerve-trying wait. Then, suddenly, the mutineers emerged
from the wood and rushed toward the fort, yelling as they came.
They had covered nearly half the distance when Captain Hamilton gave
the word and the rifles spoke. Some of the bullets went high and wide,
but several of the attacking force staggered and went down. Their
comrades hesitated for a second, and the master of the Bertha
Hamilton seized his opportunity.
Follow me! he yelled. Come on!
He leaped over the rocky breastwork, and with a cheer the seamen
The check of the mutineers had been only temporary. Ditty raged and
stormed and swore at them and they regained some semblance of order. By
the time the captain and his force had fairly cleared the lava
barricade and had got into the full momentum of their charge, the
mutineers had reformed. In another instant the lines had met and were
locked in deadly combat.
There was no longer any pretense of discipline. When their guns were
empty, every man singled out his antagonist and grappled with him. The
forces were now about evenly divided, and for a time the issue was
Then came a diversion.
Out from the wood leaped Drew, whirling a heavy club, his eyes
blazing with rage and the lust of battle. Here was the chandlery clerk,
metamorphosed indeed! He was followed by Parmalee, plucky, but for the
moment breathless from the struggle through the jungle.
Shoot him, you bullies! Pull him down! yelled Ditty, seeing the
He aimed his own revolver at the young man and fired. Drew felt as
though his head had been seared by a red-hot iron. He staggered, but,
nevertheless, kept on, charging directly at the one-eyed mate.
They met. As Drew struck at his enemy with the club, the latter
flung his emptied revolver full in the face of the younger man. Drew
ducked, but could not avoid it. But the bodies of the two came
together, and they clenched.
Back and forth they strained, each struggling for a wrestler's hold
in order to enable him to throw the other. For half a minute or more
neither was successful.
But the mate was the better man in the rough-and-tumble fight. He
suddenly lifted Drew from the ground and flung him to the ground. But
Ditty fell too, landing heavily on his victim.
The shock almost deprived Drew of breath. The wound in his head had
confused him. His grasp on Ditty relaxed, and with a yell of triumph
the latter released himself, leaped to his feet, seizing the club as he
Now I've got you! he yelled, and swung the club aloft.
At that moment Captain Hamilton shot Ditty through the breast. With
a snarl, the mate, losing the club, hurled himself toward the captain
and grappled with him. They went down, the latter's head striking the
ground so that he was dazed for a moment.
The mutineer jerked the knife from his belt and raised it to strike;
but Tyke Grimshaw, who had been fighting furiously, kicked the knife
from his hand and the captain, recovering, threw his enemy from him and
Ditty did not rise. The remaining mutineers wavered when their
leader fell, then turned to flee.
After them, my lads! cried Captain Hamilton. We've got 'em on the
But the battle ended abruptly.
In the excitement of the fight, none had noticed the black cloud
shooting up from the crater so close at hand. There was a stupendous
roar, and the earth shook again as though twisted between the fingers
of a Titan. The crashing of trees in the forest, and the bursting of
hot lava spewed out of the volcano, grew into a cannonade.
Prone on the ground, terrified and bewildered before this awful
seismic phenomenon, neither belligerent party thought of fighting. Not
until the uproar and quaking had subsided some minutes later, could
they reconcile themselves to the conviction that by a miracle only were
The mutineers crept away into the forest unmolested. Gradually the
others regained self-control. Tyke nursed the lame foot which had done
such timely service in thwarting Ditty, while the captain tallied up
his losses. Two of the faithful seamen were dead, Ashley and Trent, and
several were rather badly wounded, while none had emerged from the
struggle without some injury. Five of the mutineers had been killed,
and three more were severely though not mortally wounded.
Drew had at first thought that the wound inflicted by Ditty's bullet
was slight. But suddenly a deadly weakness came over him. He seemed to
be falling into a stupor from which he tried desperately to save
himself. Ruth was bandaging his wound when she noticed his growing
faintness. She cried out in alarm.
Allen, dear, Allen! she begged. Rouse up! Don't faint!
II'm going, Ruth, he answered.
No, no; she cried desperately. I won't let you!
I'm going, he muttered, clinging to her.
You mustn't! she exclaimed wildly. Don't go, Allen! Not until I
But the next moment Drew slipped into unconsciousness.
When he awoke to find himself between snowy sheets in his old berth
with Ruth's cool hand upon his forehead and her tender eyes looking
into his, he had many things to learn. She pieced out for him the
happenings after that stark fight on the island. She told how Parmalee
had picked up a revolver from the field and played his part in the
fight; how, after the burial of the dead and aid to the wounded, the
treasure chest had been transferred to the schooner; how the remnant of
the mutineers had evaded capture and had fled to the remote parts of
the island; and, greatest of all, how that last earthquake shock had
tipped the reef again and made a new opening in the barrier that had
hemmed in the schooner. She told him, too, that in an hour the
Bertha Hamilton would be ploughing the waves of the Caribbean.
To all these things he listened with unutterable content and peace
beyond all telling. He was alive! His name was stainless! His future
was secure! And Ruth was beside him! It was heaven just to lie there,
drinking in the beauty of her eyes and breathing the fragrance of her
hair when she bent over to adjust his pillow.
And we shall soon have bidden good-bye to Earthquake Island! Ruth
Is that what you've dubbed it? he asked, smiling. It couldn't be
better christened. Earthquakes seem to be its chief stock in trade.
Except doubloons, she reminded him. Don't be ungrateful.
Tyke came in and sat patting Drew's hand, too deeply moved at first
to trust himself to speak. The captain, too, was a visitor, confidently
attributing the salvation of the party to Drew's pluck and daring. And
Parmaleea vastly stronger and healthier Parmalee than before he had
been compelled to rough itshowed himself exceedingly friendly.
It has been a great voyage for me, he said. I'm open to
congratulations, Drew. My health is so much improved, that I shall be
married as soon as we reach New York.
Drew's heart suddenly turned to ice. He knew he ought to say
something, but for the life of him he could not speak. He looked
unseeingly at Parmalee, his face the color of ashes.
Her name is Edith, continued Parmalee, with the egotism of a
lover. Beautiful name, don't you think? We've been engaged for more
than a year, but I didn't want to marry until I was stronger.
The blood flowed into Drew's face once more.
Beautiful? he cried. I should say it was! And I bet she's as
beautiful as her name. Parmalee, I congratulate you. With all my heart
I congratulate you. You're a lucky dog. Shake hands.
Parmalee's eyes twinkled.
Upon my word! you're a fellow of sudden and wonderful enthusiasms,
he exclaimed. But I can guess why. I'm not blind. Go in and win, old
Ruth came back just then, gay and radiant.
Seems to me there's a lot of noise here for a sick man's room, she
remarked, looking smilingly from one to the other. I'll have to drive
you out, Mr. Parmalee, if you get my patient too greatly excited, she
went on, shaking her finger at him with mock severity.
I imagine I haven't done him any harm, laughed Parmalee slyly.
Harm! cried Drew. You've given me a new lease on life. I'll get
well now in no time. I've just got to get well!
I was telling him about Edith, explained Parmalee.
Edith! exclaimed Ruth. Isn't she just the dearest girl? So you've
taken Allen into the secret too? Go and get her picture and let him see
what a darling she is.
Parmalee, nothing loth, rose and left the room.
You'll simply fall in love with her when you see her picture,
prophesied Ruth, as she adjusted the pillow.
No, I won't, declared Drew with emphasis.
She's one of the dearest friends I have, Ruth continued, teasingly
keeping her hand just out of Allen's reach. Of course, I knew all
about their engagement, and Mr. Parmalee's talked to me a lot about her
during this voyage. The poor fellow was so lonely without her that I
suppose he had to have some one to confide in.
A great light broke upon Drew's mind.
So that's what you two used to talk about when I was so he
hesitated, seeking for a word.
So what? she asked demurely, with a glint of the old mischief in
Oh, you know, he answered, hardly knowing how to proceed. He was
doing his best to catch her eye but could not.
He raised up and caught her by the forearm, but he was too weak to
hold her and she drew herself gently away.
I told Mr. Parmalee that he must not excite you, and now I'm acting
just as badly, she said. You must rest or you'll never get well.
Oh, I'm bound to get well now! he declared. At that moment Tyke
Grimshaw's face appeared at the doorway.
How are you making it, Allen? he questioned.
First rate, was the answer. The young man was rather put out over
the interruption, yet he could not help but remember what Grimshaw had
done for him and he gave the old man a warm look of gratitude.
We're going to have some rough sailing for a little while,
announced Grimshaw. We're going to sail through that there gap in the
reefif it can be done.
From a distance they could hear the voice of Mr. Rogers giving
orders. And the stamp of the seamen's feet announced that the Bertha
Hamilton was getting under way. Short-handed as she was, never did
sailors swing into the ancient chantey in better tune and with more
Oh, haul the bowline, Katy is my darling,
Oh, haul the bowline, the bowline haul!
Oh, haul the bowline, London girls are towing,
Oh, haul the bowline, the bowline haul!
Oh, haul the bowline, the packet is a-rolling,
Oh, haul the bowline, the bowline haul!
With anchor apeak, topsails jerked aloft and flattened, the schooner
took the wind. Although the earthquake had subsided, the waters both
inside the reef and outside were much troubled. Where the two jaws of
the rocky barrier still remained, the waves pounded and foamed
Would they be able to get out safely? That was the question in the
mind of every man who trod the deck of the schooner. Soundings had been
made, and they had learned that the lane to safety was both narrow and
If we hit, it will be all up with us, said one of the tars to his
We got ter take a chance, was the answer. Keelhaul me, if I want
to stay at this island any longer!
Closer and closer to the jaws of the reef sped the Bertha
Hamilton. Then up and down like a cork danced the schooner. For one
brief instant as she plunged through the waves and the foam, scattering
the flying spray in all directions, it looked as if nature might force
her upon the rocks, there to be battered into a shapeless hulk. But
then, as if by a miracle, she righted herself, answered her helm, and
shot through the miraculously opened lane into the blue waters of the
They were homeward bound.
A week later as the schooner was running up the Florida coast, Drew,
who had gained strength magically after his enlightening interview with
Parmalee, was standing with Ruth near the rail. Dusk was coming on, and
a crescent moon was already showing its horns in the sky, still touched
by the sun's aftermath.
In the hush of the twilight they had fallen silent. Ruth's hand was
resting on the rail. Allen reached over gently and took it in his own.
It was quivering, but she did not withdraw it.
Ruth, look at me, he said, somewhat huskily. She lifted her eyes
to his, but dropped them instantly.
Ruth, he continued, when I was hurt and was losing consciousness
on the island, do you remember what you said to me? She was silent.
Tell me, Ruth, he urged. Do you?
How can I? she said evasively. II said so many things. I was so
I remember, he said softly. I will never forget. You said: 'Don't
go, Allen, not until I tell you' What was it you wished to tell me,
Don't make me say it, Allen, she murmured, her gaze downcast.
Was it this? he asked; and now his voice was shaking. Was it:
Don't go, Allen, not until I tell you that I love you? Was that it,
She looked at him then, and her eyes were wonderful.
With a stifled cry he opened his arms, and she crept into them in
shy and sweet surrender.
His lips met hers.
He had gained the Doubloonsand the Girl.