Up to the point of the headland, and back, passed the boat. Blank disappointment was the result.
“What is your opinion now, Dr. Trendon?” asked the captain of the older man.
“Don’t know, sir,” answered the surgeon hopelessly. “Looks as if the cave might have been a hallucination.”
“I shall have something to say to Mr. Slade on our return,” said the captain crisply. “If the cave was an hallucination, as you suggest, the seal-murder was fiction.”
“Looks so,” agreed the other.
“And the murder of the captain. How about that?”
“And the mutiny of the men,” added the surgeon.
“And the killing of the doctor. Your patient seems to be a romantic genius.”
“And the escape of Darrow. Hold hard,” quoth Trendon. “Darrow’s no romance. Nothing fictional about the flag and ledger.”
“True enough,” said the captain, and fell to consideration.
“Anyway,” said Trendon vigorously, “I’d like to have a look at those bird-roosts. Mighty like signposts, to my mind.”
“Very well,” said the captain. “It’ll cost us only a wetting. Run her in, Congdon.”
With all the coxswain’s skill, and the oarsmen’s technique, the passage of the surf was a lively one, and little driblets of water marked the trail of the officers as they shuffled up the beach.
The two slabs stood less than fifty yards beyond high water tide. Nearing them, the visitors saw that each marked a mound, but not until they were close up could they read the neat carving on the first. It ran as follows:
who murdered his employer,
his captain, and his shipmates,
and was found, dead
of his deserts, on these shores,
June 5, 1904.
This slab is erected as a
memento of admiring esteem
the last of his victims.
“And you can kiss the
Book on that."_
“Percy Darrow fecit,” said the surgeon. “You can kiss the Book on that, too.”
“Then Slade was telling the truth!”
“Apparently. Seems good corroboration.”
The captain turned to the other mound. Its slab was carved by the same hand.
Sacred to the memory of an Ensign of the U. S. Navy, whose body, washed upon this coast, is here buried with all reverence, by strange hands; whose soul may God rest. “The seas shall sing his requiem.” June the Sixth, MXMIV.
“Billy Edwards,” said the captain, very low.
He uncovered. The surgeon did likewise. So, for a space, they stood with bared heads between the twin graves.
THE PINWHEEL VOLCANO
The surgeon spoke first.
“Another point,” said he. “Darrow was alive within a few days.”
Captain Parkinson turned slowly away from the grave. “You are right,” he said, with an effort. “Our business is with the living now. The dead must wait.”