You seem to want this meeting, and I believe war is imminent. Let me impress upon you: Take every precaution; think out every possible step before joining action. Senor Rey is a cultivated criminal. Sorenson may prove dangerous. Framtree looks big enough to laugh—if he is cornered. The Chinese are Chinese.
I am writing at crazy speed. You should have this by noon, and lose no time after that. Oh, yes, the Savonarola carries two small boats. If the surprise is successful, these boats may be useful to eliminate the Chinese and the Sorensons. You will be armed, of course. I am just adding thoughts at random. A little red chalk-mark on the white frame of the companion-way will tell me that you are aboard, if I should miss seeing you.
Yours in excitement, but not without hope,
I know what you can do.
MISS MALLORY’S MASTERY
Bedient felt the blood warming in his veins. This was the last of “the four” nights. Miss Mallory’s determination to sail with the Spaniard was enough to spur him to attempt joining her; if, indeed, his absolute need to break the deadly ennui had not banished hesitation. He glanced through the letter again, and burned it.
“Monkhouse,” he said below, “I’ve had about enough of Coral City this time, and I’m riding back toward the hacienda this afternoon. I’m leaving a little present for you with the management of the Inn. Some time I’ll send a pony trap down for you, when I’m hungry for more tales——”
The old man was more mystified than ever, but the business of the Spaniard had to wait until he hunted up the management, with whom his relations had worn thin. Bedient found his servant, ordered the ponies, and the two rode up Calle Real, before one in the afternoon. They passed The Pleiad bluffs, overlooking the Inlet, where the Savonarola lay, and on for a mile or more into the solitude. Here Bedient sent forward his servant with both ponies and let himself down the bluff to follow the shore back.
The sand was white as paper and hot as fresh ashes. The muscles of his face grew lame from squinting in the vivid light. There was not a human being in sight on either length of curving shore, nor a movement in the thickly covered cliffs. The world was silent, except for the languorous wash of the little waves and the breathing of a soft wind in the foliage. For an hour he made his way mostly under cover around the shore to the mouth of the Inlet, from where he could see Jaffier’s gunboat on the watch.