“There!” said Prudence, her eyes sparkling with indignation. “What did I say? Didn’t I tell you that those three people would be taking a holiday soon? The idea of Mr. Tredgold venturing to come round here this afternoon!”
“He knows nothing about it,” protested the captain.
Miss Drewitt shook her head obstinately. “We shall see,” she remarked. “The idea of those men going after your treasure after you had said it wasn’t to be touched! Why, it’s perfectly dishonest!”
The captain blew a cloud of smoke from his mouth and watched it disperse. “Perhaps they won’t find it,” he murmured.
“They’ll find it,” said his niece, confidently. “Why shouldn’t they? This Captain Brisket will find the island, and the rest will be easy.”
“They might not find the island,” said the captain, blowing a cloud so dense that his face was almost hidden. “Some of these little islands have been known to disappear quite suddenly. Volcanic action, you know. What are you smiling at?” he added, sharply.
“Thoughts,” said Miss Drewitt, clasping her hands round her knee and smiling again. “I was thinking how odd it would be if the island sank just as they landed upon it.”
Mr. Chalk, when half-awake next morning, tried to remember Mr. Stobell’s remarks of the night before; fully awake, he tried to forget them. He remembered, too, with a pang that Tredgold had been content to enact the part of a listener, and had made no attempt to check the somewhat unusual fluency of the aggrieved Mr. Stobell. The latter’s last instructions were that Mrs. Chalk was to be told, without loss of time, that her presence on the schooner was not to be thought of.
With all this on his mind Mr. Chalk made but a poor breakfast, and his appetite was not improved by his wife’s enthusiastic remarks concerning the voyage. Breakfast over, she dispatched a note to Mrs. Stobell by the housemaid, with instructions to wait for a reply. Altogether six notes passed during the morning, and Mr. Chalk, who hazarded a fair notion as to their contents, became correspondingly gloomy.
“We’re to go up there at five,” said his wife, after reading the last note. “Mr. Stobell will be at tea at that time, and we’re to drop in as though by accident.”
“What for?” inquired Mr. Chalk, affecting surprise. “Go up where?”
“To talk to Mr. Stobell,” said his wife, grimly. “Fancy, poor Mrs. Stobell says that she is sure he won’t let her come. I wish he was my husband, that’s all.”
Mr. Chalk muttered something about “doing a little gardening.”
“You can do that another time,” said Mrs. Chalk, coldly. “I’ve noticed you’ve been very fond of gardening lately.”
The allusion was too indirect to contest, but Mr. Chalk reddened despite himself, and his wife, after regarding his confusion with a questioning eye, left him to his own devices and his conscience.