For the benefit of the minds of the black men, the captain had instructed Maka to assure them that they would not be obliged to go anywhere where it was really dark. But it was difficult to decide how to talk to Burke. This man was quite different from Shirley. He was smaller, but stout and strong, with a dark complexion, and rather given to talk. The captain liked him well enough, his principal objection to him being that he was rather too willing to give advice. But, whatever might be the effect of the treasure on Burke, the captain determined that he should not be surprised by it. He had tried that on Shirley, and did not want to try it again on anybody. So he conversed freely about the treasure and the mound, and, as far as possible, described its appearance and contents. But he need not have troubled himself about the effect of the sight of a wagon-load of gold upon Burke’s mind. He was glad to see it, and whistled cheerfully as he looked down into the mound.
“How far do you think it goes down?” said he to the captain.
“Don’t know,” was the reply. “We can’t tell anything about that until we get it out.”
“All right,” said Burke. “The quicker we do it, the better.”
The captain got into the mound with a lantern, for the gold was now too low for him to reach it from above, and having put as many bars into a coffee-bag as a man could carry, he passed it up to Burke, who slid it down to the floor, where another lantern had been left. When five bags had been made ready, the captain came out, and he and Burke put each bag into another, and these were tied up firmly at each end, for a single coffee-bag was not considered strong enough to hold the weighty treasure. Then the two carried the bags into the part of the cave which was lighted by the great fissure, and called the negroes. Then, each taking a bag on his shoulder, the party returned to the cove. On the next trip, Shirley decided to go with the captain, for he said he did not care for anything if he did not have to look down into the mound, for that was sure to make him dizzy. Maka’s place was taken by the negro who had been previously left in the vessel. Day by day the work went on, but whoever might be relieved, and whatever arrangements might be made, the captain always got into the mound and handed out the gold. Whatever discovery should be made when the bottom of the deposit was reached, he wanted to be there to make it.
The operations were conducted openly, and without any attempt at secrecy or concealment. The lid of the mound was not replaced when they left it, and the bags of gold were laid on the pier until it was convenient to take them to the vessel. When they were put on board, they were lowered into the hold, and took the place of a proportionate amount of ballast, which was thrown out.