“I will not,” he said. “I will not look for a stone with a crack around it. We have enough already. Why should we run the risk of going crazy by trying to get more? I will not!” And he replaced the ladder.
“What’s the matter in there?” called Shirley, from outside. “Who’re you talking to?”
The captain came out of the opening in the mound, pulled up the ladder and handed it to Shirley, and then he was about to replace the lid upon the mound. But what was the use of doing that, he thought. There would be no sense in closing it. He would leave it open.
“I was talking to myself,” he said to Shirley, when he had descended. “It sounded crack-brained, I expect.”
“Yes, it did,” answered the other. “And I am glad these are the last bags we have to tie up and take out. I should not have wondered if the whole three of us had turned into lunatics. As for me, I have tried hard to stop thinking about the business, and I have found that the best thing I could do was to try and consider the stuff in these bags as coal—good, clean, anthracite coal. Whenever I carried a bag, I said to myself, ‘Hurry up, now, with this bag of coal.’ A ship-load of coal, you know, is not worth enough to turn a man’s head.”
“That was not a bad idea,” said the captain. “But now the work is done, and we will soon get used to thinking of it without being excited about it. There is absolutely no reason why we should not be as happy and contented as if we had each made a couple of thousand dollars apiece on a good voyage.”
“That’s so,” said Shirley, “and I’m going to try to think it.”
When the last bag had been put on board, Burke and the captain were walking about the caves looking here and there to take a final leave of the place. Whatever the captain considered of value as a memento of the life they had led here had been put on board.
“Captain,” said Burke, “did you take all the gold out of that mound?”
“Every bit of it,” was the reply.
“You didn’t leave a single lump for manners?”
“No,” said the captain. “I thought it better that whoever discovered that empty mound after us should not know what had been in it. You see, we will have to circulate these bars of gold pretty extensively, and we don’t want anybody to trace them back to the place where they came from. When the time comes, we will make everything plain and clear, but we will want to do it ourselves, and in our own way.”
“There is sense in that,” said Burke. “There’s another thing I want to ask you, captain. I’ve been thinking a great deal about that mound, and it strikes me that there might be a sub-cellar under it, a little one, most likely, with something else in it—rings and jewels, and nobody knows what not. Did you see if there was any sign of a trap-door?”