“It will be mighty hard on his nerves,” said he, “if he comes to know how he squatted and worked for days and weeks over that diabolical trap that opens downward. He’s a strong man, but he’s got enough on his nerves as it is. No, I won’t tell him. He is going to do the handsome thing by us, and it would be mean for me to do the unhandsome thing by him. By George! I don’t believe he could sleep for two or three nights if he knew what I know! No, sir! You just keep your mouth shut until we are safe and sound in some civilized spot, with the whole business settled, and Shirley and me discharged. Then I will tell the captain about it, so that nobody need ever trouble his mind about coming back to look for gold rings and royal mummies. If I don’t get back before my watch is called, I’ll brazen it out somehow. We’ve got to twist discipline a little when we are all hard at work at a job like this.”
He left his shoes on the sand of the cove, and swam to the ship without taking time to undress. He slipped over the taffrail, and had scarcely time to get below and change his clothes before his watch was called.
THE CAPTAIN WRITES A LETTER
On the afternoon of the next day, the Miranda, having taken in water, set sail, and began her long voyage to Rio Janeiro, and thence to France.
Now that his labors were over, and the treasure of the Incas safely stored in the hold of the brig, where it was ignominiously acting as ballast, Captain Horn seated himself comfortably in the shade of a sail and lighted his pipe. He was tired of working, tired of thinking, tired of planning—tired in mind, body, and even soul; and the thought that his work was done, and that he was actually sailing away with his great prize, came to him like a breeze from the sea after a burning day. He was not as happy as he should have been. He knew that he was too tired to be as happy as his circumstances demanded, but after a while he would attend better to that business. Now he was content to smoke his pipe, and wait, and listen to the distant music from all the different kinds of enjoyment which, in thought, were marching toward him. It was true he was only beginning his long voyage to the land where he hoped to turn his gold into available property. It was true that he might be murdered that night, or some other night, and that when the brig, with its golden cargo, reached port, he might not be in command of her. It was true that a hundred things might happen to prevent the advancing enjoyments from ever reaching him. But ill-omened chances threaten everything that man is doing, or ever can do, and he would not let the thought of them disturb him now.
Everybody on board the Miranda was glad to rest and be happy, according to his methods and his powers of anticipation. As to any present advantage from their success, there was none. The stones and sand they had thrown out had ballasted the brig quite as well as did the gold they now carried. This trite reflection forced itself upon the mind of Burke.