In the course of an hour, these four men, listening and watching keenly and earnestly, had become convinced that this black man had been on a ship which carried bags of gold similar to the rude prism possessed by the horse-dealer, that he had left that vessel for the purpose of obtaining refreshments on shore and had not been able to get back to it, thereby indicating that the vessel had not stopped long at the place where he had left it, and which place must have been, of course, Valparaiso. Moreover, they found out to their full satisfaction where that vessel was going to; for Maka had talked a great deal about Paris, which he pronounced in English fashion, where Cheditafa and Mok were, and the negroes had looked forward to this unknown spot as a heavenly port, and Inkspot could pronounce the word “Paris” almost as plainly as if it were a drink to which he was accustomed.
But where the vessel was loaded with the gold, they could not find out. No grimace that Inkspot could make, nor word that he could say, gave them an idea worth dwelling upon. He said some words which made them believe that the vessel had cleared from Acapulco, but it was foolish to suppose that any vessel had been loaded there with bags of gold carried on men’s shoulders. The ship most probably came from California, and had touched at the Mexican port. And she was now bound for Paris. That was natural enough. Paris was a very good place to which to take gold. Moreover, she had probably touched at some South American port, Callao perhaps, and this was the way the little pieces of gold had been brought into the country, the Californians probably having changed them for stores.
The words “Cap’ ’Or,” often repeated by the negro, and always in a questioning tone, puzzled them very much. They gave up its solution, and went to work to try to make out the name of the vessel upon which the bags had been loaded. But here Inkspot could not help them. They could not make him understand what it was they wanted him to say. At last, the horse-dealer proposed to the others, who, he said, knew more about such things than he did, that they should repeat the name of every sailing-vessel on that coast of which they had ever heard—for Inkspot had made them understand that his ship had sails, and no steam. This they did, and presently one of the sailors mentioned the name Miranda, which belonged to a brig he knew of which plied on the coast. At this, Inkspot sprang to his feet and clapped his hands.
"Miran’a! Miran’a.’" he cried. And then followed the words, “Cap’ ’Or! Cap’ ’Or!” in eagerly excited tones.
Suddenly the thin-nosed man, whom the others called Cardatas, leaned forward.
“Cap’n Horn?” said he.
Inkspot clapped his hands again, and exclaimed:
“Ay, ay! Cap’ ‘Or! Cap’ ’Or!”
He shouted the words so loudly that the barkeeper, at the other end of the room, called out gruffly that they’d better keep quiet, or they would have somebody coming in.