The Adventures of Captain Horn eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 376 pages of information about The Adventures of Captain Horn.

Burke shook his head.  “We’ll do what we can, captain,” said he, “but that hold’s a regular fishpond, and we’ll have to dive for the bags.”

“All right,” said the captain, “dive let it be.”

The work of removing the gold began immediately.  Tackle was rigged.  The negroes went below to get out the bags, which were hauled up to the deck in a tub.  When a moderate boat-load had been taken out, a boat was lowered and manned, and the bags passed down to it.

In the first boat the captain went ashore.  He considered it wise to land the treasure as fast as it could be taken out of the hold, for no one could know at what time, whether on account of wind from shore or waves from the sea, the vessel might slip out into deep water.  This was a slower method than if everybody had worked at getting the gold on deck, and then everybody had worked at getting it ashore, but it was a safer plan than the other, for if an accident should occur, if the brig should be driven off the sand, they would have whatever they had already landed.  As this thought passed through the mind of the captain, he could not help a dismal smile.

“Have!” said he to himself.  “It may be that we shall have it as that poor fellow had his bag of gold, when he lay down on his back to die there in the wild desert.”

But no one would have imagined that such an idea had come into the captain’s mind.  He worked as earnestly, and as steadily, as if he had been landing an ordinary cargo at an ordinary dock.

The captain and the men in the boat carried the bags high up on the beach, out of any danger from tide or surf, and laid them in a line along the sand.  The captain ordered this because it would be easier to handle them afterwards—­if it should ever be necessary to handle them—­than if they had been thrown into piles.  If they should conclude to bury them, it would be easier and quicker to dig a trench along the line, and tumble them in, than to make the deep holes that would otherwise be necessary.

Until dark that day, and even after dark, they worked, stopping only for necessary eating and drinking.  The line of bags upon the shore had grown into a double one, and it became necessary for the men, sometimes the white and sometimes the black, to stoop deeper and deeper into the water of the hold to reach the bags.  But they worked on bravely.  In the early dawn of the next morning they went to work again.  Not a negro had given the ship the slip, nor were there any signs that one of them had thought of such a thing.

Backward and forward through the low surf went the boat, and longer and wider and higher grew the mass of bags upon the beach.

It was the third day after they had reached shore that the work was finished.  Every dripping bag had been taken out of the hold, and the captain had counted them all as they had been put ashore, and verified the number by the record in his pocket-book.

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The Adventures of Captain Horn from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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