The prisoner, who gave his name as Anton Garta, was now examined in regard to the schooner Arato, her extraordinary cruise, and the people who had devised it. Garta was a fellow of moderate intelligence, and still very much frightened, and having little wit with which to concoct lies, and no reason for telling them, he answered the questions put to him as correctly as his knowledge permitted. He said that about two months before he had been one of the crew of the Arato, and Manuel Cardatas was second mate, and he had been very glad to join her on this last cruise because he was out of a job. He thought she was going to Callao for a cargo, and so did the rest of the crew. They did not even know there were guns on board until they were out at sea. Then, when they had turned southward, their captain and Senor Nunez told them that they were going in pursuit of a treasure ship commanded by a Yankee captain, who had run away with ever so much money from California, and that they were sure to overhaul this ship, and that they would all be rich.
The guns were given to them, and they had had some practice with them, and thought that Cardatas intended, should the Miranda be overhauled, to run alongside of her as near as was safe, and begin operations by shooting everybody that could be seen on deck. He was not sure that this was his plan, but they all had thought it was. After the storm the men had become dissatisfied, and said they did not believe it was possible to overhaul any vessel after so much delay, and when they had gone so far out of their course; and Senor Nunez, who had hired the vessel, was in doubt as to whether it would be of any use to continue the cruise. But when Cardatas had talked to him, Senor Nunez had come among them and promised them good rewards, whether they sighted their prize or not, if they would work faithfully for ten days more. The men had agreed to do this, but when they had seen the light on shore, they had made an agreement among themselves that, if this should be nothing but a fire built by savages or shipwrecked people of no account, they would not work the schooner any farther south. They would put Cardatas and Nunez in irons, if necessary, and take the Arato back to Valparaiso. There were men among them who could navigate. But when they got near enough to shore to see that the stranded vessel was the Miranda, there was no more insubordination.
As for himself, Garta said he was a plain, common sailor, who went on board the Arato because he wanted a job. If he had known the errand on which she was bound, he would never have approached within a league of her. This he vowed, by all the saints. As to the ownership of the vessel Garta could tell but little. He had heard that Cardatas had a share in her, and thought that probably the other owners lived in Valparaiso, but he could give no positive information on this subject. He said that every man of the boat’s crew was