The captain had been speaking rapidly and very earnestly, but now his manner changed a little. Placing his hand on Ralph’s shoulder, he said: “Now don’t be afraid, my boy, that you and your sister or Mrs. Cliff will be left in the lurch. If there were only us four, there would be no trouble at all, but if there is any talk of dividing, there may be a lot of men to deal with, and a hard lot, too. And now, not a word before these men.—Maka, that is a fine lot of fire-wood you have brought. It will last us a long time.”
The African shrugged his shoulders. “Hope not,” he said. “Hope Mr. Rynders come soon. Don’t want make many fires.”
As Captain Horn walked away toward Ralph’s lookout, he could not account to himself for the strange and unnatural state of his feelings. He ought to have been very happy because he had discovered vast treasures. Instead of that his mind was troubled and he was anxious and fearful. One reason for his state of mind was his positive knowledge of the death of Davis. He had believed him dead because he had not come back, but now that he knew the truth, the shock seemed as great as if he had not suspected it. He had liked the Englishman better than any of his seamen, and he was a man he would have been glad to have had with him now. The Cape Cod men had been with him but a short time, and he was not well acquainted with them. It was likely, too, that they were dead also, for they had not taken provisions with them. But so long as he did not really know this, the probability could not lower his spirits.
But when he came to analyze his feelings, which he did with the vigorous directness natural to him, he knew what was the source of his anxiety and disquietude. He actually feared the return of Rynders and his men! This feeling annoyed and troubled him. He felt that it was unworthy of him. He knew that he ought to long for the arrival of his mate, for in no other way could the party expect help, and if help did not arrive before the provisions of the Rackbirds were exhausted, the whole party would most likely perish. Moreover, when Rynders and his men came back, they would come to rare good fortune, for there was enough gold for all of them.
But, in spite of these reasonable conclusions, the captain was afraid that Rynders and his men would return.