“If they come here,” he said to himself, “they will know of that gold, for I cannot expect to keep such fellows out of the cavern, and if they know of it, it will be their gold, not mine. I know men, especially those men, well enough for that.”
And so, fearing that he might see them before he was ready for them,—and how he was going to make himself ready for them he did not know,—he stood on the lookout and scanned the ocean for Rynders and his men.
A PILE OF FUEL
Four days had passed, and nothing had happened. The stone mound in the lake had not been visited, for there had been no reason for sending the black men away, and with one of them nearer than a mile the captain would not even look at his treasure. There was no danger that they would discover the mound, for they were not allowed to take the lantern, and no one of them would care to wander into the dark, sombre depths of the cavern without a light.
The four white people, who, with a fair habitation in the rocks, with plenty of plain food to eat, with six servants to wait on them, and a climate which was continuously delightful, except in the middle of the day, and with all fear of danger from man or beast removed from their minds, would have been content to remain here a week or two longer and await the arrival of a vessel to take them away, were now in a restless and impatient condition of mind. They were all eager to escape from the place. Three of them longed for the return of Rynders, but the other one steadily hoped that they might get away before his men came back.
How to do this, or how to take with him the treasure of the Incas, was a puzzling question with which the captain racked his brains by day and by night. At last he bethought himself of the Rackbirds’ vessel. He remembered that Maka had told him that provisions were brought to them by a vessel, and there was every reason to suppose that when these miscreants went on some of their marauding expeditions they travelled by sea. Day by day he had thought that he would go and visit the Rackbirds’ storehouse and the neighborhood thereabout, but day by day he had been afraid that in his absence Rynders might arrive, and when he came he wanted to be there to meet him.
But now the idea of the boat made him brave this possible contingency, and early one morning, with Cheditafa and two other of the black fellows, he set off along the beach for the mouth of the little stream which, rising somewhere in the mountains, ran down to the cavern where it had once widened and deepened into a lake, and then through the ravine of the Rackbirds on to the sea. When he reached his destination, Captain Horn saw a great deal to interest him.