“You can’t imagine,” exclaimed Ralph, “how I hate to go away and leave it! There is no knowing when the captain will get here, nor who will drop in on the place before he does. I tell you, Edna, I believe it would be a good plan for me to stay here with those two black fellows, and wait for the captain. You two could go on the ship, and write to him. I am sure he would be glad to know I am keeping guard here, and I don’t know any better fun than to be on hand when he unearths the treasure. There’s no knowing what is at the bottom of that mound.”
“Nonsense!” exclaimed Edna. “You can put that idea out of your head instantly. I would not think of going away and leaving you here. If the captain had wanted you to stay, he would have said so.”
“If the captain wanted!” sarcastically exclaimed Ralph. “I am tired of hearing what the captain wants. I hope the time will soon come when those yellow bars of gold will be divided up, and then I can do what I like without considering what he likes.”
Mrs. Cliff could not help a sigh. “Dear me!” said she, “I do most earnestly hope that time may come. But we are leaving it all behind us, and whether we will ever hear of it again nobody knows.”
One hour after this Edna and Mrs. Cliff were standing on the deck of the Mary Bartlett, watching the plateau of the great stone face as it slowly sank into the horizon.
“Edna,” said the elder lady, “I have liked you ever since I have known you, and I expect to like you as long as I live, but I must say that, for an intelligent person, you have the most colorless character I have ever seen. Whatever comes to pass, you receive it as quietly and calmly as if it were just what you expected and what you happened to want, and yet, as long as I have known you, you have not had anything you wanted.”
“You are mistaken there,” said Edna. “I have got something I want.”
“And what may that be?” asked the other.
“Captain Horn,” said Edna.
Mrs. Cliff laughed a little scornfully. “If you are ever going to get any color out of your possession of him,” she said, “he’s got to very much change the style of his letter-writing. He has given you his name and some of his money, and may give you more, but I must say I am very much disappointed in Captain Horn.”
Edna turned suddenly upon her companion. “Color!” she exclaimed, but she did not finish her remark, for Ralph came running aft.
“A queer thing has happened,” said he: “a sailor is missing, and he is one of the men who went on shore for us. They don’t know what’s become of him, for the mate is sure he brought all his men back with him, and so am I, for I counted them to see that there were no stragglers left, and all the people who were in that boat came on board. They think he may have fallen overboard after the ship sailed, but nobody heard a splash.”
“Poor fellow!” exclaimed Mrs. Cliff, “and he was one of those who came to save us!”