“You are wanted on the schooner,” said he, “for none of the rest can cook, and you are not wanted here, so you must go with the others; and when you come back with the second load of guano, it will not be long before the ship which I have engaged to take away the guano will touch here, and then we will all go north together.”
Maka smiled, and tried to be satisfied. He and the other negroes had been greatly grieved that the captain had not seen fit to go north from Callao, and take them with him. Their one desire was to get away from this region, so full of horrors to them, as soon as possible. But they had come to the conclusion that, as the captain had lost his ship, he must be poor, and that it was necessary for him to make a little money before he returned to the land of his home.
Fortune was on the captain’s side the next day, for the wind was favorable, and the captain of the schooner was very willing to start. If that crew, with nothing to do, had been compelled by adverse weather to remain in that little cove for a day or more, it might have been very difficult indeed for Captain Horn to prevent them from wandering into the surrounding country, and what might have happened had they chanced to wander into the cave made the captain shudder to conjecture.
He had carefully considered this danger, and on the voyage he had made several plans by which he could keep the men at work, in case they were obliged to remain in the cove after the cargo had been landed. Happily, however, none of these schemes was necessary, and the next day, with a western wind, and at the beginning of the ebb-tide, the schooner sailed away for another island where Captain Horn had purchased guano, leaving him alone upon the sandy beach, apparently as calm and cool as usual, but actually filled with turbulent delight at seeing them depart.
IN THE GATES
When the topmasts of the Chilian schooner had disappeared below the horizon line, with no reason to suppose that the schooner would put back again, Captain Horn started for the caves. Had he obeyed his instincts, he would have begun to stroll along the beach as soon as the vessel had weighed anchor. But even now, as he hurried on, he walked prudently, keeping close to the water, so that the surf might wash out his footsteps as fast as he made them. He climbed over the two ridges to the north of Rackbirds’ Cove, and then made his way along the stretch of sand which extended to the spot where the party had landed when he first reached this coast. He stopped and looked about him, and then, in fancy, he saw Edna standing upon the beach, her face pale, her eyes large and supernaturally dark, and behind her Mrs. Cliff and the boy and the two negroes. Not until this moment had he felt that he was alone. But now there came a great desire to speak and be spoken to, and yet that very morning he had spoken and listened as much as had suited him.