Often and often he wondered what the others were thinking about this affair, and whether or not they would all be able to keep the secret until he returned. He was somewhat afraid of Mrs. Cliff. He believed her to be an honorable woman who would not break her word, but still he did not know all her ideas in regard to her duty. She might think there was some one to whom she ought to confide what had happened, and what was expected to happen, and if she should do this, there was no reason why he should not, some day, descry a ship in the offing with treasure-hunters on board.
Ralph gave him no concern at all, except that he was young, and the captain could foretell the weather much better than the probable actions of a youth.
But these passing anxieties never amounted to suspicions. It was far better to believe in Mrs. Cliff and Ralph, and he would do it; and every time he thought of the two, he determined to believe in them. As to Edna, there was no question about believing in her. He did so without consideration for or against belief.
The captain did not like his solitary life. How happy he would have been if they could all have remained here; if the guano could have been brought without the crew of the schooner knowing that there were people in the caves; if the negroes could have carried the bags of gold; if every night, after having superintended their labors, he could have gone back to the caves, which, with the comforts he could have brought from Lima, would have made a very habitable home; if—But these were reflections which were always doomed to banishment as soon as the captain became aware of the enthralment of their charm, and sturdily onward, endeavoring to fix his mind upon some better sailor’s knot with which to tie up his bundles, or to plant his feet where his tracks would soon be obliterated by the incoming waves, the strong man trudged, bearing bravely the burden of his golden hopes.
HIS PRESENT SHARE
With four trips a day from the caves to the cove, taking time for rests, for regular meals, and for sleep, and not working on Sundays,—for he kept a diary and an account of days,—the captain succeeded in a little over three weeks in loading his bags of guano, each with a package of golden bars, some of which must have weighed as much as fifteen pounds.
When this work had been accomplished, he began to consider the return of the schooner. But he had no reason to expect her yet, and he determined to continue his work. Each day he brought eight canvas bags of gold from the caves, and making them up into small bundles, he buried them in the sand under his tent. When a full month had elapsed since the departure of the schooner, he began to be very prudent, keeping a careful lookout seaward, as he walked the beach, and never entering the caves without mounting a high point of the rocks and thoroughly scanning the ocean. If, when bearing his burden of gold, he should have seen a sail, he would have instantly stopped and buried his bags in the sand, wherever he might be.