As for the captain, he went walking about on the outlying portion of the plateau, listening and watching. But it was not stone faces he was thinking of. That night he did not sleep at all, but sat until day-break, with a loaded gun across his knees, and another one lying on the ground beside him.
When Miss Markham emerged from the rude tent the next morning, and came out into the bright light of day, the first thing she saw was her brother Ralph, who looked as if he had been sweeping a chimney or cleaning out an ash-hole.
“What on earth has happened to you!” she cried. “How did you get yourself so covered with dirt and ashes?”
“I got up ever so long ago,” he replied, “and as the captain is asleep over there, and there was nobody to talk to, I thought I would go and try to find the back of his head”—pointing to the stone face above them. “But he hasn’t any. He is a sham.”
“What do you mean?” asked his sister.
“You see, Edna,” said the boy, “I thought I would try if I could find any more faces, and so I got a bit of stone, and scratched away some of the burnt vines that had not fallen, and there I found an open place in the rock on this side of the face. Step this way, and you can see it. It’s like a narrow doorway. I went and looked into it, and saw that it led back of the big face, and I went in to see what was there.”
“You should never have done that, Ralph,” cried his sister. “There might have been snakes in that place, or precipices, or nobody knows what. What could you expect to see in the dark?”
“It wasn’t so dark as you might think,” said he. “After my eyes got used to the place I could see very well. But there was nothing to see—just walls on each side. There was more of the passageway ahead of me, but I began to think of snakes myself, and as I did not have a club or anything to kill them with, I concluded I wouldn’t go any farther. It isn’t so very dirty in there. Most of this I got on myself scraping down the burnt vines. Here comes the captain. He doesn’t generally oversleep himself like this. If he will go with me, we will explore that crack.”
When Captain Horn heard of the passage into the rock, he was much more interested than Ralph had expected him to be, and, without loss of time, he lighted a lantern and, with the boy behind him, set out to investigate it. But before entering the cleft, the captain stationed Maka at a place where he could view all the approaches to the plateau, and told him if he saw any snakes or other dangerous things approaching, to run to the opening and call him. Now, snakes were among the few things that Maka was not afraid of, and so long as he thought these were the enemies to be watched, he would make a most efficient sentinel.