When he had finished his breakfast, Captain Horn went to work. There was to be no more thinking, no more plans, no more fanciful anxieties, no more hopes of doing something better than he had done. Work he would, and when one thing was done, he would find another. The first thing he set about was the improvement of the pier which had been built for the landing of the guano. There was a good deal of timber left unused, and he drove down new piles, nailed on new planking, and extended the little pier considerably farther into the waters of the cove. When this was done, he went to work on the lighter, which was leaky, and bailed it out, and calked the seams, taking plenty of time, and doing his work in the most thorough manner. He determined that after this was done, and he could find nothing better to do, he would split up the little vessel which the Rackbirds had left rudderless, mastless, and useless, and make kindling-wood of it.
But this was not necessary. He had barely finished his work on the lighter, when, one evening, he saw against the sun-lighted sky the topmasts of a vessel, and the next morning the Finland lay anchored off the cove, and two boats came ashore, out of one of which Maka was the first to jump.
In five hours the guano had been transferred to the ship, and, twenty minutes later, the Finland, with Captain Horn on board, had set sail for Acapulco. The captain might have been better pleased if his destination had been San Francisco, but, after all, it is doubtful if there could have been a man who was better pleased. He walked the deck of a good ship with a fellow-mariner with whom he could talk as much as he pleased, and under his feet were the bags containing the thousands of little bars for which he had worked so hard.
AT THE PALMETTO HOTEL
For about four months the persons who made up what might be considered as Captain Horn’s adopted family had resided in the Palmetto Hotel, in San Francisco. At the time we look upon them, however, Mrs. Cliff was not with them, having left San Francisco some weeks previously.
Edna was now a very different being from the young woman she had been. Her face was smoother and fuller, and her eyes seemed to have gained a richer brown. The dark masses of her hair appeared to have wonderfully grown and thickened, but this was due to the loose fashion in which it was coiled upon her head, and it would have been impossible for any one who had known her before not to perceive that she was greatly changed. The lines upon her forehead, which had come, not from age, but from earnest purpose and necessity of action, together with a certain intensity of expression which would naturally come to a young woman who had to make her way in the world, not only for herself, but for her young brother, and a seriousness born of some doubts, some anxieties, and some ambiguous hopes, had all entirely disappeared as if they had been morning mists rolling away from a summer landscape. Under the rays of a sun of fortune, shining, indeed, but mildly, she had ripened into a physical beauty which was her own by right of birth, but of which a few more years of struggling responsibility would have forever deprived her.