After the receipt of her second remittance, Edna and her party had taken the best apartments in the hotel. The captain had requested this, for he did not know how long they might remain there, and he wanted them to have every comfort. He had sent them as much money as he could spare from the sale, in Lima, of the gold he had carried with him when lie first left the caves, but his expenses in hiring ships and buying guano were heavy. Edna, however, had received frequent remittances while the captain was at the Rackbirds’ cove, through an agent in San Francisco. These, she supposed, came from further sales of gold, but, in fact, they had come from the sale of investments which the captain had made in the course of his fairly successful maritime career. In his last letter from Lima he had urged them all to live well on what he sent them, considering it as their share of the first division of the treasure in the mound. If his intended projects should succeed, the fortunes of all of them would be reconstructed upon a new basis as solid and as grand as any of them had ever had reason to hope for. But if he should fail, they, the party in San Francisco, would be as well off, or, perhaps, better circumstanced than when they had started for Valparaiso. He did not mention the fact that he himself would be poorer, for he had lost the Castor, in which he was part-owner, and had invested nearly all his share of the proceeds of the sale of the gold in ship hire, guano purchases, and other necessary expenses.
Edna was waiting in San Francisco to know what would be the next scene in the new drama of her life. Captain Horn had written before he sailed from Lima in the Chilian schooner for the guano islands and the Rackbirds’ cove, and he had, to some extent, described his plans for carrying away treasure from the mound; but since that she had not heard from him until about ten days before, when he wrote from Acapulco, where he had arrived in safety with his bags of guano and their auriferous enrichments. He had written in high spirits, and had sent her a draft on San Francisco so large in amount that it had fairly startled her, for he wrote that he had merely disposed of some of the gold he had brought in his baggage, and had not yet done anything with that contained in the guano-bags. He had hired a storehouse, as if he were going regularly into business, and from which he would dispose of his stock of guano after he had restored it to its original condition. To do all this, and to convert the gold into negotiable bank deposits or money, would require time, prudence, and even diplomacy. He had already sold in the City of Mexico as much of the gold from his trunk as he could offer without giving rise to too many questions, and if he had not been known as a California trader, he might have found some difficulties even in that comparatively small transaction.
The captain had written that to do all he had to do he would be obliged to remain in Acapulco or the City of Mexico—how long he could not tell, for much of the treasure might have to be shipped to the United States, and his plans for all this business were not yet arranged.