Then besides, while I kept my secret I had power; everybody’s destiny was in my hands. This was a sweet thought. I felt that I should enjoy going about with a deceptive meekness, and taking the severest snubs from Miss Browne, knowing that at any moment I could blossom forth into the most exalted and thrilling importance. Also, not only did I want a share in the treasure myself, but I wanted, if possible, to divide it up on a different basis from the present. I wanted Cuthbert Vane to have a lot of it—and I should have been much better pleased not to let Mr. Tubbs or Captain Magnus have any. I did not crave to enrich Violet, and I thought Aunt Jane had already more money than was good for her. Give her another half-million, and Mr. Tubbs would commit bigamy, if necessary, for her sake.
And then there was Dugald Shaw, who had saved my life, and who seemed to have forgotten it, and that I had ever had my arms about his neck—and who was poor—and brave—
Yes, decidedly, I should keep my secret yet while, till I saw how the cards were going to fall.
I BRING TO LIGHT A CLUE
My first and all but overpowering impulse was to possess myself of a spade and dash for the wreck of the Island Queen. Sober second thought restrained me. Merely to get there and back would consume much time, for the descent of the cliffs, and still more the climb up again, was a toilsome affair. Also, reflection showed me that to dig through the damp close-packed sand of the cabin would be no trifling task, for I should be hampered by the need of throwing out the excavated sand behind me through the narrow companionway. I could achieve my end, no doubt, by patient burrowing, but it would require much more time than I had at my command before the noon-day sounding of Cookie’s gong. I must not be seen departing or returning with a spade, but make off with the implement in a stealthy and burglarious manner. Above all, I must not risk betraying my secret through impatience.
But there was nothing to forbid an immediate pilgrimage to the much-sought gravestone with its sinister symbol. The account in Peter’s diary of his adventure with the pig placed the grave with such exactness that I had no doubt of finding it easily. That done, I would know very nearly where to look for the cave—and in order to bid defiance to a certain chill sense of reluctance which beset me at the thought of the cave I started out at once, skirting the clearing with much circumspection, for it seemed to me that even the sight of my vanishing back must shout of mystery to Cookie droning hymns among his pots and pans. Crusoe, of course, came with me, happily unconscious of his own strange relation to our quest.