“Jupiter!” said St. George under breath.
In a flash the whole matter was clear to him. Prince Tabnit had delivered no such message from the people of Yaque, but had contented himself with the mere intimation that in some vanishing future she would be expected to ascend the throne. And he had done this only when Olivia herself had sought him out after an attempt had been made upon her life by his servant. It seemed to St. George far from improbable that the woman had been acting under the prince’s instructions and, that failing, he himself had appeared and obligingly placed the daughter of King Otho precisely within the prince’s power. Now she was gone with him, in the hope of aiding her father, to meet Heaven knew what peril in this pagan island; and he, St. George, was wholly to blame from first to last.
“Good Heavens,” he groaned, “are you sure—but are you sure?”
“It is simple, adon,” said the man, “we came with this message from the people of Yaque. A day before we were to land, Akko and I—I am Jarvo—overheard the prince plan with the others to tell her nothing—nothing that the people desire. When they knew that we had heard they locked us up and we have only this morning escaped from the submarine. If the prince has told her this message everything is well. But as for us, I do not know. The prince has gone.”
“He told her nothing—nothing,” said St. George, “but that her father and the Hereditary Treasure have disappeared. And he has taken her with him. She has gone with him.”
Deaf alike to their exclamations and their questions St. George sat staring unseeingly through the window, his mind an abyss of fear. Then the cab drew up at the door of his hotel and he turned upon the two men precipitantly.
“See,” he cried, “in a boat on the open sea, would you two be at all able to direct a course to Yaque?”
Both men smiled suddenly and brilliantly.
“But we have stolen a chart,” announced Jarvo with great simplicity, “not knowing what thing might befall.”
St. George wrenched at the handle of the cab door. He had a glimpse of Amory within, just ringing the elevator bell, and he bundled the two little men into the lobby and dashed up to him.
“Come on, old Amory,” he told him exultingly. “Heaven on earth, put out that pipe and pack. We leave for Yaque to-night!”
DUSK, AND SO ON
Dusk on the tropic seas is a ceremony performed with reverence, as if the rising moon were a priestess come among her silver vessels. Shadows like phantom sails dip through the dark and lie idle where unseen crafts with unexplained cargoes weigh anchor in mid-air. One almost hears the water cunningly lap upon their invisible sides.
To Little Cawthorne, lying luxuriously in a hammock on the deck of The Aloha, fancies like these crowded pleasantly, and slipped away or were merged in snatches of remembered songs. His hands were clasped behind his head, one foot was tapping the deck to keep the hammock in motion while strange compounds of tune and time broke aimlessly from his lips.