“What do you suppose,” he suddenly asked, one evening as they were talking together on their watch, “your sister meant to do with me, Federigo, if I had not escaped?”
Up to this they had avoided touching upon this tender subject, and Federigo answered, evasively—
“I’m sure I don’t know. She takes wild notions sometimes.”
“Yes—but what do you think? I know you had no hand in the matter.”
“H’m! I had rather not say,” replied Federigo, obviously relieved, but with a peculiar smile, as if his fancy was ranging not without enjoyment through the region of possibilities. “She scalded a monkey once, that had bitten her, slowly to death with boiling-water. But her ingenuity was endless.”
Salve felt a shudder run through him, and something in his face told the other that he had better not indulge his fancy any further; and he hastened, therefore, to add half in joke and half by way of consolation—
“Poor Antonio Varez will pay for her having been obliged to marry him, never fear. Yes, she is rich and happy,” he concluded with a sigh, as if he envied her; and the subject dropped.
They doubled Cape Horn, and came to Valparaiso. But, on the morning they were to enter the harbour, Salve, to his intense exasperation, was put under arrest. The captain found him too useful in keeping the crew in order forward, and therefore took the most effectual means of preventing him from putting into execution his declared determination to leave the ship on their arrival at that port.
After leaving Valparaiso they called at the Chincha Islands, took in a cargo of guano for China, and shaped their course then eastward across the calm southern ocean, whose lonely monotony was only broken by the occasional appearance of one of the larger kind of sea-birds, or by the distant spouting of a whale. On board, however, the same peace was far from prevailing. That little nut-shell that crept like a dot across the limitless expanse of waters was a little floating hell, where every evil passion raged from morning until night; and it was only by secretly fomenting discord and divisions among the crew that the officers could sleep with any sense of security in their berths. As it was, a large section of them, with the Irishman