“What do you intend to do?” inquired Henry Stuart, who stood on the deck watching the sun as it sank into the ocean behind a mass of golden clouds, in which, however, there were some symptoms of stormy weather.
“I mean to wait till it is dark,” said Gascoyne, “and then run down and take possession of the schooner.”
Henry looked at the pirate captain in surprise, and not without distrust. Ole Thorwald, who was smoking his big German pipe with great energy, looked at him with undisguised uneasiness.
“You speak as if you had no doubt whatever of succeeding in this enterprise, Mr. Gascoyne,” said the latter.
“I have no doubt,” replied Gascoyne.
“I do believe you’re right,” returned Thorwald, smoking furiously as he became more agitated “I make no question but your villains will receive you with open arms. What guarantee have we, Mister Gascoyne, or Mister Durward, that we shall not be seized and made to walk the plank, or perform some similarly fantastic feat—in which, mayhap, our feet will have less to do with the performance than our necks—when you get into power?”
“You have no guarantee whatever,” returned Gascoyne, “except the word of a pirate!”
“You say truth,” cried Ole, springing up and pacing the deck with unwonted energy, while a troubled and somewhat fierce expression settled on his usually good-humored countenance. “You say truth, and I think we have been ill-advised when we took this step; for my part, I regard myself as little better than a maniac for putting myself obstinately, not to say deliberately, into the very jaws of a lion,—perhaps I should say a tiger. But, mark my words, Gascoyne, alias Durward” (here he stopped suddenly before the pirate, who was leaning in a careless attitude against the mast, and looked him full in the face), “if you play us false, as I have no hesitation in saying I believe that you fully intend to do, your life will not be worth a pewter shilling.”
“I am yet in your power, Mr. Thorwald,” said Gascoyne; “if your friends agree to it, I cannot prevent your putting about and returning to Sandy Cove. But in that case the missionary’s child will be lost!”
“I do not believe that my child’s safety is so entirely dependent on you,” said Mr. Mason, who had listened in silence to the foregoing dialogue; “she is in the hands of that God on whom you have turned your back, and with whom all things are possible. But I feel disposed to trust you, Gascoyne; and I feel thus because of what was said of you by Mrs. Stuart, in whose good sense I place implicit confidence. I would advise Mr. Thorwald to wait patiently until he sees more cause than he does at present for distrust.”
Gascoyne had turned round, and, during the greater part of this speech, had gazed intently towards the horizon.
“We shall have rough weather to-night,” said he; “but our work will be done before it comes, I hope. Up with the helm now, Henry, and slack off the sheets; it is dark enough to allow us to creep in without being observed. Manton will of course be in the only harbor in the island; we must therefore go round to the other side, and take the risk of running on the reefs.”