The crew looked on in moody silence. They knew that their lives were imperiled; but they felt that they had no resource! No one dared to address the silent, stern man who stood like an iron statue at the helm the whole of that night. Towards morning, he steered out from among the dangerous coral reefs, and ran south straight before the wind.
Then Corrie summoned up courage, and, going aft to Gascoyne, looked up in his face and said:
“You’re searching for Henry, I think?”
“Yes, boy, I am,” answered the pirate, and a gleam of kindliness crossed his face for a moment; but it was quickly chased away by a look of deep anxiety, and Corrie retired.
Now that the danger of the night was over, all the people on board became anxious to save Henry, or ascertain his fate; but although they searched the ocean far and wide, they saw not a vestige of him or of the Wasp. During this period Gascoyne acted like a bewildered man. He never quitted the helm night or day. He only ate a biscuit now and then when it was brought to him, and he did not answer when he was spoken to.
Every one felt sympathy with the man who seemed to mourn so deeply for the lost youth.
At last Montague went up to him and said, in a gentle voice: “I fear that Henry is gone.”
Gascoyne started as if a sword had pierced him. For one moment he looked fiercely in the young captain’s face; then an expression of the deepest sadness overspread his countenance as he said: “Do you think there is no hope?”
“None,” said Montague. “I grieve to give pain to one who seems to have been an intimate friend of the lad.”
“He was the son of my oldest and best friend. What would you advise, Mr. Montague?”
“I think—that is to say, don’t you think—that it would be as well to put about now?”
Gascoyne’s head dropped on his chest, and for some moments he stood speechless, while his strong hands played nervously with the tiller that they had held so long and so firmly. At last he looked up and said, in a low voice: “I resign the schooner into your hands, Mr. Montague.”
Then he went slowly below, and shut himself up in his cabin.
Montague at once put down the helm, and, pointing the schooner’s prow northward, steered for the harbor of Sandy Cove.
SURLY DICK THE RESCUE.
We must turn aside here for a short time to follow the fortunes of the Talisman.
When that vessel went in chase of the Foam, after her daring passage across the reefs, she managed to keep her in view until the island was out of sight astern. Then the increasing darkness caused by the squall hid the two vessels from each other, and before the storm passed away the superior sailing qualities of the Foam carried her far beyond the reach of the cruiser.