Thedori was the first to speak, and I could see that his small black eyes glittered dangerously when he looked at me.
“We have met before, senor,” he said, addressing me, as he had done at our first meeting, as though I was a Spaniard.
“Yes,” I answered; “I was once the King’s guest, welcomed with fair words, and offered the hospitality of his kingdom. Yet, had not chance intervened, I doubt I had been here to-day to welcome the King as a guest, in my turn, aboard this vessel.”
Thedori rose, and went to the cabin door. It was locked, but he showed no surprise at finding himself a prisoner. He had probably heard the captain turn the key on the other side of the door when he went out.
“What is it you want of me?” he asked, coming back to the table and resuming his seat. He spoke with assumed carelessness, but I could see that his face was livid. I pushed the wine-jar toward him.
“Drink,” I said. “You will need it. The wine is not poisoned.”
With the ghost of a smile he filled a goblet which stood at his elbow, but his hand shook when he raised it to his lips.
And now the noise of the anchor being hove aboard, and the usual commotion on deck preparatory to setting sail, arrested his attention.
“Come,” said he, “I would make terms with you. What is it you want.”
But at this I shook my head.
“Promises and fair words once broken cannot be repeated,” I answered. “Besides, I am not alone in this business. There are others who must be consulted. But you will soon learn the terms of your ransom.”
At this I thought he appeared relieved. He probably expected that we intended to murder him.
I had given instructions for a prize crew to be put on board the frigate, so that both vessels might leave the harbour together and presently I felt, by the motion of the ship, that the “Speedwell” was at sea.
During our passage to the place where Hartog awaited us, King Thedori and I continued to sit, one on each side of the cabin table, without speaking, and when we had cast anchor, and Hartog joined us, Thedori, who had made up his mind to the inevitable, calmly awaited our terms, which, stated briefly, were that he should pay for his ransom, to each ship, one hundred pearls of the size of dove’s eggs, and that the cargo of the frigate was to be transferred to the “Golden Seahorse”. To the first part of our demand the King made some demur, but when we threatened to take him away with us on our voyage home, he promised to send some of the big-eared men for his ransom if we would give him speech with their chief. To the latter part of our demand Thedori readily agreed.
“You will find nothing on board the frigate,” he said, “but some bags of stone ballast in the hold. Everything else of value has long since been taken on shore, and is being made use of by my people.”