As we did not get to bed till four a.m. we were not up till ten; in fact, I slept but little, as dreams of treasure islands, fairy land, and wonderful nuggets of gold persistently kept me tossing about feverishly, till my comrade ran in and wanted to know if he was to dig the treasure up before I was out of bed.
I sprang out of bed and dressed, and in five minutes we were busy with paper and rule.
Hurrah! with metres instead of yards the distances tallied within a few inches, so that near the centre of the garden we had a number of pegs stuck in the mould all round a currant bush, of perhaps three or four years’ growth, which had thus accidentally marked the spot that was indicated by a skull on the paper.
Now came Alec’s turn for excitement, and he was intensely excited. I must say I liked my form of excitement best, for Monday seemed completely off his head, and was gesticulating like a monkey dancing a hornpipe on hot bricks; he was fairly beside himself. I took mine in a calmer manner, that is, although I was brimful and even bubbling over with it, I did not rave, but kept as cool as possible, and I remember at the time thinking it was due to our different nationalities, the excitable and phlegmatic temperaments predominating in the two individuals and giving character. Probably a stranger looking on would have thought us either a couple of fools or a pair of lunatics.
Off came our jackets, and our sleeves were quickly rolled above our elbows, displaying arms as brown as those of gypsies.
Monday took the pick and I the shovel, and to work we went.
I must not forget to mention that I had told Alec that whatever we found I should consider it my duty to give up to M. Oudin as the real proprietor of the island, and to this he readily assented, mentioning that he at all events could say nothing to my plans, as he was simply my assistant, my Monday.
[Illustration: Decorative scroll]
[Illustration: Decorative chapter heading]
DIGGING FOR THE TREASURE—A NOONDAY REST—THE GHASTLY TENANT OF THE TREASURE HOUSE—WE FIND THE TREASURE—AN ACCOUNT OF WHAT WE DISCOVERED.
By noon we had a well-like hole about seven feet deep, and found as we dug that the soil became drier the lower we went, which was unusual, as generally it gets more moist, so that digging at length becomes very arduous.
Although not more than seven feet deep, the earth we had piled all round made the hole look at least ten feet to the bottom, and it had now become very difficult to throw the earth over the edge of the opening above.
It was a hot August day, and the sun poured its almost vertical rays upon us, so that the perspiration broke out at every pore, and bathed us in moisture; but still we toiled on, till, as I say, noon arrived, without our finding any token of treasure trove.