Darling was silent for a moment. Then, trying to look as if the finding of the bully drifting in the harbor was rather a joke, he laughed.
“And did he capture my crew of five strong men?” he asked.
Bill Brennen grinned. “Now ye needn’t be tryin’ any o’ yer divilment on me,” he said. “The bully was as empty as Tim Sullivan’s brain-locker—an’ the holy saints knows as that bes empty enough! Sure, there wasn’t even a sail aboard her, nor a bite o’ grub nor a drop o’ liquor.”
“My five men must have fallen overboard,” said Darling, smiling. Poor John! Now, should he manage to escape and get Flora out of the skipper’s house, how was he to get out of the harbor? What had happened to George Wick? The tide must have carried the bully out of the drook, while George was asleep, and drifted it around to the harbor. He promised himself the pleasure of teaching Master George the art of mooring a boat if he ever met him again.
John Darling spent an anxious day. Shortly after midnight he was startled by a faint tapping on one of the windows. The night was pitch black, and so he could see nothing. The tapping was repeated. He rolled out of his blanket and across the floor toward the sound. His progress was arrested by a rank of boxes and flour-bags. Pressing his shoulder against these, he hitched himself to his feet, turned and leaned across them until his face was within a foot of the faint square of the window. Against the half-darkness he could now see something indistinct in shape, and all of a dense blackness save for a pale patch that he knew to be a human face. It was Mary Kavanagh. She told him briefly of the way she had turned the skipper from searching the coast for his boat and his companion; of Flora’s safety, and of how she hoped to accomplish their escape before long—perhaps on the following night. Wick was still hidden in the drook, she said. She would try to get a boat of some kind around to him on the next night; and if she succeeded in that, she would return and try to get Darling out of the store and Flora out of the skipper’s house.
The sailor was at a loss for words in which to express his gratitude.
“But ye must promise me one thing,” whispered the girl. “Ye must swear, by all the holy saints, to do naught agin Denny Nolan when once ye git safe away—swear that neither Flora nor yerself puts the law on to Denny, nor on to any o’ the folks o’ this harbor, for whatever has been done.”
“I swear it, by all the saints,” replied Darling. “For myself—but I cannot promise it for Flora. You must arrange that with her.”