Another cautious whistle from below brought them to a realization of their surroundings. They continued their downward journey and presently found George Wick. George was in a bad humor. He was cold, and he grumbled in cautious growls.
“So ye come for a girl, did ye? Well, there bes another girl in this harbor I’d like to be fetchin’ away wid me! Aye, here she bes now, wid the bully.”
Mary sprang ashore.
“Here ye be. Git yer gear aboard quick, an’ away wid ye,” she whispered, “an’ don’t forget yer promise.”
“I’ll be comin’ back for ye, one o’ these days,” said George Wick.
“Then ye needn’t, for ye bain’t wanted,” replied Mary.
John and Flora scarcely heard her; but George gave ear until the last swish and rustle of her ascent through the brush died away. Then he fell to loading the bully. Five minutes later they took their places aboard, pushed out of the little cove, stepped the mast and spread the red sail.
Flora sat in the stern-sheets. John managed the tiller with his left hand. The light breeze wafted them northward. At last George Wick broke the silence.
“Hark! What bes that?” he exclaimed.
“It sounded like gun-shots,” said John, indifferently.
“I suppose that mad skipper is fighting with his men,” said Flora—and the breath of her words touched the sailor’s cheek.
FATHER MCQUEEN’S RETURN
Black Dennis Nolan and Bill Brennen brought the loose jewels from their hiding-place to the harbor. The skipper carried the dispatch-box, and in his pockets he had John Darling’s neat little pistols, each good for two shots—the latest thing in pistols at that time. They went straight to Cornelius Lynch’s cabin, where the leading grumblers were assembled. The skipper was about to kick open the door and stuff the jewels into their insatiable maws when a guarded, anxious voice at his elbow arrested him with one foot drawn back. The voice was that of Mary Kavanagh.
“Whist!” said Mary. “Bes that yerself, Denny Nolan?”
“Aye, sure it be,” returned the skipper.
“I heard a sound on the cliff, to the north,” said Mary. “The sound o’ a horse nickerin’ an’ men cursin’ it for the same.”
“A horse?” queried the skipper. And then, “On the cliff to the north? Where the divil has ye been to, Mary Kavanagh?”
“Whist! Hark to that!” exclaimed the girl.
“Sure, skipper, ‘twas somethin’ up back yonder,” whispered Bill Brennen. “It sounded to meself like a gun slammin’ agin a rock.”
“Would it be that stranger lad?” queried Dennis, anxiously.
“Nay, he bes safe enough,” said Mary. “But hark to that, now! There bes a whole crew up yonder.”
The skipper opened Cornelius Lynch’s door, but not with his foot as he had formerly intended.