A number of men with sore heads and dry mouths made their way to the top of the cliff, across the barrens and into a thin belt of spruces. There they worked as well as they could at cutting timber for Father McQueen’s church. They were a dolorous company. The daring spirit of mutiny had passed away, leaving behind it the fear of the skipper. The courage, uplift and inspiring glow of the brandy had ebbed and evaporated, leaving the quaking stomach, the swimming brain, the misty eye. They groaned as they hacked at the trees, for the desire to lie down on the cold snow was heavy upon them; but still they hacked away, for the fear of Black Dennis Nolan, the unconquerable, was like a hot breath upon their necks. They said some bitter things about Dick Lynch.
The skipper visited the wreck, accompanied by Bill Brennen and a few of the men and boys who had not taken part in yesterday’s mutiny. The sea was almost flat and there was no wind. The hatches were broken open; and what they could see of the Royal William’s cargo looked entirely satisfactory to them—sail-cloth, blankets, all manner of woollen and cotton goods, boots and shoes, hams, cheeses and tinned meats. Though some of these things were damaged by the salt water, few of them were ruined by it. They worked all day at winching out the cargo. Next day, the men who had cooled their sore heads in the woods were also put to work on the stranded ship. With timbers and tarpaulins from the ship they built a storehouse on the barren, in the midst of a thicket of spruces. In the two days they managed to save about a quarter of the cargo. The skipper drove them hard, an iron belaying pin in his hand and slashing words always on his lips. But even the dullest of them saw that he neither drove, cursed nor threatened Bill Brennen, Nick Leary or any of the men who had kept out of the mutiny. Most of the stuff that was salvaged was put in the new store, but a few hundreds of pounds of it were carried to the harbor.
During these two days the skipper did not once set eyes on the girl he had saved from the fore-top. Mother Nolan would not let him approach within two yards of the door of the room in which she lay. It seemed, from Mother Nolan’s talk, that the beautiful stranger was always sleeping. But, through the old woman, he learned her name. It was Flora Lockhart.
When the skipper and Cormick reached home after the second day’s work on the cargo, Mother Nolan told them that Flora was in the grip of a desperate fever, upon which none of her brews of roots and herbs seemed to have any effect. She was hot as fire and babbled continually of things strange and mad to the ears of the old woman. The skipper was dismayed at the news; but his vigorous mind immediately began to search for a means of dealing with the fever. He knew nothing of any remedies save the local ones,