Black Dennis Nolan and his men found them on the land-wash, more dead than alive, dragged them back out of reach of the spray, and laid them on blankets beside a fire. The brig was well in among the rocks, going to pieces fast. After two hours of daring effort the skipper and four of his men reached her, and found the chests of French gold in the lazaret beneath the captain’s cabin. They remained aboard the wreck for nearly an hour before venturing shoreward with the treasure. They salvaged the chests at last, however, placed a guard over them, and made one more trip to the brig and back, bringing a bale or two of silk and a cask of red wine the second time. Then the brig melted and fell to pieces before their eyes. It was not until then that any one noticed that the two swarthy sailors had recovered and departed, taking with them the blankets and bottle of rum which had been employed in reviving them. The skipper swore mightily at this discovery, knocked a few of his men about, then had the chests of gold stowed on two hand-sleds and set out for home in full force and at top speed. On reaching Chance Along he learned that the two swarthy strangers had already been there, and departed with two sealing-guns and a bag of food. The skipper sent Bill Brennen and six men on their tracks, for he did not want the strangers to carry out to the world the news of the wreck of the brig and the salving of the treasure-chests. He did not follow them himself because the chests had to be opened, and their contents divided and hidden away immediately, and the chests themselves destroyed.
The gold was divided into forty equal parts. One part was given, or laid aside, for every man who had been to the Squid Rocks; two parts went to each of the men who had accompanied the skipper to the brig itself, and four were kept by the skipper. There was no grumbling this time. The harvest was rich beyond the wildest dream and had been fairly shared. The money belonging to the men who had gone after the two strangers was placed in the hands of sons, wives or fathers.
“Hide it away, men,” said the skipper, “for if them two pirates gets clear away, they’ll sure be back some day wid a crew o’ blackguards like themselves, to try to t’ief all our property away from us.”
Bill Brennen and his party returned before sun-down, carrying a wounded comrade and a dead Frenchman along with them. There had been an ambush and a fight, and one of the sailors had escaped clean away. The skipper was in a rage; but, as the faithful Bill Brennen had commanded the party and Nick Leary had been a member of it, he kept his hands and feet still and let nothing fly but curses.
Now we must look around for Dick Lynch, who did not go out of this history when he departed so boldly from Chance Along with his sealing-gun on his shoulder. Far from it. Dick was intended for greater things than he knew.