He paused, poured more rum and hot water, sampled the brew and continued.
“Now I feels it a shame, sir, the way Black Dennis Nolan made a fool o’ the lot o’ ye, wid his lies about Frenchman’s Cove an’ Nap Harbor. Sure, I felt desperate bad about it at the time—an’ now I feels worse. Aye, sir, worse, seein’ as how ye be sich a fine, grand ginerous young gintleman as ye be. An’ then the way he ups an’ takes all yer gold an’ fine jewels away from ye, an’ ye t’inkin’ all the time ‘twas the folk o’ Nap Harbor done it!”
“Yes, it was certainly an unmannerly trick,” said Darling, quietly. “I suppose he took it all to Chance Along—gold, jewels and everything—and kept it for himself?”
“He kep’ more nor his share o’ the sovereigns, ye kin lay to that, sir; an’ as for the rings an’ sich fancy trinkets—well, sir, he says as how we’ll all be gettin’ our share come June an’ he gets ’round to St. John’s here to sell ’em. But there bain’t no share for me, sir. I fit for me rights, I did—an’ here I be!”
The interview continued for another hour, and during the glowing, rum-inspired course of it, Dick Lynch told all that he knew of Chance Along, its manners, its skipper and its exact location. He confessed that he had never seen a great diamond and ruby necklace, but that he had seen a whole casket full of jewels and was willing to swear by all the saints aloft that the casket was still in Chance Along. He did not notice that Mr. Darling was spending all his time over one small glass of whiskey toddy. Finding the young officer a good listener and an agreeable companion, he went on to tell of the wreck of the Royal William, of the panic in the flooded cabin, and at last of the beautiful young woman with the voice like fairy bells and eyes like a mermaid’s eyes.
Mr. Darling sat up at that and laid his pipe on the table.
“A full-rigged ship, you say? What was her name?” he asked, anxiously.
“The name o’ the ship? Well, sir, far’s I kin remember it was the Rile Willyum. Aye, sir, that was it.”
Mr. Darling got excited. His face went dead white, then flaming red, and he leaned forward and gripped the fingers of his right hand in Lynch’s shoulder. But Dick was too mellow and happy to object or to feel surprise.
“And what was the lady’s name?” cried Mr. Darling. “Out with it, man! Out with it! What was her name?”
“Name o’ the lady? Lady’s name? Her name? Sure, sir, it bes Nora.”
“Nora! Don’t you mean Flora?”
“Aye, Flora. Sure, sir, Flora bes what I said.”
“God!” exclaimed Mr. Darling, leaning back in his chair. Dick Lynch smiled across at him. He recovered himself in a minute.
“With a beautiful voice, you say?” he queried faintly.
“Aye, sir. Sure, didn’t she sing a song afore the Queen herself,” returned Dick.
“It is Flora!” cried the other. “My God, it is Flora!” Then gripping Lynch again, “Did you say—did you say she—she is—well?” he whispered.