“The skipper caught him an’ tied him up in the store,” whispered Mary, “an’ now all the men in the harbor bes searchin’ for the boat.” Then she told the story of Flora Lockhart, and disclosed a plan for outwitting the skipper that had just come to her mind.
“Sure, ye bes a wonder,” said George, who was as clay in her hands. “Aye, we’ll be putting the comather on to Black Denny Nolan, ye kin lay to that! Sure, it be a grand idee altogether!”
So they unloaded the bully and hid everything among the bushes.
“Now you must lay low,” cautioned Mary, “an’ I’ll bring yer bully back to ye as soon as I kin—or maybe one o’ the skipper’s bullies in its place. Anyhow, I’ll get to see ye agin to-morrow night. Lay low, now, an’ don’t be lightin’ a fire.”
As she stepped aboard the bully George’s mind cleared a little.
“Ye bain’t playin’ any tricks on me, I do hope,” he whispered. “Ye wouldn’t be leavin’ me here all alone by meself forever, widout me bully even, would ye now?”
“Ye kin trust me,” said Mary. Then she shoved off into the darkness.
Half an hour later the keel of the bully touched the land-wash in the sheltered harbor of Chance Along. Mary Kavanagh stepped ashore, laid the oar noiselessly inboard and set the bully adrift, and then made her cautious way up and into her father’s cabin. Snow began to fall thickly and silently as she closed the door.
MOTHER NOLAN DOES SOME SPYING
John Darling was sore, hungry and cold; but his heart was joyful and strong. He had been knocked over the head, and he had been robbed of the newly-recovered necklace and the reward of a thousand pounds; but he had found Flora, alive, evidently not ill-treated and not in any real danger save of oblivion, and with the memory of him clear in her heart. He had failed to get her away from the harbor; but he felt convinced that a way of escape for both of them would soon occur. He did not fear Black Dennis Nolan. The fellow was a man, after all. He knew that if he should come to any serious physical injury at the skipper’s hands it would be in a fair fight. Also, he knew that Mother Nolan and Mary Kavanagh were on his side—were as anxious to get Flora out of the harbor as he was to take her out. But the planks upon which he lay were as cold and hard as ice; and at last he began to wonder if even his splendid constitution would stand a night of this exposure, bound hand and foot, without serious results. He lay awake for hours, suffering in body but rejoicing in heart. At last, numb with cold, he sank into a half-doze. He was aroused by sounds at the door—the cry of a key turning an unoiled lock and the creak of rusty hinges. Then the welcome gleam of a lantern flooded to him along the frosty floor. The visitor was Bill Brennen. He stooped above the sailor and squinted at him curiously. Under his left arm he carried a caribou skin and several blankets.