The next day the work of loading the _Arato_ with the bags of gold wa_egun, and it was a much slower and more difficult business than the unloadin_f the _Miranda_ , for the schooner lay much farther out from the beach. Bu_here were two men more than on the former occasion, and the captain did no_ush the work. There was no need now for extraordinary haste, and althoug_hey all labored steadily, regular hours of work and rest were adhered to. Th_en had carried so many bags filled with hard and uneven lumps that th_houlders of some of them were tender, and they had to use cushions of canva_nder their loads. But the boats went backward and forward, and the bags wer_oisted on board and lowered into the hold, and the wall of gold grew smalle_nd smaller.
"Captain," said Burke, one day, as they were standing by a pile of bag_aiting for the boat to come ashore, "do you think it is worth it! By George!
we have loaded and unloaded these blessed bags all down the western coast o_outh America, and if we've got to unload and load them all up the east coast, I say, let's take what we really need, and leave the rest."
"I've been at the business a good deal longer than you have," said th_aptain, "and I'm not tired of it yet. When I took away my first cargo, yo_ust remember that I carried each bag on my own shoulders, and it took me mor_han a month to do it, and even all that is only a drop in the bucket compare_o what most men who call themselves rich have to do before they make thei_oney."
"All right," said Burke, "I'll stop growling. But look here, captain. How muc_o you suppose one of these bags is worth, and how many are there in all? _on't want to be inquisitive, but it would be a sort of comfort to know."
"No, it wouldn't," said the captain, quickly. "It would be anything else but _omfort. I know how many bags there are, but as to what they are worth, _on't know, and I don't want to know. I once set about calculating it, but _idn't get very far with the figures. I need all my wits to get through wit_his business, and I don't think anything would be more likely to scatter the_han calculating what this gold is worth. It would be a good deal better fo_ou—and for me, too—to consider, as Shirley does, that these bags are al_illed with good, clean, anthracite coal. That won't keep us from sleeping."
"Shirley be hanged!" said Burke, "He and you may be able to do that, but _an't. I've got a pretty strong mind, and if you were to tell me that when w_et to port, and you discharge this crew, I can walk off with all the gol_agles or twenty-franc pieces I can carry, I think I could stand it withou_osing my mind."
"All right," said the captain, "If we get this vessel safely to France, I will give you a good chance to try your nerves."
Day by day the work went on, and at last the _Arato_ took the place of th_Miranda_ as a modern _Argo_.
During the reëmbarkation of the treasure, the captain, as well as Shirley an_urke, had kept a sharp eye on Garta. The two mates were afraid he might ru_way, but, had he done so, the captain would not have regretted it very much.
He would gladly have parted with one of the bags in order to get rid of thi_ncumbrance. But the prisoner had no idea of running away. He knew that th_ags were filled with treasure, but as he could now do nothing with any of i_hat he might steal, he did not try to steal any. If he had thoughts of th_ind, he knew this was no time for dishonest operation. He had always been _ardworking sailor, with a good appetite, and he worked hard now, and at_ell.
The _Miranda's_ stores had not been injured by water, and when they had bee_ut on board, the _Arato_ was well fitted out for a long voyage. Leaving th_Miranda_ on the beach, with nothing in her of much value, the _Arato_ , which had cleared for Callao, and afterwards set out on a wild piratica_ruise, now made a third start, and set sail for a voyage to France. They ha_ood weather and tolerably fair winds, and before they entered the Straits o_agellan the captain had formulated a plan for the disposition of Garta.
"I don't know anything better to do with him," said he to Shirley and Burke,
"than to put him ashore at the Falkland Islands. We don't want to take him t_rance, for we would not know what to do with him after we got him there, and, as likely as not, he would swear a lot of lies against us as soon as he got o_hore. We can run within a league of Stanley harbor, and then, if the weathe_s good enough, we can put him in a boat, with something to eat and drink, an_et him row himself into port. We can give him money enough to support himsel_ntil he can procure work."
"But suppose there is a man-of-war in there," said Shirley, "he might sa_hings that would send her after us. He might not know where to say we got ou_reasure, but he could say we had stolen a Chilian vessel."
"I had thought of that," said the captain, "but nothing such a vagrant as h_s could say ought to give any cruiser the right to interfere with us when w_re sailing under the American flag. And when I go to France, nobody shall sa_hat I stole a vessel, for, if the owners of the _Arato_ can be found, the_hall be well paid for what use we have made of their schooner. I'll send he_ack to Valparaiso and let her be claimed."
"It is a ticklish business," said Burke, "but I don't know what else can b_one. It is a great pity I didn't know he was going to surrender when we ha_hat fight."
They had been in the Straits less than a week when Inkspot dreamed he was i_eaven. His ecstatic visions became so strong and vivid that they awakene_im, when he was not long in discovering the cause which had produced them.
The dimly lighted and quiet forecastle was permeated by a delightful smell o_pirituous liquor. Turning his eyes from right to left, in his endeavors t_nderstand this unusual odor of luxury, Inkspot perceived the man Gart_tanding on the other side of the forecastle, with a bottle in one hand and _ork in the other, and, as he looked, Garta raised the bottle to his mouth, threw back his head, and drank.
Inkspot greatly disliked this man. He had been one of the fellows who had ill- treated him when the _Arato_ sailed under Cardatas, and he fully agreed wit_is fellow-blacks that the scoundrel should have been shot. But now hi_eelings began to undergo a change. A man with a bottle of spirits might prov_o be an angel of mercy, a being of beneficence, and if he would share with _raving fellow-being his rare good fortune, why should not all feelings o_isapprobation be set aside? Inkspot could see no reason why they should no_e, and softly slipping from his hammock, he approached Garta.
"Give me. Give me, just little," he whispered.
Garta turned with a half-suppressed oath, and seeing who the suppliant was, h_eized the bottle in his left hand, and with his right struck poor Inkspot _low in the face. Without a word the negro stepped back, and then Garta pu_he bottle into a high, narrow opening in the side of the forecastle, an_losed a little door upon it, which fastened with a snap. This little locker, just large enough to hold one bottle, had been made by one of the former cre_f the _Arato_ solely for the purpose of concealing spirits, and was ver_ngeniously contrived. Its door was a portion of the side of the forecastle, and a keyhole was concealed behind a removable knot. Garta had not opened th_ocker before, for the reason that he had been unable to find the key. He kne_t had been concealed in the forecastle, but it had taken him a long time t_ind it. Now his secret was discovered, and he was enraged. Going over to th_ammock, where Inkspot had again ensconced himself, he leaned over the negr_nd whispered:
"If you ever say a word of that bottle to anybody, I'll put a knife into you!
No matter what they do to me, I'll settle with you."
Inkspot did not understand all this, but he knew it was a threat, and he wel_nderstood the language of a blow in the face. After a while he went to sleep, but, if he smelt again the odor of the contents of the bottle, he had no mor_eavenly dreams.
The next day Captain Horn found himself off the convict settlement of Punt_renas, belonging to the Chilian government. This was the first port he ha_pproached since he had taken command of the _Arato_ , but he felt no desir_or need to touch at it. In fact, the vicinity of Punta Arenas seemed of n_mportance whatever, until Shirley came to him and reported that the man Gart_as nowhere to be found. Captain Horn immediately ordered a search and inquir_o be made, but no traces of the prisoner could be discovered, nor coul_nybody tell anything about him. Burke and Inkspot had been on watch with hi_rom four to eight, but they could give no information whatever concernin_im. No splash nor cries for help had been heard, so that he could not hav_allen overboard, and it was generally believed that, when he knew himself t_e in the vicinity of a settlement, he had quietly slipped into the water an_ad swum for Punta Arenas. Burke suggested that most likely he had formerl_een a resident of the place, and liked it better than being taken off t_nknown regions in the schooner. And Shirley considered this very probable, for he said the man had always looked like a convict to him.
At all events, Garta was gone, and there was no one to say how long he ha_een gone. So, under full sail, the _Arato_ went on her way. It was a relie_o get rid of the prisoner, and the only harm which could come of hi_isappearance was that he might report that his ship had been stolen by th_en who were sailing her, and that some sort of a vessel might be sent i_ursuit of the _Arato_ , and, if this should be the case, the situation woul_e awkward. But days passed on, the schooner sailed out of the Straits, and n_essel was seen pursuing her.
To the northeast Captain Horn set his course. He would not stop at Ri_aneiro, for the _Arato_ had no papers for that port. He would not lie t_ff Stanley harbor, for he had now nobody to send ashore. But he would sai_oldly for France, where he would make no pretensions that his auriferou_argo was merely ballast. He was known at Marseilles. He had busines_elations with bankers in Paris. He was a Californian and an American citizen, and he would merely be bringing to France a vessel freighted with gold, which, by the aid of his financial advisers, would be legitimately cared for an_isposed of.
One night, before the _Arato_ reached the Falkland Islands, Maka, who was o_atch, heard a queer sound in the forecastle, and looking down th_ompanionway, he saw, by the dim light of the swinging lantern, a man with _atchet, endeavoring to force the blade of it into the side of the vessel.
Maka quickly perceived that the man was Inkspot, and as he could not imagin_hat he was doing, he quietly watched him. Inkspot worked with as little nois_s possible, but he was evidently bent upon forcing off one of the boards o_he side of the forecastle. At first Maka thought that his fellow-African wa_rying to sink the ship by opening a seam, but he soon realized that thi_otion was absurd, and so he let Inkspot go on, being very curious to kno_hat he was doing. In a few minutes he knew. With a slight noise, not enoug_o waken a sound sleeper, a little door flew open, and almost immediatel_nkspot held a bottle in his hand.
Maka slipped swiftly and softly to the side of the big negro, but he was no_uick enough. Inkspot had the neck of the bottle in his mouth and the botto_aised high in the air. But, before Maka could seize him by the arm, th_ottle had come down from its elevated position, and a doleful expressio_rept over the face of Inkspot. There had been scarcely a teaspoonful o_iquor left in the bottle. Inkspot looked at Maka, and Maka looked at him. I_n African whisper, the former now ordered the disappointed negro to put th_ottle back, to shut up the locker, and then to get into his hammock and go t_leep as quickly as he could, for if Mr. Shirley, who was on watch on deck, found out what he had been doing, Inkspot would wish he had never been born.
The next day, when they had an opportunity for an African conversation, Inkspot assured his countryman that he had discovered the little locker b_melling the whiskey through the boards, and that, having no key, he ha_etermined to force it open with a hatchet. Maka could not help thinking tha_nkspot had a wonderful nose for an empty bottle, and could scarcely restrai_rom a shudder at the thought of what might have happened had the bottle bee_ull. But he did not report the occurrence. Inkspot was a fellow-African, an_e had barely escaped punishment for his former misdeed. It would be better t_eep his mouth shut, and he did.
Against the north winds, before the south winds, and on the winds from th_ast and the west, through fair weather and through foul, the _Arato_ saile_p the South Atlantic. It was a long, long voyage, but the schooner wa_kilfully navigated and sailed well. Sometimes she sighted great merchant- steamers plying between Europe and South America, freighted with rich cargoes, and proudly steaming away from the little schooner, whose dark-green hul_ould scarcely be distinguished from the color of the waves. And why shoul_ot the captain of this humble little vessel sometimes have said to himself, as he passed a big three-master or a steamer:
"What would they think if they knew that, if I chose to do it, I could bu_very ship, and its cargo, that I shall meet between here and Gibraltar!"
"Captain," said Shirley, one day, "what do you think about the right and wron_f this?"
"What do you mean?" asked Captain Horn.
"I mean," replied Shirley, "taking away the gold we have on board. We've ha_retty easy times lately, and I've been doing a good deal of thinking, an_ometimes I have wondered where we got the right to clap all this treasur_nto bags and sail away with it."
"So you have stopped thinking the bags are all filled with anthracite coal,"
said the captain.
"Yes," said the other. "We are getting on toward the end of this voyage, an_t is about time to give up that fancy. I always imagine, when I am near th_nd of a voyage, what I am going to do when I go ashore, and if I have an_eal right to some of the gold down under our decks, I shall do something ver_ifferent from anything I ever did before."
"I hope you don't mean going on a spree," said Burke, who was standing near.
"That would be something entirely different."
"I thought," said the captain, "that you both understood this business, but _on't mind going over it again. There is no doubt in my mind that this gol_riginally belonged to the Incas, who then owned Peru, and they put it int_hat mound to keep it from the Spaniards, whose descendants now own Peru, an_ho rule it without much regard to the descendants of the ancient Peruvians.
Now, when I discovered the gold, and began to have an idea of how valuable th_ind was, I knew that the first thing to do was to get it out of that plac_nd away from the country. Whatever is to be done in the way of fair play an_air division must be done somewhere else, and not there. If I had informe_he government of what I had found, this gold would have gone directly int_he hands of the descendants of the people from whom its original owners di_heir very best to keep it, and nobody else would have had a dollar's worth o_t. If we had stood up for our rights to a reward for finding it, ten to on_e would all have been clapped into prison."
"I suppose by that," said Burke, "that you looked upon the stone mound in th_ave as a sort of will left by those old Peruvians, and you made yourself a_xecutor to carry out the intentions of the testators, as the lawyers say."
"But we can set it down as dead certain," interrupted Shirley, "that th_estators didn't mean us to have it."
"No," said the captain, "nor do I mean that we shall have all of it. I inten_o have the question of the ownership of this gold decided by people who ar_ble and competent to decide such a question, and who will be fair and hones_o all parties. But whatever is agreed upon, and whatever is done with th_reasure, I intend to charge a good price—a price which shall bear a handsom_roportion to the value of the gold—for my services, and all our services.
Some of this charge I have already taken, and I intend to have a great dea_ore. We have worked hard and risked much to get this treasure—"
"Yes," thought Burke, as he remembered the trap at the bottom of the mound.
"You risked a great deal more than you ever supposed you did."
"And we are bound to be well paid for it," continued the captain. "No matte_here this gold goes, I shall have a good share of it, and this I am going t_ivide among our party, according to a fair scale. How does that strike you, Shirley?"
"If the business is going to be conducted as you say, captain," replied th_irst mate, "I say it will be all fair and square, and I needn't bother m_ead with any more doubts about it. But there is one thing I wish you woul_ell me: how much do you think I will be likely to get out of this cargo, whe_ou divide?"
"Mr. Shirley," said the captain, "when I give you your share of this cargo, you can have about four bags of anthracite coal, weighing a little over on_undred pounds, which, at the rate of six dollars a ton, would bring yo_etween thirty and forty cents. Will that satisfy you? Of course, this is onl_ rough guess at a division, but I want to see how it falls in with you_deas."
Shirley laughed. "I guess you're right, captain," said he. "It will be bette_or me to keep on thinking we are carrying coal. That won't bother my head."
"That's so," said Burke. "Your brain can't stand that sort of badger. I'd hat_o go ashore with you at Marseilles with your pocket full and your skul_mpty. As for me, I can stand it first-rate. I have already built two house_n Cape Cod,—in my head, of course,—and I'll be hanged if I know which one _m going to live in and which one I am going to put my mother in."