The Story of a Modern Treasure Hunt

CAMILLA KENYON December 1 1919


The Story of a Modern Treasure Hunt

CAMILLA KENYON December 1 1919


The Story of a Modern Treasure Hunt



IT WAS fortunate that Cookie knew nothing of the solitary grave somewhere on the island, with its stone marked with B.H. and a cross-bones, nor that the inhabitant thereof was supposed to walk. If he had, I think the strange spectacle of a lone negro in a small boat rowing lustily for the American continent might soon have been witnessed on the Pacific by any eyes that were there to see. And we could ill have spared either boat or cook.

Yet even though unvexed by this gruesome knowledge, after two or three days I noticed that Cookie was ill at ease. As the leisure member of the party, I enjoyed more of Cookie’s society than the rest. On this occasion while the morning was still in its early freshness he was permitting me to make fudge. But his usual joviality was gone. I saw that he glanced over his shoulder at intervals, muttering darkly to himself. Also that a rabbit’s foot was slung conspicuously about his neck.

Having made my fudge and set the pan on a stone in the stream to cool, I was about to retire with a view bo conducting a limited exploring expedition of my own. The immunity of the umbrellas and the assurances of Mr. Shaw—not personally directed to me, of course; the armed truce under which we lived did not permit of that—had convinced me that I had not to dread anything more ferocious than the pigs, and the wildest of them would retire before a stick or stone. Besides, I boasted a little automatic, which I carried »trapped about my waist in a business-like manner. Mr. Vane had almost got me to the point where I eeuld shoot it off without shutting my eyes.

THUS equipped, I was about to set off into the woods. Secretly I had been rehearsing a dramatic ■eene, with myself in the leading role:

Treasure-seekers assembled, including a cold and cynical Scot. Enter Virginia Harding. She wears an expression elaborately casual, but there is a light of concealed triumph in her eye.

Aunt Jane'. You thoughtless child, where have you been? Really, my state of mind about you— etc-, etc.

V. H.: Only for a stroll, dear aunt. And by the

way, in case it's of interest to anyone, I might mention that during my walk I fell over a boulder which happened to be marked with the letter B. H. and a «Toss-bones.

Immense commotion and excitement. Every gaze turned to V. H. (including that of cynical Scot) while on every cheek is the blush of shame at rememboring that this is the same Young Person whom Miss Higglesby-Browne was permitted to cut off by treaty from the ranks of the authorized treasure-seekers.

Lured by this pleasing vision I had turned* my back on Cookie and the camp, when I was arrested by pn exclamation:

“Miss Jinny!”


TURNED to find Cookie gazing after me with an expression which, in the familiar phrase of fiction, I could not interpret, though among its ingredients were doubt and anguish. Cookie, too, looked pale. I don’t in the least know how he managed it, but that was the impression he conveyed, dusky as he was.

“Miss Jinny, it’s mos’ look lak you’ ’bout to go perambulatin’ in dese yere woods?”

“I am. Cookie,” I admitted.

The whites of Cookie’s eyes became alarmingly conspicuous. Drawing near in a stealthy manner he whispered:

but once more Cookie interchile—live ones and—dead

“Yo’ bettah Miss Jinny!”

“Better not?” I repeated, staring.

He answered with a portentous headshake.

“Oh, nonsense,

Cookie!” I said impatiently. “There's not a thing on the island but pigs.”

“Miss Jinny,” h e solemnly replied,

“dey’s pigs and pigs.”

“Yes, but pigs is pigs, you k n o w,” I answered, laughing. I was about to walk on, vened.

“Dey’s pigs and pigs, ones.”

“Dead ones? Of course—haven’t we been eating them ?”

“Yo’ won’t neveh eat dis yere kind o’ dead pig, Miss Jinny. It’s—it’s a ha’nt!”

The murder was out. Cookie leaned against a cocoa-palm and wiped his ebon brow.

Synopsis:—Virginia Harding finds that her wealthy and irresponsible Aunt Jane is financing a party to go to Leeward Island, near Panama, in search of treasure, the secret of which is known only to Miss HigglesbyBrowne, an Englishwoman of strong character. She sets out i7i pursuit a?id just makes the boat in time to go along. In the party she finds a ha7idsome young Englishman na7ned Vane and a Scotchman, Dug aid Shaw, an explorer by profession, 7vho is in charge. She tells the latter that the whole thing is a conspiracy to rob her aunt. They reach the Island and start the search. Miss HigglesbyBrowne forces Virginia to sign a paper renouncing all share in the treasure when it is recovered. Vane protests but the rest of the party give their assent. Virginia then starts to explore the isla7id on her own account.

r>ERSISTENTLY questioned, he told at last how, today and yesterday, arising in the dim dawn to build his fire before the camp was stirring, he had seen lurking at the edge of the clearing a white four-footed shape. It was a pig, yet not a pig; its ghostly hue, its noiseless movements, divided it from all proper mundane porkers by the dreadful gulf which divides the living from the dead. The first morning Cookie, doubtful of his senses, had flung a stone and the spectral Thing had vanished like a shadow. On its second appearance, having had a day and a night for meditation, he had known better than to commit such outrage against the possessor of ghostly powers, and had resorted to prayer instead. This had answered quite as well, for the phantom pig had dissolved like the morning mists. While the sun blazed, what with his devotions and his rabbit’s foot and a cross of twigs nailed to a tree, Cookie felt a fair degree of security. But his teeth chattered in his head at the thought of approaching night. Meanwhile he could not in conscience permit me to venture forth into the path of this horror, which might, for all we knew, be lurking in the jungle shadows even through the daylight hours. Also, though he did not avow this motive, I believe he found my company very reassuring. It is immensely easier to face a ghost in the sustaining presence of other flesh and blood.

“Cookie,” said I sternly, “you’ve been drinking too much cocoanutmilk and it has gone to your head. What you saw was just plain ordinary pig.”

Cookie disputed this, citing the pale hue of the apparition as against the fact that all our island pigs were black.

“Then there happens to be a blonde pig among them that we haven’t seen,” I assured him.

But the pig of flesh, Cookie reminded me, was a heavy, lumbering creature. This Shape was silent as a moonbeam. There was also about it a dreadful appearance of stealth and secrecy—Cookie’s eyes bulged at the recollection. Nothing living but a witch’s cat could have disappeared from Cookie’s vision as did the ghostly pig.

For a moment I wavered in my determination. What if the island had its wild creature after all? But neither lynx nor panther nor any other beast of prey is white, except a polar bear, and it would be unusual to meet one on a tropical island.

I decided that Cookie's pig wai after all a pig, though still in tha flesh. I thought I remembered having seen quite fair pigs, which would pass for white with a frightened negro in the dim light of dawn. So far only black pigs had been visible, but perhaps the light ones were shyer and kept to the remote parts of the island. I consoled Cookie as best I could by promising to cross my fingers if I heard or saw anything suspicious, and struck out into the woods.

For all my brave words to Cookie, I had no intention of going very far afield. From the shore of the cove I had observed that the ground behind the clearing rose to the summit of a low ridge, perhaps four hundred feet in height, which jutted from the base of the peak. From this ridge I thought I might see something more of the island than the limited environment of Lantern Bay.

As the woods shut out the last glimpse of the white tents in the clearing, as even the familiar sound of the surf died down to a faint, half-imagined whisper mingling with the rustling of the palms overhead, I experienced a certain discomfort, which persons given to harsh and unqualified terms might have called fear. It seemed to me as if a very strong cord at the rear of my belt were jerking me back toward the inglorious safety of camp. Fortunately there came to me a vision of the three umbrellas and of Mr. Tubbs heroically exposing his devoted bosom to non-existent perils, and I resolved that the superior smiles with which I had greeted Aunt Jane’s recital should not rise up to shame me now. I fingered my automatic and marched on up the hill, trying not to gasp when a leaf rustled or a cocoanut dropped in the woods.

There was little undergrowth between the crowding trunks of the cocoa-palms. Far overhead their fronds mingled in a green thatch, through which a soft light filtered down. Here and there the close ranks of the palms were broken by an outcropping of rock, glaring up hot and sunbeaten at a distant patch of the sky. The air of the forest was still and languid, its heat tempered like that of a room with drawn blinds.

I gained the summit of the ridge, and stood upon a bare rock platform, scantily sheltered by a few trees, large shrubs rather, with a smooth waxy leaf of vivid green. On the left rose the great mass of the peak. From far above among its crags a beautiful foamy waterfall came hurtling. Before me the ground fell away to the level of the low plateau, or mesa, as we say in California, which made up the greater part of the island. Cutting into the green of this was the gleaming curve of a little bay, which in Mr. Shawl’s chart of the island showed slightly larger than our cove. Part of it was hidden by the shoulder of the peak, but enough was visible to give a beautiful variety to the picture, which was set in a silver frame of sea.

I had not dreamed of getting a view so glorious from the little eminence of the ridge. Here was an item of news to take back to camp. Having with great originality christened the place Lookout, I turned to go. And as I turned I saw a shape vanish into the woods.

IT WAS an animal, not a human shape. And it was light-footed and swift and noiseless—and it was white. It had, indeed, every distinguishing trait of Cookie’s phantom pig. Only it was not a pig. My brief shadowy glimpse of it had told me that. I knew what it was not, but what it was I could not, as I stood there rooted, even guess.

Would it attack me, or should I only die of fright? I wondered if my heart were weak, and hoped it was, so that I should not live to feel the teeth of the unknown Thing sink in my flesh. I thought of my revolver and after an infinity of time managed to draw it from the case. My fingers seemed at once nervously limp and woodenly rigid. This was not at all the dauntless front with W'hich I had dreamed of meeting danger. I had fancied myself with my automatic making a rather pretty picture as a young Amazon— but I had now a dreadful fear that my revolver might spasmodically go off and wound the Thing, and then even if it had meditated letting me go it would infallibly attack me. Nevertheless I clung to my revolver as to my last hope.

I began to edge away crab-wise into the wood. Like a metronome I said to myself over and over monotonously, don’t run, don’t run! Dim legends about the power of the human eye floated through my brain. But how quell the creature with my eye when I could not see it? As for the hopeless expedient of screaming, I hadn’t courage for it. I was silent, as I would fain have been invisible. Only my dry lips kept muttering soundlessly, don’t run, don’t min!

I did not run. Instead, I stepped on a smooth surface of rock and slid downhill like a human toboggan until I fetched up against a dead log. I discovered it to be a dead log after a confused interval during which I vaguely believed myself to have been swallowed by an alligator. While the alligator illusion endured I must have lain comatose and immovable. Indeed, when my senses began to come back I was still quite inert. I experienced that curious tranquillity which is said to visit those who are actually within the jaws of death. There I lay prone, absolutely at the mercy of the mysterious white prouder of the forest—and I did not care. The whole petty business of living seemed a long way behind me now.

Languidly at last I opened my eyes. Within three yards of me, in the open rock-paved glade where I had fallen, stood the Thing.

As softly as I had opened my eyes I shut them. I had an annoyed conviction that they were deceiving me—a very unworthy thing for eyes to do that were soon to be closed in death. Again I lifted my lids. Yes, there it was—only now it had put an ear back and was sniffing at me with a mingling of interest and apprehension.

The strange beast of the jungle was a large white bull-terrier.

ABRUPTLY I sat up. The terrier gave a startled sidewise bound, but paused again and stood1 regarding me.

“Here, pup! Here, pup! Nice, nice doggums!” I said in soothing accents.

The dog gave a low whine and stood shivering, eager but afraid.

I continued my blandishments. Little by little the forlorn creature drew nearer, until I put out a cautious hand and stroked his ears. He dodged affrightedly, but presently crept back again.

Soon his head was against my knee, and he was devouring my hand with avid caresses. Some time, before his abandonment on the island, he had been a well-brought-up and petted animal. Months or years of wild life had estranged him from humanity, yet at the human touch the old devotion woke again.

The thing now was to lure him back to camp and restore him to the happy service of his gods. I rose and picked

up my pistol, which had regained my confidence by not going off when I dropped it. With another alluring, “Here, doggums!” I started on my way. He shrank, trembled, hesitated, then was after me w'ith a bound. So we went on through the forest. As we neared the camp the four-footed castaway’s diffidence increased. I had to pet and coax. But at last I brought him triumphantly across the Rubicon of the little stream, and marched him into camp under the astounded eyes of Cookie.

At sight of the negro the dog growled softly and crouched against my skirt. Cookie stood like an effigy of amazement done in black and white.

“Fo’ de Lawd, Miss Jinny,” he burst out at last, “am dat de ghos’-pig?”

“It was, Cookie, but I changed him into a live dog by crossing my fingers. Mind your rabbit’s foot. He might eat it, and then very likely we’d have a ghost on our hands again. But I think he’ll stay a dog for the present.”

“Yo’ go ’long, Miss Jinny,” said Cookie valiantly. “Yo’ think I scared of any ghos’ what lower hissel to be a live white mong’ol dog? Yere, you’ ki-yi, yo’ bettah mek friends with ol’ Cookie, ’cause he got charge o’ de grub. Yere’s a li’le fat ma’ow bone what mebbe come off’n yo’ own grandchile, but yo’ ain’ goin’ to mind dat now yo’ is transformulated dis yere way.” And evidently the reincarnated ghost-pig did not.

YY'ITH the midday reunion my hour of distinction ~ V arrived. The tale of the ghost-pig was told from the beginning by Cookie, with high tributes to my courage in sallying forth in pursuit of the phantom. Even those holding other views of the genesis of the white dog were amazed at his presence on the island. In spite of Cookie’s aspersions, the creature was no mongrel, but a thoroughbred of points. Not by any means a dog which some little South American coaster might have abandoned here when it put in for water. The most reasonable hypothesis seemed to be that he had belonged to the copra gatherer, and was for some reason left behind on his master’s departure. But who that had loved a dog enough to make it the companion of his solitude would go away and leave it? The thing

seemed to me incredible. Yet here, otherwise unaccounted for, was the corporeal presence of the dog.

I had named the terrier in the first ten minutes of our acquaintance. Crusoe was the designation by which he was presented to his new associates. It was good to see how swiftly the habits of civilization returned to him. Soon he was getting under foot and courting caresses as eagerly as though all his life he had lived on human bounty, instead of bringing down his own game in royal freedom. Yet with all his wellbred geniality there was no wandering of his allegiance. I was his undisputed queen and lady paramount.

Crusoe, then, became a member of the party in good and regular standing—much more so than his mistress. Mr. Tubbs compared him not unfavorably with a remarkable animal of his own, for which the New York Kennel Club had bidden him name his own price, only to be refused with scorn. Violet tolerated him, Aunt Jane called him a dear weenty pettums love. Captain Magnus kicked him when he thought I was not looking, Cuthbert Vane chummed with him in frankest comradeship, and Mr. Shaw softened toward him to an extent which made me inly murmur, Love me, love my dog—only reversed. Not that I in the least wanted to be loved, only you feel it an impertinence in a person who so palpably does not love you to endeavor to engage the affections of your bull-terrier.

As to Cookie, he magnanimously consented to overlook Crusoe’s dubious past as a ghost-pig, and fed him so liberally that the terrier’s lean and graceful form threatened to assume the contours of a beer-keg.


A S THE only person who had yet discovered anything on the island, I was now invested with a certain importance. Also, I had a playfellow and companion for future walks, in lieu of Cuthbert Vane,, held down tight to the thankless toil of treasure-hunting by the stern taskmaster. But at the same time I was provided with an annoying, because unanswerable, question which had lodged at the back of my mind like a crumb in the throat:

By what strange chance had the copra gatherer gone away and left Crusoe on the island?

Since the discovery of Crusoe the former inhabitant of the cabin in the clearing had been much in my thoughts.

I had been dissatisfied with him from the beginning, first, because he was not a pirate, and also because he had left behind no relic more fitting than a washtub. Not a locket, not a journal, not his own wasted form stretched upon a pallet—

I had expressed these sentiments to Cuthbert Vane, who replied that in view of the washtub it was certain that the hermit of the island had not been a pirate, as he understood they never washed. I said neither did any orthodox hermit, to which Mr. Vane rejoined that he probably was not orthodox but a Dissenter. He said Dissenters were so apt to be peculiar, don’t you know?

One morning, instead of starting directly after breakfast for the cave, Mr. Shaw busied himself in front of the supply tent with certain explosives which were to be used in the digging operations later. The neighborhood of these explosives 'V. was a great trial to Aunt Jane,

—who was constantly expecting them to go off. I rather expected it too, and used to shudder at the thought that if we all went soaring heavenward together we mighr come down inextricably mixed. Then ir-v when the Rufus Smith returned and they tried to sort us out before interment, I might have portions of Violet, for instance, attributed to me. In that case I felt that, like Bill Halliwell, I should walk.

Continued on page 79

Continued from page 36

Having inquired of the Honorable Cuthbert and found that for an hour or two the boat would not be in requisition, I permitted the beautiful youth to understand that I would not decline an invitation to be rowed about the cove. Mr. Shaw had left his marine glasses lying about, and I had been doing some exploring with them. Under the great cliffs on the south shore of the bay I had seen an object that excited my euriosity. It seemed to be the hull of a Bmall vessel, lying on the narrow strip of rocks and sand under the cliff. Now wreckage anywhere fills me with sad and romantic thoughts, hut on the ■hores of a desolate island even a barrel-hoop seems to suffer a seaohange into something rich and strange. I therefore commanded the b. y. to row me over the spot where the derelict lay.

I LAY back idly in the stern as the boat skimmed over the smooth water beneath the strokes of my plendid oarsman. More than ever he looked like the island god. Every day he grew more brown and brawny, more superb in his physical vigor. But his hands, once so beautiful, were getting rough and hard with toil. There was a great raw bruise on his arm. I exclaimed pityingly.

“Oh, it’s nothing. We get knocked about a bit by the sea in the cave now and then.”

“You mean you are risking your lives

every day for the sake of this legendary treasure that you have no reasonable reason to suppose is there.”

“Perhaps not,” he admitted, “but then it’s such good fun looking, you know.”

“That’s according to one’s idea of fun,” I said ironically.

“Oh, well, a chap can’t spend his days on flowery beds of ease, of course. Really, I find this storybook kind of thing we’re doing is warm, stuff, as you Americans say. And then there’s Shaw— think of the difference it will make to the dear old chap if we find the gold— buy a ship of his own and snap his fingers at the P. & O.”

“And you’ll go along as cabin-boy or something?”

“ ’Fraid not,” he said quite simply. “A chap has his bit to do at home, you know.”

The cliffs on the north shore of the cove were considerably higher than on the other side. The wreck lay close in, driven high upon the narrow shelf of rocks and sand at the base of the sheer ascent. Sand has heaped up around her hull and flung it across her deck like a white winding-sheet. Surprisingly, the vessel was a very small one,' a little sloop, indeed, much like the fragile pleasure-boats and cluster under the Sausalito shore at home. The single mast had been broken off short, and the stump on the bowsprit was visible, like a finger beckoning for rescue from the crawling sand. She was embedded most deeply at the stern, and forward of the sand-heaped cockpit the roof of the small cabin was still clear.

“Poor forlorn little boat!” I said“What in the world do you supposebrought such a mite of a thing to this unheard-of spot?”

“Perhaps she belonged to the copra chap. One man could handle her.” “What would be want with her? A small boat like this is better for fishing and rowing about the cove.”

“Perhaps she brought him here from Panama, though he couldn’t have counted on taking back a very bulky cargo. ’ “Then why leave her strewn about on the rocks? And besides— here the puzzle of Crusoe recurred to me and seemed to link itself with this then bow did he get away himself?”

BUT my oarsman was much more at home on the solid ground of fact than on the uncharted waters of the hypothetical.

“Don’t know, I’m sure,” he returned uninterestedly. Evidently the hermit had got away, so why concern one’s self about the method? I am sure the Light Brigade must have been made up of Cuthbert Vanes. “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do or die—”

We rowed in close under the port bow of the sloop, and on the rail I made out a string of faded letters. I began excitedly to spell them out.

“I—s—1—oh, Island Queen! You see she did belong here. Probably she brought the original porcine Adam and Eve to the island.”

“Luckily forgot the snake, though!” remarked the Honorable Bertie with unlooked-for vivacity. For so far Aunt Jane’s trembling anticipations had been unfulfilled by the sight of a single snake, a fact laid by me to the credit of St. Patrick and by Cookie to that of the pigs.

“Snakes ’d jes’ be oysters on de half shell to dem pigs,” declared Cookie.

AS we rowed away from the melancholy little derelict I saw that near by a narrow gully gave access to the top of the cliff, and I resolved that I would avail myself of this path to visit the Island Queen again. My mind continued to dwell upon the unknown figure of the copra gatherer. Perhaps the loss of his sloop had condemned him to weary months or years of solitude upon the island, before the rare glimmer of a sail or the trail of a steamer’s smoke upon the horizon gladdened his longing eyes. Hadn’t he grown very tired of pork, and didn’t his soul to this day revolt at a ham sandwich? What would he say if he ever discovered that he might have brought away a harvest of gold instead of copra from the island? Last but not least, did not h:s heart and conscience, if he by chance possessed them, ache horribly at the thought of the forsaken Crusoe?

Suddenly I turned to Cuthbert Vane. “How do you know, really, that he ever did leave the island?” I demanded.

“Who—the copra chap? Well, why else was the cabin cleared out so carefully—no clothes left about or anything?”

“That’s true,” I acknowledged. The last occupant of the hut had evidently made a very deliberate and orderly business of packing up to go.

We drifted about the cove for a while, then steered into the dim, murmuring shadow of the treasure-cavern. It was filled with dark-green, lisping water, and a continual resonant whispering in which you seemed to catch halfframed words, and the low ripple of laughter. Mr. Vane indicated the point at which they had arrived in their exploration among the fissures opening from the ledge.

The place held me with fascination, but we dared not linger long, for as the T.ide turned one man would have much ado to manage the boat. So we slid through the archway into the bright sunshine of the cove, and headed for the camp.

A S we neared the beach we saw a x . figure pacing it. I knew that free stride. It was Dugald Shaw. And quite unexpectedly my heart began to beat with staccato quickness. Dugald Shaw, wrho didn’t like me and never looked at me—except just sometimes. when he was perfectly sure I didn’t know it. Dugald Shaw, the silent, unboastful man who had striven and starved and frozen on the dreadful Southern ice-fields, who had shared the Viking deeds of the heroes—whom just to think of warmed my heart with a safe, cuddled, little-girl feeling that I had never known since I was a child on my father’s knee. There he was, waiting for us, and splashing into the foam to help Cuthbert beach the boat—he for whom a thousand years ago the skalds would have made a saga—

The b. y. hailed him cheerfully as we sprang out upon the sand. But the Scotchman was unsmiling.

“Make haste after your tools, lad,” he ordered. “We’ll have fine -work now to get inside the cave before the turn.” These were his words; his tone and his grim look meant, So in spite of all my care you are being beguiled by a minx—

It was his tone that I answered.

“Oh, don’t scold Mr. Vane!” I implored. “Every paradise has its serpent, and as there are no others here I suppose I am it. Of course all lady serpents who know '.b ir business have red hair. Don’t blame Mr. Vane for what was naturally all my fault.”

“To be sure it seems unreasonable to blame the lad,” he agreed soberly, “but then he happens to be under my authority.”

“Meaning, I suppose, that you would much prefer to blame me,” I choked.

“There’s logic, no doubt, in striking at the root of the trouble,” he admitted, with an air of calm detachment.

“Then strike,” I said furiously, “strike, why don’t you, and not beat about the bush so!” Because then he would be quite hopelessly in the wrong, and I could adopt any of several rôles —the coldly haughty, the wounded but forgiving, etc., with great enjoyment.

But without a change in his glacial manner he quite casually remarked :

“It would seem I had struck—home.” Not a line of his face changed. Indeed, before my most vicious stabs it never did change. Though of course it would have been much more civil of him, and far less maddening, to show himself a little bit annoyed.

I walked away wishing the dynamite would go off, even if I had to be mixed with Violet till the last trump.

FORTUNATELY nobody undertook to exercise any guardianship over Crusoe, and the little white dog bore me faithful company in my rambles. Mostly these were confined to the neighborhood of the cove. I never ventured beyond Lookout ridge, but there I went often with Crusoe, and we would sit upon a rock and talk to each other about our first encounter there, and the fright he had given me. Everybody else had gone, gazed ar.d admired. But the only constant pilgrim, besides myself, was, of all people, Captain Magnus. Soon between us we had worn a path through the woods to the top of the ridge. The captain’s unexpected ardor for scenery carried him thither whenever he had half an hour to spare from the work in the cave. Needless to say, Crusoe and I timed our visits so as not to conflict with his. A less discreet beast than Crusoe would long ere this have sampled the captain’s calves, for the sailor missed no sly chance to exasperate the animal. But the wise dog contented himself with such manifestations as a lifted lip and twitching ears, for he had his own code of behavior, and was not to be goaded into departing from it.

One day, as Crusoe and I came down from the ridge, wn met Captain Magnus ascending. I had in my hand a small metal-backed mirror, which I had found, surprisingly, lying in a mossy cleft between the rocks. It was a thing such as a man might carry in his pocket, though on the island it seemed unlikely that any one would do so. I at once attributed the mirror to Captain Magnus, for I knew that no one else had been to the ridge for days. I was wondering as I walked along whether by some sublime law of compensation the captain really thought himself beautiful an£ sought this retired spot to admire not the view but his own physiog-

ïOSF' V .. . ....

When the captain saw me he stopped full in the path. There was a growth of fern on either side. I approached slowly, and, as he did not move, paused, and held out the mirror.

“I think you must have dropped this, Captain Magnus. I found it on the rocks.”

tpOR an instant his face changed. His evasive eyes were turned to me searchingly and sharply. He took the glass from my hand and slipped it into his pocket. I*made a movement to pass on, then stopped, with a faint dawning of discomfort. For the heavy figure of the captain still blocked the path.

A dark flush had come into the man’s face. His yellow teeth showed between his parted lips. His eyes had a swimming brightness.

“What’s your hurry?” he remarked, with a certain insinuating emphasis.

I began to tremble.

“I am on my way back to camp, Captain Magnus. Please let me pass.”

“It won’t do no harm if you’re a little late. There aint no one there keepin’ tab. Aint you always a-strayin’ off with the Honorable? I aint so pretty, but—”

“You are impertinent. Let me pass.” “Oh, I’m impert’nent, am I? That means fresh, maybe. I’m a plain man and don’t use frills on my langwidge. Well, when I meets a little skirt that takes my eyes there aint no harm in lettin’ her know it, is there? Maybe the Honorable could say it nicer—” With a forward stride he laid a hand upon my arm. I shook him off and stepped back. Fear clutched my throat. I had left my revolver in my quarters. Oh, the dreadful denseness of these woods, the certainty that no wildest cry of mine could pierce them!

And then Crusoe, who had been waiting quietly behind me in the path, slipped in between us. Every hair on his neck was bristling. The lifted upper lip snarled unmistakably. He gave me a swift glance which said, Shall I spring ?

Quite suddenly the gorilla blandishments of Captain Magnus came to an end.

“Say,” he said harshly, “hold back that dog, will you? I don’t want to kill the cur.”

“You had better not,” I returned coldly. “I should have to explain how it happened, you know. As it is I shall say nothing. But I shall not forget my revolver again when I go to walk.”

And Crusoe and I went swiftly down the path which the captain no longer disputed.


TWO or three days later occurred a painful episode. The small, unsuspected gem of it had lain ambushed in a discourse of Mr. Shaw’s, delivered shortly after our arrival on the island, on the multifarious uses of the cocoapalm. He told how the juice from the unexpanded flower-spathes is drawn off to form a potent toddy, so that where every prospect pleases man may still be vile. Cookie, experimentally disposed, set to work. Mr. Vane, also experimentally, sampled the results of Cookie’s efforts. The liquor had merely been allowed to ferment, whereas a complicated process is necessary for the manufacture of the true arrack, but enough had been achieved to bring about dire consequences for Cuthbert Vane, who had found the liquid cool and refreshing, and was skeptical about its potency.

Âunt Jane took the matter very hard, and rebuked the ribald mirth of Mr. Tubbs. He had to shed tears over a devastating poem called “The Drunkard’s Home,” before she would forgive him. Cookie made his peace by engaging to vote the prohibition ticket at the next election. My own excuses for the unfortunate were taken in very ill part. My aunt said she had always understood that life in the tropics was very relaxing to the moral fibre, and mine was certainly affected—and besides she wasn’t certain that barons wore coronets anyhow.

MR. SHAW was disturbed over Cuthbert, who was not at all bad, only queer and sleepy, and had to be led away to slumber in retirement. Also it wa* an exceptionally low tide and Mr. Shaw had counted on taking advantage of it to work in the cave. Now CuthbeTt was laid up —

“You and I will have to manage by ourselves, Magnus.”

“Nothing doing—boat got to be patched up—go out there without it and get caught!” growled the captain.

“Well, lend a hand, then. We ca* b» ready with the boat inside an hour.”

The captain hesitated queerly. Hi* wandering ©yes seemed to b© searchi*© in every quarter for something they did not find. At last he mumbled that he thought he felt a touch of the su», end hau decided to lay off for the aft» noon and make his way across the i*dand. He said he wanted to shoot waterfowl and that they had all be©n frigfcdened away from the cove, but that with the glass he had seen them from Lookout thickly about the other bay.

“Very well,” said the Scotchman coldly. “I suppose you must suit yourself. I can get the boat in shape without hete, I dare say.” I saw him presently looting’ in an annoyed and puasled fashte® after the vanishing figure of the sailer.

Mr. Tubbs and the umbrellas soe® disappeared into the woods. I believe the search for Bill H alii well's tombstone was no longer very actively pursued, and that the trio spent their time ensconced in a snug little nook with hammocks and cushions, where Mr. Tubbs beguiled the time with reading aloud—Aunt Jane and Violet both being provided with literature—and relating anecdotes of his rise to greatness in the financial centres of the country. I more than suspected Mr. Tubbs of feeling that such a bird in the hand a* Aunt Jane was worth many doubloon# in the bush. But in spite of uneasinons about the future, for the present I rooted secure in the certainty that they could not elope from the island, and that there was no one on it -with authority to metamorphose Aunt Jane into Mrs. Hamilton H. Tubbs.

THE waters of the cove had receded ~ until a fringe of roeks under the high land of the point, usually covered, had been left bare. I had watched the emergency of their black jagged surfaces for some time before it occurred to me that they offered a means of access to the cave. The cave—place of fascination and mystery! Here was the opportunity of all others to explore it, unhampered by any one, just Crusoe and I alone, in the fashion that left me freest to indulge my dreams.

I waited until the Scotchman’s back was safely turned, because if he saw me setting forth on this excursion he was quite certain to command me to return, and I had no intention to submitting to his dictatorial ways and yet was not sure how I was successfully to defy him. I believed him capable of haling me back by force, while tears or even swoons left him unmoved. Of course he would take the absurd ground that the cave was dangerous, in the face of the glaring fact that a girl who had come to this island solely to protect Aunt Jane ought certainly to be able protect herself. Besides, what right had he to care if I was drowned, anyhow? J

pools behind, each a little cosmos of fairy seaweeds and tiny scuttling crabs and rich and wonderful forms of life which were strange to me. Crusoe and I were very much interested, and lingered a good deal on the way. But at last we reached the great archway, and passed with a suddenness which was like a plunge into cool water from the hot glare of the tropic sunshine into the green shadow of the cavern.

At the lower end, between the twe arches, a black, water-worn rock paving rang under one’s feet. Further im under the point the floor of the cave was covered with white sand. All the great shadowy place was murmuring hke a vast sea-shell. Beyond the southern archway spread the limitless

pIa£ °,f 010Pacific* Near at hand bare black rocks rose from the surges, like skeletons of the land that the sea had devoured. And after a while these walls that supported the cavern roof would be nibbled away, and the roof would fall, and the waves roar victorious over the ruins.

1 WISHED I could visit the place in darkness. It would be thrice as mysterious, filled with its hollow whispering echoes, as in the day. I dreamed of it as it might have been when a boat from the Bonny Lass crept in, and the faint winking eye of a lantern struck a gleam from the dark waters and showed nothing all around but blackness, and more blackness.

From the ledge far above my head led off those narrow, teasing crevices in which tíre three explorers did their unrewarded burrowing. I could see the strands of a rope ladder lying coiled at the edge of the shelf, where it was secured by spikes. The men dragged down the ladder with a boathook when they wanted to ascend. I looked about with a hope that perhaps they had left the boat-hook somewhere.

I found no boat-hook but instead a spade, which had been driven deep into the sand and left, too firmly bedded for the tide to bear away. At once a burning hope that I, alone and unassisted, might bring to light the treasure of the Bonny Lass seethed in my veins. I jerked the spade loose and fell to.

I now discovered the great truth that digging for treasure is the most thrilling and absorbing occupation known to

man. Time ceased to be, and the weight of the damp and close-packed sand seemed that óf feathers. This temporary state of exaltation passed, to be sure, and the sand got very heavy, and my back ached, but still I dug. Crusoe watched proceedings interestedly at first, then wandered off on business of his own. Presently he returned and began to fuss about and bark. He was a restless little beast, wanting to be always on the move. He came and tugged at my skirt, uttering an uneasy whine.

“Be quiet, Crusoe!” I commanded, threatening him with my spade. The madness of the treasure-lust possessed me. I was panting now, and my hands felt like baseball mitts, but still I dug. Crusoe had ceased to importune me; vaguely I was aware that he had got tired and run off. I toiled on, pausing now and then for breath. I was leaning on my spade, rather dejectedly considering the modest excavation I had achieved, when I felt a little cool splash at my feet. Dropping my spade I whirled around—and a shriek echoed through the cave as I saw pouring into it the dark insidious torrent of the returning tide.

How had I forgotten it, that deadly thing, muttering to itself outside there, ready to spring back like an unleashed beast? Crusoe had warned me—and then he had forsaken me, and I was alone.

{To be continued)