Part 7 out of 7
looked just like those of a man who really had been my captain, and that
I now see you are two entirely different men. I will make a good tale of
it, captain, and I will stick to it--you can rely on that. By all the
saints, I hope those two fellows at the door don't understand Spanish!"
The professor had made himself sure that the guards who accompanied him
spoke nothing but French. Without referring to Banker's proposed bargain,
he said to him, "Was the captain of the bandits under whom you served a
"Yes, you were a Spaniard," said Banker.
"From what part of Spain did he come?"
"You let out several times that you once lived in Granada."
"What was that captain's real name?" asked the professor.
"Your name was Raminez--unless, indeed," and here his face clouded a
little, "unless, indeed, you tricked us. But I have pumped you well on
that point, and, drunk or sober, it was always Raminez."
"Raminez, then, a Spaniard of my appearance," said the professor, "was
your captain when you were in a band called the Rackbirds, which had its
rendezvous on the coast of Peru?"
"Yes, you were all that," said Banker.
"Very well, then," said Barre. "I have nothing more to say to you at
present," and he turned and left the cell. The guards followed, and the
door was closed.
Banker remained dumb with amazement. When he had regained his power of
thought and speech, he fell into a state of savage fury, which could be
equalled by nothing living, except, perhaps, by a trapped wildcat, and
among his objurgations, as he strode up and down his cell, the most
prominent referred to the new and incomprehensible trick which this
prince of human devils had just played upon him. That he had been talking
to his old captain he did not doubt for a moment, and that that captain
had again got the better of him he doubted no less.
It may be stated here that, the evening before, the professor had had a
long talk with Ralph regarding the Rackbirds and their camp. Professor
Barre had heard something of the matter before, but many of the details
were new to him.
When Ralph left him, the professor gave himself up to reflections upon
what he had heard, and he gradually came to believe that there might
be some reason for his identification as the bandit captain by the
For five or six years there had been inquiries on foot concerning the
second son of Senor Blanquote of Granada, whose elder brother had died
without heirs, and who, if now living, would inherit Blanquote's estates.
It was known that this man had led a wild and disgraceful career, and it
was also ascertained that he had gone to America, and had been known on
the Isthmus of Panama and elsewhere by the name of Raminez. Furthermore,
Professor Barre had been frequently told by his mother that when he was a
boy she had noticed, while on a visit to Spain, that he and this cousin
very much resembled each other.
It is not necessary to follow out the legal steps and inquiries, based
upon the information which he had had from Ralph and from Banker, which
were now made by the professor. It is sufficient to state that he was
ultimately able to prove that the Rackbird chief known as Raminez was, in
reality, Tomaso Blanquote, that he had perished on the coast of Peru, and
that he, the professor, was legal heir to the Blanquote estates.
Barre had not been able to lead his pupil to as high a place in the
temple of knowledge as he had hoped, but, through his acquaintance with
that pupil, he himself had become possessed of a castle in Spain.
THE CAPTAIN TAKES HIS STAND
It was now July, and the captain and Edna had returned to Paris. The
world had been very beautiful during their travels in England, and
although the weather was beginning to be warm, the world was very
beautiful in Paris. In fact, to these two it would have been beautiful
almost anywhere. Even the desolate and arid coast of Peru would have been
to them as though it were green with herbage and bright with flowers.
The captain's affairs were not yet definitely arranged, for the final
settlement would depend upon negotiations which would require time, but
there was never in the world a man more thoroughly satisfied than he. And
whatever happened, he had enough; and he had Edna. His lawyers had made a
thorough investigation into the matter of his rights to the treasure he
had discovered and brought to Europe, and they had come to a conclusion
which satisfied them. This decision was based upon equity and upon the
laws and usages regarding treasure-trove.
The old Roman law upon the subject, still adhered to by some of the Latin
countries of Europe, gave half of a discovered treasure to the finder,
and half to the crown or state, and it was considered that a good legal
stand could be taken in the present instance upon the application of this
ancient law to a country now governed by the descendants of Spaniards.
Whether or not the present government of Peru, if the matter should be
submitted to it, would take this view of the case, was a subject of
conjecture, of course, but the captain's counsel strongly advised him to
take position upon the ground that he was entitled to half the treasure.
Under present circumstances, when Captain Horn was so well prepared to
maintain his rights, it was thought that the Peruvian authorities might
easily be made to see the advisability of accepting a great advantage
freely offered, instead of endeavoring to obtain a greater advantage, in
regard to which it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to legally
prove anything or to claim anything.
Therefore, it was advised that a commission should be sent to Lima to
open negotiations upon the subject, with instructions to make no
admissions in regard to the amount of the treasure, its present places of
deposit, or other particulars, until the Peruvian government should
consent to a satisfactory arrangement.
To this plan Captain Horn consented, determining, however, that, if the
negotiations of his commission should succeed, he would stipulate that at
least one half the sum paid to Peru should be devoted to the advantage of
the native inhabitants of that country, to the establishment of schools,
hospitals, libraries, and benefactions of the kind. If the commission
should not succeed, he would then attend to the matter in his own way.
Thus, no matter what happened, he would still insist upon his claim
to one fifth of the total amount as his pay for the discovery of the
treasure, and in this claim his lawyers assured him he could be
Other matters were in a fair way of settlement. The captain had made
Shirley and Burke his agents through whom he would distribute to the
heirs of the crew of the _Castor_ their share of the treasure which had
been apportioned to them, and the two sailors had already gone to America
upon this mission. How to dispose of the _Arato_ had been a difficult
question, upon which the captain had taken legal advice. That she had
started out from Valparaiso with a piratical crew, that those pirates had
made an attack upon him and his men, and that, in self-defence, he had
exterminated them, made no difference in his mind, or that of his
counsellors, as to the right of the owners of the vessel to the return of
their property. But a return of the vessel itself would be difficult and
hazardous. Whoever took it to Valparaiso would be subject to legal
inquiry as to the fate of the men who had hired it, and it would be,
indeed, cruel and unjust to send out a crew in this vessel, knowing that
they would be arrested when they arrived in port. Consequently, he
determined to sell the _Arato_, and to add to the amount obtained what
might be considered proper on account of her detention, and to send this
sum to Valparaiso, to be paid to the owners of the _Arato_.
The thoughts of all our party were now turned toward America. As time
went on, the captain and Edna might have homes in different parts of the
world, but their first home was to be in their native land.
Mrs. Cliff was wild to reach her house, that she might touch it with the
magician's wand of which she was now the possessor, that she might touch
not only it, but that she might touch and transform the whole of
Plainton, and, more than all, that with it she might touch and transform
herself. She had bought all she wanted. Paris had yielded to her
everything she asked of it, and no ship could sail too fast which should
carry her across the ocean.
The negroes were all attached to the captain's domestic family. Maka and
Cheditafa were not such proficient attendants as the captain might have
employed, but he desired to have these two near him, and intended to keep
them there as long as they would stay. Although Mok and the three other
Africans had much to learn in regard to the duties of domestic servants,
there would always be plenty of people to teach them.
* * * * *
In his prison cell Banker sat, lay down, or walked about, cursing his
fate and wondering what was meant by the last dodge of that rascal
Raminez. He never found out precisely, but he did find out that the visit
of Professor Barre to his cell had been of service to him.
That gentleman, when he became certain that he should so greatly profit
by the fact that an ex-brigand had pointed him out as an ex-captain of
brigands, had determined to do what he could for the fellow who had
unconsciously rendered him the service. So he employed a lawyer to attend
to Banker's case, and as it was not difficult to prove that the accused
had not even touched Cheditafa, but had only threatened to maltreat him,
and that the fight which caused his arrest was really begun by Mok, it
was not thought necessary to inflict a very heavy punishment. In fact, it
was suggested in the court that it was Mok who should be put on trial.
So Banker went for a short term to prison, where he worked hard and
earned his living, and when he came out he thought it well to leave
Paris, and he never found out the nature of the trick which he supposed
his old chief had played upon him.
The trial of Banker delayed the homeward journey of Captain Horn and his
party, for Cheditafa and Mok were needed as witnesses, but did not delay
it long. It was early in August, when the danger from floating icebergs
had almost passed, and when an ocean journey is generally most pleasant,
that nine happy people sailed from Havre for New York. Captain Horn and
Edna had not yet fully planned their future life, but they knew that they
had enough money to allow them to select any sphere of life toward which
ordinary human ambitions would be apt to point, and if they never
received another bar of the unapportioned treasure, they would not only
be preeminently satisfied with what fortune had done for them, but would
be relieved of the great responsibilities which greater fortune must
bring with it.
As for Mrs. Cliff, her mind was so full of plans for the benefit of her
native town that she could talk and think of nothing else, and could
scarcely be induced to take notice of a spouting whale, which was
engaging the attention of all the passengers and the crew.
The negroes were perfectly content. They were accustomed to the sea, and
did not mind the motion of the vessel. They had but little money in
their pockets, and had no reason to expect they would ever have much
more, but they knew that as long as they lived they would have everything
that they wanted, that the captain thought was good for them, and to a
higher earthly paradise their souls did not aspire. Cheditafa would serve
his mistress, Maka would serve the captain, and Mok would wear fine
clothes and serve his young master Ralph, whenever, haply, he should have
As for Inkspot, he doubted whether or not he should ever have all the
whiskey he wanted, but he had heard that in the United States that
delectable fluid was very plentiful, and he thought that perhaps in that
blessed country that blessed beverage might not produce the undesirable
effects which followed its unrestricted use in other lands.
A LITTLE GLEAM AFAR
It was late in the autumn of that year, and upon a lonely moor in
Scotland, that a poor old woman stood shivering in the cold wind. She was
outside of a miserable little hut, in the doorway of which stood two men.
For five or six years she had lived alone in that little hut.
It was a very poor place, but it kept out the wind and the rain and the
snow, and it was a home to her, and for the greater part of these years
in which she had lived there alone, she had received, at irregular and
sometimes long intervals, sums of money, often very small and never
large, from her son, who was a sailorman upon seas of which she did not
even know the name.
But for many months no money had come from this wandering son, and it was
very little that she had been able to earn. Sometimes she might have
starved, had it not been for the charity of others almost as poor as she.
As for rent, it had been due for a long time, and at last it had been due
so long that her landlord felt that further forbearance would be not only
unprofitable, but that it would serve as a bad example to his other
tenants. Consequently, he had given orders to eject the old woman from
her hut. She was now a pauper, and there were places where paupers would
be taken care of.
The old woman stood sadly shivering. Her poor old eyes, a little dimmed
with tears, were directed southward toward the far-away vanishing-point
of the rough and narrow road which meandered over the moor and lost
itself among the hills.
She was waiting for the arrival of a cart which a poor neighbor had
promised to borrow, to take her and her few belongings to the nearest
village, where there was a good road over which she might walk to a place
where paupers were taken care of. A narrow stream, which roared and
rushed around or over many a rock, ran at several points close to the
road, and, swelled by heavy rains, had overflowed it to the depth of a
foot or more. The old woman and the two men in the doorway of the hut
stood and waited for the cart to come.
As they waited, heavy clouds began to rise in the north, and there was
already a drizzle of rain. At last they saw a little black spot upon the
road, which soon proved to be a cart drawn by a rough pony. On it came,
until they could almost hear it splashing through the water where the
stream had passed its bounds, or rattling over the rough stones in other
places. But, to their surprise, there were two persons in the cart.
Perhaps the boy Sawney had with him a traveller who was on his way north.
This was true. Sawney had picked up a traveller who was glad to find a
conveyance going across the moor to his destination. This man was a
quick-moving person in a heavy waterproof coat with its collar turned up
over his ears.
As soon as the cart stopped, near the hut, he jumped down and approached
the two men in the doorway.
"Is that the widow McLeish?" he said, pointing to the old woman.
They assured him that he was correct, and he approached her.
"You are Mrs. Margaret McLeish?" said he.
She looked at him in a vague sort of way and nodded. "That's me," said
she. "Is it pay for the cart you're after? If that's it, I must walk."
"Had you a son, Mrs. McLeish?" said the man.
"Ay," said she, and her face brightened a little.
"And what was his name?"
"Andy," was the answer.
"And his calling?"
"Well, then," said the traveller in the waterproof, "there is no doubt
that you are the person I came here to see. I was told I should find you
here, and here you are. I may as well tell you at once, Mrs. McLeish,
that your son is dead."
"That is no news," she answered. "I knew that he must be dead."
"But I didn't come here only to tell you that. There is money coming
to you through him--enough to make you comfortable for the rest of
"Money!" exclaimed the old woman. "To me?"
The two men who had been standing in the doorway of the hut drew near,
and Sawney jumped down from the cart. The announcement made by the
traveller was very interesting.
"Yes," said the man in the waterproof, pulling his collar up a little
higher, for the rain was increasing, "you are to have one hundred and
four pounds a year, Mrs. McLeish, and that's two pounds a week, you know,
and you will have it as long as you live."
"Two pounds a week!" cried the old woman, her eyes shining out of her
weazened old face like two grouse eggs in a nest. "From my Andy?"
"Yes, from your son," said the traveller. And as the rain was now much
more than a drizzle, and as the wind was cold, he made his tale as short
He told her that her son had died far away in South America, and, from
what he had gained there, one hundred and four pounds a year would be
coming to her, and that she might rely on this as long as she lived. He
did not state--for he was not acquainted with all the facts--that Shirley
and Burke, when they were in San Francisco hunting up the heirs of the
Castor's crew, had come upon traces of the A. McLeish whose body they had
found in the desert, lying flat on its back, with a bag of gold clasped
to its breast--that they had discovered, by means of the agent through
whom McLeish had been in the habit of forwarding money to his mother, the
address of the old woman, and, without saying anything to Captain Horn,
they had determined to do something for her.
The fact that they had profited by the gold her son had carried away from
the cave, was the main reason for this resolution, and although, as
Shirley said, it might appear that the Scotch sailor was a thief, it was
true, after all, he had as much right to a part of the gold he had taken
as Captain Horn could have. Therefore, as they had possessed themselves
of his treasure, they thought it but right that they should provide for
his mother. So they bought an annuity for her in Edinburgh, thinking this
better than sending her the total amount which they considered to be her
share, not knowing what manner of woman she might be, and they arranged
that an agent should be sent to look her up, and announce to her her good
fortune. It had taken a long time to attend to all these matters, and it
was now late in the autumn.
"You must not stand out in the rain, Mrs. McLeish," said one of the men,
and he urged her to come back into the hut. He said he would build a fire
for her, and she and the gentleman from Edinburgh could sit down and talk
over matters. No doubt there would be some money in hand, he said, out of
which the rent could be paid, and, even if this should not be the case,
he knew the landlord would be willing to wait a little under the
"Is there money in hand for me?" asked the old woman.
"Yes," said the traveller. "The annuity was to begin with October, and it
is now the first of November, so there is eight pounds due to you."
"Eight pounds!" she exclaimed, after a moment's thought. "It must be more
than that. There's thirty-one days in October!"
"That's all right, Mrs. McLeish," said the traveller. "I will pay you the
right amount. But I really think you had better come into your house, for
it is going to be a bad afternoon, and I must get away as soon as I can.
I will go, as I came, in the cart, for you won't want it now."
Mrs. McLeish stood up as straight as she could, and glanced from the
traveller to the two men who had put her out of her home. Then, in the
strongest terms her native Gaelic would afford, she addressed these two
men. She assured them that, sooner than enter that contemptible little
hut again, she would sleep out on the bare moor. She told them to go to
their master and tell him that she did not want his house, and that he
could live in it himself, if he chose--that she was going in the cart to
Killimontrick, and she would take lodgings in the inn there until she
could get a house fit for the habitation of the mother of a man like her
son Andy; and that if their master had anything to say about the rent
that was due, they could tell him that he had satisfied himself by
turning her out of her home, and if he wanted anything more, he could
whistle for it, or, if he didn't choose to do that, he could send his
factor to whistle for it in the main street of Killimontrick.
"Come, Sawney boy, put my two bundles in the cart, and then help me in.
The gentleman will drive, and I'll sit on the seat beside him, and you
can sit behind in the straw, and--you're sure it's two pounds a week,
sir?" she said to the traveller, who told her that she was right, and
then she continued to Sawney, "I'll make your mother a present which will
help the poor old thing through the winter, and I'm sure she needs it."
With a heavier load than he had brought, the pony's head was turned
homeward, and the cart rattled away over the rough stones, and splashed
through the water on the roadway, and in the dark cloud which hung over
the highest mountain beyond the moor, there came a little glint of
lighter sky, as if some lustre from the Incas' gold had penetrated even
into this gloomy region.