Rose said no more. If not convinced, she was evidently silenced, while Harry was left to 원주스케일링 wonder and surmise, as best he might. Both quitted the subject, to watch the people of the brig. By this time the anchor had been lifted, and the chain was heaving in on board the vessel, by means of a line that had been got around its bight. The work went on rapidly, and Mulford observed to Rose that he did not think it was the intention of Spike to remain long at the Tortugas, inasmuch as his brig was riding by a very short range of cable. This opinion was confirmed, half an hour later, when it was seen that the launch was hooked on and hoisted in again, as soon as the chain and anchor of the schooner were secured.

Jack Tier watched every movement with palpable uneasiness. His apprehensions that Spike would obtain all he wanted, and be off before he could rejoin him, increased at each instant, and he did not scruple to announce an intention to take the boat and go alongside of the Swash at every hazard, rather than be left.

“You do not reflect on what you say, Jack,” answered Harry; “unless, indeed, it be your intention to betray us. How could you appear in the boat, at this place, without letting it be known that we must be hard by?”

“That don’t follow at all, maty,” answered Jack. “Suppose I go alongside the brig and own to the captain that I took the boat last night, with the hope of finding you, and that failing to succeed, I bore up for this port, to look for provisions and water. Miss Rose he thinks on board at this moment, and in my judgment he would take me at my word, give me a good cursing, and think no more about it.”

“It would never do, Jack,” interposed Rose, instantly. “It would cause the destruction of Harry, as Spike would not believe you had not found him, without an examination of this house.”

“What are they about with the yawl, Mr. Mulford?” asked Jack, whose eye was never off the vessel for a single moment. “It is getting to be so dark that one can hardly see the boat, but it seems as if they are about to man the yawl.”

“They are, and there goes a lantern into it. And that is Spike himself coming down the brig’s side this instant.”

“They can only bring a lantern to search this house,” exclaimed Rose. “Oh! Harry, you are lost!”

“I rather think the lantern is for the light-house,” answered Mulford, whose coolness, at what was certainly a most trying moment, did not desert him. “Spike may wish to keep the light burning, for once before, you will remember, he had it kindled after the keeper was removed. As for his sailing, he would not be apt to sail until the moon rises; and in beating back to the wreck the light may serve to let him know the bearings and position of the reef.”

“There they come,” whispered Rose, half breathless with alarm. “The boat has left the brig, and is coming directly hither!”

All this was true enough. The yawl had shoved off, and with two men to row it, was pulling for the wharf in front of the house, and among the timbers of which lay the boat, pretty well concealed beneath a sort of bridge. Mulford would not retreat, though he looked to the fastenings of the door as a means of increasing his chances of defence. In the stern-sheets of the boat sat two men, though it was not easy to ascertain who they were by the fading light. One was known to be Spike, however, and the other, it was conjectured, must be Don Juan Montefalderon, from the circumstance of his being in the place of honor. Three minutes solved this question, the boat reaching the wharf by that time. It was instantly secured, and all four of the men left it. Spike was now plainly to be discerned by means of the lantern which he carried in his own hands. He gave some orders, in his customary authoritative way, and in a high key, after which he led the way from the wharf, walking side by side with the Señor Montefalderon. These two last came up within a yard of the door of the house, where they paused, enabling those within not only to see their persons and the working of their countenances, but to hear all that was said; this last the more especially, since Spike never thought it necessary to keep his powerful voice within moderate limits.

“It’s hardly worth while, Don Wan, for you to go into the light-house,” said Spike. “Tis but a greasy, dirty place at the best, and ones clothes are never the better for dealin’ with ile. Here, Bill, take the lantern, and get a filled can, that we may go up and trim and fill the lamp, and make a blaze. Bear a hand, lads, and I’ll be a’ter ye afore you reach the lantern. Be careful with the flame about the ile, for seamen ought never to wish to see a light-house destroyed.”

“What do you expect to gain by lighting the lamps above, Don Esteban?” demanded the Mexican, when the sailors had disappeared in the light-house, taking their own lantern with them.

“It’s wisest to keep things reg’lar about this spot, Don Wan, which will prevent unnecessary suspicions. But, as the brig stretches in toward the reef to-night, on our way back, the light will be a great assistance. I am short of officers, you know, and want all the help of this sort I can get.”

“To be sincere with you, Don Esteban, I greatly regret you are so short of officers, and do not yet despair of inducing you to go and take off the mate, whom I hear you have left on a barren rock. He was a fine young fellow, Señor Spike, and the deed was not one that you will wish to remember a few years hence.”