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The Mystery

I Make My Escape
I had plenty of time to run away. I do not know why I did not do so; but the fact stands
that I remained where I was until they had finished Captain Selover. Then I took to my
heels, but was soon cornered. I drew my revolver, remembered that I had emptied it in
the seal cave--and had time for no more coherent mental processes. A smothering weight
flung itself on me, against which I struggled as hard as I could, shrinking in anticipation
from the thirsty plunge of the knives. However, though the weight increased until further
struggle was impossible, I was not harmed, and in a few moments found myself, wrists
and ankles tied, beside a roaring fire. While I collected myself I heard the grate of a boat
being shoved off from the cove, and a few moments later made out lights aboard the
Laughing Lass.
The looting party returned very shortly. Their plundering had gone only as far as liquor
and arms. Thrackles let down from the cliff top a keg at the end of a line. Perdosa and the
Nigger each carried an armful of the 30-40 rifles. The keg was rolled to the fire and
broached.
The men got drunk, wildly drunk, but not helplessly so. A flame communicated itself to
them through the liquor. The ordinary characteristics of their composition sprung into
sharper relief. The Nigger became more sullen; Perdosa more snake-like; Pulz more
viciously evil; Thrackles more brutal; while Handy Solomon staggering from his seat to
the open keg and back again, roaring fragments of a chanty, his red headgear contrasting
with his smoky black hair and his swarthy hook-nosed countenance--he needed no further
touch.
Their evil passions were all awake, and the plan, so long indefinite, developed like a
photographer's plate.
"That's one," said Thrackles. "One gone to hell."
"And now the diamonds," muttered Pulz.
"There's a ship upon the windward, a wreck upon the lee, Down on the coast of the high
Barbare-e-e,"
roared Handy Solomon. "Damn it all, boys, it's the best night's work we ever did. The
stuff's ours. Then it's me for a big stone house in Frisco O!"
"Frisco, hell," sneered Pulz, "that's all you know. You ought to travel. Paris for me and a
little gal to learn the language from."
"I get heem a fine caballo, an' fine saddle, an' fine clo's," breathed Perdosa sentimentally.
"I ride, and the silver jingle, and the señorita look----"
Thrackles was for a ship and the China trade.
 
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