The Moon Pool HTML version

Chapter 10. The Moon Pool
DA COSTA, who had come aboard unnoticed by either of us, now tapped me on the arm.
"Doctair Goodwin," he said, "can I see you in my cabin, sair?"
At last, then, he was going to speak. I followed him.
"Doctair," he said, when we had entered, "this is a veree strange thing that has happened
to Olaf. Veree strange. An' the natives of Ponape, they have been very much excite'
"Of what they fear I know nothing, nothing!" Again that quick, furtive crossing of
himself. "But this I have to tell you. There came to me from Ranaloa last month a man, a
Russian, a doctair, like you. His name it was Marakinoff. I take him to Ponape an' the
natives there they will not take him to the Nan-Matal where he wish to go--no! So I take
him. We leave in a boat, wit' much instrument carefully tied up. I leave him there wit' the
boat an' the food. He tell me to tell no one an' pay me not to. But you are a friend an' Olaf
he depend much upon you an' so I tell you, sair."
"You know nothing more than this, Da Costa?" I asked. "Nothing of another expedition?"
"No," he shook his head vehemently. "Nothing more."
"Hear the name Throckmartin while you were there?" I persisted.
"No," his eyes were steady as he answered but the pallor had crept again into his face.
I was not so sure. But if he knew more than he had told me why was he afraid to speak?
My anxiety deepened and later I sought relief from it by repeating the conversation to
"A Russian, eh," he said. "Well, they can be damned nice, or damned--otherwise.
Considering what you did for me, I hope I can look him over before the Dolphin shows
Next morning we raised Ponape, without further incident, and before noon the Suwarna
and the Brunhilda had dropped anchor in the harbour. Upon the excitement and manifest
dread of the natives, when we sought among them for carriers and workmen to
accompany us, I will not dwell. It is enough to say that no payment we offered could
induce a single one of them to go to the Nan-Matal. Nor would they say why.
Finally it was agreed that the Brunhilda should be left in charge of a half-breed
Chinaman, whom both Da Costa and Huldricksson knew and trusted. We piled her long-
boat up with my instruments and food and camping equipment. The Suwarna took us