On Pirate's Isle, or, The treasure of the seven craters

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On Pirate's Isle, or, The treasure of the seven craters

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Title:
On Pirate's Isle, or, The treasure of the seven craters
Series Title:
Fame and fortune weekly : stories of boys who make money
Creator:
A self-made man (J. Perkins Tracy)
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Frank Tousey
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Language:
English
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1 online resource (28 pages)

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Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
Wealth ( lcsh )
Entrepreneurship -- Fiction ( lcsh )
Boys ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
F18-00123 ( USFLDC DOI )
f18.123 ( USFLDC Handle )
031446079 ( ALEPH )
840817405 ( OCLC )

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.. As Val pressed the knob in the basin-like hole a remarluble change 'took place in the apparently solid surface of the rock. A ponderous stone, working on a.n axis, swung downward into a horizontal position revealing a room beyond

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. Fame and-Fortune Weekly STORIES, OF BOYS WHO MAKE MONEY ltnied Weekl11-B11 Subscription 12.50 per 11ear. Entered according to Act of Con gres s, in the t1ear 1908, in the o;ffke of the Librariaa of Congreu, Waahington, D. C., b11 Frank Touse11, Publi.sher, 24 Union Square, Ne'UJ York, No. 135. NEW YORK MAY 1, 1908. PRICE 5 CENTS. Of'1 PinATE;'S lSltE OR, THE TREASURE OF THE SEVEN CRATERS By A SELFMADE MAN CHAPTER I. j "Th e chief mate ma.de him hop high to-da. y with a ro-pe's I end for spoiling the soup," Val. "He's a pretty THE ISLAND m' THE SEVEN cnATERS. clercr Chink, just the same. Seems to have taken a shine to you and me and the professor." "We seem to be up aga inst it hard, Tom,'' said VaJentine "That's because we tip him off' every once in a.whil e," Vance to his chum, Tom Massenger. "If there is any said Toni. "Noboqy else aboard gives him a. cent." thing .worse under the sun tha n to be becalmed in a trap "He doesn't look for a tip from anybody eh;e. We're ical sea I'd like to know wha. t it is." passengers and are supposed to come up for any little extra "That's right, Val. It's been as hot as blue blazes all attention on his part. I wonder wha.t island that is which day, and not a breath of a.ir to fa n a fellow's parboiled face. we haYe sighted. There's a lot of smoke corning from the The sinking sun doesn't seem to bring a bit of relief as top of it. .Tust as if there were several big factory chimfar as I ca.n see. There isn't a cloud in the sky, nor a ne:vs cfom1 there working overtime." ripple on the ocean anywhere. Looks as if we're as good "Must be vo1ca.nic craters in action," replied Tom. "I'll as anchored for the night." borrow the mate's glass and we'll get a better look at them "And for to-morTow, and to-morrow night and next before night shuts them out." day, if not long er, as well. Jack Junk says yo n never can Tom walkean. contented with the present sta te of affairs is Professor She was bo1111d from San Francisco to Sydney, Austra lia, Scotchley. He seems able to stancl any a.mount of roasting. and after a prosperous voyage up to this point had run into I believe if he was fried over a slow fire he wouldn't kick a calm belt that stopped her further progress for the time if he had his beloved box of specimens to monkey over." being. "There's another chap a board who enjoys this roasting I Ever since the:: sun rose that morning there had scarcely even better than the professor."!' been \rind enough to can ; y a fea.ther. "You mean--" It was now close on to sundow n, and the a.ir had become "Hop Hi, the cook. so rarefied by the intense heat that the crew were stretched

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2 ON PIRATE'S ISLE. I out nuder au awning over ilhe forecastle, languid and listl ess The wheel aft was lashed and deserted, for the vessel did not even have steerage way. The dead calm was terribly tedious to all on board, ex cept Profoisor Scotchley, perhaps, who seemed to find pleasure and satisfaction under any circumstances in ex amining and cataloguing his boxes of natural history and other specimens The professor had persuaded Captain Rynders to put in for a few hours at several small island s en route so that he could go ashore and look up a few new specimens. The two boys and a sailor named Jack Junk had accom pani e d the naturalist on these hri.ef excursions, not because they took any interest in his hobby, but to enjoy a change from the rolling deck of the ship. Although all found the sun sizzling hot in cross ing the line still the strong breeze .which propelled the ship on her way ten1perec1 the heat to a considerable degree, and they did not feel the same discomfort as that which at tended this calm. Valentine Vance and, Tom Massenger were both Cali fornia boys, horn and bred. They were members of the order called "Native Sons of the Golden \V St." Val's father, now dead, had been a '49er. He had worked in the gold diggings, made a good haul in gold dust and inve s ted it afterward in San Francisco real estate, which netted him a fortnne. Then he started to speculate in mining s tocks with the m;pectation of becoming a millionaire, and narrowly missed fetching u p in the poorhouse. Val and his widowed mother were now living in a mod est way on the wreck of his fortune, but the boy was smari and ambitious, and hoped to rna.ke a fortune for himself when he got to be a man. T om Massenger was the son of a 'vell-to-cl o arch itect, still in the land of the living, and had about eYerything at his comma.w1 thact his heart could wish for. He and Val, in spite of the difference of their social stations, were sworn friends and companions-a miniature edition of Pylades and two famous Creek s whose friendship for each other was proverbial. A serious illness had so undermined Tom's vitality that the family physician recommended a long sea voyage lo build him up. Tom only consented to take this trip on condiiion that Va l accompany him Accordingly, Mr. Massenger agreed to defray Val's ex penses, and secured his mother's consent to his taking the I JOUrney. Professor Scotchley, who was Tom's private tutor, was sent with the boys to see that they didn't get into trouble, and to increase their fund of general know ledge. When the Golden Gate got into the clutches of the calm the party had been at sea many weeks-long enough to tire the boys somewhat with the monotonous sameneBs of sea and sky, with an occasional island thrown in. The calm was bad enough, but there was ano ther cause for gloom on board of the ship Captain Rynders had been stricken with apoplexy the day before, and hi death was looked for owing to the lack of expert medical treatment. The ship carried a well-filled medicine chest, an d a book treating of every known disease, with explicit directions for emergency cases, but the chief mate, and his subordinate, the second ditto, seemed all at sea in the use thereof. The captain himself was something of an expert in the medical line from long practice, but he was not now in a condition to avail himself of his own knowledge. The condition of the captain the gravest concern on board, not only because he was a fine man, an unusually capable navigator and well liked by all, but because his death would put the chief mate in charge of the vessel, and the chief mate, whose name was William Gotch, was gen erally disliked and feared. When 'rom M assenger went on the poop to ask the chief mate for the 10an of his telescope, the second mate was watching by the captain's berth in \his stateroom. Tom would have preferred asking the favor of the second mate, but as the case stood it was the chief mate or nobody he ha.d to go to Wil l iam Gotch was not a handsome man by any means, though Nature, as if to make amends, had given him a strong, well-knit figure. The usual expression of his features was one of sullen ness, as if he was afilictecl with a perpetual grouch against the world. His eyes were not pleasant ones to look at, and were rather suggestiYe of an evil nalure. Altogether, h e was not a popular personage abOarcl, hut the knowledge of that fact clid not seem to worry bim much. "Mr. Gotch, may I borrow your telescope?" asked Tom, politely. The chief mate la z ily shifted his1idsfti'on in the r eclining chair that belonged to the captain and gave t he boy a cold s tare. "What clo you want with it?" he growJ<>rl_, s urlily. "Val and I want to examine that island in the distance. 'l'beTe seems to b e craters on it throwing out a g,reat deal of smoke." "Graters!" ejac ulated the mate, s itting up. "Whei:e is this island?" "Yonder," re:plied Tom, waving his arm in the where the land lay. "Go into the passage and fetch the glass you will find hanging I will take a sq11int at the island." Torn left the poop, entered the passage leading from the mnin deck to tl1e cabin, um;hipped the telescope from its fastenings, and hrought it up to the chief mate. He sighlcd the distant i sland and gazed at it some mo ments wiih attention. "'I'ha t is the Isl a nd of the Seven Craters," he said. Then he handed the gl:'.lss to rrom, and after rolling a cigarette in an indolent way, lit it and fell back in his former listles s attitude. 'T'om carried the s pyglass to where Val stood leaning over the bulwark. "l\Ir. Gotch says that's the Island of the Seven Craters," said Tom, as he raised the glass and took a peep at the faroff land "'T'he I sland of the Seven Craters," repeated Val. ''Thnt's a curious name. I thought that smoke came from

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ON PIRATKS ISLE. 3 volcanic craters. That island mu s t be lhe summit of a grea t submerged mountain peak. It would be a pretty high one if it s ta.rted from the surface of the earth." "I guess it would," s aid T'om. "HeTe, take a look. You can see the craters quite plainly through the glass." While Val was looking one of the sailors approached them. This was Jack Junk, the seaman who had accompanied the professor and the two boys ashore when that. privilege was accorded them. His was not a reassuring by any means. A man with a broken nose, a shifty glint of the eye, and an indefinable sinister expression about the mouth, is apt to be handic
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' ON PIRAT'E'S ISLE. Lubbled over about his specimens, which rather bored the company. The first thing the boys did on coming on cleck again was to in the direction of the island, now lost in the obscurity, in spite of the brilliant star-lit heavens. They expected to see the glow 0 the craters, but to their surprise there was not the least glimmer 0 light in the cl istance. They hunted Jack Junk up to ask him why there was no :fire visible in the top of the c1aters. ,,, "Nothin' but smoke comes out of them things," answered the sailor. "Isn't there any lava?" "Didn't see any when I was there." "Tell us something about the island, won't you, Jack?" asked Val. "What do you want to know about it?" gro.wled the sailor. "Anything. You said that it was the most wonderful place yorf. ever saw." "So it' is." "In what way is it so wondel'ful ?" The sailor looked at tl10 boys in what they thought was a peculiar way. He scratched his st;ubby chin and looked out over the star-lit sea. way, so no one will overhear us," he said, and Val aml Tom followed him over to a-deserted part 0 the deck. "To begin with," he continued, as they stood around the mainmast, "that there island is what they call a para dise." "A paradise," cried Val, "with those seven craters throwing out smoke?" ''ThaL's all they do throw 011t, and it don't hurt nothin'. The) 're jesL like sernn chi tha.t's all. The smoke either goes up in the air or out to sea." "So the i,;Jancl is a pttrudise,'' said Val. "Must be a :line place to livi:." "It is, if ye like that kind of livin', which I don:'t." "What kind of living clo you mean ?'J "Doin' notli in' and livin' ou the fat of the land. It would suit me if there was a boozin' hoose where a chnp could wet hii> whistle when he wanted to. There ain't nothin to drink there but wa.ter ancl cocoanut milk, and I ain't stuck on eitht>r. 'I'here's somcl.t1in' else there that I'cl like to git hold of mighty bad," aru, and I asked the head chap of the place nbout ihe yal'TI the fellow gave me, and he said he had told me the truth.'' "If Vasco r0::illy burierl treasme on thal island it's a wonder it hasn't been recovered by somebody. Treasurehunting excditions arc lJcing filtecl out by people every once in awhile. N o't long ago one lcfl F1 isco to for the OocOi.l faland Treasure, saiJ to be wurlh $10,000,000." "Do ye ever hea:r of them findin anyt11ing ?" asked Junk. "I can't say tha.t T luwe," ar1mitled '1'011t; "Lut I don't hear about everything that's going on." "If a ten-rniUion. t r easure was found the news would be in the papers, wouldn't it?'' "Most likely it would, unless the people who found it managed to keep the fatt io themselves." "They couhlrd. 'fen millions in old foreign money, and old jooelry, and old church ornymenis, couldn't be disposed of without attractin' noti0e. '' "That's right," nodrled Torn. "'I'cn millions is a lot of money." "Well, let m0 tell ye the gold and jooPh of yonder island varn't never found, though the Spanish Government tried to find it. Ifs there now." 'Dhe boys instinctively gazed out across the ocean. "Look I" cried Tom. "There's the island now, ancl it's nearer." He pointed to where the rising moon was peeping above the watery h<>rizon almoot in the track of the island, throw ing a halo of light abonL the Reven peaks. "The hooker is driftin' right down on it," r>aid Junk. "Then I don't understand how y<>u can say that things are there." s11c-l1 1 We ought to be c1ose aboard of it in the momin' if a breeze "'Cause they were put there." "Who put them there?" j don't spring up." "I should like to visit that islnnd," said Val, eagerly. "So should I," said Tom. "Why can't we, J a.ck, if this

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ON ISLE. calm keeps up? The mate can easily come to anchor close l "Oh, well, he'll have to ,treat us decent, for our passage to the shore, and we, in company with the professor, can is paid to Sydney and back." 1 spend our time there while the calm holds. I'll bet it's a The boys taJked together awhile longer, and then went to sight more comfortable on that island than aboard this their slateroom and turned in for the night, leaving the ship, where the sun turns the pitch in the deck planks soft." door open and the dea.dlight as well "Well, there hain't no reason why we can't visit the island if the chief mate lets us; but I'm thinkin' he won't "I don't see why not, if the calm continues," said Val. "I'm going to spezj{ to Professor Scotchley about it. Cap tain Rynders, if he was well, would let us explore the CHAPTEil III. THE CURTAIN' ON CAPTAIN RYNDEHS island under present circumstances. He put iu at three Val awoke with the dawn and punched his chum into islands to oblige the professor when there was wind enough wakefi.llness. to keep on." "The chief mate don't look at things the same way the cap'n does. IIe hain't got no likin' for sich things as the perfessor collects. I heard him say sich rot ought to be tossed overboard." "Then you think he won't let us go ashore on that island in the morning?" said Val. "Ye might try him, for I'd like to set foot on that there place myself ag'in." "Tom, Professor Scotchley ::ind the mate are on the poop smoking. Better go up there now and see whetheT you can work the riffle,'i said Val. Tom went on poop and was gone about ten minutes. "The mate said he'd anchor off the island and let us have a boat to go ashore in the morning, if the ca lm holds," he said, when he rejoined Val and Jack Junk. "Good!" replied his chum "We must get up early so as to lose no time." The sailor seemed well pleased at the prospect of revisit ing the island on which he had been wrecked, and he left the boys, saying that he was going to tum in. Val and Torn returned to the bulwark and remained some time gazing at the distant island, which appeared to grow larger as time passed, a fact indicating that the ship was fast drifting toward it. "We'll be close in to it before sunrise at this rate," said Val. "Looks like it," replied Tom. "Say, do you believe Jack's yarn about pirate treasure being hidden on the island?" "I don't know whether I do or not," respo:Bded Tom. "Seems kind of fishy." / "Whether it'a there or not, we're not likely to find it." "That's true enough I sha'n't worry about it in any case." "It would be a great thing for us if we did stumble upon it," said Val. "A share of it would come in mighty handy for me. Mother and I could stand a little prosperity." "I'd be glad if we did find it for your sake1 old man. But I'm afraid if we were so fortunate all hands aboard from Hop Hi up would insist on having a whack at it, so that, counting the professor, it would have to be divided into about eighteen parts "I'm thinking that the chief mate would want the biggest slice himself. To say the honest truth, I don't like that man for a cent. If Captain Rynders dies he'll be the captain for the balance of ihe voyage, and all the way back to Frisco as well., In that case it's my opinion that things will be much different aboard." They tumbled out on deck just as the sun was beginning to tint the blue water with purple and gold The Island of the Seven Craters, a mass of green and luxuriant vegetation, lik e an emerald on a glass sett ing lay broad on the vessel's starboard bow, less than half a mile away. Three of the seven peaks were throwin g off a dark smoke, which rose straight up into the morning air. The ship, thougih not anchored, was perfectly motionless, not a breath of wind ruffling her sails as they hung limply from her yards The sailors, who had just finished 1rashing down the deck under the direction of i.he second mate, were now gathered around. the galley, \\'here Hop Hi was pouring out coffee into their tin cups. "Gee! Thnt's a fine looking idand, all right," said Tom, as the bro boys gazed on the truly wonderful picture pre sented to their eyes. The seven conical elevations rose clear and well-defined out of lhe tropical vercJure which covered the entire base of the island. Here n11d there abrupt precipices, crags of rocks frowning down like olden peaks shattercu into strange forms, and deep ravines, c1mn1 which could be seen streams of water falling heacJlong, glittering in the sun shine like silver lines upon a block of jet, or spreading, like a sheet of glass, over bare rocks. The rough, yet romantic scenEO, was mellowed dol\'n by the softer features of rich vales, eocoanut groves, clumps of dark chestnuts, stately palms and breadfruit, patches of graceful bananas, mingling in great luxuriance and form ing with the wiid reef scenery of the shore, and far-stretch ing ocean beyond and around, pictures of surprising beauty. Jack Junk saw the boys admiring the island and ap proached them -with a grin. "What d'ye think of it, my hearties?" he sai d "It's a cfoncly," replied Val, enthusiastically. "A fe llow. ha s got to get away from home to see such sights as this." "We'll go ashore after breakfast," said Tom, "and make a day of it, for I don't believe there'll be any wind before sunset, if the11." "You can't tell nothin' about that/' responded Junk. "I've seen jest sich a mornin' as this, in this here latitude, wind up in a snortin' gale that nearly took the ship's masts out of her, and set her to l eakin' like an old sie>e.'' "I'd like to bet there won't be any storm around here to-day. I never saw a finer morning, did you, Val?" "No, I don't think I have; but it will be blazing ho,t by and by."

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6 ON ISLE. "What do we care after we get over yonder into the shade of those groves ?" "It's lucky JVe have the island to take refuge on," said Val. "I hope the vessel rem$.s here till a breeze springs up." "That's a funny remark," laughed Val. going to get away without wind? Is the Jack?" The sailor shook ihis head. "Irow is she anchor down, "There ha.in't no need of an anchor jest now. The hooker is out of the current. She'll li. e here all da y if the calm holds." "Then I hope the calm holds till night, at any rate," said Tom, thinking of the fine time !he and Val expected to have on the island. "You ha. ven't said no thin' to the perfessor or the mate about that there pirate gold, have yer ?"asked Jack Junk. "Not a word," replied Tom. "That's right. We'll look for it together." "Have you any idea where to look?" asked Val, with some eagerness. The sailor shut one eye and assumed a wise air. "Mebbe I have, and then ag"in mebbe I haven't," he answered, slyly. His manner, however, indicated a whole lot, greatly excited the boys. "Suppose we found it, how WOUlll w e divide?" asked Tom. "One-half to me and the other half 'tween you two." "If it amourited to much how would we be a ble to get it aboard the ship without attracting attention to it?" asked Val. "You leave that there matter to me," returned the sailor. At that moment TIIr. Gotch, the first mate, cam e up the companion-stairs, facjng the wheel, and walked to the break of the poop. He was followed by the second mate, who, to the eyes of the boys, looked unusually solemn. Val, Tom and Jack Junk \\'ere standing at the starboard bulwark in the waist, and they looked up as the chief mate called the men aft. Evidently there was something in the wind. In a few words Mr. GotClh announced that Captain Ryn ders was dead, and that he had assumed command of the ship. His communication was received in solemn silence. There wasn't a jack tar aboa .rd but regretted the los s of the man most of them ha.cl sailed under for a number of years. This was Mr. Gotch's first trip on the ship, nnd far he had not made himself popular. After saying all he ha.cl to communicate to the crew he dismissed them, and the men broke up into groups and retired toward the forecastle. "Say, Tom, thi s tough," said Val. "Captain Rynders was a fine man, all right, and it's a blamed pity be hacl to die away out here in the Soi1'.th Pacific." "That's right. I suppose he'll be buried on the island. That's nrnch better i:Jhan dumping him overboa.rd as would haYe been done if we wern out of sight of land." "The new skipper may not go to the trouble of sendin' 11im ashore for plantin'," said the sailor. "Why not?" asked Val. "It >yould be an outrage not to do it when we're alongside of the island." Junk shrugged his shoulders as if it was a matter of indifference to him how the late captain's body was dis posed of. "Captain Rynders has a wife and family in Frisco, and they would probably want to have his body brought to Cal ifornia. This couldn't be done if he was sunk in the ocean; but it might be managed if he was buried on the island," said Val. '"l'hings has got to go as the new skipper says," replied Junk. "Well, we'll get Professor Scotchley to remonstrate with him if he order,; the captain's body to be thrown overboard." The sailor grinned, but made no answer. Since the announcement of Captain Rynders' death, a pall seemed to hang over the ship, and the boys felt as if half the pleasure of their expected day's outing on the island was already spoiled. Jack Junk walked a way, and they talked together in low tones until the Chinese cook told them breakfast was on the table. Mr. Gotch, the second mate and Professnr Scotchley were already seated at the table when the boy entered the cabin and took their places. 'Dhe meal was eaten in silence, even the professor having nothing to say, which was unusual for him. At the conclusion of it the new captain sent for the sailmalrnr and told him to have Captain Rynders' body sewn up in canvas and otherwise prepared for immediate burial, which was compulsory owing to the heat of that latitude. "Aren't you going to bury Captain Rynders on the i sland?" said Val, with, some indignation in his tones. "No," replied the new commander, s110rtly. "Why not?'' demanded the boy. J\f r. Gotch fl.ashed an ugly look at him. "Mind your own business, young man," he said, sharply, "and I'll attend to mine." "But you've no right to throw him overboard when you can just as well bury him ashore," remonstrated Val. "Common decency--" Mr. Gotch's face grew red with passion. "I am master o f this ship, and I want no criticism from you, you young monkey. Do you understand?" Val, who was a plucky boy, was about to make an angry retort when Professor Scotchley interfered. "Val, you have no right to question Mr. Gotch'e. arrange rnents," he said. "He is the captain of the ship now, and is responsible for his own a.ctions." Val subsided, but he met the new captain's look with one of defiance which only widened the breach between them Val and Torn were not the only ones who objected to the late captain being interred in the ocean. when the sailmaker harl received his orders, and went fonrnrd to get a suitable piece of canvas to make a shroud of, the news spread among the crew. 'I'he men held a consultation, the result of which was a committee of the rough tars waited on Mr. Gotch with the request that the captain's body migtht be turned over to them for burial on the island. 'l'he spokesman received an insulting refusal, and the

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OK PIRATE"S ISLE. cornmiUec retired to report the un ucccssful re uH o.f their miss ion. A feeling of resentment and discontent prcucl through the crew, which was noticed bv the second mate and reporter 1 to his new commander. Mr. Gotch went on the poop at once and called the crew aft. "Look here, my lads," he said, in a threatening way, "I'm a man of fow words, as mayhaps you have already lE'arncd Jinc e wc-ve been tog thcr. I'm the captain of this hip and what 1 ay goes every time. U any man jack of obj cctR to (h(' way l ntt('nd to bu ines I'll clap him in and k.eep him in the hold till we reach yclney, where I 11 tum hnn over to the authoritic:> for punishment. I want yo11 all to 11nd('rst.and that I'll stand no nonsense. If you m ean to behave yourselvC'S well to me I'll treat You fair an cl i::quare. If you don't,whv. thcn,n 'he looked' around upon the men with a black e. pre ion, and punctuated his pl'Cch with an imprecation that made the boy.' blood nm c nkl, "I'll giv you a of discipline that'll make von wi, h you had never been born. That's all I've got to Xow, go for'arrl.'' The crew di pcri::er1 rather sullenly. They didn't fancy the "a.v 1.he new skipper inanguratel'.i h1 authority over them, and his attitude looked ominous for the future. th<'y r cognizcd the fact that they couldn't help thcm;;c h rs. 'l lwy mur-;( grin and hear it. or fake 1.hc> con,:equences, for the maritime law all on the side of the captain of the B hip. It was cliffcrc11t with Yal and Tom. '1 he capfa in had no right to ride owr therr .. .\t. 1.he tinw they fot got that. \ en a .;; pa...,sc ngers thc>y subject to hi;; a11th0ri(,1 anr\ he harl the power to rnn kc. U11ngs very unplPm;ant for them \1 i l11011t much clanger of hemg call<' l to account for hiK rn11clnd. M:. Oolrh w;dkc>{t up and down lhe poop unrler the a.wnmg rn 'ery il and began to row toward I he i8lanrl, while ::\fr. Gotch, 1 he sceond male, Hop Hi and the sailors watched the boat peed ::;boreward. CHAPTER IV. ON THE ISLA_'D OF T[[E .'EVEN cn_\.TERS. The line of ihe l'hore toward whid1 tbe boat was making was broken up into numerous coYc:-. The boat was headed for the.largest of these co\l\;s. It was only a short trip from ihe ship,
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8 ON P'IRATE'S ISLE. Jacd\: .Junk stepped out ancl tied the painter to a tropic a l tree whic h 11'ad growing close to ihe water's edge. Profcs-;or Scotchley got out next. While the sailor took hold of the feet of the corpse the boys lifted ihe head and s houlders, and in this manne;r the re111ains of the late skipper was removed to the beach and then c arried up 1.o the edge of the thick vegetation beyond. The boys th e n returned for the shovel s and the party entered the tro]Jical foliage to find a suitable spot to dig a grave. They had noL far to go before they came upon a romantic looking glade ll"hich Val decided would be just the place lo inter Captain Rynders. 'l"'he weather by this time was decidedly sultry, and the exertion of digging a hole in the ea. rth brought the per spiration out in grea.t on the boys' bodiei:;. When the job was finished they were glad to sit down and cool off while Junk and the proiessor went back to the beach to bring up the captain's body. T he co1pse was dropped feet first into the hole, and lowered backward with the aid of a rope under the shoulders The rope was 1Yithdrawn and then Professor Scotchley read the funeral service from the la te skipper's own book, after which the earth was filled in and a mound raised over the top. "We ought to have brought a board or a headstone," said Val, when all was over. "Maybe we'll get the chance to do that before sunset," said Torti. "We can paint his name and other particulars, except his age, which we don't know, upon it." "Well, let's take a look around the island now," suggested Val. "It's uninhabited isn't it, Jack?" he added. turning to the sailor. "I din't see nobdoy on it when I was here before," r eplied Junk, with a grin. "\Yhercabou ts were you wrecked?" "On the northern shore." "And which shore is this?" "The southwest." "You weren't the only one wrecked here, were you?" o. There \\"ere six of us. 'll1erc;s a big reef a.round that end of the island. Our hooker was driven slap on to it in a howl in' gale, and we swum across the inlet and saved our bacon." Professor Scotchley was surprised to learn that Junk had been wrecked on that island once upon a time. He asked for some of the particulars, and the sailor told quite a story of the wreck of the bark he was in at the time, their life on the island, where they remained several months, and finally their rescue by a British ship that put in for water. While hE. was telling his yarn they had been walking through the thick tropical v egetation that suITounded them on every side. The story was I e1Tupted several times while the pro fessor chased and captured seYeral butterflies that were new to him, and which would greatly enrich his already large col-lection of the same species. The boys kept on the alert for something to shoot at, but saw nothing larger than small Lirds of brilliant plumage, which they hadn't the heart to attempt to slaucrhter. "Were you ever a t this end of the island before, Jack?" "No." "\\'hereab o uts c1o you thaL tre a s ure i s ?" c ontinued the boy, in a low tone. ''Somewh e re around the north enc1." That's ra [her in c1efini te." "Well, I don't know prezadly. I (')Illy have an idee." "What gave you the ic1ea ?" "WhaL that chap said to me the time I met him in Peru." "What did he say about the location of the pirate ib.oard ?" "He said it was hidden in th(; foot of one of the crater hi1Ls." "At the north end?" "That's the way I unclerstooc1 him." "Why didn't you get more definite directions?" "He couldn't give 'em himself, or he wouldn't. Besides, I never expected to see this here island anywa y "Then we'll have to examin e ihe three craters that ap pear to be at ihe norih end. That will take some time. I'm afraicl w e:ll never be able t.o do it anc1 get back to the ship before sundown.'' "What's the diff'rence if we don't get back?" said Junk, as if he felt asrmred there was uo need of hurry on their part. "The hooker won't run off and leave u s here. You 've paid yer passage to Sydney ancl back, anc1 the new skipper has got to carry ye there and then return ye to Frisco." "But if a favorable wind should come up Mr. Gotch would be as ma.cl as a hornet if we were not on board." The sailor grinned. "He's a tari.ar, and there'll be somethin' doin' before the v yage is oYer, or my name isn't Jack Junk." They reached a banana grove, anc1 the delicious fruit tempted their palates. The wide spr e ading leaves also afforded shade, and they \\'ere glad to sit do;rn and take it easy for awhile, for they were perspiring as if in a Turki h bath. While they were eating anrl resting Val suddenly noticed ihe peculiar appearance 0 the sun, now almost over their heads. He called thP. attention of Jack Junk to it. The sailor uttered an exclamation a,nd sprang to his feet. ''There's a gale comin\ and it's goin' to be a snorter ." "A gale!'' gasped the boys. "Why, it's as calm as it was when we left the ship." "We'll never be able 'to reach the old hooker before it's on her. She'll be clriven miles and miles away to sea, and it may be two or Unee clays, or a week, before she kin get bark. I reckon we'll be marooned, my hearties, for about that time." "Good gracious!" exclaimed the boys, looking at each other in a kind of consternation. "Do you mean that, Jack?" "I don't mean nothin' else. Listen! Do ye hea.r th at hum min' sound? It's comin' There'll be thunder, and lightnin', and wind, and rain to burn in a few minutes." The boys listened and heard the low, mysterious sound like the buzz of a top. That, with the sailor's earnestness, fully impressed the party with a sense of corning trouble. "Where shall we go for shelter?" asked Val, looking around.

PAGE 10

ON P'IRATE'S ISLE. 9 ====================================:c====== ========--================== "I saw something like a caNe over in that crater hill yon der before we entered this grove," said Tom, pointing. "Then we want to get there before the rain comes on," said Val. rI'he sailor a g reed that it would be the proper place for them to s e ek, for he said when it rained in that latitude it came down in banels full. Accordingly they took up their line of march for the spot indicated by Tom. As soon as they got out of foe grove they saw the dark aperture in the side of the bri s tly-looking hill, am1 it proved to be a cave of some kind. By the time they reached it the sun was entirely hidden by a thick layer of haze, and the distant hum had grown in volume, like the subdued roar of some mighty cataract. Not a breath of air was stirring as yet, while the hea.t was now simply stifling. It was as if they were standing in a superheated room of a great factory, where a thousand machines, were humming in the next apartment. "This is something we didn't look for, Val," said Tom. "I wanted to bet early tihis morning that there wouldn t be the ghost of a storm to-day. In fact, I would have bet there wouldn t e:ven be any wind before sunset." "Strange things seem to happen in these latitncles." said Val. "It loolrn as if we are going to remain on this island for two or three days "What's the difference, so long as we don't starve? I'd jnst as soon have a change as not. I'm dead tired of the ship. This age is altogether too long to suit me. If you hadn't come along with me 1 should be bore1l to death." While they "_.ere speaking the air grew darker and the soond of the corning gale perceptibly increased "I hope the ship won't be driven ashore on the island," said Val, sucldenly. "What do you think, Jack?" added the boy, a bit anxiously. "I reckon she'll be all right if she holds togetihe r," re plied the sailor, who did not appear to be greatly concerned about the vessel. "If she holds together!" exclaimed Val. "ls there any danger of her not holding together?" "Ye can't tell nothin' about it," answered Jack Junk. "Ye may thank yer stars that ye're not aboard of her, for it hain't no way sartin she won't go to the bottom before this here gale blows out." "And if she did go to the bottom, what will become of us?" "We're sartin to be alive and kickin', at any rate, which ye kin be thankful for." "How could we get off this island if the Golden Gate was lost?" The sailor shrugged his shoulders. "Have to stay here, like I did before, till sornethin' come along and took us off. That piece of intelligence was not very conso ling to the boys. And while they were considering it the gale suddenly swept down upon the island like a million of shrieking :fiends. The air grew almoot as dark as night. Then followed thunder, lightning and rain, the like of which they had never seen before. It seemed a;; if the storm king was tearing things up by the roots generally. It was pandemonium broke loose, an'd no mistake. OHAPTEH. V THE GALE. Had as the hoys thou_;ht it was, tili.cy would found it a great deal worse had their cave overlooked: the ocean. They were in a sheltered valley, and out ide the rain, which came down in lorrents, they onl) got a mild idea of the strength of lhe wind which wa blowing outside The ocean, half an hour before a s smooth as a sheet of. glass, was now convulsed into gigantic billo ws that lashed the shore line with a roar which the boys heard, but coul d not appreciate. rrhe outlook seaward was sublime, and rather terrify ing to one unuseLl to such sights The ship Golden Gate bad disappeared. She had been swept beyond the encl of the island, and was now battling for her existence with the gale, m iles awa. y to the soulhwest. 'fhe storm continued to rage furiously, and the party sat in the cave and watched what they could see of it. The lightning was of the most dazzling character, accom panied by terrific peals of thunder tha.t seemed to Phakc the island to its foundations. "This is a corker, for fair," said Tom I wonder how long it'll last pn .Taqk Junk volunteered the information that it was liable to last well into the night, perhaps till the foll owing morn ing, mid maybe even longer. "If it does we don't eat then," said Val. "We'll be hun gry enough to-morrow morning to eat a bunc h of bananas, skin, leaves, stalk and all." "I hope we won't have to subsist on bananas a l one whil e we stay here," said Tom "I like variety in my food as well as in everything e l se." J a.ck Junk assured him that there was ot her good fruit on the island' as well as shellfish along shore. "If we had fishin' lines, my hearty, we could catch fish in the inlet to the north, too "But we couldn't eat them raw. How woul d we cook them?" "We need a :fire, that's t\-ue," admitted the sai lor "Oh, we can raise the fire, for I've matches in my jeans "Then we're all right, my laddybuck," replied ,Tunk. "A.re we? I don't see it. We have no frying pa n nor--" "Ye don't want none Fish k i n be baked to a t urn in hot ashes. The natives wrap 'em up in mud jackets and roast 'em in the embers of the flre "But we haven't any salt, nor pepper nor--" "Ye'll l'arn to git along without t things if ye stay long on the island." Professor Scotchley inquired of the sailor what he lhought a bout the fate of the ship in that gale. Junk was of the opinion she'd ride it out safely and come back after them in due lime. While it is true that the pro.fessor sympathized with those on board the vessel at that moment, he was also much con cerned about his specimens in his stateroom.

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10 ON PIRATE'S ISLE. IIe wondered what shape he would find them in when the ship came back to the island alter the gale. Had he known that he was never to see those specimens again he would have had a fit. The storm never let 11p a bit during the rest of that clay, although there were times when the rain ceased almost entirely. The party had no idea of the lapse of The professor had a watch in good running order on his person: but he coulcln't see its face, and both boys cle clinetl. to waste a mat c h, for thC'ir s.upply was limited and might yet become \\'Orth their wE!ight in gold. "This is becoming monotonous/' said Tom, after the lapse of a couple of hours, an cl no indications were apparent ofa change for the better. 1'I'm getting hungry, too. I wis.'.l we'd brought a suppl y of bananas to the cave. I could chew on one, or a dozen, for that matter, with all the pleasure in the world." "I wouldn't mind a banana myself," replied Val. "It's not raining so hard i1ow, though the sto rm seems as bad as ver, we might run over to the banana grove and get a bunch." "It's too dark. There, it's beginning to pour again. Wf!ve got to go hungry." Another hour passed away, and still the storm howled over the island. By that time an hands weTe hungry in deacl earnest. But they had to grin and bea. r it as best they could It was four o'clock in the afleruoon, but seemed like se>en a.t night. Jack Junk was the lea.st affected of any of the party, for he was accustomed to hardship, and a little thing like a few homs' fast didn't bother him anything to spea.k of. Prolf,essoT Scotchley took Tefuge in his tho ughts, which were always a solace to him when things were running out of their accustomed groove "I reckon this here storm will give us time to hunt for that there treasure," said .Tack Junk. "The old hooker won't be back here for a couple of days, and mebhe we kin find out somethin' by that time." "}3ut you must have clone some hunting for it when you were here ten years ago," said Val. "And you had four or :five months to do it in. If you c1ic1n't ma. ke any discoveries in all tliat time how do you expect we will succeed any better _in the short space of two clays?" "We kin try, can't we?" replied the sailor, doggedly. "Sure, we can try, but I'm afraid that's all it will amount to. "Besides, the hooker may not git back in two clays, or four clays, either,'' said Jack. "But somebody will have to watch for her." "The perfcssor kin do that." "'i\T e can t expect Professor Scotchley 1.o remain alone a.t the south side he island while we're knocking arol{ncl at the opposite en a mile away,'' sa.id Val. "\Ve kin arrange it some way I reckon," persi8ted tlw sa.ilor. "After all, there may be no treasure on this island," put in Tom. "Yes, there is.'' Teplied Jack Jtmk, with a positive nod. "You couk1n't swear to it." "Yes I kin swear to it." "How can you when you've only the word of that chap you met in Peru?" "He knew wha.t he was talkin' about. The Spanish Government believed Vasco's gold was here, for they sent two expeditions to search for it." "And you're sure they didn't find it?" "Not a nickel's woTth." "Didn't other people seaTch for it, too?" "Yes. More'n a dozen has been after it at odd times." "How do you know but one of them found and carried it off?" said Tom. J ack didn't know, but he didn't believe they had. "If all these persons made a systematic search for the treasure and failed to locate it, I don't see where we come in." Tom's arguments were all good, but Jack Junk wouldn't listen to them with any patience, because they didn't fall in with his views He hacl the idea firmly imbedded in his head that treasure was still on the island, and no amotmt o. argument would shake his faith in that fact. He and the boys talkE!cl about the pira.te gold until the latter, a.t any rate, were tiTed of the subject. As the storm still went on as bad as ever, they philo sophically cut supper out of the programme, and lying down on the sandy floor of the cave tried to forget the seriousness of 1.heir situation. When night came on a cquple of hours later, the black ness of the sky only got denser, and the gale continued to rage with full force. The boys fC'll asleep after awhile a.nc1 dic1 not awaken until broke. By that time the gale had spent its force, and had al ready much abated. B{1t it was uot a bright, glorious morning like the pre ceding one The sky was still dark, ancl the clouds were chasing eacih other wildly. There was neither su n nor blue sky to be seen. It still rained, but only at inteTvals, and the earth was soft and spongy. "The storm is nea.rly over, irn't it, Val?" askecl Tom. "It look s pretty dark outside, but I guess it's clearing up all right." "Where's Professor Sco tchley ?" "He's snoozing a .way over in the corner "And Jack Junk-wheTe is he ?" "I don't see him. Gone out to investigate the weather, perhaps." Val stepped outside and pr8Sently caught sight of the sailor coming from the banana grove with a big bunch of the luscious fruit over his shot; lder. "Here he comes with our breakfast,'' said Val. 'l'orn was by his companion's side in a minute. 'Breakfast is wlmt I'm looking for,'' he said, eagerly. l "m hungry enough fo ea.t anything in lhe f'lha,pe or food." '' l 'm in the same boat. I do1'.'t know when I have gon e so long without having a meal. A nice, juicy steak, some friccl potatoes and coffee would go fine now,'' said Yal. ''Oh, lor, don't talk about such delicacies, you make my 111011111 water." "Hern ye arc, my hearties," said Jack Junk, throwing

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ON PIRATE'S ISLE. n ====================:::;===============---down the bunch of fruit. "Help yourself. There's plenty more wh ere, t:hey come from.'' "Wha.t about the weather, Jack?" asked Val, with his mouth full of banana. "Clcarin'. The sun ll be out before long." "Tha.t's good news. I'm sick of being cooped up m this cave." Professor Scotchley now woke up and he came forward to get hi s share of the fruit. He made inquiries about the weather, too, and asked Jack when he thought the ship would be back. The sailor couldn't sa:y when she would be back. To tell the truth, he hoped she might not return for a \Yeek. The boys wanted to go back i;sl the cove where they landed to make sure that the Golden Gate hadn't been driven ashore and wrecked o.n, the island. Professor Scotchley was also interested in the matter, so, after all hanc;1s ha.d satisfied their hunger, thev took up their line of march for the shore under the lead of the sailor. 1 Tl1ey found the little cove, the day beforE; so beautiful, was now a mass of foaming and 1.umultuous waves, and the surf was for many yards upon the beach. The horizon was confused-they could not distinguish the line between the water and the sky, and the whole shore of the island, as far as they could see, was lined with a white foam. The re was no sign of anywhere, which would have b e en the case had the ship gone on the rocks, so the conclusion was that she had been blown away from the island, and they might hope to see her later on. CHAPTER VI. RUBY FOSTER. "Well, whu .t's the programme now?;' asked after 1.hey had satisfied their curiosity with respect to the shore. "What do you say, Jack?" asked Val. "Well, my hearties, I'm for crusin' over to the north encl of the island." / No objection being offered to this suggestion, the party started in that direction. The walking was soft, as might be expected after the drenching the island had received, but did not greatly im pede their progress. They were treated to a cont.inuons shower-bath, however, from the foliage through which they passed, and were pretty damp after they had walked a quarter of a mile. 'J''hen they came out into a wide open spa .ce, thickly ca.r-IJctec1 with a brilliantly green vegetation. They could see the seven crater peaks very plainly no w, and the smoke issuing from three of them. They formed a smt of cordon around the island, with wide breaks between them, the center of the island being practically a luxuriant valley. The island was about a mile long and perhaps half a mile a.t its widest point. I It WaS nOW nine O'clock, and the Sun Was Strug gling for an opening between the flying, sla te-colored clouds that covered tihe heavens. The air was fairl.Y cool for that latitude, and afforded the party great relief after the sweltering they hacl got from the calm. "I wouldn't mind living here for a while if I had all I wa;nted to eat/' saic1 Tom. "Nothing like feeling the solid ground unr1er you, aiter all." "I should like it, too, provided I had something to occupy my mind." "We've got 1.he pirate gold to interest us." "I have Yen little confidence in that." "Don't you. believe Ws here?'' "It may be here, but if so it's hidden too securely for us to :find it. After all thos e expeditioos to locate it there is small chance for us to l1it on it.'' "Well, we can a.muse ourselves searching for it, at any rate," replied Tom. They were now approaching the shore of the northeastern pa.rt of the island. Val was carrying Tom's rifle, and the two boys we.re in the lea a. Suddenly tihe entire paxty wern startled by the shrill scream of a woman. -"My gracious!" exclaimed Val. "A womanon the isl and, and in trouble!" The words were hardly out of his mouth before a second scream rang out. Come on, Tom. We must see what's in the wind," cried Val, sta .rting off in the direction of the sound. A third scream added enetgy to the boys' footsteps aml the.v pu s hed tl1eir way tihrnugh the trnpical verdure as fast as they could. It sounded quite near, and was mingled with the coarse and threatening ejaculations of a man. At length Val, who was in the lead, emerged from the edge of the grove into a clear space tb.at led down to the sea. A few yards before him 'he saw a lovely young girl strng gling in the arms of a bewhiskered man, who was dressed like tlw mate of a vessel. The girl was pretty strong and put up a good fight, but when Val reached the scene her strength was giving out, aJ1d she uttered another piercing scream. "Scream away, my pretty bird la .ughcc1 the man, ma liciously. "I mean to have a kie.
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12 ON PIRATE'S ISLE. At the same time Tom made his appearance from the of your fathc11's vessel, Miss Foste!", where was she from, grove. \ .. and where bound?" 1 The rascal, ..Perceiving that the odds were against him, "She was a brig named the of the Lake. We w ere came to a halt, but nevertheless held on to his weapon in a bound to San Francisco from Sydney with a ca. rgo of coal. dogged way We went ashore here in a ga le during the night. We had "Drop tha.t gun or I'll dro'P you!" sa.id Val, resoh1tely. a crew o.f eight men with a cook, a carpenter and two mates. Tom, seeing the state of affairs, concluded to chip in, too. Mr. Fox was the chief mate. All the others weTe lost, "Throw that revolver down!" he said, drawing his own either washed overboard when the brig struck, or in trying w eapon to swim for the sho re." The man hesitat ed, while his eyes flashed fire. When the girl finished her brief story Val told the girl "Who are you and where did you come from?" he asked, his name and introduced Tom. in an ugly tone At that juncture Profes so r Scotchley and Jack Junk "No matter who we are nor where we come from," reappeared. tortecl Val. "We are going to protect this young lady from The mate Fox, had walked awa.y and was out of sight, you. I'll ask you once more to drop your weapon. If you but they were greatly a sto nished to see Val and Tom in don't you'll take the consequences." company with a young girl whose age was apparently beWith another imprecatio.n the rnscal threw his weapon tween sixteen and seventeen. clown. Val introduced Ruby Foster to the professoT, and has"Go and take possession of it, Tom," said Val, "and see tha.t he doesn't get away, while I find out wha.t the trouble is." After Tom had taken charge of the man's pistol and then advised hi:tn to rnmain quietly where he was_, Val lower ed his gun and turned to the girl. "Don't be frightened, miss," he sa.ic1. "My friend and I will protect you from further harm. Will you tell me who you are, anc1 how you come to be on this i sland?" "M y name i s Ruby Fostel"," sobbed the girl. "My father' s vesse l was on this island two, weeks a .go. Everybody was lost except my father, 'that man who was the mate, and myself. My father's l eg was brokrn and he fa unable to get around. He i s in a cave near here. That man, whose name is Edward Fox, has been annoying me with his attentions ever si nce we've been on the island. I was going to a place where we get water when h e came u r behind me, grabbed me and tried to kiss me .. I screamed, though I thought there was no one to h elp me. I don't know what I should have don e if you hadn't saved me from !him. I am very grateful to you for doing so." .. "You' re welcome. I am glad I got hcTe in time to be of service to you. That man sha'n't bother you any more while we remain on the i s land, and when our vessel returns to take us off we'll take you and your father with u s." "Did your vesseil go away and leave you and that other boy here?" The girl regarded him in some surprise as she spoke. "I'll tell you how it was," explained Val. "Our ship, the Golden Gate, bou:q.d from Sau Francisco to Sydney, was becalmed off this island yesterday JD.Orning. The captain died during the night and four of us brought the body ashore to bury 'it. While we were here the storm ca.me up and ( the vessel off somewhere, )Jut of course she'll be back a .fter us inside of a couple of days. That's the whole story in a few words." "I am so glad there is a chance for us to get away from this place. Father will be very glad to hear it, too. You must come with me, both of you, and I'll make you ac quainted with my father. He'll be glad to see you, for I am his only companio!l, as Mr. Fox has little to say to him." "We'll come in a few minutes, as soon as Professor Scotchley and Jack Junk come up. Let that man go, Tom," he addled to his companion. "What was the name tened to explain matters. 1 The party then, under the girl's guidance, started for the cave where ber fat!her lay h e lples s from his broken limb, which he ha .cl received the night of the wreck. CHAPTER VII. VAL AND TO .M: MAKE THEMSELVES GENERALLY USEFUL. '.rl1e care into which Ruby Fo sicr introduced Val ancl the others, while not exactly facing tho sea,, was close to it. It penetrated the base of one of the crater cones from 1 hich no smoke arose.i' It was r eally a series of ooverns, as Val and Tom afterward discovered. The outer one wa the Jargest, and there, on a bed of soft vegetable fiber, la y Captain Foster, Rub_v's father. The cave was filled with a lot of stuff that had come asho r e from a wTeck o.f the brig-boxes, and kegs, an.cl r ope, and a miscellaneous collection of other things, many of them very u se ful to the thTee: castaways. Capta.in FQster was astonished whein his daughter introduced four strangers tihe cave. Ho immediately jumped to the conclus1on that some ves se l had anchored off the island, prnbably in quest of water, which a.bounded on the place "FatheT," sai d Ruby, "this is Valeintine Yance." "Glad to meet you, young man," replied the captain, cheerfully, extending his mahogany-hued hand. The girl tben introduced the oth e rs in the party. "I presume you are from a vessel that put in here for water?" sai d Capta .in Foster. "No, sir. We were marooned heTe by yesterday's gale," replied Val. "Marooned here by yesterday's gale?" exclaimed Captain Foster, in smprise. "I don't quite comprehend youT meaning, young man." Then Val told him how they came to be on the island. He went into more details than he had told the girl, and Captain Foster and.his daughter soon understood the situa tion thoroughly. I hope you will remain here with us until your vessel returns," said the captain, in a hospita.ble manner. "We will be very glad of your society." Val, who acted as spokesman for his party, told Captain

PAGE 14

ON PIRATE'S ISLE. 13 Foster that they would be very glad to accept his invita tion, as bhey had no place to go, and that it would be evel' so much better fol' the whole party to hang together. "You may consider tha.t your slay on the isiand will be as the Golden Ga. te will undoubtedly be back shortly to take us off. Of course you'll have to return lo Sydney, but that cannot well be avoided." "It will make little diff e r ence io us, since the brig is lost," replied the bluff skipper. "We will manage to get back to the United States by steamer My vessel and cargo were fully insnred, so that my lo$ will not be very consider able. She was an old craft, aud I have been thinking of disposing of her and buying a more serviceable vessel, or retiring from active service altogether." "It was fortunate that you and your daughter escaped with your lives," said Val. "It was, indeed, and we feel very gratefu l to Heaven With the exception of my chief mate, l\1r. Fox, every other soul was lo t Where is Mr. Fox, Ruby?" "Don't ask me, father. I don't know where he is, and I don't care if I never see him again," she replied, with some indignation in her. Lones. "vVhy, what do you mean, Ruby?" asked Captain Fosler, in surprise. The girl then explained the iudignity which the chief mate had subjected her to, and how Val and his friend Tob had saved her from his undesirable farniliarilY. The captain expressed 11is disapprobation of mates ungentlemanly actions, and said he would certainly call him lo accolmt for it when he saw. him again. He thanked Val for his plucky interposition in his daughter's behalf, and said he would not forget it. Val and Torn then walked outside with Ruby, leaving Professor Scotchley anc1 Jack Junk with the injured cap tain of the Lacly of the Lake. Ruby :;cen?cd delighted with the companionship of two boys about her own age, and she was especially taken with Yal, not only because he had taken her part when she was in serious troulJlc, but because he was a good looking and manly young fellow. Val was equally struck with her. She was an uncommonly pretty girl, with sapphire-blue eyes, and fluffy golden hair. Her naturally fair comp le xion was browned by exposure to the SlID and winds of the ocean, and the ruddy hue of perfect health glowed on her checks. She was very vivacious, and not in the least degree bash ful. The three were soon on the best of terms. Before they were an hour togetbeT lhe boys had told her all about them e lves, and she had been equally confidential with them. Her mother was dead, and the modest home in the West crn Addition of San Francisco, where she had heen born, was rented during the' absence of herself and father on their long voyage 'l'his was the second voyage she had made with her father, and its unfortunate termination tempted her to believe that it would be the last if she could persuade her parent to give up the sea for good. V a.l told her how this island had once been the rendez vous of the Spanish pirate, Vasco i:Jhe Terrible, and that it was believed by many people that his treasure of pillaged gold ruid other valuables was still secreted somewhere on the place, probably in one of the uuknown caves of the seven cra.ters. 'Jack Junk, the sailor with us, was wrecked here like yourself len years ago. He hunted for that gold during the months of his enforced residence, but he did not s uc in getting even a clue to it. He wants u s to help him make a11olher earch, and we're going to do it, if for no other pmpose than to pass away the time while we're h e re," saicl VaL "There is another cave behind the one in which we have taken refuge," said Ruby. "I looked in at the opening one day, but it 1ras so dark and forbidding that I didn't dare think of exp loring it." "\Ve'll talrn a look at it," said Val. "What do you say, Tom?" "Sure. I'm with you." "You will have to have a light of some kind," said the girl. "'fherc may be holes in it in lo which you might tumble and go down ever so deep." "We'll ma.kc 5ome kind of torehe ," said Val. "You can do that easily," she answered "A barrel of tar came ashore from the brig which pa.pa expected to use for the first vessel that hove in sight. By smearing the ends of a couple of pieces of wood in the stuff and applying a light to the tar you will have excellent to rches, though they will give off a lot of strong smoke." "We'll furnish the light, for we have a small supply of ma tche"," said Tom. "Oh, we have matche s, too. We got lots of thing s from the "Teck before she broke up. 1\Ir. Fox s1rarn out to her one day an
PAGE 15

14 ON PIRATE'S ISLE. "All right. Our .services aJ:e at your command, Miss Ruby," said Val. "What shall we do first?" asked Tom. "Do you think you could skin the rabbits?" she asked. "Don't lmow," replied Tom. ''Never tried it." "Tom never did anything in the culina.Ty line in his life," laughed V aJ. "His folks have three servants, mcluding the cook." "I'm willing to learn," said Tom. Ruby got a couple of knives, and taking the boys where the rabbits were hung to the limb of a tree, she took one do1m and showed the boys how to take the furry jacket off the animal. Tbey each grabbed,a knife and proceeded to imitate her instructions. While they were thus engaged she started a fire in a hole in the ground which the mate had prepared for the purpose, and then got the pot to stew the rabbits in after they had been cleaned and cut up. Ruby, with the assistance of her two helpero, turned out a first-class meal. Besides the stewed rabbits, there were rich yams, breadfruit and bananas, with canned tongue and two kinds of canned vegetables. The liquids consisted of cool water and cocoanut milk. At the conclusion of this banquet, as the boys called it, Captain Foster produced a bottle of prime whiskey and treated Professor Scotchley and Jack Jlmk. This part of the programme suited the sailor so well that he helped himself to several extra nips on the sly, and :finally 1ralked off with the bottle while the captain was talking with the professor, and betaking himself to the con cealment of the tropical vegetation, proceeded to get glor iously full all by himself. Mr. Fox did not turn up during the meal, and so Ruby !!et his dinner aside for him. "Now," said Val, after he and Tom had helped wash the dishe8, "suppose we make those torches and explore the inner cave?" "That suits me," replied Tom. "You'll come with us, won't you, Miss Ruby?" She said she would, and so the bys hunted a round for suitable material to make the torches out of. CHAPTER VIII. WHAT VAL FOUND IN TUE SEA CREST. When everything was ready for the exploration of the inner cave, the boys lighted the torches and the three walked to the opening at the end of the outer cave. Va.I went iJ?. advance, followed by Ruby, while rom brought up at the end of the procession. Vance held his torch above his head to light the way and avoid tumbling into any pitfall that might be in his path. The second cave proved to be only a small om, with a perfectly solid floor. There was an opening at the further end of it, and when Val entered it he found himself in a narrow winding pas sage with no roof that he could see. "I wonder where this will take us to?" he remarked over his shoulder to Ruby. The girl hadn't the least idea The passage was not a long one, and ended in another cave. Here they found plent.y oI evidence that the cavern had once been occupied. There were three sea chests of an old-fashioned kind s tanding against the walls. In the cent e r of the place was a, long, rucle table sur rounded by half a dozen kegs which had evidently been used as sea.ts. They proved on examination i.o be empty. 'I'here were a number of metal goblets on the table that Tom declared looked to be made of silver. In one corner were scrernl old cutlasses and a singlc barrcled pistol with an ornamented wooden stock. "Hello, here' s a silver coin," said Tom picking the of money up. It proYcd to be a Spanish piece about i.he size and weight of an American ver dollar. "By George!" cried Val, in some excitement. "Looks as if we hacl struck the old pirate's headquarters." "That's what it doe!'," replied T om. "Maybe we'll find a. clue to the treasure here." A closer examination of the e:ups showed they were not silver, but some base metal that looked like it. The clwsts contained a few pieces of faded clothing, bui. nothing of the least value. e Va.l turned one of them over to look at the metal knobs that stucldecl ii. H!'l happened to pre.8s one of the brass protuberances pretty bard and instantly a shallow drawer flew out half way. "Hello!" he exclaimed, "this chest has a false bottom!'' Looking into the drawer he saw a folded sheet of thick vellum. Pulling it out, he unfolded it and exan1ined ii by the torchlight. It was covered with writing, all of it in Spanish, which Val couldn't decipher .. Tom and Ruby lookeil over Val's s haulder as he scanned the characters on the vellum. "Wha.t do you suppose it's all about?" asked Tom. "How shoulrl I know? H's a foreign lingo to me. T can't under .,tand a single word of it. It's just like rn much Greek." "Professor Scotchley will translate it. It looks like Spanish to me. He can read half a dozen langua ges." "It might have some reference to the location of the hidden treasure," said Val. "It must be of importance to be concealed in a secret drawer." "Wouldn't it be great iI it \1'aF?" "It would be fine." "That would let Jack Junk 011t of it. You found the paper, and if it el10uld show where i.hc treasure is you would be entitled to the biggest part of it." "What do you take me for-a hog?" protested Val. "We'd divide up even." "Nonsense! Only us three and the professor would be entitled to a share of it. If I had anything to say you'd have haJf, because you discovered the document." "What's the use of talking, or counting our chickens before they're hatched? It may refer to something entirely foreign to the pirate gold."

PAGE 16

ON PIHATE"S ISLE. 15 "I move we return to the front cave irnd get Profes sor S c otchl e y to read it right mrny," s aid Tom. "Oh, there s no rush. The treasure won't run a wa v if thi s paper has anything to
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