CHAPTER XXVII

In Harbor

     The morning found me as good as new except for a dull ache in my shoulder.  I was up betimes for breakfast and ready for shore duty.
     Yet I was glad to accept Blythe's orders to stay on board as long as we remained in Darien Harbor.
     It was good to avoid the sun and the mosquitoes and the most heat of the jungle, though I felt a little guilty at lying in a hammock on the shady side of the deck with Evenly at my side, while my friends were perspiring in the burning sand pits with shovel and pick.
     Fortunately, it was only a few hours before the last of the boxes buried by Bucks was uncovered.  Jamaica Ginger's hatchet found it a good fifty yards from the others.  Within an hour it had been dragged out of the dirt and brought aboard.
     We sailed the same afternoon about twelve hours later than the schooner, which had quietly slipped us on its way to the sea in the faint light of early dawn.
     That Fleming had given up the attempt to win the treasure was plain.  I doubt whether his men would have followed him even if he had wished it, for he had not the dominant temper of his chief.
     We dropped anchor under the lee of a little island in the Boco Chico, but our engines were throbbing again by break of day.  As we puffed across the North Bay we passed the schooner almost within a stone's throw.
     Henry Fleming was on deck, and half a dozen of the blacks and browns who made up the crew swarmed to the side of the vessel to see us.  Blythe had made quiet preparations in case any attempt at stopping use should be made, but apparently nothing was farther from the thoughts of the enemy.
     In fact several of the dusky deck hands waved us a friendly greeting as we drove swiftly past.  From that day to this I have never seen any member of that crew, though a letter received last week from Gallagher—who is doing well in the cattle business in the Argentine—mentioned that he had run across Henry Fleming at Buenos Ayres.
     Out of the Gulf of San Miguel we pushed past Brava Point as fast as Stubbs could send the Argos.  The lights of Panama called to us.   They stood for law and civilization and the blessed dominance of the old stars and stripes.
     We were in a hurry to get back to the broad piazzas of its hotels, where women at their ease did fancy work and played bridge while laughing children romped without fear.
     Adventure is all very well, but I have discovered that one can get a surfiet of it.
     Before the division of the treasure there arose a point of morality that, oddly enough, had not been considered before.  It was born of my legal conscience and for a few minutes was disturbing.
     Tom and I were in Blythe's cabin with him discussing an equitable division of the spoils.  Into my mind popped the consideration that we were not the owners of it all but certain remote parties in Peru.
     After having fought for it and won it the treasure was not ours.  the thing hit me like a flow in the face.  I spoke my thought aloud.   Sam looked blankly at me.
     Yeager laughed grimly.  there was a good deal of the primitive man still in the Arizonian.
     "If they want it let them come and take it.  I reckon finding is keeping."
     But I knew the matter could not be settled so easily as that.  A moral question had arisen and it had to be faced.  Evelyn was called into counsel.
     She had an instant solution of the difficulty.
     "We can't return it even if we want to.  The town of Cerro Blanco and the neighboring mines were destroyed by an earthquake in 1819.   Not a soul at the mines escaped and only a few peasants from the town.  You will find the whole story in Vanbrough's 'Great Earthquakes.'"
     "Then, after all, we are the rightful owners."
     "I'm afraid we are," she smiled.
     Blythe, already as wealthy as he cared to be, declined to accept any share of our spoils beyond the expenses of the cruise.  Each of the sailors received a good-sized lump sum, as did also Philips and Morgan.
     Rather against the wishes of our captain the three former mutineers shared with the rest of the crew. We did not of course forget the relatives of the men who had fallen in our defense.
     The boatswain Caine left a widow and two children.  We put her upon a pension until she married a grocer two years later.
     We were never able to hear that she thought the loss of husband number one anything but a good riddance.
     Jimmie's share went into a fund, which is being managed by Yeager and me as trustees.  It is enough to keep him and his mother while the boy is being educated and to leave a small nest-egg in addition.
     Yeager, of course, put his profits into cattle.  Since Evelyn and I moved to Los Angeles we see a good deal of Tom and his wife.  At least once during the winter we run across to his Arizona ranch for a week or two.  His boy is just old enough to give his name proudly with a lisp as "Tham Blythe Yeager."
     Ours is a girl.  She has the golden hair and the sparkling spirit of her mother.

     N.B.—The autocrat of the household has just read the last line as she leans over my shoulder.   She will give me no peace till I add that the baby has the blue, Irish eyes of her dad.

THE END