“Sartainly, the boat makes the only chance ag’in us. But the boat was riding by its 바카라사이트 painter astern, and accidents sometimes happen to such craft. Then we two are the wery last he will suspect of having made off in the boat by ourselves. There’ll be Mrs. Budd and Biddy as a sort of pledge that Miss Rose is aboard, and as for Jack Tier, he is too insignificant to occupy the captain’s thoughts just now. He will probably muster the people for’ard, when he finds the boat is gone, but I do not think he’ll trouble the cabins or state-rooms.”

Mulford admitted that this was possible, though it scarcely seemed probable to him. There was no help, however, for the actual state of things, and they all now turned their attention to the brig, and to the movements of those on board her. Jack Tier had swung to the outer door of the house, as soon as the Swash came in view through it, and fortunately none of the windows on that side of the building had been opened at all. The air entered to windward, which was on the rear of the dwelling, so that it was possible to be comfortable and yet leave the front, in view from the vessel, with its deserted air. As for the brig, she had already anchored and got both her boats into the water. The yawl was hauled alongside, in readiness for any service that might be required of it, while the launch had been manned at once, and was already weighing the anchor, and securing the chain, to which Tier had alluded. All this served very much, to lessen the uneasiness of Mulford and Rose, as it went far to prove that Spike had not come to the Dry Tortugas in quest of them, as, at first, both had very naturally supposed. It might, indeed, turn out that his sole object was to obtain this anchor and chain, with a view to use them in raising the ill-fated vessel that had now twice gone to the bottom.

“I wish an explanation with you, Jack, on one other point,” said the mate, after all three had been for some time observing the movements on board and around the Swash. “Do you actually intend to get on board the brig?”

“If it’s to be done, maty. My v’y’ge is up with you and Miss Rose. I may be said to have shipped for Key West and a market, and the market is found at this port.”

“You will hardly leave us yet, Jack,” said Rose, with a manner and emphasis that did not fail to strike her betrothed lover, though he could in no way account for either. That Rose should not wish to be left alone with him in that solitary place was natural enough; or, might rather be referred to education and the peculiar notions of her sex; but he could not understand why so much importance should be attached to the presence of a being of Jack Tier’s mould and character. It was true, that there was little choice, under present circumstances, but it occurred to Mulford that Rose had manifested the same strange predilection when there might have been something nearer to a selection. The moment, however, was not one for much reflection on the subject.

“You will hardly leave us yet, Jack?” said Rose, in the manner related.

“It’s now or never, Miss Rose. If the brig once gets away from this anchorage without me, I may never lay eyes on her ag’in. Her time is nearly up, for wood and iron wont hold together always, any more than flesh and blood. Consider how many years I have been busy in hunting her up, and how hard ’twill be to lose that which has given me so many weary days and sleepless nights to find.”

Rose said no more. If not convinced, she was evidently silenced, while Harry was left to 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.”