The Stone Chest by G. A. Henty
Chapter XV.--Bob Rescues His Father--Conclusion.
The savages were pressing close upon the Dart. Something must be done.
"Slip the cable!" shouted the captain. "Up with the jib, topgallant sails, and gaff!"
"We must trust to weathering the point," he added to the mate. "If we do, we are safe. The current will carry us to sea."
His orders were executed.
The wind fortunately blew from the southward, and, filling the light sails, carried the Dart off the shore.
The yacht's head paid off, and, answering her helm, she, with the tide in her favor, bore seaward.
A few parting shots, and the Dart, now feeling the full force of the wind, left the fleet of canoes far behind.
The next few hours were employed in the dressing of wounds and making things a little ship-shape.
It had been a hard-fought fight, and everyone was tired out.
Fortunately, neither Mrs. Cromwell nor Viola had suffered from the attack.
Long before the crew were able to do anything more darkness set in.
Bob was very impatient to trace up his father, but just now that was impossible.
Anxiously the boy waited for dawn, while his mother wept in silence, thinking of her beloved husband.
Would they save him?
At the first signs of morning Bob was up and ready for the search.
Captain Sumner and Jack were not far behind.
The Dart proceeded slowly toward land.
Satisfied that the savages had left the vicinity, the party went ashore, and once more proceeded toward the cave of ice.
A light snow had fallen, and all former tracks had been obliterated.
In vain they looked about for some trace of the Svlachkys.
"Let us go on an exploring tour," suggested the captain, seeing how badly Bob felt.
They started off first for the far end of the cavern.
They had gone scarcely a dozen rods when the captain called a halt.
"Someone is coming!" he whispered.
A crunching of snow and ice was now plainly to be heard.
The party ran for shelter behind a series of ice humps and waited.
Suddenly a man clad in furs dashed by them, running at top speed.
At that strange cry the man stopped as though shot.
"Who calls?" he asked, but instead of replying, Bob rushed from his hiding place.
"My son! What does this mean? How came you here?"
"We came in search of you, father," replied Bob. Father and son embraced warmly. Then Captain Cromwell turned swiftly.
"We must fly! The Svlachkys are coming! I just escaped from them."
He had just uttered the words when the crowd of strange people came down upon them.
The leader started to throw a sharp spear at Captain Cromwell, when Bob rushed in and, with one well-directed blow of his gun, laid the man on his back.
A fierce shout went up and a struggle ensued.
But the fall of their leader had demoralized the Svlachkys, and when half a dozen guns and pistols had been fired at them they fled in dismay.
After this the party from the Dart lost no time in returning to the vessel.
Bob and his father walked side by side, and never were parent and child happier.
When Mrs. Cromwell saw her husband alive and well, she cried for joy and threw herself into his arms. It was a happy time all around.
Captain Cromwell's story was a long one. In brief, it was as follows:
When the Bluebell went down, he and Ruel Gross escaped on a raft, and after several days of suffering, reached the coast of Siberia.
From there they set out for Cedar Island.
The island gained, they found the stone chest, and then Captain Cromwell was captured.
For a long while the Svlachkys held him, thinking he knew of more treasures than those already discovered.
At last, however, they grew weary of waiting, and had resolved to put him to death, when deliverance came as recorded.
That there was more treasures was proven later on.
The stone chest was taken up, and beneath was found a cross of gold that was valued at fifteen thousand dollars.
With the treasure on board, the Dart started southeastward for the United States.
In due course of time San Francisco was reached, and here the treasure was disposed of.
Each of the sailors belonging to the party was given five hundred dollars, besides his pay.
Jack received five hundred dollars also.
The remainder of the money was divided equally between Captain Sumner and Captain Cromwell.
With his portion of the treasure Captain Cromwell purchased an interest in another ship, and to-day is fast regaining his lost financial position.
Bob is with his father and Jack Larmore sticks to the pair.
Captain Sumner has given up his roving life and has settled down with Viola as his housekeeper. His residence is but a short distance from that occupied by Mrs. Cromwell, so the latter does not want for company when her husband and son are on the ocean.
And here let us leave, satisfied that in the future all will be well with those who have figured in the story of The Stone Chest.