Off for Hawaii/Chapter 10
AN ADVENTURE AT DIAMOND HEAD.
"You saved us a clean ten thousand dollars!" announced John Palmer, as he presented himself that night at our rooms, accompanied by Paul Carson.
"You are satisfied that Delverez is a swindler?" questioned Dan, who was taking it easy on a rattan couch.
"I am. After we parted I made a number of inquiries and I am as satisfied as anybody that he ought to be in prison instead of walking the streets of Honolulu. Both Carson and I owe you young men something."
"So we do," put in the man from Chicago. "My, but that Don is a slippery one!" he added, with a shake of his head.
"Was he angry when you told him you wouldn't go into the scheme?" asked Dan curiously.
"Angry doesn't express it, Holbrook. He was tearing mad, and said we must be fools not to see the advantage of the deal. Then I got mad and turned on him and told him what I had found out, but without mentioning any names. When he found he was exposed he grabbed up his hat and ran from the restaurant as if the old Harry was after him."
The incident made all hands feel like old friends, and we soon learned that the two gentlemen had come to the Hawaiian Islands to see if any money could be invested in street-car lines or railroads. "We are already interested in Chicago and San Francisco surface roads," explained Mr. Carson. "But there is nothing like striking out."
"Well, I don't know much about these islands, but I know there are good openings for roads in the Philippines," said Oliver. "Here the land seems to be almost too mountainous, taken as a whole."
"I think the plantations would pay a good bit better if they had railroad facilities," said Mr. Palmer, as he lit a cigar and walked to the open window to toss out the half-burnt match. "The trouble is the land is all taken up and owners won't part with an acre unless a good price——" He broke off short. "Hullo, there is that Spaniard again! And he's looking right up into this room!"
All of us rushed to the window and saw that he was right. On the grass plat below stood Ramon Delverez, and it was easy to see that he had been watching us for some time.
"I guess he has found out who exposed him," murmured Dan.
"Yes, and he'll be more of an enemy than ever," added Oliver. "See, he has shaken his fist at us and is hurrying away."
"You want to keep an eye on that rascal," was John Palmer's comment. "A Spaniard who is an enemy is no fellow with whom to trifle."
"Oh, we've found that out," laughed Dan, somewhat nervously. "Eh, Mark?"
"Yes, we've found that out," I repeated. "I got all I wanted of the Dons while I was in Cuba during the war."
My remarks excited the curiosity of the two men, and in the end I had to relate my adventures before and at the fall of Santiago, and Dan and Oliver told of the exciting times they had had in and around Manila and while serving as sailor boys under Admiral Dewey.
"You have certainly seen a lot of adventures," said Mr. Palmer. "Almost as many as myself, and I have knocked around the West for more than a score of years. I presume you are here merely to recuperate and for pleasure."
"Partly for pleasure and partly for business," answered Oliver, but said nothing about the proposed hunt for the Cave of Pearls.
It was nearly midnight before our gathering broke up, and by the time Mr. Carson and Mr. Palmer left we felt as if they were old friends.
"Remember we shan't forget what you have done for us," said the tall Californian.
"And if we can ever do you a good turn we'll do it willingly," put in Paul Carson, with a warm shake of the hand all around.
Oliver had procured the steamer tickets, so there was nothing for us to do on the day following but to pack our valises and take it easy. As it looked like a clear day, Dan proposed that we hire horses and ride down to Diamond Head, the promontory situated at the entrance of Honolulu harbor.
"We can take it easy," said he. "So that the trip don't hurt you or Dan."
"I'm willing," I answered, and so was Dan, and by nine o'clock we were on the way, taking advantage of the cool morning hours, for between eleven and two o'clock it is so hot in these latitudes that no one feels like stirring.
As we journeyed along we talked over the prospects of finding Joe Koloa, and if he would give us the information we desired, and ere we knew it it was high noon and we were a good distance from the city.
"I'm getting hungry," declared Dan, and as we had brought a hamper of eatables along, we came to a halt, tethered our horses by the roadside, and proceeded to make ourselves comfortable on a grassy bank overlooking a portion of the harbor and the ocean beyond. The scene was beautiful, and we remained where we were for several hours, watching the ships come and go—curious craft, from Chinese junks to native sailing boats of which I have since forgotten the name. There were also native canoes, some made of a hollowed log and others of frames covered with skins, each with an outrigger, consisting of a log floating in the water and attached to the canoe by means of two or more curved bows. This outrigger, of course, prevented the canoe from upsetting even when violently shaken.
"The natives have the art of taking it easy down fine," observed Dan, as he arose and shied some small stones into the water far below us. "I believe the single motto of their lives is Contentment."
"Well, it would be a good thing if they could teach some of our people that motto," I answered. "I've heard our family doctor say that the majority of Americans were altogether too nervous and wideawake, planning and scheming constantly how to get rich."
"Like ourselves, for instance," laughed Oliver. "See how we are planning to make a fortune. But just now I am going to take it easy, treasure or no treasure." And he threw himself on his back and closed his eyes, while I did the same. Dan kept on shying stones into the water, and presently we heard him move away up the footpath leading to another rise of volcanic rocks.
I think I fell into a light doze and Oliver went sound asleep. Probably half an hour passed, when I awoke with a start and sat up, rubbing my eyes.
For an instant I could not imagine what had aroused me. Then came a cry from a distance, in Dan's voice.
"Help, boys! Help!"
"What's the matter, Dan?" I called back, and scrambled to my feet.
"I am——" came back, and then my friend's voice died out suddenly, as if his wind had been cut short.
"What's up?" demanded Oliver, rousing up. "Why can't you let a fellow take a cat-nap?"
"Dan is in trouble. Come on!" And I ran in the direction from whence I thought the voice proceeded.
It was a rocky, uncertain path, and I found it difficult to make any progress. As we moved along I kept my ears on the alert, but Dan did not call again.
"Where are you?" I yelled. "What's the matter?"
The silence that followed only increased my alarm. I ran on, and Oliver kept close at my heels.
"You are certain Dan called out?" he questioned.
"I am positive."
"Perhaps you only dreamed it?"
"No, I didn't. Besides, if I did, why doesn't he answer my call?"
"He may have wandered out of hearing."
But at this I shook my head.
"Something is wrong—I am sure of it, Oliver. I only hope he hasn't had another tumble. He was throwing stones over this cliff, you know."
"Yes, I know that. Perhaps he went in the opposite direction. Dan! Dan! Where are you?"
The call was repeated a dozen times, but, as before, no answer came back. More alarmed than ever, we talked the matter over a minute, and then decided that I should continue up the cliff while Oliver made a search in the opposite direction.
"And if anything serious is the matter, fire your pistol," said my friend, as we separated.I had progressed fifty yards further when I reached a turn in the path. Here one cliff was set upon another, the higher projection being fully forty feet above my head. The lower cliff was
"DAN WAS THERE, STRUGGLING IN THE ARMS OF RAMON DELVEREZ."
As I looked up over my head, a sight on the upper cliff met my gaze that almost made my heart stop beating. Dan was there, struggling in the arms of Ramon Delverez, and the Spaniard was in the act of throwng the youth into the sea far below all of us!