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was the text of this document. I was becoming more amazed every minute.
"Does this mean that Beaumont will meet us on our return to Barbados? " I inquired.
"Me—will meet me. I don't believe that he is over-anxious to meet you, though you do sometimes appear cleverer than you really are," said the Scotsman. "Man, I paid two pound nine and eightpence for the telegram that I sent to St. Pierre yesterday. I only hope that I'll get it out of the estate."
"You must have put a lot into it," said I.
"That means that you want badly to know what I did put into it,'' said he. '' Man, this ' idle curiosity ' is a sore curse."
"I take everything back. Tell me the whole story," I cried.
'' Ah, now you 're talking,'' said he. '' But there's not much of a story. I belong to the firm of solicitors that wound up the estate of Mr. Beaumont. The creditors were paid in full—don't think that we gave that foolish advice to the son; the thing was all his own doing. Among the securities was a bundle of shares in an American speculation which were then quite unsalable—an English firm would have sold them as waste paper—that's the difference between English and Scots. For eight years the shares were worth nothing, but to-day, owing to the demand for cartridge-cases, they are worth eighty thousand pounds —the last dividend they paid was 42 per cent. We have spent over five hundred pounds advertising for the owner of this property, and you tried your best to put me off the track.''
I sat down on the nearest deck-chair and wiped my forehead. The man's story was just too much for me.
"Miss Crofton—did you tell her of this? " I managed to say at last.
"Miss Crofton? Was she so interested?"
I jumped up and hastened to where Miss Crofton was sitting. I asked her if she would mind coming down to the saloon for a minute. She said a word of surprise and complied. It did not take me long to tell her all that I had heard. "When all was told she bowed her face down to the table at which we were sitting. Then she put out a cold hand to me, and rising slowly, walked down the saloon in the direction of her cabin. She seemed guiding herself from pillar to pillar down the whole length of the saloon.
We left La Guayra and the Spanish Main on our return to Barbados the next day. We were watching the gamboling of a school of porpoises in the distance, when Mr. Gilbertson came behind me, saying:
"I'm so sorry to bother you, but would you mind telling me what is the name of that island?"
Hugh Beaumont came aboard the steamer at Barbados almost before the anchor was let go. Miss Crofton was waiting for him. They shook hands quite pleasantly, and Mrs. Heber said:
'' A new passenger, I suppose. Miss Crofton seems to have met him before."
"Yes," I replied. "I believe she did meet him before.''
At Barbados this company of shipmates whom I at least had found so very companionable, separated. Some were going back to England, some on to Jamaica, others to Colon and Carthagena. I had some further cruising in sunshine, but the only group of my old friends who accompanied me was that which included Mr. and Mrs. Krux, with Miss Hope and Major Wingfield.
The day after leaving Barbados, I was, like Sir Bedivere, " revolving many memories " in my deckchair close to where the Kruxes were sitting, Miss Hope between them. Major Wingfield came up, and I heard him ask the girl if she would care to come on the bridge with him and see the sunset or something.
Then it was that Mrs. Krux put out a hand to check the girl's movement.
'' Major Wingfield,'' I heard her say, '' I think it right to tell you frankly that I and Mr. Krux are determined"
I did not hear further, but I saw that Wingfield was laughing with great geniality.
"I think that you have every reason, Mrs. Krux," said he. "But I don't think you will carry out your intention when you have seen this."
He drew out a telegram from his pocket and handed it to Mrs. Krux. She took it.
"And this," said Miss Hope, handing her another which she also took.
She put on her spectacles and read first one and then the other, Wingfield standing by with an amused expression. But the expression on the face of the girl was one of serene gravity.
Mrs. Krux folded up the telegrams.
'' Of course, if her father has telegraphed his consent," she said.
The girl was on her feet in a moment, and she and Wingfield made their way to the bridge and looked out upon the golden track to the west. But I have seen much more glorious sunsets in these waters than that which was unrolled like a curtain made of cloth of gold, with a ground of purple and fringes of crimson. This is the curtain which was rung down at the end of the first act of the lover's comedy.
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