Gust, after his own peculiar habit, had found means to delegate to the others the actual taking of life.
But Kai Shang realized that he must act with circumspection, for Gust alone of the motley horde possessed sufficient knowledge of navigation to get them out of the South Atlantic and around the cape into more congenial waters where they might find a market for their ill-gotten wealth, and no questions asked.
And now Gust did not wish to venture out to sea again.
To this end he organized hunting party after hunting party, but always the devil of perversity seemed to enter the soul of Kai Shang, so that wily celestial would never hunt except in the company of Gust himself.
It is true that Kai Shang had no other evidence than the natural cunning of his own knavish soul--but he imagined in the intentions of Gust what he himself would have been glad to accomplish had the means lain at hand.
They decided, however, that it would do no harm to attempt to frighten Gust into acceding to their demands, and with this purpose in mind the Maori sought out the self-constituted commander of the party.
When he broached the subject of immediate departure Gust again raised his former objection--that the warship might very probably be patrolling the sea directly in their southern path, waiting for them to make the attempt to reach other waters.
"Ah!" exclaimed Gust, "there is where you are wrong.
Momulla sat for some time in silence, eyeing Gust. At last he rose.
The thunder gust which had hitherto detained the company was now at an end.
Old Sam now readily recognized the overhanging rock under which his skiff had been sheltered during the thunder gust. To follow up the course which the midnight gang had taken, however, was a harder task.
A sullen pause of the storm, which now rose and sank in gusts, produced a momentary stillness.
And it was then, while finishing his watch, with the chilly gusts
of wind sweeping at him out of the darkness where the short sea of the soundings growled spitefully all round the ship, that it occurred to his unsophisticated mind that perhaps things are not what they are confidently expected to be; that it was possible that Captain Anthony was not a happy man .
The sea, flattened down in the heavier gusts
, would uprise and overwhelm both ends of the Nan-Shan in snowy rushes of foam, expanding wide, beyond both rails, into the night.