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Aylward Edward Dingle
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On the level sward before the village the three yachtsmen paced back and forth in an ecstasy of apprehension. Pascherette had left them, after playing them like fish with her own charms and a hinted promise of Dolores's favors as bait; and the moment they were alone Venner shook off the spell in a resurging determination to attend to the safety of his vessel in person.
"Follow me, Pearse; come Tomlin!" he said. "We are three mad fools to stand here while these pirates loot and wreck the Feu Follette!"
Tomlin shuddered as he started to follow. Pearse kept silence, but did not hesitate. But they had not stepped ten paces before they realized fully the completeness of their helplessness, for Venner, first to attempt the path down, was brought to a halt by a musket leveled at his breast, the musketeer showing only his head and shoulders above the cliff edge. And as Tomlin and Pearse came up, they, too, were abruptly halted in like manner; and a grinning Carib motioned each back with an unspoken command which was none the less inexorable.
They returned to their first positions, and resumed their nervous walk, condemning themselves as utter idiots for venturing unarmed into such a nest of vipers at the urge of curiosity, novelty, feminine attraction, greed--whatever their motives had been. And here Dolores came upon them, while all about them swarmed the disgruntled pirates from the sloop, and those of the mutineers whose abject fears warned them to take whatever punishment their queen chose to mete out rather than to escape only to be brought back to endure penalties immeasurably more terrible.