The Pirate Woman (Chapter 21)

 
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Chapter 21 : Page 1 of 9

Pearse followed her with his eyes until she vanished into the passage; then with muttering lips and harshly working features he strode down the chamber to the great tapestry behind which lay the powder store. The suspicion had come to him that Dolores was fooling them all regarding her real treasure; for he believed she had shown him everything, and if those heavy chests contained but a tithe of the whole, life was certain that the gems around the walls were not what she meant when she said she had still a thousand times greater riches than the chests contained.

He tore aside the tapestry, and tried to see through the gloom of the cavern. His eyes could not pierce the blackness, and he looked around for a light, while Venner and Tomlin walked toward him with sudden interest in their faces. Over the tall Hele clock a lantern hung; a gaudy thing of beaten gold, in which an oil wick burned, gleaming out in multicolored light through openings glazed with turquoise and sapphire, ruby, and emerald. He took this down, and impatiently tore away the side of it to secure a stronger light. Again he went to the powder store, and now Venner and Tomlin were at his back, peering over his shoulder or under his arms in curiosity as to his quest.

And, sensing their presence, he swung around upon them savagely, muffling the cry that answered the message of his eyes. Flinging the lantern down, he trampled it out, and with snarling teeth he faced them, his rapier flickering from the sheath like a dart of lightning.

 
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