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The Wonder Island Boys: Treasures of the Island
by Roger Thompson Finlay
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"What is that in the package lying on the box?"

"Can't you guess?"

"No."

"Have you forgotten the skull with the inscription on it?"

"Do you mean the skull we found on the headland at the eastern end of the island?"

"Yes."

"Why, what is that for? Do you think it has anything to do with the box?"

"Probably not; but I was curious to examine it further in view of the similarity of the chart and the inscription."

The boys could not possibly understand what was meant by such a reference. While they were talking the Professor entered the room, and remarked, "I have just come from the old fellow, and his reason is returning under the treatment, and he is also better physically."

"Do you mean the paralytic?"

"Yes; but there is one thing which is singular, and that is the constant muttering of the word triangle. This morning I could plainly distinguish several other words, such as 'of' and 'three,' and 'very well,' and parts of other words, showing that in time, if his improvement continues, we may get more information."

"I have an idea," hurriedly shouted George as he broke for the door. "Wait for me," he said, as he turned around and cast a glance back into the room. "I will be back at once," were the last words they heard.

John laughed at George's precipitous flight. "I suppose he has just thought of something that bears on the case. In the meantime, and while George is away, you, Harry, might get a hammer and a cold chisel. We may have to cut the top off."

Harry rushed out and taking John's machine was quickly at the shop, where he secured a hammer and several cold chisels capable of cutting the copper.

When he returned George was there, and was unfolding the paper scrap which they found below the skull. "Probably, this will explain the triangle," said George, as he pointed to the V-shaped mark. "The upper part of it is very likely worn away, so that we cannot see it."

John smiled at the suggestion as he took the paper and carefully examined it. "Your view may be correct," he responded.

"That looks like a suggestion of a line," said Harry, pointing to a faint scratch near the upper margin.

The Professor's messenger came in hurriedly, and announced that the paralytic had sent for him. "I will return by the time the box is opened," said the Professor, as he hurriedly went out of the door.

"Now for the box," said Harry. The slitting chisel was applied, and he dextrously cut along the top, under the directions of John.

"Direct the chisel downwardly, to see if there is any seam to be found along the side," directed John.

"Yes; here is the place where the top was put on," shouted Harry.

"Why, it has been soldered," said George. "Well, that means business."

It was evident that the soldering was effectively done, because the solder had run entirely through the seam, and it was really sweated on. The copper used was about an eighth of an inch thick, and the soft and ductile character showed that it was pure metal.

"Be very careful as you get around so as not to disturb the contents, by the falling of the lid," said John.

It still adhered at various places, and this was carefully cut away by one of the thin chisels, and the lid finally raised at one corner, sufficiently to disclose a portion of the contents, which appeared to be round and white, and resting near the center of the space.

All caught a glimpse of it, and involuntarily started back in surprise. It was a skull, the counterpart of the one lying on the table which contained the inscription.

"Open it wide," said John in a peculiar voice, and as he did so the Professor rushed in and announced that the paralytic had recovered speech, and he had ordered him to be brought in.

While the Professor was saying this, John was slowly raising the lid, and by a quick motion tore it away, and the Professor was actually taken aback at the sight before him. He gazed for a moment, and then muttered: "And the same inscription too!"

All looked toward it in amazement, and while puzzling over its meaning, the paralytic was helped in by two attendants. He came forward, saw the two skulls, and before either could prevent it he collapsed and fell to the floor, apparently lifeless.

He was gathered up and placed on a couch, and restoratives applied by the Professor. He lay thus in a stupor for more than a half hour, but soon returning consciousness began to manifest itself, and when he opened his eyes, and glanced about, his lips began to move. Here the Professor held up a warning hand, which he seemed to heed, for he immediately closed his eyes, and was soon asleep, as his breathing became regular, and the pulse began to act normally.

"There must be no more agitation now," said the Professor. "We can take the box to the adjoining room." This was done, and John carefully lifted the skull from its resting place, bringing with it a mass of other material, which looked like brown or discolored parchment.

The skulls were placed side by side. They were singularly alike, the inscription of the one found on the headland, was on the left side, and the like figures of the one taken from the box were on the right side.

"That is a singular thing," said Harry.

"So it is," answered John, "but it doubtless has a meaning," he continued.

Beneath the box, and attached to the wrappings, was a mass of material which John eagerly seized, and began to unwrap, while the Professor interestedly looked on. There was not the first sign of any treasure in the box, and when the several folds of the parchment were unrolled, the boys could see the hieroglyphics that the Professor and John so eagerly scanned.

"Yes, yes, I knew you would come back," said the man in the adjoining room, and John dropped the parchment and followed the Professor into the room, where they saw the old man sitting on the couch and staring about with an inquiring countenance.

"What is your name?" said the Professor.

He did not answer at first but looked at John and the Professor in amazement.

"Why do you ask?" he then muttered, without changing his countenance. "I have told you over and over," he continued.

"Do you know where you are?" asked John.

"Certainly. You may ask Walter about that."

"Walter? Do you know Walter?" asked George, almost involuntarily.

He smiled and nodded his head. "He is here. I saw him yesterday. I wish he would explain." Then he dropped back on the couch and remained motionless.

The effort to arouse him was useless, and the Professor advised patience. There was something so peculiar about the whole situation that it fascinated the boys. What did this man know about Walter? Possibly, through him the great mystery, that commenced with the note in the seat of their boat, would be explained.

After they came back to the island, Retlaw rapidly recovered, and was frequently found wandering around the town. On several occasions he called on the Professor. To the surprise of all he appeared at this time, surprised to find John and the boys present, and appeared to be terribly startled on seeing the two skulls.

The moment he saw the paralytic, he became agitated, and started for the door. John barred the way, and said: "Do you know that man?"

In a hesitating voice, he answered: "Yes; I know him well. Where did you find him?" and notwithstanding he saw the quiet figure he drew back with an expression of fear and hesitancy.

George slyly drew forth the Walter note, referred to in the previous volume, "Adventures on Strange Islands," and handed it to John. The latter seized it and said: "Did you ever see this?"

He grasped the paper, and answered: "Where did you get this? Did he have it?"

"No," replied the Professor; "we found it in a recess at the end of a seat in our boat,—the one we made on this island, three years ago."

"I do not know how it could have gotten there. It was written to Clifford,—"

"John B. Clifford?" asked Harry in excitement.

Retlaw turned, when he heard Harry. "Yes," was the hesitating answer.

"Do you know Walter?" asked John.

He did not reply, but glanced at all of them, and while doing so Harry came forward, and said: "Isn't your name Walter?"

The man started back and held up his hand: "What makes you think so?" he asked in alarm.

"Because Retlaw reversed, spells Walter," answered Harry.

It was time for the Professor to show surprise at the acuteness of Harry's conclusions. John took the cue at once. "Why are you trying to deceive us?"

He dropped his eyes, and was silent, and then he slowly turned to the quiet man.

John noticed the movement. "Who was the man tied to the vessel and wrecked on the island to the south of us?"

This question by John produced an added agitation in the deportment of the man. He was visibly affected by the question, but there was no reply.

"As you do not feel disposed to answer our questions we must detain or keep you in custody until Clifford recovers," said John, and motioning to the boys, they gathered around him, and called in the attendants and ordered the men to take charge of him.

As they were about to pass out the door, Ephraim ascended the steps and was about to pass into the open door. He caught sight of the curious group, and when his eye alighted on the figure on the couch, he drew back for a moment, while his gaze remained fixed.

Then he calmly moved forward, slowly shaking his head from side to side, and muttered: "That looks like Clifford, my companion on the ship, and the one who aided me to gain a foothold on the spar. How did he come here?"

"That is the man we found at Hutoton," said John. "But do you know this man?" he asked, pointing to Walter.

Ephraim turned, and scrutinized his face. "No, I have never seen him, to my knowledge."

Walter moved back with a sigh of relief, while John and the Professor looked at each other with puzzled expressions.

"Then the man we found tied to the boat was not Clifford!" exclaimed George.

John looked at Walter, and he saw him grow pale.

"Who was the man," he asked, in a threatening tone, as he approached Walter. The latter hesitated. "We are determined to ferret out this matter, and it will be to your advantage to tell us the whole story, for we shall find it out sooner or later."

"I must have time to think," he answered, as he put his hands to his head, and turned to Clifford.

"You may have until to-morrow, but in the meantime, we shall see to it that you are kept within our sight," responded John, as he motioned to the men to take him away.

As he left the door Harry said: "Why do you suppose he wanted time?"

John looked at Clifford for a moment, and answered: "Evidently, he had hopes that Clifford would not survive."



CHAPTER XVII

UNRAVELING THE MYSTERIES

At the suggestion of the Professor, Clifford was left in quiet, while John and the boys deferred their further attempts to explore the mysterious occurrences that were looming up.

They canvassed every phase of the situation, in the hope that some explanation might be offered. What could have been the relations of Walter and Clifford, and who was the man that met his death in the boat at Venture Island?

Why had the sight of the copper box and the skulls so agitated Walter? The latter, apparently, knew of the missive, which was, evidently, written by him, but why did he not give an outright answer concerning it when John asked him point blank?

It did not take the boys long to inform Sutoto of the development and the mystery concerning the two men. The old Chief, Beralsea, was taken over to see Walter, in order to identify him if possible, and then Harry suggested that Ta Babeda might know something of his early history, as Walter was found a prisoner at his village when John and the boys arrived there.

Beralsea had never seen nor heard of him, and Ta Babeda gave the following account of his capture: "About three years previously several men, of whom Walter was one, arrived at the island, on a small boat, something like the one carried by the Pioneer, and which was used at the landing."

(It should be stated that one of the boats, and probably, the one referred to, was the identical lifeboat, No. 3, which the boys had fitted up for use on the Pioneer.)

"This boat was kept by them at the inlet directly east of the cave where the Korinos were lodged. I did not know anything of this for some time, but the Korinos learned of the presence of the men, and my warriors were set to watch the men. A few days afterwards, another boat, much smaller, appeared with two men, but from all appearances they were a different party, and after they had a conference, it appeared as though there was trouble between the different parties."

"We were about to close in on them, when at the height of their quarrel, but they caught sight of us, and joined in resisting the attack against us. With the guns they had we were no match for them, so we had to retire to the village.

"The next morning we learned that they had gone, and on searching the shore found something with marks on, it, that had no meaning to us so it was destroyed."

"Was it something like this?" asked Harry, handing him a sketch.

The Chief studied it for a few moments, and answered: "It seems to me it was like that. The marks were something like these," and he pointed to the crosses.

Harry had made the identical marking which were on the two skulls, which, it will be remembered, showed the characters + V, and below these three X X X, followed by a star.

"I suspected as much," said John. "They were, quite possibly, on the same quest. But where did they get the information?" And he turned to the Professor for a possible explanation.

The latter was now thoroughly interested. "Unless Walter chooses to tell, the matter may not be solved, unless Clifford recovers, and even though he should regain his physical powers, the mind may have relapsed into its late condition."

By agreement John and the boys remained at the Professor's home that night, awaiting symptoms of the patient's disease, and during the night they recounted over and over again the adventures they had undergone, and the experiences with the natives.

They conversed about the new enterprise into which they were to embark, and the Professor congratulated them on the decision to remain and enter the commercial, or business field. "After all," he said, "there is nothing which so broadens a man as to have an occupation, and give to that business the energies of his mind."

"Of course, there are many things that the natives must learn, but they are so willing to work, that it is a pleasure to show them," said Harry. "The best men we have had in the shops were the common natives, but there is one thing that has always been troublesome, and that is to give them different names."

"That is just what I had in mind for some time," added George. "It didn't make much difference where there were only a few,—a hundred or so, but now, when we have three hundred or more it is rather confusing to have a dozen or more Lolos, and as many more Walbes, and names like that."

"It might be a good idea to suggest that each one have a sort of surname, so that there will be no difficulty of that kind hereafter," suggested John.

"A family name would be the proper thing," added the Professor.

"For my part, I don't see how people can get along without it," remarked George.

"But it has not always been the custom to have surnames, or family names," suggested the Professor.

"But the Romans did," exclaimed George.

"Yes, they had three names: the first was the prenomen, which was a distinctive mark of the individual; then the nomen, or the name of the clan; and third, the cognomen, which was the family name. The first name was usually written with a capital letter only, like M. Thus, M. Tullius Cicero."

"Well, that is the first time it ever occurred to me that the Romans parted their names in the middle," said George, as he smiled at the allusion.

"The ancient Greeks, with the exception of a few of the leading families in Athens and Sparta, had only a single name. Among the German and Celtic nations each individual had only one name, and that was also true of the ancient Hebrews; the names Abraham, David, Aaron and the others were used singly, and this was also the case in Egypt, Syria and Persia, and throughout all of Western Asia."

"But it has never been so in England, has it?" asked Harry.

"During the entire period that England was under the dominion of the Saxons, the single name was prevalent. But that was changed later when feudalism was established and the different lords began to gather their vassals, and to register them."

"But what is the principle on which the names are built?"

"In various ways; at first they distinguished father and son by adding the word son to the father's name. If he was of German descent sohn would be added; if of Danish origin, the word sen, so that the son's name in either case would be Williamson, or Andersohn, or Thorwaldsen, or a given name with the designation son added."

"But how about the many other names, and those coming after the second generation?"

"They had to be named after the locality, like John Brook, or David Hill, or something of that kind, even to an occupation, like the Smiths, or the Fishers, as well as qualifications, such as Wise and Good were adopted as surnames."

Every hour Clifford's condition was noted, and before morning his pulse began to beat with greater regularity, and all felt that it would be well to take a nap, to prepare for what they knew must be an interesting, if not exciting chapter, to round out their adventures, and to lay bare the few mysteries which yet remained to be solved.

Sutoto came to the Professor's house quite early, with news from Blakely that Walter had disappeared. He had learned of the imprisonment and that Walter was placed in the regular lock-up, where a few recalcitrants were confined.

How he escaped was not known. True, not much of a guard was maintained, and the natives had no idea that the prisoner was of more than ordinary importance.

John was very much disappointed, but he felt that he alone was to blame, because in the anxiety for Clifford he had entirely overlooked the precaution necessary. He went down to the jail, with the boys, and learned from the inmates that when the man was brought in he appeared to be unconcerned, and immediately selected his sleeping quarters, and that was the last they knew of him.

As the boys were going to their own rooms, a messenger came from the Professor that Clifford was awake, and appeared to be rational, and was now partaking of food. After breakfast they hurried over to the Professor, and found John there smiling.

"I have had a little talk with him."

"What does he say?"

"I have not yet questioned him."

Clifford looked at the boys curiously. "Are you the boys that Mr. Varney spoke about?"

"I suppose we are," said Harry.

"His story interested me very much. I learn that you have a regular manufacturing town here, and that you built all these things without any outside help, before you communicated with the outside world."

"Yes; and we had a glorious time doing it, too, but we owe everything to the Professor and John."

"That is really commendable to hear you say so. But you said, Mr. Varney, that Walter told you Clifford limped, and it was on account of this peculiarity you were led to believe that the dead man on Venture Island was Clifford?"

"One of the three men with Walter, was lame."

"Then it must have been one of his party that was murdered?"

"But Walter was explicit to tell us that one of your legs was shorter than the other. I early learned that such was not the case, and that is what confused me in identifying you. But there is also another thing which I could not understand."

"What is that?"

"Ephraim Wilmar."

"Stop! stop!" almost shouted Clifford. "You said Ephraim Wilmar. Do you know him?"

"Know him? He is here on the island."

"When did he come? Where is he?"

"He lives on an island north of the place we found you, and is Chief of a tribe there."

"Chief of a tribe!" he exclaimed. "An island to the north,—the triangle,"—and the boys rose from their seats in the excitement.

"Where is Walter's letter?—Quick," said Harry.

George fumbled in his pockets with eagerness. "Is that the triangle?" eagerly questioned Harry.

"Yes, yes; there it is again. The three islands, and the arrow."

"But what does the star mean,—the star that follows, as you see?"

"That,—that is to show the position of the three islands."

"Position of the three islands? What islands? and how does it tell the positions?" George was fairly frantic now.

"There must be three islands, and one of them was the one I was on when you found me, and one is here, because Mr. Varney told me about this one, and then there is another, which you said was to the north of,—of—"

"Hutoton," said John.

"Yes; Hutoton. But the positions! Yes; you will understand! One point is the Southern Cross, near the South polar Circle, the second point is the fixed star Antares, and the third is the fixed star Spica, which, together form a perfect triangle, one limb of which passes through a cluster of stars called the Compasses."

"But what has that to do with the locations of the three islands?"

"They are situated, with relation to each other, exactly the same as the three stars are placed in the heavens."

"What was the object of the three crosses before the star?"

"The three represented thirty."

"Thirty what?"

"Leagues."

"And the arrow?"

"The direction from Spica."

"Why from Spica?"

"Because that star is the one which represents the island on which this particular chart happens to be found."

"Do you mean that a similar chart will be found on each island?"

"No; on only two of them."

The boys were astounded at this information. John and the Professor remained quiet while the boys thus questioned Clifford.

John interrupted to inquire why there were only two charts.

"The record is found on the third."

"So Wonder and Venture Islands are the only ones which have the inscriptions on the skulls?" asked Harry.

Clifford sat up with such a sudden start that the boys were alarmed. He leaned forward, and hurriedly asked the following questions: "You say, 'Inscriptions on the skulls?' How do you know? and why do you say that they are on Wonder and Venture Islands?"

"Because we have two of them."

He dropped back on the pillow, and reflected for some time, and then slowly said: "But there must be three. One of them is still with the records."

"No; we have the one with the records."

A smile illuminated his features, the tension was relaxed, and he dropped back, and pressed his hands over his forehead, as he muttered: "I am so glad, so glad, so glad," and his voice died down, and he remained quiet, as though in sleep.

The questioners sat there in silence, and watched him as he slept. The Professor motioned them to withdraw, and they passed into the adjoining room.

"It is clear to me now," remarked John. "The knowledge of the record was known to others, and I was not aware that any one besides ourselves really had figured out the secret," remarked John, as he turned to the Professor.

"Well, I came pretty close to it," exclaimed Harry. "I told you that the three X's meant thirty leagues."

"So you did," said John. "Prior to the finding of the skull I did not know of the full inscription. Its significance did not come to me until we reached Venture Island."

"I remember now! I told George that I saw the chart you had made."

John smiled. "It would have deceived you, however."

"Why?" asked Harry.

"Because, if you remember it the third island was to the south of Venture, and not to the north as we really found it."



CHAPTER XVIII

THE STORY OF THE LETTERED SKULL

It was late that afternoon when Clifford awoke, and plainly much, refreshed, and improved physically. When he saw the Professor he said: "I have not told you all, but I want the boys here for that purpose, because I know it will interest them."

When the boys arrived they awaited the coming of John, who informed them that Uraso had received word of the capture of Walter, but that he would not arrive until noon.

Clifford greeted them effusively, and it was evident that he had recovered his spirits, and was well on the road to recovery. After some general talk on uninteresting topics, he began his story:

"I was on the vessel with Ephraim when we ran into the monsoon which wrecked the vessel. After days of suffering I became unconscious, and when the spar finally reached the shore, I was aroused sufficiently to save myself, and after wandering around for some time, came up to a tribe of natives, who took good care of me.

"I had no means of determining the latitude or longitude, because I was then only about twenty years of age, and had shipped on the vessel at Shanghai, because I was anxious to return home. I remained with the people about three years, and they were called Osagas."

"Why, this town is built in the Osagas' territory," said Harry.

"That may be so, but it is enough for the present to know that it was somewhere on this island that I reached the shore, and that about three years thereafter I was fortunate enough to catch sight of a sailing vessel, and on her I reached San Francisco.

"In course of time I built up a profitable shipping business, and owned several vessels engaged in the coast and Alaska trade. Like all shipping men on the western coast, I learned of the many accounts, most of them fables, concerning the treasures on the islands in the South Seas, but they never had any effect on me until about three years ago, I had a hand in furnishing the outfit for a vessel which departed on such a mission, that sailed some time in December or January, of that year."

"Do you know the name of the vessel?" asked John.

"Yes; the Juan Ferde. Why do you ask?"

"I sailed in that vessel with Blakely, one of the owners."

"Blakely? Blakely, did you say? Why he is the man who purchased all the provisions from me."

"He is here on the island, and now has charge of all the business matters connected with our venture."

"Well, that is remarkable, indeed; but I must proceed. Four months after the Juan Ferde sailed, I came into contact with a peculiar character, who had been all over the southern part of the universe, and he finally interested me sufficiently to look over some peculiar documents which he had, bearing on the subject of the lost treasures, and from the information which he gave, it occurred to me that the location could not be far from the island where I was cast ashore.

"With a good business, and entirely free from all family entanglements, I made up my mind that I would accompany him, and finance the undertaking. What induced me more than anything else, was the fact that the stories he told corresponded so nearly with the information which Blakely gave me, although the latter did not go into many details, that I looked on the venture in the nature of a lark. Besides I wanted to meet my old friends on the island, and possibly induce them to gather the products of the island for me.

"We sailed about five months after the Juan Ferde left, and had a quick run to the island where it was supposed I had been left years before. It seems that at the time I landed there the tribe was at war, and we had a terrible time to get away from the people, who, of course, did not remember me, even though the tribe was the same, but of this I had no absolute knowledge at the time.

"Two months after reaching the island, we sailed to the south, in order to explore the second island, noted on the chart, and it was then that the returning monsoon, which usually blows in the opposite direction from the one of six months before, wrecked the vessel, and the next day one of my companions and myself, who were so far as I then knew, the only survivors, reached the southern shore of an island, where we saw high mountains, so unlike those in the island where I was shipwrecked years before."

"While I think of it," remarked John, "how did you know about the second island, to which you refer?"

"I learned this from Walter."

"Then did you know anything about the skull on the headland, and the note which Walter left?"

"I knew about the skull, but never heard of the note to which you refer. The discovery of the skull was an accident, and I attached no importance to it at the time. From the southern portion of the island we journeyed along the eastern coast, to the north, skirting a large forest on the way."

The boys looked at each other, significantly, but he did not notice this.

"Then we reached a large river, and to our surprise, found a boat, evidently of native manufacture, and with this floated down the stream to the sea."

"But where did you get the rope that we found in the boat?" asked George, eagerly.

He turned, and answered: "How did you know we put any rope on the boat?"

"Because that was the boat we made, and we found it afterwards, with the strange rope and oars."

"Strange oars. I know nothing about them. We used the oars found in the boat."

"Did you get the boat near a large falls?"

"Yes."

"And on the north side of the river?"

"Yes; but after we reached the sea, it was too rough, and the wind was blowing too heavily from the north to make it safe to navigate in that direction, so we went south, probably ten miles, and drew ashore. The next morning when I awoke the boat and my companion were missing."

"Who was your companion?"

"Walter."

John looked indignant, and expressed his opinion very forcibly, but Clifford held up his hand, restrainingly. "Do not be too harsh. I have no ill will toward him. I did not know what to do, nor which way to turn, but went to the west, and before night, came, unexpectedly, on the remains of a fire, which led me to believe that I would find friends in the inhabitants.

"I went on and on, and caught up with the band, and was then horrified to find that they were having a feast, and sacrificing human beings. I saw Walter among the captives, but I could not contrive to let him know of my presence, and left the place as hurriedly as I could.

"After a month of struggling I reached the southern part of the island, and there, to my joy, found three of my companions on a life boat, belonging to a vessel called the Investigator, and together we made a course southeast, and there found the location of the second skull."

"But you knew nothing of that at the time, did you?"

"I did not know what the marks on the skull were for, but the finding of the second one was sufficient to revive in me the hope that, after all, the treasure might be found. One of the men, who was the intimate of Walter, figured out the course to be taken, and we reached the island to the north the second day.

"There, to our surprise, we found Walter, and he charged one of the men with me, with trying to secure the treasure, but I finally patched up the matter, and we agreed to work in concert. Then, when the next day, we found that Walter had lost the chart, we felt that it was a trick on his part to deceive us, and we separated. At that time I did not believe he told us the truth.

"Two days afterwards we passed a party of natives, who were not aware of our presence, and then we saw that Walter, and the man with him, had been captured, and later believed that they had been killed. We searched the island, to find the cave, but were unsuccessful and thinking that an error might have been made, we concluded to sail for the island to the south.

"We found a tribe of natives when we landed, and owing to the exposure and the trials we had gone through I was taken ill, and grew worse and worse, and from that time on to the time I recovered two days ago, I had not the slightest idea of what passed."

"When I spoke against Walter a few moments ago," said John, "you said he was not to blame. What did you mean by that?"

"During my wanderings, I found parts of the chart, which, I assumed, had been lost by John, and, probably, destroyed by the natives. The part I recovered was of no value to me, but it entirely changed my opinion of Walter."

But Clifford's story left something to be told. It did not explain why Walter tried to avoid meeting Clifford; or why he was so startled upon seeing the two skulls, or the reason for avoiding the reference to the letter to which his name was signed.

The boys were so intensely interested in his story that they did not notice the entrance of Blakely, who had brought Walter back, but when Clifford saw Blakely there was immediate recognition.

Clifford held out his hand to Walter, as he said: "I did wrong in doubting you. I understand from the statement made by Ta Babeda, that they found the chart the next day, after we met them, and that, of course, clears you."

"But I would like to know," said Harry, "what the other part of the inscription on the skulls means?"

"Do you refer to the sign of plus and the V?"

"Yes."

"When you went into the cave, where you found the copper box, how many chambers did you pass before coming to the large room?"

"I am not sure," he answered, "but I think four."

"Yes; and the case was found in the fifth chamber. The Plus sign indicated the cross-shaped cave, did it not?"

"Yes, and there are several other things which interest me," remarked George, gazing at John, as he continued: "Why should the inscriptions have been marked on the skulls?"

John slowly shook his head, as he looked at Clifford. The latter gazed vacantly into space, as though reflecting, and finally said: "I do not know."

It will be remembered that when Walter entered the Professor's room, where Clifford was lying, he appeared to be startled at the sight of the skulls. The copper box which held one of them was in the adjoining room.

During the foregoing conversation Walter was mute, nor did he appear interested in the question propounded by George.

"It seems most curious to me that the skull taken from the copper box has the inscription on the right side, whereas the other one has them on the left side," observed Harry.

John and George saw the immediate change in Walter's face while Harry was speaking. His agitation was now plain to all, and the perspiration began to appear on his forehead.

John leaned forward as he said: "Do you know?"

Walter started at the vehemence of the question, and threw back his head, as he answered: "Did you find the copper box?"

"Yes," responded John, with a look of triumph.

Walter's features relaxed, and he seemed to sink down, as he gazed about him with a final look of despair.

"Then the quest is ended!" he muttered.

"What do you mean? Explain!" demanded John.

"When I began the search for the treasure of the caves, I was the owner of the original document written by Juan Guiterez before he died in the Spanish prison. Three attempts had been made to find the island, which contained the secret, and that secret was in the copper box which told of the places and the locations of the other caves. In each case the quest failed, and all perished. The peculiar significance arises from the fact that the only directions were given on a human skull by Guiterez himself, who declared that two of the skulls would have the inscriptions on the left side, while the one with the cryptic signs on the right side would be accompanied by the descriptions of the locations of all the Caves on the different islands."

"But why should there be three skulls?" asked George, in great eagerness.

"There were three attempts, each resulting in death. The skull is emblematic of death."

"Will you tell us why you tried to avoid Clifford, and were startled at the sight of the skulls?" asked John.

"If, as you say, you have found the copper box, I have no further reason to remain silent. I found one of the skulls,—the others I could not find, one of which I knew must be in the treasure cave. If I had known you found the one in the cave I should not have tried to get away, as I hoped, finally, to find the cave. Since coming here I learned that you had found the third island; I knew of only two, and supposed that the two skulls were from those two, namely, Wonder and Venture Islands."

"But who placed the skulls there?" queried Harry.

"Ah! No one knows that. The Spaniard Guiterez offers no explanation. All the so-called treasure charts have been made from the accounts which he gave, of the vast amount of gold and silver which is hidden in these natural caches. The place where the copper box was deposited is the grand mausoleum. Only those who know the secret could ever reach the vault. All others would perish."

"The carbonic gas!" exclaimed George.

Walter turned to George, as he said this, but did not comprehend what he meant. It was now evident that Walter had tried to conceal his identity, and thereby hide the secret which would enable him alone to find the vast wealth.

"So the letter which we found concealed in the seat of our boat, was written by one of your companions?" asked Harry.

"Yes."

"This clears up the mysterious things which we have tried to fathom for over two years," said John. "The meaning of the letters is now clear."

"From the time we landed on the island," rejoined the Professor, "we found evidences of white people that we could not follow up, and it is now plain that they were in search for the treasure, so we can now comprehend what the notes meant."

There is but little more to add to the chapter pertaining to the experiences of the boys on the islands. Perhaps, at some time in the future, their work on the new islands will be told. What John and the boys found in the Copper box, the historical sketches and the locations of the treasure islands which were pointed out on the parchments found in the compartment below the skull, were amazing revelations of the days of piratical adventures, when the southern half of the world was one vast carnival of crime, in which gold was the only booty and to obtain which the means were always considered to be justified by the end.

Our young friends, during their experiences in southern waters, did their part in bringing to the uneducated savages the blessings of civilization and the great boon of peace. To themselves they brought a store of hard-earned knowledge and a memory of things well done that will last them to the end of their days.

THE END

* * * * *



THE BOY GLOBE TROTTERS

By ELBERT FISHER

12mo, Cloth. Many Illustrations. 60c. per Volume

* * * * *

This is a series of four books relating the adventures of two boys, who make a trip around the world, working their way as they go. They meet with various peoples having strange habits and customs, and their adventures form a medium for the introduction of much instructive matter relative to the character and industries of the cities and countries through which they pass. A description is given of the native sports of boys in each of the foreign countries through which they travel. The books are illustrated by decorative head and end pieces for each chapter, there being 36 original drawings in each book, all by the author, and four striking halftones.

1. FROM NEW YORK TO THE GOLDEN GATE, takes in many of the principal points between New York and California, and contains a highly entertaining narrative of the boys' experiences overland and not a little useful information.

2. FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO JAPAN, relates the experiences of the two boys at the Panama Exposition, and subsequently their journeyings to Hawaii, Samoa and Japan. The greater portion of their time is spent at sea, and a large amount of interesting information appears throughout the text.

3. FROM TOKIO TO BOMBAY. This book covers their interesting experiences in Japan, followed by sea voyages to the Philippines, Hong-kong and finally to India. Their experiences with the natives cover a field seldom touched upon in juvenile publications, as it relates to the great Hyderabad region of South India.

4. FROM INDIA TO THE WAR ZONE, describes their trip toward the Persian Gulf. They go by way of the River Euphrates and pass the supposed site of the Garden of Eden, and manage to connect themselves with a caravan through the Great Syrian Desert. After traversing the Holy Land, where they visit the Dead Sea, they arrive at the Mediterranean port of Joppa, and their experiences thereafter within the war zone are fully described.



THE "HOW-TO-DO-IT" BOOKS

BY J. S. ZERBE

CARPENTRY FOR BOYS

A book which treats, in a most practical and fascinating manner all subjects pertaining to the "King of Trades"; showing the care and use of tools; drawing; designing, and the laying out of work; the principles involved in the building of various kinds of structures, and the rudiments of architecture. It contains over two hundred and fifty illustrations made especially for this work, and includes also a complete glossary of the technical terms used in the art. The most comprehensive volume on this subject ever published for boys.

* * * * *

ELECTRICITY FOR BOYS

The author has adopted the unique plan of setting forth the fundamental principles in each phase of the science, and practically applying the work in the successive stages. It shows how the knowledge has been developed, and the reasons for the various phenomena, without using technical words so as to bring it within the compass of every boy. It has a complete glossary of terms, and is illustrated with two hundred original drawings.

* * * * *

PRACTICAL MECHANICS FOR BOYS

This book takes the beginner through a comprehensive series of practical shop work, in which the uses of tools, and the structure and handling of shop machinery are set forth; how they are utilized to perform the work, and the manner in which all dimensional work is carried out. Every subject is illustrated, and model building explained. It contains a glossary which comprises a new system of cross references, a feature that will prove a welcome departure in explaining subjects. Fully illustrated.

* * * * *

12mo, cloth. Price 60 cents per volume



The Ethel Morton Books

By MABELL S. C. SMITH

* * * * *

This series strikes a new note in the publication of books for girls. Fascinating descriptions of the travels and amusing experiences of our young friends are combined with a fund of information relating their accomplishment of things every girl wishes to know.

In reading the books a girl becomes acquainted with many of the entertaining features of handcraft, elements of cooking, also of swimming, boating and similar pastimes. This information is so imparted as to hold the interest throughout. Many of the subjects treated are illustrated by halftones and line engravings throughout the text.

LIST OF TITLES

ETHEL MORTON AT CHAUTAUQUA ETHEL MORTON AND THE CHRISTMAS SHIP ETHEL MORTON'S HOLIDAYS ETHEL MORTON AT ROSE HOUSE ETHEL MORTON'S ENTERPRISE ETHEL MORTON AT SWEET BRIER LODGE

Price 60 cents per volume; postpaid



The Mountain Boys Series

1. PHIL BRADLEY'S MOUNTAIN BOYS

2. PHIL BRADLEY AT THE WHEEL

3. PHIL BRADLEY'S SHOOTING BOX

4. PHIL BRADLEY'S SNOW-SHOE TRAIL

These books describe with interesting detail the experiences of a party of boys among the mountain pines.

They teach the young reader how to protect himself against the elements, what to do and what to avoid, and above all to become self-reliant and manly.

12mo. * * * Cloth.

40 cents per volume; postpaid



THE HICKORY RIDGE BOY SCOUTS

A SERIES OF BOOKS FOR BOYS

By Capt. Alain Douglas, Scout-master

* * * * *

THE CAMPFIRES OF THE WOLF PATROL

Their first camping experience affords the scouts splendid opportunities to use their recently acquired knowledge in a practical way. Elmer Chenoweth, a lad from the northwest woods, astonishes everyone by his familiarity with camp life. A clean, wholesome story every boy should read.

WOODCRAFT; OR, HOW A PATROL LEADER MADE GOOD

This tale presents many stirring situations in which the boys are called upon to exercise ingenuity and unselfishness. A story filled with healthful excitement.

PATHFINDER; OR, THE MISSING TENDERFOOT

Some mysteries are cleared up in a most unexpected way, greatly to the credit of our young friends. A variety of incidents follow fast, one after the other.

FAST NINE; OR, A CHALLENGE FROM FAIRFIELD

They show the same team-work here as when in camp. The description of the final game with the team of a rival town, and the outcome thereof, form a stirring narrative. One of the best baseball stories of recent years.

GREAT HIKE; OR, THE PRIDE OF THE KHAKI TROOP

After weeks of preparation the scouts start out on their greatest undertaking. Their march takes them far from home, and the good-natured rivalry of the different patrols furnishes many interesting and amusing situations.

ENDURANCE TEST; OR, HOW CLEAR GRIT WON THE DAY

Few stories "get" us more than illustrations of pluck in the face of apparent failure. Our heroes show the stuff they are made of and surprise their most ardent admirers. One of the best stories Captain Douglas has written.

UNDER CANVAS; OR, THE HUNT FOR THE CARTARET GHOST

It was hard to disbelieve the evidence of their eyes but the boys by the exercise of common-sense solved a mystery which had long puzzled older heads.

STORM-BOUND; OR, A VACATION AMONG THE SNOW DRIFTS

The boys start out on the wrong track, but their scout training comes to the rescue and their experience proves beneficial to all concerned.

* * * * *

BOY SCOUT NATURE LORE TO BE FOUND IN THE HICKORY RIDGE BOY SCOUT SERIES, ALL ILLUSTRATED:—

Wild Animals of the United States—Tracking—Trees and Wild Flowers of the United States—Reptiles of the United States—Fishes of the United States—Insects of the United States and Birds of the United States.

* * * * *

Cloth Binding Cover Illustrations in Four Colors 40c. Per Volume



The Campfire and Trail Series

1. IN CAMP ON THE BIG SUNFLOWER.

2. THE RIVALS OF THE TRAIL.

3. THE STRANGE CABIN ON CATAMOUNT ISLAND.

4. LOST IN THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP.

5. WITH TRAPPER JIM IN THE NORTH WOODS.

6. CAUGHT IN A FOREST FIRE.

7. CHUMS OF THE CAMPFIRE.

8. AFLOAT ON THE FLOOD.

By LAWRENCE J. LESLIE.

A series of wholesome stories for boys told in an interesting way and appealing to their love of the open.

Each, 12mo. Cloth. 40 cents per volume



Christy Mathewson's Book



A Ripping Good Baseball Story by One Who Knows the Game

This book has attained a larger sale than any baseball story ever published.

The narrative deals with the students of a large university and their baseball team, the members of which have names which enable the reader to recognize them as some of the foremost baseball stars of the day before their entrance into the major leagues.

One gains a very clear idea of "inside baseball" stripped of wearisome technicalities. The book is profusely illustrated throughout and contains also a number of plates showing the manner in which Mathewson throws his deceptive curves, together with brief description of each.

Cloth bound 5-1/2 x 7-5/8 Price 60c. per volume

* * * * *

Mrs. Meade's Books for Girls

Primrose Edition

* * * * *

Printed on fine quality book paper. Separate cover designs in colors.

Daddy's Girl. A Girl from America. Sue, a Little Heroine. The School Queens. Wild Kitty. A Sweet Girl Graduate. A World of Girls. Polly—A New-Fashioned Girl.

* * * * *

Each, 12mo. Cloth. 40 cents per volume

* * * * *

Mrs. Meade's girls' books never lose their popularity.



ECONOMICAL COOKING

Primrose Edition

Planned for Two or More Persons

By

MISS WINIFRED S. GIBBS

Dietitian and Teacher of Cooking of the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor

Printed on Fine Quality Book Paper. Cover Design in Colors

Many Cook Books have been published, from time to time, to meet various requirements, or to elucidate certain theories, but very few have been written to meet the needs of the large proportion of our population who are acutely affected by the constantly increasing cost of food products. Notwithstanding that by its valuable suggestions this book helps to reduce the expense of supplying the table, the recipes are so planned that the economies effected thereby are not offset by any lessening in the attractiveness, variety or palatability of the dishes.

Of equal importance are the sections of this work which deal with food values, the treatment of infants and invalids and the proper service of various dishes.

The recipes are planned for two persons, but may readily be adapted for a larger number. The book is replete with illustrations and tables of food compositions—the latter taken from the latest Government statistics.

Cloth Binding Illustrated 40c. per volume, postpaid



CUT-OUT AND PAINT BOOKS



An original line of art studies printed in full rich colors on high grade paper. This series introduces many novel features of interest, and as the subject matters have been selected with unusual care, the books make a strong appeal not only to the little ones but even to those of riper years.

POST CARDS Painting Book

DOLLS OF ALL NATIONS Scissors Book

OUR ARMY Scissors Book

CHILDREN'S PETS Puzzle Book

Size 8-1/4 x 10-1/4 inches

PRICE 15C. PER COPY

THE NEW YORK BOOK COMPANY 147 FOURTH AVENUE NEW YORK

THE END

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