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CHAPTER 2: THE MYSTERIOUS CARGO (continued)
Her pale lips parted. Her great eyes shone. Another instant, and she had told me that which I would have given all but life itself to know. But in that tick of time a quick step came behind me, and the light went out of the sweet face upturned to mine.
"I cannot! I must not! Here is - that man!"
Senhor Santos was all smiles and rings of pale-blue smoke.
"You will be cut off, friend Cole," said he. "The fire is spreading."
"Let it spread!" I cried, gazing my very soul into the young girl's eyes. "We have not finished our conversation.
"We have!" said she, with sudden decision. "Go - go - for my sake - for your own sake - go at once!"
She gave me her hand. I merely clasped it. And so I left her at the rail-ah, heaven! how often we had argued on that very spot! So I left her, with the greatest effort of all my life (but one); and yet in passing, full as my heart was of love and self, I could not but lay a hand on poor Ready's shoulders.
"God bless you, old boy!" I said to him.
He turned a white face that gave me half an instant's pause.
"It's all over with me this time," he said. "But, I say, I was right about the cargo?"
And I heard a chuckle as I reached the ladder; but Ready was no longer in my mind; even Eva was driven out of it, as I stood aghast on the top-most rung.
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