Saxon chilled, and her face was grave; but Mercedes Higgins
“Ah, those were wild, gay, savage days. Would you believe it, my
dear, in three years those Englishmen of the plantation drank up
oceans of champagne and Scotch whisky and dropped thirty thousand
pounds on the adventure. Not dollars–pounds, which means one
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. They were princes while it
lasted. It was splendid, glorious. It was mad, mad. I sold half
my beautiful jewels in New Zealand before I got started again.
Bruce Anstey blew out his brains at the end. Roger went mate on a
trader with a black crew, for eight pounds a month. And Jack
Gilbraith–he was the rarest of them all. His people were wealthy
and titled, and he went home to England and sold cat’s meat, sat
around their big house till they gave him more money to start a
rubber plantation in the East Indies somewhere, on Sumatra, I
think–or was it New Guinea?”
nd Saxon, back in her own kitchen and preparing supper for
Billy, wondered what lusts and rapacities had led the old,
burnt-faced woman from the big Peruvian ranch, through all the
world, to West Oakland and Barry Higgins Old Barry was not the
sort who would fling away his share of one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars, much less ever attain to such opulence.
Besides, she had mentioned the names of other men, but not his.