(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The blockade runner"

No. 32 




f>HOTO BY 
r / 3AR0NY 



J.PEI^KINS 
TRACY 



All stories Copyrighted 
Cannot be had in any 
other edition J> J^ 



STREET ^LIBR/M' 
& SMITH ^ ...— ^ 

Publishers, New York 



# 








0- 



The Blockade Runner 



J. PERKINS TRACY 

AUTHOR OF 

'The Heart of Virginia," "Won by the Sword," etc. 







STREET & SMITH CORPORATION 

PUBLISHERS 

79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York 



I_, -^m 


r I 

Copyright. 1896 


By STREET & SMITH 


The Blockade Runner 

L J 


■■i ■ ■ H^ 



All rights reserved, including that of translation Into foreign 
languages. Including the Scandinavinn. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER I. 

THE BLOCKADE EUNNEK. 

" What are our chances jof getting into Wilmington 
to-night, cap'n ?" 

The speaker, a fine, handsome young fellow of 
twenty-five, attired in a thick pea-jacket, dark blue 
trowsers and undress naval cap, had just come on the 
quarterdeck from the cabin of the steamer Foxhound. 

" Good," was Captain Powell's brief reply. - 

He held his mouth close to the young man's ear so 
that the word should not be blown back down his 
throat. 

A heavy winter's gale was shrieking through the 
rigging of the vessel, and the dark sea was running 
furiously. 

She was steaming comparatively slowly, head on to 
the billows, while Foul weather Tom, the pilot, on 
whom rested the responsibility of taking her over the 
bar, was the picture of anxious watchfulness. 

The steamer was wrapped in darkness from stem to 
stern — not the gleam of a lantern visible, and the bin- 
acle light was completely shaded. 

" It's a snorter — this night is," said the young maa 
presently, turning his back against the wind. 



1 



8 THE BLOCKADE EUNNER. 

The skipper did not immediately reply, for a terrible 
gust just then swept the deck, sending a quantity of 
cold spray into his face, and a chill along his bones. 

" It's a regular January blow," he shouted at length, 
his cheeks puffing out like a pair of bellows. 

" Seen any gun boats ?" 

"Nary one,'' replied the captain. " They're pretty 
well scattered to-night, I reckon, and we are not likely 
to be seen at all, unless we run afoul of one of them 
ourselves." 

He turned red in the face from the exertion of 
talking. 

" Come below, Mr. Bentham. I'm chilled to the 
bone and must have a bracer. We can't talk here." 

The pair at once dived down the companion way. 

Captain Powell wiped the tiny icicles from his 
beard and eyebrowSj and the moisture from his mahog- 
any-hued cheeks. 

He then mixed two glasses of stiff grog, and pushing 
one toward his companion, gulped down the contents 
of the other with evident relish. 

" Yes," said the skipper complacently, " we will 
make port safely this time. It is just the kind of night 
for it — black as ink and blowing great guns. You feel 
bow the old gal rises to the sea — and she's as dry as a 
bone. I had her thoroughly overhauled and freshly 
caulked at Cherbourg, for I knew what I might expect 
off this coast at this time of the year. Some of those 
leaky tubs that try to run the blockade would founder 
in this gale." 

" I should say the Foxhound is a stanch craft," re- 
plied young Bentha.B. " I have been impressed with 
her seagoing qualities since I took passage on board. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 9 

She's got such a reputation that I fancy Uncle Sam 
would be glad to overhaul her." 

" You can take your davy to that, Mr. Bentham," 
said the skipper with a grin. " but he won't have that 
pleasure this trip, nor for many more trips, if I can 
help it. Foul weather Tom is the crack pilot in this 
business, and the Foxhound has a mortgage on his 
services. What he don't know about the channels and 
shoals and sand bars off Charleston and Wilmington, 
as well as the Georgia coast, ain't worth considering. 
There's two channels into Wilmington, where we're 
bound — the bar channel and the beach channel — and if 
you don't keep your weather eye lifting on a night 
^uch as this the chances are you run hard and fast on to 
the middle ground, and with such a sea running you'd 
go to pieces in no time." 

" That would be pleasant certainly." 

"I reckon you might say your prayers, if you know 
any. Have another tot of grog." 

" Thanks, not any more," said Bentham. 

"You must be aware the Yankee fleet has a big job 
on its hands when it undertakes to blockade Wilming- 
ton," said the bronzed old sea-dog while he mixed him- 
self a second potation. " When the wind blows off the 
coast, the vessels are forced to sea and scattered ; when 
it turns and blows landward they are compelled to 
haul off to escape the awful sea. For six months in 
the year it is next to impossible for a vessel to lie at 
anchor safely off the Carolina coast. So you see that 
everything is in our favor." 

" I'm glad to hear it," said the young man. 

" This gale is a little worse, if anything, than the one 
that took us in with our last cargo. Then we were 



10 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

laden with shoes, blankets, caps and blouses for tue 
graycoats ; now, our hold is stored with muskets, 
sabers, percussion caps and such things, besides a quan- 
tity of quinine, the most valuable thing of all." 

" Worth about " 

" The whole cargo V 

" Yes." 

" Say about three millions." 

The passenger started, and seemed to meditate for 
a moment. 

" Oh, we carry richer cargoes thafx this sometimes," 
continued the captain, mistaking meditation for amaze- 
ment. " And the beauty of it all is that we've never 
lost one." 

"The pitcher which goes often to the well gets 
broken at last, you know," said Bentham, smiling. 

" There are exceptions to every rule," said Captain 
Powell, "and the Foxhound is fast proving that adage 
a downright humbug. Do you know, sir, that this is 
ray eighth successful run ?" 

" You astonish me." 

" Fact, sir. This steamer has paid for herself several 
times over, for the profits are enormous." 

" So I have heard." 

" I shall fill up to the hatches with cotton, which 
stands us in about eight cents a pound. How much do 
you think it will fetch at Liverpool ?" 

" I haven't the slightest idea," said Bentham, though 
he knew very well that the price of that material in 
Europe was extremely high. 

" About fourshilUings a pound," replied the skipper, 
smacking his lips with great gusto, as though the mere 
mention of that figure was like an agreeable morsel 
on the tongue. 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 11 

" I don't wonder this war enriches some people very 
fast," said the young man thoug-htfully. 

" I should say it does. Why, sir, there are people, to 
my knowledge, who are now riding about in their car- 
riages, that a year — ay, six months ago — were compar- 
atively paupers. What was Kassau before the war \ 
The inhabitants were chiefly wreckers and tlsherraen, 
and but few vessels lay along the wharves or rode in 
the offing. Look at the place to-day ! The harbor is 
alive with shipping, and its wharves are crowded with 
cotton bales awaiting transportation to Europe, as 
well as merchandise, contraband of war, ready to be 
shipped for the blockaded Southern ports. It is the 
chief depot for the traffic. Confederate agents are 
established there, and the town has expanded into a 
port of immense importance." 

Captain Powell's passenger listened but said noth- 
ing. 

" You understand that the Bahamas, beinof a British 
possession, the Yankee cruisers cannot effect a legal 
capture within the three-mile limit, so they are forced 
to take their station off Abaco Light, and run their 
chance. The blockade runners generally await a dark 
and foggy night for getting away, and as we are care- 
ful to show no lights, you may easily judge that the 
cruisers have no sinecure trying to catch us." 

" It is unusual for a blockade runner to go direct to 
Europe and then return with a contraband cargo, as 
you have lately done, isn't it, cap'n ?" said Bentham. 

" Yes. Most of these vessels are liorht-drausrht 
steamers built expressly for the trade, and intended 
only to make the trip, either from Bermuda, Nassau 
or Cuba. The Foxhound is a superior vessel, and the 



12 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

ownei's, of which I am one, had reasons for assuming 
an unusually hazardous risk. 1 shall not repeat the 
venture, at least not very soon. Had you not run foul 
of me at Cherbourg, Mr. Bentham, you would not likely 
have made this voyage direct. You would have been 
obliged to take passage for one of the places I have just 
named and there transhipped." 

" I consider myself fortunate in having secured pas- 
sage in the Foxhound, the more especially as she is a 
lucky vessel." 

" Ay, ay ; but you'll have to excuse me now, as I 
judge we are approaching dangerous ground. If I 
were you, sir, I'd remain below. It's a deal sight 
cosier than on deck such a night as this." 

" Thank you ; but I don't mind the storm a bit 
You know I got my sea legs on long ago." 

" Well, please yourself." 

Captain Powell stalked up the brass-bound staircase 
facing t\\Q wheel, his passenger close at his heels. 

As they emerged from their shelter the wind almost 
took then off their feet, and the icy spray blown aft, 
as it continually came over the bows of the steamer, 
struck their faces like cold kisses from the depths of 
the sea. 

It was the night of — th of January, 1862, and one 
of the wildest storms that swept the North Carolina 
coast during war times was then at its height. 

The Foxhound was not the only vessel abroad in 
the gale. 

Toward sundown a strong easterly wind had met 
the ebb-tide, and the whole coast presented a terrible 
appearance. 

The fleet of Federal blockaders, which for months 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER, 13 

had confronted Wilmington with their grim guns, was 
compelled to seek safety in the offing, for to remain 
near the coast would prove certain destruction. 

Added to the wind, that blew with tremendous 
force, was a perfect hailstorm of sleet, that cut the 
darkness like Scythian arrows. 

Besides, the cold was enough to freeze any one at 
the helm. 

The Foxhound steadily pursued her way. 

Time and again she had successfully run the blockade, 
and Captain Powell did not believe that there could 
be a break in his former good luck. 

She was an English-built craft, a remarkably swift 
one, and so arranged that she could navigate the seas 
Avith or without steam. 

She carried no armament aside from her officers' 
private weapons. 

Her forte was flight, not resistance, and there was 
not in the Federal service at that time a vessel swift 
enough to overhaul her. 

Time and again she had been chased on the high 
seas, but alwa3's outwitted her hunters. 

She was well known to the Union fleet, by which 
she was constantly watched. 

Her cargoes were always sure to be of great value 
to the Confederacy ; and on the night mentioned 
above she carried one worth, as her captain has said, 
three million dollars. 

]S"ot three millions in Confederate bills, but in hard, 
glittering gold. 

The passenger resolutely facing the wintry gale on 
the~w^et decks of the trim blockade runner was a man 
who had boarded her at Cherbourg, from whence she 
had sailed bound for Wilmington. 



14 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

He was a young man named Robert Bentham, an 
American by birth, and a person who seemed to know 
a good deal about ship gunnery. 

Indeed, he had been educated at one of the best 
naval schools in France, and was on his way to take 
part in the terrible conflict raging between the two 
sections of the Union. 

On which side ? 

Why ask the question, when we find him a pas- 
senger on board a Confederate blockade runnerj and 
almost in port ? 

If his sympathies w^ere with the Union, why did he 
hot take passage in a vessel bound for New York ? 

Let the future pages of our romance solve these 
questions. 

For some time the Foxhound kept steadily on her 
course, breasting the terrible waves with her cutting 
prow, and guided all the time by the sailor at the 
wheel. 

Captain Powell knew that the storm had beaten the 
Federal blockaders off the coast. 

But his experience also taught him that the gun- 
boats kept a particularly argus-eyed watch on such 
nisrhts as this, as it offered a favorable chance for the 
low-lying lead-painted blockade runners to elude the 
squadron. 

In spite of the assertion he had made to his pas- 
senger of a safe and speedy run, he was fully alive to 
the dangers that beset him as he drew in near the 
shore. 

He could not tell what moment he might run foul 
of a gunboat. 

He knew the crews were kept ready at their stations 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNEB. 15 

[or every emergency, and that a sudden and well- 
directed broadside would cripple if not sink the Fox- 
hound at a most unexpected juncture. 

The squadron steamed about as close in shore as 
they dared, and now every instant was fraught with 
the greatest peril. 

With an anxious face, and eyes tr3^ing to pierce the 
night, he stood on deck watching the course of his 
gallant ship, as she pressed on through the awful seas 
that seemed always to ingulf her. 

His beard was a mass of ice, but he did not mind 
the cold and the storm. 

All at once there rose between him and the swelling 
sea a huge object, darker than the night itself. 

Captain Powell sprang toward the wheel, with an 
exclamation struggling to his lips. 

"I see it, sir," said Foulweather Tom, before the 
captain could speak. " It is a Yankee blockader. 
Hard a-port!" he said softl}'^ to the helmsman. 

The w^heel spun around "and the Foxhound sheered 
off within a biscuit-toss of the dangerous object. 

It was a moment of intense anxiety to all on deck. 



16 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER IT. 

AN AWFOL PROJECT. 

Brave as he was, Captain Ralph Powell held his 
breath fi'om fear. 

Every second he expected to see her ports fly open, 
and her guns open lire ; and his strained imagination 
pictured the ripping and tearing sound of the wooden 
hull of his steamer under the hail of iron missiles. 

The terrible suspense really only lasted for a brief 
interval, and then the Foxhound was running under 
the blockader's bows like a phantom. 

She soon left the gunboat in her wake, a blot on the 
water, from which it vanished as th6 distance between 
the two vessels increased. 

" A narrow shave, by George !" exclaimed the skip- 
per softly, drawing a long breath. 

" Ay, ay, sir," responded the pilot, calmly resuming 
his position by the weather rail. 

With the salty sleet blowing like hailstones in his 
eyes, and flogging his weather-beaten cheeks, Foul 
weather Tom clung to his post and peered into the 
blackness ahead, fully conscious that he was doing his 
duty. 

It was now about two bells, or one o'clock in the 
morning, though of course the bells were not struck. 

The captain went on the bridge, followed by his 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 17 

passenger, and Foulweather Tom followed after a 
time. 

" What's that just for'ard of the port beam, cap'n ?" 
said Bentham suddenly, pointing to a spot a little 
darker, if that ^Qre possible, than the surrounding 
water. 

" By gum ! A gunboat !" 

Powell's eyes seemed about to leap from their 
sockets. 

"And yonder," ejaculated Bentham excitedly, " is a 
second one." 

" We are running into the midst of the Yankee 
squadron," exclaimed the skipper, jumping toward the 
pilot. 

" Vessels straight ahead and off our bows, Tom," he 
said. 

"I know it, captain." 

" We are in a dangerous place." 

" That's so, sir." 

The coolness of the pilot argued well for the success 
of the expedition. 

For a few moments longer the Foxhound kept port- 
ward, when all at once a rocket shot upward, appar- 
ently from the very depths of the sea, and exploded 
above the masts of the largest vessel. 

An oath fell from Powell's lips as the rocket burst. 

" Discovered ! Now we're in for it !" he said with 
compressed lips. 

The Federal signal told him that they had, indeed, 
reached the most dangerous part of the voyage. 

A minute later several responsive rockets soared 
heavenward, revealing the position of as many Union 
blockaders to the captain. 



18 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

"Go ahead full speed, cap'n," said Foulweather 

Tom. 

Powell returned to the center of the bridge and 
signalled the engineer. 

The Foxhound, which for some time had been run- 
ning at half-speed, now bounded forward, like her 
namesake, after a quarry. 

" Steady a-starboard !" whispered the pilot, and the 
word was instantly passed to the man at the wheel. 

The words had scarcely left his mouth ere the flash 
of a cannon lit up a part of the sea for a moment, and 
a shot tore across the Foxhound's deck, carrying a 
piece of the taffrail into the sea. 

" That Yankee gunner must have the e^^es of an 
owl !" said Powell, amazed at the shot. "The next 
one will pierce our counter, and the next tear through 
our boiler-room." 

Lights seemed to be flashing on every side, but dark- 
ness still enveloped the blockade runner. 

Her crew knew the danger and swarmed hej:" deck, 
but not a loud word was spoken. 

Hard upon the first shot from the Union fleet came 
another and another, only one of which took effect, 
with a crash of splintering wood, in the hull of the 
steamer. 

" Hard a-starboard !" said Foulweather Tom. 

" Hard down she is," came back the word. 

Another bright flash and another shot tore a jagged 
piece out of the mizzen-mast. 

Evidently the Union gunners, in spite of the rough 
sea, which rendered an accurate aim almost impossible, 
were well up in their line of work. 

Things were getting decidedly warm, but the 



TEE BLOCKADE BUNIf^EB. 19 

steamer was drawing inside the line of blockaders fast ; 
but she was liable to be disabled before she succeeded 
in getting out of range. 

Captain Powell stood with hands clinched and a face 
reddened by madness. 

Presently a broadside was fired from a point where 
no vessel had yet been seen, and the iron balls tore 
like hail across the Foxhound's deck, killing two sailors 
and knocking the smokestack away. 

Gun after gun now opened on the devoted little 
blockade runner; but the man at the helm did his 
duty, and the ship kept on regardless of the iron 
shower. 

It was now a race for life, and every minute was 
that much precious time. 

Bentham, the young passenger, had not left his post 
for a moment. 

He stood erect like a person without Jear, watching 
the flash of the^ Federal guns with the utmost non- 
chalance imaginable. 

Foul weather Tom had reached a pathway leading 
straight to port ;" but the Union fleet seemed deter- 
mined to sink him outside the bar. 

" Look yonder," exclaimed Powell. " Do you see 
that gunboat? They are going to get between us and 
the shoals. There ! there is a mountain of iron 
straight ahead ! I guess the days of the Foxhound 
are numbered. Well, if it comes to the worst, I know 
what to do. If I cannot escape I will keep my oath. 
I will reach port or perish !" 

Powell had scarcely finished ere the flash of a heavy 
gun illuminated a point dead ahead, and a shot 
hummed across the deck fore-and-aft, so near the 



20 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

skipper's bead that he fairly staggered, and grasped the 
rail of the bridge to save himself, 

" We're done for !" he exclaimed wildly. " But 
they shan't take me. I'll go to the bottom first!" 

With a bound Powell sprang to the deck and rushed 
below. 

" Hard a-port !" screamed the pilot. 

" What does the cap'n mean ?" Benthara said to 
the pilot. 

" Dunno," replied Foulweather Tom.^ " What did he 
say ?" 

" Swore all was up, and that he'd send the Fox- 
hound to the bottom before he'd be taken." 

" Then for God's sake follow and stop him !" ex- 
claimed the man. " We carry a torpedo in the hold^ 
and a fuse runs to the cap'n's stateroom. The skipper 
is stark, staring mad ! All's not lost yet. Stop him 
quick, or we shall all be sent to Davy Jones in a flash." 

" Great heavens !" exclaimed Bentham, his cheek 
paling at the awful possibility. " He is mad, surely. 
He must not be permitted to carry out his fearful 
purpose." 

The next minute he was descending the companion- 
way after the reckless captain. 

It was a moment big with the fate of the noble 
vessel and fifty valuable lives. 

The swing of the vessel as she rolled to the boiling 
seas threw Bentham forward on his hands and knees 
upon the cabin floor. 

He sprang to his feet and looked about. 

There was no sign of Captain Powell. 

His stateroom door was ajar, however, and the pas* 
senger ran to it and pushed it open. 



THE BL OVKADE R UMNEE. 2 1 

The sight he saw he felt he never would forget. 

The skipper crouched on the deck with a lighted 
lantern in front of hini, the slide open. 

In his hand he held one end of a dark-looking snake- 
like rope, which issued from beneath his berth. 

He was unraveling a bit of yarn which protected 
the end of the fuse, preparatory to applying the candle- 
light. 

Crash! 

A round shot came tearing through the vessel's side, 
dashing the lantern into a hundred fractures, and rip- 
ping a great hole in the woodwork in its course 
athwart the deck, smashing thing's generally in the 
cabin beyond, and shattering an exit to the sea. 

Powell, wrapped in sudden darkness, uttered a fear- 
ful oath. 

Bentham stood back aghast. 

He could feel the tremble of the deck from the 
rapid throb of the engines, for the Foxhound was 
driving ahead at her utmost speed, the firemen below 
piling on tar and rosin, until the pitching and rolling 
fabric shook as with the ague. 

It was an awful moment. 

The huge waves thundered against the steamer's 
sides as if determined to hinder her escape from the 
lawful guardians of the port. 

The wind whistled down the cabin stairs, and a hun- 
dred odd noises added to the tumult of the hour. 

Bentham saw the flash of a match in the darkness, 
and the captain's face, looking fairly demoniacal, was 
lit up by the illumination. 

Only for a moment, then a draught of cold air 
through the shot-hole extinguished the flame. 



22 THM BLOCKADE RTrNNEB. 

Another curse from the skipper, followed almost im- 
mediately by a fearful crash on deck. 

Another solid shot had taken effect, but the vessel's 
speed was unchecked. 

The frenzied captain struck another match, but like 
the first it puffed out. 

As he struck the third, Bentham stepped forward 
and took him by the shoulder. 

The match fell and was extinguished, while Powell 
sprang to his feet. 

The two men faced each other in utter gloom. 

"Who are you?" demanded the skipper with an 
imprecation. 

"Bentham." 

" What are you doing here ?" 

"To save you from a crime." 

" Curse you, what do you mean ?" 

" I mean that I have just learned of the existence of 
a torpedo in the hold of this steamer, and of your pur- 
pose to fire it sooner than surrender to the cruisers. 
You are mad, cap'n !" 

" How dare you dictate to me I" 

" You must not destroy this vessel." 

" Must not ?" hissed Powell. 

"Must not!" said Bentham calmly. "We are not 
yet stopped. Escape is still possible. We are almost 
over the bar. Your pilot will take her in, if there be 
the ghost of a chance." 

" We are doomed," yelled the skipper, " and I'm 
going to rob the Yankees of their prey. Their flag 
shall never float over the Foxhound. I have sworn it, 
and mean to keep my oath !" 

" You are beside yourself, man," said Bentham. 
" We are not yet disabled." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 23 

" Hark ! Do 3'^ou hear that V cried Powell, as 
another shot smashed the cabin bulkhead. 

" Well," said his passenger coolly, "let them sink us 
if they can. We shall then go to the bottom without 
the aid of your infernal machine. If you were caln:?" 
"^ou'd know they can never board us in this sea. \'^ 
the machinery is hit, we shall drift ashore and go to 
pieces. In no case will the gunboats take possession." 

The passenger's logic was undeniable, but Powell 
had only one idea in his brain, and was deaf to rod- 
son or entreaty. 

He had sworn to blow the Foxhound to atoms somj 
da}', and the mania was in complete control of his 
senses. 

"You are insane, cap'n, and I will not permit you 
to execute your project." 

With an oath Powell sprang upon his passengec, 
and an awful struggle in the dark ensued. 



24 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER III. 

THE FOXHOUND AKKIVES IN PORT. 

Bentham was a wiry, athletic young fellow, but 
Powell was a man of powerful physique, and was more- 
over actuated by a desperate resolve. 

The passenger went down under the fierce assault, 
and he felt the skipper grappling for his throat. 

The young fellow exerted all his strength, and by a 
quick movement rolled the captain over and straddled 
him. 

Then he had his hands full trying to keep his as- 
sailant under. 

The struggle continued several moments, with a 
fearful exertion of muscle and determination on the 
part of each, but Bentham succeeded in maintaining 
his advantage. 

At last the' captain desisted and remained passive. 

Evidently he was gathering his breath and energies 
for a fresh attempt to displace his adversary. 

" Why can't you be sensible, Powell ?" said Bentham, 
puffing out the words. " Don't you see we're still 
under way. Not a shot has struck us in the last five 
minutes. If you go on deck I'll bet you'll find us in 
the beach channel, running up under the guns of Fort 
Caswell." 

Powell made no reply. 

" Look here. I've a revolver in my hand now. if 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 25 

you don't give up this insane freak of yours ttiere'll be 
blood shed." 

At that instant a sailor flashed a lantern into the 
stateroom, and Captain Powell saw the gleam of a 
pistol barrel, and the stern realization seemed to bring 
him to his senses. 

" Let me up !" he growled. 

"Will you go on deck if I do?" 

"Yes — darn you; since you've got the drop on me. 
I can't help myself." 

Bentham released the prostrate skipper. 

" Give me that lantern," said the young man to the 
sailor. "How are things on deck?" 

" We're in the channel, sir." 

" And the gunboats ?" 

" Astern and out of range, sir.'* 

" Then we're safe ?" 

" Ay, ay ; so the pilot says." 

"What have you got to say, Captain Powell?" said 
Bentham. 

" What !■" exclaimed the skipper, who had regained 
his mental equilibrium ; " why, that you've saved the 
steamer, my boy, and there's my hand on it." 

They clasped hands heartily. 

"The pilot sent rae below to find y.ou, sir,"' said the 
seaman to his superior. 

" All right, Ducks, tell him Pll be up in a jiffy." 

The sailor hurried away. 

"Allow me to say, Bentham, that you're a brick. 
Your intrepidity has saved vessel, crew and cargv:) 
from certain destruction. I hope you w^ill accept to v 
apology for my rough treatment. I was not real.^ 
conscious of anything but the one determination -: 



Ze THE BLOCKABE RUNNER. 

blow this craft to the four winds of heaven. I've had 
it so long on my mind, and the wind of that cannon- 
ball turned my head, so that I could think only tliat 
the time had arrived for putting my last resource into 
execution." 

'• Say no more, Captain Powell." 

" But I assure you I'm heartily ashamed of myself. 
How came you to.learn about the torpedo ? I never told 
you.'' 

"The pilot " 

"Ay, ay; Foulweather Tom knows all about it. 
Some da}', however, I'll be obliged to carry it into effect. 
You've seen the legend painted over the cabin door : 
' This steamer will never be taken by the enemy.' 
That's my motto, and I mean to stick by it. Wouldn't 
the Yankees chaff me if they could run their flag up to 
the mizzen-peak ? Do you think I could stand that? 
Never !" 

" "Well, sir, you're captain and part owner of this 
craft, and are in a position to do as it pleases you.; but 
let me tell you that such a project as j^ou have in view 
IS, in my opinion, a crime of the first magnitude. Every 
man who ships aboard the Foxhound has the sword of 
Damocles suspended above his head with a very slender 
thread. It is simply a foolhardy trick to destroy 
vessel and crew, and yourself, too, for that matter, in 
order to carry out a vainglorious threat. You'll ex- 
cuse me. Captain Powell, but I can't help telling you 
what I think of your method." 

" I shall not quarrel with your opinion, Bentham. 
You've a perfect right to it. The people of Wilming- 
ton, however, shall know that you've saved three 
million dollars' worth of war material to the Corifed- 
enicy." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. i^ 

*' 1 beg you will not mention it, sir." 

**WJ3at!" exclaimed Powell, incredulously " J^ot 
mention it 2 Why, man, they'll give you a publio 
ovation !" 

" I prefer not to have the notoriety." 

" Do you really mean that?" 

" I do ; and I request as a favor that you will say 
nothing about my agency in this affair. Remember, 
it would only reflect on yourself." 

" That's so," admitted Powell ; " I didn't think of 
that. I won't say a word, then. Hold the light till 
I put the fuse away. There now, we'll go on deck." 

They passed from the stateroom and ascended the 
stairs 

The Foxhound was running in by the beach channel, 
and the frowning battlements of Fort Caswell could 
be just distinguished off the starboard bow in the 
gloom. 

Foulweather Tom was on the bridge and had just 
signalled to the engine-room to reduce speed, for the 
blockade runner was out of danger from the gunboats. 

They had ceased tiring and were steaming off shore, 
though their iron hulls were no longer visible to the 
Foxhound's people. 

" Safe at last, eh, Tom ?" exclaimed the skipper, 
who was now in an exhilarating mood. 

" I see you thought better of blowing us all to king- 
dom come," replied the pilot. 

" If I failed it is because of tne interference of our 
passenger. He is a gallant fellow, and deserves the 
thanks of all on board," said Powell, in a low voice. 

" Ay, ay ; I believe you, sir," answered Foulweather 
Tom. 



^B TSE BLOCKADE BUNNER. 

All at once there was a concussion, followed by a 
shiver through the steamer that jarred every one on 
board. 

" We're aground !" cried Captain Powell. " You've 
run too close to the Middle Ground, Torn." 

The pilot, without a word, sprang to the center of 
the bridge and signalled the engineer to go ahead at 
full speed ; at the same moment a great wave lifted 
the Foxhound, and she slid forward over the obstruc- 
tion into deep water again. 

"The sand has shifted at that point," said Foul- 
weather Tom, as he again signalled to slow down. 

Fifteen minutes more and the distant lights of Wil- 
mington hove into view. 

" Ha !" exclaimed Powell exultantl}^ " yonder's the 
city. Bentham, the Confederacy owes you a debt of 
gratitude. If you had not shipped with us, by thun- 
der, we would all have been food for the fishes at this 
moment, and a cargo of inestimable value would be 
lying at the bottom of the sea. What an infernal 
idiot I was ! Five minutes more and you would have 
been too late. Next time 111 look before I leap." 

The young man looked very thoughtful. 

Just then four bells were struck forward. 

Two o'clock in the morning. 

The tempest was still having things pretty much its 
own way, and the standing rigging of the vessel was 
incrusted with icicles. 

The mizzen-mast had been shot away, leaving only 
a jagged stump. 

The taffrail was demolished in several places along 
the quarter-deck. 

Half of the smokestack was gone and the balance 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 39 

above deck in ruins, so that the black smoke blew 
shoreward on a level with the shattered bulwarks. 

The boats at the davits were perfect wrecks. 

Indeed, the Foxhound had been terribly cut up, and 
had many nasty-looking shot-holes in her hull. 

But her machinery had escaped injury ; one shot 
in the engine-room would most likely have settled 
her fate for good and all. 

Near on to six bells the blockade runner had come 
to anchor close in shore, ready to steam up to her dock 
after sunrise. 

The good people of Wilmington slept in ignorance 
of the arrival of a cargo of precious freight, but the 
newspapers were already preparing accounts under 
flaring headlines of her wonderful escape, for the 
news had been long since telegraphed from Fort 
Gaswell, and reporters had flocked down the bay and 
boarded her almost as soon as the night lights of the 
city sprang into view. 

By eight o'clock in the morning the Foxhound was 
moored to her dock, and a large crowd was already 
gathered to survey the ruin wrought by the Yankee 
gunners. 

By this time the news of her arrival and thrilling 
experience was all over the city, and a stream of curi- 
osity seekers and patriotic idlers were en t'oute for the 
dock. 

The scene on the wharf beggared description. 

Men shouted and danced for very joy, and women 
waved their handkerchiefs and joined their voices to 
the loud cheers that soared skyward. 

The city bells were set a-ringing, and whistles were 
t<x)ted, until there was not a soul, young or old, in the 



30 TEE BLOCKADE B UNNER. 

city but knew that the famous Foxhound, with her 
equally famous skipper, Powell, had arrived all the 
way from Cherbourg, France, with a valuable cargo. 

Extras sold like wildfire, and everybody was talk- 
ing to somebody else on the streets, whether he had 
ever met the individual before or not. 

Conventionalities were for the time done away with, 
and people could hardly contain themselves. ^ 

After breakfast, Benthara left the Foxhound and 
elbowed his way through the crowd, an object of envy 
to the men and admiration to the women — for every 
man who had come in on the blockade runner was a 
hero in the eyes of the enthusiastic multitude. 

" May I never have to deal with another mad- 
man like Captain Powell," he said to himself. "One 
of these days he'll blow his vessel to the winds. Well, 
I know one man who won't shed tears if he does," and 
the young stranger smiled to himself. " I didn't do 
the Union a service when I saved the Foxhound's 
cargo. I was looking to Bob Bentham's interest just 
then. I didn't relish the idea of going starward on a 
piece of a torpedo. Yet I may make such an uncom- 
fortable trip one of these days, if I take a hand in this 
war, as I propose doing. The city does look a bit 
changed during my three years' absence. However, 
that doesn't matter, I can find my way to Uncle Gor- 
don Mowbray's without any difficulty ; and if my 
plans don't miscarry I shall soon shake the Wilming- 
ton dust from my shoes, and in a way I am afraid 
won't please my respected relative." 

Just then he was approached by a handsome elderly 
gentleman, in faultless attire, and with iron gray 
whiskers — a person whose appearance would have at 



TEE BLOCKADE EUNNER. 31 

once established his position in life as one of wealth 
and importance. 

"Welcome, my dear boy!" he exclaimed, grasping 
Bentham's hand with great cordiality. "I assure you 
I'm delighted to see you once more in Wilmington. 
You've come with great eclat. Your name is in the 
papers as a distinguished passenger on the lucky Fox- 
hound. Do you know, Robert, I'm quite proud o\ 
you, and so is Norah." 

"Thank you, uncle; you've not changed a bit 
unless it is for the better," said the young man. 

" You had a tight squeeze it seems getting through 
the Yankee fleet, this morning. Thank fortune that 
the Foxhound's star is still in the ascendant. . She'a 
had so many escapes since she started into the trade 
that I verily believe old Powell has the devil's owa 
luck. A cargo worth three millions, and direct from 
Europe, too; well, well, it's certainly a wonderful 
record even for the Foxhound." 

"Yes, uncle, we had a hard run for it — and at one 
time were in greater peril than you could imagine." 

" I don't doubt it, my dear boy. We've been look- 
ing for you these two weeks. Norah got your letter, 
saying that you would sail in the Foxhound ; but we 
were getting nervous lest you had been gobbled up by 
a Yankee cruiser. By Jove, my dear boy, you're look- 
ing well, and you've come back in the nick of time. 
The South needs such men as you are just now." 

Bentham's brow darkened at the last sentence, and 
be avoided the speaker's gaze. 

" Here's the carriage. I'll send the man back for 
your trunk. Jump in." 

Uncle and nephew entered the family vehicle and 
drove oflf toward the fashionable quarter of the town. 



S^ THE BLOCKADE BUNNEH 



CHAPTER IV. 

SHORT BUT SIGNIFICANT. 

Only two persons of all the crowd on the wharf fol- 
lowed the movements of Mr. Mowbray and Robert 
BenthgTm. 

One was a dapper-looking young man of thirty, 
with piercing dark eyes, regular features that might 
be considered handsome, but which gave some evidence 
of fashionable dissipation. 

A physiognomist would rather have distrusted his 
face, discerning craft and dissimulation in every line. 

His chin and mouth showed dogged resolution and 
stubbornness. 

Altogether it could not be termed a pleasing coun- 
tenance, though there was no doubt of the indications 
of latent energy that characterizes a successful busi- 
ness man. 

He was known to his intimates as Flash Gilmor, 

His companion was younger, much handsomer, but 
weak and listless, as though he took the world easy, 
and possessed no other care than the negative exertion 
necessary to amuse the passing moment. 

" You saw those two men who just drove off, Jes- 
sup?" said Gilmor. 

" Yes, I saw them," was the reply. " I recognized 
Mowbray, of course. Everybody knows that old 
Croesus." 



TEE BLOGKADB RUNNER. 33 

'^' The other is that joung nephew of his, Bob 
Bentham." 

" You don't say. I've heard of him. Mowbray 
sent him to France to complete his education. That 
was before the war. His father, I think, left liim 
quite a tot, and old Croesus is his guardian." 

"Yes. 1 thought he'd turn up in Wilmington just 
when I wanted him a thousand miles awa3\ I wish 
the Yankee fleet had sent him to the bottom of the 
sea," 

" I guess you must hate the fellow pretty heartily to 
wish him such luck. What has he ever done to you?" 

Flash Gilmor glared a moment after the carriage. 

"His presence here is a menace to my happiness." 

" In what respect, my dear fellow ?" said Jessup. 

"Well, it's no great secret that I'm infatuated with 
Miss Mowbray, the old gentleman's ward. She'll be 
a great heiress in time, and besides is a deuced pretty 
girl. She's got a pair of eyes that would turn any 
fellow's heart, and the figure of a Venus. But her 
chief recommendation is her expectations. Old Mow- 
bray is well fixed, and I know she'll come in for the 
bulk of his estate one of these days. Moneys talks 
every time — especially these times when gold is get- 
ting so devilish scarce that a fellow is in danger of 
forgetting what a double-eagle looks like." 

"Ah, very true; these Confederate shinplasters have 
a fluctuating and uncertain value, I observe, and a man 
handles them quite gingerly," remarked Jessup with a 
laz}'^ drawl, as though the financial outlook was rather 
a bore to him. 

" Well, to cut this subject short. Bob Bentham has 
an eye in the same quarter himself. She was sixteen 



g4 TEE BLOGKADA RUNNER. 

when he went away to Europe, and as his position as 
a member of the family brouglit him continually into 
her society, I am certain he was impressed, as any 
young man would be under the circumstances. If 
that were the case three years ago, just fancy the 
effect on this young absentee of the full developed 
charms of one of the most charming women in the 
world. Why, man alive, it will be a clear case of love 
at first sight. As he is certain to be backed up by 
her father, who thinks there is no one like his nephew 
Bob, where in old Nick do I come in?" 

This was too much of a poser for the fallow brain 
of the easy-going Mr. Jessup to tackle, so he said 
nothing but sucked the end of his gold-mounted cane 
assiduously, possibly hoping to find an inspiration by 
that recreation. 

"You perceive how much of a drawback to me is 
this young fellow's advent in Wilmington just at the 
important time when I had begun to flatter myself 
that I was making some progress with Miss Mowbray." 

Mr. Jessup nodded wisely, still fondling his cane 
with his lips. 

" I've not the least doubt Bentham will offer his 
services to the Confederacy, and Mowbray has suf- 
ficient influence to obtain for hira an important Com- 
mission. I am not sure but he may go, to sea in the 
privateer Swiftwing." 

• " The vessel to which you hold the appointment as 
second officer, eh ?" said Mr. Jessup, removing his cane 
for a moment. 

"The same ; though between you and I, Jessup, and 
mind you keep mum about it, I fancy Flash Gilmor 
will be conspicuous by his absence." 



THE BLOCKADE BUNNEB. $5 

" You don't say ?" exclaimed Mr. Jessup, with a sort 
of mild surprise. 

"I only hope the fellow does go to sea in the Swift- 
wing.'' 

" Pray why ? To be shot or taken by the un- 
gentlemanly Yankees, I suppose." 

" Yes, of course ; and for another reason also,'' said 
Gilmor mysteriously. . 

" Indeed ! What is the other reason ?" 

"That's a secret at present. I can only hint to you 
that he's not very likely to come back to trouble one 
if he does go in that vessel." 

" Oh !" said Mr. Jessup, opening his eyes, and then 
returning the knob of the cane to his lips. 

"We'll drop the subject, if you please, now. I'm 
going up to Bardolph Bros. You can go as far as the 
counting-room door, as it's not out of your way." 

" Who are Bardolph Bros., Flash ?" said Mr. Jessup, 
as the pair left the wharf. 

" They are the owners of the steamer Swiftwing." 



36 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER V, . 

UNCLE AND NEPHEW. 

"Here is the old house, Robert," said Mr. Mowbray 
to his nephew as the carriage turned into an elegant 
drive leading up to a fine residence, fronted by grand 
trees, which through the day threw around a pleasing 
shade. " I need not announce your arrival to Norah," 
he continued, " for the papers have told her of the 
Foxhound's return, and she has expected you on that 
steamer." 

Mowbray had hardly finished when the front door 
of the mansion opened, and the graceful figure of a 
young woman appeared on the threshold. 

" It is Norah !" whispered Mowbray, i " See if she 
will recognize you." 

The next moment the person in the doorway 
sprung airily toward the two men. 

" The Foxhound brought him, I see," she said, glan- 
cing at Mowbray as she held out her hands to the 
young man. "Welcome — welcome to the old home, 
Robert. The three years have been three ages ; but 
the last one has ended at last." 

The lighting up of Benthara's eyes told how this 
reception pleased him, and a thrill of delight shot 
through his heart while he held the girl's hands in 
his, and gazed into her deep, honest eyes. 

Still holding one of her hands, he passed into the 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 37 

house whose threshold he had not crossed for three 
years. 

Gordon Mowbray was a widower. His wife left 
hira childless when she died, but the girl, Norah, 
whom he had adopted, was the light of his elegant 
home. He loved her with the affection of a fatlier, 
and we need not say that his love was returned. 

Everybody knew that Norah was not his child, but 
few knew that her true name was Norah Narcross, 
for she was everywhere known as ISTorah Mowbray, a 
name which had been given her by common consent. 

When Robert Bentham went to the continent fur 
the purpose of completing his education, he left Norah 
a beautiful girl of sixteen, one of the belles of Wil- 
mington, and a lass with the purest of hearts. 

His home-coming, for Gordon Mowbray's house was 
really his home, his parents being dead, found her a 
woman of nineteen arraj'^ed in the garments of a riper 
beauty, with a deeper, softer blue in her ej^es and the 
carriage of a queen. 

He stood in the presence of a woman fairer than 
an}^ he had seen in France. 

" You must have had an exciting time coming in," 
said Norah, when young Bentham had taken a seat ut 
her side in the parlor. 

" No doubt of that," answered Bentham. " We 
were hotW chased and badly cut up by cannon-shot, 
but fortunately we possessed the best of pilots, anil I 
am here, and not at the bottom of the sea." 

" For which we are truly thankful, my boy," said 
Mowbra}' himself at this juncture. "The Foxhound's 
cargo is one sorely needed at this time by the South. 
Several regiments are awaiting arms, and we can now 



38 THE BLOCKADE BUNNEB. 

send them to the field. Of course you have kept 
track of the war ?" 

''As well as I could," answered Bentham, "I 
learned a good deal from Captain Powell during the 
voyage over." 

" How do they regard our cause in France ?" in- 
quired Mr. Mowbray. 

''I heard the war frequently discussed," was the 
young man's evasive answer. 

" What do they say over there about recognition ?" 
asked Mowbray pointedly. 

" One party in France favors it " 

'' The party nearest the throne ?" 

" Yes." 

" Then it will come. Louis Napoleon wants a foot- 
hold in Mexico; we all know that, and he knows on 
which side his bread's buttered. He will take the 
initiative step, then England will come handsomely to 
our rescue, and the war will speedily close." 

" Are these not air-castles, uncle ?" asked Bentham 
seriously, and in a tone that riveted the gaze of his 
two auditors upon him. 

" How so, sir?" 

" Do you not underrate the resources — the courage 
of the North ?" 

"I think no,t," was the quick and haughty reply. 
"We know what the Yankee soldiers are. They have 
been tried. You have read of the rout atBuUEun?" 

" I have," said Bentham, coloring slightly ; " and 
1 know that the defeat of their army there is a blow 
which the Federals cannot conceal. But do we not 
judge them hastily ? We have just finished the first 
vear of the war." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 39 

It was evident that Bentharn looked for Mowbray 
to continue the argument ; but, instead of doing so, he 
threw a secret glance at Norah which sent her from 
the room. 

" Robert, what means your defense of the North ?" 
he asked, moving his chair nearer to his nephew, whom 
he looked squarely in the face. " I am shocked to 
hear such words from you. Why, sir, I have obtained 
for you the second command on board the new privateer 
Swift wing, which is almost ready to sail from Wil- 
mington on her mission of destruction. Explain 
yourself. Have you come back tainted with Yankee 
sentiments ?" 

" I will be frank with you, uncle," said Bentharn 
calml\^ " I came to Wilmington to see you and 
Norah, not to serve the Confederacy, for my heart is 
not with it. You seem to forget that my father was 
in the employ of the government at the time of his 
death. If he had lived, he would have taken his stand 
for the Union. His son must not turn from the prin- 
ciples he espoused, nor from the flag he carried at his 
masthead. The Confederacy, if it succeeds, must do 
so without me. I shall leave Wilmington soon for the 
North." 

" Where you will offer your services to the Federal 
government V 

Mowbray's words -was a menace. 

" Perhaps," was the answer. " I shall follow my 
own inclination." 

A cloud of anger darkened the Southerner's face. 

" After all I have done for vou since your father's 
death !" he exclaimed, springing up in a spasm of rage, 
while his eyes flashed fire at the strangely calm young 



^0 TEE BLOCKADJi RUNNER. 

I um. " Yes^ after all I have paid for 3^our schooling, 
vou turn and sting the bosom that warmed you!. Un- 
grateful boy! Bid I send you to the^continent to be 
tliorougiily educated in gunnery in order that you 
inigiit train cannon against the South some day ? No ! 
;i thousand times no !" 

" I am sorry, uncle, that we disagree on so vital a 
sui)ject. 1 do not wish to antagonize you, and that, 
too on the vefy day of my arrival ; but it is impossible 
for me to render any service to the Southern Confed- 
eracy as my feelings now stand." 

"May I ask, sir, who has contaminated those prin- 
ciples on which I have relied ? Wei'e you not born in 
Wilmington ? Are you not a true Southerner, bod}' and 
soul, sir? What is the meaning of this change ? Am 
I to see my own brother's child — my own flesh and 
blood — turn traitor to the cause which should be near- 
est his heart ?" 

'* No one has influenced my decision, sir. The prin- 
ciples I avow to you originated solely with mj^self. 
I do not agree with the stand taken by the South. I 
think the issues involved should have been settled by 
arbitration and not by a recourse to arms. I do not 
wish, you to infer that I think our people are wholly 
wrong, or that the national government is entirely 
right. That were too complex a subject for you and 
J, uncle, to argue upon just now. We held better drop 
tlie matter here, lest it lead to a quarrel, which I cer- 
tainly do not desire." 

"Why con " 

" Pray restrain j^ourself, uncle. Remember, you are 
mv guardian and my father's brother. My love and 
respect are yours, and ever will be ; but do not ask me 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. H 

to act contrary to my inclination. I could not do t! it 
even to please you." 

"You are an ungrateful cub, sir!" exclaimed . .j 
irate Southerner. 

" I suppose I am an^'thing you are pleased to cril 
me. But one moment just liere," said the youni^ i'A- 
low seriously. "You have mentioned the expei; i 
connected with my foreign schooling. I am readv : j 
return them with interest. During my sojourn on the 
continent I have not been idle. I have translated 
several French naval books into English, and luy 
Amencan publishers have allowed me enough for my 
trouble to cancel all my obligations to you. You 
know that my schooling in this country came out of 
my fathers estate." 

Mowbray was dumfounded, 

Plis look became a stare ; he seemed to recoil fr<.ni 
his nephew. 

"I presume I am to understand that you refuse ti.j 
commission 1 have secured for you as chief officer on 
the privateer Swiftwing ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" And you dare insult me by offering to reimbur;ie 
me for money I have willingly spent on your behalf — 
money, I regret to sa}'-, that has been turned against 
myself and the cause I uphold ?" 

" I should prefer not to be under any obligation to 
you, uncle. Pardon me if 1 say this, but it is the 
family pride, and therefore a part of my established 
principles. You 3'ourself, sir, taught me this." 

"I did, sir ; but that was when I was ignorant that 
1 was warming a viper in my bosom." 

" That is a hard word, uncle." 



42 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" But not more than 3^our conduct deserves. I will 
accept nothing at your hands !" exclaimed Mr. Mow- 
bray. " You have blighted my brightest hopes. 
Everywhere during the last six months I have sounded 
your praise, and fame has opened her doors to you. 
All Wilmington has been waiting for you with an 
eagerness almost equal to my own. The city stands 
ready to welcome you, for I am honored here, and 
there are many people who remember you. But all 
this comes to an end ! I must go out with a lie wither- 
ing on my lips. I must write to the government at 
Richmond that Robert Bentham, from whom the South 
was expecting so much, has gone over to the Yankees !" 

It was a painful moment. 

Mowbray played well the role of a proud man 
crushed, for he was the character itself. 

" A man should listen to the calls of duty," grated 
Mowbray, starting up again. "If she has made a 
traitor out of yon, obey her call. Turn the cold 
shoulder to those who have trusted you — turn your 
back on the South, and forget that you ever trod her 
sacred soil. Forget Norah — for I swear to you, young 
man, that the girl will forget 3^ou ! You know Avhat 
I told you when you went away, and you know what 
I have been looking forward to with pleasure. You 
need not think of such an event now. J^orah shall 
look elsewhere for a husband, and I will help her find 
one in a man who has not deserted the South in the 
hour of need !" 

Mowbray's whole frame trembled with anger as be 
spoke. 

A fearless smile played at the corners of Bentham's 
mouth. 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 43 

He was still the man who had followed Captain 
Powell to the cabin of the Foxhound. 

" Threats shall not turn me from ray purpose," he 
said calmly. " I came to Wilmington to see you and 
Norah. 1 have completed my mission, though I did 
intend to remain a few days ; but since I am looked 
upon with suspicion and unfriendliness my presence is 
needed no longer here." 

He strode toward the door with the last word still 
on his lips, 

Mowbray did not seek to stop him. 

" Remain in Wilmington as long as you find it safe," 
he said, addressing Bentham. / " The secret of your 
action shall not escape my lips ; but, sir, I would 
advise you to leave the city as soon as possible. The 
people would mob you if they knew your sentiments. 
You can make my house your home during your stay 
here." 

" I do not wish to compromise you in any manner," 
was the reply, as the young man halted for a moment 
at the door. "I shall take your advice and leave 
Wilmington at the first opportunity. Good-by, Uncle 
Gordon." 

" Good-by, sir." 

Bentham opened the door, stepped across the thresh- 
old, and shut the portal behind him ! 

Mowbray was alone. 

" Great heavens ! do I dream ?" he exclaimed, staring 
vacantly at the place lately occupied by the loyal neph- 
ew. " Can it be that he has gone to espouse the cause 
of the North — he, my sister's child ? My money has 
educated him for service against the Confederacy! 
He will train the best guns in the Union navy on our 



44 THE BLOCKADE RUNNEE. 

ships of war ! The stars and bars will be riddled h"^ 
bis balls! It is terrible — more than I can stand ! He 
shall be detained, even if I bave to break my word. 
He shall not fight against us. By Jove ! I will 
force him to accept the commission I have procured 
for him." 

Terribly excited, Mowbray seized his hat and was 
about to rush from the house, when a door opened and 
Norah glided into the room. 

" Why, where is Robert ?" she asked, sending a look 
of surprise from the empty chair to Mowbray. 
" Supper is ready for him, but " 

" He isn't here to taste my food, thank heaven !" 
interrupted the Southerner. " He has subsisted too 
long off ray bounty already. He has left us forever. 
Our flag is not his flag. He has gone to join the 
Yankee navy !" 

The color left the young woman's face while Mow- 
bray talked, jerking out his short sentences madly. 
When he finished she recoiled from him as pale as 
death. 

" Gone — so soon !" she gasped, looking at her 
guardian. " You cannot mean that !" 

" He came here" to cut me to the heart with his in- 
fernal loyalty to what he styles ' the government !' " 
cried Mowbray. " I should have locked the door on 
him and turned him over to the Confederate author- 
ities. I was a fool to let him leave the house at will. 
By Jove, I will do so yet !" 

" You will not^ " 

" Listen to me, child. Robert Benthara is a traitor. 
He is no longer nephew of mine. I command you to 
forget him !" 



THU; BLOCKADE RUNNER. 45 

" Forget, Robert ? Father you do not mean that." 
" 1 do mean it. You were to marry him if j'ou 

both came to the understanding. But that is over. 

Kobert Bentham is no longer anything to rae or to 

you .'" 

With his last word Mr. Mowbray hastily left the 

room and the house, while Norah, with clasped hands 

and swimming eyes, sank grief-stricken on a chair. 



46 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER VI. 

A SHADY TRANSACTION. 

When Flash Gilinor presented himself at the shipping 
house of Messrs. Bardolph Bros., and sent in his card, 
he was immediately ushered into the private office of 
the firm. 

" Ah, Gilraor," said the senior Bardolph, " happy to 
see you. Take a seat." 

Flash acknowledged the salutation, nodded to the 
junior Mr. Bardolph. and took possession of the third 
chair in the room. 

" I presume," ventured the elder Bardolph, " you 
have called in relation to your appointment as second 
officer of the Swiftwing. She is almost ready for sea." 

" Well," said Flash cautiously, " not exactly. The 
fact ot the matter is I have decided not to accept the 
berth. 

Both partners looked at Gilmor with some surprise, 
but neither made any reply to this announcement, 
presuming that the gentleman would offer his own 
explanation unasked. 

" May I ask," said Gilmor pointedly, " if the Swift- 
wing is not for sale ?" 

Messrs. Bardolph exchanged a swift glance, and then 
the elder gentleman, stroking his smoothly shaven face, 
said : 

" Ahem ! I will not deny that we have contem-^ 
plated disposing of our interest in the privateer, but 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNKR. 4? 

that will not aflfect any arrangements that we have 
entered upon with yourself or others. If we find a 
purchaser the transfer will only be consummated with 
that distinct understanding;" and the speaker smiled 
suavely. 

" Mr. Gilmor," said the junior Bardolph, •' as we 
hav« not generally circulated the statement of our 
desire to part with the Swiftwing — indeed Ave have 
not yet fully decided upon that point — would you ob- 
ject to tellfng us from what source you obtained your 
information ?" 

" It is immaterial, I think," said Flash significantly. 
"As I am not a man to beat about the bush I will say 
that 1 am full}'^ cognizant of your reasons for wishing 
to get rid of an undesirable bit of property." 

" Sir !" exclaimed Mr. Bardolph senior. 

" You wish me to be more .explicit ? Yery well. 
When I accepted your offer of the commission appoint- 
ing me to the privateer, I felt it to be my duty to 
make a thorough examination of th« craft in which I 
was to risk ray precious self, you understand." 

Messrs. Bardolph exchanged looks again. 

" In my opinion, and my experience in naval archi- 
tecture is of some value, the Swiftwing is not the craft 
I should care to sail in." 

"Indeed, sir," exclaimed the elder Bardolph 
brusquely, " Captain Powers, whom we have selected 
as commander, and who is a thorough sailor and 
officer, does not take such a view of the vessel. He 
told me that he considers the Swiftwing an admirable 
vessel in every respect for the purpose in view." 

"Captain Powers has a perfect right to his own 
view, as I contend I have to mine. Besides, I do not 



4g THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

believe the gentleniau has taken more than a super 
iicial look at the steamer." 

"Excuse me, Mr. Gihiior, but yoxxr remarks, to say 
the least, hide an insinuation that reflects upon our 
bouse." 

'• If they do, it is your own fault, Mr. Bardolph. A 
few coats of paint, a new stanchion here and tiiere, 
and a profusion of fresh gingerbread work, cover a 
good deal of rottenness sometimes. 

The elder Bardolph sprang to his feet with an ex- 
clamation of rage. 

"■ Did you come here, sir, to insult us ?" 

" By no means," replied Flash Gi^anor coolly; " what- 
ever arraignment I make of the delinquencies of the 
Swift wing could not possibly insult you, seeing that 
it is the truth and was deliberately carried out by you 
for a purpose." 

"Purpose, sir!" cried the senior Bardolph, quite 
purple in the face. 

" I stand to the word," said Flash ; " the purpose is 
apparent. You have taken a floating coffin, regilded 
it, and propose to get it off your hands at a high figure, 
during the present excitement." 

The elder Bardolph sank back in his chair, white 
and speechless. 

His rage and consternation were something to 
witness. 

The junior member, who had turned several coloi j 
during the latter part of the interview, seemed to have 
recovered himself, and now came to the rescue. 

" Yon seem to have made a very complete investiga- 
tion of the privateer." 

"1 have, sir," acknowledged Gilmor. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNEB, 49 

" You also see fit to charge us with a very serious — 
crime." 

" I maintain my assertion." 

" May I inquire if you came here simply for the soU 
purpose of telling us this ?" 

" That depends." 

"On what?" 

''Whether you admit that the Swiftwing was pur- 
chased and put into commission with the avowed un- 
derstanding of parting with her." 

" Suppose we do not admit such a preposterous 
thing?" 

Gihnor shrugged his shoulders. 

"Let us understand one another," said the junior 
partner, starting on a new line of action ; " I am con- 
vinced 3'ou came here with an object. Now 'what 
is it ?" 

" You haven't answered my question. I will modify 
it, however, as I consider it none of my business to 
inquire into your reasons. Is the Swiftwing for 
sale ?" 

The junior member hesitated a moment, while he 
seemed to pierce his questioner through and through. 

At length he said : 

" She is." 

" Thank you. What is your price ?" 

The firm again exchanged looks. 

" Have you a purchaser ?" inquired young Mr. Bar- 
dolph. 

" Not exactly ; but if you will make it my interest 
to find one I fancy I can get you a good one." 

The cat was out of the bag at last, and the Bardolph 
Brothers each gave a sigh of relief, and immediately as 
guraed a friendly footing with their visitor. 



50 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" "Why couldn't you have said so at first ?" said the 
elder partner. 

" Excuse me ; I had my reasons." 

" Which we won't discuss," said the junior member 
quickly. "If Mr. Gilmor can find us a purchaser for 
the Swiftwing I am sure we will give hira a very 
handsome commission." 

"That is what I am after," said Flash bluntly. 
" Now make your figure." 

The firm consulted in low tones. 

"What would you say to one hundred and thirty 
thousand dollars ?" suggested the junior Mr. Bardolph, 
with a faint smile. " 

" I should say it was a pretty figure to place upon a 
rotten hulk," was the cool rejoinder. 

Mr. Bardolph frowned. 

" That is your only price ?" continued Flash. 

" We won't take a cent less than one hundred thou- 
sand dollars," said Mr. Bardolph, " and at that figure 
could allow no commission. If you will try for one 
hundred and thirty we will give you, in the event that 
you succeed in making the sale, the sum of — ahem ! — 
twenty thousand dollars. If you get a lower price 
your commission will be proportionably decreased." 

" Very well," said Flash Gilmor, " I'll get all I can." 

"Now, Mr. Gilmor," said Mr. Bardolph junior, "I 
think I voice ray brother's thoughts, as well as my 
own, when I say that it seems very probable you have 
a party in view whom you believe will take the priva- 
teer at the stiff valuation we have put upon her. Is 
it not so ?" 

" I beg you will excuse me, gentlemen. I have a 
scheme in my head which I propose to work upon ; 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 51 

beyond stating that fact, any other avowal would be 
premature.'' 

" Oh, that is all right. Go about this matter in 
your own waj', of course. We would simply suggest 
that you keep the transaction as quiet as possible.'' 

*' I shall certainly do so." 

Mr. Bardolph junior got up and went to a cupboard, 
from which he produced a decanter of choice wines, 
glasses, and a plate of biscuits. 

" Here's to the success of your undertaking, Mr. 
Gilmor." 

The sentiment was drank w'*^.h iuild enthusiasm. 

"Twenty thousand dollars is not to be picked up 
every day," said the junior partner. 

"I believe you," said Flash. "At least not by the 
second officer of even" a smart privateer." 

This sally provoked a hearty laugh from the two 
partners. 

" There's more in you than we ever suspected," said 
the junior Mr, Bardolph. 

" You flatter me," grinned Flash. " By the way," 
he continued, " when this transaction leaks out, as it 
is bound to do, by and by, how do you propose to 
justify 3^ourselves before the business community?" 

" Leave that to us, Mr. Gilmor," said the younger 
Bardolph, with a wink. 

"With pleasure, since you will pocket the greater 
profit by the arrangement ; but it strikes me there 
will be explanations in order, especially as the com- 
missions, men, supplies, and armament come from the 
Confederate government. It will look rather queer, 
won't it, if the Swiftwing founders in the first gale?" 

" She may meet a Yankee cruiser before that con- 
tingency happens," said Bardolph junior. 



52 THE BLOCK A DE RVNNER. 

"She may; but this is the stormy season. Now, 
frankly, how long do you think the Swiftwing will 
float during an ordinary blow?" said Flash, grinning. 

" That, Mr. Gilmor, is a state secret." 

A broad smile was exchanged, and the interview 
ended at that poinL 



THhi BLOCK ADE EOWJ!fEIi. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THE DUEL AND THE ESCAPE. 

KoBERT Bentham had marked out his course and 
was determined to follow it. 

He did not like to leave his uncle's house without 
saying good-by to Norah. 

He might see the girl before leaving Wilmington if 
his exit was not hastened by certain events not unlikely 
to occur, and he was sure that she would not up- 
braid him for his course of action. 

Her letters to him during his sojourn in France had 
not warmly espoused the cause of the Confederacy, 
and he had not given her any insight to his private 
feelings or sympathies, 

" It will be a long war, uncle sa3"s," she wrote him 
shortly after the breaking out of hostilities. "They 
(the Confederates) have torn down the old flag which 
gladdened our eyes so long, and a new flag, not a whit 
lovelier, has been hoisted in its place." 

Bentham knew that Wilmington would prove too 
hot a place for him if his true sentiments became 
known to its citizens, and he resolved to depart with- 
out delay. 

It was now verging on to midnight, and the storm 
through which the Foxhound had steamed to safety 
had abated. 

A number of people still remained in the streets dis- 
cussing the arrival of the blockade runner and kindred 



54 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

topics, but no one seemed to notice Benthara as he 
passed along. 

He was proceeding toward tiie wharf at a smart 
pace, when he was touched by a hand before he was 
aware that any one was near. 

There was something that smacked of arrest in that 
touch, and B^ntham's hand moved toward a weapon 
as he turned. 

" De Lord bress you, Massa Bob !" exclaimed a coal- 
black darky. " You'se not goin' away widout sayin' 
good- by to old Jupe, is you ?" 

"Of course not, Jupe," said Bentham, giving the 
negro his hand ; *' but who told you I was going 
away ?" 

" I couldn't help hearin' yer last words at Massa 
Mowbray's," was the reply. " I ain't an eavesdroppah, 
Bob, but I happened to pass de window just den, an' I 
heard a few words dat set me to tinkin'. Dar war 
an eavesproppah, dough," 

" An eavesdropper V echoed the young man start- 
ing. 

•' I saw 'im creep away jes' as I came up. Ha — ha! 
de brack rascal tink I didn't know 'im !" 

" Who was it, Jupe T 

" Tom, ob course," 

" One of Mowbray's negroes ?" 

" Dat's jes' who he war. He am de nigger what's 
goin' to sail in de Swiftwing with de young Cap'n 
Powers when dey git ready. Dat Cap'n Powers 
is a might}^ cute chicken, Massa Bob. Him been 
comin' mighty often to Massa Mowbray's while 
you'se been away ober de water. He's got a heap ob 
business wid massa, somehow or other. I tink some- 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 55 

times dat him got his eje on de young missus ; but 
mebbe you'se got de best claim dar, an' so hira got no 
show — yah ! yah !" 

Jupe's last sentence set Bentham to thinkii)g. 

He knew nothing of this Captain Powers who was 
to command the new privateer almost ready to sail. 

It might be true, as the negro hinted, that he had a 
rival for Korah's hand ; but what kind of a looking 
man was he, and was he really a rival ? 

" Look hyer, Massa Bob, I didn't stop you to set you 
tinkin' dat way," resumed the negro, breaking in upon 
the young man's meditations. "If you'se goin' to 
leave Wilmington dar's no time to be lost, fo' dar's no 
tellin' who dat eavesdroppin' nigger's carried his news 
to. He tinks de world ob Cap'n Powers, b'lieves jes' 
what he b'lieves, an' is alius huntin' fo' some way to 
serve him. I don't trust dat nigger, Massa Bob. I 
hates de new flag, but Tom him likes it. He tole me 
so himself.'' 

Bentham heard the darky through. 

It might be that he was in danger. 

What was to be done ? 

He was forced to put this appeal to Jupe, whom he 
knew could be trusted. The answer was not delayed. 

" You must git to de Yankee fleet !" said Jupe. 
" De storm am about ober, an' de ships will soon be 
comin' back to de ole stations. I'se watched 'era so 
long dat I know just whar dey will be. What's de 
use ob stay in' hyer a minute longer dan you can help, 
Massa Bob ? Tom, de mean nigger, knows jes' whar 
to find Cap'n Powers, an' " 

" We will go," said Bentham, unconsciously speaking 
his resolves aloud. " I long to train some loyal cannon 



56 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

on the CoTiferate navy. My mission to Wilnaington is 
coDipleted. Nothing need keep nie here." 

The twain turned away and proceeded at a rapid 
gait toward the mouth of Cape Fear Eiver, 

Jupe led the way with the air of one who was con- 
fident of success, and ere long, just beyond the confines 
of the city, he drew a strong boat from beneath the 
water, and looked up into Beuthara's face with a grin 
of satisfaction, 

"Ob course dis yere boat wasn't hyer by chance," 
said the negro. "I knowed jes' whar to find it. 
Mebbe I war savin' it fo' an' emergency like the 
present one. Anyhow, it am jis' de help we want." 

Bentham looked over his shoulder at the lights of 
Wilmington, and thought of the people he was leaving 
behind. 

His mind went back to beautiful Norah Narcross, 
who would question his hasty departure, and perhaps 
charge it against him. They had never exchanged 
vows of love, yet there seemed to be a secret under- 
standing that they were destined for one another, but 
the spell might be broken, and from that hour their 
lives might drift apart^ never to meet again on th^e 
ocean of life. 

The war would keep them separate ; it might prove 
death for one, sorrow and bitterness for the other. 

'' We mus' be off, Massa Bob," said the negro. 
" Dar's no tellin' what Tom's gone an' done. De ribber 
ara wide hyer, an' we kin git through de picket boats 
if we watch de corners." 

Bentham stepped into the boat, followed by his 
jlusky friend, who took up the oars and prepared to 
ptish out into the stream. 



IRE BLOVKADE RUNNER. 57 

. The night was dark, unrelieved by a single star, and 
a strong breeze was blowing from the sea. 

No longer roared the mad waves over the shoals, or 
raced like horses through the rocky channels. 

The air was cold, so cold that Bentham drevv' hisc.'.p 
around his head. 

" I am ready, Jupe," he said. " Now for the Union 
fleet !" 

A moment later the boat would have left the shore, 
if two fignres had not rushed to the water's edge, and 
a voice exclaimed : 

" Put off if you dare ! 1 am here to see you, llobert 
Bentham." 

" It am Cap'n Powers, Massa Bob," whispered Jupe, 
who stil'l clutched the oars, as the flash of a lantern 
illumined the night. " I can send de ole boat out of 
his reach in a second." 

''No," said Bentham, rising and facing the figures 
on shore. " I am here, Captain Powers. What is it 
3'ou want of me ?" 

He stepped from the boat as the last word dropped 
from his tongue, and throwing open his coat, he dis- 
pla3'ed a sword and two pistols. 

" Just what I wish !" continued the privateersman. 
"I am here to check j'our flight to the Yankee fleet, 
but you are willing to fight ?" 

" Yes, I am eager to meet you, from what I have 
heard to-night," was the reply. "If you want a prov- 
ocation let this prove sufficient !" 

Hastily drawing his sword, Bentham struck Powers 
across the face with the flat side. 

An oath of rage fell from the captain's lips as ha 
staggered from the blow. 



58 TEE BLOCKADE EUNNEB. 

" Fo' de land's sake, dat war a tellin' lick !" ejaculated 
Jupe, his eyes glittering like a pair of diamonds. "It's 
no mo' dan Cap'n Powers deserves' fo' sneakin' 'round 
arter de young missus so much." 

The man who accompanied Powers was muffled to 
the throat in a thick overcoat, but Jupe recognized 
him as Flash Gilmor. 

Hard upon the blow with the flattened side of the 
sword, Powers drew the weapon that hung in its 
scabbard on his thigh, and handed the lantern to his 
friend, 

" We will fight here — now !" he exclaimed, facing 
"Bentham, who was already on guard. " That black 
traitor is your second, I suppose. Gilmor, here, is 
mine. You were to have been my second officer on 
the decks of the Swiftwing; but the hopes of many are 
to be dissipated here. We have never met before, I 
believe. After this duel we will never meet again." 

Bentham did not deign to reply to the boast con- 
tained in the last sentence. 

His look told that he was eager for the fight. 

Gilmor gave the signal, and the next instant fire 
flashed along the crossed blades. 

If Powers was a good swordsman, Bentham was his 
tqual. 

The young man had studied more than gunnery 
during his residence in France. 

Jupe, the darky, drew off and gazed at the duellists 
v/ith distended eyes. Never before had he witnessed 
guch a combat. 

The rivals fought with much bitterness ; lunge, 
parry, thrust and counter-thrust followed in quick 
succession. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 69 

Gilmor held the laatern in a manner that revealed 
the thrilling scene. 

All at once Captain Powers' blade was twisted from 
his hand b}^ a dexterous movement which he had not 
foreseen, and, as the weapon fell at the water's ^i\ge, 
he realized that he was at Bentham^s mercy. 

Quick as a flash his right hand flew to the belt that 
carried his pistols. 

'^ Is that your game ?" cried Bentham. " If it is, by 
Jove, I'll block it here !" 

Our hero lunged straight at his rival's breast, and 
before an arm could be interposed the bright point of 
the sword had disappeared. 

Captain Powers staggered back with a groan, as a 
figure rushed past Bentham. 

It was the figure of Jupe. 

With the fury of a tiger the darky threw himself 
upon Gilmor, whom he dealt several terrible blows in 
quick succession, and who fell to the ground when 
released. 

" He war drawin' his pistol, Massa Bob, an' I thought 
I'd hinder 'ira," said Jupe, returning to Bentham, with 
victory in his eyes. " I guess de coast am cl'ar now. 
Cap'n Powers doesn't seem to be dead, but he can't in- 
terfere any mo'. Shall we try it ag'in ?" 

Bentham stepped once more into the boat, but not 
without a glance at the two figures lying motionless 
on the duelling ground. 

Jupe shoved the boat into the stream, and his strong 
black arras propelled it rapidly from the spot. 

It was a dangerous journey, for the picket boats of 
Cape Fear Kiver were always on the alert; but fortune 
favored our young hero. 



60 THE BLOCKADE RUNJ^ER. 

The boat crept from the river's mouth .at last ; it 
breasted the surf, and glided on out to sea. 

An hour later a cry of " Boat ahoy !" cut the dark- 
ness. 

An answer was returned, and Robert Bentham at 
last stood on the deck of a Union blockader. 



liilj JLiliUt'JlAJjUJ liUl\j.^iLh 



CHAPTER VIII. 

HOW A SHIP CHANGED HANDS. 

It was the morning after Robert Bentham's escape 
from Wilmington, and Gordon Mowbray was walking 
his library like a caged lion. 

Suddenly a rap sounded on the door. 

"Come in," said Mowbray, glancing up, but not 
breaking his strides. 

The door opened, and a well-built man, with a 
bandage over one eye, entered and dropped into the 
chair to which he was assigned by a wave of the hand. 

" That nigger of yours has a fist like a sledge 
hammer, and muscle to suit, colonel," he said, fixing on 
Mowbray his one good eye that flashed angrily. 
"I was about to serve on that nephew of yours a writ 
of forcible detention in the shape of a revolver, when 
Jupe sprung at me like a tiger, and the three blows he 
dealt, all in less than a second, felt likje the falls of a 
trip-hammer. I saw all the stars that ever glittered 
in the universe, and my head this morning feels as big 
as a mountain." 

" Tell me all about it. I have heard nothing but re- 
ports. I have been waiting for you, Gilmor, I 
thought you would come. Go on !" 

Mowbray's crisp sentences <lisclosed both his im- 
patience and ill humor. 

He had thrown himself into a chair in front of his 



62 TEE BLOCKADE RUNJS'ER. 

visitor, who was Flash Gilmor, Captain Powers' 
second in the duel on the river bank the evening 
before. 

" Dick and I were hunted up last night by Tom, who, 
somehow or other, had discovered your nephew was 
going to join the Yankees against us," began Gilmor. 
" We at once resolved to thwart him, and to clip his 
winof feathers at the same time. There was no inten- 
tion of hurting him. The duel that was fought he 
brought about himself. We — Dick and myself — 
started for your house immediately after getting 
Tom's news, and on our way we saw Bentham and 
Jupe cross the street ahead of us, moving toward the 
river. Of course we followed and saw that nigger 
pull a boat from the water. Everything was plain, 
then. The two were going to the Yankee fleet, and 
we had a right to detain them. The captain called a 
halt, when Bentham jumped from the boat, opened his 
coat, showing that he was fully prepared for a fight, 
and rushed at Powers with a sword. That brought oa 
the fight." 

" Well ?" said Mr. Mowbray impatiently. 

" They must have fought for five minutes without 
one gaining any advantage over the other. If Powers 
knows how to handle a sword, I now know that Bob 
Bentham practiced fencing while abroad. At last he 
got in a pass and a twist that disarmed the captain, 
and before the lost ground could be recovered his 
sword transfixed the disarmed man. Then I attempted 
to draw my revolver, but that rascally black Jupe, 
rushed up and put me hors de comhat beside Powers. 
After that, escape for the pair was easy, and I suppose 
they reached the fleet." 



TEE BLOViz^DE RUNNER. 63 

" No dottbt of it," said Mowbray ; " but how is the 
captain this morning?" 

" A little better, the surgeon thinks. He passed a 
pretty good night. Bentham's blade was well directed, 
but fortune turned it aside. The captain says he is 
going to live for vengeance in more ways than one, 
and I know he will. The Swiftwing was to have 
sailed to-day, but she will not get away now until the 
captain is out of danger. I wish we could have 
detained Bentham. I suppose he got on a high horse 
here." 

" He was not boisterous, but deeply insulting for all," 
said Mowbray. " I might have prevented this affray 
by keeping him here by force, but I did not think he 
would attempt to leave Wilmington so soon. I don't 
cai-e what becomes of him now. He has forfeited all 
right to ray affection. What do the people say about 
me, Gilraor ? You have been among them ?" 

"About you 2" exclaimed Gilmor, amazed. "N^o- 
bod}^ blames you for anything. Your loyalty to the 
South is not questioned. You are not held responsible 
for Bentham's acts. If the citizens could catch him, I 
expect he would speedily adorn a lamp-post." 

" No doubt of it." 

*' Why, the Ayounding of Powers causes great excite- 
ment everywhere ! Kobody seems to have heard how 
Bentham saved the Foxhound, thus arming three 
whole regiments with new Enfield rifles." 

" How so ?" cried Mowbray. " I had not heard of 
that myself." 

"It was when the Foxhound was hotly beset by the 
Yankee fleet last night. Powell was going to blow 
the ship to perdition, for he had given up ail hopes of 



fj4 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

making port. Well, Bob followed biiu down to the 
cabin where the skipper had concealed the fuse con 
necting with a torpedo in the hold, which was more 
than I would have done, and forced him to give up his 
devilish design. There's no use in talking, colonel, 
that nephew of yours has grit. He'll (]o us great injury 
if his career is not speedily checked. The Yankees 
will recognize his worth and give him an important^ 
command. We will hear of him again. I am sure of 
that." 

Movvbra3' was silent for awhile. 

" I have been a fool, Gilmor — a consummate dolt !'* 
he suddenlv exclaimed. "While I was paying for 
Bob's naval education in France he was translating 
important works on gunnery for the North. He 
admitted as much — even^ boasted of it — in my house 
last night. Still I never suspected him of treachery 
to the South. It is true that his father was an ardent 
supporter of the old government, and if he were living 
to-day he would command on the quarter-deck of a 
Yankee cruiser ; but I thought the boy had forgotten 
those things under m}'^ care. I feel myself disgraced 
in a measure. Look here," and Mowbray took from 
the desk at his right a paper which he held up to his 
visitor's gaze. " Here is Bob's commission as second 
officer of the privateer Swiftwing. I was going to 
present it to him this morning, but now I consign it to 
its proper place — the fire !" 

As he finished, the maddened Mowbray wheeled his 
chair halfway round, and dexterously tossed the com 
mission upon the live coals glowing in the grate. 

It caught speedily and the two men watched it burn 
in silence. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 65 

" With the burnino- of that commission has expired 
my love for my only sister's child !" said Mowbray, 
whirling upon Gilmor. " He shall never darken my 
door again. When I learn what vessel he serves on, I 
will send to sea an avenger that siiall rid tlie Confed- 
erac}' of at least one foe. I sweiir to do this, Gilmor, 
if it takes every dollar of my wealth !"' 

Mowbray's clinched hand came down heavily upoB 
the lid of the desk, shaking np everything on the in 
side, and causing Gilmor to recoil. 

" He shall be hunted continually from wave to wave 
— from port to port, until the chase has ended !" con- 
tinued the Southerner. " My vengeance shall be no 
child's play, Gilmor! At the end of the year there 
shall not run through the veins of any Yankee officer 
a drop of Mowbray blood !" 

"Dick Powers will pay his respects to him, you may 
be sure of that, colonel," said Gilmor. " As I shall 
sail in the Swiftwing, I will be in at the death." 

" Of course — of course ; but I would sooner have him 
caught by a vessel owned by his uncle." 

" Oh, if that is it, colonel, permit me to say that the 
Swiftwing is for sale." 

" For sale !" echoed Mowbra}'^, almost leaving his 
chair. *' What has thrown her on the market?" 

" The financial embarrassment of her builders. She 
Avas built by private enterprise, although her officers 
were to receive regular commissions from the govern- 
ment. She wMll be sold to the government unless 
purchased by private parties within the next few 
days." 

" I will take her, Gilmor." 

** At the price wanted 2'* 



^ TEE BLOCKADE BUNNEB. 

« What is it ?" 

" One iiundred and thirty thousand dollars." 

"The ship is mine !" 

Gihnor stared at Mowbray, who now spoke with a 
calmness that called forth surprise. 

" Shall I notify the Swiftwing's owners of your will- 
ingness to pay their price V Gihnor asked, making a 
motion to depart. 

" I'll do that myself," was the reply. " I did not 
think I would be able to put a hunter on his track so 
soon. Ah ! Gihnor, you and Powers will make the 
Swiftwing a veritable scourge of Xhe seas. I have 
eonfidence in Powers. He is young, but he is nobody's 
fool. I don't know so much about you ; but I guess 
you'll do. ril see the Messrs. Bardolph witiau an hour 
and make the purchase." 

" Hadn't you better inspect the ship first V 

"No; I don't want to lose time. I'll go through 
her after the bargain has been made. She is worth 
the price asked ?'* 

" Yes." 

" Your word is guarantee enough, Gilraor." 

Five minutes later Flash Gilmor left the Mowbray 
home with triumph sparkling in his eye. 

" A good morning's work," he said gleefully. " A 
cool twenty thousand made without much talking. I 
found him in the proper humor, and when I had 
worked him up to the right pitch, I had but to mention 
that the Swiftwing was for sale. He thinks I'm going 
in the ship, ha! ha! When the time comes, I'll slide 
out out of the affair, for if I would win in the important 
game I am playing I must remain in Wilmington." 

Not far away Gilmor met a man who seemed to be 



THE BLOCKADE BUNNER. 67 

wailing for him. The two met cordially, and went off 
arm in arm like confidential friends. 

" Well, she is off your hands, Bardolph !" exclaimed 
Gilmor. 

'' The devil you say," exclaimed young Mr. Bardolph. 
" Who is the purchaser ?" 

" Gordon Mowbray." 

" The deuce ! At what price f* 

" The one you named." 

'• Good ! Gilmor, you don't know what a load you've 
lifted from my heart. You shall have your commis< 
sion as soon as Mowbray secures the payments. Sold ! 
and well sold, too." 

" That's what I say." 

" She'll never run the blockade, Gilmor. Those 
Yankee ships will redouble their vigilance since the 
Foxhound got in with such a valuable cargo, and the 
Swiftwing will either be sunk or captured within sight 
of the coast. Then — but you know the rest." 

MYes," said Gilmor; and then he added under his 
breath. " And that's why I never intend to sail in the 
Swiftwing." 

The two men adjourned to a neighboring wine shop, 
and, over the costliest vintage the proprietor could place 
before them, they drank to the successful sale of the 
new privateer, which, in Mowbray's mind, was to 
sweep the seas and rid him forever of his troublesome 
nephew. 

An hour later they left the drinking-place and sought 
out the office of the Messrs. Bardolph, where the 
senior member of the firm told them that Gordon 
Mowbray had just departed, carrying with him cer^ 
tain papers which constituted him sole owner of the 
privateer. 



,<jc TEE BLOCKADE BUNNEB. 

Of - course another season of rejoicing followed: 
more wine, and more mutual congratulations. 

"Mowbray inquired where Powers was, and I told 
him. I think he went thither," said the elder Bardolph. 

Yes, Mowbray had sought out the wounded captain, 
who had been removed to his cabin on board the 
Swift wing. 

He was overjoyed to see the Southerner. 

" Look here," said Mowbray, depositing the deeds 
on his couch. " You will stand on my decks when you 
go to se?w I want you to do your duty : but I know 
you will, captain. Don't spare a Y^'ankee ship ; but 
above all, hunt Bob Bentham down !" 

" What shall my reward be ?" asked Powers, looking 
into Mowbray's eyes. 

" Norah." 

The hand of the wounded captain crept toward Mow- 
bray and the two men grasped. 

" This is a promise, colonel," asked Powers eagerly. 

" I will bind it with an oath if you say so." 

" No, no ! The promise of a Mowbray is enough." 

" You have it !" 

"The Swiftwing leaves Wilmington to-morrow 
night." 

Mowbray started. 

" My wound doesn't bother me since you have 
spoken," said Powers, with a faint smile. " Once at 
sea, I shall speedily recover. I long to pay my enemy 
back for his devilish thrust. The Swiftwing will cut 
loose to-morrow night. Y^'ou ma}' depend on that, 
colonel." 

Mowbray left the young officer and inspected the 
ship. Everything he saw satisfied him, but there 
were some thino-s he did not see. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 69 



CHAPTER IX. 

BENTHAM MEETS THE MERRIMAO, 

Having seen Bentham, the loyal gunner, reach the 
blockading fleet safely, we are compelled in order to 
follow him to transfer the reader from Wilmington 
over a space of nearly two months and a long stretch 
of sea to the deck of a vessel lying within cannon-shot 
of Fortress Monroe. 

This vessel is the Cumberland, a ship whose name 
stands proudly on the annals of time, and whom fame 
has transferred to a niche of glory. 

For some time rumors of the building of an iron 
monster at ISTorfolk by the Confederates had daily 
reached the Union fleet lying off the fortress, and 
glasses had long been trained toward SewalPs Point, 
from which direction ihe new sweeper of the seas was 
expected. 

This formidable foe was the rebuilt United States 
ship Merrimac, which had been scuttled and sunk by 
the government forces at the abandoning of the Nor 
folk Navy Yard. 

The Confederates had succeeded in raising the hull 
of the Merrimac, and by a thorough reconstructiori, 
rendered her one of the most powerful war vessels 
afloat. 

To effect this they had cut her hull down to within 
three feet of the watermark, strengthening her by 



70 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

adding a sloping bombproof, which covered her gun 
deck with bars of railroad iron. 

She had no masts; her smokestack and pilot-house 
were the only exposed objects above deck. 

Her bows possessed a steel " ram " for piercing the 
enemy's ships, and fore and aft she was amply pro- 
tected by a plating of steel. 

The Merrimac, rechristened the " Virginia " by her 
new owners, carried twelve guns of the most formid- 
able character — eleven-inch navy guns at her sides, and 
one-hundred pounders at the stern and bow. 

Thus equipped, the Merrimac was ready to grapple 
with the whole Federal navy. 

No wooden vessels could withstand her assaults. 

Captain Buchanan, her commander, knew her 
strength, and was eager to test it. 

We have said that Bentham was on board the Cum- 
berland. 

After reaching the blockading fleet, he went North, 
but soon afterward found himself at Fortress Monroe 
on his return, where he asked for and obtained the 
position of gunner on the Cumberland, in anticipation 
of the Merriraac's speedy appearance. 

The Cumberland was a well-built sloop-of-war of 
1,725 tons burden. She carried twenty-four guns — 
ten-inch pivots, and rifled cannon. She was considered 
one of the most effective wooden vessels in the navy at 
the time, and her acting commander. Lieutenant 
George W. Morris, had confideiVje in her abilities. 

At last the much-talked-of monster made her appear- 
ance. 

It was the eighth of March, and the sun was sloping 
westward from his meridian. 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. , 71 

The glasses of the Union ofHcers soon discovered 
her as she moved steadily by the channel in front of 
Sewall's Point. 

The Federal batteries warned the ships blockading 
the mouth of the James, and everybody became on 
the alert. 

The long-looked-for hour was at hand, and one of 
the most desperate- of naval battles was about to take 
place. 

Confident of her destructive powers, the ironclad 
ship made directly for the Cumberland and Congress. 
Her ports were closed, and as she came within range 
the Congress opened on her with her heavy guns. 

As well might the Federalists have hurled handfuls 
of peas against the Merrimac's steel sheathing. 

All at once the fire of the Congress was returned by 
her mailed antagonist, and the terrible shot tore mer- 
cilessly through her wooden sides. 

" We are in for it now," said a young officer on 
board the Cumberland, as the Merrimac, after deliver- 
ing her broadside at the Congress, steered for her 
consort. " Give her the best you have in the locker, 
Bentham. The progress of this ram must be stopped 
if possible," 

" Ay, ay, sir," replied Bentham, saluting the officer 
as he turned away. " I have my first chance for 
showing the result of my study, and that beneath the 
flag my father once fought under." 

The Merrimac continued to approach. 

Bentham carefully sighted his gun, and all at once 
the heavy shot broke the silence that reigned on the 
gun-deck. 

The ball struck the Merrimac, showing that it had 



73 THE BLOCKADE BUNNER. 

been well aimed, but took no effect, merely glancing 
upward and flying off. 

Bentham, who had watched the shot, turned quietly 
to the officer of the division. 

" We can't stop tl:^it craft, sir,'' he said respectfully. 

The next moment the Cumberland delivered a 
broadside which would tave sunk the largest wooden 
vessel afloat. 

The balls struck the Merriraac in every conceivable 
place, but she still moved on. 

Could nothing check her ? 

Was she destined to gain a victory which would 
place the great seaboard cities of the Korth at her 
mercy ? 

" Great heavens ! she is going to strike us !" ex- 
claimed Bentham, who saw the Merrimac rounding to 
after the broadside. 

This was the Confederate's intention. 

Head on, she made for the Cumberland, from whose 
guns belched forth a perfect rain of iron and steel. 

The shock was terrible. 

The steel prow, which nothing could resist, struck 
the Cumberland about amidships, literally laying her 
open, and placing her at once in a sinking condition. 

Still her heroes stood by their guns. 

Broadside after broadside they poured against the 
steel sides of their foe, while her guns continually 
raked them fore and aft, filling the cockpit with 
wounded, and making her decks slippery with blood. 

It was a terrible moment. 

Bentham, his face powder burned and his clothes 
splashed by the blood of his comrades, fought his 
gun with the courage of a young lion. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 73 

" "We fight as long as we float, boys !" he said to bis 
companions. " Tbe old flag still waves overbead. 
Give tbe Confederates some more doses of iron ! Hur- 
rah for tbe Union !" 

Bravery would not save the day. 
1 Tbe Cumberland, gallant ship, was doomed ! 

Water was rushing into ber forward magazine, and 
the cries of tbe wounded added to tbe horror of tbe 
scene. 

Some of the guns almost touched the waves, but tbe 
Union tars still worked them, occasionally sending up 
loud cheers of defiance. 

Braver men never fought a ship. 

To add to the terrible spectacle, the after pivot gun 
got loose and rolled about, crushing men without 
mercy, and hastening tbe fate of the vessel. 

Tbe flag of tbe Cumberland continued to wave over 
her gallant crew. It inspired them with new courage, 
and called forth cheer after cheer as the grand old 
ship settled toward the depths of the sea. 

Without pity and as destructively as ever, tbe Mer- 
rimac continued to deliver ber terrific broadsides into 
the Cumberland. 

Tbe shot opened great gashes wherever they struck, 
and tbe blood of tbe Cumberland's tars ran through 
them into the sea. 

At last, when destruction seemed unavoidable, tbe 
boats were ordered out. 

They were brought alongside with difficulty. 

The men could hardly escape from the gun-deck to 
the spar-deck, the ship was sinking so rapidl}'^ ; they 
climbed into the rigging, or sprung overboard to save 
their lives. 



74 TEE BLOCKADE R UNNER. 

" Come, Bentham," said an officer to the young gun- 
ner, who was loading one of the guns with his own 
hands. "We shall sink in less than five minutes." 

" One more shot, sir ! Here, men, let us give that 
devil a parting salute !'^ 

Several sailors sprung to his side with enthusiastic 
cheers. 

The gun was sighted by Bentham and fired. 

The next moment the muzzle of the piece was under 
water ! 

It was, indeed, the last shot. 

Bentham reached the rigging as the spar-deck dis- 
appeared from view beneath the seething sea. 

"Jump, Bentham!" called out the young officer 
and the heroic gunner who had covered himself with 
glory sprung as far out as possible as the vessel passed 
out of sight forever. 

After battling with the waves for awhile, Bentham 
was picked up, and rowed, with others, toward the 
frowning fortress, from whose walls hundreds had 
witnessed the fight. 

Scores of the Cumberland's crew went down to the 
depths with her, among them her chaplain, whose last 
words were words of comfort to the dying. 

The frigate's destruction was complete ; but the 
Merrimac was not satisfied. 

She turned her prow toward the crippled Congress, 
and sent her resistless shot clean through her wooden 
sides. 

iBtit the Yankee tars fought their vessel nobly. 

Their captain fell in the action ; the decks grew slip- 
pery under their feet ; they were in danger of sharing 
the Cumberland's fate. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 75 

At last the Congress made for the beach, where she 
grounded. 

Then the heartless enemy approached, and poured 
broadside after broadside into her, until she hauled 
down her colors and surrendered. 

Night was fast settling over this scene. 

The darkness was lit up by the flashes of the Mer- 
rimac's guns. 

She was now turning her attention to the powerful 
steamship Minnesota, which had grounded, and lay 
apparently at her mercy. 

Captain Van Brunt trained his heaviest cannon on 
the steel-mailed monster, but the shot produced no 
effect. 

Where would the ram's work end ? 

It was the gloomiest Saturday night the Union 
cause had yet known. 

The fight between the Minnesota on one side and 
the Merrimac and her consorts, two steamers, on the 
other, lasted until seven o'clock, wheh the ram drew 
off and steamed back toward Norfolk. 

The day was hers. 

She had destroyed two war vessels, and left another 
— the Minnesota — in a precarious condition. 

Everybody believed that she would return on the 
following day and complete her mission — the destruc- 
tion of every Federal ship blockading the mouth of 
the James. 

Then she would turn her prow northward, and 
Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York would hear 
the thunder of her guns. 

It was, indeed, the most critical hour of the whole 
war — the second day at Gettysbu^ not excepted. 



76 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" They tell me," said Benthara, addressing an officer 
in the fortress, " that the Monitor is expected to- 
night." 

" She should be here now, sir," was the reply ; " but 
she cannot turn the tide. The Merriinac is invulner- 
able. I fear Ericsson has toiled for nothing 1" 






THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. ^7 



CHAPTER X . 

THE BATTLE OF THE GIANTS. 

It was known by the anxious Federals that the 
Monitor had left New York; but what had become of 
her? 

Had she foundered at sea, leaving the Merrimac to 
continue unchecked her career of devastation? 

Every eye was turned toward the Cape Charles 
Light. 

Suddenly several shouts went up from the lips of 
those who were provided with glasses. 

A movable light was approaching I 

" The Monitor ! the Monitor I" passed from mouth 
to mouth. 

Was it time that the Ericsson battery was near at 
hand ? 

As the light broadened, illumining the waters as 
they came on, all doubts were dispelled, and the news 
spread like wildfire. 

At nine o'clock that eventful night the Monitor 
ran under the frowning guns of Fortress Monroe, and 
came to anchor there. 

Lieutenant Worden, her commander, reported to 
Flag-Officer Marston and General Wool for duty, and 
was sent to Newport News to protect the Minnesota, 
■whom we left aground and in a critical condition. 

It was expected that on the following day the Mer- 



7S THE BLOCKADE RUNNEB. 

rimac would sally forth again to complete the destruc- 
tion of the great steamship. 

Night passed away, and morning came. 

It was the dawn of a beautiful Sabbath day, calm 
and peaceful. 

At half-past six three vessels wera seen advancing 
from Craney Island. 

These were the Merrimac and her consorts of the 
day before, the Jamestown and Yorktown. 

The Monitor lay quietly in the water within pro 
tecting distance of the Minnesota, whose men were 
ready for the conflict. 

Disdaining to notice the cheese-box looking craft 
that threatened to engage her, the Merrimac pushed 
straio-ht for the Minnesota. 

Captain Van Brunt at once beat to quarters, and 
suddenly opened on the Confederate with his stern 
guns, as he signaled the Monitor to engage in the 
attack. 

Commander Worden made for the enemy, and to 
the surprise of every eye-witness, laid himself right 
alongside, and opened with his monster cannon. 

The fight — the grapple of the giants — was now 
fairly on. 

The two iron sea-dogs were at close range, muzzle 
to muzzle one might say, pouring their heavy metal 
acainst each other in a constant shower that seemed 
entirely resistless. 

Yet the shot of the Merrimac fell harmless from 
the sides of the Monitor's revolving turret, while 
Worden seemed to do his antagonist no great damage. 

For nearly two hours the ships battled for the mas- 
tery with the rage of wounded lions. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 79 

The Minnesota joined in the battle, pelting the Mer- 
fimac with her heaviest shot, and adding greatly to 
the appalling horror of the scene. 

A cloud of smoke hovered over the two iron ships— 
a cloud which the spectators on the walls of the fort 
and elsewhere were afraid to see lift, lest the lifting 
should reveal the Monitor at the mere}'' of her foe. 

The pall rose at last, and the stars and stripes were 
seen still floating over the little ship, from whose tur- 
ret the terrible guns were still belching forth great 
globes of iron ! 

Maddened at the constant firing of the Minnesota, 
the Merrimac turned suddenly upon her. 

She rushed forward with her steel prow, for the 
purpose of dealing a stroke like that which had 
finished the Cumberland. 

The Monitor saw the steamer's peril, and deliberately 
threw herself in the enemy's path. 

Her guns were fired fast and furious into the foe. 

The Merrimac reeled before the awful dischargees, 
and then resolved to bring the combat to an end. 

She turned her prow upon the Monitor, and with a 
full head of steam on, drove straight at her. 

It was an anxious, breathless moment. 

The next minute the two monsters collided I 

The Merrimac's prow glided up on her adversary's 
sheathed deck, careening her and exposing her own 
hull under the iron casing, an accident most unfor- 
tunate. 

Quick as a flash, the Monitor seized the opportunity 
thus presented, and sent a ponderous shot under the 
enemy's sheathing, driving her off disabled. 

Still the fight went on, iron against iron, steel com- 
bating steel t • 



80 I^^ BLOCKADE RUNIi'ER. 

The waters roared and foamed under the boats' 
keels, and the near shore shook under the crash of the 
gigantic artillery. 

Would the conflict never end? 

Men wondered while they watched and stood awe^ 
stricken on the ramparts of Fortress Monroe. 

Captain Buchanan, of the Merrimac, was a man of 
nerve. 

Had he' resolved to conquer or die on the battlefield 
of his own choosing? 

On the other hand, Commander Worden was prov- 
ing himself a hero. 

Two braver men had n6ver met before in a battle on 
the wave. 

At last the Merrimac pulled off, but sullenly, like a 
wolf showing his teeth, and growling. 

She had given up the fight, thus acknowledging that 
in the Monitor she had found a superior whom she 
could not destroy. 

A cheer went up from a thousand throats. 

The Federals felt that a great victory had been 
gained, even if the Merrimac had not been sent to the 
bottom of the sea. 

The guns of Se wall's Point received the Confederate 
ram under their protection, gunboats came to her aid, 
and she steamed back to Norfolk. 

The Monitor steamed back to the fort, where those 
who had witnessed the fight had an opportunity of 
inspecting her. 

What did they see? 

An iron-covered vessel, conical in shape, one hun- 
dred and seventy-four feet long, forty-one feet wide, 
surmounted by a revolving turret, armed with two 
eleven-inch columbiads. • 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 81 

These were the guns that had beaten off the 
Merrimac. 

The interior of the Monitor presented no traces of 
carnage to her curious inspectors. 

Commander Worden had his eyes bandaged, having 
been injured by some small scales of iron which had 
been knocked loose by a ball from the Merrimac. 

" No thanks to the Navy Department for this pro- 
tector," said one of the Monitor's visitors, an old mili- 
tary oflBcer. 

" Why not, sir ?" was the question instantly put up 
by a young man. 

" Because, sir, the Monitor comes to us from the 
hands of private citizens. The government has been 
afraid to trust Ericsson's genius. Now, sir* it will be 
acknowledged, and before the year ends there will be 
a hundred Monitors afloat." 

This was prophecy. 

The usefulness of the formidable Merrimac seemed 
at an end. 

She had encountered her equal on the wave, and 
her guns would not thunder in the ports of the great 
commercial cities of the North. 

The glad tidings quickly flew^northward. 

They crossed the sea and told the foreign powers 
that their great warships were comparatively worth» 
less. 

A revolution had taken place in naval affairs, for 
one Monitor was sufficient to sink a navy. 

"What do you think now ?" asked a young sailor, 
addressing Bentham, as he emerged from the Monitor 
after a tour of inspection through her interior. " For 
my part I prefer the wooden ship where one caa see 



82 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER, 

the balls strike, and hear the crash of timber and the 
fall of spars." 

" So do 1," answered Bentham. *' A naval fight is 
robbed of its excitement and dangers when the sailors 
are protected by iron plating which no shot can pene- 
trate. Ay, sir, give me the wooden ship any time, 
and let me have charge of a gun — that is all I ask." 

" Where do you serve next ? Your ship, the Cum- 
berland, will never float again." 

" I'm out of a job, but not for long, I trust," smiled 
Bentham. "I did not leave France to idle ray time 
away here. I am anxious for work. 1 am willing to 
serve anywhere." 

Several days later the young gunner was summoned 
on board Commander Marston's vessel. 

''We have heard of your bravery on board the 
Cumberland," said that officer, addressing Bentham, 
whose face colored as he spoke. " We understand, 
sir, that you desire more active service." 

" That is correct, sir." 

" A new vessel, called the Avenger, fitted out for 
the purpose of overhauling blockade runners and 
privateers is expected here to-morrow. Will you ao 
cept a position on her decks ?" 

" In what capacity ?" 

" As second officer." 

"No, sir," said Bentham promptly, and greatly to 
the officer's astonishment. " I want no better than 
to be a gunner. I flatter myself that I know some- 
thing about gunnery." 

'*^ We are all aware of that," was the smiling reply ; 
" but the government believes that it owes you some- 
thing for your helpful books and your conduct on 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 83 

board the ill-fated Cumberland.- The place of second 
officer on the Avenger is at your command." 

" Give me charge of a gun, and let another go to the 
quarter-deck." 

"It shall be as you desire, sir," said Marston. 
" Promotion is bound to find you wherever you be. 
The Avenger will be here to-morrow ; such are our 
advices at any rate." 

This terminated the interview, and Bentham de- 
parted to join the friends who were waiting to 
congratulate him. 

".A letter for you, Mr. Bentham," said a youth, 
joining the group with a packet which he extended 
toward the young gunner. " It was found under the 
bastions, weighted down with a stone." 

Bentham took the paper, which was not inclosed in 
an envelope, but was simply folded, and opened it. 

Those who watched him read saw his eyes light up 
suddenly with joy, and his cheeks flush like the cheeks 
of a schoolboy. 

This is what Bentham read : 

" Cousm Bob : I was shocked to learn of your sudden 
departure, but not greatly surprised at the sentiments 
you have openly avowed. Wherever you go do not 
forget -that nyy thoughts are with you, nor that my 
■wishes are for your success. Your Uncle Gordon has 
purchased and sent to sea a vessel called the Swift- 
wing — the one you were to have sailed in under the 
CJonlederate flas.-. He is very much incensed against 
you, and I believe he has given Captain Powers — who 
was in a fair way for recovery when he left — special 
instructions to hunt 3^ou down. 1 am confident. Cousin 
Bob, that you are quite able to take care of yourself as 
well as to attend to Captain Powers should you meet 



34 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

him. FlashGilmor did notsail in the Swiftwing. He 
was sick at the time. The Foxhound, Captain Powell, 
got to sea again last night with a cargo of cotton. It 
is known here that he will again attempt to run the 
blockade with a cargo of valuables for the Confederate 
armies. 

" I trust that you will do your whole dut}'^, remem- 
bering always that my heart is with the old flag, if 
the new one does wave over Wilmington. Affection- 
ately. NORAH." 

" A Loye letter, by Jove !" exclaimed one of 
Bentham's companions, as the gunner reached the end 
of the commumcation. 

"Not so much a love letter as a warning from a 
valued friend," was the repl}'^, as Bentham put the 
letter away. 

He was puzzled by the strange delivery of the letter 
from the beautiful girl he left in Wilmington. 

Who had carried it to the spot where it had been 
found ? 

Why had it not been delivered directl}'- to him? 

These were questions that deepened the mystery, 
and Bentham was compelled to give them up. 

In the quietude of his quarters that night he read 
the letter again and again. 

He knew that one heart was with him in blockaded 
Wilmington- that niglit. 

What cared he if ail the rest were against him ? 

He was eager to push to sea, and awaited with im- 
patience the coming of the Avenger. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. S5 



CHAPTER XL 

" YOU MUST GIVE HIM UP !" 

True it was, as written by Norah's hand in the mys- 
teriously delivered letter, that the privateer Swiftwing 
had got to sea, and true also that Flash Gilmor, who 
had pocketed a cool twenty thousand by the sale of the 
ship to Mowbray, had remained behind. 

Gilrnor's apparent disappointment at being left was 
very great. 

His physician had certified to Mowbray that he was 
too sick to go out will) the privateer, but it was a bit 
astonishing how suddenly his patient recovered when 
the Swiftwing had run the blockade. 

He declared that he would proceed at once to 
Charleston and embark on a swift sailing vessel, with 
hopes of overtaking the privateer ; but he soon forgot 
his declaration, for he loitered around Wilmington as 
though he considered it the safest place. 

Gordon Mowbray bafl seen tit to give Captain 
Powers sealed instructions, which were not to be 
opened until a certain point had been reached. 

"The Swiftwing is a complete vessel in every part," 
he said to Norah, when he returned from witnessing 
the privateer's departure from her moorings. " She 
will make sad havoc among the Yankee merchant- 
men. I have confidence in Powers. If he is a young 
man he knows how to sail and fight a ship." 

Norah said nothing for a time. 



86 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

She stood at the window, her shapely figure half 
concealed by the elegant lace curtains that touciied the 
floor, and her eyes fixed abstractedly on the shadows 
of the night gathering outside. 

•' I have no doubt that the Swiftwing will prove for- 
midable to her foes," she said, glancing over her shoul- 
der at her foster father, who had thrown himself into 
an armchair and was gazing at her. 

" What do you think of her commander, Norah ?" 
asked Mowbray. 

''A brave fellow, no doubt, and a good sailor." 

" Is that all ?" 

The girl colored slightly. 

" A handsome man, if you like, sir," she answered. 

" Nothing more ?" 

Norah turned from the Avindow and approached 
Mowbray, at whose side she suddenly stopped, and 
into whose upturned eyes she looked calmly. 

"You are getting at something, Uncle Gordon, but 
I am puzzled," she said, smiling. "Come, relieve me; 
solve the enigma. I am all attention." 

As she finished, the fair girl drew a chair up to 
Mowbray's side and seated herself in it with her face 
turned upon the Southerner. 

" My words should not be a puzzle, Norah," he said. 
" I do not see why you see in Captain Powers only a 
brave fellow and a good sailor. Is that all a young 
lady should see in her lover ?" 

Nora started. 

" My lover 1 Captain Powers a suitor for my hand ?" 

Mowbray seemed to enjoy her surprise. 

" What else could he be ?" he asked. " He has been 
our most frequent visitor ever since the war opened. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 87 

Of course, Norah, I once thought that you were to 
become my nephew's wife, but his treachery has 
changed all that, and you must look out for a loyal 
husband. Let me see. You are nineteen, girl ; old 
enough to choose a husband. Bentham is out of tho 
question. You do not think of him, I hope?'' 

The hand that touched Mowbray's arm trembleil 
like an aspen leaf, and^all color fled from its fair pwb- 
sessor's face. 

" She thinks of him still," went through Mowbray's 
mind. ''If I leave everything to her I will hav^ 
trouble in keeping my promise with Powers. I shail 
open the home campaign at once. This girl shall un- 
derstand that I am master here." 

He kept his eyes fixed on the girl. 

*' I want you to banish my nephew from your mind 
— to tear him from 3'our heart, if he still remains 
there," he said, with a Mowbray's sternness. *' He is 
going to be hunted like a pirate by the ship I have just 
sent to sea. Captain Powers and I have taken mutu.iI 
oaths, which shall be kept. Nay, do not start, I^orah. 
You have lived too long under this roof to know that 
1 have never broken a promise. Robert Bentham ho.s 
covered the Mowbray ancestry with infamy. I never 
thought he'd do this while I encouraged his love- 
making. I expected to see him sail under the stars 
and bars, and not under the banner of the North. Ho 
came back to fight against us all — against you and I, 
girl. My money educated him ; it taught him the ai I 
of gunnery in order that he might sink our vessels, I 
fly into a passion whenever I think of this. I say thnt 
you and I have seen him for the last time. Make up 
your mind to that, JSTorah. Dick Powers will do his 
duty 1" 



88. TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Norah withdrew her hand from Mowbray's arm and 
rose without speaking. 

She was asked to give Bentham up for a man who 
had gone to sea to hunt him down ; to throw to the 
Avinds at one time all the love that had ffrown and 
flourished in her heart through a number of happy 
years. 

She now saw that Mowbray had promised her hand 
to Powers, the captain of the Swiftwing, on condition 
that he fulfilled his part of the bargain, a thought of 
which sent a cold shudder through her frame. 

"Come back here, Norah," said Mowbray, as she 
was moving off without replying to his stern language. 

She turned and faced him, pale as a lily, but with 
her hands clinched and lips pressed firmly together. 

" I want 3'ou to do what I desire in this matter," 
continued Mowbray. "Promise that you will let the 
Yankee gunner go, and turn your attention to the 
nobler lover, the man who remains true to the South — 
Captain Powers, of the Swiftwing." 

Rebellion lit up the girl's eyes. 

She seemed to increase an inch in her stature. 

" I make no promises," she said firmly. " I will let 
the future ans\ver for itself." 

Mowbray sprung up, his face flushing, and his eyes 
emitting flashes of rage. 

"What's that? Treason in Mowbray House ?" he 
roared, springing at the girl, whose wrist one of his 
hands encircled before she could fly, even if flight had 
been her intention. " Say those words again. No! 
Keep still ! I will not have them uttered here again. 
Once is enough ! You shall become the wife of Cap- 
tain Powers. I have promised him your hand, and I 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 89 

will see that that promise is fulfilled to the letter. You 
shall not balk me, girl ! / am master here. / reign 
in Mowbray House. Sooner than see you Bentham's 
wife rd send you to sea in the Swiftwing with a lighted 
fuse at the door of her magazine !" 

A cry of horror pealed from Norah's lips, and when 
Mowbray released her she reeled away and fell near 
the door insensible. 

" Oh, I intend to be master here !" he exclaimed, 
gazing upon her figure stretched on the rich carpet. 
" By Jove ! I'd rather sink her in the Swiftwing than 
see her ray nephew's wife. I meant just what I said 
when I told her that." 

A tinkling bell in the hallway started Mowbray as 
he finished, and a bound carried him to Norah's side. 

" My visitor can wait a moment," he said, picking 
the lovely form up and disappearing quickly from the 
room. " He rings like Gilraor — but that fellow was 
terribly ill whem I last heard of him." 

He bore Norah to her boudoir, and told a colored 
girl to attend to her, while he waited on his visitor in 
person. 

The next moment Mowbray was at the door. 

A muffled figure stood on the step extending a letter 
which Mowbra}^ took without an invitation, and turned 
back into the house, eager to peruse its contents. 

He had not asked the letter-carrier to enter while he 
read. 

If he had, the invitation would not have been ac- 
cepted, for the person had already disappeared. 

Mowbray stood under an elegant hanging lamp as 
he broke the seal of the document and smoothed its 
folds. 



90 TEE BLOCKADE BUNNER. 

All at once be started and uttered a wild cry. 

" My soul ! it cannot be ! This letter is a lie !" rang 
from his lips. " Somebody is trying to frighten me. 
Men who have the cause of the South at heart would 
not be so heartless ! Yes ; this letter is an infamous 
lie, penned for a purpose !" 

He stared wildly at the paper while these exclama- 
tions rung forth. 

Two sentences met his gaze. 

They were enough, for they ran thus : 

" The Swiftwing is a floating death-trap ! The 
Messrs. Bardolph and others knew it when they dis- 
posed of her!" 

Mowbray stared a moment longer at these words. 

" A lie ! a lie ! I will prove it !" he cried, rushing 
from the house. 

He speedily found his way to the office latel}'^ occu- 
pied by the original owners of the Swiftwing. 

Although the hour was early, the shutters wore up, 
and there was a deserted look to the place. 

The excited man sliook the door, uttering oath after 
oath as his rage increased. 

" Halloo ! Mowbray ! What's up ?" inquired a voice 
from behind. 

Mowbray desisted and turned. 

" Ho! is it you, Powell ?" he exclaimed, recognizing 
the blockade runner. "I want to see the Bardolphs. 
I have been told " 

He paused abruptly as if catching himself on the 
threshold of a secret. 

" Don't stop, colonel," grinned Powell. "I think— 
I know what you have been told?" 

" You !" 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 91 

The blockade runner bowed. 

" I have just discovered it myself, but I am not here 
for the purpose of seeing the Bardolphs. They left 
3'^esterday, baggage and all, and my opinion is that 
we have seen the last of them."' 

Mowbray seemed thunderstruck. 

" What's to be done, Powell?" he gasped. " Cannot 
the Swiftwing be overhauled?" 

"No ; it is too late for that,'' was the reply of the 
Foxhound's commander. " Everything depends on her 
captain. Powers may discover the condition of the 
ship and put back ! She isn't seaworthy, if what I've 
heard is half true. Still, she may be able to make 
Nassau. I have a good deal of confidence in Powers' 
sailing qualities, if we aren't warm personal friends. 
Gilmor didn't go." 

"■ He was too sick to be moved." 

The blockade runner smiled. 

" Too sick, eh ?" he ejaculated, and then he added, 
in a significant tone that attracted Mowbraj'' : '' Fve 
known Flash Gilmor to have such spells before. He'll 
be up and about to-morrow cursing the sickness that 
kept him from sailing in the new privateer.^' 

Mowbray could not speak. 

His look was a stare. 

Captain Powell did not continue, but began to move 
on, and soon passed out of sight. Mowbray was alone. 

"The Swiftwing and her captain doomed? One 
hundred and thirty thousand gone to the bottom of 
the sea ?" crossed his lips. " I wish I had a revolver 
at the head of the villain who projected this infamy !" 



92 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER, 



CHAPTEE XII. 

THE FOXHOUND PUTS TO SEA. 

Mowbray's rage abated and he felt like a different 
man, when, a few days afterward, he learned of the 
Swiftwing's safe arrival at Nassau. 

She had weathered gales and escaped the vigilant 
Federal cruisers, but beyond this Mowbray knew 
nothing. 

Nobody could relate for him the terrible experiences 
of her captain and crew. 

After all, thought the Southerner, the reports of the 
privateer's condition might have been exaggerations, 
coined by his enemies for the purpose of disturbing his 
peace of mind. 

He was not going to believe that the ship was a. 
shoddy affair, built to be sold in port by the Bardolphs, 
who left Wilmington six hours after the sale. 

Flash Gilraor almost fulfilled Captain Powell's pre- 
diction that he would be out on the streets the day 
after the privateer's departure. 

A few days afterward, his indisposition suddenly left 
him, and his friends — the schemer had friends — saw 
his face again. 

The reader will recall a part of Norah's letter to 
young Bentham in which the girl mentioned the Fox- 
hound's departure in the night. 

It was true that Captain Powell had slipped his 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 93 

cables, but a mistake, by intimation, that he had safely 
reached the high seas. 

Norah's letter had been dispatched when she learned 
that Powell had been driven back by the blockading 
fleet. 

Once more the trim blockade runner lay at the 
wharves, with a cursing captain on her deck and a dis- 
satisfied crew below. 

" Better luck next time. Curse the Yankee fleet !" 
growled Powell, looking madly toward the tall masts 
of the blockaders that lay beyond the bar in the broad 
light of another day. " One of these days, by Jove ! 
I'll la}'^ alongside one of their frigates and blow her out 
of the water. They don't want to play with Ralph 
Powell. They handle fire when they do." 

That evening the blockade runner was visited on 
shipboard by Gordon Mowbray. 

" When are you going to try to get out of here 
again ?" he asked. 

" To-morrow night. We'll have a gale then, or I'm 
no sailor." 

" This will be your third attempt, I think." 

" Yes. I've been here seven weeks and mean to get 
off now." 

" Ah ! What are your accommodations for pas- 
sengers ?" 

" Not very ample, sir." 

" Could you take out two ?" 

" That depends." 

" Certainly ; 1 understand that," said Mowbray, 

" I have decided to take Norah to Nassau." 

Powell looked his surprise. 

" You go to Nassau, captain ?" 



94 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER, 

" Yes." 

" We will go with you." 

" I don't like to run a young girl into danger," said 
Powell frankly. " The life of a blockade runner is 
always full of peril. You saw the legend over my 
cabin door as you entered ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

" I mean every word of it. This ship is never to be 
surrendered !" 

The captain of the Foxhound spoke with resolute- 
ness. 

" I am willing to take the chances," answered Mow- 
bray. " You will not have to carry your oath into 
effect." 

" If you are going to Nassau, my only stateroom is 
at your disposal. I do not expect any other passengers. 
People are not eager to leave Wilmington just now." 

The interview terminated a few minutes later, and, 
after Mowbray's departure, Powell ordered the state- 
room got ready for the Southerner and \\\% protegee. 

Mowbray had several reaso^ for leaving Wilming- 
ton at that time. Since Bentham's open avowal of 
loyal sentiments and his escape, a good deal of popular 
indignation arose against Mowbray. 

He was accused by some of his enemies of being in 
sympathy with the North, when the Confederacy 
possessed no truer friend. 

He thought that a few months' absence would pro- 
duce a change in the sentiments of those who suspected 
him ; and of course he would not leave Wilmington 
without taking Korah along. 

Then he was anxious to get some news from the 
Swift wing. 



THE BLOUKADJS RUNNER. 95 

Since her reported arrival at Nassau, ttie great ren- 
dezvous for Confederate cruisers and blockade runners, 
he had not heard a word from her. 

What had become of Powers? 

The day after Mowbray's visit to Captain Powell, 
another man came aboai'd the Foxhound. 

He was a fine-looking individual, with a glossy black 
beard, which of itself stamped him an important 
personage. 

" When do you get off ?"_ he said to Powell. 

" To-night." 

" Without fail V 

" Such is ray expectation." 

" Good ! I go with you to Nassau." 

"The deuce you do !" was at the end of Powell's 
tongue ; but he did not let it go. 

" I am sorry that I cannot take you, sir ; but the 
truth of the matter is that my two staterooms " 

" I can get along without a stateroom, captain," was 
the interruption ; and the speaker laughed. '* I must 
go to Nassau ; there can be no ifs and buts about 
it. I am an agent of the Confederate government, 
and " 

" Beg your pardon, sir," said Powell. " You shall 
go with me then in spite of a thousand Yankee block- 
aders. Pll make you as comfortable as possible in ray 
own cabin, while I will bunk with Mr. Cresson, ray 
second officer. Where is your luggage ?" 

" I have none." 

Thus the Foxhound got another passenger, and 
Powell threw a quick but penetrating glance at him as 
they separated. 

" I've seen a man of his make-up somewhere^" he 



95 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

said to himself ; " but just where I can't make out 
now. I don't remember that big beard, though ; I 
think the man didn't have it when I knew him. By 
Jove ! I forgot to ask him his name. Never mind, 
I'll steer afoul of it when I tackle him again." 

The afternoon was going fast when Mowbray and 
Norah, accompanied by their baggage, came aboard 
and were greeted by Powell. 

The young girl was pale and nervous, but very 
beautiful. 

Siie did not seem sad at the thought of leaving the 
old Carolina city where all the happy years of her 
life had been spent. 

Was she not going abroad on the tracKless ocean 
where Bentham was winning his first laurels in the 
service of his country ? 

They might meet, and Mowbray might lose the 
beautiful mistress of his home. 

The Foxhound was getting ready for sea, and 
Powell was busy with a captain's duties when Mow- 
bray and his ward took possession of the staterooms 
which had been fitted up for their accommodation. 

" That graceless nephew of yours occupied yonder 
stateroom during the passage over," smiled Powell, 
as he ushered his passengers into the cabin ; " but your 
daughter will not object to it on that account, I 
know." 

Mowbray's brow darkened as he answered with an 
effort : 

" Of course not, captain. I^orah and I are not to 
be troubled by the past, but pleased and benefited by 
the future. We will get off about " 

" About ten to-night. The wind is fresheninsf 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 97 

already, just as I expected, and by that time the 
Yankee fleet will stand out to sea close-hauled, and 
combating a gale. It will be our time. The Foxhound 
will slip through all right, and to-morrow there'll be 
some round swearing done on many a quarter-deck. 
By the way, colonel, I've got another passenger." 

"Ah!" 

"An agent of the government." 

" His name ?" asked Mowbray, starting. 

"Bless me! if I know — an oversight on my part," 
laughed Powell. " He's bound for Nassau, too. Hasn't 
come aboard yet, but I am expecting him every 
minute." 

It was evident that the information did not please 
Mowbray. 

Had the government set a spy at his heels ? 

" I don't like this situation of affairs at all," he said 
to Norah, when Powell had taken his departure. 
"There'll be a scene on board this ship if I catch that 
agent watching us. I'm not going to be shadowed 
like a criminal because my nephew saw fit to unite 
with the Yankees. I have never been watched, and, " 
by Jove ! I never will be !" 

Nine o'clock came. 

The wind was already blowing great guns, and the 
lights on board the Federal blockaders were mere 
sparks of fire on the stormy sea. 

The lookouts on the forts knew that the fleet had 
been compelled to haul off to escape the dangerous 
breakers. 

The opportunity for the Foxhound getting out was 
good. It looked as though fortune had raised the storm 
to help her off. 



§8 , TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

At ten the blockade runner quietly slipped her 
cables, and with the stanch old pilot, Foul weather 
Tom, on the bridge, dropped noiselessly down the 
river with her narrow prow turned seaward. 

It was a moment of subdued excitement. 

Not a light was visible about the craft, but the pilot 
knew his duty, and she crept seaward like a thing of 
life. 

"We'll make it!" said Powell to Mowbray, who 
stood at his side on the upper deck. " This time we'll 
get to sea, for it's growing thick as mud seaward." 

Mowbray expressed gratification at the Foxhound's 
progress, but his thoughts could not keep from the 
blockade runner's other passenger — the Confederate 
agent. 

" What is your other passenger's name, captain ?" 
he suddenly asked Powell. 

" Catesby — Gerald Catesby, I believe. Ever heard 
of him r 

"No." 

" Then, of course, you've never met," continued the 
blockade runner. " When we get to sea I'll make you 
acquainted. He knows that you're on Doard, for he 
spoke of you when he came the last time. He sticks 
close to his cabin, for some cause or other. I haven't 
seen him since he shut himself in ; but we'll stir him 
out before the voyage is over. Ah ! sir, are we not 
going to outwit the Yankees?" 

The Foxhound was rapidly approaching the mouth 
of Cape Fear River, and shortly afterward she v^as 
breasting the waves of the ocean itself. 

Not a sound was heard on board the steamer. 

She glided through the darkness apparently h ith- 
out effort. 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 99 

It was the critical raoraent. 

Ralph Powell stood oq deck with a powerful night- 
glass clutched firmly in his hands. 

The gale was now at its height, and great waves 
beat against the Foxhound, threatening her timbers. 

"There's a light almost dead ahead," suddenly 
whispered Powell to Mowbray, who still kept at his 
side, 

Mowbray could hardly repress an exclamation. 

" A cruiser's light, captain ?" 

" A signal light — that's what I call it." 

"Can't we avoid the vessel?" 

'•I'm not going to run afoul of her if I can help it, 
sir," was the blockade runner's reply. " There ! the 
confounded glare has disappeared. I know what that 
means." 

"What, captain?" 

"We've been seen." 

" Impossible." 

" A Yankee blockader's eyes are as keen as a fox's. 
Pve learned that by experience; but let me give the 
sea-spider the slip. Don't become alarmed, colonel. 
Remember the legend above my cabin door. ' The Fox- 
hound will never be taken !' " 

It was true that the light which had been observed 
ahead had disappeared, and it behooved Powell to 
exert his utmost strategy in order to avoid the Federal 
blockader which threatened him. 

The captain of the Foxhound was equal to the 
emergency. He had not been - outwitted yet; he 
never would be ! 

The blockade runner veered a point, and then kept 
on her course. Her engines worked noiselessly, al- 



100 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

though the furnaces were crammed with fuel, and in 
anticipation of a chase Powell ordered the heads of a 
dozen barrels of tar to be knocked in. 

On — on through the gloomy night and the tempest- 
uous sea went the Foxhound. 

Would she escape ? 

This was the question that was uppermost in every 
brain. 

Suddenly a flash of fire seemed to leap from the sea 
off the ship's starboard side, and a shot hissed as it 
passed over the deck doing no harm. 

" How's that, sir ?" smiled Powell, looking into Mow- 
bray's pale face. " We'll soon get out of range at the 
rate we're going now. He can't do that again." 

Another flash quickl}^ followed the first, but the iron 
shot was not heard. 

" What did I tell you ?" laughed the blockade runner. 
" It takes a gull to catch the Foxhound when she tars 
her furnaces !" 

The Federal blockader continued to deliver some 
shots at the Confederate craft, but they did not prove 
effective. 

Foul weather Tom had steered the vessel beyond 
danger, and two hours later her furnaces were allowed 
to cool, for she was no longer chased. 

: " Your hand, captain !" exclaimed Mowbray, turning 
suddenly upon Powell. " You have kept your word. 
We have escaped !" 

"Captain Powell, permit me to thank you also." 

Mowbray turned upon the speaker — Catesby, the 
Confederate agent — and then started with astonish- 
ment. 

"Catesby?" he ejaculated, under his breath. That 
man is Flash Gilmor !" 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 101 



CHAPTER XllI, 

AN OCEAN TRAGEDY. 

Gordon Mowbray was a man of quick temper. 

He had by no means forgotten that it was FlasW 
Gihnor who had inveigled him into takino- the 
privateer Swift wing at a big figure, when he must have 
Itnown that the transaction was a barefaced swindle. 

This man had ever been a welcome visitor at his 
house, had sat at his table, and was pointed in his at- 
tentions to Norah ; yet he took advantage of that very 
friendship to play the part of a rascal. 

Mowbray could not forgive such an exhibition of 
double dealing, 
,It went against his grain and he longed to resent it. 

Therefore the discover}' that Flash Gilmor was on 
board the Foxhound, in disguise and under an alias, 
could not fail to disturb the wealthy Southerner. 

What was this man's object in taking passage on the 
Foxhound ?" 

JS^othing good at any rate, Mowbray was constrained 
to think. 

Unable to control his feelings, and fearful of making 
a scene on deck, the father of Norah turned on his heel 
and walked away. 

The girl was in her stateroom, and thither her foster- 
father went. 

He knocked and she opened the door. 

" I was afraid you had retired, ray child," he said, 



102 THE BLOCKADE R UNNEB. 

with some agitation. " It is past midnight. We have 
escaped the gunboats, and may now reasonably expect 
to reach Nassau, unless overhauled off Great Abaco 
light by a cruiser on that station. 

" You look worried, papa," Korah said, noticing his 
lack of composure. 

" I am a bit excited," he said. "Do you know who 
is on board the Foxhound ?" 

" I don't quite understand you," she answered, as the 
question was a puzzling one. 

" You heard Captain Powell say that he had given 
passage to an agent of the Confederate government." 

" Yes, papa." 

" I have seen him. I recognized his voice immediately. 
That man is Flash Gilmor in disguise." 

Norah started. 

" It was with difficulty I kept myself from unmask- 
ing him on the spot. A man who will play his friend 
such a dishonest trick as Gilmor has worked on me is 
in my opinion a scoundrel. 1 am done with him for- 
ever." 

"I never liked him, papa." 

" I should hope not, Norah. I believe he paid you 
some attention, did he not?" 

"Which I discouraged, papa." 

"Quite right. I don't believe he is a Confederate 
agent at all. Were such truly the case there would be 
no occasion for disguise." 

" Perhaps he knew we were going in the vessel, and 
was afraid to appear openly on account of the trans- 
action you speak of.'^ 

"Well, there is some reason in that. I should not 
blame him for wishing to shirk a meeting with the 



THE BLOCKADE RWNNER. 103 

man he had wronged. I did not look at it in that 
light. Still it runs in my mind that he is aboard this 
steamer for some sinister purpose, and I mean to watch 
and, if necessary, expose him." 

" I wouldn't precipitate matters, papa, for I believe 
he is a desperate man when aroused." 

" What makes you think so, Norah ?" 

" I will tell you, though I intended to keep the 
matter from you for peace sake." 

'*Whatdoyou mean? Did the villain ever insult 
you?" cried Mowbray, growing white with anger. 

" The day you purchased the Swift wing, Mr. Gilraor 
called at the house and asked for me. He was very 
pleasant, as he can be when he wishes to appear to the 
best advantage, Our interview lasted some time, and 
finally he made a declaration of love and asked me to 
be his wife." 

" His wife !" ejaculated Mowbray, " the scoundrel I" 

"I was surprised — unpleasantly so." 

" Of course you were — you refused him." 

« I did." 

"Well?" 

" Let us stop there." 

" No. Norah ; I must have it all." 

"Well, he flew into a passion, and his language waS 
such that I had to request him to leave the house." i 

"You acted with admirable decision." I 

"He gave me a look of concentrated rage, and 
said that 1 should be his wife whethei- I chose OV 
not." ' 

"The scoundrel !" grated Mowbray. 

"I told him I was not afraid of any such con*' 
tingency, since, as he had conducted himself in a man* 



l(jA THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

r.er unbecoming a gentleman, I should never recognize 
him again. He told rae that I should not escape him 
as easy as that, and with a menacing look departed. 
I have not seen him since.'' 

" I believe this statement of yours explains his pres- 
ent maneuvers. I have no doubt now that he is fol- 
lowing you to jSTassau, where he expects to continue 
his persecution, and perhaps devise means to carry out 
some vile plot against you. Be on your guard against 
this man, I fancy Captain Pou'ell owes him no good 
will. I will sound him on the subject. Between us I 
guess we'll make Flash Gilmor wish he had never 
started on this trip. I will see Powell at once. I 
could not sleep as Ihe matter now stands." 

"Now, papa, promise me you will do nothing rash," 
said Norah rather apprehensively. 

But Mowbray would make no promise, and his 
foster-daughter watched his departure with much 
anxiety. 

The motion of the steamer had greatly increased, 
but the Southerner and his daughter had long been 
accustomed to trips on rough water, so thev were not 
unpleasantly affected. 

Two bells was struck on the forecastle when Mow- 
bray attempted to mount the companion ladder just 
forward of the wheel, presuming that as the Foxhound ' 
seemed to be steaming through a very heavy gale that 
Captain Powell was probably on deck. 

The storm was thundering through the riggin"- with 
an almost stunning voice, driving the jBne spray 
wildly along, and blowing with an intensity that 
threatened to sweep one overboard. 

The helmsman, wrapped in a thick overcoat, bent 
over the wheel, like a statue half seen in the mist. 



THE BLOCKADE BURNER. 1 >?> 

As t!ie night was bitterly cold the fine spray c;-t 
to the marrow. 

As Mowbray poked his head above the protecliMcr 
sides* of the staircase a blast of wind nearly took .'is 
breath away. 

As far as iiis eye could see, on every hand arounft, 
the sea, flattened until it was nearly as level as a ph. !:i, 
was a mass of driving foam. 

The binnacle lamp burned faint and dim, with a 
sickly halo. 

Above, however, all was clear, except a few whi'(% 
fleecy clouds, driven wildly across the frosty stars that 
twinkled in the heavens. 

The steamer heeled away to the leeward, and the 
heavy black smoke poured from the funnels flattened 
out and was swept quickly over the starboard rail. 

Looking astern, Mowbray saw the billows howling 
after the Foxhound, urging on their white crests i:i 
fearful proximity, and threatening at every surge t» 
roll in over the taffrail. 

They looked for all the world like a pack of famished 
wolves, racing each other in the pursuit of the blockr.de 
runner, pitching and yelling after their prey. 

Mowbray was timid of venturing upon deck, which 
assumed alternate slants of nearly forty degrees, and 
as he couldn't make out Powell through the mist, he 
returned to the cabin. 

The swinging lamp burned low and dim. 

The place was quite deserted. 

" I can't do anything to-night," he muttered. "Never 
mind, I'll unmask him in the morning. He has further 
insulted me when he asked Norah for her hand. She 
is to become Captain Powers' wife. That has been 
settled, and no one shall interfere." 



106 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

He carefully made his way to his own stateroom, 
and in half an hour was asleep, little reckoning that it 
was his last night of life. 

In the meanwhile the Foxhound was dashing toward 
Nassau, as though eager to reach her destination. 

Captain Powell had gone below, and Mr. Cresson, 
the second officer, kept watch on deck with Foul- 
weather Tom. 

They were both on the steamer's bridge, keeping a 
sharp lookout forward for any signal from the man 
stationed at the forecastle head. 

At four bells the mist lifted a bit, and suddenly the 
figure of the lookout was seen to wave his arm wildly, 
with a hoarse cry of "Port — hard a-port!" thrown by 
the wind violently into the pilot's teeth. 

The helmsman caught the repeated order and jammed 
the wheel over hard. 

"A brig close under our forefoot !" came the cry 
affain from the catheads. 

Mr. Cresson sprang to the starboard rail, where for 
a moment he was lost in a cloud of hissing spray, as 
the steamer careened that way. 

He caught a glance of the stern of a trim-looking 
craft, evidently lying to in the gale. 

The mist had heretofore concealed her position, and 
now the steamer was upon her and her fate was sealed. 

Those on board the brig had only just discovered 
their danger. 

Her helm was shifted, and there was great confusion 
on her deck, but it was too late to avoid the calamity. 

Her sheets were let fly, and with a wild lurch she 
rolled over, broadside to the Foxhound, which at that 
instant gave a leap like a horse clearing a gate, and 
then 



THE BLOVKADE RUNNER. 107 

Crash .! 

The blockade runner shivered with the shock from 
end to end, and then she flew onward, burying her 
nose in the sea, from which, above the shriek of the 
wind, came wild cries for help. 

Then the ill-fated brig was whirled away astern, 
rolling frightfully, her masts gone by the board, and 
half-buried in the brine. 

Foulweather Tom stopped the engines, orders were 
issued in quick succession, and then under low head- 
way the steamer came about, and was headed back 
toward the sinking craft. 

She was made out lying a short distance on the 
weather bow, and fast settling in the water. 

The crew were seen working the pumps, while jets 
of brine spurted from the scuppers. 

" They are sinking," said the officer of the deck to 
Foulweather Tom. 

"Ay, ay; God help them, for we can't. No boat 
will live in this sea." 

"Terrible — terrible!" exclaimed Mr. Cresson sor- 
rowfully. 

Every man held his breath and looked in the direc- 
tion of the brig, fearful less the next surge would 
submerge her forever. 

The Foxhound drew as close to the sinking craft as 
she dared. 

Several life-preservers were cast overboard attached 
to long lines and allowed to sweep down toward the 
brig. 

But before anything could be done the mist settled 
again over the face of the sea, blotting out the un- 
happy vessel. 



108 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Then the Foxhound's whistle was kept going, and 
she lay to for a full hour, everybody hoping against 
hope. 

Then the mist thinned again, and the water for a 
mile round came into view ; but there was no sign of 
the brig within that circle. 

Only the empty life-preservers tugging away at the 
taut lines. 

The tragedy was over. 

The brig had gone down with all on board. 

Then Mr. Cresson sadly gave the order that put the 
Foxhound once more steaming on her course toward 
Nassau. 



THE BLOVKADE RUNNER. 109 



CHAPTER XIV, 



ANOTHER TRAGEDY. 



The sun rose next morning over a troubled sea. 

The gale had nearly gone down, and the sky was 
clear and without a cloud, but the waves still ran 
high, heaving their snowy crests all about the Fox- 
hound. 

The day promised to be a charming one. 

When the steward summoned the occupants of the 
cabin to breakfast, Miss Nora Mowbray made her ap- 
pearance, looking very pale, but withal verv charming. 

The counterfeit Catesby was already at the table, 
seated next to Mr. Cresson. 

Captain Powell was at the head of the board, and 
he gallantly rose to assist Norah to her seat, which 
was next his own, and nearly opposite the presumed 
Confederate agent. 

At that moment Gordon Mowbray came out of his 
stateroom and sat beside his daughter, not deigning 
to notice the man he knew to be Flash Gilmor. 

The leading topic was the tragedy of the unfor- 
tunate bark, graphically described by Mr. Cresson, 
and the girl was horrified at the awful loss of life on 
board the ill-fated vessel. 

After breakfast Powell invited Norah on deck. 

Mowbray hovered near them, waiting for a chance 
to talk confidentially to the captain about the dis- 
guised passenger. 



110 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Catesby amused himself by conversing with the 
officer in charge of the deck. 

Suddenly the lookout aloft sung out : 

" Sail ho !" 

" Where away ?" returned Mr. Egan^ the first officer. 

" On the starboard bow." 

"What does he look like?" said Powell, leaving 
Norah at the rail and joining the officer of the watch, 
who had sprung into the rigging and was leveling his 
glass at the distant craft, 

"I should say it was one of Uncle Sara's sailing 
frigates," returned Mr. Egan ; " but he's too far off to 
make certain of it." 

There is always some excitement and speculation at 
sea when a distant sail is sighted ; but of course in 
war times, when the stranger is more than likely to 
prove an enemy, this sensation is much magnified. 

Half an hour later, during which the course of the 
Foxhound had not been changed, the vessel was easily 
visible from the deck. 

Powell remarked to Norah that she was undoubt- 
edly a war vessel, and was heading across the Fox- 
hound's bows. 

This made the course of each an acute angle, and 
necessarily they were drawing nearer each moment. 

Powell was not at all uneasy, for he knew he could 
easily run away from the craft ahead. 

During the next thirty minutes the stranger had 
considerably increased upon the horizon, and it was 
seen that he had reduced sail. 

Of course the stranger's purpose was evident, but 
Powell gave no order to the helmsman. 

He sent word to the engine-room, however, to get 
up a full head of steam. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. HI 

At this juncture the lookout announced that a 
steamer was made out on the port bow. 

Her hull was below the horizon as yet, but the sail- 
or's sharp eyes had readily distinguished the telltale 
film of smoke. 

She was heading for the frigate. 

" This is growing interesting," remarked the skipper 
of the Foxhound. 

"Are we in any danger?" inquired Norah. 

" Not at present, Miss Mowbray," he replied. 

"Yonder ship is an enemy, is she not?" 

" Yes ; a heavy sailing frigate, belonging to the 
United States navy. Take this glass and you will 
make her out quite plainly." 

The focus was adjusted to suit Miss Norah. 

"I see her very clearly. A perfect beauty she is," 
said Norah. And her heart gave a joyous throb when 
she recognized the Stars and Stripes floating in the 
breeze from her gaff. 

" But we are heading straight for her, Captain 
Powell. Are you not afraid to meet her ?" 

" We shall not meet her," said Powell. " We can 
easily outsail her. The steamer way down under the 
horizon yonder, where you see the smoke, is more to 
be feared, if she prove an enemy. However, I am not 
very anxious, for the Foxhound can reel off seventeen 
knots in an emergency, and that's more than any Yan- 
kee craft I know of can do under forced draft." 

" But why are you running toward this vessel if you 
really intend to avoid her?" inquired Norah, who was 
quite innocent of the dodges practiced by blockade 
runners at sea to avoid an enemy. 

" Well, Miss Mowbray, I have a purpose in view. I 



11;> llIE BLOCKADE IIUNITEU. 

don't wish to lose any time getting into >Tassau, and 
the closer I get to yonder craft, as things stand, the 
less of a detour I will iiave to make in order to avoid 
her guns and eventuall}' to outstrip her." 

"I see,-' she said, with a smile. "How far off is she 
now?" 

"About five miles." 

"1 wouldn't think it, captain." _ 

" Oh, distances are very deceptive at sea." 

The frigate was heeled over under the breeze, and 
made a beautiful picture in the sun, which flashed 
prismatic rays from her copper sheathing along the 
water. 

She was reduced to easy sail, but Powell saw that 
her canvas hung in such a way that within two min- 
utes she could have all sails spread, even to her kites, 
such is the rapidit}'^ and precision on board a man-of- 
war. 

"I'll wager that fellow is dragging a sail astern of 
him to retard his speed," said Officer Egan, coming up, 
glass in hand., 

" An old trick, Mr. Egan," responded Powell. "But 
it won't do him any good. The wind is dropping, I 
believe " 

" Yes, sir." 

"Alter our course about half a point. That will be 
enough for the present. We need only keep out of 
range of his guns, you know. They have easily rec- 
ognized our character by this time. IIow mad they'll 
all be to see a rich prize escape them so easily ! I 
guess she is a new vessel on the Bahama station; though 
what good she can do without steam beats me. S!i^ 
probably carries a heav}' battery, but I fancy no ste.*;:! 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 113 

vessel is going to come within range simply to test the 
matter." 

The slight change in the Foxhound's course was 
evidently noted by the frigate's people j but they 
could not but be aware that a chjise was out of the 
question, as some of their sails were even then shaking 
for lack of sufficient wind. 

At last the fri<j:ate fired a gun forward and hoisted 
a signal. 

The Foxhound so far showed no colors, but as this 
was an invitation to do so, Powell ordered the ensign 
of England to be run up. 

As a matter of course, the Yankee cruiser placed no 
credence on this indication of nationality, since every 
blockade runner was accustomed to show the British 
flag. 

The Foxhound altered her course a full point now, 
and as soon as the cruiser perceived the change her 
long pivot gun on the forecastle discharged an iron 
messenger which struck the water a cable's length 
short of the steamer. 

Powell laughed gleefully. 

" Go ahead full speed," he said to Foul weather Tom, 
"and keep your eye lifting for that steamer off 
yonder." 

" Ay, ay !" said the veteran pilot. 

"I believe the frigate has run uji a signal for her 
instruction as soon as she can make it out. That, of 
course, can mean onl}^ one thing — a chase to head us 
off. There goes another gun from the Yankee," as a 
flash came from the Long Tom again, and another 
shot fell short of the Foxhound. 

" Let the old gal rip !" Powell shouted to Tom on 
the bridge. 



X14. TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

The Foxhound now churned the green water up 
under her forefoot, and darted along like her name- 
sake. 

The pseudo Catesby had retired to his stateroom for 
some purpose, and Mowbray, despairing of catching 
Powell's ear, and too impatient to cool his rising anger, 
determined to follow him, and have an immediate 
understanding. . 

It was an impolitic move, but the Southerner was in 
no mood for sober reflection. 

He descended the companion-way, leaving his daugh- 
ter standing by the rail, where she was too much 
engrossed with what promised to be an exciting issue 
to observe her foster-father's retirement. 

When Mowbray reached the presumed Confederate 
agent's stateroom he knocked loudly. 

The door was opened by the occupant, who, recog- 
nizing the Southerner and perceiving his mental con- 
dition, immediately understood that his disguise had 
been penetrated by the merchant. 

For a moment the two men faced each other like 
a pair of duellists about to cross swords, then Mow- 
bray, without waiting for an invitation stepped into 
the room. 

Gilmor, alias Catesby, calmly closed the door, and 
without a word awaited developments. 

" I have come here to unmask an imposter," said 
Mowbray, his voice trembling with anger. " Discard 
your beard, Flash Gilmor, and appear in your true 
colors, sir !" 

The man smiled sardonically, which only increased 
Mowbray's rage. 

" Then I will do so myself," he said, and before the 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 115 

other could resent the action, the merchant made a 
step forward, and with a quick movement of his hand 
tore the disguise from the face of the Confederate 
tigent. 

Flash Gilmor stood revealed, though he still wore 
the flaxen wig which had completed his metamor- 
phosis. 

" Well," remarked Gilmor coolly," " you have a 
strange way of assaulting a man, I must say. If I 
choose to assume a disguise in the interest of tiie busi- 
ness I am engaged in, \vhich is a government matter 
and strictly contidential, I see no reason why you 
should interfere." 

" Flash Gilmor, I don't believe you are on a govern- 
ment mission at all. I believe you are working some 
devilment of your own hatching!" 

*' Indeed, sir," replied Flash, with an evil smile, 
" what authority have you for such an assertion?" 

" That is my business, sir. I have ceased to consider 
you in any other light than an unprincipled scoundrel." 

Gilmor smiled ironically. 

" You leagued yourself with Bardolph Bros, for the 
purpose of defrauding me out of a large sum of money 
— inducing me to purchase a vessel at an exorbitant 
figure that you well knew was not worth half of the 
money. You see I know all about that transaction, 
sir." 

Gilmor said nothing to defend himself. 

" Not satisfied to enjoy the price of your infamy you 
have taken passage on this vessel for the purpose of 
still further working out your designs upon me and 
mine." 

Flash was stili silent, but his features wore the same 



i 1 6 THE BLOCKADE R UNNER. 

evil smile, and it goaded Mowbray to the pitch of 
madness. 

"I'm not going to stop here!" he thundered. 
" Captain Powell shall know who his passenger really 
is. I don't believe there is any great love lost between 
you, and I am satisfied you fear ijini." * 

Gilmor received this information with a contempt- 
uous curl of his lips, but a devilish light flashed in his 
eyes, and boded no good for his visitor. 

" A pretty Confederate agent you are ! The South 
wouldn't trust her interests in the hands of such a man 
as you." 

" Are you through?" said Flash at last. 

" No ! My daughter has told me that you dared to 
ask her to be your wife. After robbing me, sir, you 
had the assurance to go to my house, and seek an inter- 
view with my child. You, sir, whose touch is con- 
tamination ! Why, I'd sooner have her at the bottom 
of the sea than see her in your arms. I'd even give 
her to Bob Bentham sooner than to let you touch her ! 
I want to tell you that Gordon Mowbray hates you 
with all the hatred that a bitter contempt and loathing 
engenders ! I dare you to carry out the oath that fell 
fnom your lips in Norah's presence ! Follow her after 
we have arrived at Nassau, or speak to her hereon the 
vessel, and I will not hesitate to take such means as 
will rid the earth of your presence !" 

There was a pause. 

"Mr. Mowbray," said Flash Gilmor, with an ugly 
look, " you have addressed me as no man ever dared 
before. I have listened to you with patience because 
vou are the fathe-r of Norah, whom 1 intend to marry 
in g-^od time." 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 117 

" You scoundrel ! Do you " 

" Softly — you excite yourself to no purpose. You 
do not know rae — else you would have paused before 
seeking this interview with the words you have uttered 
upon \'our tongue. I would kill any other man for 
less than that. Now, mark rae ! I have determined 
on making Norah my wife! I will move heaven and 
hell to accomplish ray purpose ! Such being the case, 
you will do well to think before thwarting me. Ex- 
pose me to Captain Powell, if you dare !" 

A murderous look blazed in the speaker's eyes as he 
uttered those words. 

"I accept the challenge," said Mowbray, white with 
rage. " In less than five minutes he shall know that 
Gerald Catesby and Flash Gilmor are one and the 
same person." 

" You mean that ?" said Flash. 

" I do, as vou will see," was the stern rejoiner. 

" The words shall never be spoken," said Gilmor. 

" And who will prevent rae ?" 

"I will." 

The two raen glared at one another an instant. 

" Remember," said Gilmor, in a concentrated tone, 
"I have warned you. You leave this stateroom only 
when you have promised to be silent — as silent as the 
grave." 

'" I scorn your warning ! T despise your threat ! I 
refuse to make any promise — indeed, I reiterate what 
I said before : Captain Powell shall know you as you 
are — Flash Gilmor!" 

" You are simply mad, Mr. Mowbray. I have toyed 
with your senile reflectionsand innuendoes long enough. 
There is a limit even to my patience. Kow, sir, ii 



118 TEE BLOCKADE MUNNEU. 

you will not listen to reason, I will compel you to 
obedience." 

Gilraor drew a revolver and placed his back against 
the door. 

Mowbray sprang upon him like a tiger, and struck 
him a hard blow in the face. 

" You villain " he said furiously. 

" Your blood on your own head !" said Gilmor, 
crimson with anger, as he pushed the old man away 
and fired. 

His victim fell without a groan. 



TEE BLOCKADE R UNJ^ER, 119 



CHAPTER XV. 

CLEARED FOR ACTION. 

We must not lose sight of Robert Bentham, whom 
we left at Fortress Monroe awaiting the arrival of the 
new screw cruiser, Avenger, to which he had been ap- 
pointed chief gunner. 

This vessel had been built by the government ex- 
pressly for the purpose of paying close attention to the 
Confederate privateers, many of whom had escaped to 
sea and were working sad havoc among the merchant 
marine of the country. 

To be sure, most of these pests were small, chiefly 
fast schooners and barks, armed with a single gun as a 
rule, but which was as effective as a broadside when 
threatening an unarmed vessel ; but there were also 
severaliron steamers, commissioned by the Confederate 
authorities, well armed and equipped to resist even 
armed intervention, such for example as the Sumter 
and the Shenandoah, whose depredations were giving 
the national authorities much concern. 

It was against steamers of this class that the Avenger 
was designed to operate. 

She was a strongly built vessel, capable of a speed 
estimated at fifteen knots, well armed with Parrott 
guns of heavy caliber, including a long rifled gun amid- 
ships, which had a great reach, and was manned by a 
fine crew of blue jackets. 

It was an open secret that many foreign govern- 



120 THE BLOCKA BE R UNNER. 

ments clandestinely opened their ports to the Con- 
federate cruisers for the purpose of coaling and re- 
victualling. 

This of course was against international law, and 
could only be done " under the rose." 

But it showed an undercurrent of hostile sentiment 
against the United States, and an avowed sympathy 
for the Southern cause, that rendered the suppression of 
these scourges a hard and delicate task. 

Two days after the event narrated in the preceding 
chapter, a vessel of war, tiying the Union Jack for- 
ward and the Stars and Stripes at her gaff, was steam- 
ing slowly along some leagues east of Great Abaco 
light, which stood at the entrance of the northeast 
passage leading to the British port of Nassau. 

The sun was setting in all the glory of a calm sea, 
gilding a burnished pathway across the wavelets, and 
twilight was fast settling over the face of the deep. 

The captain of the cruiser was slowly pacing the 
weather side of his quarter-deck, absorbed in reflection. 

The officer of the watch, who happened to be Mr. 
Haskins, the first lieutenant, was marching up and 
down the lee side, with his trumpet under his arm. 

A couple of midshipmen, drafted from the first class 
of the Naval Academy at Newport, for that institution 
had for pontic reasons been transferred from Annapolis 
to E.hode Island, were leaning over the lee rail in quiet 
conversation. 

In the waist of the vessel and leaning against the 
long rifled Parrott pivot gun, were tw^o men. One was 
our hero, Robert Bentham, the other a warrant officer, 
below him in rank, 

" We are here, then, on the lookout for the steamer 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 121 

Swiftwing, which has been Vefitting at Nassau ?" said 
the petty officer. 

" Yes, that is Captain Graham's instructions. She is 
fiable to come out at any time. Oh ! I wish she'd make 
tier appearance this evening. I think the Avenger 
would give a good account of herself." 

"JS[o doubt about it," replied the other, with en- 
thusiasm. 

"1 am extremely desirous of trying conclusions with 
this vessel, for more reasons than one," said Bentham. 

" Ah !" 

"I know her captain, Dick Powers. He and I had 
a personal encounter in the suburbs of Wilmington 
some two months ago, and I left him half-dead on the 
sand." 

" Indeed." 

Bentham proceeded to relate to his companion the 
incidents attending his night escape to the Union 
fleet along with the negro Jupe, as already detailed in 
an early chapter. 

Jupe, by the |3ye, was on board the Avenger, and 
was one of the crew attached to the long Parrott gun 
of which Chief Gunner Bentham had charg'e. 

"I mean to give Captain Powers a specimen of my 
marksmanship, I should be glad if he knew 1 am 
aboard of this cruiser." 

" He'll know it as soon as he shall have been 
brought aboard a prisoner of war," said the officer. 

"And it will be gall and wormwood to his soul to 
meet me face to face again under such humiliating 
circumstances." 

" It's the fortune of war." 



123 TEE BLOCKADE B UNNER. 

" I should not care to have the situation reversed 
though ; for I do not think he would hesitate to hang 
me out of pure revenge for his personal defeat at my 
hands." 

"I should hope he wouldn't go as far as that." 

" There's no telling what he would do. I fancy he's 
a vindictive fellow, and no doubt would hunger for 
my blood in order to wipe out his sense of disgrace. 
At an}' rate I wouldn't care to trust him." 

" There's no fear of that. The Avenger will knock 
the Swift wing into a cocked hat." 

" From what little I know of Dick Powers I believe 
he's a fire-eater, and a foe worthy of our metal." 

" All the better say I." 

"At anv rate, the Swift wing, if we sight her, will 
never go on her cruise of depredation against our mer- 
chantmen. I warrant you that," said the young gun- 
ner decisively. 

" I'm sure of it," agreed the other. " By the way, 
I think you were a j)assenger on the famous blockade 
runner Foxhound?" 

« Yes." 

" They say her captain has sworn never to be taken." 

" That is quite true." 

" You really believe, then, that he would blow up 
the vessel if hard pressed?" 

" I have not the least doubt of it." 

" What a desperate man he must be !" 

"The prince of reckless fellows." 

" Should we get on his track we will save him the 
trouble of blowinix up his ship. By Jove! we'll do 
that job for him, Bentham !" 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 123 

At that moment, and before our hero could reply, 
the cry of " Steamer ho !" came down from the foretop 
watch. 

" Where away ?" cried the officer of the deck. 
- "Two points off the starboard quarter — about five 
miles away." 

It was too dark to make the stranger out clearly, 
but he showed the usual lights. 

" How is he heading ?" 

"This way, sir." 

Captain Graham sprang into the netting and leveled 
his night-glass at the distant steamer. 

" I'll wager she's either a blockade runner or the 
craft I'm looking for — the Swiftwing." 

Than Graham there were few better officers in the 
United States nf./y. 

Although a young man, he had seen a good deal of 
service in different parts of the world, and had been 
selected to command the Avenger on account of his 
excellent seamanship and redoubtable courage. 

He remained in the rigging several minutes examin- 
ing the approaching vessel. 

"Ah, here's the moon," he said, as the eastern hori- 
zon began to lighten up. '° She is in her full, and we 
shall have plenty of light soon. You're an early riser, 
old girl, and I'm exceedingly obliged to you," apostro- 
phizing the luminary, which was yet below the water 
line. 

The Avenger bore down on the stranger, and by the 
time Luna had poked her shining face into view the 
distance between the two steamers was greatly les- 
sened. 



rU TBB BLOCKADE BUNNER. 

Whatever her character, she showed no disposition 
to veer off to avoid a meeting. 

Therefore it was settled that she could not be a 
blockade runner, and must either be a British mail 
steamer from Nassau or the much-expected Swiftwing, 
presumably the latter. 

A few minutes later the Avenger was prepared for 
action, and subdued excitement pervaded the decks 
fore and aft. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 125 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE AVENGEk's FIRST VICTORY. 

Whatever wind there had been seemed to have 
gone down with the sun, and for tbe last hour the 
only motion in the air was what was made by the 
Avenger herself as she steamed along. 

The moon rose on a perfectly placid sea, and the 
marine spectacle, as the two craft approached each 
other, Avas beautiful in the extreme. 

It was a grand tropical night, and the sky, with 
scarcely a fleecy cloud in sight, was brilliant with 
stars. 

A deep silence reigned about, broken only by the 
throb of the cruiser's engines, which was presently 
supplemented by a similar vibration, very light at 
first, from the oncoming vessel. 

She was within a mile now and her character was 
established in the night-glass. 

A two-masted bark-rigged steamer, long and low 
in the water, the moonlight glancing from the tube of 
a piece of ordnance on her forecastle. 

Her side battery was not visible, the oblong ports 
of both vessels being closed. 

A Confederate ensign floated lazily from her gaff in 
rabid defiance of the Yankee cruiser, while a short 
white pennant hung from the truck of her fore-top- 
mast. 

The Avenger's guns were loaded and ready to be 



^^ 



126 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

run out at tHe word of command, the crew of each 
gun standing as silent as statues beside their piece, 
the captain of each cannon standing in position with 
drawn sword. 

That was the aspect of the main gun-deck. 

Above, in the waist of the cruiser, the formidable 
Parrott rifle pointed his long nose menacingly over 
the bulwark at right angle with the bowsprit; but as 
it worked on a pivot, its range could be shifted at 
will. 

The vessels had drawn within a mile of each other, 
when a movement was noticed on the stranger's fore- 
castle. 

In a minute there was a flash of light, followed by 
a puff of white smoke, and as the report reached the 
cruiser, a heavy conical shot whizzed across her fore- 
castle. 

The fellow evidently meant business and no mis- 
take. 

Captain Graham paced the deck but made no sign. 

Bentham patted the breach of his gun to allay tl.o 
excitement that was coursing through his blotxi, 
swinging the weapon little by little as the line of range 
varied each moment. 

The captain paused a moment over the break of the 
poop, and looked down on his chief gunner. 

" Not yet, Bentham," he said calmly. "She comes 
on with the pride of a conqueror. We'll check her bv 
and by. Wait till she places herself fairly at ' ()4d 
Abe's' mercy." 

" Old Abe " was the name of the huge gun by 
which Bentham stood. 

As Captain Graham had said, the steamer was 



TB'E BLOCKADE RUNNER. 137 

steadiW approaching, apparently confident of over- 
coming the antagonist calmlv waiting for her, for the 
cruiser had shut off steam and presented her broad- 
side to the enemy. 

She fired another shot, which passed diagonally 
across the Avenger's deck, breaking the taffrail and 
grazing the smokestack's steel netting, capable of 
turning heavy shot. 

" Those fellows are no slouches with that fok's'l 
gun," remarked the commander. 

A. third shot tore up the water under the cruiser's 
forefoot, and across the surface of the sea to the 
windward. 

The decisive moment had arrived. 

" Now !" suddenly cried Graham to the waiting 
gunujer. "Let her have our compliments, Benthara. 
Fortune speed the shot !" 

A moment later the Avenger's first gun answered 
the privateer's defiance, and an exclamation of satis- 
faction fell from Bentham's lips. 

He had aimed the gun himself, and had watched 
the shot with a night-glass. 

" A gallant shot !" cried Graham. " The Swiftwing 
now knows what we can do. She was fairly struck. 
I'll wager my commission that she carries a cannon- 
shot in her hull at this moment, put there by Union 
powder. She fairly reeled under the shock. 1 saw 
this plainly." 

"Good! that shot was my compliments to you, 
Dick Powers,^' murmured Bob Benthara, pleased be- 
yond measure by Graham's words. " Now, ray lads," 
to the crew on the gun-deck, "let us send that 
privateer to the bottom before she gets a chance at 
our merchantmen." 



228 1'J^E BLOCKADE BUNNML 

A cheer was the reply. 

The privateer opened all her ports and hnmediately 
sent a broadside into the Avenger in answer to the 
shot delivered by Bentham. 

"Heavens! she carries good guns," exclaimed 
Graham, as the vessel quivered under the iron missiles 
that struck her in several places. " Bat we have cannon 
just as good. One of us must be at the bottom of the 
sea when the fight ends. 

" Ay, ay," said Bentham under his breath. "But it 
shall not be the Avenger !" 

The moon rode serenely in the sky and cast her soft 
light upon the two opposing craft. 

It was a moment of breathless suspense. 

The Avenger had fired but one shot thus far— the 
one from her pivot gun directed b}^ Bob Bentham. 

The frowning muzzles of her broadside tier were 
run out, and the men holding the lanyards in their 
hands only awaited the word to fire. 

The suspense was of short duration. 

The Yankee vessel was on the privateer's quarter, 
and Captain Graham gave the order. 

Like a volcano in its might sped that awful broad- 
side on its errand, and the Avenger was enveloped in 
dense white smoke, which for several moments 
precluded the possibility of the Yankee captain ascer- 
taining what damage his shot had done. 

When it blew away to the windward the enemy was 
seen to be badly cut up about the hull and rigging. 

Her smokestack was in ruins and the foremast was 
tottering. 

A cheer went up from the blue jackets. 

The Swiftwing — her name was easily made out 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 129 

emblazoned on a flag flying- from the trembling fore- 
topmast — answered with another well-directed broad- 
side. 

For flfteen minutes there was no intermission in the 
fire on both sides. 

The combat was terrific. 

The Confederate steamer had approached within 
easy gunshot of the Avenger, and the rapidity of her 
fire, and its destructiveness, showed that her guns were 
well handled. • 

The national cruiser's decks were repeatedly swept 
by her discharges, and many of the best blue jackets 
were sent to the cockpit, while the dead was strewn 
about near the guns the}' had so gallantly worked. 

Captain Graham was manifestly surprised with the 
aggressiveness of his foe. 

Like all naval officers he held a privateer in more or 
less contempt, and had calculated on an easy victory. 

His own fire had been well directed, for the enemy 
was reduced almost to a wreck, only one mast stand- 
ing, and her hull cut up in a terrible manner, yet her 
guns continued to work havoc. 

"By George!" exclaimed Benthara, " Powers has 
more grit than I credited him with." 

Crash ! 

A twenty-four pound shot smashed the bulwark 
nearly in front of the young gunner, and a huge splinter 
struck the gun with terrible force, filling the imme- 
diate air with a cloud of fractured particles. 

Three of the gun's crew were badly hurt and carried 
below, compelling Bentham to call for volunteers to 
assist him. 

Smash \ 



130 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

A heavy shot from the Swiftwing's pivot gun struck 
the keel of the mainmast diagonally and tore across 
the deck into the sea. 

It was getting decidedly hot in Bentham's locality. 

The enemy were evidently seeking to disable the 
huge gun which was working them such vital injur3^ 

Then the Avenger shook under the broadside she 
delivered at that moment, and wliich worked destruc- 
tion to the privateer, silencing many of her guns. 

A minute later Bentham, after a careful aim, dis- 
charged his piece, and the shot struck the Swiftwing 
below the water line. 

At that fateful moment an officer approached 
Captain Graham. 

"A steamer off our starboard bow, sir.'' 

" What colors does she fly ?" answered the Yankee 
commander, wheeling upon the speaker. 

" British, I think." 

" That's only a bluff, I'll swear. How far oft is 
she ?" 

" About three miles." 

"Very good. When I sink this privateer I'll give 
her ray attention." 

Bentham's last shot had settled the fate of the Swift- 
wing, as Captain Graham presently ascertained. 

" Has she struck her flag ?" he inquired. 

"No," returned his first lieutenant. "Her Confed- 
erate ensign is still floating from the stump of the 
foremast." 

" Seems to me she has ceased firing," 

"Our last broadside silenced her. She is a mere 
wreck and sinking at that." 

"Bear down on her, then, Mr. Haskins ; have the guns 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 131 

double shotted. I'll blow her out of water if another 
shot is fired at us." 

The Swiftwing having had her rudder shot away 
was now unmanageable, and the cruiser had no diffi- 
culty in taking up a raking position where a broadside 
would have swept her decks from stem to stern. 

That would onl}' have been a cruel act, however, for 
the privateer was now Jiors de combat. 

The remnants of her crew were seen clambering 
over her lee bulwarks into the boats alongside. 

She was being abandoned. 

Captain Graham ordered his boats out to take 
possession of the prize. 

In the first were sent the ship's carpenter and assist- 
ants to investigate the sinking vessel, which was slowly 
setting in the water. 

If it were possible to save her Captain Graham 
meant to do so, as that meant prize money for the 
victors ; but the prospect was not encouraging. 

The second boat carried Bob Bentham, whose last 
shot had been so effective. 

He sprang on board the Swiftwing at the head of 
a dozen blue jackets, and laid his hand upon the 
shoulder of a wounded privateersman who was trying 
painfully to get over the side into one of the boats. 

" Where's Captain Dick Powers — he commanded 
this vessel, didn't he ?" 

" I don't know where he is," replied the man, 
sullenly. " He was reported dead after that last > 
broadside from your vessel." 

Bentham uttered an exclamation of disappointment. 

He ran to the quarter-deck. 

There were several bodies there, but none that resem- 
bled the Confederate captain. 



132 THE BLOCKADE RUNJ^ER. 

Then he entered the cabin, which was in ruins, but 
without result. 

Finally he descended to the cockpit, from which the 
wounded were- being rapidly removed by the Yankee 
tars, and made inquiries ; but no one could throw any 
light upon the late commander of the Swiftwing, 
. " 1 shan't believe him dead until I actually see his 
corpse. I'll wager he's off in one of the boats. How- 
ever, we'll overhaul them all, and I shall have, the 
pleasure of seeing my enemy face to face again." 

But Bob Bentham counted his chickens too soon. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 133 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THE CHASE AND THE ESCAPE. 

It was the Avenger's first victor}'^ over an armed foe ; 
but it had been dearly purchased, for a third of her 
crew had been put out of action, and her hull and spars 
and rigging were a sight to witness. 

Her smokestack escaped injury, partly because it 
shut up like a telescope, and during the late action was 
scarcely visible above the bulwarks. 

One board the privateer the carpenter had reported 
to the officer in charge that there were several feet of 
water in the hold, and that it was not possible to get 
at the opening, through which the sea poured in a 
cataract. 

The removal of the wounded was therefore hurried, 
and every preparation made to leave the sinking vessel 
to her fate. 

When the prisoners so far taken were marshaled on 
the Avenger's deck, it was found that, beside the 
wounded, seventeen of the Swiftwing's crew had been 
secured. 

Captain Graham then ordered the cruiser to go after 
his other boats, which were still cnasing two of the 
privateer's launches. 

Bentham felt certain that Dick Powers was in one 
of the boats, and that both of them would be speedily 
overhauled was a foregone conclusion, as the moon- 



134 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

light was too bright to enable them to escape from th© 
watchful eyes on board the cruiser. 

Captain Graham paced the quarter-deck with a 
frown on his countenance. 

He had absolutely nothing to show for his splendid 
victory but the consciousness of having rid his country 
of a dangerous craft, which but for this rencounter 
would soon having been preying upon American com- 
merce, and with her splendid armament have carried 
things on with a high hand. 

He had many prisoners, it was true, and others in 
the perspective, but they counted as nothing when com- 
pared with the value of the prize which was now 
rapidly going down. 

Suddenly he bethought himself of the steamer which 
had showed English colors. 

"Mr. Haskins," he said to the first lieutenant, 
" Where's that sneaking steamer that was reported 
some time ago ?" 

" Off yonder, sir. Seems to be hanging round to 
pick up some of the privateer's crew. I noticed her 
edging down while we were engaged with the sinking 
steamer. I did not report it sooner, as I was of the 
opinion she was placing herself within our reach. 
She's in range of our long gun now, sir, and don't 
seem at all anxious to make off." 

The captain examined the stranger carefully through 
his night-glass. 

" It is strange," he said. " If that fellow isn't a 
blockade runner then I never saw one. He's got the 
cheek of the devil, but I'll make him explain himself 
in a few minutes. Mr. Haskins !" 

" Yes, sir," said the officer, touching his cap. 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 135 

"Pass the word for Mr. Bentham." 

In two minutes the youog gunner saluted his com- 
raander on he quarter-deck. 

" You've been in Wilmington lately and are prob- 
ably familiar with the looks of many of the blockade 
runners that were in that port at the time." 

" I was only there one day, sir, and had little chance 
to inspect them ; but you may know that I came from 
Europe on one of the most notorious of the class." 

" So I have heard. Well, sir, take this glass and 
examine yonder steamer and let me know what you 
think of her." 

Bentham leveled the glass at the long, low, rakish 
vessel that was slowly sailing along in the bright moon- 
light, as though waiting for something, and hardly 
more than a mile distant. 

" By George ! that's the Foxhound, sir," he ex- 
claimed excitedly. 

"What!" ejaculated his commander, who knew the 
famous blockader well by reputation ; " the Fox- 
hound ?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"Are you sure of that ?" 

"Quite positive. She is the vessel I came over from 
France on, and is commanded by Captain Kalph 
Powell. She's loaded with cotton at this moment, or 
possibly she's just out of Nassau with contraband 
goods. In any case you will probably never have a 
better chance to bring her to." 

" She's a prize worth the catching," said Captain 
Graham, briskly issuing orders to bear up for the 
stranger. 

"Excise me, sir, but it will interest you to kaow 



136 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

that Powell has registered an oath never to be taken ; 
for that exigency he carries a Whitehead torpedo 
in the hold of the Foxhound with a fuse attached 
leading- to his stateroom. When capture seems unavoid- 
able he will blow his vessel to the winds." 

"■' He's a consummate donkey !" exclaimed Captain 
Graham. "He'll have an opportunity to do so now, 
I fancy. Do you know his speed ?" 

"Over sixteen knots when pressed, sir." 

"Phew ! We can't match that ; but I guess we've 
a long reach in that pivot gun of yours, Mr. Bentham. 
Call your crew to quarters ; everything will depend 
on your ability to cripple him as soon as he shows his 
heels." 

" I will do my best, sir." 

The young man touched his cap and retired to his 
station amidships. 

'" The boats have overhauled the privateer's launches, 
sir, and are towing them down," reported the first 
lieutenant at this juncture. 

"We can't wait for them, Mr. Haskins. Signal 
them to follow in our wake. Ah, I see that fellow has 
waked up at last. He's heading for the Northwest 
Channel. That means he's bound for Nassau. Loaded 
to the decks with cotton, I guess. What a prize he'll 
make !" 

And Captain Graham rubbed his hands gleefully. 

The Avenger was run up to top speed, and for that 
matter so was the chase, for great clouds of black 
sm^ke issued from her funnel, and a long streak of 
foam was churned up by her screw. 

" Let her have the pivot gun," exclaimed the com- 
mander. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 137 

Bertham sighted the gun carefully, the cruiser being 
held a point off the direct course, so as to offer no hin- 
drance to the line of fire. 

The lanyard was pulled, and a shell. curved into the 
air, and finally exploded close to the Foxhound's stern. 

" Good," cried the skipper. "Another like that, only 
a little closer, will disable her screw." 

'' The captain of yonder craft has wonderful nerve, 
though I call it foolhardiness, to venture so close 
within range of an enemy," remarked Mr. Haskins. 

" That's Powell's reputation ; he's a regular dare- 
devil, they say. He had some object in hanging about 
here and taking such chances. He's a faster steamer 
than the Avenger, and will get away as it is, unless 
we can bring him to with a shot." 

The next shell exploded high above the blockade 
runner's deck, but the third carried away the raizzen- 
topniast. 

The long gun was worked as rapidly as possible, but 
the Foxhound was not hit, and to Benthara's extreme 
vexation was gradually drawing away. 

Great Abaco light was now visible above the hori- 
zon, and unless something was shortly done the block- 
ade runner would reach the safety of the three-mile 
limit, and could not legally be overhauled. 

During the next half hour three shells struck the 
fleeing steamer, but her speed was not affected in^any 
way. 

Twenty minutes later she was nearly out of range 
and fast nearing land, so the captain of the Avenger 
reluctantly hauled off and headed back over his course 
in order to pick up his boats. 

On board of the Foxhound the engines were pound- 



13ii THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Ing like mad, and her furnaces were packed with tar 
and rosin. 

" Ease her," exclaimed Captain Powell to his pilot, 
*' yonder cruiser has given up the chase and gone 
about." 

" Ay, ay, sir," and the bell in the engine-room rang 
out the joyful signal to slow up. 

" A narrow shave, Powell ; but a miss is as good as a 
mile any day." 

The speaker was a fine-looking man, whose face was 
turned seaward. 

" I should have been very sorry if this had turned 
out disastrously," he continued, "since I am respon- 
sible for putting 3^ou into the lion's den, so to speak. 
Had you not laid to to pick me up, after my vessel was 
knocked out, you would have been long since out of 
reach of the Yankee fangs; but I should have been a 
prisoner of war. I assure you that I am very grateful 
for your kindness. I could hardly expect another 
man to risk so much, even for a friend, and we, sir, 
are scarcely acquaintances." 

"Say no more, Captain Powers; I am glad to have 
had an opportunity of doing you a service — not to 
speak of cheating the Yankees of an important prisoner 
of war." 

" If I can ever return the favor, command me," said 
the late captain of the Swiftwing. 

" What do you mean to do now ?" said Powell. 

" Get another ship and pa}^ thera back !" was the 
quick reply, as the speaker's eyes flashed and his 
hands clinched at the ends of his gray sleeves. " By 
my soul! Powell, I will make the Yankees suffer for 
this disaster." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. I39 

" I hope you will, cap'n ; upon my soul I do." 

" 1 forgot to tell you that the man you brought over 
from France, Bob Bentham, is chief gunner on yon- 
der cruiser." 

"How do you know that?" said Powell, not a little 
astonished. 

" 1 liave means of learning many things that it is to 
my interest to be informed of. Mr. Mowbray's instruc- 
tions included positive orders to hunt out the craft 
that his nephew went to sea in, and unless she proved 
to be of^much superior force I was to engage her at 
all hazards, and if possible put an end to that young 
man's career." 

"You surprise me," said Powell. 

"Well, when 1 left Wilmington, I found that the 
Swiftwing was unseaworthy. Mowbray had evidently 
been imposed upon when he purchased the vessel. I 
was forced to put into Nassau for safety. The priva- 
teer underwent a thorough examination in dry dock 
and was overhauled and put into Al condition. I also 
obtained a heavier deck battery. In the meantime I 
was expecting intelligence regarding Bentham's move- 
ments. Yesterday I got a letter saying that this 
young man had been appointed to the Avenger — ^a 
fast steam cruiser of the third class, intended to over- 
haul the more important Confederate privateers. 
Like the Swiftwing she carried a broadside of four 
heavy guns, and a long rifled Parrott in the waist. 
There was not much difference in the armament of 
either vessel, so I felt easy in my mind about tackling 
her. My surprise, however, was great to run athwart 
her so soon. My only regret is that I lost the day." 

" It was a most unfortunate Waterloo for you," said 
Powell. 



140 THE BLOCKADE RUNNEB. 

" What galls rae is that Benthara is aware that I 
commanded the Svviftwing, He bears me no good 
will, and the sinking of my vessel must have sent joy 
to his soul. But I will bide my time, and ere long I 
hope to return the compliment with interest." 

"To which I respond amen, since the object of your 
animosity is a Yankee. Aside from that fact I must 
admit I admire that young Bentham for his courage 
and firmness in the hour of peril. But for him the 
Foxhound's ribs would now be ornamenting the shoals 
off Wilmington, and the Confederate government 
would have been poorer by a couple of million dollars 
worth of war material.'" 

There was a pause in. the conversation. 

Since that terrible affair in the cabin, which I spoke 
to you about, the murder of Mr. Mowbra.y by Flash 
Gilmor, ill fortune has been our luck. We've been 
storm-struck for three days, but for which we had 
now been at Nassau unloading our cotton and figuring 
upon a fresh run." 

" I wish I had Flash Gilmor here !" hissed Powers. 
" I'd hang him to your yard-arm, Powell, and if you 
interfered, by Jove ! I'd take your life ! You were 
going to convey him to Nassau ?" 

''Yes. At Nassau I would have turned him over to 
the authorities, and he would have been hustled back 
to Wilmington. But he got away." 

" Unaided ?" And Powers fixed his dark eyes on 
the captain of the Foxhound. 

" I am afraid no," was the answer, in a lower tone. 
" Captain Powers, 1 haven't the same crew I once had. 
When I recruited after my last tussle with the block- 
aders, I was compelled to take some doubtful 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER, 141 

characters. I dared not investigate Flash Gilmor's 
escape on the high seas. When I get to Nassau I 
shall discharge my bad men and get better ones. I 
tell you that Gihnor had assistance. It was a cold- 
blooded crime." 

" Not perpetrated in self-defense, then ?" 

" No ! I believe he came on board disguised as a 
Confederate agent for a dark purpose. He knew that 
he could never make Norah his wife while Mowbray 
lived. The old man hated him as he hated the 
North." 

Powers was silent for a moment. 

" How does Norah seem ?" he asked at length. 

" I don't see her often ; she keeps her stateroom," 
was Powell's answer. '' During the fight this evening 
she sent the steward up to ask we what it all -meant. 
That was the first I'd heard from her to-day." 

" With your permission I'll go down and see her," 
said Captain Powers eagerly. 

Powell made no reply. 

" Do you object, Captain Powell ?" inquired the 
Confederate officer, somewhat taken aback by his 
companion's silence. 

" You promise not to excite her ?" 

" Certainly, sir.' I might say I have a right to an 
interview since, with her late father's consent, I am a 
suitor for her hand." 

" Oh, is it possible," said Powell. " The steward 
will show you her stateroom ; but for all that she 
may not receive you." 

" Oh, that is ray risk, of course," said the handsome 
ofiicer as he turned away and went down the com- 
panion-way. 



l^Z TH3 BLOCKADE B'UNNBR. 

Captain Powell paced his deck in silence, thinking 
probably of his good fortune in getting back to j^assau 
with a valuable load of cotton. 

As he was a large owner in the Foxhound, it may 
be reasonably surmised that having made nine round 
trips he was very comfortably jBxed — ^very rich in fact. 

His home was at Nassau, where he lived in an unos- 
tentatious manner when on shore. 

His niece, Miss Dora Maxwell, kept house for him, 
in a charming little cottage in the suburbs. 

He knew she was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 
Foxhound, for he had been away an unusually long 
time — his trip to Europe and return having occupied 
many weeks, and his delay at Wilmington several 
more — so that it was quite four months since he last 
saw the only relative he had in the world. 

Perhaps Captain Powell was also thinking how he 
would excuse himself in the matter of Flash Gilmor's 
escape in an open boat on the night of his dastardly 
crime. 

But he was not to blame for that. 

The murderer had been manacled and secured below 
decks. 

He could not have escaped without outside assist- 
ance, and this he had, as the captain had indicated to 
Captain Powers. 

Indeed, Flash Gilmor had many accomplices on 
board, whom he was taking to Nassau in his pay, and 
for a purpose of his own not shown on the surface. 

The identity of these fellows was suspected, but 
could not be proven, and therefore nothing could bo 
done in the matter. 

While the skipper of the Foxhound was pacing the 



THE BL0CKAB:E RWNNER. 143 

weather side of his quarter-deck, Captain Dick Powers 
sought the steward and was shown to the stateroom 
occupied by Miss Norah Mowbray. 

He knocked for admission. 

After a moment or two he heard a light footstep, 
which set his heart beating. 

"Who is there?" said a sadly sweet voice. 

"A friend," said Captain Powers. 

"I don't recognize your voice, sir." 

*' I have only just come on board, Miss Mowbray. 
I am here with Captain Powell's permission." 

There was a pause, and then the door was cautiously 
opened, showing the faultless figure of the late Gordon 
Mowbray's ward. 

As her e3'es fell on the face of her visitor she started. 

" Merciful heavens !" she exclaimed, "it is Captain 
Powers 1" 



1 44 THE BLOCKADE B UNNER. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE privateer's OATH. 

NoRAH stood, pale-faced and full of emotion, in Cap- 
tain Powers' presence. 

Neither seemed disposed to break the silence that 
had followed the girl's last words. 

Finally the Confederate officer said : 

" I have heard the sad news, and I deeply regret the 
villain's escape. I shall follow^ him and avenge your 
father's death," 

" No," said Norah gently, but with great firmness. 
"Leave him to the vengeance of jleaven. It will 
overtake him in its own good time. From whence did 
you come? Am I near the Swiftwing?" 

" Alas ! no," answered Powers, his brow darkening 
at thought of the privateer's destruction, " We met 
with the enemy, and the Swiftuing is at the bottom 
of the sea." 

"It is well that he did not live to hear your report, 
for he expected great things of the ship — and of the 
commander," she added, with the faintest of smiles. 

Powers did not answer for a moment, 

"Never mind!" he suddenly cried, "In another 
vessel I will retrieve our fortunes, and the victory 
gained by our foes over the Swift wing shall prove the 
dearest one of their lives. I am Captain Powell's pas- 
senger to Nassau. When I leave that port I will be 



THE BLOCKADE BUNNER. 145 

on the quarter-deck of a new Destroyer — which shall 
literally sweep the seas." 

He spoke these words in the voice of a man who 
loves to think of vengeance. 

Rage leaped from the depths of his dark eyes, and 
he stood before the Southern beauty the very incarna- 
tion of grim resolution. 

All the while the Foxhound was flying through the 
waters with the speed of a gale. Her engines sent 
her swiftly and noiselessly forward. 

So well was she balanced on the waves, and so 
neatly built, that to Norah in her cozy little stateroom 
she was not moving at all. 

Never before had the girl looked so lovely to 
Powers. 

This was the woman whom he would make his wife 
— the beautiful creature whom Mowbray was to have 
given hira when he had brushed Bob Bentham from 
his (Mowbray's) path. 

Her guardian had been taken away, and she was 
thrown upon her own resources, left alone in the world 
with an immense fortune and an unpledged hand. 

These things passed rapidly through the Confederate 
captain's mind. 

" Your journey will end for the present at Nassau ?" 
said Powers, half-questioningly, fixing his eyes on his 
fair auditor. 

" It will. I shall remain there an indefinite length 
of time — perhaps until the close of the war," was the 
response. 

" It will last a long time," 

" Perhaps." 

" The South has not yet taxed her full strength.** 



146 THE BLOCKADE R UNNER. 

" Neither has the national government. " 

Powers could not avoid noting the manner of her 
reply. It drew a stare from his eyes. 

"I see that my words have surprised you," said 
Norah, "They seem to tell you tliat my sympathies 
are not with the government you serve." 

" They indicate this, but I have not interpreted your 
words correctly. You have grown up under Gordon 
Mowbray's roof, and your hopes cannot be elsewhere 
than with the South." 

" Pardon me, sir, but if I have grown up as you say 
under the Mowbray roof, I have had thoughts — senti- 
ments of my own. This is not the proper place for 
an open avowal of sentiments which you may call 
treason, but since we have advanced to where we 
stand, let me say that the movement of secession Hnds 
no sympathy with me. I am for the old flag; my 
heart, my hopes, and m^' wishes are with the Union." 

A silence followed the girl's last' words. 

Captain Powers appeared thunderstruck. 

"Then the loss of the Swiftwing occasions no 
regrets in your bosom," he said, coloring. " Recollect 
that its loss shortens your fortune by almost one hun- 
dred and fifty thousand dollars," 

" The men who sunk with the vessel have my tears,'* 
she said softly ; "but the loss of the money invested 
in her I do not regret. You will say that ray avowed 
sentiments will deprive me of the estate which would 
naturally come into my possession by mj' father's 
death ; that it will be confiscated by the Confederate 
government. He left no will, but many things have 
been understood for years. Captain Powers, I shall 



I'HE BLOCKADE R UNNEB. 147 

not lift a finger to retain those possessions. Let the 
Confederacy take them. My father's whole soul was 
wrapped up in the Southern cause ; he would have 
beo-ffared himself for it. Men— his enemies — would 
have made out that he wavered, that his heart was not 
in the cause ; but a truer man to the South than he 
never lived. He will not see the humiliation of the 
government you serve, Captain Powers; therefore it 
is well, perhaps, that the blue sea covers him.'' 

"It is well, too, that he has not lived to ,see you 
arrayed on the side of the power he so cordially hated," 
said Powers bitterh'. " You will not find any l^orth- 
ern sentiment prevailing at Nassau." 

" I shall not court society of any kind while there," 
was the gentle answer. " You forget. Captain Pow- 
ers, that the terrible deed committed on board this ship 
has darkened more than one page of my life history. 
I loved Gordon Mowbray, and to-night I throw the 
mantle of charity upon his faults." 

Norah's eyes became suffused with tears as she fin- 
ished. 

Captain Powers watched her wdth the eyes of the 
eagle that sees a dove in his power. 

He threw a rapid glance over his shoulder and 
stepped forward. 

"Ah ! if you would but bestow upon others a tithe 
of the love he drew from you !" he said, in tones that 
lifted the girl's gaze to his face, 

" What do you mean "' 

" Have you been blind till this time ?" was the quick, 
passionate response. " Norah, I stand before "you a 
self-confessed lover. I have loved 3'ou with all the 
depth and the ardor of my soul, and I here, for the 



148 THE BLOCKADE liVJS NEB. 

first time, trust my lips with the deelaration. I have 
Mowbray's jDromise, but I would win you myself." 

Norah's look checked him. 

" Was not that promise a bargain as well ?" she 
asked. 

Captain Powers started. 

" Come," she continued, smiling. " Confess, Captain 
Powers, that you were to have me for certain work 
on the high seas. Ah ! I know a good deal about the 
purpose of the Swiftwing. There were secrets in 
Mowbray House, but some were not well kept. It was 
a bargain as well as a promise." 

The captain stood perplexed in the fair creature's 
presence, but his audacity came to the rescue. 

" Promise or bargain, it may yet be kept," he ex- 
claimed. 

"Sir?" 

" I would not be misunderstood now, not for the 
world !" he continued quickly. " You have not an- 
swered my declaration of love " 

"Need I answer?" 

"It is not necessary ;" and his lips closed behind the 
last word. " It was the desire of the dead that you 
should become my wife, Norah, and my life mission 
shall be to fulfill it. My love for you is not abated 
by our meeting to-night ; it has become intensified. I 
like a hard conquest, a wellrfought battle, where there 
is much at stake. I shall make you my wife ! I shall 
trinmpb in this tilt for a heart at the altar!" 

Norah's eyes flashed defiance before she replied. 
They accepted his challenge. 

"Captain Powers, I am not surprised at your words," 
she said, assuming a calmness which she evidently did 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 149 

not possess. " They are the natural outgrowth of de- 
sires nursed in secret, but boldly proclaimed to a young 
girl whom murder has left unprotected. So you will 
make me your wife ? We will stand at an altar deco- 
rated with the Confederate flags, while pasons of vic- 
tory float skyward over the ruins of the Federal Union ! 
This is one of your dreams, I suppose. Let me break 
it ; for I say here that hour of your triumph will never 
come ! I will never, never, become your wife. The 
promise and the bargain must fall fruitless to the 
ground." 

Captain Powers could not but admire the fair girl 
who spoke these words. 

She stood before him as lovely as a queen, with 
courage beaming from the depths of her deep, sorrow- 
ful eyes, and with her figure drawn to its full stature. 

The captain of the ill-fated privateer could not see 
the stooped figure of the man who listened on the out- 
side of the stateroom door. 

" By Jove ! I carry a Yankee lover !" ejaculated the 
eavesdropper, who ha,d a figure like Captain Powell's. 
"I never dreamed that^old Mowbray's ward would 
ever think of such a thing. What will Dick Powers 
say now ? I think the girl has put an end to the 
argument." 

The man was the captain of the Foxhound. 

A minute's silence followed Norah's last sentence. 

" Oh, we will see who wins !" suddenly exclaimed 
Powers. "Do not think that I expect to lose the 
game. Gordon Mowbray was niy friend. I respect 
the promise of the dead, and I swear to-night on the 
deep, blue waters of this tropical sea that Gordon 
Mowbray's last oath shall be kept." 



150 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

A defiant laugh was the girl's only reply. 
"You fling down the gauntlet, my beauty; "but it 
only goads me forward to victory !" he said. " I know 
where your heart is, but I will cross swords with Bob 
Bentham on his ow^n deck ere long and show him that 
the arm he struck down on the banks of the Cape Fear 
River can deal blows of vengeance. Love and live for 
him, if you will. Here in Nassau you will find few 
whose hearts beat for our enemies. To this place 
Bentham dare not come. Ah, the coward! he will 
keep behind iron plates and surround himself with 
ten-inch guns ! I long to meet him ! I will find him 
if I have to seek him in the midst of a Yankee fleet." 
"-He will not shun the meeting — be sure of that, 
Captain Bowers," said the girl calmly. " Look out — 
he might turn hunter himsetf. Stranger things than 
this have happened," 

Captain Bowers vouchsafed no reply, but iurned 
suddenly toward the door. 

" Good-night," he said, as he reached the threshold. 
" I will keep my oath ! You shall become the wife of 
Captain Bowers yet." 

He flung wide the door as he concluded, and so sud- 
denly that the eavesdropper on the outside failed to 
escape discovery, 

"What! a listener?" exclaimed Bowers, springing 
madly after the Foxhound's captain, whom he quickly 
overtook, and whirled until they stood face to face. 
" By my soul ! it is Bo well !" 

" It is Bowell !" echoed the blockade runner. " I 
owe you no apology, captain. I gave you orders 
when you left me not to excite that young girl, and I 
followed you to see that my orders were obeyed." 



TEE BLOCKADE BUNl^ER. 151 

"Well?" 

The one word was accompanied by an eye challeno-e. 

" You touched forbidden ground, but the girl stood 
it bravely. She's more than a match for you, captain. 
You'll never win her !" 

" By heavens ! I will !" was the quick retort. '■ ^ 
have never failed in a love affair, and I've had laoie 
than one. If you say so, Powell, Til go back, and' re- 
peat ray oath, sealing it with a kiss." 

" Not while she is my passenger ?" exclaimed Poweil. 
" You have said enough to her to-night — more than I 
think a gentleman would have said. This is my ship, 
captain, and Norah is my passenger. She's Yankee 
in sentiment, but she has a right to think as she 
pleases. I say you shan't disturb her any more. Her 
stateroom is to be invaded no more twixt here and 
port." 

Captain Powers stared into the speaker's face re- 
vealed by the ship's lantern that swung overhead. 

Powell was desperately in earnest. 

" Ho — ho, Powell !" he laughed, almost boisterow:- 
ly, " I've a motion to go back just to try you." 

" You'd better not !" and Captain Powell's hand 
touched Powers' arm. "There are some things 3'ou 
can't do on board this ship. I am master here. When 
you rouse me, you stir up a tiger !" 

That was the end of it. 

Powers did not go back. 



152 TEE BLOCKADE R UNNER. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



DOEA AND NOR AH. 



The Foxhound continued her course until Nassau 
was reached. 

Threatened by Captain Powell's look and voice, 
Dick Powers had not sought a second interview with 
Norah, and the girl kept within her stateroom. 

Day was breaking again when the little blockade 
runner entered the port with the Confederate flag fly- 
ing. She soon came to anchor, and Powell went 
below to tell Norah that the city had been reached. 

The distressed girl received him with a smile, glad 
to know that she was to leave the ship; even though 
she was about to take up her residence in a city where 
but few hearts beat for the American Union. 

As Captain Powell assisted her politely upon deck 
her eyes sent an inquiring glance round the ship, as 
though she sought some one. 

" You Avill be spared the sight of Captain Powers," 
said the blockade runner, addressing her. " He bade 
me a hasty good-by twenty minutes ago, and has 
already disappeared. It was well for him that he 
went no further than he did last night." 

" You were near, then ?" 

Powell's face flushed. 

"I was at the door," he said. " I believe it is the 
first time I ever played eavesdropper on board my 
own shipj but I had told Captain Powers that you 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 153 

were not to be excited. I was afraid he might go too 
far. You will pardon rae for listening, Miss ?" 

" Certainl}'," smiled ISTorah. " Captain Powell, you 
have heard me declare my sentiments. They are not 
in accordance with 3''ours." 

" You've a full right to them," answered the Con- 
federate quickly. " I'm a full-blooded Confederate, 
Miss Norah. I would sink every Yankee ship afloat 
if I had the -power, but I never begrudge a woman her 
sentiments— never! Of course I did not expect to 
hear you talk as you have, since you were raised un- 
der Mowbray's roof ; but if you like the old flag better 
than the new one, why, stick to it." 

Norah was about to repl}?^, thanking Captain Powell 
for his words ; but they had reached the ship's side, 
and were about to descend to the boat waiting for 
them on the cahii waters of the ba3^ 

"Have you any acquaintances in Nassau ?" he asked 
of Norah, as the boat put off. 

"None at all. 1 come to the city a stranger " 

Powell seemed to reflect a moment. 

" Would you let me recommend a friend ?" he said. 

" Indeed I would, and thank you besides." 

" I have a niece here — a young lady about your age," 
he continued. " I am sure you two would get along 
famously together. Dora was raised in the tropics, 
and I call her a real tropic flower. She will talk what 
you might call treason, Norah ; but for all that you'll 
like her," 

Norah was much delighted to know that she would 
not be isolated in a strange land. 

Sbe believed she would like Captain Powell's niece, 
and longed to meet her. 



154 ^ii^ BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

She thus expressed herself to the blockade runner, 
who seemed delighted, and a few minutes later Norah 
was in Nassau. 

The arrival of the Foxhound had attracted quite a 
crowd of people to the quay, and the sight of a young 
and handsome woman in the captain's boat caused a 
-murmur of speculation to float from lip to lip. 

The fair young girl stood the stares of the crowd for 
some time without complaining. 

At length she turned to Captain Powell with a 
smile : 

" Do they always stare thus at your passengers, 
captain ?" she asked. 

" Bless you ! no, girl. A lady passenger on board 
the Foxhound is, indeed, a novelty. They all know 
Dora, and they are wondering whether or not you are 
to supplant her in my heart." 

Norah met Captain Powell's glance with £\, blush, 

seeing which the blockade runner broke into a laugh. 

"iSTo harm intended at any rate, Norah," he said. 

"Dora is the only woman who can have Powell's love. 

We will see her soon." 

The people cheered Powell as he passed along ; for 
he was known as the most daring as well as the most 
successful blockade runner sailing from Nassau. 

Many a rich cargo had he conveyed to the Con- 
federates. 

His daring ventures had brought much gold to 
Nassau, and, if the war lasted many months, he would 
enrich many of her citizens. 

" They rather like the old blockade runner here," 
he smiled to Norah, as he lifted his cap in response to 
the plaudits of the crowd. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 155 

The young girl did not reply. 

At that moment she had caught sight of a pair of 
dark eyes fastened upon her like the orbs of a basilisk. 

They were just raised above the shoulder of a man, 
so that she could not see the lower part of the face. 

A strange and nameless thrill shot to ISTorah's heart 
while the eyes regarded her, and she was returning 
their glare with a questioning look when Captain 
Powell spoke the words last recorded. 

Did the blockade runner notice the eyes ? 

He glanced at Norah, wondering why she had not 
replied, and his look wandered back to the crowd 
through which the}'^ were still passing. 

Presently the evil black eyes vanished, perhaps be- 
cause Norah had passed on, but she could not forget 
thera. 

They had welcomed her to Nassau in a manner not 
at all desirable. Had she ever seen them before ? 

The fair girl thought of Flash Gilmor and shivered. 

Not long afterward Captain PoweU rapped on the 
door of a small frame house which had a beautiful 
little flower garden in front, and a moment later a 
vision of loveliness appeared on the threshold. 

A sylph's figure and a houri's face — that is what 
appeared to Norah. 

We would describe the person as a tall young girl 
©f eighteen, with a soft olive complexion, black hair,, 
and large lustrous eyes, such as one often meets with 
in the tropics. 

She greeted the blockade runner with an exclama- 
tion of joy which soon became an enthusiastic wel- 
come; but in the midst of her demonstrations she 
suddenly caught sight of Norah and started. 



156 TEE BLOCKADE B UNNER. 

" I have brought you a companion, Dora," said 
Powell, glancing at Norah. 

"A companion and a friend; how glad I am!" ex- 
claimed Dora, turning from Powell and grasping No- 
rah's hands, while she drew near for a kiss. " We will 
be friends forever ! I have been lonely a long time, 
and you could have brought me no grander present 
than this friend. Uncle Ealph." 

Powell smiled proudly as the two girls embraced, 
and Dora, clinging to Nora's hand, led the way into 
the house. 

The interior of the building was in keeping with the 
outside-; exotic plants and flowers everywhere, and on 
every hand a certain beauty and neatness which pro- 
claimed loving woman's rule. 

Norah v/as soon left alone with her new acquaint- 
ance, for Powell left to go back to the ship, where he 
knew ho would be wanted to pay oif the men whom 
he expected to discharge. 

The two girls sat in the cosy room that looked out 
upon the street, Dora still touching ISTorah's hand ten- 
derly and gazing with sisterly affection into her face. 

" Now, tell me all," she said, in a tone which drew 
from Mowbray's ward a full recital of her life since 
leaving Wilmington. 

Dora listened without once interrupting her fair 
narrator. She breathlessly followed her, word by 
word, and sat silent for a moment after the story. 

" I know this Plash Gilmor," w^ere Dora's first 
words, spoken in a tone that startled Norah. " I 
have seen the ruflSan !" and the girl's small hands 
clinched. Let us hope that the waters ingulfed him 
and the boat he stole; that the ocean aveno^ed 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 157 

your father's death. Once I was seated at this very 
window, looking out upon the street, half dreaming, 
half dozing. It was a lovely day, like the many we 
have in Nassau. All at once a pair of eyes became 
fixed upon me. I saw them peering through the plants 
in the window like the e\^es of a snake. 1 could not 
think that they belonged to a man, yet I knew that 
they were not a serpent's orbs. I leaned forward, in- 
tending to bid the intruder begone, when a young man 
doffed his hat and bowed. That was my introduction 
to Flash Gilmor. I afterward discovered that he had 
come to Nassau in a blockade runner for the purpose 
of winning a bet which he had made at Charleston — 
that he would marry Captain Powell's niece within 
three months." 

Nora could hardly repress an exclamation of sur- 
prise. 

" You. may be sure that he lost his money," contin- 
ued Dora, with a laugh. " He would have entered 
this house then if I had not given Pedro, my Spanish 
servant, orders to let no serpents cross the threshold. 
I spoke the command in a tone intended solely for 
Flash Gilmor's ears, and he shrunk away abashed. He 
came back, however, and let slip no opportunity of 
throwing himself in my path ; but I made him the 
laughing stock of Nassau until a Confederate vessel 
carried him away„ Since then I have not seen him, 
and your mention of him, Norah, has been the fii^st 
time I have heard his name spoken for many a, 
week." 

The two girls continued to converse until a servant 
called Dora from the parlor, leaving Norah alone. 

Mowbray's ward arose and went to the window for 



158 TEB BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

the purpose of inspecting a rare flower, which had 
commanded her praise for several minutes. 

She soon found herself admiring the profusion of 
exotics that bloomed around her, filling the whole 
room with their fragrance, and forming a bower of 
great beauty. 

An exclamation escaped Korah's lips as she caught 
sight of a flower, the most beautiful of all she had yet 
seen ; but it hung out of the window, yet within 
reach. 

Norah leaned forward to lift the flower gently, in 
order that she might become fully acquainted with its 
exquisite loveliness. 

All at once a hand encircled her waist, and the form 
of a man rose before her. 

A glance showed the girl his handsome face and 
evil black eyes. 

A wild cry pealed from her throat, and the next 
moment she had fallen to the floor in a swoon, ia 
which state Dora found her a few moments later. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 159 



CHAPTEK XIX. 

CAPTAIN POWELL KEEPS HIS OATH. 

After the fruitless chase of the Foxhound, Captain 
Graham picked up his boats, and laid his course for 
Charleston to report to the admiral of the station the 
result of his first marine duel, and to deliver his pris- 
oners that they might be sent North. 

He was in particular good humor, for the first clause 
in his sealed instructions, directing him to hang about 
the Bahamas and capture or destroy the steamer Swift- 
wing, before she could get away upon her lawless 
errand, had been fulfilled to the letter. 

The Avenger had been roughly handled in the late 
fight, but not so badly but the carpenters and 
machinists on board could soon repair all damages. 

But some things were bej'^ond repair — a dozen hardy 
Yankee tars lay on the lower deck in a row sewed up 
in their hammocks ready for the solemn service that 
was presently to consign them to the universal watery 
churchyard where no tombstones mark the last resting 
places of many thousands of the wanderers on the 
trackless deep. 

It was on the evening of the day following that the 
Avenger approached the Yankee squadron off Charles- 
ton. 

It was pretty dark on the water, as the sky was 
overcast by clouds, and a half-gale was blowing, kick- 
ing up a tolerably nasty sea. 



100 THE. BLOCKADE R UNNEB. 

The first intimation that Captain Graham had of 
the immediate presence of the blockading fleet was a 
rocket sent up by a vigilant gunboat. 

It was green and red, signifying in the signal code 
that a suspicious steamer was in sight. Of course this 
meant the Avenger. 

Shortly afterward a blue light was to be seen 
directly ahead from another craft, and as soon as it 
burned out three lanterns appeared in the rigging in 
the form of a triangle — a red one at the top and a 
white and a green one at the bottom. 

Captain Graham had no need to call for his code to 
interpret this signal — as plain as a pikestaff it read to 
his eye " who are you V 

The signal ensign was immediately instructed to 
answer it. 

Soon after the Avenger ran close to the "Firefly" 
gunboat. 

In answer to Captain Graham's inquiry for the 
admiral of the station, he was directed to a point in- 
shore where the flagship — a large sailing frigate — was 
snugl}^ anchored. 

The Avenger proceeded slowly landward and pres- 
ently made out the big cruiser, with her frowning tier 
of guns run out in readiness for any emergency. 

" Steamer ahoy !" came a sharp hail from the flag- 
ship, showing that the lookouts were wide awake. 

" Ahoy !" replied Captain Graham. 

" What steamer is that ?" 

" Screw steamer Avenger, Captain Graham, from 
the Bahama station. Tell the admiral that I am 
coming on board." 

" Very well, sir." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNEE. 161 

Lights flashed on the deck of the flagship and 
preparations made to receive the visitor according to 
his rank. 

The first cutter of the Avenger was piped away, 
and the commander of the cruiser was soon in the 
admiral's cabin. 

Captain Graham found that august personage 
making himself comfortable over a whiskey punch. 

The report made by the cruiser's captain was emi- 
nently satisfactory to the admiral, who congratulated 
him upon his success. 

As the Avenger was a remarkably fast vessel the 
admiral said he would take the liberty of supplement- 
ing the instructions of the Navy Department, by order- 
ing Graham to delay his cruise after the Shenandoah 
privateer, and give attention to the Foxhound blockade 
runner. 

The admiral said that he had been censured in com- 
mon with his brother admiral on the AVilmington 
station for their want of success in putting an end to 
this particular vessel, which continued to run the block- 
ade off both ports with the greatest impunity. 

He said Graham must watch for the steamer, and 
run him down or sink him, and the commander of the 
cruiser, promising to do his best in the matter, took 
his leave. 

About noon on the following day the Avenger got 
away and headed straight for the Northeast passage in 
the Bahamas, where Captain Graham proposed to lie 
off and on until the Foxhound made her appearance 
from Nassau with a fresh load of contraband goods on 
board. 

It was night again on the broad expanse of the trop- 



162 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

ical sea, about three weeks after the incidents already 
narrated. 

The cruiser Avenger was steaming slowly along well 
inside of Great Abaco light. 

It was not very dark, though the raoon was stiU be- 
low the horizon, for the stars were out in all their 
glory. 

" She won't come out to-night, that's certain," said 
Bentham to Jupe, with whom he was conversing, while 
both hung over the starboard bulwarks: in the waist of 
the steamer. 

" By golly, Marse Bob, I dun no 'bout dat. Dat vera 
Powell is de mos' recklus pusson I eber know'd. Ebery 
udder skipper hangs buck for a foggy ebening, but dat 
Powell, he don't seem ter care a snap. De Foxhound 
is so debblish fast dat he snap him fingers at de cruisers 
here 'bouts, and come an' go when him please. I 
reckon dat him bery suah ter come out if him make up 
him mind ter do so." 

" Well, if he does, we'll nab him as sure as eggs are; 
eggs." 

" Golly, I hope so, sah." 

" Steamer ho !" came pealing down from the foretop, 
startling every one into alertness. 

The officer of the deck soon learned that the stranger 
was several miles distant, and was stealing seaward^ 
close under the lee of Eleuthera island. 

Not a light showed aboard of her, and she looked 
like a thin black moving shadow ; indeed, it required 
very sharp eyes indeed to make her out at all until 
attention was called to the spot. 

Several night-glasses were leveled at her. 

" I'll bet that's the Foxhound. Powell is a sly 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 163 

rascal, and calculates that we won't expect him on such 
a bright night," said Captain G-raham to Mr. Haskins, 
his lieutenant. " Well, we'll have to cut him off or 
he'll get away again." 

The cruiser's nose was laid for a certain point ahead 
of the strangei*, and Benthara ordered to call his gun's 
crew to quarters. 

The furnace doors in the hold were thrown wide 
open, and the slumbering flames fed with the contents 
of several tar barrels, and then the stokers proceeded 
to shovel in coal at a lively rate. 

The Avenger swooped down upon her prey like a 
falcon, and thoughts of prize money began to loom 
before the mental vision of all on board. 

" I'll bet dat's hira for suah, Massa Bob," exclaimed 
Jupe, as he laid down the sponger with which he had 
been cleaning the bore of the huge Parrott rifle. 

"I hope so," returned Bentham earnestly. 

" Golly, we is gwine ter cut him off dis yere time, 
an' doan' yer ferget it," .said the darky, forgetting 
himself in his joy and cutting a " pigeon wing " upon 
the deck. 

Before long it was seen that the stranger, whoever 
he was, had wore round and turned back toward 
Kassau, as though her commander had concluded now 
that his presence was discovered that it was too risky 
to run out to sea, and was acting upon the maxim that 
discretion was the better part of valor. 

The position of the Avenger, however, was such 
that she could cut the distant steamer off in either 
direction, or at least come within easy gun range. 

It was eleven o'clock when Bentham was instructed 
Ito throw a shot at her. 



164 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" Old Abe " was carefully sighted by the young 
gunner, and then Jupe pulled the lanyard with "great 
unction. 

The shell soared aloft and burst close to the fleeing 
steamer. 

Shot followed shot after that, and finally one shell 
struck the blockade runner squarely in the stern. 

After that she seemed to be crippled, for the cruiser 
came down on her hand over hand. 

" Hit, by the Lord Harry !" exclaimed Captain 
Graham.. " She's ours. By ray soul, the men will 
get their first prize-money to night." 

"Old Abe " had done his duty, and there was no 
need to discharge another shell. 

The stranfjer was drifting ashore. 

The two steamers were now less than a mile apart. 

A full-orbed moon hung over the wide expanse of 
waters, silvering the crests of the waves, and affording 
the Union vessel plenty of light. 

With full head on, the Avenger now bore swiftly 
down upon the blockade runner, still endeavoring to 
escape, despite the injuries inflicted by Benthara'sgun. 

Everybody on board the Union cruiser was on the 
alert. 

Ten minutes later the Avenger ran alongside, and 
the voice of Captain Graham was plainly heard as he 
called out : 

" Ship ahoy ! Who are 3'-ou?" 

The reply was not delayed an instant. 

" The steamer Foxhound," 

" Great heaven !" ejaculated Bentham to Jupe. 
" Powell may keep his oath ?" 

"We are the United States cruiser, Avenger," 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 165 

answered the young commander. "Do you sur- 
render?" 

A moment of breathless suspense followed. 

" We are not armed. Your shot has pierced us 
through and through," was the response. " We can 
not resist and are forced to surrender." 

The next moment a loud voice on the Confederate's 
deck cried out : 

" Into the sea for your lives, men ! The captain has 
fired the fuse attached to the torpedo !" 

Instantl}' dark figures leaped over the sides of the 
blockade runner and threw themselves into the sea. 

" I feared that !" exclaimed Bentham, making for the 
quarter-deck. " For heaven's sake back off, Captain 
Graham. There's no telling when the torpedo will 
explode !" 

The Avenger was instantly reversed, and the next 
moment she was leaving the spot as rapidly as possible. 

All at once a noise like the explosion of a score of 
ammunition chests rent the air, the very sea itself 
seemed to reel, and the Avenger was almost thrown 
upon her side. 

Captain Ralph Powell of the Foxhound had kept 
his word ! 

His fatnous ship was worse than a wreck. 

With his own hands he had destroyed her rather 
than let her fall into the hands of the Unionists. 

If the Avenger had not been warned by the voice 
from the Foxhound's deck she might have been sunk 
by the explosion, for Powell had evidently waited 
until she came up for the mad purpose of sinking both 
ships together. 

The force of the explosion prostrated every soul on 
board the Union cruiser. 



16b THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Strong men fell in all directions. 

Bentham was thrown across a gun-carriage, and 
Graham was knocked senseless by a spar that swept 
the quarter-deck. 

For several minutes not a man spoke. 

There were cries for help from the sea. 

Boats were lowered as quickly as possible, and a 
number of the crew of the Foxhound were pulled from 
the sea, more frightened than hurt, 

" The old ship's gone at last," said one of the rescued 
men when he found his breath among his rescuers. 
" To think that we've been sailing the seas eight 
months with a torpedo somewhere in the hold ready 
to blow us to perdition! Some thought the captain 
wouldn't keep his word, but I knew him better than 
all the rest of them. When he went below half an 
hour ago with his two hands clinched and his eyes 
flashing, I knew that the Foxhound would never carry 
another cargo," 

" Where's Captain Powell ?" asked Bentham at the 
first opportunity. 

" I guess you'll have to ask the sea," was the reply. 
*' He's just lucky enough to escape on a spar, you see 
land is close aboard, and live to run the blockade till 
the war closes," 

" After blowing up one ship ?" ejaculated the young 
gunner. 

" That's ray opinion, sir, I've got confidence enough 
in Captain Powell's luck to believe in things you'd 
never dream of." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 167 



CHAPTER XX. 

A DANGEROUS MISSION. 

The sea for some distance around the spot where 
the Foxhound had met her fate at the hands of 
her mad captain was strewn with fragments of the 
disaster. 

The captured sailor's words impressed Bentham. 

He did not, therefore, scour the sea in a boat in a 
vain search for Powell, but contented him with picking 
up a sailor now and then, and at last rowed back to 
the Avenger. 

The men of the Foxhound told Graham that they 
had lately cleared at JS^assau with a cargo consisting of 
army clothing, besides a lot of medical stores for the 
Confederate army, that they did not expect to run 
across the Avenger, which they understood had de- 
parted on a cruise in search of the privateer Shenan- 
doah. They said that Bentham's last shot had disabled 
their engines, besides killing three men. 

Thanks to that shot, the sea had been rid of a pes!:, 
and the swiftest blockade runner in the Confederate 
service was at the oottom of the deep. 

Bentham then learned for the first time that thd 
Foxhound had picked Captain Powers up after the 
sinking of the Swift wing, and taken him to JS'assau, 
where he was getting ready to go to sea as the com- 
mander of a strong vessel named the Destroyer, which. 
English gold had purchased and manned. 



108 THE BLOCKADE R UNNER. 

"Good!" exclaimed the young gunner, when he 
learned this. " I shall yet meet Powers on the deck 
of a Confederate privateer — just where I have longed 
to encounter him." 

The talkative prisoners also informed Cannoneer 
Bob of Norah's trip to i^assau ; and, little by little, the 
story of the terrible tragedy in the Foxhound's cabin 
was told. 

We need not say that the gunner hung on each word 
with bi'eathless interest. 

"What! Mowbray dead — murdered — and Nondi in 
Nassau, a stranger in a strange city ? 

AVhat trials, what indignities would not assail her 
there ! 

" The prisoners do not attempt to shield Flash 
Gilmor," he said to himself, when he found himself 
alone. "They cannot. He killed Uncle Gordon in 
cold blood, and for a purpose as base as his own dark 
heart. I wish Jupe had linished him that night on the 
river bank. It would have prevented a murder, any- 
how. But I still live! Beware, Flash Gilmor ! You 
may yet encounter one whose sword will avenge the 
death of that impulsive old man! I will not believe 
that the sea ingulfed the murderer the night of his 
escape. Water does not drown men of his stripe. 
They live to feel the merciless stroke of a Nemesis." 

In the quiet of his little quarters Bob Benthara 
stood alone thus communing with himself. 

" I will go to Nassau," he said, with the air of a 
man who had formed a great resolution which is cer- 
tain to bring him face to face with danger. "1 feel 
that Norah will be surrounded by danger. Dick 
Powers is there. Flash Gilmor may soon confront 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 1. 3 

\\ev with the glilter of victory in his eyes. Betwe-n 
tlie two men she will suffer indignities which will <. 11 
for vengeance !" 

Having said this he went to Graham's cabin ;;;«l 
started tiie young commander with the announcenit.^.t 
of his wish for a trip to Kassaii. 

" l^ou go to I^assau ?'' exclaimed Captain Grab. i. 
"Why, it is a veritable den of lions.'- 

" I know that," answered the 3'oung gunner, snril- 
ing. " If it were a pen of lambs I might not decidp t-o 
go. Mv mind is made up, captain. 1 go to Nassai. — 
with your permisson," 

Of course it was contrary to the regulations of tlie 
service for Bentham to leave the ship except by vx- 
press permission of his commander; but our hero \va<\ 
reasons for believing that Captain Graham, when \\q 
had heard his reasons, would not refuse him leave of 
absence. 

His commander heard him with patience and tht::i 
said : 

"I don't know^ how I can spare 3^ou, Bentham, ju<t 
at this time. Your services are invaluable to me, fu? 
m\^ duty in these seas is accomplished, and tlia 
Shenandoah, and other steamers of her class, now 
demand my attention." 

" I regret the necessity, sir ; but to me the matter 
is imperative. Of course it remains for you to say 
whether you will permit me to go or not." 

Captain Graham thouglit a moment. 

" Well," he said, " it is a dangerous adventure, and 
I strongly advise you against undertaking it; but I 
know when a pretty woman has wound herself about 
a young man's heart he will go through fire and 



170 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

water for her sake. You may ^o, Bentham. I will 
put you ashore before morning. You will report to 
the admiral as soon as you can." 

The A'x^enger fell in at daybreak the next day with a 
vessel bound for New York, and the men saved after 
the explosion of the blockade runner were transferred 
to her decks, and the two vessels parted company. 

Graham regretted that he was not able to turn 
Ralph Powell over as a prisoner, for a possibility of 
his escape still remained. 

Once in the hands of the government, he would 
never resume his daring operations on the high seas. 

Having got rid of her prisoners, the Avenger headed 
for Nassau with the intention of approaching near 
enough to allow Bentham a chance to enter it. 

Graham had hoped that sober second thought would 
break the gunner's resolution ; but it seemed only to 
strengthen it. 

Norah, unprotected, was in Nassau. Dick Powers, 
the privateer, was there too. 

Was not this enough to demand his presence there ? 

Bentham had also obtained permission for Jupe to 
go with him. 

The two had seemingly united their fortunes, for 
Jupe was with Bentham when he served the guns of 
the Cumberland in her hopeless battle with the Mer- 
rimac, and ever since he had kept close to the loyal 
gunner's side. 

It was early in the morning when the Avenger 
came to a short distance from Nassau, whose lights 
could be seen without the aid of a glass. 

A boat was noiselessly lowered over the ship's side, 



. TPE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 171 

and the figure of a herculean negro sprung nimbly 
down the ladder. 

"Be ever on the watch, Bentham," said Grrahara to 
the person who held out his hand previous to follow- 
ing the darky. 

" You may know that I will not sleep in that 
treason-infected city," was the answer. " I shall not 
move without counting the cost. I have weighed 
everything carefully, captain. I enter Nassau with 
my eyes open." 

"Good! I'm glad of that," was the reply, and the 
speaker's hand closed fervently on the one it grasped. 

A few more words were spoken, and the young man 
who bade Captain Graham good-by descended to the 
boat, and gave a command in a whisper for it to 
put off. 

Bentham's most intimate friends would hardly have 
recognized him as he sat in the bow of the ship's boat 
that night with his face turned toward the lights of 
Nassau. 

He had doffed the uniform he had worn for weeks 
with credit and heroism, and now wore a simpler dress 
which would not be likely to attract attention in 
Nassau, nor rouse the suspicion of any one. 

The boat propelled by muffled oars crept noiselessly 
through the water and swiftly approached the city. 

Not a word was uttered by any one. 

It glided across an unfrequented part of the harbor, 
easily avoiding the shipping, and at last touched the 
wkarf at a deserted-looking place, for neither bale, box 
nor human being was to be seen. 

After carefully inspecting the quay at the point 



172 'FSE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

touched as well as they were able, Benthara and Jupe 
landed and the boat which had conveyed them to the 
city quietly put back toward the ship. 

" Hyer we is, Massa Bob, in de hyena's den," said 
Jupe in the lowest of whispers. " If Cap'n Powers be 
in Nassa', why, Tom de black rascal must be hyar, 
too, an' de consequence am dat ole Jupe must be on 
the lookout." 

"You certainly must, Jupe," observed Bentham, 
who instantly recalled the negro by whom his escape 
from Wilmington had nearly been frustrated, and then 
he added to himself. "I do not intend to submit my- 
self to that sable villain's eyes for inspection if I can 
help it. I would sooner pass in review before Captain 
Powers himself." 

Immediately after the boat's return to the Avenger, 
whose young captain was anxious to hear of his gun- 
ner's safe arrival in Nassau, Bentham and his faithful 
friend turned from the wharf. 

It was not Bentham's first visit to Nassau. 

He had spent several months in the city during his 
boyhood and when his father commanded a United 
States ship, but since that time the place had under- 
gone numerous changes, although it had retained its 
general features. 

He therefore had no difficulty in finding his way to 
the main portion of the town. 

Jupe was at his heels. 

"Massa Bob, we'se follered," suddenly said the 
darky in a startling whisper as his hand fell on 
Bentham's arm sending a thrill to his heart. 

The loyal gunner instantly stopped. 



THE BLOCKADE BUNNEE. 173 

It was a critical moment — a spy at his iieels. 

" Dar ! de spy has stopped, too !" ejaculated Jupe. 
" It's a mighty good t'ing dat de street ain't lighted 
up, Massa Bob. Jes' you walk on a piece ; den you'll 
heah de debbil come on agin." 

Bentham moved forward with ears strained to catch 
the slightest sound, btit he heard nothing. 

"De spy hab taken off his shoes !"' said Jupe. 



174 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

FEAELESS AND BRAVE. 

The young gunner instinctively reached for his 
revolver. 

" It mustn't come to dat, Massa Bob," said the darky, 
clutching his wrist. "A pistol shot would spile de 
hull bizness. Dat spy must be got outen de way an' 
dat without much ceremony. Trust ole Jupe fo' dat. 
Jes' go on now, massa, wid walk enuff fo' two men, 
I'll fix de spy." 

Seeing no other way out of the difficulty and repos- 
ing a world of confidence in Jupe, Bentham moved 
on again. 

The darky crouched at the foot of a tree with his 
face turned toward the sea. 

Without a single weapon in his hand, the giant 
.negro waited for the person who was certainly on his 
master's trail. 

Like a Numidian lion waiting for a straggler from 
a caravan the big black prepared to sieze his prey. 

Deceived by Bentham's movements, the night spy 
came on again like a tiger sure of his victim. 

Jupe did not move a muscle. 

Presently his eyes singled out a gliding figure 
darker than the night itself, and advancing with the 
silken tread of the cat. 

All at once the crouching negro rose and threw 
himself forward. 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 175 

He landed against the unsuspecting spy whose 
throat one of his sable hands clutched, and whom 
he bore backward notwithstanding his desperate 
struggles. 

" Xot a word, you spyin' debbil I" hissed Jupe, in 
the trailer's ear. " De hand ob a giant am at youi 
throat, an' you may find yerself in de world ob spirit? 
mighty soon ef your tongue wags." 

The spy could not speak, even if he had wished U'^ 
for his captor's hand almost choked him, and effoct- 
ualh' prevented a single word from finding its • /ay 
from his tongue. 

At length Jupe thought he had choked the spy 
enough. He loosened his grip, but not until he had 
dragged him from the sidewalk into a narrow wa / not 
unlike an alle}'. 

"Now, what you foUerin' us fo'?" demanded fupe. 

A long breath, a gasp, and then : 

" You'se Jupe, ole Massa Mowbray's nigger." 

Jupe could hardly repress an exclamation of surprise. 

The spy was Black Tom, the negro who had accom- 
panied Captain Powers from Wilmington in the 
Swiftwing. ^ 

The surprise was mutual. 

"I'se ole Jupe, suah enuff!" said Bentham's black 
companion, when he recovered from his surprise. 
Now, look hyer, Tom, who'se you spyin' fo' in Nassau ?" 

"Dat's my bizness!" was the provoking answer. 

For a moment Jupe's hand seemed about to fly at 
the captive's throat again. 

" No foolin', Tom," he said threateningly. " Dis 
am de most serious piece ob bizness you'se eber had to 
do with. I can't afford to let you go, fo' de man what 



176 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

you'se with now, Cap'n Powers, would know ebery- 
thing afo' mornin? " 

Tom said nothing. 

The look that he gave June was the glare oi a 
tiger. 

i^ot far off Benthani waited for the luau ho had left 
behind. 

The two negroes had never i)een friends. 

Hating each other as boys, they had grown to man- 
hood as Mowbray's slaves with that hate intensified 
by petty rivalries and disputes, and now they stood 
face to face in a strange city, captor and captive, 
thirsting for each other's blood. 

Jupe was not his enemy's superior in strength, but 
he had surprised him, and thus held an advantage 
gained b}'^ cunning. 

" You habn't answered me, Tom," said Jupe, nettled 
by his enemy's silence. "You mustn't tell Ca[)'n 
Powers what you'se seen to-night." 

" Yes, but I will, Jupe !" 

With the last word the black captive broke suddenly" 
awajT^, and dealt his captor a blow that staggered liini. 

Prodigious as that blow was, it failed to place Jupe 
hors de combat. He almost instantly recovered, and 
bountled after his antagonist, who had sprung awa}'. 

Black Tom saw he was at his heels, and attempted 
to make his escape." 

" You'se got to be my prisoner yet !" grated Jup.% 
as the thought of Tom escaping with the information 
he had obtained rushed across his mind. " De angel ob 
vengeance am on yer track, P>lack Tom, an' you cau'u 
git away !" 

Bentham heard the two men approach him. 



THE BLOCKADE R UNNEB. 177 

The next monieut they flitted past like specters, 
leaving him holding his breath, and with a revolver 
still half drawn. 

Jupe was the better runner of the two blacks. 

He gained on the sable spy so swiftly that Tom saw 
that escape could not be effected by running. 

All at once he whirled with a hoarse, tigerish 
ejaculation, and confronted Jupe with uplifted knife. 

" I'se knife proof, you spyin^ nigger!" shot from 
Jupe's throat, as he sprung straight at his enem}', knock- 
ing the knife arm up and dealing him a blow that sent 
him reeling back. 

Black Tom rose almost instantl}'^, but Jupe grappled 
him, and the two sable giants writhed and twisted for 
a few moments in one of the most desperate struggles 
that can be imagined. 

Benthara heard it on the darkened street, and 
bounded forward, eager to help terminate it in Jupe's 
favor, for discover}'-, if not arrest, was liable to take 
place at any moment. 

When he reached the combatants one sprung up and 
confronted him. 

"De spyin' debbil will nebber tell Cap'n Powers 
what him saw^ to-night," said the negro, pointing to the 
form lying motionless at his feet. 

''You've killed him, Jupe." 

" 'Spect so, Massa Bob. It am de only sure way ob 
stoppin' a spy's tongue. Eemember dat we am in 
Nassau, an' dat Black Tom b'longs to Cap'n Dick 
Powers." 

Bentham stooped over the spv for a moment and 
satisfied himself that he was dead. 

He regretted that bis entrance into Nassau had been 



178 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

followed by the death of a human being, but by the 
taking of a life of but little moment to the world at 
large his own had been saved. 

" We must go on, Jupe," he said to the giant negro, 
to whom he now owed lasting friendship. "There may 
be more spies in Nassau." 

"Dat's a fact, Massa Bob. We must go on fo' 
suah." 

Near where the two negroes had decided their com- 
bat was the mouth of a dark alley into which Jupe 
hastily dragged his foe. 

When he rejoined Bentham there was an unmis- 
takable gleam of victory in his eyes. 

Bentham and his dusky companion now secured quiet 
lodgings, and as they were worn out for want of sleep 
they slept nearly all day, and night was falling fast 
when they once more came out upon the streets. 

The twain hurried on without speaking, nor paused 
again until they reached one of the many squares of 
the city. 

They found it well lighted and thronged with 
people, all of whom seemed in a merry mood, for news 
had been received of an important Confederate victory. 

A great many Americans appeared everywhere 
among the crowds, and Bentham was constantly on 
the lookout. 

" Look a leetle ober yer right shoulder, Massa Bob," 
suddenly said Jupe, in low tones, that did not reach 
any other ears than those for which they were spoken. 
" Take a squint at dat dar man standin' by de little 
officer." 

Bentham looked in the direction indicated and saw 
two men — one below the average height, clad in Con« 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 179 

federate naval uniform, the other tall, and dressed in 
a manner that suggested a disguise. 

" Flash Gilmor !" fell from the gunner's lips, after 
he had sazed at the pair — especially at the tall man — 
a moment. "The waters did not ingulf him after his 
brutal deed." 

The man was indeed Flash Gilmor. 

The small officer seemed to be his companion, for 
the pair stood side by side, looking at the many colored 
lanterns that were being run to the top of the pole in 
the center of the plaza or square. 

" Oh, for a sword, face to face with you, ruifian !" 
exclaimed Benthara, and the next moment he turned 
quickly to the negro. 

" Wait here for me, Jupe," he said, and before Jupe 
could utter a remonstrance he was gone. 

"Is de man crazy !" cried the negro, unconsciously 
speaking aloud and causing several bystanders to 
notice him. " Hyer me is, not an hour in de city, an' 
Massa Bob puts off arter de first enemy him sees. 
Dat's no way to carry out a plan !" and Jupe started 
off to find the gunner. 

Meanwhile Bentham, his blood at the boiling point 
and rage tugging at his heartstrings, was making his 
Avay toward Flash Gilmor and his companion. 

" He won't recognize me — 1 know it," the young 
gunner was saying to himself. " I am going to settle 
accounts with him first, and that before dawn," 

A minute later he reached Flash Gilmor's side, and 
jostled him with more spirit than gentility. 

Instantly the Southerner turned and demanded an 
apology in no civil voice. 

" This is my apology !" flashed Bentham, and the 



IBO THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

back of his hand was laid across Gibnor's flushed face. 
" I love to strike a coward wherever I find him !" 

An oath of rage — an expression of indignation from 
the little Confederate captain — nothing more. 

Gilmor dared not resent the blow. 

He realized that a duel would reveal his presence in 
Nassau to captain Powers — one of tlie last thing.s to 
be desired, for the Captain of the Swiftwing knew that 
he had taken Mowbray's life. 

Bentham, after dealing the blow, stepped back and 
gazed at the murderer. 

The little captain stepped forward. 

" Mv friend dare not fight here," he said, addressing 
the gunner, and sending a quick look at Gilmor. " If 
3^ou are spoiling for a figlit, sir, I can accommodate 
you in my friend's stead. I am Captain Nugent of 
the Confederate service." 

Bob Bentham threw a look of contempt at the 
speaker. 

" Me fight you ?" he exclaimed. " I have no quarrel 
with a pygmy. Besides, I would not like to pierce the 
elegiint uniform you wear!" 

With the last word he turned on his heel and left 
Gihnor and the Confederate captain to their amaze- 
ment. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. Ibl 



CHAPTER XXII. 

CATCHING A TARTAR. 

Bentham's blow had beea witnessed by but few 
}3ersons, and the young gunner had disappeared even 
before those few could realize what had happened. 

"Come, Nugent, let us get away from here," said 
Flash Gilmor, addressing his companion, the Con- 
federate captain. " I would give ray right arm if I 
had been in a position to avenge that cowardly stroke. 
I know why it was dealt. The man must be a fool if 
he thinks I cannot penetrate his disguise. This affair 
does not end here ; but, first, let me get out of sight 
of tliese staring people." 

Giiraor almost dragged Captain Nugent from the 
spot. 

'' That man was Bentham, the Yankee gunner, whose 
shot sunk the Swiftwing," Gilmor said, after the twain 
had entered the cabin of a vessel lying in the harbor. 
" I did not recognize him till after he struck ; but 1 am 
not mistaken. I know what brings him to Nassau. 
He has found out what happened on board the Fox- 
hound, and he couldn't control himself when he saw 
me — that's the whole upshot of the matter. I wish I 
hadn't a certain fear before my eyes. I'd like to fight 
Bentham." 

" Why not accommodate him," said the Confederate. 
" Powell is gone, you know." 

'•But Dick Powers still remains. He wants ^^^ '^'» 



182 THE BLOCKADE BUNNEB. 

badly as Powell ever did. He will sail day after to- 
morrow, thank heaven ! Then, 1 will be at liberty to 
fight the Yankee gunner ; and, by my soul ! I'll run 
him through without mercy ! You will stand by me, 
captain ?" 

" Draw on me for any assistance desired," was 
Nugent's reply ; " the drafts will be honored. I would 
have forced Bentham into a personal encounter when 
he insulted you, if I could have done so without com- 
promising your safety, but I dared not, you know." 

" Oi' course ; but when the Destroyer puts to sea, I 
will be at liberty to pay the several debts I owe cer- 
tain individuals here," said Gilraor. "I more than 
half believe that Captain Powers knows that I am 
somewhere in Nassau." 

" I am convinced that he does. That window affair 
Avas exceedingly rash." 

Gilmor smiled. 

" By Jove ! I could not help it, captain," he ex- 
claimed. "I was passing along and caught a glimpse 
of the two girls through the network of plant leaves. 
Curiosity drew me to the window, and I heard Dora's 
opinion of Flash Gilmor. When I beheld Norah alone 
in the room 1 felt like telling her that I was still alive 
to complete the triumph on which I have set ray 
heart. She came to the window and put forth her 
hand to pluck a delicate flower. I encircled her waist 
with my fingers before I could control myself. She 
knew me at once, and starting back with a light cr}', 
she fell to the floor in a swoon. Of course I hurried 
away. After that, that spot was no place for me." 

" As I have said, your adventure was a risk3'^ one. 
I am surprised that nothing has grown out of it," the 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 183 

Confederate captain said, " For some reason or other, 
the two women are keeping secret your presence 
here." 

Gilraor was silent for a moment, during which time 
he poured out and drained a glass of wine, which im- 
mediately lent a strange glitter to his eyes. 

" That little matter we were discussing this after- 
noon must not fall through, captain," resumed Gilmor. 

"JSTo; but doesn't Bentham's arrival complicate 
matters just a little ?" 

" 1 cannot see how. I will fight him first. After 
that the Seabird can sail." 

'' Fix things to suit yourself," smiled Nugent. " I 
am ready to sail at an hour's notice, but, to tell the 
truth. Flash, I'd like to carry that Yankee gunner 
with me." 

"On the same vessel that conveys ISTorah from 
Nassau?" ejaculated Gilmor, staring at Nugent. 
"' Would that not be a risky piece of business?" 

"Not at all!" laughed the little Confederate. "A 
man in irons on board the Seabird could harm no one ; 
but you are determined to fight hira first ?" 

" Yes ! come what may, I will fight hira !" and Flash 
Gilmor leaped to his feet and brought a clinched hand 
down upon the table between them with a vehemence 
that shook the glasses and decanters upon it. " If T 
disarm him and draw some of his blood he shall be 
yours, captain. I'll not try to kill him unless — ^^unless 
he pla3^s the tiger a,nd lunges at my heart." 

" Where will you fight him ?" 

" In the grove on the seashore just beyond the city's 
limits." 

" When ?" 



18i THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

"Any time after the sailiu<^ of the Destroyer. I 
have to wait until Powers has put to sea. I wish that 
man and his new privateer were at the bottom of the 
ocean !'' . 

It was thus determined that Flash Gihnor should 
tight Bentham after the departure of tlie new and 
formidablep rivateer which had been purchased for 
Powers since his arrival at Nassau. 

They went so far as to select the ground and 
name the time — all this without consulting the Union 
gunner. 

They knew that Bentham would not shrink from 
the encounter, for he was eager to meet Flash Gihnor, 
and avenge Mowbray's death. 

It was still dark when the two men left the captain's 
cabin and adjourned to the quarter-^deck with a couple 
of prime cigars. 

The sky w^as overcast, but a delightful breeze blew 
across the bay, which was well studded with water- 
craft of all kinds. 

Gilmor owed the preservation of his life to Captain 
Nugent, of the blockade runner Seabird,and his escape 
from the Foxhound after the killing of Gordon 
Mowbray. 

Fortune or fate favored him, for after rowing hard 
from the Foxhound until near dawn he was picked 
up by the Seabird, Captain Nugent, on her way to 
Nassau. 

Tt happened that Gilmor and the blockade runner 
were old friends, and the meeting at sea proved mutu- 
ally agreeable. 

The Seabird reached Nassau without accident; but 
Gilmor was obliged to move about with caution, for 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 185 

shortly after bis arris'al Captain Powell ran into port, 
having Xora and Captain Powers of the doomed Swift- 
win «• on board. 

Powell did not disturb him, but Powers set to work 
to get a new ship vrhich, when it had been pui-chased, 
he renamed the Destroyer, in accordance with his oath, 
and got ready for sea. 

He commanded a ship superior in build and arma- 
ment to the Swiftwing and he confidentl}^ expected to 
carry everything before him. 

He would avenge the destruction of his first vessel ; 
he would hunt the Avenger down and force her to 
surrender, or send her with her crew to the depths of 
the ocean. 

Flash Gilmor and his companion, who affected the 
uniform of a Confederate captain, though only a 
blockade runner, enjoyed their cigars on the Seabird's 
quarter-deck for some time without molestation. 

Ml at once Captain Xugent stepped forward and 
leaned anxiously over the ship's side. 

The water lay dark and almost rippleless under the 
vessel's keel ; but it was certain that J^ugent's ears had 
caught a suspicious sound. 

There was just light enough on deck to enable 
Gilmor to see his figure leaning over the railing. 

Wh&,t had startled the captain ? 

As the minutes wore away, the young Confederate's 
anxiety. increased, until he at last glided to IS^ugent's 
side. 

At that moment the Seabird's captain turned his 
face toward him. 

'- There's a boat down yonder," he said, in the low-est 
of whispers, which was loud enough to make Gilmor 



186 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

start, "I thought 1 heard it awhile ago. You can't 
hear it now ; neither can I, because it's directly be- 
neath us." 

" What does it mean ?" asked Gilmor. 

" It's the boat of a spy, of course," was the quick 
r^ly in the same tones. " I can make out its outlines 
in spite of the night. There's only one man in it. 
Hold— I'll lix him !" 

Nugent disappeared, but soon came back, bearing 
in his hands a long coil of black rope, at one end of 
which was a slip-loop like tjje noose of a lasso. 

" I'll give the sp}'' a surprise he isn't looking for." He 
smiled, uncoiling the rope. " We'll just pull him up 
on deck and inspect him at our leisure." 

" Can we do it, captain ?" 

" Trust to me." 

The Confederate leaned over the railing of the ship 
and looked downward again. 

The boat and its occupant were still in the position 
he had last seen them. 

Flash Gilmor held his breath. 

A minute later the noose descended from Nugent's 
hands, and all at once a startled cry broke the stillness 
of the night. 

" I have him, Gilmor ! Here ! help me pull him 
up !" exclaimed Nugent. 

Flash Gilmor seized the rope, braced himself beside 
his companion, and both men pulled together. 

It was evident that Nugent had lassoed a spy whose 
resisting powers were rather prodigious. 

The two Confederates had no child's task on their 
hands; but, hand over hand, they gradually drew 
their capture up the Seabird's side. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 187 

" Another foot and we'll see him, Gilmor." 

The last word had scarcely left Nugent's tongue, 
when a dark shape appeared over the top of the ship's 
railing, and tlie next instant a huge figure alighted 
on the deck. 

Nugent and Gilinor were almost thrown down bv 
the sudden slackening of the cord. 

" Great heaven — a negro !" fell from Gilraor's lips. 

•'Yes; a black debbil, too, Massa Flash," was the 
quick retort ; and the following instant a tigerish 
bound carried the sable speaker to the assassin's side. 

"Jupe!" he gasped. 

" Dat's who I am !" 

Before Gilmor could draw a weapon, he was jerked 
off his feet and hurried to the ship's side. 

" Help, IS^ugent !" pealed from his throat in accents 
of terror. " The black fiend is going to kill me." 

The Confederate captain sprung quickly to Gilmor's 
rescue, but before he could render any assistance, the 
young Southerner was pitched headlong into the sea. 

An oath burst from ISTugent's throat. 

" By my soul, you shall pay for that deed !" he ex- 
claimed. 

" Mebbe so, Cap'n Nugent,*' replied the negro, as he 
wheeled upon him. 

The Confederate could not use the sword he had 
drawn, for the black man leaped upon him, dealt him 
three blows in blinding succession, and flung him 
away. 

" Dat's what yer git fur lassoin' a darky," ejacu- 
lated Jupe. "De next time I guess you'll let him go 
away without cotchin' 'ira." 



1S8 2iiii' BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Jupe sprung toward the railing just as a number of 
the crew made their appearance on deck. 

A rush was made for him, but he lowered himself 
over the ship's side, dropped into the boat and rowed 
away. 

Captain Nugent had caught a Tartar, 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 189 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

MOVEMENTS OF PERIL. 

" Well, what did yon discover, Jupe ?" asked 
l^enthara, who was found by the giant negro an hour 
after the events just recorded. 

" Yah, yah ?" was the darky's reply, as his eyes 
twinkled merrily. " You see, Massa Bob, I found a 
boat at de wharf an' I row oat to whar dey tole me 
Cap'n Nugent's ship lay. I seed two little lights on 
de quarter, an' I knowed dat Flash Gilmor, an' de 
cap'n war enjoyin' deir cigars all to demselves, I 
went closer, till I war right under dera, listenin' to all 
dat dey war sayin', for dey didn't lower deir voices, 
but talked as if ole Jupe war away in jN^orf Caroliny. 
But all at once, Massa Bob, suffin' like a snake drop 
ober my shoulders, an' de next rainit I war pulled up- 
ward like a man when he's hung. Golly, but I war 
skeered fo' a minit ; but den I says to myself: ' Dem 
two chaps cotch a Tartar in ole Jupe!' an' suah enuff 
dat's de berv way it turned out, yah, yah, yah ! Jes' 
as I touched de deck Massa Gilmor, de rascal, him 
say : 'Jupe, by heben I' an' I wentfo' him." 

" You didn't kill him, Jupe ?" 

" Guess not, Massa Bob. Ole Jupe pick 'ira up an' 
toss 'im into de sea — dat's all." 

''Over the ship's side?" 

"Ob course! I didn't carry 'im down an' lay 'im 
gently in de water. I wouldn't be so keerful wid 



190 THE BLOCKADE BUNNER. 

such a chap as Flash Gilmor, what shoot ole Mars' 
Mosvbray. Den I turned on Cap'n Nugent, who war 
drawin' his sword. I touched 'ira two or free times 
wid ray fist, an' den toss 'iin away," 

" Overboard «" 

" No, down de deck. De sailors came up den ; dey 
had heard de tussle from below, an' ole Jupe had to 
make tracks fo' de boat. Him git away jes' in time, 
an' hyer he is, Massa Bob, ready fo' de next job." 

Bentham smiled. 

" I didn't expect your expedition to terminate thus, 
Jupe," he said ; '' but you couldn't have done other- 
wise under the circumstances. What did you hear 
Gilraor and the captain say before \'ou were caught?" 

" De}'' war talkin' about you, Massa Bob, Dat 
Flash Gilmor's bound to fight you arter de Destroyer 
sails," 

'• Oho !" ejaculated the young gunner. " He had 
better fight before that event takes place. Well, what 
else, Jupe ?" 

" From what I heard I calculate dat dey war goin' 
ober some plans dey had laid some time afore. Cap'a 
Nugent him tell Flash how him will fix up a stateroom 
fo' a lady passenger him expects to carry from Nassau 
when de Seabird puts to sea." 

" His words can have but one meaning," exclaimed 
Bentham, "Flash Gilmor is at the bottom of the 
whole scheme. Not content with murdering my uncle 
he wants to get Norah in his power. She is the ex- 
pected passenger. Let the rascal do his worst if ho 
can. Jupe, we must go to work to-night," 

"I'se ready, Massa Bob, Jes' work out de plan, an' 
let Jupe know what he's to do," 



THE BLOCKADE EUNNER. 191 

Benthiim and his faithful friend were under the 
roof of a man whom they could trust. 

There were a few hearts in Nassau that beat for the 
Union cause ; but the great majority were in sympathy 
with the Confederacy. 

It was through the few that the loyal cruisers were 
kept posted about the movements of Confederate 
privateers and blockade runners that arrived at and 
departed from the wharves. 

Bentham had been told by Captain Graham, how 
and where to find the Union sympathizers, and after 
Jupe had disposed of Black Tom, Captain Powers' 
spy, the twain lost no time in reaching the house. 

The Unionist received them cordially, and offered 
them concealment and any assistance that lay in his 
power. 

His sympathies were well known, but he stood so 
high in the opinions of the British authorities that, up 
to the night with which we are now dealing, he had 
not been openly molested. 

The Confederacy, however, had dogged his steps 
with its keenest spies, but he had baffled them all. He 
was fearless, cunning and cautious, a match for his 
foes. 

This man entered the room shortly after Jupe had 
finished the narrative of his adventures. 

He was a middle-aged person, handsome, robust and 
tall, and a good natured smile appeared at the corners 
of his mouth as he shut the door. 

" Jupe is back again," said Bentham, addressing the 
newcomer. 

" So I see," was the response ; " but if he did not do 
better work this time than he did when he handled 



X93 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Captain Powers' spy I fear he will not be of much 
service to you, Mr. Benthain." 

The young gunner started. 

"What has happened?" he asked, betraying some 
nervousness. 

•' Black Tom is on board the Destroyer." 

Bentham sprung up. 

'"Golly! didn't I settle dat black spy?" exclaimed 
Jupe, his distended eyes seemingly on the eve of flying 
from their sockets. 

" You certainly did not," was the answer. " After 
you stabbed him, you threw him into a hole that 
yawned before you ?" 

" Yes, massa." 

" Well, that hole led into the cellar of one of the 
most prominent Southern residents of Nassau. Tom 
was found shortl}' afterward, not dead by any means, 
although in a sad condition. He was able to say that 
he belonged to the new privateer, Destroyer, and lie 
was conveyed thither. Captain Powers was there 
when he arrived, and he knows that you are in 
Nassau." 

The sympathizer's last words were addressed to 
Bentham, whose eyes were filled with astonishment. 

" He is hunting me now?" he said, in a voice full of 
defiance. 

" He is in the cit}'. I need not tell you his m.ission." 

The young gunner was silent for a minute. 

He saw the deperate situation of affairs. 

His presence in Nassau was known to his old rival, 
Captain Powers, and that before he had seen Norah, 
to protect wliom he had fearlessl}' entered the lion's 
den. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 193 

The captain of tbe Destroyer was liable to arrive at 
tiie door at any moment ; then his daring expedition 
Avould end in— smoke ! 

" As I have told you, I have heard about you many 
times," said the Unionist, breaking in upon our hero's 
thoughts. " You are a brave man, Robert Bentham, 
and the cause we both serve cannot afford to lose vou. 
You must not fall into Dick Powers' hands. As for 
Norah, I will see that she is protected in spite of Flash 
Gilmor and the privateer. You must leave Nassau." 

"Without seeing Norah — without accomplishing 
anything ? Nev^er !" exclaimed the young gunner. 

" Dat's de talk !" put in Jupe. " We'se hyer fo' a 
purpose, an' all de Captain Powerses in de world ain't 
goin' to skeer us off." 

The Unionist looked serious. 

" I regret your determination — not for my sake at 
all, but wholly for your own," he said, continuing to 
address Bentham. Captain Powers will not leave a 
single stone unturned in his search for you. He will 
make the authorities open my house to him." 

" Then we will leave your home," said Bentham. 
" I do not want to compromise you. No! there are 
other hiding places in Nassau. 1 am not wholly un- 
acquainted with the place." 

The gunner moved toward the door as he finished, 
but the Unionist stepped before him. 

" I do not fear Dick Powers' hunt — don't think so 
for a moment," he said, laying his hand on Bentham's 
arm, and looking him calmly in the eye. " My roof 
shall shelter you while 3'ou stay in Nassau ; but when 
I advised departure I thought I was acting for your 
good. You will not go ?" 



194 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

« I shall stay !" 

Those three words were enough. 

The Unionist moved across the room and opened a 
door of whose existence up to that time the gunner 
was not aware. 

" Dar wasn't a do' dar a minit ago !" ejaculated Jupe, 
astonished, as the sympathizer motioned them into a 
room thus displayed. " Dis am a wonderful house, 
whar de owner kin make do's in a minit in de solid 
wall." 

Having stepped across the mysterious threshold 
Bentham and the darky found themselvt^s in a small, 
dimly lighted room, entirely devoid of furniture. 

The Unionist next raised a trapdoor in the floor, 
revealing a dark, cavernous opening, and llie head of 
a flight of steps. 

"We will descend," he said to Bentham, who in- 
stantly clutched his arm. 

"This is flight!" said the young gunner, hv^sitating 
— even drawing back. 

"It is the avenue to safety," w^as the answer. " You 
are still in Nassau ; you are not going to leave it. 
Follow me !" 

Thus answered, Bentham descended the steps at tiie 
Unionist's beck, he was in turn followed by Jupe, who 
entered the underground apartment with many fears. 

The trapdoor shut without noise above the party 
who stood at the foot of the stair in a dark place whose 
dimensions they could not see. 

The Avenger's gunner felt a hand on his arm, and 
a moment later he was treading a corridor as dark as 
midnight. 

Jupe was stepping at his heels. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 195 

This journey terminated at the end of twenty min- 
utes, and the sympathizer led the way up a flight of 
steps into a room well lighted by a lamp. 

Jupe let slip a sigh of relief, but did not speak. 

" Powers will never find you here, unless " 

The speaker paused, for a gentle rap sounded on a 
door at his right. 

- Stepping lightly across the room, he opened the 
portal an inch, and Benthara caught a glimpse of a 
young girl's face. 

" Thank heaven for your coming, father !" said a 
woman's voice. " Three men have been in the garden 
for an hour." 

The Unionist started and turned to Bentham. 

"You see how 1 am watched," he said with a 
smile. 

At that moment a loud knocking startled every 
one. 

" Heavens ! They have discovered all !" gasped the 
girl. 

The 3^oung gunner drew his revolver and prepared 
for a desperate resistance. 



196 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER XXIY. 

HUNTED DOWN. 

It was, indeed, a critical moment for Bob Benthara. 

The house which they had reached by traversing 
the underground passage belonged to the Union 
sympathizer, like the one they had left. 

Discovery so soon was an event entirely unlooked- 
for. 

It was more than likely that the three men seen in 
the garden by the girl during her father's absence 
were spies in Captain Powers' employ. 

The loud knocking still echoed throughout the room 
when the young gunner stepped forward with drawn 
revolver. 

" Ask who is there," said the Unionist calmly, ad- 
dressing his daughter. 

The young girl went fearlessly to the door. 

"Who are you ?" she asked. 

There was no reply for a moment, but subdued 
voices told that a number of men were holding a con- 
sultation outside. 

" They are not our friends — that is certain," said 
the Unionist, glancing at the gunner, who stood erect 
with eyes fastened on the door. " If you will go back 
to the tunnel, I will admit them. You and Jupe can 
follow the passage back to the other house. It cannot 
mislead you." 

Bentham hesitated. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 197 

"Yes, go!" cried the young girl, springing toward 
him, and laying a white hand on his arm, "For 
heaven's sake, sir, carr}' out father's instructions. We 
must let the authorities search the house," 

"Ain't you going to open the door?" assailed 
the ears of all before Bentham could reply, 

" Yes, sir," said the daughter, then adding to 
Bentham, in a low tone : " To the tunnel — quick ! 
You have not a moment to lose !" 

The young gunner was about to obey despite his 
Inclinations, which were to stay and fight it out with 
the men on the outside, when a heavy body fell against 
the door and a loud voice exclaimed : 

" We can't parley all night. Business is business. 
The Yankee gunner shall not escape us!" 

" No !" grated Bentham ; " the Yankee gunner will 
stay and show his hand. Here, Jupe, stand ready 
to give these fellows a warm reception when they 
come in." 

The giant negro sprung forward with an ejaculation 
of eagerness, Avhile the cheeks of the Unionist and his 
daughter grew pale. 

The next moment the door was heavily thumped 
the second time, the lock gave way, and, as it flew 
open, a tall, heavily-bearded and dark-faced man fell 
headlong into the room. 

Others promptl}^ succeeded him until, in a moment, 
six had entered. 

" We want that infamous Yankee gunner !" cried 
the head intruder, as he faced the Unionist. " Wo 
are Confederate sailors, and " 

" I am here !" interrupted Bentham, presenting his 
revolver so near the ruffian's face that he started back 



198 THE BLOCKADE BUNXEB. 

with surprise. " If you seek the chief gunner of the 
United States cruiser Avenger, you need go no 
further." 

"Great heavens! Bob Bentham himself 1" 

The gunner smiled. 

" Dat's jes' who he am," put in Jupe, who faced 
the surprised group like a lion about to spring. " Fse 
heart an' soul wid Massa Bob whatever he does ; so if 
you men want 'im, hyer he is." 

" You surrender, of course, Mr. Bentham," said the 
leader of the hunters, throwing a quick glance through 
his party as if to call the gunner's attention to its 
superiority. " Our orders are to secure you." 

A smile curled Bentham's lips. 

"Who sent you out ?" he asked. 

" Captain Powers, of the Destroyer." 

"I thought so. Tell Captain Powers that 1 do not 
surrender to his agents." 

"Then " 

" Yes, sir, I resist!" was the thrilling interruption; 
and the revolver was suddenly lifted and thrust into 
the faces of the group. " Gentlemen, I do not desire 
bloodshed, but T am not your prisoner. The man who 
lifts a hand or moves falls dead where he stands !" 

" Dat's de' talk dat means sumffin'," cried Jupe. 
" Gemmen, Massa Bentham hab got more shoot in 
dem eyes of his'n den any oder man in Nassau." 

Dark looks fell upon the negro from the eyes of the 
Confederate band, but no one replied to His words. 

" We were not to shed blood," said the leader, 
addressing Bentham. " You have the drop on us, and 
a human life should be valued above all things. About 
face, boys. We will report to the captain." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 199 

The brawny sailors turned away with growls of 
mingled disappointment and rage, but the fierce looks 
that they darted at Bentham told them that the drama 
had not been played through. 

"I will not say good-night," said the leader, as he 
paused on the threshold and turned to the little group 
that occupied the room. " We may meet again before 
morning, I may add that Captain Powers is deter- 
mined to carry out his plans. Your servant's knife, 
Mr. Bentham, failed to do its work thoroughly." 

Then, before any one could reply, he turned away, 
and the sympathizer's daughter shut the door behind 
the gang. 

For a moment after this unexpected riddance no- 
body spoke. 

The situation seemed to fall like a pall over all. 

What was to be done ? 

"Golly! I war itchiu' to gib dat head Confed a 
thumpin' !" exclaimed Jupe, showing his sable fists. 
"Didn't I know 'im, de ole rapscallion? He war 
Jasper Jones, de man what cheated Massa Mowbray 
outen six niggers befo' de wah. I come mighty near 
bein' one ob dem coons, an' now I'd like to pulverize 
'im fo' dat trick. Dey'U come back — no mistake 'bout 
dat." 

" That is true, Jupe," said the girl. " Those men 
have not gone off for good. Father, Mr. Bentham 
must not be here when they return." 

" I will not be," was the gunner's quick response. 
" As I have said, I do not wish to compromise you. I 
should have retired to the tunnel at your suggestion, 
my friend, but those fellows made my blood flow like 
molten lava through my veins, and " 



200 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

"There!" was the quiet interruption, and the 
sympathizer even smiled as he spoke. " I fear not for 
myself. You see those men didn't have anything like 
a search warrant from the English authorities here. 
We should have been warned in ample time if they 
had. That is why they took me by surprise. I am 
convinced that they will come again determined to 
secure you." 

" They will subject your daughter and yourself to 
insult if I am not found." 

" They dare not go that far ; and nobody knows 
that better than Captain Dick Powers," was the 
response. " They will search the house. I shall not 
resist, for reasons best known to myself. They might 
even discover the tunnel." 

" Hark !" said the girl. 

The Unionist bounded instantly toward the room 
into which Bentham and Jupe had lately emerged 
from the subterranean passage. 

The gunner saw him stoop and listen intently with 
one ear near the floor. 

" Captaip Powers has two bands on the lookout for 
you, Bentham," he said, rising suddenly and facing the 
anxious gunner. " The other one has discovered the 
tunnel, I hear them in it now." 

"There must be a traitor somewhere," said Ben- 
tham. 

The Unionist said nothing ; but his brows darkened. 

"Follow my instructions this time and ask no ques- 
tions," he said in hurried but serious tones to Bentham. 
"It is a good thing that you did not take to the tunnel 
awhile ago." 

" But you^ " 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 201 

" I tell you that Jennie and I are able to take care 
of ourselves. Follow me — no questions, mind you. I 
will not let you stay here another moment. Come." 

He led the way across the room. 

" Go with father,'*^ said the girl imploringly to the 
young gunner. " He will direct you to a house which 
all the Confederates in Nassau dare not enter without 
authority." 

In another minute Bentham and Jupe had left the 
house, and stood in the dark garden behind it. 

" I am sure that the coast is clear," whispered the 
Unionist. "Follow this path — you see it?" 

" Yes." 

''It will lead you to a narrow street. Take to the 
right and count the houses on your left hand. At the 
tenth one stop, look behind you carefully, then enter 
the yard and knock thrice at the door. It will be 
opened by a young woman to whom 3^ou will say : 
'We come from Throxton,' as you enter. You will 
then be safe. Go 1 I will meet you again. Recollect 
that you have not yet fought Flash Gilmor, and that 
the Destroyer may sail the high seas under the Stars 
and Stripes, and not with the new flag at her peak." 

A pressure of hands followed the last words, and 
Bentham and his faithful companion soon found them- 
selves traversing the gloomy street which they found 
at the foot of the Unionist's garden. 

We may imagine the eagerness w4th which the fear- 
less young gunner counted the houses at his left. 

In front of the tenth one they halted according to 
the Unionist's instructions, and having made sure that 
they were not observed, Bentham went forward and 
gave the three raps. 



20)2 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Almost immediately the door was opened by a 
young girl of exceeding loveliness, to whom the gunner 
bowed with his foot on the threshold. 

" We come from Throxton," he said. 

There was a low exclamation of assent, and as the 
door was still held open Jupe went forward. 

As the door closed behind them Bentham caught 
sight of a female figure on a sofa, and a minute after- 
ward a young lady stood before him. 

" Norah !" cried the young man, starting back.. 

"Robert !" was the response. 

" Wal, ef it tain't de young missus may I neber see 
ole Caroliny any mo' !" ejaculated Jupe. 

It was a strange, unexpected meeting. 

For a motnent the lovers stood face to face, then 
their hands and lips met. 

The girl who had opened the door looked wonder- 
ingly on. 

" This is Mr. Bentham, the Yankee gunner, Dora," 
said -Norah, turning to Captain Powell's niece. "I 
am sure he is a hunted man, and " 

" He is safe here !" she said calmly. 



THE BLOVKADE ET/NNER. 203 



CHAPTER XXY. 

CAPTAIN powers' NEW SPY. 

Captain Powers was determined to unearth Bob in 
Nassau. 

He had secured a new vessel, which was to more 
than take the place of the Swiftwing on the seas. 

This ship, called the Destroyer, as we have already 
informed the reader, lay at the wharf almost ready 
for sea. 

Her sides were plated, her smokestack and decks 
well protected, and she carried the best guns that 
money could procure. 

This was the vessel destined by her captain to be- 
come mistress of the seas — overcome the Avenger, and 
sink her beneath the waves that now rolled restlessly 
over the Swiftwing. 

Powers had recruited a crew on whom he could 
depend. 

It consisted of men who had seen some desperate 
service, and who were ready to engage in any enter- 
prise that offered itself. 

They all knew the man under whom they had 
enlisted, for Dick Powers had a reputation for daring 
which lifted him high in the estimation of thousands. 

A part of this crew were the men who had driven 
Benthara and Jupe from the Union sympathizer's 
house, forcing them to take refuge elsewhere. 

Another portion of the band entered the other housa 



304 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

and by diligent searching discovered the tunnel, into 
which they plunged, hoping to overtake the gunner. 

" Foiled in their attempts to capture Bentham, the 
sailors went back to Powers with their report. 

He listened with flashing eyes and clinched teeth. 

" So he escaped you, eh ?" he said. " You found 
him, but he got away. Why didn't you set a watch 
on the house when you left ? Never raind ! he shall 
not escape me. I will make Nassau the warmest place 
he was ever in. I will run him to earth, for I do not 
intend to leave port until I can carry him with me 
ironed in the Destroyer's hold." 

This was a resolve which Captain Powers deter- 
mined to carry out. 

He forgot in his rage to send the sailors back to the 
trail, but descended to his cabin, where a giant negro 
lay on a pallet on the floor. 

" Wal, Marse Powers, di«l ye cotch de rascal ?" asked 
the black, as he turned and looked at the privateer. 

" Not yet, Tom." 

" Him got clear off, eh ?" 

" For awhile — that is all." 

" An' Jupe de debbil wid 'im ?" 
• " Yes." 

The. wounded negro grated his teeth. 

" I'se gwine to die, Marse Powers, but I wants to 
feel Jasper's throat first," was hissed from between the 
darky's teeth. " Jes' let me git my black claws dar, 
an' Fll cross de riber widout a murmur. Dar's a 
million knives stickin' in my back dis blessed minute, 
but it won't be fo' long, Marse Powers — not fo' long. 
Ole Tom's nigh de riber now, bery nigh ; but him 
want to clutch Jupe's throat afo' he crosses." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. -^ 205 

It was evident that the spy was near his end, for a 
strange rattling in his throat followed the last word. 

Captain Powers bestowed another glance upon him 
and left the cabin — left the man who had served him 
faithfully to die alone. 

Ten minutes later the privateersman Avas in Nassau. 

He was unattended and hurried down the darkened 
streets as if eager to reach a certain point within a 
given time. 

"Nassau isn't large enough to afford him a hiding 
place !" he muttered, his thoughts returning to his 
enemy. "If this city was London, he should not 
escape me. My men failed, and that when they stood 
face to face with him, but I will not. I want to pay 
him back for that sword-thrust on the banks of Cape 
Fear. By heavens, he shall discover that I pay my 
debts with the interest of vengeance !" 

A short distance further on Powers knocked at the 
door of a house that stood back from the street, with 
a garden in front of it. 

There were no lights about the premises to show 
that they were inhabited ; but this did not deter the 
captain. 

His raps had scarcely ceased when the door w^as 
opened — just wide enough to admit a man — and he 
sprung inside. 

" Captain Powers !" exclaimed a voice as the priva- 
teersman halted beyond the threshold. 

" It is I, Peter. Where is Mardo «" 

The man who confronted the visitor in the dimly 
lighted and almost bare room disappeared for a mo- 
ment to usher in a dark-skinned, snake-eyed man who 
had the movements of a serpent. 



206 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

He was a Malay — this Mardo — a born spy and 
devil. He knew every hole and corner of Nassau, and 
the creese that he carried at his belt had doubtless 
taken the life of more than one man while he served 
different masters. 

He instantly recognized Powers, whom he approached 
and touched with a thug's smile. 

" Does the captain want Mardo ?" he inquired. 

" I do," was the reply, as Powers made a sign for 
the person who had admitted him to retire, which sign 
was obeyed. 

He was alone with the Malay, who had been brought 
to Nassau five years previous to our story by a sea 
captain who wanted a rival hunted down. 

We need not record what passed between the pair 
in that old house, so dark outside and so dimly lighted 
within. 

Suffice to say that half an hour later a crouching 
figure went through the Union sympathizer's garden 
like a bloodhound on the trail. 

Escape a Malay spy if you can ! 

The man who stood in the old house waiting im- 
patiently for the spy's return was Captain Dick 
Powers. 

He was trusting his sailors no longer ; but had put 
all his dependence in one man whose eyes seemingly 
could look through a stone wall 

The crouching Malay was on the right trail. 

He knew that two men had crossed the garden and 
gained the street beyond, but there his trail seemed to 
end. Still he did not despair ! 

He had the perseverance of the born sleuth ; there- 
fore he kept on. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 207 

With the noiseless tread of the panther he crept 
from house to house, listening under the window sills, 
and among the trees which fronted nearly all the 
residences. 

His journey took him to Captain Powell's house. 

He crouched at one of the windows. 

Why did he start, and what made his eyes twinkle 
so maliciously ? 

Had the crawling Malay spy discovered anything? 

One thing is certain — that his trail ended here. 

He listened beneath no more windows, but glided 
away and soon disappeared. 

If the Malay had gcod eyes, his ears were also 
excellent. 

When close to the old house where Captain Powers 
awaited him, he stopped and listened. 

Had he been followed ? 

At any rate, after listening awhile he drew his creese 
and stepped behind a tree near by. 

There he stood waiting for the person approaching 
to come up. 

That individual did not seem willing to oblige Mar- 
do, for all at once the footsteps ceased ; they sounded 
again a moment later, but going back. 

"Spy 'fraid to come on!" growled the Malay, dis- 
appointedly. "Santissima! Mardo will find him if 
him afraid to meet Mardo." 

So saying the yellow leopard turned and went back 
after the person who had evidently been following 
him. 

The Malay's feet gave forth no sound as eager 
bounds sent him swiftly forward. 

Pie still carried the naked creese in his right hand — 
ready to bury it in the back of his victim. 



208 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

At last his eyes caught sight of the person who had 
tracked him. 

The man was moving toward Captain Powell's 
house, wholly oblivious of the terrible danger that 
threatened him. 

All at once with a leap not unlike the airy spring of 
the jaguar, Mardo went through the air, and alighted 
on the shoulders of the spy. 

There was an exclamation of horror uttered in a 
' thick voice, and the person attacked whirled while it 
still sounded. 

" Look heah, you mean spy, I'se Jupe !" and a black 
band clutched the Malay's uplifted arm before it could 
drive the creese home. 

Mardo uttered an oath of madness ! 

He attempted to free himself, but the giant negro 
was too quick for him. 

If the Malay possessed the agility of a cat, the black 
had the strength of a lion, and coupled to it was the 
rage of a wounded king of beasts. 

How the eyes of the two spies glittered as they 
glared at one another in the light that came from a 
window near by ! 

"You no nigger dis time !" said Jupe, unable to 
decide his assailant's nationality. "But I know what 
you'se arter, all de same. Want Massa Bob, eh ? 
Cap'n Powers sent 3'ou, mebbe." 

At the mention of the privateer's name the Malay 
started, and again attempted to use his knife ; but the 
black prevented. 

" You go see Massa Bob, dat's sartin," continued 
Jupe, whose grip could not be shaken loose. " Him 
anxious to see what kind ob spies Cap'n Dick find in 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 209 

Nassau. Heah, no squirmin' fo' dis chile kin hold you 
fast till Gabrul blow his horn, if him wants to." 

While the last sentence was falling from the darky's 
tongue he was walking rapidly away, carrying Mardo 
with him, despite his struggles, which momentarily 
grew fainter, for one of the sable hands, which had the 
pressing power of a vice, was at his throat, almost as 
delicate as a woman's. 

A few steps brought Jupe and his prisoner to Cap- 
tain Powell's house. 

He sprung toward it — and struck the door three 
times with his foot. 

A light cry from the lips of a woman was h«ard, as 
Jupe strode through the open door. 

" Heavens ! it is Mardo the Mg,lay !" exclaimed 
Dora. 

" Dis yaller dogprowlin' round too promiscuously!" 
answered Jupe, surveying the startled trio whom he 
confronted — Bentham and the two women. " Him 
spring on Jupe like a catamount ; but dis chile toa 
quick fo' him. I'll fix him now !" 

At that instant the darky raised Mardo as high 
above his head as his long sable arras would elevate 
him. 

The spy almost touched the ceiling. 

Fire flashed from Jupe's eyes. 

" Him no git away like Black Tom did !" he grated. 

Bentham saw the negro's intention, and bounded 
forward to prevent the deed about to be committed. 

'• Hold Jupe !" he exclaimed. " No crime in this 
house !" 

" No — no ! Massa Bob. Dis snake shan't crawl 
after you any mo' !" replied Jupe, retreating from b^ 
fore the young gunner. 



210 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

The next moment the negro seemed to increase 
several inches in stature, and all at once Mardo the 
Malay was thrown upon the floor with a force great 
enough to break ever}^ bone in his body. 

" Now let de yaller serpint crawl if he kin !" ex- 
claimed Jupe, casting a look of triumph upon the 
privateer's spy, who lay on the floor apparently dead, 
but with his knife, the deadly creese, still clutched in 
his right hand. 

The two women started back with blanched faces. 

" You have killed him, Jupe !" exclaimed Bentham. 

" Dat seems to be a fact, Massa Bob," was the 
giant's answer, as he grinned. " Wonder what Cap'n 
Dick 'd say ef he could look in heah an' see de Malay 
man on de fio' — dead ?" 

If Jupe had failed to finish the captain's first spy, 
Black Tom, he had made sure work of the second. 

Mardo the Malay was dead, killed by that crushing 
descent to the floor from the hands of his captor. 

After years of spying the yellow leopard had met 
his match, and Jupe had again saved Bentham's life. 

If Captain Powers would secure his rival, the loyal 
young gunner, he must first rid the world of Jupe, 
■who seemed destined to baflle him on every occasion. 

Ah ! he may wait in the little old house for his 
yellovv spy. 

He would never come again. 



l-Ua BLOCKABE RUNNER. 2il 



CHAPTEE XXVI. 

CAPTAIN POWELL BOBS UP SERENELY. 

While the events that occupy the two last chapters 
were transpiring in Nassau, a boat rowed by two men 
was approaching the cit\^. 

One of the men was Foulweather Tom, late pilot of 
the Foxhound ; the other was well dressed, like a ship's 
master, but his garments had at one time been sat- 
urated with f.ter, as could easily be seen. 

He rowed with his companion, and their strokes 
sent the boat swiftlj'^ through the water. 

" We're getting in, Tom," the well-dressed man said 
to his comrade. " A few more strokes will take us to 
the dock. The Foxhound's at the bottom of the sea. 
She did not do that accursed Yankee ship any good. 
They didn't hoist. their flag over her. By Jove! I 
hated to blow the old ship up ; but I was bound to 
stick to my word. They think I went to pieces with 
the bark, no doubt, therefore they didn't hunt for me 
long. Nobody saw me drop into the sea after I 
started the fuse that let the hammer fall on the 
torpedo's cap after it had burned a certain distance. 
They'll be surprised when they learn that Captain 
Powell is still engaged in his old business. Pll havea 
new ship soon, Tom, and over m\' cabin door I'll write 
the words you used to see on board the Foxhound : 
' This ship will never be taken by the enemy.' " 

The pilot looked in Powell's face. 



213 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" "Will there be a torpedo in the new ship's hold, 
cap'n ?" he asked. 

Powell smiled grimly, 

" I wouldn't go to sea without one," he answered. 
" But look yonder, Tom — the lights of Nassau !" 

The blockade runner pointed to the many lights of 
the island city which were reflected in the water like 
myriads of stars. 

The pilot, whose escape from the Foxhound had 
been more miraculous than Powell's, looked ahead, but 
said nothing. 

He was evidently thinking of the terrible torpedo 
which would be placed in the hold of the new blockade 
runner. 

Ralph Powell had clambered over his ship's side 
after lighting the fuse which was to destroy her. 

He swam rapidlj'^ away, and was some distance from 
the bark when the awful explosion took place, and 
consequently out of harm's way. 

Spars, timbers, and pieces of iron filled the air every- 
where for a moment, and then fell like a shovver into 
the sea. 

He had survived the destruction of his ship ! 

By and by he reached shore, where he was subse- 
quently joined by Foulweather Tom. 

Mutual congratulations followed over their escape, 
and fortune sent a boat to take them from the scene. 

The blockade runner was saved to the Confederac}'^, 
and he would yet bring it succor time and again from 
across the seas. 

The little boat and its occupants were rapidly near- 
ing Nassau. 

The master of the Foxhound was eager to set foot 
an shore again. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 213 

His desire increased as the boat shot over the water 
almost noiselessly. He could hardly restrain himself. 

The boat was passing under the bows of a vessel 
that lay at anchor in the bay when loud voices were 
heard, and a heavy body fell into the water. 

"That was a man, cap'n," said Tom. "Shiver ray 
toplights ! if he fell into the sea of his own accord. 
Didn't you hear a tusslin' on deck jes' before he hit 
the water?" 

'* Let us help hira," said Powell, for the person who 
had fallen into the bay was struggling with the waves 
a short distance away. 

The boat was instantly put about, and rapidly ap- 
proached the unfortunate man. 

"There he is, cap'n ! He's raakin' for the bark!" 
exclaimed Jack, whose keen e3^es had caught sight of 
a human being swimming toward a vessel. 

" I see him ! Pull away, Tom ! He must be picked 
up!" 

The person in the water did not seem very anxious 
to be rescued, for, instead of waiting for the boat, he 
was putting forth every effort to gain the vessel over 
whose sides he had fallen. 

He was baffled, however, for the strong arms of 
Powell and his sailor sent the boat between him and 
the vessel, and he suddenly found himself headed off. 

" We're here to save you !" said the blockade run- 
ner, leaning forward and clutching the man's shoulder. 
" AVe don't belong to j'^our ship — that's a fact — but — 
Great heavens ! it is Flash Gilraor !" 

At that selfsame moment a cry of recognition rang 
from the throat of the man in the water. 

" Captain Powell I" 



214 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" It^s nobody else," was the response, and the 
speaker's clutch tightened on Gilmor's shoulder. " I'm 
willing to lose the Foxhound for the chance of finding 
you again. Fortune favored you the night you escaped 
after killing Mowbray; but Nemesis has thrown you 
into my hands. Here, Jack, help me pull this assas- 
sin in !" 

Flash Gilmor would have resisted if strength would 
have saved him ; but he was completely in the power 
of the men in the boat. 

He was pulled in by brute force, for he did not as- 
sist himself in any way, and as he was placed on the 
bottom of the boat, Powell and the pilot took up the 
oars again, and sent the craft lying from the spot. 

Flash Gilmor thus fell into the hands of the man 
whom he most dreaded — the man on board whose ship 
he had committed a most brutal murder. 

He knew that Mowbray and Powell were old friends 
at the time of the former's death, and, therefore, he 
could expect no mercy at the captain's hands. 

For several minutes he lay silent and sullen in the 
boat, glaring at his captors, but especially at Powell, 
with the smothered rage of a thwarted tiger. 

" I would like to know by what authority you take 
me to Nassau ?" he said sullenly. 

The blockade runner smiled. 

" The authority that vengeance bestows, of course," 
the captain answered. " Froth at the mouth, and 
curse Powell and fate as you pleUse, Flash Gilmor. I 
Avas Mowbray's friend. I have a right to avenge his 
death. Nobody saw you commit the crime. You 
would set up the plea of self-defense ; but a court will 
never hear you." 



THE BLOCKADE R UNNER. 215 

" What do you threaten ?" asked Gilmor. 

"Death — something vilhiins of your stripe never 
contemplate without shuddering." 

Gilmor said nothing, but watched Powell with the 
glaring eyes of a ruffian. 

"It was all for the girl — JSTorah," continued Pow. :"'. 
"The guardian first— the ward next. Having kii!;-' 
one, you would more than kill the other. But your 
course is run. This night is your last on earth. I will 
kill you, unless the devil himself comes to your relief 
and takes you from my grasp." 

Flash Gilmor nursed his rage in silence ; and the 
boat soon lay alongside the dock. 

"Where are you about to take me?" demanded Gil- 
mor, when they had disembarked at a secluded wharf. 

The neighborhood was dark and deserted, and Flash 
saw that his captor would do pretty much as he pleased 
without great fear of interruption. 

" You will see presently," returned Powell, in stern 
tones. 

" Do you mean to murder me ?" Gilmor said, in de- 
pressed accents. 

" I mean to kill you," was the reply. 

" That's the same thing." 

" No ; I shall give you a chance for your life. I 
will strike no man down in cold blood." 

"A duel?" said Flash, eagerly catching at the faint 
hope conveyed b}'^ Powell's words, as a drowning man 
grasps at a straw. 

" You have said it ; yes." 

" You are generous. I accept the issue with pleas- 
ure," said Gilmor, who was an expert swordsman and 
a crack shot. 



216 THE BLOCKADE B UNNEB. 

^ou fancy you may escape, eh ?" 
'hile there's life there's hope," replied Flash, 
" and I wish to live as well as any other man." 

" I dare say ; but you flatter yourself in this case. 
You cannot escape me." 

"At least I shall be able to defend my life. I ask 
no more than that of any man," said Gilmor defiantly. 

During this brief conversation they had been rapidly 
making their way toward one end of the city, not very 
far removed from the docks. 

" Here, Tom, we turn down this street," said Powell 
to his pilot. 

The party left the deserted thoroughfare through 
which they had passed from the wharf and entered a 
narrow street lined with marine junk shops, ship 
chandlery stores, with here and there a low dram-shop. 

The place seemed filled with a saline odor quite in 
keeping with its mercantile character. 

Many of the stores were still open and the second- 
hand wares exposed for sale. 

Ever3'thing, from a needle for sewing canvas to an 
old iron cannon, seemed to be offered at a price phe- 
nomenal for its cheapness. 

Of clothing there was an abundance, and Jack could 
fill his slop bag without any great loss of time in the 
choosing. 

Rough blue jackets, with mother-of-pearl buttons, 
and oilskin hats seemed to predominate. 

The windows were filled with a heterogeneous mass 
of rubbish which had evidently once seen efficient use, 
and had been parted with by the original owners when 
they got hard pressed. 

There were pawnshops also, dark and dingy looking 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 217 

■places, huddled against their neighbors in a deprecating 
way, as though apologizing for the necessity of their 
presence. 

The- street was filled with sailors in all stages of in- 
ebriety, and the dramshops aforesaid were crowded by 
blockade runners who had not yet parted with their 
last coin. 

Lights flashed through these grimy, smoky dens, 
and strains of music, such as it was, floated into the 
purer atmosphere outside. 

These scenes were familiar to the three men who 
moved and elbowed their way through the street. 

Fifty pairs of ^ eyes recognized Captain Powell and 
his pilot, and their salutations and remarks proved 
that these two were heroes to the nomadic denizens of 
sailor town. 

Had the blockade runner been in the mood and 
given the word a dozen pair of horny hands would 
have made an end of Flash Gilmor then and there, 
without the least ceremony or an inquiry as to the 
justification of such a lawless act. 

And Gilmor knew it, too, though he had no fear of 
such a result. 

He knew that Powell was incapable of treachery. 

He had passed his word that the issue was to take 
the form of a duel, and his word was his bond, as 
everybody acquainted with the blockade runner knew. 

From this marine thoroughfare they passed to an- 
other street of much quieter aspect. 

Here were shipping oflices and small warehouses, all 
closed for the^day. 

After walking for some distance down the street tho 
trio drew up before a house well fronted with treeSo 



gib THE BLOCKADE BUNNER. 

It was a large, two-story building, and the only- 
light visible inside came from one of the lower windows. 

The men were admitted in response to a knock from 
Powell. 

" We go upstairs, Flash," said the blockade runner, 
leading the way to a flight of steps almost directly 
ahead. 

Gilmor did not appear to be a prisoner any longer. 

He seemed to know what was upstairs, for he went 
up the steps with much eagerness Arisible in his eyes. 

The trio had entered a building in which scores of 
men then serving in the Confederate navy had taken 
their first lessons in swordsmanship. 

The room that awaited them on the second floor ex- 
tended the entire length of the building. 

It was dimly lighted, but Powell soon increased the 
light, revealing a number of sword-racks, well supplied 
with blades of all kinds. Some revolvers were also 
visible. 

'" You know the place, I see — you have been here 
before," said the blockade runner, noticing the rapid 
glance of recognition which Flash Gilmor sent round 
the room. 

" The old place has a familiar look," was the reply ; 
" but I believe we came here for a purpose." 

" Yes — to fight ! Select your weapon." 

Did a gleam of satisfaction light up Powell's eyes 
when he saw Gilmor step toward a case containing 
some revolvers ? 

If so, it soon disappeared, for, instead of removing a 
revolver from the case, Gilmor took a splendid sword 
from the rack. 

"I am ready," he said, whirling upon Powell with 
the air of a duellist sure of his man. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 319 

Captain Powers seized a weapon similar to that 
secured by his antagonist, and then the two men stood 
face to face. 

" Tom, stand by the door. This is to be a fight to 
the death. Should I be defeated it is my command 
that this man may depart unmolested. You under- 
stand ?" 

" Ay, ay, captain ; it shall be as you say," said the 
pilot, taking up his station. 

" You heard what I said. Flash G-ilmor. You are at 
liberty to go if you best me in this affair. But I 
don't think you will have the chance to avail yourself 
of my offer, for as I have already told you, I have 
made up my mind to kill you, and4 mean every word 
of it, be you the devil himself at the sword. 

Gilmor simply smiled. 

He felt easy in mind over the result, but he was yet 
to learn something new at the science he fancied him- 
self the master of. 

Flash Gilmor was no coward, and in the present 
instance did not think he would have to sell his life 
dearly. 

He had made up his mind to run Powell through the 
body. 



2^0 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE DUEL TO THE DEATH. 

For a breathless moment the duellists stood face to 
face. 

The pilot was the only spectator. 

" Are you ready ?" asked the blockade runner. 

" I am ready !" 

" Then at it we go. Look out !" 

The next instant blade encountered blade. 

From the first the combat wasjiot. 

Flash Gilmor fought with the science of an experi- 
enced swordsman, but Powell's thrusts, blows and 
strokes came so thick and fast, and were so skillfully 
managed, that Gilraor was forced to recoil. 

The blockade runner seemed to be transformed into 
a veritable devil incarnate with the weapon. ; 

His blade writhed upon that of his adversary like 
a squirming snake. 

No one but such an expert as Gilmor could have 
withstood !nm five minutes. 

He would have beaten down their guard and pierced 
them in the twinkling of an eye. 

That Gilmor was surprised and discomfited by the 
discovery that his opponent was a master at the art 
goes without saying. 

It was a perfect revelation to him, and the contest 
assumed a graver aspect than he could have suspected. 

Powell v/as strong, of great endurance, with nerves 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 221 

and muscles of steel, and far more flexible than any 
one would have supposed in a man of his build ; and 
furthermore he was desperately in earnest. 

Mowbray's murderer ground his teeth and parried 
as best he could the strokes of his antagonist. 

"I never saw the captain fight that way before," 
muttered Tom " He must be losing his head." 

No ; Captain Powell was bound to kill his antago- 
nist — that was all, 

Gilmor had all he could do to maintain a successful 
defense without attempting to take the initiative 
himself. 

He was soon wounded on his sword arm, again on 
his wrist. 

Then the captain's sword point reached his right 
cheek, slightly drawing blood. , 

Gilmor began to lose his coolness by degrees; the 
contest was too one-sided to suit his views. 

He felt that he had better make a desperate effort, 
than to be reduced by slow degrees, even if he paid 
for it with his life. 

In a word he thought it was better to be struck, so 
to speak, by the tiger's paw than to be worried to 
death piecemeal by jackals. 

And so steadying himself he began new tactics, 
and for awhile the contest took on an aspect more 
favorable to himself. 

Powell seemed to be less skillful at defense than 
attack. 

Gilmor perceived his advantage and smiled that 
old dangerous smile which had preceded the murder 
of Gordon Mowbray. 

Powell slowly retreated, step by step, and the flash 



222 THE BLOCKADE BIJNNEB. 

of the weapons took on the gleam of fire under the 
flickering gaslights. 

Foul weather Tom began to have misgivings as to 
the issue, and his mahogany-hued hands worked 
nervously as he watched the deadly encounter. 

A quick cut of Gilraor's wounded Powell in his 
sword hand. 

Then like a tiger who has tasted blood he quickly 
resumed his savage attack, and Flash found the tables 
turned on himself again. 

" What! can't I avenge Mowbray ?" 

The answer was a defiant look. 

Powell's attack now became actually irresistible. 

Flash was forced almost to the wall ; he could not 
withstand such a terrible assault. 

" You see I have you, assassin !" cried the blockade 
runner. " Tom and I will be the only persons to leave 
this room alive." 

At that instant Gilraor's sword was beaten from his 
hand. 

He was at Powell's mercy. 

Did the victor spare ? 

No! 

He leaped at his enemy, raising the heavy sword 
like a saber, and with two tremendous blows, that 
would have cloven a casque, cut him down ! 

Powell would have followed the strokes with others 
as Gilraor reeled away, cut to the death, if the pilot 
had not thrown himself between the two men regard- 
less of the captain's intentions. 

Not a single cry had been driven from Gilmor's 
throat bv the brutal blow. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 223 

A gasp parted his lips as he struck the floor — 
Nothing more. 

He was dead — and Gordon Mowbray was avenged! 

Powell gazed for a moment at his victim. It was a 
cold, unpityiug look. 

'' He's done for, Tom," he said, turning to the sailor. 
"Flash didn't think I could use a sword — ha ! ha !" 
And with his triumphant cry echoing in the room the 
captain and his pilot went down the stair. 



224 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 



CHAPTER XXYIIL 

IN WHICH CAPTAIN POWERS COMES TO GRIEF. 

The blockade runner hastened toward his own 
house. 

He was now alone, for he dismissed the pilot with a 
few gold pieces on the street, and Foulweather Tom 
had already disappeared. 

" The two girls don't expect me to-night," he said 
to himself, " I wonder how the}' get along together. 
Dora will be shocked to hear that the Foxhound is at 
the bottom of the sea ; but her eyes will grew bright 
again when I tell her that I will soon command on the 
quarter-deck of another ship as swift and as stanch." 

He was near his residence when these words drop- 
ped from his lips. 

"Captain Powell! by my soul!" 

The blockade runner paused and turned. 

A few feet away a man stood staring at him as 
though he were a specter. 

" Powers ! ah ! we meet again !" said the blockade 
runner, advancing upon the person who had just 
spoken his name in accents of astonishment. 

" Back already, captain V ejaculated Powers, for 
the man was the captain of the new privateer, De- 
stroyer. " Have the Yankee cruisers forced you back 
into port?" 

Powell's brows darkened. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 225 

" Worse than that,'' he grated. " The Foxhound is 
mine no more." 

" Surrendered, eh ?" 

" No ! the torpedo did the work. That Yankee 
gunner riddled me first. He shoots like a wizard, 
Powers." 

Dick Powers laughed more than half triumphantly 
as he touched the blockade runner's arm. 

" You have reached Nassau in the nick of time," he 
said. " Bentham is here. 

" In Nassau ?" 

"In Nassau !" 

" Impossible !" 

" It is true. He has outwitted me thus far. I even 
put Mardo on his track, but the Malay never came 
back to report. He is here for a purpose." 

"Of course," said Powell signiiicantly. "I know 
him for a man of nerve, but I did not think he'd venture 
into Nassau. So he has beaten you ?" 

" Yes." 

" He shall not escape me. When do you sail ?" 

" I can put off at any time." 

" But you had a time set for departure ?" 

" Yes ; day after to-morrow." 

" You can leave then, for by that time I will have 
found Bentham." 

" If we put our heads together, he can't elude us 
long." 

Powell fixed his eyes on Powers as the latter 
spoke. 

The two men had never been the best of friends. 

The blQckade runner probably recalled their last 
words on board the Foxhound, spoken shortly after 
Powers' interview with Norak. 



226 THE BLOCKADE BUNNEB. 

He was not going to ally himself with the priv^ateers- 
raan in a hunt after the young gunner. 

If he had a score to settle with Bentham he would 
if possible unearth the man himself, and in his own 
way. 

Powers must conduct his own operations as he had 
begun, entirely on his own responsibility. 

Powers seemed to understand that the blockade run- 
ner did not want his company, and a defiant light at 
once gleamed in his eyes. 

" We hunt him separately, then, and may the best 
man win," he said to Powell. "How is Norah getting 
along ? You know I take a great interest in the young 
lady." 

" I cannot answer you. I have not been home," 
was the reply. " Yes, I know 3'ou pretend to think a 
great deal of her. I believe you lately swore in her 
presence that you would make her your \nMq one of 
these days," 

" I did. Ah ! you overheard me. I had forgotten." 

" And you expect to keep your word ?" 

« I do." 

" Well, you'll fail." 

For a moment Powers did not reply. 

He seemed to be curbing the rage that was fast get- 
ting the better of him. 

" You will try and prevent it then ?" he said. 

" I will." 

" We shall see. We serve the same flag ; but I 
don't think we will ever be friends, Powell." 

" Never !" 

" So be it." 

"Captain Powers, you once told Norah that you 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 227 

would avenge Mowbray's death. You will never do 
that !" 

" Why not «" 

" It has been avenged." 

The captiiin of the Destroyer recoiled. 

" You have found Flash Gilraor ?" he said, in strange 
tones, as he stared into Powell's face. 

"Fate brought us together.'' 

"And you have killed him ?" , 

"Yes." 

" Torn and I escorted him to the sword-room in the 
naval building on Queen Street. I gave him an even 
chance for his life." 

"You did?" 

" I did, sir." 

" This is astonishing. Why, Flash Gilnior was an 
expert with both sword and pistol." 

"That may be. Indeed, I admit he showed himself 
a formidable opponent. But I have proved myself his 
superior with the weapon he chose " 

" You allowed him the choice also ?" 

"Assuredly. I stood in the light of the challenging 
party, for I forced the issue, and therefore he had the 
right to select the weapons." 

" You were extremely obliging," said Powers, who 
seemed amazed at what he heard. " Had I been in 
your place, with such a man at my mercy, I should 
have allowed him scant courtesy. He killed Gordon 
Mowbray in cold blood. The old man had not the 
ghost of a show that fatal morning, if what you told 
me is true. By that act Flash Gilmor forfeited every 
right to consideration. You should have killed him as 
you would a rat — without the least mercy." 



228 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" It is uot in my nature to do that with any man, 
be the provocation what it may." 

"I presume you will kill me, too, if I persist in 
loving; Norah ?" said Powers with a sneer. 

" I have nothing to do with your love for the girl. 
But if 3'^ou persecute her I will defend and protect her 
against you." 

" Indeed," said Powers coolly. 

" Ay, indeed. If you mean the girl well you will 
conduct your suit on gentle lines. I fancy, however, 
that you will not succeed." 

" And why not, pray ?" 

" Because it is apparent she does not like you." 

" I will overcome that objection." 

" There is another obstacle that you will not so 
easily dispose of." 

"Bentham?" 

" Ay ; unless I am blind in such matters, Norah loves 
the Yankee gunner." 

" I shall fix him, never fear, unless you perform that 
pleasing duty for me." 

" Never mind what I propose to do about Bentham. 
It is m}'^ own affair. All I have to say is to repeat 
ray warning in respect to Norah. She is my guest, or 
rather my niece's. Leave her alone, Captain Powers, 
or take the consequences." 

" I intend to. You have no right to act as that girl's 
guardian. If you are championing her cause for a 
certain purpose, I am ready to enter the lists and tilt 
for her heart. Let us begin here. There can never 
be peace between us. Draw !" 

Powers stepped back a pace and whipped out the 
sword he carried at his side. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 229 

He did not see that the blockade runner was un- 
armed ; rage blinded him, 

Powell's lips met sternly as he executed a rapid 
stride forward. 

"I am unarmed, sir, except with nature's weapons," 
he said, clutching Powers' right arm. " If I had a 
dozen swords, I would not fight you here!" 

'' By Jove ! you shall !" 

" That is your emptiest boast !" was the cool rejoin- 
der. " I say I will not, so that ends the matter lor 
the present !" 

"It does not, I say. You shall fight me. I will 
lay my sword across your face." 

He broke awaj'^ from Powell's grasp as he uttered 
the last words, and raised the s\Yord to accomplish his 
resolve. 

The blockade runner leaped at him, knocked the 
weapon aside and dealt him a stunning blow in the 
face. 

The captain of the Destroyer staggered back, lost 
his footing, and fell against the door of one of the 
houses. 

It opened like magic and engulfed him, much to 
Powell's surprise. 

"Well, ril be jiggered!" he exclaimed. "That's 
Throxton's house, and I believe he's a stanch Unionist, 
so I don't envy Powers' reception." 

His own house was in the same street and only a 
few paces distant. 

He knocked at the door and Dora answered his 
summons. 

She greeted him gladly, but with evident surprise. 

" You have been driven back," she said. 



230 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

" Worse," he answered. 

" Worse ?-' 

" Yes. The Foxhound is gone." 

" Captured ?" 

" No — she lies in sixteen fathoms of water off the 
island of Eleuthera, in the Providence Channel." 

"Sunk by Yankee shot?" 

" No ; disabled, but not sunk by Yankee shot. I 
destroyed her myself." 

" Oh !" said Dora, " I'm so sorry." 

" Never mind. I shall have another vessel soon, for 
I have a mint of money to draw upon. And if I 
didn't, I have but to go to the St. George Hotel, or a 
dozen other places, and ask for a steamer, and I 
should be overwhelmed with offers." 

" Yes," she said, " I'm sure of it." 

"And now where's Norah, your fair guest?" 
'"Gone." 

" Gone ? What do you mean ?" 

"She went away an liour agowith a Mr. Bentham 
— the man she expects to marry." 

" Ah, indeed ! I heard he was in Nassau. He might 
have trusted her here. She was perfectly safe." 

" He was afraid of Flash Gilmor's persecutions, and 
Captain Powers also was hot upon his track and hers." 

" Gilmor will not trouble Norah, or in fact any one, 
any more." 

" I am glad of that, for I love Norah dearly." 

" And I have warned Captain Powers. But I must 
see Bentham. Do 3'ou know where he went with 
the girl ?" 

" I think they went to Mr. Throxton's." 

" I am almost sure of it. I will follow them shortly^ 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 231 

my dear. In the meantime I wish 3'ou would lay the 
table for me. I am quite famished. I have tasted 
nothing for twenty-four hours." 

" You dear old uncle, why didn't you speak at first? 
You know I am so thoughtless." 

" I don't know an}'^ such thing, Dora," said Powell 
tenderly, as his niece ran aw^ay into the next room. 

A repast was soon spread before him, and while he 
disposed of the good things he thought out his plans 
in respect to young Bentham, whom he expected to 
meet now without much difficulty. 

What scheme had he in view? 

At any rate his thoughts could not have been badly 
tinged with evil, for his fine bronzed countenance 
never looked more benign or uurufl3.ed than on the 
present occasion. 



232 TEE BLOCKADE R UNNEB. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

AT THE POINT OF THE REVOLVER. 

When Captain Dick Powers, of tlie new and untried 
privateer Destroyer, recovered from Powell's stunning 
blows he found himself in a room which he was aware 
he had never entered before. 

His first impulse was to rush out and foUovv- the 
blockade runner, whom he knew could not be far 
away. 

He would pay Powell back for those blows ; he 
would have his life for them ; he would yet carry out 
his oath by making Norah his wife! 

Scrambling to his feet, for he had fallen headlong 
into the house, he was about to make a dash for the 
street, when a man stepped suddenly between him and 
the door, and faced him with determined if not 
triumphant countenance. 

" Throxton!" exclaimed Powers, starting back ari he 
stared at the man, whom he instantly recognized. 
" I was not aware that I had fallen into your house." 

The man at the door seemed to smile maliciously. ' 

" You came in witliout knocking," he ansu'ered. 
" I was not expecting a visitor — especially an officer 
in the employ of the Confederac^^" 

" Which means that I am not welcome." 

"Ah ! you are mistaken !" was the quick rejoinder. 
" Of all the men I know, there is not one whom I 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 2::3 

woukl rather see here tlian yourself. When do you 
sail, Captain Powers?" 

Powers' eyes flashed indignantly. 

'* I generall}'^ keep my own secrets, Throxton," lie 
said. 

" Very well. We will not press the subject." 

For another moment the privateer eyed the Unii^n- 
ist, andthen strode toward the door again. 

Throxton did not stir. 

"Let me out!" exclaimed Powers, seeing that tlirre 
was a disposition on Throxton's part to detain hi, a. 
"You have no right to keep me here against my will. 
You have already incurred the ill-will of the authori- 
ties by harboring and hiding Bentham, the Yank<^e 
gunner, to-night. I have a right to demand i??y 
liberty." 

" And as this is my own house I claim the right lo 
refuse it." 

"What, sir? This language to an officer who sails 
under the flag of the Confederate government ?" ex- 
claimed Powers. "By Jove! I will put an end to 
your double game. You have been permitted t<> 
escape too long. This act seals your doom — puts an 
end to your practices, and cripples the Yankee cause." 

A light, irritating laugh rippled over Throxton's 
lips. 

" Just as you please, captain," he said, with cutting 
sarcasm ; " but first you must get away from here." 

" You will not let me out, then ?" 

" I will not." 

Powell sprang back with an oath, and his hand 
darted swiftly toward his belt. 

" Ho ! none of that," said Throxton quietly, but 



234 TEE BLOCKADE BUJSJSJSR. 

with firmness, anticipating his design. " One more 
move of that kind on your part, captain, might cause 
the Confederacy to lose a very valuable officer. My 
death would but hasten yours. I have other guests to- 
night. Come into the parlor and let me introduce 
them." 

"I decline the honor, sir," said Powers haughtily. 

"Excuse me if I insist." 

Powers debated an instant whether to resort to 
violence or not, and finally decided not to do so. 

He preceded the master of the house into the room 
in question. 

" This way a moment, Robert, with your friend," 
said Throxton, raising his voice, and addressing some 
one in another room, the door leading to which stood 
slightly ajar. 

Powers removed his eyes from Throxton and fixed 
them on the door, which opened, and a handsome man 
stepped forward. 

" Bentham !" fell from Powers' tongue,"! might 
have known that you were about to appear — and 
Norah, too !" 

The young gunner and beautiful Norah Narcross 
stood before the Confederate captain. 

It was an interesting tableau. 

" You got the Worst of your encounter with Powell, 
captain, I see," said the gunner, the first to disturb the 
silence. 

The privateersman's answer was a growl of anger. 

" I do not intend to twit you on your defeat," con- 
tinued Bentham quickly. " You were looking for me 
awhile ago, and since we have met, let us transact 
what unfinished business remains." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 235 

The young gunner was evidently thinking of the im- 
promptu duel on the banks of Cape Fear, the night of 
his escape from Wilmington, and while he spoke Cap- 
tain Powers' look told that his thoughts had returned 
to the same scene. 

" I am willing to accommodate 3'ou !" he exclaimed. 
" Your sword gave me a terrible wound, and your ac- 
cursed balls sent the Swiftwing to the bowels of the 
deep. Yes, I want revenge. I acknowledge it here. 
Mr. Throxton, have you swords for us ?" 

The Union sympathizer was about to reply when 
Norah threw herself between the two men, who faced 
each other with flashing eyes. 

" No ; blood shall not flow here," she said, looking 
at Powers, who recoiled a step. " You have not for- 
gotten your vow, captain. It is still fresh in my 
memory. You shall never fulfill it ; for Norah Nar- 
cross will never become the wife of a man who serves 
the new flag." 

" I believe you said that once before. Beware, girl ! 
you may recall those words." 

" At your hands ? never !" 

" We'll see ! But this is not business," and the 
speaker looked at the Union gunner again. "The 
world is too small for both of us, Bentham. I want 
revenge for ray . wound and the loss of my ship. 
Coward, you dare not face me ! Having disgraced the 
man whose money educated you, you stand behind a 
woman, a branded poltroon, unworthy to serve the 
flag you own." 

An exclamation of anger burst from Bentham's 
throat. This was too much. He strode toward the 
privateer with clinched hands and fiery eyes. 



236 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Norah looked appealingly to Throxton. 

She felt that she could do no more. 

" No !" suddenly exclaimed Benthara, halting almost 
within reach of his waiting enemy. " I shall not touch 
you, viper. M}'^ revenge shall not consist of strokes 
with hand or blade. Get me writing materials, Throx> 
ton." 

The Unionist had locked the door and removed the 
key some time before, so that Powers was safely caged. 

He now moved forward, and, lifting the lid of a desk, 
took from within paper, pens and ink, which he placed 
at the Union gunner's disposal. 

The Confederate privateer looked wonderingly on. 

What nQ\^f indignit}^ was he to be subjected to now? 

His lips met firmly as he took a mental resolve not 
to barter one of his rights away. 

He would die rather than sign an oath of allegiance 
to the United States. 

Neither would he put the name of Powers to a 
parole. 

" I will respect your eagerness, and proceed to busi- 
ness, captain," said Bentham, turning from the desk. 
" Come forward and take up the pen." 

" To sign the rights of a Confederate officer avt^ay ? 
— never !" was the flashing rejoinder, and Powers 
seemed to brace himself more firmly where he stood. 

Bentham and Throxton exchanged rapid glances and 
a sign. 

" You will obey Mr. Bentham, captain," said the 
latter firmly. " Disobedience may cost you more than 
your rights — life itself !" 

" We mean business, sir ;" and he was covered by a 
revolver, which Throxton had drawn, " Go forward, 
sir, and take up the pen. Bentham will dictate to you 1" 



TEh BLOCKADE RUNNER. 237 

Menaced by the weapon, above which were the cold 
gray eyes of Throxton — a man who feared nothing — 
Powers bit his lip and moved forward. 

He glared savagely at Eentham, and a muttered 
curse was heard as he laid hold of the pen, 

" Write to your first officer, Jones, now on board the 
Destroyer, as follows," said Benthara, and he proceeded: 

*' Mr. Jones : On receipt of this you will turn the 
command of the ship over to the bearer, and submit to 
him in every particular. I have been detailed on a 
secret mission of immediate importance. I shall leave 
Nassau for a time, but will join you ere long. The 
bearer of this, Captain Randolph, is a thorough sailor 
and a devoted Confederate ; therefore he is a man who 
can be trusted. He will sail from Nassau immediately. 
I am sure that you will obey him and fight the ship 
under him as you would fight it with me on the 
quarter-deck. Remember that the Destroyer is to 
avenge the Swiftwing. Powers." 

While Bentham spoke, the privateer's pen did not 
touch the paper. 

He straightened his handsome figure, and glared at 
the Union gunner with the glittering eyes of a jungle 
tiger. 

" This is infamy without a parallel !" he exclaimed, 
as Bentham concluded. " You would force me to be- 
come a traitor to the Confederacy. Who is the man 
designed to play the role of Captain Randolph in this 
piece of rascality ?" 

" He stands before you," answered Bentham, bowing. 

" You ! Then, by the stars of heaven ! I will die 
before I pen a word of the message I" And the next 
moment the pen was hurled from the incensed Con- 
federate's hand and quivered in the floor. 



238 TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

Throxton advanced a stride. 

" Write or die, captain !" he said, in tones not to be 
mistaken. " We do not intend to trifle in tiiis matter. 
Repeat the message, Benthara. He will sign !" 

Powers hesitated for a moment, during which time 
he glanced from Throxton to the young gunner, who 
stood ready to carry out the Unionist's command. 

All at once he stooped and tore the pen from the 
carpet. 

" This triumph will not last !" he grated, fixing his 
eyes for a moment on Beritham. " Carry your infamy 
through to the end, Robert Bentham, I swear that 
you shall never tread the Destroyer's quarter-deck as 
her commander !" 

With the last word he turned to the paper on the 
desk, and waited for Bentham's dictatian. 

" There, you are satisfied now !" he exclaimed, when 
he had written the last word and turned upon Ben- 
tham. '' You have triumphed ; but the game has not 
been played through. I am free now ?" 

He strode toward the door as he concluded. 

" Not yet. We must detain you here, captain," said 
Throxton. 

The priv^ateer groaned, 

" I am a prisoner still ?" he said. 

« Yes." 

" For how long ?" 

" Until after the Destroyer, with Captain Randolph, 
has sailed," smiled Bentham. 

There was no reply. 

If Powers' glance could have killed at that moment, 
Bentham would have fallen dead in his tracks. 



THE BLOCKADE MUNNEB. ^39 



CHAPTER XXX. 

'twixt love and duty. 

" JuPE," exclaimed Benthara. 

" Here I is, Marse Bob," said the darky, making his 
appearance. 

" Take Captain Powers upstairs to the back room, 
and mount guard outside." 

" All right, sah. Cap'n Powers, I will take great 
pleasure, sah, in showin' you'se ter de uppah floor. I is 
'ticlar perlite ter a gen'l'raan ob yer rank an' stashun 
in de Confed'rate service, an' I hope dat you'se won't 
'blige me ter 'sist yer locomotion wid any pers'nal 
'tention." 

Powers glared at Jupe, and then concealing his 
great chagrin under an assumption of dignity, he 
folded his arms and followed his conductor. 

"Now, Bentham," said Throxton, "after this affair 
Nassau will be too hot for me as well as yourself. 
My daughter and I will pack our things. I think you 
had better get on board the Destroyer as soon as you 
can and assume command. Send a boat to the land- 
ing in an hour for Norah, my^ daughter, Jupe and my- 
self. We will be ready." 

" All right, Throxton." 

" I need not tell you that it would be advisable to 
have steam up and everything ready for departure." 

" Certainly. I will now go to your room and dis- 
guise myself. It is lucky you have taken precautions 



240 THE BLOCKADE RUNNEB. 

in my behalf in this direction. My own face, you 
know, would never pass master on the privateer, for 
one of Powers' petty officers and several of the crew 
have already seen me.' 

At this moment a loud rap came at the door. 

Throxton peeped out through the blinds. 

" Here's a complication," he said. 

" What do you mean V 

" Who do you suppose seeks admission here?" 

" I have no idea." 

" Captain Powell." 

" The devil ! He must not suspect our purpose. I 
will get out of the way, and do you get rid of him as 
best you can." 

A second knock, louder and more peremptory than 
the first, accelerated Bentham's exit from the room. 

As soon as the young gunner was out of sight 
Throxton opened the door and confronted the late 
commander of the Foxhound. 

"Good-evening, Mr. Throxton," said Powell, "may 
I ask if Bob Bentham and Norah Mowbray are in 
your house ?" 

"Miss Mowbray is here, Captain Powell ; but Ben- 
tham went away, a short time since. Were he here I 
should hardly think he would care to see you." 

Powell was clearly disappointed. 

" He need not fear me, Throxton. I won't cause 
him any trouble." 

"He does not fear for himself. His mission to 
Nassau was on his sweetheart's account, and now thai, 
I have taken charge of her, he expects to leave town 
immediately." 

"My niece thinks a good deal of Miss Mowbray,'' 
said Powell. 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 241 

" The feeling is reciprocated, captain, I assure you. 
Miss Mowbray says that your niece Dora is the sweet- 
est girl she ever met." 

Captain Powell was evidently gratified at this in- 
telligence, and after a pause said he would call again 
perhaps. 

Powell did not return to his own house but walked 
down the street. 

Ten minutes later Bentham, attired as the pseudo 
Captain Randolph, slipped out of the house and took 
his way toward the water front. 

He found one of the steamer's boats at the mole. 

It was waiting for Captain Dick Powers, according 
to orders. 

It had been there some time, and the officer in 
charge had grown very impatient. 

" I wish to go on board the Destroyer," said Ben- 
tham politely. 

" Who are you, sir ?" asked the officer in surly tones. 

" Captain Randolph, of the Confederate navy. I 
am to take charge of the steamer pending Captain 
Powers' absence." 

" You are ?" said the petty officer in sarcastic tones. 

"That's what I said, sir." 

" You be blowed ! You can tell that to the ma- 
rines." 

"Sir!" exclaimed Bentham with dignity. 

*' You needn't put on airs," said the officer. " I don't 
know you, sir, and what's more I don't want to. This 
boat is waiting for Cap'n Powers, and if you wait long 
enough you'll see him." 

" Perhaps if you will look at this note, directed ta 
Mr. Jones, your first officer, you will see that I speak 
the truth." 



242 TEE BLOCKADE B UNNEB. 

The oflBcer became civil at once as soon as he per- 
ceived the letter with the superscription. 

" Captain Powers is not going aboard to-night 
then ?" he said, without opening the note. 

" I am to act for the time being in Captain Powers' 
stead. I wish to go aboard at once." 

" Very, well, cap'n — what did you say your name 
is?" 

" Randolph." 

" All right, Cap'n Randolph, we'll shove off at once." 

On their way they passed the blockade runner Sea- 
bird, on board which the reader will remember Jupe 
had his short but exciting adventure. 

She had steam up, a rather portentous indication of 
an early departure. 

Captain IN^ugent, however, was ashore looking up his 
friend Flash Gilmor. 

In a few minutes Bentham was alongside of the 
Destroyer, and he had a fair view of the new priva- 
teer. 

She was a powerful iron vessel, pierced for a broad- 
side of six guns, was painted lead color, and her two 
masts had a decided rake. 

On deck our hero made out an Armstrong rifled oun 
on the forecastle, and another and much more formid- 
able one in the waist, just forward of the funnel, pre- 
cisely as was located his own Parrott gun on board of 
the Avenger. 

Altogether she was an ugly customer — abundantly 
prepared to beat off a great many of Uncle Sam's 
cruisers. 

Indeed, if well manned and handled, was likely to hold 
her own against the Avenger, which vessel was ac- 



THE BLOCKADB RUNNER. 343 

knowledged to be one of the best American screw war 
steamers. 

The counterfeit Captain Randolph presented his 
letter to Mr. Jones on the quarter-deck. 

He was politely received, and duly vested with the 
authority of commander j:?-/'*? tern. 

" Now, Mr. Jones," said the disguised Bentham. 
"How long will it take you to get under way." 

*■' One hour, Cap'n Randolph." 

"• All hands are aboard, I believe ?" 

"Yes, sir ; we expected to sail at any moment." 

" Very well ; get on a head of steam at once. And, 
by the wa}', send a boat to the mole. There is a 
gentleman, his servant, and two ladies coming off." 

Mr. Jones looked his surprise. 

" I am to deliver them under flag of truce to the 
first Yankee cruiser we sight." 

This explanation satisfied the first officer and he 
gave orders to send the boat. 

The hour had nearly elapsed and Bentham was 
watching for the return of the boat when the steamer 
was hailed from the port side. 

"Hallo, there, what do you want?" said a petty 
officer. 

" Want ter come on board, boss." 

'" Keep away — you can't board this craft." 

" Must do it, Massa Ossifer. Got a message from 
Oap'n Powers ter Cap'n Randolph." 

" Hand it up, then, quick." 

" Can't do it, sah ; must see de cap'n myself. Berry 
'ticklar." ^ 

" Qome aboard, then." 

" All right, sah. Be up in a twist ob a cat's tail." 



244 TEE BLOCKADE R UNNER. 

In a moment who should come over the rail but 
Jupe. 

" Berry kind ob you, sab. Whar's de cap'n ?" 

" Come with me>" 

" 'Spects I will, sail." 

The petty oiRcer spoke to Mr. Jones and said the 
negro had a message from Captain Powers for the new 
commander, 

Jupe was brought to Benthara, who was both dis- 
turbed and astounded by his unexpected appearance. 

" In heaven's name, Jupe !" he whispered, " what's 
wrong." 

" 'Spects eberyting am wrong. You'se better get out 
ob here quick' rn greased lightnin', Massa Bob, or you'll 
be gobbled up for suah." 

" Explain yourself.'" 

"Gap'n Powers done escaped from dat yer room, 
sah. I found it out, an' foUered him. I cotched him 
near de square and fetched him a berry fine crack in de 
jaw dat knocked him endwise all ob a heap. Den I 
put fer de mole in a hurry, Marse Bob, feracrowd got 
'bout de cap'n, an' it would hab been mighty hotter dis 
yer chile ter stay in dat yer locality. I reckon dat he 
won't recubber from dat jawbreaker fer a while, but 
you'se ain't got a speck ob time ter spare. Start de 
engine an' get away, sah, or you'll be cotched fer 
sartin," 

"And leave Norah, and the others behind, Jupe? 
Impossible !" 

" Den de jig'll be up, sah. I reckon dat it's yer duty, 
Marse Bob, now dat you'se got de chance, to take (lis 
yer steamer whar de Stars an' Stripes '11 float above 
her. I reckon dat she's a berry bad customer under 



TEE BLOCKADE RUNNER. ^45 

de Confed'rate flag. If dat Cap'n Powers get aboard 
she'll do a heap ob damage somewhar ag'in de Yankees. 
I guess Marse Bob knows his duty, sah." 

" Yes, Jupe," said Bentham, after an effort. '- It 
Avas a stuggle between love and duty, but ni}' country 
Avins. May heaven preserve my Korah from harm, 
and may Throxton forgive me for deserting him ! I 
have but one course — and I ivill act on it," 

He issued his instructions to man the windlass and 
get under way. 

" The boat you ordered sent ashore has not returned," 
said Mr. Jones. 

"Never mind the boat now. We must leave with- 
out an instant's delay. My orders are imperative." 

Mr. Jones said nothing, though he looked his 
surprise. 

In a brief time the chain vras ail in, the anchor 
catted, and the DestJ'oyer was steaming out of the 
harbor. 

A few persons on the mole watched her departure, 
and mentally wished her Godspeed, for their hearts 
beat for the Confederacy. 

There was scarcely any commotion on her decks, 
and before a great while she had left the lights of 
Nassau far behind. 

All at once the occupants of the mole were startled 
by a man who rushed franticallj' to the water's edge, 
and stared seaward like a madman. 

" Too late !" he fairly groaned. " They have carried 
the infamous conspiracy out to the letter. The De- 
stroyer wmII be sailing under the infernal Yankee flag 
in less than twenty-four hours." 

His manner and voice attracted everybody. 



246 TBE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

They gathered around him. 

" Captain Powers !'' exclaimed several. " We thought 
you were on board the Destroyer." 

" Would I be here if I was ?" was the answer. " I 
am the victim of one of the most infamous conspi- 
racies on record, A Yankee sailor commands the De- 
stroyer. You can guess what his intentions are." 

" Who is he ?" asked a voice that made Powers start. 

Captain Powell confronted him. 

" Who but Bentham," said the baffled privateers- 
man. " Curse you, Powell ! If it had not been for 
you this infamous scheme would never have been 
consummated." 

The speaker glared fiercely at the blockade runner. 

" So, Bob Bentham has eloped with the Destroyer, 
eh ?" laughed Captain Powell sardonically. " By 
Jove ! This is the hugest joke of the war !" 

"Joke? It's a lasting stain on the Confederate 
navy !" 

" 1 can't see how the scheme was carried out." 

'' I was secured by Throxton and Bentham after a 
desperate resistance and compelled to sign an infamous 
order to my first officer, directing him to turn the com- 
mand of my steamer over to the bearer," said Captain 
Powers, the last word ending with a hiss. " Having 
secured the paper, I was then detained a prisoner in 
order to give the conspirators the opportunity to put 
their plot through. I effected my escape a short rime 
ago and came straight here, only to discover that I ;•:;! 
too late." 

" Rather rough on you," said Powell. 

" Rough ! — but no matter. You can do your country 
a service, Ralph Powell." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 247 

"How?" 

"By getting afloat at once, pursuing the Destroyer 
and recapturing her. 

"That is impossible, Powers. I have no ship. You 
have forgotten that the Foxhound is at the bottom of 
the sea." 

For a moment longer the two captains looked at one 
another, then Powers held out his hand. 

"We need not be foes. I forgive you all your blows, 
Powell," he said. "Let us combine." 

The blockade runner drew his form up haughtily, and 
answered savagely, as he turned away: 

"Combine with you — with a man who let a Yankee 
steal a ship — never!" he said. "I have too much respect 
for the cause I serve. Captain Powers. Fight your own 
battles, but I would warn you to be careful how you 
cross Bentham's path. He learned more than gunnery 
on the continent." 

Powers' mad look followed the blockade runner until 
he passed out of his sight, when, almost bursting with 
rage, he wheeled to leave the mole, when he came face 
to face with Captain Nugent. 

After some parleying, the blockade runner agreed to 
take Captain Powers on the Seabird in pursuit of the 
Destroyer. It would only be necessary to get within 
hail and make himself known to his officers and crew. 
They would then put the impostor in irons and restore 
their proper commander to his place. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

A STRATAGEM OF WAR. 

Black and angry-looking clouds hung over the heavens 
like a pall and a nasty sea was running, through which 
the Seabird pitched and rolled heavily. 

She had run along without mishap for several hours 
through foggy, squally weather, hugging the shore 
closely. One suspicious vessel, probably a Yankee 
cruiser, had come in sight, but the fleet Seabird had 
easily distanced her. 

"I'm afraid this will prove a dangerous mission for 
me," said Captain Nugent, as he paced the deck with 
Captain Powers. "I've got a snug cargo of Enfield rifles 
and a power of cartridges aboard. I'd make a pretty 
prize for the Yankees, and I fear there's more chance of 
falling in with a cruiser than meeting the Destroyer." 

Before Powers could reply the lookout signaled a 
steamer was dead ahead. 

The stranger ahead showed a clear light, and might 
therefore be reckoned a war vessel without the con- 
jecture going very wide of its mark. 

"What do you think of her?" asked Captain Nugent 
anxiously. 

"I can't say," replied Powers, v;ho was staring through 
the night-glass, "but I hope it's the Destroyer. We ought 
to fetch her about this time." 

"I fear it's a Yankee." 

"I hope you'll crawl up and investigate," said 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 249 

Powers, who entertained some doubts as to Nugent's 
intentions since the narrow shave the Seabird had from 
the cruiser. 

"I'll go on a bit. We show, no light of any kind and 
lie low in the water. Since I've gone into this thing 
I'm willing to take some chances, but you must under- 
stand I can't afford to lose my vessel, even to assist the 
Confederacy." 

"You are the master here and I must bow to what- 
ever you decide upon; but I believe there is a reason- 
able chance for judging that yonder craft is my vessel. 
I can recognize the Destroyer if you will go near 
enough to afford me a plain vifcw." 

"I will go as close to her as I dare," said Nugent 
frankly, and Captain Powers felt that that was all he 
could reasonably expect of the blockade runner. 

It was certainly a risky venture, though everything 
favored the little lead-colored steamer. 

The vessel ahead was under moderate speed, so that 
the Seabird crept rapidly up to the windward. 

Captain Powers was visibly excited. 

He was more than half -assured that the blot on the 
water, a couple of points off the starboard bow, w^as 
the wished-for Destroyer. 

"What's our course?" he inquired. 

Nugent consulted the binnacle, which was shaded so 
that the light could not be seen seaward, and returned 
to Powers. 

"East by east-sou'-east," he said. 

"The weather has thickened so that I can't get a good 
view of the steamer," said Powers, "but we're coming up 
very fast. I should like to chance a private signal pretty 
soon, if you'll allow me. If it's the Destroyer, she'll 



250 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

answer it. Bentham couldn't prevent it without raising 
immediate suspicion." 

"You may do so," said Nugent, after a moment's 
reflection. 

"Thank you," said Captain Powers. 

Half an hour passed, and during the interval it began 
to rain heavily. 

The stranger was almost lost sight of for awhile. 

At last the rain let up and the weather grew much 
clearer. 

The steamer was now within three miles and plainly 
to be made out by aid of the glass. 

"I could swear it's the Destroyer," said Powers, after 
a good look. "Send a man up the fore-rigging with a 
red lantern, and another at his heels with a blue one, 
and let off steam three times for half a minute, with two 
intervals between." 

The directions given by Captain Powers were car- 
ried out exactly. 

After the lapse of a few minutes, three red lights 
appeared in the stranger's rigging in the form of a tri- 
angle. 

"It's the Destroyer!" exclaimed Powers, almost hug- 
ging Nugent in his glee. "Now, Bob Bentham, this 
farce will soon end ! Unless you jump overboard before 
I reach yonder deck I'll hang you higher than Haman 
of old!" 

"Steamer on port bow !" sung out the lookout. 

So engrossed had all hands been with the stranger 
.-'.head that no one thought of looking for another 
vesr-el. 

The watch aloft, whose duty it was to discover any 
vessel as soon as she hove in sight, had certainly been 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 251 

neglectful in his duty, for the second steamer was close 
aboard off the Seabird's quarter, and had evidently run 
out of the mist that was slowly clearing away. 

At that moment a rocket soared upward from the 
Destroyer's bow and burst into a myriad of sparks. 

"What the devil can that mean?" exclaimed Powers. 
"It's very strange." 

The newcomer, which was heading directly for the 
Seabird, now altered her course several points and edged 
down for the privateer ahead. 

"Great Scott!" cried Powers, after he had examined 
her dark, heaving hull through his glass. "It's the 
Avenger. I thought she was leagues away. Put on 
full steam, Nugent; we must reach the Destroyer first." 

"It's too risky, Powers. I never could put you 
aboard your craft in this sea, and get away myself. 
I'm in range of the Yankee as it is. All that saved 
us, if we are safe, was that rocket from your own 
vessel. You'd better give up and trust the rest to chance. 
Your vessel is not yet lost. Bentham will have to fight 
his own ship or.be exposed, and I guess that would set- 
tle his goose." 

Powers made no reply — ^he was far too excited at 
the sudden change in the aspect of affairs, and Cap- 
tain Nugent took advantage of the diversion to change 
the course of his steamer. 

He determined to sneak out of harm's way if he 
could. 

Powers noticed the variation in the Seabird's course 
, and remonstrated. 

"I've taken all the risk I can afford," said Nugent 
decidedly. "To go further will be to throw away my 



252 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

vessel and cargo. I'm off to Charleston in earnest. Take 
my advice, Powers — trust to luck." 

Captain Nugent was master of his ow-n steamer, and 
having decided upon his line of action, nothing that 
Powers said made the faintest impression on him. 

The Seabird was now headed N. E, by N. and going 
ahead at top speed, increasing her distance every mo- 
ment from the Yankee cruiser, who paid her no further 
attention, but bore down on the Destroyer, 

* * * * >(: 

We will return to Robert Bentham and the faithful 
Jube. 

The latter had been turned over to Mr. Jones, who 
sent him forward to mess with the crew. 

Jupe had received secret instructions from the soi- 
disant Captain Randolph as to the part he might be ex- 
pected to play in the impending drama. 

He carried on his person a signal rocket which he was 
to discharge from the privateer's bow at the proper 
moment. 

It was an act that bristled with danger, for was his 
agency in the affair discovered, he might better jump 
into the sea than face the exasperated crew. 

Bentham's situation was one of peril and difficulty. 

He had to so perform his hazardous mission that no 
suspicion of his true character should be evident to the 
astute Mr. Jones, or any other quarter-deck officer. 

He was surrounded by watchful eyes, and an error 
of judgment might cost him his life on the spot. 

Meanwhile the Destroyer got fairly to sea, and under 
half-speed was churning her way through foam and 
spray. 

As soon as Great Abaco light was fairly seen on the 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 253 

port beam, Bentham went below and coolly took posses- 
sion of Captain Powers' stateroom. 

There were several Yankee cruisers on the station, 
but not one had been sighted up to the instant he had 
quitted the deck. , 

The clouds were opaque above, with a heavy sea be- 
low, and a dense mist around, and the general prospect 
not encouraging to the young gunner, though quite 
satisfactory to everybody else, if we except Jupe," in 
the ship. 

The negro was very alert and active on the main 
gun-deck. 

He glided from gun to gun, pausing at each for a 
while, and paying great attention to the breech of the 
weapon. 

What was he doing? 

His movements escaped notice, and by and by he went 
on the upper deck and crawled under the tarpaulin that 
protected the huge Armstrong rifle amidships. 

Some time afterward he might have been seen on 
the rise of the forecastle, where the wicked-looking 
bow-chaser was snugly wrapped in its canvas over- 
coat. 

After that Jupe clung persistently to the waist of 
the privateer, and sought shelter from the rain and 
spray under the cover of the pivot rifle, but maintained 
a position where he could easily command a view of the 
quarter-deck. 

Bentham was below when a steamer was reported 
about five miles dead astern, and he immediately went 
on deck. 

This was the Seabird, as already described, but her 



254 THE BLOCKADE RUNNSR. 

identity was unknown to any one on board the priva- 
teer. 

The general impression prevailed for a time that the 
craft, which was rapidly overhauling them, was a Yankee 
cruiser. 

Finally, when the mist and rain dissolved and the 
atmosphere cleared, Powers' signal created a decided 
sensation. 

Mr. Jackson, the second officer, had charge of the 
deck, and he duly reported the signal, the import of 
which was read to mean: "Lay to till we speak 
you." 

Bentham received the intelligence without a quiver, 
and coolly directed Jackson to return a suitable answer. 

Directly afterward the second steamer seen from 
the Seabird's deck shot into view out of the mist bank 
fast receding to the westward, and Bentham, fully alive 
to his desperate situation, gave the signal to Jupe, who 
at once crawled forward to the forecastle, dropped 
into the chains and sent up the rocket, which, if the 
stranger was a Yankee war-vessel, as seemed likely, 
would be understood at once. 

The sending up of the rocket caused great commotion 
on board the Destroyer, for it was evidently a signal 
to the enemy, who was observed to change her course 
and stand directly for the privateer. 

Bentham watched her approach with anxiety. 

As she drew near her appearance grew more and more 
familiar to him, until finally he felt assured that she was 
his own ship the Avenger, which he thought was miles 
and miles away on her regular mission, 

Bentham now observed that the first steamer — the one 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 255 

which had signaled a short time before — had altered her 
course and was steaming away to the northward. 

As the Avenger approached, Bentham, to maintain 
his character, was compelled to clear the steamer for 
action, and every preparation was made for a desperate 
fight. 

At this point in affairs a great outcry arose from the 
gun-deck. 

An officer hurriedly appeared on the quarter-deck 
and announced that the vents of all the guns had been 
tampered with — not seriously, but enough to cause delay 
and a feeling of exasperation against the perpetrator. 

The impression, caused by the discharge of the rocket, 
that there was a traitor on board, was now confirmed, 
and the crew were furious. 

Dire threats of vengeance prevailed. 

Bentham without hesitation ordered a thorough search 
"of the vessel, and while this was going on a second rocket 
went up from the privateer's bows, to the consternation 
of all on board. 

The usual signal for name -and number was displayed 
by the Yankee in her rigging, but merely as a preliminary 
to the shot which immediately followed from her bow- 
chaser. 

While many of the Confederate crew were making 
things hum on the forecastle, trying to discover the 
traitor who had done the signaling, a blue light sprang 
into a flame on the bulwark rail just under the break 
of the poop. 

The crew of the Armstrong rifle rushed to the side 
as one man and extinguished it. While they were doing 
this a crash came up from the engine-room, the ma- 



^ 



256 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

chinery stopped, and the privateer rolled slowly from 
side to side on the heaving sea. 

Crash ! 

A shot from the Avenger's heavy Parrott gmi smashed 
in the weather bulwark and struck the carriage of the 
Armstrong rifle, jamming the gearing so that the gun 
could not be worked on its traversing-platform. 

The greatest excitement prevailed. 

The Avenger continued to approach rapidly, firing 
her bow gun and forward battery. 

The assistant-engineer reported to the pseudo Cap- 
tain Randolph that the chief engineer had been stunned 
by some one who had come upon him unawares, and 
who then threw a heavy steel bar, which was used in 
the engine-room, among the rods, causing a smash-up 
that could not be repaired for hours. 

Bentham's indignation was admirably assumed. 

He had already dispatched the second and third officers 
to search the steamer. 

He now sent Mr. Jones down into the engine-room, 
and walked to the break of the poop. 

Jupe was apparently assisting the crew of the Arm- 
strong gun, who were trying to extricate the can-iage 
from the difficulty it was in. 

Bentham called him to the quarter-deck, and sent 
him with hurried instructions to the wheel. 

Jupe slipped quickly behind the helmsman, and lift- 
ing him in his powerful embrace, tore him from his hold 
on the spokes and tossed him overboard. 

He then jammed the wheel hard down, bringing the 
Destroyer up into the wind's eye, so that her broad- 
side would not bear upon the Avenger, which had ceased 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER, 257 

firing and was close aboard on the privateer's port quar- 
ter. 

"What steamer is that?" roared Captain Graham from 
the mizzen rigging of the cruiser. 

"Confederate steamer Destroyer," shoutQ^ Bentham. 
"Pipe away your boats and take possession — quick!" 

No doubt Captain Graham was astonished with the 
general character of the reply, but he lost no time in 
issuing orders. 

The Avenger held a raking position. 

The boatswain's whistle came lustily down on the 
wind, three boats were lowered and the crews were soon 
over the side and into the launches in true man-o'-war 
style. 

The boats danced over the water quickly, but the 
Confederate crew, not having understood their quarter- 
deck reply to the Yankee's hail, were preparing for a 
desperate resistance. 

"It's useless, my men," said Bentham, looking down 
upon such of the crew as were ready to repel boarders. 
"We have been betrayed and must surrender. Yonder 
craft can sweep us from stern to stern. Look at his 
guns run out, and the men hold the lanyards ready. 
We can't help ourselves." 

The crew were thunderstruck and their demoraliza- 
tion was complete. 

Mr. Jones at that moment rushed up from the engine- 
room and sprang upon the quarter-deck. 

"What's the meaning of this, Captain Randolph? 
Treachery has ruined us. The machinery is wrecked. 
Our guns have been tampered with, and signal rockets 
discharged. I believe that infernal nigger is at the 
bottom of this !" 



258 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

He drew his revolver, but Bentham arrested his 
arm. 

"Don't be rash, Mr. Jones." 

"Rash, sir !" exclaimed the Confederate officer, turn- 
ing upon him in a ' rage, "It's my opinion you're the 
cause of all this." 

Bentham made no reply. 

"In the devil's name who are you?" cried llu 
officer. 

"Bob Bentham, of the United States cruiser Ave:r;ci- 
yonder, and you are my prisoner !" 

Bentham tore off his false beard. 

"Then your life shall pay forfeit for your treacher}- '" 
cried Mr. Jones. 

"Jupe!" 

The negro sprang upon the Confederate officer just 
as Lieutenant Haskins of the Avenger's first cutter 
sprang over the stern rail, where the negro had thrown 
ropes to afiford means of ascent to the cutter's crew. 

At the same moment the Destroyer was boarded rt 
the waist and at the chains forward. 

In a twinkling forty jack tars were on deck driving 
the disorganized Confederate crew below. 

"Bentham!" exclaimed Lieutenant Haskins, hardly 
believing his eyes. 

"Ay, ay, sir," touching his cap. "I take great pleas- 
ure in turning over to you the possession of the Con- 
federate privateer Destroyer." 

"Treacherous hound !" exclaimed Mr. Jones, as he lay 
upon the deck encircled by Jupe's arms, "you shall hang 
some day for this !" 

"Thank you," said Bob Bentham politely. "I'll take 
the risk." 



THE BLOCKADE RUNNER, 259 

Having seen Bentham, the gallant young gunner, tri- 
umphant in one of the shrewdest games of the whole 
war, the story is almost told. 

But how happened it that the Avenger, which had 
been bound southward, came to turn up so opportunely 
at her old cruising ground ? 

Captain Graham had touched at Havana, where he 
found an order from the secretary of war calling his 
attention to the fact that the department had been 
advised of the fitting out at Nassau of a new and dan- 
gerous privateer called the Destoyer, which was to be 
entrusted to Captain Powers, late commander of the 
Swiftwing. 

The order directed Graham to return to the Bahamas 
and head her off, which he did, with the result we have 
already detailed. 

Bentham was dispatched home in the captured priva- 
teer, which was in command of the Avenger's second 
officer as prize master. He wore a lieutenant's uniform 
when he rejoined the Avenger, and a commander's at the 
close of the war; but long before the happy termination 
of the conflict he was united in marriage to the girl of 
his heart — Norah Narcross, otherwise Mowbray. 

The large estate left by Gordon Mowbray was con- 
fiscated on a technicality by the Confederate govern- 
ment ; but at the end of the war, Bentham instituted legal 
proceedings and recovered for his wife a portion of her 
property. 

As for Powell, the blockade runner, he served the 
Confederacy in that capacity to the close of the war, 
and many was the rich cargo he bore across the seas 
to the lost cause. 

Jupe, the faithful black, remained with Bentham to 



2G0 THE BLOCKADE RUNNER. 

the close of the terrible conflict, and served the Union 
bravely in many a desperate encounter afloat and ashore. 

It seems that the letter which so mysteriously reached 
Bentham after the great naval fight in Hampton Roads 
had been intrusted to a slave for delivery, but something 
frightened the messenger so that, instead of placing it 
in Bentham's hands, he left it under the bastion where it 
was found and served its purpose. 

The loyal Throxton, of course, never returned to Nas- 
sau after his escape with the gunner in i;he Destroyer. 
If he had he would have been seized and summarily 
dealt with. 

Powers and Powell would have hunted him down. 

He entered the Union service before the close of the 
war, serving under Bentham, who commanded the 
Avenger at the close of hostilities. He was rewarded 
for his services at Nassau. 

Dora, Powell's niece, married a Confederate captain, 
and Jennie Throxton found a lover and husband in the 
person of a young Union officer. 

Peace hovers over land and sea, and bestows her 
laurels upon friend and foe alike — whether they trod 
the decks of a Union brig, or manned the guns of a 
Confederate sloop-of-war. 

[the end.] 



\. 



■m: 



i W A R I ■ 

w The real definition of war is : "An armid stiu;;;;U> for 

Ifl) till' attiiiiiiiiciii of iiiitioiiiil aspinitions." 

«/ Tlio liisior.v of war is one loiij; story of the attempt of 

(fl) some powerful nation to dominato'otlv.r natious. 

W Kvory war prior to tlic prosi'Ut liiinopcaii calamity con- 

[0] tril)iiii'(l iis slraiid of troidiic to tiie general web, until tbo 

^ vvljole ^orld liccame eiitaii;rl<<i. 

(fl If jXiu waut to know spiiu-tbJns of the wars wliicti led 

w* up t^^tlie awful strutr^le now r(?in{;, on. . we l<now of no 

m ploasanter way for you to i;c( kuiU ' information tlian by 

^ rcadinj; stories about (iiaracdTs ,\ii<> toolc part in wars in 

ffl] cvi'ry land. You car. make your selection from amonj; the 

W, following, and your news dealer will f;ejt tlieui for you o.t 

1 TEN CENTS THE COPY 



I 



WAR STORIES IN THE £A£LE SERIES 

S2— Tl.e lUockade Runner (Civil War). 

:{7— Tlie Heart of Viruiuia (I'ivil War). 

;!!)— Thr \ nels Wife (Civil War). 

47^ — Tlie Colonel by r.rcvet ( Knsso-Turkish War). 

r.6 — The Dispatch T.earer (Civil War). 

(!.'> — Won by the Sword (Civil War), 

7r>— ITnder Fire (Civil War). 

S7— Sl)enandoah (Civil War). 

t»7— The War Ueporler (Civil War). 
KIS— A Son of Mars ( r.ritish-Afjjlian War). 
].">() — A Soldier Lover (Civil War). 
LMO— Sav(>d 1>.V the Sword (Gr.-eco-Turkish). 
■!()(> — Fi'lipe's Pretty Sisti>r (Filipino Insurrection). 
^27 — For Love and Glory (Filipino Insurrection). 

WAR STORIES IN THE MEDAL IJBRARY 

^5 — In the Reijjn of Terror (French Revolution). 

.",» — With Hoer and Britislier in the Transvaal (ISoer War). 

84 — The Hutcher of Cawnpore (ISritish-Sepoy Rebellion). 

n.') — P.y Sheer IMuck ( Uritish-.Xfrican I. 
11.*? — The I$nivest of the Uravc (War of Spanish Snceession). 
126 — From I'owder Monkey to Admiral (French-English 

War). 
128 — For Name and Fame (I^ritish-Afshnn War). 
140 — With Wolfe in Canada (French Canadian War). 
104 — The Corn(>t of Horse (War of Spanish Succession). 
ISO— One of the 'JSth (Last Napoleonic War). 
'jr«n — Sword and Pen (Chino-.Tat)anese War). 
278 — In Time of Peril (Rritish-Sepoy RehelHon). 
.■?41 — The Fighting Snuadron (Spanish-American War). 
t\Tm — A Prisoner of Morro (Spanish-American War). 
30J) — Court-Martialed (Spanish-American War). 

WAR STORIES IN THE SELECT LIBRARY 

27 — Fnder Two Flags (French -Algerian War). 

.'">2 — Macaria (Civil War). 

72 — Plain Tales from tlu- Rills (Rritish-Indo War). 



® 



Street & Smtlh Corporation, Pnbllsiiers, New York