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THE WRECK OF THl 
TITAN 

Or, futility 



MORGAN ROBERTSON 



AUTOGRAPH EDITION 
PCBLIBHED BT 

MoCLURE'S MAGAZINE 

AND 

METBOPOLITAN MAGAZINB 






Copyright, 1898, by 
M. F. Mansfield 

Copyright, 1912, by 

MOBOAN ROBEBTBOir 



AU rights restrved 



THE QUINN A BODEN CO. PRCM 
RAHWAY, N. 4. 



CONTENTS 

The Weeck op the Titan . . • . 1 

The Pibates 70 

Beyond the Specteum 207 

In the Valley op the Shadow • • . 287 



the wreck of the titan; 

Oe futility 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



CHAPTER I 

SHE was the largest craft afloat and the greatest 
of the works of men. In her construction and 
maintenance were involved everj science, profession, 
and trade known to civilization. On her bridge were 
officers, who, besides being the pick of the Royal 
Navy, had passed rigid examinations in all studies 
that pertained to the winds, tides, currents, and 
geography of the sea; they were not only seamen, 
but scientists. The same professional standard ap- 
plied to the personnel of the engine-room, and the 
steward's department was equal to that of a first- 
class hotel. 

Two brass bands, two orchestras, and a theatrical 
company entertained the passengers during waking 
hours; a corps of physicians attended to the tem- 
poral, and a corps of chaplains to the spiritual, wel- 
fare of all on board, while a well-drilled fire-company 
soothed the fears of nervous ones and added to the 
general entertainment by daily practice with their 
apparatus. 

From her lofty bridge ran hidden telegraph lines 
to the bow, stern engine-room, crow's-nest on the 
foremast, and to all parts of the ship where work 
was done, each wire terminating in a marked dial with 
a movable indicator, containing in its scope every 
order and answer required in handling the massive 
hulk, either at the dock or at sea — ^which eliminated, 
to a great extent, the hoarse, nerve-racking shouts 
of officers and sailors. 



2 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



■ From the bridge, engine-room, and a dozen places 

I on her deck the ninety-two doors of nineteen water- 

I tight compartments could be closed in half a minute 

I by turning a lever. These doors would also close 

I automatically in the presence of water. With nine 

f compartments flooded the ship would still i]oat, and 

as no known accident of the sea could possibly fill 
this many, the steamship Titan was considered ptac- 
iN ''' ticall^^unsinkable, 

I M>'/'iu Built of steel throughout, and for passenger 
traffic only, she carried no combustible cargo to 
threaten her destruction by fire; and the immunity 

(from the demand for cargo space had enabled her 
designers to discard the flat, kettle-bottom of cargo 
boats and give her the sharp dead-rise — or slant from 
the keel — of a steam yacht, and this improved her 
behavior in a seaway. She was eight hundred feet 
long, of seventy thousand tons' displacement, 
seventy -five thousand horse-power, and on her 
Ta/" I f trial trip had steamed at a rate of twenty-five 
J, ^^ ( knots an hour over the bottom, in the face of uncon- 
sidered winds, tides, and currents. In short, she was 
a floating city — containing within her steel walls all 
that tends to minimize the dangers and discomforts 
of the Atlantic voyage — all that makes life enjoy- 
able. 

Unsinkable— indestructible, she carried as few 
boats as would satisfy the laws. These, twenty-four 
in number, were securely covered and lashed down 
to their chocks on the upper deck, and if launched 
would hold five hundred people. She carried no use- 
cumbersome life-rafts ; but — because the law 
required it — each of the three thousand berths in the 
passengers', officers', and crew's quarters contained 
a cork jacket, while about twenty circular life-buoys 
e strewn along the rails. 
In view of her absolute superiority to other craft. 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 3 

a rule of navigation thoroughly believed in by some 
captains, but not yet openly followed, was an- 
nounced by the steamship company to apply to the 
Titan: She would steam at full speed in fog, storm, 
and sunshine, and on the Northern Lane Route, win- 
ter and summer, for the following good and substan- 
tial reasons : First, that if another craft should 
strike her, the force of the impact would be dis- 
tributed over a larger area if the Titan had full 
headway, and the brunt of the damage would be 
borne by the other. Second, that if the Titan was 
the aggressor she would certainly destroy the other 
craft, even at half-speed, and perhaps damage her 
own bows ; while at full speed, she would cut her in 
two with no more damage to herself than a paint- 
brush could remedy. In either case, as the lesser of 
two evils, it was best that the smaller hull should 
suffer. A third reason was that, at full speed, she 
could be more easily steered out of danger, and a 
fourth, that in case of an end-on collision with an 
iceberg — ^the only thing afloat that she could not 
conquer — -her bows would be crushed in but a few 
feet further at full than at half speed, and at the 
most three compartments would he flooded — which 
would not matter with six more to spare. 

So, it was confidently expected that when her en- 
gines had limbered themselves, the steamship Titan 
would land her passengers three thousand miles away 
with the promptitude and regularity of a railway 
train. She had beaten all records on her maiden voy- 
age, but, up to the third return trip, had not lowered 
the time between Sandy Hook and Daunt's Rock to 
the five-day limit; and it was unofficially rumored 
among the two thousand passengers who had em- 
barked at New York that an effort would now be 
made to do so. 



I 
J 



m the sli 
■ The 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



CHAPTER II 

EIGHT tugs dragged the great mass to midstream 
and pointed her nose down the river; then the 
pilot on the bridge spoke a word or two; the first 
officer blew a short blast on the whistle and turned a 
lever; the tugs gathered in their lines and drew off; 
down in the bowels of the ship three small engines 
were started, opening the throttles of three large 
ones; three propellers began to revolve; and the 
mammoth, with a vibratory tremble running through 
her great frame, moved slowly to sea. 

East of Sandy Hook the pilot was dropped and 
the real voyage begun. Fifty feet below her deck, 
in an inferno of noise, and heat, and hght, and 
shadow, coal-passers wheeled the picked fuel from 
the bunkers to the fire-hold, where half-naked stokers, 
with faces like those of tortured fiends, tossed it into 
the eighty white-hot mouths of the furnaces. In the 
engine-room, oilers passed to and fro, in and out of 
the plunging, twisting, glistening steel, with oil-cans 
and waste, overseen by the watchful staff on duty, 
who listened with strained hearing for a false note in 
the confused jumble of sound— a clicking of steel out 
of tune, which would indicate a loosened key or nut. 
On deck, sailors set the triangular sails on the two 
masts, to add their propulsion to the momentum of 
the record-breaker, and the passengers dispersed 
themselves as suited their several tastes. Some were 
seated in steamer chairs, well wrapped — -for, though 
it was April, the salt air was chilly— some paced the 
deck, acquiring their sea legs; others listened to the 
orchestra in the music-room, or read or wrote in the 
library, and a few took to their berths — seasick from 
the slight heave of the ship on the ground-swell. 

The decks were cleared, watches set at noon, and 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 5 

then began the never-ending cleaning-up at which 
steamship sailors put in so much of their time. 
Headed by a six-foot boatswain, a gang came aft on 
the starboard side, with paint-buckets and brushes, 
and distributed themselves aiong the rail. 

" Davits an' stanchions, men — never mind the rail," 
said the boatswain. " Ladies, better move your 
chairs back a httle. Rowland, climb down out o' that 
— ^you'll be overboard. Take a ventilator — no, you'll 
spill paint — put your bucket away an' get some sand- 
paper from the yeoman. Work inboard till you get 
it out o' you." 

The sailor addressed — a slight-built man of about 
thirty, black-bcarded and bronzed to the semblance 
of healthy vigor, but watery-eyed and unsteady of 
movement — came down from the rail and shambled 
forward with his bucket. As he reached the group of 
ladies to whom the boatswain had spoken, his gaze 
rested on one — a sunny -haired young woman with 
the blue of the sea in her eyes — who had arisen at 
his approach. He started, turned aside as if to avoid 
her, and raising his hand in an embarrassed half- 
salute, passed on. Out of the boatswain's sight he 
leaned against the deck-house and panted, while he 
held his hand to his breast. 

"What is it?" he muttered, wearily; "whisky 
nerves, or the dying flutter of a starved love. Five 
years, now — and a look from her eyes can stop the 
blood in my veins — can bring back all the heart- 
hunger and helplessness, that leads a man to insanity 
— or this." He looked at his trembling hand, all 
scarred and tar-stained, passed on forward, and re- 
turned with the sandpaper. 

The young woman had been equally affected by 
the meeting. An expression of mingled surprise and 
terror had come to her pretty, but rather weak face; 
and without acknowledging his half-salute, she had 






6 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

caught up a Kttle child from the deck behind her, 
and turning into the saloon door, hurried to the 
library, where she sank into a chair beside a military- 
looking gentleman, who glanced up from a book and 
remarked : " Seen the sea-serpent, Myra, or the Fly- 
ing Dutchman? What's up? *' 

" Oh, George — ^no,*' she answered in agitated tones. 
" John Rowland is here — ^Lieutenant Rowland. I've 
just seen him — ^he is so changed — he tried to speak 
to me." 

"Who — that troublesome flame of yours? I 
never met him, you know, and you haven't told me 
much about him. What is he — ^first cabin? " 

** No, he seems to be a common sailor ; he is work- 
ing, and is dressed in old clothes — all dirty. And 
such a dissipated face, too. He seems to have fallen 
— so low. And it is all since — " 

"Since you soured on him? Well, it is no fault 
of yours, dear. If a man has it in him he'll go to » 

the dogs anyhow. How is his sense of injury? Has | 

he a grievance or a grudge? You're badly upset. 
What did he say?" 

" I don't know — ^he said nothing — I've always been 
afraid of him. I've met him three times since then, 
and he puts such a frightful look in his eyes — and he 
was so violent, and headstrong, and so terribly angry, 
— that time. He accused me of leading him on, and 
playing with him; and he said something about an 
immutable law of chance, and a governing balance of 
events — that I couldn't understand, only where he 
said that for all the suffering we inflict on others, we 
receive an equal amount ourselves. Then he went 
away — in such a passion. I've imagined ever since 
that he would take some revenge — ^he might steal our 
Myra — our baby." She strained the smiling child 
to her breast and went on. "I liked him at first, 
until I found out that he was an atheist — why, 



L 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 7 

George, he actually denied the existence of God — 
and to me, a professing Christian," 

" He had a wonderful nerve," said the husband, 
with a smile ; " didn't know you very well, I should 
say." 

" He never seemed the same to me after that," she 
resumed; " I felt as though in the presence of some- 
thing unclean. Yet I thought how glorious it would 
be if I could save him to God, and tried to convince 
him of the loving care of Jesus; but he only ridiculed 
all I hold sacred, and said, that much as he valued 
my good opinion, he would not be a hypocrite to gain 
it, and that he would be honest with himself and 
others, and express his honest unbelief — the idea ; as 
though one could be honest without God's help — -and 
then, one day, I smelled liquor on his breath — he al- 
ways smelled of tobacco — and I gave him up. It 
was then that he — that he broke out," 

" Come out and show me this reprobate," said the 
husband, rising. They went to the door and the 
young woman peered out, " He is the last man down 
there — close to the cabin," she said as she drew in. 
The husband stepped out, 

" What! that hang-dog ruffian, scouring the ven- 
tilator? So, that's Rowland, of the navy, is it! 
Well, this is a tumble. Wasn't he broken for conduct 
unbecoming an officer? Got roaring drunk at the 
President's levee, didn't he? I think I read of it." 

" I know he lost his position and was terribly dis- 
graced," answered the wife. 

" Well, Myra, the poor devil is harmless now. 
We'll be across in a few days, and you needn't meet 
him on this broad deck. If he hasn't lost all sensi- 
bility, he's as embarrassed as you. Better stay In 
now — it's getting foggy." 



1 



THE WHECK OF THE TITAN 



CHAPTER in 

WHEN the watch turned out at midnight, they 
found a vicious half-gale blowing from the 
northeast, which, added to the speed of the steamship, 
made, bo far as effects on her deck went, a fairly 
uncomfortable whole gale of chilly wind. The head 
sea, choppy as compared with her great length, dealt 
the Titan successive blows, each one attended by sup- 
plementary tremors to the continuous vibrations of 
the engines — each one sending a cloud of thick spray 
aloft that reached the crow's-nest on the foremast 
and battered the pilot-house windows on the bridge 
in a liquid bombardment that would have broken or- 
dinary glass. A fog-bank, into which the ship had 
plunged in the afternoon, still enveloped her — -damp 
and impenetrable ; and into the gray, ever-receding 
wall ahead, with two deck officers and three lookouts 
straining sight and hearing to the utmost, the great 
racer was charging with undiminished speed. 

At a quarter past twelve, two men crawled in from 
the darkness at the ends of the eighty-foot bridge 
and shouted to the first officer, who had just taken the 
deck, the names of the men who had relieved them. 
Backing up to the pilot-house, the officer repeated 
the names to a quartermaster within, who entered 
them in the log-book. Then the men vanished — ^to 
their coffee and " watch -below." In a few moments 
another dripping shape appeared on the bridge and 
reported the crow's-nest relief. 

" Rowland, you say.' " bawled the officer above the 
howling of the wind. " Is he the man who was lifted 
aboard, drunk, yesterday? " 

"Yes, sir." 

"Is he still drunk? " 

" Yes, sir." 



F 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 9 

"All right— that'll do. Enter Rowland in the 
crow's-nest, quartermaster," said the officer i then, 
making a funnel of his hands, he roared out: 
" CrowVnest, there." 

" Sir," came the answer, shrill and clear on the 
gale. 

" Keep jour eyes open — keep a sharp lookout." 

" Very good, sir." 

" Been a man-o '-war's - man, I judge, by his an- 
swer. They're no good," muttered the officer. He 
resumed his position at the forward side of the 
bridge where the wooden railing afforded some shelter 
from the raw wind, and began the long vigil which 
would only end when the second officer relieved him, 
four hours later. Conversation — except in the line 
of duty — was forbidden among the bridge officers of 
the Titan, and his watchmate, the third officer, stood 
on the other side of the large bridge binnacle, only 
leaving this position occasionally to glance in at the 
compass — which seemed to be his sole duty at sea. 
Sheltered by one of the deck-houses below, the boat- 
swain and the watch paced back and forth, enjoying 
the only two hours respite which steamship rules 
afforded, for the day's work had ended with the going 
down of the other watch, and at two o'clock the wash- 
ing of the 'tween-deck would begin, as an opening 
task in the next day's labor. 

By the time one bell had sounded, with its repeti- 
tion from the crow's-nest, followed by a long-drawn 
cry — " all's well " — from the lookouts, the last of the 
two thousand passengers had retired, leaving the 
spacious cabins and steerage in possession of the 
watchmen; while, sound asleep in his cabin abaft the 
chart-room was the captain, the commander who 
never commanded— unless the ship was in danger; 
for the pilot had charge, making and leaving port, 
and the officers, at sea. 



10 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

Two bells were struck and answered; then three, 
and the boatswain and his men were lighting up for a 
final smoke, when there rang out overhead a startling 
cry from the crow's-nest: 

" Something ahead, sir — can't make it out." 

The first officer sprang to the engine-room tele- 
graph and grasped the lever. " Sing out what you 
see," he roared. 

"Hard aport, sir — ^ship on the starboard tack — 
dead ahead," came the cry. 

" Port your wheel — ^hard over," repeated the first 
officer to the quartermaster at the helm — who an- 
swered and obeyed. Nothing as yet could be seen 
from the bridge. The powerful steering-engine in 
the stern ground the rudder over; but before three 
degrees on the compass card were traversed by the 
lubber's-point, a seeming thickening of the darkness 
and fog ahead resolved itself into the square sails 
of a deep-laden ship, crossing the Titan's bow, not 
half her length away. 

" H — ^1 and d — " growled the first officer. 
" Steady on your course, quartermaster," he shouted. 
^^ Stand from under on deck." He turned a lever 
which closed compartments, pushed a button marked 
— " Captain's Room," and crouched down, awaiting 
the crash. 

There was hardly a crash. A slight jar shook the 
forward end of the Titan and sliding down her fore- 
topmast-stay and rattling on deck came a shower of 
small spars, sails, blocks, and wire rope. Then, in 
the darkness to starboard and port, two darker 
shapes shot by — the two halves of the ship she had 
cut through ; and from one of these shapes, where still 
burned a binnacle light, was heard, high above the 
confused murmur of shouts and shrieks, a sailorly 
voice : 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 11 

" May the curse of God light on you and your 
cheese-knife, jou brass-bound murderers," 

The shapes were swallowed in the blackness astern ; 
the cries were hushed hy the clamor of the gale, and 
the steamship Titan swung back to her course. The 
first officer had not turned the lever of the engine- 
room telegraph. 

The boatswain bounded up the steps of the bridge 
for instructions. 

" Put men at the hatches and doors. Send every 
one who comes on deck to the chart-room. Tell the 
watchman to notice what the passengers have learned, 
and clear away that wreck forward as soon as pos- 
sible." The voice of the officer was hoarse and 
strained as he gave these directions, and the " aye, 
aye, sir " of the boatswain was uttered in a gasp. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE crow's-nest " lookout," sixty feet above the 
deck, had seen every detail of the horror, from 
the moment when the upper sails of the doomed ship 
had appeared to him above the fog to the time when 
the last tangle of wreckage was cut away by his 
watchmates below. When relieved at four bells, he 
descended with as little strength Jn his limbs as was 
compatible with safety in the rigging. At the rail, 
the boatswain met him. 

" Report your relief, Rowland," he said, " and go 
into the chart-room ! " 

On the bridge, as he gave the name of his suc- 
cessor, the first officer seized his hand, pressed it, and 
repeated the boatswain's order. In the chart-room, 
he found the captain of the Titan, pale-faced and 
intense in manner, seated at a table, and, grouped 
around him, the whole of the watch on deck except 




12 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

the officers, lookouts, and quartermasters. The cabin 
watchmen were there, and some of the watch below, 
among whom were stokers and coal-passers, and also, 
a few of the idlers — lampmen, yeomen, and butchers, 
who, sleeping forward, had been awakened by the 
terrific blow of the great hollow knife within which 
they lived. 

Three Arpenters' mates stood by the door, with 
sounding-rods in their hands, which they had just 
shown the captain — dry. Every face, from the cap- 
tain's down, wore a look of horror and expectancy, 
A quartermaster followed Rowland in and said ; 

" Engineer felt no jar in the engine-room, sir; and 
there's no excitement in the stokehold." 

" And you watchmen report no alarm in the 
cabins. How about the steerage? Is that man 
back? " asked the captain. Another watchman ap- 
peared as he spoke. 

" All asleep in the steerage, sir," he said. Then 
a quartermaster entered with the same report of the 
forecastles. 

" Very well," said the captain, rising ; " one by 
one come into my office — ^watchmen first, then petty 
officers, then the men. Quartermasters will watch the 
door — that no man goes out until I have seen him." 
He passed into another room, followed by a watch- 
man, who presently emerged and went on deck with a 
more pleasant expression of face. Another entered 
and came out; then another, and another, until every 
man but Rowland had been within the sacred pre- 
cincts, all to wear the same pleased, or satisfied, look 
on reappearing. When Rowland entered, the cap- 
tain, seated at a desk, motioned him to a chair, and 
asked his name. 

" John Rowland," he answered. The captain 
wrote it down. 

'* I understand," he said, " that you were in the 



^ 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



13 



crow's-neet when this unfortunate collision oc- 
curred." 

"Yes, sir; and I reported the ship as soon as I 
saw her," 

" You are not here to be censured. You are aware, 
of course, that nothing could be done, either to avert 
this terrible calamity, or to save life afterward." 

" Nothing at a speed of twenty-five knots an hour 
in a thick fog, sir." The captain glanced sharply 
at Rowland and frowned. 

" We wiU not discuss the speed of the ship, my 
good man," he said, " or the rules of the company. 
You will find, when you are paid at Liverpool, a 
package addressed to you at the company's office 
containing one hundred pounds in banknotes. This, 
you will receive for your silence in regard to this 
collision — the reporting of which would embarrass 
the company and help no one," 

" On the contrary, captain, I shall not receive it. 
On the contrary, sir, I shall speak of this wholesale 
murder at the first opportunity ! " 

The captain leaned back and stared at the de- 
bauched face, the trembling figure of the sailor, with 
which this defiant speech so little accorded. Under 
ordinary circumstances, he would liave sent him on 
deck to be dealt with by the officers. But this was 
not an ordinary circumstance. In the watery eyes 
was a look of shock, and horror, and honest indigna- 
tion ; the accents were those of an educated man ; and 
the consequences hanging over himself and the com- 
pany for which he worked — already complicated by 
and involved in his efforts to avoid them — ^which this 
man might precipitate, were so extreme, that such 
questions as insolence and diff^erence in rank were 
not to be thought of. He must meet and subdue this 
Tartar on common ground — as man to man. 

"Are you aware, Rowland," he asked, quietly. 



14 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



" that you will stand alone — that you will be dis- 
credited, lose your berth, and make enemies? " 

" I am aware of more than that," answered Row- 
land, excitedly. " I know of the power vested in you 
as captain. I know that you ^can order me into irons 
from this room for any offense you wish to imagine. 
And I know that an unwitnessed, uncorroborated en- 
try in your official log concerning me would be evi- 
dence enough to bring me life imprisonment. But I 
also know something of admiralty law ; that from my 
prison cell I can send you and your first officer to 
the gallows.'* 

" You are mistaken in your conceptions of evi- 
dence. I could not cause your conviction by a log- 
book entry; nor could you, from a prison, injure me. 
What are you, may I ask — an ex-lawyer? " 

" A graduate of Annapolis. Your equal in pro- 
fessional technic." 

" And you have interest at Washington? " 

*^ None whatever." 

" And what is your object in taking this stand — 
which can do you no possible good, though certainly 
not the harm you speak of? " 

" That I may do one good, strong act in my use- 
less life — that I may help to arouse such a sentiment 
of anger in the two countries as will forever end this 
wanton destruction of life and property for the sake 
of speed — that will save the hundreds of fishing-craft, 
and others, ruil down yearly, to their owners, and the 
crews to their families." 

Both men had risen and the captain was pacing the 
floor as Rowland, with flashing eyes and clinched 
fists, delivered this declaration. 

" A result to be hoped for, Rowland," said the 
former, pausing before him, " but beyond your power 
or mine to accomplish. Is the amount I named large 
enough? Could you fill a position on my bridge? " 



H " I cs 

■ enough 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 15 



can fill a higher; and your company is not rich 
enough to buy me." 

" You seem to be a man without ambition; but you 
must have wants." 

" Food, clothing, shelter — and whisky," said Row- 
land with a bitter, self-contemptuous laugh. The 
captain reached down a decanter and two glasses 
from a swinging tray and said as he placed them be- 
fore him : 

" Here is one of your wants ; fill up." Rowland's 
eyes glistened as he poured out a glassful, and the 
captain followed. 

"I will drink with you, Rowland," he said; "here 
is to our better understanding." He tossed off the 
liquor; then Rowland, who had waited, said: "I 
prefer drinking alone, captain," and drank the 
whisky at a gulp. The captain's face flushed at the 
affront, but ho controlled himself. 

" Go on deck, now, Rowland," he said ; " I will talk 
with you again before we reach soundings. Mean- 
while, I request — not require, but request^ — that you 
hold no useless conversation with your shipmates in 
regard to this matter." 

To this first officer, when relieved at eight bells, 
the captain said: "He is a broken-down wreck with 
a temporarily active conscience ; but is not the man 
to buy or intimidate; he knows too much. However, 
we've found his weak point. If he gets snakes before 
we dock, his testimony is worthless. Fill him up and 
I'll see the surgeon, and study up on drugs," 

When Rowland turned out to breakfast at seven 
bells that morning, he found a pint flask in the pocket 
of his pea-jacket, which he felt of but did not pull 
out in sight of his wafchmates. 

" Well, captain," he thought, " you are, in truth, 
about as puerile, insipid a scoundrel as ever escaped 
the law. I'll save you your drugged Dutch courage 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



^ 



for evidence," But it was not drugged, as he learned 
later. It was good whisky — a leader — ^to warm bis 
stomach while the captain was studying. 



CHAPTER V 

An incident occurred that morning which drew 
XiRowland's thoughts far from the happenings 
of the night. A few hours of bright sunshine 
had brought the passengers on deck like bees from a 
hive, and the two broad promenades resembled, in 
color and life, the streets of a city. The watch was 
busy at the inevitable scrubbing, and Rowland, with 
a swab and bucket, was cleaning the white paint on 
the starboard taffrail, screened from view by the 
after deck-house, which shut off a narrow space at the 
stern. A little girl ran into the inclosure, laughing 
and screaming, and clung to his legs, while she 
jumped up and down in an overflow of spirits. 

" I wunned 'way," she said ; " I wunned 'way from 
mamma." 

Drying his wet hands on his trousers, Rowland 
lifted the tot and said, tenderly ; " Well, little one, 
you must run hack to mamma. You're in bad com- 
pany." The innocent eyes smiled into his own, and 
then — a foolish proceeding, which only bachelors are 
guilty of — he held her above the rail in jesting 
menace. " Shalt I drop you over to the fishes, 
baby?" he asked, while his features softened to an 
unwonted smile. The chiid gave a little scream of 
fright, and at that instant a young woman appeared 
around the comer. She sprang toward Rowland like 
a tigress, snatched the child, stared at him for a 
moment with dilated eyes, and then disappeared, leav- 
ing him limp and nerveless, breathing hard, 

" It is her child," he groaned. " That was the 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 17 

mother-look. She is married^married." He re- 
sumed his work, with a face as near the color of the 
paint he was scrubbing as the tanned skin of a sailor 
may become. 

Ten minutes later, the captain, in his office, was 
listening to a complaint from a very excited man and 



" And you say, colonel," said the captain, " that 
this man Rowland is an old enemy? " 

" He is — or was once — ^a rejected admirer of Mrs. 
Selfridge. That is all I know of him — except that 
he has hinted at revenge. My wife is certain of what 
she saw, and I think the man should be confined," 

" Why, captain," said tlie woman, vehemently, as 
she hugged her child, " you should have seen him ; he 
was just about to drop Myra over as I seized her — 
and he had such a frightful leer on his face, too. Oh, 
it was hideous. I shall not sleep another wink in 
this ship-^I know." 

" I bog you will give yourself no uneasiness, 
madam," said the captain, gravely. " I have already 
learned something of his antecedents — that he is a 
disgraced and broken-down naval officer ; but, as he 
has sailed three voyages with us, I had credited his 
willingness to work before-the-mast to his craving 
for liquor, which he could not satisfy without money. 
However — as you think — he may be following you. 
Was he able to learn of your movements — that you 
were to take passage in this shipP " 

"Why not?" exclaimed the husband; "he must 
know some of Mrs, Selfridge's friends," 

" Yes, yes," she said, eagerly; " I have heard him 
spoken of, several times." 

" Then it is clear," said the captain. " If you will 
agree, madam, to testify against him in the English 
courts, I will immediately put him in irons for at- 
tempted murder," 



I 

J 



18 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



K castle 

■ Th. 



" Oh, do, captain," she exclaimed. " I cannot fed 
safe while he is at liberty. Of course I will testify, 

" Whatever you do, captain," said the husband, 
savagely, " rest assured Uiat I shall put a bullet 
through his head if he meddles with me or mine again. 
Then you can put me in irons," 

" I will see that he is attended to, colonel," replied 
the captain as he bowed them out of his office. 

But, as a murder charge is not always the best 
way to discredit a man ; and as the captain did not 
beheve that the man who had defied him would murder 
a child ; and as the charge would be difficult to prove 
in any case, and would cause him much trouble and 
annoyance, he did not order the arrest of John Row- 
land, but merely directed that, for the time, he should 
be kept at work by day in the 'tweon-deck, out of 
sight of the passengers. 

Rowland, surprised at his sudden transfer from 
the disagreeable scrubbing to a " soldier's job " of 
painting life-buoys in the warm 'tween-deck, was 
shrewd enough to know that he was being closely 
watched by the boatswain that morning, but not 
shrewd enough to affect any symptoms of intoxica- 
tion or drugging, which might have satisfied his anx- 
ious superiors and brought him more whisky. As a 
result of his brighter eyes and steadier voice — due 
to the curative sea air — when he turned out for the 
first dog-watch on deck at four o'clock, the captain 
and boatswain held an interview in the chart-room, in 
which the former said: " Do not be alarmed. It is 
not poison. He is half-way into the horrors now, 
and this will merely bring them on. He will see 
snakes, ghosts, goblins, shipwrecks, fire, and all sorts 
of things. It works in two or three hours. Just 
drop it into his drinking pot while the port fore- 
castle is empty." 

There was a fight in the port forecastle — to which 



1 






THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



19 



Rowland belonged — at supper-time, which need not 
be described beyond mention of the fact that Row- 
land, who was not a participant, had his pot of tea 
dashed from his hand before he had taken three swal- 
lows. He procured a fresh supply and finished his 
supper; then, taking no part in his watchmates' open 
discussion of the fight, and guarded discussion of 
collisions, rolled into his bunk and smoked until eight 
bells, when he turned out with the rest. 



CHAPTER VI 

*'¥) OWTjAND," said the big boatswain, as the 
XV watch mustered on deck ; " take the star- 
board bridge lookout." 

" It is not my trick, boats'n," said Rowland, in 
surprise. 

" Orders from the bridge. Get up there." 
Rowland grumbled, as sailors may when aggrieved, 
and obeyed. The man he relieved reported his name, 
and disappeared; the first officer sauntered down the 
bridge, uttered the official, *' keep a good lookout," 
and returned to his post; then the silence and loneli- 
ness of a night-watch at sea, intensified by the never- 
ceasing hum of the engines, and relieved only by the 
sounds of distant music and laughter from the the- 
ater, descended on the forward part of the ship. For 
the fresh westerly wind, coming with the Titan, made 
nearly a calm on her deck ; and the dense fog, though 
overshone by a bright star-specked sky, was so chilly 
that the last talkative passenger had fled to the light 
and life within. 

When three bells — half-past nine — had sounded, 
and Rowland had given in his turn the required call 
— " all's well " — the first officer left his post and ap- 
proached him. 



go THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

"Rowland," he said as he drew near; "I hear 
you've walked the quarter-deck," 

" I cannot ima^ne how you learned it, sir," re- 
plied Rowland ; " I am not in the habit of referring 
to it." 

" You told the captain. I suppose the curriculum 
is as complete at Annapolis as at the Royal Naval 
College. What do yon think of Maury's theories of 
currents? " 

" They seem plausible," said Rowland, uncon- 
sciously dropping the " sir "; " but I think that in 
most particulars he has been proven wrong," 

" Yes, I think so myself. Did you over follow up 
another idea of his — that of locating the position of 
ice in a fog by the rate of decrease in temperature 
as approached? " 

" Not to any definite result. But it seems to be 
only a matter of calculation, and time to calculate. 
Cold is negative heat, and can be treated like radiant 
energy, decreasing as the square of the distance." 

The officer stood a moment, looking ahead and 
humming a tune to himself; then, saying; "Yes, 
that's so," returned to his place, 

" Must have a cast-iron stomach," he muttered, aa 
he peered into the binnacle; "or else the boats'n 
dosed the wrong man's pot." 

Rowland glanced after the retreating officer with a 
cynical smile. " I wonder," he said to himself, " why 
he comes down here talking navigation to a foremast 
hand. Why am I up here — out of my turn? Is this 
something in line with that bottle? " He resumed the 
short pacing back and forth on the end of the bridge, 
and the rather gloomy train of thought which the 
officer had interrupted- 

" How long," he mused, " would his ambition and 

love of profession last him after he had met, and 

and lost, the only woman on earth to him? Why 




THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

is it — til at failure to hold the affections of one 
among the millions of women who live, and love, can 
outweigh every blessing in life, and turn a man's 
nature into a hell, to consume him? Who did she 
marry? Some one, probably a stranger long after 
my banishment, who came to her possessed of a few 
qualities of mind or physique that pleased her, — 
who did not need to love her — his chances were better 
without that— and he steps coolly and easily into my 
heaven. And they tell us, that ' God doeth all things 
well,' and that there is a heaven where all our unsatis- 
fied wants are attended to — provided we have the 
necessary faith in it. That means, if it means any- 
thing, that after a lifetime of unrecognized al- 
legiance, during which I win nothing but her fear 
and contempt, I may be rewarded by the love and 
companionship of her soul. Do I love her soul? 
Has her soul beauty of face and the figure and car- 
riage of a Venus? Has her soul deep, blue eyes and a 
sweet, musical voice. Has it wit, and grace, and 
charm? Has it a wealth of pity for suffering? 
These are the things I loved. I do not love her 
soul, if she has one. I do not want it. I want 
her — I need her." He stopped in his walk and leaned 
against the bridge railing, with eyes fixed on the fog 
ahead. He was speaking his thoughts aloud now, 
and the first officer drew within hearing, listened a 
moment, and went back. " Working on hira," he 
whispered to the third officer. Then he pushed the 
button which called the captain, blew a short blast of 
the steam whistle as a call to the boatswain, and re- 
sumed his watch on the drugged lookout, while the 
third officer conned the ship. 

The steam call to the boatswain is so common a 
sound on a steamship as to generally pass unnoticed, 
This call affected another besides the boatswain. A 
little night -gowned figure arose from an under berth 



\ 



2a THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

in a saloon stateroom, and, with wide-open, staring 
eyes, groped its way to the deck, unobserved by the 
watchman. The white, bare little feet felt no cold 
as they pattered the planks of the deserted prome- 
nade, and the little figure had readied tlie steerage 
entrance by the time the captain and boatswain had 
reached the bridge, 

" And they talk," went on Rowland, as the three 
watched and hstened ; " of the wonderful love and 
care of a merciful God, who controls all things — ^who 
has given me my defects, and my capacity for loving, 
and then placed Myra Gaunt in my way. Is there 
mercy to me in this ? As part of a great evolutionary 
principle, which develops the race life at the expense 
of the individual, it might be consistent with the 
idea of a God — a first cause. But does the individual 
who perishes, because unfitted to survive, owe any 
love, or gratitude to this God? He does not! On 
the supposition that He exists, I deny it ! And on 
the complete lack of evidence that He does exist, I 
affirm to myself the integrity of cause and effect — 
which is enough to explain the Universe, and me. A 
merciful God^a kind, loving, just, and merciful 
God—" he burst into a fit of incongruous laughter, 
which stopped short as he clapped his hands to his 
stomach and then to his head. "What ails me?" 
he gasped; "I feel as though I had swallowed hot 
coals — and my head — and my eyes — I can't see." 
The pain left him in a moment and the laughter re- 
turned. " What's wrong with the starboard anchor? 
It's moving. It's changing It's a — what? What 
on earth is it? On end — and the windlass — and the 
spare anchors — and the davits — all ahve — all mov- 
ing." 

The sight he saw would have been horrid to a 
healthy mind, but it only moved this man to in- 
creased and uncontrollable merriment. The two rails 



L 



THE WEECK OF THE TITAN 23 

belov leading to the stem had arisen before him in a 
shadowj triangle; and within it were the deck- 
fittings he had mentioned. The windlass had become 
a thing of horror, black and forbidding. The two 
end barrels were the bulging, lightless eyes of a non- 
descript monster, for which the cable chains had 
multiplied themselves into innumerable legs and 
tentacles. And this thing was crawhng around within 
the triangle. The anchor-davits were many-headed 
serpents which danced on their tails, and the anchors 
themselves writhed and squirmed in the shape of im- 
mense hairj caterpillars, while faces appeared on the 
two white lantern-towers — grinning and leering at 
hira. With his hands on the bridge rail, and tears 
streaming down his face, he laughed at the strange 
sight, but did not speak ; and the three, who had 
quietly approached, drew back to await, while below 
on the promenade dock, the little white figure, as 
though attracted by his laughter, turned into the 
stairway leading to the upper deck. 

The phantasmagoria faded to a blank wall of gray 
fog, and Rowland found sanity to mutter, " They've 
drugged me " ; but in an instant he stood in the 
darkness of a garden — one that he had known. In 
the distance were the lights of a house, and close to 
him was a young girl, who turned from him and fled, 
even as he called to her. 

By a supreme effort of will, he brought himself 
back to the present, to the bridge he stood upon, an.d 
to his duty. " Why must it haunt me through the 
years," he groaned; " drunk then — drunk since. She 
could have saved me, but she chose to damn me." He 
itrove to pace up and down, but staggered, and 
dung to the rail; while the three watchers ap- 
proached again, and the little white figure below 
climbed the upper bridge steps. 

" The survival of the fittest," he rambled, as he 



24 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

stared into the £og; "cause and effect. It explains 
the Universe — and me," He lifted his hand and spoke 
loudly, as though to some unseen familiar of the 
deep. What will be the last effect? Where in the 
scheme of ultimate balance — under the law of the 
correlation of energy, will my wasted wealth of love 
be gathered, and weighed, and credited? What will 
balance it, and where will I be? Myra, — Myra," he 
called; "do you know what you have lost? Do you 
know, in your goodness, and purity, and truth, of 
what you have done? Do you know — " 

The fabric on which he stood was gone, and he 
seemed to be poised on nothing in a worldless uni- 
verse of gray — alone. And in the vast, limitless 
emptiness there was no sound, or life, or change ; and 
in his heart neither fear, nor wonder, nor emotion 
of any kind, save one — the unspeakable hunger of a 
love that had failed. Yet it seemed that be was not 
John Rowland, but some one, or something else ; for 
presently he saw himself, far away — millions of bil- 
lions of miles; as though on the outermost fringes 
of the void — and heard his own voice, calling. 
Faintly, yet distinctly, filled with the concentrated 
despair of his life, came the call: " Myra, — Myra." 

There was an answering call, and looking for the 
second voice, he beheld her — ^the woman of his love — 
on the opposite edge of space ; and her eyes held the 
tenderness, and her voice held the pleading that he 
had known but in dreams. " Come back," she called ; 
" come back to me." But it seemed that the two could 
not understand; for again he heard the despairing 
cry: " Myra, Myra, where are you? " and again the 
answer: " Come back. Come." 

Then in the far distance to the right appeared a 
faint point of flame, which grew larger. It was ap- 
proaching, and he dispassionately viewed it ; and 
when he looked again for the two, they were gone. 




J 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN «5 

and in their places were two clouds of nebula, which 
resolved into myriad points of sparkling light and 
color — whirling, encroaching, until they filled all 
space. And through them the larger light was com- 
ing — and growing larger — straight for him. 

He heard a rushing sound, and looking for it, saw 
in the opposite direction a formless object, as much 
darker than the gray of the void as the flame was 
brighter, and it too was growing larger, and coming. 
And it seemed to him that this light and darkness 
were the good and evil of his life, and he watched, 
to see which would reach him first, but felt no sur- 
prise or regret when he saw that the darkness was 
nearest. It came, closer and closer, until it brushed 
him on the side. 

"What have we here, Rowland?" said a voice. 
Instantly, the whirling points were blotted out; the 
universe of gray changed to the fog; the flame of 
light to the moon rising above it, and the shapeless 
darkness to the form of the first officer. The little 
white figure, which had just darted past the three 
watchers, stood at his feet. As though warned by an 
inner subconsciousness of danger, it had come in its 
sleep, for safety and care, to its mother's old lover — 
the strong and the weak — the degraded and dis- 
graced, but exalted — the persecuted, drugged, and 
ail but helpless John Rowland. 

With the readiness with which a man who dozes 
while standing will answer the question that wakens 
him, he said — though he stammered from the now 
waning effect of the drug : " Myra's child, sir ; it's 
asleep." He picked up the night-gowned little girl, 
who screamed as she wakened, and folded his pea- 
jacket around the cold little body. 

"Who is Myra?" asked the officer in a bullying 
tone, in which were also chagrin and disappointment 
" You've been asleep yourself." 



I 
I 



26 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

Before Rowland could reply a shout from the 
crow's-nest split the air. 

" Ice," yelled the lookout ; " ice ahead. Iceberg. 
Right under the bows." The first officer ran amid- 
ships, and the captain, who had remained there, 
sprang to the engine-room telegraph, and this time 
the lever was turned. But in fiVe seconds the bow 
of the Titan began to lift, and ahead, and on either 
hand, could be seen, through the fog, a field of ice, 
which arose in an incline to a hundred feet high in 
her track. The music in the theater ceased, and 
among the babel of shouts and cries, and the deafen- 
ing noise of steel, scraping and crashing over ice, 
Rowland heard the agonized voice of a woman cry- 
ing from the bridge steps : " Myra— Myra, where are 
you? Come back." 



CHAPTER VII 

SEVENTY-FIVE thousand tons— dead-weight— 
rushing through the fog at the rate of fifty feet 
a second, had hurled itself at an iceberg. Had the 
impact been received by a perpendicular wall, the 
elastic resistance of bending plates and frames would 
have overcome the momentum with no more damage 
to the passengers than a severe shaking up, and to 
the ship than the crushing in of her bows and the 
killing, to a man, of the watch below. She would 
have backed off, and, slightly down by the head, 
finished the voyage at reduced speed, to rebuild on 
insurance money, and benefit, largely, in the end, by 
the consequent advertising of her indestructibility. 
But a low beach, possibly formed by the recent over- 
turning of the berg, received the Titan, and with her 
keel cutting the ice like the steel runner of an ice- 
boat, and her great weight resting on the starboard 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 37 

bilge, she rose out of the sfea, higher and higher — 
until the propellers in the stern were half exposed — 
then, meeting an easy, spiral rise in the ice under her 
port bow, she heeled, overbalanced, and crashed 
down on her side, to starboard. 

The holding-down bolts of twelve boilers and three 
triple-expansion engines, unintended to hold such 
weights from a perpendicular flooring, snapped, and 
down through a maze of ladders, gratings, anJ fore- 
and-aft bulkheads came these giant masses of steel 
and iron, puncturing the sides of the ship, even where 
backed by solid, resisting ice; and filling the engine-, 
and boiler-rooms with scalding steam, which brought 
a quick, though tortured death, to each of the hun- 
dred men on duty in the engineer's department. 

Amid the roar of escaping steam, and the bee-like 
buzzing of nearly three thousand human voices, 
raised in agonized screams and callings from within 
the inclosing walls, and the whistling of air through 
hundreds of open dead-hghts as the water, entering 
the holes of the crushed and riven starboard side, 
expelled it, the Titan moved slowly backward and 
launched herself into the sea, where she floated low 
on her side — a dying monster, groaning with her 
death-wound. 

A sohd, pyramid-like hummock of ice, left to star- 
board as the steamer ascended, and which projected 
close alongside the upper, or boat-deck, as she fell 
over, had caught, in succession, every pair of davits 
to starboard, bending and wrenching them, smashing 
boats, and snapping tackles and gripes, until, as the 
ship cleared herself, it capped the pile of wreckage 
strewing the ice in front of, and around it, with the 
end and broken stanchions of the bridge. And in 
this shattered, box-like structure, dazed by the 
sweeping fall through an arc of seventy-foot radius, 
crouched Rowland, bleeding from a cut in his head, 



I 



28 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

and still holding to his breast the little girl- 
too frightened to cry. 

By an effort of will, he aroused himself and looked. 
To his eyesight, twisted and fixed to a shorter 
focus by the drug he had taken, the steamship was 
little more than a bloth on the moon-whitened fog; 
yet he thought he could see men clambering and 
working on the upper davits, and the nearest boat — 
No. 24 — seemed to be swinging by the tackles. Then 
the fog shut her out, though her position was stiU 
indicated by the roaring of steam from her iron lungs. 
This ceased in time, leaving behind it the horrid 
humming sound and whistling of air; and when this 
too was suddenly hushed, and the ensuing silence 
broken by dull, booming reports — as from bursting 
compartments — Rowland knew that the holocaust 
was complete; that the invincible Titan^ with nearly 
all of her people, unable to climb vertical floors and 
ceilings, was beneath the surface of the sea. 

Mechanically, his benumbed faculties had received 
and recorded the impressions pf the last few mo- 
ments; he could not comprehend, to the full, the 
horror of it all. Yet his mind was keenly alive to 
the peril of the woman whose appealing voice he had 
heard and recognized — the woman of his dream, and 
the mother of the child in his arms. He hastily ex- 
amined the wreckage. Not a boat was intact. 
Creeping down to the water's edge, he hailed, with 
all the power of his weak voice, to possible, but in- 
visible boats beyond the fog — calling on them to 
come and save the child — to look out for a woman 
who had been on deck, under the bridge. He shouted 
fliis woman's name — ^the one that he knew — encour- 
aging her to swim, to tread water, to float on wreck- 
age, and to answer him, until he came to her. There 
was no response, and when his voice had grown hoarse 
futile, and his feet numb from the cold of the 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



29 



thawing ice, he returned to the wreckage, weighed 

down and all but crushed by the blackest desolation 
that had, so far, come into his unhappj life. The 
little girl was crying and he tried to soothe her. 

" I want mamma," she waded. 

" Hush, baby, hush," he answered, wearily and 
bitterly ; " so do I — more than Heaven, but I think 
our chances are about even now. Are you cold, httle 
one? We'll go inside, and I'll make a house for us." 

He removed his coat, tenderly wrapped the little 
figure in it, and with the injunction; "Don't be 
afraid, now," placed her in the corner of the bridge, 
which rested on its forward side. As he did so, the 
bottle of whisky fell out of the pocket. It seemed 
an age since he had found it there, and it required a 
strong ofi'ort of reasoning before he remembered its 
full significance. Then be raised it, to hurl it down 
the incline of ice, but stopped himself. 

" I'll keep it," he muttered ; " it may be safe in 
small quantities, and we'll need it on this ice," He 
placed it in a corner ; then, removing the canvas 
cover from one of the wrecked boats, he hung it over 
the open side and end of the bridge, crawled within, 
and donned his coat — a ready-made, slop-chest gar- 
ment, designed for a larger man — and buttoning it 
around himself and the httle girl, lay down on the 
hard woodwork. She was still crying, but soon, 
tinder the influence of the warmth of his body, ceased 
and went to sleep. 

Huddled in a comer, he gave himself up to the 
torment of his thoughts. Two pictures alternately 
crowded his mind; one, that of the woman of his 
dream, entreating him to come back — which his 
memory clung to as an oracle; the other, of this 
woman, cold and lifeless, fathoms deep in the sea. 
He pondered on her chances. She was close to, or 
on the bridge steps ; and boat No. S4, which he was 



80 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

almost sure was being cleared away as he looked, 
would swing close to her as it descended. She could 
climb in and be saved — unless the swimmers from 
doors and hatches should swamp the boat. And, in 
his agony of mind, he cursed these swimmers, prefer- 
ring to see her, mentally, the only passenger in the 
boat, with the watch-on-deck to pull her to safety. 

The potent drug he had taken was still at work, 
and this, with the musical wash of the sea on the icy 
beach, and the muffled creaking and crackling beneath 
and around him — the voice of the iceberg — over- 
came him finally, and he slept, to waken at daylight 
with limbs stiffened and numb — almost frozen. 

And all night, as he slept, a boat with the number 
twenty-four on her bow, pulled by sturdy sailors and 
steered by brass-buttoned officers, was making for 
the Southern Lane — the highway of spring traffic. 
And, crouched in the stern-sheets of this boat was a 
moaning, praying woman, who cried and screamed at 
intervals, for husband and baby, and would not be 
comforted, even when one of the brass-buttoned of- 
ficers assured her that her child was safe in the care 
of John Rowland, a brave and trusty sailor, who 
was certainly in the other boat with it. He did not 
tell her, of course, that Rowland had hailed from 
the berg as she lay unconscious, and that if he still 
had the child, it was with him there — deserted. 



CHAPTER VIII 

ROWLAND, with some misgivings, drank a small 
quantity of the liquor, and wrapping the still 
sleeping child in the coat, stepped out on the ice. 
The fog was gone and a blue, sailless sea stretched 
out to the horizon. Behind him was ice — a moun- 
tain of it. He climbed the elevation and looked at 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 31 

another stretch of vacant view from a precipice a 
hundred feet high. To his left the ice sloped to t 
steeper beach than the one behind liiin, and to the 
right, a pile of hummocks and taller peaks, inter- 
spersed with numerous canons and caves, and glist- 
ening with waterfalls, shut out the horizon in this 
direction. Nowhere was there a sail or steamer's 
smoke to cheer him, and he retraced his steps. When 
but half-way to the wreckage, he saw a moving white 
object approaching from the direction of the peaks. 

His eyes were not yet in good condition, and after 
an uncertain scrutiny he started at a run; for he 
saw that the mysterious white object was nearer the 
bridge than himself, and rapidly lessening the dis- 
tance. A hundred yards away, his heart bounded 
and the blood in his veins felt cold as the ice under 
foot, for the white object proved to be a traveler from 
the frozen North, lean and famished — a polar bear, 
who had scented food and was seeking it — coming 
on at a lumbering run, with great red jaws half 
open and yellow fangs exposed. Rowland had no 
weapon but a strong jackknife, but this he pulled 
from his pocket and opened as he ran. Not for an 
instant did he hesitate at a conflict that promised 
almost certain death; for the presence of this bear 
involved the safety of a child whose life had become 
of more importance to him than his own. To his 
horror, he saw it creep out of the opening i 
white covering, just as the bear turned the corner 
of the bridge. 

" Go back, baby, go back," he shouted, as he I 
bounded down the slope. The bear reached the child 
first, and with seemingly no effort, dashed it, with a 
blow of its massive paw, a dozen feet away, where it 
lay quiet. Turning to follow, the brute was met by 
Rowland. 

The bear rqse to his haunches, sank down, and 



4 

by ^J 

nd ^1 



pera 
the 

m ^ 

^^k and 

^K thoi 

^m The 

^H sera 

^V shoi 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

charged ; and Rowland felt the bones of his left arm 
crushing under the bite of the big, jellow-fanged 
jaws. But, falling, he buried the knife-blade in the 
shaggy hide, and the bear, with an angry snarl, spat 
out the mangled member and dealt him a sweeping 
blow which sent him farther along the ice than the 
child had gone- He arose, with broken ribs, and— 
scarcely feeling the pain — awaited the second charge. 
Again was the crushed and useless arm gripped in 
the yellow vise, and again was he pressed backward; 
but this time he used the knife with method. The 
great snout was pressing his breast; the hot, fetid 
breath was in his nostrils ; and at his shoulder the 
hungry eyes were glaring into his own. He struck 
for the left eye of the brute and struck true. The 
five-inch blade went in to the handle, piercing the 
brain, and the animal, with a convulsive spring 
which carried him half-way to his feet by the wounded 
arm, reared up, with paws outstretched, to full eight 
feet of length, then sagged down, and with a few 
spasmodic kicks, lay still. Rowland had done what 
no Innuit hunter will attempt — he had fought and 
killed the Tiger-of-the-North with a knife. 

It had all happened in a minute, but in that min- 
ute he was crippled for life; for in the quiet of a 
hospital, the best of surgical skill could hardly avail 
to reset the fractured particles of bone in the limp 
arm, and bring to place the crushed ribs. And he 
was adrift on a floating island of ice, with the tem- 
perature near the freezing point, and without even 
the rude appliances of the savage. 

He painfully made his way to the little pile of red 
and white, and lifted it with his uninjured arm, 
though the stooping caused him excruciating torture. 
The child was bleeding from four deep, cruel 
scratches, extending diagonally from the right 
shoulder down the back ; but he found upon examina- 




THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

tion that the soft, yielding bones were unbroki 
and that her unconsciousness came from the rough 
■t of the little forehead with the ice; for a large 
lump had raised. 

Of pure necessity, his first efforts must be made 
in his own behalf; so wrapping the baby in his coat 
he placed it in his shelter, and cut and made from 
the canvas a sling for his dangling arm. Then, 
with knife, fingers, and teeth, he partly skinned the 
bear — often compelled to pause to save himself from 
fainting with pain — and cut from the warm but not 
very thick layer of fat a broad slab, which, after 
bathing the wounds at a near-by pool, he bound firmly 
to the little one's back, using the torn night-gown 
for a bandage. 

He cut the flannel lining from his coat, and from 
that of the sleeves made nether garments for the little 
limbs, doubling the surplus length over the ankles 
and tying in place with rope-yarns from a boat- 
lacing. The body lining he wrapped around her 
waist, inclosing the arms, and around the whole he 
passed turn upon turn of canvas in strips, marling 
the mummy-like bundle with yarns, much as a sailor 
secures chafing-gear to the doubled parts of a hawser 
— a process when complete, that would have aroused 
the indignation of any mother who saw it. But he 
was only a man, and suffering mental and physical 
anguish. 

By the time he had finished, the child had recov- 
ered consciousness, and was protesting its misery in 
a feeble, wailing cry. But he dared not stop — to 
become stiffened with cold and pain. There was 
plenty of fresh water from melting ice, scattered in 
pools. The bear would furnish food ; but they needed 
fire, to cook this food, keep them warm, and the dan- 
gerous infiammation from their hurts, and to raise a 
smoke to be seen by passing craft. le 



1 



84 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

He recklessly drank from the bottle, needing the ' 
stimulant, and reasoning, perhaps rightly, that no 
ordinary drug could affect him in his present condi- 
tion; then he examined the wreckage — most of it 
good kindling wood. Partly above, partly below 
the pile, was a steel lifeboat, decked over air-tight 
ends, now doubled to more than a right angle and 
resting on its side. With canvas hung over one half, 
and a small fire in the other, it promised, by its con- 
ducting property, a warmer and better shelter than 
the bridge. A sailor without matches is an anomaly. 
He whittled shavings, kindled the fire, hung the can- 
vas and brought the child, who begged piteously for 
a drink of water. 

He found a tin can — possibly left in a leaky boat 
before its final hoist to the davits — and gave her a 
drink, to which he had added a few drops of the 
whisky. Then he thought of breakfast. Cutting a 
steak from the hindquarters of the bear, he toasted 
it on the end of a splinter and found it sweet and sat- 
isfying; but when he attempted to feed the child, he 
understood the necessity of freeing its arms — which 
he did, sacrificing his left shirtsleeve to cover them. 
The change and the food stopped its crying for a 
while, and Rowland lay down with it in the warm 
boat. Before the day had passed the whisky was 
gone and he was delirious with fever, while the child 
was but little better. 



CHAPTER IX 

WITH lucid intervals, during which he replen- 
ished or rebuilt the fire, cooked the bear-meat, 
and fed and dressed the wounds of the child, this 
delirium lasted three days. His suffering was in- 
tense. His arm, the seat of throbbing pain, had 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 35 

swollen to twice the natural size, while his side pre- 
vented him taking a full breath, voluntarily. He 
had paid no attention to his own hurts, and it was 
either the vigor of a constitution that years of dissi- 
pation had not impaired, or some anti-febrile prop- 
erty of bear-meat, or the absence of the exciting 
whisky that won the battle. He rekindled the fire 
with his last match on the evening of the third day 
and looked around the darkening horizon, sane, but 
feeble in body and mind. 

If a sail had appeared in the interim, he had not 
seen it ; nor was there one in sight now. Too weak 
to climb the slope, he returned to the boat, where 
the child, exhausted from fruitless crying, was now 
sleeping. His unskillful and rather heroic manner 
of wrapping it up to protect it from cold had, no 
doubt, contributed largely to the closing of its 
wounds by forcibly keeping it still, though it must 
have added to its present sufferings. He looked for 
a moment on the wan, tear-stained little face, with 
its fringe of tangled curls peeping above the wrap- 
pings of canvas, and stooping painfully down, kissed 
it softly ; but the kiss awakened it and it cried for its 
mother. He could not soothe it, nor could he try; 
and with a formless, wordless curse against destiny 
welling up from his heart, he left it and srtt down 
on the wreckage at some distance away. 

« YVe'U very likely get well," he mused, gloomily, 
" unless I let the fire go out. What then? We can't 
last longer than the berg, and not much longer than 
the bear. We must be out of the tracks — we wera 
about nine hundred miles out when we struck; and 
the current sbicks to the fog-belt here — about west- 
sou'wcst — but that's the surface water. These deep 
fellows have currents of their own. There's no fog; 
we must be to the southward of the belt — between the 
Lanes. They'll run their boats in the other Lane 



36 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

after this, I thiiik — the money- grabbing wretches- 
Curse them — if they've drowned her. Curse them, 
with their water-tight compartments, and their log- 
ging of the lookouts. Twenty-four boats for three 
thousand people — lashed down with tarred gripe- 
lashings — thirty men to clear them away, and not 
an axe on the boat-deck or a sheath-knife on a man. 
Could she have got away? If they got that boat 
down, they might have taken her in from the steps; 
and the mate knew I had her child — he would tell her. 
Her name must be Myra, too ; it was her voice I 
heard in that dream. That was hasheesh. What did , 
they drug me for? But the whisky was all right. 
It's all done witli now, unless I get ashore — but will 
I?" 

The moon rose above the castellated structure to 
the left, flooding the icy beach with ashen-gray light, 
sparkling in a thousand points from the cascades, 
streams, and rippling pools, throwing into blackest 
shadow the gullies and hollows, and bringing to his 
mind, in spite of the weird beauty of the scene, a 
crushing sense of loneliness— of littleness — as though 
the vast pile of inorganic desolation which held him 
was of far greater importance than himself, and all 
the hopes, plans, and fears of his lifetime. The child 
had cried itself to sleep again, and he paced up and 
down the ice. 

" Up there," he said, moodily, looking into the 
sky, where a few stars shone faintly in the flood from 
the moon; " Up there — somewhere — they don't know 
just where — but somewhere up above, is the Chris- 
tians' Heaven. Up there is their good God — who 
has placed Myra's child here — their good God whom 
they borrowed from the savage, bloodthirsty race 
that invented him. And down below us — somewhere 
again — is their hell and their bad god, whom they 
invented themselves. And they give us our choice — • 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 37 

Heaven or hell. It is not so— ^lot so. The great 
mystery is not solved — the human heart is not helped 
in this way. No good, merciful God created this 
world or its conditions. Whatever may be the nature 
of the causes at work beyond our mental vision, one 
fact is indubitably proven — that the qualities of 
mercy, goodness, justice, play no part in the gov- 
erning scheme. And yet, they say the core of all 
religions on earth is the belief in this. Is it? Or is 
it the cowardly, human fear of the unknown — that 
impels the savage mother to throw her babe to a 
crocodile — that impels the civilized man to endow 
churches — that has kept in existence from the begin- 
ning a class of soothsayers, medicine-men, priests, 
and clergymen, all living on the hopes and fears ex- 
cited by themselves. 

" And people pray — millions of them — and claim 
they are answered. Are they? Was ever supplica- 
tion sent into that sky by troubled humanity an- 
swered, or even heard? Who knows? They pray 
for rain and sunshine, and both come in time. They 
pray for health and success and both are but natural 
in the marching of events. This is not evidence. 
But they say that they know, by spiritual uplifting, 
that they are heard, and comforted, and answered at 
the moment. Is not this a physiological experi- 
ment? Would they not feel equally tranquil if they 
repealed the multiplication table, or boxed the 
compass ? 

" Millions have believed this — that prayers are an- 
swered — and these millions have prayed to different 
gods. Were they all wrong or all right? Would 
a tentative prayer be listened to? Admitting that 
the Bibles, and Korans, and Vedas, are misleading 
and unreliable, may there not be an unseen, unknown 
Being, who knows my heart^who is watching me 
now? If so, this Being gave me my reason, which 



38 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

doubts Him, and on Him is the responsibility. And 
would this being, if he exists, overlook a defect for 
whieh I am not to blame, and listen to a prayer from 
me, based on the mere chance that I might be mis- 
taken? Can an unbeliever, in the full strength of his 
reasoning powers, come to such trouble that he can 
no longer stand alone, but must cry for help to an 
imagined power? Can such time come to a sane 
man-^to me? " He looked at the dark line of vacant 
horizon. It was seven miles away; New York was 
nine hundred; the moon in the east over two hundred 
thousand, and the stars above, any number of billions. 
He was alone, with a sleeping child, a dead bear, and 
the Unknown. He walked softly to the boat and 
looked at the little one for a moment ; then, raising 
his head, he whispered: "For youj Myra." 

Sinking to his knees the atheist lifted his eyes to 
the heavens, and with his feeble voice and the fervor 
born of helplessness, prayed to the God that he de- 
nied. He begged for the life of the waif in his care 
— for the safety of the mother, so needful to the little 
one — and for courage and strength to do his part 
and bring tliem together. But beyond the appeal for 
help in the service of others, not one word or ex- 
pressed thought of his prayer included himself as a 
beneficiary. So much for pride. As he rose to his 
feet, the flying-jib of a bark appeared around the 
corner of ice to the right of the beach, and a moment 
later the whole moon-lit fabric came into view, wafted 
along by the faint westerly air, not half a mile away. 

He sprang to the fire, forgetting his pain, and 
throwing on wood, made a blaze. He hailed, in a 
frenzy of excitement: "Bark ahoy! Bark ahoy! 
Take us off," and a deep-toned answer came across 
the water. 

" Wake up, Myra," he cried, as he lifted the child; 
" wake up. We're going away," 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 39 

"We goin' to mamma? " she asked, with no symp- 
toms of crying. 

" Yes, we're going to mamma, now — that is," he 
added to himself; "if that clause in the prayer is 
considered." 

Fifteen minutes later as he watched the approach 
of a white quarter-boat, he muttered : " That bark 
was there — half a mile back in this wind — before I 
thought of praying. Is that prayer answered? Is 
she safe? " 

CHAPTER X 

ON the first floor of the London Royal Exchange 
is a large apartment studded with desks, 
around and between which surges a hurrying, shout- 
ing crowd of brokers, clerks, and messengers. 
Fringing this apartment are doors and hallways 
leading to adjacent rooms and offices, and scattered 
through it are bulletin-boards, on which are daily 
written in duplicate the marine casualties of the 
world. At one end is a raised platform, sacred to 
the presence of an important functionary. In the 
technical language of the " City," the apartment is 
known as the " Room," and the functionary, as the 
" Caller," whose business it is to call out in a mighty 
sing-song voice the names of members wanted at the 
door, and the bare particulars of bulletin news prior 
to its being chalked out for reading. 

It is the headquarters ot Lloyds — the immense as- 
sociation of underwriters, brokers, and shjpping-men, 
which, beginning with the customers at Edward 
Lloyd's coffee-house in the latter part of the seven- 
teenth century, has, retaining his name for a title, 
developed into a corporation so well equipped, so 
splendidly organized and powerful, that kings and 



40 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

ministers of state appoal to it at times for foreign 
news. 

Not a master or mate sails under the English flag 
but whose record, even to forecastle fights, is tabu- 
lated at Llojds for the inspection of prospective em- 
ployers. Not a ship is cast away on any inhabitable 
coast of the world, during underwriters' business 
hours, but what that mighty sing-song cry announces 
the event at Lloyds within thirty minutes. 

One of the adjoining rooms is known as the Chart- 
room. Here can be found in perfect order and se- 
quence, each on its roller, the newest charts of all 
nations, with a library of nautical literature describ- 
ing to the last detail the harbors, lights, rocks, 
ahoals, and sailing directions of every coast-line 
shown on the charts; the tracks of latest storms; the 
changes of ocean currents, and the whereabouts of 
derelicts and icebergs. A member at Lloyds acquires 
in time a theoretical knowledge of the sea seldom 
exceeded by the men who navigate it. 

Another apartment — the Captain's room — is given 
over to joy and refreshment, and still another, the 
antithesis of the last, is the Intelligence office, where 
anxious ones inquire for and are told the latest news 
of this or that overdue ship. 

On the day when the assembled throng of under- 
writers and brokers had been thrown into an uproar- 
ious panic the Crier's announcement that the great 
Titan was destroyed, and the papers of Europe and 
America were issuing extras giving the meager de- 
tails of the arrival at New York of one boat-load of 
her people, this office had been crowded with weeping 
women and worrying men, who would ask, and remain 
to ask again, for more news. And when it came — 
a later cablegram, — giving the story of the wreck and 
the names of the captain, first officer, boatswain, 
seven sailors, and one lady passenger as those of the 




THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

saved, a feeble old gentleman had raised his voiee in 
a quavering scream, high above the sobbing of women, 
and said: 

" My daughter-in-law is safe ; but where is mj son, 
—where is my son, and my grandchild?" Then he 
had hurried away, but was back again the nest day, 
and the nest. And when, on the tenth day of wait- 
ing and watching, be learned of another boat-load of 
sailors and children arrived at Gibraltar, he shook 
his head, slowly, muttering: "George, George," and 
left the room. That night, after telegraphing the 
consul at Gibraltar of his coming, he crossed the 
channel. 

In the first tumultuous riot of inquiry, when un- 
derwriters had climbed over desks and each other to 
hear again of the wreck of the Titan, one — the nois- 
est of all, a corpulent, hook-nosed man with flashing 
black eyes — had broken away from the crowd and 
made his way to the Captain's room, where, after a 
draught of brandy, he had seated himself heaTiIy, 
with a groan that came from his soul. 

" Father Abraham," he muttered ; " this will ruin 
me." 

Others came in, some to drink, some to condole — 
all, to talk. 

" Hard hit, Meyer? " asked one. 

" Ten thousand," he answered, gloomily. 

" Serve you right," said another, unkindly ; 
" have more baskets for your eggs. Knew you'd 
bring up." 

Though Mr. Meyer's eyes sparkled at this, he said 
nothing, but drank himself stupid and was assisted 
home by one of his clerks. From this on, neglecting 
his business — excepting to occasionally visit the bul- 
letins — he spent his time in the Captain's room drink- 
ing heavily, and bemoaning his luck. On the tenth 
day he read with watery eyes, posted on the bulletin 



r 

I 



43 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

below the news of the arrival at Gibraltar of the 
second boat-load of people, the following; 

" Life-buoy of Boyal Age, London, picked up among 
wreckage in Lat. 45-20, N. Lon. 54-31 W. Ship Arctic, 
Boston, Capt. Brandt." 

" Oh, mine good God," he howled, as he rushed 

toward the Captain's room, 

" Poor devil — ^poor damn fool of an Israelite," said 
one observer to another. " He covered the whole of 
the Royal Age, and the biggest chunk of the Titan, 
It'll take his wife's diamonds to settle." 

Three weeks later, Mr. Meyer -was aroused from a 
brooding lethargy, by a crowd of shouting under- 
writers, who rushed into the Captain's room, seized 
him by the shoulders, and hurried him out and up to 
a bulletin. 

" Read it, Meyer — read it. What d'you think of 
it? " With some difficulty he read aloud, while they 
watched his face: 

" John Rowland, sailor of the Titan, with child passengei, 
name unknown, on board Peerleaa, Bath, at Christ iansand, 
Norway. Both dangerously ill, Rowland speaks of ship cut 
in half night before loss of Titan." 

"What do you make of it, Meyer — Royal Age, 
isn't it? " asked one. 

" Yes," vociferated another, " I've figured back. 
Only ship not reported lately. Overdue two months. 
Was spoken same day fifty miles east of that ice- 
berg." 

" Sure thing," said others. " Nothing said about 
it in the captain's statement — looks queer." 

" Veil, vwhat of it," said Mr. Meyer, painfully 
and stupidly: " dere is a collision clause in der Titan's 
policy ; I merely bay the money to der steamship com- 
pany instead of to der Royal Age beeple." 



^ 



kk 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 43 

"But why did the captain conceal it?" they 
ahouted at him. "What's his object — assured 
against collision suits," 

" Der looks of it, berhaps — looks pad." 

"Nonsense, Meyer, what's the matter with you? 
Which one of the lost tribes did you spring from — 
you're like none of your race — drinking yourself 
stupid like a good Christian. I've got a thousand on 
the Titan, and if I'm to pay it I want to know why. 
You've got the heaviest risk and the brain to fight 
for it — you've got to do it. Go home, straighten up, 
and attend to this. We'll watch Rowland till you 
take hold. We're all caught." 

They put him into a cab, took him to a Turkish 
bath, and then home. 

The next morning he was at his desk, clear-eyed 
and clear-headed, and for a few weeks was a busy, 
scheming man of business. 



CHAPTER XI 

ON a certain morning, about two months after the 
announcement of the loss of the Titan, Mr. 
Meyer sat at his desk in the Rooms, busily writing, 
when the old gentleman who had bewailed the death 
of his son in the Intelligence office tottered in and 
took a chair beside him. 

" Good morning, Mr. Selfridge," he said, scarcely 
looking up ; "I suppose you have come to see der 
insurance paid over. Der sixty days are up." 

" Yes, yes, Mr. Meyer," said the old gentleman, 
wearily ; " of course, as merely a stockholder, I can 
take no active part; but I am a member here, and 
naturally a little anxious. All I had in the world — 
even to my son and grandchild^ was in the Titan." 

" It is very sad, Mr. Selfridge; you have my deep- 



44 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

est sympathy. I pelieve you are der largest holder 
of Titan stock — about one hundred thousand, is it 
not? " 

" About that." 

" I am der heaviest insurer ; so Mr. Self ridge, this 
battle will be largely petween you and myself.*' 

"Battle — ^is there to be any difficulty.*^" asked 
Mr. Selfridge, anxiously. 

" Berhaps — I do not know. Der underwriters and 
outside companies have blaced matters in my hands 
and will not bay until I take der initiative. We must 
hear from one John Rowland, who, with a little child, 
was rescued from der berg and taken to Christian- 
sand. He has been too sick to leave der ship which 
found him and is coming up der Thames in her this 
morning. I have a carriage at der dock and expect 
him at my office py noon. Dere is where we will 
dransact this little pizness — ^not here." 

" A child — saved," queried the old gentleman ; 
" dear me, it may be little Myra. She was not at 
Gibraltar with the others. I would not care — ^I would 
not care much about the money, if she was safe. 
But my son — my only son — is gone; and, Mr. 
Meyer, I am a ruined man if this insurance is not 
paid." 

" And I am a ruined man if it is," said Mr. Meyer, 
rising. "Will you come around to der office, Mr. 
Selfridge? I expect der attorney and Captain 
Bryce are dere now." Mr. Selfridge arose and ac- 
companied him to the street. 

A rather meagerly-furnished private office in 
Threadneedle Street, partitioned off from a larger 
one bearing Mr. Meyer's name in the window, re- 
ceived the two men, one of whom, in the interests of 
good business, was soon to be impoverished. They 
had not waited a minute before Captain Bryce and 
Mr. Austen were announced and ushered in. Sleek, 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



«S 



L 



well-fed, and gentlemanly in manner, perfect types 
of the British naval officer, they bowed politely to 
Mr. Selfridge when Mr. Meyer introduced them as 
the captain and first officer of the Titan, and seated 
themselves. A few moments later brought a shrewd- 
looking person whom Mr. Meyer addressed as the 
attorney for the steamship company, but did not 
introduce ; for such are the amenities of the English 
system of caste. 

" Now then, gentlemen," said Mr. Meyer, " I 
pelieve we can broceed to pizness up to a certain 
point — berhaps further. Mr. Thompson, you have 
the affidavit of Captain Bryce? " 

" I have," said the attorney, producing a docu- 
ment which Mr, Meyer glanced at and handed back. 

" And in this statement, captain, he said, " you 
have sworn that der voyage was uneventful up to der 
moment of der wreck — that is," he added, with an 
oily smile, as he noticed the paling of the captain's 
face — " that nothing occurred to make der Titan 
less seaworthy or manageable ? " 

" That is what I swore to," said the captain, with 
a little sigh. 

" You are pari owner, are you not, Captain 
Bryce P " 

" I own five shares of the company's stock." 

" I have examined der charter and der company 
lists," said Mr. Meyer ; " each boat of der company 
is, so far as assessments and dividends are concerned, 
a separate company. I find you are listed as owning 
two sixty-seconds of der Titan stock. This makes 
you, under der law, part owner of der Titan, and 
responsible as such," 

" What do you mean, sir, by that word responsi- 
ble?" said Captain Bryce, qmcky. 

For answer, Mr, Meyer elevated his black eye- 
brows, assumed an attitude of listening, looked at his 



46 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

watch and went to the door, which, as he opened, 
admitted the sound of carriage wheels. 

" In here," he called to his clerks, then faced the 
captain. 

" What do I mean. Captain Bryce? " he thundered. 
*^ I mean that you have concealed in your sworn 
statement all reference to der fact that you collided 
with and sunk the ship Royal Age on der night be- 
fore the wreck of your own ship." 

"Who says so — how do you know it?" blustered 
the captain. " You have only that bulletin statement 
of the man Rowland — an irresponsible drunkard." 

" The man was lifted aboard drunk at New York," 
broke in the first oflScer, " and remained in a condition 
of delirium tremens up to the shipwreck. We did 
not meet the Royal Age and are in no way responsi- 
ble for her loss." 

" Yes," added Captain Bryce, " and a man in that 
condition is liable to see anything. We listened to 
his ravings on the night of the wreck. He was on 
lookout — on the bridge. Mr. Austen, the boats'n, 
and myself were close to him." 

Before Mr. Meyer's oily smile had indicated to 
the flustered captain that he had said too much, the 
door opened and admitted Rowland, pale, and weak, 
with empty left sleeve, leaning on the arm of a 
bronze-bearded and manly-looking giant who carried 
little Myra on the other shoulder, and who said, in 
the breezy tone of the quarter-deck: 

" Well, I've brought him, half dead ; but why 
couldn't you give me time to dock my ship? A mate 
can't do everything." 

" And this is Captain Barry, of der Peerless,*^ 
said Mr. Meyer, taking his hand. " It is all right, 
my friend ; you will not lose. And this is Mr. Row- 
land — and this is der little child. Sit down, my 
friend. I congratulate you on your escape." 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 47 

" Thank jou," said Rowland, weakly, as he seated 
himself ; " they cut my arm off at Christians and, and 
I still live. That is my escape." 

Captain Bryce and Mr. Austen, pale and motion- 
less, stared hard at this man, in whose emaciated 
face, refined by suffering to the almost spiritual soft- 
ness of age, they hardly recognized the features of 
the troublesome sailor of the Titan. His clothing, 
though clean, was ragged and patched. 

Mr. Selfridge had arisen and was also staring, not 
at Rowland, but at the child, who, seated in the lap 
of the big Captain Barry, was looking around with 
wondering eyes. Her costume was unique. A dress 
of bagging-stuff, put together — as were her canvas 
shoes and hat — with sail-twine in sail-makers' 
stitches, three to the inch, covered skirts and under- 
clothing made from old flannel shirts. It represented 
many an hour's work of the watch-below, lovingly be- 
stowed by the crew of the Peerless; for the crippled 
Rowland could not sew. Mr. Selfridge approached, 
scanned the pretty features closely, and asked: 

"What is her name? " 

" Her first name is Myra," answered Rowland. 
"She remembers that; bat I have not learned her 
last name, though I knew her mother years ago- — 
before her marriage." 

" Myra, Myra," repeated the old gentleman ; " do 
you know me? Don't you know me? " He trembled 
visibly as he stooped and kissed her. The little fore- 
head puckered and wrinkled as the child struggled 
with memory; then it cleared and the whole face 
sweetened to a smile. 

" Gwampa," she said, 

" Oh, God, I thank thee," murmured Mr. Self- 
ridge, taking her in his arms. " I have lost my son, 
but I have found his child— my granddaughter." 

" But, sir," asked Rowland, eagerly ; " you — this 




48 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

child's grandfather? Your son is lost, you say? 
Was he on board the Titan? And the mother — was 
she saved, or is she, too — " he stopped unable to 
continue, 

" The mother is safe — in New York ; but the 
father, ray son, has not yet been heard from," said 
the old man, mournfully. 

Rowland's head sank and he hid his face for a 
moment in his arm, on the table at which he sat. It 
had been a face as old, and worn, and weary as that 
of the white-haired man confronting him. On it, 
when it raised — flushed, bright-eyed and smiling — 
was the glory of youth. 

" I trust, sir," he said, " that you will telegraph 
her. I am penniless at present, and, besides, do not 
know her name." 

" Selfridge — which, of course, is mj own name. 
Mrs. Colonel, or Mrs. George Selfridge. Our New 
York address is well known. But I shall cable her at 
once; and, believe me, sir, although I can under- 
stand that our debt to you cannot be named in terms 
of money, you need not be penniless long. You are 
evidently a capable man, and I have wealth and in- 
fluence." 

Rowland merely bowed, slightly, but Mr. Meyer 
muttered to himself : " Vealth and influence, Berhaps 
not. Now, gentlemen," he added, in a louder tone, 
" to pizness. Mr, Rowland, will you tell us about der 
running down of der Royal Age? " 

"Was it the Royal Age?" asked Rowland. "I 
sailed in her one voyage. Yes, certainly." 

Mr. Selfridge, more interested in Myra than in 
the coming account, carried her over to a chair in 
the corner and sat down, where he fondled and talked 
to her after the manner of grandfathers the world 
over, and Rowland, £rst looking steadily into the 
faces of the two men he had come to expose, and 



I 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 49 

whose presence he had thus far ignored, told, while 
they held their teeth tight together and often buried 
their finger-nails in their palms, the terrible story of 
the cutting in half of the ship on the first night out 
from New York, finishing with the attempted bribery 
and his refusal. 

"Veil, gentlemen, vwhat do you think of that?" 
asked Mr. Meyer, looking around, 

" A lie, from beginning to end," stormed Captain 
Bryce. 

Rowland rose to his feet, but was pressed back by 
the big man who had accompanied him — who then 
faced Captain Bryce and said, quietly : 

" I saw a polar bear that this man killed in open 
fight. I saw his arm afterward, and while nursing 
him away from death I heard no whines or com- 
plaints. He can fight his own battles when well, and 
when sick I'll do it for him. If you insult him again 
in my presence I'll knock your teeth down your 
throat." 

CHAPTER XII 

THERE was a moment's silence while the two 
captains eyed one another, broken by the at- 
torney, who said: 

" Whether this story is true or false, it certainly 
has no bearing on the validity of the policy. If this 
happened, it was after the policy attached and be- 
fore the wreck of the Titan." 

" But der concealment — der concealment," shouted 
Mr. Meyer, excitedly. 

" Has no bearing, either. If he concealed any- 
thing it was done after the wreck, and after your 
liability was confirmed. It was not even barratry. 
You must pay this insurance." 

" I will not bay it. I will not. I will fight you in 



52 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

ainmed teeth-marks on his knuckles, and every one 
else sprang to their feet. 

" I told you to look out," said Captain Barry. 
" Treat ray friend respectfully." He glared steadily 
at the first officer, as though inviting him to duplicate 
the offense ; but that gentleman backed away from 
him and assisted the dazed Captain Bryce to a chair, 
where he felt of his loosened teeth, spat blood upon 
Mr. Meyer's floor, and gradually awakened to a 
realization of the fact that he had been knocked 
down— and by an American. 

Little Myra, unhurt but badly frightened, began 
to cry and call for Rowland in her own way, to the 
wonder, and somewhat to the scandal of the gentle 
old man who was endeavoring to soothe her, 

" Dammy," she cried, as she struggled to go to 
him ; " I want Dammy — Dammy — Da-a-may." 

" Oh, what a pad little girl," said the jocular Mr. 
Meyer, looking down on her. " Where did you leam 
such language? " 

" It is my nickname," said Rowland, smiling in 
spite of himself. " She has coined the word," he 
explained to the agitated Mr. Selfridgc, who had not 
yet comprehended what had happened ; " and I have 
not yet been able to persuade her to drop it — and I 
could not be harsh with her. Let me take her, sir." 
He seated himself, with the child, who nestled up to 
him contentedly and soon was tranquil. 

" Now, my friend," said Mr, Meyer, " you must 
tell us about this drugging." Then while Captain 
Bryce, under the memory of the blow he had re- 
ceived, nursed himself into an insane fury; and Mr. 
Austen, with his hand resting lightly on the captain's 
shoulder ready to restrain him, listened to the story; 
and the attorney drew up a chair and took notes of 
the story; and Mr. Self ridge drew his chair close to 
Myra and paid no attention to the story at all. Row- 



4 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 63 

land recited the events prior to and succeeding the 
shipwreck. Beginning with the finding of the 
whiskj in his pocket, he told of his being called to 
the starboard bridge lookout in place of the rightful 
incumbent; of the sudden and strange interest Mr, 
Austen displayed as to his knowledge of navigation; 
of the pain in his stomach, the frightful shapes he 
had seen on the deck beneath and the sensations of 
his dream— leaving out only the part which bore on 
the woman he loved; he told of the sleep-walking 
child which awakened him, of the crash of ice and 
instant wreck, and the fixed condition of his eyes 
which prevented their focusing only at a certain dis- 
tance, finishing his story — to explain hia empty 
sleeve — with a graphic account of the fight with the 
bear. 

" And I have studied it all out," he said, in conclu- 
sion. " I was drugged — I believe, with hasheesh, 
which makes a man see strange things — and brought 
up on the bridge lookout where I could be watched 
and my ravings listened to and recorded, for the 
sole purpose of discrediting my threatened testimony 
in regard to the collision of the night before. But I 
was only half-drugged, as I spilled part of my tea 
at supper. In that tea, I am positive, was the 
hasheesh," 

" You know all about it, don't you," snarled Cap- 
tain Bryce, from his chair, "'twas not hasheesh; 
'twas an infusion of Indian hemp; you don't 
know — " Mr. Austen's hand closed over his mouth 
and he subsided. 

" Self-convicted," said Rowland, with a quiet 
laugh. " Hasheesh is made from Indian hemp." 

" You hear this, gentlemen," exclaimed Mr. Meyer, 
springing to his feet and facing everybody in turn. 
He pounced on Captain Barry. " You hear this con- 
fession, captain; you hear him say Indian hemp? I 



1 
I 



64 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

haye a witness now, Mr. Thompson. Go right on 
with your suit. You hear him, Captain Barry. You 
are disinterested. You are a witness. You hear? *' 

" Yes, I heard it — ^the murdering scoundrel," said 
the captain. 

Mr. Meyer danced up and down in his joy, while 
the attorney, pocketing his notes, remarked to the 
discomfited Captain Bryce: "You are the poorest 
fool I know,'' and left the office. 

Then Mr. Meyer calmed himself, and facing the 
two steamship officers, said, slowly and impressively, 
while he poked his forefinger almost into their faces: 

" England is a fine country, my friends — a fine 
country to leave pehind sometimes. Dere is Canada, 
and der United States, and Australia, and South 
Africa — all fine countries, too— fine coimtries to go 
to with new names. My friends, you will be buUe- 
tened and listed at Lloyds in less than half an hour, 
and you will never again sail under der English 
flag as officers. And, my friends, let me say, that in 
half an hour after you are buUetened, all Scotland 
Yard will be looking for you. But my door is not 
locked." 

Silently they arose, pale, shamefaced, and 
crushed, and went out the door, through the outer 
office, and into the street. 



CHAPTER Xni 

MR. SELFRIDGE had begun to take an interest 
in the proceedings. As the two men passed 
out he arose and asked : 

" Have you reached a settlement, Mr. Meyer? 
Will the insurance be paid? " 

" No," roared the underwriter, in the ear of the 
puzzled old gentleman; while he slapped him vigor- 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



55 



I 



I 



oualy on the back ; " it will not be paid. You or I 
must have been ruined, Mr. Selfridgo, and it haa 
settled on you. I do not pay der Titan's insurance 
— nor will der other insurers. On der contrary, aa 
der collision clause in der policy is void with der rest, 
your company must reimburse me for der insurance 
which I must pay to der Royal Age owners— that is, 
unless our good friend here, Mr. Rowland, who was 
on der lookout at der time, will swear that her lights 
were out." 

" Not at all," said Rowland. " Her lights were 
burning — look to the old gentleman," he exclaimed. 
" Look out for him. Catch him ! " 

Mr. Selfridge was stumbling toward a chair. He 
grasped it, loosened his hold, and before anyone 
could reach him, fell to the floor, where he lay, with 
ashen lips and rolling eyes, gasping convulsively. 

" Heart failure," said Rowland, as he knelt by hia 
side. " Send for a doctor." 

" Send for a doctor," repeated Mr. Meyer 
through the door to his clerks ; " and send for a 
carriage, quick. I don't want him to die in der 
i^ce." 

Captain Barry lifted the helpless figure to a couch, 
and they watched, while the convulsions grew easier, 
the breath shorter, and the lips from ashen gray to 
blue. Before a doctor or carriage had come, he had 
passed away. 

" Sudden emotion of some kind," said the doctor 
when he did arrive. " Violent emotion, too. Hear 
bad news?" 

" Bad and good," answered the underwriter. 
" Good, in learning that this dear little girl was his 
granddaughter — bad, in learning that he was a 
ruined man. He was der heaviest stockholder in der 
7'itan. One hundred thousand pounds, he owned, of 
stock, all of which this poor, dear little child will 




B6 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

not get." Mr. Meyer looked sorrowful, as he patted 
Myra on the head. 

Captain Barry beckoned to Rowland, who, slightly 
flushed, was standing by the still figure on the couch 
and watching the face of Mr. Meyer, on which annoy- 
ance, jubilation, and simulated shock could be seen 
in turn. 

" Wait," he said, as he turned to watch the doctor 
leave the room. " Is this so, Mr. Meyer," he added 
to the underwriter, " that Mr. Self ridge owned Titan 
stock, and would have been ruined, had he lived, by 
the loss of the insurance money? " 

" Yes, he would have been a poor man. He had 
invested his last farthing — one hundred thousand 
pounds. And if he had left any more it would be 
assessed to make good his share of what der company 
must bay for der Royal Age, which I also insured." 

" Was there a collision clause in the Titan^s 
policy.? " 

" Dere was." 

" And you took the risk, knowing that she was to 
run the Northern Lane at full speed through fog 
and snow? " 

" I did— so did others." 

" Then, Mr. Meyer, it remains for me to tell you 
that the insurance on the Titan will be paid, as well 
as any liabilities included in and specified by the 
collision clause in the policy. In short, I, the one 
man who can prevent it, refuse to testify." 

«Vwhat-a-t?" 

Mr. Meyer grasped the back of a chair and, lean- 
ing over it, stared at Rowland. 

" You will not testify? Vwhat you mean? " 

" What I said ; and I do not feel called upon to 
give you my reasons, Mr. Meyer." 

" My good friend," said the underwriter, advanc- 
ing with outstretched hands to Rowland, who backed 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



57 



away, and taking Myra by the hand, moved toward 
the door. Mr. Meyer sprang ahead, locked it and 
removed the key, and faced them. 

" Oh, mine goot Gott," he shouted, relapsing in 
his excitement into the more pronounced dialect of 
his race; " vwhat I do to you, hey? Vwhy you go 
pack on me, hey? Haf I not bay der doctor's bill? 
Haf I not bay for der carriage? Haf I not treat 
you like one shentleman? Haf I not, hey? I ait 
you down in mine office and call you Mr, Rowland, 
Haf I not been one shentleman? " 

" Open that door," said Rowland, quietly 

*' Yes, open it," repeated Captain Barry, his 
puzzled face clearing at the prospect of action on 
his part. " Open it or I'll kick it down." 

' But you, mine friend — heard der admission of 
der captain — of der drugging. One goot witness 
will do; two is petter. But you will swear, mine 
friend, you will not ruin me." 

" I stand by Rowland," said the captain, grimly, 
" I don't remember what was said, anyhow ; got a 
blamed bad memory. Get away from that door." 

Grievous lamentation — weepings and wailings, and 
the most genuine gnashing of teeth — interspersed 
vith the feebler cries of the frightened Myra and 
punctuated by terse commands in regard to the door, 
tilled that private office, to the wonder of the clerks 
without, and ended, at last, with the crashing of the 
door from its hinges. 

Captain Barry, Rowland, and Myra, followed by 
a parting, heart-borne malediction from the agitated 
underwriter, left the office and reached the street. 
The carriage that had brought them was still wait- 
ing. 

" Settle inside," called the captain to the driver. 
*' We'll take another, Rowland." 

Around the first corner they found a cab, 



4 






58 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

they entered, Captain Barrj giving the driver the 
direction- — -" Bark Peerlesi, East India Dock," 

" I think I understand the game, Rowland," he 
said, as they started ; " you don't want to break this 
child." 

" That's it," answered Rowland, weakly, as he 
leaned back on the cushion, faint from the excitement 
of the last few moments. " And as for the right or 
wrong of the position I am in — why, we must go 
farther back for it than the question of lookouts. 
The cause of the wreck was full speed in a fog. AU 
hands on lookout could not have seen that berg. 
The underwriters knew the speed and took the risk. 
Let them pay." 

" Right — and I'm with you on it. But you must 
get out of the country. I don't know the law on 
the matter, but they may compel you to testify. You 
can't ship 'fore the mast again — that's settled. But 
you can have a berth mate with me as long as I sail 
a ship — if you'll take it; and you're to make my 
cabin your home as long as you like ; remember that. 
Still, I know you want to get across with the kid, and 
if you stay around until I sail it may be months be- 
fore you get to New York, with the chance of losing 
her by getting foul of English law. But just leave it 
to me. There are powerful interests at stake in 
regard to this matter." 

What Captain Barry had in mind, Rowland was 
too weak to inquire. On their arrival at the bark 
he was assisted by his friend to a couch in the cabin, 
where he spent the rest of the day, unable to leave it. 
Meanwhile, Captain Barry had gone ashore again. 

Returning toward evening, he said to the man on 
the couch : " I've got your pay, Rowland, and signed 
a receipt for it to that attorney. He paid it out of 
his own pocket. You could have worked that com- 
pany for fifty thousand, or more ; but I knew you 



1 




THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 69 

wouldn't touch their money, and so, only struck him 
for your wages. You're entitled to a month's pay. 
Here it is^American money — about seventeen." He 
gave Rowland a roll of bills. 

" Now here's something else, Rowland," he conr 
tinued, producing an envelope. " In consideration 
of the fact that you lost all your clothes and later, 
your arm, through the carelessness of the company's 
officers, Mr. Thompson offers you this." Rowland 
Opened the envelope. In it were two first cabin 
tickets from Liverpool to New York, Flushing 
hotly, he said, bitterly: 

" It seems that I'm not to escape it, after all." 

" Take 'cm, old man, take 'em ; in fact, I took 'em 
for you, and you and the kid are booked. And I 
made Thompson agree to settle your doctor's bill and 
expenses with that Sheeny. 'Tisn't bribery. I'd heel 
you myself for the run over, but, hang it, you'll take 
nothing from me. You've got to get the young un 
over. You're the only one to do it. The old gentle- 
man was an American, alone here — hadn't even a 
lawyer, that I could find. The boat sails in the 
morning and the night train leaves in two hours. 
Think of that mother, Rowland. Why, man, I'd 
travel round the world to stand in your shoes when 
you hand Myra over. I've got a child of my own." 
The captain's eyes were winking hard and fast, and 
Rowland's were shining. 

" Yes, I'll take the passage," he said, with a smile. 
" I accept the bribe." 

" That's right. You'll be strong and healthy 
when you land, and when that mother's through 
thanking you, and you have to think of yourself, 
remember — I want a mate and will be here a month 
before sailing. Write to me, care o' Lloyds, if you 
want the berth, and I'll send you advance money to 
get back with." 



1 



eo THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

" Thank you, captain," said Rowland, as he took 
the other's hand and then glanced at his empty 
sleeve; "but my going to sea is ended. Even a 
mate needs two hands." 

" Well, suit yourself, Rowland ; I'll take you mate 
without any hands at all while you had your brains. 
It's done me good to meet a man like you ; and — say, 
old man, you won't take it wrong from me, will you? 
It's none o' my business, but you're too all-fired good 
a man to drink. You haven't had a nip for two 
months. Are you going to begin? " 

" Never again," said Rowland, rising. " I've a 
future now, as well as a past." 



CHAPTER XIV 

IT was near noon of the next day that Rowland, 
seated in a steamer-chair with Myra and looking 
out on a sail-spangled stretch of blue from the sa- 
loon-deck of a west-bound liner, remembered that he 
had made no provisions to have Mrs. Self ridge noti- 
fied by cable of the safety of her child; and unless 
Mr. Meyer or his associates gave the story to the 
press it would not be known. 

" Well," he mused, " joy will not kill, and I shall 
witness it in its fullness if I take her by surprise. 
But the chances are that it will get into the papers 
before I reach her. It is too good for Mr, Meyer 
to keep," 

But the story was not given out immediately. Mr. 
Meyer called a conference of the underwriters con- 
cerned with him in the insurance of the Titan at 
which it was decided to remain silent concerning the 
card they hoped to play, and to spend a little time 
and money in hunting for other witnesses among the 
Titan's crew, and in interviewing Captain Barry, to 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 61 

the end of improving his memory. A few stormy 
meetings with this huge obstructionist convinced 
them of the futility of further effort in his direction, 
and, after finding at the end of a week that every 
surviving member of the Titan's port watch, as well 
as a few of the other, had been induced to sign for 
Cape voyages, or had otherwise disappeared, they 
decided to give the story told by Rowland to the 
press in the hope that publicity would avail to bring 
to light corroboratory evidence. 

And this story, improved upon in the repeating 
by Mr. Meyer to reporters, and embellished still 
further by the reporters as they wrote it up, particu- 
larly in the part pertaining to the polar bear, — 
blazoned out in the great dailies of England and the 
Continent, and was cabled to New York, with the 
name of the steamer in which John Rowland had 
sailed ( for his movements had been traced in the 
search for evidence), where it arrived, too late for 
publication, the morning of the day on which, with 
Myra on his shoulder, he stepped down the gang- 
plank at a North River dock. As a consequence, he 
was surrounded on the dock by enthusiastic report- 
ers, who spoke of the story and asked for details. 
He refused to talk, escaped them, and gaining the 
side streets, soon found himself in crowded Broad- 
way, where he entered the office of the steamship 
company in whose employ he had been wrecked, and 
secured from tlie Titan's passenger-liat the address 
of Mrs. Selfridge — the only woman saved. Then he 
took a car up Broadway and alighted abreast of a 
large department store. 

" We're going to see mamma, soon, Myra," he 
whispered in the pink ear ; " and you must go dressed 
up. It don't matter about me; but you're a Fifth 
Avenue baby — a little aristocrat. These old clothes 
won't do, now." Bui she had forgotten the word 



J 



62 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

" mamma," and was more interested in the exciting 
noise and life of the street than in the clothing she 
wore. In the store, Rowland asked for, and was 
directed to the children's department, where a young 
woman waited on him. 

" This child has been shipwrecked," he said, " I 
have sixteen dollars and a half to spend on it. Give 
it a bath, dress its hair, and use up the money on a 
dress, shoes, and stockings, underclothing, and a 
hat," The young woman stooped and kissed the 
little girl from sheer sympathy, but protested that 
not much could be done. 

" Do your best," said Rowland ; " it is all I have. 
I will wait here." 

An hour later, penniless again, he emerged from 
the store with Myra, bravely dressed in her new 
finery, and was stopped at the corner by a policeman 
who had seen him come out, and who marveled, 
doubtless, at such juxtaposition of rags and ribbons. 

" Whose kid ye got? " he demanded. 

" 1 believe it is the daughter of Mrs. Colonel Self- 
ridge," answered Rowland, haughtily — too haughtily, 
by far. 

" Ye believe — but ye don't know. Come back into 
the shtore, me tourist, and we'll see who ye shtole it 
from." 

" Very well, officer ; I can prove possession." They 
started back, the officer with his hand on Rowland's 
collar, and were met at the door by a party of three 
or four people coming out. One of this party, a 
young woman in black, uttered a piercing shriek and 
sprang toward them. 

" Myra ! " she screamed. " Give me my baby — 
give her to me." 

She snatched the child from Rowland's shoulder, 
hugged it, kissed it, cried, and screamed over it; then, 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 63 

oblivious to the crowd that collected, incontinently 
fainted in the arms of an indignant old gentleman. 

"You scoundrel!" he exclaimed, as he flourished 
his cane over Rowland's head with his free arm. 
" We've caught jou. Officer, take that man to the 
station-house. I will follow and make a charge in 
the name of mj daughter," 

" Then he shtole the kid, did he? " asked the po- 
liceman. 

" Most certainly," answered the old gentleman, as, 
with the assistance of the others, he supported the 
unconscious young mother to a carriage. They all 
entered, little Myra screaming for Rowland from 
the arms of a female member of the party, and were 
driven off. 

" Cm an wi' me," uttered the officer, rapping his 
prisoner on the head with his club and jerking him 
off his feet. 

Then, while an approving crowd applauded, the 
man who had fought and conquered a hungry polar 
bear was dragged through the streets like a sick 
animal by a New York policeman. For such is the 
stultifying effect of a civilized environment. 



CHAPTER XV 

IN New York City there are homes permeated by a 
moral atmosphere so pure, so elevated, so sensi- 
tive to the vibrations of human woe and misdoing, 
that their occupants are removed completely from all 
consideration of any but the spiritual welfare of poor 
humanity. In these homes the news -gathering, sensa- 
tion-mongering daily paper does not enter. 

In the same city are dignified magistrates — mem- 
bers of clubs and societies — who spend late hours, 



64 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

and often fail to arise in the morning in time to read 
the papers before the opening of court. 

Also in New York are city editors, bilious of 
stomach, testy of speech, and inconsiderate of re- 
porters' feelings and professional pride. Such edi- 
tors, when a reporter has failed, through no fault of 
his own, in successfully interviewing a celebrity, will 
sometimes send him news-gathering in the police 
courts, where printable news is scarce. 

On the morning following the arrest of John Row- ' 
land, three reporters, sent by three such editors, 
attended a hall of justice presided over by one of 
the late-rising magistrates mentioned above. In the 
anteroom of this court, ragged, disfigured by his 
clubbing, and disheveled by his night in a cell, stood 
Rowland, with other unfortunates more or less guilty 
of offense against society. When his name was called, 
he was hustled through a door, along a line of police- 
men — each of whom added to his own usefulness by 
giving him a shove— and into the dock, where the 
stern-faced and tired-looking magistrate glared at 
him. Seated in a comer of the court-room were the 
old gentleman of the day before, the young mother 
with little Myra in her lap, and a number of other 
ladies — all excited in demeanor; and all but the 
young mother directing venomous glances at Row- 
land. Mrs. Selfridge, pale and hollow-eyed, but 
happy-faced, withal, allowed no wandering glance to 
rest on him. 

The officer who had arrested Rowland was sworn, 
and testified that he had stopped the prisoner on 
Broadway while making off with the child, whose 
rich clothing had attracted his attention. Disdainful 
sniffs were heard in the comer with muttered re- 
marks : " Rich indeed — the idea — the flimsiest 
prints." Mr. Gaunt, the prosecuting witness, was 
called to testify. 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 65 

"This man, jour Honor," he began, excitedly, 
*' was once a gentleman and a frequent guest at my 
house. He asked for the hand of my daughter, and 
as his request was not granted, threatened revenge. 
Yes, sir. And out on the broad Atlantic, where he 
had followed my daughter in the guise of a sailor, 
he attempted to murder that child — my grandchild; 
but was discovered^" 

" Watt," interrupted the magistrate. " Confine 
your testimony to the present oft'ense." 

"Yes, your Honor. Failing in this, he stole, or 
enticed the little one from its bed, and in less than 
five minutes the ship was wrecked, and he must have 
escaped with the child in—" 

" Were you a witness of this P " 

" I was not there, your Honor; but we have it on 
the word of the first officer, a gentleman — " 

" Step down, sir. That will do. Officer, was this 
offense committed in New York? " 

" Yes, your Honor ; I caught him meself ." 

"Who did he steal the child from? " 

" That leddy over yonder." 

"Madam, will you take the stand?" 

With her child in her arms, Mrs. Selfridge was 
sworn and in a low, quavering voice repeated what 
her father had said. Being a woman, she was allowed 
by the woman-wise magistrate to tell her story in her 
own way. When she spoke of the attempted murder 
at the tafi'rail, her manner became excited. Then 
she told of the captain's promise to put the man in 
irons on her agreeing to testify against him — of the 
consequent decrease in her watchfulness, and her 
missing the child just before the shipwreck — of her 
rescue by the gallant first officer, and his assertion 
that he had seen her child in the arms of this man — 
the only man on earth who would harm it — of the 
later news that a boat containing sailors and children 





I 



H kind 

^^^^ The 



66 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 

had been picked up by a Mediterranean steamer — of ' 
the detectives sent over, and their report that a sailor 
answering this man's description had refused to sur- 
render a child to the consul at Gibraltar and had dis- 
appeared with it — of her joy at the news that Myra 
was alive, and despair of ever seeing her again until 
she had met her Jn this man's arms on Broadway the 
day before. At this point, outraged maternity over- 
came her. With cheeks flushed, and eyes blazing 
scorn and anger, she pointed at Rowland and all but 
screamed : " And he has mutilated — tortured my 
baby. There are deep wounds in her little back, and 
the doctor said, only last night, that they were made 
by a sharp instrument. And he must have tried to 
warp and twist the mind of my child, or put her 
through frightful experiences ; for he hag taught 
her to swear— horribly— and last night at bedtime, 
when I told her the story of Elisha and the bears 
and the children, she burst out into the most uncon- 
trollable screaming and sobbing." 

Here her testimony ended in a breakdown of 
hysterics, between sobs of which were frequent ad- 
monitions to the child not to say that bad word; 
for Myra had caught sight of Rowland and was call- 
ing his nickname. 

"What shipwreck was this — where was itP" 
asked the puzzled magistrate of nobody in particular. 

" The Titan," called out half a dozen newspaper 
men across the room, 

" The Titan" repeated the magistrate. " Then 
this offense was committed on the high seas under the 
English flag. I cannot imagine why it is brought 
into this court. Prisoner, have you anything to 
say? " 

" Nothing, your Honor." The answer came in a 
kind of dry sob. 

The magistrate scanned the ashen-faced man in 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



67 



ragH, and said to the clerk of the court : " Change 
this charge to vagrancy — eh — " 

The clerk, instigated by the newspaper men, was 
at his elbow. He laid a morning paper before him, 
pointed to certain big letters and retired. Then the 
business of the court suspended while the court read 
the news. After a moment or two the magistrate 
looked up. 

" Prisoner," he said, sharply, " take your left 
sleeve out of your breast ! " Rowland obeyed me- 
chanically, and it dangled at his side. The magis- 
trate noticed, and read on. Then he folded the paper 
and said: 

" You are the man who was rescued from an ice- 
berg, are you not? " The prisoner bowed his head. 

" Discharged ! " The word came forth in an unju- 
dicial roar. " Madam," added the magistrate, with 
a kindling light in his eye, " this man has merely 
saved your child's life. If you will read of his de- 
fending it from a polar bear when you go home, I 
doubt that you will tell it any more bear stories. 
Sharp instrument — umph ! " Which was equally un- 
judicial on the part of the court, 

Mrs. Selfridge, with a mystified and rather ag- 
grieved expression of face, left the court-room with 
her indignant father and friends, while Myra shouted 
profanely for Rowland, who had fallen into the hands 
of the reporters. They would have entertained him 
after the manner of the craft, but he would not be 
entertained — neither would he talk. He escaped and 
was swallowed up in the world without; and when 
the evening papers appeared that day, the events of 
the trial were all that could be added to the story of 
the morning. 



68 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 



CHAPTER XVI 

ON the morning of the next day, a one-armed 
dock lounger found an old fish-hook and some 
pieces of string which he knotted together; then he 
dug some bait and caught a fish. Being hungry and 
without fire, he traded with a coaster's cook for a 
meal, and before night caught two more, one of which 
he traded, the other, sold. He slept under the docks 
— ^paying no rent — fished, traded, and sold for a 
month, then paid for a second-hand suit of clothes 
and the services of a barber. His changed appear- 
ance induced a boss stevedore to hire him tallying 
cargo, which was more lucrative than fishing, and 
furnished, in time, a hat, pair of shoes, and an over- 
coat. He then rented a room and slept in a bed. 
Before long he found employment addressing en- 
velopes for a mailing firm, at which his fine and rapid 
penmanship secured him steady work; and in a few 
months he asked his employers to indorse his appli- 
cation for a Civil Service examination. The favor 
was granted, the examination easily passed, and he 
addressed envelopes while he waited. Meanwhile he 
bought new and better clothing and seemed to have 
no difficulty in impressing those whom he met with 
the fact that he was a gentleman. Two years from 
the time of his examination he was appointed to a 
lucrative position under the Government, and as he 
seated himself at the desk in his office, could have 
been heard to remark : " Now John Rowland, your 
future is your own. You have merely suffered in the 
past from a mistaken estimate of the importance of 
women and whisky." 

But he was wrong, for in six months he received 
a letter which, in part, read as follows : 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN 69 

** Do not think me indifferent or ungrateful. I have watched 
from a distance while you made your wonderful fight for your 
old standards. You have won, and I am glad and I congratu- 
late you. But Myra will not let me rest. She asks for you 
continually and cries at times. I can bear it no longer. Will 
you not come and see Myra?" 

And the man went to see — ^Myra, 



I 



[ 



THE PIRATES 

PROLOGUE 

TWO young men met m front of the post-office of 
a small country town. They were of about the 

same age — eighteen — each was well dressed, comely, 
and apparently of good family; and each had an 
expression of face that would commend him to 
strangers, save that one of them, the larger of the 
twoj had what is called a " bad eye " — that is, an 
eye showing just a little too much white above the 
iris. In the other's eye white predominated below 
the iris. The former is usually the index of violent 
though restrained temper; the latter of an intuitive, 
psychic disposition, with very little self-control. 
The difference in character so indicated may lead 
one person to the Presidency, another to the gallows. 
And — though no such results are promised — with 
similar divergence of path, of pain and pleasure, of 
punishment and reward, is this story concerned. 

The two boys were schoolmates and friends, with 
never a quarrel since they had known each other; 
they had graduated together from the high school, 
but neither had been valedictorian. They later had 
sought the competitive examination given by the 
congressman of the district for an appointment to 
the Naval Academy, and had won out over all, but 
so close together that the congressman had decreed 
another test. 

They had taken it, and since then had waited for 
the letter that named the winner; hence the daily 
visits to the post-office, ending in this one, when the 



THE PIRATES 71 

larger boy, about to go up the steps, met the sinaller 
coming down with an opened letter, and smiling. 

" I've got it, Jack," said the smaller boy, joyously. 
" Here it is. I win, but, of course, you're the alter- 
nate. Read it." 

He handed the letter to Jack, but it was declined. 

"What's the use?" was the somewhat sulky re- 
sponse. " I've lost, sure enough. All I've got to do 
is to forget it." 

" Then let mc read it to you," said the winner, 
eagerly. " I want you to feel glad about it — same 
as I would if you had passed first. Listen: 

"'Mb. Wiluam Denmaw. 

"'Deae Sib: I am glad to inform you that you have buc- 
cessfully passed the second examination for an appointment 
to tiie Naval Academy, winning by three points in liistory 
over the other contestant, Mr. John Forsythe, who, of course, 
is the alternate in case you do not pass the entrance examina- 
tion at Annapolis. 

" ' Be ready at any time for Instruclions from the Secre- 
tary of the Navy to report at Annapolis. Sincerely yours. 



" What do I care for that? " said Forsythe. " I 
suppose I've got a letter in there, too. Let's sec." 

While Dcnman waited, Forsythe entered the post- 
office, and soon emerged, reading a letter. 

" Same thing," he said. " I failed by three points 
in my special study. How is it, Bill? " he demanded, 
fiercely, as his disappointment grew upon him. " I've 
beaten not only you, but the whole class from the 
primary up, in history, ancient, modern, and local, 
until now. There's something crooked here." His 
voice sank to a mutter. 

" Crooked, Jack ! What are you talking about ? " 
rephed Denman, hotly, 

" Oh, I don't know, Bill. Never mind. Come on, 
if you're going home." 




THE PIRATES 

They walked side by side in the direction of their 
homes — near together and on the outskirts of the 
town — each busy with his thoughts. Denman, 
though proud and joyous over the prize he had won, 
was yet hurt by the speech and manner of Forsythe, 
and hurt still further by the darkening cloud on his 
face as they walked on. 

Forsythe's thoughts were best indicated by his 
suddenly turning toward Denman and blurting out : 

" Yes, I say ; there's something crooked in this. 
I can beat you in history any day in the week, but 
your dad and old Bland are close friends. I see it 
now," 

Denman turned white as he answered : 
" Do you want me to report your opinion to my 
father and Mr. Bland?" 

" Oh, you would, would you? And take from me 
the alternate, too! Well, you're a cur. Bill Denman. 
Go ahead and report." 

They were now on a block bounded by vacant lots, 
and no one was within sight. Denman stopped, threw 
off his coat, and said: 

" No, I'll not report your opinion, but — you 
square yourself, Jack Forsythe, and I'll show you the 
kind of cur I am." 

Forsythe turned, saw the anger in Denman's eyes, 
and promptly shed his coat. 

It was a short %ht, of one round only. Each 
fought courageously, and with such fistic skill as 
schoolboys acquire, and each was equal to the other 
in strength; but one possessed about an inch longer 
reach than the other, which decided the battle. 

Denman, with nose bleeding and both eyes closing, 
went down at last, and could not arise, nor even see 
the necessity of rising. But soon his brain cleared, 
and he staggered to his feet, his head throbbing 
viciously and his face and clothing smeared with 



THE PIRATES 73 

blood from his nose, to see between puffed eyelids 
the erect figure of Forsythe swaggering around a 
distant comer. He stanched the blood with his 
handkerchief, but as there was not a brook, a ditch, 
or a puddle in the neighborhood, he could onlj go 
home as he was, trusting that he would meet no one. 

" Licked ! " he muttered. " For the first time in 
my life, too! What'll the old gentleman and mother 
say ? " 

What the father and mother might say, or what 
they did say, has no part in this story; but what 
another person said may have a place and value, and 
will be given here. This person was the only one 
he met before reaching home — a very small person, 
about thirteen years old, with big gray eyes and long 
dark ringlets, who ran across the street to look at 
him. 

" Why, BilHe Denman ! " she cried, shocked and 
anxious. " What has happened to you? Run 
over ? " 

" No, Florrie," he answered, painfully. " I've 
been licked. I had a fight." 

" But don't you know it's wrong to fight, Billie? " 

" Maybe," answered Denman, trying to get more 
blood from his face to the already saturated hand- 
kerchief. " But we all do wrong — sometimes." 

The child planted herself directly before him, and 
looked chidingly into his discolored and disfigured 
face. 

" Billie Denman," she said, shaking a small finger 
at him, " of course I'm sorry, but, if you have been 
fighting when you know it is wrong, why — why, it 
served you right." 

Had he not been aching in every joint, his nose, 
his lips, and his eyes, this unjust speech might have 
amused him. As it was he answered testily : 

" Florence Fleming, you're only a kid yet, though 



74 THE PIRATES 

the best one I know ; and if I should tell you the name 
I was called and which brought on the fi^^t, joa 
would not understand. But you'll grow up some 
day, and then you will understand. Now, remember 
this fight, and when some woman, or possibly some 
man, calls you 9 — a cat, youMl feel like fighting^, toa" 

" But I wouldn't mind," she answered, firm in her 
position. ^^ Papa called me a kitten to-day, and 
I didn't get mad." 

" Well, Florrie," he said, wearily, " I won't try 
to explain. I'm going away before long, and ]>erhap8 
I won't come back again. But if I do, there'll be 
another fight." 

^^ Going away, Billie ! " she cried in alarm. 
"Whereto.?" 

" To Annapolis. I may stay, or I may come back* 
I don't know." 

" And you are going away, and you don't know 
that you'll come back! Oh, Billie, I'm sorry. I'm 
sorry you got licked, too. Who did it? I hate him. 
Who licked you, Billie?" 

" Never mind, Florrie. He'll tell the news, and 
you'll soon know who he is." 

He walked on, but the child headed him and faced 
him. There were tears in the gray eyes. 

" And you're going away, Billie ! " she exclaimed 
again. " When are you going? " 

" I don't know," he answered. " Whenever I am 
sent for. If I don't see you again, good-by, Florrie 
girl." He stooped to kiss her, but straightened up, 
remembering the condition of his face. 

" But I will see you again," she declared. " I will, 
I will. I'll come to your house. And, Billie — ^I'm 
sorry I scolded you, really I am." 

He smiled ruefully. " Never mind that, Florrie ; 
you always scolded me, you know, and I'm used to it.*' 

"But only when you did wrong, Billie," she an- 



THE PIRATES 75 

Bwered, gravely, " and somehow I feel that this time 
jou have not done wrong. But I won't scold the next 
time you really do wrong. I promise." 

'• Oh, yes, jou will, little girl. It's the privilege 
and prerogative of your sex." 

He patted her on the head and went on, leaving 
her staring, open-eyed and tearful. She was the child 
of a neighbor; he had mended her dolls, soothed her 
griefs, and protected her since infancy, but she was 
only as a small sister to him. 

While waiting for orders to Annapolis, he saw her 
many times, but she did not change to him. She 
changed, however; she had learned the name of his 
assailant, and through her expressed hatred for him, 
and through her sympathy for Billie as the disfigure- 
ments left his face, she passed the border between 
childhood and womanhood. 

When orders came, he stopped at her home, kissed 
her good-by, and went to Annapolis, leaving her sad- 
eyed and with quivering lips. 

And he did not come back. 



CHAPTER I 

SHE was the largest, fastest, and latest thing in 
seagoing destroyers, and though the specifica- 
tions called for hut thirty-six knots' speed, she had 
made thirty-eight on her trial trip, and later, under 
careful nursing by her engineers, she had increased 
this to forty knots an hour — five knots faster than 
any craft afloat — and, with a clean bottom, this 
speed could be depended upon at any time it was 
needed. 

She derived this speed from sis water-tube boilers, 
feeding at a pressure of three hundred pounds live 
steam to five turbine engines working three screws, 



r 



76 THE PIRATES 




flne high-pressure turbine on the center shaft, and 
four low-pressure on the wing shafts. Besides these 
she possessed two " astern " turbines and two cruis- 
ing turbines- — all four on the wing shafts. 

She made steam with oil fuel, there being no coal 
on board except for heating and cooking, and could 
carry a hundred and thirty tons of it, which gave 
her a cruising radius of about two thousand miles; 
also, with " peace tanks " filled, she could steam three 
thousand miles without replenishing. This would 
carry her across the Atlantic at thirteen knots' speed, 
but if she was in a hurry, using all turbines, she would 
txhaust her oil in two days. 

When in a hurry, she was a spectacle to remem- 
ber. Built on conventional lines, she showed at a 
mile's distance nothing but a high bow and four short 
funnels over a mighty bow wave that hid the rest of 
her long, dark-hued hull, and a black, horizontal 
cloud of smoke that stretched astern half a mile be- 
fore the wind could catch and rend it. 

She carried four twenty- one-inch torpedo tubes and 
a battery of sis twelve-pounder, rapid-fire guns; also, 
she carried two large searchlights and a wireless 
equipment of seventy miles reach, the aerials of which 
stretched from the truck of her short signal mast 
aft to a short pole at the taffrail. 

Packed with machinery, she was a " hot box," even 
when at rest, and when in action a veritable bake 
oven. She had hygienic air space below decks for 
about a dozen men, and this number could handle 
her; but she carried berths and accommodations for 

Her crew was not on board, however. Newly 
scraped and painted in the dry dock, she had been 
hauled out, stored, and fueled by a navy-yard gang, 
and now lay at the dock, ready for sea^ready for 
her draft of men in the morning, and with no one 



THE PIRATES 



rt 



on board for the night but the executive officer, who, 
with something on his mind, had elected to remain, 
while the captain and other commissioned officers 
went ashore for the night. 

Four years at the Naval Academy, a two years' 
sea cruise, aud a year of actual service had made 
many changes in Dcnman. He was now twenty-five, 
an ensign, but, because of his position as executive, 
hearing the complimentary title of lieutenant. 

He was a little taller and much straighter and 
squarer of shoulder than when he had gone to the 
academy. He had grown a trim mustache, and the 
BUn and winds of many seas had tanned his face to 
the color of his eyes, which were of a clear brown, 
and only in repose did they now show the old-time 
preponderance of white beneath the brown. 

In action these eyes looked out through two slits 
formed by nearly parallel eyelids, and with the 
tightly closed lips and high arching eyebrows— sure 
sign of the highest and best form of physical and 
moral courage — they gave his face a sort of " take 
care " look, which most men heeded. 

Some women would have thought him handsome, 
some would not; it all depended upon the impression 
they made on him, and the consequent look in his 
eyes. 

At Annapolis he had done well; he was the most 
popular man of his class, had won honors from his 
studies and fist fights from his fellows, while at sea 
he had shown a reckless disregard for his life, in such 
matters as bursting flues, men overboard, and other 
casualties of seafaring, that brought him many type- 
written letters from Washington, a few numbers of 
advancement, and the respect and admiration of all 
that knew or had heard of him. 

His courage, like Mrs. Caesar's morals, was above 
suspicion. Yet there was one man in the world who 



78 THE PIRATES 

was firmlj convinced that Lieutenant Deoman had 
a yellow streak in him, and that man was Denman 
himself. 

He had never been home since his departure for 
Annapolis. He had promised a. small girl that if he 
came back there would be another fight, in which, 
as he mentally vowed, he would redeem himself. In 
this he had been sincere, but as the months at the 
academy went on, with the unsettled fight still in the 
future, his keen resentment died away, leaving in its 
place a sense of humiliation and chagrin. 

He still meant to go back, however, and would 
have done so when vacation came; but a classmate 
invited him to his home, and there he went, glad of 
the reprieve from an embarrassing, and, as it seemed 
to him now, an undignified conflict with a civilian. 
But the surrender brought its sting, and his self- 
respect lessened. 

At the next vacation he surrendered again, and the 
sting began eating into his soul. He thought of the 
overdue redemption he had promised himself at all 
times and upon ail occasions, but oftenest just before 
going to sleep, when the mental picture of Jack 
Forsythe swaggering around the corner, while he lay 
conquered and helpless on the ground, would accom- 
pany him through his dreams, and be with him when 
he wakened in the morning. 

It became an obsession, and very soon the sudden 
thought of his coming fight with Forsythe brought 
the uplift of the heart and the slight choking sensa- 
tion that betokened nothing but fear. 

He would not admit it at first, but finally was com- 
pelled to. Honest with himself as he was with others, 
he finally yielded in the mental struggle, and accepted 
the dictum of his mind. He was afraid to fight jack 
Forsythe, with no reference to, or regard for, his 
standing as an officer and a gentleman. 



THE PIRATES 79 

But now, it seemed, all this was to leave him. A 
month before, he had thought strongly of his child 
friend Florrie, and, with nothing to do one afternoon, 
he had written her a letter — a jolly, rollicking letter, 
filled with masculine colloquialisms and friendly en- 
dearments, such as he had bestowed upon her at 
home; and it was the dignity of her reply — received 
that day — with the contents of the letter, which was 
the " something on his mind " that kept him aboard. 

His cheeks burned as he realized that she was now 
about twenty years old, a young lady, and that his 
letter to her had been sadly conceived and much out 
of place. But the news in the letter, which began 
with " Dear Sir," and ended with " Sincerely yours," 
affected him most. It read : 

" I presume you know that your enemy, Jack Forsythe, took 
bis disappointment so keenly that he never amounted to rouch 
at home, and about two years ago enlisted in the navy. This 
relieves you, as father tells me, from the necessity of thrash- 
ing him — as you declared you would. Officers and enlisted 
men cannot flght, he said, as the officer has the advantage, and 
can always order the man to jail. I thank you very much 
for remembering me after all these years — in fact, I shall 
never forget your kindness." 

His cheeks and ears had burned all day, and when 
his fellow officers had gone, and he was alone, he re- 
read the letter. 

" Sarcasm and contempt between every line," he 
muttered. " She expected me — the whole town ex- 
pected me — to come back and lick that fellow. Well " 
— his eyelids became rigidly parallel — ■" I'll do it. 
When I find him, I'll get shore leave for both of us, 
take him home, and square the account." 

This resolution did him good ; the heat left his 
cheek, and the sudden jump of the heart did not 
come with the occasional thought of the task. Grad- 
ually the project took form; he would learn what 



1 
I 



aJ 



[ 



80 THE PIRATES 

ship Forsythe was id, get transferred to her, anq 
when in port arrange the shore leave. He coul " 
not fight him in the navy, but as man to man, i 
civilian's clothing in the town park, he would flght3 
him and thrash him before the populace. 

It was late when he had finished the planning. Hefl 
lighted a last cigar, and sauntered around the dedt-fl 
until the cigar was consumed. Then he went to hisJ 
room and turned in, thinking of the caustic words ofa 
Miss Florrie, forgiving her the while, and wonderin^>l 
how she looked — grown up. 

They were pleasant thoughts to go to sleep on* I 
but sleep did not come. It was an intensely hot* I 
muggy night, and the mosquitoes were thick. Hej 
tried another room, then another, and at last, driven-l 
out of the wardroom by the pests, lie took refuge] 
in the steward's pantry, and spreading his blanket onl 
the floor, went to sleep on it. 



CHAPTER II 

HE slept soundly, and as he slept the wind blew 
up from the east, driviug the mosquitoes to I 
cover and bringing with it a damp, impenetrable fog i 
that sank down over the navy yard and hid sentry 
from sentry, compelling them to count their steps as 
they paced. 

They were scattered through the yard, at various 
important points, one at the gangway of each ship at 
the docks, others at corners and entrances to the dif- 
ferent walks that traversed the green lawn, and others 
under the walls of the huge naval prison. 

One of these, whose walk extended from comer to 
corner, heard something, and paused often to listen 
intently, his eyes peering around into the fog. But 
the sound was not repeated while he listened — only 



THE PIRATES 



81 



as liis footfalls sounded soggilj on the damp path 
were they punctuated by this still, small sound, that 
he could not localize or remember. 

If asked, he might have likened it to the rustling 
of paper, or the sound of a cat's claws digging into 
a carpet. 

But at last it ceased, and he went back and forth 
many times without hearing it ; then, when about half- 
way from corner to corner, a heavy body came down 
from above, landing on his head and shoulders and 
bearing him to earth, while his rifle was knocked 
from his hand and big fingers clutched his throat. 

He struggled and endeavored to call out. But the 
grip on his throat was too strong, and finally he 
quieted, his last flicker of consciousness cognizing 
other dropping bodies and the muttered and whis- 
pered words of men. 

So much for this sentry. 

" I know the way," whispered the garroter, and a 
few gathered around him. " We'll make a bee line 
for the dock and avoid 'em. Then, if we can't find 
a boat, we'll swim for it. It's the only way." 

" Right," whispered another ; " fall in here, behind 
Jenkins — all of you." 

The whispered word was passed along, and in 
single file the dark-brown bodies, each marked on 
knee and elbow with a white number, followed the 
leader, Jenkins. He led them across the green, 
around corners where sentries were not, and down 
to the dock where lay the destroyer. 

Here was a sentry, pacing up and down ; but so 
still was their approach that he did not see them until 
they were right upon him. 

" Who goes — " he started, but the challenge was 
caught in his throat. He, too, was choked until 
consciousness almost left him ; then the stricture was 
relaxed while they questioned him. 



88 THE PraATES 

^^Got a boat around here?" hissed Jenkins in his 
ear. " Whisper — don't speak." 

" No," gasped the sentrj, unable to speak louder 
had he dared. 

" How many men are aboard the destroyer? " was 
asked. 

" None now. Crew joins in the morning." 

" Nobody on board, you say? Lie quiet. If you 
raise a row, I'll drop you overboard. Come here, you 
fellows." 

They closed about him, thirteen in all, and lis- 
tened to his project. He was a pilot of the bay. 
How many machinists were there in the party? Four 
claimed the rating. 

" Right enough," said Jenkins. " We'll run her 
out. She's oil fuel, as I understand. You can fire 
up in ten minutes, can't you? Good. Come on. 
Wait, though." 

Jenkins, with his grip of steel, was equal to the 
task of tearing a strip from his brown prison jacket, 
and with this he securely gagged the poor sentry. 
Another strip from another jacket bound his hands 
behind him, and still another secured him to a moor- 
ing cleat, face upward. This done, they silently filed 
aboard, and spread about through the interior. The 
sentry had spoken truly, they agreed, when they 
mustered together. There was no one on board, and 
the machinists reported plenty of oil fuel. 

Soon the fires were lighted, and the indicator 
began to move, as the boilers made steam. They did 
not wait for full pressure. Jenkins had spread out 
a chart in the pilot-house, and when the engines could 
turn over he gave the word. Lines were taken in 
except a spring to back on; then this was cast off, 
and the long, slim hull moved almost silently away 
from the dock. 

Jenkins steered by the light of a match held over 



THE PIRATES 83 

the compass until there was steam enough to turn 
the dynamos, then the electrics were turned on in 
the pilot-house, engine room, and side-light boxes — 
by which time the dock was out of sight in the fog, 
and they dared speak in articulate words. Their lan- 
guage was profane but joyous, and their congratu- 
lations hearty and sincere. 

A table knife is an innocent and innocuous weapon, 
but two table knives are not, for one can be used 
against the other so skillfully as to form a fairly 
good hack saw, with which prison bars may be sawed. 
The sawing of steel bars was the sound that the 
sentry had heard mingling with his footfalls. 

Jenkins, at the wheel, called to the crowd. " Take 
the wheel, one of you," he ordered. " I've just 
rounded the corner. Keep her sou'east, half south 
for a mile. I'll be here, then. I want to rig the 
log over the stern." 

The man answered, and Jenkins departed with the 
boat's patent log. Down in the engine and boiler 
rooms were the four machinists — engineers, they 
would be called in merchant steamers — and under 
their efforts the engines turned faster, while a grow- 
ing bow wave spread from each side of the sharp 

The fog was still thick, so thick that the fan- 
shaped beams from the side lights could not pierce 
it as far as the bow, and the forward funnel was 
barely visible— a magnified black stump. 

Jenkins was back among them soon, remarking that 
she was making twenty knots already. Then he 
slowed down, ordered the lead hove, each side, and 
ringing full speed, quietly took the wheel, changing 
the course again to east, quarter north, and ordering 
a man aloft to keep a lookout in the thinner fog for 
lights ahead. 

In a few minutes the man reported — a fixed white 



86 THE PIRATES 

"Are you an officer of this boat, sir?" asked the 
man, respectfuUj. 

" I am. What do you want? " 

" Only to tell you, sir, that she is not now under 
the control of the Navy Department. My name is 
Jenkins, and with twelve others I escaped from the 
prison to-night, and took charge of this boat for 
a while. We did not know you were on board." 

Dcnman started back and felt for his pocket pistol, 
but it was in his room. However, Jenkins had no- 
ticed the movement, and immediately sprang upon 
him, bearing him against the nearest ventilator, and 
pinioning his arms to his side. 

" None o' that, sir," said the giant, sternly. " Are 
there any others on board besides yourself? " 

" Not that I know of," answered Denman, with 
forced calmness. " The crew had not joined when 
I went to sleep. What do you intend to do with 
me?" 

He had seen man after man approach from for- 
ward, and now a listening group surrounded him. 

" That's for you to decide, sir. If you will re- 
nounce your official position, we will put you on 
parole; if you will not, you will be confined below 
decks until we are ready to leave this craft. All we 
want is our liberty." 

" How do you intend to get it? Every warship in 
the world will chase this boat." 

" There is not a craft in the world that can catch 
her," rejoined Jenkins ; " but that is beside the point. 
Will you go on parole, sir, or in irons ? " 

"How many are there in this party?" 

" Thirteen — ^all told ; and that, too, is beside the 
point. Answer quickly, sir. I am needed at the 
wheel." 

" I accept your offer," said Denman, " because 
I want fresh air, and nothing will be gained in honor 



THE PIRATES 



87 



and integrity in my resisting you. However, I shall 
not assist you in any way. Even if I see you going 
to destruction, I shall not warn you." 

" That is enough, sir," answered Jenkins. " You 
give your word of honor, do you, as an American 
naval officer, not to interfere with the working of 
this boat or the movements of her crew until after 
we have left her? " 

" I give you my word," said the young officer, not 
without some misgivings, " You seem to be in com- 
mand. What shall I call you?" 

" Herbert Jenkins, seaman gunner." 

" Captain Jenkins," growled a man, and others 
repeated it. 

" Captain Jenkins," responded Denman, " I greet 
you cordiaUy. My name is William Denman, ensign 
in the United States Navy, and formally executive 
officer of this boat." 

A suppressed exclamation came from the group ; a 
man stepped forward, peered closely into Denman's 
face, and stepped back, 

" None o' that, Forsythe," said Jenkins, sternly. 
" We're all to treat Mr. Denman with respect. Now, 
you fellows, step forward, and introduce yourselves. 
I know only a few of you by name." 

Jenkins went to the wheel, picked up the buoys 
played upon by the searchlights, and sent the man to 
join the others, as one after another faced Denman 
and gave his name. 

" Guess you know me, Mr. Denman," said For- 
sythe, the first to respond. 

" I know you, Forsj^he," answered Denman, hot 
and ashamed; for at the sight and sound of him the 
old heart jump and throat ache had returned. He 
fought it down, however, and listened to the names 
as the men gave them : William Hawkes, seaman ; 
George Davis, seaman; John Kelly, gunner's mate; 



90 THE PIRATES 

Daniels and Billings, tbe cook and steward, would] 
cook and serve the meals. 

There would be no officers, Jenkins declared. 
were to stand watch, and work faithfully and anuca-V 
blj for the common good; and all disputes were toM 
be referred to him. To this they agreed, for, thou^ 
many there were of higher comparative rating in theJ 
navy, Jenkins had a strong voice, a dominating per-l 
sonality, and a heavy fist. 

But Jenkins had his limitations, as came out during I 
the confab. He could not navigate ; he had been an 1 
expert pilot of Boston Bay before joining the navj|,J 
but in the open sea he was as helpless as any. 

" However," he said, in extenuation, " we only need'J 
to sail about southeast to reach the African coast, T 
and when we hit it we'll know it." So the course was J 
changed, and soon they sat down to their breakfast; 
such a meal as they had not tasted in years — ward-' 
room " grub," every mouthful. 

Dcnman was invited, and, as he was a prisoner on i 
parole, was not too dignified to accept, though he I 
took no part in the hilarious conversation. But 
neither did Forsythe. 

Dcnman went to his room, locked up his private 
papers, and surrendered his revolver to Jenkins, who 
declined it; he then put it with his papers and re- 
turned to the deck, seating himself in a deck chair 
on the quarter. The watch below had gone down, 
and those on deck, under Jenkins, who stood no 
watch, busied themselves in the necessary cleaning 
up of decks and stowing below of the fenders the boat 
had worn at the dock. 

Forsythe had gone below, and Denman was some- 
what glad in his heart to be free of him until he had 
settled his mind in regard to liis attitude toward 
him. 

Manifestly he, a prisoner on parole, could not seek 



THE PIRATES 



91 



a confiict with him. On the contrary, should 
Forsythe seek it, by word or deed, he could not meet 
him without breaking his parole, which would bring 
him close confinement. 

Then, too, that prospective fight an^ vindication 
before Miss Florrie and his townsmen seemed of very 
small importance compared with the exigency at hand 
—the stealing by jati breakers of the navy's best 
deptroyer and one of its officers. 

His duty was to circumvent those fellows, and 
return the boat to the government. To accomplish 
this he must be tactful and diplomatic, deferring 
action until the time should come when he could safely 
ask to be released from parole; and with regard to 
this he was glad that Forsythe, though as evil-eyed 
as before, and with an additional truculent expression 
of the face, had thus far shown him no incivility. 
He was glad, too, because in his heart there were 
no revengeful thoughts about Forsythe — nothing but 
thoughts of a duty to himself that had been sadly 
neglected. 

Thus tranquilized, he lit a cigar and looked 
around the horizon. 

A speck to the north caught his eye, and as he 
watched, it became a spot, then a tangible silhouette 
— a battle-ship, though of what country he could not . 
determine. 

It was heading on a course that would intercept 
their own, and in a short time, at the speed they 
were making, the destroyer would be within range of 
her heavy guns, one shell from which could break 
the frail craft in two. 

Jenkins and his crowd were busy, the man at the 
wheel was steering by compass and looking ahead, 
and it was the wireless operator on watch — Casey — 
who rushed on deck, looked at the battle-ship, and 
shouted to Jenkins, 



99 THE PIRATES 

" Don't you see that fellow? " he yelled, excitedly. 
" I heard him before I saw him. He asked : * What 
ship IS that?'" 

Jenkins looked to the north, just in time to see 
a tongue of red dart from a casemate port ; then, as 
the bark of the gun came down the wind, a spurt of 
water lifted from the sea about a hundred yards 
ahead. 

" Port your wheel — hard over," yelled Jenkins, 
running forward. The destroyer swung to the south- 
ward, showing her stem to the battle-ship, and in- 
creasing her speed as the engine-room staff nursed the 
oil feed and the turbines. Black smoke — unconsumed 
carbon that even the blowers could not ignite — 
belched up from the four short funnels, and partly 
hid her from the battle-ship's view. 

But, obscure though she was, she could not quite 
hide herself in her smoke nor could her speed carry 
her faster than the twelve-inch shells that now came 
plowing through the air. They fell close, to star- 
board and to port, and a few came perilously near 
to the stern ; but none hit or exploded, and soon they 
were out of range and the firing ceased, the battle- 
ship heading to the west. 

Jenkins came aft, and looked sternly at Denman, 
still smoking his cigar. 

"Did you see that fellow before we did?" he 
asked. 

" I did," answered Denman, returning his stare. 

"Why didn't you sing out? If we're sunk, you 
drown, too, don't you? " 

" You forget. Captain Jenkins, that I accepted my 
parole on condition that I should neither interfere 
with you nor assist you." 

" But your life — don't you value that ? " 

" Not under some conditions. If I cannot emerge 



THE PIRATES 93 

from this adventure with credit and honor intact, I 
prefer death. Do jou understand? '* 

Jenkins' face worked visibly, as anger left it and 
wondering doubt appeared. Then his countenance 
cleared, and he smiled. 

" You're right, sir. I understand now. But you 
know what we mean to do, don't you? Make the 
African coast and scatter. You can stand for that, 
can't you? " 

" Not unless I have to. But you will not reach 
the coast. You will be hunted down and caught be- 
fore then." 

Jenkins' face clouded again. " And what part will 
you play if that comes? " he asked. 

" No part, active or resistant, unless first released 
from parole. But if I ask for that release, it will 
be at a time when I am in greater danger than now, 
I promise you that." 

" Very well, sir. Ask for it when you like." And 
Jenkins went forward. 

The course to the southeast was resumed, but in 
half an hour two other specks on the southern horizon 
resolved into scout cruisers heading their way, and 
they turned to the east, still rushing at fuU speed. 

They soon dropped the scouts, however, but were 
again driven to the north bj a second battle-ship that 
shelled their vicinity for an hour before they got out 
of range. 

It was somewhat discouraging; but, as darkness 
closed down, they once more headed their course, and 
all night they charged along at forty knots, with 
lights extinguished, but with every man's eyes search- 
ing the darkened horizon for other lights. They 
dodged a few, but daylight brought to view three 
cruisers ahead and to port that showed unmistakable 
hostility in the shape of screaming shells and solid 
shot. 



1 



9* THE PIRATES 

Again they charged to the north, and it was mid- 
day before the cruisers were dropped. They were 
French, as all knew by their build. 

Though there was no one navigating the boat^ 
Denman, in view of future need of it, took upon hinv- 
self the winding of the chronometers; and the days 
went on, Casey and Munson reporting messages sent 
from shore to ship ; battle-ships, cruisers, scouts, 
and destroyers appearing and disappearing, and their 
craft racing around the Atlantic like a hunted fox. 

Jenkins did his best to keep track of the various 
courses ; but, not skilled at " traverse," grew be- 
wildered at last, and frankly intimated that he did 
not know where they were. 



CHAPTER V 

ONE morning there was a council of war amid- 
ships to which Denman was not invited until it 
had adjourned as a council to become a committee of 
ways and moans. Then they came aft in a body, and 
asked him to navigate. 

" No," said Denman, firmly, rising to his feet and 
facing them. " I will not navigate unless you Hur- 
render this craft to mc, and work her hack to Boston, 
where you will return to the prison." 

" Well, we won't do that," shouted several, angrily. 

" Wait, you fellows," said Jenkins, firmly, " and 
speak respectfully to an officer, while he acts like one. 
Mr. Denman your position need not he changed for 
the worse. You can command this boat and all hands 
if you will take us to the African coast," 

" My position would be changed," answered Den- 
man. " If I command this boat, I take her back to 
Boston, not to the African coast." 

" Very weU, sir," said Jenkins, a shade of disap- 



I 



THE PIRATES 



95 



pointment on his face. " We cannot force you to 
join us, or help us; so — ^well, come forward, you 
fellows." 

" Say, Jenkins ! " broke in Forsythe. " You're 
doing a lot of dictating here, and I've wondered why ! 
Who gave you the right to decide? You admit jour 
incompetency; you can't navigate, can you? " 

" No, I cannot," retorted Jenkins, flushing. 
" Neither can I I earn, at my age. Neither can 
you." 

"I can't?" stormed Forsythe, his eyes glaring 
white as he glanced from Jenkins to Denman and 
back. " Well, FIl tell you I can. I tell you I 
haven't forgotten all I learned at school, and that I 
can pick up navigation without currying favor from 
this milk-fed thief. You know well" — he advanced 
and held his fist under Denman's face — " that I won 
the appointment you robbed me of, and that the uni- 
form you wear belongs to me." 

At the first word Denman's heart gave the old, 
familiar thump and jump into his throat. Then came 
a quick reaction — a tinghng at the hair roots, an 
opening of the eyes, followed by their closing to 
narrow slits, and, with the fuU weight of his body 
behind, he crashed his fist into Forsythe's face, send- 
ing him reeling and whirling to the deck. 

He would have followed, to repeat the punishment, 
but the others stopped him. In an intoxication of 
ecstasy at the unexpected adjustment of his mental 
poise, he struck out again and again, and floored 
three or four of them before Jenkins backed him 
against the companion. 

" He's broken his parole — put him in irons — chuck 
him overboard," they chorused, and closed around 
him threateningly, though Forsythe, his liand to his 
face, remained in the background. 

" That's right, sir," said Jenkins, holding Denman 



J 



96 THE PIRATES 

at the end of one long arm. ^You have violated 
your agreement with us, and we must consider you a 
prisoner under confinement." 

" All right," panted Denman. ** Iron me, if you 
like, but first form a ring and let me thrash that dog. 
He thrashed me at school when I was the smaUer and 
weaker. I've promised him a licking. Let me give 
it to him." 

^^ No, sir, we will not," answered Jenkins. 
^^ Things are too serious for fighting. You must 
hand me that pistol and any arms you may have, 
and be confined to the wardroom. And you, For- 
sy the," he said, looking at the victim, ^^ if you can 
master navigation, get busy and make good. And 
you other ginks get out of here. Talk it over 
among yourselves, and if you agree with Forsythe 
that I'm not in command here, get busy, too, and Fll 
overrule you." 

He released Denman, moved around among them, 
looking each man steadily in the face, and they strag- 
gled forward. 

" Now, sir," he said to Denman, " come below." 

Denman followed him down the companion and into 
the wardroom. Knowing the etiquette as well as 
Jenkins, lie led him to his room, opened his desk and 
all receptacles, and Jenkins secured the revolver. 

" Is this all you have, sir? " asked Jenkins. 

** Why do you ask that? " answered Denman, hotly. 
** As a prisoner, why may I not lie to you? " 

" Because, Mr. Denman, I think you wouldn't. 
However, I wonH ask ; I'll search this room and the 
whole boat, confiscating every weapon. You will have 
the run of your stateroom and the wardroom, but 
will not be allowed on deck. And you will not be an- 
noyod, except perhaps to lend Forsythe any books he 
may want. He*s the only educated man in the 
crowd." 



THE PIRATES 



9T 



" Better send him down under escort," responded 
Donman, " if jou want him back." 

" Yes, jes, that'll be attended to, I've no part in 
your private afTairs, sir; but you gave him one good 
one, and that ought to be enough for a while. If 
you tackle him again, you'll have the whole bunch 
at you. Better let well enough alone." 

Denman sat down in his room, and Jenkins de- 
parted. Soon he came back with three others — the 
steadiest men of the crew- — and they made a sys- 
tematic search for weapons in the wardroom and all 
staterooms opening from it. Then they locked the 
doors leading to the captain's quarters and the doors 
leading forward, and went on deck, leaving Denman 
a prisoner, free to concoct any antagonistic plans 
that came to his mind. 

But he made none, as yet; he was too well-contented 
and happy, not so much in being released from a 
somewhat false position as a prisoner under parole as 
in the lifting of the burden of the years, the shame, 
humilia.tion, chagrin, and anger dating from the 
school-day thrashing. He smiled as he recalled the 
picture of Forsythe staggering along the deck. The 
smile became a grin, then a soft chuckle, ending in 
joyous laughter; then he applied the masculine lev- 
cler of all emotion- — he smoked. 

The staterooms — robbed of all weapons^were left 
open, and, as each room contained a deadlight, or 
circular window, he had a view of the sea on each 
beam, but nothing ahead or astern; nor could he 
hear voices on deck unless pitched in a high key, for 
the men, their training strong upon them, remained 
forward. 

There was nothing on either horizon at present. 
The boat was storming along to the southward, as 
he knew by a glance at the " telltale " overhead, and 
all seemed well with the runaways until a sudden 



^ 



I 



98 THE PIRATES 

stopping of the engines roused him up, to peer out 
the deadlights, and speculate as to what was ahead. 

But he saw nothing, from either side, and strained 
his ears for sounds from the deck. There was ex- 
citement above. Voices from forward came to him, 
muffled, but angry and argumentative. They grew 
louder as the men came aft, and soon he could dis- 
tinguish Jenkins' loud profanity, drowning the pro- 
tests of the others. 

" She's afire and her boats are burned. There's 
a woman aboard, I tell you we're not going to let 
'em drown. Over with that boat, or I'll stretch some 
o' you out on deck — Oh, you will, Forsythe? " 

Then came a thud, as of the swift contact of two 
hard objects, and a sound as of a bag of potatoes 
falling to the deck, which told Denman that some one 
had been knocked down. 

" Go ahead with the machine, Sampson," said Jen- 
kins again, " and forward, there. Port your wheel, 
and steer for the yacht." 

Denman sprang to a starboard deadlight and 
looked. He could now see, slantwise through the 
thick glass, a large steam yacht, afire from her main- 
mast to her bow, and on the still intact quarter-deck 
a woman frantically beckoning. Men, nearer the 
fire, seemed to be fighting it. 

The picture disappeared from view as the boat, 
under the impulse of her engines and wheel, straight- 
ened to a course for the wreck. Soon the engines 
stopped again, and Denman heard the sounds of a 
boat being lowered. He saw this boat leave the side, 
manned by Hawkes, Davis, Forsythe, and Kelly, but 
it soon left his field of vision, and he waited. 

Then came a dull, coughing, prolonged report, 
and the voices on deck broke out. 

" Blown up ! " yelled Jenkins. " She's sinking for- 
ward ! She's cut in two ! Where are they ? Where's 



THE PIRATES 

the woman? That wasn't powder, Riley. What was 
it?" 

" Steam," answered the machinist, coolly. " They 
didn't rake the fires until too late, I suppose, and left 
the engine under one bell possibly, while they steered 
'fore the wind with the preventer tiller." 

"They've got somebody. Can you see? It's the 
woman ! Blown overboard. See any one else? I 
don't." 

Riley did not answer, and soon Jenkins spoke 
again. 

" They're coming back. Only the woman — only 
the woman out o' the whole crowd." 

" They'd better hurry up," responded Riley. 
" What's that over to the nor'-ard? " 

" Nothing but a tramp," said Jenkins, at length. 
" But we don't want to he interviewed. Bear a hand, 
you fellows," he shouted. " Is the woman dead ? " 

" N& — guess not," came the answer, through the 
small deadlight. " Fainted away since we picked 
her up. Burned or scalded, somewhat." 



CHAPTER VI 

DENMAN saw the boat for a moment or two as 
it came alongside, and noticed the still form 
of the woman in the stern sheets, her face hidden 
by a black silk neckerchief. Then he could only know 
by the voices that they were lifting her aboard and 
aft to the captain's quarters. But he was somewhat 
surprised to see the door that led to these quarters 
opened by Jenkins, who beckoned him, 

" We've picked up a poor woman, sir," he said, 
" and put her in here. Now, we're too busy on deck 
to 'tend to her, Mr. Denraan, and then — we don't 
know how; but — well, you're an educated man, and 



1 




I 



102 THE PIRATES 

clinging, he mercilessly continued the pressure, wliile 
Jenkins swayed back and forth, and finally fell back- 
ward to the floor. 

Denman immediately secured the pistol ; then, pant- 
ing hard, he examined his victim. Jenkins was breath- 
ing with the greatest difficulty, but could not speak 
or move, and his big eyes glared piteously up at his 
conqueror. The latter would have ironed him at once, 
but the irons were forward in the arm room, so he 
temporarily bound him hand and foot with neckties 
replevined from his fellow officers' staterooms. 

Then, relieving Jenkins of his keys, he went 
through the forward door to the armroom, from 
which he removed, not only wrist and leg arms, but 
every cutlass and service revolver that the boat was 
stocked with, and a plentiful supply of ammuni- 
tion. 

First properly securing the still inert and helpless 
Jenkins, he dragged him to a comer, and then stowed 
the paraphernalia of war in his room, loading as many 
as a dozen of the heavy revolvers. 

He was still without a plan, working under intense 
excitement, and could only follow impulses, the next 
of which was to lock the wardroom companion down 
which Jenkins had come, and to see that the forward 
door and the after companion were secured. This 
done, he sat down abreast of his prisoner to watch 
him, and think it out. There was no change in 
Jenkins; he still breathed hard, and endeavored un- 
successfully to speak, while his eyes — the angry glare 
gone from them — looked up inquiringly. 

" Oh, you're all right, Captain Jenkins," said Den- 
man. " You'll breathe easier to-morrow, and in a 
week, perhaps, you may speak in a whisper ; but you 
are practically deprived from command. So make 
the best of it." 

Jenkins seemed willing to, but this did not solve 



THE PIBATES 109 

the problem ; there were twelve other recalcitrants on 
deck who might not be so easily jujutsued into weak- 
ness and dumbness. 

As the situation cleared, he saw two ways of solv- 
ing it, one, to remain below, and from the shelter of 
his room to pot them one by one as they came down; 
the other, to take the initiative, assert himself on 
deck behind the menace of cocked revolvers, and over- 
awe them into submission. 

The first plan involved hunger, for he could eat 
nothing not provided by them ; the other, a quick and 
certain ending of the false position he was in — a plan 
very appealing to his temperament. 

He rose to his feet with a final inspection of Jen- 
kins' bonds, and, going to his room, belted and 
armed himself with three heavy revolvers, then opened 
the wardroom companion door, and stepped to the 
deck. No one was in sight, except the man at the 
wheel, not now steering in the close, armored conning 
tower, but at the upper wheel on the bridge. 

He looked aft, and, spying Denman, gave a shout 
of warning. 

But no one responded, and Denman, with a clear 
field, advanced forward, looking to the right and left, 
until he reached the engine-room hatch, down which 
he peered. Riley's anxious face looked up at him, 
and farther down was the cringing form of King, his 
mate of the starboard watch. Denman did not know 
their names, but he sternly commanded them to come 

"P- 

" We can't leave the engines, air," said Riley, 
shrinking under the cold argument of two cold, blue 
tubes pointed at them. 

" Shut oiF your gas, and never mind your engines," 
commanded Denman. " Come up on deck quietly, or 
I'll put holes in you." 

King shut off the gas, Riley turned a valve that 



10* THE 

Tip TJle TmkTTTg' KI9III* SIU titt tVQ 



"* LkC iuwn A iets. the two of jon^" 
son. vhxrsiV. "^ Tue jiF jaar TnH!ki*riAirfg» mni give 

TTitf^ jce^riMX Vim- Hie took tibe two aqnaim itf 
bLick iilk — einxiLftT ^ tfut wincii hmd covered the 
:i4:s if "rile r^^fcuied wnmiizi. azxd witk tfien ht twa ti 
their oiuiis Tiindj behinii raeir b^cksw 

- Lie sclI. acw."* ie «iiif. "• imtil I settle mattenL" 
T!:e7 ^rruld nse in&i save, bat coald not tbwart 

^^Tn imme'iiLirdij'. He ▼?si* forward, and moonled to 
tie iriif^. 

- Hjv Are J'-Hi ie^fciin^- ~ 5re denonded, with a 
putal pcistsHi r-'w^aLTLi tihf i^^-JizsaxAn. 

- Soati. — iue *ctit?>% ^ir.** dur$vered the man — it 

- Lei^e tire vS^rv rSf ee^IiK w stopped. Down 
on deck with tv>c, x:!^? t^iix of w^ar neckerduef." 

Davis de5occv^e^i 7.r«i>. ja^e him his neckerchief, 
and was bocind a$ wot th< others. Then Denman 
looked for the n:^t. 

So far — gvxxl. Ht had three prisoners on deck and 
one in the wardnxicn : the rest were beIow« on datj or 
asleep. Thev were in the forecastle — the crews' quar- 
ters — ^in the wireless room below the bridge, in the 
gallej just forward of the wardroom. Denman had 
his choice, and decided on the forecastle as the place 
containing the greatest number. Down the fore-hatch 
he went, and entered the apartment. A man rofled 
out of a bunk, and faced him. 

**Up with your hands," said Denman, softly. 
« Up, quickly.'' 

The man's hands went up. "All right, sir," he 
answered, sleepily and somewhat weakly, "My 
name's Hawkes, and I haven't yet disobeyed an order 
from an officer." 




THE PIRATES 



105 



■'Take off 



" Don't," warned Denman, sharply, 
your neckerchief." 

Off came the black silk square. 

" Wake up the man nearest you. Tie his hands 
behind his back, and take off his necktie." 

It was a machinist named Sampson who was wak- 
ened and bound, with the cold, blue tube of Denman's 
pistol looking at hini ; and then it was Dwyer, his 
watch mate, and Munson, the wireless man off duty, 
ending with old Kelly, the gunner's mate — each tied 
with the neckerchief of the last man wakened, and 
Hawkes, the first to surrender, with the neckerchief 
of KeUy. 

" On deck with you all," commanded Denman, and 
he drove them up the steps to the deck, where they 
lay down beside Riley, King, and Davis. None spoke 
or protested. Each felt the inhibition of the presence 
of a commissioned officer, and Denman might have 
won — might have secured the rest and brought them 
under control — had not a bullet sped from the after 
companion, which, besides knocking his cap from his 
head, inflicted a glancing wound on his scalp and sent 
him headlong to the deck. 



CHAPTER VII 

AFTER the rescue of the woman, all but those on 
. duty had mustered forward near the bridge, Jen- 
kins with a pair of binoculars to his eyes inspecting 
a receding steamer on the horizon, the others passing 
comments. All had agreed that she was a merchant 
craft — the first they had met at close quarters — but 
not all were agreed that she carried no wireless equip- 
ment. Jenkins, even with the glasses, could not be 
sure, but he wa$ sure of one thing, he asserted. Even 



106 THE PIRATES 

though the steamer had recognized and reported their' 
position, it made little difference. 

" Well," said Forsjthe, " if she can report us, why 
can't we? Why can't we fake a report — send out a 
message that we've been seen a thousand miles 
north? " 

" That's a good idea," said Casey, the wireless man 
off duty. " We needn't give any name — only a jum- 
ble of letters that spell nothing." 

" How far can you send with what you've got? " 
asked Jenkins. 

" With those aerials," answered Casey, glancing 
aloft at the long gridiron of wires, " about fifty 

" Not much good, I'm afraid," said Jenkins. 
" Lord knows where we are, but we're more than fifty 
miles from land," 

"That as far as you can reason?" broke in 
Forsjthe. " Jenkins, you're handy at a knockdown, 
but if you can't use what brain you've got, you'd 
better resign command here, I don't know who 
elected you, anyhow." 

"Are you looking for more, Forsythe?" asked 
Jenkins, taking a step toward him, " If you are, 
you can have it. If not, get down to your studies, 
and find out where this craft is, so we can get some- 
where." 

Forsythe, hiding his emotions under a forced grin, 
retreated toward the fore-hatch. 

" I can give you the latitude," he said, before de- 
scending, " by a meridian observation this noon. I 
picked up the method in one lesson this morning. But 
I tell you fellows, I'm tired of getting knocked down." 

Jenkins watched him descend, then said to Casey: 
" Fake up a message claiming to be from some ship 
with a j umblod name, as you say, and be ready to send 
it if he gets our position." 



THE PIRATES 



107 



" Then you think well of it? " 

" Certainly. Forsythe has brains. The only 
trouble with him is that he wants to run things too 
much." 

Casey, a smooth-faced, keen-eyed Irish-American, 
descended to consult with his confrere, Munson; and 
Forsythe appeared, swinging a book. Laying this 
on the bridge stairs, he passed Jenkins and walked 
aft. 

" Where are you going? " asked the latter. 

Forsythe turned, white with rage, and answered 
elowly and softly: 

" Down to the officers' quarters to get a sextant 
or a quadrant. I found that book on navigation in 
the pilot-house, but I need the instrument, and a 
nautical almanac. That is as far as my studies have 
progressed." 

" You stay out of the (rflicors' quarters," said 
Jenkins. " There's a man there who'll eat you alive 
if you show yourself. Yon want a sextant and nau- 
tical almanac. Anything else? " 

" That is all." 

" I'll get them, and, remember, you and the rest 
are to stay away from the after end of the boat." 

Forsythe made no answer as Jenkins passed him 
on the way aft, but muttered: " Eat me alive? We'll 
see." 

Riley, one of the machinists, appeared from the 
engine-room hatch and came forward, halting before 
Forsythe. 

" Say," he grumbled, " what call has that big 
lohator to bullyrag this crowd the way he's been 
doin'? I heard him just now givin' you hell, and he 
gave me hell yesterday wlien I spoke of the short 
on." 

" Short oil? " queried Forsythe. " Do you mean 
that " 



J 



108 THE PIRATES 

" I mean that the oil won't last but a day longer. 
We've been storming along at forty knots, and eating 
up oil. What'Uwedo?" 

" God knows," answered Forsythe, reflectively. 
" Without oil, we stop — in mid-ocean. What then? " 

" What then? " queried Riley. " Well, before then 
we must hold up some craft and get the oil — also 
grub and water, if I guess right. This bunch is hard 
on the commissary." 

" Riley," said Forsythe, impressively, " will you 
stand by me? " 

" Yes ; if you can bring that big chump to terms." 

" All right. Talk to your partners. Something 
must be done — and he can't do it. Wait a little." 

As though to verify Riley and uphold him in his 
contention, Daniels, the cook, came forward from the 
galley, and said : ** Just about one week's whack o* 
grub and water left. We'll have to go on an allow- 
ance." Then he passed on, but was called back. 

" One week's grub left? " asked Forsythe. " Sure 
o' that, Daniels ? " 

" Surest thing you know. Plenty o' beans and 
hardtack; but who wants beans and hardtack? " 

" Have you spoken to Jenkins about it? " 

"No, but we meant to. Something's got to be 
done. Where is he now? " 

" Down aft," said Forsythe, reflectively. " What's 
keeping him?" 

Riley sank into the engine room, and Daniels went 
forward to the forecastle, reappearing before For- 
sythe had reached a conclusion. 

" Come aft with me, Daniels," he said. " Let's find 
out what's doing." 

Together they crept aft, and peered down the 
wardroom skylight. They saw Denman and Jenkins 
locked in furious embrace, and watched while Jenkins 
sank down, helpless and impotent. They saw Den- 



THE PIRATES 109 

man bind him, disappear from sight, and reappear 
with the irons, then they listened to his parting lec- 
ture to Jenkins- 

" Come," said Forsjthe, " down below with us, 
quick." 

They descended the galley companion, from which 
a passage led aft to the petty officers' quarters, 
which included the armroom, and tlience to the for- 
ward door of the wardroom. Here they halted, and 
listened to Denman's movements while he armed him- 
self and climbed the companion stairs. They could 
also see through the keyhole. 

" He's heeled ! " cried Forsythe. " Where did he 
get the guns ? " 

"Where's the armroom? Hereabouts somewhere. 
Where is it? " 

They hurriedly searched, and found the armroom; 
it contained cumbersome rifles, cutlasses, and war 
heads, but no pistols. 

" He's removed them all. Can we break in that 
door.'' " asked Forsythe, rushing toward the bulk- 
head. 

" No, hold on," said Daniels. " We'll watch from 
the companion, and when he's forward we'll sneak 
down the other, and heel ourselves." 

" Good." 

So, while Denman crept up and walked forward, 
glancing right and left, the two watched him from 
the galley hatch, and, after he had bound the two 
engineers and the helmsman, they slipped aft and 
descended the wardroom stairs. Here they looked at 
Jenkins, vainly trying to speak, but ignored him for 
the present. 

They hurried through the quarters, and finally 
found Denman's room with its arsenal of loaded re- 
volvers. They belted and armed themselves, and care- 
fully climbed the steps just in time to see Denman 



110 THE PIRATES 

drive the forecastle contingent to the deck. Then 
Forsythe, taking careful aim, sent the bullet which 
knocked Denman unconscious to the deck. 



CHAPTER Vni 

FORSYTHE and Daniels ran forward, while 
Billings, the cook off watch, followed from the 
galley hatch, and Casey came up from the wireless 
room. Each asked questions, but nobody answered 
at once. There were eight bound men lying upon the 
deck, and these must first be released, which was soon 
done. 

Denman, lying prone with a small pool of blood 
near his head, was next examined, and pronounced 
alive — he was breathing, but dazed and shocked ; for 
a large-caliber bullet glancing upon the skull has 
somewhat the same effect as the blow of a cudgel. 
He opened his eyes as the men examined them, and 
dimly heard what they said. 

" Now," said Forsythe, when these preliminaries 
were concluded, " here we are, miles at sea, with 
short store of oil, according to Riley, and a short 
store of grub, according to Daniels. What's to be 
done? Hey? The man who has bossed us so far 
hasn't seen this, and is now down in the wardroom — - 
knocked out by this brass-buttoned dudeling. What 
are you going to do, hey ? " 

Forsythe flourished his pistols dramatically, and 
glared unspeakable things at the " dudeling " on the 
deck. 

" Well, Forsythe," said old Kelly, the gunner's 
mate, " you've pretended to be a navigator. What 
do you say ? " 

" I say this," declared Forsythe : " I'm not a navi- 
gator, but I can be. But I want it understood. 



THE PIRATES 



111 



There has got to be a leader — a commander. If you 
fellows agree, I'll master the navigation and take this 
boat to the African coast. But I want no half-way 
work; I want my orders to go, just as I give them. 
Do you agree.'' You've gone wrong under Jenkins. 
Take your choice." 

" You're right, Forsythe," said Casey, the wireless 
man of the starboard watch. " Jenkins is too easy — 
too careless. Take the job, I say." 

" Do you all agree? " yelled Forsythe wildly in his 
excitement. 

" Yes, yes," they acclaimed. " Take charge, and 
get us out o' these seas. Who wants to be locked 
up? " 

" All right," said Forsythe. " Then I'm the com- 
mander. Lift that baby down to the skipper's room 
with the sick woman, and let them nurse each other. 
Lift Jenkins out of the wardroom, and stow him in 
a forecastle bunk. Riley, nurse your engines and 
save oil, but keep the dynamo going for the wire- 
less; and you, Casey, have you got that message 
cooked up ? " 

" I have. All I want is the latitude and longitude 
to send it from." 

" I'll give it to you soon. Get busy, now, and do 
your share. I must study a little." 

The meeting adjourned. Denman, still dazed and 
with a splitting headache, was assisted aft and below 
to the spare berth in the captain's quarters, where 
he sank into unconsciousness with the moaning of the 
stricken woman in his ears. 

Casey went down to his partner and his instru- 
ments ; Rilcy and King, with their confreres of the 
other watch, went down to the engines to "nurse 
them " ; and Forsythe, after Jenkins had been lifted 
out of the wardroom and forward to a forecastle 
bunk, searched the bookshelves and the desks of the 



H lis 

H office 

^ to St 



THE PIRATES 



officers, and, finding what he wanted, went forward 
to study. 

He was apt; he was a high-school graduate who 
onlj needed to apply himself to produce results. 
And Forsythe produced them. As he had promised, 
he took a meridian observation that day, and in half 
an hour announced the latitude — thirty-five degrees 
forty minutes north. 

" Now, Casey," he called, after he had looked at 
a track chart. " Got your fake message ready? " 

" Only this," answered Casey, scanning a piece of 
paper. " Listen : 



" That'll do, or anything like it. Send it from 
latitude forty north, fifty-five west. That's up close 
to the corner of the Lanes, and if it's caught up it'll 
keep 'em busy up there for a while." 

" What's our longitude? " 

" Don't know, and won't until I learn the method. 
But just north of us is the west-to-east track of out- 
bound low-power steamers, which, I take it, means 
tramps and tankers. Well, we'll have good use for 
a tanker." 

" You mean we're to hold up one for oil? " 

" Of course, and for grub if we need it." 

" Piracy, Forsythe." 

" Have pirates got anything on us, now? " asked 
Forsythe. " What are we? Mutineers, convicts, 
strong-arm men, thieves — or just simply pirates. OflF 
the deck with you, Casey, and keep your wires hot. 
Forty north, forty-five west for a while, then we'll 
have it farther north." 

Casey jotted down the figures, and departed to the 
wireless room, where, at intervals through the day he 
sent out into the etlier the radiating waves, which, if 



f 



THE PIRATES i;i3 

picked up within fifty miles bj a craft beyond the 
horizon, might be relayed on. 

The success of the scheme could not be learned by 
any tangible signs, but for the nest few days, while 
the boat lay with quiet engines and Forsythe studied 
navigation, they remarked that they were not pur- 
sued or noticed by passing craft. 

And as the boat, with dead engines, rolled lazily in 
the long Atlantic swell, while the men — all but For- 
sythe, the two cooks, and the two wireless experts — 
lolled lazily about the deck, the three invalids of the 
ship's company were convalescing in different degrees. 

Jenkins, dumb and wheezy, lay prone in a fore- 
castle bunk, trying to wonder how it happened. His 
mental faculties, though apprising him that he was 
alive, would hardly carry him to the point of wonder ; 
for wonder predicates imagination, and what little 
Jenkins was horn with had been shocked out of him, 

Still he struggled, and puzzled and guessed, 
weakly, as to what had happened to him, and when 
a committee from the loungers above visited him, and 
asked what struck him, he could only point sug- 
gestively to his throat, and wag his head. He could 
not even whisper; and so they left him, pondering 
upon the profanely expressed opinion of old Kelly 
that it was a " visitation from God." 

The committee went aft to the skipper's quarters, 
and here loud talk and profanity ceased; for there 
was a woman below, and, while these fellows were not 
gentlemen — as the term is understood — they were 
men — ^bad men, but men. 

On the way down the stairs, Kelly struck, bare- 
handed, his watch mate Hawkes for expressing an 
interest in the good looks of the woman ; and Samp- 
son, a giant, like his namesake, smote old Kelly, hip 
and thigh, for qualifying his strictures on the com- 
ment of Hawkes. 



11* THE PIRATES 

Thus corrected and enjoined, with caps in hand^'ra 
they approached the open door of the starboard T 
room, where lay the injured woman in a berth, fully i 
clothed in her now dried garments, and her face still T 
hidden in Denman's bandage. 

" Excuse me, madam," said Sampson, the present 
chairman of the committee, " can we do anything for I 
youP " 

" I cannot see you," she answered, faintly. " I 1 
do not know where I am, nor what will happen to me. 
But I am in need of attention. One man was kind 
to me, but he has not returned. Who are you — 
you men ? " 

*' We're the crew of the boat," answered Samp- ' 
son, awkwardly. " The skipper's forward, and I i 
guess the man that was kind to you is our prisoner. 
He's not on the job now, but — what can we do? " 

" Tell me where I am, and where I am going. 
What boat is this? Who are you? " 

" Well, madam," broke in old KeDj, " we're a 
crowd o' jail-breakers that stole a torpedo-boat de- 
stroyer, and put to sea. We got you off a burned 
and sinking yacht, and you're here with us; but I'm 
blessed if I know what we'll do with you. Our necks 
are in the halter, so to speak — or rather, our hands 
and ankles are in irons for life, if we're caught. 
You've got to make the best of it until we get 
caught, and if we don't, you've got to make the best 
of it, too. Lots o' young men among us, and you're 
DO spring chicken, by the looks o' you." 

Old Kelly went down before a fist blow from 
Hawkes, who thus strove to rehabilitate himself in 
the good opinion of his mates, and Hawkes went 
backward from a blow from Sampson, who, as yet un- 
sullied from unworthy thought, held his position i 
peacemaker and moralist. And while they were re- 
covering from the excitement, Qenman, with blood 



I 

I 



THE PIRATES 115 

on his face from the wound in his scalp, appeared 
among them. 

" Are jou fellows utterly devoid of manhood and 
self-respect," he said, sternly, " that you appear be- 
fore the door of a sickroom and bait a woman who 
cannot defend herself even by speech? Shame upon 
you! You have crippled me, but I am recovering. 
If you cannot aid this woman, leave her to me. She 
is burned, scalded, disfigured — she hardly knows her 
name, or where she came from. You have saved 
her from the wreck, and have since neglected her. 
Men, you are jailbirds as you say, but you are 
American seamen. If you cannot help her, leave 
her. Do not insult her. I am helpless ; if I had 
power I would decree further relief from the medi- 
cine-chest. But I am a prisoner — restricted." 

Sampson squared his big shoulders. " On deck 
with you fellows — all of you. GJt— quick!" 

They filed up the companion, leaving Sampson 
looking at Denman. 

" Lieutenant," he said, " you take care o' this poor 
woman, and if any one interferes, notify me. I'm 
as big a man as Jenkins, who's knocked out, and a 
bigger man than Forsythe, who's now in command. 
But we're fair — understand? We're fair^the most 
of us." 

"Yes, yes," answered Denman, as he staggered 
back to a transom seat. 

"Want anything yourself?" asked Sampson, as 
he noted the supine figure of Denman. " You're still 
Lieutenant Denman, of the navy — understand?" 

" No, I do not. Leave me alone." 

Sampson followed his mates. 

Denman sat a few moments, nursing his acliing 
head and trying to adjust himself to conditions. 
And as he sat "there, he felt a hand on his shoulder 
and heard a weak voice saying: 



116 THE PIRATES 



(( 



Are you Lieutenant Denman — ^Billie Denman? " 

He looked up. The bandaged face of the woman 
was above him. Out of the folds of the bandage 
looked two serious, gray eyes ; and he knew them. 

" Florrie ! " he said, in a choke. " Is this you — 
grown up? Florrie Fleming! How — ^why — what 
brings you here? *' 

" I started on the trip, Billie," she said, calmly, 
" with father on a friend's yacht bound for the Ber- 
mudas. We caught iSre, and I was the only one 
saved, it seems; but how are you here, subordinate 
to these men? And you are injured, BiUie — ^you 
are bleeding ! What has happened ? " 

" The finger of Fate, Florrie, or the act of God," 
answered Denman, with a painful smile. " We must 
have the conceit taken out of us on occasions, you 
know. Forsjrthe, my schoolmate, is in command of 
this crowd of jail-breakers and pirates." 

" Forsythe — your conqueror?" She receded a 
step. " I had — Do you know, Mr. Denman, that 
you were my hero when I was a child, and that I 
never forgave Jack Forsythe? I had hoped to 
hear — " 

" Oh, I know," he interrupted, hotly, while his 
head throbbed anew with the surge of emotion. " I 
know what you and the whole town expected. But — 
well, I knocked him down on deck a short time back, 
and the knockdown stands ; but they would not allow 
a finish. Then he shot me when I was not looking." 

" I am glad," she answered, simply, " for your 
sake, and perhaps for my own, for I, too, it seems, 
am in his power." 

He answered her as he could, incoherently and 
meaninglessly, but she went to her room and closed 
the door. 




THE PmATES 



CHAPTER IX 



I 



t 



DOWN the wardroom companion came Forsythe, 
followed by Sampson, who edged alongside of 
hini as he peered into the after compartment, where 
Denman sat on the transom. 

" What do you want down here with meP " asked 
Forsythe, in a snarl, as he looked side wise at 
Sampson. 

" To see that you act like a man," answered the 
big machinist. " There's a sick woman here." 

" And a more or less sick man," answered Forsythe, 
" that if I hadn't made sick would ha' had you in 
irons. Get up on deck. All I want is a chronometer." 

" Under the circumstances," rejoined Sampson, 
coolly, " though I acknowledge your authority as far 
as governing this crew is concerned, when it comes 
to a sick woman defended only by a wounded officer, 
I shift to the jurisdiction of the officer. If Lieu- 
tenant Denman asks that I go on deck, I will go. 
Otherwise, I remain." 

" Wait," said Denman, weakly, for he had lost 
much blood. " Perhaps Forsythe need not be antag- 
onized or coerced. Forsythe, do you remember a 
little girl at home named Florric Fleming? Well, 
that woman is she. I appeal to whatever is left of 
your boyhood ideals to protect this woman, and care 
for her." 

" Yes, I remember her," answered Forsythe, with 
a bitter smile. " She thought you were a little tin 
god on wheels, and told me after you'd gone that 
you'd come back and thrash me. You didn't, did 
youP " His speech ended in a sneer. 

" No, but I will when the time comes," answered 
Denman; but the mental transition from pity to 
anger overcame him, and he sank back. 



tUtiTm 




118 THE PIRATES 

*' Now, this is neither here nor there, Forsjthe,'* 
said Sampson, sternly. " You want a chronometer. 
When you get it, you've no more business here than 
I have, and I think you'd better use your authority 
like a man, or I'll call a meeting of the boys." 

" Of course," answered Forsythe, looking at the ■ 
big shoulders of Sampson. " But, inasmuch as I j 
knew this fellow from boyhood, and knew this little ' 
girl when a child, the best care I can give her is t(j 
remove this chap from her vicinity. We'll put him 
down the fore peak, and let one o' the cooks feed ' 
her and nurse her," 

" We'll see about that on deck," aaid Sampson,. 
indignantly. " I'll talk — " 

"Yes," broke in Denman, standing up. "For- ' 
Bythe is right. It is not fitting that I should be here 
alone with her. Put me anywhere you like, but take 
care of her, as you are men and Americans," 

Forsythe made no answer, but Sampson gave Den- 
man a troubled, doubtful look, then nodded, and 
followed Forsythe to the various rooms until he had 
secured what he wanted; then they went on deck 
together. 

But in an hour they were back ; and, though Den- 
man had heard nothing of a conclave on deck, he 
judged by their faces that there had been one, and 
that Forsythe had been overruled by the influence of 
Sampson. For Sampson smiled and Forsythe 
scowled, as they led Denman into the wardroom to 
his own berth, and locked him in with the assurance 
that the cooks would feed him and attend to the 
wants of himself and the woman. 

Billings soon came with arnica, plaster, and ban- 
dages, and roughly dressed his wound; but he gave 
him no information of their plans. However, Den- 
man could still look out through a deadlight. 

A few hours after the boat's engines had started. 



THE PIRATES 



119 



he could see a steamer on the horizon, steering a 
course that would soon intercept that of the de< 

strojer. 

She was a one-funneled, two-masted craft, a 
tramp, possibly, a working boat surely; but he only 
learned when her striped funnel came to view that she 
belonged to a regular line. She made no effort 
to avoid them, but held on until within hailing dis- 
tance, when he heard Forsythe's voice from the 
bridge. 

" Steamer ahoy ! " he shouted. " What's j'our 
cargo ? " 

" Oil," answered a man on the steamer's bridge. 
" What are you holding mo up for? " 

" Oil," answered Eorsythe, " How is it stowed — 
in cases, or in bulk? " 

" In bulk, you doggoned fool." 

" Very good. We want some of that oil." 

" You do, hey? Who are you? You look like that 
runaway destroyer I've heard so much about. Who's 
going to recompense the company for the oil you 
want? Hey? Where do I come in? Who pays the 
bill?" 

" Send it to the United States Government, or send 
it to the devil. Pass a hose over the side, and dip 
your end into the tank." 

" Suppose I say no? " 

" Then we'll send a few shells into your water 
line." 

"Is that straight? Are you pirates that would 
sink a working craft? " 

"As far as you are concerned we are. Pass over 
your hose, and stop talking about it. All we want 
is a little oih" 

" Will you give me a written receipt? " 

" Of course. Name your bill. We'll toss it up 
on a drift bolt. Pass over the hose." 



r 



120 THE PIRATES 




" All right. Hook on your own reducer and sm 
it full with your pump; then it will siphon down, 

" Got reducers, Sampson? " 

" Got several. Guess we can start the flow." 

The two craft drew close together, a hose was 
flung from the tanker to the destroyer, and the four 
machinists worked for a while with wrenches and 
pump fittings until the connection was made; then 
they started the pump, filled the hose, and, discon- 
necting, dropped their end into the tanks. 

The oil, by the force of gravity, flowed from one 
craft to the other until the gauges showed a full 
supply. Then a written receipt for one hundred 
and twenty-five tons of oil was signed by the leaders, 
tied to a piece of iron, and tossed aboard the tanker, 
and the two craft separated, the pirate heading 
south, as Denman could see by the telltale. 

Denraan, his wounded scalp easier, lay down in 
his berth and smoked while he thought out his plans. 
Obviously the men were pirates, fully committed; 
they would probably repeat the performance; and as 
obviously they would surely be caught in time. 
There was nothing that he could do, except to heal 
his wound and wait. 

He could not even assist Miss Florrie, no matter 
what peril might menace her; then, as he remembered 
a bunch of duplicate keys given him when he joined 
as executive officer, he thought that perhaps he 
might. They were in his desk, and, rolling out, he 
secured them. 

He tried them in turn on his door lock, and finally 
found the one that fitted. This he took oiF the ring 
and secured with his own bunch of keys, placing the 
others — which he easily surmised belonged to all the 
locking doors in the boat — in another pocket. Then 
he lay back to finish his smoke. But Sampson opened 
his door, and interrupted. 



I 



THE PIRATES 121 

"You'll excuse me, sir," he began, while Denman 
peered critically at him through the smoke. " But 
I suppose you know what we've just done? " 

" Yes," he answered. " I could see a little and 
hear more. You've held up and robbed an oil 
steamer." 

" And is it piracy, sir, in the old sense — a hanging 
matter if we're caught? " 

" Hardly know," said Denman, after a moment's 
reflection. " Laws are repealed every now and then. 
Did you kill any one? " 

" No, sir." 

"Well, I judge that a pirate at sea is about on 
the same plane as a burglar on shore. If he kills 
any one while committing a felony, he is guilty of 
murder in the first degree. Better not kill any fellow 
men, then you'll only get a long term — perhaps for 
Kfe — when you're nabbed." 

"Thank you, Mr, Denman. They're talking big 
things on deck, but — there'll be no killing, Forsythe 
is something of a devil and will stop at nothing, but 
I'll— " 

" Pardon me," said Denman, lazily, " he'll stop 
at me if you release me." 

" Not yet, sir. It may be necessary, but at present 
we're thinking of ourselves." 

" All right. But, tell me, how did you get a key 
to my door? How many keys are there? " 

" Oh, from Billings, sir. Not with Forsythe's 
knowledge, however. Billings, and some others, think 
no more of him than I do." 

" That's right," responded Denman. " I knew him 
at school. Look out for him. By the way, is the 
lady aft being attended to? " 

" Yes, sir. Daniels, the other cook, brings her 
what she needs. She is not locked up, though." 




122 THE PIRATES 

" That's good. Give her the run of the deck, and 
take care of her." 

" Yes, sir, we will," answered Sampson, as re- 
spectfully as though it were a legitimate order — for 
force of habit is strong. Then he left the room, 
locking the door behind him. 

Denman smoked until he had finished the cigar, 
and, after he had eaten a supper brought by Billings, 
he smoked again until darkness closed down. And 
with the closing down of darkness came a plan. 



CHAPTER X 

TOSSING his cigar through the opened dead- 
light, Denman arose and unlocked his door, 
passing into the small and empty wardroom. First, 
he tried the forward door leading into the petty of- 
ficers' quarters and to the armroom, and, finding it 
locked, sought for the key which opened it, and 
passed through, closing the door softly behind him. 

Farther forward he could hear the voice of Billings, 
singing cheerfully to himself in the galley ; and, filter- 
ing through the galley hatch and open deadlights, the 
voice of Forsythe, uttering angry commands to some' 
one on deck. 

He had no personal design upon Billings, nor at 
present upon Forsythe, so he searched the armroom. 
As Forsythe and Daniels had found, there was noth- 
ing there more formidable than cutlasses, rifles, and 
torpedo heads ; the pistols had been removed to some 
other place. So Denman went back and searched the 
wardroom, delving into closets and receptacles look- 
ing for arms ; but he found none, and sat down on a 
chair to think. Presently he arose and tapped 
on the glazed glass door of the captain's apart- 
ment. 



I 



THE PIRATES 123 

" Florrie," he said, in a half whisper. *Florrie, 
are you awake? " 

There was no answer for a moment; then he saw 
a shadow move across the door. 

"Florrie," he repeated, "are you awake?" 

"Who is this?" came an answering whisper 
through the door. 

" Denman — Billie Denman," he answered. " If 
you are awake and clothed, let me in. I have a key, 
and I want to talk with you." 

" All right— yes. Come in. But — I have no key, 
and the door is locked." 

Denman quickly found the key and opened the 
door. She stood there, with her face still tied up 
in cloths, and only her gray eyes showing in the 
light from the electric bulbs of the room. 

" Florrie," he said, " will you do your part toward 
helping us out of our present trouble? " 

" I'll do what I can, Billie; but I cannot do much." 

" You can do a lot," he responded. " Just get up 
on deck, with your face tied up, and walk around. 
Speak to any man you meet, and go forward to the 
bridge. Ask any one you see, any question you 
like, as to where we are going, or what is to be done 
with us^anything at all which will justify your pres- 
ence on deck. Just let them see that you are on 
deck, and will be on deck again. Will you, Florrie? " 

*' My face is still very bad, Billie ; and the wind 
cuts like a knife. Why must I go up among those 
men? " 

" I'll tell you afterward. Go along, Florrie. Just 
show yourself, and come down." 

" I am in the dark. Why do you not tell me what 
is ahead? I would rather stay here and go to bed," 

" You can go to bed in ten minutes," said Denman. 
" But go up first and show yourself, and come down. 
I will do the rest." 



I 
J 



124 



THE PIRATES 



" Well, Billie, I will. I do not like to, but yon | 
seem to have some plan which you do not tell me of, 
so^well, all right. I will go up." 

She put on a cloak and ascended the companion 
stairs, and Denman sat down to wait. He heard 
nothing, not even a voice of congratulation, and after 
a few moments Florrie came down. 

" 1 met them all," she said, " and they were civil 
and polite. What more do you want of me, Billie? " 

" Your cloak, your hat, and your skirt. I will 
furnish the bandage." 

"What?" 

" Exactly. I will go up, dressed like you, and 
catch them unawares, one by one." 

" But, Billie, they will kill you, or — hurt you. 
Don't do it, Billie." 

" Now, here, I'lorrie girl," he answered firmly. 
" I'll go into the wardroom, and you toss in the ma- 
terials for my disguise. Then you go to bed. If I 
get into trouble they will return the clothes." 

" But suppose they kill you ! I will be at their 
mercy, Billie, I am alone here without you." 

" Elorric, they arc sailors ; that means that they 
are men. If I win, you are all right, of course. 
Now let me have the things. I want to get com- 
mand of this boat." 

" Take them, Billie ; but return to me and tell me. 
Don't leave me in suspense," 

" I won't, m report, Florrie. Just wait and be 
patient." 

He passed into the wardroom, and soon the skirt, 
hat, and cloak were thrown to him. He had some 
trouble in donning the garments ; for, while the 
length of the skirt did not matter, the width cer- 
tainly did, and he must needs piece out the waistband 
with a leBgth of string, ruthlessly punching holes to 
receive it. The cloak was a tight squeeze for his 



THE PIRATES 



1S£ 



broader shoulders, but he managed it; and, after he 
had thoroughly masked his face with bandages, he 
tried the hat. There were hatpins sticking to it, 
which he knew the utility of; but, as she had fur- 
nished him nothing of her thick crown of hair, he 
jabbed these through the bandage, and surveyed him- 
self in the skipper's large mirror. 

" Most ladylike," he muttered, squinting through 
the bandages. Then he went on deck. 

His plan had progressed no further than this — ■ 
to be able to reach the deck unrecognized, so that 
he could watch, listen to the talk, and decide what 
he might do later on. 

Billings still sang cheeringly in the galley, and 
the voices forward were more articulate; chiefly con- 
cerned, it seemed, with the replenishing of the water 
and food supply, and the necessity of Forsythe's pur- 
suing his studies so that they could know where they 
were. The talk ended by their driving their com- 
mander below ; and, when the watches wore set, Den- 
nian himself went down. He descended as he had 
come up, by the captain's companion, reported his 
safety to Florrie through the partly opened state- 
room door, and also requested that, each night as 
she retired, she should toss the hat, cloak, and skirt 
into the wardroom. To this she agreed, and he dis- 
carded the uncomfortable rig and went to his room, 
locking the captain's door bcJiind him, also his own. 

His plan had not progressed. He had only found 
a way to see things from the deck instead of through 
a deadlight; and he went to sleep with the troubled 
thought that, even though he should master them all, 
as he had once nearly succeeded in doing, he would 



need to release them 
ship." To put them 
tion. 

The sudden stoppi 



1 order that they should " work 
, parole was out of the qucs- 



of the turbines woke him in 



I 



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126 THE PIRATES 

the nioniing, and the sun shining into his deadlight 
apprised him that he had slept late. He looked out 
and ahead, and saw a large, white steam yacht rest- 
ing quietly on the rolling ground swell, apparently 
waiting for the destroyer to creep up to her. 

" Another holdup," he said-; " and for grub and 
water this time, I suppose." 

Wishing to see this from the deck, he rushed aft 
to the captain's room and tapped on the door, mean- 
while fumbling for his keys. There was no answer, 
and, tapping again, he opened the door and entered. 

"Florrie," he called, in a whisper, "are you 
awake .'' " 

She did not reply, but he heard Sampson's voice 
from the deck. 

" This is your chance, miss," he said. " We're 
going to get stores from that yacht ; but no doubt 
she'll take you on board." 

" Is she bound to New York, or some port where 
I may reach friends?" asked the girl, 

"No; hound to the Mediterranean." 

"Will you release Mr. Denman as well?" 

" No. I'm pretty sure the boys will not. He 
knows our plans, and is a naval officer, you see, 
with a strong interest in landing us. Once on shore, 
he would have every warship in the world after us." 

" Then I stay here with Mr. Denman. He is 
wounded, and is my friend." 

Denman was on the point of calling up — to insist 
that she leave the yacht ; but he thought, in time, 
that it would reveal his position, and leave him more 
helpless, while, perhaps, she might still refuse to go. 
He heard Sampson's footsteps going forward, and 
called to her softly; but she, too, had moved for- 
ward, and he went back to his deadlight. 

It was a repetition of the scene with the oil steamer. 
Forsythe, loudly and profanely announcing their 



4 



J 



THE PIRATES 127 

wants, and calling the yacht's attention to two 
twelve-pounders aimed at her water line. She was 
of the standard type, clipper-bowed, square-sterned, 
with one funnel and two masts; and from the trucks 
of these masts stretched the three-wire grid of a 
wireless outfit. 

Forward was a crowd of blue-clad sailors, on the 
bridge an ofRcer and a helmsman, and aft, on the 
fantail, a number of guests ; while amidships, convers- 
ing earnestly, were two men, whose dress indicated 
that they were the owner and sailing master. 

In the door of a small deck house near them stood 
another man in uniform, and to this man the owner 
turned and spoke a few words. Tlie man disappeared 
inside, and Denman, straining his ears, heard the 
rasping sound of a wireless " sender," and simultane- 
ously Casey's Warning shout to Forsythe : 

" He's calling for help, Forsythe. Stop him." 

Then came Forsythe's vibrant voice. 

" Call that man out of the wireless room," he 
yelled, " or we'll send a shell into it. Train that 
gun, Kelly, and stand by for the word. Call him 
out," he continued. " Stop that message." 

The rasping sound ceased, and the operator ap- 
peared ; then, with their eyes distended, the three ran 
forward. 

"Any one else in that deck house?" called 
Forsythe. 

" No," answered the sailing master. " What are 
you going to do,' " 

" Kelly," said Forsythe, " aim low, and send a 
shell into the house. Aim low, so as to smash the 
instruments." 

Kelly's reply was inarticulate, but in a moment 
the gun barked, and the deck house disintegrated into 
a tangle of kindling from which oozed a cloud of 
smoke. Women screamed, and, forward and aft, 



128 THE PIRATES 

the yacht's people crowded toward the ends of the 
craft. 

" What in thunder are you trying to do? " roared 
the sailing master, shaking his fist. " Are you going 
to sink us? " 

" Not unless necessary," replied Forsythe ; " but 
we want grub— good grub, too- — and water. We 
want water through your own hose, because ours is 
full of oil. Do you agree?" 

There was a short confab between the owner and 
the sailing master, ending with the lattcr's calling 
out : " We'll give you water and grub, but don't 
shoot any more hardware at us. Come closer and 
throw a heaving line, and send your boat, if you 
like, for the grub. Our boats are all lashed down." 

" That's reasonable," answered Forsythe. 
" Hawkes, Davis, Daniels, Billings— -yon fellows 
clear away that boat of ours, and stand by to go 
for the grub." 

The two craft drew together, and for the rest it 
was like the other holdup. The hose was passed, 
and, while the tanks were filling, the boat passed 
back and forth, making three trips, heavily laden 
with barrels, packages, and boxes. Then, when 
Forsythe gave the word, the hose was drawn back, 
the boat hoisted and secured, and the two craft sep- 
arated without another word of threat or protest. 



CHAPTER XI 

' ' Li^ ULLY committed," muttered Denman, as he 
r drew back from the deadlight. " They'll stop 
at nothing now." 

He was about to open his door to visit Florrie, 
if she had descended, when it was opened from with- 
out by Billings, who had brought his breakfast. 



J 



THE PIRATES 189 

"We'll have better grub for a while, sir," he said, 
as he deposited the tray on the desk. " Suppose you 
know what happened ? " 

" Yes, and I see life imprisonment for all of you, 
unless you are killed in the catching." 

" Can't help it, sir," answered Billings, with a 
deprecatory grin. " We're not going back to jail, 
nor will we starve on the high seas. All we're wait- 
ing for is the course to the African coast — unless — " 
He paused. 

" Unless what?" demanded Denman, leaning over 
his breakfast. 

" Well — unless the vote is to stay at sea. We've 
got a good, fast boat under us." 

" What do you mean? Continued piracy? " 

" I can't tell you any more, sir," answered Billings, 
and he went off, after carefully locking the door be- 
hind him. 

When Denman had finished his breakfast, he 
quietly let himself out. Tapping on the after door, 
he saw Florrie's shadow on the translucent glass, 
and opened it. 

She stood before him with the bandages removed, 
and he saw her features for the first time since she 
had come aboard. They were pink, and here and 
there was a blister that had not yet disappeared ; 
but, even so handicapped, her face shone with a 
beauty that he had never seen in a woman nor im- 
agined in the grown-up child that he remembered. 
The large, serious, gray eyes were the same; but 
the short, dark ringlets had developed to a wealth 
of hair that would have suitably crowned a queen. 

Denman stood transfixed for a moment, then found 
his tongue. 

" Florrie," he said, softly, so as not to be heard 
from above, "is this really you? I wouldn't have 
known you." 



r 




130 THE PIRATES 

" Yes, I know," she answered, with a smile, which 
immediately changed to a little grimace of pain. " I 
was badly scalded, but I had to take off the cloth to 
eat my breakfast," 

" No," he said. " I didn't mean that. 
you've improved so. Why, Florrie, you've grown up 
to be a beauty. I never imagined you — you — looking 
so fine." 

" Don't talk like that, Billie Denman. I'm dis- 
figured for life, I know. I can never show my face 
again." 

" Nonsense, Florrie. The redness will go away. 
But, tell me, why didn't you go aboard that yacht? 
I overheard you talking to Sampson. Why didn't 
you go, and get away from this bunch?" 

" I have just told you," she answered, while a 
tint overspread her pink face that did not come of 
the scalding. " There were women on that yacht. 
Do you think I want to be stared at, and pitied, and 
laughed at? " 

" 1 never thought of that," said Denman ; " but 
I suppose it is a very vital reason for a woman. 
Yet, it's too bad. This boat is sure to be captured, 
and there may be gun fire. It's a bad place for you. 
But, Florrie— let me tell you. Did you see what came 
on board from the yacht? " 

" Boxes, and barrels, and the water," 

" Yes, and some of those boxes contained whisky 
and brandy. Whisky and brandy make men forget 
that they are men. Have you a key for your door? " 

"No; I never saw one." 

Denman tried his bunch of keys on the stateroom 
door until he found the right one. This he took off 
the ring and inserted in the lock. 

" Lock your door every time you go in there," he 
said, impressively ; " and, Florrie, another things 
keep that pretty face of yours out of sight of these 



I 



THE PIRATES 



131 



men. Go right in there now and replace the ban- 
dages. Then, after a while, about nine o'clock, go 
on deck for a walk around, and then let me have 
your rig. I want a daylight look at things." 

She acquiesced, and he went back to his room, 
locking himself in, just in time to escape the notice 
of Billings, who had come for the tray. 

" Arc you fellows going to deprive me of all exer- 
cise? " he demanded. " Even a man in irons is al- 
lowed to walk the deck a little." 

" Don't know, sir," answered Billings. " Forsythe 
13 the man to talk to." 

" I'll do more than talk to him," growled Denman 
between his teetli. " Carry ray request for exercise 
to him. Say that 1 demand the privileges of a con- 
vict." 

" Very good, sir," answered Billings as he went 
out. 

In a few moments he was back with the news that 
Forsythe had profanely denied the request. Whereat 
Denman's heart hardened the more. 

He remained quiet until two bells — nine o'clock — 
had struck, then went out and approached the after 
door, just in time to see Florrie's shadow pass across 
the glass as she mounted the stairs. He waited, and 
in about five minutes she came down, and, no doubt 
seeing his shadow on the door, tapped gently. He 
promptly opened it, and she said : 

" Leave the door open and I will throw you my 
things in a minute. They are drinking up there." 

"Drinking!" he mused, as he waited. "Well, 
perhaps I can get a gun if they drink to stupidity," 

Soon Florrie's hand opened the door, and the 
garments came through. Denman had little trouble 
now in donning them, and, with his head tied up as 
before, he passed through the captain's apartment 
to the deck. It was a mild, sunshiny morning, with 



182 THE PIRATES 

little wind, and that from the northeast. White 
globes of cloud showed here and there, and Denman 
knew them for the unmistakable sign of the trade 
winds. But he was more interested in matters on 
deck. All hands except Billings, who was singing 
in the gaUej, and Munson, one of the wireless men, 
were clustered around the forward funnel ; and there 
were several bottles circulating around. Forsythe, 
with a sextant in his hand, was berating them. 

" Go slow, you infernal ginks," he snarled at 
them, " or you'll be so drunk in an hour that you 
won't know your names. Ready — in there, Mun- 
son?" 

" Yes," answered Munson from the pilot-house. 

Forsythe put the sextant to his eye, and swept it 
back and forth for a few moments. 

" Time," he called suddenly, and, lowering the 
sextant, looked in on Munson. 

" Got it.'^ " asked Munson. 

" Yes ; and have it down in black and white." 
Forsythe made a notation from the sextant on a 
piece of paper. 

" Now, again," said Forsythe, and again he took 
a sight, shouted, " Time," and made another nota- 
tion. 

Then he went into the pilot-house and Munson 
came out and made the shortest cul to the nearest 
bottle. 

" He's taken chronometer sights," mused Denman, 
as he leaned against the companion hood. " Well, 
he's progressing fast, but there never was a doubt 
that he is a scholar." 

He went down, and through a crack of the door 
obtained Miss Florrie's permission to keep the cloak 
and skirt for the morning, as he wanted to see later 
how the drinking was progressing. Florrie con- 
sented, and he went to his room to wait. 



THE PIRATES 133 

As he waited, the sounds above grew ominous. 
Oaths and loud laughter, shouts, whoops, and 
grumblings, mingled with Forsythe's angry voice of 
command, came down to him through the open dead- 
light. Soon he heard the thumping of human bodies 
on deck, and knew there was a fight going on. 

A fight always appealed to him ; and, yielding to 
this unworthy curiosity, Denman again passed 
through the captain's quarters, making sure on the 
way that Florrie was locked in, and reached the deck. 

There were two fights in progress, one a stand-up- 
and-knock-down affair near the pilot-house; the other 
a wrestling match amidships. He could not recognize 
the contestants, and, with the thought that perhaps 
Forsytlie was one of them, stepped forward a few 
feet to observe. 

At this moment Billings— the cheerful Billings — 
came up the galley hatch, no longer cheerful, but 
morose of face and menacing of gait, as is usual with 
this type of man when drunk. He spied Denman 
in Ins skirt, cloak, hat, and bandage, and, with a 
clucking chuckle in his throat and a leering grin on 
his face, made for him. 

" Say, old girl," he said, thickly, " Let's have a 
kiss." 

Denman, anxious about his position and peculiar 
privilege, backed away; but the unabashed pursuer 
still pursued, and caught him at the companion. He 
attempted to pass his arm around Denman, but did 
not succeed. Denman pushed him back a few feet; 
then, with the whole weight of his body behind it, 
launched forth his fist, and struck the suitor squarely 
between the eyes. 

Billings was lifted off his feet and hurled backward 
his whole length before he reached the deck; then 
he lay still for a moment, and as he showed signs of 
life, Denman darted down to the wardroom, where 



184 THE PIRATES 

he shed his disguise as quickly as possible. Then 
he roused Florrie, passed the garments in to her, 
warned her to keep her door locked, and went to his 
own room, locking the doors behind him. 

He waited and listened, while the shouts and oaths 
above grew less, and finally silent, though at times 
he recognized Forsythe's threatening voice. He sup- 
posed that by now all of them except Forsythe were 
stupidly drunk, and was much surprised when, at 
eight bells, Billings opened the door with his dinner, 
well cooked and savory. He was not quite sober, but 
as sober as a drunken man may become who has had 
every nerve, sinew, and internal organ shocked as by 
the kick of a mule. 

" Bad times on deck, sir," he said. " This drinkin's 
all to the bad.'* He leered comically through his 
closed and blackened eyelids, and tried to smile; but 
it was too painful, and his face straightened. 

" Why, what has happened ? '' inquired Denman. 
^* I heard the row, but couldn't see." 

" Nothin' serious, sir,'' answered Billings, " ex- 
cept to me. Say, sir — that woman aft. Keep away 
from her. Take it from me, sdr, she's a bad un. 
Got a punch like a battering-ram. Did you ever get 
the big end of a handspike jammed into your face by 
a big man, sir? Well, that's the kind of a punch 
she has." 

Billings departed, and Denman grinned maliciously 
while he ate his dinner ; and, after Billings had taken 
away the dishes — with more comments on the woman's 
terrible punch — Denman went out into the ward- 
room, intending to visit Miss Florrie. A glance over- 
head stopped him, and sent him back. The lubber's 
point on the telltale marked due west northwest. 



THE PIRATES 



CHAPTER XII 



H 



E sat down to think it out. 
at big things 



Sampson had hinted 
talked about. Billings had 
spoken of a vote — to stay at sea or not. However, 
there could have been no vote since Bilhngs' last 
visit because of their condition. But Forsjtlie had 
indubitably taken chronometer sights in the morning, 
and, being most certainly sober, had doubtless worked 
them out and ascertained the longitude, which, with 
a meridian observation at noon, would give him the 
position of the yacht. 

The " big things " requiring a vote were all in 
Forsythe's head, and he had merely anticipated the 
vote. Not knowing their position himself, except 
as indicated by the trade-wind clouds, Denman could 
only surmise that a west northwest course would hit 
the American coast somewhere between Boston and 
Charleston. But what they wanted there was beyond 
his comprehension. 

He gave up the puzzle at last, and visited Florrie, 
finding her dressed, swathed in the bandage, and sit- 
ting in the outer apartment, reading. Briefly he ex- 
plained the occurrences on deck, and, as all was 
quiet now, asked her to step up and investigate. She 
did so, and returned. 

" Forsythe is steering," she said, " and two or 
three are awake, but staggering around, and several 
others are asleep on the deck." 

" Weil," he said, hopefully, " Forsythe evidently 
can control himself, but not the others. If they 
remain drunk, or get drunker, I mean to do some- 
thing to-night. No use trying now." 

" What will you do, Billic? " she asked, with con- 
cern in her voice. 

" I don't know. Fll only know when I get at it. 



1S6 THE PIRATES 

I hope that Forsjthe will load up, too. Hello! 
What's up? Ron up, Flonie, and look." 

The engine had stopped, and Forsjthe's furious 
inTectire could be heard. Florrie ran up the steps, 
peeped out, and returned. 

^ He is swearing at some one," she said. 

^ So it seems," said Denman. ^ Let me hare a 
look." 

He ascended, and carefuDj peeped oTer the coa»- 
panion hood. Forsythe was looking down the engine- 
room hatch, and his Toice came clear and distinct 
as he anathematized the engineers below. 

^ Shut off jour oil, jou drunken mutts," he 
Tociferated. " If the whole four of you can't keep 
steam on the steering-gear, shut it off — all of it, I 
saj. Shut off cTerj burner and get into your bunks 
tin you're sober." 

Then Sampson's deep Toice arose from the hatch. 
^ Toull stop talking like that to me, my lad, before 
long," he said, ^ or 111 break some o' your bones." 

" Shut off the oil — every burner," reiterated 
Forsythe. " Well drift for a while." 

^Rig^ you are," sang out another Toice, whidi 
Denman recognized as Dwyer's. ^And here, yoo 
blooming crank, take a drink and get into a good 
humor." 

^ Pass it up, then. I need a drink by this time. 
But shut of that off." 

Denman saw Forsythe reach down and bring up 
a bottle, from which he took a deep draught. The 
electric Hghts slowly dimmed in the cabin, indicating 
the slowing doim of the dynamo engine; then they 
went out. 

Denman descended, uneasy in mind, into the half 
darkness of the cabin. He knew, from what he had 
learned of Forsythe, that the first drink would lead 
to the second, and the third, and that his example 



THE PIUATES 



137 



would influence the rest to further drinking; but he 
gave none of hia fears to Florrie. He simply bade 
her to go into her room and lock the door. Then he 
went to his own room against the possible advent of 
Billings at suppcr-tinie. 

But there was no supper for any that evening. 
Long before the time for it pandemonium raged 
above; and the loudest, angriest voice was that of 
Forsythe, until, toward the last, Sampson's voice rose 
above it, and, as a dull thud on the deck came to Den- 
man's ears, he knew that his fist had silenced it. 
Evidently the sleeping men had wakened to further 
potations ; and at last the stumbling feet of some of 
them approached the stern. Then again came Samp- 
son's voice. 

" Come back here," he roared. " Keep away from 
that companion, the lot of you, or I'll give you what 
I gave Forsythe." 

A burst of invective and malediction answered him, 
and then there were the sounds of conflict, even the 
crashing of fists as well as the thuds on the deck, 
coming to Denman through the deadlight, 

" Forrard wi' you all," continued Sampson be- 
tween the sounds of impact ; and soon the shuffling 
of feet indicated a retreat. Denman, who had opened 
his door, ready for a rush to Florric's defense, now 
went aft to reassure her. She opened the door at 
his tap and his voice through the keyhole. 

" It's all right for the present, Florrie," he said. 
" While Sampson is sober they won't come aft 
again." 

" Oh, Billie," she gasped. " I hope so. Don't 
desert me, Billie." 

" Don't worry," he said, reassuringly, " They'll 
all be stupid before long, and then — to-night- — 'there 
will be something doing on our side. Now, I must 
be in my room when Billings comes, or until I'm sure 



r 



188 



THE PIRATES 



he will not come. And you stay here. I'll be on 
hand if anything happens," 

He went back to his room, but Billings did not 
come with his supper. And one by one the voices 
above grew silent, and the shuffling footsteps ended 
in thuds, as their owners dropped to the deck ; and 
when darkness had closed down and all above was 
still, Denman crept out to reconnoiter. Ho reached 
the door leading to the captain's room, and was just 
about to open it when a scream came to his ears. 

" Billie ! BJUie-^come— come quick ! Help ! " 

Then a tense voice: 

" Shut up your noise in there and open the door. 
I only want to have a talk with you." 

Denman was into the room before the voice had 
ceased, and in the darkness barely made out the figure 
of a man fumbling at the knob of the stateroom door. 
He knew, as much by intuition as by recognition of 
the voice, that it was Forsythe, and, without a word 
of warning, sprang at his throat. 

With an oath Forsythe gripped him, and they 
swayed back and forth in the small cabin, locked 
together in an embrace that strained muscles and 
sinews to the utmost. Forsythe expended breath and 
energy in curses. 

Denman said nothing until Florrie screamed again, 
then he found voice to call out : 

" Ail right, Florrie, I've got him." 

She remained silent while the battle continued. At 
first it was a wrestling match, each with a right arm 
around the body of the other, and with Denman's 
left hand gripping Forsythe's left wrist. Their left 
hands swayed about, above their heads, to the right, 
to the left, and down between the close pressure of 
their chests. 

Denman soon found that he was the stronger of 
arm, for he twisted his enemy's arm around as he 




THE PIRATES 139 

pleased; but he also found that he was not stronger 
of fingers, for suddenly Forsythe broke away from 
his grip and seized tightly the wrist of Denman. 

Thus reversed, the battle continued, and as they 
reeled about, chairs, tabic, and desk were overturned, 
making a racket as the combatants stumbled around 
over and among them that would have aroused all 
hands had they been but normally asleep. 

As it was, there was no interruption, and the two 
battled on in the darkness to an end. It came soon. 
Forsythe suddenly released his clasp on Denman's 
wrist and gripped his throat, then as suddenly he 
brought his right hand up, and Denman felt the pres- 
sure of his thumb on his right eyeball. He was be- 
ing choked and gouged; and, strangely enough, in 
this exigency there came to him no thought of the 
trick by which he had mastered Jenkins. But instead, 
he mustered his strength, pushed Forsythe from him, 
and struck out blindly. 

It was a lucky blow, for his eyes were filled with 
lights of various hue, and he could not see; yet his 
fist caught Forsythe on the chin, and Denman heard 
him crash back over the upturned table. 

Forsythe uttered no sound, and when the light 
had gone out of his eyes, Denman groped for him, 
and found him, just beginning to move. H-; groaned 
and sat up. 

CHAPTER XIII 

"XTO, you don't," said Denman, grimly. "Pair 
i-ll play is wasted on you, so back you go to the 

Land of Nod." 

He drew back his right fist, and again sent it 

crashing on the chin of his victim, whom he could just 

see in the starlight from the companion, and Forsythe 

rolled back. 



14fO THE PIRATES 

Like Jenkins, he had arrayed himself in an oflScer's 
uniform, and there was no convenient neckerchief 
with which to bind him; but Denman took his own, 
and securely tied his hands behind his back, and with 
another string tie from his room tied his ankles to- 
gether. Then only did he think of Florrie, and called 
to her. She answered hysterically. 

" It's all right, Florrie girl," he said. " It was 
Forsythe, but I've knocked him silly and have him 
tied hand and foot. Go to sleep now." 

" I can't go to sleep, Billie," she wailed. " I can't. 
Don't leave me alone any more." 

" I must, Florrie," he answered. " I'm going on 
deck to get them all. I'll never have a better chance. 
Keep quiet and don't come out, no matter what you 
hear." 

" But come back soon, Billie," she pleaded. 

" I will, soon as I can. But stay quiet in there 
until I do." 

He stole softly up the stairs and looked forward. 
The stars illuminated the deck sufficiently for him to 
see the prostrate forms scattered about, but not 
enough for him to distinguish one from another until 
he had crept close. The big machinist, Sampson, he 
found nearest to the companion, as though he had 
picked this spot to guard, even in drunken sleep, the 
sacred after cabin. Denman's heart felt a little 
twinge of pain as he softly untied and withdrew the 
big fellow's neckerchief and bound his hands behind 
him. Sampson snored on through the process. 

The same with the others. Kelly, Daniels, and 
Billings lay near the after funnel; Munson, Casey, 
Dwyer, and King were in the scuppers amidships; 
Riley, Davis, and Hawkes were huddled close to 
the pilot-house; and not a man moved in protest as 
Denman bound them, one and all, with their own 
neckerchiefs. There was one more, the stricken Jen- 



THE PIRATES 



141 



kins in the forecastle; and Denman descended and 
examined him by the light of a match. He was awake, 
and blinked and grimaced at Denman, striving to 
speak. 

" Sorry for you, Jenkins," said Billie. " You'll 
get well in time, but you'll have to wait. You're 
harmless enough now, however." 

There was more to do before he felt secure of his 
victory. He must tie their ankles; and, as necker- 
chiefs had run out, ho sought, by the light of matches, 
the " bos'n's locker " in the fore peak. Here he 
found spun yam, and, cutting enough lengths of it, 
he came up and finished the job, tying knots so 
hard and seaman ly that the strongest fingers of 
a fellow prisoner could not untie them. Then he 
went aft. 

Forsythe was still unconscious. But he regained 
his senses while Denman dragged him up the steps 
and forward beside his enemy, Sampson; and he 
emitted various sulphurous comments on the situa- 
tion that cannot be recorded here. 

Denman wanted the weapons ; but, with engines 
dead, there was no light save from his very small 
supply of matches, and for the simple, and perhaps 
very natural, desire to save these for his cigar lights, 
he forebore a search for them beyond an examination 
of each man's pockets. He found nothing, however. 
It seemed that they must have agreed upon dis- 
armament before the drinking began. But from 
Forsythe he secured a bunch of keys, which he was 
to find useful later on. 

Ail else was well. Each man was bound hand and 
foot, Jenkins was still a living corpse; and Forsythe, 
the soberest of the lot. had apparently succumbed 
to the hard knocks of the day, and gone to sleep 
again. So Denman went down, held a jubilant con- 
versation with Florrie through the keyhole, and re- 



14« THE PIRATES 

turned to the deck, where, with a short spanner in 
his hand — replevined from the engine room for use 
in case of an emergency — ^he spent the night on 
watch ; for, with all lights out, a watch was necessary. 

But nothing happened. The men snored away 
their drunkenness, and at daylight most of them 
were awake and aware of their plight. Denman paid 
no attention to their questions; but, when the light 
permitted, went on a search for the arms and irons, 
which he found in the forecastle, carefully stowed in 
a bunk. 

He counted the pistols, and satisfied himself that 
all were there ; then he carried them aft to his room, 
belted himself with one of them, and returned for 
the cutlasses, which he hid in another room. 

But the irons he spread along the deck, and, while 
they cursed and maligned him, he replaced the silk 
and spun-yarn fetters with manacles of steel. Next 
he dragged the protesting prisoners from forward 
and aft until he had them bunched amidships, and 
then, walking back and forth before them, delivered 
a short, comprehensive lecture on the unwisdom 
of stealing torpedo-boat destroyers and getting 
drunk. 

Like all lecturers, he allowed his audience to an- 
swer, and when he had refuted the last argument, 
he unlocked the irons of Billings and Daniels and 
sternly ordered them to cook breakfast. 

They meekly arose and went to the galley, from 
which, before long, savory odors arose. And, while 
waiting for breakfast, Denman aroused Miss Florrie 
and brought her on deck, clothed and bandaged, to 
show her his catch. 

"And what will you do now, Billie.? " she asked, 
as she looked at the unhappy men amidships. 

" Haven't the slightest idea. I've got to think it 
out. I'll have to release some of them to work the 



THE PIRATES 



1*3 



boat, and I'll have to shut down and iron them while 
I sleep, I suppose. I've already freed the two cooks, 
and we'll have breakfast soon." 

" I'm glad of that," she answered, " There was 
no supper last night." 

" And I'm hungry as a wolf myself. Well, they 
are hungry, too, We'll have our breakfast on deck 
before they get theirs. Perhaps the sight will bring 
them to terms." 

" Why cannot I help, Billie? " asked the girl. " I 
could watch while you were asleep, and wake you 
if anything happened." 

" Oh, no, Florrie girl. Of course I'll throw the 
stuff overboard, but I wouldn't trust some of them, 
drunk or sober." 

Billings soon reported breakfast ready, and asked 
how he should serve the captives. 

" Do not serve them at all," said Denman, sharply. 
" Bring the cabin table on deck, and place it on the 
starboard quarter. Serve breakfast for two, and you 
and Daniels eat your own in the galley." 

" Very good, sir," answered the subdued Billings, 
with a glance at the long, blue revolver at Denman's 
waist. He departed, and with Daniels' help arranged 
the breakfast as ordered. 

Florrie was forced to remove her bandage ; but as 
she faced aft at the table her face was visible to Den- 
man only. He faced forward, and while he ate he 
watched the men, who squirmed as the appetizing 
odors of broiled ham, corn hread, and coifee assailed 
their nostrils. On each countenance, besides the 
puffed, bloated appearance coming of heavy and un- 
accustomed drinking, was a look of anxiety and dis- 
quiet. But they were far from being conquered — 
in spirit, at least. 

Breakfast over, Denman sent Florrie below, or- 
dered the dishes and table below, and again put the 



144 THE PIRATES 

irons on Billings and Daniels. Then he went amon^ 
them. 

" What do you mean to do? " asked Forsythe, 
surlily, as Denman looked down on him. " Keep us 
here and starve us ? " 

" I will keep you in irons while I have the power," 
answered Denman, " no matter what I may do with 
the others. Sampson," he said to the big machinist, 
" you played a man's part last night, and I feel 
strongly in favor of releasing you on parole. You 
understand the nature of parole, do you not ? '* 

" I do, sir," answered the big fellow, thickly, " and 
if I give it, I would stick to it. What are the con- 
ditions, sir ? " 

" That you stand watch and watch with me while 
we take this boat back to Boston; that you aid me 
in keeping this crowd in subjection; that you do 
your part in protecting the lady aft from annoy- 
ance. In return, I promise you my influence at 
Washington. I have some, and can arouse more. 
You will, in all probability, be pardoned." 

" No, sir," answered Sampson, promptly. " I am 
one of this crowd — you are not one of us. I wouldn't 
deserve a pardon if I went back on my mates — even 
this dog alongside of me. He's one of us, too; and, 
while I have smashed him, and will smash him again, 
I will not accept my liberty while he, or any of the 
others, is in irons." 

Denman bowed low to him, and went on. He ques- 
tioned only a few — those who seemed trustworthy — 
but met with the same response, and he left them, 
troubled in mind. 



THE PIRATES 



CHAPTER XIV 



HE sat down in a deck chair and lighted a cigar 
as an aid to his mental processes. Three 
projects presented themselves to his mind, each of 
which included, of course, the throwing overboard of 
the liquor and the secure hiding of the arms, except 
a pistol for himself, and one for Florrie. 

The first was to release them all, and, hacked by 
his pistol, his uniform, and the power of the govern- 
ment, to treat them as mutineers, and shoot them if 
they defied or disobeyed him. 

To this was the logical objection that they were 
already more than mutineers — that there was no 
future for them; that, even though he overawed and 
conquered them, compelling them to work the boat 
shoreward, each passing minute would find them more 
keen to revolt; and that, if they rushed him in a 
body, he could only halt a few — the others would 
master him. 

The second plan was bom of his thoughts before 
breakfast. It was to release one cook, one engineer, 
and one helmsman at a time; to guard them until 
sleep was necessary, then to shut off steam, lock 
them up, and allow the boat to drift while they slept. 
Against this plan was the absolute necessity, to a 
seaman's mind, of a watch — even a one-man watch— 
and this one man could work mischief while he slept 
— could even, if handy with tools, file out a key that 
would unlock the shackles. 

The third plan was to starve them into contrition 
and subjection, torturing them the while with the 
odors of food cooked for himself and Florrie. But 
this was an inhuman expedient, only to be considered 
as a last resource; and, besides, it would not affect 
the man doing the cooking, who could keep himself 



1 



148 THE PIRATES 

" Very good, sir.*' And up came six cases, as 
easily in his powerful grip as though they had been 
bandboxes, and then he hoisted his own huge bulk to 
the deck. 

" Over the side with them all," commanded Den- 
man. 

Sampson picked them up, and, whether or not it 
came from temper, threw them from where he stood, 
above and beyond the rail; but the fifth struck the 
rail, and fell back to the deck. He advanced and 
threw it over. 

" Carry the other one," said Denman, and Samp- 
son lifted it up. It was a low, skeleton rail, and, as 
the big man hobbled toward it, somehow — neither he 
nor Denman ever knew how — his foot slipped, and 
he and the box went overboard together. The box 
floated, but when Sampson came to the surface it was 
out of his reach. 

" Help ! " he gurgled. " I can't swim." 

Without a thought, Denman laid his pistol on the 
deck, shed his coat, and dove overboard, reaching the 
struggling man in three strokes. 

" Keep still," he commanded, as he got behind and 
secured a hght but secure grip on Sampson's hair, 
" Tread water if you can, but don't struggle. I'D 
tow you back to the boat." 

But, though Sampson grew quiet and Denman 
succeeded in reaching the dark, ateel side, there was 
nothing to catch hold of — ^not a trailing rope, nor 
eyebolt, nor even the open deadlights, for they were 
high out of reach. The crew were locked in the fore- 
castle, and there was only Florrie. There was no 
wind, and only the long, heaving ground swell, which 
rolled the boat slightly, but not enough to bring those 
tantalizing deadlights within reach; and at last, at 
the sound of dishes rattling in the galley, Denman 
called out. 



THE PIRATES li9 

"Florrie!" he shouted. " Florrie, come on deck. 
Throw a rope over. Florrie — oh, Florrie ! " 



CHAPTER XV 

SHE came hurriedly, and peered over the rail with 
a startled, frightened expression. Then she 
screamed. 

" Can you see any ropes lying on deck, Florrie? " 
called Dennian. " If you can, throw one over." 

She disappeared for a moment, then came back, 
and cried out frantically: "No, there is nothing — 
no ropes. What shall I do.''" 

" Go down and get the tahlecloth," said Deiiman, 
as calmly as he could, with his nose just out of water 
and a big, heavy, frightened man bearing him down. 

Florrie vanished, and soon reappeared with the 
tablecloth of the morning's breakfast. It was a 
cloth of generous size, and she lowered it over. 

" Tie one corner to the rail, Florrie," said Den- 
man, while he held the irresponsible Sampson away 
from the slJII frail support. She obeyed him, 
tying the knot that all women tie but which no 
sailor can name, and then Denman led his man up 
to it. 

Sampson clutched it with both hands, drew it taut, 
and supported his weight on it. Fortunately the 
knot did not slip. Denman also held himself up by 
it until he had recovered his breath, then cast about 
for means of getting on hoard. He felt that the 
tablecloth would not bear his weight and that of 
his water-soaked clothing, and temporarily gave up 
the plan of climbing it. 

Forward were the signal halyards ; but they, too, 
were of small line, and, even if doubled again and 
again until strong enough, he knew by experience the 



160 THE PraATES 

wonderful strength of arm required in climbing^ out 
of the water hand over hand. This thought also re- 
moved the tablecloth from the problem; but sug- 
gested another by its association with the necessity 
of feet in climbing with wet clothes. 

He remembered that forward, just under the 
anchor davit, was a small, fixed ladder, bolted into 
the bow of the boat for use in getting the anchor. 
So, cautioning Sampson not to let go, he swam for- 
ward, with Florrie's frightened face following above, 
and, reaching the ladder, easily climbed on board. 
He was on the high forecastle deck, but the girl had 
reached it before him. 

" Billie," she exclaimed, as she approached him. 
" Oh, Billie— " 

He caught her just as her face grew white and her 
figure limp, and forgot Sampson for the moment. 
The kisses he planted on her lips and cheek fore- 
stalled the fainting spell, and she roused herself. 

" I thought you would drown, BilUe," she said, 
weakly, with her face of a deeper pink than he had 
seen. " Don't drown, Billie— don't do that again. 
Don't leave me alone." 

" I won't, Florrie," he answered, stoutly and 
smilingly. " I'm born to be hanged, you know. I 
won't drown. Come on — I must get Sampson." 

They descended — ^Denman picking up his pistol on 
the way — and found Sampson quietly waiting at the 
end of the tablecloth. With his life temporarily 
safe, his natural courage had come to him. 

" I'm going to tow you forward to the anchor 
ladder, Sampson. You'll have to climb it the best 
way you can; for there isn't a purchase on 
board that will bear your weight. Hold tight 



now." 



He untied Florrie's knot, and slowly dragged the 
big man forward, experiencing a check at the break 



I 



THE PIRATES 161 

of the forecastle, where he had to halt and piece out 
the tablecloth with a length of signal halyards, but 
finally got Sampson to the ladder. Sampson had 
some trouble in mounting, for his shackles would not 
permit one hand to reach up to a rung without letting 
go with the other; but he finally accomplished the 
feat, and floundered over the rail, where he sat on 
deck to recover himself. Finally he scrambled to 

"Mr. Denman," he said, "you've saved my life 
for me, and whatever I can do for you, except " — 
his face took on a look of embarrassment — '* except 
going back on my mates, as I said, I will do, at any 
time of my life." 

" That was what I might have suggested," an- 
swered Denman, calmly, " that you aid me in con- 
trolling this crew until we reach Boston." 

" I cannot, sir. There is prison for life for all 
of us if we are taken ; and this crowd will break out, 
sir—mark my words. You won't have charge very 
long. But^ — in that case — I mean — I might be of 
service. I can control them all, even Forsythe, when 
I am awake," 

" Forsythe! " grinned Denman. " You can thank 
Forsythe for your round-up. If he hadn't remained 
sober enough to attempt to break into Miss Flem- 
ing's room while you were all dead drunk, I might 
not have knocked him out, and might not have roused 
myself to tie you all hand and foot." 

" Did he do that, sir? " asked Sampson, his rugged 
features darkening. 

" He did ; but I got there in time to knock him 
out." 

Well, sir," said Sampson, " I can promise you 
this much. I must be locked up, of course — I realize 
that. But, if we again get charge, I must be asleep 
part of the time, and so I will see to it that you 



152 THE PIRATES 

retain possession of your gun — and the lady, too, as 
I see she carries one; also, sir, that you will have 
the run of the deck — on parole, of course." 

" That is kind of you," smiled Denman ; " but I 
don't mean to let you take charge. It is bread and 
water for you all until something comes along to 
furnish me a crew. Come on, Sampson — to the fore- 
castle." 

Sampson preceded him down the steps, down the 
hatch, and to the forecastle door, through which 
Denman admitted him; then relocked the door and 
bunched the key with his others. Then he joined 
Florrie, where she had waited amidships. 

" Now, then, Florrie girl," he said, jubilantly, 
" you can have the use of the deck, and go and come 
as you like. I'm going to turn in. You see, I was 
awake all night." 

"Are they secured safely, Billie.'^ " she asked, 
tremulously. 

" Got them all in the forecastle, in double irons, 
with plenty of hard-tack and water. We needn't 
bother about them any more. Just keep your eyes 
open for a sail, or smoke on the horizon ; and if you 
see anything, call me." 

" I will," she answered ; " and I'll have dinner 
ready at noon." 

" That's good. A few hours' sleep will be enough, 
and then I'll try and polish up what I once learned 
about wireless. And say, Florrie. Next time you 
go below, look in the glass and see how nice you 
look." 

She turned her back to him, and he went down. 
In five minutes he was asleep. And, as he slipped 
off into unconsciousness, there came to his mind the 
thought that one man in the forecastle was not man- 
acled; and when Florrie wakened him at noon the 
thought was still with him, but he dismissed it. Jen- 



THE PIRATES 



kins was helpless for a while, unable 
speak, and need not be considered. 



CHAPTER XVI 

FLORRIE bad proved herself a good cook, and 
tbey ate dinner together, then Denman went on 
deck. The boat was still rolling on a calm sea ; but 
the long, steady, low-moving hills of blue were now 
mingled with a cross swell from the northwest, which 
indicated a push from beyond the horizon not con- 
nected with the trade wind. And in the west a low 
bank of cloud rose up from, and merged its lower 
edge with, the horizon ; while still higher shone a 
" mackerel sky," and " mare's tail " clouds — sure 
index of coming wind. But there was nothing on 
the horizon in the way of sail or smoke; and, antici- 
pating another long night watch, he began prepara- 
tions for it. 

Three red lights at the masthead were needed as 
a signal that the boat — a steamer — was not under 
commiind. These he found in the lamp room. He 
filled, trimmed, and rigged them to the signal 
halyards on the bridge, ready for hoisting at 
nightfall. Then, for a day signal of distress, he 
hoisted an ensign — union down — at the small yard 
aloft. 

Next in his mind came the wish to know his posi- 
tion, and he examined the log book, Forsythe had 
made an attempt to start a record; and out of his 
crude efforts Denman picked the figures which he 
had noted down as the latitude and longitude at noon 
of the day before. He corrected this with the boat's 
course throughout the afternoon until the time of 
shutting off the oil feed, and added the influence of 
a current, which his more expert knowledge told him 



164 THE PIRATES 

of. Thirty-one, north, and fifty-five, forty, west was 
the approximate position, and he jotted it down. 

This done, he thought of the possibility of lighting 
the boat through the night, and sought the engine 
room. He was but a theoretical engineer, having 
devoted most of his studies to the duties of a line 
officer; but he mastered in a short time the manage- 
ment of the small gas engine that worked the 
dynamo, and soon had it going. Electric bulbs in the 
engine room sprang into life ; and, after watching the 
engine for a short time, he decided that it required 
only occasional inspection, and sought the deck. 

The cross sea was increasing, and the bank to the 
northwest was larger and blacker, while the mare's 
tails and mackerel scales had given way to cirrus 
clouds that raced across the sky. Damp gusts of 
wind blew, cold and heavy, against his cheek ; and he 
knew that a storm was coming that would try out the 
low-built craft to the last of its powers. But before 
it came he would polish up his forgotten knowledge of 
wireless telegraphy, and searched the wireless room 
for books. 

He found everything but what he wanted most— • 
the code book, by which he could furbish up on dots 
and dashes. Angry at his bad memory, he studied 
the apparatus, found it in working order, and left the 
task to go on deck. 

An increased rolling of the boat threatened the 
open deadlights. Trusting that the men in the fore- 
castle would close theirs, he attended to all the others, 
then sought Florrie in the galley, where she had just 
finished the washing of the dishes. Her face was not 
pale, but there was a wild look in her eyes, and she 
was somewhat unsteady on her feet. 

" Oh, Billie, I'm sick — seasick," she said, weakly. 
" Pm a poor sailor." 

" Go to bed, little girl," he said, gently. " We're 



THE PffiATES 165 

going to have some bad weather, but we're all right. 
So stay in bed." 

He supported her aft through the wardroom to 
her stateroom door in the after cabin. " I'll get 
supper, Florrie, and, if you can eat, I'll bring you 
some. Lie down now, and don't get up until I call 
you, or until you feel better." 

He again sought the deck. The wind now came 
steadily, while the whole sky above and the sea about 
were assuming the gray hue of a gale. He closed all 
hatches and companions, taking a peep down into the 
engine room before closing it up. The dynamo was 
buzzing finely. 

A few splashes of rain fell on him, and he clothed 
himself in oilskins and rubber boots to watch out 
the gale, choosing to remain aft — where his foot- 
steps over her might reassure the seasick girl below 
— instead of the bridge, where he would have placed 
himself under normal conditions. 

The afternoon wore on, each hour marked by a 
heavier pressure of the wind and an increasing height 
to the seas, which, at first just lapping at the rail, 
now lifted up and washed across the deck. The boat 
rolled somewhat, but not to add to his discomfort or 
that of those below ; and there were no loose articles 
on deck to be washed overboard. 

So Denman paced the deck, occasionally peeping 
down the engine-room hatch at the dynamo, and 
again trying the drift by the old-fashioned chip-and- 
reel log at the stern. When tired, he would sit down 
in the deck chair, which he had wedged between the 
after torpedo and the talFrail, then resume his pacing. 

As darkness closed down, he sought Florrie's door, 
and asked her if she would cat something. She was 
too ill, she said; and, knowing that no words could 
comfort her, he left her, and in the galley ate his own 
supper — ^tinned meat, bread, and coffee. 



166 THE PIRATES 

• 

Again the deck, the intermittent pacing, and rest- 
ing in the chair. The gale became a hurricane in the 
occasional squalls; and at these times the seas were 
beaten to a level of creamy froth luminous with a 
phosphorescent glow, while the boat's rolling motion 
would give way to a stiff inclination to starboard of 
fully ten degrees. Then the squalls would pass, the 
seas rise the higher for their momentary suppression, 
and the boat resume her wallowing, rolling both rails 
under, and practically under water, except for the 
high forecastle deck, the funnels, and the compan- 
ions. 

Denman did not worry. With the wind northwest, 
the storm center was surely to the north and east- 
ward of him; and he knew that, according to the 
laws of storms in the North Atlantic, it would move 
away from him and out to sea. 

And so it continued until about midnight, when 
he heard the rasping of the companion hood, then 
saw Florrie's face peering out. He sprang to the 
companion. 

" Billie ! Oh, Billie ! " she said, plaintively. " Let 
me come up here with you-f* " 

" But you'll feel better lying down, dear," he said. 
" Better go back." 

" It's so close and hot down there. Please let me 
come up." 

" Why, yes, Florrie, if you like ; but wait until 
I fit you out. Come down a moment." 

They descended, and he found rubber boots, a 
sou'wester, and a long oilskin coat, which she donned 
in her room. Then he brought up another chair, 
lashed it — with more neckties — to his own, and seated 
her in it. 

" Don't be frightened," he said, as a sea climbed 
on board and washed aft, nearly flooding their rubber 
boots and eliciting a little scream from the girl. 




THE PIRATES 



157 



" We're safe, and the wind will blow out in a few 
hours." 

He seated himself beside her. As they faced to 
leeward, the long brims of the souVeslers sheltered 
their faces from the blast of rain and spume, per- 
mitting conversation ; but they did not converse for 
a. time, Dcnman only reaching up inside the long 
sleeve of her big coat to where her small hand nestled, 
soft and warm, in its shelter. He squeezed it gently, 
but there was no answering pressure, and he con- 
tented himself with holding it- 
He was a good sailor, but a poor lover, and — a 
reeling, water-washed deck in a gale of wind is an 
embarrassing obstacle to love-making. Yet he 
squeezed again, after ten minutes of silence had gone 
by and several seas had bombarded their feet. Still 
no response in kind, and he spoke, 

" Florrie," he said, as gently as he could when 
he was compelled to shout, " do you remember the 
letter you sent me the other day.'' " 

" The other day," she answered. " Why, it seems 
years since then." 

" Last week, Florrie, It made me feel like — like 
thirty cents." 

" Why, Billie.? " 

" Oh, the unwritten roast between the lines, little 
girl. I knew what you thought of me. I knew that 
I'd never made good." 

" How — what do you mean? " 

" About the fight — years ago. I was to come back 
and lick him, you know, and didn't — that's all." 

"Are you still thinking of that, Billie? Why, 
you've won. You are an officer, while he is a 
sailor." 

" Yes, but he licked me at school, and I know jou 
expected me to come back." 

" And you did not come back. You never let me 



160 THE PIRATES 

while he has me locked up," he added ; " but if I ever 
get out again — that's all. And his friend in sooie 
ways while I'm here. D'you hear that, Forsythe? ^ 

Forsythe did not answer, and Sampson went on: 
" And not only his friend, but the woman's too. 
Hear that, Forsythe?" 

Forsythe refused to answer. 

" That's right, and proper," went on Sampson, as 
he fastened the last button. " Hide your head and 
saw wood, you snake-eyed imitation of a man." 

" What's up, Sampson ? " wearily asked Casey 
from a bunk. " What doused you, and what job, 
got on Forsythe now? " 

" I'll tell you in good time," responded Sampson. 
" I'll tell you now about Denman. I threw all the 
booze overboard at his orders. Then / tumbled 
over; and, as I can't swim, would ha' been there yet 
if he hadn't jumped after me. Then we couldn't get 
up the side, and the woman come with a tablecloth, 
that held me up until I was towed to the anchor 
ladder. That's all. I just want to hear one o' you 
ginks say a word about that woman that she wouldn't 
like to hear. That's for you all — and for you^ 
Forsythe, a little more in good time." 

" Bully for the woman ! " growled old Kelly. 
" Wonder if we treated her right." 

*' We treated her as well as we knew how," said 
Sampson ; " that is, all but one of us. But I've 
promised Denmap, and the woman, through him, 
that they'll have a better show if we get charge 
again." 

" Aw, forget it ! " grunted Forsythe from his bunk. 
" She's no good. She's been stuck on that baby since 
she was a kid." 

Sampson went toward him, seized him by the shirt 
collar, and pulled him bodily from the bunk. Then, 
smothering his protesting voice by a grip on his 



THE PIRATES 161 

throat, slatted him from side to side as a farmer uses 
a flail, and threw him headlong against the after 
bulkhead and half-way into an empty bunk. Samp- 
son had uttered no word, and For sy the only muttered 
as he crawled back to his own bunk. But he found 
courage to say: 

"What do you pick on me for? If you hadnH 
all got drunk, you wouldn't be here." 

" You mean," said Sampson, quietly, " that if you 
hadn't remained sober enough to find your way into 
the after cabin and frighten the woman, we wouldn't 
ha' been here ; for that's what roused Denman." 

A few oaths and growls followed this, and men sat 
up in their bunks, while those that were out of their 
bunks stood up. Sampson sat down. 

"Is that so, Sampson?" "Got that right, old 
man?" "Sure of it?" they asked, and then over 
the hubbub of profane indignation rose Forsythe's 
voice. 

" Who gave you that ? " he yelled. " Denman ? " 

" Yes — Denman," answered Sampson. 

" He lied. I did nothing of the—" 

" You lie yourself, you dog. You're showing on 
your chin the marks of Denman's fist." 

" You did that just now," answered Forsythe, fin- 
gering a small, bleeding bruise. 

" I didn't hit you. I choked you. Denman 
knocked you out." 

" Well," answered Forsythe, forgetting the first 
accusation in the light of this last, " it was a lucky 
blow in the dark. He couldn't do it in the day- 
light." 

" Self-convicted," said Sampson, quietly. 

Then, for a matter of ten minutes, the air in the 
close compartment might have smelled sulphurous to 
one strange to forecastle discourse. Forsythe, his 
back toward them, listened quietly while they called 



164 THE PIRATES 

closed down they turned out the dazzling bulbs, and 
slept through the night as only sailors can. 

Just before daylight Jenkins lifted his big bulk 
out of the bunk, and, taking a key from his pocket, 
unlocked the forecastle door. He stepped into the 
passage, and found the hatch loose on the coamings, 
then came back and quietly wakened them all. 

" I found this key on the deck near the door first 
day aboard," he volunteered ; " but put it in my 
pocket instead of the door." 

They softly crept out into the passage and lifted 
the hatch ; but it was the irrepressible and most cer- 
tainly courageous Forsythe who was first to climb 
up. He reached the deck just in time to dodge into 
the darkness behind the bridge ladder at the sight 
of Denman coming forward to attend to the lamps; 
and it was he who sent both fists into the side of 
Denman's face with force enough to knock him sense- 
less. Then came the others. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

'TIIHAT'LL do, Forsythe," said Sampson, inter- 

JL rupting the flow of billingsgate. ** We'll omit 
prayers and flowers at this funeral. Stand up." 

Forsythe arose, waving two bunches of keys and 
Denman's revolver. 

**Got him foul," he yelled, excitedly. "All the 
keys and his gun." 

" All right. Just hand that gun to me — ^what ! 
You won't?" 

Forsythe had backed away at the command; but 
Sampson sprang upon him and easily disarmed him. 

" Now, my lad," he said, sternly, " just find the 
key of these darbies and unlock us." 

Forsythe, muttering, " Got one good smash at him, 



THE PIRATES 166 

anyhow," found the key of the handcuffs, and, first 
unlocking his own, went the rounds. Then he found 
the key of the leg irons, and soon all were free, and 
the manacles tossed down the hatch to be gathered 
up later. Then big Jenkins reached his hand out to 
For sy the — ^but not in token of amnesty. 

" The keys," he said, in his hoarse whisper. 

"Aren't they safe enough with me.?" queried 
Forsythe, hotly. 

Jenkins still maintained the outstretched hand, 
and Forsythe looked irresolutely around. He saw no 
signs of sympathy. They were all closing in on him, 
and he meekly handed the two bunches to Jenkins, 
who pocketed them. 

Meanwhile, Sampson had lifted Denman to his 
feet ; and, as the boat still rolled heavily, he assisted 
him to the bridge stairs, where he could get a grip 
on the railing with his fettered hands. Daylight 
had come, and Denman could see Florrie, still seated 
in the deck chair, looking forward with frightened 
eyes. 

" Jenkins, step here a moment," said Sampson ; 
" and you other fellows — ^keep back." 

Jenkins drew near. 

" Did you hear, in the fo'castle," Sampson went 
on, " what I said about Mr. Denman saving my life, 
and that I promised him parole and the possession 
of his gun in case we got charge again? " 

Jenkins nodded, but said : " He broke his parole 
before." 

" So would you under the same provocation. 
Forsythe called him a milk-fed thief. Wouldn't you 
have struck out-f* " 

Jenkins nodded again, and Sampson continued: 

" All right. My proposition is to place Mr. Den- 
man under parole once more, to give him and the 
lady the run of the deck abaft the galley hatch, and 



166 THE PIRATES 

to leave them both the possession of their guns for 
self-defense, in case '* — he looked humorously around 
at the others — " these inebriates get drunk again." 

" But the other guns. He has them somewhere. 
We want power of self-defense, too." 

" Mr. Denman," said Sampson, turning to the 
prisoner, " you've heard the conditions. Will you 
tell us where the arms are, and will you keep aft of 
the galley hatch, you and the lady? " 

" I will," answered Denman, " on condition that 
you all, and particularly your navigator, keep for- 
ward of the galley hatch." 

" We'll do that, sir ; except, of course, in case of 
working or fighting ship. Now, tell us where the 
guns are, and we'll release you." 

" Haven't we something to say about this ? " in- 
quired Forsythe, while a few others grumbled their 
disapproval of the plan. 

" No ; you have not," answered Jenkins, his hoarse 
whisper becoming a voice. " Not a one of you. 
Sampson and I will be responsible for this." 

" All right, then," responded Forsythe. " But I'll 
carry my gun all the time. I'm not going to be shot 
down without a white man's chance." 

" You'll carry a gun, my son," said Sampson, 
" when we give it to you — and then it won't be to 
shoot Mr. Denman. It's on your account, remem- 
ber, that we're giving him a gun. Now, Mr. Denman, 
where are the pistols and toothpicks ? " 

" The pistols are in my room, the cutlasses in the 
room opposite. You have the keys." 

" Aft all hands," ordered Jenkins, fumbling in his 
pockets for the keys, " and get the weapons." 

Away they trooped, and crowded down the ward- 
room companion, Sampson lifting his cap politely to 
*the girl in the chair. In a short time they reap- 
peared, each man loaded down with pistols and cut- 



THE PIRATES 



167 



lasses. Thej placed them in the forecastle, and when 
they had come up Sampson released Denman's bonds. 

" Now, sir," he said, " you are free. We'll keep 
our promises, and we expect you to keep yours. 
Here is jour gun, Mr. Denman." 

" Thank you, Sampson," said Denman, pocketing 
the revolver and shaking his aching hands to circu- 
late the blood. " Of course, we are to keep our 
promises." 

" Even though you see things done that will raise 
your hair, sir." 

"What do you mean by that?" asked Denman, 
with sudden interest. 
' " Can't tell you anything, sir, except what you 
may know, or will know. This boat is not bound for 
the African coast. That's all, sir." 

" Go below the watch," broke in Jenkins' husky 
voice. " To stations, the rest." 



CHAPTER XIX 



""111 THAT happened, Billie?" asked Florrie as 

T V Denman joined her. 

" Not much, Florrie," he replied, as cheerfully as 
was possible in his mood. " Only a physical and 
practical demonstration that I am the two ends and 
the bight of a fool." 

"You are not a fool, Billie; but what happened? 
How did they get out ? " 

" By picking the lock of the door, I suppose ; or, 
perhaps, they had a key inside. That's where the 
fool comes in. I should have nailed the door on 
them." 

" And what do they mean to do? " 

" Don't know. They have some new project in 
mind. But we're better off than before, girl. We're 



168 THE PIRATES 

at liberty to carry arms, and to go and come, pro- 
vided we stay this side of the galley hatch. They 
are to let us alone and stay forward of the hatch. 
By the way," he added. " In view of the rather 
indeterminate outlook, let's carry our hardware out- 
side.'' 

He removed his belt from his waist and buckled it 
outside his oilskin coat. Then, when he had trans- 
ferred the pistol from his pocket to the scabbard, 
he assisted the girl. 

" There," he said, as he stood back and looked at 
her, admiringly, " with all due regard for your good 
looks, Florrie, you resemble a cross between a cow- 
boy and a second mate." 

" No more so than you," she retorted ; " but I've 
lost my place as cook, I think." She pointed at the 
galley chimney, from which smoke was arising. Den- 
man looked, and also became interested in an excited 
convention forward. 

Though Jenkins had sent the watch below and the 
rest to stations, only the two cooks had obeyed. The 
others, with the boat still rolling in the heavy sea, 
had surrounded Jenkins, and seemed to be arguing 
with him. The big man, saving his voice, answered 
only by signs as yet; but the voices of the others 
soon became audible to the two aft. 

" I tell you it's all worked out, Jenkins — ^all fig- 
ured out while you were dopy in your bunk." 

Jenkins shook his head. 

Then followed an excited burst of reason and flow 
of words from which Denman could only gather a 
few disjointed phrases: "Dead easy, Jenkins — Run 
close and land---Casey's brother — Can hoof it to — 
Might get a job, which'd be better — Got a private 
code made up — ^Don't need money — Can beat his way 
in — My brother has a wireless — Take the dinghy; 
we don't need it — I'll take the chance if you have a 



THE PIRATES 169 

life-buoy handy — Chance of a lifetime — Who wants 
beach combing in Africa — ^You see, he'll watch the 
financial news — ^I'U stow away in her — I tell you, 
Jenkins, there'll be no killing. I've made my mind 
up to that, and will see to it." 

The last speech was from Sampson ; and, on hear- 
ing it, Jenkins waved them all away. Then he used 
his voice. 

" Get to stations," he said. " I'll think it out. 
Forsythe, take the bridge and dope out where we 
are." 

They scattered, and Forsythe mounted to the 
bridge, while Jenkins, still a sick man, descended to 
the forecastle. 

"What does it all mean, Billie.?" asked the girl. 

" Haven't the slightest idea," answered Denman, 
as he seated himself beside her. " They've been 
hinting at big things; and Sampson said that they 
might raise my hair. However, we'll know soon. 
The wind is going down. This was the outer fringe 
of a cyclone." 

" Why don't they go ahead? " 

" Too much sea. These boats are made for speed, 
not strength. You can break their backs by steam- 
ing into a head sea." 

Daniels, the cook, came on deck and aft to the 
limits of the hatch, indicating by his face and 
manner that he wished to speak to Denman. 

Denman arose and approached him. 

" Will you and the lady eat breakfast together, 
sir? " he asked. 

" I believe so," answered Denman. Then, turning 
to Florrie: "How will it be? May I eat breakfast 
with you this morning? " 

She nodded. 

" Then, sir," said Daniels, " I'll have to serve it 
in the after cabin." 



170 THE PIRATES 

" Why not the wardroom ? Why not keep out of 
Miss Fleming's apartment? *' 

'^ Because, Mr. Denman, our work is laid out. 
Billings attends to the wardroom, and swears he won't 
serve this lady, or get within reach of her." 

" Serve it in the after cabin, then," said Denman, 
turning away to hide the coming smile, and Daniels 
departed. 

Not caring to agitate the girl with an account of 
Billings' drunken overtures and his own vicarious 
repulse of them, he did not explain to her Billings' 
trouble of mind; but he found trouble of his own 
in explaining his frequent bursts of laughter while 
they ate their breakfast in the cabin. And Florrie 
found trouble in accepting his explanations, for they 
were irrelevant, incompetent, and inane. 

After breakfast they went on deck without oilskins, 
for wind and sea were going down. There was a 
dry deck; and above, a sky which, still gray with 
the background of storm cloud, yet showed an occa- 
sional glimmer of blue, while to the east the sun 
shone clear and unobstructed ; but on the whole clean- 
cut horizon there was not a sign of sail or smoke. 

Eight bells having struck, the watches were 
changed; but except possibly a man in the engine 
room getting up steam — for smoke was pouring out 
of the four funnels — ^no one was at stations. The 
watch on deck was scattered about forward; and 
Forsythe had given way to Jenkins, who, with his eye 
fixed to a long telescope, was scanning the horizon 
from the bridge. 

Denman, for over forty-eight hours without sleep, 
would have turned in had not curiosity kept him 
awake. So he waited until nine o'clock, when 
Forsythe, with Munson's help, took morning sights, 
and later until ten, when Forsythe handed Jenkins 



THE PIRATES 171 

a slip of paper on which presumably he had jotted 
the boat's approximate position. Immediately Jen- 
kins rang the engine bells, and the boat forged 
ahead. 

Denman watched her swing to a starboard wheel; 
and, when the rolling gave way to a pitching motion 
as she met the head sea, he glanced at the after 
binnacle compass. 

" Northwest by north, half north," he said. 
** Whatever their plan is, Jenkins hAs been won over. 
Florrie, better turn in. Fm going to. Lock your 
door and keep that gun handy." 

But they were not menaced — ^not even roused for 
dinner; for Daniels had gone below, and Billings, on 
watch for the morning, could not wake Denman, and 
would not approach Miss Florrie's door. So it was 
late in the afternoon when they again appeared on 
deck. 

The weather had cleared, the sea was smoothing, 
and the boat surging along under the cruising tur- 
bines; while Hawkes had the wheel, and Forsythe, 
still in officer's uniform, paced back and forth. 

Evidently Jenkins, in the light of his physical and 
mental limitations, had seen the need of an assistant. 
Old Kelly, the gunner's mate, was fussing around a 
twelve-pounder ; the rest were out of sight. 

Denman concluded that some kind of sea discipline 
had been established while he slept, and that Kelly 
had been put in charge of the gunnery department 
and been relieved from standing watch; otherwise, 
by the former arrangement, Kelly would have been 
below while Forsythe and Hawkes were on deck. 

The horizon was dotted with specks, some showing 
smoke, others, under the glass, showing canvas. Den- 
man examined each by the captain's binoculars, but 
saw no signs of a government craft — all were peace- 
ably going their way. 



172 THE PIRATES 

" Why IS it," asked Florrie, as she took the glass 
from Denman, " that we see so many vessels now, 
when we lay for days without seeing any? " 

" We were in a pocket, I suppose," answered Den- 
man. " Lane routes, trade routes, for high and low- 
powered craft, as well as for sailing craft, are so 
well established these days that, if you get between 
them, you can wait for weeks without seeing any- 
thing." 

" Do you think there is any chance of our being 
rescued soon ? " 

" I don't know, Florrie ; though we can't go much 
nearer the coast without being recognized. In fact, 
I haven't thought much about it lately — the truth 
is, I'm getting interested in these fellows. This is 
the most daring and desperate game I ever saw 
played, and how they'll come out is a puzzle. Hello ! 
Eight bells." 

The bell was struck on the bridge, and the watches 
changed, except that Jenkins, after a short talk with 
Forsythe, did not relieve him, but came aft to the 
engine-room hatch, where he held another short talk 
with Sampson and Riley, who, instead of going below, 
had waited. 

Only a few words came to Denman's ears, and 
these in the hoarse accents of Jenkins as he left 
them : " Six days at cruising speed, you say, and two 
at full steam? All right." 

Jenkins continued aft, but halted and called the 
retreating Sampson, who joined him; then the two 
approached the galley hatch and hailed Denman. 

" Captain Jenkins can't talk very well, sir," said 
Sampson, with a conciliatory grin ; " but he wants 
me to ask you what you did to him. He says he 
bears no grudge." 

" Can't tell you," answered Denman, promptly. 
" It is a trick of Japanese jujutsu, not taught in the 



L 



THE PIRATES 173 

schoola, and known only to experts. I learned it in 
Japan when my life was in danger." 

Jenkins nodded, as though satisfied with the es- 
planation, and Sampson resumed: 

"Another thing we came aft for, Mr. Denraan, is 
to notify you that we must search the skipper's room 
and the wardroom for whatever money there is on 
board. There may be none, but we want the last 
cent." 

" What on earth," exclaimed Denman, " do you 
want with money?" Then, as their faces clouded, 
he added : " Oh, go ahead. Don't turn my room 
upside-down. You'll find my pile in a suit of citizen's 
clothes hanging up. About four and a half." 

" Four and a half is a whole lot, sir," re- 
marked Sampson as they descended the wardroom 
hatch. 

" Got any money down below, Florrie? " inquired 
Denman, joining the girl. 

She shook her head, " No. I lost everything but 
what I wear." 

The tears that started to her eyes apprised Den- 
man that hers was more than a money loss; but 
there is no comfort of mere words for such loss, and 
he went on quickly : 

" They are going through the cabin for money. 
They'll get all I've got. Did you see any cash in 
the captain's deskP" 

"Why, yes, BilHe," she said, hesitatingly. "I 
wanted a place to put my combs when I wore the 
bandage, and I saw some money in the upper desk. 
It was a roll." 

" He's lost it, then. Always was a careless man. 
Did you count it.' " 

" No. I had no right to." 

But the question in Denman's mind was answered 
by Sampson when he and Jenkins emerged from the 



176 THE PIRATES 

until his work was done, then he halted at the galley 
hatch on his way forward to lean over and pronounce 
anathema on the heads of the cooks because of the 
quality of the food. 

While waiting for breakfast, Denman had listened 
to an angry and wordy argument between the two 
cooks, in which Daniels had voiced his opinion of Bill- 
ings for waking him from his watch below to serve 
the prisoners. 

When the watches were changed at eight bells that 
morning, he had heard Hawkes and Davis, the two 
seamen of the deck department, protesting violently 
to Jenkins at the promotion of Forsythe and Kelly, 
which left them to do all the steering. 

Jenkins had not answered orally, but his gestures 
overruled the protest. Even Casey and Munson ar- 
gued almost to quarreling over various " tricks of 
their trade," which Denman, as he listened, could 
only surmise were to form a part of the private code 
they had spoken of when haranguing Jenkins. 

There was a nervous unrest pervading them all 
which, while leaving Florrie and Denman intact, even 
reached the engine room. 

At noon Sampson and Dwyer were relieved, and 
the former turned back to shout down the hatch : 

" I told you to do it, and that goes. We've over- 
hauled and cleaned it. You two assemble and oil 
it up this afternoon, or you'll hear from me at eight 
bells.*' 

The voice of Riley — ^who was nearly as large a 
man as Sampson — answered hotly but inarticulately, 
and Denman could only ascribe the row to a diflFer- 
ence of opinion concerning the condition of some 
part of the engines. 

Sampson, though possibly a lesser engineer than 
the others of his department, yet dominated them 
as Jenkins dominated them all — by pure force of 



THE PIRATES 177 

personality. He had made himself chief engioeer, 
and his orders were obeyed, as evidenced by the tran- 
quil silence that emanated from the engine room when 
Sampson returned at four in the afternoon. 

All day the boat lay with quiet engines and a bare 
head of steam, rolling slightly in a swell that now 
came from the cast, while the sun shone brightly 
overhead from east to west, and only a few specks 
appeared on the horizon, to remain for a time, and 
vanish. 

Meanwhile Florrie worried Denman with questions 
that he could not answer. 

" Forsythe took sights in the morning," he ex- 
plained at length, " and a meridian observation at 
noon. He has undoubtedly found another ' pocket,' 
as I call these triangular spaces between the routes ; 
but I do not know where wc are, except that, com- 
puting our yesterday and last night's run, we are 
within from sixty to a hundred miles of New York," 

He was further mystified when, on going into his 
room for a cigar after supper, he found his suit of 
" citizen's clothes " missing from its hook. 

" Not the same thief," he grumbled. " Sampson 
and Jenkins are too big for it," 

He did not mention his loss to Florrie, not wishing 
to arouse further feminine speculation ; and when, 
at a later hour in this higher latitude, darkness had 
come, and full speed was rung to the engine room, 
he induced her to retire. 

" I don't know what's up," he said ; " but — get 
all the sleep you can. I'll call you if anything hap- 
pens." 

He did not go to sleep himself, but smoked and 
waited while the humming turbines gathered in the 
miles — one hour, two hours, nearly three — until a 
quarter to eleven o'clock, wlicn speed was reduced. 

Remembering his embarrassment of the morning. 



I 



1180 THE PIRATES 



CHAPTER XXI 

AFTER breakfast, King, one of the machinists, 
Am. and a pleasant-faced young man, came aft with 
an ensign, a hammer, chisel, and paint pot. 

" This is work, sir," he said, as he passed, tipping 
his cap politely to Miss Florrie. " Should have been 
done before." 

He went to the tafFrail, and, leaning over with the 
hammer and chisel, removed the raised letter that 
spelled the boat's name. Then he covered the hiatus 
with paint, and hoisted the ensign to the flagstaff. 

" Now, sir," he remarked, as he gathered up his 
tools and paint pot, " she's a government craft 
again." 

" I see," commented Denman ; and then to Florrie 
as King went forward : " They're getting foxy. 
We're steaming into the crowd again, and they want 
to forestall inspection and suspicion. I wonder if 
our being allowed on deck is part of the plan? A 
lady and an officer aft look legitimate." 

At noon every man was dressed to the regulations, 
in clean blue, with neckerchief and knife lanyard, 
while Jenkins and Forsythe appeared in full undress 
uniform, with tasteful linen and neckwear. 

That this was part of the plan was proven when, 
after a display of bunting in the International Signal 
Code from the yard up forward, they ranged along- 
side of an outbound tank steamer that had kindly 
slowed down for them. 

All hands but one cook and one engineer had mus- 
tered on deck, showing a fair semblance of a full- 
powered watch; and the one cook — Billings— dis- 
played himself above the hatch for one brief moment, 
clad in a spotless white jacket. 

Then, just before the two bridges came together, 



THE PIRATES 181 

Jenkins hurried down the steps and aft to Denman 
to speak a few words, then hasten forward. It was 
sufficiently theatrical to impress the skipper of the 
tanker, but what Jenkins really said to Denman was : 
" You are to remember your parole, sir, and not hail 
that steamer." 

To which Denman had nodded assent. 

" Steamer ahoy ! " shouted Forsythe, through a 
small megaphone. " You are laden with oil, as you 
said by signal. We would like to replenish our sup- 
ply, which is almost exhausted.*' 

" Yes, sir," answered the skipper ; " but to whom 
shall I send the biU.?" 

" To the superintendent of the Charlestown Navy 
Yard. It will very likely be paid to your owners 
before you get back. We want as much as a hundred 
tons. I have made out a receipt for that amount. 
Throw us a heaving line to take our hose, and I 
will send it up on the bight." 

" Very well, sir. Anything else I can do for you, 
sir?" 

" Yes ; we want about two hundred gallons of water. 
Been out a long time." 

" Certainly, sir — very glad to accommodate you. 
Been after that runaway torpedo boat ? " 

" Yes; any news of her on shore.'* Our wireless is 
out of order." 

" Well, the opinion is that she was lost in the big 
blow a few days ago. She was reported well to the 
nor'ard; and it was a St. Lawrence Valley storm. 
Did you get any of it? " 

" Very little," answered Forsythe. " We were well 
to the s'uth'ard." 

" A slight stumble in good diction there, Mr. 
Forsythe," muttered the listening Denman. " Other- 
wise, very well carried out." 

But the deluded tank skipper made no strictures 



182 THE PIRATES 

on Forsythe's diction; and, while the pleasant con- 
versation was going on, the two lines of hose were 
passed, and the receipt for oil and water sent up to 
the steamer. 

In a short time the tanks were filled, the hose 
hauled back, and the starting bells run in both engine 
rooms. 

The destroyer was first to gather way ; and, as 
her stern drew abreast of the tanker's bridge, the 
skipper lifted his cap to Florrie and Denman, and 
called out : " Good afternoon, captain, Pm very glad 
that I was able to accommodate you." 

To which Denman, with all hands looking ex- 
pectantly at him, only replied with a bow — as became 
a dignified commander with two well-trained officers 
on his bridge to attend to the work. 

The boat circled around, headed northwest, and 
went on at full speed until, not only the tanker, but 
every other craft in view, had sunk beneath the 
horizon. Then the engines were stopped, and the 
signal yard sent down. 

" Back in the pocket again," said Denman to 
Florrie. " What on earth can they be driving at ? ** 

" And why," she answered, with another query, 
*^ did they go to all that trouble to be so polite and 
nice, when, as you say, they are fully committed to 
piracy, and robbed the other vessels by force? " 

" This seems to show," he said, " the master hand 
of Jenkins, who is a natural-bom gentleman, as 
against the work of Forsythe, who is a natural-bom 
brute." 

" Yet he is a high-school graduate." 

*^ And Jenkins is a passed seaman apprentice." 

"What is that?" 

** One who enters the navy at about fifteen or six- 
teen to serve until he is twenty-one, then to leave the 
navy or reenlist. They seldom reenlist, for they 



THE PIRATES 18S 

are trained, tutored, and disciplined into good work- 
men, to whom shore life offers better opportunities. 
Those who do reenlist have raised the standard of 
the navy sailor to the highest in the world ; but those 
that don't are a sad loss to the navy. Jenkins re- 
enlisted. So did Forsythe." 

" But do you think the training and tutoring that 
Jenkins received equal to an education like Forsythe*s 
— or yours ? " 

" They learn more facts," answered Denman. 
" The training makes a man of a bad boy, and a gen- 
tleman of a good one. What a ghastly pity that, 
because of conservatism and politics, all this splendid 
material for officers should go to waste, and the ap- 
pointments to Annapolis be given to good high-school 
scholars, who might be cowardly sissies at heart, or 
blackguards like Forsythe ! " 

" But that is how you received your appointment, 
Billie Denman," said the girl, warmly ; " and you 
are neither a sissy nor a blackguard." 

" I hope not," he answered, grimly. " Yet, if I 
had first served my time as seaman apprentice before 
being appointed to Annapolis, I might be up on that 
bridge now, instead of standing supinely by while 
one seaman apprentice does the navigating and an- 
other the bossing." 

" There is that man again. I'm afraid of him, 
Billie. All the others, except Forsythe, have been 
civil to me ; but he looks at me — so — so hatefully." 

Billings, minus his clean white jacket, had come 
up the hatch and gone forward. He came back soon, 
showing a sullen, scowling face, as though his cheer- 
ful disposition had entirely left him. 

As he reached the galley hatch, he cast upon the 
girl a look of such intense hatred and malevolence 
that Denman, white with anger, sprang to the hatch, 
and halted him. 



i 



184 THE PIRATES 

" If ever again," he said, explosively, " I catch 
you glaring at this lady in that manner, parole or 
no parole, I'll throw you overboard.'* 

Billings' face straightened; he saluted, and, with- 
out a word, went down the hatch, while Denman re- 
turned to the girl. 

" He is an enlisted man," he said, bitterly, " not 
a passed seaman apprentice ; so I downed him easily 
with a few words." 

And then came the thought, which he did not 
express to Florrie, that his fancied limitations, which 
prevented him from being on the bridge, also pre- 
vented him from enlightening the morbid Billings as 
to the real source of the " terrible punch " he had 
received; for, while he could justify his silence to 
Florrie, he could only, with regard to Billings, feel 
a masculine dread of ridicule at dressing in feminine 
clothing. 

CHAPTER XXII 

AT supper that evening they were served with 
jljL prunes, bread without butter, and weak tea, with 
neither milk nor sugar. 

" Orders from for'a'd, sir," said Daniels, noticing 
Denman's involuntary look of surprise. " All hands 
are to be on short allowance for a while — until some- 
thing comes our way again." 

" But why," asked Denman, " do you men include 
us in your plans and economies? Why did you not 
rid yourself of us last night, when you sent one of 
your number ashore .'' " 

Daniels was a tall, somber-faced man — a typical 
ship's cook — and he answered slowly : " I cannot tell 
you, sir. Except that both you and the lady might 
talk about this boat." 

" Oh, well," said Denman, " I was speaking for 



THE PIRATES 186 

this lady, who doesn't belong with us. My place is 
right here." 

" Yes, sir," agreed Daniels ; " but I am at liberty 
to say, sir, to you and the lady, that you'd best 
look out for Billings. He seems to be goin' batty. 
I heard him talking to himself, threatening harm to 
this lady. I don't know what he's got against her 
myself — " 

" Tell him," said Denman, sharply, " that if he 
enters this apartment, or steps one foot abaft the 
galley hatch on deck, the parole is broken, and I'll 
put a bullet through his head. You might tell that 
to Jenkins, too." 

Daniels got through the wardroom door before an- 
swering : " I'll not do that, sir. Jenkins might con- 
fine him, and leave all the work to me. But I think 
Billings needs a licking." 

Whether Daniels applied this treatment for the 
insane to Billings, or whether Billings, with an equal 
right to adjudge Daniels insane, had applied the 
same treatment to him, could not be determined with- 
out violation of the parole; but when they had fin- 
ished supper and reached the deck, sounds of conflict 
came up from the galley hatch, unheard and uninter- 
rupted by those forward. It was a series of thumps, 
oaths, growlings, and the rattling of pots and pans 
on the galley floor. Then there was silence. 

"You see," said Denman to Florrie, with mock 
seriousness, " the baleful influence of a woman aboard 
ship ! It never fails." 

" I can't help it," she said, with a pout and a blush 
— ^her blushes were discernible now, for the last ves- 
tige of the scalding had gone — ^^ but I mean to wear 
a veil from this on. I had one in my pocket." 

" I think that would be wise," answered Denman, 
gravely. * These men are — " 

" You see, Billie," she interrupted. " I've got a 



186 THE PIRATES 

ocw complexion — ^brand new ; peaches and cream for 
the first time in my life, and I'm going to take care 
©f it.'' 

" That's right," he said, with a laugh. " But I'U 
wager you won't patent the process. Live steam is 
rather severe as a beautifier ! " 

But she kept her word. After the meager break- 
fast next morning — which Daniels served with no 
explanation of the row — she appeared on deck with 
her face hidden, and from then on wore the veil. 

There was a new activity among the men — a par- 
tial relief from the all-pervading nervousness and 
irritability. Gun and torpedo practice — which 
brought to drill every man on board except Munson, 
buried in his wireless room, and one engineer on duty 
— was inaugurated and continued through the day. 

Their natty blue uniforms discarded, they toiled 
and perspired at the task ; and when, toward the end 
of the afternoon, old Kelly decided that they could 
be depended upon to fire a gun or eject a torpedo, 
Jenkins decreed that they should get on deck and 
lash to the rail in their chocks four extra torpedoes. 

As there was one in each tube, this made eight of 
the deadliest weapons of warfare ready at hand ; a,nd 
when the task was done they quit for the day, the 
deck force going to the bridge for a look around the 
empty horizon, the cooks to the galley, and the 
machinists to the engine room. 

Denman, who with doubt and misgiving had 
watched the day's preparations, led Florrie down 
the companion. 

" They're getting ready for a mix of some kind ; 
and there must be some place to put you away from 
gun fire. How's this? " 

He opened a small hatch covered by the loose after 
edge of the cabin carpet, and disclosed a compart- 
ment below which might have been designed for stores, 



THE PIRATES 187 

but which contained nothing, as a lighted electric 
bufb showed him. Coming up, he threw a couple of 
blankets down, and said: 

".There's a cyclone cellar for you, Florrie, below 
the water line. If we're fired upon jump down, and 
don't come up until callccl, or until water comes in," 

Then he went to his room for the extra store of 
cartridges he had secreted, but found them gone. An- 
grily returning to Florrie, he asked for her supply ; 
and she, too, searched, and found nothing. But both 
their weapons were fully loaded. 

" Well," he said, philosophically, as they returned 
to the deck, " they only guaranteed us the privilege 
of carrying arms. I suppose they feel justified from 
their standpoint." 

But on deck they found something to take their 
minds temporarily off the loss. Sampson, red in the 
face, was vociferating down the engine-room hatch. 

" Come up here," he said, loudly and defiantly. 
" Come up here and prove it, if you think you're a. 
better man than I am. Come up and square yourself, 
you flannel-mouthed mick," 

The " flannel- mouthed mick," in the person of 
Riley, white of face rather than red, but with eyes 
blazing and mouth set in an ugly grin, climbed up. 

It was a short fight^the blows delivered by Samp- 
son, the parrying done by Riley — and ended with a 
crashing swing on Riley's jaw that sent him to the 
deck, not to rise for a few moments. 

"Had enough?" asked Sampson, triumphantly. 
" Had enough, you imitation of an ash cat? Oh, I 
guess you have. Think it out." 

He turned and met Jenkins, who had run aft from 
the bridge. 

" Now, Sampson, this'U be enough of this." 

" What have i/ou got to say about it? " inquired 
Sampson, irately. 



188 THE PIRATES 



" Plenty to say," answered Jenkins, calmly. 

" Not much, you haven't. You keep away from 
the engine room and the engine-room affairs. I can 
'tend to my department. You 'tend to yours." 

" I can attend to yours as well when the time comes. 
There's work ahead for — ^" 

" Well, attend to me now. You've sweated me all 
day like a stoker at your work ; now go on and finish 
it up. I'll take a fall out o' you, Jenkins, right 
here." 

" No, you won't ! Wait until the work's done, 
and I'll accommodate you." 

Jenkins went forward; and Sampson, after a few 
moments of scarcely audible grumbling, followed to 
the forecastle. Then Riley got up, looked after him, 
and shook his fist. 

" I'll git even wi' you for this," he declared, with 
lurid profanity. " I'll have yer life for this, 
Sampson." 

Then he went down the hatch, while Forsythe on 
the bridge, who had watched the whole affair with 
an evil grin, turned away from Jenkins when the 
latter joined him. Perhaps he enjoyed the sight of 
some one beside himself being knocked down. 

" It looks rather bad, Florrie," said Denman, dubi- 
ously ; " all this quarreling among themselves. 
Whatever job they have on hand they must hold 
together, or we'll get the worst of it. I don't like 
to see Jenkins and Sampson at it, though the two 
cooks are only a joke." 

But there was no more open quarreling for the 
present. As the days wore on, a little gun and 
torpedo drill was carried out ; while, with steam up, 
the boat made occasional darts to the north or south 
to avoid too close contact with passing craft, and 
gradually — by fits and starts — crept more to the 
westward. And Jenkins recovered complete control 



THE PIRATES 189 

of his voice and movements, while Munson, the wire- 
less man, grew haggard and thin. 

At last, at nine o'clock one evening, just before 
Denman went down, Munson ran up with a sheet of 
paper, shouting to the bridge: 

" Caught on — with the United — ^night shift." 

Then, having delivered the sheet to Jenkins, he 
went back, and the rasping sound of his sending in- 
strument kept up through the night. 

But when Denman sought the deck after break- 
fast, it had stopped; and he saw Munson, still hag- 
gard of face, talking to Jenkins at the hatch. 

" Got his wave length now,'* Denman heard him 
say. " Took all night, but that and the code'll fool 
'em all." 

From then on Munson stood watch at his instru- 
ment only from six in the evening imtil midnight, 
got more sleep thereby, and soon the tired, haggard 
look left his face, and it resumed its normal expres- 
sion of intelligence and cheerfulness. 



CHAPTER XXm 

AFTER supper about a week later, Denman and 
jljL Florrie sat in the deck chairs, watching the twi- 
light give way to the gloom of the evening, and specu- 
lating in a desultory manner on the end of this never- 
ending voyage, when Munson again darted on deck, 
and ran up the bridge stairs with a sheet of paper, 
barely discernible in the gathering darkness, and 
handed it to Jenkins, who peered over it in the glow 
from the binnacle. 

Then Jenkins blew on a boatswain's whistle — the 
shrill, trilling, and penetrating call that rouses all 
hands in the morning, but is seldom given again 
throughout the day except in emergencies. 



190 THE PIRATES 

All hands responded. Both cooks rushed up from 
the galley, the engineers on watch shut oflF all burners 
and appeared, and men tumbled up from the fore- 
castle, all joining Jenkins and Munson on the bridge. 

Denman strained his ears, but could hear nothing, 
though he saw each man bending over the paper in 
turn. 

Then they quickly went back to their places below 
or on deck ; and, as the bells were given to the engine 
room, the rasping of the wireless could be heard. 

As the two cooks came aft, Denman heard them 
discussing excitedly but inaudibly the matter in 
hand; and, his curiosity getting the better of his 
pride, he waited only long enough to see the boat 
steadied at east-northeast, then went down and for- 
ward to the door leading into the passage that led to 
the galley. 

Billings was doing most of the talking, in a high- 
pitched, querulous tone, and Daniels answered only 
by grunts and low-pitched monosyllables. 

" Gigantia — ten to-morrow — five million," were a 
few of the words and phrases Denman caught; and 
at last he heard the concluding words of the talk. 

" Dry up," said Daniels, loudly and threateningly. 
"Yes, thirteen is an unlucky number; but, if you 
don't shut up and clear oflF these dishes, I'll make 
our number twelve. Glad you've got something to 
think about besides that woman, but — shut up. You 
make me tired." 

Denman went back to Florrie somewhat worried, 
but no longer puzzled ; yet he gave the girl none of 
his thoughts that evening — he waited until morning, 
when, after a look around a bright horizon dotted 
with sail and steam, he said to her as she came up: 

" Eat all the breakfast you can this morning, 
Florrie, for it may be some time before we'll eat 
again." 



THE PIRATES 191 

"Why, Billie, what is the matter?" asked the 
girl. 

" We've traveled at cruising speed all night," he 
answered, " and now must be up close to the ' corner,' 
as they call the position where the outbound liners 
change to the great circle course." 

" Well? " she said, inquiringly. 

" Did you ever hear of the Gigantia? " 

" Why, of course- — you mean the new liner P " 

" Yes ; the latest and largest steamship built. She 
was on her maiden passage when this boat left port, 
and is about due to start cast again. Florrie, she 
carries five million in bullion, and these fellows mean 
to hold her up." 

" Goodness ! " exclaimed the girl, " You mean that 
they will rob her — a big steamship? " 

" She's big enough, of course, to tuck this boat 
down a hatchway; but these passenger boats carry 
no guns except for saluting, while this boat could 
sink her with the armament she carries. Look at 
those torpedoes — eight altogether, and more below 
decks. Eight compartments could be flooded, and 
bulkheads are not rehablc. But will they dare? Des- 
perate though they are, will they dare fire on a ship 
full of passengers? " 

"How did you learn this, Billie? It seems iin- 
po ss ible — in credible." 

" Remember the gun and torpedo drill ! " said Den- 
nrnn, softly, yet excitedly. " Our being in these 
latitudes is significant. They put Casey ashore the 
other night and robbed the captain and me to outfit 
him. I overheard some of the talk. He has reached 
New York, secured a position as night operator in 
a wireless station, studied the financial news, and 
sent word last night that the Gigantia sails at ten 
this morning with five million in gold." 



19« THE PIRATES 

" And where do you think she is nowF" asked the 
girl, glancing around the horizon. 

"At her dock in New York. She'll be out here 
late in the afternoon, I think. But, heavens, what 
chances ! — to wait all day, while any craft that comes 
along may recognize this boat and notify the nearest 
station! Why didn't they intercept the lane route 
out at sea, where there is no crowd like this? I can 
only account for it by the shortage of stores. Yes ; 
that's it. No sane pirate would take such risks. 
We've plenty of oil and water, but little food." 

That Denman had guessed rightly was partly indi- 
cated by the action of the men and the boat that 
day. 

All hands kept the deck, and their first task was 
to discard the now useless signal mast, which might 
help identify the boat as the runaway destroyer. 

Two engineers sawed nearly through the mast at 
its base, while the others cleared away the light 
shrouds and forestay. Then a few tugs on the lee 
shroud sent it overboard, while the men dodged from 
under. Beyond smashing the bridge rail it did no 
damage. 

The dodging tactics were resumed. A steamer 
appearing on the east or west horizon, heading so as 
to pass to the northward or southward, was given 
a wider berth by a dash at full speed in the opposite 
direction. 

Every face — even Florrie's and Denman's — ^wore 
an anxious, nervous expression, and the tension in- 
creased as the hours went by. 

Dinner was served, but brought no relief. Men 
spoke sharply to one another; and Jenkins roared 
his orders from the bridge, bringing a culmination 
to the strain that no one could have foreseen. 

The sudden appearance of an inbound steamer out 
of a haze that had arisen to the east necessitated 



THE PIRATES 198 

immediate full speed. Riley was in charge of the 
engine room, but Sampson stood at the hatch exer- 
cising an unofficial supervision; and it was he that 
received Jenkins' thundering request for more 
steam. 

Sampson, in a voice equally loud, and with more 
profanity, admonished Jenkins to descend to the lower 
regions and attend to his own affairs. 

Jenkins yielded. Leaving Forsythe in charge of 
the bridge, he came down the stairs and aft on the 
nm. Not a word was spoken by either ; but, with the 
prescience that men feel at the coming of a fight, the 
two cooks left their dishes and the engineers their 
engines to crowd their heads into the hatches. Riley 
showed his disfigured face over the heads of the other 
two; and on the bridge Forsythe watched with the 
same evil grin. 

But few blows were passed, then the giants locked, 
and, twisting and writhing, whirled about the deck. 
Florrie screamed, but Denman silenced her. 

" Nothing can be done," he said, " without vio- 
lating the parole ; and even if — " 

He stopped, for the two huge forms, tightly em- 
braced, had reeled like one solid object to the rail, 
which, catching them at just above the knees, had 
sent them overboard, exactly as Sampson had gone 
before. 

" Man overboard ! " yelled Denman, uselessly, for 
all had seen. But he threw a life-buoy fastened to 
the quarter, and was about to throw another, when 
he looked, and saw that his first was a hundred feet 
this side of the struggling men. 

He turned to glance forward. Men were running 
about frantically, and shouting, but nothing was done, 
and the boat still held at a matter of forty knots 
an hour. Riley grinned from the hatch; and, for- 
ward on the bridge, Forsythe turned his now sober 



194 THE PIRATES 

face away, to look at the compass, and at the steamer 
fast disappearing in the haze that followed her. 

Then, more as an outlet for his anger and disgust 
than in the hope of saving life, Denman threw the 
second life-buoy high in air over the stern, and led 
the shocked and hysterical Florrie down the stairs. 

" Rest here a while," he said, gently, " and try to 
forget it. I don't know what they'll do now, but — 
keep your pistol with you at all times." 

He went up with a grave face and many heartfelt 
misgivings; for, with Forsythe and Riley now the 
master spirits, things might not go well with them. . 



CHAPTER XXIV 

IN about ten minutes Forsythe ground the wheel 
over and headed back ; but, though Denman kept 
a sharp lookout, he saw nothing of the two men or 
the life-buoys. He could feel no hope for Sampson, 
who was unable to swim. As for Jenkins, possibly a 
swimmer, even should he reach a life-buoy, his plight 
would only be prolonged to a lingering death by 
hunger and thirst; for there was but one chance in 
a million that he would be seen and picked up. 

After ten minutes on the back track, the boat was 
logically in about the same position as when she had 
fled from the steamer; but Forsythe kept on for 
another ten minutes, when, the haze having enveloped 
the whole horizon, he stopped the engines, and the 
boat lost way, rolling sluggishly in the trough. 

There was no wind, and nothing but the long 
ground swell and the haze to inconvenience them ; the 
first in making it difficult to sight a telescope, the 
second in hiding everything on the horizon, though 
hiding the boat herself. 

But at last Forsythe fixed something in the glass, 




THE PIRATES 



19& 



gazing long and intently at a faint spot appearing 
to the northwest; and Denman, following suit with 
the binoculars, saw what he was looking at — a huge 
bulk coming out of the haze carrying one short mast 
and five funnels. Then he remembered the descrip- 
tions he had read of the mighty Gigantia— the only 
ship afloat with five funnels since the Great Eastern. 

Forsythe called, and all hands flocked to the 
bridge, where they discussed the situation ; and, as 
Denman judged by the many faces turned his way, 
discussed him and Florric, But whatever resulted 
from the latter came to nothing. 

They suddenly left the bridge, to disappear in the 
forecastle for a few moments, then to reappear — 
each man belted and pistoled, and one bringing an 
outfit to Forsythe on the bridge. 

Two engineers went to the engines, Forsythe rang 
full speed to them, and the rest, cooks and all, swung 
the four torpedo tubes to port and manned the for- 
ward one. 

The big ship seemed to grow in size visibly as her 
speed, plus the destroyer's, brought them together. 
In a few moments Denman made out details — six 
parallel lines of deadlights, one above the other, and 
extending from bow to stern, a length of a thousand 
feet; three tiers of deck houses, one above the other 
amidships ; a line of twenty boats to a side along 
the upper deck, and her after rails black with pas- 
sengers ; while as many as six uniformed officers stood 
on her bridge — eighty feet above the water line. 

The little destroyer rounded to alongside, and 
slowed down to a little more than the speed of the 
larger ship, which permitted her to creep along the 
huge, black side, inch by inch, until the bridges were 
nearly abreast. Then a white-whiskered man on the 
high bridge hailed : 

" Steamer ahoy! What do you want? " 



196 THE PIRATES 



a 



Want all that bullion stowed in your strong 
room/' answered Forsjthe through a megaphone; 
" and, if you please, speak more distinctly, for the 
wash of your bow wave prevents my hearing what 
you say." 

The officer was handed a megaphone, and through 
it his voice came down like a thunderclap. 

" You want the bullion stowed in our strong room, 
do you? Anything else you want, sir.? " 

" Yes," answered Forsythe. " We want a boat 
full of provisions. Three barrels of flour, the rest 
in canned meats and vegetables." 

" Anything else ? " There was as much derision 
in the voice as can carry through a megaphone. 

" That is all," answered Forsythe. " Load your 
gold into one of your own boats, the provisions in 
another. Lower them down and let the falls unreeve, 
so that they will go adrift. We will pick them up." 

" Well, of all the infernal impudence I ever heard, 
yours is the worst. I judge that you are that crew 
of jail-breakers we've heard of that stole a govern- 
ment boat and turned pirates." 

" You are right," answered Forsythe ; " but don^t 
waste our time. Will you give us what we asked for, 
or shall we sink you ? " 

"Sink us, you scoundrel? You can't, and you'd 
better not try, or threaten to. Your position is 
known, and three scouts started this morning from 
Boston and New York." 

" That bluff don't go," answered Forsythe. 
" Will you cough up? " 

" No; most decidedly no! " roared the officer, who 
might, or might not, have been the captain. 

"Kelly," said Forsythe, "send that Whitehead 
straight into him." 

Whitehead torpedoes, be it known, are mechanical 
fish of machined steel, self-propelling and self-steer- 



THE PIRATES 197 

ing9 actuated by a small air engine, and carrying 
in their " war heads " a charge of over two hundred 
pounds of guncotton, and in their blunt noses a 
detonating cap to explode it on contact. 

At Forsythe's word, Kelly turned a lever on the 
tube, and the contained torpedo dived gently over- 
board. 

Denman, looking closely, saw it appear once on the 
surface, porpoiselike, before it dived to its indicated 
depth. 

" The inhuman devil ! " he commented, with grit- 
ting teeth. 

A muffled report came from the depths. A huge 
mound of water lifted up, to break into shattered 
fragments and bubbles. Then these bubbles burst, 
giving vent to clouds of brown and yellow smoke; 
while up through the ventilators and out through 
the opened lower deadlights came more of this smoke, 
and the sound of human voices, screaming and groan- 
ing. These sounds were drowned in the buzzing of 
thousands of other voices on deck as men, women, 
and children fought their way toward the stern. 

"Do you agree?" yelled Forsythe, through the 
megaphone. " Do you agree, or shall we unload 
every torpedo we've got into your hull.? " 

Old Kelly had calmly marshaled the crew to the 
next torpedo, and looked up to Forsythe for the 
word. But it did not come. 

Instead, over the buzzing of the voices, came the 
officer's answer, loud and distinct : 

" We agree. We understand that your necks are 
in the halter, and that you have nothing to lose, even 
though you should fill every compartment and drown 
every soul on board this ship. So we will accede 
to your demands. We will fill one boat with the 
bullion and another with provisions, and cast them 
adrift. But do not fire again, for God's sake ! " 



198 THE PIRATES 

" All right,'' answered Forsythe. ** Bear a hand." 

Breast to breast, the two craft charged along, 
whfle two boats were lowered to the level of the main 
deck, and swiftered in to the rail. Sailors appeared 
from the doors in pairs, each carrying a box that 
taxed their strength and made them stagger. There 
were ten in all, and they slowly and carefully ranged 
them along the bottom of one of the boats, so as to 
distribute their weight. 

While this was going on, stewards and galley 
helpers were filling the other boat with provisions — 
in boxes, barrels, and packages. Then the word was 
given, and the boats were cast off and lowered, the 
tackles of the heavier groaning mightily under the 
strain. 

When they struck the water, the falls were in- 
stantly let go; and, as the boats drifted astern, the 
tackles unrove their long length from the blocks, 
and were hauled on board again. 

Forsythe stopped the engines, and then backed 
toward the drifting boats. As the destroyer passed 
the stem of the giant steamer, a shout rang out; 
but only Denman heard it above the buzzing of voices. 
And it seemed that only he saw Casey spring from 
the high rail of the mammoth into the sea; for the 
rest were busy grappling for the boat's painters, and 
Forsythe was looking aft. 

When the painters were secured and the boats 
drawn alongside, Forsythe rang for half speed ; and 
the boat, under a port wheel, swung away from the 
Gigantia, and went ahead. 

" There is your man Casey," yelled Denman, ex- 
citedly. *' Are you going to leave him.'^ " 

Forsythe, now looking dead ahead, seemed not to 
hear ; but Riley spoke from the hatch : 

" Hold yer jaw back there, or ye'U get a passage, 
too." 



THE PIRATE?. 199 

With Casey's cries in his ears- — sick at heart in 
the belief that not even a life-buoy would avail, for 
the giant steamship had not stopped her engines 
throughout the whole traasaction, and was now half 
a mile away, Denman went down to Florrie, obedi- 
ently waiting, yet nervous and frightened. 

He told her nothing of what had occurred— but 
soothed and quieted her with the assurance that they 
would be rescued soon. 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE engine stopped; and, climbing the steps to 
look forward, Denman saw the bridge deserted, 
and the whole ten surrounding an equal number of 
strong boxes, stamped and burned with official-look- 
ing letters and numbers. Farther along were the 
provision; and a peep astern showed Denman the 
drifting boats. 

The big Gigantia had disappeared in the haze 
that hid the whole horizon; but up in the western sky 
was a portent^a black silhouette of irregular out- 
line, that grew larger as he looked. 

It was a monoplane — an advance scout of a scout 
boat — and Denman recognized the government model. 
It seemed to have sighted the destroyer, for it came 
straight on with a rush, circled overhead, and turned 
back. 

There was no signal made; and, as it dwindled 
away in the west, Denman's attention was attracted 
to the men surrounding the boxes ; only Munson was 
still watching the receding monoplane. But the rest 
were busy. With hammers and cold chisels from the 
engine room they were opening the boxes of treasure. 

" Did any one see that fellow before? " demanded 
Munson, pointing to the spot in the sky. 



^ 



«00 THE PIRATES 

A few looked, and the others answered with oaths 
and commands : ^^ Forget it ! Open the boxes ! Let's 
have a look at the stuff ! " 

But Munson spoke again. ^^ Forsythe, how about 
the big fellow's wireless? We didn't disable it. 
He has sent the news already. What do you 
think?" 

** Oh, shut up ! " answered Forsythe, irately. ** I 
didn't think of it. Neither did any one. What of 
it? Nothing afloat can catch us. Open the box. 
Let's have a look, and we'll beat it for Africa." 

" I tell you," vociferated Munson, " that you'd 
better start now — at full speed, too. That's a scout, 
and the mother boat isn't far away." 

"Will you shut up, or will I shut you up?" 
shouted Forsythe. 

" You'll not shut me up," retorted Munson. 
** You're the biggest fool in this bunch, in spite of 
your bluff. Why don't you go ahead and get out 
o' this neighborhood ? " 

A box cover yielded at this juncture, and Forsythe 
did not immediately answer. Instead, with Munson 
himself, and Billings the cook — insanely emitting 
whoops and yelps as he danced around for a peep — 
he joined the others in tearing out excelsior from 
the box. Then the bare contents came to view. 

" Lead ! " howled Riley, as he stood erect, heaving 
a few men back with his shoulders. " Lead it is, if 
I know wan metal from another." 

" Open them all," roared Forsythe. " Gret the 
axes — pinch bars — anything." 

" Start your engine ! " yelled Munson ; but he was 
not listened to. 

With every implement that they could lay their 
hands on they attacked the remaining boxes; and, 
as each in turn disclosed its contents, there went up 
howls of disappointment and rage. " Lead ! " they 



THE PIRATES 



SOI 



shouted at last. "All lead! Was this job put up 
for us ? " 

" No," yelled Munson, " not for us. Every 
steamer carrying bullion also carries lead in the 
same kind of boxes. I've read of it many a time. 
It's a safeguard against piracy. We've been fooled 
—that's all." 

Forsythe answered profanely and as coherently as 
his rage and excitement would permit. 

Munson replied by holding his fist under Forsythe's 
nose. 

" Get up on the bridge," he said. " And you, 
Riley, to jour engines." 

Riley obeyed the call of the exigency ; but Forsythe 
resisted. He struck Munson's fist away, but received 
it immediately full in the face. Staggering back, he 
pulled his revolver; and, before Munson could meet 
this new antagonism, he aimed and fired. Munson 
lurched headlong, and lay still. 

Then an uproar began. The others charged on 
Forsythe, who retreated, with his weapon at arm's 
length. He held them off until, at his command, all 
but one had placed his pistol back in the scabbard. 
The dilatory one was old Kelly; and him Forsythe 
shot through the heart. Then the pistols were re- 
drawn, and the shooting became general. 

How Forsythe, single-handed against the eight 
remaining men, won in that gun fight can only be 
explained by the fact that the eight were too wildly 
excited to aim, or leave each other free to attempt 
aiming; while Forsythe, a single target, only needed 
to shoot at the compact body of men to make a hit. 

It ended soon with Hawkes, Davis, and Daniels 
writhing on the deck, and Forsythe hiding, uninjured, 
behind the forward funnel; while Riley, King, and 
Dwyer, the three engineers, were retreating into their 
engine room. 



I 



«02 THE PIRATES 

" Now, if you've had enough,*' shouted Forsythe, 
" start the engine when I give you the bells.'* Then 
he mounted to the bridge and took the wheel. 

But, though the starting of the engines at full 
speed indicated that the engineers had enough, there 
was one man left who had not. It was Billings, who 
danced around the dead and the wounded, shrieking^ 
and laughing with the emotions of his disordered 
brain. But he did not fire on Forsythe, and seemed 
to have forgotten the animus of the recent friction. 

He drifted aft, muttering to himself, until sud- 
denly he stopped, and fixed his eyes on Denman, who, 
with gritting teeth, had watched the deadly fracas at 
the companion. 

" I told you so. I told you so," rang out the 
crazed voice of Billings. " A woman aboard ship — ^a 
woman aboard ship. Always makes trouble. There, 
take it 1 " 

He pulled his revolver and fired; and Denman, 
stupefied with the unexpected horror of it all, did 
not know that Florrie had crept up beside him in 
the Companion until he heard her scream in conjunc- 
tion with the whiz of the bullet through her hair. 
Then Denman awoke. 

After assuring himself of the girl's safety, and 
pushing her down the companion, he drew his re- 
volver; and, taking careful aim, executed Billings 
with the cold calmness of a hangman. 

A bullet, nearly coincident with the report of a 
pistol, came from the bridge ; and there was Forsythe, 
with one hand on the wheel, facing aft and taking 
second aim at him. 

Denman accepted the challenge, and stepped 
boldly out of the companion. They emptied their 
revolvers, but neither did damage; and, as Forsythe 
reloaded, Denman cast a momentary glance at a 
black spot in the southern sky. 



THE PffiATES a03 

Hurriedly sweepiog the upper horizon, he saw 
still another to the east; while out of the haze in 
the northwest was emerging a scout cruiser ; no doubt 
the "mother" of the first monoplane. She was but 
two miles away, and soon began spitting shot and 
shell, which plowed up the water perilously near. 

" You're caught, Forsjthe," called out Denmaii, 
pointing to the south and east. " Will you surrender 
before we're sunk or killed.' " 

Forsythe's answer was another shot. 

" Florrie," called Denman down the companion, 
" hand me your gun and pass up the tablecloth; then 
get down that hatch out of the way. We're being 
fired at." 

She obeyed him ; and, with Forsythe's bullets whis- 
tling around his head, he hoisted the flag of truce 
and surrender to the flagstaff. But just a moment 
too late. A shell entered the boat amidships and ex- 
ploded in her vitals, sending up through the engine- 
room hatch a cloud of smoke and white steam, while 
fragments of the shell punctured the deck from below. 
But there were no cries of pain or calls for help from 
the three men in the engine room. 

Forsythe left the bridge. Breathing vengeance 
and raging like a madman, he rushed aft. 

" I'll see you go first ! " he shrieked. He fired 
again and again as he came; then, realizing that he 
had but one bullet left in his pistol, he halted at the 
galley hatch, took careful aim, and pulled the trigger 
for the last time. 

There are tricks of the fighting trade taught to 
naval ofiicers that are not included in the curriculum 
at Annapolis. Denman, his loaded revolver hanging 
in his right hand at his side, had waited for this 
final shot. Like a duelist he watched, not his oppo- 
nent's hand, but his eye; and, the moment that eye 
gave him the unconcealable signal to the trigger 



«04 THE PIRATES 

finger, he ducked his head, and the bullet sped above. 

" Now, Forsythe," he said, as he covered the 
chagrined marksman, " you should have aimed lower 
and to the right — ^but that's all past now. This boat 
is practically captured, and Fm not going to kill 
you ; for, even though it would not be murder, there 
is no excuse in my conscience for it. Whether the 
boat sinks or not, we will be taken off in time, for 
that fellow over yonder is coming, and has ceased 
firing. But before you are out of my hands I want 
to settle an old score with you — one dating from our 
boyhood, which you'll perhaps remember. Toss that 
gun forward and step aft a bit." 

Forsythe, his face working convulsively, obeyed 
him. 

" Florrie ! " called Denman down the hatch. 
" Come up now. We're all right." 

She came, white in the face, and stood beside him. 

" Off with your coat, Forsythe, and stand up to 
me. We'll finish that old fight. Here, girl, hold this 
gun." 

Florrie took the pistol, and the two men discarded 
their jackets and faced each other. 

There is hardly need of describing in detail the 
fist fight that followed. It was like all such, where 
one man is slightly the superior of the other in skill, 
strength, and agility. 

In this case that one was Denman; and, though 
again and again he felt the weight of Forsythe's fist, 
and reeled to the deck occasionally, he gradually 
tired out his heavier, though weaker, adversary ; and 
at last, with the whole weight of his body behind it, 
dealt a crashing blow on Forsythe's chin. 

Denman's old-time foe staggered backward and 
fell face upward. He rolled his head to the right 
and to the left a few times, then sank into uncon- 
sciousness. 



THE PIRATES 205 

Denman looked down on him, waiting for a move- 
ment, but none came. Forsythe had been knocked 
out, and for the last time. Florrie's scream aroused 
Denman. 

" Is the boat sinking, Billie? " 

He looked, and sprang for a life-buoy, which he 
slipped over Florrie's head. The bow of the boat 
was flush with the water, which was lapping at the 
now quiet bodies of the dead and wounded men for- 
ward. He secured another life-buoy for himself; 
and, as he donned the cork ring, a hail came from 
abeam. 

" Jump ! " it said. " Jump, or you'll be carried 
down with the wash." 

The big scout ship was but a. few lengths away, 
and a boat full of armed men was approaching. 

Hand in hand they leaped into the sea; and Den- 
man, towing the girl by the becket of her life-buoy, 
paid no attention to the sinking hull until satisfied 
that they were safe from the suction. 

When he looked, the bow was under water, the 
stern rising in the air, higher and higher, until a 
third of the after body was exposed; then it slid 
silently, but for the bursting of huge air bubbles, 
out of sight in the depths. 

About a year later, Lieutenant Denman received a 
letter with a Paris postmark, which he opened in 
the presence of his wife. In it was a draft on a 
Boston bank, made out to his order. 

"Good!" he exclaimed, as he glanced down the 
letter. " Listen, Florrie, here's something that 
pleases me as much as my exoneration by the Board 
of Inquiry." Then he read to her the letter: 

" Dkae Sin: Inasmuch as you threw two l[fe-buoys over for 
us you may be glnd, even at this late period, to know that we 
got them. The fight stopped when we hit the water, and since 



206 THE PIRATES 

then Sampson and myself have been chums. I saw both buoys 
thrown and held Sampson up while I swam with him to the 
first; then, from the top of a sea, I saw the other, and, getting 
it, returned to him. We were picked up by a fisherman next 
day, but you will not mind, sir, if I do not tell you where we 
landed, or how we got here, or where we'll be when this letter 
reaches you. We will not be here, and never again in the 
United States. Yet we want to thank you for giving us a 
chance for our lives. 

**We read in the Paris Herald of your hearing before the 
Board of Inquiry, and the story you told of the mess Forsythe 
made of things, and the final sinking of the boat. Of course 
we were sorry for them, for they were our mates; but they 
ought not to have gone back on Casey, even though they saw 
fit to leave Sampson and me behind. And, thinking this way, 
we are glad that you licked Forsythe, even at the last minute. 

"We inclose a draft for five hundred and fifty dollars, which 
we would like you to cash, and pay the captain, whose name we 
do not know, the money we took from his desk. We hope that 
what is left will square up for the clothes and money we took 
from your room. You see, as we did not give Casey but a little 
of the money, and it came in mighty handy for us two when 
we got ashore, it seems that we are obligated to return it. I will 
only say, to conclude, that we got it honestly. 

" Sampson joins with me in our best respects to Miss Fleming 
and yourself. 

"Truly yours, 

** Hebbebt Jekkiks." 

" Oh, Tm glad, Billie ! " she exclaimed. " They 
are honest men, after all.*' 

"Honest men?" repeated Denman, quizzically. 
" Yet they stole a fine destroyer from Uncle Sam ! '* 

" I don't care," she said, stoutly. " I'm glad they 
were saved. And, Billie boy " — ^her hands were on 
his shoulders — " if they hadn't stolen that fine de- 
stroyer, I wouldn't be here to-day looking into your 
eyes." 

And Billie, gathering her into his arms, let it go 
at that. 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 



THE long-expected crisis was at hand, and the 
country was on the verge of war. Jingoism 
was rampant. Japanese laborers were mobbed on 
the western slope, Japanese students were hazed out 
of colleges, and Japanese children stoned away from 
playgrounds. Editorial pages sizzled with liurning 
words of patriotism; pulpits thundered with invoca- 
tions to the God of battles and prayers for the 
perishing of the way of the ungodly. Schoolboy 
companies were formed and paraded with wooden 
guns; amateur drum-corps beat time to the throb- 
bing of the public pulse; militia regiments, battalions, 
and separate companies of infantry and artillery, 
drilled, practiced, and paraded; while the regular 
army was rushed to the posts and garrisons of the 
Pacific Coast, and the navy, in three divisions, 
guarded the Hawaiian Islands, the Philippines, and 
the larger ports of western America. For Japan 
had a million trained men, with transports to carry 
them, battle-ships to guard them; with the choice of 
objective when she was ready to strike; and she was 
displaying a national secrecy about her choice es- 
specially irritating to molders of public opinion and 
lovers of fair play. War was not yet declared bj 
either side, though the Japanese minister at Wash- 
ington had quietly sailed for Europe on private busi- 
ness, and the American minister at Tokio, with sev- 
eral consuls and clerks scattered around the ports of 
Japan, had left their jobs hurriedly, for reasons con- 
nected with their general health. This was the situa- 
tion when the cabled news from Manila told of the 



208 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

staggering into port of the scout cruiser Salem with 
a steward in command, a stoker at the wheel, the en- 
gines in charge of firemen, and the captain, watch- 
officers, engineers, seamen gunners, and the whole 
fighting force of the ship stricken with a form of 
partial blindness which in some cases promised to 
become total. 

The cruiser was temporarily out of commission 
and her stricken men in the hospital; but by the 
time the specialists had diagnosed the trouble as 
amblyopia, from some sudden shock to the optic 
nerve — followed in cases by complete atrophy, re- 
sulting in amaurosis — another ship came into Hono- 
lulu in the same predicament. Like the other craft 
four thousand miles away, her deck force had been 
stricken suddenly and at night. Still another, a 
battle-ship, followed into Honolulu, with fully five 
hundred more or less blind men groping around her 
decks; and the admiral on the station called in all 
the outriders by wireless. They came as they could, 
some hitting sand-bars or shoals on the way, and 
every one crippled and helpless to fight. The diag- 
nosis was the same — amblyopia, atrophy of the 
nerve, and incipient amaurosis; which in plain lan- 
guage meant dimness of vision increasing to blind- 
ness. 

Then came more news from Manila. Ship after 
ship came in, or was towed in, with fighting force 
sightless, and the work being done by the " black 
gang " or the idlers, and each with the same report 
— the gradual dimming of lights and outlines as the 
night went on, resulting in partial or total blindness 
by sunrise. And now it was remarked that those 
who escaped were the lower-deck workers, those 
whose duties kept them off the upper deck and away 
from gunports and deadlights. It was also sug- 
gested that the cause was some deadly attribute of 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 209 

the night air in these tropical regions, to which the 
Americans succumbed; for, so far, the coast division 
had escaped. 

In spite of the efforts of the Government, the 
Associated Press got the facts, and the newspapers 
of the country changed the burden of their pro- 
nouncements. Bombastic utterances gave way to bit- 
ter criticism of an inefficient naval policy that left 
the ships short of fighters in a crisis. The merging 
of the line and the staff, which had excited much 
ridicule when inaugurated, now received more in- 
telligent attention. Former critics of the change 
not only condoned it, but even demanded the whole- 
sale granting of commissions to skippers and mates 
of the merchant service; and insisted that surgeons, 
engineers, paymasters, and chaplains, provided they 
could still see to box the compass, should be given 
command of the torpedo craft and smaller scouts. 
All of which made young Surgeon Metcalf, on wait- 
ing orders at San Francisco, smile sweetly aiid darkly 
to himself: for his last appointment had been the 
command of a hospital ship, in which position, 
though a seaman, navigator, and graduate of 
Annapohs, he had been made the subject of news- 
paper ridicule and official controversy, and had even 
been caricatured as going into battle in a ship 
armored with court-plaster and armed with hypo- 
dermic syringes. 

Metcalf had resigned as ensign to take up the 
study and practice of medicine, but at the beginning 
of the war scare had returned to his first love, re- 
linquishing a lucrative practice as eye-specialist to 
tender his services to the Government. And the Gov- 
ernment had responded by ranking him with his class 
as junior lieutenant, and giving him the aforesaid 
command, which he was glad to be released from. 
But his classmates and brother officers had not re- 



810 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

sponded so promptly with their welcome, and Metcalf 
found himself combating a naval etiquette that was 
nearly as intolerant of him as of other appointees 
from civil life. It embittered him a little, but he 
pulled through; for he was a likable young fellow, 
with a cheery face and pleasant voice, and even the 
most hide-bound product of Annapolis could not 
long resist his personality. So he was not entirely 
barred out of official gossip and speculations, and 
soon had an opportunity to question some convales- 
cents sent home from Honolulu. All told the same 
story and described the same symptoms, but one 
added an extra one. An itching and burning of the 
face had accompanied the attack, such as is produced 
by sunburn. 

" And where were you that night when it came? " 
asked Metcalf, eagerly. 

" On the bridge with the captain and watch- 
officers. It was all hands that night. We had made 
out a curious light to the north'ard, and were trying 
to find out what it was." 

" What kind of a light? " 

" Well, it was rather faint, and seemed to be about 
a mile away. Sometimes it looked red, then green, 
or yellow, or blue." 

" And then it disappeared? " 

" Yes, and though we steamed toward it with all 
the search-lights at work, we never found where it 
came from." 

" What form did it take — a beam or a glow? " 

" It wasn't a glow — radiation — and it didn't 
seem to be a beam. It was an occasional flash, and 
in this sense was like a radiation — ^that is, like the 
spokes of a wheel, each spoke with its own color. 
But that was at the beginning. In three hours none 
of us could have distinguished colors." 

Metcalf soon had an opportunity to question 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 



211 



others. The first batch of invalid officers arrived 
from Manila, and these, on being pressed, admitted 
that they had seen colored lights at the beginning of 
the night. These, Metcalf remarked, were watch- 
officers, whose business was to look for strange lights 
and investigate them. But one of them added this 
factor to the problem. 

"And it was curious about Brainard, the most 
useless and utterly incompetent man ever graduated. 
He was so near-sighted that he couldn't see the end 
of his nose without glasses; but it was he that took 
the ship in, with the rest of us eating with our 
fingers and asking our way to the sick-bay." 

" And Brainard wore his glasses that night? " 
asked Metcalf. 

" Yes ; he couldn't see without them. It reminds 
me of Njdia, the blind girl who piloted a bunch out 
of Pompeii because she was used to the darkness. 
Still, Brainard is hardly a parallel." 

" Were his glasses the ordinary kind, or pebbles? " 

" Don't know. Which are the cheapest? That's 
the kind." 

" The ordinary kind." 

" Well, he had the ordinary kind — like himself. 
And he'll get special promotion. Oh, Lord! He'll 
be jumped up a dozen numbers." 

" Well," said Metcalf, mysteriously, " perhaps 
not. Just wait." 

Metcalf kept his counsel, and in two weeks there 
came Japan's declaration of war in a short curt note 
to the Powers at Washington. Next day the papers 
burned with news, cabled via St. Petersburg and 
London, of the sailing of the Japanese fleet from 
its home station, but for where was not given- 
all probabihty either the Philippines or the Hawaiian 
Islands. But when, next day, a torpedo-boat came 
into San Francisco in command of the cook, with 



1 



812 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

his mess-boy at the wheel, conservatism went to the 
dogs, and bounties were offered for enlistment at the 
various navy-yards, while commissions were made 
out as fast as they could be signed, and given to any 
applicant who could even pretend to a knowledge 
of yachts. And Surgeon George Met calf, with the 
rank of junior lieutenant, was ordered to the tor- 
pedo-boat above mentioned, and with him as execu- 
tive officer a young graduate of the academy, Ensign 
Smith, who with the enthusiasm and courage of youth 
combined the mediocrity of inexperience and the full 
share of the service prejudice against civilians. 

This prejudice remained in full force, unmodified 
by the desperate situation of the country; and the 
unstricken young officers filling subordinate positions 
on the big craft, while congratulating him, openly 
denied his moral right to a command that others had 
earned a better right to by remaining in the service ; 
and the old jokes, jibes, and satirical references to 
syringes and sticking-plaster whirled about his head 
as he went to and fro, fitting out his boat and laying 
in supplies. And when they learned — from young 
Mr. Smith — ^that among these supplies was a large 
assortment of plain-glass spectacles, of no magnify- 
ing power whatever, the ridicule was unanimous and 
heartfelt; even the newspapers taking up the case 
from the old standpoint and admitting that the line 
ought to be drawn at lunatics and foolish people. 
But Lieutenant Metcalf smiled and went quietly 
ahead, asking for and receiving orders to scout. 

He received them the more readily, as all the scouts 
in the squadron, including the torpedo-flotilla and 
two battle-ships, had come in with blinded crews. 
Their stories were the same — they had all seen the 
mysterious colored lights, had gone blind, and a few 
had felt the itching and tingling of sunburn. And 
the admiral gleaned one crew of whole men from the 



I 



I 



BEVOND THE SPECTRUM 213 

fleet, and with it manned liis best ship, the Delaware. 

Metcalf went to sea, and was no sooner outside the 
Golden Gate than he opened his case of spectacles, 
and scandalized all hands, even his executive officer, 
by stem and explicit orders to wear them night and 
day, putting on a pair himself as an esiimple. 

A few of the men attested good eyesight; but this 
made no difference, he explained. They were to wear 
them or take the consequences, and as the first man 
to take the consequences was Mr. Smith, whom he 
sent to his room for twenty-four hours for appearing 
on deck without them five minutes afterward, the 
men concluded that he was in earnest and obeyed 
the order, though with smiles and silent ridicule. 
Another explicit command they received more 
readily: to watch out for curious looking craft, and 
for small objects such as floating casks, capsized 
tubs or boats, et cetera. And this brought results 
the day after the penitent Smith was released. They 
sighted a craft without spars steaming along on the 
horizon and ran down to her. She was a sealer, the 
skipper explained, when hailed, homeward bound 
under the auxiliary. She had been on fire, but the 
cause of the fire was a mystery. A few days before 
a strange-looking vessel had passed them, a mile 
away. She was a whaleback sort of a hull, with slop- 
ing ends, without spars or funnels, only a slim pole 
amidships, and near its base a projection that looked 
like a liner's crow's-nest. While they watched, their 
foremast burst into flames, and while they were rig- 
ging their hose the mainmast caught fire. Before 
this latter was well under way they noticed a round 
hole burnt deeply into the mast, of about four inches 
diameter. Next, the topsides caught fire, and they 
had barely saved their craft, letting their masts burn 
to do so. 

" Was it a bright, sunshiny dajP " asked Metcalf. 



«14 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

" Sure. Four days ago. He was heading about 
souVest, and going slow." 

" Anything happen to your eyesight? " 

" Say — ^yes. One of my men's gone stone blind. 
Thinks he must have looked squarely at the sun when 
he thought he was looking at the fire up aloft." 

" It wasn't the sun. Keep him in utter darkness 
for a week at least. He'll get well. What was your 
position when you met that fellow? " 

" About six hundred miles due nor'west from here." 

" All right. Look out for Japanese craft. War 
is declared." 

Metcalf plotted a new course, designed to intercept 
that of the mysterious craft, and went on, so elated 
by the news he had heard that he took his gossipy 
young executive into his confidence. 

" Mr. Smith," he said, " that sealer described one 
of the new seagoing submersibles of the Japanese, 
did he not?" 

"Yes, sir, I think he did— a larger submarine, 
without any conning-tower and the old-fashioned 
periscope. They have seven thousand miles' cruising 
radius, enough to cross the Pacific." 

By asking questions of various craft, and by dili- 
gent use of a telescope, Metcalf found his quarry 
three days later — a log-like object on the horizon, 
with the slim white pole amidships and the excres- 
cence near its base. 

" Wait till I get his bearing by compass," said 
Metcalf to his chief officer, " then we'll smoke up 
our specs and run down on him. Signal him by the 
International Code to put out his light, and to heave 
to, or we'll sink him." 

Mr. Smith bowed to his superior, found the num- 
bers of these commands in the code book, and with 
a string of small flags at the signal-yard, and every 
man aboard viewing the world darkly through a 



r 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 



215 



L 



smoky film, the torpedo-boat approached the 
stranger at thirty knots. But there was no blinding 
glare of light in their eyes, and when they were 
within a hundred yards of the submersible, Metcalf 
removed his glasses for a moment's distinct vision. 
Head and shoulders out of a hatch near the tube 
was a man waving a white handkerchief. He rang 
the stopping bells. 

"He surrenders, Mr. Smith," he said, joyously, 
" and without firing a torpedo! " 

He examined the man through the telescope and 
laughed. 

" I know him," he said. Then funncling his hands, 
he hailed: 

" Do you surrender to the United States of 
America? " 

" I surrender," answered the man. " I am help- 
less." 

" Then come aboard without arms. I'll send a 
boat." 

A small dinghy-like boat was dispatched, and it 
returned with the man, a Japanese in lieutenant's 
uniform, whose beady eyes twinkled in alarm as Met- 
calf greeted him. 

"Well, Saiksi, you perfected it, didn't you? — 
my invisible search- light, that I hadn't money to go 
on with.'' 

The Jap's eyes sought the deck, then resumed 
their Asiatic steadiness, 

"Metcalf — this you," he said, "in command? I 
investigated and heard you had resigned to become 
a doctor." 

" But I came back to the service, Saiksi. Thanks 
to you and your light — my light, rather — I am in 
command here in place of men you blinded. Saiksi, 
you deserve no consideration from me, in spite of 
our rooming together at Annapolis, You took — I 



»16 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

don't say stole — my invention, and turned it against 
the country that educated you. You, or your 
confreres^ did this before a declaration of war. You 
are a pirate, and I could string you up to my signal- 
yard and escape criticism.*' 

" I was under orders from my superiors, Captfidn 
Metcalf." 

" They shall answer to mine. You shall answer to 
me. How many boats have you equipped with my 
Ught?" 

" There are but three. It is very expensive." 

" One for our Philippine squadron, one for the 
Hawaiian, and one for the coast. You overdid 
things, Saiksi. If you hadn't set fire to that sealer 
the other day, I might not have found you. It was 
a senseless piece of work that did you no good. Oh, 
you are a sweet character! How do you get your 
ultraviolet rays — by filtration or prismatic disper- 
sion? " 

" By filtration." 

" Saiksi, you're a liar as well as a thief. The col- 
ored lights you use to attract attention are the dis- 
carded rays of the spectrum. No wonder you investi- 
gated me before you dared flash such a decoy ! Well, 
I'm back in the navy, and I've been investigating you. 
As soon as I heard of the first symptom of sunburn, 
I knew it was caused by the ultraviolet rays, the 
same as from the sun; and I knew that nothing but 
my light could produce those rays at night time. 
And as a physician I knew what I did not know as 
an inventor — ^the swift amblyopia that follows the 
impact of this light on the retina. As a physician, 
too, I can inform you that your country has not 
permanently blinded a single American seaman or 
officer. The effects wear off." 

The Jap gazed stolidly before him while Metcalf 
delivered himself of this, but did not reply. 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 817 

"Where is the Japanese fleet bound?" he asked, 
sternly. 

" I do not know.'* 

" And would not tell, whether you knew or not. 
But you said you were helpless. What has happened 
to you? You can tell that." 

"A simple thing, Captain Metcalf. My supply 
of oil leaked away, and my engines must work slowly. 
Your signal was useless ; I could not have turned on 
the Hght." 

" You have answered the first question. You are 
far from home without a mother-ship, or she would 
have found you and furnished oil before this. You 
have come thus far expecting the fleet to follow and 
strike a helpless coast before your supplies ran out." 

Again the Jap's eyes dropped in confusion, and 
Metcalf went on. 

" I can refurnish your boat with oil, my engineer 
and my men can handle her, and I can easily learn to 
manipulate your — or shall I say our — ^invisible 
search-light. Hail your craft in English and order 
all hands on deck unarmed, ready for transshipment 
to this boat. I shall join your fleet myself." 

A man was lounging in the hatchway of the sub- 
mersible, and this man Saiksi hailed. 

" Ae-hai, ae-hai, Matsu. We surrender. We are 
prisoner. Call up all men onto the deck. Leave 
arms behind. We are prisoner." 

They mustered eighteen in all, and in half an hour 
they were ironed in a row along the stanchioned rail 
of the torpedo-boat. 

" You, too, Saiksi," said Metcalf, coming toward 
him with a pair of jingling handcuff^s. 

" Is it not customary, Captain Metcalf," said the 
Jap, " to parole a surrendered commander? " 

" Not the surrendered commander of a craft that 
uses new and deadly weapons of war unknown to her 



818 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

adversary, and before the declaration of war. Hold 
up your hands. You're going into irons with your 
men. All Japs look alike to me, now." 

So Lieutenant Saiksi, of the Japanese navy, was 
ironed beside his cook and meekly sat down on the 
deck. With the difference of dress, they really did 
look alike. 

Metcalf had thirty men in his crew. With the as- 
sistance of his engineer, a man of mechanics, he 
picked eighteen of this crew and took them and a 
barrel of oil aboard the submersible. Then for three 
days the two craft lay together, while the engineer 
and the men familiarized themselves with her internal 
economy — the torpedo-tubes, gasoline-engines, stor- 
age-batteries, and motors; and the vast system of 
pipes, valves, and wires that gave life and action to 
the boat — ^and while Metcalf experimented with the 
mysterious search-light attached to the periscope 
tube invented by himself, but perfected by others. 
Part of his investigation extended into the night. 
Externally, the light resembled a huge cup about 
two feet in diameter, with a thick disk fitted around 
it in a vertical plane. This disk he removed; then, 
hailing Smith to rig his fire-hose and get off the deck, 
he descended the hatchway and turned on the light, 
viewing its effects through the periscope. This, be 
it known, is merely a perpendicular, non-magnifying 
telescope that, by means of a reflector at its upper 
end, gives a view of the seascape when a submarine 
boat is submerged. And in the eyepiece at its base 
Metcalf beheld a thin thread of light, of such daz- 
zling brilliancy as to momentarily blind him, stretch 
over the sea; but he put on his smoked glasses and 
turned the apparatus, tube and all, until the thin 
pencil of light touched the end of the torpedo-boat's 
signal-yard. He did not need to bring the two-inch 
beam to a focus; it burst into flame and he quickly 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 319 

shut ofF the light and shouted to Smith to put out 
the fire — which Smith promptly did, with open com- 
ment to his handful of men on this destruction of 
Government property. 

" Good enough ! " he said to Smith, when next they 
met. " Now if I'm any good I'll give the Japs a 
taste of their own medicine." 

" Take me along, captain," burst out Smith in 
sudden surrender. " I don't understand all this, but 
I want to be in it." 

" No, Mr. Smith. The chief might do your work, 
but I doubt that you could do his. I need him ; so 
you can take the prisoners home. You will un- 
doubtedly retain command." 

"Very good, sir," answered the disappointed 
youngster, trying to conceal his chagrin. 

" I don't want you to feel badly about it. I know 
how you all felt toward me. But I'm on a roving 
commission. I have no wireless apparatus and no 
definite instructions. I've been lampooned and ridi- 
culed in the papers, and I'm going to give them my 
answer — that is, as I said, if I'm any good. If I'm 
not I'll be sunk." 

So when the engineer had announced his mastery 
of his part of the problem, and that there was 
enough of gasoline to cruise for two weeks longer. 
Smith departed with the torpedo-boat, and Metcalf 
began his search for the expected fleet. 

It was more by good luck than by any possible 
calculation that Metcalf finally found the fleet. A 
steamer out of San Francisco reported that it had not 
been heard from, and one bound in from Honolulu 
said that it was not far behind — in fact had sent a 
shot or two. Metcalf shut oflF gasoline, waited a day, 
and saw the smoke on the horizon. Then he sub- 
merged to the awash condition, which in this boat just 
floated the search-light out of water; and thus 



880 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

balanced, neither floating nor sinking nor roUing, but 
rising and falling with the long pulsing of the 
ground-swell, he watched through the periscope the 
approach of the enemy. 

It was an impressive spectacle, and to a citizen of 
a threatened country a disquieting one. Nine high- 
sided battle-ships of ten-gun type — nine floating 
forts, each one, unopposed, able to reduce to smoking 
ruin a city out of sight of its gunners ; each one im- 
pregnable to the shell fire of any fortification in the 
world, and to the impact of the heaviest torpedo yet 
constructed — they came silently along in line-ahead 
formation, like Indians on a trail. There were no 
compromises in this fleet. Like the intermediate 
batteries of the ships themselves, cruisers had been 
eliminated and it consisted of extremes, battle-ships, 
and torpedo-boats, the latter far to the rear. But 
between the two were half a dozen colliers, repair, 
and supply ships. 

Night came down before they were near enough 
for operations, and Metcalf turned on his invisible 
light, expanding the beam to embrace the fleet in 
its light, and moved the boat to a position about a 
mile away from its path. It was a weird picture 
now showing in the periscope each gray ship a bluish- 
green against a background of black marked here 
and there by the green crest of a breaking sea. 
Within Metcalf 's reach were the levers, cranks, and 
worms that governed the action of the periscope and 
the light; just before him were the vertical and hori- 
zontal steering-wheels; under these a self -illuminat- 
ing compass, and at his ear a system of push-buttons, 
speaking-tubes, and telegraph-dials that put him in 
communication with every man on the boat, each one 
of whom had his part to play at the proper moment, 
but not one of whom could see or know the result. 
The work to be done was in Metcalf's hands and 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 2*1 

brain, and, considering its potentiality, it was a most 
undramatic performance. 

He waited until the leading flag-ship was within 
half a mile of being abreast ; then, turning on a hang- 
ing electric bulb, he held it close to the eyepiece of 
the periscope, knowing that the light would go up 
the tube through the lenses and be visible to the fleet. 
And in a moment he heard faintly through the steel 
walls the sound transmitted by the sea of a bugle-call 
to quarters. He shut off the bulb, watched a wander- 
ing shaft of light from the flag-ship seeking him, 
then contracted his own invisible beam to a diameter 
of about three feet, to fall upon the flag-ship, and 
played it back and forth, seeking gun ports and 
apertures and groups of men, painting all with that 
blinding light that they could not see, nor imme- 
diately sense. There was nothing to indicate that he 
had succeeded ; the faces of the different groups were 
still turned his way, and the futile search-light still 
wandered around, unable to bring to their view the 
white tube with its cup-like base. 

Still waving the wandering beam of white light, 
the flag-ship passed on, bringing along the second in 
line, and again Metcalf turned on his bulb. He 
heard her bugle-call, and saw, in varied shades of 
green, the twinkling red and blue lights of her mast- 
head signals, received from the flag-ship and passed 
down the line. And again he played that green disk 
of deadly light upon the faces of her crew. This 
ship, too, was seeking him with her search-light, and 
soon, from the whole nine, a moving network of bril- 
liant beams flashed and scintillated across the sky; 
but not one settled upon the cause of their disquiet. 

Ship after ship passed on, each with its bugle-call 
to quarters, each with its muster of all hands to meet 
the unknown emergency — the menace on a hostile 
coast of a faint white light on the port beam — but 



22« BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

not one firing a shot or shell; there was nothing to 
fire at. And with the passing of the last of the nine 
Metcalf listened to a snapping and a buzzing over- 
head that told of the burning out of the carbons in the 
Ught. 

" Good work for the expenditure," he murmured, 
wearily. " Let's see — two carbons and about twenty 
amperes of current, against nine ships at ten mil- 
lions apiece. Well, we'll soon know whether or not it 
worked." 

While an electrician rigged new carbons he rested 
his eyes and his brain; for the mental and physical 
strain had been severe. Then he played the light 
upon the colliers and supply ships as they charged 
by, disposing of them in the same manner, and 
looked for other craft of larger menace. But there 
were none, except the torpedo contingent, and these 
he decided to leave alone. There were fifteen of 
them, each as speedy and as easily handled as his own 
craft ; and already, apprised by the signaled instruc- 
tions from ahead, they were spreading out into a 
fan-like formation, and coming on, nearly abreast. 

" The jig's up, chief," he called through a tube 
to the engineer. " We'll get forty feet down until 
the mosquitoes get by. I'd like to take a chance at 
them but there are too many. We'd get torpedoed, 
surely." 

Down went the diving rudder, and, with a kick 
ahead of the engine, the submersible shot under, head- 
ing on a course across the path of the fleet, and in 
half an hour came to the surface. There was nothing 
in sight, close by, either through the periscope or by 
direct vision, and Metcalf decided to make for San 
Francisco and report. 

It was a wise decision, for at daylight he was floun- 
dering in a heavy sea and a howling gale from the 
northwest that soon forced him to submerge again 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM gS3 

for comfort. Before doing so, however, he enjoyed 
one good look at the Japanese fleet, far ahead and to 
port. The line of formation was broken, staggered, 
and disordered; and, though the big ships were mak- 
ing good weather of it, they were steering badly, and 
on one of them, half-way to the signal*yard, was the 
appeal for help that ships of all nations use and 
recognize — the ensign, upside-down. Under the lee 
of each ship was snuggled a torpedo-boat, plunging, 
rolling, and swamped by the breaking seas that even 
the mighty bulk to windward could not protect them 
from. And even as Metcalf looked, one twisted in 
two, her after funnels pointing to port, her forward 
to starboard, and in ten seconds had disappeared. 

Metcalf submerged and went on at lesser speed, 
but in comfort and safety. Through the periscope 
he saw one after the other of the torpedo-craft give 
up the fight they were not designed for, and ship 
after ship hoist that silent prayer for help. They 
yawed badly, hut in some manner or other managed 
to follow the flag-ship, which, alone of that armada, 
steered fairly well. She kept on the course for the 
Golden Gate. 

Even submerged Metcalf outran the fleet before 

noon, and at night had dropped it, entering the 

Golden Gate before daylight, still submerged, not 

only on account of the troublesome turmoil on the 

surface, but to avoid the equally troublesome scrutiny 

of the forts, whose search-lights might have caught 

him had he presented more to their view than a slim 

tube painted white. Avoiding the mines, be picked his 

H way carefully up to the man-of-war anchorage, and 

^H arose to the surface, alongside the Delaware, now the 

H flag-ship, as the light of day crept upward in the 

^1 eastern sky. 

^M " We knew they were on the coast," said the ad- 

^M miral, a little later, when Metcalf had made his re- 



a24 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

port on the quarter-deck of the Delaware. "But 
about this light? Are you sure of all this? Why, if 
it's so, the President will rank you over us all. Mr. 
Smith came in with the prisoners, but he said nothing 
of an invisible light — only of a strong search-light 
with which you set fire to the signal-yard." 

" I did not tell him all, admiral,'* answered Met- 
calf, a little hurt at the persistence of the feeling. 
" But I'm satisfied now. That fleet is coming on 
with incompetents on the bridge." 

" Well, we'll soon know. I've only one ship, but 
it's my business to get out and defend the United 
States against invaders, and as soon as I can steam 
against this gale and sea I'll go. And I'll want you, 
too. I'm short-handed." 

" Thank you, sir. I shall be glad to be with you. 
But wouldn't you like to examine the light ? " 

" Most certainly," said the admiral ; and, accom- 
panied by his staff, he followed Metcalf aboard the 
submersible. 

** It is very simple," explained Metcalf, showing 
a rough diagram he had sketched. " You see he has 
used my system of reflectors about as I designed it. 
The focus of one curve coincides with the focus of 
the next, and the result is a thin beam containing 
nearly all the radiations of the arc." 

" Very simple," remarked the admiral, dryly. 
" Very simple indeed. But, admitting this strong 
beam of light that, as you say, could set fire to that 
sealer, and be invisible in sunshine, how about the 
beam that is invisible by night? That is what I am 
wondering about." 

" Here, sir," removing the thick disk from around 
the light. " This contains the prisms, which refract 
the beam entirely around the lamp; and disperse it 
into the seven colors of the spectrum. All the visible 
light is cut out, leaving only the ultraviolet rays, and 



a 
« 



BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 226 

these travel as fast and as far^ and return by reflec- 
tion, as though accompanied by the visible rays.'* 

" But how can you see it? " asked an officer. 

How is the ship it is directed at made visible? " 
By fluorescence," answered Metcalf . " The ob- 
server is the periscope itself. Any of the various 
fluorescing substances placed in the focus of the 
object-glass, or at the optical image in front of the 
eyepiece, will show the picture in the color peculiar 
to the fluorescing material. The color does not mat- 
ter." 

" More simple still," laughed the admiraL " But 
how about the colored lights they saw ? " 

" Simply the discarded light of the spectrum. By 
removing this cover on the disk, the difi^erent colored 
rays shoot up. That was to attract attention. I 
used only white light through the periscope." 

" And it was this invisible light that blinded so 
many men, which in your hands blinded the crews 
of the Japanese ? " asked the admiral. 

*^ Yes, sir. The ultraviolet rays are beneficial as 
a germicide, but are deadly if too strong." 

" Lieutenant Metcalf," said the admiral, seriously, 
" your future in the service is secure. I apologize 
for laughing at you; but now that it's over and 
you've won, tell us about the spectacles." 

" Why, admiral," responded Metcalf, " that was 
the simplest proposition of all. The whole apparatus 
— prisms, periscope, lenses, and the fluorescing 
screen — are made of rock crystal, which is permeable 
to the ultraviolet light. But common glass, of which 
spectacles are made, is opaque to it. That is why 
near-sighted men escaped the blindness." 

" Then, unless the Japs are near-sighted, I expect 
an easy time when I go out." 

But the admiral did not need to go out and fight. 
Those nine big battle-ships that Japan had struggled 



«26 BEYOND THE SPECTRUM 

for years to obtain, and the auxiliary fleet of supply 
and repair ships to keep them in life and health away 
from home, caught on a lee shore in a hurricane 
against which the mighty Delaware could not steam 
to sea, piled up one by one on the sands below Fort 
Point ; and, each with a white flag replacing the re- 
versed ensign, surrendered to the transport or collier 
sent out to take off the survivors. 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 



I 



I 



THERE are few facilities for cooking aboard 
submarine torpedo-boats, and that is why Lieu- 
tenant Ross ran his little submarine up alongside the 
flag-sbip at noon, and made fast to the boat-boom — 
the horizontal spar extending from warships, to 
which the boats ride when in the water. And, aa 
familiarity breeds contempt, after the first, tentative, 
trial, he had been content to let her hang by one of 
the small, fixed painters depending from the boom ; 
for his boat was small, and the tide weak, bringing 
little strain on painter or boom. Besides, this plan 
was good, for it kept the submarine from bumping 
the side of the ship — and paint below the water-line 
is as valuable to a warship as paint above. 

Thus moored, the little craft, with only her deck 
and conning-tower showing, rode lightly at the end 
of her tether, while Ross and his men — all but one, 
to watch — climbed aboard and ate their dinner, 

Ross finished quickly, and sought the deck; for, 
on going down to the wardroom, he had seen among 
the visitors from shore the one girl in the world to 
him^tbe girl he had met at Newport, Washington, 
and New York, whom he wanted as he wanted life, 
but whom he had not asked for yet, because he had 
felt so sure of her. 

And now this surety was jolted out of his con- 
sciousness ; for she was there escorted by a man she 
had often described, and whom Ross recognized from 
the description — a tall, dark, " captainish "-looking 
fellow, with a large mustache ; but who, far from be- 
ing a captain or other kind of superman, was merely a 



I 



228 IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

photographer — yet a wealthy and successful photog- 
rapher, whose work was unusual and artistic. 

Ross, though an efficient naval officer, was any- 
thing but " captainish " ; he was simply a clean- 
shaven, clean-cut young fellow, with a face that 
mirrored every emotion of his soul. Knowing this 
infirmity — if such it is — ^he resolutely put down the 
jealous thoughts that surged through his brain; and 
when the visitors, guests of the captain, reached the 
deck, he met them, and was introduced to Mr. 
Foster with as pleasant a face as the girl had ever 
seen. 

Then, with the captain's permission, he invited 
them down to inspect his submarine. A plank from 
the lower grating of the gangway to the deck of the 
smaller craft was all that was needed, and along this 
they went, the girl ahead, supported by Mr. Foster, 
and Ross following, with a messenger boy from the 
bridge following him. 

At the hatch, the girl paused and shrank back, for 
the wide-open eyes of the caretaker were looking up 
at her. Ross surmised this, and called to the man 
to come up and get his dinner; then, as the man 
passed him and stepped onto the plank, the mes- 
senger got his attention. The officer of the deck de- 
sired to speak with him, he said. 

Ross explained the manner of descent, admonished 
his guests to touch nothing until he returned, and 
followed the messenger back to the officer of the 
deck. It was nothing of importance, simply a mat- 
ter pertaining to the afternoon drill; and, somewhat 
annoyed, Ross returned. But he paused at the end 
of the plank; a loud voice from below halted him, 
and he did not care to interrupt. Nor did he care 
to go back, leaving them alone in a submarine. 

" I mean it," Foster was saying vehemently. " I 
hope this boat does go to the bottom." 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 2«9 

"Why, Mr. Foster!" cried the girl. "What a 
sentiment ! " 

" I tell you I mean it. You have made life un- 
bearable." 

" I make your life unbearable? " 

" Yes, you, Irene. You know I have loved you 
from the beginning. And you have coquetted with 
me, played with me — as a cat plays with a mouse. 
When I have endeavored to escape, you have drawn 
me back by smiles and favor, and given me hope. 
Then it is coldness and disdain. I am tired of it." 

" I am sorry, Mr. Foster, if anything in my atti- 
tude has caused such an impression. I have given 
you no special smiles or favors, no special coldness 
or disdain." 

" But I love you. I want you. I cannot live with- 
out you." 

" You lived a long time without me, before we 
met." 

" Yes, before we met. Before I fell under the spell 
of your personality. You have hypnotized me, 
made yourself necessary to me. I am heartsick all 
the time, thinking of you." 

" Then you must get over it, Mr. Foster. I must 
think of myself." 

" Then you do not care for me, at all? " 

" I do, but only as an acquaintance." 

" Not even as a friend ? " 

" I do not like to answer such pointed questions, 
sir ; but, since you ask, I will tell you. I do not like 
you, even as a friend. You demand so much. You 
are very selfish, never considering my feelings at all, 
and you oflten annoy me with your moods. Frankly, 
I am happier away from you." 

" My moods ! " Foster repeated, bitterly. " You 
cause my moods. But I know what the real trouble 
is. I was all right until Ross came along." 



230 IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

" You have no right, Mr. Foster," said the girl, 
angrily, " to bring Lieutenant Ross' name into this 
discussion." 

" Oh, I understand. Do you think he can marry 
you on his pay? " 

" Mr. Ross' pay would not influence him, nor me." 

" Well, I'll tell you this " — and Foster's voice be- 
came a snarl — " you two won't be married. I'll see 
to it. I want you ; and if I can't have you, no one 
else shall." 

" Whew ! " whistled Ross, softly, while he smiled 
sweetly, and danced a mental jig in the air. Then 
he danced a few steps of a real jig, to apprise them 
of his coming. " Time to end this," he said ; then 
called out, cheerily : " Look out below," and entered 
the hatch. 

" Got a bad habit," he said, as he descended, " of 
coming down this ladder by the run. Must break 
myself, before I break my neck. Well, how are you 
making out? Been looking around? " 

The girl's face, pale but for two red spots in her 
cheeks, was turned away from him as he stepped off 
the ladder, and she trembled visibly. Foster, though 
flushed and scowling, made a better effort at self- 
control. 

" Why, no, lieutenant," he said, with a sickly 
smile. " It is all strange and new to us. We were 
waiting for you. But I have become slightly inter- 
ested in this — " He indicated a circular window, 
fixed in the steel side of the boat. " Isn't it a new 
feature in submarines ? " 

"Yes, it is," answered Ross. "But it has long 
been known that glass will stand a stress equal to 
that of steel, so they've given us deadlights. See 
the side of the ship out there? We can see objects 
about twenty feet away near the surface. Deeper 
down it is darker." 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 231 

" And I suppose you see some interesting sights 
under water," pursued Foster, now recovered in poise. 

" Yes, very interesting — and some very harrow- 
ing. I saw a man drowning not long ago. We were 
powerless to help him." 

" Heavens, what a sight ! " exclaimed Foster. 
" The expression on his face must have been tragic." 

" Pitiful— the most pitiful I ever looked at. He 
seemed to be calling to us. Such agony and despair ; 
but it did not last long." 

"But while it did last — did you have a camera? 
What a chance for a photographer! That is my 
line, you know. Did ever a photographer get 
a chance to pliotograph the expression on the 
face of a drowning man.'' What a picture it 
would be.'' " 

" Don't," said the girl, with a shudder. " For 
mercy's sake, do not speak of such things." 

" I beg your pardon, Miss Flenaing," said Ross, 
gently. " It was very tactless in me." 

"And I, Miss Fleming," said Foster, with a bow, 
" was led away by professional enthusiasm. Please 
accept mi/ apology, too. Still, lieutenant, I must 
say that I would like the chance." 

" Sorry, Mr. Foster," answered Ross, coldly. 
" We do all sorts of things to men in the navy, but 
we don't drown them for the sake of their pictures. 
Suppose I show you around, for at two bells the men 
will be back from their dinner. Now, aft here, is 
the gasoline engine, which we use to propel the boat 
on the surface. We can't use it submerged, however, 
on account of the exhaust; so, for under-water work, 
we use a strong storage battery fo work a motor. 
You see the motor back there, and under this deck 
is the storage battery — large jars of sulphuric acid 
and lead. It is a bad combination if salt water floods 
it." 



I 



J 



JSa IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 



" How? What happens? " asked Foster. 

" Battery gas, or, in chemical terms, chlorine gas 
is formed. It is one of the most poisonous and suf- 
focating of all gases. That is the real danger in 
submarine boats — suffocation from chlorine. It will 
remain so until we get a better form of motive power, 
liquid or compressed air, perhaps. And here " — 
Ross led them to a valve wheel amidships — " as 
though to invite such disaster, they've given us a sea 
cock." 

" What's it for? " asked Foster. 

" To sink the boat in case of fire. It's an inherit- 
ance from steamboats — ^pure precedent — and useless, 
for a submarine cannot catch fire. Why, a few turns 
of that wheel when in the awash trim would admit 
enough water in two minutes to sink the boat. I've 
applied for permission to abolish it." 

"Two minutes, you say. Does it turn easy? 
Would it be possible to accidentally turn it?" 

" Very easy, and very possible. I caution my men 
every day." 

" And in case you do sink, and do not immediately 
suffocate, how do you rise? " 

" By pumping out the water. There's a strong 
pump connected with that mator aft there, that will 
force out water against the pressure of the sea at 
fifty fathoms down. That is ten atmospheres — 
pretty hard pressure. But, if the motor gets wet, it 
is useless to work the pump; so, we can be satisfied 
that, if we sink by means of the sea cock, we stay 
sunk. There is a hand pump, to use on the surface 
with dead batteries, but it is useless at any great 
depth.'* 

" What do you mean by the awash trim, lieuten- 
ant?" asked Foster, who was now looking out 
through the deadlight. 

The diving trim — that is, submerged all but the 



tt 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 233 

conning-tower. I'll show you, so that you can say 
that you have really been under water." 

Ross turned a number of valves similar to the sea 
cock, and the girl's face took on a look of doubt and 
sudden apprehension. 

" You are not going to sink the boat, are you, Mr. 
Ross? " she asked. 

" Oh, no, just filling the tanks. When full, we 

still have three hundred pounds reserve buoyancy, 

and would have to go ahead and steer down. But we 

.won't go ahead. Come forward, and I'll show you 

the torpedo-tube." 

Foster remained, moodily staring through the 
deadlight, while the other two went forward. Ross 
noticed his abstraction, and, ascribing it to weariness 
of technical detail, did not press him to follow, and 
continued his lecture to Miss Fleming in a lower 
tone and in evident embarrassment. 

" Now, here is the tube," he said. " See this rear 
door. It is water-tight. When a torpedo is in the 
tube, as it is now, we admit water, as well; and, to 
expel the torpedo, we only have to open the forward 
door, apply compressed air, and out it goes. Then 
it propels and steers itself. We have a theory — no, 
not a theory now, for it has been proved — that, in 
case of accident, a submarine's crew can all be ejected 
through the tube except the last man. He must re- 
main to die, for he cannot eject himself. That man " 
— Ross smiled and bowed low to the girl — ^^ must be 
the commander." 

" How terrible ! " she answered, interested, but 
looking back abstractedly at Foster. " Why do 
you remain at this work? Your life is always in 
danger." 

" And on that account promotion is more prob- 
able. I want promotion, and more pay " — he low- 
ered his voice and took her hand — " so that I may 



234 IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

ask for the love and the life companionship of the 
dearest and best girl in the world/' 

She took her gaze off Foster, cast one fleeting 
glance into the young lieutenant's pleading face, then 
dropped her eyes to the deck, while her face flushed 
rosily. But she did not withdraw her hand. 

"Must you wait for promotion.'^" she said, at 
length. 

" No, Irene, no," exclaimed Ross, excitedly, 
squeezing the small hand in his own. " Not if you 
say so ; but I have nothing but my pay." 

" I have always been poor," she said, looking him 
frankly in the face. " But, John, that is not it. I 
am afraid. He — Mr. Foster, threatened us — vowed 
we would never — Oh, and he turned something 
back there after you started. He did it so quickly — 
I just barely saw him as I turned to follow you. I 
do not know what it was. I did not imderstand 
what you were describing." 

"He turned something! What?" 

" It was a wheel of some kind." 

Ross looked at Foster. He was now on the con- 
ning-tower ladder, half-way up, looking at his opened 
watch, with a lurid, malevolent twist to his features. 

" Say your prayers ! " yelled Foster, insanely. 
" You two are going to die, I say. Die, both of you." 

He sprang up the ladder, and Ross bounded aft, 
somewhat bewildered by the sudden turn of events. 
He was temporarily at his wits' end. But when Fos- 
ter floundered down to the deck in a deluge of water 
from above, and the conning-tower hatch closed with 
a ringing clang, he understood. One look at the 
depth indicator was enough. The boat was sinking. 
He sprang to the sea-cock valve. It was wide open. 

" Blast your wretched, black heart and soul," he 
growled, as he hove the wheel around. " Did you 
open this valve? Hey, answer me. You did, didn't 



r 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 23S 

you? And thought to escape yourself — you 
coward ! " 

" Oh, God ! " cried Foster, running about dis- . 
tractedly. " We're sinking, and I can't get out." I 

Ross tightened the valve, and sprang toward him, 
the murder impulse strong in his soul. In imagina- 
tion, he felt his fingers on the throat of the other, 
and every strong muscle of his arms closing more 
tightly his grip. Then their plight dominated his 
thoughts ; he merely struck out silently, and knocked 
the photographer down. 

" Get up," he commanded, as the prostrate man 
rolled heavily over on his hands and knees, " Get 
up, I may need you." 

Foster arose, and seated himself on a torpedo 
amidships, where he sank his head in his hands. 
With a glance at him, and a reassuring look at the 
girl, who still remained forward, Ross went aft to 
connect up the pump. But as he went, he noticed 
that the deck inclined more and more- with each 
passing moment. 

He found the depressed engine room full of water, 
and the motor flooded. It was useless to start it; it 
would short-circuit at the first contact ; and he halted, 
wondering at the boat's being down by the stern so 
much, until a snapping sound from forward apprised 
him of the reason. 

The painter at the boom had held her nose up 
until the weight was too much for it, and, with its 
parting, the little craft assumed nearly an even keel, 
while the water rushed forward among the battery 
jars beneath the deck. Then a strong, astringent 
odor arose through the seams in the deck, and Ross 
became alive, 

"Battery gas!" he exclaimed, as he ran amid- 
ships, tumbling Foster off the torpedo with a kick 
— for he was in his way. He reached up and turned 



286 IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

valve after valve, admitting compressed air from 
the flasks to the filled tanks, to blow out the water. 
This done, he looked at the depth indicator ; it regis- 
tered seventy feet; but, before he could determine 
the speed of descent, there came a shock that per- 
meated the whole boat. They were on the bottom. 

" And Lord only knows," groaned Ross, " how 
much we've taken in! But it's only three atmos- 
pheres, thank God. Here, you," he commanded to 
the nerveless Foster, who had again found a seat. 
" Lend a hand on this pump. I'll deal with your case 
when we get up." 

" What must I do? " asked Foster, plaintively, as 
he turned his face, an ashy green now, toward Ross. 

" Pump," yelled Ross, in his ear. " Pump till you 
break your back if necessary. Ship that brake." 

He handed Foster his pump-brake, and they 
shipped them in the hand-pump. But, heave as they 
might, they could not move it, except in jerks of 
about an inch. With an old-fashioned force-pump, 
rusty from disuse, a three-inch outlet, and three at- 
mospheres of pressure, pumping was useless, and 
they gave it up, even though the girl added her little 
weight and strength to the task. 

Ross had plenty of compressed air in the numer- 
ous air flasks scattered about, and, as he could blow 
out no more tanks, he expended a jet into the choking 
atmosphere of the boat. It sweetened the air a little, 
but there was enough of the powerful, poisonous gas 
generated to keep them all coughing continually. 
However, he seated the girl close to the air jet, so 
that she need not suffer more than was necessary. 

"Are we in danger, John.?" she asked. "Real 
danger, I mean? " 

" Yes, dear, we are," he answered, tenderly. " And 
it is best that you should know. I have driven out 
all the water possible, and we cannot pump at this 



r 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 237 

depth. Higher up wc could. But I can eject the 
torpedo from the tube, and perhaps the others. That 
will lighten us a good deal." 

He went forward, driving Foster before him — for 
he did not care to leave him too close to the girl — 
and pushed him bodily into the cramped space be- 
tween the tube and the trimming tanks. 

" Stay there," he said, incisively, " until I want 
you." 

" What can I do ? " whimpered the photographer, 
a brave bully before the girl, when safe; a stricken 
poltroon now, " I'll do anything you say, to get to 
the surface." 

" You'll get to the surface in time," answered 
Ross, significantly. " How much do you weigh? " 

" Two hundred pounds." 

" Two hundred more than we want. However, I'll 
get rid of this torpedo." 

Ross drove the water out of the tube, opened the 
breech-door ; and, reaching in with a long, heavy 
wire, lifted the starting lever and water tripper that 
gave motion to the torpedo's engine. The exhaust of 
air into the tube was driven out into the boat by the 
rapidly moving screws, and in a few moments the 
engine ran down. 

Then Ross closed the door, flooded the tube, opened 
the forward door, or port, and sent out the torpedo, 
confident that, with a dead engine, it would float 
harmlessly to the surface, and perhaps locate their 
position to the fleet; for there could be little doubt 
that the harbor above was dotted with boats, drag- 
ging for the sunken submarine. 

As the torpedo went out, Ross noticed that the 
nose of the boat lifted a little, then settled as the 
tube filled with water. This was encouraging, and 
he expelled the water. The nose again lifted, but 
the stern still held to the bottom. There were two 



«88 IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

other torpedoes, one each side, amidships, and 
though the dragging to the tube of these heavy 
weights was a job for all hands, Ross essayed it. 

They were mounted on trucks, and with what me- 
chanical aids and purchases he could bring to bear, 
he and the subdued Foster labored at the task, and 
in an hour had the starboard torpedo in the tube. 

As he was expending weights, he did not take into 
the 'midship tank an equal weight of water, as was 
usual to keep the boat in trim, and when the torpedo, 
robbed of motive power and detonator, went out, the 
bow lifted still higher, though the stem held, as was 
evidenced by the grating sound from aft. The tide 
was drifting the boat along the bottom. 

Another hour of hard, perspiring work rid them 
of the other torpedo, and the boat now inclined at an 
angle of thirty degrees, down by the stern because 
of the water in the engine room, but not yet at the 
critical angle that caused the flooding of the after 
battery jars as the boat sank. 

Ross looked at the depth indicator, but found 
small comfort. It read off a depth of about sixty 
feet, but this only meant the lift of the bow. How- 
ever, the propeller guard only occasionally struck 
the bottom now, proving to Ross that, could he ex- 
pend a very little more weight, the boat would rise 
to the surface, where, even though he might not 
pump, his periscope and conning-tower could be seen. 
He panted after his labors until he had regained 
breath, then said to Foster: 

" You next." 

" I next? What do you mean? " 

"You want to get to the surface, don't you?" 
said Ross, grimly. " You expressed yourself as will- 
ing to do anything I might say, in order to get to 
the surface. Well, strip off your coat, vest, and 
shoes, and crawl into that tube." 



r 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

"What? To drown? No, I will not." 

" Yes, you will. Can you swim? " 

" I can swim, but not when I am shot out of a | 
gun." 

" Then you'U drown. Peel off." 

" I cannot. I cannot. Would you kill me? " 

" Don't care much," answered Ross, quietly, " if 
I do. Only I don't want your dead body in the boat. 
Come, now," he added, his voice rising. " I'm giving 
you a chance for your life. I can swim, too, and 
would not hesitate at going out that tube, if I were 
sure that the boat, deprived of my weight, would rise. 
But I am not sure, so I send you, not only because 
you are heavier than I, but because, as Miss Fleming 
must remain, I prefer to remain, too, to live or die 
with her. Understand? " 

" But, Miss Fleming," cackled Foster. " She can 
swim. I've heard her say so." 

" You cowardly scoundrel," said Ross, his eyes 
ablaze with scorn and rage. He had already shed 
his coat and vest. Now he rolled up his shirt-sleeves. 
" Will you go into that tube of your own volition, 
conscious, so that you may take a long breath before 
I flood the tube, or unconscious, and pushed in like 
a bag of meal, to drown before you know what ails 
you — which? " 

" No," shrieked Foster, as the menacing face and 
fists of Ross drew close to him. " I will not. Do 
something else. You are a sailor. You know what 
to do. Do something else." 

Ross' reply was a crashing blow in the face, that 
8ent Foster reeling toward the tube. But he arose, 
and returned, the animal fear in him changed to 
courage. He was a powerfully built man, taller, 
broader, and heavier than Ross, and what he lacked 
in skill with his fists, he possessed in the momentum 
of his lunges, and his utter indifference tc 



I 
1 



(ed ^m 
um ^H 



«40 IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

Ross was a trained boxer^ strong, and agile, and 
where he struck the larger man he left his mark ; but 
in the contracted floor space of the submarine he 
was at a disadvantage. But he fought on, striking, 
ducking, and dodging — striving not only for his own 
life, but that of the girl whom he loved, who, seated 
on the 'midship trimming tank, was watching the 
fight with pale face and wide-open, frightened eyes. 

Once, Ross managed to trip him as he lunged, and 
Foster fell headlong; but before Ross could secure 
a weapon or implement to aid him in the unequal 
combat, he was up and coming back, with nose bleed- 
ing and swollen, eyes blackened and half closed, and 
contusions plentifully sprinkled over his whole face. 

He growled incoherently; he was reduced by fear 
and pain to the level of a beast, and, beast-like, he 
fought for his life — with hands and feet, only the 
possession of the prehensile thumb, perhaps, pre- 
venting him from using his teeth; for Ross, unable 
to avoid his next blind lunge, went down, with the 
whole two hundred pounds of Foster on top of him, 
and felt the stricture of his clutch on his throat. 

A man being choked quickly loses power of voli- 
tion, entirely distinct from the inhibition coming of 
suppressed breathing ; after a few moments, his move- 
ments are involuntary. 

Ross, with flashes of light before his eyes, soon 
took his hands from the iron fingers at his throat, 
and, with the darkening of his faculties, his arms 
and legs went through flail-like motions, rising and 
falling, thumping the deck with rhythmic regularity. 

Something in this exhibition must have affected 
the girl at the air jet ; for Ross soon began to breathe 
convulsively, then to see more or less distinctly — 
while his limbs ceased their flapping — and the first 
thing he saw was the girl standing over him, her 
face white as the whites of her distended eyes, her 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 241 

lips pressed tightly together, and poised aloft in 
her hands one of the pump-brakes, ready for an- 
other descent upon the head of Foster, who, still and 
inert, lay by the side of Ross. 

As Ross moved and endeavored to rise, she dropped 
the club, and sank down, crying his name and kissing 
him. Then she incontinently fainted. 

Ross struggled to his feet, and, though still weak 
and nerveless, found some spun yam in a locker, 
with which he tied the unconscious victim's hands 
behind his back, and lashed his ankles together. 
Thus secured, he was harmless when he came to his 
senses, which happened before Ross had revived the 
girl. But there were no growling threats coming 
from him now; conquered and bound, his courage 
changed to fear again, and he complained and prayed 
for release. 

" Not much," said Ross, busy with the girl. 
" When I get my wind, I'm going to jam you 
into that tube, like a dead man. I'll release you 
inside." 

When Miss Fleming was again seated on the tank, 
breathing fresh air from the jet, Ross went to work 
with the practical methods of a sailor. He first, by 
a mighty exercise of all his strength, loaded the 
frightened Foster on to one of the torpedo trucks, 
face downward; then he wheeled him to the tube, so 
that his uplifted face could look squarely into it; 
then he passed a strap of rope around under his 
shoulders, to which he applied the big end of a ship's 
handspike, that happened to be aboard; and to the 
other end of this, as it lay along the back of Foster, 
he secured the single block of a small tackle — one of 
the purchases he had used in handling the torpedoes 
— and when he had secured the double block to an 
eyebolt in the bow, he steadied the handspike be- 
tween his knees, hauled on the fall, with no word to 



«*2 IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 

the screaming wretch, and launched him, head and 
shoulders, into the tube. 

As his hands, tied behind him, went in, Ross care- 
fully cut one turn of the spun yarn, hauled away, 
and as his feet disappeared, he cut the bonds on his 
ankles; then he advised him to shake his hands and 
feet clear, pulled out the handspike, slammed the 
breech-door to, and waited. 

The protest from within had never ceased ; but at 
last Ross got from the information, interlarded 
with pleadings for life, that his hands and feet were 
free. 

"All right. Take a good breath, and I'll flood 
you," called Ross. " When you're outside, swim up." 
The voice from within ceased. 

Ross threw over the lever that admitted water to 
the tube, opened the forward door, and applied the 
compressed air. There was a slight jump to the 
boat's nose, but with the inrush of water as Foster 
went out, it sank. 

However, when Ross closed the forward door, and 
had expelled this water, it rose again, and he anx- 
iously inspected the depth indicator. 

At first, he hardly dared believe it, but in a few 
moments he was sure. The indicator was moving, 
hardly faster than the minute hand of a clock. The 
boat, released of the last few pounds necessary, was 
seeking the surface. 

"Irene," he shouted, joyously, "we're rising. 
We'll be afloat before long, and they'll rescue us. 
Even though we can't pump, they'll see our periscope, 
and tow us somewhere where they can lift the hatch 
out of water. It's all over, girl — all over but the 
shouting. Stand up, and look at the indicator. 
Only fifty-five feet now." 

She stood beside him, supported by his arm, and 
together they watched the slowly moving indicator. 



IN THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW 248 

Then Ross casually glanced at the deadlight, and 
violently forced the girl to her seat. 

" Sit still," he commanded, almost harshly. " Sit 
still, and rest." 

For, looking in through the deadlight, was the 
white face of Foster, washed clean of blood, but 
filled with the terror and agony of the dying. His 
hands clutched weakly at the glass, his eyes closed^ 
his mouth opened, and he drifted out of sight. 



s 






9. 



Hitai 



THE WRECK OF THE TITAN; 

oe futility 



, ,, J '-.^ 

3 blDS OaO D73 aet •S'^ujr- 



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