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THE WRECK OF THl
Copyright, 1898, by
M. F. Mansfield
Copyright, 1912, by
AU rights restrved
THE QUINN A BODEN CO. PRCM
RAHWAY, N. 4.
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;
THE WRECK OF THE TITAN
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-
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
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-
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.
m the sli
THE WRECK OF THE TITAN
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
"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,
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
" 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."
THE WHECK OF THE TITAN
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? "
"Is he still drunk? "
" Yes, sir."
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
" 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
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
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-
The boatswain bounded up the steps of the bridge
" 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.
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
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
" 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
crow's-neet when this unfortunate collision oc-
"Yes, sir; and I reported the ship as soon as I
" 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
" 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-
" 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
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
"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.
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
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
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-
18 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN
" 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
THE WRECK OF THE TITAN
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.
*'¥) 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
" 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-
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
" 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
" 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-
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
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.
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."
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."
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
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,
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
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.
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
The bear rqse to his haunches, sank down, and
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
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
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.
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
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
" 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
" 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
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? "
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
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,
" 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
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
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
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
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
" 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-
" 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."
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.
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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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-
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
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
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
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-
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
Silently they arose, pale, shamefaced, and
crushed, and went out the door, through the outer
office, and into the street.
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
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
" 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
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
" Sudden emotion of some kind," said the doctor
when he did arrive. " Violent emotion, too. Hear
" 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
" 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
" 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."
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
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-
" Settle inside," called the captain to the driver.
*' We'll take another, Rowland."
Around the first corner they found a cab,
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
" 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
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."
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."
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
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
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,
" Ye believe — but ye don't know. Come back into
the shtore, me tourist, and we'll see who ye shtole it
" 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-
" 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
" 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.
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
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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
68 THE WRECK OF THE TITAN
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,
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
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."
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
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
" 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
" 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
^^ Going away, Billie ! " she cried in alarm.
" 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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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-
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
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.
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 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
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
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
" 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
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.
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
In a few minutes the man reported — a fixed white
86 THE PIRATES
"Are you an officer of this boat, sir?" asked the
" 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
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
" I accept your offer," said Denman, " because
I want fresh air, and nothing will be gained in honor
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
" 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
Manifestly he, a prisoner on parole, could not seek
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
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 .
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
" 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
" 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-
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
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
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.
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-
pointment on his face. " We cannot force you to
join us, or help us; so — ^well, come forward, you
" 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
"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
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
He released Denman, moved around among them,
looking each man steadily in the face, and they strag-
" 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
" 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
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
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 woman? That wasn't powder, Riley. What was
" 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
Riley did not answer, and soon Jenkins spoke
" 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."
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
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-
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
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
" 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
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
- 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."
" Don't," warned Denman, sharply,
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
" 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.
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
" 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? "
" 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-
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."
" Then you think well of it? "
" Certainly. Forsythe has brains. The only
trouble with him is that he wants to run things too
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
" 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
" 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
Riley, one of the machinists, appeared from the
engine-room hatch and came forward, halting before
" 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
" Short oil? " queried Forsythe. " Do you mean
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
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,
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-
" 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."
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
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.
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
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
" 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.
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
" Yes, yes," they acclaimed. " Take charge, and
get us out o' these seas. Who wants to be locked
" 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
^ to St
officers, and, finding what he wanted, went forward
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
" 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
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
" 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
THE PIRATES 115
on his face from the wound in his scalp, appeared
" 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
"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
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
" 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
" 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.
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
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.
he could see a steamer on the horizon, steering a
course that would soon intercept that of the de<
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
" 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
" 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
"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."
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
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.
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
" 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
" 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.
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-
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
" 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."
" 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."
" 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
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
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
The sudden stoppi
1 order that they should " work
, parole was out of the qucs-
of the turbines woke him in
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
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
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
"Any one else in that deck house?" called
" 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
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
" 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.
' ' 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.
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 — "
" Unless what?" demanded Denman, leaning over
" 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-
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
" Florrie," he said, softly, so as not to be heard
from above, "is this really you? I wouldn't have
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
" Don't talk like that, Billie Denman. I'm dis-
figured for life, I know. I can never show my face
" 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
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-
" Very good, sir," answered Billings as he went
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-
" 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-
Then he went into the pilot-house and Munson
came out and made the shortest cul to the nearest
" 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
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
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.
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
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
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
^ 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
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
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-
" 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
" 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
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
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.
"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
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
" 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-
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
" 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
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
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
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
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^
" 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.
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
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
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
" Over the side with them all," commanded Den-
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
THE PIRATES li9
"Florrie!" he shouted. " Florrie, come on deck.
Throw a rope over. Florrie — oh, Florrie ! "
SHE came hurriedly, and peered over the rail with
a startled, frightened expression. Then she
" 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
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
He untied Florrie's knot, and slowly dragged the
big man forward, experiencing a check at the break
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
" He did ; but I got there in time to knock him
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-
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,
" 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
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-
kins was helpless for a while, unable
speak, and need not be considered.
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
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
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
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-
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
" 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
" 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.
" We're safe, and the wind will blow out in a few
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" 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.
'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
**Got him foul," he yelled, excitedly. "All the
keys and his gun."
" All right. Just hand that gun to me — ^what !
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
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
" 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
" 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-
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
" 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."
""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
" 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-
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
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
" Get to stations," he said. " I'll think it out.
Forsythe, take the bridge and dope out where we
They scattered, and Forsythe mounted to the
bridge, while Jenkins, still a sick man, descended to
"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? "
" 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
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
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
" 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
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-
" 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 !
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,
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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-
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.
1180 THE PIRATES
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
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
" 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
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,
" 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
In a short time the tanks were filled, the hose
hauled back, and the starting bells run in both engine
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
" 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.
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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" Now, Sampson, this'U be enough of this."
" What have i/ou got to say about it? " inquired
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
" 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,
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
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.
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
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
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
THE PIRATES 191
"Why, Billie, what is the matter?" asked the
" 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
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
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
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
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
" 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. .
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,
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-
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
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
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-
Denman, looking closely, saw it appear once on the
surface, porpoiselike, before it dived to its indicated
" The inhuman devil ! " he commented, with grit-
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
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,
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.
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
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
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
** 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?"
" 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
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
Forsythe answered profanely and as coherently as
his rage and excitement would permit.
Munson replied by holding his fist under Forsythe's
" 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
«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
" 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
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
" 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
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-
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
" 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
" 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
** 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
And Billie, gathering her into his arms, let it go
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
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-
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
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-
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
" 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
" 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
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? "
" 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 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
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
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
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
BEYOND THE SPECTRUM
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
" I know him," he said. Then funncling his hands,
" Do you surrender to the United States of
" I surrender," answered the man. " I am help-
" Then come aboard without arms. I'll send a
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
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
" 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
" They shall answer to mine. You shall answer to
me. How many boats have you equipped with my
" 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-
" 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,
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
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
" 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
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,
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
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
** 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
" 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
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-
" 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
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
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
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-
" 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
" But I love you. I want you. I cannot live with-
" You lived a long time without me, before we
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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-
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
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
" How terrible ! " she answered, interested, but
looking back abstractedly at Foster. " Why do
you remain at this work? Your life is always in
" 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
" 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
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
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
"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
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
" 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
" 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."
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 |
" 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
«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
" 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
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
"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.
THE WRECK OF THE TITAN;
, ,, J '-.^
3 blDS OaO D73 aet •S'^ujr-
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