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pg slot auto game "So am I, captain," added the lieutenant, laughing outright at the perplexity in which both of them were involved. "I have told you the simple truth in regard to my movements." About this time Dave, who had taken care to keep in the front of the table as he had been ordered to do, seized upon his feather duster, and began to dust the divan on the starboard side of the cabin. Flanger was so much occupied with the commander at that moment, that he was not disposed to take his eye off him for an instant; for certainly the situation had become critical, and 277 he paid no attention to the steward. Dave was a sort of a feather-duster fiend, and he used the article a great deal of his time, apparently as much from habit as from cleanliness. "I don't like the responsibility, in the first place, and the inactivity, in the second. When I am forty or fifty years old, I shall like a command better. Others seem to look upon me now as a boy, capable of any sort of quixotism, however prudent I may be, and point at me as one who has been 367 made a commander of a steamer by influence at court. There is a vacancy at the present time on board of the Bellevite, for the second lieutenant will be compelled to resign on account of his health." pg slot auto game Though the second lieutenant of the Bronx had not been to breakfast, it was not his stomach that made the first demand upon him. He directed the steward to remain in the gangway and apprise him of the coming of any person in the direction of the cabin and ward room. Dave took his station on the steps. Mr. Flint entered the stateroom, and the first thing he did was to drop down on his knees and thrust his right hand into the space under the berth. It was instantly grasped by Christy, and given a warm pressure. "If you will get out of the berth yourself, I will allow you to do so," added Christy. "Mr. Flint, I appoint you acting first lieutenant of the Bronx," said Christy, as soon as the affray was over. "You will restore order on board." "And by taking the bull by the horns, instead of waiting till the captain of the Sphinx concluded to take his chances of being captured in getting to sea, we have made the Bronx available for duty at once in another quarter, where she can do better work than in chewing her cable off the bar of Barataria," said the wounded commander, thus satisfying his conscience that he had done his duty. "I am glad to see you, Captain Passford," said Mr. Blowitt, who was properly received when he stepped down upon the deck. ambking "That's my name—Byron, sir, at your service," said the man, as he touched his cap to the lieutenant, and rushed forward in answer to the call of his superior, evidently glad to escape from the inquisition to which he had been subjected. "On deck!" he added, as he made his way to the forecastle. "Mr. Camden will take charge of the second cutter," added Christy. "Steamer, ahoy!" came from her in the well-known voice of Mr. Blowitt, formerly the commander 294 of the Bronx, and now executive officer of the Bellevite. Mr. Pennant stood up in the stern sheets, and 340 gazed in the direction of the fort. On the shore of the Grand Pass, above the fort, were three buildings, formerly occupied by mechanics and laborers. The sailing directions for entering the bay were to bring the fronts of these structures in range, and proceed for a time on the course indicated. Mr. Pennant had obtained this bearing after he had backed the boat a few feet. The depth of water then informed him that he was in the channel. "If I were still at Brooklyn doubtless I could find the boatman who put me on board of the Vernon not more than an hour ago," continued Christy, willing to convince his auditor that he was entirely in earnest in his statement. Christy heard the footsteps of the late second lieutenant of the Vernon as he left the cabin. He had listened to the details of the plan formed by the naval officer, and it agreed with the prediction of Mr. Flint. While he was thinking of what he had just learned, he heard the step of Corny—for it could not be that of any other person so soon—coming into the stateroom; then he saw his feet from behind his barricade of bags and baggage. "What do you mean by that?" "In that case she is too big for us to fight her, and too fast for us to run away from her; and Captain Flanger may be a free man in a few hours." ufagood Job conducted him to the fort, which was over a mile distant. The lieutenant was not dressed in his uniform with the shoulder straps, though he had procured one from the store ship at the station; but he had adjusted his garments to the needs of the occasion, so that, if captured he could hardly be recognized as a union officer. But he had his navy revolvers in his hip pockets, though they were covered by the skirts of the frock coat he wore, for he had borrowed this garment of the surgeon. "No use, Massa Ossifer; dis nigger don't hab teef enough to do dat." Christy looked at his watch when the sail was reported to him, and found that it wanted ten minutes of eleven. The Bronx had been steaming for just about three hours, and must have made about forty miles, as he hastily figured up the run in his mind. "That is the flag-ship, I think, anchored the farthest from the shore," replied Mr. Galvinne, to whom the remark had been addressed. CHAPTER III CHRISTY PASSFORD IS UTTERLY CONFOUNDED After rendering his decision it was evident that Captain Battleton had something to say to Christy, for he waited in silence till Corny had closed the door behind him before he even looked at the officer standing before him. The lieutenant from the moment the envelopes were opened and their contents exposed to the view of all present, had fully expected the result just announced. Whatever he thought, suspected, or surmised when he saw the blank papers taken from his official envelope, he kept to himself. The little gunboat had certainly done a great deal of mischief to the Confederate interests, for she had captured two valuable vessels intended for the southern navy, to say nothing of half a dozen others loaded with cotton, and ready to sail. From the Confederate point of view, it was exceedingly desirable that she should be prevented from doing any further injury to the maritime interests of the South. But it seemed almost incredible that Corny Passford should be employed to bring about her capture by stratagem. His cousin was not a sailor; at least, he had not been one the last time he had met him, and it was hardly possible that he had learned seamanship, navigation, and naval tactics in so short a time, and so far as Christy knew, with little practical experience. CHAPTER I A MYSTERIOUS VISITATION
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pg slot auto game 245 "I suppose the steamer has a supply of coal on board, Mr. Flint." "Yes; but I have no time to spare, and you must not stop to talk," replied Christy rather sharply. 255 "Because the Bronx is a fast vessel compared with most of the steamers of the navy, hardly any of which are good for more than twelve knots an hour, while this ship will make sixteen when she is driven, and fourteen under ordinary circumstances when we are not trying to save coal. Of course I have no idea what duty we are to perform, and I am not anxious to know till the time comes, though midnight is a rather odd time to open the envelope." 266 Christy yawned, or pretended to do so, and in the act he rose from the table. Captain Flanger was silent as he did so, and watched the captain with the eye of a lynx, as the latter placed himself behind the chair he had occupied. He was in position to make a movement of some kind, and the intruder deliberately drew from his right-hand coat pocket a heavy revolver. Holding this in his hand, he drew another from the left-hand pocket, and threw it on the table. This order was promptly obeyed. Before it was fully carried out an elderly gentleman crawled out of the cuddy, and stood up in the standing room; he was a man of dignity, and evidently of importance. "Uncle Job," said Mike, placing his hand on the shoulder of the sleeper on the side of the bed nearest to him. "I was not; I had nothing to do with the sloop. She belonged to Captain Flanger." "But the flag-ship will make out the steamer," suggested Corny. "Perhaps I ought to say in the beginning that it is not in my own handwriting, for after I had written it, Mr. Jones copied it for me," Corny explained, and, perhaps, thought he might be called upon to give a specimen of his chirography. "No, sir, I did not; I heard no one call him by name. He was in the cuddy forward when we boarded the Magnolia; and when he came out of the little cabin, the first thing he said was, 'It was very unwise for you to order the men to fire upon the boat. It was a great mistake, Captain Flanger.'" "Your name is not Walsh!" exclaimed Christy with a frown. "I know enough to understand when I am treated like a gentleman. Change your manners, or I will order you to leave my cabin. You talk to me as though I were a small boy, and had nothing to do with the enterprise in which we are engaged," returned Corny. "Dave," said Christy, after he had obtained a view of the back of the steward's head which satisfied him that he was the right man. wwwruaycom เขาสระบบ "Have you anything to say in regard to it?" 199 "Do you ever drink whiskey, Pennant?" asked Christy abruptly. "Dey hab de medicine at de big house." "I was hit in the left arm; but very fortunately the wound did not disable me," replied the lieutenant as he proceeded to take off his coat. "He has enlisted as a seaman, and seems to be a good one. By the way, where did you learn that my cousin attempted to take the Bronx into Pensacola Bay?" asked Christy curiously, though he was using up the time he could not yet improve. "But can you not recall some event or circumstance which will throw some light on the mystery?" persisted Dr. Connelly. "She must be a steamer of fifteen hundred tons, and perhaps more," said Mr. Flint, after he had looked at her through his night glass. "I have heard about that; and I know that your cousin Christopher is no chicken." "Is the Bronx in condition for immediate service, Captain Passford?" asked the flag-officer. "But what could have been his object in coming into the house?" asked the bewildered lady. Mr. Pennant reported in all its details upon his expedition. Dr. Connelly said his patient was severely, but not dangerously, wounded; he would recover, but he would not be fit for duty for two or three weeks. 123up "I neber spoke noffin but the truf, Massa Ossifer." "If you will excuse me for making an indirect reply, captain, I did not come on board of the Vernon last evening," answered Christy, his smile becoming still more decided; and if he had not been on the quarter-deck of a vessel in service, he might have suspected that he was himself the victim of a practical joke. "I propose to appoint him executive officer of the Bronx." In the breast pocket of his uniform coat he found the envelope which contained his commission as a lieutenant, received only two days before his orders, and some other papers. As a precaution against inquisitive persons, if the package should happen to be mislaid in the house, he had applied some mucilage in the library, and resealed the envelope. It had not been tampered with so far as he could discover, and he returned it to the pocket. Another half hour elapsed, and except the monotonous plaint of the screw, no sound was to be heard. A footstep came from the cabin, where Dave was at work, or appeared to be, for he had been stationed there for his part of the programme which was presently to be carried out. pg slot auto game 89 "I do not see how you can escape that conclusion," replied the first lieutenant. "But you need not expect any signal for a couple of hours, or even three. If we get into trouble, we shall retreat upon the boat direct; so keep your eyes wide open."
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pg slot auto game "That's so!" exclaimed Mr. Pennant, feeling of his left arm as he spoke; for he had been wounded there, though the injury had not for a moment abated his energy. "That sounds like a story for a novel," added the planter, smiling. "I beg your pardon, Captain Flanger, but do you really purpose to blow out the brains of your figure-head?" asked Christy, as coolly as though no such threat had been suggested to him. "Are you wounded, Mr. Pennant?" asked the commander, who had listened to his report at length, without suspecting that he had a wound. "You may come with me, Ralph," added Christy, as he descended the companion-way. The crew had been ordered to ease off, and the cutter moved very slowly. A quarter of an hour later the sounding was ten and three-quarters feet. The next report was fourteen feet, and then no bottom at twenty feet. The Bronx was approaching 341 the boat with full steam, and stopped her screw a short distance from the cutter. In a few moments more the boat was at the davits, and the commander of the expedition reported to Captain Passford. "At present I cannot; after I have had an opportunity for reflection I may be able to do so," replied Christy, from whom a more decided demonstration than he made was expected. 326 "Can't you spell it?" "And the second lieutenant?" The strange sail continued to approach; and, little by little, the first lieutenant, who had sailed in the Bellevite several years, identified her as that steamer. It was probable that she had chased some vessel, and was now returning to her station. As she came nearer, she fired a gun for the Bronx to come to; and when within hail of her, stopped her screw. "We shall be well out of sight of the flag-ship by dark, or sooner, and then we can come about, 152 and keeping closely under the lee of the land, we shall reach the entrance of the bay before morning; and then all we have to do is to run in." Christy was still on the bridge, and he watched with intense interest the effect of the shot. In a moment he saw the carriage of the only gun that seemed to be mounted on the barbette flying in pieces in every direction. He directed the gunner to use a shell next time; but the soldiers had hastened away from the place, bearing with them two of their companions, doubtless wounded by the splinters. betflix dc "Then you had better turn in, Captain Passford," said the executive officer. "We can do nothing more to-night except to keep a sharp lookout." "Good-morning, Lieutenant Passford!" said Captain Battleton, as he extended his hand to his passenger. "I am glad to see that you are better." As soon as the steward had taken him to the steerage, Mr. Pennant made his report in full, even to the number and calibre of the guns at the fort, and including the cure he had wrought upon the Confederate soldier. Christy was amused at this last part of the narrative; but he had no time to waste in conversation. The little gunboat had certainly done a great deal of mischief to the Confederate interests, for she had captured two valuable vessels intended for the southern navy, to say nothing of half a dozen others loaded with cotton, and ready to sail. From the Confederate point of view, it was exceedingly desirable that she should be prevented from doing any further injury to the maritime interests of the South. But it seemed almost incredible that Corny Passford should be employed to bring about her capture by stratagem. His cousin was not a sailor; at least, he had not been one the last time he had met him, and it was hardly possible that he had learned seamanship, navigation, and naval tactics in so short a time, and so far as Christy knew, with little practical experience. pg slot auto game "Sea-sick! No, sir; I believe I never was sea-sick in my life." "I reported to the department that I had only a single vacant stateroom in the ward room of the Vernon, and I was ordered to receive Lieutenant Christopher Passford as a passenger, as I could not take another officer," said the captain. "It is not a serious question compared with others at issue, but the occupation of the single room, now in possession of the gentleman who came on board last evening, depends upon the result of our present inquiry." "Boddyvale? I never heard of the place before in my life, sir," answered the runaway servant. "Of course Corny asked for his appointment, for Mr. Galvinne was the real leader of the enterprise. I think you and some of the rest of us have narrowly escaped a Confederate prison." "I beg your pardon, Captain Flanger, but do you really purpose to blow out the brains of your figure-head?" asked Christy, as coolly as though no such threat had been suggested to him. "Grass! They don't raise it in the city; and there isn't as much of it in all the streets as I saw in the principal one in Mobile when I was there, on my way from the prison to the bay," replied the commander cheerfully. "I don't believe that business was ever so lively in New York and the other cities of the North as it is at this time; and I left there ten days ago." "Then you had better turn in, Captain Passford," said the executive officer. "We can do nothing more to-night except to keep a sharp lookout." "But they are enclosed in an official envelope," added the captain, as he held up the cover of the papers. "In this respect they have the advantage of those presented by the other gentleman. 82 You appear to be as much surprised as any of the rest of us, Mr. Passford. Can you explain the fact that you present nothing but blank papers instead of your commission and orders?" "Such an ornament must be a nuisance to you, 262 Captain Flanger, and I think we will have it removed. Dave, go and ask the second lieutenant to report to me with his keys and a file," said Christy. ufau4 "I hear the voices again," he reported to the lieutenant in the stern sheets, in a voice just loud enough to reach him; "they are more to the southward." Captain Flanger was at the critical point in his operations, and he was too busy with the commander to give any attention to the negro, whom he regarded with the contempt begotten of his Southern education. Dave was intelligent enough to understand the situation accurately, and he realized that it was rapidly becoming critical. He knew that Christy was unarmed, and that the 280 whole attention of the pirate was concentrated upon him, so that he could do nothing to help himself. "And the second lieutenant?" "At present, no, sir," replied the seaman decidedly. "I learned a few months ago that I failed to obtain the command of the steamer I brought home from Havana because it was said I took too much whiskey. I knocked off then, and have not drank a drop since." "But don't you believe it will be better to appeal to the flag-officer?" asked the second lieutenant. "I had the same thing once before, and I was 333 sure I should die with it this time," said the sick soldier, "It lasted me all night and part of the next day the other time." 184 "Is he a prisoner?" asked Corny, as he got out of the berth. "I studied history a little in relation to this subject, for I wanted to know whether any lies I might tell in serving my country were to be registered against me. I know that I would not tell a lie in the ordinary relations of life; but I am sure that I should have been a traitor to the union if I had told the enemy the simple truth on several 109 occasions. I captured a schooner loaded with cotton by pretending to be what I was not. If it is justifiable to kill a man in war, it must be justifiable to tell a lie to the enemy."
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pg slot auto game "What do you mean by that, Corny?" asked the prisoner, disregarding the advice of his cousin. The watch below were all around him. Some of them were mending their clothes, others were reading newspapers they had brought with them, but the greater part of them were in squads engaged in talking about the events of the war. 104 The nearest group to Christy were conversing about the two lieutenants who claimed to be the real officer ordered to the command of the Bronx. It seemed rather strange to the listener that they should know anything about the events which had happened in the secrecy of the captain's cabin, and this circumstance led him to believe that at least one of the officers of the ship must be a confederate of Corny. "Mr. Camden will take charge of the second cutter," added Christy. The reports of the leadsman were satisfactory, and the steamer went ahead for an hour. Then they began to give a diminution of the depth of water, indicating, as Christy stated it, that the vessel was approaching the land. He looked over the log slate, and found that the course had been due east till the order had been given to head her in the opposite direction. She had sailed rather more than an hour on that tack, during which the recapture of the steamer had been made. "My first misfortune was in being made a prisoner. My second and most annoying mishap was the capture of the Floridian," continued Captain Flanger. "It was my intention to fit her out as a privateer, with the proceeds of the sale of her cargo of cotton, for she is a good vessel, and as fast as the Bronx, as you call her." "Bless the Lord that you are his nephew and not his son!" exclaimed Michael fervently, as he raised his eyes towards the sky, which was beginning to be visible through the fog. "I have heard about you, for I was to pilot a vessel out of Cedar Keys when you came up there in command of the boats. Colonel Passford was over there, and he saw you on board of the Havana." 310 "Not much, captain, for in our business we did not have anything to do with forts and such things," chuckled Mike. "The old quarters of the mechanics and laborers used to be on the Gulf shore, but they moved them up north of the fort, on the Grand Pass. About a mile east of the fort there is a big plantation." "It is the name of my father's place," replied Corny; and Christy, who was observing him very closely, saw that he was a little disturbed. The officer led the way up the shore, and the rows of sugar-cane extended almost to the water. They could make out the little village of negro cabins which lay between them and the planter's house, and they directed their steps towards it. It was but a short walk, and they soon reached the lane that extended between the rows of huts. ufau4 "I said one of the officers; and you know as well as I do which one." In less than half an hour the party reached the locality indicated by Job. The officer could see the steamer which looked, in the gloom of the night, as though she was a craft of about five hundred tons. She was moored in the deep water so far in that she could not be seen by vessels in the offing. On each side of her was a small river steamer, and she seemed not to have completed her cargo. "I have not time now to look into that question; 220 but I can assure you that you will be treated with the greatest consideration on board of my ship," added Christy as he conducted him below, and left him with Dave in his own cabin, returning at once to the deck to inquire into the operations of the first cutter. The boat had been hoisted up to the davits, and the Magnolia was made fast astern. All hands had been called when the Bronx got under way, and the men were all at their stations. The mystery was not solved till Christy embarked for the Gulf. 25 They had given up the examination of the premises, and given up the conundrum, and Christy was leading the way up-stairs. He went into his room, followed by his mother. "We have a nest of them in the cabin—the captain and two officers. What is to be done? We cannot allow the Bronx to be captured by any such trick as this, with forty-five loyal seamen on board of her, to say nothing of myself as a loyal officer." "I dunno, massa; but she done come in from de sea. When she git off dar two mile she done stick in de mud," answered the negro, pointing in the direction of the bar. "Den de little steamers from up the bay take off de loadin', and she done come in." Dave was the most assiduous of nurses, and had no little skill in attending to the wants of the sick. The young commander was made comfortable in a few hours, and Mr. Flint came below to see him at the end of an hour when he had performed his most pressing duties. He reported that Mr. Pennant's wound was slight, and did not disable him. Eight seamen in all had been wounded, and one of them was likely to die of his injury. "He can't get any whiskey here unless it is served out to him; so that habit, if it is his habit, will do him no harm," argued Mr. Flint. ฮานอยพเศษ ruay "I was in New York, preparing to come on board of the Vernon." The morning mail brought a letter from Captain Passford, informing the family that he was detained in Washington, and that he could not be at home to say good-by to his son, who was to leave that day in the store ship Vernon. He wrote a special letter to Christy, containing not only his adieux, but the good advice he would otherwise have given him in person. "Then I am to do duty as a figure-head, am I?" laughed Christy. Christy was forced to admit to himself that the 269 bold intruder had full possession of the captain's cabin of the steamer, and that he had the advantage of him in being armed; that any decided opposition on his part would result in his being killed or wounded. It was not prudent for him to do anything, and at the present stage of the proceedings he could do nothing but temporize with his resolute foe. pg slot auto game "Perhaps we are; but you talk too much by 144 half, Passford, and I have been dreading that you would make a slip of some kind," replied Mr. Galvinne rather crustily. "You were as stupid as a Kentucky mule when you stopped to talk with Byron in the waist." "How high is the grass in the streets of New York, Christy?" asked the colonel, with a twinkle of the eye, and a smile. "Then I am to do duty as a figure-head, am I?" laughed Christy. "Bonnydale sounds like a fancy name, such as any gentleman might give to his estate," continued Mr. Salisbury, smiling, as he repeated the phrases he had used before. "Is this the fact?" Christy felt very much like a caged tiger. He had hoped that the Bellevite would be on the station when he arrived, for there were plenty of officers and seamen on board of her who could identify him beyond the possibility of a doubt. In that case he intended to make a strong appeal to Captain Battleton, for he would then have the means of arriving at a correct conclusion. Then he could explain in what manner he had been robbed of his papers with some chance of having his statement accepted.
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สลอตคง777 "All right; I think we understand the situation up here," said Mr. Pennant, as he led the way in the direction from which they had come. "Because I have been trying to get here for 225 more than a year," replied the contraband, after looking about him for a moment, and then dropping his voice as though he feared Captain Flanger might hear what he said. "Now, mister, will you tell me who you are before I say anything more? for I shall get my back scored with forty-nine stripes if I open my mouth too wide;" and again he looked timidly around the deck. 170 "But it had not one chance in ten of success. Your cousin looks more like you than he did the last time I saw him." The reports of the leadsman were satisfactory, and the steamer went ahead for an hour. Then they began to give a diminution of the depth of water, indicating, as Christy stated it, that the vessel was approaching the land. He looked over the log slate, and found that the course had been due east till the order had been given to head her in the opposite direction. She had sailed rather more than an hour on that tack, during which the recapture of the steamer had been made.
ufadragon168 "What steamer is that?" called Mr. Blowitt. 148 Mr. Galvinne had proved himself to be a very gentlemanly officer in what little Christy had seen of him on the voyage from New York; but the situation was entirely changed so far as he was concerned. It appeared from the conversation, as the listener had for some time supposed, that the second lieutenant of the Vernon was the real leader of the enterprise of which Corny was the nominal head. Probably the restraint of over a week imposed upon him had fretted his spirit, and when he found himself alone with his incompetent superior, he became conscious of the superiority his knowledge and training gave him. "Make the course north-west, Mr. Flint," said 350 Christy, following the sailing directions with a proper allowance for the tide. "No more sounding; send the man below. We shall have from three to seven fathoms of water till we have passed the fort." "Do you refer to the lieutenant appointed to the command of the Bronx on our arrival in the Gulf?" asked Dr. Connelly, laughing.
megabetusa "By the way, Christy, have you heard anything from him or his family lately?" asked Mrs. Passford. After rendering his decision it was evident that Captain Battleton had something to say to Christy, for he waited in silence till Corny had closed the door behind him before he even looked at the officer standing before him. The lieutenant from the moment the envelopes were opened and their contents exposed to the view of all present, had fully expected the result just announced. Whatever he thought, suspected, or surmised when he saw the blank papers taken from his official envelope, he kept to himself. CHAPTER VIII THE PRISONER OF WAR
wisdom 742 "I wish it had! You have bade a scarecrow of be for life!" he gasped. The first lieutenant inspected the work, and reported to the captain, who immediately ordered him to weigh the anchor. The chief engineer had been directed to be ready to proceed, and the steam was hissing with a merry music. The midship gun was of no service now, and Mr. Flint had been directed to keep up a steady fire with the 354 broadside guns at the embrasures of the fort as soon as the Bronx was in range. "That is all I have to say about him. I studied the skipper of the sloop and watched him. I am sure he did not fire a musket, and he seemed to take no part in the affairs of the men on board. Captain Flanger is the active man of the party; but I have no idea who or what he is. If you look at the skipper, you will see that he is an octoroon, or something between a mulatto and a white man, and in my opinion he is not a cheerful worker on that side of the house. Perhaps the skipper will be willing to tell you who and what the party are. They claimed to be private citizens, and that the sloop was bound to Appalachicola; perhaps the gentleman in black can explain the mission of the party." The weather continued favorable till the end of the cruise, and then on the eighth day the Vernon arrived near her destination off Pensacola Bay. Thus far no attempt had been made to capture the steamer, and the plot was as dark as it had been in the beginning. Christy thought that Corny was becoming somewhat nervous when the vessels of the squadron were made out in the distance.