ssgame56 "Don't care for de fight, sar; Job isn't 'feered o' noffin'." "I expect they have sent all the strong ones up to work on the fortifications." 154 "I have no doubt he is concealed on board of the Vernon, with the intention of returning to New York, where he has plenty of influential friends to fight his battle for him. But I must go on deck, or something may go wrong in my absence." 281 Dave was not satisfied with what he had done, and as his foe went over in the chair, he sprang upon him, and tried to wrest the pistol from his hand, and a struggle on the floor was begun, the result of which could not be foreseen. Christy took in the situation at a glance, and while the steward and his victim were rolling and writhing on the floor, he darted into his stateroom, the door of which had been open all the time, and took his heavy revolvers from the drawer where he kept them, charged for immediate use. ssgame56 200 The men gave three hearty cheers as they were dismissed, proving to the commander that Pennant was a popular man among them, as Camden had also been proved to be when his appointment had been announced to the starboard watch. As in politics, legislation, war, and business, the masses of the people soon ascertain who are their natural leaders, the crew of the Bronx, or that portion who had come from New York in the Vernon, had been prompt in discovering the abilities of the two men now promoted. He knew also that if he attempted to leave the cabin to procure assistance, Flanger would shoot him with as little remorse as he would kill a coon in the woods. Watching his opportunity without trying to get behind the intruder till the decisive moment came, he sprang into the position he had selected in advance, and brought down the heavy head of the feather duster upon the temple of the privateersman. "I should think so," replied the first lieutenant. "Do!" exclaimed the patient. "You will take off what is left of by dose." 187 "This is mean of you, Christy, to put me in irons," said Corny reproachfully as he turned to his cousin; "I might have asked Captain Battleton to put you in irons on board of the Vernon; but I did not." "I am not so sure of that." Christy was utterly confounded at this salutation. dk7com "We are within a mile of the fort, Mr. Sampson, and I mean to run by it. We shall be exposed to the fire of musketry for about half a mile, and the quicker we make this distance, the less the danger to the men," said the commander, when the engineer presented himself. "We will not get under way till you have all the steam you need to give the steamer her best speed." "How high is the grass in the streets of New York, Christy?" asked the colonel, with a twinkle of the eye, and a smile. "Over to the other side of the island," replied the lieutenant. "This fish seems to be red snapper, captain, and it is very good. Will you allow me to help you to some of it?" continued the stranger very politely. "I am glad to be informed of the fact, for I am not conscious of any such improvement as you describe. In fact, I am not in quite so good condition in a sanitary point of view as I was 50 last evening, for I took my cold about midnight, or a little later, last night," added Christy, his smile becoming a little more pronounced. "Precisely; and you are a better-looking one than your cousin. But excuse me for changing the subject of the conversation, for I am losing 274 time. I see by the telltale over our heads that the Bronx is headed to the south-west, which is doubtless the course you were ordered to take by the commodore." "Only the women and the old hands, too old to do much work." "That was the folly of Captain Flanger; and I protested the moment I discovered what had been done," added the planter, who seemed to be anxious to relieve himself of all responsibility for the discharge of the muskets. "How is your patient, Dr. Connelly?" asked Captain Battleton, joining them at this moment. 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. riches666 all The commander was disposed to carry the investigation a little farther in the same direction, and he sent Christy into the ward room, where he was instructed to remain until he was sent for. Captain Passford, senior, was well known to all the officers present by reputation, and he had assisted Dr. Connelly in procuring his appointment, so that the latter had had occasion to visit Bonnydale three times. "But we have concluded to reverse the decision of the commander of the Vernon, and submit the 177 case to the flag-officer for final adjustment. In the mean time, I have taken possession of the steamer, and put all your confederates in irons. For the present, at least, I am in command of the Bronx, and I want my stateroom. With Dave's assistance, I must ask you to turn out of that berth." "You were not sick last evening?" CHAPTER I A MYSTERIOUS VISITATION "Only twenty, sar; all gone ober to New Orleans, sar." "I spoke to you, Walsh," said the lieutenant, in the tone he had learned to use when he intended to enforce respect and obedience. "Have them closely watched, or they may play us some trick when we least suspect it, and in some critical moment," said the commander. 32 "No one knows what is going to happen, and I may spend the next year or two in a Confederate prison. I don't think my Uncle Homer would cry his eyes out if such should be my fate, for he has lost several vessels and cargoes of cotton on my account," returned Christy. "Find a bag, for we shall throw that valise overboard," added Mr. Flint. "No doubt of that, sir." He could feel the envelope that contained them, and he was satisfied of the triumph which awaited him when the evidence should be required of the 56 two claimants of the name. At the same time he felt that he was moving in a cloud of mystery, which had begun to enfold him in the middle of the preceding night. "Quarter less ten!" shouted the leadsman, with even more vigor than before.
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ssgame56 "I do not fully understand this affair, captain," said Mr. Flint. "He is better; in fact, he was about well when I left him," replied the practitioner. "But I have no more time to waste," added he, as he quickened his pace, moving in the direction of the shore. The venerable colored man, who had given so much assistance and information to the third lieutenant on shore, had no desire to leave his home, and he was landed in the darkness of the evening at a considerable distance from the fort. Christy 361 had rewarded him handsomely for the service he had rendered. The men in the first and second cutters had taken all the cotton in the small steamers, and put it on board of the Sphinx before they set them on fire. The four guns in the hold had been hoisted out to make room for the bales, and the vessel had been put in condition for her voyage. After half an hour of questioning, Corny was sent to the ward room, and Christy was called to 78 the captain's cabin. About the same questions were put to him as to his cousin; but both of them were prompt in their answers. In the last two years, Corny had been more at Bonnydale than Christy, and he was quite as much at home there, so that there was no reason why he should not be able to describe the mansion and its surroundings as accurately as the genuine Lieutenant Passford. "If I had seen you and Corny together, I should have known which was which," pleaded Mr. Flint. "He said he believed you were bony fido commander of the Bronx, and he is ready to obey your orders. Mr. Flint had a talk with him while the first lieutenant was below; he talked to Boxie, and three more of the men, and he did it mighty sly, too, for the third lieutenant was on the deck all the time. There's eight bells, Massa Christy, and the second lieutenant will have the deck." "Only the women and the old hands, too old to do much work." After he found that the sick officer was his cousin Corny Passford, Christy began to apprehend 73 the object of his southern relative in presenting himself as the bearer of his name and rank in the navy, though he had no time to consider the subject. Corny had given him no opportunity to look the matter over, for he had talked most of the time as opportunity was presented. "One of our men is very sick, and we have no doctor. We are afraid he will die before morning, 328 and we want a doctor. Ours was ordered off a week ago." betflix88 "But, Christy, something has happened; and you must tell me about it, or I shall not sleep another wink to-night," persisted the lady, concluding that her son was trying to conceal something from her, as indeed he was, for he feared it would alarm her if he told her some one had come into the house. 221 "But I cannot dress the wound here, Mr. Pennant," added the surgeon. "Wounded, you"— "I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with my third lieutenant's mode of operations," replied Christy, laughing, though his mirth was of the graveyard order. "But Mr. Pennant is a new officer, and that was the first active duty he had been called upon to perform. Very likely he will suit you better next time." "Why did you bless the Lord that you were here at last?" "Where are the negro quarters of this plantation, Mike?" asked Mr. Pennant. "I have heard about that; and I know that your cousin Christopher is no chicken." "I done do what I thought was right, Captain Passford, though folks like that fellow think a poor nigger is no account," replied the steward, putting every tooth in his head on exhibition. "I understand you perfectly now; but as you have not, fortunately for me, and unfortunately for yourself, the dozen men at hand, I am to hold the fiddle while you play upon it, as I have seen a couple of negro minstrels do it." "We are coming up with the shore," said Mr. Flint, as Christy joined him on the bridge. 168pg "Invite the first lieutenant to the captain's cabin," said Dave. "Yes, sir;" and the steward left the cabin. "I see you are; but you decline to permit the surgeon to dress your wound. I have no more time to fool with you, and the men will put you on a berthsack forward. If you want the surgeon to attend to your wound, you have only to say so." "Nothing further, captain," said the executive officer; and the stock of this particular Lieutenant Passford mounted another trifle. "You are the only officer on board except myself," replied Christy. "We are still in the dark as to what we have to do here. We may have to send off a boat expedition, as we did at Cedar Keys, and we are in absolute need of more officers." ssgame56 "Then you have improved wonderfully since last evening," added Captain Battleton. "Thank you, Captain Passford, and I cannot well help being less polite and less frank than you are; and I shall take the liberty of introducing myself to your acquaintance and good offices as Captain Boyd Flanger, lately in command of the steamer Floridian, entirely at your service." 329 "You, Massa Gumboat!" cried the negro. "De sodgers put de bagonet frou your crop like a knife frou a pullet's froat!" "I should take him for a young man of twenty or twenty-one, but he says he is only eighteen. He is a very young officer to be put in charge of a steamer, for I understand that he is ordered 61 to the command of the Bronx. But then he has made a reputation as the commander of that vessel, which doubtless justifies his appointment." It was less than halt a mile to the cutter, and they soon reached it. The Russian was standing on the shore, and most of the men were asleep on the thwarts, though Vincent was wide awake. Mike recognized the form of the old negro, and reported that the lieutenant was coming.
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ssgame56 "Quartermaster Camden. He commanded a three-masted schooner in the coal trade. He is not college educated, but he is a remarkably well-informed man who shipped in the navy to learn the details of duty on board of a man-of-war." "Do you say that Captain Flanger has been a smuggler in these waters?" "It was a great mistake," repeated the dignified gentleman, shaking his head. "As usual, you are the hero of the adventure," replied the new first lieutenant, laughing. "But I must say it was the stupidest enterprise in which rational men ever engaged." 178 "That is the very reason why I chose this place. I have had the pleasure of listening to all your conversations with Mr. Galvinne, and I knew your plans from beginning to end." p6 สลอต "I see; that is plain enough," added Corny. "How far is it to St. Andrew's?" CHAPTER XXX THE ATTACK UPON THE FORT "You are more fortunate than your cousin, for he is having quite a hard time of it," added the doctor, who seemed to be very much amused that the future commander of the Bronx, who had been to sea so much, should be afflicted in this manner. "Then I may see you again, my friend. Thank you for your information, and will you give me your name?" added Christy. "Thank you, sir; I will take some of it, if you please," replied Christy, as he passed his plate across the table. "Of course, as you have done me the honor to take a seat at my table, I must be acquainted with you." ssgame56 "But he has placed you in a very awkward position, Mr. Passford." In ten minutes more the expedition left the ship, and soon disappeared in the low bank of fog that still hung over the shore. Each of the 233 cutters had been manned by twelve men besides the officer, and Mike was an extra hand with the first lieutenant. What remained of the port watch were on duty, and the rest of the men were dismissed. The commander was disposed to carry the investigation a little farther in the same direction, and he sent Christy into the ward room, where he was instructed to remain until he was sent for. Captain Passford, senior, was well known to all the officers present by reputation, and he had assisted Dr. Connelly in procuring his appointment, so that the latter had had occasion to visit Bonnydale three times. "Do you think he could go out into the cabin, doctor?" asked the captain. "I wish to see him on a matter of the utmost importance. Is he dressed?" "He said he believed you were bony fido commander of the Bronx, and he is ready to obey your orders. Mr. Flint had a talk with him while the first lieutenant was below; he talked to Boxie, and three more of the men, and he did it mighty sly, too, for the third lieutenant was on the deck all the time. There's eight bells, Massa Christy, and the second lieutenant will have the deck." The fort was silent. It was evident now that the commander of the little garrison had not left the barbette before till he had prepared at least one of his guns for further service; but it had again been disabled, and it was not known on board of the steamer whether or not he had any other gun fit for use. It was presumed that he had not, for the Bronx was within easy cannon shot of his works. Christy used the glass, but could not discover any gun that appeared to be mounted. "Clear as a bell, and bright starlight," replied the executive officer. คะแนนวอลเลยบอลหญง The appearance of Walsh, fully dressed in the garb of a seaman, was so great a surprise to Christy Passford, that he hardly noticed any other person on the deck of the Vernon. He had given no particular attention to the man when he saw him at his father's house, though he regarded him as a very good-looking and intelligent person for one in the situation in which he found him. The absconding man-servant had certainly made good use of his time since he left Bonnydale, for he appeared to have become a full-fledged sailor in the space of ten hours. "This is not an official envelope," said the captain, 80 as he took the package, and then fixed his gaze on the owner of the documents. "What do you mean by that?" "I don't see that we can help ourselves," 212 replied the spokesman in a surly tone; for the prospect before him was not very pleasant, especially as a volley had been fired from the sloop, presumably by his order, for he was the one who had made the threat in the first place. "'Pose I don't answer 'em?" suggested the negro.
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ssgame56 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. "That is immaterial," added Captain Battleton, as Corny left the cabin to procure the document. "Have you a copy of your report, Lieutenant Passford?" He pointed to Christy. "I say I am abused, and dragged from below like a dog." "My master was the captain of the Floridian, and we came out here to see if there was any blockader near, that had come up in the fog. The steamer was to be brought out by the 229 pilot, who has been on board of her for three days." "I claim to be reasonably sensible," answered Christy. "As you have done me the honor to visit me in my cabin, Captain Flanger, it is reasonable to suppose you have some object in view, for I do not regard it as a merely friendly call." "Not improbable," added Christy. "You propose that I shall go on deck, and give your orders, acting as your proxy." "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. "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. "If he is, he has said nothing to me about the matter." 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. "All sorts o' tings, massa; guns, and pistols, and close. Dis nigger help take de tings out ob her." "I stand by the union, and those on the other side must keep out from under. When I was in a Confederate prison, my uncle Homer, your father, did not do a single thing for me. Lead on, Ralph." 89 "I do not see how you can escape that conclusion," replied the first lieutenant. คะแนนวอลเลยบอลหญง 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. "We are putting things to rights on board," replied Christy, who had not seen the doctor before, for he had retired early to his room. "I am sure he will get a commission as soon as he applies for it, captain," added the first lieutenant, pleased with the prompt decision. "Now, who is your man?" Christy looked at his cool and impudent visitor, whose declaration was to the effect that he intended to take possession of the Bronx in compensation for the loss of the Floridian. It looked as though he intended to capture the gunboat now fully officered, and manned by forty-six seaman; and so far as the commander could judge, he intended to do it single-handed. "I believe you; they be mixed if you be the captain when I done seen him on deck just now." "I have just told you that the first lieutenant is a Confederate officer; and I have not yet learned who is the third lieutenant. Among the crew I 133 know there are at least four men, and there may be twenty of them, who are to take part in this plot. The loyal men will not be likely to interfere with the officers unless they have a leader. The fact that the Bronx is headed into a Confederate port would not create a rebellion on board unless they were informed of the actual situation. By the time the union men found out the plot, it would be too late for them to do anything, for the vessel would be under the guns of the forts." The prisoners appeared to be quite as much interested in the proceedings on deck as the ship's company, and closely observed everything that was done. Michael Bornhoff was quite excited, and walked the deck hurriedly, as though he was 231 in search of something to do; but he was very careful not to go near the place where Captain Flanger was made fast to the rail. "We must recapture the vessel before she gets into port; and what I want most now is to see Mr. Flint. You must fix the matter in some way, Dave, so that I can see him. Now go on deck, and ascertain what is going on there. If you get a chance, speak to Mr. Flint; but be extremely careful." "I don't know; do you, Rockton?" replied the 105 one addressed; and it was evident to the listener that the men were at least persons of average education with but little of the common sailor in it. faw99 "Any further questions, Mr. Salisbury?" asked the captain, bestowing a bored look upon the executive officer. "Don't care for de fight, sar; Job isn't 'feered o' noffin'." In due time this appointment was made, and Captain Flint, on the recommendation of Christy, was entirely satisfied to receive him as his first lieutenant. The commander found Dave keeping close watch over Corny Passford, though he was fast asleep in his berth. Passing through the ward room and steerage, Dave unlocked the door that led into the quarters of the crew. Next to the bulkhead, or partition, was space enough for the prisoners, and the steward was required to bring five berth sacks, which were placed on the deck. ssgame56 "How do you find yourself, Corny?" asked the captain, turning to the berth. 204 The body of the fog evidently lay near the water, and the lookout had probably seen the light over the top of the bank, as it could not be made out on the bridge. Christy expressed his belief that the sun would burn the fog off soon after it rose. No variation of the drift lead had been reported, and the Bronx was not even swinging at her anchor. For an hour longer entire silence was preserved on the deck, and the lookout made no further report. "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. 215 "Tie his hands behind him," added Mr. Pennant to the men, who fell upon Flanger the moment he lighted in the bottom of the cutter. He had no premises on which to base an argument for or against one thing or another. All was dark to him, and he could not get hold of anything. After he had raised up a variety of suppositions, and combated vigorously with them, the darkness seemed only to become more dense, and he was compelled to abandon the subject without arriving at any reasonable explanation. Under the instruction of his father, he had cultivated "a judicial mind," which compelled him to reject all mere speculation.
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allslot "He was always sea-sick when he first went out, and it appears that he has not yet got over the habit. He was so badly off on one occasion that my father thought of taking him on shore, and sending him back to Mobile by land." "Of course I expected that would be your decision," replied Corny, as he took the papers 91 which the captain returned to him, including his commission and report.
weimanga "Soldiers on the fort, sir!" shouted Vincent, when the Bronx was within less than a quarter of a mile of the works. "An excellent simile, Captain Passford, and I could not have invented a better myself," returned the privateersman. "I think we understand each other perfectly, and therefore it is not necessary to 272 use up any more time in explanations. You are too intelligent a person to fail to comprehend my plan. As an epitome of the whole scene, I may add that I propose to do what my friend Galvinne undertook with that cousin of yours: I intend to take the Bronx into Pensacola Bay, and have her used in the service of the righteous cause in which the people of the South are engaged," continued Captain Flanger, as though he believed in all he was saying. "Make the course west north-west," said he to the first lieutenant, as he joined him on the bridge.
hotlive "I have not noticed any seaman whose face was familiar to me." "Find a bag, for we shall throw that valise overboard," added Mr. Flint. "It may be he was; I don't know about that. You say that we have met before, but to save my life, I cannot recall the time, and I am sorry to add that I do not identify your face as that of any person I ever saw before. I have the pleasure of introducing myself to you as Lieutenant Christopher Passford, commanding the United States steamer Bronx." "It is not necessary to obey the orders of the 150 Yankee flag-officer under present circumstances," answered Mr. Galvinne in a chuckling tone, as it sounded to the listener.
icon191 "Then I will look upon you as an able seaman until you are formally enlisted. Mr. Flint, this man is Michael Bornhoff; he is an able seaman and a pilot in these waters. I think you had better take him with you, for he is fully informed in regard to the Floridian, which you are to bring out. Let him have pistols and a cutlass," said Christy. "Is that so? Then we mustn't talk here," added Warton, apparently somewhat alarmed. "Who told you so?"