Page images

And the whole throng gave her three cheers, him out. This was certainly high-handed, and wound up with a Siss-boom-ah-h! but nobody missed the Schoolmaster much,

"Please don't do that!" objected the Bandit, and so no notice of the incident was taken. "for that is a Princeton cheer, and I was "Speaking of simitars," observed the Green once—” here he burst into tears—"a Yale Goblin, “it is an odd coincidence that 'simigraduate!" Whereupon he took up his tar' is the next word on the list. Will you carbine, threw his cloak around his shoulders, spell it?” he asked the Teacher of Dancing. and left the cave, while the Schoolmaster “Certainly. I will spell it in a variety of followed him with reproachful glances, say- ways, and you can take your choice.” So he

[ocr errors]

Three large and powerful

Eduiopian slaves seized upon the Schoolmaster, and marched him out ing, “To think that a Yale graduate should proceeded to give the following spellings: become no more than a common bandit!" simitar, scimitar, cimitar, cimeter, cymiter,

“Now if your Royal Highness has found the cimiterre, cymeter, scymitar, scimiter, sciword—” the Green Goblin said.

meter, scymeter, scymetar, semitar, semitary, “But I can't find it," said the Princess. smiter, smyter, smeeter. “I thought it was fair to use the dictionary, “That is truly remarkable," was the comfor unless you know how to spell the word ment of the Green Goblin. “How in the you can't find it in the dictionary! So the world did you happen to know all those book is no use to me at all. See if you can spellings-and which of them is right?" find it," and she handed the book to the "Alas!" exclaimed the Dancing Teacher, Squire.

his voice choked with emotion, “the Yale He took it and after a while said, “I have graduate who became a bandit is not the looked all through the S's—and “psychical' only unhappy guest at this party. I am the is n't there."

man who wrote the Dictionary! And, owing "I can spell it," the Genie announced, "for to misfortunes and bad spells of weather, I I am a reformed speller. S-i, sigh; k-i-c, kick; have had to teach dancing for a living, and, I u-l, ul. That is my way of spelling it. And blush to confess it-I am a very poor teacher it's better than the old way, I think.” of dancing. I will tell you the experiences of

"Not at all,” the Schoolmaster insisted. my life. I was the son of poor but humble" "It is derived from Psyche, the soul. Now "Enough!" cried the Witch, "now you may Psyche was Greek, and she”

all disappear!" And she waved her crutch “I did n't come here to hear lectures,” in the air and pronounced a magic spell. observed the Sultan, and he clapped his It was the correct spelland everybody and hands thrice.

everything vanished at once. Whereupon three large and powerful Ethiopian slaves armed with simitars entered, The poor Will-o'-the-Wisp is still wanderseized upon the Schoolmaster, and marched ing about looking for them.

[ocr errors]


SYNOPSIS OF PREVIOUS INSTALMENTS To escape the dock authorities, who take him for a thief, Rick Hartley ships aboard the schooner Laughing Lass as cook when his own vessel, the Arrowdale, leaves him stranded. Many incidents aboard the schooner, supposedly on a fishing-trip, arouse Rick's suspicions. After two weeks at sea, she stops at some unknown port, and her skipper, M'Guire, goes ashore. Upon his return soon after, the little vessel puts to sea again. This procedure is repeated several times, while M'Guire's motives remain a mystery. At length, Rick discovers a newspaper lying in the after cabin with a small hole cut from the middle of one of its pages. He realizes that here is a possible purpose for the trips ashore; that if he can lay hands on the clipping cut from that paper he will solve the mystery of the schooner's mission. He sees M'Guire place this clipping in a leather wallet, which the skipper pockets. On a hot day the skipper inadvertently leaves his coat in the cabin, being called suddenly to the deck to inspect passing shipping,-in which he has lately taken a curious interest, -and Rick finds the clipping within


his grasp.




Twice Rick read the clipping, staring at it

unbelievingly. He drew the half sheet of THE CLIPPING

newspaper from his pocket and laid the little THE thing was the purest luck-Rick was slip of paper into the hole in its surface. The sure of that and told himself so. He might puzzle was a puzzle no longer. The last have waited months, as things stood, without piece fitted into its fabric without crack or a chance at that shabby coat and what it flaw. contained—waited until it was too late. Yet But this thing was utterly preposterous! here was that shabby coat hanging over a

Was M'Guire mad? Rick's father had told chair in the after cabin, and there were him thrilling adventures of the Barbary M'Guire's long legs disappearing up the coast, bloody fights with Malay pirates in the companion stairs. It was just luck.

China Sea. But to-day-with lean gray Two steps brought him to the chair, and destroyers whipping through the high seas, tis hand shot into the breast pocket of that with revenue cutters and coast-patrols, with coat. When it reappeared, the big leather charts and lights and wireless? To-daywallet came too.

piracy? Rick laid the thing on the table and bent Rick shivered at the ugly word. M'Guire over it. His breath came in jerky gusts; must be mad. No man in his senses would there was a tightening in his throat. The attempt to pursue an ocean liner with an old room was so still you could have heard the fishing-schooner, five men in her crew, and a ticking of a brass clock made fast to the for- paltry rack of half a dozen rifles stowed away 'ward bulkhead. Rick opened the wallet.

below. One side was jammed with bank-notes, A heavy footstep made the boy look up yellow bills laid together lengthwise the from the little scrap of paper in his hand, pile perhaps a quarter of an inch thick. through the open doorway and out into the Rick paid no heed to them, but turned to the corridor beyond. The legs of the walrus pocket on the other side.

man were shuffling slowly down the stairs! The boy's long fingers drew out a mass of The boy's mind worked like lightning. In letters and stray bits of paper. On top lay a

possibly one second the long mustache and clipping, three inches square. Rick read: the little narrow eyes would swing down into

sight, commanding the corridor and the $10,000,000 IN BRITISH GOLD FOR after cabin before their owner was off the LOCAL BANKERS

steps. Was there time to return that jumSKIPPER UNDISMAYED AT MIDAS HOARD

bled mass of papers to the pocket-replace

the wallet in the skipper's coat? LIVERPOOL, July 28. The steamship Glendale (Br), Baldwin, cleared this port to-day with a

Rick looked up again-suspenders and a shipment of gold bullion valued at $10,000,000.

section of blue shirt. He shut the wallet Her cargo is contained in wooden cases and is con- softly on the mass of papers and swept it into signed to local banks for purposes of supporting the open throat of his shirt. It lay flat and foreign exchange. Captain Baldwin remarked upon sailing that he had often carried more valu

cool against his skin. The loose cloth hid it. able freight. The ship is due off the light-ship on

When M'Guire entered the after cabin he August 10.

saw only his ragged cabin-boy piling up

plates on the table. He hardly looked at Ban gazed long and hungrily at the wad of Rick. Placing his sea-glasses on the table, bank-notes. Then, in the little galley of the he sat down in the chair that held his coat Laughing Lass, he raised his eyes to Rick's. and finished his meal in silence.

They stood there silent, motionless, staring With a pile of dishes pressed tightly over at each other unseeingly, the leather wallet that terrifying lump against his chest, Rick between them. And finally Ban Hoag spoke somehow got out of the cabin and climbed the wrenching his words from a dry throat, stairs. Turning, he saw a big tanker plainly parched lips: visible off the schooner's starboard bow. So "Ricky, kid, ye 've spilled the beans. he pattered up the hot deck in his bare feet, passed Hamlin and Dutchy on the hatch coaming, wondered if they could not hear the wild stampede of his heart, see the lump against which it pounded like a donkey-engine -came at last to the forecastle hatch, and crawled down the ladder to the welcome gloom below.

Ban Hoag was there at the table, a cup of tea half raised to his mouth. At the look on Rick's face, Hoag paused -

"A HEAVY FOOTSTEP MADE THE BOY LOOK UP FROM THE SCRAP OF PAPER" stared-set down his cup untasted, a question in his blue eyes.

We're in fur it now, Rick—we're-in-furRick's voice was husky; the words seemed it-now!to stick in his throat. “Come on-intothe galley," he whispered.

CHAPTER XIV The other boy followed him without a

DESPERATE COURAGE word. Rick set down his dishes on the shelf beside the sink. He turned back and shut Rick found a small measure of solace in the the galley door, shooting the bolt home softly. plural pronoun. To him, this situation into . Then he stared blankly at his friend, Ban which he had been thrown by circumstances Hoag. One hand crept down inside his apparently beyond his control seemed abshirt.

solutely hopeless. With M'Guire's wallet “So 'elp us, Ban,” he said slowly. "I 've and the money it contained in his possession,

he had forfeited what slight protection the "Got it? Got what?"

captain of the schooner had hitherto afforded “The clippin'—the piece we missed from him. M'Guire was sure to note the loss that paper.'

Rick's hand came out of his very soon—had, perhaps, discovered it alshirt. He handed the little white square to ready. His suspicions would center naturalHoag.

ly around the only member of the crew who Ban read it through. A long, low whistle had access to the after quarters. The theft of amazement was his only comment. He —it was nothing else would be traced to looked up, aghast, and saw the leather thing him inevitably, and small mercy could be in Rick's hands.

expected from the walrus man. Yet there "Wh what's that?"

was some comfort in that plural pronoun. “'T's the worst of it. I 'ad to take this At least he was not alone. Ban had said too. 'E came back-'e would 'ave found me "we": "we 're in fur it now." at it-'e ould have killed me, Ban. I ain't And truly, it seemed that in the creation of a thief. But look! there's all 'is money in this strangely attractive personality, this it!”

boy who had known no parents but the rough


got it.


frequenters of sea, docks, open country-it They told the little gray man to call them seemed that in Ban Hoag the capability of if they should be wanted—said they were discouragement, at whatever odds, had been going forward to look for fish, or some such omitted. One could imagine, looking into nonsense. Dutchy drank it in, however, his deep-blue, world-wise eyes as he considered and turned back anxiously to his wheel. this new development, that he had found So they left him with his worries—they had himself before in corners as tight as this. It their own—and went forward, climbing out was he, now, who slapped Rick hearteningly over the schooner's bow until they perched on the back, who took over possession of the on her wire stays, just above the water's wallet, replacing the clipping carefully in its edge. pocket. It was Ban who whistled a merry It was surprisingly cool here. The curve little tuneless rhythm while he glanced around of her bows made a little shadow over their the galley rather absent-mindedly, as if look- heads, and what light air there was fanned ing for something,-he did n't know just them pleasantly. They fell to eager talk,

and turned at last to Rick, still hardly noticing the great mystery of the standing there, saying, "Cheero! as you ocean lying there so close to them. limies says. Cheero, kid. Leave us time “D' you think the man 's in 'is senses?” to think a mite, Ricky. Who knows? ? began Rick. Why ain't they a way outen this? I says, The gentle rippling of little waves against leave us think.”

sheathing was at first his only answer. Then Ban said this defiantly. There was little Ban said: defiance left in Rick. The ringing note of “Cripes, boy, I dunno. Seems a crazy battle cheered him. It was good to have a thing tdo. They 's always a cutter on icefriend!

patrol around the Banks in early summer. Hoag started to speak again. But they Of course, this Glendale 's got wireless; an' we heard some one coming down the ladder to must be square in the westbound track, the forecastle, and quickly unbolted the door seein' the shippin' we've met. It sure does and stepped out of the galley, lest they be seem a durn fool proceedin'. But it don't discovered in this suspicious conference. make no difference-to us -whether he 's

It was only Dutchy; but he hung about and half-witted or not. · We 're in it, anyhow." finally settled down to mend a great rent in a “But why can't us get away now, Ban? pair of oilskins. They thought it best, even Why can't us leave the wallet-I can leave in view of the pressing need for haste, to wait it in skipper's room when 'e's not there-an' until they should be sure of secrecy. The get away? Sure there be enough in that money in that wallet complicated matters clippin' to show Hamlin what 's in wind.” astonishingly. Ban doubted if he could “That 's just what I 'm afeered of—that convince either Hamlin or little Dutchy that piece of paper. D’ye mind that first time Rick had not stolen the skipper's purse for

we talked to the bos'n, over the supperthe money it contained.

table? D'ye recollect why it was he called So they sat there and talked about other a halt on the get-away-what his reasons things as unconcernedly as possible, and was?Hoag took the opportunity, when Dutchy's “Yes,” said Rick; “'e wanted to make sure head was turned, to tuck the wallet beneath this cruise was goin' to be all danger an' no the mattress of his bunk. Whereupon he profit." lay on it, seemingly indolent-in reality, "Well, ther y' are, boy. D'ye think fur

, thinking harder and faster than he had ever one blink this clippin''s goin' t' do that für thought before.

him? No sir, by cripes, it ain't! That The two boys found a chance for privacy Hamlin will look at them ciphers and that that afternoon. Rick brought word forward there dollar sign ahead of 'em, an' he 'll be that when he had cleared away the dinner plumb dazzled. Don't ye believe he 'll trust things he had seen M'Guire in his room, al- M'Guire to land that gold an' get away most buried in charts, his instruments and somehow? Don't ye see he 'll be willin' t' books. And Manuel was across the passage take a chance, anyways, with all that gold in on his bunk, reading and half asleep. The sight-ruther than shove off without a red bos'n's snores filled the forecastle to suffoca- cent in a ten-foot skiff bound fur the coast of tion-he had the wheel at midnight and was nowhere? Would you, if you was Hamlin?" turned in until then. Dutchy was aft, trying Knowing Hamlin as he did, Rick was to find steerageway in the breathless air. bound to admit that the chances of the

[ocr errors]

bos'n's willingness to quit would now be slim- word over the hull ocean they 's pirates at mer than ever. He looked down silently at large an' gettin' frisky. Now what I wants a white jelly-fish undulating slowly past his to know is just this-how 's M'Guire think feet.

he's goin' to get over them little difficulties? "No," Ban Hoag went on, "we ain't got They ain't a chance in a million he can. An' one skyhoot of evidence that 'll do anything if we can get to hear him talk, why it stands but make the bos'n want to stick. An' when to reason we'll have somethin' will make I says bos'n, y understand I means Dutchy Gabe Hamlin's hair creep an' Dutchy take a too. That ornery-eyed sculpin 'd stick his runnin' dive fur that skiff.” haid in a barrel o' hot tar, if Gabe'd only pass "How is us goin' to get there, to hear all him the word.

this?” asked Rick. A little breeze came in from the westward. "Simple enough, if ye 've got the nerve, Rick heard the rippling grow louder, felt the boy. I say 'you,' fur I ain't allowed down aft schooner swing off on her course again. an' might easy queer the deal. Here 's how:

“Any 'ope that us could get away alone?" Dutchy 's on the wheel from eight bells till he asked Ban.

midnight; then Gabe relieves him. Any time “I had the midnight watch last night," after eight ye go down there. Tell Dutchy, returned Hoag, "an' fur the hull bloomin' as ye pass him, that ye 're goin' after dishes, watch, that milk-and-water graybeard set on or anything ye please—he'll believe ye. the after-hatch coamin', watchin' me. Daid Ye'll have the wallet with ye. Now see here. with sleep he was—but he stuck it out an' Either the skipper an' Manuel 'll be in the went on hisself at four. Get away? Nix.cabin, in which case ye slips into one of

Another pause, while Rick longed des- them rooms,—they ain't no light in the perately to be aboard a big freighter that was passage, -or else they 'll be in one of the plowing slowly by them some two miles rooms, an' then ye heads fur the cabin. distant.

Anyhow, ye sneaks in an' gets rid of that “Well, then, what be there left?

wallet, leavin' it in the likeliest place possiBan considered this judicially. Rick mar- ble, where M'Guire might have dropped it. veled at the poise of this young beach-comb- Then, Ricky bird, ye lays low-into a locker,

a er, who could sit idly swinging his bare legs, under the table, .anywheres. Ye lay low with his freedom, possibly his life, hanging in an' ye listens sharp. Them bulkheads is the balance. Right at this minute M'Guire paper. An' ye gets the dope if they 's any might be reaching into that coat pocket. dope to get-an' I 'm layin' there is. Ban Hoag looked up.

“Meantime, I 'll wake Hamlin an' tell "Well,” he said slowly, “I 'll tell ye what him the hull story, how the thing looks fishy I 've thought. 'T ain't much—but I guess an' how 's ye 're after the details. I 'll have it 's better than waiting here fur the cutter him fixed—that's my job, an' it ain't so much to catch us, or some destroyer. Right off, we

softer 'n yours.

Even I 'll pass the word to got t'put that wallet back. Ye could do Dutchy-maybe get some feed an' a dory that to-night maybe, after supper when ye compass aboard the skiff. Now when they go down fur the dishes, while the skipper 's on turns in down aft, you sneaks out again with deck to stretch his laigs. Ye kin leave it on your story. Five minutes' quick talkin' 'll his table, an' he 'll likely think he dropped it swing the bos'n, an' Dutchy 'll like to break there hisself, an' nothing said.

his neck fur fear he 'll get left behind. We'll “But this here 's what I ben thinkin'. If ease into that there skiff jest as slick, an' we could git a line on his plans,—if we could we 'll haul away fur Cape Sable-an' there hear him talkin' to the mate an' arrangin' y'are!” with him how the thing 's to be done,-like Rick sat for some minutes, deep in thought. as not we'd find out whether or not he 's “What if they don't talk?" loony. We'd get holt of some things that We're cooked coots." might-I ain't sayin' they wouldthat might What if they cotch me?" convince Hamlin he 's a fool to wait whiles Ban Hoag looked up, at that. they 's a chance fur to get away.

O’ course

"They ain't no question of 'what if's,' Rick. the ship 'll have a guard, an' she 'll have one This here, as I sees it, is our last chance. will make M'Guire's six pea-shooters look The odds is even we win out. But as I like busted hopes. An' she 'll have a man on says before-it takes nerve.

Let 's see watch in the radio shack wit' a speakin'- what 'd ye tell me yer father's business was?”: tube to the bridge at his ear, ready to send It was a challenge, implied rather than


« PreviousContinue »