Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: The Cruise of the Jasper B.
Author: Marquis, Don, 1878-1937
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cruise of the Jasper B." ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



THE CRUISE OF THE JASPER B.


BY

DON MARQUIS



TO ALL THE COPYREADERS ON ALL THE NEWSPAPERS OF AMERICA



CONTENTS

CHAPTER

     I  A BRIGHT BLADE LEAPS FROM A RUSTY SCABBARD
    II  THE ROOM OF ILLUSION
   III  A SCHOONER, A SKIPPER, AND A SKULL
    IV  A BAD MAN TO CROSS
     V  BEAUTY IN DISTRESS
    VI  LADY AGATHA'S STORY
   VII  FIRST BLOOD FOR CLEGGETT
  VIII  A FLAME LEAPS OUT OF THE DARK
    IX  MYSTERIES MULTIPLY
     X  IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP
    XI  REPARTEE AND PISTOLS
   XII  THE SECOND OBLONG BOX
  XIII  THE SOUL OF LOGAN BLACK
   XIV  CLEGGETT STANDS BY HIS SHIP
    XV  NIGHT, TEMPEST, LOVE AND BATTLE
   XVI  ROMANCE REGNANT
  XVII  MISS PRINGLE CALLS ON MR. CLEGGETT
 XVIII  THE MAN IN THE BLUE PAJAMAS
   XIX  TWO GREAT MEN MEET
    XX  THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DETECTIVE
   XXI  THE THIRD OBLONG BOX ARRIVES
  XXII  DANCING ON THE DECK
 XXIII  CUTLASSES
  XXIV  THE DUEL
   XXV  THE SECRET OF THE VESSEL'S HOLD
  XXVI  A DOG DIES GAME
 XXVII  CLEGGETT ACCOMMODATES THE KING



CHAPTER I

A BRIGHT BLADE LEAPS FROM A RUSTY SCABBARD

On an evening in April, 191-, Clement J. Cleggett walked sedately into
the news room of the New York Enterprise with a drab-colored
walking-stick in his hand.  He stood the cane in a corner, changed his
sober street coat for a more sober office jacket, adjusted a green
eyeshade below his primly brushed grayish hair, unostentatiously sat
down at the copy desk, and unobtrusively opened a drawer.

From the drawer he took a can of tobacco, a pipe, a pair of scissors, a
paste-pot and brush, a pile of copy paper, a penknife and three
half-lengths of lead pencil.

The can of tobacco was not remarkable.  The pipe was not picturesque.
The scissors were the most ordinary of scissors. The copy paper was
quite undistinguished in appearance.  The lead pencils had the most
untemperamental looking points.

Cleggett himself, as he filled and lighted the pipe, did it in the most
matter-of-fact sort of way. Then he remarked to the head of the copy
desk, in an average kind of voice:

"H'lo, Jim."

"H'lo, Clegg," said Jim, without looking up. "Might as well begin on
this bunch of early copy, I guess."

For more than ten years Cleggett had done the same thing at the same
time in the same manner, six nights of the week.

What he did on the seventh night no one ever thought to inquire. If any
member of the Enterprise staff had speculated about it at all he would
have assumed that Cleggett spent that seventh evening in some way
essentially commonplace, sober, unemotional, quiet, colorless, dull and
Brooklynitish.

Cleggett lived in Brooklyn.  The superficial observer might have said
that Cleggett and Brooklyn were made for each other.

The superficial observer!  How many there are of him!  And how much he
misses!  He misses, in fact, everything.

At two o'clock in the morning a telegraph operator approached the copy
desk and handed Cleggett a sheet of yellow paper, with the remark:

"Cleggett--personal wire."

It was a night letter, and glancing at the signature Cleggett saw that
it was from his brother who lived in Boston.  It ran:

Uncle Tom died yesterday.  Don't faint now. He splits bulk fortune
between you and me. Lawyers figure nearly $500,000 each.  Mostly easily
negotiable securities.  New will made month ago while sore at president
temperance outfit.  Blood thicker than Apollinaris after all. Poor
Uncle Tom.

   Edward.


Despite Edward's thoughtful warning, Cleggett did nearly faint. Nothing
could have been less expected.  Uncle Tom was an irascible
prohibitionist, and one of the most deliberately disobliging men on
earth.  Cleggett and his brother had long ceased to expect anything
from him.  For twenty years it had been thoroughly understood that
Uncle Tom would leave his entire estate to a temperance society.
Cleggett had ceased to think of Uncle Tom as a possible factor in his
life.  He did not doubt that Uncle Tom had changed the will to gain
some point with the officials of the temperance society, intending to
change it once again after he had been deferred to, cajoled, and
flattered enough to placate his vanity.  But death had stepped in just
in time to disinherit the enemies of the Demon Rum.

Cleggett read the wire through twice, and then folded it and put it
into his pocket.  He rose and walked toward the managing editor's room.
As he stepped across the floor there was a little dancing light in his
eyes, there was a faint smile upon his lips, that were quite foreign to
the staid and sober Cleggett that the world knew.  He was quiet, but he
was almost jaunty, too; he felt a little drunk, and enjoyed the feeling.

He opened the managing editor's door with more assurance than he had
ever displayed before.  The managing editor, a pompous, tall, thin man
with a drooping frosty mustache, and cold gray eyes in a cold gray face
that somehow reminded one of the visage of a walrus, was preparing to
go home.

"Well?" he said, shortly.

He was a man for whom Cleggett had long felt a secret antipathy. The
man was, in short, the petty tyrant of Cleggett's little world.

"Can you spare me a couple of minutes, Mr. Wharton?" said Cleggett.
But he did not say it with the air of a person who really sues for a
hearing.

"Yes, yes--go on."  Mr. Wharton, who had risen from his chair, sat down
again.  He was distinctly annoyed.  He was ungracious. He was usually
ungracious with Cleggett.  His face set itself in the expression it
always took when he declined to consider raising a man's salary.
Cleggett, who had been refused a raise regularly every three months for
the past two years, was familiar with the look.

"Go on, go on--what is it?" asked Mr. Wharton unpleasantly, frowning
and stroking the frosty mustache, first one side and then the other.

"I just stepped in to tell you," said Cleggett quietly, "that I don't
think much of the way you are running the Enterprise."

Wharton stopped stroking his mustache so quickly and so amazedly that
one might have thought he had run into a thorn amongst the hirsute
growth and pricked a finger.  He glared. He opened his mouth.  But
before he could speak Cleggett went on:

"Three years ago I made a number of suggestions to you.  You treated me
contemptuously--very contemptuously!"

Cleggett paused and drew a long breath, and his face became quite red.
It was as if the anger in which he could not afford to indulge himself
three years before was now working in him with cumulative effect.
Wharton, only partially recovered from the shock of Cleggett's sudden
arraignment, began to stammer and bluster, using the words nearest his
tongue:

"You d-damned im-p-pertinent------"

"Just a moment," Cleggett interrupted, growing visibly angrier, and
seeming to enjoy his anger more and more.  "Just a word more. I had
intended to conclude my remarks by telling you that my contempt for
YOU, personally, is unbounded.  It is boundless, sir!  But since you
have sworn at me, I am forced to conclude this interview in another
fashion."

And with a gesture which was not devoid of dignity Cleggett drew from
an upper waistcoat pocket a card and flung it on Wharton's desk.  After
which he stepped back and made a formal bow.

Wharton looked at the card.  Bewilderment almost chased the anger from
his face.

"Eh," he said, "what's this?"

"My card, sir!  A friend will wait on you tomorrow!"

"Tomorrow?  A friend?  What for?"

Cleggett folded his arms and regarded the managing editor with a touch
of the supercilious in his manner.

"If you were a gentleman," he said, "you would have no difficulty in
understanding these things.  I have just done you the honor of
challenging you to a duel."

Mr. Wharton's mouth opened as if he were about to explode in a roar of
incredulous laughter.  But meeting Cleggett's eyes, which were, indeed,
sparkling with a most remarkable light, his jaw dropped, and he turned
slightly pale.  He rose from his chair and put the desk between himself
and Cleggett, picking up as he did so a long pair of shears.

"Put down the scissors," said Cleggett, with a wave of his hand. "I do
not propose to attack you now."

And he turned and left the managing editor's little office, closing the
door behind him.

The managing editor tiptoed over to the door and, with the scissors
still grasped in one hand, opened it about a quarter of an inch.
Through this crack Wharton saw Cleggett walk jauntily towards the
corner where his hat and coat were hanging. Cleggett took off his worn
office jacket, rolled it into a ball, and flung it into a waste paper
basket. He put on his street coat and hat and picked up the
drab-colored cane.  Swinging the stick he moved towards the door into
the hall.  In the doorway he paused, cocked his hat a trifle, turned
towards the managing editor's door, raised his hand with his pipe in it
with the manner of one who points a dueling pistol, took careful aim at
the second button of the managing editor's waistcoat, and clucked.  At
the cluck the managing editor drew back hastily, as if Cleggett had
actually presented a firearm; Cleggett's manner was so rapt and fatal
that it carried conviction.  Then Cleggett laughed, cocked his hat on
the other side of his head and went out into the corridor whistling.
Whistling, and, since faults as well as virtues must be told,
swaggering just a little.

When the managing editor had heard the elevator come up, pause, and go
down again, he went out of his room and said to the city editor:

"Mr. Herbert, don't ever let that man Cleggett into this office again.
He is off--off mentally. He's a dangerous man.  He's a homicidal
maniac. More'n likely he's been a quiet, steady drinker for years, and
now it's begun to show on him."

But nothing was further from Cleggett than the wish ever to go into the
Enterprise office again.  As he left the elevator on the ground floor
he stabbed the astonished elevator boy under the left arm with his cane
as a bayonet, cut him harmlessly over the head with his cane as a
saber, tossed him a dollar, and left the building humming:

"Oh, the Beau Sabreur of the Grande Armee Was the Captain Tarjeanterre!"

It is thus, with a single twitch of her playful  fingers, that Fate
will sometimes pluck from a man the mask that has obscured his real
identity for many years.  It is thus that Destiny will suddenly draw a
bright blade from a rusty scabbard!



CHAPTER II

THE ROOM OF ILLUSION

That part of Brooklyn in which Cleggett lived overlooks a wide sweep of
water where the East River merges with New York Bay. From his windows
he could gaze out upon the bustling harbor craft and see the ships
going forth to the great mysterious sea.

He walked home across the Brooklyn Bridge, and as he walked he still
hummed tunes.  Occasionally, still with the rapt and fatal manner which
had daunted the managing editor, he would pause and flex his wrist, and
then suddenly deliver a ferocious thrust with his walking-stick.

The fifth of these lunges had an unexpected result.  Cleggett directed
it toward the door of an unpainted toolhouse, a temporary structure
near one of the immense stone pillars from which the bridge is swung.
But, as he lunged, the toolhouse door opened, and a policeman, who was
coming out wiping his mouth on the back of his hand, received a jab in
the pit of a somewhat protuberant stomach.

The officer grunted and stepped backward; then he came on, raising his
night-stick.

"Why, it's--it's McCarthy!" exclaimed Cleggett, who had also sprung
back, as the light fell on the other's face.

"Mr. Cleggett, by the powers!" said the officer, pausing and lowering
his lifted club.  "Are ye soused, man?  Or is it your way of sayin'
good avenin' to your frinds?"

Cleggett smiled.  He had first known McCarthy years before when he was
a reporter, and more recently had renewed the acquaintance in his walks
across the bridge.

"I didn't know you were there, McCarthy," he said.

"No?" said the officer.  "And who were ye jabbin' at, thin?"

"I was just limbering up my wrist," said Cleggett.

"'Tis a quare thing to do," persisted McCarthy, albeit good-humoredly.
"And now I mind I've seen ye do the same before, Mr. Cleggett.  You're
foriver grinnin' to yersilf an' makin' thim funny jabs at nothin' as ye
cross the bridge. Are ye subjict to stiffness in the wrists, Mr.
Cleggett?"

"Perhaps it's writer's cramp," said Cleggett, indulging the pleasant
humor that was on him. He was really thinking that, with $500,000 of
his own, he had written his last headline, edited his last piece of
copy, sharpened his last pencil.

"Writer's cramp?  Is it so?" mused McCarthy. "Newspapers is great
things, ain't they now?  And so's writin' and readin'.  Gr-r-reat
things!  But if ye'll take my advise, Mr. Cleggett, ye'll kape that
writin' and readin' within bounds.  Too much av thim rots the brains."

"I'll remember that," said Cleggett.  And he playfully jabbed the
officer again as he turned away.

"G'wan wid ye!" protested McCarthy.  "Ye're soused!  The scent av it's
in the air.  If I'm compilled to run yez in f'r assaultin' an officer
ye'll get the cramps out av thim wrists breakin' stone, maybe.
Cr-r-r-amps, indade!"

Cramps, indeed!  Oh, Clement J. Cleggett, you liar!  And yet, who does
not lie in order to veil his inmost, sweetest thoughts from an
unsympathetic world?

That was not an ordinary jab with an ordinary cane which Cleggett had
directed towards the toolhouse door.  It was a thrust en carte; the
thrust of a brilliant swordsman; the thrust of a master; a terrible
thrust.  It was meant for as pernicious a bravo as ever infested the
pages of romantic fiction.  Cleggett had been slaying these gentry a
dozen times a day for years.  He had pinked four of them on the way
across the bridge, before McCarthy, with his stomach and his realism,
stopped the lunge intended for the fifth.  But this is not exactly the
sort of thing one finds it easy to confide to a policeman, be he ever
so friendly a policeman.

Cleggett--Old Clegg, the copyreader--Clegg, the commonplace--C. J.
Cleggett, the Brooklynite-this person whom young reporters conceived of
as the staid, dry prophet of the dusty Fact--was secretly a mighty
reservoir of unwritten, unacted, unlived, unspoken romance.  He ate it,
he drank it, he breathed it, he dreamed it.  The usual copyreader, when
he closes his eyes and smiles upon a pleasant inward vision, is
thinking of starting a chicken-farm in New Jersey.  But Cleggett--with
gray sprinkled in his hair, sober of face and precise of manner, as the
world knew him--lived a hidden life which was one long, wild adventure.

Nobody had ever suspected it.  But his room might have given to the
discerning a clue to the real man behind the mask which he
assumed--which he had been forced to assume in order to earn a living.
When he reached the apartment, a few minutes after his encounter on the
bridge, and switched the electric light on, the gleams fell upon an
astonishing clutter of books and arms....

Stevenson, cavalry sabers, W. Clark Russell, pistols, and Dumas; Jack
London, poignards, bowie knives, Stanley Weyman, Captain Marryat, and
Dumas; sword canes, Scottish claymores, Cuban machetes, Conan Doyle,
Harrison Ainsworth, dress swords, and Dumas; stilettos, daggers,
hunting knives, Fenimore Cooper, G. P. R. James, broadswords, Dumas;
Gustave Aimard, Rudyard Kipling, dueling swords, Dumas; F. Du
Boisgobey, Malay krises, Walter Scott, stick pistols, scimitars,
Anthony Hope, single sticks, foils, Dumas; jungles of arms, jumbles of
books; arms of all makes and periods; arms on the walls, in the
corners, over the fireplace, leaning against the bookshelves, lying in
ambush under the bed, peeping out of the wardrobe, propping the windows
open, serving as paper weights; pictures, warlike and romantic prints
and engravings, pinned to the walls with daggers; in the wardrobe,
coats and hats hanging from poignards and stilettos thrust into the
wood instead of from nails or hooks.  But of all the weapons it was the
rapiers, of all the books it was Dumas, that he loved.  There was Dumas
in French, Dumas in English, Dumas with pictures, Dumas unillustrated,
Dumas in cloth, Dumas in leather, Dumas in boards, Dumas in paper
covers.  Cleggett had been twenty years getting these arms and books
together; often he had gone without a dinner in order to make a payment
on some blade he fancied.  And each weapon was also a book to him; he
sensed their stories as he handled them; he felt the personalities of
their former owners stirring in him when he picked them up.  It was in
that room that he dreamed; which is to say, it was in that room that he
lived his real life.

Cleggett walked over to his writing desk and pulled out a bulky
manuscript.  It was his own work.  Is it necessary to hint that it was
a tale essentially romantic in character?

He flung it into the grate and set fire to it.  It represented the
labor of two years, but as he watched it burn, stirring the sheets now
and then so the flames would catch them more readily, he smiled,
unvisited by even the most shadowy second thought of regret.

For why the deuce should a man with $500,000 in his pocket write
romances?  Why should anyone write anything who is free to live? For
the first time in his existence Cleggett was free.

He picked up a sword.  It was one of his favorite rapiers. Sometimes
people came out of the books--sometimes shadowy forms came back to
claim the weapons that had been theirs--and Cleggett fought them.
There was not an unscarred piece of furniture in the place.  He bent
the flexible blade in his hands, tried the point of it, formally
saluted, brought the weapon to parade, dallied with his imaginary
opponent's sword for an instant....

It seemed as if one of those terrible, but brilliant, duels, with which
that room was so familiar, was about to be enacted.... But he laid the
rapier down.  After all, the rapier is scarcely a thing of this
century.  Cleggett, for the first time, felt a little impatient with
the rapier.  It is all very well to DREAM with a rapier.  But now, he
was free; reality was before him; the world of actual adventure called.
He had but to choose!

He considered.  He tried to look into that bright, adventurous future.
Presently he went to the window, and gazed out.  Tides of night and
mystery, flooding in from the farther, dark, mysterious ocean, all but
submerged lower Manhattan; high and beautiful above these waves of
shadow, triumphing over them and accentuating them, shone a star from
the top of the Woolworth building; flecks of light indicated the noble
curve of that great bridge which soars like a song in stone and steel
above the shifting waters; the river itself was dotted here and there
with moving lights; it was a nocturne waiting for its Whistler; here
sea and city met in glamour and beauty and illusion.

But it was not the city which called to Cleggett. It was the sea.

A breeze blew in from the bay and stirred his window curtains; it was
salt in his nostrils....  And, staring out into the breathing night, he
saw a succession of pictures....

Stripped to a pair of cotton trousers, with a dripping cutlass in one
hand and a Colt's revolver in the other, an adventurer at the head of a
bunch of dogs as desperate as himself fought his way across the reeking
decks of a Chinese junk, to close in single combat with a gigantic
one-eyed pirate who stood by the helm with a ring of dead men about him
and a great two-handed sword upheaved....  This adventurer was--Clement
J. Cleggett! ...

Through the phosphorescent waters of a summer sea, reckless of cruising
sharks, a sailor's clasp knife in his teeth, glided noiselessly a
strong swimmer; he reached the side of a schooner yacht from which rose
the wild cries of beauty in distress, swarmed aboard with a muttered
prayer that was half a curse, swept the water from his eyes, and with
pale, stern face went about the bloody business of a hero....  Again,
this adventurer was Clement J. Cleggett!

Cleggett turned from the window.

"I'll do it," he cried.  "I'll do it!"

He grasped a cutlass.

"Pirates!" he cried, swinging it about his head. "That's the
thing--pirates and the China Seas!"

And with one frightful sweep of his blade he disemboweled a sofa
cushion; the second blow clove his typewriting machine clean to the
tattoo marks upon its breast; the third decapitated a sectional
bookcase.

But what is a sectional bookcase to a man with $500,000 in his pocket
and the Seven Seas before him?



CHAPTER III

A SCHOONER, A SKIPPER, AND A SKULL

It was a few days later, when a goodly number of the late Uncle Tom's
easily negotiable securities had been converted into cash, and the cash
deposited in the bank, that Cleggett bought the Jasper B.

He discovered her near the town of Fairport, Long Island, one
afternoon.  The vessel lay in one of the canals which reach inward from
the Great South Bay.  She looked as if she might have been there for
some time.  Evidently, at one period, the Jasper B. had played a part
in some catch-coin scheme of summer entertainment; a scheme that had
failed.  Little trace of it remained except a rotting wooden platform,
roofless and built close to the canal, and a gangway arrangement from
this platform to the deck of the vessel.

The Jasper B. had seen better days; even a landsman could tell that.
But from the blunt bows to the weather-scarred stern, on which the name
was faintly discernible, the hulk had an air about it, the air of
something that has lived; it was eloquent of a varied and interesting
past.

And, to complete the picture, there sat on her deck a gnarled and brown
old man.  He smoked a short pipe which was partially hidden in a tangle
of beard that had once been yellowish red but was now streaked with
dirty white; he fished earnestly without apparent result, and from time
to time he spat into the water.  Cleggett's nimble fancy at once put
rings into his ears and dowered him with a history.

Cleggett noticed, as he walked aboard the vessel, that she seemed to be
jammed not merely against, but into the bank of the canal. She was
nearer the shore than he had ever seen a vessel of any sort.  Some
weeds grew in soil that had lodged upon the deck; in a couple of places
they sprang as high as the rail.  Weeds grew on shore; in fact, it
would have taken a better nautical authority than Cleggett to tell
offhand just exactly where the land ended and the Jasper B. began.  She
seemed to be possessed of an odd stability; although the tide was
receding the Jasper B. was not perceptibly agitated by the motion of
the water.  Of anchor, or mooring chains or cables of any sort, there
was no sign.

The brown old man--he was brown not only as to the portions of his skin
visible through his hair and whiskers, but also as to coat and trousers
and worn boots and cap and pipe and flannel shirt--turned around as
Cleggett stepped aboard, and stared at the invader with a shaggy-browed
intensity that was embarrassing.

It occurred to Cleggett that the old man might own the vessel and make
a home of her.

"I beg your pardon if I am intruding," ventured Cleggett, politely,
"but do you live here?"

The brown old man made an indeterminate motion of his head, without
otherwise replying at once.  Then he took a cake of dark, hard-looking
tobacco from the starboard pocket of his trousers and a clasp knife
from the port side.  He shaved off a fresh pipeful, rolled it in his
palms, knocked the old ash from his pipe, refilled and relighted it,
all with the utmost deliberation.  Then he cut another small piece of
tobacco from the "plug" and popped it into his mouth.  Cleggett
perceived with surprise that he smoked and chewed tobacco at the same
time.  As he thus refreshed himself he glanced from time to time at
Cleggett as if unfavorably impressed.  Finally he closed his knife with
a click and suddenly piped out in a high, shrill voice:

"No!  Do you?"

"I--er--do I what?"  It had taken the old man so long to answer that
Cleggett had forgotten his own question, and the shrill fierceness of
the voice was disconcerting.

He regarded Cleggett contemptuously, spat on the deck, and then
demanded truculently:

"D'ye want to buy any seed potatoes?"

"Why--er, no," said Cleggett.

"Humph!" said the brown one, with the air of meaning that it was only
to be expected of an idiot like Cleggett that he would NOT want to buy
any seed potatoes.  But after a further embarrassing silence he
relented enough to give Cleggett another chance.

"You want some seed corn!" he announced  rather than asked.

"No.  I------"

"Tomato plants!" shrilled the brown one, as if daring him to deny it.

"No."

He turned his back on Cleggett, as if he had lost interest, and began
to wind up his fishing line on a squeaky reel.

"Who owns this boat?" Cleggett touched him on the elbow.

"Thinkin' of buyin' her?"

"Perhaps.  Who owns her?"

"What would you do with her?"

"I might fix her up and sail her.  Who owns her?"

"She'll take a sight o' fixin'."

"No doubt.  Who did you say owned her?"

The old man, who had finished with the rusty reel, deigned to look at
Cleggett again.

"Dunno as I said."

"But who DOES own her?"

"She's stuck fast in the mud and her rudder's gone."

"I see you know a lot about ships," said Cleggett, deferentially,
giving up the attempt to find out who owned her.  "I picked you out for
an old sailor the minute I saw you."  He thought he detected a kindlier
gleam in the old man's eye as that person listened to these words.

"The' ain't a stick in her," said the ancient fisherman.  "She's got no
wheel and she's got no nothin'.  She used to be used as a kind of a
barroom and dancin' platform till the fellow that used her for such
went out o' business."

He paused, and then added:

"What might your name be?"

"Cleggett."

He appeared to reflect on the name.  But he said:

"If you was to ask me, I'd say her timbers is sound."

"Tell me," said Cleggett, "was she a deep-water ship?  Could a ship
like her sail around the world, for instance?  I can tell that you know
all about ships."

Something like a grin of gratified vanity began to show on the brown
one's features.  He leaned back against the rail and looked at Cleggett
with the dawn of approval in his eyes.

"My name's Abernethy," he suddenly volunteered.  "Isaiah Abernethy.
The fellow that owns her is Goldberg.  Abraham Goldberg.  Real estate
man."

"Cleggett began to get an insight into Mr. Abernethy's peculiar ideas
concerning conversation.  A native spirit of independence prevented Mr.
Abernethy from dealing with an interlocutor's remarks in the sequence
that seemed to be desired by the interlocutor.  He took a selection of
utterances into his mind, rolled them over together, and replied in
accordance with some esoteric system of his own.

"Where is Mr. Goldberg's office?" asked Cleggett.

"You've come to the proper party to get set right about ships," said
Mr. Abernethy, complacently. "Either you was sent to me by someone that
knows I'm the proper party to set you right about ships, or else you
got an eye in your own head that can recognize a man that comes of a
seafarin' fambly."

"You ARE an old sailor, then?  Maybe you are an old skipper? Perhaps
you're one of the retired Long Island sea captains we're always hearing
so much about?"

"So fur as sailin' her around the world is concerned," said Mr.
Abernethy, glancing over the hulk, "if she was fixed up she could be
sailed anywheres--anywheres!"

"What would you call her--a schooner?"

"This here Goldberg," said Mr. Abernethy, "has his office over town
right accost from the railroad depot."

And with that he put his fishing pole over his shoulder and prepared to
leave--a tall, strong-looking old man with long legs and knotty wrists,
who moved across the deck with surprising spryness. At the gangplank he
sang out without turning his head:

"As far as my bein' a skipper's concerned, they's no law agin' callin'
me Cap'n Abernethy if you want to.  I come of a seafarin' fambly."

He crossed the platform; when he had gone thirty yards further he
stopped, turned around, and shouted:

"Is she a schooner, hey?  You want to know is she a schooner?  If you
was askin' me, she ain't NOTHIN' now.  But if you was to ask me again I
might say she COULD be schooner-rigged.  Lots of boats IS
schooner-rigged."

There are affinities between atom and atom, between man and woman,
between man and man. There are also affinities between men and
things-if you choose to call a ship, which has a spirit of its own,
merely a thing.  There must have been this affinity between Cleggett
and the Jasper B.  Only an unusual person would have thought of buying
her.  But Cleggett loved her at first sight.

Within an hour after he had first seen her he was in Mr. Abraham
Goldberg's office.

As he was concluding his purchase--Mr. Goldberg having phoned
Cleggett's bankers--he was surprised to discover that he was buying
about half an acre of Long Island real estate along with her. For that
matter he had thought it a little odd in the first place when he had
been directed to a real estate agent as the owner of the craft.  But as
he knew very little about business, and nothing at all about ships, he
assumed that perhaps it was quite the usual thing for real estate
dealers to buy and sell ships abutting on the coast of Long Island.

"I had only intended to buy the vessel," said Cleggett.  "I don't know
that I'll be able to use the land."

Mr. Goldberg looked at Cleggett with a slight start, as if he were not
sure that he had heard aright, and opened his mouth as if to say
something.  But nothing came of it--not just then, at least.  When the
last signature had been written, and Clegget's check had been folded by
Mr. Goldberg's plump, bejeweled fingers and put into Mr. Goldberg's
pocketbook, Mr. Goldberg remarked:

"You say you can't use the ship?"

"No; the land.  I'm surprised to find that the land goes with the ship."

"Why, it doesn't," said Mr. Goldberg.  "It's the ship that goes with
the land.  She was on the land when I bought the plot, and I just left
her there.  Nobody's paid any attention to her for years."

The words "on the land" grated on Cleggett.

"You mean on the water, don't you?"

"In the mud, then," suggested Mr. Goldberg.

"But she'll sail all right," said Cleggett.

"I suppose if she was decorated up with sails and things she'd sail.
Figuring on sailing her anywhere in particular?"

Subtly irritated, Cleggett answered: "Oh, no, no! Not anywhere in
particular!"

"Going to live on her this summer?--Outdoor sleeping room, and all
that?"

"I'm thinking of it."

"You could turn her into a house boat easy enough.  I had a friend who
turned an old barge like that into a house boat and had a lot of fun
with her."

"Barge?"  Cleggett rose and buttoned his coat; the conversation was
somehow growing more and more distasteful to him.  "You wouldn't call
the Jasper B. a BARGE, would you?"

"Well, you wouldn't call her a YACHT, would you?" said Mr. Goldberg.

"Perhaps not," admitted Cleggett, "perhaps not. She's more like a bark
than a yacht."

"A bark?  I dunno.  Always thought a bark was bigger.  A scow's more
her size, ain't it?"

"Scow?"  Cleggett frowned.  The Jasper B. a scow!  "You mean a
schooner, don't you?"

"Schooner?"  Mr. Goldberg grinned good-naturedly at his departing
customer.  "A kind of a schooner-scow, huh?"

"No, sir, a schooner!" said Cleggett, reddening, and turning in the
doorway.  "Understand me, Mr. Goldberg, a schooner, sir!  A schooner!"

And standing with a frown on his face until every vestige of the smile
had died from Mr. Goldberg's lips, Cleggett repeated once more:  "A
schooner, Mr. Goldberg!"

"Yes, sir--there's no doubt of it--a schooner, Mr. Cleggett," said Mr.
Goldberg, turning pale and backing away from the door.

The ordinary man inspects a house or a horse first and buys it, or
fails to buy it, afterward; but genius scorns conventions; Cleggett was
not an ordinary man; he often moved straight towards his object by
inspiration; great poets and great adventurers share this faculty;
Cleggett paid for the Jasper B. first and went back to inspect his
purchase later.

The vessel lay about two miles from the center of Fairport.  He could
get within half a mile of it by trolley.  Nevertheless, when he reached
the Jasper B. again after leaving Mr. Goldberg it was getting along
towards dusk.

He first entered the cabin.  It was of a good size and divided into
several compartments.  But it was in a state of dilapidation and
littered with a jumble of odds and ends which looked like the ruins of
a barroom.  As he turned to ascend to the deck again, after possibly
five minutes, intending to take a look at the forecastle next, he heard
the sound of a motor.

Looking out of the cabin he saw a taxicab approaching the boat from the
direction of Fairport. It was a large machine, but it was overloaded
with seven or eight men.  It stopped within twenty yards of the vessel,
and two men got out, one of them evidently a person who imposed some
sort of leadership on the rest of the party.  This was a tall fellow,
with a slouching gait and round shoulders.  And yet, to judge from his
movements, he was both quick and powerful.  The other was a short,
stout man with a commonplace, broad red face and flaxen hair.  The two
stood for a moment in colloquy in the road that led from Fairport
proper to the bayside, passing near the Jasper B., and Cleggett heard
the shorter of the two men say:

"I'm sure I saw somebody aboard of her."

"How long ago, Heinrich?" asked the tall man.

"An hour or so," said Heinrich.

"It was old man Abernethy; he's harmless," said the tall fellow. "He's
the only person that's been aboard her in years."

"There was someone else," persisted Heinrich. "Someone who was talking
to Abernethy."

The tall man mumbled something about having been a fool not to buy her
before this; Cleggett did not catch all of the remark. Then the tall
fellow said:

"We'll go aboard, Heinrich, and take a look around."

With that they advanced towards the vessel. Cleggett stepped on deck
from the cabin companionway, and both men stopped short at the sight of
him, Heinrich obviously a trifle confused, but the other one in no wise
abashed.  He made no attempt, this tall fellow, to give the situation a
casual turn.  What he did was to stand and stare at Cleggett, candidly,
and with more than a touch of insolence, as if trying to beat down
Cleggett's gaze.

Cleggett, staring in his turn, perceived that the tall man, ungainly as
he was, affected a bizarre individualism in the matter of dress.  His
clothing cried out, rather than suggested, that it was expensive.  His
feet were cased in button shoes with fancy tops; his waistcoat, cut in
the extreme of style, revealed that little strip of white which falsely
advertises a second waistcoat beneath, but in his case the strip was
too broad. There were diamonds on the fingers of both powerful hands.
But the thing that grated particularly upon Cleggett was the character
of the man's scarfpin.  It was by far the largest ornament of the sort
that Cleggett had ever seen; he was near enough to the fellow to make
out that it had been carved from a piece of solid ivory in the likeness
of a skull. In the eyeholes of the skull two opals flamed with an evil
levin.  The man suggested to Cleggett, at first glance, a bartender who
had come into money, or a drayman who had been promoted to an important
office in a labor union and was spending the most of a considerable
salary on his person.  And yet his face, more closely observed, somehow
gave the lie to his clothes, for it was not lacking in the signs of
intelligence.  In spite of his taste, or rather lack of taste, there
was no hint of weakness in his physiognomy.  His features were harsh,
bold, predatory; a slightly yellowish tinge about the temples and cheek
bones, suggestive of the ivory ornament, proclaimed a bilious
temperament.

Cleggett, both puzzled and nettled by the man's persistent gaze,
advanced towards him across the deck of the Jasper B. and down the
gangplank, hand on hip, and called out sharply:

"Well, my friend, you will know me the next time you see me!"

The tall man turned without a word and walked back to the taxicab, the
occupants of which had watched this singular duel of looks in silence.
In the act of getting into the machine he face about again and said,
with a lift of the lip that showed two long, protruding canine teeth of
an almost saffron hue:

"I WILL know you again."

He spoke with a kind of cold hostility that gave his words all the
effect of a threat.  Cleggett felt the blood leap faster through his
veins; he tingled with a fierce, illogical desire to strike the fellow
on the mouth; his soul stirred with a premonition of conflict, and the
desire for it.  And yet, on the surface of things at least, the man had
been nothing more than rude; as Cleggett watched the machine make off
towards an isolated road house on the bayside he wondered at the quick
intensity of his own antipathy.  Unconsciously he flexed his wrist in
his characteristic gesture.  Scarcely knowing that he spoke, he
murmured:

"That man gets on my nerves."

That man was destined to do something more than get on Cleggett's
nerves before the adventures of the Jasper B. were ended.



CHAPTER IV

A BAD MAN TO CROSS

The isolated road house on the bay was a nondescript, jumbled,
dilapidated-looking assemblage of structures, rather than one house.
It was known simply as Morris's.  It stood a few hundred yards west of
the end of the canal which opened into the bay and was about a quarter
of a mile from the Jasper B.

The canal itself was broad, straight, low-banked, and about
three-quarters of a mile in length.  The town had thrown out a few
ranks of cottages in the direction of the canal.  But these were all
summer bungalows, occupied only from June until the middle of
September.  The solider and more permanent part of Fairport was well
withdrawn from the sandy, sedgy stretches that bordered on tidewater.

At the north and inland terminus of the quiet strip of water in which
the Jasper B. reposed was a collection of buildings including
bathhouses, a boathouse, and a sort of shed where "soft drinks" and sea
food were served during the bathing season.  This place was known as
Parker's Beach and was open only during the summer.

Morris's was of quite a different character from Parker's Beach. One
could bathe at Morris's, but the beach near by was not particularly
good.  One could hire boats there and buy bait for a fishing trip.  In
one of its phases it made some pretensions to being a summer hotel.  It
had an extensive barroom.  There was a dancing floor, none too smooth.
There were long verandahs on three sides.  That on the south side was
built on piles' people ate and drank there in the summer; beneath it
the water swished and gurgled when the tide was in.

The townspeople of Fairport, or the more respectable ones, kept away
from Morris's, summer and winter.  Summer transients, inhabitants of
the bungalows during the bathing season, patronized the place.  But
most of the patronage at all seasons seemed to consist of automobile
parties from the city; people apparently drawn from all classes, or
eluding definite classification entirely.  In the bleakest season there
was always a little stir of dubious activity about Morris's.  In the
summer it impressed you with its look of cheapness.  In the winter,
squatted by the cold water amidst its huddle of unpainted outhouses, at
the end of a stretch of desolate beach, the fancy gave Morris's a touch
of the sinister.

Cleggett was anxious to get the Jasper B. into seaworthy condition as
soon as possible.  It occurred to him that the employment of expert
advice should be his first step, and early the next morning he hired
Captain Abernethy.  That descendant of a seafaring family, though he
felt it incumbent upon him to offer objections that had to be overcome
with a great show of respect, was really overjoyed at the commission.
He left his own cottage a mile or so away and took up his abode in the
forecastle at once.  By nine o'clock that morning Cleggett had a force
of workmen renovating both cabin and forecastle, putting the cook's
galley into working order, and cleansing the decks of soil and sand.
That night Cleggett spent on the vessel, with Captain Abernethy.

By Saturday of the same week--Cleggett had bought the vessel on
Wednesday--he was able to take up his abode in the cabin with his books
and arms about him.  To his library he had added a treatise on
navigation.  And, reflecting that his firearms were worthless,
considered as modern weapons, he also purchased a score of .44 caliber
Colt's revolvers and automatic pistols of the latest pattern, and a
dozen magazine rifles.

He brought on board at the same time, for cook and cabin boy, a
Japanese lad, who said he was a sailor, and who called himself
Yoshahira Kuroki, and a Greek, George Stefanopolous.

The latter was a handsome, rather burly fellow of about thirty, a man
with a kindling eye and a habit of boasting of his ancestors.

Among them, he declared, was Leonidas, the hero of Thermopylae. George
admitted he was not a sailor, but professed a willingness to learn, and
looked so capable, as he squared his bulky shoulders and twisted his
fine black mustache, that Cleggett engaged him, taking him immediately
from the dairy lunch room in which he had been employed.  George's idea
was to work his way back to Greece, he said, on the Jasper B.  If she
did not sail for Greece for some time, George was willing to wait; he
was patient; sometime, no doubt, she would touch the shores of Greece.

The hold of the Jasper B. Cleggett and Captain Abernethy found to be in
a chaotic state.  Casks, barrels, empty bottles by the hundred, ruins
of benches, tables, chairs, old nondescript pieces of planking, broken
crates and boxes, were flung together there in moldering confusion.  It
was evident that after the scheme of using the Jasper B.'s hulk as one
of the attractions of a pleasure resort had failed, all the debris of
the failure had simply been thrown pell-mell into the hold.  Cleggett
and Captain Abernethy decided that the vessel, which was stepped for
two masts, should be rigged as a schooner.  The Captain was soon busy
securing estimates on the amount of work that would have to be done,
and the cost of it.  The pile of rubbish in the hold, which filled it
to such an extent that Cleggett gave up the attempt to examine it, was
to be removed by the same contractor who put in the sticks.

All the activity on board and about the Jasper B. had not gone on
without attracting the attention of Morris's.  Cleggett noticed that
there was usually someone in the neighborhood of that dubious resort
cocking an eye in the direction of the vessel. Indeed, the interest
became so pronounced, and seemed of a quality so different from
ordinary frank rustic curiosity, that it looked very like espionage.
It had struck Cleggett that Morris's seemed at all times to have more
than its share of idlers and hangers-on; men who appeared to make the
place their headquarters and were not to be confused with the
occasional off-season parties from the city.

On Sunday morning Cleggett was awakened by Captain Abernethy, who
announced:

"Strange craft lookin' us over mighty close, sir."

"A strange craft?  Where is she?" Cleggett was instantly alert.

"She's a house boat, if you was to ask me," said the brown old man--in
a new brown suit and with his whiskers newly trimmed he gave the
impression of having been overhauled and freshly painted.

"Where is she?" repeated Cleggett, beginning to get into his clothes.

"She must 'a' sneaked up an' anchored mighty early this mornin',"
pursued Cap'n Abernethy, true to his conversational principles.

"Is she in the bay or in the canal?"

"She looks like a mighty toney kind o' vessel," said Cap'n Abernethy.
"If I was to make a guess I'd say she was one of them craft that sails
herself along when she wants to with one of these newfangled gasoline
engines."

"She wasn't towed here then?" Cleggett gave up the attempt to learn
from the Captain just where the house boat was.

"She lies in the canal," said the Cap'n.  Having established the point
that he could not be FORCED to tell where she lay, he volunteered the
information as a personal favor from one gentleman to another.  "She
lies ahead of us in the canal, a p'int or so off our port bow, I should
say. And if you was to ask me I'd say she wasn't layin' there for any
good purpose."

"What do you think she's up to?  What makes you suspicious of her?"

"No, sir, she wasn't towed in," said Cap'n Abernethy, "or I'd 'a' heard
a tug towin' her. Comin' of a seafarin' fambly I'm a light sleeper by
nature."

Cleggett finished dressing and went on deck. Sure enough, towards the
south end of the canal, three or four hundred yards south of the Jasper
B., and about the same distance east of Morris's, was anchored a house
boat.  She was painted a slaty gray color.  As Cleggett looked at her a
man stepped up on the deck, and, putting a binocular glass to his eye,
began to study the Jasper B.  After a few minutes of steady scrutiny
this person turned his attention to Morris's.

Looking towards Morris's himself Cleggett saw a man standing on the
east verandah of that resort intently scanning the house boat through a
glass. Cleggett went into the cabin and got his own glass.

Presently the man on Morris's verandah and the man of the house boat
ceased to scrutinize each other and both turned their glasses upon the
Jasper B.  But the moment they perceived that Cleggett was provided
with a glass each turned hastily and entered, the one Morris's place,
and the other the cabin of the house boat.  But Cleggett had already
recognized the man at Morris's as the stoop-shouldered man of tall
stature and fanciful dress who had tried to stare him down some days
before.

As for the man on the house boat (which, as Cleggett had made out, was
named the Annabel Lee), there was something vaguely familiar about his
general appearance which puzzled and tantalized our hero.

As the morning wore on Cleggett became certain that the Jasper B. was
closely watched by both the Annabel Lee and Morris's, although the
watchers avoided showing themselves plainly.  A slightly agitated blind
at a second story window over the verandah showed him where the tall
man or one of his associates gazed out from Morris's; and from a
porthole of the Annabel Lee he could see a glass thrust forth from time
to time.  It was evident to him that the Annabel Lee and Morris's were
suspicious of each other, and that both suspected the Jasper B.  But of
what did they suspect Cleggett?  What intention did they impute to him?
He could only wonder.

Through the entire morning he was conscious of the continuance of this
watch.  He thought it ceased about luncheon time; but at two in the
afternoon he was certain that, if so, it had been resumed.

Cleggett, innocent and honorable, began to get impatient of this
persistent scrutiny.  And in spite of his courage a vague uneasiness
began to possess him.  Towards the end of the afternoon he called his
little company aft and spoke to them.

"My men," he said, "I do not like the attitude of our neighbors. To put
it briefly, there may be squalls ahead of the Jasper B. This is a wild
and desolate coast, comparatively speaking. Strange things have
happened to innocent people before this along the shores of Long
Island.  It is well to be prepared.  I intend to serve out to each of
you two hundred cartridges and a .44 caliber Colt's. In case of an
attempt to board, you may find these cutlasses handy.

"Cap'n Abernethy, in all nautical matters you will still be in command
of the ship, but in case of a military demonstration, all of you will
look to me for leadership.  You may go now and rig up a jury mast and
bend the American colors to the peak--and in case of blows, may God
defend the right!  I know I do not need to exhort you to do your duty!"

As Cleggett spoke the spirit which animated him seemed to communicate
itself to his listeners. Their eyes kindled and the keen joy that
gallant men always feel in the anticipation of conflict flushed their
faces.

"I am a son of Leonidas," said George Stefanopolous, proudly. And he
secreted not merely one, but two, of Cleggett's daggers about his body,
in addition to the revolver given him.  As George had already possessed
a dagger or two and an automatic pistol, it was now almost impossible
for him to lay his hand casually on any part of his person without its
coming into contact with a deadly weapon ready for instant use.  Cap'n
Abernethy picked up a cutlass, "hefted" it thoughtfully, rolled his
sleeve back upon a lean and sinewy old arm that was tanned until it
looked like a piece of weathered oak, spat upon his hand and whirled
the weapon till it whistled in the air.  "I come of a seafarin'
fambly," said the Cap'n, sententiously.

As for Kuroki, he said nothing.  He was not given to speech at any
time.  But he picked up a Malay kris and ran his thumb along the edge
of it critically like a man to whom such a weapon is not altogether
unfamiliar.  A pleased smile stole over his face; he handled the wicked
knife almost affectionately; he put it down with a little loving pat.

"Brave boys," murmured Cleggett, as he watched them.  He smiled, but at
the same time something like a tear blurred his eloquent and magnetic
eye for a moment.  "Brave boys," he murmured, "we were made for each
other!"

The display of the American flag by the Jasper B. had an effect that
could not have been foreseen.

Almost immediately the Annabel Lee herself flung an exactly similar
American flag to the breeze. But a strange thing happened at Morris's.
An American flag was first hung from an upper window over the east
verandah.  Then, after a moment, it was withdrawn.  Then a red flag was
put out.  But almost immediately Cleggett saw a man rip the red flag
from its fastenings and fling it to the ground.

Cleggett, resorting to his glass, perceived that it was the tall man
with the stoop shoulders and incongruous clothing who had torn down the
red flag.  He was now in violent altercation with the man who had hung
it out--the fellow whom he had called Heinrich some days before.

As Cleggett watched, the two men came to blows; then they clinched and
struggled, swaying back and forth within the open window, like a moving
picture in a frame.  Suddenly the tall fellow seemed to get the upper
hand; exerting all his strength, he bent the other backward over the
window sill.  The two contending figures writhed desperately a moment
and then the tall man shifted one powerful, sinewy hand to Heinrich's
throat.

The binoculars brought the thing so near to Cleggett that it seemed as
if he could touch the contorted faces; he could see the tall man's neck
muscles work as if that person were panting; he could see the signs of
suffocation in Heinrich's countenance. The fact that he saw so plainly
and yet could hear no sound of the struggle somehow added to its horror.

All at once the tall man put his knee upon the other's chest, and flung
his weight upon Heinrich with a vehement spring.  Then he tumbled
Heinrich out of the window onto the roof of the verandah.

He stepped out of the window himself, picked Heinrich up with an ease
that testified to his immense strength, and flung him over the edge of
the verandah onto the ground.  A few moments later a couple of men ran
out from Morris's, busied themselves about reviving the fellow, and
helped him into the house.  If Heinrich was not badly injured,
certainly all the fight had been taken out of him for one day.

With Heinrich thus disposed of, the tall man turned composedly to the
task of putting out the American flag again.  Through the glass
Cleggett perceived that his face was twisted by a peculiar smile; a
smile of joyous malevolence.

"A bad man to cross, that tall man," said Cleggett, musingly. And
indeed, his violence with Heinrich had seemed out of all proportion to
the apparent grounds of the quarrel; for it was evident to Cleggett
that Heinrich and the tall man had differed merely about the policy of
displaying the red flag.  "A man determined to have his way," mused
Cleggett.  "If he and I should meet------" Cleggett did not finish the
sentence in words, but his hand closed over the butt of his revolver.

His musing was interrupted by the noise of an approaching automobile.
Turning, he saw a vehicle, the rather long body of which was covered so
that it resembled a merchant's delivery wagon, coming along the road
from Fairport.

It stopped opposite the Jasper B., and from the seat beside the driver
leaped lightly the most beautiful woman Cleggett had ever seen, and
walked hesitatingly but gracefully towards him.

She was agitated.  She was, in fact, sobbing; and a Pomeranian dog
which she carried in her arms was whimpering excitedly as if in
sympathy with its mistress.  Cleggett, soul of chivalry that he was,
born cavalier of beauty in distress, removed his hat and advanced to
meet her.



CHAPTER V

BEAUTY IN DISTRESS

"Can you tell me where I can get some ice? Can you sell me some ice?"
cried the lady excitedly, when she was still some yards distant from
Cleggett.

"Ice?"  The request was so unusual that Cleggett was not certain that
he had understood.

"Yes, ice!  Ice!"  There was no mistaking the genuine character of her
eagerness; if she had been begging for her life she could not have been
more in earnest.  "Don't tell me that you have none on your boat.
Don't tell me that!  Don't tell me that!"

And suddenly, like a woman who has borne all that she can bear, she
burst undisguisedly into a paroxysm of weeping.  Cleggett, stirred by
her beauty and her trouble, stepped nearer to her, for she swayed with
her emotion as if she were about to fall. Impulsively she put a hand on
his arm, and the Pomeranian, dropped unceremoniously to the ground,
sprang at Cleggett snarling and snapping as if sure he were the author
of the lady's misfortunes.

"You will think I am mad," said the lady, endeavoring to control her
tears, "but I MUST have ice.  Don't tell me that you have no ice!"

"My dear lady," said Cleggett, unconsciously clasping, in his anxiety
to reassure her, the hand that she had laid upon his arm, "I have
ice--you shall have all the ice you want!"

"Oh," she murmured, leaning towards him, "you cannot know----"

But the rest was lost in an incoherent babble, and with a deep sigh she
fell lax into Cleggett's arms.  The reaction from despair had been too
much for her; it had come too suddenly; at the first word of
reassurance, at the first ray of dawning hope, she had fainted.
High-strung natures, intrepid in the face of danger, are apt to such
collapses in the moment of deliverance; and, whatever the nature of the
lady's trouble, Cleggett gained from her swoon a sharp sense of its
intensity.

Cleggett was not used to having beautiful women faint and fall into his
arms, and he was too much of a gentleman to hold one there a single
moment longer than was absolutely necessary.  He turned his head rather
helplessly towards the vehicle in which the lady had arrived.  To his
consternation and surprise it had turned around and the chauffeur was
in the act of starting back towards Fairport.  But he had left behind
him a large zinc bucket with a cover on it, a long unpainted, oblong
box, and two steamer trunks; on the oblong box sat a short, squat young
man in an attitude of deep dejection.

"Hi there!  Stop!" cried Cleggett to the chauffeur.  That person
stopped his machine.  He did more.  He arose in the seat, applied his
thumb to his nose, and vigorously and vivaciously waggled his outspread
fingers at Cleggett in a gesture, derisive and inelegant, that is older
than the pyramids.  Then he started his machine again and made all
speed in the direction of Fairport.

"I say, you, come here!" Cleggett called to the squat young man. "Can't
you see that the lady's fainted?"

The squat young man, thus exhorted, sadly approached.

"Can't you see the lady has fainted?" repeated Cleggett.

"Skoits often does," said the squat young man, looking over the
situation in a detached, judicial manner.  He spoke out of the left
corner of his mouth in a hoarse voice, without moving the right side of
his face at all, and he seemed to feel that the responsibility of the
situation was Cleggett's.

"But, don't you know her?  Didn't you come here with her?"

The squat young man appeared to debate some moral issue inwardly for a
moment.  And then, speaking this time out of the right corner of his
mouth, which was now nearer Cleggett, without disturbing the left half
of his face, he pointed towards the oblong box and murmured huskily:
"That's my job."  He went and sat down on the box again.

Without more ado Cleggett lifted the lady and bore her onto the Jasper
B. She was a heavy  burden, but Cleggett declined the assistance of
Cap'n Abernethy and George the Greek, who had come tardily out of the
forecastle and now offered their assistance.

"Get a bottle of wine," he told Yosh, as he passed the Japanese on the
deck, "and then make some tea."

Cleggett laid the lady on a couch in the cabin, and then lighted a
lamp, as it got dark early in these quarters.  While he waited for
Yoshahira Kuroki and the wine, he looked at her.  In her appealing
helplessness she looked even more beautiful than she had at first.  She
was a blonde, with eyebrows and lashes darker than her hair; and, even
in her swoon, Cleggett could see that she was of the thin-skinned,
high-colored type.  Her eyes, as he had seen before she swooned, were
of a deep, dark violet color. She was no chit of a girl, but a mature
woman, tall and splendid in the noble fullness of her contours.  The
high nose spoke of love of activity and energy of character.  The full
mouth indicated warmth of heart; the chin was of that sort which we
have been taught to associate with determination.

The Japanese brought the wine, and Cleggett poured a few spoonfuls down
the lady's throat. Presently she sighed and stirred and began to show
signs of returning animation.

The Pomeranian, which had followed them into the cabin, and which now
lay whimpering at her feet, also seemed to feel that she was awakening,
and, crawling higher, began to lick one of her hands.

"Make some tea, Yosh," said Cleggett.  "What is it?"

This last was addressed to the lady herself.  Her eyes had opened for a
fleeting instant as Cleggett spoke to the Japanese, and her lips had
moved. Cleggett bent his head nearer, while Yosh picked up the dog,
which violently objected, and asked again:  "What is it?"

"Orange pekoe, please," the lady murmured, dreamily.

And then she sat up with a start, struggled to recover herself, and
looked about her wildly.

"Where am I?" she cried.  "What has happened?"  She passed her hand
across her brow, frowning.

"You fainted, madam," said Cleggett.

"Oh!"  Suddenly recollection came to her, and her anxieties rushed upon
her once more.  "The ice!  The ice!"  She sprang to her feet, and
grasped Cleggett by both shoulders, searching his face with eager eyes.
"You did not lie to me, did you?  You promised me ice!  Where is the
ice?"

"You shall have the ice," said Cleggett, "at once."

"Thank God!" she said.  And then:  "Where are Elmer and the box?"

"Elmer?  Oh, the short man!  On shore.  I believe that he and your
chauffeur had some sort of an altercation, for the chauffeur went off
and left him."

"Yes," she said, simply, as they passed up the companionway to the deck
together, "that man, the driver, refused to bring us any farther."

Cleggett must have looked a little blank at that, for she suddenly
threw back her head and laughed at him.  And then, sobering instantly,
she called to the squat young man:

"Elmer!  Oh, Elmer!  You may bring the boxes on board!"  She turned to
Cleggett:  "He may, mayn't he?  Thank you--I was sure you would say he
might.  And if one of your men could just give him a lift?  And--the
ice?"

"George," called Cleggett, "help the man get the boxes aboard. Kuroki,
bring fifty pounds of ice on deck."

She sighed as she heard him give these orders, but it was a sigh of
satisfaction, and she smiled at Cleggett as she signed. Sometimes a
great deal can happen in a very short space of time. Ten minutes
before, Cleggett had never seen this lady, and now he was giving orders
at her merest suggestion.  But in those ten minutes he had seen her
weep, he had seen her faint, he had seen her recover herself; he had
seen her emerge from the depths of despair into something more like
self-control; he had carried her in his arms, she had laughed at him,
she had twice impulsively grasped him by the arm, she had smiled at him
three times, she had sighed twice, she had frowned once; she had swept
upon him bringing with her an impression of the mysterious.  Many men
are married to women for years without seeing their wives display so
many and such varied phases; to Cleggett it seemed not so much that he
was making a new acquaintance as renewing one that had been broken off
suddenly at some distant date.  Cleggett, like the true-hearted
gentleman and born romanticist that he was, resolved to serve her
without question until such time as she chose to make known to him her
motives for her actions.

"Do you know," she said, softly and gravely to Cleggett as George and
Elmer deposited the oblong box upon a spot which she indicated near the
cabin, "I have met very few men in my life who are capable of what you
are doing?"

"I?" said Cleggett, surprised.  "I have done nothing."

"You have found a woman in a strange position--an unusual position,
indeed!--and you have helped her without persecuting her with
questions."

"It is nothing," murmured Cleggett.

"Would you think me too impulsive," she said, with a rare smile, "if I
told you that you are the sort of man whom women are ready to trust
implicitly almost at first sight?"

Cleggett did not permit himself to speak for fear that the thrill which
her words imparted to him would carry him too far.  He bowed.

"But I think you mentioned tea?" she said.  "Did I hear you say it was
orange pekoe, or did I dream that?  And couldn't we have it on deck?"

While Kuroki was bringing a table and chairs on deck and busying
himself about that preparation of tea, Cleggett watched Elmer, the
squat young man, with a growing curiosity.  George and Cap'n Abernethy
were also watching Elmer from a discreet distance. Even Kuroki, silent,
swift, and well-trained Kuroki, could not but steal occasional glances
at Elmer.  Had Cleggett been of a less lofty and controlled spirit he
would certainly have asked questions.

For Elmer, having uncovered the zinc can and taken from it a hammer and
a large tin funnel, proceeded to break the big chunk of ice which
Kuroki had brought him, into half a dozen smaller pieces.  These
smaller lumps, with the exception of two, he put into the zinc bucket,
wrapped around with pieces of coffee sacking.  Then he put the cover on
the bucket to exclude the air.

The zinc bucket was thus a portable refrigerator, or rather, ice house.

Taking one of the lumps of ice which he had left out of the zinc bucket
for immediate use, Elmer carefully and methodically broke it into still
smaller pieces--pieces about the size of an English walnut, but
irregular in shape.  Then he inserted the tin funnel into a small hole
in the uppermost surface of the unpainted, oblong box and dropped in
twenty or more of the little pieces of ice.  When a piece proved to be
too big to go through the funnel Elmer broke it again.

Cleggett noticed that there were five of these small holes in the box,
and that Elmer was slowly working his way down the length of it from
hole to hole, sitting astride of it the while.

From the way in which he worked, and the care with which he conserved
every smallest particle of ice, Elmer's motto seemed to be:  "Haste
not, waste not."  But he did not appear to derive any great
satisfaction from his task, let alone joy. In fact, Elmer seemed to be
a joyless individual; one who habitually looked forward to the worst.
On his broad face, of the complexion described in police reports as
"pasty," melancholy sat enthroned. His nose was flat and broad, and
flat and broad were his cheek bones, too.  His hair was cut very short
everywhere except in front; in front it hung down to his eyebrows in a
straggling black fringe or "bang."  Not that the fringe would have
covered the average person's forehead; this "bang" was not long; but
the truth is that Elmer's forehead was lower than the average person's
and therefore easily covered.  He had what is known in certain circles
as a cauliflower, or chrysanthemum, ear.

But melancholy as he looked, Elmer had evidently had his moments of
struggle against dejection. One of these moments had been when he
bought the clothes he was wearing.  His hat had a bright, red and black
band around it; his tweed suit was of a startling light gray, marked
off into checks with stripes of green; his waistcoat was of lavender,
and his hose were likewise of lavender, but red predominated in both
his shirt and his necktie. His collar was too high for his short neck,
and seemed to cause him discomfort. But this attempt at gayety of dress
was of no avail; one felt at once that it was a surface thing and had
no connection with Elmer's soul; it stood out in front of the
background of his sorrowful personality, accentuating the gloom, as a
blossom may grow upon a bleak rock.  As Elmer carefully dropped ice,
piece by piece, into the oblong box, progressing slowly from hole to
hole, Cleggett thought he had never seen a more depressed young man.

Captain Abernethy approached Cleggett.  There was hesitation in the
brown old man's feet, there was doubt upon his wrinkled brow, but there
was the consciousness of duty in the poise of his shoulders, there was
determination in his eyes.

The blonde lady laughed softly as the sailing-master of the Jasper B.
saluted the owner  of the vessel.

"He is going to tell you," she said to Cleggett, including the Captain
himself in her flashing look and her remark, "he is going to tell you
that you really should get rid of me and my boxes at once--I can see it
in his face!"

Captain Abernethy stopped short at this, and stared.  It was precisely
what he HAD planned to say after drawing Cleggett discreetly aside.
But  it is rather startling to have one's thoughts read in this manner.

He frowned at the lady.  She smiled at him. The smile seemed to say to
the Cap'n:  "You ridiculous old dear, you!  You KNOW that's what you
were going to advise, so why deny it?  I've found you out, but we both
might just as well be good-humored about it, mightn't we?"

"Ma'am," said the Cap'n, evidently struggling between a suddenly born
desire to quit frowning and a sense that he had a perfect right to
frown as much as he wished, "Ma'am, if you was to ask me, I'd say
ridin' on steamships and ridin' on sailin' vessels is two different
matters entirely."

"Cap'n Abernethy," said Cleggett, attempting to indicate that his
sailing master's advice was not absolutely required, "if you have
something to say to me, perhaps later will do just as well."

"As fur as the Jasper B. is concerned," said the  Cap'n, ignoring
Cleggett's remark, and still addressing the lady, "I dunno as you could
call her EITHER a sailin' vessel, OR a steamship, as at present
constituted."

"You want to get me off your boat at once," said the lady.  "You know
you do."  And her manner added:  "CAN'T you act like a good-natured old
dear?  You really are one, you know!"

The Cap'n became embarrassed.  He began to fuss with his necktie, as if
tying it tighter would assist him to hold on to his frown. He felt the
frown slipping, but it was a point of honor with him to retain it.

"She WILL be a sailin' vessel when she gets her sticks into her," said
the Cap'n, fumbling with his neckwear.

"Let me fix that for you," said the lady.  And before the Cap'n could
protest she was arranging his tie for him.  "You old sea
captains!------" she said, untying the scarf and making the ends even.
"As if anyone could possibly be afraid to sail in anything one of YOU
had charge of!"  She gave the necktie a little final pat.  "There, now!"

The Captain's frown was gone past replacement.  But he still felt that
he owed something to himself.

"If you was to ask me," he said, turning to Cleggett, "whether what I'd
got to say to you would do later, or whether it wouldn't do later, I'd
answer you it would, or it wouldn't, all accordin' to whether you
wanted to hear it now, or whether you wanted to hear it later.  And as
far as SAILIN' her is concerned, Mr. Cleggett, I'll SAIL her, whether
you turn her into a battleship or into one of these here yachts.  I
come of a seafarin' fambly."

And then he said to the lady, indicating the tie and bobbing his head
forward with a prim little bow:  "Thank ye, ma'am."

"Isn't he a duck!" said the lady, following him with her eyes, as he
went behind the cabin.  There the Cap'n chewed, smoked, and fished,
earnestly and simultaneously, for ten minutes.

Indeed, the blonde lady, from the moment when Elmer began to put ice
into the box, seemed to have regained her spirits.  The little dog,
which was an indicator of her moods, had likewise lost its nervousness.
When Kuroki had tea ready, the dog lay down at his mistress' feet,
beside the table.

"Dear little Teddy," said the lady, patting the animal upon the head.

"Teddy?" said Cleggett.

"I have named him," she said, "after a great American.  To my mind, the
greatest--Theodore Roosevelt.  His championship of the cause of votes
for women at a time when mere politicians were afraid to commit
themselves is enough in itself to gain him a place in history."

She spoke with a kindling eye, and Cleggett had no doubt that there was
before him one of those remarkable women who make the early part of the
twentieth century so different from any other historical period.  And
he was one with her in her admiration for Roosevelt--a man whose
facility in finding adventures and whose behavior when he had found
them had always made a strong appeal to Cleggett.  If he could not have
been Cleggett he would have liked to have been either the Chevalier
d'Artagnan or Theodore Roosevelt.

"He is a great man," said Cleggett.

But the lady, with her second cup of tea in her hand, was evidently
thinking of something else. Leaning back in her chair, she said to
Cleggett:

"It is no good for you to deny that you think I'm a horridly
unconventional sort of person!"

Cleggett made a polite, deprecatory gesture.

"Yes, yes, you do," she said, decidedly.  "And, really, I am!  I am
impulsive!  I am TOO impulsive!"  She raised the cup to her lips,
drank, and looked off towards the western horizon, which the sun was
beginning to paint ruddily; she mused, murmuring as if to herself:
"Sir Archibald always thought I was too impulsive, dear man."

After a meditative pause she said, leaning her elbows on the table and
gazing searchingly into Cleggett's eyes:

"I am going to trust you.  I am going to reward your kindness by
telling you a portion of my strange story.  I am going to depend upon
you to understand it."

Cleggett bowed and murmured his gratitude at the compliment. Then he
said:

"You could trust me with------"  But he stopped. He did not wish to be
premature.

"With my life.  I could trust you with my life," finished the lady,
gravely.  "I know that.  I believe that.  I feel it, somehow.  It is
because I do feel it that I tell you----"  She paused, as if, after
all, she lacked the courage.  Cleggett said nothing. He was too fine in
grain to force a confidence. After a moment she continued:  "I can tell
you this," she said, with a catch in her voice that was almost a sob,
"that I am practically friendless. When you call a taxicab for me in a
few moments, and I leave you, with Elmer and my boxes, I shall have no
place to go."

"But, surely, madam----"

"Do not call me madam.  Call me Lady Agatha. I am Lady Agatha
Fairhaven.  What is your name?"

Cleggett told her.

"You have heard of me?" asked Lady Agatha.

Cleggett was obliged to confess that he had not. He thought that a
shade of disappointment passed over the lady's face, but in a moment
she smiled and remarked:

"How relative a thing is fame!  You have never heard of me!  And yet I
can assure you that I am well enough known in England.  I was one of
the very first militant suffragettes to break a window--if not the very
first.  The point is, indeed, in dispute. And were it not for my
devotion to the cause I would not now be in my present terrible
plight--doomed to wander from pillar to post with that thing" (she
pointed with a shudder to the box into which Elmer was still gloomily
poking ice)-"chained to me like a--like a----" She hesitated for a
word, and Cleggett, tactlessly enough, with some vague recollection of
a classical tale in his mind, suggested:

"Like a corpse."

Lady Agatha turned pale.  She gazed at Cleggett with terror-stricken
eyes, her beautiful face became almost haggard in an instant; he
thought she was about to faint again, but she did not.  As he looked
upon the change his words had wrought, filled with wonder and
compunction, Cleggett suddenly divined that her occasional flashes of
gayety had been, all along, merely the forced vivacity of a brave and
clever woman who was making a gallant fight against total collapse.

"Mr. Cleggett," she said, in a voice that was scarcely louder than a
whisper, "I am going to confide everything to you--the whole truth.  I
will spare myself nothing; I will throw myself upon your mercy.

"I firmly believe, Mr. Cleggett--I am practically certain--that the box
there, upon which Elmer is sitting, contains the body of Reginald
Maltravers, natural son of the tenth Earl of Claiborne, and the cousin
of my late husband, Sir Archibald Fairhaven."



CHAPTER VI

LADY AGATHA'S STORY

It was with the greatest difficulty that Cleggett repressed a start.
Another man might have shown the shock he felt.  But Cleggett had the
iron nerve of a Bismarck and the fine manner of a Richelieu.  He did
not even permit his eyes to wander towards the box in question.  He
merely sat and waited.

Lady Agatha, having brought herself to the point of revelation, seemed
to find a difficulty in proceeding.  Cleggett, mutely asking
permission, lighted a cigarette.

"Oh--if you will!" said Lady Agatha, extending her hand towards the
case.  He passed it over, and when she had chosen one of the little
rolls and lighted it she said:

"Mr. Cleggett, have you ever lived in England?"

"I have never even visited England."

"I wish you knew England."  She watched the curling smoke from her
tobacco as it drifted across the table.  "If you knew England you would
comprehend so much more readily some parts of my story.

"But, being an American, you can have no adequate conception of the
conservatism that still prevails in certain quarters.  I refer to the
really old families among the landed aristocracy. Some of them have not
changed essentially, in their attitude towards the world in general,
since the reign of Queen Elizabeth. They make of family a fetish. They
are ready to sacrifice everything upon the altar of family.  They may
exhibit this pride of race less obviously than some of the French or
Germans or Italians; but they have a deeper sense of their own dignity,
and of what is due to it, than any of your more flighty and picturesque
continentals.  There are certain things that are done. Certain things
are not done.  One must conform or----"

She interrupted herself and delicately flicked the ash from her
cigarette.

"Conform, or be jolly well damned," she finished, crossing one leg over
the other and leaning back in her chair.  "This, by the way, is the
only decent cigarette I have found in America.  I hate to smoke
perfume--I like tobacco--and most of your shops seem to keep nothing
but the highly scented Turkish and Egyptian varieties."

"They were made in London," said Cleggett, bowing.

"Ah!  But where was I?  Oh, yes--one must conform.  Especially if one
belongs to, or has married into, the Claiborne family.  Of all the men
in England the Earl of Claiborne is the most conservative, the most
reactionary, the most deeply encrusted with prejudice.  He would stop
at little where the question concerned the prestige of the aristocracy
in general; he would stop at nothing where the Claiborne family is
concerned.

"I am telling you all this so that you may get an inkling of the blow
it was to him when I became a militant suffragist.  It was blow enough
to his nephew, Sir Archibald, my late husband.  The Earl maintains that
it hastened poor Archibald's death.  But that is ridiculous.  Archibald
had undermined his constitution with dissipation, and died following an
operation for gravel.  He was to have succeeded to the title, as both
of the Earl's legitimate sons were dead without issue--one of them
perished in the Boer War, and the other was killed in the hunting field.

"Upon Archibald's death the old Earl publicly acknowledged Reginald
Maltravers, his natural son, and took steps to have him legitimatized.
For all of the bend sinister upon his escutcheon, Reginald Maltravers
was as fanatical concerning the family as his father.  Perhaps more
fanatical, because he secretly suffered for the irregularity of his own
position in the world.

"At any rate, supported at first by the old Earl, he began a series of
persecutions designed to make me renounce my suffragist principles, or
at least to make me cease playing a conspicuous public part in the
militant propaganda.  As my husband was dead and there were no
children, I could not see that I was accountable to the Claiborne
family for my actions.  But the Claibornes took a different view of it.
In their philosophy, once a Claiborne, always a Claiborne.  I was
bringing disgrace and humiliation upon the family, in their opinion.
Knowing the old Earl as I do, I am aware that his suffering was genuine
and intense. But what was I to do?  One cannot desert one's principles
merely because they cause suffering; otherwise there could be no such
thing as revolution.

"Reginald Maltravers had another reason for his persecution. After the
death of Sir Archibald he himself sought my hand in marriage.  I shall
always remember the form of his proposal; it concluded with these
words: 'Had Archibald lived you would have been a countess.  You may
still be a countess--but you must drop this suffragist show, you know.
It is all bally rot, Agatha, all bally rot.' I would not have married
him without the condition, for I despised the man himself; but the
condition made me furious and I drove him from my sight with words that
turned him white and made him my enemy forever.  'You will not be my
countess, then,' he said.  'Very well--but I can promise you that you
will cease to be a suffragist.' I can still see the evil flash of his
eye behind his monocle as he uttered these words and turned away."

Lady Agatha shuddered at the recollection, and took a cup of tea.

"It was then," she resumed, "that the real persecution began.  I was
peculiarly helpless, as I have no near relations who might have come to
my defense.  Representing himself always as the agent of his father,
but far exceeding the Earl in the malevolence of his inventions,
Reginald Maltravers sought by every means he could command to drive me
from public life in England.

"Three times he succeeded in having me flung into Holloway Jail. I need
not tell you of the terrors of that institution, nor of the degrading
horrors of forcible feeding.  They are known to a shocked and
sympathetic world.  But Reginald Maltravers contrived, in my case, to
add to the usual brutalities a peculiar and personal touch.  By
bribery, as I believe, he succeeded in getting himself into the prison
as a turnkey.  It was his custom, when I lay weak and helpless in the
semistupor of starvation, to glide into my cell and, standing by my
couch, to recite to me the list of tempting viands that might appear
daily upon the board of a Countess of Claiborne.

"He soon learned that his very presence itself was a persecution. After
my release from jail the last time, he began to follow me everywhere.
Turn where I would, there was Reginald Maltravers. At suffrage meetings
he took his station directly before the speaker's stand, stroked his
long blond mustache with his long white fingers, and stared at me
steadfastly through his monocle, with an evil smile upon his face.
Formerly he had, in several instances, prevented me from attending
suffrage meetings; once he had me spirited away and imprisoned for a
week when it fell to my lot to burn a railroad station for the good of
the cause.  He strove to ruin me with my leaders in this despicable
manner.

"But in the end he took to showing himself; he stood and stared. Merely
that.  He was subtle enough to shift the persecution from the province
of the physical to the realm of the psychological. It was like being
haunted.  Even when I did not see him, I began to THINK that I saw him.
He deliberately planted that hallucination in my mind. It is a wonder
that I did not go mad.

"I finally determined to flee to America.  I made all my arrangements
with care and--as I thought--with secrecy.  I imagined that I had given
him the slip.  But he was too clever for me.  The third day out, as one
of the ship's officers was showing me about the vessel, I detected
Reginald Maltravers in the hold.  It is not usual to allow women so far
below decks; but I had insisted on seeing everything.  Perspiring,
begrimed, and mopping the moisture from his brow with a piece of cotton
waste, there he stood in the guise of a--of--a croaker, is it, Mr.
Cleggett?"

"Stoker, I believe," said Cleggett.

"Stoker.  Thank you.  He turned away in confusion when he saw that he
was discovered.  I perceived that, designing to cross on the same ship
with me, he had thought himself hidden there. He was not wearing his
monocle, but I would know that sloping forehead, that blond mustache,
and that long, high, bony nose anywhere."

Lady Agatha broke off for a moment.  She was extremely agitated. But
presently she continued: "I endeavored to evade him.  The attempt was
useless.  He found me out at once.  The persecution went on.  It was
more terrible here than it had been in England. There I had friends.  I
had hours, sometimes even whole days, to myself.

"But this was not the worst.  A new phase developed.  From his
appearance it suddenly became apparent to me that Reginald Maltravers
could not stop haunting me if he wished!"

"COULD not stop?" cried Cleggett.

"COULD not," said Lady Agatha.  "The hunt had become a monomania with
him.  It had become an obsession.  He had given his whole mentality to
it and it had absorbed all his faculties.  He was now the victim of it.
He had grown powerless in the grip of the idea; he had lost volition in
the matter.

"You can imagine my consternation when I realized this.  I began to
fear the day when his insanity would take some violent form and he
would endeavor to do me a personal injury.  I determined to have a
bodyguard.  I wanted a man inured to danger; one capable of meeting
violence with violence, if the need arose.  It struck me that if I
could get into touch with one of those chivalrous Western outlaws, of
whom we read in American works of fiction, he would be just the sort of
man I needed to protect me from Reginald Maltravers.

"I did not consider appealing to the authorities, for I have no
confidence in your American laws, Mr. Cleggett.  But I did not know how
to go about finding a chivalrous Western outlaw.  So finally I put an
advertisement in the personal column of one of your morning papers for
a reformed convict."

"A reformed convict!" exclaimed Cleggett. "May I ask how you worded the
ad.?"

"Ad.?  Oh, advertisement?  I will get it for you."

She went into the stateroom and was back in a moment with a newspaper
cutting which she handed to Cleggett.  It read:

Convict recently released from Sing Sing, if his reform is really
genuine, may secure honest employment by writing to A. F., care Morning
Dispatch.

"Out of the answers," she resumed, "I selected four and had their
writers call for a personal interview.  But only two of them seemed to
me to be really reformed, and of these two Elmer's reform struck me as
being the more genuine.  You may have noticed that Elmer gives the
appearance of being done with worldly vanities."

"He does seem depressed," said Cleggett, "but I had imputed it largely
to the nature of his present occupation."

"It is due to his attempt to lead a better life--or at least so he
tells me," said Lady Agatha. "Morality does not come easy to Elmer, he
says, and I believe him.  Elmer's time is largely taken up by inward
moral debate as to the right or wrong of particular hypothetical cases
which his imagination insists on presenting to his conscience."

"I can certainly imagine no state of mind less enjoyable," said
Cleggett.

"Nor I," replied Lady Agatha.  "But to resume:  The very fact that I
had employed a guard seemed to put Reginald Maltravers beside himself.
He followed me more closely than ever. Regardless of appearances, he
would suddenly plant himself in front of me in restaurants and
tramcars, in the streets or parks when I went for an airing, even in
the lifts and corridors of the apartment hotel where I stopped, and
stare at me intently through his monocle, caressing his mustache the
while.  I did not dare make a scene; the thing was causing enough
remark without that; I was, in fact, losing my reputation.

"Finally, goaded beyond endurance, I called Elmer into my apartment one
day and put the whole case before him.

"'I will pay almost any price short of participation in actual crime,'
I told him, 'for a fortnight of freedom from that man's presence.  I
can stand it no longer; I feel my reason slipping from me. Have I not
heard that there are in New York creatures who are willing, on the
payment of a certain stipulated sum, to guarantee to chastise a person
so as to disable him for a definite period, without doing him permanent
injury?  You must know some such disreputable characters.  Procure me
some wretches of this sort!'

"Elmer replied that such creatures do, indeed, exist.  He called
them--what did he call them?"

"Gunmen?" suggested Cleggett.

"Yes, thank you.  He brought two of them to me whom he introduced
as----"

She paused.  "The names escape me," she said. She called: "Elmer, just
step here a moment, please."

Elmer, who was still putting ice into the oblong box, moodily laid away
his tools and approached.

"What WERE the odd names of your friends?  The ones who--who made the
mistake?" asked Lady Agatha, resuming her seat.

Elmer rolled a bilious eye at Cleggett and asked Lady Agatha, out of
that corner of his mouth nearer to her:

"Is th' guy right?"

"Mr. Cleggett is a friend of mine and can keep a secret, if that is
what you mean," said Lady Agatha.  And the words sent a thrill of
elation through Cleggett's being.

"M' friends w'at makes the mistake," said Elmer, apparently satisfied
with the assurance, and offering the information to Cleggett out of the
side of his mouth which had not been involved in his question to Lady
Agatha, "goes by th' monakers of Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat."

"Picturesque," murmured Cleggett.

"Picture--what?  Picture not'in!" said Elmer, huskily.  "The bulls got
not'in' on them boys.  Them guys never been mugged. Them guys is too
foxy t' get mugged."

"I infer that you weren't always so foxy," said Cleggett, eyeing him
curiously.

The remark seemed to touch a sensitive spot.  Elmer flushed and
shuffled from one foot to the other, hanging his head as if in
embarrassment. Finally he said, earnestly:

"I wasn't no boob, Mr. Cleggett.  It was a snitch got ME settled. I was
a good cracksman, honest I was.  But I never had no luck."

"I intended no reflection on your professional ability," said Cleggett,
politely.

"Oh, that's all right, Mr. Cleggett," said Elmer, forgivingly.
"Nobody's feelin's is hoited.  And any friend of th' little dame here
is a friend o' mine."  The diminutive, on Elmer's lips, was intended as
a compliment; Lady Agatha was not a small woman.

"Elmer," said Lady Agatha, "tell Mr. Cleggett how the mistake occurred."

Oratory was evidently not Elmer's strongest point.  But he braced
himself for the effort and began:

"When th' skoit here says she wants the big boob punched I says to
m'self, foist of all:  'Is it right or is it wrong?'  Oncet youse got
that reform high sign put onto youse, youse can't be too careful.  Do
youse get me?  So when th' skoit here puts it up to me I thinks foist
off:  'Is it right or is it wrong?'  See? So I thinks it over and I
says to m'self th' big boob's been pullin' rough stuff on th' little
dame here.  Do youse get me? So I says to m'self, the big boob ought to
get a wallop on the nut.  See?  What th' big gink needs is someone to
bounce a brick off his bean, f'r th' dame here's a square little dame.
Do youse get me?  So I says to the little dame:  'I'm wit' youse, see?
W'at th' big gink needs is a mont' in th' hospital.'  An' the little
dame here says he's not to be croaked, but----"

But at that instant Teddy, the Pomeranian, sprang towards the uncovered
hatchway that gave into the hold, barking violently. Lady Agatha, who
could see into the opening, arose with a scream.

Cleggett, leaping towards the hatchway, was just in time to see two men
jump backward from the bottom of the ladder into the murk of the hold.
They had been listening.  Drawing his pistol, and calling to the crew
of the Jasper B. to follow him, Cleggett plunged recklessly downward
and into the darkness.



CHAPTER VII

FIRST BLOOD FOR CLEGGETT

As his feet struck the top of the rubbish heap in the hold of the
vessel, Cleggett stumbled and staggered forward.  But he did not let go
of his revolver.

Perhaps he would not have fallen, but the Pomeranian, which had leaped
into the hold after him, yelping like a terrier at a rat hunt, ran
between his legs and tripped him.

"Damn the dog!" cried Cleggett, going down.

But the fall probably saved his life, for as he spoke two pistol shots
rang out simultaneously from the forward part of the hold. The bullets
passed over his head.  Raising himself on his elbow, Cleggett fired
rapidly three times, aiming at the place where a spurt of flame had
come from.

A cry answered him, and he knew that at least one of his bullets had
taken effect.  He rose to his feet and plunged forward, firing again,
and at the same instant another bullet grazed his temple.

The next few seconds were a wild confusion of yelping dog, shouts,
curses, shots that roared like the explosion of big guns in that
pent-up and restricted place, stinking powder, and streaks of fire that
laced themselves across the darkness.  But only a single pistol replied
to Cleggett's now and he was confident that one of the men was out of
the fight.

But the other man, blindly or with intention, was stumbling nearer as
he fired.  A bullet creased Cleggett's shoulder; it was fired so close
to him that he felt the heat of the exploding powder; and in the sudden
glow of light he got a swift and vivid glimpse of a white face framed
in long black hair, and of flashing white teeth beneath a lifted lip
that twitched.  The face was almost within touching distance; as it
vanished Cleggett heard the sharp, whistling intake of the fellow's
breath--and then a click that told him the other's last cartridge was
gone. Cleggett clubbed his pistol and leaped forward, striking at the
place where the gleaming teeth had been.  His blow missed; he spun
around with the force of it.  As he steadied himself to shoot again he
heard a rush behind him and knew that his men had come to his
assistance.

"Collar him!" he cried.  "Don't shoot, or----"

But he did not finish that sentence.  A thousand lights danced before
his eyes, Niagara roared in his ears for an instant, and he knew no
more.  His adversary had laid him out with the butt of a pistol.

Cleggett was not that inconsiderable sort of a man who is killed in any
trivial skirmish:  There was a moment at the bridge of Arcole when
Napoleon, wounded and flung into a ditch, appeared to be lost.  But
when Nature, often so stupid, really does take stock and become aware
that she has created an eagle she does not permit that eagle to be
killed before its wings are fledged. Napoleon was picked out of the
ditch.  Cleggett was only stunned.

Both were saved for larger triumphs. The association of names is not
accidental.  These two men were, in some respects, not dissimilar,
although Bonaparte lacked Cleggett's breeding.

When Cleggett regained consciousness he was on deck; George, Kuroki and
Cap'n Abernethy stood about him in a little semicircle of anxiety; Lady
Agatha was applying a cold compress to the bump upon his head.  (He
made nothing of his other scratches.)  As for Elmer, who had not
stirred from his seat on the oblong box, he moodily regarded, not
Cleggett, but a slight young fellow with long black hair, who lay
motionless upon the deck.

Cleggett struggled to his feet.  "Is he dead?" he asked, pointing to
the figure of his recent assailant.  Cap'n Abernethy, for the first
time since Cleggett had known him, gave a direct answer to a question.

"Mighty nigh it," he said, staring down at the young man.  Then he
added:  "Kind o' innocent lookin' young fellow, at that."

"But the other one?  Was he killed?" asked Cleggett.

"The other?" George inquired.  "But there was no other.  When we got
down there you and this boy----"  And George described the struggle
that had taken place after Cleggett had lost consciousness.  The whole
affair, as far as it concerned Cleggett, had been a matter of seconds
rather than minutes; it was begun and over like a hundred yard dash on
the cinder track. When George and Kuroki and Cap'n Abernethy had
tumbled into the hold they had been afraid to shoot for fear of hitting
Cleggett; they had reached him, guided by his voice, just as he went
down under his assailant's pistol.  They had not subdued the youth
until he had suffered severely from George's dagger. Later they learned
that one of Cleggett's bullets had also found him. Cleggett listened to
the end, and then he said:

"But there WERE two men in the hold.  And one of them, dead or wounded,
must still be down  there.  Carry this fellow into the
forecastle--we'll look at him later.  Then bring some lanterns. We are
going down into that hold again."

With their pistols in their right hands and lanterns in their left they
descended, Cleggett first. It was not impossible that the other
intruder might be lying, wounded, but revived enough by now to work a
pistol, behind one of the rubbish heaps.

But no shots greeted them.  The hold of the Jasper B. was not divided
into compartments of any sort.  If it had ever had them, they had been
torn away.  Below deck, except for the rubbish heap and the steps for
the masts, she was empty as a soup tureen.  The pile of debris was the
highest toward the waist of the vessel. There it formed a treacherous
hill of junk; this hill sloped downward towards the bow and towards the
stern; in both the fore and after parts, under the forecastle and the
cabin, there were comparatively clear spaces.

The four men forced their way back towards the stern and then came
slowly forward in a line that extended across the vessel, exploring
with their lanterns every inch of the precarious footing, and
overturning and looking behind, under, and into every box, cask, or
jumble of planking that might possibly offer a place of concealment.
They found no one.  And, until they reached a clearer place, well
forward, on the starboard side of the ship, they found no trace of
anyone.

Cleggett, who was examining this place, suddenly uttered an exclamation
which brought the others to him.  He pointed to stains of blood upon
the planking; near these stains were marks left by boots which had been
gaumed with a yellowish clay.  A revolver lay on the floor.  Cleggett
examined it and found that only one cartridge had been exploded.  The
stains of blood and the stains of yellow clay made an easily followed
trail for some yards to a point about halfway between the bow and stern
on the starboard side.

There, in the waist of the vessel, they ceased; ceased abruptly,
mysteriously.  Cleggett, not content, made his men go over the place
again, even more thoroughly than before. But there was no one there,
dead or wounded, unless he had succeeded in contracting himself to the
dimensions of a rat.

"There is nothing," said Cleggett, standing by the ladder that led up
to the deck.  "Nothing," echoed George; and then as if with one
impulse, and moved by the same eerie thought, these four men suddenly
raised their lanterns head-high and gazed at one another.

A startled look spread from face to face.  But no one spoke. There was
no need to.  All recognized that they were in the presence of an
apparent impossibility.  Yet this seemingly impossible thing was the
fact.  There had been two men in the hold of the Jasper B.  They had
entered as mysteriously and silently as disembodied spirits might have
done. One of them, wounded, had made his exit in the same baffling way.
Where? How?

Cleggett broke the silence.

"Let us go to the forecastle and have a look at that fellow," he said,
and led the way.

No one lagged as they left the hold.  These were all brave men, but
there are times when the invisible, the incomprehensible, will send a
momentary chill to the heart of the most intrepid.

Cleggett found Lady Agatha, her own troubles for the time forgotten, in
the forecastle.  She had lighted a lamp and was bending over the
wounded man, whose coat and waistcoat she had removed. His clothing was
a sop of blood.  They cut his shirt and undershirt from him.  Kuroki
brought water and the medicine chest and surgical outfit with which
Cleggett had provided the Jasper B.  They examined his wounds, Lady
Agatha, with a fine seriousness and a deft touch which claimed
Cleggett's admiration, washing them herself and proceeding to stop the
flow of blood.

"Oh, I am not an altogether useless person," she said, with a momentary
smile, as she saw the look in Cleggett's face.  And Cleggett remembered
with shame that he had not thanked her for her ministrations to himself.

A pistol bullet had gone quite through the young man's shoulder. There
was a deep cut on his head, and there were half a dozen other stab
wounds on his body.  George had evidently worked with great rapidity in
the hold.

In the inside breast pocket of his coat he had carried a thin and
narrow little book.  There was a dagger thrust clear through it; if the
book had not been there this terrible blow delivered by the son of
Leonidas must inevitably have penetrated the lung.

Cleggett opened the book.  It was entitled "Songs of Liberty, by
Giuseppe Jones."  The verse was written in the manner of Walt Whitman.
A glance at one of the sprawling poems showed Cleggett that in
sentiment it was of the most violent and incendiary character.

"Why, he is an anarchist!" said Cleggett in surprise.

"Oh, really!"  Lady Agatha looked up from her work of mercy and spoke
with animation, and then gazed upon the youth's face again with a new
interest.  "An anarchist!  How interesting!  I have ALWAYS wanted to
meet an anarchist."

"Poor boy, he don't look like nothin' bad," said Cap'n Abernethy, who
seemed to have taken a fancy to Giuseppe Jones.

"Listen," said Cleggett, and read:

     "As for your flag, I spit upon your flag!
      I spit upon your organized society anywhere and everywhere;
     I spit upon your churches;
         I spit upon your capitalistic institutions;
         I spit upon your laws;
         I spit upon the whole damned thing!
         But, as I spit, I weep!  I weep!"

"How silly!" said Lady Agatha.  "What does it mean?"

"It means----" began Cleggett, and then stopped. The book of
revolutionary verse, taken in conjunction with the red flag that had
been displayed and then withdrawn, made him wonder if Morris's were the
headquarters of some band of anarchists.

But, if so, why should this band show such an interest in the Jasper
B.?  An interest so hostile to her present owner and his men?

"If you was to ask me what it means," said Captain Abernethy, who had
taken the book and was fingering it, "I'd say it means young Jones here
has fell into bad company.  That don't explain how he sneaked into the
hold of the Jasper B., nor what for.  But he orter have a doctor."

"He shall have a physician," said Cleggett.  "In fact, the Jasper B.
needs a ship's doctor."

"It looks to me," said Captain Abernethy, "as if she did.  And if you
was to go further, Mr. Cleggett, and say that it looks as if she was
liable to need a couple o' trained nurses, too, I'd say to you that if
they's goin' to be many o' these kind o' goin's-on aboard of her she
DOES need a couple of trained nurses."

"Captain," said Cleggett, "you are a humane man--let me shake your
hand.  You have voiced my very thought!"

Long ago Cleggett had resolved that if Chance or Providence should ever
gratify his secret wish to participate in stirring adventures, he would
see to it that all his wounded enemies, no matter how many there might
be of them, received adequate medical attention.  He had often been
shocked at the callousness with which so many of the heroes of romance
dash blithely into the next adventure--though those whom they have
seriously injured lie on all sides of them as thick as autumn
leaves--with only the most perfunctory consideration of these victims;
sometimes, indeed, with no thought of them at all.

"Something tells me," said Cleggett seriously, "that this intrusion of
armed men is only a prelude.  I have little doubt of the hostility of
Morris's; I am sure that the men who hid in the hold are spies from
Morris's.  I do not yet know the motive for this hostility.  But the
Jasper B. is in the midst of dangers and mysteries.  There is before us
an affair of some magnitude.  Ere the Jasper B. sets sail for the China
Seas, there may be many wounds."

And then he began to outline a plan that had flashed, full formed, into
his mind.  It was to rent, or purchase, the buildings at Parker's
Beach, and fit them up as a field hospital, with three or four nurses
in charge.  Lady Agatha, who had been listening intently, interrupted.

"But--the China Seas,"  she said.  "Did I understand you to say that
you intend to set sail for the China Seas?"

"That is the ultimate destination of the Jasper B." said Cleggett.

"I have heard--it seems to me that I have heard--that it's a very
dangerous place," ventured Lady Agatha.  "Pirates, you know, and all
that sort of thing."

"Pirates," said Cleggett, "abound."

"Well, then," persisted Lady Agatha, "you are going out to fight them?"

"I should not be surprised," said Cleggett, folding his arms, and
standing with his feet spread just a trifle wider than usual, "if the
Jasper B. had a brush or two with them.  A brush or two!"

Lady Agatha regarded him speculatively.  But admiringly, too.

"But those nurses----" she said.  "If you're going to the China Seas
you can't very well take Parker's Beach along."

"I was coming to that," said Cleggett, bowing. "I contemplate a
hospital ship--a vessel supplied with nurses and lint and medicines,
that will accompany the Jasper B., and fly the Red Cross flag."

"But they are frightful people, really, those Chinese pirates, you
know," said Lady Agatha. "Do you think they'll quite appreciate a
hospital ship?"

"It is my duty," said Cleggett, simply.  "Whether they appreciate it or
not, a hospital ship they shall have.  This is the twentieth century.
And although the great spirits of other days had much to commend them,
it is not to be denied that they knew little of our modern
humanitarianism.  It has remained for the twentieth century to develop
that.  And one owes a duty to one's epoch as well as to one's
individuality."

"But," repeated Lady Agatha, with a meditative frown, "they are really
FRIGHTFUL people!"

"There is good in all men," said Cleggett, "even in those whom the
stern necessities of idealism sentence to death.  And I have no doubt
that many a Chinese pirate would, under other circumstances, have
developed into a very contented and useful laundry-man."

Lady Agatha studied him intently for a moment. "Mr. Cleggett," she
said, "if you will permit me to say so, a great suffragist leader was
lost when fate made you a man."

"Thank you," said Cleggett, bowing again.

He dispatched George--a person of address as well as a fighter in whom
the blood of ancient Greece ran quick and strong--on a humanitarian
mission.  George was to walk a mile to the trolley line, go to
Fairport, hire a taxicab, and make all possible speed into Manhattan.
There he was to  communicate with a young physician of Cleggett's
acquaintance, Dr. Harry Farnsworth.

Dr. Farnsworth, as Cleggett knew, was just out of medical school. He
had his degree, but no patients.  But he was bold and ready. He was, in
short, just the lad to welcome with enthusiasm such a chance for active
service as the cruise of the Jasper B. promised to afford.

It was something of a risk to weaken his little party by sending George
away for several hours. But Cleggett did not hesitate.  He was not the
man to allow considerations of personal safety to outweigh his devotion
to an ideal.

"And now," said Cleggett, turning to Lady Agatha, who had hearkened to
his orders to George with a bright smile of approval, "we will dine,
and I will hear the rest of your story, which was so rudely
interrupted.  It is possible that together we may be able to find some
solution of your problem."

"Dine!" exclaimed Lady Agatha, eagerly.  "Yes, let us dine!  It may
sound incredible to you, Mr. Cleggett, that the daughter of an English
peer and the widow of a baronet should confess that, except for your
tea, she has scarcely eaten for twenty-four hours--but it is so!"

Then she said, sadly, with a sign and sidelong glance at the box of
Reginald Maltravers which stood near the cabin companionway dripping
coldly:  "Until now, Mr. Cleggett--until your aid had given me fresh
hope and strength--I had, indeed, very little appetite."

Cleggett followed her gaze, and it must be admitted that he himself
experienced a momentary sense of depression at the sight of the box of
Reginald Maltravers.  It looked so damp, it looked so chill, it looked
so starkly and patiently and malevolently watchful of himself and Lady
Agatha.  In a flash his lively fancy furnished him with a picture of
the box of Reginald Maltravers suddenly springing upright and hopping
towards him on one end with a series of stiff jumps that would send
drops of moisture flying from the cracks and seams and make the ice
inside of it clink and tinkle.  And the mournful Elmer, now drowsing
callously over his charge, was not an invitation to be blithe.  If
Cleggett himself were so affected (he mused) what must be the effect of
the box of Reginald Maltravers upon sensibilities as fine and delicate
as those of a woman like Lady Agatha Fairhaven?

"Could I--if I might----" Lady Agatha hesitated, with a glance towards
the cabin.  Cleggett instantly divined her thought; for brief as was
their acquaintance, there was an almost psychic accord between his mind
and hers, and he felt himself already answering to her unspoken wish as
a ship to its rudder.

"The cabin is at your service," said Cleggett, for he understood that
she wished to dress for dinner.  He conducted her, with a touch of
formality, to his own room in the cabin, which he put at her disposal,
ordering her steamer trunks to be placed in it. Then, taking with him
some necessaries of his own, he withdrew to the forecastle to make a
careful toilet.

It might not have occurred to another man to dress for dinner, but
Cleggett's character was an unusual blend of delicacy and strength; he
perceived subtly that Lady Agatha was of the nature to appreciate this
compliment.  At a moment when her fortunes were at a low ebb what could
more cheer a woman and hearten her than such a mark of consideration?
Already Cleggett found himself asking what would please Lady Agatha.



CHAPTER VIII

A FLAME LEAPS OUT OF THE DARK

Kuroki announced dinner; Cleggett entered the captain's mess room of
the cabin, where the cloth was laid, and a moment later lady Agatha
emerged from the stateroom and gave him her hand with a smile.

If he had thought her beautiful before, when she wore her plain
traveling suit, he thought her radiant now, in the true sense of that
much abused word.  For she flung forth her charm in vital radiations.
If Cleggett had possessed a common mind he might have phrased it to
himself that she hit a man squarely in the eyes. Her beauty had that
direct and almost aggressive quality that is like a challenge, and with
sophisticated feminine art she had contrived that the dinner gown she
chose for that evening should sound the keynote of her personality like
a leitmotif in an opera.  The costume was a creation of white satin,
the folds caught here and there with strings of pearls.  There was a
single large rose of pink velvet among the draperies of the skirt; a
looped girdle of blue velvet was the only other splash of color. But
the full-leaved, expanded and matured rose became the vivid epitome and
illustration of the woman herself.  A rope of pearls that hung down to
her waist added the touch of soft luster essential to preserve the
picture from the reproach of being too obvious an assault upon the
senses; Cleggett reflected that another woman might have gone too far
and spoiled it all by wearing diamonds.  Lady Agatha always knew where
to stop.

"I have not been so hungry since I was in Holloway Jail," said Lady
Agatha.  And she ate with a candid gusto that pleased Cleggett, who
loathed in a woman a finical affectation of indifference to food.

When Kuroki brought the coffee she took up her own story again. There
was little more to  tell.

Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat, it appeared, had mistaken their
instructions.  Two nights after they had been engaged they had appeared
at Lady Agatha's apartment with the oblong box.

"The horrid creatures brought it into my sitting-room and laid it on
the floor before I could prevent them," said Lady Agatha.

"'What is this?' I asked them, in bewilderment.

"They replied that they had killed Reginald Maltravers ACCORDING TO
ORDERS, and had brought him to me.

"Orders!" I cried.  "You had no such orders."  Elmer, who lived on the
same floor, was absent temporarily, having taken Teddy out for an
airing. I was distracted.  I did not know what to do. "Your orders," I
said, "were to--to----"

She broke off.  "What was it that Elmer told them to do, and what was
it that they did?" she mused, perplexed.  She called Elmer into the
cabin.

"Elmer," she said, "exactly what was it that you told your friends to
do to him?  And what was it that they did?  I can never remember the
words."

"Poke him," said Elmer, addressing Cleggett.  "I tells these ginks to
poke him.  But these ginks tells th' little dame here they t'inks I has
said to croak him.  So they goes an' croaks him.  D' youse get me?"

Being assured that they got him, Elmer downheartedly withdrew.

"At any rate," continued Lady Agatha, "there was that terrible box upon
my sitting-room floor, and there were those two degraded wretches.  The
callous beasts stood above the box apparently quite insensible to the
ethical enormity of their crime. But they were keen enough to see that
it might be used as a lever with which to force more money from me.
For when I demanded that they take the box away with them and dispose
of it, they only laughed at me.  They said that they had had enough of
that box.  They had delivered the goods--that was the phrase they
used--and they wanted more money.  And they said they would not leave
until they got it.  They threatened, unless I gave them the money at
once, to leave the place and get word to the police of the presence of
the box in my apartment.

"I was in no mental condition to combat and get the better of them.  I
felt myself to be entirely in their power.  I saw only the weakness of
my own position.  I could not, at the moment, see the weak spots in
theirs.  Elmer might have advised me--but he was not there.  The
miserable episode ended with my giving them a thousand dollars each,
and they left.

"Alone with that box, my panic increased.  When Elmer returned with
Teddy, I told him what had happened.  He wished to open the box, having
a vague idea that perhaps after all it did not really contain what they
had said was in it.  But I could not bear the thought of its being
opened.  I refused to allow Elmer to look into it.

"I determined that I would ship the box at once to some fictitious
personage, and then take the next ship back to England.

"I hastily wrote a card, which I tacked on the box, consigning it to
Miss Genevieve Pringle, Newark, N. J.  The name was the first invention
that came into my head.  Newark I had heard of. I knew vaguely that it
was west of New York, but whether it was twenty miles west or two
thousand miles, I did not stop to think.  I am ignorant of American
geography.

"But no sooner had the box been taken away than I began to be uneasy.
I was more frightened with it gone than I had been with it present.  I
imagined it being dropped and broken, and revealing everything.  And
then it occurred to me that even if I should get out of the country,
the secret was bound to be discovered some time.  I do not know why I
had not thought of that before--but I was distracted.  Having got rid
of the box, I was already wild to get it into my possession again.

"I confided my fears to Elmer, and was surprised to learn from him that
Newark is very near New York.  We took a taxicab at once, and were
waiting at the freight depot in Newark when the thing arrived.  There I
claimed it in the name of Miss Genevieve Pringle.

"It became apparent to me that I must manage its final disposition
myself.  Elmer hired for me the vehicle in which we arrived here, and
we started back to New York.

"But the driver, from the first, was suspicious of the box.  His
suspicions were increased when, upon returning to my apartment hotel,
where I now decided to keep the box until I could think out a coherent
plan of action, the manager of the hotel made inquiries.  The manager
had seen the box brought in, and taken out again, before.  Its return
struck him as odd.  He offered to store it for me in the basement.  I
took alarm at once. Naturally, he questioned me more closely.  I was
unready in my answers.  His inquiries excited and alarmed me.  I felt
that any instant I might do something to betray myself.  I cut the
manager short, paid my bill, got my luggage, and ordered the chauffeur
to drive to the Grand Central Station.  But when we had gone three or
four blocks, I said to him: 'Stop!--I do not wish to go to the Grand
Central Station.  Drive me to Poughkeepsie!'  I wished a chance to
think.  I knew Poughkeepsie was not far from New York City, but I
supposed it was far enough to give me a chance to determine what to do
next by the time we arrived there.

"But I could not think coherently.  I could only feel and fear. The
drive was longer than I had expected, but when we arrived at
Poughkeepsie and the chauffeur asked me again what disposition to make
of the box, I was unable to answer him. Thereupon he insolently
demanded an enormous fare.

"I could not choose but pay it.  For four days we went from place to
place, in and about New York City's suburbs--now in town and now in the
country--crossing rivers again and again on ferryboats--stopping at
hotels, road houses and all manner of places--dashing through Brooklyn
and out among the villages of Long Island--and with the fear on me that
we were being followed.

"Elmer and I were continually on the lookout for some way to dispose of
the box, but nothing presented itself.  The driver, who had become more
and more impudent in his attitude and outrageous in his charges, was
now practically a spy upon us. The necessity for ice made frequent
stops imperative; at the same time the increasing fear of pursuit made
it agony for me to stop anywhere.

"Today, at a road house thirty or forty miles from here, I made certain
that I was pursued.  The very man from whom I had claimed the box at
the railway goods station in Newark confronted me. It appears, from
what Elmer says, that he is taking a holiday and is visiting his
brother, who is the proprietor of the road house.

"And the person who is pursuing me is--a Miss Genevieve Pringle!

"As fate would have it, there lives in Newark a person who really owns
that name which I thought I had invented.  It seems that she had been
expecting a shipment, and had called to inquire for it; upon learning
that a box had been delivered to a person in her name she had taken up
the trail at once.  Having somehow traced me to Long Island, she had
actually made inquiries at this very road house some hours earlier.
The railway employee, I am certain, would have denounced me at once--he
would have accused me of theft, and would have endeavored to have me
held until he could get into communication with Miss Pringle or with
the authorities--but I bought from him a promise of silence.  It cost
me another large sum.

"A few hours ago the chauffeur, divining from a conversation between
Elmer and me that I was running short of ready money, deserted me here.
You know the rest."

Her voice trailed off into a tired whisper as she finished, and with
her elbows on the table Lady Agatha wearily supported her head in her
hands. Her attitude acknowledged defeat.  She was despairingly certain
that she would never see the last of the box which she believed to
contain Reginald Maltravers.

Cleggett did not hesitate an instant.  "Lady Agatha," he said, "the
Jasper B. is at your service as long as you may require the ship.  The
cabin is your home until we arrive at a solution of your difficulties."

His glance and manner added what his tongue left unuttered--that the
commander of the ship was henceforth her devoted cavalier. But she
understood.

She extended her hand.  Her answer was on her lips.  But at that
instant the jarring roar of an explosion struck the speech from them.

The blast was evidently near, though muffled. The earth shook; a tremor
ran through the Jasper B.; the glasses leaped and rang upon the table.
Cleggett, followed by Lady Agatha, darted up the companionway.

As Cleggett reached the deck there was a second shock, and he beheld a
flame leap out of the earth itself--a sudden sword of fire thrust into
the night from the midst of the sandy plain before him.  The light that
stabbed and was gone in an instant was about halfway between the Jasper
B. and Morris's.  A second after, a missile--which Cleggett later
learned was a piece of rock the size of a man's head--fell with a
splintering crash upon and through the wooden platform beside the
Jasper B., not thirty feet from where Cleggett stood; another splashed
into the canal. The next day Cleggett saw several of these fragments
lying about the plain.

Calling to his men to bring lanterns--for the night had fallen dark and
cloudy--Cleggett ran towards the place.  Lady Agatha, refusing to
remain behind, went with them.  Moving lights and a stir of activity at
Morris's, and the gleam of lanterns on board the Annabel Lee, showed
Cleggett that his neighbors likewise were excited.

But if Cleggett had expected an easy solution of this astonishing
eruption he was disappointed.  Arrived at the scene of the explosion,
he found that its nature was such as to tease and balk his faculties of
analysis.  The blast had blown a hole into the ground, certainly; but
this hole was curiously filled. Two large bowlders that leaned towards
each other had stood on top of the ground.  These had been split and
shattered into many fragments. A few pieces, like the one that came so
near Cleggett, had been flung to a distance, but for the most part the
shivered crowns and broken bulks had been served otherwise; the force
of the blast had disintegrated them, but had not scattered them; the
greater part of this newly-rent stone had toppled into the fissure in
the ground, and lay there mixed with earth, almost filling the hole.
It was impossible to determine just where and how the blast had been
set off; the rocks hid the facts.  But Cleggett judged that the force
must have come from below the bowlders; mightily smitten from beneath,
they had collapsed into the cavern suddenly opening there, as a
building might collapse into and fill a cellar. The pieces that had
been thrown high into the air were insignificant in proportion to the
great bulk which had settled into the hole and made its origin a
mystery.

As Cleggett, bewildered, stood and gazed upon the mass of rock and
earth, Cap'n Abernethy gave a cry and pointed at something with his
finger. Cleggett, looking at the spot indicated, saw upon the edge of
this singular fracture in the earth a thing that sent a quick chill of
horror and repulsion to his heart.  It was a dead hand, roughly severed
between the wrist and the elbow. The back of it was uppermost; the
fingers were clenched. Cleggett set down his lantern beside it and
turned it over with his foot.

The dead fingers clutched a scrap of something yellow.  On one of them
was a large and peculiar ring.

"My God!" murmured Lady Agatha, grasping Cleggett convulsively by the
shoulder, "that is the Earl of Claiborne's signet ring!"

But Cleggett scarcely realized what she had said, until she repeated
her words.  Fighting down his repugnance, he took from the lifeless and
stubborn fingers the yellow scrap of paper.

It was a torn and crumpled twenty-dollar bill.



CHAPTER IX

MYSTERIES MULTIPLY

Directing Kuroki to remove the ring and bring it along, Cleggett gave
his arm to Lady Agatha and led the way back to the Jasper B. Neither
said anything to the point until, seated in the cabin, with the
twenty-dollar bill and the ring before them, Cleggett picked up the
latter and remarked:

"You are certain of the identity of this ring?"

"Certain," she said.  "I could not mistake it. There is no other like
it, anywhere."

It was a very heavy gold band, set with a large piece of dark green
jade which was deeply graven on its surface with the Claiborne crest.

"Was it," asked Cleggett, "in the possession of Reginald Maltravers?"

"It might have been, readily enough," she said, "although I had not
known that it was.  Still, that does not explain...."  She shrugged her
shoulders.

"There are a number of things unexplained," answered Cleggett, "and the
presence of this ring, and the manner in which it has come into our
possession, are not the most mysterious of them. The explosion itself
appears to me, just now, at least, hard to account for."

"The manner in which people get into and out of the hold of your vessel
is also obscure," said Lady Agatha.

"Nor is the motive of their hostility clear," said Cleggett.

He picked up the piece of paper money. Something about the feel of it
aroused his suspicions.  He called Elmer, and when that exponent of
reform entered the cabin, asked him bluntly:

"Did you ever have anything to do with bad money?"

Elmer intimated that he might know it if he saw it.

"Then look at that, please."

Elmer took the torn bill, produced a penknife, slit the yellow paper,
and cut out of it one of the small hair-like fibers with which the
texture of such notes is sprinkled.  After wetting this fiber and
mangling it with his penknife he gave his judgment briefly.

"Queer," he said.

"But what does that explain?" asked Lady Agatha.  "Perhaps the Earl of
Claiborne came to this country and took to making counterfeit money in
the hold of the Jasper B., into and out of which he stole like a ghost?
Finally he got tired of it and blew himself up with a bomb out there,
leaving his ring with a piece of money intact?  Is that the explanation
we get out of our facts?  Because, you know," she added, as Cleggett
did not smile, "all that is absurd!"

"Yes," said Cleggett, still refusing to be amused, "but out of all this
jumble of mystery, just one certain thing appears."

"And that is?"

"That our destinies are somehow linked!"

"Our destinies?  Linked?"

She gave him a swift look, and as suddenly dropped her eyes again.
Cleggett could not tell whether she was offended or not by his
expression of the idea.

"The same people," said Cleggett, after a brief pause, "who are so
persistently hostile to me are also in some manner connected with your
own misfortunes.  Their possession of this ring shows that."

"Yes," she said, following his thought, "that is true--whoever set off
that bomb was also wearing this ring, or was very near the person who
was wearing it.  And," with a shudder which conveyed to Cleggett that
she was thinking of the box on deck, "it COULDN'T have been Reginald
Maltravers!"

"Perhaps," said Cleggett, "someone was sneaking over from Morris's with
the intention of destroying the Jasper B.,  and was himself the victim
of a premature explosion as he crouched behind the rocks to await his
opportunity."

"But why," puzzled Lady Agatha, with contracted brows, "should a
dynamiter, anarchistic or otherwise, be holding a counterfeit
twenty-dollar bill in his hand as he went about his work?"

Cleggett brooded in silence.

"We are in the midst of mysteries," he said finally.  "They are
multiplying about us."

He was about to say more.  He was about to  express again his belief
that they had been flung together by fate.  The sense that their
stories were inextricably intertwined, that they must henceforward
march on as one mystery towards a solution, was exhilarating to him.
But how was it possible that she should feel the same sense of pleasure
in the fact that they faced dangers, seen and unseen, together?

Together!--How the thought thrilled him!

On deck, Elmer, before returning to the box of Reginald Maltravers,
suddenly and unexpectedly grasped Cleggett by the hand.

"Bo," he said, "I'm wit' youse.  I'm wit' youse the whole way. Any
friend of the little dame is a friend of mine.  She's a square little
dame.  D' youse get me?"

"Thank you," said Cleggett, more affected than he would have cared to
own.  "Thank you, my loyal fellow."

Cleggett established a watch on deck that night, with a relief every
two hours.  Towards morning George returned, with Dr. Farnsworth and a
nurse.  This nurse, Miss Antoinette Medley, was a black-eyed, slender
girl with pretty hands and white teeth; she gestured a great deal and
smiled often.  She and Dr. Farnsworth devoted themselves at once to the
young anarchist poet, who had come out of his stupor, indeed, but was
now babbling weakly in the delirium of fever.

The night was not a cheerful one, and morning came gloomily out of a
gray bank of mist.  Cleggett, as he looked about the boat in the first
pale light, could not resist a slight feeling of depression, courageous
as he was.  The wounded man gibbered in a bunk in the forecastle.  The
box of Reginald Maltravers stood on one end, leaning against the port
side of the cabin, and dripped steadily.  Elmer, wrapped in blankets,
lay on the deck near the box of Reginald Maltravers, looking even more
dejected in slumber than when his eyes were open.  Teddy, the
Pomeranian, was snuggled against Elmer's feet, but, as if a prey to
frightful nightmares, the little dog twitched and whined in  his sleep
from time to time.  These were the apparent facts, and these facts were
set to a melancholy tune by the long-drawn, dismal snores of Cap'n
Abernethy, which rose and fell, and rose and fell, and rose again like
the sad and wailing song of some strange bird bereft of a beloved mate.
They were the music for, and the commentary on, what Cleggett beheld;
Cap'n Abernethy seemed to be saying, with these snores:  "If you was to
ask me, I'd say it ain't a cheerful ship this mornin', Mr. Cleggett, it
ain't a cheerful ship."

But Cleggett's nature was too lively and vigorous to remain clouded for
long.  By the time the red disk of the sun had crept above the eastern
horizon he had shaken off his fit of the blues.

The sun looked large and bland and friendly, and, somehow, the partisan
of integrity and honor.  He drew strength from it. Cleggett, like all
poetic souls, was responsive to these familiar recurrent phenomena of
nature.

The sun did him another office.  It showed him a peculiar tableau
vivant on the eastern bank of the canal, near the house boat Annabel
Lee.  This consisted of three men, two of them naked except for bathing
trunks of the most abbreviated sort, running swiftly and earnestly up
and down the edge of the canal.  He saw with astonishment that the two
men in bathing suits were handcuffed together, the left wrist of one to
the right wrist of the other.  A rope was tied to the handcuffs, and
the other end of it was held by the third man, who was dressed in
ordinary tweeds.  The third man had a magazine rifle over one shoulder.
He followed about twenty feet behind the two men in bathing suits and
drove them.

Cleggett perceived that the man who was doing the driving was the same
who had watched the Jasper B. so persistently the day before from the
deck of the Annabel Lee.  He was middle-sized, and inclined to be
stout, and yet he followed his strange team with no apparent effort.
Cleggett saw through the glass that he had a rather heavy black
mustache, and was again struck by something vaguely familiar about him.
The two men in bathing suits were slender and undersized; they did not
look at all like athletes, and although they moved as fast as they
could it was apparent that they got no pleasure out of it.  They ran
with their heads hanging down, and it seemed to Cleggett that they were
quarreling as they ran, for occasionally one of them would give a
vicious jerk to the handcuffs that would almost upset the other, and
that must have hurt the wrists of both of them.

As Cleggett watched, the driver pulled them up short, and waved them
towards the canal.  They stopped, and it was apparent that they were
balking and expostulating.  But the driver was inexorable. He went near
to them and threatened their bare backs with the slack of the rope.
Gingerly and shiveringly they stepped into the cold water, while the
driver stood on the bank. The water was up to their waists and he had
to threaten them again with his rope before they would duck their heads
under.

When he allowed them on shore again they needed no urging, it was
evident, to make them hit up a good rate of speed, and back and forth
along the bank they sprinted.  But the cold bath had not improved their
temper, for suddenly one of them leaped and kicked sidewise at the
other, with the result that both toppled to the ground.  The stout man
was upon them in an instant, hazing them with the rope end.  He drove
them, still lashing out at each other with their bare feet, into the
water again, and after a more prolonged ducking whipped them, at a
plunging gallop, upon the Annabel Lee, where they disappeared from
Cleggett's view.

While Cleggett was still wondering what significance could underlie
this unusual form of matutinal exercise, Dr. Farnsworth came out of the
forecastle and beckoned to him.  The young Doctor had a red Vandyck
beard sedulously cultivated in the belief that it would make him look
older and inspire the confidence of patients, and a shock of dark red
hair which he rumpled vigorously when he was thinking.  He was rumpling
it now.

"Who's 'Loge'?" he demanded.

"Loge?" repeated Cleggett.

"You don't know anyone named 'Loge,' or Logan?"

"No. Why?"

"Whoever he is, 'Loge' is very much on the mind of our young friend in
there," said Farnsworth, with a movement of his head towards the
forecastle.  "And I wouldn't be surprised, to judge from the boy's
delirium, if 'Loge' had something to do with all the hell that's been
raised around your ship.  Come in and listen to this fellow."

Miss Medley, the nurse, was sitting beside the wounded youth's bunk,
endeavoring to soothe and restrain him.  The young anarchist, whose
eyes were bright with fever, was talking rapidly in a weak but
high-pitched singsong voice.

"He's off on the poems again," said the Doctor, after listening a
moment.  "But wait, he'll get back to Loge.  It's been one or the other
for an hour now."

"I spit upon your flag," shrilled Giuseppe Jones, feebly declamatory.
"'I spit--I spit--but, as I spit, I weep.'"  He paused for a moment,
and then began at the beginning and repeated all of the lines which
Cleggett had read from the little book. One gathered that it was
Giuseppe's favorite poem.

"'I spit upon the whole damned thing!'" he shrilled, and then with a
sad shake of his head: "But, as I spit, I weep!"

If the poem was Giuseppe's favorite poem, this was evidently his
favorite line, for he said it over and over again--"'But, as I spit, I
weep'"--in a breathless babble that was very wearing on the nerves.

But suddenly he interrupted himself; the poems seemed to pass from his
mind.  "Loge!" he said, raising himself on his elbow and staring, with
a frown not at, but through, Cleggett:  "Logan--it isn't square!"

There was suffering and perplexity in his gaze; he was evidently living
over again some painful scene.

"I'm a revolutionist, Loge, not a crook!  I won't do it, Loge!"

Watching him, it was impossible not to understand that the struggle,
which his delirium made real and present again, had stamped itself into
the texture of his spirit.  "You shouldn't ask it, Loge," he said.  The
crisis of the conflict which he was living over passed presently, and
he murmured, with contracted brows, and as if talking to himself: "Is
Loge a crook?  A crook?"

But after a moment of this he returned again to a rapid repetition of
the phrase:  "I'm a revolutionist, not a crook-not a crook--not a
crook--a revolutionist, not a crook, Loge, not a crook----"  Once he
varied it, crying with a quick, hot scorn: "I'll cut their throats and
be damned to them, but don't ask me to steal."  And then he was off
again to declaiming his poetry: "I spit, but, as I spit, I weep!"

But as Cleggett and the Doctor listened to him the youth's ravings
suddenly took a new form.  He ceased to babble; terror expanded the
pupils of his eyes and he pointed at vacancy with a shaking finger.
"Stop it!" he cried in a croaking whisper. "Stop it!  It's his
skull--it's Loge's skull come alive.  Stop it, I say, it's come alive
and getting bigger."  With a violent effort he raised himself before
the nurse could prevent him, shrinking back from the horrid
hallucination which pressed towards him, and then fell prone and
senseless on the bunk.

"God!--his wounds!" cried the Doctor, starting forward.  As Farnsworth
had feared, they had broken open and were bleeding again.  "It's a
ticklish thing," said Farnsworth, rumpling his hair. "If I give him
enough sedative to keep him quiet his heart may stop any time.  If I
don't, he'll thrash himself to pieces in his delirium before the day's
over."

But Cleggett scarcely heeded the Doctor.  The reference to "Loge's"
skull had flashed a sudden light into his mind. Whatever else "Loge"
was, Cleggett had little doubt that "Loge" was the tall man with the
stoop shoulders and the odd, skull-shaped scarfpin, for whom he had
conceived at first sight such a tingling hatred--the same fellow who
had so ruthlessly manhandled the flaxen-haired Heinrich on the roof of
the verandah the day before.



CHAPTER X

IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP

At seven o'clock that morning five big-bodied automobile trucks rolled
up in a thundering procession.  As they hove in sight on the starboard
quarter and dropped anchor near the Jasper B., Cleggett recalled that
this was the day which Cap'n Abernethy had set for getting the sticks
and sails into the vessel.  In the hurry and excitement of recent
events aboard the ship he had almost forgotten it.

A score of men scrambled from the trucks and began to haul out of them
all the essentials of a shipyard.  Wheel, rudder, masts, spars,
bowsprit, quantities of rope and cable followed--in fact, every
conceivable thing necessary to convert the Jasper B. from a hulk into a
properly rigged schooner.  Cleggett, with a pith and brevity
characteristic of the man, had given his order in one sentence.

"Make arrangements to get the sails and masts into her in one day," he
had told Captain Abernethy.

It was in the same large and simple spirit that a Russian Czar once
laid a ruler across the map of his empire and, drawing a straight line
from Moscow to Petersburg, commanded his engineers: "Build me a
railroad to run like that."  Genius has winged conceptions; it sees
things as a completed whole from the first; it is only mediocrity which
permits itself to be lost in details.

Cleggett was like the Romanoffs in his ability to go straight to the
point, but he had none of the Romanoff cruelty.

Captain Abernethy had made his arrangements accordingly.  If it pleased
Cleggett to have a small manufacturing plant brought to the Jasper B.
instead of having the Jasper B. towed to a shipyard, it was Abernethy's
business as his chief executive officer to see that this was done.  The
Captain had let the contract to an enterprising and businesslike
fellow, Watkins by name, who had at once looked the vessel over, taken
the necessary measurements, and named a good round sum for the job.
With several times the usual number of skilled workmen employed at
double the usual rate of pay, he guaranteed to do in ten hours what
might ordinarily have taken a week.

Under the leadership of this capable Watkins, the workmen rushed at the
vessel with the dash and vim of a gang of circus employees engaged in
putting up a big tent and making ready for a show.  To a casual
observer it might have seemed a scene of confusion.  But in reality the
work jumped forward with order and precision, for the position of every
bolt, chain, nail, cord, piece of iron and bit of wood had been
calculated beforehand to a nicety; there was not a wasted movement of
saw, adze, or hammer.  The Jasper B., in short, had been measured
accurately for a suit of clothes, the clothes had been made; they were
now merely being put on.

Refreshed by the first sound sleep she had been able to obtain for
several nights, Lady Agatha joined Cleggett at an eight-o'clock
breakfast.  It was the first of May, and warm and bright; in a simple
morning dress of pink linen Lady Agatha stirred in Cleggett a vague
recollection of one of Tennyson's earlier poems.  The exact phrases
eluded him; perhaps, indeed, it was the underlying sentiment of nearly
ALL of Tennyson's earlier poems of which she reminded him--those lyrics
which are at once so romantic and so irreproachable morally.

"We must give you Americans credit for imagination at any rate," she
said smilingly, making her Pomeranian sit up on his hind legs and beg
for a morsel of crisp bacon.  "I awake in a boatyard after having gone
to sleep in a dismantled barge."

"Barge!"  The word "barge" struck Cleggett unexpectedly; he was not
aware that he had given a start and frowned.

"Mercy!" exclaimed Lady Agatha, "how the dear man glares!  What should
I call it?  Scow?"

"Scow?"  said Cleggett.  He had scarcely recovered from the word
"barge"; it is not to be denied that "scow" jarred upon him even more
than "barge" had done.

"I beg your pardon," said Lady Agatha, "but what IS the Jasper B., Mr.
Cleggett?"

"The Jasper B. is a schooner," said Cleggett. He tried to say it
casually, but he was conscious as he spoke that there was a trace of
hurt surprise in his voice.  The most generous and chivalrous soul
alive, Cleggett would have gone to the stake for Lady Agatha; and yet
so unaccountable is that vain thing, the human soul (especially at
breakfast time), that he felt angry at her for misunderstanding the
Jasper B.

"You aren't going to be horrid about it, are you?" she said. "Because,
you know, I never said I knew anything about ships."

She picked up the little dog and stood it on the table, making the
animal extend its paws as if pleading.  "Help me to beg Mr. Cleggett's
pardon," she said, "he's going to be cross with us about his old boat."

If Lady Agatha had been just an inch taller or just a few pounds
heavier the playful mood itself would have jarred upon the fastidious
Cleggett; indeed, as she was, if she had been just a thought more
playful, it would have jarred.  But Lady Agatha, it has been remarked
before, never went too far in any direction.

Even as she smiled and held out the dog's paws Cleggett was aware of
something in her eyes that was certainly not a tear, but was just as
certainly a film of moisture that might be a tear in another minute.
Then Cleggett cursed himself inwardly for a brute--it rushed over him
how difficult to Lady Agatha her position on board the Jasper B. must
seem.  She must regard herself as practically a pensioner on his
bounty.  And he had been churl enough to show a spark of temper--and
that, too, after she had repeatedly expressed her gratitude to him.

"I am deeply sorry, Lady Agatha," he began, blushing painfully, "if----"

"Silly!"  She interrupted him by reaching across the table and laying a
forgiving hand upon his arm. "Don't be so stiff and formal.  Eat your
egg before it gets cold and don't say another work.  Of course I know
you're not REALLY going to be cross." And she attacked her breakfast,
giving him such a look that he forthwith forgave himself and forgot
that he had had anything to forgive in her.

"There's going to be a frightful racket around here today," he said
presently.  "Maybe you'd like to get away from it for a while.  How'd
you like to go for a row?"

"I'd love it!" she said.

"George will be glad to take you, I'm sure."

"George?  And you?"  He thought he detected a note of disappointment in
her voice; he had not thought to disappoint her, but when he found her
disappointed he got a certain thrill out of it.

"I am going over to Morris's this morning," he said.

"To Morris's?  Alone?"

"Why, yes."

"But--but isn't it dangerous?"

Cleggett smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

"Promise me that you will not go over there alone," she demanded.

"I am sorry.  I cannot."

"But it is rash--it is mad!"

"There is no real danger."

"Then I am going with you."

"I think that would hardly be advisable."

"I'm going with you," she repeated, rising with determination.

"But you're not," said Cleggett.  "I couldn't think of allowing it."

"Then there IS danger," she said.

He tried to evade the point.  "I shouldn't have mentioned it," he
murmured.

She ran into the stateroom and was back in an instant with her hat,
which she pinned on as she spoke.

"I'm ready to start," she said.

"But you're not going."

"After what you've done for me I insist upon my right to share whatever
danger there may be."  She spoke heatedly.

In her heat and impulsiveness and generous bravery Cleggett thought her
adorable, although he began to get really angry with her, too.  At the
same time he was aware that her gratitude to him was such that she was
on fire to give him some positive and early proof of it.  It had not so
much as occurred to her to enjoy immunity on account of her sex; it had
not entered her mind, apparently, that her sex was an obstacle in the
way of participating in whatever dangerous enterprise he had planned.
She was, in fact, behaving like a chivalric but obstinate boy; she had
not been a militant suffragette for nothing.  And yet, somehow, this
attitude only served to enhance her essential femininity.
Nevertheless, Cleggett was inflexible.

"You would scarcely forbid me to go to Morris's today, or anywhere else
I may choose," she said hotly, with a spot of red on either cheek bone,
and a dangerous dilatation of her eyes.

"That is exactly what I intend to do," said Cleggett, with an intensity
equal to her own, "FORBID you."

"You are curiously presumptuous," she said.

It was a real quarrel before they were done with it, will opposed to
naked will.  And oddly enough Cleggett found his admiration grow as his
determination to gain his point increased.  For she fought fair,
disdaining the facile weapon of tears, and when she yielded she did it
suddenly and merrily.

"You've the temper of a sultan, Mr. Cleggett," she said with a laugh,
which was her signal of capitulation.  And then she added maliciously:
"You've a devil of a temper--for a little man!"

"Little!"  Cleggett felt the blood rush into his face again and was
vexed at himself.  "I'm taller than you are!" he cried, and the next
instant could have bitten his tongue off for the childish vanity of the
speech.

"You're not!" she cried, her whole face alive with laughter. "Measure
and see!"

And pulling off her hat she caught up a table knife and made him stand
with his back to hers. "You're cheating," said Cleggett, laughing now
in spite of himself, as she laid the knife across their heads.  But his
voice broke and trembled on the next words, for he was suddenly
thrilled with her delicious nearness. "You're standing on your tiptoes,
and your hair's piled on top of your head."

"Maybe you are an inch taller," she admitted, with mock reluctance.
And then she said, with a ripple of mirth:  "You are taller than I
am--I give up; I won't go to Morris's."

Cleggett, to tell the truth, was a bit relieved at the measurement.  He
was of the middle height; she was slightly taller than the average
woman; he had really thought she might prove taller than he.  He could
scarcely have told why he considered the point important.

But after the quarrel she looked at Cleggett with a new and more
approving gaze.  Neither of them quite realized it, but she had
challenged his ability to dominate her, and she had been worsted; he
had unconsciously met and satisfied in her that subtle inherent craving
for domination which all women possess and so few will admit the
possession of.

Cleggett started across the sands toward Morris's with an automatic
pistol slung in a shoulder holster under his left arm and a sword cane
in his hand.  He paused a moment by the scene of the explosion of the
night before, but daylight told him nothing that lantern light had
failed to reveal.  He had no very definite plan, although he thought it
possible that he might gain some information.  The more he reflected on
the attitude of Morris's, the more it irritated him, and he yearned to
make this irritation known.

Perhaps there was more than a little of the spirit of bravado in the
call he proposed to pay.  He planned, the next day, to sail the Jasper
B. out into the bay and up and down the coast for a few miles, to give
himself and his men a bit of practice in navigation before setting out
for the China Seas. And he could not bear to think that the hostile
denizens of Morris's should think that he had moved the Jasper B. from
her position through any fear of them.  He reasoned that the most
pointed way of showing his opinion of them would be to walk casually
into Morris's barroom and order a drink or two.  If Cleggett had a
fault as a commander it lay in these occasional foolhardy impulses
which he found it difficult to control.  Julius Caesar had the same
sort of pride, which, in Caesar's case, amounted to positive vanity.
In fact, the character of Caesar and the character of Cleggett had many
points in common, although Cleggett possessed a nicer sense of honor
than Caesar.

The main entrance to Morris's was on the west side.  From the west
verandah one could enter directly either the main dining-room, at the
north side of the building, the office, or the barroom.  The barroom,
which was large, ran the whole length of the south side of the place.
Doors also led into the barroom, from the south verandah, which was
built over the water, and from the east verandah, which was visible
from the Jasper B.--and onto the roof of which Cleggett had seen Loge
tumble the limp body of his victim, Heinrich.  That had been only the
day before, but so much had happened since that Cleggett could scarcely
realize that so little time had elapsed.

Cleggett strolled into the barroom and took a seat at a table in the
southeast corner of it, with his back to the angle of the walls.  He
thus commanded a view of the bar itself; a door which led, as he
conjectured, into the kitchen; the door communicating with the office,
and a door which gave upon the west verandah--all this easily, and
without turning his head.  By turning his head ever so slightly to his
right, he could command a view of the door leading to the east
verandah.  Unless the ceiling suddenly opened above him, or the floor
beneath, it would be impossible to surprise him.  Cleggett took this
position less through any positive fear of attack than because he
possessed the instinct of the born strategist.  Cleggett was like
Robert E. Lee in his quick grasp of a situation and, indeed, in other
respects--although Cleggett would never under any circumstances have
countenanced human slavery.

There were only two men in the place when Cleggett took his seat, the
bartender and a fellow who was evidently a waiter.  He had entered the
west door and walked across the room without looking at them,
withholding his gaze purposely.  When he looked towards the bar, after
seating himself, the waiter, with his back towards Cleggett's corner,
was talking in a low tone to the bartender. But they had both seen him;
Cleggett perceived they both knew him.

"See what the gentleman wants, Pierre," said the bartender in a voice
too elaborately casual to hide his surprise at seeing Cleggett.

The waiter turned and came towards him, and Cleggett saw the man's face
for the first time.  It was a face that Cleggett never forgot.
Cleggett judged the man to be a Frenchman; he was dark and sallow, with
nervous, black eyebrows, and a smirk that came and went quickly.  But
the unforgettable feature was a mole that grew on his upper lip, on the
right side, near the base of his flaring nostril.  Many moles have
hairs in them; Pierre's mole had not merely half a dozen hairs, but a
whole crop.  They grew thick and long; and, with a perversion of vanity
almost inconceivable in a sane person, Pierre had twisted these hairs
together, as a man twists a mustache, and had trained them to grow
obliquely across his cheek bone.  He was a big fellow, for a Frenchman,
and, as he walked towards Cleggett with a mincing elasticity of gait,
he smirked and caressed this whimsical adornment.  Cleggett,
fascinated, stared at it as the fellow paused before him.  Pierre,
evidently gratified at the sensation he was creating, continued to
smirk and twist, and then, seeing that he held his audience, he took
from his waistcoat pocket a little piece of cosmetic and, as a final
touch of Gallic grotesquerie, waxed the thing.  It was all done with
that air of quiet histrionicism, and with that sense of
self-appreciation, which only the French can achieve in its perfection.
"You ordered, M'sieur?"  Pierre, having produced his effect, like the
artist (though debased) that he was, did not linger over it.

"Er--a Scotch highball," said Cleggett, recovering himself.  "And with
a piece of lemon peeling in it, please."

Pierre served him deftly.  Cleggett stirred his drink and sipped it
slowly, gazing at the bartender, who elaborately avoided watching him.
But after a moment a little noise at his right attracted his attention.
Pierre, with his hand cupped, had dashed it along a window pane and
caught a big stupid fly, abroad thus early in the year.  With a sense
of almost intolerable disgust, Cleggett saw the man, with a rapt smile
on his face, tear the insect's legs from it, and turn it loose.  If
ever a creature rejoiced in wickedness for its own sake, and as if its
practice were an art in itself, Pierre was that person, Cleggett
concluded.  Knowing Pierre, one could almost understand those cafes of
Paris where the silly poets of degradation ostentatiously affect the
worship of all manner of devils.

An instant later, Pierre, as if he had been doing something quite
charming, looked at Cleggett with a grin; a grin that assumed that
there was some kind of an understanding between them concerning this
delightful pastime.  It was too much.  Cleggett, with an oath--and
never stopping to reflect that it was perhaps just the sort of action
which Pierre hoped to provoke--grasped his cane with the intention of
laying it across the fellow's shoulders half a dozen times, come what
might, and leaving the place.

But at that instant the door from the office  opened and the man whom
he knew only as Loge entered the room.

Loge paused at the right of Cleggett, and then marched directly across
the room and sat down opposite the commander of the Jasper B. at the
same table.  He was wearing the cutaway frock coat, and as he swung his
big frame into the seat one of his coat tails caught in the chair back
and was lifted.

Cleggett saw the steel butt of an army revolver. Loge perceived by his
face that he had seen it, and laughed.

"I've been wanting to talk to you," he said, leaning across the table
and showing his yellow teeth in a smile which he perhaps intended to be
ingratiating.  Cleggett, looking Loge fixedly in the eye, withdrew his
right hand from beneath his coat, and laid his magazine pistol on the
table under his hand.

"I am at your service," he said, steadily, giving back unwavering gaze
for gaze.  "I am looking for some information myself, and I am in
exactly the humor for a little comfortable chat."



CHAPTER XI

REPARTEE AND PISTOLS

Loge dropped his gaze to the pistol, and the smile upon his lips slowly
turned into a sneer.  But when he lifted his eyes to Cleggett's again
there was no fear in them.

"Put up your gun," he said, easily enough.  "You won't have any use for
it here."

"Thank you for the assurance," said Cleggett, "but it occurs to me that
it is in a very good place where it is."

"Oh, if it amuses you to play with it----" said Loge.

"It does," said Cleggett dryly.

"It's an odd taste," said Loge.

"It's a taste I've formed during the last few days on board my ship,"
said Cleggett meaningly.

"Ship?" said Loge.  "Oh, I beg your pardon. You mean the old hulk over
yonder in the canal?"

"Over yonder in the canal," said Cleggett, without relaxing his
vigilance.

"You've been frightened over there?" asked Loge, showing his teeth in a
grin.

"No," said Cleggett.  "I'm not easily frightened."

Loge looked at the pistol under Cleggett's hand, and from the pistol to
Cleggett's face, with ironical gravity, before he spoke.  "I should
have thought, from the way you cling to that pistol, that perhaps your
nerves might be a little weak and shaky."

"On the contrary," said Cleggett, playing the game with a face like a
mask, "my nerves are so steady that I could snip that ugly-looking
skull off your cravat the length of this barroom away."

"That would be mighty good shooting," said Loge, turning in his chair
and measuring the distance with his eye.  "I don't believe you could do
it.  I don't mind telling you that _I_ couldn't."

"While we are on the subject of your scarfpin," said Cleggett, in whom
the slur on the Jasper B. had been rankling, "I don't mind telling YOU
that I think that skull thing is in damned bad taste. In fact, you are
dressed generally in damned bad taste.--Who is your tailor?"

Cleggett was gratified to see a dull flush spread over the other's face
at the insult.  Loge was silent a moment, and then he said, dropping
his bantering manner, which indeed sat rather heavily upon him:  "I
don't know why you should want to shoot at my scarfpin--or at me.  I
don't know why you should suddenly lay a pistol between us.  I don't,
in short, know why we should sit here paying each other left-handed
compliments, when it was merely my intention to make you a business
proposition."

"I have been waiting to hear what you had to say to me," said Cleggett,
without being in the least thrown off his guard by the other's change
of manner.

"If you had not chanced to drop in here today," said Loge, "I had
intended paying you a visit."

"I have had several visitors lately," said Cleggett nonchalantly, "and
I think at least two of them can make no claim that they were not
warmly received."

"Yes?" said Loge.  But if Cleggett's meaning reached him he was too
cool a hand to show it.  He persisted in his affectation of a
businesslike air. "Am I right in thinking that you have bought the
boat?"

"You are."

"To come to the point," said Loge, "I want to buy her from you. What
will you take for her?"

The proposition was unexpected to Cleggett, but he did not betray his
surprise.

"You want to buy her?" he said.  "You want to buy the old hulk over
yonder in the canal?"  He laughed, but continued:  "What on earth can
your interest be in her?"

There was a trace of surliness in Loge's voice as he answered: "YOU
were enough interested in her to buy her, it seems.  Why shouldn't I
have the same interest?"

Cleggett was silent a moment, and then he leaned across the table and
said with emphasis:  "I have noticed your interest in the Jasper B.
since the day I first set foot on her.  And let me warn you that unless
you show your curiosity in some other manner henceforth, you will
seriously regret it.  A couple of your men have repented of your
interest already."

"My men?  What do you mean by my men?  I haven't any men." Loge's
imitation of astonishment was a piece of art; but if anything he
overdid it a trifle.  He frowned in a puzzled fashion, and then said:
"You talk about my men; you speak riddles to me; you appear to threaten
me, but after all I have only made you a plain business proposition.  I
ask you again, what will you take for her?"

"She's not for sale," said Cleggett shortly.

Loge did not speak again for a moment.  Instead, he picked up the spoon
with which Cleggett had stirred his highball and began to draw
characters with its wet point upon the table.  "If it's a question of
price," he said finally, "I'm prepared to allow you a handsome profit."

Cleggett determined to find out how far he would go.

"You might be willing to pay as much as $5,000 for her--for the old
hulk over there in the canal?"

Loge stopped playing with the spoon and looked searchingly into
Cleggett's face.  Then he said:

"I will.  Turn her over to me the way she was the day you bought her,
and I'll give you $5,000."  He paused, and then repeated, stressing the
words: "MIND YOU, WITH EVERYTHING IN HER THE WAY IT WAS THE DAY YOU
BOUGHT HER."

Cleggett fumbled with his fingers in a waistcoat pocket, drew out the
torn piece of counterfeit money which he had taken from the dead hand,
and flung it on the table.

"Five thousand dollars," he said, "in THAT kind of money?"

Loge looked at it with eyes that suddenly contracted.  Clever
dissembler that he was, he could not prevent an involuntary start.  He
licked his lips, and Cleggett judged that perhaps his mouth felt a
little dry.  But these were the only signs he made. Indeed, when he
spoke it was with something almost like an air of relief.

"Come," he said, "now we're down to brass tacks at last on this
proposition.  Mr. Detective, name your real price."

Cleggett did not answer immediately.  He appeared to consider his real
price.  But in reality he was thinking that there was no longer any
doubt of the origin of the explosion.  Since Loge practically
acknowledged the counterfeit money, the man who had died with this
piece of it in his hand must have been one of Loge's men.  But he only
said:

"Why do you call me a detective?"

Loge shrugged his shoulders.  Then he said again:  "Your real price?"

"What," said Cleggett, trying him out, "do you think of $20,000?"

The other gave a long, low whistle.

"Gad!" he cried, "what crooks you bulls are."

"It's not so much," said Cleggett deliberately, "when one takes
everything into consideration."

Loge appeared to meditate.  Then he said:  "That figure is out of the
question.  I'll give you $10,000 and not a cent more."

"You want her pretty badly," said Cleggett.  "Or you want what's on
her."

"Why," said Loge, with an assumption of great frankness, "between you
and me I don't care a damn about your boat.  I think we understand each
other.  I'm buying her to get what's on her."

"Suppose I sell you what's on her for $10,000 and keep the ship," said
Cleggett, wondering what WAS on the Jasper B.

"Agreed," said Loge.

"Since we're being so frank with one another," said Cleggett, "would
you mind telling me why you didn't come to me at the start with an
offer to buy, instead of making such a nuisance of yourself?"

"Eh?"  Loge appeared genuinely surprised. "Why should I pay you any
money if I could get it, or destroy it, without that? Besides, how was
I to know you could be bought?"

Cleggett wondered more than ever what piece of evidence the hold of the
Jasper B. contained.  He felt certain that it was not merely
counterfeit bills. Cleggett determined upon a minute and thorough
search of the hold.

"You'll send for it?" said Cleggett, still trying to get a more
definite idea of what "it" was, without revealing that he did not know.

"I'll come myself with a taxicab," said Loge.

Cleggett rose, smiling; he had found out as much as he could expect to
learn.

"On the whole," he said, "I think that I prefer to keep the Jasper B.
and everything that's in her. But before I leave I must thank you for
the pleasure I have derived from our little talk--and the information
as well.  You can hardly imagine how you have interested me.  Will you
kindly step back and let me pass?"

Loge got to his feet with a muttered oath; his face went livid and a
muscle worked in his throat; his fingers contracted like the claws of
some big and powerful cat.  But, out of respect for Cleggett's pistol,
he stepped backward.

"You have confessed to making counterfeit money," went on Cleggett,
enjoying the situation, "and you have as good as told me that there are
further evidences of crime on board the Jasper B.  You can rest assured
that I will find them.  You have also betrayed the fact that you
planned to blow my ship up, and there are several other little matters
which you have shed light upon.

"I am not a detective.  Nevertheless, I hope in the near future to see
you behind the bars and to help put you there.  It may interest you to
know that my opinion of your intellect is no higher than my opinion of
your character.  You seem to me to have a vast conceit of your own
cleverness, which is not justified by the facts.  You are a very stupid
fellow; a--a--what is the slang word?  Boob, I believe."

But while Cleggett was finishing his remarks a subtle change stole over
Loge's countenance.  His attitude, which had been one of baffled rage,
relaxed. As Cleggett paused the sneer came back upon Loge's lips.

"Boob," he said quietly, "boob is the word.  Look above you."

A sharp metallic click overhead gave point to Loge's words. Looking up,
Cleggett saw that a trap-door had opened in the ceiling, and through
the aperture Pierre, who had left the room some moments before with the
bartender, was pointing a revolver, which he had just cocked, at
Cleggett's head.  He sighted along the barrel with an eager,
anticipatory smile upon his face; Pierre would, no doubt, have
preferred to see a man boiled in oil rather than merely shot, but
shooting was something, and Pierre evidently intended to get all the
delight possible out of the situation.

Cleggett's own pistol was within an inch of Loge's stomach.

"I was willing to pay you real money," said Loge, "for the sake of
peace.  But you're a damned fool if you think you can throw me down and
then walk straight out of here to headquarters."  Then he added,
showing his yellow teeth:  "You WOULD bring pistols into the
conversation, you know.  That was YOUR idea.  And now you're in a devil
of a fix."

The man certainly had an iron nerve; he spoke as calmly as if
Cleggett's weapon were not in existence; there was nothing but the
pressure of a finger wanting to send both him and Cleggett to eternity.
Yet he jested; he laid his strong and devilish will across Cleggett's
mentality; it was a duel in which the two minds met and tried each
other like swords; the first break in intention, and one or the other
was a dead man.  Cleggett felt the weight of that powerful and evil
soul upon his own almost as if it were a physical thing.

"You are not altogether safe yourself," said Cleggett grimly, with his
eyes fixed on Pierre's and his pistol touching Loge's waistband.  "If
Pierre so much as winks an eye--if you move a hair's breadth--I'll put
a stream of bullets through YOU. Understand?"

How long this singular psychological combat might have lasted before a
nerve quivered somewhere and brought the denouement of a double death,
there is no telling.  For accident (or fate) intervened to pluck these
antagonists back into life and rob the gloating Pierre of the happiness
of seeing two men perish without danger to himself. Something of
uncertain shape, but of a blue color, loomed vaguely behind Pierre's
head; loomed and suddenly descended to the accompaniment of a piercing
shriek.  Pierre's pistol went off, but he had evidently been stricken
between the shoulders; the ball went wild, and the pistol itself
dropped from his hand, another cartridge exploding as it hit the floor.
The next instant Pierre tumbled headlong through the hole, landing upon
Loge, who, not braced for the shock, went down himself.

As the two men struggled to rise a strange figure precipitated itself
from the room above, feet first, and hit both of them, knocking them
down again. It was a tall man, thin and lank, clad only in a suit of
silk pajamas of the color known as baby blue; he was barefoot, and
Cleggett, with that lucid grasp of detail which comes to men oftener in
nightmares than in real life, noticed that he had a bunion at the large
joint of his right great toe.

If the man was startling, he was no less startled himself. Leaping from
the struggling forms of Pierre and Loge, who defeated each other's
frantic efforts to rise, he was across the barroom in three wild
bounds, shrieking shrilly as he leaped; he bolted through the west door
and cleared the verandah at a jump.

Loge, gaining his feet, was after the man in blue in an instant,
evidently thinking no more of Cleggett than if the latter had been in
Madagascar.  And as for Cleggett, although he might have shot down Loge
a dozen times over, he was so astonished at what he saw that the
thought never entered his head.  He had, in fact, forgotten that he
held a pistol in his hand.  Pierre scrambled to his feet and followed
Loge.

Cleggett, running after them, saw the man in the blue pajamas sprinting
along the sandy margin of the bay.  But Loge, his hat gone, his coat
tails level in the wind behind him, and his large patent leather shoes
flashing in the morning sunlight, was overhauling him with long and
powerful strides.  Cleggett saw the quarry throw a startled glance over
his shoulder; he was no match for the terrible Loge in speed, and he
must have realized it with despair, for he turned sharply at right
angles and rushed into the sea.  Loge unhesitatingly plunged after him,
and had caught him by the shoulder and whirled him about before he had
reached a swimming depth.  They clinched, in water mid-thigh deep, and
then Cleggett saw Loge plant his fist, with scientific precision and
awful force, upon the point of the other's jaw.  The man in the blue
pajamas collapsed; he would have dropped into the water, but Loge
caught him as he fell, threw his body across a shoulder with little
apparent effort, and trotted back into the house with him.

Cleggett had left his sword cane in the barroom, but he judged it would
be just as well to allow it to remain there for the present.  He turned
and walked meditatively across the sands towards the Jasper B.



CHAPTER XII

THE SECOND OBLONG BOX

When Cleggett returned to the ship he found Captain Abernethy in
conversation with a young man of deprecating manner whom the Captain
introduced as the Rev. Simeon Calthrop.

"I been tellin' him," said the Cap'n, pitching his voice shrilly above
the din the workmen made, and not giving the Rev. Mr. Calthrop an
opportunity to speak for himself, "I been tellin' him it may be a long
time before the Jasper B. gets to the Holy Land."

"Do you want to go to Palestine?" asked Cleggett of Mr. Calthrop, who
stood with downcast eyes and fingers that worked nervously at the
lapels of his rusty black coat.

"I've knowed him sence he was a boy.  He's in disgrace, Simeon Calthrop
is," shrieked the Captain, preventing the preacher from answering
Cleggett's question, and scorning to answer it directly himself.  "Been
kicked out of his church fur kissin' a married woman, and can't get
another one."  (The Cap'n meant another church.)

The preacher merely raised his eyes, which were large and brown and
slightly protuberant, and murmured with a kind of brave humility:

"It is true."

"But why do you want to go to Palestine?" said Cleggett.

"She sung in the choir and she had three children," screamed Cap'n
Abernethy, "and she limped some.  Folks say she had a cork foot.  Hey,
Simeon, DID she have a cork foot?"

Mr. Calthrop flushed painfully, but he forced himself courageously to
answer.  "Mr. Abernethy, I do not know," he said humbly, and with the
look of a stricken animal in his big brown eyes.

He was a handsome young fellow of about thirty--or he would have been
handsome, Cleggett thought, had he not been so emaciated. His hair was
dark and brown and inclined to curl, his forehead was high and white
and broad, and his fingers were long and white and slender; his nose
was well modeled, but his lips were a trifle too full.  Although he
belonged to one of the evangelical denominations, the Rev. Mr. Calthrop
affected clothing very like the regulation costume of the Episcopalian
clergy; but this clothing was now worn and torn and dusty.  Buttons
were gone here and there; the knees of the unpressed trousers were
baggy and beginning to be ragged, and the sole of one shoe flapped as
he walked.  He had a three days' growth of beard and no baggage.

When Cap'n Abernethy had delivered himself and walked away, the Rev.
Mr. Calthrop confirmed the story of his own disgrace, speaking in a low
but clear voice, and with a gentle and wistful smile.

"I am one of the most miserable of sinners, Mr. Cleggett," he said.  "I
have proved myself to be that most despicable thing, an unworthy
minister. I was tempted and I fell."

The Rev. Mr. Calthrop seemed to find the sort of satisfaction in
confessing his sins to the world that the medieval flagellants found in
scoring themselves with whips; they struck their bodies; he drew forth
his soul and beat it publicly.

Cleggett learned that he had set himself as a punishment and a
mortification the task of obtaining his daily bread by the work of his
hands.  It was his intention to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem,
refusing all assistance except that which he earned by manual labor.
After such a term of years as should satisfy all men (and particularly
his own spiritual sense) of the genuineness of his penitence, he would
apply to his church for reinstatement, and ask for an appointment to
some difficult mission in a wild and savage country.  The Rev. Mr.
Calthrop intimated that if he chose to accept rehabilitation on less
arduous terms, he might obtain it; but the poignancy of his own sense
of failure drove him to extremes.

"Are you sure," said Cleggett sternly, "that you are not making a
luxury of this very penitence itself?  Are you sure that it would not
be more acceptable to Heaven if you forgave yourself more easily?"

"Alas, yes, I am sure!" said Mr. Calthrop, with a sigh and his calm and
wistful smile.  "I know myself too well!  I know my own soul.  I am
cursed with a fatal magnetism which women find it impossible to resist.
And I am continually tempted to permit it to exert itself.  This is the
cross that I bear through life."

"You should marry some good woman," said Cleggett.

"I do not feel that I am worthy," said Mr. Calthrop meekly.  "And think
of the pain my wife would experience in seeing me continually tempted
by some woman who believed herself to be my psychic affinity!"

"You are a thought too subtle, Mr. Calthrop," said Cleggett bluntly.
"But I suppose you cannot help that.  To each of us his destiny.  I am
prepared, until I see some evidence to the contrary, to believe your
repentance to be genuine.  In the meantime, we need a ship's chaplain.
If your conscience permits, you may have the post--combining it,
however, with the vocation of a common sailor before the mast.  I am
inclined to agree with you that manual labor will do you good.  Some
time or another, in her progress around the world, the Jasper B. will
undoubtedly touch at a coast within walking distance of Jerusalem.
There we will put you ashore.  Before we sail you can put in your time
holystoning the deck.

"The deck of the Jasper B.," said Cleggett, looking at it, "to all
appearances, has not been holystoned for some years.  You will find in
the forecastle several holystones that have never been used, and may
begin at once."

Cleggett, if his tastes had not inclined him towards a more active and
adventurous life, would have made a good bishop, for he knew how to
combine justice and mercy.  And yet few bishops have possessed his
rapidity of decision, when compelled, upon the spur of the moment, to
become the physician of an ailing soul. He had determined in a flash to
make the man ship's chaplain, that Calthrop might come into close
contact with other spiritual organisms and not think too exclusively of
his own.

The Rev. Mr. Calthrop thanked him with becoming gratitude and departed
to get the new holystones.

By three o'clock that afternoon, with such celerity had the work gone
forward, Mr. Watkins, the contractor, announced to Cleggett that his
task was finished, except for the removal of the rubbish in the hold.
Cleggett, going carefully over the vessel, and examining the new parts
with a brochure on the construction and navigation of schooners in his
hand, verified the statement.

"She is ready to sail," said Cleggett, standing by the new wheel with a
swelling heart, and sweeping the vessel from bowsprit to rudder with a
gradual glance.

It was a look almost paternal in its pride; Cleggett loved the Jasper
B.  She was an idea that no one else but Cleggett could have had.

"Sail?" said Mr. Watkins.

"Why not?" said Cleggett, puzzled at his tone.

"Oh, nothing," said Mr. Watkins.  "It's none of my business.  My
business was to do the work I was hired to do according to
specifications.  Further than that, nothing."

"But why did you think I was having the work done?"

"Can't say I thought," said Mr. Watkins.  "I took the job, and I done
it.  Had an idea mebby you were in the movin' picture game."

Mr. Watkins, as he talked, had been regarding Cap'n Abernethy, who in
turn was looking at the mainmast.  There seemed to be something in the
very way Cap'n Abernethy looked at the mainmast which jarred on Mr.
Watkins.  Mr. Watkins dropped his voice, indicating the Cap'n with a
curved, disparaging thumb, as he asked Cleggett:

"Is HE going to sail her?"

"Why not?"

"Oh--nothing; nothing at all," said Mr. Watkins. "It's none o' MY
business."

Cleggett began to be a little annoyed.  "Have you," he said with
dignity, and fixing a rather stern glance upon Mr. Watkins, "have you
any reason to doubt Cap'n Abernethy's ability as a sailing master?"

"No, indeed," said Mr. Watkins cheerfully, "not as a sailing master.
He may be the best in the world, for all I know.  _I_ never seen him
sail anything.  I never heard him play the violin, neither, for that
matter, and he may be a regular jim-dandy on the violin for all I know."

"You are facetious," said Cleggett stiffly.

"Meaning I ain't paid to be fresh, eh?" said Mr. Watkins.  "And right
you are, too.  And there's all that junk down in the hold to pass out
and cart away."

Cleggett personally supervised this removal, standing on the deck by
the hatchway and scanning everything that was handed up.  The character
of this junk has already been described.  Every barrel or cask that was
placed upon the deck was stove in with an ax before Cleggett's eyes; he
satisfied himself that every bottle was empty; he turned over the
broken boxes and beer cases with his foot to see that they contained
nothing.

But the work was three-quarters done before he found what he was
looking for.  From under a heap of debris, which had completely hidden
it, towards the forward part of the vessel, the workmen unearthed an
unpainted oblong box, almost seven feet in length. It was of
substantial material and looked newer than any of the other stuff.
Cleggett had it placed on one side of the hatchway and sat down on it.
It was tightly nailed up; all of its surfaces were sound.  Cleggett did
not doubt that he would find in it what he wanted, yet in order to be
on the safe side he continued to scrutinize everything else that came
out of the hold.

But finally the hold was as empty as a drum, and Watkins and his men
departed.  The oblong box upon which Cleggett sat was the only possible
receptacle of any sort in an undamaged condition, which had been in the
hold.  He determined to have it opened in the cabin.

As he arose from it he was struck by its resemblance to the box in
Elmer's charge, the dank box of Reginald Maltravers, which stood on one
end near the cabin companionway, leaning against the port side of the
cabin so that it was not visible from the road, which ran to the
starboard of the Jasper B.  But, since all oblong boxes are bound to
have a general resemblance, Cleggett, at the time, thought little
enough of this likeness.

He called to George and Mr. Calthrop, who, with Dr. Farnsworth, were
forward receiving their first lecture on seamanship from Cap'n
Abernethy and Kuroki, to carry the box into the cabin.

But as George and the Rev. Mr. Calthrop lifted the box to their
shoulders, Cleggett was startled by a loud and violent oath; a
veritable bellow of blasphemy that made him shudder.  Turning, he saw
than an automobile had paused in the road.  In the forward part of the
machine stood Loge, raving in an almost demoniac fury and pointing at
the box. He writhed in the grip of three men who endeavored to restrain
him.  One of them was the sinister Pierre.

Hoisting himself, as it were, on a mounting billow of his own
profanity, Loge cast himself with a wide swimming motion of his arms
from the auto.  But one of the men clung to him; they came to the
ground together like tackler and tackled in a football game.  The
others cast themselves out of the machine and flung themselves upon
their leader; he fought like a lion, but he was finally overpowered and
thrown back into the auto, which was immediately started up and which
made off towards Fairport at a rattling speed.  Three hundred yards
away, however, Loge rose again and shook a furious fist at the Jasper
B., and though Cleggett could not distinguish the words, the sense of
Loge's impotent rage rolled towards him on the wind in a roaring,
vibrant bass.

The sight of the box that he had not been able to buy, in Cleggett's
possession, had stirred him beyond all caution; he had actually
contemplated an attempt to rush the Jasper B. in broad daylight.

But while this queer tableau of baffled rage was enacting itself on the
starboard bow of the Jasper B.,  a no less strange and far less
explicable thing was occurring on the port side.  The swish of oars and
the ripple of a moving boat drew Cleggett's attention in that direction
as Loge's booming threats grew fainter.  He saw that two oarsmen, near
the eastern and farther side of the canal, had allowed the dainty,
varnished little craft they were supposed to propel to come to a rest
in spite of the evident displeasure of a man who sat in its stern.
This third man was the same that Cleggett had seen on the deck of the
Annabel Lee with a spy glass, and again that same morning driving the
two almost nude figures up and down the canal.

The two oarsmen, Cleggett saw with surprise, rowed with shackled feet;
their feet were, indeed, chained to the boat itself.  About the wrists
of each were steel bands; fixed to these bands were chains, the other
ends of which were locked to their oars.  They were, in effect, galley
slaves.

All this iron somewhat hampered their movements.  But the reason of
their pause was an engrossing interest in the box of Reginald
Maltravers, which stood, as has already been said, on the port side of
the cabin, on one end, and so was visible from their boat.  They were
looking at it with slack oars, dropped jaws and starting eyes; the
thing seemed to have fascinated them and bereft them of motion; it was
as if they were unable to get past it at all.  Elmer, worn out by his
many long vigils, lay asleep on the deck at the foot of the box, with
an arm flung over his face.

The stout man, after vainly endeavoring to start his oarsmen with
words, took up an extra oar and began vigorously prodding them with it.
Cleggett had not seen this man look towards the Jasper B.,  but he
nevertheless had the feeling that the man had missed little of what had
been going on there. He seemed to be that kind of man.

His crew responding to the stabs of the oar, the little vessel went
perhaps fifty yards farther up the canal towards Parker's, and then
swung daintily around and came back towards the Jasper B. at almost the
speed of a racing shell, the men in chains bending doggedly to their
work.  Cleggett saw that the boat must pass close to the Jasper B., and
leaned  over the port rail.

The man in the stern had picked up a magazine and was lolling back
reading it.  As the boat passed under him Cleggett saw on the cover
page of the magazine a picture of the very man who was perusing it.  It
was a singularly urbane face; both the counterfeit presentment on the
cover page and the real face were smiling and calm and benign.
Cleggett could read the legend on the magazine cover accompanying the
picture.  It ran:

 Wilton Barnstable Tells In this Issue the Inside Story
 of How he Broke up the Gigantic Smuggling Conspiracy.

At that instant the man dropped the magazine and looked Cleggett full
in the face.  He waved his arm in a meaning gesture in the direction in
which Loge had disappeared and said, with a gentle shake of his head at
Cleggett, as if he were chiding a naughty child:

"When thieves fall out--!  When thieves fall out, my dear sir!"

As he swept by he resumed his magazine with the pleased air of a man
who has delivered himself of a brilliant epigram; it showed in his very
shoulders.

"And that," murmured Cleggett, "is Wilton Barnstable, the great
detective!"



CHAPTER XIII

THE SOUL OF LOGAN BLACK

Wilton Barnstable, the great detective, having witnessed Loge's
outburst of wrath, had thought it signified a quarrel between thieves,
as his words to Cleggett indicated.  He had thought Cleggett a crook,
and Loge's ally.

Loge, on the other hand, had thought Cleggett a detective.  He had
addressed him as "Mr. Detective" that morning at Morris's. Loge
believed the Jasper B. and the Annabel Lee to be allied against him.

Whereas Cleggett, until he had recognized Wilton Barnstable in the
boat, had thought it likely that the Annabel Lee and Morris's were
allied against the Jasper B.

Now that Cleggett knew the commander of the Annabel Lee to be Wilton
Barnstable, his first impulse was to go to the Great Detective and
invite his cooperation against Loge and the gang at Morris's.  But
almost instantly he reflected that he could not do this.  For there was
the box of Reginald Maltravers!  Indeed, how did he know that it was
not the box of Reginald Maltravers which had brought the Great
Detective to that vicinity?  This man--of world-wide fame, and reputed
to possess an almost miraculous instinct in the unraveling of criminal
mysteries--might be even now on the trail of Lady Agatha.  If so, he
was Cleggett's enemy. When it came to a choice between the championship
of Lady Agatha and the defiance of Wilton Barnstable, and all that he
represented, Cleggett did not hesitate for an instant.

There were still some aspects of the situation in which he found
himself that were as puzzling as ever to Cleggett.  It is true that he
now knew why Loge's men had been in the hold of the vessel; they had
been there, no doubt, in an attempt to get possession of the oblong,
unpainted box which had caused Loge's explosion of wrath; the box which
was the real thing Loge had tried to buy from Cleggett when he dickered
for the purchase of the Jasper B.  But why this box should have been in
the hold of the vessel, Cleggett could not understand.  And how Loge's
men had been able to get into and out of the hold without his knowledge
still perplexed him.

The motive behind the attempt to dynamite the vessel was clear. Having
failed to purchase it, having failed to recover the box from it, Loge
had sought to destroy it with all on board.  But the strange character
of this explosion still defied his powers of analysis.  And then there
was the tenth Earl of Claiborne's signet ring on the dead hand. Beyond
the fact that it was a circumstance which connected his fortunes with
those of Lady Agatha, he could make nothing at all of the signet ring.
What, he asked himself again and again, was the connection of the
criminal gang at Morris's with the proudest Earl in England?

Loge himself was a puzzle to Cleggett.  The man was a counterfeiter.
That he knew.  The "queer" twenty-dollar bill, which he had practically
acknowledged, left no doubt of that. But he was more than a
counterfeiter.  Cleggett believed him to be also an anarchist.  At
least he was associated with anarchists.

But counterfeiting and anarchy are not ordinarily found together. The
anarchist is not a criminal in the more sordid sense.  He is the enemy
of society as at present organized.  He considers society to be built
on a thieving basis; he is not himself a thief.  He scorns and hates
society, wishes to see it overturned, and believes himself superior to
it.  He will commit the most savage atrocities for the cause and
cheerfully die for his principles.  The anarchist is not a crook.  He
is an idealist.

Convinced that the unpainted oblong box would furnish a clew to the
man's real personality, Cleggett, assisted by Lady Agatha and Dr.
Farnsworth, opened it in the cabin.

They first took out a number of plates, some broken, some intact, for
the manufacture of counterfeit notes of various denominations.  There
was some of the fibrous paper used in this process.  There was a
quantity of the apparatus essential to engraving the plates.  This
stuff more than half filled the box. Then there were a number of books.

"Elementary textbooks," said Dr. Farnsworth, glancing at them. On the
flyleaf of one of them was written in a bold, firm hand: "Logan Black."

"Loge--or Logan Black," said Dr. Farnsworth, "has been giving himself
an education in the manufacture of high explosives."

"But THESE aren't textbooks," said Lady Agatha, who had pulled out
three long, narrow volumes from the pile.  "They're in manuscript, and
they look more like account books."

The first of them, in Loge's handwriting, contained a series of notes,
mostly unintelligible to Cleggett, dealing with experiments in two
sorts of manufacture: first, the preparation of counterfeit money;
second, the production of dynamite bombs.

The second of the manuscript books was in cipher. Cleggett might have
deciphered it without assistance, for he was skilled in these matters,
but the labor was not necessary.  The book was for Loge's own eye.  A
loose sheet of paper folded between the leaves gave the key.

The book showed that Loge had been employed as an expert operator, in
the pay of a certain radical organization, to pull off dynamiting jobs
in various parts of the country.  This was his account book with the
organization.  He had done his work and taken his pay as methodically
as a plumber might.  And he had been paid well.  Cleggett guessed that
Loge was not particularly interested in the work in its relationship to
the revolutionary cause; it was the money to be made in this way, and
not any particular sympathy with his employers, which attracted Loge,
so Cleggett divined.  Cleggett was astonished at the number of jobs
which Loge had engineered.  The book threw light on mysterious
explosions which had occurred throughout a period of five years.

But it was the third manuscript book which displayed the real Logan
Black.

This was also in cipher.  Dr. Farnsworth and Cleggett had translated
but a few lines of it when they perceived that it was a diary.  With a
vanity almost inconceivable to those who have not reflected upon the
criminal nature, Loge had written here the tale of his own life, for
his own reading.  He had written it in loving detail.  It was, in fact,
the book in which he looked when he wished to admire himself.

"It is odd," said Cleggett, "that so clever a man should write down his
own story in this way."

"This book," said Farnsworth, "would be a boon to a psychologist
interested in criminology.  You say it is odd.  But with a certain type
of criminal, it is almost usual.  The human soul is full of strange
impulses.  One of the strangest is towards just this sort of record.
Cunning, and the vanity which destroys cunning, often exist side by
side.  The criminal of a certain type almost worships himself; he is
profoundly impressed with his own cleverness. He is a braggart; he
swaggers; he defeats himself.  A strange idiocy mingles with his
cleverness."

"Even people who are not criminals do just that sort of thing," said
Lady Agatha.  "Look at Samuel Pepys.  He was one of the most timid of
beings. And he valued his place in the world mightily. But he wrote
down the story of his own disgrace in his diary--it had to come out of
him!  And then, timid and cautious as he was, he did not destroy the
book!  He let it get out of his possession."

It was an evil, a monstrous personality which leered out of Logan
Black's diary.  Boastful of his own iniquity, swaggering in his
wickedness, fatuous with self-love, he recounted his deeds with gusto
and with particularity.  They did not read a quarter of this terrible
autobiography at the time, but they read enough to see the man in the
process of building up a criminal organization of his own, with
ramifications of the most surprising nature.

"This man," said Dr. Farnsworth, with a shudder, "actually has the
ambition to be the head of nothing less than a crime trust."

"It seems to be something more than an ambition," said Cleggett. "It
seems to be almost an accomplished fact."

"Ugh!" said Lady Agatha, with a gesture of disgust, "he's like a great
horrid spider spinning webs!"

Interested in anarchy only on its practical side, as the paid dynamiter
of the inner circle of radicals, Logan Black in his diary jeered at and
mocked the cause he served.  And more than that, the man seemed to take
a perverted pleasure in attaching to himself young enthusiasts of the
radical type, eager to follow him as the disinterested leader of a
group of Reds, and then betraying them into the most sordid sort of
crime.  Cleggett found--and could imagine the grimace of malevolent
satisfaction with which it had been written--this note:

Heinrich is about ready to leave off talking his cant of universal
brotherhood, and make a little easy money in the way I have shown him.
It will be interesting to see what happens in side of Heinrich when he
realizes he is not an idealist, but a criminal.  Will he stick to me on
the new lay?  But those Germans are so sentimental--he may commit
suicide.


Cleggett recalled the manhandling Heinrich had received.  A little
farther along he came upon this entry:

The Italian-American boy is a find.  Jones and Giuseppe!  Puritan
father, Italian mother--and he worships me!  It will be a test for my
personal magnetism, the handling of Gieseppe Jones will.  He hates a
thief worse than the devil hates holy water.  If I could make him steal
for me, I would know that I could do anything.


"That's our young poet in the forecastle!" said Cleggett.  "I wonder if
Loge still held him."  And then as the memory of the boy's ravings came
to him he mused:  "Yes--he held the boy!  That is what the fellow meant
in his delirium.  Do you remember that he kept saying:  'I'm a
revolutionist, not a crook!'?  And yet he continued to obey Loge!"

"Is it not strange," said Lady Agatha, "that the man should take such
pride in working ruin?"

All three were silent for a space.  And then they looked at each other
with a shiver.  The sense of the strong and sinister personality of
Logan Black struck on their spirits like a bleak wind.

Cleggett was the first to recover himself.

"God willing," he said solemnly, "I will bring that man to justice
personally!"

Just then two bells struck.  It had taken them  more time than they had
realized to make even a partial examination of the contents of the box.
Cleggett, when the bell sounded, looked at his watch to see what time
it was--he was still a little unfamiliar with the nautical system.

"He will go to any length to get this back into his possession," said
Cleggett, as he dumped the heap of incriminating evidence back into the
box and began to nail the boards on again.

"Any length," echoed the Doctor.

Pat upon the thought came the sound of taxicabs without.  They went on
deck and saw a sinister procession rolling by.  It consisted of three
machines, and there were three men in each cab.  Loge and Pierre were
in the foremost one.  None of the company vouchsafed so much as a
glance in the direction of the Jasper B. as the cabs whirled past
towards Morris's.  It was undoubtedly a reinforcement of gunmen.

"Ah!" said Cleggett, pointing to them.  "The real battle is about to
begin!  They are making ready for the attack!"



CHAPTER XIV

CLEGGETT STANDS BY HIS SHIP

Cleggett did not fear (or rather, expect, since there was very little
that Cleggett feared) an attack until well after nightfall.
Nevertheless, he began to prepare for it at once.  He called the entire
ship's company aft, with the exception of Miss Medley, who was on duty
with Giuseppe Jones.

"My friends--for I hope we stand in the relation of friends as well as
that of commander and crew--I have every reason to expect that the
enemy will make a demonstration in force sometime during the night," he
said.  "We have opposed to us the leader of a dangerous and powerful
criminal organization.  He is, in fact, the president of a crime trust.
He will stop at nothing to compass the destruction of the Jasper B. and
all on board her. My quarrel with him has become, in a sense, personal.
I have no right to ask you to share my risk unless you choose to do so
voluntarily.  Therefore, if there is anyone of you who wishes to leave
the Jasper B., let him do it now."

Cleggett paused.  But not a man moved.  On the contrary, a little
murmur of something like reproach ran around the semicircle.  The
ship's company looked in each other's eyes; they stood shifting their
feet uneasily.

Finally Cap'n Abernethy spoke, clearing his throat with a prefatory hem:

"If you was to ask me, Mr. Cleggett," said the Captain, with less than
his usual circumlocution, "I'd say the boys here ain't flattered by
what you've just said.  The boys here DOES consider themselves friends
of yours, and if you was anxious to hear my opinion of it I'd say
you've hurt their feelin's by your way of putting it.  Speakin' for
myself, Mr. Cleggett, as the nautical commander of this here ship to
the military commander, I don't mind owning up that MY feelin's is
hurt."

"Aye, aye, sir," said George the Greek, addressing the nautical
commander, and the word went from lip to lip.

"Aye, aye, sir," said Dr. Farnsworth, "the Captain speaks for us all."

And the Reverend Mr. Calthrop remarked with a sigh:  "You may have
cause to doubt my circumspection, Mr. Cleggett, but you have no cause
to doubt my courage."

Cleggett was not the sort of man who is ashamed to acknowledge an
error.  "Friends," he cried impulsively, "forgive me!  I should have
known better than to phrase my remarks as I did.  I would not have hurt
your feelings for worlds.  I know you are devoted to me.  I call for
volunteers for the perilous adventure which is before us!"

The ship's company stepped forward as one man.  As if by magic the
atmosphere cleared.

"Now," said Cleggett, smiling back on the enthusiastic faces before
him, but inexpressibly touched by the fineness of his crew's devotion,
"to get to the point.  There are seven of us, but there are at least a
dozen of them.  We have, however, the advantage in position, for we can
find cover on the ship, whereas they must attack from the open.  More
than that, we will have the advantage in arms; here is a magazine rifle
for each of you, while they, if I am not mistaken, will attack with
pistols.  We must keep them at a distance, if possible.  If they should
attempt to rush us we will meet them with cutlasses and sabers."

"Mr. Cleggett," said Lady Agatha, rising when he had finished, and
speaking with animation, "will you permit me to make a suggestion?"

She went on, without waiting for an answer:  "It is this:  Choose your
own ground for this battle!  The Jasper B. is now a full-rigged
schooner.  Very well, then, sail her!  At the moment you are attacked,
weigh anchor, fight your way to the mouth of the canal, take up a
position in the bay in front of Morris's within easy rifle range and
out of pistol shot, and compel the place to surrender on your own
terms!"

As the brilliance of this plan flashed upon her hearers, applause ran
around the room, and Kuroki, who spoke seldom, cried in admiration:

"The Honorable Miss Englishman have hit her head on the nail! Let there
be some naval warfares!"

"You are right," cried Cleggett, catching fire with the idea, "a
hundred times right!  And why wait to be attacked?  Let us carry the
war to the enemy's coast.  Crack all sail upon her!--Up with the
anchors!  We will show these gentry that the blood of Drake, Nelson,
and Old Dave Farragut still runs red in the veins of their countrymen!"

"Banzai!" cried Kuroki.  "Also Honorable Admiral Togo's veins!"

A good breeze had sprung up out of the northwest while the conference
in the cabin was in progress.

Cleggett was relieved that it was not from the south.  There is not
much room to maneuver a schooner in a canal, and a breeze from the
south might have sailed the Jasper B. backwards towards Parker's Beach,
which would undoubtedly have given the enemy the idea that Cleggett was
retreating.  The Jasper B.'s bow was pointed south, and Cleggett was
naturally anxious that she should sail south.

At the outset a slight difficulty presented itself with regard to the
anchors--for although, as has been explained before, the Jasper B. was
a remarkably stable vessel, Cleggett had had the new anchors furnished
by the contractor let down.  Having the anchors down seemed, somehow,
to make things more shipshape.  It appeared that no one of the
adventurers was acquainted with an anchor song, and Cleggett, and,
indeed, all on board, felt that these anchors should be hoisted to the
accompaniment of some rousing chantey.  Lady Agatha was especially
insistent on the point.

While they stood about the capstan debating the matter the Reverend
Simeon Calthrop hesitatingly offered a suggestion which showed that,
while he was a novice as far as the nautical life was concerned, he was
also a person of resource.

"How many of those present," inquired the young preacher, "know 'Onward
Christian Soldiers'?"

All were acquainted with the hymn; the pastor grasped a capstan bar and
struck up the song in an agreeable tenor voice; they put their backs
into the work and their hearts into the song, and the anchors of the
Jasper B. came out of mud to the stirring notes of "Onward Christian
Soldiers, marching as to war!"

While they were so engaged the breeze strengthened perceptibly. Looking
towards the west, Cleggett perceived the sun sinking below the horizon.
A long, blue, low-lying bank of clouds seemed to engulf it; for a
moment the top of this cloud was shot through with a golden color; then
a mass of quicker moving, nearer vapors from the north seemed to leap
suddenly nearer still; to extend itself at a bound over almost a third
of the sky; in a breath the day was gone; a storm threatened.

The rising wind made the task of getting the canvas on the poles
extraordinarily difficult.  Cleggett was well aware that the usual
method of procedure, in the presence of a storm, is rather to take in
sail than to crack on; but, always the original, he decided in this
case to reverse the common custom.  Ashore or at sea, he never
permitted himself to be the slave of conventionalities.  The Jasper B.
had lain so long in one spot that it would undoubtedly take more than a
capful of wind to move her. Cleggett did not know when he would get
such a strong wind again, coming from the right direction, and
determined to make the most of this one while he had it.  Genius partly
consists in the acuteness which grasps opportunities.

From the struggles of Cap'n Abernethy and the crew with the canvas,
which he saw none too clearly through the increasing dusk from his post
at the wheel, Cleggett judged that the wind was indeed strong enough
for his purpose.  Yards, sheets and sails seemed to be acting in the
most singular manner.  He could not remember reading of any parallel
case in the treatises on navigation which he had perused.  Every now
and then the Cap'n or one of the crew would be jerked clean off his
feet by some quick and unexpected motion of a sail and flung into the
water.  When this occurred the person who had been ducked crawled out
on the bank of the canal again and went on board by way of the
gangplank, returning stubbornly to his task.

The booms in particular were possessed of a restless and unstable
spirit.  They made sudden swoops, sweeps, and dashes in all directions.
Sometimes as many as three of the crew of the Jasper B. would be
knocked to the deck or into the water by a boom at the same time.  But
Cleggett noted with satisfaction that they were plucky; they stuck
valiantly to the job.  A doubt assailed Cleggett as to the competence
of Cap'n Abernethy, but he was loyal and fought it down.

Finally Cap'n Abernethy hit upon a novel and ingenious idea.  He tied
stout lines to the ends of the booms.  The other ends of these ropes he
ran through the eyes of a couple of spare anchors. Taking the anchors
ashore, he made them fast to the wooden platform which was alongside
the Jasper B.  Then he took up the slack in the lines, pulling them
taut and fastening them tightly.

Thus the booms were held fast and stiff in position, and the crew could
get the canvas spread without being endangered by their strange and
unaccountable actions.

This brilliant idea of anchoring the booms to the land would not have
been practicable had it not been for a whimsical cessation of the wind,
a lull such as incident to the coming of spring storms in these
latitudes.  While the wind was in abeyance the men got the sails
spread.  Then the Captain untied the lines, brought the spare anchors
on board, knocked the gangplank loose with a few blows of his ax, and
waited for the wind to resume.

When the wind did blow again it came in a gust which was accompanied by
a twinkle of lightening over the whole sky and grumble of thunder.  A
whirl of dust and fine gravel enveloped the Jasper B.  For a moment it
was like a sandstorm.  A few large drops of water fell.  The gust was
violent; the sails filled with it and struggled like kites to be free;
here and there a strand of rope snapped; the masts bent and creaked;
the booms jumped and swung round like live things; the whole ship from
bowsprit to rudder shook and trembled with the assault.

Cleggett, watchful at the wheel, prepared to turn her nose away from
the bank, but he was astonished to perceive that in spite of her
quaking and shivering the Jasper B. did not move one inch forward from
her position.  He was prepared for a certain stability on the part of
the Jasper B., but not for quite so much of it.

With the next gust the storm was on them in earnest.  This blast came
with zigzag flashes of lightning that showed the heavens riotous with
battalions of charging clouds; it came with deafening thunder and a
torrential discharge of rain.  One would have thought the power of the
wind sufficient to set a steel battleship scudding before it like a
wooden shoe.  And yet the extraordinary Jasper B., although she
shrieked and groaned and seemed to stagger with the force of the blow,
did not move either forward or sidewise.

She flinched, but she stood her ground.

Second by second the storm increased in fury; in a moment it was no
longer merely a storm, it was a tempest.  Cleggett, alarmed for the
safety of his masts, now ordered his men to take in sail.

But even as he gave the order he realized that it could no longer be
done.  A cloudburst, a hurricane, an electrical bombardment, struck the
Jasper B. all at once.  One could not hear one's own voice.  In the
glare of the lightning Cleggett saw the rigging tossing in an
indescribable confusion of canvas, spars, and ropes.  Both masts and
the bowsprit snapped at almost the same instant.  The whole chaotic
mass was lifted; it writhed in the air a moment, and then it came
crashing down, partly on the deck and partly in the seething waters of
the canal, where it lay and whipped ship and water with lashing
tentacles of wreckage.

But still the unusual Jasper B. had not moved from her position.

Cleggett's men had had warning enough to save themselves.  They
gathered around him to wait for orders.  More than one of them cast
anxious glances towards the land.  Shouting to them to attack the
debris with axes, and setting the example himself, Cleggett soon saw
the deck clear again, and the Jasper B., to all intents, the same hulk
she had been when he bought her.  But such was the fury of the tempest
that even with the big kites gone the Jasper B. continued to shake and
quiver where she lay.  Speech was almost impossible on deck, but Cap'n
Abernethy signed to Cleggett that he had something important to say to
him.

The whole company adjourned to the cabin, and there, shouting to make
himself heard, the Cap'n cried out:

"Her timbers have been strained something terrible, Mr. Cleggett. She
ain't what I would call safe and seaworthy any more.  The' don't seem
to be any danger of her sailin' off, but that's no sign she can't be
blowed over onto her beam ends and sunk with all on board.  If you was
to ask me, Mr. Cleggett, I'd say the time had come to leave the Jasper
B."

The anxiety depicted on the faces of the little circle about him might
have communicated itself to a less intrepid nature.  The old Cap'n
himself was no coward.  Indeed, in owning to his alarm he had really
done a brave thing, since few have the moral courage to proclaim
themselves afraid.  But Cleggett was a man of iron.  Although the
tempest smote the hulk with blow after blow, although both earth and
water seemed to lie prostrate and trampled beneath its unappeasable
fury, Cleggett had no thought of yielding.

Unconsciously he drew himself up.  It seemed to his crew that he
actually gained in girth and height. The soul, in certain great
moments, seems to have power to expand the body and inform it with the
quality of immortality; Ajax, in his magnificent gesture of defiance,
is all spirit.  Cleggett, with his hand on his hip, uttered these
words, not without their sublimity:

"Whether the Jasper B. sinks or swims, her commander will share her
fate.  I stay by my ship!"



CHAPTER XV

NIGHT, TEMPEST, LOVE AND BATTLE

And, indeed, if Cleggett had been of a mind to abandon the vessel, he
could scarcely have done so now.  For his words were no more than
uttered when the sharp racket of a volley of pistol shots ripped its
way through the low-pitched roaring of the wind.

Loge had chosen the height of the storm to mask his approach.  He
attacked with the tempest.

Without a word Cleggett put out the light in the cabin.  His men
grasped their weapons and followed him to the deck.  A flash of
lightning showed him, through the driving rain, the enemy rushing
towards the Jasper B., pistol in hand.  They were scarcely sixty yards
away, and were firing as they came.  Loge, a revolver in one hand, and
Cleggett's own sword cane in the other, was leading the rush. Besides
their firearms, each of Loge's men carried a wicked-looking machete.

"Fire!" shouted Cleggett.  "Let them have it, men!"  And the rifles
blazed from the deck of the Jasper B. in a crashing volley.  Instantly
the world was dark again; it was impossible to determine whether the
fire of the Jasper B. had taken effect.

"To the starboard bulwark," cried Cleggett, "and give them hell with
the next lightning flash!"

It came as he spoke, with its vivid glare showing to Cleggett the enemy
magnified to a portentous bigness against a background of chaotic
night.  Two or three of them stood, leaning keenly forward; several of
the others had dropped to one knee; the rifle discharge had checked the
rush, and they also were waiting for the lightning.  Cleggett and his
men threw a second volley at this wavering silhouette of astonishment.

A cartridge jammed in the mechanism of Cleggett's gun.  With an oath he
flung the weapon to the deck.  A hand thrust another one into his
grasp, and Lady Agatha's voice said in his ear, "Take this one--it's
loaded."

"My God," said Cleggett, "I thought you were in the cabin!"

"Not I!" she cried, "I'm loading!"

Just then the lightning came again and showed her to him plainly.
Drenched, bare-armed, bareheaded, her hair down and rolling backward in
a rich wet mass, she knelt on the deck behind the bulwark.  Her eyes
blazed with excitement, and there was a smile upon her lips.  Beside
her was the zinc bucket half full of cartridges.  George tossed a rifle
to her.  She flung him back a loaded one, and began methodically to
fill the empty one with cartridges.

"Agatha," shouted Cleggett, catching her by the wrist, "go to the cabin
at once--you will get yourself killed!"

"I'll do nothing of the sort!" she shouted.

"I love you!" cried Cleggett, beside himself with fear for her, and
scarcely knowing what his words were.  "Do you hear--I love you, and I
won't have you killed!"

A bullet ripped its way through the bulwark, perforated the zinc
bucket, struck the gun which Lady Agatha was loading and knocked it
from her hands.

"Go to the cabin yourself!" she shouted in Cleggett's ear.  "As for me,
I like it!"

"I tell you," shouted Cleggett, "I won't have you here--I won't have
you killed!"

He rose to his feet, and attempted to draw her out of danger. She rose
likewise and struggled with him in the dark.  She wrenched herself
free, and in doing so flung him back against the rail; it lightened
again, and she screamed.  Cleggett turned, and with the next flash saw
that one of the enemy, his face bloody from the graze of a bullet
across his forehead, and evidently crazed with excitement of fight and
storm, was leaping towards the rail of the vessel.

Cleggett stooped to pick up a gun, but as he stooped the madman vaulted
over the bulwark and landed upon him, bearing him to the deck.  As he
struggled to his feet Lady Agatha, who had grasped a cutlass, cut the
fellow down.  The man fell back over the rail with a cry.

For a long moment there was one continuous electric flash from horizon
to horizon, and Cleggett saw her, with windblown hair and wide eyes and
parted lips, standing poised with the red blade in her hand beneath the
driving clouds, the figure of an antique goddess.

The next instant all was dark; her arms were around his neck in the
rain.  "Oh, Clement," she sobbed, "I've killed a man!  I've killed a
man!"



CHAPTER XVI

ROMANCE REGNANT

Cleggett kissed her....



CHAPTER XVII

MISS PRINGLE CALLS ON MR. CLEGGETT

But the rushing onset of events struck them apart.  Out of the night
leaped danger, enhancing love and forbidding it.  From the starboard
bow Captain Abernethy shrilled a cry of warning, and the heavy,
bellowing voice of Loge shouted an answer of challenge and ferocity.
The wind had fallen, but the lightning played from the clouds now
almost without intermission.  Cleggett saw Loge and his followers,
machete in hand, flinging themselves at the rail.  They lifted a hoarse
cheer as they came.  The fire from the Jasper B. had checked the
assault temporarily; it had not broken it up; once they found lodgment
on the deck the superior numbers of Loge's crowd must inevitably tell.

Loge was a dozen feet in advance of his men.  He had cast aside the
light sword which belonged to Cleggett, and now swung a grim machete in
his hand.  Cleggett flung down his gun, grasped a cutlass, and sprang
forward, his one idea to come to close quarters with that gigantic
figure of rage and power.

But before Loge reached the bulwark on one side, and while Cleggett was
bounding toward him on the other, this on-coming group of Cleggett's
foes were suddenly smitten in the rear as if by a thunderbolt.  Out of
the night and storm, mad with terror, screaming like fiends, with
distended nostrils and flying manes and flailing hoofs, there plunged
into the midst of the assaulting party a pair of snow-white
horses--astounding, felling, trampling, scattering, filling them with
confusion.  A rocking carriage leaped and bounded behind the furious
animals, and as the horses struck the bulwark and swerved aside, its
weight and bulk, hurled like a missile among Cleggett's staggered and
struggling enemies, completed and confirmed their panic.

No troops on earth can stand the shock of a cavalry charge in the rear
and flank; few can face surprise; the boarding party, convinced that
they had fallen into a trap, melted away.  One moment they were
sweeping forward, vicious and formidable, confident of victory; the
next they were  floundering weaponless, scrambling anyhow for safety,
multiplying and transforming, with the quick imagination of panic
terror, these two horses into a troop of mounted men.

This sudden and almost spectral apparition of galloping steeds and
flying carriage, hurled upon the vessel out of the tempest, flung, a
piece of whirling chaos, from the chaotic skies, had almost as
startling an effect upon the defenders.  For a moment they paused, with
weapons uplifted, and stared. Where an enemy had been, there was
nothing.  So doubtful Greeks or Trojans might have paused and stared
upon the plains of Ilion when some splenetic and fickle deity burst
unannounced and overwhelming into the central clamor of the battle.

But it is in these seconds of pause and doubt that great commanders
assert themselves; it is these electric seconds from which the hero
gathers his vital lightning and forges his mordant bolt.  Genius claims
and rules these instants, and the gods are on the side of those who
boldly grasp loose wisdom and bind it into sheaves of judgment.
Cleggett (whom Homer would have loved) was the first to recover his
poise.  He came to his decision instantaneously.  A lesser man might
have lost all by rushing after his retreating enemies; a lesser man,
carried away by excitement, would have pursued. Cleggett did not relax
his grasp upon the situation, he restrained his ardor.

"Stand firm, men!  Do not leave the ship," he shouted.  "The day is
ours!"

And then, turning to Captain Abernethy, he cried:

"We have routed them!"

"Look at them crazy horses!" screamed the Captain in reply.

The animals were rearing and struggling among the ruins of the broken
gangplank.  As the Captain spoke, they plunged aboard the ship, and the
carriage, bounding after them, overturned on the deck--horses and
carriage came down together in a welter of splintering wheels and
broken harness and crashing wood.

A negro driver, whom Cleggett now noticed for the first time, shot
clear of the mass and landed on the deck in a sitting posture.

For a moment, there he sat, and did nothing more.  The pole broke loose
from the carriage, the traces parted, and the two big white horses,
still kicking and plunging, struggled to their feet and free from the
wreckage.  Still side by side they leaped the port bulwark, splashed
into the canal, and swam straight across it, as if animated with the
instinct of going straight ahead in that fashion to the end of the
world.  Cleggett never saw or heard of them again.

"Bring a lantern," said Cleggett to Abernethy. "Let's see if this man
is badly hurt."

But the negro was not injured.  He rose to his feet as the Captain
brought the light--the storm was now subsiding, and the lightning was
less frequent--and stood revealed as a person of surprising size and
unusual blackness.  He was, in fact, so black that it was no wonder
that Cleggett had not seen him on the seat of the carriage, for unless
one turned a light full upon him his face could not be seen at all
after dark.  He was in a blue livery, and his high, cockaded coachman's
hat had stayed on his head in spite of everything.

Even sitting down on the deck he had possessed an air of patience.
When he arose and the Captain flashed the light upon his face, it
revealed a countenance full of dignified good humor.

"Where did you come from?" asked Cleggett.

The negro removed the hat with the cockade before answering.  He did it
politely.  Even ceremoniously.  But he did not do it hastily.  He had
the air of one who was never inclined to do things hastily.

"From Newahk, sah," he said.  "Newahk, New Jehsey, sah."

"But who are you?" said Cleggett.  "How did you get here?"

The negro was gazing reflectively at the broken carriage.

"Ah yo' Mistah Cleggett, sah?  Mistah Clement J. Cleggett, sah, the
ownah of dis hyeah boat?"

"Yes."

The negro fumbled in an inner pocket and produced a card.  He gave it
to Cleggett with a deferential bow, and then announced sonorously:

"Miss Genevieve Pringle, sah--in de cah-age, sah--a callin' on Mistah
Clement J. Cleggett."

He completed the announcement with a dignified and courtly gesture,
which seemed to indicate that he was presenting the ruined carriage
itself to Cleggett.

"You don't mean in that carriage?" cried Cleggett.

"Yes, sah," said the negro.  "Leas'ways, she was, sah, some time back.
Mah time an' mah 'tention done been so tooken up wif dem incompatible
hosses fo' some moments past, sah, dat I cain't say fo' suah ef she
adheahed, or ef she didn't adheah."

He glanced speculatively at the carriage again.  Cleggett sprang
towards the broken vehicle, expecting to find someone seriously injured
at the very least.  But, from the ruin, a precise and high-pitched
feminine voice piped out:

"Jefferson!  Kindly assist me to disentangle myself!"

"Yassum," said the negro, moving forward in a leisurely and dignified
manner, "comin', ma'am.  I hopes an' trusts, Miss Pringle, ma'am, yo'
ain't suffered none in yo' anatomy an' phlebotomy from dis hyeah
runaway."

With which cheerful wish Jefferson lifted respectfully, and with a
certain calm detachment, the figure of a woman from the debris.

"Thank you, Jefferson," she said.  "I fear I am very much bruised and
shaken, but I have been feeling all my bones while lying there, and I
believe that I have sustained no fractures."

Miss Pringle was a woman of about fifty, small and prim.  Prim with an
unconquerable primness that neither storm nor battle nor accident could
shake.  If she had been killed in the runaway she would have looked
prim in death while awaiting the undertaker. She must have been wet
almost to those unfractured bones which she had been feeling; her black
silk dress, with its white ruching about the neck, was torn and
bedraggled; her black hat, with its jet ornaments, was crushed and hung
askew over one ear; nevertheless, Miss Pringle conveyed at once and
definitely an impression of unassailable respectability and strong
character.

"Which of you is Mr. Cleggett?" she asked, looking about her, in the
lantern light, at the crew of the Jasper B., as she leaned upon the arm
of Jefferson, her mannerly and deliberate servitor.

"I am Mr. Cleggett."

"Ah!"  Miss Pringle inspected him with an eye which gleamed with a hint
of latent possibilities of belligerency.  "Mr. Cleggett," she
continued, pursing her lips, "I have sought an interview to warn you
that you are harboring an impostor on your ship."

At that moment Lady Agatha joined the group. As the light fell upon her
Miss Pringle stepped forward and thrust an accusing, a denunciatory
finger at the Englishwoman.

"You," she said, "call yourself Lady Agatha Fairhaven!"

"I do," said Lady Agatha.

"Woman!" cried Miss Pringle, shaking with the stress of her moral
wrath.  "Where are my plum preserves?"

And with this cryptic utterance the little lady, having come to the end
of her strength, primly fainted.

Jefferson picked her up and carried her, in a serene and stately
manner, to the cabin.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE MAN IN THE BLUE PAJAMAS

The rain had ceased almost as Miss Pringle was removed to the cabin.
The storm had passed.  Low down on the edges of the world there were
still a few dark clouds, there was still an occasional glimmer of
lightning; but overhead the mists were fleecy, light and broken.  A few
stars were visible here and there.

And then in a moment more a full moon rose high and serene above the
world.  The May moon is often very brilliant in these latitudes, as
sailors who are familiar with the coasts of Long Island can testify.
This moon was unusually brilliant, even for the season of the year and
the quarter of the globe.  It lighted up earth and sky so that it was
(in the familiar phrase) almost possible to read by it.  Only a few
moments had elapsed since the rout of Logan Black's ruffians, but in
the vicinity of this remarkable island such sudden meteorological
changes are anything but rare, geographers and travelers know.

Lady Agatha had gone into the cabin to resuscitate Miss Pringle and, as
she said, "have it out with her."  Cleggett, gazing from the deck
towards Morris's, in the strong moonlight, wondered when the attack
would be renewed.  He thought, on the whole, that it was improbable
that Loge would return to the assault while this brightness continued.

Suddenly three figures appeared within his range of vision.  They were
running.  But running slowly, painfully, lamely.  In the lead were the
two men whom he had first seen hazed up and down the bank of the canal
by Wilton Barnstable, and whom he had seen the second time chained in
the great detective's boat.

They were shackled wrist to wrist now.  To the left leg of one of them
was attached a heavy ball. A similar ball was attached to the right leg
of the other.  They had picked these balls up and were struggling along
under their weight at a gait which was more like a staggering walk than
a trot.

They were pursued by the man whom Cleggett had seen attempt to escape
from Morris's.  This man still wore his suit of baby blue pajamas.

He wore nothing else.  He was stiff.  He moved as if the ground hurt
his bare feet.

He especially favored, as Cleggett noticed, the foot on which there was
a bunion.  He was lame.  He crept rather than ran.  But he seemed
bitterly intent upon reaching the two men in irons who labored along
twenty or thirty feet ahead of him.  And they, on their part, casting
now and then backward glances over their shoulders at their pursuer.

Cleggett divined that the men in irons had escaped from the Annabel
Lee, and that the man in the baby blue pajamas was loose from Morris's.
But why the man in the pajamas pursued and the others fled he could not
guess.

They passed within fifty yards of the Jasper B.  But the men in irons
were so intent upon their own troubles, and the pursuer was so keen on
vengeance, that none of them noticed the vessel.  As they limped along,
splashing through the pools the rain had left, the pursuer would
occasionally pause to fling stones and sticks and even cakes of mud at
the fugitives, who were whimpering as they tottered forward.

The man in the baby blue pajamas was cursing in a high-pitched, nasal,
querulous voice.  Cleggett noticed with astonishment that a
single-barreled eyeglass was screwed into one of his eyes. Occasionally
it dropped to the ground, and he would stop and fumble for it and wipe
it on his wet sleeve and replace it.  Had it not been for these stops
he would have overtaken the men in irons.

"Clement!" Lady Agatha laid her hand upon his arm.  "Miss Pringle wants
to see you in the cabin."

"Well--imposter!" laughed Cleggett.  "Is she able to talk to you yet?
And what on earth did she mean by her plum preserves?"

"That is what she wants to tell, evidently," said Lady Agatha. And she
went aft with him.

Miss Pringle, who had been rubbed dry by Lady Agatha, and was now
dressed in some articles of that lady's clothing, which were much too
large for her, sat on the edge of the bed in Lady Agatha's stateroom
and awaited them.  Her appearance was scarcely conventional, and she
seemed to feel it; nevertheless, she had a duty to perform, and her
innate propriety still triumphed over her situation and habiliments.

"Mr. Cleggett," she said, pointing to the box which contained the
evidence against Logan Black, which was exactly similar to the box of
Reginald Maltravers, and which had been placed in this inner room for
safe-keeping, "what does that box contain?"

Cleggett was startled.  He and Lady Agatha exchanged glances.

"What do you think it contains?" he asked.

"That box," she said, "was shipped to me from Flatbush, and was claimed
in my name--in the name of Genevieve Pringle--at the freight depot at
Newark, New Jersey, by this lady here.  Deny it if you can!"

"I do deny it, Miss Pringle," said Lady Agatha, accompanying her words
with a winsome smile.  But Miss Pringle was not to be won over so
easily as all that; she met the smile with a look of steady
reprobation.  And then she turned to Cleggett again.

"Mr. Cleggett," she said, "my birthday occurred a few days ago. It
was--I have nothing to conceal, Mr. Cleggett--it was my forty-ninth
birthday.  Every year, for many years past, a niece of mine who lives
in Flatbush sends me on my birthday a box of plum preserves.

"These preserves have for me, Mr. Cleggett, a value that they would not
possess for anyone else; a value far above their intrinsic or, as one
might say, culinary value.  They have a sentimental value as well.  I
was born in Flatbush, and lived there, during my youth, on my father's
estate.  The city has since grown around the old place, which my niece
now owns, but the plum trees stand as they have stood for more than
fifty years.  It was beneath these plum trees...."

Miss Pringle suddenly broke off; her face twitched; she felt for a
handkerchief, and found none; she wiped her eyes on her sleeve.

In another person this action might have appeared somewhat careless,
but Miss Pringle, by the force of her character, managed to invest it
with propriety and dignity; looking at her, one felt that to wipe one's
eyes on one's sleeve was quite proper when done by the proper person.

"I will conceal nothing, Mr. Cleggett.  It was under these plum trees
that I once received an offer of marriage from a worthy young man.  It
was from one of these plum trees that he later fell, injuring himself
so that he died.  You can understand what these plum trees mean to me,
perhaps?"

Lady Agatha impulsively sat down beside the elder woman and put her arm
about her.  But Miss Pringle stiffly moved away.  After a moment she
continued:

"The preserved plums, as I have said, are sent me every year on my
birthday.  This year, when I received from my niece a notification that
they had been shipped, I called for the box personally at the freight
office.

"What was my astonishment to learn that the box had been claimed in my
name, not a quarter of an hour before, and taken away.

"I obtained a description of the person who had represented herself as
Miss Genevieve Pringle, and of the vehicle in which she had carried off
my box.  And I followed her.  The paltriness of the theft revolted me,
Mr. Cleggett, and I determined to bring this person to justice.

"The fugitive, with my plum preserves in her possession, had left,
goodness knows, a broad enough trail.  I found but little difficulty in
following in my family carriage.  In fact, Mr. Cleggett, I discovered
the very chauffeur who had deposited her here with the box.  Inquiries
in Fairport gave me your name as the owner of this lighter."

"Lighter!" interrupted Cleggett.  "The Jasper B., madam, is not a
lighter."

"I beg your pardon," said Miss Pringle.  "But what sort of vessel is it
then?"

"The Jasper B.," said Cleggett, with a touch of  asperity, "is a
schooner, madam."

 "I intended no offense, Mr. Cleggett.  I am quite willing to
believe that the vessel is a schooner, since you say that it is. I am
not informed concerning nautical affairs.  But, to conclude--I
discovered from the chauffeur that this lady, calling herself Lady
Agatha Fairhaven, had been deposited here, with my box.  I learned
yesterday, after inquiries in Fairport, that you were the owner of this
vessel. The real estate person from whom you purchased it assured me
that you were financially responsible.  I came to expose this imposter
and to recover my box.  On my way hither I was caught in the storm.
The runaway occurred, and you know the rest."

Miss Pringle, during this recital, had not deigned to favor Lady Agatha
with a look.  Lady Agatha, on her part, after the rebuff which she had
received, had sat in smiling silence.

"Miss Pringle," she said, pleasantly but seriously, when the other
woman had finished, "first I must convince you that this box does not
contain your plum preserves, and then I will tell you my story."

With Cleggett's assistance Lady Agatha removed the cover from the
oblong box, and showed her its contents.

"That explains nothing," said Miss Pringle, dryly.  "Of course you
would remove the plum preserves to a place of safety."

"Miss Pringle," said Lady Agatha, "I will tell you everything.  I DID
claim a box in your name at the railway goods station in Newark--and if
there had been nothing in it but plum preserves, how happy I should be!
I beg of you, Miss Pringle, to give me your attention."

And Lady Agatha began to relate to Miss Pringle the same story which
she had told to Cleggett.  At the first word indicative of the fact the
Lady Agatha had suffered for the cause of votes for women, a change
took place in the expression of Miss Pringle's countenance.  Cleggett
thought she was about to speak.  But she did not.  Nevertheless,
although she listened intently, some of her rigidity had gone.  When
Lady Agatha had finished Miss Pringle said:

"I suppose that you can prove that you are really Lady Agatha
Fairhaven?"

For answer Lady Agatha went to one of her trunks and opened it. She
drew therefrom a letter, and passed it over without a word.

As Miss Pringle read it, her face lighted up.  She did not lose her
primness, but her suspicion seemed altogether to depart.

"A letter from Emmeline Pankhurst!" she said, in a hushed voice,
handling the missive as if it were a sacred relic.  "Can you ever
forgive me?"

"There is nothing to forgive," beamed Lady Agatha.  "I am willing to
admit, now that you understand me, that the thing looked a bit
suspicious, on the face of it."

"You have suffered for the cause," said Miss Pringle.  "I have suffered
for it, too!"  And, with a certain shyness, she patted Lady Agatha on
the arm.  But the next moment she said:

"But what IS in the box you brought here then, Lady Agatha?  Two boxes
were shipped to Newark, addressed to me.  Which one did you get?  What
is really in the one you have been carrying around? My plum preserves,
or----"

She shuddered and left the sentence unfinished.

"Let us open it," said Cleggett.

"No! No!" cried Lady Agatha.  "Clement, no! I could not bear to have it
opened."

Miss Pringle rose.  It was evident that a bit of her earlier suspicion
had returned.

"After all," said Miss Pringle, indicating the letter again, "how do I
know that----"

"That it is not a forgery?" said Lady Agatha. "I see."  She mused a
moment, and then said, with a sigh, "Well, then, let us open the box!"

"I think it best,  Agatha," said Cleggett.  "I shall have it brought
down."

But even as he turned upon his heel to go on deck and give the order,
Dr. Farnsworth and the Rev. Simeon Calthrop ran excitedly down the
cabin companionway.

"The box of Reginald Maltravers," cried the Doctor, who was in
Cleggett's confidence, "is gone!"



CHAPTER XIX

TWO GREAT MEN MEET

"Gone!" Lady Agatha, who had emerged from her stateroom, turned pale
and caught at her heart.

They rushed on deck.  The young Doctor was right; the box, which had
stood on the larboard side of the cabin, had disappeared.

"It might have been blown into the canal during the storm," suggested
the Rev. Mr. Calthrop.  All of the crew of the Jasper B. knew Lady
Agatha's  story, and were aware of the importance of the box.

"It was on the lee side of the cabin," objected Dr. Farnsworth, "and
while it might have been blown flat to the deck, in spite of its
protected position, it would scarcely have been picked up by the wind
again and wafted over the port bulwarks."

"If you was to ask me," said Cap'n Abernethy, who had joined in the
discussion, "I'd give it as MY opinion it's a good riddance of bad
rubbish."

"Rubbish?" said Miss Pringle.  "Rubbish, indeed!  I am confident that
that box contained my plum preserves!"

"It has been stolen!" cried Cleggett, with conviction.  "Fool that I
was, not to have taken it into the cabin!"

"But, if you had, you know," said Lady Agatha, "one would scarcely have
cared to stay in there with it."

"Loge has outgeneraled me," murmured Cleggett, well-nigh frantic with
self-reproach.  "While he made the attack in front, he sent some of his
men to the rear of the vessel and it was quietly made off with while we
were fighting."  Had the disappearance of the box concerned himself
alone Cleggett's sense of disaster might have been less poignant.  But
the thought that his own carelessness had enabled the enemy to get
possession of a thing likely to involve Lady Agatha in further trouble
was nearly insupportable.  He gritted his teeth and clenched his hands
in impotent rage.

"No doubt Loge caught sight of it during the early part of the
skirmish, by a flash of lightning," said Dr. Farnsworth, "and acted as
you suggest, Mr. Cleggett.  But does he believe it to be the box which
contains the evidence against him?  Or can he, by any chance, be aware
of its real contents?"

"No matter which," groaned Cleggett, "no matter which!  For when he
opens it, he will learn what is in it.  Don't you see that he has us
now?  If he offers to trade it back to us for the other oblong box, how
can I refuse?  If we have his secret, Loge has ours!"

But Dr. Farnsworth was not listening.  He had suddenly leaned over the
port rail and was staring down the canal.  The others followed his gaze.

The house boat Annabel Lee, they perceived, had got under weigh, and
was slowly approaching the Jasper B. in the moonlight.  They watched
her gradual approach in silence.  She stopped within a few yards of the
Jasper B., and a voice which Cleggett recognized as that of Wilton
Barnstable, the great detective, sang out:

"Jasper B., ahoy!"

"Aye, aye!" shouted Cleggett.

"Is Mr. Cleggett on board?"

"He is speaking."

"Mr. Cleggett, have you lost anything from your canal boat?"

Cleggett did not answer, and for a moment he did not move.  Then,
tightening his sword belt, and cocking his hat a trifle, he climbed
over the starboard rail and walked along the bank of the canal a few
yards until he was opposite the Annabel Lee. The great detective, on
his part, also stepped ashore. They stood and faced each other in the
moonlight, silently, and their followers, also in silence, gathered in
the bows of the respective vessels and watched them.

Finally, Cleggett, with one hand on his hip, and standing with his feet
wide apart, said very incisively:

"Sir, the Jasper B. is NOT a canal boat."

"Eh?"  Wilton Barnstable started at the emphasis.

"The Jasper B.," pursued Cleggett, staring steadily at Wilton
Barnstable, "is a schooner."

"Ah!" said the other.  "Indeed?"

"A schooner," repeated Cleggett, "indeed, sir! Indeed, sir, a schooner!"

There was another silence, in which neither man would look aside; they
held each other with their eyes; the nervous strain communicated itself
to the crews of the two vessels.  At last, however, the detective,
although he did not lower his gaze, and although he strove to give his
new attitude an effect of ease and jauntiness by twisting the end of
his mustache as he spoke, said to Cleggett:

"A schooner, then, Mr. Cleggett, a schooner!  No offense, I hope?"

"None at all," said Cleggett, heartily enough, now that the point had
been established.  And the tension relaxed on both ships.

"You have lost an oblong box, Mr. Cleggett." The great detective
affirmed it rather than interrogated.

"How did you know that?"

The other laughed.  "We know a great many things--it is our business to
know things," he said. Then he dropped his voice to a whisper, and said
rapidly, "Mr. Cleggett, do you know who I am?" Before Cleggett could
reply he continued, "Brace yourself--do not make an outcry when I tell
you who I am.  I am Wilton Barnstable."

"I knew you," said Cleggett.  The other appeared disappointed for a
moment.  And then he inquired anxiously, "How did you know me?"

"Why, from your pictures in the magazines," said Cleggett.

The detective brightened perceptibly.  "Ah, yes--the magazines! Yes,
yes, indeed!  publicity is unavoidable, unavoidable, Mr. Cleggett!  But
this box, now----"

The great detective interrupted himself to laugh again, a trifle
complacently, Cleggett thought.

"I will not mystify you, Mr. Cleggett, about the box. Mystification is
one of the tricks of the older schools of detection.  I never practice
it, Mr. Cleggett.  With me, the detection of crime is a business--yes,
a business.  I will tell you presently how the box came into my
possession."

"It IS in your possession?"  Cleggett felt a dull pang of the heart.
If the box of Reginal Maltravers were in the hands of Logan Black he
could at least trade the other oblong box to Loge for it, and thus save
Lady Agatha.  But in the possession of Wilton Barnstable, the great
detective----!  Cleggett pulled himself together; he thought rapidly;
he recognized that the situation called, above all things else, for
diplomacy and adroitness.  He went on, nonchalantly:

"I suppose you are aware of the contents of the box?"

The other laughed again as if Cleggett had made an excellent jest;
there was something urbane and benign in his manner; it appeared as if
he regarded the contents of the box of Reginald Maltravers as anything
but serious; his tone puzzled Cleggett.

"Suppose I bring the box on board the Jasper B.," suggested the great
detective.  "It interests me, that box.  I have no doubt it has its
story.  And perhaps, while you are telling me some things about it, I
may be able to give you some information in turn."

There was no mistaking the fact that the man, whether genuinely
friendly or no, wished to appear so.

"Have it brought into my cabin," said Cleggett, "and we will discuss
it."

A few minutes later Wilton Barnstable, Cleggett, Lady Agatha, Miss
Pringle, and two of Wilton Barnstable's men sat in the cabin of the
Jasper B., with the two oblong boxes before them--the one which had
contained Loge's incriminating diary, and the one which had caused Lady
Agatha so much trouble.

In the light of the cabin the three detectives were revealed as
startlingly alike.  Barton Ward and Watson Bard, Barnstable's two
assistants, might, indeed, almost have been taken for Barnstable
himself, at a casual glance.  In height, in bulk, in dress, in facial
expression, they seemed Wilton Barnstable all over again. But, looking
intently at the three men, Cleggett began to perceive a difference
between the real Wilton Barnstable and his two counterfeits. It was the
difference between the face which is informed of genius, and the
countenance which is indicative of mere talent.

"Mr. Cleggett," began Wilton Barnstable, "as I said before, I will make
no attempt to mystify you. I was a witness to the attack upon your
vessel. Mr. Ward, Mr. Bard, and myself, in fact, had determined to
assist you, had we seen that the combat was going against you.  We lay,
during the struggle, in the lee of your--your--er, schooner!--in the
lee of your schooner, armed, and ready to bear a hand.  We have our own
little matter to settle with Logan Black.  Why Logan Black should
desire possession of this particular box, I am unable to state.
Nevertheless, at the moment when he was leading his assault upon your
starboard bow, two of his men, who had made a detour to the stern of
your vessel, had clambered stealthily aboard, and were quietly pushing
the box over the side into the canal.  They let themselves down into
the water, and swam towards the mouth of the canal, pushing it ahead of
them.  We followed in our rowboat, Mr. Ward, Mr. Bard, and myself, at a
discreet distance.  We let them push the box as far south as the
Annabel Lee.  And then----"

He paused a moment, and smiled reminiscently.  Barton Ward and Watson
Bard also smiled reminiscently, and the three detectives exchanged
crafty glances.

"Then, to be brief, we took the box away from them.  They were so
ill-advised as to struggle. They are in irons, now, on board the
Annabel Lee.

"But what I cannot understand, Mr. Cleggett, is why these men should
risk so much to make off with an empty box."

"An empty box!" cried Cleggett.

"Empty!" echoed Lady Agatha and Miss Pringle, in concert.

The detective wrenched the cover from the box of Reginald Maltravers.

"Practically empty, at any rate," he said.

And, indeed, except for a few wads of wet excelsior, there was nothing
in the box of Reginald Maltravers.

"Where, then," cried Lady Agatha, "is Reginald Maltravers?"

"Where, indeed," said Wilton Barnstable, "is Reginald Maltravers?"

"Where, then," cried Miss Pringle, "are my plum preserves?"

"Where, indeed?" repeated Wilton Barnstable. And Barton Ward and Watson
Bard, although they did not speak aloud, stroked their mustaches and
their lips formed the ejaculation, "Where, indeed?"

"We will tell you everything," said Cleggett.  And beginning with his
purchase of the Jasper B. he recounted rapidly, but with sufficient
detail, all the facts with which the reader is already familiar,
weaving into his story the tale of Lady Agatha and the adventures of
Miss Pringle.  Wilton Barnstable listened attentively.  So did Barton
Ward and Watson Bard.  The benign smile which was so characteristic of
Wilton Barnstable never left the three faces, but it was evident to
Cleggett that these trained intelligences grasped and weighed and
ticketed every detail.

While Cleggett narrates, and Wilton Barnstable and his men listen, a
word to the reader concerning this great detective.



CHAPTER XX

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL DETECTIVE

Wilton Barnstable was the inventor of a new school of detection of
crime.  The system came in with him, and it may go out with him for
lack of a man of his genius to perpetuate it.  He insisted that there
was nothing spectacular or romantic in the pursuit of the criminal, or,
at least, that there should be nothing of the sort.  And he was
especially disgusted when anyone referred to him as "a second Sherlock
Holmes."

"I am only a plain business man," he would insist, urbanely, with a
wave of his hand.  "I have merely brought order, method, system,
business principles, logic, to the detection of crime.  I know nothing
of romance.  Romance is usually all nonsense in my estimation.  The
real detective, who gets results in real life, is NOT a Sherlock
Holmes."

The enemies of Wilton Barnstable sometimes said of him that he was
jealous of Sherlock Holmes.  When this was reported to Barnstable he
invariably remarked:  "How preposterous! The idea of a man being
envious of a literary creation!"

Perhaps his denial of the existence of romance was merely one of those
poses which geniuses so often permit themselves.  Perhaps he saw it and
was thrilled with it even while he denied it.  At any rate, he lived in
the midst of it.  The realism which was his metier was that sort of
realism into which are woven facts and incidents of the most bizarre
and startling nature.

And, certainly, behind the light blue eyes that could look with such
apparent ingenuousness out of his plump, bland face there was the
subtle mind of a psychologist.  Barnstable, true to his attitude of the
plain business man, would have been the first to ridicule the idea
publicly if anyone had dubbed him "the psychological detective."  That,
to his mind, would have savored of charlatanism.  He would have said:
"I am nothing so strange and mystifying as that--I am a plain business
man."  But in reality there was no new discovery of the investigating
psychologists of which he did not avail himself at once.  His ability
to clothe himself with the thoughts of the criminal as an actor clothes
himself with a role, was marvelous; he knew the criminal soul.  That is
to say, he knew the human soul.  He refused to see anything
extraordinary in this.  "It is only my business to know such things,"
he would say.  "We know many things.  It is our business to know them.
There is no miracle about it."  This was the public character he had
created for himself, and emphasized--that of the plain business man.
This was his mask.  He was so subtle that he hid the vast range of his
powers behind an appearance of commonplaceness.

Wilton Barnstable never disguised himself, in the ordinary sense of the
term.  That is, he never resorted to false whiskers or wigs or obvious
tricks of that sort.

But if Wilton Barnstable were to walk into a convention of blacksmiths,
let us say, he would quite escape attention.  For before he had been
ten minutes in that gathering he would become, to all appearances, the
typical blacksmith.  If he were to enter a gathering of bankers, or
barbers, or bakers, or organ grinders, or stockbrokers, or
school-teachers, a similar thing would happen.  He could make himself
the composite photograph of all the individuals of any group.  He
disguised himself from the inside out.

This art of becoming inconspicuous was one of his greatest assets as a
detective.  Newspaper and magazine writers would have liked to dwell
upon it.  But he requested them not to emphasize it.  As he modestly
narrated his triumphs to the young journalists, who hung breathless
upon his words, he was careful not to stress his talent for becoming
just like anybody and everybody else--his peculiar genius for being the
average man.

The front which he presented to the world was, in reality, his
cleverest creation.  The magazine and newspaper articles which were
written about him, the many pictures which were printed every month,
presented the mental and physical portrait of a knowing, bustling,
extraordinarily candid personality.  A personality with a touch of
smugness in it.  This was very generally thought to be the real Wilton
Barnstable.  It was a fiction which he had succeeded in establishing.
When he addressed meetings, talked with reporters, wrote articles about
himself, or came into touch with the public in any manner, he assumed
this personality.  When he did not wish to be known he laid it aside.
When he desired to pass incognito, therefore, it was not necessary for
him to assume a disguise.  He simply dropped one.

The two men with him, Barton Ward and Watson Bard, were his cleverest
agents.  They were learning from the master detective the art of
looking like other people, and were at present practicing by looking
like the popular conception of Wilton Barnstable.  They were clever
men.  But Barton Ward and Watson Bard were, as Cleggett had felt at
once, only men of extraordinary talent, while Wilton Barnstable was a
genius.

As Cleggett talked he was given a rather startling proof of Wilton
Barnstable's gift.  He was astonished to find a change stealing over
Wilton Barnstable's features.  Subtly the detective began to look like
someone else.  The expression of the face, the turn of the eyes, the
lines about the mouth, began to suggest someone whom Cleggett knew. It
was rather a suggestion, an impression, than a likeness; it was rather
the spirit of a personality than a definite resemblance.  It was a
psychic thing. Barnstable was disguising himself from the inside out;
he had assumed the mental and spiritual clothing of someone else.

Cleggett could not think at first who it was that Wilton Barnstable
suggested.  But presently he saw that it was himself. He glanced at
Barton Ward and Watson Bard; they still resembled the popular
conception of Wilton Barnstable.

Gradually the look of Cleggett faded from Wilton Barnstable's face.  It
changed, it shifted, that look did; Cleggett almost cried out as he saw
the face of Wilton Barnstable become an impressionistic portrait of the
soul of Logan Black.  He looked at Barton Ward.  Barton Ward was now
looking like Wilton Barnstable's conception of Cleggett.  But Watson
Bard, less facile and less creative, still clung stolidly to the
popular conception of Wilton Barnstable.

But, even as Cleggett looked, this remarkable exhibition ceased; the
Wilton Barnstable look dominated the faces again.  Plump, yet
dignified, smiling easily and kindly, three plain business men looked
at him; respectable citizens, commonplace citizens, a little smug;
faces that spoke of comfort, method, regularity; eyes that seemed to
wink with the pressure of platitudes in the minds behind them;
platitudes that desired to force their way to the lips and out into the
world.

Yes, such was the genius of Wilton Barnstable that he could at will
impose himself upon people as the apotheosis of the commonplace.  He
did it often.  It was almost second nature to him now. His urbane smile
was the only visible sign of his own enjoyment of this habitual feat.
He knew his own genius, and smiled to think how easy it was to pass for
an average man!



CHAPTER XXI

THE THIRD OBLONG BOX ARRIVES

"I think," said Wilton Barnstable, when Cleggett had finished, "that I
may be able to clear up a few points for you.

"The two men whom you saw me hazing up and down the bank of the canal,
and whom you saw again tonight, followed by the man in the baby blue
silk pajamas, were Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat!"

"The wretches!" cried Lady Agatha.

"Wretches indeed," said Wilton Barnstable, Barton Ward, and Watson
Bard, in unison, and with conviction.

"And the man in the baby blue silk pajamas, was----" the great
detective paused, as if to make his revelation more effective. And
while he paused, Miss Genevieve Pringle, with pursed lips and averted
face, signified that the very idea of introducing a man in baby blue
silk pajamas into the conversation was intensely displeasing to her.

"The man in pajamas was Reginald Maltravers," finished the great
detective.

"Reginald Maltravers!" cried Lady Agatha.

She opened her mouth again as if to say something more, but words
failed her, and she only stared at the detective, with parted lips and
round eyes.

Cleggett went to her and touched her on the arm, and with the touch she
gave a sob of emotion and found her tongue again.

"Reginald Maltravers," she said, "is not dead then!  Not dead after
all!"

She endeavored to control herself, but for a moment or two she
trembled.  It was evident that it was all she could do to keep from
crying hysterically with relief.  The nightmare that had haunted her
for days had vanished almost too suddenly. Presently she began to be
herself again.

"You are sure that he is not dead?" she said with a voice that still
shook.

"Sure," said Wilton Barnstable.

And as if quietly satisfied with the sensation they had produced, the
three detectives smiled at each other urbanely and contentedly.
Barnstable continued:

"Reginald Maltravers came to my agency some days ago and requested a
bodyguard.  Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat had attacked him, no doubt
intending to earn the money which Elmer had promised them.  He beat
them off.  In fact, he caned them soundly.  But they still continued to
dog him.

"Mr. Ward here, who handled the case, soon reported to me that he
believed Reginald Maltravers to be insane."

"Insane he was," cried Lady Agatha.  "I have seen the light of insanity
in his eye, gleaming through his accursed monocle."  She spoke with
vehemence.  Now that she knew the man to be alive, her hatred of him
had flared up again.

"Insane he was," agreed Wilton Barnstable. "And shortly after that
discovery was made, he disappeared.  The next day after his
disappearance, Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat were liberally supplied
with money.

"Of course they got the money, Lady Agatha, through the clever trick
they worked upon you."

"A great many people have got money from me since I have been in
America," said Lady Agatha.

"Ah! Yes?"  The great detective went on with his masterly summing up.
"Of course they got the money from the trick they worked on Lady
Agatha. But at the time I thought it possible that they had robbed
Reginald Maltravers and then put him out of the way.  They are
well-known gunmen.

"I took them into custody and determined to hold them until such time
as Reginald Maltravers would be found, or his fate discovered.
Eventually I brought them with me on my house boat. I was really
holding them without due legal warrant, but I am forced to do that,
sometimes.  They complained of lack of exercise, so I gave them
exercise in the manner which you saw the other morning, Mr. Cleggett.

"One of my agents, shortly after this, picked up the trail of Reginald
Maltravers again.  When I learned that he was alive my first impulse
was to release Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat.  But I learned that the
two gunmen could, if they would, give me a tip as to certain of the
activities of Logan Black, against whom I have been collecting evidence
for nearly a year.  So I kept them on my boat.

"Reginald Maltravers, most of the time that you were riding about the
country, Lady Agatha, with the box that you thought contained him, was
really following you.  He would lose your trail and find it again, but
he was always some hours behind you. Of course, he knew nothing of the
oblong box.  He thought that you were running away from him.  And all
the time that Reginald Maltravers was following you, agents of mine
were following Reginald Maltravers."

"Lady Agatha," interrupted Cleggett, "was also being pursued by Miss
Pringle here."

Wilton Barnstable carefully made a note in a little book which he drew
from his waistcoat pocket.  Barton Ward also made a note in a little
book, Watson Bard started to make a note, and then paused; in fact,
Watson Bard did not complete his note until he had gotten a peep into
the notebook of Barton Ward.  The notes made, the three detectives once
more smiled craftily at each other, and Wilton Barnstable resumed:

"We knew, of course, that another lady was also following Lady Agatha.
But, until the present moment, we had not identified her with Miss
Pringle.  And I should not be at all surprised, not at ALL surprised,
if still another person had been following Miss Pringle."

"With what object?" asked Miss Pringle, looking alarmed at the idea.

"The motive, my dear lady, I must for the present withhold," said
Wilton Barnstable.  And again the three detectives exchanged knowing
glances.

"Reginald Maltravers' pursuit of you, Lady Agatha, led him to
Fairport," went on the great sleuth.  "No doubt he met the driver of
the vehicle which brought you hither, and learned that you and Elmer
had been set down in this neighborhood, just as Miss Pringle learned
it.  No doubt it was well after dark when he arrived in the vicinity of
the Jasper B.  And it is to be supposed that, once out here, he went to
Morris's road house, thinking it quite likely that you and Elmer would
stop there, as he had been tracking you from road house to road house.
Logan Black, knowing that the authorities were on his trail, mistook
Reginald Maltravers for a detective, and held him prisoner at Morris's.
Logan Black's men took away his clothes in order to minimize the
possibility of his escape."

"And the Earl of Claiborne's signet ring----" began Cleggett.

"Of course, Reginald Maltravers was wearing it, and of course they took
his valuables from him," said Barnstable.  "One of the ruffians was
wearing the ring as he approached your vessel with a bomb.  But, Mr.
Cleggett, there are points about that bomb explosion which I do not
understand."

"Nor I," admitted Cleggett.

"We will clear them up later," said the great detective, smiling
benignly at his thumbs, which he was revolving slowly about each other
as he reconstructed the case.

"Later!" smiled Barton Ward.  "Later!" murmured Watson Bard. With their
hands clasped over their stomachs, they, too, benignly twirled their
thumbs.

"Tonight," pursued Barnstable, "having finally got all the information
I wished from Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat with regard to Logan Black,
I tossed them the key to their irons and told them to unlock themselves
and clear out.  It was just before the storm began, and they were
sitting on the bank of the canal at the time.  I allowed them to sit
there in the evenings and get the fresh air.

"But before they could unlock themselves Reginald Maltravers, who had,
we must suppose, escaped from Morris's through the carelessness of one
of Logan Black's subordinates, crawled up the bank of the canal, which
he had swum, and made for the two gunmen, with the water dripping from
his eyeglass.  He had recognized them as the men who had dogged and
assaulted him, and every other idea was obliterated in his desire for
vengeance.

"They fled.  He pursued.  He caught them, and they fought.  They
succeeded in dropping one of the iron balls on his foot--on his bunion
foot, Mr. Cleggett--crippling him."

As this mention of the bunion, Miss Genevive Pringle arose with
dignity, and, flinging a shawl about her shoulders, left the cabin,
chin in air.  She did not vouchsafe so much as one backward glance at
Cleggett or the three detectives or lady Agatha as she left, but
outraged propriety was expressed in every line of her figure.

"H'm," mused the detective, flushing slightly; and Watson Bard and
Barton Ward also colored a little, and looked hacked.  They glanced
furtively at Lady Agatha, to see if she too might be offended.

"Proceed, Mr. Barnstable," she said a little impatiently. "Bunions
don't bother me, either mentally or physically.  I am familiar with the
idea of bunions.  There are many bunions in the Claiborne family."

"On his bunion foot, crippling him," resumed the detective, reassured.
"The storm came up, and still the gunmen fled, and still Reginald
Maltravers pursued.  I suppose, since you saw them on the west side of
the canal, Mr. Cleggett, that they had run around the north end of it.
Probably, while you and Logan Black were fighting, they were running up
and down in the neighborhood, in the storm, intent only upon their own
feud."

"They certainly seemed exhausted when I saw them," said Cleggett, "all
three of them.  But if you will permit me to say so, the astuteness
with which you are reconstructing this case compels my admiration."

Wilton Barnstable bowed, and Barton Ward and Watson Bard slightly
inclined their heads.

"Your skill," said Lady Agatha, "is equal to that of Sherlock Holmes."

At the name of Sherlock Holmes a shade passed over the face of Wilton
Barnstable.  He slightly compressed his lips, and his eyebrows went up
a fraction of an inch.  This shade was reflected on the faces of Barton
Ward and Watson Bard.   There was a moment of silence, but presently
Wilton Barnstable continued, repressing a sigh:

"I thought at first, Mr. Cleggett, that you were an ally of Logan
Black's, just as you believed me to be his ally, and as he believed you
and me to be working together.  It may interest you to know that
smuggling has been one of his side lines.  There is, somewhere
hereabouts, a cave in which smuggled goods are stored. These coasts
have a sinister history, Mr. Cleggett.  It is possible that your canal
boat--I beg your pardon, your schooner, Mr. Cleggett--played some part
in their smuggling operations.  At any rate it is evident that Logan
Black transferred to the hold of this vessel the incriminating evidence
against him, contained in that oblong box, when he learned that my
agents were watching Morris's.  The Jasper B. has been lying in her
present position for a long time.  In the event that a sudden get-away
from Morris's became necessary, it was an advantage to Logan Black to
be able to leave without being hampered with this matter.  No one, for
many years, had paid any attention to the Jasper B., with the exception
of the old truck farmer, Abernethy, who used sometimes to fish from her
deck, and----"

"Truck farmer!" cried Cleggett.  "Abernethy?"

"Truck farmer," repeated Wilton Barnstable.

"Is not Abernethy an old sea captain?" asked Cleggett.

"Why, no, I believe not," said Barnstable.  "At least I never heard so.
He is well known as a small truck gardener in this neighborhood.  It is
true that he comes of a seafaring family--indeed, it is his boast.
But, in a community where nearly everyone knows a little about boats, I
believe that Abernethy is remarkable for an indisposition to venture
far from shore."

"I can scarcely believe it," breathed Cleggett.

"He does not understand boats," said Barnstable. "That is the reason, I
take it, why he has always fished in the canal from the deck of the
Jasper B."

"Abernethy is a gallant man," said Cleggett, rather sternly. "And even
although he may have had little actual seafaring experience, the
instinct is in him!  The inherited love of a nautical life has been
latent in him all along.  And at the first opportunity it has come out.
He has shown his mettle aboard the Jasper B."

"I do not doubt it, if you insist upon it," said Wilton Barnstable,
politely.  And from revolving his thumbs benignly towards himself he
began to revolve them urbanely from himself. The reversal was imitated
at once by Barton Ward, but Watson Bard was slower in putting this new
coup into execution.

"The resemblance between the two oblong boxes evidently fooled Logan
Black," continued Barnstable, "and his men stole the wrong one, but he
knows by this time that his plan to get the box has failed."

"He knows it?" said Cleggett.

"From the bank of the canal he witnessed our capture of the box, and of
the two men who were making off with it.  After you had beaten off his
assault upon the ship, he turned his attention to the canal, to see if
the men whom he had assigned to the job of creeping over the stern of
the Jasper B. had by any chance succeeded in purloining the box.  He
was alone, but he attempted to come to the assistance of his two
followers even as we made them prisoners.  In fact, we exchanged shots."

The great detective made little of the danger he had encountered.

Indeed, his smile became one of amusement as he removed his coat,
rolled up his shirt sleeves, and exhibited a bandaged wound in the
fleshy part of his arm.

"It is only a slight wound," he said, beaming on it as if wounds were
quite delightful affairs, "and scarcely inconveniences me."

Barton Ward and Watson Bard, with their sleeves rolled up, were also
smiling placidly and indulgently at bandages about their left arms.
Whether there were real wounds beneath their bandages also, Cleggett
could not determine.  The bandage of Barton Ward was slightly stained
with red, but the bandage of Watson Bard was quite white.  All three
replaced their coats at the same time, and Wilton Barnstable went on:

"Our course of procedure is plain, Mr. Cleggett. We have the evidence
against Logan Black.  We must have the man himself.  I depend upon you
to cooperate with me.  I think," he said, beaming at Barton Ward and
Watson Bard with an air of modest triumph, "that the case of Logan
Black is going to prove one of my really GREAT cases.

"There is only one point which I have not yet made clear to you, I
believe--and that is how Logan Black's men were able to enter and leave
the hold of your vessel so mysteriously.  But I am shaping up my theory
about that!  I am shaping it up!"

"Would it be indescreet to inquire just what your theory is?" asked
Cleggett.

And Lady Agatha murmured:

"For my part, I can make nothing of it, and I should be glad to hear
your theory."

"It would," said Wilton Barnstable, soberly, "it would be premature, if
I told you my theory at the present moment.  You must pardon me--but it
WOULD.  In my line of business--and I insist, Mr. Cleggett, that I am a
plain business man, nothing more--I find it absolutely necessary not to
communicate all my information to the layman until the case is quite
perfect in all its points.  But do not get the notion, Mr. Cleggett,
that I underestimate the part that you have taken in the case of Logan
Black.  You have helped me, Mr. Cleggett.  When I have my secretary
prepare the case of Logan Black for magazine and newspaper publication
I shall have your name mentioned as that of a person who has helped me.
Yes, you have helped me."

As he spoke he picked from a reading table a magazine, on the cover of
which appeared his own portrait--or rather, the portrait of the popular
conception of Wilton Barnstable--and began to make motions about it
with his finger.  He appeared to be marking off the space beside the
portrait into an arrangement of letters and spaces.  His lips moved as
he did so; he murmured:  "The Case of Logan Black--the Case of Logan
Black!"  He seemed to see, with the eye of a typographical expert, the
legend printed there. Barton Ward and Watson Bard, slightly flushed and
a little excited in spite of themselves, seemed also to see it there.

It might have occurred to a person more critical than Cleggett that it
was he himself who had furnished nearly all the real evidence upon
which Wilton Barnstable was constructing this Case of Logan Black.  But
Cleggett looked for the gold in men, not the dross; the great qualities
of Wilton Barnstable appealed to his imagination; the best in Cleggett
responded to the best in Wilton Barnstable; if the detective possessed
a certain amount of vanity, Cleggett preferred to overlook it.

"Decidedly," said Wilton Barnstable, laying down the magazine, and
looking at Cleggett kindly and serenely, "I shall see to it that your
name is mentioned in connection with the Case of Logan Black."  And
Barton Ward and Watson Bard also bent upon him their bland and friendly
regard.

Cleggett was about to thank them, but at that moment there was a
commotion of some sort on deck.

Two female voices, one of which they all recognized as that of Miss
Genevieve Pringle, were mingling in a babble of greeting,
expostulation, interjection, and explanation, and presently Miss
Pringle entered the cabin, followed by a younger lady who, except for
her youth, looked much like her.

"My niece, Miss Henrietta Pringle, of Flatbush," said Miss Pringle,
primly presenting her prim relation.  "She has just arrived----"

"With the plum preserves!" cried Lady Agatha.

"With the plum preserves," confirmed Miss Genevieve Pringle.

And Captain Abernethy and George the Greek bore into the cabin a third
oblong box, exactly similar in appearance to the box of Reginald
Maltravers and the box which contained the evidence against Logan
Black, and set it on the floor.

The three detectives stood and looked at the three boxes with an air of
great satisfaction.

"With this addition to our oblong boxes," said Wilton Barnstable,
"their number is now complete.  Miss Henrietta Pringle, we will listen
to your story."

There was little to tell, and Miss Henrietta Pringle told it in a
breath.  Having received no acknowledgment of the receipt of the plum
preserves from her aunt, an unusual oversight on her aunt's part, she
had journeyed to Newark with a vague fear that there might be something
wrong.

"Arrived in Newark," she said, "I learned that my aunt, with her two
white horses and her family carriage driven by Jefferson, the negro
coachmen, had suddenly left Newark, without giving any explanation to
anyone, or making her destination known.

"The proceeding was very strange; it was very unlike my aunt, and I was
frightened.  Everyone who had seen her start testified that she was
laboring under a great nervous strain of some sort.

"I called at the freight depot and got the box of plum preserves which
I had shipped to her.  To tell the truth, I feared for her reason.  I
thought that if I could find her, and could show her the familiar plum
preserves, which she loved so well, they would be of material
assistance in influencing her to return to her home.  So, setting out
to search for her in my Ford auto, I took the box of plum preserves
with me.

"I soon got upon her trail.  The negro coachman, the family carriage
and the white horses had excited remark everywhere. Briefly, I traced
her here, and am happy to discover that my worst fears with regard to
her have proved false."

"Henrietta," said her aunt, reproachfully, "your fears do you very
little credit, or me either."

"Aunt Genevieve," said the niece, "pray, do not rebuke me."

"I was certain," said Wilton Barnstable, complacently, "that it would
develop that Miss Genevieve Pringle was herself being pursued.  I was
confident of it, Cleggett.  And now that I have cleared up for you the
mystery of Logan Black, the mystery of the box of Reginald Maltravers,
and the mystery of the box of plum preserves, there only remains the
capture of Logan Black to hold me in this part of the country and to
keep you from your voyage to the China Seas."

"We must get together," said Cleggett, "on a plan of campaign. Logan
Black will certainly attack again.  He has only been beaten off
temporarily.  In the meanwhile, it is almost breakfast time."

And, indeed, the lights in the cabin were suddenly growing pale. The
sun was rising.  Its beams, shining through the cabin skylight, fell
upon the three great detectives, each one of whom, with an air of
ineffable satisfaction, was gloating--but gloating urbanely and with
dignity--over an oblong box.



CHAPTER XXII

DANCING ON THE DECK

It was decided, at a conference of Lady Agatha, Cleggett, and the three
detectives, at the breakfast table, to throw up a line of entrenchments
along the bank of the canal commanding the approach to the Jasper B.
and the Annabel Lee. No one felt the least doubt that Logan Black would
renew the attack sooner or later, unless the two vessels made off.

"And," said Cleggett, "I shall not leave until the Jasper B. has been
rigged as a schooner again.  Anything else would have the appearance of
a retreat.  Nor will I be hurried.  I am on my own property, and I
purpose to defend it at whatever cost."

He set his jaws firmly as he declared this intention, and Lady Agatha's
eyes dwelt upon him in admiration.

"The Annabel Lee could tow you away, you know," demurred Wilton
Barnstable.

"When the Jasper B. moves," said Cleggett, with finality, "it will be
under her own power."

Accordingly, work was begun at once on the entrenchments. Everyone on
board the Jasper B. was sadly in need of sleep, but Cleggett felt that
the earthworks could not wait.  He divided his force into two shifts.
Cleggett, the three detectives, Jefferson the genial coachman, and
Washington Artillery Lamb, the janitor and butler of the house boat
Annabel Lee, a negro as large and black as Jefferson himself, took a
two-hour trick with the spades and then lay down and slept while
Abernethy, Kuroki, Elmer, Calthrop, George the Greek, and Farnsworth
dug for an equal length of time.  The two prisoners captured by
Barnstable the night before, one of whom was the smirking and sinister
Pierre, were compelled to dig all the time.  Even Teddy, Lady Agatha's
little Pomeranian, dug.  The ladies of the party slept throughout the
morning.

During the forenoon Cleggett dispatched Dr. Farnsworth to the city in
Miss Henrietta Pringle's Ford car, and he returned about one o'clock
with four more trained nurses.  They were installed on board the
houseboat Annabel Lee, instead of at Parker's Beach as Cleggett had
originally intended, and the Red Cross flag was hoisted over that
vessel.  Cleggett felt confident that the next battle would be
sanguinary in character, and, true to his humanitarian ideals, was
resolved to be fully prepared this time to care for as many people as
he might disable.  Giuseppe Jones, who was quieter now, although at
times still irrationally babbling incendiary vers libre poems, was
removed to the Annabel Lee, where Miss Medley, quite worn out, turned
him over to a fresh nurse.

By the time the reinforcement of nurses had arrived the earthworks of
the good ship Jasper B. were completed, and, after a double portion of
stiff grog all around, Cleggett ordered all hands to lie down on the
deck for an hour's comfortable nap. He stood watch himself.  Cleggett
had not slept much during the past forty-eight hours, but he was a man
of iron.  Like King Henry Fifth of England, Cleggett found a certain
pleasure in watching while his troops slumbered.  Cleggett and this
lively  monarch had other points in common, although Cleggett, even in
his youth, would never have associated with a character so habitually
dissolute as Sir John Falstaff.

The construction of the trench was not without its effect upon the gang
of villains at Morris's.  About nine in the morning Cleggett noticed
that he was under observation from the roof of the east verandah of the
road house.  Loge and two of his ruffianly lieutenants were
scrutinizing the Cleggett flotilla and fortifications through their
binoculars. Cleggett, through his own glass, returned the compliment.

The three men were conducting an animated discussion.  From their
gestures they seemed to be completely nonplussed by the entrenchments.
Watching their pantomime closely, Cleggett gathered that Loge was
endeavoring to enforce some point of view with regard to the Jasper B.
upon his two followers.  Finally Loge, making a gesture towards
Cleggett with one hand, tapped himself several times on the forehead
with the other, his lips moving rapidly the while.  The two other men
shrugged their shoulders and nodded, as if in agreement with Loge.  The
insulting significance of the gesture was only too apparent.  As
plainly as if he had heard the accompanying words Cleggett understood
that Loge, out of the depths of his perplexity, had said that he
(Cleggett) was mentally erratic.

"Ah, you think so, do you?" said Cleggett aloud, laying down his glass
and seizing a rifle.  "Well, just to let you know that I have a certain
opinion of you, also, my friend Loge----"  And he sent a bullet over
the heads of the three men.  They hastily ducked into the house.
Cleggett might have picked Loge off, but he disdained to do so.  It was
his purpose to take the man alive, if possible.

But the rifle shot did not end the espionage.  All day scouting parties
in taxicabs kept appearing on the sandy plain to reconnoiter the fleet
and fortress.  They circled, they swooped, they dashed, they zigzagged
here and there, but always at a high rate of speed, and always at a
prudent distance from the canal. Beyond sending an occasional rifle
ball whistling towards the wheels of the cabs, or over the heads of the
occupants, to remind them to keep their distance, Cleggett paid but
little attention to these parties.  If Loge thought him demented, if he
had his enemy guessing, so much the better.  The eccentric movements of
these cabs was a circumstance which in itself testified to Loge's
bewilderment and curiosity.

Cleggett had no idea that there would be an attack before nightfall,
and at two o'clock in the afternoon he awakened all the members of his
crew who were still sleeping, ordered them into bathing suits, a supply
of which he had been thoughtful enough to have the young doctor bring
out along with the nurses, and piped them into the canal.  The water
was cold, but they came out refreshed and invigorated by the plunge and
feeling fit for any struggle that might be ahead of them.  This
maneuver on the part of Cleggett and his marines and infantrymen seemed
still more to excite the curiosity and contribute to the bewilderment
of Loge and his ruffians.

After the general bath and a substantial lunch, Cleggett called all
hands aft and addressed them.

"Ladies and loyal followers and co-workers," he said.  "We have passed
some nights and days of peril.  And there are, I doubt not, still
parlous times ahead of the Jasper B. before our ship sets sail for the
China Seas.  But what is sweeter than pleasure snatched from the very
presence of danger?  Courage and gayety should go hand in hand!  It is
a beautiful May afternoon, we have a goodly deck beneath our feet, and,
briefly, who is for a dance?"

A huzza showed the popularity of the suggestion.  Washington Artillery
Lamb, the janitor and butler of the Annabel Lee, possessed an accordion
on which he was an earnest and artistic performer.  Miss Pringle's
Jefferson had with him a harmonica, or mouth organ, which he at once
produced.  Jefferson was endowed with the peculiar gift of manipulating
this little musical instrument solely with his lips, moving it back and
forth and round about as he played, without touching it with his hands;
and this left his hands free to pat the time.  The negro orchestra
perched itself on the top of the cabin, and in a moment Lady Agatha,
the five nurses, Cleggett, the three detectives, Dr. Farnsworth, and
Captain Abernethy were tangoing on the deck.  And this to the still
further perplexity of Logan Black. As the dance started Cleggett saw
that person, almost distracted by his inability to comprehend the
mental processes of the commander of the Jasper B., rise to his feet in
an automobile that had stopped a couple of hundred yards away, and beat
with both hands upon his temples, gnashing his long yellow teeth the
while.

The Rev. Simeon Calthrop turned sadly away from the vessel, and, with a
sigh, went and sat in the trench, where he was soon joined by Elmer.
The disgraced preacher and the reformed convict had struck up a fast
friendship.  They sat with their backs towards the Jasper B., and
Cleggett supposed from their attitude that they were sternly
condemnatory of the frivolity and festivity on board ship.

Cleggett, after the first dance, sought them out.

"I hope," he said to the Rev. Mr. Calthrop, not unkindly, "that you
don't disapprove of us."

"It isn't that, Mr. Cleggett," said the ship's chaplain, with sorrow in
his eloquent brown eyes, "it isn't that at all.  In fact, I had a tango
class in the basement of my church, every Thursday evening-when I had a
church."

"Then what is it?"

"Alas!" sighed the young preacher.  "I do not trust myself! Women, as I
have told you, Mr. Cleggett, are apt to become fascinated with me.  I
cannot help it.  It is in such gay scenes as this that the danger lies,
Mr. Cleggett.  As an honorable man, I feel that I am bound to withdraw
myself and my fatal influence."

"You are too subtle--too subtle for moral health," said Cleggett.

"But I will not attempt to influence you.  Elmer, are you also afraid
of inspiring a hopeless passion?"

"Mister Cleggett," said Elmer gloomily and huskily, out of one corner
of his mouth, "I ain't takin' a chance.  D' youse get me? Not a
chancet. Oncet youse reformed, Mr. Cleggett, youse can't be too
careful."

Cleggett returned to the vessel.  Miss Pringle the elder was leaving
it.  Miss Henrietta Pringle was following.  Cleggett gathered that the
niece left reluctantly, and under the coercion of the aunt.

Miss Pringle the elder was about to join the Rev. Mr. Calthrop in the
trench.  Morality, as well as misery, loves company.  But Mr. Calthrop
saw the Misses Pringle coming.  He swiftly rose, passed them by with
his face averted, and went aboard the Annabel Lee. It was evident that
he believed that his fatal gift of fascination had attracted these
ladies towards him in spite of himself.  Elmer  and the Misses Pringle
sat gloomily on a clean plank in the trench while the dance went gayly
on.

"If you was to ask me," said Captain Abernethy, pausing winded from the
tango, strong old man that he was, "I'd give it as my opinion that them
that gits their enjoyment in an oncheerful way don't git nigh as much
of it as them that gits it in a cheerful way.  Mrs. Lady Agatha, ma'am,
if you kin fox-trot as well as you kin tango I'll never have another
word to say agin female suffragettes."

But as Cap'n Abernethy spoke the grin froze upon his face.

"My God!  Look there!" he shrilled, pointing a long finger towards the
plain.  Simultaneously the Misses Pringle, shrieking wildly, leaped
from the trench towards the ship and Elmer fired a pistol shot.

Cleggett beheld five taxicabs, filled with Loge's assassins, charging
towards the vessel at the rate of thirty miles an hour.

"To arms!  To arms!" shouted the commander of the Jasper B.

But the enemy, with Logan Black in the lead, had already reached the
trenches.  They flung themselves to the ground and swept over the
trench towards the bulwarks, twenty strong, with flashing machetes.  So
confident had Cleggett been that Loge would not dare to attack in broad
daylight that he had scarcely even considered the possibility. It was
the one fault of his military and naval career.

"Cutlasses, men, and at them!" he cried.



CHAPTER XXIII

CUTLASSES

There was no thought of guns or pistols. There was no time to aim or
fire.  Loge's rush had lodged him on the deck.  Roaring like a wild
animal, he carried the fight to the defenders.  He meant to make a
finish of it this time, and with the edged and bitter steel.

As the women scurried into the cabin the two lines met, with a ringing
clash of blades, on the deck of the Jasper B., and the sparks flew from
the stricken metal.  Cleggett strove to engage Loge hand to hand; and
Loge, on his part, attempted to fight his way to Cleggett; they shouted
insults at each other across the press of battle.  But in affairs of
this sort a man must give his attention to the person directly in front
of him; otherwise he is lost.  As Cleggett cut and thrust and parried,
a sudden seizure overtook him; he moved as if in a dream; he had the
eerie feeling that he had done all this before, sometime, perhaps in a
previous existence, and would do it again.  The clangor of the meeting
swords, the inarticulate shouts and curses, the dance of struggling men
across the deck, the whirling confusion of the whole fantastic scene
beneath the quiet skies, struck upon his consciousness with that
strange phantasmagoric quality which makes the hurrying unreality of
dreams so much more vivid and more real than anything in waking life.

In the center of Cleggett's line stood the three detectives shoulder to
shoulder.  Their three swords rose and fell as one. They cut and lunged
and guarded with a machine-like regularity, advancing, giving ground,
advancing again, with a rhythmic unanimity which was baffling to their
opponents.

On either flank of the detectives fought one of the gigantic negroes.
Washington Artillery Lamb, almost at once, had broken his cutlass, and
now he raged in the waist of the Jasper B. with a long iron bar in his
hand.  Miss Pringle's Jefferson, with his high cockaded hat still
firmly fixed upon his head, laid about him with a heavy cavalry saber;
in his excitement he still held his harmonica in his mouth and blew
blasts upon it as he fought. The Rev. Simeon Calthrop, in a loud
agitated voice, sang hymns as he swung his cutlass.  And, among the
legs of the combatants, leapt and snapped Teddy the Pomeranian, biting
friend and foe indiscriminately upon the ankles.

But gradually the weight of superior numbers began to tell. Farnsworth
staggered from the fight with a face covered with blood which blinded
him.  Cap'n Abernethy likewise was bleeding from a wound in the head;
George the Greek and Watson Bard were hurt, but both fought on.  The
crew of the Jasper B. and their allies of the Annabel Lee were being
slowly forced back towards the cabin, when there came a sudden and
decisive turn in the fortunes of the fight.

Cleggett, straining to meet Loge, who hung sword to sword with Wilton
Barnstable, saw Giuseppe Jones, deserted by his nurses, tumbling feebly
over the bow of the Jasper B. in the rear of Loge's line.  Barelegged,
a red blanket fastened about his throat with a big brass safety pin, a
thermometer in one hand and a medicine bottle in the other, he
tottered, crazily and weakly between Loge and Barnstable, chanting a
vers libre poem in a shrill, insane voice.

Loge, who had extended himself in a vigorous lunge, was struck by the
weight of the young anarchist's body at the crook of the knees, and
came down on the deck at full length, his machete flying from his hand
as he fell.

Cleggett was upon the criminal in an instant, his hand at the outlaw's
throat.  They grappled and rolled upon the deck.  But in another second
Wilton Barnstable and Barton Ward, coming to Cleggett's assistance, had
snapped irons upon the president of the crime trust, hand and foot.

His overthrow was the signal of his men's defeat.  As he went down they
hesitated and wavered. The two great negroes, taking advantage of this
hesitation, burst among them with mighty blows and strange
Afro-American oaths, Castor and Pollux in bronze. With a shout of
"Banzai!" Kuroki rushed forward with his kris; the other defenders
added weight and fury to the rally.  Before the irons were on the
wrists of Loge his men were routed.  They leaped the rail and made off
for their fleet of taxicabs, flinging away their weapons as they ran.

Loge writhed and twisted and lashed the deck with his legs and body for
a moment, striving even against the bands of steel that bit into his
wrists and ankles.  And then he lay still with his face against the
planks as if in a vast and overwhelming bitterness of despair.

It had been Cleggett's earlier thought to take the man alive, if
possible, and turn him over to the authorities.  But now that Loge was
taken he burned with the wish for personal combat with him.  He desired
to be the agent of society, and put an end to Logan Black himself.

Cleggett, as he gazed at the fellow lying prone upon the deck, could
not repress a murmur of dissatisfaction.

"We never fought it out," he said.

Whether Loge heard him or not, the same thought was evidently running
is his mind.  He lifted his head.  A slow, malignant grin that showed
his yellow canine teeth lifted his upper lip.  He fixed his eyes on
Cleggett with a cold deadliness of hatred and said:

"You are lucky."

Outwardly Cleggett remained calm, but inwardly he was shaken with an
intensity of passion that matched Loge's own.

"Lucky?" he said quietly.  "That is as may be. And if, as I infer, you
desire a settlement of a more personal nature than the law recognizes,
it is still not too late to accommodate you."

"Desire!" cried Loge, with a movement of his manacled hands.  "I would
go to Hell happy if I sent you ahead of me!"

"Very well," said Cleggett.  "Since you have challenged me I will fight
you.  I will do you that honor."

Loge was about to answer when Wilton Barnstable broke in:

"Mr. Cleggett," he said, "I scarcely understand you.  Are you
consenting to fight this man?"

"Certainly," said Cleggett.  "He has challenged me."

"A duel?" said Wilton Barnstable in astonishment.

"A duel."

"But that is impossible.  His life is forfeit to the law.  I hope,
before the year is out, to send him to the electric chair. Under the
circumstances, a duel is an absurdity."

"An absurdity?"  Cleggett, with his hands on his hips, and a little
dancing light in his eyes, faced the great detective squarely.  "You
permit yourself very peculiar expressions, Mr. Barnstable!"

"I beg your pardon," said Wilton Barnstable.  "I withdraw 'absurdity.'
But you must see yourself, Mr. Cleggett, that a duel is useless, if
nothing else. The man is our prisoner.  He belongs to the law."

Loge had struggled to a sitting posture, his back against the port
bulwark, and was listening with an odd look on his face.

"The law?" said Cleggett.  "I suppose, in one sense, that is true.  But
the matter has its personal element as well."

"I must insist," said Wilton Barnstable, "that Logan Black is my
prisoner."

Cleggett was silent a moment.  Then he said firmly:  "Mr. Barnstable,
it is painful to me to have to remind you of it, but your attitude
forces me to an equal directness.  The fact that Logan Black is now a
captive is due to his efforts to recover certain evidence which may be
used against him.  This evidence I discovered and defended, and this
evidence I now hold in my possession."

Wilton Barnstable was about to retort, perhaps heatedly, but Cleggett,
generous even while determined to have his own way, hastened to add:
"Do not think, Mr. Barnstable, that I minimize your work, or your
assistance--but, after all, what am I demanding that is unreasonable?
If Logan Black dies by my hand, are not the ends of justice served as
well as if he died in the electric chair?  And if I fall, the law may
still take its course."

Loge had listened to this speech attentively. He lifted his head and
glanced about the deck, filling his lungs with a deep draft of air.
Something like a gleam of hope was visible in his features.

"It is irregular," said Wilton Barnstable, frowning, and not half
convinced.  "And, in the name of Heaven, why imperil your life
needlessly?  Why expose yourself again to the power of this monstrous
criminal?"

"The fellow has challenged me, and I have granted him a meeting," said
Cleggett.  "I hope there is such a thing as honor!"

"Clement!"  It was Lady Agatha who spoke.  As she did so she laid her
hand on Cleggett's arm.  She had hearkened in silence to the colloquy
between him and Barnstable, as had the others.  She drew him out of
sight and hearing behind the cabin.

"Clement," she said with agitation, "do not fight this man!"

"I must," he said simply.  It cut him to the heart to refuse the first
request that she had asked of him since his avowal of his love for her
and her tacit acceptance.  But, to a man of Cleggett's ideas, there was
no choice.

"Clement," she said in a low tone, "you have told me that you love me."

"Agatha!" he murmured brokenly.

"And you know----" she paused, as if she could not continue, but her
eyes and manner spoke the rest.  In a moment her lips spoke it too; she
was not the sort of woman who is afraid to avow the promptings of her
heart.  "You know," she said, "that I love you."

"Agatha!" he cried again.  He could say no more.

"Oh, Clement," she said, "if you were killed--killed uselessly!--now
that I have found you, I could not bear it. Dear, I could not bear it!"

Cleggett was profoundly moved.  He yearned to take her in his arms to
comfort her, and to promise anything she wished.  And the thought came
to him too that, if he should perish, the one kiss, given and received
in the darkness and danger of fight and storm, would be all the brave
sweetness of her that he would know this side of the grave; the thought
came to him bitterly.  For an instant he wavered.

"Agatha!" he said with dry lips.  "I have already accepted the fellow's
challenge."

"And what of that?" she cried.  "Would you cling to a barren point of
honor in despite of love?"

"Even so," he said, and sighed.

"Oh, Clement," she said, "I cannot bear it!  I cannot bear to lose you!
I always knew you were in the world somewhere--and now that I have
found you it is only to give you up!  It is too much!"

Cleggett was silent for a moment.  When he spoke it was slowly and
gently, but earnestly.

"No point of honor is a barren one, dear," he said.  "What the man
lying there may be matters nothing.  It is not to him that I have given
my word, but to myself.  In our hurried modern life we are not
punctilious enough about these things.  Perhaps, in the old days, the
men and women were worse than we in many ways.  But they held to a few
traditions, or the best of them did, that make the loose and tawdry
manners of this age seem cheap indeed.  All my life I have known that
there was something shining and simple and precious concealed from the
common herd of men in this common age, which the brighter spirits of
the old days lived by and served and worshiped.  I have always seen it
plainly, and always tried to live by it, too.  Perhaps it was never, in
any period, more than a dream; but I have dreamed that dream.  And
anyone who dreams that dream will have a reverence for his spoken word
no matter to whom it is passed.  I may be a fool to fight this man;
well then, that is the kind of fool I am!  Indeed, I know I am a fool
by the judgments of this age.  But I have never truly lived in this
age.  I have lived in the past; I have held to the dream; I have
believed in the bright adventure; I have walked with the generous,
chivalric spirits of the great ages; they have come to me out of my
books and dwelt with me and been my companions, and the realities of
time and place have been unreal in their presence. I see myself so
walking always.  It may be that I am a vain ass, but I cannot help it.
It may be that I am a little mad; but I would rather be mad with a Don
Quixote than sane with an Andrew Carnegie and pile up platitudes and
dollars.

"And all this foolishness of mine is somehow bound up with the thought
that I have engaged to fight that evil fellow, and must do it; all the
bright, sane madness in me cries out that he is to die by this hand of
mine.

"I have opened my heart to you, as I have never done to anyone before.
And now I put myself into your hands.  But, oh, take care--for it is
something in me better than myself that I give you to deal with!  And
you can cripple it forever, because I love you and I shall listen to
you.  Shall I fight him?"

She had listened, mute and immobile, and as he spoke the red sun made a
sudden glory of her hair. She leaned towards him, and it was as if the
spirit of all the man's lifelong, foolish, romantic musings were in her
eyes and on her face.

"Fight him!" she said.  "And kill him!"

And then her head was on his shoulder, and his arms were about her.
"Don't die!" she sobbed. "Don't die!"

"Don't fear," he said, "I feel that I'll make short work of him."

She smiled courageously back at him; with her hands upon his shoulders
she held him back and looked at him with tilted head.

"If you are killed," she said, "it will have been more than most women
ever get, to have known and loved you for two days."

"Two days?" he said.  "Forever!"

"Forever!" she said.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE DUEL

Cleggett took Wilton Barnstable by the  sleeve and drew him towards
Loge, who, still seated on the deck with his long legs stretched out in
front of him, was now yawning with a cynical affectation of boredom.

"I wish you to act as my second in this affair," said Cleggett to the
detective, "and I suggest that either Mr. Ward or Mr. Bard perform a
like office for Mr. Black."

Loge shrugged his shoulders, and said with a sneer:

"A second, eh?  We seem to be doing a great deal of arranging for a
very small amount of fighting."

"I suggest," said Wilton Barnstable, "that a night's rest would be
quite in order for both principals."

Loge broke in quickly, with studied insolence: "I object to the delay.
Mr. Cleggett might find some excuse for changing his mind overnight.
Let us, if you please, begin at once."

"It was not I who suggested the delay," said Cleggett, haughtily.

"Then give us the pistols," cried Loge, with a sudden, grim ferocity in
his voice, "and let's make an end of it!"

"We fight with swords," said Cleggett.  "I am the challenged party."

"Ho!  Swords!" cried Loge, with a harsh, jarring laugh.  "A bout with
the rapiers, man to man, eh?  Come, this is better and better!  I may
go to the chair, but first I will spit you like a squab on a skewer, my
little nut!"  And then he said again, with a shout of gusty mirth, and
a clanking of his manacles:  "Swords, eh?  By God!  The little man says
SWORDS!"

Wilton Barnstable drew Cleggett to one side.

"Name pistols," he said.  "For God's sake, Cleggett, name pistols!  If
I had had any idea that you were going to demand rapiers I should have
warned you before."

Cleggett was amused at the great detective's anxiety.  "It appears that
the fellow handles the rapier pretty well, eh?" he said easily.

"Cleggett----" began Barnstable.  And then he paused and groaned and
mopped his brow.  Presently he controlled his agitation and continued.
"Cleggett," he said, "the man is an expert swordsman. I have been on
his trail; I know his life for years past.  He was once a maitre
d'armes.  He gave lessons in the art."

"Yes?" said Cleggett, laughing and flexing his wrist.  "I am glad to
hear that!  It will be really interesting then."

"Cleggett," said Barnstable, "I beg of you--name pistols.  This is the
man who invented that diabolical thrust with which Georges Clemenceau
laid low so many of his political opponents.  If you must go on with
this mad duel, name pistols!"

"Barnstable," said Cleggett, "I know what I am about, believe me. Your
anxiety does me little honor, but I am willing to suppose that you are
not deliberately insulting, and I pass it over.  I intend to kill this
man.  It is a duty which I owe to society. And as for the
rapier--believe me, Barnstable, I am no novice. And my blood tingles
and my soul aches with the desire to expunge that man from life with my
own hand.  Come, we have talked enough.  There is a case of swords in
the cabin.  Will you do me the favor to bring them on deck?"

Loge's irons were unlocked.  He rose to his feet and stretched himself.
He removed his coat and waistcoat.  Then he took off his shirt,
revealing the fact that he wore next his skin a long-sleeved undershirt
of red flannel.

Cleggett began to imitate him.  But as the commander of the Jasper B.
began to pull his shirt over his head he heard a little scream.
Everyone turned in the direction from which it had emanated.  They
beheld Miss Genevieve Pringle perched upon the top of the cabin,
whither she had mounted by means of a short ladder.  This lady, perhaps
not quite aware of the possibly sanguinary character of the spectacle
she was about to witness, had, nevertheless, sensed the fact that a
spectacle was toward. Miss Pringle had with her a handsome lorgnette.

"Madam," said Cleggett, hastily pulling his shirt back on again and
approaching the cabin, "did you cry out?"

"Mr.--er--Cleggett," said Miss Pringle, pursing her lips, "if you will
kindly hold the ladder for me I think I will descend and retire at once
to the cabin."

"As you wish," said Cleggett politely, complying with her wish, but at
a loss to comprehend her.

"I beg you to believe, Mr. Cleggett," said Miss Pringle, averting her
face and flushing painfully, while she turned the lorgnette about and
about with embarrassed fingers, "I beg you to believe that in electing
to witness this spectacle I had no idea of its exceedingly informal
nature."

With these words she passed into the cabin, with the air of one who has
sustained a mortal insult.

"Ef you was to ask me what she's tryin' to get at," piped up Cap'n
Abernethy, "I'd say it's her belief that it ain't proper for gents to
sword each other with their shirts off.  She's shocked, Miss Pringle
is."

"In great and crucial moments," said Cleggett soberly, pulling off his
shirt again and picking up a sword, "we may dispense with the minor
conventions without apology."

Loge chose a weapon with the extreme of care and particularity, trying
the hang and balance of several of them.  He looked well to the weight,
bent the blade in his hands to test the spring and temper, tried the
point upon his thumb.  He handled the rapier as if he had found an old
friend again after a long absence; he looked around upon his enemies
with a sort of ferocious, bantering gayety.

"And now," said Loge, "if this is to be a duel indeed, Mr. Cleggett and
I will need plenty of room, I suggest that the rest of you retire to
the bulwarks and give us the deck to ourselves."

"For my part," said Cleggett, "I order it."

"And," said Wilton Barnstable, drawing his pistol, "Mr. Black will
please note that while I am standing by the bulwarks I shall be
watching indeed.  Should he make an attempt to escape from the vessel I
shall riddle him with bullets."

"Come, come," said Loge, "all this conversation is a waste of time!"

"That is my opinion also," said Cleggett.

They saluted formally, and engaged their blades.

With Cleggett, swordsmanship was both a science and an art.  And
something more.  It was also a passion.  A good swordsman can be made;
a superior swordsman may be born; the real masters are both born and
made.  It was so with Cleggett.  His interest in fencing had been keen
from his early boyhood.  In his teens he had acquired unusual practical
skill without great theoretical knowledge.  Then he had recognized the
art for what it is, the most beautiful game on earth, and had made a
profound and thorough study of it; it appealed to his imagination.

He became, in a way, the poet of the foil.

Cleggett seldom fenced publicly, and then only under an assumed name;
he abhorred publicity.  But there was not a teacher in New York City
who did not know him for a master.  They brought him their half worked
out visions of new combinations, new thrusts; he perfected them, and
simplified, or elaborated, and gave back the finished product.

They were the workmen, the craftsmen, the men of talent; he was the
originator, the genius.

And he was especially lucky in not having been tied down, in his
younger years, to one national tradition of the art.  The limitations
of the French, the Spanish, the Italian, or the Austrian schools had
not enslaved him in youth and hampered the free development of his
individuality.  He had studied them all; he chose from them all their
superiorities; their excellences he blended into a system of his own.

It might be called the Cleggett System.

The Frenchman is an intellectual swordsman; the basis of his art is a
thorough knowledge of its mathematics.  Upon this foundation he
superimposes a structure of audacity.  But he often falls into one
error or another, for all his mental brilliancy.  He may become rigidly
formal in his practice, or, in a revolt from his own formalism, be
seduced into a display of showy, sensational tricks that are all very
well in the studio but dangerous to their practitioner on the actual
dueling ground.

The Italian, looser, freer, less formal, more individual in his style,
springing from a line of forbears who have preferred the thrust to the
cut, the point to the edge, for centuries, is a more instinctive and
less intellectual swordsman than the Frenchman.  It is in his blood; he
uses his rapier with a wild and angry grace that is feline.

The Frenchman, even when he is thoroughly serious in his desire to
slay, loves a duel for its own sake; he is never free from the thought
of the picture he is making; the art, the science, the practical
cleverness, appeal to him independently of the bloodshed.

The Italian thinks of but one thing; to kill.  He will take a severe
wound to give a fatal one.  The French are the best fencers in the
world; the Italians the deadliest duelists.

Cleggett, as has been said, knew all the schools without being the
slave of any of them.

He brought his sword en tierce; Loge's blade met his with strength and
delicacy.  The strength Cleggett was prepared for. The delicacy
surprised him.  But he was too much the master, too confident of his
own powers, to trifle.  He delivered one of his favorite thrusts; it
was a stroke of his own invention; three times out of five, in years
past, it had carried home the button of his foil to his opponent's
jacket.  It was executed with the directness and rapidity of a flash of
lightning.

But Loge parried it with a neatness which made Cleggett open his eyes,
replying with a counter so shrewd and close, and of such a darting
ferocity, that Cleggett, although he met it faultlessly, nevertheless
gave back a step.

"Ah," cried Loge, showing his yellow teeth in a grin, "so the little
man knows that thrust!"

"I invented it," said Cleggett.

With the word he pressed forward and, making a swift and dazzling
feint, followed it with two brilliant thrusts, either of which would
have meant the death of a tyro.  The first one Loge parried; the second
touched him; but it gave him nothing more than a scratch.
Nevertheless, the smile faded from Loge's face; he gave ground in his
turn before this rapid vigor of attack; he measured Cleggett with a new
glance.

"You are touched, I think," said Cleggett, meditating a fresh
combination, "and I am glad to see you drop that ugly pretense at a
grin.  You have no idea how the sight of those yellow teeth of yours,
which you were evidently never taught to brush when you were a little
boy, offends a person of any refinement."

Loge's answer was a sudden attempt to twist his blade around
Cleggett's; followed by a direct thrust, as quick as light, which
grazed Cleggett's shoulder; a little smudge of blood appeared on his
undershirt.

"Take care, take care, Cleggett!" warned Wilton Barnstable, from his
post by the starboard bulwark.

"Make yourself easy," said Cleggett, parrying a counter en carte, "I am
only getting warm."

And both of them, stung by the slight scratches which they had
received, settled to the business with an intent and silent deadliness
of purpose.

To all appearances Loge had an immense advantage over Cleggett; his
legs were a good two inches longer; so were his arms.  And he knew how
to make these peculiarities count.  He fought for a while with a calm
and steady precision that repeatedly baffled the calculated impetuosity
of Cleggett's attack.  But the air of bantering certainty with which he
had begun the duel had left him. He no longer wasted his breath on
repartee; no doubt he was surprised to find Cleggett's strength so
nearly equal to his own, as Cleggett had been astonished to find in
Loge so much finesse. But with a second slight wound Loge began to give
ground.

With Cleggett a bout with the foils had always been a duel.  It has
been indicated, we believe, that he was of a romantic disposition and
much given to daydreaming; his imagination had thus made every set-to
in the fencing room a veritable mortal combat to him.  Therefore, this
was not his first duel; he had fought hundreds of them.  And he fought
always on a settled plan, adapting it, of course, to the idiosyncrasies
of his adversary. It was his custom to vary the system of his attack
frequently in the most disconcerting manner, at the same time steadily
increasing the pace at which he fought.  And when Loge began to give
ground and breathe a little harder, Cleggett, far from taking advantage
of his opponent's growing distress to rest himself, as a less
distinguished swordsman might have done, redoubled the vigor of his
assault.  Cleggett knew that sooner or later a winded man makes a
fault.  The lungs labor and fail to give the blood all the oxygen it
needs.  The circulation suffers. Nerves and muscles are no longer the
perfect servants of the brain; for a fraction of a second the sword
deviates from the proper line.

It was for this that Cleggett waited, pressing Loge closer and closer,
alert for the instant when Loge would fence wide; waxing as the other
waned; menacing eyes, throat, and heart with a point that leaped and
dazzled; and at the same time inclosing himself within a rampart of
steel which Loge found it more and more hopeless to attempt to
penetrate. It was as if Cleggett's blade were an extension of his will;
he and his sword were not two things, but one.  The metal in his hand
was no longer merely a whip of steel; it was a thing that lived with
his own life.  His pulse beat in it.  It was a part of him.  His
nervous force permeated it and animated it; it was his thought turned
to tempered metal, and it was with the rapidity, directness and
subtlety of thought that his sword responded to his mind.

"Come!" said Cleggett, as Loge broke ground, scarcely aware that he
spoke aloud.  "At this rate we shall be at home thrusts soon!"

Loge must have thought so too; a shade passed over his face, his upper
lip lifted haggardly.  Perhaps even that iron nature was beginning to
feel at last something of the dull sickness which is the fear of death.
He retreated continually, and Cleggett was smitten with the fancy to
force him backward and nail him, with a final thrust, to the stump of
the foremast, which had been broken off some eight feet above the deck.

But Loge, gathering his power, made a brilliant and desperate rally;
twice he grazed Cleggett, whose blade was too closely engaged; and then
suddenly broke ground again.  This time Cleggett perceived that he had
been retreating in accordance with a preconceived program.  He was
certain the man contemplated a trick, perhaps some foul stroke.

He rushed forward with a terrible thrust.  Loge, whose last maneuver
had taken him within a yard of the hatchway opening into the hold,
grasped Cleggett's blade in his left hand, and at the same instant
flung his own sword, hilt first, full in Cleggett's face.  As Cleggett,
struck in the mouth with the pommel, staggered back, Loge plunged feet
foremost into the hold.  It was too unexpected, and too quickly done,
for a shot from Barnstable or any of Cleggett's men.

Cleggett, with the blood streaming from his mouth, recovered himself
and leaped through the aperture in the deck.  He landed upon his feet
with a jar, and, shortening his sword in his hand, stared about him in
the gloom.

He saw no one.

An instant later Wilton Barnstable and Cap'n Abernethy were beside him.

"Gone!" said Cleggett simply.

Barnstable drew from his pocket a small electric lantern and swept the
beam in a circle about the hold.  Again and again he raked the darkness
until the finger of light had rested upon every foot of the interior.

But Loge had vanished as completely as a snowflake that falls into a
tub of water.



CHAPTER XXV

THE SECRET OF THE VESSEL'S HOLD

"Idiot that I am," cried Cleggett, "not to have covered that hole!"
His chagrin was touching to behold.

"There, there, Cleggett," said Wilton Barnstable kindly, "do not
reproach yourself too bitterly."

"But to let him escape when I had him----" Cleggett finished the
sentence with a groan.

But Wilton Barnstable was thinking.

"Please have some lights brought down here if you will, Captain," he
said to Abernethy, "and ask Mr. Bard and Mr. Ward to come."

In a few minutes the interior of the hold was illuminated with
lanterns; it was as bright as day. But the detectives did not proceed
at once to a minute examination of the hold as Cleggett had supposed
they would.

Instead, they stood in the waist of the vessel and thought.

Visibly they thought.  Wilton Barnstable thought.

Barton Ward thought.  Watson Bard thought.   They thought in silence.
Cleggett could almost feel these three master brains pulsating in
unison, working in rhythmic accord, there in the silence; the sense of
this intense cerebral effort became almost oppressive....

Finally Wilton Barnstable began to stroke his mustache, and a pleased
smile stole over his plump and benign visage.  Barton Ward also began
to stroke his mustache and smile.  But it was twenty seconds more
before Watson Bard's corrugated brow relaxed and his eyes twinkled with
the idea that had come so much more readily to the other two.

"Cleggett," said Wilton Barnstable, "you have heard of the deductive
method as applied to the work of the detective?"

"I have," said Cleggett.  "I have read Poe's detective tales and
Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories."

"Ah!  Sherlock Holmes!"  The three detectives looked at each other with
glances in which were mingled both bitterness and amusement; the look
seemed to dispose of Sherlock Holmes.  Once again Cleggett had a
fleeting thought that Wilton Barnstable might possibly be a vain man.

"Sherlock Holmes," said Barnstable, "never existed.  His marvelous
feats are not possible in real life, Cleggett.  But the deductive
method which he pretended to use--mind you, I say PRETENDED,
Cleggett!--is, nevertheless, sound."

And then the three detectives gave Cleggett an example of the
phenomenal cleverness.

"Mr. Ward," said Wilton Barnstable, "Logan Black entered this hold."

"He did," said Barton Ward.

"He is not here now," said Wilton Barnstable.

"He is not," said Watson Bard.

"Therefore he has escaped," said Wilton Barnstable.

"But how?" said Barton Ward.

"Only a ghost or an insect could leave this hold otherwise than by the
hatchway, to all appearances," said Wilton Barnstable.

"Logan Black is not a ghost," said Barton Ward firmly.

"Logan Black is not an insect," said Watson Bard with conviction.

"Then," said Barnstable, "that eliminates the supernatural and
the--the----"

"The entomological?" suggested Cleggett.

The three detectives stared at him fixedly for a moment, as if
surprised at the interruption.  But if they were miffed they were too
dignified to do more than hint it.  Barnstable continued:

"There is no such thing as magic."

"There is not," said Ward.

"The fourth dimension does not exist," said Bard.

"Therefore Logan Black's exit," said Barnstable, "was in accordance
with well-known physical laws. We are forced to the conclusion that he
made his escape through a secret passageway."

"A tunnel," said Barton Ward.

"With a concealed door opening into the hold," said Watson Bard.

"A ship with a secret tunnel!" cried Cleggett. "Who ever heard of the
like?  Why, the thing is----"

But he broke off.  He had been leaning against the starboard side of
the hold.  Even as he spoke he felt the wall behind him moving.  He
turned. A door was opening.  It was built into the side of the Jasper
B. and the joints were cleverly concealed.  He had inadvertently found,
with his elbow, the nailhead which was in reality the push button that
released the spring.  The black entrance of a subterranean passage
yawned before him.

He stared in astonishment.  The three detectives were pointing at the
tunnel with plump forefingers and bland, triumphant smiles.

"Nothing is impossible, my dear Cleggett," said Barnstable.  "The
tunnel HAD to be there!"

"It explains everything," said Cleggett.  "But a tunnel into MY ship!"

And, in truth, for a moment he felt disappointed in the Jasper B.

A tunnel is all very well leading from the basement of a house, or
extending backward from a cave; but Cleggett felt that it was scarcely
a dignified sort of arrangement, nautically speaking, for a ship to
have leading from its hold.

It seemed, somehow, to stamp the Jasper B. indelibly as a thing of the
land rather than as the gallant creature of piping winds and following
seas.  Could the Jasper B., a bone in her teeth and her tackle humming,
ever again sail through Cleggett's dreams? For a moment, if the worst
must be known, he was almost disgusted with the Jasper B., considered
as a ship.  For a moment he was willing to believe that Cap'n Abernethy
was nothing but a Long Island truck farmer, and NOT of a seafaring
family at all.  For a moment he felt himself to be a copyreader again
on the New York Enterprise.

But only for a moment!  The star of romance, clouded temporarily by
fact, rose serene and bright again in the wide heaven of the unusual
spirit, the barber's basin gleamed once more the helmet of Mambrino.
Cleggett began to see the matter in its proper light.

"A tunnel!" he cried, brightening, and looking at it with his legs
spread a little wide and his hands on his hips.  "A tunnel! Eh, by gad!
Who could have prophesied a tunnel?  Barnstable, never tell me again
there is no romance in real life!  I tell you, Barnstable, she's a good
old ship, the Jasper B.!  I don't suppose there was ever another
schooner in the world with a secret passageway leading out of her hold!"

"She IS a remarkable vessel," agreed Wilton Barnstable gravely. "But,
come, we are wasting time!  The other end of this passage is at
Morris's, that is plain.  Loge Black has only a few minutes' start of
us.  Therefore, to Morris's!"



CHAPTER XXVI

A DOG DIES GAME

Clambering out of the hold, the three detectives and Cleggett briefly
made their followers acquainted with the extraordinary turn of events.
The Rev. Mr. Calthrop, Miss Pringle's Jefferson, and Washington
Artillery Lamb were detailed to guard the Jasper B. end of the tunnel.
The others, seizing their rifles, raced across the sands towards
Morris's.

In a few moments the place was invested, with riflemen on every side
except the south, which fronted on the bay.  The steel-jacketed bullets
from the high-power guns tore through and through the flimsy walls.
Nevertheless the defenders replied pluckily, and the siege might have
dragged on for hours had it not been for the courage and resource of
Kuroki.  Gaining the stable, Kuroki found an old pushcart there.  He
piled three bales of hay upon it, and then set fire to the hay.
Pushing the cart before him, and crouching behind the bales to protect
himself from revolver shots, he worked his way to the east verandah of
the building and left the hay blazing against the planks.  Then he ran
as if the devil were after him, and was almost out of pistol shot
before he got a bullet in the calf of his leg.

The blaze caught the wood and spread.  In two minutes the east verandah
was in flames.  Loge and his men attempted to pour water on the blaze
from above.  But Cleggett's party directed so hot a fire upon the
windows that the defenders were forced to retire.

The main building caught.  The road house was old, and was of very
light construction; the fire spread with rapidity.  Loge was in a trap.

But that evil and indomitable spirit refused to yield.  Even when his
remaining ruffians came out and gave themselves up Loge still fought on
alone in a sullen fury of despair.

Reckless of bullets, he leaned from an open window, a figure not
without its grandeur against the background of smoke and flame, and
shouted a savage and obscene insult at Cleggett.

"Give yourself up," cried Wilton Barnstable.

"Damn it, man, anything's better than roasting to death!"

Loge raised his hand and sped a last bullet at the detective, grazing
Barnstable's temple.

"Come in and get me!" he shouted.

Barnstable fired, just as a whirl of smoke blew in front of Loge.

Cleggett thought the outlaw staggered, but he was not certain.

A moment later a portion of the roof fell; then the east wall crashed
in.  Morris's was a blazing ruin.

"He has perished in the flames," said Wilton Barnstable.  "So ends
Logan Black!"

"More like he's blowed his head off," said Cap'n Abernethy.  "If you
was to ask me, that's what I'd do."

"He has done neither!" cried Cleggett.  "He has taken to the tunnel.
That man will fight to the last breath."

And without waiting to see whether the others followed him or not
Cleggett set off at top speed for the Jasper B.

With a dagger between his teeth, his pistol in its holster, and his
electric, watchman's lantern in his pocket he entered the tunnel and
crawled forward on his hands and knees.  If Loge were in there indeed
he had the fire at one end and Cleggett at the other.  But even at
that, escape was possible, for all Cleggett knew.  What ramifications
this peculiar passageway might have he could not guess.

The place was narrow, and in spots so low that it was necessary for a
man to crouch almost to the ground.  Cleggett, because he did not wish
to reveal his presence, did not flash his lantern; there were stretches
where he might have stood almost erect and made quicker progress, if he
had found them with the light.  The earth beneath him was beaten hard
and smooth.

Cleggett thought possibly that the tunnel had originally led from
Morris's basement to the smuggler's cave which Wilton Barnstable had
spoken of, and that it had been extended later to the ship. He learned
afterwards that this was true from the men who had surrendered.  The
Jasper B. had been abandoned for so long, and was so completely
abandoned except for the visits of Cap'n Abernethy, who fished from it
now and then, that Loge had conceived the idea of making it the
back-door, so to speak, of Morris's.  In the event of a raid upon
Morris's his "get-away" through the hulk was provided for.  He had
intended buying the ship himself; but Cleggett had forestalled him.

From the prisoners Cleggett also learned later that two men had been
concerned in the explosion which had broken the big rocks on the plain.
One of them had won the Claiborne signet ring at poker after Reginald
Maltravers had been stripped of his valuables, and had worn it.  They
had been dispatched with a bomb each, which they were to introduce into
the hold of the Jasper B., retiring through the tunnel after they had
started the clockwork mechanism going.  It was known that one of them
owed the other money; they had been quarreling about it as they entered
the tunnel from the cellar of Morris's.  It was conjectured that the
quarrel had progressed and that the debtor had endeavored, by the light
of his pocket lantern in the tunnel, to palm off a counterfeit bill in
settlement of the debt.  This may have led to a blow, or more likely
only to an argument during which a bomb was dropped and exploded,
followed quickly by the other explosion.  Dead hand, counterfeit bill
and ring were flung whimsically to the surface of the earth together,
and the leaning rocks had been astonishingly broken from beneath
through this trivial quarrel.  Had it not been for this squabble the
Jasper B. and all on board must have been destroyed.  Verily, the minds
of wicked men compass their own downfall, and retribution can sometimes
be an artist.

But Cleggett, as he crawled forward through the darkness and the damp,
thought little of these things that had so mystified him at the time.
He was alert for what the immediate future might hold, not doubting
that Loge had retreated to the tunnel.  He had too strong a sense of
the man's powerful and iniquitous personality to suppose that Loge
would kill himself while one chance remained, however remote, of
injuring his enemies.  Loge was the kind of dog that dies biting.

Suddenly, after pressing forward for several minutes, he ran against an
obstruction.  The tunnel seemed to come to an end.  He did not dare
show his light.  But he felt with his hands.  It was rock that blocked
his way.  Cleggett understood that this barrier was the result of the
explosion.  Groping and exploring with his hands, he found that the
passage turned sharply to the left.  It was more narrow and curving,
for the distance of a few yards, and the earth beneath was fresher.
When the tunnel had been blocked by the explosion, Loge and his men had
burrowed around the obstruction.

Cleggett judged that he must be at about the middle of the tunnel.  He
felt the more solid earth beneath his hands again, and knew that he had
passed the rock.  The passage now descended deeper into the ground,
slanting steeply downward.  This incline was twenty feet in length;
then the floor became horizontal again on the lower level.  At the same
time the passage widened. Cleggett stretched one arm out, then the
other; he could not touch the wall on either hand.  He stood erect and
held his hand up; the roof was six inches above his head.  He was in a
room of some sort.  Wishing, if possible, to learn the extent of this
subterranean chamber, which he did not doubt had at one time been used
as a cave and storehouse of smugglers, Cleggett began to sidle around
walls, feeling his way with his hands.

He dislodged a pebble.  It rolled to the ground with what was really a
slight sound.

But to Cleggett, who had been getting more and more excited, it was
loud as an avalanche.  He stopped and held his breath; he fancied that
he had heard another noise besides the one which his pebble made.  But
he could not be sure.

The sensation that he was not alone suddenly gripped him with
overwhelming force.  His heart began to beat more quickly; the blood
drummed in his ears.  Nevertheless, he kept his head.  He took his
pocket lantern in his left hand, and his pistol in his right, and
leaned with his back against the wall.  He listened. He heard nothing.

But the eerie feeling that he was watched grew upon him. Presently he
fancied that the darkness began to vibrate, as if an electrical current
of some sort were being passed through it, and it might forthwith burst
into light.  Cleggett, as we know, was not easily frightened.  But now
he was possessed of a strange feeling, akin to terror, but which was at
the same time not any terror of physical injury.  He did not fear Loge;
in dark or daylight he was ready to grapple with him and fight it out;
nevertheless he feared.  That he could not say what he feared only
increased his fear.

Children say they are "afraid of the dark."  It is not the dark which
they are afraid of.  It is the bodiless presences which they imagine in
the dark.  It was so with Cleggett now.  He was not daunted by anything
that could strike a blow.  But the sense of a personality began to
encompass him.  It pressed in upon him, played upon him, embraced him;
his flesh tingled as if he were being brushed; he felt his hair stir.
One recognizes a flower by its odor.  So a soul flings off, in some
inexplicable way, the sense of itself.  This force that laid itself
upon Cleggett and flowed around him had an individuality without a
body.  Not through his senses, but psychically, he recognized it; it
was the hateful and sinister individuality of Loge.

With choking throat and dry lips Cleggett stood and suffered beneath
the smothering presence of this terror while the slow seconds mounted
to an intolerable minute; then there burst from him an uncontrollable
shout.

"Loge!" he roared, and the cavern rang.

And with the word he pressed the button of his electric pocket lamp and
shot a beam of light straight in front of him.  It fell upon the
yellowish brow and the wide, unwinking eyes of Loge. The eyes stared
straight at Cleggett's own from across the cave, thirty feet away.
Loge's teeth were bared in his malevolent grimace; his head was bent
forward; he sat upon a rock.  Cleggett, unable to withdraw his eyes,
waited for Loge's first movement. The man made no sign.  Cleggett
slowly raised his pistol....

But he did not fire.  The open, staring eyes, unchanging at the menace
of the lifted pistol, told the story.  Loge was dead. Cleggett crossed
over and examined him.  Clutched on his knees was a bomb.  He had been
wounded by Barnstable's last shot, but he had crawled through the
tunnel with a bomb for a final attempt on the Jasper B.  His strength
had failed; he had rested upon the rock and bled to death.

As for his last thought, Cleggett had felt it. Loge had died hating and
lusting for his blood.



CHAPTER XXVII

CLEGGETT ACCOMMODATES THE KING

There was a wedding next day on the deck of the Jasper B.  The Rev.
Simeon Calthrop performed the ceremony, and Wilton Barnstable insisted
upon lending his vessel for a bridal cruise. Washington Artillery Lamb,
engineer, janitor, cook and butler of the Annabel Lee, went with the
vessel.

As for the Jasper B., although his wife urged him to keep the ship for
the sake of old associations, Cleggett had the hole in its side built
in and gave it to the Rev. Simeon Calthrop for a gospel ship.  George
the Greek, who married Miss Medley, shipped with the preacher in his
cruise around the world, and he and his wife eventually reached Greece,
as he had originally intended. Elmer went with the Rev. Mr. Calthrop to
assist him in his missionary work.

But it was some time before the Jasper B. sailed.  Besides the hole
which was the entrance to the tunnel it was discovered that the vessel
rested on a brick foundation.  The man who had used her for a saloon
and dancing platform in years past had dug away part of the bank of the
canal to fit the curve of her starboard side and had then jammed her
tight into the land.  Even then she would move a trifle at times, so he
had built a dam around her, pumped the water out of the inclosed space,
jacked the hulk up, built the brick foundation, and let her down
solidly on it again.

With the dam removed the water covered this masonry work, and she
looked quite like a real ship.  Mr. Goldberg had known about this
foundation, but he had forgotten it, he explained to Cleggett.

The Rev. Mr. Calthrop fitted her out as a floating chapel and filled
her with Bibles printed in all languages, which he distributes in many
lands.  When his fatal attractiveness for women threatens to involve
him in trouble he hastily puts to sea. He has never become a really
accomplished sailor, and the Jasper B. is something of a menace to
navigation in the ports and harbors of the world.  The suggestion has
frequently been made that she should be set ashore permanently and put
on wheels.  But she has her features.  She is, possibly, the only ship
extant with a memorial skylight to her cabin.  Cleggett wished her to
carry some sort of memorial to the faithful Teddy, the Pomeranian dog,
who perished of a stray shot in the fight at Morris's.  And as a
memorial window did not seem feasible a  compromise was made on the
memorial skylight. The glass is by Tiffany.

Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat, still followed by Reginald Maltravers,
made their way to Brooklyn, where all three were arrested and lodged in
the observation ward of the Kings County Hospital on the suspicion that
they were insane.  The two gunmen were able to get free through
political influence, but Maltravers was sent to England.  He was
maintained for some time in a private institution through the
generosity of the Cleggetts, but finally went on a hunger strike and
died.

Wilton Barnstable smiles and prospers.  He gained great additional fame
for his clever work in the Case of Logan Black.

Cleggett, in 1925, was the father of four boys named D'Artagnan, Athos,
Porthos, and Aramis Cleggett; and the owner of the Claiborne estates.

He is now immensely wealthy.  It never would have occurred to him,
perhaps, to attempt to increase his modest fortune of $500,000 by
speculating on the Stock Exchange, had it not been for a fortunate
meeting with a barber in Nassau Street.

This barber, whose Christian name was Walter, was, indeed, a mine of
suggestion and information of all sorts.  And being a good-natured
fellow, who wished the world well, Walter delighted to impart his
original ideas and the fruits of his observation to his patrons while
shaving them.  Some of these received his remarks coldly, it is true,
but Walter was so charged with a sense of friendliness towards all
mankind that he was never daunted for long by a rebuff.

His interests were wide and varied; Walter found no difficulty in
talking pleasantly upon any subject; he could touch it lightly, or deal
with it in a more serious vein, as the mood of his customer seemed to
require; and he had the art of making deft and rapid transitions from
topic to topic.  But there were two things in particular concerning
which Walter had thought deeply: racehorses and the stock market.

It was the settled grief of Walter's life that he had never been able
to persuade any person with money to take his advice concerning the
races, or follow any of the dazzling stock market campaigns which he
was forever outlining.

"They listen to me," said Walter, a little wistfully, but with a brave
smile, "or else they do not listen--but no one has ever yet taken my
advice! Do you wet your hair when you part it, sir?"

"What," said Cleggett, carefully concealing from Walter the fact that
he spoke of himself, "would  be your advice to a man with $100,000 who
wished to double it in a few weeks?"

"Double it!" cried Walter.  "Why, I could show such a person how to
multiply it by ten inside of two months."  And he rapidly outlined to
Cleggett a scheme so audacious and so brilliant that it fairly took our
hero's breath away.  Moreover, it stood the test of reflection; it was
sound.  Not to descend to the sordid details, in three weeks Cleggett
found himself possessed of a million dollars' gain.  Half of this he
gave to the excellent Walter, and in three months ran the other half
million up to twenty millions.

Then he withdrew permanently from business, as Lady Agatha complained
that it took too much of his time; moreover, he shrank from notoriety,
which his stock market operations were beginning to bring upon him.

Giuseppe Jones, who recovered of his wounds, forswore anarchy and
became a newspaper reporter, and grew to be a fast friend of Cleggett,
who discovered that he was a lad of parts.  Cleggett eventually made
him president of a college of journalism which he founded.  While he
was establishing the institution the man Wharton, his old managing
editor, broken, shattered, out of work, and a hopeless drunkard, came
to him and begged for a position. The man had sunk so low that he was
repeatedly arrested for pretending to be blind on the street corners,
and had debauched an innocent dog to assist in this deception.
Cleggett forgave him the slights of many years and made him an
assistant janitor in the new college of journalism.

The post is a sinecure, and well within even the man Wharton's powers.

Cap'n Abernethy travels with the Cleggetts a great deal, under the
hallucination, which they humor, that he is of service to them.  The
children are very fond of him.  At Claiborne Castle Cleggett has had a
shallow lake constructed for him.  There the Captain, still firm in the
belief that he is a sailor, loves to potter about with catboats and
rafts.

Dr. Farnsworth enjoys a lucrative position as physician to the Cleggett
family, and Kuroki is their butler.

By 1925 the prejudice against militants had abated in certain exalted
circles in England, and Lady Agatha Cleggett and her husband were much
at court.

Cleggett, hating notoriety, had endeavored to conceal the story of his
adventures along the dangerous coasts of Long Island; but concealment
was impossible.  After the death of the old Earl of Claiborne, and the
demise of Reginald Maltravers, and Cleggett's purchase of the Claiborne
estate, the King wished Cleggett to take the title of Earl of Claiborne.

His Majesty sent the Premier to sound Cleggett upon the matter.

"No, no," said Cleggett affably.  "I couldn't think of it.  I am quite
democratic, you know."

The second time the King sent one of the Royal Dukes to see Cleggett.
They were at a house party in Wales, and Cleggett was a little
disturbed that this business affair should be brought up at a gathering
so distinctly social in its nature.  He was too tactful to let it be
seen, but secretly he felt that in approaching the matter in that
fashion the Duke had erred in taste.

"But we need men like you in the House of Lords," pleaded the Duke.

"I cannot think of it," said Cleggett.  And then, not wishing to hurt
the Englishman's feelings, he said kindly:  "But I will promise you
this: if I should change my mind and decide to become a member of any
aristocracy at all, it will be the English aristocracy."

The Duke thanked Cleggett for the compliment; and Cleggett thought he
had heard the end of it.

He was, therefore, surprised, a few weeks later, as he was conversing
with the King at Buckingham Palace, when His Majesty himself, laying
his hand familiarly on Cleggett's shoulder, renewed the petition in
person.  It is hard to refuse things continually without seeming
unappreciative.  In fact, Cleggett felt trapped; if the truth must be
known, he was a little angry.

"Come, come, Cleggett," said the King, "lay aside your prejudices and
oblige me.  After all, it is not the sort of thing I run about offering
to every American in London!"

"Your Majesty," said Cleggett, politely but with a note of firmness and
finality in his voice, "since you mention the word American you force
me to speak plainly.  I would not willingly wound your sensibilities in
any particular, but--pardon me if I am direct--you have been very
persistent.  I AM an American, your Majesty, and I consider the honor
of being an American citizen far above any that it is within your power
to bestow.  If I have not mentioned this before, it was because I did
not wish to hurt you.  I hope our friendship will not cease, but I must
tell you flatly that I desire to hear no more of this.  You will oblige
me by not mentioning it again, Your Majesty."

The King begged Cleggett's pardon with a becoming sincerity, and was
about to withdraw.  Cleggett, who liked him immensely, was sudden
smitten with a regret that it had been so impossible to oblige him.

"Your Majesty," he cried impulsively, "I BEG of you not to get the idea
that there is anything personal in this refusal."

"I respect principle," said the King gravely.  But he WAS hurt and
could not help showing it, and he was a little stiff.

"We will compromise," said Cleggett, with a flash of inspiration.

"I will let you have my second son, Athos Cleggett.  You may make him
Earl of Claiborne, if you choose.  After all, HE is half English!"

"That is like your generosity, Cleggett," said the King, smiling, and
giving Cleggett his hand.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cruise of the Jasper B." ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home