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´╗┐Title: Taken by the Enemy
Author: Optic, Oliver, 1822-1897
Language: English
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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.

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Library)



THE BLUE AND THE GRAY--AFLOAT

Two colors cloth  Emblematic Dies  Illustrated
Price per volume $1.50

  TAKEN BY THE ENEMY
  WITHIN THE ENEMY'S LINES
  ON THE BLOCKADE
  STAND BY THE UNION
  FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT
  A VICTORIOUS UNION

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY--ON LAND

Two colors cloth  Emblematic Dies  Illustrated
Price per volume $1.50

  BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER
  IN THE SADDLE
  A LIEUTENANT AT EIGHTEEN
  (Other volumes in preparation)

Any Volume Sold Separately.
Lee and Shepard Publishers Boston



  [Illustration: "Three Cheers for Captain Passford" (Page 75)]



                      The

               BLUE AND THE GRAY

                     Series

                 [Illustration]

                By Oliver Optic

               TAKEN by the ENEMY



         _The Blue and the Gray Series_

               TAKEN BY THE ENEMY

                       by
                  OLIVER OPTIC

                   Author of
"The Army and Navy Series" "Young America Abroad"
"The Great Western Series" "The Woodville Stories"
"The Starry-Flag Series" "The Boat-Club Stories"
"The Onward and Upward Series" "The Yacht-Club Series"
"The Lake-Shore Series" "The Riverdale Series"
         "The Boat-Builder Series" etc.

              _WITH ILLUSTRATIONS_


                     BOSTON

          LEE AND SHEPARD  Publishers



      Copyright, 1888, by Lee and Shepard
             _All rights reserved._

              Taken by the Enemy.



                       To

                   My Nephew,

               HERBERT W. ADAMS,

                   This Book

          is Affectionately Dedicated.



PREFACE


"TAKEN BY THE ENEMY" is the first of a new series of six volumes which
are to be associated under the general title of "The Blue and the Gray
Series," which sufficiently indicates the character of the books. At the
conclusion of the war of the Rebellion, and before the writer had
completed "The Army and Navy Series," over twenty years ago, some of his
friends advised him to make all possible haste to bring his war stories
to a conclusion, declaring that there could be no demand for such works
when the war had come to an end. But the volumes of the series mentioned
are as much in demand to-day as any of his other stories, though from
their nature the field of their circulation is more limited. Surprising
as this may appear, it is still the fact; and certainly the author has
received more commendatory letters from young people in regard to the
books of this series than concerning those of any other.

Among these letters there has occasionally been one, though rarely, in
which the writer objected to this series for the reason that he was "on
the other side" of the great issue which shook the nation to the centre
of its being for four years. Doubtless the writers of these letters, and
many who wrote no letters, will be surprised and grieved at the
announcement of another series by the author on war topics. The writer
had little inclination to undertake this task; for he has believed for
twenty years that the war is over, and he has not been disposed to keep
alive old issues which had better remain buried. He has spent some time
in the South, and has always found himself among friends there. He
became personally acquainted with those who fought on the Confederate
side, from generals to privates, and he still values their friendship.
He certainly is not disposed to write any thing that would cause him to
forfeit his title to the kind feeling that was extended to him.

It is not, therefore, with the desire or intention to rekindle the fires
of sectional animosity, now happily subdued, that the writer begins
another series relating to the war. The call upon him to use the topics
of the war has been so urgent, and its ample field of stirring events
has been so inviting, that he could not resist; but, while his own
opinions in regard to the great question of five-and-twenty years ago
remain unchanged, he hopes to do more ample justice than perhaps was
done before to those "who fought on the other side."

The present volume introduces those which are to follow it, and presents
many of the characters that are to figure in them. Though written from
the Union standpoint, the author hopes that it will not be found unfair
or unjust to those who looked from the opposite point of view.

  Dorchester, June 12, 1888.



CONTENTS

                                              Page
CHAPTER I.
Astounding News from the Shore                  13

CHAPTER II.
The Brother at the South                        24

CHAPTER III.
Dangerous and Somewhat Irregular                35

CHAPTER IV.
The First Mission of the Bellevite              47

CHAPTER V.
The Bellevite and those on Board of her         58

CHAPTER VI.
Mr. Percy Pierson introduces himself            69

CHAPTER VII.
A Complication at Glenfield                     80

CHAPTER VIII.
A Disconsolate Purchaser of Vessels             91

CHAPTER IX.
Christy matures a Promising Scheme             102

CHAPTER X.
The Attempt to pass into Mobile Bay            113

CHAPTER XI.
The Major in Command of Fort Gaines            124

CHAPTER XII.
How the Bellevite passed Fort Morgan           135

CHAPTER XIII.
A Decided Difference of Opinion                146

CHAPTER XIV.
The Blue and the Gray                          157

CHAPTER XV.
Brother at War with Brother                    168

CHAPTER XVI.
Christy finds himself a Prisoner               179

CHAPTER XVII.
Major Pierson is puzzled                       190

CHAPTER XVIII.
The Morning Trip of the Leopard                201

CHAPTER XIX.
The Report of the Scout from the Shore         212

CHAPTER XX.
A Rebellion in the Pilot-House                 223

CHAPTER XXI.
The Sick Captain of the Leopard                234

CHAPTER XXII.
The Proceedings on the Lower Deck              245

CHAPTER XXIII.
The Expedition from the Leopard                256

CHAPTER XXIV.
The Engineer goes into the Forecastle          267

CHAPTER XXV.
The First Lesson for a Sailor                  278

CHAPTER XXVI.
The Post of Duty and of Danger                 289

CHAPTER XXVII.
A Cannon-Ball through the Leopard              300

CHAPTER XXVIII.
The American Flag at the Fore                  311

CHAPTER XXIX.
On Board of the Bellevite                      322

CHAPTER XXX.
Running the Gantlet                            333



TAKEN BY THE ENEMY



CHAPTER I

ASTOUNDING NEWS FROM THE SHORE


"This is most astounding news!" exclaimed Captain Horatio Passford.

It was on the deck of the magnificent steam-yacht Bellevite, of which he
was the owner; and with the newspaper, in which he had read only a few
of the many head-lines, still in his hand, he rushed furiously across
the deck, in a state of the most intense agitation.

It would take more than one figure to indicate the number of millions by
which his vast wealth was measured, in the estimation of those who knew
most about his affairs; and he was just returning from a winter cruise
in his yacht.

His wife and son were on board; but his daughter had spent the winter at
the South with her uncle, preferring this to a voyage at sea, being in
rather delicate health, and the doctors thought a quiet residence in a
genial climate was better for her.

The Bellevite had been among the islands of the Atlantic, visiting the
Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, and was now coming from Bermuda.
She had just taken a pilot fifty miles from Sandy Hook, and was bound to
New York, for the captain's beautiful estate, Bonnydale, was located on
the Hudson.

As usual, the pilot had brought on board with him the latest New-York
papers, and one of them contained the startling news which appeared to
have thrown the owner of the Bellevite entirely off his balance; and it
was quite astounding enough to produce this effect upon any American.

"What is it, sir?" demanded Christopher Passford, his son, a remarkably
bright-looking young fellow of sixteen, as he followed his father across
the deck.

"What is it, Horatio?" inquired Mrs. Passford, who had been seated with
a book on the deck, as she also followed her husband.

The captain was usually very cool and self-possessed, and neither the
wife nor the son had ever before seen him so shaken by agitation. He
seemed to be unable to speak a word for the time, and took no notice
whatever of his wife and son when they addressed him.

For several minutes he continued to rush back and forth across the deck
of the steamer, like a vessel which had suddenly caught a heavy flaw of
wind, and had not yet come to her bearings.

"What is the matter, Horatio?" asked Mrs. Passford, when he came near
her. "What in the world has happened to overcome you in this manner, for
I never saw you so moved before?"

But her husband did not reply even to this earnest interrogatory, but
again darted across the deck, and his lips moved as though he were
muttering something to himself. He did not look at the paper in his
hands again; and whatever the startling intelligence it contained, he
seemed to have taken it all in at a glance.

Christy, as the remarkably good-looking young man was called by all in
the family and on board of the Bellevite, appeared to be even more
astonished than his mother at the singular conduct of his father; but
he saw how intense was his agitation, and he did not follow him in his
impulsive flights across the deck.

Though his father had always treated him with great consideration, and
seldom if ever had occasion to exercise any of his paternal authority
over him, the young man never took advantage of the familiarity existing
between them. His father was certainly in a most extraordinary mood for
him, and he could not venture to speak a word to him.

He stood near the companion way, not far from his mother, and he
observed the movements of his father with the utmost interest, not
unmingled with anxiety; and Mrs. Passford fully shared with him the
solicitude of the moment.

The steamer was going at full speed in the direction of Sandy Hook.
Captain Passford gave no heed to the movement of the vessel, but for
several minutes planked the deck as though he were unable to realize
the truth or the force of the news he had hastily gathered from the
head-lines of the newspaper.

At last he halted in the waist, at some distance from the other members
of his family, raised his paper, and fixed his gaze upon the staring
announcement at the head of one of its columns. No one ventured to
approach him; for he was the magnate of the vessel, and, whatever his
humor, he was entitled to the full benefit of it.

He only glanced at the head-lines as he had done before, and then
dropped the paper, as though the announcement he had read was all he
desired to know.

"Beeks," said he, as a quartermaster passed near him.

The man addressed promptly halted, raised his hand to his cap, and
waited the pleasure of the owner of the steamer.

"Tell Captain Breaker that I wish to see him, if you please," added
Captain Passford.

The man repeated the name of the person he was to call, and hastened
away to obey the order. The owner resumed his march across the deck,
though it was evident to the anxious observers that he had in a great
measure recovered his self-possession, for his movements were less
nervous, and the usual placid calm was restored to his face.

In another minute, Captain Breaker, who was the actual commander of the
vessel, appeared in the waist, and walked up to his owner. Though not
more than forty-five years old, his hair and full beard were heavily
tinted with gray; and an artist who wished for an ideal shipmaster,
who was both a gentleman and a sailor, could not have found a better
representative of this type in the merchant or naval service, or on the
deck of the finest steam-yacht in the world.

"You sent for me, Captain Passford," said the commander, in respectful
but not subservient tones.

"You will take the steamer to some point off Fire Island, and come to
anchor there," replied the owner, as, without any explanation, he walked
away from the spot.

"Off Fire Island," added Captain Breaker, simply repeating the name of
the locality to which his order related, but not in a tone that required
an exclamation-point to express his surprise.

Whatever the captain of the Bellevite thought or felt, it was an
extraordinary order which he received. It was in the month of April,
and the vessel had been absent about five months on her winter pleasure
cruise.

In a few hours more the yacht could easily be at her moorings off
Bonnydale on the Hudson; but when almost in sight of New York, the
captain had been ordered to anchor, as though the owner had no intention
of returning to his elegant home.

If he was surprised, as doubtless he was, he did not manifest it in the
slightest degree; for he was a sailor, and it was a part of his gospel
to obey the orders of his owner without asking any questions.

No doubt he thought of his wife and children as he walked forward to the
pilot-house to execute his order, for he had been away from them for a
long time. The three papers brought on board by the pilot had all been
given to the owner, and he had no hint of the startling news they
contained.

The course of the Bellevite was promptly changed more to the northward;
and if the pilot wished to be informed in regard to this strange
alteration in the immediate destination of the vessel, Captain Breaker
was unable to give him any explanation.

Captain Passford was evidently himself again; and he did not rush across
the deck as he had done before, but seated himself in an armchair he had
occupied before the pilot came on board, and proceeded to read something
more than the headlines in the paper.

He hardly moved or looked up for half an hour, so intensely was he
absorbed in the narrative before him. Mrs. Passford and Christy, though
even more excited by the singular conduct of the owner, and the change
in the course of the steamer, did not venture to interrupt him.

The owner took the other two papers from his pocket, and had soon
possessed himself of all the details of the astounding news; and it
was plain enough to those who so eagerly observed his expression as he
read, that he was impressed as he had never been before in his life.

Before the owner had finished the reading of the papers, the Bellevite
had reached the anchorage chosen by the pilot, and the vessel was soon
fast to the bottom in a quiet sea.

"The tide is just right for going up to the city," said the pilot, who
had left his place in the pilot-house, and addressed himself to the
owner in the waist.

"But we shall not go up to the city," replied Captain Passford, in a
very decided tone. "But that shall make no difference in your pilot's
fees.--Captain Breaker."

The captain of the steamer, who had also come out of the pilot-house,
had stationed himself within call of the owner to receive the next
order, which might throw some light on the reason for anchoring the
steamer so near her destination on a full sea. He presented himself
before the magnate of the yacht, and indicated that he was ready to
take his further orders.

"You will see that the pilot is paid his full fee for taking the vessel
to a wharf," continued Captain Passford.

The captain bowed, and started towards the companionway; but the owner
called him back.

"I see what looks like a tug to the westward of us. You will set the
signal to bring her alongside," the magnate proceeded.

This order was even more strange than that under which the vessel had
come to anchor so near home after her long cruise; but the captain asked
no questions, and made no sign. Calling Beeks, he went aft with the
pilot, and paid him his fees.

When the American flag was displayed in the fore-rigging for the tug,
Captain Passford, with his gaze fixed on the planks of the deck, walked
slowly to the place where his wife was seated, and halted in front of
her without speaking a word. But there was a quivering of the lip which
assured the lady and her son that he was still struggling to suppress
his agitation.

"What is the matter, Horatio?" asked the wife, in the tenderest of
tones, while her expression assured those who saw her face that the
anxiety of the husband had been communicated to the wife.

"I need hardly tell you, Julia, that I am disturbed as I never was
before in all my life," replied he, maintaining his calmness only with
a struggle.

"I can see that something momentous has happened in our country," she
added, hardly able to contain herself, for she felt that she was in the
presence of an unexplained calamity.

"Something has happened, my dear; something terrible,--something that
I did not expect, though many others were sure that it would come," he
continued, seating himself at the side of his wife.

"But you do not tell me what it is," said the lady, with a look which
indicated that her worst fears were confirmed. "Is Florry worse? Is
she"--

"So far as I know, Florry is as well as usual," interposed the husband.
"But a state of war exists at the present moment between the North and
the South."



CHAPTER II

THE BROTHER AT THE SOUTH


Even five months before, when the Bellevite had sailed on her cruise,
the rumble of coming events had been heard in the United States; and it
had been an open question whether or not war would grow out of the
complications between the North and the South.

Only a few letters, and fewer newspapers, had reached the owner of
the yacht; and he and his family on board had been very indifferently
informed in regard to the progress of political events at home. Captain
Passford was one of those who confidently believed that no very serious
difficulty would result from the entanglements into which the country
had been plunged by the secession of the most of the Southern States.

He would not admit even to himself that war was possible; and before his
departure he had scouted the idea of a conflict with arms between the
brothers of the North and the brothers of the South, as he styled them.

Captain Passford had been the master of a ship in former times, though
he had accumulated his vast fortune after he abandoned the sea. His
father was an Englishman, who had come to the United States as a young
man, had married, raised his two sons, and died in the city of New York.

These two sons, Horatio and Homer, were respectively forty-five and
forty years of age. Both of them were married, and each of them had only
a son and a daughter. While Horatio had been remarkably successful in
his pursuit of wealth in the metropolis, he had kept himself clean and
honest, like so many of the wealthy men of the great city. When he
retired from active business, he settled at Bonnydale on the Hudson.

His brother had been less successful as a business-man, and soon
after his marriage to a Northern lady he had purchased a plantation in
Alabama, where both of his children had been born, and where he was a
man of high standing, with wealth enough to maintain his position in
luxury, though his fortune was insignificant compared with that of his
brother.

Between the two brothers and their families the most kindly relations
had always existed; and each made occasional visits to the other, though
the distance which separated them was too great to permit of very
frequent exchanges personally of brotherly love and kindness.

Possibly the fraternal feeling which subsisted between the two brothers
had some influence upon the opinions of Horatio, for to him hostilities
meant making war upon his only brother, whom he cherished as warmly as
if they had not been separated by a distance of over a thousand miles.

He measured the feelings of others by his own; and if all had felt as
he felt, war would have been an impossibility, however critical and
momentous the relations between the two sections.

Though his father had been born and bred in England, Horatio was more
intensely American than thousands who came out of Plymouth Rock stock;
and he believed in the union of the States, unable to believe that any
true citizen could tolerate the idea of a separation of any kind.

The first paper which Captain Passford read on the deck of the Bellevite
contained the details of the bombardment and capture of Fort Sumter; and
the others, a record of the events which had transpired in the few
succeeding days after the news of actual war reached the North.

This terrible intelligence was unexpected to the owner of the yacht,
believing, as he had, in the impossibility of war; and it seemed to him
just as though he and his cherished brother were already arrayed against
each other on the battle-field.

The commotion between the two sections had begun before his departure
from home on the yacht cruise, but his brother, perhaps because he was
fully instructed in regard to the Union sentiment of Horatio, was
strangely reticent, and expressed no opinions of his own.

But Captain Passford, measuring his brother according to his own
standard, was fully persuaded that Homer was as sound on the great
question as he was himself, though the excitement and violence around
him might have caused him to maintain a neutral position.

Certainly if the Northern brother had anticipated that a terrible
war was impending, he would not have permitted his daughter Florence,
a beautiful young lady of seventeen, to reside during the winter in a
hot-bed of secession and disunion. The papers informed him what had been
done at the North and at the South to initiate the war; and the thought
that Florry was now in the midst of the enemies of her country was
agonizing to him.

Though he felt that his country demanded his best energies, and though
he was ready and willing to give himself and his son to her in her hour
of need, he felt that his first duty was to his own family, within
reasonable limits; and his earliest thoughts were directed to the safety
of his daughter, and then to the welfare of his brother and his family.

"War!" exclaimed Mrs. Passford, when her husband had announced so
briefly the situation which had caused such intense agitation in his
soul. "What do you mean by war, Horatio?"

"I mean all that terrible word can convey of destruction and death, and,
worse yet, of hate and revenge between brothers of the same household!"
replied the husband impressively. "Both the North and the South are
sounding the notes of preparation. Men are gathering by thousands on
both sides, soon to meet on fields which must be drenched in the gore of
brothers."

"But don't you think the trouble will be settled in some way, Horatio?"
asked the anxious wife and mother; and her thoughts, like those of her
husband, reverted to the loving daughter then in the enemy's camp.

"I do not think so; that is impossible now. I did not believe that war
was possible: now I do not believe it will be over till one side or the
other shall be exhausted," replied Captain Passford, wiping from his
brow the perspiration which the intensity of his emotion produced.
"A civil war is the most bitter and terrible of all wars."

"I cannot understand it," added the lady.

"Is it really war, sir?" asked Christy, who had been an interested
listener to all that had been said.

"It is really war, my son," replied the father earnestly. "It will be
a war which cannot be carried to a conclusion by hirelings; but father,
son, and brother must take part in it, against father, son, and
brother."

"It is terrible to think of," added Mrs. Passford with something like
a shudder, though she was a strong-minded woman in the highest sense of
the words.

Captain Passford then proceeded to inform his wife and son in regard to
all the events which had transpired since he had received his latest
papers at Bermuda. They listened with the most intense interest, and the
trio were as solemn as though they had met to consider the dangerous
illness of the absent member of the family.

The owner did not look upon the impending war as a sort of frolic, as
did many of the people at the North and the South, and he could not
regard it as a trivial conflict which would be ended in a few weeks
or a few months. To him it was the most terrible reality which his
imagination could picture; and more clearly than many eminent statesmen,
he foresaw that it would be a long and fierce encounter.

"From what you say, Horatio, I judge that the South is already arming
for the conflict," said Mrs. Passford, after she had heard her husband's
account of what had occurred on shore.

"The South has been preparing for war for months, and the North began to
make serious preparation for coming events as soon as Fort Sumter fell.
Doubtless the South is better prepared for the event to-day than the
North, though the greater population and vast resources of the latter
will soon make up for lost time," replied the captain.

"And Florry is right in the midst of the gathering armies of the South,"
added the fond mother, wiping a tear from her eyes.

"She is; and, unless something is done at once to restore her to her
home, she may have to remain in the enemy's country for months, if not
for years," answered the father, with a slight trembling of the lips.

"But what can be done?" asked the mother anxiously.

"The answer to that question has agitated me more than any thing else
which has come to my mind for years, for I cannot endure the thought of
leaving her even a single month at any point which is as likely as any
other to become a battle-field in a few days or a few weeks," continued
Captain Passford, with some return of the agitation which had before
shaken him so terribly.

"Of course your brother Homer will take care of her," said the terrified
mother, as she gazed earnestly into the expressive face of the
stout-hearted man before her.

"Certainly he will do all for Florry that he would do for his own
children, but he may not long be able to save his own family from the
horrors of war."

"Do you think she will be in any actual danger, Horatio?"

"I have no doubt she will be as safe at Glenfield, if the conflict were
raging there, as she would be at Bonnydale under the same circumstances.
From the nature of the case, the burden of the fighting, the havoc and
desolation, will be within the Southern States, and few, if any, of the
battle-fields will be on Northern soil, or at least as far north as our
home."

"From what I have seen of the people near the residence of your brother,
they are neither brutes nor savages," added the lady.

"No more than the people of the North; but war rouses the brute nature
of most men, and there will be brutes and savages on both sides, from
the very nature of the case."

"In his recent letters, I mean those that came before we sailed from
home, Homer did not seem to take part with either side in the political
conflict; and in those which came to us at the Azores and Bermuda, he
did not say a single word to indicate whether he is a secessionist, or
in favor of the Union. Do you know how he stands, Horatio?"

"My means of knowing are the same as yours, and I can be no wiser than
you are on this point, though I have my opinion," replied Captain
Passford.

"What is your opinion?"

"That he is as truly a Union man as I am."

"I am glad that he is."

"I do not say that he is a Union man; but judging from his silence, and
what I know of him, I think he is. And it is as much a part of my desire
and intention to bring him and his family out of the enemy's country as
it is to recover Florry."

"Then we shall have them all at Bonnydale this summer?" suggested Mrs.
Passford. "Nothing could suit me better."

"Though I am fully persuaded in my own mind that Homer will be true to
his country in this emergency, I may be mistaken. He has lived for many
years at the South, and has been identified with the institutions of
that locality, as I have been with those of the North. Though we both
love the land of our fathers on the other side of the ocean, we have
both been strongly American. As he always believed in the whole country
as a unit, I shall expect him to be more than willing to stand by his
country as it was, and as it should be."

"I hope you will find him so, but I am grievously sorry that Florry is
not with us."

"Tug-boat alongside, Captain Passford," said the commander.

The owner of the Bellevite wished the tug to wait his orders.



CHAPTER III

DANGEROUS AND SOMEWHAT IRREGULAR


In various parts of the deck of the Bellevite, the officers, seamen,
engineers, and coal-passers of the steamer were gathered in knots,
evidently discussing the situation; for the news brought on board by
the pilot had been spread through the ship.

Captain Passford hardly noticed the announcement made to him by the
commander, that the tug was alongside, for he was not yet ready to make
use of it. Even the wife and the son of the owner wondered what the
mission of the little vessel was to be; but the husband and father had
not yet disclosed his purpose in coming to anchor almost in sight of his
own mansion.

"Why have you come to anchor here, Horatio?" asked Mrs. Passford, taking
advantage of the momentary pause in the interesting, and even exciting,
conversation, to put this leading question.

"I was about to tell you. I have already adopted my plan to recover
Florry, and bring my brother and his family out of the enemy's country,"
replied the owner, looking with some solicitude into the face of his
wife, as though he anticipated some objection to his plan.

"You have adopted it so quick?" inquired the lady. "You have not had
much time to think of it."

"I have had all the time I need to enable me to reach the decision to
rescue my child from peril, and save my brother and his family from
privation and trouble in the enemy's country. But I have only decided
what to do, and I have yet to mature the details of the scheme."

"I hope you are not going into any danger," added the wife anxiously.

"Danger!" exclaimed Captain Passford, straightening up his manly form.
"War with all its perils and hardships is before us. Am I a villain,
a poltroon, who will desert his country in the hour of her greatest
need? I do not so understand myself."

"Of course I meant any needless exposure," added Mrs. Passford,
impressed by the patriotic bearing of her husband.

"You may be assured, Julia, that I will incur no needless peril, and I
think I am even more careful than the average of men. But, when I have
a duty to perform, I feel that I ought to do it without regard to the
danger which may surround it."

"I know you well enough to understand that, Horatio," said the lady.

"I believe there will be danger in my undertaking, though to what extent
I am unable to say."

"But you do not tell me how you intend to recover Florry."

"I intend to go for her and my brother's family in the Bellevite."

"In the Bellevite!" exclaimed the lady.

"Of course; there is no other possible way to reach Glenfield," which
was the name that Homer Passford had given to his plantation.

"But Fort Morgan, at the entrance of Mobile Bay, is in the hands of the
Confederates, and has been for three or four months," said Christy, who
had kept himself as thoroughly posted in regard to events at home as the
sources of information would permit.

"I am well aware of it; and I have no doubt, that, by this time, the
fort is strongly garrisoned, to say nothing of other forts which have
probably been built in the vicinity," replied Captain Passford.

"It says in this paper that the ports of the South have been blockaded,"
said Christy, glancing at the journal in his hand.

"The President has issued a proclamation to this effect, but there has
hardly been time to enforce it to any great extent yet. But of these
matters I have nothing to say yet. The important point now is that I
shall go in the Bellevite to Mobile Bay, and by force or strategy I
shall bring off my daughter and the family of my brother."

"Then I suppose Christy and I are to be sent on shore in the tug
alongside," suggested Mrs. Passford.

"That is precisely what I wanted the tug for," added the husband.

"I should be willing to go with you, and share whatever dangers you may
incur," said the lady, who had by this time come to a full realization
of what war meant.

"I should be a heathen to allow you to do so. A woman would be more of
a burden than a help to us. You had better return to Bonnydale, Julia,
where I am sure you can render more service to your country than you
could on board of the steamer. All that I am, all that I have, shall be
at the service of the Union; and I wish you to act for me according to
your own good judgment."

"I shall do whatever you wish me to do, Horatio," added the lady.

"My mission will be a dangerous one at best, and the deck of the steamer
will be no place for you, Julia."

"Very well; Christy and I will take the tug as soon as you are ready to
have us leave you."

"Am I to go on shore, father?" demanded Christy, with a look of chagrin
on his handsome face, browned by exposure to the sun on the ocean.
"I want to go with you; and I am sure I can do my share of the duty,
whatever it may be."

"You are rather young to engage in such an enterprise as that before me,
Christy," added his father, as he gazed with pride at the face and form
of his son, who had thrown back his head as though he felt the
inspiration of all the manliness in his being.

"If there is to be a war for the Union, I am a Union man, or boy, as you
like; and it would be as mean and cowardly for me to turn my back to the
enemy as it would be for you to do so, sir," replied Christy, his chest
heaving with patriotic emotion.

"I am willing you should go with me," added Captain Passford, turning
from the young man to his mother.

There was a tear in the eyes of the lady as she looked upon her son. It
was hard enough to have her husband leave her on such a mission: it was
doubly so to have Christy go with him.

"Christy might be of great service to me," said his father. "I look upon
this war as a very solemn event; and when a man's country calls upon him
to render his time, his comfort, even his life, he has no moral right to
put himself, his father, his brother, or his son in a safe place, and
leave mere hirelings, the thoughtless, reckless adventurers, to fight
his battle for him."

"I am ready to go, sir," added Christy.

"He may go with you, if you think it best," said the mother with a
quivering lip. "I shall miss him, but I am sure you would miss him
more."

"My first mission is hardly in the service of my country; at least, it
is not directly so, though I hope to be of some use to her during my
absence. As I said before, I think my first duty--a duty committed to
me by the Almighty, which takes precedence over all other duties--is,
within reasonable limits, to my own family. I will not spare myself or
my son, but I must save Florry and my brother's family."

"I think you are right, Horatio."

"On my return I shall present the Bellevite to the Government, which
is in sore need of suitable vessels at the present time, and offer my
services in any capacity in which I can be useful," continued Captain
Passford. "Captain Breaker," he called to the commander.

"Here, sir."

"Pipe the entire ship's company on the forecastle, and see that no one
from the tug is near enough to hear what is said there."

Captain Breaker had formerly been a lieutenant in the navy, and the
forms and discipline of a man-of-war prevailed on board of the
steam-yacht. In a minute more the pipe of the boatswain rang through
the vessel, and all hands were mustered on the forecastle. The tug was
made fast on the quarter of the steamer, and no one from her had come
on board.

Captain Passford and Christy walked forward, leaving the lady with her
own thoughts. She was a daughter of a distinguished officer in the navy,
and she had been fully schooled in the lesson of patriotism for such an
emergency as the present. She was sad, and many a tear dropped from her
still handsome face; but she was brave enough to feel proud that she had
a husband and a son whom she was willing to give to her country.

The ship's company gathered on the forecastle; and every one of them
seemed to be deeply impressed with the solemnity of the occasion, for
not a light word was spoken, not a laugh played on any face. They had
just learned that the country was in a state of war; and the present
occasion indicated that the owner had some serious question in his mind,
which was now to be presented to them.

The Bellevite was heavily manned for a yacht; but every person had been
selected for his position, from the highest to the lowest, with the
utmost care by Captain Breaker, assisted by the owner. Every one of them
had been attached to the steamer for at least a year, and some of them
for a longer period. All of them were personally known to the owner and
the members of the family, who had taken the greatest pleasure in
improving and assisting them and their families, if they had any.

They were all devoted to the owner and the members of his family, who
had taken such a strong personal interest in them and theirs. Many
instances of the kindness of the lady in times of sickness and death,
as well as in the brighter days of prosperity and happiness, could be
related; and in return for all this generous and considerate treatment,
there was not a man on board who would not have laid down his life for
the family.

It was certainly a model ship's company; and if there had ever been
another owner and captain like those of the Bellevite, there might also
have been such another collection of officers and seamen. But every one
of them had been selected for his moral character, not less than for his
nautical skill and knowledge. In fact, the personal history of any one
of them would have been interesting to the general reader.

These men composed the audience of Captain Passford when he took his
place at the bowsprit bitts; and, if the occasion had been less solemn,
they would have cheered him, as they were in the habit of doing on every
suitable opportunity, and even when it was not suitable.

The owner prefaced his remarks with a statement of the events which
had occurred in the country since the last dates they had received, and
then proceeded to describe his mission as indicated to his wife and son.
He fully stated the perils of the enterprise, with the fact that his
operations would be somewhat irregular; though he intended to make an
immediate tender of the vessel to the Government, with his own services
in any capacity in which he might be needed.

In spite of the solemnity of the occasion, the men broke out into
cheers, and not a few of the sailors shouted out their readiness to go
with him wherever he might go, without regard to danger or hardship. One
old sheet-anchor man declared that he was ready to die for Miss Florry;
and he was so lustily cheered that it was evident this was the sentiment
of all.

"I have called the tug at the quarter alongside to convey Mrs. Passford
to the shore, though Christy will go with me," added the owner.

At this point he was interrupted by a volley of cheers, for Christy was
a universal favorite on board, as Florry had always been; and the ship's
company regarded her as a sort of mundane divinity, upon whom they could
look only with the most profound reverence.

"In view of the danger and the irregularity of the enterprise, I shall
not persuade or urge any person on board to accompany me; and the tug
will take on shore all who prefer to leave the vessel, with my best
wishes for their future. Those who prefer to go on shore will go aft
to the mainmast," continued Captain Passford.

Officers and seamen looked from one to the other; but not one of them
took a step from his place on the forecastle, to which all seemed to be
nailed.



CHAPTER IV

THE FIRST MISSION OF THE BELLEVITE


Captain Passford looked over his audience with no little interest, and
perhaps with considerable anxiety; for he felt that the success of his
enterprise must depend, in a great measure, upon the fidelity and skill
of the individual members of the ship's company.

"My remarks are addressed to every person in the ship's company, from
Captain Breaker to the stewards and coal-passers; and any one has a
perfect right to decline to go with me, without prejudice to his present
or future interests," continued the owner.

More earnestly than before the officers and men gazed at each other; and
it looked as though not one of them dared to move a single inch, lest a
step should be interpreted as an impeachment of his fidelity to one who
had been a Christian and a trusty friend in all his relations with him.

"I know that some of you have families, mothers, brothers, and sisters
on shore; and I assure you that I shall not regard it as a disgrace or
a stigma upon any man who does his duty as he understands it, without
regard to me or mine," the owner proceeded.

Still not a man moved, and all seemed to be more averse than before to
change their positions a particle; and possibly any one who was tempted
to do so expected to be hooted by his shipmates, if he took the
treacherous step.

"I sincerely hope that every man of you will be guided by his own sense
of duty, without regard to what others may think of his action. I will
not allow any man to suffer from any reproach or indignity on account
of what he does in this matter, if by any means I can prevent it,"
continued Captain Passford, looking over his audience again, to
discover, if he could, any evidence of faltering on the part of a
single one.

Still officers and men were as immovable as a group of statuary; and not
a face betrayed an expression indicating a desire to leave the vessel,
or to falter in what all regarded as the allegiance they owed to the
owner and his family.

"We will all go with you to the end of the world, or the end of the
war!" shouted the old sheet-anchor man, who was the spokesman of the
crew when they had any thing to say. "If any man offers to leave"--

"He shall go with my best wishes," interposed Captain Passford. "None of
that, Boxie; you have heard what I said, and I mean every word of it.
There shall be no persuasion or intimidation."

"Beg pardon, Captain Passford; but there isn't a man here that would go
to the mainmast if he knew that the forecastle would drop out from under
him, and let him down into Davy Jones's locker the next minute if he
staid here," responded Boxie, with a complaisant grin on his face, as
if he was entirely conscious that he knew what he was talking about.

"Every man must act on his own free will," added the owner.

"That's just what we are all doing, your honor; and every one of us
would rather go than have his wages doubled. If any dumper here has a
free will to go to the mainmast, he'd better put his head in soak,
and"--

"Avast heaving, Boxie!" interposed the owner, smiling in spite of
himself at the earnestness of the old sailor.

"I hain't got a word more to say, your honor; only"--

"Only nothing, Boxie! I see that not one of you is inclined to leave the
vessel, and I appreciate in the highest degree this devotion on your
part to me and my family. I have some writing to do now; and, while I am
engaged upon it, Mr. Watts shall take the name and residence of every
man on board. I shall give this list to my wife, and charge her to see
that those dependent upon you need nothing in your absence. She will
visit the friends of every one of you, if she has to go five hundred
miles to do so. I have nothing more to say at present."

The men cheered lustily for the owner, and then separated, as the
captain went aft to draw up his papers to send on shore by Mrs.
Passford. He was followed by Captain Breaker, while little groups
formed in various parts of the deck to discuss the situation.

"I intended to have some talk with you, Breaker, before I said any thing
to the ship's company; but, you know, it is very seldom that I ever say
any thing directly to them," said Captain Passford, as the commander
came up with him.

"This was an extraordinary occasion; and I am very glad that you did
the business directly, instead of committing it to me," replied Captain
Breaker; "and I have not the slightest objection to make. But I have a
word to say in regard to myself personally. As you are aware, I was
formerly an officer of the navy, with the rank of lieutenant. I wish to
apply to the department to be restored to my former rank, or to any rank
which will enable me to serve my country the most acceptably. I hope my
purpose will not interfere with your enterprise."

"Not at all, I think, except in the matter of some delay. I shall tender
the Bellevite as a free gift to the Government in a letter I shall send
on shore by my wife," replied Captain Passford. "But I shall offer to
do this only on my return from a trip I feel obliged to make in her.
I shall also offer my own services in any capacity in which I can be
useful; though, as I am not a naval officer like yourself, I cannot
expect a prominent position."

"Your ability fits you for almost any position; and, after a little
study of merely routine matters, you will be competent for almost any
command," added Captain Breaker.

"I do not expect that, and I am willing to do my duty in a humble
position," said the owner. "All that I am and all that I have shall be
for my country's use."

"I knew very well where we should find you if the troubles ended in a
war."

"My present enterprise will be rather irregular, as I have already said;
but the delay it would cause alone prevents me from giving the vessel to
the Government at once."

"As a man-of-war, the Bellevite could not be used for the purpose you
have in mind. The plan you have chosen is the only practicable one."

"Very well, Breaker. You had better pass the word through the ship's
company that the Bellevite will sail in an hour or two,--as soon as I
can finish my business; and if officer or seaman wishes to leave the
vessel, let him do so," added the owner, as he moved towards the
companionway.

"Not one of them will leave her under any circumstances," replied the
commander, as he went forward.

The word was passed, as suggested by the owner, and the result was to
set the greater part of the officers and men to writing letters for
their friends, to be sent on shore by the tug; but the captain warned
them not to say a word in regard to the destination of the steamer.

In another hour Captain Passford had completed his letters and papers,
including letters to the Secretary of the Navy, a power of attorney to
his wife which placed his entire fortune at her command, and other
documents which the hurried movements of the writer rendered necessary.

The owner and his son bade adieu to the wife and mother in the cabin;
and it is not necessary to penetrate the sacred privacy of such an
occasion, for it was a tender, sad, and trying ordeal to all of them.

All the letters were gathered together and committed to the care of the
lady as she went over the side to leave the floating home in which she
had lived for several months, for the family did not often desert their
palatial cabin for the poorer accommodations of a hotel on shore.

The pilot departed in the tug, and he was no wiser than when he came on
board in regard to the intentions of the owner of the steam-yacht. There
was an abundant supply of coal and provisions on board, for the vessel
was hardly three days from Bermuda when she came up with Sandy Hook; and
the commander gave the order to weigh anchor as soon as the tug cast off
her fasts.

"I suppose we are bound somewhere, Captain Passford," said Captain
Breaker, as soon as the vessel was fully under way. "But you have not
yet indicated to me our destination."

"Bermuda. The fact is that I have been so absorbed in the tremendous
news that came to us with the pilot, that I have not yet come to my
bearings," replied the owner with a smile. "My first duty now will be to
discuss our future movements with you; and when you have given out the
course, we will attend to that matter."

Captain Breaker called Mr. Joel Dashington, the first officer, to him,
and gave him the course of the ship, as indicated by the owner. He was
six feet and one inch in height, and as thin as a rail; but he was a
very wiry man, and it was said that he could stand more hunger, thirst,
exposure, and hardship than any other living man. He was a gentleman in
his manners, and had formerly been in command of a ship in the employ of
Captain Passford. He was not quite fifty years old, and he had seen
service in all parts of the world, and in his younger days had been a
master's mate in the navy.

The second officer was superintending the crew as they put things to
rights for the voyage. His person was in striking contrast with his
superior officer; for he weighed over two hundred pounds, and looked as
though he were better fitted for the occupancy of an alderman's chair
than for a position on the deck of a sea-going vessel. He was under
forty years of age, but he had also been in command of a bark in the
employ of his present owner.

"Of course we cannot undertake the difficult enterprise before us,
Breaker, without an armament of some sort," said Captain Passford, as
they halted at the companionway.

"I should say not, and I was wondering how you intended to manage in
this matter," replied the commander.

"I will tell you, for our first mission renders it necessary to give
some further orders before we go below," continued the owner. "We have
not a day or an hour to waste."

"The sooner we get at the main object of the expedition, the better will
be our chances of success."

"You remember that English brig which was wrecked on Mills Breaker,
while we were at Hamilton?"

"Very well indeed; and she was said to be loaded with a cargo of
improved guns, with the ammunition for them, which some enterprising
Britisher had brought over on speculation, for the use of the
Confederate army and navy,--if they ever have any navy," added Captain
Breaker.

"That is precisely the cargo to which I allude. The brig had a hole in
her bottom, but only a part of her was under water. The officers of the
vessel were confident that the entire cargo would be saved, with not
much of it in a damaged condition," added the owner.

"There has been no violent storm since we left St. George, hardly three
days ago," said the commander.

"I wish to obtain as much of this cargo as will be necessary to arm the
Bellevite properly for the expedition; and I have a double object in
obtaining it, even if I have to throw half of it into the Atlantic
Ocean."

"The fact that we need the guns and ammunition is reason enough for
trying to obtain the cargo."

"But I have the additional inducement of keeping it out of the hands
of the enemy, so that the guns shall be turned against the foes of the
Union instead of its friends. We must make a quick passage, so that,
if we lose this opportunity, it will not be our fault."

"I understand. Pass the word for Mr. Vapoor," added the commander to a
quartermaster who was taking in the ensign at the peak.

Mr. Vapoor was the chief engineer; though he was the youngest officer on
board, and really looked younger than Christy Passford.



CHAPTER V

THE BELLEVITE AND THOSE ON BOARD OF HER


Paul Vapoor was a genius, and that accounted for his position as chief
engineer at the age of twenty-two. He was born a machinist, and his
taste in that direction had made him a very hard student. His days and
a large portion of his nights, while in his teens, had been spent in
studying physics, chemistry, and, in fact, all the sciences which had
any bearing upon the life-work which nature rather than choice had given
him to do.

His father had been in easy circumstances formerly, so that there had
been nothing to interfere with his studies before he was of age. Up to
this period, he had spent much of his time in a large machine-shop,
working for nothing as though his daily bread depended upon his
exertions; and he was better qualified to run an engine than most men
who had served for years at the business, for he was a natural
scientist.

There was scarcely a part of an engine at which he had not worked with
his own hands as a volunteer, and he was as skilful with his hands as he
was deep with his head. Paul's father was an intimate friend of Captain
Passford; and when a sudden reverse of fortune swept away all the former
had, the latter gave the prodigy a place as assistant engineer on board
of his steam-yacht, from which, at the death of the former incumbent of
the position, he had been promoted to the head of the department. While
his talent and ability were of the highest order, of course his rapid
promotion was due to the favor of the owner of the Bellevite.

Captain Breaker, who had rather reluctantly assented to the placing in
charge of the engineer department a young man of only twenty-one, had no
occasion to regret that he had yielded his opinion to that of his owner.
Paul Vapoor had been found equal to all the requirements of the
situation, for the judgment of the young chief was almost as marvellous
as his genius.

Paul was gentle in his manners, and possessed a very lovable
disposition; in fact, he was almost a woman in all the tender
susceptibilities of his nature; and those who knew him best knew not
which to admire most, his genius or his magnetic character. Mr. Leon
Bolter, the first assistant engineer, was thirty-six years old; and
Mr. Fred Faggs, the second, was twenty-six. But there was neither envy,
jealousy, nor other ill-feeling in the soul of either in respect to his
superior; and they recognized the God-given genius of the chief more
fully than others could, for their education enabled them to understand
it better.

Paul Vapoor and Christy Passford were fast friends almost from the
first time they met; and they had been students together in the same
institution, though they were widely apart in their studies. They were
cronies in the strongest sense of the word, and the chief engineer would
have given up his very life for the son of his present employer. The
owner favored this intimacy, for he felt that he could not find in all
the world a better moral and intellectual model for his son.

Mr. Vapoor, as he was always called when on duty, even by the members of
the owner's family in spite of the fact that he seemed to be only a boy,
appeared on the quarter-deck of the steamer in answer to the summons of
the commander. He was neatly dressed in a suit of blue, with brass
buttons, though some of the oil and grime of the engine defaced his
uniform. He bowed, and touched his cap to the commander, in the most
respectful manner as he presented himself before him.

"For reasons which you will understand better, Mr. Vapoor, at a later
period, Captain Passford is in a great hurry to reach Bermuda, where we
are bound, at the earliest possible moment," the captain began. "Our
ordinary rate of speed is fourteen knots when we don't hurry her."

"That is what I make her do when not otherwise instructed," replied the
chief engineer.

"You assisted as a volunteer in building the engine of the Bellevite,
and you were in the engine-room during the whole of the trial trip,
three years ago," continued Captain Breaker with a smile on his face;
and a smile seemed to be a necessity in the presence of the young man.

"That is all very true, captain; and I was more interested in this
engine than I have ever been in any other, and it has fully realized my
strongest hopes."

"What speed did you get out of her on the trial trip?"

"Eighteen knots; but her machinery was new then. The order of Captain
Passford included the requirement that the engine of the vessel should
give her the greatest speed ever produced in a sea-going steamer, and
the Bellevite was built strong enough to bear such an engine. I believe
the company that built it fully met the requirement."

"What do you believe to be her best speed, Mr. Vapoor?"

"I have never had the opportunity to test it, but I believe that she
can make more than twenty knots, possibly twenty-two. You remember
that Captain Passford was in a desperate hurry to get from Messina to
Marseilles a year ago this month, and the Bellevite logged twenty knots
during nearly the whole of the trip," replied the engineer, with a
gentle smile of triumph on his handsome face, for he looked upon the
feat of the engine as he would upon a noble deed of his father.

"You made her shake on that trip, Mr. Vapoor."

"Not very much, sir. All the owner's family, including Miss Florry, were
on board then, and, if any thing had happened, I should have charged
myself with murder. I do not know what the Bellevite could do if the
occasion warranted me in taking any risk."

"I do not wish you to be reckless on the present emergency; but it is
of the utmost importance to save every hour we can, and the success or
failure of the expedition may depend upon a single hour. I will say no
more, though an accident to the engine would be a disaster to the
enterprise. I leave the matter with you, Mr. Vapoor," added the
commander, as he moved off.

"I understand you perfectly, Captain Breaker, and there shall be no
failure in the engine department to meet your wishes," replied the
chief, as he touched his cap and retired to the engine-room.

"I am waiting for you, Breaker," said Captain Passford, who was standing
near the companionway with Christy.

"Excuse me for a few minutes more, for there seems to be a strong
breeze coming up from the north-east, and I want to take a look at
the situation," replied the commander, and he hastened forward.

It had been bright sunshine when the pilot came on board: but suddenly
the wind had veered to an ugly quarter, and had just begun to pipe
up into something like half a gale. Captain Breaker went to the
pilot-house, looked at the barometer, and then directed Mr. Dashington
to crowd on all sail, for he intended to drive the vessel to her utmost
capacity.

The Bellevite was rigged as a barkantine; that is, she was square-rigged
on her foremast, like a ship, while her main and mizzen masts carried
only fore-and-aft sails, including gaff-topsails. The shrill pipe of the
boatswain immediately sounded through the vessel, and twenty-four able
seamen dashed to their stations. In a few minutes, every rag of canvas
which the steamer could carry was set. But the commander did not wait
for this to be done, but hastened to join the owner.

"I suppose you don't want me, sir," said Christy, as his father led the
way into the cabin.

"On the contrary, I do want you, Christy," replied Captain Passford, as
he halted, and the commander passed him on his way to the cabin. "I wish
you to understand as well as I do myself what we are going to do."

"I shall be very glad to know more about it," added Christy, pleased
with the confidence his father reposed in him in connection with the
serious undertaking before him.

"In the work I have to do, you stand nearer to me than any other person
on board," continued Captain Passford. "I know what you are, and you are
older than your sixteen years make you. It was at your age that Charles
XII. took command of the armies of Sweden, and he was more than a
figure-head in his forces."

"Sometimes I feel older than I am," suggested the boy.

"I believe in keeping a boy young as long as possible, and I have never
hurried you by putting you in an important place, though at one time I
thought of having a third officer, and assigning you to the position,
for the practice it would give you in real life; but I concluded that
you had better not be driven forward."

"I think I know something about handling a steamer, father."

"I know you do; though I have never told you so, for I did not care to
have you think too much of yourself. Now, in common with all the rest of
us, you are hurled into the presence of mighty events; and in a single
day from a boy you must become a man. You are my nearest representative
on board; and if any thing should happen to me, in the midst of the
perils of this expedition, a responsibility would fall upon you which
you cannot understand now. I wish to prepare you for it," said Captain
Passford, as he went down into the cabin.

The commander was already seated at the table, waiting for the owner;
and Captain Passford and Christy took places near him. The cabin was as
elegant and luxurious as money and taste could make it. In the large
state-room of the owner there was every thing to make a sea-voyage
comfortable and pleasant to one who had a liking for the ocean.

Leading from the main cabin were the state-rooms of Florence and
Christy. One of the four others was occupied by Dr. Linscott, the
surgeon of the ship, who had had abundant experience in his profession,
who had been an army surgeon in the Mexican war, though his health did
not permit him to practise on shore.

Another was occupied by the chief steward, who was a person of no little
consequence on board; while the others were appropriated to guests when
there were any, as was often the case when the Bellevite made short
voyages.

The trio at the table began the discussion of the subject before them
without delay; but it is not necessary to enter into its details, since,
whatever plans were made, they must still be subject to whatever
contingencies were presented when the time for action came.

Forward of the main cabin was what is called in naval parlance the
ward-room, and it was called by this name on board of the Bellevite. In
this apartment the officers next in rank below the commander took their
meals; and from it opened the state-rooms of the first and second
officers on the starboard-side, with one for the chief engineer on the
port-side, and another for his two assistants next abaft it.

The commander was an old friend of the owner, and messed with him in
the main cabin, though his state-room was a large apartment between the
cabin and the ward-room; the space on the opposite side of the ship
being used for the pantries and the bath-room.

Before the conference in the cabin had proceeded far, the motion of the
steamer, and the creaking of the timbers within her, indicated that
Mr. Vapoor was doing all that could be required of him in the matter of
speed, though the pressure of canvas steadied the vessel in the heavy
sea which the increasing breeze had suddenly produced. Before night, the
wind was blowing a full gale, and some reduction of sail became
necessary.

The Bellevite had the wind fair, and the most that was possible was made
of this accessory to her speed. At one time she actually logged the
twenty-two knots which the chief engineer had suggested as her limit,
and inside of two days she reached her destination. Christy had suddenly
become the active agent of his father, and he was the first to be sent
on shore to obtain information in regard to the guns and ammunition, for
it was thought that he would excite less suspicion than any other on
board.



CHAPTER VI

MR. PERCY PIERSON INTRODUCES HIMSELF


Christy procured the desired information on shore; and being but a boy,
he obtained no credit for the head he carried on his shoulders, so that
no attention was given to him when he made his investigation. At the
proper time Captain Passford appeared; but, as the guns and other war
material were intended for the other side in the conflict, he was
obliged to resort to a little strategy to obtain them.

But they were obtained, and the Bellevite was as fully armed and
prepared for an emergency as though she had been in the employ of the
Government, as it was intended that she should be when her present
mission was accomplished. During her stay at St. George, such changes
as were necessary to adapt the vessel to her enterprise--such as the
fitting up of a magazine--were completed, and the steamer sailed.

After a quick passage, the Bellevite arrived at New Providence, Nassau,
where she put in to obtain some needed supplies, as it was directly on
her course. Already there was not a little activity at the principal
foreign ports nearest to the Southern States, created by the hurried
operations of speculators anxious to profit by the war that was to come;
and later these harbors were the refuge of the blockade-runners.

The arrival of the Bellevite at New Providence created not a little
excitement among the Confederate sympathizers who had hastened there to
take advantage of the maritime situation, and to procure vessels for the
use of the South in the struggle. The steamer was painted black, and, as
she had been built after plans suggested by her owner, she was peculiar
in her construction to some extent, and her appearance baffled the
curiosity of the active Confederate patriots and speculators alike; for
both classes were represented there, though not yet in large numbers.

Captain Passford had instructed the commander to conceal all the facts
in regard to her, and no flag or any thing else which could betray her
nationality or character was allowed to be seen. The business of
obtaining the needed stores required many of the officers and men to go
on shore, but all of them were instructed to answer no questions. No one
was allowed to come on board.

"Good-morning, my friend," said a young man to Christy, as he landed on
the day after the arrival.

"Good-morning," replied the owner's son, civilly enough, as he looked
over the person addressing him, who appeared to be a young man not more
than eighteen years old.

"What steamer is that?" continued the stranger, pointing to the
steam-yacht.

Christy looked at his interlocutor, who was a pleasant-looking young
man, though there was something which did not appear to be quite natural
in his expression; and he suspected that he had been placed at the
landing to interrogate him or some other person from the steamer, in
regard to her character and nationality. Possibly he derived this idea
from the fact that he had himself been employed on a similar duty at St.
George.

"Do you mean that schooner?" asked Christy carelessly, as he pointed at
a vessel much nearer the shore than the Bellevite.

"No, not at all," replied the stranger. "I mean that steamer, off to the
north-east," replied the young man, pointing out into the bay.

"North-east?" added the owner's son. "That is this way;" and he turned
about, and directed his finger towards the interior of the island. "That
would put the craft you mean on the shore, wouldn't it?"

"Not a bit of it! I don't mean that way. Don't you know the points of
the compass?"

"I learned them when I was young, but I forget them now."

"Pray how old are you, my friend?" asked the stranger, who thought his
companion was stupid enough to answer any question he might put to him.

"I was forty-two yesterday; and in a year from yesterday, I shall be
forty-three, if I don't die of old age before that time," replied
Christy, looking the other full in the face, and with as serious an
expression as he could command.

"Forty-two! You are chaffing me. Didn't you come from that steamer over
there?" demanded the young man, pointing at the Bellevite again.

"No, sir. I came from China, from a place they call Shensibangerwhang.
Were you ever there?"

"I never was there, and I question if you were ever there."

"Do you mean to question my veracity?" demanded Christy, knitting his
brow.

"Oh, no, not at all!"

"Very well; and when you go to Shensibangerwhang, I shall be glad to see
you; and then I will endeavor to answer all the questions you desire to
ask."

"I thought you came from that steamer over there."

"Thought made a world, but it wasn't your thought that did it."

"Of course you know the name of that steamer."

"Oh, now I think of her name! That is the Chicherwitherwing, and she
belongs to the Chinese navy. She is sent out on a voyage of discovery to
find the north pole, which she expects to reach here in the West Indies.
When she finds it, I will let you know by mail, if you will give me your
address," rattled Christy with abundant self-possession.

"No, no, now! You are chaffing me."

"Do you know, brother mortal of mine, that I suspect you are a Yankee;
for they say they live on baked beans, and earn the money to buy the
pork for them by asking questions."

"I am not a Yankee; I am a long way from that."

"Then perhaps you sympathize with the meridonial section of the nation
on the other side of the Gulf Stream."

"Which section?" asked the stranger, looking a little puzzled.

"The meridonial section."

"Which is that? I don't know which meridian you mean."

"I mean no meridian. Perhaps the word is a little irregular; I studied
French when I was in the Bangerwhangerlang College in China, and I am
sometimes apt to get that language mixed up with some other. Let me see,
we were speaking just now, were we not?"

"I was."

"Sometimes I can't speak any English, and I had forgotten about it.
If you prefer to carry on this conversation in Hebrew or Hindostanee,
I shall not object," added Christy gravely.

"I think I can do better with English."

"Have your own way about it; but 'meridonial' in French means
'southern,' if you will excuse me for making the suggestion."

"Then I am meridonial," replied the stranger, and he seemed to make the
admission under the influence of a sudden impulse.

"Your hand on that!" promptly added Christy, extending his own.

"All right!" exclaimed the other. "My name is Percy Pierson. What is
yours?"

"Percy Pierson!" exclaimed Christy, starting back with astonishment, as
though his companion had fired a pistol in his face.

"What is the matter now?" demanded Percy Pierson, surprised at the
demonstration of the other.

"What did you say your name was? Did I understand you aright?"

"I said my name was Percy Pierson. Is there any thing surprising about
that?" asked Percy, puzzled at the demeanor of Christy.

"See here, my jolly high-flyer, who told you my name?" demanded the son
of the owner of the Bellevite, with a certain amount of indignation in
his manner.

"You did not, to be sure, though I asked you what it was."

"What sort of a game are you trying to play off on me? I am an innocent
young fellow of sixteen, and I don't like to have others playing tricks
on me. Who told you my name, if you please?"

"No one told me your name; and I don't know yet what it is, though I
have asked it of you."

"Oh, get away with you! You are playing off something on me which I
don't understand, and I think I had better bid you good-morning," added
Christy, as he started to move off.

"Then you won't tell me your name. Stay a minute."

"You know my name as well as I do, and you are up to some trick with
me," protested Christy, halting.

"'Pon my honor as a Southern gentleman, I don't know your name."

"If you are a Southern gentleman, I must believe you, for I did not come
from as far north as I might have come. My name is Percy Pierson," added
Christy seriously; for he felt that this was actually war, and that the
strategy that does not always or often speak the truth was justifiable.

"Percy Pierson!" exclaimed the real owner of the name. "Didn't I just
tell you that was my name?"

"Undoubtedly you did, and that is the reason why I thought you were
making game of me."

"But how can that be when my name is Percy Pierson?"

"Give it up; but I suggest that in London, where I came from, there are
acres of King Streets, almost as many Queens; and, though you may not be
aware of the fact, there are seven thousand two hundred and twenty-seven
native and foreign born citizens of the name of John Smith. Possibly you
and I are the only two Percy Piersons in the country, or in the world."

"Now you say you are from London, and a little while ago you said you
were from farther north than I am. Which is it?"

"Isn't London farther north than any Southern State?"

"Enough of this," continued Percy impatiently.

"Quite enough of it," assented Christy.

"Will you tell me what steamer that is, where she is bound, and what she
is here for?"

"My dear Mr. Pierson, it would take me forty-eight hours to tell you
all that," replied the representative of the Bellevite, taking out his
watch. "If you will meet me here to-morrow night at sundown, I will make
a beginning of the yarn, and I think I can finish it in two days. But
really you must excuse me now; for I have to dine with the Chinese
admiral at noon, and I must go at once."

"I can put the owner of that craft in the way of making a fortune for
himself, if he is willing to part with her," added Percy, as his
companion began to move off.

"That is just what the owner of that steamer wants to do: he desires to
part with her, and he is determined to get rid of her. I have the means
of knowing that he will let her go just as soon as he can possibly get
rid of her."

"Then he is the man my father wants to see; that is, if the vessel is
what she appears to be, for no one is allowed to go on board of her."

"I am sorry to tear myself away from you, but positively I must go now;
for the Chinese admiral will get very impatient if I am not on time, and
I have some important business with him before dinner," said Christy, as
he increased his pace and got away from Mr. Percy Pierson, though he was
afraid he would follow him.

But he did not; instead of doing so, he began to talk with a boatman who
had some kind of a craft at the landing. Christy was not in so much of a
hurry as he had appeared to be, and he waited in the vicinity till he
saw his Southern friend embark in a boat which headed for the Bellevite.
He concluded that his communicative friend meant to go on board of her,
thinking the vessel was for sale.



CHAPTER VII

A COMPLICATION AT GLENFIELD


The boat in which Christy had come on shore carried off to the steamer
the last load of supplies, and she sailed in the middle of the
afternoon. Captain Passford and Christy were standing on the quarter
deck together; and, as the latter had not had time to tell his father
his adventure before, he was now relating it.

The captain was amused with the story, and told his son that he had been
approached by a gentleman who said his name was Pierson, and he was
probably the father of the enterprising young man who had been so
zealous to assist in the purchase of a suitable vessel for the service
of the Confederates.

"Let me alone! Take you hands off of me!" shouted a voice that sounded
rather familiar to Christy, as he and his father were still talking on
the deck. "Let me alone! I am a Southern gentleman!"

"I know you are," replied Mr. Dashington, as he appeared on deck, coming
up from the companionway that led to the cabin and ward-room, holding by
the collar a young man who was struggling to escape from his strong
grasp. "Don't make a fuss, my hearty: I want to introduce you to the
captain."

"What have you got there, Mr. Dashington?" asked Captain Breaker, who
was standing near the owner.

"I have got a young cub who says he is a Southern gentleman; and I
suppose he is," replied the first officer. "But he is a stowaway, and
was hid away under my berth in the ward-room.--Here you are, my jolly
frisker: and that gentleman is the captain of the steamer."

As he spoke, the officer set his victim down rather heavily on the deck,
and he sprawled out at full length on the planks. But he was sputtering
with rage at the treatment he had received; and he sprang to his feet,
rushing towards Mr. Dashington as though he intended to annihilate him.
But, before he reached his intended victim, he stopped short, and eyed
the tall and wiry first officer from head to foot.

He concluded not to execute his purpose upon him, for he could hardly
have reached his chin if he resorted to violence. But he turned his back
to the captain, so that the owner and his son did not get a look at his
face. Captain Breaker walked up to him and began to question him.

"If you are a Southern gentleman, as I heard you say you were, don't
you think it is a little irregular to be hid in the ward-room of this
vessel?" was the first question the commander asked.

"I am what I said I was, and I am proud to say it; and I don't allow any
man to put his hands on me," blustered the prisoner.

"But I think you did allow Mr. Dashington to put his hands on you,"
replied the captain.

"Of course I did not know that he was a Southern gentleman when I snaked
him out from under the berth," added the first officer.

"I accept your apology," said the prisoner, coming down from his high
horse with sudden energy; possibly because he felt that he had a mission
on board of the steamer.

All present laughed heartily at the apology of the giant mate, and
Christy changed his position so that he could see the front of the
stowaway.

"Why, that is the gentleman I met on shore,--Mr. Percy Pierson!"
exclaimed the owner's son, as soon as he saw the face of his late
companion at the landing.

"I am glad to see you again, Mr. Percy Pierson," said the original of
that name, as he extended his hand to Christy.

"I did not expect to meet you again so soon, and under such
circumstances," replied he, taking the offered hand; for his father
had proclaimed his own principle on board, that, though the war was
not to be conducted on peace principles, it was to be carried on in an
enlightened, and even gentlemanly manner, so far as he was concerned.

"I am right glad to see you, Mr. Percy Pierson, for I think you can
assist me in the object I have in view," said the first officer's
victim, looking now as though he was entirely satisfied with himself.

"What do you mean by calling each other by the same name?" inquired
Captain Breaker, somewhat astonished at this phase of the conversation.

"That is the most astonishing thing in the world, that my friend here
should have the same name I have; and he even thought I was playing
a game upon him when I told him what my name was," replied Percy,
laughing, and apparently somewhat inflated to find a friend on board.

"Precisely so," interposed Captain Passford, before the commander had
time to say any thing more about the name. "But, as you both have the
same name, it will be necessary to distinguish you in some manner, or it
may make confusion while you remain on board."

"I see the point, sir, though I do not expect to remain on board for any
great length of time; or possibly you may not," answered Percy.

"Then, I suggest that you be called simply Percy, for that is a noble
name; and the other young man shall be addressed as Pierson. By doing
this we shall not sacrifice either of you," continued the owner, who did
not understand what his son had been doing.

"I have not the slightest objection. My friend Pierson gave me some
information in regard to this steamer which made me very desirous to
get on board of her. That must explain why I was found here under
circumstances somewhat irregular, though a true gentleman can sacrifice
himself to the needs of his suffering country."

"To what country do you allude, Mr. Percy?" asked Captain Passford.

"To _our_ country," replied Percy with strong and significant emphasis,
as though he were sure that this would cause him to be fully understood.

"Exactly so," added the owner.

"But I see that you are sailing away from Nassau as fast as you can, and
I think I had better explain my business as soon as possible," continued
Percy, who seemed to be as confident as though he had already
accomplished his purpose as hinted at in his conversation with Christy.

"I shall have to ask you to excuse me for a few minutes, for I have a
little business with the captain of the steamer and this young man,"
said Captain Passford. "The tall gentleman who so gracefully apologized
for his seeming rudeness to you will entertain you while I am absent."

The owner presented the tall first officer by name to his late victim,
and at the same time gave him a look which Mr. Dashington understood to
the effect that he was to keep the young man where he was. With a signal
to his son and to the captain, he went below.

"I do not understand this masquerade, Christy," said he, as he seated
himself at the cabin table. "What have you been telling this young
fellow?"

Christy had only informed his father that he had been approached by
Percy, and that he had, as well as he could, evaded his questions,
and he had fooled the young man. He then gave the substance of the
conversation at the landing, which amused both the owner and the
commander very much; though he could not recall the Chinese names,
invented on the spot, which he had used.

"All right, Christy. This young man is evidently the son of the
gentleman by the name of Pierson who approached me for the purpose of
purchasing the Bellevite. I went so far as to tell him that the vessel
was for service in Southern waters. At any rate, he inferred that she
was intended for the navy of the Confederate States, and I did not think
it necessary to undeceive him. With this belief, he sought no further to
buy the vessel, and I had no difficulty in shaking him off. It seems
that the same mission absorbs the attention of the son, and that he has
come on board to purchase the steamer."

  [Illustration: "Let Me alone, I am a Southern Gentleman" (Page 81)]

"I told him that you wanted to get rid of her, and that you would do so
soon, by which, of course, I meant that she was to go into the service
of the Government," added Christy.

"I should not have taken this young man on board; but, as he is here, he
may be of use to us. But it is necessary to conceal from him the real
character of the Bellevite, and we will keep up the farce as long as we
please. So far as he is concerned, Christy, you may be my nephew instead
of my son."

Captain Passford led the way back to the deck, where they found the
first officer evidently on the best of terms with his prisoner. But Mr.
Dashington had been as discreet as a man could be, and Percy had not
obtained a particle of information from him.

"Now, Mr. Percy, I am at your service," said the owner, when he reached
the deck. "I think you said you had some business with me."

"I have not the pleasure of knowing who or what you are, sir; and Mr.
Dashington and my friend Mr. Pierson are all I know on board by name,"
added Percy.

"Then you must be made better acquainted before any thing can be done,"
replied the owner, pointing to the captain of the steamer. "Mr. Percy,
this is Captain Breaker, the commander of the steamer."

"And this," added Captain Breaker, pointing at the owner, "is Captain
Passford, who is the fortunate owner of this vessel, though she is soon
to pass into other hands."

"Captain Passford!" exclaimed Percy, bowing to both gentlemen as he
was presented to them. "That is a familiar name to me; and upon my word,
I thought it was Colonel Passford of Glenfield when I first looked at
him."

"He is my brother; but I never heard him called 'colonel' before," added
the owner, laughing at the odd-sounding title, as it was to him.

"Colonel Homer Passford is the name by which he is often called near his
residence," Percy explained. "He is the nearest neighbor of my father,
Colonel Richard Pierson."

"Indeed! then you probably know my brother," said Captain Passford,
interested in spite of himself.

"As well as I know any gentleman in the State of Alabama," replied
Percy. "By the great palmetto! you are Colonel Passford's brother; and
I think you must know Miss Florence Passford, who has been staying all
winter with her uncle."

"She is my daughter," replied the owner with some emotion, which he
could not wholly conceal when he thought of his mission in the South.

"I have met her several times, though not often, for I have been away
from home at school. But my brother, Major Lindley Pierson, I learn from
my letters, is a frequent visitor at your brother's house: and they even
say"--

But Percy did not repeat what they said, though he had gone far enough
to give the father of Florry something like a shock.

"What were you about to say, Mr. Percy?" he asked.

"I think I had better not say it, for it may have been a mere idle
rumor," answered Percy, who was now beginning to disclose some of his
better traits of character.

"Does it relate to my daughter, sir?" asked the captain rather sternly;
for, in the present condition of the country, he was more than
ordinarily anxious about his daughter.

"I ought not to have said any thing, sir; but what I was about to say,
but did not say, does relate to Miss Florence," replied Percy, not a
little embarrassed by the situation. "But I assure you, sir, that it was
nothing that reflects in the slightest degree upon her. As I have said
so much, I may as well say the rest of it, or you will think more than
was intended was meant."

"That is the proper view to take of it, Mr. Percy."

"It was simply said that my brother Lindley was strongly attracted to
your brother's house by the presence of your daughter. That is all."

But the fond father was very anxious. Of course the major was a
Confederate.



CHAPTER VIII

A DISCONSOLATE PURCHASER OF VESSELS


The information in regard to Florry was very meagre and very indefinite.
She was a very beautiful young lady of eighteen; and it was not at all
strange that a young Confederate officer should be attracted to her,
though the thought of it was exceedingly disagreeable to her father,
under present circumstances.

Percy evidently was not satisfied with the situation; and after he had
given the information which had so disturbed the owner of the steamer,
he desired to change the subject of the conversation, to which Captain
Passford only assented after he realized that nothing could be
ascertained from him in regard to his daughter.

"I don't think I quite understand the situation on board of this
steamer," said Percy, when he had told all he knew about the visits of
his brother at Glenfield.

"What further do you desire to know in regard to her?" asked Captain
Passford; for the commander, when he saw that there was a family matter
involved in the conversation, was disposed to be very reticent.

"I did not come on board of this vessel in the manner I did--I do not
even know her name yet," continued Percy; and when he found that he was
talking to a brother of Colonel Passford, he dropped all his rather
magnificent airs, and became quite sensible.

"The steamer is called the Bellevite," replied the owner.

"The Bellevite. It is an odd name, but I think I can remember it. I was
about to say that I did not come on board of her, as I did, without an
object; for I assure you that I am high-toned enough not to do any thing
in an irregular manner unless for the most weighty reasons," said Percy,
with an anxious look directed towards the island, which was now almost
out of sight.

"I do not ask your reasons; but, if you wish to give them, I will hear
all you have to say, Mr. Percy," replied the owner.

"I talked with Mr. Pierson on shore; and though he was disposed at first
to chaff me, and avoid giving me any information in regard to this
steamer, he afterwards informed me that the gentleman who owned her
intended to get rid of her as soon as he could."

"And you came on board for the purpose of buying her?" suggested Captain
Passford.

"I did not expect to buy her myself, of course; but my father is
exceedingly anxious to obtain a steamer like this one, and he asked me
to do what I could to obtain any information in regard to her. That was
the object which brought me on board of her in a clandestine manner."

"You were very zealous in meeting the wishes of your father."

"More than that, I was at work in a good cause; and I think I have
patriotism enough to do my duty to my country in the hour of her need,"
added the young man, with a swell of the chest.

"After his family, a man's first duty is to his country," said the
owner.

"I wanted to go into the army, for I am eighteen years old; but my
father insisted that I could be of more service to the Confederacy as
his assistant in obtaining vessels for its use."

"I understand your motives."

"From what I learned from Mr. Pierson,--though I do not yet know who or
what he is," said Percy, bestowing a smiling glance upon Christy.

"You may look upon him as my nephew," added Captain Passford, glancing
at his son, who gave a slight bow for the benefit of the guest on board.

"From what I could learn from your nephew, sir, I concluded that this
steamer could be bought, if I could only obtain an interview with the
owner," continued Percy, with an inquiring glance at all who were
present "I understand you are the owner of the vessel, Captain
Passford."

"You are quite right: she has been my yacht since she was built, and a
stronger and more able vessel was never put into the water."

"Mr. Pierson gave me to understand that he was in sympathy with the
Confederacy; and since I came on board, and learned that you were a
brother of our nearest neighbor, I have no difficulty in arriving at the
conclusion that you are a devoted friend of the Southern cause."

"What I am, for the present, I do not feel at liberty to say," replied
Captain Passford, who was certainly reluctant to play a double part
before the young man, though he felt that the necessities of the
occasion required him to do so.

"Quite right, sir; one cannot be too cautious in these times. But it
is time for me to say that I did not intend to take passage in the
Bellevite, and I am sure my father will be very anxious in my absence."

"May I ask how you did intend to proceed?"

"I can hardly tell myself, sir; but my object was to see the owner as
soon as I could discover who he was. But I have found you now, Captain
Passford, and I am glad to find in you a friend of our holy cause."

The owner only bowed; and it was as true as it could be that the
representative of the intended purchaser of vessels jumped at nearly all
of his conclusions, giving the captain but little occasion to say any
thing that was not literally true; though the deception was just as real
as though it had been carried on with actual falsehood.

"May I ask you for a few minutes in private, Captain Passford?"
continued Percy.

"Certainly;" and the owner retired with him to the weather-rail.

"I have seen this vessel, and I have heard what you say of her. Now I am
better informed in regard to her than my father is. I am not authorized
to name a price, but I am very sure that he will buy her."

"So he said to me himself, Mr. Percy," added the owner with a smile.

"He said so to you, sir!" exclaimed the young man, starting back; for he
believed that he had accomplished all that had been done towards buying
the vessel.

"I had an interview with him, and stated most explicitly that the
Bellevite could not be purchased by any person at any price; and when
I hinted very guardedly to him, as I do to you, in the strictest
confidence, that I am hound for Mobile Bay, he did not urge the matter.
He was satisfied that the steamer was to be used in a good cause; and I
can give you the same assurance, Mr. Percy."

The young man looked positively humble after he had listened to the
remark of the owner, for he felt that his father had "taken all the wind
out of his sails." He looked in the direction of the receding island of
Nassau, and realized that he had been wasting his time, to say nothing
of the wasted strategy he had bestowed on his enterprise.

"You have stated that you are bound for Mobile Bay, sir," said he.
"That is a long distance from New Providence, as I have learned from
experience."

"But this trip will give you the satisfaction of being restored to your
own home in a very short time, for there is no faster vessel afloat than
the Bellevite," added Captain Passford.

"It will put me into the army," said Mr. Percy; but he felt at once that
he had made a slip of the tongue, and he hastened to correct the effect
of his involuntary speech. "Of course, I wanted to go into the army of
my country, as every patriotic fellow in the South does; but my father
objects simply because I can be of more service to the good cause in
another field of action, and I had to yield the point."

The owner thought he had not been guilty of a very savage yielding of
his own inclination, but he said nothing. He was evidently the youngest
child of the family, and doubtless the pet of his parents; and it was
hard for them to put him in a position to be shot, or to endure the
hardships of the camp.

"I see now that my mission is a failure, though with no detriment to the
good cause. I wish I was in New Providence again," continued Mr. Percy,
looking very much discontented with himself.

"I am sorry you did not speak to me on shore as your father did, and
that would have saved you from all annoyance."

"But I must beg you to do me the favor to put me ashore again, for my
father will suffer untold agonies when he misses me to-night."

"Put you on shore!" exclaimed Captain Passford. "You are a sensible and
reasonable young gentleman, and you will readily see that this is quite
impossible."

"We have not been out above two hours, sir," suggested Percy.

"But we have made thirty-six miles, at least, in that time; and to
return would delay me about four or five hours,--long enough, perhaps,
to defeat the object of my voyage. I assure you that it is wholly
impossible for us to return."

"Do you think so, sir?" asked the enterprising purchaser of vessels,
looking very disconsolate indeed.

"I not only think so, but I am perfectly sure on this point. You can see
for yourself that I cannot sacrifice the object of my voyage--for the
vessel has a special mission at her destination--by a delay of some
hours. I am not responsible for your being on board, and I am sorry that
I cannot do any thing for you."

"But you can put me ashore at Key West, and I may find some vessel bound
to Nassau," suggested Percy, becoming more and more disconsolate, as he
realized the difficulties of his situation, for he was plainly very much
averse to returning to his home.

"But, my dear Mr. Percy, the Bellevite will not go within fifty miles
of Key West; and if she did, I should not dare to put in there, for the
port is a naval station of the United States, and my vessel might be
taken from me in the absence of any regular papers to explain her
character."

"I suppose you are right," added Percy gloomily.

Captain Passford was really more afraid of falling in with any naval
vessel of the nation than of meeting any of the Confederate tugs or
other vessels which had been hurriedly fitted out, even at this early
period of the war; for he knew that his mission, however justifiable
under the circumstances, was quite irregular. He had decided to keep at
least fifty miles from Key West, and the usual course of vessels bound
into the Gulf of Mexico.

"We may meet some vessel, and you could put me on board of her," the
disconsolate young man proposed.

"My mission compels me to give every vessel a wide berth, and I can
incur no risks. But it cannot be a great hardship for you to be conveyed
back to your own home."

"But my father needs me with him, and he will suffer terrible anxiety
when he fails to find me. He will even think I am dead."

"I know he must be anxious, but I think some way will be found to send a
letter to him."

"But I shall be compelled to go into the army, and my father is utterly
opposed to that."

"But you have a brother who is a major in the army, and I should say
that he will be able to save you."

"My brother is the one who insists that I shall go into one of the
regiments forming in the State. He called me a coward because I yielded
to my father and mother."

"All that is your own family affair, and I am sorry that I can do
nothing for you, Mr, Percy.--Mr. Watts," he called to the chief steward,
who was planking the lee-side of the deck.

"Here, sir," replied the official.

"Give Mr. Percy the best stateroom available, and see that he is made as
comfortable and happy as possible," added the owner.

The involuntary guest on board was conducted to the cabin.



CHAPTER IX

CHRISTY MATURES A PROMISING SCHEME


However interesting the voyage of the Bellevite might prove to be, the
purpose of this story does not admit of its details. Mr. Vapoor was
instructed to the effect that a quick run was desirable, and he governed
himself accordingly. At daylight on a bright May morning, the lofty
light tower of Sand Island, off the entrance to Mobile Bay, was reported
by the lookout, and the captain was called.

On the passage from Nassau, the guns of the steamer had been mounted;
for, as a measure of prudence, they had been put in the hold. Though the
owner hoped to avoid any close scrutiny of his outfit, and had succeeded
in doing so, he was not inclined to tempt fate by any carelessness. But
when the first watch was called, the night before her arrival off the
bay, every thing was in condition for active service.

Captain Passford had not a particle of the foam generated by the
excitement of the times, and he sincerely hoped he should have no
occasion to use the guns which it had cost him so much trouble to
procure. Fort Morgan was on one side of the entrance to the bay, and
Fort Games on the other side.

He had seen a paragraph in one of his papers, to the effect that one or
both of these works had been garrisoned by Confederate troops, and it
was not likely to be an easy matter to get into the bay. As it looked to
the owner and the commander, the only way to accomplish this feat was by
running the gauntlet of both forts, which were just three nautical miles
apart.

A shot from either of them might go through the boiler or engine of the
Bellevite, which would render her utterly helpless, and subject all on
board to the fate of prisoners-of-war. It looked like a terrible
alternative to the owner, so overburdened with anxiety for the safety of
his daughter; but he was prepared to run even this risk for her sake.

The method of getting into the bay had been fully considered by the
owner and the captain; and as soon as the latter came on deck, he
ordered the course of the vessel to be changed to the westward, as they
had decided to enter the bay by the Middle Channel. For the danger from
Fort Gaines was believed to be less than that from Fort Morgan, though
either of them doubtless had the means of sinking the steamer with a
single shot.

The water was shoal in the Middle Channel, and it was not prudent to
attempt to go into the bay at any other time than high tide; though
Captain Breaker was thoroughly acquainted with the channel, having once
been engaged in a survey of the shifting shoals in this locality, and he
had once before taken the Bellevite by this passage on a trip to New
Orleans.

As he could not foresee the time of the steamer's arrival off the bay,
he was obliged to consult his almanac, and make his calculations in
regard to the tide, which rises and falls less than three feet at this
point. It would not be safe to attempt the passage before nine o'clock
in the forenoon, and he headed the vessel away from the land.

Percy had tried to make the best of his situation, annoying as it was;
and Christy amused him with more Chinese reminiscences. Both of them
came on deck at an unusually early hour on the morning that the Sand
Island light was made out; for there was more commotion than usual on
board, and even in the cabin, where the owner and commander discussed
the situation.

"Here we are, my Chinese friend," said Percy, as he joined Christy on
deck, and made out the tall tower in the distance. "I wish I was on the
Island of Nassau, instead of here."

"Why, Mr. Percy, this is your own, your native land; and in China we
always used to have a warm affection for our own country," replied
Christy.

"You didn't have to go into the army there," said Percy with a sigh.

"But don't you want to go into the army?"

"Certainly I do; that is the dearest wish of my heart. But my father
would not let me, and what could I do?"

"If you were bent on it, like a patriot, as you must be, you could run
away and enlist. I don't know but I shall do that when I get back to
China."

"I don't like to do any thing to make my poor father unhappy. I am
afraid my absence now, without his knowing where I am, or whether I am
dead or alive, will bring on a fit of sickness."

"But I am sure he would be very proud of you if you should run away and
join the army."

"Perhaps he would; but I should not feel very proud of myself if I did
a thing like that. I am only afraid I shall meet my brother, Major
Pierson, and that he will make me go into some regiment against the
wishes of my father and mother. He is not willing to hear a word from
either of them," replied Percy, disgusted with the prospect before him.

"He is very patriotic," suggested Christy.

"He is altogether too patriotic for me. But don't misunderstand me: I am
really very anxious to go into the army, and fight the enemies of my
country."

"I see that you are, and perhaps you and I had better run away and
enlist."

"My conscience would not let me do that contrary to the wishes of my
parents," replied Percy, shaking his head vigorously.

"But you may not see your brother the major; for probably he has been
ordered away with his regiment before this time," said his companion in
comforting tones, though he was not as sincere as he generally was.

"I am afraid I shall; and I fear, that, in the absence of my father, he
would put me into the ranks in spite of all I could do."

"But your mother is at home."

"Lindley don't care a rush for what she says in this matter, for he
insists that a boy of eighteen ought not to be tied to his mother's
apron-strings when his country needs his services, I may see my brother
before we get fairly into the bay."

"Where in the world are you going to see him before you get on shore?"
asked Christy, becoming more interested in the conversation.

"I believe he is in command of the garrison at Fort Gaines, though I am
not sure," replied Percy, suddenly looking more disconsolate than ever
at the prospect of meeting his patriotic brother.

"What makes you think he is?" asked Christy, with the feeling that he
might be on the point of obtaining some useful information.

"They talked of sending him there before father and I left for New
Providence."

"I supposed your brother was a young fellow like yourself."

"I believe he is twenty-six years old; but he has been two years in a
military school in North Carolina, and they say he is a good soldier,
and knows all about guns and forts and such things."

"Where do you think we are likely to overhaul him?"

"I don't know much about this business; but don't a boat have to come
out from the fort and see that this vessel is all right before she can
go into the bay?" asked Percy.

"I don't know about that. We may run into the bay without waiting for
any boat."

"Then they fire on you from the fort," suggested the disconsolate.

"We rather expect that," added Christy quietly.

"You do?"

"Of course, a shot from the fort may blow us out of the water; but we
can't help that, and we must take our chances of being hit."

"But that is terribly risky business, and the whole of us may be killed
before we get by the fort."

"Of course: that may be the case; but we have no papers, and we have to
take things as they come."

"It isn't pleasant to take cannon-balls as they come, for they are apt
to hit hard. But they won't fire at us if a boat comes off to examine
the vessel."

"But in that case you will have the pleasure of meeting your brother the
major."

"And whatever he may do with the steamer, he will take me to the fort
with him, and put me into the ranks."

"Perhaps we can save you from such a fate in some way," suggested
Christy, who was already doing some heavy thinking on his own account.

"I wish you would!" exclaimed Percy, catching at the straw held out to
him.

"There is time enough, and I will see you again," added Christy, as he
joined his father on the forecastle, where lie was taking a survey.

The owner's son had an idea, and he thought it was a good one. Without
losing any time, he laid it before his father, explaining it in detail.
He was even ready to remove objections to the scheme, and was confident
that it would succeed. Captain Passford called the commander, and
informed him what his son had suggested. Captain Breaker heartily
approved it; for, if it failed, it would leave the steamer in no worse
position than before, with all her chances of running the gauntlet
successfully still open to her.

Christy was the best person on board to manage the details, for he was
the most intimate with the son of the purchaser of vessels. He returned
to that part of the deck where he had left his companion. He found that
Percy was very anxious to see him again, for he had founded a hope on
what had been said before.

"I think we can manage it, Mr. Percy, if you will do just what you are
told to do," Christy began.

"I will do all that to the letter," protested Percy; and a smile
actually lighted up his face at the prospect of escaping the fate to
which his father and mother objected so strongly.

"You see the trouble with the Bellevite is that she has no papers; not
even a letter from the Confederate agent who is picking up vessels for
the navy. But I think we can manage it if you will learn your part
correctly."

"I will do that. Do you think you can really keep my brother from taking
me to the fort?" asked Percy, his tones and manner burdened with
anxiety.

"I feel almost sure of it."

"Good for you!"

"You must go into the cabin now with me. They are just starting up the
steamer again, and she will soon reach the channel where she is going
into the bay."

The owner and the commander were busy in instructing the ship's company
in regard to what would be expected of them as soon as the Bellevite was
in motion again. All the men spoken to smiled as they heard what was
said to them, and they evidently regarded the whole affair as a decided
pleasantry. But they all promised to be very discreet, and to say only
what they had been told to say if they were called on for any
information by Confederate officials.

In the mean time Christy was very busy with his pupil, who entered
heartily into the plan which promised to save him from shouldering a
musket in one of the companies of his brother's regiment. He had been
quite enthusiastic from the first; and, as he was deeply interested in
the result of the adventure, he was a very apt pupil.

As the Bellevite approached the Middle Channel, a tug-boat was
discovered off Fort Gaines, which immediately began to move towards the
approaching steamer. Examined with the glass, a heavy gun was seen on
her forecastle.



CHAPTER X

THE ATTEMPT TO PASS INTO MOBILE BAY


The tug appeared to be one of the craft which had been hastily prepared
for service, and she did not look like a formidable vessel. Captain
Breaker was sure he could blow her out of the water with his heavy guns,
on an emergency; but this would be bad policy, and he did not propose to
do any thing of this kind.

He was not as confident as Captain Passford and his son were that the
plan adopted would be an entire success, with the assistance of Percy;
but there could be no harm in trying it. He intended to pass as near
Fort Gaines as possible, for it was not probable that the works were
yet in the best condition; and two miles from Fort Morgan, which was
doubtless much stronger, would afford a better chance of escaping any
shots fired from it.

As the Bellevite approached the channel, where there could not be more
than a foot of water under her keel, Christie came on deck, followed by
Percy. The latter wore a sort of naval uniform, which his instructor had
borrowed for him from his own stock. It fitted him well; for he was no
larger than the owner's son, though he was two years older.

Percy was to be on duty, on board of the steamer, as a Confederate agent
taking the vessel into the bay for service. He was not a little inflated
by the position which had been assigned to him, though he had no powers
whatever, except in appearance. He had been instructed to conduct
himself boldly, and to insist that the vessel was in his charge, when
she was boarded by officers from the tug or from the fort. His very
nature inclined him to play this part to the best advantage.

The blockade had been established at some of the northern ports of the
seceded States, but not yet at the cities on the Gulf of Mexico; and
the only real obstacle to the passage of the Bellevite into the bay
consisted of the two forts, for the tug-boats were not regarded as of
any consequence to an armed steamer of great speed like the Bellevite,

"We are approaching the shoal water now," said Captain Breaker to Mr.
Vapoor, as the steamer came near the south-eastern end of Pelican
Island. "We may take the ground, for the shoals have an ugly trick of
changing their position. Let her go at about half speed."

"Half speed, sir," replied the chief engineer, as he descended to the
engine-room.

"Is it fully high tide now, Breaker?" asked Captain Passford, who was
watching the movements of the vessel with the most intense interest, for
it seemed to him that the critical moment in his enterprise had come.

"Not quite; it will not be full sea for about half an hour," replied the
commander. "If we take the ground, we shall have some small chance of
getting off.--Mr. Dashington."

"On duty, sir," responded the first officer.

"Beeks has the wheel, I believe?"

"Yes; and Thayer is with him."

"They are both reliable men; but I wish you would stand by the helm,
and see that the steamer is headed directly towards the eastern end of
Dauphine Island. That will give us the deepest water till we get to the
spit. Have a man in the port and starboard chains with directions to
sound as fast as possible."

"Mr. Blowitt," called the first officer, "let a hand sound in the port
and starboard chains, and look out for it yourself, if you please."

The second officer went forward and the first officer aft, each to
perform the duties assigned to him by the captain. The speed of the
Bellevite had been reduced, and she was going along at a very easy rate.
The tug was some distance beyond Fort Gaines when she was first seen,
and she seemed to be incapable of making more than six knots an hour.

The steamer had taken on board all the coal it was possible for her to
stow away in her bunkers, and a large supply had been put into the hold;
but she had used a considerable portion of it in her rapid passage,
though she had still an abundant supply for her return voyage. The
reduction in the quantity had made her draught somewhat less, and the
owner and captain hoped she would get through the channel.

But the thought had hardly passed through their minds before the
Bellevite came to a sudden stop, and her keel was heard grinding on
the bottom. Mr. Vapoor heard the sound in the engine-room, and felt the
jar; and before any bell came to him, he had stopped the machine, and
reversed it so as to check the steamer's headway.

"Run her back with all the steam you can crowd on, Mr. Vapoor," said
Captain Breaker, as he hastened to the door of the engine-room.

"I don't think she hit the ground very hard, captain," added the chief
engineer.

"No; she will come off. The ground has shifted since I was here last,"
said the captain of the vessel.

But it was half an hour before she yielded to the pressure brought to
bear upon her, and then only because a few inches had been added by the
tide to the depth of water. She went back, and came into depth enough to
give her a foot under her keel.

"It don't look very hopeful," said Captain Passford, as he joined the
commander at the door of the engine-room.

"Oh, I think we shall be all right now!" replied Captain Breaker very
cheerfully. "I have found where the shoal is now, and I know where to
find deeper water.--Keep her going astern, Mr. Vapoor."

"A boat from the fort, sir," reported a messenger, who had been sent aft
by the second officer on the forecastle.

"That looks like an inquiry into our business here," added the owner.

"Now we are all right," said the commander, who was watching the
position of the vessel very carefully. "I must go to the wheel, and look
out for the course myself."

Again the Bellevite went ahead; and she soon reached a point half way
between the two forts, and her speed was reduced to not more than three
knots. But the tug was approaching, and the worst part of the channel
was still to be attempted. The two men in the chains reported the depth
as rapidly as they could heave the lead, and it was soon evident that
the steamer could not pass the extensive bar to the westward of the
ship-channel.

"Steamer ahoy!" shouted the captain of the tug, as he stopped his screw
within hailing-distance of the Bellevite.

"Reply to that hail, Mr. Percy," said the commander to the young
gentleman in uniform. "You must do all the talking."

"I shall be very happy to do it, and I think I can do it to your
satisfaction," replied Percy confidently.

"Jump up on the rail nearest to the tug, where you can see and hear."

"I am not much of a sailor, Captain Breaker, and I don't pretend to be
one," added Percy. "What shall I say to the captain of that boat?"

"On board of the tug!" shouted the agent of his father, after the
commander had instructed him in regard to his speech.

"What steamer is that?" demanded the master of the tug.

Captain Breaker instructed him in what manner to make his reply, though
he did not tell him what to say. The young man was to explain the
character of the vessel as he understood it; and neither the commander
nor the owner was disposed to indulge in any unnecessary strategetical
falsehood, though they felt that they could do so in the service of the
Union.

"The Bellevite from Nassau," replied Percy.

"Is she a Federal vessel?" inquired the captain of the tug with the
greatest simplicity.

"A Federal vessel!" exclaimed Percy, evidently expressing by his manner
some of the indignation he felt. "Do you mean to insult me, sir?"

"No, I do not mean to insult you; but it becomes necessary for me to
ascertain something more in regard to the steamer," returned the other.
"Where are you from?"

"I told you the vessel was from Nassau."

"But she don't hail from Nassau. Where did she come from before that?"

"From Bermuda," answered Percy, as instructed.

"But she don't belong to Bermuda."

The volunteer agent of the Confederate cause was not able to answer any
questions in this direction, and the commander did not tell him what
more to say.

"Can you tell me who is in command of Fort Gaines at the present time?"
demanded Percy, branching out on his own account.

"I can; but I want you to tell me something more about the steamer,
before I answer any questions. Is the steamer armed?"

"She is armed; and she could blow your tug into ten thousand pieces
in four minutes if she should open upon you," added Percy; and the
listeners were of the opinion that he was beginning to use strong
speech.

"That may be; but with a fort on each side of you, I don't think you
will get into the bay in broad daylight," said the captain of the tug.
"The commander of Fort Gaines is in that boat, and I suppose he is
coming off to examine the steamer. As you are not disposed to answer my
questions, you can wait for him; but if you try to get into the bay, you
will find that a shot from both forts can reach you."

"I am an agent of the Confederate government, and my father has been
sent to Nassau to obtain vessels for our navy," continued Percy, as he
saw that the boat from the fort was still some distance from the vessel.

"Why didn't you say so before?" demanded the captain of the tug rather
impatiently. "Of course you have some papers from the agent at Nassau,
to show what the vessel is."

"Not a single paper; he had no time to give me any."

"Who is the agent?"

The question was evidently put as a test; for if the young agent, as
the captain could see that he was, gave a known name, it would be some
evidence that he told the truth.

"Colonel Richard Pierson; and he is my father."

"Your father!" exclaimed the other, evidently impressed with the fact,
and his tone was more respectful.

"You can come on board and see her for yourself," suggested Percy,
prompted by the commander; for there was nothing on board to betray her
true character, the guns having been concealed.

"I will not do that, as the commander of the fort will soon be here, and
he may make the examination for himself. But perhaps you will be willing
to give me your name?" added the captain.

"My name is Percy Pierson; and, as I told you, I am the son of Colonel
Richard Pierson."

"Then you are the brother of Major Pierson, who is in command of Fort
Gaines. I think it must be all right."

"Of course it is all right. Do you think I would bring a vessel into
this bay if she were not all right?" inquired Percy with becoming
indignation.

"I suppose you have heard there is going to be a war, and it is
necessary to find out what vessels go into the bay," said the captain of
the tug, when he had brought his craft quite near the steamer. "That is
a very fine vessel."

"It is the fastest and strongest steamer that floats, and she will give
a good account of herself when the trouble begins in earnest."

"Here comes the boat from the fort, and I see that Major Pierson is in
the stern sheets. I have no doubt he will find you all right," said the
captain.

The boat came alongside of the Bellevite, and the major went on board.



CHAPTER XI

THE MAJOR IN COMMAND OF FORT GAINES


Percy Pierson retained his position on the rail when his brother the
major came up the gangway steps, which had been put over for him. As
the latter went up, he could not help seeing him; and his astonishment
evidently mounted to the highest degree, as manifested in his
expression. The owner and the commander stood near the rail, to give
the visitor a pleasant reception.

But the major took no notice of them; for his attention was plainly
absorbed in his surprise at seeing his brother, dressed in uniform, on
the rail of the steamer. He halted as soon as he had mounted the rail,
over which he must pass to reach the deck. He looked at Percy for some
time, without being able to say a word, and seemed to be not quite sure
that it was he.

The younger brother was as silent as the older one; for he had had some
rather exciting times with him in the matter of enlisting, and he was
not very confident of his reception at the hands of the commander of
Fort Gaines. He looked at him with interest, not unmingled with some
painful solicitude for the future.

"Percy!" exclaimed Major Pierson at last, when he was entirely satisfied
that the young man was his brother, in spite of the uniform of blue he
wore, though the gray had not yet come into extensive use.

"Lindley!" added the younger, evidently desiring to go no faster than
the occasion might require of him.

"I am glad to see you back again," continued the major, without offering
to take his hand. "You deserted like a coward, and I have been ashamed
of you ever since. A young fellow like you, eighteen years old, who will
not fight for his country, ought to lose the respect of even his own
brother."

"That is a pleasant greeting," replied Percy, with the suspicion of a
sneer on his face.

"It is all that a coward deserves," replied Lindley severely.

"I am no coward, any more than you are," protested Percy. "You know that
father did not wish me to join the army, though I wished to do so."

"I know that you wished to do so just as any other coward does,--over
the left."

"What could I do when father told me not to go to the war?"

"What could you do? You could have gone! If you had not been a poltroon,
you would have joined the first regiment that came in your way."

"I never was in the habit of disobeying my father," pleaded the young
agent.

"You were not? You ran away to New Orleans last winter when your father
told you not to go. You came home from the academy when he told you to
remain there. You have spent the evening in Mobile when he told you not
to go there. I could tell you instances all day in which you disobeyed
him, and mother too," continued the soldier warmly.

"That was different."

"It was different; and you could obey your father in a bad cause, but
not in a good one. I am heartily ashamed of you, and I don't feel
willing to own you as a brother of mine."

"But my father told me that I could better serve the good cause by going
with him than I could by joining the army."

"And you were willing to go with him, for then you could keep out of
danger. Father is getting old, and he is not fit to serve in the army;
and you have been his pet since you were born. But that is no excuse for
you; and if I can get you back into the army, I mean to do so."

Percy was afraid he might succeed, and he did not feel as confident as
he had been; and he lost, for the time, some of his self-possession. He
was confronting the fate he had dreaded when he found the steamer was
leaving Nassau.

"What are you doing here?" demanded the major, looking down upon the
deck of the vessel for the first time.

"I am taking this steamer into the bay, where she is to go into the
service of the Confederate States," answered Percy, plucking a little
more confidence from the nature of his present occupation.

"You are taking her into the bay!" exclaimed the older brother.

"That is what I said, and that is what I mean," added Percy, glad to see
that his mission had produced an impression.

"Taking this steamer into the bay!" repeated the major, evidently unable
to comprehend the mission of his brother. "Do you mean to say that _you_
are taking her in, Percy?"

"That is what I mean to say, and do say."

"Are you the pilot of the steamer? I should think you might have been,
for she was aground just now," sneered the commander of the fort.

"I am not the pilot, and I don't pretend to be a sailor; but the steamer
is in my charge," replied Percy, elevating his head to the need of the
occasion.

"In charge of the steamer! I would not trust a coward like you in charge
of a sick monkey," added Lindley, with his contempt fully expressed in
his face.

"See here, Lindley, I don't mean to be insulted on board of this steamer
by my own brother. If you can't be decent, I have nothing more to say to
you!" cried Percy, his wrath breaking out quite violently.

"If you give me an impudent word, I will take you into the boat and put
you into the fort," added the major, as he stepped down upon the deck.

"No, you won't. I will jump overboard before I will be carried to the
fort. I have done just what my father told me to do, to say nothing of
my mother; and I won't be insulted by you. It is you who are the coward
and the poltroon, to do so," continued Percy, boiling over with rage.

Whatever provocation the major had had for his savage treatment of
his brother, the owner of the Bellevite thought his conduct was
unjustifiable. The young man was under age; and whether or not his
father was less a patriot than his older son, the latter was certainly
unkind, ungenerous, and even brutal. Without being a "milk-and-water
man," Captain Passford was full of kindness, courtesy, and justice. He
did not like the behavior of the major towards his brother.

It looked like a family quarrel of the two brothers on board of the
steamer; for Percy was evidently "a weak chicken," after all, though he
had become desperate under the stings and reproaches of the major. Under
present circumstances, it did not appear that Percy could be of any
service on board of the Bellevite, for his brother would not hear a word
he said. Captain Passford directed the commander to have every thing
ready for a hurried movement at once, for there was but little hope of
satisfying a man as unreasonable as the commander of the fort had proved
himself to be in his dealing with his brother.

The captain of the steamer went to Mr. Vapoor, who was standing near the
door of the engine-room, and said something to him, which soon produced
a lively effect among the coal-passers below.

"I will attend to your case in a few minutes, Percy, for I do not allow
any one to be impudent to me," growled the major.

"Nor I either. If you put a finger on me, I will put a bullet through
your head, if you are my brother!" yelled Percy, as he took a small
revolver from his hip-pocket.

This demonstration increased the anger of Lindley; and he ran up the
steps to the rail again, where he called upon two soldiers to come on
deck. At the same moment, Captain Breaker, as instructed by the owner,
rang the bell on the quarter, and the engine began to move again. Before
the men from the boat could leave it, the steamer was moving, and it was
no longer possible for them to obey the order.

"What are you about, sir?" demanded Major Pierson, rushing to the
commander, not a little excited by what had been done.

"I think this thing has gone about far enough, sir," replied Captain
Breaker, as calmly as though there had not been a ripple on the surface
of affairs.

"But I came on board of this steamer to make an examination of the
character of the vessel," protested the major, who evidently did not
like the present aspect of the situation.

"I have waited for you to do so; but I do not care to lose the tide
while you are quarrelling with your brother, sir," added the commander.

"But I order you to stop, sir!" continued the major.

"What am I to do, Mr. Percy?" asked Captain Breaker, addressing the
young man with a revolver in his hand.

There was something on the part of the commander which indicated that
he was playing a part, as were all on board, though he seemed to be
a little amused to find that he was taking his orders from a boy of
eighteen. At the same time he nodded his head slightly, though very
significantly, to the young agent.

"Go ahead just as fast as you can make the steamer travel, Captain
Breaker," said Percy, with as much energy as though he had been in
command of a Confederate fleet.

"Certainly, Mr. Percy; I shall obey your order, as you have charge of
the vessel," added the commander.

This passage between the authority of the steamer and his brother
absolutely confounded the major, and for a couple of minutes he was
unable to say any thing at all. But Captain Breaker, who was the only
pilot on board, was obliged to leave the ship's guest in order to look
out for the course of the steamer.

It seemed to be useless to attempt to get over the bar where he
had tried to do so; and he directed the vessel towards the main
ship-channel, finding plenty of water to enable him to reach it. But he
would have to run the gauntlet of Fort Morgan, and the chances of a shot
were against him.

"Do you mean to say that Percy is in charge of this steamer, Captain
Breaker?" demanded Major Pierson, who had by this time recovered some
portion of his self-possession.

"That is what both he and I said to you," replied Captain Breaker.

"And the vessel is to be in the service of the Confederate States,"
added Percy, with more pluck than he had displayed before. "If my
brother will not let her pass into the bay, I will go on shore at
Fort Morgan, and explain the situation to the officer in command,"
blustered Percy; and perhaps he would have done just as much under the
circumstances if he had known the vessel was on the other side in the
coming conflict.

"Where are your papers, sir?" asked the major.

"We have no papers; and that is why I am come in charge of the steamer,"
replied the agent, who seemed to be quite able to strain a point when
necessary.

"We met Colonel Richard Pierson in Nassau, and I believe he is your
father and Mr. Percy's," answered Captain Breaker.

"He is; but I can hardly understand how he happened to send my brother
home in charge of this fine steamer," said the major, glancing at his
brother.

"Going into the army is not all the duty a man has to do for his
country," said Percy warmly.

"May I ask where this vessel came from?" inquired the commander of the
fort.

"From New York before she went to Bermuda and Nassau; before that, from
England," replied the commander evasively.

"If you are really in charge of the steamer, Percy, I have nothing more
to say," continued Major Pierson. "Now may I ask who owns her?"

"Captain Horatio Passford, who stands there?"

The officer in command of the fort started back as though he had
received another surprise, greater than before.



CHAPTER XII

HOW THE BELLEVITE PASSED FORT MORGAN


Major Lindley Pierson was plainly very much disturbed when the owner
of the Bellevite was pointed out to him by the commander. He had
practically retreated from the position he had taken with his brother,
and had apparently given up the idea of sending him to the fort to be
made a soldier.

From the point which the steamer had reached, just north of Little
Pelican Island, Captain Breaker had directed Mr. Dashington to head the
vessel to the eastward, through Sand Island Channel; and she was now
moving towards the main ship-channel, which passed under the very guns
of Fort Morgan.

The tug had picked up the boat from the fort on the other side of the
bay, and was following the Bellevite, though she had fallen a long way
behind her in a very short time. It was about two miles to the more
formidable fort, and the steamer was going at full speed, so that it
could not be long before a shot would interrupt the harmony of her
movements.

In the mean time the commander of Fort Gaines was really a prisoner on
board of the Bellevite, for Captain Breaker had started her screw before
he could get any of his force on board. But the major was not half so
much disturbed by this fact as he was by the consciousness that he had
behaved in a very rude, brutal, and tyrannical manner in the presence of
Colonel Passford's brother, who had thus far spoken not a word to him.

"Captain Breaker, may I ask you to present me to the owner of the
steamer?" said Major Pierson, after he had looked about him for a time,
and perhaps considered how he should atone for his rudeness.

"Certainly, if you desire it," replied the commander, who was as polite
as though he had been brought up in Paris, though he was hardly an
exception to all naval officers.

"Will you excuse me if I say that you are running at great speed, sir,
and a shot from Fort Morgan cannot be much longer postponed," added the
major, as he glanced at the fort on the right.

"I did not willingly start the steamer, sir; but it was my duty to
protect the agent in whose charge the steamer comes into port. If you
say that he shall suffer no further annoyance, either on your own part
or that of your people, I will stop the screw and wait your pleasure,"
said the commander.

"I have had some difficulty with my brother, and it looked incredible
to me that he had come into Mobile Bay in charge of this fine vessel.
I apologize to you and the owner for my rudeness, and assure you that I
will not trouble Percy again while he remains on board," continued Major
Pierson, with no little embarrassment in his manner.

"I accept the apology, and your explanation is entirely sufficient. What
happens to Mr. Percy after he leaves the steamer does not concern me,"
answered Captain Breaker with a polite bow, as he went to the quarter
and rang the bell to stop her.

When he had done this, he conducted Major Pierson to the quarter-deck,
where Captain Passford and Christy were seated, and formally presented
him to both of them.

"I am most happy to make your acquaintance, Captain Passford," said the
commander of Fort Gaines, as he extended his hand to the owner, which
was taken, though the expression of the gentleman from the North did not
indicate that he was very well pleased with him.

To Christy he was as polite as to his father, and to both he was almost
obsequious. It was rather difficult for father or son to realize that
this was the man who had threatened to send his own brother to the fort
as a soldier, to say nothing of the abusive language he had used.

"I am very glad to see you in the State of Alabama, Captain Passford,
and especially at this time," the major began; and it looked as though
the cordiality of his welcome was to compensate for former rudeness.

"I am not a total stranger here," added the owner rather coldly.

"It affords me a degree of pleasure I cannot express to see you come
here, as events are getting big all around us, and with such a fine
steamer. I am sure the Government will regard you as one of its greatest
and truest benefactors," continued Major Pierson.

"It is my intention to serve the good cause with whatever measure of
ability I may possess; but I do not care to say any thing at all about
my purpose till I have talked with my brother. I hope I shall find my
brother Homer in full sympathy with me in my views," added the owner,
though it was not a pleasure to him even to deceive an enemy.

"Colonel Passford!" exclaimed the major. "Have you any doubt about him?"

"Hardly any, though I prefer to talk with him before I say much on my
own account."

"Colonel Passford is not a very demonstrative man, but no one in the
vicinity of Glenfield has any doubt as to how he stands on the great
question."

"I think no one will have any doubt as to how I stand, as soon as I take
my position."

"Certainly, sir, you will give no doubtful sound."

"I hope not."

"I came on board to examine this steamer before we permitted her to
pass the forts," continued Major Pierson. "I find her in charge of
my brother, in the absence of any letter from my father or other
Confederate agent. I humbly apologize for the rudeness of which I was
guilty, though I assure you I have had abundant provocation for it."

"That is a family affair with which we have nothing to do beyond the
proper protection of the young agent in charge of the steamer."

"I wish to say that I am entirely satisfied, Captain Passford, and I am
heartily delighted to learn that you are about to make your residence in
this section of the country," said the major, who seemed to have assured
himself on this point without much assistance from those most deeply
concerned.

The owner looked at him, and tried to ascertain what was passing in
his mind; and it was not a very difficult enterprise to accomplish his
purpose. The hint he had received about the frequent visits of Major
Pierson at Glenfield seemed to explain the present operations of his
mind. Florry Passford was a beautiful young lady of eighteen, and any
young man of twenty-six could easily have been excused for making his
visits very often at the mansion in which she resided.

Though the fond father was not disposed to interfere unnecessarily with
the choice of his daughter, even the hint that she might be entangled
more than a thousand miles from her home had given him a positive shock.
Now that he had seen the young man, and observed his conduct on board of
the Bellevite, he most earnestly hoped that she was not in any degree
committed to him. He had an additional inducement to get her away from
the home of his brother, and the thought of it nerved him to increased
exertion. What he had seen of the commander of Fort Gaines, though he
appeared to be a faithful, patriotic, and energetic young man, as he
understood his duty to his country, assuredly he was not the person he
would have chosen for Florry. But his brother could tell him more about
it, and how far the matter had gone, when he saw him.

By the time Captain Passford had settled his conclusions as far as he
could, the tug came up to the steamer, towing the boat from the fort,
Percy felt that he had won a victory over his brother, and a Bantam
rooster could not have made a wider spread on the deck. He seemed to
feel that he was in command of the steamer, though he did not venture
to interfere with any thing on board.

"I am very sorry to have given you any annoyance, Captain Passford,"
said the major, as the tug came up to the gangway. "I think we should
have understood each other better if your steamer had not got aground."

"We have suffered little or no inconvenience, sir."

"Whether you have or not, you shall suffer no more. The tug has come
alongside, and I will see that you are not delayed a moment after I
can get to Fort Morgan, which will certainly fire upon you if I do not
interfere; and I will go to it in the tug," continued the major, who was
still struggling to make all the atonement in his power for his former
conduct.

"You are very kind, Major Pierson, and I am under obligations to you.
I have not seen my daughter for nearly six months, or my brother; and
the sooner I meet them, the better I shall like it," replied the owner.

"I have had the pleasure of meeting your daughter several times, as
your brother's plantation is next to my father's. It is possible that,
if the exigencies of the coming war permit, I may desire to address a
communication to you at no distant day," said Major Pierson, with
considerable embarrassment in his manner.

Captain Passford made no reply to this remark; for he thought it was
entirely out of place under present circumstances, and hoped matters had
not gone far enough even to think of future formalities. The major shook
hands with the owner and his son, and then with the commander, and went
over the side. As he did so, he requested Captain Breaker not to advance
till he reached the fort, or at least not to attempt to pass it.

The tug-boat went off on its course, but it was nearly half an hour
before it got near enough to the fort to allow the Bellevite to start
her screw. As there was nowhere less than three fathoms of water, and
Captain Breaker knew every inch of bottom, he directed Mr. Vapoor to
hurry the engine, so that no one should have time to change his mind.
The steamer shot by the fort as though she did not like the looks of it,
and in another half an hour she was out of the reach of its guns.

The commander had piloted the steamer to her present destination before;
and there was plenty of water till she nearly reached the wharf, where
the planter could load small vessels with cotton. It was not within the
city of Mobile, though it was not far from it; and it was a sort of
low-ground paradise, which money and taste had made very beautiful.

"What am I to do now, Mr. Pierson?" asked Percy, when the steamer had
come to her moorings alongside the wharf.

"That will be for you to decide, Mr. Percy: but you had better take that
uniform off before you live any longer, for I am afraid some one will
mistake your character if you wear it on shore," replied Christy.

"I don't know that I shall go on shore," replied the agent doubtfully.
"I got by my brother very nicely, thanks to Captain Breaker; for I
should have been sent to the fort if he had not started the screw."

"Do you think you are in any danger here?" asked Christy.

"I know I am. My father's house is over in that direction about half
a mile. My brother can leave the fort any time he likes; and he will
either do so, or send some of his men up here in the fast tug to catch
me."

"Why don't you go into the army, if your brother is so anxious about it,
Percy?"

"That is just what I want to do, but my father positively forbid my
doing so," replied the volunteer agent. "I should like to get back to
Nassau; for I know I shall be forced into the army, in spite of my
father, if I stay here."

"My boy," called his father, "I am going on shore now, and I should like
to have you go with me to see your uncle."

Christy was glad to do so; and he departed with the owner, leaving Percy
in charge of the commander.



CHAPTER XIII

A DECIDED DIFFERENCE OF OPINION


If Homer Passford was not a rich man in the sense that his brother was,
he was still a wealthy man, and lived in a style as elegant as that of
any nabob in the South. More than this, and of vastly more consequence,
he was a good and true man. He was a member of his church, and his
brother believed that he was a genuine and true religious man. The same
principles of justice, humanity, and fairness had been born into both of
the brothers, and inherited from the same father.

This was the brother whom he from the North was about to visit on the
most solemn and momentous questions which could unite or separate the
only two sons of the same father. Though Horatio had reasoned himself
into the belief that Homer was as strongly a Union man as he was
himself, he had argued without any adequate premises; and now, when he
was almost on the threshold of his door, he did not feel sure of the
position of his brother, though his hope was very strong.

It was with no little trepidation on this account that he rang the bell
at the front door of Glenfield. A few minutes or an hour or two would
settle the momentous question, and decide whether or not all the family,
as well as Florry, would take passage in the Bellevite for a more
Northern clime.

"De Lo'd!" exclaimed the venerable colored man that came to the door.
"De hull family done be wery glad to see you, Massa 'Ratio."

"I hope you are very well, Pedro," replied Captain Passford, as he gave
his hand to the old servant. "Here is Christy."

"De Lo'd bless Massa Christy!" And he shook hands with the son as he had
with the father.

"Is your master at home, Pedro?" asked the visitor, in haste to see his
brother.

"Yes, sar; all de folks to home; jes' gwine to lunch. I spects dey all
wery glad to see Massa 'Ratio and Massa Christy. Walk in, sar; took a
seat in de parlor; and I done reckon we call Massa Homer and de rest ob
de folks afore you gits to sleep in yer char, thar," said Pedro, as he
scurried out of the room where he had shown the visitors.

It was Florry who caught the first sound of the visitors who had
arrived, and she rushed into the drawing-room before the others could be
called from up-stairs. She bounded into the room like a fawn, with her
eyes swimming with tears, and threw herself into her father's arms. She
could not speak a word, and the captain was as dumb as she was.

For a moment she remained folded in his arms, and then she gently
disengaged herself, to render the same wealth of affection in its
manifestation to her brother, who was standing by her father when she
darted into the room. But Christy was a boy, and not as demonstrative as
his father, though he discharged the duties of the affecting occasion
with becoming fidelity, so that the loving girl was sure that his heart
was where it had always been.

"Why, papa, I had no idea of seeing you to-day!" exclaimed Florry, when
she had wiped away her abundant tears. "I did not know that I should
ever see you again, for they say that all the roads to the North have
been closed to travel."

"We did not come by land, either by railroad or otherwise; and the
Bellevite lies at the wharf near this house," the captain explained.

"I was terribly afraid I should never see you again, and that I should
have to stay here till this war is ended, papa; but they say it will
soon be over," said the fair girl.

"I am afraid it will not be over for a long time, for each side is
firmly united in its own cause. But I could not leave you here. Do you
want to go back to Bonnydale, Florry?"

"Do I want to go back? What a funny question, papa!" exclaimed she.

"Why is it a funny question?" asked the anxious father, recalling the
rather presumptuous suggestion the gallant major from Fort Gaines had
made.

"Don't you think I want to see mamma? You have not told me a word about
her; and it is a long time now since I have heard any thing. I do want
to go home, and especially I want to see mamma."

"Then you shall see her."

"Is she here, papa?" exclaimed Florry, leaping out of the chair in which
she had seated herself.

"She is not here, my child. She is at home, but it will not take many
days to bear you to her," replied the devoted father, embracing her
again, while she kissed him over and over again.

"Can I see her before the war is over, papa?" she asked.

"Certainly you can, if no accident interferes with my plans. You really
want to go home?"

"To be sure I do. How cruel it is of you to ask me such a question!"

"Then I won't ask it again. But perhaps you will not be able to come to
Glenfield again for years," added Captain Passford, looking earnestly
into her face.

"What makes you look at me so, papa? What have I done? You look just as
you did when I was little and pulled the kitten's tail."

"It is a long time since I have seen you, Florry and I want to look at
you all I can."

  [Illustration: "She was Clasped in her Father's Arms" (Page 148)]

"Then you may look at me as much as you wish; and I shall be thankful it
is not that Major Pierson who comes here, for he has stared me out of
countenance every time he came," replied she, blushing a little.

"Then you don't like him, do you?" asked her father, with more interest
than he cared to display.

"I like him well enough, but I wish he would not stare at me all the
time. He seems to think I am good for nothing but to look at," replied
Florry smartly.

But the entrance of Mr. and Mrs. Passford turned aside the inquiries
the captain was making before he had satisfied himself, though he had
obtained enough to afford him some hope. The greeting extended to the
brother and nephew was all that could be expected or desired; and if
the country had not been riven into two bitterly hostile sections, the
interview could not have been more brotherly and affectionate. A full
hour was used in talking about the trip of the Bellevite, so anxious
were the family, including Florry, to hear the particulars of the
voyage.

"But how in the world did you get here, Horatio, when every public
conveyance that leads into the South has been discontinued?" asked
Homer.

"I came as I came before," replied Horatio.

"You came in the Bellevite!" exclaimed Homer.

"I did."

"But how did you get by the forts? Both of them have been garrisoned,
and they have been ordered to allow no vessel to pass unless she give
a good account of herself," continued the planter.

"In other words, it is war now," added Horatio.

"Undoubtedly it is war; and, in my judgment, it will be a terrible
conflict before it is finished."

"I fully agree with you, Homer."

"But you did not tell me in what manner you passed the two forts, which
are already strong enough to blow your steamer into a thousand pieces,"
suggested Homer.

"I did not tell you, and I think we had better understand each other a
little better before I say any thing at all about the passage of the
forts; though I can assure you that not a single shot was fired at the
Bellevite," said Horatio, somewhat embarrassed by the situation.

"De lunch am ready, saw," said a darky at the door at this moment; and
perhaps the summons saved the owner of the Bellevite from some further
annoyance.

An hour was spent at the table, for there was enough to talk about
without meddling with delicate subjects. When the repast was over,
Florry invited her brother to look at the flower-garden, which was
in the height of its glory, and she was followed by Gerty her cousin,
and by Mrs. Passford. As in the Northern family, there were only two
children; but Cornelius, or Corny as he was generally called, was not
at home, though nothing at all was said about him.

Horatio was invited into the library by his brother, and they seated
themselves for a long talk. The owner of the Bellevite was confident
that he should soon know on which side the planter belonged, though he
was still confident in his former views.

"I suppose there is no other way for you to get here at the present
time except in your yacht, and not many men can command so elegant
and substantial a vessel as the Bellevite," said Homer, when they were
seated. "But what in the world do you expect to do with her down here?"

"I intend to return to my home in her, and to take my daughter back to
her mother," replied Horatio, as unmoved as though he had uttered a
commonplace expression.

"Take Florry back to her mother!" exclaimed Homer, springing out of his
armchair as though his five-and-forty years counted for nothing. "I hope
that nothing at all is the matter with your brain, Horatio."

"Nothing at all, so far as I am aware, Homer. You seem to think it is a
great undertaking to take my daughter home," added Horatio.

"But it is war in this country, and all along the coast. You will
certainly be captured, and your daughter sent to a prison, at least till
she can be sent home. You have not more than one chance in ten to get to
New York."

"Do you think so?" asked Horatio, smiling.

"If you don't know it, I do, my dear brother, that the Southern
Confederacy has sent out agents to buy up all the suitable vessels they
can find, to do duty as cruisers and privateers. You are almost sure to
be captured, and think what Florry would suffer in such an event."

"You seem to think that the North is going to hold still, and let you do
all this, Homer," added the owner of the Bellevite.

"I don't see how the North can help itself."

"My information is rather meagre; but I am informed that the Government
of the United States has proclaimed the blockade, and even that it is
enforced farther north, as I am sure it will be on the south."

"That is all nonsense, Horatio, and you know it."

"I don't understand it so."

"How is it possible for the Yankee Government to station ships-of-war on
the coast of the Southern States? It is simply impossible," said Homer,
warming up with the argument. "The business of fitting out vessels is
already begun, I read in the newspapers; and it will be pushed to the
utmost."

"I am confident that every Confederate port in the United States will be
invested by one or more vessels within a reasonable time."

"But your steamer will be captured before you can get home, even if you
get out of Mobile Bay."

"I don't apprehend any difficulty on that account. If the Bellevite
can't keep out of the way of any thing that floats, she deserves to be
captured. She will belong to the Government within a few weeks," added
Horatio quietly.

"The Bellevite!" exclaimed Homer.

"The Bellevite, certainly. I should be ashamed to retain her a month
after I knew that the Union needs her, and the Union shall have her as a
free gift," added Horatio, quite as warmly as his brother had spoken.

"You will give your steamer to the Yankee Government!" gasped Homer,
rising from his chair again, and darting across the room, as though he
was both shocked and disgusted at the conduct of Horatio. "You will
allow her to be used in subduing a free people? I am sorry."

Homer was very deeply grieved, and Horatio hardly less so.



CHAPTER XIV

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY


To Captain Passford the question seemed to be settled; and he could no
longer doubt that his brother fully sympathized with the leaders of the
rebellion, if he was not one of them himself. He was certainly the most
enthusiastic person he had yet seen on that side of the question. But
Homer was thoroughly sincere, for he never was any thing else on any
subject.

Horatio was unable to understand how his brother could reason himself
into the belief that secession was right, when the duty of saving the
Union was to him paramount; and certainly Homer was equally puzzled over
the political faith of Horatio. Until the darkness of evening began to
gather, they argued the tremendous question; and they discussed it ably,
for both of them were thinking and reasoning men.

But, when the darkness gathered, they were not one hair's-breadth nearer
an agreement; and probably if they had continued to argue till morning,
or even till the end of the year, they would have come no nearer
together. Each had a sort of horror of the views of the other, though
they had lived in peace and harmony all the days of their lives.

"Homer, you are my brother; and I am sure that an unpleasant word never
passed between us," said Horatio, when the sun had gone down on the
fruitless discussion.

"Certainly not, brother; and it grieves me sorely to find that you are
upon one side, while I am on the other," replied Homer with a strong
manifestation of feeling. "I did not expect to see you at Glenfield; but
I felt sure that you would not be found, actually or constructively, in
the ranks of the enemies of the South."

"And I was equally sure that you would be found on the side of your
country,--the whole country, and not a miserable fraction of it," added
Horatio, with quite as much warmth as his brother. "I came here in the
Bellevite as much to convey you to a place of safety, as to restore
Florry to her mother."

"My country is here in the South. I have no other country; and I shall
stand by it to the last ditch, wherein I am ready to cast all that I
have and all that I am. If you thought it possible for me to desert the
cause of the South, you strangely misjudged me; and I do not feel at all
complimented by the formation of your opinion of me," said Homer, with a
trifle more of bitterness in his tone and manner than he had used
before.

"I see how it is with you, Homer; and I realize that it is worse than
folly for us to discuss this important question. Your mind is made up,
and so is mine; and I fear that we might quarrel if we should continue
to bandy words on the subject. We had better drop it entirely, once for
all."

"Perhaps we had; but it grieves me sorely, even to think of my only
brother taking part with the hirelings of the North in an attempt to
subdue the free, untamed, and untamable South. It would not hurt my
feelings more to know that you were a buccaneer, roving on the ocean
for the plunder of all nations."

"You should also consider my feelings when I think of you in armed
rebellion against the best government God ever allowed to exist; that my
own brother is a rebel and a traitor, who is liable to be shot or hung
for his armed treason."

This was too much for Homer, and he gave vent to his emotion in a
laugh at the picture his brother had drawn. He walked the library, and
chuckled as though he were actually amused at the remarks of the other;
and perhaps he was.

"I am really and heartily sorry for you, Horatio. Your future, I fear,
will be terribly dark. Of course, all business will cease at the North:
the grass will grow in the streets of New York and other large cities.
You have an immense fortune, which I do not believe you can retain a
single year; for the war is not to be confined to Southern soil, but
will be carried into the North, where the expenses of our men will be
paid by the enemy."

"I think we had better confine our attention to the present, and let the
future take care of itself," said Horatio, with a smile at the prophetic
croakings of his brother.

"Be that as it may, though I feel confident that all I predict will come
to pass, I desire to have one thing understood: when you have lost your
fortune, or wasted it on the hireling armies of the North, or on ships
for its navy, you may always be sure of a home at Glenfield for yourself
and all your family."

"If you do not lose or waste all that you have on the army of the
other side," added Horatio with a smile. "But I am ready to drop this
subject."

"It seems to be useless to continue it; though, if there were any
possible way to convert you from the error of your way of thinking,
I would struggle all night with you," said Homer.

"You cannot make a traitor of me, brother. But I must tell Florry to
pack her trunk at once."

"Pack her trunk? Why are you in such a hurry?" demanded Homer.

"Because this is not a safe place for me and mine; and I have my two
children with me."

"You ought to have left Christy at home."

"I think not. Though he is only sixteen, he has seen so much of the
world, and is so bright, that he is almost a man. He will go into the
navy within a few weeks, and I shall expect him to give a good account
of himself."

"He is rather young. Corny is eighteen, and he has already enlisted with
his mother's blessing and mine. But I think you need not be in such a
hurry, Horatio, to get away from here; for it is a long time since we
met."

"I have expressed my political sentiments very freely to you, Homer, and
you know as well as I do, that, if they were known, I should not be safe
a single day."

"Not quite so bad as that, for I think I should have sufficient
influence to save you from arrest," added Homer.

"The Bellevite cost me over half a million dollars, and she is worth all
she cost. If I were safe a single day, the steamer and ship's company on
board of her would not be. I brought them down here, and I intend to
take them back."

"And then you present this fine vessel to the Yankee Government, and
doubtless the men on board of her will go into the service of the navy."

"I certainly expect as much as that of them."

"Then I question whether I ought to allow such a prize to pass out of
the bay for such a purpose," said Homer.

"Then, with such a doubt as that in your mind, I ought not to remain
here another hour," added Horatio quietly. "If you have gone far enough
in treason to betray your own brother, coming here to your home for no
warlike purpose, into the hands of the enemy, why, all I can do is to
look out for myself."

"I did not say that I should betray you, Horatio. It is simply a
question with me whether my duty to my country will allow me to let your
steamer leave these waters. I have not settled the question in my own
mind."

"I hope you will settle it soon. If I am to take my first step in this
fratricidal war by defending myself against my own brother, let him
speak, and I am ready," replied Horatio, shaken by an emotion deeper
than he had ever experienced before.

"Horatio, whatever you may do, whatever I may do, each in the discharge
of his duty to his country, his country as he understands it, let us
have no unfraternal feeling," continued Homer, almost as much disturbed
in his feelings as his brother.

"In other words, if you hand me and my vessel over to your leaders, and
consequently take from me the means of bearing my daughter to a place of
safety, I am to put my hand on my heart, and say that my brother has
done right, for I will not use any stronger terms," said Horatio,
struggling with his emotion.

"I must do my duty as I understand it," protested Homer. "The question I
put to myself is this: can I justify myself, before God and my country,
if I permit the finest steamer in the world, as you state it, to be
transferred to the Yankee navy, to be used in killing, ravaging, and
destroying within the free South? The steamer is here, and within my
reach. After all you have said, she would be the lawful prize of any
tug-boat in the bay that could capture her. I begin to realize that I
should be guilty of treason to my country in letting her go."

"You must be your own judge in regard to that," replied Horatio
bitterly, as he rose from his chair and walked towards the door.

"One word more, Horatio. I look upon the Bellevite as already belonging
to the Southern Confederacy. Of course, being a private yacht, she is
not armed?"

Homer paused and looked at his brother as though he expected an answer
to this question; but the owner of the steamer made no reply.

"Do you say that the Bellevite is armed, Horatio?" repeated Homer.

"I do not say any thing about it. I find that I am in the presence of an
enemy, though he is my own brother."

"Do not assume that tone to me, Horatio: it wounds me to the heart,"
said Homer, in a deprecatory tone. "If we are enemies because you choose
to oppress our people, I cannot help it; but we will still be brothers."

"The attack upon Fort Sumter was made by the South; and thus far, at
least to the extent that I have been informed, the South has been the
assailant; and you say that I choose to oppress your people. They have
taken the sword, and they will perish by the sword."

Captain Passford could not trust his feelings any longer to remain with
his brother, and he left the room. In the hall he met Florry, who had
been lying in wait for him for over an hour. She threw herself on his
neck as she had done before; but she found her father full of energy,
and he was not even willing to use his minutes to caress her.

"What is the matter, papa?" asked the fair girl, astonished at the
manner of her father, for she had never before seen him so agitated.

"Do not ask me any questions, Florry, for I have not time to answer them
now," said he hastily. "Go to your room and pack all your things as
quick as you possibly can, and without saying a word to any one."

"Why, papa!"

"Not a word, my dear child," he added, kissing her.

"It will not take me five minutes, papa; for I have been packing my
trunk this afternoon, when I had nothing else to do."

"Where is your room, Florry?"

"It is on the lower floor, next to the library."

"I will be there in a few minutes. Dress yourself, and be ready to leave
at a minute's notice," continued Captain Passford. "Where is Christy?"

"He went out about an hour ago, when he saw from the window a young man
I did not know," replied Florry, as she passed into her room.

Captain Passford wondered who the young man was whom his son had gone
out to meet; for no one was allowed to leave the deck of the Bellevite
who belonged to her, and he was not aware that Christy had any friend in
the vicinity. He was annoyed at his absence, for he wanted him at that
very moment.

Mrs. Passford and Gerty were up-stairs, where nimble fingers were busily
at work for the soldiers of the Southern Confederacy, as they were also
in the North for the Union. The captain looked all about the house, but
he could not see or hear of his son.



CHAPTER XV

BROTHER AT WAR WITH BROTHER


Captain Passford was very much annoyed at the absence of Christy at
that particular moment, for it seemed to be heavily laden with momentous
events to him and his family; though Christy could not possibly know
what had transpired in the library between the two brothers. He waited
very uneasily in the hall, after his return from his search.

Homer Passford did not come out of his library, and he sat brooding over
the remarkable interview which had taken place between the brothers. No
doubt he would have been glad to believe that he had been wrong; for he
had nothing but the kindest feelings in the world towards his brother,
and had never had in all his life. He was five years older than Horatio;
and, in their earlier life, he had been to some extent his guardian and
protector, and he had never lost the feeling of boyhood.

But he had proved himself to be a patriot of the severest type, and
proposed to rob his brother of his steamer, his only means of conveying
his daughter to his home, for the benefit of the fraction of the nation
which he called his country, and more to prevent her from being
transferred to the navy of the Union.

While the captain was waiting in the hall, the library door opened,
and Homer presented himself. He invited his brother to return to the
apartment, for he had something to say to him; but Horatio positively
declined to do so, fearful that they might come to an open rupture if
the exciting discussion was continued.

"But you will hear me a moment or two, will you not, Horatio?" asked
Homer; and his lips quivered under the influence of his active thought.

"I will as long as that," replied Horatio.

"I have been thinking of the subject of our conversation in relation to
the Bellevite; and I have something to propose to you, which I hope will
satisfy you, and at the same time will not rob our Government of what
now belongs to it."

"I am listening," added Horatio, as Homer paused to note the effect of
his proposal.

"You did not tell me how you got by the forts in your steamer, and
perhaps you are ready to do so now."

"I am not ready now; and I am not likely to be ready at any future time
to do so, Homer. You have indicated that we are enemies, and each should
keep his own counsels."

"Of course you will do as you think proper. I cannot reconcile myself to
the idea of permitting a fine steamer like the Bellevite, now virtually
in possession of the Confederacy, to sail away out of the bay. I feel
that I should be guilty of treason to my country to do so."

"And you propose to steal her from your own brother, if you can. You
have done a large business in stealing forts, and one ought not to be
surprised when you propose to steal a ship," replied Horatio mildly but
sternly.

"I pass over the injustice and unkindness on your part of that remark,
and I hope you will accept my offer."

"Let me hear it as soon as possible."

"In spite of your present, unfortunate position, Horatio, I believe you
are still a man of truth, honor, and integrity."

"Thank you, Homer."

"I do not wish to keep Florry here when her mother desires so much to
see her, and I have hit upon a plan by which you can do this without
making me a traitor to my country."

"It must have been a happy thought," added Horatio, somewhat interested
in what the other was saying.

"I think it was a happy thought, and I sincerely hope you will be able
to accept the plan. I have some little influence in this section, and I
have no doubt I can procure a pass for your steamer to go to sea,"
continued Homer, pausing to study the expression of his brother.

"Do I understand that you propose to do this, Homer?" asked Captain
Passford, not a little astonished at the apparent change his brother had
made in his position.

"On a certain condition, which you can easily meet."

"It looks as though you were becoming more reasonable. What is the
condition on which you will do this? For I should certainly prefer to
have no shots fired at the Bellevite while Florry is on board of her."

"As I have said, your word is as good as your bond; and I am willing
to accept the consequences of the step I propose to take, since the
Confederacy will not suffer any loss or detriment on account of it."

"It will not!" exclaimed the captain, beginning to see that he could not
accept the conditions.

"It will not. I could not injure or cheat my country, even to serve my
only brother, greatly as I desire to do all I can for him."

"But what is the condition, Homer?" asked Captain Passford, who had by
this time lost all hope of the plan.

"You shall take Florry to some point,--Bermuda, for instance,--from
which she can obtain passage to New York. Before you go, you shall
give me your simple word that you will return to Mobile Bay with the
Bellevite, and surrender her to the Confederate authorities. I am
entirely willing to accept your promise to do this, without any bond
or other writing."

"Is that all?" asked Horatio, hardly able to contain himself.

"That is all; what more do you desire?"

"Nothing; that is enough. I have already tendered my steamer to the
Government of the United States; do you think me capable of surrendering
my vessel to rebels and traitors, under any possible circumstances?
I would blow her up with all on board of her, before I would do such
a thing. You insult me by proposing such treachery to me. Not another
word about it, if you please!"

Homer returned to his library, and closed the door after him; for the
last remark of the owner of the Bellevite had excited him, and he could
not trust himself to remain any longer in the presence of his Union
brother.

"I am all ready, papa," said Florry, who had opened the door once
before, and found that her father was engaged.

"I cannot find Christy, but I hope he is not far off," added Captain
Passford, as he went into the room, and, to the astonishment of his
daughter, bolted the door after him.

"I did not know the young man he went out to see, but I noticed that he
looked something like Major Pierson," said Florry.

"Then it was the major's brother, and he came from Nassau with us on
board of the steamer. I hope neither of them will get into any trouble,
for all this country is in a very excited condition," said the captain,
as he carefully opened the window at the side of the apartment.

This was quite as singular a movement as bolting the door; and the fair
girl, who had heard some of the energetic conversation in the hall,
began to think that something strange was about to transpire in the
mansion. Her father spent some time in looking out the window; for it
was now quite dark, and he could not make out objects outdoors very
readily.

The window opened upon a lawn covered with orange, magnolia, and other
ornamental trees. The house was low on the ground, and it was not more
than three feet from the window-sill to the lawn. Without explaining any
thing, Captain Passford took his daughter's trunk, carried it to the
window, and then dropped it upon the lawn beneath.

"Now, Florry, I want you to get out at this window; and you can easily
step down upon the trunk," continued the owner of the Bellevite.

"Get out of the window, papa?" demanded the maiden, with a look of
intense astonishment at her father.

"Do just as I tell you, my child, and don't ask any questions now; for
all will be explained to your satisfaction," replied he, as he assisted
her to a chair, by which she mounted to the window-stool.

She dropped lightly down upon the trunk, which had been placed in a
convenient position for her, and then to the ground. Her father followed
her; though he stopped long enough to close the window after him, and
leave every thing as it had been before.

"I think I can understand something about it, papa," said Florry, as the
captain joined her. "But am I to leave this house, where I have been for
six months, without saying good-by to uncle or aunt?"

"Not a word to any one, my child. I am sorry it must be so; but this is
a time of war, and I have no time to stand on ceremonies," replied her
father, as he picked up the trunk, and tossed it on his shoulder as
though he had done that kind of work before.

He walked off with a firm step, in spite of his burden, taking the
nearest way to the wharf where he had left the Bellevite. The distance
was considerable, and the millionnaire was obliged to stop and rest two
or three times; and, though Florry insisted upon helping him, he would
not allow her to do so. It was nearly ten o'clock at night when the
wanderers reached their destination, and were hailed by the vigilant
watch on the deck.

"Florence!" called the owner of the steamer when he was challenged, and
gave the word that had been agreed upon.

"Pass, Florence," replied the sentinel.

All the officers were still upon board, and Florry received a very
respectful greeting from all of them. Her trunk was carried to her
stateroom; and she soon followed it, for the excitement of the afternoon
and evening was rather too much for her.

"Is Percy still on board, Breaker?" asked the owner.

"He is not: he lounged about the deck till nearly night, and then he
said he would go up and see his mother, to which I had not the least
objection," replied the commander.

"I have no objection to his going where he pleases now, but the worst of
it is that Christy appears to have gone with him. They must have been
gone three hours, and I begin to be worried about my son. But no matter
for that now: we are ready to sail, and it is necessary to get out into
the bay, at least without any loss of time, Breaker. The tide is right
now."

Captain Breaker had not expected to leave so soon, and thought it
probable that the vessel would remain where she was for several days or
a week. But he had caused the fires to be banked, so as to be ready for
any emergency, though he did not anticipate any; for he reasoned that
the powerful influence of the owner's brother would be enough to protect
the steamer from interference.

The commander called all hands, and the owner requested that the work
be done with as little noise as possible. In less than an hour the
Bellevite was floating in the deep waters of the bay. But the owner was
far from easy; though, in spite of all his brother had said, he felt
that the steamer was safe for the present: he was not a little alarmed
at the continued absence of Christy.

Captain Passford had formed a very decided opinion in regard to Major
Pierson, and he did not believe that Percy had seen the end of his
troubles in the matter of joining the army. It was not over a three
hours' run in a reasonably fast steamer from the forts to the city, and
at least ten hours had elapsed since the Bellevite came up. Possibly the
major might wonder whether or not the coming of Captain Passford would
disturb the residence of Miss Florence at the mansion of her uncle. It
was not improbable that he had, or might, come up to look out for his
interests.

If he came across his brother Percy after he left the steamer, he was
likely to make a soldier of him; and it was unfortunate that Christy had
been his companion when last seen.



CHAPTER XVI

CHRISTY FINDS HIMSELF A PRISONER


Christy Passford had not gone out of his uncle's house for any
particular purpose; though he saw Percy, and joined him as he left the
mansion. He had visited Glenfield before, and he had some curiosity to
see familiar objects again. It was nearly dark, and he wondered where
the major's brother was going at that hour.

"Where are you going now, Mr. Percy," he asked, as he approached the
agent.

"I thought I would go up to the house and see my mother," replied Percy.
"Won't you go over with me? It is only a short distance."

"No, I think not: I don't care to go a great way from the house."

"It isn't above half a mile, and I am coming directly back again."

"I will not go as far as you are going, but I will take a little stroll
as far as the gate. Where is your brother now?"

"I suppose he is at the fort. If I thought he were about here, I should
not leave the steamer. He has got it into his head that I must join the
army, and he will never be satisfied till I am there."

"He is certainly very much in earnest, judging by his conduct on board
of the Bellevite," added Christy.

"He pretends to believe that my not joining the army will be a disgrace
to the family; but, if my father don't think so, Lindley need not worry
his head about the matter."

"Your brother seems to have a very strong will of his own," suggested
Christy.

"He will send me into the army in spite of my father and mother; and,
for that reason, I don't mean to go where he can put his finger on me.
Of course, the Bellevite is going into the Confederate navy."

Percy looked his companion in the face, as though he had been thinking
of something which would benefit his own case.

"You will have to ask my uncle about that," replied Christy, not willing
to say any more than was necessary on this subject.

"There can be no doubt of it, and I would rather be in the navy than in
the army. I hope your uncle will be able to do something for me."

"I don't know whether he can or not. For aught I know, the steamer may
be sent to England, or to some other country," replied Christy, as they
approached the gate, which was to be the end in that direction of his
walk.

"At any rate, I mean to stay on board of the Bellevite; and I shall take
my chances of getting a position of some kind on board of her."

"What kind of a position do you desire?"

"I am willing to be one of the lieutenants, or something of that kind,"
replied Percy with becoming condescension.

"One of the lieutenants!" exclaimed Christy. "Of course you know all
about handling a ship or a steamer."

"I can't say I do. In fact, I never went on the sea till I went to
Nassau with my father," replied Percy candidly. "But I can soon learn
all about it."

"A nice lieutenant you will make! Why don't you apply for the position
of commander of her?"

"I am willing to take a subordinate position till I learn something
about the business."

"That's right! Be humble at first, and you will be great afterwards."

"I should have been willing to go into the army as a captain, or even
as a lieutenant; but I couldn't quite stand it to go in as a common
soldier, while my brother made a beginning as a major."

"I think I will not go any farther, Mr. Percy," said Christy, as he
halted near the gate.

"Oh, don't leave me now, Mr. Pierson! We are half way to my father's
house," Percy objected.

"I can't go any farther, for I may be wanted."

"You will be safe enough, Mr. Pierson, My mother is at home, and she
will be glad to see you."

"I think I will not see your mother to-night," added Christy, as he
turned, and began to retrace his steps towards the mansion of his uncle.

  [Illustration: Four Men Sprang in Front of Him (Page 183)]

They had halted in the road near the gate, and on both sides of it was
a thick undergrowth of small trees and bushes; and in the shade of this
foliage it had become quite dark. Christy had not taken three steps
before four men sprang out of the thicket in front of him, all of them
armed with muskets, and wearing a uniform of gray. Two placed themselves
in front of Christy; while the other two rushed after Percy, who took to
his heels as soon as he saw them.

The gate was an impediment to the latter; and before he could get over
or through it, the two soldiers had laid violent hands on him. He could
offer no effectual resistance, and it was evident that he was frightened
out of his wits; for he looked and acted like the ghost of despair
itself. The two men immediately tied his hands behind him; and, though
they did not use any undue harshness, they did their work thoroughly.

Christy was even more astonished than his companion at this sharp
discipline. He did not regard himself as a fit subject for such
treatment, and he could not understand why he had been subjected to it.
He was not liable to do military duty, and Major Pierson could hardly
think of pressing him into the service of the Confederacy. His two
captors were as prompt in their action as the two who had taken Percy,
and his hands were also tied behind him.

"Good-evening, gentlemen," said Christy, as soon as the soldiers had
bound him, and then stood in front to take a look at him. "Don't it
strike you that you are indulging in rather sharp practice?"

"We haven't any thing to do with the practice: all we have to do is to
obey orders," replied one of the men.

"But I think you have mistaken your orders," suggested the prisoner.

"I think not: if we have, we will set things to rights at once," replied
the man, who appeared to be the sergeant in command of the party. "But
our business is not so much with you as with the other young fellow."

Upon this, Christy was conducted to the gate, where Percy had not yet
recovered any of his self-possession. For his own part, he felt that a
mistake had been made, which must soon be corrected. He knew nothing
of the wide difference of opinion which had suddenly become apparent
between his father and his uncle, and he was sure that the latter could
soon effect his release.

"This is an outrage!" exclaimed Percy, who perhaps felt that it was
necessary for him to say something, now that Christy had come within
hearing distance.

"Perhaps it is, Mr. Pierson," replied the sergeant. "But that isn't any
of my business."

"You will be held responsible for it, sir!" protested Percy.

"Perhaps I shall; but I shall obey my orders," replied the soldier
doggedly.

"Who gave you your orders?" demanded Percy imperatively.

"Well, I don't belong to the class in catechism, and I don't answer all
the questions that are put to me."

"My father will have something to say about this business."

"He can say all he likes, but he need not say it to me; for I only obey
my orders, and I have nothing to do with giving them."

"What are you going to do with me?" asked Percy, when he found he could
make nothing of the sergeant.

"I don't know what they will do with you; but I reckon they won't
shoot you, as they might a fellow whose father was not a man of some
consequence," replied the sergeant, as he ordered one of his men to open
the gate.

"Shoot me!" exclaimed Percy, evidently appalled at the bare possibility
of such an event.

"I reckon they won't do that," added the soldier.

"This is my father's plantation, and my mother is in the house,"
continued Percy.

"She can stay there: we shall not meddle with her."

"But you are going to take me away from her."

"You look like a stout young fellow, and you ought to be able to get
along for a while without your mother," chuckled the sergeant. "You
belong in the army; and I reckon you will have to go back to it, in
spite of your mother."

"I don't belong to the army," protested Percy.

"Well, they call you a deserter, anyhow."

Percy seemed to be overcome by this statement, and Christy thought
there was something more of his story than he had told on board of the
Bellevite. It was possible, after all, that Major Pierson was not as
much of a brute as be had appeared to be. But, if his companion was a
deserter, he certainly did not come under that head himself, and he
could not understand why he had been arrested.

"I suppose you don't claim me as a deserter, do you?" asked Christy
good-naturedly.

"I don't think they do," replied the sergeant, as pleasantly as he had
spoken himself.

"Then, why do you arrest me?"

"My orders were to arrest any person with Mr. Pierson; and that is all
I know about your case, and I am very sorry to give you any annoyance.
Things are a little mixed, and I hope they will soon get them levelled
down. If you don't object, we will march."

"I suppose you will march all the same, if I do object," added Christy.
"I was not aware that it was a crime here to be in the company of that
young man."

"I reckon I was ordered to arrest you as a matter of precaution; and I
dare say they will let you return as soon as we report to the major,"
said the sergeant, leading his prisoner through the gateway.

The other men took Percy by the arm; and, after they had closed the
gate, they followed the road for a considerable distance, and then
struck across the fields. Not far ahead, Christy saw many lights; and
he concluded that this must be the location of the mansion of Colonel
Pierson, the father of Percy, and for some reason best known to himself,
the sergeant desired to avoid going very near it.

A march of a short distance farther across the field brought them to a
road, which they followed till they came to a wagon drawn by two horses.
The animals were hitched at the side of the road, and no one seemed to
be in charge of the team. But the sergeant halted his party at this
point; and, leaving the prisoners in charge of his men, he went to the
wagon.

"Major Pierson," said he; but no answer came to his question, and he
repeated it with no better success.

Then he mounted the seat in front of the wagon, and looked over into the
body of it. Then he reached over; and a moment later the form of a man
was seen to rise from a quantity of hay which filled the body.

"Is that you, Spottswood?" demanded the rising form.

"Yes, sir, I am here; and I have two prisoners. One of them is your
brother, and I don't know who the other is," replied the sergeant.

"Are you sure that one of them is my brother?" asked the major.

"I am as sure as I can be, for I heard the other fellow call him Percy
two or three times before I stepped in front of them."

"Don't you know who the other one is?"

"I haven't the least idea. I arrested him as you told me, but I did not
question him."

The major ordered him to put his prisoners into the wagon.



CHAPTER XVII

MAJOR PIERSON IS PUZZLED


Two of the soldiers were placed at the rear of the wagon, one took his
place on the hay with Percy, while the major and the sergeant seated
themselves on the cushion in front. Spottswood took the reins; and the
officer told him to drive on, without saying a word to the prisoners.

It was quite dark; and Christy had not the least idea where he was, or
where he was going. He could see that Major Pierson had sent this party
to arrest his brother, as Percy seemed to fear that he would do, and
had remained and slept away the time in the wagon himself. He had been
introduced to the major, and had been treated with "distinguished
consideration" by him. In view of the possible relations between him and
Florry, he did not feel much concerned about his own safety, though he
was sorry to have his father and sister worry over his absence.

"Then, it seems you have been in the army, after all," said he to his
fellow-prisoner, after they had gone some distance.

"I never belonged to the army," he replied decidedly.

"Did you put your name down?"

"Yes, I did; but I supposed I was to be a captain, or something of that
sort. When I found I must go as a common soldier, mixed up with all
sorts of people, I couldn't stand it. I applied for my discharge; but
they would not give it to me, and I went home without it."

"That looks very much like desertion," added Christy, and the major went
up somewhat in his estimation.

"But it was not desertion; for I applied for my discharge, and all they
had to do was to give it to me. They understood it so, for they did not
come to the house after me," argued Percy. "Then, when my father went
to Nassau, he took me with him. But the surgeon said I was not fit for
the army, for I had indications of varicose veins. My father sent the
certificate to the authorities, and applied for my discharge."

"Was it ever granted?"

"I suppose it was, but I don't know."

"If it had been, your brother would know about it."

"Will your uncle make you join the army, Mr. Pierson?"

"No: my uncle has no authority over me, and he cannot make me join the
army," replied Christy.

"Where is your father?"

"He was at my uncle's plantation. I think we have kept up this farce
long enough, Percy," said Christy, laughing. "My father is the owner of
the Bellevite."

"What did you tell me your name was Percy Pierson for?" demanded the
other prisoner.

"For the same reason that I told you the steamer belonged to the Chinese
government, and a dozen other things of the same sort."

"What is your name, then?"

"Christopher Passford; but I am commonly called Christy."

"Then, you have been fooling me?"

"You knew very well that I had been fooling you."

"Then, you are the son of the owner of the Bellevite."

"I am."

"Then, you can get me a place on board of her."

"Perhaps I can. We will see about that."

Christy doubted if their political opinions would permit them to serve
on the deck of the same vessel, but he did not suggest any thing of this
kind. He had been introduced to Major Pierson under his real name, and
he was certain to be identified by him as soon as the light permitted
him to see his face; and he had made the best of it by telling Percy the
truth before he found it out himself.

"You haven't told me who the other prisoner is, Spottswood," said the
major, when they had ridden some distance in silence.

"I don't know who he is," replied the sergeant. "I never saw him before
in my life, so far as I know."

"Didn't he tell you who he was?"

"He did not, and I did not ask him any questions."

That was all that was said about it; and the major relapsed into
silence, and Christy concluded that he had gone to sleep again. The
wagon continued on the journey, though at a very slow pace, for the road
could hardly have been any worse. At the end of about two hours more,
the vehicle halted near a sheet of water which looked as though it might
be a river, or an arm of Mobile Bay.

The road appeared to end at a rude sort of wharf; but there was no
person in the vicinity, no house, and no craft of any kind in the water,
so far as Christy could see when he was helped out of the wagon. Percy
was assisted to the ground also; and the two soldiers at the rear of the
wagon, who had gone to sleep, were waked, and ordered to get out.

"We shall not want the wagon any more," said the major. "You can send
Boyce back to the house with it."

"It is five miles from here, and he will not get back till nearly
morning."

"We can wait for him. The Leopard will not be here for some time."

"I think we ought to send two men, major," suggested the sergeant.

"Why two?"

"For company: one of them may get asleep, and two will get back sooner
than one."

"They might as well all of them go, for they can do nothing here," added
the major with a terrific yawn.

Two men were sent away with the wagon. The most of the hay in it was
taken out; and with it the superior officer made a bed for himself, and
was soon asleep again. The sergeant and the remaining soldier took their
knapsacks from a tree where they had put them before, and it was decided
that one of them might sleep while the other kept guard over the
prisoners. Spottswood was the first to take his turn, and his companion
stretched himself on the planks of the wharf.

The sergeant brought out the knapsacks of the two absent soldiers, and
gave the blankets to Christy and Percy, both of whom were sleepy enough
to follow the example of the others. Spottswood assisted them very
kindly, spreading out the blankets for them, and covering them
afterwards; for, as their hands were tied behind them, they were almost
helpless.

The two prisoners soon dropped asleep; and they knew nothing more till
after daylight, when Christy was waked by the hissing of steam at the
rude wharf. The two soldiers who had been sent away with the wagon were
asleep on the planks, though neither had a blanket. The major had not
been disturbed by the noise, for he was farther from it than the others.

With some difficulty Christy got upon his feet, and looked about him.
A tug-boat lay at the wharf, with the steam escaping from her pipe.
There was nothing else to be seen in the vicinity. The sheet of water,
which was apparently half a mile wide, had a bend some distance from the
wharf, so that he could not see any farther; but he had no difficulty in
coming to the conclusion that the water was an arm of the bay.

On board of the Leopard, for the name was on the front of the
pilot-house, he could see only two men, one of whom came out of the
engine-room; and he judged that they were the pilot and engineer.
Doubtless the former was also the captain of the craft.

While one of the two men seated himself on the rail, the other came on
shore. He was a man of very small stature, and looked as though his
health was very poor. Indeed, his step was quite feeble, and he seemed
to have hardly strength enough to handle his frame. As the tug had just
come in, doubtless he had been on duty the whole or a portion of the
night, which may have explained his exhausted condition.

"Good-morning, Captain Pecklar," said the sentinel on duty at the wharf.

"Good morning, Tubbs. Where is Major Pierson?" asked the captain of the
Leopard, in a very faint voice.

"He is still asleep, and he has his bed at the foot of that tree
yonder," replied the sentinel, pointing at it. "How do you find yourself
this morning? Any better?"

"About the same; I am about used up for this world," replied Captain
Pecklar, continuing his painful walk towards the tree indicated.

"Is that the captain of the Leopard?" asked Christy.

"Yes, poor fellow! He came down here two years ago from somewhere North,
almost gone in consumption. He got a little better; but he is worse
again, and I don't believe he will last much longer," replied the
sentry.

"Has he been out all night on the steamer?" inquired Christy, who felt
that it was his duty to obtain all the information he could in regard to
this steamer, as it was in the service of the commander of Fort Gaines.

"I don't know where he has been; but I suppose he has been on duty all
night, and that don't agree with him at all. We came up here yesterday
afternoon--Well, never mind what we have been about. I forgot that you
were a prisoner; and you may be a Yankee, for aught I know."

Before Christy had time to make any reply, the sentinel walked away, and
the major was seen coming from his bed with Captain Pecklar. They went
to the wharf together, where they seated themselves on a box which lay
there. The prisoner turned away from them; and the major took no notice
of him, and did not appear to see him, or he would certainly have
identified him.

Christy's bed was just behind them, when they had seated themselves; and
he dropped down on his blanket, rolled it about him as well as he could,
and then pretended to be asleep, as Percy was still, in spite of the
noise of the escaping steam on board of the boat.

"What have you done with your men, Captain Pecklar?" asked the major.

"I have just told you that the steamer had changed her position,"
replied the captain.

"I did not understand you," returned the major. "Do you mean that she
has left the wharf?"

"I do: she was out at least two miles from the shore," added Captain
Pecklar.

"Two miles from the shore!" exclaimed Major Pierson. "What does that
mean?"

"I don't know, sir. Lieutenant Dallberg did not know what to make of it;
and he decided to take his two men to the shore, and investigate the
matter. He directed me to report this to you."

"But when did the Bellevite leave the wharf?" asked the major, evidently
very much puzzled at what he regarded as the singular conduct of the
owner of the steamer.

"I don't know, sir. It was after ten o'clock in the evening when we
first saw her out in the bay."

"Was she at anchor?"

"I think not. I was ordered not to go very near her, and I could not
tell."

"Do you know whether or not Captain Passford is on board of her?"

"Of course I do not. In fact, I know nothing at all about her, except
that she has left the wharf and come out into the bay. I think I heard
her screw in motion, though I am not sure; and that makes me think that
she is not at anchor. Mr. Dallberg thought he ought to go on shore,
visit Colonel Passford, and obtain further information if he could."

The major ordered the captain to embark the party at once.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE MORNING TRIP OF THE LEOPARD


If Major Pierson had had any curiosity at all in regard to the person
captured by the soldiers with his brother, he appeared to have forgotten
all about him. He took no notice of him after he left his bed of hay,
but then he was evidently very much disturbed by the fact that the
Bellevite had left the wharf.

Christy Passford was quite as much astonished as the major when he
learned that the steamer had left her berth at the wharf, and he was
utterly unable to account for the change of position. The movement had
been made since he left his uncle's mansion; for at that time the two
brothers were still in the library, and he had no knowledge whatever of
what was passing between them.

The major ordered all his men on board the Leopard, and directed the
sergeant to conduct the prisoners to the deck of the tug. Percy was
waked when he was wanted, and he had slept soundly till that time.
With their hands still tied behind them, they were conducted to the
after-deck of the tug, where there was a small space from which opened
the stateroom of the captain.

"I might as well jump overboard first as last," said Percy bitterly, as
he seated himself in the place assigned to him by Spottswood.

"It is hardly worth your while to do that, Percy. I don't think your
brother is likely to do you any harm," replied Christy.

"I would rather he drowned in deep water than be sent into the army as a
common soldier," said the victim, as he went to the rail and looked over
into the water.

But his companion was perfectly confident that he would not jump
overboard while his hands were tied behind him; for the chances were all
against him, though he might be willing to punish his brother by making
a demonstration in the direction indicated.

"The water is too cold at this time in the morning, Percy," said Christy
with a smile. "I think you ought to give your brother the credit of
having the reputation of your family at heart. If I had a brother, I had
about as lief have him drown himself as desert from the army."

"I don't call it deserting," replied Percy rather warmly.

"You can call it what you like, but that is what it was."

"It is no use to talk with you about it. Where are we going now?"
demanded Percy impatiently.

"We are going to look out for the Bellevite, and perhaps you can get on
board her again," suggested Christy.

"Do you think I can?" asked the deserter with renewed interest.

"I am afraid your brother will look out too sharply for you. He has you
now, and he will hold on this time."

Christy had little sympathy for his companion. He was an able-bodied
young man of eighteen, with influence enough behind him to give him a
good show in the ranks if he did his duty. But he was the youngest
child of his father and mother; and he had evidently been spoiled by
indulgence, so that he was not fit for the stern duties of the present
emergency.

The steamer seemed to be very short handed, and doubtless part of the
work on board was done by the soldiers, for the tug seemed to be in the
employ of the fort. There was no crew, so far as Christy could judge,
except the captain and engineer; and both of these seemed to be
invalids, for the latter was so lame he could hardly go. The soldiers
hauled in the fasts, and seemed to be at home with this sort of work.

The Leopard backed out from the wharf, came about, and headed down the
inlet, or whatever it was. She had hardly left the pier before Major
Pierson appeared on the quarter-deck, which had been assigned for the
use of the prisoners. His gaze was first fixed on Percy; for the other
prisoner was looking astern, in order to obtain some idea of where he
was, if he could, for he thought such information might be of some use
to him in the future.

"Well, Percy, how goes it now?" asked the major.

Christy heard the voice, which was the first he knew of the presence of
a third person, and he turned about. The major started back as though he
had seen his father with his hands tied behind him by his order.

"Good Heaven! Mr. Passford!" exclaimed the major; and Christy was
satisfied that his astonishment was sincere.

"That is certainly my name: I haven't forgotten it, if I am a prisoner
with my hands tied behind me," replied Christy, as good-naturedly as
though he had had no grievance.

"This is all a mistake!" ejaculated Major Pierson, evidently greatly
disturbed by the discovery he had just made, as he rushed upon the
prisoner, turned him around, and proceeded to untie the line which
bound him.

"I thought it must be a mistake," added Christy.

"You must have been with this brother of mine. I told Spottswood to
arrest Percy, for be has disgraced himself and his family; and I told
him to capture whoever might be with him, for I did not care to leave
behind an informant of what had been done, for it would only have made
my mother feel badly. That is really the whole of it. I am very sorry
indeed that you were subjected to this annoyance, Mr. Passford; and I
assure you I will do all in my power to atone for my offence."

"I am satisfied, Major Pierson; and the only thing that disturbs me is
the fact that my father and sister will worry about my absence," replied
Christy.

"You are no longer a prisoner, Mr. Passford, and you are at liberty to
go where you please."

"But my limits are rather circumscribed on board this tug."

"But I will soon put you on board your father's steamer."

"Thank you, sir; that is all I can desire."

"Can't you do as much as that for me, Lindy?" asked Percy, when he saw
that his brother was about to leave him.

"If you say that you will return to your place in your regiment, I will
release you at once," replied the brother.

"I won't do that," answered Percy without any hesitation. "But I want
to go into the navy. I am better fitted for a sailor than I am for a
soldier."

"The first thing is to wipe out the disgrace you have cast upon yourself
and your family," added the major warmly. "I induced your officers to
look upon it as a freak of a boy, and by returning to your duty you can
soon wipe out the stigma."

"I shall not become a common soldier if I can help it. My father and
mother will stand by me, if the rest of you do not," said Percy.

"That's enough; and you will go back to the army, whether or not you are
willing," added the major, as he turned on his heel.

Christy followed him to the forecastle of the tug, where a rather heavy
gun was mounted, which took up most of the space.

"Take a seat, Mr. Passford," said the major, giving him a stool, while
he took another himself. "It looks as though your father changed his
plans rather suddenly last evening."

"I was not aware of it," replied Christy.

"The Bellevite was taken from the wharf where you landed some time in
the evening, and came out into the bay, where she seems to be waiting
for something, I don't know what. As I understand the matter, your
father has sold the steamer to the Confederacy."

"Where did you learn that, Major Pierson?" asked Christy, who had not
heard any such story.

"You certainly came from Nassau?"

"We did."

"And you met my father there?"

"I did not meet him, but my father did."

"I understood that my father bought this steamer, or that he bargained
for her in some manner, for the use of the Confederacy."

"I was not present at the interview between your father and mine, and I
do not know just what passed between them."

"And I understood that he sent Percy to act as a sort of agent for the
delivery of the vessel; though it still puzzles me to comprehend how my
father should do such a thing, especially when he knew that the boy
would be arrested as a deserter if he showed his face anywhere near
Mobile."

Christy felt that his tongue might be a dangerous member, and he was not
disposed to talk about the matter at all. All the information which the
major had derived from Captain Passford and others had been accepted
from inference; for the owner of the Bellevite certainly had not said
that the steamer was for the use of the Confederacy, and he would have
blown her up rather than admit any thing of the sort.

"It looked to me as though every thing was all right about the steamer,
or I would not have let her pass the fort; and the commander at Fort
Morgan was as well satisfied as I was, after I had explained the
situation to him."

Major Pierson looked at Christy as though he expected him to talk on the
subject before them; but the latter would not say any thing, for he saw
that he was in an extremely delicate position. He made some sort of
answers, but they amounted to nothing.

"I cannot understand why Captain Passford has moved the Bellevite from
the wharf," continued the major.

"I am as much in the dark as you are, sir. I spent the afternoon with my
sister, and my uncle Homer and my father were in the library together
all this time," replied Christy. "I have no idea what they were talking
about. Just at dark, I saw Percy pass the window; and I went out for a
little walk. I was arrested by your men soon after. Not a word had been
said in my hearing about moving the steamer. That is all I know about
the matter, and I am as much surprised as you can be at the change which
has been made."

"I have no doubt that every thing connected with the steamer is all
right. I know that your father is a Northern man, but I am confident
that he will be on the right side in this conflict," added the major.

"He will certainly be on the right side," said Christy; but he had gone
far enough to know that there were two right sides to the question, and
one seemed to him to be as honest, earnest, and resolute as the other.

"We shall soon know something more about it," added the major, evidently
disappointed at not being able to obtain any information from the
owner's son.

The tug went out into the bay, and then changed her course to the
eastward. One of the soldiers went to the galley, and breakfast was
served to the major and his guest in the captain's room; and Percy was
released long enough to take the meal with them. But he was sullen, and
even morose, in view of the fate that awaited him.

"Boat just come round that point," said the captain from the
pilot-house, when the party had returned to the forecastle.

Captain Pecklar seemed to be hardly able to speak; he was so exhausted
by his night watch, and by constant fits of coughing, that he could
hardly make himself heard.

"What boat is it, Pecklar?" asked the major, straining his eyes to
discover it. "I don't see it."

"Take my glass, and you can see it," added the captain, more faintly
than before. "I don't think I can stand it any longer, Major Pierson."

"But we can't get along without you, Pecklar. We haven't another hand
that knows how to steer," replied the major, as he hastened up to the
pilot-house, followed by Christy.

Captain Pecklar had fainted and fallen from the wheel.



CHAPTER XIX

THE REPORT OF THE SCOUT FROM THE SHORE


Captain Pecklar had held out as long as it was possible for him to stand
it, and he had only given up when his senses deserted him. Major Pierson
raised him from his position on the floor of the pilot-house, and, with
Christy's assistance, bore him out into the air.

The wheel had gone over when the sick man could no longer hold it, and
the tug was beginning to whirl about in an erratic manner, when the
major rang the bell to stop the engine. The captain was carried down to
his room, and put into his berth, where one of the soldiers was detailed
to act as his nurse.

"I haven't a man on board that knows the first thing about handling a
steamboat; and I am not a bit wiser myself," said the major, when the
sick man had been disposed of. "Every man that is fit to be made into a
soldier is sent to the army; and we have nothing but the lame, and the
halt, and the blind to handle these boats."

"It does not look like good policy," added Christy.

"Dallberg and his two men are soldiers, and they know no more about a
steamboat than the rest of us," continued Major Pierson. "It looks as
though we should have to stay here till some other boat comes along; and
that may be in three days or a week, for steamers have no occasion to
come up here now."

"Perhaps you may find a pilot among the men in that boat," suggested
Christy, as he looked about the pilot-house, where the conversation took
place.

The captain's glass was lying on a shelf in front of the wheel, and he
took a look through it in order to find the boat. After searching in
every direction, he discovered the boat, which was pulled by two men,
with a third in the stern-sheets. He indicated the position of it to the
major, and gave him the glass.

"That's Dallberg, without any doubt; but he must be five miles off. He
can't reach the steamer for a long time," said the major, when he had
examined the boat. "But we shall be no better off than we are now when
she gets here, for not one of those in it is a sailor."

Christy was not a little interested in the situation; for he thought his
father must have gone on board of the Bellevite, or she would not have
changed her position. It was all a mystery to him as well as to the
commandant of Fort Gaines, and the boat in the distance had been to the
shore for the purpose of investigating it.

He had an idea in his head, and he continued to examine the interior of
the pilot-house till he found a number of paper rolls in a drawer, which
looked very much like local charts of the bay. He examined several of
them, and found one which covered the portion of the waters around him.
He had noted the direction taken by the Bellevite the day before, and he
had no difficulty in placing the inlet where she had moored at the
wharf.

"What have you got there, Mr. Passford?" asked the major, who had been
looking on the floor, thinking what he should do in his present dilemma.

  [Illustration: "You a Sailor?" (Page 215)]

"It is a chart of these waters, which appears to have been considerably
improved with a pen and ink," replied Christy, still examining it.

"That is the work of Captain Pecklar. They call him the best pilot for
Mobile Bay there is about here, though he has been here but two years."

"Here is the inlet, or river, where we passed the night; and the captain
has marked the wharf on it."

"What good is the chart without a man that knows how to steer a
steamer?" asked the major, who was becoming very impatient in the
presence of the delay that confronted him; for the illness of Captain
Pecklar deprived him of the ability to do any thing, even to return to
the fort.

"You forget that I am a sailor, Major Pierson," said Christy.

"You a sailor? I thought you were the son of a millionnaire, who could
not possibly know any thing except how to eat and sleep," replied the
soldier, laughing.

"I have steered the Bellevite for a great many hundred miles, and my
father says I am competent to do duty as a quartermaster."

"You astonish me; and, as we are both engaged in the same good cause,
I am heartily delighted to find that you are a sailor."

"Probably I shall astonish you still more before we have got through.
With this chart before me, I have no doubt I can find my way about here
in the Leopard," said Christy.

"Then I give you the command of the steamer in the absence of Captain
Pecklar," continued the major. "This boat and another are in the service
of the forts; and if you don't want to join the army with Percy, perhaps
I can obtain the appointment for you, especially as you are hardly old
enough to go into the ranks. We will see about that."

"We will leave all that open for future action, if you please, Major
Pierson," replied Christy, as he rang the bell for the steamer to go
ahead.

The major watched him with the most intense interest, as though he
feared that the young man would prove to be a failure as a steamboat
captain. But the steamer went ahead at the sound of the bell, and in
a minute or two Christy had her on her course in the direction of the
approaching boat. He examined the chart very carefully, and satisfied
himself that there was water enough for the tug anywhere outside the
headlands which projected into the hay.

The Leopard held her course as steadily as though the sick captain were
still at the wheel; and the major was entirely satisfied with the
qualifications of the new master, after he had watched him for a while.

"Spottswood, how is the captain?" called the major from the pilot-house.

"Just the same: he don't seem to be any better," replied the sergeant.

"He ought to have a doctor; for the poor fellow may die here, away from
any proper attendance," said the major, with more feeling than the new
captain supposed he possessed.

"There is a very skilful surgeon on board of the Bellevite," suggested
Christy. "Dr. Linscott served in the army in Mexico, and had a large
practice in New York."

"Then he shall see Pecklar. Dr. Linscott is just the sort of a surgeon
we want in our army; and I suppose he would not be on board of the
Bellevite if he was not of our way of thinking," added the major.

Christy knew he was nothing but a Union man, and not of the way of
thinking which the soldier suggested: so he said nothing. The Leopard
was a faster tug than the one which had come off from Fort Gaines, and
she came up with the boat which contained Lieutenant Dallberg and his
two men, the latter of whom were nearly exhausted with the long pull
they had taken; for, as they were not sailors, they did not row to the
best advantage.

The new captain rang the bell to stop her, as soon as the boat came
near, and the party came on board. The two men seated themselves on the
rail as though they never intended to do another stroke of work, for
they had been using the oars most of the time since the evening before.

"Come up here, Dallberg," called the major from the pilot-house.

The lieutenant looked as though he had just been through one war;
for he had slept none the night before, and had been on duty without
intermission. He came to the hurricane-deck, and entered the
pilot-house, where he dropped on the sofa abaft the wheel as though he
were not in much better condition than the captain when he fell at his
post.

"You have made a night of it, Dallberg," the major began, seating
himself by the side of the lieutenant.

"I am about used up, major. I believe I walked ten miles on shore; and I
am not as strong as I wish I was," replied Mr. Dallberg. "But I found
out all I wanted to know, and I expected the Leopard would be somewhere
near the creek."

"I beg your pardon, Major Pierson," said Christy, who was standing at
the wheel. "What am I to do now?"

"I will tell you in a moment.--Can you tell me, Dallberg, where the
Bellevite is at the present time?" asked the major, turning to the
lieutenant.

"She seems to be running up and down across the head of the bay. She is
beyond that point now, and you will see her when you go within a mile of
the land," replied the lieutenant.

"Have you been near her?"

"Not within a mile of her, I should say."

"All right, you may head her within a mile of that point, Captain
Passford," added the major; and Christy rang to go ahead.

When the major applied this high-sounding title to the new captain, the
lieutenant opened his eyes a little; but he asked no questions, for he
had learned as he came on board that Captain Pecklar had fainted at his
post.

"Well, what have you been about, Dallberg?" asked the major rather
impatiently, as soon as the boat was under way again.

"Walking, talking, and rowing most of the time. As the poet says,
'Things are not what they seem,'" replied the scout; for such appeared
to be the duty in which he had been engaged.

"What do you mean by that?" asked Major Pierson, opening his eyes very
wide.

"We discovered that the steamer had left the wharf last night, and you
sent me to investigate when you started off in that wagon."

"That's so; and Pecklar reported to me early this morning that the
steamer had left the wharf, and was standing off and on in the bay."

"I went ashore in the evening, leaving Pecklar to watch the steamer.
I don't know any thing about his movements."

"He reported to me this morning about daylight. It is all right as far
as he is concerned. What have you done?"

"I landed at the wharf where the Bellevite had been moored, about eleven
o'clock, I should say, for I could not see my watch. I went up to
Colonel Passford's house, and found it all in commotion."

"What was the matter?"

"Colonel Passford was not there: he had gone off to procure assistance."

"Assistance for what?" demanded the major. "You are sleepy, Dallberg,
and you are mixing your story."

"I am sleepy and exhausted, but I will try to do better. I saw Mrs.
Passford. She told me that her brother-in-law, Captain Horatio Passford,
had come to the house that day, with his son; and you are aware, I
believe, that his daughter, Miss Florence, has been there all winter."

"I know all about that. Go ahead, Dallberg."

"The two brothers had been shut up in the library all the afternoon,
engaged in an earnest discussion; though the colonel's wife did not know
what it was about. Captain Horatio left Colonel Homer in the library
some time in the evening, and the colonel remained there till after ten.
Then it was found that the captain had left the house secretly, with his
daughter and his son; though some of the servants had seen the young man
going up the road with Percy Pierson."

"Exactly so; never mind the young man now. The captain had left the
house, and his daughter went with him?" repeated the major, beginning to
be a good deal excited.

"The house was searched, but they could not be found; and the young
lady's trunk had been removed from her room. Then the colonel went down
to the wharf, and found that the Bellevite had left."

Major Pierson sprang to his feet, hardly able to contain himself.



CHAPTER XX

A REBELLION IN THE PILOT-HOUSE


Captain Passford had obtained the idea, from the fact that Florry did
not like to have the major gaze at her all the time, that she was not
very deeply interested in him; and the conclusion afforded him a great
deal of satisfaction. She did not like to leave her uncle and aunt and
her two cousins without saying good-by to them; but she had not said a
word about the military gentleman who was supposed to have made frequent
visits at the mansion on her account.

When Lieutenant Dallberg informed Major Pierson that Miss Florry had
left the house, and that her trunk had been removed, indicating that she
did not intend to return, the effect upon him was very decided. However
it may have been with the young lady, it was plain enough that he was
stirred to the very centre of his being.

"Then Captain Passford has left the mansion?" said the Major, after he
had strode several times across the little pilot-house, as he halted in
front of the lieutenant.

"No doubt of that; the family and the servants hunted the house all over
in search of him and his daughter," replied Mr. Dallberg with a yawn.

"Well, what did Colonel Passford say about him?" demanded the major.

"He was not at the house when I got there. As I said, he had gone for
assistance. I could do nothing till I had seen him. I sent my men on
ahead to look for him, and then I went myself. We did not find him till
one o'clock in the morning. He had given up all his horses for the
service, and we had to go on foot," continued the lieutenant.

"But you saw Colonel Passford?"

"I did; but he had been unable to find the persons of whom he had
been in search, and he could procure no such assistance as he wished.
I walked back to his mansion with him. At first he was not inclined to
say any thing to me; but when I told him that you were over here in the
Leopard to look out for the steamer, he had more confidence in me."

"Well, what did he say?" asked the major impatiently.

"He would not say any thing till I had told him all I knew, including
the manner in which the steamer had passed the forts. By this time we
had reached his house, and we seated ourselves in the library."

"You need not stop to describe the chairs or the sofa," interposed the
excited commandant of the fort.

"I will not; but, if I omit any thing, it will not be my fault," said
the younger officer with a long gape. "He told me he and his brother had
been discussing the great question, as he called it, for over six hours;
and they understood each other perfectly in the end."

"Six hours! It is a wonder they did not talk each other to death!"
exclaimed the major.

"At any rate, they talked enough to enable them to come to a perfect
understanding. Colonel Passford is as true to the Confederacy as we all
know him to be, but Captain Passford is a Yankee to the marrow of his
bones; and the two brothers could not agree at all on the political
question, though they profess still to be friends."

"Then the owner of the Bellevite is on the other side?"

"No doubt of that; and the steamer did not come down here to go into the
service of the Confederacy," added the lieutenant.

"But she will go into it, all the same," said the major, glancing at the
new captain of the Leopard.

Christy was quite as much excited over the conversation to which he
could not help being a listener, even if he had wished not to be so. It
was clear enough to him that the whole object of the voyage to Mobile
Bay had come out, and the major needed no further information to enable
him to act with promptness and decision. The fact that Miss Florry must
be on board of the Bellevite was doubtless an additional incentive to
make him do his entire duty to the Confederacy.

"I think I have told you the whole story, Major Pierson," said
Lieutenant Dallberg with another prodigious yawn.

"Then Captain Passford and his daughter are now on board of the
steamer," added the major; though he seemed to be musing on the fact,
rather than saying it to his companion.

"There can be no doubt of that," replied the other.

"As Captain Passford is a Yankee at heart, of course he don't intend
to remain in these waters much longer," continued the major, giving
utterance to his reflections.

"There is something more than that, which I forgot to tell you; for you
hurried me so that I could not keep my thoughts about me," interposed
the lieutenant.

"What more is there? You said you had told me the whole," said the
major, with a sneer on his lips.

"The Bellevite is intended for the Yankee navy, and she has already been
tendered to the Government for that purpose. More yet, Captain Passford
and the commander of the steamer have offered their services. The owner
is sure that all hands will be volunteers for the service as soon as she
returns from this trip," continued Dallberg, who had suddenly roused his
energies to the requirements of the situation.

"I had no doubt that Captain Passford would be with his brother in this
war," mused the major.

"He could not be any farther from him. He came down here after his
daughter, and his brother says he expected to remove him and his family
to the North at the same time."

"His mission will be a failure in every sense," added Major Pierson, as
though he regarded it as a matter of course.

"The colonel said his duty to his country and her cause would not allow
him to suffer his brother to take the steamer back to the North to be
handed over to the Yankee navy."

"That is where he was quite right."

"But the colonel does not like to do any thing to injure his brother
and his two children who are with him; and he wished to find Colonel
Dalheath, who could manage the business without loss to the Confederacy,
while he could favor the captain's escape. But he was satisfied that you
would feel an interest to prevent the departure of the steamer; while
you would not be willing to do her owner or his family any injury in
their persons, however it might be in their property."

"I think I understand the situation perfectly now," said the major, as
he went to the front windows of the pilot-house. "Spottswood!" he called
to the sergeant.

"Here, sir."

"How is Captain Pecklar?"

"He has come to himself, but he is no better. I am afraid he is going to
die." replied Spottswood, coming near the bulkhead, and speaking in a
low tone.

"That's bad," added the major, shaking his head.

"There's the steamer, sir!" called one of the soldiers.

The Leopard had just passed a point of land beyond which the Bellevite
was discovered, apparently going at full speed, and headed to the
south-west. Christy brought his glass to bear upon her, but he could see
nothing which afforded him any information in regard to her movements or
intentions.

"I suppose it is not difficult to determine what your father's steamer
is waiting in the bay for, Mr. Passford," said Major Pierson, as he
looked into the face of his pilot.

"I am sure I don't know what he is waiting for," replied Christy.

"Don't you, indeed?" added the major, laughing.

"I am sure I do not."

"Then, it has not occurred to you that he misses you, and don't like to
leave without you?" chuckled the major. "I did not intend to have you
captured by my men, and I gave them no definite orders to that effect;
but, as things look just now, it is rather fortunate that I have you on
board of the Leopard, not only for the sake of your father's waiting for
you, but you are a good pilot, and are of great service to me."

Christy rang the bell with a sudden impulse, which made it look as
though he had not fully taken in the situation before. The engineer,
though he was one of the army of the disabled in whole or in part,
obeyed the summons of the bell, and the propeller ceased to revolve.

"What's that for, Captain Passford?" asked the major good-naturedly.

"With your permission, Major Pierson, I will resign my office as captain
of the Leopard," replied Christy, as he stepped back from the wheel.

"But I cannot give you my permission," laughed the major.

"I am sorry to disoblige you, Major Pierson; but then I am compelled to
resign the position without your permission," replied Christy without an
instant's hesitation; for he clearly understood what he was doing now,
and neither really nor constructively was he willing to do any thing in
the service of the enemies of the Union.

"But you can't resign in the face of the enemy, Captain Passford; and
you accepted the position which I assigned to you," said the major,
beginning to look a little more serious.

"In the face of the enemy!" exclaimed Christy, glancing at the
Bellevite, as she dashed furiously over the waves at a distance of not
more than a mile from the tug. "May I ask what you mean by the enemy,
Major Pierson?"

"Yon must have heard all the information which was brought to me by
Lieutenant Dallberg; and by this time you are aware that the steamer
yonder is an enemy of the Confederate States," continued the major.

"She did not come into these waters as an enemy, or with any warlike
intentions, sir. She came on a peaceful mission; and now it appears that
my uncle is guilty of treachery towards my father," replied Christy with
deep emotion.

"Do you think it would be right or proper for your uncle to allow that
fine steamer, which I am told is one of the strongest and fastest ever
built, to be handed over to the Yankee navy?" demanded the major, with
energy enough to assure his auditor that he meant all he said.

"I happen to know that my father had several hundred dollars about him
in gold; and my uncle would have done no worse to rob him of that, than
to have his steamer taken from him when it was not engaged in acts of
war. In either case, Homer Passford is a thief and a robber!"

"That's plain speech, young man," said the major, biting his lips.

"I meant it should be plain, sir," said Christy, gasping for breath in
his deep emotion. "I am ashamed of my uncle, and I know that my father
would not be guilty of such treachery."

"I see that it is useless to reason with you, Passford."

"You have come to a correct conclusion. When you call my father's
steamer an enemy, you define my duty for me; and I have nothing further
to do on board of this tug," replied Christy. "I am in your power, and
of course you can do with me as you please."

Major Pierson was certainly very much embarrassed. The events of the
night, and the information obtained on shore, to say nothing of the
specific request from Colonel Passford to "manage the business," imposed
upon him the duty of capturing the Bellevite; and he was all ready to do
it. But the Leopard might as well have been without an engine as without
a pilot; for all the men on board were from the interior of the country,
and not one of them, not even the officers, knew how to steer the boat.

The marks and figures on the chart of the bay, which Christy had put on
the shelf in front of the wheel, were all Greek to them. Possibly they
might get the tug to the shore, or aground on the way to it; but the
steamer was practically disabled.



CHAPTER XXI

THE SICK CAPTAIN OF THE LEOPARD


Christy Passford now realized, for the first time, that he had
been taken by the enemy. War had actually been declared against the
Bellevite, and Major Pierson would undertake to perform the duty
assigned to him by Colonel Passford. The young man was determined to be
true to his colors under all possible circumstances; and therefore he
could do nothing, directly or indirectly, to assist in the capture of
the steamer.

Captain Passford, while he recognized the irregularity of his mission,
had come into the waters of Mobile Bay with no intention of committing
any depredations on the persons, property, or vessels of the
Confederacy. The Bellevite had not fired a shot, or landed a force,
in the enemy's country.

Indeed, the owner of the steamer had taken especial pains to conceal any
appearance of using force on coming into the bay; and all the guns on
the deck of the vessel, that could not be easily lowered into the hold,
had been covered up and concealed. Though Major Pierson had spent some
time on board of the Bellevite, he did not know whether or not she was
armed. He was no wiser than the owner's brother.

The major went to the lower deck of the Leopard, where Christy saw him
questioning the soldiers there, though he could not hear any thing that
was said. Of course he was inquiring for some hand who had steered a
steamer; but he soon returned alone, and it looked as though he had not
found the person he sought.

"It looks like bad weather, Mr. Passford, since you decline to be called
captain any longer," said the major, as he came into the pilot-house,
and looked at the sky in all directions.

Christy had noticed the weather signs before; and the wind was beginning
to pipe up a rather fresh blast, though the sun had been out for an hour
or more earlier in the morning. It came from the southward, and it was
already knocking up a considerable sea, as it had the range of the whole
length of the bay.

"I was thinking that we should have a storm before long when I looked at
the signs this morning," replied Christy rather indifferently.

"How many men does your father have on board of his steamer, Mr.
Passford?" asked the major, in a careless sort of way.

"Not as many, I should say, as you have in Fort Gaines. By the way, how
many have you under your command there?" returned Christy with a twinkle
of the eye.

"We have two thousand four hundred and twenty-six, including myself,"
replied the major.

"That is quite a force; my father has only seven hundred and forty-two,
without counting me."

"Where do you put them all?"

"We stow them away in the hold, after the manner of packing sardines in
a box. We only let them out one at a time, when we feed them with salt
fish and baked beans."

"That makes a good many men to a gun," suggested the major.

"Lots of them," answered Christy.

"How many guns does the steamer carry?"

"Only two hundred; of course I mean heavy guns,--sixty and eighty-four
pounders. I think there must be small arms enough to supply all your men
in the fort."

"I was on board of the Bellevite for half an hour or more, and I really
did not see a single heavy gun," added the major, biting his lip.

"Didn't you notice the one hundred and twenty pounder in the waist? It
is big enough for you to have seen it."

It was plain enough to the young Unionist that the major really desired
to know something about the force and metal of the Bellevite, and that
he was disappointed when he found that the son of the owner was on his
guard. No information was to be obtained from him.

"I think you said there was a doctor on board of the steamer," continued
Major Pierson, changing the subject of the conversation.

"Yes, sir; and a very skilful surgeon he is,--Dr. Linscott," replied
Christy.

"I went in to see Captain Pecklar when I was below, and I found him in a
very bad condition. I am afraid he will die before we can get him to the
shore; and he is suffering terribly," added the major, looking earnestly
into the face of the young man.

"I am sorry for him," replied Christy; and his pity and sympathy were
apparent in his face.

He had noticed the captain of the tug in the morning, and one of the
soldiers had told him he was a Northern man who had come to this region
for his health. He appeared to have no scruples at doing the duty
assigned to him, though he had been only two years at the South. But he
seemed to be of no use to either side in the contest, for he was too
sick to work any longer.

Christy was filled with pity for the sufferings of the captain of the
tug, and he thought the major's questions suggested that something was
to be required of him in connection with the sick man. He was willing to
do any thing he could for the aid of the captain, if he could do it
without sacrificing his principles.

"It was a part of my purpose to obtain assistance from the surgeon of
the steamer for poor Pecklar," continued the major. "But you have moored
us all here by refusing to steer the boat, and the captain will die
without our being able to do a single thing for him. There is not even a
drop of brandy on board of this boat to restore him."

"What do you propose to do, Major Pierson?" asked Christy.

"Just now, all I desire is to procure assistance for poor Pecklar,"
replied the major. "But we are as helpless as though we were all babies,
for we can't handle the steamer, and cannot run down to the Bellevite.
I hope you will not have the death of this poor fellow on your
conscience."

"I will not. I will take the Leopard alongside of the Bellevite, if you
like," replied Christy; and he regarded this as a mission of humanity
which he had no right to decline.

"The steamer has turned about!" shouted one of the soldiers on the
forecastle.

Christy had noticed that the Bellevite was coming about before the
announcement came from below, for his nautical eye enabled him to see
her first movement. He did not feel that the service he was about to
render would benefit the enemy, on the one hand; and he hoped that his
father or some other person on board of the Bellevite would see him in
the pilot-house, on the other hand. If he could only let his father know
where he was, he felt that he should remove a heavy burden from his mind
and that of his sister.

What else might come from getting near to the steamer, he did not
venture to consider. But he could not help figuring up the number of
soldiers on board of the tug; the force which had captured him and
Percy consisted of four men, and two men were with the lieutenant. Two
officers and six men was the available force of the enemy on board of
the little steamer, for neither the captain nor the engineer was fit for
duty.

"I accept your offer, Captain Passford; and we have no time to spare, or
the sick man may die," said the major.

Christy made no reply, but went to the wheel, and rang the bell to go
ahead. Heading the Leopard for the Bellevite, he gave himself up to a
consideration of the situation. Major Pierson immediately left the
pilot-house, and did not return. No stipulations of any kind had been
made, and no terms had been imposed upon Christy. All that he desired
was that his father should see him, and know where he was.

No one but himself on board could handle the steamer; and he could not
be sent out of the pilot-house, or concealed so that he should not be
seen. On the other hand, it did not seem to him that the officer could
do any thing towards capturing the Bellevite. The major desired to
ascertain what force she had, and had asked some questions calculated
to throw light on the subject.

If the steamer had come into the bay on a peaceful errand, as Christy
insisted that she had, the major might easily believe that she was not
armed, and that she had only men enough to man her. But Christy could
not tell what his captor was thinking about, and he could not yet
enlarge his plans for the future; but he was very certain in his own
mind, that he should not let pass any opportunity to escape, even at
great risk, from his present situation.

As the Leopard went off on her course, considerably shaken by the fresh
breeze which had stirred up a smart sea, the acting captain of the tug
saw that all the men who had been on the forecastle had disappeared,
with a single exception. The major was not to be seen, and doubtless
he was taking care of the sick captain, or arranging his plan for the
interview with the people of the Bellevite. In a few minutes more, this
last man disappeared, and Percy Pierson took his place on the
forecastle.

"So you are a Yank, are you, Mr. Pierson?" said he of that name, looking
up to the window at which Christy stood.

"Whatever I am, I am in command of a Confederate steamer," replied
Christy, laughing. "What is your brother doing, Mr. Percy?"

"I am sure I don't know: he is only talking to the men," answered the
young man, who had evidently been put there to act as a lookout.

At that moment a voice was heard from farther aft, and Percy went
towards the stern of the boat. A few minutes later he ascended to the
pilot-house. On the sofa abaft the wheel was Lieutenant Dallberg, where
he had dropped asleep as he finished his report of what he had learned
on shore.

"Mr. Dallberg!" shouted Percy; but the lieutenant did not show any signs
of life till the messenger had shaken him smartly. "Major Pierson wants
you down below."

The officer rubbed his eyes for a moment, and then rose from the sofa,
and left the apartment. The summons for the lieutenant made it look to
Christy as though something was in progress below. There was only one
thing which the major could think of doing; and that was to capture the
Bellevite, either by force or by strategy. He would have given a good
deal to know what the plan was, but it seemed to him to be quite
impossible to leave the wheel.

"How is the sick man, Percy?" asked Christy, when he found that the
messenger was not disposed to leave the pilot-house.

"He is a good deal better: they have just given him another glass of
brandy," replied Percy.

This statement did not agree with that of the major, who had told him
the captain was likely to die, and that there was not a drop of brandy
on board of the boat. The commandant of the fort had evidently been
acting in the pilot-house with a purpose.

"Didn't your brother order you to stay on the forecastle, Mr. Percy?"
asked Christy, when his companion came to the wheel on the opposite side
from the helmsman.

"No: he said if I would help him, he would do what he could for me; and
he told me to keep a lookout at this end of the tug. I can see ahead
better here than I can down below," replied Percy, as he tried to turn
the wheel. "I believe I could steer this thing."

"I know you could, Percy. Do you see the Bellevite?"

"Of course I do: I'm not blind."

"She has stopped her screw, and is not going ahead now," added Christy,
as he let go the spokes of the wheel, and proceeded to instruct his
pupil.

A few minutes later, Christy left the pilot-house to take a look below.



CHAPTER XXII

THE PROCEEDINGS ON THE LOWER DECK


Christy Passford did not consider Percy Pierson a competent helmsman,
for he had spent but a few minutes in instructing him in handling the
wheel; in fact, only long enough to induce him to "steer small." For the
moment, Percy was interested in the occupation, and gave his whole mind
to it; and Christy intended to remain where he could reach the wheel in
a moment if occasion should require. His companion in the pilot-house
did not seem to care what he did.

The Bellevite, as the new captain had observed before, had stopped her
screw: and she appeared to be waiting for the tug to come up, as it was
headed towards her. Christy had examined her with the glass, but he
could see nothing which gave him any idea of what was going on upon her
decks. As Florry was now on board of her, he was satisfied that his
father could only be waiting for him; and he intended to do his best to
report on board some time during the day.

Major Pierson and his little force were gathered under the
hurricane-deck, in the space from which opened the door of the captain's
little cabin. Christy could not see a single one of them from the upper
deck; but he had gone but a few steps aft before he heard the voice of
the major who seemed to be "laying down the law" in a forcible manner to
his men.

"Do you understand me, Spikeley?" demanded the major slowly and loudly,
as though he were talking to a deaf man.

Christy had not heard the name of Spikeley before; but he concluded that
he must be one of the soldiers, probably one of the two who had come on
board with Lieutenant Dallberg.

"I don't think I do," replied the man addressed, in a tone quite as loud
as that of the military officer.

"You are not to start the engine under any circumstances," continued the
major, in a louder tone than before, as if the man had failed to hear
him.

The man addressed as Spikeley must be the engineer then, and not a
soldier, Christy realized at once.

"Don't I mind the bells, Major Pierson?" asked the engineer, whose tones
indicated that he was not a little astonished at the positive order he
had received.

"You will not mind the bells. You will take no notice of them after this
present moment. When I tell you to stop the engine, you will stop it,
not without, no matter how many times the bells ring," said the major
with emphasis.

"I hear you, and I understand now what I am to do," replied Spikeley.

"All right, so far; but do you understand what you are not to do?"
demanded the officer sharply, as though he fully comprehended the
obtuseness of the engineer.

"I reckon I do: I am not to start the engine till you tell me to start
it," answered the dull engineer.

"Not if you don't start it for a month!" added the major sternly.

"But you are going off, Major Pierson," suggested Spikeley. "If that
steamer over yonder looks like she was going to run over the Leopard,
I am not to start the engine to keep her from being sent to the bottom
of the bay?"

"No!" exclaimed the officer.

"All right, major; then you may find me on the bottom when you come
back."

"You will not be lost as long as I know where you are," added the major
with a chuckle.

"Are you coining back to-day, major?"

"I don't know when I shall return. All you have to do is to obey orders,
and leave all the rest to me."

"Shall I be all alone on board?"

"That young fellow at the wheel will remain on board; but you are not to
mind what he says to you. Do you understand that?"

"I reckon I do," replied Spikeley.

"My brother, who was down here a little while ago, will also remain on
board; and Captain Pecklar will be in his room, for he cannot leave it.
That is all that will be on board. But no one will bother you, unless it
should be the fellow now at the wheel; and he can't do any harm as long
as you don't start the engine for him."

"I reckon I won't start the engine for him, or anybody else but you,
major. You can bet your commission on that," added the engineer, with
more vim in his speech than he had used before.

"All right, Spikeley; and I will see that you don't lose any thing,
if you are faithful to your duty. You must keep a sharp lookout for
Passford: that's the young fellow at the wheel. He is the only one that
can do any mischief, and I would not have him go near that steamer for a
thousand dollars."

Christy thought he understood what was in progress; at any rate, he
dared not remain any longer away from the wheel, and he returned to
the pilot-house. Percy was still interested in his occupation. He was
steering the tug very well for a beginner, and his brother was too busy
organizing his expedition to notice that the steering was a little wild;
for the waves caused the boat to yaw somewhat in the absence of a
skilled hand at the helm.

The Leopard was now within about half a mile of the Bellevite. The
latter turned her screw a few times once in a while to keep from
drifting, and Christy saw from his chart that the water was too shallow
for her in the direction in which the tug was approaching her. Of course
his father was aware that, by this time, his own and his daughter's
departure from his uncle's mansion was known. His own absence,
therefore, must be the only thing that detained her in these waters.

"I think I can steer this thing pretty well, Mr. Pierson," said Percy,
when the new captain joined him.

"You do it very well indeed for a beginner, Percy; but you need not call
me 'Mr. Pierson' any longer, for it takes too long to say it. Everybody
calls me Christy, and you had better follow the fashion," replied the
captain.

"All right, Christy, and I will do so; for there are more Piersons on
board of this boat now than I wish there were," added Percy, glancing at
the face of his companion.

"What is your brother going to do, Percy? He seems to be arranging
something on the lower deck," continued Christy.

"I don't know: he didn't tell me any thing at all about it. He wanted to
use me: so he soaped me."

"If he knew you could steer this steamer, he would have something more
for you to do."

"Then I won't tell him. All I want is to get away from him. He will make
a common soldier of me, and I shall never get out of the ranks."

"But you will fight like a brave fellow, and you will be promoted,"
suggested Christy.

"If I get a bullet through my carcass, they will make a corporal of me.
Then if I had half my head shot off, they might make a sergeant of me.
I am not thirsting for any such glory as that, and I expected to stay
with my father at Nassau."

"Did your brother ask you any thing about the Bellevite, Percy?"

"Not a thing: he would hardly speak to me, for he says I have disgraced
the family. But, Christy, now I think of it, you are not on the South
side of this question."

"How do you know I am not?" asked Christy, laughing.

"I heard my brother say so; and that he did not wish to have you, on any
account, go near that other steamer."

"I think we won't talk about that just now," added Christy cautiously,
for he was not inclined to have Percy know too much about his affairs at
present.

"Why not? After all my brother has done, and is trying to do, to me,
I don't think I am exactly on the South side of the question any more
than you are," said Percy, looking with interest into the face of his
companion. "If your father is a Union man, as Lindley says he is, he
don't mean to have the Bellevite go into the service of the
Confederacy."

"That is not bad logic, with the premises on which you base it."

"Just talk English, if you please, Christy."

"The English of it is, that if my father is a Union man, as your brother
says he is, the Bellevite is not going into the Southern navy," replied
Christy, willing to encourage the major's brother.

"I can understand that, Christy. Now, you are going on board of your
father's steamer if you can get there."

"I certainly don't want to stay on board of this little tub any longer
than I am obliged to do so, for you can see that I am really a
prisoner."

"So am I; and that is just where we ought to be friends, and stand by
each other," said Percy with a good deal of enthusiasm. "I can see
through a brick wall, when there is a hole in it."

"Good eyes you have, Percy, and you don't have to wear glasses."

"I don't know much about logic; but if the Bellevite is not going into
the Confederate navy, as I supposed when we came into Mobile Bay, I can
figure it out that she is not going to stay in these parts at all."

"That's your logic, Percy, not mine; but I don't think I care to argue
the question on the other side," said Christy, making very light of the
whole matter, though he was vastly more interested than he was willing
to acknowledge.

"She is going to get out of Mobile Bay, and she is going to do it just
as soon as she can. Now, the question is, where is she going then?"

"You will have to put that question to my father, Percy," said Christy.
"He can tell you what he is going to do a great deal better than I can."

"He is not within ear-shot of me just now: if he were, I would ask him
without stopping to soap my tongue."

"You may see him before long. I don't know what your brother is about
just now; and, for aught I know, he may intend to capture the
Bellevite."

"I reckon he will have a good time doing it, if your father and Captain
Breaker haven't a mind to let him do it."

"They will not wish to fight, even for their steamer, here in Mobile
Bay. I know that my father intended to keep the peace. Besides, your
brother may think there are few men on board of the vessel."

"I want to get on board of the Bellevite anyhow!" exclaimed Percy,
bluntly coming to the point at which he had been aiming for some time.

"I shall not do any thing to prevent you from doing so," added Christy.

"I don't say that I want to go into the Yankee navy, or that I will lift
a finger against my country, mind you."

He seemed to be equally unwilling to lift a finger for it.

"I don't ask you to do any thing against your conscience, Percy."

"If the Bellevite gets out of the bay with you and me on board,
I believe I can find some way to get back to Nassau. That is what I
am driving at."

"I can't say that the steamer will not go there," added Christy, who did
not mean to commit himself.

Suddenly, without any bell from the pilot-house, the engine of the
Leopard stopped; but Christy was not at all surprised at the failure of
the power, though Percy began to make himself very indignant over the
stoppage of the engine.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE EXPEDITION FROM THE LEOPARD


"What is the matter now?" demanded Percy Pierson, when the tug ceased to
shake under the pressure of the engine, and began to roll rather smartly
in the sea, though it was not heavy enough to be at all dangerous.

"It appears that the engine has stopped," replied Christy quietly.

"What has it stopped for?" asked the other.

"You will have to put that conundrum to your brother; but doubtless the
needs of the Confederate States require that it should stop."

"Which is the bell, Christy?" inquired Percy, looking at the pulls on
the frame of the wheel.

"The large one is the gong bell, the other is the speed bell, and the
latter is a jingler."

"Well, which one do you ring to start her?"

"One pull at the gong bell to stop or to start her," replied Christy,
who was rather anxious to have his companion learn the secrets of the
pilot-house.

"One bell to stop or start her," repeated Percy.

"Two bells to back her," added the acting captain.

"Two bells to back her. I can remember all that without writing it down.
But what is the other pull for. There don't seem to be any need of any
more bells."

"I think there is; at least, it saves striking too many strokes on the
gong when there is an emergency. The other is the speed bell."

"What is that for, to make her go faster?"

"Yes, or slower. If you start the engine, the engineer will run it
slowly at first, and continue to do so till he gets the speed bell,
or jingler, which he can never mistake for the gong."

"I see; and that is a good scheme."

"If you are approaching a wharf or another vessel, or if a fog come
up, you ring the jingler, if the boat is going at full speed, and the
engineer slows her down. If there is any danger, and you wish to stop
her as quick as you can, you ring one bell on the gong, which stops the
engine, and then two bells on the same, which reverses the engine. Now
let me see if you know all about it; for your brother may want you to
steer the Leopard, and become her captain, after he has tied my hands
behind me again."

"If he does that, I will cut you loose, Christy."

"Thank you, Percy. I don't know what he will do, but it seems to me that
he is going to do something;" and Christy proceeded to examine his pupil
in the use of the bell-pulls.

Percy made some mistakes, which were carefully corrected; and, as he did
so, the captain wrote down the directions in full, placing the paper on
the shelf with the chart.

The student of bell-pulls signalized the completion of his examination
by giving one pull at the gong; but it produced no effect at all upon
the engine or the engineer, and the Leopard, having fallen off into the
trough of the sea, had begun to roll more violently than at first.

"What is the matter with that engineer?" pouted Percy, who did not feel
flattered that his first experience with the bell-pulls produced no
effect, though he had distinctly heard the sound of the gong.

"They haven't sent any word up to the pilot house that the engine is
disabled, and we shall have to apply to Major Pierson for further
information."

"That engineer must have gone to sleep!" exclaimed Percy, whose vexation
was in proportion to his zeal.

He rang the gong again; but Christy understood why the screw did not
turn, though he deemed it wise to keep his own counsel for the present.
Percy was rousing himself to a passion at the neglect of the engineer to
heed his bell.

"Keep cool, Percy," interposed Christy. "Don't say a word to your
brother that you have learned to steer a steamer; and you may have a
chance to surprise him, and show that you are a good deal more of a
fellow than he takes you to be."

"I don't believe he will get such a chance if he don't have it now.
I wonder what he is up to," added Percy, restraining his impatience.

"We can only wait till his plans come out," added Christy. "But I will
go to the side of the hurricane deck, and tell him that the engine does
not respond to the bells."

"I should think he might see that for himself," said Percy.

"Don't you say a word, and don't you show yourself to any one. Sit down
on that stool, and keep quiet."

"I will do just what you tell me, Christy, for I believe you will be
able to get me out of this scrape," replied Percy, as he seated himself,
and began to read over the instructions relating to the bells.

In fact, he was so interested in the new occupation he had taken up,
that he soon forgot all about his brother, and the trouble that lay in
his path. He read the paper, and applied his fingers to the pulls in a
great many different ways, supposing all the various situations of the
boat which Christy had suggested.

Christy went to the side of the upper deck, and saw that the soldiers
had hauled in the boat that had been used by the lieutenant and his two
men. It was a large and clumsy affair, big enough to hold a dozen men,
and provided with four oars. But the Leopard was in the trough of the
sea, and it was not an easy matter for the soldiers to handle it; and
just then the major declared that the boat would be smashed against the
side of the tug.

"Major Pierson, this steamer has stopped without any bell from the
pilot-house, and I have been unable to start her again," said Christy,
hailing the commander of the fort.

"All right, Mr. Passford: I told the engineer to stop her," replied
the major, who appeared to be in a hurry, though he could not make the
long-boat work as he desired. "Oblige me by remaining in the pilot-house
for the present, and keep a sharp lookout for the Bellevite."

"Certainly, Major Pierson, if you desire it; but permit me to suggest
that you will not be able to do any thing with that boat while the tug
remains in the trough of the sea," replied Christy, who was more afraid
that the major would not carry out his plan than that he would do so.

"I don't see that it can be helped, though I am no sailor," replied the
commandant, looking up with interest to the acting captain. "For reasons
of my own, which I cannot stop to explain, I don't wish to take this tug
any nearer to the Bellevite; and I am going off in the boat after Dr.
Linscott. But it looks now as though the boat would be smashed in
pieces."

"I should say that it would be," added Christy. "If you will start the
engine again, I think I can help you out of this difficulty."

"How do you expect to do it?" asked the major, who seemed to be
incredulous on the point.

"If you will let me get the tug out of the trough of the sea, you can
easily haul the boat up on the lee side of her," Christy explained. "The
steamer will shelter the water on that side of her."

"Spikeley!" called the major, in a loud voice; and the engineer came out
of his den. "Start her up now."

"Run her at about half speed, major," and the commandant repeated his
direction to the engineer.

Christy retreated to the pilot-house, and threw over the wheel of the
boat; so that, when the screw began to turn, the bow of the tug soon
headed to the southward, which gave her the wind ahead. Then he brought
her so that the water was comparatively smooth on her port quarter,
where the long-boat was.

Without the loss of a moment, the major drove all his men into the boat,
and they shoved off. The men were soldiers, and they had had but little
practice in rowing, having taken it up at the fort. They made rather
bad work of it; but, more by luck than skill, the boat cleared the tug
without being stove.

"Spikeley!" shouted the major.

"Here, sir," replied the engineer, hobbling out of his room.

"Stop the engine, and remember what I told you," added the commandant.

"All right, sir: I will do just as you ordered me."

"What does he want to stop the engine for?" asked Percy. "She don't roll
so badly when the engine is going."

"That is very true; but your brother knows what he is about," replied
Christy, his eyes beginning to light up with an unwonted fire.

"Well, what is he about?"

"He is going to capture the Bellevite."

"He will have a nice time of it!" exclaimed Percy. "That steamer can
blow him out of the water a dozen times before he gets near her."

"I don't believe your brother has any idea that the Bellevite is heavily
armed," added Christy.

"But he has been on board of her."

"That is very true; but the two heavy guns were covered up, and the
others were sent down into the hold. All the soldiers in the boat
with your brother have their muskets; and he would not have taken the
lieutenant and six men with him if he were simply going for the doctor
for Captain Pecklar, as he told me he was."

"I believe Lindley is a fool to think of such a thing as capturing the
Bellevite with eight men," added Percy.

"I don't know what else he can intend to do, but I do know why he don't
take the tug any nearer to the steamer. He don't want my father to know
what has become of me."

"Can't you make some sort of a signal to him, Christy?"

"I can do something better than that."

"What's that?"

"I can show myself to him. But, before I do that, I must know how you
stand, Percy."

"How I stand? You know as much about me as I know about myself. I want
to get on board of the Bellevite, and I am not a bit anxious to fight my
brother's battle for him. I know what he is after, now I think of it."

"Well, what is he after?"

"He is after the Bellevite; and if he can take her, he is sure of a
colonel's commission."

"I should say that he could not do any thing better for the Confederacy
than to present it with the finest steamer in the world. But you are not
with him, you say, Percy."

"I am not. I belong to the Confederacy the same as he does; but I want
to get aboard of the Bellevite, and then I shall have a good chance to
reach Nassau," replied Percy.

Christy had a good deal better opinion of Major Pierson than he had of
his brother in the pilot-house with him; but just then the latter was
able to be more useful to him than the commandant of the fort.

"I can now almost promise that you shall be put on board of the
Bellevite, if I succeed in reaching her myself," said Christy.

"That is all I can expect of you; and I will do whatever you tell me, if
it be to sink the Leopard. But we can't do a thing. The engineer will
not start the engine for us; and I don't see but what we must stay here
till my brother comes back from his errand, whatever it may be."

"I don't feel quite so helpless as that," added Christy, as he took a
revolver from his hip-pocket, where he had carried it all the time since
the steamer left Nassau, and while she was there.

"What are you going to do with that, Christy?" asked Percy, impressed
with the sight of the weapon.

"I am going to start this tug with it, if necessary. Now hear me."

Percy was all attention.



CHAPTER XXIV

THE ENGINEER GOES INTO THE FORECASTLE


The wind from the southward seemed to be increasing in force, though it
was not yet what old salts would call any thing more than half a gale,
and hardly that; but the long-boat from the Leopard made bad weather of
it, and rolled wildly in the trough of the sea. The soldiers pulled
badly, for they had had no training in the use of the oars, and very
little experience.

The boat had made very little progress towards the Bellevite, and
Christy was in no hurry to put his plan in operation. He showed his
revolver to Percy, and then restored it to his hip-pocket. But he
watched the expression of his companion in the pilot-house very closely;
for, as the case then stood, one of them belonged to the blue, while the
other was of the gray. But Percy's patriotism was hardly skin deep, and
he had already spoken freely enough to make himself understood.

"I don't see how you are going to start the tug with that pistol if the
fellow at the engine don't look at it in that light," said Percy, as his
companion restored the weapon to his pocket.

"I don't intend to use it if it can be avoided," replied Christy.
"I shall not ask Spikeley to start the engine, and if he don't interfere
with me, I shall not harm him; for he seems to be a cripple, and it
would hurt my feelings to have to lay hands on him, or even to point a
revolver at his head."

"If Spikeley don't start the engine, I reckon it will not start itself,"
suggested Percy.

"I don't believe it will."

"What are you going to do, then?"

"I am going to start it myself."

"Start it yourself! You will blow the whole thing up!" exclaimed Percy,
who did not see how the same young fellow of sixteen could know how to
steer, and run the engine.

"I have been on board the Bellevite a great deal of the time for the
last three years, and my mother says I was born a sailor, as my father
was before me. I always took a deep interest in every thing connected
with the steamer."

"I should think you might, on board of such a fine vessel as the
Bellevite."

"I have stood my trick at the wheel for weeks together; and the
quartermasters taught me all they knew about steering, the compass,
the log, the lead, and the signals."

"Those things have nothing to do with the engine," suggested Percy.

"That is very true; but, when I had learned enough in the pilot-house,
I went down into the engine and fire rooms. Mr. Vapoor, the chief
engineer, and I were in the same school together; and, though he is six
years older than I am, we have been cronies for four years."

"And he told you about the engine?"

"I made a regular study of the engine, in connection with physics, and
Paul"--

"Paul? That's another fellow?"

"No: it's the same fellow,--Paul Vapoor. Everybody that knows him says
he is a genius. He was my teacher. But he told me that all the theory in
the world would not make me an engineer: I must have the experience; and
for weeks together I took the place of one of the assistant engineers.
That's how I happen to know something about an engine; and I have been
on board of all sorts of steamers with Paul, for the purpose of studying
the engines, from a launch up to the biggest ocean-steamers."

"Did you take any lessons of the cook on board of the Bellevite,
Christy?" asked Percy, laughing.

"I used to ask questions of him; but I have served as cook on board of a
small yacht, and I know how to get up a chowder or bake a pot of beans."

"All right; then I will take it for granted that you can start the
engine of the Leopard," continued Percy, coming back to the topic which
interested him most. "What are you going to do after you have started
the engine?"

"I am going to get on board of the Bellevite, and get you on board of
her."

"That will suit me first rate," replied Percy. "But I don't want you to
think I am a Yankee, for I am not."

"But I want you to think I am a Yankee, as you call it; and I am one,"
added Christy.

"After we get on board of the Bellevite, what do you suppose she will
do?"

"That is more than I can tell you; but I have no doubt my father will
try to get out of the bay, and then he will go to New York. It is about
time to make a beginning, for the boat will not trouble us now," replied
Christy, as he took a look all around the tug.

"What am I to do?"

"I haven't told you all I know about steering the boat for nothing,
Percy, and you will remain at the wheel. But I wonder what that is over
in the north-west," added Christy, as he took the glass from the shelf,
and pointed it out the after window of the pilot-house.

"I think I can steer her all right now. What do you see over there?"

"I believe there is a steamer coming down from that direction," replied
Christy anxiously, as he brought the glass to bear on the object in
sight.

"A steamer!" exclaimed Percy. "That will mix things with us."

"Perhaps it will. It is a steamer, but it looks like a river boat, at
any rate, it is not a tug. She is headed this way."

Christy was a good deal disturbed by the discovery he made; and giving
no further attention to his companion, he continued to study the
approaching craft, at the same time endeavoring to account for her
appearance. His uncle Homer had gone to find some one who was to render
assistance in preventing the Bellevite from leaving the bay, and
becoming a part of the navy of the Union.

He had not succeeded in finding the person he sought, but he had had
abundance of time to go to Mobile; and Christy feared that this steamer
coming down from the north-west might be intended for the capture of the
Bellevite, in which case she must be armed and provided with an ample
force for the purpose.

"That is not a tug-boat: she is a river or a bay steamer, and I am
afraid she is faster than this thing," said Christy, when he had
obtained all the information he could at the present time. "At any rate,
we have no time to spare. Do you think you can steer the Leopard,
Percy?"

"I know I can," replied he confidently.

"The boat with the major in it is losing a good deal by lee-way, for he
seems to be making no allowance for it."

"What does that mean?" asked Percy, puzzled by the statement.

"She has the wind on her beam, and she drifts to the north almost as
much as she goes ahead. He ought to head her for some point to the
southward of the Bellevite; but the more mistakes he makes, the better
it will be for us."

"I see that he don't seem to be headed anywhere in particular."

"Now, Percy, I am going below to have it out with Spikeley," continued
Christy, taking the revolver from his pocket, while he drew a box of
cartridges from another. "The Bellevite drifts as well as the boat; but
they don't let her go far to the north where the shoal water is, and
they turn the screw enough to keep her pretty nearly in the same
position."

"I am to steer for her, of course," added Percy.

"No: there is something that looks like buildings on the shore, at least
five miles beyond the steamer. Do you see them?"

"I do."

"Run for them; and this course will carry you a considerable distance to
the southward of the boat. I shall be near you all the time; and if you
get bothered, sing out for me, and I will help you out."

"Don't you think I had better go below with you, so as to make a sure
thing with the engineer?"

"I can handle him alone; or, if I find that I cannot, I will call for
you. Now, look out very closely for your steering, and don't let her
wobble any more than you can help."

Christy left the pilot-house, after he had put six cartridges into his
revolver, and restored the weapon to his pocket. He had already made up
his mind as to the manner in which he proposed to dispose of the
engineer. He descended the ladder to the forecastle of the tug; but
before he proceeded to the important task before him, he made a careful
survey of the accommodations of the steamer, though she did not appear
to be different from a score of similar vessels he had visited in making
his studies.

Under the pilot-house was the galley, which was also the mess-room of
the crew when she had any. Forward of this, and under the forward deck,
was the forecastle, to which the inquirer descended. It was fitted up
with bunks, and there was only one entrance to it, by a ladder from a
scuttle in the deck.

The scuttle was the interesting point with him; and he saw that it was
provided with a hasp and staple, so that the entrance could be secured
by a padlock, though that was missing. Getting a piece of wood from the
deck, he made a toggle that would fit the staple, and put the scuttle
in a convenient place. Leaving the forward deck, he went aft, taking
another look at the steamer in the north-west; but he could hardly see
her with the naked eye, and he thought she must be at least five miles
off.

"Where is your bunk, Mr. Spikeley?" asked Christy, as he went to the
door of the engine-room.

"What's that to you, youngster?" demanded the engineer; and possibly it
did not comport with his dignity to be bossed by a boy.

"It is rather important for me to know just now," replied Christy,
looking as savage as it was possible for a good-natured boy to look.

"What do you want to know for?" asked Spikeley.

"I happen to be in command of this tug for the present moment, and I
want an answer without stopping all day to talk about it."

"Well, youngster, I don't reckon I'll tell you any thing about it. I get
my orders from Major Pierson," replied the engineer sourly.

"The Leopard is in my charge, and I must ask you to show me where your
bunk is; and after you have done that, I shall ask you to get into it,
and stay there," said Christy, with decision enough for the needs of the
occasion.

At the same time he took the revolver from his pocket, and pointed it
towards the head of the engineer.

"You can take your choice, Mr. Spikeley: you can get into your bunk, or
have your carcass thrown into the bay; and you haven't got a great while
to think of it."

The engineer seemed to be properly impressed by the sight of the weapon,
and he could see that the chambers contained cartridges. He rose from
his seat, and moved towards the door of the engine-room.

"I heard some of the men say you was a Yank, and I reckon you be," said
Spikeley. "What are you go'n to do?"

"I am going to get you into your bunk, where you will be more
comfortable than you are here. Move on!"

The man obeyed; for he was unarmed, and he did not like the looks of the
revolver. Without another word, he moved forward, and descended to the
forecastle. As soon as he was below the deck, Christy closed the
scuttle, and secured it with the toggle.



CHAPTER XXV

THE FIRST LESSON FOR A SAILOR


As the engineer was a cripple, Christy Passford had not expected to have
any difficulty in bringing him to terms; and the result justified his
calculations. The Leopard was now practically in his possession, for
Captain Pecklar was the only person on board, except Percy, who could
give him any trouble; and he was too feeble to do any thing.

Percy seemed to be very busy in the pilot-house, going through imaginary
evolutions at the wheel, and supposing all sorts of orders, and all
kinds of positions in which the tug might be placed. He did not seem
even to observe what his companion was doing, though the engineer had
been driven into the forecastle in plain sight from the window of the
pilot-house.

  [Illustration: "The Engineer Obeyed" (Page 277)]

The long-boat was still struggling through the waves on her way to
the Bellevite, and could hardly have made any worse weather of such a
comparatively mild sea. But she had made some considerable progress, for
the boat was now making a proper allowance for leeway, and the soldiers
were improving in their rowing, possibly under the direction of the
major, who could not help seeing how badly they had been doing.

Christy decided to ascertain more definitely the condition of Captain
Pecklar, for reports in in regard to him were conflicting. He went to
his state-room, and found him in his berth. He certainly looked like a
very sick man, though he appeared to be in no immediate danger, so far
as the new captain of the Leopard was able to judge from his appearance.

"How do you find yourself, Captain Pecklar?" asked Christy in
sympathetic tones; for he really pitied the poor man, far away from
his friends, and apparently on the very brink of the grave.

"I am a great deal better," replied the invalid, looking earnestly into
the face of the young man in front of him.

"I am glad to hear it. Major Pierson has gone in the boat to the
Bellevite for Dr. Linscott, and I am sure he will be able to do
something for you when he comes," added Christy.

"When he comes," repeated Captain Pecklar, with a smile on his thin and
blue lips. "I don't expect to see him at present."

"But the major has gone for him; at least, he told me he should."

"I have no doubt he told you so; but he has not gone for the doctor,
though I may see the surgeon of the steamer in the course of the day,"
replied the captain, turning his gaze upon the floor of his room, as
though his mind troubled him as much as his body.

"If the major has not gone for the doctor, what has he gone for?" asked
Christy.

"I know what he has gone for; and, as you belong on board of that
steamer, I should think you might easily imagine."

"Perhaps I can," added Christy rather vaguely.

"Was it necessary for a major and a lieutenant, with six soldiers, to
go for the doctor, when five at the most could have done it better? But
have they gone?" asked the captain anxiously.

"They have; they started some time ago. They are making bad weather of
it, for they don't know how to handle the boat in a sea," replied
Christy.

"They have gone!" exclaimed Captain Pecklar, getting out of his bunk.
"Then I need not stay in my berth any longer."

Christy looked at him with astonishment when he saw him get out of his
berth without any apparent difficulty; for he certainly looked like a
very sick man, though his appearance had somewhat improved since he left
the pilot-house.

"Do you feel able to get up, captain?" asked he, as the sufferer put on
his coat.

"I was exhausted and worn out by being on duty all night, and I had a
faint turn; but I am subject to them. If you are the son of the man that
owns that steamer, you will be able to understand me," replied the
captain; and his feeble condition seemed to make him somewhat timid.

"I am the son of Captain Passford, who owns the Bellevite," added
Christy.

"I should not have been down here now, if I could have got away; but
they seem to hold on to me, for the reason that I am a pilot of these
waters. I was brought up in the pilot-house of a steamer; and they say I
know the bottom of this bay better than any other man, though I have
been here but two years."

"Then you are not in sympathy with the secession movement?"

"In sympathy with it? I hate the very sound of the word! I will tell you
about it."

"Don't be long about it, for I have an affair on my hands," interposed
Christy, though he was not sorry to have the advice of one who knew
something about the situation in the vicinity.

"Only a minute. Major Pierson sent a glass of brandy to me, and I was
fit to take my place in the pilot-house then, for I felt a great deal
better; in fact, I was as well as usual, and I am now. But I had an idea
what the major was about, and I did not want to take any part in getting
your father's steamer into trouble. That's the whole of it; all I want
is to get on board of her, and get out of this country."

"All right, Captain Pecklar!" exclaimed Christy, delighted at the
frankness of his companion. "The steamer, I mean the tug, is already in
my possession."

"In your possession! What do you mean by that?" asked the captain with a
look of astonishment.

"I have driven the engineer into the forecastle, and fastened him down.
The major's brother is in the pilot-house, and he has learned something
about handling the wheel. I am going to start the boat now; and if I
can do nothing more, I can show myself to my father on board of the
Bellevite."

"I am glad to hear it. I intended to do something, though I hardly knew
what, as soon as I was sure that the major and his men had gone," added
Captain Pecklar. "I can take the wheel now."

"Percy Pierson takes a great deal of interest in his new occupation,
and I think it will be best to let him occupy his mind in that way. He
steered the tug for some time, while I was ascertaining what was going
on in this part of the boat."

"Just as you think best, Mr. Passford."

"Call me Christy, for that will sound more natural to me."

"As you please, Christy. I am competent to run an engine, and did it
once for a couple of years, though the business does not agree with me."

"Very well, Captain Pecklar; then you shall run the engine, and I will
keep the run of what is going on around us," said Christy, as he walked
towards the stern of the tug. "There is a new danger off in the
north-west."

"What's that?" asked the captain.

"There is another steamer coming in this direction, and I suppose she
hails from Mobile. There she is."

Christy was somewhat disturbed to find that the approaching steamer was
overhauling the tug very rapidly. It looked as though she would prove to
be a more important factor in the immediate future than he had supposed.
If he could only get on board of the Bellevite, he was sure that she
could run away from any thing that floated. But there was not another
moment to be lost, and he hastened on deck to have the Leopard started.
He found Percy still engaged with his problems in steering, going
through all the forms as though the boat were actually under way.

"Now you may do it in earnest, Percy," said he. "We are all ready to go
ahead. Strike your gong."

"It will be no use to strike it while you are up here," replied the
pilot, looking at Christy with interest.

"We have not a second to spare; strike your gong, and we will talk about
it afterwards," continued Christy impatiently.

"But I am not a fool, Christy, and I don't"--

"But I do!" interposed the acting captain sharply, as he reached over
and pulled the bell.

"I don't like to have a fellow fool with me when I am in earnest. What
good will it do to ring the bell while you are in the pilot-house,
Christy?"

But before the captain could answer the question, if he intended to do
so, the boat began to shake under the pressure of the engine, and the
tug moved ahead at half speed. Percy was so much astonished that he
could hardly throw over the wheel, and Christy took hold of it himself.

"I don't understand it," said he, as he took hold of the spokes, and
looked ahead to get the course of the boat.

"You will never make a sailor till you mend your ways," added Christy.

"There must be some one in the engine-room," said Percy.

"Of course there is."

"Why didn't you say so, then? I did not suppose the boat could go ahead
while you were up here."

"I told you to ring the gong, didn't I?"

"What was the use of ringing it when you were in the pilot-house?"

"What was the use of ringing it when I did?" demanded Christy, who had
but little patience with this kind of a sailor.

"You knew there was some one in the engine-room."

"But the engine would have started just the same if you had rung the
gong."

"Well, I didn't know it; and if you had only said you had an engineer,
I should have understood it."

"You will never make a sailor, as I said before," added Christy.

"What is the reason I won't?"

"Because you don't obey orders, and that is the first and only business
of a sailor."

"If you had only told me, it would have been all right."

"If the captain, in an emergency, should tell you to port the helm, you
could not obey the order till he had explained why it was given; and by
that time the ship might go to the bottom. I can't trust you with the
wheel if you don't do better than you have; for I have no time to
explain what I am about, and I should not do it if I had."

"It would not have taken over half an hour to tell me there was an
engineer in the engine-room," growled Percy.

"That is not the way to do things on board of a vessel, and I object to
the method. I don't know what there is before us, and I don't mean to
give an order which is not likely to be obeyed till I have explained its
meaning."

"I will do as you say, Christy," said Percy rather doggedly. "Did
Spikeley agree to run the engine?"

"No, he did not; he is locked up in the forecastle. Captain Pecklar is
at the engine; but he is all ready to take the wheel when I say the
word."

"I can keep the wheel, for I think I understand it very well now."

"I did not wish to take you away from the wheel, for I saw that you
liked the work; and I said so to Captain Pecklar. If you have learned
the first lesson a sailor has to get through his head, all right; if
not, Captain Pecklar will take the wheel."

"I understand the case better now, and I will do just what you tell me,"
protested Percy.

"And without asking any questions?"

"I won't ask a question if the whole thing drops from under me."

Percy steered very well, and Christy had enough to do to watch the
steamer astern and the boat ahead.



CHAPTER XXVI

THE POST OF DUTY AND OF DANGER


The long-boat, with the increased experience of its crew, was doing very
well, and it would soon be within hailing-distance of the Bellevite. But
Major Pierson could hardly help discovering that the Leopard was under
way, though he seemed to give his whole attention to the boat and the
steamer ahead of him.

Christy went aft to ascertain the situation of the steamer from the
north-west, and with the glass he satisfied himself that she was not
exactly a river steamer, such as he had seen on the Alabama; or, if she
was, she had been altered to fit her for duty on the bay.

He could see that she had brass guns on her forward deck, and a
considerable force of soldiers or sailors. But she was a nondescript
craft, and he was unable to make her out accurately, though by this time
she was not more than half a mile distant. No immediate danger was to be
apprehended from her, unless she opened fire with the field-pieces on
her deck. As the Leopard was in the service of the forts, she was not
likely to do this till she knew more of the present situation on board
of her.

Christy had made up a new course for the tug when he saw the change
in the working of the long-boat, and the approaching steamer had an
influence in his calculations. He had directed the new pilot to head her
directly for the Bellevite, only taking care to give the long-boat a
sufficiently wide berth to prevent the soldiers from boarding her, and
with steam it would be an easy thing to keep out of its way.

Christy went below to the engine-room to ascertain the condition of
Captain Pecklar. He found him eating his breakfast, which he took from a
basket he had evidently brought with him from the shore the day before.
He seemed to have an appetite; and, from the food he consumed, the
acting captain did not believe he could be in a desperate situation.

"How do you get on, Captain Pecklar?" asked Christy, as he glanced at
the engine, and judged that it was moving more rapidly than at any time
before.

"I am a good deal better, Christy: in fact, the thought of getting out
of this country is almost enough to cure me; for I have come to the
conclusion that I had rather die at home than live here," replied the
captain, as he put an enormous piece of beef into his mouth, which his
companion thought would be almost enough for his breakfast.

"I am glad you are better. How does the engine work?" asked Christy.

"I have been stirring it up, and I just filled up the furnaces. I think
she is doing her best, though that is not saying a great deal. But,
Christy, have you tried to get a look over beyond the Bellevite?"

"No, I haven't seen any thing in that direction," replied Christy,
a little startled by the question.

"I believe there is another steamer over there; and, if there is, it
must be the Dauphine."

"What of her?" asked Christy anxiously.

"She is a steam-yacht of four hundred tons, and the fastest steamer in
these waters. They have been fitting her up for the war, though I don't
know whether she is to be a man-of-war or a blockade-runner."

"What makes you think it is she?"

"Because she has been over to the town you may have seen in that
direction. She is behind the Bellevite, so that you can hardly see her."

"I am inclined to think the Bellevite can take care of herself," replied
Christy.

"Why, the Bellevite cannot do any thing but run away; and Major Pierson
says she will never do that till you have been taken on board of her.
I heard him and Lieutenant Dallberg talk it all over near the door of
my room."

"Perhaps the Bellevite can do something more than run away," added
Christy with a smile.

"What do you mean, my friend?" asked the captain, suspending the
operation of his jaws, he was so interested in the answer to his
question. "The major said distinctly that she was a gentleman's
pleasure-yacht, and that she was not armed."

"The major has a right to his opinion, and I shall not argue the point
against him. My father came into the bay on a peaceful errand, and he
had no intention to be aggressive."

"All right, Christy; I can see through plain glass even when there
isn't a hole in it," said Captain Pecklar, laughing; for he seemed to
be entirely satisfied with the situation, in spite of the fact that two
hostile steamers appeared to menace the Bellevite, which he hoped would
bear him to his home.

"Now, what do you know of the steamer astern of us?" asked Christy.

"That must be the Belle. She is no match for an armed steamer, but she
may do a great deal of mischief. She used to run down the bay in the
summer."

"I will go up to the pilot-house, and see if I can make out the
Dauphine. If she is a sea-going yacht, she is the one we have to fear,"
said Christy, as he left the engine-room.

"See here, Christy; there is another steamer over beyond the Bellevite,
and she is pretty near her, too," said Percy, as he entered the
pilot-house.

The acting captain brought his glass to bear over the Bellevite, and he
was satisfied that the approaching vessel was the yacht described by
Captain Pecklar. But he had hardly got his eye on the Dauphine, before
he saw that the Bellevite had started her screw. It looked as though she
deemed it advisable to change her position in view of the approach of
the steamers on each side of her.

"Where is she going, Christy?" asked Percy.

"I am sure I cannot tell you. You can see all that I can see," replied
Christy, who was very anxious about the situation.

"We are not a great way from the long-boat," suggested Percy, who was
more afraid of that than he was of all the steamers in sight. "What am I
to steer for now? Shall I make her follow the Bellevite?"

"Head her off to the north-east," replied Christy, opening the binnacle.

But he might as well have opened the book of the black art to Percy,
for he could not steer by compass. Christy got the Leopard on her
new course, by which she would come somewhere near intercepting the
Bellevite; and then he found an object on the shore, many miles distant,
for the guidance of the pilot.

But the long-boat was now almost within hailing-distance of the Leopard.
Major Pierson was certainly aware that the tug was under way, and he
made the most energetic demonstrations for her to stop her screw.
Suddenly the Bellevite changed her course again, and run directly
towards the tug.

This movement was apparently noticed by the major; for his men doubled
their efforts at the oars, pulling for the Leopard. The boat was then
out of the trough of the sea, and its progress was much better. Then the
Bellevite changed her course again; and it was impossible to determine
what she intended to do, though possibly she was following a crooked
channel.

"Leopard, ahoy!" shouted Major Pierson; and he was near enough now to be
distinctly heard.

"In the boat!" returned Christy, though he knew the parley could amount
to nothing.

"Stop her!" yelled the major.

"Not yet!" replied the acting captain.

"Stop, or I will fire into you!"

"I'm not going to stand here and be shot down!" exclaimed Percy. "My
brother don't know that I am at the wheel, and I shall be the first one
to get hit."

Christy could not blame Percy for not wishing to be shot by the party
under his brother's command; and he had no more relish for being shot
himself, quite in sight of his father's steamer. But to abandon the helm
was to abandon the control of the tug, and the major could recover
possession of her and of his prisoner within a few minutes.

"Go below, Percy, and put yourself in the fire-room, for you will be
safe there," said Christy.

At that moment the crack of a musket was heard, and a bullet crashed
through the pine boards of the pilot-house. It was the first evidence
of actual war which Christy had seen, and it impressed him strongly.

"It isn't safe for me to show myself," said Percy, as his companion took
the wheel from him.

"You must be your own judge of that," replied Christy, as he dropped
down on the floor, with the compass in his hand.

"What are you going to do down there?" asked Percy.

"I have no wish to be shot any more than you have. I am going to keep
out of sight, and steer the steamer by compass," replied Christy.

"I will steer her if I can keep out of sight," added Percy.

"You can't steer by compass; but you can do something if you are
willing," suggested the pilot.

"I am willing to do all I can; but I don't want my brother to shoot me,
as much for his sake as my own. What shall I do?" asked Percy.

"Crawl out of the pilot-house on the port-side, where they can't see you
from the boat, and then keep watch of all the other steamers. Report to
me just where they all are, and what they are doing."

"All right; I will do that," replied Percy, as he obeyed the order.

The boat continued to fire at the pilot-house of the Leopard, and though
a shot came uncomfortably near Christy, he stuck to his post; for to
leave it was to give up the battle.

"The Bellevite is headed directly towards us," called Percy, outside of
the pilot-house. "The other steamers are just as they were."

"All right; keep your eye on them all the time."

"The Bellevite is headed directly towards us," said Captain Pecklar,
coming to the top of the ladder on the port-side.

"So Percy has just reported to me."

"But you will get killed if you stay here," said the captain, with
genuine solicitude in his looks and manner.

"But I must stay here, all the same," replied Christy, who felt too
proud to desert the post of duty because it happened to be the post of
danger at the same time.

"But let me take your place, Christy," continued Captain Pecklar,
finishing the ascent of the ladder.

"No, no, captain! Don't expose yourself," protested Christy. "It is as
safe for me as it will be for you."

"But I have got about to the end of my chapter of life; and there is not
more than a year, if there is as much as that, left for me. You are a
young fellow, and the pride of your father, I have no doubt; at any
rate, you ought to be. Give me that place, and you will be safer in the
engine-room."

Captain Pecklar insisted for some time, but Christy obstinately refused
to leave his post.

"Men pulling in the boat with all their might!" shouted Percy.

"I think I can bring their labors in that way to an end," added the
captain. "But do you understand what the Bellevite is doing, Christy?"

"She is coming this way; that is all I know."

"She is coming this way because the major has been fool enough to fire
on the Leopard. The shooting assures your father that this tug is an
enemy."

The captain went below again, leaving Christy to consider his last
remark. But he had not been gone five minutes before the report of a
cannon shook the hull of the Leopard, and the pilot saw that it was on
the forecastle of the tug.



CHAPTER XXVII

A CANNON-BALL THROUGH THE LEOPARD


The gun on the forecastle of the Leopard was placed as far aft as
possible, so that Christy could not see it without putting his head out
at the front windows of the pilot-house, and for this reason he had not
seen what Captain Pecklar was about. But the piece must have been loaded
before, for he could not have charged it without being seen.

The captain had remarked that he could bring the labors of those in
the long-boat to an end, for Major Pierson was urging his men to their
utmost with their oars in order to reach the tug. The smoke prevented
Christy from seeing to what extent he had succeeded, though the fact
that he had fired the gun at the boat was all he needed to satisfy him
of the fidelity of the acting engineer to the cause he had just
espoused.

Christy had not deemed it advisable to change the course of the Leopard;
for the long-boat was approaching her at right angles, and he thought
she would get out of its way, for those in charge of it made no
calculation of the distance the tug would run while the boat was
approaching her.

The smoke blew aside in a moment, and Christy discovered that the
long-boat had not been struck by the shot; or, if it had, it had
received no material damage. The major was still urging his men to
increase their efforts, and he seemed to be not at all disconcerted by
the shot which had been fired at him. But Christy saw that he was losing
the game, as he probably would not have done if he had been a sailor,
for his calculations would have been better made.

When the pilot of the Leopard realized that the major was too much
occupied in increasing the speed of the long-boat to continue the firing
at the tug, he had resumed his place at the window; but he kept his eye
on the enemy. He looked out at the window; but he could not see Captain
Pecklar, though he heard him shovelling coal a minute later. The engine
still appeared to be doing its best, and the tug was in a fair way to
pass clear of the long-boat.

"Look out, up there, Christy!" shouted the engineer, a little later.

The pilot turned his attention to the boat again, and saw that the major
and the lieutenant were loading their muskets again, and the two men
not at the oars were doing the same. The commandant evidently began to
feel that he was to miss his prey if he depended upon the oars of the
soldiers, and he was about to turn his attention again to the business
of disabling the pilot of the tug. Christy dropped down on the floor
again, and steered by the compass, which was still where he had placed
it before.

He could hear a rumbling sound on the forward deck, and he was curious
to know what the captain was doing; but it was not prudent to look
out at the window. After a great deal of hard kicking and prying, he
succeeded in removing a narrow board from the front of the pilot-house
near the floor; and through this aperture he could see that the acting
engineer had just finished reloading the gun, and was changing its
position so as to bring it to bear on the long-boat.

The enemy were now a little forward of the beam of the tug, and not more
than fifty yards from her; but Christy was satisfied that the Leopard
would go clear of the long-boat if his craft was not disabled. The major
and his companions could not help seeing that Captain Pecklar had
deserted their cause, and that, with the gun on the deck, he was a
dangerous enemy.

The report of a musket in the direction of the boat caused Christy to
look very anxiously to the forward deck; but to his great satisfaction
he saw that the captain had not been hit. But he immediately retired
under the pilot-house, so that he could not see him. He was brave enough
to stand up and be shot at, but he was also prudent enough not to expose
himself unnecessarily.

Three other shots followed the first, one of the balls passing through
the boards of the pilot-house, above the helmsman's head; and he saw a
splinter fly from a stanchion forward. Captain Pecklar waited for the
fourth shot,--and he had evidently noticed how many men had muskets in
their hands,--then he sprang out from his hiding-place, sighted the gun,
and pulled the lock-string.

Through the aperture he had made, Christy looked with intense interest
to ascertain the effect of this shot. As soon as the smoke blew away,
he saw that the shot had passed obliquely into the boat, striking the
stern-board just behind Major Pierson, and splitting off the plank near
the water-line.

There was a commotion in the ranks of the enemy, and it was plain enough
that the water was flowing into the craft. The soldiers stopped rowing,
and the lieutenant and one of the extra men were sent into the bow. This
change settled the bow of the boat down into the water, and lifted the
stern. The major appeared to be equal to the emergency; he gave his
orders in a loud voice, and the rowing was renewed with the delay of not
more than a couple of minutes. But that was enough to defeat his present
purpose, though he still urged his men to exert themselves to the
utmost.

The long-boat went astern of the tug, and Christy came out from his
place on the floor to the windows. Captain Pecklar was loading the gun,
as he had done before, by swinging it around so that the muzzle was
under the pilot-house.

"I think you will have no further use for that gun," said Christy, when
he saw what the captain was doing.

"Perhaps not; but it is best to have it ready for the next time we want
it. The major kept it loaded all the time, and I shall follow his
example," replied the captain.

"Have you been hit, Percy?" asked Christy, looking out at the side under
which the late pilot had bestowed himself for safe-keeping.

"I have not been hit; they could not see me where I am. Have you been
hit, Christy?" replied Percy.

"Not at all; I took good care not to be seen while they were firing. But
your brother has dropped astern of the Leopard in his boat, and there is
no danger here now: so you can come in and take the helm, if you like."

Percy was glad to have something to do, for he was very nervous; and
he came into the pilot-house. He was not half as airy as he had been
before, and the sound of the muskets and the twelve-pounder on the
forward deck had undoubtedly made an impression upon him. But he was as
glad to take the wheel as Christy was to have him, for he desired to
study the situation after all the changes which had been made in the
position of the several vessels.

"You have had an awful time of it, Christy," said Percy, as he took the
wheel. "I wonder that you have not been killed."

"Not a very awful time of it, and I took good care not to be killed,"
replied Christy. "A fellow isn't good for much after he has been killed,
and it is always best to look out and not get killed; though I suppose
one cannot always help it."

"Did you fire the field-piece on the deck below?"

"No, I did not; that was done by Captain Pecklar."

"My brother will have him hanged when he gets hold of him," added Percy,
shaking his head.

"Very likely he will if he gets hold of him, but we don't intend to let
him get hold of him."

Christy left the pilot-house, and went out on the hurricane deck, where
he could better see all that was to be seen, and be alone with his own
thoughts. His first care was to ascertain the position of his most
active enemy, the long-boat. He could see it a short distance astern of
the tug. It had changed its course, and was following the Leopard, which
was now gaining rapidly upon it.

Directly ahead of the tug was the Bellevite, not more than a quarter
of a mile distant; but while she was going off to the north-west, the
Dauphine had kept more to the southward and was now nearer than the
steamer of Captain Passford.

The remark which Captain Pecklar had made when he came partly upon the
hurricane deck, that the Bellevite had changed her course because Major
Pierson had been fool enough to fire at the tug, came up in Christy's
mind again. He had thought of it at the time it was uttered, and several
times since; but he had not had the time to weigh its meaning.

The owner's son knew very well that every incident connected with the
tug, and with the other vessels in sight, had been carefully observed
and weighed by his father and Captain Breaker. They had seen the boat
leave the Leopard. It looked like a stupid movement to do such a thing,
when the approach to the Bellevite could be made so much more rapidly
and safely in the tug.

There must be a motive for such a singular step. Of course the passage
of the boat had been closely observed, and the starting up of the screw
of the Leopard had been duly noted. As the tug came near the long-boat,
the latter had fired upon it. This must have been seen; and the question
naturally would come up as to why those in the boat fired upon their own
people in the Leopard.

It was not likely that they could answer the question in a satisfactory
manner on board of the Bellevite; but the firing indicated that an
enemy was in possession of the tug. This was enough, in the opinion
of Christy, as it had been in that of Captain Pecklar, to produce the
change in her course.

The firing from both craft since the first demonstration must have
deepened the impression. Those on board of the Leopard must be on the
side of the Union, or the party in the boat would not repeatedly fire
upon them. Christy was satisfied that his father would know what all the
indications meant before he abandoned the investigation.

But the Bellevite did not seem to be making her best speed by a
great deal. With his glass he could see that there was a hand in the
fore-chains heaving the lead; and probably Captain Breaker feared that
the bottom "might be too near the top of the water" for the draught of
his vessel, and he was proceeding with caution.

Christy descended the ladder to the main-deck. He found Captain Pecklar
in the fire-room, shovelling coal into the furnace. He seemed to be
again nearly exhausted by the efforts he had made during the morning;
and Christy took the shovel from him, and did the work himself.

"You must not kill yourself, Captain Pecklar. This is too hard work for
you," said Christy.

"If I can only get out of this scrape, it will not make much difference
what becomes of me," replied the invalid faintly.

"I will do this work myself. Don't you touch that shovel again."

"But things are looking very badly indeed for us, Christy," said the
captain, bracing himself up as if for a renewed effort. "The Belle is
almost up with the boat, and she will take Major Pierson and his party
on board; and she is nearer to us than the Bellevite."

"Is that so? I have not looked astern for some time," replied Christy,
rather startled by the information.

"The Bellevite is not sailing as fast as she has some of the time, and
both the Belle and the Dauphine are nearer to us than she is," added
Captain Pecklar. "I have been trying to get up more steam."

"If my father only knew that I was on board this tug, I should feel more
hope," said Christy.

"Perhaps he suspects you are. He probably sent ashore to obtain
information in regard to you. But we don't know."

Just then a cannon-ball made the splinters fly all around them.

  [Illustration: "I have hit Her" (Page 315)]



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE AMERICAN FLAG AT THE FORE


Christy rushed out of the engine-room followed by Captain Pecklar, to
ascertain what damage had been done to the tug by the shot. A cloud of
smoke rising from the Belle, astern of the Leopard, informed them that
the shot had come from her. It had struck the house on deck, carrying
away the corner of the captain's state-room; but, beyond this, no damage
appeared to be done.

But the tug had broached to, and it was evident that Percy had abandoned
the wheel when the shot struck the vessel; and Christy hastened to the
pilot-house to restore the vessel to her course. But he was closely
followed by the acting engineer. They found the volunteer pilot lying on
the deck, where he had been before when the vessel was fired upon.

"Is that the way you steer the boat, Percy?" said Christy reproachfully,
as he went into the pilot-house, and righted the helm.

"Didn't you hear that cannon-shot that struck her just now?" demanded
Percy, partly raising himself from his recumbent posture.

"Of course I heard it: I am not deaf; and, if I had been, I could have
felt it. I don't believe we shall want you on board of the Bellevite, if
that is the way you do your duty."

"I don't want to be shot by my own people," pleaded Percy. "Has the shot
ruined the vessel?"

"Don't you see that she is going along the same as ever? No harm has
been done to her so far as any further use to us is concerned," replied
Christy. "But, Captain Pecklar, as things are now, we are running right
into the fire."

Christy was more troubled than he had been at any time before; and he
realized that it was necessary to make some change in the course of the
Leopard, though she had the enemy on each side of her.

"It don't look as well as it might," added the captain gloomily.

"The Dauphine is getting altogether too near us, and we are making the
distance between us less every minute," added Christy.

"There comes another shot from the Belle. She means business, and Major
Pierson is certainly directing things on board of her. We can't stand
that any longer. But she wasted her powder that time, and we must do
better than that. What do you intend to do, Christy?"

"I mean to come about, and take a course between the Belle and the
Dauphine: that is the most hopeful thing I can think of," replied
Christy, after another careful survey of the positions of the enemy.

"I think you are right."

"We will come about, then;" and Christy threw over the wheel.

"That will bring our gun where we can use it; and we shall have a better
chance at the Belle than she has at us, for she is larger, and has a
crowd of men on her main deck," added Captain Pecklar, as he went to the
ladder.

"If you are not afraid of those shots, I am not," said Percy, coming
into the pilot-house again; and he was evidently ashamed of himself when
he saw a fellow younger than himself taking no notice of them.

"I don't pretend to like them, or that I am not afraid of them; but I
shall do my duty in spite of them," replied Christy. "I should be
ashamed to meet my father, if I ever see him again, if I gave up the
fight, and allowed myself to be kept as a prisoner."

"I want to get away from here as much as you do; and I will take the
wheel again, if you will let me," continued Percy.

"I don't ask you to expose yourself; but, if you take the helm, you must
stick to it till you are relieved. We have no time to fool with you."

"I will stick to it, Christy."

"Very well, then you shall take it; but if you desert your post again,
I will shoot you the first time I set eyes on you."

"That is rough."

"If you think it is, don't take the helm."

"I will take it, for I had rather be shot by those in the other steamers
than by you."

"I am going below to help Captain Pecklar; but the moment the tug goes
wrong, I shall send a ball from my revolver up into the pilot-house."

"I understand you, and it looks as though we were getting into a hot
place. I will do my duty as well as I know how. Now tell me how I am to
steer."

"Run for that point you see far off to the northward."

Christy went to the main deck forward, where he found Captain Pecklar
getting the field-piece ready for use. The Belle was now quite near on
the one hand, while the Dauphine was hardly farther off on the other
hand. The Bellevite was coming down from the north-east, with the lead
still going in her chains. The immediate danger was to come from the
Belle.

"That won't do!" exclaimed Captain Pecklar, when they had the gun in
position for use.

"What won't do?" asked Christy.

"Didn't you notice that? They are firing rifle-balls from the Belle. One
of them just struck the bulkhead."

"I don't see that we can help ourselves, whether it will do or not."

"The chances are in our favor, however, for the men cannot handle their
rifles to the best advantage while the Belle heaves in the sea," added
the captain. "Don't stand up where they can see you, Christy, but get
down on the deck with that lock-string in your hand. When I give you the
word, pull it as quick as you can," said the captain, as he sighted the
gun, and changed its position several times.

He was a sailor, and the artillery officers at the forts had trained the
men employed on the tugs in handling the pieces put on board of them, to
be used in bringing vessels to. Better than any soldier, he could make
the proper allowance for the motion of the steamer in the sea, which was
becoming heavier.

"Fire!" shouted he, with more voice than he was supposed to have in the
feeble condition of his lungs.

The gunner had loaded the piece himself, and it made a tremendous
report when Christy pulled the lock-string. The Leopard shook under the
concussion of the discharge, and she was completely enveloped in smoke;
so that they could not see whether the Belle had been hit or not. But in
the distance they could hear hoarse shouts in the direction of the
Belle, and they concluded that something had happened in that quarter.

Christy had brought down the glass with him; and he directed it towards
the steamer aimed at as soon as the smoke began to blow out of the way,
though it was some time before he could get a clear view of her.

"By the great Constitution!" exclaimed Captain Pecklar, before Christy
could cover the Belle with his glass. "I have hit her!"

"Where?" asked the other, elated at the intelligence.

"Right on the bow! There is a hole big enough to roll a wheelbarrow
through," replied the captain, greatly excited. "She has stopped her
wheels."

"That's a nice hole!" added Christy, as he got the glass to bear on it,
and his hopes began to rise again. "It is just about big enough for a
small wheelbarrow. But they have gone to work on it, and are putting
mattresses over it."

"That craft is finished for to-day, and we needn't worry any more about
her," said the captain. "She will not get that hole stopped up for an
hour or longer, and I hope this affair will be over before this can be
done. Shall we give them another shot? What do you think, Christy? She
holds still now, and I believe I can hit her every time."

"Decidedly not: she is disabled for the present, and that is all I care
for. We are not in war trim," replied Christy, as he turned his
attention in the direction of the other vessels.

"As I told you, the Dauphine is fast; and she will be down upon us in
less than five minutes more," said Captain Pecklar.

"I wonder that she don't fire upon us," added Christy.

"I doubt if she has any guns on board, though she may have a field-piece
or two."

"The Bellevite is waking up, I think," said Christy.

"She is getting into deeper water."

"But the Dauphine is coming right between the Leopard and the
Bellevite," continued Christy, as he brought the glass to bear upon her,
though she was near enough to be distinctly seen with the naked eye.
"Whether she had any guns or not, she has plenty of men on board; and it
is easy enough to see what she intends to do."

"What do you think she intends to do?" asked the captain.

"Of course she came out here after the Bellevite, as the Belle did also;
but her people have seen what the Leopard has been about for the last
hour, and they intend to dispose of us before they hunt for the bigger
game."

"She may capture the Bellevite after she has finished her business with
us," said the captain, looking very anxious.

"She may, but I don't believe she will. You have proved that you are
all right, Captain Pecklar, and I don't mind telling you now that the
Bellevite is heavily armed. Captain Breaker was a lieutenant in the
navy, and he knows how to handle a ship," replied Christy.

"Then, if we escape the Dauphine, we shall be all right."

"The Dauphine will come down, and throw a few men on board of us;
boarding us, in fact, as we have no force with which to help ourselves,"
added Christy, as he took a small American flag from his pocket.

It had been made by his mother on the late cruise of the steamer, and it
was a sort of talisman with him, which he had often displayed in foreign
lands. He found a pole on the deck, to which he attached the emblem of
his whole country, and displayed it at the bow of the tug. He hoped that
his father or the captain might see it, and recognize it as the one he
had so often seen on board and ashore.

"That's a handsome flag, Christy; and it does me good to see it again,"
said Captain Pecklar, as he took off his hat, and bowed reverently to
it.

"Percy, hard-a-starboard the helm!" shouted Christy to the helmsman.
"Head her for the Belle."

"All right."

"I think we can increase the distance a little between us and the
Dauphine," added Christy.

"That's a good move; for we have been putting ourselves nearer to her
when there was no need of it, as there has not been since the Belle was
disabled."

He had hardly spoken the words before a tremendous cheer came from the
Bellevite, and her fore-rigging appeared to be filled with men. The
cheer was repeated till it had been given at least "three times three."

"What does that mean, Christy?" asked Captain Pecklar.

"It means that my father or some one on board has recognized my flag.
I should have set it before if we had been near enough for them to make
it out. But they have seen it, and I feel sure that all the steamers in
the bay could not capture us now. Look at the Bellevite!"

She seemed suddenly to have taken the bit in her teeth, and she was
rushing forward at a speed which she had not before exhibited. Paul
Vapoor was evidently wide awake.

A little later her port-holes flew open.



CHAPTER XXIX

ON BOARD OF THE BELLEVITE


The crisis was at hand; for the Dauphine was darting in between the
Leopard and the Bellevite, between father and son. On the port rail of
the former, as if ready to leap upon the deck of the tug, were at least
twenty men; and, for the first time, the plan of the enemy became
apparent to Christy Passford.

He hastened to the hurricane deck of the Leopard, where he could see
more clearly; and it was evident to him that the question before them
would be settled within a very few minutes. If he and his companions
fell into the hands of the enemy, nothing less than a severe fight with
the Dauphine, perhaps aided by the Belle, on the part of the Bellevite
could undo the mischief.

Christy was disposed to leave nothing to be undone. Rushing into the
pilot-house, he seized the wheel, and threw it over, determined to
redeem the fate of the tug while he could. Captain Pecklar had crowded
on all the steam he could, and doubtless the boat was doing her very
best. She flew round like a top, careening till her rail was under
water.

"Hard up, Percy!" cried he, while the tug was still whirling. "Those men
will drop on board of us if we don't get out of the Dauphine's way."

"The Bellevite is almost into her," added the volunteer pilot.

Paul Vapoor evidently understood the situation, and must have been
preparing for it for some time, though the shoal-water had prevented the
steamer from taking advantage of his effort. She had suddenly begun to
dart ahead as though she had been an object shot from one of her biggest
guns; and she seemed almost to leap out of the water in her struggle to
come between the Leopard and the Dauphine.

The Bellevite was certainly making two miles to her rival's one in the
race, and it looked as though she would strike her sharp bow into the
broadside of the enemy. She seemed to rely on a vigorous blow with her
stem rather than on her guns; for as yet she had not fired a shot,
though she was fully prepared to do so.

The Leopard came about in double-quick time; and as soon as her keel was
at right angles with that of the Dauphine, Christy righted the helm, and
let her go in the direction of the disabled Belle. She rolled, pitched,
and plunged in the sea, which had been increasing very sensibly within a
short time; but she went ahead at her best speed, and that was all
Christy wanted of her.

The Bellevite was still rushing down upon the Dauphine as though she
intended to annihilate her when the crash came, as come it must within
a minute or two. Christy's heart was in his throat, for he felt that
his own safety depended upon the events of the next two minutes.
A tremendous collision was impending, and thus far the Dauphine had done
nothing to avoid it. Doubtless her commander had gauged the speed of the
Bellevite by what she had been doing in the shoal water, and had not
believed she could overhaul him before he had thrown a force on board of
the Leopard.

"Now, keep her as she is, Percy, and we shall soon know what is going to
happen," said Christy, when the tug had come about so that he could not
readily see the movements of the other steamers.

"We are running right into the Belle," suggested Percy.

"This thing will be settled before we can come within hail of her, and I
don't think she wants any thing more of us at present," replied Christy,
as he left the pilot-house, and hastened aft, where he could get a
better view of the situation.

"There is a row on board of the Dauphine," said Captain Pecklar, who
had come to the stern for the same purpose as Christy. "Those men are
leaping down from the rail."

"What has happened on board of her?" asked Christy.

"Nothing; but the Bellevite is coming into her full tilt, and they know
that the shock will knock all those men overboard; and I think they
don't want to have to stop to pick them up," answered the captain.

At this moment several sharp orders were given on board of the Dauphine,
and her head began to swing around to the northward.

"That's what's the matter!" exclaimed the captain. "They think they
won't wait for the rap the Bellevite is ready to give them."

The helm of the enemy's steamer had been put hard-a-port; and as she
promptly came about, the sharp bow of the Bellevite shot past her
quarter, and she barely escaped the blow. It look as though those on
board of either vessel could have leaped to the deck of the other.

"What is the reason she don't fire upon the Bellevite?" asked Christy,
when he felt that the crisis was past.

"I don't believe she has any guns on board yet, though I don't know,"
replied the captain.

"What is she going to do now, I wonder."

"I think she will come about and try to board the Bellevite now. It
seems to me that if she had any guns on board, she would have opened
fire before this time."

"We must look out, or the Bellevite will run into us," added Christy, as
he went forward to the pilot-house.

"That steamer has come about," said Percy, as he joined him.

"If she had not come about, the Bellevite would have cut through her
starboard quarter," replied Christy. "But we are all right now, and I
think the excitement is about over."

By this time the Bellevite was abreast of the Leopard, and not half a
cable's length from her; but there was no demonstration at all of any
sort on board of her. Her high bulwarks concealed the whole ship's
company; and no one could be seen but the lookouts forward, and a couple
of officers in the rigging of the mainmast.

"Now we will get a little nearer to her," said Christy, as he threw the
wheel over. "She is coming about."

The Bellevite was blowing off steam, and she had reduced her speed as
soon as she went clear of the Dauphine. In a minute more, when she had
come a little nearer to the Leopard, she stopped her screw.

"Tug, ahoy!" shouted some one, in whose voice Christy recognized that of
Captain Breaker.

"On board the Bellevite!" responded Christy.

"Come alongside!" added the commander of the steamer.

"That's just what I was going to do," added Christy to his companion.

"I suppose we are all right now, are we not, Christy?" asked Percy.

"I don't know what will come up next. The Dauphine is still afloat, and
in good condition; and I don't believe she is going to let the Bellevite
off without doing something."

Captain Pecklar was letting off steam also; for he realized that the
battle, so far as the Leopard was concerned, was finished. Christy
steered the tug alongside of the steamer; and when he rang the bell
finally to stop her, after a rope had been heaved on board of her, he
left the engine, with the steam still escaping from the boiler, and the
furnace-door wide open, and went to the pilot-house.

"Hurry up!" shouted Captain Breaker, appearing on the rail of the
Bellevite, at the gangway.

Captain Pecklar looked astern of the tug, and saw that the Dauphine was
rapidly approaching. She had come about, and her captain did not appear
to be satisfied with saving his own vessel from the collision, and
intended to make another movement. But he had gone some distance before
he came about, though he was now rather too near for the comfort of the
Bellevite after she had stopped her screw.

"What shall we do with this tug?" asked Christy, who had some doubts
whether or not he ought to leave the Leopard in condition for further
use by the enemy.

"We have no time to bother with her, and she don't amount to any thing.
Come on board as quick as you can," replied Captain Breaker.

"Go on board, Captain Pecklar," said Christy, pointing to the gangway.
"Come, Percy, your troubles are over for the present."

The captain went up the ladder, followed by Percy, and Christy went
the last; for he felt that he must see his friends through before he
abandoned the Leopard himself. The moment the owner's son showed himself
on the rail, a burst of cheers came from the ship's company, to which he
replied by taking off his cap and bowing.

"I am glad to see you again, Christy," said his father, as he descended
to the deck and found himself in the arms of Captain Passford. "I was
afraid I should have to leave you here, though I did not intend to do
that as long as a plank of the Bellevite remained under me."

Christy found his father a great deal more demonstrative than he had
ever known him to be before, and he fully realized that he had had a
very narrow, and even a wonderful escape since he had been taken by the
enemy.

Captain Breaker did not wait for father and son to finish their
affectionate greetings; but as soon as Christy put his foot on the rail
he directed the line to the tug to be cast off, and the order was given
to start the screw. The Bellevite went ahead again, and the commander
gave out the course for her.

Before Captain Passford was ready to think of any thing except the
joyful meeting with his son, Captain Pecklar suddenly dropped to the
deck as though a bullet from the enemy had finished his career in the
very moment of victory. Christy broke from his father, and hastened to
his assistance. He had fainted again from exhaustion after the efforts
of the day. Dr. Linscott was at his side almost as soon as Christy, and
the sufferer was borne to the cabin, where he was placed in one of the
vacant state-rooms.

"Who is that man, Christy?" asked Captain Passford, as soon as the
invalid had been cared for.

"That is Captain Pecklar; and he is a Union man, though he has been
in charge of that tug in the service of the forts. But he is in
consumption, and he does not believe he can live much longer. He says he
would rather die at home than live down here," replied Christy.

"He looks like a sick man," added the owner.

"He is, and he has worked altogether beyond his strength. But I believe
I should not have been here, father, at this moment, if he had not
worked with me, and acted with the utmost courage and devotion."

"Then he shall want for nothing while he is on board of the Bellevite."

"But I am sure that the doctor can improve his condition; at least,
I hope he can."

"He can if any one can. But how happens Percy to be with you in the
tug?" asked Captain Passford, as he looked about him for the young man,
who was standing near the mainmast, watching the approaching smoke-stack
of the Dauphine.

"Percy has not been as reliable as Captain Pecklar; but he has done
well, and has rendered good service. He has steered the tug for some
time," replied Christy, calling to him the subject of the last remarks.

"I am glad to see you again, Mr. Percy," said the owner, giving him his
hand. "I am under obligations to you for all you have done to assist my
son on board of that tug."

"I was at work too for myself," said Percy, taking the offered hand,
"I don't belong on this side of the question, and all I want is to get
back to Nassau. I have nothing to expect from my brother, Major Pierson,
and my mother cannot protect me."

"In consideration of the service you have rendered to my son, I shall be
glad to do all I can to assist you in getting there."

"Thank you, sir."

"But where is Florry, father?" asked Christy, looking about the deck.

"I could not allow her to be on deck when a shot was liable to come on
board. She is in the cabin, and she will be as glad to see you as I have
been," replied Captain Passford.

Christy hastened to the cabin.



CHAPTER XXX

RUNNING THE GANTLET


Captain Passford and Percy soon followed Christy into the cabin, and
the meeting of the brother and sister was quite as affectionate as
that between father and son had been. In fact, none of them cared now
for the steamers of the enemy, or for any thing else, except to get out
of Mobile Bay. Christy told his story; and he learned that his father
had sent a party ashore the night before to look for him, though they
had been unable to obtain the slightest information in regard to him.

Captain Breaker insisted that Christy was on board of the Leopard,
though not till the soldiers in the long-boat had fired into the tug.
The father believed that his son would not tamely submit to being made a
prisoner, and the act of Major Pierson had almost convinced him that the
commander was right. He had not been fully satisfied on this point till
he recognized the silk American flag at the fore of the tug.

But Captain Passford was too much interested in the situation on deck
to remain long in the cabin, and he left Christy there with Florry, who
seemed to be supremely happy, now that the family was in a fair way to
be re-united at no distant day.

"I think you know the gentleman who has made all this trouble for me,
Florry," said Christy, when he and Percy were alone with her.

"How can I know him?" asked the fair girl, puzzled.

"He is my brother, Major Pierson; and they say he used to call at
Colonel Passford's once in a while, while I was away at school,"
interposed Percy.

"Then I do know him," replied Florry, blushing.

"Father thought, or at least he feared, that you might not like to leave
the South," added Christy.

"Did he say so?" asked the fair maiden, laughing.

"He did not say a word, but I could tell by his looks."

"Then papa was very much mistaken. Major Pierson was very kind and
polite to me, and I think he is a gentleman; but I have had no desire
to remain at Glenfield on his account."

Florry spoke as though she intended this remark to be the end of the
conversation on that subject, and Christy felt quite sure that she was
not deeply interested in the commander of Fort Gaines.

"Now, I wonder if I can't go on deck," continued Florry, breaking away
from the disagreeable conversation. "They are not firing now."

"I don't know, but I will go on deck and ask father if you wish."

"Do, Christy, if you please."

The Bellevite was shaking in all her frame; for Paul Vapoor was again
exercising his skill upon the screw, and she was flying through the
water. The Dauphine seemed to be struggling to get up an equal degree of
speed; but, fast as she was said to be, the Bellevite was running away
from her. There was no excitement on deck, and Christy readily obtained
the required permission for his sister.

Captain Pecklar, under the skillful treatment of Dr. Linscott, had
improved a great deal, though he still remained in his bed. He declared
that he felt like a new man; and, whether he lived or died, he was as
happy as any man ought to be on the face of the earth.

"That steamer off to the north-west has set her ensign with the union
down, though I can't make out what the flag is," said Captain Breaker,
addressing the owner, as Christy came on deck.

"What does that mean?" asked Captain Passford, getting upon the rail
with the commander.

"I am sure I don't know. I suppose it is a signal of distress, but it
may be a trick of some sort," added Captain Breaker.

"Do you know any thing about that steamer over there, Christy?" asked
the owner, calling his son.

"That is the Belle, and I believe she came from Mobile," replied
Christy.

"What is she out here for?"

"I have no doubt she came out here to capture the Bellevite. Uncle Homer
must have sent word to some one in Mobile, judging from what I heard
Major Pierson say; and probably that steamer came out here to prevent
the Bellevite from going into the navy of the Union."

"But why does she hoist a signal of distress?"

"I think it is very likely she is in distress."

"She is firing a gun," added Captain Breaker, as a cloud of smoke rose
from the Belle.

"Why do you think she is in distress, Christy?" asked his father.

"She opened fire on the Leopard, after she had picked up the boat
containing Major Pierson's party, and Captain Pecklar and I gave her
a shot in return, which went through her bow and made a big hole. She
stopped her wheels then, and since that she has been out of the fight."

"The Dauphine is coming about," added Christy, as he joined the
commander and his father on the rail.

"The Dauphine?" queried Captain Passford.

"That is her name. Captain Pecklar can tell you something about her. He
says she is fitting up for the Confederate navy, but he thinks she has
no guns on board yet."

"It is beginning to blow very fresh," said Captain Breaker, as he took a
look at the sky and the waters of the bay. "My barometer indicates nasty
weather."

"There is too much sea, at any rate, for a steamer with a big hole in
her bow," said Captain Passford.

Christy told all he knew about the Belle, and the owner declared that
he had no desire to see the large number of men on board of her drowned
before his eyes. The gun the disabled steamer had fired was regarded as
another signal of distress, which indicated that the situation was
becoming urgent with her.

"She has hoisted a white flag," added Captain Breaker; and no glass was
needed to disclose the fact that a panic existed on board of her, for
men who could fight bravely for a cause they deemed right might not be
willing to be drowned without being able to lift a finger to save
themselves.

"Come about, Breaker, and run for the disabled steamer," said Captain
Passford, in a decided tone; and the order was instantly obeyed.

The commander sent Christy to the chief engineer to have him increase
the speed of the steamer, at the suggestion of the owner. Paul had not
seen him before, and the two friends hugged each other like a couple of
girls when they came together. But the chief did not lose a moment in
obeying the order brought to him. In a few minutes the Bellevite passed
the Dauphine, and readied the vicinity of the Belle, which was evidently
sinking, for she had settled a good deal in the water.

Four boats were instantly lowered into the water; and Christy was
assigned to the command of one of them, while the first and second
officers and the boatswain went in charge of the others. These boats
were skilfully handled, and they dashed boldly up to the sinking craft.
The soldiers on board of her were more afraid of water than they were of
fire, and the four boats were soon loaded.

"Is that you, Christy?" said one of his passengers.

Christy looked, and saw that the person who addressed him was his uncle
Homer.

"Yes, sir," replied the nephew; but he did not venture to say any thing
more.

"I was not aware that you were taking an active part in this affair till
Major Pierson told me that you had taken possession of his steam-tug,
and that it was you who had fired the shot which disabled the Belle,"
continued Colonel Passford, evidently very much troubled and annoyed.

"I was made a prisoner by the major, and I have done what I could to
get out of his hands," replied Christy. "I suppose you came out in this
steamer for the purpose of capturing the Bellevite; but you have not
done it yet, and I don't believe you will."

"I should like to see your father," added the colonel.

"We are ordered to put these people on board of the Dauphine, and she
has just stopped her screw. I cannot disobey my orders, uncle Homer."

But Christy did not like to prolong the conversation, and he told his
men to give way. The sea had certainly increased till it made it lively
for the boats, and the colonel said no more. The passengers were put on
board of the Dauphine, and it was not necessary for more than two of the
boats to return to the Belle for the rest of the men on board of her.
Colonel Passford insisted upon boarding the Bellevite, after the others
had left the boat, and Christy yielded the point.

The Confederate brother was received by the Union brother as though
nothing had occurred to divide them. He was conducted to the cabin, as
it had just begun to rain, where he was greeted as kindly by Florry.

"I am sorry you left me in such an abrupt manner, Horatio," said Homer,
very much embarrassed. "I think you took a rather unfair advantage of
the circumstances."

"Unfair? What? When you said outright that you intended to take steps
for the capture of my steamer, the only means of reaching my family, and
conveying my daughter to her home, that were within my reach. I came
here on a peaceful mission, and I think the unfairness was all on the
other side," replied Horatio.

"I still believe that I had no moral right, before God and my
countrymen, to allow you to hand this fine steamer over to the Yankee
navy: but I was on board of the Belle for the purpose of seeing that no
harm came to you, or any member of your family," said Homer with deep
feeling.

"Then I thank you for your good intentions. But I believed, before God
and my countrymen North and South, that I bad no moral right to let this
vessel be taken for the use of the Confederacy, and I would have burned
her on the waters of Mobile Bay before I would have given her up," added
Horatio, quite as earnestly as the other had spoken.

"Fortune has favored you this time, Horatio; but when you are suffering
and in want from the effects of this war, remember that I shall always
have a brother's heart in my bosom, and that it will always be open to
you and yours."

"I heartily reciprocate this fraternal sentiment, and I am confident
that you will need my assistance before I need yours: but all that I
have and all that I am shall be at your service, Homer."

"I am glad that we understand each other, and I rejoice that I came on
board of your steamer for these parting words. I will not ask you what
you are going to do next, for you would not tell me; but I shall expect
to hear that the Bellevite has been sunk in attempting to pass the
forts."

"Better that than in the service of the enemies of my country, Homer."

They parted with tears in the eyes of both, and never before had they
realized how stern and severe was the mandate of duty. Christy conveyed
his uncle back to the Dauphine, shook hands with him, and returned to
the Bellevite.

The mission of the steamer in Mobile Bay ended, and she had nothing more
to do but return to her native waters, though perhaps this would prove
to be the most difficult part of the entire enterprise. The steamer
stood down the bay in the drenching rain, and was soon buried in a dense
fog that was blown in by the wind from the gulf. She lay off and on
during the rest of the day, and the commander made his preparations for
running the gantlet of the forts.

This was not so difficult and dangerous an enterprise as it became later
when the channel was obstructed, though even now the feat could not be
accomplished without great difficulty and danger. In the course of the
day, Captain Pecklar left his berth and came on deck. Captain Breaker
decided to leave the piloting of the steamer to him, after he had
conversed for hours with him.

No better night in the whole year could have been selected for the
undertaking. It had ceased to rain, but the darkness and the fog were
as dense as possible. The pilot manifested entire confidence, as he had
plenty of water in the channel, and he knew all about the currents, the
tide, and the action of the wind. It was an exciting time, when every
light on board was extinguished, and the steamer started down the bay
with Captain Pecklar and two quartermasters at the wheel.

After the Bellevite had passed the dangerous part of the channel, firing
was heard from Fort Morgan; but the vessel was soon in the Gulf of
Mexico. Heavy guns were heard for some time, but all on board of the
steamer could afford to laugh at them. The ship continued on her course,
and among the islands near Nassau Percy Pierson was put on board of a
schooner bound to New Providence.

In eight days from the time she passed the forts, the Bellevite steamed
into New York Bay, and then to Bonnydale on the Hudson, where the family
were again re-united, and the fond mother wept over her two children,
restored to her after all the dangers of the past.

On his arrival, Captain Passford found letters for him from the
Government, and the offer of the Bellevite had been promptly accepted.
After having been Taken by the Enemy, on the next voyage Christy found
himself Within the Enemy's Lines.



_OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS._

YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD

SECOND SERIES.

A Library of Travel and Adventure in Foreign Lands. 16mo.
Illustrated by Nast, Stevens, Perkins, and others.
Per volume, $1.25.

1. UP THE BALTIC;
      Or, Young America in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

2. NORTHERN LANDS;
      Or, Young America in Russia and Prussia.

3. CROSS AND CRESCENT;
      Or, Young America in Turkey and Greece.

4. SUNNY SHORES;
      Or, Young America in Italy and Austria.

5. VINE AND OLIVE;
      Or, Young America in Spain and Portugal.

6. ISLES OF THE SEA;
      Or, Young America Homeward Bound.

  "Oliver Optic" is a _nom de plume_ that is known and loved by
  almost every boy of intelligence in the land. We have seen a highly
  intellectual and world-weary man, a cynic whose heart was somewhat
  imbittered by its large experience of human nature, take up one of
  Oliver Optic's books and read it at a sitting, neglecting his work
  in yielding to the fascination of the pages. When a mature and
  exceedingly well-informed mind, long despoiled of all its freshness,
  can thus find pleasure in a book for boys, no additional words of
  recommendation are needed.--_Sunday Times._


_OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS._

FAMOUS "BOAT-CLUB" SERIES,

Library for Young People. Six volumes, handsomely illustrated.
Per volume, $1.25.

1. THE BOAT CLUB;
      Or, The Bonkers of Rippleton.
2. ALL ABOARD;
      Or, Life on the Lake.
3. NOW OR NEVER;
      Or, The Adventures of Bobby Bright.
4. TRY AGAIN;
      Or, The Trials and Triumphs of Harry West.
5. POOR AND PROUD;
      Or, The Fortunes of Katy Redburn.
6. LITTLE BY LITTLE;
      Or, The Cruise of the Flyaway.

  This is the first series of books written for the young by "Oliver
  Optic." It laid the foundation for his fame as the first of authors
  in which the young delight, and gained for him the title of the
  Prince of Story-Tellers. The six books are varied in incident and
  plot, but all are entertaining and original.


_OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS._

ARMY AND NAVY STORIES.

Six Volumes. Illustrated. Per vol., $1.25.

1. THE SOLDIER BOY;
      Or, Tom Somers In the Army.

2. THE SAILOR BOY;
      Or, Jack Somers in the Navy.

3. THE YOUNG LIEUTENANT;
      Or, Adventures of an Army Officer.

4. THE YANKEE MIDDY;
      Or, Adventures of a Navy Officer.

5. FIGHTING JOE;
      Or, The Fortunes of a Staff Officer.

6. BRAVE OLD SALT;
      Or, Life on the Quarter-Deck.

  This series of six volumes recounts the adventures of two brothers,
  Tom and Jack Somers, one in the army, the other in the navy, in
  the great civil war. The romantic narratives of the fortunes and
  exploits of the brothers are thrilling in the extreme. Historical
  accuracy in the recital of the great events of that period is
  strictly followed, and the result is not only a library of
  entertaining volumes, but also the best history of the civil war
  for young people ever written.


_OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS._

YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD.

FIRST SERIES.

A Library of Travel and Adventure in Foreign Lands. 16mo.
Illustrated by Nast, Stevens, Perkins, and others.
Per volume, $1.25.

1. OUTWARD BOUND;
      Or, Young America Afloat.
2. SHAMROCK AND THISTLE;
      Or, Young America in Ireland and Scotland.
3. RED CROSS;
      Or, Young America in England and Wales.
4. DIKES AND DITCHES;
      Or, Young America in Holland and Belgium.
5. PALACE AND COTTAGE;
      Or, Young America in France and Switzerland.
6. DOWN THE RHINE;
      Or, Young America in Germany.

  The story from its inception and through the twelve volumes (see
  _Second Series_), is a bewitching one, while the information
  imparted, concerning the countries of Europe and the isles of the
  sea, is not only correct in every particular, but is told in a
  captivating style. "Oliver Optic" will continue to be the boy's
  friend, and his pleasant books will continue to be read by thousands
  of American boys. What a fine holiday present either or both series
  of "Young America Abroad" would be for a young friend! It would make
  a little library highly prized by the recipient, and would not be an
  expensive one.--_Providence Press._


_OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS._

ALL-OVER-THE-WORLD LIBRARY

Illustrated Per Volume $1.25

FIRST SERIES

A MISSING MILLION or The Adventures of Louis Belgrave
  A MILLIONAIRE AT SIXTEEN or The Cruise of the Guardian mother
    A YOUNG KNIGHT ERRANT or Cruising in the West Indies
      STRANGE SIGHTS ABROAD or A Voyage In European Waters

SECOND SERIES

THE AMERICAN BOYS AFLOAT or Cruising In the Orient
  THE YOUNG NAVIGATORS or The Foreign Cruise of the Maud
    UP AND DOWN THE NILE or Young Adventurers in Africa
      ASIATIC BREEZES or Students on the Wing (in press)

  The bare announcement of a new series of books by Oliver Optic will
  delight boys all over the country. When they farther learn that
  their favorite author proposes to 'personally conduct' his army of
  readers on a grand tour of the world, there will be a terrible
  scramble for excursion tickets--that is, the opening volume of the
  'Globe Trotting Series.' Of one thing the boys may be dead sure, it
  will be no tame, humdrum journey, for Oliver Optic does not believe
  that fun and excitement are injurious to boys, but, on the contrary,
  if of the right kind he thinks it does them good. Louis Belgrave
  is a fortunate lad, because, at the age of sixteen, he was the
  possessor of a cool million of dollars. No one, not even a young
  boy, can travel without money, as our author well knows, therefore
  he at once provided a liberal supply. Louis is a fine young fellow
  with good principles and honor, so he can be trusted to spend his
  million wisely. But he does not have entirely smooth sailing. In the
  first place he has a rascally step-father whom he had to subjugate,
  a dear mother to protect and care for, and the missing million to
  find before he could commence his delightful travels. They are all
  accomplished at last, and there was plenty of excitement and brave
  exploits in the doing of them, as the boy readers will find. The
  cover design shows many things--a globe, the Eiffel tower,
  mountains, seas, rivers, castles and other things Louis will see
  on his travels.--_Current Review._

LEE AND SHEPARD Publishers Boston


_OLIVER OPTIC'S BOOKS._

THE BLUE and THE GRAY

Illustrated. With Emblematic Dies. Each volume bound in Blue and Gray.
Per volume, $1.50.

AFLOAT

  TAKEN BY THE ENEMY
  WITHIN THE ENEMY'S LINES
  A VICTORIOUS UNION
  ON THE BLOCKADE
  STAND BY THE UNION
  FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT

ON LAND

  BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER
  IN THE SADDLE
  A LIEUTENANT AT EIGHTEEN

_Other volumes in preparation_

  The opening of a new series of books from the pen of Oliver Optic is
  bound to arouse the highest anticipation in the minds of boy and
  girl readers. There never has been a more interesting writer in the
  field of juvenile literature than Mr. W. T. Adams, who under his
  well-known pseudonym, is known and admired by every boy and girl
  in the country, and by thousands who have long since passed the
  boundaries of youth, yet who remember with pleasure the genial,
  interesting pen that did so much to interest, instruct and entertain
  their younger years. The present volume opens "The Blue and the Gray
  Series," a title that is sufficiently indicative of the nature and
  spirit of the series, of which the first volume is now presented,
  while the name of Oliver Optic is sufficient warrant of the
  absorbing style of narrative. "Taken by the Enemy," the first book
  of the series, is as bright and entertaining as any work that Mr.
  Adams has yet put forth, and will be as eagerly perused as any that
  has borne his name. It would not be fair to the prospective reader
  to deprive him of the zest which comes from the unexpected, by
  entering Into a synopsis of the story. A word, however, should be
  said in regard to the beauty and appropriateness of the binding,
  which makes it a most attractive volume.--_Boston Budget._

  "Taken by the Enemy" has just come from the press, an announcement
  that cannot but appeal to every healthy boy from ten to fifteen
  years of age in the country. "No writer of the present day," says
  the Boston _Commonwealth_, "whose aim has been to hit the boyish
  heart, has been as successful as Oliver Optic. There is a period in
  the life of every youth, just about the time that he is collecting
  postage-stamps, and before his legs are long enough for a bicycle,
  when he has the Oliver Optic fever. He catches it by reading a few
  stray pages somewhere, and then there is nothing for it but to let
  the matter take its course. Belief comes only when the last page of
  the last book is read: and then there are relapses whenever a new
  book appears until one is safely on through the teens."--_Literary
  News._

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *

Errata Noted by Transcriber:

Invisible punctuation-- chiefly quotation marks-- has been silently
supplied.

for he intended to drive the vessel
  _text reads "to to drive"_
any unnecessary strategetical / falsehood
  _so in original_
and observed his conduct on board of the Bellevite
  _text reads "an board"_
"De Lo'd!" exclaimed the venerable colored man
  _text reads "De L'od"_
"Shoot me!" exclaimed Percy,
  _text reads "exclaimed, Percy,"_
"You will not be lost as long as I know where you are,"
  _text reads "where your are"_
[Illustration: "I have hit Her" (Page 315)]
  _capitalization as in original_
What do you intend to do, Christy?"
  _text has period for question mark_
that is the most hopeful thing I can think of,"
  _text reads "think off"_
no additional words of recommendation are needed
  _text reads "recomendation"_
The bare announcement of a new series
  _text begins with open quote_





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