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Title: The Blue Grass Seminary Girls on the Water - Exciting Adventures on a Summer Cruise Through the Panama Canal
Author: Burnett, Carolyn Judson
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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[Illustration: “I AM SORRY YOU INTERFERED WITH US,” SAID THE MAN.
“YOU’LL FIND BEFORE LONG THAT YOU HAVE DONE WRONG.” _Page 57_.]



                                  The
                       Blue Grass Seminary Girls
                              On the Water


                 Exciting Adventures on a Summer Cruise
                        Through the Panama Canal

                       By Carolyn Judson Burnett

                               AUTHOR OF

         “The Blue Grass Seminary Girls’ Vacation Adventures,”
           “The Blue Grass Seminary Girls in the Mountains,”
                        “The Blue Grass Seminary
                      Girls’ Christmas Holidays.”

                           A. L. BURT COMPANY

                          PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK



                            Copyright, 1916
                         By A. L. Burt Company

               THE BLUE GRASS SEMINARY GIRLS ON THE WATER



THE BLUE GRASS SEMINARY GIRLS ON THE WATER.



CHAPTER I.—PLANNING A TRIP.


“Dad, we want to take a trip.”

The speaker was Shirley Willing, a typical Kentucky girl, slender of
figure, vivacious of manner, and extremely pretty. With her father, she
stood on the big, sunny front porch of the Willing farmhouse. As she
again was about to address her father, a second young girl, who, it
could be seen at a glance, was of about Shirley’s years, joined them.

This was Mabel Ashton, Shirley’s particular friend and life chum.
Shirley greeted her with a smile, and Mr. Willing’s face also wrinkled
pleasantly.

“I was just telling Dad that we want to take a trip this summer,”
explained Shirley.

Mabel smiled.

“We have talked it all over,” she agreed, “and we just want to go some
place.”

“Where?” asked Mr. Willing briefly.

“Why, we—we—want to go to—to—where is it we want to go, Shirley?”
asked Mabel in some confusion.

“We hadn’t decided on that yet, Dad,” laughed Shirley. “But we don’t
want to stay here on this old farm all summer.”

“And what are you going to do with both your old Dads—leave them
behind?” asked Mr. Willing seriously.

“We would like to have you go with us, Dad, but we know you won’t.”

“Why won’t we?”

“Well, I—we,—I—you never have gone with us.”

“It’s never too late to mend our ways,” declared her father dryly.
“Perhaps we shall this time.”

Both girls clapped their hands, and scampered about the porch eagerly.
At last Shirley stopped her antics, and standing directly before her
father, took him by the coat with both hands.

“Do you mean it, Dad?” she asked.

Mr. Willing nodded.

“Yes. Ashton and I have decided that the next time you two youngsters go
away from home we are going with you. When you are by yourselves you get
into too much mischief. Now where is it you want to go?”

“We haven’t the slightest idea,” was the reply.

Mr. Willing turned to Mabel.

“You call your father out here and we’ll talk this thing over,” he told
her.

Mabel hastened to obey, and while she is searching for her father, we
shall take time to introduce Shirley Willing and Mabel Ashton more fully
to the reader.

The two girls had been friends ever since they could remember. Born and
raised within a few doors of each other in the little town of Paris,
Bourbon county, Kentucky, they had been inseparable companions from the
time they were able to walk. This friendship was strengthened by the
fact that their fathers had been bosom friends before them.

While the girls were still young, Shirley’s mother died, and a short
time later Mr. Willing purchased a large farm on the Bethlehem Pike,
three miles from town. It was less than a year later that Mabel’s mother
passed into the great Beyond, and Mr. Ashton bought a farm adjoining
that of his old friend. And here they had lived ever since.

When Shirley reached the age of fourteen, she conceived the idea of
going away to school. Mabel announced that she was going with her. The
objections of their fathers they soon overcame, and at last found
themselves installed as pupils of the Bluegrass Seminary in Lexington.
Here, because of their kind-heartedness and their many good deeds, they
were soon among the most popular girls of the school.

Being athletically inclined, they were prominent in all branches of
girls’ sports. Their chief pleasure was horseback riding, in which art
there were few more proficient. In fact, Shirley once had saved her
father’s fortune by carrying the Willing colors to victory in the great
Kentucky Derby, as related in “The Bluegrass Seminary Girls on
Vacation.”

Naturally modest, they nevertheless had been made, soon after their
arrival at the seminary, members of the Glee Club, for it was found that
both possessed voices of rare excellence. During the second Christmas
vacation, with other members of the Glee Club, they had toured the
larger eastern cities, and through entertainments had lifted a large
debt that threatened the end of the Seminary.

Both girls also possessed great courage, as they had proved on more than
one occasion, and they had had many exciting adventures, one of the most
important of which was the settling of a mountain feud in which they had
faced great danger unflinchingly, as related in “The Bluegrass Seminary
Girls on Motorcycles.”

The summer vacation now had just begun. Shirley and Mabel had returned
from Lexington two days before this story opens. At the Willing place
they found Mr. Ashton, who had been very ill for some years, and had
been making his home with his friend while his daughter was away at
school.

But now Mr. Ashton was greatly improved, as Mabel found to her great
joy. He was gaining daily and recovering lost weight and strength.

Mabel, searching for her father in response to Mr. Willing’s request,
found him in the sitting room. She went up to him and took him by the
hand.

“Come on Dad,” she said.

Mr. Ashton—“colonel” he was always called by his friends—allowed
himself to be pulled toward the door.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“Mr. Willing, Shirley and I want to have a talk with you,” was the
reply.

“H-mm-m,” muttered the colonel, “must be something you two want. Have
you succeeded in twisting Willing around your fingers?”

“The idea, Dad!” exclaimed Mabel. “You know neither Shirley nor I would
think of trying to do a thing like that.”

Colonel Ashton grinned.

“Wouldn’t you?” he asked dryly. “I’m not so sure of that.”

Father and daughter made their way to the front porch, where Shirley and
her father were deep in conversation. Colonel Ashton dropped into a
chair, and Mabel sat down at his feet.

“Ashton,” said Mr. Willing, “these girls say they want to go some place.
What do you think about it?”

Mr. Ashton was silent for some moments. He did not seem to be surprised.

“Where do they want to go?” he asked at length.

“We don’t know, Dad,” said Mabel. “We just want to take a trip.”

“And,” Shirley broke in, “my Dad says you and he might come with us.”

Mr. Ashton looked at his old friend in surprise.

“You say that, Willing?” he demanded.

“Yes, Colonel, I did. Why not, eh? You and I are getting along in years
and have earned a vacation. I’m agreeable, if you are.”

“I don’t know but you are right,” was the slow reply. “I guess I am well
enough to travel. I’ll go.”

Mabel jumped quickly to her feet, and hugged him. Shirley performed a
similar operation on her father.

“Then,” said Mr. Willing, disengaging himself at last, “the only
question to be settled is, where shall we go?”

“This is a pretty sizeable country, Willing,” said the colonel, “I guess
there are plenty of places to go.”

“I had thought of Atlantic City,” said Mabel.

“And what had you thought of?” demanded Mr. Willing of Shirley.

“Well,” was the reply, “there were two things I wanted to do, and I
don’t know which I shall choose.”

“Let’s hear them,” said Mr. Willing.

“You know, Dad, ever since Mabel and I went away with the Glee Club, we
have both been anxious to take a trip on one of the big ocean steamers.
That is one thing I would like to do.”

“And where would you like to go?”

“Any place. Across the ocean.”

“Well, we won’t do that,” said Colonel Ashton. “This European war makes
it too risky. We might be sunk by one of those German submarines.”

“Right, Colonel,” agreed Mr. Willing. He turned again to Shirley, “and
the other thing you would like to do?” he questioned.

“I should like to go to the Panama Exposition in San Francisco.”

Mabel jumped to her feet and clapped her hands.

“That’s where I should like to go, too,” she cried. “Why didn’t I think
of it before?”

Mr. Willing considered.

“Well,” he said at length, “I don’t know why we can’t do both of those
things, Shirley.”

“But the ocean trip, Dad. Where would we go?”

“To San Francisco,” was the reply.

“But, how—”

“You must remember that the Panama Canal is open to traffic, daughter,”
explained Mr. Willing. “We can take a steamer from New York direct to
San Francisco. Besides, I should like to have a look at the canal, with
its great locks and other interesting things. The construction of the
canal is considered one of the greatest of all feats of engineering.”

Colonel Ashton nodded his head emphatically.

“I should like to take that trip myself,” he declared.

“Then we shall consider that matter settled,” said Mr. Willing.

“And when can we start, dad?” asked Shirley eagerly.

“Well, we will not be able to leave here for a week or ten days. I have
some business affairs that must be put in order before I can get away.
Besides, you two girls will want clothes and things, and you can’t get
those in a minute.”

“We’ll go to town this afternoon and get some things,” declared Mabel.

“All right,” laughed Mr. Willing, “but just the same it will take you at
least a week to get yourselves ready. Then I shall have to make
arrangements for our passage, find out when we leave New York and attend
to other details. It will take time.”

“But we shall go as soon as possible, Dad?” asked Shirley.

“Yes,” was the reply. “You may make sure of that. We shall go as soon as
possible. Hello—who’s that?”

The others gazed in the direction of his pointing finger. Through the
pike gate, at that moment, came a solitary horseman.

“I wonder who he is?” exclaimed Shirley.



CHAPTER II.—AN ADDITION TO THE PARTY.


The horseman came closer.

Suddenly Shirley gave an exclamation of delight. She had recognized the
visitor even at this distance, which was too great for the others to
perceive his identity. Mabel looked at her chum in astonishment.

“Dick!” cried Shirley.

Now Mabel understood, and even Mr. Willing allowed a slight smile to
steal across his face.

Shirley ran down the steps from the porch and hurried toward the distant
yard gate. The girl and the horseman arrived at about the same time, and
those on the porch saw the rider lift his cap and dismount.

Then he led the horse through the gate, closed it behind him and with
the bridle in his hand continued his way to the house afoot, Shirley
walking by his side.

“Dick!” cried Shirley again, as the rider dismounted at the gate upon
sight of her. “What are you doing here? I am glad to see you.”

“I was in Paris on a little business,” replied the young man, “and I
thought I wouldn’t go away without paying my respects to you and your
father.”

At the house Mr. Willing greeted the young man warmly, for, from
previous meetings, he had taken a liking to Dick.

Dick Stanley was a native of Cincinnati, O. He was without parents, and
after having met Shirley under exciting circumstances, he had given up a
rough set of companions and at length had obtained a place as office boy
on one of the big Louisville newspapers. But Dick had not remained an
office boy long, and he was now one of the most competent and best liked
reporters on the paper.

He had been sent to Paris for a certain piece of news—“on a story,” in
his words, the words of the newspaper world—and he had just completed
his work successfully. Therefore he had hired a horse and come to the
Willing farm for a few words with his friends before going back to
Louisville.

“I’m glad to see you, young man,” said Mr. Willing in greeting. “It has
been some time since we have had the pleasure of your company.”

“Thank you, sir,” was the reply. “I am always glad to be here.”

He shook hands with Mr. Ashton and Mabel.

Now Shirley proceeded to tell him of the trip they were going to take,
and Dick was greatly interested.

“I should like to see the canal,” he said. “I have been reading quite a
bit about it, and it is very interesting.”

“You are right, young man,” agreed Mr. Willing.

“It is one of the wonders of the world.” He paused, struck by a sudden
idea. Then he said slowly, looking squarely at Dick:

“How would you like to go with us?”

“I’d like it fine,” declared Dick, with a smile. “I wish it could be
done.”

“Well, it can be done,” said Mr. Willing quietly.

Dick, as well as Shirley and Mabel, looked at Mr. Willing in surprise.

“Dad!” exclaimed Shirley. “What do you mean?”

“Just what I say,” was the reply. “I am going to take Dick with us.”

Dick shook his head slowly.

“I appreciate your kindness, Mr. Willing,” he said quietly, “but I
cannot accept such generosity.”

“Can’t, eh?” blustered Mr. Willing, “and why not, I’d like to know. I am
not in the habit of having my invitations refused, sir!”

Again Dick smiled.

“It is very kind of you to ask me,” he said, “but I do not feel that I
should accept. Of course, I have the money for the trip, but I do not
feel I can afford to spend it. Besides, I could not leave the paper for
so long a time.”

“Couldn’t leave the paper!” echoed Mr. Willing.

“I’ll speak a few words to my friend Col. Harperson, the owner, and he
will see that you are given an indefinite vacation.”

“No, sir, thank you, I don’t think it can be done.”

“I’ll tell you,” said Mr. Willing, trying a new line, for he had made up
his mind to have Dick accompany them, “you will be able to do some
writing on the trip. The sights you will see should mean money to you.
You should be able to write many interesting articles when you get
back.”

Dick apparently was impressed with this line of reasoning. And now
Shirley added her voice to the colonel’s.

“Please, come, Dick?” she said.

“Well,” said the young man after hesitating a long while, “I’ll tell you
what I’ll do. If I can make arrangements to get off indefinitely, I’ll
go.”

Shirley clapped her hands.

“I’m sure you can,” she cried.

And Mr. Willing muttered to himself:

“I’ll fix it with Harperson!”

The discussion of the trip now became general, and Dick was acquainted
with the time they expected to depart.

“You will remain here over night, of course,” said Mr. Willing.

“Thank you, sir, I shall be glad to.”

“Then we’ll put off our shopping till to-morrow, Mabel,” said Shirley.

All day the three young people talked eagerly of the coming trip, and
Shirley tried to get Dick to promise that he would go, whether he was
able to get off or not. But this Dick would not do.

“If they agree to let me off, all right,” was his decision.

They sat up and talked till late that night, but Mr. Willing finally put
an end to this conversation.

“Shirley,” he said severely, “are you going to keep that young man
talking all night? How do you expect him to catch the early train in the
morning?”

“Well, I would have gone any time he told me,” pouted Shirley.

“I don’t suppose he would have told you if you had kept him talking all
night,” replied Mr. Willing dryly.

Dick arose and bade the others good night. A few moments later Shirley
and Mabel retired to their room, where they lay for a long time before
sleep overcame them, so excited were they at the prospect of the great
trip.

“I’m glad Dick is going,” said Mabel, “but I don’t suppose I am half as
glad as you are.”

“Why not?” demanded Shirley.

“Oh, just because,” replied Mabel, laughing.

“I don’t see anything to laugh at,” declared Shirley.

“You don’t? No, I guess you don’t. Do you know, I’d give a whole lot if
some nice boy like Dick would come all this way to see me.”

“He came to see you as well as me,” said Shirley.

“Oh no he didn’t. If I had been the only girl here, Dick would not have
been on hand to-day. Besides, if it wasn’t for you I’m sure he wouldn’t
even think of taking the trip to San Francisco.”

“But he wants to see something of the Panama Canal.”

“My goodness! you didn’t use to be so dense,” exclaimed Mabel.

“Dense?” repeated Shirley. “What do you mean, Mabel?”

“That’s right, keep it up,” exclaimed Mabel. “I won’t say anything more.
Are you going into town to-morrow?”

“Yes, I thought we would go in as soon as Dick had gone.”

“That suits me. We’ll have to get a lot of things.”

“I should say so. Why, I haven’t a single decent thing to wear.”

“We’ll put in a good supply, so we won’t have to buy anything while we
are away. My! but won’t it be a nice trip?”

“Won’t it though. I can hardly wait for the time to come.”

“Nor I. But let’s get some sleep or we won’t want to get up in the
morning.”

Both closed their eyes and tried to sleep. But they had too much on
their minds to go to sleep immediately, and it was long minutes before
drowsiness overcame them and they lost themselves, only to dream that
they were sailing across the ocean.

The following morning they accompanied Dick to Wright’s station, where
he took a train for Lexington. There he would have to change for
Louisville.

“Let us know as soon as possible?” called Shirley, as he climbed aboard.

“I will,” replied Dick. “I’ll write immediately I have learned one thing
or the other.”

The train moved away.

Shirley and Mabel returned to the house, where Mr. Willing was waiting
for them with the automobile.

“Ashton and I have decided to do a little shopping on our own hook,” he
explained. “We want to spruce up a bit. Daughter, do you suppose there
will be any nice-looking, middle-aged ladies aboard the boat? If so, why
Ashton and I—”

“Dad!” interrupted Shirley.

“Well, all right. Of course if you object,” said Mr. Willing.

All the rest of the day the girls put in shopping. Dresses and frocks
for all occasions they bought, besides a couple of outing costumes.

“I don’t know how long it takes to get to San Francisco from New York,”
said Shirley, “so we had best be prepared.”

But when the day was over they found they had not completed their
shopping, and would have to return again on the morrow.

Mr. Willing, during the day, transacted his business and found out the
date of sailing from New York. Taking it for granted that Dick would
accompany them, he purchased a ticket and made accommodations for him as
well as the others.

“How long shall we be gone, Dad?” asked Shirley, as the automobile sped
homeward.

“Well, let’s see. This is the fourth of June. We shall leave New York on
the fifteenth. I should say we would be back by the middle of August.”

“And will we come back the same way?”

“No; we’ll come back by rail. One way by boat will be enough. You’ll
have seen plenty of water by the time you reach San Francisco.”

“I hope Dick decides to go with us,” said Shirley.

“And so do I,” declared Mabel.

“Oh, he’ll go, all right,” remarked Mr. Willing.

And the latter was right. Three days later Shirley stood before her
father with an open letter in her hand.

“It’s from Dick,” she explained. “He says he is going with us.”

Mr. Willing chuckled.

“I see Harperson is still a friend of mine,” he muttered to himself.



CHAPTER III.—OFF FOR NEW YORK.


It was the morning of the twelfth of June that the party of five went
early to Paris to catch the eight o’clock train for Cincinnati. Dick had
arrived the night before, and in spite of the fact that they would have
to be up very early in the morning, all sat up talking, for the young
people were too excited to go to sleep.

All through the long hours of the night the girls tossed about, scarcely
closing their eyes. They were up with the break of day, which was soon
after four o’clock.

At last the time for departure came, and they jumped gaily into the
large automobile which was to take them to town.

“What time shall we leave Cincinnati, sir?” Dick asked of Mr. Willing,
as the train pulled out from the station.

“Twelve o’clock,” was the reply. “We’ll get there a little after eleven,
which will give us time to get across town to the Pennsylvania station.
I have made reservations on the New York train.”

Nevertheless it lacked only twenty minutes of the noon hour when the
train pulled into Cincinnati.

“Hurry girls,” ordered Mr. Willing. “We have no time to lose. We can
just about make it.”

They dashed through the station and out the Third street entrance, where
Mr. Willing immediately engaged two taxicabs.

“Pennsylvania Station!” he ordered, and they were off at a good gait.

Through the narrow streets congested with traffic they were forced to go
more slowly, and Mr. Willing looked at his watch impatiently from time
to time.

“Seven minutes!” he said, and they were still some distance from their
destination, and then the first cab stopped to let a car pass in front
of it.

“Hurry!” commanded Mr. Willing of his driver. “We haven’t got all day to
get there. Let the street cars do the waiting after this.”

The chauffeur nodded and the cab leaped forward, scattering pedestrians
right and left, darting in and out among other vehicles, avoiding a
collision as though by a miracle. The second cab came close behind.

At last the station was reached and all dismounted hurriedly. With Mr.
Willing in the lead they ran through the station to the train shed. Here
the conductor had just called “All aboard!”

Mr. Willing heard him, and urged the others on faster. They passed
through the gate, Mr. Willing assisted the girls and Colonel Ashton up
the steps, then climbed up himself. And as he did so, Shirley, who had
turned to look at him, cried:

“Where’s Dick?”

Mr. Willing looked around, then stood nonplussed. Dick was not here. The
train began to move.

There came a shout from behind and a young man came dashing after the
train. Shirley cried out in alarm. It was Dick.

The train had gathered headway now and was slipping along beneath the
shed more rapidly. Dick sprinted, gained, clutched the handrail of the
car and swung himself aboard just as the train gathered even greater
speed.

He climbed to the platform, wiped the moisture from his brow, fanned
himself vigorously and then smiled.

“Close call, that,” he exclaimed.

“Young man,” said Mr. Willing dryly, “hereafter let there be no
loitering behind. You gave me a scare and I don’t care for any more of
the same.”

“Daddy!” exclaimed Shirley. “I am sure Dick didn’t do it intentionally.”

“No, sir,” agreed Dick. “As I followed after you I bumped into a lady
and knocked her suitcase from her hand. It came open and the contents
scattered about. For a moment I forgot all about the train and stopped
to help her pick them up. Then I happened to remember we were late, and
ran after you.”

“Your gallantry is bound to get you in trouble if you are not careful,”
commented Mr. Willing.

They went inside.

Mr. Willing had engaged the two drawing rooms, one at either end of the
car. Dick and the two older men were to occupy one and the two girls the
other.

It was almost eight o’clock when the train pulled into Pittsburgh. They
had just finished dinner, so Dick stepped off to look about for a few
moments.

As he stood beside the steps of the Pullman, another man, probably
several years his senior, approached and engaged him in conversation. He
was an agreeable sort of a chap. He spoke English with the faintest of
accents, however, and this Dick was not slow to notice.

It appeared that the man had a berth on the same car, and they climbed
aboard together. In the smoking compartment was Mr. Willing, to whom
Dick introduced the newcomer. Mr. Ashton came in a few moments later,
and all sat talking.

The stranger, who introduced himself as Henry Bristow, made himself very
agreeable and Mr. Willing took an instant liking to him.

During the course of the conversation, Dick chanced to mention that they
would sail from New York for San Francisco on the fifteenth.

“On what ship?” demanded Bristow eagerly.

“_Yucatan_,” was the reply.

“Is that so?” exclaimed the other. “I shall sail on the same vessel.”

“For San Francisco?” asked Dick in surprise.

“That all depends,” was the answer. “I shall only take passage as far as
Colon. Whether I shall go further depends upon my—upon circumstances.”

“We shall be glad to have you as a fellow passenger,” declared Mr.
Willing. “As you are going to be such, you must meet my daughter, and
the daughter of the colonel here.”

“I shall be pleased,” was the reply.

He accompanied the others to the drawing room, where introductions
followed.

Young Bristow conversed fluently upon many topics and the others were
delighted with him. From his remarks it was gathered that he had
traveled considerably.

He spoke familiarly of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and apparently
had a personal knowledge of London, Paris, Berlin and other European
cities. He was equally as well acquainted with the larger southern
cities.

The two girls were eager listeners to the tales of his travels, and even
Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton gave an attentive ear to these stories.

“And where do you live?” asked Mr. Willing suddenly. “What did you say
your business is?”

The young man’s face suddenly turned red.

“My home is in New York,” he replied quietly, “and as for my business, I
fear that must remain a secret for the present.”

“Daddy, you shouldn’t be so inquisitive,” said Shirley with a smile.

“I’m sure I’m sorry,” apologized her father. “I didn’t mean—”

“Say no more about it,” replied the young man with a pleasant smile.
“For certain reasons, I am not now able to reveal the nature of my
business.”

Dick had been thinking rapidly. Suspicions had entered his head, and he
could not shake them off. And still he knew that they would sound
foolish to another.

“I’ll keep them to myself,” he said, “but I’ll keep an eye open.”

The train was just pulling into North Philadelphia when Shirley and
Mabel opened their eyes the next morning. Mabel glanced at her watch.

“Seven o’clock,” she exclaimed. “We’ll have to hurry, Shirley. You know
these fast trains don’t take long to reach New York from here. Besides,
we want to get breakfast on the train.”

They dressed as rapidly as possible, and emerged from their drawing room
just in time to see young Bristow stride down the aisle.

He gave them a cheery “good morning” and turned as Mr. Willing came up.

“I hope you will join us at breakfast, sir,” said Mr. Willing.

The young man accepted, and as Dick and Colonel Ashton appeared at this
moment, all made their way to the diner together.

“Where shall you stay in New York, sir?” asked Bristow of Mr. Willing.

“At the McAlpin,” was the reply. “We shall spend the two days looking
about the city, going aboard the _Yucatan_ a couple of hours before time
for her departure.”

Bristow turned to Dick.

“I shall look you up either this afternoon or to-morrow, and we’ll take
a stroll,” he said.

“I’ll be glad to walk with you,” Dick replied.

Breakfast over, they returned to the Pullman, where they began to get
their things together, for they were close to New York.

Half an hour later the train plunged into the tunnel under the Hudson
river. Mr. Willing, who had been to New York before, explained how the
tunnel had been constructed and gave other interesting information.

“You wouldn’t think we were in a tunnel,” exclaimed Shirley. “There is
no smoke.”

“Electric engine,” replied Mr. Willing.

“And we go right under the river?”

“Yes.”

“My goodness!” exclaimed Mabel. “Just to think that there is a river
running right over the top of us. Suppose it would come through.”

Mr. Willing smiled.

“It won’t,” he said quietly.

And now the porter came for their baggage, and carried it to the
vestibule. The conductor poked his head in the door and called out:

“New York!”

“Here we are,” exclaimed Shirley eagerly. “The city I have always wanted
to see. The greatest city in the world!”



CHAPTER IV.—DICK HAS AN ADVENTURE.


The two days spent in New York City were days of wonder to Shirley,
Mabel and Dick. They were on the go every minute of the time,
sightseeing. From one end of the city to the other they travelled with
wide-open eyes.

The great skyscrapers impressed them, perhaps, more than any one other
thing, though they saw much to amaze them; and next to the great
buildings they were impressed by the crowds.

Crowds they had seen in some of the other large cities, but never
anything like this.

They took a trip to Coney Island on the second day, and the girls were
for going back again that night. Mr. Willing agreed, and they were about
to fare forth from the hotel, when young Bristow was announced.

“I’ve come to take you for that promised stroll,” he told Dick.

Dick looked at the others inquiringly.

“You go with him,” nodded Colonel Ashton, “the rest of us can get along
without you for one evening.”

“If I’m breaking up a party—” began Bristow.

“Never mind,” said the colonel with a wave of his hand. “You two young
fellows run along. We don’t need you.”

“All right, sir,” agreed Dick.

Personally he was glad to have a chance to look about the town a little
with one of his own age. The others took their departure, and soon
Bristow and Dick also left the hotel.

“I would have looked you up sooner but I have been terribly busy,”
explained Bristow. “I have had important matters to attend to, and this
is the first time I have been at liberty. Where would you like to go?”

“Any place you say,” said Dick with a smile. “You know more about this
place than I do.”

“I guess you’re right,” was the smiling response, “we’ll wander up
Broadway aways and watch the theater crowds.”

They did so, and continued to stroll about for an hour.

Gradually the crowd thinned out, although there were many pedestrians on
the street. As they stood for a moment in front of the Herald building
on Herald square, Dick, chancing to turn suddenly, became conscious of a
pair of eyes looking steadily at his companion. He called the other’s
attention to it, and as the latter glanced about the man turned and
moved off.

Dick thought no more of the matter until several blocks further along he
perceived the same figure slinking furtively after them.

“That man is following us,” he said to Bristow.

The face of the latter grew hard.

“We’ll see,” he said.

At that moment they were passing Forty-second Street, and Bristow swung
sharply around the corner. Dick followed him. They walked several
blocks, until they stood beneath the tracks of the Sixth Avenue
elevated. Here Bristow again turned sharply, and drew up in a doorway.
He stopped as Dick came up beside him.

A moment later the figure of the man Dick believed was following them
came around the corner. The man’s hat was pulled over his eyes, and he
did not glance up as he passed the doorway. Bristow and Dick turned and
doubled back around the corner.

“He was after us, all right,” said Bristow with a laugh, “but I guess we
have given him the slip.”

But in this he was mistaken.

“I wonder what on earth we are being followed for?” muttered Dick to
himself, as they turned down Broadway. “Something queer about this
fellow Bristow. That man is not following us for nothing.”

Several hours later they stopped in a little restaurant for a bite to
eat, “after which I’ll take you home,” said Bristow.

The restaurant was crowded, and a little while later the waiter seated
another man at their table. Dick gave him a quick glance and then
stifled an exclamation of surprise.

The newcomer was the same man who had followed them so recently.

Dick leaned over and whispered to Bristow.

“So?” said Bristow. “We’ll see what he wants.”

He looked the man squarely in the eyes and demanded:

“What are you following me for?”

The man looked at him and smiled pleasantly.

“I just want to keep you in sight,” he replied.

“Why?”

“You know, I guess. You don’t want me to speak right out, do you?”

“Well, no,” replied Bristow, “but I’ll thank you to follow me no
longer.”

“Sorry,” was the reply, “but I am afraid I shall have to.”

“I warn you,” said Bristow quietly, “to let me alone. Is that plain
enough?”

“Perfectly plain,” was the reply. “I’m sorry I can’t accommodate you.”

He resumed his eating.

Dick and Bristow finished their meal first and rose to go. The other man
waited until they were at the door, then picked up his check and
followed them. And so when they passed out, he was right behind them
once more.

“I don’t like this idea of being followed,” said Dick. “What’s he want,
anyhow?”

“We’ll get rid of him,” replied Bristow, absolutely ignoring Dick’s
second question.

He turned down a side street, and they walked for three or four blocks,
at length coming to a rather darker street. Here Bristow slipped around
the corner and motioned Dick to silence.

The footsteps of their pursuer came to their ears. He drew nearer.
Bristow advanced close to the edge of the building.

“What are you going to do?” asked Dick.

“You’ll see,” was the brief response.

As the man came into view, Bristow suddenly struck out with his right
fist, and the man toppled over.

Bristow turned to Dick.

“Come!” he said quietly.

With one look at the fallen man Dick obeyed, and they were soon beyond
pursuit.

Dick had been taken by surprise by the suddenness of Bristow’s attack.
Try as he would he could see no reason for it. He, as well as Bristow,
objected to being followed, but Dick would not have taken such measures
to elude his pursuer.

He followed his companion without a word, however, and soon they were
back at the hotel.

The others had not returned, but Bristow sat down, announcing that he
had something important to say to Mr. Willing when the latter did get
back.

Half an hour later, Colonel Ashton, Mr. Willing and the two girls came
in.

“Well, I see you beat us,” exclaimed Mr. Willing. “Have a good time?”

“Yes, sir,” replied Dick.

“Mr. Willing,” said Bristow, “I have something of importance to say to
you.”

“All right, sir,” came the answer, “out with it.”

“Will you all promise to repeat nothing of what I may say?”

“Why all this air of secrecy?” demanded Mr. Willing.

“That I cannot tell you, sir.”

“Of course we’ll promise, Mr. Bristow,” declared Shirley. “Surely, Dad,
there is no reason why we should tell any one anything.”

Mr. Willing nodded.

“I will promise for myself and the others,” he said.

“Very well, sir. What I would say is this: Take my advice, and under no
circumstances sail on the _Yucatan_ to-morrow!”

Mr. Willing gazed at the young man in perfect amazement, as did the
others in the room. Mr. Willing was the first to regain his composure.

“Why?” he asked quietly.

“I can’t go into explanations,” replied the young man hurriedly; “all I
can do is warn you that it is not safe.”

“And why isn’t it safe?” asked Shirley, now taking a hand in the
conversation.

“That I cannot tell you, either. But you all know that a state of war
exists between the countries of Europe.”

“What has that to do with us?” asked Shirley.

“You are asking me hard questions,” said Bristow, “and I cannot answer
as I would like to. Let it be enough that there is danger because of it.
And if there should even be no danger aboard the _Yucatan_, it will
exist in Colon.”

“In Colon?”

“Yes. One week from to-day Colon will no longer be safe!”

“It is my belief you are out of your head, young man,” declared Mr.
Willing grimly.

Bristow shook his head positively.

“I am telling you facts,” he declared. “I can’t say any more.”

“And why won’t we be safe aboard the _Yucatan_?” demanded Shirley. “The
ship isn’t going to sink, is it?”

“No, but—”

“No European country will dare to molest it,” declared Dick, “and I can
see no reason why there should be danger at Colon.”

“I was afraid I couldn’t convince you,” said Bristow. “However, I have
done my best. Good night.”

He bowed and left the room.

“What do you suppose he is talking about, Dad?” asked Shirley.

“I don’t know,” was the reply, “and I don’t care.”

“All buncombe,” agreed Colonel Ashton.

“Well, I don’t care what it is,” exclaimed Shirley. “We have set our
hearts on this trip, and we are going to take it. That’s all there is
about that.”

“Good for you, Shirley,” agreed Mabel.

Dick Stanley was the only member of the party who did not speak. He sat
quietly in his chair, thinking.



CHAPTER V.—ABOARD THE YUCATAN.


The _Yucatan_, upon leaving New York, did not head straight for Colon.
Her route took her down the coast, where she would make several stops.
The first would be at Savannah, then Jacksonville, and the third, and
last before touching at Colon, would be Havana, Cuba.

Mr. Willing had selected this vessel for the simple reason that it did
put in at these southern ports, for he wished to give the girls an
opportunity of seeing as much as possible on the journey. After rounding
into the Pacific, following her passage of the Panama Canal, the vessel
was scheduled to put in at the seaports of several of the Central
American republics and one or two Mexican ports.

Mr. Willing, Colonel Ashton, Dick and the two girls stood forward on the
gallery deck of the great ship as she got under way and slowly backed
out of her slip into the North River.

It was early afternoon, the sun shone brightly and it was very warm. All
day the city had sweltered beneath the terrible heat, but as the ship
gradually gathered headway a breeze sprang up and blew refreshingly
across the deck.

“This is something like it,” declared Mr. Willing, removing his yachting
cap and passing his handkerchief over his forehead.

The awnings were stretched, and all took the steamer chairs they had
secured. These they pulled close to the rail, and then gazed off across
the water.

Directly the Statue of Liberty came into view. The girls gazed at it
curiously as they passed and headed for the open sea.

Gradually the lofty spires of the great buildings faded from view, and
then the Statue of Liberty disappeared. To starboard could be seen the
distant shore of New Jersey, and to port nothing but the broad expanse
of the Atlantic.

Darkness descended and with it a cooler breeze.

“Time to eat,” said Mr. Willing.

They made their way to the dining room below, where they were seated at
the captain’s table. The supper was excellent, far beyond Shirley’s
expectations. The meal over they returned on deck.

Mr. Willing had secured a suite of four rooms well forward on the
promenade deck, and after enjoying the cooling breeze for some time, all
made their way there.

The strains of a band now floated to them from the main salon. They made
their way out. Then the three young people started on a tour of the
ship. They took in everything with breathless interest.

“This is indeed a floating palace,” commented Shirley.

“Isn’t it though,” agreed Mabel.

Dick was no less enthusiastic in his praise.

After a stroll about they rejoined the two elder men in the salon. Then
it was that Shirley bethought herself of the fact that young Bristow had
said he would be aboard.

“I haven’t seen anything of him,” she said.

Neither had the others.

“Perhaps he missed the boat,” said Mabel.

“I’ll have a look at the passenger list,” said Dick.

He did so, and there he saw “Henry Bristow, New York,” and the number of
his stateroom. He went up and knocked on the door.

“Come in,” called a voice.

Dick entered the room, then started back in surprise.

Bristow lay propped up in bed, reading. Around his head was a white
bandage. Dick hastened to his side.

“Why, what is the matter?” he exclaimed.

“Accident,” replied Bristow, with a slight smile, and volunteered no
further information.

Dick did not press him for an explanation. After some little talk, in
the course of which Bristow said he did not require anything and
announced that he would be perfectly fit on the morrow, Dick took his
leave and rejoined the others.

“And how was he hurt?” asked Mr. Willing, after Dick had reported what
he had learned.

“He didn’t say and I didn’t ask him,” he replied. “But I am sure there
is something strange about it, sir.”

“I am beginning to think that myself,” agreed Colonel Ashton. “He’s a
queer one. Now, I wonder why he warned us not to sail on this ship?”

“It’s too deep for me,” declared Dick.

“I have it,” exclaimed Shirley suddenly. “Perhaps he is an agent of one
of the foreign countries, England or Germany.”

Dick looked at the girl in unfeigned surprise.

“What makes you think that?” he asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t really believe it; I just happened to think of
it. Wouldn’t it be fun if he was?”

“Well, that all depends,” replied Dick. “It depends on what his business
aboard would be.”

“But what could it be in such a case?” questioned Mabel.

“Well, it might be lots of things. But I don’t put any stock in such an
explanation.”

“Nor I,” declared Mr. Willing. “It’s my belief the young man is in
trouble of some kind, and I’d like to help him out if I could. I like
him.”

“And so do I,” agreed Mabel.

“To tell the truth, I don’t know whether I do or not,” said Dick slowly.
“He’s agreeable, and all that; but there is something very peculiar
about him. I am sure there is something wrong.”

“If I get a good chance, I shall ask him,” declared Mabel.

“You’ll have about the same luck Dad did when he asked him his
business,” retorted Shirley, “and that wasn’t much.”

“Take my advice, all of you, and let him alone,” remarked Colonel
Ashton.

“That is good advice, Ashton,” declared Mr. Willing. “But come, it’s
bedtime and we shall want to be about early in the morning to enjoy some
of this ocean breeze.”

An hour later all were asleep.

Had they been about they would have seen a strange sight.

On the upper deck aft, as the ship’s bell chimed midnight, three men sat
in deep conversation. Two of them were strangers, but the third Shirley
or any of her party would immediately have recognized as Henry Bristow.

And there would also have been something else noticeable. The bandage
had been removed from his head, nor was there wound nor swelling to show
why it should have been tied up in the first place.

The three men talked for perhaps fifteen minutes in low whispers and
then parted, going their several ways.

As he had promised, Bristow was about the ship the following morning,
but his head was once more bandaged. Mabel, true to her words of the
night before, seized the first opportunity and asked him how he had been
injured.

“That,” was the quiet reply, “I cannot say.”

Mabel was highly indignant, and took herself off, leaving the young man
smiling after her. Then he shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

All morning the sun shone warm and bright, though it was not too hot for
comfort. It was shortly after noon when the passengers were treated to
an interesting sight.

Some distance to port came the smoke of another ship, and as it drew
nearer an air of subdued excitement became apparent on the _Yucatan_.

“Armed cruiser off the port bow, sir!” came the hail from the lookout.

All rushed toward the rail, and stood looking at the large ship of war,
as she bore down toward them. There was no flag at her masthead, and so
the passengers were unable to determine her nationality.

“What can she be?” exclaimed Shirley.

“British, I suppose,” was Dick’s answer. “She’ll show her colors
presently, I guess.”

Dick was right. Five minutes later the British ensign was run up the
masthead and fluttered in the breeze.

A great cheer broke from most of the passengers aboard the _Yucatan_.
Shirley and Mabel joined in it.

At that moment Dick caught sight of the face of Bristow, who stood near.
His lips were compressed, and he scowled fiercely.

“He’s no Englishman, that’s sure,” muttered the young man to himself.

Suddenly, from across the water, came the sound of a big gun, and a
solid shot struck the water dead ahead of the _Yucatan_.

Immediately her engines were stopped, and the passenger steamer came to
a stop.

Instantly wild alarm spread over the ship.

“We’ve been fired on,” cried Shirley. “Will they sink us?”

Dick smiled.

“Oh, I guess not,” he replied. “That’s just a signal to heave-to and
give an account of ourselves.”

“But what business have they stopping an American ship?” exclaimed
Shirley.

“It is permissible under the laws of war,” explained Dick. “You see, the
_Yucatan_ might be an enemy flying the American flag. As soon as they
find out we are all right, they will allow us to proceed.”

“And would we have to stop just the same for a German?”

“Of course.”

“I wouldn’t like that,” declared Shirley. “I don’t mind the English. My
grandmother was English, you know.”

“Well, I guess my sympathies are a little that way, too,” agreed Dick.

The wireless now began to sputter as messages were exchanged between the
_Yucatan_ and the British cruiser. The latter had approached close
enough to make out the _Yucatan_, and now signalled her to proceed on
her course.

As the big ship of war turned and made off, a second ovation was given
her by the passengers. Men waved their hats and women their
handkerchiefs.

Suddenly Shirley seized Dick by the arm, and pointed, whispering:

“Look at that!”

Far aft, Henry Bristow gazed across the water at the British cruiser,
and Shirley had perceived that there was hate in his eyes. Even as Dick
looked in the direction Shirley pointed, Bristow raised a fist and shook
it fiercely at the receding war vessel, while strange words issued from
between his lips.



CHAPTER VI.—SHIRLEY LENDS AID.


“Look, Mabel, did you see that woman steal that bolt of silk?”

It was Shirley who spoke. They stood among the crowd that thronged the
largest department store in Savannah, Ga. The _Yucatan_ had put into
Savannah early that morning, and learning that the vessel would not get
under way again until late in the afternoon, Shirley and Mabel had gone
uptown to purchase a few souvenirs of the Georgia city.

It was just after entering the store that Shirley’s attention was
attracted by the peculiar actions of a young woman who darted somewhat
furtively from one counter to another. While the attention of the clerks
was given to customers, Shirley had seen the woman slip a bolt of
expensive silk from the counter and hide it under a long flowing cape,
which she wore in spite of the heat.

Mabel shook her head negatively in response to Shirley’s question.

“Which one?” she asked.

Shirley pointed to the figure of the woman who was now gazing at a
pretty array of expensive laces. Both girls watched her carefully; and
directly, as the crowd about her became more dense, they saw her hand go
stealthily forth and take several small bolts of the high-priced
material.

“Well what do you think of that?” demanded Mabel. “I have heard of such
things, but I never expected to see it. What shall we do?”

“Nothing,” replied Shirley decidedly. “It’s none of our business.”

“But won’t the poor clerks have to make good the loss?”

“I don’t know about that. But if we get mixed up in it we are likely to
gain too much notoriety. Let’s move away from here.”

They pushed their way through the crowd when Shirley came suddenly into
violent contact with a figure hurrying from the opposite direction. The
latter drew back and lifted his cap.

“Miss Willing,” he said. “I beg your pardon. I didn’t look where I was
going.”

Shirley glanced up in surprise at hearing her name spoken. Then she
recognized the figure with whom she had collided.

“Why, Mr. Bristow,” she said. “I thought I left you aboard the
_Yucatan_?”

“I came ashore to do a little shopping, as you young ladies call it,”
replied Bristow with a laugh. “I shall have to hurry on.”

He lifted his cap and was gone.

The two girls continued to stroll about through the store, eyeing the
bargains appreciatively.

“Well, I guess we have seen enough,” said Mabel finally. “We may as well
return to the ship.”

As they started toward the door they became aware of the sounds of
confusion behind them. For a moment they hesitated, then their curiosity
overcame them and they turned back.

Far down the aisle a large crowd had gathered. The girls could hear the
loud tones of one of the floor walkers calling for the store detective.
Shirley and Mabel elbowed their way through the crowd, and presently
were able to see what was going on.

Shirley uttered an exclamation of amazement and clutched Mabel by the
arm.

“Look at that!” she cried in a low voice.

And well might she have been amazed. For there, in the center of the
crowd, his arm grasped tightly by the big floor walker, was Henry
Bristow.

His face was red and he was plainly very angry. However, he was making
no effort to release himself. He controlled himself with an effort and
spoke.

“I tell you you are making a mistake,” he said quietly, and his voice
carried to the two girls.

“Is that so?” sneered the floor walker. “So you deny you are a
shop-lifter, eh? Well, I didn’t suppose you would admit it. How do you
account for the possession of this valuable piece of lace the clerk saw
you getting away with?”

“It must have caught on my coat,” was the reply. “I didn’t try to steal
it.”

“You didn’t, eh? We’ll see as soon as the house detective arrives. I
reckon you have plenty of stuff stowed away in your pockets.”

“Well, I haven’t,” declared Bristow angrily. “You’re going to be sorry
for this before you get through.”

“Well what do you think of that?” demanded Mabel, who had stood with
open mouth during this conversation.

“I think that he is innocent,” declared Shirley.

She glanced quickly around the store, and as she did so her eyes fell
upon the woman she had so recently seen appropriating articles from the
counter.

“There goes the woman who did it,” she declared, pointing.

Mabel looked and nodded her head.

The woman was coming directly toward them, pushing her way through the
crowd vigorously. Shirley stepped forward and barred her progress.

At the same moment Shirley raised her voice and called out:

“That man is innocent, Mr. Floorwalker. Here is the shop-lifter.”

The woman again tried to push by Shirley, but the latter maneuvered so
as to be directly in front of her at every step.

Shirley’s words caused a commotion. Willing hands darted out and seized
the woman, and she was taken before the man who still grasped young
Bristow by the arm.

Shirley and Mabel pushed their way forward.

“I saw this woman steal a bolt of silk and some laces,” declared
Shirley. “I would have said nothing about it had not Mr. Bristow, whom I
know, been accused.”

“It isn’t true!” cried the woman. “The girl is in the plot with the
man.”

Shirley’s face grew red.

“I am not!” she declared. “This woman is guilty. She put the things
under that long cape.”

The floor walker was plainly mystified. He glanced from one to the
other.

“Well, it will do no harm to have a look,” he declared. He turned to the
woman. “Will you remove your cape, madam?”

The woman drew back, and pulled the garment closer about her.

“No, I won’t!” she declared, “I—”

“Very well,” said the floor walker. “I shall have the floor matron
search you.”

He turned and called to one of the clerks. But the woman waited for no
more. With a single move she took off her cape, and threw it to the
floor.

“There,” she said, throwing out her arms, “you may see that I have
nothing.”

“I saw her take them,” declared Shirley, looking at the woman in
surprise, for she could not see a sign of a stolen article.

A frown gathered on the floor walker’s face as he glanced at Shirley.

“This looks rather bad for you.” he said to her pointedly.

Shirley took a step back.

“What do you mean?” she asked in no little alarm.

“It seems that the lady is telling the truth. What was your object in
accusing her?”

“I tell you I saw her take them,” declared Shirley again.

The floor walker shrugged his shoulders.

It was Mabel who finally cleared up the situation. The woman’s cape
still lay on the floor where she had thrown it. Mabel stooped down to
pick it up, and as she did so the woman also snatched at it.

But Mabel was the quicker of the two and captured the garment. Quickly
she turned it wrong side out, and as she did so there was a gasp from
the crowd.

For the inside of the coat was literally filled with secret pockets.
Mabel thrust her hand in and pulled out the bolt of silk. She held it
above her head.

“Here it is!” she cried.

“I bought and paid for that,” sputtered the angry woman.

One after another Mabel now produced other articles of value, which she
exposed to the view of the crowd. And in each case the woman’s
explanation was the same:

“I paid for that!”

But the floor walker was not to be fooled, nor was the manager of the
store, who came up at that moment. The former released his hold on young
Bristow and made him an abject apology.

One of the women detectives was called, and the shop-lifter turned over
to her. Then the manager addressed Shirley and Mabel.

“I owe you two young ladies a debt of gratitude,” he said. “This
shop-lifting has been going on for a month or more and we have lost
heavily. Thanks to you I believe we have the culprit at last. Without
your assistance she would have escaped.”

Shirley and Mabel acknowledged this praise with slight inclinations of
the heads, and then Shirley spoke to Young Bristow, who stood near.

“Are you going back to the boat, Mr. Bristow? We shall be glad of your
company.”

The young man accepted this invitation, and the three made their way
from the store.

“I can’t thank you enough, either of you,” he declared as they walked
along. “I was in a ticklish position, and but for your assistance might
have been put to no end of trouble.”

“How did you happen to be accused?” asked Shirley.

“Why, I was walking through the aisle, and because of the crowd I was
shoved against the counter. A piece of lace caught on a button of my
coat, and I dragged it with me as I went by. Then the girl behind the
counter cried out that some one had stolen something. The floor walker
saw the lace caught in my coat and collared me. That’s all.”

“I see,” said Shirley, and added with a smile: “You certainly did look
funny there!”

“Did I? Well, I didn’t feel very funny. I was afraid I would be held
long enough to make me miss the ship, and I can’t afford to do that.”

“Then your business in Colon is very important?” asked Mabel.

Young Bristow looked at her in silence for some moments, and Mabel grew
red as she thought she was to be rebuffed again. But she wasn’t. Bristow
finally answered her question.

“Very important,” he said quietly.



CHAPTER VII.—MABEL SHOWS HER COURAGE.


“By the way,” said Shirley as they walked along, “how is your wound? I
see you have removed the bandage.”

A startled expression flitted across the young man’s face, but neither
girl perceived it.

“It’s much better,” he made answer. “Not even a scar left. It didn’t
amount to much, after all.”

Fifteen minutes later they were back aboard the _Yucatan_, where Shirley
related their experiences to others of their party.

“I’ll have to keep a closer watch on you two,” declared Mr. Willing.
“Every time you get away by yourselves you run into trouble. And you
won’t always come out of it so easily.”

Several hours later the big steamship moved majestically out of the
harbor and soon was headed down the coast once more. She came to anchor
again the following morning at Jacksonville, the last American port at
which she would touch until she reached San Diego, California. The
Willing party went ashore again, but this time, true to his word, Mr.
Willing would not permit the girls to wander away by themselves.

As they strolled about, Shirley became suddenly ill. She knew it was
nothing serious, brought on probably by the excessive heat. Therefore
she informed the others that she was going back aboard the ship, as she
wished to lie down. Mabel agreed to go with her.

The fathers saw the two girls into a taxicab, which soon dropped them at
the pier, where they immediately went to their suite.

Shirley felt much better now that she was out of the sun, and lying down
on the sofa picked up a book and commenced to read. Mabel sat down at a
little desk to write a letter.

In spite of the cooling breeze made by the electric fan in the room, it
was still rather warm, and Mabel left the outer door open to get what
breeze they could from over the water. Mabel was in the first room, and
Shirley in the one beyond.

Suddenly Mabel heard footsteps running down the deck toward their suite.
She glanced up idly, wondering why any one should put himself to so much
exertion on such a hot day, and even as she looked up a figure darted
into the room and closed the door behind him.

Mabel jumped quickly to her feet and faced the newcomer, who, she now
perceived, held a revolver in his hand.

Mabel was not frightened by the sight of the weapon, for she was not
unacquainted with the use of firearms and had faced more than one
dangerous situation; but as the man turned and faced her, she uttered a
cry of amazement.

The man was Henry Bristow.

Bristow, who had not perceived that the room was occupied, turned at the
sound of Mabel’s voice, his revolver half raised. At sight of Mabel he
dropped his arm, and removed his cap.

“Please pardon me for this intrusion,” he said quietly. “I did not know
the cabin was occupied nor whose it was. I just happened to see the door
open, and I slipped in.”

“What is the matter?” asked Mabel, who realized that something must be
wrong.

“Oh, nothing,” was the reply.

Before Mabel could utter another word, there was a loud knock on the
closed door.

Shirley, in response to the knock, came in from the next room. She took
in the situation at a glance, but did not betray her surprise by so much
as an exclamation. She advanced quickly toward Mabel and young Bristow.

“What is wrong?” she asked in a low voice.

Bristow waved his revolver toward the door.

“They want me,” he said. “I can’t allow you girls to be drawn into this,
so I shall go out.”

A dark expression passed over his face, and his hand tightened on the
revolver. Shirley became alarmed.

She motioned him to the room beyond.

“You go in there,” she said. “No one will bother you.”

For a moment Bristow hesitated, then he bowed and passed in. As he went
by her, Mabel reached out and relieved him of his revolver. Bristow
started to protest, then changed his mind and said nothing.

Mabel motioned to Shirley.

“You go in too,” she said. “I’ll stay here.”

Shirley obeyed without a word. Then Mabel walked to the little center
table, and put the revolver in the drawer.

Came another sharp knock on the door. Mabel advanced and threw it open.

Three men stood in the doorway, and all removed their hats at sight of
her.

“What is it?” demanded Mabel.

“We are searching for a man named Von Blusen, who is aboard this ship.
We trailed him down the deck here, and he disappeared. Have you seen
him?”

“I know no one by that name,” returned Mabel.

“He’s a young fellow,” went on the spokesman of the three, “and a very
smooth-spoken chap. All the other cabins are locked but this one. I
happen to know that this door was open a few minutes ago. I thought he
might possibly have come in here?”

He looked at Mabel inquiringly.

“I know no one by that name,” declared the girl again.

“Perhaps you know him by some other name, then?”

Mabel did not reply.

The man became suspicious.

“I am afraid we shall have to search this cabin, miss,” he said. “I am
not convinced he is not in here.”

“What is it you want with this man?” asked Mabel, her curiosity getting
the better of her.

“Well, I don’t mind telling you. Von Blusen is a German and I have been
tipped off that he is up to some mischief, I don’t know just what. My
orders are to take him ashore and turn him over to the U. S.
authorities.”

“And who are you?” demanded Mabel.

“Me? Why, I’m a United States special officer.”

He threw back his coat and exposed a badge, which he covered hurriedly.
Mabel, therefore, did not see it clearly. Something seemed to tell her,
however, that the man was not telling the truth.

She stepped back quickly to the little center table, and as the first
man advanced after her, she quickly opened the drawer and produced
Bristow’s revolver, which she levelled at the three men.

“You can’t come in here,” she said quietly.

The foremost man drew back, as did the others.

“But, miss,” said the spokesman, “we must search the cabin. I am sure
Von Blusen came in here. Will you deny it?”

“I don’t have to deny it,” declared Mabel angrily. “If you are United
States officers, as you claim, you will have some means of
identification.”

“I showed you my badge,” said the man.

“Yes, and you were careful that I didn’t get a good look at it.”

“But we must make the search.”

“Then you must have an order. I know that much. I know you have to have
a piece of paper, or something—a warrant I believe it is called.”

“I haven’t any warrant now,” was the reply, “but I am going to make the
search just the same.”

He stepped forward, but Mabel covered him with her revolver.

“You have come in here against my command,” she said quietly, “and I
should be perfectly justified in shooting you, as I would a burglar.”

The man sought to temporize.

“Now, see here miss—” he began.

Mabel took a step forward. She was growing angry.

“You just get right out of here,” she exclaimed.

The man drew back a step and scratched his head perplexedly.

“Miss,” he said, “you are making a big mistake to shield this man. I
tell you he is plotting mischief which may involve the United States in
war. We must have him before the ship sails.”

“Well, you won’t get him in here,” declared the girl.

Again the man hesitated, then seemed on the point of moving forward
again.

“I warn you for the last time to get out of here,” said Mabel very
quietly.

Once more her revolver came to bear on the man, and he drew back,
throwing up his hands with a gesture of dismay. Then he turned to his
companions.

“What can we do against that?” he asked. “We can’t use a girl roughly,
and if the ship gets beyond the three-mile limit, we can’t get him till
we reach Colon.”

“Guess we’ll have to wait then,” said one of the others.

“Yep, guess we will.”

The leader turned to Mabel and made her a low bow.

“I’m sorry you interfered with us,” he said. “You’ll find before long
that you have done wrong.”

“Perhaps I shall,” said Mabel; “but I couldn’t permit you to invade my
cabin.”

“Tell you what, Tim,” said one of the men, “we’ll just camp out here and
get him when he comes out. He’s likely to come out before we sail.”

“Good idea,” agreed the leader. “We’ll do it.”

Again he made a low bow to Mabel and followed his men out.

“Sorry to have troubled you,” he muttered as he took his departure.

Shirley and Bristow now came in from the other room.

“You did splendidly, Miss Ashton,” declared Bristow warmly. “I was
afraid you would allow them to enter.”

Before Mabel could reply there came the sound of voices outside. One,
raised in anger, was that of Mr. Willing. A moment later, followed by
Colonel Ashton and Dick, he entered the room.

His gaze fell upon Henry Bristow.

“So,” he growled, “it’s you they’re after, eh?”

“Yes, sir,” returned Bristow quietly.

“Well, you sit down over there, young man,” said Mr. Willing, pointing
to a chair. “I’m going to tell you a few things, and I don’t care
whether you like them or not.”



CHAPTER VIII.—THEIR FIRST QUARREL.


Shirley and Mabel glanced at Mr. Willing in surprise. Young Bristow took
the seat indicated, and the others also sat down.

“First,” said Mr. Willing to Bristow, “I am going to ask you a question
or two. If you refuse to answer, I shall, of course, draw my own
conclusions.”

The young man nodded.

“Proceed, sir,” he said.

“All right. Now, in the first place, are you connected, in any capacity,
with the German government?”

“That I cannot answer,” was the reply.

“Very good! Now, then, are you aboard this ship at the command of the
German government?”

“I cannot answer that question, either, sir.”

“Suit yourself. Is it not a fact that those with whom you come in
contact—those who seem to be your friends—are in danger because of
their associations with you?”

“I suppose you are right, sir.”

“Just as I expected,” declared Mr. Willing. “Now I’ve got this to say.
Already you have been the means of getting my daughter and the colonel’s
daughter into your scrapes. They have come to your assistance twice.
Also Dick has been with you on one adventure. You will admit that, of
course?”

“Of course, sir.”

“Good. Then here is my ultimatum: I want you to keep away from me and
mine. I don’t want you to cross this threshold again; and I don’t want
you to speak to any of us should you chance to encounter us. Do I make
myself plain?”

“Perfectly, sir,” replied Bristow rising from his chair, his face pale.

“I am glad I do,” declared Mr. Willing. “I haven’t any use for a spy, be
he German or English. Now you can get out of here.”

Without a word Bristow moved toward the door. But Mabel leaped forward
and barred his path. She turned to Mr. Willing.

“Surely you wouldn’t send him out to be captured?” she exclaimed. “Those
men are waiting for him out there.”

“That is none of our affair,” said Mr. Willing.

“I agree with Mabel in that,” declared Shirley. “If he goes out before
we are beyond the three-mile limit, he will be taken prisoner.”

“And if he isn’t there is no telling what may happen,” commented Mr.
Willing.

“Dad,” said Shirley, “please let him stay until we have passed the
three-mile limit? Please!”

Mr. Willing hesitated.

“Well, I agree,” he said at length.

Bristow spoke to Mr. Willing.

“I shall stay, sir,” he said, “but it is because I must avoid capture if
it is possible. Otherwise I wouldn’t stay in the same room with you.”

Mr. Willing smiled. He didn’t mind that kind of talk, but not so
Shirley. She sprang to her feet and faced Bristow angrily.

“How dare you speak to my father like that?” she demanded. “How dare
you?”

Bristow turned his head away, and made no reply.

Mabel quickly came to the support of Bristow.

“And why shouldn’t he?” she asked. “He hasn’t done anything and your
father was very mean.”

“Why, Mabel,” exclaimed Shirley in surprise.

“I mean it,” declared Mabel. “Your father was mean.”

“He couldn’t be too mean to a German,” exclaimed Shirley.

“You people make me tired,” declared Mabel angrily. “Why are you forever
jumping on the Germans? They are in the right and they are going to
win.”

“They are not!” This from Shirley. “The English are going to win, and I
hope they do!”

“And I hope the Germans win,” declared Mabel.

“Shirley! Mabel!”

Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton had now taken a hand in the conversation.
But both girls were too angry to heed them.

“And just because this man is a German you are all against him. If he
were English you would be shaking hands with him.”

Mabel was losing control of herself.

“Why, Mabel,” said Shirley. “You know that is not true.”

“I know it is true,” declared the girl.

Colonel Ashton took her firmly by the arm.

“Mabel, I am surprised at you,” he said. “Go to your room.”

“It’s Shirley’s room, it’s not mine,” cried Mabel.

Shirley advanced toward her friend.

“Mabel, what do you mean?” she asked quietly.

“You know what I mean. You told me I wasn’t telling the truth.”

Shirley compressed her lips and stepped back.

Mr. Willing took a hand in the conversation.

“Unless this foolishness ceases we shall leave the boat at Havana and
return home immediately,” he said quietly. “I will have none of this.”

“I don’t care,” declared Shirley, also now very angry.

“Neither do I,” this from Mabel.

“Shirley, go to your room,” ordered Mr. Willing. “I am your father and I
will be obeyed.”

Shirley glanced at her father’s stern face, and obeyed. She knew that
when he looked like that he was not to be trifled with.

“Mabel, you go with her,” said Colonel Ashton quietly.

Mabel hesitated.

“Do you hear me?” asked the colonel.

Mabel also realized that she had gone too far. She made her way after
Shirley.

Inside their room the girls did not speak to each other. In the heart of
each there was a peculiar feeling, and each knew that, in a measure, she
was to blame. But neither was ready to give in yet.

It was their first quarrel.

Outside Mr. Willing turned to young Bristow.

“This,” he said, “is your doing. And when you once set foot outside this
cabin, don’t you ever cross my path again.”

The _Yucatan_ was under way now, and from the window Mr. Willing could
see the three men still waiting on the outside. But at last they took
their departure and Mr. Willing knew they had passed beyond the
three-mile limit. He turned again to Bristow.

“Now Bristow or Von Blusen or whatever your name is,” he said, “get
out.”

Bristow turned a dark look upon him.

“You have insulted me,” he said, “and you shall pay for it.”

“I couldn’t insult you, you little whipper-snapper,” said Mr. Willing
angrily. “Are you going to get out of here?”

“When I’ve had my say,” declared the young man angrily. “If it were not
that I am on important business I would chastise you right now.”

“Is it because you have important business or because you are a child?”
asked Mr. Willing smiling.

Bristow took a threatening step forward, but now Dick took a hand.

“That’s enough of this,” he said sternly, and putting forth a hand he
pushed Bristow back.

The latter’s face turned a dull red, and he struck at Dick, who promptly
slapped him across the face. Dick also was angry now.

“You shall pay for that blow,” shouted Bristow. “I can’t fight you now,
but when I have completed my work I shall seek you out.”

“I won’t be very hard to find,” declared Dick. “Now get out.”

He took the infuriated Bristow by the neck and the bottom of the coat
and ran him out the door. Then he closed it after him.

“Rather a fiery young man, that,” remarked Colonel Ashton grimly.

“Rather,” agreed Mr. Willing dryly. He turned to the other room and
called: “Shirley! Mabel!”

A moment later the two girls came forth. Mr. Willing looked at them
severely for some moments before he spoke.

“You should both be ashamed of yourselves,” he said at last. “The idea
of such foolishness. Why, you have never quarreled before.”

“And there will be no more of it,” declared Colonel Ashton grimly. “At
the next sign of trouble we shall turn right around and go home.”

“Well, Mabel started it,” declared Shirley.

“I did not, you started it,” exclaimed Mabel.

“Shirley!” said Mr. Willing.

“Mabel!” exclaimed Colonel Ashton.

The girls became silent, but continued to glare at each other.

Then, suddenly, a smile broke over Shirley’s face. Her father breathed
more freely. Even Colonel Ashton looked at the two girls eagerly.

Then Shirley advanced toward Mabel and held out her hand.

“I’m sorry for what I said, Mabel,” she declared earnestly.

For a moment Mabel hesitated, but for a moment only. Then she jumped
quickly forward, and ignoring her friend’s outstretched hand, threw her
arms around her and broke into tears.

“It was all my fault,” she sobbed. “You didn’t say anything.”

“Yes I did, too,” said Shirley. “It was as much my fault as it was
yours.”

“No it wasn’t.”

“Yes it was.”

“It was not.”

The two girls drew back from each other.

“I say it was,” declared Shirley.

“And I say it wasn’t,” declared Mabel.

“What is the matter with you two?” demanded Mr. Willing, stepping
between them.

“Nothing, Dad,” said Shirley, smiling again. She turned again to Mabel.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.

“And so am I,” said Mabel.

Once more they fell into each other’s arms, laughing happily. Then, arm
in arm, they turned and made their way to their own rooms, absolutely
ignoring the presence of the others.

Dick, who had felt decidedly uncomfortable during this scene, grinned
foolishly. Colonel Ashton laughed aloud, and Mr. Willing smiled.

“Funny things happen, my boy,” exclaimed the latter, slapping Dick on
the back. “You learn something every minute.”

And in the other room Mabel said:

“We shall never, never quarrel again.”

“Never!” agreed Shirley.



CHAPTER IX.—ADRIFT.


In the distance the Cuban city of Havana was slipping slowly from sight.
Aft on the promenade deck Shirley, Mabel and the others of the party,
together with many other passengers, were casting last looks at the
island metropolis.

The sun was just sinking below the horizon, but there were still several
hours before darkness would fall. The view was indeed picturesque and
the passengers were impressed with it.

The steamship _Yucatan_ was now on the last leg of her journey toward
Colon.

In the main salon a crowd of men had gathered. On the upper deck, the
gallery deck, the promenade deck and the main deck they had also
gathered in knots. They blocked the main staircase and the exits from
the engine room below.

A group somewhat larger than the rest had assembled about the captain’s
cabin. A close observer would have noticed that each man among these
different groups wore a peculiar little button in the lapel of his coat.

Each group was silent. It appeared that they were waiting for something.
Now a young man appeared and spoke to the first group holding his open
watch in his hand. Then he passed on to the next, then to the next,
until he had approached all. Then he took his place with the others near
the bridge, and waited, watch in hand.

Suddenly he pulled a little whistle from his pocket, put it to his lips,
waited a moment, and then blew a shrill blast, that penetrated to the
farthest part of the ship.

Instantly the various groups of men wearing the button of peculiar
design came to action.

The passengers on the promenade deck, the Willing party among them,
found themselves under the muzzles of many revolvers. On the gallery,
the deck, the main salon, the grand stairway a like condition prevailed.

Only the men who guarded the exit from the engine and boiler rooms were
inactive, but these stood with drawn revolvers.

A dozen men swarmed from the bridge into the wheel house, where they
confronted the pilot, the Captain, the first and second officers, who
chanced to be there together. Officers in other parts of the ship also
had been held up.

The surprise had been complete. The _Yucatan_ was at the mercy of this
army of conspirators, whoever they chanced to be.

Shirley and Mabel had eyed the strange proceedings upon their section of
the ship with no less amazement than the rest of the passengers. Mr.
Willing, Colonel Ashton and Dick were equally astonished.

“What is it, a wholesale hold-up?” demanded the colonel.

“Worse, I’m afraid,” declared Mr. Willing.

“I know!” exclaimed Shirley suddenly. “Mr. Bristow is concerned in
this.”

“My goodness! I believe you are right Shirley,” declared Mabel.

“I know I am right,” returned Shirley positively. “This is why he sailed
on the _Yucatan_.”

In the meantime the captors of the vessel had relieved all on board of
whatever weapons they had. They had made a systematic search of the
cabins, while some of their number kept the crew and passengers covered.
Of the many aboard the ship the only ones who did not know what had
happened were the engine crew and stokers.

The wireless had been among the first points seized, and the operator
had had no opportunity of sending a message.

And now a young man moved about among the passengers, assuring them that
there was no danger so long as they kept quiet. This young man came aft
on the promenade deck where the Willing party stood.

Even as Shirley had surmised, he was Henry Bristow.

He smiled as he approached them.

“Well,” growled Mr. Willing, “I see you have put the thing through.”

“Part of it sir, part of it,” was the reply. “The rest is to come.”

“What are you going to do now, Mr. Bristow?” asked Mabel.

The latter smiled at her.

“Captain Von Blusen, if you please, Miss Ashton,” he said, “I am no
longer Henry Bristow, but Captain Friederich Von Blusen, of His Imperial
Majesty’s service.”

“And what are you going to do with the ship?” asked Shirley.

“Why, we shall do a little cruising,” was the reply. “We have
established a naval base off the coast of Cuba, but we have no ships on
this side of the Atlantic. Therefore we must have ships. This is the
first.”

“And what are you going to do with us, captain?” asked Mabel.

“Ah, that is the hard part,” was the reply, “but, before starting, we
came to a conclusion, though none of the passengers is likely to be
pleased. We shall set you adrift in small boats.”

The others staggered back in dismay.

“Impossible,” declared Mr. Willing. “Surely you are not barbarians.”

“The law of necessity must be obeyed,” replied the captain.

He took his departure.

“The cold-blooded scoundrel,” declared Colonel Ashton. “This is what we
get for helping him to escape.”

“And that is my fault,” declared Mabel.

“Well, there is no use talking about it now,” said Dick. “It’s too
late.”

An hour later the new crew began getting out the boats, and all the
passengers provided themselves with life preservers. Fortunately, the
weather was calm and the sea smooth and there was little likelihood of a
storm at this time of year.

With everything in readiness, Captain Von Blusen once more approached
the Willing party, and drew Mabel slightly to one side in spite of the
protests of the others.

“Miss Ashton,” he said, “in your cabin the other day you spoke of your
sympathies to the German cause. Now I shall tell you something, for you
have done much for me. Advise the others to make no attempt to reach
Colon, should they be picked up.”

“And why not?” demanded Shirley.

The captain hesitated.

“Well, there is no harm in telling you,” he said at last. “Of course,
you may not know that Germany is trying to bring the United States into
this war on her side. We have at last found a way. Just off Colon are
several Japanese warships. We shall near them unobserved, and signal by
wireless that a certain thing must be done, representing ourselves as
one of the Japanese battleships.

“Naturally, we shall be refused permission. Now we have a new invention
that would enable us to destroy Colon from a distance, and in our
message we shall threaten this unless the supposed Japanese demand is
granted. Do you understand?”

Mabel nodded her head slowly. She was beyond words.

“And when the demand is refused,” continued the captain “we shall use
some of this new explosive. That will mean war between Japan and the
United States, and therefore, England also, as she is Japan’s ally. Do
you see?”

“Yes, I see,” said Mabel quietly.

“And what do you think of the plan?”

“I think it is contemptible,” declared Mabel.

“But, but—” began the captain.

“I don’t care to hear any more,” said Mabel. “But you will not succeed,
I am sure of that. You can not succeed.”

She turned on her heel and made her way back to the others, the captain
standing as if rooted to the deck as he stared after her.

Mabel turned the matter over in her mind. She felt certain that the
captain had been boasting, and the more she thought it over the more she
became convinced of it. Therefore, she decided to say nothing about it
to the others.

Under the muzzles of the revolvers of the captors of the big steamship,
captain, officers, crew and passengers now took their places in the
small boats, and were lowered over the side.

Each boat was well stocked with provisions and water, for the Germans
had no mind to set their prisoners adrift and let them starve or perish
of thirst.

The shore of Cuba was not far away, and, with steady rowing by the men,
it would be possible for them to reach there within twelve hours.
Besides, there was always the chance they would be picked up by a
passing vessel.

Fortunately, the passenger list was not large. The bulk of it had been
made up of the men who had later captured the ship. Therefore, officers,
passengers and crew included, there were not more than three hundred set
adrift.

The engine room crew had been impressed into service by the Germans.

The Willing party found themselves in the boat with the captain and
perhaps a dozen other passengers. As the boat struck the water, and the
men began to row away from the big steamship at the captain’s command,
Shirley and Mabel were badly frightened.

In spite of the cheering words spoken by their fathers, Dick and other
male passengers, they did not bear up very well. As they looked first in
one direction and then the other and saw nothing but water, they broke
into tears. The small boat looked very small indeed to be at large upon
the water.

Presently all the boats were launched, and rowed some distance from the
steamer. There they stopped as a sudden blast signified that the big
ship was about to get under way and leave them.

It began to grow dark. The electric lights aboard the large vessel
glowed suddenly, and slowly the brilliantly lighted floating palace made
off in the gathering darkness.

As it went away and left them to the mercies of the sea, cries of
anguish, despair and condemnation were hurled after the men who had thus
set the passengers and crew adrift. Women sobbed, and men stood up in
the boats and shook their fists after the steamship _Yucatan_.

And then the great ship disappeared from sight. The men in the small
boats renewed their work at the oars, and the boats moved toward the
distant Cuban coast.

Adding to the fearfulness of their condition, darkness descended upon
them like a pall.



CHAPTER X.—COLON.


At a word from Mr. Willing, after several hours of rowing, Shirley and
Mabel cuddled up in their end of the boat and tried to sleep; but this
they found impossible, and all through the night they gazed out over the
dark waters.

Here and there the lights in the other boats were visible, but before
morning they had lost sight of these. When the first faint streaks of
dawn appeared in the east there was not another boat to be seen. They
had become separated in the night.

The almost twenty passengers in the little craft ate of the food that
had been provided and drank of the water. Thus refreshed, and with the
sun now appearing above the horizon, their predicament did not seem as
serious as it had during the blackness of the night.

There was not an object in sight to break the monotony of the water, and
the boat rocked gently on the easy swell of the sea. The men bent to the
oars again and sent the little craft skimming through the water.

Came a cry from the man at the rudder, and the eyes of the others
followed his gaze toward the distant horizon. They beheld a faint cloud
in the otherwise clear sky.

“Steamer!” cried the first man.

The cloud approached nearer and at last the outline of a ship, appearing
very small at that distance, could be made out. It was headed on a
course that would bring it almost directly in the path of the smaller
boat.

As the hull of the vessel grew larger by its approach, occasional cheers
broke from the lips of those in the little craft. So far it was
impossible to tell whether the castaways had been sighted or not; but as
the big ship neared them—now scarcely more than a mile away—the shrill
blast of the steamer’s whistle split the air. The small boat with its
passengers had been discovered. The passengers raised another cheer.

Rapidly the large vessel bore down on them, and the little craft bobbed
swiftly toward it. At last they came alongside.

“Ladies first!” cried the captain of the _Yucatan_.

Shirley and Mabel were the first over the rail, where they stood
awaiting the arrival of the others.

Mr. Willing, Colonel Ashton and Dick were the last to go aboard, and no
sooner were the refugees all on deck than the big vessel resumed her
course. The captain motioned them to his cabin.

The ship upon which they now found themselves proved to be the
_Reliance_, with a cargo of freight from New Orleans for Colon.

This the captain explained when he learned where the erstwhile refugees
were bound.

“We can’t offer you the same accommodations you had aboard the
_Yucatan_,” he said, “but you are welcome to the best we have.”

“And we are indeed glad to get it, captain,” Shirley spoke up.

“No doubt, no doubt,” smiled the captain. “All night in an open boat is
no pleasure trip, even if this is the month of June,” and he ordered
them assigned quarters forward.

While by no means as large and pretentious as those on the _Yucatan_,
the cabins were nevertheless clean and comfortable.

“We can thank our stars that we were fortunate enough to be picked up so
soon,” declared Dick.

“What can have become of the other boats?” asked Mabel.

“Probably reached the Cuban shore,” replied Colonel Ashton. “We are
doubtless the only ones that lost our course. The others more than
likely stuck close together.”

“I hope they are all safe,” declared Shirley.

“I am sure they are,” returned her father.

“Now,” said Colonel Ashton, “the thing to be considered is, what to do
when we reach Colon. Shall we take another steamer and continue our
course, or shall we turn about and go home?”

“We don’t want to go home, Dad,” exclaimed Shirley. “You won’t give up
the trip to San Francisco, will you?”

“No, I think not,” was the reply. “We can replenish our wardrobes in
Colon sufficiently to get to Frisco, and we can do the rest of our
buying there. No, we shall go on.”

The girls clapped their hands in delight. Both had feared that the
disaster might put an untimely end to their summer vacation.

“What do you suppose the Germans intend doing with the _Yucatan_?” asked
Dick.

“Well, you heard the captain speak of a naval base on the coast of Cuba.
They probably will run in there, put some big guns aboard and start out
on a privateering cruise. There have been a couple of such German
raiders, and they did considerable damage to British merchant ships
before they were chased to the safety of internment in Newport News.”

“I guess that is about what they plan to do,” agreed Dick. “I’ll surely
have one experience of which to write when I get back to work.”

An hour later the party was gathered on deck, when the captain of the
_Yucatan_ approached.

“The first thing I shall do is to report this to General Fullaway, at
Colon,” he declared.

“General Fullaway!” exclaimed Mr. Willing. “You don’t mean General Hugh
Fullaway?”

“The same,” replied the captain. “Do you know him?”

“Well, rather,” replied Mr. Willing. “We were schoolmates years ago, and
have been close friends since. He comes from my home town. I shall look
him up. But I didn’t know he was in command in Colon.”

“He has only been recently put in command,” was the reply. “I too know
him well.”

The _Reliance_ proved to be a very slow vessel, and it was days before
the city of Colon was sighted.

At the entrance to the Panama Canal, Colon is a very picturesque city.
Since work on the canal was begun, bringing thousands of Americans to
the country, it has been more or less metropolitan in character, at the
same time retaining its South American atmosphere.

Shirley and Mabel looked about with wonder as they made their way
through the dirty narrow streets toward the hotel. This, however, they
found to be strictly up to date in all respects, and they were soon
installed in comfortable quarters.

Several hours later, Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton left the hotel,
announcing that they were going to pay their respects to General
Fullaway. They were back several hours later and informed Shirley, Mabel
and Dick that they were to dine with the general in his quarters that
night.

The girls were naturally excited at this prospect, and spent most of the
day in the purchase of suitable garments. Dick, as well as Mr. Willing
and Colonel Ashton, also purchased more clothing to take the place of
what had been lost when they were set adrift from the _Yucatan_.

General Fullaway had already heard the story from the captain of the
_Yucatan_, but supper over, he desired to hear it once more from his
guests.

Mr. Willing related their first meeting with the German commander, who
had introduced himself as Henry Bristow when they had first met. He told
of the experience aboard the _Yucatan_ while the vessel was tied up at
Jacksonville.

“You did wrong not to let the men take him, no matter who they were,”
was General Fullaway’s verdict.

“I realize that now,” said Mr. Willing, “but who could have suspected
such a gigantic plot?”

“It was a gigantic plot,” agreed the general, “and was carried out
excellently. It must have been well planned.”

“Mr. Bristow warned us not to come to Colon, general,” spoke up Shirley.

“He did?” exclaimed the general in surprise. “And why, pray?”

“Well, he said it wasn’t safe,” replied Shirley.

“Hm-m-m,” muttered the general, with a smile. “And did he tell you why?”

“No, sir.”

“I thought not,” laughed the general.

“But he told me, general,” put in Mabel.

The others looked at the girl in surprise, but Mabel bore up steadily
under their scrutiny.

“What do you mean, Mabel?” demanded Colonel Ashton.

“You remember when he took me aside just before we were set adrift,
father?” asked Mabel.

“Yes, of course.”

“That’s when he told me, but it seemed so absurd and impossible that I
didn’t repeat it.”

“What was it, Miss Ashton?” asked General Fullaway. “Will you tell us?”

“He said that Colon was in danger,” replied Mabel, and she repeated the
conversation she had had with Captain Von Blusen aboard the _Yucatan_.

The others listened to her with breathless interest, and there were
exclamations of surprise when she concluded.

“Absurd,” said Mr. Willing.

“Impossible,” Colonel Ashton agreed.

“It would seem so, on the face of it,” said General Fullaway, “and I
suppose it is. It is true, there are two Japanese warships off the
entrance to the Canal. They have not been allowed to pass through
because several German merchant vessels are here. As soon as they have
cleared, of course we shall permit the Japs to go through.”

“And have the Japs objected to the delay?” asked Mr. Willing.

“They have indeed. They have demanded permission to pass, which has been
refused. That was yesterday. But this tale of yours,” the general turned
to Mabel, “is incredible. I suppose the German commander told it to you
to frighten you.”

“I suppose that was his reason,” Mabel agreed.

At this moment an orderly entered the room and gave a message to General
Fullaway. The latter read it, and then turned to Mabel again.

“It seems that your warning may bear fruit, after all,” he said quietly.

“Why, sir?” asked the girl eagerly.

“Why, this message I have here,” said the general, tapping the paper
with his finger, “is, or seems to be at least, a communication from the
Japanese commander. He says if his ships are not allowed to pass through
the canal to-morrow, he will destroy the city of Colon!”



CHAPTER XI.—A WAR SCARE.


An air of intense anticipation pervaded the General’s dining room.

Shirley finally broke the silence.

“And will you give them permission, general?” she asked.

“Not without such instructions from Washington,” was the reply. “My
duties are clearly defined. The Japanese ships cannot pass through the
canal while German merchantmen are in Colon harbor. However, I am not at
all sure the message is from the Japs.”

“You mean—the _Yucatan_,” asked Dick.

General Fullaway nodded.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised,” he replied quietly. “I shall
communicate with Washington at once, repeating the story you have told
me.”

He left the room, and returned in a few moments with a slip of paper
which he gave to the officer who had brought the message.

“I should have a reply in a couple of hours,” he told the others. “Would
you care to wait and hear the result?”

“Indeed we would,” declared Shirley.

It was almost three hours later before the reply came. General Fullaway
read the message in silence, then turned to the others.

“Your story must be true, Miss Ashton,” he said. “Washington seems to
have had some rumor of it. The cruiser _Tennessee_, now stationed here,
has been ordered to take the _Yucatan_ in charge.”

“Will there be a battle?” demanded Mabel anxiously.

“I do not think so. The _Yucatan_, armed though she probably is by this
time, would hardly be a match for the _Tennessee_.”

“I wish we could go with her,” declared Shirley.

“So do I,” agreed Dick.

General Fullaway was silent for some moments, and then he said:

“Perhaps it can be done. There will be no danger. I don’t believe
Captain Ainslee would object. The _Tennessee_ will not sail before
morning. I shall communicate with the captain immediately, and let you
know before morning. He will probably wish to hear your story anyhow.”

Shirley, Mabel and the others returned to the hotel, where they prepared
for bed. Mr. Willing was just about to retire when there was a knock at
the door. Opening it, a bellboy passed him a message. It was from
General Fullaway and said that Captain Ainslee would expect the Willing
party aboard the _Tennessee_ by 8 o’clock in the morning.

Mr. Willing called this piece of news to Dick and the two girls, and all
were greatly pleased.

“Just think of taking a trip on a warship!” exclaimed Shirley.

All were about early the next morning and were soon at the pier, where
they found that a cutter from the _Tennessee_ had been sent to meet
them. Captain Ainslee himself greeted them as they made their way over
the side of the cruiser, and conducted them to his cabin.

Here he left them for a few minutes while he gave orders to get the ship
under way. Directly it began to move slowly through the waters of the
harbor, Captain Ainslee returned to the others.

“Now,” he said to Mabel, “I should be glad to hear your story at first
hand.”

Mabel repeated it and the captain listened attentively.

“To tell the truth,” he said, “this may be more serious than I supposed.
If Germany is bent upon drawing the United States into the war, the
_Yucatan_ may not surrender so easily.”

“You don’t mean she is likely to fight?” asked Mr. Willing in some
alarm.

“That’s just what I mean,” was the reply.

And Captain Ainslee proved a good prophet.

It was well after noon when a cry from the lookout brought all to deck.

“Steamer off the port bow!” it came.

The two girls rushed to the deck with the others. The ships were still
too far apart for those aboard the cruiser to make out the other
plainly, and the wireless was immediately put in action.

“German converted cruiser _Kaiserin_!” came the reply to Captain
Ainslee’s message.

“I desire to come aboard you,” was the message flashed back. “Heave to!”

The vessels drew nearer together, until at last Captain Ainslee knew the
other vessel was in range of the _Tennessee’s_ big guns.

“I was afraid he would run,” he explained. “Now I shall make my demand
for surrender. It’s the _Yucatan_ as you can see.”

The wireless was again put to working, and a demand made upon the German
to surrender.

“What for?” came the question.

“Theft of United States vessel and threatening destruction of Colon,”
was the reply flashed back.

Captain Von Blusen must have realized that the game was up. The
_Yucatan_ was brought quickly about and turned to run.

“Clear for action!” came the command aboard the _Tennessee_.

Shirley, Mabel and the others of the party found themselves hurried back
into the Captain’s private cabin. There, through the port-hole, they
watched the preparations for battle.

The girls were greatly interested, and in spite of the fact that they
knew they were in danger, they did not lose their coolness nor their
courage.

Realizing that the passenger ship was probably faster than the cruiser,
Captain Ainslee wasted no further time. The great forward turret gun
spoke with a roar, and Shirley and Mabel cried out at the terrific
noise.

They could watch the progress of the big shell as it sped toward the
_Yucatan_, where it kicked up the water but a few yards to port. Again
and again the big gun spoke, and then there was a cheer from the crew as
a shell struck home.

Twice more the _Yucatan_ was hit, and, while not in a vital spot, her
speed was suddenly reduced. The _Tennessee_ dashed on.

Then came the first shot from the enemy. The spray flew high beside the
cruiser as a shell struck the water to larboard. Before she could fire
again, another shell from the _Tennessee’s_ forward turret gun crashed
aboard her.

Then a white flag was run up the _Yucatan’s_ masthead.

The firing aboard the _Tennessee_ ceased, and the cruiser bore down on
the enemy.

Boats were hurriedly lowered, manned and darted across the water to take
charge of the _Yucatan_. Half an hour later one of them returned bearing
the German commander and his officers. They were conducted to the
captain’s cabin immediately.

Henry Bristow—now Captain Von Blusen—at first did not see the members
of the Willing party in the cabin, and he faced Captain Ainslee angrily.

“What is the meaning of this outrage?” he demanded.

Captain Ainslee smiled.

“Come, come, captain,” he said. “Why this air of wounded dignity? Surely
you won’t attempt to deny that you stole the _Yucatan_?”

“Of course I deny it,” was the reply.

“And I suppose you will also deny sending a message to the commandant at
Colon, threatening to blow up the city?”

“That is absurd,” was the reply.

Captain Ainslee motioned to Mabel, and she stepped forward.

“Do you recognize this young lady, captain?” demanded the commander of
the _Tennessee_.

As the other’s eyes rested upon Mabel, he stepped back in surprise and a
look of genuine alarm passed over his face. Then it grew dark. He was
very angry.

“So,” he exclaimed, “this is the way you show your sympathy for Germany,
eh?”

“What is Germany to me?” demanded Mabel hotly. “I’m no German.”

“But you said—”

“I said that because I was angry at the time. You have made trouble
enough for us. I’m glad you have been captured.”

“Further denial is useless, captain,” declared Captain Ainslee. “I don’t
believe you will dispute the young lady’s words.”

Von Blusen turned away angrily, and his gaze rested on Dick and the
others for the first time.

“I see you are all here,” he said. Then to Dick, “And I have not
forgotten that I have a debt to settle with you.”

He stepped quickly across the cabin and before the others were aware of
what he intended to do, he struck Dick sharply across the face with the
back of his hand.

Dick was on his feet in an instant and would have leaped upon his
assailant had not the others stayed him.

“Captain!” cried the commander of the _Tennessee_, “you forget yourself!
If that is the way you Germans conduct yourselves no wonder the whole
world is against you. Another move like that and I’ll have you put in
irons!”

The German captain drew back but said nothing.

“Now,” continued Captain Ainslee, “I would like to know the meaning of
this affair you have been mixed up in. Is Germany seeking war with the
United States?”

“Why not?” was the reply. “The United States has been against us, why
shouldn’t we be against her?”

“It’s your own evil consciences that make you think that,” replied
Captain Ainslee. “The United States has been strictly neutral in this
war. But an accounting for this will be demanded of the Kaiser.”

“And he’ll give it,” thundered the captain, striking the table with his
fist. “He’ll give it!”

“Maybe he will, but he’ll be sorry,” declared Shirley, who could keep
quiet no longer. “Uncle Sam will stand no foolishness from the Kaiser.”

Captain Von Blusen smiled at her scornfully.

“We shall come over here some day and take the United States,” he said.

“You’ll be surprised when you try it,” said Shirley angrily.

“Shirley!” exclaimed Mr. Willing. “Keep quiet!”

“I don’t care,” cried Shirley. “Anybody knows Uncle Sam can whip
Germany, and all the rest of them, too, for that matter.”

Again Mr. Willing would have enjoined the girl to silence, but Captain
Ainslee stayed him with uplifted hand.

“Let her alone,” he chuckled. “That is the spirit I like to see!”



CHAPTER XII.—ABOARD THE YUCATAN.


The _Tennessee_ returned immediately to Colon, followed by the
_Yucatan_, now manned by a crew of American sailors. The run was made
quickly, and darkness had just descended when the ships came to anchor
and the Willing party made their way ashore and returned to their hotel.

Captain Von Blusen and the members of his crew were immediately turned
over to the Canal Zone authorities, pending orders from Washington.

What was the surprise of Shirley and the others, upon reaching the
hotel, to find there others of the passengers who had been set adrift
when the _Yucatan_ was captured by the German conspirators. They greeted
each other warmly.

“We were picked up by a steamer and just reached here this afternoon,”
one of the women passengers explained to Shirley and Mabel. “We had
about given you up for lost. The rest of us are all here.”

“And so is the _Yucatan_,” replied Shirley.

In response to exclamations of astonishment, she related the story of
the recapture of the vessel.

“Then we shall be allowed to continue our trip, I suppose,” remarked one
of the passengers.

“Unless the government decides to hold on to the steamer,” said another.

But the government did not, and the following day the full crew of the
_Yucatan_ was once more aboard the vessel, and it was announced that she
would resume her journey the following morning.

The day was spent by most of the passengers viewing the sights of
interest in the canal zone and in the city of Colon proper.

A few words concerning the Panama Canal will not be amiss here.

The canal was opened to smaller vessels on August 5, 1914, but the
official opening did not take place until much later, being attended
with elaborate ceremonies.

The canal is about fifty miles in length from deep water in the
Caribbean Sea to deep water in the Pacific Ocean. It ranges in width
from 300 to 1,000 feet with an average bottom width of almost 700 feet.
The Gatun dam along its crest is 8,000 feet long.

The construction of the canal is considered one of the greatest feats of
engineering of all time and was accomplished at a tremendous cost. The
land was secured by treaty from Colombia at great expense and resulted
in considerable trouble between the United States and the South American
republic.

It is provided by treaties that the canal shall be open to the vessels
of all nations, merchantmen, or ships of war, in times of war as well in
times of peace; but strict rules of neutrality have been provided for
the passage of war vessels.

All this Mr. Willing explained to the others during the day. With the
coming of night, the passengers began to go aboard the _Yucatan_ for the
ship was to sail at an early hour and it was deemed advisable to be
aboard the night before.

Therefore, when Shirley and Mabel arose and went on deck, the _Yucatan_
already had started its passage through the canal. The girls stood upon
the upper deck aft and looked about with interest; but after an hour of
this they grew tired and went down to breakfast.

The passage of the canal would require about ten hours and Shirley
remarked to Mabel that she would be glad when they were on the Pacific
and sailing up the coast.

“And so will I,” agreed Mabel. “Of course it is nice to see all these
things, but they don’t interest me a whole lot.”

“I feel the same way. To tell the truth I shall be glad to get to San
Francisco. From what I have heard, the Exposition must be beautiful.”

“Indeed it must. By the way, I wonder what will be done with Henry
Bristow—I mean Captain Von Blusen?”

“I don’t know,” replied Shirley. “However, I suppose he will be taken to
Washington.”

“He seemed a very nice young man. I wouldn’t have thought he was a
German.”

“Well, I suppose there are nice Germans as well as any other kind,”
replied Shirley with a laugh. “But I wonder why they took such chances?”

“Orders, I reckon. The Germans have shown great daring and bravery in
this war.”

“I should say they have. I wonder if the United States will be drawn
into the war.”

“My goodness gracious! I hope not! Why, Daddy might have to go.”

“Oh I guess not,” laughed Shirley. “He is too old for that, except as a
last resort.”

“But Dick might have to go.”

“That’s so; but I don’t think there will be any war between the United
States and Germany. We could whip them easily.”

“I suppose the Germans think they could whip us just as well as we
believe we can whip them.”

“But I know we can whip them.”

“Well, I’m not so sure. But one thing is certain, we won’t have to go to
war. That’s the advantage of being a girl.”

“Oh I don’t know,” said Shirley, “I believe I would like to go.”

“Not for me,” declared Mabel. “Still, I might be willing to go as a Red
Cross nurse.”

“That’s what I meant,” replied Shirley.

Mr. Willing, Colonel Ashton and Dick now joined them, and they discussed
recent happenings.

“You don’t suppose there is any chance of Von Blusen getting away, sir?”
asked Dick of Mr. Willing.

Mr. Willing looked at him and smiled.

“Afraid he’ll come after you?” he asked.

“No, not exactly sir,” replied Dick. “I just wondered, that’s all.”

“I don’t think there is. I’m sure I don’t want to be on the same ship
with him again. He’ll make mischief wherever he is.”

But Mr. Willing was to be disappointed in this wish, as it turned out
later.

Noon came and passed and still the big steamship was in the canal; but
with the coming of the supper hour the Pacific ocean became visible in
the distance.

It was the first time that Dick, Shirley or Mabel had seen the Pacific,
and they stared ahead for a long time.

“I don’t see as it looks any different from the Atlantic,” declared
Shirley.

“What did you expect?” asked Mabel. “Think you were going to see the
name on it?”

“Not exactly. I don’t know just what I expected, but I thought it would
look different.”

The others laughed.

“It might feel a little different in case a big storm came up,” said
Dick.

“I don’t want to be in a storm on any water,” declared Shirley with
decision.

“I should say not,” Mabel agreed. “A storm is bad enough with lots of
dry land under your feet.”

The sun was just disappearing below the horizon when the _Yucatan_ at
last stuck her nose into the waters of the Pacific ocean.

“Well, here we are in the Pacific at last,” said Colonel Ashton. “Do you
feel any difference, Shirley?”

“Not a bit,” replied the girl with a smile.

Mr. Willing looked at the sky.

“I guess there will be no storm on this trip,” he said.

Half an hour later all went below to supper.

They had almost finished a delightful meal when their attention was
attracted by the sound of a scuffle on deck. All rushed hastily up.

There, struggling with a knot of sailors, was a single man. His back was
turned to the girls as they made their way on deck, and at first they
did not recognize him.

He was giving a good account of himself, striking out with such force
and skill as gave evidence of much training in the use of his fists; but
the sailors were too many for him, and he was at last overpowered and
thrown to the deck.

Rude hands jerked him to his feet and it was then that Shirley and Mabel
obtained their first look at his face.

Shirley started back with a cry of utter amazement. Then a name leaped
to her lips, and was repeated by all the passengers within sight.

“Captain Von Blusen!”

“How in the world did he get here?” exclaimed Shirley.

“I can’t imagine,” declared Mabel, staring with open mouth.

Captain Anderson of the _Yucatan_ now hastened down from the bridge and
confronted the prisoner.

“What are you doing on my ship and how did you get here?” he demanded
angrily.

Captain Von Blusen smiled at him.

“I just escaped, that’s all,” he replied. “You treated me so well before
that I thought I would take passage with you. Besides it was the least
likely place I would be looked for.”

“But how did you escape?” demanded the captain.

“That would be telling,” was the reply, and the young man smiled
tantalizingly. “However, it will do no harm to say that I have good
friends in Colon.”

“Well, I’ll guarantee you won’t do any more harm aboard my ship,”
declared the captain angrily.

He turned to his first officer. “Have him put in irons!”

“Very good, sir,” replied the first officer, and advanced toward the
prisoner.

“One moment,” said the latter drawing himself up. “I did not come here
with any ill motive,” still addressing the captain, “and I desire to
give my parole.”

“And what good is your parole?” demanded Captain Anderson.

“One gentleman is always ready to accept the word of another gentleman,”
said Von Blusen slowly. “I give my word to make no attempt to escape.”

The captain hesitated, then waved an arm expressively.

“Very well,” he said. “Your parole is accepted.”

He returned to the bridge, and the sailors released Von Blusen. The
latter walked over to where the Willing party were gathered.

“Well, here I am again,” he said with a smile.

“I see you are,” replied Mabel, and deliberately turned her back on him.

The young man’s face became red. He turned on his heel and walked off
without another word.



CHAPTER XIII.—ASHORE IN COSTA RICA.


The steamship _Yucatan_ was swinging slowly into a little harbor. Land,
visible for the first time since leaving the Panama Canal, was now close
at hand.

“What place is this?” asked Shirley of Dick, who stood forward gazing
over the rail by her side.

Dick consulted his guide book, remarking: “I can’t remember the name of
these outlandish places.”

“It’s Punta Arenas,” he said at last, looking up. “Costa Rica, you
know,” he added in explanation.

“And what are we putting in here for?”

“You’ll have to ask the captain about that,” replied Dick. “It’s too
deep for me.”

The vessel came to anchor some distance from shore. It was announced
that the ship would lay there for several hours, and the captain gave
notice that those desiring to land would be taken off in the small
boats.

Shirley immediately announced her intention of being one of the landing
party, and loath to let the girl go alone, Mr. Willing and the others
also determined to go ashore.

Half an hour later found them strolling about the dirty looking narrow
streets of the little town.

Poorly-dressed natives, men, women and children, eyed them queerly as
they walked along, the latter following them for blocks begging for
money. Shirley would have given one of the children a piece of silver
but for the first officer of the ship, who stayed her.

“Give money to one of them and the rest will follow you forever,” he
explained.

“But they look so dirty and hungry,” protested Shirley.

“Perhaps they are,” was the officer’s reply, “but take no chances with
them.”

Shirley followed his advice, as did the others of the party, and the
dirty native children soon let them alone. When the party started back,
however, the children trailed them once more, begging piteously for
money.

At the wharf Shirley, unheeding the advice of the officer, turned and
tossed a silver quarter toward them.

Instantly the place became a scene of wild confusion. There was a
scramble as boys and girls dived headlong for the piece of silver. Loud
cries filled the air.

A little girl raised up with the piece of money clutched tightly in her
hand and started to run. But the others were upon her in an instant, and
threw her to the ground, striking and clawing as they tried to take the
quarter away from her.

Shirley looked at the disorder she had caused in amazement.

“My goodness!” she exclaimed. “I had no idea they were so savage.”

She watched the struggle.

Now a boy had secured the quarter and tried to escape with it. But he
fared no better than had the girl, and soon was beneath the pile of
struggling bodies. The children fought savagely, biting, screaming,
kicking and scratching.

The party from the steamship watched with interest.

“See what you did, Shirley,” cried Mabel. “Just watch them fight.”

“I won’t do it again,” declared Shirley. “Some of them will be badly
hurt.”

At this moment a newcomer appeared upon the scene. He walked slowly, and
plainly was in no particular hurry. Shirley glanced at him curiously.

He was attired in a dark blue uniform. A revolver and sword hung at his
side. He was short but stout, and a black mustache curled fiercely
upward.

He was just what Shirley took him to be, an officer of the Costa Rican
army.

He advanced into the mass of struggling children and pushed the
combatants aside without ceremony. As they looked up and perceived him,
the fighters turned and fled.

The sight was indeed comical and Shirley and all the others laughed long
and loud.

One little boy, before taking to his heels, stooped quickly and picked
up the quarter, which had rolled a short distance away. But even as he
started to run, the native officer reached out a hand and caught him by
the shoulder.

In vain did the boy struggle to free himself, biting and kicking. He was
no match for the man, and at last he dropped the piece of silver. The
officer then released him and looked around.

While the Americans still watched him he stooped, picked up the quarter,
turned it over in his hand once or twice, spun it in the air, caught it
as it came down and thrust it in his pocket. Then, without a glance to
right or left, he turned and stalked away.

“There!” exclaimed the ship’s officer, “you can see what has happened to
your quarter. It’s what happens to most of those thrown to the children
by tourists.”

“It’s an outrage!” declared Shirley. “I wouldn’t have given him
anything. Isn’t there something we can do about it?”

“Not a thing,” was the reply. “It is legitimate graft. But watch, now,
you’ll see what the little folks do.”

As the native officer continued to swagger along, from behind houses and
from down streets a hail of rocks and stones dropped upon him. The
children, divided in the fight for the quarter, had joined forces
against this common enemy and were pelting him vigorously.

“Good!” exclaimed Mabel. “I am glad of it. I hope they hurt him, the big
coward.”

The native officer stopped and glared around angrily at his small
assailants for a moment, while the rocks and stones fell on him faster
than before. One struck him in the face. This was too much for his
courage. He took to his heels, and with the mob of children in close
pursuit, was soon lost to sight.

“I hope they get him,” declared Shirley vehemently.

“They won’t, though,” replied the officer of the _Yucatan_. “If he were
to turn on them they’d stop and, from a safe place, continue their
bombardment. He’ll find shelter some place.”

Before they could return to the launch which would take them back to the
ship, the swarm of children again came into view, rushing for them.

“Quick!” cried the officer, “into the boat. They’ll run right over us.
They’ve caught a sight of silver and they won’t let us alone until we
give them some, or until we are out of reach.”

He hustled the others toward the small boat at a run, and succeeded in
getting them in before the native children reached the water’s edge.
Then the boat put off for the ship.

A cry of anger went up from the shore.

“Duck!” cried the officer, himself taking his place in the stern and
grasping the rudder.

His warning came not a moment too soon.

A shower of missiles, hurled with unerring aim, fell upon the little
craft. Disappointed in their quest, the native children were now bent on
revenge.

As fast as they could pick them up and throw, rocks went skimming across
the water, falling on both sides, and in front and behind the boat.
Several dropped aboard.

One, in falling, just skimmed the back of Shirley’s head as she stooped
over in the boat. Dick immediately squeezed in behind her, and another,
thrown with unerring aim, carried away his hat. Fortunately however,
this broke the force of the stone, and it fell to the bottom of the boat
without doing any further damage.

The boat was drawing out of danger now, and the occupants sat up again
and drew breaths of relief. Only the stronger of the tots could now
reach them with their missiles, and the distance was too great for
accurate throwing, so those in the boats felt perfectly safe.

Upon the shore the crowd of native boys and girls gave vent to cries of
rage at thus being deprived of their revenge. They danced about
excitedly and waved their hands in angry gestures.

At this juncture another native officer hove in sight, and the crowd
turned on him. Again rocks, stones and other weapons came into play as
the children turned upon him to vent their wrath. For a moment the
officer seemed on the point of charging into the crowd, then changed his
mind, wheeled on his heel and took to flight. The young ones gave chase,
their shouts and cries carrying across the water to the occupants of the
boat.

“Well!” exclaimed Shirley, now that they were out of harm’s way at last,
“they are vicious little things, aren’t they?”

“Rather,” replied the officer dryly. “If a person fell into their hands
it would go hard with him.”

“But what makes them so fierce?” asked Mabel, greatly interested.

“That’s hard to say. However, it probably is because they are half
starved and look upon the whole world as a common foe. More than one
tourist has received rough treatment at their hands.”

“And will they attack any one like that?” asked Dick.

“Not unless he shows money,” was the reply. “That is the remarkable part
about it. No matter how much a man may have in his pocket they will not
attack him unless they catch sight of silver or gold. One glimpse of it,
however, seems to drive them wild.”

The officer gave his attention to the boat for a moment, and then
continued:

“Another thing, as you have just observed. They will fight each other,
but let a third party interfere and they will all jump on him.”

“Just like a quarrel between a man and his wife, eh?” asked Mr. Willing
with a smile.

“Exactly. They’re a queer lot, and you will find them about the same in
all Central and South American countries.”

The small boat now rubbed gently against the side of the _Yucatan_ and
the passengers scrambled up the ladder to the deck.

“We were lucky to get out of that with whole skins,” declared Shirley,
when all once more stood on deck.

“I should say we were,” agreed Mabel.

“Perhaps this experience will teach you to heed the advice of others,
daughter,” said Mr. Willing dryly.

“I won’t try and play the good Samaritan to native children any more,
Dad,” said Shirley smiling.

A long blast from the ship’s whistle, followed by the clanking of chains
as the anchor was drawn in, the vibrations of the engines became
noticeable, and, with her nose pointed to the open sea, the steamship
_Yucatan_ resumed her journey.



CHAPTER XIV.—U. S. S. PRAIRIE.


“Steamship off the port bow, sir!”

It was the cry of the lookout.

All eyes were turned in the direction indicated. There, showing dimly
through the gathering darkness, steamed a dark gray shape. Another
glance from the lookout was enough to convince him of the vessel’s
identity.

“United States cruiser, sir!” came his call.

“Can you make her out?” asked the captain’s voice from the bridge.

The lookout was silent for several minutes, and then called back:

“Cruiser _Prairie_, sir.”

There was a muttered ejaculation from the captain. Shirley, standing
near, caught the words:

“Wonder what she’s doing in these waters? She was in Bluefields the last
I heard of her. Must be trouble of some kind or she wouldn’t be here.”

The two ships exchanged messages, the nature of which were unknown to
the passengers, however. Both continued on their course.

Morning showed to the passengers the cruiser proceeding ahead of them.
All day the two ships retained their relative positions and when night
came on they were unchanged.

When Shirley awoke the following morning the _Yucatan_ was stationary.
Shirley and Mabel dressed quickly and went on deck. There they found
that they were in a little harbor. Shirley asked a question of one of
the other passengers.

“Where are we?”

“Port of Corinto, Nicaragua,” was the reply.

At this moment a small boat was just about to be lowered. Shirley and
Mabel rushed up to the first officer, who was in command of it.

“Can we go with you?” she asked.

The officer hesitated, then: “I see no reason why you cannot,” with a
smile. “Jump in.”

The girls obeyed and a few moments later were being rowed toward the
not-far-distant shore. There the boat drew up at the wharf, and,
signalling to the girls to accompany him if they so desired, the officer
leaped lightly ashore and lent them a helping hand. The sailors were
ordered to await his return.

“Where are you going?” asked Shirley.

“American consulate,” was the reply. “There has been some trouble here,
and Captain Anderson has sent me to find out what it's all about.”

At the consulate Shirley and Mabel remained outside, while the first
officer was closeted with the consul.

“We might as well walk around a bit,” Shirley decided. “There is no
telling how long he may remain there.”

Mabel was nothing loath, and they made their way to the street. Here
they walked along slowly, looking curiously at the native Nicaraguans
and the queer buildings, all of old Spanish architecture and design.

“None of this for me,” was Shirley’s decision half an hour later.

“Nor me,” agreed Mabel. “I want to live in civilization.”

Unconsciously the girls had wandered further from the consulate than
they realized, and as they were on the point of turning back Mabel
caught sight of a familiar figure.

“Captain Von Blusen!” she exclaimed, catching Shirley by the arm.

Shirley caught her breath and gazed in the direction Mabel pointed.

It was true. There, slinking along furtively, was the gallant captain
and he was walking along at a rapid rate.

“Wonder where he is going and why he’s in such a hurry?” asked Mabel.

“I don’t know,” returned Shirley, “but I’ll warrant he is up to no
good.”

“But he has given his parole to make no attempt to escape.”

“I don’t imagine he’ll set much store by that if he sees a good
opportunity to get away.”

Shirley would have continued her way back, but Mabel said:

“Wait a moment, Shirley. Perhaps, by following him a bit, we may learn
something useful. What do you say?”

For a moment Shirley hesitated, but for a moment only.

“Perhaps we can,” she said then. “There can be no danger if we keep out
of sight. Come on.”

The German was now some distance ahead of them, and taking care to avoid
being seen should he turn suddenly, the girls followed him.

But apparently Captain Von Blusen had no idea that he would be followed.
He strode rapidly along and not once did he turn his head.

“He must have been here before,” Shirley decided. “He seems to know
where he is going.”

For another ten minutes they followed him, and then Shirley halted.

“I am afraid we had better go back,” she said. “We may get lost.”

“Oh I guess not,” declared Mabel. “And besides we have plenty of time.
The ship will probably stay here most of the day. Come on, Shirley.”

Shirley allowed herself to be led along.

They had now approached the outskirts of the little town, and the young
German struck off through a clump of trees. At the edge of these Shirley
stopped abruptly.

“We won’t follow him any further,” she said decisively. “It might be
dangerous.”

“I guess you are right,” agreed Mabel. “I wish he had stayed where we
could keep track of him.”

“So do I. But he didn’t. We had better be getting back.”

They turned and started to retrace their footsteps, but even as they did
so the footsteps of a large body of men came toward them. They were not
yet in sight, but the men were coming right down the street through
which the girls must go on their way back.

Mabel looked at Shirley in alarm.

“What shall we do?” she exclaimed.

“We’ll just have to put on a bold face and walk right along,” declared
Shirley. “Come.”

She started out slowly, Mabel walking by her side.

A moment later there appeared ahead of them, advancing at a rapid march,
a body of armed men. Shirley and Mabel shrank close to the side of the
street to give the marchers as much room as possible.

At first it seemed the girls would get by without trouble, for the first
troop had passed them, paying no attention to their presence.

But as the officer in command of the troop came abreast of them, a
command suddenly rang out:

“Halt!”

The troop stopped abruptly, and grounded their arms. Shirley and Mabel
also paused, as they believed the words were meant for them. Then,
seeing the soldiers pause, they moved on again. But again came the cry
of “Halt.”

The girls halted in their tracks.

The commander, whom they perceived was a man well along toward seventy,
but who nevertheless walked perfectly erect and who looked very imposing
in his bright military uniform, advanced toward them.

“What are you young ladies doing here?” he asked courteously, in
English.

“We were just walking about the city, sir,” replied Shirley, her voice
trembling somewhat in spite of the efforts she made to keep it steady.

“Where do you come from?”

“Steamship in the harbor, sir.”

“You mean the cruiser?”

“No, sir,” replied Mabel. “The passenger steamer, sir.”

“H-m-mm-m,” muttered the officer.

Before he could speak further there came, from the town, the sound of
more rapidly approaching footsteps.

“Come with me,” cried the Nicaraguan officer quickly, “if you go on you
will be hurt. Come quickly.”

He urged his men on with a sharp command.

Shirley and Mabel hung back.

“Quick!” cried the general again. “There will be fighting here in a few
minutes, and if you are in the way you are likely to be hurt.”

A squad of men, at his command, surrounded the two girls, and they were
forced to go along whether or no.

The troop dashed quickly for the shelter of the woods in which the girls
had seen Captain Von Blusen disappear a few moments before.

Once in the shelter of the trees, the officer in command gave several
sharp orders, and the troop divided into three parts. Then they flitted
rapidly further in among the trees.

Shirley and Mabel, now badly frightened, found themselves with the
commanding officer’s section. They could see that they were bearing off
to the right and several times would have spoken, but the officer
silenced them with a gesture.

“I shall answer your questions later,” he said once.

Although the girls did not know just what was the matter, they realized
that the Nicaraguans were fleeing from another, and, supposedly, a
larger body of men.

“I hope they overtake us. I want to get back to Dad,” cried Mabel.

“And I hope they don’t,” exclaimed Shirley.

“Why, Shirley!”

“I mean it. If they do overtake us it may mean a battle, and then we
would be in danger. As long as we keep away from them we are safe.
Besides, Dad will find us some way. Our fathers and Dick won’t permit us
to be carried off.”

“I reckon you are right, Shirley,” Mabel agreed finally. “Besides, there
is an American cruiser near. They’ll have the bluejackets out searching
for us.”

“And they will find us, too,” declared Mabel.

“I hope they hurry up and come,” exclaimed Shirley. “I’m badly
frightened, but I don’t want to show it. The thing to do is to make the
officer think we are not a bit scared.”

“We’ll try,” said Mabel calmly.

For an hour they continued on their way, and then suddenly the force
began to increase as men appeared from other directions and joined the
main body.

Although the girls did not know it, these were the same men who had
scattered at the first sign of pursuit. They had made a detour to throw
the pursuers off the track.

At last the commander called a halt. Then he approached the two girls.

“I guess I had better explain why I insisted on your coming with us,” he
said with a pleasant smile.



CHAPTER XV.—AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE.


“If you please,” said Shirley.

The officer gazed at both girls admiringly.

“You take it coolly enough,” he declared. “Many in your places would be
badly frightened.”

“Surely there is nothing to be afraid of,” said Mabel, determined to
show as bold a front as possible.

“No,” said the officer, “there isn’t.” He looked at them closely. “I
wonder if either of you happen to know who I am?” he asked.

Shirley shook her head negatively.

“I’m sure I don’t,” said Mabel.

“Then I must introduce myself,” was the reply. “I am General Pedro
Garcia, President of the republic of Nicaragua.”

Both girls looked at him in the utmost surprise.

“You may well be surprised,” said the general, a touch of bitterness in
his tone, it seemed to Shirley, “and no doubt you are to see the
President of the country in such a predicament?”

Shirley didn’t know much about Nicaragua, but she decided she might as
well agree with him, as he seemed to expect it.

“Yes, sir,” she said.

“And I am surprised to find myself in such a position,” said the
President. “I shall explain. With my men I am fleeing from the
revolutionists.”

“Revolutionists?” echoed Shirley.

“Exactly. I was in Corinto with some of my army for diplomatic purposes.
While absent from Managua there was an uprising. It seems to have been
well planned, for it broke out in all parts of the republic at once,
even here in Corinto.”

“I was surprised with my men this morning and was forced to flee. That’s
about all there is to it.”

“But why did you bring us with you?” demanded Shirley. “Why didn’t you
allow us to return to our ship.”

“Because you might never have reached there,” replied the President
quietly. “You would probably have fallen into the hands of the
revolutionists. While you are with me you are safe.”

There was no doubting the sincerity in the President’s voice, and both
girls unconsciously breathed easier.

“Besides,” continued the general, “your presence may help me a bit.”

“In what way sir?” asked Mabel.

“Well, there is a United States cruiser in Corinto harbor. When you are
missed the natural supposition will be that you have fallen into the
hands of the revolutionists. The U. S. sailors will be sent after you,
and will be likely to attack my foes.”

“I see,” said Shirley with a slight smile. “Then you did not save us
from an altogether unselfish motive.”

“My dear young ladies, consider,” said the President, “it is better for
both of us.”

“I don’t doubt you, sir,” replied Shirley; “but just the same I would
rather be safe aboard our ship.”

“And so you shall be, if it is within my power to put you there,”
declared the President of Nicaragua warmly.

At this moment two of the general’s troopers approached, dragging a
third man between them. Shirley and Mabel fell back a few feet.

“Hello! Who have we here?” demanded President Garcia.

“Prisoner, sir,” replied one of the men.

“Release him,” said the President. “I shall talk to him myself. Who are
you, and what are you doing here?” he demanded sharply.

Shirley and Mabel both started at the sound of the prisoner’s voice. He
was none other than Captain von Blusen.

“I’m Captain von Blusen, of the German navy,” was the reply. “I have
been held prisoner aboard an American ship, and have but recently
escaped. I am seeking Colonel Hernandez.”

“Hernandez!” exclaimed President Garcia, stepping back in surprise. “The
leader of the revolutionists!”

“And may I ask your name, sir?” said Captain von Blusen.

“I,” said the general, “am the President of Nicaragua.”

The prisoner gave vent to a long whistle and a look of dismay passed
over his face. It was gone in a moment, however, and he turned to the
President with a smile.

“I am fortunate in finding you, sir,” he said. “I am authorized by my
government to make you a proposition.”

“Well, I shall hear it,” said the President.

“I am authorized to offer you a large sum of money for the privilege of
establishing a German naval base on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua.”

“Enough!” cried the general with a wave of his hand. “It shall not be
done if I can prevent it. Germany indeed. Were I able, I myself should
draw a sword against her. You will find no German sympathy in these
parts.”

Captain von Blusen bowed his head. He said nothing further on the
subject.

“What will you do with me?” he asked.

“I shall hold you until the rebels have been put down,” was the reply.
“Then you shall be released. I wouldn’t trust you now.”

He signalled two of his men and the young German officer was led away
between them.

At this moment another officer rushed up to the general.

“Our presence has been discovered, sir,” he gasped. “The enemy is
approaching.”

Shirley and Mabel now perceived that the President of the Republic of
Nicaragua, in spite of his advanced years, was a man of action.

He turned rapidly from one to another of his officers, and these dashed
quickly away. A moment later the few troops began to move, and the girls
realized that President Garcia had taken some steps to offset the
advance of the revolutionists.

They found themselves going along with the troops.

“My goodness! I wish we were back on the ship,” exclaimed Shirley.

“You don’t wish it any more than I do,” declared Mabel. “I am more
frightened than you are. Suppose there should be a battle. What would
happen to us?”

Shirley shrugged her shoulders.

“You know as much about it as I do,” she made answer.

Mabel looked at her in amazement.

“Why, Shirley Willing!” she exclaimed. “Aren’t you afraid? I am scared
half to death.”

“I am just as badly frightened as you are,” declared Shirley. “I may not
look it, but I am.”

“I don’t believe you are frightened at all,” said Mabel.

In spite of the seriousness of the situation and her declaration that
she was badly frightened, Shirley was forced to smile at her friend’s
words.

“Well, perhaps I’m not so awfully scared,” she confessed. “I’m anxious
to see what is going to happen.”

“I know what is going to happen,” was the reply. “We are going to get
hurt!”

Mabel broke down and began to cry.

Shirley took her chum gently in her arms, and stroked her hair.

“There, there!” she said. “Stop crying. No one is going to hurt us. You
are just overwrought, that’s all.”

“I just know we are going to be shot—and—and killed,” sobbed Mabel.

“Nonsense,” said Shirley sharply. “Look up now and stop that crying. We
are perfectly safe. Stop crying.”

Mabel looked up suddenly at the sharpness in her chum’s tone, but her
tears soon were dried away. Shirley, in speaking as she had, had done
the best thing possible. She had realized that it was time for sharp
words and not for sympathy.

After a march of perhaps a half hour, President Garcia called another
halt, and then summoned his officers into consultation.

The two girls stood close, but they could not make out what was being
said. At length the general dismissed his officers with a gesture, and
as they scattered to their respective posts, the general approached the
two girls.

“We are going to make a sharp turn to the south here,” he said quietly,
“and then we shall move back and engage the enemy. That will put you
safely behind us. Now, if I were you, I would bear off slightly to the
right, and then go straight ahead. In that way you will be out of
danger. If the firing comes closer to you, make another wide detour,
turn about and try to make your way back to the ship. But I would not do
that until after the battle ceases.”

“Thank you, sir,” said Shirley. “We shall do as you suggest. We thank
you for your thoughtfulness in keeping us from falling into the hands of
the revolutionists. May you come through the battle unharmed, and may
you be successful.”

She extended her hand, and the President bent over it gravely.

“I thank you for your good wishes,” he said quietly.

Mabel also now advanced and extended her hand, and the President bent
over it.

“Good luck to you, Mr. President,” said Mabel.

“I thank you, too, young lady,” said the President simply. “Now heed my
injunction and betake yourselves to a place of safety. We shall advance
at once.”

Once more he bowed low to them, swung sharply about on his heel and was
gone. With hoarse commands from the officers, the troops faced to the
left and marched off.

“I guess we had better be moving, Shirley,” said Mabel.

Instead of turning to the right, they went straight back.

“It should be safer here,” said Mabel as they hurried along. “The
revolutionists are liable to advance on the right as well as on the
left!”

“I wish we could get some place where we could see,” declared Shirley.

Mabel stooped in her tracks and gazed at her friend in the utmost
astonishment.

“Shirley!” she exclaimed. “Surely you don’t mean that?”

“Of course I mean it. If we could only find some place where it is
safe.”

Unconsciously the girls had borne off to the left, and now suddenly they
came upon a clearing in the midst of the woods. And as they glanced
back, they saw the Nicaraguan government troops advancing across it.

But even as they looked the troops came to a halt, and most of them fell
to their knees. Shirley looked around quickly. Directly behind her was a
large tree.

“If we haven’t forgotten our tomboy days we’ll climb up there and watch
the battle,” she declared.

She led the way, and in spite of her misgivings, Mabel followed.



CHAPTER XVI.—THE GIRLS SEE A BATTLE.


As Shirley and Mabel, from their shelter among the branches, peered
across the plain, they saw puffs of smoke issue from the now kneeling
body of men. Sharp reports came to their ears. The only man still
standing erect, as they could see plainly, was President Garcia, who,
with upraised sword, was directing the movement of his men.

A man dropped his rifle and fell to the ground, and Mabel shrieked.

“My goodness!” she exclaimed a moment later. “This is terrible,
Shirley!”

Shirley’s lips were compressed, and for a moment she turned her eyes
away.

The firing became louder now, and for the first time the girls noticed
that President Garcia and his men were retreating toward them.

“We had better get down out of here!” exclaimed Mabel. “We may be
struck.”

Shirley agreed, and they were about to descend, when, from behind them,
came rapid footsteps, indicating the approach of a considerable number
of men. Shirley and Mabel became silent.

A moment later a score of dark-visaged Nicaraguans, with rifles ready
for instant use, appeared and took up their position at the edge of the
little woods, several of them falling flat under the very tree in which
the two girls were perched.

Mabel uttered an exclamation as the first volley was fired by these
newcomers. In spite of the fact that she was prepared for it, the sharp
reports of the weapons had wrung a cry of surprise from her. Shirley,
more calm, uttered no sound.

The girls could now see that the men beneath them were a part of
President Garcia’s force, for they were shooting over the heads of their
companions, apparently in an effort to cover the retreat of the main
body.

The latter now retreated more rapidly and at length joined forces with
the men beneath the trees. Shirley and Mabel could hear their
conversation plainly, but as it was carried on in Spanish, they could
not make out the trend of it.

For perhaps fifteen minutes President Garcia’s men held their position,
firing at the enemy from the shelter of the trees.

The plight of the two girls was much more serious than either realized,
for a chance bullet was likely to hit one of them at any moment. And yet
they felt safer in the tree than they would have felt among the soldiers
on the ground.

So far the enemy had contented themselves with lying flat on the ground
some distance away and firing at the trees, but now, as Shirley
perceived by peering across the plain, they were preparing for a charge.

A moment later there was a wild yell, and they came forward on the run.
They spread out as they came on, and here and there a man fell over,
struck down by a rifle bullet.

In spite of their great danger both girls became lost in wonder at the
sight, and stared ahead with straining eyes. Shirley was brought to
herself by the sound of something buzzing past her head. She knew in a
moment what is was.

“Mabel!” she cried. “Climb as high as you can or we shall be shot!”

She scrambled higher up among the branches, and Mabel followed suit.

Here no bullets flew past them, and looking down they saw that President
Garcia was ordering his men to retreat.

The government troops disappeared further back in the woods, and now the
danger came from their bullets rather than from those of the enemy. The
girls were in a ticklish situation and they were fully alive to their
peril.

The enemy pushed further into the woods, pursuing the government troops.
The bullets flew less thick, the sound of firing became fainter and
fainter, and then died away in the distance.

Shirley roused herself from the trance in which she seemed to have
fallen.

“Come, Mabel,” she said. “Let’s get down and get back to the ship before
some of them come back.”

Mabel was nothing loath, and quickly the girls slid to the ground and
advanced to the edge of the clearing. Here they stopped for a moment,
looking about them.

Several figures were sprawled about on the ground. The girls shuddered.

“It is terrible,” said Shirley.

“Don’t look at them,” urged Mabel. “Let’s run.”

But as they were about to take to their heels, they were startled by the
sound of a voice directly behind them.

“Ha!” it said.

The girls wheeled in their tracks to confront a man with rifle levelled
directly at them. A cry of fear was rung from Mabel’s lips, but Shirley
said nothing.

The man advanced and the girls shrank back. A torrent of words poured
from the man’s lips, but it was absolutely unintelligible to either of
the girls.

Shirley made a gesture, indicating that they did not understand, and the
man said:

“Americanos?”

“Yes,” replied Shirley. “Do you speak English?”

“Si!” replied the man, “a leetle!”

“We want to go away,” said Shirley eagerly. “We belong on the ship in
the harbor.”

“No! Stay here. General Orizaba will return soon,” said the man in
broken English.

Shirley started to protest, but the man made a threatening gesture with
his rifle.

The two girls looked at each other in dismay.

“Out of the frying pan into the fire, Mabel,” declared Shirley. “I guess
we shall have to stay.”

There was apparently no help for it. They sat down upon the grass to
await the arrival of General Orizaba, who, they rightly guessed, was the
commander of the revolutionary forces.

Their captor stood vigilant guard. Apparently he was determined to allow
them no chance to escape. He sat some distance away, with his rifle
across his knees. The two girls settled themselves with their backs to a
large tree, and made themselves as comfortable as they could under the
circumstances.

There was a snapping of a twig behind them, and Shirley glanced about
uneasily.

“S-s-h-h,” came a low voice. “Keep still and show no surprise.”

Both girls recognized the voice in an instant.

They maintained their composure well, and spoke only to each other.

“It’s Dick!” whispered Shirley.

“I know it,” replied Mabel.

“Then we are safe.”

The girls’ guard now put an end to their conversation. Rising he
approached them and commanded:

“Silence!”

He did not hear soft footsteps passing beyond him, nor did he turn in
time to see a figure leap from behind a tree and spring at him. The
first he realized of his danger was when a pair of strong arms went
round him, and he was hurled violently to the ground, his rifle flying
from his hands.

“Get the rifle, Shirley!” called Dick, as he and his opponent struggled
for mastery.

Shirley leaped forward, stopped, and when she arose she held the rifle.

For a moment she considered the advisability of advancing and lending
Dick a hand, then concluded that he was more than a match for the
Nicaraguan. Besides, the figures were locked in such close embrace that
she couldn’t have aided Dick if she would.

Now Dick succeeded in shaking off the grip of his opponent, and sprang
to his feet. The Nicaraguan did likewise, and sprang back.

As Dick leaped forward again, the man’s hand went to his holster, and a
revolver flashed in his hand.

But before he could bring the weapon to bear, Shirley stepped quickly
forward, levelled her rifle at him, and in a clear sharp voice, cried:

“Halt!”

The man wheeled quickly and as he did so, Dick sprang upon him from
behind. A quick blow sent the revolver hurling several feet away, and
then Dick stepped back to give free play to his boxing skill.

The Nicaraguan rushed at him, but Dick stepped lightly aside, and as the
man went by, carried on by the impetus of his rush, Dick struck out
straight and true from the shoulder.

The Nicaraguan crumpled up in a heap on the ground.

Shirley and Mabel ran quickly to Dick’s side.

“Are you hurt, Dick?” asked Shirley anxiously.

“No!” was the smiling rejoinder, “but I would have been if you had not
been prompt with that rifle. That’s all that saved me.”

“How did you find us?” asked Mabel.

“Followed you. We became alarmed at your absence and I said I thought I
could find you. I imagined you had gone for a stroll, and when I saw
this bunch of pirates going through the town I guessed that you would
fall into their hands. I came along after them and just as I was about
to go on I saw you climbing down from the tree.”

“Well, you didn’t arrive a minute too soon,” declared Shirley. “We were
badly frightened, weren’t we Mabel?”

“I know I was,” was her chum’s reply. She turned to Dick. “But how——”

“I’ll explain later,” interrupted Dick. “The thing to do now is to get
away from here before they return. Come on.”

The girls started on ahead of him, and Dick turned for a glance over his
shoulder.

Then he uttered an exclamation of alarm, and shouted:

“Run!”

For in that quick glance over his shoulder he had perceived the return
of the revolutionists.



CHAPTER XVII.—MABEL BRINGS THE BLUEJACKETS.


Shirley and Mabel needed no further urging, and took to their heels.
Dick followed close behind.

In the one brief glance in which he had perceived the return of the
soldiers, Dick had been unable to determine whether their presence had
been discovered, but he believed it wise to take a chance. Hence his
command to run.

The three sped lightly over the ground and had gone some distance when
they heard a shout from behind, followed by the sharp reports of several
rifles.

Dick stopped suddenly and called to the girls to halt. They obeyed
instantly.

“There is no use being shot,” said Dick quietly, “and although they are
poor shots they would be sure to hit one of us sooner or later.”

“Then what shall we do?” cried Mabel.

“There is only one thing to do,” was the reply. “Surrender.”

“Dick is right,” agreed Shirley. “It is foolish to attempt to escape.”

In the meantime the band of revolutionists had been coming toward them,
and at length surrounded the three figures. A man, who appeared to be
the leader, though he wore no uniform nor mark of distinction, advanced
and addressed Dick.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” he demanded in English.

Dick explained, and the man heard him through quietly.

“And who was it hurt Pedro back there?” and the leader waved toward the
spot where Dick had struggled with the Nicaraguan.

“I did,” he replied quietly, and explained the cause of the fight.

“Well, you will have to stand trial for attacking one of my men,” said
the leader. “I am General Orizaba.”

He signalled for his men to surround the three, which was soon done, and
they continued their march back toward the city.

“Every step in this direction is better for us,” said Dick to the two
girls, as they marched along. “We’ll get out of this trouble some way,
be sure of that.”

“Oh, I know no harm will come to us as long as you are here,” replied
Shirley.

“Thanks,” said Dick dryly. “But I don’t see how I can do much for any of
us right now.”

“Something will turn up,” said Shirley positively.

“I hope it turns up soon,” declared Mabel.

But if the prisoners hoped to be taken directly back to town they were
doomed to disappointment.

After crossing the clearing in the woods, General Orizaba led his men to
the left, where after an hour’s march, he called a halt. Then he again
approached the prisoners.

“We shall camp here,” he said. “Here, also, you shall be tried for
attacking Pedro.”

Dick made no reply, but Shirley did

“We are Americans,” she said, “and you don’t dare to interfere with us.”

“I don’t, eh?” was the reply. “You shall see.”

Pedro, it now appeared, had been revived and brought along. The general
motioned for him to approach. He pointed to Dick and spoke in Spanish.
It was impossible to tell what they were talking about, but all three
were keen enough to know that it boded no good for them.

The general turned again to Dick.

“Pedro says you struck him without warning and without provocation,” he
said. “I have decided, therefore, to dispense with the trial, and to fix
your punishment myself.”

“I warn you——” began Dick.

“Caramba!” roared the leader, becoming very angry. “What do I care for
your warnings, or for your friends either?”

“There is an American cruiser in the harbor,” said Dick quietly. “The
commander knows where I am, and if I am not back within two hours, he
will land a force of sailors to see why.”

General Orizaba seemed to hesitate, following these words. Then he
became even angrier than before. He was about to speak, when a horseman
clattered up.

The general turned to him and they conversed in low tones. Then the
horseman dismounted, and leaving his horse, made his way to where the
rest of the revolutionists sat upon the ground some distance away.

General Orizaba again faced Dick.

“Dog of an Americano!” he thundered. “You shall be shot for daring to
interfere with one of my men.”

Dick only smiled.

“I guess you don’t mean that,” he replied quietly.

“I don’t, eh? You shall see.” He paused a moment. “But you shall live
until sunset.”

He turned to call one of his men; and at that moment, Mabel, who stood
closest to the riderless horse, suddenly leaped forward and sprang upon
the animal’s back.

So sudden was her movement that for a moment the Nicaraguans failed to
realize her intention.

That moment was sufficient for Mabel to seize the reins and turn the
horse’s head toward the city. Then she dug her heels into his flanks and
away they went.

Dick and Shirley were no less surprised than the Nicaraguans, and both
uttered cries of alarm.

General Orizaba darted forward with an ejaculation, and called to his
men.

“Shoot!” he cried.

Rifles were brought to bear, but the horse had gained his stride and was
galloping along like the wind. Volley after volley was fired after the
girl, but thanks to the movement of the horse and the poor marksmanship
of the Nicaraguans, Mabel was not touched.

Rapidly she rode, nor did she draw rein when she entered the town but
galloped straight to the pier. Here still lay the small boat of the
_Yucatan_, manned by its crew. Rapidly explaining the situation, the
girl urged the sailors back to the ship without waiting the return of
the first officer, who was some place in the town.

About the ship, Mabel found that Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton were
ashore searching for the girls, and so she went straight to Captain
Anderson. That worthy acted promptly. He quickly signalled the cruiser
_Prairie_, which Mabel, saw for the first time, perceived lay close by.

The _Prairie_ signalled for the captain and Mabel to come aboard, which
they did without loss of time. In a few words Mabel explained the
situation to the commander of the cruiser.

Action came quickly.

A bugle sounded, piping the crew to quarters. The commander detailed a
landing party of one hundred and fifty marines and sailors. These were
quickly rowed to the shore—Mabel going with them as a guide, for she
refused to be left behind.

Once ashore, the girl led the way toward where she had left her friends,
the men going forward at the double-quick, their weapons ready for
instant use.

When General Orizaba perceived that Mabel had made good her flight, his
anger knew no bounds. He berated his men roundly and danced about like a
madman. Then he turned to Dick.

“But you shall not escape!” he declared.

“You’ll have a squad of marines down on you in a few minutes,” replied
Dick with a cheerful smile. “Then where will you be?”

“Bah!” said the angry general. “What are a few marines? We can drive
them back.”

“Think so, do you?” asked Dick. “I’m afraid you’ll be surprised.”

“You shall see,” declared the angry leader. “You shall live until you
see your countrymen defeated.”

“Guess I shall live a long time then,” said Dick, with a smile.

The smile angered the leader, and he stepped close to Dick and slapped
him across the face.

Dick’s anger boiled up and he promptly sent his fist crashing into the
general’s face, knocking him down.

The young man regretted this act the next moment, for he knew that
probably he had brought matters to a crisis.

General Orizaba sprang to his feet and with a shout drew his revolver
and covered Dick.

Shirley screamed. Then General Orizaba lowered his revolver.

“No, I won’t do it yet,” he said. “I promised you should see your
countrymen defeated, and so you shall. I shall kill you later.”

“Thanks,” said Dick.

In spite of his apparent nonchalance, he breathed easier, however, for
he had been at the point of death, and none knew it better than he did.

“We are all right now,” he told Shirley in a low voice. “The marines and
sailors will soon be here, and these fellows can’t stand up against
them.”

Shirley smiled at him bravely.

“I know it,” she replied quietly.

Now the leader of the revolutionists signalled two of his men to bind
the prisoners. This was soon done, and they were taken well to one side
of what proved to be the line of battle.

“I do this so I may be sure you will be saved for me,” said General
Orizaba with an evil smile. “It would be nice to have you shot down by
American bullets, but I would rather do it myself. Besides, from here,
you can see us defeat the Americanos.”

“Many thanks for your kindness,” returned Dick. “I’ll speak a word for
you when you are in the hands of the Americanos, as you call them.”

“That,” was the reply, “will never be.”

Dick shrugged his shoulders.

“Have it your own way,” he said.

Came a shout from one of the men who had been sent forward on scout
duty.

“The Americanos!” he cried.

General Orizaba hurried toward him. Dick and Shirley drew a breath of
relief.

An instant later a long line of hurrying blue figures came into view.
Shirley and Dick looked at them with pride in their eyes.

The marines and sailors advanced at the double.

“Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!”

The battle had begun!



CHAPTER XVIII.—END OF THE REVOLT.


The Nicaraguans met the first charge of the bluejackets bravely enough,
but they were now opposed to men who knew not the meaning of the word
defeat, nor what it meant to retreat. Under the first fire from the
Americans they wavered; at the next they began to fall back and at the
third they turned and fled.

Dick and Shirley, bound as they were, nevertheless could see how the
fighting progressed, while thanks to the thoughtfulness of the
revolutionary leader they were out of danger themselves.

But now that the day was going against the enemy, Dick feared that
General Orizaba, mindful of his threat, would return to his prisoners
before seeking safety in flight. Therefore he began to devise a way of
escape.

After some effort he succeeded in getting out his pocket knife. Then,
holding it in one of his bound hands, he bent his head and opened the
big blade with his teeth. Fortunately the rope with which he was bound
was not thick, and the knife was sharp.

For perhaps ten minutes, holding the knife in his mouth by the handle,
Dick sawed at the bonds on his hands. At last the rope parted. Quickly
he untied his feet, and then unbound Shirley, who also arose to her
feet.

The Nicaraguan forces were now in full retreat, and as Dick would have
led Shirley forward toward the town, a single figure burst into sight.
As the man came closer Shirley and Dick could see anger and hate written
large on his features. They recognized him upon the instant.

“Orizaba!” exclaimed Shirley.

“And come to fulfill his promise, I guess,” agreed Dick quietly.

“Run!” cried Shirley.

“What’s the use?” asked Dick. “He has a gun.”

It was true. In the hands of the defeated revolutionary leader was a
revolver of heavy caliber, and he flourished it as he came toward them.

Dick turned to Shirley.

“You get back out of sight!” he commanded. “I can handle this fellow!”

Shirley protested.

“But—but,——” she began.

“Quick!” exclaimed Dick. “He is very angry and for that reason will be
easier to handle. I don’t believe he could hit a barn door now.”

Shirley followed Dick’s command and withdrew a short distance, although
she was still in plain sight of the infuriated Nicaraguan.

Standing quietly, with his hands on his hips, Dick awaited the attack of
the Nicaraguan. A full hundred yards away, but still running, the latter
opened fire with his revolver.

“Good!” thought Dick to himself. “He can’t hit me that way, and his
shells will soon be gone.”

Five times Orizaba fired, and each time the bullet went wild.

Shirley, from her place of safety, watched the encounter breathlessly.
She stood with clenched fists and awaited the outcome of each shot
anxiously.

A sixth time Orizaba’s revolver spoke.

Dick staggered, and Shirley gave utterance to a scream, while a laugh of
derision came from the Nicaraguan.

But the latter’s mirth was destined to be short-lived. Dick, still with
a smile on his face in spite of the dull pain in his left arm where
Orizaba’s last bullet had struck, stepped forward to meet his enemy in
his mad rush.

They came together with a shock and tumbled to the ground, where Orizaba
clawed desperately at Dick’s face and eyes.


“So that’s your game, eh?” muttered Dick to himself.

He protected his face with his injured arm, while with the uninjured one
he rained a shower of blows upon the Nicaraguan’s face. The latter soon
tired of this and sprang to his feet. Dick also arose.

There was a cry of alarm from Shirley as Orizaba stepped back. His hand
went to his belt, and a knife flashed in the air. But Dick, quick as a
cat, gave him no time to use it.

He realized his danger in an instant and acted promptly. With a shout he
sprang forward, and seized the upraised arm with his right hand. He
twisted it fiercely, and the Nicaraguan gave a cry of pain as he
released his hold on the knife and stepped back.

As he did so, Dick drove his right fist into his face, and General
Orizaba tumbled to the ground, where he lay still.

At the same moment there was a cheer from close at hand and, turning,
Dick saw a dozen marines who had gathered about to watch the contest.
Shirley came forward anxiously.

“Are you hurt Dick?” she asked.

“Not much, I guess,” was the reply. “He winged me with the last shot,
but I am sure it is nothing serious.”

“He’s all right,” shouted one of the marines, as they gathered about him
and congratulated him upon his fight.

Shirley turned on them angrily.

“And you stood off and left him to be killed,” she exclaimed. “You ought
to be ashamed of yourselves.”

“Oh, we know he could handle that fellow,” was the response, but the men
looked at one another somewhat sheepishly.

Their reason for not interfering was perfectly apparent. They had
enjoyed the spectacle of Dick and Orizaba locked in combat, and had felt
morally certain Dick would come out on top.

“Just the same, he might have been badly hurt!” said Shirley, by no
means convinced.

“Oh, they did all right,” said Dick with a laugh. “Come Shirley, let’s
get back to the ship and I’ll have the surgeon look at this arm.”

“Are you hurt, Jack?” asked one of the men stepping forward.

“Bullet in the arm,” was Dick’s reply; and he added: “But my name is not
Jack.”

“Everybody is Jack to us,” was the answer. “But had we known you were
wounded we would have taken that fellow off your hands. Come on, there
is Dr. Thomas over there.”

Dick and Shirley followed the marines to where the surgeon was engaged
in bandaging the wounds of an American sailor, the only man who had been
touched by one of the enemy’s bullets.

He bound Dick’s arm up quickly, remarking that it would be as good as
new in a day or two.

“Shirley!”

It was Mabel’s voice, and turning, Shirley saw her chum rushing toward
her. She ran to meet her and the greeting was affectionate.

“How dared you take such a chance, Mabel?” demanded Shirley.

“Well, somebody had to do it, and I was closest the horse,” was the
reply. “I knew they couldn’t hit me.”

“Nevertheless, it was a desperate risk,” said Dick, who came up at that
moment. “I expected to see your horse go tumbling.”

“But how did you get aid so quickly?” demanded Shirley.

Mabel explained.

“And they made me go back when the fighting began,” she continued. “I
wanted to hunt you up immediately, but the lieutenant wouldn’t let me.”

“I should say not,” declared Dick.

“Shirley was in danger. Why shouldn’t I have been there?” demanded
Mabel. “I saw Dick and the general fighting and I came forward as fast
as I could,” the girl continued, “and when I saw the Nicaraguan go down
I knew our troubles were over.”

“And where is Dad?” asked Shirley.

“I didn’t see him,” replied Mabel. “I suppose they are looking for us in
some other part of the town. I’ll bet they are badly frightened.”

“I fear so too,” replied Shirley. “I guess we had better get back as
soon as we can. But we shall have to thank the lieutenant first.”

That officer declared that he wanted no thanks.

“We are glad to have been able to take a shot at those fellows,” he
said. “We have been wanting to do it for a long time, but this is the
first opportunity we have had. We—Hello!”

He broke off suddenly. Riding rapidly toward them was a large body of
men, and above them floated a white flag. They dismounted some distance
away, and one approached.

The girls recognized this man immediately. He was President Garcia.

He rode up to the lieutenant, and introduced himself.

“And I would like the person of Orizaba delivered to me,” he said
quietly.

“You shall have him,” replied the lieutenant. “It will save us trouble.”

The unfortunate revolutionist, fully recovered now, was turned over to
the President of Nicaragua and marched away. Then President Garcia
appeared to perceive Shirley and Mabel for the first time. He raised his
hat to them.

“I am pleased that the senoritas have escaped safely,” he said quietly,
and making a low bow to them, he turned his horse about, and a moment
later was gone.

The lieutenant in command of the marines now ordered his men back to
their ship, and the girls accompanied them on their return march through
the town. Dark looks were cast at them from all sides, but none ventured
a word.

“You may see they don’t love us very much in these parts,” said the
lieutenant with a smile. “They would welcome a chance to shoot us all.”

At the pier the two girls saw their fathers approaching rapidly, and
they ran forward to meet them. The meeting was affectionate, for both
Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton had been greatly alarmed at their long
absence.

“I am going to keep my eye on you in the future,” declared Mr. Willing.

The girls only laughed. Both men were profuse in their praise of Dick’s
gallant actions, and Colonel Ashton declared:

“It’s a good thing we brought him along, Willing.”

The marines gave the Willing party a rousing cheer as they stepped into
the _Yucatan’s_ small boat and were rowed back to the vessel.

“I’m glad to see you back,” declared Captain Anderson. “We’re late now.
We shall leave here at once.” He turned to the first officer. “You may
get under way immediately, sir!”

And as the _Yucatan_ steamed from the harbor, the passengers gathered
about the two girls, demanding an account of their experiences.



CHAPTER XIX.—A GUATEMALA ADVENTURE.


“This,” said Captain Anderson, waving his hand, as the steamer entered a
little harbor, “is Champerico, the only Guatemalan port at which we
shall touch. It is the last Central American republic we shall see.
Would you care to go ashore?”

“I would like to go,” said Shirley, with a sidelong look at her father.

“You won’t go unless I do,” was Mr. Willing’s ultimatum. “You have been
in trouble enough. I’m going to keep you in sight.” He turned to Colonel
Ashton. “Would you care to go ashore, Ashton?”

“Why, yes,” was the reply.

“Good. Then we shall all go,” said Mr. Willing.

“You can go with me,” said Captain Anderson. “I am going to pay my
respects to the American consul.”

An hour later a small boat put off from the ship and headed shoreward.
In it, besides Captain Anderson and the crew, were Mr. Willing, Colonel
Ashton, Dick, Shirley and Mabel.

“We’ll keep out of trouble this time,” commented Mr. Willing.

They accompanied Captain Anderson to the United States consulate, where
they were introduced to the consul. An hour later they all started back
toward the boat.

As they walked down one of the dirty streets Captain Anderson espied a
figure slinking along.

“Hey!” he cried. “There goes that scoundrel Von Blusen, who broke his
parole and ran away at Corinto. I’ll get him!”

He darted hurriedly across the street, and laid a hand on the young
man’s shoulder. The latter looked up in surprise, and then perceiving
Captain Anderson, jerked suddenly free and took to his heels, running
directly toward the Willing party.

“Head him off!” cried Captain Anderson, and Dick and the two men leaped
to obey.

Straight at them rushed the young German officer, and a few feet away
hurled himself forward with a powerful spring. He struck the three
squarely, and all went to the ground in a tangled heap.

Von Blusen was the first to regain his feet. He raised a hand as though
to strike one of his fallen adversaries, but the approach of Captain
Anderson at that moment caused him to turn and flee quickly.

The captain made after him at top speed, calling upon him to halt.
Around the block they ran, and then, unconsciously doubling back, Von
Blusen once more found himself bearing down on Dick and Mr. Willing and
Colonel Ashton.

A moment later Captain Anderson, panting, hove in sight and gasped out:

“Stop him!”

This time the three spread out, so they would have a better chance of
halting the fugitive. The latter ran straight at Mr. Willing and the
force of the contact sent both to the ground. As Von Blusen arose
Colonel Ashton leaped for him.

But the German was too quick for the colonel, and missing his grasp, the
latter sprawled on the street. Von Blusen turned just in time to meet
Dick with a hard blow to the face, and Dick toppled over.

Then Von Blusen darted up a little alleyway.

Unmindful of his intention to keep a close eye on the girls, Mr.
Willing, now red with anger, made after him, as did the colonel, Captain
Anderson and Dick.

The girls found themselves alone in the street.

The noise of the chase had attracted many spectators, among them several
members of the native police.

Suddenly Captain Von Blusen emerged from the alleyway on the dead run,
his pursuers close on his trail.

Perceiving one man thus followed by many, the native officers decided to
interfere. Von Blusen darted past them, evading their outstretched arms
by dodging neatly; but the others were not so fortunate.

Pursuers and native police collided with a shock, and there was a tangle
of arms and legs as they rolled in the dirty street. The officers freed
themselves first, and drawing their revolvers stood by while the others
arose.

One of them broke into a torrent of Spanish.

Captain Anderson, the only member of the party who spoke the language,
halted in his tracks.

“I’m an American citizen,” he told the policeman. “Take your hands off
me,” this to one of the officers who insisted upon holding him by the
arm.

The officer chattered volubly and clung to the arm.

Captain Anderson freed his arm with a quick wrench, and tapped the
officer lightly on the shoulder with his hand.

“Caramba!” roared the Guatemalan, and levelled his revolver at the
captain.

“Caramba yourself!” cried the captain, and extending his arm suddenly,
he took the pistol away from the little officer.

The latter stamped the ground angrily and broke into another torrent of
unintelligible words.

But Captain Anderson now perceived he had acted rashly in thus giving
way to his temper. The blood of the other native officers was aroused,
and they surrounded the Americans gesticulating vigorously.

At that moment Captain Von Blusen, who had been hovering just around the
corner, reappeared, and approaching the officers, addressed them in
Spanish.

“These men tried to rob me,” he declared. “I want them arrested!”

“Si señor! It shall be done!” replied one of the officers.

“I’ll go with you to make the charge,” continued the young German.

“Si señor!” said the native officer.

Turning, he motioned for the four to precede him. Captain Anderson was
inclined to hang back, as were the others, but a word from Captain Von
Blusen decided them to go on.

“They’ll shoot if you don’t go,” declared Von Blusen with a smile.

Shirley and Mabel, who had been standing nearby while all this was going
on, now made as though to approach, but Mr. Willing waved them back.

“Go back to the consulate and tell the consul what has happened,” he
called to her.

The girls turned to go, but Von Blusen, realizing what was going on,
called to the officers to stop them.

“Run!” cried Captain Anderson, who was the only one who understood the
import of the German’s words.

“Halt!” cried one of the Guatemalans, as the girls broke into a run.

But the girls did not understand him, and if they had, their actions
would have been the same.

They set out for the consulate at top speed and they did not stop, in
spite of pursuit and cries of “Halt!” until they dashed in the door.

The consul greeted them with an exclamation of surprise.

“What’s the matter?” he demanded.

Shirley explained.

“And hurry,” she added tearfully, “they will lock them up in a dirty old
jail.”

The consul was forced to smile.

“Oh, well, I guess it won’t hurt them any,” he replied.

The girls looked at him in astonishment, and Shirley opened her mouth to
speak. The consul silenced her with a gesture.

“I’ll get them out, all right,” he assured them.

He looked at his watch and continued.

“It is now ten o’clock. I think I can safely promise to have them back
aboard the _Yucatan_ by five o’clock.”

“Five o’clock!” repeated Shirley. “And where will they be all that
time?”

“Jail,” was the brief reply.

Shirley could not repress an exclamation of dismay.

“But can’t you hurry?” she exclaimed.

“Now don’t you fret,” said the consul. “There is certain red tape that
must be gone through, and it will take time. Besides, it is needless to
hurry. In this country no one hurries. If I seem unduly excited it will
take longer than ever.”

“Please do the best you can, then,” said Shirley.

“I shall,” replied the consul. “In the meantime, you two girls return
aboard the _Yucatan_. I’ll call my secretary and have him escort you
back.”

In response to his summons a young man appeared and the consul
instructed him to see them back aboard their ship.

“Yes, sir,” said the young man. “Come,” to the girls.

He accompanied them to the wharf, where he instructed the sailors to
take them aboard and then return and await the arrival of the captain
and the others.

It was almost six o’clock when Shirley and Mabel, gazing toward shore,
perceived the little boat of the _Yucatan_ bobbing toward them. As it
drew close they could make out the faces of their fathers, Dick and
Captain Anderson.

A short time later all appeared on deck. Their clothing was ruffled and
dirty, and it was plain to the girls that their fathers were not in the
best of temper. Nevertheless Shirley could not repress a slight dig at
them.

First she approached Captain Anderson.

“And did you capture Captain Von Blusen?” she asked.

“No,” grumbled the captain. “I hope I never set eyes on him again.”

“Dad,” said Shirley, “do you remember what you said to us about getting
into trouble?”

Mr. Willing growled some unintelligible reply.

“We’ve never been in jail yet, Dad,” continued Shirley slyly. “Were
you?”

Mr. Willing glanced at his daughter and seemed about to make some sharp
response. Then he controlled himself and spoke:

“Yes, we were in jail,” he growled. “We spent the best part of the day
there.”

“Well,” said Shirley, “you are always getting in trouble. I reckon Mabel
and I will have to keep closer watch on you.”

“I am sure of it,” declared Mabel.

Dick smiled, but there was no amusement on the faces of Mr. Willing nor
Colonel Ashton. They scowled at their daughters.

“Now, Dad,” continued Shirley, “did Captain Von Blusen—”

“Will you be quiet?” demanded Mr. Willing. “Haven’t we had enough
trouble for one day without all this chatter. Come, Ashton, we’ll go to
our cabin.”

Shirley, Mabel and Dick broke into a loud laugh as the two stalked away
arm in arm, looking neither to the right nor left.



CHAPTER XX.—UP THE MEXICAN COAST.


The passengers aboard the _Yucatan_ gazed curiously at the approaching
battle cruiser.

It was the morning following the departure from Champerico, and the
_Yucatan_ had been halted by a shot fired across her bow. Officers and
passengers alike were curious as to the identity of the cruiser.

So far she had shown no colors.

“Do you suppose she is English?” asked Shirley of Dick, as they gazed
over the rail at the oncoming stranger.

“Must be either English or Japanese,” replied Dick. “Not much chance of
any other vessel being in these waters, unless, of course, she is a
United States cruiser. But that can’t be, because she would not have
halted us.”

Signs of activity became apparent aboard the cruiser, and the colors
were run up the masthead. For a moment they could not be distinguished,
but as the breeze caught the ensign, a gasp went up from the passengers,
with here and there a cheer.

For the colors thus displayed were the red, white and black of Germany!

“My goodness! Will she shoot us?” exclaimed Shirley in some dismay.

“Hardly,” declared Dick. “I don’t believe Germany wants to go to war
with the United States.”

There came a message from the German to Captain Anderson:

“I am coming aboard!”

A few moments later a boat put off from the cruiser, and soon scraped
alongside the _Yucatan_. An officer appeared over the side and was
greeted by Captain Anderson.

“How did you get here?” was his first question. “I had reason to believe
the _Yucatan_ was now in other waters.”

“Well,” replied Captain Anderson dryly, “your little piracy scheme
didn’t work, you see.”

The German officer controlled his temper with an effort.

“Have you a passenger by the name of Bristow aboard?”

“Oh,” said the captain, “you mean Von Blusen. We did have him aboard, in
irons. I released him on parole, and he broke it. I’ll never trust
another German.”

The German officer drew himself up angrily.

“Have a care, sir!” he exclaimed. “You seem to forget that I can sink
you on a moment’s notice.”

“Oh, no I don’t. But I’m sure you won’t. Already you have troubles
enough. I’ll thank you to dispose of your business immediately and then
get off my ship.”

“I’ll have a look at your papers,” said the German shortly.

Captain Anderson led the way to his cabin.

As they talked, the passengers on deck noticed smoke upon the horizon.
Save for this little blur and the German cruiser there was nothing else
in sight but water.

The blur became larger, and at last took the shape of a vessel. As it
drew nearer it could be seen that it was a battle cruiser. It bore down
toward the German cruiser at full speed.

“I hope it’s an Englishman,” declared Shirley.

“Probably is,” said her father, “although it may be a Jap.”

Still the German officer was in the cabin with Captain Anderson.

Suddenly the head of another German officer appeared over the rail of
the _Yucatan_ and dashed toward the captain’s cabin. A moment later both
reappeared, dropped over the side and the boat made back toward the
cruiser.

The _Yucatan_ was very close, and now, at a command from Captain
Anderson, she got under way.

“If that other cruiser is a Britisher, there is bound to be a fight, and
we don’t want to be in the way,” explained the captain. “We’ll stand off
at a distance and look on.”

This plan met the approval of the passengers, and as the _Yucatan_
steamed toward a safe spot all eyes were turned upon the second cruiser
waiting for her to show her colors.

And at last they were unfurled, and a cheer rang the length of the ship.
The British ensign fluttered from the mast.

The German cruiser, immediately the identity of the other was
determined, turned to flee. She seemed fully as large as the British
ship, and there were comments of surprise aboard the _Yucatan_ that she
didn’t offer to accept battle.

But there was to be no escape for the German. The British cruiser gave
chase, and it was soon apparent that she was much faster than the foe.

There was a heavy crash as her big guns opened fire on the stern of the
enemy. The _Yucatan’s_ passengers watched eagerly for the result.

The German cruiser seemed to stagger in her stride, and a cloud of wood
and steel flew in the air. The first shot had struck home, and in some
manner had disabled the engines of the German. Escape being impossible,
the latter turned to give battle.

Immediately the British cruiser reduced her speed.

Shirley and Mabel stood at the rail of the _Yucatan_ with clasped hands
and strained faces.

“And to think that we shall see a real sea fight!” exclaimed Mabel.

“But think of the poor sailors,” said Shirley.

“Of course,” said Mabel, “but they may be saved. Perhaps the German
commander will surrender.”

“I am sure he won’t,” declared Shirley.

“No, he won’t surrender,” said Dick. “Whatever else you may say of the
Germans, their bravery cannot be doubted.”

Now the first gun on the German cruiser spoke, and a shell plowed up the
water alongside the Britisher.

“They’ll have the range in a minute,” said Dick, “and then they’ll go at
it hammer and tongs.”

He was right. The next shot from the German burst squarely over her
enemy’s forward turret, putting it out of commission.

There was a cheer from the few German passengers aboard the _Yucatan_.

But the British cruiser more than evened up the score with her next
shot.

A shell burst squarely amidships on the German. A moment later there was
a terrific explosion.

The German cruiser seemed to part in the middle. It staggered crazily.
She had been wounded unto death, as every passenger aboard the _Yucatan_
realized.

Men flung themselves into the sea, and struck out in the direction of
the _Yucatan_.

Captain Anderson was a humane man, and while the matter possibly was
none of his business, he determined to aid the unfortunate victims. He
ordered the ship’s lifeboats manned and lowered.

“Look!” cried Shirley.

Another terrific explosion drowned her voice. The German cruiser
suddenly sprang into a brilliant sheet of flame, seemed to leap in the
air, then disappeared.

The calm waters of the Pacific closed over her. She was gone.

Shirley and Mabel held their breath in speechless amazement. It seemed
to them incredible that such a great ship could have been sent to the
bottom in such a short time.

“The poor sailors!” exclaimed Shirley. “I hope they will all be saved.”

“They won’t be,” declared Captain Anderson, who had come up and now
stood among the others. “With my glass I saw the commander on the bridge
a moment before the ship went down. He has gone with her, and so,
probably, have most of his officers.”

He lifted his cap from his head, as did the passengers.

“It’s a terrible thing, this war,” continued the Captain. “How many went
down I do not know; but how many of those who did knew what they were
fighting for? Not many.”

Meanwhile the little lifeboats of the _Yucatan_ were helping the crews
of the British cruiser pick up the survivors. The work went on with the
utmost haste, for there were many who could not swim.

Fortunately most of those who had jumped just before the explosion were
saved. These were all taken aboard the British cruiser, and a short time
later the British commander came aboard the _Yucatan_.

Shirley and Mabel looked with some awe at this British sea fighter. He
seemed a veritable hero in their eyes. Once on deck, he strode toward
Captain Anderson with quick steps, his carriage erect.

“I thank you for your assistance in saving many helpless sailors,” he
said to Captain Anderson. “Without your aid many would have perished.”

“How badly is your ship damaged, sir?” asked Captain Anderson, asking
the question that was uppermost in the minds of all aboard the
_Yucatan_.

“Very little, sir,” was the reply. “Two guns shot to pieces, and five
men injured. No man was killed. There was also some slight damage to the
engine room. It was a notable victory.”

“Indeed it was!” cried Shirley, who could keep silent no longer.

The British sea captain gazed at her for a moment, then bowed slightly.

Shirley’s face grew red at her own boldness, but she said nothing more.

The commander of the British cruiser followed Captain Anderson to the
latter’s cabin, where he inspected the ship’s papers. Half an hour later
he made his way over the side of the _Yucatan_ and was soon back aboard
the cruiser.

Immediately he had left, the _Yucatan_ got under way and continued her
journey up the Mexican coast.

All the passengers remained on deck gazing after the British cruiser,
which had turned in the opposite direction; and until she was lost to
sight in the distance, a faint smoke marking her location, hardly an eye
was taken from her.

“Well, Shirley,” said Mr. Willing, “what did you think of the battle?”

“It was wonderful,” replied the girl, clasping her hands. “I am glad the
English won.”

“And so am I,” agreed her father. “How do you think you would like to be
a sailor aboard a man-o’-war.”

“I’d love it!” declared Shirley with enthusiasm.

Dick looked at her peculiarly.

“I believe you would,” he said quietly at last, and, turning on his
heel, he went below.



CHAPTER XXI.—A WOMAN PLOTTER.


Aboard the _Yucatan_ was a woman passenger, who, on the trip up the
Pacific, had made herself very agreeable to the members of the Willing
party. She was not an American although she spoke English fluently, with
the slightest of accents. Neither Shirley nor Mabel had asked her
nationality, but they had agreed that she must be a Spaniard.

The woman had given her name as Mrs. Miguel Sebastian and this
strengthened the belief of the members of the Willing party that she was
a native of one of the Latin countries. She had come aboard the ship for
the first time at Colon, but for several days had kept to her stateroom,
so the passengers had not seen much of her.

She was young, hardly more than twenty-five, slender, rather light
complexioned for a Spaniard, and extremely pretty. Since leaving
Champerico she had been much in the company of Shirley and Mabel, and
both girls had taken an instinctive liking to her.

She had travelled much, apparently, and told them tales of many lands.
Her husband, she said, was abroad in Europe, but would join her in San
Francisco within a month. She was well posted on current events, and
seemed to have the history of Mexico at her finger tips.

It was while the _Yucatan_ was steaming into the harbor of Acapulco, the
first Mexican port at which they were to touch, that Mrs. Sebastian
related some of the history of the revolution-torn republic.

“I have always been greatly interested in Mexico,” she told the girls,
as the three leaned over the rail this morning. “I have spent several
years in the country. I have friends here in Acapulco, and I shall make
an effort to see them while here. Would you care to go with me?”

“We would love to,” declared Shirley, “but I don’t know whether Dad will
consent to our going without him.”

“We shall see,” returned Mrs. Sebastian. “I can promise you a dinner
that you will never forget. Nowhere outside of Mexico can you get real
Mexican food, and it will be something to remember.”

Colonel Ashton, Mr. Willing and Dick now joined the others on deck, and
Shirley asked for permission to accompany Mrs. Sebastian.

Mr. Willing appeared somewhat dubious, but Mrs. Sebastian also asked him
to consent.

“I’ll promise to return them to you safely,” she said with a smile.

“In that event, I shall give my consent to their going, madam,” returned
Colonel Ashton gallantly.

“And I,” agreed Mr. Willing.

“Thanks so much,” said Mrs. Sebastian, “and I’ll go and ask Captain
Anderson just how long we shall remain here.”

She walked away.

“Mr. Willing,” said Dick, “it may appear wrong, but somehow or other I
don’t exactly trust that woman.”

“Pooh!” replied Mr. Willing. “What does a youngster like you know?”

“Perhaps I am wrong,” replied Dick, “but something tells me she is not
to be trusted. She is up to some mischief.”

“Why, Dick!” exclaimed Shirley. “Don’t you want us to go?”

“To tell the truth I don’t,” was the reply.

“Young man,” said Colonel Ashton, “you will learn, as you grow older,
not to jump to such rash conclusions. Mrs. Sebastian is a gentlewoman.”

“Right you are, Ashton,” declared Mr. Willing. “We’re old enough to
know, eh?”

The two men smiled at each other and walked away, leaving the young
people together.

Mrs. Sebastian returned a few moments later.

“Captain Anderson says we shall be here until evening,” she said, “so we
shall have plenty of time for our trip ashore. He says we may go in the
first boat, so you girls had better run along to your cabin and get
ready. Mr. Stanley will entertain me until you return.”

Shirley and Mabel hurried away, and Dick and Mrs. Sebastian stood
together looking across the water at the shore, which was drawing closer
rapidly.

“Where are you going when you get ashore?” asked Dick abruptly.

“Why, I am going to call upon a friend,” was the smiling reply.

“Then you have been here before?” questioned Dick.

“Many times.”

“Mrs. Sebastian,” said Dick quietly, “are you a Mexican?”

The woman started back in surprise.

“Why, no,” she replied at last. “I was born in Spain. Why do you ask?”

“I just wondered,” was Dick’s evasive answer. “By the way, I suppose it
is perfectly peaceful here now?”

“Yes, indeed,” was the reply. “I guess the fighting is all over, now
that General Villa has been successful in Chihuahua and other northern
states.”

“But there has been trouble down here?”

“Oh yes, but it is all over. Besides, the revolutionists probably have
not enough money to buy arms and ammunition.”

“Why don’t they steal them? It wouldn’t be the first time.”

Mrs. Sebastian’s face turned red.

“What do you mean?” she asked angrily.

“I am sorry I offended you,” Dick apologized. “I spoke thoughtlessly.”

“Say no more about it,” said Mrs. Sebastian with a laugh. “I am
naturally touchy on that subject, for I have friends who were of the
revolutionary party.”

“I see,” replied Dick, and the subject was changed as Shirley and Mabel
returned to them.

Half an hour later the _Yucatan_ dropped anchor a mile off shore and the
small boats were lowered for such passengers as desired to land.

Mrs. Sebastian, Shirley and Mabel soon found themselves in the first
boat and making shoreward at a good clip.

“We shall be back in plenty of time,” Mrs. Sebastian had called to Mr.
Willing just before they took their places in the boat.

The men nodded and waved their hands, and the occupants of the boat
returned the salute.

Now the small boat scraped the shore, and an officer sprang out and lent
a hand to the passengers. Mrs. Sebastian was the first to go ashore, and
Shirley and Mabel followed a moment later.

The little street that ran along the water front was crowded with
natives, dirty, ragged and unkempt, with here and there a gaily bedecked
Mexican. They did not present a very inviting aspect, and the two girls
shrank close to Mrs. Sebastian.

The latter paid no attention to the natives, but pushed her way through
the crowd with never a glance to right or left. She continued along the
street until they came upon a long line of dilapidated cabs.

She signalled to one of the drivers, who opened the door. Mrs. Sebastian
motioned the girls to climb in, spoke a few quick words in Spanish to
the driver and entered the cab. A moment later they were being driven
through the dirty streets as fast as the old horse could go.

“I thought my friend might be at the landing to meet me,” the woman
explained, “but as I didn’t see anything of her, I thought best to drive
right to her home.”

Shirley and Mabel nodded their understanding of this, and turned to view
the passing sights.

After an hour’s drive the cab pulled up before a house somewhat larger
than the rest, and the cabman dismounted and threw open the door.

“Here we are at last,” said Mrs. Sebastian as she alighted and motioned
the girls to follow. Then she gave the cabman a single piece of silver
and turned to the heavy door.

This she opened without the formality of a knock, and led the way across
a small patio—a courtyard—in the center of what appeared to be the
house itself. Here they brought up against another door, and Mrs.
Sebastian knocked sharply three times.

There was a moment’s delay, then the door swung open and a man’s face
appeared.

At sight of Mrs. Sebastian the man stepped back with a bow, and Mrs.
Sebastian, followed by the two girls, swept by him.

The door slammed behind them.

Mrs. Sebastian led the way into a small but luxuriously furnished room
off the main hall, where she turned to the man who had followed them,
and spoke a few words in Spanish. The man bowed and departed.

“I told him to announce our arrival,” explained Mrs. Sebastian.

The girls surveyed the interior of the handsome apartment curiously.

“I had no idea they lived so well in Mexico,” said Shirley.

“Nor I,” declared Mabel.

“The upper classes live as well in Mexico as elsewhere,” replied Mrs.
Sebastian. “It is only the poorer—or peon—class that you have heard
about, apparently.”

Footsteps sounded without and a moment later a handsomely attired woman
entered the room, followed a moment later by a fancifully garbed man.
The woman rushed up to Mrs. Sebastian and they greeted each other
affectionately. The man also appeared glad to see the visitor.

Mrs. Sebastian then presented the girls, and it developed that both Don
Miguel and his wife—for so they were introduced—spoke English. They
made the girls welcome, and told them to make themselves at home.

“I have promised them a real Mexican dinner,” explained Mrs. Sebastian
with a little laugh.

“They shall have it,” replied Don Miguel, throwing wide his arms.

“And now,” said Mrs. Sebastian, “where can we have a talk?”

“In the next room,” was the reply.

“Good! I am sure my young friends will excuse me for half an hour.”

She looked inquiringly at the two girls. The latter nodded, and the Don
and two women made their way from the room.

The moment they were gone, Shirley and Mabel began an inspection of the
room. There were two windows, both of which looked on the street and
both of which were barred.

Shirley uttered an exclamation.

“Barred!” she said.

“That’s nothing,” laughed Mabel. “Surely you remember all windows are
barred in Mexico.”

“That’s so,” agreed Shirley.

After some further inspection of the room, Mabel crossed to the door
through which they had come, and turned the knob. Then her face paled
and she stepped back with an exclamation of alarm.

“What’s the matter, Mabel?” asked Shirley.

For a moment Mabel did not reply. Again she turned the knob and then she
stepped back and looked at Shirley.

“It’s locked!” she declared.



CHAPTER XXII.—CAPTAIN VON BLUSEN BOBS UP AGAIN.


“Are you sure?” asked Shirley, her face also turning a shade whiter.

“Try it yourself,” replied Mabel.

Shirley advanced and laid hold of the knob, but the door would not open.

The girls looked at each other in alarm.

“I never heard that they always locked the doors in Mexico,” said Mabel.

“Nor I,” agreed Shirley. “Do you suppose it was an accident?”

“I don’t know what to think,” replied Mabel.

There was no denying the fact that both girls were badly frightened.
They darted hither and thither about the room, seeking a means of
egress; but there was none and they finally sat down.

“It must have been an accident,” said Shirley at last. “Surely Mrs.
Sebastian would have no reason for wishing to keep us prisoners.”

“That’s what I think,” Mabel agreed. “The door must have locked itself.”

“Well, all we can do is wait for some one to return,” said Shirley.

And so they waited.

As the minutes passed, each seemingly more slowly than the one that had
gone before, the fright of the girls increased.

An hour passed and still Mrs. Sebastian had not returned.

Shirley was about to speak, when they heard the sounds of footsteps
outside and the doorknob turned. The door opened and Mrs. Sebastian
stepped in smiling.

“I had no idea I had been gone so long,” she exclaimed. “Why didn’t you
call me? You have been as quiet as mice.”

Shirley and Mabel each drew a breath of great relief.

“Then you didn’t lock us in purposely?” asked Mabel.

“Lock you in? What do you mean?”

“The door was locked and we couldn’t get out. That’s why we were so
quiet,” replied Shirley, laughing. “We thought you had locked us in.”

“The idea!” exclaimed Mrs. Sebastian. “The door locked?” She approached
and examined it. Then she looked up with a smile. “Why, the catch is
on,” she exclaimed, smiling. “And were you frightened?”

“No, not much,” replied Mabel slowly. “We knew it must have been locked
accidentally.”

“Of course,” replied the woman. “Now would you care to wash up a bit?
Dinner will be ready in fifteen minutes.”

The girls nodded and the woman led the way. Fifteen minutes later all
were seated in the cozy dining room, where Shirley and Mabel had their
first introduction to Mexican cooking.

Each girl sampled everything that was placed before her, and in spite of
their efforts to try and enjoy the meal, disappointment was written
large on their features. Mrs. Sebastian noticed this and laughed, while
the donna and her husband smiled slightly.

“So you don’t like the Mexican dishes,” said Mrs. Sebastian.

“Well, they are a little too hot for me,” said Shirley, somewhat
ruefully.

“Try some of these tortillas,” said the man, “perhaps you will find them
to your liking, though they are warm.”

The girls tried some, but with no better result. They finally gave up in
despair.

The meal over, Mrs. Sebastian led the way back to the other room, which
apparently was the parlor. Here all sat down to talk and the girls spent
a very pleasant afternoon.

Finally Shirley looked at her watch. “What time did Captain Anderson say
we would leave?” she asked of Mrs. Sebastian.

“Soon after five o’clock,” was the reply. “Why?”

“It’s almost four now,” replied Shirley. “Hadn’t we better be going?”

“Oh, no, we have plenty of time,” was the answer. “It will not take us
so long to get back.”

Shirley subsided, and the others continued the conversation.

At half past four Shirley again mentioned the time. Mrs. Sebastian
arose, spoke a few words to the others in Spanish, and then came over to
Shirley.

“I have decided,” she said, laying a hand on the girl’s shoulder, “to
remain here over night and go on by train to-morrow. Will not you and
Mabel stay with me?”

“I am sorry, but we can’t do that,” replied Shirley. “If you will call a
cab for us and direct the driver, we shall not trouble you to take us
back to the boat.”

“But we should like to have you stay,” said the donna.

“We would indeed be glad to do so, but father would worry,” said Mabel.

The Don also added his voice, but the girls turned a deaf ear. Both
arose and put on their hats. Then they approached to tell their hosts
good-bye.

Mrs. Sebastian spoke quickly to the Don and his wife in Spanish. Then
she turned to the girls.

“Come,” she said, “remove your hats and stay.”

“It is impossible,” replied Mabel.

“We would be glad to if we could,” said Shirley, “but we must hurry now,
or we shall be too late, and the ship will go without us.”

The girls turned toward the door.

“One moment,” said Mrs. Sebastian, raising a hand.

The girls halted in their tracks.

“We must insist upon your staying over with us,” said the woman quietly.

“But—” began Shirley.

“I said we must insist,” repeated Mrs. Sebastian. “You may as well
remove your hats.”

Both girls stared at her in utter astonishment. Shirley was the first to
grasp the significance of the situation.

“Then it is true!” she exclaimed; “the door was locked! We are
prisoners!”

The man of the house bowed low.

“Prisoners, or guests,” he said. “It shall be as you prefer.”

Shirley did not reply, but leaped quickly toward the door. The others
were across the room and could not interfere. The door swung open, and
Shirley called out:

“Quick, Mabel! Run!”

Mabel sprang after her friend.

But the time taken to open the door proved costly. Before Shirley could
dart through it, Mrs. Sebastian had her by both shoulders, while the
other woman held Mabel powerless.

Then they led the girls back into the room and bade them sit down.
Perceiving the uselessness of resistance, the girls obeyed.

Mabel immediately broke into tears, and Shirley threw her arms about
her.

“Don’t cry, dearie,” she exclaimed. “We are in no danger. They will not
dare to harm us.”

She gazed at their three captors angrily.

“What do you want with us?” she demanded.

“You shall know in good time,” replied Mrs. Sebastian gruffly.

Her manner had undergone a sudden change. She was no longer the
good-natured, smiling companion of the steamer. Her face was hard, and
she seemed to have aged ten years.

She turned to the other woman.

“Bring paper, pen and ink,” she commanded.

The latter hurried away to obey this order, and returned a few moments
later, bearing the required articles, which she placed on a table.

Mrs. Sebastian drew up several chairs and motioned the two girls, who
had been staring at them curiously, to take the seats.

Both realized it would be useless to refuse and did as commanded. Mrs.
Sebastian passed the paper, pen and ink to Shirley.

“Write as I dictate,” she ordered.

Here Shirley protested.

“What is it you wish me to write?” she asked.

“You’ll hear quick enough,” was the reply. “Write.”

Shirley replaced the pen gently on the table.

“Not until you tell me what you want me to write, and to whom,” she
replied quietly.

The others looked at her in surprise, then conversed a few moments in
Spanish. At last Mrs. Sebastian said:

“The letter is to your father and to Colonel Ashton. It will contain a
demand for $20,000—$10,000 apiece—for your return.”

Shirley rose suddenly to her feet and gave a cry of amazement.

“You mean that we are to be held for ransom?” she exclaimed in unbelief.

“Exactly,” replied the man.

“And so you are robbers,” exclaimed Shirley scornfully.

Mrs. Sebastian’s face flushed.

“No,” she replied quietly. “But the patriotic forces in Mexico are in
need of money. We have taken this means of getting it for them. Your
fathers are rich. They will not miss the money, and it will mean so much
to us.”

“And if we refuse to write?” asked Shirley.

“You probably will spend the remainder of your days in Mexico. But you
won’t refuse. Come now, write as I dictate.”

“May I speak to my friend in private first?” asked Shirley.

Mrs. Sebastian hesitated. Then:

“Yes, but be quick.”

Shirley and Mabel put their heads close together.

“Shall I write the letter, Mabel?” asked Shirley.

“Yes,” was the instant reply. “Then Dad will know we are in danger and
just what sort of danger. It is the only way we can get word to the
others. I know they will find us.”

“I guess you’re right,” agreed Shirley.

She returned to her place at the table, and picked up the pen.

“Dictate and I shall write,” she said.

“I am glad to see you are so sensible,” smiled Mrs. Sebastian.

She dictated and Shirley wrote. When she had finished she had both girls
affix their signatures, and then address an envelope.

She clapped her hands and a young native boy entered the room. To him
Mrs. Sebastian gave the letter and spoke in Spanish, whereupon the boy
hurried away.

Hardly had he gone when there came three sharp knocks at the door
without. The conspirators looked at each other in alarm, and the hopes
of Shirley and Mabel rose suddenly.

But the latter were doomed to disappointment. Mrs. Sebastian left the
room, only to return a few moments later followed by the figure of a
man.

Shirley took one look at him, and gave a cry of surprise.

The newcomer was Captain Von Blusen!



CHAPTER XXIII.—THE SEARCHING PARTY.


A long blast from the whistle of the _Yucatan_ broke the stillness of
late afternoon.

Mr. Willing, Colonel Ashton and Dick, who were peering shoreward from
the deck of the steamer with straining eyes, looked anxiously at each
other.

“What can be detaining them?” exclaimed the former.

“I am sure I don’t know,” returned Colonel Ashton. “They probably will
be here in a few minutes.”

A boat put off from shore; it was the last of the _Yucatan’s_ small
craft, which had been awaiting the return of late passengers. It was too
far away for the watchers to identify those aboard it.

Mr. Willing breathed a sigh of relief.

“I guess they are coming at last,” he said.

The three watched the approach of the boat eagerly. At last it came
close enough to make out the occupants. There was not a woman aboard.

Cries of alarm issued from the lips of the three watchers. At the same
moment there came another blast from the steamer’s siren.

“They are not in the boat!” exclaimed Dick. “What shall we do?”

Mr. Willing did not stop to reply. He hurried toward the bridge where
Captain Anderson stood, ready to give the signal to up-anchor
immediately the small boat was hoisted aboard.

Mr. Willing, closely followed by Colonel Ashton and Dick, rushed up to
him.

“Captain!” exclaimed Mr. Willing. “My daughter and the colonel’s
daughter and Mrs. Sebastian are still ashore. They are not in the last
boat. What is to be done?”

The captain turned the matter over in his mind.

“We should be on our way now,” he replied at last. “I am afraid we shall
have to go without them.”

Mr. Willing let out a roar of protest.

“No you don’t!” he cried. “You can’t go and leave my daughter behind
like that.”

“Well, what would you have me do?” asked the captain.

“Wait!” was the reply. “Wait for them!”

The captain looked at his watch.

“It’s five thirty now,” he said. “I shall wait until six thirty.”

With this the others were forced to be content.

“If they haven’t come then, we’ll have the captain set us ashore,” said
the colonel.

The passengers from the last boat came over the side, and Mr. Willing
questioned them eagerly. None had seen any sign of the missing ones.

Dick, gazing over the rail, uttered a cry and pointed across the water.

A boat was putting off from shore and coming toward the steamer.

“I guess they are coming at last,” said Colonel Ashton. “I’ll read Mabel
a lecture when she gets here.”

As the boat approached closer it became evident that it had but a single
occupant; and as it drew still nearer, that the occupant was a young
native.

Captain Anderson hailed him through his megaphone.

“What do you want?” he shouted in Spanish.

“Message for Señor Willing!” came the reply.

Five minutes later, bowing and scraping, the boy put a message into Mr.
Willing’s hands.

The latter tore it open quickly and his eyes devoured the words in a
moment. Then he gave a cry of rage.

“What’s the matter?” asked Colonel Ashton and Dick in a single voice.

For reply, Mr. Willing read them the contents of the letter—a demand
for $20,000 if the girls were ever to be seen again.

Mr. Willing and the others rushed again toward the captain on the
bridge. The captain read the letter gravely.

“I wish I could help you, sir,” he said at last. “But it is impossible.
I must get under way within half an hour.

“Hey! Where you going?” This last to the native boy who had suddenly
leaped into the water, climbed into his boat and was making off toward
the shore.

“Get him!” cried the captain to his first officer.

One of the _Yucatan’s_ boats put off and gave chase.

But the distance was too great to overtake the fugitive, and it was soon
apparent that he would make his escape.

“If we had laid hold of him we might have learned something,” said
Captain Anderson. “He knows where the girls are. But it’s too late now.”

“What can we do?” demanded Mr. Willing anxiously.

“My advice,” said the captain, “is that you stay behind and put the
matter in the hands of the American consul. He can tell you better what
to do than I can.”

“Where did the message say to leave the money, Willing?” asked Colonel
Ashton.

Mr. Willing passed him the letter.

“Nine o’clock, southeast corner San Francisco street, Tuesday. Check
payable to Miguel Martinez will do. Come alone,” read the colonel.

“H-m-m, must have lots of confidence in themselves if they can use a
check.”

“Now gentlemen,” said Captain Anderson, “the best I can do is to set you
ashore. I must get under way immediately. I’m sorry, but I have my other
passengers to think of.”

Mr. Willing acknowledged the justice of this.

“Give us ten minutes to get some things together and a boat to set us
ashore then,” he said.

The captain consented, and Dick and the two men hastened to their
cabins, where they gathered what few belongings they could.

“We’ll have the captain dispose of the rest in Frisco,” said the
colonel. “We’ll get them when we get there.”

This the captain agreed to do, and ten minutes later the three were
rushing shoreward in the steamer’s powerful gasoline launch. Immediately
they clambered out, the launch put back to the ship.

“Reckon we had better go straight to the consulate, colonel,” said Mr.
Willing.

“Right. But how are we going to find it?”

“I’ll try some of these natives. Some of ’em must speak English.”

After two unsuccessful attempts, Mr. Willing was successful in his
quest.

Half an hour later they were in the presence of the American Consul, Mr.
Edwards, to whom they explained the matter.

“What are they, a band of robbers?” asked Dick.

“I should say they are probably revolutionists,” replied the consul.
“The situation here is peculiar. All factions are at war with each
other. The latest so-called patriots are followers of Carranza, and I
happen to know are without funds. If they can’t pay their men they will
lose them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the ones who had
captured your daughters.”

“Well, what are we going to do about it?” demanded Mr. Willing.

“To tell the truth, there isn’t much we can do. Officially, I am
powerless. The United States hasn’t recognized the Carranza faction, and
for that reason I cannot call on its agents officially. However, I can
pay a personal call upon Señor Jorge Hernandez. He may know something.”

“Then let’s get busy at once,” cried Dick.

“I don’t suppose you care to pay this ransom, Mr. Willing?” asked the
consul.

“I’ll pay it if I can’t get my daughter back any other way. If she is in
danger I shall pay it anyhow.”

“I am sure that she is in no danger of violence,” returned the consul.
“They would not harm an American at this crisis. All they will do is to
hold her in the hope that eventually you will pay. I would advise
against paying the ransom at once.”

“I shall follow your advice, sir,” said Mr. Willing. “You know more
about these brutes than I do.”

“Then we shall call on Hernandez,” said the consul. “Come.”

He called a cab, and all were soon at the home of Señor Hernandez, who
Consul Edwards explained, was one of the foremost of the revolutionists
in western Mexico.

Señor Hernandez received them cordially, and expressed surprise at the
story Mr. Willing related. He even called his wife into consultation.

“If our party is concerned in this matter I am not aware of it,” he told
them. “I shall make inquiries, and if I find it is true, someone shall
pay dearly.”

“Oh, some of your fellows have captured them all right,” declared Dick
angrily. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you know all about it.”

“Sir!” exclaimed the Mexican, drawing himself up.

“Mr. Stanley!” exclaimed the consul. “You forget yourself!”

Even Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton apologized to the Mexican for Dick’s
outburst.

“Say no more about it, señors,” was the suave reply. “Youth is always
hot-headed, you know.”

“I didn’t say it because I am hot-headed,” declared Dick. “I said it
because I mean it.”

Hernandez gazed at the others with an air of wounded dignity.

“If I am to be insulted, I shall not continue the interview longer,” he
said.

“The boy meant no harm, señor,” said the consul. “He is just angry,
that’s all.”

“Then, I shall speak more with you if he is excused,” was the reply.

The consul looked at Dick.

“You had better go outside,” he said. “You have already made trouble
enough.”

Dick was on the point of making an angry retort, but checked himself.

“Very well,” he said. “I shall wait for you without.”

He left the room, and went out on to the street, where he stood gazing
first this way and then that while he waited for the appearance of the
others.

A man swung sharply past him in the darkness. Dick was caught by the
other’s erect carriage, plainly that of a military man.

“Too tall for a Mexican,” muttered Dick. “I’ll have a look at him.”

He followed. Under a dim street light half a block away the man paused
to light a cigar. The flare of the match lighted up his features.

“Von Blusen!” exclaimed Dick. “I’ll bet he is mixed up in this in some
way. I’ll follow him.”

Taking pains to avoid being discovered, he set out on Von Blusen’s
trail.



CHAPTER XXIV.—FLIGHT.


When Mrs. Sebastian entered the room where Shirley and Mabel were held
prisoners, followed by Captain Von Blusen, she immediately addressed her
fellow conspirators.

“This,” she said, indicating the German officer, “is Captain Von Blusen,
a German naval officer. He informs me that he is seeking, for his
government, a naval base on the Pacific. In return for this the German
government will pay handsomely.”

“In that event,” replied the Mexican, who it now developed was none
other than Miguel Martinez, “we may do business. Take a seat, señor.”

Von Blusen did so, and for the first time his eyes fell upon the two
girls.

“Miss Ashton! Miss Willing!” he exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

“We are prisoners,” replied Shirley bitterly.

“Why?” demanded the captain.

“Held for ransom,” replied Shirley.

The captain smiled.

“A good idea,” he said turning to the others. “An excellent manner in
which to raise money, providing you are not caught.”

“I was not aware that you were acquainted with these young ladies,” said
Mrs. Sebastian.

“Oh, yes indeed! I know them well,” was the reply. “In fact I have a
little score to settle with them myself. One of our best laid plans was
foiled because of them.”

“So?” queried Martinez. “Will you explain, captain?”

“With pleasure.”

The captain did so, and the others listened with amazement to the story
of the plot to capture the _Yucatan_, and its ultimate outcome.

“They are smart girls,” declared Mrs. Sebastian, “but this time I
believe we have them safe.”

“I sincerely hope so,” was the reply.

An hour later the girls were left alone.

“What on earth shall we do?” exclaimed Mabel.

“There is nothing we can do,” replied Shirley. “We must wait for some
one to rescue us.”

“Do you suppose there is anything in what Captain Von Blusen gave as his
reason for being here?”

“Of course; but the thing that puzzles me is how he got here so soon.
You remember how we left him?”

“Yes. But he’s a very resourceful man. I wish he were on our side.”

“So do I. If he were, we might get away.”

It was after seven o’clock when Mrs. Sebastian, Martinez and his wife
reentered the room.

“We have had no reply from your fathers as yet,” said the former.
“However, we did not really expect one. It is to be hoped for your sakes
that they leave the money to-night.”

“I don’t believe they will,” replied Shirley quietly.

“So much the worse for you then.”

At this moment a native boy came in and announced that the American
consul was without, accompanied by two strangers, and that he desired
immediate communication with Señor Hernandez.

“Well, they are on the trail,” said Martinez, with a laugh. “I wonder
what the consul would think if he knew that Hernandez and Martinez were
one and the same person. Well, I shall see the consul. You be very quiet
in here, for you know how sounds carry in this house.”

Mrs. Sebastian nodded, and Martinez, alias Hernandez, made his way from
the room.

He returned an hour later with a smile on his face.

“I’ve thrown them off the track, all right,” he said gleefully. “I was
startled for a moment, though. There was a little whipper-snapper with
the two Americanos—Señor Stanley is his name—and he accused me of
knowing the whereabouts of the prisoners. I denied it, and Consul
Edwards rebuked him and sent him from the room.”

At this moment there came footsteps running rapidly down the hall, and a
moment later Captain Von Blusen burst in excitedly.

“Quick!” he cried. “We must get away from here.”

“Here! here!” said Hernandez calmly. “What is the matter? Give an
account of yourself.”

“I was walking along the street,” said Von Blusen, “when I came across
one of the Americans from aboard the _Yucatan_.”

“Who?” demanded Mrs. Sebastian anxiously.

“Young Stanley,” cried the captain.

“Stanley?” repeated the others.

“Yes. I heard someone following me, and I waited for him to come up.
When I saw who it was I hit him with my fist and knocked him down. He
was up in a moment, though, and pitched into me. We had quite a tussle,
but I finally managed to get away and come here to warn you.”

“And were you followed?”

“I don’t know.”

“The Kaiser must be proud of you,” sneered Hernandez. “If you have
botched his plans as you have ours, he would have you shot. Come,” he
turned to the two women, “the game is up. We shall have to fly. If the
Americano has followed this man here, my connection must soon be
discovered. Consul Edwards will suspect. We must fly!”

“Where?” exclaimed Mrs. Sebastian.

“Mazatlan. We have just time to catch the night train. Hurry!”

The two women turned and dashed from the room and Hernandez turned to
the girls.

“Put on your hats,” he said gruffly.

The girls obeyed without a word, for they could see the man was very
angry.

Then he turned to Captain Von Blusen.

“As for you,” he said, “you keep out of my sight in the future. Approach
me again and I will have you shot.”

“But—” began the captain.

Hernandez produced a revolver which he levelled at the German.

“I guess I had better do it now,” he declared. “It will save trouble.”

His finger tightened on the trigger.

But before he could fire, Shirley sprang forward with a cry and seized
the arm that held the revolver.

Hernandez whirled on her angrily, but as he did so, Captain Von Blusen
sprang forward and struck the man a heavy blow on the head with his
fist. Hernandez toppled over.

Captain Von Blusen turned to the girls.

“I can do you no good here,” he said hurriedly. “I’ll tell your friends
where you are being taken and we shall save you.”

He darted from the room and disappeared.

Shirley and Mabel made as though to follow him, but before they reached
the door, the two women reappeared. Mrs. Sebastian took in the situation
with a quick glance and bent over Hernandez, who was now stirring
feebly. Directly he sat up and his gaze roved about the room.

“Where did he go?” he cried.

“Who?” asked his wife.

“The German! The man who knocked me down.”

“He’s gone,” said Mrs. Sebastian. “Come, Hernandez, we have no time to
lose.”

Hernandez staggered to his feet, and his gaze rested on Shirley. He took
a threatening step forward.

“You—” he began.

Mrs. Sebastian threw herself between them.

“There will be no harm done these girls while I am here,” she said
quietly. “Please remember that.”

As Hernandez still seemed on the point of trying to get at Shirley, the
woman suddenly produced a revolver, which she levelled directly at him.

“Stand back!” she cried. “Haven’t you any sense? Don’t you know what
would happen should harm befall either of these girls?”

“She is right,” said the man’s wife. “Come, let us go.”

Hernandez muttered to himself, but he turned away.

In response to his call the native boy again appeared and announced that
a closed cab was at the door.

Hernandez led the way, and Mrs. Sebastian motioned for the girls to
follow him. The two women brought up the rear.

Outside all climbed into the cab and were soon being driven away.

Neither girl uttered a word as the cab bumped along the uneven street,
but each was badly frightened. For half an hour the cab continued its
way and then it came to a stop.

“Not a word!” ordered Hernandez of the two girls, as he prepared to
alight.

The girls had sense enough to obey this injunction and went into the
little station, dimly lighted, and boarded the waiting train without so
much as speaking to each other.

As Shirley glanced back over her shoulder while climbing up the steps,
she caught sight of a familiar figure lurking in the shadows. She could
not be certain, but she felt positive that the man was Captain Von
Blusen.

Captors and captives took seats at the rear end of the last car, where
they sat in silence until the train began to move. Then, for the first
time, did Hernandez breath in relief.

“Safe enough now,” he declared.

“But they may telegraph ahead and have us detained,” said his wife.

“No one knows we have come this way save Captain Von Blusen,” was the
reply, “and it will not be to his interests to interfere with us.”

Shirley and Mabel now found themselves able to converse without being
overheard by the others.

“I saw Captain Von Blusen in the station as we climbed aboard,” said
Shirley.

“Do you think he will help us?” asked Mabel.

“I don’t know, but some way I feel that he will. He seemed sincere
enough when he spoke just before he left.”

“My goodness gracious! I hope something turns up soon!” exclaimed Mabel.
“Our Dads must be worried to death.”

“Well, if Dick is on the trail, I am sure we shall be rescued,” declared
Shirley.

“You have lots of confidence in Dick, haven’t you?” asked Mabel.

“Of course. Why shouldn’t I have?”

“Well, I hope we are rescued soon.”

“Some way, I believe we shall be,” declared Shirley.

The train sped on through the darkness.



CHAPTER XXV.—ON THE TRAIL.


It will now be necessary to go back a little ways.

When Colonel Ashton, Mr. Willing, and U. S. Consul Edwards left the home
of Hernandez, alias Martinez, following their brief interview, they
looked about for Dick who had said he would wait for them on the
outside; but having set forth on the trail of Captain Blusen, Dick, of
course, was not in sight.

“Guess the young man has gone back to the consulate in a huff,” said the
consul with a slight smile.

“He shouldn’t have spoken as he did,” declared Mr. Willing.

“Is there any chance that he was right in his conjectures?” asked
Colonel Ashton slowly.

“Hardly,” replied the consul dryly. “Hernandez is a queer man, but he
would hardly do a thing like that.”

“Well, I don’t know,” replied the colonel. “I have found that you never
go far wrong when you listen to what a newspaper reporter says. They
seem to smell out these things.”

“He’s on the wrong scent now,” declared Edwards.

At the consulate they could find no trace of Dick.

“What can have happened?” demanded Mr. Willing anxiously.

“Oh, he’ll turn up,” declared the consul. “We’ll wait.”

They sat down to await the return of Dick, meanwhile talking over what
was best to be done.

Meantime, Dick, on the trail of Captain Von Blusen, was having troubles
of his own. He had approached too close behind the German, and the
latter had realized he was being followed.

Rounding a corner, the German officer stopped abruptly. As Dick swung
around the corner he recognized him instantly and struck out with his
fist. The blow caught Dick on the side of the head and he went down.

He was up in a moment, however, and grappled with his opponent. In this
sort of fighting the German was no match for Dick, but he finally
succeeded in breaking the latter’s hold, and took to his heels.

Dick ran after him.

Unconsciously the German took the direction from which he had just come,
and not stopping to think that he might be followed, had thus betrayed
the rendezvous. He ran straight to Hernandez’ home, as we already know,
and Dick recognized it.

Captain Von Blusen entered by the back door, and there Dick stopped. He
had seen enough to tell him just how the situation stood, and realizing
that he could accomplish little himself and that haste therefore was
essential, he hurried back to the consulate.

“Where have you been?” cried Mr. Willing jumping to his feet as Dick
burst into the room.

“I’ve been trailing Von Blusen, sir.”

“Von Blusen!”

“Yes, sir, and I have learned enough to warrant my belief that Hernandez
is concerned in the disappearance of Shirley and Mabel.”

In a few words he related what had occurred.

Consul Edwards drummed upon the table with his fingers for several
minutes. Then he rose to his feet.

“You must be right,” he said, “although it seems impossible. Are you
armed?”

The others shook their heads. The consul left the room and returned a
moment later with a revolver for each.

“We may not need them, but it’s best to be prepared,” he said grimly.

“What are you going to do?” asked Colonel Ashton.

“We shall go back and call on Hernandez. In my official capacity, of
course, I could not do this, but I’m willing to take a chance. We’ll
search the house from top to bottom.”

They did not enter the home of Hernandez by the manner in which they had
gone before. Dick led the way to the place he had seen Captain Von
Blusen enter, and tried the door.

To his surprise it opened easily, and Dick, with weapon ready, led the
way in. From first one room to the other they went, Consul Edwards
lighting the way with a pocket searchlight.

Suddenly Dick stooped and picked up something. The consul turned the
light on it. It was a small handkerchief. Dick looked it over for a mark
of identification. In the corner he saw two initials, “S. W.”

He passed it to Mr. Willing.

“Shirley’s!” exclaimed the latter, after a glance at it.

“We are on the right track,” declared the consul.

They continued the search of the house, but not a soul could they find.
From top to bottom and back again they went, but the result, of course,
was the same.

At last they were forced to give it up.

“I have it!” exclaimed Dick suddenly. “Von Blusen warned them and they
have taken the girls some place else.”

“That’s it, of course,” said the consul. “Well there is nothing more we
can do to-night, but I’ll promise to have the town raked with a
fine-tooth comb the first thing in the morning. If they are here, we
shall find them before noon.”

“But where can they be to-night?” demanded Mr. Willing anxiously.

The consul shrugged his shoulders.

“_Quien sabe?_ as the natives say,” he replied. “However, you may make
sure they are in no danger.”

With this the others were forced to be content, and Edwards led the way
back to the consulate. Here he suggested cigars before all should turn
in for the night, and they sat down to talk over the situation.

“I’ll have every house in town searched from top to bottom in the
morning,” said the consul. “They must be here, so we shall of course
find them.”

“I wish there was something we could do to-night,” declared Dick. “This
inaction makes me restless.”

“It makes me that way too, young man,” declared Mr. Willing, “but the
consul undoubtedly knows best. We shall leave it to him.”

Consul Edwards looked at Dick inquisitively.

“What I would like to have you tell me,” he said, “is why you suspected
Hernandez in the first place?”

“I don’t know exactly,” replied Dick slowly. “But he is a shifty-eyed
old villain, and can’t look at you. I have learned that a man like that
is not to be trusted. I was morally certain he was lying. I don’t know
why, but I just seemed to feel it.”

“Well, you figured it out and no mistake. I wouldn’t be surprised now to
learn that Hernandez and Martinez are one and the same person.”

“They are!” came a voice from one of the open windows.

The four within the room started suddenly to their feet, and the consul
advanced.

“Who and what are you?” he called, with his hand resting on his
revolver. “Come out and show yourself.”

There was a sound of someone climbing in the window, and a moment later
a man stood before them. Colonel Ashton, Mr. Willing and Dick leaped to
their feet with cries of amazement.

The newcomer was Captain Von Blusen.

Dick took a quick stride forward, and his hand grasped the young German
by the collar of his coat.

“I’ll guarantee you won’t get away this time,” he said grimly.

“Who are you and what do you want here?” demanded the consul, who had
never seen the officer before.

“This,” said Dick to the consul, “is the man who gave the warning in
time to allow the girls to be taken to some other hiding place.”

“Is that true, sir?” demanded the consul, taking a step forward.

Von Blusen nodded.

“It is,” he replied briefly.

“Then you shall answer to me for your part in this outrage,” declared
Mr. Willing, advancing with great anger.

“And to me,” declared Colonel Ashton, also advancing.

Captain Von Blusen raised a hand.

“One moment, gentlemen,” he said calmly.

“Give the man a chance to speak,” said the consul. “He shall not get
away, and I’ll give you my word he’ll do no further mischief. What have
you to say for yourself?”

“Well, I can tell you where the two young ladies have been taken.”

“You can?” exclaimed the colonel eagerly. “Where?”

“Mazatlan!”

“Mazatlan? Where is Mazatlan?” demanded the consul.

“As to that I cannot say. They left on the train not half an hour ago.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive. I followed to make certain, that I might tell you.”

“And why are you so interested in telling us?” asked Dick skeptically.

“For one reason, because Miss Willing saved my life no longer than an
hour ago,” was the calm reply.

“It is true,” he continued, seeing that the others eyed him in
amazement.

He then went into details of the scene that had occurred following his
return to Hernandez after his fight with Dick in the street.

“But how are we going to find them in Mazatlan?” exclaimed Colonel
Ashton.

“You might wire ahead and have them taken from the train,” suggested
Dick.

“No, I have a better plan than that,” declared the consul.

“What is it?” asked the others eagerly.

“We’ll kill two birds with one stone. I’ll wire the American consular
agent there to have them shadowed when they leave the train. Then we’ll
not only be able to rescue the young ladies, but the Mexican authorities
will nab the plotters.”

“An excellent plan,” declared Colonel Ashton. “Now how shall we get
there?”

“There is not another train till morning,” said the consul, “but,” and a
twinkle came into his eyes, “if you have the price, I can guarantee to
have a special engine and one car ready to go within the hour, and I can
promise a clear track ahead.”

“Let’s have it no matter what the cost!” roared Mr. Willing. “I want my
girl back as soon as I can get her!”

“And so do I,” shouted Colonel Ashton.



CHAPTER XXVI.—IN MAZATLAN.


It was a long tedious journey to Mazatlan, and it was after noon of the
following day when Shirley and Mabel followed their captors from the
train upon which they had spent the night and morning.

“I’m glad to get off that train, I don’t care what happens,” said Mabel
as the five made their way through the dingy-looking station.

“I should say so,” agreed Shirley. “I’m so sleepy I could fall right
over here.”

“I managed to get a few winks during the night,” returned Mabel. “I
curled up in the seat.”

“I couldn’t sleep that way. I tried, but it was no use.”

They had now reached the street side of the station, and here Hernandez
signalled a passing cab. Into this the girls were thrust and then the
two women and the man climbed in. Hernandez gave an address to the
driver, and the cab whirled away.

None of the occupants saw a man, who had been loitering about the
station when the train pulled in, hail a second cab and come after them.
This was the man who had been delegated to shadow them upon the request,
by wire, of Consul Edwards at Acapulco.

To Shirley and Mabel it seemed that they rode through the streets of the
city for hours before the cab stopped its bumping and drew up before a
typical Mexican native house in the outskirts of the town. Hernandez and
the two women climbed out, and the girls followed them into the house.

The man in the pursuing cab ordered his driver to halt while still some
distance away. Then he dismissed the driver and approached the house
afoot. He saw the five figures enter the dwelling and approached no
nearer, but took a stand some distance away, where from time to time, he
looked at his watch.

An hour passed, then two, and at length the man turned and walked away.

Inside the house Shirley and Mabel had been shown to a back room, the
windows of which they saw were heavily barred. Mrs. Sebastian
accompanied them.

“Now girls,” she said, “if you are quiet and make no trouble, I am sure
that you will be freed before long.”

“You mean we won’t have to wait for ransom?” asked Shirley eagerly.

“No, I don’t mean that. But I am sure the money will be paid over within
a day or two.”

“And we shall have to stay here all that time?”

“Yes. I wish I could interest you in our cause. You could do lots for us
if you chose.”

“Thanks, but I don’t care to listen to the troubles of criminals,”
declared Shirley.

The woman’s face turned red.

“You do us an injustice,” she replied. “What I have done has been for my
country.”

“I thought you were a Spaniard,” interrupted Mabel.

“I am, on my mother’s side,” was the reply. “My father was a Mexican.”

“Well, I wouldn’t be mixed up in any such business,” declared Mabel. “I
think you should be punished for the manner in which you got us in your
power.”

“But it was for my country. Surely you can understand that?”

“No, I can’t understand it,” declared Shirley. “It’s robbery that you
are attempting.”

The woman shrugged her shoulders.

“There is no use talking to you,” she said.

She went out of the room, locking the door behind her.

“Well, here we are,” said Mabel, with a wry look at her chum. “Now, what
are we going to do?”

“I wish we could escape,” declared Shirley. “I’ll tell you what. The
next time we hear any one coming, we’ll stand behind the door, and as
soon as they come in we’ll slip out and run. If we can reach the street
some one may help us.”

“There will be no harm trying,” Mabel agreed. “They won’t hurt us, I am
sure.”

It was several hours later before they had the opportunity of putting
their plan to the test.

“Quick! Here comes some one!” whispered Shirley.

She took her stand behind the door and Mabel joined her there. A key
turned in the lock, and the door swung slowly inward. The girls were out
of sight behind the door.

Mrs. Sebastian, being unable to see them, advanced into the room with a
startled exclamation, and looked hurriedly about. Seizing a moment when
the woman was looking the other way, Shirley, closely followed by Mabel,
dashed from her place of concealment and out the door.

Mabel was just disappearing through the door when Mrs. Sebastian wheeled
suddenly about and caught sight of her. The woman sprang forward with a
cry, but Mabel, in passing, had seized the knob of the door and pulled
it to after her.

It was the work of an instant to turn the key in the lock, and Mrs.
Sebastian was safe in the girls’ recent prison.

“Now what?” said Shirley when Mabel had come up to her.

From the room they had just quitted a series of blows were rained on the
door, and Mrs. Sebastian’s voice could be heard calling for help.

“No one knows she’s in there so if the disturbance is heard they’ll
think it is us,” declared Mabel. “If we are silent and careful now, we
may be able to get out.”

Shirley advanced cautiously and peered into the next room. Then she
returned to Mabel.

“No getting out that way,” she whispered.

Mabel advanced and looked into the room beyond. In it sat Hernandez and
his wife.

Shirley nodded her head.

“No, we can’t get out there,” she agreed.

The girls looked about for some other means of escape.

They now stood in what appeared to be a long and narrow hall, and at
Shirley’s whispered suggestion they went back along it. Far to the rear
they could see a faint beam of light and Shirley’s heart beat faster
with renewed hope.

At last they came to a high window, through which the light streamed. It
was out of reach of the girls, but Shirley found a chair which she
dragged forth and mounted. Her shoulders now were on a level with the
window.

The girl uttered an exclamation of satisfaction.

“What is it, Shirley?” asked Mabel breathlessly.

“We can get out here,” was the reply, “the window is not barred.”

“Hurry then,” cried Mabel anxiously. “I’ll come right after you.”

Shirley wasted no further words. She drew herself to the sill, and
looked down. Then she shuddered slightly. It was a long drop, fully
twenty feet.

But Shirley did not hesitate, for she realized that the jump must be
taken. She lowered herself until she clung to the window with her hands,
then released her hold and dropped.

She fell in a sprawling heap, and she felt a sharp pain in her ankle. In
spite of this, she was up in an instant, however, and turned her eyes to
the window, where Mabel’s head had just appeared.

The latter drew herself to the window sill, and then glanced down at the
ground.

“I can’t do it, Shirley,” she exclaimed.

“Of course you can,” called her chum. “Lower yourself as far as you can
and then drop.”

Mabel maneuvered about the window trying to get into such a position
that she could lower herself. But her fright was such that she was
afraid to loose her hold long enough to change her position. She looked
down at Shirley helplessly.

“I tell you I can’t,” she declared.

“But you must, Mabel,” replied Shirley anxiously. “Hurry!”

Again Mabel moved about, but the result was the same.

“Mabel! Jump!” cried Shirley.

Mabel now began to cry, as she moved about a little on her perch.

“I—I—can’t, Sh-Shirley,” she said. “I am afraid!”

“My goodness!” muttered Shirley to herself. “What shall I do? I can’t
climb back up there after her.”

She considered the matter for several moments, the while Mabel sat in
the window and sobbed. Then Shirley reached a decision, and acted
immediately.

“Quick, Mabel! Here comes Hernandez!” cried Shirley.

Mabel’s hesitancy and fright vanished on the instant. Quickly she
lowered herself by her hands and dropped to the ground. She fell in a
heap, but was unhurt and was up again in a moment.

“Where is he?” she asked.

Shirley was forced to laugh.

“I just said that to get you down,” she returned. “If I hadn’t you would
have stayed up there all day.”

Mabel’s tension also relaxed, and the girls moved slowly away from the
house, Shirley finding that her ankle had stopped hurting and was not
even swollen.

“Where shall we go?” asked Mabel.

“American consulate, I reckon,” replied the girl, “if we can find it.”

“We must find it,” said Mabel firmly.

“Yes but how. Neither of us can speak Spanish.”

“Then we must find a Mexican who speaks English. We should have no
trouble doing that.”

The girls had been walking along rapidly, for they wished to put as much
space as possible between them and their recent prison; but at the same
time they did not run for they did not wish to attract attention by the
appearance of undue haste.

Suddenly there came a cry from behind. Unconsciously both girls stopped
in their tracks and looked back over their shoulders. But one look was
enough.

“Run!”

“Run!” cried Shirley in the same breath.

Dashing after them as fast as his stout body would permit, was
Hernandez.

Shirley and Mabel wasted no time in deciding what was best to be done.

Keeping as close to each other as possible, they took to their heels and
dashed madly along the street.



CHAPTER XXVII.—DICK IN PERIL.


The special train bearing Mr. Willing, Colonel Ashton, Dick and Captain
Von Blusen arrived in Mazatlan only two hours after that on which
Shirley and Mabel had reached the city. The four went at once to the
American consulate.

Consul Edwards had been unable to accompany them, but after sending the
telegram requesting that the fugitives be shadowed, he had written a
note to Consul Harrington at Mazatlan and this he had given to Mr.
Willing as a means of introduction.

Mr. Willing sent in the letter to the consul, and the latter received
them immediately.

“I have a man shadowing the fugitives,” said the consul. “I told him to
report here the minute he was sure he had run his quarry to earth.”

“Is there no danger they will elude him?” asked Dick anxiously.

“Not much,” was the smiling reply. “Fisher was formerly a newspaperman
and has had considerable experience along that line.”

And the consul was right. A short time later Fisher appeared.

“Have you found their refuge?” was Colonel Ashton’s first question after
the introductions had been made.

“I followed a man, two women and two girls to a native house in the
eastern extremity of the city,” was the reply. “I have no doubt they are
the right ones.”

“Good,” returned the consul. “Now the first thing to do is to enlist the
support of General Seauterey, the commandant of the city. Without him we
can do practically nothing. But he will be glad to capture Hernandez.”

The consul took his departure, announcing that he would return as soon
as possible.

Dick left the room announcing that he would take a little stroll
outside. Mr. Willing enjoined him to be back by the time the consul
returned.

Dick, thinking deeply, was unconscious of the passing of time and the
distance which he had walked. At last he roused himself from his reverie
and looked at his watch.

“Great Scott!” he exclaimed. “I have been gone more than an hour. I had
better hurry back.”

He gazed about him, and saw that he was in an evil-looking part of the
town. He swung about on his heel and set out in the direction from which
he had come.

As he passed a narrow street, even dirtier-looking than the rest, an arm
suddenly shot out and dealt him a blow across the head, knocking him to
the ground.

Dick was stunned by the force of the blow, but he was by no means
deprived of his coolness nor resourcefulness. He rolled over quickly
several times, seeking to put as much distance as possible between
himself and his unseen opponent, and then scrambled quickly to his feet.

Two men bore down on him. Short wiry Mexicans they were, and one held a
knife in his hand. Dick took one look at them, then turned and ran.

But the force of the blow he had just received made it impossible for
him to run far, and soon he turned, and with his back to the wall of a
house, faced his adversaries.

Just out of striking distance the latter halted, and spoke to him in
Spanish. Dick shook his hand, indicating that he did not understand.

“Speak English,” he said.

The men conversed together in low tones, then one of them spoke a single
English word to Dick:

“Money!”

“Oh, I see,” said Dick, “you want my money, eh? Well, you won’t get it.
I need it myself.”

He shook his head at the men, and they gesticulated angrily, one of them
raising his knife. Then, with a cry, they sprang forward.

Dick was in a serious predicament and he realized it. But he determined
to do his best. As the men closed on him, Dick struck out. One of the
men staggered back.

At that moment there came the sound of pattering feet down the street.
The men drew back. A second later two running figures came into sight,
and Dick cried out in amazement.

The figures were Shirley and Mabel, and even as Dick recognized them a
third form came into view, and this Dick immediately recognized as that
of Hernandez.

“Shirley! Mabel!” called Dick.

The girls half halted in their stride, and then, with glad cries, came
toward him.

The men who had attacked Dick, seeing the approach of another man,
turned and made their way to the next corner, where they stood to watch
developments.

Hernandez, perceiving that he had but one to contend with, and this a
young man, advanced confidently. Shirley and Mabel had now reached
Dick’s side, and the three faced the Mexican.

Without a word Hernandez’s hand went to his pocket, but Dick was too
quick for him.

“No you don’t,” he cried, and sprang forward.

His right fist shot out with stunning force, and the Mexican rolled on
the ground, his revolver, which he had succeeded in drawing, being
hurled from his hand.

Dick quickly took each girl by the arm and urged them along.

“Hurry!” he cried.

What he feared came to pass.

Hernandez got quickly to his feet, and perceiving the men who had so
recently attacked Dick, he beckoned them to him.

As the men came up, he waved his arm at the figures of the two girls and
the young man.

“Catch them!” he shouted. “Reward!”

The men needed no further urging, but dashed after the three. Dick urged
the girls along as swiftly as they could go, casting occasional glances
over his shoulder. He hoped against hope that assistance would come from
some quarter.

But not a sign of a native officer did he see. The few people they
passed looked at them curiously, and must have realized the aspect of
things by the noise of the pursuers, but none offered to lend a helping
hand.

Several times Dick was on the point of turning back to face the
pursuers, but he determined only to do this as a last resort to give the
girls time to get away while he held the others back.

He led the girls sharply around a corner and they ran as fast as they
could along the dirty street. But the pursuers were gaining, as Dick
perceived by a quick glance over his shoulder. Then Dick made his
decision.

As he rounded the next corner he whispered to the girls:

“Run hard!”

He released their arms and stopped, just out of sight from the pursuers.

A moment later they came into view, and Dick was upon them in an
instant, striking right and left as swiftly as he could. Just as it
seemed there was a chance of his overcoming his two foes, a third figure
joined in the fray.

This was Hernandez himself, and he turned the balance in the favor of
Dick’s enemies.

Shirley and Mabel had gone on a few feet when Dick had turned back, for
they had not known what he was about to do. They missed him in a moment,
however, and stopped to see what had become of him.

They saw the struggling knot of men, and Shirley cried:

“Oh! Dick will be hurt! What shall we do?”

“What can we do?” demanded Mabel. “Dick said to run. I guess we had
better run.”

“And leave him there like that? I should say not.”

“But what can we do?” asked Mabel, in consternation.

“I don’t know. But I am not going to run away.”

And Shirley resolutely made her way back toward the fighters. Mabel
followed.

But aid came for Dick even as it had for his first two enemies. And the
aid was from an unexpected source.

“Hello!” exclaimed a voice in English. “What’s going on here?”

“Help!” cried Dick in English.

“An American, eh,” said the voice, “and three greasers attacking him
with knives. Here goes.”

Dick felt his enemies give way before him, all but one, and this one he
sent to the ground with a hard blow to the face. Then he gazed about.
Nearby stood Shirley and Mabel, and upon the ground were the other two
Mexicans. Dick looked at the man who had come to his rescue, and gave a
cry of astonishment.

“Captain Anderson!”

The commander of the _Yucatan_ was no less surprised. He surveyed Dick
and the two girls critically.

“How in the name of all that’s wonderful did you all get together again
and how did you beat me here?” demanded the captain.

Dick explained his arrival in a few words, and then Shirley took up the
story.

“But we had no idea of the _Yucatan_ was here,” said Dick.

“I landed not fifteen minutes ago,” replied the captain. “Of course a
train runs faster than a boat, which is the reason you are here ahead of
me. Now I guess you had better return aboard with me.”

“We’ll go to the consulate first,” declared Dick. “The others are
probably still there.”

“Good idea,” replied the captain. “I was on my way there now.”

He led the way, and the others followed.

But when they reached there they learned, much to the disappointment of
both girls, that neither the consul nor any of the others were about.

“Consul Harrington and his visitors accompanied General Seauterey and a
squad of soldiers,” a clerk explained. “They left not fifteen minutes
ago.”

“Too bad,” declared Captain Anderson. He turned to the girls. “Will you
remain here or come aboard?” he asked.

“We’ll go aboard, thanks,” replied Shirley. “I want to get out of this
city and this country. We can leave word with the clerk here, and
Mabel’s father and mine will come aboard as soon as they return.”

“Right you are,” agreed Captain Anderson. He addressed the clerk. “When
Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton return with the consul,” he said, “you
tell them to come aboard the _Yucatan_ immediately. I have important
news for them.”

“Very well, sir,” said the clerk.

“Why didn’t you tell him to tell Dad we had been rescued?” asked Mabel.

“Why,” replied the captain with a smile, “I was saving that for a little
surprise.”



CHAPTER XXVIII.—ALL ABOARD AGAIN.


Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton, to go back to the time that Dick left
them after the departure of Consul Harrington, were greatly alarmed when
the boy failed to return immediately. Half an hour after his departure
Consul Harrington returned with General Seauterey and half a dozen
troopers.

The general announced that he was not only willing but eager to round up
Hernandez, who, he said, was the real head of the revolution in Western
Mexico. Mr. Willing expressed his alarm over Dick’s safety, and they
waited ten minutes.

“I’ll have my clerk tell him to wait when he comes in,” said the consul.
“There is no use delaying longer.”

To this Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton agreed.

“Dick is always turning up missing,” declared the colonel.

“But he always turns up safe again,” replied Mr. Willing.

“Oh, he’ll be back all right,” said the consul. “He can hardly have
fallen into any danger this time.”

Fisher, the man who had trailed the conspirators to their lair, now
summoned two automobiles, and the party climbed in. The trip to the
house where the girls had been confined was made in record time, and a
short distance away a halt was called.

General Seauterey and his men now took the lead, and surrounded the
house. The general himself approached the door and knocked on it loudly.
There was no response, but a second sharp knock brought a voice from
behind the door. It was a woman’s voice and it said:

“What is wanted?”

“Open the door!” demanded the general.

“Who are you?”

“General Seauterey.”

There was an exclamation of dismay from within, and the sound of
retreating footsteps. Again the general pounded on the door. There was
no response and he called to two of his men.

“Break down the door,” he instructed them.

The heavy rifle butts of the soldiers crashed against the wood,
shattering it. Several hard kicks and it was in splinters. With drawn
revolver General Seauterey led the way.

Two soldiers, Mr. Willing, Colonel Ashton and Captain Von Blusen
followed him. The others remained on guard without to prevent the escape
of the fugitives.

Through the house strode the general, throwing wide the doors of the
various rooms. And at last he brought up against another locked door.
This was burst in as had been the first, and the general advanced first.

Came a shot from the room, and the general staggered back, then moved
forward again. At the far side of the room were two figures, the general
could just make out in the darkness.

“Hands up!” he cried.

“Don’t shoot!” came in a woman’s voice. “We surrender!”

“Come forward then,” said the general.

Two women, who proved to be Mrs. Hernandez and Mrs. Sebastian, advanced
shrinking.

“Where is Hernandez?” demanded the general.

“He is not here,” was the reply. “We expect him back any moment.”

“Where is he?”

“He went after the two prisoners, who escaped.”

“Your prisoners have escaped?” demanded the general.

“Yes.”

The general turned to one of his men.

“Call the others within,” he ordered.

The other four troopers came into the house, followed by the Americans
and the German captain. Mr. Willing was the first to see Mrs. Sebastian,
and he sprang toward her.

“What have you done with my daughter, madam?” he demanded.

Mrs. Sebastian shrank back from him.

Colonel Ashton also stepped forward and angrily demanded that Mabel be
produced at once. Then Mrs. Sebastian spoke.

“They have escaped!” she declared.

Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton were skeptical. Mrs. Sebastian saw that
they did not believe her.

“It is true,” she declared. “They locked me in a room and jumped from a
window. Hernandez has gone after them.”

“We’ll wait here for Hernandez to return,” decided General Seauterey.
“We’ll get him when he comes back, and if he has the prisoners it will
save us further search.”

None doubted that this was the best plan, and so all sat down to wait,
General Seauterey meanwhile keeping watch at the door himself.

Suddenly he sprang to his feet.

“Here he comes—alone!” he cried.

He motioned his men to the door.

“He’ll run when he sees the broken door,” he said. “I’ll command him to
halt. If he doesn’t obey, fire.”

It was as the general had predicted. When Hernandez saw the broken door,
he stopped in surprise. Then he turned and would have run. General
Seauterey stepped forward and shouted:

“Halt!”

Hernandez paid no heed.

“Fire!” cried the general.

Two puffs of smoke and two sharp cracks. Hernandez fell to the ground,
but sat up in a moment and seized his left foot in his hand, at the same
time moaning with pain.

“Good work, men!” cried the general. “Go and bring him here!”

Two of the soldiers obeyed, and Hernandez was soon in the house.

“Where are the two prisoners?” demanded the general.

Hernandez looked at him and sneered.

“Find out,” he said.

“So I will,” returned the general.

He motioned to his men.

“Bind the prisoners and put them in the car outside,” he ordered.

Then he led the way from the house.

“I shall have this man questioned more fully,” he said to the consul,
“and I shall send you a message to the consulate within an hour. He will
not fail to tell what he knows of the prisoners.”

With this Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton were forced to be content,
although the anxiety of each was growing at every minute.

The Mexicans and their prisoners climbed into one of the automobiles,
and the Americans and Captain von Blusen into the other. They were
whirled back to the consulate.

The clerk addressed Mr. Willing.

“Captain Anderson, of the Steamship _Yucatan_, was here a few moments
ago, sir,” he said. “He desires your presence aboard immediately. He
says he has important news for you.”

“Regarding my daughter?” asked Mr. Willing eagerly.

“He didn’t say, sir,” replied the clerk.

“Come, Ashton,” cried Mr. Willing excitedly. “Perhaps Captain Anderson
has learned something.”

“I shall accompany you,” said Captain von Blusen.

The others offered no objection and the three hurried away together, Mr.
Willing telling Consul Harrington that they would let him know the
result of their trip.

At the water front they were fortunate enough to find an unengaged
boatman, who offered to put them aboard the _Yucatan_ for a fair price.

“Never mind the price,” said Mr. Willing. “Hurry and get us there.”

The boatman wasted no time, and soon they were heading for the big
steamship as fast as they could go.

Dusk was just falling as they went swiftly over the water, and none
could but think what a pretty spectacle the great ship made with her
thousands of electric lights shining brightly.

“And that’s the ship you attempted to get away with, Captain Von
Blusen,” said Mr. Willing.

“Yes, and would have gotten away with but for Miss Ashton,” replied the
captain. “However, I bear no ill will. It is the fortune of war.”

“And we bear you no ill will, captain,” declared Colonel Ashton. “It is
true that you have made us considerable trouble, but I appreciate your
position in the matter. I know that you were acting under orders.”

“Thank you,” replied the captain.

“I can say the same, sir,” declared Mr. Willing, “Here, at the last, you
have been of service to us, and in view of that, things that have gone
before must be overlooked.”

“Thank you, sir.”

The little boat now scraped alongside the _Yucatan_. Several moments
later the three were aboard the big steamship and rushing toward Captain
Anderson’s quarters.

Their arrival had been reported before they came aboard, and so they
found Captain Anderson alone.

“Glad to see you gentlemen again,” said the captain, shaking hands with
Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton. He looked Captain Von Blusen over
coldly. “I shall talk to you later,” he added.

Captain Von Blusen bowed.

“Oh, he is all right, captain,” said Mr. Willing. “He has been of great
aid to us in searching for our daughters.”

“So?” Captain Anderson’s stern expression relaxed a trifle. “I am glad
to hear it.”

He held out his hand, and the young German grasped it.

“You but did your duty, as you saw it, I suppose,” said Captain
Anderson.

“What is the piece of news you have for us, Captain Anderson?” asked
Colonel Willing, who had been waiting impatiently for the commander of
the _Yucatan_ to broach the subject that had called them aboard.

“Have chairs, gentlemen,” said the captain, ignoring the question.

The others sat down, the older men twisting about uneasily. At last Mr.
Willing could stand it no longer.

“Captain,” he cried, jumping to his feet, “if you have any words of our
daughters, tell us. Don’t keep us in suspense any longer.”

Captain Anderson gazed at him steadily for a few moments, then arose,
and walked to a door in his cabin.

“I have three prisoners here I would like you to see,” he said quietly.

With a sudden movement he threw wide the door, and there stepped forth
first Dick, then Shirley, then Mabel.

The two men absolutely ignored Dick, who stepped aside.

With glad cries the others rushed toward each other. Shirley found
herself clasped in her father’s arms, and Mabel and her father also
clung tight together. Then they stepped back and looked at each other.

“This is my little surprise,” said Captain Anderson with a smile.



CHAPTER XXIX.—“CAPTAIN VON BLUSEN.”


“And when we found you had escaped we didn’t know where to look for
you,” said Mr. Willing, in concluding the story of the search.

“We never doubted that we should get away in some manner,” declared
Shirley. “We were sure you would find us, but when the chance for escape
came we took advantage of it.”

“And where did you get to when you left the consulate?” demanded Colonel
Ashton of Dick.

Dick explained.

“And if Captain Anderson had not arrived so opportunely, there is no
telling what might have happened,” he declared. “He put the enemy to
rout.”

“It wasn’t much of a job,” replied the captain, waving aside Mr.
Willing’s thanks. “I just touched two of them with my fists and they
went down.”

“I reckon you didn’t touch them very gently, captain,” said Colonel
Ashton, with a grim smile.

“Well, perhaps not,” answered Captain Anderson, “but it was no time for
half way measures.” He turned to Captain Von Blusen. “And what am I to
do with you?” he asked.

“I should be glad if you would take me to San Francisco,” was the reply.

Captain Anderson turned this over in his mind.

“You have made much trouble for me,” he said finally, “and besides, the
United States authorities may be looking for you, for all I know.
However, I have no such information, and as you seem to have turned over
a new leaf, I shall do so.”

“Thank you, captain.”

“I would advise you, however,” continued the captain, “to go ashore at
the first American port instead of going to Frisco. The authorities may
be on the lookout for you, and I don’t know what they would do with you.
Your theft of the _Yucatan_ was nothing short of piracy.”

“I suppose you are right,” returned Captain Von Blusen, “and I shall act
upon your advice. What is the first United States port at which you
shall touch?”

“San Diego.”

“Then I shall go ashore there.”

“Very well, unless, of course, in the meantime I should receive word to
hold you.”

“But you won’t report the captain’s presence here?” exclaimed Shirley
hopefully.

“No; I shall say nothing about it unless I am asked.”

“Thank you again, captain,” said the young officer.

He turned on his heel and left the room.

“When shall we get under way again, captain?” asked Colonel Ashton.

“First thing in the morning,” was the reply. “We’ll probably be out of
sight of land when you tumble out.”

“We can’t get away from here any too quick to suit me,” declared
Shirley.

“No, indeed,” Mabel agreed. “We have had trouble enough to last us for a
long time to come. The sooner we get back to civilization the better.”

“And that goes for all of us,” agreed Mr. Willing.

“I’m glad to have you back aboard the _Yucatan_,” declared Captain
Anderson. “To tell the truth, I didn’t expect to see you in Mazatlan. I
felt sure you would eventually find the young ladies safe and sound, but
I feared I should have to make the rest of the trip without you. I tell
you, it made me feel good to run across young Stanley here this
afternoon.”

“It didn’t make you feel as good as it did me, captain,” returned Dick
significantly.

“Well, perhaps not under the circumstances,” laughed the captain. “The
only one of our passengers who will not complete the trip is Mrs.
Sebastian.”

“And a good thing for all concerned,” declared Colonel Ashton. “I don’t
see how she fooled us so completely, Willing.”

“She did though,” returned Mr. Willing. “I would never have suspected
her of having any ulterior motives.”

“You wouldn’t listen to me,” said Dick. “I suspected her from the first.
Now I can say ‘I told you so.’”

“We’ll place more confidence in your foresight in the future,” declared
the colonel.

“I don’t want to run you away,” said Captain Anderson, “but it’s my
belief you had all better turn in. You look fagged out, the whole bunch
of you. Sleep is the best remedy.”

“You are right, captain,” declared Shirley. “I feel as though I could go
to sleep standing on my feet.”

They bade the captain good-night, thanked him again for his assistance,
and made their way to their cabin, where, after some further talk, all
turned in.

So completely were they exhausted that it was after eight o’clock the
following morning when Shirley, the first to awake, sprang up. She
glanced out the window of her stateroom. The sun shone brightly, and
from the barely perceptible motion of the steamer she knew they were
moving.

She called Mabel, and the girls dressed quickly. Shirley knocked on the
next door and aroused the others, and an hour later, after a hearty
breakfast, all stood forward on the promenade deck enjoying the fresh
morning breeze.

There was not a speck of land in sight and would not be for hours. An
hour later Captain Von Blusen joined them and after awhile Captain
Anderson stopped to exchange a few words.

It was while the commander of the _Yucatan_ was there that there came a
hail from the lookout.

“Smoke to the leeward, sir!”

All glanced in the direction indicated. There, upon the distant horizon,
was a faint cloud of smoke. As they gazed it presently took shape, and
half an hour later it did not take the second cry of the lookout to tell
them the approaching vessel was a battle cruiser of the first class.

“Wonder what this one is?” said Shirley, as the vessel drew nearer.

“I don’t know. It might be German. It has been supposed there were two
German vessels in these waters, but we have already encountered one.
This may be another.”

“It’s hardly possible, though,” said Mr. Willing. “Captain Von Blusen,
to your knowledge, are there any German ships of war in these waters?”

“I can’t answer that question definitely, sir,” he replied. “All I can
say is that it is possible.”

“I don’t believe this is a German,” said Dick. “But whatever she is she
is coming right toward us.”

It was true. The stranger was shaping a course that would intercept the
_Yucatan_ several miles ahead.

“I wonder if she will stop us?” said Mabel.

“Of course,” replied Captain Von Blusen. “The commander will probably
come aboard to have a look at the ship’s papers.”

“Will he interfere with you?” asked Mabel.

“Hardly,” was the reply. “In spite of the fact that I am a German, he
will not dare to interfere with me aboard a neutral ship.”

“Boom!”

It was the sound of a great gun aboard the cruiser.

“Signal to heave-to,” said Captain Anderson.

He made his way to the bridge, and in response to his command, the
_Yucatan_ came to a pause. Then all eagerly waited for the cruiser to
show her colors.

“German!” was the audible gasp from the passengers as the red, white and
black of the German Empire were unfurled at the masthead.

“I am coming aboard you,” was the message the German commander flashed
to Captain Anderson.

A small boat put off from the cruiser and soon bumped alongside the
_Yucatan_. A moment later an officer in a smart uniform came over the
side. He made his way at once to where Captain Anderson stood on the
bridge.

“Is this the way you meet a German naval officer?” he demanded angrily.

Captain Anderson looked at him in surprise.

“What would you have me do?” he demanded, taking a step forward.

“And when you address me, say sir!” exclaimed the German, who seemed
rather young and possessed of much self-importance. “You should have met
me as I came over-side.”

“Say sir to you, eh?” exclaimed Captain Anderson. “If you don’t get off
my ship in five minutes I’ll throw you over the rail.”

The German officer stepped back, and half drew a revolver. Captain
Anderson advanced another step.

But interference came from an unexpected source.

Captain Von Blusen, who had stood close enough to overhear this
conversation, suddenly ascended to the bridge. He walked quickly up
behind the German officer, and seizing him by the shoulder, swung him
around sharply.

“You forget yourself, Lieutenant Von Meyers!” he said angrily. “Get back
to your boat!”

The German lieutenant gazed at this newcomer threateningly, then a look
of the greatest astonishment passed over his face. He took three quick
steps backward.

Captain Von Blusen stood perfectly erect, one hand pointing toward the
small boat from which the German lieutenant had just climbed to the deck
of the _Yucatan_. He said no further word.

And while officers and passengers of the _Yucatan_ looked on in
amazement, the German lieutenant took two quick steps forward again,
fell upon one knee, took Captain Von Blusen’s other hand and touched it
with his lips!

Then he arose, saluted, and walked rapidly away.



CHAPTER XXX.—THROUGH THE GOLDEN GATE.


There was an audible gasp from passengers and crew, and the same
question was upon every lip:

“Who is he?”

As the German lieutenant reached the side of the ship, Captain Von
Blusen spoke again:

“Lieutenant Von Meyers!”

The lieutenant turned about sharply, and came to attention.

“You will wait with the boat. I shall go with you.”

The lieutenant saluted again and stood stiffly erect in his tracks.

Captain Von Blusen turned to Captain Anderson.

“I shall relieve you of the responsibility of my presence immediately,
captain,” he said quietly. “I shall go aboard the cruiser.”

Captain Anderson was too much taken by surprise to mutter more than:

“Very well, sir.”

Why he added the “sir” the captain could not have told, but there was
something in the bearing of the man that faced him that called it forth
involuntarily.

Captain Von Blusen held out his hand, and the commander of the _Yucatan_
grasped it.

“Good luck to you, sir,” said the latter.

“And to you,” returned Captain Von Blusen.

He descended from the bridge, and made his way to where the Willing
party stood gazing at him in open-eyed wonder.

The German officer first addressed Mr. Willing and Colonel Ashton.

“I am sorry that I have been the means of putting you to so much
trouble,” he said, with a slight bow, “but whatever I did I considered
in line with my duty. Please believe that.”

“I have no doubt of it,” replied Mr. Willing.

“Nor I,” agreed Colonel Ashton.

Captain Von Blusen now turned to Dick, and with the slightest of smiles
he extended his hand.

“As you and I had a little difficulty,” he said, “I pray you will
overlook it.”

Dick grasped the extended hand, as he replied.

“Why, of course. I guess I am a bit hot-headed once in a while.”

“No more than I am,” returned Captain Von Blusen. “It has been my chief
fault.”

He pressed Dick’s hand once more, and then turned to the two girls, who
had been too stunned by what they had witnessed, to speak.

The captain extended a hand to each in turn and Shirley and Mabel shook
hands with him.

“I am pleased to have met you, Miss Ashton,” he said courteously, “and
you, Miss Willing, and I regret that I have been the means of causing
you unpleasantness. But as I have said to your fathers, what I did was
but in the line of duty. Now I must say good-bye, but when the war is
over,” he looked at Mabel, “I hope that I shall see you both again.”

He bowed low, and before the girls could reply, he made his way toward
the spot where the German lieutenant stood awaiting him. He motioned the
latter to precede him over the side, and was just about to follow, when
he seemed to think of something.

He walked quickly back across the deck to where Shirley and Mabel stood,
and spoke.

“I suppose you all wonder who I am,” he said quietly, “and while I would
greatly like to satisfy your curiosity, I fear it is impossible at this
time.”

Now Shirley found her tongue.

“You can at least tell us whether you are of royal birth,” she cried.

Again Captain Von Blusen bowed low.

“I cannot say yes, nor can I deny it,” he answered.

“Then your name is not really Captain Von Blusen?”

The captain smiled and bowed, but made no reply.

Now Mabel spoke.

“Captain,” she said quietly, “for by such name only can we know you now,
we should, of course, be honored with your confidence, but if you cannot
speak at this time, I for one shall ask you no questions.”

Captain Von Blusen took her hand and bent over it gallantly.

“I thank you, Miss Ashton,” he replied quietly. “Some day I hope to be
able to confide in you.”

He bowed to the others, and turning sharply on his heel, made his way to
the side of the ship and clambered over the rail.

Now the passengers hurried to the side of the ship, and gazed with
something like awe at the boat that made swiftly for the German cruiser.

Captain Anderson did not give the signal to get under way until the
cruiser’s launch was being hoisted aboard, when there broke out from the
cruiser a salvo of guns.

“A salute!” cried Captain Anderson, raising his voice to make himself
heard. “He is some one of importance. Now I wonder——”

He broke off suddenly, as he counted the number of guns and, in his
mind, ran over the list of relatives of the German Emperor. Then his
clouded brow cleared, and he smiled.

“If he wishes to keep it a secret, I am not the man to betray it,” he
said to himself.

That Captain Anderson knew who “Captain Von Blusen” really was there
could be no doubt, but the commander of the _Yucatan_ kept his promise
to himself and confided to no one, in spite of the questions that were
poured on him later.

Now Captain Anderson gave the signal to get under way, and the _Yucatan_
slowly gathered headway. The German cruiser remained stationary as the
_Yucatan_ approached, and the big steamship passed her less than a
quarter of a mile away.

There, on the bridge of the cruiser, with the commander of the vessel
and his officers standing at attention, stood “Captain Von Blusen.” The
passengers waved their hands at him, and he, in return, lifted his cap
and made a low bow.

Then the passengers aboard the _Yucatan_ saw him turn to the man they
could make out was the commander of the cruiser and give a sharp
command. The latter repeated it to one of his officers, and a moment
later a second salvo broke out from the cruiser. At the same time the
German flag at the masthead was dipped in salute.

“That,” said Captain Anderson calmly, “is a fine token of respect. Too
bad we haven’t the guns with which to return it.”

He gave an order, however, and the American ensign at the masthead of
the _Yucatan_ returned the salute.

These courtesies having been exchanged, all became bustle and hurry
aboard the German cruiser, as the passengers on the _Yucatan_ could see.
Men dashed hurriedly hither and thither, and a moment later the cruiser
swung slowly about and headed due south.

“And that is the last we shall see of Captain Von Blusen,” declared
Shirley. “I wonder who he is.”

“I haven’t any idea,” returned Mabel slowly, “but there can be no
question that he is of high rank.”

“No, there can be no question about that,” agreed Mr. Willing, who had
overheard this conversation. “I should say that he is a member of the
Imperial German family.”

“Then what is he doing in the United States?”

“I have learned a couple of Mexican words,” replied Mr. Willing. “Quien
sabe?” (Who knows.)

“But he said we should hear from him when the war is over,” declared
Mabel.

“Yes,” said Shirley, “he said ‘we’ but he meant you.”

Mabel’s face turned a trifle red.

“What do you mean?” she asked in some confusion.

Shirley laughed.

“I guess you know what I mean, all right,” she made reply. “Do you
remember saying something like that to me once?”

“But I had reason to,” protested Mabel. “It was so plain in Dick’s
case.”

“No more so than in Captain Von Blusen’s case,” declared Shirley.

“I don’t see——”

“Oh, yes you do. You mean you just won’t admit it. Well, you don’t have
to. Why, what makes your face so red, Mabel?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” declared Mabel, and turning
about quickly, she rushed to her cabin, leaving Shirley laughing to
herself.

The steamship _Yucatan_ was forging ahead at full speed now, and was
rapidly lessening the distance to the first California port—San Diego.

“Dad,” said Shirley, “isn’t there a second fair at San Diego?”

“Yes,” replied her father, “why?”

“Well then, why can’t we stop off there for a day or two and go on to
San Francisco by rail?”

“We can if you wish it,” replied Mr. Willing.

“Then let’s do, Dad.”

“All right.”

And so it was arranged. Shirley went below where she and Mabel
immediately began gathering their things together so that they would be
ready to leave the boat the moment it docked at San Diego.

There was no question that the girls had become great favorites with all
the passengers. Many pressed them to continue the trip to San Francisco,
Captain Anderson being one of the most anxious to keep them aboard as
long as possible.

“I don’t know what I shall do without you,” he told Shirley and Mabel.
“We have had lots of excitement on this voyage, more than ever before,
and you two girls have been mainly responsible for it. I hope that I
shall see you again some time.”

“Why,” said Shirley, “there are many more summers coming, and if we ever
decide to make this trip again we shall not ever think of taking any
boat but yours.”

“May the time come soon,” said the captain.

The passengers bade them an affectionate good-bye as they left the
_Yucatan_ at San Diego, and then they entered a taxi and were driven to
a hotel, where they once more made themselves comfortable for a stay
ashore.

They spent two days at the San Diego exposition, and then took a train
for San Francisco to view, as Shirley expressed it, “the greatest sight
they ever expected to see.”

And none of the party was a whit disappointed in the great exposition.
In fact, it was far beyond expectations. For two weeks they remained in
the California metropolis, spending every minute possible upon the large
exposition grounds overlooking the Golden Gate and the broad expanse to
the Pacific.

When the time came for them to betake themselves homeward, it was with
regret that they realized it would be long before they could again hope
to see the beauties of the far-off state of California.

There remains yet one incident to be told.

Two weeks after their return home, Mabel received a registered package
postmarked Rome, Italy. Eagerly she ran to her room with it, where she
opened it in solitude; nor could she repress a cry of admiration when
she drew out a beautifully bejeweled cross, patterned after the Iron
Cross of Germany—the Iron Cross with which the German Emperor decorates
his troops for bravery.

With it there was a brief note, with the signature “Captain Von Blusen.”

Looking closer at the piece of paper on which the message was written,
Mabel perceived a seal of peculiar design. She ran hastily for her
dictionary, and turned to the seals of the various nations.

There was a striking similarity between the seal on the paper and the
Imperial German seal, as reproduced, in colors, in her big dictionary.

For perhaps half an hour the girl sat silent, musing.

“Can it be possible?” she asked herself at last “I wonder——”

She rushed downstairs to consult Shirley, who at that moment was holding
a tete-a-tete with Dick on the sunny front porch.

                                THE END.



The Blue Grass Seminary Girls Series

By CAROLYN JUDSON BURNETT

Handsome Cloth Binding, Price, 40c. per Volume

_Splendid Stories of the Adventures of a Group of Charming Girls_

  THE BLUE GRASS SEMINARY GIRLS’ VACATION ADVENTURES; or, Shirley
  Willing to the Rescue.

  THE BLUE GRASS SEMINARY GIRLS’ CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS; or, A Four Weeks’
  Tour with the Glee Club.

  THE BLUE GRASS SEMINARY GIRLS IN THE MOUNTAINS; or, Shirley Willing
  on a Mission of Peace.

  THE BLUE GRASS SEMINARY GIRLS ON THE WATER; or, Exciting Adventures
  on a Summer’s Cruise Through the Panama Canal.

The Mildred Series

By MARTHA FINLEY

Handsome Cloth Binding, Price, 40c. per Volume

_A Companion Series to the Famous “Elsie” Books by the Same Author_

                        MILDRED KEITH
                        MILDRED’S MARRIED LIFE
                        MILDRED AT ROSELANDS
                        MILDRED AT HOME
                        MILDRED AND ELSIE
                        MILDRED’S BOYS AND GIRLS
                        MILDRED’S NEW DAUGHTER

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 114-120 East 23d Street, New York.



The Camp Fire Girls Series

By HILDEGARD G. FREY. The only series of stories for Camp Fire Girls
endorsed by the officials of the Camp Fire Girls Organization.

PRICE, 40 CENTS PER VOLUME


THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS IN THE MAINE WOODS; or, The Winnebagos go Camping.

  This lively Camp Fire group and their Guardian go back to Nature in
  a camp in the wilds of Maine, and pile up more adventures in one
  summer than they have had in all their previous vacations put
  together. Before the summer is over they have transformed Gladys,
  the frivolous boarding school girl, into a genuine Winnebago.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT SCHOOL, or, The Wohelo Weavers.

  It is the custom of the Winnebagos to weave the events of their
  lives into symbolic bead bands, instead of keeping a diary. All
  commendatory doings are worked out in bright colors, but every time
  the Law of the Camp Fire is broken it must be recorded in black. How
  these seven live wire girls strive to infuse into their school life
  the spirit of Work, Health and Love and yet manage to get into more
  than their share of mischief, is told in this story.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT ONOWAY HOUSE; or, The Magic Garden.

  Migwan is determined to go to college, and not being strong enough
  to work indoors earns the money by raising fruits and vegetables.
  The Winnebagos all turn a hand to help the cause along and the
  “goings-on” at Onoway Homes that summer make the foundations shake
  with laughter.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS GO MOTORING; or, Along the Road that Leads the Way.

  The Winnebagos take a thousand mile auto trip. The “pinching” of
  Nyoda, the fire in the country inn, the runaway girl and the
  dead-earnest hare and hound chase combine to make these three weeks
  the most exciting the Winnebagos have ever experienced.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 114-120 East 23d Street, New York.



The AMY E. BLANCHARD Series

Miss Blanchard has won an enviable reputation as a writer of short
stories for girls. Her books are thoroughly wholesome in every way and
her style is full of charm. The titles described below will be splendid
additions to every girl’s library.

Handsomely bound in cloth, full library size. Illustrated by L. J.
Bridgman. Price, 60 cents per volume, postpaid.

THE GLAD LADY. A spirited account of a remarkably pleasant vacation
spent in an unfrequented part of northern Spain. This summer, which
promised at the outset to be very quiet, proved to be exactly the
opposite. Event follows event in rapid succession and the story ends
with the culmination of at least two happy romances. The story
throughout is interwoven with vivid descriptions of real places and
people of which the general public knows very little. These add greatly
to the reader’s interest.

WIT’S END. Instilled with life, color and individuality, this story of
true love cannot fail to attract and hold to its happy end the reader’s
eager attention. The word pictures are masterly; while the poise of
narrative and description is marvellously preserved.

A JOURNEY OF JOY. A charming story of the travels and adventures of two
young American girls, and an elderly companion in Europe. It is not only
well told, but the amount of information contained will make it a very
valuable addition to the library of any girl who anticipates making a
similar trip. Their many pleasant experiences end in the culmination of
two happy romances, all told in the happiest vein.

TALBOT’S ANGLES. A charming romance of Southern life. Talbot’s Angles is
a beautiful old estate located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The
death of the owner and the ensuing legal troubles render it necessary
for our heroine, the present owner, to leave the place which has been in
her family for hundreds of years and endeavor to earn her own living.
Another claimant for the property appearing on the scene complicates
matters still more. The untangling of this mixed-up condition of affairs
makes an extremely interesting story.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent prepaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 114-120 East 23d Street, New York



The Girl Chum’s Series

ALL AMERICAN AUTHORS.

ALL COPYRIGHT STORIES.

A carefully selected series of books for girls, written by popular
authors. These are charming stories for young girls, well told and full
of interest. Their simplicity, tenderness, healthy, interesting motives,
vigorous action, and character painting will please all girl readers.

HANDSOME CLOTH BINDING.

PRICE, 60 CENTS.

  BENHURST, CLUB, THE. By Howe Benning.

  BERTHA’S SUMMER BOARDERS. By Linnie S. Harris.

  BILLOW PRAIRIE. A Story of Life in the Great West. By Joy Allison.

  DUXBERRY DOINGS. A New England Story. By Caroline B. Le Row.

  FUSSBUDGET’S FOLKS. A Story For Young Girls. By Anna F. Burnham.

  HAPPY DISCIPLINE, A. By Elizabeth Cummings.

  JOLLY TEN, THE; and Their Year of Stories. By Agnes Carr Sage.

  KATIE ROBERTSON. A Girl’s Story of Factory Life. By M. E. Winslow.

  LONELY HILL. A Story For Girls. By M. L. Thornton-Wilder.

  MARJORIBANKS. A Girl’s Story. By Elvirton Wright.

  MISS CHARITY’S HOUSE. By Howe Benning.

  MISS ELLIOT’S GIRLS. A Story For Young Girls. By Mary Spring
  Corning.

  MISS MALCOLM’S TEN. A Story For Girls. By Margaret E. Winslow.

  ONE GIRL’S WAY OUT. By Howe Benning.

  PEN’S VENTURE. By Elvirton Wright.

  RUTH PRENTICE. A Story For Girls. By Marion Thorne.

  THREE YEARS AT GLENWOOD. A Story of School Life. By M. E. Winslow.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 52-58 Duane Street, New York.



The Girl Comrade’s Series

ALL AMERICAN AUTHORS.

ALL COPYRIGHT STORIES.

A carefully selected series of books for girls, written by popular
authors. These are charming stories for young girls, well told and full
of interest. Their simplicity, tenderness, healthy, interesting motives,
vigorous action, and character painting will please all girl readers.

HANDSOME CLOTH BINDING.

PRICE, 60 CENTS.

  A BACHELOR MAID AND HER BROTHER. By I. T. Thurston.

  ALL ABOARD. A Story For Girls. By Fannie E. Newberry.

  ALMOST A GENIUS. A Story For Girls. By Adelaide L. Rouse.

  ANNICE WYNKOOP, Artist. Story of a Country Girl. By Adelaide L.
  Rouse.

  BUBBLES. A Girl’s Story. By Fannie E. Newberry.

  COMRADES. By Fannie E. Newberry.

  DEANE GIRLS, THE. A Home Story. By Adelaide L. Rouse.

  HELEN BEATON, COLLEGE WOMAN. By Adelaide L. Rouse.

  JOYCE’S INVESTMENTS. A Story For Girls. By Fannie E. Newberry.

  MELLICENT RAYMOND. A Story For Girls. By Fannie E. Newberry.

  MISS ASHTON’S NEW PUPIL. A School Girl’s Story. By Mrs. S. S.
  Robbins.

  NOT FOR PROFIT. A Story For Girls. By Fannie E. Newberry.

  ODD ONE, THE. A Story For Girls. By Fannie E. Newberry.

  SARA, A PRINCESS. A Story For Girls. By Fannie E. Newberry.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 52-58 Duane Street, New York.



The Boy Spies Series

These stories are based on Important historical events, scenes wherein
boys are prominent characters being selected. They are the romance of
history, vigorously told, with careful fidelity to picturing the home
life, and accurate in every particular.

Handsome Cloth Bindings

PRICE, 60 CENTS PER VOLUME

THE BOY SPIES AT THE BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS.

  A story of the part they took in its defence. By William P. Chipman.

THE BOY SPIES AT THE DEFENCE OF FORT HENRY.

  A boy’s story of Wheeling Creek in 1777. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES AT THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL.

  A story of two boys at the siege of Boston. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES AT THE SIEGE OF DETROIT.

  A story of two Ohio boys in the War of 1812. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES WITH LAFAYETTE.

  The story of how two boys joined the Continental Army. By James
  Otis.

THE BOY SPIES ON CHESAPEAKE BAY.

  The story of two young spies under Commodore Barney. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES WITH THE REGULATORS.

  The story of how the boys assisted the Carolina Patriots to drive
  the British from that State. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES WITH THE SWAMP FOX.

  The story of General Marion and his young spies. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES AT YORKTOWN.

  The story of how the spies helped General Lafayette in the Siege of
  Yorktown. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES OF PHILADELPHIA.

  The story of how the young spies helped the Continental Army at
  Valley Forge. By James Otis.

THE BOY SPIES OF FORT GRISWOLD.

  The story of the part they took in its brave defence. By William P.
  Chipman.

THE BOY SPIES OF OLD NEW YORK.

  The story of how the young spies prevented the capture of General
  Washington. By James Otis.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 52-58 Duane Street. New York



The Boy Scout Series

By HERBERT CARTER

New stories of Camp Life, telling the wonderful and thrilling adventures
of the Boys of the Silver Fox Patrol.

Handsome Cloth Bindings

PRICE, 60 CENTS PER VOLUME

THE BOY SCOUTS ON STURGEON ISLAND; or, Marooned Among the Game Fish
Poachers.

  Through a queer freak of fate, Thad Brewster and his comrades of the
  Silver Fox Patrol find themselves in somewhat the same predicament
  that confronted dear old Robinson Crusoe; only it is on the Great
  Lakes that they are wrecked instead of the salty sea. You will admit
  that those Cranford scouts are a lively and entertaining bunch of
  fellows.

THE BOY SCOUTS DOWN IN DIXIE; or, The Strange Secret of Alligator Swamp.

  New and startling experiences awaited the tried comrades of camp and
  trail, when they visit the Southland. But their knowledge of
  woodcraft enabled them to meet and overcome all difficulties.

THE BOY SCOUTS’ FIRST CAMP FIRE; or, Scouting with the Silver Fox
Patrol.

  This book is brimming over with thrilling adventure, woods lore and
  the story of the wonderful experiences that befell the Cranford
  troop of Boy Scouts when spending a part of their vacation in the
  wilderness.

THE BOY SCOUTS IN THE BLUE RIDGE; or, Marooned Among the Moonshiners.

  Those lads who have read The Boy Scouts’ First Camp Fire will be
  delighted to read this story. It tells of the strange and mysterious
  adventures that happened to the Patrol in their trip through the
  “mountains of the sky” in the Moonshiners’ Paradise of the old Tar
  Heel State, North Carolina.

THE BOY SCOUTS ON THE TRAIL; or, Scouting through the Big Game Country.

  The story recites the many adventures that befell the members of the
  Silver Fox Patrol with wild animals of the forest trails, as well as
  the desperate men who had sought a refuge in this lonely country.

THE BOY SCOUTS IN THE MAINE WOODS; or, The New Test for the Silver Fox
Patrol

  In the rough field of experience the tenderfoots and greenhorns of
  the Silver Fox Patrol are fast learning to take care of themselves
  when abroad. Thad and his chums have a wonderful experience when
  they are employed by the State of Maine to act as Fire Wardens.

THE BOY SCOUTS THROUGH THE BIG TIMBER; or, The Search for the Lost
Tenderfoot

  A serious calamity threatens the Silver Fox Patrol when on one of
  their vacation trips to the wonderland of the great Northwest. How
  apparent disaster is bravely met and overcome by Thad and his
  friends, forms the main theme of the story, which abounds in plenty
  of humor, and hairbreadth escapes.

THE BOY SCOUTS IN THE ROCKIES; or, The Secret of The Hidden Silver Mine.

  By this time the boys of the Silver Fox Patrol have learned through
  experience how to rough it upon a long hike. Their tour takes them
  into the wildest region of the great Rocky Mountains, and here they
  meet with many strange adventures.

THE BOY SCOUTS AT THE BATTLE OF SARATOGA.

  A story of Burgoyne’s defeat in 1777.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 52-58 Duane Street, New York



The Boy Chums Series

By WILMER M. ELY

In this series of remarkable stories by Wilmer M. Ely are described the
adventures of two boy chums—Charley West and Walter Hazard—in the
great swamps of interior Florida and among the cays off the Florida
Coast, and through the Bahama Islands. These are real, live boys, and
their experiences are well worth following.

In Handsome Cloth Bindings

PRICE, 60 CENTS PER VOLUME

THE BOY CHUMS ON INDIAN RIVER; or, The Boy Partners, of the Schooner
“Orphan.”

  In this story Charley West and Walter Hazard meet deadly
  rattlesnakes: have a battle with a wild panther; are attacked by
  outlaws: their boat is towed by a swordfish; they are shipwrecked by
  a monster manatee fish, and pass safely through many exciting scenes
  of danger. This book should be read first.

THE BOY CHUMS ON HAUNTED ISLAND; or, Hunting for Pearls in the Bahama
Islands.

  This book tells the story of the boy chums’ adventures on the
  schooner “Eager Quest,” hunting for pearls among the Bahama Islands.
  Their hairbreadth escapes from the treacherous quicksands and
  dangerous waterspouts, and their rescue from the wicked wreckers are
  fully told.

THE BOY CHUMS IN THE FOREST; or, Hunting for Plume Birds in the Florida
Everglades.

  The story of the boy chums hunting the blue herons and the pink and
  white egrets for their plumes in the forests of Florida is full of
  danger and excitement. In this story is fully told how the chums
  encountered the Indians; their battles with the escaped convicts;
  their fight with the wild boars and alligators; and many exciting
  encounters and escapes. This is the third story of the boy chums’
  adventures.

THE BOY CHUMS’ PERILOUS CRUISE; or, Searching for Wreckage on the
Florida Coast

  This story of the boy chums’ adventures on and off the Florida Coast
  describes many scenes of daring and adventure, in hunting for ships
  stranded and cargoes washed ashore. The boy chums passed through
  many exciting scenes, their conflicts with the Cuban wreckers; the
  loss of their vessel, the “Eager Quest,” they will long remember.
  This is the fourth book of adventures which the boy chums
  experienced.

THE BOY CHUMS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO; or, a Dangerous Cruise with the
Greek Spongers.

  This story of the boy chums hunting for sponges is filled with many
  adventures. The dangers of gathering sponges are fully described;
  the chums meet with sharks and alligators; and they are cast away on
  a desert island. Their rescue and arrival home make a most
  interesting story. This is the fifth book of adventures of the boy
  chums.

THE BOY CHUMS CRUISING IN FLORIDA WATERS; or, the Perils and Dangers of
the Fishing Fleet.

  In this story Charley West and Walter Hazard embark upon a new and
  dangerous quest for fortune. With their old and tried comrades,
  Captain Westfield and the little negro, Chris, they join the great
  army of fishermen that yearly search the Florida seas for the
  thousands of kinds of rare fish and water creatures that abound
  there. The Florida waters hide many strange and unknown dangers. The
  perils the chums encounter from weird fishes and creatures of the
  sea and the menace of hurricanes and shipwreck, make very
  interesting and instructive reading. This is the sixth book of
  adventures of the boy chums.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY. 52-58 Duane Street, New York.





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