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Title: Off Santiago with Sampson
Author: Otis, James, 1848-1912
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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OFF SANTIAGO WITH SAMPSON



THE "Stories of American History" Series.

By JAMES OTIS,

Author of "Toby Tyler," "Jenny Wren's Boarding House," etc. Each story
complete in one volume; with 17 original illustrations by L. J.
Bridgman.

Small 12mo, neatly bound in extra cloth, 75 cents each.

=1. When Dewey Came to Manila.=

=2. Off Santiago with Sampson.=

Two new volumes on the recent Spanish-American War, in the author's
deservedly popular "Stories of American History" Series.

=3. When Israel Putnam Served the King.=

=4. The Signal Boys of '75=: A Tale of the Siege of Boston.

=5. Under the Liberty Tree=: A Story of the Boston Massacre.

=6. The Boys of 1745= at the Capture of Louisburg.

=7. An Island Refuge=: Casco Bay in 1676.

=8. Neal the Miller=: A Son of Liberty.

=9. Ezra Jordan's Escape= from the Massacre at Fort Loyall.


Dana Estes & Co., Publishers, Boston.

  [Illustration]



     OFF SANTIAGO WITH SAMPSON

     BY
     JAMES OTIS

     AUTHOR OF "JENNY WREN'S BOARDING-HOUSE,"
     "JERRY'S FAMILY," "THE BOYS' REVOLT,"
     "THE BOYS OF 1745," ETC.

     Illustrated

     BOSTON
     DANA ESTES & COMPANY
     1899



     Copyright, 1899

     BY DANA ESTES & COMPANY

     Colonial Press:
     Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
     Boston, U. S. A.



CONTENTS.


     CHAPTER                PAGE

       I. "KEEP OUT"          11

      II. KEEP IN             31

     III. OFF SANTIAGO        48

      IV. THE MERRIMAC        66

       V. THE CHASE           86

      VI. TEDDY'S DADDY      103



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                  PAGE

     THE MARIA TERESA IN FLAMES          _Frontispiece_

     AT THE GATEWAY                                 12

     TALKING WITH THE LONGSHOREMAN                  17

     THE MERRIMAC                                   22

     TEDDY COMES ON BOARD THE MERRIMAC              27

     SETTING THE HIDING-PLACE IN ORDER              34

     TEDDY DISCLOSES HIMSELF                        41

     THE FLEET                                      51

     "'THIS 'ERE STEAMER IS GOIN' TO BE SUNK'"      57

     THE TEXAS                                      63

     SAILORS FROM THE TEXAS                         68

     KEEPING WATCH OF THE BROOKLYN                  73

     THE SINKING OF THE MERRIMAC                    79

     THE SUNKEN MERRIMAC                            83

     TEDDY TRIES TO ASSIST THE WOUNDED SAILOR       90

     THE TEXAS IN THE FIGHT                         99



OFF SANTIAGO WITH SAMPSON.



CHAPTER I.

"KEEP OUT."


It was a small but by no means feeble-looking boy who stood in front
of a driveway disclosed by the opening of huge gates which, until they
had been swung inward, appeared to have been a portion of the high
fence of boards.

There was seemingly no inducement for a boy to linger in this
vicinity, unless, indeed, it might have been the sign posted either
side the gate, on which was painted in letters rendered conspicuous
because of the vivid colouring, the forbidding words, "Keep Out."

"I'll not keep out 'less I'm minded to, an' him as can hold me this
side the fence needs to be spry on his feet," the small boy said, half
to himself, and with a gesture of defiance which told he had not been
accustomed to obeying commands that might be evaded.

Through the gateway nothing could be seen save enormous heaps of coal,
some enclosed in pens formed of planks as if to prevent them from
mingling with the others, and between all a path or road of no more
than sufficient width to permit the passage of a cart. In the
distance, a rough building abruptly closed the view, and beyond it the
puffing of steam and rattle of iron implements told of life and
activity.

  [Illustration]

Outside the fence, it was as if this certain portion of the city had
been temporarily deserted; but one could hear the rumble of wheels
over the pavements on either hand, giving token that the coalyard was
situated just beyond the line of city traffic.

The boy gazed into the uninviting-looking place as if fascinated, only
glancing up now and then at the signs which mutely forbade his
entrance, and, as if unconscious of his movements, stole slowly nearer
and nearer the gateway until he stood directly on the line that
separated the yard from the sidewalk.

"If I wanted to go in, it's more'n a couple of signs that could keep
me out," he muttered, threateningly, and then, with one backward
glance to assure himself that no unfriendly policeman was watching
from the distance, the boy darted forward, taking refuge behind the
nearest heap of coal, lest an enemy should be lurking near at hand.

Save for the hum of labour everywhere around, he heard nothing. No
guardian of the smutty premises appeared to forbid his entrance, and
after waiting a full minute to make certain it was safe to advance yet
farther, he left one place of partial concealment for the next in his
proposed line of march.

So far as he could see, there was no other guardian of the yard save
the two signs at the entrance, and the only purpose they served was to
challenge him.

Grown bolder as the moments passed without bringing to light an enemy,
the lad advanced more rapidly until he stood, partially concealed by
one of the pens, where it was possible to have a full view of all that
was being done in this place to which the public were not supposed to
be admitted.

If the intruder had braved the unknown dangers of the yard simply in
order to gratify his curiosity, then had he paid a higher price than
the view warranted.

The building, which from the street appeared to mark the end of the
enclosure, was a structure wherein puffing engines, grimy men, long
lengths of moving chains, and enormous iron cars or boxes were
sheltered from the sun or rain. In front of it a wooden wall extended
down into the water,--a pier perhaps it might be called,--and at this
pier, held fast by hemp and iron cables, lay a gigantic steamer built
of iron.

The intruder gave no heed to the busy men and machinery within the
building. The vessel, so powerful, but lying there apparently
helpless, enchained his attention until he had made mental note of
every spar, or boat, or cable within his range of vision.

Then, suddenly, from somewhere amid the chains, and cars, and puffing
steam, came the shrill blast of a whistle, and as if by magic all
activity ceased.

The engines no longer breathed with a heavy clank; cars and chains
came to a standstill, and men moved quietly away here or there as if
having no more interest in the hurly-burly.

One of the weary labourers, his face begrimed with coal-dust until it
was not possible to distinguish the colour of his skin, took from its
near-by hiding-place a dinner-pail, and came directly toward where the
small boy was overlooking the scene.

Within two yards of the lad the dusty man sat down, brushed the ends
of his fingers on his trousers, rather from force of habit than with
any idea of cleansing them, and without further delay began to eat his
dinner.

The boy eyed him hungrily, looked around quickly to make certain that
there were no others dangerously near, and stepped out from behind his
screen of coal.

"You'd better keep an eye out for the watchman," the man said,
speaking indistinctly because of the bread in his mouth, and the boy
replied, defiantly:

"I'd like to see the watchman 'round here that I'm 'fraid of, an'
besides, he couldn't catch me."

"What'er you doin' here?"

"Nothin'."

"A boy of your size has got no business to be loafin' 'round doin'
nothin'."

"I might be eatin' if I had a chance; but there hasn't been much of an
openin' for me in that line this quite a spell."

"Hungry?"

"Give me a piece of that bread an' I'll show yer."

"Don't you do anything for a livin'?" the man asked passing the lad a
generous slice from the loaf.

"Course I do."

"What?"

"Anything that pays. I've sold papers some since the Spaniards got so
funny; but it ain't any great snap, only once in awhile when the news
is humpin' itself. A feller gets stuck mighty often, an' I'm thinkin'
of tryin' somethin' else."

"Where's your folks?"

"I ain't got any to speak of now, since my father got giddy an' went
off to war."

"Out for a soldier, eh?"

"Not a bit of it! He shovels coal aboard one of them big steamers
that's down smashin' the life out'er Cuby, that's what he does, an'
he's nobody's slouch, dad ain't!"

"What's your name?"

"Teddy Dunlap."

"Want more bread?"

The boy leaned over in order to look into the dinner-pail, and then
said, promptly:

"I've had enough."

"Don't think you're robbin' me, 'cause you ain't. I believe in feedin'
well, an' this is only my first pail. There's another over there that
I'll tackle later."

Teddy glanced in the direction pointed out by his new acquaintance,
and, seeing a pail half concealed by some loose boards, at once
stretched out his hand, as he said:

"If you've got plenty, I don't care if I do have another piece of that
bread."

"Can't you earn enough to keep you in food?" and the man gave to the
boy a most appetising sandwich.

"Say, that's a dandy! It's half meat, too! Them you get down-town
don't have more'n the shadow of a ham bone inside the bread! Course I
make enough to buy food; but you don't think I'm blowin' it all in
jest for a spread, eh?"

"Runnin' a bank?"

"Well, it's kind'er like that; I'm puttin' it all away, so's to go
down to Cuby an' look after the old man. He allers did need me, an' I
can't see how he's been gettin' along alone."

"Where's your mother?"

"Died when I was a kid. Dad an' me boomed things in great shape till
he got set on goin' to war, an' that broke it all up."

"Did he leave you behind to run wild?"

  [Illustration]

"Not much he didn't, 'cause he knows I can take care of myself; but he
allowed to make money enough so's we could buy a place out in the
country, where we'd have an imitation farm, an' live high. Oh, I'm all
right, an' every time I catch a sucker like you there's jest so much
more saved toward goin' down to Cuby. You see I never did take much
stock in dad's kitin' 'round fightin' Spaniards, an' since he left it
seems as if I was mighty foolish to let him go, so I'm bound to be
where he is, when things come my way."

"Look here, Teddy," and the dust-begrimed man spoke in a more kindly
tone to the boy, "If your father is a coal-passer in the navy, an'
that's what he seems to be, 'cordin' to your story, you couldn't see
very much of him, even though you was on board his vessel all the
time."

"Don't yer s'pose I know that? I ain't sich a baby that I count on
bein' right under his nose; but I'm goin' to be somewhere near the old
man in case he needs me."

"It seems as if you might get down to Cuba easier than earnin' the
money to pay your passage."

"How?" and Teddy ceased eating for the instant to look at this new
friend who had made a suggestion which interested him more than
anything else could have done.

"Why don't you try to work your passage? Now, here's this 'ere
steamer, loadin' with coal for the navy--perhaps goin' to the very
ship your father is on. If you could jolly the captain into takin' you
to do odd jobs, it would be a snap, alongside of payin' for a ticket
an' trustin' to luck after gettin' there."

"Well, say! That would be a great racket if it could be worked! Is it
a dead sure thing that the steamer's bound for our war-vessels?"

"That's what, though it ain't to be said that she'll be goin' to the
very craft your father's on. All I know is Uncle Sam has bought this
coal, an' it's bein' taken out to our navy somewhere 'round Cuba."

"I don't reckon any but them what enlists can go aboard the steamer,
an' the snap can't be worked, for I've tried four times to get taken
on as a sailor."

"But bless your heart, this 'ere craft is only a chartered collier."

"A what?"

"I mean she's only a freighter that Uncle Sam has hired to carry coal.
You won't find enlisted men aboard of her."

"An' do you really think there's a chance for me?"

"I can't say as to that, lad; but I'd make a try for a berth aboard if
my mind was set on goin' into that part of the world, which it ain't.
The captain went below not ten minutes before the noon-whistle
sounded, an' he's likely there this minute."

Teddy gazed inquiringly at this new acquaintance for an instant, as if
suspicious that the man might be making sport of him, and then marched
resolutely toward the end of the pier, with the half-eaten sandwich
almost forgotten in his hand.

After perhaps five minutes had passed, he returned, looking
disappointed, but not disheartened, and seating himself by the side of
the owner of the two dinner-pails, resumed operations upon the
sandwich.

"See the captain?"

"Yep."

"Didn't want a boy, eh?"

"Guess not; he said he'd give me two minutes to get out of the cabin,
an' I thought perhaps I'd better go."

"Quite natural, lad, quite natural; I'd done the same thing myself.
There couldn't have been any very great harm worked, though, in askin'
the question."

"It stirred him up considerable; but I guess he'll get over it without
any very bad spell," Teddy said, grimly, and after a brief pause,
added, reflectively, "It seems as though some men hated boys; I've
seen them as would take a good deal of trouble to kick a feller if he
stood the least little bit in the way, an' I never could understand
it."

"Perhaps there's more'n you in the same box; a brute's a brute whether
he be old or young, an' age always makes 'em worse. It's a pity,
though, that you didn't strike one of the right kind, because if
you're set on gettin' down where the fightin' is goin' on, this 'ere
steamer would have been the safest way."

"Do you know when she's likely to leave?" Teddy asked, after a long
pause, during which he had been gazing intently at the gilt letters,
_Merrimac_, on the vessel's rail.

"Some time to-night, I reckon. We've been workin' night an' day at the
loadin', an' it's said that she'll leave the dock within an hour
after the last scoopful has been put aboard."

"How long will it take her to get there?"

"I can't say, lad, seein's I don't rightly know where she's bound; but
it shouldn't be a long voyage at the worst, for such as her."

  [Illustration]

Again Teddy gazed at the gilt letters on the rail, as if in them he
saw something strange or wonderful, and when the owner of the
dinner-pails had come to an end of his meal, the boy said, abruptly:

"Do you know the watchman here?"

"Watchman! I haven't seen any yet, though I reckon likely there is one
around somewhere; but he ain't agitatin' himself with doin' much
watchin'."

"Is the yard open all the time?"

"I haven't seen the gates closed yet; but most likely that's because
the work has been pushed on so fast, there hasn't been time to shut
'em. Look here, lad!" and now the man sat bolt upright, staring as
intently at the boy as the latter had at the gilt letters, "Is it in
your head to stow away on that steamer?"

"Sim Donovan did it aboard a English steamer, an' I've heard it said
he had a great time."

"Yes, I reckon he did, if the captain was the usual sort," the
dust-begrimed man replied, grimly.

"I could keep out of sight a whole week, if it was for the sake of
comin' across dad," the boy added, half to himself.

"That's what you think now, lad; but it ain't the easy work you're
countin' on. As a general rule, stowaways get it mighty tough, an' I'd
sooner take my chances of swimmin', than to try any such plan."

"If a feller kept under cover he couldn't get into much trouble."

"But you can't stay in hidin' any great length of time, lad. You'd
have to come out for food or water after a spell."

"Not if I took plenty with me," Teddy replied, in the tone of one who
has already arrived at a conclusion.

"It looks easy enough while you're outside; but once shut in between
decks, or cooped up in some small hole, an' you'd sing a different
tune."

"I wouldn't if it was a case of seein' dad when we got there."

"But that's the trouble, my boy. You don't know where the steamer is
bound. She might be runnin' straight away from him, an' then what
would you do?"

"You said she was goin' to carry the coal to our vessels, didn't you?"

"Yes; but that don't mean she'll strike the very one your father is
workin' on."

"I'll take the chances," and now Teddy spoke very decidedly.

For an instant it was as if the owner of the two dinner-pails would
attempt to dissuade him from the hastily formed determination, and
then the man checked himself suddenly.

"I like to see a boy show that he's got some backbone to him, an' it
may be you'll pull out all right. It'll be an experience you'll never
forget, though, an' perhaps it won't do any harm."

"How can it?" Teddy asked, sharply.

"Them as have tried it might be able to explain more'n I can; there's
no call for me to spend wind tryin' to tell what you won't listen to,
so I'll hold my tongue. I'm bound to say this much, though, which is
that you're certain to catch it rough when the time comes for showin'
yourself."

"That'll be all right; I can stand a good deal for the sake of seein'
the old man once more."

Having said this, Teddy turned his head away as if no longer inclined
for conversation, whereupon the owner of the two dinner-pails surveyed
him admiringly.

"I wouldn't wonder if you had considerable sand in you, Teddy Dunlap,"
he said, musingly. "An' even though it seems a queer thing for a grown
man to do, I'm minded to give you a lift along what's goin' to prove a
mighty hard road."

"Meanin' that you're willin' to help me?" the lad asked, his face
brightening wonderfully.

"It's little I can do, an' while I ought'er turn you over to the
police in order to prevent your makin' a fool of yourself, I'll see
the game out so far as I can. What have you got by way of an outfit?"

"I don't need any."

"You must have food and water."

"I ain't broke, an' it won't be any great job to buy as much grub as
will keep me goin' for a spell."

"That's the same as all stowaways figger, an' the consequence is that
they have to show themselves mighty soon after the ship sails. I ain't
advisin' you to try the game; but if you're set on it, I says, says I,
take all you'll need for a week, an' then perhaps there'll be a turn
in affairs that'll help you out of a bad hole. Here are my pails;
they're yours an' welcome. Fill 'em both with water, or perhaps cold
tea would be best; buy whatever will be most fillin', an' walk aboard
as bold as a lion within the next hour. Them as see you are bound to
think you're waitin' upon some of the workmen, an' not a word will be
said. The hidin' of yourself is easy enough; it's the comin' out
that'll be rough."

"Say, you're what I call a dandy!" and Teddy laid his hand on the
man's knee approvingly. "I was mighty lucky to come across one of your
kind."

"I ain't so certain about that. Before twenty-four hours have gone by
you may be wishin' you'd never seen me."

"I'll risk that part of it, an' if you really mean for me to have the
pails, you'll see me go aboard the steamer mighty soon."

"They're yours, my boy, an' I only hope you'll come out of the scrape
all right."

"Don't worry 'bout that; it'll be a terrible spry captain that can
make me cry baby when I'm headin' toward where dad is. Be good to
yourself!"

Teddy took up the pails, and as he turned to go out of the yard his
new acquaintance asked, solicitously:

"Got money enough to buy what'll be needed? If you haven't there's
some odd change about my clothes that--"

"I'm well fixed, an' that's a fact. Ever since the idea came to me of
huntin' dad up, I've kept myself in shape to leave town on a hustle.
You're mighty good, just the same."

"I'm makin' an old fool of myself, that's what I'm doin'," the man
replied, angrily, and then turned resolutely away, muttering to
himself, "It's little less than sheer cruelty to let a lad like him
stow away on a collier. There ain't one chance in a thousand of his
findin' the father he's after, an' the odds are in favour of his
havin' a precious hard time before gettin' back to this town."

  [Illustration]

Then a whistle sounded as a warning that the labourers must return
to their tasks, and a moment later the building was alive once more
with the hum and whir of machinery, the clanking of great chains, and
the voices of men.

One of the steamer's hatches was already on and battened down. A
second was being fastened in place, and the final preparations being
made told that the enormous hold had been nearly filled with the black
fuel needed by the war-ships.

Every man, whether a member of the vessel's crew, or one of the
labourers employed for the lading, was intent only on his own
business, and among all that throng it is probable that but one gave
any heed to a small boy who came rapidly down through the yard
carrying two tin pails in his hands, and a large paper parcel under
his arm.

That single workman, who was giving heed to other than his own special
work, nodded in the most friendly fashion as the lad passed near where
he was standing, and whispered, gruffly:

"God love you, lad!"

The boy winked gravely, and then, setting his face seaward, marched
boldly up on the steamer's deck, glancing neither to the right nor the
left, lest it should be observed that he was not familiar with his
surroundings.

The man, who a few moments previous had been the possessor of two
dinner-pails, watched carefully as the small lad walked rapidly
forward, and only when the latter was lost to view did he give heed to
his own work, saying half to himself as he took up the task once more:

"I've half a mind to blow on the boy even now, for it's a cruel shame
to let him take the chances of stowin' away with but little hope of
ever findin' his father."

As if in pursuance of this thought he took a step forward, and then
checked himself, adding, thoughtfully:

"It would be more cruel to stop the little shaver just when he
believes he's workin' his plan so smooth. Better let him go his own
course, an' trust that them he comes across will remember the time
when they were lads."



CHAPTER II.

KEEP IN.


Teddy Dunlap's father was formerly a coal-passer on a steam-tug, and
many times had the lad, while spending the day with his parent, seen
an ocean-going steamer at close range, while the small craft went
alongside the larger one for business purposes.

At such times the boy seldom lost an opportunity of boarding the big
vessel, and thus it was that he had a general idea of where he might
the most readily find a hiding-place this day when he was venturing so
much in the hope of meeting his only relative.

The dinner-pails and the parcel under his arm would have done much
toward warding off suspicion as to his purpose, had any one observed
him; but every person on deck, whether member of the crew or
temporarily employed to make the ship ready for sea, was so intent on
his duties as to have no thought for a lad who appeared to be
attending strictly to his own business.

Even if any one aboard had observed Teddy particularly, the natural
thought would have been that he had come to deliver the parcel and
pails to one of the workmen, and so long as the boy had been permitted
to come over the rail, it was reasonable to suppose he had due
authority for being there.

Teddy knew full well that his chances for successfully stowing away in
the vicinity of the main cabin, the engine-room, or the deck-houses,
were exceedingly slight, for such places were visited by many; but
down in the very eyes of the ship, where were located the quarters for
the seamen, was more than one dark, out-of-the-way hole into which he
could creep with but little fear of being discovered.

Turning his head neither to the right nor the left, and moving rapidly
as if it was his desire to be ashore again as soon as possible, the
boy went into the forecastle--the sailors' parlour.

The dark, ill-ventilated place, filled with noisome odours, had at
that moment no living occupants save the rats who had grown bold
through long tenancy. The crew were all on deck, for at this time,
when quick despatch was necessary, no skulking would be allowed, and
had Teddy's friend with the dinner-pails attended to the arrangements,
the boy could not have had a better opportunity.

He might be even boisterously noisy, and there was little likelihood
any would come to learn the cause of the uproar until after the
steamer had left the coal-sheds to begin her long voyage straight
toward the enemy's islands.

Being in a certain degree aware of this last fact, Teddy set about
making his arrangements for the ticketless voyage in a methodical
fashion, there being no reason why he should allow himself to be
hurried.

The crew on board the good steamer _Merrimac_ had neither better nor
worse quarters than those to be found on any other craft of her class;
but to a lad whose experiences of seafaring life had been confined to
short excursions around the harbour, this "sea parlour" was by no
means inviting, and save for the incentive which urged him forward,
Teddy Dunlap might have allowed himself to become disheartened even
before it had been proven that he could take passage secretly.

"It ain't so _awful_ tough," he said to himself, "an' daddy will be
all the more glad to see me after knowin' I've had a hard time gettin'
to him."

This last thought was sufficient to strengthen his failing courage,
and straightway he set about searching for a hiding-place where he
might remain concealed until the steamer should come alongside
Commodore Schley's flag-ship, the _Brooklyn_, whereon was his father.

Then--but there would be time enough to form plans for showing himself
when he had nothing better with which to occupy his attention.

The forecastle was well filled with sea-chests, bedding, which as yet
had not been put in place, and such like goods as seamen would
naturally bring with them on a reasonably long voyage, therefore Teddy
found it difficult to judge as to what might be the general
arrangements for stowage after the steamer should be under way; but he
had good reason to believe it was necessary to find some place so
small that it could not well be utilised by the men.

When, after some search, he came upon a narrow, dark, doorless
closet, partially filled with coils of rope, bolts of canvas, and what
appeared to be a general assortment of odds and ends, it seemed as if
he had indeed found that for which he was looking.

There was little chance this small den would be required for other
than what it was then used, and he had only to fear that some of the
articles it contained might suddenly be needed, when he must of a
necessity be discovered by whosoever should be sent to overhaul the
goods.

  [Illustration]

"I'll have to take the chances," Teddy said to himself, having
considered well this possibility of discovery. "It ain't likely
they'll want anything out of here till after the steamer is at sea,
an' then it'll be too late to send me ashore."

Once having decided that this was to be his abiding-place during the
time he could remain in hiding on board the _Merrimac_, Teddy set
about making such bestowal of the goods as would best serve to his
comfort, arguing with himself that he might not have another
opportunity for putting the new quarters into decent shape.

Understanding that once the steamer was at sea she would be tossed
about by the waves until it might be difficult for him to remain in
whatever place he pleased, the boy's first care was to make of the
rope and canvas a barricade to hold the remainder of the goods in
proper position, and, this done, there was little else possible, save
to unroll a bolt of the sail-cloth that it should serve as a bed.

"It's a good deal snugger than I expected, an' the dark part of it
don't count," he said to himself, contentedly, as he wedged the two
tin pails filled with water, and his store of provisions, inside the
largest coil of rope. "When there ain't too much noise I can hear the
crew talkin', and that'll help out big if a feller happens to get
lonesome. Them signs on the coal-yard said 'keep out,' an' I come in;
now I ought'er put up one that says 'keep in,' an' perhaps I'll go out
quicker'n I'm countin' on. Anyhow it's a case of keepin' in mighty
snug, 'less I want to run up against that captain once more, an' I'm
thinkin' he'd be an ugly customer."

Teddy Dunlap was well content. He believed his store of provisions and
water was sufficient to keep both hunger and thirst at a distance
during such time as it might be necessary for him to remain there in
hiding, and when the short term of imprisonment should come to an end,
he would be with his father.

What more could any twelve-year-old boy ask for?

It was while counting up his reasons for being thankful that the
stowaway fell asleep, the heat, the darkness, and the comparative
quiet all contributing to make his eyelids heavy, and he was yet
unconscious when two noisy, bustling little tugs, one either side of
the big vessel, towed her down the harbour.

The voyage had begun, and, apparently, there was no suspicion in the
minds of the officers that the _Merrimac_ had on board other than her
regularly shipped crew.

When Teddy awakened he felt comfortable both in mind and body; the
steamer was rising and falling on the ocean swell, but not to such a
degree as inconvenienced him in the slightest, and the many odours
with which his nostrils were assailed passed almost entirely
unnoticed.

He believed, because of the pounding of the waves, that the _Merrimac_
was rushing through the waters at a sharp pace, and this supposed fact
was in itself sufficient to counterbalance any defects he may have
discovered in his hiding-place, for the greater the speed the sooner
he might see his father.

Not until after he had been awake several moments was it possible to
distinguish, amid the varied noises, the sound of human voices; but he
was finally able to do so, and became greatly cheered thereby.

"Now, this ain't goin' to be so bad," he said to himself, contentedly.
"I'll know everything that's goin' on, 'cause it won't be a big job to
crawl out far enough to hear the men talk, an' a feller couldn't be
better fixed, not if he'd paid two prices for a ticket."

Then the idea came to Teddy Dunlap that he was hungry, and he laughed
gently at the thought that it was only necessary to stretch out his
hand in order to satisfy the desire.

"Talk 'bout your palace-cars! They ain't a marker 'longside this way
of travellin'. I don't have to wait for any tousled-headed nigger to
bring my order, 'cause here it is!"

Straightway the boy began to satisfy his hunger, doing it in an
economical fashion, for he was not minded to exhaust his supply on the
first day of leaving port.

He drank sparingly of the water, but yet taking sufficient to quench
his thirst, and when the meal was come to an end lay back on the
canvas bed luxuriously, congratulating himself again and again, upon
his determination to go in search of his father.

The motion of the steamer grew more violent; but Teddy was proof
against such rolling as the _Merrimac_ was indulging in then.

There remained the same buffeting of the waves which told of progress;
told that the distance between himself and his father was rapidly
being lessened, and this was sufficient for the stowaway.

The plunging of the steamer was to Teddy Dunlap no more than the
violent rocking of a cradle would be to an infant; it prevented him
from remaining quiet as would have been pleasant, but did not drive
slumber from his eyelids.

In less than ten minutes after having partaken of the meal he was
again wrapped in slumber, and during a full twenty-four hours he
alternately slept and ate; but at the end of that time was more than
ready for a change of programme.

Then it was that his eyes refused to close; the folds of canvas, which
at first had seemed as soft as any fellow could have asked for, became
hard as iron, and he suddenly discovered that he was sore and lame
from having been flung about when the vessel rolled.

The hardships of a stowaway's life suddenly became a reality, and
instead of congratulating himself upon being on board the _Merrimac_,
he began to speculate upon the probable length of the voyage.

He hungered to hear the voices of the men more distinctly, and spent
full two hours gently moving the dunnage around so that he might crawl
out near the entrance to this seeming cave.

When he had gotten so far into the forecastle that no more than two
coils of rope hid him from view of the watch below, and understood it
would be dangerous to advance any farther, he learned that it was
impossible to hear any more than such words as were spoken in the
loudest tone. There was little hope of being able to realise what
might be going on around him by such means.

Then came a most dismal twenty-four hours, when the _Merrimac_, met
full in the teeth by a gale of wind, staggered, plunged, and rolled
her way along, every wave striking the iron hull with a force that
caused Teddy to wince, and then came that deathly sickness which
those who sail upon the sea are sometimes forced to endure.

There were many hours when the stowaway believed the steamer was about
to go to the bottom, and he fancied death was the only relief from his
agony. He even ceased to think of his father, and considered no person
save himself, wondering why he had been so foolish as to believe it
might be wise to search for Commodore Schley's flag-ship.

More than once while the malady had a firm hold upon him, did he
decide to throw himself upon the mercy of whosoever might chance to be
in view when he emerged from the hiding-place, and perhaps if the
sickness had been less severe, his adventures would have ended as do
the greater number of such exploits.

Once having recovered, however, his heart became braver, even though
he learned that nearly all the water had been spilled while the
steamer was tossing about so wildly, and his store of provisions,
which had seemed so large when he came on board, was nearly exhausted.

After this the hours passed more slowly, and each moment the
imprisonment seemed more irksome.

It was only with difficulty he could force himself to remain screened
from view, and more than once did he venture dangerously near the
entrance to his floating cave in the hope of seeing a human face, but
yet he kept his secret forty-eight hours longer, when the provisions,
as well as the water, had come to an end.

He had ceased to speculate upon the meeting with his father, but
thought only of how long he could endure the pangs of hunger and
thirst, and even the fear of the commander's possible brutality faded
away as he dwelt upon the pleasure of having sufficient to eat and
drink.

And finally, as might have been expected, the moment arrived when he
could no longer hold his courage against the suffering, and he made
preparations to discover himself.

How long he had been cooped up in that narrow place it was impossible
for him to so much as guess; he did not try to compute the number of
hours that had elapsed since he last tasted food or water; there was
only in his mind an intense desire to receive the punishment for
having stowed away, in order that he might the sooner satisfy the
cravings of his stomach.

"It's no use to hold on any longer; the voyage ain't comin' to an end
for weeks an' weeks, an' I'll be dead in another day if I don't have
somethin' to eat. I'll go out this minute, an' take whatever they give
me in the way of a floggin', for waitin' won't make things any
better."

Having arrived at this decision, Teddy Dunlap began to attack the
cordage which screened the entrance to his retreat as if each strand
of rope was a deadly enemy to be overcome without loss of time, and
when he had thrown down the last obstacle he stood blinking and
winking in the not overly strong light of the forecastle, confronted
by a short, round-faced sailor, who surveyed him in mingled fear and
astonishment.

"Where--who--what--oh, a stowaway, eh?" the little man cried, after
having expressed on his glistening face, in rapid succession, fear,
astonishment, and bewilderment. "Well, I'll eat my hat if I ever heard
of a lad stowin' away on a collier what's out on an errand like ours!"

  [Illustration]

"Yes, I'm a stowaway, an' I don't care who knows it!" Teddy cried, in
a tone of desperation. "I held in just as long as any feller could,
an' it seems as if I was next door to bein' dead, I'm so thirsty an'
hungry!"

"You won't count triflin' things like that after you've come face to
face with the captain, lad," and the little man appeared as truly
sorrowful as any one of a like jolly countenance ever can, however
saddening the situation.

"Will he let in to me pretty tough?"

"I'm thinkin' that anything else you've had in that line will seem a
good deal like a joke, alongside of what he'll deal out, an' that
ain't the worst of it."

"What else can he do?" and Teddy looked up timidly, absolutely
frightened out of his hunger.

"This 'ere is the next thing to a government steamer, seein's we're on
naval service, an' the captain is like to turn you over to the first
cruiser we meet, for extra punishment. I don't know how Uncle Sam
treats them as stows away on his vessels, but I'll go bail it ain't
with any very tender hand."

Teddy Dunlap looked around the forecastle, searching for some one to
whom he could appeal, for he believed this jolly-looking little sailor
was trying to play upon his fears; but the sea-parlour was empty.

If he had waited forty-eight hours for an opportune time in which to
make his appearance, he could not have come at a better moment.

"What's the use tryin' to scare a feller almost to death?" he asked,
piteously. "I've got to take the dose, of course; but there's no need
of your rubbin' it in."

"I ain't comin' any game on you, lad, an' that's the solemn truth.
While I never saw the captain of this 'ere steamer till I came aboard,
I'll eat my hat if he ain't a tartar when you rub his fur the wrong
way, an' I'm tryin' to think if there ain't some way of gettin' you
out of the scrape."

"I'd go back into my hole if I had somethin' to eat an' drink."

"Where'd you come from?"

Teddy pointed to his late place of concealment, and the jolly little
man said, quite cheerfully:

"That's the very thing for you to do, my son. I don't want to see you
abused, an' it'll be hard lines if between us you can't be got off
this bloomin' steamer without everybody's knowin' that you've cheated
Uncle Sam out of a passage."

"Can you get me somethin' to eat?" Teddy asked, imploringly.

"I will if it takes every cent that's comin' to me in the way of
wages, to square the cook. Tell me what brought you here, sonny? You
can stand jest behind this dunnage, an' we'll be able to talk quite
comfortable."

That the little man would be a real friend there could be no doubt,
and without hesitation Teddy told him the whole story, neither adding
to nor taking therefrom, and saying, by way of conclusion:

"Of course it'll be all right when I come across daddy, for there
ain't no captain of a coal-steamer who'd dare give it to me very rough
while he was around."

"An' your father is aboard the _Brooklyn_, eh?"

"Yes; he shipped as coal-passer."

"Well, I don't rightly know what he'll be able to do for you in case
we come across him, which is doubtful; but from what I've seen of
skippers since this war begun, I'm thinkin' our captain will swing a
pretty heavy hand, unless he meets some other feller who holds a
bigger commission."

"You talk as if I couldn't find daddy," Teddy interrupted. "He's
aboard the flag-ship."

"That's what I heard you say; but it ain't any proof we'll come across
him. This 'ere cargo of coal is goin' where it's most needed, an' we
may never find any of Schley's fleet."

"But we're goin' right where the war-vessels are."

"See here, my son, Commodore Schley's fleet ain't the only squadron in
this war by a long chalk, an' we might work at coalin' the navy from
now till we're gray-headed without comin' across him. I'm afraid the
chances of findin' your father are slim; but I'm bound to help you
out'er the snarl that bloomin' longshoreman got you into, if it so be
I can. Get back into the hole, an' I'll see what can be found in the
way of grub."

Teddy, more disheartened because of the doubt expressed as to the
possibility of finding his father, obeyed the little man's order
without remonstrance, and once alone again, gave himself up to the
most disagreeable thoughts, absolutely forgetting for the moment that
he had supposed himself on the verge of starvation a short time
previous.

As yet he had not absolutely divulged his secret, save to the little
sailor who had promised to be his friend, and it might be possible
that at some port he could slip on shore without the knowledge of any
save this one man.

But all such counted for nothing at the moment, in view of the
possibility that he had, perhaps, made the venture in vain.

There was another and yet more alarming view to be taken of the
situation. He might be forced to go ashore in a strange harbour, for
it was hardly within the range of probability that he could return in
the _Merrimac_ to the home port, and then there was the ugly chance
that possibly there would be great difficulty in finding his way back.

"I've made the biggest kind of a fool of myself!" he wailed, very
softly; "but I won't let anybody know that I'm willin' to agree to it.
When a feller gets into a muss he's bound to crawl out of it an' keep
his upper lip stiff, else folks will have the laugh on him. It ain't
so certain but I'd better go straight on deck an' take my dose; the
captain won't be likely to kill me, an' the sooner it's over the
easier I'll feel."

It is not certain but that Teddy Dunlap might have put this new
proposition into execution at once, had it not been for the coming of
the little sailor, who said, in a cheery tone:

"Here you are, my hearty, salt horse an' tea! I reckon you can worry
along on that for a spell, an' meanwhile I'll keep my weather eye
liftin' for you. Things may not be more'n half as bad as they look,
an' even that'll be tough enough."

"I've been thinkin' I'd better have it out with the captain now, an'
then I wouldn't be dreadin' it."

"What's the sense of picklin' a rod for your own back when you may run
away from it? Hold on here for a spell, an' I'll get the lay of the
land before anything foolish is done."

"You're mighty good to me," Teddy murmured, softly, as he took the
hook-pot of tea and strip of cold meat from the sailor's hands.
"What's your name?"

"Bill Jones--Snippey, some of the hands call me when they want to be
funny. I reckon we'd best not do any more chinnin', for the port watch
will be in here precious soon, an' there's more'n one man who'd make
life hot for you if he had the chance. I know what sailors are, lad,
seein's I've been one myself, man an' boy, these thirty years, an'
their foolin' is pretty tough play for one like you. Lay low till I
give the word, an' if there don't seem to be any way out of this snarl
within the week, then it'll be time enough to let the old man have a
whack at your hide."



CHAPTER III.

OFF SANTIAGO.


It was really wonderful how changed everything appeared to Teddy
Dunlap after his interview with Bill Jones.

As a matter of course there had been no enlargement of his
hiding-place, and yet it seemed as if he could move about more freely
than before. He was forced to remain in quite as cramped a position,
but it no longer seemed painful.

Although the sailor had given him no encouragement that he might
succeed in the task he had set himself, but, on the contrary, appeared
to think it a hopeless one, Teddy felt positive that the moment was
very near at hand when he would be clasped once more in his father's
arms.

He had come out from his hiding-place weak and despairing, choosing
the most severe punishment that could be inflicted rather than longer
endure the misery which had been his constant companion during so many
days, and now, even before partaking of the meat and tea, all was
forgotten in the belief that he would soon be with his father.

It was as if some other boy had taken Teddy Dunlap's place, and this
second lad was strong where the other had been weak.

He made a hearty meal, rearranged his bed so that he might be nearer
the entrance to the hiding-place in case the sailor found it necessary
to communicate with him hurriedly, and then indulged in more
refreshing sleep than had visited his eyelids during the past
forty-eight hours.

When Teddy awakened, however, much of this new courage had vanished,
and again he allowed himself to look forward into the future,
searching for trouble.

He had no means of knowing whether it was day or night, for the
sunlight never came into this hole; but, because of the silence in the
forecastle, it seemed probable the crew were on deck.

The steamer rode on an even keel, save for a sluggish roll which told
she was sailing over calm seas, and the air had suddenly grown
stifling hot.

Creeping so near the entrance that there was great danger of being
discovered by such of the men as might come that way, Teddy waited
with feverish impatience for some word from Bill Jones, and it seemed
as if a full day must have passed before the voice of the jolly little
sailor was heard.

"Well, my hearty, you're in great luck, an' no mistake. I wouldn't
have believed things could have gone so nearly your way, if I hadn't
seen 'em with my own eyes."

Before the sailor ceased speaking, Teddy had come out from his
hiding-place regardless of possible discovery, and appeared to be on
the point of rushing up the narrow companionway.

"Hold on, you young rascal! Do you count on jumpin' right into the
captain's arms?" and Bill Jones seized the lad by the shirt collar,
pulling him backward with no gentle force. "Where was you headin'
for?"

"Ain't it time for me to go on deck?" Teddy asked, speaking with
difficulty because of the sailor's firm clutch.

"Time? I reckon not, unless you're achin' for a taste of the rope's
end. Our skipper ain't any very mild tempered man at the best of
times, an' this is one of his worst days, for everything has been
goin' wrong end foremost jest when he wants to see the ship in
apple-pie order."

"I thought you said somethin' about my bein' in luck, an' the only
thing of the kind that could come to me, would be to know father was
on deck."

"I don't reckon you'll see him aboard the _Merrimac_ for some time to
come, though you're nearer to him this minute than I ever allowed
you'd be in this part of the world."

"What do you mean?" and Teddy literally trembled with the impatience
of anticipation.

"Sampson's fleet is dead ahead. His vessels are the very ones we've
come to coal, an' if that ain't luck enough for a stowaway, I'd like
to know what you could call it?"

"Is the _Brooklyn_ anywhere near?" and Teddy did his best to speak
calmly.

"Dead ahead, I tell you."

"Will we run right alongside of her?"

"I don't allow you've any claim to count on luck like that; but we're
hard by Sampson's fleet, and it'll be strange if we can't find a
chance of lettin' your father know where you are."

"Find a chance? Why, I'll go right on deck an' yell to him. He's bound
to come out when he hears me."

  [Illustration]

There was in this remark something which struck Bill Jones as being so
comical that he burst into a hearty laugh, and then, realising that
his messmates on deck might come down to learn the cause of such
unusual mirth, he partially checked himself, gurgling and choking in
the efforts to suppress his merriment, until it appeared that he was
on the point of being strangled.

"Go on deck an' yell to him," he muttered in the intervals between
what appeared to be spasms. "Say, lad, it's precious lucky the weather
is so hot that the crew have been driven out, else we'd had 'em all
down on us, for I can't hold in, no matter how hard I try. So you
think it's only a case of goin' on deck an' yellin', to bring your
father right over the rail!"

"He'd come if he heard me," Teddy replied, sharply.

"I ain't so certain 'bout that, for coal-passers don't have the choice
of promenading a battle-ship's deck. The officers generally have
somethin' to say about capers of that kind. Besides, you might yell
yourself black in the face, even if the _Merrimac_ was layin' close
alongside the _Brooklyn_, an' he'd never be any the wiser. You seem to
have the idee that one of Uncle Sam's vessels is built something after
the pattern of a tugboat."

"But I've got to get at him somehow," Teddy said, in perplexity, the
new and great joy which had sprung up in his heart dying away very
suddenly.

"True for you, lad; but it ain't to be done in the way you're
figgerin' on, an', besides, havin' come along so smooth this far, I'm
not countin' on lettin' you run your nose against such a thistle as
the captain is like to be. It ought'er be enough that we've struck
into the very fleet you wanted to find, an' a boy what can't wait a
spell after all the good fortune you've had, ain't fit to be scurryin'
'round here huntin' for his father."

"I'll go right back into the hole, an' wait till you tell me to come
out," Teddy said, meekly, understanding full well what his plight
would be should this friendly sailor turn against him.

"Now you're talkin' sense," Bill Jones said, approvingly. "I was
countin' on cheerin' you up a bit, by tellin' of where the _Merrimac_
had fetched up, an' didn't allow to set you off like a wild Injun. Hot
down here, eh?"

"It's kind'er warm, an' that's a fact."

"So much the better, because the crew will stay on deck, an' you'll
have more of a chance to move around. It's only a case of layin' low
for three or four days, an' then we'll see what your father can do
toward gettin' you out."

"How will you let him know where I am?"

"There'll be plenty of show for that if we come alongside the
_Brooklyn_; I can manage to send him word, I reckon."

The conversation was brought to an abrupt close by the appearance of a
sailor's feet as he descended from the deck, and Bill Jones turned
quickly away, pretending to be overhauling his sea-chest, while Teddy
made all haste to regain his "hole."

Now it was that the stowaway had every reason to congratulate himself
upon the fair prospects which were his, when it had seemed positive
that much trouble would come before the venture was ended, and yet the
moments passed more slowly than at any time since he had voluntarily
become a prisoner.

With each hour his impatience increased, until it was with difficulty
he could force himself to remain in hiding.

While he believed his father was very far away, there appeared good
reason for remaining hidden; but now, with the _Brooklyn_ close at
hand, it seemed as if he must make his whereabouts known without loss
of time.

Fear as to what terrible punishment the captain of the _Merrimac_
might inflict, however, kept him in his proper place, and before many
hours passed Bill Jones brought him further intelligence.

"The _New York_ is to take on the first of the coal," he said, leaning
over the barricade of rope, and whispering to the impatient prisoner.
"I'm thinkin' we'll get around to the _Brooklyn_ before all the cargo
is gone, an' then this game of hide will come to an end--if your
father is a smarter man than the average of us."

The jolly little sailor had no time to say more, for one of the petty
officers interrupted the stolen interview by calling loudly for "Bill
Jones," and while obeying the summons the sailor muttered to himself,
"I wish the boy was well clear of this steamer; it seems as if he was
under my wing, so to speak, an' I can't make out how any man, lower in
rank than a full-fledged captain, can take him aboard one of Uncle
Sam's ships."

Fortunately Teddy had no misgivings as to the future, after his father
had been made aware of his whereabouts.

He believed it would be the most natural thing in the world for him to
step on board the _Brooklyn_ as a guest, and the possibility that a
coal-passer might not be allowed to invite his friends to visit him
never entered the lad's mind.

Bill Jones, however, was seriously troubled as to the outcome of the
affair, as has been seen.

He had promised to aid the stowaway, as he would have promised to aid
any other lad in trouble, for the jolly little sailor was one ever
ready to relieve the distress of others, no matter how great might be
the cost to himself; and now, having taken the case in hand, his
anxiety of mind was great, because he was by no means as certain of
his ability to carry it through successfully as he would have Teddy
believe.

Within four hours after the sailor reported that the _Merrimac_ would
speedily begin to take out her cargo, the prisoner in the forecastle
became aware that the steamer was at a standstill.

For the first time since leaving port the screw was motionless, and
the absence of that pounding which marked the revolutions of the shaft
caused a silence that for a few moments seemed almost painful.

Shortly afterward, when Bill Jones came to bring a fresh supply of
provisions and water, he reported that the _New York_ was taking on
coal.

"The other ships are certain to need a supply, an' we're bound to come
alongside the _Brooklyn_ sooner or later," he said, cheerily, and
Teddy replied, with a sigh:

"It seems like a terribly long while to wait; but I s'pose I can stand
it."

"I reckon it's a case of havin' to, lad, unless you're willin' to take
the captain's medicine, an' that's what I wouldn't like to tackle."

"It's as if I'd been here a full month, an' accordin' to what you say
I'm mighty lucky if I have to stay only two or three days more."

"You're lucky if you get out in a week, so don't go to countin' the
minutes, or time will be long in passin'."

Twice during the next twenty-four hours did Teddy have an opportunity
of speaking with his friend, and then he knew that the _Merrimac_ was
alongside the _Massachusetts_.

"You see we're goin' the rounds of the fleet, an' it's only a question
of the coal holdin' out, to finally bring us to the _Brooklyn_," Bill
Jones said, hurriedly, for there was no opportunity of lengthy
conversations while the crew were engaged in transferring the fuel.

Another long time of waiting, and Bill Jones appeared at the entrance
to the hiding-place in a state of the greatest excitement.

"Somethin's got to be done right away, lad, an' I'm clean beat as to
how we'll figger it out. This 'ere steamer is goin' to be sunk!"

"Sunk!" Teddy cried in alarm, clutching Bill frantically by the arm,
as if believing the _Merrimac_ was even then on the point of going
down.

"That's jest it, an' we're to be shifted to the other vessels, gettin'
a berth wherever one can be found."

"What will make her sink?"

"She's to be blowed up! Wrecked in the harbour of Santiago de Cuba, so
the Spaniards who are inside can't get out!"

Teddy looked around him in bewilderment and alarm, understanding not
one word of the brief explanation.

  [Illustration]

"You see the Spanish fleet is inside the harbour, and the mouth of
it ain't more'n three hundred feet wide. This steamer will be blowed
up right across the channel, an' there the Spaniards are, bottled up
tight till our fleet gets ready to knock 'em into splinters."

"But what'll become of me? I'll have to face the captain after all!"

"I reckon there's no help for it, lad, because it don't stand to
reason that you want to go down with the ship."

"How long before you'll sink her?"

"_We_ sha'n't have anything to do with it, lad. It's what you might
call a precious fine job, an' 'cordin' to the way everybody looks at
it, them who do the work ain't likely to come back again."

"Why not?"

"Look here, lad, if you was goin' on deck an' set off three or four
torpedoes under your very feet, what do you think would be the show of
gettin' ashore alive?"

Teddy made no effort to weigh the chances; his own affairs were in
such a precarious condition that there was no room in his mind for
anything else.

"I'd better have gone to the captain when I first made up my mind that
it had to be done, an' it would be over by this time," he said, with a
long-drawn sigh.

"It wouldn't have been over till you got ashore, because pretty nigh
every sailor thinks it his bounden duty to make things lively for a
stowaway. You've saved yourself from bein' kicked an' thumped jest so
many days as I've been coddlin' you up, an' there's a good deal in
that."

"Are we anywhere near the _Brooklyn_?"

"She was five or six miles away when I saw her last--"

"Five or six miles!"

"Yes; did you allow she laid within hail?"

"I thought from what you said that we was right among the fleet."

"So we are, lad; but these big ships don't huddle very close together,
an' ten miles off is called bein' mighty near at hand. I can't stop
here chinnin' much longer, so listen sharp. When the time comes, an'
it's precious near at hand now, you'll have walk up to the
medicine-box like a little man, so kind'er be bracin' yourself for
what's sure to happen. I'll watch till the captain appears to be in
good humour, an' out you pop."

Teddy nodded his head; there was too much sorrow and disappointment in
his heart to permit of speech, and Bill Jones was so pressed for time
that he failed to give due heed to the boy's mental condition.

"Be ready when I come back next time!" the sailor whispered,
warningly, and then ran on deck, leaving the stowaway in a most
unenviable frame of mind.

When Teddy's mouth was parched with thirst, and his stomach craving
for food, he had brought himself to believe that he could submit
without a murmur to whatever punishment the captain might see fit to
inflict; but now it seemed different. During a very long time he had
been cheering himself with the belief that before the close of this
hour or the next he would be with his father, and such a sudden and
startling change in affairs caused him deepest despair.

Crawling into the narrow hiding-place, he gave full sway to the grief
which had come upon him like a torrent, for once Captain Miller knew
of his having stowed away, so he argued to himself, there would no
longer be any hope of communicating with his father.

To his mind he had not only failed in the purpose set himself, but
would be more widely separated from his father than ever before, and
it is little wonder, with such belief in his heart, that the boy
ceased longer to battle against his sorrow.

He was lying face downward upon the canvas when Bill Jones came to
announce that the moment had arrived when he should brave the ordeal
of facing Captain Miller, and the sailor was forced to speak several
times in a loud tone before the lad realised that his friend was near
at hand.

"Come, Teddy," the little sailor said, soothingly, "it'll be over
after awhile, an' perhaps won't be so bad as we've figgered, for the
old man ain't tearin' 'round dreadful mad. Let's get on deck in a
hurry, so's not to think about it too long, an' I'll stand right by
your side till matters are settled one way or the other."

"I might as well stay right here, an' be sunk when the steamer goes
down," the boy wailed.

"Nonsense, lad; after havin' the pluck to come thus far in search of
your father, you mustn't lose heart now. Be a man, Teddy, an' count on
me for a friend so long as the trouble lasts."

It was not possible for Bill Jones to arouse the boy to a proper show
of courage until after fully half an hour had passed, and then the two
came out into the sunlight, both looking much as if having just been
detected in the most heinous of crimes.

The dazzling sunlight nearly blinded the boy, who had been shrouded in
darkness so many days, and forced him to cover his eyes; therefore he
failed to see the look of surprise and bewilderment on Bill Jones's
face immediately they came on deck.

During several moments he was in such a daze as to be virtually
unconscious, and then he heard his companion ask:

"Where is the _Merrimac's_ crew?"

"They've been set aboard the _New York_ for a spell, seein's how this
ain't likely to be a very pleasant craft to sail in after we get
through with her," a strange voice replied, and Teddy opened his eyes.

The deck of the collier appeared to be thronged with sailors in naval
costume, all of whom were apparently bent on doing the greatest amount
of destruction in the shortest possible space of time.

Not far away to windward was a huge war-vessel, looking more like some
submarine monster than anything built by man, and in the distance
others of the same kind, cruising to and fro, or lying quietly upon
the ocean, rising and falling with the heavy swell.

All this picture Teddy took in with a single glance, and then his
attention was diverted by Bill Jones, who said to the sailor with whom
he had first spoken:

"Ain't we to take our dunnage out?"

"I reckon that'll be done after a spell; but just now it's a case of
hurry, an' what a few old shellbacks like you may consider dunnage,
ain't taken into account."

"Where is Captain Miller?"

"I saw him goin' toward the flag-ship. It seems he's got the biggest
kind of a bee in his bonnet because Lieutenant Hobson is to be given
the chance of killin' himself an' his crew, when he claims the right
because of havin' been in command of this 'ere collier."

  [Illustration]

Teddy was wholly at a loss to understand the meaning of the
conversation, and he looked at the little sailor, who now appeared
perplexed rather than jolly, until the latter said, speaking slowly,
as if in a maze of bewilderment and doubt:

"I'm all at sea, lad, about this 'ere business; but it begins to look
as if you wouldn't have any very hard time with the old man to-day.
He's got somethin' else on his mind that's of more importance than a
worthless little stowaway like you."

"He'll come back, won't he?" Teddy asked, yet unable to gather any
clear idea of the situation.

"Unless he comes soon, there won't be anything left of the _Merrimac_,
an' that's a fact," Bill Jones replied, pointing here and there to
where a hundred men or more were busily at work, seemingly trying to
make a wreck of the collier. "I s'pose they're bent on gettin' out of
the old hooker all that's of any value, before sinkin' her, an' it
looks as if they'd finish the job in a jiffy."

"Where's the _Brooklyn_?"

"See here, my son, we've no time to bother our heads about her just
now. It's enough for you that we can't get speech with your father,
an' unless I'm way off my reckonin', here's the chance to pull out of
what promised to be a bad scrape for you."

Teddy remained silent, for the very good reason that he was at a loss
for words, and after a short pause, Bill Jones exclaimed, as if a
happy thought had at that instant come into his mind:

"Hark you, lad, our men have gone over to the _New York_, an' so long
as we don't follow them it'll be plain sailin'. We'll watch our
chance, go aboard the nearest ship, so it ain't the admiral's
flag-ship, as bold as lions, an' it'll be believed that you belong to
our crew. Unless Captain Miller shows himself, you'll be livin' on
the fat of the land."

"But when he comes?"

"We won't bother our heads about anything of the kind. It's enough for
us to know you've slipped out of the smallest kind of a hole without a
scratch, and we'll take all the enjoyment that comes our way, at Uncle
Sam's expense."



CHAPTER IV.

THE MERRIMAC.


There was no good reason why, as Bill Jones had suggested, Teddy could
not successfully pose as one of the _Merrimac's_ crew.

The undertaking in hand was so important, with such great advantages
to be derived from its accomplishment, that for the time being it was
as if every officer and man in the American squadron had no thought
save concerning the work upon the steamer to be sunk.

That the situation may be made more plain, as it was to Teddy before
he had been on board the _Texas_ two hours, the following description
of the daring venture is quoted from an article written the very day
Bill Jones and his protégé sought shelter on the battle-ship:[1]

"The mines in the narrow, tortuous channel, and the elevation of the
forts and batteries, which must increase the effectiveness of the
enemy's fire, and at the same time decrease that of our own,
reinforced by the guns of the Spanish fleet inside, make the harbour,
as it now appears, almost impregnable. Unless the entrance is
countermined it would be folly to attempt to force its passage with
our ships.

"But the Spanish fleet is bottled up, and a plan is being considered
to drive in the cork. If that is done, the next news may be a
thrilling story of closing the harbour. It would release a part of our
fleet, and leave the Spaniards to starve and rot until they were ready
to hoist the white flag.

"'To drive in the cork,' was the subject nearest Rear-Admiral
Sampson's heart, and he at once went into consultation with his
officers as to how it could best be done. One plan after another was
discussed and rejected, and then Assistant Naval Constructor Richmond
Pearson Hobson proposed that the big collier _Merrimac_, which then
had on board about six hundred tons of coal, be sunk across the
channel in such a manner as to completely block it.

"The plan was a good one; but yet it seemed certain death for those
who should attempt to carry it out as proposed. Lieutenant Hobson,
however, claimed that, if the scheme was accepted, he should by right
be allowed to take command of the enterprise.

"The end to be attained was so great that Admiral Sampson decided that
the lives of six or seven men could not be allowed to outweigh the
advantage to be gained, and Lieutenant Hobson was notified that his
services were accepted; the big steamer was at his disposal to do with
as he saw fit."

This was the work which had been begun when Bill Jones brought Teddy
Dunlap on deck that he might confess to being a stowaway, and it is
little wonder that matters on board the collier were in seeming
confusion.

On the night previous Lieutenant Hobson had received the notification
that his services were accepted, and at an early hour next morning the
work of making the _Merrimac_ ready for destruction had begun.

A dozen boys would have attracted no attention just then, and the lad,
who had mentally nerved himself to meet the captain of the steamer,
failed in finding any one to hear his confession.

Bill Jones, however, was quick to see the possible advantage to be
gained, and Teddy had not fully recovered from his bewilderment before
the little sailor was forcing him over the rail into one of the
_Texas's_ boats, which had just come alongside.

  [Illustration]

"Turned out of house an' home, eh?" one of the sailors asked, with a
laugh, and there was no question but that the boy, as well as the man,
had a right to be taken aboard the battle-ship.

The officers had all left the boat, therefore the two were not
subjected to any searching examination, and once on board the big
vessel, it was supposed, as a matter of course, that they had been
regularly detailed to that ship.

Strange as it may seem, these two who had but just come from the
_Merrimac_ knew less regarding her proposed ending than any other,
and, therefore, were most deeply interested in such information as was
to be picked up from the crew.

Before having been on board an hour they knew as much as has been set
down at the beginning of this chapter, and, for the time being at
least, they, like all around them, had little thought save for the
daring adventure which was to be made by Lieutenant Hobson and six
men.

"It's a mighty brave thing to do," Bill Jones said confidentially to
Teddy as the two were on the gun-deck, having concluded a most
satisfactory repast; "but I wouldn't want a hand in it."

"Why not?" Teddy asked, in surprise, for he had been turning the
matter over in his mind until having come almost to envy those who
were to brave death in the service of their country.

"Because I ain't what might rightly be called a fightin' man; owin' to
my bein' undersized, most likely. I take real pride in the deeds of
others, but can't seem to get my own courage where it belongs. I'm
only what you might call a plain, every-day sailor, with no fightin'
timber in me, else I'd been in the navy long before this."

"Do you think they will live to sink the _Merrimac_?" Teddy asked,
thoughtfully.

"There's no doubt in my mind but that they'll hold on to life long
enough to do the work, but it's afterward that the trouble will begin.
Every Spanish gun within range will open fire on 'em, an' what chance
have they got of comin' out alive?"

"When will they start?"

"It'll be quite a spell before they get the steamer ready to make the
dive, 'cordin' to my way of thinkin'. In the first place, as I'm told,
there are to be plenty of torpedoes put in position inside the old
hooker, an' it'll take some time to made them ready. Anyway, you're
snug as a bug in a rug now--"

"Until Captain Miller comes aboard," Teddy interrupted.

"Have no fear of him," the little sailor said, as if the subject was
not worthy of consideration. "When he comes, if he ever does, it isn't
to this part of the ship that he'll pay a visit. Officers spend their
time aft, an' small blame to 'em. It may be, Teddy Dunlap, that he'll
see you; but the chances are dead against it, so take all the comfort
you can--"

"I ought to be huntin' for daddy."

"Well, you can't, leastways, not while we're aboard this craft, but
you can count on comin' across him before this little scrimmage is
ended off Santiago, an' then I warrant there'll be all the chance you
need."

"But what am I to do on board here?" Teddy asked, anxiously. "It don't
stand to reason that we'll be allowed to loaf around as if we owned
the whole vessel."

"That's the way you look at it; but my idees are different. Uncle Sam
will keep us for a spell, that's certain, an' until he gets tired of
the job we needn't worry our heads. You might live to be a thousand
years old without strikin' another job as soft as the one we've got on
our hands this blessed minute, so I say, make the most of it."

"It's different with you; but I'm only a stowaway, an' stand a good
show of gettin' into a heap of trouble when the officers of this ship
find out that I've no business to be here."

"I don't figger that way," Bill Jones replied, with a light and airy
manner. "It doesn't stand to reason you should have been left aboard
to go down with the steamer, eh?"

"They might have set me ashore."

"An' had a precious good job doin' it. Look ye, Teddy Dunlap, are you
countin' yourself of so much importance that a battle-ship is to leave
her station for no other reason than to put you ashore?"

"I didn't mean it that way. You see they ought to do somethin' with
me--"

"Then wait till they get ready, an' don't borrow trouble. This
crossin' of bridges before you come to 'em is likely to make life
mighty hard for a young chap like yourself, an' considerin' all you've
told me, I wonder at it."

Teddy could say nothing more. It surely seemed reasonable Bill Jones
knew what it was proper he should do, and from that moment he resolved
to "take things easy," as his friend advised, rather than fret over
what couldn't be mended.

Therefore it was he ceased to worry, although at the same time
keeping a sharp watch over the _Brooklyn_, and by such a course saw
very much of what happened off Santiago during those months of June
and July, in the year one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight.

Surely the stowaway had no cause to complain of his treatment by the
crew of the _Texas_.

Every man did his best to make these waifs from the doomed steamer
feel perfectly at home, and when Bill Jones brought his sea-chest
aboard, as he did the day following their abandonment of the
_Merrimac_, there was not a man on the battle-ship who did not suppose
Teddy's dunnage was in the same capacious receptacle.

Rations were served to the stowaway the same as to any member of the
crew, and then he and Bill Jones were called upon for some trifling
duty, but as the latter said, there was no more work than was good for
them by way of exercise.

In the most pleasant fashion possible the time passed until the
_Merrimac_ was made ready for her doom, and these two comrades, for it
can well be supposed they were become fast friends, saw all the
preparations without being obliged to do any of the disagreeable work.

There was hardly an hour during these days of labour when the two did
not hear Lieutenant Hobson's plans discussed, and they knew to the
slightest detail all he proposed to do.

  [Illustration]

"Here is the way he'll sink our craft, 'cordin' to all I've heard,"
Bill Jones said to Teddy when the two were alone for a short time on
the afternoon after it had been reported on board the _Texas_ that
everything was ready for the desperate venture. "He'll run at about
ten-knot speed until four hundred yards or less past the Estrella
battery, or, in other words, till he's in the narrowest part of the
channel. Then he'll put the helm hard aport, stop the engines, drop
the anchors, open the sea connections, touch off the torpedoes, an'
leave the old hooker blockin' up the entrance to Santiago Harbour."

"He can't do all that alone," Teddy suggested.

"Of course he can't, else why is he takin' a crew with him? I'm told
that this is the exact way he counts on workin' it. There'll be four
men on deck besides himself, an' two in the engine-room; all of 'em
will be stripped down to their underclothes, an' with revolvers an'
ammunition strapped in water-tight packin' to their waists. One will
be forward with an axe to cut the lashings of the anchor when the word
is given. Of course Hobson signals the engineers to stop the engines,
then the fellow forward cuts the anchor loose; some one below smashes
the sea connections with a sledge-hammer when the machinery stops, and
all hands jump overboard, countin' on swimmin' to the boat that's
bein' towed astern. The lieutenant himself touches the button that
explodes the torpedoes, an' then over he goes; it's a case of every
man for himself once the work is begun. The steamer is bound to go
down athwart the channel, an' there you have the entrance to Santiago
Bay shut up as tight as Admiral Sampson can wish."

Teddy did not venture any criticism. He had heard the subject
discussed so often that there was nothing new he could suggest, and it
seemed wisest to hold his tongue.

On the close of this day word was passed among the crew of the _Texas_
that the venture would be made during the coming night, and the two
visitors from the _Merrimac_ were on deck from sunset until sunrise.

The work of preparing the big collier was continued throughout the
entire night, and just at daybreak she got under way, as if to begin
the voyage which it seemed certain could end only with the death of
all; but before the men on the battle-ship had time to give her a
parting cheer, she put back to her station, because, as some of the
men declared, the admiral had given positive orders for her to wait
until another night.

Twenty-four hours of additional preparation; as many of speculation
and discussion among those who were refused an opportunity to offer
their lives as a sacrifice, and then came the moment when Teddy was
awakened from his sleep by Bill Jones, who said, as he shook the lad
roughly:

"Get on deck, my hearty, get on deck! This time there'll be no mistake
as to the sailin', an' if you want to see the last of the _Merrimac_,
now's your chance!"

The stowaway did not wait for a second invitation, and a moment later
he formed a small portion of the human fringe which overhung the
_Texas's_ rail, peering out across the waters where, by the pale light
of the moon, could be seen the doomed steamer.

It was even possible to distinguish the forms of her crew as they
stood well forward, much as though taking a last look at the fleet,
and, near at hand, the tiny launch from the _New York_, which was to
follow the collier in with the hope of picking up some of her brave
crew when they leaped into the water.

Among all that throng of men on the _Texas_ hardly a word was spoken
as the _Merrimac_ slowly got under way. Every one remained silent as
if under the spell cast by the bravery of those who were literally
taking their lives in their hands that the starry flag might wave
triumphant.

Boldly the collier steamed in toward the coast, being lost to view
immediately she got under the shadow of the high hills at the entrance
of the bay, and a mile or more astern the tiny launch puffed her way
along as if conscious that this morning's work was of extreme
importance.

Then both craft were swallowed up by the gloom, and yet that throng of
men overhanging the _Texas's_ rail remained motionless, waiting with
an anxiety that was most intense for some sign which would give token
of their shipmates' fate.

During half an hour every man waited in keenest suspense, never one
venturing to so much as speak, and then from the heights at the
entrance of the harbour the flash of a gun streamed out.

It came almost in the nature of a relief, for every one knew that the
_Merrimac_ was nearing her destination at last.

The suspense was at an end, whatever might be the result, and even
Teddy Dunlap believed he could predict the close of that most
desperate venture.

Within ten seconds after the first flash, another was seen, then a
third, and a fourth, until it was no longer possible to count them.

The heights guarding the channel appeared to be ablaze; but yet not a
sound could be heard.

The blockading squadron were so far away that the reports were lost in
the distance.

Then the eager men found tongue, and it was as if each spoke at the
same instant, giving no heed as to whether his neighbour replied.

During full twenty minutes these silent flashes could be seen in the
distance, and then they died away just as the gray light of the coming
dawn appeared in the eastern sky.

"It's all over!" Bill Jones said, as he laid his hand on Teddy's
shoulder. "I reckon the old _Merrimac_ is layin' in the channel to
keep the Spaniards from sneakin' out; but them as carried her in so
bravely are past all troubles of this world's makin'. It's great to be
a hero; but the glory of it is soon over!"

"Do you suppose they've all been killed?" Teddy asked in a whisper,
for it was much like speaking in the presence of the dead.

"There's little doubt of it, lad. Think you a craft like the
_Merrimac_ could stand the storm of shot and shell that was poured on
her from the time we saw the first flash? Just bear in mind that every
puff of flame betokened a chunk of iron large enough to sink this 'ere
battle-ship, if it struck her fairly, an' you can have a fair idee of
how much chance those poor fellows stood."

  [Illustration]

Among all the crew there was hardly one who did not share this opinion
with Bill Jones. To them, the heroes who went smilingly to their death
had left this world for ever, and yet the men continued to overhang
the rail, awaiting the return of the launch, with the idea that when
she arrived they might hear something of importance.

Not until three hours later did the little craft show herself, and
then she came out from under the shadow of the land followed by a
shower of missiles from the big guns ashore.

The men on the _Texas_ were forced to wait some time before learning
what information she brought, for the launch went directly to the _New
York_, as a matter of course, and several hours elapsed before the
crew heard all that could then be told.

This was to the effect that the tiny boat followed the collier until
fire was opened upon the doomed steamer, and she was so enshrouded by
smoke as to be lost from view. Then the launch was headed in under the
batteries, where she remained until daylight on the lookout for a
swimmer.

At five o'clock in the morning no sign of life had been seen, and the
little craft made for the fleet, followed by a rain of shot from the
shore batteries.

While crossing the harbour entrance one spar of the _Merrimac_ was
seen sticking out of the water, and thus it was known that the little
band of braves had done their work faithfully, at whatever cost to
themselves.

There was neither jest nor careless word among the crew of the
battle-ship during this forenoon; even Bill Jones remained almost
absolutely silent. It seemed that they stood in the presence of death,
and more than one acted as if believing he was taking part in the
funeral services of those who had so lately been among them.

Teddy had seen every man who went to make up that devoted crew, and to
him it was as if his personal friends had met their death; but in such
a brave fashion that it would have been almost a crime to mourn their
taking off.

Then, like a flash of lightning from a clear sky, came the joyful news
that every man among that band who had devoted themselves to death,
was yet among the living, and comparatively uninjured.

It was almost incredible information, and yet, because of its source,
no one could doubt it.

At two hours past noon, while the men of the _Texas_ were sheltering
themselves from the burning rays of the sun and discussing for the
hundredth time the last probable moments of their shipmates, a
steam-launch, carrying a white flag, put out from the harbour, making
directly for the flag-ship _New York_.

At the time no one fancied for a single moment that the coming of this
craft could have any connection with those who had left the station to
wreck the _Merrimac_, but there were some who suggested that the
Spaniards were ready to surrender, and, in support of this theory,
cited the fact that the royal squadron was bottled up so tightly it
could never be used against the United States.

Others declared that the Spanish admiral was about to make an offer of
compromise, and not a few believed the flag of truce had to do with
the capitulation of the city of Santiago de Cuba.

Not a man was prepared for the news which floated from ship to ship,
no one could say exactly how; but in less than an hour from the time
the launch made fast alongside the _New York_, it was known that she
brought a message from Admiral Cervera, commander of the Spanish
fleet, to the effect that the crew of the _Merrimac_ had been
captured, and were held as prisoners of war.

  [Illustration]

Lieutenant Hobson was uninjured, and only two of the party had been
wounded slightly.

It seemed too good to be true, but when the men realised that this
information must be correct, that it had been sent by a generous
enemy, they spent a good five minutes cheering alternately for those
who had escaped after having gone down into the very jaws of death,
and for that gallant Spaniard who, recognising bravery even in his
foe, had taken the trouble to announce the safety of those who were
battling against him.

"It's what I call a mighty fine thing for the old admiral to do," Bill
Jones said, as he held forth to a gun's crew with whom he and Teddy
messed. "It ain't every officer as would go out of his way to send
such news as that, an' if Admiral Cervera should ever fall into my
hands as a prisoner of war, he can count on bein' treated like a white
man."

There was a roar from Bill's auditors at the intimation that the
commander of the Spanish fleet might ever be captured by that sailor,
for by this time all had come to know him as a "plain, every-day
sailor, with not a fightin' timber in him;" but not a man within sound
of his voice cared to contradict him.

On that night, after the subject of the venture and its sequel had
been discussed until worn threadbare, the little sailor said to Teddy,
as if telling him some important truth:

"You'll see great doin's now, lad, an' it wouldn't give me such a
terrible surprise to know that the war was ended within the next
twenty-four hours, for them bloomin' Spaniards in Santiago must
understand by this time that the sooner they give in whipped, the less
of a lickin' they're like to get."

And Teddy, thinking more of his own condition than the glory of the
country, asked, with no slight distress of mind:

"If it should come to a stop as soon as that, how could I ever get
word to father? Of course the _Brooklyn_ would go right home, an' I'd
be left here."

"I'll take care of that, lad," Bill Jones replied, in a tone of
assurance. "Never you have a fear but that I'll see she don't leave
this station till you've had a chance to go on board long enough to
sort out the coal-passers."

FOOTNOTE:

[Footnote 1: "The Boys of '98."]



CHAPTER V.

THE CHASE.


Bill Jones found time to change his opinion as to the speedy
termination of the war after the _Merrimac_ had been sunk at the
entrance of Santiago Bay.

Instead of displaying any anxiety to surrender, the Spaniards on the
island appeared to be making every preparation for a stubborn defence,
and the fleet of war-vessels had little opportunity to do much more
than blockade duty.

Teddy Dunlap, looked upon by the crew of the _Texas_ as a lad who had
every right to be among them, might have enjoyed this cruising to and
fro, keeping watch over the entrance to the harbour, now and then
overhauling a suspicious-looking vessel that ventured too near, and at
times throwing shells ashore from the big guns, but for the fact that
he burned with impatience to be with his father.

The _Brooklyn_ remained in view nearly all the time, now so close at
hand that it seemed as if the two ships must immediately come within
hailing distance, and again so far away that she appeared only as a
tiny speck against the white sky, yet the stowaway was as completely
separated from his father as if they were thousands of miles apart.

"If only the captains couldn't talk with those little flags, it might
be that the ships would come side by side!" he said, with a long-drawn
sigh, to Bill Jones. "There'll never be any need for them to sail
nearer than within sight, an' I won't get a chance to speak to
father,--perhaps not this year."

"The prospect don't look very encouragin' just at the present time,
an' that's a fact," Bill said, thoughtfully, filling his pipe with
unusual care. "Two or three days ago it seemed as if the war was
mighty nigh at an end; but now there 'pears to be a good deal of fight
left in the Dagoes."

"An' while we're loafin' 'round here, Captain Miller will come aboard
some fine day. Then where'll I be?"

"Right here, my lad, an' there's no use lookin' ahead. He won't come
the sooner, or stay away any longer, no matter how much you fuss, so
why not save the wear an' tear of thinkin'?"

"See here," and Teddy leaned forward to look the little sailor full in
the eyes, "do you believe I'll ever have a chance of lettin' daddy
know where I am?"

"It stands to reason there must be a show for it in course of time."

"When?"

"Now you're askin' me a question I ain't in condition to answer. It
may be two or three weeks, or, then again, the show might come sudden,
within an hour. At sea you can't ever tell what's goin' to happen,
Teddy Dunlap, an' there's nothin' for it but to keep your ears an'
eyes open all the time, ready to jump on the first promisin' chance
that comes your way."

There is no good reason why such a conversation as this should be set
down, save that it is similar to a hundred others which were held
between the two comrades during the weeks which followed the sinking
of the _Merrimac_, when Teddy Dunlap, without effort on his part, was
transformed from a stowaway to a lad apparently in the employ of Uncle
Sam.

Never for a single moment did he lose sight of the possible fact that
either the _Brooklyn_ or the _Texas_ might be ordered away from this
particular station, in which case it was reasonable to suppose that
many months must elapse before he could inform his father of his
whereabouts.

There was grave danger the two might be separated so widely that
months, perhaps years, would elapse before they could meet again, and
Teddy was never comfortable in mind, but, despite all the good advice
given by Bill Jones, continued to look out into the future, searching
for trouble.

Meanwhile both he and the little sailor were kept at work on board the
_Texas_ exactly as if they had been regularly enlisted; but the duties
were so light among such a large number, that he who complained of the
work must indeed have been an indolent fellow.

And while Teddy worried over his own seeming troubles, the two
nations continued at war, killing and wounding men at every
opportunity, and ever striving to strike some decisive blow.

As a matter of course Teddy and Bill Jones took their small part in
the bombardment of the batteries at the entrance to Santiago Harbour
two days after the _Merrimac_ had been sunk.

The _Texas_ was the third vessel in the first column, headed by the
_Brooklyn_, when, shortly after sunrise, the fleet steamed inshore and
opened fire with the heavy guns.

It was to the boy as if he went into action almost by the side of his
father, and he worked with a will at whatsoever was set him to do,
although at times the terrific roar literally stunned him, while the
heat was so great that it seemed as if he was on the verge of
suffocation during every moment of the four hours the bombardment
continued.

Then the squadron steamed back to its blockading station, and at no
time had the _Brooklyn_ and _Texas_ been so near each other as to have
rendered it possible for Teddy to see his father, even though the
latter had stood on the battle-ship's deck every moment.

Again and again, as the days passed, did the _Texas_ go into action,
and at no time were the little stowaway and his small comrade remiss
in their duties.

They did their full share of the work, despite Bill Jones's assertion
that he was only a "plain, every-day sailor with no fightin' timber
about him," and as the weeks wore on these two became more and more
closely identified with the battle-ship to which chance had sent them.

When the ship was sent to bombard the works at Matamoras, and a
Spanish shell struck near the stern on the port side, passing through
the hull three feet below the main-deck line, and exploding on the
berth-deck, killing one man and wounding eight, Teddy's search for his
father nearly came to an end.

A fragment of the shell passed within ten inches of the boy's head,
striking down a sailor just beyond him, and Teddy won the admiration
of every man on board by springing to the relief of the poor fellow
whose leg had been shattered, instead of taking flight, as might quite
naturally have been expected.

  [Illustration]

Later, when the _Texas_ had withdrawn from the action, man after man
congratulated the lad upon his behaviour, predicting that he would in
time prove himself worthy of serving under such a commander as Captain
Philip, and otherwise bestowing so much praise that at the first
opportunity he said confidentially to Bill Jones:

"It makes me ashamed to have them say so much about how I acted. It
wasn't different from what any other feller would have done, because
I forgot all about the danger when Baker fell."

"I'm thinkin' you're out of your reckonin' there, lad, for accordin'
to my idee, there ain't a boy in a thousand who'd handled himself as
well as you did. Now I'm no fightin' man, as I've said before, but
your keepin' such a stiff upper lip, when there was precious good
chance of bein' killed, did me solid good. I knew you had sand, from
the first minute of settin' eyes on you, but never suspected there was
so much of it."

"You're talkin' worse than the others, even when I'm tellin' the truth
about not knowin' there was any danger. I only saw poor Baker, an'
thought I might help him."

"It ain't what you thought, lad, but what you did, that counts, an'
now if Captain Miller comes aboard I'm willin' to guarantee he won't
be allowed to kick up any row because of your stowin' away on the
_Merrimac_. The crew wouldn't allow any funny business with you, after
this day's work. Don't you see how much nearer your father we are than
we were this mornin'?"

"What do you mean?"

"Just what I say, lad. You've made for yourself a standin' on board
this ship, an' now when the time comes right I'm goin' to tell your
story to one of the petty officers, askin' him to see it reaches
Captain Philip's ears. Once that's been done, Teddy Dunlap, we'll be
hailin' the _Brooklyn_ with signals flyin' to tell the coal-passers
that one of 'em has got a son on board this craft."

"Do you suppose any such plan might work?" Teddy asked, breathlessly.

"There ain't a shadow of doubt about it in my mind."

"Why don't you do it now? I've given up hopin' this war is pretty near
at an end, an' am hungry to see daddy."

"Better wait awhile longer, my boy. It's a little too soon to show
ourselves very big, 'cause it ain't no ways certain the captain has
had time to hear of what you did. We'll hold off a spell, an' then,
when the signs come right, you'll see me put this business along in
great shape."

Because of this promise, and also owing to the many words of praise
which were showered upon him by the men, Teddy Dunlap believed, as he
had several times before, that the hour was very near at hand when he
would be with his father once more; but, as in the past, he was doomed
to disappointment during more days than he cared to count.

The "signs" never came so nearly right as to give Bill Jones courage
to take the responsibility of telling Teddy's story to those who would
repeat it to Captain Philip, and these two refugees from the
_Merrimac_ remained aboard the _Texas_, much to the satisfaction of
the crew.

It was known to them, as to every one on the warships, that hot
fighting was going on ashore in the vicinity of Santiago, and at
frequent intervals the big vessels steamed toward the land, in this
direction or that, to shell the Spanish camps; but they were at such a
distance from the scene of action that such work had little the
appearance of warfare.

In fact, the air of plain, every-day business about the operations
rendered it difficult to believe the huge shot and shell which were
hurled landward carried in their wake death and destruction to many.

When one of the _Texas's_ big guns was discharged, Teddy could hear
the roar, and feel the concussion, as a matter of course; he could
also see the missile as it sped through the air; but he had no means
of knowing where it struck, neither did he have a view of the
desolation and ruin it caused, therefore, like many another man aboard
the battle-ship, he came to look upon this work of war as nothing more
than harmless practice.

The day was near at hand, however, when the stowaway and his little
comrade were to have all too good a view of the butchery and
inhumanity of war.

It was on Sunday morning, the third day of July.

The crew of the _Texas_ had been mustered for religious services, and
while Bill Jones and Teddy waited in their proper places for the
coming of the chaplain, the sailor whispered:

"To-morrow mornin' I'm goin' to start in on your business, lad. So far
as I can see, the fleet is likely to be here a year or more before the
Spaniards are ready to surrender Santiago, and if I don't bring you to
the captain's notice soon, all your good behaviour when the shot came
aboard will have been forgotten."

"I'm afraid we've waited too long already," the lad replied, with a
sigh, for the hope had been so long deferred that his "heart was sick"
indeed for a sight of his father.

"I reckon not, Teddy; but if I've made a mistake in holdin' off, it
was done through fear I might speak too soon."

"Don't think I'm blamin' you," the boy replied, quickly, pressing his
comrade's arm in a friendly fashion. "If you never did anything more,
I'd feel as if you'd been mighty good to me, for I couldn't have run
across many sailors who'd lay themselves out to help a stowaway."

"That part of it is--"

Bill Jones was interrupted by a shout,--Teddy will never know who
uttered it, or what the words were,--and instantly, without the
slightest apparent cause, all was seeming confusion on board the ship.

It was to the lad as if the very air bristled with excitement; he saw
men darting here and there, heard sharp, quick words of command, and
as if at the very same instant, the _Texas_ seemed to leap forward
with a bound, huge clouds of black smoke suddenly pouring out of her
stacks.

"The Spaniards! The Spaniards!" Bill Jones yelled in the lad's ear, at
the same time pointing toward the entrance to the harbour, from out of
which could be seen the dark hull of an enemy's ship.

It was as if in that small fraction of time very much took place.

Teddy saw long lines of signal-flags run up to the _Brooklyn's_
masthead; he heard the roar of a 6-pounder as the _Iowa_ fired the
first shot at the foe, and understood, rather than saw, that every
vessel in the squadron was under a full head of steam almost
immediately.

At one instant the blockading squadron lay motionless and apparently
lifeless off the harbour, rocking lazily on the long swell, and then,
before one could speak, as it were, every listless hull was a war
machine, quivering with life, and pouring forth deadly shot and shell.

The transformation was so sudden and complete that it is little wonder
Teddy and Bill Jones stood transfixed with astonishment until the
chase was well under way.

One after another of the Spanish cruisers came at full speed out of
the harbour which it had been believed was closed by the hull of the
_Merrimac_, and as each ship rounded the point her guns were
discharged at the Yankee squadron. The dense smoke pouring out of
their stacks; the clouds of spray from their bows, glistening like
diamonds in the sunlight of that Sabbath morning as it was thrown aft
by the fierce impetus of the huge vessels to mingle with the smoke
that came from every gun; the roar and thunder of the discharges; the
shrieking of the missiles, and the spouting of water as the metal fell
short, made up a scene of war in its most terrific phase.

On the other side, three battle-ships and an armoured cruiser dashing
forward at the full speed of their engines; the heavy reverberations
of guns; black clouds and white of smoke from coal and from burning
powder; men stripped to the waist and working at the pieces with a
fury, haste, and energy that could not have been increased had each
individual member of the crew been fighting against a personal foe,
and words of command, encouragement, or hope, which were heard on
every hand, thrilled the boy who had trembled before the supposed
wrath of a collier's captain, until each nerve was tingling with
excitement,--each pulse bounding with the hot blood that leaped in
feverish throbs from artery to artery.

Teddy Dunlap was in the very midst of what but few had ever seen,--a
sea-battle with the mightiest ships in the world as combatants.

It was while the lad and his elderly comrade stood like statues,
gazing at the wondrous, terrible sight around them, that the former
saw a huge shell leave the turret of the _Iowa_, rise on the arc of a
circle in the air, cleaving its way directly toward the _Teresa_, the
foremost of the fleeing ships.

Teddy was still following the missile with his eyes when it struck the
Spaniard's hull, cutting its way through as if no resistance was
offered, and it seemed that the huge mass had but just disappeared
when great volumes of smoke and flame burst from the aperture made by
the shell, telling that the first of the enemy's fleet was already
vanquished.

Then came a mighty yell from every man aboard the _Texas_ as well as
the _Iowa_, for the gun had been aimed with a precision worthy a
Yankee gunner whose forefathers, perhaps, had been forced to shoot
accurately in order to save their scalps from the lurking Indian.

This cry of satisfaction had not yet died away when the _Maria Teresa_
was headed for the beach, with smoke and flame enveloping all her
after part,--a wreck before she had more than cleared the harbour's
mouth.

"There's one of 'em done for, an' in short order!" Bill Jones
screamed, dancing to and fro like a crazy person, and if he made any
further remark Teddy failed to hear it, because of the cheers of
triumph which came from every vessel in the American fleet.

The enemy had counted on cutting his way through the blockading
squadron, but the first of his vessels had come to grief before the
chase was fairly begun.

As the _Teresa_ swung round in order to gain shoal water before the
fire should completely envelop her, Teddy saw two small, swift,
low-lying steamers come out from behind her with a speed which seemed
like that of the wind, and the little sailor cried, in tones nearly
resembling fear:

"There are the destroyers! The _Pluton_ and _Furor_! Our ships are not
speedy enough to keep out of their way! Now is the Spaniard's chance
to pay for the loss of the _Teresa_!"

Teddy had heard of these torpedo-boats, and knew what it was possible
for them to do unless, perchance, they might be checked at long range,
and yet the commanders of the Yankee battle-ships apparently gave no
heed to the dangerous enemies which had been designed for the sole
purpose of destroying such as they.

Straight toward the _Brooklyn_ these formidable craft were headed, and
the stowaway involuntarily cried aloud in terror, for was not his
father on board that vessel which appeared to be in such peril?

Then, coming up swiftly, as a hawk darts out upon its prey, the lad
saw the little yacht _Gloucester_ swim directly inshore to meet these
mighty engines of destruction, when one well-directed shot from their
guns would have sent her to the bottom, crushed out of all semblance
of a vessel.

At that moment Teddy and Bill Jones saw what much resembled the attack
of a fly upon two huge spiders.

The tiny _Gloucester_ steamed straight down upon the destroyers,
cutting them off from their intended prey, and pelting them with
shells from her small 6-pounders, but doing the work with such
accuracy and precision of aim that it seemed as if the battle was no
more than begun before these two mighty machines turned toward the
shore to follow the _Teresa_, but sinking even while one could say
they were beaten.

"Hurrah for Wainwright! Bully little _Gloucester_!"

Two hundred voices rose high with shouts of triumph and exultation
that the Yankee gunners had not only done their work well, but with
bravery such as could not be excelled, and meanwhile the big ships
went tearing madly on lest the _Vizcaya_, the _Cristobal Colon_, and
the _Almirante Oquendo_, all that were left of the Spanish fleet,
should escape them.

The _Iowa_ and the _Texas_ had selected the _Vizcaya_ as their prey,
and while the remainder of the fleet stretched away in pursuit of the
other ships, these two cut off the big Spaniard, forcing her to fight
whether she liked or not.

  [Illustration]

Teddy and Bill Jones stood on the port side of the _Texas_, all
unconscious that they were exposed to any chance shot the Spaniard
might send aboard, and realising nothing save the fever of battle. The
odour of burning powder was in their nostrils, and life or death,
danger or safety were alike the same.

The _Texas_ literally reeled under their feet as her big guns were
discharged full at the _Vizcaya_, which ship was hurling shot and
shell with reckless rapidity and inaccuracy of aim.

The roar of the pieces was like the crashing of thunder; the
vibrations of the air smote one like veritable blows, and enormous
smoke clouds rolled here and there, now shutting off all view, and
again lifting to reveal the enemy in his desperate but ill-directed
flight.

"Can we sink her?" Teddy asked once, when the two comrades were so
closely enveloped by the pungent vapour that it was impossible to
distinguish objects five feet away, and the little sailor cried, in a
delirium of excitement:

"Sink her, lad? That's what we're bound to do!"

"She is workin' her guns for all they are worth, an' I've heard it
said that even a ship like this would go down if a big shell struck
fairly."

"Ay, lad, an' so she would, I reckon; but we'll have yonder Spaniard
under the water before her gunners can get the range. Every shot of
ours is hittin' its mark, an' they're not comin' within half a mile of
us! Sink her! We'll--"

Even as Bill Jones spoke, the 12-inch gun in the _Texas's_ forward
turret was discharged. The smoke rolled aside at the same instant, and
the two watchers saw a huge shell dart forth, speeding directly toward
the ship that had so lately been a friendly visitor in the harbour of
New York.

It struck its mark fairly, crashed through the iron plating as if
through paper, and then Teddy saw the mighty vessel reel under her
death-stroke when the shell exploded.

Another howl of triumph; half naked men danced to and fro in their
excitement; the gunners rushed out from the turrets gasping for
breath, but yelling with savage joy, and the _Vizcaya's_ bow was
headed toward the shore!

The fourth vessel of the enemy's fleet had been disabled, and there
only remained the two mighty ships in the distance, from the
smoke-stacks of which poured forth long rolls of black smoke, flecked
with sparks and burning brands, that told of the desperate efforts
being made to escape.



CHAPTER VI.

TEDDY'S DADDY.


The _Maria Teresa_ and the _Vizcaya_ were in flames, heading for shoal
water that they might not carry down with their blackened hulks the
men who had defended them, although feebly, and there was no longer
any reason why the _Texas_ should remain in that vicinity.

The _Iowa_ swung inshore to make certain the ruin was as complete as
it appeared from the distance, and when the royal ensign was hauled
down that a white flag might be hoisted on the _Vizcaya_, Captain
Philip gave the word which sent the _Texas_ ahead in chase after the
survivors of what had, less than half an hour previous, been a mighty
fleet.

As one who witnessed the battle has already written concerning this
particular time and the wonderfully one-sided engagement, his words
had best be quoted:

"Huge volumes of black smoke, edged with red flame, rolled from every
port and shot-hole of the _Vizcaya_, as from the _Teresa_. They were
both furnaces of glowing fire. Though they had come from the harbour
to certain battle, not a wooden bulkhead, not a partition in the
quarters either of officers or men had been taken out, nor had trunks
and chests been sent ashore. Neither had the wooden decks or any other
wooden fixtures been prepared to resist fire. Apparently the crew had
not even wet down the decks."

It was the experience of a full lifetime, to witness the destruction
of these four fighting-machines, and yet Teddy Dunlap and his little
comrade almost forgot what they had seen in the excitement of the
race, as their ship leaped forward in that mad chase which was to end
only with the wrecking of all those vessels that had sailed out of the
harbour to make their way past the Yankee fleet.

The two comrades were conscious of nothing save the throbbing and
quivering of their own ship, as, under press of every ounce of steam
that could be raised, the _Texas_ dashed onward, overhauling first
this Yankee vessel and then that, flinging the spray in showers over
her deck, and rolling from side to side in the heavy swell as she tore
onward at a rate of speed that probably she had never before equalled.

It was a race to the death; now and then the hatches were opened that
some one of the engineer's crew, exhausted by almost superhuman
efforts and the excessive heat, might be brought up from those fiery
depths below, while others took the place of him who had fallen at the
post of duty, and the speed was never slackened.

On, on, over the long swell, every man aboard in the highest possible
state of excitement, eager that the _Texas_ should be in at the death,
and ahead, straining every nerve as it were, fled the Spaniards,
knowing full well that there could be but one ending to such a race.

"It's Yankee grit an' Yankee skill that's winnin' this fight!" Bill
Jones cried, excitedly, forgetting that he was only a "plain,
every-day sailor, with no fightin' timber about him," and at every
onward leap of the ship his body swayed forward as if he was eager for
a fray.

But neither Bill Jones nor any man aboard the _Texas_, save those
brave souls in the very bowels of the gallant ship, had any
opportunity to display personal bravery.

The fight ended when the chase did, for then nothing was left of those
mighty Spanish ships save blackened hulks.

The _Oregon_ was sending 13-inch projectiles after the _Oquendo_ at
every fair opportunity, and the _Texas_, more than holding her own
with the other vessels, was coming up astern with a speed that
threatened to bring the long race to a speedy conclusion.

Then, suddenly, although all had been expecting it, the _Almirante
Oquendo's_ bow was headed toward the shore,--she saw the uselessness
of further flight,--and all the pursuers, save the _Texas_, hauled off
in pursuit of the _Cristobal Colon_.

Standing with a group of _Texas_ men, Teddy and Bill Jones saw the
Spaniard near the line of surf, and as their vessel's speed was
checked there came a roar mightier than when the battle was first
opened; the doomed ship rocked to and fro as if she had struck a
sunken reef, there was an uprending of the iron decks, and then came a
shower of fragments that told of the tremendous explosion within the
hull of the _Oquendo_.

Now it was the Yankee crew burst once more into shouts of triumph; but
before the first cheer arose on the morning air Captain Philip cried:

"Don't cheer; the poor devils are dying!"

Then it was that every man realised what had, until this moment, been
absolutely forgotten: the game in which they were such decided victors
was one of death! While they were triumphantly happy, scores upon
scores of the enemy were dying,--mangled, scalded, drowning,--and on
the instant, like a flash of light, came the terrible fact that while
they rejoiced, others were suffering a last agony.

"Don't cheer; the poor devils are dying!"

At that instant Teddy Dunlap understood what might be the horror of
war, and forgetting the joy and exultation which had been his an
instant previous, the lad covered his eyes with his hand,--sick at
heart that he should have taken even a passive part in that game which
could be ended only by suffering and death.

Later, after the men were sufficiently calm to be able to discuss
intelligently the doings of that day when the full Spanish fleet was
destroyed by Yankee vessels who throughout all the action and chase
sustained no injury whatsoever, it was learned that more than six
hundred human beings had been sent out of the world in less than four
hours, and nearly eighteen hundred men were taken prisoners by the
American vessels.

Teddy Dunlap was like one in a daze from the instant he realised what
all this thrilling excitement meant, until Bill Jones, who had been
ordered to some duty below, came to his side in the greatest
excitement.

"What do you think of that, lad?" he cried, shaking the boy vigorously
as he pointed seaward, and Teddy, looking in the direction indicated
by his outstretched finger, but without seeing anything, asked,
hesitatingly:

"Is it the _Cristobal Colon_?"

"Of course it isn't, my lad! That vessel is a wreck off Tarquino
Point, so we heard half an hour ago. Don't you see the ship here
almost alongside?"

"Oh, yes, I see her," Teddy replied, with a sigh of relief. "There's
been so much that is terrible goin' on around us that it's like as if
I was dazed."

"An' that's what you must be, lad, not to see that here's the
_Brooklyn_ nearer alongside than she's like to come again for a year
or more."

"The _Brooklyn_!" Teddy cried, now aroused from the stupefaction of
horror which had come upon him with the knowledge of all the suffering
caused that day. "The _Brooklyn_!"

"Ay, lad, an' her launch is alongside makin' ready to transfer some of
the prisoners. Now's our chance, when such as we don't amount to a
straw in view of the great things that have been done this day, to
slip over on a little visit to your daddy!"

Probably at no other time could such a thing have been done by two
members of the crew; but just now, when every man and officer was
overwhelmed by the fever of victory, little heed was given to the
movements of any particular person.

Therefore it was that Teddy Dunlap and the little sailor had no
difficulty in gaining the _Brooklyn's_ deck without question or check,
and the first person they saw on clambering aboard was a coal-passer,
stripped to the waist and grimy with dust and perspiration, who stared
with bulging eyes at the boy who followed close behind Bill Jones.

"Teddy!"

"Daddy!"

"I reckon this is no place for me," Bill Jones muttered as he made his
way forward, and if the "plain, every-day sailor with no fightin'
timber about him" had sufficient delicacy to leave father and son
alone at such a time, surely we should show ourselves equally
considerate.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is enough to say that Teddy's troubles were at an end after a short
visit with his father, and that he did not leave the _Texas_
immediately.

Captain Philip came to hear the boy's story, and an opportunity was
given him to enlist for so long a term as his father was bound to the
_Brooklyn_.

Since the purpose of this little story was only to tell how the
stowaway found his father, there is no excuse for continuing an
account of Teddy's experience off Santiago with Sampson; but at some
future time, if the reader so chooses, all that befell him before
returning home shall be set down with careful fidelity to every
detail.

THE END.





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