fin99 "Good-morning, Uncle Job," replied Mike, taking the hand of the aged colored person. "How is your health?" "No, sir; that is not my name, and I supposed that you spoke to some other man," pleaded the late man-servant of the mansion at Bonnydale. "That is my name," added Christy, smiling at the earnestness of the skipper. CHAPTER IX A MORAL PHILOSOPHER. "Don't you know?"
UFABET8889 AUTO CHAPTER XXIX A PROFESSIONAL VISIT TO THE FORT UFABET8889 AUTO "Gentlemen, I have come to a decision in this matter," said the captain, when the two claimants had placed themselves before him in a standing position. "I cannot go behind the commission presented by the officer who came on board last evening, and I consider it my duty to regard him as the real Lieutenant Passford, recently promoted to his present rank. There is nothing more to be said." "How do you feel?" asked the doctor. Christy felt very much like a caged tiger. He had hoped that the Bellevite would be on the station when he arrived, for there were plenty of officers and seamen on board of her who could identify him beyond the possibility of a doubt. In that case he intended to make a strong appeal to Captain Battleton, for he would then have the means of arriving at a correct conclusion. Then he could explain in what manner he had been robbed of his papers with some chance of having his statement accepted. In the grasp of such a powerful man as Ralph Pennant, Corny was powerless, and he was compelled to submit, though his opposition appeared to be merely a matter of form with him, for he could not help realizing that it was utterly useless; but he had not been in the affray on deck, and he had not learned the full lesson from experience. The irons were locked upon his wrists, and the seaman was directed to conduct him to the place assigned to all the prisoners. "Then we had better obey the sealed orders of the flag-officer; we will come about, and head her for St. Andrew's. Fortunately I have been there myself in the Bellevite, and I have been up the harbor and bay in boats, for the yacht, as she was at the time, drew too much water to go into the bay, for it is shoal inside. Come about, Mr. Flint, and make the course due east." "How many men are there at the fort?" "I should thank you, Captain Battleton, for the compliment, if I were not under suspicion of being some other person. May I ask when it will be convenient for you to settle the question, for it is not pleasant for me to feel that I am looked upon as even a possible impostor?" The fort was silent. It was evident now that the commander of the little garrison had not left the barbette before till he had prepared at least one of his guns for further service; but it had again been disabled, and it was not known on board of the steamer whether or not he had any other gun fit for use. It was presumed that he had not, for the Bronx was within easy cannon shot of his works. Christy used the glass, but could not discover any gun that appeared to be mounted. "It is the name of my father's place," answered Christy, using the same words that Corny had. "We have no surgeon, I believe, for Dr. Spokeley 173 is sick, and was to be sent home before I left in the Vixen for New York," added the commander, now restored to his own right on board. "There is something in the situation which I cannot explain. I will only say that it is just possible there is a conspiracy at the bottom of the whole affair; and I should think it would be well to keep a close watch upon both of these officers. Why, on the voyage of the Bronx to the Gulf, Ensign Passford, as he was then, discovered two Confederate officers in his crew, and squarely defeated their efforts to capture his ship in the action with the Scotian, I believe it was." หวยcat888 Within the limits of these instructions, he was to act on his own judgment. Mike was sent for, and further information in regard to the course was obtained from him. The officer was cautioned to be prudent, and not fall into any traps. If he discovered that there was a steamer in the bay, 314 and that the fort was not heavily armed, he was to burn a red roman candle as a signal to the Bronx, which would proceed to the southward, and then enter the Grand Pass by the deepest water. "You took the bull by the horns at an opportune moment, my son," said Captain Passford, Senior. "If you had not done so you would have been in a rebel prison at this moment. As it is, poor Corny has got back to Fort Lafayette, with Galvinne and our man-servant, whom I never should have suspected of being a Confederate officer." He had hardly left the cabin before the steward entered the stateroom, and reported that he had seen Ralph Pennant, and that he had told him all he knew about the loyalty and the disloyalty of the new hands in the crew. Ralph reported that he had "spotted" the four seamen whose names had been given him before the Vernon reached the station. "You took splendid aim, Captain Passford," said the surgeon, smiling. "Yes, sar; what's dat, massa?" "No, sar; I want to be free, but I'm not gwine away, I want to see de gumboat." "Don't you know me, Dave?" asked Christy, speaking out plainly so that the steward might recognize his voice. tbsbet 2 "I shall have to give it up, mother." "Dr. Connelly?" "My cousin gave his name and rank correctly." This order was promptly obeyed. Before it was fully carried out an elderly gentleman crawled out of the cuddy, and stood up in the standing room; he was a man of dignity, and evidently of importance. "I don't want him to take me simply because my father desires him to do so," answered the young commander, shaking his head. He identified Rockton and Warton, but not the other two who had formed the group near his berth, on his first visit to the deck. On the fourth day out, he saw one of these men talking cautiously to the second lieutenant. Following up this clew he satisfied himself that Mr. Galvinne was the black sheep in the officers' quarters. Corny came on deck that day, for the sea was comparatively smooth, and took a seat on the quarter-deck. "I figured up the course a while ago, and I think we are off St. Andrew's Bay. If they had not put her about and run for an hour or more to the westward, I should be satisfied in regard to my position; as it is, I am not quite clear in regard to it," replied the commander. "That will amount to their being made ensigns when you go north again if they prove to be worthy of promotion," added the executive officer, with a chuckle. "That was what happened to Baskirk and Amden." "Here you differ. Did you make a report of your voyage home, Lieutenant Passford?" continued the captain, pointing at Corny. "Of course I expected that would be your decision," replied Corny, as he took the papers 91 which the captain returned to him, including his commission and report. In accordance with the directions he had left with the first lieutenant, Christy was called with the watch at four o'clock in the morning. Though the first lieutenant is not a watch officer, he may be required to do duty as such when the number of commissioned officers is reduced below three, and Mr. Flint had remained in charge of the mid-watch, which had been called to the deck at midnight. The captain relieved him and Camden, and both of them went below, the new appointee taking the stateroom of the second lieutenant.
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UFABET8889 AUTO "Four bells, Mr. Flint!" added the commander when the Bronx was fairly under way. "At Bonnydale!" "I was hardly called upon to decide anything, for the matter in doubt had been settled by the commander of the Vernon before it came to my knowledge; but I agreed with him that the commission ought to settle the point. Are you not the officer presented to me by Captain Battleton, Captain Passford?" asked the commodore, gazing earnestly into the face of Christy. "I beg your pardon, Captain Flanger, but do you really purpose to blow out the brains of your figure-head?" asked Christy, as coolly as though no such threat had been suggested to him. 195 "I think some of us need a little sleep to-night," said the commander. "We have plenty of material out of which to make them, and we can do as we did after the fight with the Scotian and the Arran, when we made them," replied Mr. Flint. "We have men of good education in the crew, who have either commanded coasters, or been mates on steamers." "Florry was very well the last time I saw her, not more than two weeks ago, and she talked a great deal about you, Paul," answered her brother, partly in a whisper. Mr. Pennant reported in all its details upon his expedition. Dr. Connelly said his patient was severely, but not dangerously, wounded; he would recover, but he would not be fit for duty for two or three weeks. "Did Mr. Flint say anything?" asked Christy. เกม เก ค เร น เจอร "I can mention just the right person to take Mr. Nawood's place," said Christy eagerly. "Where are the negro quarters of this plantation, Mike?" asked Mr. Pennant. "No, sar; I want to be free, but I'm not gwine away, I want to see de gumboat." "I am all right, Corny; but I should like to 176 have you or some one tell me what has been going on in this steamer, for this black rascal will not say a word to me," replied the prisoner. The new executive officer sent the men forward, called out one of the old quartermasters to con the wheel, and placed a loyal seaman under his charge as helmsman. Order was almost instantly restored under his direction, and the men had enough to talk about to last them the entire night. Mr. Flint had his doubts in regard to the security of the prisoners; their bonds of straps and rope were removed, and their places supplied by iron handcuffs. "I was in New York, preparing to come on board of the Vernon." "I hope it will not, my son," added his mother very earnestly. "I had not the honor to communicate with you yesterday before the Bronx sailed for her destination; but I believe you were called upon to decide upon the identity of the officer who presented himself to you as the lieutenant appointed to the command of the Bronx, introduced by Captain Battleton of the Vernon." He had no premises on which to base an argument for or against one thing or another. All was dark to him, and he could not get hold of anything. After he had raised up a variety of suppositions, and combated vigorously with them, the darkness seemed only to become more dense, and he was compelled to abandon the subject without arriving at any reasonable explanation. Under the instruction of his father, he had cultivated "a judicial mind," which compelled him to reject all mere speculation. "Then you have reversed the decision of Captain Battleton?" 196 "I appoint him acting second lieutenant," added Christy. "How are you going to get to the entrance of the bay in a fog?" inquired Corny. สพปสป2 153 "He is what the Yankees call smart, and I know he is all that," added Corny. "What do you suppose has become of him? When Captain Battleton sent for him in order to let the commodore see us both together, he could not be found. As you know, all three vessels were very thoroughly searched without any success." In another half hour the noises could be distinctly heard by the third lieutenant, and he directed the course of the cutter without the need of any more signals from the bow. His first move was to make a more decided course to the southward. Then he hastened the crew in their work. Without discussing this matter any farther, Christy detailed his plan to Mr. Flint, which was certainly very simple, and the second lieutenant could raise no objection to it. He was requested to select the men who were to take part in the enterprise, and all the particulars were definitely arranged. There was nothing more to be done, and Christy was left to himself to consider what he had done. The hungry officer helped himself hastily from the table which was waiting for him in the ward room, and then hastened on deck. "You can consult your own inclination as to that, my excellent friend. I shall not force you 285 to be treated by him," added Christy, "But I must suggest that this farce has been carried far enough in my cabin." "He did not look quite natural to me; but I could not make out what made the change in his looks," continued Mr. Flint. "You can see for yourself, that the plot would have been a success if you had not been on board of the Bronx to tell me what had happened. Whatever passed between the flag-officer and Captain Battleton, nothing at all was said among the officers about the decision the commander of the Vernon had been obliged to make when he accepted your cousin as the genuine Christopher Passford, ordered to the command of the Bronx. While I thought you were somewhat altered in appearance, and that your greeting to me was rather cold and formal when you came on board, I did not suspect that the officer who represented you was an impostor." UFABET8889 AUTO "The boats of the Mercidita and Sagamore have captured the place, and picked up five or six small vessels loaded with cotton, I was informed by the commodore," replied Christy. "At present, no, sir," replied the seaman decidedly. "I learned a few months ago that I failed to obtain the command of the steamer I brought home from Havana because it was said I took too much whiskey. I knocked off then, and have not drank a drop since." Instead of obeying the order, the boatman hauled in his sheet, and the sloop began to fill away. Mr. Pennant could form no idea of what the party were. It was possible that they were private citizens, and non-combatants; if they were, they had only to prove they were such by submitting to a further inquiry. "Are you wounded, Mr. Pennant?" asked the commander, who had listened to his report at length, without suspecting that he had a wound.
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UFABET8889 AUTO "Precisely so; and you will readily see that I am not exactly in a position to act in any other manner, as I cannot go back on deck and deliver them in person, for your officers would be prejudiced against me, and might be disposed to rebel against my authority." Mr. Pennant reported in all its details upon his expedition. Dr. Connelly said his patient was severely, but not dangerously, wounded; he would recover, but he would not be fit for duty for two or three weeks. "Boat alongside, sir," reported a quartermaster. Christy and the first lieutenant sprang from the shelter where they had been waiting the passage of the fort, and rushed up the steps to the bridge. The commander of the force on shore, with half a 351 dozen men, was at work on one of the guns on the barbette; but it was impossible to make out what they were doing. Then there was a flash, a cloud of smoke went up, and a shot crashed into the deck directly under the pilot-house, tearing up the planks, and disappearing in the space below. "I don't think I am ever rash, mother; and if I have been exceedingly fortunate, it was more because the circumstances favored me than because I ran great risks," replied Christy very seriously, for he was sensitive on the point his mother had brought up. "Father has said a great deal to me on this subject, and I have always done my best to carry out his principles. It is not my fault that I have a friend at court, and have had opportunities that have not been offered to many others. But the tide may turn against me on my next cruise." "If he can he will not, if they were engaged in an operation in the interest of the Confederates," added Christy with a smile. "That gentleman is Colonel Homer Passford." "I may be mistaken, Captain Passford, but I think that steamer is the Bellevite," added Mr. Flint. "How many guns has it? I mean big guns, Uncle Job?" The skipper took his cap off, and bowed very low to Christy when he realized that he was talking to the principal personage on board of the gunboat. He was well dressed for one in his position, and displayed no little dignity and self-possession. Perhaps, if he had not been tainted with a few drops of black blood in his veins, he might have been a person of some consequence in the Confederate service. สลอตm98 The head and hair of the old colored man were peculiar enough to enable the Russian to identify him if he had ever seen him even once before. His mouth was twisted to one side either naturally or by some injury, and his kinky hair made him look as though he carried a great bale of cotton on the top of his head. He opened his eyes when Mike shook him gently, and looked at the two men at the side of his bed with a wondering rather than an alarmed expression. "I done forget all about my talk, Captain Passford," replied Dave. "I did not see them there, Captain Passford; but it was your uncle's business to look after them, as he was doing in St. Andrew's Bay." UFABET8889 AUTO "Over to the other side of the island," replied the lieutenant. "I must ask you to report below, Mr. Passford," said the captain rather sternly; and perhaps he did not care to be charged with over-indulgence of his prisoner. "Mr. Vapoor, chief engineer of the Bellevite," said the executive officer, presenting Christy's 295 greatest crony on earth, for he had held back in deference to his superior officer. "But what could have been his object in coming into the house?" asked the bewildered lady. 132 "Into Pensacola!" exclaimed the steward, aghast at the remark. "Silence, all!" cried the commander, as soon as he heard the hail from aloft. "Go forward, Mr. Pennant, silence the hands, and direct the lookout to hail in lower tones." "It is a strange story, and I cannot see how Corny succeeded in passing himself off as the officer he personated." The cutter backed rapidly from the shore, and was then brought about. The lieutenant stood up in his place, and could just distinguish the Bronx, a mile and a half distant, in the gloom of the early morning. He watched her a few minutes and soon saw her swing around, and head to the south-east. "Certainly, captain; go on." bbqสลอต "You were very considerate," answered Christy, looking at the steward, who had stationed himself behind the unwelcome guest. Byron was not less energetic than his superior in his own defence, but the two stout sailors who had been selected to capture him were more than doubly a match for him, and he was carefully secured. At the same time there was a free fight between Rockton and Warton on the one side, and the sailors who had come aft, but the disloyal tars were conquered in the end. The prisoners were all bound and made fast to the rail. The entire watch had come aft while the battle was in progress, and those who had been instructed in the situation and had taken part in the recovery of the ship explained to their loyal companions the meaning of the affair which had just been brought to a conclusion. Involuntarily they gave three tremendous cheers, and then three more for the genuine commander. 207 The boat went ahead again, though only at a moderate speed consistent with the least possible noise. The quartermaster in the bow continued to gaze into the fog bank, though by this time there was a little lighting up in the east, indicating that the day was breaking. For half an hour longer the cutter continued on its course. Occasionally Vincent had raised his hand over his head, and then dropped it to his left, indicating to the officer in command that the sounds came from farther to the southward, and the cockswain was directed to change the course. "When I called upon you in your stateroom this morning, you told me that"— "That is the flag-ship, I think, anchored the farthest from the shore," replied Mr. Galvinne, to whom the remark had been addressed. "Then I may see you again, my friend. Thank you for your information, and will you give me your name?" added Christy. "That is very true; I went on board of the flag-ship, 261 but I am somewhat fastidious in my notions, and I concluded not to remain there," replied Captain Flanger. "Without any intention of flattering you, Captain Passford, candor compels me to say that I prefer your company to that of the commodore. Can I help you to anything more on my side of the table?" The commander looked at his watch after they had conversed a little while longer, and then invited Christy to visit his cabin with him. The other Lieutenant Passford was seated in an arm-chair at the table. Christy looked at him with the deepest interest, but the back of the other was turned to him, and he did not get a full view of his face. The sick man was dressed in the naval uniform with the shoulder straps of a lieutenant. "Emphatically I did not."
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UFABET8889 AUTO "I don't know." "How do you feel?" asked the doctor. "I cannot say as to that. When you go forward take a look at the prisoners, and report to me," added Christy, as Mr. Pennant went below. As soon as the steward had taken him to the steerage, Mr. Pennant made his report in full, even to the number and calibre of the guns at the fort, and including the cure he had wrought upon the Confederate soldier. Christy was amused at this last part of the narrative; but he had no time to waste in conversation. Like the other male occupants of the house, the lieutenant was provided with a night-key. For one who had only just developed a tolerably thriving mustache, Christy was a prudent and methodical young gentleman. As a part of his method, he had a great many small drawers in his rooms, and a dozen or more keys; but he had never lost them, for the reason that he carried them chained to his nether garment. But he had two sets of keys, one for the house, and one for the ship. He had taken the night-key from the former, and put it in his vest pocket; and when he 20 reached the front door of the mansion, the key he wanted was in his chamber, and he had been careful to shut the door when he left the house. In due time this appointment was made, and Captain Flint, on the recommendation of Christy, was entirely satisfied to receive him as his first lieutenant. "No use, Massa Ossifer; dis nigger don't hab teef enough to do dat." Lieutenant Christopher Passford, in his two years' experience in the navy, had been under the fire of the enemy too many times to be intimidated by a burglar, and he felt a certain contempt for the midnight marauder, who had entered the mansion and disturbed his restful slumbers. He returned to his bed, therefore, and slept like a marine till the call bell woke him in the morning. "You do not use your left hand, captain; I hope you were not wounded in the affair this morning off St. Andrew's Bay." "I will go with you, Uncle Job," added Mr. Pennant quietly. bbqสลอต The cabin steward had two feather dusters, one of which was very large, and the other of medium size. He had used the big one so industriously that very little was left of the feathers except the bare quills that were inserted in a cylinder of hard wood, too heavy for the use of a delicate female, though Dave had wielded it till it was in better condition to be thrown overboard than to be used on the panels and furniture of the cabin. "I can only say that you will not be held as a prisoner of war; but I must leave you in the hands of the flag-officer, who will dispose of you as he thinks best. I sail in the Bronx immediately." "I have no doubt you will work your way up in good time," added Christy, who saw that Pennant was an intelligent and reliable man, though it was possible from the appearance of his face that he had been in the habit of imbibing too much whiskey for his own good. "Are you sure of this information, Mike?" "Excuse me for interrupting you, Captain Flanger; but I have eaten a hearty supper, encouraged by your friendly presence, and I was sleepy, for my rest was broken last night, and I wanted simply to stretch myself," replied Christy, yawning and stretching himself again. "I am very glad to see you, Uncle Job," said Christy, taking the hand of the venerable colored person. "I thank you for the service rendered to my officer. Now, Mr. Pennant, you will come to my cabin and make your report. Bring Uncle Job with you." Though the lieutenant of the Bronx was not a physician, he was not altogether a pretender, for in the capacity of mate and temporary commander, he had done duty in the healing art in the absence of a more skilful person. "We have no surgeon, I believe, for Dr. Spokeley 173 is sick, and was to be sent home before I left in the Vixen for New York," added the commander, now restored to his own right on board. "What has broken now, mother?" asked the lieutenant, glancing from one to the other of the busy couple. "If he can he will not, if they were engaged in an operation in the interest of the Confederates," added Christy with a smile. "That gentleman is Colonel Homer Passford." 138 "There has, captain; he is a young man by the name of Byron; but I did not learn his rank." "In spite of your denial and your motto, I shall have to regard you as a prisoner of war, and treat you as such," said the captain, rising from his chair, the others following his example. Homer Passford, the only brother of his father, had early in life settled in Alabama, and become a planter, where he had made a respectable fortune, though he was a poor man compared with the northern brother. He had a wife, a son, and a daughter. At the beginning of the war of the Rebellion he had promptly espoused the cause of the South, and from his point of view, he was fully as patriotic as his brother on the other side. He was ready to give himself, his son, and his fortune to the independence of the South. His character was quite as noble as that of his brother, and he had done all he could in person and with his wealth to insure the success of the Southern cause. 99 sbobet "Mr. Sampson directs me to report that he is ready to proceed," said a messenger from the chief engineer. "You will pardon me if I add that I think one or the other of them must be an impostor," added Captain Battleton with some diffidence. "I think you need not be too particular about them; they have made their own nest, and now they must live in it," said the first lieutenant. "I did not believe a little vessel like the Bronx would be sent up the river," said Mr. Flint, when the commander had read the paper. "Barataria Bay—that locality is noted for something in history, isn't it, captain?" "Of course I shall not raise an issue as to your veracity, Mr. Passford, but after the statement you have made to me, I must change the form of my phraseology," continued the commander, using a smile to cover any possible doubts or suspicions in his mind. "When I called at the stateroom of the officer who reported on board last evening as Lieutenant Christopher Passford, he told me that I was expected to get under way and proceed to my destination as soon as the officer and the seamen were on board." "Look up the log slate, for I suppose they have made the entries, and when we have run eighty knots from the station, keep a sharp lookout for the land. Now I will go to my cabin, and find the 174 envelope that contains the orders, and look them over." UFABET8889 AUTO "We have plenty of material out of which to make them, and we can do as we did after the fight with the Scotian and the Arran, when we made them," replied Mr. Flint. "We have men of good education in the crew, who have either commanded coasters, or been mates on steamers." "Your absence from the between decks of the Vernon has been discovered, and Captain Battleton has caused the strictest search to be made for you on board of all three of the ships. The last I saw of him he was evidently talking with the flag-officer about you, as I judged from his looks and gestures," replied the second lieutenant. Camden was called aft and formally appointed second lieutenant, but Ralph was in the watch below, and was in his hammock. The commander retired to his stateroom, and, letting his report wait till another day, he was soon sound asleep. 346 "I understand the situation perfectly, Captain Passford, and I will report when we are ready to go ahead in the manner you desire," replied Mr. Sampson, as he saluted the captain and hastened below. "Good-evening, Captain Passford; I hope you are all right. I waited a reasonable time for you to come below to supper; but as you did not appear, I have made myself at home, for my appetite has been somewhat stimulated to-day," said the stranger.
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wallet 777 "You were very unwise to order these men to fire upon the boat," said the dignified gentleman, addressing the man on the forecastle of the Magnolia; "it was a great mistake, Captain Flanger." "He did not look quite natural to me; but I could not make out what made the change in his looks," continued Mr. Flint. "You can see for yourself, that the plot would have been a success if you had not been on board of the Bronx to tell me what had happened. Whatever passed between the flag-officer and Captain Battleton, nothing at all was said among the officers about the decision the commander of the Vernon had been obliged to make when he accepted your cousin as the genuine Christopher Passford, ordered to the command of the Bronx. While I thought you were somewhat altered in appearance, and that your greeting to me was rather cold and formal when you came on board, I did not suspect that the officer who represented you was an impostor." "If he had done so, I should not have complained. I have been a prisoner of war, and I had to take my chances. We may be in action for aught I know in a few hours, and I do not mean to have half a dozen rebels at my heels to trip me up if I can help it. The circumstances are entirely different from those on board of the Vernon." Christy looked at the stranger with astonishment, and he could not imagine who he could be. He had seen no such person on board of the Bronx or on the deck of the flag-ship. When the prisoners from the Magnolia had been brought on board, Christy had been too much occupied with other matters to bestow any attention upon them with the exception of "the dignified gentleman in black," who proved to be his uncle. He had had no curiosity in regard to them, and Mr. Camden had disposed of them at the rail.
wow slot 369 "I don't know." "Thank you, sir; I will take some of it, if you please," replied Christy, as he passed his plate across the table. "Of course, as you have done me the honor to take a seat at my table, I must be acquainted with you." Christy seated himself and began to consider the strange situation. "I did not expect your return so soon, but I have your sealed orders ready. You will get under way as soon as possible," added the commodore, handing him the sealed envelope. "You will make your course south-west, and open your orders at twelve o'clock to-night."
ตวสลอตยม Christy had crawled out of his narrow quarters under the berth as soon as Dave began to operate on the sleeper above him, and he stood ready to assist the steward if his services were required; but there was hardly anything like a struggle, for Corny had been so completely surprised that he was incapable of doing anything in self-defence. With his hands strapped behind him, and with the gag still in his mouth, he was permitted to remain in the berth under the guard of Dave. When Captain Battleton took from the envelope the blank papers, no one seemed to be inquisitive as to the result, for, as the commander had suggested, they all expected to find the commission and other papers regularly and properly made out and signed. Several sheets were unfolded and spread out upon the table, and Christy was hardly more surprised than the others at the table. Whether the escaped prisoner had gone to the captain's cabin for a special purpose, or had simply followed the most convenient way that was opened to him in his flight, it was plain enough to Christy that, at the present time, he had an object before him. He had practically taken possession of the cabin, and had already overawed the steward. The commander could not see his way to do anything to improve the situation. He had no weapon about him but his sword, and he was satisfied that the intruder was provided with one or more revolvers, as indicated by the appearance of the side pockets of his blue coat. The Vernon continued on her course, and in another hour the pilot had been discharged. Christy had puzzled his brains over the events of the day and the night before without being able to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion. He was extremely anxious to see the officer who had taken his name and assumed his character, as he was to obtain all the information within his reach. His reflections assured him that some one had chosen the rôle of an impostor for the purpose of accomplishing some treasonable object, and he was anxious to fathom the mystery for his country's sake rather than his own.