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ufath579 "The sail is reported on the port bow, which looks as though she might be coming in from sea," continued Christy, as he went into his stateroom with his navy revolver in his hand. ufath579 "Not a bad wound at all, Captain Passford," said Mr. Pennant. "The doctor says I am still fit for duty." "How shall you manage it?" "Walsh!" called Mrs. Passford from the head of the stairs. The Russian was sent to the boat to await the return of the lieutenant; but he was instructed not to open his mouth to his shipmates in regard to what had been done on the island. Job found a way to get into the big house, and conducted the officer to the dispensary, where he had so often gone for remedies for his ailments. He found what he wanted, and then he felt reasonably certain that he should make a success of his professional visit to the soldier. He took several small 330 bottles of medicines in addition to the particular one upon which he depended. "My name is Ralph Pennant; I have a sea-going 119 name, and I suppose that is the reason why I went to sea," replied the seaman, with a good-natured laugh. "I have been the mate of a steamer, but I could not get any better position than that of able seaman, and I wanted to be in this stir-up." "Where are you bound, Captain Passford?" asked Flanger, in a careless and indifferent manner, as he looked about the cabin. There was a silence for a few moments. movewinbet com "He can hardly spare the time to do that; his business is such that he cannot leave," replied the lieutenant, much amused at the simplicity of the negro. "Now tell me something more about this steamer in the bay. How big is she?" When the questioning was finished, the leaning of the trio of officers was in favor of Christy; but not one of them said anything in the presence of the two Passfords. The captain declared that he had already used up too much time in the inquiry, and he must close the conference very soon. 79 Then he asked if either of the gentlemen had any papers they wished to present in support of his identity. "I decline to give up my stateroom, or my command of the steamer," replied Corny in a sulky manner. "I should like to know how you happen to be on board of the Bronx, Corny." Suddenly the officer started back, and began to look very sharply at the presumed sailor. But the file pressed behind him, and Christy was too glad to move with it to delay a moment longer. He went below to the familiar quarters of the crew, and saw many of his old seamen still on board, though many of them had been taken to reinforce other vessels. Flanger in the Captain's Cabin.—Page 281. "I have been wanting to see you, Christy," said the planter, as he approached his nephew. "I learn, with no little astonishment, that you are the commander of this steamer." "If you will excuse me for making an indirect reply, captain, I did not come on board of the Vernon last evening," answered Christy, his smile becoming still more decided; and if he had not been on the quarter-deck of a vessel in service, he might have suspected that he was himself the victim of a practical joke. "So am I, captain," added the lieutenant, laughing outright at the perplexity in which both of them were involved. "I have told you the simple truth in regard to my movements." Dave Identifies Christy.—Page 130. "Perhaps he will change his mind after this. If you have not saved my life, Dave, you have saved my self-respect, for your prompt action, quite as soon as it was prudent for you to act, redeemed me from any further submission, and I expected to throw away my life rather than sign that order. I think he would not have killed me, for that would have blocked his game; but he would have wounded me in two minutes more. I thank you with all my heart, Dave, and I shall not forget what you have done." "I don't see how I can go behind the official documents," replied the commander as Corny presented himself at the door. imilucky In a few minutes the two stout sailors who had removed him from the captain's cabin appeared on deck, dragging Captain Flanger after them, for he would not walk, and did all he could with his hands made fast behind him to embarrass his conductors. He had learned that several vessels were loading with cotton at Appalachicola, with the intention of running the blockade, if there was any blockader off Cape St. George. His uncle Homer was engaged in superintending the fitting out of these vessels, though whether on his own account or that of the Confederacy, he was not aware. Christy felt that he ought to follow up the information he had obtained with decided action; but he was hardly in condition to do so, for he had fifteen prisoners on board, and he would be obliged to send a prize crew off in the Floridian when she was brought out, as he was confident she would be. He could not settle the question at once, and he went down into his cabin, where his uncle was waiting very impatiently to see him, and had asked Dave a dozen times in regard to him. "He has enlisted as a seaman, and seems to be a good one. By the way, where did you learn that my cousin attempted to take the Bronx into Pensacola Bay?" asked Christy curiously, though he was using up the time he could not yet improve. 281 Dave was not satisfied with what he had done, and as his foe went over in the chair, he sprang upon him, and tried to wrest the pistol from his hand, and a struggle on the floor was begun, the result of which could not be foreseen. Christy took in the situation at a glance, and while the steward and his victim were rolling and writhing on the floor, he darted into his stateroom, the door of which had been open all the time, and took his heavy revolvers from the drawer where he kept them, charged for immediate use. "Don't you know me, Dave?" asked Christy, speaking out plainly so that the steward might recognize his voice. "Of course you cannot expect me to betray the confidence of the commodore; that would not be kind or friendly on your part, Captain Flanger, for you can see that this is a delicate matter," said Christy, halting in front of the table. "Ensign Philip Bangs." "I dare say it is, my friend," replied Mr. Pennant blandly, for he had been in the navy long enough to adopt the characteristic politeness which distinguishes its officers. "Take possession of all the muskets and other weapons you can find, Vincent, and put them in the cutter."

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ufath579 "Boat alongside, sir," reported a quartermaster. "Jes' so; you was born ob de debbil," replied the old negro, rising in his bed, and showing all his remaining teeth in an expansive smile. "You need not have. You have played your part remarkably well, Mr. Passford, and it was an excellent idea on the part of Major Pierson, who suggested this plan of putting you in the place of your cousin. He had seen you and your relative together, I believe?" "Are we to understand that one of these officers is the double of the other?" asked the first lieutenant, who seemed to be disposed to take in the situation as a pleasantry of the commander. "I do not ask for it, though of course I am anxious to have the truth come out, for just now I am in disgrace as an impostor, to say nothing of being regarded as an enemy of the union," replied Christy. "He who occupies a stateroom in the steamer is my own cousin, and the pleasantest relations have always subsisted between our families. I have nothing against him personally, and I would do him a kindness as readily as ever before in my life." "But it appears that you promptly accepted your commander in the person of my cousin," said Christy, laughing in spite of the gravity of the situation. 321 "That's just what it is." Neither of the two disloyal officers of the Bronx was an infant, and each struggled like a brave man against the force that attacked them. Mr. Flint had fallen upon Mr. Galvinne from behind, and had thrown him down at the first onslaught. He fought like a tiger, but with the aid of Christy and two of the men from the 167 waist, he was subdued, and Christy had a strap ready to confine his hands behind him. Then he was drawn over to the rail and made fast to a belaying pin. "Open with the broadside guns, Mr. Flint!" called Christy, as the Bronx came abreast of the works. "Certainly not; for as soon as it was seen on board of the flag-ship that the commander of the Bronx was disobeying his orders, we should be chased by the two ships on the station and fired upon." www lottorich28 "That is exactly the situation, Dave. Can you tell me what they are doing on deck?" asked Christy, who began to feel more hopeful of the future. "You shall see it, and go on board of it if you wish; but we may have a battle with the fort." Another solid shot sped on its way, and Mr. Ambleton, the gunner, fully justified the reputation he had earned, though the missile only ploughed up the earth in front of the party on the fort. But then Lieutenant Fourchon proved that he was a wise and a prudent man, as well as a brave one, for he retreated from the exposed position with his men. It was almost sure death for them to remain there, for they could not help seeing the cloud of smoke that rose from the funnel of the Bronx, indicating her intention to go up the Pass. The rattle of musketry became quite sharp, and the bullets were penetrating the bulwarks. Two had been wounded at one of the guns, and carried below. Christy stepped over to the end of the 355 bridge to call a hand to take the place of Boxie, and at that moment he felt a sharp sting, as it were, in his right arm, above the elbow. Involuntarily he raised his hand to the place, and felt the warm blood oozing from the wound. It produced a momentary faintness; but he braced himself up, and wound his handkerchief around his arm, calling upon the wheelman to tie it, as he hastened to the aid of Vincent. He said not a word about the accident. "You certainly could not have been aware that your official envelope contained only blank paper. I cannot believe that one more simple-minded than I believe you to be would have had the effrontery to present such matter as evidence that he was an officer of the United States Navy," continued Captain Battleton, with a look of greater severity than he had before assumed, possibly because he realized that the real Lieutenant Passford was higher in rank than he was himself. "I don't think so," muttered Corny. "You treat your own flesh and blood as though blood was nothing but water with you." But Job was very obliging, and he made a hissing sound, followed by an effort to sneeze which was a failure. Then he hissed some more, though the loss of his front teeth interfered with the effort. Then he said "fing." Christy planked the deck with Mr. Flint just 349 abaft the foremast. Both of them were as cool and self-possessed as though they had been sitting at the cabin-table; but neither of them felt that the battle had been won, for the officer in command of the fort was evidently a man of ability, who had not yet exhausted his resources. The first lieutenant had watched the works very closely with his glass, and he had informed the captain that something was in progress there, though he could not tell what it was. g2g789 "Of course he is. Do you think I should let him lie around loose on deck? The next one is the man-servant at Bonnydale by your appointment, formerly Walsh, but now Byron. He is a very good actor, but he has played out his rôle." "Well, this is pleasant; and it will be my duty to report your conduct to my superior officer. In command of this ship! Why, you don't know enough to lay off the course of the ship, or even to box the compass." "Bancroft says that Clinton was deceived by letters which were written to be intercepted. The books say that Washington used every art in his power to deceive Clinton. He wrote letters containing the barefaced lie that he intended to attack New York when he intended to attack Cornwallis. It was not a mere white lie, for he intended to deceive. We don't regard Washington as a liar, and he was not a liar in any proper sense of the word. All the high-toned generals 110 on both sides in the present war do not hesitate to deceive the enemy, for it is a part of their duty to do so. In my judgment, a lie that is acted is the same as a spoken lie." "Can you tell me what position Mr. Flint has on board?" "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. ufath579 "Gollywompus! My old master will get me back then!" groaned Dave, who had been very happy in his new service and at Bonnydale where he had spent considerable of his time while Christy was waiting for the fitting out of the Bronx. "I think I had better get on board of the flag-ship right off." 179 "I will," replied the prisoner. By this time it was broad daylight, and apparently the fog was not as dense as it had been earlier in the morning. The boat with her tow continued on her course, now headed for the gunboat which the officer had made out. In ten minutes more the expedition was within hailing distance of the steamer, which immediately stopped her screw.

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ufath579 107 "I do not; I am that person myself," replied Christy very decidedly. "By the way, I wonder that the commander did not subject the two claimants to an examination in navigation and seamanship. It might have thrown some light on the subject." "In what direction is the head of the steamer pointed, Mr. Pennant?" he asked as he joined the lieutenant. "Precisely; that is the vessel we are after. But what was my uncle doing on board of your sloop, with Captain Flanger and the rest of your party?" 17 Christy heard nothing, and he silently descended the stairs to the lower hall. All was as quiet there as upon the floor above, and he had begun to think that the impression he had received had been given him in a dream, though he could not remember that he had been dreaming. But when he came to the front door, he found it was ajar. It was usually secured by a spring lock, and those who were liable to be out in the evening were provided with night-keys. "Dave," said the wounded lieutenant, the next time the steward came into the room, "no more 'massa,' no more 'moggywompus,' no more 'done do it.' You know better than to use such expressions, and you are no longer a 'nigger;' you are the ship's steward of the Bronx." "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." "I hope you will not make a donkey of yourself before we have finished this business," added the executive officer for the time being. "Now have you looked at your orders?" "I was sick, and I wished to be as near the Vernon as possible. I felt better in the afternoon and attended to my affairs; but I got bad again in the afternoon, and I came on board in the evening, for I was afraid I should not be able to 68 do so in the morning," answered the invalid, becoming as lively as before. "Now, give way with a will, my men!" called Mr. Pennant in brisk tones, "for we shall soon have a twenty-four pound shot chasing us out." "Sail on the port bow, sir," reported a quartermaster. "Soldiers on the fort, sir!" shouted Vincent, when the Bronx was within less than a quarter of a mile of the works. It was a living being, or it would not move, and he was certain that he had made a discovery. Then two regrets flashed through his mind as he stepped down from the veranda; the first, that he had not put on his shoes before he left his chamber, and the second, that he had not taken his pistols, for a bullet would travel a great deal faster than a barefooted officer, even of the United States Navy. But he ran with all his speed to the street, to the great detriment of his uncovered feet. 123limited Though it is said that the South "robbed the 6 cradle and the grave" to recruit the armies of the Confederacy, it is as true that young and old in the North went forth in their zeal to "Stand by the union," and that many and many a young soldier and sailor who had not yet seen twenty summers endured the hardships of the camp and the march, the broiling suns, and the wasting maladies of semi-tropical seas, fought bravely and nobly for the unity of the land they loved, and that thousands of them sleep their last sleep in unmarked graves on the sea and the land. The writer can remember whole companies, of which nearly half of the number could be classed as mere boys. These boys of eighteen to twenty, who survived the rain of bullets, shot, and shell, and the hardly less fatal assaults of disease, are the middle-aged men of to-day, and every one of them has a thrilling story to tell. The boys of to-day read with interest the narratives of the boys of thirty years ago, and listen with their blood deeply stirred to the recital of the veteran of forty-five years, or even 7 younger, who brought back to his home only one arm or one leg. "You certainly could not have been aware that your official envelope contained only blank paper. I cannot believe that one more simple-minded than I believe you to be would have had the effrontery to present such matter as evidence that he was an officer of the United States Navy," continued Captain Battleton, with a look of greater severity than he had before assumed, possibly because he realized that the real Lieutenant Passford was higher in rank than he was himself. "But he did not." 197 "If they are worthy, I shall certainly do the best I can for them," added Christy, gaping. Dorchester, Mass., April 23, 1891. ufath579 "We have no countersign to give." "I hope it will all come out right," added Corny. "You are the only officer on board except myself," replied Christy. "We are still in the dark as to what we have to do here. We may have to send off a boat expedition, as we did at Cedar Keys, and we are in absolute need of more officers." "It may be he was; I don't know about that. You say that we have met before, but to save my life, I cannot recall the time, and I am sorry to add that I do not identify your face as that of any person I ever saw before. I have the pleasure of introducing myself to you as Lieutenant Christopher Passford, commanding the United States steamer Bronx." mama555 "No, sir; but I was named after a Russian sailor Captain Flanger picked up in Havana. I don't mean this Captain Flanger that was on board of the Magnolia, but his father," replied the stout fellow. "I hope it will all come out right, but I have some fears," added the impostor. It was a living being, or it would not move, and he was certain that he had made a discovery. Then two regrets flashed through his mind as he stepped down from the veranda; the first, that he had not put on his shoes before he left his chamber, and the second, that he had not taken his pistols, for a bullet would travel a great deal faster than a barefooted officer, even of the United States Navy. But he ran with all his speed to the street, to the great detriment of his uncovered feet. This responsibility was not of a personal nature. He did not have the feeling that he had been vanquished in the contest before the captain, and the fact that he was a prisoner hardly disturbed him. It was the prospective injury to the cause of his country which occasioned his solicitude. His object was to save the Vernon, the Bronx, or both, from being handed over to the enemy without a struggle to save them, one or both. "I did not answer your question, Mr. Passford," interposed Captain Battleton. "In an hour we will settle the question." "If I have had any headache, I have entirely recovered from it," replied Christy, laughing heartily. "I came on board only an hour ago, doctor, and I have had no headache, thank you." "I don't understand it," said Captain Battleton, shaking his head. The third lieutenant sprang forward to obey the order, and Christy followed him at a more moderate pace, consistent with his dignity as the officer highest in rank on board. It was not so much a question of dignity, however, with him as it was the intention to preserve his self-possession. A light had been reported on the starboard bow; but Christy had no more means of knowing what it meant than any other person on deck. It suggested a blockade runner, a battery, or a house near the shore where he did not expect to find one.

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ufath579 "All right, Captain Flanger." 342 As soon as he reached the cabin, Christy brought from his stateroom twenty dollars in gold, which he presented to the old negro, who accepted the gift with many thanks. "Then you will oblige me by getting him into the cabin; I mean my cabin. I will be there in ten minutes." "You could hardly have supposed that a little gunboat like the Bronx was sent all alone on such a mission." Mr. Pennant had time now to look over the craft he had captured, and the men on board of 214 her. It was simply a large sailboat, and those on board of her wore plain clothes. They did not appear to be soldiers or sailors, though there was a number of bayonets scattered about the standing room. The seamen from the cutter had leaped on board of the sloop, with cutlasses in their belts; but there was not space enough to permit the use of the weapon, and they had seized each of the men by the collar and put a pistol to his head. Mr. Pennant concluded that the sail could not be far off, or it could not be seen, and it would be useless to maintain the dead silence, which was 208 painful to all in the boat. He stood up in his place, and, after looking for a couple of minutes, he made out the sail himself. So far as he could judge from what he saw, the craft was a small sloop of not more than thirty-five feet in length. "I can just see the fort and the big house. It is not so very dark to-night," answered the Russian. "Advance, friends, and give the countersign!" "His name is David Davis; but he is not a relative of the president of the Southern Confederacy, for he is a mulatto. He has rendered very 364 important service on several occasions, and there is not a truer or braver man on board of the Bronx, or any other ship of the squadron," replied Christy with enthusiasm. "And you were as stupid as an Alabama mule when you snapped at me for doing so in the presence of some of the sailors," replied Corny, with considerable spirit; and Christy, who heard all that was said, was glad to have him maintain the dignity of the family in his new situation. "Then there are cotton vessels at that port, are there?" asked Christy, pricking up his ears at this suggestion. mama555 "I'm the one for your money," returned the oarsman, as he headed his boat into the slip. "An excellent rule. Is he aware of the fact that there is another Richmond in the field?" "Very well, uncle Homer, that is settled," 238 added Christy. "Now, how are aunt Lydia and Gerty? I hope they are well." "Very well, Mike; you are a free man on board of this ship." The lieutenant had covered his lantern, for he 320 did not wish to wake the other sleepers in the cabin, after the description the Russian had given of his man. Mike spoke in a low tone to him, and it did not take him long to make his toilet, for he slept just as he was clothed during the day. No one knew how old he was, but he was still brisk in his movements. The officer led the way to one of the deserted cabins at a considerable distance from the one occupied by Uncle Job. The morning mail brought a letter from Captain Passford, informing the family that he was detained in Washington, and that he could not be at home to say good-by to his son, who was to leave that day in the store ship Vernon. He wrote a special letter to Christy, containing not only his adieux, but the good advice he would otherwise have given him in person. Christy was still on the bridge, and he watched with intense interest the effect of the shot. In a moment he saw the carriage of the only gun that seemed to be mounted on the barbette flying in pieces in every direction. He directed the gunner to use a shell next time; but the soldiers had hastened away from the place, bearing with them two of their companions, doubtless wounded by the splinters. "I never saw Massa Corny; but I done hear enough about him when I was at Bonnydale. Show me your knife and your watch, Massa Christy." "Friends," replied the lieutenant. "I appoint him third lieutenant temporarily." "Not improbable," added Christy. "You propose that I shall go on deck, and give your orders, acting as your proxy." lagalaxy1 "I don't think I care to go to the Gulf again as the commander of a vessel," added Christy, who had not changed his mind on this subject. The lieutenant had closely watched the movements of the Bronx. He had made the signal that the fort was not very dangerous to the well-being of the gunboat, and he understood her present movement. The light was increasing, and the Bronx could be distinctly seen, headed to the south-east, or in other words, making for the deep water outside the bar. Mr. Pennant still kept the cutter headed to the south. "No matter; we have the Bronx again, and she is not yet to become a Confederate cruiser. But Corny had the sealed orders of the flag-officer, and I heard Mr. Galvinne read them. The Bronx is ordered to St. Andrew's to attend to the case of a steamer loading there to run the blockade. Shall I obey the orders, or return to the flag-ship?" "It does not follow that we shall have to fight 293 her or run away from her," added the first lieutenant, still gazing at the approaching steamer through his glass. "I don't believe she is a Confederate vessel. The rebels do not buy steamers as big as that one in England." "Do you think you should have let these conspirators 171 run into Pensacola Bay without meddling with the matter?" asked Christy. "Hardly, my dear friend, for I fear that on deck you would give way to your own individual prejudices against me, and do something that would jeopard my interest in the premises. With your approbation, I should prefer to resort to a method that prevails in the army, though not to any considerable 271 extent in the navy. More clearly, I will invite you to send your orders on deck in writing, over your own signature." CHAPTER XXIV A CRITICAL SITUATION IN THE CABIN ufath579 The crew had been ordered to ease off, and the cutter moved very slowly. A quarter of an hour later the sounding was ten and three-quarters feet. The next report was fourteen feet, and then no bottom at twenty feet. The Bronx was approaching 341 the boat with full steam, and stopped her screw a short distance from the cutter. In a few moments more the boat was at the davits, and the commander of the expedition reported to Captain Passford. "Those were the coast guard, sir," replied Mike, chuckling again. "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." "Yes, sar; de oberseer's sick abed, and dis nigger go right in like massa hisself," replied Job, as he led the way in the direction of the planter's house.

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fast356

fast356 "Both of you were in command of the Vixen, I suppose," added the captain with a smile. "It was not your cousin at all who attempted to take the vessel into Pensacola Bay; it was Galvinne, for Corny only acted as a figure-head, as I intend to use you. Galvinne was a prisoner by my side on board of the flag-ship, and told me all about it when he was releasing my right hand from the bracelet," replied Captain Flanger. "That is my name," added Christy, smiling at the earnestness of the skipper. "And you were as stupid as an Alabama mule when you snapped at me for doing so in the presence of some of the sailors," replied Corny, with considerable spirit; and Christy, who heard all that was said, was glad to have him maintain the dignity of the family in his new situation. "What is the Bellevite doing off here, so far from her station, Paul?" asked Christy. "Be it so; death before dishonor," replied the commander firmly.

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g2g789

g2g789

g2g789 Walsh, the man-servant at Bonnydale, was now a seaman on board of the Vernon, under the real or assumed name of Byron. He denied his identity, as he would naturally do under the circumstances; but Christy had not a doubt that he was the man who had suddenly disappeared after the mysterious visitation of the night before. Doubtless, Corny had been the visitor at the mansion, and had procured the contents of the official envelope on this occasion. "That is my commission," replied Corny, putting his hand involuntarily on his left breast, where he had carried his papers on board of the Vernon. "It dropped from some of the men that were captured in the sloop." 187 "This is mean of you, Christy, to put me in irons," said Corny reproachfully as he turned to his cousin; "I might have asked Captain Battleton to put you in irons on board of the Vernon; but I did not." CHAPTER IX A MORAL PHILOSOPHER. CHAPTER XX AN EXPEDITION TO ST. ANDREW'S BAY

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thb168

thb168

thb168 128 In a few minutes, when he had made the cabin tidy for the reception of "Massa Cap'n Passford," he transferred his labors to the stateroom. He worked in the berth and all its surroundings, including the desk, which still contained the real commander's papers, and then gave his attention to the trunk beneath. "This is an outrage," said the man on the forecastle, who could not help seeing that the whole party were in a fair way to be annihilated if they made any further resistance. "I think you had better let me stanch the blood," suggested Dr. Connelly. After rendering his decision it was evident that Captain Battleton had something to say to Christy, for he waited in silence till Corny had closed the door behind him before he even looked at the officer standing before him. The lieutenant from the moment the envelopes were opened and their contents exposed to the view of all present, had fully expected the result just announced. Whatever he thought, suspected, or surmised when he saw the blank papers taken from his official envelope, he kept to himself.

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golden auto

golden auto

golden auto PREFACE "I did not answer your question, Mr. Passford," interposed Captain Battleton. "In an hour we will settle the question."

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ezx10

ezx10

ezx10 "I called you Walsh; and that is the name to 41 which you responded at two o'clock this morning," persisted the lieutenant. 67 "Then you were both brought up in the North," suggested the captain.

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