สลอต ย ฟา 191 Mr. Pennant, the third lieutenant, on account of his wound, which was not severe enough to render him unfit for ordinary duty, was appointed prize-master of the Sphinx, with orders to report 362 at New York for condemnation. A furlough was given to Christy, with a stateroom on board of the captured steamer. She was fitted out so that she could defend herself, or even capture any vessel of the enemy within her reach, and not too strong for her. She was not as fast as the Bronx, but she had logged over twelve knots on the passage from Barataria Bay, and was therefore likely to be added to the force of the navy. The commander thought it very strange that there should be a person on board of the steamer, and especially in possession of his cabin, who was an entire stranger to him. He looked at the intruder, who was a stoutly built man of rather more than forty years of age, with his hair and full beard somewhat grizzled by age. He was 258 dressed like a seaman in blue clothes, though he was evidently not a common sailor, but might have been the master or mate of a vessel. "Here you differ. Did you make a report of your voyage home, Lieutenant Passford?" continued the captain, pointing at Corny. "I have just told you that the first lieutenant is a Confederate officer; and I have not yet learned who is the third lieutenant. Among the crew I 133 know there are at least four men, and there may be twenty of them, who are to take part in this plot. The loyal men will not be likely to interfere with the officers unless they have a leader. The fact that the Bronx is headed into a Confederate port would not create a rebellion on board unless they were informed of the actual situation. By the time the union men found out the plot, it would be too late for them to do anything, for the vessel would be under the guns of the forts."
fat168.wallet "Sail on the port bow, sir," reported a quartermaster. "Do so," replied Christy. "Mr. Camden, pass the word for Dr. Connelly." fat168.wallet "Yes, sir; most of the guns have been removed to points where they can be used to greater advantage than here. The few we have are twenty-four pounders, mounted en barbette," replied Lieutenant Fourchon. "The fort is practically abandoned; and in a short time will be entirely so, for the enemy's ships of war can do no harm here, and there is not water enough above to permit their passage into the Mississippi." "We have no time to talk sentiment now. It is necessary for you to understand the situation better than you do," interposed Christy; and he proceeded to explain in what manner his cousin Corny happened to be in command of the Bronx, while he was himself nominally a prisoner of war. "Maggywogs! That sounds like Massa Christy's 129 voice; but I done seen him on deck five or ten minutes ago." "I go for de doctor if he's dar," said Job. "You have him on board, and perhaps he had better answer the question himself," replied Colonel Passford with a smile. 260 I have already learned that you have an excellent cook on board. I should judge from these potatoes that he was brought up in New Orleans." copa168 ทางเขา He knew also that if he attempted to leave the cabin to procure assistance, Flanger would shoot him with as little remorse as he would kill a coon in the woods. Watching his opportunity without trying to get behind the intruder till the decisive moment came, he sprang into the position he had selected in advance, and brought down the heavy head of the feather duster upon the temple of the privateersman. "No use, Massa Ossifer; dis nigger don't hab teef enough to do dat." "Take a force of twelve men, with pistols and cutlasses, Mr. Pennant, in the first cutter, and pull down to the south-east. Whatever you find in the shape of a vessel or a boat, capture it, and return to the Bronx. Get off with as little noise as possible, and muffle your oars." "Then you had better turn in, Captain Passford," said the executive officer. "We can do nothing more to-night except to keep a sharp lookout." 338 "South, sir," replied the quartermaster. Lieutenant Fourchon pressed the hand of the doctor, and left the casemate with him. When he rushed back to the cabin, Flanger had got the better of his foe, and had risen to his feet, with his grasp upon the throat of the steward. Then he hurled him from him with a vigorous movement with his left hand, while he raised the right with the evident intention of shooting him. The commander saw the imminent peril of Dave; he took a hasty aim and fired before the intruder had time to do so. He was a good shot with the navy revolver, for he had taken lessons and practised a good deal with the weapon. "Then there are cotton vessels at that port, are there?" asked Christy, pricking up his ears at this suggestion. 32 "No one knows what is going to happen, and I may spend the next year or two in a Confederate prison. I don't think my Uncle Homer would cry his eyes out if such should be my fate, for he has lost several vessels and cargoes of cotton on my account," returned Christy. As he spoke, Boxie dropped in his place at the wheel, and Vincent grasped the spokes. The blood was streaming down the face of the old man, and he did not move after he fell. Two sailors bore him below; but the surgeon promptly declared that he was dead. He had aimed at the head of Flanger, and he saw that he had hit him, for his face was instantly covered with blood. He did not think it necessary 282 to fire a second shot, but he was careful not to let the opportunity pass by if it was needed to reduce the privateersman to subjection. Flanger dropped his weapon instantly, and Dave as instantly picked it up. It was clear to Christy then that the battle had been fought and won, though the defeated party had another revolver in his pocket. "Well, Dave, how is your prisoner?" he asked, halting at the door. "Sail, ho!" called Vincent, who had not abated his vigilance on the lookout; and he pointed with his right hand in the direction he had seen the craft. ufaไทย "I know no name but Bonnydale," replied Corny; and the flush of fever or something else was on his cheeks now. Dave Receives his Appointment as Steward.—Page 364. 199 "Do you ever drink whiskey, Pennant?" asked Christy abruptly. "I can come to no conclusion in regard to it, though I may be able to do so when I have seen my double," replied Christy, whose curiosity in regard to the sick officer was strongly excited. "It looks like a conspiracy of some kind, but I can go no farther in the direction of a solution." A minute later Christy appeared with his report in his hand, and both of them were presented to the captain. The handwriting was as different as possible in the two papers. Corny's was in a large, coarse hand, but it was a fair copy, while Christy's contained several corrections and inter-lineations. No one could recognize the writing of either of the claimants, and the documents proved nothing at all. The captain was evidently weary of the investigation, and nothing but the commission 87 seemed to throw any reliable light upon the claim of either one or the other. "We must recapture the vessel before she gets into port; and what I want most now is to see Mr. Flint. You must fix the matter in some way, Dave, so that I can see him. Now go on deck, and ascertain what is going on there. If you get a chance, speak to Mr. Flint; but be extremely careful." The commander was disposed to carry the investigation a little farther in the same direction, and he sent Christy into the ward room, where he was instructed to remain until he was sent for. Captain Passford, senior, was well known to all the officers present by reputation, and he had assisted Dr. Connelly in procuring his appointment, so that the latter had had occasion to visit Bonnydale three times.
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fat168.wallet "Mr. Flint has not had his breakfast yet, and he will come below for it very soon," added Dave. "He was just coming down for it when he got the signal to come alongside the flag-ship." "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. "Thank you, Captain Battleton; I shall be very happy to make the acquaintance of Lieutenant Passford," said the occupant of the cabin, 64 rising as he spoke, and approaching Christy. "Corny Passford!" exclaimed the sick officer. "I did not expect to see you here. This gentleman is my own cousin, Captain Battleton, though I am sorry to say that he is a rebel; but for all that he is one of the finest fellows in the known world, and you will appreciate everything about him except his politics, which I do not admire myself." "Of course my cousin Corny intends to hand the vessel over to the Confederate government." "Then I will wait till I have time to attend to it," replied the heroic officer who treated the injury with contempt; "I have not finished my report to the captain yet. I will be in the ward room as soon as the captain is done with me." "I have not the slightest objection to the presence of as many officers as you may choose to call in," added the invalid. In less than half an hour the two vessels were under way, and just at dark they were within hail of the flag-ship. 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 know no name but Bonnydale," replied Corny; and the flush of fever or something else was on his cheeks now. 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. "We are cousins." "I suppose that is the Bronx astern of her," added Captain Battleton. "It is the smallest of the three, at any rate. Mr. Salisbury, you will run directly for the flag-ship," he added to the executive officer on the quarter-deck. "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?" ufa593 "Very well the last time I saw them, which was three weeks ago. They are busy making garments for the soldiers," answered the planter. "If I am the impostor, I do not know myself; but I have no desire to forestall your decision. You saw the sick officer when he came on board last evening, and you have visited him in his stateroom to-day. Do I look enough like him to be taken for him?" asked Christy with a smile, as he placed himself in an attitude to be scrutinized by the commander. illustration of quoted scene "I find him—I thought I found him; but he appears to be on deck," replied the surgeon, as he fixed his gaze upon Christy, preluded by a start, dramatic enough to prove that he was astonished to find his patient was not in his room below. "I left him not five minutes ago, for I have not yet been able to discover what ails him. He 58 complained of a severe headache and pains in his bones; but he has not a particle of fever, or any symptom of anything that I can discover. I am glad to see you on deck, Mr. Passford. How is your headache?" "I cannot accept a parole, captain, for that would be equivalent to an admission that I am a Confederate; and I claim to be a loyal officer." Christy did not believe that the second lieutenant would turn in at the time indicated, though he might make a pretence of doing so, and shut himself up in his stateroom. Mr. Galvinne proceeded to say that he should have Rockton and Warton ready to make Mr. Flint a prisoner in case he became too inquisitive. Nichols and Sayles would 160 be available near the quarter-deck in case any demonstration was made by any portion of the crew. ทางเขา999bet "I was hit in the left arm; but very fortunately the wound did not disable me," replied the lieutenant as he proceeded to take off his coat. fat168.wallet "I am glad to hear it, sir, for you appeared to be quite sick last night when you came on board," added the quartermaster. "I beg your pardon, Captain Flanger; but do I understand that you intend, single-handed and alone, to capture the Bronx?" asked the commander, with a smile of incredulity on his face.
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fat168.wallet 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. He was absolutely confident that he was himself Lieutenant Christopher Passford, and as absolutely confident that the other officer could not be that person, whoever else he might be. The commander appeared to be considering what Christy had suggested to him in regard to his orders, and the passenger had a minute or two to think of the situation in which he found himself placed. But what was the use to think of it? He was at the end of a blind alley, where there was no light from any direction except that by which he had entered it. He had no premises from which to reason, and it was useless to consider the matter. "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." "By taking the bull by the horns in good season, I am confident we can prevent this mischief." CHAPTER XXV THE DESTRUCTION OF A PROMINENT FACIAL MEMBER He was absolutely confident that he was himself Lieutenant Christopher Passford, and as absolutely confident that the other officer could not be that person, whoever else he might be. The commander appeared to be considering what Christy had suggested to him in regard to his orders, and the passenger had a minute or two to think of the situation in which he found himself placed. But what was the use to think of it? He was at the end of a blind alley, where there was no light from any direction except that by which he had entered it. He had no premises from which to reason, and it was useless to consider the matter. He finished the narrative, and the officers were discussing it when there was a knock at the door. "Ensign Frederick Jones," answered Corny, with some hesitation. "In that case, probably Mike was with him, and he may be a useful man to us as a pilot," replied Christy. "The commodore says the Western Gulf squadron had no steamer that was suitable for this service, for there is only nine feet of water on the bar of Barataria at low water. For this reason he had been requested to send the Bronx, not only on account of her light draft, but of her speed." 1ufa77 "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." "I am glad to see you, Dr. Waterton, for I have exhausted all my remedies," said Lieutenant Fourchon. "I was not born to be a doctor. The patient seems to be no better." "In what town or city is your father's estate situated?" fat168.wallet "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. "By taking the bull by the horns in good season, I am confident we can prevent this mischief." CHAPTER XXIV A CRITICAL SITUATION IN THE CABIN By this time the commander began to feel that sleep was a necessity for him, for he had hardly rested at all the night before, and he turned in at two bells. He dropped asleep almost instantly, and did not wake till he heard eight bells in the morning. It was quite light in his stateroom, and he realized that it was eight o'clock, instead of four, as he at first supposed. "He could not have been disturbed until you spoke to him; and he might have ransacked the whole of the lower part of the house." "Do you think if I should present myself on deck at this moment, wearing the frock and shirt of a common seaman, the men would identify me alongside Corny, who wears the uniform of an officer?" autobet autobet "Then it follows that one of the two must be a Confederate who is on board of a United States 95 ship for some purpose not yet explained, but fairly supposed to be hostile." 85 "Did you keep a copy of that report?" CHAPTER IV THE SICK OFFICER IN THE STATEROOM They returned to the negro village, for the commander of the expedition did not feel as though he had yet finished his mission on shore. "Not till you change your tone. I wish you to understand that I am in command of this ship, and I have my commission in my pocket. I intend to be treated with decency at least." He had decided upon his method of operations, and then wished again that he was not in command of the steamer; for the expedition he intended 311 to send out was one he would have been glad to command in person, instead of remaining inactive on board of the Bronx. As soon as he had arranged his plan, he went on deck. To the astonishment of the first lieutenant, he changed the course of the steamer to the north, and at noon let go the anchor in four fathoms of water. The vessel remained there till it was dark, and then proceeded to the westward, sounding all the time. "I dol't walt any Yalkee surgeod at work od be," protested Captain Flanger, whose speech was badly affected by the injury to his nasal organ, or by the pressure he applied to it with his hand. "I have no bag, sir," replied Christy in submissive tones. "Permit me, Captain Battleton," interposed Mr. Salisbury; and the commander nodded his acquiescence. "Is Bonnydale the name of the town or city in which your father lives, Mr. Passford?" "I have, captain," replied Christy, bowing respectfully. "Captain Passford, if you please, Dr. Connelly, for I have the honor to be in command of the Bronx at the present moment. This is Mr. Passford," added Christy, pointing to his cousin. "This is not an official envelope," said the captain, 80 as he took the package, and then fixed his gaze on the owner of the documents. The late acting-commander did not leave the deck, as he would have been likely to do if he had been relieved and ordered to report on board of the flag-ship, though he might have been superseded as executive officer,—a position which he was clearly entitled to hold. A little later, the draft of seamen were ordered to file on board of the Bronx. Then the observer saw Mr. Galvinne, with a rather pompous gesture point to the men who were coming on board, and say something he 123 could not hear to Mr. Flint. He had evidently directed him to receive the seamen as they came on deck. This indicated that the late second lieutenant of the Vernon had been appointed executive officer of the Bronx.
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fat168.wallet "Then the report of the light on the starboard bow places it directly to the eastward of us," added Christy. "That is about where the entrance to St. Andrew's Bay ought to be, if my calculations were correct. We have been running to the eastward since we left the blockaders' station off Pensacola Bay. My ruler on the chart gave me that course, and Mr. Galvinne followed it while he was in charge. We could not have got more than half a mile off the course in coming about twice. The shoaling of the water also indicates that we are all right." "Make the course south-west, Mr. Flint," said the commander, as soon as the vessel was ready, and her screw was in motion. 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. "Those were the coast guard, sir," replied Mike, chuckling again. "I don't know; do you, Rockton?" replied the 105 one addressed; and it was evident to the listener that the men were at least persons of average education with but little of the common sailor in it. "All the crew are not loyal," replied Christy, as he explained the instructions he had given to the steward. "I done count only four ob dem w'en I was dar last time." "I neber spoke noffin but the truf, Massa Ossifer." "Precisely so; West India rum and wines." autobet autobet 89 "I do not see how you can escape that conclusion," replied the first lieutenant. "But, Christy, something has happened; and you must tell me about it, or I shall not sleep another wink to-night," persisted the lady, concluding that her son was trying to conceal something from her, as indeed he was, for he feared it would alarm her if he told her some one had come into the house. "But I do not wish to subject you to any unnecessary restraint, and I shall be willing to accept your parole that you will engage in no hostile movement on board of the Vernon," continued the captain, in milder tones. "Dr. Connelly?" "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." "Emphatically I did not." "Where were you yesterday, Corny?" asked Christy, suddenly suppressing his mirth. 329 "You, Massa Gumboat!" cried the negro. "De sodgers put de bagonet frou your crop like a knife frou a pullet's froat!" ufa58 "Not improbable," added Christy. "You propose that I shall go on deck, and give your orders, acting as your proxy." The big steamer, as she certainly was compared with the Bronx, started her screw again, and came within less than half a cable's length of the little gunboat, for the water was very still, with a gentle breeze from the westward. The boat was dropped into the water; and in a minute or two it was at the accommodation ladder of the Bronx, when a couple of officers mounted the side. "My men, I have just appointed Ralph Pennant acting third lieutenant; and you will obey and respect him as such," said Christy, addressing the watch, and then dismissing them. "Wheel disabled, sir!" shouted the quartermaster. fat168.wallet He did not do quite as well every time, but in two hours there was not a gun in place on the barbette of the fort. It was plain enough to Christy that the remarkable attempt of one or the other of the officers on board as passengers to personate the other had been explained to those on the quarter-deck, for he observed that they all regarded him with curiosity, and were interested in the matter. As the surgeon passed near him he spoke to him. In fact, in less than an hour he said he was entirely relieved from the severe pain. He was very grateful to the doctor, whom no one suspected of being a Yankee gunboat officer. 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."
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ufa2020 ทางเขา Christy was not disposed to believe that he was a brilliant officer, or to accept unchallenged the extravagant praise that had been bestowed upon 44 him. He endeavored to follow the Gospel injunction "not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think." But while he tried to keep the flower of modesty in full bloom in his soul, he could not deny that he had given the enemies of his country a great deal of trouble, and subjected them to some heavy losses. Then he recalled the conspiracy on board of the Bronx while he was acting-commander of her; and though it was for the interest of the Confederacy to get rid of so active an officer, he believed it was the vessel and not himself that the conspirators desired to obtain. "This is very strange," said Captain Battleton, fixing his gaze upon the planks on which he stood, possibly considering whether he or his passenger was dreaming or out of his head.
ทางเขา bet1688 "I don't quite understand this matter," said the surgeon. "What are you doing, Mr. Passford?" "I am in command, Dave, and there must be no more 'massa' now," added Christy. "What time shall you come about?" asked Corny, apparently from curiosity rather than any especial interest in the navigation of the steamer.
24timeauto "My father is quite well, but he left Bonnydale last Tuesday to go to Washington, and had not returned when I left home. My mother is quite well, and so is Florry," replied the sick officer, who did not appear to be suffering from a very severe headache just then, for he was quite cheerful and animated. "Hardly, doctor; I looked up the subject for my own benefit. I simply mean to say that I do not consider my cousin a liar," replied Christy, who was an earnest debater when he became warm in his subject.
ยฟา888 วอลเลต "I propose to appoint him executive officer of the Bronx." "Here, sir," replied the steward, coming into the cabin and gazing with astonishment at the negro. "This man has done a good work; take care of him, give him a good breakfast, and see that no one insults him."