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ufalao The commander found Dave keeping close watch over Corny Passford, though he was fast asleep in his berth. Passing through the ward room and steerage, Dave unlocked the door that led into the quarters of the crew. Next to the bulkhead, or partition, was space enough for the prisoners, and the steward was required to bring five berth sacks, which were placed on the deck. ufalao "Then I may see you again, my friend. Thank you for your information, and will you give me your name?" added Christy. "Mr. Passford," continued the captain, indicating Christy with his finger, "your father's name, if you please." "Corny again!" exclaimed the captain. In the official record of a certain regiment recruited up to the full standard, we find that 47.5 per cent of the non-commissioned officers and privates were under twenty-one years of age. We find a few in the list who were only sixteen and seventeen years. In this regiment, 8 we find two captains only twenty-one years of age, and three lieutenants who were only twenty. This regiment was exceptional in regard to age, though we find that over twenty-five per cent of several companies, taken at random, were under age. Even boys of fourteen and fifteen were enlisted as musicians, "drummer boys," and served out their full term. It can, therefore, be truthfully said, that those who were literally "boys" did their full and fair share in fighting for the union. Perhaps even a larger proportion of minors served in the navy than in the army; and the record of some of them could be recited to prove that in those days boys became men prematurely, and distinguished themselves by brave and daring deeds. ufa333win "He stole that officer's commission and other papers while he was sleeping in his own home," added Christy. "Well, Captain Passford, if you fail to comprehend my purpose, it is the fault of your understanding, and not of my plain and explicit declaration, for I assuredly said that I intended to replace the Floridian with the Teaser, or the Bronx as you have named her, though she will not be called by any such nut-cracking name after I get her," replied the daring privateersman, as blandly and pleasantly as though he were planning a picnic. "But they may have captured her," suggested Christy. "Mind yore eye, Massa Gumboat!" exclaimed Job, in a low tone, but with great earnestness. "He must have come into your room, my son, or you would not have heard him at the door. Perhaps he has robbed you," suggested Mrs. Passford. Captain Flanger was at the critical point in his operations, and he was too busy with the commander to give any attention to the negro, whom he regarded with the contempt begotten of his Southern education. Dave was intelligent enough to understand the situation accurately, and he realized that it was rapidly becoming critical. He knew that Christy was unarmed, and that the 280 whole attention of the pirate was concentrated upon him, so that he could do nothing to help himself. "Oh, yes; we have a surgeon, for Dr. Spokeley is to go to New York in the Vernon, and the doctor of the store-ship is appointed to the Bronx." "The evidence might have perplexed him; if he had done anything, he would have been more likely to retain both of you on board of the flag-ship, and appointed a new officer in command of the Bronx, rather than go back of the evidence of the commission," argued Mr. Galvinne. "Your papers do not seem to be altogether regular, Mr. Passford," said the captain, as he held up one of them so that all could see it. ufaauto 888 "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. "Good, Corny!" exclaimed Christy, dropping upon the divan of the cabin and laughing heartily. The Bronx continued on her course indicated in the verbal order of the flag-officer. Christy felt that he had had a narrow escape from death, or at least a severe wound, at the hands of the desperado who had invaded his cabin. Flanger had escaped, after he had been put on board of the flag-ship, with the assistance of Galvinne; and he appeared not to have taken the trouble to render the same service to his confederate. The ships' companies of the two steamers were inclined to converse, giving and receiving the news; and doubtless the prisoner had taken advantage of the confusion to slip on board of the Bronx and secrete himself. "He has gone into the waist," replied the officer in waiting. "He will be back in a moment." The steamer had been so successful while in command of Captain Blowitt in breaking up the shipping of cotton in a port where a larger vessel could not operate, that Christy promptly concluded that she was to be used in a similar enterprise. The listener was amused rather than impressed by the conversation which was in progress so near him, and especially at the display of dignity and authority on the part of his cousin. "On deck, sir," reported Ralph, touching his cap to the commander, as Mr. Flint descended the steps to the ward room. "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." "Vincent, pass one half of the men on board of the cutter," said Mr. Pennant, when he had looked over the boat and the men on board of it. "Who is Captain Flanger?" asked Christy. "I see they are not," answered Christy blankly. "No, captain: I have not. That is not my affair, and I don't meddle with what does not concern me." "Can you make out where you are, Mike?" inquired Mr. Pennant, after about half a mile had been made. "I should think they would be safe with a guard," added Ralph. The watch below were all around him. Some of them were mending their clothes, others were reading newspapers they had brought with them, but the greater part of them were in squads engaged in talking about the events of the war. 104 The nearest group to Christy were conversing about the two lieutenants who claimed to be the real officer ordered to the command of the Bronx. It seemed rather strange to the listener that they should know anything about the events which had happened in the secrecy of the captain's cabin, and this circumstance led him to believe that at least one of the officers of the ship must be a confederate of Corny.

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ufalao "You have the names of the four men that I sent to you by the steward, have you not?" asked Christy. "But don't you believe it will be better to appeal to the flag-officer?" asked the second lieutenant. "How high is the grass in the streets of New York, Christy?" asked the colonel, with a twinkle of the eye, and a smile. When the cutter was about half a mile from the shore, making it about three-quarters of a mile from the fort, the peal of a cannon was heard, and a puff of smoke could be seen as it rose on the clear, starred sky, for the clouds had rolled away during the night. The shot dropped into the water a short distance abreast of the cutter. 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. "One thing more, Captain Passford," continued the flag-officer; "the ship's steward of the Mercidita has been very sick for three weeks, and has applied for a sick-leave. I shall be obliged to transfer Mr. Nawood of the Bronx to his place." "The other men in the sloop, with the exception of the skipper, fired upon my boat, and wounded an officer and a seaman." ufaball55 "Were you ever there, Mike?" "Then the scheme cannot be considered so stupid as you represent it." "If I remember rightly it is eighty-three sea miles from the entrance to Pensacola Bay. But 151 you do not run away with the idea that it is necessary for you, as the present commander of the Bronx, to visit this place?" asked the naval officer. "Well, Dave, how is your prisoner?" he asked, halting at the door. "But there is a third lieutenant who may deserve promotion," suggested Christy. 252 "Not at all, Captain Battleton," replied Christy, taking the hand of the commander of the store-ship. "The flag-officer sustained your decision; and with my commission in the pocket of my cousin, I do not see that you could have adjusted the question in any other manner. I assure you I have not a particle of ill-feeling towards you on account of what you did in the discharge of your duty." The doctor took from his pocket a small bottle of chloroform he had obtained from the big house, and dropped a quantity of it into the teaspoon. Mixing it with a little water in a glass, he gave it to the patient, who swallowed it quickly in spite of its burning taste. 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. สมคร 999bet "Then I was very fortunate in capturing her," added Christy with a smile. "I said one of the officers; and you know as well as I do which one." ufalao "On deck, sir," reported Ralph, touching his cap to the commander, as Mr. Flint descended the steps to the ward room. "I am sure I should, for I could not have helped myself. The captain had his orders, to be opened about this time; and I should have supposed you were going into the bay to shell out Fort Barrancas."

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ufalao 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. "I wish I were myself," replied the commander, in a tone so low that none but the visitors could hear him. 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. CHAPTER XXVI THE MEETING WITH THE BELLEVITE AT NIGHT "I have not; they are sealed orders, and I am not to open them till nine o'clock this evening," replied Corny. "I have plenty of it for this job. You said five dollars, I believe, sir," added the man, looking earnestly at his passenger. "He's just what he was before, when you was on board; he is the second lieutenant, and we have a new man for first, I believe they call him Gallivan," replied Dave, who was intelligent enough to comprehend what he saw on deck. 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. memberufa345com No doubt he was greatly surprised to hear his name, pronounced as though it came up through the deck, as he had abundant reason to be. 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. Though the young officer was prudent and discreet, he did not lose his self-possession, and he smiled as though he had been simply the host in the dining-room of the mansion at Bonnydale. There was a certain humor about the intruder which would have pleased him under other circumstances. ufalao "No, sar; can't spell noffin." "I can mention just the right person to take Mr. Nawood's place," said Christy eagerly. "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." Christy listened with interest to the conversation in the captain's cabin, though so far it had afforded him no information in regard to the present situation, and it was hardly likely to do so, for he had already been told by Mr. Flint what the next movement of the Bronx was to be. She had already been ordered to proceed to the eastward, and her sealed instructions would reveal the enterprise in which she was to engage. Mr. Flint went to his stateroom, and turned in; but Christy spread his chart of the Gulf of Mexico, and using his parallel ruler, he found that the present course of the Bronx would take her to the Pass à Loutre, the most northerly entrance of the Mississippi River. He went to the bridge at once, and directed the officer of the deck to make the course south-west by south. Everything was going well on deck, and Mr. Pennant had proved that he was a competent officer. "That's my name—Byron, sir, at your service," said the man, as he touched his cap to the lieutenant, and rushed forward in answer to the call of his superior, evidently glad to escape from the inquisition to which he had been subjected. "On deck!" he added, as he made his way to the forecastle. ufaclash 329 "You, Massa Gumboat!" cried the negro. "De sodgers put de bagonet frou your crop like a knife frou a pullet's froat!" "I reckon I do, sir; your cousin Corny is an impostor," replied the steward promptly. "I have not; they are sealed orders, and I am not to open them till nine o'clock this evening," replied Corny. "What is that for?" "One of these officers is evidently a Confederate, and the other a loyal citizen. The commission, as Mr. Salisbury suggests, outweighs all the rest of the evidence. One or the other of the two men is an impostor, and without the commission, I should decide that my patient was the false Lieutenant Passford," answered the surgeon. "But why were they brought off if the steamer is still in the bay?" "I'm the one for your money," returned the oarsman, as he headed his boat into the slip. After half an hour of questioning, Corny was sent to the ward room, and Christy was called to 78 the captain's cabin. About the same questions were put to him as to his cousin; but both of them were prompt in their answers. In the last two years, Corny had been more at Bonnydale than Christy, and he was quite as much at home there, so that there was no reason why he should not be able to describe the mansion and its surroundings as accurately as the genuine Lieutenant Passford. The Confederate officer was evidently of French descent; at any rate, he was very polite. He expressed his obligations to the supposed physician for the service he had rendered in very earnest terms. Mr. Pennant had been able to see that there were no guns in the casemates of the fort, and this was really all he wanted to know. The Bronx had been absent from the station hardly more than thirty hours; but she had accomplished the mission with which she had been charged in her secret orders. The Vernon was still at anchor near the flag-ship. Christy hastened on board of the latter to make his report, which he had written out during the passage; in fact, he had two reports, one of the capture of the Bronx, and the other of the Floridian.

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ufalao 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. "Dave," said Christy, after he had obtained a view of the back of the steward's head which satisfied him that he was the right man. The officer led the way up the shore, and the rows of sugar-cane extended almost to the water. They could make out the little village of negro cabins which lay between them and the planter's house, and they directed their steps towards it. It was but a short walk, and they soon reached the lane that extended between the rows of huts. "If I were still at Brooklyn doubtless I could find the boatman who put me on board of the Vernon not more than an hour ago," continued Christy, willing to convince his auditor that he was entirely in earnest in his statement. "That makes it all the more remarkable, for I was not aware that there was any officer in the navy who resembled me so closely," added Christy more bewildered than before, and beginning to scent a plot of some kind against him or his country. "Let me see your face before you told me anything," persisted Dave, as he pulled out one end of the trunk, and dropped upon his knees where he could see under the berth. "Mark under water three!" shouted the leadsman, with an earnestness inspired by the occasion. 200 The men gave three hearty cheers as they were dismissed, proving to the commander that Pennant was a popular man among them, as Camden had also been proved to be when his appointment had been announced to the starboard watch. As in politics, legislation, war, and business, the masses of the people soon ascertain who are their natural leaders, the crew of the Bronx, or that portion who had come from New York in the Vernon, had been prompt in discovering the abilities of the two men now promoted. ufaclash "South-west," said Mr. Flint, after the port watch had been dismissed, leaving the starboard with Mr. Camden as watch officer on deck. "I thought it probable that we should be sent to Appalachicola after the information the Russian gave us." "De steamer! wot's de steamer? Is't a Yankee gumboat?" demanded Uncle Job, opening his eyes with wonder and astonishment. Another shot followed the first, and dropped into the water; and if it had gone fifty feet farther, it would have struck the boat. "No, you didn't, Dave; that was Corny," replied Christy. "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." "Thank you, Dave." "He said he believed you were bony fido commander of the Bronx, and he is ready to obey your orders. Mr. Flint had a talk with him while the first lieutenant was below; he talked to Boxie, and three more of the men, and he did it mighty sly, too, for the third lieutenant was on the deck all the time. There's eight bells, Massa Christy, and the second lieutenant will have the deck." ยฟา bet "Does your patient below seem to be improving, doctor?" he asked. "Were you ever there, Mike?" "I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with my third lieutenant's mode of operations," replied Christy, laughing, though his mirth was of the graveyard order. "But Mr. Pennant is a new officer, and that was the first active duty he had been called upon to perform. Very likely he will suit you better next time." There was a silence for a few moments. "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. "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." 321 "That's just what it is." "What is the Bellevite doing off here, so far from her station, Paul?" asked Christy. There was nothing necessarily secret in the proceedings in the cabin, and the stewards might have heard what was said in the ward room after the decision had been rendered, reporting it to members of the crew, who had circulated it as the latest news. At any rate, the group near Christy were talking about the two officers who claimed to be Lieutenant Passford. They spoke in low tones, and Christy could hardly hear what they said. His berth was ready for him, and he concluded to lie down in it. He took no notice of the speakers, and soon pretended to be asleep. ufalao 237 The young commander did not feel entirely sure that his ruling was correct, for a naval officer must be learned in a great variety of subjects which he had not had time to study; but he was willing to take the responsibility in the present instance. "Your father is good authority," added the surgeon. "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."

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autobet autobet 99 "And by taking the bull by the horns, instead of waiting till the captain of the Sphinx concluded to take his chances of being captured in getting to sea, we have made the Bronx available for duty at once in another quarter, where she can do better work than in chewing her cable off the bar of Barataria," said the wounded commander, thus satisfying his conscience that he had done his duty.

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777pg Under the vigorous pulling of eight stalwart men, the cutter leaped forward at a speed that would have won an ordinary boat race, and in ten minutes more, the sloop could be distinctly made out, the cutter running across her bow. She was close-hauled, with the wind from the south-west, and very little of it. On board of her were at least ten men, as the quartermaster counted them, and there might have been more in her cuddy under the hail-deck forward. "I am confident there will be a vacancy in the Bellevite, for Mr. Ballard will not come back: Dr. Linscott said as much as that to me," added the engineer. "You can have his place if you want it." 76 "Horatio Passford," replied Christy with a smile. "Midnight is rather an odd time for the opening of the envelope containing the orders," said Mr. Flint, as he seated himself at the table. "But I suppose it was chosen for a purpose." At the end of a couple of hours, the flames arose from the two bay steamers which had been alongside the Sphinx, for the second lieutenant 357 had been ordered to burn them. The smoke was pouring out of the two smoke-stacks of the steamer. Several boats filled with men pulled to the shore, landing the crews of the three vessels. In less than another hour the Sphinx was under way, and soon came alongside the Bronx.

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ufacash "That was a sensible thing to do. You are aware that we are short of officers, I suppose," said the commander. "Twenty-eight years." "The other men in the sloop, with the exception of the skipper, fired upon my boat, and wounded an officer and a seaman." "Jes' off de ole Fort Lafitte, whar de water's deep." CHAPTER XI LAYING OUT A PLAN OF OPERATIONS "What time shall you come about?" asked Corny, apparently from curiosity rather than any especial interest in the navigation of the steamer.

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betflix auto 98 "Dis nigger kin told you wot dar is over dar." 319 "'Pears like I do; I reckon you's Massa Cap'n Flanger." "Dave is a sensible man, and I trust I shall find you his equal in that respect, Captain Passford," replied the intruder, still seated in his chair at the supper-table. "I know what all the crew know, for word has been passed around that we are bound to Barataria Bay," replied the Russian with a cheerful smile.

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เวปยฟา

เวปยฟา When the cutter was about half a mile from the shore, making it about three-quarters of a mile from the fort, the peal of a cannon was heard, and a puff of smoke could be seen as it rose on the clear, starred sky, for the clouds had rolled away during the night. The shot dropped into the water a short distance abreast of the cutter. "Where does she lie now?" "You did not come on board of the Vernon 51 last evening!" exclaimed Captain Battleton, gazing very earnestly into the face of his passenger. 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. "Is there any officer on board with whom you have served?"

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