Doubloons—and the Girl
by John Maxwell Forbes
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Drew experienced a feeling of dismay. He had been so engrossed with the preliminary work that he had hardly given a thought to the practical problem involved. He had taken it for granted that it would be easy enough to get a ship to go after the pirate's hoard.

Now with Tyke's bald statement confronting him, a host of perplexities sprang up to torment him. Where were they to get the right kind of ship? How could they escape telling the captain of that ship just where they were going and what they were going for?

But if the matter puzzled Tyke and his chief clerk, it bothered Captain Hamilton not at all. He lighted a fresh cigar, crossed his legs and smiled broadly.

"That's an easy one," he remarked. "Give me something hard."

Tyke looked at him in some surprise and Drew's face reflected his bewilderment.

"Seems to me it's hard enough," grumbled Tyke.

"What do you mean?" asked Drew quickly.

"I mean," said the captain complacently, "that we'll make this voyage in my schooner."

The two others jumped to their feet.

"Splendid!" cried Drew.

"Glory be!" ejaculated Tyke.

"The plan seems to suit you," smiled the captain.

"Suit us!" shouted Tyke. "Why, it's jest made to order. But how're you going to git the owner's permission? How do you know he'll be willing to have the ship chartered for such a cruise? An' how are we going to keep the secret from him?"

"As I happen to be the chief owner, as well as the captain, I guess we won't have any trouble on that score."

"Owner!" exclaimed Tyke, in astonishment. "I hadn't any idee that you had any int'rest in her outside of your berth as captain. You've been pretty forehanded to have got so far ahead as to own a craft like that."

"I haven't done so badly in the last few years," said the captain modestly; "and as fast as I saved money I kept buying more stock in the old girl. Mr. Parmalee encouraged that idea in his captains. He knew human nature, and knew that when a man's own money was invested in the deck under him he was going to be mighty careful of the ship's safety and would have a personal interest in seeing that she was a money maker. The old man's dead now, but his son has inherited a third interest in the Bertha Hamilton, while I hold the other two-thirds. I renamed her when I got control of the bonny craft. I hope some day to buy out Parmalee's share and become the sole owner."

"You're a lucky man," congratulated Tyke warmly. "It must be great when you tread the plank to feel that you're not only boss for the time being, but that you actually own her. What is she like? How big is she? And how much of a crew do you ship?"

"She's three stick, schooner rigged," replied the captain. "A hundred and fifty feet over all and carries a crew of about thirty. Oh! she's a sailing craft, Tyke. She's not afoul with steam winches and the like. And she's a beauty," he added, his eyes kindling with pride. "There are mighty few ships on this coast that she can't show a pair of heels to, and she's a sweet sailer in any weather. She stands right up into the wind's eye as steady as a church and when it comes to reaching or running free, I'd back her against anything that carries sails."

"But how about your other engagements?" suggested Grimshaw. "Is she chartered for a voyage anywhere soon?"

"That's another rare bit of luck," returned the captain. "I had an engagement to-day with Hollings & Company, who were thinking of having me take a cargo for Galveston. If I hadn't run plump into this treasure business as I did, there isn't any doubt but I would have closed with them to-day. But now it's all off. I'll see them this afternoon and tell them they'll have to get somebody else."

Tyke sat down heavily in his chair and wagged his grizzled head solemnly.

"It's beyond me," he said. "It must be meant. Here we might be weeks or months before we could git a ship that suited us, if we got it at all; but along comes Cap'n Rufe here with the very thing we want. If I was superstitious,"—before his stony stare they sat unwinking—"I'd think for sure there was something in this more'n natural. It can't be, after all this, that we're going on a wild goose chase."

"Well," replied Captain Hamilton cautiously, "it may be that after all. Things certainly have worked to a charm so far, but that doesn't prove anything. 'There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip,' and this may be one of them. When all is said and done, it's a gamble. For all we know, the doubloons may have been taken away a hundred years ago, and all we'll find after we get there may be an empty hole in the ground. But 'nothing venture, nothing have'; and with all the evidence we have, I'm willing to take a chance."

"So am I!" cried Tyke heartily. "Of course, we stand to lose a tidy little sum if it should turn out to be a fluke. There's the outfitting to be done, the crew's wages to be paid, an' a lot of other expenses that'll mount up into money. But it's worth a chance, and if we lose I'm willing to stand the gaff without whining."

It goes without saying that Drew heartily echoed these sentiments in his mind, but he felt some delicacy about expressing them. After all, it was Captain Hamilton and his employer who would have to provide the funds for the expedition and stand the loss if there were any. He himself would be called on to risk nothing.

And with this thought came another with the suddenness of a stab. On what was he building his hopes for a share in the profits of the adventure? After all, he was only Tyke's employee. The very time he was spending in unraveling this mystery belonged to Tyke and was paid for by him. He felt again the weight of his chains, and the air castle he had built for Ruth's occupancy suddenly took on the iridescent colors of a bubble.

"Well, now that we've got down to brass tacks as you say, Tyke, let's get along to the next point," said the captain briskly. "I don't suppose you could come along with me?"

"You don't!" snorted Tyke. "Well then, you're due for another guess. You bet your binoculars I'm coming along. I'd like to see anything that would stop me!"

Drew's heart sank. If Tyke were going, that would mean that he would have to stay behind to look after the interests of the chandlery shop.

"But your business?" objected the captain.

"Business be hanged!" roared Tyke. "It can go to Davy Jones, for all I care. Anyway, I can leave it in good hands. But I'm going to have one more sight of blue water before I turn up my toes for good, no matter what happens. An' I'm going to take Allen along with me!"

Drew was struck dumb for the moment and could only stare at the excited old man.

"Yes!" repeated Tyke, "he's going to have his fling along with the rest of us. We ought to be back in a couple of months, if we have any kind of luck. Winters is a bright boy, and he can keep things going for a while."

"That'll be fine," said the captain with enthusiasm. "I'd like nothing better than to have the two of you for messmates."

"But say!" broke in Tyke, as a thought suddenly occurred to him, "what about that feller—Parmalee—who has a third int'rest in your craft? Of course, he'll want to know, an' he'll have a right to know, why you don't take this Galveston cargo an' why you're going on this cruise of ours. How are you going to git around that?"

"That is something of a problem," the captain replied slowly, "and especially as he thought of going with me to Galveston for the sake of his health. He's lame and delicate, and the doctor told him that a sea voyage was just what he needed to build him up.

"Of course," he went on, "I'm the principal owner of the ship, and what I say, goes. I could do this against his will, if I wished, although of course in that case I'd be bound to see that he got as much profit as he would have done if I'd taken the Galveston job."

"What kind of feller is this Parmalee?" asked Grimshaw cautiously.

"As fine a lad as you'd care to meet," answered the captain heartily. "Friendly and good-hearted and white all through. He's sickly in body, but his head's all right. And just because he is that kind, I don't want to do anything that would hurt or offend him.

"But that's a matter that can wait," he continued. "In any event it won't affect our plans. Either I'll fix the matter up with him satisfactorily in a money way, or, if you think best, we'll let him into the secret and take him along."

"Would that be safe?" inquired Tyke dubiously.

"Absolutely," affirmed the captain. "He's a man of honor, and if he promised to keep our secret, wild horses couldn't drag it from him. I'd trust him as I would myself. Maybe he'd like to come along with us. He's too rich to care anything about the doubloons, but he's romantic, and he might like the fun of hunting for it."

"Well," said Tyke, "we'll have to leave that matter to you to settle as you think best. Any one you vouch for will be good enough for me."

"And now," said Captain Hamilton, "there's one thing more that we haven't touched on yet. I suppose we understand, Tyke, that you and I put up the expenses of this expedition, fifty-fifty?"

"Sure thing," agreed Tyke.

"And if nothing comes of it, we simply charge it up to profit and loss——'

"An' let it go at that," finished Tyke. "We'll have had a run for our money, anyhow."

"On the other hand," the captain continued, "if we find the treasure, and it proves to be of any size, we'll first deduct the cost of the trip, lay aside enough for Parmalee to make things right with him—he may not want it, but we'll make him take it—and then divide what's left into three equal shares?"

"Three!" Drew uttered the ejaculation, and the blood drummed in his temples.

"That's right," assented Tyke placidly. "One for you, one for me, and the third for Allen."



Drew experienced a thrill of delight. But he felt that he ought to protest.

"I'm not putting up anything toward the expense," he said. "If things go wrong, you'll lose heavily. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. It doesn't seem the square thing."

"Let us do the worrying about that," smiled the captain. "You've done your fair share already toward this adventure. We'll all share and share alike."

"You bet we will," chimed in Tyke. "There wouldn't be any cruise at all if it hadn't been for you. Who suggested searching the box? Who translated the paper and the map? You've been the head and front of the whole thing from the beginning."

"But——" began Drew.

"'But,' nothing," interrupted Tyke. "Not another word. Remember I'm your boss."

And Drew, glad enough for once in his life to be bossed, became silent. But the walls of his air castle began to grow more solid.

"How long will it be before you can have the schooner ready to sail?" Tyke inquired, turning to the captain.

"Oh, in a week or ten days if we are pressed," was the response. "It won't take us more than that to get our supplies aboard and ship our crew."

"The crew is an important matter," reflected Tyke. "It won't do to pick up any riffraff that may come to hand. We want to git men that we can trust. Sailors have a way of smelling out the meaning of any cruise that is out of the usual order of things, an' if there's any trouble-makers in the crew who git a hint that we're out for treasure, they'll cause mischief."

"They won't get any hint, unless some of us talk in our sleep," replied the captain. "I know where I can lay hands on quite a few of my old crew, but I'll be so busy with other things that I'll have to leave the picking of most of the men to Ditty."

"Ditty?" said Grimshaw inquiringly.

"He's my mate," explained the captain. "Cal Ditty. As smart a sailor as one could ask for. But that about lets him out."

"Why! don't you like him?" asked Tyke quickly.

"No, I can't say I do," replied the captain slowly. "I've never warmed toward the man. There's something about him that repels me."

"Why don't you git rid of him then?"

"Well, you see it's like this," explained Captain Hamilton. "He saved Mr. Parmalee's life one time when the old man fell overboard, and naturally Parmalee felt very grateful to him. He promised him that he should always have a berth on one of his ships as long as he lived. Of course, since the old man is dead, we could do as we liked about firing Ditty, but young Parmalee feels that it's up to him to respect his father's wishes. So rather than have any trouble about it, I've kept Ditty on. But he's a lush when he's ashore, and I don't fully trust him. That may be unjust too, for he's always done his work well and I've had no reason to complain."

"Well, anyway," warned Tyke, "I'd keep my weather eye peeled if I was you. When you feel that way about a man, there's usually something to justify it sooner or later."

"Well, now, suppose I'm ready in a fortnight, how about you?" asked Captain Hamilton.

"Oh, we'll be ready by that time," replied Tyke confidently. "Of course we've got this moving to do, but we're pretty well packed up now, an' before a week is over we'll have everything shipshape in our new quarters."

"We'll race each other to see who'll be ready first," laughed Captain Hamilton. "In the meantime, if you're not too rushed, come over and take a squint at the Bertha Hamilton. And if you don't see the niftiest little craft that ever gladdened the eyes of a sailorman, you can call me a swab."

"Where is she lying?" asked Drew.

"Foot of Franklin Street, North River. You'll find me there most all the time, but if you don't just go aboard and look her over anyway. You'll be on her for some weeks, and you might as well get acquainted."

Tyke and Drew promised that they would, and, with a cordial handshake, Captain Hamilton left the office.

Grimshaw carefully stowed the map and paper away in his safe, and then turned to Drew.

"Named his craft after the daughter he spoke of, I reckon—Bertha Hamilton. Well, perhaps it'll bring us luck. Cap'n Rufe is some seaman, an' no mistake." Then he added, with a quizzical smile: "Quite a lot's happened since this time yesterday."

"I should say there had!" responded Drew. "My head is swimming with it. It'll take some time for me to settle down and get my bearings. I'm tempted to pinch myself to see if I'm not dreaming. If I am, I don't want to wake up. You're certainly good to me, Mr. Grimshaw," he added warmly.

Tyke waved aside Drew's thanks by a motion of his hand.

"Everything does seem topsy-turvy," he said. "I thought that the old hulk was laid up for good. But now it seems she's clearing for one more cruise. An' it's all come about so queer like. Now if I——"

Tyke checked himself and rose to his feet.

"Well, now we've got one more reason for hustling," he declared. "You'll have your hands full from this time on, my boy, an' so will I. You want to begin to break Winters in right away, so that he'll be able to take charge of things while we're gone."

"How shall I explain it?" asked Drew. "What shall I give as a reason for the trip?"

Tyke reflected for a moment.

"Jest say that we're going for a cruise in Southern waters with an old sea cap'n friend of mine. Tell him that you've been sticking pretty close to your desk, an' that I thought it would be a good thing for you to go along. Don't make any mystery of it. Tell him that we'll be back in a couple of months, an' that it's up to him to make good while we're gone.

"One thing more," he added, as Drew turned to go. "Tell him that I'm going to raise his salary, an' he'll feel so good about that that he won't waste much time thinking about us and our plans."

The recipe worked as Tyke had predicted, and after the first expressions of surprise, Winters speedily became engrossed in his added responsibilities and the increase in his pay, leaving Drew untroubled by prying questions.

For the next three days all worked like beavers, and by nightfall of the third day the moving had been effected and the stock arranged in their new quarters.

"Guess we're going to be ready for that cruise before Cap'n Rufe is," grinned Tyke, as he surveyed the finished work.

But he exulted too soon. That very evening, Drew received a telephone message from St. Luke's hospital saying that Mr. T. Grimshaw had been brought in there with an injured leg as the result of a street accident. He had requested that Drew be summoned at once.

Shocked and grieved, the young man hurried to the hospital. He was ushered at once into the private room in which Tyke was lying.

The leg had been bandaged, and Tyke had recovered somewhat from the first shock of the accident. He was suffering no special pain at the moment, and was eagerly watching the door through which Drew would come.

The latter's heart ached as he saw how wan and gray the old man's face looked. But his indomitable spirit still shone in his sunken eyes, and he tried to summon a cheery smile as Drew came near the bed.

"Well, Allen, my boy," he remarked, "I guess I crowed too soon this afternoon. I didn't think then that the old hulk would be laid up so soon for repairs."

Drew expressed his sorrow, as he gripped Tyke's hand affectionately.

"How did it happen?" he asked.

"Cruising across the street in front of an auto," replied Tyke. "Thought I had cleared it, but guess I hadn't. I saw that one-eyed feller standing there—

"What one-eyed fellow?" Drew asked, interrupting.

"Why, I don't know who he was. Looked like a sea-faring man," returned Tyke. "Oh! That does hurt! Doctor said it would if I moved it."

"Don't move your leg, then," advised Drew. "What about the one-eyed man?"

"Why," repeated Tyke, reflectively, "I saw him on the curb jest as I jumped to git out of the way of that auto. I ain't as spry as I used to be I admit; but seems to me I would have made it all right if it hadn't been for that feller."

"What did he do to you?" asked the anxious Drew. Of course, there was more than one sailor in the world with only one eye; yet the young man wondered.

"I saw his hand stretched out, an' I thought he was going to grab me. But next I knew I was pushed right back an' the car knocked me flat. B'fore I lost my senses, it seemed to me that that one-eyed swab was down on his knees going through my pockets."

"Robbing you?" gasped Drew.

"Well—mebbe I dreamed it. I've been puzzling over it ever since I've been lying here. I didn't lose my watch, nor yet my wallet, that's sure," and Tyke grinned. "But it certainly was a queer experience. An' I'd like to know who that one-eyed feller is."

"How badly is your leg hurt?" asked Drew.

"Might have been worse," answered Tyke. "Doctor says my knee's wrenched an' the ligaments torn, but there's nothing that can't be mended. I'll be off my pins for the next month or two, they say. So I guess old Tyke won't be Johnny-on-the-spot when you dig up them doubloons."

"Don't worry about that," protested Drew. "The only important thing now is that you should get well. The treasure can wait. We'll postpone the trip until you get ready to go."

"No you won't!" declared Tyke energetically. "You'll do nothing of the kind! You'll go right ahead and look for it, an' I'll lie here an' root for you."

He was getting excited, and at this juncture the nurse interposed and Drew had to go, after promising to come again the first thing in the morning.

He sent a message on leaving the hospital to Captain Hamilton, and the next morning they went in company to visit the patient.

They were delighted to learn that he was doing well. There were no complications, and it was only a matter of time before the injured leg would be as well as ever.

The captain had been grieved to hear of his old friend's mishap. He expressed his entire willingness to postpone the trip till some time in the future when Tyke could go along. But the latter had been thinking the matter over and was even more determined than he had been the night before that his injury should not prevent the expedition going forward as planned.

"One man more or less don't make any difference," he declared. "Of course, I'd set my heart on going with you, an' I ain't denying it's a sore disappointment to have to lie here like some old derelict. But it would worry me a good deal more to know that I was knocking the whole plan to flinders. Our agreement still stands, except that I'll have to be a silent partner instead of an active one. Allen can represent me, as well as himself, when you git to the island. But I can do my part in outfitting the expedition as well as though I was on my feet. My leg is out of commission, but my arm isn't, an' I can still sign checks," and he chuckled. "You fellers go right ahead now and git busy."

There was no swerving him from his determination, and, although reluctantly, they were forced to acquiesce. The captain went ahead with his preparations, and Drew redoubled his activities, as now he had to do two men's work. But his superb vitality laughed at work and he became so engrossed in it that he forgot everything else.

Except Ruth Adams!

Consciously or sub-consciously, her gracious memory was with him always.

In the first rush of exultation that he felt when he found himself admitted as an equal partner in the possible gains of the expedition, he had overlooked the fact that it meant an absence, more or less prolonged, from the city where he supposed Ruth Adams to be. How many things might happen in the interval! Suppose in his absence some fortunate man should woo and win her? A girl so attractive could not fail to have suitors. He felt that the golden fruit he might get on the expedition would turn to ashes if he could not lay it at her feet.

So, tossed about by a sea of alternate hopes and fears, the days went by until but forty-eight hours remained before the time agreed upon for sailing.

On Tuesday, Allen had occasion to confer with Captain Hamilton. Up to now, their meetings, when it had been necessary to see each other on business connected with the trip, had been in the South Street office. And, what with the multiplied demands on his time and his daily calls on Tyke at the hospital, Drew had not yet visited the Bertha Hamilton. He had planned to do so more than once, but had found it out of the question. He told himself that he would have ample time to get acquainted with the schooner from stem to stern when they had left New York behind them and were heading for the island in the Caribbean.

But to-day the conference was to be aboard the Bertha Hamilton. Drew was forced to confess, on reaching the pier at which the schooner was moored and on catching his first glimpse of her, that the captain was justified in his enthusiasm. She was indeed a beauty. With her long, graceful, gently curving lines, she seemed more like a yacht than a merchant vessel. She was schooner rigged, and, although of course the sails were furled, the height of her masts indicated great sail-carrying capacity. Everything about her suggested grace and speed, and Drew did not doubt that she could show her heels to almost any sailing craft in the port.

As his appreciative eyes swept the vessel throughout its entire length from stern rail to bowsprit, his admiration grew. He was glad that such a craft was to carry the hopes and fortunes of the treasure hunters. She seemed to promise success in advance.

He went over the plank and turned to go aft in search of the captain. Then he stopped suddenly. His heart seemed to cease beating for an instant. He found himself looking into the hazel eyes of the girl of whom he had been dreaming day and night since he had first seen her down on the East River docks!



For a moment Drew almost doubted his own eyesight. But there was no mistake. There could be only one girl like her in the world, he told himself. She was wearing a simple white dress and her head was bare. The bright sunshine rioted in her golden hair, and her eyes were luminous and soft. A wave of color mounted to her forehead as she came face to face with Allen Drew.

She had turned the corner of the deck house, and they had almost collided. She stepped back, startled, and Drew collected his scattered wits sufficiently to lift his hat and apologize.

"I—I beg your pardon," he stammered. "I ought to have been more careful."

"Oh, it was my fault entirely," she answered graciously. "I shouldn't have turned the corner so sharply."

What next he might have said Drew never knew, for just then there came a heavy step and the sound of a jovial voice behind him, and Captain Hamilton's hand was grasping his.

"So you did manage to come over and get a look at the beauty, did you? What do you think of her?"

"The most beautiful thing I've ever seen!" answered Drew fervently.

He might have had a different beauty in mind from that which the captain had, and perhaps this suspicion occurred to the girl, for the flush in her cheek became slightly more pronounced. But the unsuspecting captain was hugely gratified at the tribute, though somewhat surprise at its ardor.

A glance from the girl reminded the captain of a duty he had overlooked.

"I was forgetting that you two hadn't met," he said. "Drew, this is my daughter, Miss Hamilton. Ruth, this is Mr. Allen Drew, the young man I've been telling you so much about lately."

They acknowledged the introduction and for one fleeting, delicious moment her soft hand rested in his.

So she was Captain Hamilton's daughter! Her name was not Adams! What a blind trail he had been following!

But Drew's thoughts were interrupted by the girl's voice.

"We have met before, Daddy," Ruth said with a smile. "Don't you remember my telling you about the young man who came to my aid that day when I went on an errand for you to the Normandy? You remember—the day I dropped the letters over the side? That was Mr. Drew."

"You don't say!" exclaimed the captain. "And here we've been seeing each other every day or so and I've never thanked him. Drew, consider yourself thanked by a grateful father."

They all laughed, and then the captain put his hand on the young man's shoulder.

"Come into the cabin and let's get that business settled. You'll excuse us, won't you, Ruth?" he added, turning to his daughter. "We've got a hundred things to do yet, and we can't afford to lose a minute."

Ruth smilingly assented, and Drew was dragged off, raging internally, his only comfort being the glance she gave him beneath her lowered eyelids.

He tried to listen intelligently to the captain's talk and give coherent answers to his questions. But bind himself down as he would, his mind and heart were in the wildest commotion.

So she was Captain Hamilton's daughter! Her name was not Adams! The thought kept repeating itself.

But he had found her now, he wildly exulted. The search that might have taken years—that even then might not have found her—had come to an end. He had been formally introduced to her. He need no longer worship from afar. Her father was his friend. He could see her, talk to her, listen to her, woo her, and at last win her. Poor fellow! he was so hard hit he scarcely knew how to conduct himself.

"As I was saying," he heard the captain remarking in a voice that seemed to be coming from a great distance, "young Parmalee has finally made up his mind to come with us. His doctor insists that the one thing he needs just now is a sea voyage. Not the kind that he might get on an ocean steamer, with its formality and heavy meals and chattering crowds, but the kind you can get nowhere but on a sailing craft."

"I suppose you had to tell him just what we were going down there to look for?" Drew forced himself to say.

"Yes, I did, after putting him on his word of honor never to breathe a word about the object of the cruise to anybody. I'd as lief have his word as any one's else bond."

"What did he think about our chances in such an enterprise?"

"Now, there's a thing that rather surprised me," replied the captain. "To tell the truth, I felt a little sheepish about mentioning the doubloons to him, for I rather expected him to laugh. But he took it in dead earnest, and honestly thinks we have a chance."

"Is he perfectly willing, as far as his interest in the schooner goes, that she shall be used for this purpose?" Drew queried.

"Perfectly. In fact, he was enthusiastic about it. Wouldn't even hear of any compensation for the use of the vessel. Said he expected to get his money's worth in the fun he'd have."

"He seems to have a sportsmanlike spirit, all right," commented Drew, with a smile.

"He surely has," confirmed the captain. "I think you'll like him when you come to know him."

"How old is he?"

"About your own age I should judge. You're twenty-two, I think I've heard you say? Parmalee is perhaps twenty-three or twenty-four, but not more than that."

"Have you got your full crew shipped yet?" Drew inquired, after a pause.

"Well, some of them are aboard," was the answer. "We've got two dozen in round numbers, but we still need five or six more men before we get our full quota. Ditty's ashore looking them up now."

"Do you think they're going to suit you?"

"Oh, I've seen better crews and I've seen worse," answered the captain. "There are some of them whose faces I don't just like, but that's true in every ship's company. I guess they'll average up all right.

"There's one thing I want to show you," went on the captain, opening the door of a closet built into the cabin.

Drew looked, and was surprised to see as many as a dozen rifles, as well as several revolvers and a sheaf of machetes.

"Why, it looks like a small arsenal!" he exclaimed, in surprise. "What on earth will we want all these for? One might think that we expected to have a scrap ourselves with pirates on the Spanish Main."

"Not that exactly," said the captain laconically, "but in an enterprise like ours it's wise to take precautions. 'Better to be safe than be sorry.' If it's known that we're after treasure, there may be sundry persons who will take an unwholesome interest in our affairs."

"Do you mean members of the crew?"

"Not necessarily; though they may. It's not likely, for it's probably nothing but a turtle cay, but there may be people living on the island where we're going who would seriously dispute our right to take anything away and might try to stop us. Few of those small islands are inhabited; still, I'll feel a good deal more comfortable to know that I've got these weapons stowed away where I can get them at a moment's notice. By the way, do you know how to shoot?"

"Yes," answered Drew. "I belong to a rifle club, and I'm a fairly good shot with either a pistol or a gun."

"A useful accomplishment," commented the captain. "You never know when it may come in handy."

Drew was wild to go on deck again to talk with Ruth. He had scarcely exchanged three sentences with her, and there were a thousand things he wanted to say. The time was getting so terribly short! In two days more he would be sailing away with her father, leaving her behind, and months might elapse before he could see her again.

It was his eager desire just now to get her interested in him to some extent, so that she would think of him sometimes while he was away; to give her some hint of the tumult in his heart; to let her guess something of the wealth of homage and adoration she had inspired. Surely, if he could talk with her, she could not fail to see something of what he felt. And seeing, she might perhaps respond.

"I suppose you'll find it hard to leave your daughter behind?" he ventured to say.

The captain looked at him in surprise.

"Bless your heart, I'm not going to leave her behind!" he exclaimed. "She's going with us after those doubloons," and he laughed.



Drew was transported with delight, but he threw a certain carelessness into his tone as he observed:

"I remember. Does she know what we're going for?"

"Oh yes," replied her father. "She and I are great chums, and I don't keep anything from her. She wanted to go with me anyway when I was thinking of taking on a cargo for Galveston, and now that she knows treasure is in the wind, she's more eager than ever. You know how romantic girls are, and she's looking forward with immense pleasure to this unusual venture of ours."

Drew would have liked to ask whether the captain's wife were going too, but he felt that he might be treading on delicate ground, so he used a round-about method.

"I don't suppose there'll be any other women in the company?" he said lightly.

"No," replied the captain, a little soberly. "When my wife was alive she used to go with me occasionally on my voyages. The schooner's named for her. But she's been dead for three years now, and as Ruth is the only child I have, she and I will be thrown together more closely than ever. She's finished school.

"But I'm keeping you," he added, rising from the table at which they had been sitting; "and I suppose you've got more work on your hands than you know how to attend to."

Drew rose with alacrity.

"I am pretty busy, for a fact," he assented. "That accident to Mr. Grimshaw has just about doubled my work. But it isn't getting the upper hand of me, and by the time we are ready to sail I'll have tied all the lose ends."

"That's good. By the way, speaking of Tyke, how did you find him this morning? I suppose you stopped in at the hospital on your way downtown as usual?"

"Yes. He's getting along in prime shape, but he's as sore as the mischief because he can't go along."

"It's too bad," remarked the captain sympathetically. "I'd have liked to have him along, not only for his company, but for his shrewdness as well. He's got a level head on those shoulders of his, and his advice at times might come in mighty handy.

"I won't go on deck with you, if you'll excuse me," continued the captain, reaching out his hand for a farewell shake, "because I've some work to do in connection with my clearance papers. Good-bye."

The young man was perfectly willing to be deprived of the captain's further company, much as he liked him. The captain's daughter would make a very good substitute. He hoped ardently that she, unlike her father, would have no business to keep her below.

His hopes were realized, for he caught sight of her leaning on the rail and gazing out upon the river with as much absorption as though she had never seen it before.

Possibly it did interest her. Possibly, too, she had forgotten all about the handsome young man who was in conference with her father in the cabin. Possibly she had not been stirred by the adoration in his eyes or the agitation in his voice. So many things are possible!

Anyway, despite a heightened color in her cheeks and a starry brightness in her eyes, her start of surprise, as she looked up and saw Drew standing beside her, was done very well indeed.

"So you conspirators have got through plotting already," she said lightly.

"Yes," Drew laughed; "we've been going over every link of the chain and have decided that it is good and strong. Not that my judgment was worth very much, I fear, this morning."

"Why not?" she asked demurely.

"Because I couldn't put my mind on it," he answered. "My wits were wool gathering. I scarcely heard what your father said. I'm glad he isn't a mind reader."

"So few people are."

"I wish you were," he said earnestly.

She stiffened a little, and from that he took warning. He must check the impetuous words that strove for utterance. He had but barely met her. How was she to know the feelings that had possessed him since their casual encounter on the pier? He must not frighten her by trying to sweep her off her feet. This citadel was to be captured, if at all, by siege rather than by storm. He would risk disaster by being premature.

"Do you know," he said in a lighter tone, "that it was the surprise of my life when I found that your name was Hamilton?"

"Why should it have been a surprise?" she asked.

"Because I had been thinking all along that your name was Adams."

"What made you think that?" she inquired in genuine surprise.

"W—why," he stammered, "I saw that name on one of the letters when I picked up the packet from the grating of the boat."

She flushed.

"You mustn't think," he said earnestly, "that I tried to pry. If I'd done that, I'd have found out the address at the same time. The name just looked up at me, and I couldn't help seeing it."

His tone carried conviction, and she unbent.

"I can see how you made the mistake," she smiled. "The letter on top of the packet was addressed to a very dear friend whose first name happens to be the same as mine. She and I were great chums in boarding school. The letter had been sent to her by a girl we both knew and who had been traveling abroad, and as Ruth knew I would be interested in it, she sent it on for me to read."

"That explains the foreign stamp," he commented.

"You noticed that too, did you?" she asked, flashing a mischievous glance at him. "Really, you took in a lot at a single look. You ought to be a detective."

"I wish I were," said Drew, as he thought ruefully of the unavailing plans he had made to find her. "I'm afraid I'm a pretty bungling amateur."

"Well, you were only half wrong, anyway," she answered. "The first part of the name was right."

"Yes," he admitted. "But that didn't help me much. The last one didn't either for that matter. There are so many Adamses in the city."

"How do you know?" she challenged.

He grew red. "I—I looked in the directory," he confessed.

She thought it high time to change the subject.

"I suppose it will be quite a wrench to say good-bye to your people here," she remarked.

"I haven't any," replied Drew. "My father and my mother died when I was small. The only brother I have is out West, and I haven't seen him for years. I've been boarding since I came to the city, five years ago."

"Oh, I'm sorry," she said with ready sympathy. "I know something of how you feel, because I lost my own mother three years ago. I've been in boarding school most of the time since then. So I know what it is to be without a real home. Sometimes our only home was on shipboard."

"But it's always possible to make a real home," said Drew daringly. Then he checked himself and bit his lip. That troublesome tongue of his! When would he learn to control it?

She pretended not to have heard him.

"I have my father left," she went on; "and he's the best father in the world."

"And the luckiest," put in Drew.

"He didn't want to take me on this trip at first," she continued, "but the most of my relatives and friends are in California, and I knew I'd be horribly lonely in New York. So I begged and teased him to let me go along, and at last he gave in."

"Of course he would," Drew said with conviction. "How could he help it?"

He knew that if she should ask him, Allen Drew, for the moon he would promise it to her without the slightest hesitation. He wished he dared tell her so.

"Have you ever been to sea?" she asked.

"No," replied Allen. "But I've always wanted to go."

And he told her of the longing that had sprung up in him when Captain Peters had spoken so indifferently about the wonder-lands of mystery and romance to which his bark was sailing.

While he talked, she was studying him closely, as is the way of girls, without appearing to do so. She noted the stalwart well-knit figure, the handsome features—the strong straight nose, the broad forehead, the brown eyes that sparkled with animation.

Drew was at his best when he talked, especially when his audience was attentive, and there was no doubt that his audience of one was that. She listened almost in silence only putting in a word now and then.

The thought came to him that he might be boring her, and he stopped abruptly.

"If I keep on, you'll be talked to death," he said apologetically.

"Not at all," she protested. "I've been intensely interested. I'm glad you feel so strongly about far-off places, because you're sure to find plenty of romance where we are going."

"And treasure, the doubloons, too—don't forget the doubloons," he laughed, lowering his voice and looking around to see that no one was listening.

"And that too," she agreed. "I suppose you've spent your share already?" she bantered.

"Well, I'm not quite so optimistic as all that," he laughed. "But I really think we have a chance. Don't you?"

"Indeed I do!" she exclaimed. "I don't think it's a wild goose chase at all!"

"I'm glad you feel that way about it."

"Even if things go wrong, we can't be altogether cheated," she went on. "We'll have had lots of fun looking for our treasure. Then, too, we'll have had the voyage, and the schooner is a splendid sailing craft."

"She's a beauty," assented Drew. "I don't wonder you're proud of her."

"It was really quite flattering that you men should tell me what you were going for," she said mockingly. "You're always saying that a woman can't keep a secret."

"I don't feel that way," protested Drew. "And to prove it, I'll——"

"Listen!" said Ruth hurriedly. "Wasn't that my father calling me?"

"I didn't hear him," he replied, looking at her suspiciously.

"I think I'd better go and make sure," decided Ruth, moved by a sudden impulse of filial duty.

"Let him call again," suggested Drew.

But Ruth was sure that this audacious young man had said quite enough for one morning, and she held out her hand.

"Good-bye," she smiled. "I know from what my father has told me that you have an awful lot to do to get ready for the trip."

"Have I?" rejoined Drew. "I'd forgotten all about them."

They laughed.

He held the soft hand and fluttering fingers a trifle longer than was absolutely necessary, and after he released them he stood watching her lithe figure until she disappeared.

When Drew left the Bertha Hamilton he was treading on air and his head was in the clouds.

His dream had come true—part of it at least. He had found her, had talked with her. He was going to sail in the same ship with her. They would be thrown together constantly in the enforced intimacy of an ocean voyage. He would see her in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening. And at last he would win her. The last part of his dream would be realized as surely as the first had been.

But when he got back to the shop he found that he was in a practical world whose claims refused to be ignored. Winters still needed a lot of coaching, and the time was short. The business must not suffer while Drew was gone.

One thing lifted from his shoulders some of the weight of responsibility. Tyke would be at hand to superintend things and to keep a check on Winter's inexperience. To be sure, he would be in the hospital for some time to come, but Winters could go to see him every evening, and get help in his problems.

The Bertha Hamilton was to sail at high tide on Thursday morning, and by Wednesday night Drew had sent his baggage on board and had settled the last item that belonged to Tyke's part of the contract. Everything from now on was in the hands of Captain Hamilton.

He went up to the hospital to report to his employer and to say farewell. They talked long and late, and both were strongly moved when they shook hands in parting. Who knew what might happen before they met again? Who knew that they ever would meet again?

"Good-bye, Mr. Grimshaw," said Drew. "I hope you'll be as well and as strong as ever when I get back."

"Good-bye, Allen," responded Tyke, with a suspicious moisture in his eyes. "I'll be rooting for you an' thinking of you all the time. Good-bye an' good luck."

At daybreak the next morning Drew stepped on board the Bertha Hamilton and the most thrilling experience of his life had begun.



Naturally Drew's first thought as he glanced about the vessel, was of Ruth. But it was too early for the young lady to be in evidence.

Captain Hamilton met him with a cordial grasp of the hand, and took him down to the room assigned to him for the voyage. It was one of a series of staterooms on either side of a narrow corridor aft, and, although of course small, it was snug and comfortable.

There was a berth built against one side of the room. Apart from a tiny washstand, with bowl and pitcher, and a small swinging rack for a few books, a chair completed the equipment of the stateroom. The room was immaculately neat and clean, and in a glass on the washstand was a tiny bunch of violets. Drew wondered who had put it there.

"Rather cramped," laughed the captain; "but we sailors have learned how to live in close quarters, and you'll soon get used to it. There are some drawers built into the side where you can put your clothes, and your trunk and bags can go under the berth."

Drew, with his eyes and thoughts on the flowers, hastened to assure the captain that there was plenty of room.

"The stateroom next to yours, I had set aside for Tyke," said Captain Hamilton regretfully. "It's too bad that the old boy isn't coming. The one on the other side is Parmalee's."

"I suppose he hasn't come aboard yet?" half questioned Drew, as he unstrapped his bags, preparatory to putting their contents in the drawers.

"Oh, yes he has," returned the captain. "He came aboard last night. I suppose he's still asleep. Haven't heard him stirring yet."

"What time do you expect to pull out?" asked Drew.

"Almost any minute now. We've got everything aboard and we're only waiting for the tug that will take us down the bay. The wind's not so fair this morning."

The captain excused himself and went on deck, and a little later, having finished his unpacking, the younger man followed him.

The one person on whom his thoughts were centered was still invisible, and Drew had ample time to watch the busy scene upon the schooner's deck. The members of the crew were hurrying about in obedience to shouted orders, stowing away the last boxes and provisions that had come on board.

The sails were in stops ready to be broken out when the vessel should be out in the stream. A snorting tug was nosing her way alongside. A slight mist that had rested on the surface of the water was being rapidly dissipated by the freshening breeze, and over the Long Island horizon the sun was coming up, red and resplendent.

Drew made his way along the deck until he came near the foremast, where the mate was standing, bawling orders to the men. He was a tall, spare man, and in his voice there was a ring of authority, not to say truculence, that boded ill for any man who did not jump when spoken to. His back was toward Drew, but there was something about the figure that seemed familiar.

While he was wondering why this was so, the man turned, and, with amazement, Drew saw that the mate of the Bertha Hamilton was the one-eyed man with whom he had had his unpleasant encounter upon the Jones Lane wharf.

There was a flash of recognition and plenty of insolence in that one eye as it was turned upon Drew, but the next moment the man had turned his back and was again bellowing at the sailors.

Drew had a feeling of discomfort. He knew from the look the mate had given him that he still cherished malice. It was unpleasant to have a discordant note struck at the very outset of the voyage. And then, there was the suspicious circumstance of Grimshaw's accident. A one-eyed seaman had figured in that. Should he go to Captain Hamilton and report his vague suspicions of this fellow?

He had no time to pursue the thought, however, for at that moment he heard the clang of a gong, and an ambulance came dashing out on the pier just as the moorings of the Bertha Hamilton were about to be cast off.

Drew's first thought was that an accident had happened, and he hurried over to the starboard rail. The ambulance had stopped, and two white-clad attendants were helping out a man who had been reclining on a mattress within. They stood him on one foot while they slipped a pair of crutches under his arms. The man lifted his head, and, with a yell of delight, Drew leaped to the wharf.

It was Tyke Grimshaw! Pale and haggard the old man looked, but his indomitable spirit was still in evidence and his eyes twinkled with the old whimsical smile.

"Hurrah!" yelled Drew.

The cry was echoed by Captain Hamilton, who had likewise leaped from the taffrail to the pier.

"Didn't expect to see me, eh?" queried Tyke, while the ambulance men stood by, grinning.

"No, I didn't," roared Captain Hamilton, gripping him by one hand while Drew held the other. "But I can't tell you how glad I am that you made up your mind to come."

"We might have known you'd get here if you had to walk on your hands," cried Drew jubilantly.

"Had to fight like the mischief to get them doctors to let me come," chortled Tyke, evidently delighted by the warmth of the greeting. "They told me I was jest plumb crazy to think of it. But after Allen, here, left me last night I got so lonesome an' restless there was no holding me. Seemed like I'd go wild if I'd had to stay in that sick-bay while you fellers were sniffing the sea air. So I jest reared up on my hind legs, as you might say, an' they had to let me come."

"And you got here just in the nick of time," said the captain. "Ten minutes more and we'd have been slipping down the river."

Carefully supporting him on either side, for he found the unaccustomed crutches awkward, Captain Hamilton and Drew helped him on board the vessel and seated him comfortably in a deck chair.

Tyke drew in great draughts of the salt-laden air and his eyes glistened as he scrutinized the lines and spars of the schooner, noting her beauties with the expert eye of the sailor.

"Great little craft," he said approvingly. "I wouldn't have missed sailing on her for the world. A cruise in a tidy schooner like this will do me more good than them blamed doctors could if they fiddled around me for a year."

"How is your leg feeling now?" asked Drew solicitously.

"Better already," grinned Tyke. "In less'n a week I'll be chucking these crutches overboard. See if I don't."

Suddenly Tyke fell silent. Drew turned swiftly and saw that the old man was staring under bent brows at the mate of the schooner.

"Who's that?" Tyke finally demanded.

"That's Ditty—my mate," said Captain Hamilton. "I told you he was no handsome dog, didn't I?"

"Ugh!" grunted Tyke, and said no more.

Before Drew could ask the question that was on the tip of his tongue, a musical voice at his elbow said:

"Good morning, Mr. Drew."

He was on his feet in a flash, holding out his hand in eager greeting. "I was wondering when I was going to see you!" he exclaimed.

"You'll probably see too much of me before this voyage is over," Ruth said demurely. "I expect you men will be frightfully bored with one lone woman hovering around all the time."

Drew's eyes were eloquent with denial.

"Impossible!" he said emphatically. Then he became conscious that Tyke was looking on with some curiosity.

"Oh, I forgot," he said. "Mr. Grimshaw, this is Miss Hamilton, Captain Hamilton's daughter. Miss Hamilton, this is Captain Grimshaw."

Ruth held out her hand, but Tyke deliberately drew her to him and kissed her on the cheek. She extricated herself blushingly.

"An old man's privilege, my dear," said Tyke placidly. "An' I've known your father going on thirty years."

Drew wished that it were a young man's privilege as well.

"So you're Rufus Hamilton's daughter," went on Tyke. "My, my! An' pooty as a picture, too."

Ruth flushed a little at so open a compliment, but smiled at Grimshaw and said brightly:

"I'm so glad you can come with us. I was dreadfully sorry to hear of your accident. It would have been horrid for you to stay cooped up in that old hospital. Father has told me how much you had counted on the trip."

"The old craft isn't a derelict jest yet," replied Tyke complacently. "I'm afraid I'll be something of a nuisance till I get steady on my pins again, but I'll try not to be too much in the way."

"We'll all be glad to wait on you, I'm sure," protested Ruth, with another smile that won Grimshaw completely.

"I'll go down now and see how Wah Lee is getting along with breakfast," the girl continued. "I've no doubt you folks will be hungry enough to do justice to it."

"This air would give an appetite to a mummy," declared Drew.

"I'm some sharp set myself," admitted Tyke, as the fragrance of steaming coffee was wafted to him from the cook's galley. "Jest the very thought of eating in a ship's cabin again makes me hungry."

Drew's eyes followed the girl as she disappeared down the companionway, and when he looked up it was to find Tyke regarding him amusedly.

"So that's the way the wind blows, is it?" the old man chuckled.

"Nonsense!" disclaimed Drew, although conscious that his tone did not carry conviction. "She's a very nice girl, but this is only the second time I've met her." To avoid further prodding, he added: "I'll go down to your room and see if that Jap has put things shipshape for you."

As he went to the room reserved for Grimshaw, he met Ruth just coming out of it. Her skirts brushed against him in the narrow corridor and he tingled to the finger tips.

"I've just put a few flowers in Mr. Grimshaw's room," she said. "They seem to make the bare little cubby holes a bit more homey, don't you think? I thought they would be a sort of welcome."

Drew agreed with her, but the hope he had been hugging to his breast that he had been singled out for special attention vanished.

"I was foolish enough to think that I had them all," he confessed with a sheepish grin.

"What a greedy man!" she laughed. "No, indeed! Did you think I was going to overlook my father or Mr. Parmalee? You men are so conceited!"

As though the mention of his name had summoned him, the door of a neighboring stateroom opened just then and a young man stepped out. He smiled pleasantly as his gaze fell on Ruth.

"Good morning, Miss Ruth. I'm incorrigibly lazy, I'm afraid," he remarked, "or else this good air is responsible for my sleeping more soundly than for a long time past."

Ruth assured him that it was still early.

"If you are lazy, the sun is too," she said, "for, like yourself, it has just risen."

"That makes him lazier," returned Parmalee, "for he went to rest a good deal earlier than I did last night."

Ruth laughed, and, after introducing the young men to each other, she vanished in the direction of the captain's cabin.

The pair exchanged the usual commonplaces as they moved toward the companionway. Parmalee walked with some difficulty, leaning on a cane, and Drew had to moderate his pace to keep in step. When they emerged into the full light of the upper deck, Drew had a chance to gain an impression of the man who was to be his fellow-voyager.

Lester Parmalee was fully four inches shorter than the trifle over six feet to which Drew owned, and his slender frame gave him an appearance of fragility. This impression was heightened by the cane on which he leaned and the lines in his face which bespoke delicate health. His complexion was pale, and seemed more pallid because of its contrast with a mass of coal black hair which overhung his rather high forehead. His nose and mouth were good and his eyes dark and keenly intelligent. Some would have called him handsome. Others would have qualified this by the adjective romantic. All would have agreed that he was a gentleman.

His physical weakness was atoned for to a great extent by other qualities that grew on one by longer acquaintance. His manners were polished, his mind trained and well stored. He was a graduate of Harvard and had traveled extensively. His inherited wealth had not spoiled him, although it had, perhaps, given him too much self-assurance and just a shade of superciliousness.

The two young men as they chatted formed a violent contrast. If Drew suggested the Viking type, Parmalee would, with equal fitness, have filled the role of a troubadour. The one was powerful and direct, the other suave and subtle. One could conceive of Drew's wielding a broad axe, but would have put in Parmalee's hands a rapier. Each had his own separate and distinct appeal both to men and women.

Drew introduced Parmalee to Grimshaw. Then the captain came along, and all four were engaged in an animated conversation when Namco, the Japanese steward, announced:

"Lady say I make honorable report: Bleakfast!"

"And high time for it!" cried the captain. "I'm as hungry as a hawk and I guess the rest of you are too. We'll go down and see what that slant-eyed Celestial has knocked up for us."

Wah Lee had "done himself proud" in this initial meal, which proved to be abundant, well-cooked and appetizing.

All were in high spirits as they gathered about the table. Ordinarily, the mate would have formed one of the company while the second officer stood the captain's watch. But the narrow quarters and the unusual number of passengers on this trip made it necessary that the mate should eat after the captain and his guests had finished.

The captain sat at the head of the table while Ruth presided over the coffee urn at the foot. Tyke sat at the captain's right, and the two young men were placed one on either side of their hostess.

She wore a fetching breakfast cap, which did not prevent a rebellious wisp or two of golden hair from playing about her pink ears. Her cheeks were rosy, her eyes sparkling, and her demure little housewifely air as she poured the coffee was bewitching. The excitement of the start, the novelty of the quest on which they had embarked, and the presence of two young and attentive cavaliers put her on her mettle, and she was full of quaint sayings and witty sallies.

Her father gazed on her fondly, Tyke beamed approvingly, and Parmalee's admiration was undisguised. As for Drew, the havoc she had already made in his heart reached alarming proportions. He found himself picturing a home ashore, where every morning that face would be opposite to him at the breakfast table with that ravishing dimple coming and going as she smiled at him.

"How do you like your coffee?" she asked him, her slender fingers hovering over the cream jug and the sugar tongs.

"Two lumps of cream and plenty of sugar," he responded.

She laughed mischievously.

"We always try to please," she said; "but really our cream doesn't come in lumps."

He reddened.

"I surely did get that twisted," he said a little sheepishly. "Suppose we put it the other way around."

"I guess your mind was far away," she jested. "You must have been thinking of the treasure."

"That's exactly right," he returned, looking into her eyes as he took the cup she handed him. "I was thinking of the treasure."



Ruth bent a little lower over her coffee urn to hide the additional flush that had come into her cheeks, and after that she guided the conversation to safer ground and took care to leave no opening for Drew's audacity.

The meal over, all went on deck. The captain took charge and sent Ditty and Rogers, the second officer, below to get breakfast. The crew had already breakfasted.

Tyke had been carefully helped up by Drew and Captain Hamilton and placed in a chair abaft the mizzenmast, where his keen old eyes could delight themselves with the activities of the crew. Ruth had fussed around him prettily with cushions and a rest for his injured leg, until the veteran vowed that he would surely be spoiled before the voyage was over.

They had passed the Battery by this time, and were moving sluggishly with the tide. Behind them stretched the vast metropolis, with its wonderful sky-line sharply outlined by the bright rays of the morning sun. The Goddess of Liberty held her torch aloft as though to guide them in their venture. At the right the hills of Staten Island smiled in their vernal beauty, while at the left, white stretches of gleaming beach indicated the pleasure resorts where the people of the teeming city came to play.

Ditty had come on deck again. Unpleasant though his countenance was, and as suspicious as Drew was of him, it was plain that the mate of the Bertha Hamilton was a good seaman.

He looked now at Captain Hamilton for permission to make sail. The latter signed to him to go ahead. Useless to pay towage with a favoring wind and flowing tide.

Ditty bawled to the crew:

"Break her out, bullies! H'ist away tops'ls!"

The halyards were promptly manned. One man started the chorus that jerked the main topsail aloft.

"Oh, come all you little yaller boys An' roll the cotton down! Oh, a husky pull, my bully boys, An' roll the cotton down!"

In a trice, it would seem, her three topsails were mastheaded and the foretopsail laid to the mast. The fore-braces came in, hand over hand, the hawsers were tossed overboard and the tug fell astern. The Bertha Hamilton leaned gracefully to the freshening gale, and was shooting for the Narrows.

"It is perfectly beautiful, isn't it?" cried Ruth.

"Magnificent," agreed Drew.

"It's the finest harbor in all the world, to my mind," declared Parmalee.

"I wonder when we'll see it again," mused Ruth, with a touch of apprehension in her voice.

"Oh, it won't be long before we're back," prophesied Parmalee.

"And when we do come back, we'll have enough doubloons with us to buy up the whole city," joked Drew.

"Don't be too sure of that," smiled Ruth. "Those who go out to shear sometimes come back shorn."

"We simply can't fail," asserted Drew. "Especially as we're taking a mascot along with us."

"The mascot may prove to be a hoodoo," laughed Ruth. "I've thought more than once that I shouldn't have teased my father to take me along."

"He'd have robbed the whole trip of brightness if he had refused," affirmed Parmalee.

"It's nice of you to say that," returned Ruth. "But if any serious trouble should come up, fighting or anything of that kind, you might find me terribly in the way."

"We'd only have an additional reason to fight the harder," declared Drew. "No harm should come to you while any of us were left alive. But really, there's nothing to worry about. This trip is going to be a summer excursion."

"Nothing more serious to fear than the ghosts of some of the old pirates who may be keeping guard over their doubloons and may resent our intrusion," said Parmalee.

"I'm not afraid of ghosts," cried Ruth. "It's only creatures of flesh and blood that give me any worry."

"If anything should come up," said Drew, "we're in pretty good shape to give the mischief-makers a tussle. Your father has a good collection of weapons down in the cabin."

"Yes," assented Ruth; "and I know how to load and handle a revolver."

Drew put up his hands in pretended fright.

"Don't shoot!" he pleaded.

Thus with jest and compliment and banter the time passed until they were off Sandy Hook. The breeze, while brisk, was light enough to warrant carrying all sails, and a cloud of canvas soon billowed from aloft. One after another the sails were broken out on all three masts until they creaked with the strain. The Bertha Hamilton heeled over to port, and with every stitch drawing before a following wind gathered way until she boomed along at a gait that swiftly carried her out of sight of land. Before long the Sandy Hook Lightship sank from view astern, and nothing could be seen on any side but the foam-streaked billows of the Atlantic.

When the schooner was fairly under way and the watches had been chosen, the captain gave her into charge of the mate and rejoined Tyke.

That grizzled veteran was enjoying himself more than he had done at any time for the last twenty years. As the old warhorse "sniffs the battle from afar," so he already anticipated with delight the coming battle with wind and waves.

"Well, Tyke, what do you think of her?" the captain asked.

"She's a jim dandy!" ejaculated Tyke enthusiastically. "She rides the waves like a feather. Jest slips along like she was greased."

"She's a sweet sailer," declared the captain proudly. "Just wait till you see how she manages against head winds. Even when she's jammed up right into the wind, she's good for six knots, and with any kind of a fair gale, she's good for ten or twelve."

"With ordinary luck, then, we ought to git to the Caribbean in ten or twelve days," said Tyke.

"Unless we meet up with something that strips our spars," returned the captain confidently. "Of course, a hurricane might knock us out in our calculations. Taking it by and large though, and allowing for the time we may have to cruise around before we find the island we're looking for, I'm figuring that we'll make Sandy Hook again in two months all right."

"Better count on three and be sure," cautioned Grimshaw. "You know it isn't a matter of simply finding the island, staying there mebbe a day or two an' coming away again. This is more'n jest sending a boat's crew ashore for water. We may be a month hunting around and trying to find the pesky thing."

"And even then we may not find it," laughed the captain.

"Well, it'll be some satisfaction if we even find the hole it used to be in," said Tyke. "That'll show that we weren't altogether fools in taking the paper an' map for gospel truth."

"I don't know that there'd be much comfort in that," returned Captain Hamilton. "If you're hungry it doesn't do much good to look at the hole in a doughnut. There isn't much nourishment except in the doughnut itself," and he grinned over his little joke.

The wind held fair for the rest of the day, and the schooner kept on at a spanking gait, reeling off the miles steadily. By night the increasing warmth of the air showed how rapidly the South was drawing near.

Ruth was a good sailor and felt no bad effect from the long ocean swells as the ship ploughed over them. Drew, too, who had no sea-going experience at all and had inwardly dreaded possible sea-sickness, was delighted to find that he was to be exempt.

Parmalee, however, although he had traveled extensively, had never been immune from paying tribute to Neptune. He ate but little at the noon-day meal, and when the rest gathered around the table at night he did not appear at all.

Drew felt that he should be sympathetic, and, to do him justice, he tried to be. He visited Parmalee in his cabin, condoled with him, and offered to be of any possible service. But Parmalee wanted nothing except to be let alone, and, with the consciousness of duty done, Drew left him to his misery and joined the rest at the table.

"I'm awfully sorry for poor Mr. Parmalee," remarked Ruth, as she poured Drew's tea.

"Poor fellow," chimed in the young man perfunctorily.

"You don't say that as though you meant it at all," objected Ruth reprovingly.

"What do you expect me to do?" laughed Drew. "Weep bitter tears? I'll do it if you want me to. In fact, I'll do anything you want me to do—jump through a hoop, roll over, play dead, anything at all."

"I didn't know you had so many accomplishments," remarked Ruth, with a touch of sarcasm.

"Oh, I'm a perfect wonder," replied the young man. "There isn't anything I can't do or wouldn't do—for you," he added, dropping his voice so only she could hear it.

Ruth, however, pretended not to hear, and addressed her next remark to Grimshaw.

"How do you like Wah Lee's cooking?" she asked.

"Fine," replied Tyke. "There's no better cooks anywhere than the Chinks. Want to look out that he don't slip one over on you, though, if the victuals run short. Might serve up cat or rat or something of the kind an' call it pork or veal. An' he'd probably git away with it, too."

Ruth gave a little shudder.

"Cat might not be so bad at that," remarked her father. "Down in Chili, for instance, they haven't any rabbits and they serve up cats instead. 'Gato piquante' they call it, which means savory cat. I've never tasted it, but I know those who have, and they say that it makes the finest kind of stew."

"Why not?" commented Drew, with a grin. "Catfish is good. So is catsup. Why not cat stew?"

"I think you men are just horrid!" exclaimed Ruth. "Taking away poor Wah Lee's character like this behind his back."

"Well, I guess we won't have to worry about his falling from grace on this cruise," laughed her father. "We're too well stocked up for him to be driven to try experiments."

When they went up on deck, the moon had risen. Its golden light tipped the waves with a sheen of glory and turned the spray into so much glittering diamond dust. Under its magic witchery, the ropes and rigging looked like lace work woven by fairy fingers.

The crew were grouped up in the bow, and one of them was playing a concertina. Mr. Rogers paced the deck, casting a look aloft from time to time to see that the sails were drawing well. The wind had a slight musical sound as it swept through the rigging, and this blended with the regular slapping of the water against her sides as the Bertha Hamilton sailed steadily on her course.

The air was the least bit chilly, and this gave Drew an excuse for tucking Ruth cozily into the chair he had placed in a sheltered position behind the deckhouse. His fingers trembled as he drew the rugs and shawls around her. She snuggled down, wholly content to be waited on so devotedly, and perhaps—who knows?—sharing to some degree the emotion that made the man's pulse race so madly.



Drew placed his own chair close beside Ruth's—as close as he dared. And they talked.

There was something in the witchery of that moonlit night that seemed to remove certain restraints and reserves imposed by the cold light of day, and they spoke more freely of their lives and hopes and ambitions than would have been possible a few hours earlier.

The girl told of the main events that had filled her nineteen years of life. Her voice was tender when she spoke of her mother, whose memory remained with her as a benediction. After she had been deprived by death of this gentle presence, she, Ruth, had stayed with relatives in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles during her vacations and had passed the rest of her time at boarding school. She had neither sister nor brother, and she spoke feelingly of this lack, which had become more poignant since her mother's death. She had felt lonely and restless, and the bright spots in her life had been those which were made for her by the return of her father from his voyages.

Of her father she spoke with enthusiasm. Nobody could have been more thoughtful of her comfort and happiness than he had been. The fact that they were all that were left of their family, had made them the more dependent for their happiness on each other, and the affection between them was very strong.

It had been her dearest wish that he should be able to retire from the sea entirely, so that she could make a home for him ashore. As far as means went, she supposed he was able to give up his vocation now if he chose. But he was still in the prime of health and vigor, and she had little doubt that the sea—that jealous mistress—would beckon to him for years to come.

This time she could not bear being left behind, and as the voyage promised to be a short one, he had yielded to her persuasions to be taken along.

Drew listened with the deepest sympathy and interest, watching the play of emotion that accompanied her words and made her mobile features even more charming than usual.

Encouraged by her confidences, he in turn told her of his experiences and ambitions. He could scarcely remember his parents, and to this degree his life had been even more lonely than her own. He had come to the city from an inland town in New York State when he was but little over seventeen, and had secured a position in the chandlery shop. He had worked hard and had gained the confidence and good will of his employer, of whose goodness of heart he spoke in the warmest terms. His own feeling for Tyke, he explained, was what he imagined he would have felt for his father if the latter had lived. He had felt that he was progressing, and had been fairly content until lately.

But now—and his voice took on a tone that stirred Ruth as she listened—he had been shaken entirely out of that contentment. He had suddenly realized that life held more than he had ever dreamed. There was something new and rich and vital in it, something full of promise and enchantment, something that he must have, something that he would give his soul to get.

He had grown so earnest as he talked, so compelling, his eyes so glowed with fire and feeling, that Ruth, though thrilled, felt almost frightened at his intensity. She knew perfectly well what he meant, knew that he was wooing her with all his heart and soul. And the knowledge was sweet to her.

But he had come too far and fast in his wooing, and she was not yet at the height of her own emotion. To be sure, he had attracted her strongly from the very first. From the day when she had met him on the pier, she had thought often of the gallant young knight who had aided her in her emergency, and his delight when he had found her on her father's ship had been only a shade greater than her own.

But, although her heart was in a tumult and she secretly welcomed his advances, she did not want to be carried off her feet by the sheer ardor of his passion. She wanted to study him, to know him better, and to know her own feelings. She was not to be won too easily and quickly. An obscure virginal instinct rather resented the excessive sureness of this impetuous suitor.

So she roused herself from the soft languor into which the moonlight and his burning words had plunged her, and rallied, jested and parried, until, despite his efforts, the conversation took a lighter tone.

"You've made quite an impression on daddy," she laughed. "He thinks it was wonderfully clever of you to get at the meaning of that map and the confession as quickly as you did."

"I'm glad if he likes me," Drew answered. "I may have to ask him something important before long, and it will be a good thing to stand well with him."

"He'll be on your side," she replied lightly. "I wouldn't dare tell you all the nice things he has said about you. It might make you conceited, and goodness knows——"

"Am I conceited?" he asked quickly.

"All men are," she answered evasively.

"I don't think I am," he protested. "As a matter of fact, I'm very humble. I find myself wondering all the time if I am worthy."

"Worthy of what?" she asked.

"Worthy of getting what I want," he answered.

"The doubloons?" she asked mischievously. "Dear me! I can hardly imagine you in a humble role. To see the confident Mr. Drew in such a mood would certainly be refreshing."

"Don't call me Mr. Drew," he protested. "It sounds so formal. We're going to be so like one big family on this ship for the next few weeks that it seems to me we might cut out some of the formality without hurting anything."

"What shall I call you then?" she asked demurely.

"There are lots of things that I should like to have you call me if I dared suggest them," he replied. "But for the present, suppose you call me Allen."

"Very well, then—Allen," she conceded.

His pulses leaped.

"I don't suppose I'd dare go further and beg permission to call you Ruth?" he hazarded.

"Make it Miss Ruth," she teased.

"No, Ruth," he persisted.

"Oh, well," she yielded, "I suppose you'll have to have it your own way. It's frightful to have to deal with such an obstinate man as you are, Mr.—Allen."

"It's delightful to have to deal with such a charming girl as you are, Miss—Ruth."

They laughed happily.

"It's getting late," she said, drawing herself up out of the warm nest that Drew had made for her, "and I think I really ought to go below."

"Don't go yet," he begged. "It isn't a bit late."

"How late is it?" she asked.

He drew out his watch and looked at it in the moonlight.

"I told you it wasn't late," he declared, putting the watch back in his pocket.

"You don't dare let me look at it," she laughed.

"It must be fast," he affirmed.

"You're a deceiver," she retorted. "Really I must go. You wouldn't rob me of my beauty sleep, would you?"

"Leave that to other girls," he suggested. "You don't need it."

"You're a base flatterer," she chided.

Drew reluctantly gathered up her wraps, and, with a last lingering look at the glory of the sea and sky, they went below.

It was not really necessary for him to take her hand as they parted for the night, but he did so.

"Good night, Ruth," he said softly.

"Good night—Allen," she answered in a low voice.

His eyes held hers for a moment, and then she vanished.

It was the happiest night that Drew had ever known. He had opened his heart to her—not so far as he would have liked and dared, but as far as she had permitted him. And in the soft beauty of her eyes he thought that he had detected the beginnings of what he wanted to find there. And she had permitted him to call her "Ruth." And she had called him "Allen." How musical the name sounded, coming from her lips!

It was fortunate that he had the memory of that night to comfort him in the days that followed.

Ruth was more distracting than ever the next morning when she appeared, fresh and radiant, at the breakfast table. But in some impalpable way she seemed to have withdrawn within herself. Perhaps she felt that she had let herself go too far in the glamour of the moonlight.

She was, if anything, gayer than before, full of bright quips and sayings that kept them laughing, but she distributed her favors impartially to all. And she was blandly unresponsive to Drew's efforts to monopolize her attentions.

It was so all through that day and the next. There was nothing about her that was stiff or repellant, but, nevertheless, Drew felt that she was keeping him at arm's length. It was as though she had served notice that she would be a jolly comrade, but nothing more.

Poor Drew, unused to the ways of women, could not understand her. He tried again and again to get her by herself, in the hope that he might regain the ground that seemed to be slipping away from under him. But she seemed to have developed a sudden fondness for the society of her father and Grimshaw, and she managed in some way to include one or both of them in the walks and chats that Drew sought to make exclusive.

Then, too, there was Parmalee.

That young man fully recovered from his seasickness after the third day out and resumed his place in the life of the ship.

Ruth had been full of solicitude and attentions during his illness, and when he again took his place at table, she expressed her pleasure with a warmth that Drew felt was unnecessary. His own congratulations were much more formal.

Parmalee seemed to feel that he had appeared somewhat at a disadvantage in succumbing to the illness which the others had escaped, and the feeling put him on his mettle. He made special efforts to be genial and companionable, and his conversation sparkled with jests and epigrams. He could talk well; and even Drew had to admit to himself grudgingly that the other young man was brilliant.

Ruth, always fond of reading, had turned to books in her loneliness after her mother's death and had read widely for a girl of nineteen, and their familiarity with literature made a common ground on which she and Parmalee could meet with interest. He had brought along quite a number of volumes which he offered to lend to Ruth and to Drew.

Ruth thanked him prettily and accepted. Drew thanked him cooly and declined.

All three were sitting on deck one afternoon, while Tyke and the captain talked earnestly apart. Ruth's dainty fingers were busy with some bit of embroidery. Her eyes were bent on her work, but the eyes of the young men rested on her. And both were thinking that the object of their gaze was well worth looking at.

Ruth herself knew perfectly well the attraction she exerted. And she would have been less than human if she had not been pleased with it. What girl of nineteen would not enjoy the homage of a Viking and a troubadour?

She was not a coquette, but there was a certain satisfaction that she could not wholly deny herself in playing one off against the other. It would do Drew no harm to make him a little less sure of himself and of her. In her heart she liked his Lochinvar methods, while, at the same time, she rather resented them. She was no cave woman, to be dragged off at will by a determined lover.

She had a real liking for Parmalee. He was suave, polished and deferential. His attentions gallant without being obtrusive, and his geniality and culture made him a very pleasant companion.

"We're like the Argonauts going out after the Golden Fleece," Parmalee was remarking.

"Yes," Ruth smiled, looking up from her work, "it doesn't seem as though this were the twentieth century at all. Here we are, as much adventurers as they were in the old times of Jason and his companions."

"Let's hope we'll be as lucky as they were," said Drew. "If I remember rightly, they got what they went after."

"And yet when they started out they weren't a bit more sure than we are," rejoined Parmalee.

"And we won't find any old dragon waiting to swallow us, as they did," laughed Ruth.

"Well, whether we find the treasure or not, we'll have plenty of fun in hunting for it," prophesied Parmalee. "Somehow, I feel that we are on the brink of a great adventure. I think I know something of the feeling of the old explorers when they first came down to these parts. Do you remember the way Keats describes it, Miss Ruth?"

"I don't recall," answered Ruth.

"I'll go and get the book. I have it in my cabin. Or wait. Perhaps I can remember the way it goes." He paused a moment, and then began:

"Then feel I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He stared at the Pacific—and all his men Looked at each other with a wild surmise— Silent, upon a peak in Darien."

"What noble verse!" exclaimed Ruth.

Drew remained silent.

"The very air of these southern seas is full of romance," went on Parmalee. "And of tradition too. Have you ever heard the story of Drake's drum?"

"What is it?" asked Ruth.

"The old drum of Sir Francis Drake that called his men to battle is still preserved in the family castle in England," explained Parmalee. "It went with him on all his voyages. It beat the men to quarters in the fight with the Spanish Armada and in all his battles on the Spanish Main, when, to use his own words, he was 'singeing the whiskers of the King of Spain.' He was buried at sea in the West Indies, and the drum beat taps when his body was lowered into the waves.

"The story goes that when Drake was dying he ordered that the drum should be sent back to England. Whenever the country should be in mortal danger, his countrymen were to beat that drum, and Drake's spirit would come back and lead them to victory."

"And have they ever done it?" asked Ruth, intensely interested.

"Twice," replied Parmalee. "Once when the Dutch fleet entered the Thames with a broom at the masthead to show that they were going to sweep the British from the seas. They beat it again when Nelson broke the sea power of Napoleon at Trafalgar.

"Here's what an English writer supposes Drake to have said when he was dying:

'Take my drum to England, hang it by the shore, Strike it when your powder's running low; If the Dons sight Devon, I'll quit the port of heaven And drum them up the Channel, as we drummed them long ago.'"

"How stirring that is!" cried Ruth, clapping her hands.

"Yes," admitted Drew, a little dryly. "They must have forgotten to beat it though at the time of the American Revolution."

It was a discordant note and all felt it.

"Oh, how horrid of you!" exclaimed Ruth. "You take all the romance out of the story."

"I'm sorry," said Drew, instantly penitent.

"I don't believe you are a bit," declared Ruth. "And Mr. Parmalee told that story so beautifully," she added, with a wicked little desire to punish Drew.

"Cross my heart and hope to die," protested Drew, to appease his divinity. "Put any penance on me you like. I'll sit in sackcloth and put ashes on my head if you say so, and you'll never hear a whimper."

"He seems to be suffering horribly," said Parmalee, a bit sarcastically, "and you know, Miss Ruth, that cruel and unusual punishments are forbidden by the Constitution. I think you'd better forgive him."

Ruth laughed and the tension was broken. But there was still a little feeling of restraint, and after a few minutes Parmalee excused himself and strolled away.

Ruth kept on stitching busily, her face bent studiously over her work.

Drew looked at her miserably, bitterly regretting the momentary impulse to which he had yielded. He knew in his heart that he had been jealous of the impression that Parmalee, by his easy and graceful narration, had seemed to be making on Ruth, and he hated himself for it.

"Ruth," he said softly.

She seemed not to have heard him.

"Ruth," he repeated.

"Yes?" she answered, but without looking up.



"Ruth," Drew pleaded. "Look at me."

She dropped her work then and met his eyes.

"You're angry with me, aren't you?" he asked.

"No; I'm not angry," she replied slowly.

"But you're vexed?" he suggested.

"I should say rather that I am sorry," she answered. "Everything has been so pleasant between us all up to now, and I hoped it was going to remain so."

"It was that impulsive tongue of mine," he said. "The words slipped out before I thought."

"What you said was nothing," she replied. "But the tone in which you spoke was unpleasant. It seemed as though you were trying to put a damper on things. It came like a dash of cold water, and I'm sure that Mr. Parmalee felt chilled by it."

"You seem very much interested in Mr. Parmalee's feelings," he said, with a return of jealousy at the mention of the other's name.

"No more than I am in those of any of my friends," she answered. "I think he is very nice, and I was very much interested in what he was saying," she added, with a tiny touch of malice.

But she repented instantly as she saw the pain in Drew's eyes.

"Let's forget all about it!" she exclaimed. "It was only a trifle, anyway."

"You forgive me then?" he asked.

"Of course I forgive you, you foolish boy! And to prove it, I'm not going to make you do any penance," she added gaily.

From that time, a smile from Ruth raised Drew to the seventh heaven, but when her smile was bestowed on Parmalee, he was dashed to the depths.

One thing especially was calculated to torture the jealous heart of a lover. Several times Drew observed Ruth and Parmalee engaged in what seemed to be a peculiarly confidential talk. Their heads were close together and their voices low. They seemed to be talking of something that concerned themselves alone.

The first time he saw them together in this way, he strolled up to them, but they changed instantly to a lighter and more careless tone, and introduced a topic in which he could join. But Ruth's face was flushed and Parmalee was scarcely able to disguise his impatience at the interruption.

After the first time, Drew left them alone. His pride refused to let him be a third in a conversation plainly designed for two.

In his secret musings Allen Drew dwelt on and exaggerated the advantages which Parmalee possessed. To be sure, he was weak and delicate, while Drew had the strength of a young ox. But Parmalee had wealth and standing and a polished manner that appealed strongly to women. Why should he not, with his suavity and winning smile, fascinate an impressionable girl?

Ruth herself, warned by the chilliness between the men that grew more pronounced with every day that passed, did her best to be prudent. The mischievous pleasure of having them both dangle when she pulled the strings had been replaced by a feeling almost of alarm. She realized enough of the fervor of Drew's passion to know that he was in deadly earnest and would brook no rivalry.

Tyke had been enjoying himself hugely from the start. He had utterly cast aside all thoughts of the business he had left behind him, and when Drew sometimes referred to it he refused to listen. The sea air and the delight of being once more in the surroundings of his early days had proved a tonic. His leg mended with magical rapidity, and by the time they had been ten days at sea he cast aside his crutches and managed to get about with the aid of a cane. Almost every moment of the day and evening when he was not at meals, he spent on deck, exchanging yarns with Captain Hamilton, studying the set of the sails, or gazing on the boundless expanse of sea and sky.

The weather so far had been perfect, and the schooner had slipped along steadily and rapidly, most of the time carrying her full complement of canvas. The captain thought that in about two or three days more they would be in the vicinity of Martinique. Once there, to the westward of that island, they would cruise about until the cay shaped like the hump of a whale should appear on the horizon.

But despite the good weather, there had been for some time past a shadow on the face of the captain which betrayed uneasiness. The young people, absorbed in their own affairs, had not noticed it, but Tyke's shrewd eyes had seen that all was not well, and one day when the captain dropped into a chair beside him, he broached the subject without ceremony.

"What's troubling you, Cap'n Rufe?" he asked. "Out with it and git it off your chest."

"Oh, nothing special," replied the captain evasively.

"Yes there is," retorted Tyke. "You can't fool me. So let's have it."

"Well, to tell you the truth," said Captain Hamilton, "I don't quite like the actions of the crew."

"No more do I," said Tyke calmly.

"Have you noticed it too?"

"I've still got a pair of pretty good eyes in my head. But heave ahead."

"Well, in the first place," said the captain, "it's about the worst set of swabs that ever called themselves sailors. Some of 'em don't seem to know the spanker boom from the jib. Of course, that isn't true of all of 'em. Perhaps half of them are fairly good men. But the rest seem to be scum and riffraff."

"What did you ship the lubbers for?" asked Grimshaw.

"I didn't," answered Captain Hamilton. "I was so busy with other things that I left it to Ditty."

"An' there you left it to a good man!" Tyke said scornfully. "I've been keeping tabs on that Bug-eye, as they call him, since I come aboard. He's a bad actor, he is. Listen here, Cap'n Rufe——" and the old man, with a warning hand on Captain Hamilton's knee and in a low voice, repeated what he had told Drew in the hospital about the one-eyed man being at the scene of his accident.

"And was it Ditty?" gasped Captain Hamilton.

"Surest thing you know. An' I don't believe I dreamed he went through my pockets. What was that for, when he didn't rob me of my watch and cash?"

The master of the schooner shook his head thoughtfully, making no immediate reply.

"Ditty's a pretty good sailor himself, I notice," went on Tyke.

"None better," assented the captain.

"An' he knows a sailor when he sees one?" continued the old man.

"Of course he does," the captain affirmed. "And that's what has seemed strange to me. He's often picked crews for me before, and I've never had to complain of his judgment."

"Well then," concluded Tyke, "it stands to reason that if he's shipped a lot of raffraff this time, instead of decent sailors, he'd a reason for it."

"It would seem so," admitted the captain uneasily.

"Have you put it up to him?" asked Tyke.

"I have. And he admits that some of the men are no good, but says that he was stuck. He left it to some boarding-house runners, and he says they put one over on him by bundling the worst of the gang aboard at the last minute."

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