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ufaclub888 ufaclub888 "I suppose it is," answered Corny, with increasing confusion. He had hardly left the cabin before the steward entered the stateroom, and reported that he had seen Ralph Pennant, and that he had told him all he knew about the loyalty and the disloyalty of the new hands in the crew. Ralph reported that he had "spotted" the four seamen whose names had been given him before the Vernon reached the station. "You do not wish to make any explanation of the remarkable situation in which you find yourself placed at the present moment?" "Of course my cousin Corny intends to hand the vessel over to the Confederate government." The commander looked at the man; but he did not know him. "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. The mysterious visitor at the mansion, whoever or whatever he was, could not be regarded as a burglar, or, if he was, he had strangely neglected his opportunities, for he had failed to appropriate at least five hundred dollars worth of watches and money, which he could hardly have helped seeing. His object was not plunder, and there was nothing to indicate the purpose of his visit. In retiring from the house the intruder had left the front door ajar: and Christy thought it would have been the most natural thing in the world to close it, in order to conceal the way by which he had left the mansion. But he might have done this to avoid 28 the noise of shutting it, or had neglected it in his haste to escape. 85 "Did you keep a copy of that report?" "You could hardly have supposed that a little gunboat like the Bronx was sent all alone on such a mission." ufaทงหมด "Never mind the regular dinner; but bring me something to eat, if it is only some crackers and cheese," added Christy; and the steward hastened to his pantry. 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. This responsibility was not of a personal nature. He did not have the feeling that he had been vanquished in the contest before the captain, and the fact that he was a prisoner hardly disturbed him. It was the prospective injury to the cause of his country which occasioned his solicitude. His object was to save the Vernon, the Bronx, or both, from being handed over to the enemy without a struggle to save them, one or both. "We will soon stop that," added Christy. "Give them another shot from the midship gun, Mr. Flint." "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. "Here are my papers, captain," added Corny, as he passed his envelope across the table to the commander. "I should think he might have been. By the way, Corny, where is my commission that you and he stole from my pocket at Bonnydale?" "In fact, you are more than half right. The sealed orders are not absolutely necessary to me just now, and I shall not insist upon the production of them for the present. Now, if you will seat yourself at the table opposite me, I will dictate an order to you, which you will oblige me by reducing to writing, and then by signing your name to it as commander," continued Flanger, still toying with the heavy revolver. "You appear to be wounded, Captain Flanger?" said Christy, approaching the table. 319 "'Pears like I do; I reckon you's Massa Cap'n Flanger." mewallet cc user home "Then you have improved wonderfully since last evening," added Captain Battleton. "I did, sir; and I was obliged to fill their places;" and Christy described the men he had appointed. "Corny pretended to be Christy, did he? Then you must have seen him if he took your commission." "Now, Uncle Job, I want you to answer some questions," Mr. Pennant began. "All ready, Mr. Flint," reported the third lieutenant, when he had completed the repairs on the steering gear.

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ufaclub888 "I am sorry you did not explain the blank paper in your envelope, Mr. Passford," said the surgeon, as they were leaving the cabin. "Grass! They don't raise it in the city; and there isn't as much of it in all the streets as I saw in the principal one in Mobile when I was there, on my way from the prison to the bay," replied the commander cheerfully. "I don't believe that business was ever so lively in New York and the other cities of the North as it is at this time; and I left there ten days ago." "I don't quite understand this matter," said the surgeon. "What are you doing, Mr. Passford?" "The officer in command of that fort is not idle," said Mr. Flint, who had been using his glass very industriously since the firing ceased. "The soldiers are busy setting up the guns again, or some of them." "He is a prisoner on board of the Bronx, with two Confederate naval officers who were his associates in the conspiracy; and we have also two seamen," replied Christy, who proceeded to give the narrative in full of the work done on board of the Bronx on the evening of the day she sailed from the station. "Where did she come from?" asked the lieutenant, who had more confidence in the honesty than in the intelligence of Job. "It was quite true, uncle Homer; and he has been quite as unfortunate as he was in his former expedition to the North," added Christy very quietly. "While you are here, doctor, I will show you my arm, which is beginning to be somewhat uncomfortable," said the third lieutenant with a cheerful smile. "I can easily imagine your astonishment, Mr. Passford, for it seems to me to be a very remarkable state of things," added the captain, as he looked from one to the other of the claimants. "One thing seems to be admitted by both of you, that you are both Passfords, and that you are cousins." "I have a plain frock in my valise which I wore when the Teaser was captured," added Christy with a smile. "I will remove my coat and wear that." ufalive191 The Vernon continued on her course, and in another hour the pilot had been discharged. Christy had puzzled his brains over the events of the day and the night before without being able to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion. He was extremely anxious to see the officer who had taken his name and assumed his character, as he was to obtain all the information within his reach. His reflections assured him that some one had chosen the rôle of an impostor for the purpose of accomplishing some treasonable object, and he was anxious to fathom the mystery for his country's sake rather than his own. 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. "Do you wish to leave this place, Uncle Job?" asked the officer. "Only one, sir: a steamer of five hundred tons, called the Floridian." The temporary berth was finished, the bedding put into it, and Christy took possession of it. For the present he had done all the thinking he cared to do, and he felt that his present duty was in action. He was a prisoner of war, and as such he was in disgrace in a loyal ship's company; at least, he felt that he was so under present circumstances. He was not disgusted at his failure to establish his identity, nor disheartened at the prospect before him. More than ever before in the two years of his experience as a naval officer, he realized that it was his duty to "Stand by the union." "I don't believe you will find many hands down here, Mr. Pennant," said Mike in a whisper. "Do you think any one came into the house?" 23 asked Mrs. Passford, though with but little of the woman's terror that such a statement might have caused. "Do you think you should have let these conspirators 171 run into Pensacola Bay without meddling with the matter?" asked Christy. "Do you wish to leave this place, Uncle Job?" asked the officer. wwwleo12345com "Now I will see where I can find a place for you to berth," said the captain as he left the cabin. 128 In a few minutes, when he had made the cabin tidy for the reception of "Massa Cap'n Passford," he transferred his labors to the stateroom. He worked in the berth and all its surroundings, including the desk, which still contained the real commander's papers, and then gave his attention to the trunk beneath. "I done forget all about my talk, Captain Passford," replied Dave. "Perhaps he will change his mind after this. If you have not saved my life, Dave, you have saved my self-respect, for your prompt action, quite as soon as it was prudent for you to act, redeemed me from any further submission, and I expected to throw away my life rather than sign that order. I think he would not have killed me, for that would have blocked his game; but he would have wounded me in two minutes more. I thank you with all my heart, Dave, and I shall not forget what you have done." "No one thought you would hide in the captain's cabin." "He could not have been disturbed until you spoke to him; and he might have ransacked the whole of the lower part of the house." ufaclub888 "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." "Then you have reversed the decision of Captain Battleton?" "It won't take a six-mule team to draw that one," added the privateersman, rather sourly for the first time. "Of course I understood that it would not be advisable for the commodore to let it be known exactly where the steamer is bound, and that you have sealed orders. I shall have to trouble you, Captain Passford, to produce the envelope." "You will hold no conversation with the prisoner, Boxie; but you may let them talk among themselves, and note what they say if it is of any importance. You will be relieved with the first watch."

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ufaclub888 76 "Horatio Passford," replied Christy with a smile. "I claim to be reasonably sensible," answered Christy. "As you have done me the honor to visit me in my cabin, Captain Flanger, it is reasonable to suppose you have some object in view, for I do not regard it as a merely friendly call." "Take it from him," said the commander. "Then I will look upon you as an able seaman until you are formally enlisted. Mr. Flint, this man is Michael Bornhoff; he is an able seaman and a pilot in these waters. I think you had better take him with you, for he is fully informed in regard to the Floridian, which you are to bring out. Let him have pistols and a cutlass," said Christy. "But she will signal the fort to fire upon us." illustration of quoted scene ufath168 ทางเขา "Station a strong lookout, Mr. Flint, and send a man aloft on the foremast and another on the mainmast," continued Christy when the other orders had been obeyed. "All right in every respect," replied the young officer cheerfully. "But the other Massa Passford looks just like you," added Dave. 266 Christy yawned, or pretended to do so, and in the act he rose from the table. Captain Flanger was silent as he did so, and watched the captain with the eye of a lynx, as the latter placed himself behind the chair he had occupied. He was in position to make a movement of some kind, and the intruder deliberately drew from his right-hand coat pocket a heavy revolver. Holding this in his hand, he drew another from the left-hand pocket, and threw it on the table. ufaclub888 "I don't know." "A ball went through my arm; but it is all right," replied Christy with a ghastly smile. Christy had deposited his valise in a place where it was not likely to be seen unless a search was made for it. There was no one in the ward room to obstruct his advance to the captain's cabin. He had served as acting-commander of the vessel in a voyage from New York to the Gulf, and been the executive officer on board for a short term, and he was perfectly at home in every part of her. In the conspiracy on his last voyage in the Bronx, Pink Mulgrum had concealed himself under the berth in the captain's stateroom, where Dave, the cabin steward, had discovered him, though he might have remained there a month if his hiding-place had not been suspected. "I can just see the fort and the big house. It is not so very dark to-night," answered the Russian. Mr. Pennant stood up in the stern sheets, and 340 gazed in the direction of the fort. On the shore of the Grand Pass, above the fort, were three buildings, formerly occupied by mechanics and laborers. The sailing directions for entering the bay were to bring the fronts of these structures in range, and proceed for a time on the course indicated. Mr. Pennant had obtained this bearing after he had backed the boat a few feet. The depth of water then informed him that he was in the channel. "Bless the Lord that you are his nephew and not his son!" exclaimed Michael fervently, as he raised his eyes towards the sky, which was beginning to be visible through the fog. "I have heard about you, for I was to pilot a vessel out of Cedar Keys when you came up there in command of the boats. Colonel Passford was over there, and he saw you on board of the Havana." ufabet989 "Just giving you a pair of bracelets," replied Ralph, as he grappled again with his victim, and asked Christy to adjust the handcuffs. "Just for ornament, you know." "You appear to be wounded, Captain Flanger?" said Christy, approaching the table. "I want to see what there is over there." "Who dar?" called Job. "But I do not wish to subject you to any unnecessary restraint, and I shall be willing to accept your parole that you will engage in no hostile movement on board of the Vernon," continued the captain, in milder tones. "It is possible that the Russian knows something about this region," suggested Mr. Flint. "I have had enough of him; remove him to the quarters," added Christy. "I see; that is plain enough," added Corny. "How far is it to St. Andrew's?" "They are very nice; I have just tried one of them," added Captain Flanger, as he passed the plate over to the commander. Christy looked at his cool and impudent visitor, whose declaration was to the effect that he intended to take possession of the Bronx in compensation for the loss of the Floridian. It looked as though he intended to capture the gunboat now fully officered, and manned by forty-six seaman; and so far as the commander could judge, he intended to do it single-handed. "I am glad to be informed of the fact, for I am not conscious of any such improvement as you describe. In fact, I am not in quite so good condition in a sanitary point of view as I was 50 last evening, for I took my cold about midnight, or a little later, last night," added Christy, his smile becoming a little more pronounced.

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ufaclub888 Captain Battleton would soon begin his investigation, and Christy was confident that the sick officer would be proved to be the impostor. He was not at all worried or even disturbed in regard 60 to the result, for he felt that "truth is mighty and must prevail." His only solicitude was to unravel the plot. Bands of Confederates had been put on board of several steamers for the purpose of capturing them; and it was possible that this plan had been adopted to obtain possession of the Vernon, for she was a good vessel, and was fitted out as a man-of-war. "Now will you inform me, Mr. Passford, who your officers were?" The commander pointed at Christy. "Your executive officer?" The lieutenant had covered his lantern, for he 320 did not wish to wake the other sleepers in the cabin, after the description the Russian had given of his man. Mike spoke in a low tone to him, and it did not take him long to make his toilet, for he slept just as he was clothed during the day. No one knew how old he was, but he was still brisk in his movements. The officer led the way to one of the deserted cabins at a considerable distance from the one occupied by Uncle Job. "He has enlisted as a seaman, and seems to be a good one. By the way, where did you learn that my cousin attempted to take the Bronx into Pensacola Bay?" asked Christy curiously, though he was using up the time he could not yet improve. "He was always sea-sick when he first went out, and it appears that he has not yet got over the habit. He was so badly off on one occasion that my father thought of taking him on shore, and sending him back to Mobile by land." "I should be extremely sorry to put a ball through your head, Captain Passford, not only because it would disfigure a handsome face, but because you may be of great use to me," replied the pirate. "Good-morning, Lieutenant Passford!" said Captain Battleton, as he extended his hand to his passenger. "I am glad to see that you are better." 203 The captain went on the bridge; but he could not see the light. He descended to the deck, and then mounted the fore-rigging. The lookout saw him, and said he could not see the light any longer; it had been in sight a couple of minutes, and then had disappeared. It was useless to look for it if gone, and Christy returned to the bridge, where Mr. Pennant was attentively studying the compass. "Bonnydale sounds like a fancy name, such as any gentleman might give to his estate, as Sunnyside was the home of Washington Irving. Is this the fact?" asked Mr. Salisbury. "I have had enough of him; remove him to the quarters," added Christy. "You do not use your left hand, captain; I hope you were not wounded in the affair this morning off St. Andrew's Bay." ufabet989 "She must be a steamer of fifteen hundred tons, and perhaps more," said Mr. Flint, after he had looked at her through his night glass. The deck was in charge of the second lieutenant, who was seeing that everything was put in order. But it might have been observed that he was more familiar with the men than was his habit. For the first time since he came on board, Corny went below to take a look at his quarters, Dave bearing his valise before him. At the same time Mr. Galvinne presented himself in the ward room to take possession of the stateroom of the first lieutenant, which was the farthest forward on the starboard side. It had been Christy's room during his service in the Gulf, though he had made himself at home in the captain's cabin when he was acting commander on the voyage from New York. Christy went below, and found Dave in the stateroom, apparently unwilling to take his eyes off the prisoner who still lay in the berth. He went to the table in the cabin, and found upon it the sheet upon which the orders had been written. They were of no use to Galvinne, and he had thrown them down as soon as he had read them. He sat down at the table and read the paper; but the order was very simple, and left all the details to the discretion of the commander, for it was understood that Captain Passford was well acquainted with the coast as far as St. Mark's. "An excellent rule. Is he aware of the fact that there is another Richmond in the field?" illustration of quoted scene "I expect they have sent all the strong ones up to work on the fortifications." The commander read his orders through. It was believed that vessels were loading with cotton there, towed down in flatboats by small steamers, and that a steamer of four hundred tons was fitting out in the bay as a privateer. It might not be practicable for the Bronx to go into the bay; but she was to do what she could to capture the 305 cotton vessels and the steamer when they came out. "I wish it had! You have bade a scarecrow of be for life!" he gasped. ufa8979 "I don't quite understand this matter," said the surgeon. "What are you doing, Mr. Passford?" 84 "I could not very well forget them in so short a time," replied Corny, upon whom the gaze of the commander had again rested as he looked about him. 360 "But that was a splendid fellow who commanded there," continued Christy with admiration. "If his guns had not been taken away from him, and his force reduced to a handful of men, we should have had to wait for the Sphinx to come out of the bay; and it might have been three weeks or a month before she concluded to do so." Upon this when it was brought he dropped a quantity of the chloroform, and applied it to the seat of the pain. In a moment the soldier cried out against the burning heat of the remedy; but the practitioner insisted that it should remain a while longer. But he relieved him of it in a short time. "I don't know, Paul; I will think of the matter, and write to you as soon as I have time. There comes the boat. Mr. Flint, have the prisoner brought on deck to be transferred to the Bellevite." Christy planked the deck with Mr. Flint just 349 abaft the foremast. Both of them were as cool and self-possessed as though they had been sitting at the cabin-table; but neither of them felt that the battle had been won, for the officer in command of the fort was evidently a man of ability, who had not yet exhausted his resources. The first lieutenant had watched the works very closely with his glass, and he had informed the captain that something was in progress there, though he could not tell what it was. "On the contrary, I do not see how he could have done otherwise, commodore, and I have expressed to him my friendly feeling," replied Christy. "I think he is a devoted and faithful officer, sir." ufaclub888 "No, you don't," interposed Mr. Blowitt. "You are commanding a little gunboat, though you are only eighteen."

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wwwufa600com "Yes, sar; but dey done tote 'em all ober to de Mis'sip Riber." "Now, give way with a will, my men!" called Mr. Pennant in brisk tones, "for we shall soon have a twenty-four pound shot chasing us out." 222 "That shows that he at least was a non-combatant," added Christy, pleased to hear this report of his uncle.

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ufa12t Neither of the two disloyal officers of the Bronx was an infant, and each struggled like a brave man against the force that attacked them. Mr. Flint had fallen upon Mr. Galvinne from behind, and had thrown him down at the first onslaught. He fought like a tiger, but with the aid of Christy and two of the men from the 167 waist, he was subdued, and Christy had a strap ready to confine his hands behind him. Then he was drawn over to the rail and made fast to a belaying pin. Christy did not go near him, but he watched him very closely. He had not long to wait before Mr. Galvinne, who was then the officer of the deck, spoke to him, and they had quite a long conversation. He could not hear a word of it; but the fact that they were intimate enough to 112 hold what appeared to be a confidential interview was enough to satisfy the prisoner that the second lieutenant was the principle confederate of his cousin. How many of the crew were "packed" for the enterprise he could form no idea. The surgeon went on deck with Christy, where he was presented in due form to Mr. Flint, though he had been introduced to him before in his former position as second lieutenant. The commander went forward to the bridge and pilot-house, and consulting the log slate, found that the last entry gave seventy-eight knots from the station. But it was foggy, as Mr. Galvinne had predicted that it would be, and the quartermaster conning the wheel said it was as "dark as a stack of black cats." Nothing could be seen in any direction, and the commander decided that it was not prudent to proceed any farther.

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ufa911bet "But what could have been his object in coming into the house?" asked the bewildered lady. "I reckon dar's one dar if he done habn't leabe yisterday."

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ฝาก10รบ100 ufa r7 The old man had no hat to touch or take off, for the mass of hair was a sufficient protection to his head; but he bowed almost to the deck, and was too timid to say a single word. "Strike one bell, Vincent!" said Mr. Flint, when the captain had given him the order to go ahead. "Dave, sir," replied he, evidently deeply impressed by the visitor for some reason not yet apparent to the captain.

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ยฟา2499 The steward lost no time in acting his part, the first step of which was to jam a handkerchief into the half-open mouth of Corny Passford; but he had been counselled to use no more force than was necessary to subdue him. Dave then turned 164 him over on his back in spite of his aimless struggles, for, as he was roused from his sound slumber, he was too much bewildered to accomplish anything like an effective resistance. The strap which Christy had provided for the purpose was used in fastening his hands behind him, and so far as Corny was concerned, the battle was fought and the victory won. "I see you are; but you decline to permit the surgeon to dress your wound. I have no more time to fool with you, and the men will put you on a berthsack forward. If you want the surgeon to attend to your wound, you have only to say so." What he had learned within the last few moments was even more perplexing than the mysterious visitation at Bonnydale. Then the appearance of Walsh on board, and his denial of his identity, were still in his mind, and he wondered whether or not all these strange circumstances had any connection. But he was standing in the presence of the commander of 49 the steamer, and he had no time to reach a conclusion of any kind, satisfactory or otherwise. "He bears your name," said Mr. Pennant.

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wwwufa169 illustration of quoted scene "I don't think it will, Galvinne. Behave like a gentleman, and we shall have no difficulty," added Corny. 132 "Into Pensacola!" exclaimed the steward, aghast at the remark.

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