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The Princeton union. [volume] (Princeton, Minn.) 1876-1976, July 18, 1901, Image 6

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83016758/1901-07-18/ed-1/seq-6/

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By
CUTCLIPF-
E HYNE.
Copyright, 1901, by Cutcliffo Hyne.
OOo0QO0 0OO00OO0oQQooOoo(
--t'M real glad to be able to
call you 'captain,' my
lad," said Owen Kettle,
and Murray, in delight
4 at his new promotion,
I wrung his old com
mander's hand again.
"You've slaved hard
enough as mate," Kettle went on.
"You've sweated and slaved so much
that your clothes hang on j^ou like a
slop chest shirt on a stanchion just
now. But you'll fill 'em out nicely by
the time you get back to England
again, my lad."
'"The pair of them liked one another
well, but the ties of discipline had
kept them icily apart up to now. Mur
ray's promotion put them on an equal
footing of grade.
"Running the Parakeet doesn't seem
to have made you very plump, skip-
per."
"Constitutional, I guess," said Kettle.
"I don't believe the food's grown that'd
make me carry flesh. I'm one of those
men that were sent into the world with
a whole shipload of bad luck to work
through before I came across any of
the soft things."
"You haven't much to grumble at
now," said Murray cheerfully. "Here
am I kicking you out of the command
of the Parakeet, to be sure. And why?
Because while you've been her old man
you've made her pay so well that the
firm's saved enough to buy a bigger
ship. They're naturally going to give
her to you to scare up more fat divi
dends. Lord," said Murray, hitting his
knee, "the chaps on board here will be
calling me the 'old man' behind my
back now."
"You'll get used to hearing the title,"
said Kettle grimly, "before you make
your pile. You'll get married, I sup
pose, on the strength of the promotion.
I saw a girl's photo nailed up in your
room."
The new captain nodded. "Got en
gaged when I passed for my master's
ticket. Ananged to be hitched so soon
as I found a ship. Well, I suppose you
go straight home by mail from Aden
here?"
"Hello! Haven't they told you?"
"My letter was only the dry, formal
announcement that you were promoted
to the new ship and I was to take over
the Parakeet."
"They don't waste their typewriter
in the office. I suppose they thought
I'd hand on ray letter if I saw fit. Read
through that," said Kettle and handed
across his news. This is how it ran:
Dear Captain KettleIla^ing noted from jour
cables and reports jou are making a good thing
for us out of tramping the Parakeet, we lme
pleasure in tiansfeinng jou to cui new boat
which is now bunding on the Clyde. She will be
3,500 tons, and we may take out passenger certifi
cate Jc-ir w$ge on htr will be 2t per month,
^vs
~"~8"e^*
|j_ nt commission, as before, but for
the piesent, till this new boat is finished, we
want jou to gne o^er command of the Parakeet to
Murrey and take on a new job. Our Mr. Ale\ander
Bird has recently bought the wreck of the steam
ship Grecian, and we aro sending out a steamer
with di\ers and full equipment to get the saHage.
We wish jou to go on board this vessel to watch
over our interests. We give you full control and
have notified Captain Tazzuchi, at present in com
mand, to this effect.
"Birds are getting on," said Murray.
"But I've big doubts about three new
boats all at one bite. One they might
manage on a mortgage. But three? I
don't think it. Old Ikey's too cau
tious."
"Messrs. Bird ate your owners and
mine," said Kettle significantly.
"Oh," said the newly made captain,
"I'm not one of your old fashioned sort
that thinks an owner a little tin god!"
"My iew is," said Kettle, "that your
owner pays jou and so is entitled to
your 1 expect so long as he is your own
er, but you've got such a big notion of
your own lights that we're not likely
"Roio do you think those crafty imps
have managed it?" he cried.
to agree. Besides, you've got to check
my accounts and see I've left it all for
you shipshape. See you again before I
go away, and we'll have a drop of
whisky together to wish the Para
keet's new 'old man' a pile of luck."
At the edge of the harbor Aden bak
ed under the sun. The salvage steam
er rolled at her anchor at the opposite
Bide of the harbor, and Kettle and two
portmanteaus were transshipped direct
in one of the Parakeet's boats.
He was-received on board by an af
fable Italian, who introduced himself
as Captain Tazzuchi. The man spoke
perfect English and was hospitality
personified. Tazzuchi put the best
room, in the ship at his guest's dis
posal and .said that anything that
could act for his comfort should be
done forthwith.
"Y'know, captain," said Tazzuchi,
"this Is what you call a 'dago' ship,
ind we serve out country wine as a
tegular ration. But I thought perhaps
ou' like your own home wayff best,
.n so I've ordered the ship's chandler
|ishore to send off a ca'se of Scotch,
knd I sent also for some London pic
kles. I know how you English like
four pickles."
In fact, all that a man could do in
ihe way of outward attention Taz
mchi did, but somehow oi other Cap
tain Kettle got a suspicion of him
from the very first moment of their
meeting.
Perhaps it was because the civility
^as a little unexpected and even effu
sive. Putting himself in the Italian's
|lace Kettle certainly would not have
one out of his way to be pleasant to
I foreigner who .was sent practically
lo supersede himTn command.
But perhaps a second letter which
lie had received had something to do
tvith this hostile feeling. It was from
[he same hand which had written the
jinn's formal letter, but it was couched
|n quite a different vein. Isaac Bud
tvas evidently seared for his very com
jnercial existence, and he thrust out
ais arms to Kettle on paper as his only
fcavior. It seemed that Alexander
pird, the younger brother, had been
running a little wild of late. The
wreck of the Grecian had been put up
to auction. Alexander strolled into
the room by accident and bought at an
exorbitant figure. He came and an
nounced his purchase to Isaac, declar
ing it as an instance of his fine busi
ness instincts. Isaac set it down to
Whisky, and recriminations followed.
Alexander in a huff said he would go
out and overlook the salvage opera
tions in person. But forthwith Alex
ander, still in his cups, gets to brawl
ing and is next discovered in hospital
With a broken thigh.
"I have found Alexander's depart
ment of the business very tangled,"
wrote Isaac, "and the thought of this
new complication drove me near crazj7
Salvage is out of our line. Alexander
should never have touched it. But
there it is money paid, and I've had to
borrow. And engaging that Italian
firm for the job was the best thing 1
could manage. What English firms
wanted was out of all reason. I don't
wonder at Lloyd's selling wrecks for
anything they will fetch. A pittance
in cash is better than getting into the
bands of these sharks. And what guar
antee have I that the firm will see even
the money outpaid again, let alone rea
sonable interest? None."
There were several words erased here,
and the writer went on with what was
evidently considered a dramatic finish.
'But stay,' I say to myself. 'You
|have Kettle. He is down in the Red
sea now doing ell. l'ou had all along
intended to promote him Do it now
and set him to overlook this Italian
salvage firm while the new boat is
building. He is the one to see that
Isaac Bird's foot doth not fall, for Cap
tain O. Kettle is a godly man also.'
The letter was shut off conventional
ly enough with the statement that the
writer was Captain Kettle's truly and
ended in a postscriptum tag to the ef
fect that the envoy should still draw
his 2*4 per cent on net results. The ac
tual figures had evidently not been con
ceded without a mental wrench, as the
erasion beneath them showed.
However, although in his recent pros
perity Kettle had assumed a hatred for
risks and bred a strong dislike for all
those commercial adventures which lay
beyond the ordinary rut and routine
of trade, he took up his duties on the
salvage steamer with a stout heart and
a cheerful estimate for the future.
Murray tooted him cheerful farewells
on the Parakeet's siren as the little
Italian salvage boat steamed out of
Aden harbor, and ensigns were dipped
with due formality. Tazzuchi was all
hospitality. He invited Kettle to dam
age his palate with a black Italian
"Virginia" cigar with a straw up the
middle he uncorked a bottle of the
Scotch whisky and put it ready for ref
erence when his guest should feel
atbiist.
Kettle accepted it all with a dry
civility. He had every expectation of
upsetting this man's plans for robbery
later on. Though it was Tazzuchi who
presented the Virginias, he took it for
granted that Messrs. Bird, Bird & Co.
had paid for them, and he was not
averse to accepting a little luxury from
the firm.
The wreck of the Grecian was out of
the usual steam lane. She had, it ap
peared, got off her course in a fog, two
of her compartments had been stove in,
and then she had been steered for the
shore in the wild attempt to beach her
before she sank. She had ceased float
ing, however, with some suddenness,
and when the critical moment came
not all of her people managed to scrape
oft? with their lives in the boats. Those
that got away found themselves in a
gale, *md when they were picked up
could only give her whereabouts vague
ly. However, they stated that the Gre
cian's mast trucks remained above the
water surface, and this fact was
brought out strongly by the auctioneer
who sold the wreck and had due influ
ence on the enterprising Alexander.
The salvage steamer wandered for
several days among an intensely dan
gerous archipelago and many times
over bad narrow escapes from piling
up her bones on one or another of those
.reefs with which the Red sea in that
auarter abounds. Tazzuchi navigated
mv In an ecstasy of nervousness, and
Kettle, who regarded himself as a pas
senger for the time being, kept a pri
vate store of food and water bottles
bandy and, saw that one of the quarter
boats was ready for hurried lowering.
But nowhere did they see those muct
talked about mast trucks. They did
not sight so much as a. scrap of float
,tog wreckage.
There seemed, however, a good many
dhow coasters dodging about in and
tmong the reefs, and from these Ket
tle presently drew a deduction.
"Look here," he said to Tazzuchi one
morning,, "what prevents those gentry
ashore from having found the wreck
already? I guess they aren't out here
taking week end trippers for sixpenny
yachting cruises." "^"s 'l,V*V *J|5
"No," said Tazzuchi. ''and" they are
not fishing."
"Well, I give you the tip for what It's
worth," said Kettle, and that afternoon
the steamer jvas run up alongside a
dhow, which tried desperately to es
cape. Her captain was dragged on
board, and at that juncture Captain
Kettle took upon himself to go below.
He knew what would probably take
place, and, though he disapproved of
such methods strongly, he felt he could
not interfere.
But presently came a noise of bel
lowing from the deck above, and then
that was followed by shrill screams as
the upper gamut of agony was reached.
Kettle was prepared for rough han
dling, but at information gained by ab
solute torture he drew the line. It was
clear that these cruel beggars of Ital
ians were going too far.
"By James," he muttered to himself,
"owners or no owners, I can't stand
this!" And he started hurriedly to go
back to the deck. But before he reach
ed the head of the companionway the
The shovel jarred against something solid
underfoot.
cries of pain ceased, and so he stood
where he was on the stair and waited.
The engines rumbled, and the steamer
once more gathered way. A clamor of
barbaric voices reached him which
gradually died into quietude. It was
clear they were leaving the dhow be
hind.
Captain Kettle drew a long bicath.
They would stick at little, these dagos,
in getting the salvage of the Giecian,
and it seemed preposterous to suppose
that once they gripped the specie in
their own fingers they woujd ever give
it up for the paltry pay which had
been offered by Bird, Bird & Co. Their
own poverty was aching. Still, the
poverty of these Italians was no con
cern of his. They were paid servants
of the owners, and it was his duty to
see that they earned their hire He
took it that he was one against the
whole ship's company, but the odds did
not daunt him. On the contrary, his
old fighting spirit, which had been of
late hustled into the background by
smug commercial prosperity, came
back to him. And, besides, he had al
ways at his call that exquisite pride of
race which has so many times given
victory to the Anglo-Saxon over the
Latin.
By a sort of instinct he buttoned up
his trim white drill coat and stepped
out on deck. There would be no scuffle
yet awhile. With the specie yet snug
ly stored on the sea floor, the dirty,
untidy Italians were still all affability.
Indeed, as soon as he appeared, Taz
zuchi himself stepped down off the
upper bridge to give him the news.
"How do you think those crafty
imps have managed it?" he cried, with
a gesture. "Why, they dived down
and cut off her masts below water
level. The funnel was out of sight al
ready. They just thought they were
going to have the skimming of that
wreck themsehes. No wonder we
couldn't pick her up."
"Cute beggars," said Kettle.
"I've begged a pilot. If he takes us
there straight, he gets backsheesh. I
think," said Captain Tazzuchi, with a
Wide smile, "that he'll take us there
the quickest road."
"Shouldn't wonder," said Kettle.
"But don't be surprised if his friends
some round and make things ugly."
"Let them come. We were ready for
this sort of entertainment when we
Bailed. If there is any trouble, we shall
Bhoot, and if we begin that game we
shall just imagine they are Abyssfni
ans and shoot to kill."
Under the black captive's guidance
the salvage steamer soon put a term
to her search. For two more hours she
threaded her way among surf which
broke over unseen reefs and swung
round the capes of a rocky archipelago,
and then the pilot gave his word, and
the engines were stopped, and a rusty
bable roared out till an anchor had got
hold of the ground. A boat was low
ered away with air pump already
Stepped amidships, and the boat's crew
frith eager hands assisted the diver to
make his toilet.
"Your chaps seem keen enough," said
Kettle as he watched the trail of air
bubbles which showed the man's prog
ress on the sea floor below.
"They have each got a stake in the
venture."
"I bet they have," was Kettle's grim
comment to himself.
The kidnaped skipper of the dbow, it
seemed, had done his pilotage with a
fine accuracy. The salvage steamer
had been anchored In a good position,
and between them two divers in two
boats found the Grecian's wreck in half
an hour.
They came up to the ttir for a quar
ter of an hour's spell and made their
tanouncement, and then the copper hel-
mets were clapped Into place again, and
once more they faded away into the
depths. A gabble of excited Italians
kept pace to the turning of the ail
pumps, and of that language Kettle
knew barely a score of words. Prac
tically these people might have weaved
any kind of a plot noisily and under his
very nose without his being any the'
wiser, and this possibility did little to
quell his suspicions.
But still Tazzuchi was all outward
frankness. "It's as well we brought
out this little steamboat just to skim
the wreck and survey her," he said. "If
they'd waited to fit out a big salvage
expedition to raise her straight off, I
reckon there wouldn't have been much
left but iron plates and coal bunkers.
These Red sea niggers are pretty useful
at looting, once they start. The beg
gars can dive pretty nearly as well and
as long in their naked skins as their
betters can in a proper diving suit."
Each time the divers came up from
the opaque white water they brought
more reports. Binnacles, whistle, wheels
and all movable deck fittings were gone
already. The charthouse had been loot
ed down to the bare boards. Hatches
were off both forward and aft, and al
ready the cargo had begun to diminish.
The black men of the district had been
making good use of their time.
News came from the cool, mysterious
water to the baking region of air above
almost at the second hour of the search
that the Grecian could never be re
floated. In addition to the holes al
ready made in two of her compart
ments, she had settled on a sharp jag
of rock, which had pierced her in a
third place, aft. This one piece of rock
was the only solid spot in the neighbor
hood. All the rest of the sea floor was
pulpy white clay, and in this the unfor
tunate wreck had settled till already it
was flush with her lower decks. There
were evidences, to, that the^ooze was
creeping higher every day, so that ail
that remained was to strip her as quick
ly as might be before she was swallow
ed up.
Tazzuchi asked Captain Kettle for
his opinion that night while in the
charthouse. "I'm to be guided by
you, of course," he said, "but my idea
is that we should go for the specie first
thing and let everything else slide till
that's snugly on board here. Birds
gave 5,400 for the wreck, and there's
8,000 in cash down there iu a room
they built specially for it over the
shaft tunnel If we can grab that, it
will pay our expenses and commission
and all the other actual outlay, and
Birds will be out ot the wood."
"Yes," thought Kettle "you want
those gold boxes in your hands, you
blessed dago, and then you'll begin to
play your monkey tricks. I wonder if
you think you're going to jam a knife
into me by way of making things snug
and safe?"
But aloud he expressed agreement to
Captain Tazzuchi's plan. He felt that
this was diplomacy, and, though the
diplomatic art was new and strange to
him, he told himself that it was the
correct weapon to use under the cir
cumstances. He had risen out of his
old grade of hole and corner shipmas
ter. He was a captain in a regular line
now, and wild flights and scrimmages
were beneath the dignity of his posi
tion.
Accordingly, as soon as dawu gave a
waking light the boats put out again,
and the divers were given orders to
put all their efforts into getting the
specie boxes on to the end of the sal
vage steamer's winch chain. A lot of
dhows were showing here and there
among the reefs, obviously 'watching
them, and Tazzuchi was beginning to
get nervous.
"We're in for trouble, I'm afraid," he
said to Kettle. "That rock on which
she's settled astern has made a hole in
her you could drive a cart through."
"Well?" "Didn't you bear the report they've
just sung off from the boats? Ob, I
forgot you don't understand Italian.
Well, the news is that the rock's split
a hole in the bottom of the strong room,
and those gold boxes have toppled
through."
"And buried themselves in the slime?"
"That's it. And Lord knows how
many feet they've sunk. It's dreadful
stuff to dig among slides in on you as
soon as you start to dig and levels up
They'll have to brattice as they work.
It'll be a big job."
All that day Kettle watched the sea
with an anxious eye. From below the
mud came up in white billows, and out
beyond, in and among the reefs and
along the distant shore, swung and
shimmered in the heat haze hungry
dhows prowling like carrion birds tem
porarily driven away from a prey.
Tazzuchi and the chief engineer bus
ied themselves in binding together
fragments of fire bars with iron wire.
The Italian shipmaster had a great no
tion of the damage his signal guns
could do against a dhow if they were
provided with orthodox solid shot. As
soon as the second night came down
and the darkness became fairly fixed
in hue there began to crackle out of
the distance a desultory rifle fire from
every quarter of the compass. It was
not very heavy. At the outside there
were not a score of weapons firing, but
It was annoying for all that, and as
the marksmen and their vessels were
completely swallowed up by the black
ness of the night it was impossible to
repay their compliments in kind.
Morning showed the damage of one
port window smashed, two panes gone
from the engine room skylight and the
air pump in one of the boats alongside
with a plunger neatly cut into two
pieces, but there was a spare air pump
in store, and after dawn came work
went on as usual. The dhows came no
nearer neither did they go much far
ther away. Tazzuchi, full of enthusi
asm for his artillery, tried a carefully
aimed shot at one of the largest, but
the explosion was quite outdone in
noise by the cackle of laughter which
followed It. So slow was the flight of
the missile that the eye could trace It.
So short was its journey and so curved
its trajectory that it came very near to
hitting one of the boats of the divers.
"Well," thought Kettle, "these are
pretty cool hands for dagos anyway.
I'm going to hat a fine tough time of
Jt when my part of the scuffle comes."
That night he had a still further taste
of their quality. So soon as darkness
fell the dhows closed in again and re
commenced their sniping. They kept
under way, and so it did little enough
cood to aim back at the flashes. But
Tazzuchi and half a dozen keen spir
its got down into one of the boats with
their rifles and knives and a drum of
paraffin and pulled away silently into
the blackness.
There was silence for quite half an
hour, and the suspense on the anchored
steamer was vivid enough to have
shaken trained men. Yet these Italian
artificers and merchant seamen seemed
to take it as coolly as though such sor
ties were an everyday occurrence. B%t
at the end of that time there was a
splutter of -shots, a few faint squeals,
and then a bonfire lighted up away
the darkness. The blaze grew rapidly
and showed in its heart the outline of a
dhow with human figures on it. With
promptness every man on the steamer
emptied his rifle at the mark and con
tinued the fusillade till the dhow was
deserted.
Tazzuchi and his friends returned in
the boat safe and jubilant, and for the
rest of that night the little salvage
steamer was left in quietude. With the
next daybreak the divers and their at
tendants once more plied themselves to
labor. Kettle as he watched was amaz
ed to see the energy they put into it.
Certainly they seemed keen enough to
get the specie weighed and on board.
Whatever the piratical pious they had
got made up were e-s idently for after
ward.
But when day after daj passed and
none of the treasure was brought to
the surface he began to modify this
original opinion. Tazzuchi, translating
the divers' reports, said that the cause
of the delay was the softness of the
sea floor. The heavy chests had sunk
deep into the ooze, and directly a spade
ful of the horrible slime was dug away
more slid in to fill the gap. Of course
this might be true, but suspicion had
got so deep a hold on Captain Kettle's
mind he began to cudgel his brain for
some new method by which the Ital
ians could serve his pmpose. He put
himself supposititiously in Tazzuchi's
place and made pnatical theoiies by
the score. Most of them he had to dis
miss after examination as impractica
ble, but finally one stood out beyond all
the rest.
For one thing, it did not want many
participants, only the actual dhers
and Tazzuchi himself. For another, it
would not brand the whole gang of
them as criminals and pirates, but,
properly managed, would make them
rich without any advertised stigma or
stain. In simple words, the method
was this: The gold boxes must be re
moved from their original site and hid
den elsewhere under the water close at
hand. The friendly slime would bury
them snugly out of sight. The old re
port of "un-get-at-able" would be ad
hered to, and finally the steamer would
give up further salvage operations as
hopeless and steam away to port.
There Tazzuchi and his friends would
charter a small vessel of their own
and go back for the plunder.
Kettle felt all an unimaginative
man's complacency in ferreting out
such a dramatic scheme and began to
think next upon the s#omewhat im
portant detail of how to get proofs be
fore he commenced to frustrate it.
Chance seemed to make Tazzuchi play
into his hand. The air pump which
had been damaged by the rifle bullet
had been mended by the steamer's en
gineers, and as there were two or
three spare diving dresses on the ship
Captain Tazzuchi expressed his inten
tion of making a descent in person to
inspect the progress.
"I didn't do it before because I
didn't want to make the men break
time. Will you come off in the boat
with me, captain, and hand my lite
line?"
"I'll borrow one of those spare
dresses and share the pump with you,"
said Kettle.
Tazzuchi was visibly startled. "What
do you mean?"
"The pump will give air for two, and
I'm coming down with you."
"But you know nothing about div
ing, and you may have an accident."
"Oh, I'll risk that. You must nurs
ery maid me a bit."
Tazzuchi lowered his voice. "To tell
the truth, I'm going to pay a surprise
visit. I want to make sure those chaps
below are doing the square thing. If
they aren't, there'll be a row, and
they'll use their knives."
"H'm!" said Kettle. "I've got no use
for your local weapon as a general
thing, but at a pinch like this I'll bor
row a knife of you, and if it comes to
any one cutting my air tube you'll find
I can use it pretty mischievously."
"I wish you wouldn't insist on this,"
said Tazzuchi persuasively.
"I'm going to, anyway."
"I'm going down merely because it's
my duty."
"That's the very same reason that's
taking me, captain. I must ask you
not to make any more objections. I'm
a man that never chaages his mind,
once it's made up."
Whereupon Tazzuchi shrugged his
shoulders and gave way.
"Now," thought Kettle to himself,
"that man's made up his mind to kill
me if he gets a glimmer of a chance,
and, as I'm not going to get wiped out
this journey, he'll do with a lot of
watching."
Captain Owen Kettle's nerve and in
domitable courage were never more se
verely tried than in this voluntary de
scent in the diving dress. The world
beneath the waters was strange and
dangerous to him his companion was
a man against whom he held the black
est suspicion tie men at the pump,,.*
(whose language he did not understand)^^i''
might at any "moment cut off his air"f
supply and leave him to drown like a
puppy under a bucket. They hung the
weights over his chest and back, and
Tazzuchi signed to him to descend.
Kettle hitched round the sheath knife
to the front of his belt and signed, with
politeness, "After you."
Tazzuchi did not argue the matter.
He got on the ladder and climbed down
out of sight. Kettle followed. The
chill of the water crept up and closed
over his head. He reached the end of
the ladder, slid down a rope, and when
he reached the bottom he sank up to
his knees in inpalpable mud. He could
foggily see Tazzuchi a few paces away
waiting for him, and he went up to
him at once. If the men in the boat,
acting on orders, cut his air tube, he
wanted to be in a position to cut
Captain Tazzuchi's also with prompt
ness.
However, everything went peacefully
just then. The Italian set off down a
track in the slime, and Kettle waded
laboriously after him. It was terrible
work making a passage through that
white, glutinous ooze, but they came to
the wreck directly and, working round
her rusted flank, stood beside a great
shallow pit, where two weird looking,
gray sea monsters showed in dim out
line through the dense fog of the wa
ter.
The two newcomers stood for long
enough before the two workers ob
served them. But one chanced to look
up and see them watching and jogged
the other with his spade, and then both
fran'tically beckoned the visitors to
come down into the pit. Tazzuchi led,
and Kettle followed, wallowing down
the slopes of slime, and there at the
bottom, in the dim, milky light, one
of the professional divers slipped a
shovel into his hand and thrust it
down till it jarred against something
solid underfoot.
It was clear they had come upon the
gold boxes, and they wished to impress
upon the visitors, in underwater dumb
show of triumph, that the find had only
been made that very minute. Ponder
ously booted feet did a dance of ecstasy
in three feet of gluey mud, and mean
while Kettle, with a hand on the haft
of his knife, edged away from this un
canny demonstration lest some one
should slit his air tube before he could
prevent it.
He had seen what he wanted he had
no reason to wait longer. The gold
boxes were there, and if they were not
brought to the surface and carried hon
estly to Suez the matter would have to
be fought out above in God's open air
and not in that horrible, choking quag
mire of slime and water. And so, still
guarding himself cannily, he got back
again to the boat and almost had it in
him to shake hands with the men who
eased him of that intolerable helmet.
Now, far be it from me to laise even
a suspicion that Captain Owen Kettle
resented the fact that he had been rob
bed of a scuffle when the little salvage
steamer actually did bring up in Suez
harbor with the specie honestly locked
in one of her staterooms. But that he
was violently angry he admits himself
without qualification. He says he kick
ed himself for being such a bad judge
of men.
The Parakeet was in there when they
arrived, rebunkering for the run home,
and Murray came off as fast as a crew
could drive his boats to inquire the
news.
He accosted Tazzuchi with a vigorous
handshake and a "Hello, Fizz-hookey,
old man! How goes it? Who'd have
thought of seeing you here? Howdy,
Captain Kettle? Had good fishing?"
"Do you know Captain Tazzuchi?"
"Somewhat. Why, we were both
boys on the Conway together."
"You're making some mistake. Cap
tain Tazzuchi is an Italian."
"Oh, am I?" said Tazzuchi. "Not
much of the dago about me except the
name."
"Well, you never told me that be-
fore."
"You never asked me that I know of.
I speak about enough of the lingo to
carry on duty with, and I serve on an
Italian ship because I couldn't get a
skipper's billet on anything else. But
I'm as English as either of you. Great
Scott! Captain Kettle, can't you tell a
dago yet for sure?"
Murray laughed. "Well, come across
and discuss it in the Parakeet. I've got
a case of champagne on board to wet
my new ticket."
"Stay half a minute," said Tazzuchi
"w7e'll
just get those boxes of gold down
into your boat, Murray, and ferry them
across. They're too big a temptation to
leave handy for the crew there is on
board here."
"Phew!" said Kettle. "It's hot here
in Suez! Great James! To think of the
way I've been sweating aboard this
blame ship without a scrap of need of
it. Here, hunry up with the lucre box
es. I want to get across to the old Par
akeet and wash the taste of a lot of
things out of my mouth."
Japanese Babies.
The Japanese baby is a model baby
so far as keeping quiet is concerned^
He-may be seen as he is carried on tJzT
shoulders of little brothers or sisters
while they run about in earnest play
or attending to various duties. His
head bobs up and down or lies over
on his shoulder without any support,
and, as it is uncovered, it is freely ex
posed to the heat of the blazing sun.
One would think the brains of the
children would be well nigh roasted
by the heat. They are, however, sel
dom heard to cry as they are carried
in this fashion through the streets by
their brothers and sisters. It has often
been the subject of remark that Jap
anese babies are so seldom known ta
cry, and no satisfactory explanation
has yet been given for their phenom
enal respect for the comfort of others.
In this regard.Book World.
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