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ty LOUIS JOSEPH W<
CCTYRICHT 1909 6y loui^-?oszpH "\
belicve that me luck holds, after all!"
From the bottom step of the tramp's
ladder he tossed a coin to the boat
man, then mounted to the deck. In
continently the stout man fell heavily
upon his neck with symptoms of ex
treme joy. A lull succeeding his first
transports, he wiped his eyes, beamed
upon his guest and suggested insinuat
"Brevity's ever the soul of your
,wlt, captain," said O'Rourke. "I will."
And he meekly followed Quick's bare
heels forward to the officer's quarters
beneath the bridge.
Having set him in a chair, Quick,
still a-gurgle, wandered off, unearth
ed a bottle, beamed upon his visitor,
asked a dozen questions in as many
breaths and, without waiting for an
answer, waddled off again to return
with a brace of dripping soda-water
bottles. "Schweppe's," he said, pat
ting their rotund forms tenderly;
"and the last in our lockers-all in
your honor, colonel."
^ "So?" commented O'Rourke. "Hard
.up, is it? 'Tis not the O'Rourke who
would be wishing ye ill, captain, dear,
but, faith, meself's not sorry to hear
that word this day. I'm thinking me
luck is sound, after all."
Quick had again vanished. Present
ly O'Rourke heard his mighty voice
booming down an engine-room ventila
tor. " Dravos'. Dravos, you loafer!
Come up and see a strange sight!"
He came back, still vibrant with an
elephantine sort of joy. "O'Rourke,"
he panted, mopping a damp brow with
the sleeve of his jacket, "you're a
good sight for sore eyes. Never did
we meet up with you yet but there
came a run of luck." ?
" 'Tis good hearing," said O'Rourke,
A slight little man slipped a bald
head, relieved by ragged patches of
gray hair about the temples, apolo
getically Into the cabin door.
"The top of the day to ye, Dravos!"
said O'Rourke loudly, for little Dravos
was partially deaf. "And how are the
The engineer carefully hitched up
his trousers and regarded the wander
er with temperate geniality.
"Good afternoon, Colonel O'Rourke,"
he replied, clipping his words mincing
With an Unconscious, Surprised Oath,
O'Rourke Stepped Aside.
ly. "Very nicely, I thank you."
He shook hands, sat down on the edge
of a berth with the manner of one
who fears he intrudes, and glanced
searchingly at Quick. "If you're go
ing to serve the drinks, cap'n," he
snapped acidly, "hump yourself!"
He accepted his glass with a dis
passionate air and drank hastily after
a short nod to the guest, as one who
sacrifices his personal inclinations to
the laws of hospitality. But from his
after-glow of benevolence, O'Rourke
concluded that the drink had not been
"What brings you here?" demanded
Quick in a subdued roar.
i "Tve a job for ye, if so be lt yerre
not otherwise engaged-and if ye can
Quick slapped a huge thigh delight
edly. "I knew it-could have sworn
"Can do anything," asserted Dravos
"Tis merely a question of speed,"
explained the Irishman. "Can ye make
Bombay in four days-be the fif
"Dravos," roared Quick, "how much
speed can you set out of those
"Twenty knots," snapped Dravos.
. "When can you Ball?"
I To-night," said Bravos.
"If," stipulated Quick, 1 can pict
up a crew in Aden."
" 'Tis settled then."
"We'll need a blt ot money In ad
. ?Te shall have it, within reason."
' Dravos rose and sidled towards the
door, a faraway look In his pale eyes.
Toa strike th? bargain, Quick," he
said; "I'll have a look around the
"Right-O, Bobby. ... ; Yourself
alone, I s'pose, O'Rourke?"
"And three others. Danny-"
"And two ladies; an English worn
an and her maid."
By nine o'clock the Ranee lay with
steam up, ready to weigh anchor.
It is no praise to Dravos to state
that his engines were in admirable
condition. Such was their Invariable
state. For an assistant he impressed
Into service none other than Danny
Mahone, to Danny's intense dismay.
O'Rourke took upon himself the du
ties of Amt officer under Captain
Quick. The Irishman cared little for
the sea, knew less of a first officer's
duties; but it was patent that Quick
could not stand every watch, and
O'Rourke was not to be daunted by
any such slight matter as nautical in
In the knowledge that they were
safely off at last there was poignant
relief to the wanderer, as he stood by
Quick's side, on the bridge, with mid
night imminent and the ship still and
peaceful. "I'll stand the night watch
es,"- the captain announced. "By
morning we'll be far enough out fore
you to take hold without spraining the 1
art of seamanship. G'dnight." ?
"Thank ye," said O'Rourke. In fact,
he had long been sensible that be waa i
very drowsy; the night wind in hisc
face had something to do with thatt
"Good night," he returned, and went
down the ladder to thc deck. 1
At its foot he paused, turning curi-t
ously; it seemed that surely there ?
must be some serious trouble afoot in
the crew. The Irishman could see in
the glimmer of the forecastle lantern]
a confused blur of naked, shining
brown bodies and limbs, apparently (
inextricably locked. A scream rang''
shrill and there followed the sound oil
a heavy fall. i
Overhead, on the bridge, Quick waa
roaring himself hoarse, without effect t
The sounds of shuffling, of blows, 1
harsh breathing, stifled cries, contin
ued. A knot of the contestants swept, c
whirling, aft, toward the superstruct-1
ure. Something shot singing thrrugb
the air; the wind of lt fanned]
With an unconscious, surprised oath, i
O'Rourke stepped aside, his hand go-1
lng toward his revolver. The missile i
struck a stanchion, glanced and fell <
clattering into the scuppers. Revolver]
in hand, he went forward to the rai] i
overlooking the struggling rabble oni
the de?k below. But they seemed in-1
tent only on their private differences, 1
and Quick's roars were bringing them
to their senses. Gradually the tumult i
subsided, the contestants separating:
and slinking forward to their quarters. 3
"It may have been chance."]
O'Rourke conceded a bit doubtfully.]
He swung about and moved aft slow-!
ly, examining the deck intently. In a<
moment or two he stopped and picked i
up a long, thin-bladed knlfe,t double-1
edged and keen as a razor. The point!
was broken, having doubtless been
snapped off at the moment of contact]
with the deck-house. O'Rourke turned;
it? over soberly. i
"Faith, I don't like to think lt was
intentional-but me head would havel
been split had it come two inches to]
the left." i
He returned to the bridge, calling
Quick aside. "You're armed?" ?
"Certainly-always armed when I'm?
dealing with these devils.- Why?" 1
O'Rourke scowed him the knife, j
Quick laughed at his theory. "Noth-1
lng in it," he was pleased to believe. 1
CHAPTER XXIII. 1
o - 1
The day came out of the East with j
a windy swagger; as Quick had fore-i
told, a series of thunderstorms swept?
the sea before dawn, so that it, likei
the sky, seemed newly washed, clean!
and brilliant. i
O'Rourke relieved Quick at four]
hells of the morning watch and kept
the deck for the remainder of the day, '.
his meals being brought to bim on
the bridge. His duties were simple I
enough, requiring nttie more than ai
display ot the habit of authority?
Which sat so well on his broad BBOUM
ders. It was no great trick to keep!
the crew in order: they went about
their work peaceably enough andi
showed no signs of desiring to renew]
their disputations. Otherwise he had!
to keep an eye upon the helmsman
and see that he held the Ranee to the?
course prescribed by Quick; and that1
was nothing difficult to a man of av-:
erage intelligence. Naught but deep]
water lay between them and Bombay,)
eo long as a direct course was shaped i
As the sunlit watches wore out and)
nothing untoward took place,
O'Rourke's grim apprehensions dissi-<
pated into shadows. He began to be- <
lleve with Quick that the affair of thei
winged knife was merely a hapchance
accident, quite unpremeditated. ,
Below decks, Dravos and Danny?
were standing watch-and-watch, with^
clockwork regularity, where th? for-j
mer's beloved < ngines were justifying
his confidence and pride in them and
licking knots with
ut a hitch.
Now Danny happened to have "off"
ie first afternoon watch. O'Rourke
.om the bridge saw him come up the
ngine-room companion ladder, dive
ito the messroom for his dinner, and
iter emerge, picking his teeth and
rinning self-complacency until hi?
laster could have kicked him, had
neb. a course been politic before the
rew, or even consistent with the dig
ity of his office.
"A word to say to ye, sor, If I may
lake so bold."
O'Rourke glanced at the helmsman,
nd having long since made up his
lind that the man was competent,
jft him in possession of the bridge
or a space, and joined Danny below.
"What is it?"
Danny lowered his voice to a hoarse
whisper. "Kape yer eye on thot black
He Continued to Watch the Serang.
livvie up there, sor, for the love ol
liven, and don't look surprised at
O'Rourke moved a few paces aft,
ilong the rail, to a point whence he
:ould see the head and shoulders of
he helmsman. "Well?"
" 'Tis nawthin' I cud swear to, sor,
jut 'tis meself thot's mortal leary av
hese naygurs-rapspicts to ye-and
"Come, come! Out with it. Danny."
"Sure, sor, 'tis the serang. Have
re chanced to notice him, sor?"
O'Rourke glanced down to the fore
leek, where the personage in question
?vas standing at ease. "What of him?"
ie Inquired, running his eye over the
ellow's superb proportions.
" 'Tis nawthin' I'd take me oath to,
sor, but I'm thinkln' he's the man who
loarded the Panjnab at Suez, sor.
\nd as for the naygur I run against
in the s'loon deck, yer honor, he's his
"Ah," commented O'Rourke. "Thank
He continued to watch the serang
mtil the latter, as if influenced by tho
Ixity of the Irishman's regard, turned
md stared directly into O'Rourke's
jyes. For a full minute be gave him
look for look, dark eyes steadfast and
unyielding above his fine aquiline
lose, then calmly turned his back, re
suming his contemplation of the tur
An instant later Quick came up to
relieve O'Rourke, and, eight hells
sounding, Danny dived below to take
Dravos' place. O'Rourke, unpleasant
ly impressed by the incident, still for
bore to mention it to either of the
ship's owners; he retired to jthink it
jver, and spent a long hour consum
ing an indifferent cigar and studying
the cracks in the bulkhead between
,iis room and the cabin.
Without profit, however. Lacking
more substantial proof than Danny's
suspicions, he could arrive at no defl
The night passed without incident;
:he second day dawned the counter
part of its predecessor, and wore
iway quietly enough.
It fell to O'Rourke to stand the first
log-watch, from four to six In the
?vening. Shortly after he ascended
:he bridge, it was his happiness to be
loined by Mrs. Prynne, who improved
:he moment to express her gratifica,
ion with the propitious tide In her af
fairs. The King's courier was pleased
:o declare herself very well pleased
Indeed, though she admitted, under
locular pressure, that she considered
she was roughing it. Captain Quick's
juarters were by no means palatial,
md the bill of fare, while substantial
y composed, lacked something of va
riety; but that was all a part of the
?Treat and fascinating gama she played
-the game o? secret service to His
MajeBty, Edward VII.
Not that alone, but she was com
'orted by the assurance that her voy
ige would soon be over, her mission
lischarged, her responsibility a thing
il the past. She would be glad to see
"One never knows, you know, Colo
nel O'Rourke," she said with a little
gesture expressive of her allowance
.'or the unforeseen.
O'Rourke divined she had something
jn her mind which she hesitated to
voice, though they were practically
il one; the man at the wheel was a
nonentity- bronze statue in a faded
shirt, ragged turban and soiled cum
"Then 'tis yourself will be glad, I
gather, to be rid of us, madam?"
She smiled, deprecatory. "What
Mould your' sh? aa ked In French,
sith a significant glance up into
"It's not precisely pleasant to be
sonstantly apprehensive," the Woman
jontlnuod In the ammo tongue, "even
ir ben one has a Colonel CRrrjrke to
ookjto for protection.
. (Continued on next page.)
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