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MEADE COUNTY; NEWS. MEADE, KANSAS.
"Contraband By THE INDIAN CHIEF HAS BEEN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AND IS ALMOST A WRECK HOLLIS MEETS THE OWNER AND LEARNS SHIP'S DESTINATION Synopsis Robert ITollls, who tells the story, is a guest on Girard Carrington's yacht, Esmeralda. It is supposed to be a "stag" party, and IIollls Is surprised on discovering a woman, who evidently wishes to remain unknown aboard. She merely tells him her name Is Vara. Carrlngton tells his guests of the coming war, and that he Is engineering a copper pool. The yacht is sunk in a collision and IIol lls saves McCann, Millionaire, and one of the party. Hollls and Mc Cann rescue Vera and leave the ship in a small boat. McCann re fuses to submit to the authority of Hollls, and the Intter enforces obe dience. The castaways are sighted by a ship, the Indian Chief, which takes them aboard. CHAPTER VIII Continued. "The lady was sent Into the cabin, sir, and given a stateroom where she could fix herself up a bit," he answered soberly. "The other feller bad a heap 'of a lot to say, an' seemed to have some sorter grudge against you. I hadn't any time to listen to his yarn, so I naturally turned him over to the bosum, ter have thet eye dressed. He must have got a peach o' a swipe, sir." "I had to hit him yes; but we enn talk of that later. Where Is he now?" , "In the galley, sir, where they're heating some water. After they get him fixed up, Is he to go aft, or for rard?" "Aft, If yon have room to spare ; he Is no sallorman, but a millionaire from New Tork; he has money to burn." The fellow looked at me with his mouth wide open, his glistening eyes almost laughable. . "The devil you say, sir ; he don't look the part to my notion. Tou was all part of a yacht party?" . Tes, the Esmeralda, a steam yacht, owned by Gerald Carrlngton of New Tork. We were run down about a hundred miles east of Montauk by a big liner, which must have been out of her course. She cut us square In two, but, excepting us three, all living on board got away in the bonts. By acci dent we were left, and escaped later in the dinghy." "What became of the liner?" "She picked up the boats, and, think ing they had all the survivors, went on. She was a mall bout, likely. The yacht went down five minutes after we left her; we've been afloat ever since. Now, Mr. Musters, that's our story in brief. What's the trouble here?" "I'll tell yer enough to mnke it clear, sir," he said slowly, "although there Is others on board who cun explain more in detail. You're a senmati or was once so you'll see easily the sorter fix we're in. I'm the only officer left on the hooker, nnVl couldn't navigate' a ship if you'd give It to me. I'm only the chief engineer," on' my assistant Is In the fo'castle with a broken leg. Tou see thet riffle for-rard, sir? Well, it wus lightning did that.. Two bolts, so the crew says, fer I wus down below, an' never knew whut happened till the electrics all went out. Then I shut off steam, and dumb out on deck. Lord, but it wus a black night, raining cats and dogs, but no wind to speak of. It wus the rain what saved us, for fire started yonder yer can see where it burned but it died out of Itself. When morning come we saw whut wo was up against; it looked a lot sight worse then than It does now.. Them bolts of lightning bed knocked the foremast Into smithereens, killed the wheels man, and put the steering gear plumb out o' commission. Then the top mast an' spars Just naturully wrecked the bridge, and charthouse, an' the whole mass caught fire. The second officer was In the wheelhouse, sir, an' never knew what hit him, a a' both the captain an' he first officer wus a standin' tergether on the bridge. The top mast crushed the life out of 'em. There wus six sullormen hurt the same way, an' four of 'em died. It wus the durndest mess I ever saw at sea, sir." 1 "Bad enough, surely; when did this happen?" "Night afore last; we've cleaned up a bit since, but the crew, won't work much tinder me' an we're short handed. I rigged up this wheel nft, so as to keep an engine going, and hung on, waiting for something to turn up. There wasn't nothing else I could do." "No, I presume not," uud my eyes rested thoughtfully on the scene for- ward. "How is the hull sound? Tou seem sunk deeply." "That's cargo, sir; full to the hatches. The fchlp's dry ns a bone; have had the well sounded every three hours." "And what about the crew?" "Just so. so; a crimp brought them aboard drunk, an' we were not at sea long enough for the mates to whip them into shape when this thing hap pened. I'm no deck officer, Mr. Hollls, and they don't ta';e orders from me Tery well. I call Vni a d d hard lot" I made no comment, endeavoring to turn all these facts over in my mind, and reach some decision. It was evi dent enough what was wanted, aud Randal Pamsh Copyright A. C McCIurg & Co, how I could best serve; but would they De sutlstled with the offer which I felt willing to make? It was fur from my desire to assume command of the In dian Chief, and guide her destinies on a long outward voyage, to whatever port her cargo had been consigned. What that port was made slight dif ference, for my whole desire was to return as quickly as possible to New York. I would, however, assume tern- porary command, and consent to navi gate the vessel to the nearest Amerl- can port, where a competent skipper mignt De procured, and a new crew ob tained. The Indian Chief possessed no wireless outfit, and whatever I did must be on my own Judgment These considerations flashed swiftly through my mind, and I attained decision be fore Musters again spoke. I would navigate the bout to the nearest port on the American coast, notlfv tho own ers, and then leave them to do as they pleased with vessel and crew. I cared nothing for the salvage; the presence of the disabled steamer in these wa ters had saved our lives, which was reward enough surely. All I cured for was to get myself and the younc lndv safe ashore. My thought was inter rupted by the sound of Musters' voice. "It sorter Bcemed to mo, Mr. Hol lls," he wns saying, "that maybe it would be best for me to explain these things before you went into the cnhin. Tou'U naturally wnnt to know Just the condition before you decide what to do." "I have decided, Masters," I an swered briefly. "There is only one thing I cun do legully, . and that Is navigate the Indian Chief to the nenr- est American port, and surrender her to Her owners. As a licensed captain of steam I have authority to assume command to this fcxtont, but no more." "I reckoned you would look at it that way; sir. I'm no sea lawyer, but I sorter figured it out about ns you do. But that ain't tho situation ex actly." , . "What isn't?" ; ; " ! "Why, this owner business, sir. Ton see, the owner of the Indian Chief, an every pound o' cargo below hatches. Is on board here." "The owner is on board I". "That's the gospel truth: that's whv I took the trouble to keep you here, and tell you what I have, before you went down and met him. sir. It uives you n chance to think out your best course." "But if the man Is aboard, why did he not appear on deck to give us "wel come? Surely our arrival must have been of Interest?" "Likely as not he hasn't eveu heiinl jet that you are abourd. Tou sec. his cabin is on the starboard side astern, and he would see nothing from them ports. Besides, Mr. llollis, he Is Iume, and It is a bit hard for him to get around on a ship without help. Whut do you say, sir? Shall we go down now, an talk it over below?" "The sooner the better," 1 wild, with a glance over the port rail. "The fog is thickening out yonder, and we may have a rough night. Tho steamer would ride n heavy sea better with some more of thut riffie overbourd." CHAPTER IX. Contraband of War. The knowledgo that the owner was actually, on board changed the entire situation. I would have to argue It out with him undoubtedly, for quite naturally he would object to any re turn to un American port Well, I might be in for a disagreeable inter view, hut I had made up my mind, aud It was not to be changed by uny blus ter or offer of high wages. "Come on, Masters," I said brusque ly. "Let's get this over with." The after cabin extended from rail to rail, the door opening directly from the main deck. There were two cabins astern, occupying apparently the full width of the vessel, and the engineer rapped with his knuckles on the panel of the nenrest door. There was no re sponse, but n second attempt resulted In a voice bidding us enter. It was a pleasant enough Interior, lighted by two ports, but showing no attempt at decoration. A man arose from one of the chairs and faced us, the light from the stern port shining full upon him. He was tall, deilcate Icoklug, his features beuring marks of ' puln, yet certulnly not over thirty years of age. He was not at all like what I hud expected to see, and I faced him in surprise. He had taken a step toward us, limping slightly, but at sight of a stranger paused. "Whom have you here, Masters?" he asked, his eyes on my face. "Is there another vessel near us?" "No, sir," and the engineer stood, hat In hand, awkwardly shifting his weight. "We have picked up some castaways. This man here Is Captain Hollls, lute of the Atlas line." "Indeed;" he held out his hand to me, bis eye? looking directly Into mine. "I regret your misfortune, sir, but your coming is a godsend to us. Tour ship was wrecked?" "Sunk In collision," I answered. "But it was not my ship; I have not been to sea for several yours in any position of command. On this occasion I was a guest on board a steam yacht belong ing to Gerald Carrlngton of New Tork. The nume of the vessel was the Esme ralda. I need not relate the details Just at present, but three of us have been picked up by this ship." "Three all passengers?" "Tes one was a woman." "Tet, if I understand Masters aright, you have been In the merchant serv ice?" "In every capacity; when I retired, I wus captain of the freighter Vulcan." He stood silent a moment, thought fully considering me, und I could not determine whether or not he was alto gether pleased. Flnully, huvlng appar ently reached some' decision, his gaze shifted to the face of the burly engi neer. "I will talk with Captain Hollls," he said quietly, "and perhaps you hud bet ter return on dck. Masters, and keep nn eye out; the fog thickens, and we are In the track of ships." "Very well, sir." As the door closed behind the engi neer's bulky figure, the owner ' mo tioned me to a eliulr, whilo he took an other himself. "I hardly know how best to approach my subject," he said soberly. "If you were merely a shipwrecked merchant captain, I could make you a rather at tractive offer; but, as you have retired from the sea, that 'would probably prove no special inducement." "The pay, you mean? Well, hardly; I have no desire for a berth." "So I supposed, or else you would scarcely have been one of Carring ton's guests for a yachting cruise. I presume Masters told you the fix we are In?" "Yes, ns strange nn accident as I ever heard of at sea. Tou have got to have a navigator, and I am perfectly willing to serve you so far as I can. I owe you this for picking us up' from an open boat. With, your permission,, sir, and without mentioning pay, I will agree to tuke command of the Indian Chief, and sail, her tb' the; nearest American port, where you can procure officers, and, if necessary, a, new crew." He snt silent, one wh'ite hand crum pling li paper on the desk, his forehead creased, the lines of his face showing clearly. He appeared to hesitate, un; certain how best to answer me. "I I certainly appreciate your of fer. Captain Hollls. It is a most lib eral one, because, If I know anything of maritime law, you would be Justly entitled to high compensation for thus "The Owner Is on Boardl" saving both ship and cargo. I had ia tended offering you at least thnt was my first thought the sum of three hundred a month to take command, the contract to remain In force after the conclusion of this voyage, if you so de sired. This you will not consider? The money argument ha weight?" I smiled, but shook my head. "Then there Is nothing, left me, ex cept to appeal to your humanity," he went on, leaning forward, his eyes on mine. "You belong, I suspect, to my class, and I can give you my confi dence, trust you with my secret. Is this not true?" "I hope, I am worthy i such rfalth." The Best Sea Story of the War That Has Been Written I answered wonderlngly, as he paused. "I repose that faith In you, and ask you to face this situation from my standpoint. I am the sole owner of the Indian Chief, and also of her cargo. Every dollar I possess on this earth is tied up on board this vessel. That is why I sailed as supercargo; I dare not trust the venture to anyone else. Under the hatches I have a cargo val ued at nearly hnlf a million dollars. It was purchased and shipped on the strength of a contract signed by a high ofllelul of one of the European governments, yet the responsibility of payment rests upon myself and a few intimate friends. If the Indian Chief safely discharges this cargo, within a designated time, at a certain port, or contingent thereto, I shall make a for tune, and retain my honor ns a mer chant If not, then I am a ruined man, Mr. Hollls, and my reputation is gone also." "What port?" "Hamburg." I leaned forward, deeply Interested by now In his unusual story. "Then I presume your cargo Is large ly munitions of war?" "Of that nature yes." j "From what port did you sail?" "Baltimore, July 20th; we were held back within the capes for two days by a severe storm." "Then you have not heard of the declarations of war In Europe?" His eyes widened, his pale face grew whiter thnn ever. "War In Europe ; already declared !" he exclaimed. "Is thnt actually true? We carry no wireless, and have spoken with no vessel since we left the Chesa peake. What nations are at war?" "The last message we received on the Esmeralda was thnt Germany and Austria were already pitted against France, Russia nnd England. The Ger man troops had invaded Belgium In nn effort to reach Paris. The night before our accident a great British battleship, racing toward New York, passed us. She was under orders to bottle up the German liners. May I see your mani fest?" He took the list from nn inner drawer, nnd handed it over to me with out in word, evidently stunned by this unexpected news, nnd unable to speak. I turned the typewritten pages slowly, glancing quietly over the various Items. They were astounding. "Why, really, I can hardly credit my own eyes," I exclaimed. "You tell me these goods were actually contracted ror by the Germnn government agent In the open market?" "Not exactly In the open market, Mr. ITollls. It was all accomplished In my name; I alone am known In the trans action. Certain Intimate personal relations Won me the ontract, my mother'" being a relative of u high offi cial. Thp uegqtlatibus were conducted secretly." ...... ' ' ; "I should suppose so ; yet such pur chases would look as though war had been anticipated." I arose to my feet, walked across to the port, and stared out into the thick ening mist overhanging the water. The man did not move' or speak, and I turned again to find him with head buried In his arms on the desk. His attitude of complete despair was full of pathetic appeal. "I am no international lawyer," I said gravely, "but there Is scarcely an Item on that manifest which Is not contraband of war. The getting of this cargo Into Hamburg, or any other port of Germany now, will be almost Im possible a mere gambler's chance. English nnd French vessels are no doubt gathering along the coast like birds of prey." "The German navy is strong." "Yes ; but not strong enough to cope with both Great Britain nnd France. For a while, however, they may suc ceed in keeping open a passage through the North sea. That would be your only hope, for the English channel will be closed already. The Indian Chief sails .under the United States flag?" w'Yes." ,'Tliat might prevent a search, pro viding you had a good explanation ready, especially as you left port be fore war was declared. However, spies are everywhere, and the nature of the cargo aboard may be known. If so, every cruiser on wntch has already been notified by wireless." He arose to his feet facing me, his slender hands opening and closing nervously, his fuce white and drawn. "I realize all this, Captain nollls," he said, his voice trembling, "nnd also that there still remains a chance of success. I like your face, your man ner of fronting things. I thiuk you are the very man whom God has sent to me in this emergency. Listen: I tell you I am absolutely ruined unless I complete this voyage. I am a young man, not over thirty, but my health Is gone. You can see I nm practically a physical wreck, yet I am the only sup port of nn aged mother and three younger children. Two years ago no one had brighter prospects in life than I; now I o:u struggling desperately for mere existence. A little more than a year ago I met with a serious accident ; I need not go into details the result you cun see I1: locking at ate. For eight months I was In a hospital in New Tork, lingering between life and death. There was no one to attend to my business affairs,, and everything went to the dogs. When I got out again all that was left me was this vessel, a, reputation for business abil ity, and a few thousand dollars. This contract came to me as a godsend; it was so arranged that I was able to carry it with a little help. If success ful. It will put me on my feet again." "Tou are not German?" "Not a drop of Teuton blood is In my veins, so far as I know. I never dreamed of the possibility of war, or even asked the nature of the ship ments." "I understand. Of course it makes little difference where one's sympa thies chance to be in a case like this." I put my hand on his shoulder, and looked Into his eyes. "Tou have been perfectly frank with me; now I am going to be just as frank with you. I believe your story, and my whole Inclination Is to stand by and help you through." "Tou will!" he Interrupted eagerly, his eyes glowing. "Tou mean you are going to mnke the attempt?" "No, I didn't say that, my friend; only that such is my natural inclina tion. If there was only my own peril, my own time, to be considered, I would shake hands with you instantly, and They Were Astounding. accept the adventure. But there U another on board this ship to be con sidered a woman, whose comfort and wishes I cannot ignore." "But she could be transshipped !" "Which would at once reveal oui whereabouts nnd probable course. Any vessel speaking us would mnke report as soon as it reached harbor. Out only safe method of procedure will be to keep far enough away from any pnssing vessel during daylight tc escape recognition, and to run the main European routes by night. If we sc much ns speak a ship, it will doubla our peril of capture; the wireless Is our greatest enemy." "Then what is it you propose doing?" "Just this : I'll go out now and talk with the lady. I'll explain the whole situation to,, her fully, so,, that she. will understand etfery' detail''' " "But is 'this 'fair's to me?" "Tes, perfectly fair. She Is no wenk nerved creature ffl', be awed by peril. She is a healthy,, isensible girl, ready to do her part anywhere; her sympa thy will all be with you. Anyway, I shall leave the affair entirely' to-her decision. I'll give you my nnstVer in thirty minutes" ': As. I closed the. door and stood out side In the main cabin. It suddenly oc curred to me that I did not know the innnS name. Masters had not men tioned it; I had not asked, nor did I recall noticing, the signature on the manifest. The next installment tells of Vera's old friendship for Rob ert Bascom, the steamer's own er, and of the new danger aris ing from the old and deadly en mity existing between Bascom and McCann. (TO BE CONTINUED.) Clipping With a Pin. 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