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MEADE COUNTY NEWS, MEADE, KANSAS.
66 CONTRABAND By RANDALL PARRISH A War Sea Story Abounding in Adventure and High Romance CHAPTER XVI Continued. 11 v J know It will, if you remain on Heck," she answered earnestly. "I I Lave learned to trust you." The hours of the night gave me am ple opportunity for thought, and care iful consideration. The wind held steady, and while the sea roughened somewhat this slight change was not sufficient to diminish our progress, or cause any swerving from the course aet All remained quiet forward, the watch on deck finding little to do other than their routine duties, and no mem- ,l. 1, .. A .. ! Der ui mo crew iiuu uuy uccumuu w tome aft, except those detailed to the wheeL There seemed no reason why I should remain on deck, yet the respon sibility rested upon me, and the impor tance of the night's run prevented my having any wish to retire below. How ever, I found no occasion to Interfere with the operation of th'e ship, and re mained mostly on the main - deck, where my watchfulness assured me there was no communication passed between forecastle and cabin. The fog grew steadily more dense, until at dawn, we were steaming reck lessly through a thick cloud of vapor, barely able to observe the surface of "Lie Still, D You I" the sea, dull, sodden gray, a few yards In advance of our bow. The dense, watery folds swept along our sides, and the rigging dripped moisture onto the glistening deck planks. It was a gloomy, dreary morning enough and, even as the light of early dawn strengthened, I could scarcely distin guish a thing forward of the main mast However, there was no slowing op of speed or sounding of siren. Con vinced that we were now safely to the north of the usual course of ships, I preferred to take the chance of possi ble collision. My eyes were heavy from lack of sleep, and long staring out through the black night; my senses dulled by hours of inaction, during which nothing un usual naa occurred to arouse me to ' 11 I - M , 1 1 .1 w reauzuuua ui iinpeuuiug uuuger. i no longer even suspected trouble, or any active hostility forward. With the dawn the density of fog enwrapping us seemed to Increase, and completely blot out every glimpse of sea and sky. Even Leayord leaned over the rail Just above me, could scarcely be dis tinguished as a man, and evidently his eyes could not make me out at all, for be hailed doubtfully: "Are you still on deck, Mr. Hollis?" "Yes," I answered, sturing up at his shadow. "A bad fog." ' "It Is, sir. Would we better reduce ipeed!" "No, not yet ; I am counting on open wator, and would rather chance strik ing a stray than risk being overhauled ty a British crulsor. The sun will pllt this mist before noon, and mean while we must make all the northing possible." I heard his "aye, aye, sir," as I crossed to the port rail. 1 had reached a point nearly opposite the broken tump of the foremast when I was sud denly confronted by two blurred fig ures emerging noiselessly from the deeper shadow cast by a quarter bont iwinglng in davits. The fellows must have known who I was, and the path of my approach; no doubt hod been lose enough aft to overhear my con rersatlon with Leayord. At least they were on me before I truly realized their near presence the onu gripping the arm I flung up In startled defense ; the Other driving his fist straight Into my face, a sledge-hammer blow which tent me crashing back full length on the deck. Stunned, dazed as I was by this vicious attack, I made an Instant's struggle, but was quickly crushed back, i merciless hand gripping my throat Almost at the same moment the revol ver was removed from my pocket, the cold muzzle thrust against my cheek. "Lie still, d your muttered a tense yolce, and I knew the speaker for Jim White, "or m blow the whole top o' yer head off." . 1 retained sense enough to obey, Copyrlftht A. C. McClur ft Co. White's knee pinning me to the deck, I but some sound of my fall must have carried aft, for Leayord sang out through the fog : "Forward there I What's all that racket about?" White's fingers choked me Into help less silence, his knee crunching hiird Into ray breast It was Liverpool Red who answered sullenly: "I knocked over a capstan bar, sir; never snw it In the bloomln' fog." . Leayord growled something, the words fulling to carry to us against the wind, but a moment later, satisfied that no further Investigation was to be made, Liverpool thrust White aside and lifted me to my feet, his eyes glaring Into mine. "One whimper from you, an yer overboard," he muttered hoarsely. "Take it from me we know what we're about Come on now, an' don't attempt nuthln'. There's nobody forard here ter give yer a hand. Take him by the collar, Jim." With White's hand gripping me, and my own revolver at my head, any at tempt to break away would have been simply suicide. The thick fog hid the scene from those on watch aft and that the two men were reckless and desperate, their plans well laid, was evident The gray light revealed their faces, and there was no mercy in the scowling eyes. "Forward yer go, sir!" growled White, his fingers twisted In the jacket collar. "It's little more yer'l hav' ter say aboard this hooker." "What do you propose doing? This Is mutiny, men." "Then it'll have to be mutiny. It's war, on' we're Englishmen; this ship's loaded with war stuffs, bound fer Ger mony. That sort o' talk means nuthln' so come on, and stow thut guff." They forced me around the bulk of the windlass to the head of the fore castle stops, slid back the door In Its grooves and thrust me staggering down Into the murky depths below. A slush light, swinging to a blackened beam In the deck above, cast a ghastly yellow ish glnre over the Interior, revealing to me at least two-thirds of the crew, clustered about, evidently awaiting some such event White held to my collar, but Liverpool closed the en trance, shutting out even that faint breath of pure air, before speaking a word. "Well, we've got the main guy, lads, an' no shindy," he said cheerfully, "an' a gun came with him. Now a few o' us will see If we can persuade the first mate Into taking a trip forward." "Where's Billy Olson?" asked a voice. "Oh, he's asleep below ; there's plen- ty o' time to attend to hlra, an' we'll let the engine-room gang alone till we get control o 'the deck. Slinms, you nn' Harris better come along with Jim an' me on this job. Leayord Is a husky buck, an' we might not get him foul like we caught Hollis here. We don't want to hurt nobody unless we have to. Where's the nigger Watson?" "Right hyar, sah." "Come on, then; It's your trick at the wheel In five minutes; the rest o' you fellers know yer business." The five, men slipped out cautiously, sliding the door shut behind them, and I stared about Into the faces of those left with me, still dazed by the rough handling to which I had been subject cd, yet fully aroused to the fact that the attack upon me had come from no sudden Impulse, but was the first step lu a carefully formed plan to gain poS' session of the ship. My duty was to warn the men aft of the approaching dunger. How should I act? In a vague way I knew most of the faces of those grouped about me, but I could recall only a few names. They were a rough lot, typical foremast hands, many of pronounced foreign appear ance, yet there was nothing especially vicious aoout them. Ordinarily they would ob;y orders without a complulnt, but now they were evidently under full control of their leaders; yet the ex pression of their faces bespoke curi osity rather thnn hatred. Determined to test them I straightened up and placed a foot on the lower step. ".None o' that now," a voice growled as a hand gripped my arm. "You don't? want ter git hurt none, do yer?" 1 faced the speaker, a big, two-fisted giant with a red face and a slow drawl In his voice. "You mean to hold me here?" "Sure; we've gone too far on this Job now fer to back down. Thar'd be a row ov a time if we turned you loose. "You're an Irishman?" "Twould be nurd for a Dugan to deny that sor." "Well, Dugan, look here you and your mates. You are sallormcn, and know the rules of the sea. This Is mutiny, and a mighty serious affair to he caught In, lads." "We're not lookln' at It that way, Mr. Hollis. We shipped fer a peaceful voyage, not to run no cargo o' contra band fer the Dutch. This yere In diun Chief is chock-full o' munitions o war ain't that the truth, sor?" "Yes," I admitted, "but shipped be fore war was declared. The sick man 99 back there In the cabin has bis whole fortune In this venture." "Devil take him an' his fortune. The point Is we're not Dutchmen, an in wartimes it's no mutiny fer a crew to capture an Intmy's ship." "Who told you that?" "Never mind who told us; It's the truth, ain't it?" "Under some circumstances It might be," I said, casting my eyes nhout the ring of faces. "But the present con ditions do not Justify any such action. Now look here, Dugan; you fellows are in a mighty bad boat In this mat ter. You're merchant seamen; you've signed on for a peaceful voyage, and It Is no business of yours what's below hatches. That's for the warships to find out The Indian Chief Is under American register. She's a neutral boat, and your act is mutiny on the high seas. You know what thut will mean to you and your mates, don't you. If you're ever caught?" "Who says that?" "I do; and I know more of sea law than any of those fools who are steer ing you Into this trouble. You kill n man on board here, and It Is mur der, and the whole bunch of you can be made to swing for It. Men have got life for less than you have done now. But I'll give you a chance." "What chance, sor?" . "To stand by the ship. Set me free now, and back up the officers In main taining discipline aboard, and not one of your names goes into the log." "An' sail the bloomln' hooker to Hamburg?" , "Of course ; that's the port ' you signed for." There was an uneasy shuffling of feet, and a muttering of voices. The light was too poor to enable me to de cipher the expressions on the faces of the men, yet I felt that my words were wasted. Dugan, however, voiced the prevailing sentiment. "Not a d one ov us Is fer mat lng that voyage," he said grimly. "So stow yer tongue, mate." He winked at me facetiously, then glanced about nt the others. "There's bigger wages comln' to us now than ever we signed on for." CHAPTER XVII. Held a Prisoner. These words, and the laughter with which they were greeted, made clear to my mind the whole .truth of the. uprising. It was not so much the des tination of the ship, or the nature of our cargo, which accounted for the widespread spirit of mutiny aboard, as it was the McCann money. These other things had been used to influ ence the men, to convince them that they had a right to seize the vessel, and refuse to continue the voyage, but It was the glitter of the McCunn gold which had won converts to this theory. One thing was certain no argument of mine, no threat of punishment, would have any present effect on the fellows. While there might be among them some who would listen to reu son, this big Irish brute of a Dugan bad control, and he could only be over come by physical force. The one and only hope lay In my escape; In my raising an alarm in sufficient time to warn Leayord of danger. He was a fighting mun, and armed; one cry would put him on his guurd, and his position on the poop would enable hlra to put up a strong defense. These thoughts flashed through my mind as I stood there, staring into Dugan's face. I dared not glance about or seem to harbor any plan of escape, yet I knew that all was clear between me and the three steps leading to the deck, and that the slid ing door was not hooked. The fellows were gathered closely about us In a half-circle, Dugan alone being within reach of my arm. The only weapon I suw wus a sea boot beside a chest to the right The fellow must have felt some vngue glimmer of my pur pose, for he gripped my shoulder, his Iron fingers pinching the flesh. "None o' thut now," hoarsely. "You can't fight the whole " 1 struck him with all the force I could throw Into the swift blow, and he went staggering bock Into the ring of men, his hands clawing at the air. But for their bodies the fellow would have measured his length on the deck. The force of his fall, the unexpected suddenness of It, for the Instant stunned the others, and gained me op portunity. .With one leap I had the heavy boot In my hand, and swung It crashing against the face of the fel low between me and tbe lower step. He went over like a stricken bullock. A hand gripped for me, but missed Its hold ; there was n roar of anger, a rush of bodies, and above all other sounds Dugan's voice howling madly: "Stop him, yer tarriersl Crack him on ther head." 1 stumbled over the body on the lower step, yet had reached the door before the first man gripped my leg. I broke loose from his fingers, yet the lDStant of delay blocked escape. They were on me, their faces barely visible In the dim light, and I fronted them, fighting for life, striking fiercely with the great sea boot. Its lroo-skod heel a terrible weapon. Twice men fell, but I there were too many of them, nor could I protect my rear. They swarmed to either side, and clambered up behind me; the low beams of the upper deck permitting no swing to my arms; one fellow gripped my feet, and another leaped at my throat I was tripped and flung headlong, the full weight of a man's body crashing down on top of me. Then came oblivion. How long I remained unconscious I never knew, but It must have been some hours, for when I struggled back to a vague sense of life once more, I was alone, lying on a mattress In a bunk. My head throbbed with pain, and I managed to lift one hand, assur ing myself thnt my hair was matted with blood. Where was I? Had I met with some accident? It was only grad ually that the vision began to reflect upon my mind the attack on deck; the struggle in the forecastle ; and then Vera Carrlngton. It was her face, her memory which nroused life, and gave me back the strength to struggle. The fate of the ship was of small Impor tance to me, but the girl left alone and helpless among these ruffians, was a thought so filled with horror as to draw me back from the very gates of death. 1 forced my eyes open, finding at first the light blinding, and for an In stant stnred up through a red mist. Gradually normal sight came back, and I realized that I rested In a bunk, gaz ing upward at the whlte-pnlnted bot tom of another. There was a splash of sunshine on the side wall, and I slowly turned my head toward the open port through which it streamed. Then I knew where I was lying In the captain's stateroom. Why had I been brought there? What object could those villains have for giving me these quarters If they were really In control of tho ship? Perhaps they were not; perhaps Leayord and Olson had been warned of danger In time to overcome them, and still retnlned command. That would account for my presence but, If this was true, why was I left alone, uncared for? Why had they brought me here? Gradually the coo ceptlon of their purpose dawned nnvigator; the need of a navigator. Without me they were helpless; with out my knowledge and skill not one on board could toll where they were, or how to shape the course of the ves sel. I was a necessity to them; In a way I held the villains still In my power; they dare not let me die not yet I I ennnot cxplnln the new life this thought brought to me. I seemed to feel the strength of It Injected Into my veins, and I rose up on one elbow, nnd then, encouraged by this effort, swung my feet over the edge of tho hunk and rested them on the deck The hands of my watch told mo It was after eleven. I got to my feet, cling lng to the berth, and swaying weakly at first, but gaining strength with every movement The chart still Iny on the desk, our course pricked on It up until the day before, and the telltale com pass told me the ship's bow was still pointed northward. I clawed my way across to the door, and tugged at the latch. It was locked. This discovery vanished the least doubt. The men had won, and were In full possession. Fergus McCann was In control by virtue of bis money, and his chosen lieutenants were Liver pool Red and Jim White. What their object might prove to be remained to be learned but they must seek some obscure port, or some safe spot for shipwreck, sacrificing everything else to their own safety and, to accom plish this' they must use me. Lord I I gripped that Idea: strongly enough, my bruin clearing', as I realized the important pnrt I must still assume In this odd sea tragedy. Perhnps I could not save tbe Indian Chief, but How Long I Remained Unconscious I Never Knew. there was hope yet that I might be Instrumental In preserving the lives of those whom my carelessness bad Imperiled. There was water In the chocks of the Iron washstand, aad I bathed my face, scrubbing as bet I could the congealed blood from my balr. The wound on my bead had t-led freely, but was not serious, and the application of cold water lessened the pain, and helped to restore my faculties. A fine breeze swept In through U open port, and I sat down on a stotl to gather together In my mind every oetall which might prove of future value. I was still sitting there, but by then alert und ready, when a key turn! In tbe lock, and the door was cautiously opened. McCann's face appeared In the opening, but bis eyes wer upon the bunk, and be failed to obsetra me I" W'win im),,nui 'hd.i iii fHi'WJJl i .mNw-- where I sat beyond the desk. lie too a step within, still staring at the rumpled blankets, and I had a glimpse of the Inflamed countenance of Liver pool Just beyond his shoulder. "Blow me I" he ejaculated In star tled voice. "The fellow's not here; he's got awayl" Red laughed, and pushed past, but still blocked the door with bis great body. "Got awayl Where could he have got to with the door locked? He's here all right" I stood up and faced the two, the desk still between us, but took the precaution to grip the stool by one leg. "I am certainly present," I said cold ly, "If your reference Is to me; but "I'll Brain the First Man Who At tempts to Lay Hands on Me." I advise you both to keep your dls tance. I'll bruin the first mun who attempts to lay hand on me." Bed must huve felt the challenge of ray words, and I suld tell ho o In liquor by the vivid tlame of his tuce, An onth broke from his lips. "You tiled thut before; 'twill pay yer to be civil now." i "There were somo of your rngnmuf- flns who tasted the weight of my blow," I answered, "and I only hope tt may be your turn next, you dirty dog of a mutineer." "You'll git no chance to ever break your stool on me, d yer," he roared, Jerking a revolver from his Jacket "Do you see that? Well wo've got the ship r McCunu grasped his sleeve. "Let up on that, Red," be said short ly, his voice having a tone of com mand In It, which surprised me. "We didn't come here to beat Hollis up, but to tulk with him. This Is my game." The other did not resist, only to mutter behind his teeth. The gun still glistened In his hand, but I felt no fear of the fellow, and returned ihs stool to the deck. "Tell me what you mean, and be brief about It" McCann's eyes met mine, and I read In them uncertainty. He was not yet quite sure that he had my measure; how far I would resist, or what form my opposition would take. Perhaps for a moment money did not seem to him quite so lmportnnt a weapon as he had found It elsewhere. "I'm sorry the crew beat you up the way they did," be began apologet ically. "They are a rather rough set" "Don't waste your time over that," I Interrupted In disgust "I can deal with an out-and-out fighter, and still respect hlra, but your kind only en genders disgust There is no love lost between us, Fergus McCann, so state your purpose plainly, and with out lying." By God! I will," he snapped, "and I'll put It straight enough this time to satisfy you. The only reason I don't let Liverpool kill you Is that you are more valuable to me alive. I've h u ted some In my time, but there never was a cur I despised worse than I do you." "Thanks," I said quietly, "I am hon ored." "And more than that, I pay my debts," bis temper now entirely rulnea by my pretense of Indifference. 'So I advise you to keep a civil tongue In your head you're no longer In com- mand of this ship." I smiled at the two of them, calmly sitting down on tbe stool. I was not certain yet what hand 1 held, bul determined to play the cards coolly. So you fellows are In control; and you come to me now with some sort of proposition. All right; what Is It?' "We need a navigator for a few days ; one who will lay out the course we decide on." "And I am the only one on board.' "You arw by far the most compe tent," he confessed. "But you need not think from that we are helpless without you. I have no doubt I could figure the matter out fairly well If I bad to, and I am perfectly aware thai Miss Carrlngton possesses some knowl edge of navigation. I imagine you might prefer doing this yourself, rather than having her compel! d to show bet efficiency." "Where is Miss Carrlngton? "In her own stateroom; I have not seen her since we took possession of the ship." "And the others Bascom, and tbe officers?" (TO BB CONTINUED.) Somehow or other we can't help feeling glad to wear garment that caa be seen through. THE "KITE" BALLOON A MOST ESSENTIAL UNIT IN MODERN WARFARE. USEFULNESS LITTLE KNOWN Cevernment Offers Splendid Oppor tunlty to Young Men Who Aspire to Become Air Craft Pilots. Omaha, Nebr. A branch of Uncle Sum's big army that the public has not yet heard a great deal about but which Is to play a most important part in the war is the "Kite" or Sta tionary Bulloon section for which about 1,500 men -are now being train ed at Fort Omaha preparatory to their depurture for the front. The usefulness of the "kite" or sta tionary bulloon Is not generally known. One familiar with Its em ployment says that at the balloon schools an applicant for officers' com mission must first qualify as a pilot of sphericul balloons. Then they are taught to become pilots and observ ers In the "kite" bnlloons. This balloon Is allowed to ascend to a height of about 3,000 feet with a wire attached to It by which It Is drawn down when desired by motor power. , In war, these balloons are located from three to five miles from the first line of trenches, and from the bas ket, two men, a pilot and nn observer give the range and results of firing by telephone to tbe artillery. For thla reason the section Is known as the "eyes of the artillery." On the western front, they are placed from one-half to a mile apart according to conditions, nnd nro provided with pornrhutps attached to tho men In the basket; In event of accident to the balloon tho men para chute safely to the earth. Applications for the Officers Re serve School for this Important nnd Interesting branch of the service nro still being received. Applicants must be citizens rif tlip United States, not under 10 years of ago or ovpr 3.1. They must have n good educntlon nnd three letters of rpcomnipmlntlon. After passing the ' examination re 0'ilred the applicant Is enlisted as n first class private In the Aviation Section of the Signal Knllsted Re sprve Corps, nnd assigned to a school for training, the time of training do ppndlng upon the man's ability. If he qualifies as nn observation balloon pilot n lieutenant's commis sion Is Issued. From the t!rm of hi entrance Info tho school until ho Is commissioned he receives $100 per month, quarters and food allowance. As 2nd lieutenant $1,700, llentennnt $2,000 nnnunlly. Anyone wishing to apply for nd mtsslon to this branch of the army should moke their request for appli cation blanks 'at once to the Presi dent Aviation Kxamlntng Board, Fort Oinuhii, Nebraska. IGNORE FLAG OF TRUCE. Teutons Fire on Life Boats In North Sea Engagement. London An appalling story of cold blooded massacres by Germans of crews of British North Sea convoys In a recent bottle Is told by the Nor weglan newspopers. The Tldenstegn snld the German cruisers were observed at 6 o'clock In the morning and were thought Id be British vessels, but at 7 o'clock, when there was more light, they sud denly begnn shooting and the convoj , was terrified to see the British e stroyer nt the stern of the convoy hf gin to sink, although It fought to thl end. The German cruisers, after signalling tho vpsspIs to. stop, ad vanced on each side of the convoy, which they swept with all their guns at a roncc of Iprs than 200 yards. Th Gpnrion destroyers came up and helped to sprend death and de struction on the defenseless ships, shells falling thick and fast. The Ger& mans were not content to sink tho ships, but shelled the life boats, and evpry living thing coming thplr way was mprcllessly slaughtered. The sur vivors owed their lives to the high sen which was running, making the boots n dldleult mark. In the midst of the mnssocre, an othpr British destroyer come up and Immedlote'v nttneked. hut soon wns sunk In the unequal struggle. Tho German flotilla then cruised backward and fonvrtrd along the sinking steam ers, pouring a fresh and terrible rain of shells nt a range of 100 yards. One shell went through the Swedish ship Wlrrfdnr. exploding in thi life host on the other ,slde and killing all its occupants, 12 men and three women. The other life boot rowed back to rpRcurc the captain and two wait resses from the wreck. A shell struck the bont and killed five of Its occu pants, only the mate escaping by swimming. Thp Wlrndar was a mass of flames and the two girls Jumped Into tho sea. The captain was snvpd by clinging to wreckage. As the two young women were sinking, nn Fig llsh ship hoisted the white' flag. Tho answer from the Germnns was a shot which killed both girls. Twelve men of another ship had Just got Into tho Ufa boot when a shell killed them all.