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The Richmond palladium and sun-telegram. [volume] (Richmond, Ind.) 1907-1939, May 30, 1910, Image 6

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, 1 our, aaorer 6Toror imm 1 1
raw tnntitha ma I attended a banquet
and left it aa X always leave such fun
tions, hungry. Entering an all-night
lunch room I took a seat and gave my
order to a waiter, who. when he had
Ailed it, tat down at the table with me.
It waa Terr late, and hla dutlea were
light.
"Tau'm looklna- well." he remarked, as bis glance
traveled over my evening clothes. "You re dead
well, but the last time I saw you. you were cov
ered with mud, carrying a stern Una ashore In the
Welland Canal." a m . .
"You seem to have the advantage of me," I said.
"I know the Welland Canal, however, though I am
trying to forget that ditch."
"You can't," he laughed. "No man can who ever
went through it. That trip with you in the old
Saroana was my first and last. I struck for salt
water again when the old man paid me off at Port
Colborne. Don't you remember going to school with
me?" He mentioned hla name, and with a little
effort I recalled him a schoolmate a little older
than myself, who had gone to sea early In life, and
returned a full-fledged salt-water navigator, to ship,
on his record, as first mate in the schooner that
carried me before the mast, and to meet his Water
loo in the Welland Canal, the navigation of which
demands Qualities never taught nor aoqulred in the
curriculum of seafaring. After grounding the
schooner several times, parting every line on board,
and driving us to open revolt by the extra work
coming of his mistakes, he waa discharged by the
skipper. As I thought of all this the grumbling
sailor rose within me, and there at the table, he
a waiter, I a writer, we fought out a grudge of
twenty years' standing. But It ended amicably; I
called him a farmer, he called me a soldier, and
we shook hands. ,
Tve learned." he said, as we settled back, "only
In the last month or so. that you're the fellow that
writes these rotten sea stories. Why don't you
write real sea etortes?"
"For the same reason that you don't serve a real
Welsh rabbit," I answered, tapping the now cold
concoction he bad served me. "I couldn't sell a
real story. Truth Is too strange to pose as Action."
"We're all bluffers, I guess. You are, here in this
beanery with your glad rags on. I am. too no.
not now. I'm slinging hash, and glad of the chance.
But I waa a millionaire for a time. Not long. But
while it lasted I had dreams big dreams."
"You must have read in the papers a few weeks
back." he began, "about that bunch of college men
that chartered the old racer Mayflower, filled her
up with diving gear and dynamite, and went down
after the treasure in the Santa Margherita."
I nodded assent. "Yes, and a hurricane hit them
and they barely escaped."
''They're keeping mum," he said, "and mean to
try again; but it's no use. That treasure is seven
hundred miles to the nor' nor'east now, and I was
about the last msn to look at it. It's resting in
the hold of a small schooner, sunk In four hundred
fathoms. I never heard of that treasure ship un
til about three years ago, when I quit a brlganttne
at Cedar" Keys and mixed in with the boarding
house crowd. There was a fellow qut of a Job
named Gleason, and he had a chart in bis pocket
that he talked about, but never showed. He told
us all about that old Spanish ship that went down
with all hands in the sixteenth century, carrying
with her about seven millions' worth of gold, silver,
and Jewels; and he knew the location. He had got
it from a drunken diver wbo had aeen her on the
sea bottom, spelled her dingy old name on the
stern, and saved the news to himself while he
wormed out of the skipper the latitude and longi
tude of the place. And now he wanted to enlist
capital, or make up a crew of men that would do
the work. Dead easy, he said. Just to get there,
drag the bottom with two boats and a length of
chain untn the wreck was located, then to go down
In a diving suit, hook on to the chests and hoist
them up.
"Well, m the crowd that he talked to there wasn't
a dollar. We were all dead broke, but we were all
ambitious. There was Pango Pete, a nigger six foot
tall, who couldn't write his name, but he was a
seaman from his feet up; and a Dago named Pedro
Pasqualal. These two were the kind that will choke
you before they ask the time of night. Then there
was Sullivan, old man Sullivan, a decrepit
old eodger who had sailed second mate all
his life, and never got a first mate's berth
because he couldn't master navigation. And
there was Peters, a young fellow filled up with
the romance and the glory of the life at sea rot.
as you and I know, but he was enthusiastic, and
that was enough. A trio of Dutchmen were taken
In Wagner, Weiss, and Myers, three good fellows
down on their luck. A Portuguese named Christo,
and two Souweglan brothers named 8 wan eon com
pleted the bunch. We talked it over down at the
end of the fruit dock, where the oyster boats come
In and make fast, and where the downs-and-outs
congregate to smoke and boast of the prosperous
past
"But this crowd talked of the prosperous future.
Seven millions, said Gleason, lay down there off
Turks Island in less than sixty fathoms, and all
we needed was some kind of a craft to get us
there, a diving suit, and a storage battery to light
up a bulb to search for the treasure. These things
seemed beyond our reach, until a schooner came in
for supplies. We sited her up. and Gleason went
wild as her different fittings and appliances showed
up. There were the diving dresses we needed:
there was the storage battery; there were the
extra anchors for mooring a craft over a certain
spot., and the air pumps and paraphernalia for div
ing operations, scattered about the deck. She was
a small craft, and waa manned by men who did not
act and talk like sailors. There seemed to be no
skipper, and they smoked on deck while working,
and talked back and forth as though all were equal.
"A oompany. said Gleason. 'Just like us. only
they've got the money, and possibly the secret.
Well, the company that gets the loot owns It, and
such matters as the ownership of the schooner and
the outfit can be settled afterwards, possibly out
of court. What do you say? Are you game?
- "We were. We laid low, but watched, and when
(hat schooner was filled up with grub, we were
ready to raid her and chuck the crew overboard;
but It wasn't necessary to do the latter. They
filled ap too late for the tide and went ashore for
the evening, leaving no one aboard but a Japanese
cook. We remembered as we climbed aboard after
dark, that we hadn't a man among us who could
cook, and so. instead of dropping that Jap over
the rail, we simply locked him Into a stateroom and
mads salL -
Copyright 1909,
"Naturally, as Gleason originated the scheme, he
wss elected captain, but, as I was the only navi
gator In the crowd, I was made first mate, and the
big nigger, Pango Pete, second mate.
"After we were around the Cape, Gleason gave
me the latitude and longitude of . the spot, and I
made for it. It took me two or three days of care
ful observations and calculations before I announced
that we were within six seconds of the spot, which
Is all that navigation will do. Then we dropped
anchor and began to drag. We knotted together
every line we had, and in the middle we had a
length of mooring chain that would stick to the
bottom. We kept two small boats, to which this
was attached, a quarter of a mile apart and pulled
on parallel lines, and at last felt a drag; then
we pulled together, gathering in the slack, and
when we met, the schooner, under charge of
Gleason, came up and anchored, over the spot.
"I was the only man there who had any diving
experience, so I went down. Say. have you ever
been under water in a diving suit, trusting your
life to the fellows above who pump the air into your
helmet? No? Well, it's a curious experience. I
had the feeling as I went down that I was num
ber thirteen of that bunch, and that they only
needed to shut off my air supply to make their
number twelve instead of thirteen. But that didn't
happen: they pumped, and I breathed and saw the
old galleon, the Santa Margherita. She lay there,
beeled over to starboard, covered with the ooze and
the slime of the sea, with barnacles everywhere.
"The deck and rail were a foot thick with mud,
and the small, spardeck guns could hardly be dis
tinguished. I saw at once that I would need help,
and signaled to be hauled up. On deck I told the
news and all hands, even the Jap, went crazy over
it. We got out two more diving suits, rigged a
bulb for each, and Pango, Peters, and myself went
down again.
"Now, this Isn't a yarn of the finding of that
treasure. Anyone can Invent such yarns, and I've
read dozens of them. They all wind up success
fully, with each man wealthy and happy. This is
a yarn of the men who found that treasure, and
what happened to them. . So, I'll just say that we
didn't find a skeleton or a ghoBt when we got
below decks. All hands were up. I suppose, when
that ship went down, and the rush of water as she
plunged, washed them off. We found seven big
chests in the 'tween decks forward of the cabin,
and in them all were coins, and Jewelry, and here
and there in the mess, what might have been an
opal, or some kind of jewel. All the stuff was
black from the action of the salt water; but we
knew we had- the real thing, and hooked on tackles.
We had to come up to help each time we lifted
a chest, for, after the chest was out of water, it
was too heavy for the crowd above; but at last
they were all up, and stowed snugly on the floor
of the cabin. Then, after final search for other loot
worth taking, we picked up our anchor and cleared
out, not yet having decided where we were going.
"We were pirates under the law. and didn't
know but what all the revenue cutters on the coast
were looking for us, for the theft of that schooner.
But with seven millions of bullion and jewels,
melted down, counted up, and translated into cash
in some bank, we didn't care for the charge of
piracy. The real trouble was to get that stuff trans
lated, and while we argued we sailed due east, out
Into the broad Atlantic. Peters, the young enthusi
ast, had been a Jeweler, and he told us that noth
ing short of a blast of air in conjunction with the
heat of a fire would melt gold and silver. Well,
where could we set up a blast furnace with not a
dollar in the party? My suggestion and I was
backed by Gleason, Peters, and old man Sullivan
was that we count out the loot, separate every
salable jewel, and make some big port like New
York, Liverpool, or Rio Janeiro, sell the jewels and
get ready money with which to plan for the dis
posal of the rest; but we had to deal with men
like Pango, Christo, Pedro, and the three Dutchmen,
who dldnt know what they were up against. They
wanted an immediate count up and division; then,
each man to go his way. The nonsense of it did
not strike them; thirteen men to divide up seven
heavy chests each one shouldering seven-thirteenths
of a load that tqok the whole thirteen to
lift with a four-fold tackle. We asked the Jap cook
what he thought, but he had no opinion.
"It's somewhat curious how the different men of
that bunch had different ideas of what they wanted.
Young Peters wanted to go back to his native
town and win the girl that had soured on him be
cause he was poor. Pango, Pedro, and the two
Sou'weglans only wanted a big drunk. Old Man
Sullivan wanted a course in a Nautical School and
a first mate's certificate. The three Germans want
ed to get to New York and set up in the saloon
business. Gleason wanted to study law, and 1
wanted to study medicine and be a doctor, a gen
tleman who could enter any society In the world.
The Jap didn't give out his aspirations.
"And so, growling like an unhappy family In a
menagerie, we sailed east, with the question un
settled. But at last we won over the Dagoes and
the Dutchmen, and agreed upon New York as a
port, and the selling of the jewels in some Bowery
pawnshop, where no questions are asked. Then
we shook hands all round, gave the Jap hell about
his cooking for we had been too worried to attend
to that matter before and squared away before
the trade wind for Sandy Hook and a market.
"From jealousy and mutual distrust, we all slept
In the cabin. There were plenty of staterooms for
the crowd, though some of us doubled up. None of
us wanted to remain away from the aeven chests
of treasure, and the Japanese cook, who might
have slept In the cook's room next the galley, still
showed a preference for his room In the cabin,
and we did not contest it. But now we were million
aires and easy dead easy. We stood watch, steered
and trimmed sail with no man for boss, for now
the work was done. Gleason and myself and the
nigger Pango gave up our false positions. We were
a democracy, and loved and trusted one another,
only, when we roused out the watch below and
found that Old Man Sullivan did not come, and on
Investigation found him stone dead in his berth
without a sign of violence, we forgot our brotherly
leve and began to wonder.
We did not know what he died of. but we gave
him sea burial that day. and Gleason read a chapter
from the book. We concluded that the old man
had died of heart failure, or old age. and thought
no more about it after the day had passed. But.
when we called the watch at eight bells next
by BenJ. B. Hampton
mornln', we couldn't get one of the Swanson broth
ers up. He was cold and stiff; and there was
nothing wrong with him either. That is, he had
turned in cheerful and healthy and died during sleep,
leaving no sign.
"The other Swanson raised merry hell that day,
raving about the deck, mourning for his dead
brother. But his grief was short-lived, for when
we tried to waken him next watch he was cold
and stiff. We buried him with the ceremonies,
and began to think all of us. We wondered
whether men may rake up ill-gotten treasure from
a dead past without coming under influences of
that dead past. We thought of the conquered and
enslaved natives, laboring in the mines for the ag
grandizement and enrichment of Spain, and giving
up their lives in the work, unrecognized and for
gotten, while their exploiters, the children and rela
tives of Ferdinand and Isabella, sat back in luxury
and self-satisfaction. We wondered as to what
was killing our shipmates, ghosts or poison.
"Naturally, we suspected the cook, and Pango, the
Dagoes, and the surviving Sou'weglan were for toss
ing him overboard; but the rest of us wouldn't have
it. There was no evidence of poison, and as we'd
done no killing so far in our piratical venture, we'd
better keep clear of it now, with so much at stake.
A court that would acquit us as soldiers of fortune
'TTe couldn't waken him at eiffhl bells
that had merely borrowed a schooner might hang
us as pirates and murderers; but we watched .the
Jap. We kept him away from the grub while we
ate it. He brought it on in two or more big
dishes, and there was no chance of his poisoning
one without the rest. We weren't afraid of that.
"I examined Swanson thoroughly before we buried
him. and there wasn't a mark on him, or a sign of
anything out of the way, except what didn't seem in
any way important, just below each ear, and back
of the corner of the cheek bone, waa a little pink
spot; but there was no blood, and no sign of finger
prints on the throat.
"Peters, the romantic young fellow, got ghosts on
his mind, and as he thought about it, they got on
his nerves. He couldn't sleep, and walked around,
up and down from the cabin to the deck. The oth
ers slept in their watch below, and on that night
nobody died. But the next night Peters was too
exhausted to stay awake, and he went to sleep oa
the cabin floor alongside the chests. We couldn't
waken him at eight bells, and we knew his trou
bles were over. At daylight I examined his body.
Nothing wrong, only the two little pink spots under
the ears. We buried him at daylight, with scant
pretense of a burial service, Things were looking
serious.
"All this time we were plowing along before the
trade wind, but it soon panned out and we had light,
shifty airs from all directions, with rain regular
Gulf Stream weather. It made us bad-tempered, and
Pango and Gleason had a fight It was a bad fight,
and we couldn't stop them; both were powerful
men, and as they brushed Into me In their whirliaa
if I
lunge along the deck, locked tight, they knocked me
six feet away. When I got to my feet, Pango had
Gleason down and was choking him. I got a hand
spike and battered that coon's head with it; but
he wouldn't let go, and before others came up to
help he had killed him. He went for me, but had
to stop before the handspikes of the crowd.
"Now, with Gleason dead, the command devolved
upon me or Pango, and this fellow was in a mood
to demand the place. He could lick any three of
us, but not all hands;-but. while we were growling
about it and cooling down, we found other troubles
to keep us busy. We had piled several tons' weight
on the weak cabin floor timbers of an old schooner,
and of a sudden, down they crashed to the hold
below, leaving a yawning hole in the cabin floor and
starting a butt or two in the planking. It was pump,
pump, pump, now, for we couldn't rig any kind of
a purchase to clear those busted chests away from
the leak. Pango was a good worker, and, under the
pressure of extreme fatigue, we forgot our grudges.
I did not care for the cheap position of command
over a bunch of foreigners, and so we made Pango
Bkipper, while I remained navigator and mate.
Pango promptly quit pumping, saying that skippers
don't pump. And that night he quit everything.
As skipper he stood no watch, but at breakfast
time he was cold, with the same little marks under
and ve knew Ma trouble wen wt.m
his ears. On his skin, however, they showed a
brownish black.
"Gleason had been choked to death, and I had
examined the imprint of Pango's fingers before we
buried him. There was hardly a sign; nothing at
all to show that the little pink spots came from the
pressure of a strangler's grip. Besides, you cannot
choke a man asleep without waking him. He
would make some kind of a fuss, and apprise oth
ers; but that never happened.
"There were but seven of us now. three Germans,
two Dagoes, the Jap and myself. I talked with
that Jap. He was an educated man, highly trained
in one of our universities; but he couldn't tell ms
anything, he said. It was all mysterious and hor
rible this quiet taking off of men while they slept
As for poisoning, of which he knew he was sus
pected; it was absurd. There was no poison on
board, to begin with; and why should he, a lands
man, seek to poison the men who could take the
ship and treasure to port? What could he do alone
on the sea. . This was logical, and as he was a
small, weak and confiding sort of creature, I exon
erated him in my mind from any suspicion of chok
ing the victims.
"That night the two Dagoes. Pedro and Christo,
passed Into the land beyond. There wen the same
little marks, bat nothing else. Weiss. Wagner and
Myers, the three Germans, got nntty about this
time, and talked together in their lingo while they
pumped; and when they were alone they talked to
themselves. I confess that I got nutty. Who
wouldn't with this menace hanging over him? I
walked around the deck when I was off pump duty,
and I remember that I planned a great school where
ambitious young sailor men could study medicine
and escape the drudgery of a life Yore the mast,
Then I planned free eating houses for tramps, an&
I was going to use some of my, wealth to investi
gate the private life of a Sunday school superin
tendent, who, when I was a kid. predicted that I
would come to a bad end. You see. we never cam
judge of our own mental condition at the time. It
only when you look, back that you- can take stock
of yourself. The result of this mentsl disturbance
upon me was insomnia. I couldn't get to sleep; but
I kept track of the ship, and worried the three
Dutchmen and the Jap into trimming sail when
necessary.
"We'd got up to the latitude of the Bermudas.
I think, and I was beginning to hope that the curse
bad left us; for we had passed through three
nights without a man dying. But on a stormy morn
ing, when the gaff topsails were blown away, and we
four men for the Jap was useless on deck: were
trying to get a couple of reefs in the mainsail,
Wagner suddenly howled out a lot of Dutch lan
guage and jumped overboard. I flung bim a line,
but he wouldn't take it and passed astern. The
poor devil had taken the national remedy for trou
ble. Did you ever notice it in Germans, even that
best? When things go wrong they kill themselves.
They're something like the Chinese in this.
"There were only four of us now, counting the
Jap, who still spoiled good grub, and it took a long
time to snug that schooner down to double reefs
and one head sail. The water in the hold had
gained on us, and we pumped while we could stand
it then knocked off, and dropped down on dec
for a snooze. We were dead beat and told the cook
to call us if the wind freshened or if anything hap
pened. He didn't call us. but something happened.
I wakened in time, and stood up. sleepy and stupid
and cold; for you can't sleep on deck, even la the
tropics, without getting chilled; and we wars up to
thirty-six north. The Jap was fooling round tho
galley, and the schooner, with the wheel beeksted.
was lifting up and falling off. practically stearins
herself, by-the-wind. Of course. I thought of the .
water in the hold, and sounded the well. There waa
four feet of wet line, and I knew that things war
bad. Then I went to the two Dutchmen, to call
them to the pumps, and found them cold and stiff,
each with the little pink marks under the ears.
"Well, I naturally went more or less craxy. I
took that Jap by the throat and asked him what
had happened. He did not know, he said. He bad '
left us to sleep, and rest, sorry for us, and trying
to cook us a good meal, when we wakened. Ho was
in a shaking fright, trembling and quavering, and I
eased up. What was the use of anger and suspfeioff
in the face of this horrible threat of death white
you slept? We hove the two bodies overboard, and
made a stagger at the pump; but we could not
lessen the water In the hold, and at last I gave up.
cleared away a boat and stocked it with water
and grub for two. Meanwhile I shaped a course for
the Bermudas, and steered it after a fashion, hoping
that I might beach the schooner and get out of
some court of salvagea part of that seven millions
down in the hold.
''But I had to steer, and keep the deck, for the
Jap was useless. I kept it up until wo sighted
land, and then flopped, done up, tired out utterly
exhausted by work, and yet unable to sleep. I sang
out to the cook, as I lay down on the hatch, to try
and steer toward that blot of blue on the horizon,
and then passed into a semidazed state of mind that
was not sleep, nor yet wakefulness; I could hoar,
and, through my half-opened eyelids, could see; yet
I was not awake, for I could not guard myself. I
saw that Jap creeping toward me. I saw the fur
tive murderous glint in his beady eyes. I heard the
soft pat of bis feet on the wet deck, and I heard
his suppressed breathing. But I could not move
or speak.
"He came and stood over me, then reached dow
and softly pressed the tips of his forefingers into '
my throat, just below the ears and back of tho
cheek bones. Softly at first so that I hardly felt It
then more strongly, and a sense of weakness of -body
came over me, something distinct from tho
weakness that I had felt while sinking down to try
and sleep. It seemed a stopping of breath. I could
not move, as yet but could see, out of tho corners
of my eye, and a more hateful, murderous face
never afflicted me than tho face of that Japanese
cook.
"He kept it up. steadily Increasing the pressuro.
and scon I realized that I was not breathing. Then,
I do not know why, there came to mo tho thought
of that Sunday school superintendent and bis ad
vice, to pray when in trouble.. I forgot my grouch.
I said to myself. 'God help me. God help mo.' and
I wakened. I found that I could move. I shook ot?
the Jap, and he staggered back, chuckling and clut
tering in his language. I rose to my foot weak
and shaky, and he ran away from me; but I found
myself without power to follow. I was more than
weak- I was Just alive, just able to breathe, but 1
could not speak. I tried to. but tho words would
'not come. He shut himself into his galley, and,
with regard to the condition of tho schooner, and
my own helplessness, I painfully climbed Into the
boat I had stocked and cleared away the davit fans,
Then I lay down.
"I have a dim remembrance of that sleep la tba
boat of waking occasionally to drive that cowardly
Jap off with an upraised oar; of my utter inability'
to speak to him. and the awful difllculty of taking
a long breath. But the final plunge of tho schooner
stands out I was awake, or as nearly awake as I ,
could be. The Jap was forward, and tho decks
were awash. I knew that she was going down, and
got out my knife to cut tho falls when tho boat
floated. I did this successfully, for, though I could
not speak, I could move, and as tho schooner plung
ed under, and the screams of that heathen rang la
my ears. I cut the bow tackle, them tho stern tackle,
and found myself adrift In a turmoil of whirlpools.
"I was picked up a few days later by a frutter.
and taken Into New York. I found my hair bad
turned white. I've been working as a waiter Boat of
the time since, hoping to enlist somebody's tatsrest
toward salving that schooner; but. If s no go. fas
going to Cubs, where Fve beard of a pot of money
In the Santiago hills. Want to go along?"
-No," I answered. 'Vat. tell me, what killed
: those men!"; ::,:' v-:,,;"
"The Jsp must have been an expert In Jiu Jltsu.
the wrestling game of that country. I've made a
stagger at studying medicine since then, and
learned a little. The pneumogastric nerve did tho
business. It passes from the base of tho brain,
down past the heart and lungs and ends near tho
stomach. It Is motor, sensory, and sympathetic, all
in one. Gentle pressuro Inhibits breathing, eon
tinned pressure, or stimulus, paralyses the vocal'
chords; a continuance of .the stimulus renders yon
unconscious, and a strong pressure brings about
stoppage of the heart action, and death.'
-A

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