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ufa168bet When the questioning was finished, the leaning of the trio of officers was in favor of Christy; but not one of them said anything in the presence of the two Passfords. The captain declared that he had already used up too much time in the inquiry, and he must close the conference very soon. 79 Then he asked if either of the gentlemen had any papers they wished to present in support of his identity. "You don't like it!" exclaimed the engineer of the Bellevite. ufa168bet "Vincent, pass one half of the men on board of the cutter," said Mr. Pennant, when he had looked over the boat and the men on board of it. At this time the preparations for the reduction of the forts on the Mississippi were in progress, and every available vessel was called into activity. The Bronx had been built for a blockade-runner, and for a steamer of her size she was of exceptional speed. The vessels of the Eastern Gulf squadron were employed to a considerable extent in destroying salt works on the west coast of Florida; but the commodore was not disposed to order the fleet little gunboat upon such service. "I will take care of that part of the matter if you will put me alongside the steamer," answered Christy. "No more talk, if you please, for you are wasting your wind." "Then we had better obey the sealed orders of the flag-officer; we will come about, and head her for St. Andrew's. Fortunately I have been there myself in the Bellevite, and I have been up the harbor and bay in boats, for the yacht, as she was at the time, drew too much water to go into the bay, for it is shoal inside. Come about, Mr. Flint, and make the course due east." "I was hardly called upon to decide anything, for the matter in doubt had been settled by the commander of the Vernon before it came to my knowledge; but I agreed with him that the commission ought to settle the point. Are you not the officer presented to me by Captain Battleton, Captain Passford?" asked the commodore, gazing earnestly into the face of Christy. "Perfectly, Mr. Pennant." "It is a strange story, and I cannot see how Corny succeeded in passing himself off as the officer he personated." The skipper took his cap off, and bowed very low to Christy when he realized that he was talking to the principal personage on board of the gunboat. He was well dressed for one in his position, and displayed no little dignity and self-possession. Perhaps, if he had not been tainted with a few drops of black blood in his veins, he might have been a person of some consequence in the Confederate service. pgspin "What then?" repeated the intruder. "Why, you will reduce me to the disagreeable necessity of blowing out your brains, if you have any, as I should judge that you had not, after your refusal to accede to my request in the face of the death that awaits you." "That is my decided opinion. A noise at my chamber door woke me; I found the front door ajar, though I know I closed it when I came in last night, and I saw something moving down the avenue, which could only have been a man. Of course, I conclude that it was a burglar; but none of us have been killed or harmed." "I don't think I care to go to the Gulf again as the commander of a vessel," added Christy, who had not changed his mind on this subject. 325 "With what was she loaded?" "Boat alongside, sir," reported a quartermaster. "It is; the name was given to the estate by my mother," replied Christy, unable to follow Corny any farther. 241 "He did not do that in person; but employed Byron to do it for him; and for several weeks this actor was a house-servant at Bonnydale," answered Christy, as he proceeded to narrate the adventure more in detail. "It is not an old story, for the last event occurred on board of the Bronx at about eight o'clock last evening." The commander was amazed at the impudence of the intruder. "I should think they would be safe with a guard," added Ralph. "Are you a Russian?" asked the commander, inclined to laugh at this singular name of one of the proscribed race. fast168 221 "But I cannot dress the wound here, Mr. Pennant," added the surgeon. "The circumstances favored me, sir," replied Christy, bowing. "I desire to call your attention to the first of the two reports I submit, for the first battle I was called upon to fight was on board of the Bronx." "I protest agailst this brutal treatmelt!" stormed the prisoner, as he continued to writhe in his irons. "I am a woulded plisoler!" The commission and other papers were all right in every respect. Christy handed his envelope to the commander, and he broke it open. It contained nothing but a lot of blank paper. "Corny on board of this steamer!" exclaimed the father. "In irons too!" "I neber spoke noffin but the truf, Massa Ossifer." Christy was utterly confounded at this salutation.

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ufa168bet Corny bowed politely to the officers at the table, and left the cabin. He did not even glance at Christy, and his face did not look like that of one who had just won a decided victory. Christy remained standing where he had placed himself; and he began to wonder what disposition would be made of him under present circumstances. "In New York they got up a plan to obtain a small steamer, about the size of the Bronx," continued Christy. "Galvinne had been in the navy, and he readily obtained an appointment as second lieutenant of the store-ship Vernon. Byron shipped as a seaman. Corny was appointed by the two officers to take the place of a regular officer, who came down in the Vernon. He looked something like the officer whom he personated, who was to command a small steamer in the gulf." "No, sir; nothing but the voices; but I think the speakers must be in a vessel of some sort, for 205 the sound since I first heard it, and could hardly make it out, comes from farther south," replied the man. "This appears to be a family party," interposed Captain Battleton, who was very much amused to hear each of the young officers call the other by the same name, and both of them appeared to be Corny Passford. "The scheme was successful up to a certain 240 point, and Corny obtained the command of the steamer, passing for the genuine officer before the commodore, and even on board of the vessel where the commander was well known." "We must recapture the vessel before she gets into port; and what I want most now is to see Mr. Flint. You must fix the matter in some way, Dave, so that I can see him. Now go on deck, and ascertain what is going on there. If you get a chance, speak to Mr. Flint; but be extremely careful." Probably it was the shock quite as much as the force of the blow that brought down the steward's victim. But it was a heavy stroke, for the wood of the feather duster was split into many pieces, and the stumps of the feathers were scattered all over the table. The onslaught could not fail to be very confusing to the ideas of the intruder, and he seemed to be tangled up in the arm-chair in which he had been seated. "What do you mean by hands?" asked the officer. The Confederate officer was evidently of French descent; at any rate, he was very polite. He expressed his obligations to the supposed physician for the service he had rendered in very earnest terms. Mr. Pennant had been able to see that there were no guns in the casemates of the fort, and this was really all he wanted to know. "Can you make out where you are, Mike?" inquired Mr. Pennant, after about half a mile had been made. "Now will you inform me, Mr. Passford, who your officers were?" The commander pointed at Christy. "Your executive officer?" The reports of the leadsman were satisfactory, and the steamer went ahead for an hour. Then they began to give a diminution of the depth of water, indicating, as Christy stated it, that the vessel was approaching the land. He looked over the log slate, and found that the course had been due east till the order had been given to head her in the opposite direction. She had sailed rather more than an hour on that tack, during which the recapture of the steamer had been made. topspin44 "Does he talk at all?" 226 "Captain Passford!" exclaimed Michael Bornhoff, as he heard the name; and the third lieutenant passed on to take a look at the prisoners. "Where, sir, if you please?" asked the sailor, with a sort of bewildered look. Dave Receives his Appointment as Steward.—Page 364. "You are not sea-sick?" inquired the doctor, laughing. "I hope it will not, my son," added his mother very earnestly. "You stole it, cousin, and you must give it back to me," added Christy, very decidedly. "Grass! They don't raise it in the city; and there isn't as much of it in all the streets as I saw in the principal one in Mobile when I was there, on my way from the prison to the bay," replied the commander cheerfully. "I don't believe that business was ever so lively in New York and the other cities of the North as it is at this time; and I left there ten days ago." kingdom66 He bowed submissively, and went to his berth in the men's quarters. The anchor had been cast loose, and the cable put in condition to run out. Christy had hardly reached his berth before he heard the rattle of the chain, and the voyage was ended. "Stand by to lay on your oars," said Mr. Pennant in the lowest tones that could be heard by the crew. "Oars!" ufa168bet He related the incidents which had occurred at Bonnydale, the loss of his commission and orders, 131 and the decision of Captain Battleton against him, concluding with the statement that he was then a prisoner of war, but had made his escape from the place where he had been required to remain. "Wheel disabled, sir!" shouted the quartermaster. Lieutenant Fourchon pressed the hand of the doctor, and left the casemate with him. CHAPTER XXI A NON-COMBATANT ON BOARD THE BRONX "Will you set a nigger upon me again, Christy?" using the commander's proper name for the first time.

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ufa168bet "I should think so," replied the first lieutenant. "I don't think I am ever rash, mother; and if I have been exceedingly fortunate, it was more because the circumstances favored me than because I ran great risks," replied Christy very seriously, for he was sensitive on the point his mother had brought up. "Father has said a great deal to me on this subject, and I have always done my best to carry out his principles. It is not my fault that I have a friend at court, and have had opportunities that have not been offered to many others. But the tide may turn against me on my next cruise." "Sail, ho!" called Vincent, who had not abated his vigilance on the lookout; and he pointed with his right hand in the direction he had seen the craft. He was absolutely confident that he was himself Lieutenant Christopher Passford, and as absolutely confident that the other officer could not be that person, whoever else he might be. The commander appeared to be considering what Christy had suggested to him in regard to his orders, and the passenger had a minute or two to think of the situation in which he found himself placed. But what was the use to think of it? He was at the end of a blind alley, where there was no light from any direction except that by which he had entered it. He had no premises from which to reason, and it was useless to consider the matter. "Very well; I will go back and tell the sick man the doctor's coming," added the soldier. "That will give him a hope, if nothing more." "Sail, ho!" called Vincent, who had not abated his vigilance on the lookout; and he pointed with his right hand in the direction he had seen the craft. "Your absence from the between decks of the Vernon has been discovered, and Captain Battleton has caused the strictest search to be made for you on board of all three of the ships. The last I saw of him he was evidently talking with the flag-officer about you, as I judged from his looks and gestures," replied the second lieutenant. Mr. Pennant put out the light in his lantern, and the party started to cross the island. "About nine o'clock; perhaps sooner. Byron will have the deck from eight bells for the first watch; I hope and expect Flint will turn in at that time, for he will have the mid-watch. It might be a little awkward if he happens to be on deck when we change our course from east to west." guc888 "I got him safe, Massa Cap'n," replied the steward, exhibiting most of the teeth in his mouth, for he was pleased with himself after he had executed the commission assigned to him, and did not feel as much like a contraband as he might. CHAPTER XXIII A VERY IMPUDENT DECLARATION "I won't do so any more, Captain Passford," protested the steward, showing his ivory, though he was not a very black man, and the contrast was not as great as in many instances. "Yes, sar; de oberseer's sick abed, and dis nigger go right in like massa hisself," replied Job, as he led the way in the direction of the planter's house. 143 "This is my cabin, is it?" said Corny, as he followed the steward into the apartment. ufa168bet "Dave is a wise man," said the commander, after he had given a few moments to the consideration of the situation. "I find him—I thought I found him; but he appears to be on deck," replied the surgeon, as he fixed his gaze upon Christy, preluded by a start, dramatic enough to prove that he was astonished to find his patient was not in his room below. "I left him not five minutes ago, for I have not yet been able to discover what ails him. He 58 complained of a severe headache and pains in his bones; but he has not a particle of fever, or any symptom of anything that I can discover. I am glad to see you on deck, Mr. Passford. How is your headache?" "We are all right so far," said Corny. "It is possible that the Russian knows something about this region," suggested Mr. Flint. "His name is Galvinne, and he was second lieutenant of the Vernon; but he is a Confederate. I think he is to be the real commander of the Bronx if they succeed in getting her into Pensacola," added Christy. It had been a battle on a small scale, but the 217 victory had been won, and the cutter was towing her prize in the direction of the gunboat. The lieutenant's first care was to attend to Hilton, the stroke oarsman who had been wounded in the affair. He placed him in a comfortable position on the bottom of the boat, and then examined into his condition. A bullet had struck him in the right side, and the blood was flowing freely from the wound. Mr. Pennant did the best he could for his relief, and the man said he was comfortable. "He is, Captain Passford, for he did not undress when he turned in last night," replied the steward. "Four bells, Mr. Flint!" added the commander when the Bronx was fairly under way. "Because I have been trying to get here for 225 more than a year," replied the contraband, after looking about him for a moment, and then dropping his voice as though he feared Captain Flanger might hear what he said. "Now, mister, will you tell me who you are before I say anything more? for I shall get my back scored with forty-nine stripes if I open my mouth too wide;" and again he looked timidly around the deck. ufac168 29 "But where is Walsh?" inquired Christy. "Steward, light the lamp in my stateroom," 163 said Corny; and Christy was glad to find that he intended to retire for the night, for he had no duties to perform unless there was a disturbance on the quarter-deck. "I cannot accept a parole, captain, for that would be equivalent to an admission that I am a Confederate; and I claim to be a loyal officer." "This is very strange," said Captain Battleton, fixing his gaze upon the planks on which he stood, possibly considering whether he or his passenger was dreaming or out of his head. "It does not look like a very bad case," added the doctor, finding it necessary to say something, as he felt the pulse of the sufferer. "Now a piece of flannel," added the doctor. All was as still as it ought to be in the middle of the night, and no response came to his second inquiry. The brilliant young officer, who had just passed his eighteenth birthday, knew what it was even better than an older person to pass a whole night on difficult duty, without a wink of sleep, for he had been accustomed to spend a portion of every night in planking the deck on his watch; but at Bonnydale, his quiet home, far removed 16 from the scenes of actual conflict, he was an industrious sleeper, giving his whole attention to his slumbers, as a proper preparation for the stirring scenes in which he was again about to engage. "Nothing is the matter, mother," called Christy. "I am all right." Flanger in the Captain's Cabin.—Page 281. Christy did not go near him, but he watched him very closely. He had not long to wait before Mr. Galvinne, who was then the officer of the deck, spoke to him, and they had quite a long conversation. He could not hear a word of it; but the fact that they were intimate enough to 112 hold what appeared to be a confidential interview was enough to satisfy the prisoner that the second lieutenant was the principle confederate of his cousin. How many of the crew were "packed" for the enterprise he could form no idea. "That is my purpose; and here he comes." 207 The boat went ahead again, though only at a moderate speed consistent with the least possible noise. The quartermaster in the bow continued to gaze into the fog bank, though by this time there was a little lighting up in the east, indicating that the day was breaking. For half an hour longer the cutter continued on its course. Occasionally Vincent had raised his hand over his head, and then dropped it to his left, indicating to the officer in command that the sounds came from farther to the southward, and the cockswain was directed to change the course.

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ufa168bet "You do not use your left hand, captain; I hope you were not wounded in the affair this morning off St. Andrew's Bay." "Let me see your face before you told me anything," persisted Dave, as he pulled out one end of the trunk, and dropped upon his knees where he could see under the berth. "Dave," called the captain. "I stand by the union, and those on the other side must keep out from under. When I was in a Confederate prison, my uncle Homer, your father, did not do a single thing for me. Lead on, Ralph." "Here are my papers, captain," added Corny, as he passed his envelope across the table to the commander. "I am glad to hear it. Have you informed him that we have another lieutenant on board of the Vernon?" continued the commander. 250 "I ask for no better officers, sir. They are well educated, and have had a great deal of experience as sailors outside of the navy," replied Christy. "That is a bad name for this child," said the octoroon, shaking his head. "Are you the son of Colonel Passford?" "I did not expect your return so soon, but I have your sealed orders ready. You will get under way as soon as possible," added the commodore, handing him the sealed envelope. "You will make your course south-west, and open your orders at twelve o'clock to-night." ufac168 With even an ordinary revolver in his hip pocket, he would not have been helpless, and he might have saved himself without requiring this service of the steward. Opening his valise, he took from it a smaller revolver, and put it in his hip pocket, which he had never used for any other purpose; and he resolved not to be caught again in an unarmed condition, even when no danger was apparent. In action he carried a navy revolver in each of his hip pockets. 243 "They have no doubt whatever that the Rebellion will be crushed out. The last time we met you did not believe that a blockade could be established; but it has been done, and the government is strengthening it every day. It is effective, too; and I have been concerned in the capture of nearly a dozen vessels that were trying to break through." Lieutenant Passford was on board of the Vernon, and he had no further solicitude in regard to a literal obedience to his orders. The commander of the steamer, whoever he was, did not appear to have noticed the new arrival, and no one gave any attention to Christy. He walked forward to take a better view of the crew, and the seamen touched 39 their caps to the shoulder straps of a lieutenant with which he had been careful to ornament his coat. "I can only say that you will not be held as a prisoner of war; but I must leave you in the hands of the flag-officer, who will dispose of you as he thinks best. I sail in the Bronx immediately." "I do not, Paul; I think it wears upon me, though I am willing to do my duty wherever I am ordered." Christy looked at the stranger with astonishment, and he could not imagine who he could be. He had seen no such person on board of the Bronx or on the deck of the flag-ship. When the prisoners from the Magnolia had been brought on board, Christy had been too much occupied with other matters to bestow any attention upon them with the exception of "the dignified gentleman in black," who proved to be his uncle. He had had no curiosity in regard to them, and Mr. Camden had disposed of them at the rail. "He was not an officer, either of the navy or the army, but my cousin, Cornelius Passford, a soldier in the Confederate army." Without discussing this matter any farther, Christy detailed his plan to Mr. Flint, which was certainly very simple, and the second lieutenant could raise no objection to it. He was requested to select the men who were to take part in the enterprise, and all the particulars were definitely arranged. There was nothing more to be done, and Christy was left to himself to consider what he had done. The hungry officer helped himself hastily from the table which was waiting for him in the ward room, and then hastened on deck. tamjaibet "I say I am abused, and dragged from below like a dog." "You are not sea-sick?" inquired the doctor, laughing. "How many men are there at the fort?" "I have heard about that; and I know that your cousin Christopher is no chicken." "Are those four very large,—long as this cabin is wide?" asked the lieutenant with interest. CHAPTER IX A MORAL PHILOSOPHER. "I know what all the crew know, for word has been passed around that we are bound to Barataria Bay," replied the Russian with a cheerful smile. ufa168bet "I studied history a little in relation to this subject, for I wanted to know whether any lies I might tell in serving my country were to be registered against me. I know that I would not tell a lie in the ordinary relations of life; but I am sure that I should have been a traitor to the union if I had told the enemy the simple truth on several 109 occasions. I captured a schooner loaded with cotton by pretending to be what I was not. If it is justifiable to kill a man in war, it must be justifiable to tell a lie to the enemy." The commander thought it very strange that there should be a person on board of the steamer, and especially in possession of his cabin, who was an entire stranger to him. He looked at the intruder, who was a stoutly built man of rather more than forty years of age, with his hair and full beard somewhat grizzled by age. He was 258 dressed like a seaman in blue clothes, though he was evidently not a common sailor, but might have been the master or mate of a vessel.

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ufa069 "I won't do so any more, Captain Passford," protested the steward, showing his ivory, though he was not a very black man, and the contrast was not as great as in many instances. "What do you mean by hands?" asked the officer.

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ufabet123 Flanger in the Captain's Cabin.—Page 281. Captain Battleton struck a bell on his table, and sent the steward who answered it to procure the 69 attendance of the officers indicated, and they soon presented themselves.

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365kub "My father is quite well, but he left Bonnydale last Tuesday to go to Washington, and had not returned when I left home. My mother is quite well, and so is Florry," replied the sick officer, who did not appear to be suffering from a very severe headache just then, for he was quite cheerful and animated. He had no fault to find with the captain for his decision against him, which seemed to be natural and warrantable. He had no ill-feeling against 101 his cousin, for he was trying to serve the cause he had espoused. He was even willing to believe that he would have done the same thing himself under like circumstances. "Maggywogs! That sounds like Massa Christy's 129 voice; but I done seen him on deck five or ten minutes ago."

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allone69 A third shot fell a little nearer the cutter; but it was evident enough that it was out of the reach of the feeble guns of the fort. The firing continued but a few minutes longer, for it was as plain to Lieutenant Fourchon as to Lieutenant 339 Pennant that the shots were harmless to the boat. The commander on shore could see by this time, if he had not before, that a gunboat was in the offing, and that he might soon have a better use for his powder than wasting it upon the boat.

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sushi 555

sushi 555 "I have not time now to look into that question; 220 but I can assure you that you will be treated with the greatest consideration on board of my ship," added Christy as he conducted him below, and left him with Dave in his own cabin, returning at once to the deck to inquire into the operations of the first cutter. The boat had been hoisted up to the davits, and the Magnolia was made fast astern. All hands had been called when the Bronx got under way, and the men were all at their stations.

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lucia68 "I thought I should like it, but I find I do not as well as I expected," answered Christy. When he had finished his morning meal, he proceeded to study his chart again. He had never been to the westward of the mouths of the Mississippi; but he had a chart of the entrance to Barataria Bay. He examined it with the greatest care, and made himself familiar with the bearings and distances. In about an hour after he left the deck, a messenger came to the door of the cabin to inform him that the South West Pass was in sight, bearing due north.

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