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tiger101 "I don't see that we can help ourselves," 212 replied the spokesman in a surly tone; for the prospect before him was not very pleasant, especially as a volley had been fired from the sloop, presumably by his order, for he was the one who had made the threat in the first place. He peered into the gloom of the night with all his eyes, and listened with all his ears for over an hour; and then, watchful and careful officer as he was, there were five hundred chances against him to one in his favor, of finding the intruder, and he reluctantly returned to the mansion. The strength of the Bronx was mainly in her heavy midship gun. The commander had ascertained the range of the twenty-four pounder barbette guns of the fort, and made his calculations accordingly. He could batter down the masonry of the works at his leisure, if he chose to waste his time and ammunition in that way; but the Confederates proposed to abandon the fort, and it would not pay to destroy it. The late acting-commander did not leave the deck, as he would have been likely to do if he had been relieved and ordered to report on board of the flag-ship, though he might have been superseded as executive officer,—a position which he was clearly entitled to hold. A little later, the draft of seamen were ordered to file on board of the Bronx. Then the observer saw Mr. Galvinne, with a rather pompous gesture point to the men who were coming on board, and say something he 123 could not hear to Mr. Flint. He had evidently directed him to receive the seamen as they came on deck. This indicated that the late second lieutenant of the Vernon had been appointed executive officer of the Bronx. tiger101 259 "What is your name, boy?" he asked. He finished the narrative, and the officers were discussing it when there was a knock at the door. Mr. Pennant put out the light in his lantern, and the party started to cross the island. "Are you a free man?" Though the young officer was prudent and discreet, he did not lose his self-possession, and he smiled as though he had been simply the host in the dining-room of the mansion at Bonnydale. There was a certain humor about the intruder which would have pleased him under other circumstances. "I shall find no fault with my accommodations, whatever they are," replied Christy. 118 "What does that mean, my man?" asked Christy of one of the men near him. "They appear to be weighing the anchor." ambking "The other men in the sloop, with the exception of the skipper, fired upon my boat, and wounded an officer and a seaman." "That is very true; I went on board of the flag-ship, 261 but I am somewhat fastidious in my notions, and I concluded not to remain there," replied Captain Flanger. "Without any intention of flattering you, Captain Passford, candor compels me to say that I prefer your company to that of the commodore. Can I help you to anything more on my side of the table?" "They were taken in arms, and therefore they are prisoners. But you lost all your commissioned officers but one in the affair on board of the Bronx, Captain Passford." "A ball went through my arm; but it is all right," replied Christy with a ghastly smile. "No, sir, I did not; I heard no one call him by name. He was in the cuddy forward when we boarded the Magnolia; and when he came out of the little cabin, the first thing he said was, 'It was very unwise for you to order the men to fire upon the boat. It was a great mistake, Captain Flanger.'" Mr. Pennant reported in all its details upon his expedition. Dr. Connelly said his patient was severely, but not dangerously, wounded; he would recover, but he would not be fit for duty for two or three weeks. "Now will you inform me, Mr. Passford, who your officers were?" The commander pointed at Christy. "Your executive officer?" 318 "I think I know one of the old men," added the Russian as he returned from the door, "Shall I wake him up?" "We have met before," replied the stranger. "Shall I help you to some of these fried potatoes? They are very good, and I can recommend them. "Soldiers on the fort, sir!" shouted Vincent, when the Bronx was within less than a quarter of a mile of the works. thb168 The lamp on gimbols was lighted, and Corny took possession of the room, and had not a suspicion that he was not its only occupant. He lay down in his berth after he had removed his coat and shoes, and in a few minutes Christy judged that he was asleep from the sound of his breathing, which soon degenerated into a mild snore. Mr. Flint was to make a beginning in the project, or, as Dave called it, "open the ball." "Both of you were in command of the Vixen, I suppose," added the captain with a smile. "Do the people there really expect to put down the Rebellion, as they call it, nephew?" asked Colonel Passford, in a tone which indicated his confidence in the final success of his cause. "The telltale is honest, and tells no lies," replied Christy. "It was a hazardous plan," suggested Colonel Passford, "and I should suppose that Corny was hardly competent to play such a rôle. I hope the scheme was successful, for, as you know very well, all my prayers and all my aspirations are for the triumph of the Confederate cause." "You are a moral philosopher, Mr. Passford," said the surgeon, laughing at the earnestness of the speaker. "How's de sick man, Massa Gumboat?" asked the old negro, chuckling as though he appreciated the stroke of strategy made by his companion. The old man had no hat to touch or take off, for the mass of hair was a sufficient protection to his head; but he bowed almost to the deck, and was too timid to say a single word. "Then I was very fortunate in capturing her," added Christy with a smile.

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tiger101 Christy looked at his watch when the sail was reported to him, and found that it wanted ten minutes of eleven. The Bronx had been steaming for just about three hours, and must have made about forty miles, as he hastily figured up the run in his mind. "Can you tell me what position Mr. Flint has on board?" "Ten feet!" shouted the man at the lead. "There is not much planning to be done; all we have to do is to run into Pensacola when we are ready to do so," replied the naval officer. "We have no time to talk sentiment now. It is necessary for you to understand the situation better than you do," interposed Christy; and he proceeded to explain in what manner his cousin Corny happened to be in command of the Bronx, while he was himself nominally a prisoner of war. Ensign Flint was appointed to the command of the Bronx by the flag-officer, who had called upon Captain Passford in his stateroom. Christy had not failed to commend his executive officer in the highest terms. The commodore suggested that Christy could not be very kindly disposed towards Captain Battleton of the Vernon, on account of his decision against him in the matter of his identity. "No doubt of that, sir." "Try to do so." "The fortules of war are agailst me, Captail Passford; 288 but if you ever fall ilto my halds, I will cut your dose off cleal to your face," howled the prisoner, boiling over with wrath. "He is, Captain Passford, for he did not undress when he turned in last night," replied the steward. "Make the course about south, Vincent," said the officer, as soon as he discovered that the steamer was in motion. "I cannot so far, though that does not prove that he is not sick; but I will venture to say he could not get his discharge from the navy on his present symptoms. He may have drunk too much wine or whiskey recently, though he certainly was not in liquor when he came on board." hiso88 CHAPTER XIII THE OPENING OF THE SECRET ORDERS "Do you remember the names of the officers who served with you in the Vixen?" asked the captain. "That's my name—Byron, sir, at your service," said the man, as he touched his cap to the lieutenant, and rushed forward in answer to the call of his superior, evidently glad to escape from the inquisition to which he had been subjected. "On deck!" he added, as he made his way to the forecastle. The lamp on gimbols was lighted, and Corny took possession of the room, and had not a suspicion that he was not its only occupant. He lay down in his berth after he had removed his coat and shoes, and in a few minutes Christy judged that he was asleep from the sound of his breathing, which soon degenerated into a mild snore. Mr. Flint was to make a beginning in the project, or, as Dave called it, "open the ball." Christy thought this would be an excellent retreat for him, not only because it promised him the greatest security, but because it would permit 126 him to hear what passed between the pretended commander and others, especially Mr. Galvinne. He had been reasonably confident of returning to the gunboat when he went to the North as prize master, though not as her commander, and he had left his trunk on board. "No, you didn't, Dave; that was Corny," replied Christy. "Wheel disabled, sir!" shouted the quartermaster. 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. 89 "I do not see how you can escape that conclusion," replied the first lieutenant. "Could you hear any slapping of a paddle wheel, or other noises that sound like a steamer?" asked Christy in the same low tone. rule34rov "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." "Jes' so; you was born ob de debbil," replied the old negro, rising in his bed, and showing all his remaining teeth in an expansive smile. "Never mind the regular dinner; but bring me something to eat, if it is only some crackers and cheese," added Christy; and the steward hastened to his pantry. The big steamer, as she certainly was compared with the Bronx, started her screw again, and came within less than half a cable's length of the little gunboat, for the water was very still, with a gentle breeze from the westward. The boat was dropped into the water; and in a minute or two it was at the accommodation ladder of the Bronx, when a couple of officers mounted the side. "I do not stand on mere forms, Dr. Connelly; but if you continue to call me simply 'mister,' I shall understand from it that you do not recognize me as the rightful commander of the Bronx," replied Christy, as he invited the surgeon with a gesture to enter the captain's cabin. tiger101 "Nothing more, Captain Battleton." "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." "What are those men doing aft, Mr. Byron?" demanded the first lieutenant, with some excitement in his manner. "They were very nearly on the quarter-deck, and they seemed to be very reluctant to go forward." "You did not come on board of the Vernon 51 last evening!" exclaimed Captain Battleton, gazing very earnestly into the face of his passenger. "I am not, sir." When he rushed back to the cabin, Flanger had got the better of his foe, and had risen to his feet, with his grasp upon the throat of the steward. Then he hurled him from him with a vigorous movement with his left hand, while he raised the right with the evident intention of shooting him. The commander saw the imminent peril of Dave; he took a hasty aim and fired before the intruder had time to do so. He was a good shot with the navy revolver, for he had taken lessons and practised a good deal with the weapon.

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tiger101 The Vernon continued on her course, and in another hour the pilot had been discharged. Christy had puzzled his brains over the events of the day and the night before without being able to arrive at any satisfactory conclusion. He was extremely anxious to see the officer who had taken his name and assumed his character, as he was to obtain all the information within his reach. His reflections assured him that some one had chosen the rôle of an impostor for the purpose of accomplishing some treasonable object, and he was anxious to fathom the mystery for his country's sake rather than his own. CHAPTER IV THE SICK OFFICER IN THE STATEROOM Dressing himself hastily, Christy hastened on deck, and to the bridge, where he found Mr. Flint, who informed him that the Bronx was off the South Pass of the Mississippi. The fleet of the flag-officer of the Western Gulf squadron had 306 gone up the river, with the exception of a single vessel, which had not been able to get over the bar. There were a few sail in sight. "Do you know where we are bound, Mike?" asked Christy. The leadsman was ordered to sound, as the screw was stopped, and he reported sixteen fathoms with the deep-sea lead. Christy ordered the quartermaster to go ahead again, and keep the hand-line going all the time. Mr. Flint came forward, and took his place on the bridge, where the 192 officer of the deck was usually stationed on board of the Bronx. "No, sir; I belong to Captain Flanger: his father is dead, and left me to his son." "It is not necessary to obey the orders of the 150 Yankee flag-officer under present circumstances," answered Mr. Galvinne in a chuckling tone, as it sounded to the listener. "Who's there?" he repeated in a louder tone. "No, you don't," interposed Mr. Blowitt. "You are commanding a little gunboat, though you are only eighteen." chess888 "But don't you believe it will be better to appeal to the flag-officer?" asked the second lieutenant. "We have met before," replied the stranger. "Shall I help you to some of these fried potatoes? They are very good, and I can recommend them. tiger101 "But Christy would have found plenty of witnesses here: the second lieutenant and the seamen on board of the Bronx, for example." "Pass the word for Ralph Pennant," said Christy, as soon as he reached the quarter-deck. CHAPTER XVI THE DISPOSAL OF THE PRISONERS "All right; I think we understand the situation up here," said Mr. Pennant, as he led the way in the direction from which they had come. ssgame56 "That is plain enough; and we only escaped it because you took it into your head to leave the Vernon at the time you left her. I think the Bronx would have gone into Pensacola Bay without 172 the least trouble, for I have no doubt Galvinne knew just what signals to make to Fort McRae, and just as well what ones to make to Fort Pickens. The ship would have been there by midnight, and up to that time I should have been asleep in my stateroom; and they would not have taken the trouble to call the watch below at that hour." "Now, Mr. Pennant, you may remove your bag to the ward room, and the third stateroom on the starboard side, counting from the forward one, is yours for the present," continued Christy. "I am in command, Dave, and there must be no more 'massa' now," added Christy. Lieutenant Fourchon pressed the hand of the doctor, and left the casemate with him. "You need not have. You have played your part remarkably well, Mr. Passford, and it was an excellent idea on the part of Major Pierson, who suggested this plan of putting you in the place of your cousin. He had seen you and your relative together, I believe?" "We have plenty of material out of which to make them, and we can do as we did after the fight with the Scotian and the Arran, when we made them," replied Mr. Flint. "We have men of good education in the crew, who have either commanded coasters, or been mates on steamers." "Are you sure of this information, Mike?" "What are you about?" demanded the prisoner, attempting to shake off his captor when he felt the cold iron. "I was not; I had nothing to do with the sloop. She belonged to Captain Flanger." "It was not your cousin at all who attempted to take the vessel into Pensacola Bay; it was Galvinne, for Corny only acted as a figure-head, as I intend to use you. Galvinne was a prisoner by my side on board of the flag-ship, and told me all about it when he was releasing my right hand from the bracelet," replied Captain Flanger. Instead of obeying the order, the boatman hauled in his sheet, and the sloop began to fill away. Mr. Pennant could form no idea of what the party were. It was possible that they were private citizens, and non-combatants; if they were, they had only to prove they were such by submitting to a further inquiry.

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tiger101 "That sail appears to be headed for the station. She is a large steamer, and I judge by the way she is coming up with us that she is very fast," added Christy with some anxiety in his tones. "Stand by the union" is the fourth of "The Blue and Gray Series." As in the preceding volumes of the series, the incidents of the story are located in the midst of the war of the Rebellion, now dating back nearly thirty years, or before any of my younger readers were born. To those who lived two days in one through that eventful and anxious period, sometimes trembling for the fate of the nation, but always sustained by the faith and the hope through which the final victory was won, it seems hardly possible that so many years have flowed into the vast ocean of the past since that terrible conflict was raging over so large a portion of our now united country. "I have not noticed any seaman whose face was familiar to me." "I did; you were correctly informed," answered Corny, as the wandering gaze of the commander rested upon him. "Then let your father give him the choice of two or three officers. That will settle the matter." "My first misfortune was in being made a prisoner. My second and most annoying mishap was the capture of the Floridian," continued Captain Flanger. "It was my intention to fit her out as a privateer, with the proceeds of the sale of her cargo of cotton, for she is a good vessel, and as fast as the Bronx, as you call her." "I wish I were myself," replied the commander, in a tone so low that none but the visitors could hear him. "I can assure you first that he is alive and well. I am not informed how he got to New York, but 239 he did get there, and in company with two naval officers, one by the name of Byron, as well as Galvinne." He finished the narrative, and the officers were discussing it when there was a knock at the door. ssgame56 "You do not wish to make any explanation of the remarkable situation in which you find yourself placed at the present moment?" "I have no idea of its strength; but I do not care to have the Bronx knocked to pieces by the big guns of a fort. The bar of Barataria and the shoal water of the entrance to the bay extend out about two miles into the Gulf. At low water, two miles from the fort, we should bury our keel in the mud. It looks just now as though we should have to put the Bronx under the guns of the fort, or simply blockade the entrance to the bay. That makes it look like a quiet time in these waters." "There is nothing to be frightened about, mother; and I will tell you all about it," added Christy, as he took his overcoat from the stand and put it on. "I waked an hour ago, or more, with the idea that some one had opened the door of my room," and he related the circumstances to his mother, including his search in the grounds and the road. "We have no time to talk sentiment now. It is necessary for you to understand the situation better than you do," interposed Christy; and he proceeded to explain in what manner his cousin Corny happened to be in command of the Bronx, while he was himself nominally a prisoner of war. "I do; one of the officers told me all about it not half an hour ago," answered Rockton. "The fellow who is asleep there is the other Passford." "Without reflecting upon your decision, I must deny that I am a Confederate, and proclaim that my motto is 'Stand by the union!'" dunnung "Will it be the highest prudence to permit the conspirators to take the Bronx into a Confederate port, Pensacola, or any other?" demanded Christy with more earnestness than he had yet manifested. At the principal entrance of the fort they were challenged by the sentinel. Mr. Pennant was somewhat afraid his northern dialect would betray him, for he was not a highly educated man, though he was exceedingly well informed in all matters pertaining to the duties of a shipmaster. "Stand by!" added Mr. Pennant, who had been duly trained in boat service at an oar. "Give way together! No noise!" "If you will name one, I will name another," added Christy. tiger101 There was nothing necessarily secret in the proceedings in the cabin, and the stewards might have heard what was said in the ward room after the decision had been rendered, reporting it to members of the crew, who had circulated it as the latest news. At any rate, the group near Christy were talking about the two officers who claimed to be Lieutenant Passford. They spoke in low tones, and Christy could hardly hear what they said. His berth was ready for him, and he concluded to lie down in it. He took no notice of the speakers, and soon pretended to be asleep. "We are within a mile of the fort, Mr. Sampson, and I mean to run by it. We shall be exposed to the fire of musketry for about half a mile, and the quicker we make this distance, the less the danger to the men," said the commander, when the engineer presented himself. "We will not get under way till you have all the steam you need to give the steamer her best speed."

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สนเชอฉบไว

สนเชอฉบไว

สนเชอฉบไว "I am very glad to see you, Corny," continued 65 he who bore that name in reality. "I did not expect to find you on board of the Vernon. How are uncle Homer, aunt Lydia, and Gerty?" "But most of the crew must be loyal, for twenty of the old seamen remain on board, and every one of them is as true as steel," Mr. Flint insisted. "Better; a great deal better," replied the patient. "Where were you yesterday, Corny?" asked Christy, suddenly suppressing his mirth.

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viewbet369 "My cousin gave his name and rank correctly." "But why were they brought off if the steamer is still in the bay?" "Who dar?" inquired the negro. The screw of the Bronx was started again. Though the Russian was a pilot over the bar, his services were not needed as such. The first cutter had kept the range of the buildings on the island, and Mr. Flint had already picked it up. The steamer proceeded at less than half speed, but the tide was at its highest. By this time it was seven o'clock in the morning, for a great deal of the time 343 had been used up in moving the cutter and the steamer. Breakfast had been served to all hands, and Christy had fortified his stomach for a busy forenoon. As the Bronx proceeded on her course, the lead going all the time, making not more than two knots an hour, the report of a gun was heard from the fort. "Captain Battleton," added the quartermaster. "I hope you are feeling better to-day, sir."

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sb68

sb68 "No doubt of it," replied Christy. "Your father is good authority," added the surgeon. "That sail appears to be headed for the station. She is a large steamer, and I judge by the way she is coming up with us that she is very fast," added Christy with some anxiety in his tones.

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betflix59 "I say I am abused, and dragged from below like a dog." "I should think they would be safe with a guard," added Ralph. "Gentlemen, I have come to a decision in this matter," said the captain, when the two claimants had placed themselves before him in a standing position. "I cannot go behind the commission presented by the officer who came on board last evening, and I consider it my duty to regard him as the real Lieutenant Passford, recently promoted to his present rank. There is nothing more to be said."

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fafa24 The rattle of musketry became quite sharp, and the bullets were penetrating the bulwarks. Two had been wounded at one of the guns, and carried below. Christy stepped over to the end of the 355 bridge to call a hand to take the place of Boxie, and at that moment he felt a sharp sting, as it were, in his right arm, above the elbow. Involuntarily he raised his hand to the place, and felt the warm blood oozing from the wound. It produced a momentary faintness; but he braced himself up, and wound his handkerchief around his arm, calling upon the wheelman to tie it, as he hastened to the aid of Vincent. He said not a word about the accident. "Both of you were in command of the Vixen, I suppose," added the captain with a smile. The commodore shook his head, but he looked very good-natured. Christy narrated the part Dave had taken in the capture of Captain Flanger in the cabin, and in recovering possession of the Bronx when it was shown that the officers were rebels. Mr. Flint was sent for. He was quite as earnest in his plea for the steward as the commander had been, and the written appointment of Mr. David Davis was in Christy's hands when the flag-officer took his leave of the wounded commander.

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betflixusa 247 "On board of the Bronx!" exclaimed the flag-officer. "Do you mean that you had a mutiny to suppress?" Father and son shook hands, but they were not so demonstrative as they might have been. Christy was not disposed to burden them with his presence, but he insisted that Dave should stay 244 there during the interview. He left them together for two hours, and then sent Mr. Pennant and a seaman to remove Corny to the quarters. Dave said they had talked only of family matters, though the son had explained to his father the plan to obtain possession of the Bronx. "Nothing is the matter, mother," called Christy. "I am all right."

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