parently they gave no thought.
Their whole mental energies were directed to a
subject which seemed to them of far mightier moment
— the subject of horticulture. Their conversation
was just the conversation which we used to hear
from among our newly wed suburban dwellers in the
days of peace, and in the days of ^^ar from among
those patriots who abandoned golf in order to serve
their country with spade and hoe upon the allotments.
262 THE ADEN PATROL
With an air of loving pride they showed me their
garden, explaining that 1 must not expect too much,
for the soil was just sand mixed with a little goat
manure, and irrigated with the brackish water of
their well. The garden products could be divided
roughly into two classes — the things which they had
really persuaded to grow, or rather, to be dragged
up, and the things which they looked upon as experi-
ments, and which they still cherished, stimulated by
that hope that springs eternal in the human breast.
In the first class there were pumpkins, water-melons,
radishes, and mustard and cress ; in the second were
potatoes, onions, lettuces, and dwarf French beans
elseif (getClientWidth() > 430)
— the last-named being a present from one of the
Sikhs, who had been given the seeds when he was
serving in France.
Their optimism was magnificent, surpassing even
that of the suburban amateur gardener, for they
spoke of the future of their garden in the days when
they would know it no longer, in the days when a
generation yet unl.iorn would be privileged to inhabit
this Fdcn of Las Khorai. The spirit of our father
Adam had fallen upon them, as it must fall upon all
mankind, when the gaudy trappings of civilisation
are far removed. For if only we probe deep enough
into man's nature, if only we can disintegrate it from
its artificial environments, we find that all men are
made in the image of Adam, as he was in the begin-
ning, before Eve told liim that his hair needed cut-
ting, and that his fig-leaf was beginning to look
SCOTCHING THE WOLF's CUB
H.IM.S. was engaged on the Aden patrol, which
consisted in leaving harbour every afternoon, and
spending the night in running up and down a regular
beat of about thirty miles along the coast. Irom
our camp beds on the poop we could enjoy the
panorama of a moonlit sea, a cloudless sky, and
either the Pole Star or the Southern Cross according
to inclination. But it was horribly monotonous, and
sometimes in the wardroom we indulged in a gentle
gi'ouse and a questioning of the why and wherefore
of it all.
1 here had lately been a long series of reports from
British harbours in the southern seas of mines dropped
in their vicinity. At Cape Town a vessel had struck
a mine and had been damaged rather badly ; at
Bombay a mine-field had been discovered ; at
Colombo a ship crawled into harbour with a big hole
in her side. Then came a message from the Admir-
alty. A German raider at large in the Indian Ocean ;
had sunk some ships en route ; had laid mines oft
Capetown ; was disguised as a tramp and flew false
colours, but was known to be well armed with guns
of heavy calibre ; and her name was the Wolf, The
southern Red Sea Patrol was not so happy over
the news as one would have expected. The prospect
of meeting a German raider certainly adds zest to
life, but when the raider's fighting weight, according
to all accounts, is about double your own, ^nd
264 THE ADEN PATROL
you know that in ail probability you would be at
the bottom of the sea before you eould get a salvo
anywhere near her, the rosiness of the prospect is
shaded with dark streaks here and there. At the
Union Club, Aden, I ran into an old acquaintance,
who was navigating officer of one of the armed
auxiliaries on the patrol, and enquired how the
world was treating him.
" Splendid. We're ofi to-morrow morning to find
" I love a cheery optimist," said I.
" There's one virtue about my old packet," he said.
" She can run. The trouble is that the skipper has
some kind of a notion in his head that she can also
fight. He has a great idea that we ought to loose
off our popguns, just to show Fritz that they are
really made to go off. But Fritz will be so far off
that he won't be able to hear them. The whole show
will be wasted on him."
" What worries me," I said, " is that Fritz has
called and left his cards at Cape Town, Bombay, and
Colombo in quick succession ; we know the approxi-
mate date of each of these visits ; an exact descrip-
tion of him has J)ccn circulated ; and yet we haven't
the foggiest notion where he is at the present mo-
" The sea is a mighty big thing — bigger than the
proverbial haystack wlien you are looking for a
needle. You see, there's nothing to distinguish the
Wolf from any other old tramp. Her guns are con-
cealed ; so is her minclaying gear. As for the oflicial
description, there is nothing very exceptional in it —
might be the description of any old cargo ship be-
tween here and Melbourne. And of course she can
fake licrsclf up from time to time — a coat of paint
to change the marks on her funnels, or the colour
of her hull, laid on at night when there's no one to
see her ; a bogus funnel rigged one day and unsliippcd
SCOTCHING THE WOLF'S CUB 265
the next. You bet your life that Fritz is no fool at
" But how about eoal and provisions ? " I hazarded.
" Cleans out her vietims before she sinks them,
just as the Emden did. Takes their erews aboard
as prisoners until she gets too big an accumulation,
and then she tells the next fellow she meets that she
will let him off on condition that he will take all the
prisoners. Oh, it's quite a clean game. None of
this U-boat lousiness of leaving a lot of wretched
beggars in open boats in mid-ocean and telling them
to get home as best they can."
" But she can't take any prizes, because there is
nowhere she can send them."
" Well, I wouldn't like to take an affidavit on
that. Wolves have cubs, you know. What is to
prevent her from collaring some tramp — a tramp,
mind you, not a liner because a liner's progress from
port to port is watched, and if she's an hour late
there's a panic about her, but nobody worries much
about a tramp. What's to prevent her from collaring
a tramp, taking the crew aboard herself, shoving in
a prize crew, loading her up with mines, and sending
her off to carry on with the good work ? "
That evening I was sitting in the wardroom reading
when the captain strolled in and sat down at the
table, ready to make a fourth at a rubber of bridge
if any one should suggest it. The first lieutenant was
on the point of turning in, as he had the morning
watch and it was getting on for ten o'clock. The
navigator was buried in a book, and the doctor was
strumming on the wheezy old piano a selection from
the musical comedies and revues of bygone days.
A signalman appeared at the wardroom door.
" From the ollicer of the watch, sir. Ship on the
starboard bow showing no lights,"
" All right," said the captain, looking rather
266 THE ADEN PATROL
" Probably some tramp scared out of his wits by
these yarns about the Wolf," suggested the first
" All these merchantmen are going about without
lights now," said the captain.
"Did he say 'starboard bow'?" asked the navi-
" Yes, she must be fairly close inshore."
"Taking a short cut. Some of these old sports
are rather fond of doing that."
The captain strolled out of the wardroom and up
the poop ladder. The first lieutenant rose, stretched
himself, and disappeared below to turn in. Pre-
sently the navigator put down his book, and followed
the captain to the bridge. The doctor finished up
his performance with a touching little lyric, entitled,
" If you were the only girl in the world," gave vent
to a loud and ostentatious yawn, and sauntered up to
the poop. The moon was nearly full, casting a
white track across the dark-blue carpet of the sea,
and making the steep volcanic rocks of the Arabian
shore look like so many giant ghosts assembled at a
Sabaean prayer-meeting. It was the kind of night
that we in England associate with Thames regattas,
with lounging in a well-cushioned punt, and listen-
ing to a well-conducted l^and. To connect such a
scene with a (icrman raider, with guns, and mines,
and torpedoes, was quite impossible ; the whole
setting was absolutely and entirely wrong.
The mysterious ship had crossed our bows, and was
now on the port side of us, al)out three miles ahead.
A thick volume of smoke was pouring from her funnel,
suggesting that she was in a hurry. We had been
steaming along leisurely at about eight knots, but
now tlie order came from the bridge to whack her
up to ten. As hick would have it, one of our boilers
was open with a view to cleaning, and consequently
wc were incapable of showing our best speed if occa-
SCOTCHING THE WOLF'S CUB 267
sion should call ior it. The captain had sent for
the first lieutenant to join the council on the bridge,
at which the navigator and the officer of the watch
were also present.
"Make What ship is that?'" said the captain
to the leading signalman.
The signalman rattled the shutter of his signal-
lamp, and we waited patiently for the answer. He had
to repeat the question three times before he evoked
any response. Then the dark outline of the unknown
ship was lit up spasmodically by a scintillating light,
and the signalman took down the message on his
" Ask him, what nationality," said the captain.
Again the signalman played a tattoo with the
shutter of his lamp, and the answer came back,
" Ask him for his signal letters," said the captain.
" J.F.K.L." came the answer.
" You are sure you have got the name right ?
Ask him for it again."
" What is your name ? " asked the signalman,
and this time the mysterious stranger expanded
" TuRRiTELLA, Londou. Runs for British Admiralty
Port Said for orders."
" You are sure you have spelt the name correctly ? "
asked the captain of the signalman, as he handed the
signal-pad to the first lieutenant.
" Well, sir, that's how they made it the second
time. TuRRiTELLA. A 'u' and two 'r's. The
first time, sir, they spelt it Toritella. An ' o ' and
one r .
What manner of ship was this who seemed uncertain
how to spell her own name ? And that expression,
" Runs for British Admiralty." Woukl an English
merchant skipper talk about the British Admiralty ?
268 THE ADEN PATROL
Wouldn't he say " under Admiralty charter " or some
such phrase ?
The light from the unknown began to scintillate
" Who are you ? " ran the simple message.
There was a directness about that anyhow, suggest-
ing the English skipper.
" Make back, ' A British man-of-war.' "
" Shall I give our name, sir ? "
" No, certainly not."
" The blighter would look us up in the Navy List,"
said one of the officers on the bridge, " and, if he's the
Wolf, he would off with his camouflage and send us
to perdition in about two shakes of a jiffy."
" I am going to tell him to stop," said the captain,
and gave the order to the signalman. There was a
long pause, and then the answer began to flicker
back, not with the smooth rapidity shown by a
well-trained signalman, but with just a trifle of
hesitation. The signalman presently brought it on
" Why did you not stop me when I was passing
Aden ? — Meadows, master."
His meaning was plain enough. We could have
ordered him to stop when we first sighted him,
when we were within range of the shore batteries,
and when there were British men-of-war lying just
round the corner inside the harbour. When a
German raider is known to be roaming the seas,
our merchantmen very naturally acquire a habit of
running as hard as they can if a strange ship orders
them to stop, and in doing so they doubtless carry
out the instructions they have received. By running
away, therefore, this man would only be carrying
out his orders, and it seemed pretty clear that we
could not overhaul him.
The first lieutenant went down the ladder from
the bridge to the poop, mindful of the fact that in
SCOTCHING THE WOLF'S CUB 269
little more than four hours he would have to be up
there again to keep his watch. The navigator
followed him, for the proceedings were beginning to
become boresome. After a i'ew minutes the captain
came down from the bridge and went into the ward-
room. A wild goose chase is an ignominious occupa-
tion for the chaser, and one which the ordinary man
is studious to avoid. Only the ollicer of the watch
was left on the bridge to exchange comments with
the signalman. Small details are sometimes fraught
with great issues, and even the technicalities of a
flagwagger may have their importance. On the
stroke of midnight the reliefs stepped on to the
bridge, and both officer and signalman went below,
the former to seek the solace of a cigarette in the
wardroom before turning in.
" I should like," he said, as he lighted up, " to get
hold of that merchant skipper, and give him a piece
of my mind."
" The question is," said a voice coming from behind
a book, " whether he would understand your language.
The skippers of ships which would run away from a
British man-of-war for two solid hours are not all
The speaker laid the book down on his knee as an
intimation that he was quite ready to argue the point.
The captain turned towards him with an enquiring
" If you, sir, were under the impression that you
were being chased by a German raider, would you
expect him to go on chasing you for two hoiu-s without
firing ? "
Here the officer who had just come off watch struck
" There was something funny even about that signal
asking us why we did not stop him at Aden. I have
just been talking to the signalman, and he tells me
that they spelt Aden with a ' t ' at first, and then
270 THE ADEN PATROL
corrected it. It was a funny kind of mistake to
The captain looked thoughtful.
" From the officer of the watch, sir," said a mes-
senger at the wardroom door. " The ship on the port
bow seems to be drawing away from us."
" Tell him to put on another couple of knots."
" Aye, aye, sir."
" Is that the best we can do, sir ? "
Again the captain looked thoughtful, and then
he rang the bell for the quartermaster.
" Ask the engineer to speak to me, and take the
temperature of the magazines."
The quartermaster presently reported that the
magazines were down to G8, and behind him came
" If you were to knock off the magazine cooling do
you think you could squeeze another knot or two out
of her ? "
" Yes, sir, quite that."
" Do the best you can, then. Quartermaster !
stand by for a message to the wireless room."
" Aye, aye, sir."
The middle watch was slipping by very quickly
in the midst of these alarums and excursions, and by
the time the captain had made out messages to
various men-of-war of the Patrol, telling them the
circumstances, and giving his position, course, and
speed, it was getting on for six bells. Then he
returned to the bridge to watch the pregress of the
chase. The unhghtcd ship was now silhouetted
against the setting moon, and was about two points
olT our port bow, so that we could just distinguish
the outline of her funnel and masts. She was still
making plenty of smoke, but, beyond this indication
that she wished to avoid us, there was nothing in
her appearance to make her an object of suspicion.
The situation was not an easy one. No British
SCOTCHING THE WOLF'S CUB 271
man-of-war cares about firing upon a merchant-ship
at any time, and after all this fellow was only doing
what any other merchantman would do if he got
it into his head that a German raider was chasing
him. Of course, it was very stupid of him not to
know that no raider would chase him for so many
hours without firing, but then there are stupid men
as well as clever men on the high seas. Moreover,
there were other possibilities. Supposing the strange
ship were the Wolf herself? Would she take the
trouble to run, when she could send her pursuer to
the bottom with a couple of salvoes ? She might,
for the simple reason that her job was not to fight
men-of-war, but to destroy British commerce. She
could not know what was the calibre of our guns, or
that her own fighting weight was considerably
greater than ours. But, if we were to force matters
to a crisis, she would have to fight. Only one thing
seemed to be indisputable — that we ought to keep
her in sight ; so our little ship strained every nerve,
until she shook from stem to stern with the
vibration of her engines, and her funnel grew red-hot
with the forced draught of the furnaces. Then the
moon went down, and sudden darkness fell upon the
face of the waters. But still the chase continued.
The first lieutenant had just arrived to take the
morning watch, when there seemed to be some abate-
ment of the smoke from the stranger's funnel. It
was very dark, so that it was impossible to say whether
she was easing down or not. She seemed to be just
the same distance olT as she had been all through
the night, and if there was any dilference between
the speeds of the two ships, it could only be a fraction
of a knot in our favour.
The captain was standing on tlie port side, leaning
over the railing in front, and peering through the
gloom. Presently he turned abruptly, and sang out
for the signalman.
272 THE ADEN PATROL
" Sir ? "
" Make, ' If you do not stop, I shall fire,' and be
quick about it."
"Aye, aye, sir."
" Fall in the port guns' crews, will you. Number One."
The first lieutenant gave the necessary orders
down the voice-pipe.
The signalman closed his shutter on the final word
with a loud snap, as much as to say, " Now, you
bligliter, what are you going to do ? " There fol-
lowed a minute or two of suspense, and then came
" What does he say ? " asked the captain.
" I-am-stopping-now." read the signalman.
" Tell them to stand by the searchlight, Number
" Aye, aye, sir," said the first lieutenant, and re-
peated the order down the voice-pipe.
" Signalman, tell him to place his navigation lights."
Very promptly in response to the signal, the lights
appeared upon the strange ship.
" Now make this to him. ' Remain where you are.
I will board you at daylight.' Have you got it ? "
"Aye, aye, sir."
The distance between the two ships now rapidly
diminished, and when we had approached within a
mile or so the order was given to switch on the search-
light. The great white streak stretched across the
sea and lit up the mysterious unknown. In large
white letters across her stern ran the legend " Turri-
" I believe 1 have been fooled after all," said
the captain to himself.
" There's a party shoving ofl' in a boat," remarked
the first lieutenant.
Just at this moment a strong voice came through
a megaphone from the stranger's bridge.
SCOTCHING THE WOLF*S CUB 273
" Switch off that damned searchhglit."
" He seems to be a bit ratty," said the first heu-
The order to switch oiT the hght was given.
In that half-hour or so before the break of day the
air strikes chill even in the tropics, and it is no ima-
gery that has proclaimed it the darkest of the night.
When the searchlight was turned oil, the gloom was
enhanced by the contrast, so that the navigation
lights of the '1'iirritella seemed like will-o'-the
wisps twinkling across the barren space of murky
blackness. And then the eastern sky began to glow,
feebly at first, casting a kind of half-light over the
face of the sea such as one sees on the stage when the
actors are supposed to be in the dark. Out of this
theatrical obscurity there arose such a babel of
sound as brought us all to the ship's side, straining
our eyes to see whence it proceeded. I listened
for the guttural note of the Teuton, but there was
not the least resemblance to it. The language
was quite unfamiliar to me ; it might be the chatter-
ing of monkeys for all that I could make of it. The
only thing it clearly betokened was an extreme slate
of excitement among the crowded occupants of two
boats, one lying on our port, and the other on our
starboard hand. We shouted to them in English
that we would come back, and pick them up pre-
sently ; then we tried Hindustani, Somali, Swahili,
and Arabic, with the aid of our interpreter. But
the jabbering was only pitched in a higher key, and
so we left them, for we had to keep under way until
there was light enough to distinguish friend from foe.
No sooner had we come abeam of the strange ship
than we saw a cloud of smoke shoot up from her,
followed at once by the dull thud of a heavy explosion.
Next moment there came another dull thud, and the
TuRRiTELLA bcgaii to sink by the head. We steamed
on straight past her, for a ship which carries ex-
274 THE ADEN PATROL
plosives on board is as likely as not to carry them
in the form of torpedoes. Gradually the eastern
sky began to flush red, and the hue was reflected by
the sea, until one could have fancied that the ship
which had just committed suicide was staining the
waters with her blood. And then we saw a third
boat, rowing fast away from her in the direction
of the other two. We swung round to return and
pick them up. And now for the first time I realised
why we could not understand a word of all that
excited chatter. The first two boats were full of
Chinamen. When the third boat reached our gang-
way two officers stepped briskly up the ladder,
followed by 26 men, each wearing a round blue cap
with two black ribbons falling down behind, and across
the ribbon in front was written, in gold letters, " Kai-
The story of the Turritella since the beginning
of the war is eventful enough for any self-respecting-
ship. Originally she had been a German, but in
the autumn of 1914 she was captured, and turned
over to the Admiralty to serve as an oiler, though
she carried other cargo in addition. Her last voyage
commenced at Shanghai, where she picked up her
Chinese crew ; she put into Rangoon, and thence
went on to Colombo, where she spent some days
loading up. She left there on 23 February 1917,
and four days later walked straight into the jaws of
the Wolf. Her British officers and men were taken
aboard the raider as prisoners, but the Chinese re-
mained in her. A German prize crew took posses-
sion of her ; she was loaded up with mines, and was
sent to Aden to lay a minefield outside the harbour.
Her subsequent movements had all been carefully
arranged, and were made to fit in with the programme
revealed by the ship's papers. On 0th March she
M'as due at IVrim, where she intended to call, looking
us innocent as a lamb, with her Chinese crew on the
SCOTCHING THE WOLF'S CUB 275
upper deck and her German ratings securely stowed
below. And then she was to proceed into the Red
Sea to lay more mines. At least that was the pro-
gramme as told me by the German navigating ofiicer,
and he spoke confidently of the prospects of carrying
it through without a hitch — if only we had not hap-
pened to come along at night, when we could not see
the Chinese Tindal in all his glory at the wheel, and
the Chinese crew coiling ropes on the deck.
"So you have destroyed your ship?" said our
captain to Lieutenant-Kapitan Erandes, when the
latter stepped on to the bridge and gravely saluted.
" Yes," said the German simply, and I noticed that
he was trembling slightly, as though he were not quite
sure what kind of reception awaited him. His
navigator stood beside me on the poop.
" You have had a sleepless night of it," said I.
" That is not at all unusual," he said with a smile.
" You sleep in the day-time, 1 suppose ? "
" Not much — very little. We shall sleep when
the war is over."
" You will have plenty of leisure for sleep before
then," I thought to myself, but I refrained from
saying it. Besides, the fellow was not speaking for
himself, but for his countrymen. " We shall sleep
when the war is over." It was a fine piece of
sentiment. The war was the only thing worth con-
sidering ; sleep and all other luxuries must go by
the board until it was won.
" You have done very well," I said, referring of
course to the war as a whole and to Germany's
achievements. But this time he was thinkincr of his
own personal share in the business, and the question
he put rather took me by surprise.
" Don't you think," he said, " that all is fair in war ?"
Was this a searching of his own conscience ? Had