see you, sir! Can I do anything in your way?"
How virtuous actions blossom! Here was a young man to whose pleased ears
I had rehearsed _Just before the battle, mother,_ at some weekly picnic;
and now, in that tense moment of my life, he came (from the machine) to
be my helper.
"Captain Trent, of the wreck? O yes, Mr. Dodd; he left about twelve; he
and another of the men. The Kanaka went earlier by the City of Pekin; I
know that; I remember expressing his chest. Captain Trent? I'll inquire,
Mr. Dodd. Yes, they were all here. Here are the names on the register;
perhaps you would care to look at them while I go and see about the
I drew the book toward me, and stood looking at the four names all
written in the same hand, rather a big and rather a bad one: Trent,
Brown, Hardy, and (instead of Ah Sing) Jos. Amalu.
"Pinkerton," said I, suddenly, "have you that _Occidental_ in your
"Never left me," said Pinkerton, producing the paper.
I turned to the account of the wreck. "Here," said I; "here's the name.
'Elias Goddedaal, mate.' Why do we never come across Elias Goddedaal?"
"That's so," said Jim. "Was he with the rest in that saloon when you saw
"I don't believe it," said I. "They were only four, and there was none
that behaved like a mate."
At this moment the clerk returned with his report.
"The captain," it appeared, "came with some kind of an express waggon,
and he and the man took off three chests and a big satchel. Our porter
helped to put them on, but they drove the cart themselves. The porter
thinks they went down town. It was about one."
"Still in time for the City of Pekin," observed Jim.
"How many of them were here?" I inquired.
"Three, sir, and the Kanaka," replied the clerk. "I can't somehow fin
out about the third, but he's gone too."
"Mr. Goddedaal, the mate, wasn't here then?" I asked.
"No, Mr. Dodd, none but what you see," says the clerk.
"Nor you never heard where he was?"
"No. Any particular reason for finding these men, Mr. Dodd?" inquired
"This gentleman and I have bought the wreck," I explained; "we wished to
get some information, and it is very annoying to find the men all gone."
A certain group had gradually formed about us, for the wreck was still
a matter of interest; and at this, one of the bystanders, a rough
seafaring man, spoke suddenly.
"I guess the mate won't be gone," said he. "He's main sick; never left
the sick-bay aboard the Tempest; so they tell ME."
Jim took me by the sleeve. "Back to the consulate," said he.
But even at the consulate nothing was known of Mr. Goddedaal. The doctor
of the Tempest had certified him very sick; he had sent his papers in,
but never appeared in person before the authorities.
"Have you a telephone laid on to the Tempest?" asked Pinkerton.
"Laid on yesterday," said the clerk.
"Do you mind asking, or letting me ask? We are very anxious to get hold
of Mr. Goddedaal."
"All right," said the clerk, and turned to the telephone. "I'm sorry,"
he said presently, "Mr. Goddedaal has left the ship, and no one knows
where he is."
"Do you pay the men's passage home?" I inquired, a sudden thought
"If they want it," said the clerk; "sometimes they don't. But we paid
the Kanaka's passage to Honolulu this morning; and by what Captain Trent
was saying, I understand the rest are going home together."
"Then you haven't paid them?" said I.
"Not yet," said the clerk.
"And you would be a good deal surprised, if I were to tell you they were
gone already?" I asked.
"O, I should think you were mistaken," said he.
"Such is the fact, however," said I.
"I am sure you must be mistaken," he repeated.
"May I use your telephone one moment?" asked Pinkerton; and as soon as
permission had been granted, I heard him ring up the printing-office
where our advertisements were usually handled. More I did not hear; for
suddenly recalling the big, bad hand in the register of the What Cheer
House, I asked the consulate clerk if he had a specimen of Captain
Trent's writing. Whereupon I learned that the captain could not write,
having cut his hand open a little before the loss of the brig; that the
latter part of the log even had been written up by Mr. Goddedaal; and
that Trent had always signed with his left hand. By the time I had
gleaned this information, Pinkerton was ready.
"That's all that we can do. Now for the schooner," said he; "and by
to-morrow evening I lay hands on Goddedaal, or my name's not Pinkerton."
"How have you managed?" I inquired.
"You'll see before you get to bed," said Pinkerton. "And now, after
all this backwarding and forwarding, and that hotel clerk, and that
bug Bellairs, it'll be a change and a kind of consolation to see the
schooner. I guess things are humming there."
But on the wharf, when we reached it, there was no sign of bustle,
and, but for the galley smoke, no mark of life on the Norah Creina.
Pinkerton's face grew pale, and his mouth straightened, as he leaped on
"Where's the captain of this - - ?" and he left the phrase unfinished,
finding no epithet sufficiently energetic for his thoughts.
It did not appear whom or what he was addressing; but a head, presumably
the cook's, appeared in answer at the galley door.
"In the cabin, at dinner," said the cook deliberately, chewing as he
"Is that cargo out?"
"None of it?"
"O, there's some of it out. We'll get at the rest of it livelier
to-morrow, I guess."
"I guess there'll be something broken first," said Pinkerton, and strode
to the cabin.
Here we found a man, fat, dark, and quiet, seated gravely at what seemed
a liberal meal. He looked up upon our entrance; and seeing Pinkerton
continue to stand facing him in silence, hat on head, arms folded, and
lips compressed, an expression of mingled wonder and annoyance began to
dawn upon his placid face.
"Well!" said Jim; "and so this is what you call rushing around?"
"Who are you?" cries the captain.
"Me! I'm Pinkerton!" retorted Jim, as though the name had been a
"You're not very civil, whoever you are," was the reply. But still a
certain effect had been produced, for he scrambled to his feet,
and added hastily, "A man must have a bit of dinner, you know, Mr.
"Where's your mate?" snapped Jim.
"He's up town," returned the other.
"Up town!" sneered Pinkerton. "Now, I'll tell you what you are: you're a
Fraud; and if I wasn't afraid of dirtying my boot, I would kick you and
your dinner into that dock."
"I'll tell you something, too," retorted the captain, duskily flushing.
"I wouldn't sail this ship for the man you are, if you went upon your
knees. I've dealt with gentlemen up to now."
"I can tell you the names of a number of gentlemen you'll never deal
with any more, and that's the whole of Longhurst's gang," said Jim.
"I'll put your pipe out in that quarter, my friend. Here, rout out your
traps as quick as look at it, and take your vermin along with you. I'll
have a captain in, this very night, that's a sailor, and some sailors to
work for him."
"I'll go when I please, and that's to-morrow morning," cried the captain
after us, as we departed for the shore.
"There's something gone wrong with the world to-day; it must have come
bottom up!" wailed Pinkerton. "Bellairs, and then the hotel clerk,
and now This Fraud! And what am I to do for a captain, Loudon, with
Longhurst gone home an hour ago, and the boys all scattered?"
"I know," said I. "Jump in!" And then to the driver: "Do you know Black
Thither then we rattled; passed through the bar, and found (as I had
hoped) Johnson in the enjoyment of club life. The table had been
thrust upon one side; a South Sea merchant was discoursing music from a
mouth-organ in one corner; and in the middle of the floor Johnson and
a fellow-seaman, their arms clasped about each other's bodies, somewhat
heavily danced. The room was both cold and close; a jet of gas,
which continually menaced the heads of the performers, shed a coarse
illumination; the mouth-organ sounded shrill and dismal; and the faces
of all concerned were church-like in their gravity. It were, of course,
indelicate to interrupt these solemn frolics; so we edged ourselves to
chairs, for all the world like belated comers in a concert-room, and
patiently waited for the end. At length the organist, having exhausted
his supply of breath, ceased abruptly in the middle of a bar. With
the cessation of the strain, the dancers likewise came to a full stop,
swayed a moment, still embracing, and then separated and looked about
the circle for applause.
"Very well danced!" said one; but it appears the compliment was not
strong enough for the performers, who (forgetful of the proverb) took up
the tale in person.
"Well," said Johnson. "I mayn't be no sailor, but I can dance!"
And his late partner, with an almost pathetic conviction, added, "My
foot is as light as a feather."
Seeing how the wind set, you may be sure I added a few words of
praise before I carried Johnson alone into the passage: to whom, thus
mollified, I told so much as I judged needful of our situation, and
begged him, if he would not take the job himself, to find me a smart
"Me!" he cried. "I couldn't no more do it than I could try to go to
"I thought you were a mate?" said I.
"So I am a mate," giggled Johnson, "and you don't catch me shipping
noways else. But I'll tell you what, I believe I can get you Arty Nares:
you seen Arty; first-rate navigator and a son of a gun for style." And
he proceeded to explain to me that Mr. Nares, who had the promise of
a fine barque in six months, after things had quieted down, was in the
meantime living very private, and would be pleased to have a change of
I called out Pinkerton and told him. "Nares!" he cried, as soon as I
had come to the name. "I would jump at the chance of a man that had had
Nares's trousers on! Why, Loudon, he's the smartest deep-water mate out
of San Francisco, and draws his dividends regular in service and out."
This hearty indorsation clinched the proposal; Johnson agreed to produce
Nares before six the following morning; and Black Tom, being called into
the consultation, promised us four smart hands for the same hour, and
even (what appeared to all of us excessive) promised them sober.
The streets were fully lighted when we left Black Tom's: street after
street sparkling with gas or electricity, line after line of distant
luminaries climbing the steep sides of hills towards the overvaulting
darkness; and on the other hand, where the waters of the bay invisibly
trembled, a hundred riding lanterns marked the position of a hundred
ships. The sea-fog flew high in heaven; and at the level of man's life
and business it was clear and chill. By silent consent, we paid the hack
off, and proceeded arm in arm towards the Poodle Dog for dinner.
At one of the first hoardings, I was aware of a bill-sticker at work: it
was a late hour for this employment, and I checked Pinkerton until the
sheet should be unfolded. This is what I read: -
TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.
OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE
WRECKED BRIG FLYING SCUD
PERSONALLY OR BY LETTER,
AT THE OFFICE OF JAMES PINKERTON, MONTANA
BEFORE NOON TO-MORROW, TUESDAY, 12TH,
TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.
"This is your idea, Pinkerton!" I cried.
"Yes. They've lost no time; I'll say that for them - not like the Fraud,"
said he. "But mind you, Loudon, that's not half of it. The cream of
the idea's here: we know our man's sick; well, a copy of that has been
mailed to every hospital, every doctor, and every drug-store in San
Of course, from the nature of our business, Pinkerton could do a thing
of the kind at a figure extremely reduced; for all that, I was appalled
at the extravagance, and said so.
"What matter a few dollars now?" he replied sadly. "It's in three months
that the pull comes, Loudon."
We walked on again in silence, not without a shiver. Even at the Poodle
Dog, we took our food with small appetite and less speech; and it was
not until he was warmed with a third glass of champagne that Pinkerton
cleared his throat and looked upon me with a deprecating eye.
"Loudon," said he, "there was a subject you didn't wish to be referred
to. I only want to do so indirectly. It wasn't" - he faltered - "it wasn't
because you were dissatisfied with me?" he concluded, with a quaver.
"Pinkerton!" cried I.
"No, no, not a word just now," he hastened to proceed. "Let me speak
first. I appreciate, though I can't imitate, the delicacy of your
nature; and I can well understand you would rather die than speak of it,
and yet might feel disappointed. I did think I could have done better
myself. But when I found how tight money was in this city, and a man
like Douglas B. Longhurst - a forty-niner, the man that stood at bay in a
corn patch for five hours against the San Diablo squatters - weakening on
the operation, I tell you, Loudon, I began to despair; and - I may
have made mistakes, no doubt there are thousands who could have done
better - but I give you a loyal hand on it, I did my best."
"My poor Jim," said I, "as if I ever doubted you! as if I didn't
know you had done wonders! All day I've been admiring your energy and
resource. And as for that affair - - "
"No, Loudon, no more, not a word more! I don't want to hear," cried Jim.
"Well, to tell you the truth, I don't want to tell you," said I; "for
it's a thing I'm ashamed of."
"Ashamed, Loudon? O, don't say that; don't use such an expression even
in jest!" protested Pinkerton.
"Do you never do anything you're ashamed of?" I inquired.
"No," says he, rolling his eyes. "Why? I'm sometimes sorry afterwards,
when it pans out different from what I figured. But I can't see what I
would want to be ashamed for."
I sat a while considering with admiration the simplicity of my friend's
character. Then I sighed. "Do you know, Jim, what I'm sorriest for?"
said I. "At this rate, I can't be best man at your marriage."
"My marriage!" he repeated, echoing the sigh. "No marriage for me now.
I'm going right down to-night to break it to her. I think that's what's
shaken me all day. I feel as if I had had no right (after I was engaged)
to operate so widely."
"Well, you know, Jim, it was my doing, and you must lay the blame on
me," said I.
"Not a cent of it!" he cried. "I was as eager as yourself, only not so
bright at the beginning. No; I've myself to thank for it; but it's a
While Jim departed on his dolorous mission, I returned alone to the
office, lit the gas, and sat down to reflect on the events of that
momentous day: on the strange features of the tale that had been so far
unfolded, the disappearances, the terrors, the great sums of money; and
on the dangerous and ungrateful task that awaited me in the immediate
It is difficult, in the retrospect of such affairs, to avoid attributing
to ourselves in the past a measure of the knowledge we possess to-day.
But I may say, and yet be well within the mark, that I was consumed that
night with a fever of suspicion and curiosity; exhausted my fancy in
solutions, which I still dismissed as incommensurable with the facts;
and in the mystery by which I saw myself surrounded, found a precious
stimulus for my courage and a convenient soothing draught for
conscience. Even had all been plain sailing, I do not hint that I should
have drawn back. Smuggling is one of the meanest of crimes, for by that
we rob a whole country pro rata, and are therefore certain to impoverish
the poor: to smuggle opium is an offence particularly dark, since it
stands related not so much to murder, as to massacre. Upon all these
points I was quite clear; my sympathy was all in arms against my
interest; and had not Jim been involved, I could have dwelt almost with
satisfaction on the idea of my failure. But Jim, his whole fortune, and
his marriage, depended upon my success; and I preferred the interests of
my friend before those of all the islanders in the South Seas. This is
a poor, private morality, if you like; but it is mine, and the best I
have; and I am not half so much ashamed of having embarked at all on
this adventure, as I am proud that (while I was in it, and for the
sake of my friend) I was up early and down late, set my own hand to
everything, took dangers as they came, and for once in my life played
the man throughout. At the same time, I could have desired another field
of energy; and I was the more grateful for the redeeming element of
mystery. Without that, though I might have gone ahead and done as well,
it would scarce have been with ardour; and what inspired me that night
with an impatient greed of the sea, the island, and the wreck, was the
hope that I might stumble there upon the answer to a hundred questions,
and learn why Captain Trent fanned his red face in the exchange, and why
Mr. Dickson fled from the telephone in the Mission Street lodging-house.
CHAPTER XI. IN WHICH JIM AND I TAKE DIFFERENT WAYS.
I was unhappy when I closed my eyes; and it was to unhappiness that I
opened them again next morning, to a confused sense of some calamity
still inarticulate, and to the consciousness of jaded limbs and of
a swimming head. I must have lain for some time inert and stupidly
miserable, before I became aware of a reiterated knocking at the
door; with which discovery all my wits flowed back in their accustomed
channels, and I remembered the sale, and the wreck, and Goddedaal, and
Nares, and Johnson, and Black Tom, and the troubles of yesterday,
and the manifold engagements of the day that was to come. The thought
thrilled me like a trumpet in the hour of battle. In a moment, I had
leaped from bed, crossed the office where Pinkerton lay in a deep trance
of sleep on the convertible sofa, and stood in the doorway, in my night
gear, to receive our visitors.
Johnson was first, by way of usher, smiling. From a little behind, with
his Sunday hat tilted forward over his brow, and a cigar glowing between
his lips, Captain Nares acknowledged our previous acquaintance with a
succinct nod. Behind him again, in the top of the stairway, a knot of
sailors, the new crew of the Norah Creina, stood polishing the wall with
back and elbow. These I left without to their reflections. But our two
officers I carried at once into the office, where (taking Jim by the
shoulder) I shook him slowly into consciousness. He sat up, all abroad
for the moment, and stared on the new captain.
"Jim," said I, "this is Captain Nares. Captain, Mr. Pinkerton."
Nares repeated his curt nod, still without speech; and I thought he held
us both under a watchful scrutiny.
"O!" says Jim, "this is Captain Nares, is it? Good morning, Captain
Nares. Happy to have the pleasure of your acquaintance, sir. I know you
well by reputation."
Perhaps, under the circumstances of the moment, this was scarce a
welcome speech. At least, Nares received it with a grunt.
"Well, Captain," Jim continued, "you know about the size of the
business? You're to take the Nora Creina to Midway Island, break up
a wreck, call at Honolulu, and back to this port? I suppose that's
"Well," returned Nares, with the same unamiable reserve, "for a reason,
which I guess you know, the cruise may suit me; but there's a point or
two to settle. We shall have to talk, Mr. Pinkerton. But whether I go or
not, somebody will; there's no sense in losing time; and you might give
Mr. Johnson a note, let him take the hands right down, and set to to
overhaul the rigging. The beasts look sober," he added, with an air of
great disgust, "and need putting to work to keep them so."
This being agreed upon, Nares watched his subordinate depart and drew a
"And now we're alone and can talk," said he. "What's this thing about?
It's been advertised like Barnum's museum; that poster of yours has
set the Front talking; that's an objection in itself, for I'm laying a
little dark just now; and anyway, before I take the ship, I require to
know what I'm going after."
Thereupon Pinkerton gave him the whole tale, beginning with a
businesslike precision, and working himself up, as he went on, to the
boiling-point of narrative enthusiasm. Nares sat and smoked, hat
still on head, and acknowledged each fresh feature of the story with a
frowning nod. But his pale blue eyes betrayed him, and lighted visibly.
"Now you see for yourself," Pinkerton concluded: "there's every last
chance that Trent has skipped to Honolulu, and it won't take much of
that fifty thousand dollars to charter a smart schooner down to Midway.
Here's where I want a man!" cried Jim, with contagious energy. "That
wreck's mine; I've paid for it, money down; and if it's got to be fought
for, I want to see it fought for lively. If you're not back in ninety
days, I tell you plainly, I'll make one of the biggest busts ever seen
upon this coast; it's life or death for Mr. Dodd and me. As like as not,
it'll come to grapples on the island; and when I heard your name last
night - and a blame' sight more this morning when I saw the eye you've
got in your head - I said, 'Nares is good enough for me!'"
"I guess," observed Nares, studying the ash of his cigar, "the sooner I
get that schooner outside the Farallones, the better you'll be pleased."
"You're the man I dreamed of!" cried Jim, bouncing on the bed. "There's
not five per cent of fraud in all your carcase."
"Just hold on," said Nares. "There's another point. I heard some talk
about a supercargo."
"That's Mr. Dodd, here, my partner," said Jim.
"I don't see it," returned the captain drily. "One captain's enough for
any ship that ever I was aboard."
"Now don't you start disappointing me," said Pinkerton; "for you're
talking without thought. I'm not going to give you the run of the books
of this firm, am I? I guess not. Well, this is not only a cruise; it's a
business operation; and that's in the hands of my partner. You sail that
ship, you see to breaking up that wreck and keeping the men upon the
jump, and you'll find your hands about full. Only, no mistake about one
thing: it has to be done to Mr. Dodd's satisfaction; for it's Mr. Dodd
"I'm accustomed to give satisfaction," said Mr. Nares, with a dark
"And so you will here!" cried Pinkerton. "I understand you. You're
prickly to handle, but you're straight all through."
"The position's got to be understood, though," returned Nares, perhaps
a trifle mollified. "My position, I mean. I'm not going to ship
sailing-master; it's enough out of my way already, to set a foot on this
"Well, I'll tell you," retorted Jim, with an indescribable twinkle: "you
just meet me on the ballast, and we'll make it a barquentine."
Nares laughed a little; tactless Pinkerton had once more gained a
victory in tact. "Then there's another point," resumed the captain,
tacitly relinquishing the last. "How about the owners?"
"O, you leave that to me; I'm one of Longhurst's crowd, you know," said
Jim, with sudden bristling vanity. "Any man that's good enough for me,
is good enough for them."
"Who are they?" asked Nares.
"M'Intyre and Spittal," said Jim.
"O, well, give me a card of yours," said the captain: "you needn't
bother to write; I keep M'Intyre and Spittal in my vest-pocket."
Boast for boast; it was always thus with Nares and Pinkerton - the two
vainest men of my acquaintance. And having thus reinstated himself in
his own opinion, the captain rose, and, with a couple of his stiff nods,
"Jim," I cried, as the door closed behind him, "I don't like that man."
"You've just got to, Loudon," returned Jim. "He's a typical American
seaman - brave as a lion, full of resource, and stands high with his
owners. He's a man with a record."
"For brutality at sea," said I.
"Say what you like," exclaimed Pinkerton, "it was a good hour we got him
in: I'd trust Mamie's life to him to-morrow."
"Well, and talking of Mamie?" says I.
Jim paused with his trousers half on. "She's the gallantest little soul
God ever made!" he cried. "Loudon, I'd meant to knock you up last night,
and I hope you won't take it unfriendly that I didn't. I went in and
looked at you asleep; and I saw you were all broken up, and let you be.
The news would keep, anyway; and even you, Loudon, couldn't feel it the
same way as I did."
"What news?" I asked.
"It's this way," says Jim. "I told her how we stood, and that I backed