The lawyer nodded.
"And bought her," pursued my friend, "at a figure
out of all proportion to the cargo and the circumstances,
as they appeared ? "
" And now you think better of it, and would like to
be off with your bargain? I have been figuring upon
this," returned the lawyer. "My client, I will not hide
from you, was displeased with me for putting her so
high. I think we were both too heated, Mr. Pinkerton :
rivalry the spirit of competition. But I will be quite
frank I know when I am dealing with gentlemen
and I am almost certain, if you leave the matter in my
hands, my client would relieve you of the bargain, so as
you would lose " he consulted our faces with gimlet-
eyed calculation " nothing," he added shrilly.
And here Pinkerton amazed me.
"That's a little too thin," said he. "I hare the
wreck. I know there's boodle in her, and I mean to
keep her. What I want is some points which may save
me needless expense, and which I'm prepared to pay for.
206 THE WRECKEB.
money down. The thing for you to consider is just this :
am I to deal with you, or direct with your principal?
If you are prepared to give me the facts right off, why,
name your figure. Only one thing ! " added Jim, hold-
ing a finger up, " when I say < money down,' I mean bills
payable when the ship returns, and if the information
proves reliable. I don't buy pigs in pokes."
I had seen the lawyer's face light up for a moment,
and then, at the sound of Jim's proviso, miserably fade.
"I guess you know more about this wreck than I do,
Mr. Pinkerton," said he. " I only know that I was told
to buy the thing, and tried, and couldn't."
"What I like about you, Mr. Bellairs, is that you
vaste no time," said Jim. "Now then; your client's
name and address."
"On consideration," replied the lawyer, with inde-
scribable furtivity, "I cannot see that I am entitled to
communicate my client's name. I will sound him for
you with pleasure, if you care to instruct me; but I
cannot see that I can give you his address."
"Very well," said Jim, and put his hat on. "Bather
a strong step, isn't it ? " (Between every sentence
was a clear pause.) "Not think better of it? Well,
come call it a dollar!"
"Mr. Pinkerton, sir!" exclaimed the offended attor-
ney ; and indeed, I myself was almost afraid that Jim
had mistaken his man and gone too far.
"No present use for a dollar? "says Jim. "Well,
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 207
look here, Mr. Bellairs: we're both busy men, and I'll
go to my outside figure with you right away "
"Stop this, Pinkerton," I broke in, "I knovr the
address: 924 Mission Street."
I do not know whether Pinkerton or Bellairs was the
more taken aback.
" Why in snakes didn't you say so, London ? " cried
" You didn't ask for it before," said I, colouring to my
temples under his troubled eyes.
It was Bellairs who broke silence, kindly supply-
ing me with all that I had yet to learn. "Since you
know Mr. Dickson's address," said he, plainly burn-
ing to be rid of us, "I suppose I need detain you no
I do not know how Pinkerton felt, but I had death
in my soul as we came down the outside stair, from
the den of this blotched spider. My whole being was
strung, waiting for Jim's first question, and prepared to
blurt out, I believe, almost with tears, a full avowal.
But my friend asked nothing.
" We must hack it," said he, tearing off in the direc-
tion of the nearest stand. "No time to be lost. You
saw how I changed ground. No use in paying the
Again I expected a reference to my suppression ; again
I was disappointed. It was plain Jim feared the sub-
208 THE WRECKER.
ject, and I felt I almost hated him for that fear. At
last, when we were already in the hack and driving
towards Mission Street, I could bear my suspense no
" You do not ask me about that address," said I.
"No," said he, quickly and timidly. " What was it ?
I would like to know."
The note of timidity offended me like a buffet; my
temper rose as hot as mustard. "I must request you
do not ask me," said I. " It is a matter I cannot ex-
The moment the foolish words were said, that moment
I would have given worlds to recall them : how much
more, when Pinkerton, patting my hand, replied : " All
right, dear boy ; not another word ; that's all done. I'm
convinced it's perfectly right." To return upon the
subject was beyond my courage ; but I vowed inwardly
that I should do my utmost in the future for this mad
speculation, and that I would cut myself in pieces before
Jim should lose one dollar.
We had no sooner arrived at the address than I had
other things to think of.
" Mr. Dickson ? He's gone," said the landlady.
Where had he gone ?
"I'm sure I can't tell you," she answered. "He was
quite a stranger to me."
"Did he express his baggage, ma'am?" asked Pin
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 209
"Hadn't any," was the reply. "He came last night
and left again to-day with a satchel."
" When did he leave ? " I inquired.
"It was about noon," replied the landlady. "Some
one rang up the telephone, and asked for him; and I
reckon he got some news, for he left right away, although
his rooms were taken by the week. He seemed consid-
erable put out : I reckon it was a death."
My heart sank; perhaps my idiotic jest had indeed
driven him away ; and again I asked myself, Why ? and
whirled for a moment in a vortex of untenable hy-
" What was he like, ma'am ? " Pinkerton was asking,
when I returned to consciousness of my surroundings.
" A clean shaved man," said the woman, and could be
led or driven into no more significant description.
"Pull up at the nearest drug-store," said Pinkerton to
the driver; and when there, the telephone was put in
operation, and the message sped to the Pacific Mail
Steamship Company's office this was in the days be-
fore Spreckels had arisen " When does the next China
steamer touch at Honolulu ? "
"The City of Pekin ; she cast off the dock to-day, at
half-past one," came the reply.
"It's a clear case of bolt," said Jim. "He's skipped,
or my name's not Pinkerton. He's gone to head us off
at Midway Island."
210 THE WRECKER.
Somehow I was not so sure ; there were elements in
the case, not known to Pinkerton the fears of the cap
tain, for example that inclined me otherwise; and the
idea that I had terrified Mr. Dickson into flight, though
resting on so slender a foundation, clung obstinately in
my mind. " Shouldn't we see the list of passengers ? "
"Dickson is such a blamed common name," returned
Jim ; " and then, as like as not, he would change it."
At this I had another intuition. A negative of a
street scene, taken unconsciously when I was absorbed
in other thoughts, rose in my memory with not a feature
blurred : a view, from Bellairs's door as we were coming
down, of muddy roadway, passing drays, matted tele-
graph wires, a Chinaboy with a basket on his head, and
(almost opposite) a corner grocery with the name of
Dickson in great gilt letters.
"Yes," said I, "you are right; he would change it.
And anyway, I don't believe it was his name at all ; I
believe he took it from a corner grocery beside Bel-
" As like as not," said Jim, still standing on the side-
walk with contracted brows.
" Well, what shall we do next ? " I asked.
" The natural thing would be to rush the schooner/'
he replied. " But I don't know. I telephoned the cap-
tain to go at it head down and heels in air ; he answered
like a little man; and I guess he's getting around. I
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 211
believe, London, we'll give Trent a chance. Trent was
in it ; he was in it up to the neck ; even if he couldn't
buy, he could give us the straight tip."
"I think so too," said I. "Where shall we find
him ? "
" British consulate of course," said Jim. " And that's
another reason for taking him first. We can hustle that
schooner up all evening ; but when the consulate's shut,
At the consulate, we learned that Captain Trent had
alighted (such is I believe the classic phrase) at the
What Cheer House. To that large and unaristocratic
hostelry we drove, and addressed ourselves to a large
clerk, who was chewing a toothpick and looking straight
" Captain Jacob Trent ? "
" Gone," said the clerk.
" Where has he gone ? " asked Pinkerton,
" Cain't say," said the clerk.
"When did he go ? " I asked.
" Don't know," said the clerk, and with the simplicity
of a monarch offered us the spectacle of his broad back.
What might have happened next I dread to picture,
for Pinkerton's excitement had been growing steadily,
and now burned dangerously high ; but we were spared
extremities by the intervention of a second clerk.
" Why ! Mr. Dodd ! " he exclaimed, running forward to
the counter. " Glad to see you. sir ! Can I do anything
in your way ? "
212 THE WRECKER.
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's ?
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 baggage ? "
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 Occi-
dental in your pocket ? "
" 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 them ? "
" 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
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 213
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 find out about the third, but he's gone
"Mr. Goddedaal, the mate, wasn't here then?" I
"No, Mr. Dodd, none but what you see," says the
" Nor you never heard where he was ? "
"No. Any particular reason for finding these men,
Mr. Dodd ? " inquired the clerk.
" 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
"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,"
214 THE WBECKEB.
But even at the consulate nothing was known oi.
Mr. Goddedaal, The doctor of the Tempest had certified
him very sick; he had sent his papers in, but neve*
appeared in person before the authorities.
"Have you a telephone laid on to the Tempest f*
" 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 tele-
phone. " I'm sorry," he said presently, u 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; striking me.
"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 L
"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.
" 0, 1 should think you were mistaken," said he.
" Such is the fact, however," said L
" 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 adver*
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 215
tisements were usually handled. More I did not hear ;
for suddenly recalling the big, bad hand in the reg-
ister 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 board.
"Where's the captain of this ?" and he left the
phrase unfinished, finding no epithet sufficiently ener-
getic 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.
216 THE WRECKER.
"In the cabin, at dinner," said the cook deliberately,
chewing as he spoke.
"Is that cargo out?"
"None of it?"
" 0, 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
"Who are you?" cries the captain.
"Me! I'm Pinkerton!" retorted Jim, as though the
name had been a talisman.
"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. Pinkerton."
"Where's your mate?" snapped Jim.
"He's up town," returned the other.
" Up town I " sneered Pinkerton. " Now I'll tell you
what you are: you're a Fraud; and if I wasn't afraid
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 217
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. Ill hare 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 I " wailed Pinkerton.
" Bellairs, and then the hotel clerk, and now This Fraud I
And what am I to do for a captain, London, with Long,
hurst gone home an hour ago, and the boys all scat-
tered ? "
"I know," said I. "Jump in!" And then to the
Driver: "Do you know Black Tom's?"
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
218 THE WRECKER.
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 cam* 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
"Well!" said Johnson. "I mayn't be no sailor, but
I can dance ! "
And his late partner, with an almost pathetic convic-
tion, 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 man,
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 219
"Me!" lie cried. "I couldn't no more do it than I
could try to go to hell ! "
" 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 Artyj
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
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 ex-
cessive) promised them sober.
The streets were fully lighted when we left Black
Tom's : street after street sparkling with gas or elec-
tricity, 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
220 THE WKBCKEB.
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 un
folded. 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 BLOCK,
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, Lou-
don, 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
IN WHICH THE CREW VANISH. 221
mailed to every hospital, every doctor, and every drug-
store in San Francisco."
Of course, from the nature of our business, Pinkerton
could do a thing of the kind at a figure extremely re-
duced ; 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, London."
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 depre-
"London," 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 imi-
tate, the delicacy of your nature ; and I can well under-
stand 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 weak-
222 THE WRECKER.
ening 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? 0, don't say that; don't use
*uch an expression even in jest ! " protested Pinkerton.
"Do you never do anything you're ashamed of?" I
" No," says he, rolling his eyes. " Why ? I'm some-
times 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 awhile considering with admiration the sim-
plicity 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 en-
gaged) to operate so widely."
IN WHICH THE CREW VAJSTISH. 223
" 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 wrench."
While Jim departed on his dolorous mission, I re*
turned 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 un-
folded, the disappearances, the terrors, the great sums of
money ; and on the dangerous and ungrateful task that
awaited me in the immediate future.
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 incommen-
surable with the facts ; and in the mystery by which I