a paper envelope, and the paper printed on, in Chinese
Nares turned to me and shook my hand. "I begap
THE CARGO OF THE "FLYING SCUD." 309
to think we should never see this day," said he. " I con-
gratulate you, Mr. Dodd, on having pulled it through."
The captain's tones affected me profoundly ; and when
Johnson and the men pressed round me in turn with
congratulations, the tears came in my eyes.
"These are five-tael boxes, more than two pounds,"
said Nares, weighing one in his hand. " Say two hun-
dred and fifty dollars to the mat. Lay into it, boys!
We'll make Mr. Dodd a millionnaire before dark."
It was strange to see with what a fury we fell to.
The men had now nothing to expect ; the mere idea of
great sums inspired them with disinterested ardour.
Mats were slashed and disembowelled, the rice flowed to
our knees in the ship's waist, the sweat ran in our eyes
and blinded us, our arms ached to agony ; and yet our
fire abated not. Dinner came ; we were too weary to
eat, too hoarse for conversation; and yet dinner was
scarce done, before we were afoot again and delving in
the rice. Before nightfall not a mat was unexplored,
and we were face to face with the astonishing result.
For of all the inexplicable things in the story of the
Flying Scud, here was the most inexplicable. Out of
the six thousand mats, only twenty were found to have
been sugared ; in each we found the same amount, about
twelve pounds of drug; making a grand total of two
hundred and forty pounds. By the last San Francisco
quotation, opium was selling for a fraction over twenty
dollars a pound ; but it had been known not long before
310 THE WRECKER.
to bring as much, as forty in Honolulu, where it was
Taking, then, this high Honolulu figure, the value of the
opium on board the Flying Scud fell considerably short
of ten thousand dollars, while at the San Francisco rate,
it lacked a trifle of five thousand. And fifty thousand
was the price that Jim and I had paid for it. And Bel-
lairs had been eager to go higher ! There is no lan-
guage to express the stupor with which I contemplated
It may be argued we were not yet sure ; there might
be yet another cache; and you may be certain in that
hour of my distress the argument was not forgotten.
There was never a ship more ardently perquested; no
stone was left unturned, and no expedient untried ; day
after day of growing despair, we punched and dug in
the brig's vitals, exciting the men with promises and
presents ; evening after evening Nares and I sat face
to face in the narrow cabin, racking our minds for some
neglected possibility of search. I could stake my salva-
tion on the certainty of the result : in all that ship there
was nothing left of value but the timber and the copper
nails. So that our case was lamentably plain ; we had
paid fifty thousand dollars, borne the charges of the
schooner, and paid fancy interest on money; and if
things went well with us, we might realise fifteen per
cent of the first outlay. We were not merely bankrupt,
we were comic bankrupts : a fair butt for jeering in the
THE CARGO OF THE "FLYING SCUD." 311
streets. I hope I bore the blow with a good counte-
nance ; indeed, my mind had long been quite made up,
and since the day we found the opium I had known the
result. But the thought of Jim and Mamie ached in
me like a physical pain, and I shrank from speech and
I was in this frame of mind when the captain pro-
posed that we should land upon the island. I saw he
had something to say, and only feared it might be con-
solation; for I could just bear my grief, not bungling
sympathy ; and yet I had no choice but to accede to his
We walked awhile along the beach in silence. The
sun overhead reverberated rays of heat; the staring
sand, the glaring lagoon, tortured our eyes ; and the
birds and the boom of the far-away breakers made a
" I don't require to tell you the game's up ? " Nares
" No," said I.
"I was thinking of getting to sea to-morrow," he
" The best thing you can do," said I.
" Shall we say Honolulu ? " he inquired.
" yes ; let's stick to the programme," I cried. " Hon-
olulu be it ! "
There was another silence, and then Nares cleared his
312 THE WRECKER.
" We've been pretty good friends, you and me, Mr.
Dodd," lie resumed. "We've been going through, the
kind of thing that tries a man. We've had the hardest
kind of work, we've been badly backed, and now we're
badly beaten. And we've fetched through without a
word of disagreement. I don't say this to praise myself :
it's my trade ; it's what I'm paid for, and trained for,
and brought up to. But it was another thing for you j
it was all new to you; and it did me good to see you
stand right up to it and swing right into it, day in, day
out. And then see how you've taken this disappoint-
ment, when everybody knows you must have been
taughtened up to shying-point ! I wish you'd let me
tell you, Mr. Dodd, that you've stood out mighty manly
and handsomely in all this business, and made every one
like you and admire you. And I wish you'd let me tell
you, besides, that I've taken this wreck business as much
to heart as you have ; something kind of rises in my
throat when I think we're beaten; and if I thought
waiting would do it, I would stick on this reef until we
I tried in vain to thank him for these generous words,
but he was beforehand with me in a moment.
" I didn't bring you ashore to sound my praises," he
interrupted, "We understand one another now, that's
all ; and I guess you can trust me. What I wished to
speak about is more important, and it's got to be faced.
What are we to do about the Flying Scud and the dime
novel ? "
THE CAKGO OF THE "FLYING SCUD." 313
" I really have thought nothing about that," I replied.
" But I expect I mean to get at the bottom of it ; and if
the bogus Captain Trent is to be found on the earth's
surface, I guess I mean to find him."
" All you've got to do is talk/' said Nares ; " you can
make the biggest kind of boom; it isn't often the
reporters have a chance at such a yarn as this ; and I
can tell you how it will go. It will go by telegraph,
Mr. Dodd ; it'll be telegraphed by the column, and head-
lined, and frothed up, and denied by authority ; and it'll
hit bogus Captain Trent in a Mexican bar-room, and
knock over bogus Goddedaal in a slum somewhere up
the Baltic, and bowl down Hardy and Brown in sailors'
music halls round Greenock. O, there's no doubt you
can have a regular domestic Judgment Day. The only
point is whether you deliberately want to."
"Well," said I, "I deliberately don't want one thing:
I deliberately don't want to make a public exhibition of
myself and Pinkerton: so moral smuggling opium;
such damned fools paying fifty thousand for a * dead
horse ' ! "
" No doubt it might damage you in a business sense,"
the captain agreed. "And I'm pleased you take that
view ; for I've turned kind of soft upon the job. There's
been some crookedness about, no doubt of it ; but, Law
bless you ! if we dropped upon the troupe, all the pre-
mier artists would slip right out with the boodle in their
grip-sacks, and you'd only collar a lot of old mutton-
314 THE WRECKER.
headed shell-backs that didn't know the back of the bust
ness from the front. I don't take much stock in Mercan-
tile Jack, you know that ; but, poor devil, he's got to go
where he's told; and if you make trouble, ten to one
it'll make you sick to see the innocents who have to stand
the racket. It would be different if we understood the
operation ; but we don't, you see : there's a lot of queer
corners in life ; and my vote is to let the blame' thing
"You speak as if we had that in our power," I
" And so we have," said he.
" What about the men ? " I asked. " They know too
much by half ; and you can't keep them from talking."
" Can't I ? " returned Nares. " I bet a boarding-
master can ! They can be all half-seas over, when they
get ashore, blind drunk by dark, and cruising out of the
Golden Gate in different deep-sea ships by the next
morning. Can't keep them from talking, can't I ? Well,
I can make 'em talk separate, leastways. If a whola
crew came talking, parties would listen ; but if it's only
one lone old shell-back, it's the usual yarn. And at
least, they needn't talk before six months, or if we
have luck, and there's a whaler handy three years.
And by that time, Mr. Dodd, it's ancient history."
"That's what they call Shanghaiing, isn't it?" I
asked. " I thought it belonged to the dime novel."
"0, dime novels a.re right enough," returned the
THE CAKGO OP THE "FLYING SCUD." 815
captain. "Nothing wrong with the dime novel, only
that things happen thicker than they do in life, and the
practical seamanship is off-colour."
" So we can keep the business to ourselves," I mused.
" There's one other person that might blab," said the
captain. " Though I don't believe she has anything left
"And who is she 9 " I asked.
"The old girl there," he answered, pointing to the
wreck. " I know there's nothing in her ; but somehow
I'm afraid of some one else it's the last thing you'd
expect, so it's just the first that'll happen some one
dropping into this God-forgotten island where nobody
drops in, waltzing into that wreck that we've grown old
with searching, stooping straight down, and picking right
up the very thing that tells the story. What's that to
me ? you may ask, and why am I gone Soft Tommy on
this Museum of Crooks ? They've smashed up you and
Mr. Pinkerton; they've turned my hair gray with
conundrums ; they've been up to larks, no doubt ; and
that's all I know of them you say. Well, and that's
just where it is. I don't know enough ; I don't know
what's uppermost ; it's just such a lot of miscellaneous
eventualities as I don't care to go stirring up; and I
ask you to let me deal with the old girl after a patent
of my own."
" Certainly what you please," said I, scarce with
attention, for a new thought now occupied my brain.
316 THE WRECKER.
"Captain," I broke out, "you are wrong; we cannot
hush this up. There is one thing you have forgotten."
"What is that ? " he asked.
" A bogus Captain Trent, a bogus Goddedaal, a whole
bogus crew, have all started home," said I. " If we are
right, not one of them will reach his journey's end.
And do you mean to say that such a circumstance as
that can pass without remark ? "
" Sailors," said the captain, " only sailors ! If they
were all bound for one place, in a body, I don't say so j
but they're all going separate to Hull, to Sweden, to
the Clyde, to the Thames. Well, at each place, what is
it ? Nothing new. Only one sailor man missing : got
drunk, or got drowned, or got left : the proper sailor's
Something bitter in the thought and in the speaker's
tones struck me hard. " Here is one that has got left ! "
I cried, getting sharply to my feet; for we had been
some time seated. " I wish it were the other. I don't
don't relish going home to Jim with this ! "
" See here," said Nares, with ready tact, " I must be
getting aboard. Johnson's in the brig annexing chand-
lery and canvas, and there's some things in the Norah
that want fixing against we go to sea. Would you like
to be left here in the chicken-ranch ? I'll send for
you to supper."
I embraced the proposal with delight. Solitude, in my
frame of mind, was not too dearly purchased at the risk
THE CAKGO OF THE "FLYING SCUD." 317
of sunstroke or sand-blindness; and soon I was alone
on the ill-omened islet. I should find it hard to tell of
what I thought of Jim, of Mamie, of our lost fortune,
of my lost hopes, of the doom before me : to turn to at
some mechanical occupation in some subaltern rank, and
to toil there, unremarked and unamused, until the hour
of the last deliverance. I was, at least, so sunk in sad-
ness, that I scarce remarked where I was going; and
chance (or some finer sense that lives in us, and only
guides us when the mind is in abeyance) conducted my
steps into a quarter of the island where the birds were
few. By some devious route, which I was unable to
retrace for my return, I was thus able to mount, with-
out interruption, to the highest point of land. And
here I was recalled to consciousness by a last discovery.
The spot on which I stood was level, and commanded
a wide view of the lagoon, the bounding reef, the round
horizon. Nearer hand I saw the sister islet, the wreck,
the Norah Creina, and the Norah's boat already moving
shoreward. For the sun was now low, flaming on the
sea's verge; and the galley chimney smoked on board
It thus befell that though my discovery was both
affecting and suggestive, I had no leisure to examine
further. What I saw was the blackened embers of fire
of wreck. By all the signs, it must have blazed to a
good height and burned for days ; from the scantling of
a spar that lay upon the margin only half consumed, it
318 THE WKECKER.
must have been the work of more than one; and I
received at once the image of a forlorn troop of casta-
ways, houseless in that lost corner of the earth, and
feeding there their fire of signal. The next moment a
hail reached me from the boat ; and bursting through
the bushes and the rising sea-fowl, I said farewell (I
trust forever) to that desert isle.
IN WHICH I TURN SMUGGLER, AND THE CAPTAIN CASUIST.
The last night at Midway, I had little sleep ; the next
morning, after the s.un was risen, and the clatter of
departure had begun to reign on deck, I lay a long while
dozing ; and when at last I stepped from the companion,
the schooner was already leaping through the pass into
the open sea. Close on her board, the huge scroll of a
breaker unfurled itself along the reef with a prodigious
clamour ; and behind I saw the wreck vomiting into the
morning air a coil of smoke. The wreaths already
blew out far to leeward ; flames already glittered in the
cabin skylight ; and the sea-fowl were scattered in sur-
prise as wide as the lagoon. As we drew further off,
the conflagration of the Flying Scud flamed higher ; and
long after we had dropped all signs of Midway Island,
I TURN SMUGGLER, THE CAPTAIN CASUIST. 319
the smoke still hung in the horizon like that of a
distant steamer. With the fading out of that last ves-
tige, the Norah Creina passed again into the empty
world of cloud and water by which she had approached ;
and the next features that appeared, eleven days later,
to break the line of sky, were the arid mountains of
It has often since been a comfortable thought to me
that we had thus destroyed the tell-tale remnants of the
Flying Scud; and often a strange one that my last sight
and reminiscence of that fatal ship should be a pillar of
smoke on the horizon. To so many others besides my-
self the same appearance had played a part in the
various stages of that business : luring some to what
they little imagined, filling some with unimaginable
terrors. But ours was the last smoke raised in the
story ; and with its dying away the secret of the Flying
Scud became a private property.
It was by the first light of dawn that we saw, close on
board, the metropolitan island of Hawaii. We held
along the coast, as near as we could venture, with a
fresh breeze and under an unclouded heaven ; beholding,
as we went, the arid mountain sides and scrubby cocoa-
palms of that somewhat melancholy archipelago. About
four of the afternoon we turned Waimanolo Point, the
westerly headland of the great bight of Honolulu ;
showed ourselves for twenty minutes in full view ; and
then fell again to leeward, and put in the rest of day-
320 THE WRECKER.
light, plying under shortened sail under the lee of
A little after dark we beat once more about the point,
and crept cautiously toward the mouth of the Pearl
Lochs, where Jim and I had arranged I was to meet the
smugglers. The night was happily obscure, the water
smooth. We showed, according to instructions, no light
on deck : only a red lantern dropped from either cathead
to within a couple of feet of the water. A lookout was
stationed on the bowsprit end, another in the crosstrees ;
and the whole ship's company crowded forward, scouting
for enemies or friends. It was now the crucial moment
of our enterprise ; we were now risking liberty and
credit ; and that for a sum so small to a man in my
bankrupt situation, that I could have laughed aloud in
bitterness. But the piece had been arranged, and we
must play it to the finish.
For some while, we saw nothing but the dark moun-
tain outline of the island, the torches of native fisher-
men glittering here and there along the foreshore, and
right in the midst, that cluster of brave lights with
which the town of Honolulu advertises itself to the sea-
ward. Presently a ruddy star appeared inshore of us,
and seemed to draw near unsteadily. This was the
anticipated signal; and we made haste to show the
countersign, lowering a white light from the quarter,
extinguishing the two others, and laying the schooner
incontinently to. The star approached slowly; the
I TURN SMUGGLER, THE CAPTAIN CASUIST. 321
sounds of oars and of men's speech came to us across the
water ; and then a voice hailed us.
"Is that Mr. Dodd?"
" Yes," I returned. " Is Jim Pinkerton there ? "
" No, sir," replied the voice. " But there's one of his
crowd here ; name of Speedy."
"I'm here, Mr. Dodd," added Speedy himself. "I
have letters for you."
"All right," I replied. "Come aboard, gentlemen, and
let me see my mail."
A whaleboat accordingly ranged alongside, and three
men boarded us : my old San Francisco friend, the stock-
gambler Speedy, a little wizened person of the name of
Sharpe, and a big, flourishing, dissipated-looking man
called Fowler. The two last (I learned afterward) were
frequent partners; Sharpe supplied the capital, and
Fowler, who was quite a character in the islands and
occupied a considerable station, brought activity, daring,
and a private influence, highly necessary in the case.
Both seemed to approach the business with a keen sense
of romance ; and I believe this was the chief attraction,
at least with Fowler for whom I early conceived a
sentiment of liking. But in that first moment I had
something else to think of than to judge my new
acquaintances ; and before Speedy had fished out the
letters, the full extent of our misfortune was revealed.
"We've rather bad news for you, Mr. Dodd," said
Fowler. " Your firm's gone up."
322 THE WKECKER.
" Already ! " I exclaimed.
" Well, it was thought rather a wonder Pinkerton held
on as long as he did," was the reply. " The wreck deal
was too big for your credit ; you were doing a big busi-
ness, no doubt, but you were doing it on precious little
capital ; and when the strain came, you were bound to
go. Pinkerton's through all right : seven cents divi-
dend ; some remarks made, but nothing to hurt : the
press let you down easy I guess Jim had relations
there. The only trouble is, that all this Flying Scud
affair got in the papers with the rest ; everybody's wide
awake in Honolulu ; and the sooner we get the stuff in
and the dollars out, the better for all concerned."
"Gentlemen," said I, "you must excuse me. My
friend, the captain here, will drink a glass of champagne
with you to give you patience ; but as for myself, I am
unfit even for ordinary conversation till I have read these
They demurred a little: and indeed the danger of
delay seemed obvious; but the sight of my distress,
which I was unable entirely to control, appealed strongly
to their good-nature ; and I was suffered at last to get by
myself on deck, where, by the light of a lantern smug-
gled under shelter of the low rail, I read the following
" My dear Loudon," ran the first, " this will be handed
you by your friend Speedy of the Catamount. His ster-
ling character and loyal devotion to yourself pointed
I TURN SMUGGLER, THE CAPTAIN CASUIST. 323
him out as the best man for our purposes in Hono-
lulu the parties on the spot being difficult to manip-
ulate. A man called Billy Fowler (you must have
heard of Billy) is the boss ; he is in politics some, and
squares the officers. I have hard times before me in the
city, but I feel as bright as a dollar and as strong as
John L. Sullivan. What with Mamie here, and my part-
ner speeding over the seas, and the bonanza in the wreck,
I feel like I could juggle with the Pyramids of Egypt,
same as conjurers do with aluminium balls. My earnest
prayers follow you, Loudon, that you may feel the way
I do just inspired ! My feet don't touch the ground ;
I kind of swim. Mamie is like Moses and Aaron that
held up the other individual's arms. She carries me
along like a horse and buggy. I am beating the record.
" Your true partner,
" J. PiNKERTON."
Number two was in a different style :
"My dearest Loudon, how am I to prepare you for
this dire intelligence? dear me, it will strike you
to the earth. The Fiat has gone forth ; our firm went
bust at a quarter before twelve. It was a bill of
Bradley's (for $200) that brought these vast operations
to a close, and evolved liabilities of upwards of two
hundred and fifty thousand. O, the shame and pity of
it ! and you but three weeks gone ! Loudon, don't blame
your partner : if human hands and brains could have
sufficed, I would have held the thing together. But it
324 THE WBECKEE.
just slowly crumbled ; Bradley was the last kick, but the
blamed business just melted. I give the liabilities ; it's
supposed they're all in ; for the cowards were waiting,
and the claims were filed like taking tickets to hear
Patti. I don't quite have the hang of the assets yet,
our interests were so extended ; but I am at it day and
night, and I guess will make a creditable dividend. If
the wreck pans out only half the way it ought, we'll
turn the laugh still. I am as full of grit and work as
ever, and just tower above our troubles. Mamie is a
host in herself. Somehow I feel like it was only me
that had gone bust, and you and she soared clear of it.
Hurry up. That's all you have to do.
" Yours ever,
" J. PlNKEBTON."
The third was yet more altered :
" My poor Loudon," it began, " I labour far into the
night getting our affairs in order; you could not believe
their vastness and complexity. Douglas B. Longhurst
said humorously that the receiver's work would be cut
out for him. I cannot deny that some of them have a
speculative look. God forbid a sensitive, refined spirit
like yours should ever come face to face with a Com-
missioner in Bankruptcy ; these men get all the sweet-
ness knocked right out of them. But I could bear up
better if it weren't for press comments. Often and
often, Loudon, I recall to mind your most legitimate
critiques of the press system. They published an in*
I TUKN SMUGGLER, THE CAPTAIN CASUIST. 325
terview with me, not the least like what I said, and with
jeering comments; it would make your blood boil, it
was literally inhumane; I wouldn't have written it about
a yellow dog that was in trouble like what I am. Mamie
just winced, the first time she has turned a hair right
through the whole catastrophe. How wonderfully true
was what you said long ago in Paris, about touching on
people's personal appearance ! The fellow said " And
then these words had been scored through; and my
distressed friend turned to another subject. " I cannot
bear to dwell upon our assets. They simply don't show
up. Even Thirteen Star, as sound a line as can be pro-
duced upon this coast, goes begging. The wreck has
thrown a blight on all we ever touched. And where's
the use ? God never made a wreck big enough to fill
our deficit. I am haunted by the thought that you may
blame me ; I know how I despised your remonstrances.
O, Loudon, don't be hard on your miserable partner.
The funny-dog business is what kills. I fear your stern
rectitude of mind like the eye of God. I cannot think
but what some of my books seem mixed up ; otherwise,
I don't seem to see my way as plain as I could wish to.
Or else my brain is gone soft. Loudon, if there should
be any unpleasantness, you can trust me to do the right
thing and keep you clear. I've been telling them
already, how you had no business grip and never saw
the books. 0, I trust I have done right in this ! I
knew it was a liberty ; I know you may justly complain ;
326 THE WRECKER.
but it was some things that were said. And mind you,