Albert Ross.

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that juncture. Carl's funds were nearly exhausted.
He had nothing left that would bring muoh if pawned.
With the uncertainty that hung over him he could not
engage himself at any remunerative occupation. He
was stranded on a barren rock, from which he did not
even dare depart, should any friendly sail come hi
sight except the one he most longed for.

"Come in any morning at this hour," continued Mr.
Pyne. "Not later, as I am very busy. I have your
address. If anything important occurs I will send for
you. Good-day."

Nothing could be gained by confiding to this man
of steel the extreme paucity of his resources and Carl
left the office much disheartened. Arriving at his
room his heart gave a bound to find that a letter
had arrived, bearing his name and also the printed
address of the sender, Lawyer Uhrig of St. Louis.
Eagerly he tore open the envelope.

But the contents were merely formal. No news of
Mr. Meyer or his companion had been received. Uh-
rig wrote principally to say this and to add that if it
shou'd be shown that the worst had happened the will
in his safe left Carl the bulk of the old gentleman's


fortune. In 'the circumstances a telegram sent to the
lawyer would be promptly met with whatever funds
he migttit need for immediate use.

Carl's spirits, which had risen at sight of the en-
velope, fell with equal rapidity. He had no idea of
accepting anything from the lawyer. He believed,
if everything else failed, he had acquaintances who
would respond to an appeal. He could not receive
any sum contingent upon the death of his old friejid.
One of the first things he did was to have a talk
with his landlord, in which he asked for credit for a few
weeks ; and the good-natured boniface, reading probity
in his eyes, readily acceded to his request. Then he
wrote to one of his St. Louis friends, requesting the
!oan of a hundred dollars, with no doubt whatever
that the answer would be favorable.

A fortnight passed, during which nothing of value
was imparted to him by the detective to whom he had
intrusted 'his cause. To make matters worse no reply

'was received from the person whom he had asked for
a remittance. Sumner Barney's frequent calls were
the only breaks in the terrible monotony, and even
they served to accentuate the hopelessness of the situa-
tion. Barney was impatient over the slow develop-
ment of the mystery, declaring that he could not even
begin his "romance" until he had an inkling of the

iJenouement. He did, however, aid in keeping up

* Carl's faith in the ultimate success of Mr. Pyne, whom
he described as the shrewdest man of his profession

*j America.

"He's working the thing all right," he used to say.
can't hurry such matters."



When things are at their worst, says the proverb,
they sometimes mend. Three weeks from the day on,
which Carl had first seen Mr. Pyne, he received a
note from fhat gentleman asking him to call that af-^
ternoon at five o'clock. Punctual to the moment he
was at the place appointed.

"I have heard from your friend," were the cheer-
ing words that greeted him.

"Where is he ?" the young man almost shouted.

"He was recently in Honolulu, though he mlay Have
left tihere now."

"Can't you cable?"

"No, there is no telegraphic communication. The
day after I first saw you I found that passengers ans-
wering the description of those you seek had boarded
the Doric just before one of her sailings last month.
From a Honolulu correspondent I now learn that two
men whom I feel reasonably certain are the ones
were recently at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel."

Carl's excitement did not abate.

"The strange thing aboult the matter," continued
Pyne, "is that both registered under different names
from those we suppose them to own. The one I take
to be your friend has attracted notice by the oddity of
his conduct, which confirms my belief that his mind
is unhinged."

"But why ftias not Mr. Lindes written?"

"Perhaps because he has some purpose of his own
in connection with Mr. Meyer's estate. Mind, I only
say 'perhaps.' My advice to you is to take the next
s ! earner and satisfy yourself that your uncle is being
fairly dealt with."


There was no help for it now; Carl was obliged to
reveal the fact that his purse was empty, that he owed
quite a sum for board, and that a friend to whom he
had written for aid had not replied to his communica-
tion. It was a bitter pill, but he had to swallow it. Mr.
Pyne listened and looked thoughtful.

"Who has charge of Mr. Meyer's affairs ?" he asked.

"A lawyer named Johann Uhrig."

"Wouldn't he advance you what you need?"

"I would not permit him to do so. I do not feel
justified in using any funds of Mr. Meyer's."

Mr. Pyne said this was unfortunate. Much might
depend on quick action at the present moment. His
firm had gone on thus far at its own expense, but it
would not be justified in continuing without having
its costs guaranteed. He told Carl to call again on
the following morning and in the meantime he would
study the problem. He earnestly advised the young
man, however, to think over his list of acquaintances
and try some of the others for a loan.

"Little can be done in this world without money,"
was the very sagacious and very true remark which he
made in closing.

The next evening Barney called at Carl's room to
see why he had not come down to dinner. He had
waited for him half an hour already, he said. Carl re-
sponded that he had no appetite, but finally consented
to try to eat something. At the table the latest de-
velopments in the Meyer case were related and dis-

"I can't think of any way out of my dilemma,** was


Carl's doleful exclamation when he had finished the

The soup and fish had been removed untouched.
The young men were too much engaged to attend
to either.

"I've got it ! " exclaimed Barney at last, so loud
that several diners in the vicinity turned their heads.
"You must go to Honolulu."

"Without a dollar to pay my fare?"

"If that could be arranged? You'd jump at the
chance, eh?"

"Indeed I would ; but what is your plan ?"

Barney studied a moment before he replied.

"Pyne is a stayer," he said at last. "When he's got
started with a thing he don't like to give up beaten.
He may hate to put his hand in his pocket, but I
think he'll do it if he's approached in the right way.
Go around there in the morning 1 and tell him if he'll
furnish the tickets you'll make the trip, giving him
a note for the amount they cost. I'd bet my head
that'll fetch him ! Hold on," he added, "it won't do
to wait. The Australia sails tomorrow. We must see
him tonight. Come, never mind the dinner. I'll go
right over with you."

Although it occurred to Carl that Mr. Barney's in-
fluence was not likely to have much effect, he could
not resist the only person who held out a chance to
him. With quick steps they reached the house they
sought and presently were closeted with the detective,
who listened to the plan outlined.

Mr. Pyne was in the habit of thinking rapidly and


as soon as the scheme was duly unfolded he lifted a
finger to indicate that he wished to be undisturbed.
After awhile he went to a desk, took out writing ma-
terials and drew up a document, which, first reading
over several times slowly, he passed to Carl. It was
an agreement for a loan of two hundred and fifty
dollars, to be repaid within nine months, with interest,
or within two months of any previous date at which he
might receive his inheritance as Peter Meyer's heir.

"I decline to sign that, sir ! " was Carl's exclama-
tion, as he handed the paper back, "unless you erase
the second provision."

Mr. Pyne reddened, swallowed hard, and seemed
in doubt for an instant what to do.

"All right, 111 erase it," he said finally. "And you're
to go on the Australia tomorrow."





THE scene at the wharf when the Australia was
about to depart on her trans-Pacific trip was the one
common on such occasions and yet full of interest to
all who witnessed it for die first time. The steamer's
deck was crowded with passengers and with friends
who had come to bid t ( hem good-bye. The decks and
cabins were so jammed with people that locomotion
was well nigh impossible. When the signal was giv-
en, "All ashore who are going!" dozens of people
went down the plank, where an officer was stationed
to see that none returned unless provided with passage

The pier remained to the last crowded with those
Who had left the steamer, most of them occupied in
shouting farewell messages. Many of the ladies on
board the vessel had their arms full of flowers. One
newly wedded couple was almost buried in gifts of
that description. The mails were the last thing to ar-
rive, but finally the whistle was heard, the propeller
began to revolve and the boat moved slowly from her
position, as the cables were loosened and drawn on

As the vessel's prow turned toward the wide wa-
ters frantic efforts were made by scores of people on


and still waving handkerchiefs and umbrellas,
to get the best position's for a final look at their de-
parting friends. When the last form had faded from
sight the passengers began to make themselves com-
fortable in what was to be their home and prison for
at least six days, the time which must elapse before
they could set foot on land again.

Carl, who had registered in the passenger list by
the name of Muller, leaned listlessly on the guard-rail
and watched the scenes described. The first thing that
aroused him to special interest was a general murmur
that a party of unusual importance had come on board.
This consisted . of the wife, son and daughter of a
millionaire sugar king, to see whom every neck around
him was strained eagerly.

Carl's breath came quicker as he recognized one of
the figures in the group to which everybody's attention
was drawn a handsome young woman with dark fea-
tures, dressed in a most becoming tailor-made cos-
tume. The last time he had seen that face salt water
drenched it, and around that slender form his sttrong
arm had been thrown. He trembled at the recollection
of that head on his shoulder, of that heart beating
against his protecting hand. He started sharply as
the girl's quick gaze searched the group in w<hicih he
stood, wondering what he should do if she identified
him. And when he passed unnoticed among the others
he turned away much relieved.

A young man at his elbow, in the confidential man-
ner common among voyagers, spoke to him.

"Do you see that stout lady, in black and white silk?


That's Mrs. Van Steuben, wife of the Hawaiian sugar
king. That's her son in the checked suit, with the
light hat, and the pretty girl just in front of them is
her daughter. Except old man Spreckles I suppose
Van Steuben has made more money out of sugar than
any of the Honolulu crowd. She'll be a catch in the
matrimonial way, that girl, and they say she's bright
as she's pretty."

Meyer had heard of Van Steuben as who has not?
had indeed had him pointed out in Honolulu a year
or two before. He knew of the man's undoubted
wealth and of his homely ways which money had
never spoiled. He had heard of Mrs. Van, too of
her ambition to shine in "society," of her diamonds
and Paris costumes, of her turn-outs, the best that
the "Paradise of the Pacific" could boast. The Van
Steubens were part and parcel of the stock gossip of
their city, where gossip thrives as nowhere else, hard-
ly exceeded in interest by the family of the Oriental
who left thirteen daughters of very much mixed blood,
giving a fortune to each, when he returned to the
almond-eyed wife of his youth in China. It came
slowly back to Carl that he had heard Miss Amy's
beauty praised by an enthusiastic admirer, she being
at the time absent in the States.

Quite a number of friends had come to the wharf
to bid this party good-bye, and as the Australia moved
slowly from her moorings, on the upper deck, all
waved adieu to their acquaintances on shore. Miss
Amy carried several immense bouquets, which she
kissed from time to time and extended toward her


young lady chum's, alternating the exercises by apply-
ing a lace handkerchief to her eyes in mock similitude
of weeping. Her mother stood by her side, coaching
her in tones apparently intended to escape the ears of
others, but quite clearly heard by all about her.

"That's quite enough," she said, when the boat had
moved its length away from the wharf ; "you must not
be too demonstrative, dear. Remember we are the ob-
served of all observers. There, wave them a last
good-bye, for we must go down to our cabin and dress
for tiffin."

"Where is Billy?" asked a most melodious voice, or
at least one that sounded melodious to a certain pair
of ears.

"I <lon't know, I'm sure. He's old enough to take
care of himself."

"He may be old enough, but "

As they turned, the eyes of Miss Van Steuben
looked straight into those of Carl Meyer, who was
standing a few feet from her. He was much pleased
to note that not the faintest sign of recognition il-
lumined their depths.

It was evident that, so far as she knew, she now saw
the blond-haired young man for the first time. The
test was a good one. Carl felt that he need have no
further fears as far as she was concerned. The next
test would be that of the brother, though so far as
he could judge "Billy" had not observed him at all
during the adventure of the Bay. He was thrown
into the water at precisely the same moment as his
sister, and had seemed quite sufficiently engaged with-


out studying the individual countenances about him.
Neither of the other persons in the sailing party were
among the passengers, though Carl thought he dis-
cerned the features of Miss Stevens among those on

As he walked slowly from the place where he had
been standing, a clerical appearing gentleman called
his attention to the pair who were just disappearing
through a doorway.

"You know who they are, I suppose?" he said.
"Mrs. Van Steuben of Honolulu and her daughter."
Carl was a little proud that he could impart informa-
tion on so interesting a subject, or at least show he
was not ignorant at what seemed to have excited gen-
eral remark.

"Yes," assented the gentleman. "The daughter has
been in California for several years acquiring her edu-
cation. She has a brother on board also."
"William," replied Meyer, nonchalantly.
Apparently crushed by finding that the young man
knew as much on the subject as he did himself the
clerical gentleman moved on. But the presence of the
Van Steubens seemed to set everybody to talking. The
most absolute strangers found the matter sufficient to
justify remarks to each other. Before the tiffin bell
rang half the passengers had exchanged information
about it, incidentally giving their names or exchang-
ing cards, with the breezy freedom that exists among
Americans on an ocean liner.

"My name is Billings, I am from Omaha, in the
grocery business; who are you?" was the usual for-


mula with variations. One remarked to anotlher, "See
that fellow in the brown derby? They say that's Gen-
eral Smithkin's son father in the regular army, you
know going out to the islands to buy coffee lands."
Or, "I heard that man by the door say he's lived for
twenty years at Hankow; do you know his name?"
There was a wild anxiety for the dullest information
as to their fellow passengers pervading most of the
people in the smoking room, whidh made Carl feel
behindhand in the race.

The steward, aided and abetted to some extent by
the purser, had arranged the seats in the dining sa-
loon, and when each voyager descended he found a
little card bearing his name on the plate assigned him.
Some of these glaces were assigned by request, so
that friends might be seated near together. Many of
those least used to travel had asked specially to be
placed at the captain's table, under the impression that
it would give them an air of importance in the eyes of
their less fortunate fellows. Wiser ones had put in
a claim for the purser's, but in both cases some were
necessarily doomed to disappointment. Having no
particular choice, among a party of people with whom
he had no previous acquaintance, Carl waited to take
any seat that might be given him. He was rather sur-
prised, therefore, when the secorld .steward scanned the
list in his hand for the fiftieth time, to hear him say,
"Mr. Muller, at the left hand of the purser."

The table was not a large one and the majority of
those seated there were ladies. On the purser's right
was a Mrs. Marlowe, going out to meet her husband


in Foochow. Next to her was a married couple, Mr.
and Mrs. Latham, who turned out to be weal/thy peo-
ple, traveling for pleasure. Next to Carl was the Rev.
Eli Love joy, the clerical gentleman to whom he had
already spoken on deck. A Mrs. Colonel Bentley, with
two grown daughters, completed the list.

The soup was hardly served before Mrs. Bently be-
gan to whisper question to the purser in relation to
the Van Steubens, whose backs were toward
the party, as they sat in a row at the Captain's table.
The great subject was too important to drop even in
the midst of a meal.

"You've heard about that terrible accident, of
course? Wasn't it a narrow escape! I was talking
with Mrs. Dexter she's a great friend of the Van
Steubens', and she said it was simply awful. Amy's
got over it well, hasn't she? You can't see any trace of
it. Those Honolulu girls are so strong. They say she
didn't mind the wetting at all, and never once lost her
presence of mind."

Before the purser could open his mouth to reply
Mrs. Latham broke in: "There never was any real
danger. Miss Van Steuben learned to swim when she
was a child and with the little Kanakas has ridden a
surfboard in the breakers at Waikiki many a time." {

"But she had no surfboard here," said Mrs. Bentley,
determined to maintain her thesis. "And it's not so
easy swimming with a woman's clothing around you;
is it, Mr. Lovejoy?" She appealed to the clergyman,
to Whom she had been introduced but five minutes be-
fore, having a general idea that whatever side a
ister took would be henceforth unassailable.


"I I really 'have had no personal experience," was
the stammering reply, "but I should suppose not."

"It is generally understood," said the purser, spring-
ing into the breach through the first opening, "that
women float longer than men. I've heard that where
a husband and wife were lost together 'at sea, the jury
disposed of the estate on the theory that the wife prob-
ably lived some seconds the longer, and therefore in-
herited her legal share of her husband's property,
which thus went to her heirs."

The two daughters of Mrs. Bentley exclaimed,
"How dreadful!" but exactly what they meant by it
has never transpired.

"At any rate," said their mother, "a man in a boat
sprang after Miss Amy and held her up till she was
pulled aboard the tug. I got that straight and it was
in the newspaper too. And then, not even waiting to
be thanked, he rowed away. In these times it does one
good to hear of an honorable and brave action without
hope of pecuniary reward."

She turned toward Mrs. Latham, as much as to say,
"will you dispute that, now? I'd like to see you do

The challenged lady would undoubtedly have en-
tered the lists again if Mrs. Marlowe had not uttered
the very thought that was in her mind.

"Probably the man didn't know her father was a
millionaire," she said, with a little laugh.

"No, indeed!" agreed Mrs. Latham. And both of
Mrs. Bentley's daughters cried in one breath, "Oh, isn't
that funny!"


Carl felt the flush mounting to his cheeks. His
color did not lessen as the purser turned to him and
said, "Everybody has given his opinion but you, Mr.
Muller; \vhat do you think about it?"

Knives that had begun work were laid dowm. Porks
half poised in the air waited in expectation. The hos-
tile camps of the Bentleys and the Lathamses lay on
their arms anxiously.

"I I'm sure I don't know," was all Carl could
manage to answer.

The opinion of the table was unanimous as far as he
was concerned. He was not going to be much of an
addition to their set. Both of the champions felt that
he had better have gone over to her opponent than as-
sumeid that lame and impotent position.

The talk about the Van Steubens came to a sudden
end. All at once it was discovered that the steamer
was rolling a little. The probability of rough weather
during the next twenty-four hours was discussed with
vigor. Mr. Latham, who had made this voyage sev-
eral times before, talked wisely of his previous trips.
Mrs. Marlowe, having been twice across the Pacific,
added her mite to the stock of information. Mr. Love-
joy hazarded a few useless guesses and all talked of
seasickness and its disagreeable qualities. The two
Miss Bentley exclaimed, " Oh my !" not less than
twenty times. The only ones who said nothing were
the purser and Mr. Meyer; the former because he
wanted to make the women happy and knew they could
not be so if their tongues were idle; and Carl, because
he was still worried by the talk about Miss Van
Steuben and the accident in which he had figured.


A sudden thrill passed through the dining saloon.
Miss Van Steulben had risen and was making her way
toward the stairs.

"She's giving up already," said Mrs. Bentley, in a
surprised tone. "Who would have thought a Honolulu
girl would get sick is this little swell ?"

"Do you want me to go with you?" inquired the
voice of Mrs. Van.

"Oh, no, mother."

Something possessed Carl with the idea that he
ought to go on deck. Who could tell but a lurch of
the vessel might throw that young form violently
against a railing, perhaps into the sea itself. Her bro-
ther sat at the table, dividing his attention between a
plate of nuts and a bottle of something liquid. Mrs.
Van resumed the conversation she had broken off for
the moment.

" I have finished," Carl remarked to the purser and
nobody seemed to mind it when he took his departure.
Instead they took the opportunity to agree on one
thing the only one on which they could probably have
been unanimous that he was very dull.

"I gave him this seat because he was alone and there
was just one remaining," explained the purser, in a



MOST men who are traveling by sea without ladies
in their party, as well as many who have that pleasant
addition to their baggage, find the smoking room a
convenient place in which to spend a portion of their
time. Tobacco is consumed there at dou'ble t!he rate
it would be on shore and the boy who takes orders
for liquid refreshment finds his position no sinecure.
A game or two of cards is generally in progress. The
story-teller is in great demand. Travelers learn that
they have been to the same places in distant lands and
compare notes, to the great edification of listeners.
Others discover somebody who is acquainted with a
place to which they intend to go and pump him dry
for information.

The decks afford a better view of the pathless waters
and more salubrious air, but people who stay there are
longer in getting acquainted. It is in the smoking
room that they unbend to eadi other, lolling comfort-
ably on the dhairs or sofas.

Although Carl Muller was the quietest passenger
on board the Australia he managed without effort to
pick up a good deal of information concerning tihe
Others. By the third day he knew most of the male
Voyagers by name and was also aware which of them


were accompanied by ladies or children. There were
about a dozen detached females of various degrees,
witih whose cognomens he was longer in getting fam-
iliar, but even these were revealed, one by one. There
were two or three maiden ladies, a widow traveling
alone, several women going out to meet husbands who
had preceded them, and one who admitted that her
journey was undertaken with a bridal ceremony at the
other end of the road as its object. Two women were
missionaries on their way to India.

On Sunday morning religious services were held in
the dining saloon. Carl was pursuaded to play the
cottage organ for the singing, it appearing that he was

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Online LibraryAlbert RossA sugar princess → online text (page 4 of 19)