Robert L. Drake.

The Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets The Fall of the German Navy online

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transferred to the half-dozen small vessels that were to carry them back
to the Fatherland, and British crews were put aboard the vessels. Then,
their eyes sad and watching what had once been the pride of Germany, the
German officers and sailors began their cheerless journey home.

Again it was a night of festivity in Harwich, and in all England, and all
allied countries, for that matter. The surrender of the great German fleet
was now a thing of the past. Germany's hands were tied. She could continue
the struggle no longer even should she elect to do so. While a formal
declaration of peace had not been signed, and probably would not be signed
for months to come, the war was over, so far as actual fighting was
concerned.

No wonder England, France, America, Italy and the smaller nations with
them went wild with joy. After four years of war, peace had again cast its
shadow over the earth, and everyone was glad.

"So it's all over."

It was Frank who spoke. He and Jack were in the latter's cabin on the
Essex. The ship was lying at anchor just outside Harwich harbor, riding
gently on the swell of the waves.

"Yes, it's all over," said Jack, "and I'm glad."

"So am I," Frank declared; "and yet we have had a good time."

"So we have, of a kind. And still you can't rightly call it a good time
when all we have been doing is to seek, kill and destroy."

"But it had to be done," Frank protested.

"Oh, I know that as well as you do. But war is a terrible thing, and the
more you see of it the more certain you become that it is all
foolishness."

"And yet, you can't permit a big bully to run amuck and smash up things
all over the world."

"That's true, of course, and it's exactly what the kaiser and his war
machine tried to do. Now, the machine had to be smashed, of course, and it
has been smashed. But how long will it take the world to recover? How long
will it take to rebuild what has been destroyed in these four years of
war?"

Frank shrugged his shoulders.

"I'm not good at conundrums," he replied.

"Nor I; and yet I'll venture to say that the reconstruction days will be
as hard as many we have experienced in the war."

"The thing that I want to know," said Frank, changing the subject
abruptly, "is just what will be done with Germany in the final peace
conference."

"You know as much about it as I do," replied Jack, "but my own idea is
that the German empire will be dismembered - divided into the states of
Prussia, Saxony, and so forth, as they were years before they united under
one head."

"I'm sure I hope so. Certainly the allies will never permit Germany to
attain such power that may make all our fighting futile - they'll never let
her grow strong enough to start another world struggle."

The lads conversed far into the night before retiring. Nevertheless they
were astir at an early hour, awaiting orders that they knew must come that
day; and they came shortly after noon in the shape of a wireless from Lord
Hastings.

"Return to Dover at once," the message read.

Again the Essex put to sea.

But it was upon a peaceful voyage that the destroyer was bound now. No
longer did her decks bristle with shining guns, crew at quarters and ready
for action. True, the Essex still showed plainly that she was a ship of
war, but her threatening attitude was gone. The war was over and all was
quiet aboard.

That night the destroyer put into Dover harbor and the lads went ashore to
report to Lord Hastings. It was after ten o'clock, but their former
commander received them at once in spite of the lateness of the hour.

"Sorry to disturb you at this hour, sir," said Jack, "but I thought
perhaps you would wish us to report to you immediately."

"And I am glad you did," returned Lord Hastings. "Come, tell me something
about yourselves. So you were in at the finish, eh?"

"You bet!" exclaimed Frank enthusiastically. "You should have been there,
sir."

"I was," replied Lord Hastings.

"You were, sir?"

"Yes."

"But we didn't see you, sir," said Jack.

"I know you didn't. But I saw you. And I saw Frank when he inspected the
submarines on the first day of the surrender."

"Where were you, sir?" demanded Frank.

"Aboard the Queen Elizabeth. I viewed the surrender as the guest of
Admiral Beatty, and their majesties."

For some time the conversation dealt only with the surrender of the fleet.
Then Lord Hastings said:

"Well, boys, the war is over. What do you intend to do now?"

"I know what I shall do, sir," said Frank.

"Well, let's hear it."

"I shall return to America as soon as I am able to procure my discharge."

"As I thought," said Lord Hastings. "And you, Jack?"

"I hardly know, sir. I have no relatives, few friends. There is no one
dependent on me, and I am dependent on no one. It strikes me, sir, that
the navy might be a good place to stick."

"And I had expected that, too," said Lord Hastings quietly. "But I don't
agree with you, Jack."

"Why not, sir?" asked Jack, in some surprise.

"In the first place," said Lord Hastings, "the life would begin to pall on
you when it settled down to dull routine. Now in active service, of
course, it's different. I know, because I've tried both. No, my advice to
you Jack, is to get out of the navy."

"But what shall I do, sir?"

"There are many things," said Lord Hastings quietly. "There is the
consular service, the diplomatic service. Who knows how far you may rise?
Already you have made a name for yourself and have won distinction. You
may go far, if you apply yourself."

"That's true, too, sir," said Jack. "I have thought of that, at odd
moments. But I guess you are right about the navy, sir."

"I know I am. And the sooner you get out of it the better."

"Then I'll take your advice, sir. But I'm afraid it won't be possible to
get a discharge for some time yet."

"It will be much simpler that you think, for both of you," said Lord
Hastings with a smile. "I still have some influence, you know, and I shall
see you receive your discharges within a fortnight, if you wish."

"Hurray!" shouted Frank. "That suits me. There is no use sticking in the
navy now. There is nothing to do."

"And," continued Lord Hastings to Jack. "In the meantime I'll look around
and see what I can turn up for you, Jack."

"Thank you, sir," said Jack.

"And in the meantime, Jack," added Frank, "you are going home with me for
a visit. That is, as soon as we get our discharges."

Jack hesitated.

"But I don't know that I should," he said. "Lord Hastings - - "

"Go by all means," said Lord Hastings. "You have earned a rest and should
take it. Now I'll see about the discharges at once, and as soon as you
receive them, both of you take my advice and go to the United States. That
will give me additional time to look around, Jack. And when you get there,
stay until I send for you."

"All right, sir," said Jack with a smile. "You're still my superior
officer, sir. I must obey your commands."

The three shook hands and Jack and Frank returned to the Essex.




CHAPTER XXX

HOME AT LAST


"Recognize that, Jack?" asked Frank, pointing across the water.

The lads were standing on the forward deck of a great trans-Atlantic liner
that was edging its way into New York harbor.

Jack looked in the direction Frank indicated.

"Rather," he said, "although I only saw it once before. That's the Statue
of Liberty."

"Right," said Frank, "the emblem of that for which America went to war."

"And the spirit for which we all fought," Jack added.

"Exactly. Well, it's been a long time since I saw her. I'm glad to see her
again."

It was morning of the last day of the year 1918.

True to his word, Lord Hastings had been able to secure discharges for the
lads within two weeks after the surrender of the German fleet. They
accompanied Lord Hastings to London, where they remained some time at his
home. Frank, meanwhile, communicated with his father and announced that he
would be home soon. He did not give the exact date, for he wished his
return to be a surprise. And a surprise he knew it would be, as he now
stood on the deck of the incoming liner.

The ship docked a short time later and Jack and Frank went ashore at once.
They took a taxi to the Grand Central station, where they caught a fast
train for Boston. It was night when they arrived there, but Frank
determined to go out to his home in Woburn, ten miles from Boston, at
once.

Accordingly they took an elevated train at the South Station. This put
them in the North Station ten minutes later, and Frank found that there
was a train for Woburn in half an hour.

It was after dark when the lads alighted from the train in the little town
of Woburn. Jack had been there with Frank before, when the lads had
crossed the Atlantic to New York soon after the United States entered the
war. Accordingly, he knew the way from the station to Frank's home almost
as well as the latter did himself.

"Know where you are?" asked Frank.

Jack grinned.

"I've been here once," he said. "That should answer that question. You
know my memory is pretty good."

"Then you can show me which house I live in," said Frank.

Jack pointed to a house a block away where a dim light showed from beneath
a drawn curtain.

"There's the house," he said, "and there appears to be some one home."

"That's father, of course," said Frank. "He seldom goes out in the
evening."

The lads quickened their steps and soon were before the house. Quietly
they mounted the steps and as quietly tip-toed across the porch. Frank
tried the door. It was unlocked.

"Careless of father," he whispered. "I'll have to speak to him about
that."

He opened the door gently and the two lads passed within. Frank closed the
door noiselessly behind him. The lads dropped their grips silently in the
hall and then tip-toed toward a room at the far end, where a light showed.

Keeping out of sight, Frank peered in the door. There, with his back to
his son, sat Dr. Chadwick, reading. Frank stepped softly across the room
leaving Jack standing, grinning, at the door.

Frank reached out and put both hands across his father's eyes.

Dr. Chadwick's book dropped to the floor and for a moment Frank was afraid
he had frightened him by this unceremonious greeting. But Dr. Chadwick's
hands reached up and clasped the hands that for the moment blinded him.

"Frank!" he cried, and sprang to his feet.

The next moment father and son were in each other's arms.

Dr. Chadwick held his son off at arm's length, and looked at him.

"You're a sight for sore eyes," he declared. "You look better than you did
the last time I saw you, and you were looking fine then."

"Here, Father," said Frank, "is a friend of mine come to see you."

Dr. Chadwick turned and saw Jack in the doorway. He stepped forward and
gripped Jack's hand heartily.

"Jack Templeton, eh?" he exclaimed. "I'm glad to see you. And you are
Captain Templeton now, I perceive."

Jack blushed.

"They insisted on making me one, sir, and I couldn't refuse," he said.

"Now," said Dr. Chadwick, "you two boys sit right down here and tell me
all about yourselves. But first, are you hungry?"

"No, sir," said Frank. "We had dinner on the train just before we reached
Boston."

"Then let's hear what you have been doing. I understand you were present
at the surrender of the German fleet. Give me some of the details."

Until long after midnight the three sat there, Dr. Chadwick listening
eagerly to the tales of his son and the latter's chum. But at last he
looked at his watch.

"Why, it's after midnight," he exclaimed. "Time for bed."

Frank led the way to the room he had occupied since babyhood. This Jack
was to share with him during his stay.

"I'll tell you," said Frank, as he climbed into bed, "it feels pretty good
to a fellow to get back into his own bed after all these years."

"I should think it would," agreed Jack. "But mine is a long ways from
here. However, I guess I shall see it again some day."

"Of course you will, old fellow, and I'll go along with you."

They fell asleep.

Both lads were awakened by the sound of a commotion without. They jumped
out of bed. It was broad daylight of the first day of January, 1919.

"Still celebrating the new year, I guess," said Frank. "Remember we heard
'em shooting before we went to bed?"

Jack nodded.

Frank went to the window and stuck his head out. Instantly there was a
wild yell outside. Frank drew his head hurriedly back again.

"What's the matter?" asked Jack.

"I don't know," said Frank. "There is a whole gang of fellows out there
and they all seem to be crazy about something."

Jack had a faint suspicion. He crossed to the window and looked out.

Again a yell went up, followed by a cry from many throats:

"We want Frank!"

Even Frank heard this. His face turned red and he began to act flustered.

"Some of the fellows know I'm home, I guess," he said.

"That's what's the matter, all right," Jack agreed. "Better show yourself
again."

"Wait till I get some clothes on and I'll go down and see 'em," said
Frank.

"They'll probably want you to make a speech," Jack suggested.

Frank was alarmed.

"Speech?" he repeated. "I can't make a speech."

"Oh, yes you can. You don't mean to tell me that a fellow who has done
what you have - who has talked with kings and czars - is afraid to talk to
some of his old friends and companions?"

"That's different," declared Frank.

Jack smiled.

"I catch your point, and maybe you're right," he admitted. "However,
you'll have to do it."

"I suppose I shall," said Frank with a sigh, "so the sooner I get it over
with the better."

He led the way downstairs and on to the front porch. Jack stepped forward
close beside him. Again there was a wild cheer from many throats.

Both lads still wore their British uniforms, and they both presented a
manly and handsome appearance as they stood there on the front porch of
Frank's home.

"Hello, Frank!" "Glad to see you back!" "Are you going to stay here?"
"Tell us about yourself."

These were some of the cries hurled at the lad.

Frank's face turned red and he would have turned away had not Jack's
stalwart frame stayed him.

"Speech! Speech!" came the cry.

The hubbub increased.

"I can't do it, Jack!" Frank exclaimed.

"Oh, yes you can," replied his chum. "I'll help you."

He raised his right hand for silence, still keeping his left tightly on
Frank's shoulder, for the latter showed signs of bolting at the first
opportunity. Instantly the shouting died away and the crowd of young
fellows waited expectantly.

"I just want to introduce my friend," said Jack smiling. "Lieutenant
Chadwick, gentlemen, of His British Majesty's service, though an American
citizen, and a good one at that. Lieutenant Chadwick will be glad to say a
few words to you."

The cheering burst forth again, but died away as Jack pushed Frank
forward.

Frank made a brave effort and finally managed to say a few words. He grew
more at ease as he went along and his audience listened intently. He
spoke for perhaps five minutes, then concluded:

"And now, fellows, I want you all to step up and shake hands with my
friend - also my commander - Captain Jack Templeton. He's an Englishman, but
a pretty good fellow at that - and he's no older than any of us."

There was another cheer and the boys gathered around to shake Jack's hand
and get acquainted with him. And after they had talked and talked and
feasted their eyes on the British uniforms to their hearts' content they
went away. Then Jack and Frank went in to breakfast, where Dr. Chadwick
was awaiting them at the table.

A few words more and the history of The Boy Allies on the Sea is complete.

Jack remained with Frank for several weeks, then returned to England upon
receipt of a message from Lord Hastings announcing that he had found a
place for the lad in the diplomatic service. The story of Jack's struggles
in his chosen profession would make interesting reading, perhaps, but it
is in no wise connected with the great war. Suffice it to say that he is
rapidly rising to fame and fortune and that in years to come, in all
probability, he will hold one of the most important posts in the British
government.

Frank, for his part, remained in his home town, where he took up the
study of law. He proved an apt student and soon showed signs of talent
that undoubtedly will make him famous.

So here we shall take our leave of Jack Templeton and Frank Chadwick,
knowing that, in years to come, they will meet again, both famous then,
and that through all the years their friendship shall survive, and grow
stronger than it was in the days when they fought side by side for the
freedom of the world.

THE END







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Online LibraryRobert L. DrakeThe Boy Allies with the Victorious Fleets The Fall of the German Navy → online text (page 12 of 12)