The mysterious signal, or, Sheridan Keene on the water front

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The mysterious signal, or, Sheridan Keene on the water front

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The mysterious signal, or, Sheridan Keene on the water front
Series Title:
Shield Weekly
Bradshaw, Alden F.
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
32 p. : port. ; 25 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Detective and mystery stories, American ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
024875720 ( ALEPH )
64175824 ( OCLC )
S75-00012 ( USF DOI )
s75.12 ( USF Handle )

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PUBLISHED WEEKLY BY STREET & SMITH, 238 William Street New York City. Copyright, 1901, by Strut & Smith. All r(e hl < rrurved Enlud ol Nw York Post-Offiu os Suond-Closs Moll

l11141d Weekzy. By $2..SO j>tr yta1". Enttred as Stedf'ld-Class Afatttr at flit JV. Y. Post Oj)'iu, 6y STRBBT & SMITH, a JI William .st.1 N. y Enttrtd Acco,.dinr t o Act of in iht year i901, in tlit O./fict of tht Librarian of Conzres.r, Washinzton, D C. No 14. NEW YORK, March 91 1901. Price, Five Cents. THE MYSTERIOUS SI6NAL; oR SHERIDAN KEENE ON THE WATER FRONT. By ALDEN F. BRADSHAW. OHAPTER I. THE RED SIGNAL. "Forward there!" "Ay, ay, sir!" "Starboard a little, and run up through Bla'ck Rock cliannel !" "Ay, ay, sir!" The commands, sounding deep heavy o n the night air, were i ssued by the pilot of the harbor police tug Watchman, and the ready responses come from the man in the wheelhouse. The pilot was seated aft at the time, in company with Sergeant Joe Henry, of the harbor police, and o ne of the Boston inspec tors, Detective Sheridan Keene. The latter had been in Hingham on s p duty during the afternoon, ancr-having run upon the genial sergeant, who happened to be at the wharf with the harbor police tug, Keene had easily been persu aded to return. with him by boat to the city. They had been late in getting under way however and it then was nearly eleven o'clock in the even ing. The summer night was intensely dark. Not a star was visib le in the heavy sky. The signal lant erns of vessels here and there the outlines of which were lost in the d'arkness; the lights on the distant mainland and o n tht; n umerous islarnis dotting Boston harbor, toget her with the loftier and brighter gleam from the several lighthouses-these alone relieved the ebon gloom. A brisk wind was blowing from the ea s t giivng a nasty chop to the ebbing sea, and


SHIELD WEEK.LY. clouds of whit e spra y were hurtled over the Watchman's bow as she plowed her nose into th e ragge d w aves She had Hull and Pembert o n a stern, and in response to the pilot's commands was then bearing for the channel between : George' s and Lovell's islands Boston light, and that at the narrows, loomed up like huge stars ar away over the starboard bow; but the grim walls of nearer Fort Warren were wholly invisible through

SHIELD 3 locality, neither entering nor leaving the town. l believe, Keene, that the work is being done, if not by seamen, at least by some the machine the first thing in the morning7'' "Perhaps I had better run .UP to head-gang of crafty scoundrels who are at work quarters and join you." with boats or a vessel of some sort." "No need of tha t. I'll telephone down to is something in that, sergeant, and the possibility already has been discussed at polite headquarters," said Sheridan Keene, gravel)'. "Forward, there!" here shouted the pilot, who had risen to his feet. "Ay, ay, sir!" "Hard a-port!'' "Har

'SHIELD WEEKLY. "There she goes again!" cried the detecOther lights were discernible along the ris tive as again the crimson gleam suddenly ing shore. But all of these were white, and vanished. The pilot thrust his hands deeper into the pockets of his peajacket, and bracing him self between the rail and the after-house, fell to studying more intently the unusual cir cumstance. "There it shows again, said Keene, at his elbow. "It's a bit curious I admit the pilot growled through his heavy beard. "Have you ever noticed anything like it before?" "Never, sir. " Can you locate the light?" "I'd say it was over on Winthrop heights, inspector, yet it's not dead easy to place it precisely on a night like this. She'sgone again." "It evj.dently is being manipulated from some considerable elevation." "Yes, sir; and I'd now say for certain it is somewhere -o n Winthrop heights." "May it not be a signal of some sort, think you?" Sheridan Keene, with a vague misgiving gradually rising in his mind. "Not likely, rejoined the pilot shaking his head. --"Yet it might be. "Oh, yes; it might, as fur as mights go," was the reply. "But those bluffs are rnore'n a mile away inspector and no vessels of any draught run inside of Apple Island. So it isn't likely, sir,' that anybody from that distance would be signaling to a craft away out her J "There it shows again." Once more the -crimson gleam broke the darkness piercing the gloom like a blood red eye suddenly opened to stare out across the ragged sea from its lofty vantage point. their steady beam streamed unbroken across the night sky. "It looks to me very much like a signal for some purpose," Sheridan Keene re peated But the pilot again shook his head. "I'd sooner set it down to the doings of men or_boys at fools' play on the he now growled, indifferently. "It's hard telling 1f it be under cover or outside, but I reckon it's no signal. I'll keep a weather eye off there hereafter, and, if it's a regular thing, I'll--" "Sail, ho!" The cry came from the lookout forward and cut short the pilot's remark. He turned abruptly and hastened toward the wheel house. while Sheridan Keene more slowly followed him The tug then was nearly abreast of Castle Island, and was tearing furiously through the choppy sea. A shower of spray and mist greeted Keene as he approached the forward deck, while the roll of the small craft nearly threw him trom his feet. Then he heard the pilot cry: "V\T here away, lookout?" "Off starboard just now, sir, but I've lost her! ...She shows no light, sir." "No lantern! What the devil--" "What's the trouble, pilot?" interrupted Sergeant Henry, now appearing suddenly from below "A vessel under sail out here without--" "There she is now, sir, making astern!" yelled the lookout, pointing aft. Almost at the same moment there sounded in stentorian tones from across the sea: "Trim in Trim flat, you lubbers! Head 'er up sharp! Port hard or you'll be It was not entirely alone and isolated. over an infernal tugboat!"


' SHIBLD WEEKLY. In a sharp wind, and heavy sea at night, startling incidents begin and end in a mar velously shor t time. Before the last word of the lookout had fairly left his lips, there suddenly loomed up against the Egyptian darkness an indistinct pyramid of white, looking far more like a vague and monstrous ghost against the surrounding gloom than like a vessel's sails. The hull of the craft was utterly indistin guishable, but the trim of her canvas showed her to have been running with sheets easy on a starboard tack, and holding a course which, owing to some egregious. carelessness about her, had rendered a col lision seriously imminent It was this suddenly discovered peril that had occasioned the furious commands from the vessel's skipper; and as she rounded into tl).e wind scarce fifty feet away over the starboard beam of the police tug, the pilot tore away aft with an ugly oath, and yelled oyer the windward rail : "Aboard there! .Where in thunder are your lanterns?" "Smashed m lighting! Sorry, sir, but-" The of the answer that was being bawled back from the stranger's deck was drowned by the furious slatting of her canvas as the shieets went lax when she came into the wind. Now a vague glimpse could be had of her low black hull, showing her to be a small schooner some ninety feet in length; but more precise details, or anything suggestive of her character and voca tion, coufd not be discerned. The. response of her doughty skipper did not appease the wrath of the police boat's pilot He thundered back in furious -ac cents: "What craft is that?" "Wasp, Cap't Hardtack, South Boston! Who'r you?" I \ "The harbor police tug! Don' t let us catch you again without---'' "Sorry, sir!" yelled the voice from the schooner, cutting in on the pilot's own. "Sha'n't happen again! Accident! Down y'helm there! Ease away for'ard We'll r un astern, sir! Bound into Old Harbor to anchor Night, sir!" Half of this was drowned by distance and wind and splashing sea, for the tug hiad not slowed down; and within another minute the Wasp, if that was her name, had caught her way again and vanished like a spectre into the gloom of the starless night. Sheridan Keene incidentally turned his gaze in the direction of Winthrop heights. A red light was no longer discernible on any part of the gloomy shore. CHAPTER II. THE STORY OF CAPTAIN BATTLE. :Robbed, did you say?" "Aye, sir, robbed! Robbed as clean as a wqistle. Robbed under the very nose and eyes o' the harbor police, sir, and as scu1 vy a bit o' work as ever was <}_one by pirate afloat or land shark ashore!" The black-bearded little fellow who thus reiterated his misfortune, an9 who had bustled excitedly into the privat e office of Chief Inspector Watts about two minutes before; glared furiously at the calm face of his hearers, much as if he defied them to doubt his declaration; or to offer the bare suggesticm_ of an excuse for that official de lii;iquency to which apparently he in part at tributed his He was a short man, less than five feet tall; but with a mighty breadth of shoulders and length of arms which were utterfy di& proportionate with his stubby legs and round, pudgy body He was about fifty years old, with a face as tanned as sun could tan it, and with 'a ..


, 6 SHIELD WEEKLY. br istling coal-black beard a nd brows. From b en ea th th e latter gleame d a pair of sharp, re s tless eyes ; and the breath with which he had v oiced his reiterations was freighted heavil y with the fumes o f Santa Cruz rum. He was clad in a blue yacht-cloth! suit, the sack coat of which was adorned with a do uble r o w o f brass buttons; while a stripe o f gilt brai d girted his blue naval cap. Altoget h e r he looked q uite the pompo us, Well suppose you come off of them for a few minute s Captain Battle, and take 3 chair," sai d Chief W.atts, curtly. "And I state, with a little less waving of your flippers, what all this is about? Have you called here to report that your vessel hai;; been robbed?" "Aye, sir; robbed as clean as a smelt!" cried the d oughty little captain, reluctantly dropping into a chair opposite his ques bustling outspoken little fellow that bis tioner, and glaring at him from under his garrulous utterances and d ecisive .animation i ndicated. Sit down1 sir; it won t c o st you any and there' s less wear on the carpet than when you re dancing about like fat in a hot s killet," said Chief Watts, dryly in response t o th e stranger' s animated declarations. "And who may you be t'hat y ou tear your disclosures to tatters?" The chief at the sam e time made a sign for Sheridan Keene to retain his seat. It was the second morning after the experi ences of the latter aboard the harbor police tug, and the two had been engaged in dis' cussing the curious inci de nts of that night, when this stranger unceremoniousl y entered 1 Well sir I might be Cap' n Kidd, the pirate o r Cap'n Jinks of t h e Horse Marine.;; but as a matter of fact I am nul:her one nor t other, replied the seaman with unabashed flippancy "I am Cap' n Battle o' the schooner Mystery, sir, an d an A. B. from keel to truck." "You say you have robb ed?" Not me, sir; my ves s el. No, no sir no shark o n land or se'a ever t ook a nip out o' Cap' n Zack Battle; my w o rd for that, sir . And there d be no robber y aboard the Myster y had I been there ; my word for that as well sir. I am not the c u t that knuckles when a gun is pushed und e r my nose, not if I've got free flippers aliild ket t o stand on." beetling brows. "That' s what I've come to rep?rt, sir ; though there s little use fo locking a stable door, I reckon, arter the hoss has been stole. "When did the robbery "Last night, sir, just afore eight bells. That's twelve o'clock in a landman's lingo. "Where were you l y ing, Captain Battle?'' "Anchored in the stream, sir, off Pax ton's, East Boston. "Where are you from and what's your cargo?" .I "Cargo, sir!" cried C a ptain B'attle, with a disdainful w a ve o f b o th hands and arms. "The M'j 1stery' s not a fr eighte r sir, I'd have you know. Shes a schooner yacht, sir; Mr. Richard M o rton of \ V inthrop, owner, sir." "A pleasure boat?" "Aye, sir a pleasure boat, if one finds cruising a pleasure ." "What are the circumstances of this robbery, Captain Battle?" Plainly stated, si,r, they are t h ese said Captain Battle clapping each of his muscu .far thighs with his huge hands. "I put in here yesterday just a fore sunset, and dropped anchor. wh,ere I've said. We' ve moorings off W inthrop, mind you; but the trde being a bit dow11 o n the flats, I thought I'd best wait the morning flqod. "Was her owner aboard?" "No, sir; only two fo'mast hands, and a cabin boy who keeps things trim below and l


SHIELD WEEKLY. 7 looks arter the cooking. I'd left Mr. Morton in Gloucester on a matter o' business, sir, and he was coming up oy rail to-day." "Well, what about the robbery?" "This about it, sir! I'd given the fo'mast hands leave till morning-, their wives Jiving in East J3oston. A sailor always loob to see his wife when in port, sir, mebbe you know. I remained aboard till after supper, when I put ashore likewise. I'd told M r Morton I'd let his wife know when he'd be home, sir, as she was expecting him fast night. So I made dO\rn to Winthrop a n d 1 set her mind easy, and then started back for my vessel. But I ran foul o' friends in East Boston, sir, and twas midnight afore I reached the wharf." "Off which your vessel lyig ?'' "Aye, sir, that's it," assented Captain Battle, with a series of nods. "I whistled for the lad aboard to come in the tender and take me off, but I'd a whistled myself dry as a smoked fish before I d a got help from him. Arter blowing my wind for a good half-hour, sir, I nailed a ship s boat in the dock and put off by myself, thinking to send the lad back with it "Had he fallen asleep?" "Sleep, no!" cried Captain Battle, furi ously. "I'd have woke him with a rope's end, if I'd a found him with his peepers closed while on watch Instead, sir, I fQ't.ind him tied hand and. foot in one o'-the fo'cas tle bunks, with a wad o' marlin bound 'tween his teeth, and the breath nigh out of his blooming carcass." "He had been assaulted?'' "That's the purtiest way of putting it, I reckon," growled the seaman, with a glare. "He'd been in no fight, sir for he'd had no chance to put up a fight, the way I'd a. done." "What had happened?" "'Twan't a case o' happen, sir, 'twas a case o' malice aforethought, as I've heerd it called. The lad was sitt ing aft, sir, on the companion slide, when the scurvy trick was done. The first he knew of anybody aboard save himself, was when a pair of lubbers who'd silently hauled along side for'ard and boarded, clapped hands on him from behind and shoved a pistol under his very nose. 'Twan't much use i' the fight, fo r it turned out they were three to one, and two'd been a plenty. The lad caved, sir, sensible like, and they had him i' the shape I found him.'' "And they then robbed t he vessel?" 'The cabin, sir," nodded Captain Battle. "They took .nuthin' fo'ward, as I reckon nuthin' hit their fancy." "What did they take from the cabin?" "Nigh a hundred dollars from Mr. Morton's desk with two telescopes, a night glass, a compass and quadrant, along with a batch of clothing. I am not dead sartin if that's all, sir, for I've not yet) made sure what's missing. And 'twan't so much the foss, sir, seeing that Mr. Morton is a man o' means; but I'd like to lay hands on the in fernal wharf rats, just to teach 'em the' sort o' m!n I am !" And if the expression on the tawny face of Captain Battle was at all suggestive of the of such an encounter, the fate of the miscreants would certainly have been all that the law requires for such an offense. Chief Watts took the man's measure a second and there se;med to be no oc casion .to doubt the story, as reports of a similar nature had recently been much too frequent; yet a signific;i,nt touch from Keene's foot against' his own was hardly necessary to recall their interrupted discussion. "I've no doubt the thieves would fare badly, were you to lay hands on them, Cap tain Battle,., Chief Watts presently rejoined


8 SHIELD WEEKLY. -"You bet!" "I wish for the sake of law and order you might do so. We have been troubled with a great many of these depredations of late." "but if I am to notify Roberts about that case of Heresy, I'd better be about it." There was no case of Heresy, and Chief Watts instantly undersfood that Keene had "That so, sir?" formed some opinion of -the matter under "As well as many breaks about the consideration, and wished not only to inveswharves and along shore. "Can't get any track o' the thieves?" demanded Captain Battle, with the scrutiny of his piercing black eyes betraying an in terest by no means unobserved by Sheridan Keene. "Not hide nor hair of them,'' replied Chief Watts. "How old is your cabin boy, Captain Battle?'' "About twenty, sir." tigate the case, but also to depart in advance of Captain Battle. The chief started slightly, pretending his mind had been re called to the case mentioned, and said, quickly: "You're right, Detective Keene. I'd quite forgotten it in listening to Captain Battle. You may .wire Roberts to arrest on sight, without waiting to procure a warrant. Have you the officer's address?" "I received it this morning. He is at the "Then he can give us some description of his assailants." Dorrance, Providence." "He says they all were men, sir; and big men at that." "\IV ere they in disguise?" ''Can't say as to that, sir." "Did they wear beards?" "I reckon he said they did, though I am not sure." "I will have one of my officers board you during the day, Captain Battle, and the lad's testimony, and note the character of the break," Chief Watts now said, gravely, with his gaze steadily meeting the sharp eyes of the man opposite. "All rigbt, sir," nodded Captain Battle. "I will not drop round to her moorings afore Mr. Morto11 arrives from Oloucester and comes aboard." "Does Mr. Morton spend much his time cruising?" "Summit, sir." vVhat is his business, Captain B attle ?" "Mining, sir. He's got interests in prop-' erty i' the West." ''Pardon the interruption, chief," Sheri dan .Keene interposed, again touching the farmer's foot unobserved by Captain Battle; <'Send him the message at once. then." "It will not take me over ten minutes." Vvithout so much as a glance at Captain Battle, Sheridan Keene quickly arose and left the room. By h1s ,mention of the time it would take him to do the errand, Chief \i\ T atts understood in a flash that Keene wanted him to detain the captain tnat length of time. CHAPTER III. KEENE MAKES A SHREWD GUESS. Sheridan Keene had an object in ieaving the office of Chief Inspector Watts in advance of Captain Battle. disclosure of the latter had given rise .in the 9etective's mind to a number of sus picions which seemed worthy of, at least. a cursory investigation. It struck Keene as being rather curious that this robbery of the Mystery should have occurred so quickly after his exper i.ences with the harbor police, part. icularly since the owner of the vespel was a Winthrop man. It was from that quarter t he red l ight, with its interm'ittent fla sh,


I' I I ', SHIELD WEEKLY. 9 had been observed that night; and although it had been given but little signifi c ance by the pilot. K e ene somehow felt con v inced that it had been a signal made with some doubtful object in view To most minds, howe v e r th e robb e ry of the Mystery would have exonerated that vessel's crew from reasonable s u s pic i on But experience had taught Sheridan Keene to be prepared for artifice on the part of criminals; and it now struck him a s being quite possible that no robbery at all had oc. curred aboard the Mystery, an that this re,port and visit of Captain Battle w e re but calculated to avert th e very suspicion he now was led to entertain, and that this doughty little captain had aimed also to dis cover if any defiqite mistrust existed in the fi1inds of the police. Hence Keene had given quiet intimation of his suspicions to Chief Watts, -and left him to understand that he wished for a time, at l east, to take the case in ha:nd The detective did not immediatel y leave a cable's len&"th south to which a response of 11imilar character wa s immediately returned. "That craft evidentl y i s the Mystery. Keene decided ; "and I'm inclined t o b elie v e that gesture was a signal intimating that this fiery little skipper s visit t o h ea dquar ters has been entirely satisfactor y to him. It's m y decided impression that th e ill ystcry well' deserves her name ." The yacht was a trim-looking craft with a low black hull schooner rigged artd pre senting an e minently respectable appear ance. K e ene f e lt sure that Chief Watts would detail no othe r officer on th e ca s e prior to receiving hi s rep o rt and h e now r e solved that he w o uld giv e Mr. Richard Mo r ton s boat a visit a little lat e r. At the end of another half-hour, C a ptain Battle left in .rinthrop a car he h a d t ake n in Eas t Bo ston, and bustled a w a y in th e di rection of Winthro p Heights. Keene followed fift y fee t b e hind a nd sa w him ring at the door of a large woode n resi-headquarters. First he hastened into the denc e half-hidd e n amid a clump of tre es, an d general room allotted to inspectors and disguised him s elf sufficiently t o preclude rec ognition by Captain Battle s hould he sequentl y have occa s i o n t o m eet him This having been quickly done he slipp e d out into Pemberton square and took a position on the court house steps to wait until the seaman should put in an appearance 'He was not long dela yed. Five minutes later Captain Battle came bustling up the stairs from the inspecta.r s office, and started off toward the water front as fast as his stubby. legs would carry him Sheridan Keene followed him to the South Ferry, and, boarding the boat after him, crossed to East Boston. Just before the boat. made the slip Cap tain Battle took occasion to wav e hi s long arm to a man aboard a black yacht anchored receiv e admis s i o n to the h o u se I t's odd s that i s Mo rto n 's dw e lling." h e decid e d I'll try to g e t a l oo k a t it fro m th e rear." He w al ke d by th e h o u se, which occ upier! an e levated sit e on the l o n g s tr e t c h o f bluff : and, taking a side avenue an e ighth of a mil e beyond a short w alk brought him sharpl y upon the water front A glanc e over th e magnificent prosp e ct served to augment his suspicions. The r ear of th e house into which Captain Battle had disappeared was w ithi n fifty yards of th e break of the high bluff. Belo\\'. lay the wa ters of Boston Harbor, with Apple Island in plain view ; while, far awa y in the distance, Fort Independence and the waters of Presi dent Roads were easil y discernible the scene of th e incidents of two nights befo:e. ., /


1 0 SHIELD WEEKLY. More than ever convinced that he was on the track of some s .ort of knavery, the detec tive n ow retraced his steps, and started for the nearest point at which he coi1ld take a return car. On his \vay he encountered a local policeman, and decided that this would be a s afe person of whom to make inquiries concerning Morton. Yet he by habit, was too s hrewd to betray himself, and he said merel y, when they met: "I'm looking for a party named Morton, Mr. Officer. Can you tell me where he lives? The officer gave him a quick, semi-suspi cious glance. "What's his first name Richard?" he de manded. I guess that's it, sir." "I ought to know where he lives, since he's my brother-in-law, said the patrolman, bluntly. Keene fancied neither the look in th e man's eye nor the tone of his voice, and the discovery of the rel!ltionship mentioned Jed him instantly to make a tack. "I'm not sure his name is Richard," he now said, doubtfully "I think I have heard him called Ben The man I'm looking for is a caulker and works in o ne o f the ship yards in East Boston. He said he could get me a job, but I don' t know just where he works; only that. he live s so m e where in Win throp." '"\!Veil, he"s not the man I have in mind,''. rejoined the officer, curtly. "I don't kno w any caulker by the name of Morton, nor any other name, as far as th'at goes. You can find a director) at:the drug sto r e yo nder. Like_ as not that'll tell you." "Thank yo u sir," said Keene n odding so berly, and moving awa y with a well-feigned air of dismal uncertainty. Yet he was saying to himself "By jove that fellow don't look right. I would wager there's a black streak in him somewhere. This mystery may be a deal broader and deeper than I have imagined." Now fully resolved to go to the bottom of it, however deep it might prove to be, Keene hastened to take a car and return to East Boston. Half an hour later he made his way down the wharf opposite hich the Mystery lay at anchor, and whistled shrilly through his fingers to a man whom he saw lolling on her forward deck. The fellow heard and looked shorewa'fd, and Keene beckoned for him to come and take him off. The seaman hesitated for several minutes, but finally decided to comply. He boarded a tender swinging aft on the tide, and rowed slowly to the wharf. "Did you whistle to me, sir?'' he demanded, as he swung the boat round and stared up at the man on the pier. "That's the schooner J.V! ystery, isn't it?" returned Keene, at once sizing up the boatman to be all that his grim face and distrustful eyes indicated. Aye, sir that's her name." "Well, back u_p here and take me ab _oard," said Keene, curtly. "I'm an inspector of police. Your captain's been up to headquarters and reported a theft from his vessel. I wantJ to question your cabin boy, and look the evidence over." The boatman's grim expression immediately relaxed. "Oh, all right, sir!" he now excl'aimed, sending the boat's tern to the pier. I didn "t k_now you, sir; and the cap'n not being aboard, I'd no business to take off a stranger. It's all right, sir. Come aboard." Keene clambered down into the sternsheets, and sat io si1ence while the seaman bent to his c' ars and sent the light tender spinning over the oi l y water. Before she had run alongside tbe large r craft, two other


. / SHIELD WEEKLY. 11 men had appeared from below, one of whom much need of the gag, sir, kr I'd not have was a youngster of twenty, with a thin, been heard from down there if I'd ye.lied m y swarthy face and crafty gray eyes His comlungs out." panion wa s a man of forty, dark-visaged, and "Was it sufficiently light for you to easily had his left arm in a sling. All three wore distinguish your assailants?" blue sailor trousers and woolen shirts, and their general Gharacter, if pictured in their faces, was by no means commendable. Sheridan Keene gave no sign of observing any of this. He scr 1swolien wrists, which still bore the laceration Of the lines with I which he had been secured "Then they gaggetl me and chucked 111e into a bunk fo'ard, and shut me below There .wasn't "No, sir; I only know that they were pretty big rnen, and ail wo .re beards "Did you hear any names ment!oned ?" "No, sir," and Fales shiOok his head "They didn't say much afore getting me be low. What happened after that, I can't say." "Take me below." The lad led the way down the companion way and into the cabin. Like the rest o.f th.: vessel it was neat in appearance; and utterly void 9f anything calculated to create suspi cion. Keene briefly looked the place over, and pushed open the door of a small stateroom on the port side . "That's Mr. Morton's roon1, sir ex .... plained 'The starboard one is used by Cap'n Battle. .# '.Was .. this the desk that was robbed?" "Yes, sir." 1_t a small affair, -and evidently had been forced open with a chisel, as the woodwork about the lock was split away. So far as indications went the robbery appeared to have been a genuine occurrence; ano, if the contrary was the fact", he evidence and the t;tories of the several involved in the . deception had been carefully pre-arranged. But Sherida n Keene had expected less than this, and he _:till cleaved to sus pic'ions. "Captain Battle's coming aboard now, sir," said Fales, when Keene re-entered the cabin. "I just heard him whistle from the pier "Mr:Morton is away, I understand?" said Keene, inquiringly, "We left him in Gloucester yesterday, sir; but he was coming up this morning." "It now is nearly noon. Possibly he already has arrived.''


1.2 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Like enough sir. The fact that Captain Battle had again had a mission to Mo rton ; s house, after having been there the night before, led Keene to doubt if Morton had in reality remained in Gloucester ; and he r e s o lved to add this coldness of his searching gray eyes, and a certain constraint with which he repeatedly m-iiled led this shrewd detective to regard him with serious misgivings "You may mail to headquarters an inven tory covering your loss, Mr. Morton, if you also to his su s picions providing he now please," he replied, gravely. found him _in c o mpan y with the captain. I will do so this very afternoon sir. I His misgivings proved to be well founded. When he returned to the deck a few minutes later, after subjecting Martin Fales to a few more questions, Captain Battle was coming over the vessel's side accompanied by a tall, well-dressed man of about forty who at onc e hastened aft. My man informs me that you are one of the city inspec ors, sir," he said, politely as he the detective. I 'a'm Mr. Morton, the owner of this boat, and Captain B attle, my skipper tells me has suffered a robbery." He extended his hand while speaking, and Sheridan keene met him half way "Yes, Mr. Morton," he said gravely. I have been questioning your cabin boy and what I could make or' the affair." "That's rig:ht, inspecto r What do you find?" "Nothing that gives me any clue to the thieves sir, I am sorry to say "We ll, well that's too bad," smiled Mor ton drawing up his tall figure "But the loss is ver y h e avy, Captain tells me, aqd I gue ss I s hall weather it. I am s h ort a hand as the o f the robber y, one of my men having sprained his wrist; but if there is an y help I can give you in your effort to locate the thieves, I beg that you'li command Keene meantime ha:d sized the man up more closely His manner was that of a of means and culture. \here was nothing in his voice nor his utterances to have occasioned drstrust; yet the peculiar shall remain at anchor here until morning." "If we have a list we may be able to lo cate some of the property, i'n case it is pawned, and that, possibly may lead to a discovery of the Keene explained, signing 1o one of the crew to bring the tender alongside. But he already had in mind a far different and more daring meth 'od by which, should his suspicions prove correct, he was resolved to discover the real criminals. He shook hands with both Mr. Morton and Captain Battle, and ?aving boarded the tender was rpwed a shore. CHAPTER IV. SHE RIDAN Klt. ENE' S S!'RA'I'EGY Not far from four o'clock that afternoon, a man clad in a soiled gray suit and woolen s hirt, and \ y hose r e pulsive features wore a hue as dark as that of a mula.tto, made his way to the end of the pier at which the harbor police boat then was secured, unceremoniou sly aboard of her. Sergeant Henry was seated alone abaft the main house, and, abruptly rising, he,,.<.! waved the fellow off. "You're not allowed aboard here," he called, sharply "Get back to the wharf." But the intruder did not obey. He swag gered aft,as ferocious-looking a dog as ever trod a vessel's deck, and demanded with threatenin&' insolence: "Ain't this a government craft?" Suppose she is? sternly rejoined the sergeant feeling for the club under his coat t


SIDELD WEEKLY. "Well, I"ve come apoard for a sai l d'ye see?" cried the ruffian. "I am a citizen, and I helps the government; and if this "ere's a government craft, I'm blowed if I don't have one trip aboard or I'll know the reason why." "You'll have a tdp to the tombs, my man, if you're not off this boat within a half minute,". cried Sergeant Henry, with an ominous fire beginning to show in his dark eyes. "D'ye think you can put me off?" "I don't think, cried the sergeant; "I know I can!" He was at the ruffian with a boul)d, as he spoke, and the club he had raised would surely have cracked the skull of a less alert and ag_ ile man than the one assailed. Before it could fall, even, the ruffian ha' d caught both of Sergeant Henry' s wrists, and pinned them to his sides with a grip that held him powerless. "What d'ye say now, sergeant?" he leered, ipaliciously, with his ugly face thrust directly in the sergeant's nose. "D'ye say yer can put me ashore? 1 am going to let go of you now--" "You scoundrel--" "But I say, Henry," and the ugly face changed abruptly, and a rose from the speaker's lips; "when I Jet go, den't" c rack me on the pate with that locust, for you'll hit one of your best friends." -"Good Heavens!" cried the sergeant, amazedly ; "it's Sheridan Keene dropped to a seat on the tugbo'a't rail, and joined in the laugh with which his friend now relished the joke. "I was making sure only that my dis guise was effective," he presently explained. "'I said to myself, if Sergeant Henry doesn"t recognize me, no one will, and that 011ght to be good enough." "But what means this masquerading, Shed?" laughed the sergeant, perplexedly. "It is one of the results of our little voyage of night before last." "You don't mean," exclaimed the ser geant, with eyes lighting eagerly, "that yoLt have discovered. a clue tq .these shore front mysteries?" "A possible clue, yes," nodded Keene. "But I am working UMn conjectures only, and conjectures are infernally poor evidence to offer a judge and jury." "That's right, too." "I must have something more definite and conclusive, sergeant, and I have come to ask for your co-operation in a little tragedy I've planned for the purpose of securing it." "Glad enough you have." "You know we were discussing that m

I 14 SHIELD WEEKLY. be taking your life in your hand by this time, do so a way th'at will not tend t& step." arouse suspicion aboard of her." "That's a part of my business," said Keene, "I am resolved to know the truth that craft, if it costs me limb or life.' "Can you prevail upon Battle to employ you?" "I am not going to try ," laughed Keene. "Not try?" "I am going to put the boot on the oth e r leg, and make him prevail on me to join him." "How can you accomplish that?" de manded the sergeant, curiously. "By throwing myself in his way m a proper fashion." '"Well, you look like a ruffian ," laughed Henry; "but I'm blessed if I guess your de sign." "I will insure that much." "'( ou'll readily know whether I am on board of her ; for,_ if I am not, I'll send you word. "If I get no word, I shall assume that you are there." "In which case," continued Keene "leave the investigation to me, a nd make sure you no action against the craft unless you receive a prearranged signal from me." "What signal may I expect?" "You know the Mystery by sight, do you not?" "Perfectly well." "She is a black schootrer--" "Oh, r know her, Keene!" interposed the sergeant. "I have seen her off and on all I the season." "I will tell you my plan a little later ;" "Very good," said Iteene, approvingly. Keene rejoined. "Just now I wish to as. "Now as to th e signal. I shall make it a sume it will be a suJcess, and that I shall point to avert any suspicions to in land aboard of her ; I first wish to arrange volve and imperil me, yet one never can plan of co-operation, in case I should foresee what may possibly occur. In event succeed in doing so." "Ybu alrea dy have the plan matured, then?" "Yes." "Explain it to me, l<:eene, and I will follow your instructions." "Thanks; that's very kind of you." rather! What's your idea?" "My idea is to establish myself aboard the 'Mystery, and remain there I secure all the evidence I require to warrant an arrest and insure a conviction." "That may take some little time." "I expect it will." "And what do you wish me to do, mean time?" "Absolutely nqthing," replied Keene, "ex cept to keep an eye on vessel when she is about the ha.rbor, and, at the same of personal danger, or in case I already have secured the desired evidenee, I will take the first occasion when the Mystery is under sail and your tug is in sight, to let you know that I want help." "In a nutshell, you then wish me to run the craft down and board her," interposed Sergeant Henry. .of '. "Precisely." "I'll do that, r assure you." .. "And keep an eye on her at all times r. when she is under s ail in the harbor?" "Never doubt that, Keene, if I know you aboard. Now what signal may I ex pect, ill case you wish me to dip my into the mess?" "This," said Keene, earnestly. I will take an opportunity when the time is ripe, and cut one of the fofward sheets, either that


SHIELD WEEKLY. 15 of the jib or foresail and set the can v as flapping. Should y ou see that occur, s e rgeant, y ou may assum e either that I am in peril of my life or that I want the schooner over hauled and hove to before she can make her moorings. Is it perfectly clear? "Perfectly so, Shed." "Then the ground is covered as far as tha t .goes," said the detective. "Now, then I will inform you b y what design I expect to es-' tablish m y relations with that hot-headed Captain Battle." Keene thereupon described his plan in de tail, but .its execution did not occur till several hours later. At about ten o clock that night, when t h e Bo,ston-bound ferry tboat left the East Bos .ton slip, two men were standing outside t h e ,port cabin, g:tzing over the raif at the churning waves abaft the port wheel. I The two men were Sheridan Keene and Sergean t Henry. The former wore a pai-r of handcuffs, at-tached onl v to his left wrist. '1 _, \ On the opposite side of the boat were tw o All read y, Shed ,' repli e d the s ergeant, and his voi c e h'ad a curious quiver "Good-by, then!" "Good-by, an d God s pe e d you!" Sheridan Kee n e drew back his arm, and apparently d e alt the speake r a blow that sent h im re e ling to th e de ck. The n ; with a single bound, the daring det e ctiv e gained the rail and plunged hea'dfor emost into the surging waters below. Instantly all was confusi o n o n the after deck, and excited cries broke from both de tectives, in which Sergeant Henry himself speedi l y joined : "Man overboard Man/overboard "Stop the boat!" "Sing out to the pilot! Oh, o h there s a n ian d rowning!" "Throw a line ; a l ife-pres erver! Any thi ng!" These \Yere so me o f th e c ri e s which almost immediat e l y rang loudl y ove_r tb.e dark waters, anct in th e and confusion wltich ensued there doubtl es s wer e some who would indeed have thrown an ything to .other men in s p ectors of police and several the man supp o sed t o b e drow nin g, even a passengers wh o had no inter es t in the doflatiron or a bri ck. ings, nor even recognized the se o fficer s of the ,.Jaw. A hundred yards t o the south the black schooner M ystery still lay at an c h o r with h e r spars discernible again s t th e dark sky A lantern hung in h e r fore shrouds, and the cabin windows were illumin e d, ind i cating that Captain Battle was probabl y aboard and had not retir e d for the night. As the ferr y b oat left the slip th e ebbing tide caught her, cutting her to the south; whereupon the Pilot threw h e r st e rn s till nearer the motionless schooner. It was the moment that Sheridan K e ene w a s awaiting. "Are y ou read y sergeant?" h e a s ked, q uietly. Before th e a larm r ea ch ed t h e ea r s o f th e pilot h,owe ve r the b o at wa s w ell into the stream, and far b e y ond view o f t h e de tective, whatever his fat e The cum be r sornt: b oat pu t b ac k t o the spot and th e th ro n g o f p a sse nger s stared and vainl y stra in e d th e ir e yes t o p enetrate the gloom; but o f Sh e ridan Keen e neither sight nor soun d co.uld b e ha d "He ha s g o n e to th e b otto m ,' some d e clared. Others ask e d : .. "Who was he? Did an y o n e know the man?" Then Sergeant H.enr y off e r ed a n explanation "He was a pris o ner I wa s taking to B o sI o


'( f ,,: I.' I ''--Slll'.EL)) WEE.KL Y. 16 ton, and a very desperate fellow. I had him handcuffed ; I thought, but he must have he then shaped a course toward the middle of the stream; and presently settled lower in freed one of his wrists; for he knocked me the water and waited developments. down with one hand, and sprang overboard. The obscurity of the night favored his d e -Here's a devil of a mess for me I reckon!" With this disclosure the unfortunate man' s character, the intere s t in his fate abated. The gong in the engine-room rang th e signal to go ahead. The plunge of the piston sent a quiver the cumbersome craft; the motion sign. I:Ie saw the boat put back, and heard the cries from her after deck, and laughed within himself at the efforts that were being made to effect his rescue Dark figtires moving to and fro were discernib l e aboarcl the M ')'Sfery also and evidently the disturbance had reached the ears of her captain and crew. less wheels took up their lost revolutions Keene had foreseen all this, and it suited the boat made way again; and again the. his design to the letter. original routin e of human affairs was re sumed. About the only audible remind e r of the tragedy was the maudlin voice of an intoxi cated fellow, who observed with a drunken gravity not wholly void of humor: "Poor devil! P'raps he' sh better off! CHAPTER V. THE RESULT O F THE RUSE. Only an officer of considerable daring and indomitabl e re;;olution would have taken so hazardous a step as that taken by D e tective Sheridan K ee n e in order to succ e ssfull y exe cute a design against men of whom sus picion only was entertained But Keene had been a v e ritable wat e rdog in his early years, and could swim like a duck; hence the peril of a plunge from the ferry boat did not appeal to him ver y seri ously The moment he struck the water the surge from under the wheels swept him astern and the e bb of the tide cut him down stream. Anxious, most of all to escape observation he quickly struck out from the wake of the boat, and s wam with powerful in th e directi o n of th e dark schooner lying fifty yards t o the south. Having quickly covered half th e distance, "I reckon I shall fool them." he said to himself, paddling only sufficiently to keep himself afloat. "The sergeant ha:s played his part in the drama very cleverly." Presently the ferry-boat resumed her way and as the tide then was sweeping him out of th e course he had in view Keene silently struck out again in the direction of the schooner. By swimming cautiously, he suc ceeded in approaching the craft unobserved by those on board, and working alongside until he could clutch th e bob s tays he supported himself in the water and lis tened Captain Battle and th e three membe r s of the crew still on deck amidship s and evidently had rightly -inferred wha h aCl transpired on the ferry-boat, their gaze still searching the dark waters over the starboard side, as if in hopes of discovering the person presumably fallen into the bay. "I reckon he s gone to Davy Jones' right enough," growled Captain Battle, a moment 13;ter. 'Tain't much use in looking for him." Still he might show up sir," returned o n e of the men. ''I'll put off in the tender, if you say so sir. If we could locate the stiff there might be a dollar in it or lik e as not some jewelr y." "The chance i s n t worth the trouble," snarled Captain Battle. "He'll hug bottom


, for days, if he's gone down for the last time. .No, Staggers, there's nothiiag in putting out with a boat." "All right, sir." "I'd take profits from the stiff as readily as you, my man; but I reckon we'll both have to do without 'em." If he had had any doubts concerning the evil character of these men, such remarks as .these then reaching Keene's ears would have assured him, not only of their despica ble natui;es, but also of the reception he might expect at their h;inds. He delayed no longer, but at once cried hoarsely, feigning an exhaustion he was far from feeling: . "I say, messmates! Lend a covey a hand, will you?" "Hello!" growled Captain Battle, wheeling sharply about and staring forward. \.\'hat the devil was that?" "The fellow's not gone Staggers, starting forward. down!" cried "He's under-,, our bow. sir, with a grip on the bobstays." All hastened forward, and the in ferell'Ce of Mr. Staggers was speedily veri fied. The dark figure of Keene was plainly discerniible under the overhang of the bow. "Take a covey aboard till he gets his wind, will you," he panted, quickly, on seeing the faces above him. "I can't make the shore till I get a bit o' rest, and shake off my chill." "Hang on, there!" exclaimed Captain Battle, readily. "Over with you, Martin, and pass the end of the jib-sheet under his arms!" "No need o that, cap'n," Keene hoarsely cried. "Just -lend me a hand down here, and I can haul myself to the stay and board you." "Wait a bit!" cried Staggers, who was the man who had taken him from the wharf that morninr. "Wait a bit and I'll be with you." ( He laid himself out on the bowsprit while 17 speaking, and reaching down his long arm seized Keene by the wrist, and hauled him to the stay. A moment' more and the detec tive, who easily could have accomplished the feat unaided, had gained the bulwarks and stood on the forward deck. "\i\That the devil's this?" cried Captain Battle, instantly observing the clinking handcuff dangling from Keene's left wrist. "Have you given a bluebottle the slip?" Keene impulsively thrust the hand under his dripping coat, much as if he had forgotten the incritr:inating object; and returned with .,,ell-feigned misgivings the curious stare of the severa1 men confrontinf; him. "Aye, sir, that's what's happened," he re luGtantly admitted, in hoarse and doubtful tones. "I'd not have taken the chance o' boarding you, only I was so chilled I feared I'd go down afore I could make the shore. Bunkin' in jail beats bunkin' a-long with the crabs, as far as that goes; and if you throw me by the board and give me up ag'in--" "Give you up --!" interrupted Captain Battle, with a ludicrous expression of emazement on his grim face. "That's not like us, my lad! Come aft here and fire a ball of rum into your face. It'll set your blood moving, and I've a .,notion to hear what you'll say." With which, Captain Battle bustled away aft, giving Mr. Staggers a hurried command to bring some dry garments into the cabin, and led Sheridan Keene below "Come out o' those togs, my hearty," he growled, while he produced a bottle of San1;t Cruz rum and a g!'a ss from the locker . 'Tll fit you out with dry ones, and this 'ere stuff'll drive out your chill as a ferret rids a house of rats. Down it, lad, and shake th'Ose togs for some that Staggers will lend you ." The scheme was working precisely as Keene had anticip ated, yet he played his part without a sign of the exultation he secretly enjoyed.


-18 SHIELD WEEKLY. Dashing off a stiff drink of the liquor, which, as a matter of fact was quite wel come, he quickly divested himself of \ his dripping garments and put on a suit the foremast hand tossed down the companion w'ay. Meantime, Captain Battle continued his questions, while the manacle still hung clinking from the detective 's wrist, a most significent suggestion of an evil character, and an effective voucher to the statements he made. "What's your name, my 'lad?" was the skipper's first question, when Keene ac cepted the proffered drink. "Haley, sir," was the detective's reply. uJim Haley." "D'ye live about here?'' "Down Newburyport way." were you in irons for? "Ctlacking a crib in Ipswich," admitted Keene, with feigned reluctance. "I was nabbed by a detective down at Crescent Beach this afternoon, and he was taking. me into Boston. But I worked my right hand. free just afore boarding the ferry and so I took a chance of getting away by cracking him back of the ear and jumping overboard. But I was nigh gone, sir, when I caught your bobstays. Could I have another drink?" "Aye, have it and welcome!" exclaimed Captain Battle. "i\Iake it a long one, and you 'II soon be off your shiver. Here, Martin, wring out these togs and hang 'em in the shrouds." And the bustling little skipper tossed Keene's wet garments to the deck,_ and re turned to perch himself on the broad cush ions, and stare with manifest enjoyment and satisfaction at the hang-dog countenance of the detective, who now had taken a seat on the opposite side, clad in the rough attire loaned him. "How are you feeling now?" grimly de-manded the former, who would have been more than man had he not been deceived by Keene's clever assump' tion. "Like a boat with bottom new-leaded," replied Keene, a decidedly evil smile. "You talk like a man used to a boat." "I've cruised about some." "Can you man a sheet or haul a halliard iri fair weather?" "Aye, sir, or in "Good for ye!" nodded Captain Battle, with evident sati?faction. "What course d'ye mean to leaving here?" "Then you don't mean to give me up to the police?" asked Keene, eagerly. "D'ye think this looks like it?" "Well, I'd an idea you might not, sir. Still, I could not feel sure." Well, you may feel sure,'.' growled Captain Battle, sitting Turk fashi o n on .. the ions and caressing with energy his stubby thighs. "I've no mind to turn you down, my hearty, and, afore long, I'llfile that in femal off your wrist. But I as!). again, what course d'ye mean shaping after leaving here?" Keene dismally shook his h e ad. "I've n o mind as to that, sir," he replied. "The same old course, I reckon. "Got any dust?" ,; "The cletectiyes took all I had, sir; and 'twan't much. "I take it you 're not over-particular how you turn a dollar," observed Captain Battle, regarding him sharply. "Am I right?" "Not far from right, I reckon,'' Keene slowly admitted \'I'm wanti;d in two places now, sir, and I guess I'll hav e to set sail for new waters.'' "What would you say, Mr. Haley, to a job aboard this 'ere craft?" "D'ye mean it?" "I can u se a hand, aboard here, if he is the right sort of a man."


I SHIELD WEEKLY. 19 ,-"Well, sir, I'm afeared -I'd suit," said Keene, craftily. "Why not, d'ye think?'' "Since you know the sort of covey I am, sir, it's not likely you'd have a berth for me." "I'm not so Sartin about that," returned Captain Battle, with a significant light in his sharp black eyes. "You'd take orders and obey 'em, wouldn't you?" ,.. "Aye, sir, I'd do that or go over the side again," said Keene, with a quick nod. "OFders afloat or ashore, eh?" 'Twouldn't matter to me, sir! Most I think of now, sir, is dodgiog the police." "And if I'd make sure you were kept safe and under cover, my lad, would you take chances along with Captain Battle and his men?" "Would a duck swim, sir?" Keene in stantly returned. "Those are better chances than I'd elsewhere, I reckon, and the berth's softer'n I've been used to of late. Aye, yes, I'd take a job o' that kind along with you, if I could get it." "And ask no questions 'f" "What need o' questions; when a man's in e 'a'sy sailing? If you mean what you say, sir, I'll lay to aboard here and take your or ders without a word." "That's gond enough for now," said Cap tain Battle, straightening his short legs and .springing down to the cabin floor. "Tip us your fin for a binder, and then we'll go for'ard and have this iron snaked off your wrist." "And I'm to stay aboard, sir?" demanded Keene, with an artful display of great satis faction. "For now, at least," nodded Captain Bat tle, shaking him by the h and. "Come for'ard and I'll knock you down to the crew. And mind you," he added, with a sudden, ferocious "you'll invite wuss'n what you've escaped, if you show the first sign o' crossing my hawser! D'ye understand?" "Aye, sir, I understand as well as any man would need to was the re joinder. "I'll take all the ch'ance any o' you'll take, and it'll not be the first time." "And my orders go, mind you, afloat or ashore!" "That's good enough for me, sir!" said Keene, decisively. .And Captain Battle had made up his mind that this young ruffian wa s good e;iough for him. CHAPTER VI. THE JOB IN HINGHAM. If Captain Battle or his employer, Mr. Richard Morton, had any misgivings con cerning the latest acquisition to the crew of the Mystery, they were quite effectually dis pelled by the stories published next morn ing in all of the Boston newspapers. ii Under glaring leaders, there appeared glowing accounts of the fatality of the pre vious night, of the vicious assault upon one of the city inspectors, of the escape of one James I-J;.aley, a much-wanted thief and des perado, and of his probable fate in attempting to evade imprisonment by leaping from the into the waters of Boston harbor. These stories were, of course, a' part of the strategy oI the detectives, and they had the desired effect. About ten o'clock, both Morton and Captain Battle came aboard the Mystery and showed Keene one of the pa, pers, at _the same time congratulating him in significant terms upon daring escape from the police. "They now think you've gone to Davy Jones," was Captain Battle's eminently sat isfactory conclusion. "And thinking that, my man, they'll leave your carcass to feed the fishes, and look no further for you.


, 20 SHIELD WEEKLY. You're as safe ffom now out, Mr. Haley, as a man well could ask." From that moment Sheridan Keene felt that his position was assured and his daring assumption unsuspected. He was subjected to a close questioning by Morton, however, c .oncerning his past career and his ability as a seaman ; but the detective was eminently capable of sustaining the part he was play ing. "I guess the man is all right, cap'n, and we surely can find a use for him," dryly ob-served Morton when fina lly he went aft with his skipper. 'Fore Heaven, sir, he's a dead lucky find!" vouchsafed Captain Battle, in reply. "Since Porter went lame i' the arm, we're deucedly short-handed." "And that Hingham job is down for .the first of the week." "True, sir; the which can t be pulled off unless this man consents to-" But the balance was lost to the hearing of the man in question yet Sheridan Keene could easily conjecture the nature o.f the job t6 which reference had been made ; That ittfternoon the Mystery got. under way, and, with Richard Morton aboard, a short run was made down the harbor, then back to the vessel's moorings under Winthrop heights. The readiness with which i<.eene adapted himself to his duties appeared to satisfy both owner and skipper; and, shortly after making the moorings, Morton was set ashore and went up to the house which Keene had observel::l the pre vious morning. It now was very evident to the detective that he was on a decidedly promising trail, and there rem:ained only to discover that absolute evidence which would insure a conviction in court. Twice during the afternoon's sail he had sighted the harbor police tug, T atchman, and Keene felt sure that each move made by the schooner was being discreetly watcheq by Sergeant Henry. The former now '.V"

SHIELD WEEKLY. 21 cast off, and the mainsail andjib were stand ing and flapping lustily in the southwest breeze. "Man the fore halliards !" yelled Capt'ain Battle, ta1'ing the wheel. "Hoist away lively Stand by to cast off, Martin Hoist away there, you dogs! Now make fast! Haul your jib sheet close till she wears offnow ease away! Let go, Martin Trim close fore and aft !" The successive orders were executed with the alacrity of men weary of idleness; and, as the last fell from the skipper's lips, the schooner filled away on the starboard tack, and with lower canvas bellying in the whole sail breeze, stood sharp down the harbor m the direction of President Roads. "}\'here are we bound, d'ye know?" Keene asked of Porter, a little later. "I never know till we reach port," was the eva-sive reply. Gazing away over the water rail, the de tective now beheld a familiar craft in the far distance, and easily could imagine whither the eyes of those aboard were at that moment turned. It was the harbor police boat, Watchman, steaming down the bay toward Thompson's Island. But the destination of the Mystery long remained a conjecture. Within an hour she had passed Point Allerton, and was standing straight away down the south shore. In another hour Minot's Ledge Light was abeam, and still Captain Battle stood grimly at the wheel, with a pipe in his mouth, and his dark countenance as inscrutable as that of a sphinx. At six o'clock there came a change and Sheridan Keene presently guessed the ob. ject of this long reach from home. It was to blind chance observers as to the schoon er's destination. "For'ard there!" bawled -Captain "Man your sheets to come about! a-lee!" Battle. HardThe vessel rounded into the wind srnartly, the slatting sails swinging inboard and out board, then filled on the starboard deck; and the M ystiry, well worthy her name, stood away to the north. "Come aft here, Haley, and do a trick at the wheel," shouted Captain Battle. "Serve supper, Martin, and no grog till arter the job is done!" Keene hastened aft and relieved the grim visaged skipper of the wheel. He had no doubt of being able to handle the vessel, the wind having waned with the decline of the sun; and, as he took the position Captain Battle the latter asked, shortly : "D'ye mean all you said to me that first night i' the cabin?" Keene knew well enough what this question prefaced, and immediately rejoined: "Ay, sir, I do." "You'll obey orders afloat and ashore? "As prompt as any man aboard hei-e, sir." "Good for ye! D'ye guess where we are bound?" "I don't, sir; and I've no mind that cares." "We shall round Point Allerto!1 again after dark, and stand into l'Iingham just afore midnight." "Ay, sir?" "There's a little errand we have on hand at Hingham and it will be right in line, my covey. Now, d'ye knqw what it is?" "I'd be a galley-cook if I didn't guess there was some crooked job to be done in Hi!1gham, since you've gone twenty miles out o' your course, and returned to put m . there at. midnight," said Keene, instantly. "And you'll be ordered to lend a hand to it,'' added Captain Battle. Keene's eyes left those of the skipper only to glance over the course ahead. "I've said I'd take orders and obey 'em, sir," he replied. "If there was a crib to be cracked?" said the skipper, inquiringly


22 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Well, sir, rejoined Keene, "you' d hav e no better hand aboard hei:e than nor readier hand, to crack it, sir." Captain Battle s grim fac e relaxed quickly, and he thrust out his "Put it there!" he cried, warml y "You. know now what cut o' men you're in with and I told Morton for sure that we could bank on your. lending a hand and sharing the gain." "I'll do the one as heartily as the other, Captain B'attle, my word for it,',_ said Keene, shaking the powerful little fellow by the hand. It was dark they rounded Point Allerton. It was midnight before they tied up at a small isolated wharf ne"ar the town of Hing ham. Though the jib was lowered and left without stays, only the fore and main gaffs were dropped, and the sails left standing. "That's in case we need to make off in a hurry," Battle explained to Sheridan Keene, as they left the vessei. "Potter remains aboard; but tL1e rest of us have the job to do. Silence now, and come after me!" Less than ten minutes later, the four men approached from the rear a large wooden building, the lower floor of which was occu pied by two stores, one a jewelry store. Evidently the latter was the object of this night's expedition, for Mr. Staggers placed upon the ground a heavy -bundle he had brought, and Captain Battle produced a dark lantern. "Slip round to the front, Martin," he whispered : "and see }low things look." The youngster stole round to th e front street, and presently returned to announce that all was quiet. Staggers, meantime, had opened the bundle and produced a burglar' s outfit of tools. "Lend a hand here, Haley ?" growled Captain Battle Keene readily complied. He had no wish to effect an arrest that night. There was much more to be discovered than what he yet had learned and by sustainiry.g his present relations with these marauders was the speediest and surest way. "Help break away that shutter, whist he skiP.per, slipping a tool into Keene's hand. "Here, Staggers, on this side, w hil e I flash the glim. "Easy, you fool!" growled Staggers, as the tool in Keene's hand grated noisily on the bolt "Dry up!" muttered the detective. "D'ye think I am a green hand on a job of this kind? Back a'way, and I'll do the whole thing for yer As h e spoke, he slipp e d into Captain Bat. tie's hand the bolt he had drawn; and after brief delay. and some assistance from Fales, the heavy shutter was removed a:nd lowered to the ground, and a square window ex-. posed to view. Captain Battle flashed the glare of the lantern within, and discovered a small rear office with a desk and safe "Just as Morton stated!" he whispered, softly. "Now a light of glass, Martin!" \Vith dexterity born of practice, the youngster attached a wet leather sucker to one of the panes, and in a twinkling had cut round it with a glazier's diamond, and re moved a section of the pane. Thrusting in an arm, he silently shot the catch, and Staggers quietly opened the window. "In with you Martin," whispered Battle, aiding the Jad overlhe sill. "Here's the lan tern, boy! Take a look abottt. ., M'artin Fales now disappeared into the gloomy shop, and was absent f?r fuil five minutes. When he returned, he beckoned only a11d did not speak. Instanly Staggers passed in his tools and entered, followed quickly by Battle and Sheridan Keene It was a new experience to the detective that both of working with and against a gang of midnight robbers. t "Now keep your ears open. Martin. while we get to work," said Captain Battle, pushing the lad out of the office and into the shop "Hold this lantern, Haley, and flash the glare on the safe door while-hark, what was that P" "What's what?". mutter.ed Staggers. start ing up from his at the safe For a moment they list e ned inten.tly "Nothing!" whispered the captain. reliev i11g, his impulsive grip upon Keene's arm. "Get at it Staggeq; !" t


SHIELD WEEKLY. 23 Then a cry, thrilling the blood of all, ra _ng through the shop. "Make off, mates! \Ve are discovered!" It came from the lips of :;\Iartin and was followed by a pistol shot, and a flash of hght from the front shop. Both Keene and Captain Battle ran in that direction. Martin Fales was struggling furiously with a burly figure, partly visible m the darkness. At a bound, Sheridan Keene \\"as by the side of the youth, and his arm shot out from his shoulder, dealing the lad's assailant a blow that felled him senseless to the floor. "Be off!" roared Keene, thrusting the lad toward the rear window. '"I will follow! Be off! upoverheacj !" Heavy steps were heard on the floor above. windows were being thrown open. Shouts were ringing through the front street. That escape only was left them, one and an of these burglars immediately realized. Keene was the l'a st to emerge from the window, and Captain Battle already had set him down as a hero. A moment later they were tearing across lots toward the wharf; but the direction of their flight had been discover d, and a half dozen men were in pursuit. "Step lively! cried Captain B

t "r' ,, I" l l ; t j J ; 24 SHIELD WEEK.LY. opened his mouth in the precise fashion that the detective both had hoped and antici. pated. "Aye, Mr. Haley," he added, turning briefly from the binnacle to glance at Keene's dark face; "you're a man worth knowing and a messn;ate worth having. You're a sandy man, sir, and I knew it the night you dropped from the ferry." -"Thankee, cap'n," said Keene. Then, laying down the pipe he had been smoking, he spat oyer the rail and turned to ask: "D'ye think we'll make the moorings be fore daybreak, sir?" He was inviting the disclosure for which he from the first had been working; and he now was,. not disappointed. He had caught Captain Battle in the right mood. "That'll depend, lad." "On the wind?" ''More on a signal, lad, than on a wind." A signal ?" "Aye, man, a signal." n9dded Captain Battle. I don't mind telling you now, since I am sartin of your loyalty. If we get no signal from Morton, it would not be safe to put in and take up our moorings, providing our trick to-night had turned as we hoped ." "I reckon I don't understand, sir." "I'll tell you, since now you're one of us," said Capta'in Battle, with some enthusiasm. This ere work of ours is no haphazard business. It's done, and has been done on a the head o' which is Mr. Morton, and the body which is the M sytery and her crew Morton does the planning and looks up the jobs; we do the work." "Aye. sir, I can see that much.',' "This 'ere work has now been going on for weeks', and we never had a hitch or break till this ere night. The cellar of Morton's house, lad. is stowed full o' goods \Ve have lifted from time to time . More'n that, we have sold enough for a good wad of money for one and all.'""But what is this s'ignal yo u speak of, ,sir?" "I will tell you, lad ," grimly explained the skipper. '"Morton has a brother-in-law on the police force, d'ye see! And he's the last man as would be suspected o' being in with a gang operating these breaks. name is Page, and he's friendly with the officers in town, and knows more or less of the hull squad of detectives at headquar ters." "This Page does ?" "Aye, lad." "And what does Page do, sir?" "He keeps Morton informed, lad, as to whether the force has learned anything about us and the schooner, and wh 'ether the detectives are taking any steps to haul us over the coals. D'ye see wh'at the game is, lad? If we'd a... lot o' stolen goods aboard her, taken to-night in Hingham, it would not be dead safe for to run into port and make her moorings, providing the police had wind of our-work and were looking to overhaul us.'' "Sure not, sir," assented Keene. "If that were the case, lad, we'd not know it being aboard her. But Morton would at his house. He can get word by telephone at any minute." "Aye, sir, I see that." "So we have a signal, lad, which Morton gives us 'Yhen he thinks it's about time we should be making into the harbor. If we get the signal, lad, we know it's all right to put in and make fast -to our moorings. But if we should not get it the game would be to turn sh'arp about afore the harbor police could overhaul us, and put out to sea tiJI we could place our booty on some island or shore, and get word from Mortem just what the trouble might be. D'ye see?" "That's plain enough, cap'n," nodded Keene, with manifest approval. "Will you get the signal to-night, sir." "Sure, lad!" exclaimed Captain B'atde, turning briefly to gaze 'about the harbor. "If it be all right to run in, Morton will show a red light from one o' the windows of his house on Winthrop heights. If we sight it, we 'll know it's safe enough to our moorings, and that nothing is suspecte d at headquarters." "There might be other red lights around about there. sir, I d think. "We've headed off that, my man," crjed Captain Battle, grimly. "Our signal is in termittent, my lad. It comes and goes. D'ye


SHIELD WEEKLY. 25 .see And we can tell it dead easy from any other light around about there. We've got that part of the work down pat, Haley, and there's never a hitch as far as the signal is concerned." "E>'ye never have bother with the harbor police, sir ?" Captain Battle laughed grimly. "Not in the way you mean,' lad,'' he re plied, shaking his head. "Yet I ran afoul o' the infernal craft a few nights back, and came near staving a hole in her broadside.'t "How was that, sir?" "We were making in from a job down near Marblehead, and I had stood up the ha 'rbor till I was well above President Roads. The signal was showing all right, lad, but the night was dark'n the devil. All hands were watching the signal, d ye see, and never an eye was out ahead." "That was careless, I'd say." "So 'twas lad," nodded Captain Battle; "but we're not often that. The first I knew we were nigh aboard tffe infernal tug, which I recognized the instant I clapped my peepers on her lights. I rounded into the wind, missing her by a hair and ran astern o' her and stood for Old Harbor. They hail ed us lad, but I gave 'em a bluff I was a Sooth Boston boat and so made way afore they could heave me to and board me." "Good for you, sir,' said Keene, approv ingly. "Two days arter," continued Captain Battle little dreaming to whom he was making these fatal disclosures, "Morton thought twould be a clever scheme for me to visit the police and report a rob bery aboard our craft. That 'ere would turn the police from thinking that we were up to any game. D'ye see? And 1 could learn also whether they had any dsmbts o' the schooner." "Aye, sir, that was a shrewd move for a fact," said Keene, nodding with much satis faction. "Did you do it, sir?" "Aye, lad, I did; and gave the officers a bluff that wo uld turn 'em green if they knew the whole truth!" cried Captain Battle, a deep laugh of self-satisfaction. "I'll never forget it, lad, though I live a hundred years Next day they sent a powder-monkey of an officer aboard, and he looked u s all over; but he'd no eyes or ears for anything but what 1 had told, and we knew we had 'e m dead to rights.'' "And that's the right way, s ir for a fac t ." "Aye, lad, we're safe enough for the pres ent," nodded Captain Battle, with grim e n joyment. "And now you know the whole game, Haley, ;rnd we're glad you're one of us. Morton will be more'n satisfied with the ready h1and you gave us to-night, for all that the job was a failure. You'll stand to be no loser, lad, my for it." "I'll do m y part, Captain Battle, never doubt that," said Sheridan Keene, coming down from the cabin roof on which he had been seated. "Will you sight the signal soon, d'ye think?" "Aye, lad we should sight it now. Keene walked a few feet forward and peered over the weather rail. H e now had secured all the evidence he desired; but hei had learned also a fact which even he had not fully anticipated. That the officer h e had met in Winthrop was so closely identified with thi s gang of criminals he had not considered probable. He had not mentioned the meeting to Sergeant Henry, even, and the oversight now left open a possibility which appealed to him with considerabl e force. If this traitor po liceman had by any means discovered the fact that Keene was aboard the Mystery, the danger in which the detectiv e now stoo d would be severely and Keene fully it Under th ese unexpected conditions, he felt as eager as any man aboard to sight the red signal light on that particular night. It then was nearl y {our o'clock. The schooner already was off Spectacle island, and bearing for President Roads Within a quarter hour the signal should show from the distant heights of Winthrop, providing no intimation of the existing danger had been received by Page, and imparted to Richard Morton. Added to the discoveries he had made, Sheridan Keene had, in the face of all his possible peril, one other cause for gratifica tion. Though he necessarily had been un armed at the time he boarded the Mystery,


26 SHIELD WEEKLY. he that night had relieved of his ;-evolver the Hingham officer with whom he purposely had engaged in the recent encounter, and the weapon was then in the detective's hip pocket. He had the satisfaction of knowing that he possessed at least that means of defence, and that the fact was not known to the men aboard the schooner. A cry from Captain Battle brought him out of his brief cogitations, and he again turned aft. CHAPTER VIH. UNDER TRUE COLORS. "Come aft here, Staggers, and take the wheel!" This was the command from Captain Battle, which had brought Sherida11 Keene back 'to an appreciation of the more immediate situation. Staggers came hurrying aft, and relieved the grim littl e skipper, and the latter bustled down the companionway into thecabin. Keene imagined that he had gone below for another drink, which very likely was in part the truth; but presently he came hurrying above board again, b earing in his hand the vessel's telescope "It's time we sighted the signa l," he growled, half-angrily. "So 'tis, sir," assented Mr. Staggers, with a glance to the windward. "Morton ain't the kind to leave us blind." "Never yet, sir." Captain Battle adjusted the glass, a 'nd. standing with his short legs spread asunder for a brace, studied for several minutes the distant shore, the elevated contour of which was faintly disce rnible against the starry northern sky. "I'm cursed if I can find it!" he presently remarked, in a ferocious undertone. "Can you make the location sir?" "Aye, as well as any night afore," was the grim reply "If the reel light were there, I could see"'it." "It. can't be there has any danger been discovered since noon, cried Staggers. "Aye, but it can be and that's the d e vil of it!" retorted Captain Battle, with rapidly rising ill-humor. "Some of the moves we've made of late may not be as clever as we 've believed. Keene smiled within himself. and set the speaker dO\rn to be indeed a shrewd little rascal. But his own danger was appealing to him all th e stronger as the moments went by and the signal light remained undiscovered. The chooner \Yas then bearing for Castle Island on a port tack. The wind still was holding strohg from a northerly point, a moderate sea was running, and the tide was at a half-flood. Away toward the east. close down upon the horizon, the first narrow strip of gray on the darker sky indicate .cl the approach of dawn "There's no signal for tts to-night, that's sartin !" Captain Battle at length cried, for cibly, laying do;vn the glass. "Either Morton's asleep or there's suthin' wrong!"' Keene's face did not change by so much as a shadow, and his t1erves were as stiff and steady as nerves of steel, yet he in s tinctivel y felt the approach of a great p e ril. "What'll yo u do. sir?" he asked, quietly. "Do!" excla imed the fiery little skipper flashing a swift glance over the sea in. all directions; '"what in blazes can we do, if we go b y Morton's orders? 'Twon't do to put in and take up our moorings. We'll have to make an offing, till we can larn for sartin whther we're blind or Morton'.s dead ." "That's the best to be done,_ sir," cried Mr. Staggers, approvingly. "For'ard there!" Captain Battle now turned about and ab _ruptly roared. "Man your s h ee ts to take ship! Up with your helm Staggers, and stand away for Long Island." The vessel came smartly into th.e wind, then swung -off on a starboard tack and stood down the bay. At the end of ten minutes she had put the light o n L ong Island abeam, and once more Captain. Battle ordered her about,, and they again stood un the bay. "I'll have a last look!" h e grO\vled. furiously. "If I can't sight her this time on the run in, I'll feel dead o;artin there is suthin' wrong." Involuntarily the hand of Sheridan Keene


SHIEI.D WEEKLY. stole toward his hip, to make sure his weapon still was safe and secure. The strip of gray low down in the eastern sky had become wider, and the first soft light of earliest dawn was falling over the wide sweep of tossing s ea. The islands were coming into clearer outline. The lights on the distant shores were beginning to pale. At the end of five more minutes the stars had faded from view in the eastern sky and daybreak was close at hand. The schooner meantime was ploughing her way up the harbor on a port t'ack, and Castle Island soon was brought into view over the lee rail. Grim Fort Independence took shape in the twilight, and the th'reatening gray walls showed momentarily lighter against the dark background of rising shore . "There is no signal for' us on this voyage, that's sartin !" cried Captain Battle, now bustling down below again and presently re-appearing withou\ his glass. "What'll you do, sir, now you're sure?" demanded Mr. Staggers, who still was serving his turn at the wheel. The actual realization of th' e conditions seemed to have an assuasive effect upon the petulant little skipper. ''I reckon we'll stand for Marblehead, and put in there until I can get word up to Mor ton," he said, quite calmly. "Shall I come about, sir?" "Wait a bit longer." "Delay may be dangerous, sir." "There is no danger yet," returned Captain Battle, with hi;; sharp black e"Jes searching the upper bay, and then sweeping the sea over either side. "There's no sign of a steamer in any direction d'ye see and that infernal police boat ain t likely to be about this early in the day." "That's true enough, sir." "We'll chance a run up toward Apple Isl.: and, and like enough we'll get some sign from the heights when the dawn hits 'em," growled Captain Battle, pacing impatiently to and fro. "Mebbe we will, sir." "If wuss comes to wuss continued the doughty little skipper, "there's a stiff wind stirring, and we could show our heels to the harbor police boat, even should she show up from above here." 'That's so, sir, and the breeze is likely to rise with the sun," rejoined i\Ir. Staggers, crowding the vessel up a point or two and standing for Apple Island. "Trim closer for'ard !" yelled Captain Battle when the head sails began to quiver as the schooner came closer into the wind. Keene felt for the sheath knife which he had been we .aring in the strap about his waist and found it in the usual place. As he viewed the taut sheets he observed with what ease and rapidity the tense lines could be severed if only" the occasion would appear. In an instant, in that the signal could be dis played with which he had planned with Ser geant Henry. Although the day was now breaking, how ever, and the darkness of the sea giving way to the soft gray light of early morning,, he could discover in no direction any sign of the tug manned by the harbor police. But a moment later there came a cry from Martin Fales, who was then on the forward deck. "A sail! A sail!" he yelled, running aft along the weather rail as far as the foreshrouds. "Where away, my lad?" shouted Captain Battle. "There's a cat making out above Apple Island." Captain Battle rushed below again, and quickly reappeared with the glass. Rounding the rise of Apple Island a small cat-rigged boat could now be discerned through the twilight, and the dark figures of two men in her standing room. She was running nearly before the wind on a course that soon would bring her within hailing distance of tbe Mystery, and before a minute ha(( elapsed th e disclosure for which Keene was waiting in grim and indifferent silence was made. "Fore heaven, it's Morto. n himself!" Cap'"' tain Battle suddenly cried, as he lowered the telescope from his eye. "Morton, d'ye say?" demanded Mr. gers, in great surprise. "Aye, Morton and the policeman, Joe Page."


2 8 SHIELD WEEKLY. "Is that the brother-in-law?" asked Sheridan Keene. He spoke without a tremor in his voice ; yet he now felt sure, too sure, indeed that the Winthrop officer had in some way dis covered the truth, and that his identity as a Boston inspector of police was known to the men in the approaching boat. It placed him in a situation the like of which few men would have cared to face. The odds against him was four to one, possibly six to one, if the two other men should decide to board the Mystery; and none of them were men who would shrink from committing a desperate deed should their own lives or liberty require it. The location was against him, also, on a schooner in n1idharbor, where his life might be ruthlessly taken and his body s "ent forever to the bottom of the sea-and all with per haps no friendly eye to witness the crime or to report his fate to those who would avenge him. "Aye, Haiey, the brother-in-law!" cried Captain Battle, in reply to his question. "He is the Winthrop officer, my lad, and now we 'll lam for sure why the signal was m1ssmg. There' s suthin' dead wrong, lads o r Morton never'd be afloat at this hour." "D' ye think he is seeking us?" asked Mr. Staggers. "Who else, indeed, or what else, would have brought him out here at this time,'' returned Captain Battle, derisively. .'He was about to head us off down the bay if he'd not sighted us so soon." Sheridan Keene glanced over the sweep of harbor in the direction of the city His situation was momentarily becoming more and more alarming. He would have given a year' s salary to have sighted the harbor police bo 'at at that moment; but the upper bay whither his gaze was turned, gave him no encouragement of rescue. "It' s a case of play a lone hand, I guess," he said to himself, with a slight compression of his firm lips "Well, if they down me, I'll at least have a run for my money!" As the thought, born of a spirit of stern determination crossed his mind, the voice of Richard Morton sounded across the sea. "Hello, there !" Keene swung round and gazed in the. di' rection of the The cat was less than fifty yards away over the weather beam, and the tall dark figure of Morton, erect on the cabin deck, was quite clearly defined against the lighting sky. Using his hand for a trumpet, he next shouted, lustily: "Heave to and take me aboard!" The \i\Tinthrop officer, who was in civili n dress, at the same moment brought the smaller boat sharp about and threw an anchor. Then tl)e sail came down on a run. "Head her up, Staggers!" growled Captain Battle, with an ugly fire in his small black eyes. "What in thunder does this mean? Lend a h'and here, Haley, and lower this tender." Keene sprang to of the davit lines and the two men quickly dropped the light boat into the sea. Meantime the Mystery had -come into the eye of the wind and lost her headway, and now hung motionless on the tide, with her sails fore and aft flapping in the breeze. "Over with you, Haley, and bring him aboard !" commanded the skippe r. Already Keene had made up his mind. if he was assigned to this duty, that he would let Morton get aboard the schooner as best he could, and that he would steal the tender and take the chance of effecting his escape by rowing.. 7 "Send Martin .to take me off! Send Martin, I say. Keep Haley aboard!" Evidently Morton meant to take no chance alone with Keene in the tender ; and, though the latter readily apP'fec'iated the c'ause for his objection, the command fell with rather curious effect upon Captain Battle and the others. "Put off, Martin, and bring him aboard!" cried the captain, bluntly. "Has the man gone daft, or what the devil's amiss! Does he think you can't handle an oar. Haley, that he'll not board the skiff along with you?" "We shall know what he thinks, cap'n, when he comes over the rail," returned Keene. Captain Battle gave him a curious stare


SHIELD WEEKLY. 29 on hearing his response but the true nature of the situation did not once occur t o him. On the loyalty of the apparent ruffian who had aone and dared what Sheridan Keene had done and dared, the skipper of the Mystery would have staked his liberty even Keene unobservedly slipped his revolver into his side pocket. The vessel still hung without way in the eye of the wind, and, a moment later, the light tender, with Richard Morton aboard, shot alongside. His face was very pale am! stern, and without a word in reply to Cap tain Battle's immediate inquiry as to the oc casion for his conduct, ;md without so much as a glance at Sheridan Keene, he strode aft and took the wheel from the hands of Mr. Staggers. Iii the meantime Page sailed toward shore in the catboat. "Bring that tender aft and hoist it to the davits !" he cried with a voice that rang like the meeting of steel. Morton evidently feared Keene, even though the detectiv e was alone. Therefore he was taking every pre caution against the detective's escape. Martin Fales hurried aft with the light skiff, but the expression on the face of the young man was one that Sheridan K ee n e never forgot. It told the detective that the truth had been imparted to the lad while bringing Morton aboard, and that the boy for he was but little more than a boy, had already resolved upon something desperate \Vith the aid of Staggers, the tender was quickl y sw1111g from the davits, and Morton's voic e again fell up o n the strange silence whic h had followed his first command-a sil e nce broken only by the wash of the sea alongsid e the incessant flapping of the sails and the singing of the morning breeze through the taut riging. "Man the sheets fore and aft! he com manded, with terrible severity. "Lively, every man of you! To the foresheet, Haley, and look sh 'arp !" Had police boat Watchman but been in sight. Keene could not have received an order that would have pleased him better. As it was, however, he ran forward and stood by the sheet. "Trim in cried Morton, throwing down the wheel. Instantly the vessel s head came up and the sails began to fill. "Ease away !" The schooner was gathering way and with the wind abeam, was bearing down the harbor. Until that moment Captain Battle, despite that his countenance was as black as .mid_ night and his blood at fever heat had silent ly endured th e utter disregard with which he had been treated by Morton, whose white face and terrible st e rnness were sufficient to have briefly quelled almost any man. Now, however the fiery, touch-and-go temper of this grim litt'le seainan came to the front with all its force and viol e nce With an oath that was more than half lost in the roar of rage that accompanied it he danced directly under the frowning eyes of the ves sel's owner and demanded in that seemed to shake the very air: "D'ye see me, Dick Morton? D'ye know I'm here? Did you hear me ask what in blazes this ere business means? Tell me why you've come aboard here -in this fashion, and where you're bound, or by the eternal gods--" I am bound out to sea!" Morton sternly interrupted, with hi s eyes flashing fire. "For what?" "To 6nd, in water d e ep enough to s uit m e a grave for one man aboard h ere!" "A grave!" "Aye, CaptaiM Battle ; a grave thunde red Morton "For your man Haley is not what you suppose! He's a spy aboard the Mys tery! He's an inspector of the Boston p o li ce and his name is Sheridan Keen e !" CHAPTER IX. KEENE SQUA RES ACCOUNT S Sheridan Keene's hand went into his s ide pocket and cl o sed around the butt of hi s r e volver From where he stood every man on the schooner' s deck was under his eve. For a moment not a man moved The violence with which the disclosure had b e en made and the nature of it, catlsed such con-


30 SIDELD ''WEEKLY. ,, sternation and amazement as to briefly hold Captain Battle found himself facing the muz' them powerless. zle of the detective's revolver. Then Martin Fales darted across the deck and came nearer the detective, "Drop that weapon, -Captain Battle!'' commanded Keene. "Raise it but a hair and "That man-an impostor!" roared Captain Battle, the moment he could find his voice. "An impostor, yes "D'ye know that?" ., "Better than I know you." "And I've told him--" But jhe last word of Captain Battle's in furiated sentence was ch o ked in his throat. With the truth brought ho1:11e to him in a way he could :not doubt, his rage became a one in which words could have no part. With his dark features fairly convulsed with / passion, he turned sharp about and started forward, drawing his revolver as he went. Then, before Sheridan Keene could act for himself, lVIartin Fales performed an exploit which later saved him a term of years in prison. With his boyish face strangely white under its coat of tan, yet with eyes to which youthful courage and resolution Jent an herofc fire, he sprang directly in front of the detec tive, shielding him with his own slight figure and shrieked at the top of his lungs and with a passion utterly indescribable: "Avast, Cap'n Battle! You shall not .. shoot this man! So help me God, I'll not stand by and see it done! He did me a turn to-night, and--" "Out o' my way, or--" "I'll not!" wildly scr e am e d the lad with his arms upraised and his slight figure tremulous with excitement. I'll not stand for yot!_. to run my neck into a noose Don't fire, for your life! If you kill him, you'd best kill me as well, or I'll betray you as surely as hears me! If it's one it's both, and--" Then the lad felt himself thrust aside by the hand ol Sheridan Keene himself, and I'll fire I Drop it i nstantly, I say, or your life--'' But the revolver had left the hand of the irate captain fell clattering to the schooner's deck. In the face of Sheridan Keene, in his blazing eyes and the commanding sternness of his ring!ng voice, there had been that which spoke louder even than words, and Captain Battle, with distorted by impotent fury, obeyed for sake of the life that for a moment at least had hung as by a thrt;ad. "Now listen to me you men!" cried Keene, in tones that rang over the silent ves sel. "Your game is up, and you will have to pay the penalty for your crimes whether you slay me or not! If you choose to kill me, and to satisfy vengeance at the cost of your own lives on the scaffold, sai l in as soon as you like and we ll have it out to a finish If you take my advice, however--" "We'll take your liberty instead, my hearty!" The interruption came from Mr. Staggers, and Sh ridan Keene felt himself su

SHIELD WEEKLY. 31 him face to face. At the same moment he beheld, over the seaman's shoulder, a sight that sent the blood through his viens with a sudden surge of joyous triumph. Issuing from beyond the grim walls of Fort Independence, a half mile away, under a full head of steam and with the black smoke pouring in dense volumes from her funnel, suddenly appeared the police tug Watch man. The unexpected sight brought an involuntary cry from Keene's lips: "The harbor police!" It caught Staggers unprepared. He in voluntarily turned his head to glance in the direction Keene was gazing, and his grip on Keene momentarily relaxed. Instantly Keene wrenched free one of his arms, and with the butt of his weapon dealt the seaman ing his vengeance under such conditions as those now confronting him. At Morton's command he now turned sharply about, bestowing only a bitter shake of his fist at Martin Fales, and bustled aft to join Morton at the wheel. "What have you aboard?" demanded the latter, instantly. "Not a thing in t>he way o' plunder," said Battle, quickly. "The job in Hingham?" "Was a dead failure! \Ve escaped, and that was all." "Then, by heaven, we'll try to fool them yet! Page learned that Keene was aboard here, and told me only at twelve o'clock last night, too late for me to head off the Hingham job. But the whole truth may not be a plow that sent him reeling to the deck. known; and if Page can get the stuff out of Then he darted forward, snatching out his my cellar before--" knife from its sheath, and, with a single pow .J erful stroke, he severed the line sheeting home the jib. Instantly the voluminous folds of canvas were flapping noisily and vildly in the morning aii:. The signal scarce had been made before a boom sounded heavily over the sea. It was the. report of a gun from the deck of the harbor police boat, informing Sheridan Keene that his needs were known and ordering the vessel to heave to. This unexpected turn of events evidently gave a new ct:implexion to the situation, as it was viewed by Mr. Richard Morton. For he abruptly turned away aft and ran to the wheel, shouting to Captain Battle : "This way! .This way! Follow Bat tle!" Captain Battle was too shrewd a rascal not to have discovered ere this that the game was up, and that arrest was inevitable. And he had by far too profound a regard for his ugly little body to ris1< his neck by gratify-7 Boom! Again the gun sounded from the deck of the Watchman, and now Sheridan Keene, revolver in hand, came striding aft. '' to this vessel!" he commanded, sternly. "If you are men and not you'll now take your medicine in small doses rather than large ones. Heave to; I say!" "Throw the craft into the wind, Captain Battle," said Morton, smiling coldly. presumptuous fellow evidently thinks that we are malefactors of some sort!" It was a bluff that brought a laugh to the lips of Sheridan Keene; and even Captain Battle smiled grimly, as he took the wheel from the vessel's owner and brought the Mystery into the eye of the wind. He did not then tell Morton, h.owever, that he had imparted to Sheridan Keene the entire history of their criminal operations, and the former scarce realized the folly of the hope to which he would have clung. A moment later the harbor police tug ran


32 SHIELD WEER.LY. alongside, and Sergeant Henry, follo\Yed by two of the police, sprang aboard. "\Veil, Keene?'" he instantly cried, inquir ingly. "\Nell, indeed, sergeant!" returned Sheri dan Keene, cheerfully, extending his hand: "Well, indeed, since the work is done and tl;e c ulprits are oursl" There was but little delay aboard the Jfystery after that either for congratulations or explanations, and the rest may be briefly told. Wi. thin a half-hour the schooner, with sails trimly furled by her qwn crew, was taken in tow by the tug and brought to the wharf in Boston, and her whole speedily lodged in the tombs. Anticipating th_eene had expected, and he also was placed unqer arrest. Five weeks later the entire gang, save one, received in the Criminal Court their just de serts fo.r their crimes, and went up at hard labor for a term of years. One only escaped imprisonment, and tha through the intercession of Sheridan Keene. The detective could not ignore the part 1Iartin Fales had taken in the scenes of that last morning aboard the Mystery. He thought he detected the making of some thing better in the lad, and, as subsequent events demonstrated, his discernment was not at fault. Martin Fales was released on probation, and through Keene's efforts was later provided with 'honorable employment, to which he since has applied himself with an industry that indicates at least a desire to merit the approval of the man who befriended him. As a matter of fact, Martin Fales thinks there is no man in the world like Sherida n Keene. THE E)TD. Next week's SHIELD WEEKLY (No. 15) \1-ill contain "Behind Asylum Bars; or, Turned Dawn as a Hopeless Case." -SHIELD WEE. KL Y. I..-ATEST ISSUESs No. 14.-The Mysterious Signal; or, Sheridan Keene on the Water Front. No 13.-ln Bad /lands; or, Sheridan Keene's lfelp to Some Country Visitors. No. 12.-Arrested at the Tomb; or, Sheridan Keene on a Curious Case No. 11.-Under the Knife; or, The Cloak of Oullt. /lvo. JO. A Frozen Clue ; or, The Cold Storage Mytsery. No. 9.-A Double Play ; or, Two Mysteries in One Net. No. 8.-A Lion Among Wolves; or, Sheridan Keene's Identity. No. 1.-Under Seal; or, The /land of the Oullty. No. 6-Who Was the Model? or, Missing: A Beautiful lfeiress. No. 5 -The Man and the flour; or, Sheridan Clever Artifice No. 4.-Cornered by' Inches; or, A Curious Robbery in lfigh Life. No. 3'.-lnspector Watts' Oreat Capture; or, The Case of Alvord, the Embezzler No. 2.-Silhouette or-Shadow? or, A Question of Evidence. No. /.-Sheridan Keene, Detective; or, The Chief's Best Man. Back numbers a l ways o n hand. If y ou c annot get ottr publications from your newsdealer, five cents a copy w ill b r ing them to you b y m a il postpaid


I THRILLING STORIES OF l\DVENTURE i 1 Do and Dart WttklV I A speci a l series of rattling good stories is now appearing in this well; @ known weekly, covering a wide variety of subjects, and written by some of @ the best known story writers in the country. This series will include tales of Telegraph Messenger Adventures ; Boarding School Pranks and frolics @ Stirring Tales of Life in a Camp ; A Young Soldier's Daring Deeds in the Great Civil War Startling Adventures in the Yukon Rt:gion A Reporter's Diversified Experiences on a Big Daily @w J\ Young Broker's Bold Ventures on Wall Street The Pranks of a Youth Who Had a Sense of Humor Adventures of a Young Trooper in the Heart of China I and many others, which will be published l ater on. @) Great pains have been taken to get hold of just the kind of stories that ft.\ @ young men like the most to read, and written in just their style. Therefore, the stories will be )tjJ i Brimful of Exciting Incidents and Plots I ing store for our readers, read the follow@ No 48-Messenger Frank; or, A Matter of Ten No. 52-Phil Stirling; or,The Secret of the MounThousand Dollars. By Charles Norris tain Cave. By Capt. Henry Dale, U. S. A. @ Issued Tuesday, January 8th. I ssued Tuesda y, February 5th. No 49-Ted Sharp's Big Case; or, The King of No. 53-Kit Cummings, the Young Gold Hunte r; @@'!Sia the Counterfeiters By Inspector Jas. Nugent. or, Nugge t Nell's Stolen Treasure. By Issued Tuesday, J anuary 1 5th. Hugh P. Rodman. Issued Tuesday, February 12th No. 50-Lad Electric; or, The Most Wonderful No 54-Smart Aleck; or, The Fault ofa Crank's Boy in the World By B arry T a llyho. Legacy By Dick Smiley. Issued Tuesday, Janu ary 22d. Issued Tu esday, February 19th No. 51-The B oy Expert; or, Locating the Trou-No. 5c;-Ned M aynard's Scoop; or, Beatin g the @ bleat the Stamp Mill. By Sam Spencer. New York Reporters B y Editor Charles ',{jJ Issued Tuesday, January 29th. Bartlett. Issu ed Tuesday, February 26th. 6. @ Back numbers o t-Do AND DARE always on hand. If you cannot get our @ publications from your newsdealer five cents a copy will bring them to you, @ post-paid. )tjJ STREET & SMITH PUBLISHERS, I 238 William Street, New York. I ' 1


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