The Floating gold mine; or, Adrift in an unknown sea

Material Information

The Floating gold mine; or, Adrift in an unknown sea
Series Title:
Pluck and luck
Cap't. Tho's. H. Wilson
Place of Publication:
New York, New York
Frank Tousey
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
29 pages ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Dime novels ( lcsh )
Adventure stories ( lcsh )
Sea stories ( lcsh )
Treasure troves -- Fiction ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
033037368 ( ALEPH )
894525366 ( OCLC )
P28-00001 ( USFLDC DOI )
p28.1 ( USFLDC Handle )

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lU1m1 Wukly-By S"bcnptio" i2. so per ye{Jr :E11terod 1>1 recond C'ln.!.t Matter at the Neu York Poat Office, No':.mber 7, 1898 ; by Frank Tousey. No. 199. NEW YORU, MARCH 26, 1902. Price 5 Cents. "8alph Hooker clutched Ned's arm and pointed at the island. It was moving. "It is the :Floak ing Gold Mine!" exclaimed Ned. "Ay, an' blast me if it ain't full .ot


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PLUCJ< 1=.UCJ<. Complete Stories. of Adventure. l8suea Weekly-By Subscription $2.50 per year. Entered as Second O!ass Matter at the New York, N. Y., Post Offkfl, November 7, 1898. Entered according to Act of Oongress in the year in the office of the Librarian of Oong1ess, Washington, D. 0., by Frank Tousey, 24 Union ;,square, New Yo1k. No. 199. NEW YORK, MARCH 26, 1902. Price 5 Cents CHAPTER I. CHEATED OUT OF A FORTUNE. It was an ugly night in Black's Cove-one of the most dismal, rainy, windy and muddy March nights the Pacific seaboard ever witnessed in Upper California, and the little fisher village wore a drenched look. Black's Cove was simply a score of wretched huts, upon I the walls and in front of which were spread fishnets, leaned oars and boat-hooks, and the dwellings clustered around a tiny bay. Some distance in back of it, though nestling in amid a dense cluster of trees, was a beautiful summer residence, occupied by Jasper Redfern, the millionaire owner of that locality for miles around, and riding at anchor in the cove was a beautiful schooner yacht, owned by his only son Tom. There was a small fleet of fishing smacks bobbing on the water, close to the exit from the cove a few flat-bottomed skiffs were tied to a small, wooden pier, and behind the little breakwater a few very handsome sailboats belonging to other thereabouts, were moored. Of all the dull lights gleaming from the windows in the fishermen's huts, there was none so gloomy as that in Ralph Hooker's, for the old sailor lived all alone, with no companion but a savage bull-dog, and on the particular night in question an, object of great secrecy, Ralp.i had in view impelled him to keep the light burning dim. He was a disabled old salt with a scarred visage, gray hair and beard, a glass eye and a wooden leg, and although he could not work, and lived poorly, he was a great drunkard, and always, until recently, spent money lavishly in the village tavern, his taciturn ways making no friends for him, and his villainous dog proving to be a source of terror to everybody. He sat in his hut as the clocks announced the hour of eight, and his dog crouched beside him, when a light footstep was heard passing the open window, and the dog uttered a subdued growl, arose to its paws with bristling hair, glaring eyes and bared teeth, and with one tremendous spring it went out the window. "Avast thar, consarn ye! roared the old sailor, hobbling 'to his foot. "Come about, Roarer, come about an' tack pack, or. I'll--" "Help! help!" shrieked a feminine voice at this juncture, in loud, piercing accents, interrupting the grumpy old fellow's tirade. "Lor' a'mighty!" gasped Hooker, with a start. "Roarer's run afoul o' a lass. Now thar'll be a rumpus, an' goldurn me ef ther hull blasted village won't come out an' spile my plan ter, talk ter Ned Harland in here ter-night!" While so muttering the old sailor hopped to the door, flung it open, and as the light streamed out on the path in front of his hut a tragic scene met his view. The dog had sprung upon a pretty young_ girl, who was attired in elegant clothing, and its teeth were buried in the cape she wore-fortunately failing to lacerate her skin thus far. \ She had given utterance to the cry of alarm, and started back Vj'ith dilated eyes, pale face and trembling form, too frightened after the first shock to say a word. "Avast thar, Roarer!" bellowed the old sailor, furiously, as he recognized the girl. "Jumpin' jingo, ef 'tain' t Jasper Redfern's ward, Rosie Ringold! Come here, Roarer, ye blasted lubber, or I'll maul yer!" The dog ovly snarled and growled louder, all its ferocious temper up, and shook the terrified girl's clothing harder. The moment its teeth became loos e from the girl's clothes ii would doubtless fly at her throat again and perhaps seriously injure her. Ralph Hooker realized the danger the girl was in better than any one else, for his long companionship with the beast gave him a knowledge of its relentless, savage nature. He picked up a broken oar to go to the girl's rescue, when suddenly a youth of perhaps seventeen, who had been cautiously approaching the hut, rushed up to the girl without sar ing a single word. and seizing the dog by the throat, he bore it away from its deathly clutch. "Ned Harland!" gasped the girl, recognizing the newcomer as she recovered her .faculties, and reeled back into Ralph Hooker's arms, almost upon the point of fainting dead away. The boy did not reply. He had no time, for the struggling brute in his hands was fighting with all its great strength to get away, so that. it might turn its attack upon him. Knocked down on the ground by the fierce fight of the animal, the newcomer grimly clung to its throat, his fingers squeezing its windpipe so hard that its breath was choked off. For the space of two minutes a terrible fight went on between the boy and the savage dog, every movement of the canine's paws scratching and tearing at the plucky fellow low hoarse growls pealing from the monster's foam-flecked jaws, a loud snuffing at its nostrils, and its jaws snapping with vicious intonations. Ignoring his injuries, and exe-rting all his strength with a rigid r:esolve to die before suffering defeat, Ned Harland fought on with the beast until its struggles became weaker and weaker, and the breath of life was strangled out 'of its body. Then he flung the limp, lifeless carcass from him and arose to his feet, to see that Ralph Hooker had been too much occupied at reviving the half-fainting girl to iend him any assistance. He was a sturdy youth, with light hair, blue eyes, a goodlooking face, and a medium, muscular figure clad in shabby clothes. "Dead!" he exclaimed. "By jingo, Ralph Hooker, you ought to get thrashed for keeping that brute unchained!" "Oh, Ned!,,. cried the weeping girl, running up to him. "Are YO.I:\ hurt?" "Not in 1l:de least, and I'm glad to see that you are all right." "Dash it!" grumbled Hooker. "how wuz I ter know as ther lass was a-sailin' aroun' this 'ere latitude on sich a night? I s'pose ther hull willage's up an' on watch now wi' sich a consarned run'l.pus. That'll lJUt a end to ot{r chance fer a talk ter-night, youngster!" There isn't a soul in sight," said Miss Ringold, glancing


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. around. "But oh, you had better not stay here any.1 the importance of what was transpiring he had to swallow b longer. It was to warn you that Tom Redfern heard you scruples. / promise to meet Ralph Hooker in his cabin to-night that I I When she was out of sight in the gloom, Ned turned came here." Ralph Hooker. Noble girl!" said Ned emotionally. ' May heaven bless The grmpy o1d sailor was gazing sadly and regretful you! It nearly cost you your life! But how did that young I at his dog. villain find it out?" "Dead's a door-nail!" he grumbled. "Well, can't be helpe "He was skulking near here when you met Hooker to-now, an' blast my eyes if I wouldn't kill a dozen like hi day, and while I was in the back parlor. and Jasper Redfern fer her." was in the front room, in came Tom with the news. I could He entered the hut, followed by the youth, and they sa not help overhearing it, and I saw that what he told his father startled the old gentleman very much." "Well?" queried Ned. "Your story now, if you pleas "Then, dash me, ther cat's out o' ther bag now," said, Hooker." Hooker, in startled tones, "an', ef I ain't wrong, all our "'Tain't a long yarn ter spin," said the sailor, "but thi lives are in danger." is how it goes: People thinks as ther findin' o' gold in Aus "In that case, if the matter is so serious," said Ned quickly, tralia is somethin' new, but it ain't, and I'll prove it. Yi "you had better impart your information to me before my father, ole Jack Harland, wuz ther captain o' a wessel uncle can do anything to prevent it, and Rose can go home which I wuz second mate, an' Jasper Redfern fust officer alone." We wuz blowed by a storm up in ther Pacific Sargasso Sea "I may's well," returned Ralph Hooker, surlily. "I'm boun' an' fell in wi' wot we thought wuz a floatin' islan'. It prove to get even wi' him, for he's stopped my allowance o' money to be four ole waterlogged Spanish galleons, over a hundre since last week on account of' a fight him an' me had, 'cause years old. though, overgrown wi' rubbish aln bushes an' I wanted more an' he defied me ter harm him. I'll show him trees. It win filled wi' gold, an' records as we found tol I can do it now!" us as it was mined in Australia. We loaded 01ir ship with it "Ah! then you lived on money he gave you?" quickly asked an' managed ter reach California again. But afore makin,.port Ned, a startled look sweeping over his face. "There is a dark your father died." rumor rife among the villagers that you were often seen "Well?" eagerly questioned the boy as Hooker stealing into Black Cove Villa at dead of night, and it is "Jasper Redfern took possession o' ther hull cargo o' gold, further whispered that you held some secret power over the bribed off ther claims o' all han's, an', sellin' yer father's gold,1 proud and lofty master of the place. Is it 'really true, Ralph he wanished. Ther crew all went their ways, an' aUer a few! Hooker?" yeara I foun' Redfern here an' in full enj'yment o' what right-A da1; k scowl came over the face of the old sailor, and he fnlly belongs ter yer. I made him support me by threatenin" growled: ter blow on him. But we hed a row, an' he stopped my allow" Mebbe 'tis an' mebbe 'tain't. l.Jeastways it might be, an' a nee. That's why I'm givin' him away ter you, expectin'' that's wot. I told yer ter come here fer, 'cause I knows werry (iS you'll do ther right thing by me." well as you'll do ther right thing by me if I on Jasper ''And will you prove my claim?" asked the boy. Redfern, an' puts ther hullo' his fortune in your hands. Now "I hate Redfern so, now," replied Hooker, venomously, "that git ther Jass under sail an' !e's turn inter my quarters. Then I'd do anything to take him down." I'll tell yer a story about yerself as might make yer open "And the floating gold mine?" yer weather eye prutty wide." "If some n else ain't found it I'm sure it's yet in ther "Go back to the villa, Rose," earnestly admonished the boy. Sargasso, an' belongs ter you by right o' yer father first "Let me learn this man's secret, for God knows what a wretchP.ndin' it. We didn't get more'n a quarter o' .ther fortune ed life I have led at my uncle's house ever 'Since my child-on ther ole galleons, so thar must be a good store o' ther hood. Beaten and abused as I have been by Jasper Redfern, s tuff left, an' easy ter git." made to slave like a beast of burden for my1 daily bread, de"How was it the treasure was never discovered before?" prived of all advantages and cuTsed with every breath, now "Easy enough. All ships veers clear o' them grassy seas, that a chance for a change offers, let me grasp it." hard ter git out o' 'em once yer g!ts in, an' as fer The girl bowed her head assentingly. navigatin'-why, yer can't go a mile a day through ther drift Both she and Ned lived with Jasper Redfern and his sonwfthout a stiff gale." at the villa, and the man was the guardian of her fortune, "My days of misery are past!" exclaimed the boy fervently. as wealth had been left her in .childhood, ReQfern designing ''I'll force Jasper Redfern by law to disgorge his ill-gotten that she should marry his son Tom. gains, backed up by your proof, and set out to recover the Unfortunately, though, she thought the world of poor Ned reet of the treasure!" Harland, the orphaned nephew of Redfern, and not only de"Why, good Lor' a'mighty! he's got proofs in his safe as spised but hated Tom, for he was a polished and mean young ther hull thing belongs. ter you," said Hooker. "I seen 'em-rascal, a year older than Ned. all papers!" Ned Harland did not have much of a history that he "Papers! What sort of papers were they?" knew "Ther ship's papers as yer father made out; then ther cusHis uncle told him that he was left on his hands a penniless tom house papers, made in yer father's name, ter git ther orphan, and as Redfern was a brutal man, and always hated cargo of gold in tber port o' San Francisco; 1 and, last of all, tJ;te poor boy, he never lost an opportunity of heap,''lg every yer father's will, leavin' ther hull thing ter you-his kind of abuse on him. less child-in case he should die afore makin' port! Of late this t:i;ranny had become so unbearable that Ned "By jingo! with those papers I could prove my claim with-made up his mind to leave Black Cove Villa forever, when out your aid, Ralph Hooker! And, by heavens, I'll get them the old sailor had fascinated him by a few strange hints and if I have to tear them from the corpse of Jasper Redfern!" d etaine d his project. He sprang excitedly to his feet and struck the table with The girl did not say another word but walked away, home-his fls( to emphasize what he said when a noise at the open w a rd. window. caused him to look up. The boy did not fancy sending her alone, but In view of Outlined in the small, squ11-re window was the head and


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. 3 houlders of Tom Redfern, his cousin, with a diabolical grin t n his face. He wore a yachting costume of navy blue and gold braid. f 1 "A spy! cried Hooker, pointing at the silent figure. "He has overheard all we said-will put his father on his but. I will try to prevent it if I can!" exclaimed Ned, He ran to the door, flung it open and rushed out. 3a The next instant he stood face to face with his cousin and rival, the looks of both boys betraying the intense hate they ad for one another. CHAPTER II. PLACED IN A POSI1. 'ION. id For an instant Ned and his foe stood confronting each other d n the light that emanated from the old sailor's hut door. 'There was not much difference in their sizes and build, but e om Redfern had black hair and eyes, swarthy skin, dressed tin a handsome yachting suit, and carried a slender, flexible t stick. cried Ned, his eyes flaming with rage. "You did not hear any good of yourself or your father, I warrant!" l "You insolent dog!" hissed the other, raising his stick. V'l"How dare you address your superior in that impudent man-ner? But I'll teach you a lesson that my father has been trying to beat into your lazy carcass ever since you were a j brat! I'll show you what it is to conspire, with this outlaw, against the fame and fortune of one .who has given you your daily bread, clothed you with decency and kept you in a luxurious home! Take that!" Down came the lithe stick across Ned's cheek. It raised an ugly welt. ,, A cry of pain and anger pealed from Ned's pale lips, and he snatched the stick from his cousin's hand, and in hoarse tone!'> he muttered: "I've stood all the insults and abuse from you and your father I intend to put up with. You have dared to strike me. But it shall be to your sorrow, you cur! And this is the beginning!" over the region of his heart, as he was troubled with disease of that organ, and felt excessively nervous that night. The room was a magnificently appointed sleeping apartment, with a small, fancy desk in one corner, and under it stood a little safe, the door of which was open. Jasper Redfern was fifty-five, gray-headed, wore a mustache of the same color and shaggy, black eyebrow.a, beetled over his eyes and large, aquiline nose. He wore slippers, black pants, a smoking-jacket of brown velvet, and had a singularly cruel cold-blooded look on his red face. "So Ralph Hooker is showing his fangs," he was muttering uneasily, "and the scoundrel means to divulge my secret to Ned Harland since I refused to allow him to extort his .ixtravagant blackmail or hush-money from me any longer, eh? Well, if Tom is quick and bright to-night he will be upon the scene in ample time to thwart such a deed, land the beggar's brat in jail, and once I can prove him guilty he will go to prison for a robbery he never committed. That will effectually put him out of my way for years. Bright idea that of mine to put some of my marked bank-notes In his jacket pocket, up in his bedroom closet. The sheriff has seen them already." Rat-tat-tat! came a quick knock at the door just then. "Come in!" said Jasper Redfern, pausing abruptly. He fixed his glance upon the door a'nd started nervously and changed color when he saw that it was Ned who hurried in, pale and breathless, excited and resolute. "All prelude is useless, Jasper Redfern!" gasped the boy coming to the point at once. "You know why I am here! Ralph Hooker has told me the story of your treacherous rascality, and I want the papers to prove that you have cheated me out of my legacy!" "Are you mad, or what are you raving about?" d\.manded the man, with a violent start and a dark scowl. "Oh, don't try to lie-to pretend you don't understand me! I mean business, and I won't waste a minute listening to your evasions. Out with it, now-out with it, I say-where are the papers?" He advanced, threateningly, fairly boiling. toward his uncle, his blood "Tom's mission has failed!" thought Redfern, recoiling. His deep-set eyes flashed fire, though, for his cowed and beaten young drudge's audacity was something new to him. He seized a chair, in a paroxysm of rage, and raising it aloft he hurled it at the boy s head with all his might. "Loafer!" he cried, husky with excitement. "Dare you address me this way? By all that's holy I'll brain you!" He thereupon struck Redfern a resounding blow that wrung a yell of anguish from his lips, and followed it up with such a that his enemy danced up and down, and, screaming at the top of his voice, turned around and fled a few paces. "Stop!" exclaimed Ned. you!" The boy skipped nimbly out of the way of the flying chair, "Stop, or it will be the worse for and it crashed through a valuable oil painting on the wall. Ned did not flinch or lose his equanimity, as he formerly "Mercy! Oh, pity me!" howled the spy. "Sock it to ther lubber!" yelled the old sailor. serves it, by gal!.,, did when his irritable uncle worked himself up in these "He de-towering passions, but coolly advancing nearer to him he exclaimed: "You wait till I tell my father of this!" bellowed Redfern, threateningly. "He'll fix you! He'll put you in jail, you blackguards! Oh, oh, oh! Let up! Murder! Murder! Help!" Ned broke the stick across his knee, flung away the pieces, and turning to the vengeful Hooker, he said, quietly: "Now you hold the beggar till I get the start of him back to Black Cove Viila, or he will warn Jasper Redfern that I am coming, and he will be prepared to meet me." The old sailor grunted and seized Redfern, when Ned dashed away and followed the path through rain and mud to the "Don't get murderous about it! I just gave your worthless son a good thrashing, and if you fail to do as I ask you, l'li assert my rights by forcing you to disgorge! "By thunder, this is too much'." raved Redfern, furiously. "You can't get out of it, I tell you!" proceeded the boy. He was no match for his uncle in point of strength, but 1'. e felt confident of the justice of what he was doing, and was sure of winning the struggle in the end. Jasper Redfern was glowering and fuming and gnashing his teeth, and with a cry like that of a wild beast more than house: a human being he sprang at the boy and caught him by the It was a beautiful building, almost hidden, however, in a collar of his torn jac ket. dense cluster of thick; tough vines creeping all over its walls. "Imp of Satan!" hf: yelled pan tingly, "you must be crazy There was a light in Jasper Redfern's bedroom, for the man 1 to approach me this way, to brave me to my face, to dare was pacing up and down the room, with one hand pressed presume upon a fable you heard! I'll-I'll kill you!"


4. THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. H e swung the b oy around, sending Ned reeling his d arted in amid the dense shrubbery and made tracks f knee s, and snatching up a long-b laded ink-eraser from the Black's Cove. desk he raised it to plunge the gleaming point into his un"If they catch me before the truth is known I may g fortunate young vichm's body. hung for murder! No, I'll hide myself; or, better still, g The vision of an exposure of his rasc,ality a rose alarmingly on board of Tom Redfern's schooner yacht, the Jumpi before his excited mind, followed by a scene in court, his Jenny. By rights it belongs to. me, as my dead father trial, conviction and a long term in pr_ison. money bought it. All the ten boys of the crew are on boar It made him shudder and think: and every one is my staunch friend, for much as Tom Re No! Before I would suffer such disgrace, humility and fern hated me he realized that I was a good sailing maste misery I would murder this boy! and gave me the position of captain on the yacht. He w The malevolent thought did not make him shrink any, and going on a week's cruise to-morrow, but I think I'd bett the cruel steel was about to descend in a fatal stab, when t ake it to-night! Ned tore himself free, bounded to his feet and grappled him, Clutching the precious bundle of papers in the bosom seizing the wrist of the hand that clulched the knife. They stood glaring into each other's eyes for an instant, their muscles and nerves strained to the utmost. Just then a servant, alarmed at the noi se of the scuffie, looked in through the hall door and beheld the tragic sight. "Hound!,. cri ed Ned. "Drop that knife, or by heaven if the chance presents itself I'll kill you! The fatal words were overheard by the horrified servant, who rushed away to summon help to separate the combatants. Jaspe r Redfern was about to reply, but his words ended in a gasping cry, a horrible look darted into his baleful eyes, and his 1grasp on Ned relaxed, the knife dropped to the floor ::nd h e fell. Seizing the knife, Ned bent over the prostrate man. His spread fingers at his bosom over his heart, his face had turned ghastly, and his eyes were rolling. "Ned," he gurgled, "I-I'm dying! Heart-heart-heart disease!" He strained, r a i sed himself up on his elbow, fixed a terrible look on the startled boy, and uttering a groan, he fell overdead his torn shirt, which he had taken from Jasper Redfern' safe, he rushe d out on little pier in the rain, thinking "Ralph Hooker said he saw the documents I wanted i .the safe, and as only this packet was there, they must the ones. At any rate, if I ain't arrested soon I'll find o when I'm on the boat." He went down into one of the flat-bottomed skill's at jump, when a thrill. of horror passed over him upon land ing on top of a human' figure, and hearing a hoarse vole grunt: "Oh! Wot's this?" "Ralph Hooker!" he surly old sailor's voice. cried joyfully, as he recognized th "What the deuce are you doing here? "Wuz jest goin' t e r row out ter Jumpin' Jenny an bunk in thar over night," growl e d the old fellow. "Ye see that 'ere blasted swab, Tom, got away from me an' sware by ther horned-spoon as he'd have the sheriff arter me an lodge me in irons." "Then row like sixty, for I'm going on board, too. Redfern is dead! I'll tell you all about it later on. row-row!" Jasper Row At that moment the hall do01: opened with a crash, and Thus urged, the old fellow swallowed his amazement a into the room rushed Tom R edfern, followed by the sheriff the startling n ews and sent the skiff flying out to the yacht.

:: THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. IS I she swiftly shot across the cove and darted for the passage. with unabated fury and the only manner in which Ned Har-Hardly, however, had she gaine\l it when upon the crest land saved the yacht from destruction was by keeping it oi' the right-hand embankment, under lighthouse, appeared before the gale. the sheriff and several deputy constables, all arme d with With triple-ree f e d mainsail aft, to balance the bobbed jib rifles. forward, the beautiful schooner had been scudding under They had been tracking the fugitive boy, and when they almost bare poles, half the time nearly buried in the billows. saw the yacht moving it attracted their attention to her. After the lapse of seven days the storm blew itself to pieces The light of .the calcium reflected full upon Ned and and the yacht withstood her rough' usage !Jetter than many showed him clearly outlined against the dark, stormy back-larger, heavier and stauncher ships would have done. ground. One hundred feet long, provisioned for a month, and with "There he is-escaping on the yacht!" yelled the sheriff. every luxury on board, she was a veritable floating palace, "I'm discovered!" groaned the boy in dismay. although the ravages of the storm had spoiled the beauty "Stop the boat or we'll fire at you!" added the sheriff as of her outside paint and created some havoc among the he turned to the constables and ordered them to aim at the rigging. boy. Upon the night of the s eventh day, although the sky was Ned saw the four men point their rifles at him and knew murky and threatening, the wind and waves abated and the very well that every man in the party was a crack1 shot. schooner rode sluggishly upon a heavy, dark sea. They were seldom known to miss their aim, and las the But where? yacht was not more than one hundred feet from them No reckoning could be made until noon of the following they seemed to hold the ;toys' life at their mercy. day, but Ned imagined they must be many, many miles out The boys of the crew looked amazed as they clustered near upon the Pacific. the young helmsman, and the first mate advanced and He stood. at the wheel, fatigued and anxious, the watch on "What's the meaning of this, Ned?" deck worn out and dozing at their posts after the exhausting "Nothing-nothing. I'll tell you later," he r;,eplied hastily. fight they had to kee p the Jumping Jenny aft.oat, when old "Haul to, I warn you for the last time!" yelled the sheriff, Ralph Hooker stumped up to him, with a solemn look on his as the yacht came gliding abreast of where. he stood with face. his men. "Don't lE!t him escape, you fellows! He has killed "I reckon as it's ther hand o' fate," said he, ;an' ntithin' his uncle, Jasper Redfern, up at the villa!" else, but ha' ye noticed ther waters as-We're in, sir?" "Ned, is this true?" dflmanded the boy who addressed him "The sea looks dark and forbidding enough," said Ned. before. "No, 'tain' t that, neither, wot I'm speakin' on, said the The pale-faced Ned glanced searchingly at his crew, and ugly old fellow, "but durn my sister's cat-tails ef we ain't saw that one and all were honest fellows who would not in a drift!" uphold a crime. The shadow of suspicion cast upon him by the sheriff's words caused them to draw away from him, with looks of askance. "What-driftweed?" .. Ay ay, sir; an' wot's more. ther S argasso Sea!" "The drifting ground of the F lo a t ing Gold Mine-impos sible!" Ay, now, 'tis though. Looker our course-due ... nor'west o' He saw a relieved look sweep over every face, and the California. That' d bring us ter ther leetle round sea in sheriff cried: It is an infamous lie!" he cried, "Will you obey me or not?" "I leave it to you, boys quietly said Ned. "You all knew me from childhood, and never knew of a wrong. Answer for ine." For an instant deep silence reigned. Then such a shout arose that it made Ned's blood tingle. No! No! No!" "We won't haul to!" "Fire, and be hanged to you!" "He is innocent of this charge!" Such were the cries that arose on all sides, bringing tears Of gratitude to the hunted boy's eyes, causing his heart to swell witb pride and honor, for he knew that ev<;ln in the face of death every boy on board had sublime faith in his honesty and innocence. ther ocean, no bigger' n the r squ are of a degree. It's made by ther Japanese current a-sweepin' up ter ther Aleutian Islan's an' makin' a circle aroun' an' under Alaska. Part o' ther main stream they calls ther Mexican current, wot shoots down ter So' America. But this leetle Sargasso's made by a branch current wot goes back t'ward ther Japanese again, an' we're in it. "Then we must be north of the Sandwich Islands?" "O' course we is; an' ther p'int is ter get out o' here." "We can do it slowly with wind and sails." "I reckon we kin, a d mebbe we'll find ther Floatin'--" "Land ahead!" eried the lookout just then, interrupting Hooker. "It must be an island in the Sargas(lo," said Ned. A dark object athwart their course met his view and he let the schooner drift ov e r toward it, and within an hour they came within a cable's length of it. But the defiant shout had scarcely died away when there came the spiteful crack of four rifles, and had four of those boys been standing at the time each one would have fallen dead. Just then the bright, silvery moon appeared through a rift in the clouds and slanted down upon the small, tree-grown island, and showed them that the sea they were in was Down!" had been Ned's cry while they were made up of dense seaweed, driftwood and all sorts of ocean "Down! shouting. And they followed his example only just in time. Fifty yards yet separated the yacht from the headland, but the gale shot her ahead like a ball from a gun, and ere the officers could reload their weapons she was out on the sea, buried in the midst of the darkness and and flying with bowsprit almost submerged, far out of rifle range! The week that followed the escape of the yacht from Black's Cove had been a week of terror, for the storm raged debris. "How strange! It is like an ocean oasis!" said Ned to Billy Roe, the first mate of the schooner. "Let us come to anchor off the shore." "Ay, ay, sir!" cheerily responded the little first officer. "Hold hard thar! excitedly interposed Ralph Hooken. ''Look!" He clutched Ned's arm and pointed at the island. It was moving.


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. "It Is the Floating Gold Mine!" involuntarily exclaimed Ned. "Ay an' blast ml if it ain't full of savages!" As Ralph made this startling remark the side of one the old Spanish treasure galleons swung into the moonlight and exposed to their view a row of small windows, in each of which stood massive negroes aiming rifies at crew of the yacht. They seemed to know that the yachtsmen were after the precious cargo of the strange fioating island, and evidently meant to contest tqeir claim to it. CHAPTER IV. CHASED IN THE DARK. A thrill of dismay passed over Ned Harland upon seeing the Floating Gold Mine occupied by the armed negroes; and the entire watch on the deck of the Jumping Jenny were disgusted. The island so strangely formed by the combination of nature and the four old Spanish treasure galleons was drifting with the circular current of the little Sargasso Sea in the ocean; but as there was some wind left Ned concluded to away from the island. "All hands on deck!" he shouted. "Man the sails and hoist every Inch of canvas the sticks will carry. We must leave here, for on a nearer approach the armed negroes in the windows of the galleon will fire upon us! Up came the watch from below, and around spun the in Ned's hands, the driftweed sluggishly permitting the schooner to come about on a tack away from the Island. The moon slanting down upon the rifie barrels protruding from the windows of the galleon made them gleam like polished silver, and plainly disclosed the grim array of black faces and glittering eyes fastened upon the boys. The island was slowly revolving with the tide, for they were really upon the outer margin _of the grassy sea, and it presently turned the windows away from the schooner. But still another row of windows in the next galleon, which laid abroadside, against the stern of the first, was presented to the boys on the Jumping Jenny; and if the island still continued to revolve It would have shown four fiat sides exactly alike with windows. Before the lively boys could get up more sail, though, the yacht was swept by the current almost against the fioating island. "Arm yourselve!!!" shouted Ned, foreseeing that nothing could prevent a eollislon now. "Tb.ere are plenty rifies on board. I can't stop the boat from bumping against the galleons, and those niggers are armed with modern weapons, and look like fighting men! As the boys o beyed this order Ned saw a large number of lthe black men come swarming into view amidst the shrubbery on top of the island, armed with more primitive bows, arrows and spears. They were all big, lanky fellows, with woolly hair like the natives of the Sandwich Islands south of the little Sargasso. The boy commander now had on his neat, white fiannel yachting costume, the cap marked "captain" in gilt letters In front, and around his waist a belt was buckled, into which he thrust two revolvers, which one of the boys brought from the cabin. "Ahoy, there!" he shouted, hailing the in hopes that if they 1understood English he could subdue their hostility without fighting. But only a series of wild yells and a jumble of words in an unknown tongue replie.d, and let him know that they wer as ignorant of his language as he was of theirs. It's no go," he said to Ralph Hooker, who stumped u to him at the head of the whole crew, who now had a.rme themselves. "But you had better g-0 below old fellow." "Wot!" growled the surly old sailor. ''Me desart whe every fubber counts! Oh, no; not much! Axin' yer pardin fer speakin' out plain. Goldurn me ef I ain't s'prised! Las 'Lime I wuz on ther Floatin' Gold Mine along o' yer fathe it wuz teetotally desarted, sir!" "Look out!., Interposed Ned, watchful as a cat. "Down behind the bulwarks, every mother's son of you-they're goin to fire!" Bang! bang! came a volley. But the bullets sped harmlessly over the heads of the crouch ing boys, and before they could return the fire the moon dis appeared. A clpud bank swept over it and everything became en shrouded in dense gloom. A moment later the schooner drifted against the island. There came a shock, then a chorus of war-cries from the negroes on the galleons, and an instant later a swarm of the black fellows were pouring over on the deck of the Jumping Jenny. "All hands to the port side, ready to on them! cried Ned. He realized that frietJ.ds could not be .distinguished from foes if the boys were scattered over the deck, and as soon as his crew obeyed the order he knew that they were sepa rated from the blacks. "Now, boys, on them!" was his next ringing order. A thunder of shots came from the crew, followed by a most terrible choruf! of yells from the blacks, and as the island "blanketed" the sails just then, most of the blacks who were on deck had time to scramble back upon the island and carry_ their wounded friends with them. "After them!" shouted Ned. "Drive the stragglers off the yacht!" "Hurrah!" yelled the boys, charging on the negroes who yet remained. Ned led a rush across the deck, another boy taking his place at the wheel, and amid a tre9endous uproar the invaders were put to flight at the points of the crew's rifles. The moment the deck was cleared of the last man a daring idea suggested itself to Ned, and he "If we can drive the negroes off that island, boys, the whole vast treasure is ours, to be equally divided amoQg us. It will make us enormously rich. What do you say to assaulting it?" "There are hundreds of niggers on the island," said Billy Roe, the first mate, in dubious tones, "and only a dozen of us to fight them." "I don't propose a hand-to-hand. fight." "What then?" "Plant a mine of powder on the island and blow it up." "We might scare the niggers away by doing it, btit might sink the island." "The plan is worth a trial, as nothing can be done unless we dislodge them from the island. I don't believe we would sink the ships." A sm:i ll keg of powder was brought up on deck and Ned seized it and sprang through an open gangway on the island. A slow match had been inserted in the keg at Ned's order, and the boy had a box of lucifers to ignite it at the proper time. All the negroes had disappeared from the windows and from the verdant crest of the island upon that side, else-the ypung captain might not have so boldly invaded the enemy's ground. Roe accompanied Ned, armed with a rifle.


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. 7 On top of the island not a vestige of the galleons' decks 1 expert swimmers, when they arose to the surface they easily were to be seen, as a very thick Iayer of dirt, deposited dur-kept afloat. ing a century, covered it and trees and shrubs, the seed of "Make as little noise as you can," whispered the young which blown there on the wind, had taken root;, formed a captain, "for we are not out of danger yet by any means." jungle on the earthy crust. They were swimming side by side when this warning was The two boys cautiously advanced in search of an opening given, and they heard some of the blacks excitedly talking into which the keg might be dropped, wondering where the up on the island that towered above them. savages got their modern weapons, and mystified bver the "Which way?" queried Billy, in low tones . manner in which they procured food and water to sustain their "To the right, and back the way we came." lives. ''Then we'll have to creep along the face of the galleons' "Don't go too far," whispered Ned, pausing a dozen paces I side! Good Lord, but it's a hard job to swim in this seaweed!" from where they landed, which must have been over the "Don't exhaust your strength by violent exertion; if you midship section of the old galleon beneath them. vve may do you won't last to get back to the Jumping Jenny." be walking into an ambush." "Oh, I'll take it easy! rt was so dark they could not see a yard ahead. ''Now, if the moon will remain hidden a while, and not Ned set the keg down, lit a match, and ignited the fuse. reveal us to the coons, Billy we'll be all right." As the tiny flame of the match flared up for an instant, a "Might's well give up that idea, for it's. breaking out from most unearthly yell arose in the midst of the trees ahead of behind the clouds now, and .will flood the sea with so much them. light that we'll be an easy target to shoot at!" "Run! We are seen!" he cried, and he dashed away. Billy Roe followed him, but unfortunately, ifl. the gloom, they ran in the wrong direction, and instead of returning to ward the schooner they went off at an angle, making a quarter detour of the island. Behind them they heard the patter of many flying foot steps, and knew .that the blacks were in hot pursuit. Then, like a fl.ash, it occurred to Ned that they had lost their way, and he suddenly' came to a pause, exclaiming breathlessly, as the sound of their pursuers suddenly died away in another direction: "Billy, we have lost our reckoning!" "What'. s to be done, then 7" groaned the boy. ''I'll show you. It is the least dangerous. Come on. The footsteps we heard have ceased. Our enemies may be lurking only a yard away, though, and perhaps are. sneaking up to us. This way, my boy!" He glided off at an angle. But only a few steps, for a bulky figure stood in his waythe form of a negro-and both uttered unguarded exclamations Billy Roe's words came true' Out from behind the clouds popped the moon, flashing down a dazzling light, and they saw that the schooner had drifted fifty fathoms away from the island, under pressure of /lhe wind, which had reached her spread canvas. She was still moving away, and the island, too, kept going in the opposite direction with the tide encircling the Sar gasso so that it did not take long to create a wide breach between them. The boys swam for the yacht. But ere going a dozen paces the blacks on the island saw 'them and gave utterance to loud cries of exultation. "Look out, Billy, they will fire at us now!" warned Ned. Dive when you expect their shots." A number of spears and arrows came whizzing out toward the boys, and they dove into the grassy water to escape them, when the keg of powder on the island suddenly exploded. There sounded a fearful report, a great flash of smoke and lurid flames. and a united cry from the negroes all over the isle. and recoiled. Dirt, weeds and trees were blown in every direction, high The black was the first to recover and reaching out a long, in the air. bony arm, his fingers closed upon Ned's throat like a vise. "Bllly-a negro's got me! gasped the boy. "Run!" He dealt his assailant a blow with his pistol as he spoke, and j:he black vented a yell of pain and staggered back a pace. In a twinkling Ned had torn himself from the man's clutch. His cry brought the sound of flying footsteps to Ned's ears again, and the boy rea:i.ized that a large number of men must be approaching. Billy! he gasped. sir!" replied a voice beside him. "Come-quick! And with a rush they sped on again. stumbling over unseen vines plunging into bushes and bumping against trees. The blacks were after them in hot haste. "When we reach the edge, spring into the sea and swim for the Jumping Jenny!" the little captain. "All right-and here we are!" Bang! bang! bang! rattled a volley of muskets behind them just then, but they had come to the edge of the island and both dove down into the sea as the shots pealed out. The next instant they disappeared 'beneath the water. When the boys arose to the surface uninjured by weapons or flying missiles from the explosion, they saw what happened, and caught a glimpse of hundreds of running, shouting negroes all over the island, some of whom were diving into the sea. Their panic was excessive, for a great trench had been ex cavated by the explosion, baring the half-rotten deck of the ship beneath. The negroes could not account for the furious outburst. "That powder keg must have 'been as tight as a bottle and very strong, e lse a mere puff of flame and smoke would have been all that would have occurred," said Ned. "There was only forty pounds of powder in it. "The niggers are so s cared," replied Billy, "that they won't care to remain on the island if a second0 explosion ta:kes place there." "I'll complete their terror then when we return on board, by bombarding the beggars with the signal gun from the deck of the Jumping Jenny." "I. wonder how tliey got on the island?" "Give it up. It's a mystery I can't solve." In a short time the boys were midway between the island and the schooner. and the fast-b11eaking cloud s sho wed the moon at short intervals. CHAPTER v. Ned glanced back at the island and started violently. THE HUMAN TARGET. 1 Billy we are pursued by a man in a canoe!" h e exc laimed. I "Good Lord! What'll we do no'Y? My rifle is lost on the Neither Ned n<:>r Billy were struck by the shots fired at 1 island and we haven't got a weapon with which to defend random at them in the darkness, and as they were both ourselves." I


8 THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. Out from the island darted a dug-out, containing a man, boardin' ther island as you did an' riskin' yer life wi' no with remarkable speed, and within a few moments it shot up show o' beatin' 'em." to the two boys. "That's so. Eventually we may drive them off as they Reaching over the side the burly native made a grab for seem to have boats. Hut when we ran the island down it Billy, but the boy dove down, dexterously eluding him. was almost as .safe to be upon it as it was our own deck. A guttural exclamation of disgust escaped the man, and I wanted to make them understand that we would brook no he lifted his paddle and struck Ned a blow on the head that trifling, and strike terror to their souls. If a savage thinks stunned him and caused hirp. to cry out with pain. you are 1 afraid of him he will take advantage of it. MoreBefore the dazed boy could take another stroke the black over, I was curious to see what the is1a11d, formed on four grasped him by the hair and pulled him into the boat. old, waterlogged ships, was like. There was an upright pole in the middle, probably used as "Which way shall I head her now?" queried the a mast, and to this the negro bound the boy in a standing master. position, with some pieces of tough, wiry vines that lay in the canoe. When Ned pulled his wits together he was a helpless prisoner, for Billy liad come to the surface and swam on to the schooner. The crew of the Jumping Jenn.Y saw that Ned had come to grief, and fired several rifle shots at the negro boatman. It was a dangerous proceeding, though, for a stray shot was apt to strike Ned and kill him; but the whistling bullets flying about the negro filled him with alarm. He dove overbt;?ard and swam for the island, toward a point where a dozen blacks stood upon the shore gazing out at him from a distance of two hundred feet. "At an angle from the island's course-south. We must not lose sight of it until our purpose is accomplished, and we will remain at a safe distance until a means can be planned by which we can chase the darkies off the island a.nd get possession of its wonderful cargo." The watch then dispersed. Next day the sun shone in a clear, blue sky, all trace of the storm was gone, and the Jumping Jenny, under reefed sails, was sll1ggishly drifting through the sodden iiea grass, when Ned went into his cabin with Ralph Hooker. Taking the bundle of papers from a locker, which he had snatched from Jasper Redfern's safe on the night his uncle died, he said: A cheer pealed up from the crew of the yacht, for the boys "I haven't had time to examine these things before, Hooker, felt sure that Ned was safe now; but an instant later these on account of the storm and our trouble with the natives, cries were changed into those of the most intense dismay. although I have been wild to do so. I hope they are proofs The natives on shore made a human target of Ned, and of my right to Jasper Redfern's enormous wealth, as you were firing their arrows and spears at him. surmised." The flying missles came through the air in showers, some "Ain't got no doubt about it,., asserted Hooker, confidently. sticking into the dug-out, some falling short of their mark, The boy's blue eyes sparkled as he opened the old documents others whizzing ov e r the bound boy, and several flying so out and a moment later he exclaimed excitedly: close to his body, limbs and head that the shafts grazed his "By jingo-I've struclt it! It's all right! See, Hooker-skin. here is my father's will, leaving the cargo of gold on the He turned a mute, appealing glance at the yacht and saw I Yankee Girl to me in case he should die. Here is the Custhat Billy Roe had jus t clambered on board, and that the tom House paper my Uncle had made out in my father's vessel was heading toward him under a full pressure of canvas.1 name, to unship the gold into San Francisco; and this other "Lord help me!" as a barbed shaft humme d by his face with paper is an account of the' sale of the gold." a sickening sound. "It only needs an inch more for any of I "I knowed it! I told ye I'd seen 'em afore." those shots to strike my body. If the arrow-heads are pois"Jasper Redfern was a villain! Retaining the fortune uned the slightest scratch may make short work of my life.,, that belonged to me, he treated me like a dog all my life. Just then he saw Billy Roe throw open a gangway at the No doubt, upon his return from that crutse some qualm _of leeward side of the yacht. and the small, brass signal gun conscience caused him to hunt me up, when I was a child, appeared at the opening, trained to bear upon the blacks. and take care of me. Or it might have been that, An instant later a puff of flame and smoke and a sharp I would grow up and some day learn the truth and wrest report came from the gun, and with a singing sound, not un-the fortune from him, he wanted to keep me where he could like a swarm of bees, a charge of rifle bullets went flying by have a constant watch on my movements. He thus thought the boat Ned was in and struck in the midst of the blacks. he could baffle every attempt I might make to gain my herit-Instantly their firing ceased. age!" A number of them were seen to fall. "Sail ho! Sail ho!" shouted the lookout at this juncture. None of these fellows seemed to have been armed with Ned replaced the papers and ran out on deck with his glass. rifles, else they might, at the conclusion of their sport with A large vessel, apparently a sloop was heading toward the arrows and spears, have sent a leaden messenger crashing Sargasso under a full pressure of canvas. into Ned. Curious over seeing a vessel commg for a spot that most craft shunned like death. they watched the stranger; and He was liberated frc1tn his uncomfortable position and after a few hours she hove up within a half mile. helped on board. '"l'hat was a lucky escape," he remarked. "If it wasn't for the whack on the head that long-legge d nigger gave me, I might say we didn't get a scratch. It was a trying ordeal to have to stand there, whether I wanted to or not, and get shot at, though." Ned was startled as he watched her with his spyglass. "By jingo!" he exclaimed, turning excitedly to his crew. "It is the Sea Spider from Black's Cove, and her whole crew; hut instead of her rightful owner, Tom Redfern is in com-mand of her, forI can see him!" "Better veer away from. that 'ere islan' a while," advised old Ralph Hooker grumpily.. "If they once g-its thar tackle . on us we'll get in trouble." CHAPTER VI. "But if there's treasure in the Floating Gold Mine I ain't going to resign it to those neg'roes, by any means!" "I reckon not; but we kin blow them 'ere swabs ter glory at a safe distance wi' our weapons, easy enough, without aTOM REDFERN'S MOVEMENTS. The vessel Ned beheld wa' s one of the large, beautiful pleasure yachts which had moored in Black's Cove on the


. THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. night Jasper Reafern died, and was owned by one of Redfern's tenants, a wealthy gentleman. After the flight of Ned the sheriff and the constables who had been hunting for the fugitive returned to Black Cove Villa, and found Tom Redfern pacing up and down the room in which his father lay dead, while a neighboring physician, who had been called in, was making an examination of the corpse "He has put out to sea in your y.acht," announced the :;heriff. "What! Escaped? Why did you permi t it?" passionately asked the young man, a dark scowl crossing his brow and a wicked gleam shining in his eyes. "Couldn't help it," declared the sheriff. "There's no catching him now unless he is pursued in a boat." Tom Redfern uttered a 'suppressed expletive. "'l'hen I'm in for trouble," he muttered savagely. "But I'll follow him up, if I hav. e to sail over the entire Pacific, until I catch him, and put an end to his life for this deed." "Ralph Hooker was on the yacht wUh him," continued the sheriff, casting an uneasy glance at the son of the dead millionaire. Tom Redfern started violently and an alarmed look crossed his face. "Hooker with him!" he cried, involuntarily. This fact gave rise to alarming suspicions in his mind. He recollected all of the dark story of treachery imparted to the boy in the old fisherman's hut, and thought: ''What if this story is true? Harland stole a package of papers from father's safe before he fled. They may be proofs of my father's guilt. Between the two they could get up a case in, court which might put Harland in possession of all my father's wealth. That would leave me a penniless beggar. Oh, the idea is too horrible to. stand! My position with Harland would be reversed, and the humility would kill me! By heavens, I won't permit such a calamity. I'll hunt the beggar's brat down and put him where he can do me no harm! And as for Hooker, I'll shoot the old beast on sight!" A rankling, vengeful sentiment was gnawing at his heart and a haunted, uneasy and fearful feeling assailed him. But suddenly another fee1ing dawned upon him and made bis pulse quicken with a feeling of intense relief. "What a fool I am to worry and borrow trouble this way!" htl muttered, w_ith a mocking laugh. "Harland has murdered my father. That is a hanging crime, and when he is apprehended they'll send him to the gallows. That will put an end to his designs upon the fortune which I now expect to inherit. Besides, there is a warrant out for him on a charge of robbery, which would be sure to bag him, for father put up that bank-note job on him, and as the sheriff saw the money in the pocket of his jacket hanging in the closet upstairs, that scheme will have to be carried out!" At this juncture the physician arose and said: "Mr. Redfern, your father was not murdered!" "Eh? Sir! gasped Tom, with a violent start. "There is not a mark of violence upon his body, as any coroner's jury will testify, S'O you can let your mind rest easy on that score." Tom was hoping that his father had been murdered by Ned, for since he was dead the means by which he perished was a matter of indifference, save that a crime could be fastened upon Harland. murdered?" he gasped, very much dismayed over the news. "He died of heart disease, as every indication proves." "You lie! He was murdered!" raved .Tom, white with fury, and a bal eful, tigerish expression leaping to his protruding eyes. "Sir!" haughtily exclaime. d the doctor, drawing himself up and regarding the boy with a frown of annoyance and surprise. HYou amaze me, Master Redfern. Your language is very vulgar and insulting, to say the least. I am amazed at you "You lie! Confound your hide, he was murdered! He was, I say, curse you! And I'll make you prove it! I'll make you, sir, do you hear? .. excitedly raved Tom, in a violent fit of disappointment, for the physician's words baffled his hope of sending Ned to the hangman for Jasper Redfern's death, thereby putting the fugitive out of his way. So impetuous was his rage', though, he did not stop to weigh the violence of his words. The physician cast an indignant glance of scorn and aver-3ion upon the boy, and in cold tones he exclaimed: "It almost looks as if you wanted it to appear that your unfortunate father was murdered. I see through it. You hate Harland as everybody knows in this locality, :1nd expected to vent yuur spite on him by seeing him hang for a crime. However, as I respect the dead, lying there, and will not stay here any longer to suffer your outrageous insults, I wish you good-night. You can depend that when the regular coroner's investigation is made by me in that official capacity, I will render a verdict exactly as I just 'i!!ve it to you." And witl:l a stiff, formal inclination of his head the doctor departed. Tom Redfern was wild. "Harland will return and rob me of my wealth!" he thought. "He can get out of jail on bail, if I have hil,11 arrested for robbery, and ruin me. Only one course remains for me to save myself. I must find him and silence his tongue forever. And I'll do it! I'll buy the Sea Spider, cargo her for a cruise, and get on Harland's tra'ck. When we meet he will perish! Rosie Ringold was mixed up in the. affair. Perhaps she knows the whole story. If Harland and Hooker go under she might fix me. For safety's sake I'll lure her aboard the Sea Spider and take her with me. Then I'll be safe, for I've got plenty money of my own to buy the crew over into my favor, to do anything I wish. On the following day the doctor, who was the county coroner, and an impaneled jury, held an autopsy on Jasper Redfern's body, and found a verdict that the deceased perished of heart disease. The master of Black's Cove Villa was buried that day. In the meantime Tom bought the Sea Spider, hastily prepared her for a long cruise, and telling his father's lawyer to leave the estate unsettled, excepting to pay off small bills until his return, he finlshed all preparations for his trip. Rosie was invited on the yacht, under a plausible pretext, and as a trunkful of her clothing had secretly been taken aboard, they set sail and abducted her. putting out to sea, and asking of the crews of every vessel they met if anything was seen of the Jumping Jenny. Upon discovering the trick that w11.s played upon her, and ignorant of what the motive was that prompted, it, Rose was at first alarmed, indignant and uneasy. But as d ays passed by without Redfern offering her any indignity, or mentioning the cause of his action, she grew II).Ore resigned and less frighte ned, although it was her resolve to get away from the Sea Spider the first chance she got. Acting upon information, the Sea Spider's captain steered his sloop for the Sargasso, as he was told that the Jumping Jenny had been sighted in its vicinity, and the thought occurred to him: "He has come up to the strange, grassy sea to try to find the Floating Gold Mine which Hooker told him about,, and no doubt means to find it, and come back rich, anyway, if he can't wrest father's fortune from me. I may meet him, and if there is any virtue in my resolution I'll get away from him anything in the line of treasure which he may secure. Then I'll return to land, get my father's money, by-process of law,


I 10 THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. marry my wealthy young prisoner and l will be an enormouslJ'. rich man!" 'l'he young rascal now had a potent motive for his intense enmity to Ned Harland, and when the two vessels came in sight of each other his joy knew no bounds, for he had liberally bribed his crew and thereby won their sympathy over to his vile projects. There was not one of the Sea Spider's crew who was not of a more or less depraved turn of mind; and with their cupidity inflamed at Redfern's to equally share whatever treasure they might get, not a man on board would have hesitated to sacrifice the lives of Ned and old Ralph Hooker. From the crew, arrayed in white duck uniforms, as they crowded to the bulwarks of the Sea Spider, the ugly young commander drew Nick Doe, the first mate, over against the cabin and said: ' "The time for action come. Lower a boat and you and l will board the Ju!Jlping Jenny. I'll engage Ned Harland in an altercation, provoke him to fighting, and you can shoot at him. We'll get in our boat during the confusion and row back here." "But you'll pay up, an' no humbug?" asked Doe. "Ten thousand dollars, as swore to you last night, if you kill him." They separated with this understanding, and the moment they were gone the face of Rose vanished fro m a nearby window. It was open, and the curtain concealed her from view, but she overheard every word they uttered, and with a feeling of intense horror. "PoorNed!" she gasped. "Tbis hired assassin will murder him. Oh, what a fiend Tom Redfern is! Why is he so bitter against Ned? I was so glad when it was proven thzit he did not kill his uncle. Why did Tom abduct mer Why does he want Ned killed?" She did not understand all the details of the case. But she made up her mind to escape from the Sea Spider and warn Ned of the plot against his life, if possible. Through the deadlight in the stern she saw the gi:; go down on the davit lines, and saw Nick Doe fasten it by the painter, astern. Then he ascended a rope ladder to the deck. As soon as she saw the boat the daring plan of stealing it flashed into her mind, and she went out on deck. A refractory jib at that moment was engaging the attention of every one, and the girl glided in back of the helmsman, who was watching the crew struggle to furl the sail which had stuck half way down tne stay. In a twinkling she went down the rope ladder, into the gig. She understood how to row, and untying the painter she sat oown, seized the oars and quickly and silently pulled away from the yacht. Not until she had gone se\teral hundred yards toward the Jumping Jenny was she discovered by Tom Redfern. Then he uttered a startled yell and called the attention of the whole crew to her; but the sloop could not be managed just then to follow her, on account of the jib which ha:d become fastened half way down the stay, despite the efforts of the crew to loosen it. "The girl!" howled Redfern, furiously. "She's escaping to the Jumping Jenny! Lower a boat-quick-and let me fellow her and fetch her back before she can get on of my enemy's boat! Down went a quarter boat a moment later and he embarked in it with four of his crew, and made the discovery at the same time that Ned Harland must have seen what the girl was doing, for he had a boat lowered, manned by four boys, and was being pulled toward Rose. The girl saw 'her peril and rowed hard toward Ned's boat. The crews of both yachts cheered ana yelled to their re spective leaders, as they rowed like mad toward the girl to capture her. She was soon midway the two a nd lost an oar, her boat coming to a stop in consequence. It was an exciting race for the two boats' crews, and they were straining every muscle and determined' to fight hard for possession of the girl if they chanced to meet. CHAPTER VII. A BA'T'l'LE WJTH OARS. Ned Harland and Tom Redfern's quarter-boats approached the gig in which sat Rosie Ringold with equal rapidity, cheered on by the white-clad crew of the Sea Spider and the blue dressed boys of the Jumping Jenny, who were crowded at their bulwarks, looking on. Both yachts had come up in the wind There they lay with idly flapping canvas, the caught jib on the sloop finally sliding down the stay of its own accord, and the reefed .sails on the schooner ready for managing her. Escaped from Redfern's boat, and an oar lost overboard, the girl was cast in a fever of fear lest her guardtan's hated son might be the first to reach her and attempt to return her in bondage to the yacht. She saw by the looks of Ned Harland and his crew, though, that they would not let the Sea Spider's crew carry her away without severely contesting their power to do so. "Oh!" she gasped, her face pallid and a look of agitation on every feature, "Redfern may attempt to shoot Ned, as he planned with Nick Doe, the first mate. I fear I may not. be able to warn Ned in time to save his life, as I set out to do." Within a few minutes both quarter-boats dashed up to her. The distance between them was exactly equal. "Ned!" shrieked the girl, "look out for Tom Redfern! He intends to murder you!" and in her excitement she arose to her feet. The shock of the two quarter-boats striking the gig cap sized it, and hurled the girl into the grassy water. In a flash Ned dove in after her, for she had gone beneath the surface, and .he feared that the treacherous seaweed might hold her down in the brine to perish before his eyes. He had her in his arms when he arose to the surface, and both were gasping and sputtering when Redfern's boat was pulled toward them, and at Tom's command his crew lifted their oars. "Brain the beggar!" he' hissed. Four long oars were held threateningly above the head of Ned Harland, when between the young rescuer and his enemy's boat flashed his own quarter-boat, the four boys instantly raising their oar;. Then down came the eight oars each other, -with a rattle like a quick discharge .of pistols, and the two crews sprang to their feet and a fierce battle wa. s fought,.on the spot. In the midst of the !lght Ned got back on the boat with the girl, neither of them any the worse for their immersion. Enjoining the girl to crouch in the bottom of the boat, out of harm's way, Ned grasped an oar and dealt Tom Redfern a blow with it, just as the young rascal drew a pistol from his pocket and aimed it squarely at the young fugitive's heart. The blow sent the revolver flying, and knocked Redfern into the water, where he floundered about, yelling at the top of his voice for help, while Ned remarked: "Take that for your. villainy, and I'll show you what it is to attempt your dirty work on me in future!" He paid no further attention to Redfern.


'' 'rHE FI.,OATING GOLD MINE. 11 "Billy Roe!" h'e cried to his first mat. ''seize a pair' of I so that he can inherit it," said Ned, "it is evident that he oars and follow their boat with ours. I'll take_ your place. has been tracking us with the intention of doing us some lt's man to man, now, with favor to no one. Go for the rascals, boys, and thrash them Hurrah-that's it! They're weakening! Crack their 1,b.eAds and lather their jackets! Pound them with a will, ancf, by jingo, it is with sore feel ings they'll sneak back to their yacht\v. Biff-bang! Thump-bump! Crack-whack! went the oars, and many a howl arose as painful 1l!-ows were rained down; but the boat's crew from the Sea Spider began to flinch. And just as Tom Redfern crawled back in his boat his friends were sickened at the punishment they got, gave up the fight, and, rowing away with all their might, they left Ned master of the situation and in possession of his little lady-love. A tremendous cheer of triumph burst from the crew of the'Jumping Jenny, and the crew of the Sea Spider echoed it with a howl of pretended derision, although it was plain enough that they were dieply mortified. "Shall we follow them?" Billy Roe eagerly. "No," was Ned's reply . "They've got enough of us for today, and I don't believe they'll trouble us very much for some time to come. Row back to the schooner, boys, as this young lady must feel quite unc01;nfortable in her drenched clothing. Fortunately there are several yachting costumes of yours, Rose, and other clothing in the stateroom you always occupied when you went out sailing in the schooner. You therefore can change your dress as soon as we get on board." "I am so glad I got awi;iy from Tom's boat!" ejaculated the girl. "And so am I. But how does it happen that my cousin is here on another man's yacht, and that you are with him? What brought you flying froII). the Sea Spider in that now overturned gig, with Tom after you, and--." "One question at a time, Ned," laughingly interrupted the girl as the boat was being rowed back to the schooner. "Now listen. and I wil1 tell the whole story of your public vindication of the charge of having killed my guardian, and all that has happened since then." "My vindication!" joyfully cried Ned. "Oh, is it possible that my good name is cleared of the awful stigma of crime cast upon it by the unlucky circumstances that seemed to conspire to get me in trouble?" "Your misfortunes at home are over. anyway, Ned," earnestly said the girl, and thereupon she related all that is now known. Ned's happiness was almost complete when he learned that he was proven innocent of the hideous charge. Upon the whole he half expected it, though. In return for the girl's story he related his adventures to her, and when the boat the yacht the whole party was taken on boa:rd amid the enthusiastic shouts and congratulations of the whole crew. mischief." "Murdl),r us, ther lassie said!" growled Ralph, grumpily. "He i s bad enough for anything," said Ned "and you ail}'t much betterithan he is you old rat! Didn't you keep silent about his father's rascality to me as long as Jasper Redfern paid you the hush-money you got? You only gave him away when he refused to pay you any more. Humph!" grunted the wooden-l e gg e d man, pulling at his gray whiskers, and blinking his glass eye. "Ain't doin' that no longer, am I? It shows yer wot their thirst fer liquor'Il do fer a ole tank like me. Makes him lose all r eckonin' of de cency. I'm a-goin ter reform when I makes port ag'in." "Can't you reform now?" "Not's lqng as ther's any rum or gin aboard o' this craft. 'So that' s how the land lays, is it?" "Ay! Won' t yer let me have some o' ther grog, a.n'11'11--" "Oh, get out! You are no good! said Ned, walking away in disgust. An 'astonished look crept into Hooker's solitary eye as he gazed after Ned retreating into his cabin to change his clothes, and he grumbled: "Dash me ef ther young lubber ain't ongrateful, arter all I done ter try an' git hii;; father's fortune back fer him, a;n' a-tellin' him about ther fioatin' gold mine. I'd like to keel haul him, blow me if I wouldn't! No liquor? Hum! Ther case is desperit. Mebbe I'll go ower ter ther ene my. Any how, all ain't lost. Thar's a lamp full o' alcohol down in ther fo'cas'le, an' I'll stow it ter w e t my whistle. Thank ther Lord I ain't come ter drinkin' kerosene yet!" With which sage and comforting reflection the ancient mariner stumped away across the deck, dove down below and vanished. The Sea Spider got under way, and, turning her bowsprit to the westward, glided off, while the Jumping Jenny, keeping the floating island in sight, slowly drifted on with the tide. An hour later they saw Redfern's boat come about suddenly and tack over toward the floating island. "Look!" laughed Ned to Rosie, as they hastened up in the Bow of the schooner, both clad in dry, natty costumes. "They don't know that the gold mine is overrun with blacks and as they doubtless recognize it, they'll try to board the island. Then you'll see the fur fly. It will do me a power of good." "If they would do all the fighting and drive the savages off the island," suggested the girl. brightly, "you would have an easy task to pitch in afterward and get the treasure, if any of it remains there yet." "No such luck for me," replied Ned, with a grimace. The sloop glided as straight as an arrow toward the dangerous Island, but the moment it arrived within ten f!lthoms of it a series of reports pealed out from its side, and the Sea Spider hove to as quickly as it started for the island. The concealed natives had fired upon them! Rose Jound the stateroom to contain all the trifles necesBy the aid of his spyglass Ned saw the utmost confusion sary a young lady's toilet and comfort, and, having estab-going on, and then the sloop swept around and beat a re lished herself there, she felt safer and more contented than treat, the crew firing a scattering volley back at the islanders. she had been during her enforced sojourn upon the Pacific A short time afterward the crew of the sloop revengefully in the Sea Spider. sailed up to shooting distance of the island, kept up a steady Ned related the news to his crew. and ended by saying: firing at it for an hour, in spite of the volleys of shot, arrows "You see now, boys, that when you refrained from handing :md spears returned, and then away to the westward. me over to the sheriff, during our escape from Black's Cove, By nightfall it was out of sight, and the Jumping Jenny you did not err in your judgment of my innocence." drifted to the island, as Ned was curious to see what "Blow me tight, if this 'ere ain't a go!" observed Ralph damage his enemy had done to the natives. Hooker, in glum tones. "That blasted lubber. Redfern, is a-i Nothing was seen of a single black, however, and when tl;le steppin' in ther murderous shoes o' his dead father jest as night watch was set, the dark clouds in the sky, obscuring quick's he kin, an' dash me ef I don't expect ter see him the m"oonlight, cast a deep gloom on the sea. swung from ther end o' a yard-arm some day!" Ned left instructions with Billy to keep in plain sight of the "To prevent us from claiming his father's stolen fortune floating island, and then turned in.


12 THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. No danger was suspected by the crew of the yacht, but was far greater than he imagined could be comfortably held had the night been clearer a sight might have met their gaze upon the island. that would have filled them with terror. Down from the sides of the island hundreds of armed negroes were dropping into the grassy water, their skins greased, their weapons fastened to their bodies, and the savage looks upon their faces denoting their resolve to end the struggle in one fell battle, to the bitter end. Hundreds of these dusky warriors swam to the schooner, under cover of the darkness, and, perfectly at home fo the sea, they surrounded the yacht on all sides, only their wooly heads appearing above the surface. The watch on deck was dozing, and the lookout and the quartermaster, unsuspicious of danger, were careless. Then, like so many dark, grim shadows, the silent hordes edged in around the drifting yacht and the dusky warriors began to swarm up to the deck by every available means. CHAPTER VIII. CAPTURING THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. The silent attack of the black men migh. t have been a success had not an unforeseen accident happened to one of them -their chief. He was climbing up a rope that passed one of the portholes cf Ned's cabin, and as the boy had arisen and saw the man's figure, he suspected at once what was going on. The port-hole was not much bigger than a man's head, and therefore would not admit one of the blacks into the cabin, but raising an alarm, Ned darted .forward and seized the man, as the glass frame was open. He caught the black by the wool, and bracing one foot against the wall, he pulled with all his might and dragged the negro's head in through the opening. -The man yelled. Then he struggled and fought to get free. It was useless, though. for nothing but his head and came through the little, round window, and there Ned held him. His eyes bulged and rolled, his features were twisted out of shape, and from between his white, even teeth there pealed the wildest protest in his own strange language, but Ned grimly hung on to his wool. Seeing the rope the negro had been climbing, between the ebony neck and the port-hole frame, Ned seized hold of it and drew the end through with one hand, gave it a coil around the darky's neck and then tied it. Pulling it taut he fastened the end to a leg of the stationars table. "I've got you now," he chuckled, eyeing his scared prisoner's head; "if you attempt to pull away you'll choke to death." The man realized the danger and kept quiet. But the first uproar he made had alarmed the watch on deck, and the watch down in the forecastle, all of whom apprehending danger, armed themselves and were ready for the first of their foes who appeared above the top of the bulwarks, as they now saw the horde of swimmers. A rattling volley drove them back in the water, and by the time Ned got on deck not one of the blacks had gained a footing there, despite the wonderful care they had taken to succeed. The quartermaster had been luffing the yacht. for the wind was rapidly freshening, and as Ned observed it he called for a calcium light with which the yacht was provided. As socn as it was on deck he shot it1l rass down in the water upon the swimmers, and saw that the number of them I fancy but very few are left on the Floating Go1d Mine, observed the boy, "and think we had better try to carry i1i by storm now that they are off of it and swimming helplessly in the water. They can't fight down there, and we have them at our mercy. The yacht can easily beat them back to the island with this wind, and as I see that the moon will soon appear we will have plenty light." "Queer they didn't attack us in canoes," said Billy Roe. "Probably they only had a few, and counted on overwhelming us with a surprise, but their attack is a failure." "Shall I order the yacht to be run for the island?" "Yes. Meantime it will be easy to repel any of the bolder of these fellows who may attempt to get on board." "They won't! They're demoralized. See there-they are all swimming back for the island as they know that balked." "All but one! I've got a nigger caught by the neck, with his head pulled through a port-hole, in my cabin!" laughed Ned. "And we may make use of him before long." Billy passed the word to the quartermaster, who put the yacht on a tack that would bring her up with the i sland. The army of wooly heads festooning the top of the sea, all going toward the Foatjng Gold Mine .ahead of them, in a compact mass, was a singular scene, not one of the negroes uttering a word as they swiftly cleft the waves. Nor did any of them now make attempt to board the yacht. The Jumping Jenny made a circuit of this strange mass of humanity, sweeping aleng with flowing sails, and Ned took a noosed rope and went down a ladder to the body of the negro who was _dangling out of the port-hole. He found the fellow's fingers desperately clutching the rim of the port-hole, and his fiat feet planted against the side of the yaeht to prevent himself from slipping. Had he let go the fall of his body would jerk his head back and the rope around his neck would have hung him. Ned fastened his arms and legs, and bringing an end of the rope up to the deck he put it in the hands of two of the crew. Then he went down in his cabin, loosened the black's neck, and, shooting his head out the windo. w, the boys pulled him up on deck. He was a helpless prisoner, and it was evident, judglng by his profuse ornaments, that he was a person of high rank in the tribe. Just then Ralph Hqoker came stumping over to the group who was clustered around the scared prisoner, and the old fellow exclaimed: "Ye've got ther grapnels on ther chief, Master Earland!" "Is it possible? How do you" know-by his ornaments?" "Ay, ay! I uster gab some o' their lingo once. Will I try him?" "Why, yes-by all means-if you can." "Mebbe he don'.t, an' mebbe be do talk Sandwich fslan'," said Ralph, "but that's as far's my eddicashun goes w,i' the genteel furrin' langwidges." He said something in guttural words to the captive, who by this time had been bound to the bulwarks at a belaying-pin rack. The captive looked amazed. Then he replied in the same tongue with a sullen air. "Reckon as we understands each other," said Hooker, grimly. "By jingo, that's lucky! Ask him all about the island, their forces, their means of living. intentions and the cargo of gold," said delightedly. The surly old sailor nodded and asked in the prisoner's language:


rnE FLOATING GOLD MINE. 13 How many m e n are left on t h e is land?" "Half of my tribe; enoug h to kill a ll your peopie if you enture there," the c h ief r eplied l yingly, for he realiz e d h a t R alph was u p to. The old sailor t ranslated all that was said',as h e pro cee d ed. 'Ho w do you manage to live there?" 11e asked. B y fishing," was the repl y, "and the holds o f the ships re natura l r ain c i s terns." Are the y stowe d wit h go l d yet?" "No. The r e i s nothing b u t water i n '"l:'ou lie!" "The n d isc over f o r yourself." W e s hi;1.Il, f o r see, we will reach the island ahead of your n e n! The ves se l has already left them far aster. n, and we !Vill all b e o n the shore to receive them with firea rms when h e y c om e Driven away, in time their strength will fail, hey will d rown and we will own the isle The c hi e f s t a r e d Ralph's words had a p r ophetic tone. negroes came in range Ralph Hooker yelled a warning to them tCJo. keep of!' 0r perish from the rifles then aimed at them. A few kept on, doggedly, but the majority paused with l ooks of wild alarm on their dusky faces. Those who advanced were shot, and it served to check the rest. A skirmish was continued all night with them and Ned was kept busy every moment of the time directing his boys 110w to act in order to keep the blacks off the island. When daylight came the sun shone out from a clear sky, and the half-exhausted negroes finally swam away and vanished in the distance, leaving Ned in undisputed possession of the island. What became of them he had not the remotest idea, but it was obvious that they had gone away, despairing of getting on the island again. Now was Ned's chance to investigate the holds of the galleons. He had found an opening in the ground over each of the And later circumstances seemed to prove his assertions. four old vessels, and, accompanied by Rosie he took a ship's "No, no!" gasp e d the chief. "This must not happen." lantern and they went down a wide ladder, made by the "It w ill. W e o w n the i s l a nd. How did your tribe get there?" uegroes, into the galleon under them. W e w ent there in canoes to make war on a neighbor on They found the place between decks. Dne of t h e Sandwich Islands. A storm arose and drove us On every hand was evidence of the natives having lived nto thi s sea. H ere w e f ound the isle." there, in the form of crude w,eapons, shields, skin clothing "Ha ve you o cc u p i e d i t long?" and pottery. Nearly a year We c oul d not get away, having but few ano es. And we did not k no w which way to go, to return o our islaii.d h ome. " E x plain where yo u got the rifles and ammunition your m e n h a d." Not a soul of the tribe had been left on the island. The windows through which the negroes shotat Ned's party were at one side, and a large, yawning, dark hatchway showed the boy the means of penetrating the submerged hold, where W e brought them from our native ofte n stopp e d t here and traded with us. lfrom the m." the golden treasure was supposed to be stowed away. island. Ships' crews He left the girl where she was and going down in the We got our weapons hold with his lantern he found it half filled with rain water. N u w I understand the mystery. But if you were on such lterms of g o od f rien ds h ip with ships' crews, how is it your tribe racted so hostil e toward us? Yo u must have had a strong reason !for doing so. What was it?" signi ficantly asked the old sailor. The c h ief did not repl y, but an uneasy look settled over his fac e You h ave lied about the golden cargo," said Hooker drily. I see .it Yo u realized the wo rth of the go l d and wanted to k eep i t for yo ursel ves t o exc hange i t for trinkets, if you eve r should get back t o y ou r native i s l a nd. But we 'w ill soon find out the truth!" H e q uestioned t h e man f qrther. But the c hief re fu sed to r ep ly. B y this time the yacht approached withi n a. hundred yards of the Floating Gold M i ne, which now had a deserted pearance. Not a s oul was to b e seen on it and the army of negroes swimming t oward it were yet a great distance away. The islan d was still driftin g in the powerful Japanese current that s w ep t i n seven-eighths ,of a circle around the little S argass o Sea, giving the entire sea of weed a rotary motion from its a x i s to i t s outer edge, and tae motion of the current had k ept it receding. N e d 's heart began to flutter with excitement, for he was soon to p e netrate beneath the earthl y crust of the island and see whethe r i t yet contained the fabul ous a mount of go l d Hooke r a sserted to have been t,b.ere. Was the gold intact or not? The boy's interest was centred on this question. Within a few m oments the yacht came up in the wind, b es id e the isl and, the sails came rattling down and hawsers were carried ashore and fastened to several pal m trees. Tb,e moon cam e out and failed to disc l ose a single native. N e d po s t e d his entire crew, fully armed, at intervals all around the edge of the island, and when the swimming Raising his light he glanced eagerly and anxiously around, expecting to see the gold taken from the Australian mines. A cry pealed from his lips and he shrank back, his face as pale as death and a wild look upon his face. The hold did not contain a particle of gold! "The treasure was a myth! gasped the boy. His heart sank like lead, for the disappointment was so severe that he could hardly refrain from an outburst of grief. CHAPTER IX. STEALING THE JENNY. There was nothing but rain water in the hold of the gal leon in which Ned stood with his lantern, and the disappointed boy hated the idea of returning between decks, and telling Rosie no gold was there: "Ralph Hooker isn't given to falsehood,'. the boy muttered, "but it seems as if he was a confounded liar when he declared that these vessels were laden with gold." Ned recalled to mind that his captive, the chief of the negro tribe, declared that there was no gold and nothing but rain water in the galleons, and it now seemed as if the black man told the truth. The boy returned to Rosie. "Well, Ned, did you find it?'. she asked. brightly. "No. There is not a particle of gold in the galleons," he replied. "What!" demanded the girl, in utter amazement. "Either there never was any there or ifs been taken away." A disappointed look lengthened Rosie's face. She had been wrought up to a pitch of curiosity over the matter, and had been expecting to hear of and see a vast


14 THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. fortune in gold nuggets that would outrival the wonders of the Arabian Nights. "Oh, pshaw!" she exclaimed almost crying with vexation. Ned sighed; he felt worse than she did. "Let us investigate the otner galleons," said he. They ascended to the surface of the island and went down a ladder through a circular opening into the next vessel. This ship wasyet in the same state in which the Spaniards had probably left it, in the cabin section, nearly a century gone by. They entered a huge room filled with antique furniture of oak, the walls festooned with rusty armor, and weapons of an ancient pattern, and upon the floor laid, scattered, several human skulls and bones. Whether they were relics of the ancient sailors, the dead of the negro crew or the black men's victims, they could not tell. "These old vessels are built of teak," said Ned. "It's the most durable wood for ship building there is. That is why the galleons have so nobly held together all this time." "'Did you ever discover how they came to be floating here?" "No And I don t believe Ralph Hooker ever learned, or he would have told me. Here is a hatchway. I'm going down in the hold. Remain here until I return." He through an opening in the floor, and Rosie sat down on an old iron-bound sea-chest, in the dark. She had not been seated long when down came Ralph the story of Don Quixote, the third an account of the voyag-of Columbus, and the last one was written and proved een be a log-book. atte Unfortunately, though, most all the writing was so fad1is b and blurred that the girl could only decipher a few lim .. H here and there, but with her curiosity aroused she reireat, these paragraphs aloud: ore a ld g "* In the Tropic of Cancer, by the grace of God-maS' "L are blown away by the hurricane, and to unite our strengt A 1 have we lashed the four galleons together strongly. * "W driven into a strange, grassy sea, which is encircled by vill swift, powerful current,, that gives these waters a rot-at t motion. The violence of the storm is not felt here as badl as upon the open waters and * from Australia, whe/ailoi we mined the gold with which we are laden-a kingl0 fs fortune. * * starving to death-unable to depatnd from this terrible sea of weed. Heaven help us! * * ... he This was all Rosie could read. But it was enough. It proved that the old sailor's story was true in all ticulars. "Humph!" grunted Hooker .. I s'pose yer satisfied now? "I "Forgive my doubts-I wronged you Ralph Hooker," r osi plied the girl frankly. Ralph touched his forelock. Hooker with a lantern. "Reckon as some one's been piratin' ther gold in "Ah, Miss Ringo)d! Bless me, I didn't know as you wuz galleon," said he. here! said he. "Where can Ned be keeping himself so long, I wonder?" "Mr. Harland and I are looking for the treasure," the girl replied. Oh! Waal, now, ye've sailed inter ther right port ter 0 it." On the contrary, we found the hold of the first ship we searched empty." "Dash me; is that so, miss? said the grumpy old fellow, wi:th a start. "Perfectly true," replied the girl. Then, blow it, some lubber 'as tooken it away!" "Are you sure there ever was any on the island?" "Sure? Lord a'mighty, d'yer take me fer a liar?" "It looks like it." " Holy sufferin' Neptun', ma'am, didn't we run a-foul o' fioatin' islan' just as I said it wuz? Ain't everything jist. wot I represented?" "In regard to the island it ls." Don t that prove as I've made port here afore?" "It seems to." "Then, gosh hang it, miss. all ther rest on it's true, too!" "Probably the gold was taken away." "Mebbe 'twas an' mebbe 'twasn't. I'll prove as it wuz here once, though." "He has gone below." "Gone below, has he?" "Yes; and-ah, here he comes now!" of at Jui::t then the boy appeared. coming up through the hatch way with his lantern; and seeing Ralph he nodded to him 'Did you think I was never coming back?" he laughed. big "You must have sc<'.lured the hold, Ned," the girl repliedteet "Well, I went through the vessel, and I've found the gold! he "What! Is it really true?" isla "I tole yer so!" grumbled Hooker, "an' mebbe I didn't; but I reckon I did know it, 'cause I've been down in the.,sav. other two wessels an' foun' 'em heavy bairasted with the1 mineral." ribl "Have you, now?" said Ned. "That's a good bit of news. I suppose the first galleon we examined must have been lmd the one my father emptied of its treasure and carried to Cm California when he was here with you, Hooker." boo "Ay, ay, now, that's true, Master Harland. I didn't think G o' that afore." gl "This log-book is an interesting relic," said Rosie, hand-lov Ing it to Ned, "and when we've got leisure I'll translate ltsgal remarks to you, as far as I can. But it corroborates all as Hooker told you.,; I "Do so." "My plan now," said Ned, "will be to throw the ballast sit] 'In that werry sea-chest yer a-sittin' on thar's one o' ther out of the Jumping Jenny and substitute some of the gold galleon's ole log books writ in Spanish; leastways I 'member for it. Then I'll take the island in tow of the yacht and til1 as once it wuz thar." try to drag it through the sea to the coast of Ameriea. There hi: The girl arose and lifted the lid of the iron-bound chest. 'we can unload the old galleons and with the gold in our "I can speak and r e ad Spanish fluently," she exclaimed. possession, cast the isle adrift again." "If it is here I'll soon learn whether you told the truth or "A wise plan," remarked Rosie, sagely, "for by doing so not" you will be able to get every bit of the gold." The chest was filled with ancient nautical instruments, a "Now that the negroes are no longer on the island to fight few old volumes, and an assortment of rusty weapons, all off any stray cruiser who might fall in with the island," tumbled together in a confused heap, much as if the blacks said Ned, thoughtfully, "if we don't do something to keep had been looking at them and then disdainfully flung them in the cargo for ourselves Tom Redfern may return with the to 101 the chest again. The girl withdrew the books and saw that they were printed iu old-fashioned type, in the Spanish language. Or . a was an old volume on navigation, another a copy of Sea Spider and try to get it from us." They then went up on the island and imparted the news to all the boys of the schooner's crew. They gave utterance to a eheer of delight that cou l d have


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. Hi been heard a mile away, and Ned was overwhelmed with a battery of eager questions about tl;le gold, that almost took his breath away. 'Hold on, boys!" lie exclaimed, laughingly. "It's all in great irregular bars. The Spaniards must have mined the ore and melted it from the quartz before shipping it on tue old galleons." ''Let's go down and see it!" suggested Billy Roe. A murmur of assent from the rest ratified this wish. "With all my heart," said Ned. "Go on, boys. Hooker will show you the way. Miss Ringold and I will go back to the yacht." stood at the wheel, guiding the yacht away from the island, which was then over fifty yards astern. Upon the shore stood the crew; with old Ralph Hooker in front of them, every one of the boys fearfully excited. Sawing his bonds in two on the rough, moulded side edge of a the treacherous savage had evidently liberated himself, locKed the absorbed boy and girl in the cabin, and silently raising the jib, he cut the hawsers, and was stealing the yach!. !l.dl WHh a rush, like so many schoolboys, the jo)ly young b.ere sailors dashed away, dragging Ralph Hooker along with them ng' so fast that he alm9st kicked his wooden leg out of gear, par and when they had vanished Ned and the girl returned to CHAPTER X. DEMONS OF THE DEEP. the :Jumping Jenny. The savage did not have much of an idea how to manage "We are much luckier than I at first imagined we'd be," the yacht, but he had seen, from the island when he was said Ned as they reached the deck. "Tom Redfern may have ashore, enough to give l;lim an insight to separate it from a chance to cheat me out of the fortune his ungodly parent the land. larsto .le of my dead father, but once I get this gold into civiliza-Moreover, when in the Sandwich Islands he .must have fre. !ion I'll have twice as much as he." quently come in contact with vessels and seen the principle w?" "I wonder where he sailed to in the Sea Spider?" asked of operating them. reRosie. The jib was flying loose, thus giving the yacht enough 'head" Oh, he hasn't gone far. This golden freight on the gal-way before the wind to let her creep away from her moorleons and the vindictive desire he has to spit his spite o .ut on ings, and although she ran with a zig-zag motion, as he did her me will soon bring him back our way again." not know how to hold the wheel steady and the rudder Ch im. ed. i! ,, L't; "I hope not, for if you and he meet you will fight." straight, yet she soon put a big breach between herself "Perhaps," said Ned. "Cousins don't always love each and the land. other. Anyway, I'd like to have a chance to knock some The shouts of the boys on shore, who had come up from of the fight out of the conceited young upstart. Ah! look viewing the ballast of gold in the galleons, caused a grim smile at that fellow!" to hover over the dark face of the savage. He pointed at the captive negro chief and paused. Tied to the belaying-pin rack at the port 0ulwarks, the big negro was glaring balefully at Ned and gnashing his teeth with rage, his captivity was galling to him, and he held a vengeful spite against the boy 'for wresting the island from his men and driving them into the sea. The girl shuddered at the ferocious appearance But presently he grew impatient at the slow progress of the yacht, and abandoning the wheel he ran up forward, and seizing the jib-sheet rope he hauled it in, thinking the boat would go along faster if the sail did not hang or bulge so slackly. The result was that the boat ro"unded up in the wind and ier savage. of the ,stood there, with her bowsprit beating up and dowu, refusing to move to the starboard or port as long as her nose ier "Oh!" she exclaimed, "what a fiendish face! It is hor-was in the wind's eye. rible! This was puzzling to the black thief, and he tried his best 1rs. ''Don't alarm yourself," said Ned, reassuringly. "He can't to force her ahead by running aft again and turning the wheel. ,en lmdge an inch with the bonds my boys put on his wrists. The yacht would not fall off a point. to Come into the cabin and we will glance over the o\d log-Then the t'ack chief slackened the jib-sheet line away off book together." and the wind, catching the sail, it J?Ulled the rope out of his nk Glad to get out of the baleful influence of the savage's hands, drew it through the block and blew out, of his reach glaring eyes, the girl hurried into the cabin with her young at an angle from the stay, where it tossed and beat with .dlover, and they seated themselves at the table, when Rosie reports like firearms. tts gave Ned a translation of as much of the ancient log-book It made the black man frantic. 111 as she could make out. By the time it was finished Ned understood the whole He attempted to hoist the fore and then the mainsails, tut his strength was not only inadequate to the task, but the canvas was furled in stops, and baffied his ingenuity to ost situation. 1 d He was about to comment upon it when a strange jar and get it open. id tilting of the Jumping J 'enny wrung an exclamation from The two other forestay sails were furled, and upon finding re his lips and caused him to spring to his feet. that he could do nothing with them the savage uttered a Ill' "What was that?" gasped the girl in alarm. howl of rage and gave up all further efforts to sail the boat. "It feels as if the yacht is moving," he replied, in surprise. Crouching down behind the bulwarks at the bow he peer'' But' the sails were all down." ed over the top at the island which was gradually drifting "True; yet this queer motion is familiar enough." away from the yacht, although the Jumping Jenny was on b.t "Could the crew have come back and--" the move with the current, now, and following in the wake ," "Wait and I'll see." of the Floating Gold Mine. ip He ran to the cabin door, seized the knpb and attempted Locked in the cabin, Ned tried every available means to le to push it open, but it resisted as if the bolt outside was get out. locked. It was useless, however. rs "Can't you open the door?" anxiously asked the girl, arising. I can't burst the door open, the windows and port-holes are "No; it is fastened. Here-I'll look out at a window." too small to admit the passage of my body, and the skylight is Going to one of the small windows he peered out on decl':. hooked on the outside!" he explained to Rose. The jib was raised, the hawsers cut, and the captive negro "What in the world shall we do now?" the girl asked, in e


( 16 'l'HE FLOATING GOLD MINE .. blanf: tones. "The negro can't manage the yacht, and we These monsters often travel in schools; and" board are too far away from the island for any of the crew to if there is provocation and an open gangway. reach us." As Ned retreated the arm swung around over his hea "I've got a pistol in my pocket and could threaten the and the cup-like sucker on the end struck against Rose. beggar," said Ned, .. but that wouldn't force him to open the She ventured another cry. door. 1 was going to have that bolt taken off to-day, but "Ned, save me! Oh, this pain!" forgot all about it. That shows that a person ought never She felt as if her neck had been riven by an put off till to-morrow what can be done to-day. The bolt the moment the monster's cup fastened upon her te11d wasn't of any use out there, anyway." skin, drawing and puckering it up just as if a red-hot ir Just then Rose happened to glance out of the port-holes in burned it. the stern, and a look of deeper alarm flitted over her face. "What's the matter?" asked Ned, observing her changed countenance. "Look out the port-hole and see for yourself," she _replied. Ned did so, and his agitation became as great as the girl's. in the distance the Sea Spider was apprnaching. There was no mistaking the cut of her sails, even at the, distance she was yet from the helpless schooner, and Ned's heart beat faster. "I'm afraid this will settle it!" he exclaimed huskily. "Will Tom Redfern attempt to board our boat?" "Decidedly, if he sees tliat she is at his mercy. Rosie's face turned deathly pale. "He won't take me back alive!" she panted. "Oh, even if he should capture us we might afterward escape him." "He wants to marry me, and I hate him like poison." "Well, he can't marry you on the sea without a minister." "But he can keep me a captive till he reaches port. and although I would then escape him, without consenting, in the meantime he could trouble me with his disgusting attentions." There were some dishes on the table, remaining from the last meal, and among them a carving knife, which N snatched p. He dealt the wriggling arm a terrific blow with the blade and severed it in two, both parts convulsively writhi with life afterward, a1;1d that which was attached to the bod withdrawing through the window, out to the deck, as quick a flash. The boy sprang toward the girl and tore the severed tentacl from her neck, Rose moaning with agony, and flung it the floor. An ugly wound was left on her pure, white skin. "Poor girl," said Ned, pityingly. '"fhe pain must b4 dreadful!" "I can hardly stand it," replied the girl, tears streamln from her eyes. "The medicine chest is in here, and I'll put a salve on ii that will draw the inflammation and relieve the pain at once. He did so, and afforded the unfortunate girl instant he! She laid down on the sofa and Ned peered out the windo The five devilfish were yet there, demolishing everythingf But the one which had twined its arms around the savage dragged him to the open gangway, and as a last yell of "Oh, never you fear, Rose-I won't permit it!" agony and fear pealed from the .unfortunate wretch, It top "Perhaps you may be made powerless to aid me." pied into the water with him, dragging his body beneath the "Time alone will tell. You-ha' what's that?" surface. An unearthly yell of the most intense agony suddenly in-' terrupted him, and as the sound evidently came from out on The others instantly followed it, and within a few moment deck, he rushed to the windo;w to peer out, when suddenly 11one of the monsters ':ere left on the yacht. . something struck him. '"When Ned turned his glance upon the Sea Spider aga1 I it was within hailing distance, and he saw his enemy bear It was long. round and slippery, yet quite soft and flexible, ing down upon the drifting schooner, watching it with but the blow in the face it gave Ned knocked h,im down on glass. the floor of the cabin, and then the squeer, squirming object "Redfern will board us presently!,, he exclaimed. dashed in through the open window after him. "O. b, dear; trouble never comes a lone!" sighed the girl. It coiled and uncoiled itself. turning, twisting, whirling and lashing about like a huge, white snake without eyes, much as if blindly groping about in search of the amazed boy. worst of it is we can't rebuff him!" I dread meeting the young rascal again!" Within a few moments the sloop yacht luffed up in wind. came about and then stood up to the schooner. Broaching to, alongside, by a dexterous move, a grapnel was flung over the side, the two yachts bumped, side to side, and while his crew were securing thell:t together Redfern Out on deck the wild howls continued, the voice fraught I sprang on the deck of the Jumping Jenny, with several of with a tone of utter despair that was simply heart-rending. his sailors. Rose uttered a piercing shriek and recoiled back against the bulkhead. with dilated eyes and iestrained breath, trembling from head to foot and so startled that she could not utter a word. Mingled with the shouts were explosive strings of gut-There was an evil glow on his smooth, dark face as he tural expletives in the voice of the savage who had posses-darted a swift glance around, and said to his first mate: sion Of the yacht, by which Ned realized that it was the man whose cries alarmed him. He bounded to his feet, and as he retreated from that long, sinuous, lashing arm he glanced hurriedly through the window and saw the black man lying upon the deck, writhing in the clutch of a most hideous monster of the sea. It was an octopus! The arm writhing in through the window was attached to the body of another devilfish of the same species. l}nd upon deck, thrashing about, were several more of the ugly, barnacled beasts, their long tentacles knocking everything about. smashing light (\bjects to pieces, overturn"This is singular good luck, Nick Doe!" "Couldn't be better, sir." :'The yacht's adrift, with not a soul on board." "Better search and be sure, sir." "That's so. Scatter, I saw the whole crew on the isle, by the aid of my glass, just now. They must have Jost her after going ashore, somehow. But judging by the disorder on deck here it looks as if there had been trouble." The boys dispersed, to ransack the .Jumping Jenny In search of any remnant of the crew, and Redfern walked up to the cabin door, unbolted it and flung it wide open. He was confronted by Ned, on the threshold, with a drawn ing casks, bursting some of the ropes, smashing glasses and [ revolver. creating havoc everywhere. "Harland!" he gasped, as he reeled back.


.. :JE FLOATING GOLD MINE. "We meet again, Redfern!" coolly replied Ned as he pointed with the yacht, you and I in his power; but my faithful his pistol at the young rascal. "And if you don't get off of crew will not idly submit to our seizure, you can depend. my vess e l I'll shootyou!" "What cotild they do, so far away on the floating island?'' "Your vessel?" savagely snarled Redfern, recovering him"Oh, you take too gloomy a view of matters. That wound self. on yQur neck, caused by the sucker of the o ctopus, makes "Yes, y ou son-of-a-thief! It was bought witl:l' money that you ,fretful and morbid. Have courage-I ain't a bit afraid." belongs to me-money that your father robbed me of in "Hark! Some one is coming," said the girl, holding up my infancy. Now go!" her hand. "Help! yelled Redfern, pale with passion. "It is Redfern! Now don't let him see you weeping." His friends ran up to him and he pointed at Ned. The C'abin door opened and Tom R edfern walked in, with "Make a prisoner of th&t hound!" he hissed furiously. a scowl on his dark face, glared at Ned and the girl and The sailors made a rush for Ned, who did not flinch, and ft g himself in a chair. seeing that they would overwhelm him he pulled the trig,; 'Vell, my respected cousi n," said he, sneer.ingly, as he ger. fastened a malignant glance upon the honest blue eyes of The revolver missed fire. Ned, "I did not expect to have the pleasure of such a sudden Before he could cock the weapon again the sail9rs were meeting with you. But since you have so grossly wronged upon him. me, you can expect nothing but the bitterest enmity from Knocking Ned down they wrested the pistol from him, me in the future!" despite his struggles, and bound his hands behind his back I'm sure I won't want the friendship of s u c h a cur as you, with a piece of marline, rendering him utterly powerless. as the thrashing at Black's Cove, the night I sailed, will "Mercy! shrieked Rose, appearing in the doorway at this testify," said Ned. j1uwture pale and terrifi ed. "Let him be! You monsters! Redfern scow l ed. Let hiin be, I say!" He remembered the thrashing Net;l gave hi'm "By the gods, it's Rose!" roared Tom Redferi!, gloatingly, "You will pay dearly for every blow you dealt me!" he and he rushed up to the girl, caught her by the wrist and hissed. pulled her out on deck. "Unhftnd me, Tom Redfern! Don't you dare lay a hand on me! she shrieked. "Keep still, you minx!" shouted the triumphant young rascal. "I've got you back and I'm going to hold you, too." "What' ll we do with IJarland, sir?" questioned Doe, significantly "He? Oh-well, take him on board the Sea Spider," said Redfern aloud, and then he added. in sinister tones, so low that only his mate heard him, "and to-night we'll tie him in a bag with a weight at his heels, and quietly drop him overboard when the watch ain't looking!" "You offered me ten thousand dollars to put an end to him for you," said Doe, wickedly, "and I'll keep my word with you-to-night he will die!" CHAPTER XI. THE BOY IN THE BAG. "Doubtful," said Ned, shrugging his shoulders indifferently. "You have been a curse to my life," continued Tom, angrily, ''for you always disdained me when you was only an impoverished, raggep brat, living off my father's bounty. Then you outrivaled me in the affections of this girl, doubtless to. prey upon the wealth she owns, intrusted to my father. In the end you tried to murder my father and pretended you would wrest his fortune from me, stole my yacht and annoyed me in various ways." "Indeed?" said Ned, elevating his eyebrows. "No sarcasm now, curse you!" growl ed Redfern savagely. "l'.ll have no nonsense'from you since it lies in my power to do as I like. Imagining you had me at a disadvantage, you have, I see, been trying to wrest the wealth from that island; but luck favored me. Your infernal crew will remain there, or the savages w ill kill--" "I have driven them all from the island," interposed Ned coolly. "Oh, you have. eh? And found the alleged treasure, too, eh?" "Exactly so; and I mean to keep it." "Not if 1 can get it." ''You can't!" Both N ed Harland. and Rose Ringold were taken on board "I'll try. I'll starve your crew to death on the island. of the Sea Spider and hustled into Tom Redfern's cabin; the Then I'll go after the gold. In the end this girl will have to sailors from the sloop found no one else on' the schooner, and marry me, too!" fastened together, the two yachts drifted on with the tide. ''I don't believe she will." They were about half a mile away from the Floating Gold "I'll shatter your confidence soon." Mine on which Ned's crew had been left when the cannibal "Oh, get out ,and leave me be! I'm sick of you!" chief had stolen the Jumping Jenny, and in the current which Redfern frowned. arose and gave Ned a brutal kick. revolved around the little S0ea, Whf!re the island had I "Don't be so impudent to your master!" he cried hoarsely, been floating a century past. af: he raised his fist, "or, by thunder, I'll break your head! His pistol taken from him, his hands bound behind his Rose darted at him, with flashing eyes and an angry face. back', and Redfern's threat to throw overboard when "You despicable coward'" she cried, indignantly, "don't night came on, enveloped in a weighted bag, Ned was in a hit a helpless boy!" pitiable plight indeed. "Shut up, you jade!" g!owled Redfern, in ugly tones. Mind But he did not lose courage as he sat down in a chair and your. own business! I don't want any interference from youturned the situation over in his mind. Rose was sobbing, as if her heart would break, beside him. "Come come," said the boy, cheerily, though it pained him to witness the pretty girl's grief. "Cheer up, Rosie.' You needn't be alarmed o,ver the affair. Redfern ain't going to hurt Y2U." "But he may kill you!" sobbed Rose, brokenly. "He may try. Of course tlle case looks b1td for our party, d'you hear?" The girl's pluck was aroused. She calml y met the lurid g leam in his glance with a look of such supreme contempt that he winced and averted his gaze. "I see," cuttingly said she, in low tones that sank into him with withering scorn, "that your former gentlemanly b;iaring was only a shallow mask to hide your real loaferish nature. You seem to have lost all respect for my sex by


18 THE FLOATING GOLD insulting me, and have laid bare the craven meanness of your true self." Redfern turned as pale as death with shame anti mortification. I forgot myself in wrath, he began, "when--" "You can't apologize or smooth matters by wincing!" the girl proudly interposed. I am a lady, Tom Redfern, and don't forget that fact!" A sullen look crossed the youth's face. ' Very well," he growled. "Since I have the name I'll have the game. You get into your stateroom at once, if you want to avoid 'trouble." The girl's cheeks were flushed and she glanced appealingly at Ned a defiant. rebellious look in her dusky eyes, but the c:aptive boy nodded. "Go, Rose." he said; "further talk with this sneaking bound is an insult to you. You need have no fear for me." The girl obeyed him as docilely as a kitten. Left alone with Ned, the ugly young captain of the Sea Spider Jocked the girl in her room, put the key in his pocket and said: "I will settle my grudge with you to-night, Ned Harland!" "You may as 'we!J do it_ now, coolly replied the boy, with a smile. The only answer Redfern deigned to give was a grunt of im patience, and he strode to the door, passed out on deck, and locked Ned in . The shadows of twilight had fallen upon the grassy sea, but through the dim haze the outlines of the floating island could be discerned ahead, the crew of the Jumping Jenny standing plainly outlined against the dark background of trees and shrubbery. "Raise the a line to the the south'ard privately." mainsail and jil:)," ordered Redfern. "Fasten schooner and take her in tow. Bear along to of the isle. Nick Doe, I want to speak to you "I see you've got him helpless!" he chuckled, pointing a Ned. ''He can't stir or speak a syllable," whispered whose face was -ashen. "He's an easy victim, Nick. Giv1 me the bag." "Luck's on our side, I think." "How do you mean?" "It's as dark as pitch outside and the watch is asleep. "Asleep?" "Drugged! fixed their grog for them." "Good for you, Doe." "How about the gal?" "I've got her locked In her stateroom yet." They glanced at each other in silence as if wondering whic one would pluck up .enough courage to begin their rascali operations. Redfern soon recovertld his boldness, though, pointed at Ned, and growled: "Why don't you tie him in the bag?" "Oh-yes--0f course! Here--help me, you." . Between them they enveloped Ned completely in the sack. "Hand me those fifteen pound dumb-bells!" cried Redfern. "Going to t;hoot him with these things, eh?" Doe got the weights, and they closed the mouth of the bag and fastened the iron bells to the end with a piece of Ian-yard. Then they both lifted Ned from the floor, in the bag, and started for the deck to heave him into the sea. Not a soul was on deck near the cabin but the quartermaster, and he could only see to steer by watching the compass in the binnacle, the lamps of which were lit. They hurried ,to the port bulwark with their burden, and were about to lift the bag when one of the watc.h came up from below, and seeing the drugged men lying on the deck he ran aft. While the crew was obeying his commands he drew his mate Before Redfern was aware of it tl!e man was beside him. aside and in suppressed tones of ange;:, he said: "Mr. Redfern!" he exclaimed. ''You know, I was actually hesitating when it came to A startled exclamation burst from Tom's lips, and both murdering Ned Harland? Well, all such sentiment bas left he and Doe dropped the bag and got in front of it. me now. "Wha-wha-what do you want?" stammered the guilty boy. "Then you want me to fix him?" queried Doc, viciously. "The watch on deck's asleep," said the man, amazed at "To-night-as we planned-without fail. Who is on Tom's confusion, and trying hard to see he and Doe had watch"? concealed behind them. "Seven, with you?" "Ay." "Reduce the number." "I'!l keep only two below." "Good!" "And I'll take the trick at the helm." "You must send the watch up forward. "I'll put them where they won't see what goes on," said Doe, significantly. "Then you'll find me in my cabin at seven bells." "Have you got a bag?" "Everything necessary. We'll drop him over bpard.:. "I'll be on hand." "Just as soon as he's gon e you'll get my check for $10,000." With this evil understanding they !!_eparated. When midnight came the sky grew overcast and objects faded from view as if to favor Tom Redfern's dark plot. The yachts had drifted within five hundred feet of the island when Redfern's cabin door was opened by Nick Doe, and he entered. Bo .und hand and foot, a gag thrust in his mquth to stifle any outcries he might make, Ned laid on the floor, watching his enemies with a keen, questioning look. Doe had a huge salt bag in his hand. "Then why don't you wake them up?" savagely asked Redfern. "Why-I thought there might be something wrong with them, and--" "Oh, get out! Go and arouse the lazy dogs!" "I did try, but can't do it, sir." "The deuce! Try again, then. Go on; I'll join you!" The man walked away, but uneasily glanced back over his shoulder at Redfern, several times, for his peculiar actions bad a suspic,idus look that impresse1d him with an idea of foul play. The moment he was out of sight Redfern grasped the bag. "Over with ,him, Doe-quick!" he whispered, "before tha nosey fool returns! He suspects something wrong." "How are you going to account for Harland's disappearance to the crew?" "Say he must have jumped overboard and escaped. Hurry hurry!" They grasped the bag again, swung it upon the bulwark and, giving it a pus)l, they it flying down toward th water. Then they both ran forward toward the sleeping watch afrilid to look back at the spot where Ned had disappeared, for their crime iade cowards of them.


CHAPTER XII. THE GIANT TURTLE. MINE. 19 Having had his boys prepare all the sails for hoisting, Ned went np in the bow, with a knife in his hand. to cut the hawser, when he heard Redfern on the other yacht excla im ing, in the gloom: "It is strange to me how half the crew is so soundly asleep All through his trying ordeal Ned had been sensible of that we can't awaken them. Have they been drinking?., what was going on, and the feeling of horror that assailed "The liar! muttered Ned, recalling to mind ,what-Nick him was extreme when he found he was doomed to be Doe told Redfern, just before they tossed him overboard. "He drowned. knows very well that his mate drugged the watch with Nie to help himself, made the situation worse, and he view of concealing their base operations on me from them." passively had to submit to his fate. "Well," said the sailor to whom Redfern was talking, "they As his body shot down toward the water he inwardly a ll had an allowance of grog this evening, but no more than groaned, for only a few seconds were betweeu himself and usual." eternity. "How many are left awake?" Expecting to feel the cold; weedy water strike him, .he was amazed to suddenly get, instead a thump on the side that almost knicked the breath out of him, and his descent was checked. "Murder!" hissed a voice, in muffled tones of alarm. "What's that?" "A cannon ball!" said another person softly. "Look out! addec} another, "it's capsizing the canoe!" There came a lurch of the object Ned landed on-a splash-another violent swaying, and then.the truth dawned upon the boy. "I've fallen across a canoe that must have been riding beneath the spot where Redfern and his mate dropped me overboard." The occupants of the _dug-out had been flung in the water by the shock, but, fortunately for Ned, the bag he was in had become so wedged in the canoe that he held there. The ones who were dumped in the scrambled back into the boat and the quartermaster of the Sea Spider thought he heard their suppressed voices but, not seeing them, he "Y"ou, Roe, the quartermaster, I and two men belowsix in all," said the sailor, and Redfern replied, carelessly: "O h, well, you can go below and turn in. It's nothing but the liquor that's got the best of them, and they'll sleep it off." Just then one of Ned's friends joined him. "Why don't you cut the rope?" he asked, in a whisper. "Because I've changed my mind," replied the boy. guardedly. "Ain't you going to save the schooner?" "Yes. I just heard a conversation showing me that we can tackle the enemy and stop their nonsense by making prisoners of them. Both yachts will then be in my possession. Instea

2 0 THE FLOA'l : L d .1l1NE. I n fact, so unexpected, quick and well executed was the attack that it was a glorious success from the beginning. "Tom Redfern, hold up your dirty hands!" said Ned. "You, too, Nick Doe!" added Ned's friend. A n d t hey both aimed their revolvers at the amazed boys. N ed Harland or his ghost!" gasped Redfern, turning p a le, for the lanterns. on deck plainly revealed the boy s ide ntit y. "By gosh, we're done for!" ejaculated Doe aghast. l:rhey d idn't fancy the gleam of the pistols, and held up their han ds. "Fool I'm no ghost'. Your attempt to kill me failed, that's all!" sai d N ed, contemptuously. "The tables are turned. You a r e m y prisoner now, and I've got possession of both yachts." R e d fern began to swear violently. H e saw how matters were tending at last, and it infuriated h i m t o the verge of madness. "Let m e have a pistol!" he raved, his eyes bulging and his w hol e f o r m quivering. "Let me have an even chance. I'll figh t a duel with you. I'll end this fight forever!" ' I 'll do nothing of the kind,'' replieji Ned coldly. "You will simply march down into the forecastle with that friend of y ou rs, o r I'll boot you all the way there!" W ith a crestfallen air the defeated rogues were driven down i n t o the forecastle. with the quartermaster, to join the of his crew, and victory was complete. Great was Rosie's joy when she was awakened, liberated f rom her stateroom, and told 1about the situation. Just then the turf broke from unjier Rosie's feet, and dow Hhe fell, headlong, into the pool, uttering a shriek. "Lord!" gasped Ned, in startled tones. "Save me!" screamed the girl as she struck the water i front of the enormous turtle. "Ned, Ned, I'll drown!" Her.. dress held her up an instant, and the boy might hav saved her from going under, but just then the turtle snapp e at her dress and caught it in its powerful beak. It might have released its hold a moment later and dis appeared in affright liad not Ned sprang into the water afte the girl. for she could not swim. The splash of his body alarmed the big sea turtle, however and, never relaxing its clutch, it dove down in the depth and dragged the terrified girl beneath the surface with it. CHAPTER XIII. THE LEAP FOR LIFE. The peril Rose Ringold was in might not have been so grea had it occurred in clear water, but the grassy sea was no only hard to swim in, but held objects down and tangled things in its meshes. Ned did not pause to think of this when he dove in afte her. All the daring boy had in view was the fear that she would T h e Sea Spider was then sailed. to the Floating Gold and t h e two yachts were hove to and moored beside it Mine perish after the giant turtle dragged her beneath the surface amid of the pool. the wild hurrahs of Ned's crew. He dove down after her. B y drug ging part of his crew to carry out his evil designs It was utterly impossible to see beneath the surface as in on N ed, t h e captain of the Sea Spider had simply thrown him-clear water, besides which an oppressive weigh t seemed to self in the power of Harland, falling, virtually, into his own hold him down. trap! None o f the boys got much sleep that night. The n ex t day d awned, hazy and rainy, but it did not defer N e d's pla n s a n y, for he set his boys to work dividing the provisi on s on the Sea Spider with the Jumping Jenny, and the casks o f b o t h vesse l s were filled with water from the holds of the ol d galleons. Having attended to this r-[ed had the ballast taken out of both yach ts, and the work commenced of putting in a cargo of g old i n s tead of it, in each yacht. Then he ascended to the surface. No sign of the girl was to be seen in the square pool made the framing of the four galleons; and he dove down deeper again. It was like groping in the dark. Again unable to do anything, the boy arose. Still no sign of the girl, and with the horrible conviction firml'y impre ssed on his mind that the girl was lost, the boy paddled around for fully minutes, and then swam to the side of a galleon . Several days were required to do this properly, however, "Poor Rosie!" he groaned. "She must be dead. No human a n d i n the meantime, during off hours, the crew roamed all being could live under water so long. This is terriblero ve r the strange island, attentively examining it. terrible!" No stranger freak of nature could have happened. I Ned felt awfully downhearted and ready to cry, for in hi! The r e was a n abundance of tropical fruit on the trees and boyish way he thought a good deal of the pretty, dark-hair e d bus h es, a turfy grass, and everywhere lay evidences of the girl. s avages havin g lived there a long time, in the form of pottery, There were some roots and vines festooning the side of rude h its, war implements and extinct fires, where they the galleon which he grasped, and by their aid he climbed c ook ed their food There was a ho llow square in the middle of the island, formed i n the manner i n which the galleons were fastened toge ther, t h e grassy water in it forming 'a pool in which they did their fishing up on the island again. His friends were scattered all over the floating go l d min e, some of them hoisting the gold out of one of the galleo ns, and ge }ting it ready to stow in the two yachts moored close by. N ed and R ose were standing on the edge of it at mid-He lingered beside the treacherous pool a while longer, day, discussing their future movements, when the girl ob-vainly hoping to see some sign of the unfortunate girl, against serve d a commotion down in the square pool beneath. his conviction that she was drowned, and then sauntered over Ins t antly her curiosity was aroused, and she stepped nearer to the Jumping Jenny. t o the edge and peered down. His heart was full of grief over the accident, and he did "Loo k, Ned-a monster turtle!" she exclaimed, pointing not say a word to any one about it, but went on board t h e a t a large, ob long object, darkly outlined in the weed yacht to retire to his cabin and give way to his woe. The boy g l anced over. He heard the imprisoned crew of the Sea Spider cuttin g "What a treat .it would make for a meal! he observed. up high jinks on board of the sloop yelling, swearing, singing "Can't you catch it?" and hooting in the forecastle, and a grim look stole over his "I'm afraid not. They are v i cious things to handle in the face. w ater. "If Tom Redfern hadn't abducted Poor Rosie from B lack's


FLOATING GOLD MINE. 21 ove this horrible accideu _JUluu nave happened," he mut1 yes, sir, hooked my leg when I went down ter give 'em t h ei r red, "and--" But just then he heard a strange sound that startled him. .It was a plaintive, wailing cry, almost unearthly, and eemed to rise from the sea, and he rushed to the bulwarks nd peered over. rations jist now." "That's too bad, Ralph. "Some o' Redfern's spite. "It's just like the brute." How did it happen?" He sot 'em on ter me." "Wery likely. I'm true blue, I am. That's why I g o t keelClinging to a rope that trailed over the side of the yacht hauled." as a huddled-up tigure-the form of a girl-of Rose! With a yell, a jump and a dive, Ned went overboard. And at one grab he had her in his arm! He was just in time, for her waning strength was most all one, and she was in momentary danger of fallin,g back in the a. Within a minute the boy went up the rope to the deck, ith the half-senseless girl, and in another minute he had er in his cabin lying on the lounge, and was pouring brandy own her throat to revive her faculties and strength. But he never could tell afterwards how he summoned up trength enough to carry the girl as he did. She soon recovered, and sat up. "Rose! Rose!" cried the happy boy. "Oh, I am so glad you rn all right, after giving you up for dead." "Dear Ned," returned the girl affectionately, as the tears !reamed from her dark eyes. "It all seems some terible dream! "How under heaven did you gl?t out on the open sea, after inking in the inclosure between the galleons?" demanded e amazed boy. "You ask me a question I cannot answer positively," the irl replied, "but I know that the turtle dragged me beneath e surface, and then everything became a blank to me. hen my came back partly, I found myself clinging o the rope and my strength nearly all gone. That is all I now, Ned." There is only one explanation to the mystery," said the oy. "'I'he turtle must have dragged you under one of the alleons, and you came up, released, near the rope. Groping bout in your dying frenzy, as all drowning people do, you have grasped the rope, which happened to be in reach, nd held it until I found you there." The girl retired to her room and clianged her clothes, Ned oing the same thing, and a s Rose was prostrated by the hock, Ned left her lying in the cabin and went out to attend o the work. Hy nightfall one of the galleons was emptied of its gold, I "Indeed! What happened you, anyway?" "Wouldn't jine 'em to escape." "Eh?" demanded Ned in startled tones. "Aye, now, that's jest it, by ther powers o' Neptu ne, sir, ain't ter be bought." "So they wanted to bribe you to aid their escape?" "Jist wot they perposed. I refoosed. Then they sot on me hard." "Good for you, Ralph. You are reforming, I see." "Oh, I told 'em I'd make more by stickin' ter you an' a.;git tin' my share o' this treasure," confessed Hooker. "So you will, you sordid old vagabond. Where's your :teg?" "They've got it, busted open a port hole with it, an' one o' 'em clumb out a winder ter git up on deck ter unlock ther door o' ther companionway, so's ter git ther rest out. Ned started. "A revolt-a break for libertyJ eh? he asked eagerly. "Reckon it be. Looker thar. Ain't that one o' them?" He pointed at a man who went up the bobstay of the Sea Spider, out of the water, gained the bulwarks and leaped on deck. Not a soul was near to stop him. With one spring Ned rea::hed the deck, and dashing across it with great agility he pounced down on the sailor just as he was in the act of unlocking the companionway door, which Hooker had taken the precaution to fasten after him. "Hold on! No, you don't!" cried the boy. "Dash me if you'll prevent it!" snarled the man. He was much bigger and stronge_r than the courageous boy, and seizing Ned he tried to thrown him down. Ned clung to him with a grip of iron, though. "Help! Help! he shouted, knowing that he could not cope with the man. "Shut up!" hi:>sed the other. "Keep still or I'll kill you!" "Murder!" roared Ralph Hooker on shore, as he hopped up and down on his solitary leg. "All han's aloft! All he.n's on deck!" Through the shrubbery came a number of Ned's crew a t nd the precious metal was stowed on board of the Jumping a rush, alarmed at the tremendous uproar. It freighted the schooner hea,vily, but she could stand it. "Mebbe 'tain't an' mebbe 'tis right o' me to mention it1 sir," aid the grumpy old Ralph Hooker, hopping up to Ned at usk, as the boy stood ashore near the Sea Spider, "but I eckon how sumpin's got ter be did wi' them blasted lubbers board o' that 'ere craft." "What's the matter with yew now, Ralph?" asked Ned, grining at the way the surly old mariner's good eye was rolling, bile the glass one stared straight ahead with a hard, stony lare. Hooker pulled his whiskers. He always did this when he was mad. "If you hadn't a-got yer chokin' irons abaft o' ther windpipe my bulldog ashore," he growled, "I'd like nu thin' better'n ettin' him adrift. among them swabs. Looker me. Whar's my leg?" Ned glanced down at him, and saw that his wooden leg as gone. "Why, you're stranded almost, ain't you?" he laughed. "Stranded. hey?" roaretl the old sea dog, with a double arreled glare shooting out of his stationary eye. "Waal, not yet, by gol. Them 'ere swabs hez garn an' tooken it, sir-The escaped sailor saw them. If he wanted to liberate his anxiously waiting messmates he had l'lO time to lose, for the crew of the Jumpii:ig Jenny would get on the sloop within a few moments. With savage fury he clutched Ned by the throat with both of his brawny hands, shoved out his bent knee, and dragged the boy over it backward until his spine was fairly curved. Then, with a sudden movement he sent Ned spinning over backward, and relaxing his hold as the boy described a circl e in the air, he sent him fiat on his back on the deck. For an instant Ned was dazed. Before he could recover himself the man unlocked the door of the companionway, and out shot Tom Redfern. The next instant Billy Roe, the first mate of the schooner, reached the sailor, and dealt him a blow in the face with his clenched fist that knocked him reeling backward. He pitched into the open companionway. His messmates were all huddled there. But he knocked them down the stairs. And fell down on top of them. A fearful uproar arose. Before any more of them could get out, Billy slammed the door shut, and locked it, while Ned sprang to his feet. \


I ./ 22 THE FLOATING GOLD MIN .. --.:w i!er r Redfern saw how badly his plot was ending, and observing that it was impossible to get past Ned's friends on the island, he rushed to the shrouds and mounted them .. Come back here!" shouted Ned, running after him. .. Never! You won t lock me in there again!" yelled Redfern defiantly. He dashed up the ratlines to the masthead, with Ned at his heel's, and gaining the spreaders of the topmast shtoud s, he made an attempt to climb up the varnished topmast. It was too slippery, though, and he slid down again. Just then Ned reached the masthead. Redfern saw him, went around the foot of the topmast in :1 twinkling, and retreating out on the spreader on the other side he got his legs astride of it, and grasped the topmast shroud. .. You may as well give it up' he hissed. won t be taken :.iack! and he fastened a milignant glance upon Ned. "You'll have to. You can't escape from this ves sel!" "Then if they imprison me I'll give em a reason to do it." He jerked hi's revolver out of his pocket as he spoke, and cocking it he took deliberate aim at Ned"s heart. The little captain did not have a defen s ive weapon. .. Say your prayers," continued Redfern. I'm going to fire at you." .. If you do my friends will hang you! ; replied Ned. "I'm desperate! I'm reckless! I don't care a curse what they do!" He looked wild-demented-with passion, and Ned saw at once that he was beyond reason or sense. For a moment he did not know what to do, and his glance wandered awa.y, and rested on the jib-stay below h im. "Look out! I'm going to fire! admonished Redfern, And bang! went his weapon. At the same moment Ned sprang for the jib-stay. Ned glanced up at Redfern, anCi saw that his face w pale as death, with fear for his life. i'I'll dislodge him!" exclaimed Ned, and he shouted: fern!" .. Well, what do you want?" snarled Tom. "Come down here, before we riddle you with "I won't!" "Aim at him, boys!" All the sailors who had weapons pointed them fern. "Stop!" he yelled frantically. "Don't shoot!" "Will you come down, or not?" "Oh, Lord, yes! I'll come down! I'll come down!" And down he ca:re scrambling in hot haste, amid the 0 risive laughter of Ned's boys, a mortified look on his They locked him down in the forecastle again. 11 The next day the work of transfertlng the gold from galleons to the Sea "Spider was resu)Iled, Ned seeing a glance that all the gold hi the two remaining shlp s could comfortably stowed away in the hold of the sloop. By nightfall one of the galleons was unladen. The last one to be stripped of its precious cargo was t to which the Sea Spider was moored; and at nightfall / made his way on board of it alone with a lantern, to p\ out the easiest method of unshipping it. 11 It was a beautiful moonlight night, and the boy glan around to take in the charming scene; as he imagined it mi 0 be the last night of their stay at the island. For miles around glinted the billows of the clear oce a few solitary sea gulls sweeping the azure. sky like bl specks. Through. the green verdure of the island glowed the ca fires of the sailor boys at one side, and the rattling strains a banjo rang out accompanied by a jolly sea song in It was a leap for life. voice of a good singer. He uttered a smothered exclamation, as his body left the A soft, gentle breeze stirred the foliage, arousing a sub and shot through the air; and the anxious Crew fragrance delightful to the senses, and the moving of looking up from the deck below fairly groaned as they saw yachts at their moorings made the blocks and rigging er him jump. and groan while the Island's ba se was lapped by break! CHAPTER XIV. waves. Ned was of a poetical nature, and delighted in anything this kind; but It was to cost him dear to then give way to magic Influence of the romantic scene. AX ELECTRICAL TERROR. His back was turned toward the sloop yacht, and so dee engros sed were his thoughts he did not observe a number The jib-stay was fastened at the masthead, and ran down to dark figure s lurking in the shadows near him. the end -of the bow.:1prit; and as Ned sprang for it his body The prisoners of the Sea Spider had found a means of g shot through the air like a cannon ball. ting out through the window lighting the forecastle, whl As he was descending past the stay, he flung out his hands, Ned had neglected to secure, and several of them were lyi and they closed on a wire cable, and it arrested his fall. concealed around him, with Redfern's orders to capture hi The shock nearly jerked his arms from their sockets, but "We can use him as a ho stage," the young rascal sai he hung, his body swaying like a clock pendulum. "and threaten to murder him 1Jefore his crew's eyes if th Had he not jumped just in the nick of time Redfern's shot don't let us sail away unmolested." would have killed him; and the reason he took the desperate Perfectly 1gtiorant of his danger, Ned finaUy came to leap was because there was no other meall's by which he could realization of what lie wanted to do, and picking up have escaped the assassin's bullet. lantern he descended into the old ga,lleon. But escape it he did and down the stay he went, hand un It was dark, silent and gloomy there, only der hand to the bowsprit, whence he made his way in on ing of the waves against the planks outside breaking t deck. t stillness. Several of his crew had their pistols pointed at Redfern. The boy fastened his lantern to a hook, and as Its d "Don't fire at him, boys," he exclaimed holding up his rays were reflected around the huge hold a curious pictu hand. was presented. ) "Are you all rigbh" asked Billy Roe, anxiously. The hold was filled with water four feet deep. "Haven't got as much as a scratch." But the light 0of the lantern penetrating it showed a "We thought it was all up with you, sir." tom filled with oozing, slimy mud and sand, in which we "And yo weregoing to shoot Redfern to avenge me, eh?" imbedded a few sodden planks, pieces of rusty iron, and he "Aye, sir-or, if he leveled his weapon to fire at you again! .. 1 and there a dark, shapeless mass of black objects projecte "I was well protected." Discolored and repulsive as they appeared, yet they we "The lubber saw it and didn't dare to fire the second shot!" crude bars of virgin gold worth thousands of dollars.


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. 28 To get at them, as in the case of the other cargoes, it wa s essary to wade in the water, pry them out of their muddy and hoist them to the open air with a tackle and fall. ,Ned had on an old pair of pants, shoes, and a jacket, in hlch to wade through the v,:ater in order to prospect-and rn by feeling about how mch of the gold there was in the He went in up to his armpits, and swam across to the lddle where he climbed up on a heap of rubbish to investite it, when a slight noise over at the hatchway he just left racted hi's attention, and by the light of the lantern he w a number of men come down the ladder rather swiftly to the hold. First he thought they were some of his crew. But they wore dark blue uniforms. He started. A second glance betrayed all. They were of Tom Redfern's men! "'By jingo! h e gasped. "They've escaped Down came the men, until six of them were in the place, he brought his novel weapon down on his fingers with crushing force "'Ouch! yelled Redfern, dropping back in the water in ag

,, THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. beautiful moonlight aspect of the scene bad not changed, the Ned felt low spirited over the matter, and as the sails S'\1 camp fires still glowed on the shore, surrounded by the boys, out to the breeze, and the sloop forged ahead faster, he s and all was quiet. Tom Redfern and his sailors had vanished from sight sorpewhere, and Ned ran up to bis friends, startling them with: "Boys, the prisoners on the Sea Spider have escaped again!" Every one of the startled boys sprang to their feet. "Escaped?" echoed Billy Roe. "Yes; and are on this island somewhere." "That's bad! What shall we do?" "All of you scatter, and try to chase them out of their place of concealment. Once we get them in our power, we will tie them up so they can't get away again." This plan was partly carried out, Ned's crew dispersing all over the island in different directions, and Rose coming ashore. An hour was vainly spent beating the bushes for their enemies, .):>ut 11ot a trace of them was found. When Ned met his mate, be exclaimed: "'They must be on board of one of the yachts, Billy." "Suppose we go back and see." "Very well--but--" "But what?" demanded Bill, as Ned paused. "Look there!" gasped the boy, turning pale as he pointed out over the moonlit sea. "There goes the Jumping Jenny!" "Good Lord! It must be that Redfern is stealing her!" cried Billy, as he saw the schooner under full swing bearing away from the island with a free wind to the eastward. "Yes," disgustedly returned Ned. "While we have all been searching the land for them, they must have. returned to the unguarded schooner and set sail." ''And the Jumping Jenny has a full cargo of gold, while the Sea Spider is only half laden," said Billy. "Redfern knew what he was about in choosing the boat with the most gold on it," bitterly said Ned. "Still, as we must pursue him to recapture her, and the Sea Spider is lighter than the schooner, she will sail faster in this grassy sea, thus giving us an advantage over Redfern." All the boys were called on board the sloop and apprised of the situation of affairs, whereat they became furious. The hawsers were cast off, and the huge mainsail and jib were hoisted, Ned grasped the wheel, and parting company with the Floating Gold Mine, the yacht started off in pursuit of the schooner, upon whose deck Ned saw Redfern and all bis crew. The breeze had been freshening and bellied out the canvas until it seemed on the point of bursting through the lazy jacks, and although the Sea Spider gradually began to gain on the Jumping Jenny, she did .not sail fast enough to suit Ned. "'Crack on the spinnaker and club topsail!" be shouted to the boys. "The wind is free, and Redfern bas got the schooner's canvas wing-a-wing. Step lively boys, step lively, now, and we will soon overhaul her!" Away ran the nimble sailors to obey this order, when Ned suddenly recalled Rosie to mind, and asked Billy hastily. "Where is Miss Ringold?" "I don't know," blankly replied the little mate. "See if she isn't on board." "Aye, aye, sir!" said Billy, saluting and hurrying away. The gravest fears beset Ned's mind, for in the excitement of suddenly giving chase to Redfern he had quite forgotten the girl, and it did not occur to him until that moment that she might not be on the yacht. Within a few minutes Billy returned, a scared look on his face. "The girl isn't on board, sir!" he exclaimed. Ned started, an uneasy look mantling bis featu!'Cs "Not aboard?" h e muttered. "Then she has either been left on the island, or else Redfern has got her on the schooner." "Should I find that Redfern has offered her any indign I'll make the beggar sweat for it when we meet!" A way dashed the Sea Spider, under the e .xtra pressu11 canvas, cutting through the thick sea weed like a knife, the island was left several miles astern. Redfern had followed Ned's example by raising the tops and in spite of the heavy freight burdening the Jumi Jenny she made rapid headway, flying from the sloop. Tom Redfern was thoroughly at home on the schooner, knew exactly how to handle her to develop her utmost sp as Ned Harland discovered to his disgust, and a stern 1 was begun that threatened to be a long one. Another obstacle was soon overcome that retarded the SI of the yachts; they presently left the grassy sea, and '11 bounding out in clear water, where they made better sp Ned glanced back at the Floating Gold Mine, and wit start he bent a keener glance upon it. "Smoke and flame arising from one of the old galleons!" muttered. "By jingo, Redfern must have set fire to one of old ships before he fled, and if Rosie has been left heh she may perish in the flames! Oh, where is she?" Wlthin a few moments every one on the yacht saw t portion of the floating island was on fire. "The rest of the gold we left there will sink to the bot1 now," said Billy, regretfully. "Confound Redfern, I say!" Old Ra.lph Hooker gave a surly grunt. "Oughter be satisfied if it is so, as if we saves ther carg o' both o these yachts it '11 make all uv us rich,", he grow but he stumped uneasily up and down the deck on his woo pin, i;mlling his gray whiskers, rolling. his good eye and gm ing savagely at a mouthful of n .avy plug he was chewing. Within an hour the Sea Spider overhauled the schom and as she ran up alongside'of the Jumping Jenny, down ca the spinnaker, and she swung around and collided with SC'hooner. Ned's boys were ready with grapnels, and although Ri fern and his crew were all prepared to repel boarders, linked the two yachts together, and thmi retarded, they up in the wind. Both crews were fully armed, and abandoning the wt Ned ran to the front of his crew, and shouted: "Redfern, you'll have to give in, or take the consequencei "Upstart fool!" scornfully shouted Tom, shaking his clen ed at Ned. "Do you imagine that we are afraid of yo1 "You have attempted to steal my property." "Then try to get it back!" "You mean to fight?., "To the bitter end!" "l<'ire on lhem, boys!"

THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. 25 "Drive them down in the forecastle at the points of your Ned sailed the yacht a ll around the spot where the island had gone down, but there was no trace of the girl to b e seen, The bOYil complied. and when the schooner drew near its c,rew was apprised of Ever y one of their rifles were unloaded after the first dis-what happened, calling forth their expression s of intense Of course Redfern's crew did not know it, .but they imined that their lives were in danger and fled with cries of Defeated!" howled Redfern upon seeing this. rage. ''The girl must be lost," said Ned reluctantly, after an hour' s idle search. "It i s useless to look any further. We may a il well leave the grassy sea and set sail for Black's Cove. There is nothing to keep us here any longer. The float"You never can get the best of m e!" laughed Ned, run-ing gold mine is gone, we have got three-quarters of its g up to him. "I am your master now, Tom Redfern!" treasure stowed in the two boats, and it makes me sick to The young rascal raised a rifle he carried by the barrel stay here thinking of what the terribl e fate o f Rose must deal Ned a blow with it, in hiil mortification and rage. have been." But before he qould swing it out shot Ned's fist, catching squarely in the eye, and knocked him sprawling on the k. his crew were all bound hand and foot, confined in e hold, and after Ned divided his crew so that half could rk the Jumping Jenny under Billy Roe'il command, a rch was made for .the missing Roilie Ringold. But she wasn't on board of the schooner! N ed was filled with unutterable horror. "She must be upon the burning island!" he cried. "Up 'th all sail, bo y s, and let us rac e back there to save her, the fire hail not already killed the unfortunate girl." And with every inch of canvas spread that the rigging ould hold, the two yachts tacked back for the burning island ith the speed of racers to save the girl. But would they get there in time? CHAPTER X VI. FOUND FLOATING. Th e Sea Spider being the lightest laden of the two yachts o n left the JuP.).ping Jenny hull down astern, and made fouren knots an hour, as the breeze by this time wail blowing ong. Several hours had passed since they left the floating island, d a great lump seemed to rise up in Ned's throat as he ought that it was more th;m time enough in which the old lleon il could be consumed by the flames. Still he kept on, and in due course of time hove in sight the Floating Gold Mine-that is, all there was left of it, for e fire had spread over the four rotten old ships, gutting em entirely. The hulks were burned to the water's edge, he saw by the d of his spyglass, and the earth and shrubbery had sunk wn on top of what remained of the ancient shells until it w laid like a ruined mat on the surface of the sea. As the Sea Spider ranged up closer to the ruin, from which dense cloud of smoke and flames were yet pouring skyward, e end of it 'ilank down under water. It remained that wa.y for a few moments, then the entire ass plunged into the sea, and vanished. That was the end of the floating go ld mine. Thousands of dollars worth of gold were swallowed up in e sea, and not a sign of Rosie was to be ileen. A cry involuntarily burst from every one's lips. "It's gone forever!" exclaimed Ned. "May ther cuss o' jingo fall on Redfern fer gettin' it afire!" owled Ralph Hooker, furiously. "Dash me ef he ain't eated us out o' a king's ran som. Oh Lordy, I could kill er lubber." "But where is Rose?" gasped Ned, faintly. "Reckon she's burnt or drowned!" "Oh, horrible-horrible!" "'Tain't no U'se to take on," growl ed Hooker. "That won't no good." There was at least one tender spot in Hooker's gruff and grumpy nature, for he rubbed his eyes and growled: "Poor little lass! Poor little lass! It's too bad!" .i "Schooner ahoy!" ilhouted Ned, to those on the Juml)ing Jenny. I "Ahoy!" came back Billy Roe''il voice ov e r the water. "We're going back to Black's Cove. Follow in our wake." "Aye, aye, sir! "Keep a lookout for traces of the missing girl." "Aye, aye, sir!" "And stay as close to us as you ca n." "Aye, aye, sir!" "Now, boys, lower and furl the flying ji b, leave stay-sails 'Set, single reef mainsail, and stow away club topsail." A cheery response came from the sailor boys, and they scattered about the deck manning halyards and tackles, gettiltg the canvas down and in trim. Shortened sail was made so that the sloop would not run too far a head of the schooner, and, getting before the wind, the two yachts made tracks from the spot never to return. The sun arose an hour later and shed a golden halo over the sparkling Pacific, and Ned tendered the wheel to the quartermaster with the intention of turning in, when the lookout shouted: "Something athwart our bows in the water, sir!" "What do you make it out to be?" asked Ned, going for-ward. "A plank with a girl clinging to it, sir." "Rose, by heavens!" Looks like it, sir." "Let her fall off a point there'" shouted Ned to the steersman excitedly. "On the port tack, and hold her up stiff!" "Aye, aye, sir! replied the quartermaster, spinning his wheel. The boom of the mainsail swung around, the canvas fluttered until several of the boys hauled on the mainsheet line, and when the forestaysail was trimmed in, the Sea Spider stood away on a tack with a three-quarter beam wind, aiming at a dark object floating in the water some distance ahead. Up on a nearer approach, it was seen to be a plank, as the keen lookout descried, with Rose clinging to it with on e arm, while with the other she frantically beckoned to them. Within a few minuteil the s loop reached the half-exhausted girl, and Ned, clinging to the bob-stay beneath the bowsprit reached down as the yacht dashed' up to her, caught girl by the arm and lifted her out of the water. A thrill of j oy passed over him. With the assistance of several of t h e boys, who were crowd ed up in the bow eagerly looking over, Ned got the drenched girl up on deck, and asked excitedly: "How under heaven did you get there, Rose?" The girl was weeping w i t h exce ds of gladness over her es cape from abandonment and death, and sobbe d : "Oh, Ned, I though I was lost! When the fire on the "sland became tc.o unbearable, I sprang into the sea, graspini:' that


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. plank, which was floating in the water beneath. As the hours :passed by, I feared I was lost, but now--" "Then we left you behind us on the island?" "I came ashore and fell asleep in one of the hammocks swung in amid the trees, and I did not know that I was deserted until the fire had gained headway and awakened i:ne by its intense heat. Had you not found me jm;t now my fast waning strength would have left me entirely, and I would <;:ertainly have drowned." The boy led her into the cabin, and left her there to change her clothing, as she had an ample wardrobe on board. a is simply wonderful that we saw her, thought Ned, as he turned in ,down in the forecastle. "In the uncertain light between darkness and dawn we might have passed her floating body, but the broad light of ithe morning sun clearly sh. owed her to the lookout, and we can thank the radiant orb of for her salvation.: The crew of the other yacht was informed of the finding of the girl, and they sent a cheer over the water that made Ned's blood tingle before he finally fell asleep. It was late in the afternoon when he aroused himself and went up on deck to assume his duty, and the first thing he heard was a cry from the lookout of: "Sail ho! Sail ho!" "Where away?" demanded the boy glancing hastily around. But befbre the lookout finished telling him it was a bark bearing down on them under full sail, on the windward side, he saw the vessel and scanned her closely. She was a fine-looking craft of about one thoU'sand tons burden, and was heading straight for the Sea Spider. The grassy sea had been left many miles astern, and the two yachts, with a flowing breeze, clear water, and a fine day, were sailing along within one hundred yards of each other. The wind had shifted, so that they were now beating again'ost it. M.ost all hands were on dec k, and as the stranger had light ballast and a vast area of canvas spread, it soon forged up to them, and came in hailing distance. "Haul to. there! shouted a man standing at .the weather shrouds forward. "I want to board your craft!" Ned passed the word aft to comply, ,:vondering who the stranger was, and what he wanted, when the yacht swung up in the wind. The barque sailed on until it was within a cable's length of the sloop, when a boat was lowered from its side, manned by half a dozen men, and was rowed to the side of the Sea Spider. All the men wore neat uniforms, and one of them had on a :::uit denoting him to be the captain. They made fast alongside the yacht, and the whole party then came up on deck by means of a rt>pe ladder hanging over the SeaSpider's port bulwarks. Ned approached the men, and both he and the strange captain saluted each other in naval fashion, the newcomers staring keenly around at everything to be seen. "Well, sir," queried Ned, "what can I do for you?" "Ain't these two vessels the ones I saw in the little Sar gasso sea, a couple of days ago?" queried the stranger. "We were there," admitted Ned. "What of it?" "I am coming to that. Now, didn't you leave a peculiar floating island which has been drifting on the outer margin of that sea many years at the mercy of the encircling Japanese currents?" "We did, sir; but you seem to have been watching over our movements pretty closely from a distance where we failed to notice you." "4ye, now, so we were And the golden cargo in the old galleons beneath the island. didn't you unship it and take it on these twp yachts'?" queried the stranger, with an impatient gesture. A suspicion that there wa a a deep motive in these qu tions flashed over Ned's miJ;J.d, and he replied, t ly: "My dear sir, your questions are becoming too perso and I'm sorry to say I'll have to decline answering them further." "Which means,.., calmly said the man "that you had unladen the island of treasure, and h it on your boats." "By wllat right, sir, do you question anything which I have done?" "I'll tell you, my boy. Two years ago I fell in with Floating Gold Mine, discovered its secret, and kept it. Hav no money to fit out an expedition to get it, I awaited chance to get bold of somebody else"a vessel to use for purpose .. "Well?" "The chance came. I shipped on this bark as first m and during our voyage from San Francisco to China the c tain died, ahd I assumed command. Telling the crew ab the gold, and offering them a share in it to aid me in securi it, we came in search of the floating island, only to see you had preceded us." "Well, sir?" "Observing all yonr actions with powerful glasses at a tance, we saw that you must be gettfog the gold, and last ni saw the ialand in flames. Suspecting that you had the and had fired the island, we beat about in searcll of you u now." "Well, sir? .. '"Finding you and Imagining our surmise to be corr we mean to take what belongs to us by right of prior d oovery ... "But if I can prove that mY knowledge and claim to it d years before yours, and therefore refuse to give it up, sir demanded Ned. "Then, sooner than be balked out of it, coolly replied other, "as my craft is manned by a very large, determin crew, and carries several guns, in case of trouble with the C nese pirates, we would force you to give it to us." "Well, sir," said Ned coolly, "I have got the gold on my t boats. I refuse to give it up to you, and I now defy you to your worst to get it by fair means or foul!" 'Don't be rash! It's as much as your are worth, a it may settle the fate of your boats, to refuse." "You have my decisive answer, sir." Very well," said the stranger, bowing politely. We'll se He put a whistle to his lips, and blew a shrill blast on it. Hardly had the sound died away when two port holea open as if by magic in the side of the bark, and in the openin there frowned the muzzles of as many guns, trained to b upon the two yachts. Ned smiled at the sight. "Good!" he exclaimed. "You have shown me yoJJr fan will now show you mine!,. and he a revolver out his pocket, and aimed it at the strange captain's bead, addi in calm, decided tones: "You are my prisoner, sir! speak and I'll blow your brains out. Now send ene of yo men back to the bark with orders to sajl away; and if with five minutes my command isn't complied witll, as true there is a Beaven above, sir, I'll put a bullet in CHAPTER XVII. A FIGHT WITH GUNS. Ned's determined action took the captain of the stran bark by surprise, and the man started back, turning death pale, his five sailors recoilingnin alarm equal to his own.


TlfE FLOATING GOLD MINE. It was that Ned would shoot the stranger if he did ot comply at once with his order. The plucky Yankee boy was not IlijlCh aiarmed at the sight the two guns on the bark, covering the yachts at the range captain' s signal whistle. He had the man at his mercy, and he knew that as long he kept him so the strangers could not wrest the gold m the yachts. Ned's claim had the priority over the strangers' discovery the gold, and he meant to assert it at all hazards. "'Do you intend to obey me or not?" asked the boy. "Send my vessel away?"' gasped the outwitted man. "Yes-at once-without offering to molest us." But my claim--" "No excuses Do it or die!" can't I go back myself and--" Bah! don't imagine I am a fool to give you your llbE!rty that you can annoy us. Quick-your answer!" The man. with a baffled look, turned to one of his sailors. "Row back to the Black Hawk and. give my orders to set at once!" exclaimed the man. "It is as much as my life worth to attempt to get the treasure from these fellows." The last sentence was spoken in a significant tone, and Ned prehended at once that the sailor might incite fuose on e bark to attack the yachts with their guns when he got on rd. The fternoon sun was declining. Rose and all hands were deck, and tlie crew of the Jumping Jenny were looking on surprise at a qistance of several hundred yards from the a Spider. "Remember one thing," said Ned to the sailor as he was out to depart, "at the first sign of treachery from your ves1 I will slay your captain. And impress upon the minds of ur crew that sooner than give them the satisfaction of bbing me we would scuttle or burn the yachts, sacrificing r lives in order to sink the gold to the bottom of the sea t of your clutches. I am prepared for any emergency. The sailor scowled, silently saluted Ned, went down the pe ladder into his quarter boat and rowed back to the bark. "Seize these men and bind them to the rails," said Ned. None of the sailors offered any resistance when Ned's crew l ed this order, as they were afraid of the young captain's stol, which swayed from one to the other while they were ing tied up. Ned was thoroughly satisfied. He had turned the tables on his foe "You have simply thrust yourself in a trap," he told the ptain. "What do you intend to do now?" gruflly asked the stranger. "Start on our homeward cruise, which you interrupted. "And us?" "You shall remain my prisoners." "That is high-handed, young man!" MNot in the least. I am protecting myself, that's all." "But we have not attempted to do you any injury." "No, not yet, because I forestalled you; but you would." "It doesn't signify what might happen in the future. "Oh, I don't agree with you, sir; you might kill us. As measure of precaution I'm going to hold you and carry you a hostage until we reach the Pacific seaboard of California. en I'll let you go." "Since I have done nothing wrong you have no right to Id me!" grumbled the stranger, persistently, "and I shall peal to the law, when we reach harbor, to prosecute you." Ned shrugged his shoulders. He understood that this man had not attempted to get the Id sooner, as he evidently wanted Ned to undergo the trouble shipping it. Then, when it was all read to take it away he s wooped down on the ya chts to h ave only a fight to steal it from the boy. It was a mean tric k and the boy said, scornfully: You can do it if you c hoose. I ll run my chances on that. And so saying, Ned went aft, grasped the wheel, and putting the yacht on the wind he sail e d away from the bark, fol lowed immediately by the Jumping Jenny. Wb,en the sloop had gone some distance from the Black Hawk Ned glanced back and saw the sailor board his vessel. what a rare opportunity the prisoners of the Jumping Jenny missed!'' muttered Ned. Had Tom Redfern been given the chance he would doubtles s have joined forces with this semipirate and between the gangs of both we would have be!ln crushed! He was wondering what effect his actions would have on the crew of the Black Hawk. when there suddenly pealetl a thunderous discharge from one of the port-hole guns on l:he bark, and a screaming shot came flying over the water toward the Sea Spider. Owing to the swell of the sea the ball missed its mark, flying clear over the deck of the yacht and falling into the water some distance away, where it went hissing out of sight. "It's getting rather hot!" r emarked Ned, coolly, to old Ralph Hooker, who stood balancing himself on his wooden leg, close by 'Werry! admitted the old grumbler, muttering a string of the choicest expletives against those on the bark. 'Take the wheel Ralph, and keep the yacht on as she is going. I'll return his bark With a taste of the brass signal gun up forward there, just to show them that we've got nerve to give as good as he sends. '"Ay, ay! Now that' s ther style!" growled Hooker. He grasped the wheel cocked his good eye at an angle from ,the staring, glass one and Ned hastened up to the bows. The gun in question was a mere toy yet it was capable of doing considerable damage once it was loaded, and although Ned had no experience with ordnance he meant to fire a shot back at his enemy. "Rose, go down in the cabin out of harm' s way," said he to the girl as he passed her. It"s dangerous out here now." The girl hastily obeyed him, and telling one of the crew tu bring up some ammunition, he had the canvas cover taken off the gun just as the bark came about and started irt pur suit of him 'Tie the prisoners at Intervals apart, at the bulwarks, where any shots from the bark would be most likely to hit them! he shouted as he rammed home a charge in the gun. To the terror of the prisoners, this was done. As soon as the gun was ready to fire Nea trained it to bear Upon the approaching bark. "Port your wheel and come about!" he cried. The yacht rounded up in the wind. the booms swung to and fro, and as the yacht's broadside was presented toward the bark, Ned hastily sighted the gun and fired it. A boom, a flash and a scream followed. And a heavy charge of bullets went fl.ying toward the bark, as no other kind of shot was on board They swept over the pursuer' s deck. A wild chorus of shouts and cries of distress_ followed, showing plainly that Ned's aim was true. The bark broached to for a while and to Ned's surprise and joy he heard another shot peal from the Jumping Jenny and saw Billy Roe brandishing a gun swab and gesturing wildly to his crew. The shot from the schooner was aimed higher than Ned's and ribboned the studding sails of the bark . They saw the wildest confusion ensuing on board their


28 THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. enemy's boat, and then another shot came from the Black Hawk. It struck the Sea Spider below the water line, with a crash, splitting a gaping hole in the planking that was destined to sink her! "All hands on deck and get the boats ready for launching! cried Ned. "I'm afraid the Sea Spider is sinking." He hurried down in the hold and saw the sea water pouring in through a big hole in the side, flooding the inside of the yacht. "The Sea Spider and her cargo of gold is doomed! he gasped. Then h e hurried up on deck, where he saw the Jumping Jenny approaching at a signal from one of the boys. The sloop was heeled over and tossing helplessly, some of the crew preparing the quarter-boats in which to escape. Another shot came from the Black Hawk. It crashed into t]le hull of the yacht close to the spot where the first ball struck and she began to fill up faster. "The gun is loaded again, sir," said one of the boys to Ned. "Good! I'll have a last shot at that fellow ere we abandon the Sea Spider and go on board of the schooner." There were a number of men in a group on the Black Hawk's deck, and Ned aimed the gun toward them. When he fired, these men disappeared. Struck by the shots, they paid the penalty of their crimes. It threw the enemy's crew into dire confusion, and gave the Jumping Jenny a chance to range alongside the sinking yacht. All of Ned's boys went on board the schooner. Just as the little captain was about to follow them the cap tain of the bark shouted to him: "Come back and take us with you!" Ned paused, glanced angrily at the prisoners, and replied, coldly: "Since you brought this misfortune upon us and yourselves, jointly, you will remain where you are and sinJi: with the wreck!" "Oh, heaven! Don't leave us to our fate!" yelled the .man, imploringly, and the five others began to groan, beg and plead to be released, but Ned shook his head. "You intended no mercy for us," said the boy, sternly, as he pointed his finger skyward. "Look for your mercy up. there!" And ignoring the raving, cursing and yelling of the prisoners, he went on board the Jumping Jenny and saw the bark go sailing toward the wreck to rescue the captives. Before she could reach the foundering sloop it sunk. And she ran up in the wind and fired a shot between the two vess e ls ordering them to suspend hostilities. Ned looked at her with his spyglass. She was an American sloop of war! CHAPTER XVlll. CONCLUSION. The sloop of war was one. of the fleet sent to the Alaska fisheries, and its nature had evidently not been dis covered till now, by the crew of the bark. Quick to apprehend his safety, Ned ran up the American flag, inverted, as a signal of distress, to his masthead, and as soon as it was perceived by the gunboat men she sailed for the bark and fired another shot athwart its bows. The guns, the formidable look, and the order to haul to, all had their effect upon the crew of the Black Hawk. She came about, with the obvious intention of flight, when another howling shot that came after her sufficed to let her crew see that escape was out of the question. Reluctantly she hove to, and the gunboat rode up to easy range of her, covered by a battery of guns that cou ld have blown her out of the water, the bark was held at bay and a quarter-boat left the sloop of war. 1 It was manned by an officer and four marines. They rowed over to the Jumping Jenny, and when the officer came on board the yacht Ned met him at the gangway. Saluting each other, while the naval officer took a keen survey of his surroundings on the yacht, Ned said: "You have just arrived in time to save us from that pirate, sir." "Pirate!" echoed the officer with a start as he bent a glance of surprise upon the bark. "Is it indeed a pirate?" "She is. You saw her pursuing us, I presume?" "You were exchanging shots as she ran after you." "I was trying to defend myself against her attacks." 1 A short dialogue followed, in which Ned gave the officer a brief account of all his adventures, at the end of which he ::;aid: "To prove my assertion, I will show you our cargo of gold." "It is a wonderful story, said the naval officer, "and the best proof you could give me of your sincerity would be a sight of the gold you mentioned. Where is it?" Ned showed him his precious cargo. The prisoners went down with her. "You now can see sir," said he, "that the crew of the The schooner stood away from the spot, and Ned descried Black Hawk had an jnducement to attack us.'"' a diatant ship bearing down upon them under full sail. "Ay-a great inducement." The crew of the Black Hawk were furious over the deaths Ned then showed him the imprisoned crew of the Sea of their five messmates and captain, and came sailing after Spider. the Jumping Jenny, intent upon wreaking their vengeance upon Ned Harland and his friends. Upon observing it Ned became uneasy. "They have caused us to lose one-third of the gold thus far, Billy," he said to his mate, .. and if they attack us now and sink the schooner, dread the worst. "They haven't sunk us yet, though," said Billy, hopefully. "Who can this stranger be who is coming?" "Can't make her out yet. She might aid us, though." A shot from the Black Hawk came whistling toward them, but fell short of its mark. "Hostilities have begun in earnest," remarked Ned. "Let's fire at the beggars with our gun." An exchange of many shots followed none of which created any serious damage, and the skirmish was at its hottest when the strange ves1:rnl came in gun range. It was a large sloop. "These are my enemies from Black's Cove," said the boy. ''I am bringing them back to civilization to put them in the hands of' the law to pay the penalty of their crimes against me." "Quite right-but allow me to question one of them. It is imperative that I should prove every suspicious circumstance." Ned was willing, and one of the prisoners was brought up on deck, where, under a skillful cross-examination, he was forced by the naval officer to admit all Ned saiq. This satisfied him that Ned's story was true. Clearly then those on the Black Hawk must be the aggressors, and promising Ned their protection in case he estab lished tbe guilt of the bark's crew, the officer took his de parture. "I doubt if the crew of that craft will molest us any further, now!" said Ned, with a grim smile, as he. watched the officer go aboard of the Black Hawk.


THE FLOATING GOLD MINE. Mebbe he won't an' mebbe he will prove 'em guilty," said I prospect of speedily being at home they finally set Ralph Hooker, with a growl at the pirates, "but I reckon as sail down the coast in the Jumping Jenny, and headed for he will; and dash me if I ain't a-hopin' as he'll bombard ther California. lubbers an' sen' thar craft deep inter Davy Jones' locker! Fair weathe r and good winds prevailing throughout the trip, With which benediction Ralph took a fresh chew of navy they finally passed the headland and ran in to Black's Cove. plug. News of .their coming preceded them to the little fisher vilNed kept the Jumping Jenny luffed up in the wind to see !age, one of the men having seen them coming, and when the what the result of the affair would be. yacht came to anchor off the old wooden pier and all hands Within a few moments there sounde d a pistol shot on the w ent ashore all the p e ople in the village were gathered there deck of the bark, and he saw the office r sp ring b ac k into his t o w e lcom e them. boat, which was rowed as fast as possibl e back to the sloop J The story of Ned s troubles was recited to them by Billy Roe, of war, followed by a volley of fir earms, a shot from on e of who stood on an inverted barrel, and at its conclusion, ending which seemed to hit one of the seame n. I with the boy s vindication of the s uspicion of having murdered The moment the officer got on bo ard the war sloop a j llis uncle and the downfall of Tom Redfern, a mighty cheer heavy gun was discharged at the bark, the b a ll carrying away arose from the p e ople. o n e of her masts and disabling her so that she c ould not s a il I It rang out ov e r the bay, and ere its echoes rebounded from away rapidly. the crags, N e d was lifte d on their shoulders, with the girl, Then the sloop darted toward her, and, ranging alongside, and amid the wil dest acclamations they ran to Jasper Redfern's the crew boarded the bark, where a hot conflict was fought. house with the young coupl e never pausing until Rose and Within an hour the crew of the Black Hawk was rendered the boy w e re stood upon the broad piazza. helples s and having been ironed and taken on board the war It w a s a h earty w e lcome showing plainly enough in what vessel they were made prisoners and a priz e crew was put high este e m N e d and Ros e w e r e h e ld and th boy's eyes on the bark to work her back to port. with tears. The officer who had spoken to Ned then returned to the Whe n the crowd dispersed N e d and the girl entered the Jumping Jenny and shook hands with the boy captain. house and the r e m e t with Jasper Redfern' s lawyer, who having I am satisfied of the characte r of those fellows now," said h eard of N e d s return had com e to discover what became of he with a smile. "Upon my dis covering their rascality they Tom. tried to hold me on their vessel as a hostage, but I shot one Ned s story fill e d him with amazement. and escaped. We have made prisoners of them and confiscated "Tom Re d f ern in jail-you the h eir?" he gasped. "Really their vessel which we will take to the nearest port." it seems like a fairy story. But prove your claims, Ned Har"! am glad they are brought to justice, sir," replied Ned. land, and as Tom Redfern left everything in my hands before ''.All that is necessary now, said the li eutenant, for such h e sailed I will turn every cent of old Jasper's fortune over was liis rank, Is your affidavit. covering all the facts you t u you if your evid e n c e warrants it. stated, whic h will prove them to be pirate s. With such a H e was an honest man, Ned knew, and the boy retained him document we will have sufficient evidence of their crime to on the spot to prosecute his claim with the papers he had taken convict them. from R edfern' s s afe "I will gladly give It to you," said N e d and you can also Within a short time, b ac ked by R alph Hooker's sworn state, have the crew of the Sea Spider on the same charge. I will ment, N e d gained control of his fortune, as his case was conaccompany you to port to make the charge." To. preclude the possibility of a cc id ent to Ned preventing him doing as he offered though, the y retired to his cabin, where the paper was drawn up, signed and witnessed by the wh. ole crew. This done, the office r took leave of Ned returned to his e lusiv e ly prove n and be becam e enormously rich. The Jumping Jenny never passed out of his hands, bis old crew, w e ll off through his generosity, nev e r left his service when h e w ent out in the yacht, and grumpy old Ralph Hooker becam e a fixture on her, faithful to Ned to the end, now that he had ample means to get all the rum and tobacco own vessel sail was made, and the three crafts started for h e w anted. the eastward. Ros e left Bl ac k s Cove Villa to enter a classical seminary, "It looks as if our troubles w ere ov e r at last, Rose, said from which she graduated with flying colors in the course of Ned that night, as they stood out on deck. "Although w e a f e w year s Our h e ro was the n at a marriageable age, and did not succeed in getting more than about half the gold a s the girl was nothing loth, they were duly wedded. And thus ends our story, as it should with our hero and there was on the Floating Gold Mine there i s enough to make us all rich. Tom Redfern's race is run, and he, with his 1 b e ro'.n e happily mated, attained, the wicked crew, will go to a deserved prison. Upo n m y return I intend 1 reapmg the harvest their m1qmty, and the wealth of the to produce the papers in my posses s ion and lay claim to the FLOAT ING Gow MINE m hands that would put it to the best wealth out of which my dead uncle cheate d me and then--" 1 good "Then what?" a.sked the girl as he paused [THE END.] But Ned looked down here, all confused Read MOLL PITCHER' S BOY; OR, AS BRAVE AS HIS He wasn' t muc h of a hand at making lov e, and the girl MOTHER, a story of the American R e volution by Gen Jas. was modest, so that between the pair they didn' t arrive at any A. Gordon whi c h will be the next number ( 200) of "Pluck and conclusion, but only succeeded in getting themselves In a Luck." nervous fit and ended in running away from each other, too 1 ashamed to continue their talk. A week p asse d uneventfully by during whi c h the three vesS P EC I A L NOTICE: All bac k numbe r s of this weekly sels made slow progress but they finally came to anchor off always in print. If you canno t obtain the m from any Pacific City in Washington Territory, and there the pris-1 . oners were taken ashore to be dealt with as they deserved. I n ews d eale r send the price m money or p ostage stamps by 'fhe cargo of gold was then and sold, a I mail to FRANK TOUSEY PUBLISHER, 24 UNION mendous amount of money resultmg, which Ned equally d1SQUARE NEW YORK and you will r e ceive the copies vided among all hands. I .' Overjoyed at their extraordinary good fortune, and at the you orde r b y r eturn mail.


. IVfcHy-Ry 8ub ;c ription per year. /fo d '"' Srrnnd CIU61< M a tt e r 41 ti New Yorlt; f'o I Office. Ja1..r11ry 2.!, 1901, Ffall) fo1lny. No. 66. NEW YORK. MARCH 28. 1902. Price 5 Cents. .. CARL GREENE'S TwENTY FAllURES. BY O.W.ST.EVENS. ... i ,.. ..... \ \ , __


THE JAMES BOYS WEEKLY. CO,NTAINING STORIES OF ADVENTURE. 'l'hese stories are written by the well-known and popular Au thor D. W. Stevens, whose home in the West is in the immediate vicinity of the place where the James Boys met with the most of their daring adventures, and who is familiar with the incidents he so ably describes. Ask your newsdealer to save you a, copy of THE JAMES BOYS WEEKLY every week. 1 The James Boys; or, The Bandit King's Last Shot. 2 Chasing the James Boys; or, A Detective's Dangerous Case. 8 The J.imes Boys and Pinkerton ; or, Fra"Ilk and Jesse as Detectives. 4 The Man from Nowhere, and His Adventures with the James Boys. 5 Jesse James and Slroc; or, A Detective's Chase for a Horse. G The James Boys In Texas; or, A Detective's Thrilling Adventures In the Lone Star State. 7 Sam Sixkiller, the Cherokee Detective; or, The James Boys' Most Dangerous Foe. 8 Old Saddle Bags, the PreacheT Detective; or, The James Boys In a Fix. 9 The Double Shadow; or, The James Boys Baffied. 10 Jesse James' Last Shot; or, Tracked by the Ford Boys. 11 The Last of the Band; or, The Surrender of l<'rank James. 12 The James Boys Tricked; or. A Detective' Cunning Game. 18 Thirty Days with the James or, A Detective's Wild Chase In Kentucky. 14 The Masked Horseman ; or, The Silent Rider of the Border. 15 Mysterious Ike ; or, The Masked Unknown. 16 The James Boys at Bay; or, Sheriff Tlmberlake's Triumph. 17 The James Boys In No Man's Land; or, The Biindlt King's Last Ride. 18 Jim Cummins and the Detectives ; or, Wild Adventures on the Missouri. 19 The Ford Boys' Vengeance; or, From Bandits to Detectives. 20 Wood Rite's Fate; or, The Mystery or the Old Log House. 21 The James Boys At!oat; or, The Wild Adventures of a Detective on the Mississippi. 22 The James Boys Lost; or, The Detective's Curious Case. 23 JeS"se James' Pledge; or, The Bandit King's Last Ride. 24 The Man on the Black Horse; or, The James Boys' First Ride In Missouri. 25 The Boys In Deadwood; or, The Game Pair of Dakota. 26 Life and Death of Jesse James, and Lives of the Ford Boys. 27 Frank James, the Avenger, and His Surrender. 28 The Jamee Boy s Baffled; or, A Peteotlve'e Game of Bluff. 29 Pinkerton's Boy Detectives; or, Trying to Capture the. James Boys. 80 The James Boye' Blunder; or, The Fatal Mistake at Northfield. 1!1 The Jamee Boys on the Road; or, The Bandit Kings In a New Field. 82 The James Boys' Shadows; or, The Nemesis of the Bandits. ll3 The Jamee Boys' Signal Lights; or, The Cavern of Mystery. 84 Jesse James, the Midnight Horseman; or, The Silent Rider of 02ark. 35 The James Boys In Danger; or, Carl Greene the Detective's Cun ning Scheme. 86 The Boys' League; or, :Qafiled by a Keen Detective. 37 The James Boys' Band of Ten; or, The Red Light on the Blutr. 38 The James Roys Jailed; or, Carl Green the Detective's Clever Capture. 39 The James Boye In the Saddle; or, The Highwayman and the Hannted Mill. 40 The James Boys' Mistake; or, Carl Green tho Detective's Clever Ruse. 41 The James Boys In a Trap; or, Carl Greene's Neatest Trick. 42 The James Boys In Arkansas: or, After Confeder:tte Gold. 43 The James Boys Knights of the Road; or, Tbe Masked Men of Missouri. 14 Qudntrell's Old Guard; or, The James Boys In Missouri. 45 The James Boys Island; or Routed by a Game Detective. 46 The James Boys' Longest Run; or Chased a Thousand Miles. 47.The James Boys' Last Flight: or, Carl Greene's Greatest Victory. 48 The James Boys' Reckless Raid ; or, Sheriff 'l'imberlake's Blind Trap. 49 Jesse James Avenged ; or, The Death of Bob Ford. 50 The James Boys' Boldest Raid: or, Foiled by a Brave Detective. 51 The James Boys' Treasure Bunt; or A Thirty Days' Race with Detect! ves. 52 The James Boys and the Dwarf; or, Carl Greene's Midget Detec-tlve. 53 The James Boys' Ride for Life; or, Chased by Five Detectives. 54 The James Boys,. Fight for Millions; or, Carl Greene the Detec tives Richest Case. 55 The James Boys' Dead-Shot Legion; OP, The Running Fight on the Border. 56 The James Boys' Bold Move; or, The Game that was Blocked by a Ke e n Detective. 57 The James Boys as Brigands; or, The Bandits of the Big Blue. 58 The James Boys' Dash for Life or Death; or, The Detective's Secret Snare. 59 The James Boys in Peril; or, Carl Greene the Detective's Oath. 60 The James Boys anrl the Box of Diamonds; or, Scheming for Millions. 61 The James Boys Among the Clouds; or, The Bold Detective's Fear fnl Plunge. 62 The Jltmes Boys' or, The Bandit Chief's Double. 63 The Jame s Boys' Hut; or, Outwitting Carl Greene. 64 The James Hoye Lottery of Death; or, Running the Gauntlet with De tectives. 65 The James Boys' Bad Luck; or. Hard Pushed by Carl Greene. 66 The James Boys' Fort; or. Carl Greene's Twenty Failures. For Sale by All Newsdealers, or will be Sent to Any Address on Receipt of Price, 5 Cents per Copy, by TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. IF YOU WANT. ANY BACK NUMBERS of our Libraries and cannot procure them from newsdealers, they can be obtained from this office direct. Cut out and flll In the following Order Blank and send it to us with the price of the books you want and we will send them to you by return mail. POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN '.rHE SAME AS MONEY .. FRANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. .......... 1901. DEAR Sm-Enclosed find cents for which please send me: ... copies of WORK AND WIN, Nos ................................... " LIBERTY BOYS OF '76 '' PLUCK AND LUCK " SECRET SERVICE " ... ........................ ..... ............. ......... ............................................ .... .... "THE JAMES BOYS WEEKLY ............................................ i ....... 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.:LU" 0 c CONTAINS ALL SORTS OF STORIES. EVERY STORY COMPLETE. 32 PAGES. BEAUTIFULLY COLORED COVERS. PRICE 5 CENTS. LATEST ISSU E S : 170 The R e d L eat h er Bag : A Weird Story of Land and S ea By Howard Austin. 171 "The L o n e Star"; or, The Masked Ridero of Texas. B y A ll y n Drape r 172 A New Yo r k Boy Out With Stanley; or, A Journey Through Afri ca. By J as. C Merritt. 1 7 3 Afloat With Captain Nemo; or, The Mystery of Whirlpoo l I sla nd. By Uapt. Thos. H. Wilson 185 Sam Spark, the B rave Young Fireman; or, Al ways the First on Hand. By Ex-Fire Chief War de n 186 The .Poorest Boy in New York, and How He Became Rich. By N S. Wood, the Young American Actor 187 Jack Wright, the Boy Inventor; or, Hunting for a Sunken Treasure. By "N oname." 188 On Time; or, The Young Engineer Rivals: An Ex citing Story of Railroading in the Northwest . By J as. C. Merritt. F/4. Two B oys' Trip to an Unknown Planet. By Richard 189 Red Jacket; or, The Boys of the FarmHouse For, t. R. Mon tgomery. By An Old Scout. f 175 T he Two Diamonds; or, A Mystery of the South 190 His First Glass of Wine; or, 'I' he Temptations of A frican Mi nes. By Howard Au8tin. City Life: A True Temperance Sto ry By Jno. 1 7 6 Joe, the Gymnast; or, Three Years Among the Japs. B. Dowd B y A ll an Arnold. lDl The Coral Cit ; or, The Wonderful Cruise of the Yacht Vesta. By Ri rnrd R. Montgomery. 177 J ack Hawthorne, of No Man's Land; or, An Un192 Making a Million; or, A Smart Boy!s Career in Wall c r owned King. By " Street. By H. K. Shackleford. 1 78 Gun-Boat Dick; or, Death Before J as C. Merritt. Dishonor. By 193 Jack Wright and His Electric Turtle; o r Chasing the Pirates of the Spanish Main. By "N oname." 1 7 9 A Wi zard. of Wall Street, or, The Career of Henry J :J4 Flyer Dave, the Boy Jockey; or, Riding the Winner. Carew, Boy BaJJ.ker. By H. K. 8hackleford. By Allyn Draper. 180 Fifty Riders in Black; or, The Ravens of Raven 195 The Twenty Gray Wolves; or, Fighting a Crafty F o r est By Howard Austin. King. By Howard Austin. 181 The Boy Rifle Rangers; or, Kit Carson's Three Young 1!)1) The Palace of Gold; or, The Secret of a Lost Race. S couts. B y An Old Scout. By Richard R. Montgomery. !82 Whe r e? o r Washed I nto an Unknown World. By 197 Jack Wright's Submarine Catamaran; or, The P han" N on ame." tom Ship of the Yellow Sea. By "Noname. 183 Fred Fearna u g ht, The Boy Commander; o r The 198 A Monte Cristo at 18; or, From Slave t o Ave nger W o lves of the Sea By Capt. Thos. H. Wilson. By Allyn Draper. 18 4 From Cowboy to Congressman; or, The Rise of a 199 The Floating Gol d Mine; or, Adrift in an U nknown Y oung Ranchmap. :By H. K. Shackleford. Sea. By Capt. Thos. H. Wilso n F o r sale by all newsdealers or sent postpaid on receipt of prtce, 5 cents per copy, by PBANK TOUSEY, Publisher, 24 Union Square, New York. IF YOU WANT ANY BACK NUMBERS t of our Libraries and cannot pro cure the m from n ews dealers they ca n b e ob t a i n e d from thi s offic e d irect. Cut out and fi. i n the following Order Bl a n k and send it to us with the pri ce o f t h e books y ou want and we will s end them to you by re turn mail. POSTAGE STAMPS TAKEN THE SAME AS MONEY. FRANK TOUSEY, Pub li she r 24 Uni on S q u are, New Y ork. . .......... ............ 1901 DEAR SIR-Enclosed fin d ..... ce n t s fo r w h ic h p l ease send m e : .... copi e s of WORK AND W I N, Nos .............. .... .... ......................... " PLUC K AND LUCK ............................. ................... " S E CR E T SERVICE ... ...... .............. . ............. .... . ... " THE LIBERT Y BOYS OF '76, No s ... .......................... ..... .... " T e n-C ent H a n d B ooks, Nos. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..... ... Name. . . . . . . ...... S treet and N o .......... ..... Town ...... .... S tate ... I . . . ......


ELECTRICAL. No. '46: HOW To MAKE AND l'Rr: F.LECTTIIC1TY.-\ ,],,. Jcription of the wonderful u ses of elrct ricit,r and ei(><'I ro mag;11't .s1 with full instru ctions for making E!Pl't ri<' Toys. Bat 1 Pr i &tc. By George Trebe l .A. l\1., l\l. D. Coutainiug on:r fifty .ustrations. No. 64. HOW TO M A KE ELECTHIC .\ L :IL\('I1 T:\'ER. f' 1n aining fuil direction s for making elrl'tric-al ma"hiLrs. ind 1c n dynamos, and many now! to be workeri by electr1 i y. Sy R. A. R. B e nnett. Fully ilh1stratP11. Nn away. En'r:v in t<'lligPnt hoy rea lug '.' ibis book of instr uctions, h.r a Pl'a<'li<'al prufesllighting multi nrnk1 i udee every nigh t w ith his \Yonrnw 0Poker luction Pitc h All Fours and many other popular games of <'ards: No. 66 HOW TO DO Pl'ZZLES.-Containing over three hun lred Inte r esti ng puzzles and conundrums with kl'y to same. A eompl e t e book. Fully illustrated. By A. A.l.\derson. ETIQUETTE. 'No. 1 3 HOW T O DO IT: OR, BOOK OF E TIQrETTE.-It >11 a _great life secret, and one that every young mau dPsires to know .\II a b o u t There's happiness in it. No. 33. H O W T O BEHA YE.-Conlaining the rules and et1tnette of good s ociety and the easiest and most approved methods > f appearing to g o od advantage at parties, balls the theatre church rnd in t h e drawingr oom DECLAMATION. No. 2 7 HOW TO RECITE A N D BOO K OF :-Cont a i n i n g the mo s t p o pul a r selections in use, comprising Dutch F r e nch d i a lect, Yankee and Irish d ia l ec t pieces, t oget her m an y 1tand ard r e a dings. P BICE 10 Address FRANK Publisher, 24 Union Square. t\Jt"V. (Oil H i at


.. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW I Frank Tousey's Tell Cent Hand Bd'oks Tell You Everything. ':J.,, FOR COMPLETE CATA.LOGUE SEE INSIDE OF COVER PAGES.