Out with Commodore Decatur : or, the brave boys of 1812


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Out with Commodore Decatur : or, the brave boys of 1812

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Title:
Out with Commodore Decatur : or, the brave boys of 1812
Creator:
Lounsberry, Lionel
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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English

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History -- War of 1812 -- Fiction ( lcsh )
United States ( lcsh )

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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
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028860235 ( ALEPH )
16323033 ( OCLC )

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3r cA x~C,l,{) ()VYlc1 cA---1~arfd _ 1/Cv), to= aA-{J, Le ./f nn ii,eo/. k ,,,. ___ ..,,,,. #JI'/ /?7-/ ?' /~f t"P-:.if/4 I /'k c//. , /4~ 17r s A ) .

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"A form seized the bunting, and hastily climbed the shrouds." See page 198.

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Out With Commodore Decatur OR The Brave Boys of 1 8 1 2 BY LIEUT. LIONEL LOUNSBERRY AUTHOR OF "Cadet Kit Carey," "Won at West Point," " Kit Carey's Protege," "The Treasure of the Golden Crater," etc. NEW YORK AND LONDON STREET & SMITH, PUBLISHERS

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Copyright, 1902 By STREET & SMITH Out With Commodore Decatur

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ILLUSTRATIONS. "A form seized the bunting and hastily climbed the shrouds." ..... , . . . . . ........ Frontispiece "Scrambled over the stern, led by the young middy."............................ .. 68 "Commodore Decatur sprang to his feet."..... . . 109 "The man who touches that flag, does so over my dead body."....................... J30

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CONTENTS. I-A Personal Affair 7 II-A Future Shipmate . 14 III-A Base Accusation 21 IV-A Warm Reception 29 V-The Fight 36 VI-An Accident 43 VII-The United States Sails 49 VIII-A Convoy is Sighted 57 IX-Lawrence in Peril 64 X-The Lord Clive 71 XI-The Fair Passenger 77 XII-The Fatal Shot 84 XIII-Tables are Turned 91 XIV-In the Mizzentop 97 XV-An Attack • 104 XVI-A Dangerous Detail I I 0 XVII-The Light Astern • 116 XVIII-Defending the Flag . 123 XIX-Mildred Vane • I JI XX-Old Acquaintances . 138 XXI-In the Stateroom . 145 XXII-The Prison Hulks 152 XXIII-The Escape . . . • 159

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ii CONTENTS. XXIV-More Dangers XXV-The Lady on the Sto9p XXVI-Timely Assistance XXVII-Safe at Last XXVIII-A Shooting • XXIX-A Letter . XXX-The Signal . XXXI-The Old Mansion XXXII-The Fight on the Lawn XXXIII-Conclusion 166 173 180 • 187 199 . 207 214 • 226 238 • 243

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OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. CHAPTER I. A PERSON AL AFFAIR. "A boy, an American, with no more patriotism than that ought to be shot, and that's flat!" The above words rang out on the still morning air wit h an emphasis that left no doubt of their earnestness. If further proof was needed, the attitude of the lad who had just . given them utterance would amply supply it. He stood with clinched fists, and an angry look on his expressive face, confronting another lad of equal age. The latter seemed to be enraged also, but he controlled his temper and regarded his accuser with a sneering smile. They were standing on the greensward of a mansion fronting on Bowling Green, New York City. It was the residence of a merchant of repute named Amos Hallett, and it was his ward, Lawrence Lanyon, and only son, Jared Hallett, who were now engaged in a serious quarrel. Although the most of their childhood had been spent together, there was little love between them, and disagree ments were frequent.

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8 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Up to the present time, however, they had contented themselves with lowering looks and a heated word or two, but present indications seemed to portend something far different. The cause of the . altercation was peculiar, and for a proper understanding of the incidents leading up to it, a brief explanation will be necessary. It was in the year eighteen hundred and twelve-that stirring period in our hi s tory when the United States, after having passed with difficulty through the devastating war of the Revolution, found themselves on the eve of more trouble with their former enemy, Great Britain. Several days previous to the opening of this story a formal declaration of war had been made, and the city was aroused to the highest pitch of excitement. Armed bodies of men patrolled the streets near the Battery at all hours of the day and night to the inspiriting sOl-lnd of fife and drum, keeping the good citizens in a constant fever. It was while a party of sailors, en route to the bay, were passing Hallett's house that Lawrence and Jared began their altercation. Being attracted to the street by the noise, the lads ran out just as the seamen reached the front of the house. At sight of them Lawrence tossed his cap in the air with a cheer. "There goes the men who will teach Johnny Bull a les son," he cried, in enthusiastic tones. "I only wish I were one of them." "Much good that would do you," replied his compan-

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A PERSONAL AFFAIR. 9 ion, scornfully. "Father says the Americans are silly fools to think they can whip the British on the high seas." Lawrence regarded the other intently for a moment, then answered with spirit: "That's a peculiar view for a New Yorker to take, I must say. Mr. Hallett had better not let some of his ideas become known, or it might prove unpleasant for him." "Father is perfectly able to take care of himself, and is not asking for advice," retorted Jared, coldly. "It cer tainly does not become you, who are entirely dependent upon him, to criticise your benefactor." "That is all very well, Jared Hallett ; I know your father has allowed me to live in his house, but I thought until yesterday that my parents had left enough money in his hands to support me, and a little besides." "Well, you know different now, don't you ?" answered his companion, with an ill-concealed sneer on his lips. "Yes; I fully understand the case-your father cer tainly saw to that-but it seems very strange to me. However, I shall not stop here any longer. There is work to be had, or I can ship in ~he new navy and help fight the battles of my country." "Yes, and get shot for your pains, or perhaps hung for treason." "Treason? What do you mean?" quickly replied Lawrence, gazing at young Hallett in surprise. "How can that be? Surely fighting against the English couldn't be called treason-they don't own this country." "Not yet, but they might."

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10 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "Well, if they do, the sea will hold the bodies of every true American. But, by the way, your tone makes me think that you would be glad if such were the case, Jared." Turning a glance of mingled cunning and hatred on his companion, the precious youth said, savagely: "Yes, I do, to tell you the truth. Father says the country would be far better off under a king, and I think he is right." It was at this juncture that Lawrence used the words heading this chapter. Carried beside himself by the ex pression used by the other, he exclaimed, hotly: "A boy, an American, with no more patriotism than that ought to be shot, and that's flat." His voice, raised to a high pitch, reached the ears of a gentleman passing at the moment. Checking his pace slightly, the latter gave the lads a quick, penetrating glance, and then turned his attention to the sailors marching down the street, but it was evi dent he was more interested in the quarrel just behind him. In the meantime, Lanyon had turned on his heel, and started toward the house, when something said by Jared caused him to wheel around. Approaching the former, he raised his hand with a threatening gesture, and replied: "Dare to say that again, Jared Hallett, and I will cram the cowardly lie down your throat." "I will say it in spite of your ruffianly threat, Lanyon; you speak brazenly for a pauper, but it runs in the fam ily, your father--"

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A PERSONAL AFFAIR. 11 He never finished the sentence. With a rapid move ment Lawrence felled him to the ground, and then stood over him with such an enraged air that Jared, a natural coward at h~art, discreetly remained prostrate. "Leave my father ' s memory alone, you cur!" thun dered Lanyon. "If you ever mention his name again I 'll give you a thrashing you will never forget to your d y ing hour." Young Hallett held his tongue, but cast an anxious glance in the direction of the house, as if hoping for as sistance from that quarter. Interference came, but not as anticipated. Just as Lawrence was in the act of moving away from his fallen enemy, he felt a hand laid lightly on his shoul der. Turning quickly, he saw a man of about thirty years of age, with a face bearing the imprint of kindliness and generosity. The stranger was clad in the colonial semi-naval uni form, and wore loosely attached to his belt a richly chased hanger or small sword . "For shame, boys! " he ejaculated, a curious smile striv ing to gather around the corners of his mouth; "I am surprised that two such likely appearing lads should bicker and exchange blows at this moment when our coun try, God save her! needs our earnest aid. Cannot you be friends instead of allowing your angry passions to rise fo this manner ?" Turning to Jared, who had sullenly regained his feet, he continued severely:

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12 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "My young sir, I happened to overhear your sentim~nt regarding the proper governing of this country, and I must say that I am shocked to learn that we have mem bers of a younger generation so void of patriotic feeling. However, you are of too youthful an age to properly understand the question." Something in the appearance of the stranger, an air of command and resolute determination, caused Hallett to hang his head iri a crestfallen manner. Placing his hand with a kindly touch on Lawrence's shoulder the gentleman continued: "I am glad to see that you have the proper spirit. That is right, my lad, defend the land you live in-it is the best on earth. May I ask your name?" "Lawrence Lan yon, sir," replied our hero, regarding the gentleman with lively interest. He could see at a glance that he belonged to the naval profession, and that fact alone was enough to win his friendship. The sea, with all its wealth of romance and mysterious fascination, had attracted him from early childhood, and anything per taining to old Neptune's domains found in the lad a stanch admirer. "Lanyon, eh?" queried his interrogator. "Surely you are in no wise related to the Lanyons of New London?" "My father lived there, sir, until his arrival here seven years ago." "Strange, strange," murmured the other. "And you -but we will talk further on this matter at some other time, as I must go aboard. I want you to call on me this afternoon at the address on this card. Do not fail, as I

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A PERSONAL AFFAIR. 13 may have something important to tell you. This card will see you through. Good-day." While speaking he had handed a small piece of paste board to Lawrence, which the latter accepted in a be wildered manner. When the stranger had left them Lawrence read the card, which read as follows: "STEPHEN DECATUR, "Commodore U. S. N. "U. S. Frigate United States." Lawrence could hardly believe his eyes. That man, the noble sailor upon whose youthful shoulders so much of the burden of the coming battle with Great Britain was to rest? It seemed impossible. Following the departing officer with his eyes, he gazed long and earnestly after him, and a sudden ambition seized the boy's whole being.

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CHAPTER II. A FUTURE SHIPMATE. Lawrence was awakened from his reverie by a remark of Jared, disagreeable as that worthy's generally were. "Found a new friend, eh?" he sneered, but there was a trace of envy in the tone. He had seen the card, and well knew the power and fame, even at that date, of Commo dore Decatur. "I hope so," replied Lawrence, quietly. "I haven't any too many in this world." Turning his back, he walked toward the house and went up to his little room, leaving Hallett standing on the sward. The latter did not remain there long, but hied himself to his father's study, where he breathlessly related all that had taken place, not forgetting to describe at length Law rence's assault. "Oh, go away and don't bother me," was the ungracious and disappointing reply he received from his busy sire. "What do I care who the ungrateful cub takes up with? It's to be hoped this wonderful Commodore De catur carries him off to sea; little would it affect me." Before Jared could speak further, Lawrence opened the door and, looking in, said briefly : "I am going on board the man-of-war lying off the Battery, sir, and will return before evening."

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A FUTURE SHIPMATE. 15 Mr. Hallett did not reply save by a nod of the head, so the lad quietly closed the door and left the house. It was only a few minutes' walk to the water's edge where the boats from the fleet landed, so he soon arrived in sight of a cutter drawn up in _ readiness to embark the new crew which had lately marched from the other side of the city. All was e x citement in the vicinity. A large crowd of citizens, men, women and children, had gathered, deeply interested in the novel sight of a fleet preparing for war. In the offing, close to Governor's Island, were anchored three vessels, two corvettes and a doubledecker frigate. The latter was the pride of the new navy, the United States-a craft destined to carry the blazing torch of de struction from shore to shore of the Atlantic Ocean. As Lawrence looked at her noble lines and lofty masts, his heart swelled with pride, and the determination he had made a few short hours before became stronger with every passing moment. The sudden interest taken in him by Decatur raised him to the highest pinnacle of hope, and he resolved to learn that very day whether it were possible to become a midshipman in the American Navy. Lawrence's impatience hardly permitted him to wait until the noon hour before boarding the frigate, and it was at exactly the stroke of twelve that he presented him self to a youthful officer of one of the boats with the an nouncement that he had an engagement with the commo dore. The middy addressed was not much older than Lanyon,

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16 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. barely sixteen, but he looked down from his supercilious height of official rank and uniform as if he already wore the stars of an admiral. " Ye want to see the old man~ eh?" he drawled, staring at our hero as if he ~ere some strange land animal. "What about? If you have any turnips or cabbage to s e ll you had better apply to the purs e r's clerk." Lawrence flushed hotly at the sneering words, but held his temper. "I have nothing to sell, sir," he quietly replied; then, drawing forth the card given him by Decatur, he held it before the astonished eyes of the midshipman. "I was told to pre sent thi s for a pa s sage to the frigate," added Lawrence, enjoying the other's expression. "Well, I'll be blowed if this don't beat the Dutch!" ex claimed his companion. "Where on earth did you get that? Oh! no; that won't work with me. You have picked it up somewhere and think you can get to see the ship." "If you do not de s ire to honor it, say so, and I will apply elsewhere , " said Lawrence, growing slightly angry. "Who are you talking to, fellow?" retorted the middy, reddening. Several sailors standing near the cutter were listening, and, from their appearance, enjoying the scene. "I thought I was addressing an American officer and a gentleman, but I am mistaken. I really beg your pardon for the error." "What! Am I to be insulted in this manner?" muttered the now • infuriated lad. He rushed toward Lawrence and attempted to strike him.

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A FUTURE SHIPMATE. 17 The onslaught was so sudden, and withal unexpected, that the latter only saved himself by an agile spring to one side. Turning quickly, he was just in the act of aiming a blow at the middy's head, when a voice sternly bade him cease. It came from off the water. Looking in that direction, he saw that one of the frigate's boats had approached the landing unheeded by those witnessing the controversy. Standing up in the stern was an officer of high rank, in whom Lawrence recognized, to his horror, Decatur. The light craft glided alongside the landing and the commodore joined the group at once. Addressing the midshipman, he said, sternly: "Mr. Spencer, what does this mean? What 1s the cause of this disgraceful exhibition. Explain immedi ately, sir." The young officer had turned pale on first seeing his superior, and now looked the picture of consternation. For a moment he was incapable of replying, but at last he managed to stammer: "Why, I-I-this fellow insulted me, and I became so angry that I did not know what I was _ doing, sir. He--" He was interrupted by an exclamation of surprise from Decatur, who had just recognized Lawrence. "Why, Lanyon, how is this? I am pained to see that you are involved in this trouble." The lad had been expecting the question, and had re solved to offer only a brief explanation, just enough to

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18 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. clear himself without involving the midshipman in a deeper disgrace, so he stepped forward, and, removing his hat, replied: "It is all the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding, sir, and I beg of you to take no further notice of it. I came down here to present your card, but Mr. Spencer, here, naturally thought it a little queer that I should have it, and was reluctant to carry me on board. That is all, sir." The commodore gazed steadily at Lawrence for fully a moment, and then turned away with an ill-concealed smile on his face. "Very well, my lad; it shall be as you say. We will let the matter drop, at least for the present. Mr Spencer, take your boat and convey Mr. Lanyon-my friend-to the ship, and then report to the first lieutenant for sus pension from duty until I investigate further." Again speaking to Lawrence, he told him to await his return on board. After thus temporarily disposing of the case, he passed on up the street and disappeared from view. Spencer stood looking after him for a brief space, and then turned to Lanyon with a request to get in the cutter. "I am obliged to you, young fellow, for your explana tion to the old man," he added, but with such sullen illgrace that Lawrence felt the untruth of the remark. A free, out-spoken and manly lad himself, he could scarce understand the mean spirit of his late assailant. "By George!" he ejaculated beneath his breath, as he sprang into the boat, "if I should manage to win an ap-

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A FUTURE SHIPMATE. 19 pointment to the frigate, I'll have one enemy on board at least." It need hardly be said that the prospect had no imme diate effect on his spirits, and he drank in every detail of the graceful fabric-triumph of the shipbuilder's art in those days-with a zest not to be measured by years. The midshipman did not vouchsafe a word while on the way, and when they arrived alongside, he simply pointed toward the gangway ladder with a gesture which Lawrence understood to mean that he was to ascend. vVhen he reached the deck, the scene presented was one very confusing to his inexperienced eye. It seemed as if the long reach between the bulwarks literally swarmed with men darting here and there in apparently hopeless pursuit of tasks only to be found on board a large man-of-war preparing for sea. Up on the bridge just forward of the quarter-deck, stood a huge, red-whiskered man, at that moment bawling a series of orders through a glittering trumpet. Lawrence and Spencer had hardly reached the deck when the man on the bridge caught sight of them. Waving his hand, he shouted to the lads to approach. On nearing him the midshipman briefly repeated the orders given by the commodore, and then removed his cap and dirk as a sign that he reported for suspension. The first lieutenant, for it was he, gave a rather grim smile, and told Lanyon that he could walk into the after cabin while waiting for Decatur. Just before reaching the companion hatch, Lawrence

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20 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. happened to glance back and saw Spencer disappearing down the forward hatch between two burly marines. A half hour later the commodore arrived on board, and on seeing the lad in his quarters greeted him with a pleasant smile.

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CHAPTER III. A BASE ACCUSATION. "Well, my young friend, so you have been having ad ventures of a warlike nature to-day, eh? Ha! ha! young blood is generally hot blood, but I would rather not see it spilled in such trivial causes." Lawrence politely inclined his head at the mild reproof. A merry twinkle in Decatur's eye showed that he had not forgotten his youth, nor its goodly measure of boyish scrapes. After attending to some pressing business which had accumulated on his desk, the commodore drew up a chair close to Lanyon's and said: "Now, the reason I asked you to call here this after noon is to fulfill a promise made some years ago. But before I commence I want to feel certain of your identity. What was your father's full name?" "The same as mine, sir; Lawrence Lanyon," replied Lawrence. quietly. "That is all right. Now, what business did he follow in New London ?" "He was interested in a line of ships sailing to Europe_ , and also owned a fleet of fishing boats." At this answer the commodore smiled in a satisfied manner, and then drew a packet of letters from a pigeon hole in his desk.

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22 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. He read over several without speaking for a while, then turned to Lanyon with the question: "Who have you been residing with since the death of your parents?" "My guardian, Amos Hallett, sir." "Your guardian, eh? Was he legally appointed such by your father ?" Lawrence looked at the commodore in surprise. There was an implied doubt in the tone that struck him as pecul iar. He had been a member of Mr. Hallett's family in the character of a ward since the demise of his father, over six years previous, and always felt that the mer chant was his lawful guardian. In fact, he was so informed on more than one occasion, and accepted the statement as the simple truth. All that his memory carried to him from that dim scene . so many years before, when both parents passed away in the same week, was the sudden appearance of Amos Hallett with the information that he would thereafter take care of the orphan child. There was some talk of money, and a number of in terviews with various lawyers, but it was like trying to recall a fitful dream to bring back the real facts. During the interval between that time and the present, Lawrence had lived an uneventful life with the family. This had lasted until the previous day, when Mr. Hallett had sent for him and in a brief interview stated that the fund left in his care by the elder Lanyon for the lad's education was now exhausted, and that he would have to seek work for his own maintenance.

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A BASE ACCUSATION. 23 This unexpected announcement came in the nature of a surprise, as Lawrence had always thought his father wealthy. Thus the matter stood when Commodore Decatur ap peared on the scene. In obedience to the commodore's request, Lanyon ex plained his past history in detail. His auditor listened intently, and when he had finished, sat back in his chair for a few moments without speaking. At last he rose to his feet, and said : "There is some mystery here, Lanyon. I have care fully thought it over, but can see no solution at present. Unfortunately, I must sail to-morrow, and cannot devote any time to an investigation before leaving. I will now tell you how I came to know your father, and what my promise was." He was interrupted by a junior officer, who came to announce that all the purser's stores were stowed, and that the tradesmen were awaiting a signature to their vouchers. After attending to the matter, Decatur began : "About nine years ago I was attached to the brig Washington, and during a cruise on the home station, called at New London. We cast anchor just outside of Fort Trumbull, so in going to the city, had to take a small country road running a short distance inland. One evening, shortly after dusk, I started alone to make the trip, but had not traveled more than a half mile, before a couple of footpads waylaid me. They were armed with

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24 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. stout cudgels, and I had only a short sword like those carried by young officers. "The result was that I soon found myself deprived of even that means of defense and completely at their mercy. Just as they were closing in on me, a light wagon came down the road, driven by one man. He saw my situation instantly, and sprang to the rescue, forcing the scoundrels away at the point of a pistol. "To make the story short, it was your father who ren dered me such timely aid. I thanked him heartily and asked what I could do to repay him. The reply he gave me was very peculiar. I will give his own words. "They were these: 'If you feel grateful for the small service, just give me your promise that you will befriend my only son if you ever meet him after my death.' "With those strange words he left me, and I never met him again. My ship sailed shortly after, and the incident was forgotten in the busy scenes of life, to be recalled when I encountered you this morning." Lawrence had listened with varying emotions to the commodore' s story. He and his father had been close friends, and the bond of affection between them was strong. The present instance of his devotion affected the lad. "Now, my young friend," continued the commodore; :'the unfortunate part of_ the whole affair is, that I am compelled to sail for a cruise just when I at last run across you. Nothing would please me more than to look into this guardianship business and find out where the money your father undoubtedly left has gone to, but my

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A BASE ACCUSATION. 25 country calls me and I must away. I can find you a place to remain until my return, and then--" At that moment, Lawrence, made bold by the other's kind words, broke in sudd e nly with a startling question. "Oh, sir! cannot you take me with you?" he pleaded. "It has long been my ambition to become a naval officer, and there is nothing I would like better than to sail with you. Decatur stared at him in mild s urprise for a moment, then quickly nodd e d his head. "Why, of course you can, Lanyon," he said. "I never thought of that. We need two m ~ re midshipmen, and you can have one of the vacanci es . But, by the way, will this supposed guardian off e r any objection, do you think?" Lawrence smiled at the question. "No, sir; I hardly b elie ve h e would do anything to prevent m e from going to sea. H e told me yesterday that I would have to earn m y o w n living at something. If you think best, I will go a s hore at once and ask him." "All right, do so. R eturn at o n ce with your answer, and if it be favorable I s hall have you entered on the books immediately. If he should object, then_.but we won't anticipate." After a few further words, the commodore led the way out on deck and ordered a boat placed at Lawrence's ser vice. As the distance to Mr. Hallett's residence was but short, the officer in charge of the cutter was given instruc tions to await the lad.

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26 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. On leaving the little craft at the landing, Lanyon scurried up the street at the top of his speed. His heart was overflowing with joy, and he could hardly refrain from shouting in very exuberance of spirits. To find his ambition on the fair way toward consum mation was almost beyond belief, and he glanced about in search of some playfellow to whom he could tell the g]ad tidings. However, none were in sight, so he proceeded without interruption to Mr. Hallett's study. That individual received him coldly, and when he made known his wishes, gave his written consent with an ill concealed expression of satisfaction. "Of course we wi11 be sorry to have you go, Lawrence, but the chance to make a name for yourself is too good to let slip," he added, turning to his desk and opening a drawer. Selecting a couple of silver pieces from a pile of money, he handed them to Lanyon, continuing: "You will need something to help provide yourself with an outfit. I cannot spare much, but you are welcome to this.'; Lawrence instinctively drew back from the proffered stipend, and replied, coldly: "I thank you, Mr. Hallett, but I have sufficient for my needs. With your permission, I will now say good-by. Please remember me to the rest of the family." With these words he left the room, and after making a bundle of his few belongings, returned to the frigate.

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A BASE ACCUSATION. 27 As he passed over the gangway, a lad of about his own age walked up and held out his hand. "Is this our new shipmate, Lawrence Lanyon ?" he asked, with a pleasant smile. Lawrence replied in the affirmative. "My name is George Gordon, and I am attached to this ship as a midshipman. The commodore has ordered me to take you in charge for the present. He is now ashore, but left instructions to have you placed on the ship's ar ticles at once, if-to use his own words-everything turned out all right with your guardian." "Well, I can testify to that without further loss of time," answered Lawrence, producing the paper. "I am now ready to join the navy, and, to confess the truth, very impatient." . "You come in at a good time, Lan yon. There promises to be plenty of fun, and prize money galore. We sail to-morrow in search of Johnny Bull ' s cruisers, and I don't doubt but what we will find some before long." "I hope so," remarked Lawrence, fervently. His young companion laughed. "I reckon you'll do," he said, casting an adm_iring glance at Lanyon's lithe, well-built figure. The two lads were mutually attracted to each other, and both felt that their present friendly relations would blossom into a strong comradeship. "If you will come with me now, I'll introduce you to the surgeon," said George, leading the way below. "After you pass through his mill, our purser will enroll you as one of the ship's company."

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28 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Chatting pleasantly together, they descended the forward hatch and were just in the act of walking toward the doctor's quarters when a messenger rushed breath lessly after them and informed George that the first lieu tenant wished to see him and Lanyon on the quarter deck. Surprised at the unexpected summons, the lads returned above. Immediately on reaching the deck, Law rence glanced aft, and saw, to his astonishment, Mr. Hallett and Jared standing near the executive officer. As he approached the group, the merchant pointed one hand in his direction, and called out in a loud voice: "That is the young rascal, sir. Have him arrested at once!"

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CHAPTER IV. A WARM RECEPTION. If the ship had suddenly taken wings and started on an aerial crui se, Lawrence would not have felt more as tounded than when he saw his guardian point an accusing finger at him, and exclaim: "That is the young rascal, sir•. Have him arrested at once!" He had left Mr. Hallett ashore in his study only an hour before; had bidden him good-by and parted with him on apparently friendly terms; and now, he was here on board the frigate in the c1:ct of making some strange accusation against him. The lad stopped and stared at each one of the group, completely bewild ered. His new friend, George Gordon, also exhibited signs of the liveliest astoni shment. "What on earth is the trouble, Lawrence?" he whis pered, in open-mouthed wonder. Before Lanyon had time to reply, the first officer stepped forward and said, in a voice he tried to make stern: "This gentleman brings a very grave charge against you, Mr. Lanyon, and I am compelled to object to your entering the service until it is settled."

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30 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. There was a latent kindliness in the tone that caused our hero to glance gratefully at the speaker. Nevertheless, he drew himself up, and walking toward Mr. Hallett, asked, quietly: "What is this charge, sir? What do you mean by call ing me a rascal and asking to have me arrested?" "Your guilty conscience ought to tell you what your crime is, without my explaining," replied Amos Hallett, severely. "But if you choose to play innocent, I can do no more than to repeat what I have already told this o"fficer. \\_Then you left my house this morning, I offered you money to assist in purchasing your outfit, but you contemptuously refused to accept it. I thought it pe culiar until my son, Jared, here, rushed in with the startling news that you had taken thre~ sovereigns from his desk upstairs." Lawrence turned suddenly toward the merchant's son, and striding up to him, asked, in a choked voice: "Jared Hallett, did you tell your father I stole money from you?" For a moment Jared hesitated, then, after sending a furtive glance in his father's direction, he replied : "Yes, I did, Lawrence Lanyon. I had the money in my desk before you went to the room this morning, and after you left, I missed it. It-it may have been taken by some one else--" "Jared Hallett, you lie," said Lawrence, slowly and im pressively. "This is the only way your cowardly nature can find to get even for our trouble this morning, and you know it."

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A WARM RECEPTION. 31 Those standing near saw the accused youth turn pale. It was evident to one of the group, at least, that Hallett felt the truth of the assertion. Perhaps the mrechant himself realized that the balance of belief was in favor of Lawrence, as he instantly said to the executive officer : "I think, sir, we might as well say nothing further about it. There seems to be a reasonable doubt as to my ward's guilt, and I do not care to condemn a man without actual proof. However, I must say appearances are against him." "Well, do you formally withdraw the charge?" asked Mr. Allen, the first lieutenant, impatiently. "If you do, I want to settle the matter and proceed with my duties.'' Mr. Hallett reluctantly nodded his head and withdrew to the gangway, followed by Jared. The latter appeared crestfallen, and sneaked out of sight without once glancing back. After the unworthy pair had disappeared, Mr. Allen turned to Lawrence and said, in a bluff, hearty voice: "You have had a narrow escape, my lad. It is plainly apparent to me now that the whole affair is a trumped-up scheme to get you into trouble. I know nothing about your history or connection with this man, but you had better watch him in the future . Now, Mr. Gordon, take him below again and follow out the commodore's orders." As the two boys walked away, the middy gave Lan yon a slap on the back and offered his congratulations. "By George ! that is the most scaly trick I ever heard

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32 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. of. Fancy the sharks accusing you of stealing money. Why didn't you punch that dough-faced whelp in the nose, Lawrence ?" "To tell the truth, George, I was tempted to knock him down, but I didn't want to create a scene on board at this point of my new career. That scoundrel has been my bitter enemy for years, and I have been compelled to teach him several lessons." And Lawrence told the midshipman what had occurred that morning in front of Mr. Hallett's residence. By the time he had completed the recital, they reached the surgeon's room. In vessels of that period the doctor held forth in a small apartment adjoining the cockpit oc cupied by the junior officers'. To Lawrence, who had always been used to large, airy and w~ll-lighted rooms, the close confined space 'tween decks came as a disagreeable revelation. There was a peculiar odor also manifest which re minded him of the stagnant pools just outside of the city limits. \ He asked George the cause of it. The question brought a smile to that ingenuous lad's lips. "Why, that's the smell from blood spilled on deck during our last fight with the enemy," replied Gordon. Lanyon regarded his informant intently for a moment, then remarked, thoughtfully: "Well, that is peculiar, to say the least. When did yo _ u have this gory combat, yesterday or this morning? I thought the frigate was on her maiden cruise when she came from the shipyard last month."

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A WARM RECEPTION. 33 George saw that his quick-witted companion had caught him, so he explained that the characteristic scent was from the bilges. There was no one in the office, except the sick-bay nurse, but the surgeon soon arrived and ordered Law rence to strip for examination. The lad's heart palpitated with excitement and anxiety when he finally presented himself before the official's pro fessional eye. He knew that even Commodore Decatur's powerful in fluence could not aid him if this little man with spectacles found any physical defect in him. Happily, none was discovered, and Dr. Boyd bade him resume his clothing, remarking that he felt it a pleasure to congratulate him on possessing such a magnificent figure. George had been awaiting the verdict just without the door, so when Lawrence emerged with a joyful smile, he raised one hand with mock salutation and greeted him cordially. "We will now beard the purser in his den, then I'll in troduce you to the fellows," he said. ''You will find some of them jolly lads, but I must confess we also have two or three brute s on board. However, you'll find them out in due course. Come along." The ceremony of enrollment did not require much time. After his name had been placed on the articles, the enlistment was duly witnessed by the first lieutenant, and our hero found himself at last in the position long coveted by him.

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34 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The subject of outfit was left to George Gordon, who willingly engaged to furnish his new friend's kit with all that was needful, from his own tailor. It was noon when all the preliminaries were arranged, so both boys hastened to the cockpit for dinner. On descending the ladder leading from the berth deck below, a confused murmur of voices came to their ears, then a loud smashing, as of crockery, sounded. "Murder! there go the dishes!" exclaimed George, dolefully. "Hurry up or we won't have a plate to eat from. Confound those fellows, they might have waited until the dinner was over b e fore skylarking." Lawrence hastened after his friend and at last reached the bottom of the steps, but just in time to feel something hit him a sharp blow on the cheek. He instinctively placed . one hand on the spot, and on re moving it, discovered a fragment of boiled potato cling ing to his fingers. At the same moment, Gordon dodged back and almost upset him. The reason for the sudden action became im mediately apparent. A shower of vegetables came toward them from the dim recesses of the triangular-shaped apartment into which they were descending. A handful of stewed cabbage struck George on the crown of his head, knocking his jaunty cap out of sight, and several turnips, keeping company with the luscious product of the farm, spent their force on other portions of his anatomy. Lawrence was on the point of flying ignominiously

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A WARM RECEPTION. 35 from the bombardment, when Gordon grabbed him by the arm and made a rush down the stairs. "Here, you fellows, let up for a moment," shouted the middy, wrathfully. "Can't you see I have a new ship mate just joined? Why, he'll think us a lot of beastly savages."

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CHAPTER V. THE FIGHT. "Oh! hold your tongue, Gordon," retorted a tall youth, advancing toward them as they reached the bottom of the stairs. "You always have something to say again.st our little fun." "Little fun, confound you!" shouted George, making a pass at him with his fis t, which the lanky lad skillfully evaded by ducking his head. "Do you call it fun to smash all the pantry stuff, and throw one's food in his face? Now, get out of our way, will you?" By this time Lawrence 's eyes had become accustomed to the gloom of the cockpit, and he was able to distin guish objects. The apartment seemed to be but little larger than his former room at the Halletts, and it was literally crowded with young fellows of about his own age. Some were seated ht a narrow table running fore and aft, apparently trying to make a meal of what still re mained before them, while others, among whom he no ticed his former disputant, Spencer, were at the far end talking together. His appearance was the signal for an instant attention. All eyes were directed toward him at once, and deep silence replaced the former pandemonium.

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THE FIGHT. 37 Suddenly Spencer arose to his feet and walked up, at the same time saying: "That's the cub, fellows. He's the one who cheeked me ashore, and made the luff put me on the shelf for a week." "Well, it's no doubt you richly deserved it, Spencer," spoke up a middy half lolling on the table. "Mind your own business, Jack Putnam, or I'll have a case to settle with you also," replied the young officer, with a scowl. 0That may be, but I think you 'll have your hands full with the new boy," retorted Jack, slyly casting an admir ing glance at Lanyon's muscular figure. "Here, what's all this row about now?" interposed Gordon, suddenly noticing that something out of the com mon was occurring. "Why, this cheeky beggar who just came in insulted me ashore this morning, and then whined around the old man until he ordered me suspended from duty," explained Spencer, loudly. "I was in hopes he'd come aboard so that I could teach him a lesson." George was on the point of replying, when Lawrence stepped forward and quietly told the whole story, adding finally: "If the gentleman thinks he has been wronged, I am ready to offer him any satisfaction he may desire, and at any time. As for saying that I tried to get him sus pended, that is not so. I told Commodore Decatur that it was all a misunderstanding, and that I wishe . d he would not take any further notice of it."

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38 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The explanation, given in a straightforward manner, produced a favorable impression on all except Spencer and several of his friends. One of these, a dark, sallow-faced youngster of about fifteen, whispered something to the angry midshipman, to which the latter replied: "That's just what I intend doing, Walters; it's either he or I." Advancing toward Lawrence, he squared off and roughly bade him defend himself. At that, George Gordon stepped in between them, and shoved him back. "Now, Spencer, this shall not go any further," he ex claimed, hotly. "Lanyon is a friend of mine and I am not going to see him brow-beaten by you or anybody else. If you are spoiling for a fight, I'll--" He was interrupted by the middy called Walter$, who, together with a couple of friends, sprang to Spencer's side and made a hostile demonstration. They were immediately followed by young Putnam and the tall lad before mentioned, but these two quickly arrayed themselves with Lawrence and Gordon. For a moment it seemed as if a general melee would re sult, but several older midshipmen interfered and gave as their opinion that the new boy should settle his own dif ferences with Spencer. "I think he is willing enough, and we might as well have it over with at once," added one who seemed to be the leader of the middies.

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THE FIGHT. 39 He was by far the largest of the lads, and had withal a very pleasing face. During the commencement of the trouble, Martin, for that was his name, had calmly read to himself over in one corner, but when the quarrel grew in proportion, he took a part and offered the above advice. His suggestion was hailed with loud acclaim by the majority of those present. Cries of "Ring!" a nd "I'll second the new lad!" re sounded from all sides, and soon Lawrence found himself being zealously stripped by George and Putnam. "Just mind your eye, old boy, and try to floor him at the first blow," whispered Gordon, excitedly. "If you defeat Spencer, your fame is secured, as he has whipped most of us boys." "I'll certainly try my best, George," replied Lanyon, smilingly. "I am really sorry my first day in the service should cause so much trouble, but it cannot be helped. That fellow has acted in a most despicable manner and lied outrageously." Martin, who had been selected referee, now called out for them to face each other, so Lawrence walked into the improvised ring and quietly stood on the defensive. "Now, before you fellows commence, I want it dis tinctly understood that the first one giving a foul blow, or trying any scheme except fair fighting, will have to settle with me on the spot," cautioned the leader; firmly. Lawrence thought of the treacherous attack made on him by his present antagonist ashore, and resolved to keep a sharp lookout, notwithstanding Martin's warning.

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40 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. It was evident from Spencer ' s appearance and actions that he intended winning a deci s ive victory , if possible. Walters po s ed as his s econd, and regarded George as if he wished they were the principals in s tead. When Lawrence at last found himself facing his op ponent, he lost no time in beginning the fight. Making a quick spring forward, he ducked slightly and caught Spencer on the left che e k with a rapid blow. The latter in s tantly copied the effort, but without suc cess, as Lanyon dodged in s tinctiv e l y . A murmur of applause ran through the audience, and the sound caused a dark flush to creep over the midship man's face. Suddenly he launched out and rained blow after blow on Lawrence's guard, but none broke through, and the only result he gained for his pains was an exhausted feeling. Our hero in s tantly noticed this, and before he could re cover, gave Spencer such a shrewd tap that the middy stumbled backward and fell to the deck like a log. A wild cheer rang out, and Lawrence felt himself given sundry slaps on the back from his now numerous admirers. "Bully for you!" shouted George, delightedly. "That's the way to do it. I don't believe Mr. Spencer will come to the scratch any more." His words proved true. The fallen foe apparently had enough of it, as he made no effort to rise and renew the combat. VV, alters bathed his face, where a large lump was

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THE FIGHT. 41 speedily gathering, and tried to persuade his principal to continue, but the latter would have none of it. At last Martin said that the victory belonged to Law rence, and advised the lad to wear his honors easily, or he might not do so well all the time. Obeying a manly impulse, Lanyon walked over to Spencer, who had finally been assisted to his feet, and offered to shake hands with him, saying: "I am sorry this has occurred, and I am willing to let bygones be bygones if you are. There is no reason we cannot be friends." Spencer took the proffered hand, but with evident re luctance. He muttered something in reply, and then withdrew to the forward end of the cockpit, where Walters and one or two others followed to offer their con solations. After Lawrence had finished donning his apparel, George and he sat down and made a scanty meal off the cold food remaining on the table. "You must not think we always act this way, Lan yon," said Martin, with a grin. "You happened to come down when we were celebrating over our sailing orders. ! believe the old man intends weighing anchor at daybreak to-morrow, and then our cruise after Johnny Bull begins." "By the way, Martin," remarked Gordon, between mouthfuls, "there's a middy on the sloop Dolphin that wants to bet me he'll see the color of prize money before our fellows. What do you think of that?" "He's a fool," replied the cockpit leader, abruptly. "Why, the old man'll lead us on to some chances before

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42 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. they're out of soundings. But say, if you are going to see Lanyon rigged out, you had better get ashore at once, as we leave in the morning, sure." "Right you are, old boy," replied George. "We'll go at once. Come along Lawrence. Good-by, boys; when we come back you'll see our new shipmate in the togs of war." After obtaining permission from the first lieutenant to leave the ship, the two lads hastened ashore and called on a tailor on lower Broadway, where Lawrence was soon fitted out with enough clothing and uniforms to last him several months. George presented an order from Decatur in payment, which was immediately honored by the clothier. When everything had been secured, they returned to the frigate.

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cHAPTER VI. AN ACCIDENT. When they arrived on board, the commodore noticed them coming over the gangway and beckoned to Lawrence. The latter was clad in his new uniform, and looked very well in the tight-fitting blue suit with a jaunty dirk dan gling from his belt. Decatur cast an approving glance at him, and turning to one of the frigate's officers, who happened to be stand ing near, said something in a low tone. Lanyon overheard part of it, however, and knew from the drift that they were praising his appearance. Reddening slightly, he advanced toward them and gave the naval salute, which George had taken pains to teach him. "Well, Mr. Lanyon, I see you have taken time by the forelock and rigged yourself aloft and below," said the commodore, with a pleasant smile. "Yes, sir," replied Lawrence, dutifully. "Thanks to your kindness and that of Mr. Gordon, I am well pro vided with clothing." "If our coming cruise proves as successful as I antici pate, you will have plenty of gold to line your pockets with," laughed Decatur; then turning to his companion, he added : "What do you think about it, Morris?"

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44 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "You know my sentiments, commodore," answered the officer addressed, a thin, solemn-faced man. "No doubt the gold would be welcome, but I still hope this unfortu nate trouble will be settled without bloodshed." Decatur responded in a low tone, and evidently with some heat, then, taking the other's arm, walked toward his cabin. "That's the chaplain," whispered George, as the two middies went forward again. "He's an awful queer duck, and people say that he's no better friend to our country than he should be." "Then why do they keep him in the service, where he can find every opportunity for obtaining information," asked Lawrence, in surprise. While speaking, his mind reverted to the quarrel ashore with Jared Hallett, and that lad's treasonable utterances. It, seemed as if there were plenty of traitors in the United States. "Oh ! it is said that he has influence, and can almost do as he pleases," explained Gordon, referring to the chap lain. "I tell you what's a fact, Lawrence; if I ever catch him in any of his tricks, I'll s~ow him what a loyal American can do with a traitor." "Yes; and I am with you, heart and soul," coincided Lanyon, determinedly. "A man who would sell his country in the hour of her peril deserves no mercy." Their appearance in the cockpit was the signal for a veritable ovation. Martin met them at the foot of the steps, and escorted Lawrence to a seat of honor at the forward end of the table.

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AN ACCIDENT. 45 "We have been talking abou~ you, my friend," he ex claimed, heartily; "and have arrived at the conclusion that you are a decided acquisition to our circle. The way you done up that sneak, Spencer-whom none of us like, with the possible exception of Walters-appeals to our hearts, and we extend a hearty welcome to you. Here, give us your hand." Lanyon obeyed with pleasure. He felt very grateful for the attention accorded him, and resolved never to let them change their good opinion of him. Several other middies, who had been on duty that noon, now came forward and were introduced. The junior officers of the frigate numbered fourteen, all under sixteen years of age, with the exception of Martin, who had already passed his eighteenth birthday, and con sidered himself quite a man. Lawrence speedily found himself the center of a throng who asked divers questions concerning his past history and other points of interest to a boy's curiosity. He good naturedly satisfied them, but in reply to a query concerning his acquaintance with Commodore Decatur, said the latter was simply an old friend of his father. After a while George and Martin showed him over the ship, explaining the various objects and their uses. Just before dark, all hands were piped to muster, and the crew placed in separate watches. To his joy, Lawrence was assigned to the same division as Gordon, with Martin as senior midshipman. Since returning from the tailor's establishment they

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46 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. had not seen anything of Spencer, but he appeared at muster, and favored Lanyon and George with no friendly glance while passing them on the quarter ~eek. It was plainly evident to both that such malignant hatred would possibly cause them trouble in the future. They little knew how true their belief would prove. As all stores had been taken on board, and every de tail completed, it was decided that the United States should sail early the following morning, accompanied by the other two vessels of the fleet. Along about nine o'clock George and Lawrence, who had been enjoying a walk on the forecastle, concluded to turn in. On descending to tllie lower deck, they found the apart ment almost rendered impassable by the hammocks in which the young officers slept at night. These were swung from hooks in the carline beams overhead, and reached almost to the deck beneath. "I suppose you'll have some difficulty in getting in," laughed Gordon, noticing the perplexed look on Lawrence's face when he saw his future bed. "But for good ness sake don't accept the off er of a stepladder or cush ioned chair that some of the fellows will no doubt bring forth. They will only try to fool you." The advice was no sooner received than one of the mid dies crept out of the gloomy interior, and in tones of mock interest, proceeded to tell Lawrence where he could find a pair of steps in the pantry of the commodore's cabin. "Thank you for nothing," retorted Lawrence, with a

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AN ACCIDENT. 47 smile. "The first lieutenant has already tendered his ser vices in assisting me this evening." The lad stared at him for a moment, and then walked away rather crestfallen that his little pleasantry had missed fire. The climb into the swinging cot was rather awkward at first, but our hero at last managed to stretch out within its narrow folds, and was soon fast asleep. One by one the junior officers came below and went to bed, until finally all the hammocks, save three, were oc cupied by silent forms. Those still remaining empty be longed to the middies on watch. Shortly before midnight a slight noise sounded on the berth deck stairs, and a half-dressed figure stole into the cockpit. It hesitated for a moment after reaching the bottom, then crept under the line of swinging hammocks toward one on the extreme starboard side. Suddenly a long-drawn sigh came from one of the slumbering forms, and at the sound the stealthy figure shrank back away from the vague glimmer of the hanging lamp into the shadows. As it did so some heavy object dropped from its hands, and after striking the deck, rolled with a prodigious clat-ter into a pile of . tin plates near the side. In an instant the cockpit was alive with lads in all stages of undress. They leaped from their hammocks to the deck beneath, and hurriedly sought for the cause of the racket. Before this happened, however, the silent figure that

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48 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. had first appeared, reached up and made a sweeping slash with a knife at the lashing just over his head, then dropped the instrument and fled. Before he had moved two steps the rope parted with a snap, and down fell the hammock with its occupant. A startled cry of pain rang out, and when one of the newly-awakened middies reach e d the spot with a lamp, he found Lanyon stretched on the hard pine deck, a littl e stream of blood coming from a cut o ver the right temple. Almost as soon as the discovery was made, George Gor don appeared on the scene. Taking in the situation with a glance, he turned to the re s t and shouted: "Some one has cut down our new shipmate, fellows, and he is badly hurt. Let's run the sneak down. Here, scatter up forward there, some of you. If we catch him, his own mother won't know him when we get through with the cur." No further words were needed. Uttering suppressed cries of anger, five or six of the boys began a hurried search of the apartment and the deck above.

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CHAPTER VIL THE UNITED STATES SAILS. Gordon, with Martin, dashed some cold water in Law rence's face, and then sent for the surgeon. Dr. Boyd soon arrived, and made a cursory examina tion of the injured lad, whom he finally declared was not seriously hurt. At the announcement, those present gave a whoop of joy that almost brought down the marines. Martin sternly bade them hold their tongues, and was on the point of personally chastising some of the smaller offenders, when a triumphant shout came from above, and three of the middies appeared, dragging a familiar figure with them. When the noise sounded on the stairs leading from the berth deck, Lawrence had just recovered consciousness, and opened his eyes on a strange scene. Bending over him were the doctor and Martin, but their attention had also been attracted to the commotion behind them. Looking in that direction, they saw several middies in the act of dragging a familiar figure down the steps. It was Spencer. "Well, I declare !" ejaculated Martini "if it ain't that rascal. So he's the one, eh ?"

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50 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "If he should be proven guilty of this outrage, he ought to be driven out of the service," exclaimed the surgeon, firmly. "Such cowardly conduct cannot be tolerated." By that time the junior officers, with their prisoner, were close at hand. Spencer seemed greatly excited, and was expostulating against his treatment with a fine show of indignation. "Let me go, I tell you," he shouted, struggling with his captors. "I'll tell the first lieutenant about this outrage. You can't--" He was interrupted by a calm voice from the top of the ladder. '"'What is the meaning of this disturbance? Mr. Martin, explain at once." "Great guns! it's the first luff!" whispered Gordon to those near him. "Now, look out for squalls." During the excitement the executive officer had ap peared on the scene, attracted by the commotion. Looking down into the cockpit, he saw one lad stretched on the deck, receiving the surgeon's attention, while another appeared to be engaged in a combat with several of his shipmates. To the professional eye of the officer, this was highly derogatory to discipline, and required instant attention. He addressed Martin, because that lad was in charge of the junior officers' quarters. His appearance was the signal for an immediate ~essa tion of hostilities. Those holding Spencer released him, while Martin,

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THE UNITED STATES SAILS. 51 springing erect, walked up to his superior officer, and re plied: "Some person has cut the new lad's hammock lashing, sir, and he fell to the deck, injuring his head. Two or three of the fellows caught Spencer here skulking away, and they brought him back." "It is a lie, sir," cried the prisoner, nervously. "I never touched the hammock, and was simply going on deck for a breath of air, when these fellows pitched upon me. It's an outrage, sir,. and I--" "That will do, Mr. Spencer; this matter shall be in vestigated in the proper way. Consider yourself under arrest.'' The officer was turning away, when he stopped and, after thinking a moment, asked of Martin: "Did any one see Mr. Spencer near the hammock?" "No, sir, but--" "Well, I do not see that he can be punished on such evidence." He then ordered the midshipman released, and, after commanding Martin to see all hands in their hammocks, returned to his cabin. Immediately after he left the cockpit, one of the lads, who had been rummaging around the tinware, called out that he had found a cannon ball. On hearing of the discovery, Gordon glanced mean ingly at Martin, and said : "That proves it a plot to badly injure Lanyon, don't you see? The rascal, whoever he was, no doubt intended to

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62 OUT )VITH COMMODORE DECATUR. place that piece of iron where his head would strike on falling from the hammock, but through some slip or in terruption, he failed in his object." "You are probably right, George," coincided Martin, gravely. "You should report the discovery to the first lieutenant , in the morning," advised Dr. Boyd, making preparations to retire to his quarters. He had declared Lawrence's wound a trivial one, and bandaged up the cut so that it was not exposed to the air. The latter young gentleman still suffered from a vio lent headache, but that was the extent of his injuries. He asked and obtained an explanation from Gordon as to the cause of his mishap, and then expressed his in dignation in such strong terms that Spencer, who had returned to his hammock in silence, peeped over the edge to see if there was any danger of a sudden attack from that quarter. Every person in the cockpit firmly believed in the latter's guilt, and it was only the re straint of discipline that kept them from wreaking summary punishment on the miscreant. After a few minutes' quiet talk with Lawrence and George, Martin sent them to bed, and ordered all hands to "pipe down." It was time, too, as they hardly fell asleep before the shrill notes of the boatswain's whistle sounded at the spar deck hatch, bidding them arise and prepare to heave up anchor for the crui se against their nation's enemies.

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THE UNITED STATES SAILS. 53 Lawrence was out of bed and dressed before his mates. In fact, he had not closed his eyes since the accident. The novelty of the situation, and the pain resultihg from his injured head precluded all thoughts of sleep, and he spent the time in dreams of future adventures. "Good-morning, boys!" he exclaimed, cheerily, to his immediate neighbors. "This is the day we start on a voyage in search of prize money, eh?" "Listen to the lad," replied Martin, good-humoredly. "He's talking about prizes, and the gloss hasn't com menced to wear off his uniform yet." "That's all right, you scaly-backed old tar," joined in George, giving the elder middy a playful tap on the cheek; "when you first signed articles you were just as eager as he is." "Yes, but I have received nothing but hope ever since," replied Martin, ruefully. "Well, I'll prophesy that we do well this trip," spoke up little Putnam, from the interior of his shirt, which ar ticle he was donning at the moment. "I overheard the old man say that he had received advices from that ship which reached here yesterday that a convoy of British vessels left Liverpool at the same time he did, bound for Halifax and other ports." This was good news, and the middies received it with a shout of joy. "I say, Martin, you'll no doubt get command of the first prize ; how is it to go with you?" remarked Putnam. coaxingly.

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54 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The lanky midshipman glanced at him, and then re plied, shortly : "I guess I'll pick my own crew, my cheeky young friend, and when I do, you will be duly informed if I want you. I may have others in mind, d'ye see?" As he spoke, he looked in Lawrence's direction sig nificantly. One of the junior officers on watch came down at that moment, and bawled out: "Ahoy, the cockpit! The first luff wants to know whether you fellows require nurses to complete your toilets. He says if all hands are not on deck in three shakes of a cat's tail, he'll let you finish your dressing at the mast head." The threat was enough to send the entire crew helter skelter up the ladder. Mr. Allen, the executive officer, although a kindly man, believed firmly in discipline, and never failed to punish those falling under his displeasure. The young officers serving on board the frigate knew well that a journey to the mast head also meant being en tered in their superior's "black book," with an inevitable curtailment of liberties, so they generally obeyed his orders. On reaching the upper deck, Lawrence looked upon what was to him a scene of confusion. Fully four hundred sailors were skurrying here and there pulling on ropes, or darting up the maze of hempen shrouds in prompt obedience to a quartet of boatswain mates. Forward on the forecastle fifty or sixty brawny tars were stamping around the massive capstan to a rollicking

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THE UNITED STATES SAILS. 55 ditty being played by a diminutive fifer seated on the cap stan head. Casting his eye aloft, Lanyon saw stretch upon stretch of snowy canvas emerge from the confining gaskets, and his heart bounded with pleasure at the sight. It was a new world to him, an opening of prospects that kindled the fire of ambition anew, and caused the lad to turn a grateful glance aft to where his hero and benefactor-Commodore Decatur-was pacing the deck in close converse with the statesman then at the head of the .little navy. Lawrence had only stood a moment at the head of the forward hatch, when Mr. Allen espied him and shouted an order to run aloft to his station. This was the maintop, and to our hero it looked almost a mile above his head. He suddenly noticed that he was the cynosure of all eyes. It instantly became evident to him that his first ascent up the swaying ratlines was to prove a trial of his nerve, and possibly to furnish a cause for laughter to the crew. That settled it. The very thought was enough, and he boldly mounted the bulwarks, took a firm grip of the stays, and calmly proceeded aloft. It is true that his foot slipped more than once, and he tore divers lengths of skin from one leg, but he reached the huge wooden top at last, and had the satisfaction of receiving a nod of approval from Martin, who had pre ceded him.

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56 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. From then on to the time when the graceful craft com menced to move stately through the waters, La.nyon was busy at his new duties, and he did not return to the deck until the blue waters of the Atlantic stretched out in front in placid grandeur.

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CHAPTER VIII. A CONVOY IS SIGHTED. It is not to the purpose of this history to give a detailed description of the routine life on board the frigate United States during the following few weeks. Suffice it to say that each day was simply a repetition of the preceding one. Drills ofevery kind filled up the best part of each twenty-four hours. Exercises at the batteries, sail drill, clear ship for action, arm and equip boats, all hands re pel boarders, etc., were each given their turn, until the famous commodore acknow I edged even himself ~tisfied with the fighting qualities of his crew. It is needless to say that Lawrence did not fail to im prove himself during the exercises. He was early looked upon as an exceptionally bright midshipman, and this, together with his manly nature, won him many friends in the little world between the wooden walls. It is possible that his acquaintance with Decatur, and the latter's natural influence had something to do with it, but be that as it may, Lawrence was a decided fa vorite on board. Sfoce leaving New York, Spencer had conducted him self in a proper manner, and gave no cause for suspicio n.

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58 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. He actually tried to make friendly overtures to Lanyon and the rest, but the effort was so plainly hypocritical that it did not pass muster with the other middies. As yet not a solitary sail had been sighted by the frig ate, although they were well over toward the coast of England. On the morning of the twenty-first day, however, a keen-sighted sailor on the lookout at the foretop called out that he could see the glint of a sail almost dead ahead. The announcement created instant excitement through the length and breadth of the frigate. Lawrence happened to be pacing the forecastle with his two cronies, Martin and Gordon, at the time, and he looked in the direction indicated without delay. "By Jupiter, boys, I'll wager it's our long-looked-for prize!" he exclaimed, in eager anticipation. "Oh, if it will only turn out to be a double-decker frigate !" "Yes, or even an ordinary merchantman, if it flies the proper flag-the British Jack," broke in Gordon, with a laugh. "Well, we shall soon know," remarked the senior middy, gazing at the distant object through a telescope. "She is coming down before the wind like a horse with the bit in his teeth. That man aloft ought to make her out pretty soon. Oh ! there goes the sailing master to the masthead; he'll discover her true character in a jiffy." And so it proved. Before the officer in question had hardly reached his elevated destination, he called down to the commodore that it was a merchant vessel, and seemed English built.

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A CONVOY IS SIGHTED. 59 The intelligence was received with a subdued cheer by the crew. Here was the opportunity they had been wait ing for during several weary weeks. The commodore, with characteristic cunning, had changed the appearance of the United States until she seemed more like a peaceful trader than a ship of war. When near enough to distinguish bunting, Decatur ordered the English flag hoisted at the mizzen. The middies on the forecastle watched anxiously for the res~lt of the ruse. Suddenly they noticed a little round ball-a mere speck in the distance-being pulled up to the spanker gaff, then it opened out and displayed, to their bitter disappointment -the Arr.-f'rican ensign. "Confov . nd the luck! " cried Martin, with a ludicrous expressfr . n of disgust on his face; "it's one of our own ships." "Dor.!'t be too certain, boys!" replied Lawrence, sagely; "maybe. they are only trying us, just as we are fooling thert1." A messenger came running up with word from the commodore that he wished Midshipmen Martin and Lan}'on to report to him immediately as aides. "Come on, lad, shake a leg, or the old man will read us 1 a lecture!" exclaimed Martin, starting aft. Lawrence followed at his heels, and on reaching the quarter-deck found Decatur surrounded by a group of officers, each closely watching the oncoming craft. "She will soon be near enough to ascertain our true

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60 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. character," observed Mr. Allen, addressing his nearest neighbor, the chaplain. The commodore overheard the remark, and, walking over, said: "You are right, sir. I think we had better send the men to quarters at once. There is nothing like being prepared." In obedience to the order, Martin and Lawrence started forward to see that it was carried out with dispatch. They had not passed the main mast, however, before a loud hail from the top attracted th e ir attention. "Quarter deck, ahoy! there's three more sails just com ing in sight, sir !" If the previous announcement had created excitement, the latter startling news literally threw every one into a fever. "It's a convoy as sure as guns," cried Martin, dancing up and down the deck in glee. "Now, if those old war tubs are far enough astern, we'll get the pick of the flock." "Look at the old man," exclaimed Lawrence, suddenly. Quickly glancing aft, they saw Decatur standing on the horse block-a small platform built out from each side of the after cabins, and used by the officers to scan the outside of the vessel. He had grasped a trumpet, and was in the act of issuing a series of orders. His cap lay on the deck unheeded, and his long peruke stood out behind like the challenging arm of a pugilist. It was plainly evident that he had grasped the situa tion, and was rapidl y formin~ a plan of campaign.

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A CONVOY IS SIGHTED. 61 "You never saw him that way before, eh?" asked Martin, grimly. "Well, he always looks like that when his fighting blood is up. Just wait and you will see some maneuvers." Again a hail from the mast head. "Two more ships just hove in sight, sir," called out the vigilant sailing master, in sharp tones. " Decatur rubbed his hands thoughtfully, then shouted for him to come below. As soon as he reached the deck, the commodore gave him several orders, which were immediately carried out. Extra staysails were set, and a stretch taken on the topsails, a line of hose was attached to a hand pump and water played on every square inch of canvas within reach, and then the crew given warning to keep out of sight as much as possible, so no suspicion would be aroused on board the approaching fleet. By this time the foremost vessel was within a couple of miles of the frigate, and the three following not far behind. "One of those fellows looks like a man-of-war to me,'' said Martin to Lawrence, pointing toward the outside ship on the starboard bow. "What will the old man do, if several should prove to be armed craft?" asked the latter, deeply interested. "What'll he do? Why, fight, of course! that's what we are here for. Catch the old man running. Ha! not as long as he has a plank under him." ,, "Yes, but he surely wouldn't tackle an overwhelming

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62 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. force," replied Lanyon, gravely. "There is no bravery in foolishness, to my mind." "Well, we ' ll leave it to him, old boy, " concluded Martin, gayly. "I think he intend s to cut out a couple of those lumbering merchantm e n and s kip. And, by the way, if we capture a prize, and I am sent in charge, I want you to go with me." "I am a thousand times obliged to you, Martin," an swered Lanyon, gratefully. He appreciated the other's kindness in selecting him from the rest , all of whom were longer in the service. "That' s all right, lad/' replied the lanky midshipman, tersely. "If I didn't think you were capable and brave, I wouldn't ask you, and you can wager your last shilling on that." "We had better get aft, " warned Gordon, who hap pened to join them at that moment. " I think the old man is going to open fire on that first fellow." They were near enough to get a fair range by this time. The vessel close by was still carrying the American flag, but as the boys walked toward the quarter deck , she suddenly changed it for the Engli s h Jack. The transformation was witnessed by the commodore with indifference, as he had already made up his mind as to her real nationality. She seemed to be a full-rigged ship deeply laden, and was evidently of recent build. Her sailing qualities must have been of the first rate, as she was far in advance of the others f~rming the convoy.

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A CONVOY IS SIGHTED. 63 It was this fact which caused Decatur to conceive and carry out a bold scheme. He knew that a sudden broadside, if delivered ef fectually, would cause an immediate surrender, and he resolved to try it. Slacking off the port tack a trifle, he ordered the wheel put over, and then , when the frigate answered the helm, he gave the command to fire.

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CHAPTER IX. LA WREN CE IN PERIL. The simultaneous discharge of all the guns on one side caused the stout frigate to quiver from stem to stern. A dense pall of smoke settled around it for a moment, but when the sulphurous vapor cleared away, a scene of the most thrilling interest was spread out before the spectators. Fired at the distance of barely a mile, the iron hail struck the merchantman's wooden hull in innumerable places, literally raking it fore and aft. Very little of the rigging was damaged, as the com modore did not wish to cripple her sailing power. It was along the starboard side, and in the upper works that the destruction was revealed. From their point of vantage at the gangway, Lawrence and his mates witnessed the succeeding events. They saw the other ships of the convoy falter like frightened bird ~ , and then, with incredible swiftness, stand away on the other tack in frantic efforts to escape the danger so suddenly presented. All but one executed this maneuver. The exception was the craft Martin had designated as a war vessel. She was the outside one on the starboard side, and ap peared to be at least four miles distant.

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LAWRENCE IN PERIL. 65 "By George! that broadside woke her up!" exclaimed Gordon. "See ! she is signaling to her sister ship astern." "Yes, and squaring away for us, too," added Lanyon, excitedly. "Well, when she gets here, we'll have that prize and be on our r way rejoicing," spoke up Martin, with a grin. "The old man will _ be singing out for boats in a moment." The middy spoke truly. Before he had barely finished the sentence, a shrill whistle sounded, and the boatswain's hoarse voice shouted : "Away first, second and third cutters, armed and equipped! Lively there, all crews !" "Come on, Lawrence, our boat is called!" hurriedly ex claimed Martin. As they were running past the executive officer he stopped them, and told the senior middy that he was to remain on the prize with the third officer, and also bade him select a junior to assist him. In reply, Martin simply nodded over his shoulder to Lanyon, and walked on. Mr. Allen found time to smile kindly at the latter, and then plunged again into his multifold duties. "I say, Martin, cannot you find room for me also," cried out a voice behind them in pleading tones. Turning, they saw George Gordon. "Can't do it, lad!" replied the lanky middy, abruptly. "Am sorry, but it's against the rules." "You will get the next chance, George," added Law rence, with a wave of his hand.

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66 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. There was no time for further word s , a s the three long boats were in readiness to shove off. Lawrence and his mate were in the s econd cutter, which led the way. Martin had command of the little carronade in the bow, while Lanyon directed the cox swain. After leaving the frigate it was found that the firs t cutter contained no officer, so Mr. Jones, the senior in the expedition, ordered Lawrence to take charge of her. The transfer was quickly made, and the three boats, impelled by numerous oars, swept onward toward their prey. Before passing out of hail, they heard Decatur's voice bidding them make quick work of it. "Board her on both sides and astern, " he added, "and get her under sail just as soon as you possibly can. Steer for New London, and await me there." For the first time since joining the service, Lawrence found himself in sole command of a boat. He naturally felt proud, as it did not simply mean an ordinary trip ashore , but placed on him the responsibility of leading his crew into battle. That they would meet with armed resistance he did not doubt; in fact, he could see certain preparations on board the ship ahead of them which indicated a hot fight in store for the attacking force. "You had better board aft," called out the third officer. "We will separate in a few moments, and then each dash up to the places indicated. See that each of your men have a gun and cutlass, Mr. Lanyon."

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LAWRENCE IN PERIL. 67 "Ay, ay, sir," replied Lawrence, promptly. He soon ascertained that his crew were completely pre pared for war, and then sat silent and attentive in the stern sheets until they were within musket shot of the merchantman. Suddenly, noticing a cr~wd of men gather on the ves sel ' s quarter deck, he sternly bade his crew cease rowing and stoop down. It was w ell he did so, as a volley of bullets was im mediately sent in their direction. Owing to his forethought, not a man was injured in the cutter, but the others were not so fortunate. In Mr. Jone s' boat two sailor s were wounded, while Martin found over four of hi s cre w di s abled by the dis charge. Immediately after the volley was fired, Lawrence gave the command to r es ume rowing, and soon shot ahead of the other two cutters, whose crews were in the utmost confusion. The skill and self-command of the officers speedily had them in hand again, however, and all three boats at once resumed the course. None of the injured had received fatal wounds, but se".'eral were rendered useless for the time being. These were placed in the stern as much out of harm's way as possible, and ordered to take charge of the boats when the attacking party boarded the ship. It was evident that both Jones and Martin had no ticed Lawrence's maneuver in shielding his men, as the

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68 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. former called out his congratulations, and the midship man waved his hand in silent applause. There was little time for further demonstrations, as they were nearly alongside. "Now, men," cautioned Lacyon, drawing his sword; "just as soon as we reach the stern of the vessel, fire your guns at any one visible aft, then prepare to board. Jump, crawl or climb, but reach the deck some way, then sail in and drive all hands forward. He spoke with quiet determination, and his words had an inspiring effect on the score of brawny seamen. There was not one in the cutter who would not have fought to the death for their leader, boy though he was. As a proof, they gave a subdued cheer when he ceased speaking. A few seconds after, the second cutter darted under the merchantman's overhang and Lawrence gave the com mand to board. First firing a scattering volley, the crew grasped their cutlasses between their teeth and scrambled over the stern, led by the daring young middy. Lawrence caught hold of a corner of the cabin port, and swung himself far enough up to grasp a portion of the after railing. He then tumbled on deck just in time to find himself confronted by a dozen well-armed men, led by the mer chantman's skipper. "So, ho, my young bantam, and you're the kind of

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"Scrambled over the stern, led by the young middy." See page 68.

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L

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LAWRENCE IN PERIL. 69 men the Yanks think can whip Johnny Bull's beef eaters, eh?" exclaimed the latter, on seeing Lawrence. "Why, you ought to be spanked and put to-ouch!" The last sudden exp ression was called forth by a quick move on Lanyon ' s part. Not overpleased at the Brit isher's ridicule, he stepped forward, and before the other could prevent, struck him a sharp blow with the flat of his sword. All this byplay only occupied a few seconds, but in that time the rest of the cutter's crew appeared in sight. On seeing them, the sailors of the threatened vessel rushed in, and a hand-to-hand conflict ensued. "Drive them forward, men ! Throw the bullies down the hatch!" shoute,d the youthful leader, loudly. His quick eye had noticed the advance guard of the other crews appear in view, and he knew their best plan was to hem the sailors between the three forces. with hoarse shouts of rage the seamen from the frig ate fell upon their foes, and in a very short space of time they had them running forward. "After them, men ! Don't let the cowards rally !" called out Lawrence, in hot pursuit. His command was not needed, as the second cutter's crew knew their busine ss. They raced after the fleeing enemy, and, overtaking them, attacked them with such fury that the handful re maining cried for quarter. Hurriedly bidding sever a l of his own men disarm the prisoners, Lanyon jumped do w n on the main deck.

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• 70 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. As he struck the hard wood , hi s ankle turned, and he fell prostrate squarely in front of one of the merchant man's crew. Uttering a foul oath, the latter rai s ed hi s cutlass and brought it down with terrible force on Lawrence's body . . .;

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CHAPTER X. THE LORD CLIVE. If it had not be~n for one fortunate circumstance, that part of this history concerning Lawrence Lanyon would be speedily drawn to a close. The blow aimed at him by the stalwart seaman fell true to its mark, but instead of entering Lanyon's body, it struck his sword, which had fallen across him, and glanced from that to the deck. The force was sufficient to knock the wind out of him, however, and he lay gasping for breath at the mercy of his foe. The latter elevated his weapon for another attempt, and was in the act of bringing it down, when a lanky form crtpt np behind him and ended his earthly career with neatness and dispatch. It was Martin. "Just in time, old boy," he said, bending over Law rence, and assisting him to scramble erect. "By George, you are right!" replied Lanyon, fervently. "Another moment and that fellow would have settled me. I am a thousand times obliged, Martin, and--" He was interrupted by a loud cheer from forward. "We are victorious!" shouted Martin, tossing his cap in the air. "Hurrah! Now to get away from here!" •

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72 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Looking toward the bow, they saw the last remnant o'f the British crew hustled down the forecastle hatch by a crowd of American sailors. "Why, where is Jones?" asked Lawrence, as they ran toward the scene. The third officer was not in sight. Lawrence's coxswain-the one in charge of the second cutter-commanded the force which had just added the last touches to the victory. On reaching the vicinity of the forecastle, Martin im mediately asked for his superior officer. Miller, the coxswain, quietly pointed to a heap of dead bodies in the lee scuppers. "He fell among the first," was his simple explanation. Lanyon was shocked at the sight. But Martin, after a few brief words of regret, took im mediate command of the little force, and gave orders to trim sails. "It now devolves upon us, ~arry," he said, "to carry this prize safely into port. The United States will have her hands full looking after that frigate. I am sorry for poor Jones, but it is the fortune of war. If we don't care to meet the same fate, or find ourselves in the in7 terior of a British prison, we will have to step lively." "Well, what's the first thing to do, Martin?" For answer, the latter placed him in charge of a small party of sailors, and bade him see that every hatch leading below was securely fastened. Then the senior middy devoted his attention to getting the ship before the wind.

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THE LORD CLIVE. 73 As the courses and topsails were still set, this was an easy matter. "A couple of hands clap on the jib and staysail halliards forward there!" sang out Martin, sternly. "Miller, take the rest and trim sail. Send a man to the wheel, and tell him to steer with a free sheet; anything to get out of this vicinity." By this time Lawrence had finished his task, and came up to report all safe. "I think we have the most of them in the forecastle," he said. "They are kicking up a hullabaloo down there, and calling for water." "We will give them some, and look after the wounded just as soon as we get out of here," replied Martin. His evident anxiety to leave the neighborhood was fully explained by the close proximity of the English man-of war. During the combat, she had crept up within a couple of miles, and was bringing the wind with her. Turning his attention from the merchantman, which had previously engrossed his time, Martin seized a tele scope and looked long and earnestly at the different ves sels of the convoy. "I believe that fellow in advance of the three astern is a cruiser," he remarked, slowly. "Yes; by Jove, it is! I can see her gunports, and a black spot on her forecastle that must be a 'long Tom.' " "Well, the only one we need fear is the frigate," replied Lawrence, pointing toward the approaching warship.

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74 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. 'Oh, the old man will take care of her! See, he is going on the other tack to cut her off now." By this time the United States had passed astern of the merchantman. When entirely clear, she came about and stood direct for her antagonist. It was plainly apparent Decatur intended covering the retreat of the prize. The lads could see the crews at their guns ready for action, and their hearts beat high with hope. The Lord Clive, the vessel just captured, was now under full sail and burying her bowsprit in the waves. Miller found time to heave the log, and found that she was making ten knots-a rattling speed under the cir cumstances. Martin's sallow face beamed with joy. "vVe will escape from them yet, old boy," he cried, giving Lawrence a slap on the . back that almost felled him. "I-I-hope so , " gasped Lanyon, rubbing his shoulder. "But save those licks for the Britishers, Martin; you've almost paralyzed me." The lanky youth laughed, and then walked forward. He stopped in the waist, and glanced aft toward the frigates. The United States had just worn around again. As he watched, a faint puff of smoke appeared at her bow, and the distant report of a gun came to his ears. "Ah, the ball has commenced!" he muttered, beckoning for Lawrence. "They are at it at last!" exclaimed the latter, running up.

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THE LORD CLIVE. 75 "Yes, and more power to the old man's elbow!" Martin quaintly replied. "I am pleased with my new command, but I'd like to have a hand in that myself." They stood and watched the combat, with sparkling eyes. Each felt sorry to run away and leave their shipmates to cover their retreat, but it would_ have been folly and rank dis obedience of orders to have remained. The last words Commodore Decatur said as they were leaving the s hip was to set all sail and make the best of their way to ew London. Then, again, the prize was now entirely in their hands, and, barring an unexpected meeting with hostile cruisers, they were in a fair way to see her safe into port. "Just think that this will net us more money than we have ever seen before," remarked Martin, exultantly. "This ship is worth ten thousand dollars if she is worth a penny." "And the cargo?" "It's according to what it is. She seems deeply laden, and, if it is general merchandise, as I think she must carry, coming this way, we will have a fortune." "\i\Tell, I'd rather have it in my pocket than out here almost under the enemy's guns," said Lawrence, sagely. The deep roar of a broadside came to their ears just then. Looking eagerly in the direction of the fight, they saw a cloud of smoke hiding the United States from view. The same glance revealed a welcome sight. The English frigate staggered as if struck a mortal

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76 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. blow, and her foremast fell over the side, snapping her main topgallant mast close to the cap. "Bully for our boys!" yelled Martin, hopping up and down in an excess of joy. "That' s the way to do it! Now he ' ll let drive another one and then s kip." "There goes the second broadside," cried Lanyon. "Whoop! It raked her fore and aft. Why, the old man is going to leave her. " "Of course he is. Don't you see the si ster ship almost within cannot-shot? And, by the gods of war! there is another just heaving in sight! Whew! This will be a hot part of the w orld in a little while!" There is no doubt but that the gallant commodore of the United States thought so, too . After firing the la s t broad s ide, he immediately put the ship about and stood after the prize. It was well he did, as the second frigate was coming up rapidly. "If the old man only had a half-hour's grace, he'd capture hi s antagonist," remarked Lawrence, as they walked aft. "You are right," replied Martin. "But he still has the satisfaction of knowing that he disabled one of them. "Now," he continued, "we must interview our friends below; but first let us call the roll and see how many men we have. Miller, send all hands aft!" I

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CHAPTER XI. THE FAIR PASSENGER. In obedience to his command, the crews of the three cutters came aft. There were forty of them, all able-bodied seamen, and used to hard knocks. The small boats had been hoisted on board immediately after the ship was captured. The task now before the young commander and his assistant was to arrange their men into watches. "Now, my lads," called out Martin from his stand near the cabin hatch, "as we have been successful in capturing this hooker from the enemy, it behooves us to carry her safely into port. Aside from the money we'll get out of it, our honor is at stake. It would be a pretty howdy do to lose the prize after o.ur mates on the old frigate had fought for it, eh? We'd never face them again if that happened, would we?" Hoarse cries of approval came from the assembled crowd, and to a man they shook their brawny arms as if such a condition of affairs could only exist after they had filled a watery grave. "Well, if you agree with me, we'll now proceed to busi ness," continued the senior midshipman. "I want to pick out twelve good men as regular guards over the pris-

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78 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. oners; and let me say right here that our greatest danger now lies under our feet. If those fellows get loose, we'll have a hard tussle." Turning to Lawrence, he asked him to send a dozen seamen forward under arms, and to give them instruc tions to keep careful watch over the hatch. The remainder were divided in two watches, and the starboard designated as Lanyon's charge. Martin quietly remarked that he would belong to both, and twenty-three hours out of the twenty-four at that. The Lord Clive had been making such good speed that she was now a long distance from the convoy. Away a . stern on the port quarter the American frigate could be seen buried under a cloud of canvas, and in close pursuit was the second English ship, also covered with sails. The disabled man-of-war was simply a smudge on the horizon, while collected around her were the other mer chantmen. Martin walked the quarter-deck after his little speech, and conversed with Lanyon over their strange position. It was now drawing toward noon, and the senior middy confessed that a little food would be welcome. "Suppose you go forward and overhaul the galley, Larry. Tell Wilson that I detail him as cook." While Lanyon was on this errand, Martin superin tended the clearing of the decks of their ghastly burden. Until now there had been no time to bury the slain, nor hardly to look after the wounded, but the Lord Clive

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THE FAIR PASSENGER. 79 had reached such a safe distance from the convoy that they could now attend to the minor details. The half-score dead bodies were unceremoniously dumped over the side, with the exception of the late lieutenant. In view of his rank, he was sewed up in sailcloth, and launched out with a heavy weight at his feet. Then Martin turned his attention to the injured. After the manner of hardy seamen, those who had simply received a sword cut, or been scratched by a bullet, tied up their own wounds, and went about their business unconcerned. But there were others-to the number of six-who were more grievously afflicted. One had a broken arm, another was suffering from a gunshot wound in the thigh, and s till another lay in a . corner stupid from a blow on the head, with all the symptoms of fracture. These the lanky officer patched up as best he could with the appliances at hand and his own crude knowledge of surgery. He then ordered hammocks swung in the cabin, where they would be free from disturbance and constantly under his eye, so to speak. Leaving the deck in charge of Miller, who was proving himself a very capable man, Martin went forward and informed Lawrence that he was ready to interview the prisoners. On their way from the galley to the , forchatch the

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80 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. two midshipmen made a casual inspection of the damages caused by the frigate's broadside. The pump had been sounded some time before with favorable results, there being but little more water than is generally found in the bilges. As far as they could see for the present, the main in juries were confined to what are known as the "upper works," or bulwarks and deckhouses. The galley had not escaped, the roof being almost torn off and one side exposed to the weather; but this did not affect the redoubtable Wilson; he boiled the water and concocted a savory stew of salt meat with as great a skill as if he had a French kitchen in which to labor. "The only damage requiring attention immediately is the splicing of those main backstays," remarked Martin, as they continued forward. "I'll have Miller see to that after dinner. Now, Larry, arrange your men, with guns at a ready, around the hatch, and I'll open up." Lanyon accordingly stationed the twelve sailors in a group, with their primed muskets aimed at the hatch, and Martin threw off the fastenings. As the latter did so, he called out: "Now, do you hear below there; I am going to have a talk with you, and look after what wounded there may be below. I have an armed guard ready to fire on the first one coming up without permission, so mind your self!" Martin waited a moment. A murmur of voices and the shifting of many feet came from beneath ; then some one shouted:

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THE FAIR PASSENGER. 81 "For God's sake, let us out of this stifling hole! We have a lady down here, and the heat is killing her!" "A lady!" cried Lawrence, gazing at Martin in ex treme astonishment. "Why, where on earth do you sup pose she came from ?" Martin did not wait to conjecture. Throwing off the wooden hatch-cover, he peered down below. Standing directly under the opening was a crowd of sailors huddled together. There seemed to be at least two score of them, all apparently of English descent. But it was not these which attracted his instant atten tion. Standing a little to one side was a neatly attired old gentleman supporting in his arms the form of a young girl. She evidently was unconscious, as she hung limp and helpless. Even in the dim light of the little apartment, the lads could see that she was quite beautiful. They did not waste time in idle gazing, however. Uttering an exclamation of sympathy, Lawrence quickly lowered himself to the deck, and, removing his jaunty cap, said: "We sincerely beg your pardon, sir, for keeping you in this hole so long. If we had thought for a moment that a young lady was on board, we would have cer tainly placed her in more comfortable quarters." The gentleman he addressed favored him with a haughty glance, and then coldly replied : "No apologies are desired, I assure you, nor do we

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82 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. wish any favors from one of your nationality; but, if you care to remove my daughter to a room more suited to her present unfortunate condition, I can do nothing but accept." Lawrence looked at him in surprise. He was not prepared for such bitter feeling, neither did he anticipate anything ~ave a cordial response to his offer of assistance. In the first excitement on seeing one of the opposite sex in need of aid, he had impulsively sprung below in the midst of the enemy, not heeding his own personal safety. And to have his advances met in that way! Bowing ceremoniously to the old gentleman, Lanyon replied, in tones equally as frigid : "You are at liberty to view my offer in whatever light you wish, si.r; but allow me to suggest that your daughter should be removed into the air without delay. With your permission, I will attend to it at once." Glancing up at Martin, he asked him to pass the bight of a line below. The middy had already attached a rope to a block on the forestay, so all there remained to be done was to pass the end down the hatch. Making a hasty loop in it, Lawrence placed his right foot therein, and, carefully grasping the young girl around the waist, he called out to hoist away. A few strong, steady pulls, and they were on the spar deck in safety. Martin's thoughtfulness had provided a rude litter, on

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THE FAIR PASSENGER. 83 which the unconscious girl was immediately placed and carried aft to the captain's stateroom. Her fath e r was close b e hind, and, when they arrived in the cabin, he and Lanyon instantly set to work to restore her to consciousness. Slo w ly opening her eye s , she gave tho s e standing near a bewildered glance, and then, uttering a cry of joy, threw her arms around her father's neck.

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CHAPTER XII. THE FATAL SHOT. "Oh, father, I am so glad you are safe!" exclaimed the girl, impulsively. "I have had such terrible-why, who is this?" While speaking she had caught sight of Lawrence, who stood near the cabin door, respectfully waiting to see if anything further was required. "He is one of the Yankee officers from the American frigate, my dear," explained her father. "He and the one just behind are in charge of the party now in control of the Lord Clive." "Is it possible such a young lad could be one of those blood-thirsty pirates?" asked the girl, curiously. "Pirates!" Lawrence heard Martin echo; then the senior middy made for the door and disappeared, choking with laughter. Not so, Lan yon. On hearing the extraordinary statement, he colored up, and said: "I am afraid your daughter has been misinformed, sir. We are not freebooters, but officers of the United States Navy on board a lawful prize of that government." "We are entitled to our own opinion as to your true character, sir," retorted the old gentleman, haughtily.

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THE FATAL SHOT. 85 "The misguided inhabitants of his majesty's late Ameri can provinces may perhaps think they are waging a legitimate warfare, but they are wrong, sir, utterly wrong." Lawrence did not trust him s elf to reply to such a prejudiced statement, but simply bowed ironically and walked toward the door. As he did so, he noticed the young lady peep slyly in his direction, with a di s pla y of intere s t he considered greater than the occa s ion warranted. On reaching the out s ide, h e found Martin leaning against the railing, still con v ul se d with laughter. "Pirates! Ho, ho! " he shouted, on seeing Lanyon. "Now, what do you think of that? Two of Decatur's junior officers taken for gay cor s airs. Ha, ha! If the boys ever hear of this, our good names will be lost. But she is a pretty girl, eh?" "Yes; as handsome as her father i s foolish, " replied Lawrence, emphatically. "The idea of an intelligent man, as he apparently is, talking that way." He explained the la s t remark their prisoner had made to Martin ' s unrestrained anger and contempt. "Why , the old villain! " cried the middy. "If he were alone, I should be tempted to run him back to the fore castle." "We cannot well do that, but it wouldn ' t be a bad idea to keep an eye on him," Lawrence replied, reflectively. "He is so bitter against us and our country that I think he would hardly hesitate at anything." "Well, if I catch him trying any scheme, there ':'7ill be

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86 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. trouble," said Martin. "So long as he behaves himself, he can remain aft; but, if I suspect the least move on his part against us, back he goes." Calling one of the sailors selected as guards, he told him to take his stand just outside the cabin door, and not to allow the occupants past under any circumstances. "Now we will see the captain and his crew," he added to Lanyon, going forward. They found the hatch still open and guarded. Water and food had been supplied those below, and they were being rendered as comfortable as possibl e . A short inspection showed that only eight of the English crew were wounded, and none of those seriously. The skipper-he who had waxed jolly at Lawrence's youth when the latter first boarded the ship-was unin jured and as mad as a man in his condition could be. "You miserable sharks have the best of me now!" he shouted, shaking his fist at those above him; "but the tables will be turned some time, and then I'll hang every mother's son of ye." "You had better keep your breath to cool your por ridge," coolly retorted Martin. "I am not here to fight with words, but to attend to business. I am going to treat you right, if you obey my rules; but, if you don't, then look out for squalls, that ' s all. This hatch will be left open during the day, but ten loaded guns will guard it; so, if you have any idea of crawling up unawares, just remember that we can shoot as well as we did during the revolution." With this last retort, the young officer walked away,

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THE FATAL SHOT. 87 leaving the former skipper of the merchantman boiling with rage. Going aft, Martin looked earnestly at the distant hori zon. "There is nothing in sight now," he remarked to Lan yon, who had accompanied him; "but the frigates can't be far astern." "To tell the truth, I can't see why Decatur ran from that one frigate," said Lawrence, perplexedly. "Oh, that's only one of the old man's tricks," replied Martin, with a quiet chuckle. "He will draw the other fellow away, and then fall upon him tooth and nail, or keep out of sight until dark, and then cut out another ship." . The sound of a small bell being vigorously rung by the cook proclaimed that dinner was ready. This was good news, as both lads felt the need of food by this time. Before falling to themselves, Lawrence pick . ed out sev eral dainty articles, and sent them aft by Wilson, the cook. "If they try to pump you, just tell them you are here to boil water, and not to furnish general information to prisoners," Martin called after him. An ample supply of provisions had been found on the Lord Clive-so much, in fact, that it was evident her owners had supplied enough for both the outward and home voyages. After dinner the day was devoted to minor repairs. As much of the damage as could be patched up by the

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88 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. crew was attended to, and when night came the mer chantman was in fairly good condition. Martin had found the skipper's nautical instruments, and taken their position at twelve o'clock. On being worked out, it showed they were about two thousand miles from the American coast-a long dis tance to travel. ''We are all right, if no confounded British cruiser bobs up in our path," said the senior middy to his chum, as they paced the quarter-deck that night. It was Lanyon's watch, but Martin was in no hurry to retire, so he kept company with the former for a while. There were many things to talk about, and it was almost midnight when he at last tumbled into his bunk. It had been decided that he was to occupy one of the two rooms directly beneath the cabin overhang. In vessels of that class the poopdeck is generally carried beyond the cabin, thus forming a species of hood, in which are built a couple of apartments, one on each side. They open directly on the quarter-deck, and are entirely separate from the main saloon proper. Directly beneath the latter is a small apartment known as the cuddy, in which are stored the provisions used on board. These details are necessary to a proper understanding of what occurred that night. After Martin left him, Lawrence walked back and forth between the mainmast and poop, wrapped in thought. The many events of the day formed part of his mus-

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THE FATAL SHOT. 89 ings, but it must be confessed that our hero did not pass over his strange meeting with their fair young prisoner. He recalled the manner in which she glanced after him when he left the cabin, and the remembrance brought a conscious smile to his lips. "It's a pity her father holds such bitter views concerning the United States," he murmured. "To tell the truth, I should like to b ecome better acquainted with her, andwhat's that?" In his monotonous walk, he had approached close to the partition forward of the cabin. A faint sound as of breaking timber came directly from beneath his feet. Lawrence held hi s breath , and listened intently. Again the strange noise so unded, but this time much louder. Crash! It was unmi stakable-some one was at work in the cuddy. "By Jove! the prison ers ! " whispered Lawrence to him self. Grasping a pistol from a rack near by, he rushed toward Martin's room, and was just in the act of hammering on the door, when a form slipped from the cabin and stole after him. All unconscious of the danger behind, Lanyon beat a tattoo on the heavy wood, at the same time shouting: "Martin ! come on deck, quick ! There is something afoot!"

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90 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. \Vheeling around to shout an alarm to the crew, he saw not three feet away the figure of the young girl. In one hand she grasped a pistol, and, as he staggered back in surprise, she aimed directly at him and pulled the trigger. There was a blinding flash, a sharp report, and Lan yon threw up his arms with a cry of agony.

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CHAPTER XIII. TABLES ARE TURNED. In the little stateroom off the quarter-deck Martin lay stretched out in a dreamless sleep. The day had been one of toil and excitement, and he slumbered heavily. He suddenly became conscious of a loud noise at the door. Bang! bang! Then the well-known voice of Lanyon shouted an alarm. With one agile spring, the middy reached the door and tried the knob. To his consternation, it resisted all his efforts and re mained fast. It was locked. Now thoroughly alarmed, Martin struggled with all his power to open the heavy portal. Speedily finding it impossible, he tttrned his attention to a small window looking forward. He had barely reached it when he heard Lanyon utter an exclamation of astonishment; then came the sharp report of a pistol, immediately followed by the cry of agony. He recognized the tone, and his heart gave a sudden leap of horror.

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92 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "Heavens! They have killed poor Larry!" he gasped. The very thought nerved him to renewed action, and he threw back the swinging port, drew himself up and tumbled out on deck head first. Quickly scrambling to his feet, he rus hed toward the overhand, and almost ran into a man in the act of coming out on deck. By the aid of a dim light hanging from the ceiling he recognized the skipper of the Lord Clive. Just behind him were a score of sailors, armed with billets of wood and other odds and ends from the hold. Jerking a pistol from his belt, Martin fired point-blank at the captain ; then throwing the empty weapon at the head of another, turned and retreated down the deck. As he did so, he noticed a number of the American seamen rushing aft, with Miller in advance. "The prisoners have risen, bullies!" shouted the mid shipman, loudly. "Charge on them, and fire as you go!" His command was instantly obeyed. The ringing reports from a dozen muskets sounded on the night air, followed by sharp cries of pain. A commotion was seen in the group of men under the overhang, and then several of them fell to the deck, evi dently badly wounded. For a moment the balance wavered, some retreated to the cabin door, and then the majority rushed out on the quarter-deck, uttering hoarse shouts of rage. Whirling their rude weapons, th ey charged on the ad vancing sailors with desperat e courage.

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TABLES ARE TURNED. 93 Martin instantly saw that a fierce combat was bound to follow. Placing himself at the head of his men, he grasped a cutlass and engaged one of the foremost prisoners. In a moment the deck w as covered with struggling forms. Back and forth, slashing and cutting, now one side victorious, and then the tide of battle transferred to the other, they fought with the greatest valor. On first joining his sailors, Martin noticed that the en tire crew was not present. "The starboard watch is below, sir; fastened down by some misera~le traitor!" was the startling reply. "Why didn't you release them?" "Couldn't; the hasp is caught and broken." This was terribly unfortunate. Now the crew of the merchantman outnumbered the Americans almost two to one. It is true the latter possessed arms, but the odds were too much in favor of the enemy. Still Martin and his brave followers went into the battle with sto'ut hearts, and fought as they never fought before. Early in the fray the middy ran across the skipper of the Lord Clive. The latter's face was streaked with blood from a ghastly wound in the head, and he carried one arm help lessly, as if it had been paralyzed with a blow. The shot fired at him by Martin a few moments pre viously had apparently taken effect, but he still led hi s men.

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94 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. On catching sight of the young officer, the captain made for him, and , raising a formidable club, aimed a vicious blow at his head. If the weapon had ever struck where he had intended, Martin would have ceased fighting then and there. But the agile youth saw it jus t in time, and gave a quick jump to one side, at the same moment striking out with his fist in a lu sty manner. He used that natural instrument because his cutlass had been dashed from his grasp a second previous by one of the sailors of the ship. As it happened, his fist answered the purpose just as well. It landed with s uch shrewd force that the valiant mariner fell into the scuppers and remained there per fectly obliviou s of further proceedings. While this little episode was in progress the combat had been raging with varying fortunes. At first the Yankee tars, in virtue of their superior weapons, had the best of the fight , and drove the mer chantmen sailors aft almost into the cabin. But then overwhelming numbers triumphed, and the Englis h fell upon their antagonists with such fury that Martin and his crew were compelled to retreat forward. So it went for the space of an hour. At the expiration of that time both sides were thoroughly exhausted, and a temporary truce was called. The young middy rallied his men near the foremast, and hastily consulted with Miller. A hurried count showed that he had sixteen combatants remaining.

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TABLES ARE TURNED. 95 As far as he could see, this was hardly one-half of the enemy's force, even after deducting their injured. "It's a bad case, Miller," he said to the coxswain. "Without something unexpected happens, we are gone up." "If them men in the fo'castle were able to join us, sir, we would be all right." "True; but we haven't time to break open the hatch. I tried it a few moments ago, and found that it will take a hammer and a cold chisel. But we--" "Here come those villains again I'' interrupted Miller, quickly. His sh~rp eye had di s cerned a number of shadowy forms creeping past the mainmast. It was the British crew again a
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96 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. One after another was either felled to the deck or captured, until at last only the middy and two seamen were left. He had an object in view. Knowing that the recapture of the prize was a fore gone conclusion now~ he cast about for some plan to make the victory only temporary. The only hope left was to try and signal the ft igate if she caught up with them. For over an hour the Lord Clive had been tossing about, sometimes aback, and part of the while making a little leeway. Therefore, if the United States had not stopped to fight her pursuer, she should be somewhere in the vicinity.

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CHAPTER XIV. IN THE MIZZENTOP. During the previous struggle, Martin had chanced to notice a tar-bucket lying in the port scuppers directly opposite the main chains. His foot had struck it while dodging back to escape a blow, and even in the natural excitement, he involuntarily recognized the object. It now formed an important part of his new scheme. Takingadvantage of a moment of darkness, he crept aft to the spot, and, after securing the bucket, noiselessly mounted the rigging. His maneuver was successful only because of the com motion forward. If the triumphant enemy had not been occupied in driving the Yankee tars below, Martin would have undoubtedly been captured. As it was, he reached the maintop in safety, and, stretching himself out close to the edge, listened intently for sounds from the spardeck. He knew that he would be missed before long, and the ship searched, but he resolved to postpone the discovery for as many minutes as possible, in hope that the frigate would turn up. 'It was certainly a slender reed to lean upon, and the chances of the United States "heaving in sight" were

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98 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. few and far between; but stranger things have hap pened, and, in fact, it was now the only chance of recovering the Lord Clive. Martin's stout heart almost failed him, when he peered into the impenetrable blackness enshrouding the ship. That the astute commodore would allow a light to be shown from the frigate was hardly possible, and how else would the middy learn of the war vessel's proximity. Considering the s e drawbacks, it is not to be wondered at that the young officer was discouraged. He was almost on the point of going down and surrendering himself, when the faint sound of voices came to his ears. Eagerly bending over, he listened to the conversation. "The young officer has recovered, papa, but he is _ still weak. I hardly think he should be moved." It was the young girl-their fair prisoner-addressing her father. At the words, Martin's faithful heart swelled with joy. The young officer she mentioned could be none other than Lawrence, still alive. Since leaving his room by way of the window, the middy had been so engrossed that he had not found time to even speculate on Lanyon's fate. That he had been sorely wounded he did not doubtthe shot, immediately followed by the cry of agony, tes tified to that ; but his greatest fear was that Larry had died. Now it was settled, he felt an irresistible impulse to see his friend.

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IN THE MIZZENTOP. 99 "He must be in the cabin-carried-there by the old gen tleman in a moment of pity," he murmured. "If I could only reach the stern, it would be an easy matter to look through the windows." The signs of excitement near the forecastle had passed away, and only a confused mumble of voices came from that direction. As yet, as far as he could make out, no efforts were being inaugurated to look for him, but a searching party would probably be formed soo n. Martin made another attempt to pierce the gloom, but without success. The moon had entirely disappeared, banked in a somber mass of clouds, which were growing more dense as the night progressed. It was a good time for concealment; but, on the other hand, very poor for sighting the frigate. After gazing carefully in every point of the compass, the mipshipman climbed up the topgallant shrouds to the cross-trees, and then cautiously worked his way down the main topmast stay to the mizzentop. It was a very dangerous act, but he accomplished it in safety, and reached the cap of the mizzenmast just in time to hear the sounds of a scuffle from directly below. At first Martin thought he had been discovered. Some one cried : "There he goes !" and then the swaying of the starboard shrouds indicated that a man was hastily ascending to where he stood. "By George ! If it is only one, he'll go down faster

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100 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. than he came up," he muttered, grimly, picking up a spare block loosely fastened to the floor of the top. Creeping close to the starboard "lubber hole," Martin raised his weapon and silently waited. He could hear the man gasping from the exertion. The sounds drew nearer and nearer, and then a hand clutched the edge of the top. "Now for his nob," whispered the young leader. Leaning over, he took careful aim, and was just on the point of bringing the heavy wooden block down on the man's head projecting through the opening, when a familiar voice exclaimed: "Great guns, but that was a narrow squeeze!" Then, to his unbounded amazement, Martin saw Lawrence Lanyon crawl up alongside of him. The former recognized his friend at the same time, and the two lads simply stood and looked at each other in silence for a moment. Then the senior middy reached over and gave Lawrence's hand such a grip that he almost cried out in pain. "Why, you confounded little scamp, where did you come from?" he cried, joyfully. "Just escaped from the cabin," answered Lanyon, equally pleased. "But weren't you wounded early • in the fight?" "Yes ; the young gir 1 shot me just as I was calling you." "The-young-girl !" gasped Martin, completely dumfounded. "Yes, our fair prisoner. After turning from the door of

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IN THE MIZZENTOP. 101 your room to go forward and alarm the crew, I ran plump into the muzzle of a pistol. I just had time to recognize her, when she pulled the trigger and shot me. Fortunately, the bullet barely grazed my head, but it knocked the life out of me for a time. When I recovered con sciousness, I found myself on a cot in the cabin, being tenderly cared for by the same one who did the deed." "Well, by all that's wonderful, this is the most ro mantic romance I ever heard of! Now, to form a fitting sequel, Larry, you ought to marry her and live happy ever after." "Whew! I would just as soon be spliced to a wildcat," replied Lanyon, giving a comical whistle. "But, to tell the truth, Martin, she was awful sorry, and actually . cried over me." "I wonder how she ever mustered up the nerve to do it?" "It was her father; he talked her into it. While I was l~ing there just recovering, I heard her wailing and tearing her hair, and swearing that if I only got well she would devote her life to making reparation. At that I opened my eyes and asked if she wouldn't put me in the way of joining my crew, for I knew what had oc curred. At that she fired up a little, then smuggled me out the cabin window." "But didn't I hear the sounds of a struggle below there?" asked Martin, deeply interested. "Yes; the man at the wheel saw me just as I was mak ing for the mizzen shrouds. He ran and grabbed me, but I knocked him down and then came up here."

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102 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. After he had finished, the senior middy told him all that had occurred, including his scheme for signaling the frigate with the aid of the tar-bucket. "Now, if she would only come along, we would be all right," he added, impatiently. "If we have to wait, those Britishers will capture u s sure." "It's a mighty slim chance," replied Lawrence, doubt fully. "Yes, but it's the only hope we have. I think-what's that?" While speaking, a peculiar noise had come to his earsa dull report or "snap" as of a sai l flapping in the leech. "There's some vessel close by," wh i spere d Martin, hoarsely. "Sh--! don't make any noise until we locate it." Creeping on tiptoes to the edge of the top, they lis tened for further indications. It soon came. Suddenly the creaking of blocks became apparent, and then a boatswain's whistleJ shrill and piercing, sounded 011 the night air. Lawrence felt Martin's hand on hi s shoulder, clutching it with painful int ensity. "Do you know what that means, Larry?" h e muttered. an d the recapture of the prize. "It means safety for us There is only one bo's'n 011 the sea that can whistle lik e that, and hi s name is Tom G allant." "Then it's the frigate!" exclaimed Lanyon, joyfully. "Yes, the grand old United States," replied Martin; then he added, solemnly :

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IN THE MIZZENTOP. 103 "You would think this a miracle or mere coincidence, Larry, but it's the inevitable triumph of the just side. We are bound to win in this war with our oppressor, and for the second time, too." Before Lanyon had time to reply, a subdued hustle be]ow indicated that the merchant crew had discovered their peril. The massive yards were swung to the wind, and a lean of the hull proclaimed their efforts to slip from the dangerous spot. "N ow's our chance!" cried the elder lad, unslinging the , pot of tar from his shoulders. "Strike a light, quick!" His companion did as he was bidden ; the tiny flame glowed faintly for one brief moment, and then a vivid glare lighted up the scene.

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CHAPTER XV. AN ATTACK. At the same instant both midshipmen shouted as if with one voice: "United States, ahoy! The prize is re captured ! Send the boats !" A chorus of angry cries came from the spar deck, then a whole volley of shots rang out. Luckily none took effect, although their figures were clearly outlined against the glare of light. It seemed to Lawrence that a whole year elapsed before an answering hail came from the frigate, now dimly vis ible a few ship's lengths away. At last the first lieuten ant's voice was heard ordering several boats away, armed and equipped. It was none too soon, as a number of the merchant man's crew had started up the mizzen rigging, apparently intent on getting revenge while they could. Martin and Lawrence saw them coming, and prepared to defend the top. The former grasped his trusty block-the one he came near using on his friend-and Lanyon speedily found another. "You take the starboard side, and I'll defend the lar board," exclaimed the senior middy. "If those men get up here, we are done for, sure."

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AN ATTACK. 105 Lawrence did not reply, but the ominous manner with which he raised his weapon boded ill for those in pursuit. In a very short time the foremost of the English sailors reached the lubber hole. Peering down, Martin saw that he held a long knife between his teeth, and a cutlass in his right hand. He was evidently prepared for business. And so was the middy. Watching his chance, he brought the heavy block down on the intruder's head with a terrific whack. One such blow was amply sufficient. Uttering a stifled groan, the man slid down the rigging like a shot and landed on the deck below. In his fall he must have knocked down several following him, as the lads heard more than one thud. In the meantime, Lawrence was doing good work on his side of the top. At about the same moment Martin struck his man, Lanyon tapped another on the cranium, with like results. Those below, seeing the failure of their mates in reaching the mizzentop, sent another shower of bullets aloft. Hearing Martin utter a sudden ejaculation, Larry anxiously asked him if he was wounded. "Pretty near it, old boy," came the reply. "One of those leaden pellets just grazed my ear. Ah, there come the boats from the frigate!" Rapidly approaching from out the misty darkness could be seen three cutters filled with men. On observing them, the two middies gave a lusty cheer.

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106 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. It was immediately answered from the oncoming craft, and then they speedily dashed alongside. There was no resistance from the crew of the Lord Clive; they apparently recognized the futility of it, and meant to surrender gracefully. "Come on, Martin ; let's get down there in time to re ceive our fellows," cried Lanyon, preparing to descend. On reaching the deck, they found the merchant crew grouped on one side, with the skipper at their head. They favored . the middies with a scowl of hatred, but forebore to offer them any bodily injury. Rushing to the gangway, Martin tipped his cap to an officer just climbing over the side, and exclaimed: "Very happy to see you, Mr. Scott; in fact I don't know when I have been so glad at meeting you." The officer smiled briefly, and then asked the cause of the trouble. He was soon informed. "Ah ! they got the be s t of you, eh? Well, you must have been born under a lucky star, Martin, or else th e frigate would not have happened along so opportunely . We will now secure the prisoners once more, and thi s time in such a manner that they won't get away in a hurry." Acting under his directions, the skipper and his crew were again confined in the forward hold, but with a score of armed seamen with them. After this was attended to, Lawrence went aft with Mr. Scott and knocked on the cabin door. He had told the lieutenant of his little episode with the

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AN ATTACK. 107 old gentleman and his daughter, and the former was eager to see such interesting per s onages. "Your adventure s will make a great yarn to spin to your shipmates, Lany on," _ he s miled. " I don't doubt that any of the boy s would ri s k a shot to be attended by such a delightful young lady. " Lawrence felt his head doubtfull y . He was not certain but what s uch a narrow s queeze was too high a price to pay for the pleasure. Not receiving an an s w e r to hi s knock, he turned the knob and walk e d in, follo w ed by Scott. A startling tableau met their eyes. Standing at the far end was the old gentleman, his face suffused with pas s ion. He held a brace of pi s tols in his hands, and had evidently prepared to use them. Close to his side was the girl. She had thrown her arms around hi s , and was striving to prevent him from discharging the weapons. Taking in the situation at a glance, Lawrence sprang forward and disarmed the incen s ed man jus t in time. In another second he would have freed him s elf from his daughter' s detaining gras p, and fired at the offic ers. "What do you mean, sir!" sternly demanded Lieutenant Scott. ''You are a prisoner of the American Govern ment, and have been used leniently by the junior officers in charge of this prize. Now, if you cannot control your self, I will have to order you confined with the rest of the prisoners in the forward hold." ' _'I do not recognize your government," howled the enraged Englishman, struggling to free himself. "You are

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108 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. pirates, and I will die before I surrender. Unhand me, I say!" Lanyon caught an appealing glance from the young lady, and whispered a few words to his superior officer. The latter nodded and directed several of his men to place the old gentleman in a stateroom. When this had been attended to, the lieutenant whis pered: "You haven't introduced me, Lanyon. Remember, I am to take charge of the prize in poor Jones' place." Lawrence looked perplexed. "By George! I declare I don't know her name!'' he replied. He spoke so loud the young lady overheard him. She smiled lightly, and then remarked : "You must pardon my father, gentlemen; but he's a member of the English parliament, and has strong views on most subjects. He is Sir Ralph Vane, and I am his only daughter, Mildred Vane." That this was rather conciliatory language from one who had tried to shoot him not four hours previous, was Lawrence's opinion, but he simply bowed in reply. After a few further words, they left the cabin and joined Martin on the quarter-deck. During their absence the senior middy had suddenly concluded that he would prefer returning to the frigate instead of remaining on board the prize. Certain information given by Mr. Scott concerning the future movements of the man-of-war caused him to

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'' Commodore Decatur sprang to his feet." See page rn9.

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AN ATTACK. 109 think that he would rather be with her during the next few weeks. When the lieutenant same up he broached the subject, and received a reluctant consent. "I would much rather have you and L<:1nyon with me, Martin, but if you wish to change places with the junior officers I have brought with me, well and good." Lawrence was perfectly willing to go with his stanch friend, so he and Martin returned to the frigate. On reaching the ship they received a summons to appear in the commodore's cabin. Decatur asked for full details, and on being informed by Martin, he praised both lads very highly for their efforts for signaling the frigate. He had hardly finished when a messenger hastily en tered the cabin and exclaimed, breathlessly : "Three lights have just been sighted abeam, sir, and the first lieutenant thinks they are cruisers !" Commodor Decatur sprang to his feet and was in the act of leaving the room when the loud report of a heavy gun sounded from the right. It was immediately followed by a crash, and a cannon balll penetrnted the apartment, scatter 'ing sp linters ; in every direction.

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CHAPTER XVI. A DANGEROUS DETAIL. When the commodore started to leave the cabin on receiving the alarming news concerning the proximity of the British cruisers, both Lawrence and Martin arose to their feet for the purpose of following his example. Just as they did so, the cannon ball penetrated the wooden side of the frigate, and passed through the cabin, covering them with a shower of splinters. Fortunately neither was hurt, but the shock was so great that Lanyon stumbled backward, knocking his friend to the deck. For a moment they remained there, hardly knowing whether they were fatally injured or not. At last the senior middy sprang erect, and, giving one of his peculiar chuckles, cried out : "Well! what are you hanging back for, Larry? Think you are dead, eh? Come! let's get out on deck where we are needed. Humph! pretty conduct for two old sailors like us." Lanyon staggered to his feet, ruefully stroking a lump on his elbow cau s ed by the fall. "All right, Martin; I gue s s our services will be badly needed if all three of the enemy shoot as straight as that fellow. Two feet further aft and it would have collided with my head."

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A DANGEROUS DETAIL. 111 1'To the detriment of the cannon ball," grinned his companion, as he vanished through the door. Lawrence followed immediately, and, on stepping out on deck, found the ship in an uproar. Men were darting here and there preparing the broad side batteries for action. Officers, some half-clad and evident ly just aroused from their sleep, were busily engaged issuing orders right and l eft, and above all the din of preparation could be heard the calm voice of Decatur inciting his willing crew to renewed efforts. Lanyon had hardly emerged from th~ cabin when the executive officer espied him. "Run below, my boy, and tell the officer in charge of the powder divi sio n to supply the spar-deck batteries first. Make haste, now!" h e s houted. Lawrence skimmed down the deck to the forward hatch, threading his way in and out through the hurrying throng. As he passed the gangway he glanced out to sea, and caught the gleam of a light jus t abeam. A little astern of it was another, and on the larboard, or opposite, side was s till another. They were surrounded by the enemy. Clinching his fist, Lawrence shook it in their direction, and muttered : "You will have a hard fight of it, even if you outnum ber us three to one." As he hastened forward he noticed a flashing of sig nals from the vessel on the left , then a burs t of flame came from her side.

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112 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. A thunderous report immediately followed, and the air overhead whistled with the passage of the iron ball. She had fired a broadside at the saucy Yankee. On returning to the deck after delivering his message, Lawrence ran across Martin and George Gordon near the mainmast. The former was just taking command of a group of guns in the starboard battery, assisted by the junior middy. Standing at the breech of one of the carronades, Martin held the lanyard in readiness to fire at the word of command. He found time to speak a few words to Lanyon, how ever. "We are in a great mess, now, my boy," he said, then, after taking another squint out the port, he added: "It'll soon be daylight, and the old man will need all his cunning to escape from those cruisers." "He'll get away somehow," chimed in the youthful Gordon, with sublime faith in his beloved commander. "Yes ; but I am afraid we will need wings to accom plish it," replied Lawrence, peering doubtfully at the trio of lights near by. "The only thing that will save us is to slip away now," said Martin. "The commodore has just ordered all lights extinguished, and that may be his intention." It was now between three and four-that darkest hour preceding the dawn. The moon was still completely veiled behind a dense

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A DANGEROUS DETAIL. 113 bank of clouds, and the gloom was so dense that it was impossible to see from port to port. As yet not one single gun had been fired from the American frigate. The crews were at their stations, prepared for instant action, but the familiar command to commence firing was yet to be given. Suddenly a form stole along the deck, and proceeded from division to division, briefly halting near each, and giving whispered instructions to the officers in charge. It was the commodore making a personal inspection of the frigate. Coming up to where the middies were standing, he asked Martin several questions, and then chanced to notice Lawrence. Hesitating for a moment, he then approached, and said, in a low voice : , "Mr. Lanyon, go aft to the poop-deck, and await me there. I have important work for you to do." "Ay, ay, sir!" promptly replied Larry, touching his cap. As he started away, Martin called after him to wait a moment. "I just want to tell you, old boy, that you are the luckiest youth on this ship," he whispered. "The old man has picked you out for some daring task in connec tion with his new plan, and-and-I only wish I were in your shoes, that's all." The last outburst came so fervently that Lawrence could only smile for a moment. I

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114 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Then, reaching forth, he grasped his friend ' s hand with a hearty grip, and replied: "If there is any glory in it, Martin, I'll surely ask for you to share it if po ss ible." He then hurried aft, fearful that the commodore would reach the appointed s pot before him. Commodore Decatur was not there, however, and Larry had to await his return. Halting at a c o nspicuous place near the larboard rail ing, he endeavored to pierce the somber gloom surrounding the ship . The darkne ss see med an opaque wall, only relieved by the th r ee p o i n t s of light indicating the presence of the British cruisers. Looking forward, h e could barely s ee a few shadowy forms clustered ne a r the aftermost carronade. It was truly a fit ni ght for cunning work. Since the broad s ide from the ves sel on the left, neither of the Engli s h s hips had fired a gun. It seemed a s if they had completel y lo s t track of their enemy, and were afraid to open fire because of the danger of hitting on e another. They were con s tantl y s ignaling, and, from the con tiimous movem ent of the light s , were undoubtedly drawing the net closer and clo s er. "I wonder what the commodore has for me to do?" murmured Lawrence, half aloud. His unconscious query was suddenly answered. He felt a hand placed on his arm, and, turning, saw t hat it was D~c;atur.

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A DANGEMUS DETAIL. 115 "There is a small cutter towing astern, Lanyon. I want you to jump into it and cast off the rope," said the latter, calmly. He paused, and glanced thoughtfully at the gradually nearing lights. Lawrence stood aghast. "What in the name of all that's strange doe . s he mean?" was his startled thought. "Get into a boat and cast off? Why--" Just then Decatur continued: "In the craft you will find a lantern already lighted and concealed in a box. When you think you have been away from the frigate three minutes, take out the light, and hoist it to the top of a small mast you will also find in the boat. Now, this is a very important and terribly dangerous task, as they will undoubtedly fire at you, but if you succeed all right it will mean a special mention in the dispatches home, and speedy promotion. "Now, about rejoining the frigate: If you succeed in drawing their fire you will hear the guns on board the United States speak. Then, after that, lower your light to the water's edge, and I'll pick you up. I would simply place a lantern on a float and drop it astern, but that wouldn't fool them-the idea is too old. What I want you to do to make it more natural is to wave the light back and forth several times every few minutes, also hide it for a brief space, and then let it reappear. Now go; and success be with you." So saying, the commodore turned and walked for ward.

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CHAPTER XVII. THE LIGHT ASTERN. Left to himself, Lawrence lost no time in carrying out his superior officer's instructions. Hastening to the after railing , he found a small rope fastened to a cieat. It was but the work of a moment to haul on this, and to drop into the boat as it glided up to the stern. After taking the sensible precaution of ascertaining whether every article mentioned by Commodore Decatur was actually on hand, Lawrence released the line and dropped astern. The frigate was still under sail, so she soon faded away, leaving the young middy alone on the deep, with nothing but the light yawl between him and the sea. After waiting the spec ified time, Lanyon quietly stepped the little mast, and hoi sted the lantern. He then breathlessly awaited the results. The sudden appearance of the light was instantly fol lowed by a number of signals on board the English cruisers. Then the one nearest at hand let drive a whole broad side at the supposed Yankee. For a moment Lawrence thought the end of the world had come.

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THE LIGHT ASTERN. 117 Overhead, on each side, roaring and buzzing, came the storm of iron shot. One splashed in the sea close alongside, sending the water in a perfect deluge over him, and several in a bunch struck just ahead, disappearing under the waves with a diabolical shriek. But through it all the little mast supporting the false light stood to its duty and bore the signal of deception. Lawrence instantly set to work bailing out the cutter. It was half full of water, and dangerously low. Stopping for a moment, he unstepped the ma s t, and swayed it back and forth as previously instructed ; then again resumed work. The lad recognized his danger ( and it was extreme), but never faltered. The mere fact that the commodore had selected him from all the rest was enough. Rather than do the one thing in s uring his present safety-extinguish the light-he would have jumped overboard once for all. It was this spirit of noble sacrifice and great personal courage that made the naval heroes fighting in our earlier wars so successful. Calmly resuming his ta s k of bailing , Lanyon soon had the cutter emptied of its contents. To his surprise the American frigate had not fired her broadside, as the commodore stated would be done. "It's very queer," he muttered, giving the lantern an other swing. "Something must have happened to-"

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118 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. He was suddenly interrupted by a distant roar of ar tillery. It seemed to be away off to the left, and was instantly followed by another broadside. Then several guns were fired, one after the other, and the middy quickly became aware that his light was the target for the latter fu s illade. He was speedily apprised of the fact by the sudden loss of his mast. Struck by one of the shots, it was splintered into frag ments, and the lantern hurled overboard. One of the fragments of wood grazed Lawrence's shoulder, inflicting a painful wound. Thrown to the bottom of the boat by the shock, he lay there for a while, and attempted to stanch the flow of blood. At last succeeding in fastening a rude bandage on the injury, he mechanicall y shipped the oars and got the cutter 's head to sea. Then he fell to thinking over the accumulated dangers of his present position. "By George, that was an unfortunate shot!" he said, aloud, then, laughing rather bitterly, he continued: "Humph! out in the open sea with three Britishers fooling around and daylight not far away; it's pennies to pounds that rll see the inside of an English prison be fore long. Well, it's the fortunes of war, Larry, my boy. Keep up your courage, and show the enemy a bold front. '' Just then the crest of a wave dashed over the side, and _ Lawrence found himself almost submerged again.

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THE LIGHT ASTERN. 119 This made him take a closer look at the sea. , The excitement of the la s t ha:lf hour had engrossed him so that he had failed to notice an increased force of the wind. To his alarm, he now saw tliat it was blowing much stronger, and heaving up quite a sea. Shaking his head dubiously , Lanyon bailed out the water, but only to have another wicked crest board the cutter as he finished. Becoming thoroughly anxiou s , he stood up, and en , deavored to sight a vessel. It was now not a question of friend or foe, but a speedy rescue, no matter by whom. To his surprise, he noticed that the different lights h ad dis appeared. "That is very strange," he muttered, his loneliness in crea s ing. "What are they up to now, I wonder?" A moment's thought cau s ed him to believe that the English had di s covered the ru se, and were going to try the advantage of obscurity themselves. " They are liable to wander off before the wind, and leave me clear out of sight," said Larry, ruefully. "Well, in this darkness it's-ha!" His quick ear had caught the sound of a sail flapping against a mast. But in which direction was it? Straining his eyes, he peered ahead, and then on both sides. Was assistance to come at last? Suddenly a huge, almost shapel ess ma ss loomed before

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120 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. his eyes. The shadowy form was moving slowly ahead on his right, and seemed to be a full-rigged ship under easy sail. "Forward there! Do ye see anything of that blamed Yankee?'' "Not a stick, sir," came the answer, after a short pause. "Confound that scamp! The fiends of darkness must be working for him. Call all hands to trim sails. Man the larboard tack." "By George! it's one of the British cruisers," muttered Lan yon, peering in her direction. "Now, what had I better do ?" It was certainly a momentous question. If he hailed the cruiser, they would pick him up, and transfer him to prison with neatness and dispatch. That meant an uncertain period of inactivity, with hardly even chances that he would survive the confine ment. On the other hand, if he allowed them to sail out of hearing he was in great danger of losing his life in the remorseless sea. What should he do? Crouching in the stern of the cutter, tossing about from wave to wave, Lawrence tried to decide. At last, springing to his feet, he placed both hands to his mouth, and was just on the point of calling for help, when a loud commotion became apparent on the decks of the cruiser. The middy heard some one shout:

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THE LIGHT ASTERN. 121 "There she is ! There's the Yankee, dead ahead. Over with the wheel! Bring the starboard broadside to bear on her !" Then a perfect sheet of flame illumined the darkness, and the clamoring sound of a score of guns awoke the echoes. Crash ! crash ! The harsh noise of shattered timbers came to Lawrence's ears, rendered painfully distinct by the clear night air. Then a hideous chorus of groans and cries, wrung from the breasts of men in mortal agony, followed, pro claiming an invisible scene of carnage. The middy gave a start of excitement and joy, and almost swamped the boat in the act. "Hurrah ! It must be the United States!'' he cried, regardless of personal danger. "That broadside came from over there, and it's the Britishers who felt the effect of it." It was as he said. The lad had been following the shadowy cruiser with his eye, and knew full well that it was not her guns that belched forth the fiery storm of destruction. Frantically seizing the oars, Lawrence pulled ahead with all his strength. "Now is my chance. She must be over there some where, and if I can catch up with her before she gets away I am all right." Believing that safety was near at hand, he labored at the oars until his arms ached in every muscle.

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122 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The thought that he might creep into the line of fire did not deter him one whit-he was willing to run chances to reach the frigate. Presently he heard the report of a cannon, then an-other and another. The nearness of the sound made hi . m look around. Ah ! he was almost there. A short distance ahead he could see a blacker spot in . the darkness, and, beyond that, a fainter smudge.

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CHAPTER XVIII. DEFENDING THE FLAG. Spurred on by the welcome sight, Larry tugged at the ashen blades with renewed strength. "A few more minutes and I'll be safe," he murmured. "A short distance further and--" He ceased rowing. The oars dropped from his nerve less grasp, and _ he groaned aloud in bitter disappoint ment. He had just heard a shout from the deck of the near est vessel, the words of which fell upon his ears like a blow. And this is what it said : "Cease firing , ! It is one of our own ships!" Like a flash Lawrence saw that he was lost. Ap proaching each other in the darkness two of t~e British cruisers had thought they had run across the enemy, and discharged their guns with disastrous effect. How the mistake had been discovered he knew not, but that he had no business on either of them was cer tain, if he wished to remain free. Staring hopelessly in the direction of the late com batants, Lanyon felt his heart sink within him. The reaction from joy and anticipation to despair was so great that he felt the tears creep into his eyes.

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124 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Suddenly dashing them away, he cried, in a resolute voice: "No! I will not give up. Death and a grave in the mysterious depths of old ocean is better than the insults and disgrace of an Engli s h pri son!" Again seizing the oars, he tm ; ned the cutter ' s bow in the opposite direction, and rowed silently for several minutes. Pausing to rest, he glanced in every direction slowly and carefully. "I do not believe the commodore will leave me here if he can possibly help it," he said, firmly. "He will risk capture to try and find me." Suddenly he caught sight of an indi s tinct outline just astern of the cutter. It was another vessel ! Holding his breath, Lawrence watched it approach closer, and then, just as he could see almost every detail of the fabric, he heard a familiar voice call out: "What is that in the water there! Hard to starboard ! Quick! Over with her!" Carried away by excitement, Lanyon sprang to his feet and shouted : "Help! Help!" Then a sudden wave caught the frail cutter, and cap sized it, throwing the middy into the water. But just as his head sank beneath the surface, he heard an answering hail, and knew that assistance was close at hand. Bobbing up like a cQrk~ Larry instinctively struck out_.

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DEFENDING THE FLAG. 125 and, to his great joy and relief, ran against the overturned boat. Catching a secure hold with both arms, he again called out. Presently he heard the words : "Where are you? Speak low." "Here, in the water just ahead. My boat has cap sized, and I am holding on to it," replied Lawrence. "All right. Do your best to keep afloat, and we will send a yawl," came the encouraging words. Then the creaking of blocks sounded, proclaiming the lowering of a boat, and presently he could distinguish the soft dip of oars. Every little while he called out, guiding them in his direction, and at last had the pleasure of feeling a pair of sturdy arms lift him from the water. The sigh of relief Lawrence gave on finding himself in the bottom of the boat, came from his heart. It was a terribly narrow escape, and help came just in time. After giving himself a shake to get rid of some of the water, he leaned over toward the shadowy form in the stern and asked : "Who is in charge of the boat? Is it Martin?" "Martin? Great guns, no! Why, who on earth are you?'' came the answer, in tones of extreme surprise. Then the . figure crept toward him, and Larry saw that it was young Putnam, one of the middies who had taken his place on the merchantman !

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126 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Petrified with astonishment, Lanyon simply sat and •zed at him for a brief space. Then he asked, huskily: "And the ship over there ; isn't it the frigate?" For answer Putnam reached for his hand, and , grasp ing that of his companion, almo s t shouted: "Why, may I never see a shilling of prize money if it ain't ~arry Lanyon ! Well! will wonders never cease! What are you doing out here, old boy? Did you fall overboard?" Lawrence briefly explained, and then was told that the Lord Clive lay close by, and it was a boat from that craft that had picked him up. "And it was a jolly good job we happened along just about now, I'm thinking, " added Putnam. Lanyon acknowledged the truth of the assertion, and then said: "Why, I thought you fellows were on the fair road to New London by this time. How is it I find you still in this neighborhood?" "It's a long story , and I will tell it on the way back to the ship," replied the middy . First devoting his attention to turning the yawl's head the other way, he got his seamen in full swing, and then made the following explanation: "You see, Larry, we had a ticklish crew to deal with aboard the Clive, and we kept a careful watch upon them, but they managed to get one of their number into the hold , and the desperate fellow scuttled the ship. We

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DEFENDING THE FLAG. 12'Z didn't discover it until the water had risen six feet, think of that." "They must have been mighty desperate to do that," remarked Lawrence, los t in astoni~hment. "You are right," continued Putnam. " Well, Mr. Scott happened to notice it first , and he had all hands at the pumps in a jiffy, but it i s all we can do to keep afloat. We have been tossing back and forth all night, trying to stop the leak and to keep out of those Britishers' way." "It's a pretty bad case," said Lanyon, thinking of the coming dawn and the overwhelming odds against them, then he asked, suddenly : "Ah, by the way; how-how-is the young lady, Miss Vane?" Putnam gave a boyish laugh, and replied: "She is all right. Only been crying h e r pretty eyes out because you left the ship." "If we were out of this , I'd punch your head," re torted Lawrence, his cheeks burning. They were interrupted by the sound of the lieutenant's voice asking them to make haste and hook on to the davits. In a few moments Lanyon again found himself tread ing the deck of the vessel which he had left so recently. Mr. Scott was greatly surprised on discovering that it was one of the frigate's junior officers he had picked up, and listened intently to the brief explanation Lawrence offered.

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128 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Just as the middy finished, they heard a cannonading on the larboard beam. It seemed only a short distance away, and the spiteful sound of small arms came plainly to their ears. "I am afraid they have caught the frigate," said Larry, sorrowfully. "It certainly seems so," replied Scott; then, pointing toward the east, he added: "There is the first streak of dawn, Lanyon. In a short while we will be plainly visible to the cruisers. I am of the opinion that we are lost." They silently listened to the combat now raging with fury, and felt that the gallant frigate was indeed lost. It appeared as if there were at lea s t three vessels en gaged, and that must mean two of the English against the United States. At last the firing slackened perceptibly, and then the anxious listeners only heard an occasional gun, the sounds growing fainter and fainter. Lawrence glanced at the lieutenant, hopefully. "I believe the old frigate is escaping, s ir," he ex claimed. "No doubt, Larry, no doubt, and I am heartily glad of it," replied Scott. "If she had been captured, firing would cease altogether. By Jove! it is getting light rapidly. See! you can make out the cruisers." It was as he said. Off to starboard were two ships of war in hot chase of

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DEFENDING THE FLAG. 129 a third. The latter was literally covered with canvas, and seemed to skim over the waves like a thing of life. Of her pursuers one had lost her bowsprit and fore royal, and the other carried a wreck of rigging and sails aft on the mizzen. Lawrence's heart swelled with pride when he saw the proofs of his countrymen ' s gunnery. But he had not time to applaud. A sudden exclamation from Scott caused him to turn toward the lieutenant, and he noticed him pointing astern. There, coming down before the wind, and not a quarter of a mile distant, was the third cruiser standing to ward them. "That means certain capture, Lanyon," calmly re marked Scott, folding hi s arms in resignation. "It will ~e folly to offer resistance to her. " Taking their stand on the quarter-deck, Scott and the other junior officers silently await e d the boarding party from the cruiser. In a few moments a couple of boats filled with British sailors dashed alc~ mgside, and a little, pompous man, clad in a naval uniform, walked over the gangway, sword in hand. Giving the group of American officers a contemptuous glare, he strode aft, and, insolently pointing aloft to where the United States colors streamed from the peak, called out: "Here, some of you men ; tear that dirty rag down and throw it into the sea!"

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130 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The insulting words and the action caused Lawrence's patriotic blood to boil in his veins. Rushing forward he shoved back the man at the halliards and cried: "The man who touches that flag does so over my body!"

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"' The man who touches that flag does so over my body.'" See page 130.

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CHAPTER XIX. MILDRED VANE. The scene after Lawrence made his rash move was thrilling in the extreme. Standing astride the prostrate body of the English sea man, he grasped the halliards with one hand and glared defiantly at the officer. The latter seemed utterly paralJ.zed with astonishment and rage. But it was only for a moment. Elevating his sword, he ran toward Lanyon, and pre pared to cut him down. He would have no doubt succeeded, but for a timely interruption. Standing partially concealed in the shadows of the overhang was the young girl, Mildred Vane. She had been a highly interested eye-witness of the preceding events, unobserved by all. She had seen Lawrence risk his life in defence of his country's flag, and her pretty eyes sparkled with excite ment at the daring deed. But now, when the brutal officer advanced in his angry desire to punish the lad, she sprang forward, and, standing between them, exclaimed: "For shame, sir! Would you so forget yourself as to

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132 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. strike a defencele ss boy! You! a British officer, bearing the commission of his Majesty! For shame, I say!" The coward staggered back in stupid amazement, then, recovering himself, endeavored to push her aside, at the same time shouting: "Out of my way, girl! The Yankee cur that defies me shall not live to boast of it. Stand back, or I will--" "Hold! Unhand my daughter, you sco undrel! What do you mean!" These words, utt e red in a loud voice, came from an old white-haired gentl eman, who had suddenly emerge d from the cabin. It was the irascible Englishman, the passenger of the Lord Clive. Advancing rapidly, he gained the officer's side, and, while speak ing , held out hi s arms to his daughter. She gave a g lad cry, and, clinging to him , murmured: "Dear father, you are just in time. That man was go ing to kill the young American officer who was so gen erous to us. He is a brave lad , and was trying to s ave his flag from insult." During the time she was talking the old gentleman had kept his eyes on the English officer. When she ceased, he said, slowly: "Ah, it is you, Lieutenant Warwick ! Perhaps you will remember me if you try." "Sir Ralph Vane!" gasped the other, huskily. "Yes; Sir Ralph Vane, naval commissioner to his Majesty's colonies. We have met before, Lieutenant

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MILDRED VANE. 133 Warwick, and under circumstances not entirely to your credit, sir .. I warned you then that if I ever heard of , any brutal deeds being committed by you, it would re sult in summary dismissal. Now, return to your duty and leave that lad alone." The one addressed as Warwick cringed before his su perior in an obsequious manner and slunk forward. But, as he passed Lanyon, he gave the middy such a look of malignant hatred that the lad felt he had made an undying enemy. It is needless to say, however, that it did not affect his youthful spirits to any great extent. Turning to thank Sir Ralph and Miss Vane for their kindness, he saw them just disappearing in the cabin. The young lady happened to glance back, and she gave our hero a little nod of farewell. Disappointed at not being able to express his gratitude, he rejoined Scott and the middies just in time to again encounter the English officer. The latter had a party of sailors with him, and, after demanding the American lieutenant's sword, roughly or dered them to march below. On reaching the forecastle, they found their crew . in irons. At first the officer hesitated, as if intending to subject them to the same indignity, but he thought better of it, and simply placed them in the apartment. The hatches were covered, however, and the Ameri cans found themselves in total darkness. "Well, Larry, we are in for it now," sighed little Put-

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134 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. nam, crawling over to where the former had cast him self down on the hard pine deck. "Ah! this won't last long, old boy. Keep up your spirits, and we'll find ourselves again on the United States." He suddenly found himself grasped by the hand, and the voice of Lieutenant Scott came from the gloom, saying: "Lanyon, I feel it an honor to be shipmates with a lad like you. Your action in defending our glorious flag was bravery itself, and if I ever get out of this, the country will hear of it." "You are making too much of it, sir," replied Lawrence, simply. "I couldn't stand to see a cur like that defile the colors, that's all." Just then the hatch was cast off, and a stream of light penetrated the apartment. Peering down into the hold was the English officer, and, standing close to him, they could see a stranger clad in the uniform of a British com mander. "On
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MILDRED VANE, 135 except Lawrence, to enter a boat fastened at the ~tar board gangway, also the seamen. It was useless to resist, so Scott and Putnam silently obeyed, and waved their hands sorrowfully to Lanyon, as they disappeared over the side. "Now, sir," said the officer, turning to the middy, "we will attend to your case. I am told by my brother officer that you have struck one of his Majesty's seamen, and also mutinied in other ways. We have decided that you be transferred to the corvette Wasp, and sent to England without delay for trial." Lawrence simply bowed his head, and did not reply. He knew the uselessness of defending himself. Pointing seaward to where the two cruisers, lately chasing the frigate, could be seen returning, the com mander continued : "The one in advance is the Wasp . We will signal her, and send you aboard with the proper papers as soon as she comes within speaking distance." Lanyon smiled bitterly at the words "proper papers." He well knew that it meant a prejudiced statement, and did not doubt that he would be convicted. In the course of an hour the two vessels sailed close by, and backed their main yard. Lanyon was bundled into a cutter, and rowed to the corvette. As they passed under the stern of the Lord Clive en route he looked up, and saw the face of Mildred Vane peeping from one of the cabin windows. On seeing that she was observed, she colored, and

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136 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. withdrew her head, but the mere sight of her caused Lawrence to feel strangely light of heart, notwithstand ing his perilous situation. On approaching the corvette he noted with pride the extent of damage she had suffered in the brief battle with the American frigate. The wooden sides were pierced in many _ places, and whole sections of the bulwarks were torn away bodily. The mizzenmast had also been shot to pieces, and only a stump stood where the former spar had been shipped. Lieutenant Warwick accompanied him, and when they arrived alongside he bade the middy go on board, in a harsh manner. "If I had my way, you dog, I'd teach you a lesson you would never forget," he grated. "You can thank your lucky stars some one interfered, or else you would be food for sharks now." "Yes; no doubt," coolly replied Lanyon. "Sir Ralph V a:ne assisted me very materially, didn't he? When I see him again I'll take pleasure in stating how much you believe in his power. Ha! ha!" Grinding his teeth with rage, Warwick climbed the companion ladder, and conducted the middy to several officers standing on the quarter-deck. After a brief examination, Lawrence was placed in charge of a couple of marines, and sent forward. "Place the young Yankee in the fore peak," called out one of the officers. "And see that he is secure before you leave him." After a short walk, his guides halted before a door

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MILDRED VANE. 137 leading into an inclosed place on the forward berthdeck. Unlocking this, they first searched the lad for con cealed weapons, and then thrust him inside. The interior was pitch dark, not a ray of light penetrating the apartment. First waiting for a while to get his bearings, Larry started to feel along the sides, but had not gone three paces when he stopped short in surprise. A sound as of heavy breathing came from in front. Some one else was in the apartment !

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CHAPTER XX. OLD ACQUAINTANCES. "Perhaps it is an American sailor," thought Larry, in eager anticipation. Stepping slightly forward, he softly exclaimed: "I say there; who are you?" There was a quick exclamation, some person touched him on the shoulder, and then a familiar voice replied : "Who was that speaking? Is it-no, it can't be ! Larry Lanyon, is it you or your ghost?" In reply the middy uttered a shout of joy, and threw his arms around the unseen figure. "Oh, Martin, Martin; how glad I am to see you ! I am just tickled to death, although sorry to see you a prison~r. Where did you come from ?1 How did you get captured? Who is with you, and where is the frigate?" Pouring forth a torrent of questions, the delighted lad . wrung his friend's hands with vigor. The last person on earth he expected to find on board the cruiser was Martin, but the very one he was glad to see, for the many kind and generous qualities of the senior middy had long since made Lawrence love him as a brother. And now to know that he was at his side, and at a

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES. 139 time when he needed a friend's counsel more than ever before, it was joy indeed. "Well, one at a time, Larry, my boy," laughed the genial youth, patting his companion on the back in an affectionate manner. "It's a shame there ain't any light in this hole; I'd like to see your face. But I guess we'll have to be content with shaking hands for a while, eh?" After chuckling quietly for a moment, he continued: "It's not a very long story, but before I begin I want to tell you that we have a shipmate in here also, one of the middies from the frigate." "One of the middies?" echoed Lawrence, quickly. "Who . is it?" "Spencer!" Lanyon started instinctively, and peered into the gloom. The news was decidedly unwelcome, and he felt constrained to so inform Martin, but changed his mind. It could not be helped now, the fellow was a prisoner as well as he. "So he is here, eh?" he remarked, quietly, then asked his companion to continue his story. "Well, you see, we were captured this morning while trying to board this corvette. After you left on your dangerous trip-and, by the way, while I think of it, let me tell you the old man nearly went crazy when he couldn't find you. After your light went out he sailed all around, but without result. Then all hands thought you were lost." Martin reached over and again patted Lawrence on the back.

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140 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "But, glory to goodness, you are safe and sound!" he said. After this little display of feeling he continued: "We ran across this ship in the dark, and fired a broad side into her, then slipped alongside, and threw a boarding party on her decks. It was a splendid fight, and if it hadn't been for one thing his Majesty would have lost one of his ships. Just as we were getting the best of the Britishers, another ship sailed up and took a hand. "That settled it. The commodore had to draw off, and in the operation Spencer and I were left behind." "Why, how was that?" asked Larry, deeply interested. "Why didn't you jump aboard before the ships sepa rated?'' Martin laughed, quietly. "Well, you see, I had an important engagement with one of the English middies-in fact, had him by the hair with such a tight grip that I hated to leave go." "And Spencer?" "Humph! I don't know about him. I guess he was under a boat somewhere, and didn't hear the signal to re treat." "Well, I am sorry you were captured for some reasons, but I must confess your presence here is just what I want," said Lanyon. "That's a nice thing to wish a friend-prisoner in the clutches of the enemy, eh?" replied Martin, pretending to feel offended. Then he added, with a grin: "Well, to tell the truth, Larry, I'd rather be here with

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES. 141 you than on board the frigate without you. Now, spin your yarn." Lanyon briefly related all that had occurred since leaving the Un i ted States, not forgetting to enlarge on the scene with Lieutenant Warwick. That part of his story relating to the merchantman drew forth many exclamations of surprise from his com panion, and when he related how Mildred Vane had saved his life, the senior middy slapped his leg, and cried: "Ah! that's the kind of girl! But she's a queer one, ain't she-first try to shoot you and then jump in like that!" "She not only tried, but succeeded," replied Lanyon, feeling the lump on his head where the bullet had grazed him. "However, she has made up for that. If it hadn't been for her interference that brute would have killed me, no doubt. But what is in this hole! Any air ports?" "I haven't had time to look yet. Suppose we explore the place." Just then a voice sounded from forward. "How do you do, Lanyon ? " it said. Spencer had evidently concluded to take part in the conversation. "Hello," answered Lawrence, shortly. "I am glad to see you." "No doubt," sarcastically. "Oh, I don't mean in that way," hastily continued Spencer, coming closer. "I mean, I am glad to see that you were not lost." "Thank you," replied the middy, coldly.

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142 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. t At that Spencer subsided, and the two chums continued their inspection of th1e prison. It was only a small space, probably not ten feet wide; and contained no furniture save a couple of empty mess chests. The only opening was the door, and the ventilation was horrible. However, in all ships of that period but little attention was paid to such matters, and even the wardroom, where the senior officers lived, had nothing but a few little dead lights about the size of a dinner plate. It is related of a sailor lying sick in a hammock on the berth-deck of a man-of-war during a naval engage ment that, suddenly finding himself thrown to the deck by the severing of his lashing caused by a cannon ball passing through the wooden sides, he rose up with a groan and said : "Ah! thanks be to the hand that aimed that shot; it's given us fresh air, anyway!" After satisfying themselves that nothing was to be found in the apartment, the two lads stretched out on the hard deck and conversed for a while. Presently they heard a noise at the door, and it opened to give ingress to a sailor bearing their breakfast. Just outside stood a petty officer and several armed marines, and behind them a small crowd of men trying to get a glimpse of the terrible Yankee middies. These latter afforded great amusement to the light hearted Martin. "I say, out there. Are you trying to see whether we

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OLD ACQUAINTANCES. 143 have horns or not?" he called out. "Just look at my feet; do you see the cloven hoof? Ha! ha!" "Stow that gab," young fellow," growled the officer. "You won ' t be so saucy when they tie the rope around your neck." "That will be many a long day yet, my friend," _ re torted M artin, complacently. "I'll put several knots in a bowline for y ou and your class before that little affair happens." While he was having his sport, Lawrence had stumbled on something that sent a ray of hope into his heart. When the man carrying the mess kit stepped inside he passed close to the middy. Hesitating slightly, he averted his face , and whispered to Lanyon: "I am sorry to see you in here, boys. I am an Ameri can pressed into service by our enemy, and if I can help you any I'll do it willingly. Sh! I'll be back again at dinner." Lawrence pretended not to notice him, but his face showed his joy. After the party had withdrawn, he related the news to Martin. "We may find a chance to escape on reaching England, old boy," he added. "Yes; but there is no use to try pow. Leaving here for the deck would do us no good. However, it shows that we are not altogether friendless on board, eh?" "In case of a battle, it would be a good idea to have a way to leave this hole," chimed in Spencer.

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144 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "Sure enough," replied Martin. "Well, we will see what he says at noon." ,, Shortly before that hour, the former, _ who had with drawn himself to the e x treme forward end, surprised hi s companions by creeping to the door , and rapping loudly on the w ooden panels. "What do y ou want, Spencer?" asked the senio r middy. The lad made no reply , but continued his knocking. Presently it was thrown open, and a sentry poked his head in. "Wh~t's all this noise about? " he demanded, rattling hi s cutlass. " I want to see the captain on particular business," re plied Spencer, speaking in a low voice. "All right ; s tep out s ide, and none of your larks . " Martin and Lawrence looked at each other in astonish ment. "Why, I believe the confounded sneak is going to turn traitor ! " exclaimed the former , w rathfully. Just then the door closed again, l e aving them in dark ness.

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CHAPTER XXI. IN THE STATEROOM. "It looks very much like it," replied Lawrence, slowly. "The dirty scamp is up to some trick; that's certain." "I hope he won ' t get that poor fellow into trouble." "You mean the one who brought our breakfast?" "Yes ; the American. I believe Spencer is going to turn traitor to save himself from impri s onment. He can probably trade his information concerning our navy for his own liberty." "\,,Yell, if he does, and we have the good luck to run across him, there will be one account settled, eh?" For answer Martin struck one fist against the other, with vigor. "That's what I'll give the dog!" Just then they heard the boatswains on deck pipe to dinner. Theirs was brought down shortly after. When the door opened, they glanced eagerly at the bearer. It was a new man. "Where is the other fellow?" asked Lan yon, care lessly. "In the brig under a sentry's charge," replied the sailor, meaningly. "One of you fellows reported to the cap tain that he had offered to help you escape, and they locked him up."

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146 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "Don't say he was one of us," remonstrated Martin, contemptuously. "He was captured with us, but he's a confounded traitor. What else did he say?" "Oh, lots of things about the Yankee ships. The cap tain has released him, but the middies in the cockpit wouldn't let him in, _ and he's wandering about decks afraid to speak to any one." "Serves him right," exclaimed Larry. The news was what they had expected, but the confirmation of it came as a slight shock. That one of their own number should deliberately be tray his country was hard to believe, and a deep-seated resolve to punish the recreant lad filled the hearts of both middies. During the next few days nothing occurred to break the monotony of their confinement. Their meals, such as they were came promptly, and a short time each day they were taken on deck for fresh air. Nothing was seen of Spencer during these moments of liberty, he undoubtedly keeping out of the way. It was probably just as well, as Martin and Lawrence might have committed some rash deed, had they seen him. On the morning of the fourth day the two lads were pacing up and down the main deck, accompanied by the usual guards. Chancing to glance ahead, Larry saw the glint of a sail a few points off the larboard bow.

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IN THE STATEROOM. 147 It must have escaped the notice of the lookout, as nothing had been said by him. Watching his chance, Lanyon pointed it out to his com panion. "It may prove to be one of our ships," he said, hope fully. "The President, under Admiral Rogers, is sup posed to be cruising along the English coast, and we cannot be far distant from land." Just then the officer of the deck saw the vessel, and in a moment the prisoners were hustled below. Crouched near the door of their prison they listened with bated breath to the sounds of preparation. The crew was speedily called to quarters, and the cor vette cleared for action. "Oh! if we were only out of this," groaned Martin, shaking the door in his excitement. That the strange sail was an American warship soon became apparent. The bustle outside increased, and the lads overheard several remarks by passing sailors, which proved the identity of the approaching frigate. They also felt the corvette heel over, and go about on the other tack. "Ah! the captain concludes to run for it," remarked Martin, grimly. "Well, he'd better if he knows what's good for him. If it is the President, he'll have to set every stitch to keep out of reach." The faint report of a gun came to their ears. It sounded as if from a great distance, and was probably meant more for a challenge than anything else.

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148 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "A waste of powder, admiral, sim ply a waste of powder, " exclaimed Lawrence. It was evident the pursuer did not think so, as he con tinued firing, and to the boys' great delight the sounds grew more plain. "Hurrah! I really believe he's gaining on us," cried Martin, dancing a jig. "Now, if we could only get out we might help a little." "How?" "If I was free five minutes, I'd soo n have a drag over the stern, and in a way they wouldn't suspect." "Can't we force the door?" Martin worked at the fastenings for a while, and then announced that it was in secure. "If we could only find some instrument we might force the lock," he said, at the same time groping through the little apartment. A loud noise out on the b ert h deck, a scurrying of many feet, came to their ears just then, and a voice called out: "Up on deck, all of you! Stand by to repel boarders!" "Great Jupiter!" cried Martin; "I didn't think she was that near !" His anxiet y to l eave the prison was increased four fold, and he pounded on the wooden partition with all his power. To the great surprise of the two middies, some one was heard fumblin g at the l ock. Then the door flew back, and a man almost fell through the opening. "Quick! follow me," the ne'\:Vcomer whispered.

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IN THE STATEROOM. 149 By the dim light of the berth-deck they saw that it was the American sailor-he who had been imprisoned through Spencer's treachery. While speaking, he darted out and joined a mob of seamen struggling to reach the ladder leading above, accompanied by Lawrence and the senior middy. In the excitement they were unobserved. The crowd endeavoring to leave the deck had de veloped into a regular mass ,of infuriated men, and pushed and fought in their mad desire to gain freedom. It was plainly evident that a wholesale fear had taken possession of them, to the detriment of all discipline. Seeing it was impossible to ascend by that ladder, Martin took Lawrence's hand and ran aft. Just as they reached a door leading into the wardroom an officer stepped out. He was heavily armed, and carried a sword withdrawn from the scabbard. In their haste they almost ran into him. In fact, Law rence's shoulder struck the man in the side. Drawing back, he gave them one startled glance, and then, raising his weapon, shouted loudly: "Help here! The prisoners have escaped!" As he uttered the last word he lunged forward, but only to have the stroke parried by the senior middy, who had hastily snatched a cutlass from a rack near by. Before the officer could recover, Lanyon made an agile spring, and landed squarely on his back. The shock sent him to the deck, an advantage the boys lost no time in taking possession of.

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150 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Quickly depriving him of his weapons, they thrust the \ almost unconscious officer into an adjacent stateroom, and turned the key. "So far we are all right," breathed Martin, examining the lock of a pistol he had secured. "Now for the deck. Keep close to meJ Larry, and don't hesitate to use your weapons." "What is your plan?" "Haven't any, " was the laconic reply. "Just wade in and help the boys when they board the corvette, that's all." "Well, hadn't we better wait until they do," cautioned Lanyon. "What's the use of running our head into a noose before they appear. We wouldn't last longer than it takes to prime a gun before this crew." Martin scratched his head in doubt. "By George! I believe you are right, Larry," he said, finally. "They would eat us up in no time. Well, let's hide somewhere around here. Ah! there 's just t~e place." He pointed toward a small stateroom in one corner of the steerage. It was out of the way, and darkened by its remoteness from the hatch. Hearing footsteps in the wardroom, they ran toward the door, and just managed to close it behind them when several men hurriedly entered the steerage. Larry instantly slipped the bolt into its place, and then crept over to where his friend stood near the bunk. "Suppose we crawl underneath, so, in case they force

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IN THE STATEROOM. 151 their way m, we will still have a chance to escape nouce," he whispered. Thinking the advice worthy of following, Martin stooped down, and ran his sword into the space between the bed and the deck. To his astonishment, he felt something soft and yield ing. Dropping the weapon, he grasped the object and dragged it forth, revealing to their surprised gaze the form of a lad. ' Martin gave the skulker one startled glance, and then fairly yelled: "At last! At last we have you, traitor and dog!" It was Spencer, the recreant !

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CHAPTER XXII. THE PRISON HULKS. "Spencer!" echoed Lanyon, bending over to look at their prisoner. A single glanc e was sufficient. It was the traitorous middy, caught hiding from the fight he was too cowardly to participate in. Martin laughed softly, and with great glee. "Now we have you," he whispered, exultantly, g1vmg the cowering lad a shake. "Ah! how I have wished for this chance." Suddenly Spencer gave a piercing cry. "Help! Murder! Mur--" Martin leaped upon him like a tiger, and effectually stopped further outcry by choking him. It came too late, however. Attracted by the rumpus, those in the steerage beat on the door of the little state room. "What is the matter in there? Open the door, or we will break it down !" several voices exclaimed. Encouraged by the hope of aid, Spencer wrenched himself free by a violent effort, and shouted : "Help, help ! The American prisoners are in here. Break the-" Crash!

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THE PRISON HULKS. 153 Forced from its hinges, the wooden frame fell to one side, revealing five or six men and boys on the threshold. At the sight of them, Lawrence uttered an inarticulate cry, and, springing on Spencer , belabored him lu stily. "You will not live to triumph over us, traitor," he gasped. Before he could do more than bestow severa l blows on the youth's face, he was dragged outside by a couple of seamen . . Martin was also secured, de spite a very forcible re s i stance, and the two middies again found themselves prisoners. Their captors seemed to be under the charge of a junior officer, who looked at the lads in great astonishment. "Well, s'help me, if this don't beat the Dutch!" he ejaculated, gazing from on e to the other. "How did you escape from the forepeak ?" "Through the door," tersely, replied Martin. Further questions were stopped by the renewed sounds of firing. This time the reports seemed to come from a distance -a fact which caused the senior middy _ to prick up his ears. His face fell in evident disappointment, and he turned to Larry with an expression which plainly said that all hope was lo st. The English midshipman noticed the look, and re marked, with a grin : "Oh, you haven't any chance there, my brave Yankees.

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154 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. One of our frigat e s is in hot pursuit of the American s h i p, and the Wasp is still safe ." " I'll wager there is more than one chasing the Pre si dent, " retorted Martin. ' ot l ess than two of your vessels would tackle a Yankee ." The other flushed, an g rily, and bad e hi ? men conduct the prisoners to the for epeak. In the meantime Sp e nc e r had disappeared, glad to escape the accusing eye s of his form e r s hipmates. When the door again closed upon them, Lawrence threw him s elf upon the d e ck with a s igh. " This is too bad, Martin, " he e x claimed. "Just as we had liberty in our grasp, we w e r e captured once more." "Well, we had the extreme plea sure of almost squaring accounts with that dirty villain, Spencer." Larry was compelled to laugh at the recollection. "I don't think he will forget that meeting in a hurry. It'll show him what to expect when we see him again. " " I am sorry I didn't hav e time to add a few licks to yours. Well, I guess we are in for it now. It's just our confounded luck to have another frigate step in and balk the game. Those Britishers must be as thick as fleas around here." Martin's remark, though not very pleasant, about fitted the case. At the commencement of the war of 1812 Great Britain's navy consisted of more than eight hundred sail, while the young republic had only twenty-two! Cast in the deepest gloom by their di s appointment, Lawrence and his companion spent the following few days in morose silence.

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THE PRISON HULKS. 155 At last they heard a word passed from mouth to mouth on the berth-deck which, under other circumstances, would have brought the greatest joy to them It was the sighting of land. "I wonder what is in store for us now, Larry?" asked Martin, gloomily. "Oh, a confinement in some rotten old hulk, with fevers and scurvy and such things eating your life away," replied Lanyon, with a shrug of his shoulders. "Yes; no doubt, and maybe worse than that. I re member old Simon Sparks, who was captured by the English during the Revolution, telling us boys about his experience. He said they treated him like a dog; bad food, hard work, and exposure to the worst kind of weather." "I wonder if the Lord Clive went down?" asked Larry, suddenly. "No; I don't think so. They could save her easy enough by placing a lot of men at the pumps, and plugging the hole. Why?" "Oh, nothing. I was just thmking that maybe Sir ~alph Vane would give up his trip to the colonies and return to England." "What good would that do us? He wouldn't turn his hand to save a Yankee." "No, but--" "Ah ! you think his charming daughter, Miss Mildred, would remember us, eh?" Larry did not reply, and if his friend had been able

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156 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. to see m the gloom, he would have noticed something suspiciously like a blush reddening the lad's cheeks. "No use, my boy," said Martin, at last. "No use. There is too great a difference between the child of a nobleman-a man away up in the English Governmentand two miserable Yankee prisoners." Lanyon could not but acknowledge that his companion was right. Why should the young lady interest herself in the case of a common prisoner of war, even if she should return home-which was by no means certain. Still he felt in his secret heart that aid would come from her, and it was with a lighter spirit that he met the vicissitudes of the following days. Twenty hours later certain sounds about the decks pro claimed that the Wasp was entering the docks. The man bringing their dinner announced that they would probably be transferred that afternoon. Shortly after one o'clock the door was thrown open, and a junior officer, with a file of marines, appeared. After giving theu1 a few moments to gather up their belongings, he conducted them to the quarter-deck, and reported to a grave, 1nilitary-looking officer. On passing the gangway, they caught a glimpse of sev eral lofty ship houses, and other buildings pertaining to a navy yard. "We are in Portsmouth, Larry," whispered Martin. "This is the famous dock yards of the British navy." Before he had time to explain further, they were led aft. The officer before mentioned, glanced over a paper

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THE PRISON HULKS. 157 held in his hand, and then turned to the commander of the Wasp with a quizzical smile. "Which is the one designated as Lawrence Lanyon ?" he asked. Our hero was pointed out. "Ah ! so that is the one, eh? Well, he doesn't look to be the terrible , bloodthirsty scoundrel this paper describes. However, it is hard to tell. Take them ashore at once, and deliver them to the warden of the third hulk for safe keeping." Looking back , just before he passed over the gangway, Lawrenc e saw the officer gazing after them, with an amused smile still lingering on his lips. Something in the kindly appearance of the man-an air of benevolence but ill concealed by his military brusqueness-attracted the middy, and h e felt that, if their lot was cast with him as jailer, they would not suffer. On their way through the extensive yard, they saw evi dences of great ~ctivity. Five or six ships were in progress of completion, and as many more lay alongside the docks, receiving sea stores. "It looks as if the Britishers are finding out that we are not a foe to be despised," remarked the senior middy. "Well, they will need all of them, and more too." The little procession excited mt,tch attention from the groups of sailors and marines scattered about the inclos ure, and many were the jeers cast at the middies.

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158 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Lanyon held his head up and paid no heed, but Martin was in his element. He reveled in contemptuou s phrases, and gave them as good as they sent; in fact, better in most cases. At last they rounded a point of land at the lower end of the yard, and saw a half-dozen dismantled vessels lying in a row just off s hore. They were the prison hulks of the British Government.

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CHAPTER XXIII. THE ESCAPE. Gloomy, black-pa~nted hulks they were, too. Fit habi tations for hopeless, miserable prisoners-the abode of wretches stricken with the cankering grief of freedom gone and the separation from all friends. Lawrence's heart fell within him when he first saw their future home, and all hope of escaping fled. Closely guarded inside and out by heavy-browed sen tinels ; men armed from head to foot, here, there, and everywhere. Sentries on the roofed-in decks, sentries patrolling the adjacent waters in boats, sentries in groups and sentries individually-it was no wonder that Lanyon almost gave up. Even Martin~stout-hearted and merry lad though he was-felt his spirits sink when he looked upon the mar velous array of armed guards. "Seems as if they think we would try to escape, Larry," he said, with a feeble attempt at a smile. "Why, the very idea. Huh!" Their guides halted at a landing, where they were turned over to a sergeant. From there the transfer was made to a hulk, bearing on its gloomy sides, a huge number 3.

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160 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR: After their names and the circumstances of the case were entered in a book kept in the prison office, the mid dies were conducted to a lower deck, where a couple of canvas suits, striped in yellow and black, were tossed to them. "I suppose this is the late s t fa s hion from Paris," re marked Martin, with a grimace. "Hould yer tongues, an' put them on, or Oi'll help yez," shouted a burly guard just behind them. This was the first rebuff the y had received, and it showed that their prison life was really commenced. The senior middy was on the point of replying, when Larry gave him a warning glanc e . Martin saw that it wa s u s ele ss to bandy words-in fact, it would only add to their di scomfort-so he clothed himself in the coarse garments, and , accompanied by Lanyon, followed the guard down another pair of stairs. Here they saw their future home. A long, low apartment, wrapped in gloom, and only ven tilated by the few whiff s of air filtering through the narrow hatchway. A foul, dirty room, almost choked with a multitude of indistinct figures, s ome lying down, and others striving to walk in the confined space. "Now, just run forward there an' mix wid yer own brood," said the sentry, with a coarse grin. "The rules was read til yez upstairs, an' if ye want to kape in good health, just obey thim, that's all." Martin and Lawrence walked toward the bow, but they had not gone ten feet before they were surrounded

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THE ESCAPE. 161 by an eager crowd of men, all asking questions at the same time. It was news of America the poor wretches were after. After describing the state of affairs at length, and ex plaining all the details of their own capture, the middies were allowed to sit down. Before they had been on the hulk many moments, Law rence noticed a stalwartJ broad-shouldered man watch ing them from a distance. He appeared to be very quiet and reserved, and did not importune them with questions like the others. At last, seeing the middies comparatively alone, he motioned them over to one side, and said: "I am sorry to see you here, boys. But how is it they have placed officers like you among the enlisted men?" "Had a grudge against us, I suppose," replied Martin. Larry explained the circumstances ~f his meeting with Lieutenant Warwick, and the papers sent with them. "You will find that to be the cause," affirmed their new acquaintance. "This precious lieutenant has enlarged on the fact, and made you out a very dangerous char acter." "WelI, I am not, gen~rally," laughed Larry; "but I may be for a short while if I ever run across him." "'My name is John Winters, and I was a boatswain on the sloop-of-war Perry," continued the man. Then, lowering his voice, he added, cautiously: "I suppose you wouldn't object to gaining your freedom?"

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162 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Martin gave a start of surprise, and was on the point of replying, when Winters grasped his arm, warningly. "Sh-sh-sh ! don't speak above a whisper, if you value your lives. There are any number of traitors in here who would tell upon us to curry favor with the prison authorities. Come up forward-walk carelessly, as if you were l ooking around." He started forward, and , after waiting a moment, the boys followed. Lawrence felt so full of joy that he could scarc;e re frain from shouting. Here they were, not in the ' hulk an hour, and a chance for escape lay before them. If the lad had only known what desperate risks they would be compell ed to undergo, he would have been less sanguine. Their new friend halted in a vacant place near the bo ws, and commenced to talk with a group of prisoners. The middies waited until he had finished, when, in obedience to a covert signal, they walked to his s ide. "Now, I have been aboard of this hulk almost a month," he commenced, pointing toward the deck above, as if explaining something, "and in all that time I haven't found a man I would trust. It may seem queer to you that I pick you out at once, but I can read human nature enough to know I have found the right help. However, that is not the question." Pausing a moment, he g lanced cautiously around, and then whispered : "I have a plan for escaping, which, if carried out, will see us on the fair road to lib erty inside of twenty-four

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THE ESCAPE. 163 hours. During my stay on board I have slept in one place, up near the bow. One night I found a spike, and unconsciously commenced picking the wooden side with it. To my great surprise-and need I say joy ?-the oaken planks crumbled under the instrument. They were rotten." Lawrence gave a gasp of excitement. Not heeding him, Winters continued rapidly: "Since that time, I have almost picked a hole large enough to get my body through. It only requires a half foot more in width." "How did you conceal the opening?" asked Martin, deeply interested. "That is the most fortunate part about it. The place just happened to be under the hawse-pipe, and is effec tually hidden by the iron cables with which the hulk is anchored." "And the fragments of wood?" "At first I scattered them about the deck, and the tramping of many feet soon converted them into dust. After the hole penetrated clear through, I dropped out the pieces, and they floated away with the tide before morning. I keep the place covered with a blanket during the day. Now, my idea is for us to finish the job to night, and then silently drop down the chains to the water." "Why, we shall be in the dockyard still, and just as badly off," said Martin. Winters gave a chuckle, and quietly replied: "Ah, I have attended to that, don't you fear. There is ,

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164 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. a little brig-rigged cutter anchored about five hundred yards outside of the last hulk. It was built for the com manding officer's children to practice with. The sails are bent already, and all we have to do is to crawl aboard and square away." Lawrence glanced at Winters in silent admiration. Here was a man with a brain to conceive and the daring to execute.1 "There is one fault about it-we won't find any pro visions on board, nor any clothing. If we can get away in safety, it will be a good idea to run down the coast, and pick out some small hamlet, then lay off until dark. After that, we can run in and get something to eat." "How are you goig to pay for it?" asked Lawrence, innocently. "Ha, ha! Pay for it? Why, this is an enemy's coast, my boy, and legally owned by us-if we can take it. Don't worry about the payn1ent; I'll fix that all right. Now, lay low until about midnight, and then we shall commence operations. Try your best to get a sleeping place next to me." After giving these instructions, Winters sauntered away. Left to themselves, Lawrence and his companion found a retired spot, and eagerly talked over the subject. They could hardly believe their extreme good fortune was true. An hour before, they had entered the hulk, cast down in spirits, and feeling utterly hopeless; now, everything was changed, and even the dismal , foul-smell ing deck seemed brighter and more habitable.

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THE &',CAPE. 165 How the time until midnight was spent, they knew not. It seemed as if the minutes dragged with leaden wings. Lawrence especially could hardly conceal his impatience. But at last the hour arrived. Just as the solemn notes of the ship's bell died away, Winters crept to his knees, and commenced work with the spike. The two middies moved cautiously to his side, and as sisted as best they could. It was slow work, but in the course of an hour, during which time they were compelled to stop frequently on ac count of false alarms, the job was finished. The deck was dimly lighted, even near the hatches, but away forward the gloom was intense This fact alone assured success. "Now, boys , I'll make the first venture," whispered the boatswain, preparing to crawl through the opening. "Do not follow I until you see me in the water, then drop down the chain hand over hand. Be very, very careful, and do not make the slightest noise, on your life." Whil~ speaking, he forced his body through the jagged hole, and disappeared from view.

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CHAPTER XXIV. MORE DANGERS. "Martin, you go next," whispered Larry. "Then I'll take a scout around, and see if all is well before follow ing." "All right, old boy, but don't be long; we wa1_1t to swim together as much as possible." While his friend slipped down the chain, the middy walked aft a few steps, and peered anxiously ,,around the deck. Suddenly one of the prisoners stirred uneasily in his sleep, and uttered a hollow groan. At the sound Larry's heart stopped beating. His nerves, already stretched to their highest tension, caused him to grow faint with fear, but the sensation passed quickly. Smiling at his unusual timidity, he crept back to the opening, and slipped through. Catching a secure hold of the cable, which hung within arms length, Lanyon descended in a careful manner. "Lower yourself until your head only is above the sur face, then follow me. Swim sailor fashion, and don't splash." The night was very dark, but several reflector lamps suspended from the upper deck amidships cast various rays of light across the water.

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MORE DANGERS. 167 The tramping of sentries could be plainly heard, as they walked their beats, and just outside of the next hulk the shadowy outlines of a small boat were easily dis cernible. The chances seemed very slim to the three fugitives, but there was no retreating now. Winters started off with slow, easy strokes, scarcely casting a ripple as he moved along. Luckily, both lads were expert swimmers, and they followed his example without effort. The boatswain headed straight out into the harbor at first, so as to clear the patrol, then edged toward the last hulk. Everything seemed to be in their favor now, and Law rence was just congratulating himself, when a dark ob ject suddenly appeared in view close to their right. It was a boat filled with soldiers ! For a moment all seemed lost, and in hi s excitement Martin made a slight splash, the noise instantly attracting the sentries' attention. Several of the soldiers turned swiftly, and looked in the direction whence the sound seemed to come, and one, elevating his piece, called out: "Who is that in the water? Answer or I'll fire !" "Dive to the left. Quick!" hoarsely whispered Win ters, immediately disappearing under the waves. Lawrence was the last to obey. As he sank from sight, he heard the sharp report of a musket, and then, just as the water closed over him, a scattering volley sounded on the still air.

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168 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. He remained under until his head felt like it was bursting, then he returned to the surface. For a few seconds it seemed as if the blackness was impenetrable, but at last he managed to see two shadowy objects close by. They were small and apparently motionless, but he soon made them out. They were Winters and Martin. Moving noiseles s ly through the water, he gained their side, and asked what was to be done next. "Follow me," briefly replied the boatswain, striking out once more. This time he skirted a trifle nearer to the ghostly line of hulks, and seemed to be aiming for a small craft just visible beyond the last prison ship. Lawrence cast a hasty glance backward, attracted by a sudden hubbub coming from the vessel they had just left. He noticed the flas hing of a number of lights here and there, and then the deep, s ullen boom of a gun came to his ears. It was a warning signal. Their escape had been discovered, and the surrounding country would be aroused at once. It was evident that both of his companions also heard it, as they swam more swiftly. They had taken the precaution to disrobe themselves before leaving the hulk, only retaining the trousers of the prison suit. If it had not been for this they would have experienced great difficulty in swimming such a distance, and even as

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MORE DANGERS. 169 it was, all three felt vastly relieved when the little brig rigged cutter loomed alongside. It did not take the trio a moment to reach her deck. "Now, boys, we have a plank under our feet, and can almost bid defiance to those hounds," exclaimed Winters, exultantly. "But we haven't a second to waste. Here, both of you run up and spread the topsails, while I slip the cable. Make haste." The middies now saw how terribly small was the craft they depended upon for safety. It was simply a long cutter altered into a miniature brig by stepping two masts in their proper places. Neither of the sticks were over twenty feet high, and the yards on them only ranged from five to eight feet. "It's evidently a pleasure craft, rigged up for boys," remarked Martin, as they unloosed the small sails and sheeted them home. "It'll answer our purpose first rate," replied Larry. "I have an idea she can make good speed." By that time Winters had slipped the anchor chain. Running aft, he grasped the tiller, and put the little craft before the wind. "We are on board, but our troubles are not ended by any means," he said, grimly. "We have two forts to pass, and they must know that prisoners have escaped by the row those soldiers are kicking up astern there." As neither of the lads had seen the harbor near the mouth in daytime, they did not realize how grave their present danger was.

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170 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The boatswain explained that it would be necessary to pass within a hundred yards of one fort, and then steer directly across the harbor to escape the other. "The only thing that will save us is the darkness," he added. "If the moon comes out, or if those fellows start a flare, we are gone up." There was no gainsaying this argument, but nothing remained now except to run for it. Winters retained charge of the tiller, and directed the boys when it was necessary to shift the sails. The fugitives had one advantage-they could keep track of the enemy's movements by the light s, while their pursuers had no such aid. Presently the boatswain turned to Lawrence, who was standing near, and pointed out a huge dark mass on the right. "That is Castle Hill, and the first fort is jus t beyond," he whispered. "When we clear that bit of land, our greatest danger commence s . " Larry walked to the side and g lanced at the water. "Why wouldn't it be a good idea to furl sail and drift with the tide? The ebb has just commenced," he recom mended, thoughtfully. "Then we would not present such a prominent mark." "Good!" exclaimed Winters and Martin in a breath. "Why! that is just the thing." "Larry, old boy, you're head and shoulders above me in planning," added the senior middy, clapping his friend on the back.

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MORE DANGERS. 171 "Well, let's get the rags off her first; then you can talk," replied Lanyon, with a laugh at Martin's enthu siasm. "That's good advice," said the boatswain, hastily. "Take in the sails in a hurry, boys; we will soon be abreast the fort." It only required a few seconds to strip the little brig of her canvas, and, when it was done, the two lads to , ok their places alongside the steersman. The impetus already gained caused them to glide along at a fair rate of speed. Then after a little they dropped down to the force of the tide, but it was sufficient to carry the light craft at a speed of three knots. "There doesn't seem to be much movement in the fort," said Martin, when they had finally rounded the point. A few lights flickering here and there were all that dis tinguished the place. It certainly appeared as if the garrison was ignorant of the escape. "We shall soon be able to tell," replied Winters, care fully guiding the brig down the channel. Suddenly a bright glare shone over the waters, and a dozen voices shouted : "There they go ! There, near the middle !" Lawrence gave a groan of despair. "Oh! if we had only gone a hundred feet further!" cried Martin, with a toss of his arms.

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172 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Winters remained silent, and never released the helm. They were now fully exposed to the light. A moment of silence followed, and then, with a roar like thunder, several cannon boomed, and the little brig, struck near the bow, filled and went down!

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CHAPTER XXV. THE LADY ON THE STOOP. Almost bdore they knew what had occurred, Law rence and his two companions found themselves struggling in the water. When they regained the surface, they were so dazed that not one could see in what direction he was swim ming. At last Larry heard the boatswain's voice, calm and courageous. "We are still all right if we can make a landing be yond the fort, boys," he called out. " Keep up your spirits ; there is hope yet." The example of this brave man stirred the middies to further efforts, and they struggled manfully on, deter mined to perish before surrendering. The distance to shore was not over a hundred yards, but where they wished to land wa s more than double that. To their great delight, they saw the flare die out at last, leaving the channel in comparative darkness. The reason for this was soon forthcoming. Some one, apparently an officer, exclaimed loud enough for them to hear: " here is no use looking further, sergeant; that shot

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_174 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. undoubtedly sent them to the bottom. Send a file of men to the commander of the hulks with a report, and then sound taps." "Thank goodness for that!" exclaimed Winters, fer vently. "We can now land and take to the road ." After a short while, Martin called out that he could touch bottom, and soon all three crawled up into a mass of weeds, thoroughly exhausted. "It is not later than one o'clock, and we can spare a few moments for a test," said the boatswain, stretching himself out comfortably. "I am afraid we'll have to," replied the senior middy, with a groan. "I confess that I am almost played out. Ugh! but that was a long swim!" "Yes, it was," confessed Lanyon. "But we have nothing to complain of. Here we are outside the hulks, and supposed to be at the bottom of the harbor. Now, all there is to do is to confiscate enough clothing to dis guise ourselves with, and then ship on some vessel." " I have a better idea than that, boys," spoke up Winters, after a short pause. "Close by here are any num ber of little ports where small sloops and fishing smacks are moored. Now, if we can get the clothing and a few arms, we may be able to capture one of them, and sail directly to sea. I, for one, am willing to take my chance in a sloop." "And then we will certainly have a hard job finding a ship sailing toward the United States now," added Mar tin. -"No, Larry, I think Winters' plan, desperate though

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THE LADY ON THE STOOP. 175 it undoubtedly is, offers us the best chance of leaving England." Lanyon finally saw that they were right, and gave up. After the little party had rested almost an hour, the boatswain rose to his feet, and stated that it would be best to set out at once. Although still sore and tired, the middies obeyed, and, after rubbing their limbs to stop the chilly feeling, they followed their companion. The shore seemed to consist of sand, covered with a scanty growth of salt grass, no path or road being at first visible. Finally, after walking a quarter of a mile, they struck a hedge, which Winters declared edged a country lane. Not finding ah opening, they broke through, with con siderable difficulty, and emerged on a well-trodden road. "This mnst lead to some town of importance," re marked the boatswain. "See, it is marked with many wheels. Now, I think we can do nothing better than fol low it." This was the middies' opinion, so they set out on a slow walk. For the space of an hour they traveled without halting; then their leader suddenly stopped, and glanced over the right hedge. "I believe that is a house up there," he remarked, pointing toward an elevation close to the road. "It seems to be a country mansion of the better class. Suppose we investigate?" Lawrence hesitated.

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176 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. He hardly liked the idea of entering a private house or grounds, even in an enemy's country-it looked too much like burglary. But their condition was desperate enough to warrant almost anything. First making a mental reservation to draw the line at violence, he followed his companions through a gate found by the boatswain. The interior was well laid out, and presented the ap pearance of a country lawn. About midway to the mansion, they ran across a summer pavilion almost concealed by a dense growth of vines. While passing this, the deep baying of a hound came to their ears; then a whole chorus rang out, creating a loud racket. "Here, come into this little house," cried Winters, hur riedly, leading the way through a lattice door into the building mentioned above. Martin was the last one inside, and he slammed the portal just as a pack of dogs darted up. They began giving tongue at once, and bounded against the light framework, as if bent on entering. "Their master'll be out with a gun before many minutes," muttered the senior middy, with a comical ex pression of dismay on his good-humored face. "If he does, we'll have to fight for it," replied Winters, firmly. "I'll never return to that hole alive." "Nor I," coincided Larry, setting his teeth. Suddenly they heard a window opened in the upper floor of the mansion, and a voice called out:

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THE LADY ON THE STOOP. 177 "Silence, Rover! Get back to your kennels, or I will come down with a stick. Silence, I say! Pretty time to make such a noise!" and, still talking, the person with drew. For a moment the hounds acted as if they intended dis obeying; then, after snuffing suspiciously, they walked away. Cautiously raising his head above the railing, Martin peered out. "Great guns!" he immediately ejaculated. "Those con founded curs are over there, waiting for us to come out!" Winters and Larry instantly looked in the direction indicated. Sure enough, not twenty feet away sat the whole pack, with their noses pointed toward the pavilion. It was a peculiar predicament. There were at least ten of them-all large animals, and undoubtedly ferocious. What was to be done? "After escaping from a whole regiment of soldiers, and passing in safety through a dozen battles, it will be hard to surrender to a parcel of curs," exclaimed Winters, dolefully. Lawrence and Martin laughed heartily. They could not . help seeing the comical side of the situation, and, although it was grave en&lgh, yet the ex pressi6n on the boatswain's face proved too much. At last he joined in their mirth, and the whole three lay on the floor and indulged in laughter. At last Winters sat up, and said, gravely:

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178 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "This will never do, boys ; we must devise some means to get out of here, or we'll have the whole country on our heels. How are we going to get rid of those confounded dogs? '' Lawrence lifted himself up, and glanced at the distance between them and the fence. "I think the best plan is for one of us to suddenly dart out, and run toward that corner of the hedge, thus at tracting the dogs, while the rest make for the gate," he said, quietly. " And who will be the one to go? " asked Winters. "I will, " replied Lawrence, instantly. The boatswain gave him an admiring glance, and then said, firmly: "No, my boy. We will stick together in this matter. I appreciate your offer , but we will not accept it. I think the best idea is to wait until the people in the house show themselves, and maybe they 'll put the curs in their ken nels; then we can watch our chance and sneak away." "That is what we will do, Larry," agreed Martin. "There is no use in fighting those animals; they would tear us to pieces in a second. " It was accordingly settled that they should remain quietly in the pavilion , hidden behind the screen of vines, and wait until the dogs were locked up. It was not long before signs of life became apparent. A servant opened the front door, and swept off the steps, then the windows of the upper rooms were raised, and a maid was seen wiping the glass.

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THE LADY ON THE STOOP. 179 The man first mentioned glanced carelessl 1 : out on the lawn, after cleaning the stoop, and saw the dogs. He whistled to them, but they refused to stir. Angered at this, he ran down with his broom, and belabored the nearest ones, at the same time shouting: "Get in the back yard, you good-for-nothing scamps! What are you nosing around here for, eh ?" Growling stillenly, they sneaked off, followed by the servant. "Thank Heaven !" exclaimed Winters. "If I had a shilling I would leave it for that flunkey. Now to escape." At that moment a noise sounded at the door of the man sion, and a young lady, accompanied by a gentleman clad in the uniform of a naval officer, stepped out. Lawrence happened to be peering in that direction, and when he caught sight of them he fell back with an ex clamation of astonishment on his lips. "Martin, Martin ! Look there ! Quick !" he cried. "It is the officer we saw on reaching Portsmouth, and Mildred Vane !"

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CHAPTER XXVI. TIMELY ASSISTANCE. Martin jumped up and hastily looked at the two on the steps. "Well, if this doesn't beat King George!" he ex claimed. "Why, how on earth did she get here? bless her pretty face !" It was as great a mystery to Lawrence. When he saw her last, she was peeping out from the cabin windows of the Lord Clive in midocean. Suddenly the lad turned to his companions with a new determination on his countenance. "There is one who will help us," he said, quietly. "And I am going to ask her." The senior middy glanced at him, incredulously. "Nonsense, Larry!" he said, abruptly. "She will give us up surely." "Who is the young latly ?" asked Winters, looking from one to the other. Lanyon explained as briefly as he could, also describ ing the scene on board the merchantman. "And did she jump out between you and the lieu tenant's sword?" questioned the boatswain. "Yes," replied Lawrence, reddening slightly at the recollection.

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TIMELY ASSISTANCE. 181 "Well, you go ahead and ask her to help us," con fidently advised the astute Winters. "If there is any one in England that will assist, she i s the one." Martin gave a sniff of unbelief, but did not offer any further objections . By this time Miss Vane and her escort had left the stoop, and were walking down the central path. Seeing that no time was to be lost, Larry stood up, and parted the vines so his face would be visible. Then, watching his opportunity, he made a slight noise. Fortunately, at that moment the officer was glancing the other way, but Mildred happened to be facing the pavilion. She heard the sound, and looked inquiringly at the little house, immediately catching sight of Lawrence . Uttering a slight scream, she placed her hand to her heart, and appeared as if about to fall. Her companion instantly caught hold of her arm, and anxiously asked what was the matter. "Why-there is--" she stammered, then, smiling feebly, added: "Oh! It is nothing but a slight pain, captain-nothing at all." "Brave girl!" murmured Larry from his . place of con cealment. "But would it not be better for you to return to the house, Miss Vane?" persisted her companion. "No, thank you, sir," replied the young lady, quietly. Then she added:

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182 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "If you will kindly bring my smelling salts, I will wait here. That is all I really need." Raising his cap, the officer walked hastily toward the mansion, and disappeared through the door. Just as soon as he was out of sight, Mildred ran toward the summer house, and, confronting Lawrence, asked, quickly: "What are you doing here , you fooli s h boy? How did you escape?" Then, without waiting for him to answer, she added: "Don't you know y ou will be recaptured and shot? Oh, why did you not rem a in on the prison ship for a few days! I intended asking papa to secure your ex change, and now--" She stopped , and wrung her hands in excitement and despair. "I did not know that, Miss Vane," quietly replied Law rence . "We had a chance to leave the hulks aJ:!d took advantage of it. I ha v e two companions with me, and we are trying to secure food and clothing. If you can qelp us--" At that moment the officer reappeared, and hurriedly descended the steps. Motioning Lanyon to hide himself, Mildred whis pered: "Watch your chance, and get to a boathouse you will find on the beach, just across the road. Conceal your selves under the flooring until you hear from me. I will try to help you this afternoon. Sh-sh ! not another word."

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TIMELY ASSISTANCE. 183 The caution was necessary, because Lawrence, forget ting his surroundings in his gratitude, began to pour out his thanks, in a voice rather more loud than the sur roundings permitted. Sinking back to the floor, he saw the naval captain come up with a bottle, and offer it to Miss Vane. "Why, you look greatly agitated," he heard the officer say, in a voice full of concern. "Really, now, hadn't we better return to the house?" The young lady attempted to assure him that she was well, but her face denied it, and she reluctantly took her companion's arm, and walked back to the mansion. The middy turned a triumphant face to his mates. "Didn't I tell you she would help us?" he asked, simply. "Well, she is the noblest girl I ever met," replied Martin, with deep feeling. The more practical member of the party, Winters, cut short further words by advising that they leave at once. "So far as I can see, the coast is clear now," he added, preparing to depart. A glance outside proved the truth of his assertion. There was no one visible in either direction, so, care fully opening the door, they made a dash toward the road, and, fortunately, reached it unobserved. It required but a few moments to cross the lane to where they could see a gate in the opposite hedge. Unfastening this, the fugitives passed through, and ran
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184 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Slipping through, they found themselves in a long, low room containing several surf boats and numerous oars, and other objects pertaining to the water. In the center was a place cut for a s loping platform. "That is how she meant for us to get under the floor,'' said Lanyon. "Gome on, don't wait until some one catches us here." Stooping down, he crawled between the planks and the ground, followed by Martin and Winters. They kept on until the foundation wall was reached, and stretched out at full length. Their clothing was still wet and disagreeable, but the mere fact that they were safe, and had the prospect of assistance before long, counteracted that. "I have been thinking that she must have returned to England on the Wasp with us," said the senior middy, after a short rest . "I remember seeing some young lady on the quarter-deck one day when we were up for an air ing, but I didn't recognize her. " "That must have been the way of it," agreed Lawrence, thoughtfully. "Her father probably went on, and sent her home. I don't blame him after the experience they ' had." A subdued snore from the boatswain showed that the poor fellow had forgotten his troubles in slumber. Although anxious and uncomfortable, his companions soon followed his example. How long they slept they knew not, but Lanyon was suddenly awakened by a noise overhead. Some one was walking a c ross the floor.

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TIMELY ASSISTANCE. 185 Cautiously arousing his mates, the middy listened intently. Suddenly he heard a voice singing: When p e ople go to war, they fight mighty toughLi s ten to wha t I ' m a -s aying. They bite, an' the y s cratch, an' they kick up roughLi s ten to wha t I'm a -s aying. If you're a -hiding under the floorListen to what I'm a -s aying. Just wait until I g e t to the door-Listen to wh a t I'm a -s aying. Then you ' ll find a bundle 'neath the boat; A shoe, a shirt, a hat an' a coat; Just take it an' run, an' don't com e back, Or I'll take a club an' hit you a whack-Listen to what I'm a -s aying . The sound died away, and then the astonished listeners heard the door slam. "Well, who in the name of creation is that?" asked Martin, glancing at his companions in bewilderment. "From the word s , I think it is some yokel sent down here with a bundle by Miss Vane," suggested Lanyon, starting to crawl toward the opening in the floor. "Come on, and we will see what he has left us." "I'll wager the fellow is a great character," said Winters, with a smile. "I suppose he is some faithful ser vitor of the young lady's, and she has picked him out to bring the bundle to us." On reaching the sloping platform, they glanced cau tiously about, then Lawrence ran to the window. Toiling up the winding path was an old man, dressed in the semi-livery worn by servants of that period.

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186 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The middy saw him wag his head as if in great glee, and the faint sound of a ditty came floating back. Just then Lawrence heard an exclamation of joy be hind him. Turning, he beheld Winters in the act of unrolling a large bundle, evidently taken from one of the boats. "Here are the things mentioned by that old fellow in his funny song," cried the boatswain, holding up several articles. . "See! there are shoes and three whole suits, and a lot of food." "Hurrah!" shouted Martin, extracting another pack age. "We are all right again." He rapidly unfastened the outer cover, and exposed to view a brace of pistols and a purse. Attached to the latter was a note, which Lanyon immediately seized.

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CHAPTER XXVII. SAFE AT LAST. Opening it, he first glanced over the contents, ~nd then read aloud as follows : I have managed to send you some articles which I hope will assist you in your trouble. Do not delay longer than you can help, but leave the country at the earliest opportunity. I think your best plan will be to travel North until you reach a hamlet where you can secure a vessel. Good-by, and may success be with you. If you reach your country in safety, try to stop this terrible war. That was all, no address or signature, simply the few lines written on a sheet of perfumed paper. "Heaven bless her!" murmured Lawrence, his eyes moistened with tears of gratitude. "If we ever do reach home, I will never forget her kindness. " "Nor I," echoed his companions simultaneously. They all felt deeply grateful to the noble girl, and she never had three more sincere admirers than the poor fugitives in the little boathouse on her father's estate. The party lost no time in exchanging their prison gar-• ments for the clothing found in the bundle. The articles were a trifle worn, but they answered the purpose for the time being. Martin 's choice, in particular, had been made for a short, fat man, and hung like bags on his lanky form, but he donned them with extreme satisfaction.

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188 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Winters thought it best to return to their retreat under the floor until dusk, so they carried the food with them, and enjoyed the first meal since leaving the hulks. Just before dark . they emerged, and, after leaving the boathouse, walked along the edge of the bluff for several miles, carefully avoiding the road until sunset. Then, climbing up to the highway, they traveled on for three or four hours without encount~ring any one. At last ,vinters, who was sljghtly ahead, called out that he could see the lights of a village. "Now, we want to be very careful, " he cautioned. "The first thing is to find out if there are any sloops in the harbor. Then try to steal a boat, and attempt to capture one. I have an idea it will be an easy task, as these people haven't any fear of an invasion, and nat urally don't think there are men desperate enough to board the vessels right under their noses. , Therein lies our chance of success." It was agreed, therefore, that the party should do as he suggested. Presently a halt was called behind a thicket, and a plan of action arranged. "You boys had better wait here while I go down and look for a boat," said the boatswain, finally. "One per~on prowling around won't be apt to excite suspicion like a party of three. I will return just as soon as I find out how the land lays." He was not gone more than a half hour. Hurriedly rejoining them, he whispered: "I have found a small shallop just this side of the vil-

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SAFE AT LAST. 189 lage. The oars and everything are in it ready for use. Come on, and we will row out into the harbor." "Did you see any vessels at anchor?" anxiously asked Martin, as they followed him down to the edge of the water. "There are several lights off shore, which, I think, are aboard fishing smacks. We shall soon ascertain, how ever." A few moments' fast walking brought them to the little craft Winters had espied. It was drawn up partly out of the surf, and appeared to have been . recently u s ed. Lawrence and Martin shoved it clear of the sand, and then sprang in. The boatswain made a short scrutiny of the vicinity, and joined them. The two middies worked the oars, while Winters steered, and they glided out from shore without causing alarm. After rowing three or four hundred yards, the helms man cautioned them to pull carefully. "We are approaching some craft, and from the outlines I think it is a sloop. Now watch yourselves, and when I give the word, drop your oars and climb on board," he added. At last Lawrence, who was in the bow, saw the black shadows of some object over his shoulder, and then Winters whispered: "Way enough ! Now get over the side and capture her!" Grasping one of the pistols between his teeth, Lanyon

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190 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. caught a rope dangling from the bulwarks, and crawled over. Close behind him came Martin, similarly armed, and the boatswain. The latter only carried a stout cudgel, picked up ashore, but it formed a powerful weapon in his muscular grasp. The deck seemed to be entirely deserted, not a sound being heard fore or aft. It was in darkness also, save for a dim oil lamp glim mering feebly near the bow. Creeping aft, the little party saw a cuddy hatch just forward of the wheel. "There is where the crew is," breathed Winters. "If we can only get them on deck one at a time, I'll crack them as they come up." "Get ready, then," replied Lawrence. "You stand at the hatch, and I ' ll beat on the deck over their heads. We don't want to fire a shot if it can be avoided." Martin stood by to render assistance, if any of the crew proved too much for the boatswain. When all was ready, the middy gave a tap on the wooden deck, then several more in rapid succession. A commotion sounded below, and some one sprang up the ladder, two steps at a time. The fellow never got farther than the threshold. Lifting his stick, Winters brought it down with ter rific force, and the sailor dropped like a log. "Catch him, quick!" whispered Lawrence to Martin. The latter rapidly dragged the unconscious man to one side just as a voice asked:

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~AFE AT LAST. 191 "What's the matter, Bill? Some one a-shoutin' ?" Not receiving an answer, the fellow grumbled some coarse oaths, and shambled up the stairs. He was speedily treated like his mate, and the fugitives waited for more. Not hearing any noise, the boatswain finally crept down the cuddy, and, after a moment, called out that it was empty. This was good news, for it meant that they were now in possession of the sloop, without fear of disturbance. Running on deck again, Winters said, hurriedly: "Just
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192 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Then, and not until then, did the little party speak louder than a whisper. Martin was for dancing a hornpipe through sheer ex cess of joy, but Winters bade him wait a while, and then he, too, would join him. It was now about ten o'clock in the evening, and at least six or seven hours would elapse before daybreak. In that length of time the fugitives could reasonably hope to place fifty miles between them and the coast. "With that much offing, we need fear nothing from the land," said the boatswain, gleefully. "Of course there remains the danger of encountering men-of-war, but we have to take that chance. Now, boys, we are fairly started on what may prove to be a long journey, so we had better divide the watches." "Two of us must be on deck all the time," suggested Lawrence. "Yes, that is necessary. Each of us will have to do with four hours' sleep out of twelve-pretty hard, but we can stand it at a pinch." After this detail was arranged, Martin retired, and the others watched the sloop in their turn. And so the night went. At the first break of day Winters climbed the little mast, and swept the horizon with an old telescope found on board. The land had entirely disappeared, but away off to the left was a vague point, which might prove to be a sail. He examined it very carefully for a moment, and then descended to the deck.

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SAFE AT LAST. 193 On consultation, it was deemed advisable to alter their course so as to run the stranger out of sight as speedily as possible. This was done, and by noon the ocean was bare within sight. Nothing out of the common occurred during the fol lowing ten days . Enough provisions were found on board to meet their few wants by careful management, and the time passed in an interminable length of watches. One bright morning, almost two weeks after the event ful night when they escaped from England's shore, Law rence descried a sail almost dead ahead. Strenuous efforts were instantly made to run away. The sloop was put about, and sailed in the opposite di rection, but all to no purpose . In the course of a few hours the stranger was near enough to fire a warning gun, but at the same time she hoisted at the peak the glorious colors of America. At first the little party thought it a ruse, but finally Winters, who had been carefully examining the stranger through the glass, exclaimed , joyfully: "Ah! I thought I knew her, boys! Three cheers for freedom now ! Yell your best, for it is the Yankee cruiser Argus!" To say that Lawren _ce and his companions were made much of on board the Argus, would be using a mild term. They were welcomed literally as from the dead. The cruiser had parted from the frigate United States only a week previously, and their disappearance was com mon news.

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194 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The piece of information that pleased them most, how ever, was the announcement that the Argus expected to return to America in a few days. "We are only sailing about to see what can be picked up," explained the fir s t li e utenant, " and if we don ' t run across anything by to-morrow, I think the captain will put about for home." The sloop was burned at once, and when her charred hull made the final plunge into old ocean, Martin sol emnly took off his cap in salutation. "She served us well, old boy," he said to Lanyon. Winters, by virtue of his subordinate position, was separated from the middies, but they did not forget him. In fact, Lawrence took an early opportunity to acquaint the commander of the Argus with his faithful work, and gained that officer's promise to make a report of it to those higher in authority. As a recompense for their hardships and many ad ventures, the boys were destined to spend an uneventful voyage home. The fourth week after boarding the cruiser found them again entering the beautiful harbor of New York. It was with a heart filled with emotion that Lawrence looked upon the many familiar points of the bay, but none gladdened him so much as the sight of a frigate riding quietly at anchor off the lower end of the town. It was the Unted States. The anchor was hardly down before Martin and Lan yon tumbled into a small bQat~ a .nd after bidding their

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SAFE AT LAST. 195 new friends good-by, quickly rowed to the gangway of the other vessel. Before leaving the Argus, they promised Winters to secure a transfer for him to the United States. We will draw a veil over the scene that took place on the deck of the frigate when they suddenly appeared. The entire population of the cockpit turned out en masse, and never before had the old ship known such a welcome. Commodore Decatur sent for them, and the reception in his cabin was but little more subdued than that outside. It was plainly evident that the commodore felt vastly relieved on seeing that his protege had escaped. "You have passed through many perils, my lad, and done your duty faithfully and well, and I shall not forget it," he said. "I expect to sail on another cruise in a few days, and when we return from that, your claims will be pushed at the department." On leaving the cabin, after the interview, Decatur called out to Lawrence, and asked if he wanted a short vacation before the frigate sailed. "I haven't any place to go to, sir," replied the middy, promptly. Then he added, with a smile: "I don't suppose my guardian would care to see me." "I hardly believe so," replied Decatur, his face darken ing. "He came on board several days ago, and did not seem cast down when I told him you had disappeared. Mark me, Lanyon, there is some mystery there, and I am going to investigate it when this war is over."

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196 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The following few days were devoted to placing the frigate in trim for another cruise. Martin and Larry took their former positions on board, and worked with unabat e d ardor until the ship sailed. Winters was transferred on the last day, and was re ceived with pleasure by the two lads. In the long watches of the night the former fugitives went over their trials, and related, to the edification of their shipmates, the many adventures happening during their brief captivity in England. The frigate was at sea several weeks before sighting a sail. On leaving New York, she cruised in company with several other men-of-war, but at last the commodore de termined to turn s outhward and look for prizes in the path generally taken by W e st Indian convoys. Finally that day, marked with a red letter in the naval history of our earl y wars, arrived. It was the t w enty fifth of October, in the year 1812. Early that morning a loo k out in the for e top hailed the deck with the welcome announcement that he could see a sail off the larboard beam. Doing duty with him aloft was Lawrence . It was the practice in those days for a midshipman to stand watch in the tops as a part of the regular routine. Thus it was that Lanyon, having just taken his trick "skyward," as it was called, was among the first to sight the vessel they were destined to fight. Just as soon as she was noticed, preparations were made for the combat.

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SAFE AT LAST. 197 The frigate was close hauled to the west, and every stitch of canvas set that would draw. The decks were cleared for action, and magazines opened ; the batteries manned by their proper crews, and skilled gunners stationed at each piece. It soon became apparent that the stranger was also eager for the fray. He held the gage and came down under an immense spread of sails. At the distance of a mile, Decatur wore around and sent a broadside at the stranger. It was aimed too high, and did little execution, but a second one struck the enemy fair and square, and hulled her fore and aft. Then she replied, cutting the United States' mizzen rigging in many places. As yet neither ship had raised a flag, but now the commodore ordered the colors hoisted, a defiance instantly followed by the British vessel. Stationed at one of the after s pardeck cannon, Lawrence had a splendid opportunity to witness the combat. He also kept a close eye on Decatur, and profited much by observing the skillful way in which that doughty com mander handled his vessel. Martin had charge of the mainmast, repeating the or ders given by the sailingmaster, and seeing that they were carried out. He found time to address a few words to his chum now and then, and seemed in his natural element. During the first half hour the firing was at long range,

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198 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. but at the expiration of that time, the two ships drew closer together, and the fighting became general. Suddenly a raking broadside from the Englishman car ried away the halliards on which the American flag was fastened, and the piece of bunting dropped to the deck. A wild cheer burst from the British sailors. "Hurrah! The Yankee has struck I She surrenders, she surrenders!" came the exulting cry. The sound electrified the whole ship . Men serving the guns stopped their work, and stared aft, aghast. It was a critical moment; the day seemed lost. Aft on the poop Decatur saw the accident, and sprang toward the fallen emblem of liberty. But some one reached the spot first. A lithe form darted out from the mid s t of a group of sailors, seized the bit of bunting, and hastily climbed the mizzen shrouds. A moment later the old flag again waved proudly from the frigate, and the enemy knew that the victory was still to be won.

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CHAPTER XXVIII. A SHOOTING. The shouting and tossing of hats, the clapping of hands and the mighty cry that arose from the frigate's decks fairly split the heavens. Then the brave fellows went to their guns, and poured such a hot and galling fire at the enemy that he speedily wore around and tried to retreat. But it was too late. Crippled aloft, the wooden hull penetrated by such a number of round shot that it resembled a pepper box; his crew decimated by the American sharpshooters, and him s elf wounded, the commander soon saw that defeat was theirs, and he hauled down his flag at last. Then the victorious crew seized one of their junior of ficers and bore him on their brawny shoulders from deck to deck in triumph. It was the lad who had restored the flag-Lawrence Lanyon. On being brought in this style before the commodore, the latter shook his hand and said : "Another item in your claim for promotion, Mr. Lan yon. Keep on with your daring deeds, and you will soon command a ship." This praise, brief as it was, from his superior officer,

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200 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. affected Lawrence more than aught else. He knew that Decatur was not given to empty words, and that he meant what he said. Attention was now given to the prize. A boat was sent to bring her commander for the pur pose of receiving his surrender in a formal manner. When it returned, the vanquished officer appeared on the quarter deck and silently handed his sword to Decatur. It was Captain Cardon, of his majesty ' s frigate Mace donian. In the crew sent to repair the prize were Martin and Lawrence . Always prompt to place them where they would per fect themselves in their profession, Decatur chose the two middies to assist in getting the badly crippled Macedonian fit for the voyage to New York. On reaching the frigate they took immediate command under a senior lieutenant, and mustered the British crew aft on the quarter deck. The defeated officers were placed together, anci the roll called. It was found that fully three score had been killed, and twice as many wounded. This was a terrible slaughter when the fact is taken into consideration that of the Americans only five lost their lives, and barely seven were injured. In examining the officers, Lawrence was approached by one of the juniors with the announcement that he had an important communication to make.

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A SHOOTING. 201 Drawing Lanyon aside, the lad whispered something in his ear. On hearing it, Lawrence stepped back in a startled manner, and then beckoned to Martin, who was standing near. "I have received some good news," he said, hurriedly. "An old acquaintance of ours is on board-hiding below in the hold." "What ! not--" "Yes; the traitor, Spencer!" interrupted Lawrence. "He was appointed a midshipman in our service," explained the English lad. "But we had heard of him, . and when he was sent to this ship, the boys cut him dead. After we surrendered, I saw him sneak down below." Hastily ordering a couple of seamen to follow them, Martin and his chum ran down the berth deck ladder. The hatch leading to the hold was directly beneath this, and they soon entered the apartment. It was so dark that Lawrence ordered one of the men to bring a lantern, and wh e n it arrived, he immediately began the search. The place was packed with stores, consisting of various casks and boxes, but the brawny seamen speedily had them shifted. Seeing a dark form in one corner, remote from the hatch, Lanyon called out : "Come out of that, you coward, or I'll send a sailor after you. Move lively, there!" The object wheeled around suddenly and leveled • a pistol at the middy.

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202 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Before any one could interfere, there came a blinding flash, immediately followed by a spiteful report, and Lawrence fell headlong to the deck. Uttering a fierce cry of rage and horror, Martin sprang over the barrels and grappled with the assassin before he could again use his weapon. In much less time than it takes to write it, Spencer was disarmed and at the mercy of the infuriated middy. "Oh, you cowardly murderer!" cried Martin, elevating his sword. "For that you die!" He would have driven his weapon through the cower ing lad if one of the seamen had not called out at that moment: "He is coming into his senses, sir. Mr. Lanyon is still alive." Hastily bidding the men watch Spencer, the senior middy kn~lt at his friend's side and raised his head. At that moment Lawrence opened his eyes. "What is the-where am I?" he gasped, endeavoring to scramble erect. In the effort he leaned on his right arm, and instantly sunk back again with a half-stifled cry of pain. "I believe I am wounded in the shoulder," he mur mured to Martin. "Where is the cowardly dog that shot me?" "We have him safe enough," repiied the middy, casting a glance of rage at Spencer. "But here, let me lift you up, Larry, and then see if you can walk on deck." First placing a rude bandage over the place to stop the flow of blood, he a s sisted the injured lad to his feet

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A SHOOTING. 203 and then supported him while they passed up on the spar deck. The two sailors followed close behind with the would be assassin. Their appearance attracted instant attention, and, when the facts became known , it required the utmost authority on the part of the lieutenant to restrain the American sailors. They were for immediately hanging the miscreant, and Lawrence had to ask them to leave him to the law before they consented. The surgeon of the Macedonian volunteered his serv ices, and dressed the injury in a skillful manner, remark ing that it was not necessarily serious, but would require a couple of weeks' rest. Lanyon and Spencer were taken to the frigate in the same boat, and the facts in the case reported to Decatur. When Martin and Lawrence related the story of the lad's treachery to the commodore on rejoining the United States, the latter swore that if he ever captured him it would surely mean a trial and execution. Now , on finding the opportunity in his hands, with the additional crime added, he could scarce restrain his anger. After scoring Spencer in unmeasured terms, he or dered him to be placed in irons in the ship's prison. Lawrence reluctantly climbed into a hammock in the sick bay, and composed himself for a monotonous siege of it. But all things mortal have an end, and by the time the , !

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204 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. frigate, with her prize, had sighted the American shores, the middy was ready for duty again. Decatur thought it best to convoy the Macedonian, as she was in a terribly crippled condition, and compelled to sail under jury masts. However, all went well, and in due time the two ves sels arrived off the Long Island coast without meeting an enemy or undergoing a serious accident. The commodore thought it best to run into New Lon don and refit, but he sent the prize on to New York. After seeing her almost to the Narrows, the frigate was put about and started for the mouth of the Thames. Just as they passed Block Island a cry came from the masthead that several sail could be seen toward the southeast. Backing the main yard, Decatur waited until the strangers became plainly visible from the deck. There were five of them, all large frigates. To run out and give them battle single-handed was not to be thought of, so the commodore immediately spread sail for the upper part of the river. At that time two very efficient forts guarded the ap proach to New London, so there was little danger of the English ships attempting to cut the frigate out. "By George! but that was a narrow squeeze!" ex claimed Martin to Lawrence and George Gordon on the forecastle. "Yes ; a couple of hours longer and we would have found ourselves in a decided pickle," replied the former.

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A SHOOTING. 205 "Just imagine the old United States in a combat with five craft each larger than she is." "I think the commodore would have fought them, all the same," spoke up Gordon. "I don't know," rejoined Martin, shaking his head. "There is a time when courage runs into foolhardiness. It is the sensible man that knows the dividing line." "Well, you can see what the old man is doing," said Lawrence, pointedly. "He is taking the safer course." He was in truth. Every stitch of canvas was set, and the frigate skimmed up the river at a ten-knot speed. On arriving at a point just inside the upper fort, the an chor was dropped and the ship prepared for a short stay. By order of Mr. Allen, the first lieutenant, Lawrence went to the masthead and watched the approaching fleet. He was accompanied by Winters, and the two kept their glasses leveled at the threatening strangers. "What do you think of that man?" asked Lawrence, suddenly, turning from the English fleet to look at Winters. "Who?" "Mr. Morris, the chaplain." The boatswain hesitated for a moment, and then re plied: "Well, I don't believe in criticising the officers, but in my opinion he would bear watching. I hardly know how I got the idea, but I have it, all the same." "I believe he is in sympathy with the British, and would' help them if he could," exclaimed the middy, firmly. "Several little things have happened that don't

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206 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. look well in one of his cloth, and, as you say, he needs looking after." At that moment Lawrence was hailed from the deck, and told to come down. As a precaution, the boatswain was ordered to continue the watch until later. On reaching the deck, an orderly brought the middy a message from the commodore, requesting his presence in the cabin. Somewhat surprised, Lawrence hastened to obey, and on presenting himself, found Decatur busily engaged in poring over a map spread out on the center table.

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CHAPTER XXIX. A LETTER . Looking up from his task, Commodore Decatur greeted the middy with a cordial smile, and asked him to be seated. "I have sent for you for two reasons, Lanyon," he began, drawing up a chair close to that of Lawrence. "In looking over some papers in an old desk of mine I ran across this fragment of letter. It is part of one re ceived from your father, and contains a very peculiar statement." Selecting a worn, time-stained piece of paper from sev eral on the desk, Decatur read to the interested lad the following: * * * and another thing I wi s h to tell you , my dear Ste phen, is that I believe the time will come when you can repay me for what you call the great service rendered you on the occasion in que s tion. If not directly to me, at least to my be l ove d son . I have an enemy-a hard, bitter, implacable task ma ster-who i s s lowly but s urely driving me to the grave. I care not for myself, but for my boy, and I know that this vampire will fasten himself upon Lawrence when he is through with me. There i s another one, too, a man that should be my greatest friend and follower, but he is in the pay of the enemy, and also has his fingers around my throat. I can tell you his name; it is Rube Speed--"Ru be Speed!" exclaimed Lawrence, rising to his feet. "Why ! that is our old servant. He lives here in New London now."

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208 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "He does, eh?" replied the commodore, grimly. "Well, we will see if we cannot interview this fellow, Speed. I have an idea that our chances of obtaining a truthful ac count of your poor father's troubles depends on this serv ant. There is a deep mystery in this affair, and a vil lainous plot." "I know both my father and myself have been wronged by Mr. Hallett, and I believe he is the enemy mentioned in the letter," said Lawrence, with determination. Decatur glanced thoughtfully out of the cabin window for a moment, and then replied : "':fo tell the truth, Lanyon, I have the same opinion, but it will probably be hard to prove in his case. He is a respected merchant of New York, and holds a position hard to assail." "Well, sir, if we can obtain any proof from Rube, I will wring the truth from Amos Hallett if it costs me my life." "And I will assist you, Lanyon, with all my power. Not only for your father's sake, but also for yours. You have proven yourself a brave lad, conscientious in the performance of duty, and manly in every respect, and it will be a pleasure to me to help you." Lawrence's emotions almost overcame him. He tried to thank the noble officer for his kindness, but the words failed him, and all he could do was to stammer out his gratitude. "Tut, tut! my boy! Do not say anything about it," said Decatur, kindly. Then, referring to the map on the table, he added:

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A LETTER. 209 "Now, I have another subject upon which I wish to talk with you. When we lay in New York harbor last month I received a long communication from the department referring to some treachero:us work going on in and around this town, New London. It seems that we have in our midst a party of British sympathizers-men so unpatri otic that they are willing to give aid to the enemies of their country for gold. I was warned to look out for them, and if I came in here again, to try and bring the rascals to justice." He paused for a brief space, and glanced over the map again. Lawrence instantly thought of the chaplain, and also of some other acquaintances of his, but he was not cer tain of the latter. It came upon him to inform the commodore of his sus picions, but he reflected that they were only suspicions, and not facts, so he forbore. "Now, I think it is going to require very delicate work, this spying out the s ecrets of the society or band-for such it undoubtedly is-and I am really at a loss as to how to go about it," continued the commodore, finally. "There is no doubt but what they will try to communicate with this fleet outside, and, if they do, we may catch them. It is possible they will try it to-night, so I am going to lie in wait for them." Rising to his feet, he walked over toward Lawrence, and said, impressively: "I intend placing the responsibility of catching the traitors on your shoulders, Lanyon, and I want you to

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210 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. do the best you can to rid the coast of them. You can take what officers and men you require, and commence this very night. You know the position of the English fl~et, and your travels around this neighborhood while living here ought to help you. Now, go and make your plans, and don't fail to prevent communications to-night." Lawrence left the cabin } and has tily joining Martin, Winters and Gordon, he at once opened the subject. "I want all three of you to report to me at sunset, pre pared for secret duty." They looked at him in wonder for a momentJ.. then Mar tin broke out: "Do you mean it, old boy , or is this one of your jokes? I know you have been talking with the old man, but I didn't think he had placed y ou in charge of the ship." This was said with the greatest good humor, and in a comical manner. It was not in Martin's honest heart to feel envious of his friend's good fortune-he was too fond of him for that. After enjoying their wonder for a while, the middy ex plained as much as he thought best of the commodore ' s plans, and received an eager consent to his question as to whether they cared about joining the expedition. "In truth, I am weary of this inactivity, Master Lan yon, and anything in the shape of a scrimmage would be welcome," remarked the boatswain. "Remember, though, the more fighting the merrier." "I will not promise you any," laughed Lanyon; "but I think there is a good chance of measuring sword s . Now,

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A LETTER. 211 I want you to pick out three good boats' crews, and have them all armed for action by seven bells. Winters, you take the first cutter, and place a small boat swivel in it." Then, addressing George Gordon, he told him to as sume charge of the third cutter. "The commodore has notified the executive officer, so we can get what we wish without any trouble," continued Lawrence. "But the one thing we must remember is not to let an inkling of our object be known on board. There are several who would gladly balk the expedition." Just then the chaplain strolled up and managed to catch the last words. His sallow face lighted up with deep interest for a moment, then faded away. "Ah! Mr. Lan yon and gentlemen; are we going to engage in more daring work to-night?" he asked, suavely. Lawrence gave his companions a quick glance of warn ing, and then replied, carelessly: "Oh, no, Mr. 'Morris; not daring work-only keeping the sleep out of our eyes while on watch." The chaplain looked sharply at him. "But did I not hear you mention something about an expedition, Mr. Lan yon?" "Oh, yes; now I remember! We were talking about the possibility of the English organizing an expedition to arm their sympathizers ashore here, sir; that was all." "Oh !" exclaimed Morris, with a weak smile. "That was all, eh?" He turned away, but Lawrence noticed him suddenly clinch his fist, as if in anger.

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212 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "A pretty man t~ preach the gospel," murmured the middy, shaking his head. "He must have held strong in fluence at headquarters to obtain the position. "Now, my lieutenants," he laughed, addressing his three friends; "we have the whole day in which to pre pare. Have everything in readiness by sunset, and report to me." As he walked away, Martin joined him, and said, in a low voice: "The chaplain suspects something, eh?" "Yes, but he didn't learn much," replied Lawrence. Then he added, wrathfully : "If I find him mixed up in this society, I'll forget his cloth and make him suffer." "Cloth?" echoed the other, scornfully. "Why, I will wager my prize money Morris is no more a preacher than I am." The comparison made Lawrence smile. "Well, in that case he isn't very much of a chaplain," he said. Martin nodded his head good-humoredly and left to se lect his men. By the time seven bells sounded that evening, every thing was in readiness. Quietly, and without exciting much comment, three boats were lowered and manned with well-armed seamen. The young leader had ordered George to pull down and Thames. "Martin and I will watch the eastern shore, because I think there will be an attempt made along there," he

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A LETTER. 213 added. "Your orders are to prevent any communication between the English fleet and any one on land. If you find a force too great for you, fire three guns, one after the other, and we will come to your aid." Taking the senior middy in the gig, Lawrence shoved off from the frigate's side, and commanded the coxswain to pull directly for a point where the river flows into the sea on the eastern side. Before leaving, he reported to Decatur and e x plained certain plans, winning the astute commodore's approval. It was now quite dark, and neither bank could be seen. Lanyon knew the stream, however, and conned the gig with such skill that they presently reached the place he was searching for. Just as the man in the bow whi s pered that he could dis tinguish land, the faint sound of creaking rowlocks came to their ears.

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CHAPTER XXX. THE SIGNAL. "Lay on your oars, men!" Lawrence sternly com~ mantled ; then he listened intently for further sounds. He did not have to wait very long. Wafted over the water on the evening breeze came voices in conversation. They were faint, and the watchful crew in the gig could just barely make out the words. "I tell you, Talbott," said one, "this is miserable busi ness, and I don't half like it." "Oh, it's all fair in war!" responded the one addressed. "Any way to conquer these beggars. If some of their own people are willing to help us for a few of his maj esty's shillings, we shouldn ' t object." Lawrence grasped Martin's arm with painful force. "We are on the right track, old boy," he whispered, gleeful _ ly. "Now--" He was interrupted by an impatient exclamation. "Confound it! Why don't those people show a light!'' c~ied the first speaker. "Here we are, been wandering about this beastly river for an hour, and no sign of the land yet. The first thing we know, the Yankees will catch us." "Yes, we must not forget that the formidable Decatur is not far away," replied the other, with a short laugh.

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THE SIGNAL. 215 "Curses on him! I would give a thousand pounds to capture the imp." "No doubt! no doubt! " breathed Martin, grimly. "And there are more like you in the British service." Lawrence gave his men a signal to pull softly for the shore. The oars had been well muffled, and made no sound. "They are passing to the right of us, and will land in a moment, " whispered the young leader to Martin. "I want to reach there first, and try to see who these sympa thizers are." Presently the bow of the gig touched the sand, and one of the men sprang lightly out to hold her steady. "Now, Martin, I am going to ask you to creep along the shore a short distance, and see if you can recognize any one. After the interview, come back to this place, and I will take you aboard again." "But where are you going?" asked the senior middy, preparing to leave the boat on his dangerous expedition. Lawrence grimly replied : "I have business out s ide with these Englishmen when they finish with their interview." "What ! are you going to try to capture them ?" "Yes, sir; they are not going to get away from the land as easily as they reached it. I think a sudden attack will prove successful. We know they are here, but they are ignorant of our presence-that is where we have the ad vantage. Now, try your best, Martin, to see the parties, and hear what they have to say."

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216 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "Do you want me to prevent them from com municating?" "No; if you do that we won't find out what they know. I will see to it that the Britishers don't escape with their information. " The senior midshipman vanished in the darkness, and Lawrence immediately ordered his oarsmen to shove off. The gloom was so intense that it was all guess-work, but he steered confidently ahead, and soon had the satis faction of hearing voices again. "Ah.! I suppose they have met their party," he mut tered. After running several boat's lengths farther, the middy told the men to cease rowing, and look to their arms. It was at l east a half-hour before there was any sign of the enemy approaching. Lawrence had almost commenced to believe they had escaped, when one of the sailors whispered that he could hear rowlocks close by. Then a dark, shadowy object shot into view, and be fore they could move out of the way, the prow of a cutter dashed into the gig's side. Although slightly taken unawares, still Lawrence was not nearly ' so surprised as the English, and he made good use of hi s advantage. Flashing his sword, he reached over and aimed a blow at an officer in the stern sheets. It caught him on the shoulder, and he instantly tumbled into the bottom of the boat.

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THE SIGNAL. 217 "At them, men!" shouted the middy, slashing right and left. "Don't let on e e s cap e ! Duty and Decatur !" A loud cheer greete d the old rallying cry, and the American tars threw the mselv es into the British cutter with the utm o s t f e rocity. The English fought with the greate s t bravery, but, com pletely surprised in the fir s t place, they had no chance to recover, and it soon became apparent that the Yankees wouM speedily win the battle. It was not until almo s t e v er y sailor in the cutter had been wounded that their remaining officer called out, sullenly: "Enough. We surrender !" He had hardly s p o k e n the words when three shots rang out in quick succession. From the sound, the r e port s mu s t have come from Winters' boat, as it did not see m far distant. Lawrence found himself in a quandary. He felt that he must go to the boatswain's assista n ce, but here he was with a cutter full of prisoners, and some of his own men wounded. However, his quick wit s oon devised a plan. Selecting a man from his crew that he knew was coura geous and trustworthy, he placed him in the stern of the British boat, with strict instructions to keep the officer covered with a pistol. "Now," s aid Lawrence , addressing the Englishman, sternly, "if you move an inch, or if your crew dares to lift a finger with the intention of escaping, my man will blow your brains out on the instant."

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218 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Not stopping to speak further, the young leader bade his oarsmen row with all their power toward the center of the river. What had caused the alarm, Lawrence could , riot tell. He had not heard any sounds of conflict, nor other shots. "Strange !" he muttered. "They couldn't have cap tured Winters like that. There is something wrong." There was another fact that worried the middy-this last alarm indicated that more than one of the enemy's boats were prowling around. At the thought he cocked his pistols, and peered ahead in a vain endeavor to pierce the darkness. Suddenly the sailor in the bow gave a sharp cry. "Back water, sir; back water!" he exclaimed, excitedly: "\Ve are running into a capsized boat." Even as he spoke the gig struck the object with a force sufficient to twist the stempiece, and a volume of water immediately penetrated into the interior. "Use your jackets, men!" shouted Lawrence, forcing his way forward. Grasping several handed him, he crammed them into the hole, and partially checked the leak. He saw at a glance, however, that it would only act as a temporary relief, and that their safety depended on reaching the beach as speedily as possible . . Detailing a man to watch the place in the bow, he re sumed his seat, and ordered the gig turned toward the nearest land. As they passed close to the capsized craft, he tried to

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THE SIGNAL. 219 see if it was one of the frigate's boats, but the darkness was too intense. How had the accident occurred, and where was the crew? That some catastrophe had occurred he knew well, for the firing of the signal shots proved that. Filled with a sense of oppression and care, the young leader mechanically steered the gig until it finally struck the sandy beach of the western bank. It was on this side the United States was anchored, but she lay almost five miles up the river. The only thing remaining was to walk the distance as rapidly as possible, and secure another boat from the frigate. "Martin will think we have either abandoned him or been captured," thought Lawrence, with a faint smile. "And then the prisoners in the ctter. How long will they wait, I wonder?" A sudden thought struck Lanyon. Why wouldn't it be a good idea to try and attract Gor don's attention by firing the signal agreed upon. Feverishly grasping a musket, Lawrence pulled the trigger, at the same time ordering two of the sailors to do likewise. The three reports rang out sharp and distinct, and then a faint hail sounded from down the coast. "It is Gordon!" almost shouted the middy, joyfully. Running down to the edge of the water, he made a speaking trumpet of his hand, and called out : "Ahoy, the cutter ! Come in here and take us off!"

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220 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Presently a boat came into view, and the keel grated on the sand. To Lawrence's surprise, it was not Gordon sitting in the stern, but the boatswain, Winters. He had a rag tied around his head, and there were only eight men in the cutter instead of the dozen she had left the frigate with. There had evidently been a combat somewhere. Leaning over the side, Winters regarded the middy with a grim smile, and then asked : "Hello! what has happened to you, sir?" Lawrence briefly explained. "Now, who was it fired the signal for aid?" he asked, in his turn. "Gordon," replied the boatswain. "He got into a scrimmage with several cutters from the fleet, and they ran him down. Fortunately it happened near shore, and the crew maae the beach. Just as the other boats struck him, he fired the guns, knowing from the overwhelming force that he could do nothing alone." "But how did you get mixed up in it?" "I heard the signal, and immediately started for the spot, but only reached there in time to do a little fighting. They proved too much for me, so I left in the darkness, and ran ashore to talk with George Gordon. He is now on his way to the ship with the wounded." "Good! I am glad he concluded to walk there, as my gig is disabled, and we couldn't find room for him in your cutter. Now, I want you to follow his example, and report on board with your men. I have some pris-

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THE S IGNAL. 221 oners over there to bring along, so I will just use your boat." The change was speedily made, and Lawrence instantly set out for the other shore. It required some little time to find the British craft, but they finally ran across it. The Yankee tar was still holding the fort, but it must be confessed that he viewed the return of hi s young leader with some relief. As a matter of precaution, Lawrence distributed his seamen in both boats, and transferred the officer t _ o the gig with him. Suddenly thinking of the one he had injured, he asked after him, and was told that he was l ying in the bottom of the cutter with his wounds bandaged. Bidding the sailor in charge of the prize to follow him, the middy pulled toward shore, and had the satis faction of finding Martin evidently waiting for them. "I heard the noise you kicked up, and walked along the beach until I arrived abreast of you," he explained, climbing in. After they had started for the frigate, Lawrence asked the senior middy what he had learned. "Lots, old boy; any amount of valuable information," was the reply, given with one of his peculiar chuckles. "Well, what is it?" asked Lan yon, impatient to hear the news. "Ah! that's telling," responded Martin, provokingly. "It's _valuable, my boy, and I am not giving it away for

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222 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. nothing. If you will promise to take me on the next ex pedition, I'll tell." "Yes, yes," exclaimed Lawrence, with a laugh . "You can go." "Well, when I reached the shore , I struck out up the beach, and at la s t h eard voice s ahe ad. Hiding behind a scrub bush, I waited for th e party to approach. They fortunately stopped close b y, and one of them made a flash with something. It onl y la s ted a second , but it was enough to attract the atte ntion of the British boat. It came up to the shore in a few moments, and then I heard them arguing with the officers." "Couldn't you see either of them?" "Only the least bit; it was too dark to distinguish their faces. There were three, all told, two men and a boy." "What was said?" "Well, the parties ashore must have handed the of ficers a packet, because I heard one of them say : ' This is it, eh? What later news have you?' Then one of the men said he understood Decatur was going to try and slip down the sound and thus get to the sea from New York." "Oh, the traitor!" groaned Lawrence. He knew that was the commodore's latest plan, and that he placed great store upon it. "After that he added some information about the massing of troops around the town, and advised the of ficers to give up their idea of landing a force until later. Then he said that was all , and appointed another meet-

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THE SIGNAL. 223 ing for the following night, promising to have some news direct from the frigate through one of her officers." "Ah !" exclaimed the middy. "I suppose he means our worthy chaplain. Well, we will se e to his little game." Then he added : "Martin, do you think you would recognize the two men and the boy ?" "I would know their voices ten years from now," em phatically replied the senior middy. Lawrence sat in deep thought during the balance of the time, and when they reached the frigate's side he im mediately reported to Decatur, who was a waiting him in the cabin. Before leaving the prisoners, he searched them, and found a small package wrapped in oilskin on the wounded officer. This he carried with him, and delivered to the com modore. His explanation of the night's events greatly interested his superior. Undoing the packet, he disclosed to view several sheets of closely-written paper'. While handing them to Commodore Decatur his eyes fell upon the writing, an4 he uttered an exclamation of astonishment. "Why, I know that handwriting,." he said, hurriedly. "It is that of my guardian, Amos Hallett." "Hallett the writer of these infamous sheets ?" cried the commodore. "Are you positive, Lanyon ?" ';Yes, sir; it is none other. He has a peculiar way of

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224 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. scrawling the last letters, and, once seen, they are never forgotten.'' "Well, this is a clew, indeed. Let me see; if I remem ber correctly, both the Halletts were suspected by you of favoring the enemy?" Lawrence recalled to his memory the scene in front of the merchant's house on Bowling Green that auspicious day when he joined the naval service. "Yes, sir; Jared, the son, openly boasted that his father was against the republic, and said that he would help the king, if he could," he replied. "Well, it looks as if he were at the head of this so ciety," said the commodore. "The knowledge is a good weapon in our hands, and we will certainly use it before many hours. Do you think you could do a little work ashore to-night, Lawrence? It is asking a great deal of you, but I think it is best to strike at once." "I am ready for orders, sir," responded Lawrence, promptly. "I thought so," remarked Decatur, approvingly. "You can select a small party of men-not over six-and re port to me here in an hour. I have received a little in formation from the town to-night that makes me think we can find their meeting-place without any trouble." On leaving the cabin, Lawrence went directly to Mar tin and Winters, and asked them to join him in the sec ond expedition. They readily agreed, and the three, together with as many seamen, met on the quarter-deck within the hour.

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THE SIGNAL. 225 Lawrence disappeared inside of the cabin, and pres ently returned in readiness to depart. As it was some eight miles to the town, they took a boat and rowed up the river within a mile of the dis tance. One man was left in charge of the cutter, with ex plicit instructions to not leave it under any circumstances. On striking the main road, the young leader sent Winters on ahead with the men and conversed with Martin.

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CHAPTER XXXI. THE OLD MANSION. "Did you see anything of the chaplain on board?" Law rence asked his friend. "Not a hair of him," replied Martin, reflectively. "But I think I heard he had gone ashore to visit some brother preacher." "Brother preacher, indeed," exclaimed Lawrence. "He is concerned in this society, and I don't doubt but what we will run across him before morning." "Where are we going ?" "To an old mansion on the other side of town," replied the youthful leader, l owering his voice. "The old man received word from shore to-night that the society would hold a meeting in this certain house. I tell you; Martin~ there is liable to be some fun before long. In the first place we don't know how many there are, and then again they are sure to fight desperately." "All the better, old boy," said his companion, carelessly. "vVe are six in number, and well armed, so it don't matter how many we find." "The commodore would have sent more men, but he didn't want to excite suspicion in the town. This may be a widespread movement, taking in many of the citizens." "I hardly believe that," answered Martin, doubtfully.

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THE OLD MANSION. 227 "The New Londoners have too loyal a reputation for that. I think it is only a small band composed of men from all around." "Well, whatever it is, we are going to give them a blow to-night they will never forget. We are nearing the town now, and I must separate the force." Hurrying forward, he told Winters to take one man, and proceed by devious ways to a mansion ten minutes' walk from the outskirts on the road leading north. The remaining seamen were given similar instructions, a nd then the little party split up, Lawrence and Martin traveling together. "It is fully two mile s from here, and we will have to walk sharply," said the former, as they entered the first streets of New London. It was now almost midnight, and the town appeared asleep. The two middies made little noise as they slipped through the streets. They took advantage of the darkest shadows and refrained from speaking. At last the other side of the town was reached, and the way led along a fresh country lane. "We are almost there," whispered Lawrence, peering ahead. "Winters and the rest ought to be here soon." "I think I hear some one behind us," breathed Mar tin, suddenly halting. "Come over here," replied Lawrence, dragging him behind a narrow hedge. "We want to be sure before we let any one see us." Both prepared their swords for instant use.

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228 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. The noise became louder. It was plainly the tramping of feet on the hard road. Presently three forms, two men and a boy, came dimly into view, and passed close to the hidden lads. Martin touched his friend on the shoulder, and whis pered, excitedly: "It is the party from the beach! Those who com municated with the British officers." For a moment Lawrence was tempted to confront them and ascertain their identity, but he concluded to let them pass. "It will be better to catch them red-handed," he mut tered. "Then we can see what other reputable citizen belongs to the band." They waited until the sound of foots~eps died away in the distance, and then crept up the road again. "Surely those men should have reached here by this time," said Lanyon, impatiently. "We took a longer route than they. If--" He was interrupted by a low whi s tle from the right. Martin instantly replied. Then several men came out of an adjacent field, and approached them. A glance revealed the powerful form of Winters. "We have been waiting here two or three minutes,~, he said. "I saw you coming, but, hearing the footsteps just behind, thought I would wait and see who they were." "That was right," replied Lawrence. "Now we will proceed together."

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THE OLD MANSION. 229 Skirting the edge of the lane, he walked swift!Y. along, closely followed by the others. After a half-mile of this Indian trailing, the leader stopped, and held up his hand in warning : "That is the house we must enter," he whispered, point ing across a lawn to where a dim, shadowy pile could be seen through the trees. The road was slightly elevated, and they were enabled to look almost directly into the grounds over the low fence. Bidding them walk close behind, Lawrence kept on until he saw a gate. It apparently opened on a sidewalk, and was just what they wanted. Trying it, he found a lock fastened near the top. A few wrenches with the point of a cutlass speedily forced the gate, ~nd the party passed through. Stopping to reconnoiter, the young leader whispered to Martin: "If we gain the hous e without arousing a parcel of dogs, or being discovered, I shall say the luck is on our side. Ah ! what was that?" A dark figure rapidly crossed just in front of them, and disappeared in a clump of bushes. Then before they could retreat to the road, several large hounds sprang out and began barking furiously. Wild with rage at the threatened failure of his plans, Lawrence rushed forward, and slashed at the dogs. His example was instantly followed by Martin and Winters, and they soon put the pack to flight.

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230 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Seeing his opportunity, the daring lad darted across the lawn, and took refuge close to the wall. The rest of the party were at his heels, and none too soon. The front door opened a couple of inches, and a nar row stream of light shone through the crevice. It glittered on the barrel of a pistol, too, and the watchers hugged the wall like leeches. "What can be the matter with those animals, I won der?" asked a hoarse voice. "John, you search the yard, and see if you can find any one prowling about . here. If you do, why, just blow his brains out." "The bloodthirsty villain !" muttered the senior middy. "I would like to do the same to him." "Follow me," whispered Lawrence. "We have to get out of this." Creeping back toward the rear of the mansion, he sud denly ran against an old tree standing only a few feet from the wall. The branches were low and easily reached, so he made an agile jump and caught the lower one. A cat could not have climbed the trunk quicker than he and Martin, but the rest were not so active. They all succeeded in leaving the ground, however, and when, a moment later, a man came sneaking along, the entire party was safe from view. It was evident the hounds had quite enough, as they did not show up. After poking in the bushes with a long-barreled gun for a while, the guard became convinced that it was all a

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THE OLD MANSION. 231 false alarm, and returned to the ho-use, muttering anathem!s on the whole pack. Climbing a little higher, Lawrence saw a window within reach. A determination to enter the mansion in that way sud denly took possession of him, and he reached over and tried the frame. It moved slightly , and after passing the word to those below, he lifted it high e r and crawled throt1gh. Martin came directly after, and Winters was not far behind. Noticing a s treak of light running parallel with the floor at one side, he moved o v er, and found it to be a door leading into another room. Suddenly the s ound of voices in angry discussion came to their ears. The tone of them caused Lawrence to instantly try the knob. Then, cocking hi s pi s tol, he threw back the door. There were four persons in the little room-three men and a boy. One of them, an old man with gray hair and attenuated form, was crouched on the floor endeavoring to defend himself from the blows of a cane wielded by a tall man dressed in somber black. Standing close by were two others apparently deeply interested in the scene. One of these-the eldest-had a cruel, implacable ex pression on his face, and just as the middies appeared he was in the act of saying:

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232 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "Kill the fool, if he doesn't consent. He knows too much, anyway. Here, Jared, hold his hand, and--" At that juncture he leoked up, and saw a pistol pointed at his head, and behind it was the hated face of his ward, Lawrence Lanyon. For it was Amos Hallett, merchant in high standing in the metropolis of the New World, who spoke so threat eningly, and near by stood his precious son. Of the other two-those engaged in the struggle-the old man had long been familiar to the middy, while in the other Lawrence i1;1stantly recognized a comparatively new acquaintance. One was Rube Speed, and the man of the cane was the erstwhile chaplain of the frigate Morris. On seeing the latter, Martin sprang into the room, and, before the group had recovered from its surprise, he grasped him by the throat. "You confounded traitor and fraud!" he shouted. "We have caught you at last, eh? Gone ashore to see a brother preacher, eh? Take that, and that, and--" A word from Lawrence caused him to cease the pun ishment, but he still retained a tight hold on the chap lain. By this time Winters and the three sailors had reached the door. Taking in the situation at a glance, the boatswain directed the men to cover the inmates of the room with their pistols; then, striding across the floor, he stood guard ove_r the other entrance. "Ah! my beloved guardian," spoke up the middy at

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THE OLD MANSION. 233 last, a grim smile on his face. "So you are run to earth at last. And you, friend Jared, fighting the battles of your country, eh? Well, well, it is a pity to disturb such a pleasant meeting, but I am afraid I must do it." Striding over to the old man on the floor, he told him to rise. "You remember me, don't you, Rube Speed?" he asked, gravely. "Yes, yes, Master Lawrence, I remember you," quavered Rube, shaking with fear. "You are my old master's son, and you have come to save me from these scoundrels. They would kill me for my little fortune, and because I would not--" He stopped, seeing a warning gesture from Amos Hal lett. Lawrence noticed it also, and it increased his anger. "Pay no attention to that man, Speed ; he is powerless now." Thus assured, the old servant continued: "I have wronged your father and you, Master Law rence, but I will make reparation if you will bring these cowards to justice. They are British--" Before he could proceed further both Hallett and his son darted past Lawrence, and threw themselves upon Rube. The sudden and entirely unexpected move so surprised the young leader that he made no effort to stop them for a moment. Then, with a cry of rage, he grasped Jared, and

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234 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. dragged him from the old man, at the same time calling to the sailors to secure Amos. The latter seemed beside him s elf, and fought like a demon. It required the efforts of three seamen to tear him from his intended victim, but they succeeded at last, and the baffled villain was deposited in a corner with sufficient force to assure him that his captors were not to be trifled with. "Take this and bind him hand and foot," exclaimed Lawrence, snatching a cover from a table in the center of the room and tearing it into strips. Not only the elder Hallett, but his offspring and the chaplain, were soon placed in such a condition that the y could do nothing but glare in speechless rage at the party . "Now, Speed," said Lanyon, when everything had been attended to, "you stated that you had wronged my father and I, and that you would make reparation if I rescued you from these people. I know that you are in possession of a mystery concerning me, and I want you to tell me all about it, but not here. I am going to see you and the others on board the frigate United States first, then you can make your confession." The old servant leered at him with startled eyes for a brief space, then tremblingly stood erect, and shambled toward the door. "No, no! not the man-of-war, Master Lawrence," he whimpered. "Don't take me on that ship. Anywhere else, here or in the town, but not the frigate."

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THE OLD MANSION. 235 "Why not?" demanded Lanyon, sternly. "Are you afraid of a ship fighting in defense of your country?" Just then Martin stepped up, and whispered in Lawrence's ear : "Ah! that is probably the reason," replied the latter. Turning to Rube, he continued : "You don't care to get within the clutches of a war vessel on account of your connection with this society of British sympathizers, eh? Well, I can possibly help you some, if you do as I say." During this scene, Morris, the chaplain, had not spoken. When the middies appeared at the door, he undoubtedly concluded that all was lost, and his face wore an expres sion of despair awful to contemplate. Caught red-handed, he gave up all hope, and lapsed into a dazed condition. Not so the elder Hallett. His shouts of defiance were so loud that Lawrence speedily ordered him gagged. All this time the balance of the house was as silent as the grave. This seemed strange to Winters, and he mentioned the fact to his leader when the latter had finished with Speed. "There must be others in the mansion," he whispered. "Where is the man they called John down at the front door?" "You are right," replied Lawrence. "We must search the house before leaving. Here, Martin, you guard the

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236 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. prisoners while we look around. Open that door, Win ters." Holding their weapon s in readiness, they pa s sed through the portal, and emerged on a small landing. A pair of stairs led down below, and just as they ap _ peared some one darted out qf sight at the bottom. "After him! " shout e d Lanyon, da s hing down the steps. "Don' t let any one leave the building, or they will give an alarm." Just as he and Winters reached the lower step, how ever, they heard the front door slam, and knew they were too late. The person, whoever he was1 had evidently been listening, and heard them mention a search of the man sion ; then he slipped down stairs and escaped. "We will have to get out of this at once, " cried Law rence. "The fellow may bring reinforcements, and I wouldn't lose the prisoners for the world. Come, let's return above, and prepare to retreat." "Hadn't we better post a sentry down here?" asked the boatswain. "Yes; detail one man for the door, and another behind some tree in front." While Winters was attending to this , Lawrence flew up the steps, and bade Martin escort the prisoners below. " Loosen their bonds so they can walk, and keep a care ful eye upon them," he directed. "If either makes a move toward escaping, just blow his head off." Taking Rube Speed by the arm, the young leader as-

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THE OLD MANSION. 237 s isted him to the lower floor, and waited there for Martin and the rest. A low whistle called in the sentry stationed outside. He reported that he had seen nothing, so the party prepared to start. The prisoners were placed in the center, and told that their lives depended on their remaining quiet. A thorough search had been made through the old house without result, so, as nothing remained . to be done, Lawrence gave the word to march. In passing a large clump of bushes near the front hedge, a slight sound caught the middy's ear. Raising his pistol, he sprang forward just as a number of men came in view .

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CHAPTER XXXII. THE -FIGHT ON THE LAWN. There were at least a half-dozen of the men by the hedge, and, glinting in the dim rays of a lantern sud denly lighted by one of them, were the polished barrels of several muskets. Just as the two parties confronted each other, the leader of the strangers called out : "Here they are! At them, boys, and don't leave one of the robbers escape !" With that they threw themselves upon the sailors, and a sharp hand-to-hand conflict followed. At the very first appearance of danger, Lawrence de termined on resisting to the last. He was encumbered with the prisoners and old Speed, but the knowledge only nerved him to greater efforts. Dashing at the one evidently in charge of the gang, he leveled his pistol, and fired point blank at him. The fellow threw up his hands with a cry, and stag gered back, then tumbled to the ground. At that moment Winters made a jump at the light bearer, and with an adroit kick . sent the lantern flying into the bushes. Then, seizing the fellow, he soon rendered him unfit for further service.

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THE FIGHT ON THE LAWN. 239 "Rally outside, boys," shouted Lawrence. "Keep hold of the prisoners, and fight your way to the road." His warning came just in time. Speedily seeing the chance offered them for escaping, the Halletts and Morris took in stant advantage of it: Each of the thre e wheeled around at the commencement of hostilities, and tried to run toward the rear. But they had not taken more than ten steps until they met with an obstacle. It was the sharp-eyed Martin. When the scrimmage began, he resolved to let the others do the fighting while he attended to a duty equally as important. He accordingly kept close to the three in the middle, and when they edged away he was right with them. The cold muzzle of a pistol , and a few determined words brought them to a halt in a summary manner. "No, you don ' t my beauties, " he growled. "We still have use for you. Stay where yo u are, or I'll shoot." In the meantime the men from the frigate, trained in warfare, had easily defeated their assailants. After disabling the chief, Lawrence turned to another, but Winters was ahead of him there, and laid the man by the heels in a jiffy. At that, those still remaining took flight, and disap peared in the darkness. The boatswain chased them as far as the road, and then returned, highly indignant that he could not enjoy another battle. "Where is Martin?" sang out the youthful leader.

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240 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. "Here!" promptly answered the senior middy. "Have you the prisoners and old Speed?" asked Lan yon, anxiously. "I don't know about the old one, but I have the others." Hastily joining him, Lawrence peered around for the servant, but without success. "Confound it! I would rather have lost the three than him," he cried, disappointedly. "Here, Winters, take a couple of men and search the grounds for the old rascal. Look thoroughly, and don't cease until you hear from me." Bidding Martin continue his guard, the middy darted toward the road and hurried toward town, examining the hedge as he went. The loss of tpe old servant would balk his plans, and probably prevent them convicting the prisoners. Aside from this, Lawrence depended upon Rube for proofs against his guardian. Without the old man's aid the mystery might never be solved. Deeply vexed, he poked through the bushes, and ev~ry few steps called out his name. Suddenly a loud whistle sounded from in front of the house. Retracing his way, the middy again entered the lawn, and found Winters holding the missing man by the collar. "Here he is, sir," said the boatswain. "I found him in the hall hiding behind a clock." Lawrence did not stop to ask Rube why he ran awaytime was now too precious for that.

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THE P'IGHT ON THE LAWN. 241 Getting the little party together, he set out on the re-turn journey at once. , His anxiety to reach the frigate was so great that he did not skirt the town, but went through the main streets, fortunately without meeting any one. Just before arriving in the vicinity of the cutter, Mar tin stepped to his side and said, with a grin : "Made a good haul, eh? We have the ringleaders, anyway. But say, Lawrence, there is something in this beside the society business, isn't there?" The middy gave his friend a brief explanation of his relations to Hallett, and also told him about Speed. "Whew!" whistled Martin, in amazement. "Then you are liable to come into some money by this night's work. I suppose you will leave the service and forget old friends." "Have I ever given you reason to think that?" asked Lanyon, quietly. "No, I can't say you have, but--" He was interrupted by feeling a hand grasp his. "I will never forget you, Martin, old lad, be s'!re of that," exclaimed the other, heartily. "But here is the boat; get them aboard as quickly as possible." A half-hour later the cutter reached the frigate's gang way, and the prisoners were transferred to her deck at once. Late as it was, they could see a light burning in the commodore's cabin, showing that he was still up. The noise must have reached him, as he appeared, and directed the party to enter the cabin.

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242 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. When they filed in, he keenly surveyed them one by one. The chaplain was last, and when Decatur's eyes fell upon him, he gave a start of amazement and quickly asked : "Why! what is the meaning of this? Mr. Morris one of the party? Lan yon, there must be a terrible mistake somewhere. Remove the lashing and set him at liberty." The youthful leader lost no time in explaining the rev erend gentleman's connection with the affair, his story eliciting expressions of the most profound astonishment and anger from the commodore. "Well, you are certainly the last man on board of my ship I would sv.spect of such despicable treachery," ex claimed Decatur, sternly. "To think a chaplain in the American Navy guilty of selling his country! What next? what next?" Then, turning to the elder Hallett, he surveyed that re spectable merchant so contemptuously that Amos writhed in his bonds. "Ah! turning a neat penny, eh? " he ask e d , witheringly. "Trying to augment your small income with the English man's gold. Well, you will soon be in a place where neither shillings nor pence pass as currency." Leading old Speed forward, Lawrence told Decatur that he was the servant mentioned in the letter, and that he wished to make a confession. First favoring him with a glance of interest, the com modore stationed Martin at the table with paper and freshly-cut quills, and then asked him to proceed.

PAGE 255

CHAPTER XXXIII. CONCLUSION. Leaning heavily against Lawrence, the old man bowed his head, and said : "I am a guilty man, sir, and my life has not been what it should, but it is never too late to repent. One of the best gentlemen I ever knew was Mr. Lanyon, my old master, and one of the worst is that scoundrel there, Amos Hallett." As he uttered the last words, his attenuated figure grew erect, and he pointed one withered finger in Hallett's direction with an accusing gesture. The latter looked on with a cold smile, as if the scene was of no interest. "Go on, Rube," whispered Lawrence, impatiently. The old servant continued: "Eighteen years ago my master went on a hunting tour up the Hudson with his brother and that viper. On the third day out an accident occurred by which the other Mr. Lanyon, Lawrence's uncle, was killed. In handling a gun, the charge exploded and struck him in the breast with fatal results. My master was overwhelmed with grief, and immediately started t0 New York with the body. One night, while on the way, I overheard Amos Hallett, the false friend, tell Mr. Lanyon that he wanted

PAGE 256

244 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. a loan of five hundred pounds on reaching the town. Surprised at the request at such a time, my master re fused, saying that he did not have that much to spare." Speed was interrupted by an inarticulate cry from Amos. The prisoner's face had grown white with rage, and he attempted to free his hands. "Keep quiet, sir," commanded pecatur, sternly. "If you create any more disturbance, I will place you in the hold." Seeing the futility of further efforts, Hallett glowered at the assembled party in silence, while Rube continued: "On hearing this, Amos replied that he would have plenty before long, referring to the fact that my master would inherit the large fortune of his . brother, being the next of kin. This so incensed Mr. Lanyon that he threatened to set Hallett ashore, but the villain said that if he did he would find his way to New York and swear my master had murdered his brother to get control of the money. He then added that he now wanted a thousand pounds as the price of his silence. Now, I want to confess that my share in the miserable plot came in." After stopping to wipe the perspiration from his face, the old man went on : "A few hours before this Hallett came to me, and promised me half of what he obtained if I would help him, and I agreed. So when Mr. Lanyon turned and ordered rhe ' to put Amos ashore, I refused and sided in with him, saying that I also had seen the supposed murder. This was too much for my poor old master, and he gave up, paying that villain the hush-money in New York. This

PAGE 257

CONCLUSION. 245 was only the beginning. For eighteen years since then, Amos has lived off my master's fortune, and at his death secured the whole of it, only promising that he would look after his son. Everything that man now owns right fully belongs to Lawrence Lanyon." At the conclusion, our hero gave the elder Hallett such a look of rage and anger that he shrank back in fear. "Now, sir, have you anything to say? " asked Decatur, sternly, addressing the cowering wretch. Amos did not reply. "It really does not make any difference, " continued the commodore. "This confession will secure Lanyon's prop erty in a court of law." Then, turning to Rube, he asked him concerning the society. "I will give you full details, sir , if you will promise to protect me, for I am also guilty," replied the old man. Upon Decatur assuring him of aid, he said: "Amos Hallett formed a band to sell information con cerning our country to the British. He secured the help of the chaplain here, and an officer on the Pres i dent, and sold lots of plans to several English cruisers. They forced me to help them, and to-night, in the house where we meet, tried to kill me for what little gold I have. Lawrence came just in time to save my life, and I am deeply grateful." After several other questions had been answered, Speed placed his signature to the document, and Martin witnessed it.

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246 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Then the prisoners were confined in a spare stateroom, and reliable guards stationed at the door. Next morning news came to the commodore that the English fleet had sailed to sea, leaving the coast free. Decatur immediately ordered the frigate under way, and proceeded to New York by the Sound. The following day the written confession was placed in an able lawyer ' s hands, and he worked to such purpose that Lawrence received an important-looking document one morning conveying the intelligence that he could enter into his property at once. Later details placed the value at some fifteen thousand pounds, or about seventy-five thousand dollars, including real estate in both New London and the metropolis. In that period this was considered quite an immense fortune. Ten days later an important trial was held in the city hall. The coming event had excited the utmost attention throughout the country, and when the time at last ar rived, the court-room was packed. It did not last long, however. One hour after the prisoners-two men and a boy-were brought in, a ver dict was returned that set the people assembled outside wild with delight. "Guilty! guilty!" they shouted. "Now the traitors will hang." And hang they did within a fortnight . Need it be said who they were? and how they met their fate like dogs?

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CONCLUSION. 247 None regretted the ending of the chaplain Morris, and the two Halletts. All knew they richly deserved death. During the same week another trial was held, but this time on the frigate. It, too, resulted in conviction, and one early morning all hands were piped on deck to witness punishment. A pully had been fastened to the end of the main yard, and a rope reeved through. Trailing on one end of this were two score of brawny seamen, and on the other the body of their former shipmate-Spencer, the renegade. Thus did the men conspiring against their country come to an untimely end, unwept and unhonored. And now for Lawrence and his friends. Martin, the lanky middy, with honest heart and cheer ful mein, speedily received a deserved promotion and sailed with Decatur on his next voyage as a full-fledged master. He remained in the service long enough to com mand his own ship, and won many laurels as a brave fighter. At the end of the war he retired from sea, and passed his days in relating a never-ending story of naval battles to the youth of the neighborhood. Both Gordon and Winters took a step higher in rank, the latter becoming a master's mate on the United States, while the former gained his regular commission. In the course of time young Putnam and the lieutenant, Scott, were exchanged and sent home, where they again entered the navy, after a short rest. Of Commodore Decature little need be said. History will speak for him to the end of time, and in glowing terms.

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248 OUT WITH COMMODORE DECATUR. Lawrence obtained six months' leave of absence and straightened up his affairs, after the cessation of hos tilities. Then he and his bosom friend, Martin, took ship for England. What business they had in that country , we will let the reader conjecture, suffice it to say that when they re turned, Lawrence carried a certain promise which he managed to obtain from the fair Mildr~d, after winning her father over by a hard struggle. And now a last word. If American lads or lassies should ever ~el their patriotism waning, let them turn back to the history of their country's wars, and read therein the record of bravery and courage beyond end. If their pride in the land that gave them birth does not grow and increase, then they are poor subjects, indeed.

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"BEST OF ALL BOYS' BOOKS.'' Frank Mernwell's Schooldays. Frank Merriwell's Chums. Frank Merriwell's Foes. For many years the Frank Merriwell stories have been deservedly popular among American boys. This is t h e first time the inimitable yarns have appeare d in print, and every lad in the country should possess a copy of each volume in the series. The author is Burt L. Standish, whose fame as a writer of juvenile fiction is world-wide. In Cloth. Illustrated. Price, $ 1 .oo per volume. STREET AND SMITH, New York and London

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AN ABSORBING ATHLETIC SERIES. The Rockspur Nine A STORY OF BASEBAI,I,. The Rockspur Eleven A STORY OF FooTBAI,I,. The Rockspur Rivals A STORY OF WINTRR SPORTS. By GILBERT PATTEN. There i s something wrong with the boy who is not thrilled as he reads these stories. They are full of plot and action and must appeal strongly to all lovers of baseball, football and kindred sports. The description of the games between rival teams makes very exciting and absorbing reading, and few boys with warm blood in their veins, having once begun the perusal of one of these books, will lay it down till it is finished. In Cloth. Illustrated. Price, $ 1 .oo per volume. STREET AND SMITH, New Yorli: and London

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A STRONG ADVENTURE SERIES. Under the general title of "CAMP AND CANOE SitRIJtS," St. George Rath borne has written three of the brighest and most interesting stories ever published. The titles are as follows: Canoe and Camp Fire. A great boy's story with the splendid setting of the woods of Maine. Paddling Under Palmettos. An exciting yarn with a well developed mystery that deepens as the story proceeds. Rival Canoe Boys. A tale of mystery, ill-fortune and perser verance in the lake region. In Cloth. Illustrated. Price, $1.00 per volume. STREET AND SMITH, New York and London

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A THRILLING WESTERN SERIES. Sunset Ranch A STORY OF COWBOY L 1Fa. Chums of the Prairie A STORY OF THE PINEWOODS. The Young Range Riders A STORY OF MEXICO. By ST. GEORGE RATHBORNE. There are no more delightful characters in juvenile fiction than Karl, the young cowboy, and Cuthbert Lee, his tenderfoot pard, whose strange adventures are chronicled in this attractive series. The two chum s have to face death many times. Adventure fol lows adventure with dazzling rapidity and there is not a dull moment throughout. In Cloth. Illustrated. Price, $1.00 per volume. STREET.AND SMITH, New York and London


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