AN UNWELCOME DISCOVERY

WHEN he found his friend Flint, Guy did not know just what he would do.
Probably he intended to be governed entirely by his advice, for he had
already thought better of his resolution to return at once to Norwall.

It is true that he had seen the rough side of the world so far during
his wanderings, but he believed that it had better things in store for
him. At any rate he would find Flint and ask him if it hadn’t. The
sailor was so jolly and hopeful, and spoke so encouragingly whenever Guy
told him of his troubles, that it was a pleasure to be in his company.

Guy spent an hour in unavailing search for his friend, but he discovered
the Ossipee, which was discharging her cargo preparatory to going into
the dry docks, and by taking her as a point of departure succeeded at
last in finding the boarding-house at which he had eaten supper the
night before.

He approached it with the utmost caution, momentarily expecting to come
suddenly upon some signs of the terrible fracas that had taken place
there a few hours ago, such as broken skulls, dissevered limbs, and
lifeless bodies; but nothing of the kind was to be seen. The place was
as quiet as the station-house he had just left, and Guy had half a mind
to go in and ask for Flint, but hesitated when he thought of the
landlord, with his fierce mustache and closely-cropped head. He did not
want to see the landlord again, or that worthy might demand to know what
he meant by running out of his house in that unceremonious manner and
leaving his supper bill unpaid.

While Guy was wondering how he could answer such a question without
wounding the landlord’s feelings, a hail came to him from the opposite
side of the street.

“Halloo there! Hold on a minute!” exclaimed a voice.

Guy looked up and saw a stranger coming toward him. He was dressed in
broadcloth, wore a shining plug hat on his head, and well-blacked boots
on his feet; rings sparkled on his fingers, something that looked like a
diamond glittered in his shirt bosom, and a heavy gold watch-chain
dangled across his crimson waistcoat. Taken altogether he reminded Guy
of the steward of the Queen of the Lakes. He approached with some
eagerness in his manner, and as he came up thrust out his hand and
greeted the boy with:

“Why, Jenkins, how are you? Glad to see you; when did you come in? Just
been down to your ship looking for you. How are you, I say?”

The stranger smiled so good-naturedly, shook his hand so warmly, and
appeared so delighted to see him, that Guy was rather taken aback. As
soon as he could speak, he replied:

“I came in night before last in the schooner Ossipee from Chicago; but
my name isn’t Jenkins.”

The stranger started, and looked at Guy a moment with an expression of
great surprise on his face.

“Well, I declare, I have made a mistake—that’s a fact!” said he. “But
you look enough like Jenkins to be his brother. You see, he’s a
particular friend of mine, and I am always on the lookout to do him a
neighborly turn. I wonder if you are as good a sailor as he is.”

“I am a sailor,” replied Guy.

“Of course you are. I can tell that by the cut of your jib.”

These words went straight to Guy’s heart, and vastly increased his
importance in his own eyes. He straightened up, thrust his hands deep
into his pockets, and took a few steps up and down the sidewalk, rolling
from side to side as he had seen Flint do.

“Think I don’t know a sailor man when I see him!” exclaimed the
stranger. “Why, I have been one myself. Take something warm this frosty
morning?”

“No, sir,” emphatically replied the boy, who had already seen enough of
the evils of strong drink. “You don’t get anything warm down me.”

“Good resolution!” cried the man, giving Guy’s hand another cordial
shake, and slapping him familiarly on the back. “Stick to it. Do you
know that that is one of the things that keeps you sailor men before the
mast all your lives? It is the sober, intelligent ones, just such
fellows as I see you are, who get to be mates and captains. Now, I can
put you on a vessel where you will be pushed ahead as fast as you can
stand it. You want a berth, don’t you?”

“No, I don’t,” replied Guy. “I want to find my mate; and if I don’t
succeed, I am going home.”

“Your mate!” exclaimed the stranger. “Oh, I know him—know him well. It’s
Jack a—Jack a——”

“No, it isn’t Jack; it’s Dick Flint.”

“Why, so it is. How stupid in me to forget his name! I saw him with you
yesterday, come to think. Let me see,” added the stranger, placing his
finger on his forehead and looking down at the ground in a brown study;
“didn’t I ship him last night on board the Santa Maria? Of course I
did.”

“Of course you didn’t. He don’t ship on no such vessel, and neither do
I. She’s got a crew aboard of her who don’t sign articles,” said Guy
glibly, making use of some expressions he had heard at the
boarding-house. “I don’t want to ship with ghosts. I have seen too many
of them in my time.”

“Have you, though?” said the stranger. “I knew you were an old salt as
soon as I put my eyes on you.”

“Yes,” said Guy, pushing his tarpaulin on one side of his head,
thrusting his hands deeper into his pockets, and making a motion with
his tongue as if he were turning a quid of tobacco in his mouth. “The
last voyage I made was in a ship bound around the Cape. When the time
came we began to get ready for bad weather by sending down the
royal-yards and masts, and taking in the flying jib-boom. One of the
hands—my chum he was, too, and the best fellow and finest sailor that
ever chewed biscuit—was out on the boom, and had just sung out ‘haul
in!’ when a big sea broke over the vessel, and that was the last we ever
saw of him—that is, alive. But every night after that when the mid-watch
was called, and the order was given to haul in the flying jib-boom, we
were sure to find that fellow out there before us, working like a
trooper. No, sir, I don’t ship in any more vessels that carry ghosts, if
I know it.”

Guy pushed his hat further on the side of his head, turned his back
partly to the stranger and looked as wise as possible, thinking no doubt
that he had made an impression on his auditor. He did not know that he
had got his narrative somewhat mixed up, but that the stranger did was
evident. There was a roguish twinkle in his eye, and he was obliged to
bite his lips to keep from laughing outright. Controlling himself with
an effort he leaned toward Guy and said, in a low, confidential tone:

“I don’t blame you. The Santa Maria does bear a hard name, that’s a
fact, and I wouldn’t sail in her myself. I’ve got another vessel on my
books—the clipper Morning Light, bound up the Mediterranean, and I know
that’s the very place you want to go. Isn’t it now, say?” he exclaimed,
hitting the boy a back-handed slap on the chest.

“Yes,” answered Guy. “I should like to go.”

“Of course you would. Everybody wants to go, but only a few can get the
chance. I tell you it takes influence to get a berth on board a
Mediterranean trader,” said the man, who knew that he could impose upon
Guy to his heart’s content. “Wealthy country that, and if you don’t come
back rich, it will be your own fault. Ostrich feathers are plenty and
worth a hundred dollars a pound on this side of the Atlantic. Diamonds,
pearls, nuggets, and gold-dust, are to be had for the picking up.
Everybody fills his pockets, from the captain down to Jemmy Ducks. Come
and put down your name. Where’s your dunnage?”

“Hold on,” said Guy, as the stranger seized his arm and tried to pull
him away. “I want to find Flint, and see what he has to say about it.”

“I know where he is, and can find him for you in less than ten minutes,”
said the stranger, who had about as clear an idea of Flint’s whereabouts
as Guy himself. “All I ask of you is to put down your name. Where’s your
dunnage?”

“I left it in there last night,” said Guy, pointing toward the
boarding-house.

“Why, the landlord didn’t ship you, did he? That is, he didn’t find a
vessel for you?”

“No, I didn’t give him a chance. They had a fight in there, and I ran
away.”

“A fight. Oh, that’s nothing. It’s all settled now, I’ll warrant. Come
with me. I’ll get your dunnage for you.”

Guy did not hesitate to enter the boarding-house under the protection of
the stranger, and indeed he need not have been afraid to go in there
alone.

There was but one man in the bar-room, and that was the second mate of
the Santa Maria, who was probably on the lookout for a crew for his
vessel.

“Morning, Rupert,” said the stranger, as he and Guy entered; “I believe
my young friend here left something with you last night.”

“Ah, yes; here it is,” replied the landlord, handing Guy’s bundle over
the counter and smiling pleasantly upon the boy. “What made you dig out
in such a hurry? Did the fellows scare you?”

“Yes, they did,” replied Guy.

“You need not have been alarmed. You were my guest, and of course I
should have protected you. You see, Smith,” added the landlord, turning
to the shipping agent, “the boys had a bit of a blow-out here last
night, and one or two of them came to a clinch. It was all over in a
minute, and we took a few drinks all around and made it up. It didn’t
amount to anything.”

“I think it amounted to a good deal,” said Guy, looking around at the
walls where the plastering had been knocked off by the flying glasses.
“It frightened me, I tell you. Where is Flint now?”

“Flint?” repeated the landlord interrogatively. “Do you mean the man who
came here with you. Oh, he’s up-stairs with the rest, sleeping it off.”

“I’d like to see him,” said Guy.

“Of course you can, if you wish, but I wouldn’t trouble him if I were
you. Let him sleep. He’ll be down to supper, and then you can talk to
him.”

“By the way,” said Smith suddenly, “Flint has shipped aboard the Morning
Light, hasn’t he?”

Smith looked steadily at the landlord as he said this, and the landlord
looked steadily at Smith. The two worthies evidently understood one
another.

“Yes,” was the landlord’s reply. “He’s signed articles, and got his
advance fair and square.”

“There, now,” said the shipping agent, turning to Guy; “are you
satisfied? Your mate has shipped aboard my vessel, and if you will come
with me I will ship you. You’ll see splendid times up the
Mediterranean,” he added, with a sly wink at the landlord.

“Finest country in the world,” observed that gentleman.

“Such chances to make money,” suggested the agent.

“Never saw the beat,” said the landlord. “Been up there myself, and
that’s the way I got my start in the world. Went out cabin-boy, and came
back sailing my own vessel.”

“Do you hear that?” exclaimed the agent, triumphantly. “Didn’t I tell
you so? Come with me, and I’ll put you in the way to make a man of
yourself.”

Before Guy could reply the agent assisted him to shoulder his bundle,
and gently forcing him into the street, locked arms with him and led him
away, talking rapidly all the while, and giving the boy no chance to put
in a word. In a few minutes more he found himself seated in a small,
dark room, which the agent called his office; and the latter, having
placed before him on the table a large sheet of ruled paper, which
contained several names—taking care, however, to keep his hands spread
out over the top of it—nodded his head toward a pen that was sticking in
an inkstand close by, and told Guy to put down his name.

As the boy was about to comply it occurred to him that it might be a
good plan to find out what sort of a paper it was that he was expected
to sign. But just as he was on the point of asking some questions
concerning it, he was checked by the thought that by such a proceeding
he would show his ignorance, and beside, it would look too much as
though he doubted his gentlemanly friend, the shipping agent. So he said
nothing, signed a name to the paper, and was held for a voyage to—well,
it was to some place a long way from the shores of the Mediterranean.

“John Thomas; that’s all right. You are a good penman, and ought to be
something better than a foremast hand. When your ship comes back to this
port, if you don’t tell me that you have made yourself rich by the
voyage, and that you are at least a second mate, I shall be ashamed of
you. Now, then,” said the agent, laying his pocket-book on the table and
taking the pen from the boy’s hand, “what shall I put after your name—A.
B.?”

“What’s that?” asked Guy.

“Why, you’re an able seaman, are you not!”

“No—that is, yes; of course I am. But I want to go as cabin-boy. I like
that better.”

“I can’t ship you as cabin-boy; got one already. You will get more money
by going before the mast, and you want to make all you can, don’t you?
I’ll fix it for you.”

The agent dipped his pen into the ink and wrote A. B. after the name Guy
had signed, and Guy, ignoramus that he was, never tried to prevent him.
If he could make more money by going as an able seaman of course it was
to his advantage to do it. That was the way he looked at the matter
then, but before many hours had passed over his head he took a different
view of it. He learned through much tribulation that honesty is the best
policy one can pursue, even though he be a sea-faring man.

The agent having prevailed upon Guy to sign articles, seemed on a sudden
to lose all interest in him. It is true that after he paid him his
advance he accompanied him to a store and assisted him in making some
necessary additions to his outfit, but he hurried through the business,
his every action indicating that he was impatient to be rid of Guy. When
all the purchases had been made he took a hasty leave of the boy and
told him to go to Rupert’s boarding-house and stay there, holding
himself in readiness to go aboard his vessel at six o’clock that night.
If he was not on hand when he was wanted, he would find the police after
him.

“HUMPH!” said Guy to himself, as he shouldered his bundle and started
toward Rupert’s boarding-house, “there is no danger that I shall have
the police after me. If Flint is going out in the Morning Light of
course I must go too, for he is the only friend I have in the world, and
I am bound to stick to him. I don’t see what made that shipping agent
grow so very cold and distant all of a sudden. I wish now, since he has
shown himself so very independent, that I had examined that paper before
I signed it. He was very polite until he got me to put down my name, and
then he was almost ready to insult me. I can’t imagine what need I shall
have of all these thick clothes he made me buy,” added Guy, as he
shifted his heavy bundle from one shoulder to the other. “I thought it
was warm up the Mediterranean. I knew he tried to fool me when he told
me about the pearls and diamonds, but I don’t care. I shall see
something of the world and be my own master, and perhaps when I return I
will have money enough to take me out to the Rocky Mountains. I haven’t
given up my idea of being a hunter, and I never shall.”

Guy passed a dreary afternoon at the boarding-house, in spite of the
friendly efforts of the landlord to make things pleasant for him. That
gentleman talked incessantly and told wonderful stories about the rapid
promotions and sudden fortunes that were sure to fall to the lot of
everybody who was fortunate enough to go up the Mediterranean on the
clipper-ship Morning Light. But Guy, green as he was, did not believe
them. He did not care to talk either, for he was very lonely and wanted
to see Flint. Contrary to the landlord’s promise, the sailor did not
make his appearance at the supper table, the host accounting for his
absence by telling Guy that Flint did not feel very well and wanted to
sleep as long as he could.

“May I see him?” asked the boy.

“No, he doesn’t want to be disturbed,” was the reply. “I have just been
to his room to tell him you were here, and he asked me to tell you to go
aboard your vessel at six o’clock, and he will come as soon as he
awakes.”

Guy was not at all pleased with this arrangement. He did not believe
that Flint had sent him any such instructions, and neither did he want
to go away without seeing him. But he could not help himself, for at six
o’clock precisely Smith, the shipping agent, appeared and ordered him to
shoulder his bundle and come on.

The boy was obliged to obey. He followed the agent to the dock and into
a yawl manned by two sailors, who immediately shoved off toward a vessel
lying at anchor in the harbor.

Guy did not like the looks of her. If she was a clipper, he had hitherto
had very erroneous ideas of marine architecture, he told himself. She
looked more like the pictures he had seen of Dutch galliots.

When they reached her Guy followed the agent over the side, and one of
the sailors threw his bundle up after him.

“Here’s an A. B. I have brought you,” said the agent, addressing himself
to a man who came up to meet them.

“All right,” was the reply. “What’s his name?”

Guy started and looked sharply at the speaker. He was certain that he
had seen him before. He was dressed like the man who had introduced
himself to Flint as the second mate of the Santa Maria, and his voice
was wonderfully like the mate’s, too. Guy tried to get a glimpse of his
face, but it was effectually concealed by a tarpaulin and a heavy woolen
muffler.

“His name is John Thomas,” said the agent, seeing that Guy did not
answer the question.

“Take your dunnage into the forecastle, Thomas, and be ready to turn to
at any moment,” said the man.

“I declare, he’s an officer,” thought Guy, “and I really believe he’s
the second mate of the Santa Maria. If he is, how came he here on board
the Morning Light? Dear me, I wish Flint would come.”

“Good-by, Jack,” said the agent, shaking the boy’s hand. “I’ve got you
into tidy quarters, and shall expect to hear a good report of you.”

“What do you suppose keeps Flint?” asked Guy anxiously.

“I am sure I can’t tell. I have nothing to do with him, you know. Rupert
shipped him—I didn’t. No doubt he’ll be aboard directly. Good-by.”

The agent disappeared over the side and Guy shouldered his dunnage and
went down into the forecastle. Three or four of the bunks were already
occupied, and, selecting one of the empty ones, Guy made up his bed in
it, and then went on deck to look about him and await the arrival of
Flint.

There were a few men on deck, the owners of the beds he had seen in the
forecastle, but they did not notice Guy, and he was too much interested
in his own affairs to have anything to say to them. Flint’s absence was
the source of great anxiety to him. He could not account for it, and
neither could he explain the remarkable resemblance between the man who
met him as he came over the side and the second mate of the Santa Maria,
whom he had last seen in the public room of the boarding-house.

“Could it be possible,” he asked himself—and at the thought the blood
went rushing back upon his heart, leaving his face as pale as death
itself—“that the agent had made a mistake and brought him to the Santa
Maria instead of the Morning Light?”

“Great Cæsar!” thought Guy, catching his breath, “if that is the case
I’m among the ghosts in spite of myself. I’ll ask some of these men. Of
course they know the name of the vessel.”

As Guy was about to act upon this resolution his attention was attracted
by the sound of oars, and running to the side he saw a large yawl
approaching the ship.

His hopes arose wonderfully, but fell again when he discovered that
there were but three men in the boat—two plying the oars and the other
sitting in the stern with his hands on the tiller.

“Boat ahoy!” said the mate, leaning over the rail and speaking almost in
a whisper.

“Rupert!” was the answer, given in the same cautious tone.

“All right,” exclaimed the officer. “I thought you were never coming.
Stand by there, one of you, to catch the painter. Cap’n,” he added,
thrusting his head down the companion way, “the boat’s come.”

Guy, being the nearest at hand, caught the painter as it came whirling
up to him, and as he drew the boat up to the ladder that was quickly
lowered over the side, he was surprised to see that she was loaded
almost to the water’s edge.

A number of bundles and chests were piled in the bow, and the bottom was
covered with men—probably a dozen or fifteen of them in all—who appeared
to be asleep. Of those who managed the yawl one was Rupert, the
boarding-house keeper, and the others were two of his assistants, who
had rushed into the bar-room to quell the fight, or rather to help it
along.

Guy recognized them at once. He wondered what they were going to do with
the men who were lying on the bottom of the boat, and was not long in
finding out.

The men must have been slumbering heavily, for the landlord and his
assistants made no effort to arouse them, but lifting them in their
arms, one after the other, carried them up the ladder and laid them in a
row on the deck, as if they had been dead men.

The last one who was brought over the side was Dick Flint, limp and
lifeless like the rest. Guy was greatly horrified and disgusted to see
his friend in such a condition. He had been almost twenty-four hours
trying to sleep off the effect of the “blow out” at which he had
assisted. He must have been very drunk indeed.

“I wish to goodness I had stayed ashore,” said Guy, almost ready to cry
with vexation. “I don’t want a drunkard for my companion, and I’ll tell
Flint so at the very first opportunity. I believe home is the best place
for a boy after all. If he gets whipped and scolded sometimes when he
doesn’t deserve it, he always has plenty to eat, a good bed to sleep in,
and isn’t obliged to associate with such wretches as these. Halloo! what
is the captain up to, I wonder?”

The men had all been carried to the deck by this time, and now a piece
of iniquity was enacted that struck Guy dumb with amazement. The captain
and his mate, accompanied by the boarding-house keeper, approached the
place where the sailors were lying. The former held in his hands a pen
and a roll of paper, which proved to be the shipping articles Guy had
signed in the agent’s office; the mate carried an inkstand and Rupert a
lantern.

“What is this man’s name?” asked the captain, stopping at the head of
the row and pointing with his pen toward one of the prostrate sailors.

“Richard Flint,” replied the landlord, “and he is an able seaman.”

The captain wrote Flint’s name and rate on the shipping articles, and
then kneeling down beside him, placed the pen between his nerveless
fingers, and seizing his hand in his own, described a cross with it upon
the shipping articles. This done, the captain passed the pen over to his
mate, who signed his own name opposite Flint’s, and the latter stood on
the shipping articles in this way:

his
RICHARD X FLINT, A. B.
mark

JACOB SCHWARTZ,

Second Mate, and witness to signature.

Although the whole proceeding was most outrageous, the form was
according to law, and Flint, had he recovered his senses at that moment,
would have been held for the cruise in spite of himself. Remonstrance
would have been of no avail, and resistance would have rendered him
liable to punishment.

But this was not all the wickedness that was perpetrated upon the
unconscious seaman. While the mate was signing his name to the articles
the captain produced his pocket-book and counted out forty dollars in
bills, which he placed in Flint’s hand, and closing his fingers over
them, turned to the man who lay next to him, and whom he shipped and
paid in the same manner.

Guy had been a puzzled witness of the whole proceedings, but now he
thought he begun to understand it.

“I have been lied to and cheated,” said he to himself. “Rupert and Smith
both told me that Flint had signed articles and received his advance all
fair and square; and if that was the truth, how does it come that he is
being shipped and paid over again? I am afraid I have got myself into a
scrape.”

Guy did not know just what sort of a scrape he had got into, and he
could not stop to think about it then, for another matter demanded his
attention. He was interested in Flint’s affairs, and knowing that the
sailor could not take care of his money while he was in that condition,
he started toward him, intending to take possession of it, and give it
to him when he became sober; but what was his surprise to see Rupert
step up to the insensible man, and coolly unclasping his fingers, put
the money in his own pocket. In other words, he deliberately robbed
Flint, and that, too, before the face and eyes of the captain and his
mate, who, although they must have observed the act, did not pay the
least attention to it. This was more than Guy could stand. He walked up
to the captain and boldly charged Rupert with the theft.

“Captain,” said he, “do you see what this landlord is doing? He is
stealing the advance as fast as you pay it to the men.”

The result of this exposure of the boarding-house keeper was just what
Guy might have looked for had he taken time to consider the matter
before acting. He supposed, in his simplicity, that the landlord would
turn pale and tremble, like the guilty wretch he was, and that the
captain, after compelling him to return the money, would arrest him on
the spot, or unceremoniously kick him off his vessel. But nothing of the
kind happened. Rupert looked a little surprised, but only gave Guy one
quick glance and held the lantern lower, so that the captain could see
to sign another name. The latter, however, arose hastily, placed his pen
between his teeth, and seizing Guy by the throat, choked him until he
was black in the face; and then, with a strong push, sent him sprawling
on deck.

“There, now,” said he, “that’s the first lesson; and if it don’t learn
you to keep a civil tongue in your head, and speak when you’re spoken
to, I’ll give you another that’ll sink deeper. Turn to and carry that
dunnage into the forecastle.”

The severe choking to which Guy had been subjected, and the jarring
occasioned by his heavy fall on deck, had well-nigh proved too much for
him. His head whirled about like a top, sparks of fire danced before his
eyes, and his legs for the moment refused to support him. He was in no
condition just then to carry heavy burdens, but he had heard the order
and dared not disregard it. His last week’s experience on board the
Ossipee had taught him that instant obedience and unquestioning
submission is the whole duty of a foremast hand. He is looked upon as a
slave, a beast of burden, an unreasoning brute, who has no right to any
desires, feelings, or will of his own. If he receives a blow from a
handspike that would brain an ox, he has no business to become
insensible or get sick over it, but must jump up at once and resume his
work with cheerfulness and alacrity. Guy, however could not do this, for
he had not yet been sufficiently hardened. He pulled himself up by the
fife-rail and clung to it several minutes before his head became steady,
so that he could walk.

Was this the beginning of the “better times” which, according to Flint,
he was to enjoy when once he was “fairly afloat?” Guy asked himself; and
then seeing the captain looking his way, he released his hold on the
fife-rail, and staggered toward the bundles belonging to the sailors,
which lay where Rupert and his assistants had thrown them. With great
difficulty, for he was still very weak, he raised one of them to his
shoulder, and carrying it to the forecastle, threw it into one of the
empty bunks.

As he was about to return to the deck he met two of the crew coming down
the ladder carrying the insensible form of Dick Flint between them. They
did not handle him very gently, but pitched him into one of the bunks as
if he had been a log of wood, and laughed and passed some rough joke
when his head came in contact with the hard boards.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourselves!” said Guy, indignantly. “This
man is my friend, and too good a fellow to be jammed about in that way,
even if he is drunk.”

“Well, now, who are you that comes here giving orders and making
yourself so free?” demanded one of the men, turning fiercely upon Guy.

“I am a sailor like yourself, and a better one than you dare ever be,”
retorted the runaway, little dreaming how soon he would be called upon
to make good his boast.

“I ain’t saying nothing against that,” said the man, with a little more
respect in his tones; “but I’d like to know what port you have sailed
out of all your life that you can’t tell the difference between a man
that’s drunk and one that’s drugged!”

“Drugged!” exclaimed Guy, utterly confounded.

“Yes; that’s what’s the matter with your mate. The last glass he took
was doctored. You might pound him to death with a belaying-pin and never
hurt him.”

“Drugged!” repeated Guy, some scraps of the conversation he had held
with Flint at the boarding-house coming vividly to his mind. “What ship
is this?” he asked suddenly.

“Why, didn’t you sign articles?”

“Yes, but I’m afraid I’ve been cheated.”

“No, I guess not,” said the sailor. “You came aboard with a clear head
on your shoulders, so you’re all right.”

But Guy was quite positive that he was _not_ all right. He would have
given a month’s wages to know the name of the vessel he had shipped on,
but dared not press the man to give a direct answer to his question, for
fear that some strong suspicions that had suddenly arisen in his mind
would be confirmed.

“I just know this is the Santa Maria,” said the boy to himself, at the
same time casting a quick glance around the dimly lighted forecastle. “I
know it as well as I know that I am alive. Everything goes to prove it.
In the first place the men Rupert brought here in his boat are the same
ones I saw playing cards in his house. Flint predicted that they would
all be drugged and shipped aboard the Santa Maria, and things have
turned out just as he said they would. But how did Flint himself manage
to be caught in the trap? That’s what beats me. In the second place the
mate, who witnessed the signatures on the shipping articles, is the same
man I saw at Rupert’s, and who said he was an officer of the Santa
Maria. I know him in spite of his tarpaulin and woolen muffler, for he’s
got the same clothes on. Dear me! I wish Flint would wake up and tell me
what to do.”

While Guy’s thoughts were running in this channel, he was working
industriously at his task of carrying the sailors’ bundles into the
forecastle, and finally he found Flint’s among them.

Hastily untying it, he took out two blankets, and rolling up one of them
to serve as a pillow, he put it under his friend’s head and spread the
other over his shoulders. As he was making his way up the ladder to
bring down the last bundle, he heard the splashing of oars close by, and
running to the side, saw a yawl approaching.

“Ship ahoy!” cried one of the men in the yawl.

“Halloo!” replied the mate.

“What ship is this?”

Guy listened with all his ears to hear the mate’s reply, but the officer
leaned as far over the rail as he could, and spoke in a tone so low that
Guy could not catch his words.

“When are you going to sail?” asked the man in the yawl.

“Just as soon as we can haul up our mud-hook,” replied the mate.

“Got your crew all aboard?”

“Yes.”

“Have you one among your hands of the name of Guy Harris?”

“Merciful Heavens!” thought Guy. “Who in the world can that be, and what
does he want of me? Is it the detective who arrested Bob Walker in
Chicago? Great Scott!”

Guy did not wait to hear any more of the conversation, but hastily
catching up the bundle, threw it over his shoulders and ran into the
forecastle.

GUY REMAINED in the forecastle just long enough to rid himself of his
bundle, and then ran back up the ladder. Frightened as he was, he was
possessed by an irresistible desire to learn who it was that wanted to
see him. He intended to return to the deck and crouch down by the side,
where he could hear what was said; but when he had ascended the ladder a
few steps he heard the sound of voices near by, and saw that the
occupants of the yawl had boarded the vessel. There were four of them,
three were policemen and the other was Mr. Heyward. The latter held the
shipping articles in his hand, and by the aid of Rupert’s lantern was
looking for Guy’s name. The captain and his mate stood at a little
distance looking on.

“The name don’t seem to be on the list,” said one of the officers, who
was looking over Mr. Heyward’s shoulder.

“I told you it wasn’t!” growled the skipper. “If you ain’t satisfied,
search the ship. What has the man been doing, anyhow?”

“It isn’t a man I am after, but a boy,” said Mr. Heyward. “He is an
important witness in a case I intend to bring before the courts next
month.”

“Who told you he was aboard my ship?” demanded the captain.

“No one. He slipped out of the court-room this morning before I knew it,
and as he cannot be found about the city, it struck me he might be on
board some vessel, for he is a sailor. If I find him I shall have him
locked up. I am satisfied that he is not here,” said Mr. Heyward,
handing the shipping articles to the mate. “I am all ready, Mr. Officer,
if you are.”

“I want to ask the captain just one question before I go,” answered the
policeman. “How long has your vessel been lying here?”

“About four days.”

“Have you kept a watch on board all the while?”

“Of course I have,” replied the captain testily. “Do you think I am fool
enough to leave a ship with a valuable cargo without a watch?”

“I merely asked for information. Those burglars who broke into that
jewelry store night before last—you heard about it, didn’t you?”

“Yes. Did they get anything?”

“They made a big haul. There is a heavy reward offered for them, but
they have disappeared very mysteriously. We have positive proof that
they have not left the city, and it may be that they have concealed
themselves on some vessel which they have reason to believe is about to
sail.”

“If you think they are here you had better look around,” said the
captain. “I don’t want any such passengers with me.”

“Oh, if you have had a watch aboard your vessel all the time they could
not have got here without your knowledge, so there’s no use in searching
the ship. Good-by, captain. I wish you a pleasant voyage.”

Seeing that Mr. Heyward and his companions were about to go over the
side, Guy ducked his head and beat a hasty retreat into the forecastle.

“Whew!” he panted, drawing his coat-sleeve across his forehead, “wasn’t
that a narrow escape? I don’t think much of such laws as they have in
this country, anyhow. I haven’t done anything to be punished for, and
yet Mr. Heyward, if he could have found me, would have had me locked up
in jail for a whole month. It’s lucky I didn’t sign my right name to the
articles.”

Guy was aroused from his reverie by the sound of bustle and hurry on
deck, and while he was wondering what it was all about he was summoned
from his hiding-place by the hoarse voice of the second mate. When he
reached the deck he found that preparations were being made to get the
ship under way. There were four sober men in the crew—those Guy had
found on the vessel when he first came aboard—and Guy and the mate made
six. There were fourteen sailors in the bunks below, so that the
vessel’s company, counting in the captain and leaving out the first
officer, who for some reason or other had not yet made his appearance,
numbered twenty-one men.

“Now, then, look alive.” said the mate. “There’s only a few of us to do
this work to-night, but there’ll be more in the morning. Here, Thomas,
clap on to the standing part of that messenger, lead it aft, and make it
fast to a ring-bolt on the starboard side.”

Every word of this command was Greek to frightened and bewildered Guy,
who stood looking about the deck undecided which way to turn. He had
heard of “messenger-boys,” but he did not know that there were any on
board, unless he was one, and he couldn’t see the use of leading himself
aft and making himself fast to a ring-bolt, whatever that might be.

“Sir?” said he, as soon as he had collected himself so that he could
speak.

“_Sir!_” echoed the mate with a terrific oath. “I spoke plainly enough,
didn’t I? Where’s your ears?”

“They’re on my head. But I don’t see any messenger-boy.”

“Messen——Who said anything about a messenger-boy?” roared the mate.
“What’s this, you lubber?” he continued, picking up a rope which led
from the place where they were standing through a block made fast to the
cable and thence to the capstan. “What is it, I say? But look here, my
hearty, didn’t you ship for an able seaman?”

“Yes, I—no; no, I didn’t.”

“Yes, he did, Mr. Schwartz,” said the captain, who had been a witness to
the whole proceeding. “He did. Lay that messenger over his shoulders,
and do it so smartly that he will know one the next time he sees it.”

The mate swung one end of the heavy rope in the air, and Guy, with a
piercing cry of terror, sprang away and took to his heels; but not in
time to escape the blow. The rope fell across his shoulders with such
crushing force that Guy wilted under it as if every bone in his body had
been broken by the concussion. As he scrambled to his feet he was met by
the captain.

“Go for’ard—don’t come back here,” said that officer, emphasizing his
command with a push that once more made Guy measure his length on deck.
“You don’t belong here. Go for’ard, you lubber.”

“Come here,” said the mate, shaking his fist at Guy. “Come here and get
a handspike.”

Guy understood this order. He knew what a handspike was and what to do
with it after he had got it. Dodging around the other side of the deck
to avoid passing the mate, he found one of the implements, and shipping
it into the capstan began heaving around with the rest, who were by this
time at work hoisting the anchor. He kept one eye on the mate all the
while, for he was afraid that he might have more punishment in store for
him. And he had. When Guy came around within reach of him the officer
suddenly lifted a short rope which he had kept concealed behind him, and
rained the blows upon the boy’s shoulders in a perfect shower. Guy
endured it until he believed that the mate had determined to beat him to
death, and then he dropped the capstan bar and run for his life.

“Come back here!” shouted the mate.

“Murder! murder!” screamed Guy, crouching close against the side, and
holding both hands before his face.

“Yes, yes,” said the officer, seizing him by the collar and throwing him
back toward the capstan. “You’ll sing that tune a good many times before
you see the last of me. I’ll learn you how to rate yourself the next
time you ship.”

“I didn’t want to ship as able seaman,” sobbed Guy, “but Smith——”

“Heave ahead, there!” interrupted the mate, again raising the rope. “No
back talk allowed here. I’m going to haze you beautiful.”

That was a long and dreary night to Guy, and he scarcely knew how he
lived through it. He did not understand a single order that was issued,
and of course could lend no hand in the working of the vessel.

He did his best, fearing the rope’s-end, but his clumsy efforts only got
him deeper into trouble. The sailors swore at him and pushed him roughly
out of the way, and the mate cuffed and kicked him every time he came
within reach. Guy really thought he was doomed. He never expected to
live to see the sun rise again.

The vessel was kept under way about three hours, and at twelve o’clock
came to anchor under the lee of a high, wooded point which jutted out
into the sea.

Guy drew a long breath of relief when he heard the cable rattling
through the hawse-hole, and told himself that his labors and troubles
were over for that night at least. But as usual he was disappointed.

The captain, not caring to go to sea short-handed, had stopped here to
wait until his crew should become sober, and to perform some necessary
work, such as getting on chafing gear, lashing spars and water-butts and
stowing the boats. And Guy, with all the rest, was kept busy until
half-past three o’clock, when he was ordered below to sleep until five.
But he never once closed his eyes—he was in too much agony, both
mentally and physically. He passed the hour and a half in rolling about
in his bunk bemoaning his hard fate, and resolving over and over again
that if he were spared to put his foot on shore once more he would
never, as long as he lived, go within sight of salt water.

As the first gray streaks of dawn were seen in the east two men came
down into the forecastle. Guy gave a start of surprise when his eyes
rested on them, for he knew them both.

The first was the mate, of whom he had already learned to stand in
abject fear, and he knew now what he had all along suspected—that he was
the same man whom he had met at the boarding-house. He recognized him in
a moment, for his face was not concealed as it had been the night
before. Guy wondered what evil genius had sent him aboard the Morning
Light.

In regard to the identity of the mate’s companion there was no sort of
doubt in the boy’s mind, although he took two good looks at him, and
then rubbed his eyes and looked again before he was willing to credit
the evidence of his senses. He knew those gray clothes and that mottled
face and fur cap. He had seen them all in the court-room the day before.
The man to whom they belonged was the robber against whom he had
testified, and who had looked at him so savagely while he was giving his
evidence.

This man, as the sequel proved, was the first mate of the vessel, who
had left his bondsmen in the lurch. He had just come off in a shore
boat, not having considered it safe to join the vessel while she was in
the harbor, for fear there might be some one on the watch. Guy, of
course, _knew_ nothing of this, but having become very suspicious of
late, he made a remarkably shrewd _guess_ as to the real facts of the
case.

A thrill of terror run through the boy’s frame like a shock of
electricity when he reflected that he was completely in this villain’s
power, and that if he felt disposed to take revenge on him for the
evidence Guy had given against him he would have every opportunity to do
it.

With a cautious movement Guy pulled the blanket over his head, leaving a
little opening through which he could watch the movements of the two
men. They had come down there to arouse the crew. They stepped up to one
of the bunks and seizing the occupant by the shoulder shook him roughly.

“Halloo!” exclaimed the first mate, “this is one of our old hands, Jim
Upham, and dead as a log yet.”

“Yes,” returned his companion with a chuckle, “and if he knows when he
is well off he will stay that way as long as he can. I’ve a fine rod in
pickle for him and his mate yonder in the next bunk, for it was owing to
them that we were four days in finding a crew.”

The two officers proceeded to make the circuit of the forecastle,
stopping at each bunk long enough to give the occupant a good sound
shaking. The sober ones—those who had been on duty the night
before—quickly responded, and as soon as they were dressed were ordered
to rig the head-pump and get ready to wash down the deck; but the
others—those who had been brought off in Rupert’s yawl—could not be
aroused. The effects of the drug, whatever it was, that the landlord had
put into their “last glass,” had not yet been slept off.

“Never mind,” said the first mate, “if they don’t come around directly
we’ll put them under the pump. Who’s this?” he added, pulling the
blankets off Guy’s head.

“Oh, he’s a young sneak who has come aboard to be hazed. He shipped for
a sailor man, and don’t know a marlinspike from the starboard side of
the vessel.”

“Eh?” exclaimed the first mate, stepping back a little out of the light
and bending over until his face almost touched Guy’s, “haven’t I seen
this young—oh, he’s a lubber, is he? Well, roll out and turn to.”

The expression in the mate’s eye and the tones of his voice indicated
that he was about to say something else; but he recollected himself just
in time. Guy knew that he had been on the point of referring to the
scene in the court-room, and he was afraid that he might yet hear from
the man concerning it, and at no distant day either. He did hear of it
before a quarter of an hour had passed away. While he was busy at work
washing the deck the first mate came up, handed him a swab, and under
pretense of showing him where to use it, led him out of earshot of the
sailors at the pump.

“I didn’t think I should have a chance to square yards with you so soon,
my lad,” said he, with a savage emphasis. “Now I am going to make you
think this ship is a frying-pan; and if I hear you lisp a word about
what happened yesterday, _I will kill you_. Do you understand that?
Answer me; do you understand it?”

“Yes, sir,” Guy managed to reply.

“Well, bear it in mind, for it is gospel. I mean just what I say—no
less.”

Guy did not doubt it in the least. A man who carried a face like that of
the mate was capable of any atrocity. Between him and the second officer
it was very probable that the ship would be made a great deal warmer
than a frying-pan. He knew that he was utterly defenseless, and that
there was no possible way to avoid the punishment the mates intended to
inflict upon him. The only thing he could do was to perform his duty to
the best of his ability, and that too with the disheartening conviction
all the while forcing itself upon his mind, that no matter how hard he
tried, the officers would find some excuse for using a rope’s end on
him.

While Guy was busy with his swab, performing his work as well as he
could see to do it through eyes blinded with tears, he happened to
glance toward the forecastle and saw Flint slowly ascending the ladder.
Guy could hardly believe that it was he. The sailor looked, as he
afterward said he felt—“as dilapidated as a last year’s bird’s nest.”
His hair was disheveled, his face haggard and pale, his eyes blood-shot,
and had he been seen in the woods just then, he would have been taken
for a wild man. Never in his life had Guy seen such an expression of
utter amazement and bewilderment as that which his friend’s face wore as
it arose slowly above the combings of the hatchway. Flint was lost, and
it took him some time to get his bearings. He looked around the deck,
and finally his eyes fell upon Guy.

“Halloo, mate!” said he, with a sickly smile and an abortive attempt to
appear cheerful; “I knew you were somewhere about, for I couldn’t think
of anybody else who would put a blanket under my head for a pillow, and
spread another over me to keep me warm. What ship is this?”

“The clipper Morning Light,” said Guy. “You don’t know how glad I am to
see you in your sober senses again. I want to talk to you.”

“Clipper be—blessed,” said Flint, looking all around. That wasn’t just
the word he used, but it is as strong a one as we care to put in print.
“Where are we bound?”

“Up the Mediterranean.”

“Mediterranean be blessed!” said Flint again. “Liverpool or the Horn
more likely. But, Jack, how did I get aboard, and when?”

“You came last night. The landlord—Rupert is his name—brought you and
the rest off in a yawl, and you were as drunk as a beast,” said Guy
reproachfully, at the same time hoping that Flint could clear himself of
the charge.

“No, I wasn’t,” answered the sailor emphatically. “You nor nobody else
ever saw me drunk on a pint of brandy, and that’s all I took.”

“A pint!” cried Guy in surprise—“a whole pint?”

“Heavens and earth! what’s the matter?” exclaimed Flint sharply. “I know
to a drop how much I can stow away. I can sail on and never keel under a
quart. I was doctored.”

“But what made you touch it? You said you wouldn’t.”

“I know it, but I had to do it to settle the fight we got into. The
landlord said if we’d take a drink all around he’d call it square, and
we did. I tried to keep the others from falling into a trap, and fell
into it myself. How did you come here, Jack?”

“I shipped aboard this vessel because I was told you had done so.”

“What’s your rate?”

“The agent put me down as an A. B.,” said Guy hesitatingly.

“He did!” exclaimed Flint, opening his eyes in amazement. “Well, you are
a soft Tommy, that’s a fact. What made you let him do it? You’ve got
yourself into hot water.”

“I know it,” replied Guy, with tears in his eyes. “I’ve been whipped a
dozen times already, and the second mate says he’s going to haze me
beautifully. What does that mean, Flint?”

“He says that, does he?” cried the sailor. “Then you had best jump over
the side while you’ve got the chance. He’s going to haze you, is he?
That means that he won’t let you have a minute’s peace as long as this
voyage lasts, and that you won’t get a wink of sleep more than just
enough to keep you alive. I pity you, my boy.”

Guy thought he stood in need of sympathy. He knew that there were hard
times before him, but he had never dreamed of anything so dreadful as
this.

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