WHAT BOB FOUND IN CHICAGO

GUY HAVING, as he supposed, made his way on board the propeller without
being seen by anybody, ran with all possible speed toward the
engine-room, keeping a good lookout on all sides for fear of meeting the
steward who, as he had learned to his cost, had a way of turning up most
unexpectedly. That officer was not in sight, however, but somebody else
was, as Guy found when he entered the engineer’s room. It was the
striker, who was busy oiling the machinery.

The runaway stopped, undecided what to do. The man, hearing the sound of
his footsteps, looked up, and after casting his eyes all about him,
nodded encouragingly, and pointed with his thumb over his shoulder
toward the door of the locker, which stood invitingly open. This
reassured Guy, who started forward again, and in less time than it takes
to tell it, was snugly curled away in the box behind the door.

The engineer came in soon afterward to put away his oil can, and when he
went out he locked the door after him.

Guy felt perfectly safe then, and told himself that there was no danger
of discovery. No one came near the locker until the propeller was well
out from Saginaw, and then Flint appeared, carrying under his arm a
bundle wrapped up in a newspaper.

“Well, our plans worked all right, didn’t they?” said he, and he seemed
as highly elated as Guy himself. “You couldn’t have a better
hiding-place than this. The steward would never think of looking for you
here, even if he knew you were on board, which he doesn’t. There’s only
one in the secret beside me and the engineers, and that’s the friend who
stole your money.”

“Bob Walker!” gasped Guy. “How did he find it out?”

“He saw you when you came aboard.”

“Then my cake is all dough,” said Guy in great alarm. “He’ll blow on me
sure.”

“I’ll risk him, and insure his silence for a dime,” returned Flint.
“He’s afraid of me, and he’d better be; for if I hear of his trying to
get you into trouble, I’ll have him before the cap’n in less time than
he could say ‘hard a port’ with his mouth open. Here’s your purse. I
knew he had it.”

“Flint, you’re a good fellow,” said Guy, so overjoyed that he could not
speak plainly. “I never can repay you. How did you get it?”

“I saw him have it in his hand, and scared it out of him. I made him
believe that I was looking through the window when he took it out of
your pocket, and told him that if he didn’t hand it over, I’d have him
locked up. He spent ten cents of the money, but I made him give me a
dollar, so you’ve got ninety cents for interest. Here’s some bread and
cold meat I brought you,” said Flint as he deposited his bundle in one
corner of the chest. “You will have to live on it until we reach
Chicago, for it won’t be safe for me to come here very often. Somebody
might see me. You can walk around a little of nights, but don’t show
your face outside the locker in the day-time. Good-by.”

“Now that’s a friend worth having,” said Guy to himself, after the
wheelsman had gone out. “Nobody need tell me again that it is such hard
work to get on in the world. It’s sheer nonsense. One can always find
somebody to lend him a helping hand. I am as comfortable as I care to
be, and wouldn’t go home if I had the chance. I am my own master, and
can do as I please without asking anybody’s permission. I only wish
Flint was a hunter instead of a sailor.”

While these thoughts were passing through Guy’s mind, he was rummaging
about in the chest (it was as dark as a pocket in the locker), searching
for the bundle Flint had left. Having found it, he ate a few slices of
the bread and meat, and then pulling the blankets over his head, curled
up and went to sleep.

Before twenty-four hours had passed over his head Guy found occasion to
change his mind in regard to some things. He learned that it was exactly
the reverse of comfortable to be shut up in such close quarters. He grew
weary of this confinement, and longed to get out where he could see what
was going on; but he followed Flint’s instructions to the very letter.
He ventured out occasionally at night for five or ten minutes, but
during the day remained closely concealed, passing the time in sleeping
and pacing up and down his narrow prison. While he was taking his
exercise he was always on the alert, and the moment a key was inserted
into the lock or a hand placed upon the door-knob, he would jump into
his box and cover himself up with the blankets. Three days and nights
were spent in this way, and then Flint once more made his appearance.

“It’s all right now, my hearty,” said he cheerfully. “We’ll be in
Chicago in another hour, and you mustn’t waste any time in getting off
after the boat is made fast, for I sha’n’t breathe easy until I know you
are safe ashore.”

“Does anybody suspect anything?” asked Guy anxiously.

“Nobody except that friend of yours. He hasn’t said a word, and it is
just as well for him that he didn’t; but he’s been all over the steamer
a dozen times looking for you. How have you enjoyed yourself, anyhow?
Grub all gone yet?”

“Yes; and I’m as hungry as a wolf.”

“Never mind; we’ll have a good supper before long. Be careful that no
one sees you when you go off the boat.”

With this piece of advice Flint went out, and Guy, having placed his
valise close at hand, walked impatiently up and down the locker, waiting
for the propeller to make the landing.

Time moves on laggard wings when one is in a hurry, and Guy thought he
had never passed so long an hour before; but at last the engineer’s bell
rang, the jarring and rocking of the boat subsided into a gentle,
gliding motion, the capstan overhead began to groan and rattle, and
finally a heavy bump or two announced that the wharf had been reached.
Guy heard the men come down to shove out the gang-plank, and at the same
moment one of the engineers pushed open the door of the locker and
nodded to him—a signal previously agreed upon between him and Flint that
the coast was clear.

Guy picked up his valise and ran quickly through the engine-room, but
when he came within sight of the gangway he saw that the propeller was
still moving ahead, and that the gang-plank had not yet been pushed out.
More than that, his own enemy, the steward, was coming slowly down the
stairs, and Guy caught sight of him just in time to avoid discovery by
dodging into a dark passage-way.

As soon as the steamer’s headway was checked by the lines the gang-plank
was shoved out, and a man on the pier, who had been waiting for an
opportunity to come on board, ran up and was cordially greeted by the
steward.

“Halloo, Boyle!” exclaimed the officer as the two met at the foot of the
stairs, “what do you want here? Are you looking for anybody?”

“Yes, I am,” replied the man.

“It isn’t me, is it?” asked the steward with a laugh.

“No, not this time. I am after a couple of boys who are supposed to have
taken passage on this steamer from Norwall. Good-looking young fellows
they are, I judge from the description I have of them. One is tall and
slender, with light hair and blue eyes, is dressed in black and wears a
straw hat. His name is Guy Harris.”

“Great Scott!” thought the listening runaway, “it is all over with me
now.”

“I don’t know any boy of that name,” replied the steward, “but we
certainly had one aboard who answered to that description. He got off at
Saginaw, or rather, we put him off because he had no money. What is the
matter?”

“Nothing, only these two young rascals have run away from home, and I am
directed to detain them until their fathers arrive—that’s all. Harris
got off at Saginaw, you say? I don’t care; his father is rich, I hear,
and the more trouble I have to catch him the more money I shall make.
The other is short and thickset, with black hair and eyes, wears a blue
beaver overcoat, carries a small black valise, and is much given to
smoking good cigars. His name is Robert Walker.”

“I don’t know him by that name, but there is such a boy on board, and
here he comes now,” said the steward, as the sound of footsteps was
heard at the top of the stairs.

The steward and his companion turned their backs and appeared to be very
deeply interested in something that was occurring on the wharf, while
Guy, trembling with excitement and alarm, drew himself into as small a
compass as possible, and waited to see what was going to happen. He was
in momentary fear of discovery, for the two men were scarcely more than
twenty feet away, and must have seen him if they had once turned their
eyes in his direction.

The footsteps sounded nearer, and presently Bob Walker appeared, smoking
as usual. He carried his valise in one hand, and the other, being thrust
into the pocket of his trousers, held back his overcoat so as to show
the gold watch-chain that hung across his vest.

[Illustration: “The footsteps sounded nearer and presently Bob Walker
appeared smoking.”]

He nodded familiarly to the steward, and was about to pass down the
gang-plank when he who had been addressed as Boyle suddenly turned and
faced him. He gave a stage start, opened his eyes to their widest
extent, looked fixedly at the boy for a moment, and then slowly extended
his hand, greeting him with:

“Why, Bob, is it possible? How do you do? How _do_ you do, Bob Walker?
How’s your father and mother and all the rest of the good people of
Norwall? I didn’t expect to see you here. Give us a shake.”

Bob, taken completely by surprise, involuntarily extended his hand, but
suddenly recollecting himself, as quickly withdrew it.

“I didn’t expect to see you either,” said he; “but, as it happens,
you’ve made a mistake. My name is Wheeler.”

Bob’s attempt to appear easy and unconcerned was a miserable failure. He
knew who the man was, and what brought him there, for he accidentally
caught a glimpse of something on the under side of the lapel of his
coat. It was a detective’s shield!

Although his heart almost came up into his mouth, he did not lose his
courage. He tried to “brave it out,” but, of course, overdid the matter,
and his behavior was enough to have removed the last doubt as to his
identity, had any existed in the mind of the detective.

“And more than that,” continued Bob, “I don’t live in Norwall. My home
is in Omaha. Good-evening!”

“_Good_-evening,” said the detective. “No offense, I hope?”

“None whatever,” replied Bob politely. “We are all liable to make
mistakes.”

“You don’t happen to have a good cigar about your clothes, do you?” said
the officer.

Of course Bob had, for he was always well supplied, and promptly
produced one.

The detective put it between his teeth, and accepting Bob’s cigar,
applied the lighted end to his own, and puffed away until it was fairly
started, all the while running his eye over the face and figure of the
boy before him.

“Thank you,” said he; “we’ll smoke as we go along. If you are all ready,
I am. I see you understand the situation, so there’s no use in wasting
time in words. Your father will be along some time to-morrow, and any
little explanations you may want—why, he’ll give ’em to you. I guess we
had better be walking along now.”

“Haven’t you instructions to arrest somebody else?” asked Bob, with
wonderful courage and self-possession.

“Yes; but he doesn’t seem to be here. He was put off at Saginaw.”

“I know he was, but he didn’t stay put off. He is somewhere on this boat
now.”

“My gracious!” gasped Guy, squeezing himself closer against the
bulk-head.

“Oh, you’re mistaken,” said the steward, with some surprise in his
tones. “I saw him go off myself.”

“And I saw him come back,” insisted Bob. “He is concealed somewhere
among the cargo.”

“Humph!” exclaimed the engineer, who, while he pretended to be very busy
rubbing down the machinery, was listening to every word of the
conversation. “How could he live three days without a bite to eat or a
drop to drink?”

“That’s easy enough done when one makes up his mind to it,” said Bob.
“He’s on this vessel, and I know it. He is as deep in the mud as I am,
and I don’t want to go back without him. Won’t you look for him, Mr.
Officer?”

“No, I guess not,” answered the detective, who put more faith in the
steward’s story than he did in Bob’s. “I’ll find him, sooner or
later—you needn’t worry about that. We’d better go along now. Come on.”

Bob might still have continued to argue the matter, had not the
detective taken him gently but firmly by the arm and led him down the
gang-plank.

Guy, from his place of concealment, watched him until he disappeared in
the darkness, and that was the last he ever saw of him.

And what became of Bob after that? His adventures would make a long
story; but with them we have at present nothing to do. It will be enough
to say that he went home with his father, who arrived in Chicago the
next day; but he did not long remain with him. Although he heard nothing
to induce the belief that the attempt he had made upon Mr. Harris’ safe
was known, there were plenty who were acquainted with the fact that he
had run away from home, and that made him very discontented. The war
broke out shortly afterward, and Bob went into the service, enlisting as
landsman in the Mississippi squadron.

In two years, by bravery and sheer force of character (it is not always
the good who are prosperous, except in novels), he raised himself to the
rank of acting ensign, and held the position of executive officer of one
of the finest “tin-clads” in the fleet. But he was not satisfied with
this. The evil in his nature was too strong to be kept down, and with
his captain he entered into a conspiracy to surrender his vessel to the
rebels for a large amount of cotton—some say four hundred and fifty
thousand dollars’ worth.

Bob’s conspiracy was defeated through the vigilance of a young officer,
whose name is known to but few, and whose exploit, as far as I have been
able to learn, was never mentioned in the report of the Secretary of the
Navy.

Their villainous plot being discovered, Bob and his commanding officer
made their escape from the vessel one dark night, and that was the last
that was ever seen of them.

Guy saw all that transpired, and listened to the conversation between
Bob and the detective like one in a dream. He now looked upon the
temporary loss of his money as a blessing in disguise, for had he paid
his passage to Chicago his arrest would have been certain. But he felt
comparatively safe, for Boyle had been put on a wrong scent. It would
take him two or three days to go to Saginaw and back, and by that time,
if the schooner was ready to sail, Guy and his friend would be miles on
their way toward the Atlantic Ocean.

So fearful was he, however, that the detective might yet return and take
him into custody, or that he might be waiting on the wharf ready to
receive him when he came out, that Guy dared not leave his hiding-place.

He saw the steward go back up the stairs and the cabin passengers come
down and go ashore, but he did not move until the engineer stepped up
and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Look here, my friend,” said he, with some impatience in his tone,
“we’ve done all we could for you, and now you’d better be making tracks.
We don’t want you here any longer.”

The man’s looks indicated very plainly that, if he did not go off the
boat of his own accord and at once, he would be helped off, so Guy lost
no time in putting himself in motion. He caught up his valise, and
without stopping to thank the engineer for his kindness in allowing him
to use his locker for a hiding-place during the voyage, hurried down the
gang-plank, and stopped in the shadow of a building on the opposite side
of the wharf. There he was safe from observation, and there he remained
until he saw the wheelsman come ashore with his dunnage slung over his
shoulder.

“OH, FLINT!” exclaimed Guy, running to meet the sailor, “you don’t know
how glad I am to see you. I have had a narrow escape, I tell you. I just
got away from an officer who captured Bob by the skin of my teeth.”

With this introduction Guy began the story of his recent adventure, to
which his companion listened with all his ears. He was surprised as well
as delighted to hear what had happened to Bob Walker, and hastened to
calm the fears of his young friend by assuring him that as long as he
followed in his (Flint’s) wake he was in no danger. In the first place,
he would take him where no detective would ever think of looking for
him; and in the second, they would remain in the city but a day or two
at the very furthest, and by the time Boyle could go to Saginaw and
back, they would be on their way to Liverpool and safe from pursuit.

Flint fulfilled the first part of his promise by conducting Guy to a
sailors’ boarding-house in an obscure street, where they ate supper and
took lodgings for the night. After breakfast the next morning they set
out in company to call upon the agent, whose business it was to ship the
crew that was to man the schooner during her voyage to Liverpool. They
found him at his office, and after listening to some astonishing stories
from Flint, who declared that Guy understood his business as cabin-boy,
having just been discharged from the propeller Queen of the Lakes, where
he had served in that capacity for the last two months, the agent was
finally induced to add the boy’s name to the shipping articles and pay
him his advance. Then, after a visit to a cheap clothing store, where
Flint purchased an outfit for Guy, they returned to the boarding-house
and thence made their way to their vessel, the Ossipee, which was almost
ready to sail.

During the first part of the voyage Guy had but little to complain of.
Although he was kept busy all the time, his duties were comparatively
light, the officers were kind, the food abundant and well cooked, and
the weather mild and agreeable. Guy even begun to think that a career on
the ocean-wave was, after all, very pleasant and desirable, and
sometimes had serious thoughts of abandoning his idea of becoming a
hunter and spending the remainder of his days upon the water. But even a
sailor’s life has its dark side, as he discovered when they reached the
Gulf of St. Lawrence. During a violent gale the schooner sprung a leak,
and from that time until she reached a port in Nova Scotia, into which
she put for repairs, Guy never once closed his eyes in sleep. He was
kept at the pumps until every bone and muscle in his body ached with
fatigue, and when relieved from them it was only to perform some other
duty equally laborious. It was all the crew could do to keep the
schooner afloat, and for five long, dreary days Guy stood face to face
with death in one of its most appalling shapes.

And what a change that storm made in the disposition of every man on
board! The officers raved and swore, and hastened obedience to their
orders by threatening to knock the men overboard with handspikes and
belaying pins. Guy, bewildered by the confusion and noise, and
frightened almost out of his senses by the danger he was in, was forever
getting into somebody’s way, and of course came in for the lion’s share
of abuse. He was kicked and cuffed every hour in the day and pushed
about as if he had no more feeling than the freight which was so
unceremoniously thrown overboard. Once the mate ordered him to “lay
for’d and lend a hand at the jib down-haul,” and while Guy was looking
about to see which way to go, the officer picked up a rope and brought
it down across his shoulders with a sounding whack. It might have fared
hard with Guy then had not Flint, who happened to overhear the order,
saved him from further punishment by hurrying forward and executing it
for him.

Port was reached at last, and we can imagine how relieved Guy was and
with what feelings of delight he listened to the speech the captain made
to the crew, in which he informed them that the vessel was so badly
damaged that she must go into the dry-docks again and that the hands
were to be discharged with three months’ pay. He packed up his dunnage
with great alacrity, and as he followed Flint over the side, declared
that he had seen enough of salt water to last him as long as he lived,
and that the rest of his life should be on shore.

“Why, you haven’t seen anything of a sailor’s life yet,” said his
companion. “I know we’ve had rather a rough time for the last week, but
that’s nothing. Of course one must work if he goes to sea, and so he
must if he follows any other business. You’ll see better times when you
are once fairly afloat.”

“But just look at the danger,” said Guy.

“Humph! look at the danger you’re in now while you are ashore,” returned
Flint. “Suppose, while we are passing along this row of buildings, that
a brick should fall from one of the chimneys and strike you on the head!
Where would you be? Or suppose you should accidentally put yourself in
the path of a runaway horse! Wouldn’t you be in danger then? The safest
place in the world is on shipboard. That’s a sailor’s doctrine.”

“But it isn’t my doctrine,” said Guy. “And another thing. I don’t like
to have a man swear at me and say that for two cents he would throw me
into the drink. If I am to be cuffed and whipped and jawed every day I
might as well be—somewhere.”

Guy was about to say that he might as well be at home, for he had run
away from it on purpose to escape such discipline. He came very near
exposing himself, for he had told Flint that he had no home, and he knew
that was the reason the sailor was so kind to him.

“And don’t you remember how that mate beat me with a rope?” added Guy.
“If you hadn’t taken my part he might have been pounding me yet, for I
didn’t know where to go to find the jib down-haul.”

“Oh, that’s nothing,” said Flint encouragingly. “A boy who goes to sea
may make up his mind to one thing, and that is, he’s going to get more
kicks than ha’pence. And it may not be his fault; but if he gets ’em
after he learns his duties, then it _is_ his fault. You didn’t see me
struck or hear anybody say he’d throw me overboard. That’s ’cause I know
my business and ’tend to it. But you will see better times after we get
fairly afloat. Halloo! let’s go in here and see what’s going on.”

Flint’s attention was attracted by the sound of voices and shouts of
laughter which issued from a very dingy-looking building they were at
that moment passing. Guy glanced up at the sign and saw that it was a
sailor’s boarding-house.

Flint opened the door that led into the public room, and Guy followed
him in. The boy did not like the looks of the apartment, for it too
vividly recalled to his mind the quarters occupied by the steerage
passengers on board the Queen of the Lakes. It was not much like the
steerage in appearance, but it was fully as gloomy and uninviting.

One side of the room was occupied with tables and chairs, and the other
by a small bar, at which cheap cigars and villainous liquors were kept
for sale. The floor was covered with sawdust, and littered with cigar
stumps and “old soldiers,” and the walls were discolored by tobacco
smoke, which filled the room almost to suffocation.

A party of sailors were seated at one of the tables, engaged in a game
of “sell out,” now and then laying down their cards for a few seconds to
bury their noses in tumblers of hot punch, which they kept stowed away
on little shelves under the table. They looked up as Flint and his
companion entered, and a man who was standing behind the bar, and who
seemed to be the proprietor of the house, came forward to relieve them
of their bundles, and inquired what he could do for them.

“Can you grub and lodge us ’till we find a ship?” asked Flint.

“Of course I can,” said the proprietor. “This is the very place to come.
Supper will be ready in an hour. Will you sit down by the stove and have
a drop of something warm?”

“I don’t mind. We’ve had a rough time outside for the last week, and
hain’t got warmed up yet.”

The sailor and his young companion drew a couple of chairs near the
stove, and sat down, whereupon a short, thickset man, who, seated in a
remote corner of the room, had been regarding them rather sharply ever
since they came in, arose and pulled his chair to Flint’s side.

“Did you say you want to ship?” he asked in a low tone, at the same time
casting a quick glance toward the card players.

“Yes,” replied the sailor, running his eye over the man; “but we hain’t
in no hurry about it.”

“Well, I am in a great hurry to raise a crew, and should like to get one
to-night. I am second mate of the clipper Santa Maria, bound for
Honolulu—forty dollars advance. Better say you’ll put your name down.
Best ship you ever sailed in, and you’ll find every thing lovely aboard
her. The cap’n’s a gentleman. Ask him for a chaw of tobacco, and you’ll
have to mind your eye or get knocked overboard with a whole plug of it,
and the mates ain’t none of your loblolly boys neither. What do you
say?”

“Say no, mate,” exclaimed one of the card players, all of whom had
paused in their game to hear what the mate had to say to Flint. “Don’t
go near the bloody hooker.”

“What’s the matter with her?” asked Flint.

“Why, she’s got a crew aboard she never discharges, and who don’t sign
articles,” answered the sailor.

“Then I guess I won’t ship,” said Flint, picking up his chair and moving
it nearer the players.

“You’d better not. She’s been trying for three days to find a crew—the
cap’n, both the mates, and all the shipping agents in port have been
running about the streets looking for hands, but everybody who knows her
is shy of her. She has borne a hard name from the day she was launched.”

“And all through just such fellows as you are!” cried the mate, jumping
to his feet, his face red with anger. “Don’t I wish I had you with me
just one more voyage? I’d haze you until you were ready to jump
overboard.”

“But you’ll never have me with you another voyage,” said the sailor,
with a laugh. “One cruise in the Santa Maria is as much as I can stand.
Ay, you had better go!” he continued, as the mate buttoned his coat and
hurried toward the door. “You’re no good here, and you’ll never raise a
crew until you call on the sharks.”

“Look out that I don’t get you in that way, my hearty,” exclaimed the
mate, as he slammed the door behind him.

The sailors once more turned to their cards, and Flint moved back beside
Guy. At this moment the landlord came up, bringing on a tray two glasses
filled with some steaming liquor. Flint took them off the tray and
placed them on the floor behind the stove.

“What did that sailor mean when he said that the Santa Maria had a crew
who don’t sign articles?” asked Guy in a whisper.

“He meant ghosts,” replied Flint.

“Ghosts?” repeated Guy. “Humph!”

“Hold on there, and don’t say ‘humph’ till you know what you’re talking
about,” said the sailor sharply.

“Why, Flint, there are no such things. You surely don’t believe in
them?”

“I surely do, though.”

“You have never seen one.”

“Avast there!” exclaimed Flint.

“Have you, really? What did it look like?”

“They take different shapes. I’ve seen them that looked like rats, and
I’ve seen ’em that looked like black cats. Sometimes you can’t see ’em
at all, and them kind is the worst, for they’re the ones that talks.
Once, when I was a youngster, a little older than you, I sailed in a
ship out of Boston. One night it blew such a gale that it took
twenty-six of us to furl the mainsail, and we were almost an hour in
doing it, too. We lost one man overboard while we were about it, and
every night after that when the order was given to lay aloft to loose or
furl the sails, we were certain to find Dave Curry there before us
working like a trooper. Oh, it’s gospel,” said Flint earnestly, seeing
that an expression of incredulity settled on the face of his young
companion; “’cause I saw him often with my own eyes, and what I tell you
I have seen, you may put down as the truth. Shortly after that I sailed
in a brig whose bell every night when the mid-watch was called struck
four times, and no one ever went near it.”

“Who struck it then, if no one went near it?” demanded Guy, not yet
convinced.

“The ghost of a quartermaster, and a man-o’-wars man who was lost
overboard when the brig made her first cruise. The last voyage I made
was in a ship bound around the Cape. When the time came we begun to
prepare for bad weather by sending down the royal yards and mast and
getting in the flying jib-boom. One of the hands was out on the boom and
had just sung out, ‘haul in!’ when a sea broke over the bows and he was
never seen afterward. But every night we used to hear him, as plain as I
can hear myself speaking now, calling out as if he were tired of
waiting, ‘haul in!’ We kept a good lookout, but although we could never
see any one, we always heard the voice. What are you looking at them
glasses so steady for? You don’t want to drink that stuff, do you?”

“No; I drink nothing stronger than beer.”

“And if you know when you are well off you will let that alone,” said
Flint earnestly. “It never does nobody no good. It takes your money as
fast as you can earn it, and gets you into scrapes. I know by
experience.”

“Why don’t you empty one of the glasses?” asked Guy.

“Do you think I’m fool enough to drink anything in this house?” inquired
Flint, in a low whisper. “Didn’t you hear that fellow tell the mate that
he’d never ship a crew till he got the sharks to help him.”

“Yes, but I don’t know what he means.”

“You never saw a two-legged shark, did you?”

“No, I never did.”

“Well, there’s one,” said Flint, jerking his thumb over his shoulder
toward the bar.

“Who? Where? You don’t mean the landlord?”

“Don’t I, though? I don’t mean nobody else. I can tell one of them
fellows as far as I can see him. He’ll have a crew for the Santa Maria
before many hours, now you see if he don’t. That’s what he’s up to, and
that’s why I don’t drink the stuff in that glass. Them fellows playing
cards are all fools. They’ll be out of sight of land some fine morning,
now you see if they don’t—to-morrow may be.”

Flint settled back in his chair, nursed his right leg, and winked
knowingly at Guy.

“I don’t understand,” said the boy. “They won’t ship aboard the Santa
Maria, will they?”

“Yes, they will.”

“They needn’t do it unless they choose.”

“Ah! needn’t they though? That shows all you know. You see the landlord
is keeping them here by dosing ’em with something strong—a sailor is
always ready to stay where he can get plenty to drink—and by the time it
comes dark they’ll be half-seas over. Then the landlord will drug ’em to
sleep by putting something in their drinks, and get help and carry them
aboard the Santa Maria. By the time they get their senses again they’ll
be miles away.”

“But they can’t do duty if they’re drugged,” said Guy.

“No matter. If they can’t do duty to-day they can to-morrow, and the
cap’n ’ll take ’em so long as they ain’t dead.”

“Let’s get away from here and go somewhere else,” said Guy in great
alarm. “I don’t want to stay with such a man. I’m afraid of him.”

“Well, you needn’t be. All we’ve got to do is to keep clear heads on our
shoulders, and we’re all right. Just bear one thing in mind. As long as
you stay in this house don’t drink nothing, not even water.”

“Supper!” cried the landlord at this moment. “Walk right into the
dining-room, boys. Why, what’s the matter, mates?” he added, glancing
from Flint and his companion to the untasted glasses on the floor;
“don’t they suit you?”

“No; they’re too stiff and got too much sugar in ’em.”

“Then step right up to the bar and let me mix you another glass. It
sha’n’t cost you a cent.”

“Never mind now,” said Flint. “We’ll wait until after supper.”

Guy, who had not had a square meal for a week, was delighted to find
himself seated at a well-filled table once more. He fell to work in good
earnest and made ample amends for his long fast. There were two
drawbacks to the full enjoyment of the meal, and one was, he could not
drink anything. Forgetting himself on several occasions he raised his
cup of coffee to his lips, but being checked by a look or a sly nudge
from Flint, always put it down untasted. The other drawback was the
company in which he found himself.

The sailors knew little of the etiquette of the table, and cared less.
They were merry and quarrelsome by turns, pounded on the table with
their fists until the dishes jumped up and performed jigs and
somersaults in the air, and talked, laughed, and swore at the top of
their voices. The landlord seemed accustomed to all this, and never
interfered with his guests except when it was necessary to keep them
from coming to a free fight.

The sailors left the table one after the other, as their appetites were
satisfied, and returned to the public room, whither they were followed
by Flint and Guy, the former leading the way. As they were passing along
the hall that led to the bar-room, the sailor suddenly paused, looked
steadily at something before him for a moment, and then drew back.

“It’s come, and sooner than I thought for,” said he, in an excited
whisper.

“What has come?” asked Guy.

“Stick your head out of that door and see for yourself. Be careful to
keep out of sight of the landlord.”

Guy advanced cautiously toward the door, wondering what it could be that
had so excited his companion, and Flint followed close to his heels,
rolling up his sleeves and making other preparations indicative of a
desire or intention to fight somebody.

GUY expected to see something startling, but was disappointed. The
public room was as quiet and orderly as it had been at any time since he
entered it. The sailors had resumed their game, and the landlord was
standing behind the bar with a row of glasses ranged on a shelf before
him, into each of which he was putting a small portion of a white powder
that he took from a paper he held in his hand. Then he filled all the
glasses with some kind of liquor, stirred them with a spoon, and placing
them upon a tray started toward the table at which the sailors were
sitting. “It is my treat now, lads,” said he, “and here is something to
make your suppers set easy.”

“Don’t touch it,” shouted Flint, suddenly starting forward. “Knock him
down, some of you. That stuff is doctored.”

Guy did not understand just what Flint meant by this, but it was plain
that the sailors did. They all jumped to their feet in an instant, while
the landlord put down the tray and looked at Guy’s companion with an
expression on his face that was perfectly fiendish. A moment afterward a
glass propelled by his hand came sailing through the air, and was
shivered into fragments against the wall close beside Flint’s head.

“I’ll be at you in a second,” said the latter, as he coolly made his way
behind the bar. “There’s the stuff that’s in your glasses, mates,” he
added, throwing upon the counter the paper that contained the remainder
of the drug. “If there is a ’pothecary among you, may be he can tell you
what it is—I can’t.”

The sailors had, while at the supper table, given abundant evidence that
they were in just the right humor for a row, and this was all that was
needed to start one going. As Flint came out from behind the counter to
pay his respects to the landlord in return for the glass the latter had
thrown at his head, that worthy retreated toward the dining-room
shouting lustily for help. It came almost immediately in the shape of
three or four villainous-looking fellows who were armed with bludgeons.
Their sudden appearance astonished Guy. He had seen no men about the
house, and he could not imagine where they sprung from so quickly.

“There’s a man who wants to raise a fight,” cried the landlord, pointing
to Flint. “Down with him.”

“Stand by me, mates,” said Flint, throwing off his hat, and pushing back
his sleeves, “and we will clean the shanty.”

The opposing parties came together without a moment’s delay, and the
noise and confusion that followed almost made Guy believe that
pandemonium had broken loose. Having never witnessed such a scene before
he was overcome with fear and bewilderment. Deprived of speech and the
power of action, he stood watching the struggling men, all unconscious
of the fact that he was every moment in danger of being stricken down by
the glasses which whistled past his ears like bullets. At last the
lights were extinguished, and this seemed to arouse Guy from his trance
of terror. As quick as a flash he darted into the dining-room, and
jerking open a door that led into the street, soon put a safe distance
between himself and the combatants.

“Great Scott!” panted Guy, seating himself under a gas-lamp to rest
after his rapid run. “I didn’t bargain for such things as this. I’d
rather be at home a great sight. Why, a man’s life isn’t safe among such
people. I am tired of the sea, and homesick besides; and I think the
best thing I can do is to start for Norwall while I have money in my
pocket.”

Had Guy acted upon this sensible conclusion, he might have saved himself
from a great deal of misery that was yet in store for him. While he was
thinking about it—trying to picture to himself the commotion his
unexpected return would create in his father’s house, and wondering what
sort of a reception would be extended to him—he heard some one coming
rapidly down the sidewalk; and fearing that it might be the landlord, or
some of his assistants, who were searching for him, he sprung up and
darted down a cross street that led to the dock. He was running directly
into more trouble, if he had only known, it—trouble that he was not to
see the end of for months; and he brought it all on himself by so simple
a thing as going to the dock.

While he was running along at the top of his speed, intent on getting
out of hearing of the footsteps that seemed to be pursuing him, he
suddenly became aware that there was something exciting going on in
advance of him. He stopped to listen, and the blood seemed to curdle in
his veins when he heard the sounds of a fierce struggle and a faint,
gasping cry for help.

He looked in the direction from which the sounds came, and by the aid of
the light from a gas-lamp, a short distance behind him, he could
distinguish the forms of three men, who, clasped in a close embrace,
were swaying back and forth, and so near the edge of the wharf that a
single misstep on the part of one of them would have precipitated them
all into the water.

“Another free fight,” thought Guy, whose first impulse was to turn and
take to his heels. “These sailors are a dreadful set, and I’ll not stay
among them a day longer.”

“Help! help!” shouted one of the men, his cry being almost instantly
choked off by a strong grasp on his throat.

“Give up the money,” said a hoarse voice, “or over you go.”

A light suddenly dawned upon Guy’s mind; he begun to understand the
matter now.

Two ruffians had set upon somebody with the intention of robbing him and
throwing him into the harbor, and he was fighting hard for his life and
property. Instantly Guy’s tongue was loosed, and he begun shouting at
the top of his voice:

“Police! police!” he yelled. “Fire! murder! help!”

“There, we’re discovered,” exclaimed one of the robbers. “Let’s throw
him over and run.”

Guy’s frantic appeal met with a prompt and most encouraging response—the
rattle of a policeman’s club on the pavement. It was given probably as a
warning to the robbers that there was somebody coming, and they had
better be making off if they wished to avoid arrest. They acted upon the
friendly hint by releasing their prisoner and trying to run away; but
he, being strong and determined, seized them both with the intention of
preventing their escape, at the same time awakening a thousand echoes
among the deserted warehouses by his lusty cries for help, in which he
was ably seconded by Guy. The robbers finally succeeded in throwing off
their victim’s grasp, and one of them ran down the dock, while the other
dodged into a door-way just as a policeman made his appearance around
the corner.

“What’s the matter here?” demanded the officer with becoming dignity and
imperiousness. “Is this you, Mr. Heyward?” he added, peering sharply
into the face of the rescued man. “What’s all this row about?”

“Two men were trying to rob me,” replied Mr. Heyward, feeling in his
pockets to satisfy himself that his purse and watch were safe.

“Well, where are they now? Why didn’t you hang onto them till I came?”

“I couldn’t. They broke away from me and ran off.”

“And one went that way and the other in there,” said Guy, pointing with
his right hand down the dock, and with his left toward the door-way into
which one of the highwaymen had fled for concealment. “I saw them both.”

The guardian of the night darted into the door-way, closely followed by
Mr. Heyward, and presently Guy heard the sounds of a desperate fight
going on in the dark. But it was over in a few seconds, and the
policeman and his assistant reappeared, dragging the robber between
them.

“That’s the man,” said Guy. “I know him by his fur cap.”

“Will you swear to him?” asked Mr. Heyward. “I think I recognize him;
but, to tell the truth, he and his comrade assaulted me so unexpectedly,
and kept me so busy, that I didn’t have a chance to take a good look at
either of them.”

“Of course I’ll swear to him,” replied Guy. “I would know him anywhere.”

“All right. I shall want you for a witness to-morrow. What is your name
and where do you live?”

“I don’t live anywhere. I’m a sailor,” said Guy, who did not think it
best to answer the first part of the question.

“Then I shall have to take you with me,” said the policeman. “Come on.”

“Where must I go?”

“Why, to the station, of course.”

“To the watch-house!” exclaimed Guy, greatly amazed. “Oh, now, what must
I go there for? I haven’t been doing anything.”

“I know it,” said Mr. Heyward. “No one accuses you. But I intend to
prosecute this ruffian to the full extent of the law, and you will be
the principal witness against him—in fact, the only one whose evidence
will amount to anything. In order to convict him I must have some one to
swear positively that he is the man who attempted to rob me. I can’t do
it, and neither can the policeman.”

“Come on, and don’t waste any more words over it,” commanded the
officer.

Guy, whose courage had been completely frightened out of him by the
scenes of violence he had witnessed, timidly obeyed. He fell in behind
the officer and Mr. Heyward, who led the robber toward the police
headquarters.

Guy had read in the papers that lodgings were sometimes furnished at
watch-houses, and that night he learned what it meant. He found that
those who were accommodated with quarters at the expense of the city
were not provided with comfortable beds and private apartments, as they
would have been had they put up at a first-class hotel. He was thrust
into a room with a lot of homeless wanderers, and lay all night on the
hard floor, with no covering, and nothing but his tarpaulin to serve as
a pillow. How homesick he was, and how heartily he wished himself under
his father’s roof once more!

Very frequently, as he rolled about, trying to find a plank soft enough
to sleep upon, he would raise himself upon his elbow, look around at the
ragged, slumbering men by whom he was surrounded, and think of the neat
little bedroom and soft, warm couch to which he had been accustomed at
home. While brooding over his boyish troubles and trials he had never
thought of the comforts and privileges that fell to his lot, but he
thought of them now, when it was too late to enjoy them.

He passed a most miserable night, and was glad indeed when day began to
dawn and the lodgers to disperse; but he was not allowed to leave the
station, not even long enough to get his breakfast. He was kept under
lock and key until ten o’clock, when Mr. Heyward’s case came up for
trial. When he was conducted into the court-room, which was packed with
loungers and embryo lawyers, as justices’ courts almost always are, he
felt and looked more like a criminal than the hardened wretch who sat in
the dock. He had never been in a court-room before, and he knew so
little of the manner in which proceedings are conducted there that he
was shown the witness-stand three different times before he could be
made to comprehend that he was expected to occupy it.

“You seem to be very dull, young man,” said the justice sharply. “What
is your name?”

The tone of voice in which the question was propounded, accompanied as
it was by a fierce frown on the judicial face, was enough to frighten
away what few wits Guy had left about him. He did not know what reply to
make. If he gave his own name it might go into the papers and be seen by
everybody who knew him, and if he gave a fictitious one, the judge might
find it out in some way and punish him.

“Witness, did you hear my question?” demanded the justice. “What is your
name?”

“Guy Harris,” answered the boy.

“Well, why couldn’t you have said so at once and not kept me waiting so
long? Swear him.”

A red-faced gentleman, with a long nose and ruffled shirt, arose and
mumbled a few words which Guy did not understand, and when he sat down,
another, who proved to be a lawyer, took him in hand and went at him in
a way that completed his discomfiture. He reminded Guy that he was on
his oath, informed him that he should expect the truth and nothing but
the truth from him, and ended his exordium by asking him where he
lived—another question that Guy did not care to answer.

And it was so all through the examination. The lawyer insisted upon
knowing all about matters that Guy wanted to keep to himself, and the
consequence was that in less than five minutes he was completely wound
up, and stammered, hesitated and blushed in a way that made everybody
believe that he was not telling the truth. At the end of half an hour he
was told that he might step down, and he was very glad to do it, for he
was perspiring as if he had been engaged in some severe manual labor,
trembling in every limb and so weak that he could scarcely remain upon
his feet. He had seen quite enough of a court-room, and anxious to get
out of it as soon as possible, began elbowing his way through the crowd
toward Mr. Heyward, who was sealed beside his lawyer.

I know I might make this part of my story more interesting by saying
that Mr. Heyward, who beyond all doubt owed his rescue entirely to Guy,
was a rich merchant; that to show his gratitude to his preserver he took
him home with him and dressed him like a gentleman; that he gave him a
situation in his store, and that Guy was so smart and quick to learn
that he became a full partner in two years and married the merchant’s
beautiful and only daughter, and that the merchant finally died, and
left him heir to two millions of dollars. That would be a grand way to
wind up the career of our hero, but unfortunately he is a bad boy, and
it is only the good ones whose lines fall in such pleasant places.

Guy had a very different future before him. Mr. Heyward did not even
thank him for the service he had rendered, and Guy did not expect it.
All he cared for was to get out of the court-room and that as quickly as
possible.

“Are they through with me now?” he asked, when he reached Mr. Heyward’s
side.

“Yes, for the present,” was the answer.

That was enough for Guy, who began crowding his way toward the door,
paying little heed to the growling of those whose toes he trod upon or
whose sides he jammed, with his elbows. He breathed, easier when he
reached the street, and hurried away looking for a restaurant where he
might find something to satisfy his appetite, for it was now twelve
o’clock and he had had no breakfast.

“Thank goodness, I am out of there at last!” said he, wiping his
dripping forehead, “and I’ll never go near a place like it again if I
can help it. If I see a fight going on, I’ll run away and not stop to
learn who comes out first best. How savagely that prisoner looked at me
while I was giving my evidence! There was an expression in his eye which
said, as plainly as words, ‘I’ll pay you for that some day, my boy!’ I
wonder what they are going to do with him anyhow?”

To explain what happened afterward it is necessary to answer this
question. The prisoner was convicted on Guy’s evidence and held to bail
to answer to a higher court for an assault with intent to commit
robbery. Bail was speedily found by his friends, and the man was at
liberty to go where he pleased until the following month, when his case
would come up for trial.

As soon as this decision was rendered, Mr. Heyward, who was resolved
that the robber should not escape punishment, began looking about for
his witness, intending to have him locked up until the day of trial. But
the boy was not to be found about the court-room, and a policeman was
sent out to hunt him up.

The runaway little dreamed that he had a prospect before him of being
shut up in jail for a whole month.

Guy found an eating-house at last, and entering, stood at the counter
while he drank a cup of muddy coffee, ate a cold boiled egg and a ham
sandwich, and thought over his prospects—or rather his want of them. He
was alone in the world once more, for Flint, his only friend, was gone.
He had not seen him since the fight at the boarding-house. Guy was
afraid to go back there after him, or to get his luggage, and more than
that, he was not certain that he could find his way there, even if he
wanted to go. Of one thing he was satisfied, and that was, that if Flint
was still alive and at liberty, the place to look for him was on the
dock in the neighborhood of the shipping. Thither Guy accordingly bent
his steps as soon as he had finished his breakfast.

Share