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had heard of her. The Ouzel. Side- Captain Gosnell assures me, for nobody wheeler built for the excursionists. is deceived by a wig like that. What is Started away from Devonport and a man to do when he has pretty near took her to Port Said. Imagine it! the whole top of his head blown off Think of her bouncing from one moun- by a gasometer exploding on the Westtainous wave to another, off Finisterre. ern Front? There's Marks, minus his Think of her turning over and over, hair and everything else, pretty well almost, going round St. Vincent. Fine buried in a pit of loose cinders. Lamplittle craft for all that. Heatly here post blown over, lying across him. was Chief. Marks here was Mate. It Marks lay quiet enough, thinking. He was a serious responsibility.
was n't dead, he could breathe, and one And when they reached Port Said, hand moved easily in the cinders. Bethey were immediately loaded with gan to paddle with that hand. Went on mines and sent straight out again to thinking and paddling. Soon he could join the others, who were laying a com- move the other hand. Head knockplicated barrage about fifty miles ing against the lamp-post, he padnorth. Four days out, one day in. It dled downward. Found he was moving was n't so bad at first, being one of a slowly forward. Head clear of the lampcompany, with constant signaling and post. Gritty work, swimming, as it visits in fine weather. But later, when were, in loose ashes. Hands in shockthe Ouzel floated alone in an immense ing condition. Scalp painful. Lost blue circle of sea and sky, they began his hair, but kept his head. Suddenly to get acquainted. This took the com- his industriously paddling hands swirlmon English method of discovering, ed into the air, jerking legs drove him one by one, each other's weaknesses, upward, and he spewed the abrasive and brooding over them in secret. element from his lips. He had come What held them together most firmly back. And had brought an idea with appears to have been a sort of sophisti- him. Before he went into the army, cated avoidance of women. Not in so Marks was second officer in the Marmany words, Captain Gosnell assures chioness Line, afflicted with dreams of me, but taking it for granted, they inventing unsinkable ships and collapfound a common ground in 'Keeping sible life-boats. Now he came back to in the fairway.' Marks was a bachelor, life with a brand-new notion. What was it is true, but Marks had no intention it? Well, we'd be having a run over of being anything else. Marks had to the ship bye-and-bye and I would other fish to fry, I am to understand. see it. It could do everything except
I look at Marks, who sits opposite to sing a comic song. me. He has a full round face, clean- “We had been relieved one evening,' shaved, and flexible as an actor's. His Captain Gosnell observes, “and were rich brown hair, a thick, solid-looking about hull down and under, when I auburn thatch, suddenly impresses me ordered dead slow for a few hours. with its extreme incongruity. As I The reason for this was that, at full look at him, he puts up his hand, speed, we would reach Port Said about pushes his hair slowly up over his fore- three in the afternoon, and it was genhead, like a cap, revealing a pink scalp, erally advised to arrive after sunset, or rolls the whole contrivance from side to even after dark. Besides this, I set a side, and brings it back to its normal
course to pass round to the east'ard of position.
a field we had laid a week or so before, More for comfort than anything else, instead of to the west'ard. This is a VOL. 128-NO. 2
simple enough matter of running off was to go into business and pool our the correct distances, for the current, resources. For one thing, we wanted if anything, increased the margin of to keep up the association. And then, safety. We were making about four out of the Lord knows where, came this knots, with the mine-field on the star- great gray warship heading straightboard bow, as I calculated, and we Captain Gosnell paused and regardwere enjoying a very pleasant suppered me with an austere glance. Mr. in my cabin, which had been the pas- Marks and Heatly were listening and senger saloon in the Ouzel's excursion looking at us watchfully. And over days — a fine large room on the upper Mr. Marks's shoulder I could see the deck, with big windows, like a house three officers with their polychromatic ashore. The old bus was chugging uniforms gleaming in the soft orange along, and from my table you could radiance of shaded lamps. see the horizon all round, except just "You understand what I mean?' astern, which was hid by the funnel. said Captain Gosnell. "We stood on Nothing there, however, but good salt the bridge watching that ship come up water, and the Holy Land a long way on us, watching her through our glasses, behind. It was like sitting in a conserv- and we did not attach any particular atory. The sea was as smooth as glass, importance to her appearance. When with a fine haze to the south'ard. This we saw the Russian ensign astern, it haze, as far as I could judge, was mov- did not mean a great deal to us. She ing north at about the same speed as was as much an anomaly in those terwe were going south, which would rible waters as a line-of-battle ship of make it eight knots, and in an hour Nelson's day. That was what stagwe would be in it. I mention this be
gered us. An enormous valuable ship cause it explains why the three of us, like that coming out into such a sea. sitting in a cabin on an upper deck, Suddenly the value of her, the money saw the battleship all together, all at she cost, the money she was worth, so once, and quite near. We all went on near and yet so far, came home to us. the bridge.
I had an imaginary view of her, you 'Now you must understand,' went understand, for a moment, as someon Captain Gosnell, that the subject thing I could sell; a sort of fanciful
‘ of conversation between us while we picture of her possibilities in the junk were at supper was money. We were line. Think of the brass and rubber
. discussing the best way of getting hold alone, in a ship like that! And then we of money, and the absolute necessity all simultaneously realized just what of capital after the war, if we were to was happening. I had my hand get anywhere. This war, you know, stretched out to the whistle-lanyard, has been a three-ringed circus for the when there was a heavy, bubbling young fellows. But to men like us it grunt, and she rolled over toward us has n't been anything of the sort. We as if some invisible hand had given her have a very strong conviction that a push. She rolled back to an even keel some of us are going to feel the draft and began pitching a very little. This
. We are n't so young as we used to be, was due, I believe, to the sudden going and a little money would be a bless- astern of her engines, coupled with the ing. Well, we were talking about our mine throwing her over. Pitched a litchances — of salvage, prize-money, tle, and, for some extraordinary reason, bonuses, and so forth. Our principal her forward twelve-inch guns were notion, if I remember, that evening, rapidly elevated as if some insane gun
ner was going to take a shot at the their placid demeanor almost paralyzed North Star before going down. From us. We began to wonder if we had n't what we gathered later, things were dreamed what had gone before, if we going on inside that turret which are were n't still dreaming. But she conunpleasant to think about. There was tinued to swing and we continued to that ship, twenty-five thousand tons come up on her, so that soon we had of her, going. through a number of a view along her decks again, and we peculiar evolutions. Like most battle- knew well enough we were n't dreamships, she had four anchors in her bows, ing very much. and suddenly they all shot out of their 'Her decks were alive with men. hawse-pipes and fell into the sea, while They moved continually, replacing clouds of red dust came away, as if each other like a mass of insects on a she was breathing fire and smoke at us beam. It appeared, from where we through her nostrils. And then she were, a cable's length or so, like an began to swing round on them, so that, orderly panic. There must have been as we came up to her, she showed us five or six hundred of them climbing, her great rounded armored counter, running, walking, pushing, pulling, like with its captain's gallery and a little one of those football matches at the white awning to keep off the sun. And big schools, where everybody plays at what we saw then passed anything in once. And then our whistle blew. I my experience on this earth, ashore or give you my word I did it quite unconafloat. We were coming up on her, you sciously, in my excitement. If it had know, and we had our glasses so that, been Gabriel's trumpet, it could not as the stern swung on us, we had a have caused greater consternation. I perfectly close view of that gallery. think a good many of them thought There were two bearded men sitting it was Gabriel's trumpet. It amounted there, in uniforms covered with gold to that almost, for the Fontanka took lace and dangling decorations, smoking a sort of slide forward at that moment cigarettes, each in a large wicker chair and sank several feet by the head. All on either side of a table. Behind them those hundreds of men mounted the the big armored doors were open and rails and put up their hands and shoutthe mahogany slides drawn back, and ed. It was the most horrible thing. we could see silver and china and very They stood there with uplifted hands elaborate electrical fittings shining on and their boats half-lowered, and shoutthe table, and men in white coats walk- ed. I believe they imagined that I ing about without any anxiety at all. was going alongside to take them off. On the stern was a great golden two- But I had no such intention. The headed eagle, and a name in their pecu- Ouzel's sponsons would have been liar wrong-way-round lettering which smashed, her paddles wrecked, and Serge told us later was Fontanka. And we would probably have gone to the they sat there, those two men with bottom along with them. We looked gray beards on their breasts like large at each other and shouted in sheer fury bibs, smoking and chatting and point- at their folly. We bawled and made ing out the Ouzel to each other. It was motions to lower their boats. I put incredible. And in the cabin behind the helm over and moved off a little, them servants went round and round, and ordered our own boat down. The and a lamp was burning in front of a fog 'was coming up and the sun was large picture of the Virgin in a glitter- going down. The only thing that was ing frame. An icon. I can assure you, calm was the sea. It was like a lake.
Suddenly, several of the Fontanka’s red, in the west, that the ship's bows boats almost dropped into the water, were about level with the water. Don't and the men began to slide down the forget all this,' urged Captain Gosnell, falls like strings of blue and white ‘and then, when you 've got that all beads. She took another slide, very firmly fixed in your mind, she turns
. slow but very sickening to see. right over, shows the great red belly 'I fixed my glasses on the super- of her for perhaps twenty seconds, and
, structure between the funnels, where sinks.' a large steel crane curved over a couple Captain Gosnell held the match for of launches with polished brass funnels. a moment longer to his cigar, threw And I was simply appalled to find a the stick on the floor, and strode into woman sitting in one of the launches, the room, leaving me to imagine the with her arms round a little boy. She thing he had described. was quite composed, apparently, and was watching three men who were
V working very hard about the crane. The launch began to rise in the air, And these three, in their deftly han' and two of the men climbed into her. dled and slow-moving launch, with their She rose, and the crane swung outward. incredible passengers, the woman with We cheered like maniacs when she her arms round a little boy, were the floated. In a flash the other man was first to board the Ouzel. Captain Gosclimbing up the curve of the crane, and nell had stopped his engines, for the sea we saw him slide down the wire into was thick with swimming and floating the launch.
men. They explained through Serge, By this time, you must understand, who had climbed down the crane, the other boats were full of men, and man of extended experience in polar one of them was cast off while more regions, - that they were officers in men were sliding down the falls. They the Imperial Russian Army, entrusted held on with one hand and waved the with the safe-conduct of the lady and other at the men above, who proceeded her child, and therefore claimed precein a very systematic way to slide on dence over naval ratings. top of them, and then the whole bunch That was all very well, of course; but would carry away altogether and van- the naval ratings were already swarming ish with a sort of compound splash. up the low fenders of the Ouzel, climbAnd then men began to come out of ing the paddle-boxes and making excelside-scuttles. They were in a great lent use of the ropes and slings flung to hurry, these chaps. A head would them by the Ouzel's crew. The naval appear, and then shoulders and arms ratings were displaying the utmost acworking violently. The man would be tivity on their own accounts; they imjust getting his knees in a purchase on mediately manned the launch, and set the scuttle frame, when he would shoot off to garner the occupants of rafts and out clean head-first into the sea. And gratings. Even in her excursion days, another head, the head of the man who the Ouzel had never had so many pashad pushed him, would come out. sengers. Captain Gosnell would never
‘But don't forget,' warned Captain have believed, if he had not seen it, that Gosnell, that all these things were hap- five-hundred-odd souls could have found pening at once. Don't forget that the room to breathe on her decks and in her Fontanka was still swarming with men, alleyways. All dripping sea-water. that the sun was just disappearing, very Captain Gosnell, leaning back on the
maroon-velvet settee and drawing at has no conception of the real facts of his cigar, nodded toward the talented the case.' Serge, who was now playing an intri- This was surprising. It seemed to cate version of ‘Tipperary,' with many put Emma in an equivocal position, arpeggios, and remarked that he had to and my respect for that woman made use him as an interpreter. The senior me reluctant to doubt her intelligence. naval officer saved was a gentleman who But Captain Gosnell was in a better came aboard in his shirt and drawers position than Emma to give evidence. and a gold wrist-watch, having slipped Captain Gosnell was conscious that a off his clothes on the bridge before man can run right through the hazards jumping; but he spoke no English. of existence and come out on the other Serge spoke ‘pretty good English.' side with his fundamental virtues unimSerge interpreted excellently. Having paired. They all shared this sentiment, seen the lady and her little boy, who I gathered, for this lovely woman with had gray eyes and a freckled nose, in- the bronze hair and gray eyes; but stalled in the main cabin, he drew the Heatly's imagination had been touched captain aside and explained to him the to an extraordinary degree. In their insupreme importance of securing the terminable discussions concerning their exact position of the foundered ship; future movements, discussions highly ‘in case,' he said, 'it was found pos- technical in their nature, because invessible to raise her.'
tigating a sunken armored warship is And when we got in, and transferred a highly technical affair, Heatly would the men to hospital, and I had made my occasionally interpret a word, emphareport, they gave me no information to sizing the importance of giving her a speak of about the ship. I don't think fair deal. they were very clear themselves what ‘But she never reached Marseilles. she was to do, beyond making for the They were two days off Malta when Adriatic. As for the passengers, they an Austrian submarine torpedoed the never mentioned them at all, so of course French liner and sank her. They did I held my tongue and drew my conclu- not fire on the boats. And our lady sions. Serge told me they had been friend found herself being rowed slowly bound for an Italian port, whence his toward a place of which she had no party was to proceed to Paris. Now he knowledge whatever. Serge told us would have to arrange passages to Mar- they were pulling for eighteen hours seilles. He took suites in the Marina before they were picked up.' Hotel, interviewed agents and banks, ‘And she is here now?' I asked cauhired a motor-car, and had uniforms tiously. made by the best Greek tailor in the 'Here now,' said Captain Gosnell. town. We were living at the Marina “She usually comes down here for an while ashore, you see, and so it was easy hour in the evening. If she's here, I'll for us to get very friendly. Heatly, there, introduce you.' was soon very friendly with the lady.
VI ‘No,' said Captain Gosnell with perfect frankness in reply to my look of She was sitting on a plush lounge at sophistication, not in the very slightest the extreme rear of the café, and when degree. Nothing of that. If you ask me, I first set eyes on her, I was disappointI should call it a sort of — chivalry. ed. I had imagined something much Anybody who thinks there was ever more magnificent, more alluring, than anything - er — what you suggest — this. In spite of Captain Gosnell's