Part 3 out of 4
thing we shall get is justice.'
Henkel flushed slightly, but he kept his temper.
'What! Do you not shoot spies in your own army?'
'We are not spies. We went too far in the charge yesterday when we smashed
up your people. We could not get back. We are prisoners of war and should
be treated as such.'
'That is your story,' replied Henkel. 'We have plenty of evidence to the
contrary. Any commanding officer would be justified in shooting you out of
'The evidence against us,' said Ken, 'is that of Kemp, late bathroom
steward aboard the "Cardigan Castle," a man who has a personal grudge
against me because I caught him signalling to an enemy submarine.'
'Again your unsupported statement,' said Henkel.
'It's the truth,' growled Roy from the background.
'Your evidence in a case like this is valueless,' said Henkel shortly. He
turned to Ken again.
'Have you heard from your father since you last saw him?' he asked
The question took Ken unawares.
'From my father?' he said, with sudden eagerness. 'No. Is he alive?'
There was a gleam of triumph in Henkel's prominent eyes.
'Yes,' he answered. 'He is alive and--under the circumstances--well.'
'I--I thought' began Ken and stopped.
'You thought that he had been shot,' said Henkel grimly. 'That would
indeed have been his fate but for my interference. I used my influence to
get his sentence altered to a term of imprisonment.'
Ken changed colour. He found it desperately difficult to keep a cool head.
The news that his father was alive had filled him with burning excitement.
The two had always been the best of chums, more like an elder and younger
brother than father and son.
'Where is he?' he asked sharply.
'At present in Constantinople,' replied Henkel, who was watching Ken
keenly. 'But it is likely that he will presently be sent elsewhere.'
'What--into Asia Minor?' said Ken in dismay. Constantinople was bad
enough, but nothing to the horrors of the Turkish prisons in Asia.
'Not so far as that. He is to be moved, with others of the British and
French, to Gallipoli.'
Ken's cheeks went white. His eyes were full of horror.
'You are perhaps aware,' continued Henkel, 'that the Turkish Government
has decided upon this step as a response to the bombardment of unfortified
places by your fleet. If Turkish civilians are to be killed, it is only
fair that enemy civilians should share their fate.'
'Enver Bey seems to have learnt his German pretty thoroughly,' put in Roy
Henkel's eyes glared as he turned upon him.
'Be silent!' he ordered, with a fury he could hardly repress.
Roy merely smiled, and Henkel turned again to Ken.
'It lies with you whether your father goes to Gallipoli or not,' he said
curtly. 'I have sufficient influence to prevent his being sent there.'
'How do you mean?' Ken asked thickly.
'I will tell you plainly. Your father still holds the title deeds of
certain property near Ipsala. This property he has, of course, forfeited
since his conviction. I wish to purchase this land from the Turkish
Government, but owing to the absence of the deeds, which are, apparently,
in a London bank, there are difficulties as to the transfer.
'What I require is a letter from you to your father, asking him to
authorise the return of these deeds. In return for this small service I
will arrange for you and your companion to be treated as prisoners of war
and sent to Constantinople, where you will remain until the end of the
war, as will also your father.'
He stopped, and stood watching Ken keenly.
Ken was in an agony of indecision. So far as he himself was concerned, he
would not have hesitated a moment in refusing the terms offered by Henkel.
But there was his father to think of--and Roy.
His voice was strained and harsh as he spoke again.
'How do you know that my father would agree to any such letter, even if I
was to write it?' he asked.
'Because,' answered Henkel, 'your life will depend upon a favourable
Ken paused again.
'Don't do it, Ken,' broke in Roy. 'I don't know your father, but I'm
mighty sure he wouldn't stick for this kind of blackmail.'
Henkel swung round on him in a fury.
'Potztausend! Keep silence, fool! Your own life as well as two others
depends upon Carrington's answer.'
'I wouldn't give sixpence for my life if I had to keep it on terms like
those,' retorted Roy.
'Nor would I,' said Ken sharply. 'And I know my father would say the same.
Whatever happens, he would never consent to letting you blackmail him,
'Blackmail, schelm! What are you talking about? Don't I tell you that by
his sentence your father has forfeited all right to any landed property
under the Turkish Government?'
'Yes, but that country won't be Turkish any more after the war. And then
my younger brother, who is at school at home, will inherit. No, we are not
going to cut him out and leave him penniless. Do your worst, Henkel.'
Henkel's great coarse face went livid. He burst into a storm of savage
'Enough!' he cried at last. 'You have brought your fate upon yourselves.
You have sealed your own death warrant. You shall be shot within an hour,
and as for your father, he shall be taken to Gallipoli within the week,
and if he survives the fire of your own warships, I shall find other
means of dealing with him.'
He rushed out, slamming the door behind him.
'Got his monkey up pretty thoroughly,' said Roy with a laugh. Then seeing
how grave Ken's face was.
'Don't worry, dear chap. You couldn't possibly have done anything else.
And as for a bullet in the heart, what is it? It don't take long and it
don't hurt, and we can always feel we've played the game.'
As he spoke he came closer and laid his shackled hands on Ken's shoulder.
'Thank you, Roy,' said Ken in a very low voice. 'You--you've helped me a
lot. It--it's father I'm thinking of.'
'I know. But after all he isn't dead yet. And like as not this swab Henkel
may get wiped out before he has the chance of doing him down.'
Silence fell between them. They sat with their backs against the wall,
their hearts too full to talk. Ken's thoughts were with his father and his
younger brother Anthony; Roy's were back in New Zealand, picturing the
sunny plains and wild ranges around his home, the brawling rivers and the
white sheep grazing on the great grass lands.
The last rays of the sun shone through the one small window of the hut,
and presently came the tramp of men outside.
The corporal opened the door, the boys walked out, and guarded on either
side were marched once more up the foul, narrow street to the higher
Beyond the house where their mock trial had taken place was a vineyard
surrounded by a stone wall. Against this they were posted while the firing
party was detailed.
Henkel, his bloodshot eyes aflame with ill-suppressed rage, stalked up to
'I give you a last chance,' he said harshly to Ken. 'I have told the
others that you have certain information which I will take in exchange for
your lives. Give me your word that you will write that letter, and all
will be well.'
'You have had my answer,' said Ken quietly. 'Now go and watch us being
Henkel bit his lip savagely.
'Your blood is on your own heads,' he said hoarsely. 'I have given you
He stamped away, and as he did so took a handkerchief out of his pocket.
'When I drop this, fire,' he said curtly to the eight Turks who composed
the firing party.
'Good-bye, old chap,' said Ken to Roy.
'Oh, I don't know,' Roy answered. 'After all, we're going together.'
Ken hardly heard. He was still tortured with the feeling that it was
through him that Roy Horan and his father were to lose their lives. He
knew he was right, and yet--'
A sound like a maxim gun in the distance smote upon his ears. It grew
louder every instant. All, even Henkel, glanced upwards.
'Only an aeroplane, Ken,' said Roy in a whisper. 'By Jove, though, it's
one of our chaps.'
Across the rich blue of the evening sky a great Farman biplane came
sailing like a gigantic bird. She was barely five hundred feet up, and
heading straight for the village. What was more, she was actually coming
lower every moment.
Henkel, the other officer, the firing party, the bystanders--all stood
with their eyes fixed upon the plane. The cool insolence of her pilot held
them spellbound. For the moment Ken and Roy were absolutely forgotten.
Henkel was the first to recover himself.
'Shoot it down!' he bellowed. 'Shoot it down!' And the Turks, perhaps not
altogether sorry to find some other use for their bullets than the
slaughter of two helpless prisoners, raised their muzzles to the sky, and
began blazing away furiously. Even Henkel, Hartmann, and Von Steegman
hauled out their pistols from their belt holsters and fired for all they
But a plane travelling at a mile a minute is not the easiest thing in the
world to hit, especially when it seems to be coming right at you. Possibly
some of the bullets pierced the widespread wings, but no harm was done to
the observer or his pilot.
Suddenly Ken seized Roy with his manacled hands.
'Down!' he cried sharply. 'Down!'
Roy understood and flung himself flat upon the ground, and Ken instantly
followed his example.
Only just in time. Next second a black streak darted from the plane and
shot earthwards. Followed an earth-shaking roar, and a blinding flash of
[Illustration: 'All, even Henkel, glanced upwards.']
Ken, flat on his face, felt the blast of it, and covered his head with his
arms. Earth, small stones, debris of all kinds rained upon him, then
followed silence, broken only by the rapidly diminishing roar of the
Ken ventured to roll over. This is what he saw.
Between him and the spot where the firing party had stood, but nearer to
the latter, was a great cavity in the ground, a hole ten feet across and
perhaps a yard deep. Beyond, half buried in the mass of rubbish flung up
by the explosion, were the broken remains of the firing party. All but one
were dead, and most were blasted to fragments. The one survivor lay
helpless and groaning.
Farther away the three officers were prone and still upon the ground, but
whether dead or merely damaged, Ken could not tell. He hoped the former.
Farther still, half a dozen other Turkish soldiers lay, twisted in ugly
fashion, covered with blood. They had been badly cut by the jagged
fragments of stone flung up by the bursting bomb. The survivors, a score
or so in number, were running in blind panic towards the village.
'Roy, Roy! Quickly! We've a chance still,' cried Ken, his voice tense with
He sprang up as he spoke, and Roy staggered dazedly to his feet.
'This way!' said Ken, and in spite of the hampering handcuffs he managed
to scramble over the low wall into the vineyard.
'It's no use, Ken,' he said. 'We can't run with these beastly handcuffs,
and they'll be after us in two twos.'
'Not they! Look!'
He pointed to the plane. It had circled wide over the town and was now
coming back. The faint popping of rifles was followed by another terrific
crash. A second bomb had dropped clean upon one of the larger houses, and
exploding on the flat roof had scattered the whole building as a man's
foot might scatter an ant's nest. With a roar half the house toppled
outwards into the street, blocking it completely.
'Fine! Oh, fine!' cried Roy. 'That chap knows his business. Gee, but I
wish we were alongside him.'
'Much use that would be! A plane can't carry four. But don't you see? He
has spotted us. Those bombs are meant to give us our chance. It's up to us
to take it. Hurry, Roy! If we can reach that wood yonder, we may be able
to hide till dark.'
To run at all with tied hands is no easy matter. To make any sort of pace
over rough ground, in such condition, is well-nigh impossible. Yet Ken and
Roy, knowing absolutely that their lives depended on reaching that wood
before their disappearance was realised, did manage to run and to run
Once more they heard the crashing explosion of a bomb, then suddenly the
sound of the plane grew louder until the engine rattled almost overhead.
Ken stopped and looked up. The plane was passing no more than two hundred
feet above them.
Over the edge of the fuselage a face appeared, a white dot framed in a
khaki flying hood. An arm was thrust out, something dropped from it. There
was a quick wave of a hand, then with the speed of a frightened wild duck,
the plane shot away, came round in a finely banked curve, and disappeared
in a south-easterly direction.
'Roy!' gasped Ken, breathless. 'Did you see that?'
'I saw him drop something--I saw it fall. There--there it is.'
Hurrying on for about fifty yards, he stooped swiftly and picked up
something small but heavy.
'The daisy! Oh, the daisy!' panted Roy. 'I'll love that fellow to the end
of my life.'
He held up the object which the airman had flung down. It was a hammer and
a cold chisel tied together, with a leaf from a notebook under the string.
There was an ancient olive tree against the far wall of the vineyard.
Cowering under its shelter, Roy tore the string off with his strong white
teeth, then picked up the paper. These were the hurried words scrawled in
pencil:-- 'Sorry! All we can do for you. Make east. Your only chance.'
'East? That means the Straits. Why is that our only chance?' muttered Ken.
'Never mind that now,' Roy answered hastily. 'We must get our hands free.
Confound it! We can't use the chisel. But here's a stone with a sharp
edge. Try what you can do with the hammer, Ken.'
Ken took one quick glance in the direction of the village, but there was
no one in sight. He caught hold of the hammer in both hands and brought it
down with all his force on the link between Roy's handcuffs.
More by chance than skill the blow fell absolutely true, and the steel,
either flawed or over-tempered, snapped.
Roy gave a cry of delight, and snatching the hammer from Ken took up the
chisel and set to work on his bonds. His powerful hands made short work of
the link, and within less than three minutes from the time the man in the
plane had dropped the tools, they were both free.
With a deep sigh of relief, Roy sprang to his feet. 'We're our own men
again, Ken. Come on.' He leaped lightly over the wall and raced away
towards the trees. Ken followed.
They had no food, no weapons, they were miles from their own people, in
the heart of the enemy country. Yet, for all that, there were not at that
moment two lighter hearts in the whole of the Gallipoli Peninsula.
ABOVE THE NARROWS
An intermittent thunder of guns had been growing heavier for the past
hour. Now, as the two fugitives crouched on the eastern side of a steeply
sloping hill, they were so near that they could distinctly see the flashes
from the muzzles through the darkness of the night.
'That's either Fort Degetman or Kilid Bahr,' said Ken in a low voice. 'Ah,
there are two. The right-hand one--the one to the south--is Kilid Bahr.'
"Then we're opposite the Narrows," Roy answered breathlessly.
"Just so," said Ken, but though he spoke quietly enough, he, too, felt a
thrill. For five long hours they had been pushing east, or rather
south-eastwards. They had crossed the main road leading to Great Maidos,
they had had hairbreadth escapes sufficient to last most folk for a
lifetime, and now at a little after one in the morning, they had crossed
the whole peninsula, and were facing the famous Narrows, with their double
cordon of forts on both sides of the Straits, the nut which for so many
weeks all the Powers of the British and French combined had been engaged
in trying to crack.
[Illustration: "That's either Fort Degetman or Kalis Bahr."]
Opposite, a few scattered lights showed where lay the town of Chanak on
the Asiatic side of the Narrows. From forts along that coast also, there
now and then darted a spit of flame, while half a minute or so later the
dull roar of the report would reverberate through the night.
"We've gone east," said Roy slowly. "We've done what that chap in the
plane told us to do. But I'm hanged if I can see how we're to go any
'Unless,' he added thoughtfully, 'we are going to swim for it.'
'A bit far for that,' said Ken. 'We are just thirteen miles from the mouth
of the Straits, and though they say the current runs down at four miles an
hour, I don't think either of us could stand three hours in the water.'
'Not me!' replied Roy with a shiver. 'Too jolly cold!'
'We must get hold of a boat,' said Ken with decision. 'That's our only
'Lead on, sonny,' said Roy--'that is, if you know where to find one.'
'I haven't much more notion than you, Roy. But there's just this in our
favour--that I know there's a little cove south of Kilid Bahr. And as all
the coast on either side is cliffs, the chances are that boats, if there
are any, will be lying in that cove.'
'So will half the Turkish Army, most probably,' said Roy recklessly. 'Not
that I care. The only thing I mind is handcuffs. I'm going to slay the
first chap who suggests them.'
Ken was not listening. He was staring out towards the Straits, trying to
get the lie of the land. The coast itself he knew well, for he had been up
and down the Dardanelles a number of times. But of the land he was
ignorant, and it is no joke to find one's way by night over such a country
as the Gallipoli Peninsula.
'Come on, then,' he said presently, and turned due south down the
Not a yard of their journey had been without its risks, but now they had
to be more careful than ever. The whole shore of the Straits was, they
knew, a network of forts and hidden defences. There was no saying when
they might blunder upon something of the kind.
Half-way down the hill, Ken, who was leading, pulled up.
'Look out!' he muttered. 'There's a pit of some sort just in front of us.
Wait, I'll see what it is.'
He dropped on hands and knees and crawled forward. He was away for only a
'Nothing but a shell hole,' he explained, 'but it's a regular crater. Must
have been done by one of our twelve-inch guns. Two dead Turks alongside
'Rum place for a shell to fall,' Roy answered, straining his eyes through
'It means there's a fort somewhere near,' said Ken. 'Our people don't
waste shells on empty hill-sides, I can tell you.'
'Wish it wasn't so infernally dark,' growled Roy.
'I'm jolly glad it is,' answered Ken emphatically. 'Put it any way you
like, it helps us more than the enemy.'
They saw nothing of the fort, if there was one, and after crossing some
very broken ground came down into a narrow valley, in the centre of which
was the bed of a water-course, now dry.
'That's better,' whispered Ken, as he dropped down into it. 'This ought to
bring us out on the beach.'
The bottom was sun-baked mud and dry stones which, together, formed about
as unpleasant a combination for walking over as could well be imagined,
especially since it was absolutely necessary to move without a sound. Both
were deeply grateful when at last the torrent bed widened, and they heard
the lap of ripples on a beach.
'I feel like those old Greek Johnnies,' said Roy, 'the ones who'd been
wandering for a year over there in Asia, and who chucked their helmets
into the air and yelled when they saw the sea.'
'Well, don't try any tricks of that sort here, old man,' Ken answered
dryly. 'Wait a jiffy. I'm going forward to get a squint at the beach.'
He crept away, bent double, and was gone for so long that Roy began to get
uneasy. But at last he saw Ken stealing back.
'What luck?' he whispered.
'None,' Ken answered in a tone of bitter disappointment.
'Plenty of boats, but there are men behind them. I don't know how many,
but quite a lot. I don't even know whether they are troops. They are
sitting about on the shingle, talking and smoking. Anyhow there are too
many for us to tackle.'
Roy grunted. 'That's bad. But, see here, Ken, we've got to have a boat
some way or other.'
'We're going to,' said Ken fiercely, 'but I'm afraid it means crawling all
the way back up that beastly water-course.'
'Up the water-course?' repeated Roy. 'Great Ghost, there are no boats up
'It's not boats I'm after in the first place, it's a disguise. See here.
You know I told you there were two dead Turks alongside that shell hole.
My notion is to take their uniforms or just their overcoats, and then walk
boldly down to the beach, and tell the chaps there that we have a despatch
to take across to Ghanak.'
'Put up a bluff,' Roy answered. 'I see. But surely they have a cable
'They had, but the "Sapphire" cut it. And since it's gone, why I should
fancy the only way of getting messages across is by boat.'
'But what about the password?' suggested Roy.
'We'll have to chance that. There are not likely to be any officers about
on the beach at night. It isn't as if there was any danger of attack here.
They are right under the forts of the Narrows.'
'Well,' said Roy, rising with a sigh, 'it sounds a pretty good scheme. But
I'd give more than sixpence to get out of crawling back up that abominable
'I'm afraid there's no help for it,' replied Ken, as he started.
Both were tired with their long tramp across country, and they were sadly
in need of food and rest. It was wretchedly disappointing, after they had
at last made the sea, to have to turn back again inland. They were a very
silent pair as they toiled back over the cracked clay and loose stones.
There was worse to come. In the darkness they missed the exact spot where
they had first entered the gully, and when they reached the hill-side
found that they were lost. Neither of them had the least idea of the
whereabouts of the shell hole with the bodies of the two dead Turks.
[Illustration: Our boys bring in a Turkish sniper, who by the ample use of
foliage has turned himself into a sort of Jack-in-the-Green.]
[Illustration: Reinforcements of Turkish artillery and machine gun
batteries to bar the passage of our boys in khaki.]
A good half-hour they wasted in vain search, then Ken dropped behind the
shelter of a small bush.
'It's no use, Roy,' he said desperately. 'I can't find it. We're simply
Instead of answering, Roy took hold of Ken's arm with a grip that was like
that of a steel vice.
'Hush!' he whispered, and pointed.
Two figures had risen in front, apparently out of the very depths of the
earth. They were not more than twenty paces away.
The boys crouched, breathless. A moment later, two other figures loomed
through the darkness, coming down the slope. They came straight up to the
'By Eblis, but thou hast not hurried thyself Ali!' said one of the latter,
speaking in Turkish. 'Hassan and I were about to come and seek thee.'
One of the others gave a laugh.
'I am sorry, brother. We slept and no one awaked us. Is all well?'
'All is well. What else should it be? Who but a dog of an unbelieving
German would waste men's time in guarding such a place as this?'
'Of a truth it is foolishness,' said the man named Ali. 'The British are
far enough away, Allah knows.'
'A good watch to thee,' said Hassan in rather a surly tone. Then he and
his companion tramped away uphill, and Ali and the other sank down into
what was evidently a trench.
Hastily Ken translated what he had heard for Roy.
'They are sentries,' he said, 'and I suppose there is some underground
work here which they have been set to guard.'
'And by the looks of it, they are the only men there,' Roy replied
eagerly. 'Ken, I think I see those coats materialising.'
'It might be done,' said Ken. 'As you say, they are probably the only men
in the place, whatever it is. And clearly they take their job pretty
easily. If we can catch them napping we ought to be able to polish them
'We will catch them napping, and we will polish them off,' Roy said
grimly. 'Mind you, Ken, they mustn't shoot.'
He began to creep forward on hands and knees. Ken kept abreast. A minute
later, they found themselves at the sloping entrance of what was evidently
a communication trench.
'We'd best keep on top,' whispered Roy. 'You go one side, I'll take the
other. When we get above them, we must both drop together. Jump right on
them, and put 'em out before they know what's up.'
There was no doubt about this being the best plan, and they started at
once. Roy went off with his usual confidence, but Ken, more highly strung,
felt his heart thumping as he crawled along the rough edge of the deep,
It seemed to him that they went a very long way before he saw Roy stop and
lift one hand. He himself peered over cautiously. The stars gave just
enough light to see the two Turkish sentries.
They were leaning carelessly against the wall of the trench. One was
smoking, the other apparently rolling a cigarette. They were chatting in
low voices, and so far as Ken could make out, neither held his rifle.
Roy pointed to the one nearest Ken. Ken nodded, and rose very quietly to
The Turk firmly believes that certain places, bare hill-sides especially,
are haunted by unpleasant bogies which he calls Djinns and Afrits. If ever
any Turk was fully convinced that a Djinn had him, it must have been the
sentry that Ken jumped on.
He landed absolutely straight on the man's shoulders, and down he went
flat on his face, with Ken on top of him. His forehead struck the opposite
wall of the trench, and though Ken wasted no time at all in getting hold
of his throat, this was quite unnecessary. The wretched Turk was limp as a
wet dish-rag and quite insensible.
'Good business, Ken!' said Roy, and glancing round Ken saw his chum
kneeling on the chest of the second man, one big hand compressing his
wind-pipe. 'Good business! We've got them both, and no fuss about it.
Confound it! These fellows don't run to handkerchiefs. Wait a jiffy. I
must get his belt off.'
Neither of the Turks was in condition to put up any resistance, and in a
very few moments they were stripped of overcoats, shakos, and haversacks.
They were then tied and carefully gagged.
Roy pulled on the overcoat of the bigger man.
'I've seen better fits,' he remarked. 'But it will do in this light. Now
for that boat.'
'One minute!' said Ken, 'let's just see what they were guarding.'
He slipped along the trench, Roy after him, and a few yards farther on it
sloped downwards, then widened into a deepish semicircular excavation. In
the middle of this was a great lump of something which, as they came
nearer, resolved itself into a gun of some sort. It was very thick, very
short, it stood on a concrete platform, and its squat muzzle pointed
almost straight up into the air.
'It's a howitzer,' said Ken.
'Rummiest looking howitzer I ever saw,' Roy answered. 'Looks as if it came
out of the Ark.'
'Came out of the Crimea, I expect. They used this kind of thing sixty
years ago. It's a muzzle loader, you see.'
'And shoots real cannon balls,' said Roy, pointing to a pyramid of huge
iron globes, each about fourteen inches in diameter.
'I wonder where the powder is,' said Ken with sudden eagerness.
'What's up now?' demanded Roy.
'I've got it,' said Ken quickly, as he began pulling a tarpaulin off a
pile of canvas bags. 'A rare lot of it too!'
'You're not thinking by any chance of lobbing shot into Maidos, are you?'
asked Roy sarcastically.
'Not that,' said Ken. 'Hardly that. But what about setting off this little
lot? My notion is this. If we could put a slow match to the powder and
then clear out and get down to the mouth of the water-course before it
goes off, I believe those loafers down on the beach would all come running
up here to see what had happened. That would give us our chance to collar
a boat and clear.'
Roy gave a low chuckle.
'Not a bad notion, old son. Not half a bad idea. Yes, it certainly would
wake some of 'em up. But what about the slow match? We've got no fuse.'
Ken held out an old-fashioned candle lantern.
'I bagged this from the sentry. There's just half an inch of candle in it.
We've nothing to do but lay a train of loose powder up to it.'
Roy chuckled again.
'You're a bad 'un to beat, Ken. Yes, that ought to work. Let's get at it.'
The powder was just as old-fashioned as the rest of the outfit. Common
black stuff, large grained, coarser even than blasting powder. Once they
got a bag open it did not take them long to lay the train to the lantern,
which Ken placed in a little excavation kicked out right under the front
wall of the earthwork.
'Don't think any one will see it there,' he said, as he cut the candle
down a trifle and lit it cautiously with a sputtering sulphur match, part
of the spoil from the Turkish sentry.
'I suppose those sentries are far enough off to be all right,' he added,
as he rose hastily to his feet.
'Bless you, yes. This stuff isn't like high explosive. It'll only go up
with a bang and a fizz like a big firework. Skip. We've got to be at the
beach by the time she goes off.'
They knew their way by now, and in spite of the darkness, wasted very
little time in reaching the ravine. All was very quiet. The Turkish guns,
which had been firing probably at some mine-sweeper, were silent again.
The only sounds of war were an occasional boom far to the south where the
British and French faced the Turks entrenched on the heights of Achi Baba.
Bent double, the two scurried across the waste of cracked clay and loose
stones, and in less than half the time they had taken for their first
journey, reached the point where it debouched upon the open beach.
Ken dropped, panting slightly, and Roy slipping down beside him, caught a
glint of dark water rippling under the starlight.
From somewhere to the left came a murmur of voices, and the breeze brought
to his nostrils a faint odour of tobacco smoke.
Seconds dragged like minutes as they lay waiting. The suspense was very
hard to bear.
Roy put his mouth close to Ken's ear.
'Afraid your contraption's gone wrong, old son. Don't seem to hear that
bust up you promised.'
'Unless the powder was damp--' began Ken. His sentence was cut short by a
thunderous boom. The earth quivered beneath them, and sky, sea, even the
tall cliffs opposite flared crimson.
The great glow passed as swiftly as it had come, there followed a rattle
of falling rubbish, then silence dropped. Silence, however, which lasted
no longer than the flash. Almost instantly burst out a hubbub of excited
voices, there was a rattle of sandalled feet on shingle and a sound of men
Roy sprang to his feet, but Ken caught him by the arm.
'Steady! Don't hurry, or you'll give the show away. It's not likely
they're all gone.'
'Every man Jack of 'em,' Roy answered, as he walked boldly out on to the
Ken glanced round sharply. It seemed as though Roy were right. So far as
he could see, the whole population of the beach had departed for the scene
of the explosion.
'There are the boats,' said Roy. 'Three, four--yes, half a dozen of them.
Now we shan't be long.' 'They're great clumsy brutes of things,' Ken
answered. Hang it all! There isn't one we can manage between us.'
'Wait. There's a smaller one beyond. That might do us.' muttered Roy,
Ken followed quickly. As Roy had said, this boat which lay by itself was
decidedly smaller than the others. It had, however, been pulled clear of
'Good, she's got a pair of oars,' said Roy. 'Give us a hand to launch her,
She was a considerable weight, and the shingle was deep and soft. There is
no tide in these waters, so the beaches are dry like those of a lake. In
spite of their best efforts, it took them some little time to get her
They had only just succeeded and Ken was scrambling aboard, when rapid
steps came hurrying down the beach.
'Halt!' came a sharp voice speaking in Turkish. 'Who goes there?'
'Hurry!' hissed Roy.
'No use,' was the low-voiced answer. 'He'd get us both before we were out
of range.' As he spoke, Ken turned and stepped swiftly back to the beach.
'Friend,' he answered, speaking in the same language. 'Despatches for
Chanak from Colonel Gratz.'
The sentry, a burly Turk, armed with a Mauser rifle, pulled up opposite
'Despatches,' he repeated suspiciously. 'Why are they being sent by boat?
And who gave you leave to use this boat?'
In a flash Roy saw that this was a man of more intelligence than the
average run of Turkish soldiers, and that it would be useless to try and
bluff him. The only chance was to put him out.
'We had our orders,' he said. 'You can look at them if you wish.' He
pretended to take something out of his pocket, at the same time stepping
forward. Then, like a flash, he drove his fist with all his might into the
The man reeled backwards, but did not fall. Next moment he uttered a shout
that rang through the night.
'We've done it now,' growled Roy, as he leaped past Ken, and caught the
wretched sentry by the throat with a grip that effectually prevented any
'Take his rifle, Ken,' he said sharply. 'It's all right. I'll gag him. You
get into the boat.'
How he did it Ken did not know, but within an incredibly short time Roy
had sprung into the water, pushed the boat off, and scrambled aboard.
'I'll take the oars,' he said unceremoniously, and Ken, though himself a
useful man with sculls, made no objection. Roy's strength, he knew, was
greater than his own.
In a trice Roy had flung off his Turkish overcoat and British tunic. The
blades bent as he sent the boat hissing through the water.
There was no tiller, but Ken found a broken scull at the bottom of the
boat with which he contrived to steer. He kept her head due south, but
fairly close in shore, and what between Roy's powerful efforts, and the
strong current which always flows out of the Sea of Marmora into the
Aegean, they were soon going almost as fast as a man could run.
'It'll be Heaven's own luck if no one heard that yell,' muttered Roy, as
he bent all his giant strength to the oars.
'I wish it had been your fist and not mine,' Ken replied with some
'But I couldn't have got near him,' Roy answered simply. 'You see, I don't
speak the lingo.'
The vicious crack of a rifle interrupted the conversation, and a bullet
slapped the water just astern, and went skipping away in a series of ducks
'They're on to us,' muttered Ken between set teeth. Roy said nothing. He
only pulled a little harder. By the way the oars bent, Ken almost feared
they would snap.
Another spit of white flame from the beach, another, and another. Still
they were unhit, and every moment the distance was increasing. They had
got beyond the low beach, and were under the cliffs to the southward.
'We may do it yet,' muttered Ken. 'They can't see us in this light. And
there are not more than two chaps firing.'
There was a moment's pause in the firing. Ken's spirits rose. He
thought--hoped that the Turks had given it up as a bad job. Then, just as
it seemed as though they were really out of range, there rang out a
regular volley, and all around them the water splashed in little jets of
pale foam. There came a thud, the boat quivered slightly, and white
splinters flew near Ken's feet, one cutting him slightly on the shin.
'Hit?' panted Roy, as he saw Ken wince.
'Nothing. It's the boat,' answered Ken briefly, as he bent to examine the
A few seconds later, and they had rounded the projecting point of rock on
which stands the old lighthouse. The firing ceased.
Roy slackened a little.
'Much damage?' he asked curtly.
'Holed her badly,' Ken answered. 'She's leaking like a sieve.'
'Rotten luck!' growled Roy. 'And just as we'd dodged the blighters. Can
you do anything with it?'
'Ram a handkerchief in--that's all. Of course, I can bale.'
'Well, keep her afloat as long as you can. It won't be exactly healthy if
we have to land anywhere here. All forts, isn't it?'
'Yes, down as far as Tekeh. Not that the forts will do us any harm, even
if they're warned. We're too small and too close in for gun fire. But
there's no place to land for nearly two miles--not until you get to what
they call the Fountain.'
Apparently the forts were not warned. As the 'Triumph' had been slamming
12-inch shells into them only the previous night, the chances were that
the telephone wires were cut. Roy kept going with long steady strokes,
while Ken, working even harder, baled frantically the whole time.
So they drove on without speaking for about a quarter of an hour.
At last Ken straightened his aching back. 'It's no use, Roy. The water's
gaining. I can't keep it down.'
'You needn't tell me that. I've been over my ankles the last five minutes,
and she's pulling like a sunk log.'
'What are we going to do?' said Ken--'Try for the Fountain landing?'
'Might as well, I suppose. Any chance of picking up another boat, d'ye
'Pretty slim, I fancy,' answered Ken. 'There are sure to be sentries
there. You see, it's the sort of place where our people might attempt a
[Illustration: '"She's leaking like a sieve."']
'Could we try for the other side?' suggested Roy.
'Out of the question,' said Ken. 'We're opposite Sari Siglar Bay. The
Straits are nearly three miles wide here.'
Roy gave a short laugh. 'Looks as if we should have to swim for it after
all,' he said. 'Well, the only thing is to keep going until she sinks
under us. Then we must scramble ashore and take our chances.'
He pulled on again, and Ken betook himself to his everlasting task of
baling. He was mortally tired and desperately sleepy. His eyes almost
closed as he dipped and dipped in the salt water which, in spite of all
his efforts, grew steadily deeper in the bottom of the boat. The lower she
sank, the more quickly the water spurted in. Each minute that passed
brought the inevitable end closer.
Once he glanced up to see, if possible, where they were. To the right tall
black cliffs towered against the night sky, to the left the stars twinkled
in the ripples of the deep and wide Straits.
Roy pulled like a machine, but the weight of water made his efforts almost
useless. The boat sogged slowly forward like a dead thing.
'She won't last another five minutes,' said Ken.
'And there's no landing place, old chap. We're right up against it.'
'Tell you what there is, though,' said Ken keenly. 'There's a craft of
some sort out there. Don't you hear her engines?'
Roy stopped pulling a moment. In the silence a faint chug, chug reached
'What do you think she is--one of our warships?' he asked in a whisper.
'Haven't a notion. But she's probably British or French. The Turks haven't
got much in the way of craft--at least not this side of Gallipoli.'
'Then I vote for trying to make her,' said Roy. 'Right you are,' Ken
answered, and began baling harder than ever Roy, pulling on his left-hand
oar, got the boat round, and made a last spurt in the direction of the
It seemed a very forlorn hope. They could not even see the craft--whatever
she was--and their boat manifestly had but a short time to live. If she
sank out in mid-straits there was no earthly chance of reaching the shore.
Drowning was certain.
Three minutes passed. The water in the boat was nearly knee deep. Pull as
he might, Roy could hardly keep her moving. Ken raised his head and peered
out through the gloom.
'I see her,' he said with sudden eagerness. He pointed as he spoke to a
dim shape not more than a couple of hundred yards away.
Roy glanced back over his shoulder. 'She's very small,' he said, 'and
she's working upstream. Hallo, there's another just beyond her--a pair of
'Two, are there? Then I tell you what they are--trawlers.'
'Trawlers!' echoed Roy. 'What--catching herrings for the Admiral's
'No, you ass--mines. They're mine-sweepers of course.' Roy gave a low
'I'd sooner catch herrings,' he said. 'But never mind. So long as they're
British, that's all that matters.' And he set to pulling again with all
the energy left him.
The trawlers were creeping along at very slow speed, and without a light
of any sort showing. There was not even the usual glow from the funnel
top. Lucky it was for Roy and Ken that they were going so slowly, for they
were still some little distance from the nearest trawler when the ripples
began to wash over the gunwale of the water-logged boat.
'Help!' shouted Roy hoarsely. 'Help!'
'Pull on!' said Ken, as he still baled frantically. 'Pull on! They can't
come round if they've got their sweeping cable out.'
Roy made a last effort, and whether it was Roy's shout or the sound of the
oars, some one aboard the trawler heard them.
'Who are you?' came a gruff voice, half-muffled, as though afraid of being
overheard on shore.
'Friends--British,' answered Ken. 'Our boat's sinking.'
There came a sharp order echoed from the farther ship. The trawlers both
'Come alongside, if you can. We can't pull out to you,' called the same
voice that Ken had heard previously.
A few more strokes, then just as the boat was actually sinking under them,
a rope came whizzing across. Roy caught it and a moment later, wet and
draggled, they were standing on the deck of the trawler.
'Well, I'll be everlastingly jiggered,' exclaimed a gruff voice. 'Where in
all that's wonderful did you fellers spring from?' The speaker was a
short, square man, but it was so dark that all they could see of his face
was that it was round and clean-shaven.
'Out of the Dardanelles last, and before that from Kilid Bahr,' Ken
answered. 'We're escaped prisoners.'
'Gosh, you've been in warm places, young fellers,' said the other, 'but I
kind o' think it's a case of out of the frying pan into the fire.'
'Fire's better than water, specially when it's as cold as the Straits,'
said Roy with a shiver.
'Well, maybe that's so,' replied the other. 'Get you gone below, the both
o' you. You'll find a fire in the galley and the cook'll give ye some hot
'Thanks awfully,' said Ken and Roy in one breath, and hurried off at once.
The cook, a lean, solemn-faced man named Lemuel Gill, showed no surprise
whatever at the sudden apparition of two half-drowned strangers. But if he
asked no questions he was not stingy with the cocoa, and Roy and Ken put
away a quart of it between them, and openly declared they had never tasted
anything so good in all their lives.
Their praise seemed to please Gill, for he proceeded to cut some gigantic
sandwiches out of stale bread and excellent cold boiled pork, and to these
also the hungry youngsters did justice.
'What ship is this?' asked Ken, when the first pangs of hunger had been
'"Maid o' Sker." Mine--sweeper. Skipper, Seth Grimball,' was the brief
answer. Then, after a pause, 'Where did you blokes come from?'
Ken told him, or rather began to, for before he had finished, the steady
beat of the engines suddenly slackened.
'Cotched one, I reckon,' remarked Gill briefly, and hurried on deck
followed by the two boys.
The 'Maid of Sker' was the ordinary type of North Sea trawler, and so far
as Ken and Roy could see, her fellow, whose name Gill told them was the
'Swan of Avon,' was her double. They were moving exactly parallel, at a
distance of about a cable (220 yards) apart. Between them towed a thin
steel hawser set to a depth just sufficient to catch the mooring cables of
the mines which were plentifully strewn in the channel.
'Caught one, you say?' whispered Ken in Gill's ear. 'A mine, you mean?'
'Ay. Look at the cable. She's foul of it all right.'
Certainly the cable was sagging in a curious fashion.
'What do you do with them?' asked Roy.
But Gill had already run aft to assist. Low-voiced orders were heard, and
the 'Maid of Sker' began to forge slowly ahead.
'I think they're going to tow it out of the channel,' Ken said to Roy.
'That's what I believe they do.'
'But I thought the beastly things exploded when you touched 'em,' said
'Some do. That's the sort with steel whiskers on them. The others are what
they call tilting mines. They blow up when their balance is upset.'
'And which is this?'
'I don't know any more than you, and I don't suppose the skipper does,
either. All these mines swim some way under the surface.'
'What's the betting on her going off?' said the irrepressible Roy.
'She won't,' said Ken confidently. 'These chaps know how to handle her.
He stopped short, and involuntarily flung up his hands before his eyes. A
cone of blinding white light had sprouted suddenly from the Asiatic shore,
and in its cold brilliance the outlines of the two trawlers, the people on
their decks, the cable towing between them, and a wide patch of rippling
water stood out as clearly as in the broadest daylight. It was a
searchlight from Kephez Point at the southern angle of Sari Siglar Bay.
'Haul up there. Haul on that cable. Sharp now!' bellowed Captain Grimball,
and his men sprang to obey. He himself dashed into the little deckhouse
and was out again in an instant with a rifle in his hand.
In the dazzling glare a great bulbous mass of dark-coloured metal heaved
slowly up out of the water midway between the two trawlers. It was hardly
in sight before Grimball had flung his rifle to his shoulder and fired.
Followed instantly an explosion so terrific that Ken distinctly felt the
deck of the trawler lift under his feet. A cloud of thick black smoke shot
high into the air, and as it rose a very waterspout descended upon the
Roy and Ken staggered back, half deafened by the appalling concussion.
'Got that one, anyway,' they heard Grimball exclaim, as he dashed back to
the bridge and rang the engine bell for full steam. 'Got him all right.
Next question is whether the blighters will get us.'
Both trawlers seemed actuated by the same impulse. Both at the same time
surged ahead, while the sweeping cable was either cut or cast loose.
But the searchlight's brilliant beam followed relentlessly, and as the two
smart little craft cleared from the area of the black smoke cloud, there
came the ringing report of a 6-inch gun followed by the familiar whirr of
a heavy shell.
'Rotten shot!' snapped Grimball, as the shell, sailing well over the mast
top, plunged into the sea two hundred yards or more beyond.
'Hard aport!' he shouted, and the 'Maid' came spinning round almost as
smartly as a sailing dinghy. Next minute she and her consort were legging
it southwards at the very top of their speed.
For a moment they were clear of the dazzling radiance of the searchlight,
but only for a moment. Then the long pencil of glaring whiteness found
them again, and now the guns began to bark in earnest.
The 'Maid' seemed to know her peril. She squattered down into the water,
and the foaming wake lengthened, trailing far behind her. Forgetful of
their own danger, Roy and Ken watched breathless while the trawlers ran
the gauntlet of the forts.
A shell struck the water right under the bows of the 'Maid,' flinging up a
fountain which rose as high as the mainmast, and deluging the decks for a
'Mighty wet job this,' said Roy, shaking himself like a great dog. 'Rotten
luck we can't shoot back, eh, Ken?'
'Can't even do much running,' said Ken. 'Twelve knots is about our top
speed. 'Pon my soul, these chaps have got pluck.'
'The "Swan's" drawing ahead,' said Roy.
Almost as the words left his lips there came a shattering crash and a
sheet of flame leapt up from the other trawler. A shell had pitched full
upon her armoured wheel-house, and exploding had not only blown it away,
with the steersman, but opened up the whole deck. The poor little trawler,
with her steering gear smashed, swung round to starboard, and it was only
by the smartest seamanship that the 'Maid' avoided running her down.
'She's done,' said Roy, as he ran forward. 'She's sinking!'
He was right. The big shell had knocked her all to pieces. Grimball saw
this too, and in response to his rapid order, the 'Maid's' engines
stopped, and four stalwart fellows ran to the dinghy which lay in chocks
on her deck.
In a trice they had flung her over the low rail into the sea; two sprang
in and pulled hard for the rapidly sinking 'Swan.'
All the time the guns ashore were rapping and roaring. The sea was thick
with spouts of foam as shells big and little struck the surface.
'This infernal searchlight!' growled Roy. 'They're rotten shots, but
they're getting the range now.'
They were. Just as the dinghy drew alongside the 'Swan,' another 6-inch
plunged straight into her, amidships. It must have exploded in the
engine-room. The 'Swan' and all in her vanished from the face of the
waters, and when the smoke cloud lifted, the dinghy, upside down, with one
man clinging to it, was all that was left.
'A rope. Give us a rope!' shouted Roy. Some one ran forward, but even as
they did so a smaller shell caught the funnel of the 'Maid' and carried
two thirds of it away. With it went the man with the rope.
At the same moment the survivor who was clinging to the dinghy let go his
hold. Stunned by the concussion of the previous shell, he was sinking into
'I can't stand that,' cried Roy, and with one spring was overboard and
striking out hard for the drowning man.
The racket and roar were appalling. Some field batteries behind Kephez had
joined in, and the whole night echoed with the quick crashes of the guns,
while the air was full of the train-like rattle of flying shells.
But in all the confusion Ken kept his head. Catching sight of a coil of
line on the deck close by the forward hatch, he sprang for it, made one
end fast to a bollard, and with a shout flung the other towards Roy.
It fell short, but Roy saw it and with a great effort reached it.
'Hang on!' roared Ken at the top of his voice. 'I'll pull you in.'
[Illustration: When the men return from the trenches, they find
sea-bathing most pleasant.]
[Illustration: French and British sailors are friends in play-time as in
He had hardly began to haul when the end came. A shell bigger than any yet
took the 'Maid of Sker' amidships. There was a fearful explosion, Ken felt
himself hurled forward, and next moment the chill waters of the
Dardanelles closed over his head.
Gasping with the sudden shock, Ken struck out and got his head above
water. Only a few yards away, he saw Roy still clinging tightly to the
survivor of the dinghy's crew. He swam hard towards him and managed to
'You!' gasped Roy, who hardly seemed to have realised what had happened.
'The trawler's gone,' panted Roy, as he lifted one hand and dashed the
salt water from his eyes. 'Big shell got her. See, she's still afloat, but
Roy gave a groan. He seemed to be nearly at the end of his strength.
'The brutes!' he muttered.
'We must get hold of the dinghy again. It's our one chance,' said Ken.
'Here, let me help you with that chap.'
'Why, it's Gill,' he exclaimed, as he caught the man by the other arm, and
started paddling hard towards the dinghy, which, caught in the current,
was drifting steadily away southwards.
It was at this moment that the searchlight switched suddenly off. Darkness
shut down around them, leaving nothing in sight but the overturned boat, a
dim bulk among the dull ripples.
Roy was almost done as the result of the exertions he had made in holding
up Gill, and Gill himself weighted them terribly. For two minutes or more
Ken thought they would never reach the boat.
At last they managed it, and then they had only just strength enough left
to haul Gill up across it and, each with an arm across the keel, cling and
let themselves drift where the current took them.
'The skipper said it was out of the frying pan into the fire,' said Roy,
with a weak attempt at a laugh. 'He wasn't far out, eh, Ken?'
'He wasn't,' Ken agreed. 'I say, Roy, he had pluck, hadn't he? It took
grit to stand by the "Swan" under a fire like that.'
'It did,' said Roy. 'God rest his soul,' he added softly.
Silence fell between them. Ken's spirits were sinking in spite of his best
efforts to keep them up. The sea was deadly cold, and the boat so small
that they were only just able to keep their heads above water. And they
knew, both of them, that their chances of life were not one in a thousand.
They were right out in mid-straits, they were still fully nine miles from
the southern entrance, and even if a British warship should come up to see
what had happened to the trawlers, the odds were enormous against her
people spotting them.
Ken strained his eyes through the gloom, but could neither see nor hear
any other craft. The waters were bare and silent.
'Roy,' he said at last, and it was all he could do to keep his teeth from
chattering. 'Roy, can't we manage to right the dinghy?'
'You and I might. But what about Gill?'
The question was unanswerable. It would take all their united strength to
turn the dinghy over. And who was to hold Gill meantime?
No, the case was absolutely desperate. There was nothing for it but to
hang on and continue hanging on until at last the deadly cold had done its
work, and they dropped off and sank into the darksome depths beneath them.
It was a miserable end, and Ken's whole soul rebelled against it.
The guns had ceased firing, there were no lights anywhere to be seen, the
only sound was the monotonous slap of the ripples against the hull of the
overturned boat and--far in the distance--the dull mutter of the guns down
[Illustration: '"Hallo! Hallo! Who's that?"']
Ken felt a dull stupor creeping over him, a curious sense of unreality.
His thoughts began to wander. So much so that at first he hardly noticed
the curious sucking splash which came from the water some little distance
to the left.
It was Roy who called his attention to it.
'Ken, there's a thundering great fish out there. Do they keep sharks in
Before Ken could reply, the splash was followed by a slight grating sound,
then a dull clank, like two metal plates being lightly struck together.
Hope dawned suddenly in Ken's heart, sending a tingling shock through the
whole of his perishing body.
'That's no fish,' he muttered. 'That's no fish.' Then raising himself as
high as he could out of the water he sent a sharp cry for help pealing
through the darkness.
'Hallo! Hallo! Who's that?'
Never had Ken been happier to hear the sound of a human voice.
'Three survivors from the "Maid of Sker,"' he answered. 'Our boat's
'Hang on!' came the quick reply. 'We'll have you out in a jiffy.'
There came low voiced orders, the low purr of an engine, and a low dark
bulk topped by a curious square-looking turret came gliding towards them.
'What is it?' muttered Roy in a dazed tone.
'A submarine,' Ken answered gladly. 'That's her conning tower. Here she
comes. Hang on to Gill, or the wash will take him off.'
A moment later, and the long gray craft swam up right alongside of the
dinghy. It was the most beautiful bit of steering imaginable. A hand
reached out and pulled the dinghy close against the hull, and strong arms
gripped and lifted the three aboard.
Ken felt himself swung gently up the conning tower, then he was lowered
with equal ease and skill through the open hatch. Within an incredibly
short time he was flat on a mattress laid on the throbbing steel floor of
A keen-faced officer stood beside him.
'Both the sweepers gone?' he asked gravely.
'I'm afraid so, sir. The "Swan" was knocked all to bits, and we saw the
"Maid" sink. I believe we are the only survivors.'
'We heard the firing, but couldn't get here sooner. But you're in khaki.
'Horan and I are escaped prisoners, sir. We stole a boat up by Kilid Bahr,
and were picked up by the "Maid." Gill is the only man left from the
trawler. He was one of the crew of the "Maid's" dinghy that went to help
the "Swan's" people.'
'Horan and I were trying to save him when the "Maid" was hit.'
The other nodded approvingly.
'Ah, you're Australians. Good men! But I see you're about all in. I shan't
bother you with any more questions now. Williams, see these men have a
change, and a tot of rum. And some of you give 'em a good rub down.
They're stiff with cold.'
He nodded again and went off.
Williams, a burly torpedo coxswain, at once took charge of Ken. His big
hands were as tender as a woman's as he stripped off the boy's soaking
clothes and substituted for them a fresh suit of warm lammies. Before
putting them on, he gave Ken such a rubbing with a rough towel as sent the
stagnant blood tingling through every vein.
'Thanks awfully,' said Ken gratefully. 'I say, how's Gill? He got knocked
silly with the blast of the shell that sunk the "Swan." Is he hurt?'
'He ain't hit, anyway,' said Williams. 'He's swallowed a bit more salt
water than suits his innards, but he'll pull round all right, never you
'Here, drink this down,' he continued, handing Ken a thick mug full of
some steaming mixture. Ken swallowed it obediently. It was thick Navy
cocoa, laced with a dash of rum.
It sent a grateful warmth through every inch of Ken's body, but its
immediate effect was to make him so drowsy that his eyes began to close.
'That's all right,' he heard Williams remark in a satisfied voice. 'Forty
winks won't do you no manner of harm.' The last thing Ken remembered was
being wrapped in a blanket. Then he dropped back on the mattress and
almost before his head reached it was sound asleep.
He woke to the purr of engines and a warm thick atmosphere smelling
strongly of oil and illuminated by white electric lamps. For the moment he
could not imagine where he was nor what had happened. It was not until he
rolled over and saw Roy lying stretched on another mattress beside him,
and Gill a little beyond, that any sort of recollection came back to him.
He stretched himself. He was sore all over, but otherwise fit enough and
very hungry. Then he sat up.
A burly figure came towards him, walking with that curiously light-footed
tread which becomes second habit in a submarine. It was Williams, the
'Well, young fellow me lad,' he remarked genially, 'how goes it?'
'Top hole, thanks. A bit empty. That's all.'
'If that's your only trouble, we'll soon fix it. Can you walk?'
'Then come along forrard, and we'll see what cooky can do for you.'
Cooky's efforts consisted in biscuit, butter, sardines, jam, and lashings
of hot strong tea, to all of which Ken did the fullest justice.
'And how d'ye like life under the ocean wave?' asked Williams, who was
watching Ken's progress with the eye of a connoisseur.
'First time I ever tried it,' said Ken, glancing round the long, narrow
interior which seemed merely a packing case for a maze of intricate
machinery. 'What is she? What class I mean?'
'She's G 2, sonny, and don't you forget it. The last word in submarine
gadgets. Twenty knots on the surface, and twelve submerged. Carries eight
o' the biggest and best torpedoes, any one o' which is warranted to knock
the stuffing out o' the "Goeben" or any other o' Weeping Willy's
'Where are we now?' inquired Ken with interest.
'Couldn't say precisely. But somewheres about ten fathom below the shinin'
surface of the Dardanelles.'
Ken felt a queer thrill. There was something uncanny in the thought that
they were spinning along, sixty feet below the sea-level, cut off from all
the living world.
'Pass the word the commander wishes to see Carrington,' came a voice.
'Lootenant Strang wants you,' said Williams. 'Go right aft. Sentry'll show
you. And go careful, mind you. Submarines ain't the sort o' shops for foot
Ken went cautiously back past the amazing tangle of spinning, whirling
machinery. Where the long interior narrowed to the stern hung a thick
curtain. The sentry silently parted it, and Ken found himself in the
officer's quarters of G2. They were as plain as the steerage on a liner.
Just two bunks and in the middle a table at which Lieutenant Strang sat,
He glanced up as Ken entered, and, saluting, stood to attention. Ken
noticed, with inward approval, the strength and intelligence in the
clean-cut features of the commanding officer.
'Feeling better, Carrington?'
'Quite all right, sir, thank you.'
'I want to hear what you've been doing. Let's have the whole yarn.'
Ken told him. He put it as shortly as he could, but gave his story clearly
and well. Lieutenant Strang listened with the deepest attention.
''Pon my word, you and your chum have been going it some!' he remarked
when Ken at last finished. 'So you're a son of Captain Carrington? How is
it you did not take a commission?'
'I didn't think I had any right to it, sir,' Ken answered simply. 'It
seemed to me it was the sort of thing one ought to win.'
'Just so. I dare say you are right. I hope you'll get one anyhow. But see
here, I can't put you ashore. We're going north, not south.'
'Going up through the Straits, sir?' exclaimed Ken. 'We've gone. We're
opposite Bulair this minute, so far as I can judge.'
KEN MEETS AN OLD FRIEND
'Then--then you're bound for Constantinople?' said Ken eagerly.
'Not necessarily. No, I am not particularly anxious to charge into the
Golden Horn. It's a deal of risk, and not much to be got out of it. Our
mission is to cruise in the Marmora and look out for Turkish transports
and store ships.'
'Why, what's the matter?' he broke off, noticing how Ken's face had
'I beg your pardon, sir. It was my father I was thinking of. You see he is
in Constantinople--at least, so that scoundrel Henkel told me. I thought I
might have a chance of getting ashore and helping him.'
'My good fellow, you must be crazy. Apart from the fact that I should have
the greatest difficulty in putting you ashore, you would, of course, at
once be arrested and shot as a spy.'
'I don't think so, sir. You see I know the place well, and have friends
there. And I talk the language as well as I do English. I know some
'The deuce you do!' said the commander, staring at him keenly. 'Then it's
possible that you may be uncommonly useful to me during our present trip.
No, I shall tell you no more just now. And pray put out of your head any
such mad idea as landing at Constantinople.'
'Very well, sir,' Ken answered quietly. And saluting again, he left the
Going forward again, he found Roy tucking into an enormous breakfast with
every evidence of enjoyment. Williams was acting as host, and listening
with interest to Roy's account of their wanderings across the peninsula.
Ken asked for Gill, and heard that he was doing very well, but only fit to
lie up for the present.
Roy rose, brushed the crumbs from his lammies and stretched his tall
'Heigh ho, I wish we could get back to our chaps,' he remarked
'Well, of all the ungrateful beggars!' said Ken with a laugh. 'Talk of
buying a ham and seeing life, you won't see as much in the trenches in a
month as you'll see here in a day.'
'Any one can have this steel box for me,' retorted Roy. 'I like to fight
where I can see what's coming.'
'Maybe you'll see more'n you want before you're finished with this trip,
ye long grouser,' put in Williams. 'This ain't no pleasure picnic, let me
tell you. Our old man's hot stuff, he is, and if I knows anything about
it, it won't be long before he starts handing out surprise packets to them
'Hallo,' he broke off, 'we're for the surface.'
As he spoke, G 2's bow began to rise and the whole long hull took a gentle
'Pretty quick!' exclaimed Ken. 'I thought you had to do a lot of pumping
'Bless you, no,' said Williams with a superior grin. 'Not with these 'ere
modern craft. They works with horizontal rudders, sort o' fins along the
side. Blime, G 2 can pop up and down mighty nigh as quick as a dab chick.'
'There now,' he continued, as the vessel came back to an even keel. 'She's
floating just submerged. I reckon her periscopes is just out o' the
'Could we have a look?' asked Ken eagerly.
'Ay, I dare say. You wait a minute and I'll see.'
He was back in a minute, and beckoned them to come.
There were two periscopes. It was the forward one they were called to.
They saw a circular table from which a tube ran up through the top of the
submarine. A man in shirt-sleeves--he was the other coxswain--got up from
a stool and motioned Ken to take his seat and look through what seemed
like a pair of binoculars.
Ken gave a cry of surprise. Instead of the hot, stuffy interior of the
submarine with its pale electrics and maze of machinery, he was gazing at
a wide circle of small-crested waves which shone gloriously blue under a
brilliant sky. Now and then a white-winged gull swooped across the view,
but apart from these, there was no sign of life or of land.
'Here, let's have a squint,' said Roy eagerly, and Ken gave way.
'Why, it's like a living picture show,' declared Roy. 'Gosh, I could sit
and watch it all day. But I say, can't other craft spot the periscope in
all this sunshine?'
'Not with this bobble on. At least not very easy,' said the observer, as
he took his place again.
'Where are we?' asked Roy.
'Somewheres in the Sea o' Marmora,' Williams answered. 'Just in the mouth
o' it, so to speak. I expect the old man'll keep pushing along up the
north coast, awaiting for them transports out o' the Bosphorus.'
'And you talk about its being dull, Roy?' said Ken with a laugh.
'Well, perhaps I spoke a bit hastily,' allowed Roy. 'I'll grant I'd like
to see us get our own back on some of those Turkish blighters. I haven't
forgotten last night yet, I can tell you.'
'You wait till we get our eyes on one, that's all,' said Williams,' and
you won't wait much longer.'
But the wait lasted longer than Ken and Roy expected. All that day G2
cruised slowly back and forth between the big island of Marmora, where the
marble quarries are, and the high coast of the European mainland, yet
nothing rewarded her vigilant watch.
There was nothing to do but sit about and yarn, and more than once Roy
told Ken that he wouldn't be a submarine sailor for any amount of 'hard
It was about four in the afternoon, and Ken had been taking a quiet nap,
for he had a lot of arrears of sleep to make up, when he was roused by a
sudden sharp order from Lieutenant Strang.
In an instant the drowsy interior of G2 wakened into sudden life, and Ken,
springing to his feet, moved forward to where Williams was standing near
the forward periscope.
'What's up?' he asked in a quick undertone.
'Craft in sight. Can't tell what she is yet.'
'Transport, most like, but can't say yet. Sit tight. I'll tell ye when I
can see her a bit plainer.'
By the deeper hum of the engines, Ken knew that they had quickened their
speed. There was a sort of suppressed eagerness about all the twenty-five
men who composed the crew of the submarine. Ken longed to have a peep
through the camera of the periscope, but knew it was impossible.
'She isn't much,' said Williams at last. 'Just a tramp of twelve or
fourteen hundred tons. Still, she may ha' got troops aboard, and if she
ain't, it's grub or munitions for them beggars in the peninsula.'
'Are we going to torpedo her?' asked Ken.
'Not likely. We ain't like Germans, as chucks away a thousand pound
torpedo on a pore little fishing smack.'
'But we shan't let her go, surely?'
Williams chuckled. 'Bless your innocence, no! A couple o' shells from our
little popper up topside will settle her hash all right.'
Another order echoed from aft. Strang's voice had a curious hollow sound,
like a shout in a tunnel. Ken felt the vessel rising beneath him.
Men sprang up the steel ladder leading to the conning tower. A moment
later the hatch flew open with a hollow clang, and the sea air gushed in,
freshening delightfully the thick oily atmosphere below.
At the same moment power was switched off the electric engines, and the
petrol motor broke into life with an appalling racket. The long,
cigar-like vessel trembled under the increased power.
'Can't we go up on deck?' muttered Roy who had joined Ken.
Ken shook his head. He knew that this was impossible, yet all the same it
was intolerably irksome to remain below without being able to see or take
a hand in what was going on.
More orders, and presently the submarine came to rest, and lay, with
hardly a movement, on the surface.
Williams turned and beckoned to Ken, and next moment Ken had his eyes
glued to the binoculars. In the circle of sea thrown on the mirror, the
first thing he saw was an untidy looking tramp, her rusty plates showing
as she rolled slowly to the slight sea.
Aboard her all was wild excitement. Turkish sailors were hurriedly
launching boats. Ken almost fancied he could hear the davits squeal as the
boats were hastily lowered to the level of the sea. Evidently the men were
in a desperate fright, for seldom had Ken seen the slack, leisurely Turks
move with such speed.
We ain't hurrying 'em,' said Williams in Ken's ear. 'We've give 'em twenty
minutes.' Here, let your chum have a squint.'
Ken made way for Roy, and as he did so there was a shout from aft.
'Commander wants Carrington.'
'You lucky beggar,' cried Roy, but Ken was gone like a flash.
'Get along up on deck, soldier,' said a bluejacket. ''E's up there.'
Ken was up the ladder almost before the man had finished speaking, and
swinging out through the hatch dropped down on to the narrow deck beneath.
There were four men on the deck, namely Lieutenant Strang, his second in
command, Sub-Lieutenant Hotham, and two who stood by the gun, a 12-pounder
which had been raised from its snug niche in the deck, and was pointed
full on the steamer.
The latter was nearer than Ken had thought, and by this time it seemed
that her whole crew were in the boats, and the ship herself entirely
'Ah, Carrington,' said the commander. 'You're the man who talks Turkish. I
can't quite make out whether the skipper of this old tub thinks his boats
can make the shore or whether he wants a tow. Ask him, will you?'
The Turkish skipper, a greasy-looking ruffian, was in a boat close by. He
was gesticulating wildly.
Ken at once hailed him, and asked the necessary question. The man burst
into violent speech.
Ken listened, and there was a smile on his face as he turned to the
'He's only swearing at us, sir, and asking what right we have to sink his
'Tell him he'd better inquire of Enver Bey,' was the grim reply, and Ken
faithfully repeated the remark, only to hear a volley of curses called
down on Enver's head as well as on his own.
'He can't do anything but swear, sir,' said Ken.
'Well, we've no time to waste,' said the officer impatiently. 'Tell him to
clear out as quick as he can. I'm not going to waste shells on that thing.
A charge of gun-cotton in her hold is all she's worth.'
With much bad language, the Turkish skipper cleared off, and the three
boats containing himself and his crew pulled away in the direction of the
land, which was just visible on the almost before the words left the
commander's lips, and pulling like fury for the steamer.
'Make for the bows,' he heard Strang shout, and he did so.
The distance was nothing--merely a couple of hundred yards. He glanced
round over his shoulder, and saw the rusty bows towering above him--saw,
too, to his intense relief, that the old man had realised that he was to
be rescued and was moving forward.
Ken shipped his sculls. The dinghy glided in under the tall side of the
tramp. Ken stood up, and looked round for a rope. He could not see one.
There seemed no way of climbing the perpendicular side of the vessel, yet
it was quite clear that the old man could not get down unaided.
Ken saw his face appear over the rail. A gasp of astonishment came from
'Othman!' he exclaimed. 'It's Othman Pacha!'
It was Othman Pacha, his old friend, the very man who had saved him when
his father was arrested. How had he come here? How was it he had been left
alone to perish by the crew of the steamer? What did it all mean? These
and a dozen other thoughts darted through Ken's brain with the swiftness
of a lightning flash. But above them all came the desperate resolve to
save the old man at all costs.
Othman could do nothing to help himself. That was clear on the face of it.
Old and apparently ill, he seemed quite confused and helpless.
Just above his head Ken saw an open port. Standing on the thwart he just
managed to reach it. With a desperate effort he drew himself up, and
succeeded in getting foothold on the lower rim. There was no way of
securing the boat. He had to trust to luck that she would remain where he
had left her.
Quickly yet cautiously he raised himself again, and his clutching fingers
met the stays of the foremast. Another big pull, and he was level with the
The old Turk stood staring at him, but did not seem to recognise him, and
naturally Ken did not wait to explain. Every instant he expected to see
the decks burst upwards, and the whole ship fly to pieces. He knew that it
could be only a matter of seconds before the explosion took place.
A rope--that was what he wanted most just at that moment, and luckily he
had not far to go for one. An untidy coil of line lay close beside the
He sprang for it, whipped it up, and in a trice had put a loop in it, and
made a double bight around Othman's body.
'Over you go, Pacha!' he said with a sharpness which at last reached the
muddled brains of the poor old Turk.
Somehow he bundled him over the rail, and lowered him quickly yet
carefully into the boat which fortunately remained where he had left it
'Cast off the rope, Pacha,' he shouted in an agony of impatience, and
Othman fumblingly tried to obey. Ken saw that he would never do it in
time, so rapidly made fast his own end to the rail, and giving one pull to
tighten the knot, sprang over.
Fifteen seconds more and he would have been safe. But hardly were his legs
over the rail when the explosion came. There was a stunning shock, the
whole ship seemed to melt beneath him. A blast of hot air struck him, and
the next thing he knew was struggling in the water.
For a second or two he felt half paralysed, and as if he could not use his
muscles. He realised that he was sinking, and this gave him such a shock
that somehow he managed to pull himself together and strike out.
He came to the surface, dashed the water from his eyes, and the first
thing he saw was the dinghy. By a miracle, she was floating unharmed among
a mass of wreckage, but Othman was not in her.
Ken looked round, and saw the old Pacha dangling in the water alongside
the swaying steamer. He was tied to her by the rope of which one end was
around his body, while the other was still fast to the ship's rail.
It was a ghastly fix, for it was clear that the steamer was sinking fast.
Another moment, and down she would go, dragging the unfortunate old man
with her and Ken too. He knew well enough that, as she sank, she was bound
to pull him also down into the vortex, and that from this great eddy he
would never have the strength to rise. His one chance for life was to swim
away as hard as he could go.
[Illustration: 'Ken sprang over.']
But Ken was not the sort to leave a job half-done. It was both or neither,
and treading water he fumbled frantically in his pockets for his knife.
With a sigh of relief, his fingers closed upon it; he whipped it out, and
opening it with his teeth struck out with all his strength for Othman.
It is no easy matter to cut a slack rope with a small clasp knife,
especially when the blade is none too sharp. Ken felt as though he would
never get it through.
He heard shouts from the submarine, but could not distinguish words. The
steamer was settling fast. Already her rail was almost level with the
The last strand parted, and dropping the knife, Ken seized Othman, who by
this time was quite insensible, and made for the dinghy with all his
He reached it, and got one arm over the stern. But that was all he could
do. It was out of the question for him to lift Othman into the boat. He
could not even climb in himself. He was completely done, and could only
hang on, panting so that every breath he drew was pain.
From the steamer came the sound of a fresh explosion. The air, confined
below, was forcing up her decks. Ken knew that now it was only a question
of seconds before she sank, knew, too, that escape was out of the
question. The dinghy was bound to be drawn down, and it was not as if the
submarine had a second boat which she could send to the rescue.
'All right, Ken. Hold tight. I've got you!'
It was Roy's cheery voice, and Ken suddenly realised that he was there in
the water alongside.
'Look out!' Ken managed to gasp. 'You'll only be dragged down too.'
'Not a bit of it,' Roy answered, as he raised himself and caught hold of
the boat. 'Don't you worry, old man. I've a rope round me. I'll hold her.'
'Ah, there she goes!' he exclaimed, and as he spoke there was a queer
sucking sound, and Ken felt the boat whirl away in the direction of the
For some seconds it seemed as if he, Othman, and all would be ripped away
from the boat by the tremendous suction. Great eddies boiled and swirled
in every direction, and a thick scum of oil and coal dust rose and covered
the surface of the sea.
'Hold on!' he heard Roy shout again, and somehow he did, though his right
arm felt as though it were being torn from its socket.
At last the commotion ceased, the eddies disappeared, and the strain
'Thank goodness, that's the last of her,' said Roy, with a sigh of relief.
'Jove, but I couldn't have stuck it much longer. That rope round my waist
has nearly cut me in two. How are you making it, old man?'
'I'm all right,' Ken answered, but his voice was so weak it scared Roy.
'Here, hand over his Nibs,' he said, as he moved round and took Othman
from Ken. 'Now,' he said, 'just hang on a few minutes longer, and they'll
pull us in.'
He raised one arm as a signal, the rope tightened gently, and the dinghy
and the three holding to it were towed quickly back to the submarine.
Roy handed up Othman and scrambled out himself but they had to lift Ken
out of the water. Once on deck, however, he insisted on scrambling to his
'Not damaged?' inquired Lieutenant Strang with a touch of anxiety in his
'Not a bit, sir,' Ken answered.
'I congratulate you, Carrington. It was an uncommon good and plucky bit of
work, and I shall see that it is reported to your own commanding officer.'
Ken went below, tingling with a pleasure which made him forget his aching
joints and muscles.
TACKLING THE TROOPER
'Yes, come in.'
Lieutenant Strang, busy plotting out something on a chart, looked up as
the sentry parted the curtains of his cabin.
'Can Corporal Carrington see you, sir?' asked the man.
'Certainly. Send him in.'
Ken, looking more like himself in his khaki, which was now thoroughly
dried, entered and saluted.
'Well, Carrington, what is it?' The commander's tone was quick, almost
curt, yet there was a smile on his keen face as his eyes fell on Ken's
'I've been talking to Othman Pacha, sir,' began Ken.
'Othman Pacha--who the deuce is he?'
'The Turk we rescued, sir. He's a friend of mine. I mentioned his name to
you this morning. It was he who got me away into Greece when my father was
'Of course. I remember now. But this is a most extraordinary
coincidence--to find him on that tramp.'
'Not so much so as you might think, sir. You see he is known to be no
friend to Enver Bey and the Young Turks. He was in danger of arrest, so he
took the first opportunity of clearing out. He was going over to Adramyti
on the Asiatic side, so as to get out of it all.'
'I see. Well, did he tell you anything useful?'
'He did, sir. You have heard that Enver Bey has informed our Chief Command
that he intends to send French and British subjects to Gallipoli, so that
they will be the first sufferers when we bombard the place.'
'Yes, I've heard that,' Strang answered, staring keenly at Ken.
'Well, sir, the Pacha says that the first lot is to leave Constantinople
to-morrow. They are going with a batch of troops in a transport called the
'And,' he added--'my father will be with them.'
The commander of G2 pursed his lips in a soundless whistle.
'By Jove,' he said slowly, 'this is worth hearing. This is most
He gave a low chuckle. 'Rather a smack in the eye for friend Enver if we
can bring it off. Tell me, Carrington, did the Pacha say whether this
trooper would have an escort?'
'I asked him that, sir, but he did not know. And he said this--That he
would not have told us at all except for the fact that he thinks it brutal
of Enver to send civilians into the firing line, and that he hopes, in
case you find it necessary to sink the trooper, that you will allow the
men to escape with their lives.'
Strang nodded thoughtfully.
'Hm, yes, I suppose I shall have to do that. After all, they won't be much
use without rifles or kit, and the chances are that most of 'em will
desert as soon as they reach the shore.
'But we mustn't count our chickens before they're hatched, eh, Carrington?
We've got to find that transport before we can deal with her.'
He asked a few more questions, then dismissed Ken.
'You can tell the Pacha I shall respect his wishes,' he said, as Ken left