Part 4 out of 4
It was decided, at a conference of Lady Agatha, Cleggett, and the
three detectives, at the breakfast table, to throw up a line of
entrenchments along the bank of the canal commanding the approach
to the Jasper B. and the Annabel Lee. No one felt the least doubt
that Logan Black would renew the attack sooner or later, unless
the two vessels made off.
"And," said Cleggett, "I shall not leave until the Jasper B. has
been rigged as a schooner again. Anything else would have the
appearance of a retreat. Nor will I be hurried. I am on my own
property, and I purpose to defend it at whatever cost."
He set his jaws firmly as he declared this intention, and Lady
Agatha's eyes dwelt upon him in admiration.
"The Annabel Lee could tow you away, you know," demurred Wilton
"When the Jasper B. moves," said Cleggett, with finality, "it
will be under her own power."
Accordingly, work was begun at once on the entrenchments.
Everyone on board the Jasper B. was sadly in need of sleep, but
Cleggett felt that the earthworks could not wait. He divided his
force into two shifts. Cleggett, the three detectives, Jefferson
the genial coachman, and Washington Artillery Lamb, the janitor
and butler of the house boat Annabel Lee, a negro as large and
black as Jefferson himself, took a two-hour trick with the spades
and then lay down and slept while Abernethy, Kuroki, Elmer,
Calthrop, George the Greek, and Farnsworth dug for an equal
length of time. The two prisoners captured by Barnstable the
night before, one of whom was the smirking and sinister Pierre,
were compelled to dig all the time. Even Teddy, Lady Agatha's
little Pomeranian, dug. The ladies of the party slept throughout
During the forenoon Cleggett dispatched Dr. Farnsworth to the
city in Miss Henrietta Pringle's Ford car, and he returned about
one o'clock with four more trained nurses. They were installed
on board the houseboat Annabel Lee, instead of at Parker's Beach
as Cleggett had originally intended, and the Red Cross flag was
hoisted over that vessel. Cleggett felt confident that the next
battle would be sanguinary in character, and, true to his
humanitarian ideals, was resolved to be fully prepared this time
to care for as many people as he might disable. Giuseppe Jones,
who was quieter now, although at times still irrationally
babbling incendiary vers libre poems, was removed to the Annabel
Lee, where Miss Medley, quite worn out, turned him over to a
By the time the reinforcement of nurses had arrived the
earthworks of the good ship Jasper B. were completed, and, after
a double portion of stiff grog all around, Cleggett ordered all
hands to lie down on the deck for an hour's comfortable nap. He
stood watch himself. Cleggett had not slept much during the past
forty-eight hours, but he was a man of iron. Like King Henry
Fifth of England, Cleggett found a certain pleasure in watching
while his troops slumbered. Cleggett and this lively monarch
had other points in common, although Cleggett, even in his youth,
would never have associated with a character so habitually
dissolute as Sir John Falstaff.
The construction of the trench was not without its effect upon
the gang of villains at Morris's. About nine in the morning
Cleggett noticed that he was under observation from the roof of
the east verandah of the road house. Loge and two of his
ruffianly lieutenants were scrutinizing the Cleggett flotilla and
fortifications through their binoculars. Cleggett, through his
own glass, returned the compliment.
The three men were conducting an animated discussion. From their
gestures they seemed to be completely nonplussed by the
entrenchments. Watching their pantomime closely, Cleggett
gathered that Loge was endeavoring to enforce some point of view
with regard to the Jasper B. upon his two followers. Finally
Loge, making a gesture towards Cleggett with one hand, tapped
himself several times on the forehead with the other, his lips
moving rapidly the while. The two other men shrugged their
shoulders and nodded, as if in agreement with Loge. The
insulting significance of the gesture was only too apparent. As
plainly as if he had heard the accompanying words Cleggett
understood that Loge, out of the depths of his perplexity, had
said that he (Cleggett) was mentally erratic.
"Ah, you think so, do you?" said Cleggett aloud, laying down his
glass and seizing a rifle. "Well, just to let you know that I
have a certain opinion of you, also, my friend Loge----" And he
sent a bullet over the heads of the three men. They hastily
ducked into the house. Cleggett might have picked Loge off, but
he disdained to do so. It was his purpose to take the man alive,
But the rifle shot did not end the espionage. All day scouting
parties in taxicabs kept appearing on the sandy plain to
reconnoiter the fleet and fortress. They circled, they swooped,
they dashed, they zigzagged here and there, but always at a high
rate of speed, and always at a prudent distance from the canal.
Beyond sending an occasional rifle ball whistling towards the
wheels of the cabs, or over the heads of the occupants, to remind
them to keep their distance, Cleggett paid but little attention
to these parties. If Loge thought him demented, if he had his
enemy guessing, so much the better. The eccentric movements of
these cabs was a circumstance which in itself testified to Loge's
bewilderment and curiosity.
Cleggett had no idea that there would be an attack before
nightfall, and at two o'clock in the afternoon he awakened all
the members of his crew who were still sleeping, ordered them
into bathing suits, a supply of which he had been thoughtful
enough to have the young doctor bring out along with the nurses,
and piped them into the canal. The water was cold, but they came
out refreshed and invigorated by the plunge and feeling fit for
any struggle that might be ahead of them. This maneuver on the
part of Cleggett and his marines and infantrymen seemed still
more to excite the curiosity and contribute to the bewilderment
of Loge and his ruffians.
After the general bath and a substantial lunch, Cleggett called
all hands aft and addressed them.
"Ladies and loyal followers and co-workers," he said. "We have
passed some nights and days of peril. And there are, I doubt
not, still parlous times ahead of the Jasper B. before our ship
sets sail for the China Seas. But what is sweeter than pleasure
snatched from the very presence of danger? Courage and gayety
should go hand in hand! It is a beautiful May afternoon, we have
a goodly deck beneath our feet, and, briefly, who is for a
A huzza showed the popularity of the suggestion. Washington
Artillery Lamb, the janitor and butler of the Annabel Lee,
possessed an accordion on which he was an earnest and artistic
performer. Miss Pringle's Jefferson had with him a harmonica, or
mouth organ, which he at once produced. Jefferson was endowed
with the peculiar gift of manipulating this little musical
instrument solely with his lips, moving it back and forth and
round about as he played, without touching it with his hands; and
this left his hands free to pat the time. The negro orchestra
perched itself on the top of the cabin, and in a moment Lady
Agatha, the five nurses, Cleggett, the three detectives, Dr.
Farnsworth, and Captain Abernethy were tangoing on the deck. And
this to the still further perplexity of Logan Black. As the dance
started Cleggett saw that person, almost distracted by his
inability to comprehend the mental processes of the commander of
the Jasper B., rise to his feet in an automobile that had stopped
a couple of hundred yards away, and beat with both hands upon his
temples, gnashing his long yellow teeth the while.
The Rev. Simeon Calthrop turned sadly away from the vessel, and,
with a sigh, went and sat in the trench, where he was soon joined
by Elmer. The disgraced preacher and the reformed convict had
struck up a fast friendship. They sat with their backs towards
the Jasper B., and Cleggett supposed from their attitude that
they were sternly condemnatory of the frivolity and festivity on
Cleggett, after the first dance, sought them out.
"I hope," he said to the Rev. Mr. Calthrop, not unkindly, "that
you don't disapprove of us."
"It isn't that, Mr. Cleggett," said the ship's chaplain, with
sorrow in his eloquent brown eyes, "it isn't that at all. In
fact, I had a tango class in the basement of my church, every
Thursday evening-when I had a church."
"Then what is it?"
"Alas!" sighed the young preacher. "I do not trust myself!
Women, as I have told you, Mr. Cleggett, are apt to become
fascinated with me. I cannot help it. It is in such gay scenes
as this that the danger lies, Mr. Cleggett. As an honorable man,
I feel that I am bound to withdraw myself and my fatal
"You are too subtle--too subtle for moral health," said Cleggett.
"But I will not attempt to influence you. Elmer, are you also
afraid of inspiring a hopeless passion?"
"Mister Cleggett," said Elmer gloomily and huskily, out of one
corner of his mouth, "I ain't takin' a chance. D' youse get me?
Not a chancet. Oncet youse reformed, Mr. Cleggett, youse can't be
Cleggett returned to the vessel. Miss Pringle the elder was
leaving it. Miss Henrietta Pringle was following. Cleggett
gathered that the niece left reluctantly, and under the coercion
of the aunt.
Miss Pringle the elder was about to join the Rev. Mr. Calthrop in
the trench. Morality, as well as misery, loves company. But Mr.
Calthrop saw the Misses Pringle coming. He swiftly rose, passed
them by with his face averted, and went aboard the Annabel Lee.
It was evident that he believed that his fatal gift of
fascination had attracted these ladies towards him in spite of
himself. Elmer and the Misses Pringle sat gloomily on a clean
plank in the trench while the dance went gayly on.
"If you was to ask me," said Captain Abernethy, pausing winded
from the tango, strong old man that he was, "I'd give it as my
opinion that them that gits their enjoyment in an oncheerful way
don't git nigh as much of it as them that gits it in a cheerful
way. Mrs. Lady Agatha, ma'am, if you kin fox-trot as well as you
kin tango I'll never have another word to say agin female
But as Cap'n Abernethy spoke the grin froze upon his face.
"My God! Look there!" he shrilled, pointing a long finger
towards the plain. Simultaneously the Misses Pringle, shrieking
wildly, leaped from the trench towards the ship and Elmer fired a
Cleggett beheld five taxicabs, filled with Loge's assassins,
charging towards the vessel at the rate of thirty miles an hour.
"To arms! To arms!" shouted the commander of the Jasper B.
But the enemy, with Logan Black in the lead, had already reached
the trenches. They flung themselves to the ground and swept over
the trench towards the bulwarks, twenty strong, with flashing
machetes. So confident had Cleggett been that Loge would not
dare to attack in broad daylight that he had scarcely even
considered the possibility. It was the one fault of his military
and naval career.
"Cutlasses, men, and at them!" he cried.
There was no thought of guns or pistols. There was no time to aim
or fire. Loge's rush had lodged him on the deck. Roaring like a
wild animal, he carried the fight to the defenders. He meant to
make a finish of it this time, and with the edged and bitter
As the women scurried into the cabin the two lines met, with a
ringing clash of blades, on the deck of the Jasper B., and the
sparks flew from the stricken metal. Cleggett strove to engage
Loge hand to hand; and Loge, on his part, attempted to fight his
way to Cleggett; they shouted insults at each other across the
press of battle. But in affairs of this sort a man must give his
attention to the person directly in front of him; otherwise he is
lost. As Cleggett cut and thrust and parried, a sudden seizure
overtook him; he moved as if in a dream; he had the eerie feeling
that he had done all this before, sometime, perhaps in a previous
existence, and would do it again. The clangor of the meeting
swords, the inarticulate shouts and curses, the dance of
struggling men across the deck, the whirling confusion of the
whole fantastic scene beneath the quiet skies, struck upon his
consciousness with that strange phantasmagoric quality which
makes the hurrying unreality of dreams so much more vivid and
more real than anything in waking life.
In the center of Cleggett's line stood the three detectives
shoulder to shoulder. Their three swords rose and fell as one.
They cut and lunged and guarded with a machine-like regularity,
advancing, giving ground, advancing again, with a rhythmic
unanimity which was baffling to their opponents.
On either flank of the detectives fought one of the gigantic
negroes. Washington Artillery Lamb, almost at once, had broken
his cutlass, and now he raged in the waist of the Jasper B. with
a long iron bar in his hand. Miss Pringle's Jefferson, with his
high cockaded hat still firmly fixed upon his head, laid about
him with a heavy cavalry saber; in his excitement he still held
his harmonica in his mouth and blew blasts upon it as he fought.
The Rev. Simeon Calthrop, in a loud agitated voice, sang hymns as
he swung his cutlass. And, among the legs of the combatants,
leapt and snapped Teddy the Pomeranian, biting friend and foe
indiscriminately upon the ankles.
But gradually the weight of superior numbers began to tell.
Farnsworth staggered from the fight with a face covered with
blood which blinded him. Cap'n Abernethy likewise was bleeding
from a wound in the head; George the Greek and Watson Bard were
hurt, but both fought on. The crew of the Jasper B. and their
allies of the Annabel Lee were being slowly forced back towards
the cabin, when there came a sudden and decisive turn in the
fortunes of the fight.
Cleggett, straining to meet Loge, who hung sword to sword with
Wilton Barnstable, saw Giuseppe Jones, deserted by his nurses,
tumbling feebly over the bow of the Jasper B. in the rear of
Loge's line. Barelegged, a red blanket fastened about his throat
with a big brass safety pin, a thermometer in one hand and a
medicine bottle in the other, he tottered, crazily and weakly
between Loge and Barnstable, chanting a vers libre poem in a
shrill, insane voice.
Loge, who had extended himself in a vigorous lunge, was struck by
the weight of the young anarchist's body at the crook of the
knees, and came down on the deck at full length, his machete
flying from his hand as he fell.
Cleggett was upon the criminal in an instant, his hand at the
outlaw's throat. They grappled and rolled upon the deck. But in
another second Wilton Barnstable and Barton Ward, coming to
Cleggett's assistance, had snapped irons upon the president of
the crime trust, hand and foot.
His overthrow was the signal of his men's defeat. As he went
down they hesitated and wavered. The two great negroes, taking
advantage of this hesitation, burst among them with mighty blows
and strange Afro-American oaths, Castor and Pollux in bronze.
With a shout of "Banzai!" Kuroki rushed forward with his kris;
the other defenders added weight and fury to the rally. Before
the irons were on the wrists of Loge his men were routed. They
leaped the rail and made off for their fleet of taxicabs,
flinging away their weapons as they ran.
Loge writhed and twisted and lashed the deck with his legs and
body for a moment, striving even against the bands of steel that
bit into his wrists and ankles. And then he lay still with his
face against the planks as if in a vast and overwhelming
bitterness of despair.
It had been Cleggett's earlier thought to take the man alive, if
possible, and turn him over to the authorities. But now that
Loge was taken he burned with the wish for personal combat with
him. He desired to be the agent of society, and put an end to
Logan Black himself.
Cleggett, as he gazed at the fellow lying prone upon the deck,
could not repress a murmur of dissatisfaction.
"We never fought it out," he said.
Whether Loge heard him or not, the same thought was evidently
running is his mind. He lifted his head. A slow, malignant grin
that showed his yellow canine teeth lifted his upper lip. He
fixed his eyes on Cleggett with a cold deadliness of hatred and
"You are lucky."
Outwardly Cleggett remained calm, but inwardly he was shaken with
an intensity of passion that matched Loge's own.
"Lucky?" he said quietly. "That is as may be. And if, as I
infer, you desire a settlement of a more personal nature than the
law recognizes, it is still not too late to accommodate you."
"Desire!" cried Loge, with a movement of his manacled hands. "I
would go to Hell happy if I sent you ahead of me!"
"Very well," said Cleggett. "Since you have challenged me I will
fight you. I will do you that honor."
Loge was about to answer when Wilton Barnstable broke in:
"Mr. Cleggett," he said, "I scarcely understand you. Are you
consenting to fight this man?"
"Certainly," said Cleggett. "He has challenged me."
"A duel?" said Wilton Barnstable in astonishment.
"But that is impossible. His life is forfeit to the law. I
hope, before the year is out, to send him to the electric chair.
Under the circumstances, a duel is an absurdity."
"An absurdity?" Cleggett, with his hands on his hips, and a
little dancing light in his eyes, faced the great detective
squarely. "You permit yourself very peculiar expressions, Mr.
"I beg your pardon," said Wilton Barnstable. "I withdraw
'absurdity.' But you must see yourself, Mr. Cleggett, that a
duel is useless, if nothing else. The man is our prisoner. He
belongs to the law."
Loge had struggled to a sitting posture, his back against the
port bulwark, and was listening with an odd look on his face.
"The law?" said Cleggett. "I suppose, in one sense, that is
true. But the matter has its personal element as well."
"I must insist," said Wilton Barnstable, "that Logan Black is my
Cleggett was silent a moment. Then he said firmly: "Mr.
Barnstable, it is painful to me to have to remind you of it, but
your attitude forces me to an equal directness. The fact that
Logan Black is now a captive is due to his efforts to recover
certain evidence which may be used against him. This evidence I
discovered and defended, and this evidence I now hold in my
Wilton Barnstable was about to retort, perhaps heatedly, but
Cleggett, generous even while determined to have his own way,
hastened to add: "Do not think, Mr. Barnstable, that I minimize
your work, or your assistance--but, after all, what am I
demanding that is unreasonable? If Logan Black dies by my hand,
are not the ends of justice served as well as if he died in the
electric chair? And if I fall, the law may still take its
Loge had listened to this speech attentively. He lifted his head
and glanced about the deck, filling his lungs with a deep draft
of air. Something like a gleam of hope was visible in his
"It is irregular," said Wilton Barnstable, frowning, and not half
convinced. "And, in the name of Heaven, why imperil your life
needlessly? Why expose yourself again to the power of this
"The fellow has challenged me, and I have granted him a meeting,"
said Cleggett. "I hope there is such a thing as honor!"
"Clement!" It was Lady Agatha who spoke. As she did so she laid
her hand on Cleggett's arm. She had hearkened in silence to the
colloquy between him and Barnstable, as had the others. She drew
him out of sight and hearing behind the cabin."
"Clement," she said with agitation, "do not fight this man!"
"I must," he said simply. It cut him to the heart to refuse the
first request that she had asked of him since his avowal of his
love for her and her tacit acceptance. But, to a man of
Cleggett's ideas, there was no choice.
"Clement," she said in a low tone, "you have told me that you
"Agatha!" he murmured brokenly.
"And you know----" she paused, as if she could not continue, but
her eyes and manner spoke the rest. In a moment her lips spoke
it too; she was not the sort of woman who is afraid to avow the
promptings of her heart. "You know," she said, "that I love
"Agatha!" he cried again. He could say no more.
"Oh, Clement," she said, "if you were killed--killed
uselessly!--now that I have found you, I could not bear it.
Dear, I could not bear it!"
Cleggett was profoundly moved. He yearned to take her in his
arms to comfort her, and to promise anything she wished. And the
thought came to him too that, if he should perish, the one kiss,
given and received in the darkness and danger of fight and storm,
would be all the brave sweetness of her that he would know this
side of the grave; the thought came to him bitterly. For an
instant he wavered.
"Agatha!" he said with dry lips. "I have already accepted the
"And what of that?" she cried. "Would you cling to a barren
point of honor in despite of love?"
"Even so," he said, and sighed.
"Oh, Clement," she said, "I cannot bear it! I cannot bear to
lose you! I always knew you were in the world somewhere--and now
that I have found you it is only to give you up! It is too
Cleggett was silent for a moment. When he spoke it was slowly
and gently, but earnestly.
"No point of honor is a barren one, dear," he said. "What the
man lying there may be matters nothing. It is not to him that I
have given my word, but to myself. In our hurried modern life we
are not punctilious enough about these things. Perhaps, in the
old days, the men and women were worse than we in many ways. But
they held to a few traditions, or the best of them did, that make
the loose and tawdry manners of this age seem cheap indeed. All
my life I have known that there was something shining and simple
and precious concealed from the common herd of men in this common
age, which the brighter spirits of the old days lived by and
served and worshiped. I have always seen it plainly, and always
tried to live by it, too. Perhaps it was never, in any period,
more than a dream; but I have dreamed that dream. And anyone who
dreams that dream will have a reverence for his spoken word no
matter to whom it is passed. I may be a fool to fight this man;
well then, that is the kind of fool I am! Indeed, I know I am a
fool by the judgments of this age. But I have never truly lived
in this age. I have lived in the past; I have held to the dream;
I have believed in the bright adventure; I have walked with the
generous, chivalric spirits of the great ages; they have come to
me out of my books and dwelt with me and been my companions, and
the realities of time and place have been unreal in their
presence. I see myself so walking always. It may be that I am a
vain ass, but I cannot help it. It may be that I am a little
mad; but I would rather be mad with a Don Quixote than sane with
an Andrew Carnegie and pile up platitudes and dollars.
"And all this foolishness of mine is somehow bound up with the
thought that I have engaged to fight that evil fellow, and must
do it; all the bright, sane madness in me cries out that he is to
die by this hand of mine.
"I have opened my heart to you, as I have never done to anyone
before. And now I put myself into your hands. But, oh, take
care--for it is something in me better than myself that I give
you to deal with! And you can cripple it forever, because I love
you and I shall listen to you. Shall I fight him?"
She had listened, mute and immobile, and as he spoke the red sun
made a sudden glory of her hair. She leaned towards him, and it
was as if the spirit of all the man's lifelong, foolish, romantic
musings were in her eyes and on her face.
"Fight him!" she said. "And kill him!"
And then her head was on his shoulder, and his arms were about
her. "Don't die!" she sobbed. "Don't die!"
"Don't fear," he said, "I feel that I'll make short work of him."
She smiled courageously back at him; with her hands upon his
shoulders she held him back and looked at him with tilted head.
"If you are killed," she said, "it will have been more than most
women ever get, to have known and loved you for two days."
"Two days?" he said. "Forever!"
"Forever!" she said.
Cleggett took Wilton Barnstable by the sleeve and drew him
towards Loge, who, still seated on the deck with his long legs
stretched out in front of him, was now yawning with a cynical
affectation of boredom.
"I wish you to act as my second in this affair," said Cleggett to
the detective, "and I suggest that either Mr. Ward or Mr. Bard
perform a like office for Mr. Black."
Loge shrugged his shoulders, and said with a sneer:
"A second, eh? We seem to be doing a great deal of arranging for
a very small amount of fighting."
"I suggest," said Wilton Barnstable, "that a night's rest would
be quite in order for both principals."
Loge broke in quickly, with studied insolence: "I object to the
delay. Mr. Cleggett might find some excuse for changing his mind
overnight. Let us, if you please, begin at once."
"It was not I who suggested the delay," said Cleggett, haughtily.
"Then give us the pistols," cried Loge, with a sudden, grim
ferocity in his voice, "and let's make an end of it!"
"We fight with swords," said Cleggett. "I am the challenged
"Ho! Swords!" cried Loge, with a harsh, jarring laugh. "A bout
with the rapiers, man to man, eh? Come, this is better and
better! I may go to the chair, but first I will spit you like a
squab on a skewer, my little nut!" And then he said again, with
a shout of gusty mirth, and a clanking of his manacles: "Swords,
eh? By God! The little man says SWORDS!"
Wilton Barnstable drew Cleggett to one side.
"Name pistols," he said. "For God's sake, Cleggett, name
pistols! If I had had any idea that you were going to demand
rapiers I should have warned you before."
Cleggett was amused at the great detective's anxiety. "It
appears that the fellow handles the rapier pretty well, eh?" he
"Cleggett----" began Barnstable. And then he paused and groaned
and mopped his brow. Presently he controlled his agitation and
continued. "Cleggett," he said, "the man is an expert swordsman.
I have been on his trail; I know his life for years past. He was
once a maitre d'armes. He gave lessons in the art."
"Yes?" said Cleggett, laughing and flexing his wrist. "I am glad
to hear that! It will be really interesting then."
"Cleggett," said Barnstable, "I beg of you--name pistols. This
is the man who invented that diabolical thrust with which Georges
Clemenceau laid low so many of his political opponents. If you
must go on with this mad duel, name pistols!"
"Barnstable," said Cleggett, "I know what I am about, believe me.
Your anxiety does me little honor, but I am willing to suppose
that you are not deliberately insulting, and I pass it over. I
intend to kill this man. It is a duty which I owe to society.
And as for the rapier--believe me, Barnstable, I am no novice.
And my blood tingles and my soul aches with the desire to expunge
that man from life with my own hand. Come, we have talked
enough. There is a case of swords in the cabin. Will you do me
the favor to bring them on deck?"
Loge's irons were unlocked. He rose to his feet and stretched
himself. He removed his coat and waistcoat. Then he took off
his shirt, revealing the fact that he wore next his skin a
long-sleeved undershirt of red flannel.
Cleggett began to imitate him. But as the commander of the
Jasper B. began to pull his shirt over his head he heard a little
scream. Everyone turned in the direction from which it had
emanated. They beheld Miss Genevieve Pringle perched upon the
top of the cabin, whither she had mounted by means of a short
ladder. This lady, perhaps not quite aware of the possibly
sanguinary character of the spectacle she was about to witness,
had, nevertheless, sensed the fact that a spectacle was toward.
Miss Pringle had with her a handsome lorgnette.
"Madam," said Cleggett, hastily pulling his shirt back on again
and approaching the cabin, "did you cry out?"
"Mr.--er--Cleggett," said Miss Pringle, pursing her lips, "if you
will kindly hold the ladder for me I think I will descend and
retire at once to the cabin."
"As you wish," said Cleggett politely, complying with her wish,
but at a loss to comprehend her.
"I beg you to believe, Mr. Cleggett," said Miss Pringle, averting
her face and flushing painfully, while she turned the lorgnette
about and about with embarrassed fingers, "I beg you to believe
that in electing to witness this spectacle I had no idea of its
exceedingly informal nature."
With these words she passed into the cabin, with the air of one
who has sustained a mortal insult.
"Ef you was to ask me what she's tryin' to get at," piped up
Cap'n Abernethy, "I'd say it's her belief that it ain't proper
for gents to sword each other with their shirts off. She's
shocked, Miss Pringle is."
"In great and crucial moments," said Cleggett soberly, pulling
off his shirt again and picking up a sword, "we may dispense with
the minor conventions without apology."
Loge chose a weapon with the extreme of care and particularity,
trying the hang and balance of several of them. He looked well
to the weight, bent the blade in his hands to test the spring and
temper, tried the point upon his thumb. He handled the rapier as
if he had found an old friend again after a long absence; he
looked around upon his enemies with a sort of ferocious,
"And now," said Loge, "if this is to be a duel indeed, Mr.
Cleggett and I will need plenty of room, I suggest that the rest
of you retire to the bulwarks and give us the deck to ourselves."
"For my part," said Cleggett, "I order it."
"And," said Wilton Barnstable, drawing his pistol, "Mr. Black
will please note that while I am standing by the bulwarks I shall
be watching indeed. Should he make an attempt to escape from the
vessel I shall riddle him with bullets."
"Come, come," said Loge, "all this conversation is a waste of
"That is my opinion also," said Cleggett.
They saluted formally, and engaged their blades.
With Cleggett, swordsmanship was both a science and an art. And
something more. It was also a passion. A good swordsman can be
made; a superior swordsman may be born; the real masters are both
born and made. It was so with Cleggett. His interest in fencing
had been keen from his early boyhood. In his teens he had
acquired unusual practical skill without great theoretical
knowledge. Then he had recognized the art for what it is, the
most beautiful game on earth, and had made a profound and
thorough study of it; it appealed to his imagination.
He became, in a way, the poet of the foil.
Cleggett seldom fenced publicly, and then only under an assumed
name; he abhorred publicity. But there was not a teacher in New
York City who did not know him for a master. They brought him
their half worked out visions of new combinations, new thrusts;
he perfected them, and simplified, or elaborated, and gave back
the finished product.
They were the workmen, the craftsmen, the men of talent; he was
the originator, the genius.
And he was especially lucky in not having been tied down, in his
younger years, to one national tradition of the art. The
limitations of the French, the Spanish, the Italian, or the
Austrian schools had not enslaved him in youth and hampered the
free development of his individuality. He had studied them all;
he chose from them all their superiorities; their excellences he
blended into a system of his own.
It might be called the Cleggett System.
The Frenchman is an intellectual swordsman; the basis of his art
is a thorough knowledge of its mathematics. Upon this foundation
he superimposes a structure of audacity. But he often falls into
one error or another, for all his mental brilliancy. He may
become rigidly formal in his practice, or, in a revolt from his
own formalism, be seduced into a display of showy, sensational
tricks that are all very well in the studio but dangerous to
their practitioner on the actual dueling ground.
The Italian, looser, freer, less formal, more individual in his
style, springing from a line of forbears who have preferred the
thrust to the cut, the point to the edge, for centuries, is a
more instinctive and less intellectual swordsman than the
Frenchman. It is in his blood; he uses his rapier with a wild
and angry grace that is feline.
The Frenchman, even when he is thoroughly serious in his desire
to slay, loves a duel for its own sake; he is never free from the
thought of the picture he is making; the art, the science, the
practical cleverness, appeal to him independently of the
The Italian thinks of but one thing; to kill. He will take a
severe wound to give a fatal one. The French are the best
fencers in the world; the Italians the deadliest duelists.
Cleggett, as has been said, knew all the schools without being
the slave of any of them.
He brought his sword en tierce; Loge's blade met his with
strength and delicacy. The strength Cleggett was prepared for.
The delicacy surprised him. But he was too much the master, too
confident of his own powers, to trifle. He delivered one of his
favorite thrusts; it was a stroke of his own invention; three
times out of five, in years past, it had carried home the button
of his foil to his opponent's jacket. It was executed with the
directness and rapidity of a flash of lightning.
But Loge parried it with a neatness which made Cleggett open his
eyes, replying with a counter so shrewd and close, and of such a
darting ferocity, that Cleggett, although he met it faultlessly,
nevertheless gave back a step.
"Ah," cried Loge, showing his yellow teeth in a grin, "so the
little man knows that thrust!"
"I invented it," said Cleggett.
With the word he pressed forward and, making a swift and dazzling
feint, followed it with two brilliant thrusts, either of which
would have meant the death of a tyro. The first one Loge
parried; the second touched him; but it gave him nothing more
than a scratch. Nevertheless, the smile faded from Loge's face;
he gave ground in his turn before this rapid vigor of attack; he
measured Cleggett with a new glance.
"You are touched, I think," said Cleggett, meditating a fresh
combination, "and I am glad to see you drop that ugly pretense at
a grin. You have no idea how the sight of those yellow teeth of
yours, which you were evidently never taught to brush when you
were a little boy, offends a person of any refinement."
Loge's answer was a sudden attempt to twist his blade around
Cleggett's; followed by a direct thrust, as quick as light, which
grazed Cleggett's shoulder; a little smudge of blood appeared on
"Take care, take care, Cleggett!" warned Wilton Barnstable, from
his post by the starboard bulwark.
"Make yourself easy," said Cleggett, parrying a counter en carte,
"I am only getting warm."
And both of them, stung by the slight scratches which they had
received, settled to the business with an intent and silent
deadliness of purpose.
To all appearances Loge had an immense advantage over Cleggett;
his legs were a good two inches longer; so were his arms. And he
knew how to make these peculiarities count. He fought for a
while with a calm and steady precision that repeatedly baffled
the calculated impetuosity of Cleggett's attack. But the air of
bantering certainty with which he had begun the duel had left
him. He no longer wasted his breath on repartee; no doubt he was
surprised to find Cleggett's strength so nearly equal to his own,
as Cleggett had been astonished to find in Loge so much finesse.
But with a second slight wound Loge began to give ground.
With Cleggett a bout with the foils had always been a duel. It
has been indicated, we believe, that he was of a romantic
disposition and much given to daydreaming; his imagination had
thus made every set-to in the fencing room a veritable mortal
combat to him. Therefore, this was not his first duel; he had
fought hundreds of them. And he fought always on a settled plan,
adapting it, of course, to the idiosyncrasies of his adversary.
It was his custom to vary the system of his attack frequently in
the most disconcerting manner, at the same time steadily
increasing the pace at which he fought. And when Loge began to
give ground and breathe a little harder, Cleggett, far from
taking advantage of his opponent's growing distress to rest
himself, as a less distinguished swordsman might have done,
redoubled the vigor of his assault. Cleggett knew that sooner or
later a winded man makes a fault. The lungs labor and fail to
give the blood all the oxygen it needs. The circulation suffers.
Nerves and muscles are no longer the perfect servants of the
brain; for a fraction of a second the sword deviates from the
It was for this that Cleggett waited, pressing Loge closer and
closer, alert for the instant when Loge would fence wide; waxing
as the other waned; menacing eyes, throat, and heart with a point
that leaped and dazzled; and at the same time inclosing himself
within a rampart of steel which Loge found it more and more
hopeless to attempt to penetrate. It was as if Cleggett's blade
were an extension of his will; he and his sword were not two
things, but one. The metal in his hand was no longer merely a
whip of steel; it was a thing that lived with his own life. His
pulse beat in it. It was a part of him. His nervous force
permeated it and animated it; it was his thought turned to
tempered metal, and it was with the rapidity, directness and
subtlety of thought that his sword responded to his mind.
"Come!" said Cleggett, as Loge broke ground, scarcely aware that
he spoke aloud. "At this rate we shall be at home thrusts soon!"
Loge must have thought so too; a shade passed over his face, his
upper lip lifted haggardly. Perhaps even that iron nature was
beginning to feel at last something of the dull sickness which is
the fear of death. He retreated continually, and Cleggett was
smitten with the fancy to force him backward and nail him, with a
final thrust, to the stump of the foremast, which had been broken
off some eight feet above the deck.
But Loge, gathering his power, made a brilliant and desperate
rally; twice he grazed Cleggett, whose blade was too closely
engaged; and then suddenly broke ground again. This time
Cleggett perceived that he had been retreating in accordance with
a preconceived program. He was certain the man contemplated a
trick, perhaps some foul stroke.
He rushed forward with a terrible thrust. Loge, whose last
maneuver had taken him within a yard of the hatchway opening into
the hold, grasped Cleggett's blade in his left hand, and at the
same instant flung his own sword, hilt first, full in Cleggett's
face. As Cleggett, struck in the mouth with the pommel,
staggered back, Loge plunged feet foremost into the hold. It was
too unexpected, and too quickly done, for a shot from Barnstable
or any of Cleggett's men.
Cleggett, with the blood streaming from his mouth, recovered
himself and leaped through the aperture in the deck. He landed
upon his feet with a jar, and, shortening his sword in his hand,
stared about him in the gloom.
He saw no one.
An instant later Wilton Barnstable and Cap'n Abernethy were
"Gone!" said Cleggett simply.
Barnstable drew from his pocket a small electric lantern and
swept the beam in a circle about the hold. Again and again he
raked the darkness until the finger of light had rested upon
every foot of the interior.
But Loge had vanished as completely as a snowflake that falls
into a tub of water.
THE SECRET OF THE VESSEL'S HOLD
"Idiot that I am," cried Cleggett, "not to have covered that
hole!" His chagrin was touching to behold.
"There, there, Cleggett," said Wilton Barnstable kindly, "do not
reproach yourself too bitterly."
"But to let him escape when I had him----" Cleggett finished the
sentence with a groan.
But Wilton Barnstable was thinking.
"Please have some lights brought down here if you will, Captain,"
he said to Abernethy, "and ask Mr. Bard and Mr. Ward to come."
In a few minutes the interior of the hold was illuminated with
lanterns; it was as bright as day. But the detectives did not
proceed at once to a minute examination of the hold as Cleggett
had supposed they would.
Instead, they stood in the waist of the vessel and thought.
Visibly they thought. Wilton Barnstable thought.
Barton Ward thought. Watson Bard thought. They thought in
silence. Cleggett could almost feel these three master brains
pulsating in unison, working in rhythmic accord, there in the
silence; the sense of this intense cerebral effort became almost
oppressive. . . .
Finally Wilton Barnstable began to stroke his mustache, and a
pleased smile stole over his plump and benign visage. Barton
Ward also began to stroke his mustache and smile. But it was
twenty seconds more before Watson Bard's corrugated brow relaxed
and his eyes twinkled with the idea that had come so much more
readily to the other two.
"Cleggett," said Wilton Barnstable, "you have heard of the
deductive method as applied to the work of the detective?"
"I have," said Cleggett. "I have read Poe's detective tales and
Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories."
"Ah! Sherlock Holmes!" The three detectives looked at each
other with glances in which were mingled both bitterness and
amusement; the look seemed to dispose of Sherlock Holmes. Once
again Cleggett had a fleeting thought that Wilton Barnstable
might possibly be a vain man.
"Sherlock Holmes," said Barnstable, "never existed. His
marvelous feats are not possible in real life, Cleggett. But the
deductive method which he pretended to use--mind you, I say
PRETENDED, Cleggett!--is, nevertheless, sound."
And then the three detectives gave Cleggett an example of the
"Mr. Ward," said Wilton Barnstable, "Logan Black entered this
"He did," said Barton Ward.
"He is not here now," said Wilton Barnstable.
"He is not," said Watson Bard.
"Therefore he has escaped," said Wilton Barnstable.
"But how?" said Barton Ward.
"Only a ghost or an insect could leave this hold otherwise than
by the hatchway, to all appearances," said Wilton Barnstable.
"Logan Black is not a ghost," said Barton Ward firmly.
"Logan Black is not an insect," said Watson Bard with conviction.
"Then," said Barnstable, "that eliminates the supernatural and
"The entomological?" suggested Cleggett.
The three detectives stared at him fixedly for a moment, as if
surprised at the interruption. But if they were miffed they were
too dignified to do more than hint it. Barnstable continued:
"There is no such thing as magic."
"There is not," said Ward.
"The fourth dimension does not exist," said Bard.
"Therefore Logan Black's exit," said Barnstable, "was in
accordance with well-known physical laws. We are forced to the
conclusion that he made his escape through a secret passageway."
"A tunnel," said Barton Ward.
"With a concealed door opening into the hold," said Watson Bard.
"A ship with a secret tunnel!" cried Cleggett. "Who ever heard of
the like? Why, the thing is----"
But he broke off. He had been leaning against the starboard side
of the hold. Even as he spoke he felt the wall behind him
moving. He turned. A door was opening. It was built into the
side of the Jasper B. and the joints were cleverly concealed. He
had inadvertently found, with his elbow, the nailhead which was
in reality the push button that released the spring. The black
entrance of a subterranean passage yawned before him.
He stared in astonishment. The three detectives were pointing at
the tunnel with plump forefingers and bland, triumphant smiles.
"Nothing is impossible, my dear Cleggett," said Barnstable. "The
tunnel HAD to be there!"
"It explains everything," said Cleggett. "But a tunnel into MY
And, in truth, for a moment he felt disappointed in the Jasper B.
A tunnel is all very well leading from the basement of a house,
or extending backward from a cave; but Cleggett felt that it was
scarcely a dignified sort of arrangement, nautically speaking,
for a ship to have leading from its hold.
It seemed, somehow, to stamp the Jasper B. indelibly as a thing
of the land rather than as the gallant creature of piping winds
and following seas. Could the Jasper B., a bone in her teeth and
her tackle humming, ever again sail through Cleggett's dreams?
For a moment, if the worst must be known, he was almost disgusted
with the Jasper B., considered as a ship. For a moment he was
willing to believe that Cap'n Abernethy was nothing but a Long
Island truck farmer, and NOT of a seafaring family at all. For a
moment he felt himself to be a copyreader again on the New York
But only for a moment! The star of romance, clouded temporarily
by fact, rose serene and bright again in the wide heaven of the
unusual spirit, the barber's basin gleamed once more the helmet
of Mambrino. Cleggett began to see the matter in its proper
"A tunnel!" he cried, brightening, and looking at it with his
legs spread a little wide and his hands on his hips. "A tunnel!
Eh, by gad! Who could have prophesied a tunnel? Barnstable,
never tell me again there is no romance in real life! I tell
you, Barnstable, she's a good old ship, the Jasper B.! I don't
suppose there was ever another schooner in the world with a
secret passageway leading out of her hold!"
"She IS a remarkable vessel," agreed Wilton Barnstable gravely.
"But, come, we are wasting time! The other end of this passage
is at Morris's, that is plain. Loge Black has only a few
minutes' start of us. Therefore, to Morris's!"
A DOG DIES GAME
Clambering out of the hold, the three detectives and Cleggett
briefly made their followers acquainted with the extraordinary
turn of events. The Rev. Mr. Calthrop, Miss Pringle's Jefferson,
and Washington Artillery Lamb were detailed to guard the Jasper
B. end of the tunnel. The others, seizing their rifles, raced
across the sands towards Morris's.
In a few moments the place was invested, with riflemen on every
side except the south, which fronted on the bay. The
steel-jacketed bullets from the high-power guns tore through and
through the flimsy walls. Nevertheless the defenders replied
pluckily, and the siege might have dragged on for hours had it
not been for the courage and resource of Kuroki. Gaining the
stable, Kuroki found an old pushcart there. He piled three bales
of hay upon it, and then set fire to the hay. Pushing the cart
before him, and crouching behind the bales to protect himself
from revolver shots, he worked his way to the east verandah of
the building and left the hay blazing against the planks. Then
he ran as if the devil were after him, and was almost out of
pistol shot before he got a bullet in the calf of his leg.
The blaze caught the wood and spread. In two minutes the east
verandah was in flames. Loge and his men attempted to pour water
on the blaze from above. But Cleggett's party directed so hot a
fire upon the windows that the defenders were forced to retire.
The main building caught. The road house was old, and was of
very light construction; the fire spread with rapidity. Loge was
in a trap.
But that evil and indomitable spirit refused to yield. Even when
his remaining ruffians came out and gave themselves up Loge still
fought on alone in a sullen fury of despair.
Reckless of bullets, he leaned from an open window, a figure not
without its grandeur against the background of smoke and flame,
and shouted a savage and obscene insult at Cleggett.
"Give yourself up," cried Wilton Barnstable.
"Damn it, man, anything's better than roasting to death!"
Loge raised his hand and sped a last bullet at the detective,
grazing Barnstable's temple.
"Come in and get me!" he shouted.
Barnstable fired, just as a whirl of smoke blew in front of Loge.
Cleggett thought the outlaw staggered, but he was not certain.
A moment later a portion of the roof fell; then the east wall
crashed in. Morris's was a blazing ruin.
"He has perished in the flames," said Wilton Barnstable. "So
ends Logan Black!"
"More like he's blowed his head off," said Cap'n Abernethy. "If
you was to ask me, that's what I'd do."
"He has done neither!" cried Cleggett. "He has taken to the
tunnel. That man will fight to the last breath."
And without waiting to see whether the others followed him or not
Cleggett set off at top speed for the Jasper B.
With a dagger between his teeth, his pistol in its holster, and
his electric, watchman's lantern in his pocket he entered the
tunnel and crawled forward on his hands and knees. If Loge were
in there indeed he had the fire at one end and Cleggett at the
other. But even at that, escape was possible, for all Cleggett
knew. What ramifications this peculiar passageway might have he
could not guess.
The place was narrow, and in spots so low that it was necessary
for a man to crouch almost to the ground. Cleggett, because he
did not wish to reveal his presence, did not flash his lantern;
there were stretches where he might have stood almost erect and
made quicker progress, if he had found them with the light. The
earth beneath him was beaten hard and smooth.
Cleggett thought possibly that the tunnel had originally led from
Morris's basement to the smuggler's cave which Wilton Barnstable
had spoken of, and that it had been extended later to the ship.
He learned afterwards that this was true from the men who had
surrendered. The Jasper B. had been abandoned for so long, and
was so completely abandoned except for the visits of Cap'n
Abernethy, who fished from it now and then, that Loge had
conceived the idea of making it the back-door, so to speak, of
Morris's. In the event of a raid upon Morris's his "get-away"
through the hulk was provided for. He had intended buying the
ship himself; but Cleggett had forestalled him.
From the prisoners Cleggett also learned later that two men had
been concerned in the explosion which had broken the big rocks on
the plain. One of them had won the Claiborne signet ring at
poker after Reginald Maltravers had been stripped of his
valuables, and had worn it. They had been dispatched with a bomb
each, which they were to introduce into the hold of the Jasper
B., retiring through the tunnel after they had started the
clockwork mechanism going. It was known that one of them owed
the other money; they had been quarreling about it as they
entered the tunnel from the cellar of Morris's. It was
conjectured that the quarrel had progressed and that the debtor
had endeavored, by the light of his pocket lantern in the tunnel,
to palm off a counterfeit bill in settlement of the debt. This
may have led to a blow, or more likely only to an argument during
which a bomb was dropped and exploded, followed quickly by the
other explosion. Dead hand, counterfeit bill and ring were flung
whimsically to the surface of the earth together, and the leaning
rocks had been astonishingly broken from beneath through this
trivial quarrel. Had it not been for this squabble the Jasper B.
and all on board must have been destroyed. Verily, the minds of
wicked men compass their own downfall, and retribution can
sometimes be an artist.
But Cleggett, as he crawled forward through the darkness and the
damp, thought little of these things that had so mystified him at
the time. He was alert for what the immediate future might hold,
not doubting that Loge had retreated to the tunnel. He had too
strong a sense of the man's powerful and iniquitous personality
to suppose that Loge would kill himself while one chance
remained, however remote, of injuring his enemies. Loge was the
kind of dog that dies biting.
Suddenly, after pressing forward for several minutes, he ran
against an obstruction. The tunnel seemed to come to an end. He
did not dare show his light. But he felt with his hands. It was
rock that blocked his way. Cleggett understood that this barrier
was the result of the explosion. Groping and exploring with his
hands, he found that the passage turned sharply to the left. It
was more narrow and curving, for the distance of a few yards, and
the earth beneath was fresher. When the tunnel had been blocked
by the explosion, Loge and his men had burrowed around the
Cleggett judged that he must be at about the middle of the
tunnel. He felt the more solid earth beneath his hands again,
and knew that he had passed the rock. The passage now descended
deeper into the ground, slanting steeply downward. This incline
was twenty feet in length; then the floor became horizontal again
on the lower level. At the same time the passage widened.
Cleggett stretched one arm out, then the other; he could not
touch the wall on either hand. He stood erect and held his hand
up; the roof was six inches above his head. He was in a room of
some sort. Wishing, if possible, to learn the extent of this
subterranean chamber, which he did not doubt had at one time been
used as a cave and storehouse of smugglers, Cleggett began to
sidle around walls, feeling his way with his hands.
He dislodged a pebble. It rolled to the ground with what was
really a slight sound.
But to Cleggett, who had been getting more and more excited, it
was loud as an avalanche. He stopped and held his breath; he
fancied that he had heard another noise besides the one which his
pebble made. But he could not be sure.
The sensation that he was not alone suddenly gripped him with
overwhelming force. His heart began to beat more quickly; the
blood drummed in his ears. Nevertheless, he kept his head. He
took his pocket lantern in his left hand, and his pistol in his
right, and leaned with his back against the wall. He listened.
He heard nothing.
But the eerie feeling that he was watched grew upon him.
Presently he fancied that the darkness began to vibrate, as if an
electrical current of some sort were being passed through it, and
it might forthwith burst into light. Cleggett, as we know, was
not easily frightened. But now he was possessed of a strange
feeling, akin to terror, but which was at the same time not any
terror of physical injury. He did not fear Loge; in dark or
daylight he was ready to grapple with him and fight it out;
nevertheless he feared. That he could not say what he feared
only increased his fear.
Children say they are "afraid of the dark." It is not the dark
which they are afraid of. It is the bodiless presences which
they imagine in the dark. It was so with Cleggett now. He was
not daunted by anything that could strike a blow. But the sense
of a personality began to encompass him. It pressed in upon him,
played upon him, embraced him; his flesh tingled as if he were
being brushed; he felt his hair stir. One recognizes a flower by
its odor. So a soul flings off, in some inexplicable way, the
sense of itself. This force that laid itself upon Cleggett and
flowed around him had an individuality without a body. Not
through his senses, but psychically, he recognized it; it was the
hateful and sinister individuality of Loge.
With choking throat and dry lips Cleggett stood and suffered
beneath the smothering presence of this terror while the slow
seconds mounted to an intolerable minute; then there burst from
him an uncontrollable shout.
"Loge!" he roared, and the cavern rang.
And with the word he pressed the button of his electric pocket
lamp and shot a beam of light straight in front of him. It fell
upon the yellowish brow and the wide, unwinking eyes of Loge.
The eyes stared straight at Cleggett's own from across the cave,
thirty feet away. Loge's teeth were bared in his malevolent
grimace; he head was bent forward; he sat upon a rock. Cleggett,
unable to withdraw his eyes, waited for Loge's first movement.
The man made no sign. Cleggett slowly raised his pistol. . . .
But he did not fire. The open, staring eyes, unchanging at the
menace of the lifted pistol, told the story. Loge was dead.
Cleggett crossed over and examined him. Clutched on his knees
was a bomb. He had been wounded by Barnstable's last shot, but
he had crawled through the tunnel with a bomb for a final attempt
on the Jasper B. His strength had failed; he had rested upon the
rock and bled to death.
As for his last thought, Cleggett had felt it. Loge had died
hating and lusting for his blood.
CLEGGETT ACCOMMODATES THE KING
There was a wedding next day on the deck of the Jasper B. The
Rev. Simeon Calthrop performed the ceremony, and Wilton
Barnstable insisted upon lending his vessel for a bridal cruise.
Washington Artillery Lamb, engineer, janitor, cook and butler of
the Annabel Lee, went with the vessel.
As for the Jasper B., although his wife urged him to keep the
ship for the sake of old associations, Cleggett had the hole in
its side built in and gave it to the Rev. Simeon Calthrop for a
gospel ship. George the Greek, who married Miss Medley, shipped
with the preacher in his cruise around the world, and he and his
wife eventually reached Greece, as he had originally intended.
Elmer went with the Rev. Mr. Calthrop to assist him in his
But it was some time before the Jasper B. sailed. Besides the
hole which was the entrance to the tunnel it was discovered that
the vessel rested on a brick foundation. The man who had used
her for a saloon and dancing platform in years past had dug away
part of the bank of the canal to fit the curve of her starboard
side and had then jammed her tight into the land. Even then she
would move a trifle at times, so he had built a dam around her,
pumped the water out of the inclosed space, jacked the hulk up,
built the brick foundation, and let her down solidly on it again.
With the dam removed the water covered this masonry work, and she
looked quite like a real ship. Mr. Goldberg had known about this
foundation, but he had forgotten it, he explained to Cleggett.
The Rev. Mr. Calthrop fitted her out as a floating chapel and
filled her with Bibles printed in all languages, which he
distributes in many lands. When his fatal attractiveness for
women threatens to involve him in trouble he hastily puts to sea.
He has never become a really accomplished sailor, and the Jasper
B. is something of a menace to navigation in the ports and
harbors of the world. The suggestion has frequently been made
that she should be set ashore permanently and put on wheels. But
she has her features. She is, possibly, the only ship extant
with a memorial skylight to her cabin. Cleggett wished her to
carry some sort of memorial to the faithful Teddy, the Pomeranian
dog, who perished of a stray shot in the fight at Morris's. And
as a memorial window did not seem feasible a compromise was made
on the memorial skylight. The glass is by Tiffany.
Dopey Eddie and Izzy the Cat, still followed by Reginald
Maltravers, made their way to Brooklyn, where all three were
arrested and lodged in the observation ward of the Kings County
Hospital on the suspicion that they were insane. The two gunmen
were able to get free through political influence, but Maltravers
was sent to England. He was maintained for some time in a
private institution through the generosity of the Cleggetts, but
finally went on a hunger strike and died.
Wilton Barnstable smiles and prospers. He gained great
additional fame for his clever work in the Case of Logan Black.
Cleggett, in 1925, was the father of four boys named D'Artagnan,
Athos, Porthos, and Aramis Cleggett; and the owner of the
He is now immensely wealthy. It never would have occurred to
him, perhaps, to attempt to increase his modest fortune of
$500,000 by speculating on the Stock Exchange, had it not been
for a fortunate meeting with a barber in Nassau Street.
This barber, whose Christian name was Walter, was, indeed, a mine
of suggestion and information of all sorts. And being a
good-natured fellow, who wished the world well, Walter delighted
to impart his original ideas and the fruits of his observation to
his patrons while shaving them. Some of these received his
remarks coldly, it is true, but Walter was so charged with a
sense of friendliness towards all mankind that he was never
daunted for long by a rebuff.
His interests were wide and varied; Walter found no difficulty in
talking pleasantly upon any subject; he could touch it lightly,
or deal with it in a more serious vein, as the mood of his
customer seemed to require; and he had the art of making deft and
rapid transitions from topic to topic. But there were two things
in particular concerning which Walter had thought deeply:
racehorses and the stock market.
It was the settled grief of Walter's life that he had never been
able to persuade any person with money to take his advice
concerning the races, or follow any of the dazzling stock market
campaigns which he was forever outlining.
"They listen to me," said Walter, a little wistfully, but with a
brave smile, "or else they do not listen--but no one has ever yet
taken my advice! Do you wet your hair when you part it, sir?"
"What," said Cleggett, carefully concealing from Walter the fact
that he spoke of himself, "would be your advice to a man with
$100,000 who wished to double it in a few weeks?"
"Double it!" cried Walter. "Why, I could show such a person how
to multiply it by ten inside of two months." And he rapidly
outlined to Cleggett a scheme so audacious and so brilliant that
it fairly took our hero's breath away. Moreover, it stood the
test of reflection; it was sound. Not to descend to the sordid
details, in three weeks Cleggett found himself possessed of a
million dollars' gain. Half of this he gave to the excellent
Walter, and in three months ran the other half million up to
Then he withdrew permanently from business, as Lady Agatha
complained that it took too much of his time; moreover, he shrank
from notoriety, which his stock market operations were beginning
to bring upon him.
Giuseppe Jones, who recovered of his wounds, forswore anarchy and
became a newspaper reporter, and grew to be a fast friend of
Cleggett, who discovered that he was a lad of parts. Cleggett
eventually made him president of a college of journalism which he
founded. While he was establishing the institution the man
Wharton, his old managing editor, broken, shattered, out of work,
and a hopeless drunkard, came to him and begged for a position.
The man had sunk so low that he was repeatedly arrested for
pretending to be blind on the street corners, and had debauched
an innocent dog to assist in this deception. Cleggett forgave
him the slights of many years and made him an assistant janitor
in the new college of journalism.
The post is a sinecure, and well within even the man Wharton's
Cap'n Abernethy travels with the Cleggetts a great deal, under
the hallucination, which they humor, that he is of service to
them. The children are very fond of him. At Claiborne Castle
Cleggett has had a shallow lake constructed for him. There the
Captain, still firm in the belief that he is a sailor, loves to
potter about with catboats and rafts.
Dr. Farnsworth enjoys a lucrative position as physician to the
Cleggett family, and Kuroki is their butler.
By 1925 the prejudice against militants had abated in certain
exalted circles in England, and Lady Agatha Cleggett and her
husband were much at court.
Cleggett, hating notoriety, had endeavored to conceal the story
of his adventures along the dangerous coasts of Long Island; but
concealment was impossible. After the death of the old Earl of
Claiborne, and the demise of Reginald Maltravers, and Cleggett's
purchase of the Claiborne estate, the King wished Cleggett to
take the title of Earl of Claiborne.
His Majesty sent the Premier to sound Cleggett upon the matter.
"No, no," said Cleggett affably. "I couldn't think of it. I am
quite democratic, you know."
The second time the King sent one of the Royal Dukes to see
Cleggett. They were at a house party in Wales, and Cleggett was
a little disturbed that this business affair should be brought up
at a gathering so distinctly social in its nature. He was too
tactful to let it be seen, but secretly he felt that in
approaching the matter in that fashion the Duke had erred in
"But we need men like you in the House of Lords," pleaded the
"I cannot think of it," said Cleggett. And then, not wishing to
hurt the Englishman's feelings, he said kindly: "But I will
promise you this: if I should change my mind and decide to become
a member of any aristocracy at all, it will be the English
The Duke thanked Cleggett for the compliment; and Cleggett
thought he had heard the end of it.
He was, therefore, surprised, a few weeks later, as he was
conversing with the King at Buckingham Palace, when His Majesty
himself, laying his hand familiarly on Cleggett's shoulder,
renewed the petition in person. It is hard to refuse things
continually without seeming unappreciative. In fact, Cleggett
felt trapped; if the truth must be known, he was a little angry.
"Come, come, Cleggett," said the King, "lay aside your prejudices
and oblige me. After all, it is not the sort of thing I run
about offering to every American in London!"
"Your Majesty," said Cleggett, politely but with a note of
firmness and finality in his voice, "since you mention the word
American you force me to speak plainly. I would not willingly
wound your sensibilities in any particular, but--pardon me if I
am direct--you have been very persistent. I AM an American, your
Majesty, and I consider the honor of being an American citizen
far above any that it is within your power to bestow. If I have
not mentioned this before, it was because I did not wish to hurt
you. I hope our friendship will not cease, but I must tell you
flatly that I desire to hear no more of this. You will oblige me
by not mentioning it again, Your Majesty."
The King begged Cleggett's pardon with a becoming sincerity, and
was about to withdraw. Cleggett, who liked him immensely, was
sudden smitten with a regret that it had been so impossible to
"Your Majesty," he cried impulsively, "I BEG of you not to get
the idea that there is anything personal in this refusal."
"I respect principle," said the King gravely. But he WAS hurt
and could not help showing it, and he was a little stiff.
"We will compromise," said Cleggett, with a flash of inspiration.
"I will let you have my second son, Athos Cleggett. You may make
him Earl of Claiborne, if you choose. After all, HE is half
"That is like your generosity, Cleggett," said the King, smiling,
and giving Cleggett his hand.