Part 2 out of 6
knockin' 'em out with his left hand, which the same was all right, too,
but he was heard to pass a remark one day that he only hit landlubbers
with his left hand.
"The crew they was insulted, and that very night the second mate went
overboard. Who done it nobody knows, leastways the captain couldn't
find out. It made the old man peevish like and he got to arguin' with
them sailors instead of wallopin' 'em the way he oughter done, and one
day they turned on him.
"It was all over in a minute. They had the old man thrown and tied.
The first mate came runnin'in, firin' his pistols, but they downed him,
too. I took the wheel while they decided what to do. 'Bloody Mike,'
their leader, had about persuaded the men to send the captain and mate
to Davy Jones's locker and the carpenter was riggin' the plank for 'em
to walk when I up and puts in a word.
"I pleaded for their lives and, though Mike was dead agin' the idea,
they voted to let them live. The last we saw of 'em they was driftin'
off in the jolly boat with a jug of water and a loaf of bread."
The mariner paused and Pauline suggested delightedly:
"And as soon as they had cooled down they were grateful to you and made
you their leader?"
"They did not," answered the "pirate." "They broached a cask of rum in
the forward hold, and I overheard 'em plotting to throw me to the
"How awful," said Pauline.
"Yes, miss," agreed the "pirate." It was awkward and embarrassing like
for a mere slip of a lad. So I up and goes into the captain's cabin and
gets all the pistols and knives and cutlasses there was and brings 'em
out on deck.
"Pretty soon them drunken devils come a-tumblin' out of the fore hatch,
picks up half a dozen capstan bars and some belyin' pins and a marlin
spike or two and runs aft a-hollerin' and yellin'. I gives 'em one
warnin' and then fires."
The "pirate" stopped, coughed and looked around.
"Oh, please go on," begged Pauline.
"Yes, miss," replied the sailor, "but this talking affects my throat.
Could you possibly--?"
"Why, certainly," interrupted Owen, "I'll get you a drink."
After the sailor had swallowed the biggest drink ever poured out in
that house he continued:
"Yes, that was as neat a fight as I ever was in. There was some twenty
of 'em all told."
"And what happened then?" demanded Pauline.
"Well, Miss, it come on to blow, and there was the old ship staggerin'
along under full sail. It was all I could do to keep the old hulk from
foundering', at that, but I stuck to the wheel day after day and night
after night. To keep from freezin' I had to drink a lot of grog. Oh,
a powerful lot of grog. So much grog that I've been dependent on it
ever since--and I'll take a little now, if it's agreeable." It
wasn't exactly agreeable, but he got it and continued. "Finally we
fetched up, ker-smack, on the rocks of a desert island. All the boats
had been smashed and carried away by the storm, so I had to build a
raft. The first two loads was all provisions, and then I took the
"What treasure?" asked Pauline.
"Oh, bless your heart, didn't I tell you about the treasure?"
"No," said Hicks, with a scowl, "and that's the part we want to hear
"Oh, money ain't everything," rebuked the "pirate" in a lordly manner.
"There was a matter of a million dollars or so in good British gold,
and what it was on the 'Nancy Lee' for is nobody's business. I took
it all ashore, an' buried it on the island. Here's a copy of the chart
I made, and you three is the first to lay human eyes on it."
While Pauline examined reverently the dingy bit of paper the "pirate"
concluded his yarn.
"After I'd buried the last f it, I rigged a mast on the raft and
fetched up on one of the Bahamas."
"And you have never been back to get the gold?" queried Pauline.
"No, miss; though I've started many's the time. But a poor seafarin'
man like me finds it hard to fit out a proper expedition. If you fancy
the notion and want to go along with me and pay all the expenses I'll
divvy up half and half with you. What do you say?"
Pauline looked at Owen and Hicks, who nodded approvingly. She had no
great faith in finding any gold. Old Mr. Marvin had said that treasure
bunts rarely produce any results. But he had also remarked that they
were very thrilling, and here, surely, was adventure well worth a
little time and money. Pauline agreed, and the "pirate" was in the
midst of imposing a blood-curdling oath of secrecy when Harry demanded
Nobody, least of all the sailor, would tell him what was in the wind,
except that they were going off on a trip of adventure. The young man
disapproved of both Hicks and the "pirate," and the latter showed his
dislike of Harry. It was with regret that the man of the sea
recollected Owen's stipulation that Harry must on no account be allowed
to go with the party. Nothing would have pleased the "pirate" better
than to have got these two happy and innocent representatives of
"ill-gotten gains" alone with him on the high seas. Pauline, too,
wished to have Harry who was frowning and suspiciously demanding
information. But she had sworn the oath of a buccaneer, and far be it
from her to break faith with the confiding freebooter.
So, once more Harry was kept out of Pauline's councils. He was a
little provoked at her this time, for her willfulness seemed almost
perverse after the lesson she should have learned from the aeroplane
THE TREASURE HUNTERS
Excitement and activity pervaded the house. Sunday and Monday every
one, including Harry, soon knew that Pauline was to take Tuesday's
steamer to Old Nassau, in the Bahamas. Harry intended to quietly board
the steamer a little earlier than Pauline and surprise the party by
appearing after the ship was well out to sea. His plans were'
shattered by the young lady's unexpected "early arrival." Harry, with
a suitcase in each hand, met her face to face on the pier. There was
nothing for him to do but confess, kiss her goodbye and go. It was
with a pang of regret that she saw him toss his two suitcases covered
with college team labels into a taxicab and depart.
An hour later the four treasure hunters stood looking over the rail
watching the last passengers come aboard. The "pirate," in a new blue
suit, huge Panama hat and light pink necktie, though a rather unusual
sight, had been toned down in appearance to a degree that permitted him
to walk about among people without causing a crowd to collect. Hicks,
too, at Owen's suggestion, had adopted quieter attire.
Just as the gangplank was about to be pulled in the deckhands waited to
permit a very feeble and bent old man to hobble aboard. He had long,
white hair, and his face was mostly gray whiskers, except a pair of
dark spectacles. A porter followed him bearing two brand new
The adventurous four were soon comfortably perched in steamer chairs
watching New York harbor slip by them. They had barely reached the
Statue of Liberty when the "pirate" launched forth on one of his
Munchausen-like tales of the sea.
Highly colored, picturesque, untrue and absurd as a stained glass
window, nevertheless these yams took on a semblance of reality from the
character of the narrator himself. In all his stories the "pirate" was
the hero. Nobody noticed that a steward had placed a fifth steamer
chair beside the sailor until that worthy reached one of the main
climaxes of his narrative. At that point he felt a hand on his
shoulder and looked around into the whiskers and black spectacles of
the old passenger. The cackling voice remarked:
"It's a lie. It's a lie. It's a lie."
Every one was astonished, but even the "pirate" had a trace of respect
for such great age, and said nothing in reply. After a while he
continued, only to be interrupted by the same words.
This was too much to endure, and though the if "pirate" held his
tongue they rebuked the old dotard by walking away and leaning over the
rail. The conversation wandered to the subject of sharks, and Pauline
asked if they were as stupid as they looked.
"Don't you believe it," the "pirate" assured her. "Them sharks look
stupid just to fool you. Why, I remember a time not so long ago down
in Choco Bay, on the coast of Colombia, there was an old devil who used
to sneak up alongside sailin' vessels in a fog. He carried in his
mouth the big iron shank of an anchor he'd picked up from the wreck."
"What did he do that for?" asked Hicks.
"So the iron would deflect the compass and make them run the ship onto
the Kelp Ledges, off the Pinudas, Islands. If a ship went down he
stood a good chance of eating one or two o' the passengers. But I
don't mind sharks. If you want to know what really annoys me, it's
them killer whales in the Antarctic that come a crowdin' and buttin' up
"It's an internal, monumental, epoch-making lie," cackled a voice
behind him. Every one looked, and there was the old man.
The "pirate" was now thoroughly exasperated. If he couldn't tell a
story without being interrupted in this manner life wasn't worth
living. He announced that he would find the old man and thrash him.
Owen and Hicks were annoyed, but they feared the result of the sailor's
fury. They might all be arrested on arriving at Nassau. This would
interfere with plans, and must not be thought of. To appease the
wrathful "pirate" Owen offered to have the old man thrashed so soundly
that he would probably be glad to stay out of sight the rest of the
There were some rascally looking men of Spanish blood among the second
cabin passengers who, as Owen and Hicks observed, looked needy and
The secretary found no great embarrassment in explaining that he wished
the old man thrashed quietly and privately. The Spaniards agreed to
beat him thoroughly for the trifling consideration of ten dollars.
They would even throw him overboard for a very reasonable sum
additional. But the bargain was struck at ten dollars for a moderate
beating, and the foreigners were warned that as he was delicate they
must be careful not to kill him.
During the next hour or two the old man passed the four treasure
hunters in their steamer chairs, but each time the "pirate" ceased
talking before he came within earshot.
At last the old man stopped in front of Pauline and gazed long at the
"pirate." He studied the rascal's face, apparently trying to remember
the identity of the man. Slowly the aged head nodded as if he was
saying to himself. "Yes, he is the same man."
Then, turning to Pauline and shaking a warning finger, the old man
delivered a surprising message.
Pauline was startled. The three men leaped to their feet. It was with
the utmost difficulty that she was able to prevent violence.. Owen
excused himself to hunt up his Spaniards and demand an explanation for
their slowness. To his surprise they declared that they had tackled
him and that he was as quick and powerful as a gorilla. He had
thrashed them both and they were glad to escape with their lives.
The ex-secretary was incredulous, but they showed cuts and bruises and
demanded their money, saying that a joke had been played on them. When
Owen refused one of them drew a stiletto and the ten dollars was
Returning, ruefully, he related the failure of the Spaniards. The
"pirate" at once said:
"Now, let me handle him."
A few moments later Boyd cornered his ancient adversary on a deserted
and wind-swept piece of deck.
"Old man," snarled the "pirate," "you say all my stories are lies.
Only your gray hairs have saved you from a thrashing before this."
"If it's my gray hairs that stop you, I'll remove that obstacle."
The "pirate" was amazed to see the aged person take off his hat and
remove a gray wig with his left hand while his right fist collided with
the "pirate's" eye. When consciousness returned he was lying on the
deck with no living thing in sight but a seagull aeroplaning on slanted
wings over his head. His return to the party was more rueful than
"What is the matter with your eye, Mr. Boyd?" asked Pauline
"Why, you see," said the "pirate," "I was looking at a girl with one of
these new slit skirts and I stumbled and bumped against a ventilator."
"I see," commented Owen to help him out. "You sort of slipped on a
sex-appeal, so to speak."
"Yes," said the sailor, gratefully. "It was just like that."
"It's a lie," said a high, thin voice from somewhere, and they noticed
that a porthole behind them was open.
Pauline found conversation difficult. Hicks, as a man of few words,
which gave him an undeserved reputation for wisdom. The "pirate" had
given up spinning yams on account of the old man's unfailing
interruption. Owen's mind, too, was preoccupied with a growing
suspicion. So the adventurous young lady went to her stateroom and
wrote a letter to Harry.
The sailor intimated that he had important news which could be only
told in the privacy of Owen's stateroom. The secretary suspected this
to be only a maneuver on the "pirate's" part to get acquainted with the
whiskey he knew Owen kept with him. But the seafarer unfolded the tale
of his black eye not truthfully nor accurately, except in that he had
recognized Harry under the disguise of the old man.
"I more than half suspected it," said Owen, "and I have been watching
his stateroom. But there is no way any one can see into his room
unless by getting a look in through the porthole."
"And there's where you get a good idea," said the "pirate."
"But there's no good having a peep' at him without his disguise now
that it's Harry," objected Hicks.
"No," said the "pirate," turning on Owen his lusterless sea-green eyes,
faded by much grog to a dimness that reminded one of the faint lights
set in ships' decks and known as "dead-eyes." "No, but your porthole
idea is just the scheme to get at him and get rid of him. I can slip
down a rope tonight when all is quiet and the fool passengers are over
on the other side looking at the bloody moon."
"And then what?" said Owen.
"I goes down the rope and shoots the old fool! I mean the young fool
--through the porthole."
"Why, that's murder!" cried Owen. "We'd all swing for it."
"No, it ain't murder; it's suicide, 'cause I'll throw the gun in there
where they'll find it when they break the door in, and everybody'll
think he shot himself."
"It's practical," commented Hicks, but Owen protested. At last it was
decided that a fourth man was necessary to do the shooting, and the
"pirate" volunteered to produce him.
"There's an old shipmate o' mine down in the stoke hole working like a
nigger. He'll be glad to do the trick for ten dollars, but we'll make
it fifty because the poor fellow has a wife and children and needs the
money. I'll go get him."
Owen and Hicks went on deck while Boyd descended to the fiery vitals of
the steamer. It is not an easy matter to smuggle a grimy stoker from
his furnace to the upper passenger decks, but the "pirate" managed it.
Meanwhile Harry was not losing time. He had taken a dictograph from
his baggage, borrowed a few dry batteries and a coil of wire from the
wireless operator. He carefully installed the instrument in his
stateroom, and led the wires out under his door to the passageway.
From there it was an easy task to carry them along the edge of the
carpet to the door of Owen's stateroom. Arrived at the point, he was
compelled to leave pliers, wire and the receiving instrument under a
Like many another stateroom door, Owen's could not be locked easily
from the outside, so when the three conspirators went out they left it
unlocked. The old man slipped in a moment later and quickly placed the
dictograph under the lower bunk.
Returning to his own room, the old man took up his instrument and
listened. But he was not a very expert electrician and the dictograph
for a long time failed to give anything but roars and crackling sounds,
though he was convinced there were several persons talking. A last he
got the thing adjusted in time to catch the last sentences of the
conversation. He recognized the voice of the "pirate." It said:
"An then we lowers you down the rope to his porthole. You sticks your
gun in and shoot the old fool. Don't forget to throw the gun in
afterward, so they'll think he killed himself. See?"
"Sure, I got yer, matey," replied a strange voice.
After this the dictograph must have got out of order as nothing further
came over the wire.
After closing the porthole Harry started to take off his disguise with
a view of revealing himself and having Owen, Hicks and the "pirate"
arrested. Then it occurred to him that he had not heard Owen or Hicks
talking and very likely they were not in the room at all.
It was probably a crazy, drunken scheme of the old sailor whom he had
tormented. Neither Owen nor Hicks had any suspicion, so far as he
knew, that behind the whiskers and eyeglasses was Harry. Owen could
have no object in shooting him.
"Can it be that I am jealous of this man Owen?" he wondered. "Polly
has been taking his advice against mine lately. What can that mean?"
Peace reigned during the evening while the old liner plunged and rolled
past wicked Cape Hatteras. While the passengers listened to the sad
orchestra in the saloon Harry, still in his whiskered disguise, sent a
wireless to a lawyer in New York requesting him to telegraph Pauline at
Nassau something that would make her come home. Then he went back to
his stateroom and locked the door.
As he stepped in he caught sight of the unbeautiful countenance of Mr.
Boyd squinting wickedly at him from far down the passageway.
"Just for that evil grin of yours, Mr. Pirate," thought Harry, "I am
not going to let you or your friend shoot me until after daylight." So
Harry kept his porthole closed tight that night, sleeping rather
restlessly without his accustomed ventilation.
Twice he heard a faint scraping sound on the outside of his cabin, and
a dark shadow eclipsed the faint nimbus of light which the foggy night
sent through his porthole. On the deck directly over his head three
dark figures sat in deck chairs, while a fourth paced the deck, his
cigar glowing like the tail lamp of a distant automobile.
The fog began to lift just before dawn, and the stoker, making another
trip down his rope, found the porthole open. A hasty inspection of the
decks indicated that it was safe to go ahead.
Owen, Hicks and the "pirate" quickly lowered the stoker, sitting in a
little swing known on the sea as a "bo'sun's chair." In his hand he
carried a pistol which Hicks had provided. Each of the three
conspirators had revolvers, but the racetrack man's weapon was chosen
because he had obtained it from a source to which it could not be
traced. Down went the stoker, his bare feet clinging to the gently
swaying side of the ship.
The porthole was open, and there in the dim interior of the cabin the
light was reflected from a pair of spectacles. There, too, were the
whiskers and gray hair. The old man seemed to be asleep in his chair
right near the porthole. The stoker cocked his revolver and held it
ready for instant action.
The steamer's fog horn blew a blast at the fast thinning fog. This
noise was just what the stoker wanted. He quickly plunged his pistol
into the porthole and fired it point blank in the very face of the old
man. There could be no question of missing. He looked up at the three
eager faces and nodded that all was well.
"I've got him," he called out, and was about to hurl the pistol into
the stateroom when an unpleasant and unexpected thing happened. A
brawny fist shot out of the porthole and collided with the stoker's
More from surprise than the force of the blow, the stoker fell backward
into the sea. The three watchers on deck saw the proceeding, and only
one, the "pirate," had presence of mind to hurl a lifebuoy. No alarm
was sounded. The steamer went on into the sparkling morning sea,
leaving behind her a profane and disgusted stoker. This unfortunate
had only a lifebuoy to aid him on a fifteen-mile swim to shore.
"Never mind," said the "pirate" after the conspirators had gotten over
their first fright at the dashing of their plans. "I have an idea;
it's a corking idea, and you'll all like it."
"What is it?" asked Owen nervously. "Here is your drink now; what's
But the "pirate" wouldn't tell. He objected that it was too startling
for them to carry in their timid brains. He would unfold it when the
time came, and he promised them that it would be the greatest and most
daring project they had ever heard. A murderous glare lit up the faded
eyes and he chuckled to himself, but no offers nor threats would induce
him to part with his secret.
A FLIRTY BUCCANEER
Arrived at Nassua, the party proceeded to the King Edward House, where
Pauline found a telegram from Philip Carpenter, the lawyer, advising
her to return as soon as possible to attend the signing of certain
important papers. On account of the message all hands made haste to
hunt for a small steamer or launch to complete the trip.
Though none of the four saw him, the old man was at the hotel. He lost
no time in assuming another and very different disguise, observing to
himself that the most valuable part of his college education might
prove to be the secrets of "make up" he had learned in his college
Owen, with his usual forethought, had arranged in advance to be put in
touch at once with all available boats. As a result a gasoline launch,
with a cabin and stateroom, about 100 feet long, which had once been a
yacht, was chartered. The "pirate's" stipulation that no stranger
should see his island made it necessary for Pauline to deposit a check
for $2,500 for its safe return.
The next morning provisions were brought aboard, the "pirate" declaring
that he could run the engine, and all was ready when a difficulty
arose. Who was to cook? Pauline volunteered, but Owen objected, and
finally the "pirate's" objections to a stranger were overcome.
A dark-skinned half-breed, with long, black hair, who had earned half a
dollar by helping carry things on board, volunteered in a gruff voice.
"I'se fine cook. Best cook on the island. I cook very cheap."
Time was too valuable to investigate the man's ability, so he was
hired. Off went the white launch. Owen steering under instructions
from the "pirate," who soon proved he knew gasoline engines. Out of
the harbor they went, and then coasted along the beautiful shores of
the island. The sea was calm and the cruise uneventful for some time,
when the "pirate" called every one's attention to the fact that it was
a long time since breakfast. He went below and addressed the cook, who
had shut himself up in his tiny galley, as sailors call a boat's
"What's your name?" demanded Boyd.
"Are you a nigger?"
"I guess so; I dunno."
"Well, what were your father and mother?"
"That's funny; but what I want to know is how soon grub will be ready?"
"Right away, senor."
"All right, Filipo; see that there is plenty of it."
"Dod foul my hawser, if this ain't what yer might call pleasant,"
declared the "pirate," showing his few teeth in a smile that reminded
Pauline of the spiles of an abandoned pier.
Pauline was pacing the deck apart from the others, in a pleasant
dreaminess scanning the endless azure of the hashed waters. Her
thoughts roamed forward and backward--forward to the vague magic land
of adventure, where she was to win treasure and delight, fortune and
fame; backward to a big, lovely, splendid house in New York City, where
a certain tall young man, with brown, unruly hair and shoulders broad
as a sheltering wall, must be pining for her.
Some one began whistling in the cabin. Pauline paid no attention to it
at first, but as the tune suddenly shifted to the very latest musical
comedy air she became interested. Owen never whistled, and Hicks, she
imagined, seldom went to the theatres.
The song shifted from whistle to words:
"I'm a greatly wicked person. If there's anybody worse on This
terrestrial circumference of guile (Though I very broadly doubt it) I
should like to know about it, For I want to be the blackest thing on
"I'm a bad-mad-man, my dear, I'm a liar and a flyer and flirty
buccaneer. I've done everything that's awful that a human being can.
I'm a bad--ma-a-d man."
"The song from 'Polly Peek-a-boo.' Harry and I heard it only two weeks
ago," mused Pauline.
Moved by a sudden whimsy, she entered the cabin. There was no one
there but the cook. In his dingy linen suit he was standing at the
table peeling potatoes and whistling. He stopped as Pauline entered, a
tall powerful man, though of slouching posture, he bowed
"No like me sing--no sing," he suggested.
"On the contrary, I like it very much. You sing very well indeed,
Filipo. Would you mind telling me where you heard the song you were
"Big American man, up Nassau--he sing'um. Very fine man--big fool
daughter," replied Filipo.
"You speak very good English when you sing," remarked Pauline. "Why
don't you do it all the time?"
The cook hesitated.
"Speak good English all time--bad English when sing!"
Pauline began to scrutinize half suspiciously this remarkable menial,
but he kept stolidly at work at the potatoes, and his dark skin, his
scraggly beard, his bagging trousers upturned over bare feet, his
general dilapidation of appearance, proved him nothing but one of the
common derelicts of the languid islands.
"If you could peel potatoes instead of butchering them, there would be
a little more to eat in case we run out of supplies, Filipo," suggested
He turned on her a frank American grin. For an instant the twinkle in
the keen blue eyes upset her.
It was so, like the twinkle in a pair of keen blue eyes that were
supposed to be figuratively weeping for her fate in far-off New York.
But instantly he changed his attitude.
"No like cook--cook quit," he grumbled.
"'Oh, no, indeed, Filipo, you must not be offended. I was just
speaking to Mr. Owen this morning about raising your salary."
A thick voice came to them from the cabin door.
"I begs to report, Miss," said Blinky Boyd, the pirate, reeling in,
"that there be mut'ny in yer crew. Mr. Hicks and Mr. Owen, Miss, has
rebelled against me authority and has refused me drink."
"That is an outrage, Mr. Boyd. They do not realize how your
nerve-racking adventures have shattered your strength. I will attend
to it myself," said Pauline sympathetically. "Filipo, give Mr. Boyd a
"Drink? Yes, meem," replied Filipo, with such unwonted alacrity that
Pauline turned in surprise.
She saw the slouching figure of the cook suddenly stiffen to his full
stalwart height. She saw an ill clad, but majestic giant stride toward
the pirate, bowl him over with a gentle tap, pinion his arms and legs
in a lifting grasp and carry him toward the door of the cabin.
Cries of rage came stuffily from the thick throat of Boyd.
"Lemme go, ye scum, lemme go," he yelled.
"Filipo! Filipo! Stop this instant! How dare you treat Mr. Boyd in
such a manner?" cried the indignant girl.
"You say, 'Give--him drink.' He say, 'Lemme go," answered Filipo,
pausing with his squirming burden.
"Drink! Ye fool, drink! She is felling ye ter gimme a drink,"
screamed the hero of desperate encounters.
"Big, fat drink," agreed the cook, as he strode toward the rail.
Pauline rushed upon him. The peril of her precious pirate stirred all
her courage. She saw her dreams vanishing--the chief narrator,
navigator and guide of the treasure voyage suspended in two strong arms
over the blue deep. Forgetting that he was accustomed to conquer
twenty men single handed, she felt only pity for his plight. Her soft
but determined hand gripped the cook's.
"Filipo, obey my orders!" she commanded.
"Yes, Mem. Let 'um go. Give 'um drink. Big liar need big drink."
He lifted the struggling but utterly helpless form of the pirate over
his shoulders, then, with a sudden stooping movement, he made as if to
plunge it into the sea.
"Help! Help!" cried Pauline, running up the deck.
Hicks and Owen rushed from their staterooms. Blinky Boyd was quivering,
gasping beside the rail. They found a slouching, uncommunicative cook
stolidly washing dishes in the galley.
Some hours later while Boyd was sleeping off his potations and Hicks
and Owen were deep in conference on deck, Pauline slipped down into the
galley ostensibly to explain the rudiments of the culinary art to the
"The trouble is you have no respect for a potato, Filipo. You slash
the poor thing to pieces, and then you boil it only long enough to hurt
"Peel potato nice, good," he apologized. "Then peel 'um pirate.
Filipo want to peel pirate; boil him just half-hurt him feelings.
"Oh, I see. But I think you do Mr. Boyd a great injustice, Filipo. He
has consented to come all the way from New York with us and take
command of our boat and find the buried treasure, and--"
"Buried potatoes," snapped Filipo with a sudden reversion to his
"Well, at least you understand about tomorrow's breakfast now, don't
"Yes, mem. Boil 'um eggs to death; no peel 'um."
"No, no, no, Filipo--boil them two minutes and a half. Here, take my
watch and go by that. You must be very careful of it, Filipo."
"Yes, mem; boil 'um long time; stick fork in, see when soft."
Pauline caught the watch from him. "You don't boil the watch at all,
Filipo. You boil the eggs and watch the watch. Can you tell time,
"How long is an hour? Peel potatoes--hour is ver' ver' long. Talk
to ship's lady--whist!--hour is no time," answered Filipo with
Again she eyed him through her long lashes a little askance. He was
rather subtle, this half-breed cook, for one who could not even boil an
"I will let you have the watch, Filipo," she said gravely, "but you
must give it back to me. It is one of the most precious things I have.
It was given to me by--Filipo, were you ever in love with a girl?"
"Su-u-ure, mem!" replied the cook with sudden enthusiasm. "Love
daughter big American--no love me. Big American daughter start from
Nassau--get buried treasure--not!"
"Filipo, where do you get all your New York slang?"
"Big American daughter, she sling slang-good," said Filipo.
"Why did you fall in love with her?"
"Nice girl--no eat much, no scold cook, no talk about potatoes--
just big fool 'bout buried treasure."
"What do you think love is?"
"Love-huh!" grunted the cook. "I like girl; girl no like me. Chase
all 'round world--no good."
"That watch was given to me by the man I love, Filipo," said Pauline.
"You won't-boil it--or anything, will you?"
As Filipo took the tiny diamond-scarred timepiece from Pauline's hand
there was a sound as of some one choking at the top of the steps.
The cook sprang to the deck, but there was no one in sight. He
returned to Pauline, while Blinky Boyd, gasping more from astonishment
than fear, reeled up to Owen and Hicks on the forward deck.
"She's gone clean crazy," he panted. "She treats that there cook as if
he was a nat'ral human man instid of a sea-rovin' gorilla, worse'n the
one I beat In Afriky."
"No more gorillas for a while, Blinky," commanded Hicks. "What's
"She's gone an' guv him her jooled watch to boil eggs by," said the
"By George, we will have to do something with that fellow," muttered
Hicks to Owen as they walked away.
"Do suthin' to him!" Blinky Boyd was fuming in the wake of Owen and
Hicks on their stroll up deck. "Do everythin' to him; make 'im walk
the old board; draw'n quarter 'im. Didn't he attempt me life an' ain't
he at present engaged in stealin' the fambly jewels?"
"Well, have you got any ideas?" asked Owen.
"The first thing," whispered Blinky, "is to git him under the
in-floo-ence of licker. They never was no cook could stand up agin'
the disgraceful habit o' takin' too much and doin' too little. Get 'im
under the in-floo-ence."
"And then what?"
"Then--well, ain't they a lot o' good blue water floatin' around atop
the fishes? Ain't they some accommodatin' sharks swimmin' atop the
"That's a bit crude--just to throw a man overboard for nothing," said
Owen, willing to arouse Boyd's anger.
"Fer nothin'? Didn't he insult the master o' this ship. Ain't he
tried to starve us to death? Fer wot kind o' nothin', says I." Boyd
smote his caving chest in emphasis of his accusations.
"And he would have the diamond watch on him in case he should be picked
up," suggested Hicks quietly.
"That's so," said Owen. "He would have been swimming to shore with the
stolen watch and drowned."
"But, of course, he would swim to shore, unless--well, it's a case of
making sure beforehand. We could persuade him to go in and try to kill
Blinky here while Blinky's asleep--then rush in and finish him. Even
Pauline was a witness to the attack he made on Blinky this afternoon."
The pirate's glowing countenance suddenly, went white.
"Not this trip," he said fervently. "I ain't goin' to kill no man in a
trap like that. I'm goin' to see it done fair and square in the open
--with plenty o' drink in 'im an' 'is conscience clear. I wouldn't
see no man die with murder in 'is heart fer me."
"I don't like it," said Owen nervously. "I don't like the idea of
doing too much. We've got one big piece of work to do that concerns
her." He nodded in the direction of the cabin. "Dye mean to say we
can't get a poor half-breed cook off this boat without killing him?
Why not discharge him?"
Hicks uttered a grim chuckle. "I must say I never thought of that.
Get a boat manned, will you, Boyd, and we'll put him ashore within half
"All hands for'ard," bellowed the pirate's voice. The "all hands" were
Owen, Hicks, the pirate and Pauline.
"Why all hands? Can't you handle the cook yourself?" said Owen.
"Not to put that cook ashore--ye need a navy," said Boyd.
Backed by Owen and Hicks, he moved to the cabin.
"You, cook, there--ye're fired. Get off the boat. Yer kerriage
waits," he cried down at the busy Filipo.
Filipo shuffled almost meekly toward the speaker. He saw the skiff
alongside and Hicks and Owen nearby.
"Grab 'im," ordered the pirate. "Here's the irons." He produced a
pair of rusty handcuffs that had been brought along, among other
ominous-looking junk, to impress Pauline.
But Filipo was not "fired" yet. With a sudden long-distance lunge he
knocked down the pirate, who, thought he was at a safe distance. But
Hicks, who had been well schooled in street-fight tactics, thoughtfully
stuck out a leg and tripped the cook, who fell upon the groaning Boyd.
Boyd, though down, was by no means "out," and held Filipo tight while
Owen and Hicks slipped on the handcuffs.
"Now to the boat with 'im an' dump 'im ashore wherever It looks hottest
"Yah," he snarled in the face of the prostrate cook, "ye don't
interfere no more with the capting of this here vessel. I hopes ye--"
But his sentence was cut short, or rather it ended in a shriek of pain
and fright, as the cook, suddenly swinging himself from his shoulders,
landed a terrifically propelled right foot in the pirate's middle.
He was pinned down again the next moment, but Boyd's yell had
penetrated to the cabin.
"What is the matter--who is hurt?" cried Pauline, rushing to the
group on deck.
"We have had to order this fellow put ashore. He has twice attacked
Boyd, and besides he is useless as a cook," explained Owen.
"You will assuredly do nothing of the sort," announced Pauline. "You
will take those horrid iron things right off and set him free."
"But, my dear Miss Marvin, he is a desperate man. It is dangerous."
"What did we come here for but to get into danger?" cried Pauline.
"Besides, Filipo is the most interesting person on the ship. I have
just devoted a chapter to him in my book, and if you think I'm going to
spoil my book because Mr. Boyd gets hurt, or the potatoes aren't done,
you're much mistaken."
Owen obediently knelt and unlocked the clumsy handcuffs.
"You are free, Filipo," said Pauline with the air of a proud princess
releasing a serf.
"No fired?" grunted Filipo. "Too bad. Bum job."
"Now go back to the kitchen, and promise not to strike Mr. Boyd any
"No hit 'um. Boil 'um. Three minutes; stick fork in hum," said the
cook with a cannibal glare at the still writhing pirate.
He shuffled off to his pots and pans. Blinky scrambled to his bunk,
and Pauline retired to elaborate the fascinating character of Filipo in
another chapter of her book of adventure.
She did not realize how late it was when at last she put down her pen
and moved with soft, slippered steps to the door of the cabin.
Over the great vault of the heavens the stars were sprinkled like
silver dust. The boat rolled softly, dreamily on the listless waters.
A cool breeze scented with the fragrance of the spicy land cooled her
brow. She realized that her little stateroom had been very stuffy. It
was beautiful here in the hushed night alone. She moved out on deck.
They had come to anchor for the night off St. Andrew, and the few faint
lights of the town tinged the scene with life.
Pauline was thinking of Harry. It would have been nice if he were here
now, in the moonlight just for this evening. Of course if he were a
regular member of the party, he would spoil the trip by his grumpiness,
and probably prevent them from finding any treasure at all. But Harry
was a good companion--usually, and Pauline was getting a little tired
of the company on the yacht.
The night was so still that even her light footstep could be heard on
the deck. And she was surprised to hear a muffled hail from some
invisible craft astern.
As she moved to the rail--her tall form in the yachting suit standing
out plainly in the moonlight--she saw a small boat scurry away. She
thought she recognized their own small boat--the one the yacht towed
--and she quickly made sure that this was true.
Pauline turned toward the cabin to rouse the others for a real pirate
chase, when she was silenced and stunned by the sight of Filipo, the
cook, staggering out of the galley, with his bearded chin drooping on
his breast, his knees swaying under him, his arms weaving cubist
caricatures in the air and his voice raised in unintelligible song.
He was quickly followed by the Pirate, who, to Pauline's amazement,
actually presented a picture of sobriety in contrast to Filipo.
But on seeing her, Boyd looked frightened.
"They have stolen the skiff," cried Pauline.
"No, Miss," said Boyd; "they was four of 'em come aboard in one boat,
an' we let 'em take ourn ashore to bring a double load o' supplies."
Pauline was grievously disappointed. She turned her wrath upon the
musical and meandering Filipo.
"Filipo!" she demanded. "Go to bed at once."
For answer he reeled toward her.
"Cook boiled--boiled three minute," he said.
Then with a lurch he fell sprawling at her feet.
Boyd had started back to the cabin in haste and excitement. Pauline's
first instinct was to leave the inebriated man, but pity mastered her
and she stooped to lift him.
He sprang to his feet without her aid. His blue eyes looked clearly
into hers. His body towered again to its commanding height as it had
done when he was about to finish the Pirate.
He stooped and spoke rapidly, sharply in her ear. There was no pigeon
chatter. It was straight English.
But as the door of the cabin opened again and Boyd came out, the tall
form sank into itself, the knees began to rock, the arms to weave and,
staggering back up the deck, he disappeared in the cabin.
Pauline stood stupefied. She had been so startled by the sudden
transformation of the man that she had hardly understood his strident
Only one thing she could remember. He had commanded her to go to bed
and bar her door. She obeyed but she could not sleep at first. It
seemed that hours had passed when a sound outside her door brought her
to her feet.
She moved to the door and softly opened it. Across the threshold lay
Filipo, wide awake.
"Go to bed," he said. Again she obeyed and this time she slept.
The next morning everything seemed outwardly as usual, the skiff had
been restored to its place astern. The Pirate was intoxicated; the
cook sober. But there was the threat of trouble in the air, Pauline
felt it in the attitude of all the men, even of Owen and Hicks.
The Pirate showed a strange new tendency to make friends with Filipo.
"Can you steer, cook?" he asked after the latter had announced that
dinner was ready.
"Yes," said Filipo.
"All right, take the wheel and keep her as she's going till we round
that point ahead there."
Filipo took the wheel and the others descended to find the cabin table
set. There was a prodigious amount of fried steak and boiled potatoes
as the main part of the meal. To their dismay they found the steak was
as tough as leather. A wail of sorrow arose when the potatoes proved
to be so hard that Pauline doubted if they had been boiled more than
The "Pirate," whose table manners savored of the forecastle, tried a
biscuit and found it as hard as stone and almost as heavy. In his
anger he hurled it at the side of the cabin and was horrified to see it
go through the boat's side. He did not know that the biscuit happened
to strike a hole that had been temporarily stopped up with putty and
paint. He turned speechless to the others and saw Hicks lift a biscuit
on high about to dash it onto the cabin floor.
With instant presence of mind he seized the arm of Hicks, and in a
hoarse voice shouted:
"Don't do that, you'll sink the ship. Look what mine did."
They all gazed in amazement at the ragged aperture in the side of the
cabin through which the sparkling waters of the Atlantic could be seen
Events moved swiftly that afternoon. Owen, peering in the galley
porthole beheld the disguised cook remove his wig to wash his face and
recognized the curly light hair of Harry. About four o'clock the
launch tied up to the landing at the small village of St. Andrew.
There Owen had opportunity to reveal his discovery of Harry's presence
to the other two conspirators. They were frightened at first but soon
agreed that it was a fine chance to get rid of both at the same time.
The pirate confided to them that he had brought a clock-work bomb along
and had it in his bag. A few minutes' discussion produced a simple
Owen sent the disguised Harry with a bucket, in search of a spring and
Pauline was already hunting strange flowers among the palms and
creepers. This left the conspirators free to place the bomb under the
cabin floor boards, a matter which Owen attended to himself. It was
set to explode two hours later. Pauline and Filipo were then summoned
and told that there were comfortable lodgings and a good meal
obtainable at a village just the other side of the long narrow point of
land. If Pauline and Boyd and Filipo would go around in the launch
Owen and Hicks would climb through the jungle and get there in time to
have a meal already upon the boat's arrival. The two parties separated
and all was quiet for some time. Pauline sat on deck with the pirate
endeavoring to engage him in conversation. But he grew surlier and
surlier in his answers, looking frequently at his watch and often
stopping below for a drink.
After about an hour and three-quarter, Pauline became a little
frightened at his behavior and descended to the cabin. There was the
cook reading a cook book, evidently his own. The moment Pauline was
out of sight the pirate heaved a sigh of relief and abandoned the
wheel. Stepping softly to the stern he pulled in the small boat which
was towing astern, leaped in adroitly and cut it adrift.
"Filipo," said Pauline, "you told us you were a good cook."
"Yes, senorita, I thought I was."
"Have you ever cooked before?"
"No, but I have a cook book which tells you how every one may be a
cook. I thought--"
Filipo, did not finish his sentence. His eyes were roving around the
cabin in search of something and Pauline was looking very hard at him.
"What's that ticking sound?" inquired the cook. He went to the cabin
clock and listened. No, it wasn't that. Pauline could hear it, too,
and it wasn't her tiny watch. Filipo made a search of the cabin and
finally located the sound under the floor. A moment more and he had
laid bare the pirate's bomb. He leaped on deck and took in at a glance
that the pirate had left in the only boat.
In another instant he was below again, tearing off his wig.
"Polly, it's I. There's an infernal machine ticking here ready to blow
He tried to lift up the bomb, but it was wedged fast.
"Harry, for Heaven sake, what do you mean?"
"I'll tell you in a minute in the water as soon as we have jumped
He seized Pauline, carried her up on deck.
"Where's Mr. Boyd?"
"Gone. Take this," answered Harry, putting a life preserver around
"Now, will you jump or shall I throw you overboard? One, two, three."
"I'll jump," said Pauline and with arms around each other they leaped
into the warm ocean. On went the white launch serene and unruffled by
the desertion of its crew. In answer to Pauline's demand for
explanation Harry only answered:
Finally it came.
A belch of flame shot up from the launch driving a column of smoke far
into the sky, where it spread out and formed a majestic ring, which
floated and curled for many moments. A concussion reached them through
the water and another in the air smote their ears.
The after part of the launch rode on the waters for a moment and then
disappeared. Finally a succession of waves tossed them and passed on.
"What does it mean?" gasped the girl.
"Insanity--sheer, downright insanity. That wretch of a 'pirate' was
a crazy man.
"He placed that bomb, intending to kill all of us. And Owen deserves a
sound thrashing for having anything to do with such a murderous
"I think you're rather hard on Owen, Harry," said Pauline. "Of course,
we all know that pirates aren't nice persons--but nobody could
foresee that the man was crazy."
"Well, perhaps. But don't talk, we have a mile and a half swim to
They were spared that ordeal by the Silurian liner Caradoc. Arrayed in
borrowed clothes they were notified of a second rescue and came out on
deck in time to behold in the dusk of evening the "pirate." He was
relating to an admiring throng how he had stuck by the burning ship
till it exploded. He had actually been blown into the air and had
fallen by good luck into the little boat.
"It's a lie," said Harry in the old man's cackling voice. The "pirate"
heard the voice of the old man and saw the face and the blond hair of
It was too much for his evil and murderous mind to bear. With a shriek
he hurled himself over the rail into the sea. The Caradoc stopped and
searched, but no trace of the "pirate" could be found.
THE COURTELYOU RECEPTION
Two weeks later Pauline and Harry were sitting in the library. Through
the half-closed blinds a soft breeze bore to them the fragrance of
carnations and roses.
For the first few days after their return Pauline was so thankful they
had not lost their lives that she was reconciled to not having found
the treasure. But only for the first few days. She was already
"You're wasting time, Harry," she said impatiently. "I'd rather face
anything than be bored to death."
"Polly, it's got to stop; it isn't safe, it isn't sensible, it isn't
even fun any more. Won't you drop the whole freakish thing and marry
Harry was holding Pauline by the hand as she drew her dainty way out of
the library. In laughing rebellion she looked over her shoulder and
jeered at him.
"Oh, I thought it was I who was going to be afraid," she said.
"Well, if you aren't, who is going to be?"
"You," she tittered.
He drew her back with a gentle but firm grasp.
"Honestly, Polly, aren't you satisfied yet? Adventure is all right for
breakfast or for luncheon once a month, but as a regular unremitting
diet it gets on my nerves."
"Still thinking of your own perils?" she volleyed.
Harry's fine keen face took on a look of earnest appeal. He let go her
hand, but as she started to run up the stairs he held her with his
"You dear, silly boy," she cried, returning a step and clasping him in
an impetuous embrace. "You are the nicest brother in all the world--
sometimes--but just now I think that adventure is nicer than brothers
--or husbands. I'm having the time of my life, Harry boy, and I'm
going on and on, and on with it until I've seen all the wild and wicked
people and places in the world."
Harry caught her hand and smiled down at her in surrender.
A ring at the door bell and the entrance of the maid caused Pauline to
flutter up the stairs. They were preparing to attend the Courtelyou's
reception that evening to the great Baskinelli, whose musical
achievements had been equaled only by his social successes during this,
his first New York season.
"Anyway," she twinkled from the top of the stairs, "you needn't be
frightened for tonight. Nothing so meek and mild as a pianist can hurt
Harry tossed up his hands in mimic despair and started back to the
"Yes, I know she is always at home to you, Miss Hamlin," the maid was
saying at the door.
"What a privileged person I am," laughed Lucille Hamlin.
She was Pauline's chum-in-chief, a dark, still tempered girl, in
perfect contrast to the adventurous Polly. She greeted Harry with the
easy grace of old acquaintanceship.
"Still nursing the precious broken heart?" she queried.
"For the love of Michael, me and humanity," he pleaded, "can't you do
something? She won't listen to me. I'm honestly, deucedly worried,
"You know very well that nobody could ever do anything with Polly. She
always had to have her own way--and that's why you love her, though
you don't know it, Harry. Shall I run upstairs, Margaret?" she added,
turning to the maid.
"No, you're going to stay here," commanded Harry, seizing her hands.
"You've got to do something with Pauline. You're the only one who
can. She wants a new adventure every day, and a more dangerous one
every time. Talk to her, won't you? Tell her it isn't right for her
to risk her life when her life is so precious to so many people. No,
wait a minute; sit down here. I'm not half through yet."
He drew her, under laughing protest, to a seat beside him on the
stairs. She realized suddenly how serious he was. She let her hand
rest comradely in his pleading grasp.
"Why, Harry, yes, if it is really dangerous, you know, I'll do anything
I can," she said gravely.
They did not see the cold gray face of Raymond Owen appear at the top
of the stairs. The face vanished as quickly as it had appeared.
In her boudoir Polly was laying out her finery of the evening. There
came a soft rap at the door.
"Come in," she called, and looked up brightly in Owen's furtive eyes as
he opened the door and motioned to her.
"Don't say anything, please, Miss Marvin," he whispered, "just come
with me for a moment."
Bewildered by his manner, she followed to the top of the stairs. He
directed her gaze to the two young people in earnest conversation
It was a picture that might well have startled a less impetuous heart
than Pauline's. Harry's hand still clasped Lucille's, and he was
leaning toward her in the eagerness of his appeal.
"You, will? You promise? Lucille, you've made me happy," Pauline
heard him say.
Through mist-dimmed eyes, dizzily, she saw the two arise. She saw the
man she loved clasp Lucille's other hand. She saw the girl who had
been her friend and confidante since childhood draw herself away from
him with a lingering withdrawal that could mean--ah, what could it
not mean? Polly fled to her room.
In Owen's subtle secret battle to retain control of the Marvin millions
fate had never so befriended him. None of all the weapons or ruses
that he had used to prevent the faithful attachment of Harry and
Pauline was as potent as this little seed of jealousy.
Pauline rang for her maid.
"Tell Miss Hamlin that I am not at home," she said in a voice that
started haughtily but ended in a sob.
"But, Miss Marvin--" Margaret tried to demur.
"Tell Miss Hamlin that I am not at home," repeated Pauline.
Lucille had just started up the stairs, leaving Harry with a
sympathetic pat on the shoulder.
"Well, even if I caret do anything with that wild woman," she laughed
back at him, "you know Pauline bears a charmed life. Nothing has ever
happened to her yet. Guardian angels surround her--as well as
Harry walked into the library. The agitated Margaret met Lucille on
"Miss Marvin is--Miss Marvin is not at home," the girl said, flushing
Lucille paused, dumfounded.
"But, Margaret, you know I thought--I really thought she was, at
home, Miss Hamlin. I hope you won't be offended with me."
"I insist upon seeing her," cried Lucille. "I don't believe you are
telling me the truth. I'm going right up to her room."
Margaret burst into tears.
Lucille quickly reconsidered. Indignation took the place of
astonishment. She hurried down the stairs and rushed through the door
without waiting for Margaret to open it.
Pauline, back in her own room, vented her first rage in tears. With
her hot face pressed against the pillow, she sobbed out the agony of
what she thought her betrayal--her double betrayal, by courtier and
comrade at once. But the tears passed. Too vital was the spirit in
her, too red flowing in her veins was the blood of fighting ancestors,
too strong the fortress of self-command within the blossoming gardens
of her youth and beauty for the word surrender ever to come to her
True, she had found an adventure that stirred her more deeply than the
peril of land or sea or sky could have done. Here was a thrill that
had never been listed among her intended tremors. She sent for Owen.
Masked as ever in his suave exterior and his manner of mingled
obsequiousness and fatherliness, he came instantly.
"Mr. Owen, have you known--have you known that this was going on?"
"I feel that it is my duty to know what concerns you--even what
concerns your happiness, Miss Marvin," he answered.
"I mean that I have long had my suspicions."
But again the very perfection of his deceit brought Pauline that
feeling that she had had since childhood that sense of an insidious
influence always surrounding her, always menacing and yet never
revealed. This influence, which Owen seemed to embody, was the
antagonist of that other mysterious power, so real and yet so
inexplicable, that warded and protected her--the spirit of the girl
that had stepped from the mummy.
But Pauline had seen with her own eyes; she did not need any word of
Owen's to convince her of the falsity of her lover.
She was quite calm now. She dressed with the utmost care. Margaret,
who had seen her in such anger only a short time before, was surprised
at her sprightliness and graciousness. A slightly heightened color
that only added to the luster of her loveliness, was the single sign of
her inward thoughts. She summoned her own car and left the house
The drawing room of the Clarence Courtelyou mansion was ablaze with
light. There was a little too much light. The Clarence Courtelyou
always had a little too much of everything.
There was a little too much money; there was a little too much gold
leaf decoration in the drawing room, a little too much diamond
decoration of Mrs. Courtelyou, and, if you were so fastidiously
impolite as to say so, a little too much of Mrs. Courtelyou herself.
But Mrs. Courtelyou was struggling toward gentility in such an amiable
way that better people liked her. The motherliness and sweet sincerity
of her--the fact that she loved her frankly illiterate husband and
worshipped, almost from afar, her cultured daughters was the thing that
brought her down from the base height of the "climbers" and lifted her
kindly, harmless personality to the high simplicities of the elite.
She made the natural mistake that other wealthy mendicants at the outer
portals of society have made the mistake of pounding at the gates.
Instead of letting the splendor of her charitable gifts, the
gracefulness of her simplicity, carry her through, she went in for the
gorgeous and the costly.
As a sort of crowning glory she began to "take up" artists and actors
and musicians. She gained the good graces of the best of them, and in
her kindly innocence she won the worship of the worst.
It was thus that she came to the point of holding a reception for
Not that any one had heard anything black, or even shadowy, against
Baskinelli. He had arrived recently from abroad, his foreign fame
preceding him, his prospective conquests of America fulsomely foretold,
his low brow decorated in advance with laurel.
Mrs. Courtelyou added him to her collection with the swiftness and
directness of the entomologist discovering a new bug. She herself
loved music--without understanding it very deeply--and Baskinelli,
whatever might be his other gifts, could summon all the cadences of
love from the machines that people call a piano--engine of torture or
instrument of joy.
For half an hour Harry paced at the foot of the stairs.
"I wonder if she's ever coming," he fumed to himself. "It takes 'em so
long to do it that they drive you crazy, and when it's done they're so
wonderful that they drive you crazy."
"Did you--did you wish anything, sir?" asked the butler, entering.
"No--just waiting for Miss Pauline, Jenkins--just waiting," sighed
"Why--if I may presume to tell you, sir--Miss, Marvin has gone to
the reception," said Jenkins.
"Gone!" Harry cried abruptly, hotly, then remembered that he was
speaking to a servant and swung into the reception room.
He put on his hat and coat and rang for Jenkins again.
"How long ago was it that Miss Pauline went out?"
"Almost an hour ago, sir."
Harry slammed his way out of the door. It was not until he was in the
car on his way to the Courtelyous that he began to think--began to
think with utterly wrong deductions, as lovers always do.
"I must have said too much," he told himself. "She's crazy about these
wild pranks and she thinks I'm a stupid goody-goody. What a fool I was
to try to prevent her!"
"You aren't very nice, Mr. Marvin, to snub my pet musician--my very
newest pet musician," Mrs. Courtelyou rebuked him, as he entered.
"I didn't mean it. I was waiting for--why, my car went to pieces,"
he explained. "Is Pauline here?"
"Here? She is the only person present. Baskinelli hasn't spoken a
word to any one else. He won't play anything unless she suggests the
subject. I am glad Mr. Owen is here to protect her."
From the scintillant, filmy mist of women around the piano Lucille
emerged. She came swiftly to Harry's side.
"What is the matter?" she asked.
"What is? Tell me." he replied. "What did you say to her?"
"I didn't see her, Harry. She sent word that she was not at home."
"You don't mean--not after you started upstairs."
"Yes--and she hasn't spoken to me all evening."
"And she left me waiting at home for half an hour. It's outrageous."
Harry strode across the floor just as the music ceased, and Baskinelli
arose, bowing to the applause of his feminine admirers.
"May I ask the honor to show to you Madame Courtelyou's portrait of
myself? It is called 'The Glorification of Imbecility,'" he said as he
proffered his arm to Pauline.
He was a small man, with sharp features shadowed by a mass of flowing,
curling hair--the kind of hair that has come to be called "musical"
by the irreverent. The sweep of an abnormal brow gave emphasis to the
sudden jut of deep eye sockets, and a dull, sallow skin gave emphasis
to the subtle sinister light, of the eyes themselves.
Pauline accepted the proffered arm of the artist, but daintily,
laughingly, she turned him back to the piano.
"You haven't yet escaped, Signor Baskinelli," she said. "We have not
yet heard 'Tivoli,' you know."
"Tivoli," he cried, with hands upraised in mock disdain. "Why, I wrote
the thing myself. Am I to violate even my own masterpieces?"
There was a twitter of mocking protest from the women. Baskinelli
began to play again.
"Pauline, may I speak to you--just a moment?" Harry's vexed voice
reached her ear as she stood beside the piano. She turned slowly and
looked into his bewildered, angry eyes.
"A little later--possibly," she answered, and instantly turned back
From her no mask of music, no glamour of others' admiration could hide
the predatory obsequiousness of Baskinelli. She was not in the least
interested in Baskinelli. She had loathed him from the moment when she
had looked down on his little oily curls. But if Baskinelli had been
Beelzebub he would have enjoyed the favor of Pauline that evening--at
least, after Harry had arrived.
The glowing piquant beauty of Pauline enthralled Baskinelli. He had
never before seen a woman like her--innocent but astute, daring but
demure, brilliant but opalescent. When at last they strolled away
together into the conservatory his drawing room obeisances became
direct declarations of love.
Pauline began to be frightened.
She fluttered to the door of the conservatory. But there she paused.
Voices sounded from the end of a little rose-rimmed alley. They were
the voices of Harry and Lucille.
Baskinelli was at her side again.
"If I have said anything--done anything to offend," he said, with
affected contrition, "you will let me make my lowliest apologies, won't
Pauline hardly heard him. She was intently listening to the low
"I--I think I will run back to the others," she cried suddenly.
Baskinelli was left alone.
"I congratulate you, Signor, on the success of the evening," said a
voice at his shoulder. "There are few among the famous who can conquer
drawing rooms as well as auditoriums."
The musician turned to face the ingratiating smile of Raymond Owen.
"I thank you--I thank you, sir. But I do not believe you. My
'conquest' has turned to catastrophe. I have lost everything."
"You mean that you are dissatisfied with the applause?" asked Owen.
"No! No! Applause is nothing from the many. There is always one in
his audience to whom he plays from his soul."
"And that one--tonight?"
"The lovely Miss--what, now, is her name--Marvin. She bewitches me
--and she scorns me."
"Signor Baskinelli, there are other places than drawing rooms, or even
conservatories, in which to capture those who captivate."
"I--do I quite grasp your meaning, Mistaire Owen?" He tried to
disguise the suspicion under an accentuated accent.
"I think so, Monsieur Picquot."
At the name Baskinelli turned livid. He made a movement as if he would
lunge at the throat of Owen, but his fury withered under the glassy
"So--we met in Paris?"
"Once upon a time--a little incident in the Rue St. Jeanne. A young
woman was concerned in that incident--and was not heard of
"And you are trying to blackmail me for the death of Marie Disart!
Ha! That is a jest," cried Baskinelli.
"I am trying to do nothing of the kind. I simply reminded you of the
little affair. I know as well as you that it was all beautifully
cleared up, and a man is still in prison for it. I know you are as
safe here as that man is in jail, Signor Baskinelli."
"What are you talking about, then?"
"The little woman that so charmed you here. I remarked merely that
those who are captivated can capture."
"Not in this country--not among the Puritans. One must be good--
"You haven't forgotten your little friends, Mario, and Di Palma and
Vitrio? They are all respected residents of New York. We know, where
they might be found."
"Precisely. Dining upon the best of spaghetti and the richest of
wines, and paying for it at the point of a stiletto."
"But--ha! You are talking nonsense. We could not find them; they
could not find us."
"We might telephone and try," suggested Owen. "Cagliacci, you know, is
now up-to-date. He has a telephone. He considers it a sign of
"And then what do you propose?"
"Picquot--I mean Signor Baskinelli, I propose nothing. Unless
possibly there might be--after the reception--a little motor trip
to Chinatown. It might amuse the ladies."
"You are right. I will invite them all," said Baskinelli.
"And how about calling up Marie at Cagliacci's just as an old friend?"
"It might be best."
They moved together down the corridor and Owen directed their way to a
little study secluded from all other apartments of the great house.
"You seem to be familiar with the home of our gracious hostess,"
"I make it a rule to be familiar with all homes in which Miss Marvin is
"Miss Marvin? You are, then a relative?"
"I am her guardian."
"Ah-h! You have control--perhaps--of certain small sums bequeathed
"And you would like to have as few persons as possible in the Chinatown
"As few as possible."
In a place known only as Cagliacci's, in the dreg depths of Elizabeth
street, the ringing of the telephone bell was much more startling, much
more unusual than the crash of a pistol shot or the blast of a bomb.
The habitu's moved quietly to the door that leads to the roofs, while
Pietro Cagliacci himself wiped the dust-covered receiver on his apron
and put it to his ear.
He spoke softly, tersely. The conversation was very brief. Within a
minute after he had hung up the receiver three grimy-clad, grim-visaged
men left the place silently.
Harry and Lucille came out of the conservatory.
"I tell you there wasn't anything said between us that could have
caused it," he was saying. "I was fighting the whole thing hard, but I
was fighting it like a beggar. I am always a beggar with Pauline."
"But you told her it wasn't right that she was risking other people's
"No, I told you to tell her that."
In spite of her distress over Pauline's coldness, Lucille burst into
They were just emerging into the music room. Pauline, like the others,
turned at the unexpected sound. She gave one glance at the two and
turned haughtily away.
Baskinelli was bustling about, making up an impromptu excursion party.
"Ha! You people of New York--you do not know what is in New York.
All Europe is here--and you never cross Fourteenth street--I mean
to say Fifth avenue."
"It is more dangerous to cross Fifth avenue than to cross the ocean--
that's probably the reason," said Harry. "The traffic cops along the
Gulf Stream are so careful."
Pauline stopped Baskinelli's intended reply. She wanted Harry to be
ignored utterly. Her anger had made him flippant. His flippancy had
put the seal of completeness upon her anger.
A flutter of polite alarm attended Signor Baskinalli's invitation.
From the sheltered glitter of a Fifth avenue drawing room to Chinatown
was a plunge a little too deep.
But Baskinelli was insistent and Pauline was his ardent and efficient
recruiting officer. Quite a troop train of limousines carried the
invaders to the uncelestial haunts of the Celestials.
Baskinelli rode in the car with Pauline and Owen. He had cast off the
dignity of the master musician and assumed an air of whimsical
recklessness. Harry and Lucille were in the following car.
"Oh, please stop fidgeting," exclaimed Lucille.
"I'm as nervous as you are."
"I know," said Harry, "but I hate to have her alone with that little
black snake for five minutes."
"Owen is with them."
"Owen is worse."
The machines drew up in Chatham Square, and the little procession that
moved across to Doyers street--dainty slippers on blackened
cobblestones, light laughter tinkling under the thunder of the "L,"
human brightness brushing past the human shadows from the midnight dens
--made contrasts picturesque as a pageant in a catacomb.
Pauline, on the arm of the chattering Baskinelli, led the way.
"Isn't this splendid?" she exclaimed. "I am sure you won't disappoint
me, Signor Baskinelli. I hope you aren't going to show us a happy
Chinese family at supper. Only the most dreadful sights amuse me."
"Ali, but we, must not take risks," replied Baskinelli. "There are
some beings in the world, Miss Marvin, so exquisitely precious that a
man would commit sin if he placed them in peril."
"But only the worst and wickedest places," she admonished Baskinelli.
He leaned suddenly very near to her.
"Do you really mean that, Miss Marvin?" he asked.
"Indeed I do," she answered.
"Very well. But first we shall go to the new restaurant. It is yet
too early for the worst and wickedest to be abroad or rather to seek
They climbed a brightly lighted staircase into one of the ordinary
Chinese restaurants of the better sort which are conducted almost
entirely for Americans, and where Boston baked beans are as likely as
not to nudge almond cakes on the bill of fare and champagne flow as
commonly as tea.
They gathered around one of the larger of the cheaply inlaid tables,
and Baskinelli took command of the feast.
Harry sat in grim silence, watching Pauline like a protecting dragon.
Lucille was sick at heart and repentant of coming. The others chatted
merrily among themselves. But by common consent Pauline seemed to have
been surrendered to the attentions of the evening pest, who had become
a midnight host.
He leaned toward her with an ardor that he did not even attempt to
disguise. "You are the most wonderful woman in--"
"Please make it the universe," pleaded Pauline. "There are so many
most wonderful women in the world."
"No, let us say chaos," he whispered. "The chaos of a man's heart can
be ruled only by the charming uncertainty of woman."
The intensity of his words brought to Pauline again the twinge of
alarm. Unconsciously she looked around for Harry. It was the last
thing in the world she had meant to do. She was angry at herself in an
instant, for his fixed, guarding gaze was upon her. She met his eyes
and turned quickly to Baskinelli.
"Chaos? I've always loved that word," she flashed. "There must be so
many lovely adventures where there are no laws."
"I said the chaos in a man's heart could be ruled by a woman," said
The impudence of this sudden love making moved her unexpectedly to
"Please let it be ruled, Signor Baskinelli," she said, turning away
Baskinelli had sense enough to see that he had gone too far. He turned
to the others as the soft-footed Orientals began to spread the mixed
and mysterious viands on the table.
He glanced at Owen. By the slightest movement imaginable, by the least
uplift of his black brows, Owen answered. For the first time
Baskinelli knew that the lovely quarry he pursued had a protector--
and no mean, no weak protector.
But the arrival of the repast quickly covered the general
embarrassment. Everybody could see that Pauline and Harry had had a
quarrel and that Pauline, was flirting outrageously with Baskenelli
simply for revenge--that is, every one except Harry could see it.
"Pardon me, but is that what you call a graft investigation that you
are making, Miss Hamlin?" inquired Baskinelli.
"No, but the food is so funny. There are so many queer things present,
but unidentified," laughed Lucille.
"Like a reception to a foreign artist," interrupted Harry with a
"Or shall we say like the conversation of an unhappy guest," said
Baskinelli, smilingly turning to note the entrance of a little party of
newcomers at the further end of the restaurant.
A dashing, well-dressed, fiery-eyed foreigner, the tips of whose waxed
mustachios turned up like black stalagmites from the comers of his
cavernous mouth, was accompanied by two nondescript figures, who seemed
to be embarrassed more by the fact that they had been recently cleansed
and shaved than by their rough red shirts and mismatched coats and
The man of the tilted mustachios gave brief, imperative orders to the
waiters, whose languid steps seemed to be quickened by his words as by
an electric battery. The other two sat silent, like docile dogs in
Only for an instant Baskinelli's eyes rested upon the group.
"And having tasted the food of the gods, how would you like to visit
the gods themselves?" he asked.
Pauline agreed enthusiastically. "You mean a joss house--a Chinese
church, don't you."
The joss house that most visitors see in Chinatown is the little one up
under the roof at the meeting of Doyers and Pell streets--at the toe
of the twisted horseshoe made by these tiny thoroughfares of black
fame, where, in spite of all the modern magic of "reform," men still
die silently in the hush of secluded corridors and women vanish into
the darkness that is worse than death.
The little joss house is interesting in the same way that an Indian
village at a State fair is interesting. Behind its gaudy staginess and
commercial appeal it still holds something of reality from which the
imagination can draw a picture of an ancient worship that has held a
race of millions in thrall for thousands of years.
But it was not to the little joss house that Signor Baskinelli guided
the party. In the little joss house the bells are pounded without
respite, the visitors come and go at all hours of the day and night--
save the few set hours when the joss sacrifices profit to true prayer.
Baskinelli took his guests to the joss house of the Golden Screens.
Save for its greater size and more splendid accoutrement, it was little
different from the other. But it was walled, in its back alley
seclusion, deep behind the outer fronts of Mott street, by a secrecy
almost sincerely sacred.
The motor cars remained far behind across the square as Baskinelli led
the party through the dismal streets and stopped before a dark
A dim light flared behind the door and a Chinaman in American dress
"I am beginning to be really bored," said Pauline.
"Wait; give the wicked a chance," said Baskinelli.
They climbed three flights of dingy, narrow stairs, lighted with
flaring gas jets.
"Wonderful," jeered Pauline. "Not even a secret passage or a
The others followed her laughing lead up the stairs.
A Chinaman came out of the door on the second landing, stopped, started
in innocent curiosity at the dazzling visitors and went down the
stairs. Everything was as still and commonplace as if they had been in
the hallway of a Harlem flat building.
The silence was not broken or the seeming safety disturbed in the
slightest by the soft opening of the first landing door, after they had
passed--that is, after all but Owen had passed. No one but Owen saw
the piercing black eyes and the tilted mustachios of the face that
appeared for an instant at the door.
There was a corridor, not so well lighted, at the top of the third
flight of stairs. In the dim turns the women drew their skirts about
them, a bit wary of the black, short walls.
The passage narrowed. They could move now only in single file, and
even then their shoulders brushed the walls.
Only a far, dull glow from a red lamp over a door at the end of a
passage lighted their way.
Baskinelli tapped lightly on the door.
It was opened by a venerable Chinaman in the flowing robes of a
priest. He looked at them doubtfully. Baskinelli spoke three words
that his companions did not hear. The priest vanished. Quickly the
door was reopened and they stepped into the dim, smoky, stifling
presence of the joss.
The choking scent of the punk always at the folded feet of the idol was
almost suffocating. The place had other odors less noxious and less
sweet. Chinamen were lounging in the room as if it had been a place of
rest. Three priests were on their knees before the joss swaying
forward till their foreheads almost touched the floor, their
outstretched arms moving in mystic symmetry with their rocking bodies.
A great brass bell hung low beside the idol. But no priest touched the
The joss itself was almost the least impressive thing in the room. It
stood, or squatted, six feet high, on a block pedestal at the side of
the room. The simple hideousness of the painted features served no
impressive purpose, but as contrast to the exquisite decorations of the
Screens of carved wood, so delicately wrought that it seemed a touch
would break the graven fibers, were flecked with inlay of pearl and
covering of gold.
One of the peculiar features of the room was a suit of ancient Chinese
armor--a relic that had been rusted and pit-marked by time, but now
stood brightly polished beside the statue of the god. A huge two-edged
sword was held upright in the steel glove.
By the dim light behind the idol the shadow of the sword was cast
across the blank face of Baskinelli as he moved forward. He stepped
back quickly. The shadow fell between him and Pauline.
Again the ancient priest answered a summons at the door. Again he
parleyed for a moment--then opened it to the three swarthy foreigners
who had been in the restaurant.
Baskinelli turned for just in instant to glance at the tall man with
the tilted mustache, then resumed immediately his conversation with
"Why do all the Chinamen run away like that?" she asked.
"It is the end of the service; you see the priests are going, too."
There was a furtive haste about the departure of the Orientals. And
there was a quavering in the manner of the oldest priest--the only
one who remained--that seemed born of a hidden fear.
The old priest lifted one of the lamps from a wall bracket and set it
on the floor beside the idol. He knelt near it and began to pray.
The three Italians waited only a moment, then followed the Chinese out
of the room.
"It is late--we ought to be going," pleaded Lucille.
Complete silence had fallen on the room and her words, a little
tremulous, had instant effect on the other women.
"What about it, Baskinelli? Had we better be going?" asked one of the
"Yes--yes, I beg only a moment. I wish to show Miss Pauline the--"
"You mean Miss Marvin, do you not?" blazed Harry, striding to
Baskinelli's side and glaring down at him.
"I was interrupted. I had not finished my words. They are, at best,
awkward, I beg--"
"You beg nothing," said Harry through clenched teeth. Then slowly,
"I want to tell you, you little leper, that if anything happens here
tonight--it is going to happen to you."
He was so near to the musician that the others did not hear.
Baskinelli backed away. Pauline, with the swift, inexplicable, yet
unerring instinct of woman, moved as if to seek the shelter of Harry's
He did not see her. He had whirled at the sound of the opening of a
door--a peculiar door set diagonally across a corner of the room
behind the joss.
Through the yellow silk curtains that hid the entrance came two
Chinamen as fantastically hideous as the embroidered dragons on the
"Put those men out; they cannot come in here; they are full of opium,"
"Stop; let them come in; we are going," said the mild voice of Owen.
The understanding look of Baskinelli met his. Baskinelli frowned and
Owen smiled. They were playing perfectly their roles.
The two Chinamen shuffled into the room. The priest arose in jabbering
protest. They argued with him acridly. A few feet away one could see
that their cheap linen robes covered the ordinary street garb of the
Chinamen; that the ugly lines on their faces were painted, as on the
face of the Joss.
Baskinelli was laughing. The others watched the argument in silence.
Every one but the host, and Owen, and Pauline, seemed a little
Suddenly the lamp on the floor went out. There was another at the
farther side of the room, but its dim light made the scene more weird
than darkness could have made it.
"Well, I thought we were going," snapped Harry's strident voice.
"We are," replied Baskinelli. "Miss--er--I am afraid to speak--
Miss Marvin, shall we go?"
Pauline took his arm.
"Ali, but I have forgotten the most precious sight of the evening,"
suddenly exclaimed the musician. "Only a moment--look here."
Interested, Pauline did not notice that Owen softly shut the door upon
the receding footsteps of the others. Baskinelli guided her back to
the little door behind the screen--the door from which the Chinamen
Baskinelli drew aside the curtain.
"There--that is one form of adventure."
Pauline looked through the curtain. A suffocating, narcotic odor came
to her. What she saw was stifling not only to the senses--but to the
soul. She turned away.
Harry's voice rang through the little choked room like a thunder
"We are coming--we are quite safe," called Baskinelli, with the sneer
tinge in his tone.
"Very well, then; hurry."
Harry's manner aroused Pauline's temper again. She purposely
The two Chinamen were arguing violently now with the priest.
Harry had closed the door and followed the others down the outer