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  • 1916
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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 Barnstable.

“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 the morning.

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 fresh nurse.

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, if possible.

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 dance?”

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 board ship.

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 influence.”

“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 too careful.”

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 suffragettes.”

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 pistol shot.

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.

CHAPTER XXIII

CUTLASSES

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 steel.

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 said:

“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.

“A duel.”

“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. Barnstable!”

“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 prisoner.”

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 possession.”

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 course.”

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 features.

“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 monstrous criminal?”

“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 love me.”

“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 you.”

“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 fellow’s challenge.”

“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 much!”

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.

CHAPTER XXIV

THE DUEL

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 party.”

“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 said easily.

“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, bantering gayety.

“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 time!”

“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 bloodshed.

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 his undershirt.

“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 proper line.

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 beside him.

“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.

CHAPTER XXV

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 phenomenal cleverness.

“Mr. Ward,” said Wilton Barnstable, “Logan Black entered this hold.”

“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–the—-“

“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 ship!”

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 Enterprise.

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 light.

“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!”

CHAPTER XXVI

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 obstruction.

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.

CHAPTER XXVII

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 missionary work.

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 Claiborne estates.

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 twenty millions.

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 powers.

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 taste.

“But we need men like you in the House of Lords,” pleaded the Duke.

“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 aristocracy.”

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 oblige him.

“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 English!”

“That is like your generosity, Cleggett,” said the King, smiling, and giving Cleggett his hand.