Suddenly he rushes to the port stays and clings to them, and I begin to fear that he will leap into the rigging and climb to the cross-tree, where he might be precipitated into the sea by a lurch of the ship.
On a sign from Captain Spade, some sailors run up and try to make him relinquish his grasp of the stays, but are unable to do so. I know that during his fits he is endowed with the strength of ten men, and many a time I have been compelled to summon assistance in order to overpower him.
Other members of the crew, however, come up, and the unhappy madman is borne to the deck, where two big sailors hold him down, despite his extraordinary strength.
The only thing to do is to convey him to his cabin, and let him lie there till he gets over his fit. This is what will be done in conformity with orders given by a new-comer whose voice seems familiar to me.
I turn and recognize him.
He is the Count d’Artigas, with a frown on his face and an imperious manner, just as I had seen him at Healthful House.
I at once advance toward him. I want an explanation and mean to have it.
“By what right, sir?”—I begin.
“By the right of might,” replies the Count.
Then he turns on his heel, and Thomas Roch is carried below.
TWO DAYS AT SEA.
Perhaps—should circumstances render it necessary—I may be induced to tell the Count d’Artigas that I am Simon Hart, the engineer. Who knows but what I may receive more consideration than if I remain Warder Gaydon? This measure, however, demands reflection. I have always been dominated by the thought that if the owner of the Ebba kidnapped the French inventor, it was in the hope of getting possession of Roch’s fulgurator, for which, neither the old nor new continent would pay the impossible price demanded. In that case the best thing I can do is to remain Warder Gaydon, on the chance that I may be allowed to continue in attendance upon him. In this way, if Thomas Roch should ever divulge his secret, I may learn what it was impossible to do at Healthful House, and can act accordingly.
Meanwhile, where is the Ebba bound?—first question.
Who and what is the Count d’Artigas?—second question.
The first will be answered in a few days’ time, no doubt, in view of the rapidity with which we are ripping through the water, under the action of a means of propulsion that I shall end by finding out all about. As regards the second, I am by no means so sure that my curiosity will ever be gratified.