“Good old Darry!” Prescott yelled through a megaphone that Greg thrust into his unoccupied hand.
For a wonder Dave heard, just as the destroyer darted in at her closest point to the transport.
For just an instant Darrin turned to wave his hand. Then, between both hands, placed over his mouth, he shouted:
“Hullo, Dick! ’Lo, Greg!”
Dave waved his hand, then turned to give an order to his watch officer. A brief greeting, but it meant a world to the three chums who had had a part in it.
“Now, if Danny Grin’s craft would only come in that close!” sighed Greg happily.
But it didn’t. Once in a while Prescott and Holmes could make out the craft commanded by Dan Dalzell, but it didn’t come in close enough for a hail.
Bang! sounded a destroyer’s gun, far ahead.
Bang! came as if in answer from the bowgun of the leading transport.
“There are the Huns, and here is the scrap coming!” yelled a corporal perched up in the bow of the ship.
“Hurrah! Hurrah!” Cheers went up in such volume as to be deafening.
“Tell the men to stop that cheering,” shouted Major Wells, in order to make Dick and Greg hear him. “And tell them that no more men are to crowd the rail on either side. No noise, and nothing to make the ship list!”
Going down three steps at a time, Dick and Greg descended the companionway forward of the pilot house.
“No cheering!” shouted Prescott, pushing his way through the throng. “Quiet!”
With Dick moving through the masses of soldiers on the port side of the deck, and Greg performing a similar office on the starboard side, quiet was soon restored. Then Captain Prescott’s voice was heard announcing:
“You men must remain quiet, or how can the ship’s officers make their orders heard? Remember, not a cheer after this. And no more men are to crowd to the rails.”
“It’s a pity that the rest of us cannot see what is going on!” half-grumbled a soldier, so close that Prescott heard him.
“I know just how you feel about that,” the young captain admitted, wheeling and regarding the soldier. “But this is war, not sport. Absolute, uncomplaining discipline is the surest means of bringing this ship and its human cargo through safely.”
Another captain and Lieutenants Terry and Overton had joined the first two officers on the deck, and order was maintained without a flaw.
Bang! bang! bang! bang!
“This sounds like a full-fledged naval battle!” Greg Holmes called to his chum, his eyes dancing.
“And we cannot see a bit of it!” sighed a soldier complainingly.
“You’re in a position to see as much of it as I’m seeing, my man,” Prescott retorted, with an indulgent smile. “You and I are both obeying orders instead of pleasing ourselves.”