“And his cargo?”
“Miscellaneous; mostly farm machinery—worth investigating.”
“I ’ll have some of the boxes broken open, but will take a squint at the papers first. What became of the girl?”
“The steward took her below, and locked her in before the fracas started.”
“I thought so; I heard a little of the talk, and hung back so as to give you plenty of time.” He laughed, good-humoredly. “Nice little scrap, Craig; those fellows never even heard us, until I was over the rail. By the way, is the young lady married? I never heard the whole story.”
“She is a widow,” I replied, a bit stiffly, resenting his flippancy of tone. “She was the wife of this Henley’s half brother, but I have every reason to believe he is dead.”
He looked into my face, a glint of amusement in his eyes.
“Let us hope the good news is true,” he said soberly. “Come, don’t flare up, man; I recognize the symptoms. But don’t you think she will be crying her pretty eyes out down below?”
We went down the companion stairs together, into a deserted cabin. No steward was in evidence, and, finding the Captain’s stateroom locked, the Lieutenant kicked open the door, and entered. I turned back, explored the passage, and finally dragged Louis out from a dark corner of the pantry. That darky was plainly in a state of flunk, his legs trembling, and the whites of his eyes much in evidence.
“Oh, Lor’, Massa Craig,” he whined. “Ah ain’t done nuthin’, deed Ah ain’t, sah!”
“You locked up the girl.”
“Ah just had to, sah. Captain Henley he just nat’rally skin me alive, sah, if Ah don’t. But Ah nebber hurt her none.”
“Where is she?”
“In number five, sah; here—here am de key.”
“All right, Louis,” and I tossed him into one corner. “Now listen; set that table, and get some food on it quick. Make coffee, but don’t wait for anything else.”
I crossed the cabin, and inserted the key. As the door opened she stood there waiting, her hands held out.
A HOMEWARD VOYAGE
“It—it is all over with? You have been successful?”
“Yes, don’t worry,” and I held her hands fast, looking into her eyes. “There can be no further trouble. Captain Henley and his crew are prisoners.”
“And no one was hurt? You were not?”
“Oh, there are a few sore heads, but nothing serious. I got a crack myself; bled a little—see.”
She placed her fingers on the wound, stroking the hair gently, her eyes full of anxiety.
“Is that all? Please tell me; I—I heard a shot fired.”
“Henley’s revolver; no damage done. Really you must accept my assurance. Come out into the cabin; Louis is getting breakfast ready.”