Image provided by: Morrow County Museum; Heppner, OR
About Lexington wheatfield. (Lexington, Or.) 1905-19?? | View Entire Issue (Feb. 21, 1907)
THE IRON PIRATE
A Plain Tate of Strange
Happenings on the Sea
By MAX PEMBERTON 1
It was later that Captain Black, Doctor
Osbart and myself entered the 7 :30 train
from Ramsgate ; leaving the screw tender,
now disguised, with the man John and
eight of the most turbulent among the
crew of the nameless ship aboard her. We
had come without hindrance through the
crowded waters of the Channel ; and, styl
ing ourselves a Norwegian whaler in bal
last, had gained the difficult harbor with
out arousing suspicion. At the first,
Black had thought to leave me on the
steamer ; but I gave him solemn word that
I would not seek to quit him, that I would
not in any way betray him while the truce
lasted, and that I would return, wherever
I was, to the tender in the harbor at the
end of a week.
I will not pause to tell you my own
thoughts when I set foot on shore again.
I could not help but carry my memory to
the last occasion when, with Roderick and
Mary, I had come to London in the very
hope of getting tidings of this man who
now sat with me in a Kent Coast express.
Where were the others then the girl
who had been as a sister to me, and the
man as a brother; how far had the fear
of my death made .sad that childish face
which had known such little sadness In its
sixteen years of life? It was odd to think
that Mary might be then returned to Lon
don, and that I, whom perchance she
thought dead, was near to her, and yet,
in a sense, more cut off from her than In
the grave itself.
It was after 10 o'clock that the ride
terminated, and, following Black and Os
bart into a closed carriage, I was driven
from the station. We drove for fifteen
minutes, staying at last before a house
in a narrow street, where we went up
stairs to a suite of rooms reserved for us.
After an excellent supper Osbart left us,
but Black took me to a double-bedded
room, saying that he could not let me out
of his sight.
"Boy, if you make one attempt to play
me false," said he, "I'll blow your brains
On the next morning Black quitted the
house at an early hour after breakfast,
but he locked the door of the room upon
Osbart and myself. "Not," as he said,
"because I can't take your word, but be
cause I don't want anyone fooling in
here." He returned in the evening at 7
o'clock, and found me as he had left me,
reading a novel.
The following day was Thursday. I
shall always remember it, ror I regard
It as one of the most memorable days In
my life. Black went out as usual early
in the morning; his object being, as on
the preceding day, to find out, if he could,
what the Admiralty were doing in view of
the robbery of the Bellonic. We had been
left thus about the space of an hour when
there came a telegram for the doctor, who
read it with a fierce exclamation.
'The captain "wants me urgently," said
be, "and there's nothing to do but to leave
jou here. You must put up with the In
dignity of being locked In. The man wno
owns this house is one of us."
I was In the very throes of a mental
struggle when the strange event of the
day happened. I chanced to look up from
the book I had been trying to read, and
I saw a remarkable object upon the leads
outside my window. It was the figure of
a man, looking into my room; and pres
ently, when he had given me Innumerable
nods and winks, he took a knife from his
pocket, and opened the catch, stepping
Into the chamber with the nimble foot of
a goat upon a crag path. Then he drew
a chair up to mine, slapped me upon the
knee and said :
"In the name of the law I I take you
by surprise; but business, Mr. Mark
Strong. In the first place I have wired
to your friend, , Mr. Roderick Stewart,
and I expect him from Portsmouth in a
couple of hours ; In the second, your other
friend, the doctor, is under lock and key,
on the trifling charge of murder in the
Midlands, to begin with. When we have
Captain Black, the little party will be
I looked at him, voiceless from the sur
orise of It, and he went on:
"I needn't tell you who I am; but
there's my card. We have six men in the
' street outside, and another half dozen
watching the leads here. You will be
sensible enough to follow my Instructions
absolutely. Black, we know, leaves the
country to-night in his steamer. The
probability Is that he will come to fetch
you at 7 o'clock I have frightened it all
out of the people downstairs If he does,
you will go with him. Otherwise, he's
nretty sure to send someone for you, and,
as you at the moment are our sole link be
tween that unmitigated scoundrel and his
arrest, I ask you to risk one step more,
and return at any rate as far as the coast,
that we may. follow him for the last time."
I looked at his card, whereon was the
Inscription, "Detective Inspector King,
Scotland Yard ;" and I said at once :
"I shall not only go to the coast, but
to his tender, 'for I've given my word,
What you may do In the meantime is not
my affair. I suppose net made a sensa
"Sensation! There isn't another sub
ject talked of In any house in Europe
but, read that; and It's ten thousand in
xnv Docket any way 1
Detectlre-Inapeotor King west as be
had come, passing noiselessly over the
leads ; but he left, me a newspaper, where
in there was column after column con
cerning the robbery of the Bellonic. At
last, the police were on the trail of Cap
tain Black ; yet I saw at once that, lack
ing my help, he would elude them.
It was half past six when at last a man
unlocked the door of my room and entered.
He was one of Black's negroes.
"Sar will come .quick," said he, "and
leave his luggage. The master waits."
We drove rapidly and took a "train for
Tilbury. The journey was accomplished
in something under an hour; and when
we alighted and got upon the bank of
the river, I saw a steam launch with the
man John in the bows of her. I entered
the launch and we started Immediately,
going at a great pace towards Sheerness ;
and reached the Nore after some buffet
with the seas in the open. At this point
we sighted the tender, and went aboard
her, when we made full speed towards the
Black had made a colossal mistake,
from his point of view, in setting foot In
England ; but the crowning blunder of his
life was that fatal act of folly by which
he had sought to shield me from the men.
Now the object of letting Black reach his
vessel again was as clear as daylight ; it
was not so much the man as his ship
which they wished to take.
But were we followed? I had seen
nothing to lead me to that conclusion as
I came down the Thames ; and now, fa'
vored by an Intensely dark night, we
promised. If nothing should Intervene, to
gain the Atlantic In two days, and to be
aboard that strange citadel which was our
stronghold against the nations. There
was no sign of any warship pursuing ; no
indication whatever that the tender, then
steaming at thirteen knots towards Dover,
was watched or observed by any living
I was dead worn out and slept twelve
hours at the least, for it was afternoon
when I awoke. Black was not In the
cabin, and I went above to him on the
bridge. There was no land then to be
seen ; but the clear play of sparkling
waves shone away to the horizon over a
tumbling sea, upon which were a few
ships. Upon one of the be constantly
turned his glass.
By and by all the crew began to ob
serve Black's anxiety and to crowd to the
starboard side ; but he told them noth
ing, although he never left the bridge. It
was somewhat perplexing to me to oh
serve that, while the great ship was on
doubtedly following us, she did not gain
a yaTd upon us.
This strange pursuit lasted three days
and into the third night ; when I was
awakened from a snatch of sleep by the
firing of a gun above my head. I got on
deck, where my eyes were almost blinded
by a great volume of light which spread
over the sea from a point some two miles
away on our starboard bow. We had been
in the Atlantic then for twenty-four
hours, and I did not doubt for a moment
that we had reached the nameless ship,
Had there been any uncertainty, the wild
oy of the men would have banished it.
I heard the voice of Black singing,
Hands, stand by to lower boats!" At
that moment the cruiser showed her teeth,
Suddenly there was a rush of flame from
her bows, and a shell hissed above us
the first sign of her attempt to stop us
joining our own ship.
We were no more than a quarter of a
mile from safety, but the run was full of
peril, and, as the launch stood out, the
nameless ship of a sudden shut off her
light, If possible to shield us in the dark,
But the pursuer Instantly flooded us with
her own arc, and, following it with quick
shots, she hit the jolly-boat at the third.
Of the eight men there, only two rose
when the hull had disappeared.
"Fire away !" cried Black, shaking his
fist, and mad with passion ; "and get your
hands in ; you'll want all the bark you've
got just now."
But we had hauled the men aboard as
he spoke, and, though two shells foamed
in the sea and wetted us to the skin in
the passage, we were at the ladder of the
nameless ship without other harm, and
with fierce shouts the men gained the
For them It was a glorious moment,
They had weathered the perils of a city,
and stood where they could best face the
crisis of the pursuit. It was a spectacle
to move the most stolid apathy ; the sight
of a couple of hundred demoniacal figures
lighted by the great white wave of light
from the enemy's ship, their faces up
turned as they waited Black's orders,
their hands flourishing knives and cut
lasses, their hunger for the contest be
trayed In every gesture.
"Boys," cried Black, "yonder's a gov
ernment ship. You know me, that I don't
run after war scum every day, for that's
not my business. But we're short of oil,
and the cylinders are heating. Boys, It's
swing or take that ship and the oil aboard
"Look out aft he torpedo 1"
A tiny line of foam waa just visible
(or a second in the way of the light ; but,
the moment the cruiser had shot it from
her tnbe, she extinguished her arc, leav
ing nt to Ihmt the waters with our own.
There was no difficulty whatever la fol
lowing the line of the deadly uieasajte.
"Full speed astern I" roared Black, and
the nameless ship moved backwards, fast
er and yet faster. But the black death
bearer followed her, as a shark follow a
death ship ; we seemed even to have back
ed into its course It came on as though
to strike us full amidships, but the great
ship swung round with a majestic sweep,
and as we waited breathlessly, the torpedo
passed right under our bow, missing the
ram by a hair's breadth.
We fired at the cruiser, hitting her
right under the funnel, and a second time
near her fore gun. Nor. did she answer
our firing, but rolled to the swell appar
ently out of action.
"Shipper, are you going aboard her
now?" asked the man "Roaring John.
Sue'B done by her looks, and you'll get
no oil if ye delay. Karl, there, he ian't
as comfortable, as if he were in his bed."
lou re quite sure she s done, John?
he asked, turning to the big man.
"She's done, I guess, or why don't she
The words had scarce left his Hps
when the cruiser's aft guns thundered out
almost together, and one shell passed
through the very center of our group. It
cut the man John in half as he might
have been cut by a sword, and bis blood
and flesh splashed us, while the other half
of him stood up like a bust upon the deck,
and during one horrible moment his arms
moved wildly, and there was a horrid
quivering of the muscles of his face. The
second shot struck the roof of the turret
obliquely, and glanced from it Into the
sea. The destruction seemed to move
Black as no more than a rain shower. He
simply cried : "All hands to cover ; I'm
going to give 'em a taste of the machine
guns ;" and we re-entered the conning
tower. Then, as we began to move again,
I swept the horizon with our light ; but
this time, far away over the black waste
of water, the signal was answered.
Number two !" said Black, quite calm
ly, when I told him, "and this time a bat
tleship. Well, boy, if we don't take that
oil yonder in ten minutes you may say
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The nameless ship bounded forward In
to the night, and soon was not fifty yards
away from her opponent. Never have I
known anything akin to the episode when
bullets rang upon our decks In hundreds,
and the dead and the living In the other
ship lay huddled together, In a seething,
struggling, moaning mass. We had open
ed fire upon her before such of her men
as could be spared had got below.
Let 'em digest that!" cried Black, as
he watched the havoc.
I, who had not ceased to watch that
distant light which marked another war
ship on the horizon, knew that a second
light had shone out as a star away over
the sea ; and now, -when I looked again,
I saw a third light. We were being sur
rounded. The searchlights of the distant
ships were clearer to my view every mo
ment. Black saw them, and took a sight
from the glass.
"Boy," he said, "you should have told
me of this. I see three lights, and that
means a fleet."
"Are you going to run for It?" I asked.
"Run for it, with two engines, yes;
but It's a poor business. And we'll have
to fight !"
I saw the foremost ironclad but two
miles away from us, and the others were
sweeping round to cut us off if we at
tempted flight. We lay with but two en
gines working, and a speed of sixteen
knots at the best. Nor did we know from
minuti to minute when another engine
would break down. At that moment there
came a horrible sound of grating and
tearing from the engine room, and It was
succeeded by a moment of dead nad chill
"The second engine s gone ! said a
man above, quite calmly.
' We found the crew sullen and mutter
ing, but Friedrich, the engineer's eldest
son, sat at the top of the engine room lad
der, and tears rolled down his face. The
great ship still trembled under the shock
of the breakdown and was not showing
ten knots. The foremost Ironclad crept
up minute by minute; and before we had
realized the whole extent of the mishap,
she was within gunshot of us; but her
colleagues were some miles away, she out
pacing them all through it.
"She signals to us to let her come
aboard," said "Four-Eyes."
"Answer that we'll see In chips first,"
said Black, and he called for Karl and
made signs to him.
Those on the battleship made quite sure
of us now, for they steamed on and came
within three hundred yards of us. Black
watched them as a beast watches the un
suspecting prey. He stood, his face knit
in savage lines, his hand upon the bell
I looked from the glass, and saw that no
man was visible upon our decks, that our
engines had ceased to move. We were
motionless. Then In a second the bells
rang out. There was again that frightful
grating and tearing In the engine room,
The namelesb ship came round to her
helm with a mighty sweep; she foamed
and plunged In the seac; tie turned her
ram straight at the other; and, groaning
as a great stricken wounded beast, she
roared onward to the voyage of death. 1
knew then the fearful truth ; Black meant
to sink the cruiser with his ram. I shall
never forget that moment of terror, that
grinding of heated steel, that plunge Into
the seas. I waited for the crash, and la
the suspense hours seemed to pass. M
last there was under the sea a mighty clap
of submarine thunder. Dasihed headlong
from my post, I lay bruised and wounded
upon the floor of steel. The roof above
me rocked; the walls snook and were
bent; my ears rang with the deafening
roar In them; seas of foam mounted
shrieks and the sound of awful rending
and tearing drowned other shouts of men
going to their death. And through all
waa the hysterical yelling of Black, his
defiance, his elation.
(To be eonttnoed.)
The Subtle Difference.
An earnest defender of things Irish
asserts that the traditional bull of Ire
land Is not, as Is commonly supposed,
the expression of a blundering Intelli
gence, but, on the contrary, shows the
exquisite feeling of the Irish for tine
shades of meaning. The trouble Ilea
in the ears that hear It
"If ye were to be killed crossing a
fence ye'd be all right," said a looker
on to a fox-hunter whose horse had
turned head over heels In the middle of
a level pasture. "But If ye were killed
on the flat o' th' Held ye'd never hold
tip your had again!"
Will Do It Then.
"I travel on your road a good deal,"
said the caller, "and I'd travel on It a
good deal oftener if It wasn't for Its
"What's the matter with the curves?"
asked the elevated, railway magnate.
"They ought to be provided with a
strong railing or something of that kind."
"So a train couldn't run off the track
when it goes whizzing and grinding
around one of them, and fall to the street
"You've never heard of that happening,
"No not yet."
"Well, when It does happen we'll put
something around those curves. Good
day." Chicago Tribune.
It was an Imposing building, but the
iran with the square valise did not hesl
"Madam," he said to the matron who
appeared, "I should like to show you a
copy of our book, The Quiet Life, which
is making such a
"Sir," she interrupted, "this is an In
stitution for the deaf and dumb." Chi'
In Boston there are one and a half
electric lights for each person.
Siberia exported 00,280,000 pounds of
butter last year.
The Howling- Old Blluard.
How dear to my heart is the fierce howl
Which comes from the north like a wolf
on the fold,
Predicted by Foster or some other wizard,
The charger of snow and the demon of
How sweet, to be caught in its grasp like
And find yourself wrapped round a tele
Ob, how we adore, in this wild wintry
This blizzard that comes when you're
clear out of coal
This wild, whirling blizzard, the razor-
The loud-howling blizzard fresh from
the North Pole.
Lincoln Journal. ;
TO CURE A COLD IN ONE DAY
Take LAXATIVE BROMO QUININE Tablets
Drugglsta refund money II It falls to cure. K. W
GKOVK'S signature Is on each box. 25c.
While Dooly was holding court In
Washington County, Georgia, a certain
General Hanson came In and sat down
at the side of the Judge, and began to
tell him about the vast amounts of
property he owned.
"Stop Just a moment, general," said
Dooly. "Mr. Sheriff, call in Jones, the
receiver of tax returns."
In a few moments that worthy ap
peared. "Mr. Receiver," said the Judge, "come
up here and make an inventory of Gen
eral Hanson's property. He had mis
taken me for you." Sunday Maga
Consideration of a motorist.
We hold no brief for the motorist,
the Bystander says, but "honor where
honor is due." On a country road the
other day we saw a motorist deliber
ately avoid running over an animal on
the highway! To be exact, It was a
circus elephant. St. James Gazette.
The Kind You Have Always Bought lias borne the signa
ture of Chas. II. Fletcher, and lias been made under his
personal supervision for over SO years. Allow no one
to deceive you in this. Counterfeits, Imitations and
Just-as-good " are but Experiments, and endanger tue
health of Children Experience against Experiment.
What is CASTOR I A
Castoria is a harmless substitute for Castor Oil, Pare
goric, Drops and Soothing Syrups. It is Pleasant. It
contains neither Opium, Morphine nor other Narcotio
substance. Its age is its guarantee. It destroys Worms
and allays Fcverishness. It cures Diarrhoea and Wind
Colic. It relieves Teething Troubles, cures Constipation
and Flatulency. It assimilates the Food, regulates the
Stomach and Bowels, giving healthy and natural sleep.
The Children's Panacea The Mother's Friend,
The KM You Me Always Bought
Bears the Signature of
In Use For Over 30 Years. '
TMI eiNTHU eOMMHV. TT MUMIAV .I'M IT, NIW YOHH OITT.