Danton of the Fleet
A COMPLETE NOVELETTE
A. C. Allenson
Who wrote “The Bluewater Prodigal,” and other stories.
“Forty years on when afar and asunder,
Parted are those who are singing
When you look back and forgetfully wonder
What you were like in your work and your play;
Then It may be there will often come o’er you
Glimpses of notes like the catch of a song. Visions of boyhood shall float them before you.
Hoboes of dreamland shall bear them along.”
— Harrow School Song.
THE boys stood stiffly at attention in the bare, oak-raftered hall, five hundred of them, soldierly straight in their well drilled precision. A. Spartan discipline that would seem barbarous to the coddled youth of the twentieth century had set its mark on faces and figures not unimpressively. The master, a broadbearded Saxon, called the roll swiftly, the sharp, staccato answers ringing out like a rapid succession of pistol shots. With the last response he shut the book smartly, and paused a moment. It was the final roll call of the school year, and the rather sentimental master meditated a speech for the moment, then regretfully abandoned it as too great a departure from the routine so rigorously followed. To-morrow the boys would scatter, some to return, but to many it was the closing of one of life’s pitifully few great chapters.
Even the least impressionable lad felt something of the sobering solemnity of the hour. A sharp, harsh command, and in military order the ranks filed out, swinging round like a piece of machinery and marching with the precision of its cogged wheels. In the gymnasium they broke up into a noisy cosmopolitan crowd, for representatives of a dozen nations were there. From the throng three toys separated themselves, and, arms linked, walked away from the rest. They belonged to the social aristocracy of the place, came from good families, and were destined for the same profession. Envious, onlookers called them the “Dreibund,” or Triple Alliance, and, while other associations changed, in the shifting life of an active community, this one never altered, and a quarrel with one meant having the antagonism of three undesirable foes. A healthy, courageous companionship, there was none in the School bold enough to challenge their supremacy, which was exhibited in work
and in such athletic exercises as the military rule of the establishment tolerated. They were about the same age, nearly sixteen, and for each it was the last night at Rheinwied.
Two of them were English, one German, and they had been together three years. On the whole, school life had been pleasant. At first the severe restrictions and constantly svtspicious oversight, had been irksome to the English lads, and they never became accustomed to the fixed German assumption that honor in boys was non-existent; but discipline had its values.
f I' HEY now wandered forth on an unplanned tour of the familiar places, each with its imperishable associations. The dingy Moravian Chapel, plain to ugliness, where the women sat on one side of the building, the men on the other, like two antagonistic species, between whom the stout, solemn pastor was a sort of mediator. The tiny cemetery, with its orderly rows of graves, spaced exactly, as beds in a well ordered hospital, and each with its square, flat stone laid upon its bosom—nothing to distinguish rich from poor, symbolical of the ultimate equality. Some of the narrow mounds held schoolmates from far lands; and here the three lingered, for in the heart of a boy lies a deep mine of precious sentiment. Out on the wooded hillside they went, to watch the purple twilight drop its rich mantle over the lovely, glowing valley of the Rhine. The eighth of August, 1889, would mark an epoch in their lives.
For a moment their communion was the silent fellowship of the spirit. With
the sunset would fall the curtain on their boyhood. To-morrow they would be facing their lifework, eagerly anticipating it. All three were taking the Sea
as their profession, ratering the Navies
of their countries.
Returning to their room in the hig school building, now dismantled and desolate, a wilderness of packed trunks and jammed valises, they sat down.
“What a dismal hole !’L sighed one of the English lads, viewing the wreckage in extreme disgust-
“What a dismal company!” laughed the German. “It might be a funeral instead of our entrance into life, and those boxes coffins with real corpses in them instead of our caskets of fortune. Hurrah, for the new life! For the Sea, our home and mother to be! For the Navies, British and Germani And one more for our little Rheinwied triple alliance!”
“Shut up, you lunatic!” grinned Angus Barnsley, a handsome, aristocratic looking boy, who would be sure to make his way, everyone said, for he had ability and influence.
“Now, if you were a Russian, Angus, and Frank, here, a Frenchman, we might be glum, because in a few years we’d likely be carving at each other’s throats. But British and German, friends always, allies often, one in blood and faith, our Royalties intimately related, we are really one family,” harangued the voluble German. “France hates us both, Russia hates us both. France hungers for revenge for the debacle of ’70, and the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, and she hates your sea power, your work in Egypt; for six or seven centuries, with little intermission she has fought you all the world over for the big prizes, India, the Isles of the Sea. America and Canada—and she has lost. Russia with her Panslavism and overlordship of the Balkans, we have one day to crush for our own safety, and she hates England for bolstering up the Turk in the Crimean War, and halting her, after her march to the City of her Faith’s Cradle, at the very gates of Constantinople. Every year the Bear shambles nearer and nearer India. But England and Germany are natural, God-ordained allies, and with your sea power and our army, we are invincible.”
And so they dreamed with the fine optimism of youth, as their elders dreamed at a later date. Before their eye*
were visions of strange, new lands, noble enterprises, and, perhaps, gallant deaths. The bell's summons, reminding them that ÿ they were still under school rulos and must be in bed inside half-an-hour, brought them back to the world of to-day.
“We will make a compact,” said Barsdorf, the German, springing from his chair. “Ten years, fifteen, twenty—no. that will not be enough to report upon. Twenty-five years from this night, if alive, we will meet again and renew the Alliance made here duting these three years.”
“Great idea?” .said Barnsley.
“Where?” asked the practical Frank Danton, tall, square-jawed, rather pale, acknowledged to be the most brilliant boy in the school, idolized by the spectacled science master, who prophesied a wonderful career for the boy who needed no teaching, as Steinmetz said—only his no9e laying to the scent.
“Well toss for it. Who has got any money? I don’t get my expense cash till the morning,” said the impecunious Teuton.
“Same here for both of us,” replied Angus, cheerfully. He had spent his last coin in buying a ribbon for a pretty, flaxen-haired girl who was visiting the Herr Principal’s house.
“There’s an English shilling in the cupboard there, if Angus hasn’t bagged it,” Frank reminded them.
* I ' HE coin was found, a series of solemn tossings followed, and in the end Angus Barnaleyfound himself the prospective host oThiVfriends at some unspecified spot on the earth’s surface on the eighth day of August, 1914. To the three lads that night it seemed a whole millenium away.
“And 111 do you to the rpyallest blowout money can buy,” he promised them. “But, meantime, Max, hand over that English bob; it’s no use to you.”
“Sixpence of it for me,” demanded Frank. “There’ll be lots of use for it on the other side of the briny.”
“Not so fast,” laughed the German. “I never was good like you at the mathematics, but I remember that three into twelve goes four. This is the way to split it.^ He took up a hammer and chisel that were lying on one of the packing cases, and cut the coin into three pieces, solemnly distributing them.
“A memento of our compact made this night,” he said. “We will keep them, luck pieces. And now, my budding Admirals, to bed, for the last time at Kheinwied.”
fyf ISS Barnsley sat with a book in a "*• screened-off corner of the pleasant tea-room. She had come over from England, via,
New York, a few days before with her brother, who was on a Naval mission to Canada. He was unmarried, devoted to his sister, who accompanied him in most of his journeyings, since the death of their mother. He was away for the day on urgent business, but the charm of Quebec, which she was visiting for the first time, was making her loneliness not without compensation. The only
other persons in the big apartment were two men. motorists, she guessed, from her casual view of them in a mirror. They conversed in subdued tones, but their deep voices carried distinctly to the place where she sat. She purposed to rise and leave the room, as she had finished tea, but something she heard made her linger. The elder of the two men, a tall, smooth-shaven, stout person, seemed restless and extremely irritable and, in amusing contrast, the mood of his companion was banteringly cheerful.
“I’m on pins and needles,” said the stout man, impatiently. "If I had dreamed he was here, and that you could treat the situation so lightly you could not have brought me within a hundred miles of Quebec. I have enough solid work on my hands to do without playing tricks at a time like this.”
"And, on the contrary, I never was more comfortable in my life. This commercial life of yours, my friend, with all its detail and intricacies seems to be ruinous to the nerves,” responded the other, munching cakes with evident relish. “As for me, my work here is done. I have attended to business, I have seen the sights which this amazingly candid people so hospitably exhibit. The trip down this magnificent river was most instructive. Once before I was here, inconspicuously, at the time of the Tercentenary celebrations. Much has been done in the way of improvements since we picnicked so pleasantly along the coast, and pursued, our agreeable studies. An admirable thing, the efficiency that seeks not only to make things work in an orderly, economical manner, but plans for'the plodding worker to build by. All true efficiency keeps a calendar dated at least ten years ahead, forty or fifty in case of the greater minds. And now on the heels of this most delightful business trip comes the touch of Romance, if I may so speak of it, Fate, Coincidence, Providence—as you will—enables me to keep my tryst with such astonishing ease. To probe the significai.ee of Coincidence always had a fascination for me.”
“I find enough work watching the ground at my feet without indulging in star gazing,” answered the big man, nettled by the amusement the other found in his nervousness.
“Too close absorption in the dusty mining industries of this admirable Province,” laughed the other. “Dust and grime tend to clog one’s soul and spiritual perceptions.”
“Come, let us get away,” begged the elder, as his companion poured out more tea. “You might have to stay here longer than you desired, and the entertainment, perhaps, might not always be of the Chateau Frontenac order.”
“QNE MIGHT find ^ compensations in a hospitality even thus limited,” laughed the other. “But don’t be afraid, I really could not afford it, with the pressure of sudden business that has come into my hands. The »place has wonderful charm—delightful old France in the New World. It gives a touch of dignity to a sadly utilitarian continent, wherein ‘every prospect pleases and only man is vile.’ I am no republican; I do not like
your Porkopolis places, and your New York rubber-neck waggons, from which bawlers announce the fortunes of the occupants of the houses before which they linger, and the number and quality of the wives the master of the house has had. No, a city like Quebec redeems many Chicagos. What an eye England has had for the choice fruit of the world’s basket! Fools term her dull, unimaginative. My friend, she has the keenest eye, the most vivid imagination, screened perfectly by the semblance of indifference. Is it blind luck that enables her to hold the keys of the world to-day? Your smaller creatures prate of efficiency, like a child with a new toy, she pretends to be ignorant of it, out of date. But where are the fruits of tireless efficiency so rich and abundant? Distrust the Englishman when he admits his weaknesses, for there is, what you call the uppercut coming. Cannot I persuade you to take another cup of this nectar?”
MISS BARNSLEY smiled as she heard the expletive wherewith the fat man rejected the hospitable offer. The other laughed aloud.
“I was star-gazing, as you term it, this morning,” he continued imperturbably. “Daylight dreaming, on the spot at which Wolfe« climbed the cliff9 that dark September night, one hundred and fifteen years ago, found France sleeping, and in a few minutes’ brisk work, won this superb prize, this—Canada!” The speaker’s deliberate enunciation of the name was powerfully impressive, almost reverential.
“What were the words they tell U9 he repeated?
Await .»»like th’ Inevitable hour.
“The inevitable hour! The Day! Fate’s appointment! While there I wondered if there might not come again the hour, the sleeping, and yet another waking under the ardent kiss of another daring lover, and —”
“Wonder and think all you like, but for God’s sake, do both silently," said the other with hardly suppressed anger.
“Their slumbers are too deep for my whispers to disturb,” answered the younger lightly. “I believe I could be another Wolfe. Wolfe! The name has fascination. Picture it, my earth-rummaging friend! The black night! The slumbering sheepfold! The fierce, hungry raider! and the prize, this—Canada.” He spoke now softly. “A land of clear skies, the sparkling brilliance that makes the swift, keen mind. It is the Northern people, not the hot house humanity, that will inherit the earth, those who have the blend of fire and ice, the tempered summer, the brilliance of winter sunlight. I would trade all your tropic luxuriance for the splendor of the exhilaration of the glowing North.”
“If you are ready I’ll step out and have the car brought round, and I’ll thank God fervently when I have seen the last of you,” grunted the fat man, rising.
“I really feel I am spoiling an exquisitely planned situation, some drama staged by the gods,” said his companion banteringly. “It has all been planned for me. I did not dream he would be here, I thought he was the other side of the Atlantic, and I marching from »him, but Fate has shaken the dicebox with that clever hand of hers, and here we tumble out together, almost jostling one another, in Quebec. If he were actually in the city I think the temptation would be al-
most irresistible. However, there is the other side—Waiter! A sheet of notepaper and envelope!”
SEVERAL minutes passed.
Miss Barnsley could see the reflection of the bent head as the man’s hand wrote rapidly. Presently the elder returned, evidently greatly agitated.
“You look as if you have seen an unusually disagreeable ghost,” said the other quietly, sealing his letter. “My friend has returned, eh?”
“Come at once, the car is at the door,” said the elder man huskily. “I saw—”
Miss Barnsley could not catch the whispered name.
“I had wondered if he might not be here,” said the listener calmly. “He was always oddly punctilious in such matters, dates and figures* and the how and when of events.
A day of remarkable happenings, this eighth day of August, 1914! You were indeed fortunate he did not see you. He had, I remember, a very long memory, a powerful hand, a fiercely burning heart. His teacher used to say all that . was needed was to put his nose to the scent, he would run down the most abtruse fact to its remotest lair. He has quite a big bill to square, and is a bad man because he pays so inexorably. The men who are indifferent in these matters are much easier to handle. A big debt, a bitter, ugly debt.”
“This is neither time or place for covert moralizing»,” snapped the other roughly, resenting something of contempt and menace in his companion’s manner. “We should never agree on that subject.”
“No, I think not,” answered the younger man slowly. “I do not like covert moralisings either. But as we are in—what »hall I say—partnership, it can do no harm to say to you that it was damnable, hellish, vile.”
“Those whose opinions govern both of us did not so regard it, and—” He hesitated an instant.
“If the car is ready, let U9 go,” broke in the younger man, rising.
Mis» Barnsley rose quickly and followed them to the door, undecided how to act, wishing she might meet her brother. In the distance a slate colored racing car was disappearing swiftly. Enquiring at the office she learned that the elder of the two was a well-known business man in the eastern part of the Province, with large interests in mines; the other a
business acquaintance of his, an American, also greatly interested in the mined product. There were many of those Americans, with oddly Germanic names and wide interests doing very active business in the Province of Quebec in those days; and there are some still, very silent, very cordial on occasion, very popular because of a notable free handedness. They are not poor enough to run any danger of an internment camp, and too
American, when it comes to the proof, to have their neutrality called in question. Moreover, they are so vitally connected with the big and wealthy that it is a menace to the big business of the province to suggest that they are anything beside worthily popular business men.
p APTAIN BARNSLEY was late for ^ dinner. An Admiralty man, at present on Dominion service, his' comings and goings these busy war times were uncertain. Waiting for him, his sister’s^nind dwelt on the overheard conversation. Sus-, picioh in those early days of the big struggle had not been roused. Little by little the world of the old time had to be convinced, much against its will, of the thoroughness of the German preparation for the long-planned scheme of world domination.^ Many were much more suspicious of the Jingo in their own land than the bland and amiable Teuton. The knowledge had to seep into minds gradually that any considerable body of men, no matter how hare-brained the Kaiser and Crown Prince might be, could possibly enter into friendly houses, eat the bread and aalt of cordial hospitality, receive all the fullest courtesies of civilized intercourse. and between dinners plan with calm, philosophic efficiency the best way in which to cut the throats of their hosts. The world had gone beyond that stage. Men had still to learn the extreme patriotic piety of Court Chaplains, and eminent theologians, and to discover that there is no deviltry hatched in hell that you cannot find a kind of logic for, or some Doctor of Divinity to father.
Miss Barnsley was unsuspicious. She had the English dislike of a scene that might turn out after all to be but the silliest of farces. The conversation was susceptible, perhaps, of an entirely personal interpretation. The men evidently were known, and to some extent, vouched for. Still she was not altogether easy in her mind. She was a woman of thirty, with distinction and charm of manner and appearance rare as attractive. To many, who regard the matrimonial goal as the measure of woman’s success in life, it was a matter of surprise that so delightful a woman had never married.
It was not because opportunities had been lacking. Those who knew her best whispered that in the tragedy of. Frank Danton the reason could be found. She had been engaged to the young naval officer when the shock came of his arrest on the charge of betraying his country’s interests to Germany. There had been no more brilliant man among the rising generation of the Senior Service. Coming under the eye of the great reorganizer of the British Navy, he shot rapidly to the fore as a man of mark in the new scientific school of sea fighters. Among naval men of all nations, to whom his genius and inventive skill were known, he was regarded as one whom opportunity would carry to a place on the splendid roll of great British 4ea captains.
This particular period marked the transition of the British Navy from a comparatively inefficient service, in which quantity rather than quality was considered, to the most efficient fighting arm the world has ever seen, the German arihy
not excepted. Then the list» were filled with imposing names of ancient, out-dated vessels, with antiquated armament, slow, cumbersome, illequipped, and kept in the first line because at the time of their launching they had been remarkable. The cries of Parliamentary economists, who believed the Millennium would arrive be-/ fore 1914, and that it was time for beating swords into ploughshares and spears' into pruning hooks, deprecated naval expenditures, and pointed out what a wonderful fleet Britain had—on paper. Nothing appeals to me more than the op•portunity to indulge sentimental idealism and at the same time keep the pursestrings tight. Thus it was, then, with Great Britain, as it is to-day with the United States, the genial pacifist had his way and believed with such soul a9 he had that he was the greatest of progressives instead of the most pitiful of reactionaries. The Millennium, unless it comes from the. outside, as does not seem very likely, will have to depend on the coqsensus of sane opinion, or the compulsion of the criminal by the law abiding. There is still need for bolts and lock; on hous* doors, especially those with treasures in them, and to put them there is no reflection upon the morals of humanity at large. We cannot yet put away police protection. The wealthiest pacifist keeps a safe with an intricate combination, and resents the footpad just as if he were not a man of peace.
rp ORTUNATELY at the head of the ^ British Admiralty was a man who saw only the necessity of an efficient fleet; so, heedless of the cries of economists who would have persisted in sending thousands of sailors to sea in ships that the first broadside of an up-to-date cruiser would have sent to the bottom, he relegated the naval junk with the big names to the scrap heap, filling their places with fighting machines of the first rank. Not all, happily, were lulled to quiescence by Prussian blandishments. Treachery in the past had richly rewarded the Teuton. The stealthy preparation, the sudden leap at the throat, the swift beating down of the unprepared, had paid enormously. Denmark, Austria, France had been humbled in less than forty weeks of actual fighting. Schleswig-Holstein, Alsace, Lorraine, the supremacy of Prussia in the German Confederation, the vast indemnity extorted from France — these were the brilliant trophies won less by fighting in the field, than by long-planned, slowly matured treachery.
In some respects the memory of the world is short. When the criminal is affable, powerful, rich, it is not difficult to forget the ancient offence and believe one’s first impression to have been false. Now a new day had come, and with it new projects. From mastery of Europe to world mastery was not too great a step for an ambitious imagination. To meet the demands of the new projects, to make victory on sea as certain as victory on land had been, new preparations were made. The native, inseparable bombast of the Prussian made the danger less insidious than otherwise it might have been. The grandiloquent Mailed Fist speech, the telegram to Kruger, the announcement that Germany’s future lay on the sea, the gigantic Navy Law, and the per-
iodic rattling of %e sword all gave waning to those who were minded to heed i:
IN the dawning of the new day and Br tain’s preparation for its task, Dai ton had his place. Deceived as politiciai -might be, the men providentially at th* head of the Navy were not to be fool« »' by Teutonic blandishments and amiahl. hypocrisies. It was know*n that an arrn\ of spies, men and women, infested Loi don, whose business it was to make Nava men their especial study. Secrets were reaching Germany—no one doubted that. Some minor arrests had been made ar.d convictions of small fry secured, but it was known that more than signal code>. fleet dispositions, harbor defences, was being disclosed to Berlin. There were searches, diligent, and anxious, for the man “higher up.”
Danton had been on furlough, had spent some days at Ostend, then in the days of its attempted rivalry of Monte Carlo There he had met with German friends One day the amazing hint dropped out of the skies into Admiralty offices. Dantor, was found drunk or drugged in a hotel, with incriminating papers and large sums of money upon him, that were later traced to German banks. Search of his rooms in town revealed letters, plans of construction known to have been sold to Germany, and a great many incriminating documents, that furnished so strong and connected a chain of proof that escape was impossible. Even in his rooms aboard ship was found damning evidence against him. There was only one possible verdict at the court martial, and Danton spent five years in prison, a sentence whose lightness surprised the world.
HIS fall came upon the proud Service as an unspeakable calamity. When he came out of the horrible place into an even bleaker world, there was waiting for him in the dreary little prison town a woman, tender, confident, true, whose anchor of faith had held through the storm when all others dragged. They saw each other but for a few moments. There were no pledges, nothing was 9aid of the future, but Danton went out among men again strengthened by the assurance of a woman’s changeless belief. Not once during all the terrible strain had Ellen Barnsley’s faith wavered.
This her brother attributed to the fine spirit of a generous woman, loyal to the first instincts of her breeding. She never spoke of Danton, even to him, and he hoped that the man had been finally weighed and found wanting in the scales of her clear-thinking mind.
When he went away from her, Danton left the world he had known and that had known him. He changed his name, and for a time was in the employ of a famous submarine builder in the United States, later accepting a position in one of the young South American Navies, and working rapidly up to a command. There, records ar.d certificates are not absolutely vital. Coming from Rivers, the submarine man, it was not difficult from that base for a man of Danton’s powers to work his way up.
DRESENTLY a servant entered the * room in which Miss Barnsley was sitting, to say that her brother had returned and awaited her in their private dining room. She joined him at once, purposing to tell him what she had overheard when
the servant should leave the room. While tfiving his order to the man, Barnsley took up the letter that had been brought up. His sister watched him curiously, as he paused in his instructions to look at the writing. Some instinct told her this was the letter the stranger had written. He finished his order to the servant, who left the room. With a word of apology, he opened the letter, and something fell to the table—a triangular piece of silver —part of a coin. Unfolding the note, he glanced rapidly over it.
"What an extraordinary thing! How on earth—? The eighth of August, 1914.” said Barnsley half aloud. He picked up the piece of metal, examined it, then took from his purse a similarly shaped bit of tarnished silver and fitted the two together ori the cloth, his sister watching eagerly.
"A most amazing thing!” he said, looking up. He gave her the note.
"Dear Old Chap, (it ran), I believe l was the one to suggest our compact of twenty-five years ago, so I should be the first to keep it. The world has reversed its motion, as we understood it a quarter of a century ago. Too bad it could not have waited a little longer; instead of balking us by H pitiful four days. I am positively hungry for that royal blow-out you promised—a sailor’s appetite—but there's, nothing else for it; we must extend the time a little. I should like to have seen you, but just now your hospitâhty might be too attentive. I wonder if F. will show up? Poor old F. However, a toast to the Triple Alliance of the old time, and the postponed meeting.—M.”
*4T^\ELIVERED at the office by hand.
I’ll go down and investigate. I’ll be back presently, but don’t wait.” Barnsley rose to leave the room.
"I think, perhaps, I can tell you something about it,” she said, detaining hirti. “It sounds rather absurd, but you may judge for yourself.” And she told him of the overheard conversation, describing the motorists i.s distinctly as possible. “I feel sure the younger wrote that note.” "It was the man himself,” said Angus, when she had finished. “The other I do not know, but I’ll find out details at the office. I may be absent some time. You had better not wait for me.” And he left the room hurriedly. She ordered the delaying of dinner, and, recalling the conversation of the afternoon, considered it in the light of her knowledge. Her brother was away for some time. When he came batk he was silenf and unusually absorbed. She waited patiently until he was ready to tell her what she wished to know.
“That note was from Max Barsdorf, an old Rheinwied schoolfellow, now Captain in the German Navy.” And he told her of the boyish compact, omitting reference to the third party to it.
“The Dreibund! The Triple Alliance, she repeated quietly. “The third was Frank Danton, I suppose?”
“Yes,” he replied; and gave his attention to the food on his plate.
“I am afraid I shall be very busy for an hour or two at the office downtown,” he said as they left the table. “I must leave for Ottawa to-morrow and there is a great deal to be attended to in the meantime. Can you find anything to amuse
you? It must he awfully slow and dull for you with only your maid.”
"I don’t find it so in the least,” she smiled. “You must not think at all of me or I shall be afraid I am in the way. I find the old city very wonderful. I want to see the sunset from the Terrâce, and then, if everything else fails, there are heaps of letters to write.”
CHE WENT out a few minutes later ^ and shortly afterwards he left to attend to his affairs. A brisk walk soon brought him to the building in which an office had been set apart for him. On the ground floor a number of men were waiting to be admitted to one of the rooms. Hurrying to the elevator he paused a moment to look them over. They were mostly of the type very familiar to him, reservists, old service men, with perhaps some volunteers seeking enlistment, all anxious , to be in the middle of the big ring. There had been a constant stream since the declaration of war.
Barnsley’s experienced eye now ran over them approvingly. They were the right kind. Men from farm and mine and workshop—answering the call. Suddenly his glance was riveted on a tall, well-built man, clearly of a different class from the majority. The subtle hallmark of class was on him, and the men standing round, keen judges, seemed to recognize it. Barnsley recognized him at once. It was Danton.
The officer did not hesitate a moment after recognition. There was a cloudly anger on his face. He walked forward and tapped the man on the shoulder sharply. The other turned swiftly.
“I want to see you a moment. Come with me!” said Barnsley. The other followed without a word and they went upstairs to a private room and the officer closed the door.
“What were you doing in that line?” he demanded of Danton, who returned his gaze without flinching.
It was a strong, fine face, full of cleancut power. , Barnsley in his wrath had to acknowledge that the man had not “let go” despite his fall. He did not know whether to be glad or sorry. He marvelled for an instant, at the power so terrible an experience had not shattered.
“I came to answer the call,” Danton replied.
“The call is not for you, and you know it,” rapped Barnsley, sharply. “We are summoning men to fight the German— against him I mean, don’t you understand?"
He was not the man to mince words, and he did not mean the other’s feelings should be touched tenderly.
"Then you mean to bar me?” asked Danton.
“I most certainly do,” came the swift reply. “We want men, trained men where we can get them. All w’e ask is that they are sound, loyal to the allegiance they swear, but—well, what’s the use of wasting words? I don’t want any fuss or dramatic scene about the man who wants to come back and that kind of stuff. Some may come back, but there are others for whom there is no return road.
Everything has broken down behind them, and there is nothing but space. For your own
sake, for old times’ sake, keep out of that line. That’s all I’ve got to say, and I cannot make it too plain.”
He uttered the prohibition slowly, emphatically. There was menace in his tone.
“Barnsley!” said Danton after a moment’s pause. The strong self-possession had not wilted under the other’s words. “As you may suppose, it is not an easy matter to ask consideration from you. I have no desire to speak of the past, no protestation of innocence, no excuse to make. Let that stand as it is for the present. It won’t always stand. So much I will .say. I’ve enough faith left in me to believe that hell will not always be topside. I want to serve, I don’t care in what capacity. Is there no place I can fill, without peril to the flag I used to -serve under?”
“There is none,” answered Barnsley.
“You used to reckon me a man who knew his trade,” said Dantôn.
“The man you were would be priceless to us to-day,” replied the officer, moved, despite himself, as he recalled what had been prophesied in gun-room and service club of the man before him.
“I am the man I was,” said the visitor quietly. “All I ask is to get back to a British ship, under the old ensign, on the fighting line. You cannot suggest any service I will turn from. Try me. I am a better, more skilled man than I was in the old days, and I have a big account of my own to square. Has the country no use for a man of my training and powers?” '
There was no egotism in the speech. The listener, and thousands of others, had experienced, in his fall, the bitterest sorrow of their lives. It was the downfall not of one who was insignificant, but of a stronger tower in the vital line of de. fense.
“Look here, Danton,” said Barnsley in gentler tone, as he considered the anguish of such a man as the one before him, shut out from the great opportunity that had been the dream at least of the clean years of his career. “God knows I don’t want to rake up the damnable story. If any man believed in you, to the bitter end, I did, for every reason. When the report came out at first I laughed at the absurdity of it. I’d have cheerfully killed the man who suggested it. And then came the proof, hammerec into my unwilling mind by hard, cold fiict. You made your own hell and jumpec into it, in spite of every sacred tie in life, your country, your God, your friends—all of us who held you as a brother, ar d more. You were meant for a leader, a Captain of Captains. You traded us like cattle in the market to our dead!.est, foulest foe, for money. And this night, if I could take you out of your torment I would not! Hell is made for deeds like yours, and if I lied or hid the truth to free you for service, I’d be guilty as you were.
He turned away to the window and did, not look round again until he heard the door open and close, and he knew he was alone. He sat down to work, feeling strangely shaken. The interview had stirred him to the depths.
■PYAYLIGHT was fading into dude.
The day had beèn hot, but with sunset had come the delicious coolness of the Canadian summer evening. From the commanding height of the grandly picturesque old world city, Danton looked down on the lordly St. Lawrence, its waters brilliant with the hues of the setting sun. A stark, war-painted cruiser was threshing its way toward Gulf and open sea. He watched her every movement, his face hard and drawrn with fierce, hopelss longing. As she passed out of sight, leaving the darkening river dreary and lifeless, die symbolized all he had lost. Eight years before this cruiser, now plunging seaward, had beefr-his command. To-night he envied the opportunity and clean name of the humblest sailor who served aboard her.
Barnsley’s words had impressed upon him, as had nothing since he left England, the immeasurable gulf separating him from the world that hadjïst him out. He and Barnsley had béen intimate from childhood, their lives seemingly inextricably interwoven. For a bitter moment the gulf seemed to be impassable. There came again to him the suggestion of a former service friend, spoken when the trial was almost over. It summed up the judgment of the men he had known, their best, kindest advice.
“There’s always the big retreat, Danton. There’s always the way of the bullet.” A thousand times, in crucial moments, when the fighting spirit, had pressed, had pulsed low, the words had echoed through his mind. “The big retreat. The way of the bullet!” He had always repulsed the bitter advice contemptuously. To-night it came to him like a ringing bugle call. A fierce determination to fight hell back to his last gasp gripped him anew. There should be . no retreat. If he had to go down without vindication, it should be fighting, and from the fire of thé enemy. All had not been lost. Ont of the mists of the past, the darkness of the present, came the face, sweet and tender, of the woman who had not failed him.
’ I 'HE HARD lines in his face softened, ± his figure whipped up straight. There was much to fight for beside his own place in the world, a woman’s faith to justify, her love to crown.
“Frank!” a voice called 9oftly; a hand was laid on his arm. For a moment he thought it was but the dream face he had hungered for.
' “Ellen*!” he whispered. And then, as he looked upon her, the gulf separating her from him seemed wide as eternity, the prison brand to be stamped inerasibly on his very forehead.
“Take me away from here, where we may speak,” she said. They walked on in silence until they came to a more secluded spot. Her eyes shone with an eager light, the color glowed in her face. Trouble and the heavy burden of suffering love had given to her a new, rarer beauty. There came to him a determination to Keep this last holy thing given to him from the vultures that ever hovered over him.
“Ellen, you should not have done this,” he said. “Can’t you 9ee, dear, that the thought of you being soiled by contact with my evils is bitterest of all. I cannot bear, the thought of any clouding of your life.”
“You can’t help it, Frank.” she smiled. “I am what I am, so near to you in every thought, that the clouds that are over you must darken my skie9. I would not have it otherwise. If I feared to walk with you in the darkness I should not.be fit to stand with you when the sunlight comes again.”
The wonder of her clear shining love awed him'to new reverence, and kept him silent.
“And the light is coming, I know it, I know it,” she 9aid with a strange triumph ant conviction that startled him. “Now tell me of these last years.”
CO HE told her of his work in the ^ States, the gaining of the first foothold from which he had climbed to the commission he had more recently held. It was not a great position, but still a notch on the face of the steep cliff from which advance might be made. Then, when the war clouds were gathering, so sure was he that the day prepared for so long by the Prussian war bureaucracy had been determined upon by them, and the decision arrived at to make the Sarajevo murders the excuse for the raid upon
What is the strangest industry in ('anadaf .In article in MARCH MACLEAN’S wilt telt what it is and all about it.
civilization, that he threw up his commission and hastened north at once.
He told her of his interview with her brother an hour or two before.
“We cannot blame him, Ellen,” he said. “In his place, with similar facts before me, I should do the same.”
“But Angus cannot bar every door,” she encouraged him. “The war is your big opportunity. There must be a way.” “If I have to go the round of the Empire till I find a hole in th£ fence, I am going to get inside.” There ¡was a dogged determination in the set fade, a hopefulness in his voice that still further stimulated her own courage. She did not think her loyaKÿ to Angus permitted her to speak of the Barsdorf coming and the letter, but 9he drew him on, speaking of the old school friendship until he had told her of the compact that had fixed this day as the time of the reunion. She expressed a wish to have the piece of silver he had kept, and he gave it to her. They conversed till the darkness was falling, then turned to go back.
“There is one thing, Frank, that we must change,” she said. “I mu9t know where you are, so that we may write to each other. The silence since you left England had been hardest of all to bear. There is no need for that to continue.” She gave him her address in Ottawa and he promised to acquiesce in her plans. He went with her as far as he dared in the direction of the hotçl, and, with her kis9 glowing on his lips, »watched her till she disappeared.
THERE was a fresh color in her cheeks, and her eyes shone brightly when she entered the sitting room to find her brother back from his work. He was buried in thought, with newspapers about him on the floor.
"You are late, Ellen,” he greeted her. "The air has done you good. You look charming, my dear.”
“It was very delightful,” she answered. “I have been with Frank. It is right that you should know it, Angus.”
“I am sorry,” he responded slowly. “I had hoped that trouble was dead and buried beyond hope of resurrection.” “Angus,” she said. “You have always been kind and considerate to me. We have been much more to each other than brother and sister usually are, and I wish you to understand fully. There has never been and never can be, any change in my relationship with Frank. Whether he is vindicated before the world, or not, he needs no clearing in my eyes. I know’ what you could say. There is not one black fact unknown to me. I have searched them piece by piece, seeking the loophole, the falseness that is there somewhere. I do not blame you, but I have other standards to judge by. You need not fear awkward developments, for there will be no change until the truth is established. I would marry him to-morrow, but he w’ould not let me. So wre wait for the dawning. We have waited long, eight years already. It has been a heavy task, and yet light for his sake. We know that the vindication in full light of day will come.”
“I would give all I possess, for his sake as well as yours, for my own also, if it could be so,” he answered sadly. “I suppose he told you that he had seen me?” “Yes, you were right according to your standards,” she agreed. “You could have done nothing else. That I know, and so does Frank. But, Angus, there are some questions puzzling me. There is meaning in them I do not understand as yet, but I am convinced that if I could have them answered a clue could be found to the method by which Frank was betrayed. All the evening, ever since you received that note, they have been turning in my mind. Who was it the man from the tearoom saw when he went out to the garage? Could it have been Frank the spy saw? It was some one known to both of them. I did not speak to Frank about it, or about Captain Barsdorf. I thought perhaps it would not be exactly in accordance w’ith my duty to you.”
“It was very thoughtful of you, dear,” he said appreciatively. “Yes, I have been considering that, and I think the probabilities are it was Frank. It is quite possible that a spy, now active here, may have worked before in another field. When one becomes known or suspected by reason of his undue prominence in any particular direction, the German service will move him across the world to a healthier and still useful spot.”
'T'HE SUBJECT was a distressing one, his love for her making him very sensitive about hurting her feelings. He could quite understand that a prominent Prussian secret service man, who knew his England, would not be ignorant of the Danton affair. Who could know? The man might have been mixed up with the naval officer’s downfall.
“Then if it was Frank, why should this man fear him so much?” she pursued. “One might expect contempt toward a tool used for a base purpose, ruined and cast aside. But tie man was in abject, trembling fear. Why did Captain Barsdorf say it was v/ell for the man Frank had not seen him, that Frank had a long memory, a powerful hand, a fiercely burning heart? That does not sound like the mere desire to avoid a despicable traitor, does it?”
“I do not understand it myself,” replied Barnsley.
This he did understand, that former confederates might easily disagree, and, in such evil; matters, the disagreement might be deadly. Danton had not been the man to be cast aside easily.
“And w'hat did Captain Barsdorf mean by saying that some act of the spy’s, for that was the distinct implication o f the conversation, was ‘damnable, hellish, vile?’ Would not the words fit some evil trap laid to catch an irinocent man?” she asked.
The force of her reasoning impressed itself upon her brother, but he made no reply. There was much to weigh and consider.
“And there is one thing more," she continued, driving home her argument. “Captain Barsdorf refers to Frank in his note and, certainly not. at all contemptuously 1 suppose the F. must mean Frank?”
He nodded in reply.
“And why, in the same connection, does Captain Barsdorf underline the word triple in the note? Would it not seem that he does not exclude Frank from his friendship. Captain Barsdorf Í9 a man of honor, is he not?”
“Undoubtedly,” replied Barnsley readily. There had been no submarine frightfulness, no butchery of helpless women and children on the high seas by German submarine commanders as yet, and the German naval officer was still classified with the men of a chivalrous profession.
“Would he be willing, do you think, to associate, even indirectly, with one who, though his villainy had been of service to Germany, w’as a traitor to his own flag?” she continued. “Would he-call that man friend who sold his own "country? Is there not still a code among all honorable men—friends or foes—that bars for ever the traitor from fellowship? Would Captain Barsdorf, the man you know, call that officer a friend, discovered or undiscovered, who had betrayed his country? Whatever England, the Admiralty, you, may believe, Captain Barsdorf knows that Frank was guiltless, and he was speaking of the plot that ruined his friend, though of another and an enemy nationality, when he called it ‘damnable, hellish, vile!’ And Angus-*-"
He looked up doubtful, perplexed.
“Keep the Dieces of silver for nje. Here is the third part,” she said. “You may give them to me on my wedding morning when we enter into the full sunlight again. I can see the dawn coming, ever so faintly perhaps, but the sun is behind it, rising, and the day will soon be here. Good-night, dear.” And she bent over and kissed him.
LJ E WAS still busy with his thoughts * when a call came. He had been expecting it. so flinging on a light coat and cap he went downstairs. A car was waiting with three men in it. He jumped in and a few minutes later they were across the nver speeding into the dark country. For over tw’o hours they rushed along at racing speed, and at last drew up by the side of a small lake. High up the 9teep slope stood a spacious house, standing in extensive grounds, and commanding a full viewr of the water and a wide range of hilly country beyond. It was the country residence of Schwartz, the mining operator, within which he had dispensed lavish
country-house hospitality to an admiring circle of neighbors and friends. Popular with farmers and tradesmen, he never haggled about prices and paid spot cash.
Such a man is idolized in any community wherein money is the true elixir vitae.
A drowsy farm bailiff came to the door. His master had gone away that morning, and was likely to be away for some time, in the SUtes like enough. Examination of the house showed the probability of the absence being a very long one. Papers had been collected and destroyed, for the big open fire place was full of charred remains. All had not been burned in the hurried Usk. The searchers found plans of the roads in the county, drawn with the intimate fidelity of the laborious Teutonic draughtsman, accurate maps of the valuable mine properties of the vicinity that had interested Herman capiUl largely, the whereabouts of the large stores of explosives, lists of the more important families in the neighborhood, and the estimated wealth of the more noUble residents. With the sane fidelity to deUil that had characterized preparation for the Teutonic raid on Belgium and northern France, Eastern Canada had been mapped out under the eye of the amiable German-American, Mr. Schwartz, in Germany a German, in America an American, jealous of the lonor of the “flag of his adoption” and in Canuda the friend of all, tfie enemy of none, smiling, fatly urbane, rich.
IN A remote building was discovered a powerful wireless plant that had been dismantled. The bailiff knew there was some funny machinery there, but had been told he must not go near it as experiments with dynamite were being made. What did he know about such things? There was little doubt that the snug, country residence of the rich bachelor had been a safe rendezvous, not far from the line, forthose who sought to prepare the way for a possible German Colonial Empire in North America, money being, used as the most effective blind.
Never has there been better illustration than in these recent years that, no matter what God men may worship, or to what King or country they may profess allegiance, the God and Monarch that levels all barriers and makes men one Is He of the hundred cents, the Almighty Dollar. In his presence even the voice of Conscience is hushed. He has as many logical reasons for demonstrating black to be white as a Prussian doctor of philosophy or religion in proving murder a positive virtue.
Barnsley annexed, as his own private booty, a rare photograph of the ex-mining
magnate. He was desirous of establishing if possilbe any connection there might be between the man in the lonely Quebec hills and the downfall in London and Ostend of Frank Danton. That there was some link he no longer doubted, but how its discovery would help his former friend, or Ellen, he did not see.
’ I 'HE NEXT day he left for Ottawa.
with his sister, and shortly afterwards was recalled to England for a short time, Ellen remaining with friends until he should return. She was not idle in the meantime, and, as Captain Barnsley’s sister played her part during the manifold activities of those early war days.
Canada was fully awake, armies were being enrolled, equipped, drilled, and sent overseas to blazon the name of the Dominion fadelessly on the scroll of fame. Naval matters were not ignored. There were enemy raiders afloat, fast, powerful, enterprising, lacking nothing either of supplies or information from well planted agencies all over the Continent. On both coasts deep anxiety was felt despite the sheltering of the mighty British Navy. Seas are wide, and, in hunting, more hounds than hares are required. Many nervous folk lived in apprehension of an attack upon the land they had deemed to be inviolable. Theories went by Hie board in minutes, and many a pacifist who had demonstrated, in the abstract, to the last dot and dash, the absolute impossibility of various things, found to his alarm that the theoretic and moral impossibility had become a probability, and that his only protection from an impossible raid by a benevolent people lay in the activity and ceaseless vigilance of the ships and sailors of Great Britain three thousand miles •way. Many an eloquent orator whose home bordered on the ocean wished with all the intensity of his nature that one of those floating war machines he had condemned as lhenaces against the Millenium were outside the bay yonder between his life and'property and a German raider. It is one thing to have a theory, but quite another to be compelled to live up to it when the views of the enemy do not jibe with it One’s view of Tommy Atkins and Jack Tar varies, as Mr. Kipling has pointed out, according as peace reigns or “the drums begin to roll.”
TOURING all this time of hurrying preparation Miss Barnsley saw Danton more than once. There came a morning when she sent for him, and a little later in the day he was on his way to the Pacific Coast, with a recommendation from an influential authority suggesting that a place might be found for a man who had l»rire experience of the new warfare, especially as it applied to submarines, and had resigned a commission elsewiere in order tq,get into the big line. Sometimes it is defied, probably with truth, that woman’s influence is exerted in the matter of appointments, or that it achieves its objects. Be that as it may, it is certain that, when it was known that the Barnaleys knew the applicant, and that Miss Barnsley had expressed interest, it did not hinder his chances.
The how and wherefore is of little importance, the main point being that when the man presented himself at the western coast town he soon found himself aboard a King’s ship and under the old flag.
“I_I E’S A slippery devil all right, but
A J à damned good sportsman, which you can’t say for a lot of his crowd,” grinned Brock of the cruiser Montreal presently taking aboard supplies at Vancouver, preparatory to putting to sea again. His companion was Trench of the destroyer Albatross just in from a trip along the coast. Neither was in the very best of cheer. Hunt the slipper is a good name, but it palls after a time, and variety is welcome.
The Koenigsfelt, of the Imperial German Navy, had been enjoying.itself amazingly, flitting up and down the coast like a destructive Will o’ the Wisp, playing hawk to western trading ship chickens ever since the war began. Elusive as a phantom, she had evaded a dozen wellplanned traps, having as sound information from her compatriots ashore as if she were in a German harbor. Every vessel ehe sank, in her daring ventures, rubbed a new raw spoton the tough, substantial person of Brock.
He was now surveying with approving eye the trim, business-like shape of the destroyer berthed below.
“You look very fit down there,” he said, nodding toward the Albatross. “Who’s this Cranswick chap Ottawa sent you? Gunroom look about him, different from some of the Johnnies you rake up in emergency times like these?”
“Don’t know anything about his pedigree, and in some way he’s a bit of a puzzle to me. Still these times we are not worrying too much about antecedents so long as the man himself has the stuff. The war is going to make us the most democraHc folk on the face of the earth,” replied Trench. “What I do know is that he was a civilian at one time working with Rivers, the Yankee submarine man. Anything he doesn’t know about underwater craft isn’t worth the knowing. Latterly he swapped to an infant navy in South America somewhere, but threw up the job and came North when Hie band began to play. Whatever is back of him, •and wherever he hails from, he is a star. What suits Ottawa is good enough for me, especially when it’s a man of his clafcs in real work. We are all praying our hardest for a fly at the German, but this chap is cold, fighting mad, like a fellow with a bitter grudge fight on his hand. Has had an overdose of the Teuton stuff some time or other, and it left a bad taste.”
“The Lord send us more of them” prayed Brock piously. “And when he sends them I wish there’d come a hint of where we can stack up against the dodger for the scrap. I never did care much for overdoing footwork in the ring, though, of course, that is the chap’s game.”
A RING at the telephone and the arrival of a messenger broke up the ‘r chat. News had been wirelessed along that the Koeningsfeldt had been seen, heading North at full speed. There were humors from all along the coast, faked, likely enough, as Brock granted, in order to keep him burning good coal on a wild goose chase. Still there were possibilities that the Prince Rupert coal packets might be attractive to the raider, since latterly a keener vigilance over the movements of “neutral” colliers had made the supplies of raiders much less regular and much more precarious. Then the delight of
dropping a few visiting cards in the shape of shells into the brisk streets of Vancou ver would appeal peculiarly to the ideas of Teutonic Kulture.
Hoping for the best, out slid the two war dogs within the hour, and very many days elapsed before Vancouver saw either of them again. Rumors of the usual type flew about. First they had been in action with half a dozen German warships, dart ing north after Coronel to exhibit to Canada the prowess of the challenger fot sea dominion. But ten days later tfce de stroyer crept into Prince Rupert just after nightfall. Trench was obviously disappointed on account of his failure Cranswick was more silent, leaner, hungrier-looking than ever, but he had the crew in what Trench exuued over as “North Seat fighting kilter.” Given a chance, the Albatross would show the result of ceaseless striving after naval efficiency.
It was depressing to realize that they had been the victims of another scare head rumor. Still it was all in the game No word of the adversary had reached British Columbia during this time, which was more hopeful, in Cranswick’s eyes, than the more sensational rumors. The cruiser was still abroad hunting farther afield.
DEADLY dull was the night, as only such a night in Prince Rupert could be. The drip! drip! drip! of the misty rain added the last touch of dreariness to the tedious place. Cranwick was on deck in glistening oilskins, peering seaward There was a strangely anticipatory rest lessness in his veins to-night.
Toward eleven events began to move A launch flitted in hotfoot with news. In the blackness it had almost run into the darkened enemy, feeling his cautious way inwards, and had been fortunate enough to be unnoted.
In a very few minutes the hunter stole out, lights blanketed, keenest eyes and ears straining into the gloom. An hour passed without sign and still they plough ed the darkness, like a last voyager on a dead sea. Was the informant mistaken? Had the quarry swung off at some warning message? Had he slipped by in the gloom? It was possible that the imagined enemy was but a cautious merchantman on some lawful errand whom they had missed in the dense blackness.
Suddenly the enveloping fog bank swept upward, at the whim of a sharp gust of wind, a chink of light showed for an instant, to be drowned again by the descending wraiths. In darted the destroyer un perceived.
Then a broad, circling fan of light flash ed over the waters, making the billowymists a world ot bright* ghostly shapes, and the guns of the cruiser ripped the fog Trench and his second in command went down before the action had been many minutes in progress. Almost before he could realize it, the destroyer was in Cranswick’s charge. Now and again she staggered, as under a giant’s buffet, when a shot found her, but she bore a charmed life. To Cranswick it was all a splendid dream—the dark night, the rolling fog banks, the flame-haloed cruiser, the darting, zig-zagging destroyer waltzing round on her heel, the crashing salvo9, the ri»> and rattle of smaller arms. Above him was the fighting flag of the Empire ¿hat all the seas of the world know so well.
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Continued from page 26
and in company with her, the colors of the great daughter, Canada, receiving their baptism , of fire. The stout little ship under him was alive.
Answering her helm as if she knew what was wanted of her, the Albatross escaped most of the hail that crashed round her, and the thick, shifting mist was her jfriend. The burdens of the years rolled from Cranswick in the glory of the crowded -hour. His heart danced and sang in the grey dawning of his new life. It seemed sheer impossibility that the little craft could live through the unequal battle, but to-night the man in command never doubted his star. Fortune had in the supreme crisis returned, and was sweeping him i n flood tide back to victory. Down came the thick fog again. He swerved the destroyer out of the zone of concentrated fire. Circling about, he swept back dogged, implacable as Fate. From every part of the cruiser guns crackled and roared as the venomous, shrouded foe tore in. Cranswick leaned forward, a song—for the first time in years—on his lips. His moment was coming fast. Suddenly in the midst of all the darting ánd circling of the antagonists, the chantre came, the instant when the skilled boxer sees the opening for the knock-out blow.^Cranswick thundered his order and under the water a torpedo slipped away. He leaned forward, tense and breathless. There was an instant’s lull in the bedlam din and then the cruiser’s guns thundered again, as if conscious of deadly peril. A dull roar shook the heavy atmosphere. The doomed ship shuddered and reeled. Then came a second explosion, as the destroyer, a thing of life, fired another t*olt.
The cruiser, a moment before a thing of terrible might, lay a helpless, shattered, sinking wreck. Silence again fell over the sea and the destroyer’s lights streamed out alone into the mists.
A FEW days after the big duel. Captain Barnsley, with his sister, arrived in Vancouver. He had just returned from England. The news of the destruction
of the Koenigsfeldt came to him shortly after he went aboard the train. He was anxious to meet the much talked of man, ! of whom everyone knew so little except the achievement that had made his name ring through the land. No sooner had he arrived at his hotel than the hospital chaplain called to see him with a message from the captain of the destroyed German ship, who was severely injured, that he would like to see the English officer Barnsley knew that the wounded man was Max Barsdorf.
“I’ll come with you at once," replied Angus gravely. “He was an old-time schoolmate of mine. Is he dangerously hit?”
, "The doctors say he will not live through the night,” replied the chaplain. "He is in full possession of his mental faculties and has been very eager to see you ever since he learned, in response to his enquiries, that you were coming west.” 't; He found Barsdorf anxiously expecting him. The German was mortally hurt, but bore himself with the cheerful courage of a gallant man.
“So we brought off the meeting after all, Angus,” he greeted his old-time friend “Twenty-five years ago we did not dream this would be the manner of it. Never mind! I have had my day, and it ha» j been a pretty good one, on the whole, and. now that the paying time has come, I do not grudge footing the £ill. The Jap[ anese penalty for failur# is right and just—to the uttermost farthing. I could j scarcely find it in me to thank my rescuers ¡ for fishing me out öf the sea. Far better i to have died in her motherly arma, and ! have been laid in her grand temple ; sepulchre. It was my vanquisher, Crans; wick, who picked me up. Have you coni gratulated him yet?” i “I have only just come down. Your ; message reached me as I arrived at the I hotel, so I came at once,” replied Barns! ley.
“It was good of you to come,” smiled the ! German. “But about this conqueror of mine. When he lifted me from the sea I ; suppose I was nearly gone, but he was anxious for some reason to save me if 1 ! should happen to be among the wreckage, j I had been hit pretty badly. It seemed to I me that I was alreády dead, the mists rolling in the light’9 glare a kind of Val' kyrie setting to the finish. When they lifted me into the boat I fancied the good spirits of the long ago were taking me from the dark river. It was strange, terrible, good. Out there in the fog and the rain and the blackness broken by I the streaming lights I saw a ghost." He closed his eyes and rested.
“There were three of us at Rheinwied. brothers inseparable.” He stretched out his hand and Barnsley took it. “I am a combatant no longer, Angus. To-night—it I is my weakness—I am very wearÿ of the warring Jevovah of battle, the relentless, ruthless, blood-reeking. The old Norse gods are the gods of life, vigor, strength. They mean nothing to such as I am now.
I am back again to-night at the old place with the white Christ of the old Moravian Chapel. One has gone far from .it in the years, but the child spirit comes again, on the verge of the kingdom they say one must enter as a little child—and the desire for the things that belong to it. It was a good, clean, fair world, the simple folk with their Herrnhut, their faith and prayers».” His eyes closed, and Barnsley
heaul him murmur words he had not listened to for more than five and tvventyvears.
“From self-ccmplacency; from untimely projects; from the unhappy desire of becoming great; from the murdering spirit and devices of Satan; deliver us, Most Gracious I.oid and God.”
T"'HE WORDS were from the quaintly ^ beautiful’! Litany of the Moravian Church they bad listened to. often wearisomely. as careless lads, every Sunday, in the old School Chapel above the Rhine.
‘‘‘Think of aspirations like those in the world to-day!9’ snid Barsdorf musingly. “There were tjhree of us. You—Frank— . I.” Barnsley! nocided.
"Angus! it was Frank who 9ank me that black morning. You remember how he used to bore in, playing, working, fighting. You could not hold him. off. I thought of it that night on the bridge of my ship, but it seemed too absurd. The man I had known, the sport of the vindictive gods, come back to his own again, with the shield of Omnipotence covering him. It seemed that the gun had not been forged that cotild penetrate his armor that night. Cranswick, the conqueror, is Frank Danton, the man you broke and jailed for betraying his country to us.” Neither spoke for some moments.
"My people war as did the Chosen of the Lord, when Ho brought them up from bondage, and set them to make their destiny,” spoke the dsdng man. “We destroy that we may build a world-wide Empire. No weapon is neglected as you know. The splendor of the purpose overrides halting considerations as to the means. We are •ur own law. We make or break as we will it. We regarded Danton as one of the most dangerous of your captains, as we regard Britain as the foe of foes, in comparison with whom other nations are insignificant. ; Danton was German in science, modernity, thoroughness. My people went after him and saw to it that vou broke him,” The tired voice rested, and Barnsley waited eagerly.
“Perhaps I am wrong. The individual has no rights when the good of the State is concerned, but I cannot leave the world with this evil in it. I had no part in it. and, Angus, I hated it with all the strength of my soul. It has been my crucifixion no less, in some sense, than Frank’s. He was brother to me, but he was sold, and I had to stand by. It was a rreater sacrifice for my country than dying for it. It isieasy to give one’s strength, blood, life, but’I had to slay my honor, to make myself, in my own eyes, of no reputation, to lay ail] tjiat I prized in the dust. Frank was tricked into the hotel, drugged, skilfully handled, the incriminating evidence placed upon him. in the very desk at his home at which he wrote, in his ship, as you know. The work took years to complete, and, when all was ready your people were put on the track. He was caught, as it was believed, red-handed, with all the clues for the big unravelling placed for yeu to find them. There has been no better piece of work, not even among the cocksure Yankees, done by the department than that. Five years in prison for Danton’s spirit! The fearful humiliation for the man to whom moral cleanness was a passion! It has haunted me day and night. I am a German, liody and soul, but no assassin, no night-stabber. j I have left a sufficient
statement. I think, with the Chaplain—it I was possible you might not come in time— it will enable them to find the way to the real truth. More I cannot say in loyalty to my own people, less I may not say, and meet my God as a clean man. You have i my word. also, on the verge of the grave, that Frank Danton had no part in the treachery of which he was accused and convicted. I have already seen him 9ince I came here, and we are friends, brothers still. He is coming. He is here now.”
THE DOOR opened and Danton entered. Words were few, for time was short. Across the bed of the German the two Englishmen clasped hands. Over them Barsdorf placed his.
“The Dreibund!” he whispered.
When they looked down, he was dead.
! F ROM this time events moved rapidly.
I * Within a few hours of Barnsley’s i cabling to the Admiralty came a summons j calling Danton home. Ellen Barnsley and her brother travelled by the same ship. The fame of the unknown man’s exploit and his sudden call to headquarters had roused the excited interest of a Continent, and, in some way known only to the fertile mind of the newspaper reporter who brought off the wonderful scoop, the discovery was made. When Danton ,was half way across the Atlantic the news was flashing round the world that Cranswick of the Albatross was none other than the brilliant Danton of the fleet whose tragic downfall, nearly nine years before, had been a universal sensation. Moreover, he had gone home with triumphant proof of innocence, and there was to be a re-investigation of the case and a review of the conviction. Of this publicity the three aboard the liner knew nothing. Off the Lizard a cruiser passed them, and a ringing cheer went up from a cluster of jackies thronging the fighter’s rail. Even the officers on the bridge waved greeting. Such demonstrations from an unemotional patrol crew excited some comment. Perhaps there had been some victory that the wireless had not communicated.
Passing in through the Needles and up Southampton Water from the scurrying war ships came the same greeting. It was not until, passing near to a destroyer, that the three passengers understood the meaning of it
“There he is!” shouted a lusty A. B. “I served under him. Welcome home. Captain Danton.” And there followed a roar of cheering that drove the three below ! until the vessel docked.
j 1_I URRYING up to London there was ; *■ *• no delay in reopening the case. The evidence was again 9ifted, facts were examined in the light of the new informaI tion, and the completest vindication, with instant reinstatement came to Danton. Later followed the honors for his achievemen aboard the A ¿¿afros».
As soon as the decision was given, Barnsley hurried away to carry the news : to his sister. She had already heard, for the streets were ringing with the news of the triumph. One might have thought 9ome great victory had been won. Together brother and sister talked over the i details of the case. Later Danton himself ; would come when the excitement had subsided. The mob would have carried him
shoulder high through the streets could they have laid hands on him.
“And What about the man of the tearoom, the Quebec spy, Schwartz?” asked Ellen, when her brother had almost finished his recital.
“Schwartz,” answered Angus, “is a well-known German spy, who became too public a ¡character this side the Atlantic to serve ! his employers’ ends so he was transferred to the United States and Canada. He has had quite a number of names and sustained several roles in the course of his activities. When he first came to England he was the half starving son iof a poverty-stricken nastor in Germany, his name then was Weiss and hé was ah out-at-elbows usher in a cheap boardingi school. He had qualities and gifts and Frank Danton’s father took pity on him, gave him a well-paid position as tutor and secretary in his household. He was treated almost as one of the family, more like a relative than employe. This gave him the opportunity of meeting with persons of more or less importance in the services, and opened the way for him to eater upon the still more lucrative business jas a spy. As you know now', the east coast particularly was infested with these crawlers, the abjects of a Fatherland that had starved them. It was Weiss, of Schwartz, as he more appropriately ¡named himself, who planted all the incriminating papers on Frank', in his private rooms, in the cabin of the ship itself. Thj? home authorities presently had their attention directed to his suspicious activities^ though the Dantons themselves wpre utterly in the dark, and a hint reaching the ipan, he made himself scarce. It was a telégram from him speciously worded that took Frank across the Channel to Ostend, ted "to the happenings there, and the discovery, and arrest of Frank as soon as he reached England again.
“Thereafter, the ruin of his benefactors being compassed, Weiss became Schwartz of New York, and the mining districts of Eastern Carada—the hospitable, opulent mining magnate.
“But n|ow', my dearest girl, let us drop the reptile, and talk of wholeaomer things until Frank comes. Suppose we discuss designs in which the parts of a cut shilling may be reunited and suitably mounted as
a wedding grift?”
So they laughed and talked until the bell rang, and a quick step was heard in the hall. S Ellen rose, her face white and tender. Then the glow of perfect happiness swept over it. Her brother slipped away by another door; and the two entered into the full clear sunshine of cloudless day.