"The Lord Will Perwide"
Belial Gallup, master mariner, demonstrates that pirates are vulnerable
NORMAN REILLY RAINE
BELIAL GALLUP, master mariner, slowly moved his ungainly length from under the sampan hood as the boat came alongside one of Shanghai’s numerous landing stages, and stepped ashore. His big hand dived into a pocket, and brought forth an unique collection of odds and ends and a few Chinese copper coins. Among these he foraged, made a careful selection, counted twice to make sure, then, with an air of bestowing largesse, he transferred them to the encrusted palm of the grinning sampan man. The sampan man also counted, the grin disappeared, and, leaping ashore and confronting Mr. Gallup, he emitted loud and unpleasant signals of distress.
Patiently, even politely. Mr. Gallup lent an attentive ear, his shaggy head bent, his long horse-face solemn, his little black shoe-button eyes fastened sympathetically upon the sufferer.
“What's that?" he asked.
The sampan man repeated, with impolite embroidery: “Me catchee mo’ dolía’!”
Mr. Gallup tilted his hard hat over his eyes and scratched the back of his head.
“Parley voo francey?” he asked painfully. “1 no voorstay Chinamens.”
The sampan man began to sketch the more vivid bits of Mr. Gallup’s genealogy. Mr. Gallup listened: then he reached out and patted the sampan man indulgently on the shoulder.
“That’s all right, sonny,” he said heartily. “You keep the change. We’ll say no more about it.”
Having exercised his benevolence, Mr. Gallup meandered slowly in the direction of the city. He might have gone more comfortably and stylishly in a rikisha but he could not afford it, and in any case, having an insatiable interest and curiosity regarding his own profession of seafaring, he preferred to walk along the wharves. He stood for a while to watch the discharge of a big American cargo vessel, criticized the coming-alongside of a Baltic tramp, saw a coolie well whipped for stealing and the proceeds of his theft hung across his Adam's apple, then moved on, his little store of knowledge added to and providing food for a day’s appreciative rumination. Eventually, crossing the
bridge and coming out on the Bund, he reluctantly turned from the fascination of the Woosung’s busy river traffic into the Nanking road.
Comparing a pencilled card which he took from his pocket with the brass plate outside a business house, he paused.
“China Sea Traders,” he read aloud. “Andrew Martin, President. That’s what the consul wrote dowm, so it must lie the place.” He opened the door.
A CHINESE clerk greeted him at the counter, and in a minute or two he was facing a sallow-faced, tightlipped man with pale eyes, who was entrenched behind a heavy desk.
“Are you Mr. Martin, sir?”
“Yes. What do you want?”
Mr. Gallup appeared uncertain. “Well, the consul telled me there was an openin’ for a ship’s officer.”
Martin appeared to relax. “I see. Then you are Captain Gallup?”
The visitor shook his head; slowly delivered himself of his cherished and invariable mot.
“Not exactly, sir. Ye see. Salvation Army has captains and so has canal boats—but the merchant service on’y has master mariners. So plain Mister Gallup’s good enough fer me.”
Martin’s eyes examined him speculatively. He pressed a button and a clerk appeared.
“Ask Captain Narpopoulis to come in; and send for Mr. Wong Gee,” Martin directed.
Mr. Gallup twiddled his hat.
The door opened to admit Captain Narpopoulis. The captain was broad and fat and swarthy. His well-oiled cheeks shone good-naturedly, and cheer radiated from his dark, jxmched, black-fringed eyes. And he had a deeplunged chuckle.
“This is Gallup, master of the Mistral, captain,” Martin said. "The consul sent him along.”
“Ah, so? That is good; vairy good indeed, ha-ha!” acknowledged Captain Narpopoulis, and gave Mr. Gallup a
flabby, scented hand. “But now you are, howefer, master of nodding, is it?” His big eyes rolled over Mr. Gallup and he laughed again.
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Gallup after a minute of mental toil. “I’m out of a job, if that’s what ye’re getting at. And ye’re needing a ship’s officer?”
“For my steamer, the Kaifeng." put in Martin, “commanded by the captain here. And naturally I must ask you some questions.”
“Naturally, sir.” said Mr. Gallup sagely, and pursed his lips.
Martin was about to go on, when the door again opened, and a Chinese entered, a spare, sinewy, middle-aged man, in a business suit and heavy-lensed, horn-rim glasses. He bowed, said, “Good day, gentlemen,” with no trace of accent, and sat down.
“Mr. Wong Gee,” said Martin. He turned again to Mr. Gallup. “Tell us about yourself.”
Mr. Gallup thought profoundly.
“We-ell, sir, they ain’t much to tell. I’m master o’ the steamer Mistral—or I was, till today. Me owners bought a cargo o’ grain at Bahia Blanca, and sent me out here wid it. The owners was short o’ cash; and the Mistral's near forty years old. so there was breakdowns on the v’yage naturally. I paid me way from port to port on bottomry bonds, wid the cargo as security; but when I got here, more parched up than not, the cargo was rotten, me owners was bankrupt, the ship was attached by the holders o’ the bottomry bonds and she was seized by the port authorities ier nonpayment o’ port charges.”
Martin said: “Of course, Captain Gallup—”
That seafarer interrupted gently. “Jest plain Mister, sir, if ye don’t mind. Salvation Army—”
“As I was about to say.” continued Martin testily, “you knew, of course, before you left the Argentine, that the grain was sour, eh?”
Mr. Gallup looked puzzled; then he shook his head emphatically.
“No, sir, I did not. I never knowed a thing till I sniffed the stink of it after we’d cleared Honolulu.”
“You mean, you had no suspicion your owners were up to tricks, speculating in rotten grain?”
“Tricks?” Mr. Gallup’s shoe-button eyes opened wide. “I don't know nothing about no tricks. Me owners was jest unfort’nate, that’s all. What do ye mean, sir?”
Captain Narpopoulis exchanged a swift glance with Mr. Martin.
“It ees not matter. Meester Gallup,” he chuckled, nibbing his hands. “Meester Martin has his joke, that ees all.”
Mr. Gallup lcxiked relieved. “Sure,” he said heartily.
“This is the first time you have been on this coast, Captain Gallup?” said Martin.
“Salvation—” began Mr. Gallup patiently.
“Yes, yes. But it is. isn’t it?”
“In thirty-five years at sea, sir,” replied Mr. Gallup, “’tis the first time I ever seed Shanghai. P’raps that’s why I was such a easy mark.”
"Easy mark; why ees easy mark?” asked Captain Narpopoulis softly.
Mr. Gallup looked aggrieved.
“Well, as ye know, me wessel’s been lyin’ in th’ river fer ten weeks; and all that time things kept disappearin’—the brass deck plugs to the sounding pipes, loose gear, personal effects and the like, as well as ship’s stores—till she’s plucked nearly clean, and not a devil could I ketch. Then, yesterday, when I was paid off. the receiver’s crew come out to move her into a berth; and when they come to turn the engines over—ye’ll never guess—”
“I’ll not try,” said Mr. Martin. “What happened?”
“Why, the propeller was gone. Yes, sir! Them river scamps had lifted it right off the shaft, and it four feet under water.”
Mr. Wong Gee leaned forward. He said, in his low, smooth voice:
‘And you did not know it was gone?”
“No. O’ course not. Ain’t that a kick?”
API AIN NARPOPOULIS beat his palm softly with his fist. His smile was expansive.
I am sure, Meester Martin,” he chortled, “that this gentleman would be excellent chief officer for the voyage we have in our mind. He is treasure, no doubt; he do wot he is tol' and do not tink too much.”
Well ” Mr. Gallup gave a pleased little cough— “I hope I suit.”
And so ’—Captain Narpopoulis looked at the Chinese— if Meester Martin and Meester W ong Gee permit, I will take him.”
I think he is a very good man for the place,” said Mr. Wong Gee.
I knew the Lord would perwide,” said Mr. Gallup deeply.
“What’s that?” Martin rapped.
“Jest a savin’ o’ me pa’s, sir, when things looked thin. He'd say ‘The Lord will perwide,’ and He alius did. We’re all his sparrers, sir, ye know.”
Mr. Martin eyed the sparrow closely.
“Hmm-m,” he said. “No doubt.” Then abruptly he made up his mind. “All right, Gallup; the job’s yours. I suppose you can lie depended on not to talk?”
“Dumb as a mummy, sir, and mum as a dummy,” vowed Mr. Gallup stoutly.
“Very well, then. I’ll tell you something of your duties. As you probably know, the Japanese are overrunning Manchuria and a Chinese general is opposing them. Now my ship, the Kaifeng, is about to sail for Manchurian ports, in command of Captain Narpopoulis, with a large cargo of war supplies for the Chinese army. The cargo is owned by merchants of Shanghai. Clear, so far?”
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Gallup after a moment for thought. “In addition to the war supplies she will carry two hundred thousand dollars in silver for the army paymaster. That silver, contributed by the Chinese of Shanghai at the solicitation of Mr. Wong Gee, will be delivered, we hope, to the Chinese general’s agent at Taku Bar, which is the jxirt for Tientsin. But prior to that delivery it will be necessary to deliver a badly needed consignment of fuel oil at the Hwang-hwai River village of Chiangshan. And it is in that short trip up the river that danger lies. You know nothing of conditions out here, you say?”
“That’s right, sir; but I can l’am.”
“Never mind that. The Chinese coast, and that includes rivers, is infested with pirates, well armed and in fastsailing junks. And it may be that during this voyage the Kaifeng will encounter some of them. Now, I do not desire any fighting—”
Mr. Gallup looked relieved. “That’s good. I ain’t much of a hand at fightin’, sir. I’m a peaceable man, be nature—” “Bear this in mind, then. If the ship is attacked I do not want any fighting. At the same time, under no circumstances must that silver fall into the wrong hands. Even”—Mr. Martin fixed Mr. Gallup with his cold stare, and distinctly enunciated every word—“even if it is necessary to jettison it into the river. It must be jettisoned rather than allowed to be captured! Will you remember that?”
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Gallup loyally. “I got a good memory, I have. I remember one time, when I was on’y a sardine, ’way back in Nova Scotia—”
“Well, that’s fine,” said Mr. Martin. “And remember, too, to obey Captain Narpopoulis’ orders, and back him at all times. Now get your gear transferred into the Kaifeng. She takes the silver on board tonight and will sail at daylight tomorrow.”
“I—I don’t know how to thank ye, sir,” said Mr. Gallup slowly, his gullet working, “for I was all prepared to walk down Bitter Alley for awhile; but if l’yalty and hard work’ll make it up to ye—” He gulped, then added: “By the way—excuse me for mentioning it—but what’ll me pay be. sir?”
“Two hundred and fifty a month, Mex.,” said Mr. Martin. “And wery generous, too,” said Mr. Gallup. “Now if ye could see clear to let me have a few' dollars on account—” “Let me attend to that. Meester Gallup,” implored Captain Narpopoulis with his most oleaginous smile. “In fact, we should have tiffin together, Meester Gallup. You are mos’ interesting man. Ha-ha! Not?”
Æ R. GALLUP reported at the Kaifeng later in the day -*•*-*• with his skimpy possessions, the principal of which was a box of w'ell-thumbed volumes on maritime law and sea commerce; and when these were placed on the shelf at the foot of his bunk, his shaving gear stow-ed away and his spare trousers placed under the mattress for pressing, he felt vastly content and very much at home. “Best berth I ever had,” he told himself. “Good w'ittles, nice master, smart ship. I’m goin’ to hang on here.”
At midnight the silver came off under heavy guard and, with the personal supervision of Captain Narpopoulis, was stowed in number four hold.
“Ain’t that a kind o’ queer w’ay to stow it, sir?” commented Mr. Gallup to the master as the heavy boxes were swung up, tallied and lowered to steel cargo nets spread out on top of the cargo already in the hold.
“If w'e have to drop it over in queekness. meester, we hook the corners of the sling and hoist heem out vairy fast. But excuse—ha-ha!—questions don’ lie part of the chief officer job.”
The other officers and engineers were a hybrid lot, as Mr. Gallup discovered next morning. There was a Portuguese second mate, a Brazilian third who played a harmonica off key to himself in his watch below. Goanese engineers and a coolie crew. But the vessel was w'ell found and almost new. As she headed down the muddy stream Mr. Gallup, at his poston the forecastle head, congratulated himself again.
"The Lord will perwide.” he muttered contentedly, and stepped from behind the windlas» to give a g;xxi view of his ungainly frame to the officers of a mangy passenger coaster threshing up river. Before long the waters of the Yellow Sea, creamed with white caps, received them, and the Kaifeng began her run up the coast.
For two days of racing wind and brilliant sunlight the steamer pushed north, and Mr. Gallup paced the bridge happily enough and spun rosy dreams of his future with the Kaifeng. Duig used to the diverse ways of Jack ashore and Jack at sea, he had looked for a change for the worse in the ingratiating manner of Captain Narpopoulis; but that jovial mariner retained his humor. He was fond of a joke, and he and the Portuguese second mate would get their heads together for gossip and a laugh. Both seemed interested in the homely philosophy and ponderously humorous stories of the inexhaustible Mr. Gallup; and though they occasionally titter«! in the wrong places or apparently at nothing at all, Mr. Gallup did not mind that. He had a berth, a job to do. and Mr. Martin as a wholly admirable owner upon whom to fix his dogged, singleminded loyalty. Therefore he grinned widely and was content.
Rounding the eastern tip of the Shantung peninsula, they were overtaken by a big grey liner, crammed with men—a Japanese troopship, bound from Nagasaki for Dairen and the Manchurian front.
“They’d have a fancy brand o’ gripes if they knowed what we was carryin’, hey?” he remarked to Captain Narpopoulis. “When are we due at Taku Bar to get rid o’ that silver?”
Captain Narpopoulis. who had been staring after the receding trooper whirled, his suavity gone, his eyes polished black agates.
Continued on page 30
“The Lord Will Perwide”
Continued from page 11
“You talk too moch, Meester Gallup!” he snapped. “To be curious about thees cargo ees not healt’y for you.”
Mr. Gallup stared. "Why, I didn’t mean no liarm, sir,” he said slowly; and as he gazed at the changed countenance of the shipmaster an idea began slowly to revolve in his brain.
Captain Narpopoulis shrugged his fat shoulders. "I am sorree,” he said. “You startle me by speaking behind me so queek. But it ees nodding.” Slowly his smile came back, and he clapped Mr. Gallup on the arm. "My good frien’, you. Ha-ha! No?” The second mate came on the bridge, and the master crossed to him. They talked together in low tones, and into Mr. Gallup's none too acute consciousness crept the conviction that they were discussing him. Looking across, he found their eyes on him. They looked hastily away and a snicker rose. Mr. Gallup’s thick neck grew red, and his little black eyes sparkled a bit. And he liegan to ask himself whether he really liked Captain Narpopoulis.
Presently the master approached him again.
"A vairy fonny man ees that second mate; a great joker. But he have a heart of gold, not? By the way, this afternoon we enter the Hwang-hwai River. So better you keep the skin from your eye.”
Mr. Gallup cogitated solemnly, while an idea formed. A half hour later it was ready for expression. He sought the captain.
“I got a good scheme, sir,” he said to that beaming seaman. “And if ye foller it ye needn’t have fear o’ pirates, now or later. That silver’ll be as safe as a baby in its crib.”
The laugh went out of Captain Narpopoulis' eyes.
"I am sorree, but I want of your schemes nodding. You are paid good dollars to obey my orders; but to think, no!”
"But listen, sir," persisted Mr. Gallup eagerly. "You have the engineers fix up a framework o’ perforated pipin’ along the decks and rail and attach it to the steam system. Then if these pirate fellers tries to board us we’ll turn a valve and parboil ’em !” "You are a vairy cruel person. Meester Gallup.” returned the master angrily, “and you will do what 1 tell you, and that is all.” "Wery good, sir,” Mr. Gallup replied; but his little eyes continued to survey the fat back of Captain Narpo|x>ulis, and slowly but surely his brain gave birth to an opinion. “P’raps Mr. Martin was mistook in that feller,” he said solemnly to himself. “I’ll keep me bogles on him.”
AT ONE O’CLOCK that afternoon they were in the Hwang-hwai estuary, and by three were made fast alongside a rickety oil wharf at Chiangshan, a squalid, hillbacked village of mud streets, straw houses and packs of starving dogs. Two hundred drums of heavy fuel oil were discharged; and with plenty of daylight to continue her voyage the Kaifeng was ready to proceed. But to Mr. Gallup's surprise she did not do so. Instead, she lay alongside the wharf for the balance of the night, while in his cabin Captain Narpopoulis entertained a few Chinese visitors who slipped on board, stayed for a while, and unostentatiously slipped ashore again. The heavy face of Mr. Gallup was troubled.
The captain was up and about early the next morning, and rounding the corner of the wheelhouse he collided with Mr. Gallup, who had arisen at daybreak.
“You are the early worm. Meeste Gallup.” said Captain Narpopoulis. showing his teeth.
“Aye, sir,” returned Mr. Gallup cheerfully. "People’s apt to miss a lot, what lies in their beds too long. What time do we get under way?"
"Not until noon. Why you are look surprise’? Wait, I telling you something.” Cheer once more bounced from Captain Narpopoulis’ cheeks and gambolled in his
deep-set black eyes. He became suddenly and heavily confidential. "You think perhaps sometime' I am cross with you, but it ees the worry of my job, you understand. Yes? Ha-ha ! Well, I got bad news last night. We might have some trouble going out the east channel where we came in. So I am smart, hey? I have a local pilot who will take us out the west channel. It ees only to be navigate’ by a sheep of our draft at certain times of tide, and then for a few minutes only. But that way we shall dodge those who wait for us. Ha-ha! Is not a vairy good plan?”
Mr. Gallup said slowly: “But I don’t see
The master shook his head, and away flew his gixxl nature.
“You are sometime’ too blind, Meester Gallup, and sometime’ not so enough. Now is a vairy good time not to see. And as soon as we leave the wharf you will have number four hold open’. And so, if it ees the necessity to jettison, it may be done queek.”
“Ye’d think ye wanted to get rid o’ the stuff,” said Mr. Gallup, bluntly; and at that Captain Narpopoulis indulged a rather nasty tongue.
“Do you think, you numskull,” he concluded, “that you know better as Meester Martin, his business?”
“If Mr. Martin said so, it must be all right,” conceded Mr. Gallup loyally. “But he ain’t here to see what’s goin’ on.”
At fifteen minutes before noon the Kaifeng cast off and dropped downstream. The bare country flanking the river showed little sign of habitation beyond a shaggy Manchurian pony nibbling the coarse grass beside a curve-eaved stone house. A few miles from the river mouth the stream divided, and Mr. Gallup saw on the bridge a tall, impassive-faced Chinese pilot, in the heavy-quilted winter garb of Manchuria. Lookouts ostentatiously were placed on the forecastle head, and as the steamer approached the division of the stream her head swung away to port to take the western channel. And now, despite the captain’s frequent worried comments, he seemed, thought Mr. Gallup, singularly unconcerned.
The vessel left the main stream, and under reduced speed steamed for an hour between suddenly narrowed banks which rose, on the sides, almost to the status of a gorge. Then the high land fell away and, rounding a bend in the channel, the broad estuary spread before them. Far ahead, beyond a sand bar where surf was breaking, gleamed the silvery sheen of the open sea.
“We’re all right now,” said Mr. Gallup with relief. “If any queer Johnnies was goin’ to attack us they’d have did it in that gorge.”
“Indeed?” said Captain Narpopoulis. He put his hand to the whistle cord, as the bend opened full out, and blew a long, sonorous blast ; and as though in response a half dozen brown blobs separated themselves from the land ahead and were revealed as the spreading sails of big batwing junks. They dotted the river mouth, some inside the line of breakers, some beyond.
Captain Narpopoulis rattled out a volley of excitable Greek, and Mr. Gallup observed him wink at the skinny little Portuguese second mate. Then, abruptly, as though recollecting the presence of his chief officer, the master burst into stuttering English.
"We are trap!” he howled. “Look—the pirates—they wait for us! Meester Gallup, you will take charge of dumping over that silver when I utter the word. But wait carefully. Not one case must go over until we are crossing the bar.”
“What?” roared Mr. Gallup, with a flame in his brain. “Why don’t ye drop it in deep water? Them yeller boys’ll dredge it up at low tide if ye don’t. Ye must ha’ took leave o’ yer senses.”
"I know what ees best,” snarled Captain
Narpopoulis, “so you will, if you please, shut up.”
Mr. Gallup complied; and for a pregnant minute or two his brow wrinkled like a puzzled bloodhound, while he strove to recollect the words of Mr. Martin. Slowly they came to him. "Under no circumstances allow the silver to fall into the wrong hands.” Under no circumstances. That was plain enough for anybody. Turning on his heel he went below to his cabin, rapidly selected a dog-eared book and thumbed through it. When he returned to the bridge his little black eyes were snapping. He did not speak; neither did he move more than a yard from the master’s side.
AS THE Kaifeng surged toward the river mouth the junks ahead deployed across her course, clear of the river, and riding the swells that broke over the bar. She passed the first of the junks, and two men on its high poop fired scattered rifle shots. Mr. Gallup ducked, but Captain Narpopoulis did not; and Mr. Gallup, observing this, straightened to have another look at the junk. Then he turned and poked the master with a bony finger.
“Say, them fellers ain’t tryin’ to hit us. One’s firin’ in the air and the other’s aimin’ the other way.”
“They are nervous perhaps,” said the shipmaster, who seemed quite composed. “But they are after the silver jus’ the same. Go now and be prepare’ to jettison it when I give the word.”
Mr. Gallup did not move. He said laboriously, with working brows:
“Narpopoulis, I’m on to ye. Ye’re out to doublecross Martin and Wong Gee by droppin’ that stuff in shoal water where it can lie picked up by your friends.”
“Do not be the gran’ fool. And do not interfere, or it will be for you vairy unpleasan’.”
“I ain’t afeard,” said Mr. Gallup calmly, “and if that silver has to go it’s goin’ now, in deep water, where your friends can’t git their hooks on it.”
“Presently you will be in the river!” shouted the shipmaster, beside himself.
Mr. Gallup lifted an admonitory finger.
"The law says, where the best interest of a wessel and her cargo will be sarved the master may be deprived o’ command, and such action, even if force be used, will not constitute mutiny. The senior officer— meanin’ me, in this case—will then become, in legal fact, the master o’ the wessel and responsible fer her well-bein’. I jest read that in me book in the cabin, and could spout ye faddoms more. So I guess it’s up to me.”
Without warning his arms shot out, crushed the master in an iron grip, and rushed him, struggling ineffectively, toward his cabin. The Portuguese second mate attempted to interfere, but Mr. Gallup, in passing, fetched him such a kick on the shin that he lost all further interest. Captain Narpopoulis was a heavy man but flabby and no mark for the powerful Mr. Gallup. He was yanked into his cabin, beaten quickly into submission, and shackled with his own irons to a great armchair. There Mr. Gallup left him and returned puffing to the bridge.
The big pilot, interested only in his job, was conning the Kaifeng toward the channel through the bar. Mr. Gallup gave him an old-fashioned look, then tackled the petrified second mate.
“I’m the master now, ye nasty little monkey,” he bawled, “so jump when I speak. Git them slings swung up, and dump that silver quick. I hate to do it, but it was Martin’s orders and I guess he knowed what he was sa yin’. Move now afore I fetch ye a kick in the belly.”
The second mate gave one glance at the formidable face of Mr. Gallup, then flew along thé deck. Men of the crew were already at the winches. The booms swung up and out with their heavy burdens, the
prepared triplines were hauled, and the cataracts of boxes splashed explosively into the murky water. The junks closed in. Mr. Gallup jumped for the engine-room telegraph and signalled full ahead. He looked at the Chinese pilot, jerked his chin at the surf ahead and held up his outspread fingers.
“Ten dollars. Can ye do it?”
The pilot grinned. “Can do.”
The second sling load, dropped square on the forecastle of a drifting junk, smashed in her bows and she sank rapidly, her crew floundering madly about in the broken water. Another junk, stove in by a glancing blow of the Kaifeng’s roaring bow, followed suit. The steamer was doing twelve knots now and was headed straight for the bar; and the junks, with marksmen firing in earnest, scattered madly out of her course. Bullets spattered against the steel of the wheelhouse as the last of the boxes disappeared with a plop into deep water. The roar of the surf was deafening, but the immobile pilot, his narrow eyes ahead, did not move. His quiet voice gave directions now and again, and at length he took a turn at the wheel himself. The Kaifeng swerved sharply, leaving a crescent of green, marbled water under her stern, straightened out and surged ahead. Instantly she was in a maelstrom of dazzling surf as the seas broke over the bar on each side. There was a minute tremor and an inward quaking as her keel just kissed the sandy bottom of the channel; then she was free and dipping to the march of the rollers outside the bar.
“Good boy, Johnny!” shouted Mr. Gallup and patted the pilot on the back. “Yer pa should be proud o’ ye. Ye’ll git a dollar extra for that. It was pretty close, but a mile’s as good as a miss, eh?”
The bat-wing sail of a junk flashed into close view on the starboard bow, and he ran across the bridge, beaming with the satisfaction of a job well done, and looked down on the junk’s deck, straight into the passionconvulsed face of Mr. Wong Gee.
“Where is your captain?” shouted the Chinese furiously through cupped hands.
Mr. Gallup, struggling with the shock, jerked his thumb deckward.
“Tell him he is a fool, a fool!” screamed Mr. Wong Gee. “He dropped the silver over too soon.”
THE junk danced in the Kaifeng’s wash astern, with Wong Gee’s gesticulating figure shrinking, as the steamer, doing twelve knots left the coast astern. Mr. Gallup’s thinking apparatus was doing some cumbersome acrobatics. “So Wong Gee was in it too,” he decided at length, with a shake of the head. “Tis a lucky thing for Martin that Belial Gallup was on board to look after his interests. Wouldn’t be supprised if he lended me a raise in pay fer this.”
Clear of the estuary he established sea watches and set a course for Taku Bar, where the balance of the cargo was broken out and lightered ashore for transport to Tientsin. But it was not until some days later, with discharge completed, that Captain Narpopoulis, venting threats and tearful promise of revenge, was restored to command of his vessel.
On the morning that the Kaifeng returned to Shanghai, Mr. Gallup made an unusually elaborate toilet. This was the day that he was to render an account of his stewardship. With the buildings of the city in sight, he gave his battered hard hat a rub with his cuff, donned a much cracked and ill-fitting but fairly clean celluloid collar lashed into place by a rusty black tie, and, feeling exceedingly uncomfortable, took his post on the forecastle head. The anchor cable roared through the pipe in a cloud of iron rust, and the Kaifeng was at rest. Mr. Gallup brushed the dust off his suit and, when the formality of entry had been complied with, stepped into a sampan and was speedily put ashore.
Mr. Martin seemed surprised to see him; but if there was lack of cordiality in his greeting Mr. Gallup was too elated to notice it.
“What are you doing here? Where’s Captain Narpopoulis? Why aren’t you on the Kaijeng? Martin fired.
“The wessel, sir,” Mr. Gallup told him easily, “can wait. So can Captain What’shis-name. But what I got to tell ye, can’t.” And forthwith he related, with modest but proper credit to Belial Gallup, the events of the voyage. But with the instinct of the true dramatist he retained his tidbit until the last.
“I’m sorry, sir, that the silver had to go over the side. Still, them was your orders. But ye have the satisfaction o’ knowing that, thanks to me, if I may say it, the stuff didn’t fall into them pirates’ hands.” Mr. Martin, who had listened throughout in frozen silence, stiffened in his chair.
“What’s that?” he asked in a queer, choked tone.
“No, sir,” said Mr. Gallup, his little eyes gleaming proudly. “I piped what was goin’ on, so I locked Narpopoulis in his cabin and took charge. That silver went over the side into water ninety faddom deep.”
Mr. Martin seemed paralyzed. He licked his lips.
“You mean, you ox-head,” he asked huskily, “that it wasn’t dropped going over the bar?”
“Why, no, sir. O’ course not. I—ye telled me yerself, sittin’ right in that very chair wi’ yer pen behint yer ear, not to let it get into the wrong hands. Why—”
Gradually and painfully Mr. Gallup grasped the significance of the other’s words. “Don’t tell me ye knew all the time—?”
Mr. Martin arose from his chair. His face was ashen.
“You go back to the Kaijeng—”
“—and pack your gear—”
Mr. Gallup nodded.
“—and get out of that ship. And don’t come back!”
“Why—ye mean I’m sacked?”
Martin shouted: “You heard what I said.”
Mr. Gallup drew himself up and put on his hat. He had his limits.
“Allow me to p’int out, sir, that Board o’ Trade regulations says a man cannot be dismissed a ship without bein’ formally paid off. Maritime law’s me hobby; and if I chose to stand on me legal rights —” “Get out of here, you stinking sea lawyer !” Martin roared, almost on the verge of apoplexy.
Mr. Gallup, quite calm now, watched him curiously.
“Better watch out or that funny little head o’ youm’ll pop right off,” he said solicitously. “Then ye’ll not be able to think up any more crooked tricks.” He clucked his tongue and sadly wagged his shaggy head. “To think you was in on it, too. That’s someth’n’ I got to think about.” “You do your thinking off these premises,” Martin stormed, “or I’ll have you jailed for mutiny.”
“It can’t be did, sir,” replied Mr. Gallup cheerfully. “Accordin’ to maritime law, I was entitled—”
“Will you get out before I get the police and have you thrown out?”
“Ye can shout me down,” returned Mr. Gallup composedly, “but ye can’t scare me. I’ll go now. But ye’ll hear from me again.”
nPHAT NIGHT, established in a room in the Seamen’s Mission, Mr. Gallup sat on the edge of his bed and read in the local daily a thrilling account of the piratical attack on the S. S. Kaijeng and how it was beaten off only after heroic resistance by her master, Captain Narpopoulis, and the jettisoning of part of her valuable cargo.
“The loss sustained by the Kaijeng,” concluded the story, “amounting to $200,000 in silver, will be met, according to Mr. Andrew Martin, owner of the vessel, by contribution of the other shippers in general
average, according to the law governing such misadventures.”
Mr. Gallup sat back on his bed and pondered laboriously, then did some figuring with a scrap of untidy paper and the lavishly wet stub of a pencil.
“That silver, worth $200,000, was owned by Lord knows how many little contributors. Martin’s gang was to drop it in their friends' hands up the river. That’s $200,000 clear profit. Then, by claimin’ contribution in general average from the other shippers, to compensate ’em for what they hadn’t lost, they’d net—le’s see.” Mr. Gallup’s tongue protruded from the comer of his mouth as the figures went down on his paper. “Say, another $170,000, which Martin’d find a way to wiggle into his pocket. Total, $370,000. But I lost ’em their silver. Now they’re tryin’ to have the loss met by the other shippers; and if they plays their cards right they’ll get away wi’ it. Hm-mm! Watertight accordin’ to law, still”—his rough-hewn face was turned to the ceiling— “although in their wickedness they repents not, wrath shall overtake them. And as fer the manner o’ retribution—”
He got on his knees, dragged his box of books from under the bed and, selecting one, buried his nose in it. And when at length he came to chapter and clause, a slow grin overspread his rugged features. “The Lord will perwide,” he muttered to himself, and turned in, to deep and righteous sleep.
Early next morning Mr. Gallup went to see the consul. He waited equably for an hour and a half for that gentleman’s arrival, then spoke his piece. The consul, an elderly man with disarming eyes and a mild voice, listened attentively.
“You’re making a serious charge,” he said. “There are no witnesses but yourself, and you, having been discharged by Martin, will be discredited as a man with a grievance. I don't see quite what can be done. Frankly, I don’t think you have a chance.”
Mr. Gallup was cast down. "Suppose ye get ’em over here, sir, and see what they has to say,” he suggested.
“Yes, I can do that. But I don’t hold out any hope, mind. I have to be fair to them.” I lis summons found Martin wary but confident; and when, with Captain Narpopoulis, still showing the marks of Mr. Gallup’s chastisement, he arrived and saw Mr. Gallup self-consciously on the edge of a chair, with his hard hat between his knees and looking exceedingly miserable, Martin’s spirits mounted even higher.
The consul did not shake hands, nor did he waste time in preliminaries. He began: “Gentlemen, Captain Gallup—”
Mr. Gallup stirred uncomfortably. “Salvation Army has captains,” he reminded.
“Very well, then,” said the consul hastily “Mr. Gallup has been telling me something of the voyage of the Kaijeng. I have an open mind about it, but I’d like to hear what you have to say.”
“I can guess what he told you,” said Martin contemptuously, “but he’s a liar, of course.”
Mr. Gallup got slowly and dangerously from his chair, but the consul waved him down.
Martin continued: “That silver had to be jettisoned to save the ship and the rest of the cargo. And as the sacrifice was made for the good of the other shippers, I’m claiming contribution in general average from them to cover the loss. They’ll all contribute, according to law, proportionate to their share in the voyage.”
"I am aware of the purpose and provisions of general average,” said the consul dryly.
“Of course; but I didn't want any guesswork about it.”
“And when the case comes before the Court of Enquiry, as it must do,” went on the consul, “what will you reply to the question, why was the silver jettisoned?” “My shipmaster will answer that,” said Martin with a cold, triumphant smile.
The consul looked at Captain Narpopoulis, who cleared his throat and smiled engagingly.
“Wen I am on witness stand, sir—”
“In the prisoner’s dock, ye mean,” said Mr. Gallup hopefully.
“That will do, Mr. Gallup.” said the consul sharply. "Go on, captain.”
"I will say I jettisoned the silver to lighten sheep and escape with the rest of my cargo. That ees all.”
“What about Wong Gee?” said Mr. Gallup. “He was responsible fer the silver, but I seed him on one o’ the junks. Why was he there if the game wasn’t crooked? He was in Shanghai when the Kaifeng sailed.”
“He could have gone by train to Tsinan and down river from there.” said the consul. “I’d like to ask him about that, but unfortunately when I telephoned him this morning he had disappeared.”
“Disappeared?” snapped Martin, surprised.
“Gettin’ out from under, Martin,” said Mr. Gallup with a grin.
"Nonsense,” rapped Martin. “We have a clear, just case. Do you see any holes in it, Mr. Consul?”
"In fairness. I am bound to say I do not,” said the consul. “Mr. Gallup's story, without corroboration, is, well—”
“I don’t need no cobberation,” said Mr. Gallup composedly. “These fellers is crooks,
; and I’m goin’ to jail ’em.”
“You watch your step, or I’ll have you taken up for slander as well as mutiny,”
; said Martin, in a temper.
I AÆ'R. GALLUP got to his feet.
1V1 “Kin I say somethin’?”
“Yes,” said the consul. “If it will do any good.”
“It’ll do me some good,” said Mr. Gallup. "These fellers thinks they has me licked, and they figger to cheat the other shippers through general average to cover the loss I tripped ’em into. But I ain't goin’ to stand fer it.”
“You know what you can do," insinuated Martin nastily.
“I ain’t through yet,” returned Mr. Gallup doggedly. “There’s one thing in yer calc’lations ye didn’t figger.”
“What’s that?” Martin snapped.
“Belial Gallup.” He turned to the consul. “This whole case will hinge on the testimony o’ the actual master o’ the Kaifeng at the time o’ jettison. That right, sir?”
i “There ye are, then,” roared Mr. Gallup, i and poked his bony finger at Captain ! Narpopoulis, “that lets out Captain Grease¡ ball there, wid his smells and graces.”
“But I don’t understand “It’s easy. The actual master at the time o’ jettison was me.”
“I you lock’ me in my cabin,” Narpopoulis yelled.
The consul addressed him quietly. “Then you did not give the order to jettison?”
“I could not. I was lock’ away. Thees mad fellow
“You were not even on the bridge at the time, then?"
“No. I was not.” Too late, a kick from Martin silenced him.
The consul was about to reply when the telephone rang sharply. He answered in a low tone, then hung up and turned again to Narpopoulis. He said:
“In that case, the only man who will be allowed to give evidence will be Gallup.” “But he illegally seized command,’’ shouted Martin.
“The truth of that will be determined later.” The consul nodded toward the telephone. “I may say that I just received a message, in reply to enquiries sent out, to the effect that although Mr. Wong Gee was not seen leaving Shanghai the night the Kaifeng sailed, he was seen leaving the train at Tsinan the following night. But probably”—his eyes flickered mildly across to Martin—“you can explain that. Go on.
Mr. Gallup. When you go on the stand, what will you give as the reason for jettisoning the silver?”
“Well, sir.” said Mr. Gallup, thoroughly enjoying himself, "the law of general average says: ‘If cargo is jettisoned to lighten the ship in order to escape disaster and preserve the balance of the cargo, the loss to the shipper or shippers shall be made good by all. under contribution in general average.’ But this silver was not jettisoned for that purpose. I, as the master o’ the wessel, will testify that it was dropped over the side to save it alone, not the other cargo, from failin’ into the pirates’ hands. Therefore, the law of contribution in general average will not apply.”
“But they were not pirates,” stammered Captain Narpopoulis excitedly.
“There ye are, sir,” said Mr. Gallup calmly. “Tripped right over his own nasty tongue, he did. However, that don’t matter now. As fer the rest of it, the law is plain, and the shipowner alone, in this case, is liable for the value o’ the lost cargo. And as the real owners o’ that silver was the Chinese o’ Shanghai I can see a unpleasant settlin’ up on the part o’ Martin when the news goes around.”
“Martin got to his feet, his white lips trembling.
“This is absurd,” he croaked. “It will ruin me. Two hundred thousand dollars!
I can’t pay it. I’ll have to sell the Kaifeng.” “That’s atout what I’d figgered,” said Mr. Gallup with modest pride. “And when ye’re sentenced for manipulatin’ cargo for your private gain, I hope they’ll throw you and Narpopoulis in the same cell.”
The consul looked at Martin.
“I won’t detain you now,” he said. “That will be taken care of later. Meanwhile I advise you and Captain Narpopoulis to remain in the city. Good morning.”
They departed, trading recrimination, and the consul turned again to Mr. Gallup.
“There’ll be something due you for showing them up, Gallup,” he said. “But that may take some time. What are your
“I dunno, sir,” said Mr. Gallup cheerfully. “I ain’t one o’ Ananias’s ravens what gits their grub out o’ the air. So if I can't find me a job I’ll have to go on the beach. But I ain’t worryin’. The Lord will
The consul considered. “It happens,” he said, “that there are two berths I can offer you. One is chief officer of the Plantagenet, a vessel trading from here to North American west coast ports. She carries passengers.” Mr. Gallup’s little eyes, which had grown bright, clouded. He shook his head.
"That’d be fine; but they’d be after me to be wearing collars and sichlike fol-de-rols at sea. I was master o’ a yacht, once, the Orion, but she was too gingerbread fer me. What was the other berth, sir?”
“Probably it would suit you better,” said the consul gravely. “While you were carrying the sword of Themis up the coast—” “What’s that, sir?” asked Mr. Gallup, startled.
The consul smiled. "Never mind. While you were away in the Kaifeng, the authorities here arranged to have your old command, the Mistral, thoroughly overhauled and refitted and taken to England, there to be sold for the benefit of her creditors. But I have no doubt that a smart master, if he could find a cargo, would manage to keep her in commission and work off her debts that way. Now I know of a profitable cargo awaiting transshipment to Liverpool. And if you’d like me to say the word—”
Mr. Gallup unfolded himself and stood up. put his hat on, took it off and put it on again, his horse-face aglow.
“Me old Mistral? I telled ye, sir,” he said deeply, “the Lord would perwide.”