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Chapter 3

  • Those were anxious days, during which I had but little opportunity t_ssociate with Lys. I had given her the commander's room, Bradley and I takin_hat of the deck-officer, while Olson and two of our best men occupied th_oom ordinarily allotted to petty officers. I made Nobs' bed down in Lys'
  • room, for I knew she would feel less alone.
  • Nothing of much moment occurred for a while after we left British water_ehind us. We ran steadily along upon the surface, making good time. The firs_wo boats we sighted made off as fast as they could go; and the third, a hug_reighter, fired on us, forcing us to submerge. It was after this that ou_roubles commenced. One of the Diesel engines broke down in the morning, an_hile we were working on it, the forward port diving-tank commenced to fill. _as on deck at the time and noted the gradual list. Guessing at once what wa_appening, I leaped for the hatch and slamming it closed above my head, dropped to the centrale. By this time the craft was going down by the hea_ith a most unpleasant list to port, and I didn't wait to transmit orders t_ome one else but ran as fast as I could for the valve that let the sea int_he forward port diving-tank. It was wide open. To close it and to have th_ump started that would empty it were the work of but a minute; but we had ha_ close call.
  • I knew that the valve had never opened itself. Some one had opened it—some on_ho was willing to die himself if he might at the same time encompass th_eath of all of us.
  • After that I kept a guard pacing the length of the narrow craft. We worke_pon the engine all that day and night and half the following day. Most of th_ime we drifted idly upon the surface, but toward noon we sighted smoke du_est, and having found that only enemies inhabited the world for us, I ordere_hat the other engine be started so that we could move out of the path of th_ncoming steamer. The moment the engine started to turn, however, there was _rinding sound of tortured steel, and when it had been stopped, we found tha_ome one had placed a cold-chisel in one of the gears.
  • It was another two days before we were ready to limp along, half repaired. Th_ight before the repairs were completed, the sentry came to my room and awok_e. He was rather an intelligent fellow of the English middle class, in whom _ad much confidence.
  • "Well, Wilson," I asked. "What's the matter now?"
  • He raised his finger to his lips and came closer to me. "I think I've foun_ut who's doin' the mischief," he whispered, and nodded his head toward th_irl's room. "I seen her sneakin' from the crew's room just now," he went on.
  • "She'd been in gassin' wit' the boche commander. Benson seen her in there las'
  • night, too, but he never said nothin' till I goes on watch tonight. Benson'_orter slow in the head, an' he never puts two an' two together till some on_lse has made four out of it."
  • If the man had come in and struck me suddenly in the face, I could have bee_o more surprised.
  • "Say nothing of this to anyone," I ordered. "Keep your eyes and ears open an_eport every suspicious thing you see or hear."
  • The man saluted and left me; but for an hour or more I tossed, restless, upo_y hard bunk in an agony of jealousy and fear. Finally I fell into a trouble_leep. It was daylight when I awoke. We were steaming along slowly upon th_urface, my orders having been to proceed at half speed until we could take a_bservation and determine our position. The sky had been overcast all th_revious day and all night; but as I stepped into the centrale that morning _as delighted to see that the sun was again shining. The spirits of the me_eemed improved; everything seemed propitious. I forgot at once the crue_isgivings of the past night as I set to work to take my observations.
  • What a blow awaited me! The sextant and chronometer had both been broke_eyond repair, and they had been broken just this very night. They had bee_roken upon the night that Lys had been seen talking with von Schoenvorts. _hink that it was this last thought which hurt me the worst. I could look th_ther disaster in the face with equanimity; but the bald fact that Lys migh_e a traitor appalled me.
  • I called Bradley and Olson on deck and told them what had happened, but fo_he life of me I couldn't bring myself to repeat what Wilson had reported t_e the previous night. In fact, as I had given the matter thought, it seeme_ncredible that the girl could have passed through my room, in which Bradle_nd I slept, and then carried on a conversation in the crew's room, in whic_on Schoenvorts was kept, without having been seen by more than a single man.
  • Bradley shook his head. "I can't make it out," he said. "One of those boche_ust be pretty clever to come it over us all like this; but they haven'_armed us as much as they think; there are still the extra instruments."
  • It was my turn now to shake a doleful head. "There are no extra instruments,"
  • I told them. "They too have disappeared as did the wireless apparatus."
  • Both men looked at me in amazement. "We still have the compass and the sun,"
  • said Olson. "They may be after getting the compass some night; but they's to_any of us around in the daytime fer 'em to get the sun."
  • It was then that one of the men stuck his head up through the hatchway an_eeing me, asked permission to come on deck and get a breath of fresh air. _ecognized him as Benson, the man who, Wilson had said, reported having see_ys with von Schoenvorts two nights before. I motioned him on deck and the_alled him to one side, asking if he had seen anything out of the way o_nusual during his trick on watch the night before. The fellow scratched hi_ead a moment and said, "No," and then as though it was an afterthought, h_old me that he had seen the girl in the crew's room about midnight talkin_ith the German commander, but as there hadn't seemed to him to be any harm i_hat, he hadn't said anything about it. Telling him never to fail to report t_e anything in the slightest out of the ordinary routine of the ship, _ismissed him.
  • Several of the other men now asked permission to come on deck, and soon al_ut those actually engaged in some necessary duty were standing around smokin_nd talking, all in the best of spirits. I took advantage of the absence o_he men upon the deck to go below for my breakfast, which the cook was alread_reparing upon the electric stove. Lys, followed by Nobs, appeared as _ntered the centrale. She met me with a pleasant "Good morning!" which I a_fraid I replied to in a tone that was rather constrained and surly.
  • "Will you breakfast with me?" I suddenly asked the girl, determined t_ommence a probe of my own along the lines which duty demanded.
  • She nodded a sweet acceptance of my invitation, and together we sat down a_he little table of the officers' mess. "You slept well last night?" I asked.
  • "All night," she replied. "I am a splendid sleeper."
  • Her manner was so straightforward and honest that I could not bring myself t_elieve in her duplicity; yet—Thinking to surprise her into a betrayal of he_uilt, I blurted out: "The chronometer and sextant were both destroyed las_ight; there is a traitor among us." But she never turned a hair by way o_videncing guilty knowledge of the catastrophe.
  • "Who could it have been?" she cried. "The Germans would be crazy to do it, fo_heir lives are as much at stake as ours."
  • "Men are often glad to die for an ideal—an ideal of patriotism, perhaps," _eplied; "and a willingness to martyr themselves includes a willingness t_acrifice others, even those who love them. Women are much the same, excep_hat they will go even further than most men—they will sacrifice everything, even honor, for love."
  • I watched her face carefully as I spoke, and I thought that I detected a ver_aint flush mounting her cheek. Seeing an opening and an advantage, I sough_o follow it up.
  • "Take von Schoenvorts, for instance," I continued: "he would doubtless be gla_o die and take us all with him, could he prevent in no other way the fallin_f his vessel into enemy hands. He would sacrifice anyone, even you; and i_ou still love him, you might be his ready tool. Do you understand me?"
  • She looked at me in wide-eyed consternation for a moment, and then she wen_ery white and rose from her seat. "I do," she replied, and turning her bac_pon me, she walked quickly toward her room. I started to follow, for eve_elieving what I did, I was sorry that I had hurt her. I reached the door t_he crew's room just behind her and in time to see von Schoenvorts lea_orward and whisper something to her as she passed; but she must have guesse_hat she might be watched, for she passed on.
  • That afternoon it clouded over; the wind mounted to a gale, and the sea ros_ntil the craft was wallowing and rolling frightfully. Nearly everyone aboar_as sick; the air became foul and oppressive. For twenty-four hours I did no_eave my post in the conning tower, as both Olson and Bradley were sick.
  • Finally I found that I must get a little rest, and so I looked about for som_ne to relieve me. Benson volunteered. He had not been sick, and assured m_hat he was a former R.N. man and had been detailed for submarine duty fo_ver two years. I was glad that it was he, for I had considerable confidenc_n his loyalty, and so it was with a feeling of security that I went below an_ay down.
  • I slept twelve hours straight, and when I awoke and discovered what I ha_one, I lost no time in getting to the conning tower. There sat Benson as wid_wake as could be, and the compass showed that we were heading straight int_he west. The storm was still raging; nor did it abate its fury until th_ourth day. We were all pretty well done up and looked forward to the tim_hen we could go on deck and fill our lungs with fresh air. During the whol_our days I had not seen the girl, as she evidently kept closely to her room; and during this time no untoward incident had occurred aboard the boat—a fac_hich seemed to strengthen the web of circumstantial evidence about her.
  • For six more days after the storm lessened we still had fairly rough weather; nor did the sun once show himself during all that time. For the season—it wa_ow the middle of June—the storm was unusual; but being from souther_alifornia, I was accustomed to unusual weather. In fact, I have discovere_hat the world over, unusual weather prevails at all times of the year.
  • We kept steadily to our westward course, and as the U-33 was one of th_astest submersibles we had ever turned out, I knew that we must be prett_lose to the North American coast. What puzzled me most was the fact that fo_ix days we had not sighted a single ship. It seemed remarkable that we coul_ross the Atlantic almost to the coast of the American continent withou_limpsing smoke or sail, and at last I came to the conclusion that we were wa_ff our course, but whether to the north or to the south of it I could no_etermine.
  • On the seventh day the sea lay comparatively calm at early dawn. There was _light haze upon the ocean which had cut off our view of the stars; bu_onditions all pointed toward a clear morrow, and I was on deck anxiousl_waiting the rising of the sun. My eyes were glued upon the impenetrable mis_stern, for there in the east I should see the first glow of the rising su_hat would assure me we were still upon the right course. Gradually th_eavens lightened; but astern I could see no intenser glow that would indicat_he rising sun behind the mist. Bradley was standing at my side. Presently h_ouched my arm.
  • "Look, captain," he said, and pointed south.
  • I looked and gasped, for there directly to port I saw outlined through th_aze the red top of the rising sun. Hurrying to the tower, I looked at th_ompass. It showed that we were holding steadily upon our westward course.
  • Either the sun was rising in the south, or the compass had been tampered with.
  • The conclusion was obvious.
  • I went back to Bradley and told him what I had discovered. "And," I concluded,
  • "we can't make another five hundred knots without oil; our provisions ar_unning low and so is our water. God only knows how far south we have run."
  • "There is nothing to do," he replied, "other than to alter our course onc_ore toward the west; we must raise land soon or we shall all be lost."
  • I told him to do so; and then I set to work improvising a crude sextant wit_hich we finally took our bearings in a rough and most unsatisfactory manner; for when the work was done, we did not know how far from the truth the resul_ight be. It showed us to be about 20' north and 30' west—nearly twenty-fiv_undred miles off our course. In short, if our reading was anywhere nea_orrect, we must have been traveling due south for six days. Bradley no_elieved Benson, for we had arranged our shifts so that the latter and Olso_ow divided the nights, while Bradley and I alternated with one another durin_he days.
  • I questioned both Olson and Benson closely in the matter of the compass; bu_ach stoutly maintained that no one had tampered with it during his tour o_uty. Benson gave me a knowing smile, as much as to say: "Well, you and I kno_ho did this." Yet I could not believe that it was the girl.
  • We kept to our westerly course for several hours when the lookout's cr_nnounced a sail. I ordered the U-33's course altered, and we bore down upo_he stranger, for I had come to a decision which was the result of necessity.
  • We could not lie there in the middle of the Atlantic and starve to death i_here was any way out of it. The sailing ship saw us while we were still _ong way off, as was evidenced by her efforts to escape. There was scarcel_ny wind, however, and her case was hopeless; so when we drew near an_ignaled her to stop, she came into the wind and lay there with her sail_lapping idly. We moved in quite close to her. She was the Balmen of Halmstad, Sweden, with a general cargo from Brazil for Spain.
  • I explained our circumstances to her skipper and asked for food, water an_il; but when he found that we were not German, he became very angry an_busive and started to draw away from us; but I was in no mood for any suc_usiness. Turning toward Bradley, who was in the conning-tower, I snapped out:
  • "Gun-service on deck! To the diving stations!" We had no opportunity fo_rill; but every man had been posted as to his duties, and the German member_f the crew understood that it was obedience or death for them, as each wa_ccompanied by a man with a pistol. Most of them, though, were only too gla_o obey me.
  • Bradley passed the order down into the ship and a moment later the gun-cre_lambered up the narrow ladder and at my direction trained their piece upo_he slow-moving Swede. "Fire a shot across her bow," I instructed the gun- captain.
  • Accept it from me, it didn't take that Swede long to see the error of his wa_nd get the red and white pennant signifying "I understand" to the masthead.
  • Once again the sails flapped idly, and then I ordered him to lower a boat an_ome after me. With Olson and a couple of the Englishmen I boarded the ship, and from her cargo selected what we needed—oil, provisions and water. I gav_he master of the Balmen a receipt for what we took, together with a_ffidavit signed by Bradley, Olson, and myself, stating briefly how we ha_ome into possession of the U-33 and the urgency of our need for what we took.
  • We addressed both to any British agent with the request that the owners of th_almen be reimbursed; but whether or not they were, I do not know. [1]
  • [1] Late in July, 1916, an item in the shipping news mentioned a Swedis_ailing vessel, Balmen, Rio de Janiero to Barcelona, sunk by a German raide_ometime in June. A single survivor in an open boat was picked up off the Cap_erde Islands, in a dying condition. He expired without giving any details.
  • With water, food, and oil aboard, we felt that we had obtained a new lease o_ife. Now, too, we knew definitely where we were, and I determined to make fo_eorgetown, British Guiana—but I was destined to again suffer bitte_isappointment.
  • Six of us of the loyal crew had come on deck either to serve the gun or boar_he Swede during our set-to with her; and now, one by one, we descended th_adder into the centrale. I was the last to come, and when I reached th_ottom, I found myself looking into the muzzle of a pistol in the hands o_aron Friedrich von Schoenvorts—I saw all my men lined up at one side with th_emaining eight Germans standing guard over them.
  • I couldn't imagine how it had happened; but it had. Later I learned that the_ad first overpowered Benson, who was asleep in his bunk, and taken his pisto_rom him, and then had found it an easy matter to disarm the cook and th_emaining two Englishmen below. After that it had been comparatively simple t_tand at the foot of the ladder and arrest each individual as he descended.
  • The first thing von Schoenvorts did was to send for me and announce that as _irate I was to be shot early the next morning. Then he explained that th_-33 would cruise in these waters for a time, sinking neutral and enem_hipping indiscriminately, and looking for one of the German raiders that wa_upposed to be in these parts.
  • He didn't shoot me the next morning as he had promised, and it has never bee_lear to me why he postponed the execution of my sentence. Instead he kept m_roned just as he had been; then he kicked Bradley out of my room and took i_ll to himself.
  • We cruised for a long time, sinking many vessels, all but one by gunfire, bu_e did not come across a German raider. I was surprised to note that vo_choenvorts often permitted Benson to take command; but I reconciled this b_he fact that Benson appeared to know more of the duties of a submarin_ommander than did any of the Stupid Germans.
  • Once or twice Lys passed me; but for the most part she kept to her room. Th_irst time she hesitated as though she wished to speak to me; but I did no_aise my head, and finally she passed on. Then one day came the word that w_ere about to round the Horn and that von Schoenvorts had taken it into hi_ool head to cruise up along the Pacific coast of North America and prey upo_ll sorts and conditions of merchantmen.
  • "I'll put the fear of God and the Kaiser into them," he said.
  • The very first day we entered the South Pacific we had an adventure. It turne_ut to be quite the most exciting adventure I had ever encountered. It fel_bout this way. About eight bells of the forenoon watch I heard a hail fro_he deck, and presently the footsteps of the entire ship's company, from th_mount of noise I heard at the ladder. Some one yelled back to those who ha_ot yet reached the level of the deck: "It's the raider, the German raide_eier!"
  • I saw that we had reached the end of our rope. Below all was quiet—not a ma_emained. A door opened at the end of the narrow hull, and presently Nobs cam_rotting up to me. He licked my face and rolled over on his back, reaching fo_e with his big, awkward paws. Then other footsteps sounded, approaching me. _new whose they were, and I looked straight down at the flooring. The girl wa_oming almost at a run—she was at my side immediately. "Here!" she cried.
  • "Quick!" And she slipped something into my hand. It was a key—the key to m_rons. At my side she also laid a pistol, and then she went on into th_entrale. As she passed me, I saw that she carried another pistol for herself.
  • It did not take me long to liberate myself, and then I was at her side. "Ho_an I thank you?" I started; but she shut me up with a word.
  • "Do not thank me," she said coldly. "I do not care to hear your thanks or an_ther expression from you. Do not stand there looking at me. I have given yo_ chance to do something—now do it!" The last was a peremptory command tha_ade me jump.
  • Glancing up, I saw that the tower was empty, and I lost no time in clamberin_p, looking about me. About a hundred yards off lay a small, swift cruiser- raider, and above her floated the German man-of-war's flag. A boat had jus_een lowered, and I could see it moving toward us filled with officers an_en. The cruiser lay dead ahead. "My," I thought, "what a wonderful targ—" _topped even thinking, so surprised and shocked was I by the boldness of m_magery. The girl was just below me. I looked down on her wistfully. Could _rust her? Why had she released me at this moment? I must! I must! There wa_o other way. I dropped back below. "Ask Olson to step down here, please," _equested; "and don't let anyone see you ask him."
  • She looked at me with a puzzled expression on her face for the barest fractio_f a second, and then she turned and went up the ladder. A moment later Olso_eturned, and the girl followed him. "Quick!" I whispered to the big Irishman, and made for the bow compartment where the torpedo-tubes are built into th_oat; here, too, were the torpedoes. The girl accompanied us, and when she sa_he thing I had in mind, she stepped forward and lent a hand to the swingin_f the great cylinder of death and destruction into the mouth of its tube.
  • With oil and main strength we shoved the torpedo home and shut the tube; the_ ran back to the conning-tower, praying in my heart of hearts that the U-3_ad not swung her bow away from the prey. No, thank God!
  • Never could aim have been truer. I signaled back to Olson: "Let 'er go!" Th_-33 trembled from stem to stern as the torpedo shot from its tube. I saw th_hite wake leap from her bow straight toward the enemy cruiser. A chorus o_oarse yells arose from the deck of our own craft: I saw the officers stan_uddenly erect in the boat that was approaching us, and I heard loud cries an_urses from the raider. Then I turned my attention to my own business. Most o_he men on the submarine's deck were standing in paralyzed fascination, staring at the torpedo. Bradley happened to be looking toward the conning- tower and saw me. I sprang on deck and ran toward him. "Quick!" I whispered.
  • "While they are stunned, we must overcome them."
  • A German was standing near Bradley—just in front of him. The Englishman struc_he fellow a frantic blow upon the neck and at the same time snatched hi_istol from its holster. Von Schoenvorts had recovered from his first surpris_uickly and had turned toward the main hatch to investigate. I covered hi_ith my revolver, and at the same instant the torpedo struck the raider, th_errific explosion drowning the German's command to his men.
  • Bradley was now running from one to another of our men, and though some of th_ermans saw and heard him, they seemed too stunned for action.
  • Olson was below, so that there were only nine of us against eight Germans, fo_he man Bradley had struck still lay upon the deck. Only two of us were armed; but the heart seemed to have gone out of the boches, and they put up but half- hearted resistance. Von Schoenvorts was the worst—he was fairly frenzied wit_age and chagrin, and he came charging for me like a mad bull, and as he cam_e discharged his pistol. If he'd stopped long enough to take aim, he migh_ave gotten me; but his pace made him wild, so that not a shot touched me, an_hen we clinched and went to the deck. This left two pistols, which two of m_wn men were quick to appropriate. The Baron was no match for me in a hand-to- hand encounter, and I soon had him pinned to the deck and the life almos_hoked out of him.
  • A half-hour later things had quieted down, and all was much the same as befor_he prisoners had revolted—only we kept a much closer watch on vo_choenvorts. The Geier had sunk while we were still battling upon our deck, and afterward we had drawn away toward the north, leaving the survivors to th_ttention of the single boat which had been making its way toward us whe_lson launched the torpedo. I suppose the poor devils never reached land, an_f they did, they most probably perished on that cold and unhospitable shore; but I couldn't permit them aboard the U-33. We had all the Germans we coul_ake care of.
  • That evening the girl asked permission to go on deck. She said that she fel_he effects of long confinement below, and I readily granted her request. _ould not understand her, and I craved an opportunity to talk with her agai_n an effort to fathom her and her intentions, and so I made it a point t_ollow her up the ladder. It was a clear, cold, beautiful night. The sea wa_alm except for the white water at our bows and the two long radiating swell_unning far off into the distance upon either hand astern, forming a great _hich our propellers filled with choppy waves. Benson was in the tower, w_ere bound for San Diego and all looked well.
  • Lys stood with a heavy blanket wrapped around her slender figure, and as _pproached her, she half turned toward me to see who it was. When sh_ecognized me, she immediately turned away.
  • "I want to thank you," I said, "for your bravery and loyalty—you wer_agnificent. I am sorry that you had reason before to think that I doubte_ou."
  • "You did doubt me," she replied in a level voice. "You practically accused m_f aiding Baron von Schoenvorts. I can never forgive you."
  • There was a great deal of finality in both her words and tone.
  • "I could not believe it," I said; "and yet two of my men reported having see_ou in conversation with von Schoenvorts late at night upon two separat_ccasions—after each of which some great damage was found done us in th_orning. I didn't want to doubt you; but I carried all the responsibility o_he lives of these men, of the safety of the ship, of your life and mine. _ad to watch you, and I had to put you on your guard against a repetition o_our madness."
  • She was looking at me now with those great eyes of hers, very wide and round.
  • "Who told you that I spoke with Baron von Schoenvorts at night, or any othe_ime?" she asked.
  • "I cannot tell you, Lys," I replied, "but it came to me from two differen_ources."
  • "Then two men have lied," she asserted without heat. "I have not spoken t_aron von Schoenvorts other than in your presence when first we came aboar_he U-33. And please, when you address me, remember that to others than m_ntimates I am Miss La Rue."
  • Did you ever get slapped in the face when you least expected it? No? Well, then you do not know how I felt at that moment. I could feel the hot, re_lush surging up my neck, across my cheeks, over my ears, clear to my scalp.
  • And it made me love her all the more; it made me swear inwardly a thousan_olemn oaths that I would win her.