"I know that Daedalus was a very ingenious artist of Athens, who planned the Cretan labyrinth, invented carpentry and some of the tools used in the trade; but I don't know why his name was given to this lighthouse."
"I cannot inform you why it is so called, if there was any reason for doing so; very likely it was given to it for no reason at all, as some of the ships in the British navy are supplied with classical names for the mere sound of the words, as Agamemnon, Achilles, though with some reference to the trade of the originals in war."
"Why is it placed here all alone in the middle of this sea?" asked Louis, who had looked about it for any signs of rocks.
"It is built on a dangerous reef which is never above water, though some small round black rocks are seen at low tide awash. They look like the kettles in which cooks get up a boiled dinner; and for this reason the Arabs call the reef Abu Kizan, which means the 'father of pots.' As you perceive, the ship is now out of sight of land; for the Red Sea is a hundred and twenty miles wide at this point. But there is the gong for breakfast, and we must attend to that."
The usual hour for the conference was nine o'clock when the ship was at sea. So far the weather was remarkably pleasant; the north-west wind was very gentle, and the ship hardly pitched at all. At the regular hour the passengers had assembled on the promenade. The map of Arabia had been placed on the frame as before, and it was understood that Mohammed was to be the subject of the conference.
"What has become of Koser, Captain Ringgold?" asked Mrs. Belgrave, as the commander joined the party.
"We passed it about two o'clock this morning," replied the captain.
"I felt some interest in that town; for when we were on the Nile we came to a place where the Arabs wanted us to take the journey of four days across the desert to Koser on camels," the lady explained.
"It is the first port in Egypt we come to, and was formerly an important place, though the Suez Canal has diverted the greater part of its trade. It was one of the chief outlets for the productions of Egypt, especially grain, while those of Arabia and other Eastern countries passed in by the same route. The poorer Mohammedans of Egypt make their pilgrimage to Mecca this way, journeying across the Arabian Desert on foot or by camel, and by steamers or dhows to Yembo.
"General Sir Ralph Abercromby, who commanded the British army at Abukir when the French had possession of Egypt, landed at this port, marched across the desert to the Nile, which he descended to Cairo, where he found that the French army had surrendered to the English. The population has fallen from seven thousand to twelve hundred. The more wealthy Egyptians and Arabs make their pilgrimage now by the way of Suez, and in the season there are plenty of steamers to take them to Yembo.
"We are now nearing the Tropic of Cancer, and when we have passed it we shall be in the Torrid Zone, in which are situated all those places on the globe where the sun is ever directly overhead. The tropics are generally said to be twenty-three and a half degrees from the equator, which is near enough for ordinary purposes, but it is not quite accurate. When the sun is at the summer solstice, June 21, it is overhead on this tropic, and enters the constellation of Cancer, after which it is named. Nicer calculations than I can follow show that the sun is not precisely overhead at this place every year. In January of this year the tropics were in latitude 23 deg. 27' 11.84'', which places it nearly three miles farther south than the location usually named. I yield the floor to Professor Giroud."
"I am informed by the commander that we shall be off Yembo, the nearest seaport to Medina, at about half-past three this afternoon; and this place is a hundred and thirty-two miles from it. The two cities of Medina and Mecca are the holy places of the Mohammedans. The principal and enjoined pilgrimage of the sect is to the latter, though many devout Moslems visit the other with pious intentions.
"Mecca is the birthplace of Mohammed; but, for reasons which will presently be given, he went to Medina at the age of fifty-two, where he lived the rest of his life, and died there. What I have to say of Medina will come in better after we have followed the prophet through the first portion of his life.
"I give the name according to the best English authorities at the present time, though some call it Mahomet still, as we call it in French. The word means 'praised' in Arabic. Mohammed the Prophet was born at Mecca about A.D. 570; but the precise year is not known, though the date I give is within a year of it. His father's name was Abdallah, a poor merchant, who died about the time of the child's birth. A great many stories have been invented in later years about the mother and the child.
"The father was said to be the handsomest man of his time, and it is claimed that his wife Aminah was of a noble family. She was of a nervous temperament, and fancied she was visited by spirits. She was inclined to epilepsy, which may explain her visions. Mohammed was her only child. As soon as he was born, his mother is said to have raised her eyes to heaven, exclaiming: 'There is no God but God, and I am his Prophet.' It is also declared that the fire of the fire-worshippers, which had burned without going out for a thousand-years, was suddenly quenched, and all the idols in the world dropped from their pedestals."
"Goodness, gracious!" exclaimed Mrs. Blossom.
"The mother of the Prophet handed him over to a Bedouin woman to bring up, in order that he might have the benefit of the desert air; but the child appears to have been afflicted with his mother's malady, and the nurse returned him because he was subject to frequent fits. When he was six years old his mother died, and his grandfather adopted him; but the old man lived only two years after, and then he was taken by Abu Talib, his uncle, who, though poor himself, gave him a home, and continued to be his best friend through life.
"At first the boy gained a precarious living by tending the flocks of the Meccans. When he was twenty-five years old he went into the service of a rich widow named Khadija, having the blood of the same ancestors in their veins. Up to this time his position had been in a low grade of poverty. He did not take the advice of Mr. Weller, and 'beware of the vidders,' and his fortunes suddenly changed. Doubtless he was a handsome man, as his father was said to be; and he was too much for the susceptible Khadija, twice widowed, and fifteen years older than her employe, and she offered him her hand and heart, which he accepted.
"They had two sons and four daughters; but both of the former died in early life. He established himself as a merchant after his marriage; and he continued in the business, though he spent most of his time in meditation by himself. Up to the age of forty Mohammed was a strict devotee in the religion of his fathers, which was a species of idolatry. When he was about thirty years old Christianity had made its way into Arabia through Syria on one side, and Abyssinia on the other, and there were Jewish colonies in the peninsula. Though the missionaries of the new faith pervaded Mecca and Medina, the future Prophet was not converted, more is the pity!
"It was at this time that he was moved to teach a new religion which should displace the idolatry of the people, and come into competition, as it were, with the teachings of the missionaries of Judaism and Christianity. He was forty years old when he received what he claimed as his first divine communication, on a mountain near Mecca. He declared that Gabriel appeared to him there, and commanded him to preach the true religion. It is now generally admitted that he was no vulgar and tricky impostor, and it cannot be known to what extent his inherited epilepsy or hysteria governed the alleged revelations.
"After his long and lonely vigils passed in meditation, he proclaimed what he insisted had been revealed to him; and at these times he appears to have been little better than a lunatic, for he was moved to the most frightful fanatical vehemence. He frothed at the mouth, his eyes became red, and the perspiration rained from his head and face. He roared like a camel in his wrath, and such an exhibition could hardly fail to make a strong impression upon his ignorant audience.
"His first revelations were related to Khadija and other members of his household; and they accepted his teachings, while his other relatives rejected them with scorn. His uncle called him a fool; and his adopted father never believed in him as a prophet, though for the honor of the family he remained his friend. After four years of preaching he mustered forty converts, slaves and men of the lowest social rank. Then he spoke more publicly, in response to new revelations commanding him to do so, denouncing boldly the superstitions of his people, exhorting them to lead pious and moral lives, and to believe in the one all-wise, almighty, and all-merciful God, who had chosen him as his Prophet. He held out the reward of paradise to those who accepted his religion, and the penalty of hell to those who rejected it.
"Two of the most sacred objects of the Arabians were the fetich of a black stone and the spring of Zemzem, both of which were believed to be endowed with miraculous powers for the healing of the body and the soul. These imparted a sanctity above any other charms to the Kaaba in which the stone and the fountain were to be visited. In the valley by the city stands the great mosque, in which there is an immense square holding 35,000 people. In the centre of it is the Kaaba, which is not a Mohammedan invention, for it existed ages before the Prophet was born. Pilgrimages had been made to it from Medina for many generations. The stone is perhaps a meteorite, set in a corner at a proper height for kissing.
"The Kaaba was one of the superstitions with which the Prophet had to contend; and he was too politic, as well as too deeply rooted in his own belief, to think of abolishing it. He therefore converted the heathen shrine into an altar of his own faith, inventing the legend that it had been constructed by Abraham when he sent away his son Ishmael to found a nation. Though Mohammed was prudent in many things, he offended the people, particularly by prohibiting certain kinds of food. He condemned the Bedouin for killing their newly born daughters, and for other barbarous practices.
"Though the number of proselytes increased more rapidly, he had raised a fierce opposition against him. About this time his faithful wife Khadija died, and then his devoted uncle. His misery over these events was increased by the fact that his business failed him, and he was reduced to poverty. He tried to improve his fortunes by emigration; but the scheme was a failure. He was so persecuted by the Meccans that he had on occasions narrowly escaped with his life. After his return he married again; and afterwards he had as many as nine wives at one time, though he never took a second while Khadija was living.
"Now, good friends, I think we all need a rest, which the commander instructed me to give you at a convenient place in my remarks."
The professor retired from the rostrum, and the company scattered over the ship.
THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF ISLAMISM
Captain Ringgold permitted the day, which was only the second of the voyage, to pass away until half past three o'clock in the afternoon without again calling the conference together. The passengers appeared to be well occupied; for the boys had brought shuffle-board and the potato game on the planks, and everybody was enjoying these plays, either by taking part or looking on. The commander had taught them these amusements early in their sea experience, and they always became very hilarious over them.
Besides, he was prudent and judicious in the conduct of the study department; for the adults were not in training as students, and he was somewhat afraid of overworking them, and creating a dislike for the conferences. As he expressed it, he desired to make them hungry for lectures. The schoolroom, which had been made of the after cabin, and contained the extensive library of the ship, had been deserted for several weeks so far as its regular use was concerned.
Miss Blanche, Louis, Morris, and Scott formed a class, or rather several of them, and pursued their studies systematically under the professor; but they had been interrupted by the visit to Egypt and the trip to Cyprus, and their work was not resumed till the ship sailed from Suez. The recitations and the study were not confined to the classroom, but some of them were given on deck and in the cabin to individuals as the convenience of both permitted; and some of the hours of the first two days had been used in this manner.
"Now you can see Yembo," said the commander at half-past three in the afternoon, as he pointed out a town on the shore of Arabia. "The name is spelled in so many different ways it is hard to find it in the books. Sometimes it is Yembo, Yanba, and Yembu, and again it is Zembo, Zambu, and Zanba. It is Yembo on my charts, and for that reason I use it. It is of not much importance except as the port of Medina, the later home of Mohammed, where the professor will take you at the next conference this afternoon.
"But it is one hundred and thirty miles from its principal, and there are no railroads or stages here, and it must be a journey of four or five days by camel over the desert. A pilgrimage to Medina is recommended to the faithful; but it is not required, as it is at least once in a lifetime to Mecca. Mohammed was buried there, and it stands next to Mecca as the holiest city of the world to the followers of Islam. But I will not purloin the professor's thunder. On the other side of the Red Sea is Berenice, the seat of the Egyptian trade with India in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus; but there is not much besides ruins there at the present time."
The conference met at four o'clock, and the map of Arabia still hung on the frame. The professor took his place, and pointed out Yembo on it, adding that Medina was two hundred and seventy miles north of Mecca.
"When I suspended my remarks this morning, Mohammed had failed to improve his fortunes by emigration, had returned to Mecca, and had married again," the professor began. "At his death he left nine wives, and how many more he may have had I am not informed."
"The wretch!" exclaimed Mrs. Blossom.
"The Prophet did not live in Von Blonk Park," suggested the instructor.
"If he had, he would have been driven out of town by a mob," added the lady rather spitefully for her.
"On this subject, if I should refer you to some of the patriarchs of the Bible, you would be able to see how much Christianity has improved the world in this respect. Among the wives of the Prophet was Ayeshah, the daughter of Abu Bekr, one of Mohammed's most enthusiastic disciples, a man of great influence in Mecca, belonging to the Koreish tribe, the religious aristocracy of the city.
"Everything except matrimony, though he had not married all these wives at this time, was in a bad way with Mohammed; for he had lost his property, and had excited a violent opposition to himself among the people, though some of his proselytes remained faithful to him. The pilgrimages to the Kaaba brought many people to Mecca from all quarters, including Medina. Among those from the latter he succeeded in converting several; for he still preached, and still had remarkable visions.
"At the next pilgrimage he obtained twelve more converts, and the one following seventy. All these new disciples sowed the seed of his teachings; and Medina, from which all of them came, appeared to contain the richest soil for the growth of his doctrines. Cast out and persecuted in his own city, the Prophet decided to emigrate to Medina; for he was in close alliance with the converts from that place. In 622 he started on his flight from the city of his birth. This was the Hegira, which means 'the going away;' and from it the Mohammedans reckon their dates, as we do from the birth of Christ.
"The Prophet was attended by Abu Bekr, and followed by about a hundred families of his Meccan adherents; and his going away was not without danger, for his enemies were many and vindictive. But with his multitude he made his way over the desert, and reached his destination in safety. He was received for all he claimed to be by his converts there, and the current of his fortunes as a religious leader was suddenly and entirely changed. He was no longer a madman and an impostor. He had come out of his former obscurity, and now all the details of his daily life became matters of record.
"His modesty did not seem to stand in his way; and he now assumed the functions of the most powerful judge, lawgiver, and ruler of the two most influential Arabic tribes. He devoted his time and study to the organization of the worship of God according to Mohammed, his sole prophet. He was gathering in converts all the time, and his new home was entirely favorable to this work.
"There were many Jews there to whom he turned his attention, preaching to them, and proclaiming that he was the Messiah whose coming they awaited; but they ridiculed his pretensions, and he became furious against them, remaining their enemy till the last day of his life. Whatever good precepts Mohammed promulgated, there appears to have been but little of the 'meek and lowly' spirit of Him 'who spake as never man spake;' for in the first year of the Hegira he gave it out that it was the will of God, expressed by his chosen prophet, that the faithful should make war on the enemies of Islam; which was a sort of manifesto directed against the Meccans who had practically cast him out.
"But he had not the means to carry on war at his command at first in the open field: he assailed the caravans through his agents on their way to and from Syria, and succeeded in seriously disturbing the current of trade. His employment of the sons of the desert enabled him to form alliances with them, and thus obtain the semblance of an army. His first battle was fought between 314 Moslems and about 600 Meccans, and the inspiration of his fanaticism gave him the victory in spite of his inferior force.
"This event gave him a degree of prestige, and many adventurers flocked to his standard. With an increased force he continued to send out expeditions against both of his old enemies, the Meccans and the Jews, exiling the latter. He was generally successful; and after one battle he caused 700 prisoners to be beheaded, and their women and children to be sold into slavery. But in 625 the Meccans defeated him; and he was dangerously wounded in the face by a javelin, some of his teeth having been knocked out. The enemy then besieged Medina; but Mohammed defeated them with the aid of earthworks and a ditch. In the sixth year of the Hegira, he proclaimed a pilgrimage to Mecca; and though the Meccans prevented it from being carried out, it led to a treaty of peace with them for ten years.
"This event enabled him to send out missionaries all over Arabia; and the next year he conducted a pilgrimage to Mecca with 2,000 followers, remaining there undisturbed for three days. After this he carried on war vigorously against more potent powers, whose rulers he summoned to become converts. Some yielded, and others scorned him, one of them beheading the Prophet's messengers. This brought on battles of greater magnitude, and in one he was badly beaten.
"He accused the Meccans of taking part against him, and marched against their city at the head of 10,000 men. It surrendered, and Mohammed was publicly recognized as ruler, and prophet of God. I will read one of his sayings, that you may better understand the man and his religion: 'The sword is the key of heaven and hell: a drop of blood shed in the cause of God, or a night spent in arms, is of more avail than two months of fasting and prayer. Whoever falls in battle, his sins are forgiven him, and at the day of judgment the loss of his limbs shall be supplied by the wings of cherubim.'
"In one of his expeditions against the Jews, a Jewess who had lost a relative in a fight against him placed a piece of poisoned roast meat before him. He barely tasted it, but he carried the effects of the poison to his grave.
"His religion seemed to be firmly established, not only in Arabia, but it had been carried to foreign lands by the sword or by missionaries. He had it in his mind to conquer Syria; but the want of a sufficient army deterred him, and he was forced to content himself with the homage of a few inferior princes. In the tenth year of the new calendar he made his last solemn pilgrimage to Mecca, and then fixed for all future time the ordinance of the pilgrimage with its ceremonial, which is still observed in all Moslem countries.
"On his return from this visit he busied himself again with the project of conquering Syria; for some great scheme seemed to be necessary to keep his followers in alliance, and extend his religion. While so engaged he was taken dangerously sick. He selected the abode of Ayeshah as his home. The house was close to the mosque, and afterwards became a part of it. He continued to attend the public prayers as long as he was able. When he felt that his end was near, he preached once more to the people, recommending Abu Bekr and Osama as the generals of the army whom he had chosen. In the last wanderings of his mind he spoke of angels and heaven only, and died in the arms of Ayeshah. He was buried in the night in the house of his faithful wife, which was for that reason taken into the mosque.
"His death produced great distress and an immense excitement among his followers. Even before he was dead the struggle began, and an influential official had prevented him from naming his successor by preventing him from obtaining the use of writing materials; but Abu Bekr was preferred, and received the homage of the chief men of Medina. Undoubtedly Mohammed was a man of great ability, and the possessor of some extraordinary gifts. There was much that was good in the person and his religion; much that Christianity preaches as the true faith to-day. He believed in the one God, however much he failed to comprehend his attributes.
"He claimed to be the Prophet of God, and preached piety and righteousness, and recommended chiefly that his followers should protect the weak, the poor, and the women, and to abstain from usury. In his private character he was an amiable man, faithful to his friends, and tender in his family. In spite of the power he finally obtained, he never appeared in any state, with pomp and parade; for he lived in the utmost simplicity, and when at the height of his power he dwelt like the Arabs in general in a miserable hut. He mended his own clothes, and freed his slaves when he had them.
"He was a man of strong passions, of a nervous temperament, and his ecstatic visions were perhaps the result of his inherited malady. He is not to be judged by our standard any more than King Solomon is; but there was a great deal of good in him, with a vast deal that was emphatically bad; for he was cunning and deceitful when it suited his purpose, extremely revengeful, as shown in his dealings with the Meccans and the Jews, and a wholesale murderer in the spirit of retaliation.
"He had read the Christian Bible, and not a little of his religion was borrowed from that. Glancing over the world, we cannot help seeing that Christian nations have been the most progressive, while those of the Mohammedan faith have been far behind them, and have borrowed their principal improvements from those whose emblem is the Cross. To the end of time the Crescent will be overshadowed by the Cross."
The passengers had been much interested in the story of the Prophet, and the professor was warmly applauded as he gathered up his papers and retired from the stand.
"Unless we slow down I am afraid you will see nothing of Jiddah, which is the port of Mecca, and our nearest point to it," said the commander. "Though thousands of pilgrims are landed there every year on their way to obey the injunction of Mohammed, there is nothing there to see; and it is not a case of sour grapes."
"I wanted to ask the professor about the coffin of the Prophet being suspended in the air," interposed Mrs. Belgrave.
"That is pure fiction, madam," replied the professor. "The body of Mohammed is believed to rest within the mausoleum in the mosque; and there is no reason to doubt that it is on the spot occupied by Ayeshah's house, added to the sacred building. His body is supposed to lie undecayed at full length, on the right side, the right hand supporting the head, with the face directed towards Mecca."
The professor had to answer many other questions of no great importance.
THE AGENT OF THE PARSEE MERCHANTS
The ancient kingdoms of the world had been disposed of by the professor, and all the countries of the Red Sea had been treated historically and geographically; and though the passengers still occupied the promenade, no more conferences were needed for the present. But it became a place for conversation, and all kinds of subjects were discussed there.
The commander pointed out the location of all the important places, or where any notable event had occurred; but none of them were of any great consequence, and they were too far off to be seen distinctly. The ship had reached the widest part of the sea, and all the rest of the course to the entrance was through the deep water in the middle; for the shores were studded with reefs, reaching out from forty to sixty miles from the land.
"How deep is the water here, Captain Ringgold?" asked Dr. Hawkes, at one of these conversation parties on the third day from Suez.
"The last time I looked at the chart, just on the parallel of 20 deg. of north latitude, the sounding was 500 fathoms," replied the commander.
"Indeed? That is 3,000 feet; I did not suppose it was so deep as that," added the doctor.
"The bottom is very irregular in all parts of the Red Sea; and in some places it is more than double the figure just mentioned. When we were about sixty miles north of Jiddah, the sounding was 1,054 fathoms, or 6,234 feet."
"How deep has the water been found to be in the ocean?"
"As much as 4,000 fathoms of line have been paid out, with no bottom as the result. Soundings of 3,000 fathoms have been obtained. In the library you will find the 'Cruise of the Challenger,' which is the latest authority on this subject."
"I shall refer to it; thank you, Captain."
"On a little rocky island on our right," continued the commander, pointing to the location, "is the town of Suakin, as it is generally called, though the proper word is Sawakin. It is a town of ten thousand inhabitants. It is abreast of Nubia, the Soudan, and is the outlet of its commerce. When the Mahdi War became a serious matter, England took possession of this port; and several battles were fought in the vicinity with the followers of the Mahdi, who seemed to imitate the example of Mohammed to some extent in his crusade. The place is still held by a British garrison, and about seven thousand pilgrims embark here every year for Mecca by the way of Jiddah."
"We all remember the war in the Soudan in which the Mahdi figured so largely," said Uncle Moses. "I should like to know something more about him."
"The meaning of the word is the guide, 'the well-directed one.' There have been at least half a dozen Mahdis in the history of Mohammedans, just as there have been Messiahs in Christian lands, all of them impostors of course. One appeared in Arabia, who claimed to be a successor of Mohammed who had disappeared; another presented himself in the northern part of Africa. One appeared in Egypt during the French invasion, and was killed in battle.
"The last one was Mohammed Ahmed; and like the rest of them he claimed to be a lineal descendant of the Prophet, divinely commissioned to extend his religion, and especially to drive the Christians out of the Soudan. He was in his earlier life an employe of the Egyptian government, but quarrelled with the governor of his province, and became a trader and a slave-dealer. At the age of forty he assumed the role of the Mahdi; and in that capacity he did a great deal of mischief. He captured the chief city of Kordofan, and made it the capital; he overwhelmed the army of Hicks Pacha, and finally shut up General Gordon in Khartoom, as has been related before. He died in 1885, and was succeeded by Abdallah. But he had deprived Egypt of even the nominal possession of the Soudan."
"He was a terrible fighter," added Uncle Moses.
"Fanatics usually are."
The voyage continued without any unusual incident till the ship was approaching the entrance to the sea. The shores on both sides became more precipitous, and heights of two thousand feet were to be seen. The commander pointed out Mocha, which has the reputation of sending out the finest coffee in the world; but this is said to come from Hodeida, a port north of it.
"Those hills on the left indicate the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, which was written Babelmandel in the old geographies when I went to school. Bab means a gate wherever you find it; and this is the 'Gate of Tears,' so called from the perils it presented to the small craft of the Arabians; and many of them were wrecked here," said the commander when the party were gathered on the promenade as usual if anything was to be seen. "We are now in latitude 12 deg. 30', and I notice that some of the ladies are becoming tolerably diligent in the use of their fans."
"It is time for us to begin to reduce our clothing," suggested Mrs. Belgrave.
"Be prudent about that, ladies; for I think we shall have some cool weather again when we get out from the land, though it has been growing warmer since yesterday," added the doctor.
"There is a strong current here, and some of the water comes up from the region of the equator; and, as you have been informed before, the temperature of it runs up to a hundred degrees," said the captain. "Here is the Island of Perim, a barren rock, three miles and a half long by two and a half wide, shaped like a crescent, with a good harbor between the two horns. The English took possession of it and held it for a year in 1799, and again occupied it in 1857, and later it was made into a coaling-station.
"As you perceive, it is fortified, and it has a British garrison. It has hardly any other population than coolie coal-heavers. It is a desolate-looking place, and there does not appear to be even a blade of grass growing upon it."
"Is it still Egypt on the other side of the strait?" asked Mrs. Belgrave.
"No; it is Abyssinia," replied the captain. "It is a country containing 200,000 square miles, nearly three-fourths of the size of Texas. It consists of tableland about 7,000 feet high, and there are peaks within its borders 15,000 feet high. It has a lake sixty miles long, and you have been told something about its rivers in connection with the sources of the Nile. It is rich in minerals, but the mines are hardly worked at all.
"There has been the usual amount of quarrelling as in former times among the chiefs of the various tribes in Abyssinia; but finally an adventurer named Kassa, after defeating various chiefs, caused himself to be crowned as King Theodore. He tried to form an active alliance with England and France; but no notice was taken of his propositions. He was so enraged at this neglect on the part of England, that he began to maltreat the missionaries and consuls of that country. The British sent agents to treat for the release of the prisoners; but the king shut them up in the fortress of Magdala, though they brought a royal letter and presents.
"Of course England could not stand this, and she sent an army of 16,000 men to attend to the matter. They landed on the coast, and marched to Magdala. Theodore occupied a fort on a height with 6,000 men, and he hurled nearly the whole of his force upon a detachment of 1,700 British encamped on the plain below. The repeated attacks were repulsed every time, and the king was beaten. Then he sued for peace, and released the prisoners he held in the castle; but as he refused to surrender, the fortress was stormed and captured. Theodore was found dead where he had shot himself. The fort was demolished, and the British retired from the country. The expedition cost 45,000,000 dollars; but England always protects her citizens, wherever they are."
"Is it a Mohammedan country, like Egypt?" asked Mrs. Belgrave.
"It is not; it is nominally a Christian country, though its religion is of the very lowest type that ever was called by that name, wholly external, and morals are at a very low ebb. After the British left, a prince defeated his rival, and was crowned as Emperor John; but it is a single-horse monarchy. It has been at war with Egypt, which never got possession of the country as it desired. In 1885 Italy occupied Massowah, though for what purpose was never definitely stated. Three companies of its army were attacked by the Abyssinians, and nearly the whole of them were massacred; but the Italians did not avenge this assault."
The ship continued on her course along the coast of Yemen ninety miles to Aden, which the commander had before given out as his first stopping-place. Steam had been reduced so that the arrival should not be in the night. The passage had been made in about four days. The pilot came on board at six o'clock in the morning, and the passengers were already on the promenade. Two large steamers were at anchor in the roads, and were engaged in coaling and watering. A boat came off as soon as the ship anchored, containing an agent of the great Parsee merchants, who do most of the business of the town. He wished to see the captain, who was in his cabin.
"Good-morning, Captain," said the man, speaking very good English. "I have taken the liberty to bring off some newspapers."
"I am greatly obliged to you, for we are getting hungry for newspapers," replied Captain Ringgold as he took the package. "Excuse me for a moment and I will send them to the passengers, for I have not time to look at them now."
He tossed the bundle of papers up to Dr. Hawkes, and returned to his cabin.
"I shall be happy to take your orders for whatever you may need at this port, including coal and water, as well as provisions and other supplies," continued the agent.
The commander ordered both coal and water; for he knew about the Parsee merchants, and referred Mr. Gaskill, as he gave his name, to Mr. Melancthon Sage, the chief steward.
"What sort of goods do you furnish here, Mr. Gaskill?" asked the commander.
"Every sort, Captain Ringgold. This steamer does not belong to any regular line, I think," said the agent.
"It does not to any line, regular or irregular; and yet she is not a tramp," replied the commander with a smile.
"Is she a man-of-war?" inquired the visitor, opening wide his big eyes.
"She is not; she is a yacht, with a pleasure party on board who are making a voyage around the world."
"Ah, yes, Captain; I understand. There is another steam-yacht in the roads, over beyond the P. & O. steamer nearest to you. Perhaps you have seen her; she is painted white all over."
"I did not notice her. What flag does she carry?"
"She sails under the British flag. But you suggested that you might need other supplies. We can furnish your party with all the English goods they want, and there are first-class tailors and dressmakers here."
"My passengers must speak for themselves," answered the captain. "I fear you cannot furnish the supplies I need."
"We can furnish everything that can be named," persisted the agent of the Parsee merchants. "What do you require?"
"Two twenty-four pounders, brass, naval carriages, and all the ammunition needed for their use," replied the commander; and he felt as though he had made an impossible demand.
"We can furnish anything and everything you may desire in this line; in fact, we can fit out your ship as a man-of-war. But do you need only two such guns as you describe, Captain Ringgold?" asked the business-driving Mr. Gaskill. "We have a lot of four of them, and we should like to dispose of them together."
"I will see the guns before I say anything more about the matter. When can you fill our water-tanks and coal-bunkers?" inquired the commander.
"We are very busy to-day, for we have several steamers to supply; but it shall be done before to-morrow noon."
"Now I will introduce you to our chief steward."
Mr. Sage insisted upon seeing his supplies before he named the quantity needed, and made an appointment on shore.
A DISAPPOINTMENT TO CAPTAIN SCOTT
Captain Ringgold knew something about Aden before he decided to make a stopping-place of it, and it was certainly a more agreeable location than Perim. The town—or towns, for there appear to be several of them—is described by a former resident as a sort of crater like that of a volcano, formed by a circular chain of steep hills, the highest of which is 1,775 feet above the sea level. The slope outside of them reaching to the waters of the Arabian Gulf, or the Gulf of Aden as it is now called, has several strings of hills in that direction, with valleys between them, radiating from the group to the shore.
Aden is a peninsula connected with Hadramaut, the southern section of Arabia, by a narrow isthmus, covered at the spring tides by the surrounding waters. Over it is a causeway conveying an aqueduct which is always above the sea level. The region looks as though it might have been subject to volcanic convulsions at some remote period. Within the circle of hills are the town and a portion of the military works. In its natural location, as well as in the strength of its defences, it bears some resemblance to Gibraltar.
This was the substance of what the commander told his passengers before they landed, and proceeded to give points in the history of the peninsula, which he had studied up, as he always did when approaching a new locality; and though he was a walking encyclopaedia, he had not obtained this reputation without much study and labor in addition to his extensive voyages and travels "all over the world."
"A learned biblical scholar of the last century, who studied Oriental history in connection with the sacred record, identifies Aden as the Eden mentioned by Ezekiel in describing the wealth of Tyrus," continued the commander.
"But who was Tyrus, Captain?" asked Mrs. Blossom, who was wide awake when any scriptural name was used.
"He wasn't anybody, Mrs. Blossom; and when Ezekiel and some other of the prophets used the word Tyrus, they meant Tyre; and doubtless you have read about Tyre and Sidon."
"I never heard it called by that name before," added the worthy lady with a blush.
"Read Ezekiel xxvii. and you will find it. This place was known before the time of Christ, and was the centre of an extensive commerce with India, though it was also carried on by the Indus and the Oxus, the latter formerly flowing into the Caspian Sea. In the fourth century after Christ, the son of the Emperor Constantine established a Christian church here. In more modern history Aden has been a part of Yemen, along whose shores we sailed for more than a day on the Red Sea. The lines from Milton's 'Paradise Lost,' partly quoted before,
"'As when to them who sail Beyond the Cape of Hope, and now are past Mozambic, off at sea north-east winds blow Sabaean odors from the spicy shore Of Arabie the blest,'
alludes to this country. The Sabaeans were the ancient people of Yemen, called Sheba in the Book of Genesis. They were a wealthy and powerful people, and it was probably the queen of this region who made a celebrated visit to King Solomon. But we cannot follow them now.
"Yemen changed hands several times, belonging to Abyssinia, Persia, and the caliphs of Arabia, and has been fought for by Portuguese, Turks, and Egyptians; but now it is a Turkish province. England had reason to demand satisfaction from the Arab authorities for injuries done to her Indian subjects. The negotiations failed, and there was evident treachery. England does her work thoroughly in such cases; and Aden was promptly bombarded, and then seized by a naval and military force in 1839. This is said to be the first territory acquired during the reign of Queen Victoria; and the nation's record is not so bad as sometimes stated.
"Aden was made a free port in 1850; and it has since had a large trade, increasing it from half a million dollars to sixteen millions. It is governed by English civil officers, and the military is in command of a brigadier-general. The troops are British and East Indian, and are of all arms of the service, including a troop of native cavalry, to which Arabs mounted on camels are attached. Now we are ready to go on shore," the commander concluded.
"How are we to go on shore, sir?" asked Scott.
"We have plenty of boats,—the barge, the first and second cutters, and the dingy," replied Captain Ringgold with a pleasant smile; for he understood what the captain of the Maud was driving at.
"Are you not going to put the little steamer into the water again, sir?" inquired the young captain. "She would be very convenient in going about this place, which is nearly surrounded by water."
"She would be indeed; but we shall probably leave Aden by to-morrow afternoon, and it would hardly pay to lower her into the water, for you know that it requires a great deal of hard work to do so," said the commander, who was really very sorry to disoblige the young man, and he kept more than his usual smile on his face all the time.
"I think we could make the voyage very comfortably in her from here to Bombay, or wherever you are going," suggested Captain Scott.
"I do not consider a voyage of that length in such a small craft quite prudent, even if there were no other question to be considered. But it would take us at least half a day to put the Maud into the water, and as long to coal and water her, and otherwise fit her out. Then it is ordinarily a seven days' voyage from Aden to Bombay, and the Maud would get out of coal in half that time."
"But for the next five hundred miles the voyage is along the coast of Arabia."
"There are no coal stations except at Aden and Perim, so far as I know, unless you run up to Muscat, and I am not sure that there is any there," answered the captain of the ship. "I learned from Mr. Gaskill, the Parsee agent here, after I told him who and what we were, that he had heard of us before. Stories exaggerated beyond all decent limits have been told about us. Louis's million and a half have been stretched to hundreds of millions, and the Guardian-Mother has been regarded as a floating mine of wealth. I suspect that Mazagan spread such stories in Egypt, and they have travelled to this port."
"What have these stories to do with a voyage to Bombay by the Maud?" asked Scott, with something like a laugh; for he could see no connection.
"Mr. Gaskill asked me about the little steamer that was sailing with the ship; so that he had heard of her, for she came through the canal with us. I have thought of this matter before; and the little steamer would be a great temptation to the half-civilized Arabs that inhabit these shores, and they are sailors after their own fashion. I know you are not afraid of them, Captain Scott; but it would be easy enough for these pirates to fall upon you, capture the little steamer, and make an end of all on board of her."
"Where should we be while they were doing all this?" asked Scott with a smile of incredulity.
"You would be treated to some treachery at first probably; but even in a square, stand-up fight your chances against fifty or a hundred of these savages would be very small. In fact, I came to the conclusion, after your battle at Khrysoko, that the armament of the ship was not heavy enough for possible contingencies, though the saluting-guns on the top-gallant forecastle are well enough for ordinary occasions."
"As your mind seems to be made up, Captain Ringgold, I will say no more about the matter," added Scott; and it was plain enough that he was sorely disappointed.
"I am very confident that Mrs. Belgrave and Mrs. Woolridge, since the trouble in the Cyprus bay, and after all that has been said since that event, would not permit their sons to go to sea again in the Maud; and I must say that their prudence is perfectly justifiable."
"Then we are not likely to use the Maud again?" asked Scott.
"Certainly not in these localities, though we may put her in the water at Bombay, Calcutta, and perhaps some other ports," replied the commander. "If anything should happen to you, or to any of your ship's company, I should never forgive myself."
"I don't see that she will be of any use to us hereafter," suggested the discontented young navigator.
"I advised her purchase mainly for use in the Mediterranean; and she has certainly been very useful, adding very much to the pleasure of the party."
"If you cannot use her, I should think you would sell her," added Scott. "Of whatever service she may have been, she seems to be played out, and is of no use at all now."
"You are nearer right, Captain Scott, than perhaps you suppose; and to be candid with you, I regard the Maud as very like an elephant on our hands."
"Then I hope you will sell her," replied the young man, with something like desperation in his manner. "For my part, I am entirely willing you should do so, sir."
"It is plainly impracticable to make any use of her in the next six months, except in harbor service, and we hardly need her for that," continued the commander. "I know that Louis and Morris do not wish to go to sea in her again; and I suppose Felix would prefer to be where his crony is."
"Cruising in the Maud is then decidedly a thing of the past," said Scott, with a feeble attempt to laugh.
"Then, if I should find an opportunity to sell the Maud at Aden, you will not be disappointed?" asked the captain, point-blank, looking earnestly into the face of the young sailor.
"If we are not to use her as we did before"—
"That is utterly impracticable in the waters of the Indian Ocean; for the perils I have suggested, to say nothing of typhoons and hurricanes," interposed the commander.
"Then I shall be perfectly satisfied to have her go," answered Scott.
"In the first typhoon or hurricane, and I expect to see such, we might be obliged to cut her loose, and launch her into the boiling waters to save the ship; for I find that she is too great a load to carry on our promenade deck, and we have no other place for her. We have had no storm to test the matter; if we had, she might have gone before this time. I have already spoken to Uncle Moses and Mr. Woolridge about the matter, and they not only consent, but insist, that the Maud be sold."
"I have nothing more to say, Captain Ringgold," said Scott rather stiffly.
Then he told the young man about the terrors of the mothers, the grave fears of Mr. Woolridge, who was a yachtsman, and was so confident that the little steamer would have to be cast into the sea, that Scott was somewhat mollified. He had made his reputation as a sailor, a navigator, a brave fellow, on board of her, and to lose the Maud seemed like destroying the ark which had brought him out of the floods of evil, and made a man of him.
The wise commander had evidently saved him from a life of iniquity, and the little steamer had been an effective agency in his hands in doing the work. He was absolutely clear that it was not prudent for the young navigators to sail the Maud over the Indian Ocean, and his conscience would not permit it to be done. He was afraid his decision might have a bad effect upon the young man, that it might even turn him from the paths of rectitude in which he had trodden for many months; but he trusted to himself and the co-operation of the other three members of the "Big Four" to save him from any such disaster.
The barge and the first cutter were manned at the gangway, and the party went on shore, prepared by what the commander had said to them to understand what they were to see. Captain Ringgold was obliged to visit the Parsee merchants, while an army officer who had been presented to them showed them about the town. They found everything they could possibly desire at the shops (not stores on British territory). Louis procured the vehicles, and they all rode out to the fortifications, where they were greatly interested, especially in the water tanks, which have a capacity of nearly eight million gallons. The officer was exceedingly polite, not alone because the reputation of the wealth of the young millionaire had gone out before him, but because this is the rule with well-bred English people.
He was re-enforced by others, and the ladies had all the beaux they could manage; and Miss Blanche could have had all of them if she had not chosen to cling to Louis Belgrave. They were all invited to dinner in the cabin of the Guardian-Mother, and Mr. Sage was informed of the fact before he returned to the ship.
Before noon the Maud had been sold for four times the sum she had cost, to the Parsees, who wanted her very badly to ply between steamers and the shore in prosecuting their trade. Out of the price to be received was deducted that of the four guns and a liberal supply of ammunition of all descriptions.
THE SUSPICIOUS WHITE STEAMER AT ADEN
Captain Ringgold had sold the little steamer for four times what she had cost the owners, but still for less than her value, for she was an exceptionally strong and handsome craft. On the other hand, he had purchased the naval material for "a mere song;" for it was not available for a man-of-war in modern times, and not of the kind used in the naval or military forces of England.
The commander had been a young naval officer from the beginning of the War of the Rebellion, and had attained the grade of lieutenant, so that he was a judge of the material he bought. He examined everything very critically before a price was named. The guns had been procured for a native East-Indian prince; but the ship that brought them to the shores of his country was not permitted to land them. He was deposed about the time, probably on account of the attempt to bring these guns into his domain.
The captain of the sailing-ship could not collect even his freight money, and he was forced to carry them off with him when his cargo was completed. His consignee suggested to him that the Imam, or Sultan, of Muscat would purchase his war material, and be glad to get it, and he had sailed for that port; but among the rocks at the entrance to the Persian Gulf his bark had been wrecked. The guns and ammunition were saved, for they were the captain's private venture, and he had stored them between decks.
The bottom of the bark was pounded and ground off, and the cargo in the hold was a total loss; but an English steamer had taken off the ship's company and the naval goods, and carried them to Aden. The unfortunate captain sold them for the most he could get to the Parsee merchants, who had kept them for years before they found a purchaser. They got their money back, and they were satisfied.
As soon as the commander finished his business with the merchants he hastened to join the party, who were still exploring the town. It contains about twenty thousand inhabitants, and everything was as Arabian as in the desert. He found his passengers just starting for a ride of about five miles; and, after he had been introduced to the officers, he went with them.
"Goodness gracious!" exclaimed Mrs. Blossom, as they were getting into the carriages, "what is the matter with that man?"
"Nothing is the matter with him, madam," replied an officer, laughing at the manner of the excellent woman.
"Why, I thought he had a hornets' nest on the top of his head," she added.
"He has nothing but his hair there."
"It would be just the thing for a mop."
"That is a Soumali Indian, and you will see a plenty of them," the officer explained. "In fact, you will find every sort of people here. These Soumalis are great dandies; for you see they dye their hair in red or yellow, and I suppose they think they are handsome. Probably you don't think so."
"I'm sure I don't. Why, the fellow has no clothes on but a sheet wrapped around him, and don't even cover his chest with that!"
"That's his fashion; and if you dressed him up like one of those Sepoys he would not feel easy. They have some fine horses and carriages here."
The vehicles had to stop presently when they met a caravan of camels, which had long since ceased to be a novelty to the tourists. They were driven, the officer said, by the real Bedouins of the desert, and by men of all shades of color, from jet-black to pale copper hue. The donkeys were not a strange sight; but when a couple of ostriches passed along the street, the visitors were all eyes. They were seven feet high; and they could capture a fly, if they would take such small game, off the ceiling of a room eight feet high. They were tame, and like the monkeys, gazelles, parrots, and other birds on the verandas, were kept as pets.
There were pretty little gardens along the roads; for the volcanic soil, when dug up and fertilized, makes productive land. There were plenty of rocks; but wherever there was a cleft or a seam, there was a growth of something green. Thirty or forty miles back in the country, there are green valleys and rippling streams. Abundant crops are raised within ten miles of the town, and the garrison and the people of the town are plentifully supplied with fruit and vegetables.
The officers showed the party through the fortifications, some of which strongly reminded them of Gibraltar. Our friends were greatly pleased with Aden, and especially with the attentions of the officers, who are to some extent shut out from social relations. The commander added the Parsee merchants and Mr. Gaskill to the number of invited guests, and entered warmly into the spirit of the affair. Mr. Sage had replenished his stores from the market, and he was in good condition to meet the requirements of the occasion.
After a lunch at the Hotel de l'Europe, Captain Ringgold left the company to return on board of the ship, where the war material had already been sent. The tourists found the town very like an English city, and after Egypt and the isthmus they enjoyed the contrast. The first cutter was waiting for him, and he went to the pier.
More than once during the forenoon he had obtained a view of the white steamer anchored in the roads, and he had inquired in regard to her, but had been able to obtain no very definite information concerning her. She was a steam-yacht of about the size of the Guardian-Mother, as nearly as he could judge, painted white, and she looked like a very beautiful vessel.
Captain Ringgold had inquired in regard to her of the merchants. Had they seen the owner who was making the cruise in her? They had. He was a man thirty or thirty-two, with a fine black beard, and a lady had said he was a remarkably handsome man. His informant thought he was a foreigner, though he spoke English as fluently as the officers of the garrison. He was dressed in the latest style of European garments when he came on shore, and the Parsee had been unable to form an opinion in regard to his nationality.
The carpenter of the Guardian-Mother had constructed something like a magazine in the hold of the ship for the ammunition which had been taken on board before she sailed. It was large enough for the new supply, though some further precautions were taken for the safety of the contents. The four twenty-four pounders were placed, two forward and two aft, the former on the forecastle, and the latter in the space on deck abaft the boudoir.
The guns were mounted on naval carriages, and portholes were to be prepared on the passage to India. The two twelve-pounders were to remain on the top-gallant forecastle, where they had always been; though they had been used on the Fourth of July, and for saluting purposes only, except in the Archipelago, where they had done more serious work, and had doubtless saved Miss Blanche and Louis from capture.
The commander sincerely hoped there would never be an occasion to make use of either the old or the new guns, for he was eminently a man of peace; but he was prepared to defend his ship, either from pirates, belligerent natives, or Captain Mazagan when he had recovered from his wound. Probably he would not have thought of such a thing as increasing his means of defence if Mazagan had not followed the ship as far as Suez.
After he had looked over the white steam-yacht which lay beyond the British steamer as well as he could, and gathered all the information in regard to her and her commander, he could not help thinking of the last threats of Mazagan. He had been assured that Ali-Noury Pacha was as vindictive as ever, and that he had long before ordered a new steamer to be built for him. Did the white steam-yacht belong to him?
Mazagan, evidently for the want of care, had irritated his wound, and gone to the hospital at Suez. He could learn nothing in regard to him there; but it was entirely impossible that he could have come to Aden, for no steamer had passed the Guardian-Mother on her passage. The white steamer had no doubt come through the canal before her.
The commander could not solve the problem. He decided to "take the bull by the horns," and settle the question before he sailed the next day. He had dressed himself in his best uniform in the morning, and he decided to pay a visit to the white steam-yacht before he slept again. It was to be a visit of ceremony; and he ordered the crew of the barge to put on their clean white uniforms, for he intended to go in state.
All the passengers were still on shore, and there was no one to go with him if he had desired any company. He wished to inform the Pacha, if the owner proved to be he, and he was on board, that he was prepared for any and every thing. If His Highness attempted any trickery or treachery in the direction of the members of his party, or any one of them, he would blow the white steamer out of the water, even if she belonged to the Sultan of Morocco. In fact, he had worked himself up as much as he ever could into an angry frame of mind.
If he was waiting for Mazagan to come to Aden,—for the pirate must have written to him in regard to his intentions, if he had any,—the persecution of the Americans was to be continued over the Indian Ocean. He was to command this magnificent steamer, as he had the Fatime, and would be ready to retrieve his misfortunes in the past. But Captain Ringgold was "reckoning without his host."
He descended the gangway steps, and took his seat in the stern-sheets of the barge with compressed lips; for he intended to meet the Pacha face to face, and this time at his own instigation. Possibly his crew were physiognomists enough to wonder what had come over the captain; for they had never seen him when he looked more in earnest. The captain nodded at the cockswain, and the bowman shoved off. The crew gave way, and no boat ever presented a finer appearance.
"To the white steam-yacht beyond the P. and O. steamer," said the commander; and said no more.
The men bent to their oars, and they were soon in sight of the beautiful vessel, as everybody called her; and Captain Ringgold could not but indorse the general verdict; at least, he thought she was quite as handsome as the Guardian-Mother, which was enough to say of any vessel in his estimation. The barge made a landing at the platform of the gangway.
"May I be permitted to go on board?" asked the captain of the sailor who stood at the head of the steps.
"Yes, sir; she is open to ladies and gentlemen to-day," replied the man.
The commander ascended the steps to the bulwarks, where the seaman was evidently doing duty as a sentinel, though he was not armed.
"What steamer is this?" asked the visitor; for he had not yet seen the name of the steamer.
"The Blanche, sir," replied the man very respectfully; for the commander's uniform had made its proper impression.
"The Blanche!" exclaimed the captain of the Guardian-Mother, starting back as though a red-hot shot had struck him.
It was very remarkable that the steamer should have that name; but he preserved his dignity, and concluded that the name had been given for some member of the owner's family; and he saw a lady seated near the rudder-head, who might be the owner of the name. He looked about the deck,—what of it could be seen,—though most of it was covered by the house, extended nearly from stem to stern, as on the Guardian-Mother. Everything was as neat and trim as though she had been a man-of-war. He could see two twelve-pounders on the side where he was; and he concluded there were two more on the other side.
But if this craft was to chase and annoy his party, she was not well enough armed to be a match for his own ship; and with the feeling he had stirred up in his mind, he congratulated himself on the superiority of the ship he commanded. The seaman informed him that he was at liberty to look over the vessel, for it was believed to be the finest her celebrated builders had ever completed.
"I desire to see the captain of this steamer," replied Captain Ringgold, declining the permission extended to him.
"He is in his cabin, sir, and I will call him down," replied the man.
The captain gave him his card, and the sailor mounted to the promenade deck. He had not been gone two minutes before the captain rushed down the steps as though he were in a desperate hurry.
"Captain Ringgold, I am delighted to see you!" shouted the captain of the Blanche before the visitor had time to make out who he was. "I am glad to see you on the deck of my ship!" And he extended his hand to the commander of the Guardian-Mother.
"Captain Sharp!" roared the visitor, seizing the offered hand, and warmly pressing it.
It was a tremendous let-down for him, after he had roused all his belligerent nature into action, to find Captain W. Penn Sharp in command of the suspicious steamer.
GENERAL NEWRY'S MAGNIFICENT YACHT
The biography of Captain Penn Sharp had been quite romantic within the preceding year. In company with his brother he had been a detective in New York during the greater portion of his lifetime. He had been an honest and upright man; but in spite of this fact he had saved a competence for a man of small desires before he was fifty years old. He had never been married till the last year of his life.
He had what he called a "profession," and he had attended to it very closely for twenty years or more. When he "had a case to 'work up,'" he took it to his humble lodging with him, and studied out the problem. There was nothing in his room that could be called a luxury, unless a library of two hundred volumes were classed under that head; and he spent all his leisure time in this apartment, having absolutely no vices. He was a great reader, had never taken a vacation, and saved all his money, which he had prudently invested.
In his younger days he had been to sea, and came home as the mate of a large ship when he was twenty-two. His prospects in the commercial marine were very promising; but his brother, believing he had peculiar talent for the occupation in which he was himself engaged, induced him to go into the business as his partner. He had been a success; but men do not live as he did, depriving himself of rest or recreation, without suffering for it. His health broke down.
Confident that a voyage at sea would build him up, he applied to Captain Ringgold for any place he could offer him. Only the position of quartermaster was available. He was glad to obtain this on board of such a steamer. He had told his story, and the commander needed just such a person. Mrs. Belgrave had married for her second husband a man who had proved to be a robber and a villain. Her son Louis had discovered his character long before she did, and, after fighting a long and severe battle, had driven him away, recovering a large sum of money he had purloined.
Captain Ringgold ascertained in Bermuda that the villain had another wife in England. He promoted his quartermaster to the position of third officer, and set him at work as a detective on the case. The recreant husband had inherited a fortune in Bermuda, had purchased a steam-yacht, and was still struggling to recover the wife who had discarded him, believing the "Missing Million" was behind her.
The deserted English wife had been sent for by her uncle, who had become a large sugar planter in Cuba. Sharp found her; and her relative had died but a short time before, leaving her a large fortune. The wretch who had abandoned her was arrested for his crimes, and sent back to New York, and was soon serving a long sentence at Sing Sing. He had been obliged to leave his steam-yacht, and it had been awarded to his wife.
By the influence of Captain Ringgold, Penn Sharp had been appointed captain of her; and he had sailed for New York, and then for England, in her. The lady was still on the sunny side of forty, and Sharp had married her. After this happy event, they had sailed for the Mediterranean; and the commander and passengers of the Guardian-Mother had met them at Gibraltar. How Captain Penn Sharp happened to be in command of the Blanche was a mystery to Captain Ringgold, though it was possible that the million or more of Mrs. Penn Sharp enabled her to support such a steam-yacht.
It seemed as though Captain Sharp would never release the hand of the commander of the Guardian-Mother, who had not only been a good friend to him in every sense of the word, but he had unintentionally put him in the way of achieving the remarkably good fortune which had now crowned his life.
"I don't know what to make of this, Captain Sharp," said he of the Guardian-Mother. "Are you in command of this fine steamer?"
"Without a ghost of a doubt I am," replied he of the Blanche, with a renewed pressure of the hand.
"Of course I am astonished, surprised, astounded, as I ought to be on an occasion like this. About the last I knew of you, you had just got married. Have you become so accustomed to married life that you are ready to leave your wife on shore while you wander over the ocean again?" asked the visitor in a good-humored, rallying tone.
"Not a bit of it, my dear Captain. My wife is worth more to me than all the money she brought me, though she is as much of a millionaire as young Mr. Belgrave, we find. She is on board of the Blanche at this moment; and Ruth will be delighted to see you and all your people."
"I am glad all is so happy with you, and I may be tempted to marry myself," laughed the commander.
"You are already tempted, and you will yield to the temptation."
"I have not been tempted like Adam in the garden; if I had been, I should have swallowed the apple whole," replied Captain Ringgold, who had never said so much before on this delicate subject to any person. "It will have to be Adam this time that does all the tempting. But I wish you would explain to me how you happen to be fixed up here like Aladdin in one of his fairy palaces. I suppose, of course, you are sailing in your own steamer?"
"Not at all; for though we have money enough now, we are not disposed to throw it away upon a ship with so much style about her as the Blanche carries over the ocean. But I have not asked you about your party on board of the Guardian-Mother. I like that title, and if I had had the naming of the Blanche, I should have called her the Protecting Grandmother, or something of that sort."
"The company on board of my ship are all in excellent health and spirits. By the way, we have a dinner party at six, and you and your wife must assist; and it will be a most unexpected pleasure."
"I will go; but it is four now, and we haven't half time enough to do our talking. But come to my cabin; and then, if you will excuse me for a moment, I will notify Mrs. Sharp, so that she may be ready for the dinner."
Captain Sharp sent the sailor at the gangway to show the visitor to his cabin, while he went aft on his errand. Captain Ringgold found the cabin consisted of two apartments, one of which was evidently his wife's boudoir; and nothing could have been more elegant or convenient. In fact, it was Oriental magnificence, though the portion appropriated to the commander was fitted up with the usual nautical appliances. The occupant of the cabin soon appeared; and he acted as though he wanted to hug his visitor, though he satisfied himself by taking his hand again. He evidently credited the captain of the Guardian-Mother with both his wife and his fortune.
"Now take this arm-chair, Captain Ringgold, and we will have it out," said the commander of the Blanche. "My wife will be ready in an hour, and she will be delighted to see Mrs. Belgrave and the rest of the party; for she is particularly fond of that lady, though they have both been in the same relation to Scoble."
"I think the name of Scoble has not been mentioned for nearly a year on board of the Guardian-Mother. But you told me, Captain Sharp, that you and your wife were not the owners of this fine craft," suggested the visitor, leading to the solution of the mystery which perplexed him.
"We are not; and I am sailing in the employ of General Newry," answered the other; and Captain Ringgold imagined that the name was spelled in this manner, though there was a twinkle in the eyes of the speaker.
"General Newry; I never heard of him. One of those Englishmen who have won their spurs and their fortunes in India, I suppose," added the visitor.
"Not at all; and he is not even an Englishman."
"Not an Englishman!" exclaimed the puzzled captain. "Is he a Frenchman with that name?"
"Not even a Frenchman."
"I came on board of the Blanche almost angry enough to break something, for certain members of my party have been hunted and hounded the whole length of the Mediterranean; and I am determined to put a stop to it," said Captain Ringgold, getting back some of the spirit in which he had boarded the steamer. "I am of the same mind still."
"You will have no further trouble with your troublesome customer," said Captain Sharp, with a very agreeable smile.
"How do you know?"
"As the boys say, because I know; I do not guess at it."
"You do not understand the matter."
"I know more about it than you do."
"Do you know Ali-Noury Pacha?"
"I do; intimately."
"Then you know that he is one of the greatest scoundrels that ever went six months without being hung," said he of the Guardian-Mother warmly.
"There I must beg to differ from you. He may have been what you say in the past, but he is not in the present," replied he of the Blanche, quite as decidedly as the other had spoken.
Captain Ringgold proceeded to demonstrate the truth of his remark concerning the Pacha by relating his experience from Mogadore to Alexandria, detailing the plots and conspiracies of His Highness and his agents against the peace and safety of his party. Captain Sharp admitted the truth of all the attempts to capture Miss Blanche and Louis Belgrave.
"Then you must admit that he is an unmitigated scoundrel," added Captain Ringgold.
"Much that you charge to him was the work of his agents."
"He hatched up the conspiracy with Mazagan, for Louis heard every word of it in the cafe at Gallipoli. The attempt was made in Pournea Bay in the Archipelago to take Miss Blanche and Louis out of the Maud."
"I grant it; but Mazagan far exceeded his instructions, as he did at Zante."
"How much money did the Pacha offer Mazagan to obtain the persons mentioned?"
"Twenty thousand dollars, or a hundred thousand francs; but that is a bagatelle to him. The Pacha is another man now," added the ex-detective impressively.
"How long has he been another man?" asked Captain Ringgold with something like a sneer.
"Over six months."
"But Mazagan has been operating the same old scheme in Egypt within two months," protested the commander of the Guardian-Mother very vigorously.
"Then he was not acting under the instructions of the Pacha."
"We should have found it difficult to believe that if you had told it to us in Cairo," said the objector in a manner that might have made one who did not know the captain decidedly belligerent. "Mazagan told Louis that the Pacha had offered him two hundred thousand francs if he succeeded in his enterprise, or half that sum if he failed."
"Then the fellow lied!" exclaimed the captain of the Blanche.
"He told Louis if he would persuade his trustee to give him half the full amount of the reward, he would collect the other half of His Highness, as promised in case of failure."
"That Mazagan is a villain and a scoundrel I have no doubt," said Captain Sharp. "Since the affair at Zante, the Pacha has had no hand in the matter."
"But the steamer of His Highness, the Fatime, has been in Rosetta in command of Mazagan," put in the objector with earnestness, believing his reply would demolish the truth of his companion's statement.
"That can be explained," answered the commander of the Blanche. "If you believe there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, it is quite time for me to tell my story; and I hope you will take a different view of the Pacha's present character, as I believe you will."
"Where is the distinguished Moor now?" asked Captain Ringgold, carelessly and flippantly, as though it was of no consequence to him where he was.
"He is in the cabin."
"In the cabin!" exclaimed the commander of the Guardian-Mother, leaping out of his chair with an utter lack of dignity for him. "What cabin?"
"The cabin of the Blanche, of course."
"Is this his steamer?"
"You told me it was General Newry's," said the visitor with a frown, as he buttoned up his coat as though he was about to take his leave of such a disagreeable locality. "General N-e-w-r-y."
"N-o-u-r-y is the way he spells it," interposed the ex-detective. "Sit down, Captain. He is a general of the highest rank in the army of Morocco, and he prefers to cruise under this title."
"If this is the steamer of Ali-Noury Pacha, it is time for me to leave."
"I hope you will hear my story before you go; for I assure you I have been honest and sincere with you, telling you nothing but the truth. I hated and condemned the vices of His Highness as much as you do, Captain; I have told him so to his face, and that was the foundation of his reformation."
Captain Ringgold concluded to hear the story.
AN ALMOST MIRACULOUS CONVERSION
It was a long story which Captain Penn Sharp told of his relations with Ali-Noury Pacha; and his visitor was so incredulous at first that he appeared to have solemnly resolved not to accept anything as the truth. But the character of the speaker left its impress all along the narrative; and Captain Ringgold was compelled to believe, just as the hardened sinner is sometimes forced to accept the truth when presented to him by the true evangelist, though his teeth were set against it.
"You gentlemen with millions in your trousers pockets are subject to perils which we of moderate means are not exposed to," the commander of the Blanche began.
"That means you, and not me," suggested the visitor.
"You have the reputation of being a rich man, whether you are one or not. My wife is rich, and I am only well off; but never mind that now," replied Captain Sharp. "I saw General Noury, as we will call him after this if you do not object, for that is the name by which he chooses to be known, in Gibraltar several times, and I knew all about your affair with him there; but I did not get acquainted with him, for I despised him as much as you did.
"I sailed from the Rock, and took my wife to a great many of the ports of Europe, and some in Africa, including Egypt; but I am not going to tell you about our travels. We went from Alexandria to Malta, Syracuse, and to Messina; and it was at this last port that I fell in with General Noury. His steamer, I forget her name,"—
"The Fatime; but Felix McGavonty always called her the Fatty."
"The Fatty anchored within a cable's length of me before I had been there two hours, and the Pacha went ashore at once. That night my wife was sick, and I went to the city to procure a certain medicine for her. I happened into a shop where no one could speak English, and I don't speak anything else. I was just going off to find another place where they did speak English, when a gentleman rose from a chair with some difficulty and offered his services.
"It was General Noury. He had been drinking, but was not very badly off. He was as polite as a dancing-master, and helped me out so that I got what I wanted. He spoke Italian as though he had known it in his babyhood. I was very much obliged to him, and thanked him with all my might. He left before my package was ready, and I soon followed him.
"As I entered the street that leads from the Corso Cavour to the shore I heard the yells of a man in trouble. I always carried my revolver with me, and I had handled a good many rough villains in my day. I started at a run, and soon reached the scene of the fight. I found two men had attacked one; and though the latter was bravely defending himself, he was getting the worst of it. I saw that he was going under, and I fired just as the man attacked dropped on the pavement.
"My shot brought down one of the bandits, and the other rushed towards me. He had brought down his victim, and he wanted to get rid of me so that he could go through his pockets. I fired at him, and he dropped the long knife with which he was going to stick me on the pavement. There it is over the window;" and the captain pointed to it. "He was wounded; and then he ran away, for he did not like to play with a revolver. Before I could get to him, the other assassin got on his feet and followed him, though he moved with no little labor and pain; but my business was not with him, and I let him go.
"The man who had been attacked was trying to get on his feet, and when I came up to him I found it was General Noury. He had been stabbed in the shoulder, and he was bleeding very freely. With my assistance he walked to my boat, and my men placed him in the stern-sheets. I found that he was bleeding badly, and I was no surgeon. The Hotel Vittorio was on the other side of the street, and some one there could tell me in English where to find a doctor.
"Two gentlemen at the door were smoking. They were talking in English, and I told them what I wanted. They were both Americans, and one of them was a doctor. He volunteered to go with me. He said the patient had a bad wound. He went back to the hotel for his case of instruments, and then went on board of the Viking with his patient. It would make your dinner very late if I should give you all the details of the general's case. Dr. Henderson stopped the flow of blood, and attended to his patient for three weeks on board of the steam-yacht.
"When he was in condition to be moved to the Fatty, he did not wish to go. My wife had nursed him as she would have nursed her own brother, and as she had her uncle in Cuba. When he was convalescent he treated her with the most profound respect. Mazagan came on board to see him, and told me he had just come from Athens. But the general was plainly disgusted with him, and wanted to get rid of him. He gave him the command of the Fatty, and ordered him to wait for him at Gibraltar.
"Dr. Henderson was travelling for pleasure, and he liked it so well that he wanted more of it; but he had spent all his money, and had no more at home. He came on board of the Viking, and lived there. His friend had left, and he was alone. He had been a very skilful practitioner in New York City, but his thirst for travel would not permit him to wait long enough to save sufficient money from his abundant income.
"Of his own free will and accord General Noury told me that he was leading a miserable life in spite of the wealth that he possessed, the honors that crowned him in Morocco, and the leisure that was always at his command when the army was not in the field. As he summed it up himself, his vices had got the better of him. He could not respect himself. I could see that there was something left of him. I went to work on him. I am not an evangelist myself, and I did not take him on that tack.
"I have no doubt that I had saved his life; and no man was ever more grateful for the service I had rendered him. My wife was such a houri as he had never seen in a harem. We both talked with him about the beauty of a good and useful life. In a word, we redeemed him. My wife is a sincere Christian, and she did more of it than I did. He was absolutely penitent over his sins, his dissipation, the wrongs towards others he had committed, though he was still a Mohammedan; but a great deal of the prophet's creed would pass for Christianity. We both saw that it would be useless to attack his religion; for he was a Moslem to the marrow of his bones.
"More than anything else he was penitent over his relations with you and your party. The general was certainly infatuated over the beauty of Miss Blanche; but it was as an artist runs mad over a picture. He solemnly assured me he never had an unworthy thought in regard to her. He looked upon her as a beautiful child, whose image haunted him day and night. If you had permitted him to see her, that was all he wanted. No such thought had ever entered his head as that of putting her in his harem, even if he had succeeded through his agents in capturing her; though he was urged forward to this by the insults you heaped upon him.
"I mean that you spoke the truth to him, nothing more, as I did. He desires to beg your forgiveness, and he would cross the Atlantic for the purpose of doing so. We stayed at Messina three weeks, and at the end of that time General Noury was quite well again. He gave Dr. Henderson a hundred thousand francs, and wanted me to take five times that amount; but I positively refused to take a cent from him. To shorten up the story, we became fast friends, including my wife. He had sent the Fatty off, and I invited him to remain on board of the Viking. He was in a hurry to get to Gibraltar; and I soon found that he had a reason for going there.
"He told me that the Fatty was old and slow, and more than a year before he had ordered the finest steam-yacht that could be built; and the Blanche was the result of the order. He named her after the highest ideal he had ever been able to obtain of human loveliness; but he had written this letter from Madeira, before he had had any trouble with you. Ruth and I were ready to go to England by this time, and we conveyed the general to Gibraltar. He had received a letter from his English agent informing him that the Blanche was finished.
"He ordered his man of business to ship the best English ship's company he could gather together at liberal wages, and proceed to Gibraltar. We found her there. He insisted that I should sell the Viking, for which he found a customer, and take the command of the Blanche. My wife should have any and all the accommodations on board she desired, and we would make the voyage around the world, an idea he borrowed from you, Captain Ringgold.
"I accepted the offer because I liked the general, and my wife was more pleased with the plan than I was. I was to have my own way about everything, and he acted in princely style. My first business was to improve his reputation in Gibraltar. He gave a very large sum to the charities of the city; and where the officers and soldiers had benefit associations he filled up their coffers. He did not drink a drop of spirits or wine, and would have signed a total-abstinence pledge if I had asked him to do so. I am not quite old enough to be his father; but if he had been my son I could have had no more influence over him.
"The general came to me to know how he should settle his accounts with Mazagan, informing me that the villain had offered him twenty-five thousand francs for the Fatty, and claimed the fifty thousand due him. I told him he had made a bad bargain with the wretch, but as he had promised he must perform. The vessel was worth at least double what he offered; but I advised him to take it, for money was no object to him compared with getting rid of this villain. Mazagan took possession of the Fatty, and that was the last of her."
"No, it wasn't," interposed Captain Ringgold; and he gave a brief account of the "Battle of Khrysoko," with the events leading to it.
"Good for Captain Scott!" exclaimed the commander of the Blanche. "I am glad she has gone to the bottom, for that is the best place for her. We sailed from Gibraltar to Madeira, where the general made himself solid with the people there in the same manner as at the Rock. He apologized to everybody he had insulted, and he was quite a lion before we left the port. Then we went to Mogadore; and there he scattered his harem, on the plea that he was going around the world; but he told me it would never be gathered together again, that or any other.
"The general would have gone to New York in the Blanche if you had been there, for the sole purpose of apologizing to you, and begging you to forgive him for all the injuries he had done or had attempted to do you. It is only five o'clock, and now you must see General Noury. I was going to the Guardian-Mother this evening to make an appointment for him; for I thought you would be busy all day."
"I am quite ready now to meet him, and to give him my hand," replied Captain Ringgold. "I must say that this is the greatest conversion on record, considering that the Pacha is still a Mohammedan."
"I think so myself; but my wife will never be satisfied till she has made him a convert to the Christian religion," replied Captain Sharp, as he led the way to the cabin of the general.
They were promptly admitted; and the owner of the Blanche started back, and stood with clasped hands gazing at Captain Ringgold.
"General Noury, this is Captain Ringgold, commander of the Guardian-Mother," said Captain Sharp.
"Most sincerely, I am very glad to see you, General Noury," added the visitor, advancing with extended hand to the Pacha, for such he was still in spite of the change in his name.
"I feel more like throwing myself on my knees before you, after the Oriental manner, than taking you by the hand," replied the general, though he took the hand tendered to him. "I have grievously wronged and insulted you, and I ask to be forgiven with the most sincere and long-continued sorrow for the injuries I have done you."
"General Noury, I am happy to take by the hand as my friend one who has passed from the darkness into the light; and as my own religion teaches me to forgive those who have wronged me, I am glad to make the past, as it lies between us, a total blank."
"And my religion teaches me to seek the forgiveness of those I have injured, or tried to injure. We will not differ over our faith, different as they are; and on my part there shall henceforth be nothing else to make us at variance."
"And nothing on my part," responded Captain Ringgold, again pressing the hand of the Pacha.
The general was invited to visit the Guardian-Mother, and dine with the party in the cabin. Captain Ringgold was then conducted to the after part of the ship, and there found Mrs. Sharp, who was delighted to see him. The Pacha presently came out of his cabin dressed in evening costume, but in European style, and the trio embarked in the barge. As they approached the anchorage of the ship, strains of martial music came from her deck, which the commander could not explain. It appeared that some of the invited officers had sent a regimental band on board as a compliment to the steamer and her passengers.
The long absence of the commander had begun to excite some uneasiness, for he had not been seen since the middle of the forenoon. The addition of even three more guests to the crowded table upset the calculations of the accomplished steward, and he was obliged to add another table. While he was doing so, the captain told his passengers "of the mighty things that had happened." He could not tell the whole story; but he begged all on board to receive the Pacha kindly and politely, for he had forgiven everything, and he honored him for the bravery and resolution with which he had put his vices behind him. "Get thee behind me, Satan!" was the way he phrased it.
The general was then presented to all the party, passengers as well as invited guests. It may have required an effort on the part of the former to carry out the instructions of the commander; but the Pacha declared that he was delighted with his reception. He was placed on the right of Captain Ringgold, as the guest of honor, and treated with distinguished consideration by all the people from the shore.
The dinner was Mr. Melancthon Sage's crowning effort, as he had been ordered to make it. Not a word was said, or an allusion made, to the scenes of the past in which the trouble had bubbled up. The commander made a speech, and proclaimed his temperance principle so originally that the military guests hardly missed the wine to which they were accustomed. Some of them spoke, mostly of the ship and her agreeable passengers; but all agreed the Pacha made the speech of the evening, which was a comparison between his own country and those in which he had spent so large a portion of his life. In the first place, he was a very handsome man; his English was perfect; and he had a poetic nature, which developed itself in the flowery language he used.
It was a very delightful occasion, and everybody enjoyed it without any drawbacks. The Maud was at the gangway to take the party ashore; for the Parsee merchants had invited the military officers to make use of her. By eleven o'clock all were gone in that direction. Captain Ringgold had intended to sail for Bombay the next day; but the extraordinary event which had transpired at Aden decided him to remain another day.
The party from the Blanche, attended by the commander, were put on board of their steamer, in the barge. On her return Captain Ringgold was very anxious to ascertain what impression had been made upon the passengers by His Highness the Pacha. They insisted that he was not the same man at all, and that they had been pleased with him. Had he really reformed his life? Mrs. Belgrave had heard from Mrs. Sharp a fuller account of the conversion of the sinner in a high place, and she believed it.
Louis Belgrave sat at the side of Miss Blanche, and she had little knowledge of the intentions of the Pacha so far as she was concerned. He had treated her with the most scrupulous politeness and reserve, and she admitted that she "rather liked him." Mrs. Blossom declared that he was still a heathen, and wondered that Mrs. Sharp had not converted him to Christianity while she was about it, as she would have done if she had had the opportunity. But the good woman would probably have lost her case if she had tried to do too much at once.
The next day the intercourse between the two steamers was renewed; and the Pacha was decidedly a lion, though he conducted himself with extreme modesty. The impression he continued to make was decidedly in his favor. He assumed nothing on account of his wealth, his lofty station, or anything else. The passengers dined that day in the cabin of the Blanche, with about all the guests whose acquaintance the general had made on board the Guardian-Mother.
In the afternoon it was decided by the unanimous vote of the company on board of the Guardian-Mother that the two steamers should sail the next day for Bombay together. The "Big Four" had been properly noticed by the Pacha, and they had all made friends with him. He had talked with Louis a good deal, for he had become very well acquainted with him at Mogadore; and Scott even thought it possible such a man, "made of money," might yet buy a steamer for him.
The Maud, with the Parsee merchants and all the friendly officers, followed the two magnificent steamers to sea the next day, and both vessels fired salutes for them at parting. The party were going to India; new sights, different from anything they had ever seen before, were to open upon them, and it is more than possible that the young men on board would fall into some stirring adventures as they proceeded. The company of the Blanche was likely to bring with it some attractions, and to change somewhat the order of events on board both vessels. But the narrative of the voyage will be found in "ACROSS INDIA; OR, LIVE BOYS IN THE FAR EAST."
OLIVER OPTICS BOOKS.
THE BLUE and THE GRAY
Illustrated. With Emblematic Dies. Each volume bound in Blue and Gray. Per volume, $1.50.
TAKEN BY THE ENEMY WITHIN THE ENEMY'S LINES A VICTORIOUS UNION ON THE BLOCKADE STAND BY THE UNION FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHT
BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER IN THE SADDLE A LIEUTENANT AT EIGHTEEN
Other volumes in preparation
The opening of a new series of books from the pen of Oliver Optic is bound to arouse the highest anticipation in the minds of boy and girl readers. There never has been a more interesting writer in the field of juvenile literature than Mr. W. T. Adams, who under his well-known pseudonym, is known and admired by every boy and girl in the country, and by thousands who have long since passed the boundaries of youth, yet who remember with pleasure the genial, interesting pen that did so much to interest, instruct and entertain their younger years. The present volume opens "The Blue and the Gray Series," a title that is sufficiently indicative of the nature and spirit of the series, of which the first volume is now presented, while the name of Oliver Optic is sufficient warrant of the absorbing style of narrative. "Taken by the Enemy," the first book of the series, is as bright and entertaining as any work that Mr. Adams has yet put forth, and will be as eagerly perused as any that has borne his name. It would not be fair to the prospective reader to deprive him of the zest which comes from the unexpected, by entering into a synopsis of the story. A word, however, should be said in regard to the beauty and appropriateness of the binding, which makes it a most attractive volume.—Boston Budget.
"Taken by the Enemy" has just come from the press, an announcement that cannot but appeal to every healthy boy from ten to fifteen years of age in the country. "No writer of the present day," says the Boston Commonwealth, "whose aim has been to hit the boyish heart, has been as successful as Oliver Optic. There is a period in the life of every youth, just about the time that he is collecting postage-stamps, and before his legs are long enough for a bicycle, when he has the Oliver Optic fever. He catches it by reading a few stray pages somewhere, and then there is nothing for it but to let the matter take its course. Relief comes only when the last page of the last book is read; and then there are relapses whenever a new book appears until one is safely on through the teens."—Literary News.
By OLIVER OPTIC
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A MISSING MILLION OR THE ADVENTURES OF LOUIS BELGRAVE
A MILLIONAIRE AT SIXTEEN OR THE CRUISE OF THE GUARDIAN MOTHER
A YOUNG KNIGHT-ERRANT OR CRUISING IN THE WEST INDIES
STRANGE SIGHTS ABROAD OR A VOYAGE IN EUROPEAN WATERS
AMERICAN BOYS AFLOAT OR CRUISING IN THE ORIENT
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UP AND DOWN THE NILE OR YOUNG ADVENTURERS IN AFRICA
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YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD.
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