"We travelled for three days and three nights without stoppin'; and would you believe it, that damn fool Lewis 'scuse me, Miss made us light a lantern at night! A mark for all the reds in the country! I was steerin' the first boat; and signallin' the channel to Dave Sinclair in the boat behind, with my hand; this way and so. But the second day Dave ran her aground.
"None o' your imporence, you young jackanapes. But touching that there signallin', I'm surprised, sonny, you don't know by this time that when the commander-in-chief up at Admiralty House, in the dockyard, wishes for to communicate to some ship out at Spithead, he telegraphs from his office to the semaphore, which h'ists his orders, and then every ship in port's bound to repeat the signal till the craft he means it for runs up her answering pennant, for to show us how she's took the signal in and underconstubled it."
Ef he stretches the lance out to his right and waves it forward it means fur the right column alone to jump inter the middle o' things, the same movement on the left applyin' to the left column, an' thar's a lot more which I could tell you 'bout lance signallin' which I hope you won't hev to see."
The remarks he passed, lying face down tryin' to bite my leg, would have reflected credit on any Service. Having finished I dropped him overboard again, which was my gross political error. I ought to 'ave killed him; because he began signalling rapid and accurate in a sou'westerly direction. Few equatorial calms are to be apprehended when B.P.'s little pets take to signallin'. Make a note o' that!
In battle everybody must obey the head chief, who gives the orders to the sub-chiefs, who then direct their men accordin'. Often thar ain't a chance to tell by words an' then they use the lances fur signallin'. In a Sioux army, an', fur the matter o' that, in any Indian army, the hoss Indians is divided into two columns, the right an' the left.
"'Gowk! I said, 'an' we blazin' here wi' all oor lights. Oh, Bell, ye're a fool! "He tumbled off the bridge forward, an' I tumbled aft, an' before ye could wink our lights were oot, the engine-room hatch was covered, an' we lay pitch-dark, watchin' the lights o' the liner come up that the Grotkau'd been signallin' to.
Just as ye'er wife is thinkin' iv ye bein' wrecked on a desert island or floatin' on a raft an' signallin' with an undershirt she picks up th' pa-aper an' reads: 'Th' life iv th' ship is Malachi Hinnissy, a wealthy bachelor fr'm Pittsburg. His attintions to a widow from Omaha are most marked. They make a handsome couple. "Well, sir, they must 've had th' gloryus time on boord this new boat.
Of course there may be no officers on that steamer who would know the old Halcyon, but ag'in, there may be. I'm afeered, Miss." "Oh, but you needn't be. Mr. Pertell will make it all right even if " "He isn't bigger than Johnnie Bull," said Jack ominously, "though Mr. Pertell is a good friend of mine. Ha! Didn't I tell you? There they come right for us, and they're signallin' us to lay to."
"Well said, gal! but you're out o' your reckonin', ef you think women a'n't nothin' in war-time. I tell yew, them is the craft that sails afore the wind, and does the signallin' to all the fleet. When gals is full-rigged an' tonguey, they're reg'lar press-gangs to twist young fellers round, an' make 'em sail under the right colors.
That afternoon, however, it fell calm, an' they found themselves close aboard of one of the smacks which had sailed astern of them on the port quarter durin' the night. She appeared to be signallin', so the mate hove-to till he came up. "`We've got the body o' your skipper aboard, they said, when near enough to hail. "Dawson looked at Zola.