stood a flat-topped desk. A
little pile of white and brown lay upon it close to the opposite edge.
After a moment of rest I crossed the room to investigate. The white
was the bleached human bones--the skull, collar bones, arms, and a few
of the upper ribs of a man. The brown was the dust of a decayed
military cap and blouse. In a chair before the desk were other bones,
while more still strewed the floor beneath the desk and about the
chair. A man had died sitting there with his face buried in his
arms--two hundred years ago.
Beneath the desk were a pair of spurred military boots, green and
rotten with decay. In them were the leg bones of a man. Among the
tiny bones of the hands was an ancient fountain pen, as good,
apparently, as the day it was made, and a metal covered memoranda book,
closed over the bones of an index finger.
It was a gruesome sight--a pitiful sight--this lone inhabitant of
I picked up the metal covered memoranda book. Its pages were rotten
and stuck together. Only here and there was a sentence or a part of a
sentence legible. The first that I could read was near the middle of
the little volume:
"His majesty left for Tunbridge Wells today, he ... jesty was
stricken ... terday. God give she does not die ... am military
governor of Lon ..."
And farther on:
"It is awful ... hundred deaths today ... worse than the bombardm ..."
Nearer the end I picked out the following:
"I promised his maj ... e will find me here when he ret ... alone."
The most legible passage was on the next page:
"Thank God we drove them out. There is not a single ... man on
British soil today; but at what awful cost. I tried to persuade Sir
Phillip to urge the people to remain. But they are mad with fear of
the Death, and rage at our enemies. He tells me that the coast cities
are packed ... waiting to be taken across. What will become of
England, with none left to rebuild her shattered cities!"
And the last entry:
"... alone. Only the wild beasts ... A lion is roaring now
beneath the palace windows. I think the people feared the beasts even
more than they did the Death. But they are gone, all gone, and to
what? How much better conditions will they find on
It was upon an occasion of this nature that an event occurred which was fated later to change the entire course of Billy Byrne's life.Page 7
And then the truth of what had happened to him broke upon his understanding.Page 10
His early threats of awful vengeance to be wreaked upon the mate and skipper had subsided with the rough but sensible advice of his messmates.Page 25
"Keep quiet," commanded Skipper Simms, "an' there won't none of you get hurted.Page 33
Divine is not," she replied non-committally.Page 38
He fairly frothed at the mouth as he jumped up and down, cursing the men, and threatening.Page 42
Both the lookout and the man at the wheel were ready to take oath that they had scanned the horizon not a half-minute before Second Mate Theriere had come racing forward bellowing for all hands on deck.Page 93
The mucker removed the gag from Oda Iseka's mouth.Page 102
Look! Quick! Down there--to the right.Page 115
Then we set out in company with the warship to search for the 'Clarinda,' as your Captain Simms called her.Page 127
"It's been more'n a year since I had these on," he said, "an' I may be a little slow an' stale at first; but after I get warmed up I'll do better.Page 136
"Good-bye!" and he hung up.Page 148
At one edge of the fire was an empty tin can from which steam arose, and an aroma that was now and again wafted to Billy's nostrils.Page 177
He never saw us before.Page 226
"Good!" exclaimed Barbara.Page 253
"He was very fond of the senorita.Page 260
Say, they're tough-lookin' guys; but I guess they won't come so fast next time.Page 267
Five dismounted troopers made a dash.Page 279
A battered tin can, half filled with water stood close to the burning embers.