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Old 09-08-2019
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The custom of maintaining a perpetual fire probably originated in the difficulty of making fire by friction. Whatever superstitions may have gathered about it in the course of ages, the custom of maintaining a perpetual fire probably sprang from a simple consideration of practical convenience. The primitive mode of making fire by the friction of wood is laborious at all times, and it is especially so in wet weather. Hence the savage finds it convenient to keep a fire constantly burning or smouldering in order to spare himself the troubling of kindling it. This convenience becomes a necessity with people who do not know how to make fire. That there have been such tribes down to our own time is affirmed by witnesses whose evidence we have no reason to doubt. Thus Mr. E. H. Man, who resided eleven years in the Andaman Islands and was intimately acquainted with the natives, tells us that, being ignorant of Some races said to be ignorant of the means of making fire. the art of making fire, they take the utmost pains to prevent its extinction. When they leave a camp intending to return in a few days, they not only take with them one or more smouldering logs, wrapped in leaves if the weather be wet, but they also place a large burning log or faggot of suitable wood in some sheltered spot, where it smoulders for several days and can be easily rekindled when it is needed. While it is the business of the women to gather the wood, the duty of keeping up the fires both at home and in travelling by land or sea is not confined to them, but is undertaken by persons of either sex who have most leisure or are least burdened.[816] The Russian traveller, Baron 254Miklucho-Maclay, who lived among the natives of the Maclay coast of northern New Guinea at a time when they had hardly come into contact with Europeans, writes: “It is remarkable that here almost all the inhabitants of the coast possess no means whatever of making fire, hence they always and everywhere carry burning or glowing brands about with them. If they go in the morning to the plantation they carry a half-burnt brand from their hearth in order to kindle a fire at the corner of the plantation. If they go on a longer journey into the mountains, they again take fire with them for the purpose of smoking, since their cigars, wrapped in green leaves, continually go out. On sea voyages they usually keep glowing coals in a half-broken pot partly filled with earth. The people who remain behind in the village never forget to keep up the fire.” They repeatedly told him that they had often to go to other villages to fetch fire when the fires in all the huts of their own village had chanced to go out. Yet the same traveller tells us that the mountain tribes of this part of New Guinea, such as the Englam-Mana and Tiengum-Mana, know how to make fire by friction. They partially cleave a log of dry wood with a stone axe and then draw a stout cord, formed of a split creeper, rapidly to and fro in the cleft, till sparks fly out and set fire to a tinder of dry coco-nut fibres.[817] It is 255odd that the people of the coast should not have learned this mode of producing fire from their neighbours in the mountains. The Russian explorer’s observations, however, have been confirmed by German writers. One of them, a Mr. Hoffmann, says of these people: “In every house care is taken that fire burns day and night on the hearth. For this purpose they choose a kind of wood which burns slowly, but glimmers for a long time and retains its glow. When a man sets out on a journey or goes to the field he has always a glimmering brand with him. If he wishes to make fire, he waves the smouldering wood to and fro till it bursts into a glow.” On frequented paths, crossways, and so forth, you may often see trunks of trees lying which have been felled for the purpose of being ignited and furnishing fire to passers-by. Such trees continue to smoulder for weeks.[818] Similarly the dwarf tribes of Central Africa “do not know how to kindle a fire quickly, and in order to get one readily at any moment they keep the burning trunks of fallen trees in suitable spots, and watch over their preservation like the Vestals of old.”[819] It seems to be at least doubtful whether these dwarfs of the vast and gloomy equatorial forests are acquainted with the art of making fire at all. A German traveller observes that the care which they take to preserve fire is extremely remarkable. “It appears,” he says, “that the pygmies, as other travellers have reported, do not know how to kindle fire by rubbing sticks against each other. Like the Wambuba of the forest, in leaving a camp, they take with them a thick glowing brand, and carry it, often for hours, in order to light a fire at their next halting place.”[820]

Fire kindled by natural causes was probably used by men long before they learned to make it for themselves. Whether or not tribes ignorant of the means of making fire have survived to modern times, it seems likely that mankind possessed and used fire long before they learned how to 256kindle it. In the violent thunderstorms which accompany the end of the dry season in Central and Eastern Africa, it is not uncommon for the lightning to strike and ignite a tree, from which the fire soon spreads to the withered herbage, till a great conflagration is started. From a source of this sort a savage tribe may have first obtained fire, and the same thing may have happened independently in many parts of the world.[821] Other people, perhaps, procured fire from volcanoes, the lava of which will, under favourable circumstances, remain hot enough to kindle shavings of wood years after an eruption has taken place.[822] Others again may have lit their first fire at the jets of inflammable gas which spring from the ground in various parts of the world, notably at Baku on the Caspian, where the flames burn day and night, summer and winter, to a height of fifteen or twenty feet.[823] It is harder to conjecture how man first learned the great secret of making fire by friction. The discovery was perhaps made by jungle or forest races, who saw dry bamboos or branches thus ignited by rubbing against each other in a high wind. Fires are sometimes started in this way in the forests of New Zealand.[824] It has also been suggested that 257savages may have accidentally elicited a flame for the first time in the process of chipping flints over dry moss, or boring holes with hard sticks in soft wood.[825]
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But even when the art of fire-making has been acquired, the process itself is so laborious that many savages keep fire always burning rather than be at the trouble of extracting it by friction. This, for example, was true of the roving Australian aborigines before they obtained matches from the whites. On their wanderings they carried about with them pieces of smouldering bark or cones of the Banksia tree wherewith to kindle their camp fires.[826] The duty of thus transporting fire from one place to another seems commonly to have fallen to the women. “A stick, a piece of decayed wood, or more often the beautiful seed-stem of the Banksia, is lighted at the fire the woman is leaving; and from her bag, which, in damp weather, she would keep filled with dry cones, or from materials collected in the forest, she would easily, during her journey, preserve the fire got at the last encampment.”[827] Another writer tells us that the Australian native always had his fire-stick with him, and if his wife let it go out, so much the worse for her. The dark brown velvety-looking core of the Banksia is very retentive of fire and burns slowly, so that one of these little fire-sticks would last a considerable time, and a bag of them would suffice for a whole day.[828] The Tasmanians knew how to make fire 258by twirling the point of a stick in a piece of soft bark; “but as it was difficult at times to obtain fire by this means, especially in wet weather, they generally, in their peregrinations, carried with them a fire-stick lighted at their last encampment.”[829] With them, as with the Australians, it was the special task of the women to keep the fire-brand alight and to carry it from place to place.[830] When the natives of Materbert, off New Britain, are on a voyage they carry fire with them. For this purpose they press some of the soft fibrous husk of the ripe coco-nut into a coco-nut shell, and then place a red-hot ember in the middle of it. This will smoulder for three or four days, and from it they obtain a light for their fires wherever they may land.[831] The Polynesians made fire by the friction of wood, rubbing a score in a board with a sharp-pointed stick till the dust so produced kindled into sparks, which were caught in a tinder of dry leaves or grass. While they rubbed, they chanted a prayer or hymn till the fire appeared. But in wet weather the task of fire-making was laborious, so at such times the natives usually carried fire about with them in order to avoid the trouble of kindling it.[832] The Fuegians make fire by striking two lumps of iron pyrites together and letting the sparks fall on birds’ down or on dry moss, which serves as tinder. But rather than be at the pains of doing this they carry fire with them everywhere, both by sea and land, taking great care to prevent its extinction.[833] The Caingua Indians of Paraguay make fire in the usual way by the fire-drill, but to save themselves trouble they keep fire 259constantly burning in their huts by means of great blocks of wood.[834] The Indians of Guiana also produce fire by twirling the point of one stick in the hole of another, but they seldom need to resort to this laborious process, for they keep fire burning in every house, and on long journeys they usually carry a large piece of smouldering timber in their canoes. Even in walking across the savannah an Indian will sometimes take a fire-brand with him.[835] The Jaggas, a Bantu tribe in the Kilimanjaro district of East Africa, keep up fire day and night in their huts on account of their cattle. If it goes out, the women fetch glowing brands from a neighbour’s house; these they carry wrapped up in banana leaves. Thus they convey fire for great distances, sometimes the whole day long. Hence they seldom need to kindle fire, though the men can make it readily by means of the fire-drill.[836] The tribes of British Central Africa also know how to produce fire in this fashion, but they do not often put their knowledge in practice. For there is sure to be a burning brand on one or other of the hearths of the village from which a fire can be lit; and when men go on a journey they take smouldering sticks with them and nurse the glowing wood rather than be at the trouble of making fire by friction.[837] In the huts of the Ibos on the lower Niger burning embers are always kept and never allowed to go out.[838] And this is the regular practice among all the tribes of West Africa who have not yet obtained matches. If the fire in a house should go out, a woman will run to a neighbour’s hut and fetch a burning stick from the hearth. Hence in most of their villages fire has probably not needed to be made for years and years. Among domesticated tribes, like the Effiks or Agalwa, when the men are going out to the plantation they will enclose a burning stick in a hollow piece of a certain kind of wood, which has a lining of its pith left in it, and they will carry this “fire-box” with them.[839]

260The theft of fire by Prometheus. Before the introduction of matches Greek peasants used to convey fire from place to place in a stalk of giant fennel. The stalks of the plant are about five feet long by three inches thick, and are encased in a hard bark. The core of the stalk consists of a white pith which, when it is dry, burns slowly like a wick without injury to the bark.[840] Thus when Prometheus, according to the legend, stole the first fire from heaven and brought it down to earth hidden in a stalk of giant fennel,[841] he carried his fire just as every Greek peasant and mariner did on a journey.

When people settled in villages, it would be convenient to keep up a perpetual fire in the house of the head man. When a tribe ceased to be nomadic and had settled in more or less permanent villages, it would be a convenient custom to keep a fire perpetually burning in every house. Such a custom, as we have seen, has been observed by various peoples, and it appears to have prevailed universally among all branches of the Aryans.[842] Arnobius implies that it was formerly practised by the Romans, though in his own time the usage had fallen into abeyance.[843] But it would be obviously desirable that there should be some one place in the village where every housewife could be sure of obtaining fire without having to kindle it by friction, if her own should chance to go out. The most natural spot to look for it would be the hearth of the head man of the village, who would come in time to be regarded as responsible for its maintenance. This is what seems to have happened not only among the Herero of South Africa and the Latin peoples of Italy, but also among the ancestors of the Greeks; for in ancient Greece the perpetual fire kept up in the Prytaneum, or town-hall, was at first apparently the fire 261on the king’s hearth.[844] From this simple origin may have sprung the custom which in various parts of the world associates the maintenance of a perpetual fire with chiefly or royal dignity. Thus it was a distinguishing mark of the Hence the maintenance of a perpetual fire came to be associated with chiefly or royal dignity. chieftainship of one of the Samoan nobility, that his fire never went out. His attendants had a particular name, from their special business of keeping his fire ablaze all night long while he slept.[845] Among the Gallas the maintenance of a perpetual fire, even when it serves no practical purpose, is a favourite mode of asserting high rank, and the chiefs often indulge in it.[846] The Chitomé, a grand pontiff in the kingdom of Congo, of whom we shall hear more hereafter, kept up in his hut, day and night, a sacred fire, of which he dispensed brands to such as came to ask for them and could pay for them. He is said to have done a good business in fire, for the infatuated people believed that it preserved them from many accidents.[847] In Uganda a perpetual sacred fire, supposed to have come down to earth with the first man Kintu, is maintained by a chief, who is put to death if he suffers it to be extinguished. From this sacred fire the king’s fire (gombolola) is lighted and kept constantly burning at the gate of the royal enclosure during the whole of his reign. By day it burns in a small hut, but at night it is brought out and set in a little hole in the ground, where it blazes brightly till daybreak, whatever the weather may be. When the king journeys the fire goes with him, and when he dies it is extinguished. The death of a king is indeed announced to the people by the words, “The fire has gone out.” A man who bears a special title is charged with the duty of maintaining the fire, and of looking after all the fuel and torches used in the royal enclosure. When the king dies the guardian of his fire is strangled near the hearth.[848] Similarly in Dageou, a country to the west of Darfur, it is 262said that a custom prevailed of kindling a fire on the inauguration of a king and keeping it alight till his death.[849] Among the Mucelis of Angola, when the king of Amboin or Sanga dies, all fires in the kingdom are extinguished. Afterwards the new king makes new fire by rubbing two sticks against each other.[850] Such a custom is probably nothing more than an extension of the practice of putting out a chief’s own fire at his death. Similarly, when a new Muata Jamwo, a great potentate in the interior of Angola, comes to the throne, one of his first duties is to make a new fire by the friction of wood, for the old fire may not be used.[851] Before the palace gate of the king of Siam there burns, or used to burn, a perpetual fire, which was said to have been lit from heaven with a fiery ball.[852]
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Old 03-09-2020
Froggy Froggy is offline
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Dave Darrin
After The Mine Layers


Hitting the Enemy a Hard
Naval Blow



Author of "Dave Darrin at Vera Cruz," "Dave Darrin on
Mediterranean Service," "Dave Darrin's South American
Cruise," "Dave Darrin on the Asiatic
Station," "Dave Darrin and the
German Submarines,"
etc., etc.



"Unbolt the door!"

"Unbolt the door!"    Frontispiece


Copyright, 1919, by
Howard E. Altemus



Chapter I—Weighing Anchor for the Great Cruise 11
      Dan is a business man. Sea orders in a jiffy. Anchors a-weigh. The mine-sweepers at work. In the torpedo's path. The Hun that slipped away. An indignant neutral skipper. "You vill do vat ve you tell—yes!"
Chapter II—"The Accursed Power of Gold!" 30
      Dave dares Fate. A new "boss." Secret of the after-hold. Dave is disgusted. "Vat? Can't proof it you?" Sweeping for more evidence. The prize crew. The vanishing periscope.
Chapter III—A Fight of the Good Old Kind 41
      A fair hit. Distant firing. A real sea fight. The "Grigsby" turns tail. "Circle!" At deadly close quarters. Dan Dalzell scores. A stern chase. With the wounded.
Chapter IV—What a Floating Mine Did 55
      The liner in trouble. The flash of a mine. True to his trust. Seaman Streeter is busy. A deaf jacky. Not present or accounted for. Rescue work. Dan protests. Dave sets the pace. Out for sterner work.
Chapter V—Eyes That Looked Down from the Air 63
      Why the flash was seen. The "blimp" sighted. A question out of the air. New help. The sea hornet.[6] A narrow squeak. "Laid an egg in your path." Blimp and limp. Seaman Hedgeby enjoys himself. "British hot air," and Dave gets a pal's share indeed. The story of a capture. In deadly peril.
Chapter VI—In the Teeth of the Channel Gale 78
      Dave turns real helper. "I thought we were goners!" Making the grapple again. The day's work of a mine-sweeper. In a boiling sea. Life lines up. "Commanding officer overboard!"
Chapter VII—In the Hour of Despair 84
      The vanishing destroyer. Hope, then despair. The meeting of searchlights. Fighting pluck. The rope from somewhere. Looped! "Ugh!" The big sleep. The "Rigsdak." A cowboy Dane.
Chapter VIII—Dave Meets the Fate of the Sea 95
      From the pages of the Arabian Nights. Mr. and Mrs. Launce. The shattering jar. To the boats! No enemy in sight. The gray tower. The hail and a bad time of it. Dave stands revealed. A German prisoner at last!
Chapter IX—Threats to a Prisoner 103
      What the Danes "got." The chorus of terror. The ober-lieutenant talks. The inquisition. Talk of courtesy. Dave turns stiff. "Where have I heard that name before?" "Things will go badly with you when you arrive in Germany!"
Chapter X—Like the French and English 109
      Captain Kennor is polite. A look-in at the periscope. "Yankee meat." Dave is tricky. Shots and a threatened ramming. "You idiot!" Dave plays for his own finish.
[7]Chapter XI—A Victim of Courtesy 115
      What of the woman? Mrs. Launce speaks for herself. The game of cross-bluff. An invitation bluntly refused. The turn of the prisoners. On the surface. "You are eager for death." The mystery of the Launces. "You are the Countess of Denby!" "Save your denials for use before a German court." Dave invited on deck. "You are a good boaster." Something to interest him.
Chapter XII—German Brutality at Its Worst 126
      Radio direct to Germany. Could any woman love this fellow? Dave expresses thanks to the enemy. "My card." The same as confession. "A pleasant evening for four!" The wild brutes of the sea.
Chapter XIII—Facing the Planned Death 135
      The dropping platform. Adrift! Captain Kennor, sea scout. A splendid inspiration. A bully for safety. The tantalizing craft. A glow-worm of the waves. And then—! Like a dream. A bad report.
Chapter XIV—Dave Pledges His Word for Results 146
      Just hospital. A treat for Dave's eyes. Days of bliss. "You little patriot!" Back to duty. "The Germans are beating us." The council of war. Dave's campaign map. Planning the Big Hunt. Something new—results.
Chapter XV—Darrin Suspects the German Plan 155
      Sweeping as a fine art. Nosing out the unseen. The "Grigsby" nearly blown out of the water. A wild Yankee cheer. Touching off a nest of "sea eggs." The job of the divers. The double find. Guessing the mine-layers' trick. The "Reed" starts something.
[8]Chapter XVI—Hitting Close to the Salt Trail 164
      The non-fighting Huns. A tame capture. Not so tame! What the search showed. "Spot the stupid ones." Questioning Herr Dull-wit. The trap that worked. German bad language.
Chapter XVII—Trying Out the Big, New Plan 173
      The admiral approves. Off for the real thing. Stirring up a tidal wave. Knowing how to get the thrills out of life. Trying to run up the score. The traveller in the haze. A ship of mystery and shots.
Chapter XVIII—Striking a Real Surprise 183
      "Leave the steamship to me." The shot across the bow. A shooting game for two. "You're dealing with the United States Navy!" Darrin proves himself. Irons for three. The summons that worked. A tough lot to handle. Juno of the Cabin. A deadly one, too.
Chapter XIX—The Good Work Goes on 192
      Dave takes a chance. So does Juno. The all-right cargo. Who can the woman be? Dalzell has a fine report. Story of the sub-hold. Mother and daughter no longer mysteries. "The best in a six-month!"
Chapter XX—Darrin Turns the Tables 204
      Weather the ship master dreads. "Look at that!" Getting the drop on Fritz. Old acquaintances. Dave is angry. The German whine. Not man enough to play the game. "Why do you hate us Germans so?" Ever at Fate's orders.
Chapter XXI—On a Mission of Great Trust 215
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The sport of kings. "Don't shoot!" begs Danny Grin. The dull wait and the sharp dash. Out to meet the hospital ship. "One of the passengers is Mrs. Darrin." "A special interest."
[9]Chapter XXII—The Red Cross Tragedy 222
      The Navy and family matters. Under treble lookout. Sighted. Big pay for a periscope. A wail of anguish. The race of rescue. S. O. S. The sight of Belle. Crowded decks. Two compartments smashed in. "No use, sir."
Chapter XXIII—A Noble Fight without Weapons 230
      Marine patchwork. Not enough rescue to go around. "Those Red Cross women ought to be saved." But they decline. Dave approves. An answer to S. O. S. The fight to survive. The nurses admit defeat. The lurking peril.
Chapter XXIV—Conclusion 244
Henry Altemus Company's Best and Least Expensive Books for Boys and Girls 253







"It sounds like the greatest cruise ever!" declared Danny Grin, enthusiastically, as he rose and began to pace the narrow limits of the chart-room of the destroyer commanded by his chum, Lieutenant-Commander Dave Darrin.

"It is undoubtedly the most dangerous work we've ever undertaken," Darrin observed thoughtfully.

"All the better!" answered Dan lightly.

"In our drive against the submarines off the Irish coast," Dave continued, "we met perils enough to satisfy the average salt water man. But this——"

"Is going to prove the very essence and joy of real fighting work at sea!" Dan interposed.

"Oh, you old fire-eater!" laughed Darrin.

"Not a bit of a fire-eater," declared Dalzell with dignity. "I'm a business man, Davy. Our business, just now, is to win the war by killing Germans, and I've embarked upon that career with all the enthusiasm that goes with it. That's all."

"And quite enough," Darrin added, soberly.[12] "I agree with you that it's our business to kill Germans, yet I could wish that the Germans themselves were in better business, for then we wouldn't have to do any killing."

"You talk almost like a pacifist," snorted Dan Dalzell.

"After this war has been won by our side, but not before, I hope to find it possible to be a pacifist for at least a few years," smiled Darrin, rising from his seat at the chart table.

Dan stood looking out through the starboard porthole. His glance roved over other craft of war tugging at their anchors in the goodly harbor of a port on the coast of England. As the destroyer swung lazily at her moorings the little port town came into view. On all sides were signs of war. Forts upreared their grim walls. Earthen redoubts screened guns that alert artillerymen could bring into play at a moment's notice. Overhead, dirigibles floated and airplanes buzzed dinfully to and fro.

Readers of the preceding volume in this series know how Dave Darrin came to be ordered to the command of the brand-new, big and up-to-the-minute destroyer, "Asa Grigsby," while Dan Dalzell, reaching the grade of lieutenant-commander, had been ordered to the command of the twin destroyer, "Joseph Reed."

At the door there sounded a knock so insistent[13] that Darrin knew instantly that it was a summons. Springing from his chair, reaching for his uniform cap and setting it squarely on his head, he drew the curtains aside.

"Special signal for the 'Grigsby,' sir, from the flagship," reported an orderly.

Returning the young seaman's salute, Dave, with Dalzell close at his heels, darted up the steps to the bridge.

"Signal 'Ready to receive,'" was Darrin's command to his signalman, who stood waiting, signal flags in hand.

Rapidly the two flags moved, then paused. Dave's eyes, like Dan's, were turned toward the United States battleship that had lately acted as flagship for the destroyers and other small Yankee craft assembled in this port.
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Full speed ahead! Then ahead she leaped. Ere the destroyer had gained full momentum her bow struck something under the water. Men were thrown from their feet by force of the shock, and the destroyer lurched heavily.

"Hope we haven't torn our bottom out," muttered Darrin as he joined the bow lookouts.

On the water appeared a patch of oil which[42] rapidly broadened. A wooden stool and other floating objects were visible.

"That looks like a fair score," declared the young lieutenant-commander, at which the on-looking seamen grinned broadly.

Over the spot the destroyer again steamed, but nothing passing under her keel was noticed. The sea was clear before her.

It was hours later when Darrin received, in a special code of the British Admiralty, word that the "Olga" and her convoy had reached port, and the "Olga's" officers and crew had been turned over to the Admiralty officials.

In the meantime Dan Dalzell and the "Reed," as learned by occasional wireless messages, had been separated at no time by more than two miles, though neither craft was visible from the other.

Towards the end of the afternoon the fog began to lift. By nightfall it had disappeared. The stars came out and the crescent moon hung near the western horizon. Both destroyers had again turned north, the two craft having drawn in within half a mile of each other.

Dave, after a two-hour nap, went to the bridge at about two bells—nine o'clock. He had been there some ten minutes, chatting with Ensign Ormsby in low tones, when of a sudden he broke off, listening intently.

[43] "Sounds like distant firing, sir, two points off the port bow," hailed one of the bow lookouts.

In a silence, broken only by the wash of the waters and the jar of the engines, distant rumbling sounds were again heard.

"That's gun-fire," Dave declared. "Mr. Ormsby, have the signals shown so that word may be conveyed to the 'Reed' to keep with us at full speed."

In another moment both destroyers dashed forward with a great roaring of machinery and dense clouds of smoke trailing behind from the four stacks of each.

When some miles had been covered, with the gun-fire sounding with much greater distinctness, Darrin felt that he could judge the distance properly. Turning on a screened light he consulted the chart.

"It's just about there," Darrin declared, placing his finger on a spot on the map. "Ormsby, I believe that enemy craft are bombarding the little fishing village of Helston. It's an unfortified, small port."

"That's the kind the Huns would prefer," returned the ensign, with a savage smile.

"Ask the chief engineer if a bit more speed is obtainable; then sound the bell in Mr. Fernald's cabin."

A knot an hour more was soon forced from the[44] "Grigsby's" engines, though at that racing gait it would have been difficult for an amateur observer to have detected the fact that speed had been gained. The "Reed," too, leaped forward.

Minute after minute of breathless racing followed. Presently the flashes of guns could be made out ahead against the darkness of the night. Helston showed no lights, but the sound of bursting shells located the fishing village to those on the bridges of the approaching destroyers.

"The hounds!" blazed Dave, indignantly. "Up to their old and favorite game of killing defenseless people!"

Long ago the crew had been called to quarters. Everything was in readiness to attack the enemy.

"Three of them, and all destroyers, judging by the size of the flash of their guns," Darrin judged.

Throughout the war it has been a favorite trick of the enemy, when the opportunity offered, to send these swift craft out on night attacks. No other craft on the seas, except Entente destroyers, are capable of pursuing and overtaking German destroyers when they flee.

"Open fire when we do," was the signal flashed to the "Reed."

"We're ready," came back the instant answer.

Two minutes later one of Darrin's forward guns flashed out into the night. From the "Reed" there came a similar flash.

[45] "Let 'em have it, fast and hard!" ordered Dave.
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As the two destroyers sprang forward, firing at full capacity, the three German craft turned and steamed toward them.

"They outnumber us, and think we'll turn tail!" exulted Dave. "They may sink us, but if we do go down at least we'll try to carry our own weight in enemy ships down with us!"

Though he did not make an unnecessary movement, all of Darrin's calm had vanished. He watched every one of the "Grigsby's" shots, his eyes flashing, breath indrawn. When he saw a hit his glance was snapping. Many of the shells, however, splashed in the water only, for now the five engaged craft were circling about each other in a life-and-death struggle.

As they circled and zigzagged the German craft did not offer a very certain mark. Darrin and Dalzell were maneuvering in similar fashion.

"If we lose, we lose gamely," thought Fernald under his breath. "Was there ever a better or braver commander than Darry? He will ask no odds, but is ever willing to give them!"

"Ah!" The exclamation, half sigh, broke from Dave's lips as he saw the burst of flame and smoke as a shell landed on the superstructure of the leading German destroyer.

Then another shell from the "Grigsby" struck the same enemy's mast, smashing the crow's-nest[46] and hurling German seamen, dead or crippled, into the sea.

Three enemy shells landed on the "Grigsby," causing no serious damage. But the fourth hit dismounted one of Darrin's forward guns, killing three men and wounding five. Hardly an instant later another German shell landed on the bridge, reducing some of the metal work to a mass of twisted junk and ripping out part of the deck.

Shell fragments and flying splinters flew on all sides, yet out of this hurricane of destruction emerged Darrin, Fernald and the watch officer, all uninjured.

An instant later Darrin shouted his orders in Fernald's ear, then gained the deck below in a series of leaps.

With one of her forward guns dismounted, the "Grigsby" was to that extent out of business. Preferring not to trust to his torpedo tubes, at this juncture Darrin raced aft, just as the destroyer began to execute a swift turn.

And now Dave's craft turned tail and ran for it, the young commander directing personally the service of the after guns as the foremost German destroyer gave chase.

Two more hits were scored by the enemy, with the result that two more of Dave's hardy young seamen were killed and four wounded. Matters were beginning to look decidedly serious.

[47] As for Dan Dalzell, when he saw the "Grigsby" turn tail and flee, his heart gave a great bound.

"Good old Darry didn't do that unless he had to," Dan told himself. "I must cover his retreat somehow."

So, his guns barking, and men standing by at the torpedo tubes, Dalzell darted straight for the second of the German destroyers.

Fortunately there was plenty of sea-room, for Dave Darrin was not in reality running away. He was still alert to win the fight, but he wanted to win with the smallest possible loss among his own men.

The Hun craft pursuing him was the slowest of the three enemies. This Dave had already guessed. He allowed the other craft to gain for half a mile, then suddenly shot ahead. By this time several hits had been scored by both combatants, and the third enemy destroyer was maneuvering for a position from which she could render herself effective to send Darrin and his men to the bottom.

Just when it happened Lieutenant Fernald hardly knew, but once more Darrin stood on the bridge at his side.

"Circle!" Dave shouted. "The shortest circle we can make, so as not to show our broadside longer than we must."

Running under full speed, and with a helm[48] that she minded, the "Grigsby" swung around. So unlooked for was this maneuver that the pursuing Hun craft did not succeed in making a direct hit on the Yankee ship during the turn.

And then, just as the turn brought him where he wished to be, and at deadly close quarters, Darrin gave his next order.

Forward leaped the American destroyer. Too late the astonished German commander saw the purpose of the maneuver.

With knife-like prow the "Grigsby" crashed into the German vessel, the blow striking just forward of amidships.
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Old 03-09-2020
Froggy Froggy is offline
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As the butcher's cleaver passes through the bone, so did the bow of the Yankee destroyer go through the Hun.

Yet in the moment of impact Darrin rang the bridge signal to the engine-room for full speed astern. Nor was this command executed an instant too soon. Just in the nick of time Dave's gallant little ship drew back out of the fearful hole that she had torn in the enemy.

Aboard the Hun craft the yells of dying men rose on the air, for the enemy destroyer had been all but cut in two.

Listing before an irresistible inrush of water, the German destroyer almost turned turtle, then sank quickly beneath the waves.

To the northward a muffled roar sounded, fol[49]lowed instantly by another. Dalzell had let go with both forward torpedo tubes, and both had scored. The second stricken enemy ship began to fill and sink slowly.

"Shall we stop to pick up men?" called Fernald.

"Too bad, but we cannot linger while one of the enemy craft still floats," Darrin replied, calmly. "Our first business is to sink enemy ships. We cannot be humane just yet. Give full chase, Mr. Fernald!"

The German survivor had already turned tail, for these Yankee fighters were altogether too swift in their style of combat. Dalzell, whose craft was nearer the fugitive, was now first in pursuit.

To avoid firing over his chum's craft Darrin steered obliquely to starboard, then joined in the chase, firing frequently with his remaining forward three-inch gun.

As to speed it proved a losing race. The German craft that had survived proved to be a shade more speedy than either the "Grigsby" or the "Reed," so the two craft in chase endeavored to make up for the difference with active fire.

Some direct hits were made. In a little more than half an hour, however, the Hun destroyer was out of range of the Yankee guns.

"We'll drive her back to her base port, anyway," Darrin signalled Dalzell.

[50] So two narrow ribbons of searchlight glow played over the sea, keeping the enemy in sight as long as possible.

Presently the German's hull vanished below the horizon; then the lower parts of her masts and stacks went out of sight. Still the two Yankee destroyers hung on, in a race that they knew they could not win.

Only when Darrin's knowledge of these waters told him that the fleeing destroyer was safe did he signal the "Reed" to "abandon chase."

Reluctantly Dan Dalzell's little ship swung around, heading to keep the "Grigsby" company on the new course.

"Tackled superior numbers, and sank two out of three," Dave commented, calmly. "Not what one would call a poor evening's work, gentlemen."

"It was splendidly done, sir," glowed Lieutenant Fernald.

"We won't take too much credit to ourselves," Dave proposed. "Let us give some of the credit to luck."

"Not with you in command, sir," protested the executive officer.

"But we did have a lot of luck," Dave insisted.

"The luck that you planned and schemed for, with your mind working like lightning," Fernald retorted.

He was too much of a man to try to flatter his[51] chief. Fernald spoke from the depths of complete conviction. He had known Dave Darrin's reputation at sea even before he had come to serve under this swift-thinking young officer.

Dave's first care, now, was to inspect the dismounted gun. Only a few moments did he need to convince himself that the piece was a wreck that could never be put in use again.

He then descended to the sick bay, where the surgeon and four baymen were giving tender attention to the wounded men.

"It was a good fight, men," Dave said, as he passed through the bay.

"Then I'm not kicking at what I found," cried one young sailor lad, cheerily.

"Nor I," added another. "It was worth something, sir, to take part in a fight like that. Ouch! O-o-o-h!"
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Old 04-01-2020
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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How the Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro went to the province of Arequipa to found a city there, and to apportion the Indians among the persons who were to remain there as citizens 1
How the General Lorenzo de Aldana determined to send people to settle in Anzerma, a province which had been discovered by the captain Belalcázar, and how he named Jorge Robledo as captain of the settlement 4
How his Majesty nominated Don Pascual de Andagoya to be Governor and Adelantado of the river of San Juan, and how Robledo set out to form the settlement in Anzerma 7
How the Licentiate Santa Cruz sent certain captains and troops in pursuit of Vadillo, of the quarrels of these captains amongst themselves, and how they joined Robledo 10
How the captain Jorge Robledo induced the Chiefs near the new city to remain at peace, and how he sent Suer de Nava to Caramanta 12
How the captain Jorge Robledo sent Gómez Hernández to explore the province of El Choco, and despatched Ruy Vanegas to the village of Pirsa[viii] 14
How the captain Jorge Robledo distributed the Chiefs among the citizens who were going to remain in the city of Santa Ana, and how he set out to make discoveries on the other side of the great river of Santa Marta 18
How the captain Jorge Robledo arrived at the province of Pozo, how he was badly wounded, of the merciless punishment that was inflicted, and of the great quantity of human flesh that was eaten there 21
How the Comendador Hernán Rodríguez de Sosa came to the rock, of the great number of people he captured and killed, and of the very great cruelty with which those natives were treated 24
How the captain Robledo discovered the province of Paucura, how the ensign Suer de Nava returned to Pozo, and how cruelties greater than before were inflicted; and how Robledo set out from Paucura to explore the large and very rich province of Arma 27
How the captain Robledo explored the province of Arma and pitched his camp in the village of the principal Chief, named Maytama, and of some notable things that happened 29
How captain Osorio, while going to the New Kingdom, was killed, with other Christians, and how the captain Pedro de Añasco was also killed by the Indians 34
How, when the death of those Spaniards was known at Popayán, captain Juan de Ampudia set out from there, and how he and other Christians were killed by the same Indians[ix] 38
How the Adelantado Pascual de Andagoya entered the cities, and was received in them as Governor 44
How the captain Jorge Robledo discovered the province of Quinbaya, and how he founded the city of Cartago 46
How the captain Jorge Robledo left the city of Cartago and went to Cali, where he was well received, returning as Captain and Lieutenant-General of the cities he had founded 48
Of the things that happened in the city of Lima and how the Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro, on the advice of the Bishop Friar Vicente de Valverde, made a general repartimiento; and of the departure of Gómez de Alvarado to people Guanuco 49
How Gonzalo Pizarro, after he had been acknowledged as Governor of Quito, determined to undertake the conquest of El Dorado; and of his departure from Quito 54
How Gonzalo Pizarro left the city of Quito for the cinnamon country, which was one of the most laborious explorations that have been carried out in Tierra Firme and the South Sea 56
How Gonzalo Pizarro left that river and went on exploring through those forests and mountains, without finding any populous country, and how all his party joined forces at a crossing over a branch of the Mar Dulce[x] 61
How Francisco de Orellana went down the river and reached the Ocean, and of the extreme hardships suffered by Gonzalo Pizarro from hunger 66
How Gonzalo Pizarro and his people arrived at a place where Indians had lived, but had abandoned it owing to a war, and found a very great quantity of yuca with which they restored themselves and saved their lives 71
How his Majesty appointed captain Belalcázar as Governor, and how he entered upon his government, and arrested the Adelantado Andagoya 77
How the Alcalde Diego Núñez de Mercado arrived in Spain with the news of the death of the Adelantado, and how his Majesty considered that he had been ill served thereby, and sent out the Licentiate Vaca de Castro as Judge 79
Of the things that happened in Lima, and how Pero Alvarez Holguin left Cuzco on an expedition of discovery 82
Of the things that happened to the President Vaca de Castro after he left the city of Panamá to go to Peru 85
How the President Vaca de Castro found himself in great trouble and danger from not knowing where the port of Buenaventura was, and how, at the end of several days during which they had been seeking for the port, they met a ship on board of which was Don Juan de Andagoya, who explained to them where the port was[xi] 88
How the arrival of Vaca de Castro in the river of San Juan became known at Lima, and how sore the men of Chile felt about it; and of what else passed in Lima at that time 90
How the Chile faction plotted to assassinate the Marquis, and how Francisco de Herencia, who was one of them, betrayed it, at confession, and of the great heedlessness of the Marquis, also what else happened until the men of Chile sallied forth to kill him 96
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Old 04-01-2020
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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How the Licentiate Santa Cruz sent captains and troops in pursuit of Vadillo, of the differences there were between them, and how they joined Robledo.

I SHOULD be well pleased if I could continue my writing without digressions, for it is quite long enough without treating of other histories, yet I am obliged to do so that my narrative may be understood. For I want, above all, to satisfy my readers. Therefore, with the brevity which is my wont, I will relate the events that we are following up. The reader is sure to remember that, in an earlier part of my history I mentioned how, when Don Pedro de Heredia was Governor of Cartagena, the Licentiate Juan de Vadillo came to hold a residencia. After several things had happened, an account of which I omit for reasons already given, he set out with followers in the way I have described in the part where I treated of him.[20] As Heredia remonstrated, his Majesty appointed as Judge the Licent[11]iate Santa Cruz, who governed the province of Cartagena well, and founded there the city of Mompox. As Vadillo would not submit, the Judge ordered troops to be got ready, and sent Juan Greciano as his lieutenant in charge of them, with powers to administer justice to the men Vadillo had raised, and orders to send them back to Cartagena. But now, when the troops were about to start. Judge Santa Cruz made a great mistake. This was to appoint one Luis Bernal as captain to carry on a war with the Indians wherever he might pass. Thus with one holding a commission as lieutenant and the other as captain, the expedition left Cartagena. Having arrived at the port of Urabá early in the year 1538, they began the march, and from the first few days parties were formed, each captain wanting to be superior to the others, while the soldiers joined those who had most to offer, so that although the men were few, the confusion was great, and as suspicions increased, the quarrels became worse. I am not astonished at this for whether in an army, or a company, or in the smallest province or the widest kingdom, if there are two heads it is impossible that there can be good government. And thus, too, said Alexander, when Darius sought for peace by offering a part of his dominions, that the world could not be governed by two heads, and that only one could hold the empire.

Marching in the way I have described, the expedition from Cartagena arrived at the mountains of Abibe, and, as the road had been opened by us when we came with Vadillo, they crossed the range without much difficulty. In this forest some young men killed a snake or serpent, which was so big that it had an entire deer with its horns in its inside. In what way can the creature have swallowed it! The Spaniards, and their quarrels, travelled with all possible haste, and after having gone through great hardships, and suffered much from hunger, they arrived at the borders of the province of Anzerma. As they found plenty[12] of provisions they remained there for several days. The quarrels among them came to such a pitch that Juan Greciano, in the name of the King, wanted to arrest Luis Bernal, and Luis Bernal, in the same royal name, wanted to arrest Greciano. Some of their followers joined one side, and some the other, all taking up arms. At the time that this happened the captain Ruy Vanegas arrived at a hill called Umbra, on which a town was afterwards founded, and being very near the other party of Spaniards, they could see each other. This was why those from Cartagena did not come to blows, which evil would have been inevitable until one or other of the leaders was killed. When the two parties of Spaniards saw each other their delight was great.

Ruy Vanegas sent the news to the captain Jorge Robledo who, at a village called Garma, had founded the city of Santa Ana de los Caballeros, now called the town of Anzerma. Thither went the Spaniards from Cartagena and gave their obedience to Robledo. The lieutenant Juan Greciano, complained of the conduct of Luis Bernal and the others, who were banished. Robledo sent messengers to Lorenzo de Aldana with an account of all that had happened; and Aldana wrote a very full report to the Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro. As the site for the town presented some difficulties, the new town was removed to the hill called Umbra where it now stands.
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Old 04-01-2020
Theodoric Theodoric is offline
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How the captain Jorge Robledo induced the Chiefs in the neighbourhood of the new city to remain at peace, and how he sent Suer de Nava to Caramanta.

AFTER the usual proceedings at the founding of new cities, steps were taken to build some houses and sow seeds, and the captain sent messengers to all parts of the[13] province to invite the Chiefs to come to him. Among the Chiefs there were two principal ones named Umbruza and Ocuzca. Later on, one Gómez Fernández, being lieutenant to Belalcazar in this province, was so cruel as to burn these two Chiefs for some very slight cause, and he did the same to other Chiefs and Indians, without any mercy. Some Chiefs came to see Robledo, who showed skill in bringing them to adopt a peaceful attitude, and to serve the Emperor. He was desirous of becoming acquainted with the people who might be serviceable for the new city. So he sent Captain Suer de Nava with fifty Spaniards, horse and foot, to the province of Caramanta to see what villages of Indians there were in that direction. Suer de Nava departed, while Robledo himself started off from Ocuzca's village, whither, at the end of a few days, he came back, bringing with him, in friendly fashion, over two thousand Indians and many women.

The captain ordered the Spaniards to be prepared, so that they might not be found unready in case the Indians should think of committing any treason. At this time the chief Ocuzca came from the wilds and arrived where the captain was, who received him very well, and let his coming be known, returning to the city with him, but keeping him as it were under guard, so that he might not escape. The Chief was grieved at being kept a prisoner, and one day when some soldiers were on watch, he saw that they fell asleep. So he departed, and his flight caused great excitement. We went out in search in every direction, but could not find any traces to show which way he had gone. At this time the captain Suer de Nava, who had been at Caramanta, crossed the range and reached some valleys, where he saw the villages of Metia, Palala, and others; and having given the Indians to understand what they should do, he returned to report to the captain. Robledo then resolved to visit the province, leaving Martín de Amoroto[14] to guard the new city. For all the rest of the Chiefs had submitted, though at first there had been some punishments, such as cutting off the hands and noses of Indians who were brought in to him from the vicinity.

Being in the village of Garma the captain Ruy Vanegas went in search of the Chiefs of that place, and came upon a prayer house or sanctuary that they had constructed as a hiding place. In it were found many very pretty women, great quantities of coloured cloth and more than 12,000 pesos in gold, which the Christians seized. To pacify the province the captain ordered most of it to be returned to the Indians. Ocuzca, the Chief who had escaped, seeing that the captain was absent, gathered together all the principal Chiefs of his lineage, and with a large force which they assembled, marched to destroy the new city of Anzerma. Amoroto, who had been left to guard it, made great preparations for defence, for an Indian girl belonging to me, a native of those villages, told me, in great secrecy, about the movements of the barbarians, and that they were about to attack the city. I at once reported this to the Alcalde, and we were all under arms, night and day, waiting for the enemy. But the Indians, either not daring or for some other reason, after having given us some bad nights, dispersed and returned to their homes.
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