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 Christy sat for some minutes watching the expression of Mulgrum as he read the letter he was to copy. Like a careful man, he was evidently taking a glance at it as a whole. The interested observer could see that he fixed his gaze upon the last part of the letter, the extract from the missive of Warnock, relating to the twelve loyal American seamen and their officer. In fact, he seemed to be paralyzed by what he read.  
The commander was satisfied with what he had seen, and he rose from his chair. His movement seemed to restore the self-possession of the deaf mute, and he began to write very rapidly. Christy went into his state room, where he kept all his important papers in his desk. He gave himself up to a consideration of the situation in which he was placed. He had partly closed the door. But 115 he had not been in the room half an hour before he heard a knock.
"Come in," said he, supposing the caller was Dave.
The door was pushed open, and Mulgrum came in with his tablet in his hand. The deaf mute had certainly heard his reply to the knock, for he had heeded it instantly, and he smiled at the manner in which the conspirator had "given himself away." The scullion presented his tablet to the captain with a very deferential bow.
"There is an error in the copy of the letter you gave me—in the extract. If you will give me the original letter from Mr. Warnock, I will correct the mistake," Christy read on the tablet. It was not impossible that he had made a mistake in copying his letter; but the object of Mulgrum in desiring to see the original of the letter from England was sufficiently apparent. "Bring me my copy of the letter," he wrote on the tablet, and handed it back to the owner.
The captain took from his desk a bundle of letters and selected one, which he opened and laid on the table, though not where his copyist could see it. Mulgrum returned and presented 116 him the letter, pointing out the mistake he had discovered. He looked at the blind letter, and then at the other. There was certainly an error, for his letter said "and they comprise about one of crew of each vessel." This was nonsense, for he had accidentally omitted the word "half" after "one." He inserted the word above the line in its proper place, and gave it back to the copyist. It was clear enough that Mulgrum was disappointed in the result of this interview; but he took the letter and returned to the table.
At the end of another quarter of an hour, he brought the first copy of the letter. He knocked as before, and though Christy told him in a loud tone to come in, he did not do so. He repeated the words, but the conspirator, possibly aware of the blunder he had made before, did not make it again. Then he wrote on his tablet, after the captain had approved his work, that he found the table very uncomfortable to write upon while the ship was pitching so smartly, and suggested that he should be allowed to make the rest of the copies on the desk in the state room, if the captain did not desire to use it himself. Unfortunately for the writer, he did desire to use it himself, and 117 he could not help smiling at the enterprise of the deaf mute in his attempt to obtain an opportunity to forage among the papers in his drawers.
Mulgrum certainly did his work nicely and expeditiously, for he had finished it at three bells in the forenoon watch. He was dismissed then, for his presence was not particularly agreeable to the commander. Christy locked his desk and all the drawers that contained papers, not as against a thief or a burglar, but against one who would scorn to appropriate anything of value that did not belong to him, for he had no doubt now that Mulgrum was a gentleman who was trying to serve what he regarded as his country, though it was nothing but a fraction of it.
In fact, inheriting, as it were, the broad and generous policy of his father, Christy had no personal prejudices against this enemy of his country, and he felt just as he would if he had been sailing a boat against him, or playing a game of whist with him. He was determined to beat him if he could. But he was not satisfied with locking his papers up; he called Dave, and set him as a watch over them. If the conspirator overhauled his papers, he would have been more 118 concerned about what he did not find than in relation to what he did find, for the absence of the original of Warnock's letter would go far to convince him that the extract from it was an invention.
When he had taken these precautions he went on deck. The wind was blowing a moderate gale; but the Bronx was doing exceedingly well, lifting herself very lightly over the foaming billows, and conveying to one walking her deck the impression of solidity and strength. The captain went to the bridge after a while, though not till he had noticed that something was going on among the crew; but he was not disposed to inquire into the matter, possibly regarding it as beneath the dignity of a commander to do so.
Christy mounted the steps to the bridge. This structure is hardly a man-of-war appendage. It had been there, and it had been permitted to remain. The first shot in action might carry it away, and this contingency had been provided for, as she was provided with a duplicate steam-steering apparatus, as well as a hand wheel at the stern. The proper position of the officer of the watch, who is practically in command for the time 119 being, is on the quarter deck, though he is required during his watch to visit all parts of the deck. On board of the Bronx this officer was placed on the bridge, where he could overlook all parts of the ship.
The first lieutenant, who had the forenoon watch, saluted him, but there was nothing of interest to report. Christy asked the meaning of the movement he had observed among the seamen and petty officers, and was told that Baskirk was getting up an association on board, the first requirement to which was for all who wished to become members to sign the oath of allegiance to the ............
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