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 One bell sounded on the gong in the engine room, and the Bronx began to go ahead. Christy felt that the most tremendous hour of his lifetime had come, and he struggled to keep down the excitement which agitated him; and he succeeded so far that he appeared to be the coolest man on board of the ship. When Flint came in the vicinity of the bridge, he called to him to join him. The men were procuring their revolvers and cutlasses, and he had a moment to spare. The captain instructed him to conceal the boarders so that they could not be seen on board the steamer in the fog when the Bronx came up with her. He added some other details to his orders.  
"If possible, I wish you to keep as near Lillyworth as you can," continued Christy, "for I shall not have the opportunity to watch him. This war cannot be conducted on peace principles, and if 159 that man attempts to defeat my orders in any manner, don't hesitate to put a ball from your revolver through his heart. Use reasonable care, Mr. Flint, but bear in mind that I am not to be defeated in the capture of that steamer, if she proves to be what I suppose she is, by the treachery of one who accepted a position as an officer on board of the Bronx." The commander was firm and decided in his manner, and Flint had served with him enough to know that he meant what he said.
"I will obey your orders to the letter, Captain Passford, using all reasonable precautions in the discharge of my duty," replied Flint. "Mr. Lillyworth was in a state of mutiny just now, and spoke to me."
"What did he say?"
"He declared that he was second lieutenant of the ship, and it was his right to command the first division of boarders. He wouldn't stand it. I told him he was to be in command of the guns. He insisted that you did not intend to fire a gun if you could help it. I replied that we should not board the vessel either if we could help it. But I had no time to argue with him, and referred 160 him to the captain. Then he moved towards the ladder of the bridge, and I forbade him to leave his station. That is the whole of it. I have seen him speak to each of the six men we now know to be his friends, to say nothing of Mulgrum. I left him then."
"All right so far, Mr. Flint. Return to the deck, if you please, and be sure that the boarders are kept out of sight from this moment," added Christy. "Quartermaster, ring four bells," he added, turning to the pilot house.
"Four bells, sir," repeated McSpindle, who was at the wheel.
The Bronx soon began to feel the effect of this order, and the smoke poured out in increased volume from the smokestack, affected by the stronger draught produced by the additional speed.
"On the topsail yard!" called the captain, directing his speaking trumpet aloft.
"On the bridge, sir!" replied the man.
"Can you make out the steamer?"
"No, sir; only her topmasts and fore rigging."
"How does she lie from the Bronx?"
"Still on the starboard bow, sir."
"Port the helm, quartermaster," added the captain.
161 "Port, sir," replied McSpindle.
For about five minutes more, the Bronx went ahead at full speed, and Christy was confident that she was again making fifteen knots.
"On the bridge, sir!" called the man on the fore yard.
"I make her out now; she has the Confederate flag at the peak."
"All right!" exclaimed Christy to himself, though he spoke out loud.
The steamer had set her colors, and there was no longer any doubt in regard to her character. The flag also indicated that she was not a blockade runner in the ordinary sense of the word, but a Confederate man-of-war. Warnock reported that she had taken her armament on board from another vessel at some point south of England, and the colors also assured Christy that the steamer was one of the pair expected.
Still the Bronx went ahead at full speed, and presently a gun was heard from the direction in which she lay, though the captain was unable to decide what it meant. It might be a signal of distress, but the man on the yard had not reported 162 the colors as union down; and it might be simply a defiance. It was probable that the Scotian and Arran had put in at St. George, and it was more than possible that they had shipped a reinforcement to her reported small crew.
"Aloft!" called the captain again.
"On the bridge, sir!" replied the lookout.
"Is the steamer under way?"
"I think not, sir; but I can't make out her wake, it is so low."
"Starboard a little, quartermaster."
"Starboard, sir."
Christy heard, or thought he heard, for he was not sure about it, the sound of a bell. A minute later the quartermaster in the pilot house struck seven bells, which was repeated on the top-gallant forecastle of the Bronx, and he was confident this was what he had heard on board of the stranger.
"Quartermaster, strike one bell," he added.
"One bell, sir;" and the gong resounded from the engine room, and the speed of the Bronx was immediately reduced.
A minute later Christy obtained a full view of the steamer. She was headed to the southwest, and her propeller was not in motion. As the 163 lookout had reported, she was the counterpart of the Bronx, though she was a larger vessel. He gave some further orders to the quartermaster at the wheel, for he had decided to board the steamer on her port side. The boarders had been concealed in proper places under this arrangement, and the captain had directed the course of the Bronx so that a s............
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