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 As he went to the deck of the Bronx, the young commander sent the first lieutenant on board of the prize to superintend the arrangements for disposing of the ship's company. Captain Dinsmore was requested to produce his papers, and Christy conducted him to his cabin. As his father had advised him always to be on such occasions, he was studiously polite, as in fact he was at all times. Whether the other captain was usually so or not, he was certainly courteous in every respect, though, with the heavy misfortune which had befallen him, it was vastly more difficult for him to control his feelings, and conduct himself in a gentlemanly manner. Captain Passford desired to understand in what capacity the Scotian was approaching the American coast before he made his final arrangements. After giving his guest, as he regarded him, or rather treated him, 170 a chair in his cabin, Christy called Dave, who had followed him below.  
"Will you excuse me a moment or two while I attend to a necessary duty?" said he, turning to Captain Dinsmore, as he seated himself at the table.
"Certainly, captain; I am not so much in a hurry as I have been at other times," replied the other with a rather sickly smile.
"Keep a sharp lookout for the Arran," Christy wrote on a piece of paper, and handed it to the steward. "Give that to Mr. Flint."
Captain Passford had observed when he visited the deck of the Scotian that she was well armed, and he had no doubt that her consort was similarly provided for the business of war. It was therefore of the highest importance that the Arran should not come unexpectedly upon the Bronx at a time when she was hardly in condition to meet an enemy.
"Now, Captain Dinsmore, may I trouble you for your papers?" he continued, turning to his guest, as he preferred to regard him.
"I admit your right to examine them under present circumstances," replied Captain Dinsmore, as he delivered the package to him.
171 "Perhaps we may simplify and abbreviate this examination to some extent, sir, if you are so disposed," added Christy, as he looked the other full in the face.
"I shall be happy to have you do so, Captain Passford," replied the visitor in the cabin, with something like eagerness in his manner. "You conduct yourself like a gentleman, sir, and I am not at all disposed to embarrass you unnecessarily."
"Thank you, sir; I appreciate your courtesy."
"I am afraid it is not so much courtesy as it is desperation, for if I should act in accordance with my feelings, I should blow my brains out without any delay," said Captain Dinsmore. "I should not say as much as this to any but a generous enemy; but I feel that I am ruined, and that there is nothing more in the future for me."
Christy really sympathized with him, and could not help thinking how he should feel if the situations were reversed. He realized that the commander of the Scotian had been very careless in the discharge of his duty in permitting any vessel to come alongside of her without considering that she might be an enemy. This inefficiency was doubtless the cause of his distress. Christy had 172 kept uppermost in his mind the advice of his father at the last moment before he sailed, and he asked himself if, while the prisoner was thus exciting his sympathy and compassion, the latter was not expecting the Arran would appear and reverse the fortunes of war.
"I am sorry you take such a severe view of your situation," added the captain of the Bronx. "But my first duty is to ascertain the character of the vessel which you surrender."
"You shall have no doubt in regard to that, Captain Passford," answered the commander of the Scotian, proudly. "I am not a dickering merchant, trying to make money out of the situation of my country. The Scotian, as you call her, is the Confederate steamer Ocklockonee, and here is my commission as a lieutenant in the Confederate Navy," he added as he took the document from his pocket and tendered it to his captor.
Christy looked at the paper, and then examined the other papers in the packet. They left no doubt in his mind as to the character of the Ocklockonee, if he had had any before. He folded up the commission and politely returned it to the owner. The examination was completed so far as he was 173 concerned; but Captain Dinsmore did not seem to be satisfied, though he made no complaint that anything was wrong in the proceedings. He was evidently a very proud and high-strung man, and appeared to be unable to reconcile himself to the situation.
"I am a ruined man!" he exclaimed several times; and when he looked at the commander of the Bronx, measuring him from head to foot, as he had already done several times, it seemed to increase his distress of mind, and make him more nervous than before.
"While I regret that a brave man like yourself, captain, should be at war with the government which I honor and love, I hope that personally your future will be as bright as I am sure your merit deserves," said Christy.
"If it had been a square and well-fought action, I should not feel as I do about it. You will pardon me, and understand that I mean no disrespect to you, captain, but I look upon myself as the victim of a Yankee trick," said Captain Dinsmore, bitterly. "But please to consider that I do not charge any blame or treachery upon you, sir."
"I think I can understand your feelings, sir; 174 but I cannot see that in resorting to strategy to save my men, my conduct has been in any manner dishonorable," replied Christy, holding his head a little higher than usual. "I should hold that I had been guilty of misconduct if I had failed to take advantage of the circumstances under which I have captured the Ocklockonee."
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