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 When Mr. Baskirk went on deck to take his watch at midnight, the fog had disappeared, and a fresh breeze was blowing from the westward. This change was reported to the captain, and he went on deck. No sail had been seen since the fog cleared off, and Christy returned to his state room, where he was soon asleep again. He was called, as he had directed, at four in the morning, but no change in the weather was reported, and no sail had been seen.  
At four bells in the morning watch two sails were reported to him, one dead ahead, and the other on the port beam. He hastened to the deck, and found Mr. Amblen using his spyglass, and trying to make out the distant sails. The one at the northeast of the Bronx was making a long streak of black smoke on the sky, and there was 203 no such appearance over the other. Both were steamers.
"The one ahead of us is the Ocklockonee," said Captain Passford, after he had used the spyglass. "I have no doubt the other is the Arran. Probably she has a new name by this time, but I have not heard it yet. Pass the word for Mr. Ambleton."
This was the gunner, and he was directed to fire a single shot, blank, from the midship gun. This was immediately done, and was the signal agreed upon with Flint if either discovered the Arran. It was promptly answered by a similar discharge on board of the Ocklockonee, indicating that she had seen the steamer in question.
"Now, make her course southeast, Mr. Amblen," said Christy, after the two signals had been made.
"Southeast, sir," responded the second lieutenant, giving the course to the quartermaster at the wheel.
The commander of the Ocklockonee changed his course as soon as the Bronx had done so. Both steamers were headed directly towards the sail in the southeast, and both were running for the apex of the triangle where the third steamer was located.
204 The captain visited every part of the vessel, and gave orders to have breakfast served at once, for he expected there would be lively times before many hours. Everything was overhauled, and put in order. At eight bells, when Mr. Baskirk took the deck, the captain did not care how soon the battle began. Everything was ready and waiting, and he went below for his breakfast.
From delicacy or some other motive Captain Dinsmore spent most of his time in the ward room; but he was called to breakfast with the commander. Both captains were as polite to each other as they had been the evening before, but it was evident to Christy that his guest was quite uneasy, as though he had discovered what had transpired on deck; and the movements there were quite enough to inform him without a word from any one. He had not asked a question of any person on board; and it was impossible for him to know that a sail supposed to be the Arran was in sight.
"I have heard some firing this morning, Captain Passford," said he as he seated himself at the table, and watched the expression of his host's countenance.
205 "Merely a couple of signals; the distant shot came from the Ocklockonee," replied Christy lightly.
"I thought it possible that you had fallen in with another steamer," added the guest.
"I have considered it more than possible, and within the limits of probability, that we should fall in with another steamer ever since we ran so opportunely upon the Scotian, as she was formerly called."
"Opportunely for you, but very inopportunely for me," added Captain Dinsmore with a faint smile.
"I am happy to inform you that we have passed beyond both possibility and probability, and come into the region of fact," continued Christy.
"Then you have made out a sail?" asked the guest anxiously.
"We have; a steamer on our port beam; and I am reasonably confident it is the vessel you supposed was coming alongside the Ocklockonee last evening."
"Indeed?" added the guest, as though he did not know just what to say, and did not mean to commit himself.
206 "In other words, I am almost sure this steamer is the Arran, though doubtless you have changed her name," said Christy, as he helped the other from the choicest dish on the table.
"The Arran?" repeated Captain Dinsmore, manifesting but not expressing his surprise that his companion in a different service from his own knew this name.
"Perhaps you can give me her later name, as I have no doubt she is or will be called after some southern river, which is quite proper, and entirely patriotic. Perhaps she is called the Perdido, which is not very far from Perdition, where I shall do my best to send her unless she surrenders within a reasonable time, or runs away from me," said Captain Passford lightly. "Is your coffee quite right, Captain Dinsmore?"
"It is very good indeed, captain, thank you."
"Perhaps it is too strong for you, like the United States Navy, and you would prefer it weaker," suggested Christy.
"It is quite right as it is, and, like the United States Navy of which you speak, it will be used up in a short time," replied the guest as pleasantly as the captain of the Bronx.
207 "That is yet to be settled," laughed Christy.
"Well, captain, the coffee is settled, and that is more than can be said of our navy, which will be as clear as this in due time."
"I thought it best to inform you that we might be in action in the course of a couple of hours, and you were to notify me in case you wished to change your status on board," added Christy more seriously.
"I am much obliged to you, Captain Passford, for your courtesy and kindness, but I see no reason to change my position. I will still confine myself to the cabin and ward room. I cannot wish you success in the action in which you are about to engage, for it would break my he............
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