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 While enthusiastically pursuing his studies as an engineer, Christy had visited a great many steamers with Paul Vapoor for the purpose of examining the engines, so that he could hardly expect to find one with whose construction he was not familiar, whether it was an American or a foreign built machine. At the first glance after he entered the engine room of the Havana, he knew the engine, and was ready to run it without spending any time in studying it. He had brought the pilot with him in order to come to an understanding in regard to the bells, for in the navy the signals differ from those in the commercial marine.  
"This steamer is provided with a gong and a jingling bell," said Christy, as he pointed them out to his companion.
"My little steamer on this coast was run with just such bells," replied Mr. Amblen.
280 "And so was the Bellevite, so that I am quite accustomed to the system of signals; but it is well to be sure that we understand each other perfectly if we expect to get this vessel out of the bay after we go up to the port," added Christy.
"I agree with you entirely, sir. A single strong stroke on the gong is to start or to stop her according to the circumstances," said the pilot.
"Precisely so; and two strokes are to back her," continued Christy. "Going at full speed, the jingler brings the engine down to half speed, or at half speed carries it up to full speed."
"That is my understanding of the matter," replied Mr. Amblen.
"Then we understand each other to a charm," continued the temporary engineer. "Report to Mr. Flint that we are ready to go ahead."
Christy found a colored man who was on duty as an oiler, and four others in the fire room, who seemed to be engaged in an earnest discussion of the situation, for the capture of the Havana was a momentous event to all of them. The oiler was at work, and had thoroughly lubricated the machinery, as though he intended that any failure of the steamer should not be from any fault on his part.
281 The new official set two of the firemen at work, though the boilers had a good head of steam. The gong bell gave one sharp stroke, and Christy started the engine.
The Havana was headed out to sea when she was captured, and in the slack water she had not drifted at all. He went ahead slowly, and soon had the bell to stop her; but he expected this, for the channel was narrow, and it required considerable manœuvring to get the steamer about. Then he happened to think of the guns on the Seahorse Key, and through the speaking tube he passed the word to Mr. Flint to have him land there in order to take the guns and ammunition on board.
After a great deal of backing and going ahead, the Havana was headed for the key, where she was stopped as near to it as the depth of water would permit. The guns and other material were brought off, two of the firemen, the oiler, and other colored men of the crew of the Havana assisting in the work. The two guns that were provided with carriages were mounted, and placed on the forecastle. They were loaded and prepared for service by the trained gunners of the 282 crew. Christy had directed all this to be done on account of the delay which had attended the good fortune of the expedition, for he might not get out of the bay before the daylight came to reveal the presence of the force he commanded to the people on the shore.
The gong rang again when all these preparations had been made, and the Havana steamed slowly up the channel towards the bay. The oiler appeared to have finished his work for the present. He was a more intelligent man than the others of his color on board, and seemed to understand his duties. Christy spoke to him, for he said nothing unless he was spoken to, and he had learned that the commander of the expedition was doing duty as engineer in the absence of any other competent person.
"How many schooners are there at the landing place at the keys?" asked Christy.
"Only two schooners, sir," replied the man very respectfully.
"Are they loaded, —what is your name?" asked the engineer.
"My name is Dolly, sir."
"Dolly? That is a girl's name."
283 "My whole name is Adolphus, sir; but everybody calls me Dolly, and I can't help myself," replied the oiler soberly, as though he had a real grievance on account of the femininity of his nickname. "The two schooners are not quite loaded, sir, but they are very nearly full. They had some trouble here, among the hands."
"Had some trouble, did they? I should think there were soldiers enough here to keep everything straight. How many artillerists or soldiers do they keep here?" added Christy.
"They had about forty, but they don't have half that number now."
"What has become of them?"
"They were sent away to look for the hands that took to the woods. One of the officers and about half of the men were sent off yesterday," replied Dolly, who seemed willing to tell all he knew.
"Why did the men run off?" asked Christy curiously.
"They brought about fifty hands, all slaves, down here to load the steamer and the schooners. They set them at work yesterday morning, and they had nearly put all the cotton into the schooners 284 at dinner time. To make the niggers work harder, they gave them apple jack."
"What is that?" asked the engineer, who never heard the name before.
"It is liquor made out of apples, and it is very strong," answered Dolly; and he might have added that it was the vilest intoxicant to be found in the whole world, not even excepting Ru............
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