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What is that rising above the water, thereaway, Jack; more on our weather-beam?"

"I see what you mean, sir; it looks like a spar. By George! there's two on 'em; and they do seem to be the schooner's masts."

Sure enough! a second look satisfied Mulford that two mast-heads were out of water, and that within a hundred yards of the place the boat was running past. Standing on a short distance, or far enough to give himself room, the mate put his helm down, and tacked the boat. The flapping of the sail, and the little movement of shifting over the sheet, awoke Rose, who was immediately apprized of the discovery. As soon as round, the boat went glancing up to the spars, and presently was riding by one, Jack Tier having caught hold of a topmast-shroud, when Mulford let fly his sheet again, and luffed short up to the spot. By this time the increasing light was sufficiently strong to render objects distinct, when near by, and no doubt remained any longer in the mind of Mulford about the two mastheads being those of the unfortunate Mexican schooner.

"Well, of all I have ever seen I've never see'd the like of this afore!" exclaimed Jack. "When we left this here craft, sir, you'll remember, she had almost turned turtle, laying over so far as to bring her upper coamings under water; now she stands right side up, as erect as if docked! My navigation can't get along with this, Mr. Mulford, and it does seem like witchcraft."

"It is certainly a very singular incident, Jack, and I have been trying to come at its causes."

"Have you succeeded, Harry?" asked Rose, by this time wide awake, and wondering like the others.


"It must have happened in this wise. The wreck was abandoned by us some little distance out here, to windward. The schooner's masts, of course, pointed to leeward, and when she drifted in here, they have first touched on shelving rock, and as they have been shoved up, little by little, they have acted as levers to right the hull, until the cargo has shifted back into its proper berth, which has suddenly set the vessel up again."


Ay, ay, sir," answered Jack, "all that might have happened had she been above water, or any part of her above

water; but you 'll remember, maty, that soon after we left

her she went down."


Not entirely. The wreck settled in the water no faster after we had left it, than it had done before. It continued to sink, inch by inch, as the air escaped, and no faster after it had gone entirely out of sight than before; not as fast, indeed, as the water became denser the lower it got. The great argument against my theory, is the fact, that after the hull got beneath the surface, the wind could not act on it. This is true in one sense, however, and not in another. The waves, or the pressure of the water produced by the wind, might act on the hull for some time after we ceased to see it. But the currents have set the craft in here, and the hull floating always, very little force would cant the craft. If the rock were shelving and slippery, I see no great difficulty in the way; and the barrels may have been so lodged, that a trifle would set them rolling back again, each one helping to produce a change that would move another. As for the ballast, that, I am certain, could not shift, for it was stowed with great care. As the vessel righted, the air still in her moved, and as soon as the water permitted, it escaped by the hatches, when the craft went down, as a matter of course. This air may have aided in bringing the hull upright by its movements in the water."

This was the only explanation to which the ingenuity of Mulford could help him, under the circumstances, and it may have been the right one, or not. There lay the schooner, however, in some five or six fathoms of water, with her two topmasts, and lower mast-heads out of the element, as upright as if docked! It may all have occurred as the mate fancied, or the unusual incident may have been owing to some of the many mysterious causes which baffle inquiry, when the agents are necessarily hidden from examination.

"Spike intends to come and look for this wreck, you tell me, Jack; in the hope of getting at the doubloons it contains?" said Mulford, when the boat had lain a minute or two longer, riding by the mast-head.

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Ay, ay, sir; that's his notion, sir, and he'll be in a great stew, as soon as he turns out, which must be about

this time, and finds me missing; for I was to pilot him to the spot."

“He'll want no pilot now. It will be scarcely possible to pass anywhere near this and not see these spars. But this discovery almost induces me to change my own plans. What say you, Rose? We have now reached the northern side of the reef, when it is time to haul close by the wind, if we wish to beat up to Key West. There is a moral certainty, however, that the sloop-of-war is somewhere in the neighbourhood of the Dry Tortugas, which are much the most easily reached, being to leeward. We might run down to the light-house by mid-day, while it is doubtful if we could reach the town until to-morrow morning. I should like exceedingly to have five minutes conversation with the commander of the Poughkeepsie."


Ay, to let him know where he will be likely to fall in with the Molly Swash and her traitor master, Stephen Spike," cried Jack Tier. "Never mind, maty; let 'em come on; both the Molly and her master have got long legs and clean heels. Stephen Spike will show 'em how to thread the channels of a reef."

"It is amazing to me, Jack, that you should stand by your old captain in feeling, while you are helping to thwart him, all you can, in his warmest wishes."

"He's a willian!" muttered Jack-“ a reg'lar willian is Stephen Spike!"

"If a villain, why do you so evidently wish to keep him out of the hands of the law? Let him be captured and punished, as his crimes require."

"Men's willians, all round," still muttered Jack. “Hark'e, Mr. Mulford, I've sailed in the brig longer than you, and know'd her in her comeliest and best days-when she was young, and blooming, and lovely to the eye, as the young creature at your side-and it would go to my heart to have anything happen to her. Then, I've know'd Stephen a long time, too, and old shipmates get a feelin' for each other, sooner or later. I tell you now, honestly, Mr. Mulford, Captain Adam Mull shall never make a prisoner of Stephen Spike, if I can prevent it."

The mate laughed at this sally, but Rose appeared apvious to change the conversation, and she managed to

open a discussion on the subject of the course it might be best to steer. Mulford had several excellent reasons to urge for wishing to run down to the islets, all of which, with a single exception, he laid before his betrothed. The concealed reason was one of the strongest of them all, as usually happens when there is a reason to conceal, but of that he took care to say nothing. The result was an acquiescence on the part of Rose, whose consent was yielded more to the influence of one particular consideration than to all the rest united. That one was this: Harry had pointed out to her the importance to himself of his appearing early to denounce the character and movements of the brig, lest, through his former situation in her, his own conduct might be seriously called in question.

As soon as the matter was determined, Jack was told to let go his hold, the sheet was drawn aft, and away sped the boat. No sooner did Mulford cause the little craft to keep away than it almost flew, as if conscious it were bound to its proper home, skimming swiftly over the waves, like a bird returning eagerly to its nest. An hour later the party breakfasted. While at this meal, Jack Tier pointed out to the mate a white speck, in the south-eastern board, which he took to be the brig coming through the passage, on her way to the wreck.

"No matter," returned the mate. 66 her, she cannot see us. our being small, Rose, if it do prevent our taking exercise by walking the deck."

Though we can see There is that much advantage in

Soon after, Mulford made a very distant sail in the northwestern board, which he hoped might turn out to be the Poughkeepsie. It was but another speck, but its position was somewhat like that in which he had expected to meet the sloop-of-war. The two vessels were so far apart that one could not be seen from the other, and there was little hope that the Poughkeepsie would detect Spike at his toil on the wreck; but the mate fully expected that the ship would go into the anchorage, among the islets, in order to ascertain what had become of the schooner. If she did not go in herself, she would be almost certain to send in a boat.

The party from the brigantine had run down before the

wind more than two hours before the light-house began to show itself, just rising out of the waves. This gave them the advantage of a beacon, Mulford having steered hitherto altogether by the sun, the direction of the wind, and the rending of the reef. Now he had his port in sight, it being his intention to take possession of the dwelling of the light-house keeper, and to remain in it, until a favourable opportunity occurred to remove Rose to Key West. The young man had also another important project in view, which it will be in season to mention as it reaches the moment of its fulfilment.

The rate of sailing of the light-house boat, running before a brisk trade wind, could not be much less than nine miles in the hour. About eleven o'clock, therefore, the lively craft shot through one of the narrow channels of the islets, and entered the haven. In a few minutes all three of the adventurers were on the little wharf where the lighthouse people were in the habit of landing. Rose proceeded to the house, while Harry and Jack remained to secure the boat. For the latter purpose a sort of slip, or little dock, had been made, and when the boat was hauled into it, it lay so snug that not only was the craft secure from injury, but it was actually hid from the view of all but those who stood directly above it.

"This is a snug berth for the boat, Jack," observed the mate, when he had hauled it into the place mentioned, "and by unstepping the mast, a passer-by would not suspect such a craft of lying in it. Who knows what occasion there may be for concealment, and I'll e'en do that thing."

To a casual listener, Harry, in unstepping the mast, might have seemed influenced merely by a motiveless impulse; but, in truth, a latent suspicion of Jack's intentions instigated him, and as he laid the mast, sprit and sail on the thwarts, he determined, in his own mind, to remove them all to some other place, as soon as an opportunity for doing so unobserved should occur. He and Jack now fol

lowed Rose to the house.

Not a

The islets were found deserted and tenantless. human being had entered the house since Rose left it, the evening she had remained so long ashore, in company with

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