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The Boys' Big Game Series
The PIRATE SHARK
Illustrated by Fred J. Arting
COPYRIGHT, 1914 by THE REILLY & BRITTON CO.
Then, without warning, the lines shot up and curled aboutthe landing--cut short and clean.]
I "What's Tringanu?"
II Jerry Smith, Quartermaster
III Off for Tringanu
IV The Pirate Shark
V What Happened at Honolulu
VI The Far Seas
VII "Where's Peters?"
VIII Kuala Besut
IX The Black Fin
X Off for Tigers
XI The Storm Breaks
XII The Elephant Gun
XIV A Truce
XVI The Battle
XVII The Mystery o' the Sea
The Pirate Shark
"I don't care what your orders are. Cap'n Hollinger sent for me, and I'mgoing aboard or I'll know the reason why!"
"Well, ain't you just heard the reason why, son? He ain't here, andorders is orders. There ain't no one comin' aboard the _Seamew_, that'sall. Nothin' was said about any Mart Judson, kid."
"Then I guess your ears need tuning up. I'm comin' aboard, see?"
"Ye'll go overboard then. Well, if the kid ain't goin' to walk right upto _me_! Look out there, kid--get off that gangplank in a hurry!"
Trouble was in the air. At the rail of the trim yacht _Seamew_ loungedSwanson, her burly first officer, pipe in mouth. He was evidently angry,for his heavy features were dark and lowering and his deep-set blue eyesglittered ominously. But the boy who faced him from the wharf was noless stirred up.
Mart Judson looked a good deal more than his seventeen years, for he hadworked his own way in the world and his face had a serious air ofresponsibility. He wore a smudgy mechanic's cap and greasy overalls, andfrom his keen gray eyes, determined mouth and chin, and straight blackhair, an observer might have deduced that he could be a hard worker anda stubborn fighter if need were.
Yet it was small wonder that Swanson had laughed at him. A boy mechanicasking for Stephen Hollinger personally, insisting that the millionairehad sent for him! Mart started obstinately up the gangplank and the matelaid his pipe on the rail, gave a hitch to his trousers, and movedforward to repel boarders.
Before he reached the open gangway, however, there came an interruptingshout from the deck:
"Hello, old Mart Judson! How're ye?"
A second later Mart found himself clasping hands with his friend, BobHollinger, better known as "Holly," the son of the mining expert andmillionaire who owned the yacht. It was a hearty greeting, in spite ofthe greasy, cheap clothes of the one, and the carelessly costly dress ofthe other. The fact that Mart Judson worked for his living matterednothing to Bob or to his father; the boys were the same age and had gonethrough high school together, and the two were firm friends.
Stephen Hollinger was an eccentric yet sensible "old-timer," whosehabits were rough and ready and who made Bob work for his pocket-moneymost of the time. He had been working just at present, Mart noted; hisfingers were ink-stained, his blue-eyed, freckled, careless face wassmudged, and he seemed both dirty and happy.
Mart glanced about in frank admiration at the white decks and evidentluxury aboard the yacht. It was his first visit to the _Seamew_, for shewas seldom used by her owner. Swanson moved off, grumbling. Mart sent agood-humored laugh after the discomfited mate, and turned to his chum.
"What's on your mind, Holly? I had a mighty hard time gettin'away--we're rushed up at the shop. Blurt it out, 'cause I ain't got timefor visitin' to-day. Some seamen had a scrap down at the Peniel Mission,and I've got to get down there with some new bulbs and fixtures beforedark. What's goin' on?"
"You are," grinned Holly in delight. "Say, Mart--I've got the best newsyou ever heard! See those boxes over there on the wharf? They're cabinstores for a cruise. And you're goin' along with us."
Mart stared blankly at his friend. Bob was plainly in earnest, for allthat his blue eyes were dancing.
"Cut out the funny business! I've got to get back. Did you send thatmessage or did your dad?"
"Nothing doing on going back," laughed Bob, seizing his arm. "Holdon--this isn't any pipe dream, old scout. Mother's gone east for amonth. Dad's got to quit work--got indigestion or gastritis or some o'those stomach things. So we're goin' across the Pacific. You're goingalong."
"Not me!" ejaculated Mart quickly, wondering if his chum were crazy. "Igot to hold my job. I'll get a chance at a real wireless job in thespring, maybe."
"Well," and Bob shrugged his shoulders, "if you'd sooner work in theshop for eight a week than be wireless man on the _Seamew_ at forty amonth and all found, you can. And if you like San Francisco better'n theother side o' the world, suit yourself. _I_ ain't your boss, of course!"
The two stared at each other, and slowly the reality of the thing grewin Mart Judson's brain. Yet it was impossible! He had his wirelesslicense, but no one would employ him at his age. But Holly was plainlyin dead earnest. Mart could only stare.
"Where you going?" he asked suddenly.
Bob hesitated. "Well, I'm not quite sure myself," he answered. Then hisface brightened quickly. "Here's dad coming now--we'll ask him. Itstruck me kind o' sudden too."
Mart turned as a step sounded behind him, and his hand met that ofStephen Hollinger. The millionaire was dressed roughly in serge andyachting cap, for he was his own captain aboard the yacht. His strong,whimsical face lighted up in a smile at Mart's expression.
"So you got down, eh! Glad to see you. Bob told you about it yet?"
"I just got here," replied Mart. "If he wasn't joking, Mr. Hollinger--"
"Where's Tringanu, dad?" broke in Bob excitedly.
Captain Hollinger--for he assumed this title aboard the _Seamew_--lookedat the two boys amusedly, then took each by an arm and propelled themtoward the companionway.
"Come along to the cabin; I'll give you half an hour. You see, Mart,we've been so rushed that even Bob hasn't had time to get anexplanation. I got doctor's orders two days ago to drop business and doit quick. So we came up from Pasadena, the yacht will be in commissionin another day or so, and off we go to Tringanu!"
Five minutes later Mart Judson found himself at a big mahogany table,his chum opposite him, while the captain got charts from another cabin.The luxury about him was astonishing; mahogany furnishings, walls,bookcases, a talking machine and a piano, electric lights and fans.Everything that could add to comfort or convenience was there, and hewas soon to find that the rest of the yacht was fitted up in likemanner.
"Now," began Captain Hollinger, returning with his maps and charts,"maybe you know, Mart, that I'm something of a big game hunter, eh?"
"I should guess!" grinned Mart. Like everyone else in San Francisco heknew that Stephen Hollinger was an enthusiastic sportsman; indeed,mining and hunting were said to be his chief pleasures in life.
"Well, I'm going hunting. And I'm going here--" he put his finger on themap as the two boys craned their necks over it. "Tringanu is one of theMalay states, on the mainland of Asia; it's not exactly civilized, butI'm thinking of getting a
mining concession there at a place I heard of.
"Here it is, on this chart of the China Sea. About halfway up the coastof Tringanu, see? It's this bay and the lagoon, where the river drainsthat big basin, that ought to have gold. There are tigers in the hills,so I'm going over there on my vacation, maybe get a gold-miningconcession from the government, shoot a tiger or so, and come homehappier, healthier and wealthier. Isn't that a good program, Mart?"
"You bet your life it is!" cried the boy, his eyes shining eagerly."Golly! Say, was Bob talking turkey about my going?"
"I guess he was," laughed the captain, looking at Bob. "I told him Icould use a wireless man--had to have one, in fact--and he said you hadyour license."
"Got it two weeks ago," admitted Mart with some pride. It had cost himmany hours of nightwork and study, had that license as wirelessoperator. Then his face fell suddenly. "I'm not old enough to take thejob, though--"
"Shucks, that don't matter!" broke in Holly. "This isn't a reg'lar job."
"No," assented his father. "All you would have to do is to get marketreports every few days and send some messages back. Look at these mapsagain, boys. Now, here's the place, I figure that we'll go to Honolulu,then hit straight for our goal. The river is named Kuala Besut, andwe'll probably stay there a couple of weeks or more, using divers. Allthe gold along there has to be dredged up, you see. While the diving isgoing on, we can run up-country shooting."
"Who put you wise to the gold mine, dad?" inquired Bob curiously.
"Old Jerry Smith--a man who has spent all his life out there. He's goingto sail with us. Now hush up for a minute, both of you. From Honolulu wego direct to the Malay coast, cutting in through the Philippines withoutstopping. On the way back we can do all the visiting we want to.
"There's the plan, boys. We'd like to have you go along, Mart, to takecare of our wireless. Salary, forty a month and all found. Of courseyou'd mess with us, at the officers' mess, and you boys could have greatold times. How about it? I believe you are free to go, Mart?"
"Plenty free, sir," nodded Mart. "I've had no one to worry over me sincemother died, two years ago. Only--it's an awful big thing for a fellowto make up his mind to, right off the bat like this. These here MalayStates--aren't they pretty wild and woolly! I've got a notion that'swhere the pirates come from--"
The financier broke into a laugh.
"Not to-day, Judson! Why, in Tringanu they make some of the best steelin the world--the natives, I mean. That's where those curly krisses andMalay daggers come from. But the piracy is all over. Tringanu isn'texactly civilized, I'll admit, but it's under British protection, likeall the rest of the Malay States.
"This place where we're going, Kuala Besut, is inside these islandshere, and Jerry Smith says that we can go right up the river in theyacht. Also, he says, it will be easy to take trips into the jungle withsome of the native chiefs, and bag a tiger or so."
"Who's this Jerry Smith?" asked Mart.
"He's an old-timer--been beating around the Pacific most of his life.They say he used to be a pirate and blackbirder and that he can tellstrange yarns if he will--but that's all talk. He's just a quiet,white-haired old man. I've found from other sources that there'll be notrouble getting a concession on the place--if there's any gold there.Now that's all I know about the thing. It's up to you, Mart!"
"Well," grinned the gray-eyed boy, glancing at his friend, "you needn'tworry about me. If you really mean it, I'd--I'd pay you to take mealong, sir!"
"Not much," laughed the captain. "It's the other way around, Mart. Well,we sail Monday morning. Old Jerry is getting a crew for us and he'llcome aboard Sunday night with the men. You'd better quit work at theshop to-night, get our wireless in shape over to-morrow, to pass theport inspectors, and rest up Sunday. I'll detail Bob to help you--he'sbeen acting as supercargo up to date."
"Much obliged," grunted Bob sarcastically, "How about an outfit? WillMart have to get any clothes?"
"Not on my ship. They'll come out of the slop-chest. Oh, you needn'tlook that way, Mart," and the financier laughed at Mart's dismay."Slop-chest is sailors' slang for ship's stores. Just fetch yourordinary clothes. Bob, you'd better get that stateroom next to yoursfixed up; then you boys can be together. Now, is there anything more youfellows want to know?"
"Lots," shot out Mart with a sigh as he rose to his feet. "I want toknow so much that it makes my head ache to think of it--but I've got toget back and get these fixtures down to the Peniel before dark. I'llturn up in the morning ready for work. And, say, I'm sure grateful toyou, Mr.--er--Captain Hollinger! And I'll do my best to earn my salary,you can be sure of--"
"Well, get along with you," broke in the financier, smiling. "See youto-morrow!"
Bob walked up the wharf with his friend, and as they parted, Mart turnedto him.
"By golly, Bob," he said slowly, "I can't believe it! Say, won't we haveone peach of a time, though? S'pose your dad will take us along afterthe tigers?"
"Of course he will!" agreed Holly, who had stout confidence in hisfather. "We've got more rifles and guns coming down to-morrow than youcan shake a stick at. And we'll go down in the diving suits, too--dad'spromised that already. Well, so long! See you to-morrow."
As Mart Judson walked up the street, he trod on air. It was like a dreamcome true. He would be crossing the Pacific, going to foreign lands,getting the very job he had been vainly longing for--and getting paidfor it all!
"I wonder if it's really true," he thought, staring with unseeing eyesat the scenes around him. "Blamed if it ain't too good to _be_true--tiger shooting and diving and gold mines--Oh, what's the use! I'mdreaming!"