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About The Red Cloud chief. (Red Cloud, Webster Co., Neb.) 1873-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 19, 1905)
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trf.V'u Edward J. Clode ,V.:V"i'.:k
AOY TOZEK adjusted her gold
rimmed eyeglasses with an
nil of dignified aggressive
ness. Klio had lived too many
in tlif far oast. In Hongkong
who was Unow n as tho "Mandarin."
Her powers of merciless Inquisition
suggested tornicnt.s long drawn out.
Tho commander of the Sirdar, home
wild hound from Shanghai, knew that
ho was about to he stretched on the
rack when he took his seat at the
"Is It true, captain, that wo are run
ning Into u typhoon?" demanded her
"From whom did you learn that, La
dy lozor?" 1'aptaln Koss was wary,
though somewhat surprised.
"From Miss Deane. I understood
her a moment ago to say that you had
"Didn't you? Some one told me this
morning. I couldn't have guessed it,
could IV" Miss Iris Donne's large blue
eyes surveyed him with innocent In
difference to strict accuracy. Inci
dentally she had obtained the informa
tion from her maid, a nosu tilted co
quette, who extracted ship's secrets
from a youthful quartermaster.
"Well-or I had forgottcuS' explain
ed the tactful sailor.
"Is it true?"
Lady Tozer was unusually abrupt
today. Hut she was annoyed by the
assumption that the captain took a
more girl into his coutldencc and passed
over the wife of the ex-eJiiof Justice of
"Yes, It Is," said Captain Ross, equal
ly curt, and silently thanking the fates
that her ladyship was going home for
the last time.
"Do tell us," chimed in Iris. "Did
you tiud out when you squinted at the
The captain smiled. "You are nearer
the mark than possibly you Imagine,
Miss Dunne," lie said. "When we took
our observations yesterday there was
a very weiid looking halo around the
.sun. This morning you may have no
ticed several fight squalls and a smooth
sea, marked occasionally by strong
ripples. The barometer is falling rap
idly, and I expect that as the day
wears we will encounter a heavy swell.
If the sky looks wild tonight, and es
pecially if we observe a heavy bank of
cloud approaching from the nprthwest,
you will see the crockery danclug
nbout the table at dinner. I am afraid
you are not a good sailor, Lndy Tozer.
Are you, Miss DeancV"
"Capital! I should Just love to see a
real storm. Now promise me solemnly
that you will take me up into the chart
house when this typhoon is simply
tearing things to pieces."
"Oil, dear! I hope It will not be very
laid. Is there no way in which you
can avoid it, captain? Will it last
The politic skipper for once preferred
to answer Lady Tozer. "There Is uo
cause for uneasiness," he said. "Of
course typhoons In the China sea are
nasty things while they last, but a
ship' like the Sirdar is not troubled by
theni. She will drive through tho
worst gale she is likely to meet here
In less than twelve hours. Resides, I
niter the course somewhat as soon b I
discover our position with regard to
Then the commander hurriedly ex
cused himself, and the passengers biiw
no more of him that day.
Her ladyship dismissed the topic as
of no present interest and focused Miss
Deane through her eyeglasses.
"Sir Arthur proposes to come homo
In .lime, I understand?" she Inquired.
Iris was a remarkably healthy young
woman. A large banana momentarily
engaged her attention. She nodded
"You will stay with relatives until
he arrives?" pursued Lady Tozer.
"Helatlves! We have none none
whom we specially cultivate-that Is.
I will stop in town a day or two to;
Interview my dressmaker and then go
Htralght to Holmdale, our place In
"Surely you have a chaperon?"
"A chaperon! My dear Lady Tozer,
did my father Impress you as one who
would permit a fussy and stout old
person to make my life miserable?"
The acidity of the retort lay in the
word "stout'." Hut Iris was not ac
customed to cross examination. Dur
ing a three months' residence on tno
,-i Island she had learned how to avoid
Lady Tozer. Here it was unpossime.
and the older woman fastened upon her
nsp-like. Miss Iris Deane wns a tooth
some morsel for gossip. Not yet twenty-one,
the only daughter of a wealthy ,
baronet who owned a Hoot of stately
ships-the Sirdar among them-a girl
who had been mistress of her father's
house since her return from Dresden
throe years ago young, beautiful, rich
-here was a combination for which
men thanked a Judicious heaven, while
women sniffed enviously.
Business detained Sir Arthur. A war
cloud overshadowed the two great di
visions of the yellow race. lie must
wait to see how matters developed, but
ho would not expose Iris to the In
sidious treachery of a Chinese spring
Shu was confided 1ft the personal
charge of Captnln Koss. Kt each point
of call the company's agents would bo
solicitous for her walfare. The cable's
telegraphic eye would watch her prog
ress as that of some princely maiden
sailing in royal caravel. This fair,
sleimer, wen iormeu gin uongiuiuiiy
English In face and figure with her
fresh, clear complexion, limpid blue
eyes and shining hair was a personage
of some Importance.
Lady Tozer knew these tilings and
"Ah, well," she resumed. " Parents
had different views when I wr.s a girl.
Hut 1 assume Sir Arthur thinks you
should become used to being your own
mistress In view of your approaching
"My approaching marriage!" cried
Iris, now genuinely amazed.
"Yes. Is It not true that you arc
going to marry Lord Vontnor?"
A passing steward heard the point
It had a curious effect upon him. lie
gazed with fiercely eager eyes at Miss
Deane and so far forgot himself as to
permit u dish of water ice to rest
against Sir John Tozer's bald head.
Iris could not help noting his strange
behavior. A Hash of humor chased
uway her llrst angry resentment at
Lady Tozer's Interrogatory.
"Tliut may be my happy fate," she
tinswered gayly, "but Lord Yentuor has
not asked me."
"Every one says in Hongkong" be
gan hur ladyship.
"Confound you, you stupid rascal!
What are you doing?" shouted Sir John.
Ills feeble nerves at last conveyed the
information that something more pro
nounced than a sudden draft affect
ed his scalp; the Ice was melting.
The Incident amused those passen
gers who sat near enough to observe it.
Hut the chief steward, hovering, watch
ful near the captain's table, darted for
ward. Pale with anger, he hissed:
"lteport yourself for duty In the sec
ond saloon tonight." And he hustled
his subordinate away from the Judge's
Miss Deane, mirthfully radiant, rose.
"Please don't punish the man, Mr.'
Jones," she said sweetly. "It was a
sheer accident. He was taken by sur
prise. In his place 1 would have emp
tied the whole dish."
The chief steward smirked. He did
not know exactly what had happened.
Nevertheless, great though Sir John J
Tozer might be, the owners daughter
"Certainly, miss, certainly," he
ugreed, adding confidentially: "It Is
rather hard on a steward to be seut
aft, miss. It makes such a difference
lu the er the little gratuities given
by the passengers."
The girl was tactful. She smiled
comprehension at the otllcial and bent
over Sir John, now carefully polishing'
the back of his skull with a table nup-
"I am sure you will forgive him," i
she whispered. "I can't suy why. but!
the poor fellow was looking so Intently
at me that lie uiu not see what he wns
The ex-chlef Justice was Instantly
mollified. He did not mind the appli
cation of lye in that way rather liked
ft, in fact. Probably Ice was suscepti
ble to tho lire lu Miss Dunne's eyes. I
Suddenly the passengers still seated
experienced a prolonged sinking sensa
tion, as If the vessel had been convert-!
vd Into a gigantic lift. They were ,
pressed hard Into their chairs, which
creaked and tried to swing around on
their pivots. Ab the ship yielded stlflly
to the sea a whlft of spray dashed !
through an open port.
"There!" snapped her ladyship. "I
knew we should run Into a storm. Yet
Captain Koss led us to believe John, '
fake me to my cabin at once." I
From the promenade deck the 11st
i'ss groups watched the rapid adftnee I
of tit glfi. There was mournful spec-.
ulatlou upon the Sirdar's chances of'
reaching Singapore- before the next
Iris stood somewhat apart from the
other passengers. The wind had fresh
ened, and her hat was tied closely over,
her ears. Shu leaned against 'the taff
rail, enjoying tho cool breeze after!
hours of sultry heat. Tho sky was
cloudless yet, but there was a queer
lossly past the ship. Once after a
steady climb up a rolling hill of water
the Sirdar quickly pecked at the suc
ceeding valley, and the propeller gave
a couple of angry flaps on the surface,
while a tremor ran through the stout
Iron rails on which the girls arms
The crew were hus, too. Squads of
Lascars raced about, Industriously obe
dient to the short shrill whistling of
Jemadars and quartermasters. Hoat
lashings wore tested and tightened,
canvas awnings stretched across the
deck forward, ventilator cowls twisted
to now angles ami hatches clamped
down over tVto wooden gratings that
covered the holds. Olllcors, spotless In
white litieii, lllttod quietly to and fro.
When the watch was changed Iris
noted that the "chief" appeared In an
old blue suit and carried oilskins over
his arm as he climbed to the bridge.
Nature looked disturbed and fitful,
and the ship responded to her mood.
There was a sense of preparation lu
the air, of coming ordeal, of restless
foreboding. Chains clanked with a
noise the girl never noticed before; the
tramp of hurrying men on the hurri
cane deck overhead sounded heavy and
hollow. There was a squeaking of
chairs that was abominable when peo
ple gathered up books and wraps and
staggered ungracefully toward the
companlonway. Altogether Miss Deane
was not wholly pleased with the pre
liminaries of a typhoon, whatever tho
realities might be.
Why did that silly old woman allude
to her contemplated marriage to Lord
Veutnor,, retailing the gossip of Hong-
Iris could not help notay hln stranye
kong with such malicious emphasis?
For nn Instant Iris tried to shake tho
railing In comic auger. She hated Lord
Vent nor. She did not want to marry
him or anybody else Just yet. Of course
her father had hinted approval of his
lordship's obvious Intentions. Countess
of Yentuor! Yes, It was a nice title.
Still she wanted another couple of
years of careless freedom. In any
event why should Lady Tozer pry and
And linally, why did the steward
oh, poor old Sir John! What would
have happened if the Ice had slid down
his neck? Thoroughly comforted by
this gleeful hypothesis, Miss Deane
seized a favorable opportunity to dart
across the starboard side and see If
Captain Koss' "heavy bank of cloud
in the northwest" had put In an ap-
ifn! There it was. black, ominous.
gigantic, rolling up over the horizon
nke some monstrous football. Around
I it the sky deepened Into purple, fringed
with a wide belt of brick red. She had
never seen such a beginning of n gale.
From what she had read In books she
Imagined that only In great deserts
were clouds of dust generated. There
could not be dust In the dense pall now
rushing with giant strides across the
trembling sea. Then what was It?
Why was It so dark and menacing?
And whore was desert of stone nnd I
sand to compare with this awful ex
panse of water? What a small dot
was this great ship on the visible sur
face! But ihe ocean Itself extended
away beyond there, reaching out to the!
Infinite. The dot became a mere speck,
uildlfctiugtilBhahle beneath n celestial
microscope such ns the gods might
condescend to use.
Iris shivered and aroused herself
with a startled laugh. I
The lively fanfare of the dinner
trumpet failed to fill tho saloon. By
this time the Sirdar was fighting reso
lutely against a stiff gale. Hut tho
Htress of acrtral combat was bettor than
the eerie sensation of Impending dan
ger during the earlier hours.' Tho
strong, hearty pulsations of the en
gines, the regular thrashing of the
screw, the steadfast onward plunging
H 111? 'Uki''1'-IrWW
and flying scud, wcro cheery, confident
Miss Deane Justified her bonst that
she was an excellent Bailor. She
smiled delightedly at the ship's sur
geon when he caught her eye through
the many gaps In the tables. She was
alone, so he Joined her.
"You are a credit to the company
quite a sea king's daughter," ho said.
"Doctor, do you talk to all your lady
passengers In that way?"
"Alas, no! Too often I can only bo
truthful when I am dumb."
Iris laughed. "If I remain long on
this ship I will certainly have my head
turned," she cried. "I receive nothing"
but compliments from the captain
down to- to"
"No. You come a good second on the
In very truth she was thinking of the
Ice carrying steward and his queer
start of Surprise at the announcement
of her rumored engagement. The man
Interested her. looked liken broken
down gentleman. Her quick eyes trav
eled around the saloon to discover his
whereabouts. She could not see him.
Tho chief steward stood near, balanc
ing himself In apparent defiance of tho
laws of gravitation, for the ship was
now pitching and rolling with a mad
zeal. For an Instant she meant to In
quire what had become of the trans
gressor, but she dismissed the thought
at lis inception. The matter was too
With a wild swoop all the plates,
glasses and cutlery on the saloon ta
bles cri'shed to starboard. Were It not
for tho iesralnt of the fiddles every
thing must have been swept to tho
floor. There were one or two minor ac
cidents. A steward, taken unawares,
was thrown headlong on top of his
laden tray. Others were compelled to
clutch the backs of chairs and cling to
pillars. One man Involuntarily seized
the hair of a lndy who devoted an hour
before each meal to her coiffure. The
Sirdar with a frenzied bound tried to
turn a somersault.
"A change, of course," observed the
doctor. "They generally try to avoid
It when people are In the saloon, but a
typhoon admits of no labored polite
ness. As Its center is now right ahead,
we are going on the starboard tack to
get behind It."
"I must hurry up and go on deck,"
said Miss Deane.
"You will not be able to go on deck
until the morning."
She turned on him Impetuously. "In
deed I will. Captain Koss promised
me-that Is, I asked him"
The doctor smiled. She was so charm
ingly insistent! "It is simply Impossi
ble,'' hv, MAC "The co-upafilon doors
are bolted. The promenade deck Is
swept by heavy seas every minute. A
boat has been carried away, and sev
eral stanchions snapped off like car
rots. For tin; llrst time In your life,
Miss Deane, you are battened down."
The girl's face must have paled some
what. He added hastily: "U'liere is no
danger, you know, but these precau
tions are necessary. You would not
like to see several'tons of water rush
ing down the saloon stairs; now, would
"Decidedly not." Then, after a pause:
"It is not pleasant to be fastened up in
a great Iron box, doctor. It reminds
one of a huge collln."
"Not a bit. The Sirdar Is the safest
ship afloat. Your father has always
pursued a splendid policy in that re
spect. The Loudon and Hongkong
company may not possess fast vessels,
but they are seaworthy and well found
In every respect."
"Are there many people III on
"No; Just the usual number of dis
turbed livers. We had a nasty acci
dent shortly before dinner."
"Good gracious! What happened?"
"Some Insenrs were caught by u sea
forward. One man had his leg bro
ken." "Anything else?"
The doctor hesltnted. lie became
Interested In the color of some Bur
gundy. "I hardly know tho exact do
, tails yet," he replied. "Tomorrow nft-
er brenkfast I will tell you all about
An English quartermaster nnd four
Lnscars had been licked from off the
forecastle by the greedy tongue of a1
huge wave. The Bucceedlng surge flung
the live men back against the quarter.
One of the black sailors was pitched
aboard with n fractured leg and other
Injuries. The others were smashed
ngalnst the Iron hull and disappeared.1
For one tremulous moment the en
gines slowed. The ship commenced to
veer ofT Into the path of tho cyclone.
Captain Ross set his teeth, nnd tho tele
graph bell Jangled "Full speed nhend."
"Poor Jackson!" he murmured. "One
of my best men. I remember seeing
his wife, a prettly little woman, and
two children coming to meet him last
homeward trip. They will he there
ncnln. flood Clod! That Lascar who
. A ii i .,
wjis saved has some one to aualt him
lu n Bombay village I suppose.
.. ...I.. .... 1. l.lu ....... tr, 4,n
am- wiihiiiu iuukui. ... ,...., ..-
chart house. He wiped tho salt water
from his eyes and looked anxiously at
"Still falling!" ho muttered. "I will
keep on until 7 o'clock and then bear
three points to the southward. By
midnight we should bo behind It."
Ho struggled back into the outsldo
furyj Hi' cumnnrisnu tho tiu-ii
del he quitted was paradise. on the edge
of an Inferno.
Down lu the saloon the hardier pas
sengers were striving to subdue tho
eunul of an Interval before they sought
their cabins. Some talked. One hard
ened reprobate strummed the piano.
Others played cards, chess, draughts
anything that would distract attention.
The stately apartment offered strange
contrast to the waning elements with
out. Bright lights, costly upholstery,
soft carpets, curved panels and glided
cornices, with uniformed attendants
passing to and fro carrying coffoo and
glasses these, surroundings suggested
a floating palace In which the raging
seas wore dolled. Yet forty miles away,
somewhere In the furious depths, four
corpses swirled about with horrible
uncertainty, lurching through battling
currents and perchance convoyed by
The surgeon had been called away,
his was the only lady left In the sa
loon. She watched it set of whist play
ers for a time and then essayed the
perilous passage to her stateroom. Shu
found her maid and u stewardess
there. Both women wore weeping.
"What Is tho matter?" she Inquired.
The stewardess tried to speak. She
choked with grief and hastily went
out. The maid blubbered an explana
tion. "A friend of hers was married, miss,
fo the man who Is drowned."
"Haven't you heard, miss? I sup
pose they are keeping' It quiet. An
English sailor and some natives were
swept off the ship by a sea. One native
was saved, but he Is all smashed up.
The others were never seen again."
Iris by degrees learned the sad
chronicles of the Jackson family. Sho
was moved to tears. She remembered
tho doctors hesitancy and her own
Idle phrase, "a huge collln."
Outside the roaring waves pounded
upon the Iron walls.
Two staterooms had been converted
Into one to provide Miss Denno with
nmplo accommodation. There were no
bunks, but a cozy bed was screwed to
the deck. She lay down and strove to
read. It was a dlllleult task. Her
eyes wandered from the printed page
to mark the absurd antics of her gar
ments swinging on their hooks. At
times the ship rolled so far that nhe
felt sure It must topple over. She was
not afraid, but subdued, rather aston
ished, placidly prepared for vague
Things were ridiculous. What need
was there for all this external fury?
Why should poor sailors be cast forth
to Instant death lu such awful man
ner? If she could only sleep and for
getIf kind oblivion would blot out the
storm for a few blissful hours! Hut
how could one sleep with the conscious
ness of that watery giant thundering
his summons upon the Iron plates a
few Inches away?
Then came the blurred picture of Cap
tain Koss high up on tho bridge peer
lug into the moving blackness. How
strange that there should be hidden lu
the convolutions of a man's brain an
intelligence that laid bare the pre
tenses of that ravenous demon without!
Each of the ship's olllcors, Uiu com
mander more than the others, under
stood the why and the wherefore of
this blustering combination of wind
and sea. Iris kne the language of
poker. Nature was putting up a huge
Oh, dear! She was so tired. It de
manded a physical effort to constantly
shove away an unseen force that tried
to push you over. How funny that a
big cloud should travel up against the
wind! And so, amid confused won
derment, she lapsed Into an uneasy
slumber, her lust sentient thought be
ing a quiet thankfulness that the
screw went thud, thud, thud, thud,
with such determination.
After the course was changed and
tho Sirdar bore away toward the south
west the commander consulted the ba
rometer each half hour. The telltale
mercury had sunk over two Inches In
twelve hours. Tho abnormally low
pressure quickly created dense clouds,
which eunanced the melancholy dark
ness of the gale.
For many minutes toguthur the bows
of the ship were not visible. Masthead
and side lights were obscured by tho
pelting scud. The engines thrust the
vessel forward like a lauco Into tho
vitals of the storm. Wind and wave
gushed out of tho vortex with Impo
At last soon after midnight the ba
rometer showed n slight upward move
ment. At 1:110 a. m. the change becumu
pronounced. Simultaneously the wind
swung round n point to the westward.
Then Captain Koss smiled wearily.
Ills face brightened. He opeued his
oilskin coat, glanced at the compass
and nodded approval. Then he turned
to consult a chart. Ho was Joined by
the chief olllcer. Both men examined
the chart In silence.
Captain Koss finally took a pencil.
VMIf ll1!l Junn 1 11(1 tj WU jr,i
ne HtH,)bwl tB 0nt ou U0 pnn0,
" t(o lcf,hl)0,.,looa of H dogreeg nc
""- .,..... ' ..,.,... ...,,
,mii ivj.lp.'roefi east.
"We are about there, I think."
The chief agreed. "That wns tho lo
cality I had lu my mind." He bent
closer over tho sheet.
"Nothing In the way tonight, Blr," ho
t Tft "W- mi"
of the good ship through racing seas
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