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do anything about it. Neither can the engineer. She won't obey her wheel or throttle. What do we do—fold up and call it a day?"
Captain Tolliver sat up in his bunk.
"Oh, no. By no means. You'll be awfully busy shortly. Turn out all hands at once. Man your lifeboats and have them ready for lowering? Shut all water-tight doors below and see that there is plenty of shoring handy in case the peak gets stove in. Have the collision mat ready. That's all."
"But the steering?"
"Just let the wheel go. She'll steer herself. She knows where she wants to go. I don't."
The mate left and the old man dragged himself to his mismated feet and began the laborious journey to the bridge. Once he was up there he made sure that the searchlight was ready to turn on in case he needed it. After that he could only wait.
The wait was not long. Fifteen minutes later there was a shock, a grinding, bumping of something under the fore-foot and along the keel. The ship's engines stopped abruptly, then began backing. Captain Tolliver reached for the engine room telegraph and rang it to "Stop."
The ship stopped.
"Collision forward?" shouted the lookout in the bow. "We just ran down a small ship of some sort."
Tolliver could hear the boatswain and his gang dropping into the fore hold to see whether the damage was serious. Then he spoke quietly to the mate who was on the bridge beside him.
"You may put your boats in the water now, Mister. I have a hunch we just ran down a Nazi sub. I'll put on the light as soon as you are lowered." The mate left on the run, more mystified than ever. A man came up from forward and reported the peak was full up to the waterline but the bulkhead abaft it was holding and the ship seemed to be in no danger.
"Turn on that searchlight," ordered Captain Tolliver, "and sweep aft." There was a chorus of gasps as the light stabbed out into the murk and almost instantly lit on a large black object rearing up above the waves. It was the bow of a submarine, and even as they sighted it it slid backwards into the deep. But in that brief glimpse they saw several men plunge overboard, and as the light swept to right and left the bobbing heads of a dozen or more men could be seen in the water.
"Pick up those men and be smart about it," yelled Tolliver through his megaphones to the boats. Then he watched as they draped the survivors into the boats and rowed back to the ship. He watched as they hoisted the boats in and housed them at their davits.
"Put those men under guard," he directed, "and get back on your course. Things will be all right now." And with that he went below to pick up his nights sleep where it had left off.
The arrival of the Sadie Saxon at Bermuda caused quite a stir. Many were the congratulations upon the ship's luck in blundering across a U-boat