A FIGHTING MERMAID
"Don't you he too sure of that," admonished the captain of the tug gruffly. "There's many a cruiser between here and there, and every one of 'em is sartin to board us."
So it proved. At Charleston, where the tug put in for coal, leaving her tow in the lower bay, the scow was boarded by revenue officers, who did not leave her until she was again at sea; and all the while the poor little Mermaid was dodging about under water, only coming up now and then for a breath and a quick glance at her surroundings, like a hunted sea-fowl.
Off the mouth of the St. John's River, the tow was hove-to by a blank shot from a Government cruiser, and again was the Mermaid forced to seek safety at the bottom of the sea. This time she avenged herself by rising directly beneath the cruiser, and demonstrating to the Professor's entire satisfaction how easily he could if he chose place and fire a torpedo that would blow her from the water.
It had been decided to touch at Key West, the most southerly extremity of Florida, as well as of the United States, and only eighty-five miles across the Gulf Stream from Havana, and finally, after many narrow escapes from discovery, our adventurers reached the port of that quaint island-city in safety.
Here they found several American men-of-war, a small fleet of torpedo-boats, four revenue cutters, and a Spanish cruiser, to all of whom the strange tow, slowly making its way up the harbour, seemed an object of especial interest. Their fame had preceded them; every one knew that they were bound for Havana, and that they had been objects of suspicion all the way down the coast. So, before they came to anchor, they were boarded by United States officers, and a guard was placed on both tug and scow, with orders to allow no communication between them and the shore, except under strict surveillance.In the meantime, the little Mermaid had sunk quietly