Page:Yule Logs.djvu/17

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A FIGHTING MERMAID


BY KIRK MUNROE

Author of "The White Conquerors" "At War with Pontiac" "Through Swamp and Glade," "With Crockett and Bowie," &c. &c.


CHAPTER I


It was a grand success. Every one said so; and moreover, every one who witnessed the experiment predicted that the Mermaid would revolutionize naval warfare as completely as did the world-famous Monitor. Professor Rivers, who had devoted the best years of his life to perfecting his wonderful invention, struggling bravely on through innumerable disappointments and failures, undaunted by the sneers of those who scoffed, or the significant pity of his friends, was so overcome by his signal triumph that he fled from the congratulations of those who sought to do him honour, leaving to his young assistants the responsibility of restoring the marvellous craft to her berth in the great ship-house that had witnessed her construction.

These assistants were two lads, eighteen and nineteen years of age, who were not only the Professor's most promising pupils, but his firm friends and ardent admirers. The younger, Carlos West Moranza, was the only son of a Cuban sugar-planter, and an American mother who had died while he was still too young to remember her. From earliest childhood he had exhibited so great a taste for machinery that, when he was sixteen, his father had sent him