Page:Yule Logs.djvu/18

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2
A FIGHTING MERMAID

to the United States to be educated as a mechanical engineer in one of the best technical schools of that country.

There his dearest chum was his class-mate, Carl Baldwin, son of the famous American shipbuilder, John Baldwin, and heir to the latter's vast fortune. The elder Baldwin had founded the school in which his own son was now being educated, and placed at its head his lifelong friend, Professor Alpheus Rivers, who, upon his patron's death, had also become Carl's sole guardian.

In appearance and disposition young Baldwin was the exact opposite of Carlos Moranza, and it was this as well as the similarity of their names that had first attracted the lads to each other. While the young Cuban was a handsome fellow, slight of figure, with a clear olive complexion, impulsive and rash almost to recklessness, the other was a typical Anglo-Saxon American, big, fair, and blue-eyed, rugged in feature, and slow to act, but clinging with bulldog tenacity to any idea or plan that met with his favour. He invariably addressed his chum as "West," while the latter generally called him "Carol."

The Rivers submarine boat, finally christened Mermaid, had been evolved during long years in the great Baldwin shipyard located on the Delaware, less than a mile distant from the Baldwin technical school, and during his lifetime John Baldwin had taken a deep interest in its construction. Thus Carl had been familiar with its every detail from the time that he could remember anything, and had grown up with an abiding faith in its possibilities. That his chum was also enthusiastic concerning it constituted one of the strongest bonds of sympathy between them. Now that its complete success had been demonstrated by four hours of trial, during most of which time it had been manœuvred under water with a party of six distinguished engineers on board, Carl's elation was only little less than that of the inventor, whose very life was bound up in it. Like him, however, the lad was slow to