Page:Yule Logs.djvu/25

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9
A FIGHTING MERMAID

"The very thing," cried Carlos Moranza. "In that way we could carry her right into Havana harbour, and there offer the scow for sale to the Spaniards as a blind. It is a noble idea, my Carol, and will prove our salvation."

"It might be done," said the Professor thoughtfully. "Let us go and take some measurements."

This they did, and found that the pocket of the dumping scow was amply large to hold the Mermaid, at the same time allowing her free egress and exit. It would even float her when closed and half filled with water. Only a few alterations that readily suggested themselves to the Professor were needed to exactly suit the great craft to their purpose.

While he took charge of these, and Carlos took a trip to New York for consultation with the President of the Cuban Junta, Carl Baldwin arranged for the charter of the finest sea-going tug on the Delaware, and through her captain for the purchase of the dumping-scow.

The Professor had long since placed the practical direction of his school in the hands of able assistants, so that he was free to leave it at a moment's notice for any length of time. Thus, when he announced that he was about to devote a few weeks to the testing of his pet invention, and should need the assistance of his two ranking pupils, their departure was effected without arousing undue curiosity.

The clearing of the tug, with its novel tow, for Havana, was, however, quite another thing; and, from the moment their destination was announced, both craft were watched by Government officials and Spanish spies to see that no contraband cargo was taken aboard. Of course nothing of the kind was found; but this did not prevent a revenue cutter from escorting the tow down the river and across Delaware Bay until it was clear of the breakwater and well out at sea. Finally, the cutter turned back; but even