Page:Ballinger Price--Us and the Bottle Man.djvu/69

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of that voyage, and besides, many's the time you yourselves must have weathered the Horn. For it was 'round Cape Stiff we went—no Panama Canal in those days—and I served a bitter apprenticeship on ice-coated yards, clutching numbly at battering sails frozen stiff as iron. It was Peru we were bound for,—Peru where the submarine city lay beneath uncounted fathoms waiting for us. The captain and I were the only ones Acuma, the half-breed, had taken into his confidence; all the others sailed on a blind errand, trusting to the skipper, who was a shrewd man and severe. And the brigantine wallowed around the Cape and toiled on and on up the coast, and every day Acuma grew more restless; every day he cast about the water with eyes that seemed to pierce to the very bottom of the Pacific.

One day of blue sky and little breeze, when we were pushing the brigantine with all sails set, Acuma flung himself at a bound to the quarterdeck, and a moment later the skipper shouted quick orders that the crew could not understand for the life of them. For to heave the ship to, just when we all had been whistling for enough breeze to give her something more than steerage way, seemed nothing short of insane. Acuma climbed to the maintop and looked at the coast