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The Victoryof the Flag, (P. 304,)
FOR THE FLAG
FROM THE FRENCH
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY
pt. llts'atnt's gtOttSt
FETTER LANE, FLEET STREET, E.C.
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION
THE SCHOONER "EBI
"WHERE AM I?"
Two DAYS AT SEA
KER KARRAJE 170
FIVE WEEKS 189
THE ADVICE OF SERKI THE ENGINEER 205
"A DIEU VAT 222
THE "SWORD" IN CONFLICT WITH THE TUG 235
SOME HOURS LATER 275
ONE AGAINST FIVE 29I
ON BOARD THE "TONNANT" 306
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
The victory of the flag
An inventor .
The inventor with a craze
The keeper and his charge
A private view
The landing is effected .
On board the schooner Ebba
Lifting the buoy
The submerged cargo
Gaydon in prison
The man at the helm
Under constraint .
Count d'Artigas on his quar:er-deck
Signalling on board the Ebba
Land in sight .
The tug alongside
The hidden creek
In the interior of the island
The pirates' store-houses
Vill LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
The "h6tel" of Count d'Artigas 173
Ker Karraje 185
The inventor in a frenzy 95
A sperm whale in the lagoon 199
A hearer unseen 217
An explosion 225
Casting news upon the waters 229
The Sword 245
Under the lagoon 249
Captain Spade on the alert 253
The look-out from the pirates' den 267
The squadron is sighted 277
Ex-patient and ex-keeper 83
The end is at hand 2.93
The inventor's preparation 97
For the flag 309
FOR THE FLAG
A CARD was handed to the Principal of Healthful House
on a certain I5th of June, which bore simply the name,
without escutcheon or coronet:
Above this name, on a corner of the card, the following
address was written in pencil:
On board the schooner Ebba, at anchor at Newburn,
The capital of North Carolina-one of the forty-four
states of the Union at that period-is the rather important
town of Raleigh, one hundred and fifty miles from the
coast in the interior of the province. On account of its
central position that city had become the seat of the legis-
lature; for others-Wilmington, Charlotte, Fayetteville,
Edenton, Washington, Salisbury, Tarboro, Halifax, New-
burn-equal or surpass it in commerce and manufactures
FOR THE FLAG
Newburn is situated at the farther end of the estuary of
the Neuse, which flows into Pamlico Sound, a vast salt-
water lake protected by a natural breakwater of islands
and islets along the Carolina coast.
The Principal of Healthful House would not have guessed
the reason of this civility had not the card been accom-
panied by a note in whtch the Count asked permission to
visit the establishment.
The stranger hoped that the Principal would be kind
enough to grant this favour, and he proposed to call during
the afternoon with Captain Spade, the commander of the
A desire to view the famous health resort, then so much
frequented by rich invalids in the United States was, of
course, natural on the part of a stranger. Others had
already visited it who could not boast so great a name as
Count d'Artigas, and they had not been sparing of their
eulogies. The Principal gladly gave the desired authoriza-
tion, and replied that he should feel honoured by receiving
his noble visitor.
Healthful House, served by an excellent staff, and
assured of the co-operation of the leading physicians, was
a private institution. Independent of all control or super-
vision, save that of the State, it afforded the requisite
conditions of comfort and salubrity in an establishment
destined for the reception of wealthy patients.
It would be difficult to find a more agreeable situation
than that of Healthful House. The building, sheltered at
the back by a hill, was surrounded by a park of two hundred
acres, planted with timber of those magnificent species
which abound in that portion of North America which
lies in the same latitudes as the Canaries and Madeira.
At the lower edge of the park stretched the wide estuary
of the Neuse, perpetually refreshed by the breezes of
Pamlico Sound, and the ocean winds coming from afar.
At Healthful House, where the wealthy patients were
nursed under, excellent hygienic conditions, cures were
numerous. But although in general the establishment was
reserved for the treatment of chronic illness, the adminis-
tration did not refuse to admit patients afflicted with mental
disorders, when these were not of an incurable kind.
Now, just at that time-a circumstance likely to attract
attention to Healthful House, and perhaps the motive of
the visit of Count d'Artigas-a personage of great notoriety
had been detained there for eighteen months under special
This personage was a Frenchman named Thomas Roch,
aged forty years. That he was under the influence of a
mental malady could not be dcubted, but up to the present
the doctors had not pronounced him positively insane.
That he was wanting in common sense in the most simple
acts of life was only too certain. Still, his reason remained
clear, powerful, incontestable, when an appeal was nade
to his genius-and who does not know that "great wits
to madness often are allied" ? It is true his affective
and sensorial faculties were seriously disordered. When
these were called into action, they manifested themselves
in delirium and incoherence. Then the man was merely
FOR THE FLAG
an unreasoning being, bereft of that natural instinct which
is present even in the lower animals-even of self-preser-
vation-and he had to be treated like a child. In Pavilion
No. 17, which he occupied in the park of Healthful House,
it was his keeper's duty to watch him day and night.
Ordinary madness, when it is not incurable, can only be
cured by moral means. Medicine and therapeutics are
impotent, and their inefficacy has long been recognized by
specialists. Were moral means applicable in the case of
Thomas Rcch ? This was doubtful, even with the peaceful
and healthy surroundings of Healthful House. The symp-
toms-restlessness, varying moods, irritability, eccentricities
of character, melancholy, apathy, repugnance to either
amusement or serious occupation, were distinctly marked.
No doctor could be mistaken, no treatment promised to
be efficacious in either removing or reducing them.
It has been justly said that madness is an excess of
subjectivity, that is to say, a state in which the mind
devotes itself too much to its interior working, and not
enough to impressions from the outside. In Roch this
indifference was almost absolute. He lived only within
himself, a prey to a fixed idea whose obsession had brought
him to his present state. Would something happen; a
shock which should exteriorizee" him-to employ a
sufficiently exact word? It was improbable, but not
Let it now be related under what circumstances Thomas
Roch had left France for the United States, and why the
Federal Government had deemed it prudent and necessary
to confine him in this retreat, where every word that
escaped him unconsciously during his paroxysms was
noted with the utmost care.
Eighteen months previously the Minister of Marine at
Washington had received a request from Thomas Roch for
an audience on the subject of a communication which the
latter wished to make.
Although he was aware of the nature of the communica-
tion and what demands would accompany it, he did not
hesitate, and the audience was immediately granted.
In fact, Thomas Roch was so notorious a personage,
that the interests in his charge forbade the Minister to
hesitate to receive the applicant in order to learn the pro-
positions to be laid before him.
Thomas. Roch was an inventor-an inventor of genius.
Important discoveries had already brought his name before
the world. Thanks to him, problems until then merely
theoretic had received a practical application. His name
was known in science, he occupied a prominent place in
the learned world, and we shall see after what vexations,
what mortifications, what insults even, lavished upon him
by the shallow jesters of the press, he had been driven
into the fit of insanity that led to his detention at Healthful
His latest invention in engines of war was called the
Roch Fulgurator. This apparatus, if he were to be believed;
was so much superior to all others that the State which
should. secure it would be absolutely sovereign over sea
FOR THE FLAG
Everyone knows that inventors have to contend with
formidable difficulties, especially when they endeavour to
procure the adoption of their devices by ministerial com-
missions. Many well-known examples of this fact exist,
but it is useless to dwell on them, for such transactions
present difficulties, inexplicable to the outsider. However,
in the case of Thomas Roch, it may be admitted that, like
those of the majority of hi; predecessors, his demands
were so excessive, an I he rated his new engine at so exor-
bitant a value, th-it it was almost impossible to treat with
This arose, it must be observed, from his having been
audaciously imposed upon in the matter of preceding
inventions, which had been adopted with most valuable
results. His temper had been soured, and his mind em-
biLtered, by his failure to obtain the profit legitimately due
to him; he became distrustful, determined to treat only on
his own terms, however unacceptable to other parties, and
in every case he demanded so considerable a sum of money,
even previous to any tests, that his requirements seemed
In the first instance Roch, as a Frenchman, offered the
Fulgurator to France. He informed the commission
nominated to receive his communication of its purpose.
It was a sort of auto-propulsive engine of quite special
fabrication, charged with an explosive composed of new
substances, which produced its effect only under the action
of a new deflagrator, also of his own invention.
When this engine, however it might have been pro-
pelled, exploded, not by striking the object aimed at, but
at a distance of some hundreds of yards, its action on the
atmospheric strata was so great that every structure, either
detached fortress or man of-war, within a space of ten
thousand square yards, must be annihilated. The principle
was the same as that of the ball projected by the Zaluski
pneumatic cannon, which had been already tested at that
period, but with results multiplied at least a hundred times.
If the invention of M. Roch really possessed this power,
then superiority, either offensive or defensive, was secured
to his country. Yet might not the inventor have ex-
aggerated, even though he had tested it against other
machines of well-established credit ? Only experiments
could demonstrate it, and Thomas Roch refused to consent
to such trials until after payment of the millions at which
he valued his Fulgurator.
It is certain that his mind had already lost its balance.
He had no longer entire possession of his brain power, but
was on the path which would gradually lead to madness.
No government could condescend to treat with him under
the conditions he imposed.
The French commission had to break off all negotia-
tions, and the newspapers, even those of the Radical
opposition, were obliged to admit the difficulty of pro-
ceeding with the matter. The proposals of Thomas Roch
were rejected, and without any fear that another State
would consent to accept them.
With that excess of subjectivity which went on increasing
in the shaken mind of the inventor, it is not surprising
FOR THE FLAG
that the chord of patriotism, becoming unstrung by degrees,
soon ceased to vibrate. For the honour of human nature,
it must be repeated that by this time he was no longer
accountable. His mind was inert, except on the subject
of his invention; in that one particular it retained its power.
But in all that concerned the most ordinary details of
existence, his mental collapse became more marked daily,
and deprived him of complete responsibility for his actions.
His offer, then, was declined. Perhaps it would have been
better to prevent him from taking his invention elsewhere.
This was not done, however, which was a mistake.
The inevitable happened. Under his increasing irrita-
bility, the sense of patriotism which is the essence of the
citizen-who belongs to his country before belonging to
himself-became numbed in the mind of the disappointed
inventor. He turned his thoughts to other nations; he
crossed the frontier, he forgot the never-to-be-forgotten
past, and he offered the Roch Fulgurator to Germany.
There, after learning the inventor's exorbitant demands,
the Government refused to receive his proposal. More-
over, a new ballistic engine had just been tested in the
war, and the authorities thought they might dispense with
the French invention.
Then the Frenchman's rage increased to hate-an in-
stinctive hatred against mankind-specially after his
approaches to the Admiral'y of Great Britain had failed.
The English being a practical people, the Admiralty did
not repulse him all at once-they dallied, temporized, and
circumvented him. Roch would listen to nothing. His
The inventor with a craze.
secret was worth millions; those millions he would have,
or no one should obtain his secret. Finally the Admiralty
gave him up.
It was under these circumstances, his mental state
growing daily worse, that he made a last attempt with
America-about eighteen months before the opening of
The Americans, being even more practical than the
English, did not haggle about the Roch Fulgurator, on
which they placed an exceptional value, because of the
French chemist's reputation.
They rightly looked upon him as a man of genius, and
took measures which were justified by his mental condition,
with the intention of making an equitable settlement with
As Thomas Roch gave proofs beyond dispute of mental
disturbance, the administration, in the interest even of his
invention, considered it expedient to place him under
As it has already been said, he was not placed in a
lunatic asylum. Healthful House offered every guarantee
for the treatment of his malady. But although he had
received the most assiduous care, the object had not
hitherto been attained. However irrational he was in all
else-this point must be insisted upon once more-the
inventor was completely himself when he was set going on
the topic of his discoveries. He became animated, he
spoke with the decision of a man sure of himself, and with
an authority which impressed his hearers, He eloquently
FOR THE FLAG
described the marvellous qualities of his Fulgurator, and
the truly extraordinary effects which would result from it.
But, upon the nature of the explosive, and of the deflag-
rator, the elements that composed it and their fabrication,
and the manipulation it required, he maintained invincible
reserve. Once or twice at the height of a paroxysm it
was thought that the secret of his invention was about to
escape him, and every precaution was taken. All was
in vain; though Thomas Roch no longer possessed the
instinct of self-preservation, he took good care to preserve
Pavilion 17, in the park of Healthful House, stood in a
garden surrounded by quickset hedges, where the patient
might take exercise under the supervision of his keeper.
This attendant lived in the same pavilion with him, slept
in the same room, watched him night and day, and never
left him for an hour. He watched his least words during
the ravings which generally occurred in the intermediary
state between waking and sleeping, and he even listened to
his muttering in his dreams.
The man's name was Gaydon. Shortly after the inven-
tor's sequestration, having learned that an attendant who
spoke French was wanted, he had presented himself at
Healthful House and was accepted in the capacity of
keeper to the new patient.
In reality the so-called Gaydon was a French engineer,
named Simon Hart, who had been for several years in the
employ of a firm of manufacturing chemists in New Jersey.
He was forty years old, his forehead was large and marked
with the straight line of the observer; his resolute bearing
denoted energy and tenacity combined.
Simon Hart was well versed in the various questions
connected with the perfecting of modern armament, and
those inventions which might affect its power. IHe knew
thoroughly all that had been done in the matter of
explosives-over eleven hundred existed at that time-and
he was essentially the man to appreciate Thomas Roch.
Believing in the power of the Fulgurator, he was
convinced that Thomas Roch was in possession of an
engine capable of changing the conditions of war, either
offensive or defensive, on land and on sea. Having heard
that the man of science had been respected by the malady
which had invaded him on all other sides, that in the partly
deranged brain still burned a light, a flame, the flame
of genius, Hart bethought him that if the secret were to
escape Roch in a moment of frenzy, his invention might
be used for the benefit of a foreign power. Thereupon he
resolved to become the inventor's keeper, by passing
himself off as an American who spoke the French tongue
fluently. Under pretext of a voyage to Europe he resigned
his post, and changed his name. Circumstances were in
his favour, the proposal he made to the Principal was
accepted, and for fifteen months he had fulfilled all the
duties of keeper to Thomas Roch, at Healthful House.
Such resolution denoted rare unselfishness and noble
patriotism, for the service to be undertaken necessitated
work of a kind repulsive to a man of Simon Hart's class
and education. But-this must not be forgotten-the
FOR THE FLAG
engineer did not intend to despoil his charge. If indeed
his secret escaped him, Thomas Roch should have all the
gain when he recovered his reason.
Thus did Simon Hart, or rather Gaydon, live for
fifteen months with the lunatic, observing, watching, even
questioning, without gaining any information. The more
he heard the inventor talk of his discovery, the more was
he convinced of its extraordinary importance, and he
dreaded above all things that the partial derangement of
the faculties of his charge might develop into complete
insanity, or that a fatal crisis might carry away his secret
with his life.
Such was Simon Hart's situation, such was the mission to
which he had sacrificed himself in the interest of his country.
However, the patient's physical health did not suffer,
thanks to his vigorous constitution. The nervous vitality
of his temperament enabled him to resist all these de-
structive causes. Of medium height, with a massive head,
a well-developed forehead, well-shaped skull, grey hair,
eyes haggard at times, but bright, fixed, imperious when
his dominant thought flashed from them, a thick moustache
under a nose with readily-heaving nostrils, a mouth with
tight lips as though closed upon a secret, a thoughful
countenance, the attitude of a man who had striven long,
and was determined still to strive-such was the inventor,
Thomas Roch, confined in one of the buildings of Healthful
House, not conscious perhaps of this sequestration, and in
the charge of Simon Hart the engineer, known as Gaydon
The keeper and his charge,
WHo was this Count d'Artigas? A Spaniard, as his
name seemed to indicate. Yet the stern of the schooner
bore in letters of gold the name Ebba, and that was pure
Norwegian. Had he been asked the name of the Ebba's
captain, he would have answered, "Spade," and Effondat
the boatswain, and Selim the cook-all singularly dis-
similar names, which suggested various nationalities.
It would be difficult to deduce any plausible theory from
the appearance of Count d'Artigas. While the colour of
his skin, his very black hair, and the grace of his movements,
might proclaim a Spanish origin, his general appearance
offered none of the racial characteristics of the natives of
the Iberian peninsula.
He was of more than medium height, very strongly
built, and at most forty years of age. With his calm
and haughty bearing he resembled a Hindoo prince in
whom was blended the blood of the superb Malayan types.
If his were not a cold complexion, the same could not be
said of his imperious gesture and abrupt speech. The
language which he and his crew spoke was one of those
dialects common in the islands of the Indian Ocean and
FOR THE FLAG
the surrounding seas. Yet when his voyages landed him
on the shores of the old or the new world, he expressed
himself with remarkable ease in English, betraying his
foreign birth by a slight accent only.
What had been Count d'Artigas' past, the divers inci-
dents in a most mysterious existence ? What was his
present, from what source did he draw hN fortune ?-
evidently considerable, since it permitted him to live like
a gentleman of fine tastes and fastidious habits. Where
was his home; at least, what was the schooner's port of
destination ? No one could say, and no one dared inter-
rogate him on this point, so reticent was he. He did not
look like a man who would give himself away in an
interview-even for the benefit of American reporters.
All that was known of him was simply what was said
in the newspapers when the presence of the Ebba was
announced in some port, specially in the ports on the east
coast of the United States. There, in fact, the schooner
came at almost fixed periods to take in all sorts of supplies
for a long voyage. Not only did she revictual in pro-
visions, flour, biscuits, preserves, salt meat and fresh, live
sheep and oxen, wines, beers, and alcoholic liquors, but
also in clothing, tools, luxuries, and necessaries, all paid
for at a high rate, either in dollars, or guineas, or other
coinage of various countries.
Hence, although little or nothing was known of the
Count's private life, he himself was well known in the
various ports of the American coast from the peninsula of
Florida to New England.
It was not therefore surprising that the Principal of
Healthful House should feel himself honoured by the
This was the first time the schooner Ebba had put into
the port of Newburn; and it could be only the owner's
whim which led him to the mouth of the Neuse. What
had brought Count d'Artigas to this place ? To revictual ?
No; for Pamlico Sound could not offer him the resources
he would find in other ports such as Boston, New York,
Dover, Savannah, Wilmington in North Carolina, and
Charleston in South Carolina. In the estuary of the Neuse,
in the insignificant market of Newburn, what merchan-
dise could the Count d'Artigas get in exchange for his
piastres and his bank-notes ? This "chief-place" of the
County of Craven did not contain more than from five to
six thousand inhabitants. Trade meant merely the ex-
portation of grain, pigs, furniture, and naval stores. Besides,
some weeks before, during a stay of ten days at Charleston,
the schooner had taken in a complete cargo for a destina-
tion which, as usual, was unknown.
Had this enigmatic individual, then, come for the sole
object of visiting Healthful House? Perhaps there was
nothing very surprising in this, since the establishment
enjoyed a very real and very just celebrity.
It might also be that the Count had a fancy for meeting
Thomas Roch. The wide-spread fame of the French
inventor would certainly justify his curiosity ; for was not
Roch a mad genius, whose inventions promised to
revolutionize the methods of modern military art!
FOR THE FLAG
In the afternoon, as he had arranged by letter, Count
d'Artigas presented himself at Healthful House, accom-
panied by Captain Spade, commander of the Ebba.
In accordance with the orders given, they were instantly
admitted, and conducted to the presence of the Principal.
The latter gave the Count an effusive welcome, placed
himself at their service-for he would relegate to no inferior
the honour of being their cicerone, and Count d'Artigas
accepted the kind offer gratefully. They began by visiting
the general sitting-rooms and the private apartments.
The Principal dwelt upon the care bestowed on the sufferers
-far greater, if he were to be believed, than they could
have received in their own homes ; truly exceptional treat-
ment, he repeated, and its results had gained well-merited
success for Healthful House.
Count d'Artigas listened in his usual phlegmatic way,
and appeared interested in the Principal's inexhaustible
loquacity, probably the better to disguise the real object of
his visit. However, after an hour thus spent, he ventured
Have you not a patient who has been greatly discussed
of late-who has attracted the attention of the public to
Healthful House ?"
I think you are alluding to Thomas Roch, Count,"
said the Principal.
Yes ; the Frenchman-the inventor whose mind seems
to be unhinged."
"Very much so, sir; and perhaps it is just as well it
should be so. To my mind, mankind can gain nothing by
~~~ t;. ~-~=. ~=
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Ar prvate view
those inventions which increase the means of destruction
which are too numerous already."
That is well said," remarked the Count, "and I agree
with you. True progress does not lie in that direction,
and I look upon all such efforts as malevolent. But has
this man entirely lost the use of his mental powers ? "
"Entirely? No, Count, only as far as the things of
ordinary life are concerned. In regard to these he has
neither understanding nor responsibility. Yet his in-
ventive genius has remained intact, it has survived the
mental collapse, and if his absurd demands had been
admitted, I have no doubt he would have produced a new
engine of war-of which there is not the least need."
Certainly not, certainly not," repeated the Count.
And Captain Spade looked approval.
You may judge for yourself, sir. Here we are at the
pavilion where M. Roch lives. Though his detention is
necessary for the safety of the public, he none the less
receives all the attentions due to him, and the care neces-
sary to his condition. Besides, he is out of reach of those
who might wish to-"
The Principal finished his sentence by nodding his head
significantly. This brought an imperceptible smile to the
lips of his guest.
But," the Count asked, "is M. Roch never alone ?"
"Never, sir. He has a keeper, in whom we have
complete confidence, in constant attendance. In case
he should by some means or other let fall any suggestion
relating to his discovery, his words would be immediately
FOR THE FLAG
taken down, and it will be seen what use shall be made
At that moment Count d'Artigas glanced quickly at
Captain Spade, who answered by a gesture which seemed
to say, I understand."
Anyone who had watched the said Captain Spade
during the visit would have remarked that he examined
with special minuteness that portion of the park surround-
ing Pavilion 17, and the various openings that led to it
-probably carrying out a plan previously arranged. The
garden of the pavilion was bounded by the outer wall of
the property. Outside, the wall enclosed the base of the
hill whose sides sloped gently down to the right bank of
The building consisted of a ground floor with a terrace
after the Italian style. It contained two rooms and a
hall, with windows secured by iron bars. Beautiful
trees, then in all their summer luxuriance of foliage, sur-
rounded the house on all sides. There were lovely green,
velvety lawns, dotted all over with shrubs of various kinds,
and richly-tinted flowers in full bloom. The whole space
covered about half an acre, and was reserved to the ex-
clusive use of Thomas ]och, who was free to come and
go about the garden under the eyes of his keeper.
When Count d'Artigas, Captain Spade, and the Principal
reached this enclosure, they caught sight of Gaydon, the
keeper, at the door of the pavilion.
The Count instantly fixed his eyes on the attendant,
whom he appeared to examine with special interest un-
remarked by the Principal. This was not, however, the
first time that strangers had come to visit the occupant of
Pavilion 17, for the French inventor was justly considered
the most interesting inmate of Healthful House. Never-
theless Gaydon's attention was attracted by the singular
appearance of these two, whose nationality he could not
ascertain. Although Count d'Artigas' name was not
unknown to him, he had never had the opportunity of
meeting that rich gentleman during his visits to the eastern
ports, and he was not aware that the schooner Ebba was
at that moment anchored off the bank at the boundary
of Healthful House.
"Gaydon," said the director, "where is M. Roch ? "
There," said the keeper, pointing to a man who was
walking meditatively under the trees behind the pavilion.
"Count d'Artigas has received permission to visit
Healthful House, and he did not wish to leave without
having seen our patient who has been so much talked of
And he would have been still more talked of if the
Federal Government had not taken the precaution of
shutting him up in this establishment."
A necessary precaution, Count."
"Certainly, Principal. It is far better for the repose of
the world that the secret of this invention should be buried
Gaydon looked at the Count, but did not say a single
word, and, preceding the two visitors, he led the way to
the group of trees at the end of the enclosure.
FOR THE FLAG
A few steps brought the strangers into the presence of
The afflicted man had not seen them approach, and
when they were within a short distinct of him he was
evidently not aware of their presence.
In the meantime Captain Spade, without arousing
any suspicion, was carefully examining the grounds
and the position occupied by Pavilion 17 at the
lower end of the park of Healthful House. As
he followed the sloping paths he easily distinguished
the top of a mast which rose above the outside wall.
A momentary glance sufficed to enable him to recog-
nize it as belonging to the /.bbi, and to verify that
the wall on this side ran along the right bank of the
Motionless and mute, Count d'Artigas watched the
French -inventor. This man was vigorous still; eighteen
months' incarceration had done no injury to his health.
But his strange attitudes, his incoherent gestures, his
haggard eyes, his indifference to everything happening
about him, clearly denoted a complete state of abstraction
and derangement of mind.
Thomas Roch had just sat down on a seat,-and with
the end of a cane which he held in his hand he was draw-
ing the outline of a fortification on the path. Then,
falling on his knees, he made little mounds of sand,
evidently to represent bastions. That done, he broke off
some leaves from a bush and planted them on the top of
the mounds like so many tiny flags. He did all this quite
seriously and without paying the least attention to the on-
It was child's play, but a child would not have played
with such undisturbed gravity.
Is he quite mad, then ?" the Count asked, and in spite
of his usual imperturbability he appeared to feel some
"I warned you, sirthat nothing could be got out of
him," the Principal replied.
Will he not take any notice of us ?"
"It will he difficult to make him." And then turn-
ing towards the attendant, the Principal said, "Speak
to him, Gaydon; perhaps your voice will induce him
He is sure to answer me," said Gaydon.
Then touching his charge on the shoulder, he pro-
nounced his name in a low tone.
The afflicted man raised his head, and of all those present
he saw no one but his keeper, although Count d'Artigas,
Captain Spade, who had just rejoined him, and the
Principal, stood round him in a circle.
M. Roch," Gaydon said, speaking in English,
"Here are some visitors who wish to see you. .
They are interested in your health in your
This last word caught the inventor's attention.
My work ? he rejoined in the same language, which
he spoke fluently.
Then taking a pebble between his finger and thumb, like
FOR THE FLAG
a marble in a small boy's fingers, he aimed it at one of the
sand mounds, which it brought down.
He shouted with delight.
Down It is down My explosive has destroyed the
whole thing with one blow."
Roch rose with the light of triumph in his eyes.
"You see," said the Principal, addressing Count d'Artigas,
"the idea of his invention never leaves him."
"And it will die with him," said the keeper em-
"Could you not induce him, Gaydon, to talk of his
invention, of his explosive Fulgurator, as he called it ?"
If you desire me to do so, sir."
I do, for I think it will interest Count d'Artigas."
Undoubtedly," replied the Count, and his features
kept the secret of his thoughts.
"There is the risk of bringing on a paroxysm," observed
"You may stop the conversation when you think fit.
Say to M. Roch that a stranger wishes to treat with him
for the purchase of his Fulgurator."
"But are you not afraid that his secret may escape
him ? interrupted Count d'Artigas.
The words were said with such vivacity that Gaydon
could not restrain a glance of distrust, which had no effect
upon the impenetrable visitor.
"There is nothing to fear," he answered, "and no pro-
mise will tear his secret from M. Roch, so long as the
millions he demands are not in his possession."
I haven't the money about me," was the Count's calm
Gaydon returned to his patient, and again he touched
him on the shoulder.
M. Roch," he said, "here are some strangers who pro-
pose to purchase your discovery."
Thomas Roch drew himself up.
"My discovery," he cried, my explosive, The Roch
-His increasing excitement indicated the imminence of a
paroxysm of the kind which Gaydon had described, and
which" was always caused by questions of this nature.
"How much will you give me for it? How much? "
repeated the Frenchman.
There was no difficulty in promising him a sum, however
How much ? How much?" he cried again.
Ten million dollars," Gaydon replied.
Ten millions !" repeated Roch. Ten millions for a
Fulgurator which is ten million times superior to any other
in existence! Ten millions for an auto-propulsive pro-
jectile which can, in exploding, extend its destructive
power over thousands of square yards! Ten millions-
the only deflagrator capable of causing such an explosion !
All the riches of the world are not sufficient to pay for the
secret of my engine, and rather than sell it at that price I
would bite out my tongue with my teeth Ten millions,
when it is worth a milliard !-a milliard a milliard!"
Thomas Roch was evidently a man with whom it was
FOR THE FLAG
impossible to deal; one in whose mind no sense of pro-
portion any longer existed; and even had Gaydon offered
him ten thousand millions the madman would have
Count d'Artigas and Captain Spade had watched him
closely from the beginning of this outburst; the Count
still phlegmatic, though with lowering looks; the Captain
shaking his head to express : Decidedly there is nothing
to be done with this unfortunate person."
Roch finally fled, and as he ran across the garden he
cried in a voice choked with rage,-
"Thousands of millions! thousands of millions!"
Gaydon then turned to the Principal, and said curtly:
"I warned you "
He set off in pursuit of his charge, and having joined
him he took him by the arm without much resistance, and
led him into the pavilion, locking the door.
Count d'Artigas remained alone with the Principal, while
Captain Spade for the last time traversed the garden inside
"I exaggerated nothing, Count," declared the Principal.
" It is undeniable that M. Roch's malady is increasing
daily, and in my opinion it will develop into incurable
insanity. If all the money he demands were given to him,
nothing could be gained by it."
"That is probable," replied Count d'Artigas; and yet,
if his demands amount to an absurdity, he has none the
less invented a machine whose power is, so to speak,
COUNT D'ARTIGAS 37
"That is the opinion, sir, of persons competent to judge;
but what he has discovered will soon disappear with him
in one of these paroxysms, which are becoming more
intense and more frequent. Soon even the motive power
of interest, the only one that seems to have survived in his
mind, will disappear."
"Perhaps there will remain the motive of hate !"
murmured the Count as Captain Spade joined him before
the chief entrance.
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION.
HALF an hour later Count d'Artigas and Captain Spade
were walking along the road, bordered with venerable
beeches, that separates the right bank of the Neuse from
the establishment of Healthful House. They had both
taken leave of the Principal, the latter declaring himself
much honoured by their visit, and they thanking him for
his kind reception. A hundred dollars destined for the
staff testified to the Count's generosity. He was a
foreigner of the greatest distinction-who could doubt it,
if distinction is to be measured by generosity !
Leaving Healthful House by the iron gates, halfway up
the hill, the Count and the Captain walked round the outer
wall, whose height precluded any attempts to scale it.
The former was pensive, and according to custom his
companion waited until he was addressed.
Count d'Artigas did not break the silence until the
moment when, pausing on the road, he was in a position
to measure with his eye the height of the wall in front of
"You had time," he said, to study the premises ? "
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION
"Yes, M. le Comte," replied the Captain, accentuating
the title which he gave to the stranger.
"Nothing has escaped you ? "
"Nothing that is useful to know. On account of its
position behind this wall the pavilion is easy to reach, and
if you persist in your project-"
I persist, Spade."
Notwithstanding his mental state ? "
Notwithstanding that state; and if we succeed in carry-
ing him off-"
That is my affair. When night comes I undertake to
get into the park of Healthful House and up to Pavilion
17 without being seen by anyone."
By the iron gates ? "
"No, from this side."
But the wall is on this side, and after having got over
it how will you clear it again with Roch ? If the lunatic
shouts, if he offers any resistance, if his keeper raises the
Don't let that disturb you. We have only to go in and
come out by that door."
Captain Spade pointed to a narrow door a few steps off.
contrived in the wall for the use of the people of the house
when their work brought them to the water's side.
By that we shall get into the park. We shall not want
a ladder," rejoined the Captain.
But that door is closed."
"It will be opened."
But are there no bolts on the inside ?"
FOR THE FLAG
"I drew them back during my walk behind the trees
at the foot of the garden, without being observed by the
Count d'Artigas went tip to the door and said, It is
Here is the key," replied his companion, and he pre-
sented the key which he had taken out of the door after he
had freed the bolts from their staple.
You have done well, Spade," said the Count. Pro-
bably the adventure will not present many difficulties.
Let us get back to the schooner. About eight o'clock,
when it becomes dark, one of the boats will land you with
"Yes, five men. They will be enough in case the
keeper is troublesome and we may have to get rid of
Get rid of him-" the Count replied. Very well, if
that is absolutely necessary-but it would be better to
secure this Gaydon and take him on board the Ebba.
Who knows whether he has not already got at a pait
of the secret."
That is true."
And then, Roch is accustomed to him ; and I do not
intend anything to be changed about him."
This reply, Count d'Artigas accompanied with a smile
so significant that the Captain could make no mistake
about the part to be played by the Healthful House
The plan of this double abduction was then decided
The landing is effected.
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION
upon, and it appeared to have every chance of success, un-
less, during the two hours of daylight that still remained,
some one perceived that the key was missing from the
door of the park, and that the bolts were drawn. Captain
Spade and his men were certain of obtaining access to the
It must be observed besides, that, with the exception of
M. Roch, who was under special supervision, the other
residents in the establishment were subject to no measures
of that kind. They occupied pavilions or rooms in the
principal building situated in the upper part of the park.
All this led the conspirators to think that Thomas Roch
and his keeper, Gaydon, being separately surprised in
Pavilion 17, and unable to offer any serious resistance, or
even to call for help, would be easily made victims of this
double abduction which Captain Spade was about to
attempt for the benefit of Count d'Artigas.
The foreigner and his companion then directed their
steps towards a little bay where one of the Ebba's boats
awaited them. The schooner was moored two cable-
lengths away, with its sails enveloped in their yellow
covers, and its yards topped according to the custom on
board pleasure-yachts. No flag flew above the taffrail.
Only at the masthead there appeared a small red
pennant which the east breeze, now fallen, scarcely
The Count and the Captain entered the boat. In a few
moments four oars had pulled them to the schooner, and
they had mounted to the deck by the side-ladder.
FOR THE FLAG
Count d'Artigas hastened aft to his cabin while Captain
Spade went forward to give his last orders.
As he drew near the forecastle he leant over the star-
board side and his eye sought an object floating at some
It was a small buoy.
The night was falling slowly. On the left bank of the
winding river the uncertain outline of Newburn was
beginning to fade. The houses looked black against the
horizon still lighted by a ray that edged the clouds in
the west. On the other side the sky was dark with thick
masses of vapour. But it did not seem like rain, for these
masses were hanging high in the sky.
Towards seven o'clock the first lights of Newburn
glittered in the windows of the upper floors of the houses,
while theglimmer from the ground floors was reflected in long
zigzags that scarcely wavered on the waters, for the wind-
had fallen with the night. The fishing-boats were coming
in slowly to gain the coves of the harbour, some striving to
catch a last breath in their sails, others pulled by oars,
whose strokes, clear and rhythmic, were heard from afar.
Two steamers passed, emitting a stream of sparks from
their double funnels crowned with black smoke, and beat-
ing the water with their powerful paddles.
At eight o'clock the Count reappeared on deck, accom-
panied by a man about fifty years of age, to whom he
"It is time, Serko."
I'll go and tell Spade," replied Serk6.
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION
The Captain joined them.
"Get ready to start," said his employer.
We are ready."
Be sure that no one is awakened at Healthful House,
and let none suspect that Thomas Roch and his keeper
have been brought on board the Ebba."
"They would not be found, that is more, if they were
looked for," Serk6 added, shrugging his shoulders, and
"Anyway, it would be better not to arouse suspicion,"
replied Count d'Artigas.
The boat was lowered. Captain Spade and five men
took their places. Four of them laid hold of the oars.
The fifth, Effrondat, the boatswain, who was to steer the
boat, took his place at the tiller near the Captain.
"Good luck, Spade," Serkb cried, smiling, "and be as
noiseless as a lover carrying off his lady."
"Yes-unless this Gaydon-"
"We must have Roch and Gaydon," said D'Artigas.
I understand," answered the Captain.
The boat got clear, and the sailors followed it with their
eyes until it was lost in the darkness.
It is to be remarked that while awaiting its return the
Ebba made no preparations for departure. Undoubtedly
she had no intention of quitting her moorings after the
abduction. And in truth, how could she gain the open
sea? There was not a breath of wind, and in half an
hour the tide would be felt for several miles up the
46 FOR THE FLAG
Moored at two cables-length from the steep bank, the
Ebba could easily have put in closer, and still be in fifteen
or twenty feet of water; and this would have facilitated
the embarkation when the boat would come alongside.
But if she had not effected that manceuvre, it was because
the Count had his reasons for not giving the order.
The distance was covered in a few moments, the boat
having passed without being seen.
The shore was deserted, solitary also was the road out-
side the beeches of Healthful House park.
The grappling irons being firmly fixed on the bank,
Captain Spade and his four men landed, leaving the boat-
swairi behind, and disappeared under the dark canopy of
When they reached the wall of the park the Captain
stopped, and his men drew up on each side of the door.
After the precautions he had taken he would have only to
put the key in the lock and push the door, provided
that none of the servants of the establishment, seeing it
not locked as usual, had bolted it on the inside.
In that case the abduction would have been difficult,
even admitting the possibility of scaling the wall.
In the first place the Captain put his ear to the key-
There was no noise of footsteps in the grounds, no one
going in or out of Pavilion 17. Not a leaf stirred on the
branches of the beeches that screened the road. All
around was the silence of the open country on a breezeless
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION
Spade drew the key from his pocket and slipped it into
the lock; the latch was lifted, and with a gentle push the
door opened inwardly. Everything was in the same state
as in the afternoon.
Captain Spade entered the garden, after assuring him-
self that no one was in the vicinity of the pavilion, and
his men followed him.
The door was not locked, but merely closed to: this
would enable them to escape with all speed on their
In this part, shaded by groups of high trees, it was so
dark that it would have been hard to distinguish the
pavilion were it not that a bright light was shining from
one of the windows.
This, no doubt, was the window of the room occupied
by Thomas Roch and by his attendant, for Gaydon never
left the patient committed to his care, either day or night.
Therefore Spade expected to find him in the room.
His four men and he advanced cautiously, taking care
that no noise of rolling stone or breaking branch should
reveal their presence. In this way they gained the side
of the building, and reached the door. The light that
shone through the curtains of the window was placed near
the door. But if this door were fastened, how were they to
get into the madman's room ? Such was the question
that Captain Spade was asking himself. As he had no
key that would open the room door, would it not be
necessary to break one of the window panes, force the
fastening of the window in a twinkling, burst into the
FOR THE FLAG
room, surprise Gaydon by a sudden attack, and render
him incapable of calling for help ?
But such violent measures would be attended by certain
risks. Captain Spade was perfectly aware of this, for he
was a man given rather to cunning than to violence.
However he had no choice. The one thing essential
was to carry off the inventor-Gaydon too, if necessary,
in accordance with the Count's instructions-and he must
succeed, whatever the cost.
The Captain reached the window, raised himself on
tiptoe, and through an opening in the curtains he was able
to examine the room.
Gaydon was there near his charge, who was still labour-
ing under the attack caused by the recent visit. This
attack required special treatment, which the attendant
was now giving, under the direction of one of the doctors
of the establishment, whom the Principal had immediately
sent to No. 17.
Manifestly the doctor's presence could only complicate
the situation, and render the abduction more difficult.
Roch was lying on a sofa, quite dressed. At that
moment he appeared sufficiently calm. The paroxysm
was passing off little by little, and it would be followed by
some hours of torpor and drowsiness.
When Spade raised himself up to the window the doctor
was about to withdraw, and Spade heard him assure
Gaydon that the night would pass without farther alarm,
and there would be no necessity for him to return.
Then the physician turned towards the door, which
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION
opened, it will be remembered, near the window where the
five men were waiting. If they had not hidden them-
selves behind the group of trees close to the pavilion, they
would have been seen, not only by the doctor, but also by
the keeper who accompanied him.
Before either of them appeared on the steps, Captain
Spade made a sign, and his companions dispersed, while he
crouched under the window.
Fortunately the lamp had been left on th2 table, so the
sailors from the Ebba were in no danger of being betrayed
by a ray of light.
As he took leave of Gaydon the doctor paused on the
first step, and said,-
This is one of the severest attacks our patient has had !
Two or three more equally violent, and he will lose the
little reason he yet retains."
Well, then," said Gaydon, "why does not the Principal
forbid him to see visitors ? It is a certain Count d'Artigas
who had heard of his fame, whom our boarder has to
thank for being as you found him."
I will call the attention of the Principal to it," replied
He then descended the steps, and Gaydon walked with
him to the end of the side walk, leaving the hall door
Before the two men had advanced twenty steps the
Captain rose, and his men joined him.
Ought they not to take advantage of this opportunity
to enter the room and seize Thomas Roch, who was
FOR THE FLAG
already half asleep, and then wait to set upon Gaydon
and secure him ?
But the keeper would lose no time in returning, and,
missing his charge, he would seek him, he would shout,
raise an alarm-the doctor would run back immediately ;
the whole staff of Healthful House would be astir. The
trespassers would not have time to reach the lower gate,
to get out and lock it after them .
But Spade had no leisure to reflect on the subject.
The sound of footsteps on the gravel announced that
Gaydon was coming back to the pavilion. It was better
to fall upon him, stifle his cries before he could give the
alarm, make it impossible for him to defend himself. .
With four, or even five, he would be overpowered iinme-
diately. That done, the Captain would proceed to the
capture of the inventor under the most favourable condi-
tions, for the unfortunate man would not know what was
Meanwhile Gaydon appeared from behind'the trees, and
was advancing towards the steps. But the moment he
put his foot on the first step the four men flung them-
selves upon him, stretched him on the ground without
giving him the chance of uttering a cry, gagged him
with a handkerchief, covered his eyes with a bandage,
and bound his arms and legs so tightly that he was as
helpless as a corpse.
Two of the sailors remained at his side while Captain
Spade and the others proceeded into the room.
It was just aS the Captain conjectured, Roch was in
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION
such a state that the noise had not roused him from his
torpor. As he lay on the sofa with his eyes closed, were it
not for his heavy breathing he might have been thought
dead. It was not necessary either to bind him or to gag
him. Two men merely lifted him up, one by the head
and the other by the feet, and they started for the boat.
All this was effected instantaneously.
Then Captain Spade left the room last, after he had
carefully put out the light and shut the door. By this
means there was reason to suppose that the capture would
not be discovered before the morrow, or at soonest in the
early hours of the morning.
The same manoeuvre was repeated for the transport of
Gaydon, which was performed without difficulty. The
two other men lifted him up, and walking down the
garden they reached the outer wall.
That part of the park, always unfrequented, was in
profound darkness. They could not even see on the hill-
side the lights of the buildings and other pavilions of
Having gained the door, Spade had only to open it.
The men carrying Gaydon passed out first. Roch went
second in the arms of the other two. Then Captain Spade
followed and locked the door with the key, which he in-
tended throwing into the depths of the Neuse so soon as
he reached the ship's boat.
There was no one on the road, no one on the bank!
Twenty steps brought them to Effrondat, who awaited
them seated against the slope. Roch and Gaydon were
FOR THE FLAG
placed in the stern of the boat, and the Captain and his
men immediately took their places.
Let go the grapnel, quick," the Captain cried to the
The latter obeyed the order, and slipping down the
bank, he entered the boat in his turn.
The four oars struck the water, and the boat shot out
towards the schooner. A light at the foremast indicated
its moorings, and twenty minutes before she had swung to
her anchors at the flow of the tide.
Two minutes later the boat was alongside the Ebba.
D'Artigas was leaning over the side near the ladder.
"Is it done, Spade ? he asked.
It is done."
Both-the keeper and the kept! "
"No one suspects at Healthful House ?"
No one "
It was not likely that Gaydon, with his eyes and ears
tied up, could recognize the voices of Count d'Artigas and
One thing he might have observed. Neither Roch nor
he were hoisted on board the schooner at once. There
was some grinding against the side, and half an hour
passed before Gaydon, who had never lost his presence of
mind, felt himself seized anew, lifted, and then lowered to
the bottom of the hold.
The capture being accomplished, the Ebba had only to
quit her moorings, descend the estuary again, make for
A DOUBLE ABDUCTION 55
Pamlico Sound, and gain the open sea. Yet there was no
sign on board of the preparations usual when a ship is
getting under sail.
Was it not dangerous, however, to remain in that place
after the double seizure performed in the night? Had
the Count so safely hidden his prisoners that they could
not be discovered should the Ebba, whose proximity to
Healthful House was suspicious, receive a visit from the
An hour after the boat's return the crew were in their
hammocks, except the men of the watch in the prow,
Count d'Artigas, Serk6, Captain Spade in their cabins-all
slept on board the schooner, which lay motionless on the
tranquil waters of the Neuse.
TIE SCHOONER EBBA.
IT was only the next day, and without any signs of haste,
that the Ebba began her preparations. From the end of
the Newburn pier, the crew might be seen, after the deck
was washed, freeing the sails from their coverings under
the boatswain's direction, casting off the gaskets, clearing
the gear, hauling up the boats, with a view to setting sail.
At eight o'clock in the morning the Count had not yet
appeared. His companion Serk6, the engineer-as he
was called on board-had not yet left his cabin. As for
the Captain, he was busy giving various orders to the
sailors which indicated an immediate departure.
The Ebba was a yacht admirably adapted for racing,
although she had never figured in the North American or
British races. The tall masts, surface breadth of canvas,
the length of her yards, her draught which gave her great
stability even when covered with canvas, her clearly defined
water lines, denoted a rapid, seaworthy vessel, capable of
contending with the worst weather.
Indeed, the schooner Ebba could easily do her twelve
miles an hour in a strong breeze close to the wind.
Of course sailing vessels are always dependent on the
THE SCHOONER EBBA"
variableness of the atmosphere. When a calm comes they
must wait, and also, even though they may possess nautical
qualities superior to those of the steam yacht, they never
have that certainty of progression which steam gives the
All considered, it would seem that superiority belongs
to the ship which combines the advantages of sail and
screw. But such was evidently not the Count's opinion,
since he was satisfied with a schooner for his voyages,
even when they extended beyond the limits of the
That morning a gentle breeze came from the west.
This was favourable for the Ebba, first for getting out of
the Neuse, and then for reaching one of the inlets to
Pamlico Sound that formed a kind of strait communicating
with the open sea.
Two hours later the Ebba was still riding at anchor, and
her chain was beginning to haul taut with the ebb-tide.
The schooner had swung round and its bow was turned to
the mouth of the Neuse, the little buoy which the evening
before floated on the port side must have been carried
away in the night; it was no longer visible.
Suddenly a cannon shot was heard, and smoke rose from
the batteries on the coast. It was answered by several
shots from the guns that were echeloned on the fringe of
islands in the offing.
At that moment the Count and the engineer came up
The Captain met them.
FOR THE FLAG
A cannon shot," he said.
We heard it," the engineer answered, slightly shrugging
That means that our performance at Healthful House
has been discovered," the Captain continued.
"Undoubtedly," replied Serkb, "and this booming
means the order to close the passes."
"What has that to do with us ?" the Count asked
in a calm tone.
"Nothing," answered the engineer.
Captain Spade was right in saying that by that time the
disappearance of Roch and his keeper was known to the
staff of Healthful House.
In the morning when the doctor went to No. 17 to pay
his usual visit he found the room empty. So soon as the
Principal heard of the catastrophe, he ordered the grounds
to be searched. The investigation revealed that although
the door at the foot of the hill was locked, the key was not
in the lock, and also that, the bolts had been drawn from
There could be no doubt that it was by this door the
abduction had been effected, either during the evening or
during the night.
Who had done it ? No one could offer a supposition.
The only thing known was that at half-past seven in the
evening one of the resident doctors had visited M. Roch,
who was then undergoing a violent paroxysm.
After he had remained for a considerable time with the
patient, the doctor left him sleeping, and quitted Pavilion
On board the schooner Ebba,
. '--- ---:--i -.- -:-=- :-
THE SCHOONER EBBA "
17 with Gaydon, who accompanied him to the end of the
What afterwards occurred no one knew.
The news of the disappearance was telegraphed to
Newburn and to Raleigh. In reply, the Governor of
North Carolina instantly telegraphed orders that no vessel
should be allowed to leave Pamlico Sound until it had
been subjected to the closest inspection. A second tele-
gram instructed the cruiser Falcon, then stationed there,
to put this order into execution. At the same time the
most stringent measures were taken for a strict watch on
the country ports and provincial towns.
In consequence of this Count d'Artigas could also see
the Falcon two miles to the east making ready to carry out
these instructions. Now, during the time necessary for
getting up steam the schooner might easily have escaped
without fear of pursuit-for an hour at least.
"Shall we heave the anchor ? asked the Captain.
"Yes, since the wind is favourable, but let there be no
sign of haste," said Count d'Artigas.
That is right," said Serk6, "all the channels of the
Sound will be watched now, and no ship will get out
without having received a visit from gentlemen as careful
as they are curious."
"Let us get under sail all the same," commanded the
Count. When the cruiser's officers or the Customs' agents
have examined the Ebba the embargo will be taken off,
and I shall be very much astonished if they do not give us
FOR THE FLAG
With many apologies and good wishes for a pleasant
voyage and a speedy return!" rejoined Serk6i; and his
remark ended in a long laugh.
When the news was known at Newburn the authorities
asked each other whether it meant flight or abduction. As
a flight could not have taken place without Gaydon's con-
nivance, that idea was abandoned. In the opinion of the
Principal and the Committee, the keeper's conduct was
Then it must have been abduction-and one may imagine
the effect of that in the town. What! the French inventor,
so strictly guarded, had,, disappeared! and with him the
secret of the Fulgurator which no one had yet been
able to acquire ? Surely the consequences would be very
grave. Was the new discovery completely lost to
America ? Suppose the deed had been done by another
nation, would not that nation, now that Thomas Roch
had fallen into its power, make use of what the Federal
Government had not been able to obtain, and how could
it possibly be believed that the authors of the abduction
had acted for a private individual ?
So, precautions were extended over the various divisions
of North Carolina. An elaborate supervision was exer-
cised on the roads and railways, and around the residences
in the towns and country. As for the sea, it was to be
closed along the whole length of the coast, from Wilming-
ton to Norfolk. No vessel was to be exempt from search
by officers or police agents, and any was to be detained on
the slightest suspicious indication. Not only was the
THE SCHOONER EBBA "
Falcon making its preparations, but several steam launches
in reserve on the waters of Pamlico Sound were getting
ready to scour the sea, with instructions to search down to
the depths of the hold, merchantmen, pleasure-boats,
fishing craft-including those that were at anchor as well
as those setting out to sea.
And all the time the schooner Ebba was getting ready to
heave her anchor. Upon the whole, it did not seem that-the
Count experienced the least anxiety about the measures
taken by the administration, or the contingencies which
would arise if Thomas Roch and his keeper were found on
About nine o'clock the last preliminaries were com-
pleted, and a few minutes later the Ebba turned her head
to the east so as to double the left bank of the Neuse.
About fifteen miles from Newburn the river bends
suddenly, and winds towards the north-west, growing
wider as it advances. After having passed Croatan and
Havelock, the Ebba reached the bend, and veered towards
the north, close to the wind, along the left bank. It was
eleven o'clock, when, favoured by the breeze and without
having met either cruiser or steam-launch, she rounded
the point of the island of Sivan, beyond which Pamlico
This vast expanse of water measures one hundred kilo-
meters from Sivan Island to Roadoke Island. On the
ocean side stretches a long line of narrow islands like a
natural breakwater, lying north and south from Cape
Lookout to Cape Hatteras, and on to Cape Henry, on a
FOR THE FLAG
level with the city of Norfolk in the neighboring State
A great number of lights are placed on the islands and
islets in Pamlico Sound in order to make navigation
possible during the night. In it there was accommodation
for all vessels seeking shelter from the Atlantic swell, and
good anchorage was always to be found.
Many passages establish communication between Pamlico
Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. A little beyond the
Sivan Island lights the Ocracoke Inlet opens, beyond it
Ilatteras Inlet, and above that three others bearing the
names Loggerhead, Newhead, and Oregon.
It is true the Falcon guarded that part of the Sound,
and inspected all the trading vessels and fishing-boats
outward bound. In fact, by this time, in accordance
with the common interpretation of the orders received
from the Administration, every passage was watched by
U.S. ships, to say nothing of the batteries which com-
manded the channels.
Having passed Ocracoke Inlet, the Ebba made no effort
either to encounter or to avoid any of the vessels on the
water, but kept on its casual course towards Hatteras Inlet,
by which channel, for reasons known to Limself, the Count
d'Artigas intended to get out.
Until then the Ebba had not been challenged by the
revenue agents or by the cruiser's officers, although
she had not avoided them. Besides, how could she escape
their vigilance? Were the authorities about to spare
D'Artigas the annoyance of a visit as a special privilege?
THE SCHOONER EBBA "
Did they regard him as too high a personage for his naviga-
tion to be interfered with even for an hour? This was
unlikely, for while taking him for a foreigner leading the
luxurious life of one of fortune's favourites, no one actually
knew who he was, whence he came, or whither he was
The schooner continued her, course, moving gracefully
and swiftly over the waters of the Sound. Her flag-a
crescent of gold on a red ground-floated majestically in
Count d'Artigas was seated in the stern, in one of the
cane deck-chairs commonly seen on pleasure-boats. The
engineer and the captain were chatting with him.
"The officers of the Federal Marine are in no hurry to
touch their hats to us," observed Serko.
"Let them come when they like," said the Count, in a
tone of complete indifference.
Probably they are waiting until we get into Hatteras
Inlet," said the Captain.
Let them wait," said the rich yachtsman curtly, and
then he relapsed into the moody abstraction which was
habitual to him.
The Captain's hypothesis was probably correct, for it
was evident that the Ebba was making for the passage
indicated. The Falcon had not yet signalled to her to lie-
to, but certainly would do so as the schooner neared the
entrance to the passage. In that place it would be im-
possible for the yacht to refuse the prescribed visit before
clearing Pamlico Sound to gain the open sea.
FOR THE FLAG
It did not seem, however, that the yacht had any desire
to avoid the authorities.
Were Roch and Gaydon so well concealed on board
that it was impossible for the State agents to find
This supposition was admissible, but perhaps Count
d'Artigas would have shown less confidence had he known
that the Ebba was the object of the closest scrutiny on
board the cruiser and the custom-house launches.
In fact, the visit of the foreigner to Healthful House
had attracted special attention to him. Naturally, the
Principal could have had no reason to suspect the motives
of his visit. Yet, only a few hours after the Count's
departure, Roch and his attendant had been carried off,
and since his visit no one had been received at Pavilion 17,
and no one had been in communication with Thomas
Roch. Suspicions were awakened, and the heads of the
house began to ask what part the foreigner had taken in
the affair. Supposing the place to have been reconnoitred,
and the approaches to the pavilion examined, could not
the Count's companion have withdrawn the bolt of the
door and taken out the key? To return at nightfall,
slip into the park, and proceed with the abduction, would
in that case be a comparatively easy matter, since the
Ebba was anchored only two or three cable-lengths from
Now these suspicions, which neither the Principal nor
his staff had formulated at the opening of the inquiry,
gained strength when the schooner was seen to raise her
THE SCHOONER EBBA"
anchor, descend the estuary, and manceuvre so as to gain
one of the exits of the Sound.
Then the authorities ordered the Falcon and the Customs
steamers to follow the Ebba, to stop her before she entered
one of the channels, to subject every part of the vessel to
the severest examination. She was not to be granted free
pratique until they were convinced that the missing men
were not on board.
Surely Count d'Artigas could not be unconscious that
he was under suspicion, that his yacht was being specially
watched by officers and agents.
But if he had been aware of this, would he, with his
superb disdain and haughty bearing, have condescended to
About three o'clock in the afternoon the schooner,
which was cruising within a mile of the passage, performed
the evolutions necessary to keep the middle of the
After having visited some fishing boats then going out
to sea, the Falcon waited at the mouth of the passage.
No mere sailing vessel could have escaped the pursuit of
a man-of-war, and if the schooner did not obey the injunc-
tion to heave-to, one or two shells would soon have
brought her to reason.
At that moment a boat containing two officers and ten
sailors left the cruiser and crossed the Ebba's course.
Count d'Artigas, from his place in the stern, watched
this manoeuvre with indifference, while he calmly lighted
FOR THE FLAG
When the boat was no more than half a cable-length
away, one of the men rose and waved a flag.
Signal to stop," said Serko.
"Presumably," said the Count.
Ordered to wait."
Let us wait."
Captain Spade gave orders to lie-to, and these were
instantly carried out. Presently the Ebba moved only
to the sway of the tide, which bore her towards the
A few strokes brought the Falcon's boat alongside the
Ebba. The ladder was lowered, and presently the two
officers, followed by eight men, stood on the deck, two
sailors remaining in charge of the boat.
The Ebba's crew ranged themselves in a line near the
The superior officer, a ship's lieutenant, advanced
towards the owner of the yacht, who had just risen to
salute him, and the following questions and answers were
This schooner belongs to Count- d'Artigas, whom I
have the honour of addressing ?"
"Her name ? "
"Her captain? "
His nationality ?"
4%. -' .
w ..- -
THE SCHOONER EBBA"
The officer looked at the ship's flag, and Count d'Artigas
"May I ask for what reason I have the pleasure of
seeing you on board my yacht ?"
"Orders have been given to visit all vessels at present
in Pamlico Sound, either at anchor or under way,"
replied the officer.
He did not think it necessary to say that the Ebba was
to be subjected to a special search.
"You have, doubtless, no intention of refusing, M. le
"Certainly not, sir. My schooner is at your service
from the top of its masts to the bottom of its hold. I
would only' ask why the vessels in Pamlico Sound are
undergoing these formalities to-day ? "
I see no reason why you should be left in ignorance,
Count," replied the officer. The Governor of Carolina
has been informed that there has been a case of kid-
napping at Healthful House, and the administration wish
to be assured that the men have not been shipped off
during the night."
Is it possible ?" said the Count, affecting surprise.
"And who are the persons who have disappeared from
"A madman-an inventor-is the victim of this outrage,
and his keeper."
"A madman! Can it be the Frenchman, Thomas
"The same, sir."
'OR THE FLAG
"Thomas Roch, whom I saw yesterday when I visited
the institution, whom I questioned in the presence of the
Principal! He became violent just as Captain Spade and
myself were about to leave the place."
The officer was observing the foreigner with great atten-
tion, striving to find something suspicious either in his
manner or his words.
"It is not credible!" added the Count. And he said
this precisely as though he had now heard of the adventure
for the first time.
"I understand the anxiety of the responsible parties,"
he continued, "considering the inventor's importance,
and I quite approve of the measures they have taken.
It is needless to' observe that neither the inventor
nor his keeper is on board the Ebba. Of that you
can assure yourself by making a thorough search.
Captain, be good enough to accompany these gentle-
Then with a formal salute to the lieutenant the Count
sat down again in his chair, and replaced his cigar between
The two officers and the eight sailors, conducted by
Captain Spade, commenced their investigation. They
descended first by the companion to the stern saloon,
luxuriously furnished, and fitted with panels of rare, costly
woods, superb ornaments, and carpets and hangings of
great price. Needless to say, this saloon, the adjoining
cabins, and the Count's state-room, were searched with all
possible care. Captain Spade also joined in the investiga-
Lifti ig the buoy.
THE SCHOONER EBBA "
tion, in order that no suspicion of his employer should
remain in the minds of the officers.
After the saloon and the other rooms had been sea rched,
the party proceeded to the dining-saloon, which was richly
decorated; they ransacked the pantries, the cuddy, and
fore part of the vessel, the cabins of Captain Spade and
the boatswain, then the berths of the sailors, without
discovering either Thomas Roch or Gaydon.
There remained the hold and its accommodations.
These required an elaborate examination; so when the
hatches were lifted, the captain lighted two lanterns to
The hold contained only barrels of water, provisions of
all kinds, kegs of spirits, casks of wine and beer, and a
stock of coal-an abundance of everything, as though the
schooner had been provided for a long voyage. Through
the spaces in the cargo the American sailors slipped into
the innermost corners, even getting into the narrow spaces
between bales and sacks. They had all their trouble for
Evidently Count d'Artigas had been wrongfully sus-
pected of any part in the capture of the inventor and his
The investigation, which had lasted about two hours,
ended without result.
At half-past five the officers and men of the Falcon
came on deck again, having conscientiously gone through
the search and acquired absolute certainty that neither
Thomas Roch nor Gaydon was to be found in the interior
FOR THE FLAG
of the Ebba. Then they proceeded to inspect the fore-
castle and the boats. Their conviction that the Ebba had
been suspected without reason was established.
The two officers had only to take leave of the Count,
and they advanced towards him.
"You will excuse us for having caused you this incon-
venience, Count d'Artigas," the lieutenant said.
You could only obey the orders whose execution were
confided to you, gentlemen."
"Besides, it was a mere formality," the officer felt bound
By a slight movement of his head the Count indicated
that he was ready to admit that excuse.
I had informed you, gentlemen, that I had nothing to
do with the abduction."
"We no longer doubt it, M. le Comte, and it only
remains for us to rejoin our vessel."
"As you please. Has the Ebba now free passage ?"
"Au revoir, gentlemen, au revoir. I am a frequent
visitor to these coasts, and I shall soon return. I hope
that when I come back you will have discovered the per-
petrators of this outrage, and reinstated Thomas Roch at
Healthful House. This result is to be desired in the
interest of the United States, and, I will add, in the
interest of humanity."
When these words were said the officers courteously
saluted the Count, who responded by a slight inclination of
the head. Captain Spade accompanied them to the side,
The submerged cargo.
THE SCHOONER EBBA "
and followed by their sailors they set off to join the cruiser.
At a sign from the Count, Captain Spade ordered the
sails to be set again as they were before the schooner had
lain to. The breeze had freshened and the yacht sailed
briskly towards the Strait of Hatteras. Half an hour
after, the Strait had been passed, and the Ebba was on the
high seas. For an hour the schooner's head was kept
east-nor'-east. But as usually happens, the breeze which
came from the land died down a few miles off the coast.
The Ebba was becalmed, its sails flapped against the masts,
its helm no longer acted, but remained stationary on a sea
whose bosom was unruffled by a single breath. It would
seem impossible for the schooner to continue its passage
during the night.
Captain Spade had remained on the look-out in the
bows. Since leaving the Strait his gaze had turned first
to port, then to starboard, as though he were trying to see
some object floating on either side. At that moment he
In execution of this order the sailors hastened to loosen
the halyards, and the empty sails were furled to the yards,
but without being enveloped in their covers.
Was it the Count's intention to wait for the dawn as
well as for the morning breeze? But it is usual in such
circumstances to wait with sails spread to catch the first
puffs of wind.
The boat was lowered, and the Captain got into it
accompanied by a sailor who sculled towards an object
FOR THE FLAG
which floated on the surface of the water a few yards
ahead of the schooner.
That object was a small buoy exactly like the one that
had bobbed on the waters of the Neuse when the Ebba lay
some cables' length from the bank near Healthful House.
The buoy was taken up, as well as a cable which was
attached to it, and the boat transported both to the bows
of the schooner.
At the command of the boatswain a tow-line thrown
from the deck was attached to the first cable. Then
Captain Spade and the sailor returned to the deck of the
schooner again, and the boat was hoisted to the davits.
Almost immediately the tow-line tightened and the
Ebba, bare of sail, turned towards the east at a rate which
could not be less than ten miles an hour.
Night closed in, and the lights on the American coast
disappeared quickly in the fog on the horizon.
WHERE AM I ?
(Notes by Simon Hart, the engineer.)
WHERE am I? What has happened since that sudden
attack on me within a few steps of the pavilion ?
I had just left the doctor, I was about to go up the steps
into the room to close the door and resume my post
beside M. Roch, when several men fell upon me and knocked
me down. Who are they? I could not recognize them
with my eyes bandaged. I could not call for help with a
gag in my mouth. I could offer no resistance because
they had bound my arms and my legs. And in that con-
dition I felt myself lifted and carried for about a hundred
.paces-then I was raised up-then lowered, and placed-
Where ?-where ?
What has become of Roch ? Is it not he rather than I
they wanted to harm ? To everybody I am only Gaydon
the keeper, and not Simon Hart the engineer, whose real
character or nationality has never been suspected: and
why should they wish to seize a humble hospital atten-
The French inventor has been carried off; of that I
FOR THE FLAG
have not the least doubt. If he has been taken from
Healthful House, it is solely with the hope of extracting
his secrets from him!
But I am reasoning on the supposition that Roch has
disappeared with me. Was that so ? Yes, it must
be-it is! I could have no doubt on that point! I am
not in the hands of malefactors whose only object is to
steal. They would not have acted in this manner. After
having rendered me incapable of calling for help, thrown
me into a corner of the garden among the trees, while
they carried off Roch, they would not have shut me up-
where I now am.
Where ? That is the question which I have been trying
for several hours to solve. Here I am engaged in an
extraordinary adventure which will end-in what way?
I do not know-I dare not even anticipate the conclusion.
In any case it is my intention to fix the smallest circum-
stances in my memory, minute by minute, and if it be
possible, to write down my impressions daily. Who knows
what the future may have in store-and perhaps in my new
surroundings I may end by discovering the secret of the
Roch Fulgurator ?
If I should be set free some day, that secret must be
known, and also who is the author or who are the authors
of the criminal outrage which may have consequences so
I return again and again to the question, hoping that
some incident may supply the answer.
Where am I ?
"WHERE AM I ?"
Let me go over everything from the beginning.
After having been carried on men's arms outside of
Healthful House, I felt myself placed, not roughly, on a
bench in some craft which rocked. It must have been of
small dimensions-a ship's boat, I think.
The first rocking was followed almost immediately by
another-this I attribute to a second person having been
placed in the boat. Could I have any doubt that it was
Thomas Roch ? They would not have had to gag him,
cover his eyes, or bind his feet and hands. He would still
have been in a state of prostration which would render
him incapable of offering any resistance, or even being
conscious of what had been done to him. The proof that
I am not mistaken is that I perceived an odour of ether,
in spite of my gag. Now, yesterday, before he left the
pavilion, the doctor had administered a few drops of ether
to his patient, and I remember that a little of the volatile
liquid fell on his clothes when he was struggling in his
frenzy. Thus it was not surprising that the odour re-
mained,.or that I detected it. Yes-Thomas Roch was
there in the boat, lying near me. If I had delayed a few
minutes longer in returning to the pavilion, I should not
have found him there.
I am thinking-Why did that Count d'Artigas take it
into his head to visit Healthful House? If my charge
had not encountered him, none of this would have happened.
Talking of his inventions brought on that exceptionally
violent attack. The Principal is to blame, he did not pay
attention to my warning. He should have listened to
FOR THE FLAG
me, then the doctor would not have been called in, the
door of the pavilion would have been closed, and the
attempt would have failed.
As for the interest to be served by the abduction of
Roch, whether by a private individual or a European
State, that needs no discussion. But on this point I may
rest fully assured, no one can succeed where I have
failed for fifteen long months. In the present state of his
intellect every effort to wring his secret from him will
fail. In truth, his condition can only grow worse, his
madness can only become complete, even on points which
until now have remained clear to him.
However, let me leave Thomas Roch for the present
and return to myself, and what I can plainly state.
After many rocking the boat was set in motion by the
action of oars. The passage scarcely lasted a minute.
Then a slight shock was felt; the boat was alongside of a
ship. There was noise and excitement-talking, ordering,
and working. Under my muffling, and without -under-
standing anything, I could hear a confused murmuring of
voices, which lasted for five or six minutes.
The only thought in my mind was that I was about to
be transhipped from the boat to the vessel to which it
belonged, and that I should be shut down in the hold
until the said vessel got out to sea. While she was in
Pamlico Sound, it is evident that neither the patient nor
his attendant could be allowed to appear on deck.
Then, still gagged, I was seized by the shoulders and
legs. My impression was, not that the arms lifted me
"WHERE AM I?"
over the side of a ship, but that, on the contrary, they slid
me down. Was it to let me go-to drown me, so as to
rid themselves of a troublesome witness? That idea
crossed my mind, and an agonized shudder passed over
me from head to foot. Instinctively I took a long breath,
and my chest expanded with air that was soon to fail
No They lowered me carefully to a solid flooring,
which gave me a sensation of metallic cold. I was
stretched at full length, and to my extreme surprise, I
found that my bonds had been loosed. The movement
of feet about me ceased, and a moment later I heard the
noise of a door shutting.
Here I am! Where ?-and first, am I alone ? I tear
the gag from my mouth and the bandage from my
All was dark, profoundly dark. Not the smallest ray
of light, not even that faint impression which the pupil of
the eye preserves in hermetically closed chambers.
I call-I call several times. No answer. My voice is
muffled, as though it passed through a medium unsuited
to the transmission of sound.
In addition, the air I breathe is hot, heavy, thick, and
the action of my lungs will soon become difficult, impos-
sible, if that air be not renewed.
I stretch out my hands and make some discoveries by
my sense of touch.
I occupy a chamber with walls of sheet iron. When I
pass my hand along the plates, I ascertain that they are
FOR THE FLAG
fixed with bolts like the water-tight compartments of a
As for an opening, it seems to me that there is something
on one of the sides-the frame of a door whose hinges
extend a little beyond the wall. That door would open
inwardly, and, no doubt, it is through it that I have been
conveyed into the interior of this narrow receptacle.
With my ear pressed against the door, I hear nothing.
The silence is as complete as the darkness-a strange
silence only broken by the sound of the metallic floor
when I move. None of those rumbling noises that usually
prevail on board vessels, nor any of the vague wash of
water along the hull and rippling of the sea that licks its
keel. None either of the rocking and rolling which should
be felt, for in the mouth of the Neuse the tide always
causes a very perceptible undulation.
But, does this compartment in which I am imprisoned
really belong to a ship ? Can I be sure that it is floating
on the surface of the Neuse, though a boat had taken only
one minute to bring me here ? In fact, why may not the
boat, instead of rejoining whatever vessel awaited it at
the foot of Healthful House, have made for another point
of the bank? And in that case, I am possibly on dry
land at the bottom of a cellar. That would account for
the immobility of my prison-house. Of course there are
the iron walls, the bolted plates, and the faint salt smell
about me. That smell, sui generis, with which the air in
the interior of ships is generally impregnated, and which
Gaydon in prison.
"WHERE AM I ?"
An interval, which I calculate at a quarter of an hour,
has elapsed since my incarceration. It must, therefore, be
nearly midnight. Am I to remain here until morning?
It is fortunate I dined at six o'clock, according to the
rules of Healthful House. I am not hungry, but I am
becoming very drowsy. However, I hope to resist the
inclination to sleep. I must not let myself give way to it.
I must think about something else. Of what ? Neither
sound nor light penetrates this iron box. But stay!
Perhaps some sound, however faint, may reach my ear?
So all my powers are concentrated in my sense of hearing.
Then I wait-in case I am not on land a movement, an
oscillation, must in time be felt. Admitting that the
vessel is still at anchor, it cannot delay in setting sail; or,
then, I should be at a loss to understand why we had been
Soon-this is no illusion-a slight roll rocks me, and
makes me certain I am not on land. However, it is
scarcely apparent, without shock, without jerk, a kind of
gliding on the surface of the waters.
I reflect calmly. I am on one of the ships moored at
the mouth of the Neuse, and waiting, under sail or under
steam, the result of the abduction. The boat that brought
me-but I must repeat, I had not felt the sensation of
being lifted over the vessel's side. Had I been passed
through a gun hole in the hull? It mattered little after
all! Whether I had or had not been lowered into a hold,
I certainly was lying on some substance that moved and
FOR THE FLAG
Without doubt I shall soon be given my liberty, and so
will Thomas Roch, provided he has been shut up with the
same care. By liberty, I mean permission to come and
go on deck at my pleasure. But this will not be until
after some hours, for we must not be seen. We shall not
breathe the outside air until the vessel has reached the
open sea. If it be a sailing vessel, we shall have to wait
until the breeze starts up-the land breeze at daybreak-
which is favourable to navigation on Pamlico Sound.
Were it a steamboat-
No! On board a steamer there are always those
whiffs of oil, and grease, those smells from the engine-
room, that would have reached me. Then the motion of
the screw or the paddles, the tremor of the machinery, the
jerks of the pistons-I must have felt them.
After all I must be patient. I shall be extricated from
this hole to-morrow. At least if they do not give me my
liberty they will bring me some food, for nothing indicates
that they mean me to die of hunger; it would have been
easier in that case to drop me into the river. Once at sea,
what have they to fear from me ? My voice would not be
heard. As for my complaints or recriminations, how
useless they would be !
Besides, what am I to the knowledge of the authors of
this crime? One Gaydon, a mere hospital attendant,
without any importance. It is in Roch they are interested.
I was included in the abduction only because I returned
to the pavilion at that moment.
In any case, whatever happens, and whoever the people