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- The Boy Allies with Uncle Sams Cruisers - 5/34 -


place. If you sight her, fire your guns, and if I'm within hearing I'll come up. Work your wireless, too. I'm here to nail that fellow."

"Very good," said Captain Stoneman. "You can count on me, Lansing."

The two men shook hands and the American naval officer, followed by his men, disappeared over the side. Captain Stoneman gave a signal and the Algonquin moved on again.

"Didn't take the United States very long to get started, did it?" said Frank, as they descended below.

"I should say not," was Jack's reply. "Still, I am afraid American cruisers will have no more success in nabbing the raider than have British vessels."

"Don't forget we're on the job," said Frank, with a smile.

"I'm not forgetting it," said Jack. "The sooner we come up with that fellow the better it will please me."

"Same here."

"Well, guess we may as well turn in," said Jack.

"Probably will be nothing doing tonight."

Five minutes later the lads were asleep.

Morning dawned clear and bright and Captain Stoneman congratulated himself that he was fast nearing his destination.

"Tomorrow morning at this time and we will be safe," he said at the breakfast table.

"Pooh," said Mrs. Wheaton. "What is there to be afraid of? Don't you know that the American cruiser Pioneer is in these waters?"

"But she is not in sight, mother," said her daughter.

"I'd like to know what difference that makes. Lieutenant Lansing knows that there are Americans aboard the Algonquin. He will not desert us."

"I am afraid," said Frank, "that Lieutenant Lansing has more important duties just now than seeing that the Algonquin reaches port safely."

"And what can be more important, I'd like to know?" demanded Mrs. Wheaton.

"Well, there are a whole lot of things," said Frank, "one of which is to nab this German raider, and I'll venture to say that the Pioneer is paying more attention to the raider right now than it is to the Algonquin."

"Young man," said Mrs. Wheaton, "it is perfectly plain to me that you do not know what you are talking about."

Frank flushed, and was about to reply. But he caught the eye of Miss Wheaton and remained silent. A few moments later he excused himself and left the table.

Fifteen minutes later Elizabeth Wheaton approached him on deck.

"Don't mind mother," she said with a smile. "It is just her way. She means no harm."

"Probably not," agreed Frank with a smile, "but you will admit that it is rather annoying."

Before the girl could reply, there came a hail from the lookout forward.

"Ship, sir!"

"Where away?" called the first officer, who held the bridge.

"Dead ahead!" came the reply.

Indeed, a ship was plainly visible to all on deck at that moment.

It came to the first officer in a flash that this vessel bearing down on the Algonquin was in all probability the German raider.

He summoned the captain.

Captain Stoneman came jumping on deck.

He gave one look at the approaching vessel, and then cried angrily, forgetting his grammar absolutely as he did so. "That's her! That's her as sure as I'm a foot high."

CHAPTER V

ABOARD THE RAIDER

Captain Stoneman now became the man of action that Jack and Frank knew he could be.

"Mr. Bronson!" he summoned the first officer, who approached hastily. "Mr. Bronson," continued the captain, "you point that gun aft toward the heavens and you fire it until I tell you to stop. Mr. Taylor, you do the same with the gun forward."

The captain glanced around. His third officer was busy. He called to Jack.

"Mr. Templeton," he cried, "you go below and tell my wireless operator to pick up the cruiser Pioneer. You tell him I said not to stop trying, or I'll be down and attend to him myself."

Jack hurried away to obey the command.

Frank approached Captain Stoneman.

"Can I be of any assistance, sir?" he asked.

The captain glared at him angrily. "No," he shouted; then added: "Yes. You stand at the hatchway there and don't you let either of those women come on deck. If you do, I'll toss you overboard."

Frank went to his post.

So far there had been nothing to indicate that the approaching ship was other than a peaceful vessel. She had, so far as Captain Stoneman knew, made no effort to pick up the Algonquin with her wireless.

"I wonder," said Captain Stoneman to himself, "whether that pirate is going to blow me up without warning, or whether that wireless operator of mine has gone to bed? I'll go down and find out."

He ordered his first officer away from the gun aft to take the bridge and ran below to the wireless room.

"Any message from the ship ahead?" he demanded.

"No, sir," was the operator's reply.

"What's all that 'click-clicking' about?"

"I'm trying to pick up the Pioneer, sir."

"Humph! Can't you raise her?"

"No, sir."

Captain Stoneman returned on deck without further words. He relieved the first officer and ordered him back to the gun aft. At almost the same moment, the forward gun, pointed high, spoke.

"That'll raise the Pioneer if she's around here," said Captain Stoneman aloud.

The aft gun also spoke now, and then both boomed again.

An instant later a cloud of smoke burst from the approaching vessel, followed by a heavy boom. A solid shot passed over the Algonquin and splashed in the water beyond.

"Humph!" said Captain Stoneman again. "Signal to heave to, eh? Well, I can't afford to disregard it."

He signaled the engine room and the Algonquin a few moments later came to a stop.

"Now, come on, you pirates," mumbled Captain Stoneman. "Come on aboard and tell me what you want."

A boat put off from the raider, for such the strange vessel proved to be. It came toward the Algonquin rapidly.

Captain Stoneman motioned to Frank.

"Better let the women come up now," he said quietly, "and Mr. Bronson, pipe all hands from below."

Before the small boat reached the Algonquin's side, all passengers and members of the crew were on deck. Frank pressed close to Jack.

"Got your gun?" he asked.

"In my boot," was the quiet reply; "and yours?"

"All right. How about your little decoration?"

Jack took a small object from his pocket and put it in the left-hand button hole of his coat. Frank followed his example.

"What is the meaning of this outrage?" demanded Mrs. Wheaton, as she watched the small boat approach.

"Meaning is that we are prisoners of the German raider," answered Captain Stoneman, who overheard the remark.

"And why?" demanded the woman. "I heard guns fired above here. Couldn't you hit anything?"


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