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- No Defense, Volume 2. - 10/10 -

"Land or sea, Captain Ivy said. I'm as well-born as any man in the king's fleet," declared Dyck. "I've as clean a record as any officer in his majesty's navy, save for the dark fact that I was put in prison for killing a man; and I will say here, in the secrecy of an admiral's cabin, that the man I killed--or was supposed to kill--was a traitor. If I did kill him, he deserved death by whatever hand it came. I care not what you do with me"--his hands clenched, his shoulders drew up, his eyes blackened with the dark fire of his soul--"whether you put me on parole, or try me by court-martial, or hang me from the yard-arm. I've done a piece of work of which I'm not ashamed. I've brought a mutinous ship out of mutiny, sailed her down the seas for many weeks, disciplined her, drilled her, trained her, fought her; helped to give the admiral of the West Indian squadron his victory. I enlisted; I was a quota man. I became a common sailor--I and my servant and friend, Michael Clones. I shared the feelings of the sailors who mutinied. I wrote petitions and appeals for them. I mutinied with them. Then at last, having been made leader of the ship, with the captain and the lieutenants sent safely ashore, and disagreeing with the policy of the Delegates in not accepting the terms offered, I brought the ship out, commanding it from the captain's cabin, and have so continued until to-day. If I'm put ashore at Jamaica, I'll keep my parole; if I stay a prisoner here, I'll keep my parole. If I've done you service, admiral, be sure of this, it was done with clear intent. My object was to save the men who, having mutinied and fled from Admiralty control, are subject to capital punishment."

"Your thinking came late. You should have thought before you mutinied," was the sharp reply.

"As a common sailor I acted on my conscience, and what we asked for the Admiralty has granted. Only by mutiny did the Admiralty yield to our demands. What I did I would do again! We took our risks in the Thames against the guns that were levelled at us; we've taken our risks down here against the French to help save your squadron, and we've done it. The men have done it, because they've been loyal to the flag, and from first to last set to make the Admiralty and the people know they have rights which must be cherished. If all your men were as faithful to the Crown as are the men on the Ariadne, then they deserve well of the King. But will you put for me on paper the written word that every man now aboard the Ariadne shall be held guiltless in the eyes of the admiral of this fleet; that the present officers shall remain officers, that the reforms I have made shall become permanent? For myself, I care not; but for the men who have fought under me, I want their amnesty. And I want Michael Clones to be kept with me, and Greenock, the master, and Ferens, the purser, to be kept where they are. Admiral, I think you know my demands are just. Over there on the Ariadne are a hundred and fifty wounded at least, and fifty have been killed. Let the living not suffer."

"You want it all on the nail, don't you?"

"I want it at this moment when the men who have fought under me have helped to win your battle, sir." There was something so set in Dyck's voice that the admiral had a sudden revulsion against him, yet, after a moment of thought, he made a sign to Captain Ivy. Then he dictated the terms which Dyck had asked, except as to the reforms he had made, which was not in his power to do, save for the present.

When the document had been signed by the admiral, Dyck read the contents aloud. It embodied nearly all he had asked.

"Now I ask permission for one more thing only, sir--for the new captain of the Ariadne to go with me to her, and there I will read this paper to the crew. I will give a copy of it to the new captain, whoever he may be."

The admiral stood for a moment in thought. Then he said:

"Ivy, I transfer you to the Ariadne. It's better that some one who understands, as you do, should be in control after Calhoun has gone. Go with him now, and have your belongings sent to you. I appoint you temporary captain of the Ariadne, because I think no one could deal with the situation there so wisely. Ivy, every ship in the squadron must treat the Ariadne respectfully. Within two days, Mr. Calhoun, you shall be landed at Jamaica, there to await the Admiralty decree. I will say this: that as the sure victory of our fleet has come through you, you shall not suffer in my report. Fighting is not an easy trade, and to fight according to the rules is a very hard trade. Let me ask you to conduct yourself as a prisoner of war on parole."


No Defense, Volume 2. - 10/10

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