to be restored to them? Or had a party been formed against Robert Borupt to restore Captain Gould to the command of the Flag?
When they were brought up on to the deck in front of all the crew, they saw Borupt waiting for them at the foot of the mainmast. Fritz and Frank cast a vain glance within the poop, the door of which was open. No lamp or lantern shed a gleam of light within.
But as they came up to the starboard nettings, the boatswain could see the top of a mast rocking against the side of the ship.
Evidently the ship's boat had been lowered to the sea.
Was Borupt preparing, then, to put the captain and his friends aboard her and cast them adrift in these waters, abandoning them to all the perils of the sea, without the least idea whether they were near any land?
And the unfortunate women, too, were they to remain on board, exposed to such appalling danger?
At the thought that they would never see them more, Fritz and Frank and James determined to make a last attempt to set them free, though it should end in dying where they stood.
Fritz rushed to the side of the poop, calling Jenny. But he was stopped, as Frank was stopped, and James was stopped before he heard any answer from Susan to his call. They were overpowered at once, and despite resistance were lowered with Captain Gould and John Block over the nettings into the ship's boat, which was fastened alongside the vessel by a knotted cable.
Their surprise and joy—yes, joy!—were inexpressible. The dear ones whom they had called in vain were in the boat already! The women had been lowered down a few minutes before the prisoners had left the spar-deck. They were waiting in mortal terror, not knowing whether their companions were to be cast adrift with them.
It seemed to them that to be reunited was the greatest grace that Heaven could have bestowed on them.
And yet what peril menaced them aboard this boat! Only four bags of biscuit and salt meat had been flung into it, with three casks of fresh water, a few cooking utensils, and a bundle of clothes and blankets taken at random from the cabins—a meagre supply at best.
But they were together! Death alone could separate them henceforward.
They were not given much time to reflect. In a few moments, with the freshening wind, the Flag would be several miles away.
The boatswain had taken his place at the tiller, and Fritz and Frank theirs at the foot of the mast, ready to hoist the sail directly the boat should be free from the shelter of the ship.
Captain Gould had been laid down under the forward deck. Jenny was ministering to him where he lay stretched out on the blankets, for he was unable to stand.
On the Flag the sailors were leaning over the nettings, looking on in silence. Not one of them felt a spark of pity for their victims. Their fierce eyes gleamed in the darkness.
Just at this moment a voice was raised—the voice of Captain Gould, to whom his indignation restored some strength. He struggled to his feet, dragged himself from bench to bench, and half stood up.
"You brutes!" he cried. "You shall not escape man's justice!"
"Nor yet God's justice!" Frank added.
"Cast off!" cried Borupt.
The rope dropped into the water, the boat Was left alone, and the ship disappeared into the darkness of the night.
CHAPTER IV - LAND AHOY!
IT was Frank who had shouted "Land!" in tones of stentorian salutation. Standing erect upon the poop, he had