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Dave Darrin on the Asiatic Station
Winning Lieutenants' Commissions on the Admiral's Flagship
H. Irving Hancock
CHAPTER I—TWO STRANGERS OF MANILA
CHAPTER II—THE TRAGEDY OF THE BAY
CHAPTER III—MR. PEMBROKE BREAKS IN
CHAPTER IV—THE LANDING PARTY AT NU-PING
CHAPTER V—SIN FOO HAS HIS DOUBTS
CHAPTER VI—HECKLING HIS EXCELLENCY
CHAPTER VII—BELLE HAS SOME “TIPS”
CHAPTER VIII—THE SWARM OF NIGHT FURIES
CHAPTER IX—THE TRAITOR OF THE YAMEN
CHAPTER X—THE CLIMAX OF THE ATTACK
CHAPTER XI—A SURPRISE PARTY FOR THE GOVERNOR
CHAPTER XII—RISKING ALL ON ONE THROW
CHAPTER XIII—ALL ABOUT A CERTAIN BAD MAN
CHAPTER XIV—DAVE HEARS SOME EYE-OPENERS
CHAPTER XV—WHEN THE FLAGSHIP WAS SIGHTED
CHAPTER XVI—THE MEDALLION MYSTERY
CHAPTER XVII—DAVE FACES THE HUMAN TEMPEST
CHAPTER XVIII—MR. KATURA DOES SOME ASTOUNDING
CHAPTER XIX—DAN FIRES A WARM SHOT
Up Against the Gates.
“I am delighted to have had the privilege of meeting you, Miss Chapin,” said Ensign Dave Darrin, lifting his uniform cap and bowing low at the end of the brief conversation. “And my thanks to you, Captain Chapin, for having afforded us the great pleasure.”
Ensign Dan Dalzell, U. S. Navy, delivered himself in similar fashion.
The two young naval officers turned and were about to resume their stroll over the Punta de España, or Spanish bridge, which, crossing the Pasig River, separates Old Manila from New.
Just as suddenly, however, the pair checked their progress, to stare across the bridge.
On the opposite side, leaning against the rail, stood a Chinaman in rather rich apparel, with a decidedly sinister cast of countenance.
“Why is Old ‘Burnt-face’ staring so hard after Miss Chapin and her brother?” muttered Dalzell.
“I’m blessed if I know,” returned Dave Darrin. “I’ve a good mind to cross over and put your question to the Chinaman.”
“I’ve a greater mind to throw him into the Pasig,” growled Dalzell. “I’m not strong on race lines or color, but I don’t believe that any yellow man has a right to glare like that at an American girl.”
Dalzell took a step forward, as though to cross the bridge, but Darrin promptly caught his wrist.
“Don’t do anything rash, Danny Grin,” urged Dave. “Throwing a Chinaman into a river isn’t approved by the American government that has been set up in these islands.”
“Then perhaps I’d better not hoist him over the bridge rail and let him drop into the water,” Dan conceded. “But I believe that I will cross over and have a look at him.”
“Not a bad idea, and certainly not against the law,” nodded Ensign Darrin. “Let us follow the Chapins a little way, cross the road, and then come down on the other side so as to meet Mr. Burnt-face face to face.”
The nickname that the American pair had given the yellow man was due to a patch of purple skin, of considerable area, under the yellow man’s right eye. Had that patch been absent, undoubtedly the Chinaman would not have appeared so sinister.
“Odd that a fine girl like Miss Chapin should want to waste her life serving as a missionary in China, isn’t it?” asked Dan.
“I wouldn’t call it wasting her life,” Darrin returned. “Neither, you may be sure, does Miss Chapin herself so consider it. To her way of thinking, she is devoting her life to one of the noblest ideals that can animate the human mind.”
“I wouldn’t mind so much if she were like the average girl,” Dan rambled on, rather vaguely. “But for a stunner like Miss Chapin—such a dainty little piece of exquisite womanhood—”
“Oh,” laughed Dave. “Then it isn’t her services that you begrudge the natives of China, but her good looks.”
“Well, anyway,” Danny Grin continued rather testily, “I’ll wager that Chapin doesn’t fully approve of what his sister is doing.”
Captain Chapin was serving in one of the infantry regiments of the Army line at Manila. Being stationed in the city, Chapin had the good fortune to have his family, consisting of his mother, wife and two young children, located in a cottage over in Ermita, just beyond the massive stone walls of Old Manila. Miss Lucy Chapin was visiting her brother on her way to China, where a missionary post awaited her. Knowing Captain Chapin from the stirring days of service in Mexico, the two young naval officers, on meeting him here in Manila, the “Paris of the East,” had been presented to that charming young woman.
Crossing the roadway near the Old Manila end of the bridge, Dave and Dan strolled back. In the meantime “Burnt-face,” as Dan had named him, had turned and was heading toward the Escolta, the Broadway of New Manila.
Both young officers wore the white service uniform of the tropics. Here and there a soldier or sailor, in passing, brought his hand to his cap in smart salute, a courtesy which both officers, in every instance, returned.
“That’s our fellow,” whispered Darrin, slowing down his step.
“Burnt-face,” a man of somewhere near forty, if it be possible to judge a Chinaman’s age, kept on his way at a pace neither hurried nor slow. Three different times parties of Chinese coolies passed him. On perceiving “Burnt-face” they lowered their eyes to the ground in passing.
Near the end of the bridge two much better dressed Chinamen passed the yellow man whom the young naval officers were now following. This pair made deferential bows, then moved slightly aside in order not to compel “Burnt-face” to step out of his own course.
“Our man is a chap of some importance,” murmured Darrin.
“He may be—to a Chinaman!” grunted Danny Grin.
Reaching the end of the bridge, the Chinaman paused, then started to cross the street as if to go to the famous Café de Paris.
Honk! honk! A touring car, going at about twelve miles an hour, rolled down out of the nearby Escolta, heading for the bridge. With an agile bound “Burnt-face” leaped back to the sidewalk.
“Look at the scowl he’s sending after that car,” whispered Dalzell.
“His lips are moving, too,” returned Darrin, quietly observant. “If it weren’t for the look on his face I should say that our chap was praying.”
“In his case,” muttered Dalzell, “he’s more likely cursing.”
“But say,” Dave went on. “Just observe how ‘Burnt-face’ continues to glare after that car.”
“Can he have anything against the people in the car?” Dan wondered.
“It is more likely that his hatred is directed against the car itself,” Darrin replied.
“But why should he hate a mere assemblage of mechanical units?” Dan demanded.
“I suppose that, being a Chinaman, he regards an automobile as the work of the Evil One,” Dave smiled. “Your real, old-fashioned Chinaman isn’t strong for new-fangled ideas. In some parts of China the appearance of an automobile, even to-day, would rouse a mob to wild fury.”
“Queer old place, China!” uttered Dalzell.
“Since we’re waiting orders to go to China, you’ll soon know,” Dave rejoined.
“I don’t believe I shall like China,” Dan declared prophetically.
Now that the road was clear, “Burnt-face” crossed the street. He did not go to the Café de Paris, but stepped up in front of a drug store, where he halted and turned around.
In passing, Dave and Dan managed, without staring, to get a good look at the yellow face. In addition to the purple mark under the right eye, “Burnt-face,” with his lips parted, displayed one incisor tooth, the lower end of which had been broken off. At the left side of his chin was a mark such as might have been made by a knife or a bullet.
“He’s an ugly-looking customer,” Dan muttered, when he and his chum had passed a few yards beyond the drug store.
“That face carries a history,” guessed Darrin. “Nor do I believe that it is a very savory history.”
“I believe that the only real pirates left in the world,” observed Dan, “are the Black Flags that every now and then infest Chinese waters. I wonder if ‘Burnt-face’ were ever apprenticed to the Black Flags.”
“Don’t talk about him any more,” murmured Dave, after a backward glance. “The Chinaman is now returning our late courtesies by following us.”
Attracted by the window display of a shop that dealt in Hindu curios, the two young naval officers went inside.
“I want to buy something pretty with which to surprise Belle,” Dave explained, as the chums roamed through the shop, inspecting the hundreds of quaint and artistic articles offered for sale.
“You expect her to reach Manila the 26th of the month, don’t you?” Dan asked.
“The 16th,” Darrin corrected his chum.
“Due here in eleven days?” cried Dalzell, sharing his comrade’s pleasure in the thought. “My, Dave, you’re a very lucky young man!”
“It seems ages since I said good-bye to Belle,” Dave went on musingly. “Dan, it almost seems as if I had not seen my wife since she and I were high school sweethearts.”
“I can take my oath that you’ve seen her more recently than that,” laughed Dan. “Yet I know that it must seem a long while between your meetings.”
A Hindu salesman, wearing European clothes, topped by a real Hindu turban, now approached them.
“Something really nice for a lady,” Dave nodded.
“Pardon, excellency,” replied the Hindu, with a low bow. “Is the lady—ah—young?”
“Yes,” assented Ensign Darrin.
“May I—ah—inquire whether the young lady be—ah—wife, sweetheart, or sister?” suggested the Hindu, with a second bow that was lower than the first.
“Why do you need to know that?” demanded Dave, frowning slightly. “She’s the finest girl on earth. Isn’t that enough for you to know?”
“Then,” declared the Hindu imperturably, “she is your sweetheart, and in that case I am certain that I know exactly what to show you.”
“Oh, you do?” grimaced Ensign Darrin. “Then trot out the best you have.”
“Will your excellency condescend to step this way?” proposed the Hindu, with the lowest bow yet. “I shall exert myself to show you the very finest that we have suitable for distinguished presentation to a sweetheart.”
Down to a vault, at the rear of the shop, the salesman led the way. Opening the vault door he nimbly slipped out two trays of exquisite yet eccentric Hindu jewelry.
“Now, let the excellency gloat over these,” begged the salesman, throwing out a bewildering array of rings, brooches, amulets, bracelets, neck chains and the like, set in a dazzling array of precious and semi-precious gems.
“How much is this chain?” asked Dave, picking up one of beautiful workmanship.
“The price of that, excellency, is twelve hundred dollars, but as a very special favor to an officer in the Service I will allow it to go out of the store at eleven hundred.”
Sighing, Dave laid the chain down.
“It is not fine enough, I know, excellency,” glowed the salesman. “Now, look at this chain. Is it not handsomer?”
“Yes,” Dave admitted.
“This chain, excellency, is a wonderful bargain at fifteen hundred dollars.”
Dave sighed, but declined to examine the chain.
“Even if you had the money with you,” remarked Danny Grin, “your wife would hardly think you displayed good judgment in spending almost a year’s salary to buy her a chain.”
“Oh, it is for your wife?” exclaimed the Hindu, in an almost shocked voice.
“Yes,” Dave assented.
“Oh, in that case, excellency—”
With incredibly rapid movements the Hindu put the articles back into the two drawers, shoved them into the vault and closed the door.
“Here you are, excellency!” cried the Oriental, springing to a near-by counter. “Here is a chain of considerable beauty, and it costs but six dollars.”
Giving a momentary gasp, Darrin eyed the fellow, then suddenly reached over and took him in a tight collar grip.
“What do you mean, Mr. Insolence?” Darrin demanded sternly. “Do you wish to insinuate that a sweetheart calls for a handsome gift, but that anything is good enough for a wife?”
“Er—ah—in my country, excellency, when one buys for a sweetheart it is one thing. When he buys for a wife—”
“Then thank goodness that my country isn’t your country,” uttered Ensign Darrin disgustedly, while Danny Grin implored:
“Before you let him go, Davy, turn him around this way so that I may register at least one kick!”
But Darrin suddenly released the rather frightened fellow, saying crisply:
“Show me some pieces of jewelry at prices around fifty dollars.”
At first the salesman displayed several pieces for which he asked from seventy-five to a hundred dollars.
“You’re wasting my time, but I won’t waste yours,” Dave suddenly broke in, turning away.
“Wait a moment, excellency. Do you realize, excellency, that you have not, in any instance, attempted to bargain with me?”
“Do you mean that you expect me to work you down to a lower price?” asked Ensign Dalzell, lowering his voice.
“It is customary to bargain, excellency,” replied the Hindu, with a bow, though not so low as he had displayed at first.
“I’m not going to bargain with you,” Dave declared quietly. “At any price you name for an article I shall either accept the price, and pay it, or else refuse further to consider that article. And don’t waste any more of my time. At the first sign of it I shall quit your store and not enter it again.”
Still the Hindu tried high prices for a while, then suddenly held up a necklace set with small, beautiful bits of jade.
“Eighty dollars,” he exclaimed.
“Mex?” broke in Dan quickly.
“Of course, excellency,” confirmed the Hindu.
“See here, David, little giant,” Danny Grin rattled on, “we’ve been going it a bit blind. We’ve been thinking of gold, or American dollars, while this man has been talking on the basis of the Mexican silver dollar.”
In the Philippine Islands the Mexican dollar is still the basis of currency. As this dollar is worth less than half of that amount in gold, the price charged by the Hindu, translated into American money, amounted to less than forty dollars.
“I’ll take it,” Dave announced, after a keen inspection of the necklace.
Payment was made, and the necklace was placed in a box so small that Ensign Darrin was easily able to drop it into one of his pockets.
From the curb outside a pair of glittering, bead-like eyes had peered into the gloom of the store.
Dave and Dan left the curio shop, the former feeling happier at thought of the pleasant surprise secured for Belle.
Further up the Escolta there now appeared a somewhat Americanized Chinese youth, of perhaps sixteen years, who soon started indolently on the trail of the strolling naval officers.
“Where now?” inquired Danny Grin.
“Have you anything that you wish to do ashore?” Dave asked.
“Neither have I, so suppose we go down to the office of the Captain of the Port. Our launch should be in soon.”
“Suits me,” nodded Dan.
These two young officers are the same Dave and Dan whose fortunes our readers have followed through many volumes full of exciting adventures and strange incidents.
Our readers first met them in the pages of the “Grammar School Boys Series,” in which Darrin and Dalzell appeared as members of that now famous group of six schoolboys who were collectively known as Dick & Co., taking that name from their leader, Dick Prescott. Their adventures are further to be found in the High School Boys Series, and in the High School Vacation Series.
At the end of high school days Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes went to the United States Military Academy at West Point. What there befell the two cadets is set forth in the pages of the West Point Series. The professional careers of Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton, once also of Dick & Co., are to be found in the exciting volumes of the Young Engineers Series. Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell, as all our readers are aware, were appointed midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, and their lives in that famous training school are splendidly depicted in the Annapolis Series.
The present series, as our readers know, depicts the life of Dave and Dan at sea as young officers. The first volume, “Dave Darrin at Vera Cruz,” deals with the famous events suggested by the title. In the second volume, “Dave Darrin on Mediterranean Service,” is told what befell our young friends in their efforts to frustrate an international plot of possibly grave consequence to this country. The third volume, “Dave Darrin’s South American Cruise,” which our readers have lately read, deals with the adventures of the two young naval officers in foiling the outrageous plots of a South American ex-dictator, scheming to get back into power. And now, at last, we find Dave and Dan on the Asiatic Station.
Hardly had the naval officers turned out of the Escolta, at the water front, when Dan noticed that the sidewalk held at least fifty Chinese.
“This is the greatest of American cities, as far as Chinese population goes,” smiled Dave. “Manila never has less than a hundred thousand Chinese residents.”
Out in the road stood a solitary member of the Chinese population. At a signal from the youth behind the naval officers, he said a few words in guttural undertone.
Quickly the Chinese came together, jabbering and crowding the sidewalk.
“Gangway!” cried Danny Grin, as he and Dave found themselves pressing through the yellow throng.
Slowly, rather indifferently, the Chinese made way for the two naval officers to step through the crowd. Had Dave and Dan gone out into the road to get around this crowd it would have been at the expense of their dignity in a city where no white man is supposed to allow coolies to block his way.
“Gangway!” roared Dalzell.
The Americanized Chinese boy was now close beside the naval officers. A small, skinny yellow hand reached out.
“I’m sure Belle will be delighted with that necklace,” Dave murmured to himself.
Alas! That jewel box no longer rested in his pocket, for the yellow boy with the bead-like eyes, at that very instant, had filched the little package. Nor did the picking of the white men’s pockets cease at that point.
Once through the throng, the two young ensigns were not long in reaching the building in which are situated the offices of the Captain of the Port. It is opposite this building, on the bank of the Pasig River, where launches from naval vessels and army transports come in and tie up.
“Launch not in,” announced Danny Grin.
“We’ll have some minutes to wait,” Dave answered. “Let’s go over there and get a soda.”
“Over there” referred to a little white one-story building, in which plain soda and similar beverages were sold.
Dave and Dan stepped inside, calling for soda water and drinking thirstily.
“Tastes good,” muttered Dan. “Let’s have another.”
So the second soda was ordered, and was finished more slowly. Then Darrin reached into one of his pockets. Soon he explored another pocket.
“Why, that’s queer!” muttered Dave, aloud. “I thought my money—”
“Never mind your money, chum,” interrupted Dan Dalzell. “I’ll pay for—”
A few seconds later Dan’s expression changed to one of great amazement.
“Why, where is my money?” he gasped.
“Don’t look for it,” returned Dave. “I don’t believe you’ll find it. For myself, my pockets have been completely cleaned out. I haven’t even the necklace that I bought for Belle.”
“Look here!” uttered Danny Grin, his lower jaw dropping low, indeed. “Have we been robbed? Have our pockets been gone through just as if we were a pair of rubes?”
“Our pockets have been picked all right,” Darrin assented, with a smile.
“Then it was done while we were in that Chinese sidewalk mob!” said Dan, quivering with rage. “Just wait until I overhaul ’em, and—”
Dan sprang outside. His good intentions, however, came to naught, for the crowd of Chinese had disappeared.
“It’s a good joke on us,” grinned Dave, though not very mirthfully.
“Oh, is it?” flashed back Danny Grin. “Then enjoy yourself! Laugh as heartily as you can. But I’ve been touched for two hundred and forty dollars. How much did you lose?”
“A hundred and sixty dollars, and the necklace,” confessed Darrin.
“Say,” muttered Ensign Dalzell, another strange look coming into his face as he made another discovery. “I wish I could find those yellow-faced thieves.”
“They overlooked something,” almost exploded Dalzell. “They didn’t get my watch. It seems to me that it would be no more than honest to run after them and hand them that, also.”
Dan held up his gold watch.
“They left my watch in my clothes, too,” nodded Dave.
“I wonder why?” murmured Dalzell.
“Over four hundred dollars, from the two of us,” muttered Dave, staring grimly up the road. “Not a bad two minutes’ work for some one.”
“It would make me feel more kindly to the poor fellow if only he’d come back and take my watch and chain,” declared Danny Grin. “I hate to see a poor thief overlook anything of value.”
“I was wondering,” Dave continued, “whether it would do any good to complain to the police. On second thought, I believe I shall write the chief of police after I go aboard ship. If there’s a regular gang working this part of Manila, then the police ought to know it, but I’ve no idea that the police would be able to get our money back.”
“That money has been under cover for some minutes,” rejoined Dalzell. “If you’ve any loose change you might settle our bill here.”
“I haven’t a cent,” Darrin confessed.
But the proprietor of the little shop begged the young gentlemen to forget the little bit of small change that they owed him. This both Dan and Dave refused to do, promising to pay him the next time they came ashore.
No sooner did they step outside than they were confronted by a well-dressed, tall young man under thirty.
“I hope you’ll pardon me,” said this stranger, with a rather decided English accent, “but I couldn’t possibly help overhearing your conversation inside. For that reason I know that you have had the misfortune to be robbed of your money by Chinese thieves. Now—no offense intended, I assure you—could I be of any manner of use to you? Pembroke is my name, you know; Pembroke of Heathshire, England. I’m on my way around the world. Now, if between one gentlemen and two others, you know, I could be of any—”
The Englishman paused, as if embarrassed; it was plain that he was trying to offer a loan of money.
“I think I understand you, Mr. Pembroke,” Ensign Darrin replied, with a grateful smile. “It is extremely kind in you, but the robbery has left us embarrassed only for a moment. Both of us have funds deposited with the paymaster on board ship, and after we go aboard it is only a matter of asking for what we need.”
“You’re not annoyed, I trust,” murmured Pembroke apologetically.
“No; profoundly glad to find such faith in human nature as you have displayed,” smiled Ensign Darrin.
“Oh, I don’t trust the whole blooming human race,” declared Mr. Pembroke gravely. “I’m not such a simpleton as that. But I know that good old Uncle Sam’s officers are gentlemen, and between gentlemen, you know, there is and should be a lot of jolly confidence.”
In the easiest way in the world, Mr. Pembroke was now sauntering along with the two young Americans.
“Do you know much about the Chinese?” Dave inquired.
“Not enough to make me like ’em a precious lot,” replied Pembroke.
“I wish I could understand their lingo,” muttered Dalzell.
“And I’m positively proud that I don’t!” glowed Mr. Pembroke.
They had halted at the water’s edge, now, Dan turning his eyes in the direction of the breakwater to see if he could make out the launch for which he and his chum waited.
“Here comes a fuzzy-fuzzy boat,” announced Dalzell, at last. “But it’s not ours. Just as it happens, the craft is a Frenchman.”
Pembroke cast a glance at the approaching launch, then went on chatting with Darrin.
Presently the launch ran in alongside, a middle-aged French officer stepping up on the jetty not fifty feet from where Dave and his companions stood.
The Frenchman started rather visibly when his gaze rested on Pembroke. Dave noticed that. And Pembroke saw the Frenchman, for one fleeting instant. Then the Englishman turned his back squarely, while the French naval officer, holding himself very erect, and with a frown on his face, returned the courteous salute of the young American officers.
“Do you know that gentleman, Mr. Pembroke?” Dave asked quietly.
“Never saw him before,” declared Mr. Pembroke coldly.
“That’s odd,” reflected Dave. “If faces are books, and if glances may be read, I should have said that the Frenchman didn’t like our very courteous Englishman.”
The French officer was now passing out of sight.
“I see our launch,” called out Danny Grin.