Sam Steele’s Adventures in Panama - L. Frank Baum - ebook

Sam Steele’s Adventures in Panama ebook

L. Frank Baum

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Sam Steele is now captain of a ship – an old and battered craft, but his own command. He is sailing it around South America to California. A storm forces Sam’s ship to the Panamanian coast. There, the travelers encounter the Techla Indians, descendants of the Aztecs. The Techlas are hostile to outsiders; Sam and his crew are tempted by the Indians’ abundant gold and gems. Traveling ashore in Moit’s amphibious auto, the Americans attempt to manipulate the Techla, without success. „Sam Steele’s Adventures in Panama” is a boy’s adventure novel written by L. Frank Baum, and published in 1907 under the pseudonym „Capt. Hugh Fitzgerald.” The book was a sequel to the first „Sam Steele” novel, „Sam Steele’s Adventures on Land and Sea”. The book was reprinted two years later, in 1908, with the alternative title „The Boy Fortune Hunters in Alaska”.

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Liczba stron: 259

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Contents

CHAPTER I. I UNDERTAKE A HAZARDOUS VOYAGE

CHAPTER II. I SHIP A QUEER PASSENGER

CHAPTER III. THE MOIT CONVERTIBLE AUTOMOBILE

CHAPTER IV. WE COME TO GRIEF

CHAPTER V. MAKING THE BEST OF IT

CHAPTER VI. THE DEAD MAN’S STORY

CHAPTER VII. THE FOLLY OF THE WISE

CHAPTER VIII. THE SAN BLAS COUNTRY

CHAPTER IX. FACING THE ENEMY

CHAPTER X. NALIG-NAD

CHAPTER XI. PRINCESS ILALAH

CHAPTER XII. WAR IS DECLARED

CHAPTER XIII. WE LOOK INTO DANGER’S EYES

CHAPTER XIV. WE ASTONISH OUR FOES

CHAPTER XV. WE SEARCH FOR THE VALLEY

CHAPTER XVI. THE ARROW-MAKER

CHAPTER XVII. A WOODLAND WONDERLAND

CHAPTER XVIII. THE PRINCESS DISAPPEARS

CHAPTER XIX. WE ATTEMPT A RESCUE

CHAPTER XX. OUTWITTED

CHAPTER XXI. THE SACRIFICE

CHAPTER XXII. THE THRUST OF A SPEAR

CHAPTER XXIII. THE DESERTER

CHAPTER XXIV. WE LEAVE PANAMA

CHAPTER I. I UNDERTAKE A HAZARDOUS VOYAGE

The bark Nebuchadnezar came staggering into Chelsea harbor in a very demoralized condition. Her main and mizzen masts were both gone, the bulwarks were smashed in, the poop swept away, and she leaked so badly that all the short-handed crew were nearly ready to drop from the exhausting labor of working the pumps. For after weathering a dreadful storm in which the captain and mate were washed overboard, together with five of the men, those remaining had been forced to rig up a square-sail on the foremast and by hook or crook to work the dismantled hulk into harbor, and this they did from no love of the ship but as a matter of mere self-preservation, the small boats having all been lost or destroyed.

As soon as they dropped anchor in the harbor they fled from the crippled ship and left her to her fate.

It fortunately happened that an agent of the owners, a man named Harlan, lived at Chelsea and was able to take prompt action to save the company’s property. The Nebuchadnezar was loaded heavily with structural steel work from Birmingham, which had been destined for San Pedro, California, which is the port of entry for the important city of Los Angeles. It was a valuable cargo, and one well worth saving; so Mr. Harlan quickly sent a lot of men aboard to calk the sprung seams and pump her dry, and within twenty-four hours they had her safe from sinking, although she still looked more like a splintered tub than a ship.

And now the agent spent a whole day exchanging telegrams with the chief agents of the Line in New York. It appeared that to unload the heavy structural beams, which were of solid steel, and ship them by rail across the continent would entail a serious loss, the freight rates being enormous for such a distance. There was at the time no other ship procurable to carry the cargo on to its destination. Either the old Nebuchadnezar must be made seaworthy again, and sent on its way around the Horn to San Pedro, or the company was in for a tremendous loss.

Harlan was a man of resource and energy. He promptly informed his superiors that he would undertake to fit the ship for sea, and speedily; so he was given permission to “go ahead.”

New masts were stepped, the damages repaired, and the bark put in as good condition as possible. But even then it was a sad parody on a ship, and the chances of its ever getting to the port of destination were regarded by all observers as extremely doubtful.

Having done the best in his power, however, Mr. Harlan came to my father and said:

“Captain Steele, I want you to take the Nebuchadnezar to San Pedro.”

The Captain smiled, and answered with his usual deliberation:

“Thank you, Mr. Harlan; but I can’t by any possibility get away this winter.”

You see, we were just building our new vessel, the Seagull, which was to be our future pride and joy, and my father did not believe the work could progress properly unless he personally inspected every timber and spike that went into her. Just now the builders were getting along finely and during the coming winter all the interior fittings were to be put in. I knew very well that nothing could induce Captain Steele to leave the Seagull at this fascinating period of its construction.

Mr. Harlan was very grave and anxious, and spoke frankly of the difficulty he was in.

“You see, sir, my reputation is at stake in this venture,” he explained, “and if anything happens to that cargo they will blame me for it. The only way to avoid a heavy loss is to get the old hull into port, and I am aware that to accomplish this task a man of experience and exceptional judgment is required. There is not another captain on the coast that I would so completely and confidently trust with this undertaking as I would you, sir; and we can afford to pay well for the voyage.”

My father appreciated the compliment, but it did not alter his resolve.

“Can’t be done, Mr. Harlan,” he said, pressing the ashes into the bowl of his pipe and looking around the group of intent listeners with a thoughtful expression. “Time was when I’d have liked a job of that sort, because it’s exciting to fight a strong ocean with a weak ship. But my whole heart is in the Seagull, and I can’t an’ won’t leave her.”

Just then his eyes fell upon me and brightened.

“There’s no reason, howsomever,” he added, “why Sam can’t undertake your commission. We won’t be likely to need him this winter, at all.”

Mr. Harlan frowned; then looked toward me curiously.

“Would you really recommend a boy like Sam for such an important undertaking?” he asked.

“Why not, sir?” replied my father. “Sam’s as good a navigator as I am, an’ he’s a brave lad an’ cool-headed, as has been proved. All he lacks is experience in working a ship; but he can take my own mate, Ned Britton, along, and there’s not a better sailing-master to be had on the two oceans.”

The agent began to look interested. He revolved the matter in his mind for a time and then turned to me and asked, abruptly:

“Would you go, sir?”

I had been thinking, too, for the proposition had come with startling suddenness.

“On one condition,” said I.

“What is that?”

“That in case of accident–if, in spite of all our efforts, the old tub goes to the bottom–you will hold me blameless and look as cheerful as possible.”

The agent thought that over for what seemed a long time, considering the fact that he was a man of quick judgment and action. But I will acknowledge it was a grave condition I had required, and the man knew even better than I did that under the most favorable circumstances the result of the voyage was more than doubtful. Finally he nodded.

“I do not know of any one I would rather trust,” said he. “You are only a boy, Sam Steele; but I’ve got your record, and I know Ned Britton. Next to getting Captain Steele himself, the combination is as good as I could hope to secure for my company, and I’m going to close with you at once, condition and all.”

Britton, who was himself present at this conference, shifted uneasily in his chair.

“I ain’t right sure as we can ship a proper crew, sir,” he remarked, eyeing me with the characteristic stare of his round, light blue eyes, which were as unreadable as a bit of glass.

“Well, we can try, Ned,” I answered, with some concern. “I shall take Nux and Bryonia along, of course, and we won’t need over a dozen able seamen.”

I must explain that the Nux and Bryonia mentioned were not homeopathic remedies, but two stout, black South Sea Islanders who bore those absurd names and had already proven their loyalty and devotion to me, although they were the especial retainers of my uncle, Naboth Perkins.

“What became of the crew that brought the ship in?” asked my father.

“Deserted, sir, an’ dug out quick’s scat,” answered Ned.

“Why?”

“Said as nothing but bad luck followed the ship. She were a thirteener, sir, and bound fer to get in trouble.”

“How’s that?”

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