Puslapio vaizdai
[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]



"I could wish it clearer," he mumbled Dawn told another story. Koenig on to one of his officers, adding philosophi- re-starting had kept his course, so that cally, “but what hides mine enemy hides the lookouts on the Amphion caught

Besides, the enemy has eyes of the outline of the sub against a lightenswine; he sees but poorly. Nicht wahr, ing horizon many minutes before those Herr Steuermann?"

on Koenig's vessel again detected the And having thus reassured himself, cruiser. Once more it was Kurt who he started the Deutschland's engines. gave the warning, and this time nothSoon she was tearing over the surface ing could hold him. at her maximum speed, still heading There! there! Don't you see! She southeast, and soaking juice into the is following us! Ach, Gott! it is a warstorage batteries. The captain trusted ship! I can see partly to luck, partly to the stupidity of Those who still doubted were inthe British, but mostly to the sagacity stantly convinced. Out of the nothingof Paul Koenig, and he lost no oppor- ness into which the sharp-eyed Kurt tunity of bringing his batteries up to was pointing came a burst of flame, full capacity.

and the shell, striking the water a nicely Double lookouts, forward and aft, calculated twenty feet to one side of were placed, and twice during the early the sub, drenched them to the skin. morning hours there came alarms. The Whatever her previous best record for first occurred a little after three o'clock, submerging, the Deutschland on that when, through a moment's lifting of the occasion bettered it materially, and not mist, one of the lookouts thought he one of those on deck but sustained some

a vague outline well behind the injury in the mad scramble to get besubmarine's stern. The officer of the low. Koenig, his hand covered with watch was called, and several others, blood, his clothing torn, his legs quiverbut though they strained their eyes, ing, stood beneath the conning-tower they could detect nothing. That Kurt, vilifying his enemies. under the obvious stress and responsi- "Englisches Schwein!he snarled. bility, was imagining things, was the "Englisches Schwein! Gott strafe Engconclusion.

land!And lacking all sense of humor, An hour later Kurt again gave the he set about finding fault with the alarm, and so sure was he that Koenig, marksmanship. “Incompetent fools! A snatching a moment's rest below, came German artillery student of but one

year would have found me with the Not a thing was visible, and Kurt first shot! Verdammte Schweine!was laughed at. More delusions!

The great problem before him was “I tell you, with my own eyes I saw!” to lose the war-ship, whatever she was, he expostulated, in a frenzy of exasper- and wherever she had come from. Koeation. “A ship; a big ship, right back nig did not think she had been followthere!” pointing excitedly. “I do not ing him, not for any length of time, see her now, no; but before God I have

anyway. He half doubted Kurt's phanseen her twice this night with my own tom ship of the earlier hours, or if eyes! Herr Kapitän,”-turning in des- the man had really seen something, it peration to Koenig,-“have I sailed the must have been some other vessel crossseas all these years that I should at ing the Deutschland's course at this time have visions?” And Koenig, angle. That there was nothing at that who had known him in Atlantic pas- time following the submarine was proved senger service as a man of extraordin- conclusively by the half-hour stop, arily keen sight, had enough confidence since a ship on the same course must to shut down the Deutschland's engines, have caught up with him in such a submerge all but the conning-tower, period. Probably it was just a case and lie there listening for thirty min- of bull-headed English luck, and one utes.

of their cruisers had had the undeserved But no sound reached them, nor did good fortune to be close to the Deutschany ship materialize out of the hazy land when a breaking day revealed her blackness.

position. Since this explanation seemed

up on deck.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

logical and carried a modicum of com- quivered from stem to stern as the fort, Koenig very naturally concluded shell burst close alongside. it to be correct, and set about solving “Down! down!” he shrieked. “Down his difficulty.

if you would live! Gott! Is it that This particular "cur" differed from the sea is full mit diesen verdammten the others met on previous voyages in Kreuzern?” mid-ocean. She was not of the run- Diving-rudders were thrown to their ing breed, evidently, though probably greatest angle, and the motors, spitting not one whit less stupid. Hence Koe- and smoking at their brushes, drove nig figured that if an Englishman were the Deutschland down into the safety in command of the Deutschland, a de- of the deep water. cided alteration of the course would be It was nine o'clock when Koenig made, and therefore the fool on the made his forced descent, and already cruiser would probably conclude that he had had three hours running under Koenig would likewise make such an conditions not good for either the batalteration. Consequently Koenig did teries or the crew. Now he headed the nothing of the sort, but held the Deutschland south, and, driving her Deutschland to the original course on hard, kept to this course for two which she had been running on the hours. It is probable that a species surface. For three solid hours he of sheer fright then overcame what drove her at the hundred-foot level, remained of his judgment, for he using every ounce of power he dared. turned almost completely around and Batteries so forced throw off large vol- ran madly for the American coast, in umes of very irritating gas, so that whose neutral waters he evidently by the end of this time the men were hoped for sanctuary.

The least conliterally gasping, and it became highly sideration of the facts wouid have desirable to get to the surface. With shown him the futility of this move. almost twenty-five miles placed between German-like, he had expected his suthe sub and the point at which the perior strategy would throw off the cruiser had been encountered, Koenig cruiser at the very first attempt, and felt it wise to have a look around. The so there had followed the prodigal and war-ship would doubtless be completely devastating three-hour drain upon the out of sight, though if she were still batteries. To this he had added two visible, a course could be set to place hours more, though at a lesser rate, an effective distance between them. and now, at this moment, the total So the Deutschland was run

energy remaining could not, in any cirtiously upward until fairly close to the cumstances or at any speed, carry him surface; the motors were stopped, and, half the distance to the coast. He was when the vessel was almost without totally unaware of the true state of motion, a very little water was forced affairs on the surface, though he had out from the ballast-tanks. Inch by the demoralizing conviction that some inch she rose, the movement being al- condition existed which boded ill for most imperceptible. Koenig could take the vessel in his keeping. no chance; a periscope traveling through “Let him run his own course until the water even at a few knots throws so far out to sea that he can't posup a feather of spray visible at a con- sibly double back on you,” had counsiderable distance, whereas the tube seled Wilson. “Keep from scaring him rising without horizontal motion is very as long as you can; but once he sees difficult to detect.

you, let loose!

Pester him! Plague But fate was not siding with the him! Don't miss a chance! Shoot Hun that day. No sooner

every time he shows his head, quick periscope clear of the water than and hard! Hit him or not, as you Koenig at its lower end detected some want, that 's your business; but give sort of war-vessel. His face reddened him no moment's peace. That sort of in impotent anger, and then blanched thing drives a Deutscher clean off his as he saw a burst of white smoke from head; he 'll do wild and crazy things. one of her guns. The Deutschland Keep him crazy, and he 'll run his

was the



[ocr errors]

batteries out quick. But don't you for- takably significant that the Amphion get for a minute that you 're dealing witheld all fire. She merely pulled with a clever man, and if you give him over a little closer and waited. Slowly half a chance to do any real thinking, the hatch was opened, and there there's no telling what may happen." emerged, evidently at great phyrical

And in strict accordance Everett effort, the figure of Kurt, he of the played his hand. Koenig's batteries clear vision. Above his head he held showed marked signs of weakness by a soiled white handkerchief. noon. At four o'clock he attempted Koenig, a broken and crushed man, to emerge,- he had been down ten was assisted aboard the cruiser with hours,- and clearly divining the move, the utmost difficulty. As he came over the Amphion ran up to within a fur- the rail, a seaman supporting him on long of the spot. The periscope was each side, he saw and stared at the barely above water when machine-guns apparatus in the war-ship’s bow. and the lighter batteries opened upon "Our deep-sea fishing outfit,” smilit in a vicious roar, and the entire top ingly explained Everett. The reel is of the instrument was shot away. Koe- a little large, of course, but then it has nig dived. He had a second periscope, to hold such a long, strong line." it is true, but he dared not risk it at Koenig, uncomprehending, glared in that moment. He knew what had hit silence. him, though the blow had come

Our fish is still on the hook, so to quickly that he had not even seen the speak. If you could follow the 'line' cruiser.

over our bow and down through the All night long he ran submerged, his water, you 'd find the far end firmly speed dropping lower and lower as the attached to the Deutschland's keel.” batteries approached exhaustion. All Ach, Gott! that is fool's talk! Not night long the Amphion followed, re- one minute before sailing I passed a lentless, inexorable, running close up hand-line under her.” now, so as to take no slightest chance. “Yes, I know; but one minute was

Down in a perfect hell, strangling, all we needed.” gasping, suffocating, half of Koenig's Gradually the light broke in upon crew lay unconscious, while the rest, the slow-moving German mind. He their hands clutching their throats, and turned upon Everett like a savage dog. their eyes bulging, fought against the "Gott!he cursed-"Gott strafe Engterrible choking death which already land!Then as in quick succession he stretched forth a clawlike hand.

recalled the bothersome newspaper man, In the last few hours of darkness the alleged press tug, the electric sign, they once more approached the surface, the telegram, the blowing of the siren, but the periscope was scarcely up be- and the following out to sea, and as fore its delicate lenses and prisms were the significance of the whole thing shattered into a thousand pieces, leav- dawned upon him, he raised his two ing the sub utterly blind. She sub- clenched fists to heaven. merged again, but this time so slowly “Amerika! Amerika!he cried. “Gott that the movement told its own vivid --strafe-Amerika!story. The hunt was almost over.

Back in Providence, Rhode Island, in

the bleak, desolate office of the ProviDAY came at last. A bitter, penetrat- dence "Ledger," a nondescript man in ing wind whipped the drizzling rain nondescript clothes sat silently coninto the faces of the watchers. It was templating a half-sheet of note-paper. Everett who first saw the Deutsch- It was a wireless message, in from the land's periscopes, one broken stump seven seas and caught by a suitcase and then the other. Then came the outfit which boasted no Federal license. conning-tower hatch, and then slowly, From time to time the man smiled, very slowly, the conning-tower itself. just a little ghost of a smile, such as Inch kinch she rose, until the whole might be warranted when, looking back of her deck was above water. The upon an arduous labor, one knows his action was so deliberate and so unmis- effort has not been in vain.

Our Erratic Idealism


"The trouble with the American reformer, as has often been said, is that he has more energy than reason; and this is because he incarnates the instinctive, irrational will of which I have been writing. The trouble with the American materialist is that he has kept his common sense while losing his vision."

S American idealism a virtue, a disease, or an illusion? The question cannot be answered in an essay. It is like the inquiry with which Tennyson threatened. the flower in the crannied wall-what man is, and what God is?

But it can

be turned and twisted; it can be made ready for answering. The writer, and perhaps the reader, can seek an answer to it; and that is better than the inner feeling of many an American just now, who, weary of five years of idealistic oratory, profoundly believes that American idealism is first of all a nuisance.

Yet it was never so easy to make a case for the virtue of idealism as in retrospect of the years 1914-18. What many have never grasped in the confusion of the times is that exactly the same idealistic prime motive made us join hearts from the first with Great Britian and France, kept us out of war for two years and a half, and brought us in on that April of 1917. There is always a complex of motives behind every war, but there is also, with few exceptions, a primum mobile, and with us it was the distrust, the fear, the hatred that were the reactions of our idealism against arbitrary violence. The invasion of Belgium settled our will for Belgium and her allies. Our distrust of war, especially European

war, as a means by which we could bring about justice and peace kept us out of the struggle despite clamorous, and perhaps far-sighted, minorities. Our final conviction that violence was a fire loose in the world, which must be stamped out, drove us from easy neutrality into war. And if in the last of these three stages dread of the future and the need of immediate self-defense had their large part, they did no more than sharpen the angle of our resolve. Idealism kept us out of war, and idealism drove us into it.

The fume and spume of idealism is oratory, sermonizing, talk about morality, duty, patriotism, rights, and noble purposes. All such gushing rhetoric is no more the thing itself than foam is the ocean. But, like smoke, there is seldom much of it without cause. Men and women who were abroad in 1918 must reflect curiously on the, shall we say, wearisome prevalence of the moralistic, idealistic note in American speech and writing in contrast to its restraint and frequent absence in France and England. When an Englishman orated upon the war to stop war he was usually talking for American consumption. This does not mean that Great Britian and France were sordid, we sincere; on the contrary, it is proof of a tincture of the sentimental in our idealism, to which I shall later return. But it is

« AnkstesnisTęsti »