The Wreck of the "Lady Alice"
The next morning at breakfast Tarzan's place was vacant.
Miss Strong was mildly curious, for Mr. Caldwell had
always made it a point to wait that he might breakfast
with her and her mother. As she was sitting on deck later
Monsieur Thuran paused to exchange a half dozen pleasant
words with her. He seemed in most excellent spirits--his
manner was the extreme of affability. As he passed on Miss
Strong thought what a very delightful man was Monsieur Thuran.
The day dragged heavily. She missed the quiet companionship
of Mr. Caldwell--there had been something about him
that had made the girl like him from the first; he had talked
so entertainingly of the places he had seen--the peoples
and their customs--the wild beasts; and he had always had a
droll way of drawing striking comparisons between savage
animals and civilized men that showed a considerable
knowledge of the former, and a keen, though somewhat cynical,
estimate of the latter.
When Monsieur Thuran stopped again to chat with her in
the afternoon she welcomed the break in the day's monotony.
But she had begun to become seriously concerned in Mr.
Caldwell's continued absence; somehow she constantly
associated it with the start she had had the night before,
when the dark object fell past her port into the sea.
Presently she broached the subject to Monsieur Thuran.
Had he seen Mr. Caldwell today? He had not. Why?
"He was not at breakfast as usual, nor have I seen him
once since yesterday," explained the girl.
Monsieur Thuran was extremely solicitous.
"I did not have the pleasure of intimate acquaintance
with Mr. Caldwell," he said. "He seemed a most estimable
gentleman, however. Can it be that he is indisposed,
and has remained in his stateroom? It would not be strange."
"No," replied the girl, "it would not be strange, of course;
but for some inexplicable reason I have one of those foolish
feminine presentiments that all is not right with Mr. Caldwell.
It is the strangest feeling--it is as though I knew that
he was not on board the ship."
Monsieur Thuran laughed pleasantly. "Mercy, my dear
Miss Strong," he said; "where in the world could he be then?
We have not been within sight of land for days."
"Of course, it is ridiculous of me," she admitted. And then:
"But I am not going to worry about it any longer; I
am going to find out where Mr. Caldwell is," and she
motioned to a passing steward.
"That may be more difficult than you imagine, my dear girl,"
thought Monsieur Thuran, but aloud he said: "By all means."
"Find Mr. Caldwell, please," she said to the steward, "and tell
him that his friends are much worried by his continued absence."
"You are very fond of Mr. Caldwell?" suggested Monsieur Thuran.
"I think he is splendid," replied the girl. "And mamma is
perfectly infatuated with him. He is the sort of man with
whom one has a feeling of perfect security--no one could
help but have confidence in Mr. Caldwell."
A moment later the steward returned to say that Mr. Caldwell
was not in his stateroom. "I cannot find him, Miss Strong,
and"--he hesitated--"I have learned that his berth was not
occupied last night. I think that I had better report the
matter to the Captain."
"Most assuredly," exclaimed Miss Strong. "I shall go
with you to the Captain myself. It is terrible! I know that
something awful has happened. My presentiments were not
false, after all."
It was a very frightened young woman and an excited steward
who presented themselves before the Captain a few moments later.
He listened to their stories in silence--a look of concern
marking his expression as the steward assured him that he
had sought for the missing passenger in every part of the
ship that a passenger might be expected to frequent.
"And are you sure, Miss Strong, that you saw a body fall
overboard last night?" he asked.
"There is not the slightest doubt about that," she answered.
"I cannot say that it was a human body--there was no outcry.
It might have been only what I thought it was--a bundle of refuse.
But if Mr. Caldwell is not found on board I shall always be
positive that it was he whom I saw fall past my port."
The Captain ordered an immediate and thorough search
of the entire ship from stem to stern--no nook or cranny was
to be overlooked. Miss Strong remained in his cabin, waiting
the outcome of the quest. The Captain asked her many
questions, but she could tell him nothing about the missing
man other than what she had herself seen during their brief
acquaintance on shipboard. For the first time she suddenly
realized how very little indeed Mr. Caldwell had told her about
himself or his past life. That he had been born in Africa
and educated in Paris was about all she knew, and this
meager information had been the result of her surprise that
an Englishman should speak English with such a marked
"Did he ever speak of any enemies?" asked the Captain.
"Was he acquainted with any of the other passengers?"
"Only as he had been with me--through the circumstance
of casual meeting as fellow shipmates."
"Er--was he, in your opinion, Miss Strong, a man who
drank to excess?"
"I do not know that he drank at all--he certainly had not
been drinking up to half an hour before I saw that body
fall overboard," she answered, "for I was with him on deck
up to that time."
"It is very strange," said the Captain. "He did not look
to me like a man who was subject to fainting spells, or
anything of that sort. And even had he been it is scarcely
credible that he should have fallen completely over the
rail had he been taken with an attack while leaning upon it
--he would rather have fallen inside, upon the deck. If he is
not on board, Miss Strong, he was thrown overboard--and
the fact that you heard no outcry would lead to the assumption
that he was dead before he left the ship's deck--murdered."
The girl shuddered.
It was a full hour later that the first officer returned to
report the outcome of the search.
"Mr. Caldwell is not on board, sir," he said.
"I fear that there is something more serious than accident
here, Mr. Brently," said the Captain. "I wish that you would
make a personal and very careful examination of Mr. Caldwell's
effects, to ascertain if there is any clew to a motive either
for suicide or murder--sift the thing to the bottom."
"Aye, aye, sir!" responded Mr. Brently, and left to commence
Hazel Strong was prostrated. For two days she did not
leave her cabin, and when she finally ventured on deck she was
very wan and white, with great, dark circles beneath her eyes.
Waking or sleeping, it seemed that she constantly saw that
dark body dropping, swift and silent, into the cold, grim sea.
Shortly after her first appearance on deck following the
tragedy, Monsieur Thuran joined her with many expressions
of kindly solicitude.
"Oh, but it is terrible, Miss Strong," he said. "I cannot rid
my mind of it."
"Nor I," said the girl wearily. "I feel that he might have
been saved had I but given the alarm."
"You must not reproach yourself, my dear Miss Strong,"
urged Monsieur Thuran. "It was in no way your fault.
Another would have done as you did. Who would think that
because something fell into the sea from a ship that it must
necessarily be a man? Nor would the outcome have been
different had you given an alarm. For a while they would
have doubted your story, thinking it but the nervous
hallucination of a woman--had you insisted it would have been
too late to have rescued him by the time the ship could have
been brought to a stop, and the boats lowered and rowed
back miles in search of the unknown spot where the tragedy
had occurred. No, you must not censure yourself. You have
done more than any other of us for poor Mr. Caldwell--you
were the only one to miss him. It was you who instituted
The girl could not help but feel grateful to him for his
kind and encouraging words. He was with her often--almost
constantly for the remainder of the voyage--and she
grew to like him very much indeed. Monsieur Thuran had
learned that the beautiful Miss Strong, of Baltimore, was an
American heiress--a very wealthy girl in her own right, and
with future prospects that quite took his breath away when he
contemplated them, and since he spent most of his time in that
delectable pastime it is a wonder that he breathed at all.
It had been Monsieur Thuran's intention to leave the ship at
the first port they touched after the disappearance of Tarzan.
Did he not have in his coat pocket the thing he had
taken passage upon this very boat to obtain? There was
nothing more to detain him here. He could not return to
the Continent fast enough, that he might board the first
express for St. Petersburg.
But now another idea had obtruded itself, and was rapidly
crowding his original intentions into the background.
That American fortune was not to be sneezed at, nor was
its possessor a whit less attractive.
"SAPRISTI! but she would cause a sensation in St. Petersburg."
And he would, too, with the assistance of her inheritance.
After Monsieur Thuran had squandered a few million dollars,
he discovered that the vocation was so entirely to his
liking that he would continue on down to Cape Town, where
he suddenly decided that he had pressing engagements
that might detain him there for some time.
Miss Strong had told him that she and her mother were to
visit the latter's brother there--they had not decided upon the
duration of their stay, and it would probably run into months.
She was delighted when she found that Monsieur Thuran
was to be there also.
"I hope that we shall be able to continue our acquaintance,"
she said. "You must call upon mamma and me as
soon as we are settled."
Monsieur Thuran was delighted at the prospect, and lost
no time in saying so. Mrs. Strong was not quite so favorably
impressed by him as her daughter.
"I do not know why I should distrust him," she said to
Hazel one day as they were discussing him. "He seems a
perfect gentleman in every respect, but sometimes there
is something about his eyes--a fleeting expression which
I cannot describe, but which when I see it gives me a
very uncanny feeling."
The girl laughed. "You are a silly dear, mamma," she said.
"I suppose so, but I am sorry that we have not poor Mr.
Caldwell for company instead."
"And I, too," replied her daughter.
Monsieur Thuran became a frequent visitor at the home of
Hazel Strong's uncle in Cape Town. His attentions were very
marked, but they were so punctiliously arranged to meet
the girl's every wish that she came to depend upon him more
and more. Did she or her mother or a cousin require an
escort--was there a little friendly service to be rendered,
the genial and ubiquitous Monsieur Thuran was always available.
Her uncle and his family grew to like him for his unfailing
courtesy and willingness to be of service. Monsieur Thuran
was becoming indispensable. At length, feeling the moment
propitious, he proposed. Miss Strong was startled.
She did not know what to say.
"I had never thought that you cared for me in any such
way," she told him. "I have looked upon you always as a
very dear friend. I shall not give you my answer now.
Forget that you have asked me to be your wife. Let us go
on as we have been--then I can consider you from an entirely
different angle for a time. It may be that I shall discover
that my feeling for you is more than friendship. I certainly
have not thought for a moment that I loved you."
This arrangement was perfectly satisfactory to Monsieur Thuran.
He deeply regretted that he had been hasty, but he had
loved her for so long a time, and so devotedly, that he
thought that every one must know it.
"From the first time I saw you, Hazel," he said, "I have
loved you. I am willing to wait, for I am certain that so great
and pure a love as mine will be rewarded. All that I care to
know is that you do not love another. Will you tell me?"
"I have never been in love in my life," she replied, and he
was quite satisfied. On the way home that night he purchased
a steam yacht, and built a million-dollar villa on the black Sea.
The next day Hazel Strong enjoyed one of the happiest surprises
of her life--she ran face to face upon Jane Porter as she was
coming out of a jeweler's shop.
"Why, Jane Porter!" she exclaimed. "Where in the world
did you drop from? Why, I can't believe my own eyes."
"Well, of all things!" cried the equally astonished Jane.
"And here I have been wasting whole reams of perfectly good
imagination picturing you in Baltimore--the very idea!" And
she threw her arms about her friend once more, and kissed
her a dozen times.
By the time mutual explanations had been made Hazel
knew that Lord Tennington's yacht had put in at Cape Town
for at least a week's stay, and at the end of that time was to
continue on her voyage--this time up the West Coast--and so
back to England. "Where," concluded Jane, "I am to be married."
"Then you are not married yet?" asked Hazel.
"Not yet," replied Jane, and then, quite irrelevantly, "I wish
England were a million miles from here.
Visits were exchanged between the yacht and Hazel's relatives.
Dinners were arranged, and trips into the surrounding
country to entertain the visitors. Monsieur Thuran was a
welcome guest at every function. He gave a dinner himself to the
men of the party, and managed to ingratiate himself in the
good will of Lord Tennington by many little acts of hospitality.
Monsieur Thuran had heard dropped a hint of something
which might result from this unexpected visit of Lord
Tennington's yacht, and he wanted to be counted in on it.
Once when he was alone with the Englishman he took occasion to
make it quite plain that his engagement to Miss Strong was
to be announced immediately upon their return to America.
"But not a word of it, my dear Tennington--not a word of it."
"Certainly, I quite understand, my dear fellow," Tennington
had replied. "But you are to be congratulated--ripping
girl, don't you know--really."
The next day it came. Mrs. Strong, Hazel, and Monsieur
Thuran were Lord Tennington's guests aboard his yacht.
Mrs. Strong had been telling them how much she had enjoyed
her visit at Cape Town, and that she regretted that a letter
just received from her attorneys in Baltimore had necessitated
her cutting her visit shorter than they had intended.
"When do you sail?" asked Tennington.
"The first of the week, I think," she replied.
"Indeed?" exclaimed Monsieur Thuran. "I am very fortunate.
I, too, have found that I must return at once, and now
I shall have the honor of accompanying and serving you."
"That is nice of you, Monsieur Thuran," replied Mrs. Strong.
"I am sure that we shall be glad to place ourselves under
your protection." But in the bottom of her heart was
the wish that they might escape him. Why, she could not
"By Jove!" ejaculated Lord Tennington, a moment later.
"Bully idea, by Jove!"
"Yes, Tennington, of course," ventured Clayton; "it must
be a bully idea if you had it, but what the deuce is it?
Goin' to steam to China via the south pole?"
"Oh, I say now, Clayton," returned Tennington, "you
needn't be so rough on a fellow just because you didn't
happen to suggest this trip yourself--you've acted a regular
bounder ever since we sailed.
"No, sir," he continued, "it's a bully idea, and you'll all
say so. It's to take Mrs. Strong and Miss Strong, and Thuran,
too, if he'll come, as far as England with us on the yacht.
Now, isn't that a corker?"
"Forgive me, Tenny, old boy," cried Clayton. "It certainly
IS a corking idea--I never should have suspected you of it.
You're quite sure it's original, are you?"
"And we'll sail the first of the week, or any other time that
suits your convenience, Mrs. Strong," concluded the big-hearted
Englishman, as though the thing were all arranged
except the sailing date.
"Mercy, Lord Tennington, you haven't even given us an
opportunity to thank you, much less decide whether we shall
be able to accept your generous invitation," said Mrs. Strong.
"Why, of course you'll come," responded Tennington.
"We'll make as good time as any passenger boat, and you'll
be fully as comfortable; and, anyway, we all want you, and
won't take no for an answer."
And so it was settled that they should sail the following Monday.
Two days out the girls were sitting in Hazel's cabin,
looking at some prints she had had finished in Cape Town.
They represented all the pictures she had taken since she
had left America, and the girls were both engrossed in them,
Jane asking many questions, and Hazel keeping up a perfect torrent
of comment and explanation of the various scenes and people.
"And here," she said suddenly, "here's a man you know.
Poor fellow, I have so often intended asking you about him,
but I never have been able to think of it when we were together."
She was holding the little print so that Jane did not see
the face of the man it portrayed.
"His name was John Caldwell," continued Hazel. "Do you recall him?
He said that he met you in America. He is an Englishman."
"I do not recollect the name," replied Jane. "Let me
see the picture."
"The poor fellow was lost overboard on our trip down the
coast," she said, as she handed the print to Jane.
"Lost over--Why, Hazel, Hazel--don't tell me that he is
dead--drowned at sea! Hazel! Why don't you say that you are joking!"
And before the astonished Miss Strong could catch her
Jane Porter had slipped to the floor in a swoon.
After Hazel had restored her chum to consciousness she
sat looking at her for a long time before either spoke.
"I did not know, Jane," said Hazel, in a constrained voice,
"that you knew Mr. Caldwell so intimately that his death
could prove such a shock to you."
"John Caldwell?" questioned Miss Porter. "You do not mean
to tell me that you do not know who this man was, Hazel?"
"Why, yes, Jane; I know perfectly well who he was--his
name was John Caldwell; he was from London."
"Oh, Hazel, I wish I could believe it," moaned the girl.
"I wish I could believe it, but those features are burned so
deep into my memory and my heart that I should recognize
them anywhere in the world from among a thousand others,
who might appear identical to any one but me."
"What do you mean, Jane?" cried Hazel, now thoroughly alarmed.
"Who do you think it is?"
"I don't think, Hazel. I know that that is a picture of
Tarzan of the Apes."
"I cannot be mistaken. Oh, Hazel, are you sure that he is dead?
Can there be no mistake?"
"I am afraid not, dear," answered Hazel sadly. "I wish I
could think that you are mistaken, but now a hundred and
one little pieces of corroborative evidence occur to me that
meant nothing to me while I thought that he was John Caldwell,
of London. He said that he had been born in Africa,
and educated in France."
"Yes, that would be true," murmured Jane Porter dully.
"The first officer, who searched his luggage, found nothing
to identify John Caldwell, of London. Practically all his
belongings had been made, or purchased, in Paris. Everything
that bore an initial was marked either with a `T' alone, or
with `J. C. T.' We thought that he was traveling incognito
under his first two names--the J. C. standing for John Caldwell."
"Tarzan of the Apes took the name Jean C. Tarzan," said
Jane, in the same lifeless monotone. "And he is dead! Oh!
Hazel, it is horrible! He died all alone in this terrible ocean!
It is unbelievable that that brave heart should have ceased
to beat--that those mighty muscles are quiet and cold forever!
That he who was the personification of life and health
and manly strength should be the prey of slimy, crawling
things, that--" But she could go no further, and with a little
moan she buried her head in her arms, and sank sobbing to the floor.
For days Miss Porter was ill, and would see no one except
Hazel and the faithful Esmeralda. When at last she came on
deck all were struck by the sad change that had taken place
in her. She was no longer the alert, vivacious American
beauty who had charmed and delighted all who came in contact
with her. Instead she was a very quiet and sad little
girl--with an expression of hopeless wistfulness that none
but Hazel Strong could interpret.
The entire party strove their utmost to cheer and amuse
her, but all to no avail. Occasionally the jolly Lord
Tennington would wring a wan smile from her, but for the
most part she sat with wide eyes looking out across the sea.
With Jane Porter's illness one misfortune after another
seemed to attack the yacht. First an engine broke down, and
they drifted for two days while temporary repairs were being made.
Then a squall struck them unaware, that carried overboard
nearly everything above deck that was portable. Later two of
the seamen fell to fighting in the forecastle, with the
result that one of them was badly wounded with a knife, and
the other had to be put in irons. Then, to cap the climax,
the mate fell overboard at night, and was drowned before
help could reach him. The yacht cruised about the spot for
ten hours, but no sign of the man was seen after he
disappeared from the deck into the sea.
Every member of the crew and guests was gloomy and depressed
after these series of misfortunes. All were apprehensive of
worse to come, and this was especially true of the
seamen who recalled all sorts of terrible omens and warnings
that had occurred during the early part of the voyage, and
which they could now clearly translate into the precursors of
some grim and terrible tragedy to come.
Nor did the croakers have long to wait. The second night
after the drowning of the mate the little yacht was suddenly
wracked from stem to stern. About one o'clock in the
morning there was a terrific impact that threw the slumbering
guests and crew from berth and bunk. A mighty shudder ran
through the frail craft; she lay far over to starboard; the
engines stopped. For a moment she hung there with her decks
at an angle of forty-five degrees--then, with a sullen, rending
sound, she slipped back into the sea and righted.
Instantly the men rushed upon deck, followed closely by
the women. Though the night was cloudy, there was little
wind or sea, nor was it so dark but that just off the port
bow a black mass could be discerned floating low in the water.
"A derelict," was the terse explanation of the officer of the watch.
Presently the engineer hurried on deck in search of the Captain.
"That patch we put on the cylinder head's blown out, sir," he
reported, "and she's makin' water fast for'ard on the port bow."
An instant later a seaman rushed up from below.
"My Gawd!" he cried. "Her whole bleedin' bottom's ripped
out. She can't float twenty minutes."
"Shut up!" roared Tennington. "Ladies, go below and get
some of your things together. It may not be so bad as that,
but we may have to take to the boats. It will be safer
to be prepared. Go at once, please. And, Captain Jerrold,
send some competent man below, please, to ascertain the exact
extent of the damage. In the meantime I might suggest that
you have the boats provisioned."
The calm, low voice of the owner did much to reassure
the entire party, and a moment later all were occupied with
the duties he had suggested. By the time the ladies had
returned to the deck the rapid provisioning of the boats had
been about completed, and a moment later the officer who
had gone below had returned to report. But his opinion was
scarcely needed to assure the huddled group of men and
women that the end of the LADY ALICE was at hand.
"Well, sir?" said the Captain, as his officer hesitated.
"I dislike to frighten the ladies, sir," he said, "but she
can't float a dozen minutes, in my opinion. There's a hole in
her you could drive a bally cow through, sir."
For five minutes the LADY ALICE had been settling rapidly
by the bow. Already her stern loomed high in the air, and
foothold on the deck was of the most precarious nature.
She carried four boats, and these were all filled and lowered
away in safety. As they pulled rapidly from the stricken
little vessel Jane Porter turned to have one last look at her.
Just then there came a loud crash and an ominous rumbling
and pounding from the heart of the ship--her machinery had
broken loose, and was dashing its way toward the bow,
tearing out partitions and bulkheads as it went--the stern rose
rapidly high above them; for a moment she seemed to pause
there--a vertical shaft protruding from the bosom of the
ocean, and then swiftly she dove headforemost beneath the waves.
In one of the boats the brave Lord Tennington wiped a tear
from his eye--he had not seen a fortune in money go down
forever into the sea, but a dear, beautiful friend whom he
At last the long night broke, and a tropical sun smote
down upon the rolling water. Jane Porter had dropped into a
fitful slumber--the fierce light of the sun upon her upturned
face awoke her. She looked about her. In the boat with her
were three sailors, Clayton, and Monsieur Thuran. Then she
looked for the other boats, but as far as the eye could reach
there was nothing to break the fearful monotony of that
waste of waters--they were alone in a small boat upon the
Return of Tarzan Chapter 12
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