EM EM : monthly magazine - 01.07.1941, Blaðsíða 32

EM EM : monthly magazine - 01.07.1941, Blaðsíða 32
32 Ein Em mxmters.- conrcrana it, wny COUldn’tj I get away from Mildred Baird tor' a while? “She hasn’t spent muchj time down here. Just vacations.i Been away at school most of her: life.” j The captain swung around,; reached toward a row of buttons! on his desk. “I’ll get a boy. VVe’ll; have a drink.” I heard a sudden scurry of feetj on the deck outside. Someonej started to talk, his voice pitched; high with excitement. Captain Eldridge jumped to his feet and| threw open the door. “What’s wrong out there?” he demanded sharply. A white-faced quartermaster ap- peared in the doorway. He wore only trousers and there was blood smeared all over his bare chest. He stood there, breathing hard. “Bailey! Snap out of it!” the captain ordered. “What’s hap- pened?” “It’s Cliips, sir!” the quarter- master gasped. “The carpenter. I just found him in his bunk. His —his throat was cut clean across. He—he's dead. Murdered, sir!” And then, for the first time In half an hour I recalled that warn- ing note from Pedro Gonzales. And it struck me with a force like the kick of an army mule that Pedro knew what he was talking about when he told me the Alder- baron wouid sink before morning. Captain Eldridge turned to mej “Sorry we can’t have that drink, lieutenant.” His keen eyes were worried, his jaw and lips set. “You’ll have to excuse me.” . ; I was on my feet, “Wait, cap- tain!” Striding across the stateroom, I closed the door in the face of the quartermaster and swung around to Captain Eldridge. He watched me with narrowed eyes as I fumbled in my pocket and pulled out Pedro’s note. “I have something here I think you ought to know about. At first I wasn’t going to say anything of this. But now, with the carpenter murdered in his bunk, there may be—well, some connection.” I handed him the note. “That was delivered on board just before the ship sailed. Due to an oversight I didn’t get it until a short while ago. Read it, captain.” Captain Eldridge read the note, looked up, met my eyes. "Who,” he asked coolly, “is Peter Gonzales?” All at once I felt a bit sUly., "He is the porter at the American club in Caimora.” , “H-m.” The captain read the note agaln and quietly handed it back to me. He smiled humorless- ly. “A joke, perhaps?” j “Nö. Pedro Gorizales hasn’t that sort of a sense of humor.” “Maybe he doesn’t like you. Maybe he cooked this up to give you a scare, a few hours worry.” “But that’s just the point!” I cried, suddenly excited. “He does like me. I may be kidding myself, but I think he’d ;lay down his life for me. He’s jthat kind of a fellow. About a Ivear aea I went to hat far him ttmaig rne lower crasses. He is’ tlosely in touch with the politicali situation in Andegoya and if theí Liberals have hatched a plot toj sink this ship Ke very probablj would know about it.” “H - m.” Eldridge continued stroking his chin. “Wlien did youj last see this Pedro Gonzales?” ! “He helped me aboard with my1 luggage.” - ’ “TUen. whv. da vou snnnose. hg “It’s Chips, sir!” the quartermaster gasped. Murdered, slr!” “He—he’s deiad! ana goc nnn ouv or a nasty jam.j Since then he’s been my friend.l My loyal friend, I tell you!” Eldridge stroked his chin withj a hard tanned hand. He saidí finally, quietly skeptical: “But! lieutenant! Surely you can’t ex-j pect me to take seriously a warn-j ing of this sort from an ignorant,! superstitious native.” i “But he isn’t an ignorant na-j tive,” I denied hotly. “I’ve known! him for two years and I know he’sj not a fool. He may be only a! porter at the American club, but; he is a member of the Liberal! oartv and ha Uffg a hiflr foilawiiaflct jdid not wairr jroa cnerrr wny ao jit by letter?” i “Perhaps he didn’t want me to! buestion hhn. Perhaps, to assurei his own safety, he didn’t want ma! fo get the warning untU the shlpj was under way.” The captain slowly nodded. “Yes, that is logical.” He stood motionless for a long time, his eyes cold and thoughtíul. I said fínally: “Look here, sir! Can you thlnk of a reason why any person, or any group of people, or any politi- cai party of Andegoya, shouid iwaat ta. siak.this sbia?”


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