ปนโปร66 "I went to sea for eleven years, and Captain Flanger, father and son, put my wages in their pockets." At this time the preparations for the reduction of the forts on the Mississippi were in progress, and every available vessel was called into activity. The Bronx had been built for a blockade-runner, and for a steamer of her size she was of exceptional speed. The vessels of the Eastern Gulf squadron were employed to a considerable extent in destroying salt works on the west coast of Florida; but the commodore was not disposed to order the fleet little gunboat upon such service. "Vincent, you will remain in charge of the boat and the men," said the third lieutenant, addressing the quartermaster. "I will explore the island with Mike. I have the fireworks with me, and you will keep a sharp lookout in the direction of the fort. If you see a light close to the water, make for it as fast as you can. Do you understand me?" "No, sir; not a single big gun, and she has only hands enough to work her. Steam all up when we came out of the bay, sir," said Mike, laughing heartily, apparently in spite of himself. "No, sir; I don't believe he is over twenty, if he is that," replied the third lieutenant. "I don't see how the commodore could go behind the commission which Corny carries in his pocket, with the orders of the department, any more than Captain Battleton could. I have thought of this, and I am afraid to trust myself to the chance," replied Christy very decidedly. "Besides, I desire to take the conspirators in the very act of running away with the Bronx; then I can make out a good case."