Dick Hamilton's Steam Yacht/Chapter 19

CHAPTER XIX


AT HAVANA


The machinery of the Albatross was repaired by the next day, and then the welcome throb and tremor of the screw replaced the stillness and quietness of the sails. But the boys welcomed the change, for, though it was ideal to slip through the summer sea like some great fish, without noise, they had become used to the swifter motion, and liked it.

"Well, we'll soon be at Havana," remarked Captain Barton, one fine moonlight night, when it was too lovely to go to one's stateroom. "Have you any special orders. Captain Hamilton?"

"None, except that we'll stay there until I can make some inquiries of Don Ferdinand Hondora, the lawyer, regarding my mother's relatives."

"And what after that?"

"I don't know, exactly. It will depend on what the lawyer says. We may cruise about, go to another part of Cuba, or go off camping on some of the keys. We'll decide when we get to Havana. I may have to take these Cubans back to New York."

The completion of the first part of the voyage was made in good time, and one morning, as the boys came up on deck Captain Barton, pointing to a line of haze on the horizon, said:

"There lies Cuba!"

"Good!" exclaimed Dick. "Now, we'll see what happens."

They at once got ready for a landing, though it would not be for some hours yet. Every one on the yacht, though the voyage had been most pleasant, was glad of the prospective change. Hans, the cook, got up a specially fine dinner in honor of the occasion.

"Haven't you anything for Grit and the puppy, Hans?" asked Dick, as he passed the galley. "They're both hungry."

"Sure, I feeds 'em," answered the German, who was cutting up some meat from pieces brought from the refrigerator, for the Albatross was fitted up with an artificial ice-making machine. "I gifs dem some nice bieces of meat," went on Hans.

A few minutes after this the young millionaire was startled to hear snarls, growls and barks coming from the direction of the galley, while, mingled with the noise made by the dogs was the voice of the cook crying:

"Don't! Stop I dells you, Grit! Behafe yourself alretty now! I did not mean to onsuld you. I—I—Oh, Herr Hamilton! Come quick alretty jet! Your bulldog will devour me! Oh! Ouch!"

A moment later a very much frightened German cook burst out on the deck. He was carrying a plate of meat-scraps, and behind him, growling and snarling, came Grit, his legs working in and out like the pistons of a steam engine. But, as the animal's legs were short, and as the cook had long ones, the race might not prove so unequal.

"What's the matter?" cried Dick. "Stand still, Hans! Grit won't hurt you!"

"He vunt; hey?" cried the German. "VeLl, I ain't goin' to take no chances—no, sir, Herr Hamilton! I runs; dot's vot I do! Stop chasin' me!" the cook cried, turning to glance at Grit. But this nearly proved disastrous for him, as he stumbled over a rope, and only recovered himself as Grit almost reached him.

"What does he want?" shouted Dick. "Here, Grit! Stop it! Come here! What does he want, Hans?"

"He vants me, but, py Jimminity, he don't got me, not if I knows it alretty yet!" responded the German. "I fools him!" and with that the cook, dropping his plate of meat, sprang up into the shrouds of the aftermast.

At once Grit lost interest in the chase, and stopped to eat the scraps of meat, while Hans looked down at him from his perch of safety.

"There, you see," said Dick, laughing. "The meat was all he wanted. Grit was hungry."

"Ha! I knows pretty veil alretty dot he vos hungry," admitted Hans. "But I t'ought he vos hungry after me; so!"

"He was hungry after you," cried Paul Drew, who had witnessed the chase, and he doubled up with laughter.

"You can come down now," suggested Dick. "Grit won't hurt you."

"Vait until he has all dot meat eaten up, den I comes down," replied Hans. "He vunt be hungry so much alretty," and he would not descend until Grit, licking his chops, had gone to lie down in the sun.

"How did it happen?" asked the young millionaire. "I never knew Grit to chase any of his friends."

"I ain't no friend to him—not no more—no, sir," declared Hans, firmly. "I vos goin' to feed der dogs, as you tolt me, Herr Hamilton, und I got der meat, und I gif der little dog some first, und den your big dog, he growled avay down in his throat, und he took after me, un—veLl—I runs, mit der meat—dot's all; see?"

"Yes, I see," spoke Dick. "Grit was jealous because you fed the puppy before you fed him. Grit is used to eating at the first table. He didn't mean any harm."

"Dot's all right, only me an' him ain't friends no more, dot's all," said Hans, Vvath an injured air, as he descended to the deck. "I vos goin' to gif him—Ach Himmel! Der soup is burnin'! I schmell her!" and, with a cry of anguish, he ran toward the galley, where he was soon rattling away amid his pots and pans.

If the soup was burned no one noticed it at the excellent dinner which the cook served later. He seemed to have gotten all over his fright, and he even spoke kindly to Grit, who appeared to have forgotten his temporary lack of manners.

The Albatross docked late that afternoon, and, with expressions of delight and wonder at the sight of what, to them, was practically a foreign city, Dick and his chums went ashore. They were soon in the midst of as much bustle and excitement as the slow-moving natures of the residents of Havana permit.

"By Jove! This is great, old man!" exclaimed Beeby, as he waddled up the pier, with a smile on his fat, good-natured face. "I've never been in Cuba. There'll be lots of new sights, and I can get some stunning pictures. There's an old man asleep on that bale who will make a good subject," and the stout cadet proceeded to snap the "subject." But, just as he was ready, some one called to the sleeping man. He awoke with a start, gave one look at Beeby and the camera, and, with a Spanish expletive, rolled off the bale, and ran away as fast as his legs would take him.

"Hum! I wasn't going to shoot you!" exclaimed the fat lad in disgust. "Now, I've wasted a film," for he had pressed the button just as the man moved.

The American youths were surrounded by a crowd of natives, who talked rapidly, in "more or less United States" as Dick said. The young millionaire observed Tim looking wonderingly about.

"Miss anything, Tim?" he asked.

"Yes, I don't hear anybody hollerin' 'Extree—Extree!' down here," replied the newsboy, to whom the excitement of an edition, hot from the presses, was lacking.

"No, I fancy extras are few and far between down here," agreed Dick. "But, fellows, I want to go to see that lawyer, so as to know what plans to make. So, if you'll step in here, and have some chocolate on me, I'll leave you for a while, and come back," and the wealthy lad led his companions to a restaurant built partly on the street, with tables in the open air, where soon they were being served, while Mr. Hamilton's son asked his way to the office of the attorney, of whom he wished to make some inquiries regarding the missing Valdez family.