What could it mean? I had left Alvarez in command. He was my most loyal subordinate.
It was absolutely beyond the pale of possibility that Alvarez should desert me. No, there
was some other explanation. Something occurred to place my second officer, Porfirio
Johnson, in command. I was sure of it but why speculate? The futility of conjecture was
only too palpable. The Coldwater had abandoned us in midocean. Doubtless none of us
would survive to know why.
The young man at the wheel of the power boat had turned her nose about as it became
evident that the ship intended passing over us, and now he still held her in futile pursuit
of the Coldwater.
"Bring her about, Snider," I directed, "and hold her due east. We can't catch the
Coldwater, and we can't cross the Atlantic in this. Our only hope lies in making the
nearest land, which, unless I am mistaken, is the Scilly Islands, off the southwest coast of
England. Ever heard of England, Snider?"
"There's a part of the United States of North America that used to be known to the
ancients as New England," he replied. "Is that where you mean, sir?"
"No, Snider," I replied. "The England I refer to was an island off the continent of Europe.
It was the seat of a very powerful kingdom that flourished over two hundred years ago. A
part of the United States of North America and all of the Federated States of Canada once
belonged to this ancient England."
"Europe," breathed one of the men, his voice tense with excitement. "My grandfather
used to tell me stories of the world beyond thirty. He had been a great student, and he had
read much from forbidden books."
"In which I resemble your grandfather," I said, "for I, too, have read more even than
naval officers are supposed to read, and, as you men know, we are permitted a greater
latitude in the study of geography and history than men of other professions.
"Among the books and papers of Admiral Porter Turck, who lived two hundred years
ago, and from whom I am descended, many volumes still exist, and are in my possession,
which deal with the history and geography of ancient Europe. Usually I bring several of
these books with me upon a cruise, and this time, among others, I have maps of Europe
and her surrounding waters. I was studying them as we came away from the Coldwater
this morning, and luckily I have them with me."
"You are going to try to make Europe, sir?" asked Taylor, the young man who had last