The Grand Babylon Hotel
15. End Of The Yacht Adventure
WE must now return to Nella Racksole and Prince Aribert of Posen on board the
yacht without a name. The Prince's first business was to make Jules, otherwise
Mr Tom Jackson, perfectly secure by means of several pieces of rope. Although
Mr Jackson had been stunned into a complete unconsciousness, and there was
a contused wound under his ear, no one could say how soon he might not come
to himself and get very violent. So the Prince, having tied his arms and legs,
made him fast to a stanchion.
'I hope he won't die,' said Nella. 'He looks very white.'
'The Mr Jacksons of this world,' said Prince Aribert sententiously, 'never die till
they are hung. By the way, I wonder how it is that no one has interfered with us.
Perhaps they are discreetly afraid of my revolver - of your revolver, I mean.'
Both he and Nella glanced up at the imperturbable steersman, who kept the
yacht's head straight out to sea. By this time they were about a couple of miles
from the Belgian shore.
Addressing him in French, the Prince ordered the sailor to put the yacht about,
and make again for Ostend Harbour, but the fellow took no notice whatever of
the summons. The Prince raised the revolver, with the idea of frightening the
steersman, and then the man began to talk rapidly in a mixture of French and
Flemish. He said that he had received Jules' strict orders not to interfere in any
way, no matter what might happen on the deck of the yacht. He was the captain
of the yacht, and he had to make for a certain English port, the name of which he
could not divulge: he was to keep the vessel at full steam ahead under any and
all circumstances. He seemed to be a very big, a very strong, and a very
determined man, and the Prince was at a loss what course of action to pursue.
He asked several more questions, but the only effect of them was to render the
man taciturn and ill-humoured.
In vain Prince Aribert explained that Miss Nella Racksole, daughter of millionaire
Racksole, had been abducted by Mr Tom Jackson; in vain he flourished the
revolver threateningly; the surly but courageous captain said merely that that had
nothing to do with him; he had instructions, and he should carry them out. He
sarcastically begged to remind his interlocutor that he was the captain of the
'It won't do to shoot him, I suppose,' said the Prince to Nella. 'I might bore a hole
into his leg, or something of that kind.'
'It's rather risky, and rather hard on the poor captain, with his extraordinary sense
of duty,' said Nella. 'And, besides, the whole crew might turn on us. No, we must
think of something else.'
'I wonder where the crew is,' said the Prince.
Just then Mr Jackson, prone and bound on the deck, showed signs of recovering
from his swoon. His eyes opened, and he gazed vacantly around. At length he
caught sight of the Prince, who approached him with the revolver well in view.
'It's you, is it?' he murmured faintly. 'What are you doing on board? Who's tied
me up like this?'