|Chapter Number||XXVIII (Continued) & XXX (Actually XXIX)|
|Chapter Title||How the Revenge Went Down & The Naval Wedding|
|Newspaper Title||The Canberra Times|
|Trove Title||From Windjammer to Battleship|
FROM WINDJAMMER TO BATTLESHIP
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
BY S. G. FIELDING
"Why, it's Wilson of the "Revenge!" exclaimed one of the officers on the bridge.
"Know him?" asked the Commander. "Yes, well; we were shipmates on the
"Who's that with him?"
"Don't know, sir. I think it's the
"Are they dead?" someone asked.
"Dead!" exclaimed the little doctor who was examining them. "No, good as a dozen dead men yet. Hurry up, lads! Tell 'em to stand by with hot water bottles and stimulants. We'll soon pull em round all right."
The unconscious forms were tenderly carried down to a vacant cabin. The telegraph bell clanged, and the ship's bow swung round to the west, heading straight for the coast of old England.
THE NAVAL WEDDING
"Hullo, Padre! Do you know what day it is?" cried Captain Wilson, draw- ing aside the curtain and thrusting a laughing face into the Chaplain's cabin early on a bright May morning-.
Jack started, sat up in his bulk, and still half asleep, gazed wonderingly at the intruder. "Good Heavens, Wilson! You don't mean to say I've missed my Padre again. It's not Sunday, is it?"
Wilson laughed and said: "My dear fellow, you'd have missed something of much more importance than your church parade, if you hadn't a best man to look after you."
"Oh, of course," said Jack, joining in the laugh. "I'd forgotten for the moment; it's the wedding day. But why rouse a fellow out at this unearth- ly hour," he said, glancing at his wrist- let watch. It's only just four bells, the decks are not washed down yet; I can hear them swishing the water overhead now. It's too bad of you, Wilson, to come disturbing me when I shall want all my energy and resources to carry me over the day."
"Disturbing you on your wedding day! The decks not washed down yet!" interrupted the Captain derisively. "Why, man, I've been awake the whole
night thinking of you, and the loss the
fleet is about to sustain. Don't you know all England ,to say nothing of Australia and New Zealand, is talking about you. Just look at the newspapers that have already come aboard the "Times," the "Mirror," the "Daily Mail," the "Telegraph, the——some of them with your photo in——"
"By Jove; that accounts for it. I missed a couple of photos out of my drawer the other day, interrupted Jack
"All," continued Captain Wilson, ignoring the interruption, "with some eulogistic reference to the interesting ceremony which is to take place to-day at St. Margaret's Westminster, with short notices of your career and great naval achievement, and you lie dream- ing here, you ungrateful—what shall I say—wowser, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Just listen to this, if bold head lines, with your photo beneath, not a flattering one, I may say: "How Padre Grenville Won the Great North Sea Battle."
Jack leaned over his bunk, and snatching at the paper, tore it in half.
"You've got the wrong half," said Wilson, laughing.
"Heavens! this is too bad; it must be your doing Wilson; show me the
"You've torn it now, but here's an- other—a better report—read it for yourself."
Jack took the paper and, glancing at the narrative, said, with a note of anger
in his voice:—
"You had no right to do that, Wil- son; you've put me In a wrong posi- tion. You know, I would never have dreamt of usurping Captain Seymour's place, had I been able to convey his in- structions to you."
"Don't get angry on your wedding day. I know that, old chap, I only did what I thought was right. Those con- founders reporters came about me like a swarm of bees; I couldn't get away from them, and when cross-examined I simply had to tell the truth. What else
could I do?"
"Why didn't you mention the matter
to me first?"
"Because you would have wanted to abnegate yourself, and give all the credit to others."
"You would have done better had you been able to take command," said
"So far as I can tell, no one could have done better. And, as for the newspaper publications, well, some one
had to give an official report, and who
could do that better than your humble
servant, an eye-witness, and the uncon-
scious accomplice of your insuborinate action. Better that, old chap, than garbed accounts from the crew and others.
"You are very generous," answered Jack, deeply moved, "I'm afraid most men would be angry and jealous at the thought of such a great opportunity
"No one worthy of the traditions of the British Navy would do other than I have done. Honour to whom honour is due, Padre; you've committed a breach of discipline for which no doubt you will be called to account. So come and take your gruel, old chap, even if at first it is a little bit sweet. And now by the time you shave and get your bath, and breakfast, there will be little time to spare to catch our train for London. A special naval carriage has been reserved; for nearly half the ship's company are determined to wit- ness the ceremony. You know they were paid off yesterday."
"Right oh! I suppose I must sub- mit," said Jack, resignediy, getting out
of his bunk.
"There's nothing else for you to do, Padre; you've often preached to others, now you are yourself the castaway."
Not only was the church filled, but a large crowd had gathered within the precincts of St. Margaret's and the
"Why! it's impossible; it's all bun- kum," one man was saying, "he's only a bloomin' sky pilot, a parson, ' he couldn't do' it."
"Why not?" argued another.
"Do you mean to tell me that a
parson could get command of a British battleship?"
"It wasn't a battleship; it was battle cruiser."
"Well, a battle cruiser; what could he know about naval tactics, the firing of those big guns and torpedos; it's ab- surd, impossible. I believe it's only just a sensational yarn the papers have
"Hang it all," exclaimed another on
looker, "can't you fellows give the man his due, parson or no parson, he's done a great deed that'll make the name of England great in the sight of the work, for years to come."
"Hear! Hear!" shouted a member of
"Shut up, you chaps! here comes the bride," said another.
Stand back, please," said a burly policeman.
And Adele Wilkinson, led by her father, and looking radiant, passed down the long lane to where Jack Grenville, and his best man, Captain Wilson, were standing waiting.
"Dearly beloved," said Canon Wilkin- son, "we are gathered together here
the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this man and this woman in Holy matri- mony . . . . . . . John, will thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife . . . ."
And Jack Grenville answered in a clear and distinct voice, "I will . . . . . . .
with this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my world- ly goods I thee endow; in the name of the Father, and the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen."
"Those whom God hath joined to- gether, let no man put asunder."
The ceremony was over, and Jack
led his happy bride down the aisle of the thronged church to the strains of the Wedding March. A roar of cheer- ing, like the noise of many waters, greeted them as they emerged from the porch and passed through an arch of gleaming swords out into the sunlit
The horses had been taken out of the carriage awaiting them, and it was now manned by a team of laughing blue-
"What does it remind you of, Jack?" asked his bride, as she pressed his arm gently. "I have a strange feeling as though we had pushed through it all before somewhere."
"Yes, he replied, I have the same feeling that we two stood on this self- same spot, on what was then known as the 'aisle of thorns,' long before the old Abbey was built, and there plighted our troth to each other, while the red deer and wild cattle gazed at us through the thickets, and the Thames swept by clear and limpid, and far away in the dis- tance we could just distinguish a little encampment, where the City of London no stands, 'As it was in the begin- ning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen," said Jack, rever-