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The "Dock Rats" of New York Or, The Smuggler Band's Last Stand   By: (1839?-1898)

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Transcriber's Note: This book is an example of early pulp fiction. It was published in 1908 by The Arthur Westbrook Co. as Adventure Series No. 76. "Old Sleuth" is the pseudonym of Harlan Page Halsey (1837 1898).




"Hold, Stranger!"

The words fell from beautiful lips under the most exciting circumstances.

A boat rocked upon the calm water that murmured along the shore, when a young man came down from the upper bank of white drift sand, and seized the tiller rope. He had the rope in his hand, his arm was upraised to draw the boat to his feet, when he was startled by hearing the words with which we open our narrative.

The young man turned toward the speaker, and encountered a sight that caused his handsome eyes to bulge with amazement.

It was a clear, cloudless night, and a half moon shed its diminished radiance on surrounding objects, and revealed to the astonished gaze of the young man the weird appearing figure of a young girl.

One glance was sufficient to announce the fact that the girl was beautiful, but alas! in what questionable shape did she appear? She was attired in a loose gown tightened about the waist with a leathern belt, her feet were bare, and her long hair hung unkempt upon her shoulders.

As our old time readers know, we are not heavy on the beauty describing business, and we will merely declare that the girl was indeed a lovely creature, clad in rags; but she was beautiful, and Spencer Vance, the young man, discerned the fact at a glance, and his amazement was the greater because of the thrilling conditions under which re beheld so great loveliness.

The young man made no immediate answer to the girl's abrupt salutation, but merely stood and gazed at her without any attempt to conceal his utter astonishment.

"You must not go off in the yacht to night!" said the girl.

"Why must I stay ashore to night?"

"Danger is ahead of you!"

"But I am an old sailor, miss; I can take care of myself, I reckon."

The girl drew close to the young man, laid her hand upon his arm, and in a husky voice, whispered:

"The danger comes not from the sea! You will be a victim!"

The young man let the boat line fall from his grasp, a fierce light shone in his eyes, and there was a tremulousness, but not of fear, in his voice as he demanded:

"Who sent you to tell me this?"

"It matters not, you are doomed if you go on the yacht to night! never again will your feet press the hard shore, but the waves will cast you up!"

"Who are you, miss, and why have you come to warn me?"

A moment the girl was silent. She hung her head and appeared lost in thought, but at length, looking up and fixing her magnificent blue eyes upon the young man, she said:

"I do not know who I am, but I do know that if you go out on the yacht to night, you will never return till the waves wash your dead form to the beach!"

"You must have some reason for coming to warn me?"

"Yes; I would save your life!"

"Why are you so deeply interested in saving my life?"

"I would warn anyone whom I knew was in peril! and you must heed my words!"

"I cannot!"

"Are you seeking death?"


"I do not understand."

"And I cannot explain, but I must go out though death meet me upon the crest of every wave."

The girl again remained silent for a moment, but, at length in a still lower whisper, she said:

"You have been betrayed!"

The young man started, and a slight pallor overspread his handsome face as he caught the girl's delicate arm in his firm grasp, and demanded:

"Who am I?"

"You are Spencer Vance."

The young man could not conceal an expression of extreme astonishment.

"Who told you my name was Spencer Vance?"

"It matters not, but take heed; do not go out on the sea to night."

"I tell you I must! I will go, but you must tell me what you know of Spencer Vance."

"You are a revenue detective; you are in the employ of the Government; you have been betrayed, and to night you are to be silenced if you go out on the yacht!"

"Do the men on the yacht know who I am?"

"They do not know your name, but they suspect you are a Government detective, and they have determined to put you out of the way; to night they will do the deed if you go... Continue reading book >>

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