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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Moving Picture Girls At Sea: A Pictured Shipwreck That Became Real - Chapter 25. Clear Skies
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The Moving Picture Girls At Sea: A Pictured Shipwreck That Became Real - Chapter 25. Clear Skies Post by :kurtg3 Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :January 2011 Read :2004

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The Moving Picture Girls At Sea: A Pictured Shipwreck That Became Real - Chapter 25. Clear Skies

CHAPTER XXV. CLEAR SKIES

Instantly there was commotion and excitement on board the _Sirius_, for Russ and Mr. Sneed had told their story of the starting out to make a pictured shipwreck, which shipwreck had evidently, now, become real.

"That's the _Mary Ellen_, I'm sure of it!" Russ cried as he caught a glimpse of the sighted schooner. "But what has happened to her?"

"Masts are gone, and she's sinking," one of the steamer's officers told him. "I guess we can't get to her any too quickly."

And it was high time a rescue was made, for Captain Jepson, and Mr. Pertell had decided to take to the boats with all on board.

The _Mary Ellen _was sinking; there was no doubt of that. All that could be done had been done, but to no avail.

But hope revived when the steamer was sighted.

A little later, the _Sirius stood by. And high time, too. As a last resort, when it was found that the repaired pumps could not keep the water down in the hold, so big was the leak, the signal of distress had been hoisted. And, after many anxious hours, it had been thus providentially answered.

Then a thought came to Mr. Pertell. The weather had cleared. The schooner would keep afloat a few hours more. Why not make the pictures of the shipwreck now? It would be his only chance. True, they would not be just as planned, but they would be better than losing all the efforts that had been made.

There was a brief talk with the captain of the _Sirius_. He consented to stand by until the sea drama, quickly revised, was acted out--at least, until shipwreck scenes were portrayed.

It was rather an exciting time, the passengers dropping overboard from the sinking schooner, and being rescued in boats. Russ, on board the _Ajax_, which was again put into the sea, worked the camera. The _Mary Ellen made a more realistic wreck than had been hoped for. Former Captain Brisco and Hen Lacomb, alone, refused to take any part in the drama.

At last the final film was run off, the last rescue was made by the motor craft and small boats, and all, passengers and crew, from the sinking schooner, were taken aboard the _Sirius_.

"There she goes!" said Alice softly, as, with a final lurch, and a blowing up of her decks, from the compressed air under them, the old craft, bow first went beneath the waves. Russ took the final pictures.

"Game to the last!" said Captain Jepson. "She went down bow on, to show she wasn't afraid of Davy Jones! That's the last of her, and the last of Brisco's schemes to get her for his own use."

"Tell me about that now," suggested Mr. Pertell. "I have time to listen now, for we aren't trying to save a sinking ship."

They were all now safely aboard the steamer, which had resumed her course. The moving pictures had all been taken, save some that needed a shore background, and these could be done later.

"Did Brisco really plot to get the _Mary Ellen_?" asked the manager.

"He did," said Jack Jepson. "I'll tell you the whole story." And he did. Briefly it was this:

On his first trip to the schooner, Jack had recognized Brisco as an unscrupulous man who had been engaged in several shady ship transactions. But Brisco denied his identity, and Jack pretended to have been mistaken, in order to throw him off his guard. Brisco was also, Jack said, one of the mutineers of the _Halcyon_, but the plotter denied this, and Jack admitted he may have been mistaken.

Then came the advent of Hen Lacomb, whom Jepson recognized as a fellow plotter with Brisco. The evil men knew him, too, after a bit, but they counted on the charge of mutiny hanging over him to make him keep quiet, and not reveal their plot.

Brisco and Lacomb plotted to get the schooner for themselves. They were not really going to endanger the lives of the passengers or crew, but their game was to only pretend to sink the ship, and to raise such an alarm that she would be hastily abandoned. Then they would come back to her later, salvage her, and use her for their own ends.

Jack Jepson had overheard this plot, and, as he had said, found the incriminating document signed by Lacomb. This was hidden in a secret compartment in what had formerly been his bunk, when the schooner was the _Halcyon_.

When Brisco and Lacomb discovered that Jepson knew their secret, they tried to get rid of him, by a seeming accident. But Fate interfered with their plans, and the storm made a big change. Then came the deposing of Captain Brisco, and the rest of the story is known to my readers.

"Well, Jack Jepson--or, Captain Jepson, though you haven't now command of any ship," said Mr. Pertell, "we owe much to you."

"It's nothin' at all," Jack said, modestly enough. "When I saw this steamer, though, I thought it was that Britisher coming back for me."

"It's a shame that the charge of mutiny should hang over you!" exclaimed Alice. "I think it should be wiped out."

"I wish it could be," Jack said with a sigh.

A steward, a little later, came to where the rescued ones were talking together--Brisco and Lacomb having gone off by themselves--and the steward said the steamer's captain wanted to talk to the schooner's commander.

"There he is," said Mr. Pertell, pointing to Jack Jepson. "That's our new captain."

The steward looked. A queer change came over his face.

"Jack!" he cried. "Is it really you? I've looked all over the world for you!"

"Tom Buttle!" cried Jepson, leaping to his feet. "My old shipmate. Say, if anyone knows, you do, that I never had a thing to do with that mutiny on the _Halcyon_. Don't you know I didn't?"

"Of course I do!" the steward cried. "I can prove you were as innocent as a babe, and I know others who can, too."

"What's this--more of the mystery?" asked Alice.

"It's the end of it, I hope," said Jack solemnly. "Tell 'em, Tom!"

"There isn't much to tell," the steward said. "I was a shipmate with Jack on the _Halcyon or the _Mary Ellen_, in the old days. He's probably told you of the mutiny. I was hurt in it, and lay unconscious when they arrested him for it. I didn't recover until he had been put in jail, and when I tried to give my evidence, I could get no one to listen to me. Then I heard Jack had escaped and I rested easy. I never knew the charge was hanging over him all this while.

"I've been all over the world since, sailing in different vessels, and in every port I'd inquire of Jack from those who knew him. But I never found him until now. Clear him--of course I can clear him of the unjust charge!"

"Thank Heaven for that!" said Jack Jepson.

"Everything is cleared up!" cried Alice gaily. "Even the sky--see how blue it is!"

In due time Jack's innocence was proved before the English courts, and the charge against him wiped out. He was then free to come and go as he pleased. But the mystery of the disappearance of Captain Watson, of the _Halcyon_, or old _Mary Ellen_, and his companion, Mike Tullane, was never solved.

The _Mary Ellen_, all that was left of the reconstructed _Halcyon_, was, of course, a total wreck. Brisco's plan failed. Nothing was done to him, as it would have been difficult to prove a case against him.

Arrangements were made for taking the needed land scenes of the sea drama, and when this was done, the whole company returned to New York.

"Well, Alice," remarked Ruth one day, as they were on their way up the coast in a steamer, "did you have enough of sea-life this trip?"

"I certainly did," was the answer. "No more shipwrecks for me!"

"Same here!" put in Russ. "It's taking too many chances!"

"Oh, you'd do it over again--or something like it--and so would you girls, if you knew a good film would come of it," predicted Paul Ardite, with a laugh.

And here we will say good-bye to the Moving Picture Girls.


(THE END)
Laura Lee Hope's Novel: Moving Picture Girls at Sea: A Pictured Shipwreck That Became Real

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