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Title: Go-Ahead
       Or, The Fisher-Boy's Motto

Author: Harry Castlemon

Release Date: October 6, 2017 [EBook #55683]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by David Edwards, Daniel Lowe and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
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Transcriber's Note

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.








Publisher's Stamp



Other Volumes in Preparation.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



I.  A Ragamuffin, 5
II.  A Liberal Passenger, 19
III.  Fishertown in Council, 28
IV.  Tom Newcombe's Plan, 36
V.  Sam Barton's Revenge, 49
VI.  Going in Debt, 58
VII.  Tom orders a New Boat, 70
VIII.  The Go Ahead No. 2, 80
IX.  Crusoe and his Men, 94
X.  Another Failure, 107
XI.  Tom's New Yacht, 122
XII.  Tom loses a Dinner, 136
XIII.  Mr. Newcombe's Present, 147
XIV.  Bob makes a Discovery, 159
XV.  Bob a Prisoner, 175
XVI.  [iv] Bob Fights for his Liberty, 185
XVII.  Preparations for the Voyage, 201
XVIII.  The Attack on the Yacht, 221
XIX.  Crusoe Afloat, 236
XX.  The Tables Turned, 251
XXI.  Harry's Report, 263
XXII.  Conclusion, 276




"Bad luck again to-day," said Bob Jennings, as he reluctantly drew in his line and glanced at his empty basket, which he had hoped to take home full of fish, "I've been here since seven o'clock this morning, and haven't had a single bite. If it is true that 'Fortune favors the brave', it seems to me she is a long time in finding out that there is such a fellow as Bob Jennings in the world, for the harder I work, the worse I get along."

As the fisher-boy spoke, he pulled up his anchor, hoisted a small tattered sail in the bow of his boat, and filled away for home, as poor as when he set out in the morning.

It was no wonder that Bob felt somewhat disheartened, for he was but twelve cents better off at that moment than he had been the day before. He had ferried six ship-carpenters across the harbor that morning, and[6] then pulled five miles up the bay, to his fishing-grounds, only to return empty-handed. And that was not the worst of it, for a "streak of bad luck," as he called it, had attended him during the entire week. It was then Friday; and since Monday morning he had earned just a dollar and a quarter. Fishing had been unprofitable, and the ship-carpenters seemed to have taken a sudden dislike to his boat, for, of late, he had never been able to secure more than half a load, and his ferrying did not yield him twenty cents a day. He had worked hard, but luck was against him, and, in spite of all his exertions, he had not been able to earn enough to pay the week's expenses; and that morning his mother had told him that she would soon be obliged to use a portion of the fifteen dollars which Bob had managed to save as part of the sum necessary to support the family while he was gone on his first voyage at sea. Bob had been expecting this; and it was the worst part of his week's "streak of bad luck," for that fifteen dollars had been saved for a special purpose, and he did not want to see it used for any thing else. He had staked all his hopes upon the result of this day's work, and thus far he had earned but twelve cents. Some boys, perhaps, would have thought fifteen dollars a very insignificant sum to be troubled about, but Bob looked upon it as quite a respectable fortune. There were not many fisher-boys about Newport who could boast that, during the last six months, they had fed and clothed a family of four persons, and saved money besides. Bob was the only one among them who ever laid by a penny for a rainy day; but, unless his luck soon changed, he would be as poor as the rest of them—his fortune would melt away,[7] and his first voyage be indefinitely postponed. The fisher-boy was not in the habit of grumbling because every thing did not work as smoothly as he desired, but, under such circumstances, he found it almost impossible to keep up a cheerful heart. He was willing to work, but he wanted to see that he was making some headway in the world. When fortune favored him, and he could give his mother fifty, or even twenty-five, cents every evening, there was not a happier boy in Newport than Bob Jennings. He felt rich; and it is probable that he would even have hesitated about changing places with his friend Tom Newcombe, whom he sometimes envied. But when luck went against him—as had been the case during the week that had just passed—Bob could not help getting downhearted, for it seemed to him that every failure he made placed the object of his ambition farther beyond his reach. He wanted to become the master of a fine vessel, but he could not go to sea leaving his mother unprovided for; and thirty dollars would be sufficient to insure her against want during his absence. After nearly six months' hard work, he had saved half the amount required, and he had begun to hope that, by the time the spring arrived, he could give up fishing and ferrying, turn his scow over to his brother, and enter upon his career as a sailor. But Bob's hopes had been ruined more than once by a "streak of bad luck," and now it seemed as if misfortune was again about to overtake him.

"I don't want to see that fifteen dollars broken in upon," said the fisher-boy, taking a firmer grasp of the oar with which he was steering his clumsy craft, as if to indicate that he had determined to hold on to his fortune[8] as long as possible; "I've worked hard for it, through storm and sunshine, have gone about my work ragged and barefooted, and now, if I lose it, I shall almost believe that I was born to be a fisherman, and that it's no use for me to try to be any thing else. If this money goes, it will be the third time I have been bankrupt. After mother agreed to let me go to sea if I would save thirty dollars, I went to work, and, at the end of three months, I had seven dollars in the bank. I was making money fast, and I thought that, at the end of the year, I should have more than thirty dollars laid by. But I had a streak of bad luck; the fish wouldn't bite, I couldn't make a dime a day ferrying, and four dollars out of the seven had to go to feed the family. After awhile, my luck changed again, and, in four months, I had saved twelve dollars and a half. Then I began to fall behind a second time, and every red cent of my twelve dollars was gone before I knew it. Then came a streak of good luck, which lasted almost six months, and, during that time, I saved just fifteen dollars. If that goes like the rest, I shall begin to believe that I am very unlucky. Now, there's Sam Barton! He doesn't work half as hard as I do, but he makes more money. I wish I had been in his place night before last."

Bob was not the only one who envied Sam Barton, for he was the most fortunate ferry-boy about the village. His companions all looked upon him with a great deal of respect; and the reason was because Sam owned the best boat, and could boast of more "regular customers" than any other boys about the harbor. On Wednesday evening, after the workmen had all been taken across, and the ferry-boys were seated in their[9] boats, counting their money, and getting ready to start for home, a gentleman, who was standing on the wharf talking to an acquaintance, accidentally slipped off into the water. A dozen boats at once started to his assistance; but Sam was foremost, and, reaching the gentleman just as he was sinking for the last time, he seized him and lifted him into his boat. The man soon recovered from the effects of his involuntary bath, and, on being assisted on to the wharf, he thrust his hand into his pocket, and, pulling out a large roll of bills, tossed it to Sam; after which, he stepped into a carriage and was driven off. The ferry-boys, who had been interested spectators of all that had taken place, crowded up around Sam's boat; and when the latter had counted the money, he found himself the proud possessor of a hundred dollars—a much larger sum than he had ever owned before. The idea of a reward must have entered Sam's head the moment he saw the gentleman struggling in the water, for, after he had put the money carefully away in his pocket, he turned to Bob, who had been close beside him all the while, and coolly remarked:

"You're a purty good hand with an oar, Bobby Jennings, an' I'll allow that you can make that ar ole scow of your'n fly through the water amazin' fast, but it wasn't no use fur you to think of beatin' me in this race, 'cause I was pullin' fur money—I was. I knowed the ole chap would give a feller a dime or two fur haulin' him out of the water, fur I seed he couldn't swim the minute he fell in."

"So did I," said Bob, "but I never thought of a reward; I only wanted to save the man's life."


"I s'pose, then," said Sam, "that if you had been first, an' had pulled that feller into your boat, an' he had said 'Thank you, Bobby,' you would have been satisfied?"

"Certainly, I would!" replied the fisher-boy.

"Well," continued Sam, thrusting his hand into his pocket to satisfy himself that his money was safe, "mebbe that's a good principle to go on, but it won't bring you much bread an' butter—not more'n you can eat, any how. I believe a feller has a right to make all he can. In course, he oughter work, 'cause he'll soon starve if he don't; but when he sees a chance to make a few dollars easy, he oughtn't to let it slip. The world owes us ferry-boys a livin', an' the easier we make it, the smarter we be. But, 'pears to me, if I was a rich man, an' should fall into the harbor, an' couldn't swim a stroke, I'd give the feller that pulled me out more'n a hundred dollars."

The next day, when Sam came among his companions, the appearance of himself and boat excited the wonder and admiration of every ferry-boy in the harbor. His yawl had received a fresh coat of paint outside; and the thwarts were supplied with cushions, so that his passengers might have the benefit of easy seats. Sam was rigged out in a brand-new suit of clothes, and he sculled about among the ferry-boys as if he felt himself to be very important.

"What do you think of me an' my yawl, now, Bobby Jennings?" asked Sam, as he dashed up along-side the fisher-boy, who was seated in his scow watching the wharves on both sides of the harbor, in the hope of discovering a passenger. "Ain't we gay? That hundred dollars came in handy, I tell you."


"Your boat looks very nice," replied Bob, glancing first at the clean, dry yawl, and then at his own unpainted, leaky craft. "She's a great deal better than mine."

"That's to be expected," said Sam; "you see, I've got capital to go on, and I know how to use it. I was onct as poor as you be; the boat I had was a'most as leaky an' dirty as that ar craft of your'n, and I never could make enough to pay expenses, 'cause the ship-carpenters an' the fine gentlemen who have business across the harbor wouldn't have nothing to do with me. One day, my old man said to me: 'Sammy, a coward an' a poor man are the two meanest things in the world. They are a disgrace to society. If you ever want to be respected, go to work an' make some money.' I thought that was good advice, and I follered it. Now look at me! I've got two good boats—the other a nice little skiff that I want to sell to some feller who has twenty dollars to pay for it—I wear good clothes, I've got more regular customers than any two other boys in the harbor, an' every night I take home at least a dollar and a half. I'm makin' money; an' the reason is, I know how to do it. During two years' ferryin' on this harbor, I have learned that the only way to get custom is to have a nice, clean boat——Yes, sir; comin', sir!"

Sam Barton was a boy who could do two things at once—that is, he could talk and keep a bright lookout for passengers at the same time—and he had just discovered a man standing on the wharf, waving his handkerchief—a sign that he wanted to cross the harbor. Bob saw him at the same moment, and, by the time[12] Sam had got his oar out, the fisher-boy was well under way, and Sam began to fear that the two cents he had hoped to earn would find their way into the pockets of his rival. "First come, first served," was the law in force among the ferry-boys, and the one who could handle his oar the best got the most passengers. There was not a boy in the harbor who could beat Bob sculling, and although he had a heavy, unwieldy boat to manage, he generally came off first best in his races. He certainly did in this instance, for, when he reached the wharf where the passenger was standing, Sam was a long way behind.

"Jump in, sir," said Bob.

The man looked down at the scow, which, on account of its numerous leaks, could not be kept very clean, then at his well-blacked boots, and shook his head.

"O, she'll take you over safely, sir," said Bob; "I've carried fifteen men in her many a time."

"Sheer off there, Bobby Jennings!" shouted Sam Barton, bringing his handsome yawl along-side the wharf at this moment; "here's the boat the gentleman's been a-waitin' fur. He wants a neat, tidy craft, wi' cushions to sit down on. Jump in, sir."

The idea Sam had advanced but a few moments before—that a nice, clean boat was necessary to secure patronage—received confirmation now, for the man climbed down into the yawl, and Bob saw his rival pocket the passage-money.

The fisher-boy thought over these incidents, as he sat in the stern-sheets of his scow sailing slowly homeward from his fishing-grounds; and, although Sam Barton had, at first, fallen very low in his estimation, by accepting[13] a reward for saving a man's life, he was now ready to wish that he had been in Sam's place.

"If I could only think of some honest way to earn a hundred dollars, how proud I should feel!" said the fisher-boy. "It would support the family in fine style for a year to come, and would buy a good many articles of furniture that we need in the house. It would send me to sea, too, and I would then be in a situation to make a man of myself. I might, some day, become the captain of one of Mr. Newcombe's fine ships."

At this point in his meditations, when the fisher-boy was imagining how grand he would feel when he should walk the quarter-deck of his own vessel, he was suddenly startled with the shout:

"Look out there, you ragamuffin! Out of the way, or we'll run you down!" And the next moment, a beautiful little schooner, filled with boys about his own age, dashed by, under a full press of canvas.

"Ship ahoy!" shouted the boy who held the helm of the schooner; "What ship is that?"

"Why, that's the 'Go Ahead,'" said one of his companions, reading the name which was painted in rude letters on the stern of Bob's scow.

"So it is!" said another. "But I don't think the name is appropriate, for she don't seem to go ahead at all."

The boys in the schooner laughed loudly at this exhibition of wit, and the little vessel dashed on, leaving Bob sitting in the stern of his scow, silent and thoughtful. This incident had brought him back to earth again. The gallant ship, of which he had imagined himself the proud commander, faded before his eyes, and he found[14] himself seated at the helm of his leaky boat, with its tattered sail and empty fish-basket staring him in the face. The trim, swift-sailing little schooner, which had so nearly run him down, and which was now bounding gayly over the waves of the bay, with its load of merry, thoughtless boys, presented a strange contrast to his own clumsy craft, and, but for one simple thing, Bob would have been more disheartened than ever. But one of the boys had called him a "ragamuffin;" while the others had made sport of his boat and the odd name she bore, and this aroused the fisher-boy's spirit.

"They don't know what they were talking about," said Bob to himself. "I didn't give my scow that name on account of her sailing qualities, for no one who knows any thing about a boat would expect a tub like this to sail fast. I call her the 'Go Ahead' because that's part of my motto, and I want it where I can see it when I get down-hearted."

Bob hesitated, and even looked as if he felt ashamed of himself as he said this, for he remembered that but a few moments before he had been sadly discouraged, and had never once thought of his motto. It was strange that he had forgotten it, for the words "Go Ahead," painted in huge capitals, stared at him from every part of the boat to which he could direct his gaze. On the thwarts, the gunwales, the oar with which he was steering, and even on the bottom, where the water stood three inches deep, appeared the mysterious words, which, under ordinary circumstances, never failed to prove a sure source of cheerfulness and contentment to the fisher-boy.

"They called me a ragamuffin," continued Bob, looking down at his patched garments, "and perhaps I am;[15] but I know one thing, and that is, a ragged coat has covered the back of many an honest man. I believe I am honest, for I never, knowingly, cheated a man out of a cent. My customers are not afraid to trust me, for they believe just what I say, and never look at the scales when I am weighing out the fish. Sam Barton says, that poor men and cowards ought not to be allowed to live in the world; but mother says, poverty is no disgrace if a person works hard and tries to better his condition. I won't always be a ragamuffin, now I tell you! I'll own a sail-boat one of these days that will make that schooner ashamed of herself. How will I get it?" added Bob aloud, as if some invisible person had just asked him the question. "How will I get it? I'll work for it; that's the way I'll get it. I'll stick to my ferrying and fishing until something better turns up, and then I'll make a man of myself."

As the fisher-boy said this, he gave one parting glance at the schooner, and then turned his attention to the management of his scow. His feelings now were very different from what they had been when he began his voyage homeward, for the sneering remarks of the schooner's crew had aroused his pride and indignation. He was willing to admit that he was a ragamuffin, but he was determined that he would not always remain one. He was ambitious to be something better; and, like a sensible boy, he knew there was but one way for him to accomplish his object, and that was to work hard for it.

During the voyage homeward, Bob thought over his situation, and revolved in his mind numerous plans for future operations; but the only conclusion he could come to was, to "stick to his business" and do the best he could.[16] He might have accepted a situation in some store; in fact, one or two had been offered him—for Bob, like every other honest, industrious boy, had plenty of friends—but that would not better his condition as far as money was concerned. His wages would amount to but a dollar and a half or two dollars a week, and at that rate he could not save a cent. Even fishing and ferrying were generally more profitable; for, although some weeks he would make scarcely enough to pay expenses, he would, at other times, clear three and four dollars, so that his mother could lay by something to increase their little fortune. His present "streak of bad luck" could not last always; it would soon change in his favor, and, until then, he would work on and hope for the best. There were numerous obstacles and discouragements in his way, and the greatest of them was the want of a good boat. The Go Ahead had done him considerable service, but she was so old and shaky that, with the exception of Bob, there was scarcely a boy in Newport who was brave enough to trust himself very far from shore in her. It was no wonder, then, that the ship-carpenters gave the fisher-boy a wide berth, and preferred Sam Barton's staunch yawl to his leaky scow. The question, How should he get a new boat? had troubled him for three months, and he was not yet able to answer it. At first he had thought of building one; but he had no money to buy the necessary material, and the planks and boards that got loose in the harbor were always picked up before Bob knew they were there. He could not buy a boat, for such a one as he wanted would cost twenty or thirty dollars; and where could he obtain so much money? This question perplexed Bob greatly, and now[17] it seemed to trouble him more than ever. He did not recover his usual spirits again that afternoon, and, when he ran his scow upon the beach in front of his humble home, he wore an exceedingly long face, which told the family, as plainly as words, that his day's work had not been a profitable one.

"How many, Bobby?" asked his mother, appearing at the door.

"So many!" replied the fisher boy, inverting his basket, to show that it was empty. "I hope I shall have better luck to-morrow."

Bob threw his basket on the beach, pulled down his sail, and, after rolling it up, carried it around behind the house, and put it in its accustomed place. He then walked round to the other side of the cabin, and eagerly read some rude characters which he had cut in the boards, close up under the eaves. This was, no doubt, an unusual way to raise one's spirits, but it seemed to have that effect upon Bob, for he shook his head and whispered to himself:

"I'm not discouraged yet. If a boy lives up to that motto, he'll make a man of himself, I don't care how poor he is."

This was not the first time the fisher-boy had drawn encouragement and consolation from this same mysterious source, for, every day, after he returned from his fishing grounds, he would steal around behind the house to read his motto. If he had been unlucky, he did it to raise his spirits; and if he had been successful, he read it with a renewed determination to "stick to it." What it was that served to encourage him, no one about the house knew except himself. His mother had often seen[18] the characters cut in the boards, but she could not read them, for they were so rudely executed that they bore but very little resemblance to the letters of the alphabet. Bob could use a pen or pencil very well, but he had never learned the art of engraving, and that was the reason no one could read the words he had cut in the boards.

"Yes, sir!" repeated Bob, "that motto will make a man of me yet, if I live up to it."

"Did you ever hear of a person who became rich by it?" asked one of his brothers, who had followed him behind the house.

"No, but still I believe it will work wonders."

"Perhaps it will; but it don't seem to be working wonders just now. You have not caught a single fish to-day, and mother says that, if you don't earn thirty cents to-night, she will have to use part of your fifteen dollars."

Thirty cents! That was a small amount to stand between Bob and his fortune, but it might as well have been as many dollars, for he had no idea that he should be able to secure a load of fifteen ship-carpenters that evening. He thought of his leaky scow, then of Sam Barton's fine boat, and wished that he was able to own one exactly like it. But wishing did no good. It would not bring him another boat, or change the Go Ahead into a handsome yawl, with cushioned seats; so Bob, after another glance at the letters under the eaves, dismissed all thoughts of Sam Barton and his boat, and turned his attention to bailing out his scow. In half an hour the boat had been emptied of the water, and wiped dry, after which the fisher-boy pushed off from the beach, and sculled toward the harbor.



The fisher-boy's home, as we have said, was built upon the beach, and was but one of a dozen similar abodes, where dwelt as many boys, who, like Bob, earned their living by fishing and ferrying. They all made it a point to be in the harbor at half-past six in the morning, and at five in the evening; and, when Bob pushed off from the beach, he soon found himself in the midst of a small fleet of boats, of all sizes and descriptions, whose ragged crews were bent on the same mission as himself. These boys were mostly the sons of sailors and fishermen; some of them, like Bob, looking forward to the day when they should be the masters of fine vessels; while the majority, with no care for the morrow, were content to follow the occupations of their fathers, and were willing to remain fishermen all their lives. Bob was, perhaps, the poorest one among them, as fortunes were reckoned in Fishertown—which was the name given to that part of the village where the fishermen lived. Their boats constituted their only wealth, and a boy's fortune was measured by the size and condition of his craft. The boys were all good judges of boats, and there was not one among them who did not laugh[20] whenever Bob made his appearance in the harbor. On the evening in question, when he came up with the little fleet, he was greeted with a chorus of shouts and yells that would have made most boys angry.

"Here comes Bobby Jennings in his washing-tub!" shouted one of the ferry-boys, as Bob sculled slowly past him. "Clear the track!"

Although the term "washing-tub" does not give one a very good idea of the appearance of the fisher-boy's scow, it was, perhaps, the most appropriate name that could have been applied to her, for she bore but very little resemblance to any thing in the shape of a boat that had ever been seen about the village. She was built of heavy planks, which Bob had picked up at the upper end of the harbor; and, having no plane with which to dress them down to an equal thickness, he had been obliged to use the boards as he found them; consequently, one side of the scow was heavier than the other; and this made her "tip" considerably, as if she was always on the point of capsizing. The fisher-boy had made an attempt to shape the stem and stern exactly alike, but, having nothing but a dull ax to work with, he had only succeeded in giving the Go Ahead a very homely model, for the bow was long and slanting, and the stern stood almost straight up and down in the water. Of the planks that formed the bottom, some were thick and others thin, and the joints were caulked with rags and bits of rope which Bob had picked up about the wharves. This unwieldy craft was propelled by an oar worked over the stern; and, although she made but poor headway under sail, she could be pushed through the water at an astonishing rate of speed, especially[21] when the sight of a passenger on the wharf induced the fisher-boy to put forth all his power of muscle.

"Yes, sir!" shouted another of the ferry-boys, "here comes Jennings and his lumber-yard!"

"Well," said the fisher-boy, good-naturedly, "if you think you can beat this lumber-yard, this is a first-rate chance to try it."

But the boy very wisely declined to accept the challenge. He had seen the Go Ahead make remarkably fast time, and he did not like to risk the disgrace of being beaten.

As the boats were all moving along leisurely, Bob soon took the lead, and presently he rounded the pier, and entered the harbor.

"Every body I meet has something to say about my boat!" said he to himself. "I don't wonder that the workmen refuse to patronize me, for she is a rough-looking craft, that's a fact. If I couldn't swim like a duck, I should almost be afraid to get into her myself; for she looks as if she was just about to turn over. The water that runs in through the bottom doesn't trouble me any, because I go barefooted; but, if I was rich, and could afford to wear fine boots, I believe I should hesitate about taking passage in a craft like this. I really begin to believe that it was more by good luck than good management, that I ever made a cent with her. I must think up a plan to get a new boat; now, that's settled."

Bob sculled slowly to the middle of the harbor, where he stopped and sat down in his scow to wait for a passenger. A short distance from him was a steamer, which was just getting ready to start on her regular trip to[22] Boston. The first bell had been rung, and the gang-plank was crowded with passengers who were hurrying on board, and with visitors, who were making haste to get ashore. As the fisher-boy sat watching the steamer, his oar idly dangling in the water, and his thoughts busy with the question which, for the last three months, had been uppermost in his mind, he happened to glance toward the opposite side of the harbor, and saw a gentleman walking uneasily up and down the wharf, stopping now and then to wave his hat, to attract the attention of some of the ferry-boys.

"Yes, sir; comin', sir! Be there directly, sir!" shouted a voice behind the fisher-boy, which the latter knew belonged to Sam Barton. "I'm comin' like a steamboat, sir!"

The words were hardly out of Sam's mouth, however, before he became aware that his old rival was ready to contest the ownership of the two cents' passage money, which the gentleman was waiting to pay to the boy who should carry him across the harbor; for Bob had jumped to his feet, and was sending his clumsy scow through the water at a rate of speed that soon left Sam behind. The latter, however, never once thought of giving up the race, for he was one who tried to profit by his experience. He had told the fisher-boy that he had learned that a nice, clean boat would go a long way toward securing custom, and he was in hopes that when the passenger on the wharf saw his fine yawl, drawn up along-side Bob's scow, he would do as others had done—take passage with him, and leave the fisher-boy to look elsewhere. This was a favorite trick of Sam's, and by it he gained a great deal of custom.


"Jump in, sir!" said Bob, as he ran the Go Ahead along-side the wharf.

"Out o' the way, there, Bobby Jennings!" shouted Sam. "Here comes the boat the gentleman's been a waitin' for. He wants cushions to set down on."

But the man's actions indicated that he had not been waiting for Sam Barton, for, without a moment's hesitation, he sprang down into Bob's scow, exclaiming:

"I'll give you a silver half-dollar if you will put me on board that steamer before she leaves the wharf. Do your best, now."

The fisher-boy did not need any orders to "do his best," after his passenger had promised him a half dollar for putting him on board the steamer. He opened his eyes in astonishment at the mention of so large a reward, and so did Sam Barton, who wondered that the gentleman should choose a leaky, dirty craft, when he might just as well have had a clean, dry boat, with "cushions to set down on."

Bob lost no time in pushing off from the wharf, and when he got fairly started, he sent the Go Ahead through the water in a way that made the ferry-boys wonder. But the harbor was wide, and when the fisher-boy was half way across, the steamer's bell rang for the second time.

"Hurry up, boy!" said the passenger, nervously. "I must go out on that boat. Catch her, and I'll give you a dollar."

Bob drew in a long breath, shook off his hat, and redoubled his exertions at the oar, and, to his delight, he succeeded in running under the stern of the steamer, and drawing up along-side the wharf, just as the last bell was[24] ringing, and the order had been given to haul in the gang-plank.

"Here you are, boy," exclaimed the passenger. "You are a capital oarsman, and the next time I come to Newport and want a ferry-boy, I shall remember you." As he spoke, he thrust his hand into his pocket and pulled out some money, which he handed to Bob.

"Hurrah for me!" said the fisher-boy, "my fortune is safe."

Being deeply interested in the success of his passenger, he did not examine his fare, but stood with one hand holding the Go Ahead along-side the wharf, and the other clutching the two pieces of money. He saw the gentleman spring upon the gang-plank just as the sailors had begun to haul it in. Reaching the steamer in safety, he turned and gave Bob an approving nod, and then disappeared up the stairs that led to the deck.

"He's all right," said the fisher-boy, wiping his forehead with his shirt sleeve, "and so am I. If I could get a passenger like that every day, it wouldn't be long before I would go to sea."

Bob seated himself in the stern of his scow, panting hard after his long race, and jingled the money in his closed hand. He had not yet looked at it, but he knew that the gentleman had kept his promise, for he could feel the two half-dollars with his fingers. He had not owned a great deal of money of that description, and he did not think he could be deceived.

"How much did he give you, Bobby?" inquired Sam Barton, pulling up along-side the scow. "A feller can't scare up a passenger like that every day, an' I'm sorry I didn't beat you in the race."


"I am not," said Bob, "you don't know how much good this dollar will do me!"

"A dollar!" exclaimed Sam. "Did he give you a whole dollar?"

"Yes, sir, two silver half-dollars. See there!" said Bob, opening his hand. "Don't they look—"

The fisher-boy suddenly paused, and gazed first at the money, and then at his companion, who stood with eyes and mouth open, the very picture of astonishment. Instead of two silver half-dollars, Bob held in his hand two twenty-dollar gold pieces.

"Bobby Jennings!" exclaimed Sam, who was the first to recover from his surprise, "ain't me an' you the luckiest boys in Newport? I got a hundred dollars fur haulin' a feller out of the water, an' now you get forty dollars in gold, fur bringin' a passenger across the harbor. You can throw away that ar ole scow now, Bobby, an' buy my skiff. I'll sell her to you fur twenty dollars, an' any body who has seed her, will tell you that she's cheap at that. Is it a bargain?"

The fisher-boy did not answer; indeed, he did not seem to be aware that Sam was speaking to him. He sat looking at the two bright pieces of gold, as if he had suddenly lost all power to turn his eyes from them.

"I say, Bobby, is it a bargain?" repeated Sam.

This question seemed to bring the fisher-boy to his senses. He hastily put the money into his pocket, shoved the Go Ahead from the wharf, and catching up his oar, he started in hot pursuit of the steamer, which was now moving slowly down the harbor. He very soon discovered, however, that it was useless to think of overtaking her, and seeing his passenger walking up and[26] down the deck, he dropped his oar, and began to shout and swing his hat around his head to attract the man's attention. In this he was successful; for the passenger waved his hand in reply, as if he thought that Bob was congratulating him on reaching the steamer in time.

"Hold on!" screamed the fisher-boy. "Come back here, sir! You have paid me too much!" and he pulled the money out of his pocket and held it up, as if he hoped that, even at that distance, the man could see and recognize it. But the latter evidently could not be made to understand, for he again waved his hand, and then resumed his walk; while Bob stood in his scow and watched the steamer as she rounded the pier, and shaped her course down the bay.

Sam Barton had watched all these movements in surprise. When he saw that Bob was endeavoring to overtake the steamer, in order to return the money which his passenger had paid to him by mistake, he caught up his oar and followed after him, urging him to keep silent. If Bob heard him, he did not heed his advice, for not until he became convinced that it was impossible to catch the steamer, or to make the man understand him, did he cease to pull and shout with all his might.

"Bobby Jennings, have you gone clean crazy?" demanded Sam, as he sculled up along-side the fisher-boy, who stood gazing after the steamer, as if he hoped she might yet come back, and give him an opportunity to return the gold pieces. "What do you want to give that ar money back fur?"

"Why, it isn't mine," answered Bob.

"It ain't your'n!" repeated Sam. "I'd like to know what's the reason. Didn't that feller give it to you[27] with his own hands? In course he did; an' that's why it belongs to you."

"But he made a mistake," said Bob.

"That's his own lookout, an' not your'n," returned Sam. "Keep it, say nothin' to nobody, throw away that ar ole scow, an' buy my skiff. Then you'll be well fixed, an' can begin to make money. That feller will never miss it, 'cause when you see a man who carries twenty dollar gold-pieces loose in his pockets, these hard times, it's a sure sign that he knows where to get more when they are gone. Where be you goin'?" he added, as the fisher-boy got out his oar, and sculled away from the spot.

"I am going home," was the answer. "I am going to give this money to mother, before I lose it."

"Well, now, Bobby Jennings," exclaimed Sam, "if ever I see a feller who was clean crazy, I see one now. You'll always be a fisherman, you'll always live in a little shantee on the beach, an' you don't deserve nothin' better. The world owes you a livin', an' the easier you make it the smarter you be. You'll never have another chance like this."

"I can't help that!" replied Bob. "I've always been honest, and I always intend to be."

Sam could not stop longer to remonstrate, for he saw one of his "regular customers" standing on the wharf. He sculled off to attend to him, muttering to himself: "Never mind, Bobby Jennings! I want one of them gold pieces, an' I'm bound to get it."



It is very probable that the fisher-boy did not overhear Sam's threat; if he did he was not frightened from his purpose, for, true to his determination, he carried the money home, and gave it to his mother for safe keeping.

"The gentleman told me that he would come back to Newport," said Bob, when he had related his story, "and that he would hunt me up when he wanted a ferry-boy; so I know that I shall have a chance to return the money to him. But I wish he hadn't made that mistake, mother. It will be six o'clock before I can get back to the wharf, and I am almost certain that I can't earn money enough to save my fifteen dollars. It is very hard to be poor."

"Yes, it is hard, sometimes," replied his mother; "but dishonesty is worse than poverty."

After the fisher-boy had seen the money put carefully away, he hurried back to his scow, and, pulled toward the harbor. When he arrived there, he found that most of the workmen had already been ferried across, and he secured only one solitary passenger, who, upon being placed safely upon the wharf, drew in a long breath and exclaimed:

"I bless my lucky stars that I am on solid ground[29] once more. A man had better take a few lessons in swimming, before he risks his life in a tub like that."

Bob received his two cents' passage money without making any reply, and then sculled slowly toward the place where the ferry-boys had congregated, to count their cash, and compare notes. He was the most unfortunate one among them. Sam Barton was feeling very jubilant over a dollar and a half he had earned since morning; and the smallest boy in the harbor was proudly exhibiting forty cents to his admiring companions—the proceeds of his day's work.

"How much have you got, Bobby?" called one of the boys.

"I had only one passenger to-night," was the reply.

"Serves you jest right!" exclaimed Sam Barton. "I sha'n't feel the least bit sorry fur you, if you never get another customer. A chap who will throw away such a chance as you had to-day, hadn't ought to make any money. He took a feller across the harbor," added Sam, turning to his companions, "an' got forty dollars in gold fur it. He might jest as well have kept the money as not; but he had to take it home and give it to his mother! Never mind, Bobby Jennings! I'll be even with you one of these days."

"You'll be even with me!" repeated the fisher-boy. "What have I done to you?"

"You had oughter give me one of them pieces of gold for my skiff," returned Sam; "but you didn't do it. I'll pay you off for that. I'll take every passenger away from you that I can."

"I can't help that. The harbor is as free to you as it is to me."


"If you'll buy my skiff," continued Sam, "I'll let you alone. If I see you goin' fur a customer, I won't trouble you."

"I can't buy your boat, because I havn't got the money. Those gold pieces do not belong to me."

"They do, too!" exclaimed Sam. "That's only an excuse of your'n for keepin' 'em. If you don't pay me twenty dollars fur my skiff, you sha'n't run any craft on this yere harbor."

Bob was a good deal astonished at this declaration, but he made no reply, for Sam was a bully, and he did not wish to irritate him. As to running any boat besides Sam's skiff on the harbor, the fisher-boy thought he should do as he pleased about that, although he knew that, if his rival chose to do so, he could make him a great deal of trouble. If the forty dollars in gold had belonged to him, he would gladly have given half of it for the skiff; but the money had been paid to him by mistake, and he had no right to use it.

"What do you say, Bobby Jennings?" demanded Sam, as he picked up his oar and sculled slowly away from the spot. "I'll give you one more chance, an' if you don't make a bargain with me, you'll always be sorry for it. I am listenin' with all the ears I've got."

"Well, if you are," exclaimed the fisher-boy, springing up in his scow, and extending his hand toward Sam, as if to give more emphasis to his words, "you can hear me repeat what I have already said to you a half-a-dozen times, that I have no right to touch that money, and I'm not going to do it. I've always been honest, and I always intend to be; so, you'll have to look somewhere[31] else for a customer. I hope I have spoken plainly enough this time."

"All right," replied Sam. "If you ever git rich by actin' the dunce that ar way, jest let me know it. Let's go home, fellers."

The fisher-boy did not feel called upon to make any reply to these remarks. He got out his oar and followed slowly after his companions, wondering how a boy could be so unreasonable as Sam had shown himself to be, and trying his best to determine what the bully would decide to do in the matter. Being well acquainted with him, Bob knew that he was not above doing a mean action, and he was afraid that, assisted by some of his particular friends, he might attempt to take revenge on him.

Sam had every thing pretty much his own way in the harbor. Besides being a great fighting character, ready, at a moment's warning, to thrash any of the ferry-boys who acted contrary to his desires, he was an excellent oarsman, and any boy against whom he cherished a grudge found it up-hill work to make ferrying a paying business. On the other hand, his particular friends always secured plenty of customers. If Sam saw a passenger standing upon the wharf, instead of attending to his wants himself, he would say to one of his companions: "There's a chance fur you to make some money. Be lively, now, an' I'll see that nobody troubles, you;" and in this way, when the bully felt particularly good-natured and generous, he could put coppers into the pockets of any of the ferry-boys. Bob Jennings very seldom received any such favors at Sam's hands. Indeed, from some cause or another, he was not a favorite in Fishertown. The ferry-boys, as a general thing, were[32] a "hard set," and Bob's feelings and aspirations were so different from theirs, that he did not care to associate with them any more than was necessary. This led the ferry-boys to believe that he thought himself better than they were—that he was very much "stuck-up," and that he needed "bringing down a peg or two." More than that, the fisher-boy did not believe in the principles which Sam pumped into him at every possible opportunity. He had had several stormy debates with the bully, on these points, and he had always been beaten. Sam could talk faster than Bob, and, besides, he always had ready an unanswerable argument. "Bobby Jennings," the bully would say, "look at you, an' then look at me. You believe that a feller hadn't oughter take any thing that he don't make by hard work, while I say that he had oughter use his wits, an' make his livin' the easiest way he can; an' the easier he makes it, the smarter he is. Now, who's the best off in the world? You've got only that leaky ole scow, that I wouldn't give fifteen cents fur, an' I own this yawl, which is painted up nice, and furnished with cushions fur my passengers to set down on. It's worth every cent of sixty dollars. Then I've got a skiff worth twenty dollars more. Now, who's the richest man? I am, in course; an' that's what comes of bein' sharp."

The fisher-boy did not know how to answer this argument, but still his faith in the old saying, which he had so often heard repeated by his mother—that "Honesty is the best policy"—was not shaken. He knew that, with Sam, being "sharp" meant being dishonest. It meant slipping around in a boat, of a dark night, and picking up any little thing that happened to be lying[33] on the wharf, such as lumber, pieces of cordage, bits of iron, and even articles of freight, if any were exposed. That was what Sam meant by "being sharp;" but Bob, who had been taught to call things by their right names, pronounced it stealing. This, of course, made the bully very angry, and it was one reason why he so cordially disliked the fisher-boy. The latter, however, could get along very well without any assistance from Sam Barton. He had established a reputation, and he determined to render himself worthy of it. If he told one of his customers that a fish weighed five pounds exactly, and that it was fresh, the man never stopped to inquire: "Are you sure that you are not trying to cheat me, now?" but paid his money, took his fish, and went away satisfied. If there was any thing Bob was proud of, besides his skill as an oarsman, it was this reputation for honesty. His companions might make sport of his boat, or call him a ragamuffin, and he would bear it all good-naturedly, but let one of them hint that he was a poor boatman, or that he was not as honest as he ought to be, and the fisher-boy was aroused in an instant. This was the reason he had spoken so sharply to Sam, when the latter proposed that Bob should buy his skiff. He was angry; and he was troubled, too—not by the threats the bully had made, but by the thought that Sam Barton, or any one else, should, for an instant, have believed him mean enough to make use of the money which had come into his possession by accident.

"No, sir," said Bob to himself, "I won't do it. My motto hits this case exactly; and I'll stick to it, if I never get a better boat than this old scow."

Sam Barton was troubled also; but his feelings were[34] very different from Bob's. He was angry with the fisher-boy because he had refused to give him one of the twenty-dollar gold pieces for his skiff, and, having promised to "get even" with him, he was thinking how he should go to work to put his threat into execution. By the time he reached home, he had decided upon a course of action, and when he had run the bow of his yawl upon the beach, and the fisher-boy had passed on out of hearing, he intimated to his companions that he had something very important to say to them. As soon as their boats had been secured, the ferry-boys gathered about their leader and waited for him to speak. They were a rough-looking set of fellows—ragged and dirty, barefooted and sunburned—and if Bob could have seen them at that moment, it might have induced the belief that Sam was really in earnest when he threatened to be revenged upon him.

"That ar Bobby Jennings has played me a mean trick," said the bully, "an' I jest aint a-goin' to stand it: he's goin' to give back them gold pieces as soon as he sees that man ag'in, when he knows all the while that I want to sell him my skiff. Now, aint that a mean trick, boys?"

"In course!" answered all the boys at once; but it is difficult to see how they reached this conclusion, unless it was because they were afraid of Sam.

"So do I call it a mean trick," continued the latter, shaking his fists in the air, and growing angrier every moment. "I say that ar Bobby Jennings is the meanest feller on this ere beach. He's so stuck up that he won't go round with us of nights, an' we aint a-goin' to let no feller stay here who thinks himself better than we[35] be. We're goin' to run him away from here, now; we'll make Fishertown too hot to hold him."

"How will we do it?" asked one of the boys.

"Easy enough. In the first place, I want all you fellers to watch him, an' take every passenger, away from him that you can. Don't let him take a man across the harbor from this time on. In the next place, that ole scow of his'n is the only thing he's got to make a livin' with, an' some dark night we'll slip up to his shantee, run her out into the bay, an' sink her."

"Then he'll get another, somewhere."

"That's jest what I want him to do. Can't you see through a ladder? He can't live without a boat, no more'n he could live without his head, and when he finds that his ole scow is gone, mebbe he'll buy my skiff. If he does, we'll let him alone. Remember, now: watch him close, an' take all his passengers."

Sam, having nothing further to say just then, dismissed his companions, who walked off threatening vengeance against the fisher-boy.



When Bob arrived within sight of his home, he saw a boy standing on the beach waiting for him. It was none other than our old acquaintance Tom Newcombe, who, as it afterward proved, had found "another idea," and had come down to reveal it to the fisher-boy, and to ask his assistance in carrying it out.

Tom had remained at the military academy until the close of the term; not because he wished to do so, but for the reason that he could not help himself, and was not given another opportunity to take "French leave." During these five months he had not improved in any particular. On the contrary, he seemed to have gone down hill very rapidly in the estimation of his companions, for, when he came out of the academy, he found, to his astonishment and indignation, that every one of his friends had deserted him; that the organization of which he had so long been the honored chief had ceased to exist, and that another society had been formed, with new signs and passwords. The office of grand commander of the council had been abolished, and when Tom made application to join the new society, he was rejected without ceremony. The reason for this was, that when[37] questioned during the court-martial that had been held at the academy, the grand commander, forgetting all the solemn promises he had made not to reveal any of the society's secrets, had exposed every thing, and thus broken up the organization of Night-hawks. This fact had come to the ears of the village boys, and they were very angry about it.

"Why did you answer them, Tom?" asked Johnny Harding, indignantly. "You have broken up the best society that ever existed in this village!"

"O, now, I couldn't help it," drawled Tom. (He still held to his old, lazy way of talking.) "If I hadn't answered them, the colonel would have shut me up in the guard-house, and fed me on bread and water."

"That makes no difference," said Johnny. "I would have stayed in the guard-house until I was gray-headed, before I would have broken my promises."

"Then some one else would have told him," whined Tom. "There were thirteen other fellows up before the court-martial."

"That makes no difference either. Your business was to hold your tongue, but you didn't do it. You can't be trusted, Newcombe, that's easy enough to be seen, and for that reason, it would not be safe for us to admit you into our new society. We don't want traitors among us."

Tom urged and plead in vain. The boys were firm in their determination that the rules should not be suspended, even in the case of the son of the richest man in Newport, and the grand commander finally left them in disgust, mentally resolving that he would never speak to them again as long as he lived.

"I'll study up a plan to fix them for that," said he,[38] to himself. "The first thing those fellows know, I'll start a society of my own; and every time I catch one of them in my end of the village, I'll see that he don't get off without a good beating."

Tom had so long been allowed to hold prominent positions among his companions, that the idea that they could get along without him had never once entered his head. He believed that in a few days the boys would see how necessary he was to them, and that then they would think better of their decision, receive him into their new society, and bestow upon him an office equal in rank to the one he had held among the Night-hawks.

"Suppose they should want to make 'Squire Thompson another present," soliloquized Tom, "who would pull the wagon out of the barn-yard, and go into the pasture to catch the horse? Or, what if some of them should take it into their heads to go to sea on their own hook! Is there one among them who could manage affairs as nicely as I did, when we academy fellows run away in the Swallow? I was the strongest and bravest boy in that society, and we'll see how they will get along without me. They will be after me in a few days."

But, contrary to his expectations, two weeks had passed away without bringing any overtures from the boys, and during this time Tom had been as miserable as can well be imagined. When he left the academy, his father had taken him into the office, so that he might have him always under his eye; and, at first, this arrangement had pleased Tom exceedingly. He was free from the strict discipline of the military school; there was no orderly sergeant to keep an eye on all his movements; no boy officers to trouble him; no teacher to scold him for inattention[39] to his duties; and during his first day's experience in the office, Tom thought it was just the place for him. He suddenly took it into his head that he would like to be a commission merchant. He resolved that he would pay strict attention to his work, so that in a few weeks he would be promoted to book-keeper. Then his troubles would all be over. He would have nothing to do but stand at his desk all day, and that was the easiest work in the world. At the end of the second day, however, Tom began to take less interest in his duties, and before a week had passed away, he had become thoroughly disgusted with his situation. He heartily wished himself at the military academy, at sea, on a farm with Mr. Hayes and his big boys—in fact, anywhere in the world, rather than in his father's office. He was obliged to build fires and run errands—two things that he did not like to do. Tom thought he could not live long if he was required to do such work, and he straightway came to the determination to get out of the office as soon as possible. In order to accomplish his object, it was necessary that he should decide upon some other business; and he finally resolved to try his hand at trading again. The question then arose, How should he get a suitable vessel? He intended to go into business on a grand scale this time, and he wanted a boat exactly like the Swallow, which would cost him two or three hundred dollars. Then he would want at least a hundred dollars more to invest in produce. Tom knew that it would take him a long time to save so much money, for his wages amounted to only five dollars a week, and the forty-eight dollars he had earned by his voyage in the Savannah had slipped through his fingers, one by one,[40] until he had not a cent remaining. But he had thought the matter over thoroughly, and he had come to the conclusion that if he only "kept his eyes open," he could make money besides his wages. Tom was busy for several days turning this matter over in his mind, and so completely wrapped up was he in his financial schemes that he had no time to waste in studying up a plan to revenge himself on the Night-hawks, and but very little to devote to his duties in the office. To the no small astonishment of his father, he spent the greater portion of each day in poring over the columns of newspapers; and so interested did he appear to be in them, that the merchant began to be encouraged. But Tom was not looking for news; he was reading the advertisements; and one day he was seen to cut out a piece of a newspaper and put it carefully away in his pocket. What it was no one knew or cared to ask; but all the clerks in the office noticed that, from that day, Tom was one of the happiest fellows they had ever seen. The secret was, he imagined that he had at last discovered the very thing he had been looking for so long—the road to fortune. It was something that has deceived more than one grown person, but still a sensible boy of fifteen ought not to have paid any attention to it. But then, Tom was different from almost any body else, and those who were acquainted with him were not surprised at any thing he did. It gave him something to think about, and when he had got his plans all matured he paid a visit to Fishertown, for the purpose of laying the matter before Bob Jennings.

"Now, then," he exclaimed, as the fisher-boy ran the bow of his scow upon the beach, "come ashore, quick.[41] I've got something to tell you that will make you open your eyes."

"What is it?" asked Bob.

"Well, you come with me, and I'll tell you. It's too good for every body to hear."

Bob made the Go Ahead fast to the wharf and followed Tom, who walked down the beach until he was certain that there was no possible chance of his being overheard, when he stopped, and said in a whisper:

"Bob Jennings, our fortune's made."

"Our fortune!" echoed the fisher-boy.

"Don't talk so loud! Yes, sir, our fortune—yours and mine. I came down here to-night to see if I could engage you to ship as first mate of the Storm King."

"The Storm King!" repeated Bob. "What boat is that? I have never heard of her before."

"I know you haven't," said Tom, mysteriously, "but you'll hear a great deal about her before you are many weeks older: you'll hear that she is the prettiest little vessel that ever sailed out of Newport harbor, and that she can beat any thing in the shape of a sloop that was ever put together. It is the name of a vessel I am going to build in less than a month. She is to be exactly the size and model of the Swallow, only I shall have her cabin fitted up more expensively. Can I engage you, Bob? I'll give you a dollar a day."

The fisher-boy hardly knew what reply to make to this proposition, for he was, at first, inclined to believe that Tom had got another wild scheme into his head, which would end in smoke, like all the rest of his bright ideas. But the latter seemed to understand his subject so well, and spoke with such confidence, that, after reflecting a[42] little, Bob began to think that perhaps Mr. Newcombe had promised to assist his son in carrying out his new plan.

"Are you sure that you are going to get this boat?" inquired the fisher-boy.

"I am just as certain of it as I am that I am now standing on this beach," replied Tom, emphatically. "I know as well as you do, Bob, that a good many of my calculations have been knocked in the head, but this one can't fail. I know I have hit the right thing at last; all I ask is a little assistance from you."

"Is your father going to give you the vessel?"

"Ah, that's the best part of the whole business! No, sir! he's not going to give me the boat. I'm not going to him for a red cent. I know right where I can get more money than I would dare ask him for. Just look here!"

As Tom said this, he pulled out his pocket-book, and after glancing up and down the beach, to make sure that no one was observing his movements, he produced a piece of paper and handed it to the fisher-boy. It proved to be a newspaper advertisement, and read as follows:

"For a Fortune, write to

"E. H. Harris & Co.,
"Baltimore, Md."

Bob read these mysterious words over several times, but failed to understand them. "I don't exactly see through it," said he.

"Don't you?" exclaimed Tom. "Well, I do. It's simple enough: it means that if you want to make a rich man of yourself, all you have to do is to write to[43] those gentlemen in Baltimore. I answered their advertisement, and see here what they sent me in reply."

Tom again looked up and down the beach—for he was very much afraid that some one might approach them unobserved, and thus gain a knowledge of his secret—and then produced a letter from his pocket-book. It must have contained some very valuable information, for, as he slowly unfolded it, he became so excited that he could scarcely stand still.

"Just think of it, Bob!" he exclaimed, in a suppressed whisper: "here we are, two boys, only fifteen years' old, and rich already. We have made it all ourselves, too."

"We!" repeated the fisher-boy, in surprise. "Am I rich?"

"Of course you are! You'll bear half the expenses, and I'll divide the profits with you."

Bob shook his head. "If there are any expenses about it," said he, "you might as well count me out. Fifteen dollars are all I have in the world. I've worked hard for that, and I can't spend it foolishly."

"Now, just look here, Bob!" said Tom, placing his hands behind him, and turning his head on one side, as he had often seen his father do when arguing with a person, "who asked you to spend your money foolishly? You'll never make a business man in the world, if you act this way. You have never worked in a commission office, but I have, and I ought to know something. If you were certain that, by investing five of your fifteen dollars, you could make—make—let me see! A half of five thousand is how much?"

"Twenty-five hundred," said Bob.

"Well, if you knew that, by risking five dollars, you[44] could make two thousand five hundred in less than two weeks, would you hesitate to do it?"

"No, I wouldn't, if it was honest."

"O, it's perfectly honest! In this letter I am promised five thousand dollars, if I will assist these men in Baltimore in extending their business. Listen to this:" and Tom straightened himself up and read as follows:

"'Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft would win,
By fearing to attempt.'"

"That means," he added, seeing that the fisher-boy did not quite understand it, "that we ought not to pay any attention to our doubts; that if we don't risk any thing, we certainly will never gain any thing. I have often heard my father say so, and it's my opinion exactly. Now here's what they say in the letter. Listen with all your ears, Bob, for it will astonish you:"


Baltimore, Md., May 31, 18—.

Dear Sir: Being desirous of increasing our business in your part of the country, we have decided that you are a proper person to act as our agent. We are the managers of the Maryland Lottery—an institution known all over the United States and Europe as being the most reliable one in existence. It is authorized by the State, and incorporated by special act of Congress, and its patrons are to be found in every civilized country on the globe. Of course, with such an immense business, we require a multitude of agents, and, in order to secure your services, we make you the following proposition:

On receipt of ten dollars, we will send you a package of tickets, which we will guarantee to draw one of the capital prizes in[45] our splendid scheme. When you remit the money, please state whether or not you are willing to act as our agent, and we will send you the tickets by return mail. When you receive the prize, all we ask of you is to show it to your friends and acquaintances, and tell them that you drew it at our office. We will select the lucky package for you, and we faithfully promise you that, if it does not draw a prize of Five Thousand Dollars, over and above all expenses, we will give you a package of tickets in one of our magnificent special lotteries for nothing.

We can afford to make you this generous offer, because we shall all gain by it: you will be benefited by receiving a nice little fortune, while our business will be greatly increased by the extra amount of orders for tickets which we shall expect to receive from your neighborhood.

We venture the assertion that this is the best offer you ever received, and that you will never have another like it as long as you live. Remember that

"There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, if taken at the flood,
Leads on to fortune."

We have made it a rule never to take notice of any communications, unless the necessary amount is inclosed; so send on the ten dollars, and we will forward you the tickets at once.

Bear in mind that this offer is made to you confidentially.

Your friends and well-wishers,

"There!" exclaimed Tom, when he had finished reading this precious document, "isn't that a splendid offer?"

Now, Bob had never heard of a lottery before, and he did not know that there are men in the world who, being too lazy to work for a living, find employment in sending letters of this description all over the country,[46] without the least intention of answering any they receive in reply. He did not know that this "honest business" was a swindle, and that his friend Tom was not the first, and probably will not be the last, who has been deceived by just such "generous offers!" He had not yet learned that Tom carried bad luck with him wherever he went, and that any one who listened to his propositions was certain to get into trouble sooner or later. If he had known all these things, and had been able to look far enough into the future to see what would be the result of Tom's new idea, he would not have been long in deciding what answer to give him. To tell the truth, he was greatly interested in this splendid scheme; but he was quick-witted, and, after thinking the matter over for a moment, he exclaimed:

"I'll tell you what to do! Suppose you write to those men, telling them to select the lucky package for you, and that if it draws a prize, they can keep their ten dollars out of it, and send you the remainder. In that way you will stand just as good a chance of drawing the five thousand dollars as you do now; and besides, you will not risk any of your own money."

"O, now, that's no way to do business!" drawled Tom. "Don't you see that they have made it a rule never to take notice of any letters unless they contain money?"

"They will not run any risk," replied Bob, "for the cash is in their own hands."

"It's against their rules," said Tom, emphatically; "and even if it wasn't I would not ask them to do that, for it would look as though I was afraid to trust them. Don't you see what they say about 'our doubts being traitors?' Now, Bob, I want to know if you will go into[47] this business with me? I've got just five dollars of my own, and if you will advance the rest I'll divide the profits with you. Besides, I'll give you a dollar a day to ship as mate of the Storm King."

"I wouldn't want that job if I had twenty-five hundred dollars," said the fisher-boy; "I would go to sea in less than a week."

"Well, that's another reason why you ought to give me five dollars to send on with mine. It will make a rich man of you, and you can begin the life of a sailor at once."

"But if I use any of my money I want to buy a skiff with it. I need one badly."

"O, go in debt for it," said Tom. "Go to Mr. Graves, the boat-builder, tell him that you want a nice little skiff, the finest one he has on hand, and that you will pay him for it in one month. You may safely do that, for in less than a week you will be rich enough to buy out his whole ship-yard."

This was something entirely new to the fisher-boy. He had never thought of such a thing before, and, perhaps, the reason was because he had never dreamed that there was a single person in the village who would be willing to trust him. He saw in an instant—or rather, imagined he saw—that if he could induce Mr. Graves to give him one of his fine skiffs on his promise to pay for it in one month, it would be an immense advantage to him.

"There's no harm in it," said Tom, seeing that the fisher-boy hesitated. "It is done every day, right here in Newport, by our best business men. My father does it, so it can't be wrong."

Bob thought so too. Mr. Newcombe was a great man[48] in his estimation, and he might safely follow in his lead.

The conversation continued for half an hour longer, Tom laboring faithfully to convince the fisher-boy that, if he assisted him in his grand scheme, he would be rich in a very short space of time, and he finally carried his point; for Bob was deeply impressed, more by Tom's eloquence than by any thing else, and he promised to think the matter over, and to be ready with his answer on the following evening. Tom, as usual, was impatient to begin operations at once; but he was afraid to urge the matter, and he finally took leave of the fisher-boy, after obliging him to promise, over and over again, that he would keep all that had passed between them a profound secret.



The fisher-boy slept very little that night. He was thinking of Tom's new plan, and the more he turned the matter over in his mind, the nearer he came to a determination to give a favorable answer on the following evening. He was deeply interested in the lottery, and remembering how confidently Tom had spoken of his success, he could not help giving full sway to his fancy, and picturing to himself a host of pleasant things that would happen when he should come into possession of his share of the prize. In the first place, their humble cabin on the beach could be exchanged for a nice little cottage in a more respectable part of the village; he could turn the Go Ahead adrift in the harbor, and buy a nice little schooner, like the one he had met on his voyage home from his fishing-grounds; he and his brothers could throw away their ragged clothes, and dress as well as any boys in the village; and, after all these things had been done, there would still be enough left to support the family in fine style while he was at sea.

For the first time in his life, Bob's imagination ran wild with him, and he became so excited that he could not lie still. There was only one obstacle in his way[50] that he could discover, but that was one that could not be easily got over. He had always been in the habit of giving every cent he earned to his mother for safe keeping, and he did not know how to go to work to get the five dollars to invest in the lottery. If he asked his mother for the money, she would, no doubt, want to know what use he intended to make of it; and that was a question that Bob would not have cared to answer. This ought to have been sufficient to convince him that Tom's scheme was not altogether right, and that he ought to have nothing whatever to do with it. But the fisher-boy did not think of that. He had been carried away by Tom's arguments, and it was very easy for him to believe that, even if he was obliged to make use of a little deception in order to secure his twenty-five hundred dollars, there would be no harm in it.

Bob arose the next morning at six o'clock, unrefreshed, and as sleepy as when he went to bed the night before. After a hasty breakfast he started for the harbor, and taking up a position opposite to his pier, he sat down in his boat to wait for a passenger. The Go Ahead was comparatively dry; for, during the previous evening, the fisher-boy had hauled her out upon the beach and carefully caulked all the seams and cracks, and he hoped that her improved appearance would enable him to secure one or two extra passengers. Of course Tom's scheme was still uppermost in his mind, and, as he sat in his scow thinking it over, he happened to cast his eye toward the upper end of the harbor, and saw Sam Barton and several of his particular friends in their boats, holding a consultation. Presently they separated and took up their positions near the middle of the harbor,[51] Sam and two other good oarsmen stationing themselves near the fisher-boy. Bob understood the meaning of all these movements, for he had often seen the same thing done before, when Sam happened to get into a quarrel with any of the ferry-boys. He knew that if he wished to earn any money that morning he must work hard for it; for it was the bully's intention to prevent him from taking any passengers across the harbor. The fisher-boy, however, was not at all alarmed. Pulling off his hat, he put it carefully away under one of the thwarts, rolled up his sleeves, and standing up in his boat, kept a firm hold of his oar.

"You're goin' to fight for it, are you, Bobby Jennings?" asked Sam, who had observed all these movements. "Better look out!"

"I am looking out," replied the fisher-boy. "I am keeping my eyes open for passengers, and I'm going to get as many as I can. You may depend upon that."

"Well, I'll bet you a dollar that all the customers you'll get this mornin' won't make you rich," returned Sam. "An' now look a-here, Bobby Jennings! we've seed you in this harbor often enough; we don't want you here; and, if you would get out of Fishertown by sunset, you would make us mighty glad——Yes, sir; comin', sir!"

But Sam, as usual, was just a minute too late. As was generally the case, Bob's scow made good her name, for she went ahead of the bully's fine yawl very easily; and then began a most exciting race, which was witnessed by three men who were waiting to be carried across the harbor. In obedience to the instructions they had received the evening before, every ferry-boy[52] who believed he stood the least chance of reaching the wharf first started for the passengers, each of them intent on "cutting out that ar Bobby Jennings." A single glance showed the fisher-boy the state of affairs, and, although his chances for winning were very poor indeed, as some of the boats were nearer to the wharf than his own, he bent to his oar with the determination to beat them all, and to show the bully and his friends that, if they intended to drive him off the harbor by taking his passengers away from him, they had something of a task before them.

The majority of the boats were very soon overtaken and left behind, and then the contest was between Bob and his old rival. Both had resolved to win, and the men who were standing upon the wharf began to get excited.

"Half a dollar to the boy who reaches the wharf first!" shouted one of them, putting his hand into his pocket. "Give way strong, you little fellow in that clumsy scow."

Bob heard the words of encouragement, and from that moment he believed the race was his. The men on the wharf sympathized with him, and wanted him to win, and he was bound to do it. It was of no use for Sam to redouble his efforts, for the Go Ahead left him behind so rapidly that it seemed as if the fisher-boy had only been playing with him thus far, and was now going to show him how badly he could beat him. He did not reach the wharf until Bob was about to shove off with his passengers, and then he came up with his usual cry:

"Here's the boat you've been a-waitin fur; you want cushions to set down on."


"No, we don't," replied one of the men; "we're goin' to take passage with the best oarsman in the harbor. Clear the track with that old tub of yours! Here's your half a dollar, boy," he added, handing the money to Bob, and patting him on the back.

Before the fisher-boy put his fare into his pocket, he could not help holding it up to the view of Sam and the rest of his rivals, who stood up in their boats wiping their faces and foaming with rage. Sam made no remark, but he shook his head threateningly, and Bob knew that the matter was far from being settled. This did not trouble him, however, for he was an independent sort of a fellow, and the bully was a boy whose friendship he cared nothing about. Besides, he thought that, if Sam was foolish enough to get angry because he had been beaten in a fair race, he might take his own time to get pleased again. The fisher-boy landed his passengers safely upon the opposite wharf, and, as he pulled toward the middle of the harbor again, he saw that Sam and his friends were holding another consultation. The bully was shaking his fists in the air and talking loudly, and Bob was almost certain that they would change their tactics, and attempt to gratify their revenge by giving him a good beating, and treating him to a bath in the harbor.

"I shall call it a mean trick, if they try to thrash me," said Bob, pulling his oar out of the water and balancing it in his hand. "This piece of hickory is pretty tough, and, if they pitch into me, I think they will find that I am about as hard to whip as any boy they have got hold of lately."

The fisher-boy, knowing that he had as much right[54] in the harbor as any one, had determined to stand his ground as long as possible; but, with all his courage and confidence in his ability to beat his rivals at their own game, he could not help feeling a little anxiety when he thought what might be the result of this second council of war. He was very much relieved to see that, when the meeting broke up, they did not advance toward him in a body, as he had expected they would, but quietly took up their stations as before.

At length, half a dozen ship-carpenters appeared upon the wharf, and, in an instant, the ferry-boats were in motion. In spite of all they could do to prevent it, Bob again took the lead, and a short distance behind him came Sam Barton, shaking his head and muttering to himself, and moving his oar viciously about in the water, as if he had determined to vent all his spite upon it. Bob reached the wharf first, and, flushed with excitement, and proud of his second triumph over the bully, turned to look at Sam. He saw the latter give one glance over his shoulder, and then come on like the wind—the sharp bow of his heavy yawl cutting the water like a knife. In an instant, Bob's exultant smile gave way to a look of astonishment and alarm.

"Hold on, there!" he shouted, with all the strength of his lungs; "you'll run me down!"

"Out of the way, there, Bobby Jennings," yelled Sam, never once slackening his speed or turning from his course; "here comes the boat the gentlemen's seen."

"Sheer off, there, Sam Barton!" shouted the fisher-boy again, seizing his oar and attempting to scull his boat out of the way. But it was too late; the yawl came on with all the speed the bully's practiced arms[55] could give it, and, striking the scow fair in the side, it smashed in the planks as if they had been pipe-stems, and, before Bob could tell what was going on, he found himself floating about in the cold waters of the harbor.


With an appearance of amazement that was well assumed, Sam, with one sweep of his oar, brought his yawl broadside to the wharf, and gazed at the wreck he had made; then, discovering the fisher-boy floating about in the water, he exclaimed:

"Why, Bobby Jennings, is that you?"

"I don't think there is any need of your asking that question," returned the fisher-boy, angrily; "I hope you are satisfied, now!"

"Why, Bobby, I had no idea that I was so clost to you," said Sam, who could scarcely conceal his exultation from the men on the wharf. "Here! ketch hold of this oar, an' I'll haul you in."

"I can take care of myself," was the reply.

"Why, Bobby, may I be sunk in the harbor this very minute, if I"——.

"That will do, Sam," exclaimed the fisher-boy, striking out for a vessel that lay along-side the wharf, a little distance off. "You need not talk to me; I know all about it."

The bully, anxious to conceal the real facts of the case from the ship-carpenters, loudly protested that it was all an accident—that he was innocent of any intention to disable the scow—and he even followed Bob as he swam toward the vessel; but the latter would not listen to him; he knew that Sam had sunk his boat on purpose, and he did not wish to speak to him again, if he could avoid it.


There was a staging moored along-side the vessel which had been placed there by some caulkers, who were then about to begin their day's work, and Bob crawled upon it, climbed up the ropes to the deck, and so reached the wharf. He walked to the spot where the collision had occurred, but nothing was to be seen of the Go Ahead. She had brought in her last load of fish, finished her work of carrying passengers across the harbor, and her wreck was at that moment lying beneath the waters which had so often been the scenes of her triumphs. Clumsy and leaky as she was, she had been of great service to the fisher-boy, and he felt her loss severely. He had built her himself, had sailed many a long mile in her up and down the bay, and it was no wonder that the tears started to his eyes when he gazed at the spot where she had disappeared. Sam Barton stood in his yawl, which lay at a little distance from the wharf, watching the movements of his discomfited rival, and, now that there was no one near to observe him, or to overhear what he had to say, he did not seem to be so very sorry for what he had done; on the contrary, he smiled grimly, and said, in an insulting tone:

"What did I tell you, Bobby Jennings? Didn't I say that you shouldn't run no craft, except my skiff, in this ere harbor? I guess you won't go round beatin' fellers an' winnin' half-dollars now. If you want to make friends with me, you know where I live."

So saying, the bully started off to hunt up a passenger, leaving the fisher-boy gazing thoughtfully down into the water. He had scarcely heard what Sam was saying, for he was trying to think up some plan for[57] raising the Go Ahead. Wouldn't it be a glorious triumph for him if he could coax her to the surface of the water again, repair her, and take her back into the harbor to trouble Sam Barton and the rest of his rivals? If he only had a rope made fast to her, he could, with a little assistance, haul her upon the wharf; and he was confident that, in one day's time, he could fix her up as good as new. But, after thinking the matter over, Bob was forced to come to the conclusion that he might as well try to hit upon the best plan for pulling the earth up to the sun, for the one was, to him, almost as hard a feat to accomplish as the other. The water was much too deep for him to dive down with a rope; and, even if he had a line made fast to her, where could he raise force enough to hoist her upon the wharf? Certainly not among the ferry-boys, for they had all sided with Sam against him. Beyond a doubt, he had seen the last of the Go Ahead; and, as he came to this conclusion, the tears started to his eyes again, and he walked hastily away from the spot.



The fisher-boy would have been very different from most youngsters of his age, if he had not felt angry at Sam Barton for what he had done. He thought it was a cowardly way of taking revenge upon a rival, and if the bully had been upon the wharf at that moment, he might have discovered, to his cost, that Bob's muscles were very strong, and his fists very hard. But a boy who can be guilty of so mean a trick is never possessed of a great deal of courage, and Sam was wise enough to keep out of the fisher-boy's way.

If Tom Newcombe could have been a witness of what had just taken place in the harbor, he would have been immensely delighted. It was a strong argument in his favor, and it went further toward gaining the fisher-boy's assistance in carrying out his plans, then any thing he could have said or done. It is true, that the loss of his boat did not compel Bob to invest in the lottery—indeed, he had once or twice almost decided that he would have nothing to do with it; that if any part of his fifteen dollars was used, it should go toward paying for a new skiff. He had several times been on the point of coming to the sensible conclusion that Tom's scheme was a humbug, and that if he ever hoped to become a rich[59] man he must labor faithfully and save every cent of his money. But Bob had a hard lesson to learn. Before he was an hour older all these good resolutions were forgotten, and Tom had carried his point. It was all the result of the loss of the Go Ahead.

As Sam Barton had told his companions the evening before, Bob could not live without a boat, and now the question that had been troubling him so long must be answered, and that very speedily. He might have built another scow—for there happened to be plenty of lumber floating about at the upper end of the harbor—but he was a very poor ship-carpenter, and by the time his craft could be completed, his fifteen dollars would all be gone. Besides, the boat would, no doubt, be quite as clumsy and leaky as the Go Ahead had been; and he knew, by experience, that with such a craft, he could not make ferrying a paying business. He must have a boat as good as any in the harbor, or he could not hope to secure custom. Such a one he could not build; he had no money to buy it, and his only alternative was to follow Tom's suggestion, and "go in debt for it." This was the conclusion Bob came to as he walked toward his home thinking the matter over; and, after a moment's hesitation, he turned and bent his steps toward Mr. Graves's ship-yard.

He was now about to add a new chapter to his experience, and he hardly knew how to begin operations. He had never asked a man to credit him, and his first hard work must be to decide upon the words he ought to use to introduce his business with Mr. Graves. But his wits seemed to have wandered to the ends of the earth; for, when he reached the ship-yard, he was as badly puzzled as ever to know what he ought to say to the boat-builder.[60] He glanced in at the gate and saw the proprietor of the yard walking about among his men, and in the bay beyond he saw a little fleet of skiffs, with any one of which he was certain he could very soon double his fortune. Bob stepped inside the gate, but there his courage failed him, and he turned and walked out again. For ten minutes he stood leaning against the fence, sometimes almost resolved to walk boldly into the yard and settle his business at once, but oftener on the point of starting for Fishertown as fast as his legs could carry him; and every one who passed him, turned and looked at his dripping garments, no doubt wondering why he did not go home and change them. But the truth of the matter was, Bob had no dry ones to put on. The clothes he had at that moment on his back were all he possessed in the world, and, just then, the probabilities were that, if he did not soon take some decided step he would never be any better off. The fisher-boy thought of this, and once more glancing in at the gate, he saw that Mr. Graves had left his workmen, and was walking toward his office. Now was his time, if ever. Drawing in a long breath, and calling all his courage to his aid, he entered the yard and approached the boat-builder, who stopped and looked at him in astonishment.

"Why, Bob," said he, "have you been in swimming with your clothes on?"

"Yes, sir," was the reply, "but I couldn't help it. Sam Barton sunk my boat for me."

"He did! The young rascal! That boy is going to State's prison by the lightning express train. I wouldn't have any thing to do with him, Bob. You have no boat now, I suppose?"


"No, sir," replied the fisher-boy, sorrowfully; and when he thought of the Go Ahead, he could not keep back his tears.

"Never mind," said Mr. Graves, kindly, "you have not lost much."

"I have lost a great deal, sir," replied Bob. "I can't live without a boat."

"Of course you can't," said Mr. Graves, briskly. "You must get another. Now, perhaps I can sell you one of my nice little skiffs. They are very cheap, and warranted fast. Better take one of 'em, Bob, and then you can pay off Sam Barton by taking all his passengers away from him. Wouldn't that be glorious?"

The boat-builder evidently became excited as he said this, for he punched Bob in the ribs with his fingers, and laughed so loudly that he was heard all over the ship-yard.

"I'd like to have one of them," said the fisher-boy, "but I've got no money to pay for it now."

"Ah!" said Mr. Graves, drawing back and stroking his whiskers—"that's bad—a person can't buy any thing without money; that's been my experience." As he said this, he looked out over the bay and began to whistle, as if he had nothing further to say on the subject. This greatly discouraged Bob, for he saw that Mr. Graves had suddenly lost all interest in his affairs. "He knows that I am going to ask him to trust me!" thought the fisher-boy, and he had hit the mark exactly.

The boat-builder was like a great many other men; he could afford to offer his sympathy to any one in distress, because it did not cost him any thing. He had spoken so kindly to Bob, because he thought he had[62] come there to buy one of his boats, and was ready to pay the money as soon as the bargain could be concluded; but when he learned that the fisher-boy's pockets were empty, his feelings changed instantly. If Bob could have paid the cash for his boat, he would have left the ship-yard firm in his belief that Mr. Graves was one of the kindest men in the world; as it was, he began to believe him to be the most hard-hearted.

For a moment the fisher-boy stood looking down at the ground in great perplexity. He scarcely knew what to say next, but he finally decided that the best course he could pursue would be to state his business at once. He wanted it settled one way or the other, for he did not like to be kept in suspense.

"Mr. Graves," said he, with a desperate effort, "I came here to ask you if you would sell me one of your skiffs on time. I'll pay you for it in three months." (He was at first going to say one month, as Tom had suggested; but what if the lottery scheme should fail? He did not believe that any such disappointment was in store for him, but still, it was best to be on the safe side).

The fisher-boy was astonished at himself. He had not believed that he possessed the courage to ask the question he had just propounded, and the words had scarcely passed his lips before he was sorry that he had ever uttered them. He was certain that he had lowered himself in Mr. Graves's estimation, and that gentleman's conduct gave him reason for this belief. He opened his eyes in amazement, and looked the fisher-boy very hard in the face, as if he could hardly believe that he was in earnest. For the first time in his life, Bob had met a man he could not look fairly and squarely in the eye.[63] He hung his head as if he had been guilty of a very mean action, and almost expected to hear the ship-builder order him out of the yard. He waited impatiently for his answer, but it was not given immediately, for Mr. Graves picked up a stick and began to whittle it with his knife, at the same time running his eye over his little fleet of skiffs with a sort of affectionate look, as if they stood very high in his estimation, and he was not willing to sell any of them "on time."

At length, to the fisher-boy's immense relief, he threw away the stick, and asked:

"How do I know that you will pay me at the end of three months?"

"I promise you that I will work day and night to raise the money," answered Bob. "Besides, I will give you my note."

Mr. Graves laughed loudly. "I am afraid your note would not be worth much," said he. "But I have always heard you spoken of as an honest, hard-working boy, and I am willing to give you a little assistance. Come with me!"

Bob could scarcely credit his ears. He followed the boat-builder like one in a dream; and not until Mr. Graves stepped into a yawl and pushed off toward the spot where the skiffs were anchored, did he believe that it was all a reality, and that he was soon to be the owner of one of the finest boats in the harbor.

"Now, then," said Mr. Graves, pulling up along-side one of the skiffs—"how will the Sea Gull suit you?"

The boat in question was one of the most beautiful little things Bob had ever seen. She was painted white inside and out, her bow and stern were shaped alike, and[64] both were as sharp as a knife. She was intended for a fast boat, and the name which was painted on her bows suited her exactly, for she sat on the water as lightly as a feather.

"What is she worth?" asked the fisher-boy.

"Twenty-five dollars," was the reply; "and that pays for a sail and a pair of strong oars."

"Very well!" said Bob, who was so overjoyed and excited that he could scarcely stand still, "there is no need of looking any farther. I'll take her if you will paint out that name and give her another."

"I'll do it," replied the boat-builder; "but I shall have to charge you an extra dollar for it."

The fisher-boy had seen the time that this would have made him hesitate. Heretofore he had always looked upon a dollar as quite a respectable sum of money, and one well worth saving; but now, from some cause or other, it did not look so large in his eyes, and he was willing to pay it for having a new name painted on his boat.

"All right," said he. "I want to call her the 'Go Ahead No. 2.' I'd like to have you get her ready as soon as possible, for I am in a hurry to get to work with her."

"You shall have her to-night at five o'clock," said Mr. Graves, pushing the yawl toward the shore, "and I want you to go straight to the harbor and settle up with Sam Barton. Don't let him take a single passenger across if you can help it. But remember, Bob, I must have my money at the end of three months."

"I promise you that it shall be ready for you," said the fisher-boy promptly, as if twenty-six dollars was a very insignificant sum of money in his estimation, and[65] he could raise it at any moment. "I think, in fact I know, that I shall be able to pay you in four weeks from to-day." As Bob said this, he thought of the lottery.

As soon as the yawl reached the shore the fisher-boy took leave of Mr. Graves, and left the ship-yard with a much lighter heart than he had brought into it. The question that had been troubling him so long was settled at last, and he was the owner of a boat that he believed to be far superior to any craft of the kind about the village. Although he did not feel any better natured toward Sam Barton, he could not help laughing when he thought how astonished the bully would be when he saw the rival whom he imagined he had so effectually disabled sail into the harbor in a boat as good, if not better, than his own. Bob did not believe that, reckless as he knew him to be, he would dare attempt the destruction of his skiff, for by such a proceeding he would render himself liable to prosecution before a court of law. The fisher-boy, however, was not yet acquainted with Sam Barton. The bully, when he had determined upon his course, always exhibited a great deal of resolution in carrying it out; and, having decided that Bob had lived in Fishertown long enough, it was not his intention to allow him a moment's peace until he had been driven out of the harbor, and compelled to take up his abode somewhere else. The result of this contest was doubtful. The fisher-boy was not wanting in courage, and when he became fairly aroused he was rather an unpleasant fellow to have about. He was very independent, he did not believe in privileged classes, and knowing that he had as much right in the harbor as any body, it was very likely that he would stand his ground as long as[66] possible. Just at that moment he would not have been afraid of a dozen Sam Bartons. He had a nice boat, and he was satisfied.

There was one thing, however, that marred his happiness, and that was the thought that perhaps his mother would not approve of what he had done. He had often heard her say that when a person was in debt he was in danger; but now, Bob thought differently. He did not see how he could get himself into trouble, simply because he had gone in debt for a boat worth twenty-six dollars. Even if the lottery scheme failed—an event which he now imagined to be impossible—he would have no difficulty in settling the note when it fell due, for, if fishing did not pay him, ferrying would; and, if business in the harbor should become dull, he would devote all his time to fishing. It is true he could remember that sometimes fishing and ferrying had both proved very unprofitable; but the reason was, because he had nothing but a clumsy old scow to work with; now the case would be different, because he was the owner of a splendid little skiff. In short, Bob really believed that the fish, which had refused to bite at his bait when it dangled over the side of his leaky scow, would be utterly unable to resist the temptation when his line was thrown from the stern of the Go Ahead No. 2. How he reached this conclusion was best known to himself. Perhaps it was because his conscience troubled him, and he was obliged to make use of all the arguments he could think of to quiet it.

There was another matter, besides the payment of his debt, that weighed heavily on his mind, in spite of all he could do to prevent it. It intruded itself upon him with every step he made toward his home, and, although[67] he tried to dismiss it with an impatient, "I know it will come out all right, and mother will never know the difference," he could not rid his mind of the thought, that, to say the least, he was about to be guilty of a very mean action. The nearer he got to Fishertown the slower he walked; but he reached his home at last, and his appearance without his boat caused a great commotion in the house. Without waiting to be questioned, the fisher-boy began his story. His brothers listened with looks of amazement and indignation, but Bob saw that his mother was troubled. She was, no doubt, wondering how the family was to be supported, now that the Go Ahead was gone.

"O, it's all right," said Bob, cheerfully. "I've got another boat that can't be beaten by any thing about Newport. I'd like to see Sam Barton smash her!"

"Where did you get your new boat?" asked his mother.

"From Mr. Graves. She cost me twenty-six dollars, too."

"How did you earn so much money?"

"I haven't paid for her yet," replied the fisher-boy. "I am to settle with Mr. Graves in ninety days. He said that I was an honest, hard-working boy, and he would give me a lift."

Bob did not like to see that troubled look on his mother's face, and he was in hopes that this announcement would drive it away; but, contrary to his expectations, it seemed to increase it.

"I am glad that Mr. Graves has so good an opinion of you," said his mother; "and I don't want you to lose it. For that reason, I am very sorry that you went in[68] debt to him. Suppose you are not able to pay for your boat at the end of three months?"

"Now, mother," said Bob, "there's no need of supposing any thing of the kind. I'll work night and day, and I know that, with that nice boat I can earn twenty-six dollars in less than ninety days. If I can't, I had better shut up shop. I tell you, mother, it isn't every ferry-boy that can go to Mr. Graves and get trusted for a skiff. I've got a good reputation, and I mean to keep it. And I'll tell you another thing," he added, mysteriously, "we are not going to live in this tumble-down shantee much longer. In a very short time we'll be living in a nice little house in the upper end of the village, among respectable people, these two youngsters will be going to school, and I shall be at sea, leaving behind me more than money enough to support you while I am gone. What do you think of that?"

(Tom Newcombe's ideas were gaining ground rapidly.)

Bob's mother did not know what to think of it. She had never listened to such a speech before, and she could not imagine what had got into Bob to raise his spirits so wonderfully. However, she did not give that much thought, for she could not forget the debt of twenty-six dollars, which must be paid before they could leave Fishertown and take up their abode in a "nice little house in the upper end of the village." But she said nothing more in regard to it, thinking, no doubt, that as the mischief had been done, the less said about it the better. Besides, she had almost unlimited confidence in Bob, and, knowing that he possessed a great deal of energy, and was not easily discouraged, she hoped that he might, after all, succeed in raising the money by the time agreed[69] upon. If she had any fears on the subject, she kept them to herself.

The fisher-boy brightened up when he saw that his mother was not disposed to find fault with him for what he had done, but his face instantly clouded up again when he thought of something very disagreeable he had yet to perform. His mother noticed it, and asked him what was the matter.

"Nothing much!" replied Bob, "only you don't seem to be very glad that I have got a new boat."

"I should be delighted if it was paid for," said his mother.

"Well," said the fisher-boy, putting his hand into his pocket and pulling out the money he had earned that morning, "if I pay some on it now, I won't have so much to pay by and by. You can spare five dollars, can't you?"

His mother replied that he could have the money if he wanted it, and taking her purse out of her pocket she began to count out the bills. She noticed that her son was very uneasy, that he could not stand still, but kept walking backward and forward over the floor; and if she had looked at him, she would have been astonished to see that his face was very red, and that he looked as if he had been caught in doing something which he knew to be wrong. Bob did indeed feel like a criminal; but he took the bills his mother handed him, and thrusting them into his pocket, he hastily left the house, leaving his mother to suppose that he was going to give them to Mr. Graves. Whether or not he did so, remains to be seen.



For the first time in his life, Bob had deceived his mother, and, as may be imagined, he did not feel very happy over it. His first thought was to get as far away from her as possible; and with this determination he bent his steps toward the wharf, where he sat down to think the matter over. He had never been taught to measure every act of his life by a moral standard, but, heretofore, when any thing had been proposed to him, he had always asked himself the question: Is it honorable and manly, or is it mean and cowardly? This test was applied to the matter in hand, and Bob was, of course, compelled to decide that he had been guilty of an act with which he would not like to have every one in the world acquainted. He knew that he ought to pay the five dollars to Mr. Graves, or, what would have been still better, take it back to his mother, make a clean breast of the whole matter, and be governed by her advice. Once he even got up from the coil of rope on which he was sitting, and started off as if he had resolved to follow this course of conduct; but he had made scarcely half a dozen steps before some of Tom's arguments flashed through his mind. He stopped, hesitated, and finally returned to his seat.


We believe that all boys are more or less inclined to build air-castles. They love to go off alone where there will be no one to disturb them, and spend hour after hour picturing to themselves innumerable pleasant things that will be sure to happen if some of their pet schemes can only be carried out. Some boys keep these dreamings to themselves, while others, like Tom Newcombe, can not rest easy until they have communicated them to some of their particular friends; and when there is one such boy in a neighborhood he sometimes does a great deal of mischief. Tom, for instance, had completely upset the fisher-boy. We know what good resolutions Bob made while he was sailing home from his fishing-grounds, on the previous day, and, no doubt, he would have held to them, if he could have avoided that unfortunate interview with Tom Newcombe. But he had listened to his arguments, been carried away by his eloquence, doubted at first, then believed, and finally ended by becoming as certain of success as was Tom himself. This led him to take two steps in the wrong direction. He had gone in debt for a boat, when he knew all the time that his mother would not approve of it, and then, by leading her to believe that he wanted to pay part of the money down, he had got the five dollars to invest in the lottery. It was no wonder his conscience troubled him. It kept him in a very unpleasant frame of mind, and the arguments he made use of to pacify it ought to have made him ashamed of himself.

"I didn't tell mother that I was honestly and truly going to pay this money to Mr. Graves," said the fisher-boy to himself. "I only said that if I paid some on the boat now, I wouldn't have so much to pay by and by.[72] Wasn't that the truth? Of course it was. I never told a lie in my life, and I never will. I'm in a bad fix," he added, rising to his feet, and walking up and down the wharf, "and this is the only way I can see to get out of it. I must save fifty-six dollars before I can go to sea—twenty-six to pay for my boat, and thirty to support the family while I am gone; and, at the rate I have been making money for the last year, I never will be able to lay by half that sum. I'll have to be a fisherman as long as I live, if I can't find other ways to make something. Now, here's a chance for me to get rich; and wouldn't I be foolish to throw it away? If it fails—but Tom says it can't, and I believe it—I shall be only five dollars out of pocket, and not much worse off than I am now. If it succeeds, and I get half of the five thousand dollars, what can I not do with it? I'll pay for my boat at once; then I'll buy mother a nice house; I'll get some good clothes for myself; I'll send my brothers to school—perhaps the military academy would be the best place for them—then I'll be off to sea. I'll do it; that's settled. I'll find Tom and give him this money before I am five minutes older."

Without stopping to reconsider the matter, the fisher-boy started on a keen run down the wharf, and presently found himself at the door of Mr. Newcombe's office. Tom was seated in his father's arm-chair, his feet upon the desk, a newspaper in his hand, and a pen behind his ear. He happened to be looking out the door as Bob came up, and throwing down his paper, he hurried out to meet him.

"Let's hear what you've got to say!" said he, in a whisper. "Yes or no!"


"Yes," replied the fisher-boy. "Here's the money."

"Hurrah for you," exclaimed Tom, as he took the bills. "Our fortune's made, sure enough;" and catching Bob by the arm, he danced him about the wharf as if he had suddenly lost his wits.

"I knew you wouldn't let this splendid chance slip through your fingers!" he continued, leading the fisher-boy off on one side, so that they might converse without fear of being overheard. "When the money comes I'll divide with you honestly. You are not afraid to trust me?"

"O no!" was the reply. "But are you sure those men will send you that prize?" (The fisher-boy knew what Tom's answer would be. All he wanted was encouragement.)

"Certainty I am!" said Tom, emphatically. "If I didn't know it, do you suppose I would risk my money in it? Didn't they make the offer themselves, and don't they say that they have agents in every civilized country on the globe? Do you suppose that men known all over the world as they are would dare cheat any body? You need not be afraid. They are business men. I know that, because this letter-paper is printed, just like father's; and they will not injure their reputation by making false promises. They have too much at stake. I knew you would give me a favorable answer, and so I wrote to them."

As Tom spoke he pulled a letter out of his pocket and handed it to the fisher-boy.

It conveyed to E. H. Harris and Company the information that Tom was perfectly willing to act as their agent, and that if they would keep their promise, and[74] send him the five thousand dollars, he would show it to every man, woman, and child in Newport. He told them that they would find him to be the most faithful and obliging man in their employ. (Tom said man, because he was afraid the gentlemen might withdraw their offer, if they should learn that he was only a boy fifteen years of age.) He further informed them, that he was clerk in the largest commission house in the village, and that he was well enough acquainted with business to know that an agent could not hope to secure customers, unless he was very polite and accommodating; consequently, they might rest assured that he would always treat their patrons with the greatest kindness. All this, and a great deal more, did Tom say to the proprietors of the lottery; but his letter, besides being pretty well mixed up, was so badly written and spelled that it is doubtful if the men to whom it was addressed ever got at the sense of it.

When the fisher-boy had finished reading the letter he handed it back to Tom, who placed it in an envelope along with the ten dollars—five of his own money, and the five Bob had brought him—and carefully sealed it, saying as he did so, "You see that I put the money in the letter, don't you? Now, come with me to the post-office."

The fisher-boy would have been willing to entrust the business entirely in Tom's hands; but, to satisfy him, he saw the letter dropped into the box, and then took leave of his companion, who hurried back to the office. He found very little to be done there, and after loitering about for half an hour, put on his cap and went out again.


He was highly elated at the success of his plans thus far, and he found it exceedingly difficult to control himself. Sometimes he was tempted to hunt up some of his acquaintances and reveal to them his secret; but he could not forget that they had turned him out of the society of Night-hawks, without giving him an opportunity to say a word in his defense, and refused him admittance into their new organization. In his estimation, these were offenses that ought not to be forgiven. "I told them I would make them sorry for that," said he to himself, "and I wasn't joking. The Storm King will be just the thing for fishing parties and moonlight excursions, but not one of those fellows shall ever put a foot on her deck, until they are willing to apologize for what they have done. I heard one of them say that they would like to visit Block Island and rob some of the melon patches over there, if they only had a boat. Now, perhaps, when they see the Storm King, they will want her! They sha'n't have her; they may look somewhere else for a boat! Won't they be surprised when they learn that I am the captain and owner of the finest little craft in the village? How they will all envy me! That's the way I shall get even with them."

Tom laughed outright as these thoughts passed through his mind, and thrusting his hands into his pockets, he started off with a "hop, skip, and a jump," and finally turned down the street that led to Mr. Graves's boat-yard. He found the proprietor in his office, and, hardly waiting to return his polite greeting, Tom seated himself in the nearest chair, and began business at once.

"Mr. Graves," said he, "you built the Swallow, I believe! What did she cost?"


"Two hundred and fifty dollars!" was the answer.

"Then I suppose the boat I want will cost at least a hundred dollars more?" said Tom.

"That, of course, depends upon circumstances," replied Mr. Graves, who was not at all surprised at these questions, for this was not the first time Tom had talked with him on this same subject. "If you want a vessel finished off in first-class style, with a nice little cabin, two state-rooms finely furnished, a galley forward, with stove and every thing complete, and bunks for three or four hands—in short, a magnificent little yacht—"

"That's just it!" exclaimed Tom, excited by his description. "That's what I want!"

"I know it," said Mr. Graves, "for you and I have talked this matter over before. I suppose your father has at last given you permission to build a boat of this kind?"

"Now, never mind my father," said Tom, impatiently. "Isn't it enough for you to know that your money will be ready the moment the boat is finished? What will a craft like that cost?"

Mr. Graves looked intently at the floor for a moment, stroked his whiskers, and replied: "Four hundred dollars!"

"Whew!" exclaimed Tom. "That's rather steep, I should say. However, I must have a vessel, and I don't care what she costs. Now listen to me! In the first place, I want this boat called the Storm King. She must be sloop-rigged, carrying as much canvas as can safely be put on her. Her hull must be painted black on the outside, and the cabin must be finished off with black walnut, and supplied with the finest kind of furniture;[77] and, last of all, she must be warranted to beat every vessel of her size about the village."

"Exactly!" exclaimed Mr. Graves, who, believing that he had got a paying customer this time, listened attentively to all Tom had to say.

"And remember, also," continued Tom, "that I want her finished as soon as possible—the sooner the better. As I told you before, your money will be ready the moment I accept the vessel. If she doesn't suit me, I shall not take her."

"Of course not!" said the boat-builder. "But what are you going to do with her, Tom?"

"I'm going to be a trader. I expect soon to make my fortune."

"Certainly you will! What's to prevent it, I'd like to know? A boat of that description would make any man independently rich. I have a strong force," added Mr. Graves, as Tom arose to go, "and I'll promise to have her finished alow and aloft in fine style, by three weeks from to-day. Will that suit you?"

Tom replied that it would. He then took leave of the boat-builder, who, true to his promise, called in one of his workmen, and gave him some instructions in regard to building the sloop, which he intended should be the finest little vessel that had ever been launched at his yard. He had not the slightest suspicion that every thing was not just as it should be, for Tom had more than once assured him that some day he would gain his father's consent to a certain little plan, and that then he wanted a boat that would throw all the other yachts about the village completely into the shade. The boat-builder never imagined that Tom would dare[78] enter into such an agreement without the permission of Mr. Newcombe, for what could a boy of his age do to earn four hundred dollars in three weeks? But then Mr. Graves knew nothing about the lottery.

Meanwhile the fisher-boy was loitering about the wharf, scarcely knowing what to do with himself. If the loss of the Go Ahead had occurred two days before, Bob would not have been long in deciding how he ought to pass the time away, for he would have employed himself in doing odd jobs about the village, and thus earned a few dimes to increase his little fortune. But now, he had no idea of doing any thing of the sort; for when Mr. Henry asked him if he did not want to earn a quarter of a dollar, by carrying in a cord of wood, that was piled on the wharf at the back of the store, Bob replied that he did not, that he was not looking for work. It is true he regretted his decision a moment afterward, but then it was too late, for Mr. Henry had hired some one else.

"Never mind," said the fisher-boy to himself. "I haven't lost much. Twenty-five cents for two hours' hard work is small pay. I've seen the day that I would have been glad to take all such jobs, but I'm better off in the world now; at least I soon will be."

All that forenoon, Bob walked up and down the wharf, watching the men at work about him, wishing that five o'clock would come, so that he might take possession of his new boat, and all the while wondering why it was that he was so miserable, while every one around him seemed to be so supremely happy. Again and again did he try to silence his conscience by saying to himself that his mother would never know any thing about the deception of which he had been guilty. Tom's plan would certainly[79] succeed, and when he had his twenty-five hundred dollars in his pocket, he would pay for his boat, and then he would never go in debt or deceive his mother again. But these promises of better behavior in future did not quiet his feelings, for, in spite of all he could do to prevent it, the knowledge of the fact that he had abused the confidence his mother had reposed in him, would force itself upon his mind, and when twelve o'clock came the fisher-boy had become so thoroughly disgusted with himself that he did not want to go home to his dinner. He felt like an outlaw; and he could almost bring himself to believe that, if he should make his appearance at the door of his home, he would be refused admittance. But, knowing that if he remained away all day it would occasion surprise, and might arouse suspicion, the fisher-boy endeavored to dismiss all his unpleasant thoughts, tried hard to assume a cheerful look, and rather reluctantly started for home. To his surprise, he found that the cloud had vanished from his mother's face, and that she appeared to be as happy and contented as ever. She made no allusions to any thing that had transpired that morning, and Bob began to gain courage.



The dinner hour passed off as usual, and one to have seen Bob as he arose from the table and bade his mother good-by before returning to the wharf, would have thought him the very last boy who could have been guilty of a mean or dishonorable action. But he had changed wonderfully during the last twelve hours; and having deceived his mother once, it was easier to do it a second time.

Although there was no necessity for it, he left a false impression on her mind by saying:

"Perhaps I shall see a chance to earn half a dollar or so, during the afternoon." This led her to believe that her son intended to hold himself in readiness to accept any offer of work that might be made him; while Bob himself knew that he had no such idea. He said what he did simply because he wanted an excuse to get away from home.

The fact was, Bob was totally unfit for labor of any kind. He had made so many calculations concerning the twenty-five hundred dollars, which he was certain he should receive in a week or ten days at the very farthest, and he was so impatient to hear from the money he had just sent off, that any thing which would have[81] turned his thoughts into other and more profitable channels was distasteful to him. He wanted to do nothing but think over his plans for the future; so he returned to the wharf, where for four hours and a half he walked listlessly about with his hands in his pockets, his eyes bent upon the ground, and his thoughts busy with his new boat, and his prospective fortune.

During the middle of the day the ferry-boys had very little business to attend to, and, from where Bob stood, he could see them lounging in their boats in the shade of the piers, on both sides of the harbor. Among them he saw Sam Barton, who, seated in his fine yawl in the midst of his friends, was delivering some very amusing discourse, judging by the peals of laughter that came from that direction.

The fisher-boy soon became aware of the fact that he was the subject of Sam's remarks, for every now and then he could see the bully rise up in his boat and shake his fist at him. Bob, however, very wisely made no reply to these demonstrations. He had the satisfaction of knowing that the triumph which the bully was then enjoying was destined to be of short duration, and that his turn would come next.

There was another boy who was very restless all that afternoon, and who, being unable to decide upon any better way of passing the time, kept trotting up and down the wharf. It was Tom Newcombe. To save his life he could not remain in the office more than ten minutes at a time, and it was only by an unusual exercise of will that he kept from telling his secret, confidentially of course, to every one he met. In one of his rounds he came across the fisher-boy; and knowing[82] that he could sympathize with him, he kept him company during the rest of the afternoon.

"O how I do wish this week was gone," Tom would say, almost every five minutes, "and that we had an answer to that letter! I am in a great hurry to begin trading. I tell you, Bob, all the boys in the village will wish themselves in my boots when they see my new yacht."

To the fisher-boy's immense relief, half-past four came at last, and, bidding Tom good-by, he started for Mr. Graves's boat-yard. The proprietor was standing in the door of his office, and when he saw Bob he called out—

"Go and get her! She is all ready for you, and I think when you have tried her you will say that she is the finest boat you ever saw. Now, if you don't ruin Sam Barton by taking every one of his passengers away from him, I shall be sorry that I let you have her."

"If he wants customers he must work for them," replied Bob. "And now, Mr. Graves, if you will furnish me pen and paper, I'll give you my note."

The boat-builder laughed, and more to satisfy the fisher-boy than any thing else, he gave him a chair at his desk, and looked over his shoulder, as he dashed off the note in regular business style; promising, in ninety days from date, to pay James H. Graves twenty-six dollars, for value received.

"There!" said Bob, throwing the ink off his pen, and rising from the desk; "I think you will find that all right."

Mr. Graves put the note into his pocket, and conducted[83] his customer to the place where the skiffs were anchored; and the first object upon which Bob's eyes rested was the Go Ahead No. 2, gracefully riding the little swells, and pulling at her moorings as if impatient to be off. A pair of strong oars, and a sail neatly rolled up, lay upon the thwarts, and her painter, which was long enough to serve as an anchor rope, was laid down in Flemish coil in the bow.

"Now, remember," said Mr. Graves, as Bob stepped into his skiff and began to hoist the sail, "your note will fall due in three months from to-day, and then I shall want the money."

"You need have no fears," replied the fisher-boy, promptly. "I promise you that every cent shall be paid up long before that time."

As the fisher-boy spoke, he cast off the line with which the Go Ahead was made fast to the beach, got out one of his oars to serve as a rudder, and, thanking the boat-builder for his repeated wishes for unbounded success, filled away for his pier. A strong breeze was blowing directly down the harbor, and this gave Bob a splendid opportunity to judge of the sailing qualities of his new craft. All of Mr. Graves's boats were warranted fast, but Bob soon came to the conclusion that never had a skiff been launched at his yard that could be compared to the Go Ahead No. 2. Her sail was as large as she could conveniently carry; and, when she had got fairly started, she took a "bone in her teeth," and moved down the harbor at a rate of speed that delighted her young skipper.

The fisher-boy was in his element; and the only thing that kept him from shouting at the top of his lungs, was[84] the fear of attracting the attention of the people on the wharves. So overjoyed was he that he could scarcely sit still. He kept looking over every part of his boat, first up at the sail, then at the clean thwarts and dry bottom, so different from his old scow, and then he would say to himself: "Is she really mine? I never thought I should be able to own a boat like this! But she does belong to me, and no mistake; for I remember writing out a note for Mr. Graves. Now, Sam Barton, bring on your clumsy old yawl."

This last remark, although uttered for the benefit of the bully, did not reach his ears, for he was too far off to hear it, and besides, he was busy. A party of half a dozen persons were standing upon the wharf, and Sam was sculling leisurely across to attend to their wants. Now, that Bob Jennings, as he imagined, had been disposed of, he had nothing to fear from rivals, and he was taking his own time in getting across the harbor. This did not seem to suit the gentlemen on the wharf, for they several times requested him to "hurry up," an invitation which Sam, being too lazy to heed, pretended that he did not hear. He moved his oar slowly about in the water, expending just strength enough upon it to keep his yawl in motion, and his eyes, probably from the force of long habit, were wandering up and down the harbor, as if in search of more customers.

"Come, boy, make haste, there!" shouted one of the men. "We don't intend to stand here in this hot sun much longer."

Sam, however, did not arouse himself in the least. On the contrary, he stopped sculling entirely, and stood looking up the harbor at a trim little craft that was coming[85] directly toward him. He did not remember of having seen her before, but he could have recognized her skipper as far as he could see him.

"Well, now, if this yere don't beat all the world!" said Sam to himself, stooping down and shading his eyes with his hand to obtain a better view of the approaching boat. "If I hadn't seed Bobby Jennings sunk this mornin', I should say that that was him. But where could he get a tidy little vessel like that? I declare; if she aint the purtiest little—"

Sam's admiration for the approaching craft ceased very suddenly, as he noticed her somewhat singular movements, and began to understand their meaning. When he first discovered her, her bow was pointed toward the wharf, as if her skipper intended to make an attempt to take his passengers away from him; but now she was headed directly down the harbor, and was coming toward him like an arrow from a bow. She was laying almost on her side, the spray was dashing wildly about her sharp bows, and her skipper's face wore an expression that Sam did not like to see. He remembered what he had done that morning, and, believing that the fisher-boy was about to take ample revenge upon him, he turned and sculled down the harbor with all the speed he could command. But in spite of all his exertions, the skiff gained rapidly, and the bully, seeing that escape was impossible, became so terrified that his face grew pale, and his heart thumped against his ribs like a trip-hammer.

"Hallo, Bobby!" he called out in a trembling voice, as soon as his rival came within hearing; "what a nice boat you've got, Bobby!"


An angry shake of the head was the only reply he received, and the skiff came on as fast as ever.

"I'm glad to see you out again, Bobby," continued Sam, who was so frightened that he was almost ready to cry. "An' I hope—hold on, there, Bobby, please don't run into me—"

The skiff was now close upon him, and the bully held his breath in suspense; but, just as he was expecting to feel the shock of the collision, and to see the sides of his fine yawl smashed in by the sharp bow of his rival's boat, Bob, with one sweep of his oar, turned aside, passing so close to the yawl that he could have jumped into her had he felt so disposed, and ran alongside the wharf to attend to the passengers, whom Sam, in his surprise and alarm, had forgotten.

"Why didn't you sink him?" asked one of the men, climbing down into the skiff. "He has kept us here for fully a quarter of an hour, and we told him that we were in a great hurry."

"I wouldn't like to sink him," replied the fisher-boy, as he pulled down the sail and got out the oars. "I had my boat sunk under me this morning, and I know how it feels."

Bob was now given an opportunity to test the speed of his new boat when propelled by the "white ash breeze," and the result was all he could have desired. The Go Ahead skimmed over the water as lightly as a duck, in spite of the additional weight of her half dozen passengers, and by the time the fisher-boy reached the opposite side of the harbor, he had ceased to regret the loss of his scow, and was almost willing to believe that the serious injury which Sam had tried to inflict upon him would prove to be a blessing in disguise.


Meanwhile the bully, who stood in his boat watching Bob as he rowed across the harbor and landed his passengers, had been allowed ample time to recover from the fright his rival had given him. The other ferry-boys were no less surprised than Sam had been, and now they began to gather around him, to hear what he had to say about it.

"Do you see that new craft Jennings has got?" asked one.

"Do I see it?" repeated the bully, sharply. "Haven't I got a pair of eyes, and didn't he sail by within two foot of me? He's a thief, as well as a mean feller, 'cause he's used one of them gold pieces to buy that boat. Never mind! It won't do him no good!"

Sam, assisted by some of his particular friends, at once set about arranging matters to render Bob's new boat perfectly useless to him. As before, they scattered their forces all over the harbor, some on one side, and some on the other, Sam pointing out the position he wished each boy to occupy. When he had got every thing fixed to his satisfaction, he sculled slowly toward the fisher-boy, who was standing up in his boat, watching all these movements, as if they did not interest him in the least.

"How do you feel now, Bobby?" asked the bully, with a laugh.

"O, I am in excellent spirits," returned Bob, pleasantly. "I feel much better than I did when you sunk my boat this morning."

"That's an amazin' fine little skiff of your'n, Bobby," continued Sam; "but I don't see what you're goin' to do with it here."


"Don't you? Well, you wait until I see a passenger, and I'll show you."

"Not that we knows of, you won't," said the bully, savagely. "Didn't I tell you this mornin' that you had been here just long enough?"

"You did, but it doesn't trouble me any. Now, Sam, let me tell you something! If you, or any of your friends, beat me in a fair race, I shall not grumble; but if you try to take any mean advantage of me, I won't stand it. I'll clear the harbor!"

"You'll do what?" exclaimed Sam.

"I'll take charge of this harbor," repeated Bob. "I'll drive every one of you under the piers."

"Hallo!" said Sam. "That's big talk for a small boy!"

The sight of a passenger on the wharf put a stop to the conversation, and the rivals once more found themselves engaged in an exciting race. Bob had a decided advantage, having a much lighter boat, and two oars to Sam's one, and he would have beaten him very easily, had not one of the bully's friends sculled up and intercepted him. This occasioned a delay—for Bob was obliged to stop in order to avoid a collision—and by the time he got started again, another of Sam's right-hand men had run alongside the wharf and secured the passenger.

This convinced the fisher-boy that his enemies were not disposed to allow him "fair play," and being determined not to yield to them an inch, he pulled in his oars and began to hoist his sail.

"Look out there now, Sam Barton!" said he, "I'm coming after you."


"Eh!" ejaculated the bully. "What are you going to do?"

"If you wait until I get this sail hoisted you'll find out!" was the reply. "Clear the track, now, if you don't want to get hurt! Jack Bennett, if you want your scow sent to the bottom of the harbor, just run athwart my hawse again!"

Sam needed no second warning. He comprehended Bob's plan in an instant, and seeing that the sail began to draw, and that the skiff's bow was slowly veering round toward him, he caught up his oar and pulled for the shelter of the pier as if his life depended upon the issue.

"Run, run, fellers!" he exclaimed. "That ar Bobby Jennings'll sink the last one of you."

The ferry-boys, believing that they had at last succeeded in arousing an ugly customer, scattered in all directions; and Bob, thinking it a capital opportunity to show them that he was in earnest, and that it was not his intention to allow himself to be imposed upon any longer, started in hot pursuit of Sam, who was doing his best to keep out of harm's way. Had the fisher-boy succeeded in overtaking him, it is hard to tell what he might have done in his excitement. He might have allowed Sam to escape after frightening him thoroughly, as he had done before, but fortunately his forbearance was not put to the test. Fear infused new strength into the bully's arms, and he succeeded in running under the wharf, where the skiff could not follow him.

During the remainder of the afternoon Bob had that part of the harbor all to himself. Keeping his sail hoisted, he moved swiftly about in all directions, picking[90] up a passenger here and there, and all the while watching the movements of Sam Barton, who hardly dared to stir from his place of refuge. He was not idle, however, for, calling together some of his friends, he tried to induce them to join him in an attack upon the fisher-boy. They were all highly enraged, and there was not one among them who would have been sorry to see Bob and his new boat sunk out of sight in the waters of the harbor; but none of them could muster up courage enough to make an assault upon him.

The little skiff moved with a rapidity that threatened instant destruction to any thing that came in her path, and not wishing to have their boats sent to the bottom, the ferry-boys all concluded that the safest plan was to allow Bob a clear field. The latter did not fail to make the most of his time. The neat appearance of his boat brought him a goodly number of passengers, and when he counted his money that night before going home, he found that he had earned just sixty cents.

He was well satisfied with the Go Ahead No. 2.

"You're all a pack of cowards!" said Sam to his companions, when he saw the fisher-boy fill away for home, after taking the last passenger across the harbor. "All cowards, every one of you! If you had obeyed my orders, Bobby Jennings wouldn't now be settin' in that new boat of his'n like he was lord an' master of all of us. A good duckin' in the harbor would help him powerful, an' he must have it."

Bob having taken his departure, Sam was no longer obliged to remain under the pier. He came out, looking very crest-fallen, and joined his companions, who, as they sculled slowly toward home, talked over the incidents[91] of the afternoon, and debated upon the best plan to punish the fisher-boy for what he had done.

Sam, almost too angry to speak, took no part in the conversation. His desire to "get even" with the fisher-boy was now stronger than ever; for not only had the latter, as he believed, made use of one of the twenty dollar gold pieces to purchase his new boat, but he had actually beaten the bully at his own game, and fully demonstrated his ability to hold the harbor against the combined attacks of Sam and all his friends. This did not look much like driving him out of Fishertown; on the contrary, it appeared that if Bob chose to push matters, he could hold every one of his enemies at bay.

"He wouldn't give me one of them gold pieces fur my skiff," said Sam to himself. "He said he was too honest for that, but he has paid 'em to somebody else fur that new boat of his'n, an' I won't stand no such nonsense. I bet he'll be astonished when he gets up to-morrow morning."

If Sam had decided upon any thing new, he said nothing about it just then. He kept behind his companions all the way, and when he arrived at the beach he secured his yawl and went directly to his own home. As soon as it grew dark, however, he began to bestir himself. He walked about among the cabins, and presently collected four of his friends—the only ones among the dozen boys in Fishertown who could be trusted in every emergency—and after a few moments' whispered consultation, they again separated. For a quarter of an hour Sam strolled about, stopping now and then to say a few words to some of the ferry-boys he chanced to meet, until, believing that his four followers had been allowed ample[92] time to obey his orders, he bent his steps toward the spot where he had left his yawl. He was very cautions in his movements—for he did not want every one about Fishertown to know what was going on—and when he reached his boat he stepped into it, quickly cast off the painter, and shoved away from the beach.

"Are you all there, fellers?" he asked, in a whisper.

"Yes," replied a voice from under the thwarts. "All here!"

Sam gave way on the oar, and in a few moments the boat entered the harbor, and shaped its course toward Mr. Newcombe's warehouse. Several vessels were lying alongside the pier, but Sam ran by them without attracting the attention of any of the watch, and finally the yawl disappeared among the spiles that supported the wharf. Here it was as dark as midnight; but Sam, who seemed to understand what he was about, pulled in his oar, and by pushing against the spiles, worked his way along until the boat reached the extreme end of the wharf.

"Now then, Friday!" he whispered, "strike a light!"

The boy addressed crawled out from under the thwarts, and presently the light of a small lantern flashed among the spiles. They were now directly under the warehouse, which was built, not upon the ground, but upon a pier that projected out into the harbor. It was supported by timbers which had been driven into the mud, and so close together, that there was hardly room for the yawl to go between them. The boat had been run alongside of what appeared to be an abrupt bank, about four feet high, and as soon as the lantern had been lighted, one of the boys sprang ashore and made the painter fast to[93] the timbers; while another removed a board which had been placed close up under the pier, and revealed a narrow opening which seemed to run back under the street.

"How is it. Jack?" asked Sam, in a whisper.

Jack took the lantern, thrust his head into the opening, and, after a hurried survey of the interior, replied: "All right! Nobody's been here!"

"Jump ashore, then," continued Sam. "Be lively, fur we don't want to keep this light out here much longer. Somebody might be on the watch."

The crew of the yawl sprang out, and one by one squeezed themselves through the opening; and Sam, who was the last one to enter, pulled the board back to its place.



Almost every boy who is able to read at all has read Robinson Crusoe, and probably nine out of ten have been foolish enough to wish they had been in his place. Perhaps they would not be willing to undergo the dangers of a shipwreck that they might be cast upon a desert island, for it is by no means certain they would be so fortunate as to escape, or that the winds would be accommodating enough to blow the wreck close in to the shore so that they might visit her, and bring away such articles as they needed to enable them to go to housekeeping. What we mean to say is, that there are restless, discontented boys in the world who are never satisfied, and who believe that if they could only hit upon a plan to transport themselves to some out-of-the-way part of the world, and could surround themselves with all the comforts Crusoe is said to have possessed, they would be supremely happy. Some boys content themselves with playing Robinson Crusoe. A shed built in the back yard answers the purpose of cave and tent, and there they spend hour after hour, living over Crusoe-life as it is related in the story. Imaginary foot-prints are discovered, a make-believe man Friday is rescued from blood-thirsty cannibals, and numerous[95] attacks of savages are repulsed with terrible slaughter. Then come the finding of the Spaniard and Friday's father, the release of the English captain, and the recovery of the vessel that is to take Robinson from the island, and there the game ends; for, by the time all these things are done, the day is generally far spent, and some of the young actors are obliged to return to their homes. We do not suppose that any of these make-believe hermits ever thought seriously of hunting up an uninhabited island in the ocean and living Crusoe-life in sober earnest? There was one boy, however, who was bold enough to conceive of such an idea, and that was Sam Barton. He had read the story, believed every word of it, and was so well pleased with it that he decided to become a Crusoe himself.

If Sam possessed a single good trait, it was a love of reading. He never thought of investing any of his money in books, but every piece of printed paper that he picked up in the streets was read and re-read until it was completely worn out. One morning, while passing by a store, he saw a book swept out upon the sidewalk. He never allowed a prize like that to slip through his fingers, and pouncing upon it, he carried it off in triumph. It proved to be a copy of Robinson Crusoe. It had evidently received very rough usage, for it was soiled and badly torn; but there was enough of it left to make Sam thoroughly disgusted with the life of a ferry-boy, and to put some very foolish notions into his head. Considering the story as altogether too good to be kept to himself, he took his four friends into his confidence, and, during the three weeks following, Robinson Crusoe received the best part of their attention. When[96] the book was finished its hero was declared to be a "jolly old feller," and Sam startled his companions by wondering if they couldn't have a splendid time if they should camp out on Block Island, and live as he had done! This gave them something to think and talk about, and the matter was discussed every time they could get together. They very speedily came to an understanding on one point, and that was, that during the coming summer, they would bid farewell to Newport and turn Crusoes. This being settled, the question then arose, where should they go? Block Island would not answer their purpose, because it was in a civilized country. True, they had often seen goats there, but they belonged to the farmers, who would not consent to have them shot at or chased by dogs. There were grapes in abundance on the island, but they grew in gardens and vineyards, and were claimed by persons who would not permit the young Crusoes to gather them at pleasure, even though they did want to cure them for raisins. There were no savages in that region to visit the island with their prisoners, and there would be but a poor prospect for fights, unless it was with the farmers, or with their parents, who would, no doubt, attempt to bring them home again. This question troubled them for three or four days; and then Sam, who was the acknowledged leader of the enterprise, proposed that they should put to sea in his yawl, and "keep going," until they found a place that suited them, a suggestion to which all the boys at once agreed.

The next thing they talked about was their supplies. They might be fortunate enough to find the wreck of a vessel somewhere, but, after all, the prospect was not[97] very flattering; so it was decided that every thing of which they imagined they would stand in need should be procured before leaving the village. They would require pieces of cable with which to build the wall in front of their cave, canvas for their tent, an adze to cut out boards, a crowbar with which to make their cave larger after the tent was put up, a dog to chase the goats, lead for bullets, and guns to shoot the bullets after they were made; in short, every thing that Crusoe possessed they were determined to have; and, in order to be sure on this point, Sam, with infinite trouble, made out a list of articles from the book.

No sooner was it settled to their satisfaction that their plans could be carried out, than each boy began to exert himself to procure his share of the provisions and equipment. A certain portion of the money they earned was paid into the hands of Jack Bennett, the treasurer (who, by the way, was once soundly whipped by Sam, because he spent two cents of the public funds for pea-nuts), and articles of every description that were found about the streets and wharves, especially old horseshoes, and scraps of copper, were speedily taken in charge by the enthusiastic members of the Crusoe band. In a very short space of time they had a large stock of useless material on hand, and then they began to feel the want of a suitable hiding-place for it. This proved to be another source of trouble to them, until, one day, Jack Bennett, while cruising about under Mr. Newcombe's wharf, in the hope of finding something that would be of value to him, conceived the idea of a cave. This plan being hailed with delight by the others, work was begun upon it that very night; and at the end of two[98] weeks, the cave was completed, and all the articles they had gathered were conveyed to it for safe keeping. A better hiding-place could not have been devised. It was located under the street which ran in front of the warehouse, and, when assembled there to hold their secret meetings, the boys could hear the wagons rattling over their heads. The entrance to their place of retreat was, as we have said, under the wharf, where no one, not even the ferry-boys, ever thought of going. Even in the day-time it was very dark under there, but to make "assurance doubly sure" the door had been concealed so that there was little probability that it would ever be discovered.

The interior of their hiding-place was finished off according to the description they had read of Crusoe's cave, with props in the center to keep it from falling in upon them, and shelves on the left hand side of the entrance, upon which were stowed a variety of useful things. Against the walls were arranged the heavier articles, such as bits of cable, scraps of iron, lead, and copper, pieces of canvas, a small grind-stone, a hatchet or two, several pairs of oars, some carpenter's tools, and two or three boxes containing wheat and rice, which were to be planted as soon as they reached their island. Opposite the entrance, reposing upon a comfortable bed of straw, was a ferocious looking bull-dog, which had come to Sam in much the same way that Crusoe's dog came to him; not from a wreck, of course, but from a schooner which was discharging her cargo at Mr. Newcombe's wharf. Sam had often seen and admired the animal, and believing that he was just the dog they wanted to hunt goats with, he had scraped an acquaintance with[99] him by throwing him pieces of bread and meat, when none of the crew of the vessel happened to be looking at him. In a short time he and the dog became excellent friends, and one day, by exhibiting a tempting piece of beef, he induced the animal to jump overboard and follow him under the wharf, where he was captured and put into the cave, to remain until his master was ready to start on his voyage.

Upon the walls, at the right hand of the entrance, hung five single-barrel shot-guns, each of which had cost the would-be Crusoes two dollars and a half. Below them hung their powder-horns, shot-bags and hunting knives. A flour barrel, turned bottom up, answered the purpose of a table, and upon it, protected from the damp and dirt by a piece of canvas, was the dilapidated copy of Robinson Crusoe, which was to Sam and his friends what the chart and compass are to the mariner.

The members of the Crusoe band had chosen the names of their favorite heroes; and when holding their meetings in the cave, they dropped their true names, and answered only to their assumed ones. Sam, of course, was Robinson Crusoe. He was the leader of the band while they remained on shore, and he was to be the captain of the vessel during the voyage, and the governor of the island when they found it. The names of the others were Jack Spaniard, Friday, Will Atkins, and Xury. (Sam did not know how to pronounce this last name correctly. He always called it Exury.)

"Now, then," said the chief, pulling off his cap and seating himself on a dry goods box beside the flour barrel, "we're ready to begin business. Friday, put[100] that lantern on the table. Have any of you any thing to offer?"

"Yes," replied Will Atkins, "I've got something we had oughter take along. It's a watch."

"A watch!" repeated the chief. "It sha'n't go!"

"Hold on till you see it, governor!" said Atkins, fumbling in his pockets, and finally producing a huge brass time-piece, which ticked so loudly that it could be heard by every one in the cave. "It's a thing a feller can't get every day."

"I don't care, I don't want to see it," replied Sam. "Here's the thing we go by," he added, picking up the list he had made out. "Read that, an' then read the book, an' see if you can find any thing about a watch in either of them. Crusoe didn't have no time-piece, an' we ain't a goin' to have none, neither."

"I say he did have a watch!" insisted Atkins. "Don't the book say that after he eat his dinner, he lay down an' slept till two o'clock? How did he know when to get up if he didn't have a watch?"

"I don't know nothin' about that! If he'd had a watch the book would have said so."

"But what shall I do with this? I give a sail an' a pair of good oars fur it, an' the feller said he wouldn't never trade back!"

"You can pitch it in the harbor, if you have a mind to," said Sam. "It sha'n't go on this expedition so long as I'm governor."

"I think this is a purty how-de-do," said Atkins. "If I can't have things my way sometimes I won't go. I don't believe there ever was such a cove as Robinson Crusoe, nohow."


"Eh!" exclaimed Sam, in astonishment. "Do you mean to say that Crusoe never lived on that island all by himself fur so many years? Who writ this yere book, then?"

"Some feller made it up all out of his own head!" said Atkins, boldly.

This declaration, according to the laws of the Crusoe band, was treason, and it created an uproar in an instant. The boys all sprung to their feet, and Atkins, seeing that he got himself into trouble, seized an oar and backed into the farthest corner of the cave; while the dog, thinking that something unusual was going on, barked and whined furiously. It is very probable that the traitor would have been severely handled, had not the governor interfered in his behalf.

"Hold on there, men!" he exclaimed. "Jack Spaniard, you and Friday come back here an' set down. Exury, kick that dog and make him hush up. Will Atkins, put down that ar oar an' behave yourself, like a man had oughter do!"

The traitor hesitated.

"Atkins, I say, you'd better drop that ar oar an' come here an' set down," repeated the governor. "If I take a hand in this muss, I'll make you open your eyes!"

The culprit evidently feared the chief more than all the rest of the band, for, without further parley, he put the oar back in its place and resumed his seat.

"Now, Will Atkins," continued the governor, "don't you never say agin what you said a minute ago—that there never was no such feller as Robinson Crusoe—'cause I know there was. He writ this yere book himself;[102] a blind man could see that, an' I aint agoin' to have no feller say he didn't. You've got the best name of any of us! Will Atkins made them fellers in Robinson's island a heap of trouble, an' you're tryin' to do the same thing by us. Now, I'm different from what they were, an' I won't stand much nonsense. You can just bear that in mind. As fur that ar ole watch of your'n, if Crusoe had had one, I wouldn't say a word. But the book don't say nothin' about it, an' so I know he didn't have none. We aint agoin' to take nothin' with us that he didn't have, so I say again, that the watch sha'n't go. Shall it, fellers?"

Jack Spaniard, Friday, and Xury, being highly enraged at the traitor, sustained the chief in his decision, and Atkins was compelled to swallow his disappointment as best he could. Strange as it may appear, however, this incident did not disturb the harmony of the meeting. Atkins was at first held in check by fear of the governor; but when a pocketful of fish-hooks and lines which he had offered to increase the general stock was accepted, it had the effect of restoring him to his usual spirits.

After this business had been transacted, the governor entered upon a discussion of the subject which was just then occupying the most of his thoughts. He began by repeating what he had told his companions a hundred times before—that Bobby Jennings was the meanest fellow he had seen for many a day, too mean to be permitted to live longer in Fishertown; that he had repeatedly refused to give him one of the twenty-dollar gold pieces for his skiff, and had then gone off and paid one, and perhaps both, of them for the Go Ahead No. 2;[103] and, finally, that he had shown a determination to do as he pleased in the harbor, and that was something they could not stand.

"He must have gone to bed by this time," continued the governor; "so we'll jest slip up to his shantee an' capture that fine craft of his'n. He can't live without a boat, an' we'll see where he'll get another."

"What will we do with her?" asked Friday. "Burn her?"

"O, no!" replied the chief; "that would be throwing away money: we'll bring her down here and hide her."

"That's dangerous," said Atkins. "Bob'll make a powerful fuss when he finds out that his boat is gone; an' if we should be diskivered"——. Atkins finished the sentence by shrugging his shoulders, and shaking his head significantly.

"We'd best burn her, or sink her in the bay," said Jack Spaniard, "an' then nobody can't prove nothin' agin us."

"That'll only be throwin' away money fur nothin'," repeated the governor. "No one in the village knows any thing about this yere cave, an' so they won't think of lookin' here fur her. When the fuss has kinder died out, we'll paint the boat over, give her a new name, an' sell her to somebody an' divide the profits. In that way, we can raise a few dollars to help along the expedition, you know."

This last remark decided the argument in Sam's favor. The members of the band all had the good of the expedition at heart, and any thing that promised to advance its interests, no matter how much danger it might bring to themselves, was heartily supported. They spent[104] a few moments in talking over the details of their plan, especially the course they ought to adopt to secure the skiff without arousing any of the inmates of the fisher-boy's cabin, and then, blowing out the light, they crawled out of the cave, stepped into the yawl, and pulled for the beach. The governor, being the best oarsman, again assumed the management of the boat, while the others, as before, stretched themselves out under the thwarts. This precaution was always adopted in going to and from the cave, for they wisely reasoned that if five boys should be seen making nightly visits to Mr. Newcombe's wharf, it might attract attention, which would lead to an investigation, and the discovery of their hiding-place.

Under the chief's skillful guidance, the yawl passed through the shipping and cleared the harbor in safety; and, in accordance with the plans they had decided upon before leaving the cave, Sam kept the boat headed out to sea until the cabins on the beach were lost to view in the darkness; then he turned, and pursued a course parallel with the shore for about a quarter of a mile, when he again headed the yawl toward the village. By these maneuvers, he hoped to reach the fisher-boy's wharf without attracting the notice of any persons who might happen to be walking on the beach.

Long experience had made Sam a capital hand to manage expeditions of this kind, and, knowing that it was not best to be in too great a hurry, he became more cautious than ever in his movements. He kept the yawl moving very slowly, and so silently that even the four boys who were crouching in the bow could not detect the slightest splashing in the water. In half an hour they came within sight of Bob's home, which was shrouded in total darkness.[105] In front of the cabin they saw the Go Ahead No. 2 made fast to what the fisher-boy called his wharf, which was nothing more nor less than a heavy stake driven into the sand. A few more silent sweeps of the oar brought them to the beach, and Sam turned the yawl around until the stems of both boats were so close together that the boys could step from one to the other.

"Now, Jack Bennett," he whispered, "make fast to the skiff. Bill Stevens, jump ashore and cast off. Don't make too much noise."

The boys addressed began to bestir themselves, and, while Jack got out a rope with which to make fast to their prize, Bill climbed over the stern of the yawl into the skiff, and thence to the shore, where he discovered a difficulty at once: one end of a heavy chain was made fast to the skiff's bow by a staple, and the other was wound around the stake and confined by a padlock.

"Sam," he whispered, "she's chained up tighter'n a brick!"

"Pull up the stake, then," replied Sam.

Bill did his best to obey this order, but the fisher-boy had put the stake there to stay, and he could not move it an inch.

"Hurry up, there," whispered the chief, impatiently, "an' be careful how you rattle that chain. If that ar Bobby Jennings should hear us"——.

"Send more men ashore," interrupted Bill; "it's a little bigger job than I can do, all by myself."

The three boys who remained in the yawl were ordered out to Bill's assistance; but, for a long time, the post resisted their efforts, and remained firmly fixed in its bed. Finally, however, by pulling it first one way, and then[106] another, and scraping away the sand, they succeeded in loosening it, so that, by one united effort, they lifted it out and placed it carefully in the skiff.

"All clear!" whispered Bill; and, in a moment more, Crusoe and his men, with their prize, had disappeared in the darkness.



In spite of the late hours they had kept the night before, Sam and his four friends made their appearance in the harbor bright and early. They were all in the best of spirits, for they believed that at last they had succeeded in disposing of "that ar Bobby Jennings;" but still they could not help casting frequent and anxious glances toward the bay, as if they every moment expected to see the fisher-boy sail into the harbor in a boat as far superior to the Go Ahead No. 2 as she was better than the scow Sam had sunk the day before. The bully knew that his rival had a great many friends, and he was afraid that, after all, he might be able to hold his own, in spite of all his efforts to disable him. The fear of being punished for what they had done did not trouble the members of the Crusoe band in the least; they knew that their chief had managed the affair so carefully that nothing could be proved against them.

The hours wore slowly away, and finally those of the ferry-boys who knew nothing of what had taken place during the night began to make inquiries concerning the fisher-boy, who was generally one of the first to make his appearance in the harbor. No one had seen him that[108] morning, and it seemed to be the general impression that he was afraid to trust his fine boat among his rivals again—an idea that was confirmed by Sam and all the members of his band.

"I've been a-lookin' an' waitin' fur him," said the bully, "an' I'm mighty sorry he don't come, fur I've got a trick fixed fur him. I told him we had seed him here jest often enough, an' may be he's goin' to quit ferryin'."

Sam would willingly have given every cent he expected to earn that day to know what Bob thought about it, and what he was going to do; and once he even thought seriously of making some excuse for calling upon him. But, upon reflection, he came to the conclusion that his safest plan was to keep away from his rival, and await the issue of events with as much patience as he could command. He was not kept long in suspense, however, for about ten o'clock he was given an opportunity to learn all he wanted to know. He was on the point of starting across the harbor with a load of passengers, when the village constable, accompanied by the fisher-boy, suddenly appeared upon the wharf and ordered him to stop.

"Gentlemen," said the officer, addressing the passengers, "you'll have to go across in some other boat. I want this ferry-boy."

Sam comprehended the situation in an instant; and he was smart enough to know that every thing depended upon the manner in which he behaved himself during the next few minutes. He had all the while been satisfied that the fisher-boy would make a "powerful fuss," as soon as he discovered his loss, and Sam had so often gone over the part he intended to perform, that he could[109] act it quite naturally. Upon hearing the words uttered by the constable, he looked up with an expression of astonishment and alarm that would have staggered almost any one; and which went a long way toward convincing the officer that he had got hold of the wrong man, and that he would be obliged to look further for the culprit.

"Come ashore with that boat, Sam," said the constable. "I am in a great hurry!"

"Do you want me, Mr. Grimes?" asked the bully, with well-feigned amazement. "What have I been a doin'?"

"No nonsense, now, but come ashore with that boat," repeated the officer, sternly.

Sam did not carry matters too far, as a great many guilty boys would have done, but without further parley, he brought his yawl alongside the wharf, and assisted his passengers to climb out. Then turning to one of the ferry-boys, and requesting to keep an eye on his boat during his absence, he clambered upon the wharf and stood before the constable. The latter looked him squarely in the eye for a moment, as if trying to read his very thoughts, and then said, slowly:

"You're a nice boy, aint you?"

"Now, why don't you tell me what I've been a doin'?" asked Sam, never once flinching before the officer's steady gaze. "I haint been a doin' nothin'!"

"You know better," said the constable, savagely. "Where's that boat you stole from Bob Jennings last night? What have you done with it?"

Upon hearing this question, Sam stepped back as suddenly as if the constable had aimed a blow at him, and,[110] opening his eyes and puffing out his cheeks, he stood looking at the officer as if he could scarcely believe that he had heard aright. Then he turned and looked at Bob; and one short glance was sufficient to convince him that his last night's work had ruined the fisher-boy as completely as he could have desired. Bob's face was very pale, and wore such a hopeless, despairing expression, that Sam could scarcely refrain from manifesting his exultation.

"O, now, you needn't look so mightily astonished," said Mr. Grimes. "I know all about it."

"What have I done with it?" repeated Sam, as if he just began to comprehend the officer's previous question. "Why, Bobby, has somebody stole your skiff—that nice little craft of your'n, that new one?"

"That's played out!" said the constable. "You're acting pretty well, Sam, but you can't pull the wool over my eyes. I'm too old a hand at this business, you know. If you won't tell me what you have done with that boat, I'll take you before the 'squire, and have you put in jail."

"In jail!" echoed Sam, now beginning to be really alarmed.

"Yes, sir, in jail, in the lock-up, and from there to State's prison."

"Well, I can't help it," whined Sam, drawing down the corners of his mouth, and rubbing his knuckles in his eyes. "I don't know nothing about that ar boat! You don't 'spose I'd be mean enough to steal that nice little craft of your'n, do you, Bobby?"

"Come along, then," said the officer, without giving the fisher-boy time to reply. "I'll see if the 'squire[111] can't find means to make you tell what we want to know. You might as well own up at once, and save trouble! You didn't see me watching you last night, did you?"

"No I didn't," replied Sam; "an' I know you wasn't a watchin' me, 'cause if you had been, you wouldn't arrest me now. You would know that I was in bed."

The constable was trying to frighten Sam into making a confession, but he failed completely. On the way to the 'squire's office, the bully repeatedly protested his innocence; assured the officer that Bob could not point to a firmer friend in the village than he had always shown himself to be, and he even had the impudence to appeal to the fisher-boy to substantiate all he said. But Bob declined to have any thing to say to him. He was as firmly convinced of Sam's guilt as if he had seen him take the skiff; and he did not believe that a boy who could deliberately perform so mean an act ought to be noticed by any respectable person.

Sam had been arrested by the advice of Mr. Graves, to whom Bob had told his story as soon as he discovered his loss. The boat-builder, being alarmed for the safety of his money, knowing, as he did, that Bob could never raise the funds to pay off the note, unless he had a boat to earn it with, had interested himself in the case, and hired a lawyer to manage it for him.

The affair having become noised abroad by this time, the court-room was crowded, and when Sam was brought in by the constable, he had the satisfaction of seeing that he had very few friends among the spectators. Nearly every one had a kind word for the fisher-boy, while if they took any notice at all of Sam, it was only to scowl[112] at him very savagely. Tom Newcombe was there, and he was one of the first to offer consolation and encouragement.

"Don't look so down-hearted, Bob," he whispered.

"I can't help it," replied the fisher-boy, sorrowfully. "I am utterly ruined!"

"Ruined!" repeated Tom, "I can't see it. Have you forgotten the ten dollars we sent off yesterday?"

"No; but I am almost afraid it won't amount to any thing."

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Tom. "Do you suppose that if there was any chance for failure I would have invested my money in it? Let the skiff go. In a week you will be able to buy a better one."

"Order in the court-room!" commanded the 'squire, and this put a stop to the conversation.

Sam Barton seated himself on a table that stood in one corner of the room, and settling into a comfortable position, patiently waited to hear what the judge had to say to him. A stranger would have thought him a spectator rather than a prisoner. The air of solemnity with which every thing was conducted, and the look of sternness assumed by the 'squire, did not trouble him in the least. Upon being questioned, he declared himself innocent of the charge, and defied the constable, Bob Jennings, or any body else, to prove that he had ever laid a hand upon the boat. Unfortunately for the fisher-boy, and the cause of justice, this was the difficulty; for what little evidence offered was all in Sam's favor. True, Bob repeated all the threats the bully had made about driving him out of the harbor, and away from Fishertown, but that did not prove that he had stolen the boat, for Sam's[113] father testified that his son was in bed and fast asleep at eight o'clock. This convinced some of the spectators that Sam was innocent; for the fisher-boy said that he had seen the Go Ahead No. 2 lying safe at her wharf at nine o'clock. The truth of the matter was, that as late as eleven, Sam Barton was wide awake and full of mischief, having never been near his bed that night. But Mr. Barton did not know this, and he had told only what he believed to be the truth. Sam slept in a shed adjoining the house, and when he had any thing unusual on hand for the night, he always made a great show of going to bed; and then, when every thing was quiet, he would slip out and join his companions.

The culprit was cross-questioned by the lawyers for half an hour, but all to no purpose. He stoutly denied all knowledge of the boat, and, besides, he could not be made to contradict himself. Finally, after a long consultation with the constable and Mr. Graves, the 'squire dismissed him, telling him that he was satisfied, and that he was sorry to have caused him so much trouble.

"That's all mighty nice," said the bully, to himself, when he reached the street. "Mr. Grimes said I couldn't pull the wool over his eyes, an' I guess he'll find that he can't pull none over mine, neither. I'm sharper'n they think fur. I'll jest keep watch of that constable an' Bobby Jennings, fur I know what they're up to as well as they do."

"I am sorry that we can't do any thing for you, Bob," said Mr. Graves, as soon as Sam had taken his departure.

"So am I," replied the fisher-boy; "but, after all, it[114] might have been worse. I never allow a little thing like this to discourage me, and I'll soon show Sam Barton that it is not in his power to trouble me long!"

This remark was made in the presence of several persons, who had lingered about the court-room to talk the matter over, and there was not one among them who did not believe that Bob was the spunkiest fellow he had ever seen. The fisher-boy's vanity was flattered by several remarks he happened to overhear; such as, "You can't discourage him. He will make his mark in the world one of these days!" "Yes," said another, "he is all grit. He will succeed in any thing he undertakes." Now, these men supposed that Bob was relying upon himself; but, had they known any thing about the lottery, and been aware of the fact that it was his intention to wait for his twenty-five hundred dollars, before he made a single effort to extricate himself from his difficulties, they might not have been so lavish in their praise.

During the next two weeks there were three boys in the village who lived in a state of constant fear and excitement. Bob Jennings was totally unfit for work; indeed, he grew more and more indolent every day he lived. He spent the most of his time in wandering about the wharves, watching Sam Barton, and living over, in imagination, the life he intended to lead as soon as his fortune arrived. He was not half so much troubled by the loss of his fine skiff as by the fear that something would happen to destroy all his bright hopes. The letter, in which he had sent his money to those gentlemen in Baltimore, might miscarry, or the whole thing might turn out to be a humbug, and then what would become[115] of him? With a debt of twenty-six dollars hanging over him, with not a cent in his purse with which to supply his present necessities, and without a boat to carry on his business, what could he do? The fisher-boy would become frightened when he took this view of the situation, and then he would hunt up his friend Tom Newcombe, to make inquiries concerning the expected letter, and to listen to his words of encouragement.

"Isn't it time that money was here?" he would ask.

"Yes; and I'm looking for a letter every day. But don't be in a hurry. Those gentlemen are, no doubt, full of business, and they will write to us just as soon as they can find the time."

Bob always departed satisfied, and with renewed hopes that in a day or two, at the very farthest, his bright dreams would all be realized.

Sam Barton was also in a fever of excitement. He was not ignorant of the fact that every move he made, both night and day, was closely watched by his rival, and it kept him in constant fear. Of course he was obliged to give the cave a wide berth; but every night one of the members of the band visited their hiding-place, with provisions for the dog, and to stow away any new articles that were collected during the day. Their outfit was now complete, and some of the boys thought it high time they were beginning their cruise; but how should they elude the vigilance of Bob Jennings? This question was discussed by the band every day for two weeks, without reaching any satisfactory conclusion.

Tom Newcombe was another very uneasy boy. He spent a small portion of his time in attending to his[116] business, and wasted many an hour in running to the post-office to make inquiries concerning the letter that was to bring him a check for five thousand dollars. But the postmaster's invariable answer was—

"Nothing for you yet!"

"O, now, there ought to be," Tom would say. "Please look again."

"Your father's box is empty," the postmaster would reply. "If you are really in want of a letter, and can not possibly do without it, I'll write you one myself."

Whenever the postmaster said this, Tom would leave the office in a terrible rage. In fact, he was very cross at all times; and, if every thing did not work to his entire satisfaction, he would storm and scold at a great rate.

From the post-office he would go to the ship-yard and look at his yacht. A strong force of men were at work upon her, and under their skillful hands Tom saw the little vessel grow into shape, until, at last, he found before him what he considered to be the very perfection of marine architecture. He soon found that he was not the only one who admired her, for the report having been circulated through the village that Mr. Graves was building the most magnificent little vessel that had ever been seen about Newport, crowds of boys visited the ship-yard to satisfy themselves of the truth of the story. Johnny Harding, especially, spent an hour or two there every day, watching the progress of the work, and trying in vain to ascertain who was to be the happy owner of the yacht; but Mr. Graves never said any thing on this point, for Tom thought it best to keep the affair very quiet; and Johnny, to his great disappointment, could learn nothing positive. He had his suspicions,[117] however, and, under the circumstances, that was not to be wondered at. Every time he visited the yard, he saw Tom strutting about, examining every thing with a critical eye, and the very dignified manner in which he treated all his attempts to enter into conversation with him convinced Johnny that there was "something up." More than that, Tom could not help hinting, very mysteriously that those of his acquaintances who had deserted him so shamefully would soon have occasion to repent of what they had done; and Johnny would have been dull indeed, if he had not been able to understand that something unusual was going on.

The nearer the yacht approached completion, the more impatient Tom became to receive some tidings from the gentlemen in Baltimore. Every mail that arrived found him at the post-office, from which he always came away disappointed. He was becoming desperate. In a few more days the Storm King would be ready for her trial trip, and then Mr. Graves would want his money. If he did not have it ready for him—But Tom would not allow himself to look upon the dark side of the picture, or to think of what would be the consequences if his prize did not arrive in time to enable him to keep the promise he had made to the boat-builder. With his usual obstinacy, he clung to the belief that he had found the road to fortune, and that the "something," which he had waited for so long had at last "turned up."

"I am afraid we are in a bad scrape!" said the fisher-boy to him, one day. "I don't believe those men are honest. Your father doesn't generally allow business letters to go unanswered for two or three weeks, does he?"


"Well, no!" replied Tom. "But, then, you see his business is not so extensive as that of the men in Baltimore. Just think what an army of agents they must have; and how many letters they must receive every day! I'll drop them a line, requesting them to hurry up."

Tom went to work at once, and that same evening a long letter was dispatched to the proprietors of the lottery, containing the information that Tom had sent them ten dollars for the lucky package of tickets that was to draw a prize of five thousand dollars over and above all expenses, and that he would be greatly obliged to them if they would send on the money at once. He further informed them that they were losing a great deal of business by their delay; but that was something he could not help, for he could not begin to act as their agent until he should be able to show the prize.

This letter was sent off on Saturday. On the Monday following, Mr. Graves came to the office, when Tom, for a wonder, happened to be at work, and beckoned him out.

"The Storm King will be ready for sea one week from to-day," said he, "and I would like to know if you intend to invite any of your friends to accompany you on the trial trip; if you do, I'll see that the provisions are supplied for the occasion."

"O, no," replied Tom, quickly. "I have my reasons for wishing to keep the whole thing a secret for a few days longer."

"I didn't know but your father might want to see the boat before he buys her," began Mr. Graves.

"O, now, never mind my father," drawled Tom. "He's got nothing to do with it! I am bossing this job[119] myself! When the yacht is ready for sea, you can man her with a crew of your own, and I'll go with you to see how she behaves. If she suits me, I'll pay you for her and take charge of her at once."

"O, I know you will be pleased with her," said the boat-builder. "She is the finest little craft about the village, if I do say it myself."

Mr. Graves went back to his ship-yard, and Tom slowly and thoughtfully returned to the office. He was a good deal annoyed to learn that his father had watched him very closely while he was talking to the boat-builder. He looked at Tom curiously as he came in, and said:

"You and Mr. Graves are getting to be great friends lately. What is going on?"

"O, nothing particular!" drawled Tom, in reply. "I was talking to him about a boat."

"I think you have had enough to do with boats," said the merchant. "It is time you were turning a little of your attention to something more profitable, if you ever intend to be any body in the world."

"O, yes, that's always the way!" muttered Tom, as he seated himself at his desk. "I always was the most unlucky boy in the whole world. Every thing I do is foolish and unprofitable. But just wait until the Storm King is paid for, and I'll show father that some folks can make money as well as others."

Four days more passed, and Tom's nervousness increased to such a degree that it began to attract the attention of Mr. Newcombe, who wondered if the confinement of the office was not injuring his son's health. Bob Jennings was in much the same predicament; and on Friday evening he came to Tom with a very long[120] face, and told him that the last cent of his ten dollars had been used to feed the family, and that if the prize did not arrive that night he would be utterly ruined; no provisions on hand, and no boat with which to earn money to buy any.

"Now, don't talk about being ruined," said Tom, impatiently. "You're always croaking, and I can't see the use of it. We'll get a letter this very night. It must come; because when those gentlemen in Baltimore find out that they are losing business every day by neglecting us, they will begin to bestir themselves."

Four o'clock, the hour at which the evening mail arrived, found them at the post-office; and to their intense delight the postmaster handed out the long expected letter. Tom knew it was the one he wanted, for he could see that it had been mailed at Baltimore. He could not speak, for his heart was too full for utterance; but he gave Bob a knowing wink, and started for the wharf on a keen run. As he was passing by the ship-yard, he ran against Mr. Graves.

"How's the yacht?" asked Tom.

"Finished from main truck to kelson," was the reply. "I am two days ahead of time. You can go to sea in her to-morrow if you wish."

"All right!" answered Tom. "You may expect me at nine o'clock. I've got your money in my pocket." Tom being in a great hurry to read his letter, left Mr. Graves very unceremoniously, and kept on to the wharf, followed by the fisher-boy, who now looked more like the Bob Jennings of old than he had done for many a day.

Tom never once slackened his pace until he reached[121] an unfrequented part of the wharf, where he sat down and pulled the letter out of his pocket.

"What did I tell you, Bob?" he asked, in a husky whisper, for he was so excited that he could scarcely speak plainly. "Here's our fortune at last. You are not sorry now that you risked your five dollars, are you?"

"Of course not," replied Bob, in the same excited whisper. "I'm glad of it."

"It takes me to get up schemes, don't it?" continued Tom. "Now, there isn't another boy in Newport who would have thought of this."

"Open the letter," interrupted Bob; "I am in a great hurry to see that money!"

"O, you open it," replied Tom, handing the letter to the fisher-boy, and throwing himself at full length on the wharf. "I can enjoy it so much better if you read it." Bob tore open the envelope, and took out the letter, expecting, of course, that the first thing that met his eye would be the check for five thousand dollars. But to his astonishment, no such document appeared. A few words were scrawled upon half a sheet of soiled note paper, and Bob read them aloud, as follows:

We have made every effort to ascertain the whereabouts of your letter containing the ten dollars, but without success. We are sorry to say that it has, no doubt, miscarried.

Send on ten dollars more for the lucky package.

Tom started up and looked at Bob without speaking.



Had a thunderbolt fallen upon the wharf and burst at their very feet, Tom could not have been more astonished than he was when these words fell upon his ear. A great lump seemed to be rising up in his throat, his eyes were blinded with tears he could not choke back, and it was only after a desperate effort that he recovered the use of his tongue.

"O, now, Bob, you haven't read that letter right," he almost gasped.

"Yes, I have!" replied the fisher-boy, whose amazement and consternation were fully equal to Tom's. "I read every word of it just as it is written. Here's the letter; read it yourself!"

"O, now, I won't do it!" drawled Tom, who, suddenly losing all his self-control, and forgetting, in his excitement, that people were constantly passing up and down the wharf in plain view, threw himself spitefully down upon the boards and cried aloud.

"I always was the most unlucky boy in the whole world!" he sobbed, "and something is always happening to bother me. I never can do any thing like other fellows. I knew all the time just how it would turn out!"


"You did!" exclaimed Bob. "Then why did you urge me to spend my money so foolishly?"

"O, now, I don't know!" Tom almost yelled. "I'll jump in the harbor!"

"Don't talk so loud," said the fisher-boy, who, although quite as much affected as Tom, succeeded in controlling himself. "There are some men looking at us."

"I don't care!" replied Tom, recklessly. "It will be all over the village by this time to-morrow. I've been the biggest kind of a dunce!"

"So have I, in more ways than one. I'm ruined now, and I have a good mind to jump into the harbor myself. Here's your letter!"

"O, I don't want to see it! Take it away! Throw it overboard! Tear it up!" cried Tom, his tears bursting out afresh. "I wish I had ten dollars more, to send on for that lucky package."

"It would only be money wasted," said Bob. "The whole thing is a humbug!"

"I know better," shouted Tom. "You'll never be a rich man so long as you allow your doubts to stand in your way. What will all the fellows say when they find out that I ordered that splendid little yacht, and then couldn't pay for her?"

Tom cried harder than ever as he asked this question, which excited a serious train of reflections in the mind of the fisher-boy. What would his mother say to him when she learned that he had squandered five dollars of his money, and told her a falsehood besides?

"O, get away from me, now, Bob Jennings!" roared Tom, whose disappointment seemed to have turned his brain. "I don't want you or any body else near me."


"Good by!" said the fisher-boy. "If you are going to keep up that howling you had better get away from here yourself. You'll raise the town in five minutes more!"

As Bob spoke he gave one more glance at the letter which, from the very pinnacle of hope and joy, had plunged them into the lowest depths of despair, and then walked slowly away.

Neither of these two boys was in an enviable position just then; but bad as was Tom's condition, the fisher-boy's was infinitely worse. Deeply in debt, his boat and money gone, the family entirely destitute of provisions, it was no wonder that Bob thought his lot in life a hard one, and that he should feel utterly discouraged. It seemed to him that the last three weeks of his life had been a dream. It had certainly been a pleasant one, for he had lived in a little world of his own creation, and had been free from all cares and troubles. The loss of his fine skiff—a misfortune which, had he been in his sober senses, would have alarmed him—he had regarded as something scarcely worth thinking about. He had been so fully occupied in contemplating the bright future which his imagination had pictured for him, that matters to which he should have given his immediate attention were deemed unworthy of notice. But just when he imagined himself on the eve of seeing all his glorious anticipations realized, he had been suddenly and rudely awakened, only to find himself still a fisher-boy, and, what was worse, the poorest one in the village. He had good reason for feeling down-hearted. The failure of Tom's splendid scheme was a serious matter for him, and it was a long time before he could recover[125] from the shock which the reading of the letter had given him. For two or three hours he walked listlessly about, scarcely knowing where he was, or what he was doing, and it was not until it began to grow dark, and the wharves were deserted, that he was able to muster up courage enough to think the matter over calmly.

His disappointment, although he thought it a very severe blow, was just what he needed. It did away with his delusion and his ideas about acquiring riches without labor, destroyed every one of the foolish notions Tom had put into his head, and, from that hour, Bob Jennings was himself again. He knew that, before he made any attempt to get out of his difficulties, he ought to try to make some amends for what he had done. He knew, also, right where he ought to begin; and, better than all, he had the moral courage to do what he believed to be right in the matter. He went home at a more rapid pace than he had exhibited for many a day, and found his mother engaged in sewing by the light of a solitary candle.

While Bob had been idling away his time, and waiting for fortune to come to him, she had worked early and late to earn the money to buy the food he ate. She had used very sparingly of his little fortune, never spending a cent of it unless it was absolutely necessary, while he had, at one time, deliberately thrown away five dollars of it; or, what was the same thing, given it to support a couple of professional swindlers in their idleness.

The fisher-boy did not waste time in thinking how he ought to begin the conversation, for a single glance at his mother's pale, patient face made the load on his conscience[126] heavier than ever, and he was anxious to get rid of it as soon as possible. With tears of genuine repentance, and repeated promises of amendment, Bob told the story of his mistake, and of the deception of which he had been guilty. He did not try to defend himself by making excuses, but was manly enough to make a clean breast of the whole matter; he freely confessed his fault, and begged her forgiveness. Then he felt a great deal better; and, for the first time in three weeks, he was able to look his mother in the face. During those weeks of inactivity she had had no word of fault to find with Bob, and she had none now; but she had some good advice to give him, and the fisher-boy, having been thoroughly convinced by his recent experience that his mother's knowledge of the world was superior to his own, listened attentively to every word of it, and mentally resolved that he would never take a step in any direction without first asking her permission and advice.

It was midnight before the conversation ceased, and Bob, who did not feel at all sleepy just then, took a sharp-pointed case-knife from the cupboard and went out. He walked around behind the house, and by the light of the moon, which was shining brightly, read over his motto. "I'll never forget it again," said he. "If I had only been wise enough to keep it in mind, I never would have been in this miserable scrape."

Having given utterance to this opinion, Bob went to work with his knife, and at the end of an hour, another motto had been cut in the boards under the first. He then went to bed, well satisfied with what he had done, and believing that he had taken the first step toward extricating himself from his difficulties. The next morning[127] he was up with the sun, and, shouldering a saw-horse, he set out for Mr. Henry's store.

"Have you hired a man to saw that wood?" he asked of the grocer.

"No," was the reply, and it sent a thrill of gladness through the heart of the fisher-boy. "If you want the job, I'll give you seventy-five cents a cord for sawing and splitting it."

Bob accepted the offer, and in five minutes more, he had begun the work of retrieving his fortune.

Meanwhile Tom Newcombe was stepping gayly about the office, performing his duties with more than usual alacrity; and one, to have seen him, would have little imagined that he had passed the most miserable night of his existence. He had never once closed his eyes in sleep; for, while he tossed uneasily about on his bed, he kept his brain busy trying to study up some plan to get himself out of his troubles. He could not bear the thought of giving up that splendid little vessel, after she had been built according to his orders, and he had so faithfully promised to be on hand with the money as soon as she was completed. He had so confidently expected to own and sail her himself, that he was sure that it would be a death-blow to him if he should see her pass into the possession of any one else. He knew that the matter could not be kept a secret much longer, for when Mr. Graves found out that he had no money to pay for the yacht, he would very likely take the trouble to call upon Mr. Newcombe. That would be a calamity indeed; for Tom knew that if the facts of the case came to his father's ears, he might bid good-by to all hopes of ever owning the vessel. He had believed that his twenty-five[128] hundred dollars would come to hand so that he could settle with the boat-builder before his father should hear of what was going on; and, possession being nine points of law, he hoped that the merchant would raise no objection to his keeping the Storm King. But he had been disappointed in receiving the prize, and now he was trying to decide upon some plan to raise the four hundred dollars, or, at least, to secure possession of the vessel. This was, by far, the most difficult task he had yet undertaken; and for a long time it proved to be more than he could manage. But Tom was fruitful in expedients, and about midnight he suddenly sprung up in his bed and clapped his hands for joy. He had at last discovered a way out of his difficulties.

"That's it!" said Tom to himself, after he had thought the matter over. "I'll have that yacht yet! It takes just me to get up schemes. I'm all right, and now I'll go to sleep."

But that was easier said than done. He was intensely excited over his new project, and it kept him as wide-awake as his trouble had done before. Contrary to his usual custom he answered the breakfast bell promptly, and, in spite of the sleepless night he had passed, appeared at the table as bright as a lark. After eating a very light breakfast, he went down to the office, where he performed his duties in a very short space of time. Then he caught up his cap and ran out upon the wharf, where he found the fisher-boy at work at his wood-pile.

"You're just the very man I am looking for!" said Tom. "Quit that job and come with me!"

"What's up now?" asked Bob. "You seem to be in good spirits this morning!"


"I should say I was!" replied Tom, snapping his fingers, and stepping gayly about the wharf; "and why shouldn't I be? We are all right now!"

"Are we?" exclaimed Bob, eagerly. "Has our money come, after all?"

"No, not yet! I'm going to send for it again in a week or two. But I own the Storm King, Bob! That's one settled fact!"

"You do! Have you raised the four hundred dollars?"

"That's my business! I've got her; she belongs to me, individually; and now I want to hire a crew. Will you ship as first mate?"

"I think not!" said the fisher-boy, shaking his head, doubtfully.

"What's the reason? I'll give you a dollar a day, and I know that's more than you can make by sawing wood."

"Has your father bought—"

"O, now, never mind talking about my father!" drawled Tom, impatiently. "It is enough for you to know that the yacht is mine, and that I am able to hire you. Will you go?"

"No; I think I had better stay ashore!" said the fisher-boy. "You're a regular Jonah, Tom, and, to tell the truth, I am afraid of you. I wonder that they didn't have to throw you overboard from the Savannah when you made your voyage to Callao."

"O, now, look here, Bob Jennings!" whined Tom, "I want you to quit calling me a Jonah! If you are afraid to ship with me, I can find some one else. I have tried to help you along in the world, but I'll never make you another offer as long as I live."


So saying, he turned angrily on his heel and left the fisher-boy, who again turned his attention to his wood-pile. Tom bent his steps toward Mr. Graves's ship-yard, and the first thing he saw, as he entered the gate, was the Storm King, riding proudly at her moorings in the harbor, with her sails hoisted, all ready for the start. Three or four men, who comprised the crew that was to manage her during the trial trip, were lounging about the decks, and Mr. Graves stood on the beach talking to a crowd of eager, excited boys, who were examining the yacht with critical eyes, and begging the boat-builder to reveal to them the name of the owner. Although Tom could not hear what was said, he had no difficulty in guessing the subject of the conversation, and his heart swelled high within him when he thought what a commotion would be occasioned in that crowd of boys, when it became known that he was the captain and owner. Drawing himself up to his full height, throwing back his shoulders, and assuming what he considered to be a very commanding air, he walked leisurely down to the beach. The boys, seeing him approach, made way for him, and Mr. Graves called out:

"Good morning, captain! We are all ready, as you see."

Since the vessel was completed and ready for sea, the boat-builder thought there was no further necessity for keeping the affair a secret. If Tom wanted to create a sensation what better chance could he have?

"Captain!" chorused all the boys, crowding up around Tom. "Do you own that beautiful yacht, Newcombe?"

"I do!" was the very dignified reply.

"Well, you're a lucky fellow," exclaimed one.


"You've got the best father in the world!" said another.

"Are you ready, captain?" asked Mr. Graves, stepping into a skiff and picking up the oars. "If you are, we'll go aboard!"

"Are you going to sea, Newcombe?" eagerly inquired a dozen boys. "Let us go with you!"

Tom's time for revenge had come at last. There were, perhaps, thirty or forty boys present, a good portion of whom had belonged to the Night-hawks, and the remainder were "Spooneys," with whom he never associated. He had several times run his eye over the group, but he could not discover a single friend in it. Every one of the boys, at some time or other, had failed to treat him with the respect due the son of the wealthiest man in the village, and now Tom had an opportunity to show them that he had not forgotten it. Without taking the trouble to reply to their request, he jumped into the skiff, turned his back to the boys, and said:

"Shove off, Mr. Graves!"

The boat-builder pushed off from the beach, and Tom, whose whole soul was wrapped up in his beautiful craft, did not even condescend to cast a parting glance toward the crowd of boys behind him.

A few strokes of the oars brought the skiff alongside the Storm King, and the men who were lounging about the decks, arose to their feet and saluted Tom as he clambered over the side.

"Here she is!" exclaimed Mr. Graves, who had followed close behind Tom. "Now, will you take command?"

"No, I believe not," replied the boy, stroking his chin[132] and gazing about him with the air of one who considered himself a judge of a good boat. "She doesn't belong to me yet, so you may just consider me a visitor."

"All right," replied the boat-builder. "I thought, perhaps you would be impatient to get control of her. When I was a boy of your age, I never allowed a chance to play captain pass unimproved."

"Perhaps you were not as reckless as I am," said Tom, who could think of no other excuse to make for not wishing to take charge of the little vessel. "I am a great hand to carry sails, and I might lose this mast overboard!"

"Well, I'll be captain then," said Mr. Graves. "All hands stand by to get ship under-way."

As the sails were all spread, the work of getting under-way was very speedily accomplished. One of the crew took his place at the wheel, another cast off the line with which she was made fast, and in half a minute's time the Storm King was moving down the harbor.

One thing that not a little astonished Tom was, the perfect cloud of canvas he saw above him. He had told Mr. Graves that he wanted his yacht to have all the sail she could carry; and, according to Tom's idea, she was supplied with a great deal more than could be spread with safety even in the lightest breeze. But Mr. Graves thought differently. He had hoisted every inch of the canvas, and Tom's amazement increased when he witnessed the exhibition of speed the little vessel made. He was not the only one who was astonished, for the yacht very soon began to attract the attention of the people on both sides of the harbor, who shouted and waved their hats as she dashed by. Tom kept watch[133] for the fisher-boy, and presently discovered him standing upon the top of his wood-pile, where he had climbed to obtain a better view of the boat. Tom knew he was astonished, and he wished that he could have been near enough to hear what he had to say about it; but when Bob waved his hat to him, he turned and walked over to the other side of the vessel. He could not forget that the fisher-boy had called him a Jonah.

In a very few minutes the yacht cleared the harbor and entered the bay. There she felt the full force of the wind, which was blowing briskly, and, like an unruly horse which takes the bits in his teeth and runs away, the Storm King seemed determined to escape from the control of her crew, or, failing in that, to sweep them from her deck by running entirely under the water. In fact, she went at such a rate that Tom began to be alarmed, and nervously asked Mr. Graves if he hadn't better shorten sail.

"No, indeed!" was the reply. "This is delightful. Besides, she is a new craft, and I want to find out what she can do. I should think an old sailor like you would enjoy it."

"O, I do!" answered Tom, clinging to the rail for support; "but she might carry away her mast, or something, you know!"

"I'll risk that! Every thing about her was made at my ship-yard, and I know it is first-class."

Tom tried hard to bring himself to believe that there was no danger, but the sloop careened so wildly, and threw the spray about so recklessly, that it terrified him, and, to save his life, he could not conceal the fact.

In order to thoroughly test the qualities of the yacht,[134] Mr. Graves put her through a variety of evolutions, he sailed before the wind, beat up against, and finally declared that he could make her run square into the wind's eye. She behaved splendidly in every instance; and Tom was seaman enough to know that she was a prize, and that the happy owner of her would be envied by every boy in the village. Her sailing qualities, however, were not her only attractions, as Tom discovered when Mr. Graves conducted him down the companion-ladder into the cabin. He was more amazed then ever at the scene presented to his view; and, indeed, that was not to be wondered at, for the little cabin was fitted up like a palace. The bulkheads were finished off with black walnut, the floor was carpeted, and the furniture was as fine as any in Mr. Newcombe's parlors. There were two small windows in the stern, and under them was a sofa where the captain might lie down and take his after-dinner nap. At the head of the sofa was a desk, which Tom found to be supplied with writing materials of every description, and on a small table, that stood in the middle of the cabin, were one or two charts (which would have been of no possible use to Tom), a spy-glass, and several books and papers. On each side of the cabin a door opened into the cosiest little state-rooms that Tom had ever seen. They were both of the same size, nicely furnished, and supplied with beds, wash-stands, and looking-glasses.

After Tom had examined every thing in them to his satisfaction, Mr. Graves conducted him through a door that led from the cabin into the hold. It was dry and airy, and large enough to contain all the merchandise that Tom was likely to put into it. From the hold[135] they went into the galley, which was furnished with a small stove, and with all the pots, pans, and kettles, that any cook could possibly find use for. Tom was delighted with every thing he saw, but, after all, he did not look much like a boy who expected soon to be the owner of the finest little yacht about the village. Indeed, he was by no means certain that she would ever belong to him; for, while Mr. Graves was conducting him about the vessel, and explaining every thing to him, he kept saying to himself:

"O, now, I wonder if I shall ever be captain of this boat! What shall I do if my new plan fails?"



Tom, of course, did not believe that his plan for obtaining possession of the yacht would prove unsuccessful, but still he felt rather anxious about it, for the failure of his lottery scheme had made him timid. Mr. Graves noticed that there was something wrong with him, and as they ascended to the deck he inquired:

"What's the matter with you? If I was in your place, and knew that I was soon to be the owner of this fine little vessel, I'd be livelier than you are! Are you sea-sick?"

Tom thought this as good an opportunity as he should have to try his new plan; so he summoned all his courage to his aid, and replied:

"O, no! It is something worse than that!"

"Worse than sea-sickness!" repeated Mr. Graves. "Then it must be something bad. You have nothing to trouble you!"

"O, now, yes I have!" drawled Tom. "I've seen more trouble than any other boy in the whole world!"

The boat-builder looked at Tom a moment, to see if he was really in earnest, and then burst into a loud laugh. "Why, what have you to worry about?" he[137] asked. "You have no hard work to do, like many boys of your age in the village; you have a rich father who gives you every thing you want; you live in a fine house; you own the prettiest little pony in the country, and, besides, you are master of a vessel that can't be beaten by any thing of her size in America. I think your lot in life a very pleasant one."

"I have my disappointments as well as other people," said Tom, leading Mr. Graves out of ear-shot of the man at the wheel. "You know I told you last night that I had your money in my pocket?"

"Yes, I recollect!" said the boat-builder.

"Well, I was mistaken!" said Tom, in a low voice, turning away his head to hide the tears that started to his eyes.

"You were mistaken!" repeated Mr. Graves, who little imagined what Tom was trying to get at.

"Yes, I haven't got a red cent."

"Why, is that the cause of your trouble?" asked the boat-builder, with another laugh. "That is very easily got over. Go to your father and ask him for seventy-five cents, or a dollar, and, if he thinks you need it, I know you'll get it."

"O, now, I want more than that!" drawled Tom. "A dollar would be of no use to me!"

"But what has all this got to do with the Storm King?" asked Mr. Graves.

"It's got a great deal to do with it. I can't own the sloop till I pay for her, can I?"

"Of course not!"

"Well, how can I pay for her without money? I am dead broke!"


Mr. Graves threw back his head, looked up at the cross-trees, and laughed louder than ever. "That's a good one!" said he. "Your father, a man who owns three-fourths of all the vessels that sail from this port, is out of money! Who ever heard of such a thing!"

"O, now, who said any thing about my father?" drawled Tom. "I was talking about myself! I didn't mention his name!"

"I can't see the point!" said the boat-builder, who had all the while been under the impression that Tom had ordered the Storm King with his father's permission, and that when she was completed the merchant would be the one to settle the bill. "I don't know what you mean!"

"I mean just what I say!" replied Tom, beginning to believe that Mr. Graves was very dull of comprehension. "I mean that I have no money to pay for the yacht now; but, if you will let me have her, I'll settle with you in two or three weeks. I'll give you my note to that effect."

"O, that's the trouble, is it?" said Mr. Graves, who appeared to be highly amused. "Don't let it bother you any longer. I can wait!"

Tom could scarcely believe his ears. He sprang down from the rail where he had been sitting, and seizing Mr. Graves by both hands he danced about over the deck like one demented.

"You are the best man I ever saw," said he, as soon as he could speak. "I'll never forget your kindness, and I hope that I shall some day be able to repay it! Just think of it! I am master of this magnificent vessel! If you have no objections, I'll take command of her now!"


"All right!" exclaimed Mr. Graves, who appeared to be quite as much excited as Tom himself. "You be captain, and I'll be first-mate."

"Very well!" said Tom, thrusting his hands into his pockets, and taking a few turns across the deck. "Mr. Graves, we will extend our cruise around Block Island. Shake out that gaff-topsail, and hoist the flying-jib, if you please."

"Ay, ay, sir!" replied the first-mate. "And then, with your permission, I will order dinner. I am hungry."

Mr. Graves, having tested the sloop to his satisfaction, had shaped her course toward the village; and, as the breeze was freshening, had ordered some of the sails taken in. But, upon receiving Tom's instructions, he put the vessel about, the flying-jib and gaff-topsail were given to the wind, and the Storm King began her cruise around the island. Then he returned to Tom, who was pacing up and down the deck, to report that his orders had been obeyed, and that dinner would be ready in half an hour. The new captain was in ecstasies, and he found it all he could do to refrain from shouting. When the boat-builder came up, he again seized him by the hand, exclaiming—

"I knew all the time that this yacht would belong to me! Won't the boys in the village be astonished?"

"Certainly they will," said Mr. Graves, "and every one of them will wish themselves in your boots!"

"Then you are really willing to take my note!" said Tom, who found it difficult to believe that one of his glorious plans had proved a success. "You are not afraid to trust me for a short time?"


"Of course not! Why should I be when I know that the money is as safe in your hands as it is in my own? Have your note indorsed by your father, and I'll wait until——Why, what's the matter now?"

Again Tom's bright hopes were dashed to the ground. Rudely jerking his hand from the boat-builder's grasp, he staggered back against the rail, and drawled out:

"O, now, I didn't say any thing about my father, I tell you! He's got nothing whatever to do with this business!"

"What's that you say?" exclaimed Mr. Graves, who now thought that he began to understand the matter.

"I say that my father has nothing to do with this boat," repeated Tom, pulling his handkerchief out of his pocket, and wiping the tears from his eyes.

"Then who is to pay for her?"

"I, myself, individually, and nobody else!"

"Whew!" whistled Mr. Graves, growing more and more astonished. "Where do you expect to get four hundred dollars, if your father doesn't give it to you?"

"That's my own business! I'll have it in a very short time, and I'll get it honestly, too."

"Then your father doesn't know any thing about this business?"

"O no, he doesn't!"

"And you had the assurance to order me to build you a boat worth four hundred dollars without first consulting him?" continued Mr. Graves.

"Yes, I did!" answered Tom; "and if you will let me have her, I will certainly pay for her in two or three weeks! I sent for the money several days ago, but it hasn't come yet."


Mr. Graves had never been more astonished in his life. He looked at his customer as if he could hardly believe that he had told him the truth, and finally inquired—

"What kind of a boy are you, anyhow?"

"O, I'm the most unlucky boy in the whole world! That's the kind of a boy I am!" drawled Tom. "I never can do any thing like other fellows, for something is always happening to bother me."

"I think you can do a good many things that other fellows can't do!" returned Mr. Graves. "There is not another boy in the village who would have the impudence to do as you have done."

As the boat-builder said this, he turned on his heel and left Tom to think the matter over at his leisure. He gave a few orders in a low tone to the man at the wheel, and then walked forward and descended into the galley. Presently he came out again, gave some instructions to his crew, and Tom saw the sloop slowly come about until her bow pointed toward the village. The sails which Captain Newcombe had ordered spread, were taken in again, and then Mr. Graves began to pace thoughtfully up and down the deck.

Tom watched all these movements as well as he could through eyes filled with tears of vexation and disappointment, and they told him, in language too plain to be misunderstood, that his new plan, which, at first, had promised to succeed even beyond his expectations, had failed like all the rest of his glorious ideas. He felt like yelling; and, perhaps he would thus have given vent to his troubled feelings if the presence of Mr. Graves and his crew had not restrained him. He wanted to hide his[142] emotion from them, so he leaned over the rail and looked down into the water. He would have gone into the cabin, but the boat-builder evidently intended to keep him out of there, for he had locked the door and put the key into his pocket.

Poor Tom was in a terrible predicament. Aside from the troubles occasioned by the non-receipt of his twenty-five hundred dollars, and the failure of his new plan to obtain possession of the yacht—both of which were very severe blows to him—he had the satisfaction of knowing that the very dignified manner in which he had conducted himself in the morning, when he believed himself to be the owner of the Storm King, had made him a great many enemies among the village boys, who, when they learned all the particulars of his business transaction with Mr. Graves, would never allow him to hear the last of it. He knew just what was in store for him, for he had already had some very bitter experience in that line. When the secrets of the "Gentlemen's Club" were revealed to the world, Tom had been tormented almost beyond the bounds of endurance; for every "Spooney" who met him on the street would raise his hat and politely make inquiries concerning the health of the President, and the prosperity of his society. Now, if such a thing was possible, matters would be tenfold worse. He would be known throughout the village as Captain Newcombe, and every one of his acquaintances, especially Johnny Harding, the boy with whom Tom was particularly desirous to "get even," would want to know something about his fine yacht. They would be very anxious to learn how she sailed, and would write notes to him requesting the privilege[143] of accompanying him on some of his excursions. The affair would soon be known by every man, woman, and child in the village—he could see no way to prevent it—and every body would laugh at him, and wonder why he did not ask his father's permission before he ordered the yacht, and where he intended to get the money to pay for her. In short, Tom was afraid that during the next six or eight months, Newport would be a very unpleasant place to live, and he forthwith set his wits at work to conjure up some plan to get out of it.

While he was thinking the matter over, the sloop was rapidly approaching the village, and presently Tom looked up and found that she was entering the harbor. Almost the first man he saw was his father, who stood on the wharf, behind his office, regarding the little vessel as if he was greatly interested in her. Something told Tom that the merchant had already learned that his son was the supposed owner of the sloop, and he felt like crying again when he thought of what was yet to come. Mr. Newcombe, of course, would want to know all about it; and Tom, as usual, would have been very glad indeed to have been able to avoid the interview.

The men on the wharves waved their hats as the sloop passed along, but neither Tom nor Mr. Graves returned the salutation. They were both too busy with their own thoughts to notice what was going on around them. In a quarter of an hour the Storm King reached the ship-yard, and the boat-builder, after giving his crew orders to see that every thing was snug on board before they left, stepped into a yawl, which one of his men brought out to take him ashore, and motioned to Tom[144] to follow him. Since learning that his customer was unable to pay for the sloop, he had not spoken a word to him. While he believed that Tom had four hundred dollars in his pocket, he had been very polite to him, and showed him every attention in his power. He had allowed him to take command of the yacht, had appointed himself first-mate, and condescended to obey his orders, and had even instructed the cook to prepare a dinner which he had provided at his own expense. But when the facts of the case were revealed to him, Tom suddenly fell very low in his estimation. He speedily relieved him of the captaincy without one word of excuse or apology, countermanded his orders concerning the dinner, and then left Tom to take care of himself; believing, no doubt, that a boy whose pockets were empty was not worth noticing. Tom was not so blind as to allow these slights to escape his attention, and they cut him to the quick. He determined, from that day forward, to treat Mr. Graves with the contempt he deserved; and to show him that his failure to pay for the yacht had not lessened his claims to respect. Drawing himself up very stiffly, he leisurely climbed down into the yawl, and taking his stand upon one of the thwarts, he looked straight toward the shore, utterly ignoring the presence of the boat-builder, who, in the hope of learning something of the plans Tom had in view for raising the four hundred dollars, made several attempts to enter into conversation with him. The moment the yawl touched the beach Tom sprang out and walked rapidly toward the gate, where, to his astonishment and vexation, he suddenly found himself surrounded by the same boys who had seen him start on his voyage in the morning.[145] They appeared to be intensely delighted about something, and Tom was afraid that his secret was already known.

"How are you, captain!" cried Johnny Harding. "That's a splendid little craft of yours!"

"She is, indeed!" replied Tom, who resolved to "stick it out" as long as possible. "She's the finest boat about Newport. She sails like lightning, and is fitted up like a parlor."

"I suppose she belongs to you!" said another.

"Now, didn't I tell you this morning that she was mine?" asked Tom.

"There's a screw loose somewhere, captain," said Johnny. "I asked your father what that yacht cost you, and he said he wasn't aware that you owned her."

Tom was right in his suspicions. The boys knew all about it, and so did his father. Drawing in a long breath, and shutting his teeth hard to choke back his feelings, he pushed his way through the crowd, and started homeward at a rapid pace, not, however, without a few parting remarks from the boys.

"Hard-a-starboard, there, captain!" shouted one.

"O, now, I always was an unlucky boy," said another, exactly imitating Tom's lazy, drawling way of talking.

"The next time you go to sea in that beautiful yacht of yours, captain, we will go with you, if you will be good enough to send us word!"

Tom heard all these and a good many more exclamations; but he kept steady on his way, looking neither to the right nor left, and finally reached his home without[146] having been so unfortunate as to meet any more of his acquaintances. He ran hastily up the stairs to his room, and, after he had closed and locked the door, he threw himself upon his bed, and found relief for his pent-up feelings in a copious flood of tears.



It was about two o'clock when Tom reached his home, and, during the next three hours, he lived in a state of mind that can scarcely be described. He remained in his room, pacing angrily up and down the floor, thinking over his numerous troubles, and conjuring up new schemes for the future—all the while watching the hands of the little time-piece that stood on the mantle as they moved slowly around toward five o'clock, the hour at which he expected to be summoned into the presence of his father. He was not sorry for any thing he had done—he still had too much confidence in his grand schemes for that—neither did he believe that there could be any thing wrong with the gentlemen in Baltimore; on the contrary, he still imagined them to be the most honorable of men—otherwise, they never could have built up so extensive a business. They were not to blame for his disappointment, for had they not told him that his letter had miscarried; that they had made every inquiry for it, but could not find it? Some dishonest post-office clerk was at the bottom of all his troubles! How Tom wished he had him there, locked up in his room with him! Wouldn't he pay him for all the misery he had caused[148] him! He would beat him next time, for he would send his ten dollars by express.

Mr. Newcombe was on time that evening, for, just as the clock struck five, Tom heard his step in the hall. The unpleasant interview was not far distant, and Tom began to prepare himself for it by plunging his face into the wash-bowl, and trying to hide all traces of his tears. Scarcely had he performed this operation, when he heard his father calling him. Hastily drying his face upon the towel, he slowly descended to the library, where he found the merchant walking up and down the floor, with his hands behind his back.

"Close the door, Tom," said he, "and sit down; I want to talk to you."

Tom reluctantly obeyed, and Mr. Newcombe continued: "I have been down to the ship-yard to look at your new yacht."

"O, now, she doesn't belong to me yet!" drawled Tom, whirling his cap in his hand, and looking down at the floor.

"Why, I understand that she was built by your order," said the merchant. "I think she is a splendid little vessel. I admire your taste, but I should have been much better pleased if you had consulted me in the matter."

Tom looked down at the carpet, and had nothing to say. He thought that, if he had asked his father's advice, the yacht would not have been built at all.

"Four hundred dollars is a good price to pay for a pleasure-boat," continued Mr. Newcombe. "I think the Mystery is quite large enough, and fast enough, to answer your purpose."


"O no, she isn't, father," drawled Tom; "I am going to be a trader!"

"You are? How do you expect to carry on your business? With that sloop, your expenses will be considerable, and you have no money that I know of."

"But I am going to get some," said Tom. "I'll be rich in two weeks more. I'll be worth five thousand dollars."

Mr. Newcombe opened his eyes when he heard this. He had learned the particulars of the matter from Mr. Graves, as far as the latter knew them, but he was satisfied that he had not heard all the story, and that Tom had some secret the boat-builder knew nothing about. Knowing Tom as well as he did, he had made up his mind to listen to something ridiculous, but he was not prepared to hear that he expected soon to be a rich man.

"Where are you going to get so much money?" he asked.

"O, now, I know!" drawled Tom.

"Well, then, tell me; I would like to know something about it also."

"O, isn't it enough for you to know that I am going to get it honestly, and that I don't intend to cheat any body?" whined Tom.

"No; that will not satisfy me. I want to know all about it."

Mr. Newcombe spoke these words rather sternly, and Tom knew that it was dangerous to hesitate longer. "I am going to get the money of some men in Baltimore," said he, the tears starting to his eyes again: "they have promised me five thousand dollars, if I will act as their agent."


"They are very liberal. What is their business?"

"Lottery business!" drawled Tom.

The merchant was really amazed now. He arose to his feet and walked up and down the floor, repeating the words over and over again, as if he could scarcely understand them. At length he stopped in front of Tom, and inquired:

"How did you find out that these men wanted an agent? Now, I want you to tell me all about it, from beginning to end."

Tom, as was always the case with him when called upon to explain any of his schemes to his father, had tried to avoid coming to the point. He did not want Mr. Newcombe to become acquainted with all his secrets, but, knowing by the latter's looks that it was time for him to speak if he wished to keep out of trouble, he began at the beginning and told the whole story. He said he had become tired of the office, but, being well aware of the fact that he could not get out of it until he should be able to satisfy his father that he had some better business in view, he had finally decided that the easiest occupation in which he could engage was trading. He determined to go into it on a grand scale this time, but, having no capital with which to carry out his plans, he had commenced reading the advertisements in the newspapers, in the hope of "getting an idea," and he had thus obtained the address of the proprietors of the lottery. (Here Tom produced their advertisement. He had carried it next to his heart for the last month.) He then went on to repeat what he had written in his letter to them, as near as he could remember it, and handed his father the one he had received in reply. He[151] related the particulars of the interview with Bob Jennings, rehearsed the arguments he had used to induce him to advance the five dollars to send for the "lucky package," and told his father that he had then ordered the Storm King, because he believed that his fortune was made, and that, in a very few days, he would be the wealthiest boy of his age in the village. "And I would certainly have got the money," said he, in conclusion, "if some rascally post-office clerk hadn't stolen my letter."

Mr. Newcombe grew more and more astonished as Tom proceeded with his story, but he listened patiently to every word of it, and heard him through without interruption. It did not seem possible to him that a boy, fifteen years old, could seriously entertain such ridiculous ideas. For a long time he sat gazing at the letter, which he still held in his hand, then he read the advertisement, and finally he looked at Tom.

"Mr. Graves told me that you wanted him to credit you for two or three weeks," said he.

"O, now, yes, I did!" drawled Tom.

"But your lottery scheme has failed; so where would you get the four hundred dollars?"

"O no, it hasn't failed yet, father!" replied Tom. "I am going to give it a fair trial. Haven't you often told me to 'try again, and keep trying, and I'll be certain to succeed?'"

"But just suppose that, with all your trying, the money does not come!" said Mr. Newcombe, who did not think it best to attempt to answer this question. "What will you do then?"

"I will go to work and make it by trading."


"Then you will have to do better than you did before. Have you forgotten your game chickens?"

"O no, I haven't!" drawled Tom. "I ought to have known better than to expect to make any money then, because I wasn't fixed for it; but, if I owned that splendid little sloop, I would be all right. She was built on purpose for a trading-boat, and if I couldn't make four hundred dollars in two or three weeks with her, I would like to know what is the reason!"

"Very well," said Mr. Newcombe, "suppose Mr. Graves was willing to credit you for two or three weeks, and I was willing he should do so, where is your capital to begin with? Where's the money to hire your crew and to buy your first cargo?"

"O, I'll get that from those gentlemen in Baltimore," replied Tom. "But you can't understand this business, father. Just let me alone for a month or so, and I'll show you that I can make plenty of money."

Tom was quite right when he said that his father could not understand the business; indeed, Mr. Newcombe was more than half inclined to believe that Tom did not understand it himself. If his prize failed to come to hand, he would earn the four hundred dollars to pay for the yacht by trading; but he was still depending upon the lottery to furnish the money to hire his crew and buy his first cargo. The merchant had never listened to such reasoning before, and it was no wonder he could not understand it.

"Tom," said he, at length, "are you really foolish enough to put faith in any such nonsense as this? Do you honestly believe that these men are what they represent themselves to be?"


"O yes, I do!" drawled Tom. "Their letter has a printed heading, just like yours."

"Then you believe they are honorable business men?"

"Yes, I do!" repeated Tom. "I am not afraid to trust them. Do you suppose that men who have agents in every civilized country on the globe dare cheat any body? I am going to send them the very next ten-dollar bill I get."

"Then I shall take care that you do not get one very soon," said the merchant. "That will do; I have nothing further to say to you at present."

"O, now, father," began Tom——

"We will not say any thing more about this just now," interrupted Mr. Newcombe.

"Now I am aground again," said Tom to himself, as he put on his cap and left the room. "If I don't get any more ten-dollar bills I must give up all hopes of ever getting one of those prizes. Something is always happening to bother me!"

He did not see his father again until supper-time, and then not a word was said about the lottery. The merchant appeared to be as cheerful as usual, but that did not quiet Tom's feelings, for he knew that the matter was not yet settled. He would have been glad indeed to know what would be done about it, but he could not muster up courage enough to ask his father any questions. He passed that night in much the same manner that he had passed the preceding one, tossing restlessly about on his bed; and when he slept, he was troubled with dreams, in which the Storm King, the proprietors of the lottery, and Bob Jennings bore prominent parts. The next morning he went down to the office as[154] usual—being careful on the way to avoid the principal streets, so that he might not meet any boys of his acquaintance—and there he found his father and Mr. Graves engaged in conversation. The latter seemed to have recovered his usual spirits, for he was laughing at some remark made by the merchant, and he even shook hands with Tom and wished him a hearty good morning. Perhaps the large roll of bank-bills he was just putting into his pocket had something to do with his good, nature! Tom noticed them at once; and he could hardly refrain from shouting with delight, when the thought flashed through his mind that his father had bought the yacht, and was intending to set him up in business as a trader. He soon became convinced that such was the fact; for, as Mr. Graves turned to go, the merchant inquired,

"Is she complete in every particular?"

"Yes, sir!" was the reply. "She is finished alow and aloft, and supplied with every thing she needs, from an anchor down to a marlin spike."

Mr. Graves then took leave of the merchant, and walked off, whistling softly to himself, while Tom sank into a chair and awaited the issue of events with an impatience he did not try to conceal. Mr. Newcombe walked a few times across the office with his eyes fastened on the floor, as if in deep meditation, and then seating himself at his desk, he took out a sheet of note-paper and wrote a long letter. When it was finished he put it into an envelope and handed it to Tom, with the request that he would take it to the military academy.

"O, now, I'm not going to be a trader after all!" thought Tom, as he began to search about the office for[155] his cap. "I just know that I have got to go back to that school! I won't stay there long! I am not going to be shut up for five or six months without a single leave of absence, now I tell you."

When he reached the street he glanced at the letter, and saw that it was addressed to the principal of the academy. This was enough to confirm him in his suspicions, and, while on the way to the school, he thought over several plans for escape, that suggested themselves to his mind. If he should be unfortunate enough to be shut up in the academy again, he knew that it would be something of a task to get out of it; for the students having turned against him, on account of the troubles they had brought upon themselves by taking part in his runaway scheme, he would have no one to assist him. But Tom had great confidence in himself, and he was certain that he could arrange matters to his entire satisfaction. He would fight against it as long as he could; but, if his father was determined that he should go back to the academy, he would, alone and unaided, occasion a greater uproar in the village than had ever been heard there before.

Arriving at the gate, he rang the bell, handed the letter to the guard, who answered the summons, and then slowly retraced his steps toward the office. He had not gone far when he met his friend Johnny Harding.

"Good morning, captain!" said Johnny, taking off his cap, and making a very low bow; "I hope you are well!"

"O, now, look here!" drawled Tom. "I want you to quit calling me captain!"


"That's a fact!" said Johnny. "I ought to stop it, for you are not the master of the Storm King now. I expect Bill Steele will be her next captain.

"Bill Steele!" repeated Tom. "Not the colonel of the academy battalion?"

"That's the very fellow. She couldn't be in better hands, for I understand that he is a capital sailor. He is a New Bedford boy, and, of course, knows all about a boat."

"O, now, how is he going to get her?" asked Tom, who was very much astonished at this information.

"Why, haven't you heard that your father has presented her to the principal of the academy? Well, it's a fact. Mr. Graves told me all about it, not five minutes ago."

"Then I can't be a trader!" whined Tom, hiding his face in his handkerchief. "I won't stand it; that's just all about it! If I don't sail that sloop, nobody shall. I'll sink her so deep in the bay that she can never be raised again!" As Tom said this, he abruptly left Johnny and walked rapidly down the street.

This was by far the severest blow he had yet experienced. To be obliged to see that fine little yacht, which had been built in accordance with his orders, which every one in the village so much admired, and which he had so long regarded as his own property, to see her pass into the hands of some one else, and the very one of all others he most despised, was more than he could endure. Bill Steele seemed to be his evil genius. He had obtained possession of the silver eagles, and received the colonel's commission, for which Tom had worked so hard; and now, he was to be the captain[157] of the Storm King! If the principal had purchased the yacht, Tom thought he would not have felt so badly about it; but his own father had bought her, and, instead of giving her to him, as he ought to have done, and setting him up in business as a trader, he had presented her to the faculty of the military school, when he knew, all the while, that his son disliked every one of them. Another thing that made Tom very angry, was the thought that he himself had been the bearer of the letter in which his father offered the yacht for the principal's acceptance. If he had met Johnny five minutes sooner, he never would have carried that letter to its address. He would have torn it up, or thrown it into the harbor. Tom was sorely distressed. It was no easy matter to keep back his tears, but having been given many opportunities to practice self-control, during the course of his varied and eventful life, and being at that very moment on one of the principal streets, where people were constantly passing him, he struggled manfully with his emotion, and even succeeded in forcing a smile upon his face. By the time he reached the office he had so far choked down his feelings, that a stranger would never have imagined him to be a disappointed boy, or that he regarded himself as the most abused person in existence.

During all that forenoon he performed his duties as usual, and when he went home, to dinner with his father, the latter told him what he had done with the Storm King. "Mr. Graves built her expecting that I would pay for her," said he, "and, of course, I could not disappoint him."

"But why didn't you give her to me?" inquired Tom. "They have no use for her at the academy."


"O yes, they have!" returned Mr. Newcombe. "I have often heard the principal say that a vessel of some description, that could be handled by the students, would be of great service to him. You know that some of the scholars are studying navigation, and I thought they could make better use of her than you could."

"But, father, did you mean what you said, when you told me that you would take care that I didn't get any ten-dollar bills very soon?" asked Tom, in a gloomy voice.

"Certainly I did. You have convinced me that you do not know how to use money, so I have decided that the best thing I can do is to put your wages in the bank. They will be safe there!"

This was all that was said on the subject at that time. Tom did not remonstrate with his father, because he knew that it would be entirely useless. For the same reason Mr. Newcombe did not take Tom to task for what he had done or offer him any advice. All the talking he could have done, would not have convinced Tom that he had acted foolishly or that, as often as he built his hopes upon such schemes, he was doomed to be disappointed.



Tom, we repeat, did not try to induce his father to reconsider the decision he had made in regard to the Storm King, and the manner in which his son's wages ought to be disposed of, for he knew that all the promises he could make, and all the arguments he could bring to bear upon him, would have no effect. The yacht was lost to him, and that was a settled fact. He regretted it exceedingly, but still he was not so much troubled about that, as by the thought that he could no longer use his money as he pleased. This was like the law against going outside the gate after dark—unreasonable and unjust; and was made simply because his father "didn't want him to enjoy himself if he could help it." He had fully made up his mind to save his next two weeks' wages to send for the "lucky package," and he was certain that his second trial of the lottery scheme would prove successful. The reason it had failed before was, because some dishonest post-office clerk had stolen the letter that contained his ten dollars; but now he would be on the safe side, for he would send his money by express. When his prize arrived (he would send all his own money this time, so that, when the five thousand dollars came, he would not be obliged to divide[160] it with any one), it had been his intention to order Mr. Graves to build another yacht for him, that would be as far superior to the Storm King, in point of speed and finish, as she was better than Bob Jennings's old scow. But he could no longer indulge in these glorious anticipations. His splendid scheme had at last received its death-wound, and, worse than all, there was not a single boy in the village who sympathized with him. Even the fisher-boy had called him a Jonah, and refused to have any thing more to do with him. However, Tom was not willing to let the matter drop there. If Colonel Steele, and the rest of the academy fellows, supposed that he would permit them to enjoy their new vessel, they were destined to be sadly disappointed. If he did not own and sail that yacht, no one about that village should. He had said it more than once, and he was in earnest; and his father, and every body else in Newport, would very soon find out that his desires and claims were not to be set aside with impunity. Tom did not then make up his mind what he would do; but when he stood in the door of his father's office, about four o'clock that afternoon, and saw the Storm King sail majestically out of the harbor, manned by a crew from the academy—and her new captain sprung upon the rail and proposed three cheers for Mr. Newcombe—the scene acted like a spur upon his flagging ideas, and in an instant his resolve was taken. He waited until the yacht had rounded the pier and shaped her course down the bay, and then he sauntered out on the wharf, where the fisher-boy was at work at his wood-pile.

"Bob Jennings," said he, "do you still believe me to be a Jonah?"


"Well, I am a little afraid of you," was the reply. "You didn't get the yacht after all. Those academy fellows seem to be delighted with her."

"They had better use her while they can," answered Tom, shaking his head threateningly. "They will not have her very long. I suppose you don't want any thing more to do with my plans?"

"No, I believe not. Money is what I need now, and I can make more by sawing wood than I can by helping you in your grand schemes."

"Stick to it, then," said Tom, angrily. "I hope you will be a poor man as long as you live. Look out for me, now. You are going back on me like all the rest of the Spooneys, and I'll be sure to get even with you."

The fisher-boy did not quite understand this last remark; but, before he had time to ask any questions, Tom had walked to the edge of the wharf, and was beckoning to Sam Barton. When the yawl came up, he climbed down into it, and was ferried across the harbor. He did not get out, however, when he reached the opposite side, but sat in the boat and held a long and earnest conversation with Sam. Bob, who had watched all these movements, thought he must have been telling him some secret; for, when two or three of the ferry-boys came up to hear what Tom was saying, Sam ordered them to go away and attend to their own business. Finally, the bully pulled the yawl under the wharf out of sight; and Bob, who kept one eye directed across the harbor, did not see them come out again until the six o'clock bell rang.

Since he had begun the work of retrieving his lost fortune, the fisher-boy had worked early and late. The[162] first peep of day found him at his wood-pile, and, as the moon shone brightly every night, it was sometimes nine or ten o'clock before he left the wharf. He ate his breakfast before he started from home, and, in order that he might not lose a moment from his work, he brought his dinner and supper with him. He looked upon every instant of time as too valuable to be wasted, but the singular movements of Tom Newcombe had excited his curiosity, and for the next two hours his work progressed rather slowly. He wondered what his aristocratic friend had to say to that fellow! He was satisfied that Tom had some new idea in his head, but he could not imagine what it could be that he should need the assistance of Sam Barton in carrying it out. The only conclusion he could come to was, that Tom was trying to borrow ten dollars from the bully to send for the "lucky package." Sam was rich, as fortunes were measured in Fishertown, and it was not likely that he would refuse to accommodate Tom with a few dollars, believing, as he did, that he was able to pay him a big interest, and that there was no danger of losing it. If that was the object of Tom's interview with the bully he must have been successful; for, when the six o'clock bell rang, and Sam brought his passenger back to his own side of the harbor, Bob saw that he was in excellent spirits. He walked toward the office snapping his fingers and whistling a gay tune, and as he passed by the fisher-boy he shook his head at him, as if to say, "I am all right now!"

Bob worked late that night. Even after Mr. Henry had closed his store, and the wharf had been deserted by every body except Mr. Newcombe's night watchman,[163] he kept busy in spite of his weary muscles and heavy eyelids. Besides being anxious to earn the twenty-six dollars, with which to settle his indebtedness to Mr. Graves, the fisher-boy had another object in working so late. He was punishing himself. Every time he stopped to wipe the perspiration from his face he would say:

"It serves you just right, Bob Jennings! I don't pity you in the least. You were well off in the world at one time. You had money in the bank, and were not ashamed to look any man in Newport in the face. Now look at you! Go to work, and don't be fooling away your time here!" Then Bob would put another stick of wood on his saw-horse, and his tired arms would drive the saw as if his life depended upon getting his pile of wood done in the shortest possible space of time.

About half-past nine o'clock the fisher-boy thought it time to go home. He ceased his work and stood looking at his pile of wood he had cut that day, when, upon raising his eyes, he saw a boy spring behind the corner of Mr. Newcombe's warehouse. Had this happened a month before, he would have paid no attention to it; but, as he had not yet given up all hopes of recovering the Go Ahead No. 2, nor forgotten that Sam Barton was his bitter enemy, and only awaiting a favorable opportunity to be revenged upon him, the simple fact of a boy dodging behind the warehouse was enough to arouse his suspicions. He had recognized the spy, and knew him to be one of the bully's particular friends; but what was he doing about the wharf at that hour, and why was he watching Bob? The fisher-boy was sure that he was watching him, or he would not have taken so much pains to keep out of his sight. He did not feel altogether[164] safe for he was afraid that Sam and his band were lurking behind some of the neighboring buildings, intending to waylay him on his way home; in which case he would probably be very severely handled. They were five or six to his one, and if they were resolved to have a fight with him, he could not hope to come off unharmed. But Bob, knowing that he had never given Sam Barton, or any other boy about Fishertown, any cause for enmity, had no idea of standing still and allowing himself to be whipped. Without removing his eyes from the corner of the building where the spy had disappeared, he picked a small, round stick of wood from the pile, sawed it in two, and, after testing the strength of both pieces by pounding them upon the wharf, he shouldered the one he thought he could use to the best advantage in case of an attack, and set out for home. He walked along at a brisk pace, casting anxious glances around every corner he passed, and keeping a sharp lookout for enemies in the rear; but the only person he saw was the boy who had been watching him on the wharf, and who was now following him at a respectful distance. The spy's movements indicated that he did not wish to be seen. Every time Bob stopped and looked around, he would step into a door-way, or drop down behind a box or barrel on the sidewalk; and when the fisher-boy walked on, he would follow him as before. He performed his work in a very clumsy manner, for Bob saw every move he made; and, before he reached Fishertown, he had changed his mind in regard to the spy's object in following him. He was not awaiting an opportunity to signal to Sam Barton that the time had come for him to "get even" with his rival, but he was simply watching[165] Bob to see that he went home. Now, why did he want him to go home? Undoubtedly, because his chief had some project in view, which he was afraid to attempt until he knew that the fisher-boy was in bed and asleep. This was the way Bob looked at the matter, and subsequent events proved that he was right.

Being no longer afraid of an attack, the fisher-boy threw away his club, and walked on faster than ever. He did not turn again to look at the spy, until just as he reached home, when a single glance told him that he was still in sight. Instead of going into the house, Bob kept on around it, and took his stand at one corner, where he could observe the movements of his pursuer when he came up. About twenty yards from where he stood was another cabin, whose inmates had retired to rest; and presently the spy appeared, and stopped in the shadow of this cabin. He glanced hastily around, to make sure that there was no one in sight, listened attentively for a moment, to satisfy himself that all was quiet in the cabins, and then seated himself on the ground, and rested his elbows on his knees, as if he had decided to remain there during the rest of the night.

For the next half hour neither Bob nor the spy scarcely moved a muscle. The latter sat gazing intently at the house, as if he was trying to look through the boards to obtain a view of what was going on inside; and the fisher-boy stood in his concealment, wondering how long his strange visitor intended to remain there, and trying in vain to determine what Sam's object could be in sending a boy to watch him at that time of night; for, that the bully was at the bottom of the whole affair, Bob did not for a moment doubt. Finally, the spy began to grow[166] restless; and, after stretching his arms and yawning, as if he had become very sleepy, he arose to his feet, and with cautious steps approached the place where Bob was standing. The fisher-boy's fears that he had been discovered were speedily put at rest, for the spy passed within ten feet of him, and kept on around the house. Having thus satisfied himself that none of the family were stirring, he broke into a run and started back toward the village, followed by Bob, who had resolved to find out the cause of these mysterious movements, if he did not sleep a wink that night. The spy kept on at a rapid pace, until he reached the wharf, where he again became cautious in his movements. Mr. Newcombe's watchman was walking up and down behind the warehouse, and the spy did not want to attract his attention. He moved across the wharf on his hands and knees, and then, after casting suspicious glances around him, he suddenly disappeared from the view of the fisher-boy, who ran swiftly to the edge of the pier, and looked over into the harbor, just in time to see Sam Barton's yawl moving slowly out of sight among the spiles. This was enough to satisfy him that something unusual was going on, and he became more determined than ever to see the end of all these strange proceedings. He made up his mind to follow that boat wherever it went; and, there was but one way that he could do it, and that was by swimming. He waited fully five minutes, in order to give the yawl time to get so far under the wharf that he would not be discovered, and then he let himself down into the water and swam in among the spiles. There he found himself in almost Egyptian darkness, but he could hear the occupants of the yawl whispering[167] to each other, and that guided him in the pursuit. Presently the light of a lantern flashed through the darkness, and, as its rays fell upon the faces of the boys in the yawl, Bob was astonished to recognize, in one of them, his friend Tom Newcombe; and he was still more amazed when he saw one of the crew remove the board that concealed the entrance to the cave. He watched the band, as, one after the other, they disappeared through the opening, until Sam Barton, who came last, pulled the board back to its place, and Bob was left alone in the darkness.

The moment Sam disappeared the fisher-boy struck out for the cave, intent upon getting close enough to it to see what was going on inside, and to overhear the conversation carried on between its occupants.

The entrance had been so carefully concealed that not a ray of light could be seen; but he had noted the exact position of the cave; and, besides, he was guided by the loud barking of a dog, which refused to keep silent, in spite of a severe beating somebody was giving him. The noise led Bob directly to the cave, and when he crawled out on the bank and listened a moment at the door, he found, to his joy, that he could distinctly hear every word that was said.

"Kill him, Friday!" he heard the bully exclaim, probably addressing himself to the person who was beating the dog. "Make him hush that noise, or the first thing we know we'll have visitors. Stand back a little out of his sight, Tommy. You're a stranger to him and he don't like your looks!"

"Are you not afraid that some one will hear him?" asked Tom.


"That's not likely, unless that ar Bobby Jennings, or Mr. Grimes, is on the watch. Will Atkins, are you sartin an' sure that you see Bob go home?"

"Am I sartin an' sure that I've got a pair of eyes?" asked Atkins. "I know that he is abed and fast asleep afore this time."

"Gentlemen will please come to order, now!" said Sam, when Friday had succeeded in quieting the dog. "Take off your hats an' set down like men had oughter do. The first thing we have got to 'tend to, is to settle this business with Tommy. He says he has seed enough of them swells in the village; he is down on Bobby Jennings; he wants to go with us, an' is willin' to furnish his share of the outfit. He has promised to keep a still tongue in his head, an' to obey all orders; an' now we must give him a name."

"Let me be the first mate," said Tom, who, having held high offices in several societies, thought himself worthy of being second in authority in the Crusoe band. "I am a first-class sailor, you know."

"We aint goin' to have no mates," interrupted Sam. "I am captain, governor, chief, an' all the rest of the officers in one. I can manage these fellers without any help."

"Call him Friday's Father!" said Jack Spaniard. "That's a good name."

"O, now, I don't like it," drawled Tom. "Was Friday's father a brave man?"

"Well, the book don't say much about him," replied Sam.

"He was a nigger," said Will Atkins.


"O, now, I don't want to be named after a darkey," whined Tom. "Wasn't there some brave, strong white fellow in Crusoe's band?"

"Call yourself Muley, then!"

"Who was he?" asked Tom, who, it was evident, had never read Robinson Crusoe.

"He was the chap the governor throwed overboard when he ran away with Xury and the boat," replied Sam. "He was a brave feller, an' a reg'lar water-dog. He swam four miles to reach the shore."

"I don't like the name a bit," said Tom. "I would rather be called captain, or mate, or general, or something."

"I am the only officer in the band," repeated Sam. "If you don't like any of them names, pick out one for yourself."

That was something Tom could not do. He was not acquainted with the names of any of the characters in the book, and consequently he was obliged to consent to be called after the Moor Robinson had thrown overboard.

"That's settled," said Sam, opening the dilapidated copy of Robinson Crusoe, and taking from it a sheet of soiled foolscap; "and the next thing is for you to sign the shipping articles. Listen to 'em."

The "shipping articles" were like a good many similar documents Tom had written—rather badly mixed up—but, by listening attentively, the eavesdropper outside of the cave got an insight into matters; for thus far every thing had been Greek to him. He learned, to his intense astonishment, that Sam and his friends had organized[170] the society with the express purpose of hunting up an island somewhere in the ocean and living Crusoe life. He also discovered that Sam was the supreme ruler of the band; that his orders must be obeyed without the least hesitation; and that any boy who exposed the secrets of the society, or was detected in trying to get up a mutiny, would be punished as the chief thought proper. As Sam read this part of the "shipping articles," he put on a terrible frown, and spoke in a very gruff voice, which was, no doubt, intended to convince the new member that if he dared to be guilty of treason, his punishment would be something awful. Tom, having never before held the rank of private in any secret organization, hesitated a little about signing away his liberty. Sam had the reputation of being a terrible tyrant, and he did not want to put himself too much in his power. However, he had no alternative that he could discover. The members of the Crusoe band were the only friends he had; he had cast his lot with them, and he had already gone too far to desert them.

"What do you say, Tommy?" asked the chief, when he had finished reading the "shipping articles." "Them's our rules, an' you can say yes or no to 'em, jest as you like."

"I say yes!" answered Tom. "I'll obey all orders."

The new member then stepped up to the flour barrel, and affixed his signature to the paper with a blunt lead-pencil, about an inch in length, which was the only thing in the shape of writing material possessed by the band. He was then hailed as a member by the chief, who shook[171] him cordially by the hand and patted him on the back, while the others complimented him in language that grated harshly on his ears.

"No time for foolin', fellers!" said the chief, at length. "Set down agin, an' let's have a talk about the Storm King."

"There aint no need of talkin' much about her," said Friday. "It wouldn't be healthy for us to get into a fight now. We might get whipped, an' that would be the last of the Crusoe band."

"We ought to have her," said Sam, "for she'd jest suit us. What do you say, Tommy?"

"I say, take her by all means," replied the new member. "I joined you because I thought you would go to sea in her."

"But mebbe we can't get her. We don't like the looks of the muskets them 'cademy fellers carry. They might punch us with their bayonets."

"We must run that risk," said Tom, who would have been the last one to face the muskets of the students. "I am not captain of this band; if I was, I would capture her."

"Well, if you could do it, I guess I can," said Sam. "But, before we lay any plans fur capturin' that boat, we ought to find out exactly how the land lays. Friday, you an' Jack Spaniard will go up to the 'cademy to-morrow, an' see how many fellers there are to guard her. If there's not more'n six or eight of 'em, we'll have her; but if they are too heavy for us, we'll have to stick to our old plan of goin' to sea in my yawl. The meetin' is out, now."


Upon hearing these words the fisher-boy, who had stood just outside the door of the cave while all this conversation was going on, stepped back into the water, and concealed himself behind the timbers that supported the wharf, believing that, as the meeting had been dismissed, the band would at once leave their hiding-place. No doubt they would have done so if it had not been for Tom Newcombe. As this was his first visit to the cave, he was greatly interested in every thing he saw, and he stopped to examine the different articles, and to ask the chief's advice about the share of the outfit he was expected to furnish. The fisher-boy heard the talking, and thinking they might be saying something that would be useful for him to know, he crawled out of the water, and again took his stand close to the door of the cave, just in time to hear Tom remark—

"I thought you knew something about Bob Jennings's skiff."

"In course I did," replied Sam, with a laugh. "An' as you are one of us now, I'll tell you all about it." Then the chief began and gave the new member a complete history of the rivalry that had so long existed between himself and Bob, and wound up by describing the manner in which he and his band had obtained possession of the Go Ahead No. 2, to all of which the fisher-boy listened eagerly.

"You'll paint her over, give her a new name, and sell her to somebody, to raise a few dollars to help along your expedition, will you?" said he to himself, when Sam had finished his story. "Not much, Mr. Barton! I'll see that this little game of yours—"


The fisher-boy's soliloquy was interrupted by an event that was as sudden as it was unexpected. One of the band threw open the door of the cave, whose interior was presented to Bob's astonished view. He saw the shot-guns and powder-flasks that were hung up against the walls, the heavier articles that were piled in the corners, the bull-dog which was chained opposite the entrance; but, plainer than all, he saw the Go Ahead No. 2, occupying the middle of the cave. Bob took these things all in at a single glance, and his first impulse was to spring into the cave and square accounts with the governor, by giving him a good drubbing. The next thought that occurred to him, however, was, that he was in a very dangerous situation. He had discovered something that might send Sam Barton to the House of Refuge for a few years, and there was no knowing what the bully might do if he got his hands upon him. More than that, the boy who had thrown open the door, and who had started back in dismay as the rays of the lantern fell upon Bob's face, very speedily recovered himself, and alarmed the band by exclaiming

"Well, if here aint that ar Jennings!"

"Bobby Jennings!" repeated Sam Barton in alarm, "Where?"

"Just outside the door, listenin' to every word we said!"

"Get out there every one of you!" commanded the chief, who readily comprehended the situation, and saw the necessity of prompt action. "Don't let him get away, unless—"

There was no need of Sam's finishing the sentence[174] The boys knew very well what would happen if Bob Jennings made his escape, and they all sprang out of the cave, determined to effect the capture of the eavesdropper.



The genuine Robinson Crusoe, when he discovered the foot-print on his island, was not more astonished than Sam Barton was at that moment; nor were the fears he experienced more terrible than those which flashed through the mind of the chief, when he received the astounding intelligence that Bob Jennings, instead of being at home and in bed, as his spy had reported, had been standing almost within reach of him, listening to every word he uttered. The fisher-boy had learned a secret which rendered him quite as dangerous to the governor as the cannibals were to Crusoe, and the safety of his band depended upon his ability to prevent him from returning to the upper world with the information he had gained.

"Hurry up there, lads!" whispered Sam, excitedly, as he sprang into the yawl and pushed it from the shore, "we can't catch him any too quick. But whatever you do, be careful about makin' a noise!"

"There he is!" exclaimed Jack Spaniard, as a slight splashing in the water attracted his attention. "Hold that light up higher, Friday."

The boy elevated the lantern above his head, and its rays fell full upon the face of the fisher-boy, who was in[176] the act of turning to look at his pursuers. Believing that his chances for finding a safe hiding-place under the pier were very slim indeed, he had struck out for the harbor, and was working his way through the water at a rate of speed that made Sam extremely nervous.

"Push ahead, fellows!" said he, taking his stand in the bow of the yawl, with the lantern in one hand and the boat-hook in the other. "Send her along lively. Hold on, there, Bobby Jennings, or I'll rap you over the head."

But the fisher-boy swam faster than ever. The bully was not yet near enough to strike him with the boat-hook, and he did not intend to allow him to come within reach if he could help it. But, although he proved himself to be a remarkable swimmer, he could not go faster than the yawl, and finally Sam Barton, who was leaning so far over the bow of his boat that he seemed to be in danger of losing his balance and falling into the water, was near enough to the fisher-boy to fasten into the collar of his shirt with the boat-hook.

"Now, then, you're ketched," said he, savagely, as he began to pull his prisoner toward the boat. Bob evidently thought so too; but he determined to keep up the fight as long as there was a chance for escape, and, suddenly raising up in the water, he seized Sam by the hair with one hand, while with the other he attempted to release his collar from the boat-hook.

"Stand by here, somebody!" exclaimed Sam, who felt his prisoner slipping through his fingers.

"Help! help!" shouted the fisher-boy with all the strength of his lungs. "Thieves! Robbers! Mur—"

"Jerusalem!" ejaculated Will Atkins, alarmed by[177] the noise; and, seizing Bob by the shoulders, he plunged his head under the water to silence his shouting.

"Choke him loose, lads!" said the chief, trying to unclasp the fisher-boy's fingers from his hair. "That's it! Now, Tommy, hand me that ar rope, an' you, Jack, ketch him by the shoulders an' stand by to h'ist him into the boat when I give the word."

"Are you going to drown me?" gasped Bob, struggling to keep his head above the water. "Let go your hold, Bill Stevens!"

"Easy there, with that tongue of yours!" replied Sam, "or down you go again! Have you got a good hold on him, fellers? Now, then," he continued flourishing the boat-hook above his head, "one word out of you, Bobby Jennings, an' I'll give you a taste of this. I aint one of them kind as stands much nonsense. Haul him into the boat, lads."

Jack Spaniard and Friday exerted all their strength, and in a moment more the fisher-boy had been pulled into the boat, where he was at once thrown upon the bottom and held by three or four of the band, while Friday and Sam tied his hands behind his back with the rope. All this while Bob had fought desperately for his freedom. He did not hope to escape from his enemies, who so far out-numbered him, and held him at such great disadvantage, but he had resisted simply because it did not come natural to him to surrender upon the demand of any such fellows as Sam and his band. But all his struggles were useless now. They could do him no good, and might be the cause of bringing him bodily harm; and, knowing that it would be very poor policy to raise the bully's anger, he submitted to his captors with as[178] good a grace as he could command, and permitted them to tie him hand and foot.

"Now, then," said the chief after he had satisfied himself that Bob was securely bound, "put out that light, an' we'll go back to the cave. If you have raised any of them fellers in the harbor by your hollerin' an' yellin', you'll be sorry for it, Bobby Jennings. I guess you won't go round in your fine skiff, drivin' honest boys away from their work any more."

Sam had traveled the road so often that he could find their hiding-place in the dark quite as readily as by the aid of a lantern. Presently he ran the bow of the yawl upon the shore, and, after listening a moment to make sure that no one in the harbor had been alarmed by the fisher-boy's shouting, he ordered his followers to carry the prisoner into the cave. Bob bore their rough handling without a word of complaint, and in a few moments he found himself lying on his back in the middle of the cave, where he speedily aroused a new enemy, in the shape of the bull-dog, which made desperate attempts to get at him, and whose chain was almost long enough to allow him to reach the prisoner. Bob several times heard his teeth snap like a steel-trap, within an inch of his ears, but when he tried to move farther away from the brute, he was instantly pounced upon by two of the band, who seemed to be afraid that, bound hand and foot as he was, he might still succeed in effecting his escape.

"Now, shut the door and light that lantern, somebody," commanded the chief. "Friday, knock that dog down agin."

Jack Spaniard fumbled around in the dark for a moment,[179] and then struck a light, which revealed a scene that filled every boy in the cave with excitement. Friday, in attempting to obey the governor's order, had got himself into trouble. He had attacked the dog with the boat-hook, which he had kept in his hand, to resist any attempt that the fisher-boy might make at escape, but the brute, being determined to bite somebody, and probably cherishing a grudge against Friday for the beating he had given him but a short time before, turned fiercely upon him, and, fastening his teeth in his arm, threw him to the floor; and when the light from the lantern illumined the cave, he was shaking him as if he had been a large rat.

"Jerusalem!" exclaimed Will Atkins, and, catching up an ax, he was starting to Friday's assistance, when he was checked by the stern voice of the chief.

"Hold on, there," exclaimed Sam. "If you hit that dog with that ax there'll be a big fuss here. We mustn't hurt him, fur we need him to hunt goats with."

"O, now, pull him off!" drawled Tom.

"Now, you stand back an' let him alone," said Friday, who did not seem to be at all concerned. "If I can't beat this dog in a fair tussel, I don't want a cent."

During the struggle, Friday kept a firm hold of his boat-hook; and now that the lantern was lighted, so that he could see to use it, he regained his feet, and showered his blows so fiercely upon his assailant, that, in less than half a minute, he was declared to be a badly whipped dog, and Sam was obliged to interfere in order to save his favorite from serious injury.

"You fellers needn't make up your minds to see much goat meat on the table when we get to our island," said[180] Friday, rolling up his sleeve to examine his arm, which, Tom was very much relieved to see was scarcely scratched "We'll starve to death if we don't get no grub till that ar dog ketches it fur us."

Quiet being restored, the fisher-boy was placed in a sitting posture in the middle of the cave, with his back against the skiff; Sam seated himself on the dry-goods box, while the others of the band disposed of themselves in various attitudes, and waited for their leader to speak. Bob glanced hastily from one to the other of them, and he was satisfied, from their looks, that the new member was the only one who was prepared to say a word in his favor.

Tom was already sincerely repenting that he had ever joined the Crusoe band. He had been greatly terrified by the violence he had witnessed, his face wore a timid, frightened expression, and his mouth was twisted on one side as if he had half a mind to cry. It had been demonstrated to his satisfaction that his new friends were but very little, if any, better than so many young savages, and he trembled when he thought of what they would do to him if he should accidentally break any of the laws of the band. Boys who could stand by and see one of their number engaged in a fight with a fierce bull-dog, without raising a hand to assist him, were not likely to be possessed of very kindly feelings; and if any misfortune should befall him while in their company, he could not hope for sympathy from any of them. Another reason why Tom wished himself well out of the scrape was, because he believed that the events of the last five minutes had endangered the existence of the society. We know that he was a famous manager, and that he[181] could see a long way ahead of him while every thing worked smoothly and to his satisfaction, and no real obstacles were encountered; but now he was sadly troubled. Had he been the chief of the band at that moment, he would not have known how to act. He had readily fallen in with the belief of the others that Bob ought to be captured, in order to prevent him from revealing the secret of their hiding-place, and thus breaking up the band and putting a stop to their cruise; but now that they had got him, he was like the man who drew the elephant in the lottery—he didn't know what ought to be done with him. Sam Barton, however, was not troubled with any gloomy foreboding. Although he had, at first, looked very serious, and imagined all sorts of terrible things that would happen to him now that his rival had discovered his secret, a hasty review of the situation had convinced him that his case was not so very desperate after all. Indeed, according to his way of thinking, some such scrape as they had just got into was needed to establish his society upon a firm basis. Although the members, without a single exception, appeared to enter heartily into all his plans, he was afraid that, when the time for action arrived, one or two of the timid ones would have some excuse for backing out. That was one reason, though not the principal one, why he had stolen Bob's skiff. As all the members of his band had assisted him in it, he had thus got a firm hold upon them; and, if any of them became restive, he could enforce obedience to his commands by threatening to expose them to Mr. Grimes, the constable. The capture of the fisher-boy would serve to convince the band that he was in earnest, and[182] that he was determined to carry out his plans in spite of all the obstacles that could be thrown in his way.


"Gentlemen will come to order agin," said Sam, assuming a very solemn air, and looking savagely at the fisher-boy. "Of all the things that have happened since I got to be governor, this yere is the beat! It don't need a smart man to tell what would happen to us if this yere feller should get a chance to tell Mr. Grimes of what he has seed here; so the best thing we can do is to take care that he don't get back to the village in a hurry. Bobby Jennings, we shall keep you prisoner here until we get ready to start for our island. Friday, you an' Jack Spaniard tie that ar dog right here in front of the door; an' then, even if he does get his hands an' feet loose, he can't get out!"

"O, now, I object to this way of doing business!" drawled Tom, as Friday and Jack untied the dog and began to drag him toward the door. "We don't want to keep Bob a prisoner here! How long do you suppose it will be before his absence will be discovered, and search made for him?"

"Well, let 'em search!" returned Sam. "They won't find him, an' mebbe they'll think he is drownded, or that he has run away."

"If we don't keep him here, what will we do with him?" demanded Will Atkins. "Haint you got no sense at all?"

"O, now, I want you to quit asking me if I haven't got any sense!" drawled Tom. "I know as much about managing affairs of this kind as you or any one else in the band."

"I don't see it!" said the chief. "A purty captain[183] you would make now! If we should let him go, he'd have us all in jail in less than an hour: wouldn't you, Bobby?"

"Indeed I would," replied the fisher-boy, promptly. "That would be the best place in the world for you."

"O, now, you wouldn't put me in jail, Bob Jennings," drawled Tom. "I haven't done any thing."

"You haven't?" exclaimed Sam. "That's a purty story, aint it, fellers? You're jest as deep in the mud as we are. Aint you a member of our band, an' didn't the band steal the skiff? The meetin's out, now."

"O, I didn't have any thing to do with the skiff," whined Tom, who was utterly amazed at the bully's impudence. "I didn't join the band until after."

"I said the meetin's out!" interrupted the governor. "If you have any thing to growl about you must keep it until we come here agin. Now, Bobby," he added, turning to the prisoner, "you've been ketched actin' the part of a spy; an' 'cordin' to law, you had oughter be chucked into the harbor. Howsomever, if you will behave yourself like a man had oughter do, we won't do you no harm. You have seed enough of this dog to know that he's mighty rough on strangers, an' if you know any thing you'll not try to get away from us. If you do—well, you'll find out what'll happen."

After spreading an old sail upon the floor of the cave for the fisher-boy to lie down upon, and tightening up the ropes with which his hands and feet were confined, Sam again informed the band that the "meeting was out," and ordered them to get ready to start for home. The chief, as usual brought up the rear, remaining after the others had gone, to see that every thing was right[184] about the cave. He paused a moment at the door, to assure the fisher-boy that the best thing he could do was to remain quietly a prisoner, and then he pushed the board back to its place, and Bob was left to his meditations, and to the companionship of the bull-dog.



To say that the fisher-boy was astonished at what had taken place, would not half express his feelings. He had never imagined Sam to be so desperate a character, and never, until then, had he felt in the least afraid of him. He had always believed himself to be able to beat the bully at any of his games; but he now had learned that he had to deal with one who was quite as smart as himself. Being taken prisoner, and confined like a felon, were new chapters in his experience. There was no playing about it; it was a reality; and Sam and his band were in earnest. What would they do with him? was a question that the fisher-boy more than once asked himself, but without arriving at any satisfactory conclusion. In fact, he did not intend that the governor should have a chance to do any thing to him; for it was his intention to make some desperate attempts to effect his escape.

There was another thing that surprised Bob quite as much as his captors, and that was, that Tom Newcombe should condescend to become a member of the organization, especially as he was obliged to take a position in[186] the ranks. But, after thinking the matter over, the fisher-boy saw through it all; and he imagined that he was quite as well posted in regard to the object Tom had in view as was the new member himself. The latter had repeatedly said that if he did not own and sail that yacht, no one about Newport should long enjoy it, and, finding that his father had no intention of giving it to him, he had resolved to do something desperate. He at first decided to sink the Storm King in the harbor; and afterward he determined to go to sea in her. She was the most beautiful little vessel that had ever been seen about the village, and he could not bear the thought of destroying her; and besides, by capturing her, and running her out to sea, he would "get even" with both his father and the principal at the same time. He would take revenge upon the professor by depriving him of his fine yacht; and upon his father, by never again showing his face in Newport as long as he lived. But Tom could not do this by himself; he must have help; for he knew that a guard-post would be established upon the vessel, which was to be kept in the bay, back of the academy, and that any attempt to capture her would be met with stubborn resistance. He knew, also, that there were a good many "old sailors" at the academy, who would very soon fall in love with their new boat, if they hadn't done so already, and that they would not hesitate to thrash any boy who might be caught prowling around her at night, especially if they had the slightest reason for supposing that he intended to do the yacht an injury.[187] If the society of Night-hawks had still been in existence, Tom would have applied to its members for the help he needed, and, very likely, he would have got it; but the village boys having all deserted him, he was obliged to look elsewhere for friends. The first boy he thought of was Sam Barton. He knew him to be a very reckless fellow, and he believed that an expedition organized for the purpose of seizing the Storm King would suit him exactly. More than that, Sam had a great deal of influence with the ferry-boys, every one of whom would rush to his standard, and Tom would again find himself the honored leader of a secret organization. Tom and the governor talked this matter over while they were under the pier, and, although the bully was at first inclined to be suspicious of his visitor, who, he thought, was too much of a "swell" to associate with poor ferry-boys, he finally became convinced that he was in earnest, and entered heartily into all his plans, with one exception. He promised to raise a crew large enough to seize the yacht, and to take her to sea after they had captured her; but, as for getting up a new society, and making Tom captain of it, that was another thing. He was the leader of a band of fellows, who, for bravery and discipline, had never been equaled in the village, and if Tom would promise to keep every thing secret, and to obey all the laws, he would take him in as a member. This proposition, of course, did not exactly suit one who imagined that he was born to command, but it was his only chance to obtain the assistance he needed, and he finally[188] consented; believing that, after he had become fairly settled as a member, he could induce the boys to break the chief, and appoint him in his stead. So Tom became one of the Crusoe band; and while Will Atkins was following up the fisher-boy to see that he went home, Sam and the rest of his friends were seated in the yawl, under the pier, initiating the new member into the mysteries of the society. As we have seen, he soon became heartily sick of the band. He had never before associated with such a rough, quarrelsome set of boys, and if he could have thought of any other plan to secure possession of the yacht, he never would have put his foot inside the cave again. Moreover, the bully, with an impudence and a disregard for truth that utterly confounded the new member, had accused him of theft. The fisher-boy, angry as he was, could not help laughing when he recalled to mind the expression of astonishment that passed over Tom's face, when the chief informed him that if Bob escaped he would be in danger of being sent to jail. Although he was not in very comfortable circumstances just then, he could not help thinking that Tom's situation was worse than his.

Bob, however, did not waste a great deal of time in thinking about Tom Newcombe. He was too much interested in his own affairs just then; and scarcely had Sam disappeared, when he straightened up, and began to test the strength of the rope with which his hands were bound. It proved to be much too strong for him to break, but the knot, having been loosely tied, slipped[189] a little, and that gave him encouragement. The dog seemed to understand that he was placed at the door for the purpose of keeping an eye on the prisoner, for every time Bob moved, he would give him notice that he was still wide-awake, by growling savagely. The fisher-boy, however, was not very much afraid of him. Before the light was put out, he had taken pains to examine the chain, which he noticed was sufficiently large and heavy to hold a good sized vessel; and, until the dog became strong enough to break that chain, he was safe. He paid no heed to the warning growls, but devoted all his attention to the work of freeing his arms, which, for a long time, he had hopes of being able to accomplish. But the governor had tied the rope himself, and, although the knot slipped a little at every exertion of strength, he could not loosen it sufficiently to enable him to free his hands. Had he been fresh he might have succeeded; but, besides having done a hard day's work at his wood-pile, he was nearly exhausted by the efforts he had made to escape from the bully, and he began to feel the need of rest. Stretching himself out on the sail, he settled into as comfortable a position as it was possible for him to assume with his hands and feet securely bound, wondered whether his mother was waiting for him at home, and how long the governor intended to keep him a prisoner, and in a moment more was fast asleep. How long he slept he was unable to tell. He was aroused by the growling of the dog, and, after listening a moment, he heard a slight noise outside the cave. Then the board[190] was removed, and he recognized the voice of Sam Barton, ordering the dog to keep silent.

"Bobby Jennings!" said he, as soon as he had succeeded in quieting the brute, "be you there, all safe an' sound?"

"Of course I am!" replied the fisher-boy. "How do you suppose I could be anywhere else after you have tied me hand and foot, and put a dog at the door to guard me?"

"That's all right," said the chief, who seemed to be greatly relieved to learn that his prisoner had not found means to effect his escape. "Come in, Friday, an' strike a light."

Bob heard the two boys stumbling about in the darkness; for, although it was broad daylight, the cave was as dark as it had been at midnight, and when the lantern was lighted, he saw that Sam carried a huge slice of meat in one hand, and a tin dinner pail in the other.

"Here's your share," said he, throwing the meat to the dog; "an' now, Bobby, if you'll promise, honor bright an' no jokin', not to try any tricks on us, we'll untie your arms an' give you a chance to eat the grub we've brought you."

The fisher-boy readily promised to behave himself, for he was tired of sitting with his hands bound behind him. "How do you suppose that I could get away?" he asked, as Sam began to remove the rope from his arms. "You are both as large as I am, and besides, you've got a dog to help you."


"That's nothin'," said Friday. "We aint a goin' to trust you too fur, an' that's jest all about it. No tricks, now."

After Bob had stretched his cramped arms he felt so much better that he asked Sam to untie his feet, a request which the latter positively refused to grant. "You don't need your legs to eat breakfast with," said he; "so pitch into that bread an' taters, an' don't keep us waitin'."

Whatever else Bob had to say about the governor of the Crusoe band, he could not accuse him of wishing to starve him, for Sam had filled the bucket with all kinds of eatables that he had been able to procure. Never had a better breakfast been served up to him, and never had he eaten a meal in so romantic a spot as the cave appeared to be at that moment. Bob could not help feeling amused, and he thought that the scene there presented, was well worth the pencil of an artist. The fisher-boy sat on the piece of sail which had served him for a bed, his back against his skiff, his legs, which were stretched out straight before him, almost wrapped up in ropes, the dinner bucket at his side, and a slice of bread in one hand and a piece of cold meat in the other. On one side of him stood the chief of the Crusoe band, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, his hat pushed back on his head, one hand resting on the flour barrel, and the other holding the boat-hook which had done him such good service the night before. In front of him stood the governor's man, Friday, leaning carelessly against the wall, with his arms folded; but within easy[192] reach of him was a heavy oar, which could be seized, in case the prisoner made any attempts at escape. The space on the other side of him was occupied by the dog, which, having finished his breakfast, sat with his head turned on one side, watching the bread and meat as it disappeared down Bob's hungry throat, no doubt envying him his enjoyment. The lantern, which stood on the flour barrel, beside the copy of Robinson Crusoe, threw a dim, ghostly light over the scene, and the fisher-boy could almost bring himself to imagine that the old feudal times—stories of which he had read and wondered at—had returned, and that he was taking part in them; that the cave represented the dungeon of some ancient castle, and that the governor and his man were the retainers of some cruel nobleman, into whose hands he had fallen.

While Bob was eating his breakfast, neither he nor his jailers spoke a word. The latter evidently had nothing to talk about, and the fisher-boy, knowing that he could not say much that was complimentary to Sam and his band, thought it best to keep silent. The governor seemed to be in excellent spirits since he captured his rival, and Bob knew that it was policy to keep him so if he could. He had not forgotten that Sam was the boy who had caused him a great deal of trouble by sinking his scow, and stealing his fine skiff, but he could not afford to show that he cherished revengeful feelings about it.

"Have you had enough?" asked the chief, when the[193] fisher-boy had finished the last mouthful of his breakfast. "If you haint, say the word, an' we'll fetch you more."

"I have had a great plenty," replied Bob; "and now, Sam, I would like to know how long you intend to keep me a prisoner here?"

"Well, that depends!" answered the governor; "you see, Bobby, it wouldn't be a very smart trick fur us to let you out till we get ready to leave Newport. You know too much, an' you might be mean enough to make us a great deal of trouble."

"Very likely I should," replied the fisher-boy, bluntly. "But I would rather be kept here six months than to be in your boots when Mr. Grimes gets his hands on you."

"You needn't lose no sleep worryin' about us," returned Sam. "If we don't know enough to take care of ourselves we ought to get into trouble. Now, we must bid you good-by, Bobby," he continued, as he coolly proceeded to fasten his prisoner's arms behind him, "an' we hope you'll have a jolly time till we get back. Two is company, you know, so you an' the dog can talk over your secrets without bein' afraid that somebody will hear you. It aint no ways likely that we shall call on you agin afore night, 'cause it aint exactly safe fur us to come here often durin' the day-time. If we hear any body askin' fur you, we'll tell 'em that the last time we seed you, you were in good health and spirits."

The fisher-boy listened in silence to this insulting speech, and scarcely had the door closed behind the[194] governor, when, in spite of the angry growls of the dog, he renewed his efforts to free himself from his bonds. He met with no better success than before; for Sam had taken a great deal of pains in fastening the rope, and he was finally obliged to give it up as a bad job. For want of some better way to pass the time, he stretched himself out on his hard bed, and tried in vain to go to sleep. The rope had been drawn so tightly that his arms began to swell, and this caused him so much pain that sometimes he found it exceedingly difficult to keep back his tears. How he lived through the day, he scarcely knew. Time moved on laggard wings, and all he had to divert his attention, during the fourteen hours that elapsed between the visits of his jailers, were the rattling of the wagons on the pavement over his head, and the angry growls of the dog, which were kept up at short intervals, during the day. How Bob wished that his hands were free! That brute, large and savage as he was, would not long stand between him and his freedom. Then, for a long time, the fisher-boy lay with his face downward—that being the most comfortable position he could assume—and pondered upon the chances of vanquishing the dog, in case he should get into a fight with him.

Eight o'clock came at last, and with it arrived Sam Barton and his band, including Tom Newcombe, who brought a splendid double-barrel shot-gun, two jointed fish-poles, a quantity of hooks and lines, and also his game chickens, all of which he offered to increase the[195] general stock. Every thing was accepted, in spite of the objections raised by Will Atkins, who argued that not only did the book fail to mention whether or not Crusoe's gun was a double-barrel, but it was also silent on the subject of game chickens. It said nothing about fish-poles either, especially jointed ones; and to show that his objection was well founded, Atkins picked up the book, and turned to a picture which represented Robinson catching a dolphin with a hand-line. The governor listened patiently to all he had to say, but he failed to discover any reason why he should not adhere to his decision.

"Any body with half sense could see that a double-barrel gun is a handy thing to have about," said the chief. "'Spose Tommy should happen to get into a fight with two Injuns, while he was out alone on the island, hunting for goats! couldn't he easy kill 'em both? Fish-poles, too, are sometimes worth more'n they cost. Mebbe our island, when we find it, will be different from Crusoe's. Mebbe there'll be creeks on it, with sunfish an' perch in 'em; an' whoever heared of ketchin' them kind of fish with hand-lines? An' as fur them game chickens, they will be jest the things we need. We may get tired of livin' on turtle's eggs, you know."

"That makes no odds," replied the dissatisfied member. "You wouldn't take that ar watch of mine, an' I aint a goin' to let them things of Tommy's go, neither."


In short, Will Atkins stubbornly stuck out for what he believed to be his rights, and the result was, that he very soon succeeded in exhausting all the patience of the chief, who backed him into a corner, and was about to reduce him to subjection, when Tom, who did not like to see any fighting, began to beg for him. The governor hesitated a moment, undecided whether to listen to the appeals of humanity or to follow the stern mandate of duty, and then released the culprit; not, however, without solemnly promising him that the very next time he dared oppose his chief, he would certainly suffer.

While the band remained in the cave, the fisher-boy's arms were left unbound, so that he could eat his supper; but as soon as the general business of the society had been transacted, the governor ordered Bob to get ready to be tied up again, and the band to adjourn to the yawl for the purpose of talking over some of their plans.

They did not want their prisoner to overhear them, and, as they were afraid to trust him outside of the cave, they were obliged to go out themselves. The chief appeared to be very much concerned about the comfort of the fisher-boy, for, when he saw how badly his arms were swollen, he tried a new way of confining them. He cut off about two feet of the rope, each end of which he made fast to the prisoner's arms, above the elbows, with a "round turn and two half hitches." This left Bob's hands and the lower part of his arms free—an advantage that he was quick to perceive, and which he determined[197] to use, if an opportunity was offered. As soon as this operation was performed, Sam and his band left the cave, and for the next half hour an animated discussion was carried on outside the door. The fisher-boy, believing that some important plan was being talked over, listened with all his ears; but, to his disappointment, he could not catch a word of what was said, for the boys talked in whispers. Finally, the chief re-entered the cave, and, after examining the prisoner's bonds, he extinguished the lantern, and went out again. Bob heard a slight splashing in the water as the yawl moved away, and when he was sure that the band had left the vicinity of the cave, he straightened up and prepared to put into execution a plan for escape which he had thought over while the debate was going on at the door. Putting his hand into his pocket he pulled out a large jack-knife which he opened with his teeth, and in less time than it takes to write it, his arms were free. The work of releasing his legs was quite as quickly accomplished. A few rapid blows with the knife severed the rope with which they were confined, and then Bob slowly, and with great difficulty, raised himself to his feet. "Hold on there," said he to himself, as a loud growl from the dog gave him notice that every move he made was being closely watched, "I'll be ready for you in a very few minutes!"

But in this the fisher-boy was mistaken. His "few minutes" proved to be nearly half an hour; and even at the end of that time he had scarcely recovered the[198] use of his legs. But delays were dangerous—perhaps he had already wasted too much time—and as soon as he could walk without leaning against the wall, he was ready to attend to the dog, which must be put out of the way before he could leave his prison. Bob did not intend to fight him in the dark, however, for that would give the animal too much advantage. He knew there was a box of matches on one of the shelves at the left hand of the door, for he had heard his jailers feeling around for it every time they came in, and his first hard work must be to find it. There was no danger of stumbling upon the dog in the darkness, for the animal kept up an incessant barking and growling, and thus Bob was able to keep out of his reach. He had no difficulty in finding the shelves, and after a few moments search, during which he several times stopped and listened, almost imagining that he heard his enemies returning, he placed his hand upon the box of matches. The next thing was the lantern. Securing that was a more difficult and dangerous task, for the chief had left it on the flour barrel, where he could not get at it without placing himself within reach of the dog. Bob lit one of the matches, and took a hurried survey of the cave. Directly in front of him was the dog, which was standing upon his hind legs, and jumping the full length of his chain in his efforts to reach the prisoner. Behind the dog was the flour barrel, on which stood the lantern. In one corner of the cave, opposite the door, was a pair of oars, either one of which was long enough to reach[199] from where he stood to the flour barrel. By the time Bob made these observations the match was consumed. He lit another, and picked up one of the oars, which he extended toward the lantern, when the dog seized the blade in his teeth and literally smashed it in pieces. In return for the damage he had done, he received a blow over the head from the handle of the oar, which knocked him down. The fisher-boy hoped he had finished him; but before he had time to make any observations his match went out. A third was struck, and the dog was discovered upon his feet again, apparently as full of fight as ever; but when Bob stretched the oar out toward the lantern, he backed over against the door.

His first attempt to catch the handle of the lantern upon the end of the oar was a failure; so were the second and third, on account of the interference of the dog. The fourth, however, was successful; and after he had picked up the wick so that the lamp would give a strong light, he began to look about the cave for some more suitable weapon than the stump of the oar. A small hatchet, which was stowed away on one of the shelves caught his eye. That was just the thing he needed; and, after placing the lantern upon the shelf where it could not get knocked over during the struggle, Bob took the hatchet in his hand, rolled up his sleeves, and began the fight without ceremony. There was a little more barking and growling, a few desperate springs, a savage blow with the hatchet, then one or two convulsive kicks, and that was the end of it.


It was the end of Sam Barton's favorite, too. It had all been done in a moment, and the fisher-boy was glad indeed that it was so. Had the struggle been a protracted one, as he had expected it would be, the result might have been different. Not only was he totally unfit to sustain a lengthened contest, but he knew the necessity there was of getting out of the cave as soon as possible. He was unable to tell where the governor and his band had gone, or how soon they would return, and the quicker he left his prison the better would be his chances for escape; for, although the dog was out of the way, his freedom was by no means assured. Hastily extinguishing the lantern, the fisher-boy crept up close to the door and listened. All was still, and believing that the coast was clear, he removed the board and crawled cautiously out of the cave; but, just as his feet touched the ground, a pair of strong arms were thrown around his neck, and before he could think twice, he found himself flat on his back, with the governor, his man Friday, and Jack Spaniard on top of him.



When Sam and the band went out of the cave, it was to listen to the report of Jack Spaniard and Friday, who, it will be remembered, were the ones selected by the chief to ascertain whether or not a post had been established on board the Storm King, and, if so, how many students composed the guard. They had performed their duty faithfully, and the conclusion at which they arrived was, that the yacht could be easily captured. The majority of the band agreed with them, and was in favor of making an immediate attack. They had heard enough during the day to satisfy them that the fisher-boy's mysterious disappearance was causing a great deal of talk about the village, and the sooner they got ready to start upon their cruise, the more likely they would be to escape questioning. Some of the timid ones, however—among whom, of course, was Tom Newcombe—remembering the bayonets with which the students were armed, felt their courage rapidly giving way, and strongly objected to an attack being made upon the vessel. It was a very easy matter for them to sit in their cave and talk[202] about it, and boast of the bravery they would exhibit when the time for action arrived—as some of the band had done—but now, that there was a probability that they would soon be called upon to make a display of their valor, they were ready to back out.

"Suppose we give up the idea of capturing the yacht," said Tom. "It's dangerous; and, besides, your yawl will answer our purpose just as well."

"Why, Muley! what has got into you all of a sudden?" demanded the chief. "You seem to be monstrous glum about something. You want us to take the vessel away from them fellers, don't you? Well, how are we goin' to get it? They won't give it up without a fuss."

Just then the new member would have found it exceedingly difficult to tell exactly what he wanted. He was as anxious as ever to punish his father and the principal, by taking the Storm King, but he was not brave enough to face the weapons of the guard; for he knew that all the students were very expert in the bayonet exercise, and, as they were not wanting in courage, they would very likely give Crusoe and his men a warm reception. Perhaps if he had been the captain of the band, with the same authority Sam was permitted to assume, and the members had all treated him with the respect due the son of the richest man in the village, and the fisher-boy had been out of the way, and he had positive evidence that his band exceeded the guard of the Storm King in numbers, so that her capture could be effected[203] without danger to himself—in short, if he could have arranged every thing to his liking, he might have taken more interest in the affairs of the society. Or, even if he had been second in command, and it had been understood that he was to be the captain of the vessel during the voyage, he might have kept up some show of allegiance. But the members all treated him as an equal rather than superior; he had placed himself in the power of a tyrant, who ruled him with a rod of iron, who never deferred to him, or asked his advice in regard to the manner in which the affairs of the band ought to be conducted, and, who being utterly ignorant of seamanship and navigation, would certainly get himself and crew into serious trouble during the voyage.

Tom had thought of all these things during the day, and he had got another idea into his head. If the governor had known it, and had been as well acquainted with him as were some other boys about the village, the new member would have been a prisoner as well as the fisher-boy.

The chief, for a wonder, listened patiently to what the members of the band had to say, but, being unable to decide the matter, he ordered them into the yawl, and put off to make personal observations. Being favored by the darkness, he ran so close to the vessel that he could hear the footsteps of the sentinel as he paced the deck. According to the report of the spies, the guard consisted of four students, only one of whom was on duty at a time. The chief was very soon satisfied of the correctness of[204] one part of this statement, for, had there been more than one boy on guard, he would have heard more footsteps, and very likely, some conversation.

The night was so dark that Sam could not possibly make any accurate observations, and the most of the conclusions at which he arrived were the result of guess-work. But he was satisfied with them, and after he had rowed entirely around the vessel, he had decided upon his plans, and was ready to issue his orders.

"You an' Jack were right, Friday," said he, addressing himself to the spies. "That little craft is our'n, an' by sunrise, day after to-morrow, we'll be miles on our way toward our island. We'll go back to the cave now, an'—"

"Boat ahoy!" came the hail from the deck of the Storm King.

"O, now, let's get away from here!" drawled Tom. "We're discovered."

"Boat ahoy!" shouted the sentinel again. "Better keep off, if you don't want to get into trouble!"

"Don't you be any ways oneasy," replied the chief, who, seeing that they were detected, thought it best to put a bold face on the matter. "We're honest people, an' we're goin' home!"

"Well, you don't live around here," replied the student, "and I tell you that you had better keep away."

"I'd like to know if this yere harbor has got to be private property since you 'cademy fellers brought that boat here," said the governor.


"Corporal of the guard!" shouted the sentinel.

"O, now, we'd better leave, I tell you," drawled Tom. "He's calling the corporal, and the first thing we know we'll get into trouble. We might be captured."

"Not easy. They can't crowd swells enough into that craft to take us," said the chief; but, although he talked very boldly, he evidently thought it best to get a little farther away from the Storm King, for he dropped his oar into the water and sculled from the spot. The crew of the yawl heard a hurrying of feet on the deck of the vessel, as if the students were taking their stations, in readiness to repel an attack; but that soon died away in the distance, and then the governor pulled in his oar and sat down.

"Friday," said he, "you an' that ar Jack Spaniard had oughter be chucked into the harbor."

"What fur?" asked both the spies at once. "What have we been a doin' now?"

"What did you do to-day, when you came up here to find out how many fellers there was on board that vessel?" demanded the chief.

"Why, we jest pulled round," answered Friday. "We didn't raise no fuss."

"Didn't them soldiers speak to you?"

"Yes; an' we told 'em that we was jest lookin' round."

"I was sartin of it!" said the governor. "You've knocked our expedition higher'n the top of Mr. Newcombe's warehouse. Them 'cademy swells are on the[206] watch now, an' I reckon we'll see some hot times before we can call ourselves the masters of that craft. But that sha'n't stop me. I said I'd sail to our island in her, an' I'm goin' to keep my promise."

The members of the Crusoe band were astonished, and not a little alarmed, at what had just transpired. To the chief it was as plain as daylight, that something had happened to arouse the suspicions of the students, and he imagined it was the careless manner in which the two spies had executed his orders. In this he was mistaken; for the blame rested entirely with Tom Newcombe. During the day he had accidentally run against some of the students on the street, and they, having been made acquainted with the history of the yacht, could not resist the temptation to talk to Tom about it.

"Newcombe," exclaimed Harry Green, who acted as spokesman for the party, "you don't know what you are missing by being shut up in that office all day. Why don't you ask your father to let you come back to the institute? We are having high old times there."

"O, I don't care if you are!" drawled Tom.

"And just see here!" continued Harry, pulling an official envelope, out of his pocket. "Here's my appointment as first lieutenant in our navy."

"I don't care," exclaimed Tom. "I don't want to see it. I can't stop to talk to you, either, for I am in a great hurry."

"O, we'll not detain you," said Harry. "We'll walk with you. Did you ever hear of a man being an[207] officer in both the army and navy at the same time? Well, I am. I am captain of company A, and executive officer of the yacht. I wanted to be commander of her; but Bill Steele passed a better examination than I did. The students who are studying navigation are to act as her crew, and, in a few days, the colonel is going to put her into commission. He is going to send to Boston for a couple of small cannon for her, and as soon as they arrive, we're going on a cruise."

"O, now, I don't know whether you are or not," roared Tom, who had made several unsuccessful attempts to interrupt Harry. "I'll show you something before you are many days older. I've got an idea."

"Whew!" whistled the first lieutenant of the Storm King, opening his eyes in amazement. "Have you organized another society, Newcombe, and do you intend to go to sea in the yacht as we did in the Swallow?"

Harry, as we know, had formerly been a member of the Night-hawks, and had taken an active part in Tom's runaway scheme; but the one month extra duty adjudged by the court-martial had opened his eyes, and as soon as he had worked out the sentence, he turned over a new leaf. The result was now apparent. He was the ranking captain at the academy, and the second in command of the Storm King. He was well acquainted with Tom, and it was a favorite saying of his that, when he got an idea into his head, he was dangerous.

"I didn't tell you what I intend to do, did I?" drawled Tom.


"No," replied the lieutenant, "but you have said enough to put me on my guard. Now, Newcombe, if you want to see some fun, bring on your society and make an attempt to capture the Storm King. We'll take every one of you to the academy as prisoners of war."

If any other boy in the village had hinted that it was his intention to capture the yacht, Harry would have thought it a capital joke; but coming from the source it did, and knowing that Tom had accomplished wonders in this line, he deemed it best to be prepared for any emergency. He returned to the academy immediately, and reported the matter to the lieutenant-colonel, who, just before dark, sent a guard of twelve students on board the yacht. It was fortunate for the members of the Crusoe band that they did not attempt to capture her.

The chief did not relinquish his hopes of being able to take the vessel, as soon as he was ready to start on his cruise, but he did not then arrange any plan of attack, nor did he have much to say about the business in hand, until he once more found himself safe under Mr. Newcombe's wharf. He guided the yawl to the landing, in front of their hiding-place, and was about to issue some orders to the band, when Friday intimated to him in a whisper that there was something unusual going on in the cave. The chief held his breath and listened intently; but the noise, whatever it was, had ceased.


"Do you reckon that ar Bobby Jennings has got loose?" he asked, anxiously.

"If he has, we'd best look out," said Jack Spaniard. "He won't be ketched as easy as he was before. But I didn't hear nothing."

"Well, I did," said Friday. "I heered the rattlin' of a chain, an' the dog a growlin' like he was fightin' something."

The chief waited to hear no more, but, stepping cautiously out of the yawl, he took his stand in front of the door and listened.

There was not a boy in the band who did not believe that their prisoner had succeeded in freeing himself, and that he was at that very moment on the point of leaving the cave. We ought, perhaps, to except Tom Newcombe, who now took no interest whatever in what was going on. He did not care a straw whether the fisher-boy escaped or remained a prisoner, as he had come to the conclusion that he could not belong to a society unless he was allowed to have a hand in the management of its affairs. The other members, however, preferred that Bob should not regain his liberty just then; but, although they well knew what would be the result if he succeeded in getting away from them, there was not one in the band, no, nor two, who would have dared to go into the cave to attempt his recapture. Sam Barton did not feel exactly safe, even on the outside of the door; for, after he had listened a moment, he said, in a whisper:


"Come up around me, fellers, and stick together. If he comes out, don't give an inch."

The words were scarcely out of the governor's mouth when the board that concealed the door was removed, and the fisher-boy crawled slowly out of the cave, only to fall into the arms of his rival.

"Hold him down, lads," said the chief, as Bob struggled furiously with his captors. "What's this yere he's got in his hand? A hatchet? Friday, take it away from him! An' you, Xury, go into the cave an' fetch out that rope. You were tryin' to get away, were you, Bobby Jennings? We'll fix you this time. It beats all the world how he got by that ar dog."

"Why, he's killed him," exclaimed Xury, who, on going into the cave after the rope, stumbled over the body of Sam's favorite. "If he aint as teetolly dead as a smoked herring, I hope I may never take another passenger across this harbor."

This announcement created great consternation among the band, and some of the members were undecided whether to retain their hold upon the prisoner, or to jump up and take to their heels. From some cause or other, they seemed to believe that a boy who was brave enough to use a hatchet, even on a bull-dog, was a dangerous fellow to have about.

"Killed!" repeated the governor, in astonishment. "Be you sartin an' sure he's dead?"

Xury struck a match in order to satisfy himself on that point; and as soon as the lantern was lighted, Tom,[211] who was the only one, besides the boy in the cave, not employed in holding the prisoner, drawled out—

"O yes, he's as dead as a door-nail. If there's going to be so much quarreling and fighting goin' on, I don't want any thing more to do with your society."

"There haint been no quarrelin' an' fightin' yet, that I know of," said the chief, as he held Bob's arms behind him, while Friday tied them with the rope Xury threw out to them. "I don't allow no such work among my men. Pick him up an' carry him in, lads," he added, as soon as he had satisfied himself that his prisoner was once more secure. "Now, Bobby Jennings, I reckon you'll stay here fur awhile."

The first thought that passed through the fisher-boy's mind, when he again found himself a prisoner, was, that the governor would revenge the death of the dog by giving him a thrashing; but, to his surprise, he had very little to say about it. After seeing his prisoner disposed of, he examined the oar which had been broken during the fight, looked at the hatchet Bob had used, and finally, he glanced at the dog. "He wasn't much account, no how," said he. "Any animal that'll let such a lookin' feller as Friday whip him in a fair fight, with nothin' but a boat-hook, wouldn't do much good huntin' goats. Ketch hold of the chain an' haul him out, lads."

Every member of the band lent prompt and cheerful assistance in carrying out this order. The dog had not been a favorite with them, and they were not sorry to get rid of him.


"Now, then," continued the governor, "it's understood that to-morrow night we'll capture that yacht an' be off fur our island. I don't mind sayin' this before you, Bobby Jennings, 'cause it aint no ways likely that I'll be dunce enough to give you another chance to get away from us."

"But what are we goin' to do with him, governor?" asked Will Atkins. "If we leave him tied up here in the cave, he'll starve to death; an' if we let him go when we get ready to start, he'll be sartin to tell Mr. Grimes of every thing that has been goin' on here."

"Now, you jest let me alone fur takin' care of all such things as that," replied the chief. "If I haint got sense enough to know what had oughter be done with him, I aint fit to be the leader of this band. We'll take him with us, of course, an' land him on some island; an' by the time he gets back here, we'll be miles an' miles at sea."

"But, perhaps he can't find his way back," drawled Tom.

"That's his lookout, an' not mine. He hadn't no business to go spyin' round here. If he had minded his own affairs, he wouldn't have been in this trouble. Atkins, how much money have you got?"

"A trifle over twenty dollars," answered the treasurer.

"You're sure you didn't spent none of it fur candy or pea-nuts!" said the chief, looking at him very sharply.


"Honor bright, I haint," replied Atkins, who had not forgotten the whipping he once received for being unfaithful to his trust.

"Twenty dollars aint much to brag on," said the governor, thoughtfully. "We'd had more if it hadn't been for you, Bobby Jennings."

"How would you have got it?" inquired the fisher-boy, who was greatly interested in all the proceedings of the Crusoe band, even though he was held as a prisoner.

"Why, we wouldn't have started on our voyage until next week. That would have give us time to paint this boat over, an' sell her to somebody. You've jest cheated us out of fifteen or twenty dollars, by your spyin' round, 'cause I know I could have sold the skiff fur that. Now, we'll have to be off at once; 'cause your mother is makin' a monstrous fuss about you."

"And we'll certainly be found out," drawled Tom. "If I was governor I would set him at liberty immediately."

"Now, Muley, who asked you fur any advice?" demanded the chief, angrily. "I am the head man of this band, an' I don't need no mates an' lieutenants, like they have up to the 'cademy."

"We had oughter have some more grub," said Jack Spaniard, who was commissary of the band. "We haint got nothing but a few crackers, an' mebbe they won't last till we find our island."

"Well, it aint best to buy none here," said the chief.[214] "We'll stop at some city an' lay in a supply. I wonder if we'll go by Boston! Will we, Muley?"

"O, how do I know!" drawled Tom.

"You had oughter know. You've been to sea, an that's one reason why I wanted you in the band. What do you say about it, Bobby? Will we see Boston?"

"I think not," answered the prisoner.

"I wonder where Crusoe's island is, anyhow," said Xury. "Mebbe we'll find it, if we look around. Do you know where it is, Bobby?"

"The book says it was somewhere near South America," replied the fisher-boy, who was astonished at the ignorance of the members of the band, and desirous of learning all their ideas on the subject.

"Is that fur from here?"

"Yes, it is a very nice little journey. You'll be tired of life on ship-board before you get there."

"But what makes you think that we won't see Boston, Bobby?" inquired the governor.

"Because you don't know how to sail to get there; and, besides, if you succeed in capturing the Storm King, you'll be wrecked before you get out of Buzzard's Bay."

"I'd like to know what's the reason! Didn't them 'cademy swells run away in the Swallow, an' didn't they go miles an' miles out of sight of land, an' never got wrecked?"

"They did," replied Bob; "but then, you must remember[215] that there were some excellent sailors among the students."

"That's so!" said Tom. "I was first-mate of the Swallow during that cruise."

"Do you know any thing about navigation, Sam?" asked the fisher-boy.

"What's that?"

"It is something every sea captain has to understand. It is the science that teaches you what course to sail to reach the port you want to go to, and how to take advantage of the winds and currents."

The governor backed toward his seat beside the flour barrel, and made no reply. He did not quite understand what his prisoner had said to him, but he could not help seeing that an obstacle had suddenly arisen in his path.

"The book don't say that Crusoe knew any thing about that," said Will Atkins, coming to the assistance of the chief.

"Of course it don't," said the governor, immensely relieved. "But don't it say something about currents? When Crusoe tried to sail around his island in his boat, he came near bein' carried out to sea an' lost. If we don't look out, we might get in as much danger as he was."

"Very likely you'll get in more danger, if you ever go to sea in the Storm King," said the fisher-boy. "Crusoe never was in any danger, for no such man ever lived."


"Bobby Jennings!" exclaimed the governor, springing to his feet and catching up the boat-hook, "if you say that again I'll rap you over the head. I know better! I know there was such a man, 'cause don't this book tell all about him? He had a jolly time there on his island, huntin' goats an' watchin' fur injuns, an' that's the way we're goin' to live. But we've talked long enough! Get to work, all of you, an' pack up them things. While you're doin' that, I'll make some spears. You know," he went on to explain, "that every one of them 'cademy fellers has a gun with a bayonet on it! Them guns aint loaded, be they, Muley?"

Tom replied that they were not.

"That's all right!" continued the chief. "I've just thought up a way to whip 'em easy. I'll have to spile these oars, though."

Bob leaned back against his skiff and watched the preparations for departure with a good deal of interest. Several small dry goods boxes had been provided for this very event, and while the band was busy packing away the outfit in them, the chief employed himself in making the spears, which he did by cutting down the blades of the oars with a hatchet. When the first one was completed, he handed it to Tom, and asked his opinion of it.

"You know all about them bayonets, Muley," said he. "Can they reach as fur with them as we can with these spears?"

"O, now, how can I tell?" drawled Tom.


"I'm sartin you know all about it, Muley, 'cause you've had a heap better chance to learn them things than I have. An' you know all about them winds an' currents Bobby was talkin' about, don't you?"

"Do you suppose I've been to sea for nothing?"

"No I don't; an' that's why I am goin' to make you captain of the yacht, when we get her. Will you take it, Muley?"

If the governor could have read the thoughts that were passing through the mind of the new member at that moment, he never would have offered him the position of captain of the vessel. Tom had concluded that he had seen enough of the Crusoe band; that he would have nothing more to do with boys who could not appreciate the honor he conferred upon them by becoming a member of their society; and the last idea that had taken possession of him was, that he ought to contrive some way to punish Sam Barton. The latter almost invariably addressed him in an imperious tone, as if he regarded it as his right to command, and Tom's duty to obey, and that was something the new member could not endure. He first thought he would turn traitor to the society, and expose every thing to Mr. Grimes, the constable. That would undoubtedly be a good way to punish the chief, but the latter would, very likely, be revenged by disclosing the fact that Tom was a member of his band, and that he had tried to induce him to run away in the Storm King. That was something the new member wanted to keep secret. If his father heard of[218] it, there was no knowing what might happen; and if it got to the ears of the village boys, they never would cease to torment him about it. Besides, if he took this way of punishing the governor, it would defeat the very object for which Tom joined the Crusoe band. Sam would no doubt be put in jail, to be tried for stealing the skiff, and that would leave the yacht in the hands of the principal of the academy.

He very soon saw that this plan would not work, and the next resolve he made was, that he would visit the fisher-boy after the band had gone home, and offer to release him if he would promise that he would not say a word about Tom's being a member of the society, and that he would put no obstacles in the way of the governor to prevent him from seizing the yacht and leaving the village. By this arrangement, he could be revenged upon the teachers of the academy, and upon the new officers of the Storm King, and no one would suspect that he had had any thing to do with the matter. It was by no means certain that this plan would have worked, had it been put to the test, but still the new member had decided to try it, when the chief's offer drove all these ideas out of his head.

"What do you say, Muley?" asked Sam. "Will you take it?"

"I will," replied Tom, eagerly. "I am glad to see that you have come to your senses. I didn't think you would be foolish enough to try to take the vessel to sea yourself. You would very soon have got us into trouble,[219] for it needs somebody who understands the winds and currents to fill so responsible a position. I'll take it, if you will call me captain hereafter. I never did like that other name."

"It's a bargain," said the governor. "Now, listen, men," he added, turning to the band. "Muley's name is changed to cap'n. He is to be master of the vessel when we get her, an' he is the second officer in the band till we reach our island."

The boys raised no objections to this arrangement; in fact, they were delighted with it; for they had been convinced, by what their prisoner had said, that they could not proceed very far on the journey toward their island without some competent person to take command of the vessel; and as they knew that Tom had been on a six months' voyage, and that he had been second in command of the sloop, during the cruise of the Night-hawks, they thought he was just the very man they wanted.

"Now, then," said the chief, after all the articles that comprised their outfit, except the guns, had been packed away in the dry goods boxes, "that's all we can do to-night. We'll keep the guns out, to scare them 'cademy fellers. When we board the yacht we'll have a gun, cocked an' capped, in one hand, an' a spear in the other, an' we'll make 'em believe that if they raise any fuss, or show fight, we'll shoot 'em down. But the spears are what we'll have to depend on. The meetin's out, now."


The governor then carefully examined the ropes with which the prisoner was confined; after which he ordered the band into the boat, and Bob was once more left to his meditations.



Tom Newcombe's feelings had undergone a very great change during the last ten minutes. He was an officer now, and he no longer thought of turning traitor to the band, or of releasing the fisher-boy; but he was willing to use his best endeavors to render the expedition successful. It was not his intention to long answer to the name of captain; he preferred to be called governor; and he would use the office Sam had given him as a stepping-stone to something higher.

Tom had but one object in life. It occupied all his waking thoughts; he dreamed about it when he was asleep; and from it sprang all these ridiculous ideas he sometimes got into his head. He wanted to live at his ease. He desired to engage in some occupation that would run along smoothly, without any care or exertion on his part, and in which he would be free from the troubles and perplexities that fell to the lot of ordinary mortals. He had become greatly interested in Sam Barton's plan, and he believed that all that was needed to insure him unbounded happiness for the[222] remainder of his days, was a habitation on some desert island, in the middle of the ocean, where, in company with half a dozen congenial spirits, he could while away the hours of a dreamy existence, with no stern father to demolish his air-castles, and no merciless village boys to make sport of his grand ideas. Then there would be nothing to trouble him, and he could pass the time serenely in hunting goats, squirrels, and quails—he did not intend to stop until he found an island that abounded in small game of every description—and when he became weary of the sport, he could lounge in the shade of his tent, and eat raisins and talk to his parrot. Although he was not just then on very good terms with Johnny Harding, Gus Miller, and Harry Green, he would have preferred their society to the companionship of the ignorant ferry-boys, who were continually showing the muscles on their arms, and who talked about nothing but the numerous fights in which they had been engaged.

This, however, was out of the question; and, rather than remain in the village, to be tormented by his acquaintances, he would go with the Crusoe band. But, in order to enjoy himself to the fullest extent, he must be chief of the organization. He had managed societies which numbered thirty and forty members, and managed them well, too, and he could not be satisfied with any divided authority. Sam Barton must give place to his betters—that was a settled fact. There was one point Tom could not decide just then, and that was[223] how to go to work to induce the band to break the chief and appoint him in his stead. But in this he concluded that he would be governed by circumstances, hoping that when the proper time arrived, something would "turn up" in his favor. As soon as he became fairly established as chief of the band, Sam must be disposed of, for he was a dangerous fellow, and might make him a great deal of trouble. Perhaps the best thing that could be done with him would be to put him ashore on some island, as he intended to do with the fisher-boy.

Tom thought these matters over before he went to sleep that night, and they were the first that came into his mind when he awoke the next morning. As soon as he had eaten his breakfast, he went down to the office, and at the door he met two boys, who, he afterward learned, were the midshipmen belonging to the Storm King. Of course they were acquainted with the particulars of Tom's business transactions with Mr. Graves, and, like all the rest of the village boys, they had something to say about it.

"How are you, Newcombe?" exclaimed one. "We came here to inquire how much that vessel cost you. She is a beauty, and I am going to build one exactly like her when I get home."

"Your father is a capital fellow," said the other. "He knows just what boys want, don't he?"

"O, no, he don't!" drawled Tom. "He don't know what I want; if he did, he would have given me that yacht. Never mind! You fellows had better look out."


"We've understood that you have another idea. Why didn't you try to carry it out last night? You were around there in a yawl."

"O, now, who said I was around there?"

"Why, we heard your voice. We were in hopes you would board us, for we wanted to see who belonged to your new society. Who are they, Newcombe? Johnny Harding says he is not a member."

"What's your rank now, Tom? Grand commander, or general, or captain, or what!"

Tom, too angry to reply, abruptly left the midshipmen, and walked into the office. They would have followed him, but he slammed the door in their faces and locked it. As it was early in the morning, none of the clerks had yet made their appearance, and Tom had the office to himself. His first duty was to sweep out—a task he never executed without crying; for his idea was, that every time he performed any work with his hands, he was disgracing himself. After he left the midshipmen, he shed a few tears, and grumbled a good deal. "Thank goodness, this is the last time I shall ever sweep out this office," said he to himself. "To-morrow morning, at this time, I shall be within sight of the ocean, and far away from Johnny Harding, and Harry Green, and all the rest of the fellows who are continually bothering me about that yacht. I'll be my own master then, and if I ever touch a broom or duster again, I'll know the reason why. Of course, the vessel must be kept clean while we are on our cruise, but I am[225] the captain, and I can make the others do the work. When we reach our island, somebody will have to sweep out the cave and tent; but I won't do it, for I'll be governor of the band by that time. I'll help plant the rice and wheat, and shoot goats, and keep a lookout for Indians, and have an eye on all that is going on, for, of course, that is the duty of the governor; but I'll work when I please, and play when I feel like it; and there'll be nobody to say to me—? 'Thomas, you'll wear a poor man's clothes the longest day you live!'"

As was always the case with Tom, when about to engage in any of his grand schemes, he lived in a state of intense excitement all that day. He was constantly harassed by the fear, which sometimes almost amounted to a conviction, that something would happen to defeat the enterprise. The fisher-boy might succeed in making his escape; or Mr. Grimes, who, he knew, was closely watching Sam Barton, might discover something; or the guard of the yacht might be too strong for them, and he and the rest of the band might be captured, and taken to the academy as prisoners of war; or the principal, or some of the students, might call upon Mr. Newcombe and inform him that his son had another idea; in short, there were a thousand ways in which the affair might get noised abroad. Tom was especially uneasy whenever any body spoke of Bob Jennings. No one suspected that he knew any thing about him, but, as he and the fisher-boy had been seen together a good deal of late, two or three of[226] the clerks inquired what he had done with his "friend and partner," and Tom drawled out in reply—

"O, now, is any body paying me for keeping an eye on that fellow?"

The prevailing opinion seemed to be, that Bob, having become discouraged by the loss of his two boats, and despairing of ever being able to pay the debt he owed to Mr. Graves, had escaped from his troubles by running away. Indeed, his mother was the only one in the village who thought differently. Of course, she could not account for his disappearance, but she had faith in the good resolutions Bob made the night he cut his new motto in the boards under the eaves, and she believed that time would make all things right.

To Tom's relief, the twelve o'clock bell rang at last. He went home with his father, and, as soon as he had eaten his dinner, he went up stairs to his room and packed his valise. When this was accomplished, he went down to the office again, where he lived in a most uncomfortable frame of mind until six o'clock in the evening. Then there were two hours more to be passed away in some manner, for the chief, the night before, had ordered the members of the band to present themselves on an unfrequented part of the beach, in Fishertown, at eight o'clock. As the hour approached, Tom felt more and more like backing out. He was troubled with the most gloomy thoughts, in which the elements seemed to sympathize with him. About half-past seven, a furious storm arose. The lightning flashed incessantly,[227] the wind blew a perfect gale, the rain fell in torrents, the surf roared on the beach, and the would-be captain of the Storm King, as he stood at his window and looked out into the darkness, shuddered at the thought of taking a vessel to sea in the face of such a tempest. It was a wonder that his courage did not give away altogether; but he recalled to mind the treatment he had already experienced at the hands of the village boys, pictured to himself the life of glorious ease he could lead, when he once became fairly settled on his island, and drawing in a long breath, he caught up his valise, walked cautiously down stairs and out into the storm, and, without a single feeling of remorse, turned his back upon the home he hoped never to see again. Without stopping to look behind him, he hurried along the streets in the direction of the beach, being obliged to stop and turn his back to the storm now and then, to recover his breath. He passed through Fishertown, which seemed to be entirely deserted, and bent his steps toward a dilapidated cabin that stood on the beach, so close to the water's edge that the surf washed over his feet as he approached the door. All was dark within, but as Tom entered, a voice, which was almost drowned by the whistling of the wind through the rafters, and the roaring of the waves on the beach, called out—

"Who comes there?"

"Captain Newcombe," was the response.

The light of a lantern flashed through the darkness, and Tom discovered the members of the Crusoe band[228] crouching in one corner of the cabin, drenched to the skin by the rain, which beat in upon them through the broken roof.

"I am glad to see you, cap'n," said the governor, joyfully. "We were afraid that you were goin' to back out, but I am satisfied now that you can be depended on. If the clerk of the weather was a member of our society, he couldn't have given us a better night. But, cap'n, are you sure that you can handle the vessel after we get her? It's purty rough outside, an' many an old sailor would shake his head at the idea of goin' to sea in such a storm."

"I am not afraid," said Tom. "Just give me one good mate, and I'll take care of you."

"Well, how will Xury do? He's a good hand with a sail-boat, an' he's traveled up an' down the bay often enough to know it like a book."

"He's just the man I want," said Tom, who felt that a great responsibility had been removed from his shoulders.

"Xury," said the chief, "you're first-mate of the yacht, now. Do jest as the capt'n tells you, an' you won't get us into no trouble. Pick up your plunder, an' let's make a break; for the quicker we get to work, the sooner we'll be on our way toward our island."

As the chief spoke, he hid his lantern under his coat, shouldered his bundle of clothing, and led the way out of the cabin to the yawl, which was drawn up on the beach, out of reach of the surf. It required the exercise of considerable[229] perseverance, and the outlay of the united strength of the band, to launch the boat through the waves, and while this was being done, Tom began to realize the fact that they had a most uncomfortable night for their cruise. The wind swept the beach in fitful gusts, beating the rain and spray furiously into his face; and when the lightning illuminated the scene, he could see that the sky was covered with black, angry-looking clouds, and that the waters of the bay were being tossed about in great commotion, but Tom never once thought of turning back. Since he received the appointment of captain of the yacht, a new spirit seemed to have taken possession of him. He was no longer afraid of facing the bayonets of the guard, and if the attack on the yacht had proved a failure, he would have been the first to propose that they should begin their cruise in Sam's yawl.

Regardless of soiling his boots and clothing, he worked as hard as any of the band to launch the boat, wading in water up to his knees, and sometimes being almost smothered by the great waves that came rolling toward the beach. The chief had been thoughtful enough to supply the yawl with oars, and it was well he did so. Even then, it was a long time before they succeeded in getting fairly started. Slowly, inch by inch, they worked their way against the wind and waves, and at last they reached the harbor, where the water was comparatively quiet. In ten minutes more they were in their cave, and the governor breathed a good deal easier when he found that his prisoner had not found means to effect[230] his escape. Without any unnecessary delay, the band began the work of carrying the dry goods boxes out of the cave, and stowing them away in the yawl. This was accomplished in a few minutes, and then the governor, after putting the volume of Robinson Crusoe carefully away in the pocket of his pea-jacket, called his followers around him, to give them their final instructions.

"Now, then," said he, "you fellers must take charge of your we'pons, an' when we get into the yawl, put them where you can get your hands on 'em at a moment's warnin'. You can depend on these things," he added, as he distributed the spears he had made the evening before, "'cause they are as sharp as needles; an' if one of them 'cademy swells gets punched with 'em, I reckon he'll walk turkey. I don't 'spose we'll have much chance to use 'em, 'cause it aint no ways likely that them soldiers are loafin' about the deck in this storm; but, after all, it's best to be on the safe side. Friday, when we start, you will take the bow oar. We will come up alongside of the yacht, an' the minute we stop, you will jump out an' make the yawl's painter fast to something. While you are doin' that, the rest of us will board her, an' the first thing them 'cademy fellers know, we'll have 'em fastened up in the cabin."

"Then, what will we do?" asked Tom; "if we shut the students up in the cabin, I can't go down there to get to my state-room; and I am not going to sleep on deck while I am captain. It wouldn't look well."


"Well, then, we'll rush 'em down through the cabin an' into the hold," said the chief. "But, whatever we do, we must be lively about it, 'cause it aint best to give 'em a fair show. Now, if we are all ready, we'll be off. We'll leave your skiff in the cave here, Bobby, an' when you get back, you'll know where to find it."

"Why can't you let me loose, Sam?" asked the fisher-boy. "I don't like to go out in this storm with my hands and feet tied. Suppose the yawl should be capsized, what would become of me?"

"Now, don't you be uneasy," replied the governor. "We'll take care of you, an' so long as you behave yourself, like a man had oughter do, we'll see that nothin' don't harm you. Pick him up and take him out, lads."

In spite of his remonstrances, Friday and Jack Spaniard took Bob up in their arms, carried him out of the cave, and laid him away in the yawl, under the thwarts, as if he had been a log of wood. He was far from being satisfied with the chief's assurance that he would take care of him. He knew that Sam was a skillful boatman, but the storm was still raging violently, and in the confusion occasioned by boarding the yawl, some accident might happen. However, there was no help for it. He was securely bound, and all he could do was to commend himself to his usual good luck, and abide the issue.

As soon as he had been disposed of, the band took their places in the yawl, and the governor once more went into the cave, to make sure that nothing was left behind. Then, after carefully closing the door, he sprang[232] into the yawl, and shoved off into the darkness. They went the entire length of the harbor, and through all the shipping that lay at the wharves, without accident, and finally, a flash of lightning revealed to them the Storm King, riding at her anchorage, in the rear of the academy grounds, which here extended down to the water's edge.

"Give way strong," commanded the chief, in an excited voice. "Friday, you be ready to jump out with that painter the minute we stop. Bobby Jennings, one word out of you, an' you go overboard. Remember, lads, one quick rush, an' she's our'n. Stick together, an' don't be afraid to punch the first one that shows fight."

The crew bent to their oars with a will, and the yawl skimmed over the waves like a duck. The governor, who was at the helm, kept the boat headed up the harbor until he passed the yacht, when he rounded to under her stern, and ran up alongside of her, without being hailed.

"Way enough," whispered the chief. The oars were taken in and laid upon the thwarts. Friday sprang up with the painter in one hand, and the boat-hook in the other. The governor stood in the stern-sheets, holding his lantern under his coat, and directing the yawl's course through the darkness, while the rest of the crew caught up their spears and awaited the further commands of their leader. The yawl continued to approach the vessel, and presently she was lifted on the crest of a[233] wave, at the same instant that a flash of lightning showed the Crusoe band that the sloop's deck was deserted, with the exception of a solitary sentinel, who, wrapped up in his overcoat, stood sheltering himself behind the mast.

The next moment, in spite of all the governor's efforts to prevent it, the yawl was dashed against the side of the vessel with a shock that would have aroused all the students on board of her, if they had not been the very soundest of sleepers.

"Boat ahoy!" shouted the sentinel, running to the side, and looking down into the darkness. "By gracious? corporal of the guard!" he added, in a louder tone, as another flash of lightning revealed the yawl and her crew. "Better keep off, if you don't want to get into trouble. Corporal of the guard!"

"Tumble up lively, lads," exclaimed the governor, and, suiting the action to the word, he sprang upon the deck of the Storm King, only to be met by a savage thrust from the bayonet of the guard, who manfully stood his ground, and shouted for the corporal. Fortunately for the chief, his man Friday was close at hand. He had made the yawl's painter fast, and charged upon the sentinel with his boat-hook, just in time to prevent him from doing the governor a serious injury.

"Forward," shouted the chief, pulling his lantern out from under his coat. "Drive this yere swell below!"

The rest of the band, having reached the deck almost as soon as their leader, rushed upon the guard, who, after[234] trying in vain to defend himself, threw down his gun and retreated into the cabin.

"Foller him up, lads! Foller him up!" shouted the chief, flourishing his spear in the air. "Cap'n, you an' Friday an' Jack Spaniard look out for that galley!"

By thus dividing his force, Sam had got the students completely surrounded. The chief and his squad followed the sentinel down the companion ladder, while the captain and his men rushed into the galley, and thence into the forecastle, where they surprised four students, asleep in the bunks, and a corporal, nodding in his chair. The noise made by the attacking party, and the bright light that flashed in their faces, when Tom turned up the lamp that hung suspended from the beams overhead, aroused the guard, who, upon beholding the intruders, reached rather hurriedly for their muskets. But they were in the possession of Friday and Jack Spaniard, who pointed the bayonets at them, and in savage tones demanded their surrender.

"Tom Newcombe, is that you?" exclaimed the corporal, rubbing his eyes, and taking a second look at the captain.

"O, yes, it's I," replied Tom, who, excited as he was, could not forget his usual drawl. "You asked me why I didn't carry out my idea last night. I am carrying it out now. Get up, and go into the hold. You are all prisoners!"

"Well, now, I call this a pretty good joke!" exclaimed another, raising up in his bunk, and looking first at Tom,[235] and then at his ragged followers. "How did you get by the sentinel on deck?"

"Why, we captured him, that's the way we got by him! And I think you'll find it's no joke, either, before we are done with you. Get up, and do as I tell you!" he added, sharply, as he heard the students pouring into the hold from the cabin.

The guard had no alternative but to obey. They crawled slowly out of their bunks, and one of them asked, as he gathered up his clothing, and nodded his head toward Friday and Jack Spaniard—

"Are these gentlemen members of your new society, Newcombe? You must be running with a delightful crowd, now."

"Go in there, and don't stop to talk!" repeated Tom, stamping his foot and pointing to the door that led from the galley. The students obeyed without any further remarks, and as soon as they had disappeared in the hold, the door was closed and fastened.

Tom was captain of the Storm King at last!



So thought Tom Newcombe, as he held the door that opened from the galley into the hold, while Friday locked and further secured it, by bracing two of the captured muskets against it. Hardly had this been done, when the noise of a furious struggle came from the cabin, mingled with shouts and yells; and, at the same time, some one in the hold threw himself against the door, and tried to burst it open.

"Stand firm, men!" exclaimed a voice, which Tom knew belonged to Harry Green. "Remember the motto, on our flag, and 'Don't give up the ship!'"

Then came the governor's battle-cry: "Down with the 'cademy swells! Drive 'em in the hold, an' shut 'em up!"

Tom waited to hear no more. The chief was in trouble, and perhaps needed assistance. He sprang up the ladder that led to the deck, and rushed to the companion-way, just in time to see the governor and his band falling back before a crowd of students, who poured out of the hold like bees from a hive. The first-lieutenant of the yacht led the way, flourishing a piece of a chair, with[237] which he defended himself from the savage thrusts Sam aimed at him with his spear. Close behind him came a tall, active student, armed with a pillow, which he used with considerable effect; for, just as Tom reached the top of the companion-ladder, where he could look down into the cabin, he saw Xury knocked head overheels by a blow from this novel weapon. Immediately afterward another of the students disabled Will Atkins by throwing a quilt over his head, which he had snatched from a bunk in one of the state-rooms. The muskets of the guard were stacked in the after end of the cabin, and Tom saw that the students were fighting their way toward them. If they succeeded in reaching them, the battle would be speedily ended, and Harry would be able to fulfill his threat of taking Tom and his band to the academy, as prisoners of war.

"Hurrah!" shouted Harry Green, as he saw two of the attacking party stretched on the floor of the cabin. "Surrender, Sam Barton! Drop that oar!"

"Surrender yourself!" shouted Friday and Jack Spaniard, springing down the ladder and placing themselves beside the chief.

By a dexterous movement with his boat-hook, Friday succeeded in disarming the first-lieutenant; and Atkins and Xury, having recovered their feet, each seized a musket and renewed the battle. Tom, thinking that he could assist the governor without fighting for him, stood at the foot of the companion-ladder, and called lustily for help from some imaginary followers.


"Bring the rest of the men in out of the boat!" he shouted, looking up into the darkness, as if he was addressing some one on deck; "and go and tell those fellows in the galley to come here."

"Down with the 'cademy swells!" shouted the chief again, encouraged by the arrival of his reënforcements. "Drive 'em back! Punch 'em in the ribs!"

If the students had been on equal terms with their assailants, all the shouting Sam could have done would not have decided the battle in his favor. The boys composing the guard belonged to the Storm King, and among them were several officers—lieutenants, masters, and midshipmen—who would willingly have borne almost any amount of bodily suffering rather than surrender the yacht. Like all "old sailors," they had become strongly attached to their vessel, and they defended her with as much resolution as they would have exhibited had she been a human being, capable of appreciating their affection. Besides, their reputation as officers and seamen were at stake. The result of this night's work would be brought up at the next examination, either for or against them; and, if they lost the vessel, it would be regarded as evidence that they were not worthy of being trusted, and rival students would have occasion for rejoicing. More than that, although they were at a loss to imagine what object Tom had in view in seizing the yacht—for they were certain that he was the prime mover in the affair—they knew that it was his intention to take her to sea; a proceeding that would[239] not only endanger their vessel, but the life of every boy on board of her. The officers of the Storm King had been appointed after a rigid examination, and, consequently, they were the best sailors at the academy. They were all worthy of the positions they held, but it is doubtful if even the promise of promotion would have induced the bravest of them to take the yacht to sea in the face of the tempest that was then raging. But, with all these motives to animate them, the students could not fight unarmed against the weapons of the Crusoe band. They experienced the same feelings that soldiers experience in actual warfare; and, indeed, that was not surprising, for the affair in the cabin was a real battle. Crusoe and his men fought with the utmost fury—even including Tom Newcombe, who, after calling upon his imaginary companion on deck, to send down more help, sprang to the side of the chief, and assisted in driving the students back from their muskets, which were almost within reach. He also imagined that he was fighting for his reputation. If the attack failed, he would be forever disgraced. He would be taken to the academy as a prisoner, it would become known throughout the village that he was the companion and associate of young robbers, and then, what would become of him? What would his father say about it? With Sam, the case was different. He feared no disgrace, but he did fear Mr. Grimes, the police magistrate, and the jail. His case was desperate; and it was no wonder that he fought like a young tiger.


"That's it, lads?" exclaimed the chief, as the students fell back, when they saw the reënforcements coming down the ladder, and heard Tom calling for more men. "Down with the 'cademy swells!"

The attack was too furious to be successfully resisted. The students retreated in confusion, and when the last one had been driven into the hold, the door was closed and fastened.

"Well done, lads!" exclaimed the governor, leaning on his spear, and surveying the battle-field, and the valiant warriors who surrounded him. "We said we'd do it, an' we've kept our promise. Cap'n, I turn the vessel over to you."

"I say, Newcombe!" shouted the first-lieutenant of the Storm King, from his prison, "I want to ask you a question."

"Well, ask away," drawled the captain.

"I want to know if you are commander of the yacht now?"

"I am," answered Tom, with becoming dignity.

"Are you going to take her to sea to-night?"

Tom replied that he was.

"It is all up with us, boys," said Harry, turning to his fellow prisoners. "If Newcombe ever gets the yacht outside the harbor, we're booked for Davy's Locker, sure. How does he suppose he can manage a vessel like this in a storm, when he can scarcely handle a little sail-boat in calm weather?"

"All hands on deck!" commanded Tom, who did not[241] hear what Harry said. "Bear a hand, and get the outfit aboard! Jump down into the yawl, a couple of you, and pass up those boxes! Xury, see that they are stowed away in the cabin and galley!"

The chief and one of his men sprang into the boat, and the first thing they handed up to their companions on deck was the fisher-boy, who had lain under the thwarts during the fight, heartily wishing that Sam and his band might be defeated, so that he would be released. His situation was a trying one indeed. To be obliged to remain bound hand and foot, while an ignorant, unskillful young captain was taking him out to sea, would have tried stronger nerves than his. While the governor and his men were lifting him to the deck—an operation of some difficulty, owing to the constant rocking of the vessel—he renewed his entreaties that they would release his hands and feet, and he even went so far as to promise that, if allowed the freedom of the deck, he would not make the least attempt at escape. But the chief would not listen. He was afraid of his prisoner, and he believed that the only way to prevent him from doing mischief was to keep him securely bound. Friday and Jack Spaniard carried him into the cabin, and laid him on the sofa, after which they returned to the deck to assist in stowing away the outfit. When the last box had been safely housed in the galley, the chief sprang over the rail, cast off the painter, and gave his fine yawl up to the mercy of the waves. "Now cap'n," said he; "we're all ready."


For the first time since receiving his appointment as master of the vessel, Tom realized that he had something of a task before him. To begin with, he had at least a mile of harbor to traverse before he reached the bay. The harbor was very crooked, and, in some places, too narrow to admit of much maneuvering; and, even in the day-time, with a fair wind, it would have required the exercise of all his skill and judgment to take his vessel through the shipping that lay at the wharves without some accident. One reason why he had declined to assume charge of the yacht during the trial trip, was because he was afraid he could not take her safely into the bay, and he would not have thought of attempting it now had he been in his sober senses. The night was so dark that he could not see the shore, except when an occasional flash of lightning revealed it to him; and the wind was blowing directly up the harbor, raising a sea that, even in that sheltered position, made it difficult for the captain to keep his feet without holding fast to something. Tom shuddered when he thought of what they would experience if they succeeded in reaching the bay, where the wind could have a fair sweep at them.

"Come, skipper!" said the governor, seeing that Tom did not issue any orders; "are you afraid to try it?"

"O, no!" replied the captain, arousing himself, and pulling the collar of his pea-jacket up around his ears, "I was just thinking what was best to be done. Xury,[243] look around and find a tow-line. Governor, take two men and get into your yawl; pull around under the bow, and stand by to take the tow-line."

"What's that fur?" demanded the chief.

"Why, we've got to tow the ship out of the harbor, haven't we?" drawled Tom.

"Well, if you'll find the yawl fur me, I'll do it. I let her go as soon as we got the things out, an' there's no tellin' where she is by this time."

"O, now, what made you do that?" exclaimed the captain. "Who ordered you to turn her adrift?"

"Why didn't you tell me that you wanted to use her? A nice skipper you'll make, if you don't look out fur things better than that."

"Here's a tow-line, cap'n," said Xury.

"Very good, sir!" replied Tom. "All hands lay aft to lower the cutter."

In obedience to this order, the crew moved aft, where a very small boat, that Tom had dignified with the name of cutter, hung at the stern davits. She was scarcely large enough to accommodate three men, and the governor, after he had examined her by the aid of the lantern, which he carried under his coat, through fear of attracting the attention of the watch on some of the neighboring vessels, shook his head and stepped back.

"Man the falls," commanded Tom.

"Now, jest look a here, cap'n," said Sam, "if you want a crew to man that ar egg-shell, you'd best call for volunteers. You don't ketch Governor Barton in no such[244] craft in a night like this. Why, she'd be swamped the minute she touched the water."

"O, now, how am I to get the ship out to sea, I'd like to know?" drawled Tom.

"That's your look out, an' not mine," replied Sam, as he turned on his heel and walked forward, followed by the rest of the crew. "I aint master of this vessel."

"It don't look as if I was master of her, either," answered Tom, almost ready to cry with vexation. "What's the use of having any captain, if no one will obey his commands?"

"Why don't you give sensible orders, then, like a man had oughter do? We aint a goin' to get into that ar little boat, an' that's jest all about it."

Tom did not know what to do. It looked as though the expedition was to end then and there. What was the use of being captain, if his crew were to be the judges as to whether or not an order ought to be obeyed? How he wished that he possessed the physical power of the second mate of the Savannah! Wouldn't he enforce obedience? Perhaps all that was needed was a show of authority and resolution.

"Now look here, men," exclaimed the captain, in a voice which he intended should strike terror to the hearts of every one of the band, "I am not going to stand any such nonsense. I am the lawful master of this vessel, and I'll make you sup sorrow with a big spoon if you don't obey orders. Lay aft, now, to lower away[245] the cutter. Mr. Mate, use a rope's end on the first man who dares hesitate."

"Yes, I'd like to see Mr. Mate try that on," exclaimed the governor, fiercely. "Tommy, if you know when you are well off, you won't give no more such orders as that ar. You aint lord an' master of the whole of us, if you do command the Storm King. But you aint cap'n no longer. You can jest take your old name agin; fur I won't serve under no feller who talks of usin' a rope's end on me."

"O, now, do you suppose I am going to stand that?" whined Tom. "I won't serve as a sailor. I am the best navigator and seaman in the band, the only one who knows any thing about the winds and currents, and if I stay on board this vessel I am going to command her."

"Now, Muley," said the governor, "you haven't yet larnt that I am the head man in this society, an' if you don't look out, I'll have to give you a few lessons like I did Will Atkins. You're a foremast hand now."

"Well, I won't be one long," said Tom, who now, being convinced that he could not rule the expedition, had suddenly determined to ruin it. "I've got an idea."

If the governor had understood the meaning of this declaration, he would have paid some attention to it. As he was not yet well acquainted with Tom, he did not think it necessary to reply to him, for he turned to his crew, and ordered them to assist him in hoisting the sails.


"O, now, you are not going to try to sail out in the teeth of this storm," exclaimed Tom, who, ignorant as he was, knew that their chances for reaching the bay were very slim indeed. "You'll sink the yacht before you've gone twenty yards."

"That's enough out of you, Muley," returned the new captain, as he and the crew busied themselves in clearing away the mainsail. "I am master of this vessel now, an' if you don't move when you're spoken to, I'll make you sup sorrow with a wooden ladle, an' that's bigger'n a spoon. Lend a hand here!"

Tom obeyed this order very reluctantly. All his bright hopes had disappeared, like snow before an April shower. The edict of the chief, reducing him to the ranks, destroyed all the interest he had ever felt in the Crusoe band. He no longer desired the success of the expedition; on the contrary, he resolved to defeat it if possible. He would watch his opportunity, and, when he could do so without being discovered, he would slip down into the cabin and liberate all the prisoners. They could arm themselves with their muskets, which the governor had very carelessly left scattered about the cabin, and while Crusoe and his men were occupied in navigating the vessel, they could surprise and overpower them. This was his new idea. By the time he had thought it over, the mainsail had been close reefed, and was ready for hoisting.

"Now, then," shouted the governor, "stand by—"

"Hold on," exclaimed Xury. "Mebbe she won't[247] handle well without a head sail. You had oughter hist one of them jibs."

"No, sir," replied the chief. "It aint best to put up too much canvas in this breeze. We've got a long voyage to make, an' we must be careful of our vessel. Muley, you ketch hold of the peak halyard, an' the rest of us man the throat-halyard. All ready, now! Hist away."

As this order was obeyed, the yacht began to plunge and careen worse than ever; and presently, a flash of lightning showed Tom that they were drifting up the harbor.

"Sam!" he almost gasped, "she's dragging the anchor."

"Hist away, lively," exclaimed the chief, in desperation. "If you've got any muscle at all, show it now;" and catching up his lantern, he ran forward, intending to slip the chain. But he was saved that trouble. The cable, which had not been intended to hold the yacht in a gale of wind, with her mainsail set, parted with a loud snap, and for a moment the little vessel was at the mercy of the storm. The greatest excitement prevailed among the crew. The lightning flashed again, and Sam held his breath in dismay when he saw that the Storm King was being driven rapidly toward the shore. It was a capital opportunity for him to make an exhibition of his seamanship, but he had not the slightest idea of what ought to be done; neither had Tom Newcombe, who stood holding fast to the peak-halyard, his mouth open,[248] and his tongue paralyzed with terror. Fortunately for the Crusoe band, for the vessel, and for the comfort of the prisoners below, there was one boy on board who kept his wits about him, and that was Xury.

"Belay all!" he shouted, springing to the wheel. "Stand by the main-sheet! Haul in, fur your lives."

Xury put the helm hard-a-starboard, the boom flew over with a jerk, prostrating two of the crew who were careless enough to put themselves in its way, and the next moment the yacht was thrown almost on her beam ends. But Xury was equal to the emergency. He handled the wheel with a great deal of skill, and proved himself to be worthy of the position he held. He "eased her up" without a moment's delay; the Storm King righted, and the next flash of lightning showed the crew that she was scudding across the harbor at a terrific rate of speed.

"Bully for you, Xury!" shouted the governor, who never once thought of the danger they might be in. "We're all right now. From this time on, you are my first-lieutenant."

"Put a look-out on the forecastle, governor," exclaimed Xury, yelling with all the strength of his lungs, in order to make himself heard above the howling of the wind, "I can't see a foot."

"Jerusalem!" shouted Will Atkins, suddenly. "Look out, Xury!"

"Ship ahoy!" came the hail, in startled tones, through the darkness. "Keep away! Don't run into me!"


"Mind your own business!" shouted Friday, in reply. "This ship has got her own officers on board."

Xury had been warned just in time to avoid running into a vessel lying at the wharf. He put the helm to port, but the yacht, being without a head-sail, obeyed very slowly. By the light of a lantern, which the governor held over the side, the Crusoe band discovered that they were rushing by the side of a large ship, and so close to her that they could almost touch her. But Xury understood his business, and in a moment more that danger was passed, and the Storm King was scudding toward the other side of the harbor.

"O, now, I can't stand this," drawled Tom Newcombe, who was utterly confounded by the recklessness displayed by the Crusoe band. He stood holding fast to the rail, and, had it been daylight, the governor would have seen that his face was deadly pale, and that he was trembling in every limb, as if he had been seized with a fit of the ague. The wind had carried his cap overboard, but he was so completely engrossed in thinking over the dangers of his situation that he did not notice that he was bare-headed, and that the rain was running down his back in little streams. "O, I know that I shall go to the bottom in less than five minutes!" cried Tom, involuntarily catching his breath, as the Storm King careened wildly under a fierce gust of wind. "Then what will become of those fellows below deck? I am going to start for the cabin, and, if I live to get there, I'll let them all out. I know Harry Green can manage the vessel."


As Tom spoke, he let go of the rail and staggered toward the companion-way. Just as he placed his foot upon the first step of the ladder, he lost his balance, and pitched headlong into the cabin. He was much more frightened than hurt by the fall, for he firmly believed that the yacht had capsized, and that, in an instant more, he would find the cabin flooded with water. But nothing of the sort happened. The reckless Xury still kept the Storm King well under control, and, thus far, by some unaccountable fortune, he had succeeded in keeping her clear of the vessels at the wharves. Tom clung to the companion-ladder a moment or two, to make sure that the yacht was still right side up, and that his absence from the deck had not been discovered, and then prepared to carry out his new idea.



Meanwhile, the fisher-boy lay upon the sofa in the cabin, where Friday and Jack Spaniard had left him, listening to the noise of the storm, and wondering how many chances there were in a thousand that he would ever return to Newport. Again and again had he made the most desperate but unsuccessful efforts to free himself from his bonds, and finally, becoming wearied with his exertions, and discouraged by his failures, he settled back on the sofa, and awaited the destruction of the vessel with all the fortitude he could command.

Occasionally he heard the students moving about in their prison, and now and then the door would shake and bend, as if the boys were trying to force it from its hinges. Bob watched and listened, hoping that they would discover some way of effecting their escape; but the door, like every thing else about the yacht, had been made at Mr. Graves' ship-yard, and it was "first-class." It resisted all their efforts, and at last, the students, like Bob, became discouraged, and sat down to talk the matter over.


Harry Green was in great trouble. At his own request he had been placed in command of the guard of the yacht, and now, scarcely more than three hours after he assumed charge of the vessel, she had been taken from him. Since he had worked out the punishment that had been inflicted upon him for taking part in Tom's runaway scheme, he had been one of the most diligent students at the academy. He was working with an object in view, and that was, to distance the lieutenant-colonel at the next examination. As far as his lessons were concerned, he was already ahead of him in every thing except navigation; and he had resolved, that, by the end of the next quarter, he would lead his class in that study also. But his knowledge of books was not the only thing that would be inquired into. His conduct as an officer—as captain of company A, and first lieutenant of the Storm King, would be severely criticised, and especially the manner in which he executed the orders of his superiors. In his military record, Harry was confident that he could show a clean score; but there was every prospect that his career as a naval lieutenant would be brought to a speedy termination. Colonel Steele, in his capacity as a ranking naval officer, had given him written instructions to hold the yacht at all hazards in case an assault should be made upon her, and to bring every one of the attacking party prisoners to the academy. Harry had failed to obey these orders, and he was a candidate for a court-martial. The other officers of the guard were in the same predicament, and[253] so were the seamen. They all had rivals at the academy, who were working hard to remove them from their positions on board the yacht, and it was no wonder that they looked upon the result of the battle as the greatest calamity that could have befallen them. They had lost their vessel, and, although there was not one among them who believed that they could be blamed for that, they felt rather serious, when they reflected that they would be called upon to prove this to the colonel's satisfaction. Could they not wipe out the disgrace, and insure their acquittal before the court-martial, by turning the tables on their enemies? The first lieutenant thought they could, but he did not know how to do it. He groped his way to the door—for the hold was so dark that he could not see his hand before him—threw himself against it with all his strength, and then called some of his crew to his assistance; but it was all in vain. They were prisoners, and such they would probably remain until their captors saw fit to release them.

"What in the name of sense do you suppose Tom Newcombe intends to do with us, and with the yacht?" was a question that the first lieutenant had asked perhaps twenty times, and which none of the crew could answer. They knew that Tom was very angry because his father had presented the Storm King to the principal of the academy, instead of giving it to him, and they were also well aware that that was one reason why he had seized the vessel. But they had never heard a word about the Crusoe band, and, consequently, they could not[254] imagine where Tom was going, or why he kept company with Sam Barton and his band of outlaws. This matter had been talked over until every boy in the crew had expressed an opinion; and the only conclusion at which they arrived was, that Tom had got another of his wild ideas into his head, and that he would be certain, sooner or later, to get them and every body else on board the yacht into serious trouble.

"I have been with Newcombe on one runaway expedition," said Harry, "and I shall regret it as long as I live. I don't want to go with him on another, especially if he is to command the vessel."

"Neither do I," said one of the midshipmen—another old Night-hawk. "But how shall we get away from him? that's the question! If we could only take him and all the members of his society to the academy as prisoners, wouldn't it be——I'll tell you what it is, fellows," he added, as the sloop gave a tremendous lurch, which threw all the students into a heap in one corner of the hold, "if we don't get on deck very soon, and take charge of this craft, she's bound to go to the bottom."

The wild plunging of the vessel, the noise of the waves washing against her sides, and the sound of hurrying feet on the deck overhead, sent a thrill of terror to the heart of every boy in the hold. They knew that their captors had succeeded in getting the yacht under way, but they did not fully realize their danger until one of the students, who was steadying himself by holding[255] on to the mast, which ran up through the hold, exclaimed:

"Fellows, Newcombe has hoisted some of the canvas, and is trying to sail out of the harbor in the face of this gale. Just put your hands on the mast, and see how it quivers!"

As if they were acting under orders, the crew made a rush for the after end of the hold, and commenced another furious attack upon the door, but with no other effect than to increase their alarm. There was no possible chance for escape. Both doors were securely fastened, the hatch overhead was battened down, and when the yacht was capsized or sunk—an event which they all believed to be not far distant—nothing on earth could save them.

"Fellows—" began the first lieutenant.

What he was about to say the boys never knew, for he was interrupted in his speech by a shout from one of the crew, who had been crawling about the hold on his hands and knees.

"Hurrah for me!" shouted the student. "Where's the lieutenant? I have been lucky enough to find a handspike."

"Pass it over here!" said Harry, in an excited voice. "Stand by, now, and the moment I burst the door open, make a rush, and don't stop until the vessel is ours. We must take charge of the yacht before Newcombe gets her into the bay, and we've no time to lose. Keep still, fellows! Somebody is outside the door!"


The boys held their breath in suspense, and crouched, like so many tigers, ready for a spring. Some one was certainly busy with the lock. After a delay that seemed an age to the students, the key turned, the door opened, and the next moment Tom Newcombe was knocked clear across the cabin, by a blow from the pillow, in the hands of the tall student, who was the first to spring into the cabin.

"That was a lucky haul, fellows!" exclaimed the first lieutenant. "We've got the old boy himself. Secure him at once."

Harry, of course, did not know that Tom had released him and his crew intentionally, and perhaps it would have made no difference to him if he had. Like all the rest of the students, he looked upon Tom as a very dangerous fellow, and he was resolved to capture him, even if by so doing the other members of the band were allowed an opportunity to escape. In obedience to the order, half a dozen students threw themselves upon him, and Tom, stunned by the blow from the pillow, and astonished at the roughness with which he was handled, did not fairly recover the use of his tongue until he found himself securely bound and confined in one of the state-rooms—the apartment that had been intended for the captain of the vessel, and which he had expected to occupy under very different circumstances.

The fisher-boy lay upon the sofa a delighted witness of all that took place; but, although the lamp was burning[257] brightly, and he was in plain sight, the students were so excited, and so fully occupied in securing possession of their weapons, and disposing of their prisoner, that they were not aware of his presence until he aroused them by saying—"Now, perhaps you will be kind enough to release me!"

Of course the students were kind enough to do it, and they did do it as soon as they had satisfied themselves that he was not a member of Tom's band. He was not required to enter into any lengthy explanation, for the first lieutenant was in a great hurry to finish the work so well begun; and, besides, the fact that the fisher-boy was bound hand and foot, was sufficient evidence that he had not assisted in the capture of the vessel, and that he had been brought there against his will.

"No time to talk, fellows," said the first lieutenant. "How many of them are there, Jennings?"

"Only five, now that Tom is a prisoner," replied Bob, picking up the spear that the governor had used during the fight, and making some feeble attempts to stand on his feet.

"Only five!" repeated Harry, in astonishment. "Eighteen fellows whipped in a fair fight by one-third of their number! Boys, I think this will be our first and last cruise in the Storm King. That is bad evidence to be brought up against us."

"But it wasn't a fair fight," said one of the crew. "They were armed and we were not."

"Well, they whipped us, anyhow," said the lieutenant,[258] "and now we must whip them. Stand by to board with a loud cheer! Board!"

The students, yelling at the top of their lungs, sprang up the ladder, and gained the deck without meeting any of the enemy. The members of the Crusoe band were so fully occupied in navigating the vessel, that they had not noticed Tom's absence from the deck, and the noise of the storm had drowned all sounds of what had been going on in the cabin.

When the first lieutenant reached the top of the ladder, he stopped, appalled by the scene presented to his gaze. The storm was increasing in fury every moment, the lightning flashed almost incessantly, rendering objects about the harbor as plainly visible as if it had been daylight, and the wind howled as fiercely as ever. By some streak of luck which the lieutenant could not understand, and which would not have attended him again had he attempted the same feat, Xury had succeeded in piloting the vessel safely through the harbor; and when the students reached the deck, she was on the point of entering the bay.

Harry had witnessed many a tempest, both at sea and on shore, and as he began to regard himself as quite an accomplished sailor, he was disposed to make light of storms that were really terrific. But he had nothing to say about this one. He had never seen such waves in Newport Bay, neither had he ever seen a vessel so badly handled as was the Storm King. The mainsail, close reefed, was the only canvas hoisted, but that was altogether[259] too much for her; besides, Xury was becoming frightened, and managed the wheel with very unsteady hands. Sometimes the sail would feel the full force of the gale, and the yacht would roll down almost to her beam ends; then Xury would "luff" until the sail was shaking in the wind, when he would fill away again. Harry took this all in at a glance. He dared not hesitate long, for he saw the necessity of prompt action.

"Richardson!" he shouted, turning to one of the midshipmen, "take two men to the wheel, and put her about at once. Forward! and clear the deck of these pirates."

"Hallo, here!" exclaimed the governor, who just then happened to glance toward the companion-way. "Here they are, fellers! Down with the 'cademy swells!"

But the chief's battle-cry failed to produce any effect upon his crew. The lightning showed them that the students had recovered their weapons, and that was enough to convince them that their voyage was at an end. Besides, they were not allowed time to make up their minds whether to fight or surrender, for the students, led by Harry, rushed forward in a body, and in a moment every member of the Crusoe band, except the governor, was a prisoner. The latter caught up a hand-spike, and stood his ground long enough to see his men overpowered, one after the other, when he dropped his weapon and sprang upon the bowsprit, where he was followed by half a dozen of the students.

"Surrender, Sam Barton!" exclaimed the foremost. "Your cruise is up, now."


"Not much, I won't surrender," replied the chief, desperate to the last. "Better not come too near me!"

The students, not in the least intimidated by this last remark, which implied that he intended to resist all their efforts to capture him, continued to follow the chief, who, having retreated as far as he could toward the end of the bowsprit, suddenly arose to his feet. "Down with the 'cademy swells!" he shouted, shaking his fist at his pursuers.

For an instant he stood with his arms spread out, balancing himself on the bowsprit, and then, with another wild cry, he sprang into the air and disappeared under the bow of the yacht, which, by this time, had been put about, and was booming along up the harbor at a terrific rate. A cry of horror arose from all who had witnessed this last act of the chief, and while one hurried off to report the matter to the lieutenant, the others ran aft to watch for him as he arose under the stern. But not one of those students ever saw Sam Barton again. By the time they reached the stern, the yacht had left the spot where he disappeared a long way behind, and they were as powerless to assist him as if he had been in mid-ocean. The chief, in his desperation, preferred to trust himself to the waves, rather than in the hands of the students; and, whatever other dangers he might have run into, he was safe from the clutches of Mr. Grimes. But this incident, exciting as it was, was soon forgotten. The students had other things to think[261] of, and the governor's reckless courage ceased to be the topic of conversation.

The first lieutenant had his hands full. He was filled with apprehension and trembling with anxiety for the safety of his vessel and crew, but he did not forget his prisoners, who, being taken in charge by a guard detailed for that purpose, were marched down into the hold and locked up.

The sail up the harbor was attended with quite as much, if not more, danger than the coming down had been. The first lieutenant had too much at stake to run any risks, and as soon as the crew could be got together—for, in the excitement attending the battle, and the escape from the hold, all discipline had been forgotten—he ordered the sail taken in. This was speedily accomplished, and then the yacht drifted helplessly about on the waves. But her speed, of course, was greatly diminished, and the danger attending a collision, if one occurred, was diminished in the same proportion. Harry's next care was, to send one of the midshipmen to get the spare anchor up from the hold. This was an operation of some difficulty. The anchor was weighty, and the first lieutenant was the only one on board who understood the management of heavy bodies, and he could not leave the deck. Only a part of the crew engaged in executing this order. The others were kept on deck, holding themselves in readiness to "fend off," if there should be danger of running into any of the vessels at the wharves. The yacht drifted[262] along, sometimes stern foremost, sometimes sideways, but generally keeping near the middle of the harbor, and, by the time the midshipman came aft, to report the anchor ready, they were within a short distance of the place from which they started on their involuntary cruise.



"There!" exclaimed the first lieutenant, drawing a long breath of relief, as the yacht swung round with her head to the storm, after the anchor had been let go, "we're back here, and in just as good condition as when we started, if we except very wet skins and badly damaged reputations. But the vessel is all right, and that's one thing I can feel easy about."

Harry left the officer who was second in command of the guard, to make every thing snug on board, and went below to talk to Tom Newcombe; for, thus far, he had not heard a word uttered that gave him an insight into his object in capturing the vessel. As he descended into the cabin he met the fisher-boy, who, since his release, had made several unsuccessful attempts to reach the deck to assist the students in retaking the yacht. But he had not yet fully recovered the use of his hands and feet, and, he had been obliged to remain inactive in the cabin.

"Is she all right, now?" asked Bob, as the lieutenant came down the ladder.


"Yes, and as sound as a dollar," was the reply. "I shall turn her over to her next executive officer, in just as good condition as she was received; and that's some consolation."

"I wish you had driven them down here," said the fisher-boy, as he stood his spear up in one corner of the cabin. "I'd like to have had a chance at the governor."

"The governor!" repeated Harry, curiously. "Do you mean Sam Barton? He is overboard. He jumped into the harbor on purpose. I hoped to command this vessel one of these days," continued the lieutenant, more interested in his own affairs, just then, than in the fate of the chief, "but Tom Newcombe has sadly interfered with my arrangements by this night's work. Wouldn't it be a good plan to pitch him overboard also?"

"I believe it would," answered Bob. "It might save somebody some trouble; for he'll be into another scrape as soon as he gets fairly out of this one, and he will ruin any body who has any thing to do with him."

"But how came you here a prisoner?" inquired the lieutenant. "You were not in the fight, were you?"

The fisher-boy's story was a long one; for, in order to enable Harry to understand how he came to incur the displeasure of Sam Barton, he was obliged to begin with the story of the passenger who had paid him forty dollars in gold for catching the steamer. He told all about Tom's lottery scheme, which made the lieutenant laugh until his jaws ached, and finally, he came to the Crusoe[265] band. He related the circumstances connected with his capture; revealed the objects of the organization, and also the motives that had led Tom Newcombe to become a member, as far as he was acquainted with them. What he did not know Harry was able to supply, and thus they got at a complete history of every thing Tom had done since his expulsion from the society of Night-hawks. Harry was really amazed to learn that a boy of Tom's years could put any faith in a lottery, and believe that Sam Barton's idea of hunting up an island somewhere in the ocean, and leading Crusoe life, could be successfully carried out.

"I do not know that my chances for promotion are the best in the world just now," said the lieutenant, as he arose and unlocked the door that led into the hold, "but such as they are, I would almost give them up to know what notion that boy will get into his head next. I wonder if he won't come to the conclusion that the North Pole is 'just the place he always wanted to go to,' and try to fit out an expedition among the village boys!"

"If he does he will get plenty of recruits," said Bob.

"Come out here, Friday, Jack Spaniard, Will Atkins, and Exury," exclaimed Harry, addressing himself to the prisoners. "Let us have a look at you. I want to see the boy who was lucky enough to take this vessel down the harbor in this storm, without smashing her to pieces."

The fisher-boy, while relating the history and exploits[266] of the Crusoe band, had given the lieutenant the names of the members, just as the governor had pronounced them.

"By the way, Richardson," continued Harry, turning to the midshipman who had managed the vessel, while his superior officer was leading the attack on the pirates, "I have read Robinson Crusoe a good many times, but I never saw any thing in it about a fellow called Exury. Whom are you named after?" he added, addressing the reckless pilot.

"After the feller that was with the governor when he ran away in the boat that had a shoulder of mutton for a sail," was the reply.

The first lieutenant, who was highly amused at every thing he heard regarding the band, laughed louder than ever. Xury had got things pretty well mixed up, if he supposed that Crusoe's boat had a shoulder of mutton for a sail; but, after all, he was not to blame for that, for he had never read the book, and all his ideas concerning the hero of the band, and his surroundings, were gained from what he had heard Sam say on the subject.

"I know who you are now," said Harry, slowly surveying his prisoner from head to foot, "and I would advise you to discard your real name and stick to your assumed one. If it will always bring you such luck as has attended you to-night, you'll be an admiral one of these days. Richardson, see that these fellows are made comfortable for the night. They came very near sending[267] us all to the bottom, but that's no reason why we should not treat them as kindly as we can."

The midshipman took charge of the prisoners, and Harry unlocked the door of the state-room in which Tom was confined, and went in to talk to him.

"O, now, I'd like to know what you are going to do with me!" drawled the prisoner, as the lieutenant untied the ropes with which his hands and feet were bound. "I always was the most unlucky boy in the whole world, but this is the worst scrape I ever got into."

"I came in, captain, to tell you that there is a good fire in the galley, and that you may go in there and dry your clothing, if you feel so disposed," replied Harry.

"O, now, I won't do it," whined Tom. "I'd rather stay here as I am, than to go in there and have all those fellows tormenting me. I want you to quit calling me captain, for I wasn't master of the vessel, nor governor of the band, either."

"Why, didn't you tell me that you were commander of the yacht?" demanded Harry.

"O, yes, I did, but I didn't hold the office long, for the governor got mad at me, and broke me; and then I got mad at him, and let you out. But I wouldn't have done it, if I had known that you would knock me down, and then keep me here a prisoner. What are you going to do with me?"

This was a question that Harry did not like to answer. Although Tom had caused him a great deal of uneasiness,[268] and had placed the yacht and her crew in jeopardy he was not revengeful, and, if he could have had his own way, he would have released his prisoner at once. Bad as he was, he was the son of the man who had presented the principal of the academy with the fine vessel of which he had the honor to be the executive officer, and for that, if for no other reason, Harry did not want to see him disgraced. But his orders were, to bring the attacking party to the academy as prisoners of war, and now, that he had captured them, he could not disobey.

"You are going to put me ashore now, are you not, Harry?" whined the prisoner, trying hard to choke back his tears. "I'll never do it again."

"I can't!" replied the lieutenant. "I am acting under orders."

"But you must remember that I let you out," said Tom. "I was trying to make amends for what I had done. What do you suppose my father will say, when he hears that you marched me to the academy with those low, ignorant ferry-boys?"

"I don't know. But if those boys were good enough for you while you were at liberty to do as you pleased, they are certainly good enough for you now that you are a prisoner."

"But I won't stand it, I tell you," roared Tom, now beginning to cry in earnest. "I am not going to the academy under arrest, to be shut up in the guard-house. Now mind what I say, Harry Green! If you don't let me go at once, I'll square yards with you some day."


"I am not going to stay here to listen to any threats," replied the lieutenant, placing his hand on the door-knob. "You have been a student at the academy, and you know what is done with a fellow who does not obey orders. You had better go into the galley and dry your clothes."

"O, now, I won't do it," shouted Tom, who seemed to be almost beside himself with rage.

"Well, then, if I will allow you the freedom of the vessel, will you promise that you will not try to escape?"

"No, I won't do that either. Get out of here! I'll fix you for this!"

Harry, seeing that his prisoner was in very bad humor, left the state-room, locking the door after him. While he was talking to Tom, the crew had been employed in setting things to rights, and now the cabin presented the same scene of neatness and order that it had before the fight—only one of the chairs was missing, and the center-table had been pushed against the bulkhead to enable it to retain its upright position, one of its legs having been broken off during the struggle. The officer on duty sat at the desk writing, as if nothing had happened, and a sentinel had been posted at the door of the hold, who saluted the lieutenant as he passed.

Harry went into the galley, where the crew had congregated to dry their clothing by the fire, and to listen to the fisher-boy's story. Xury, Jack Spaniard,[270] Friday, and Will Atkins were there, under charge of a guard, and they seemed to take matters very coolly answering all the questions asked them, and even putting in a word now and then, to assist Bob in his description of the incidents that happened while he was a prisoner in the cave. Xury, especially, was very talkative. The crew all looked at him with a good deal of curiosity, and he held himself very stiffly, believing that he had accomplished a most remarkable feat, when he piloted the vessel safely through the harbor, and that it was his superior skill as a sailor, and not luck, that had carried him through.

The students were as much astonished at Bob's story as their officer had been; and, after the latter had listened a few moments to their remarks, he came to the conclusion that, for once in his life, Tom Newcombe had shown some judgment when he declined to mingle with the crew. While some of them regarded the whole affair as a stupendous joke, others were very angry at him, and all believed that no other boy of his age in the world had so little common sense. Very likely the prisoner was much more comfortable in his wet clothes than he would have been by the fire, in the galley.

The lieutenant took off his coat, wrung the water out of it, and stood by the stove until his clothes were dry, when he returned to the cabin, where he found the tall student with his hand wrapped up in his handkerchief, walking up and down the floor. This was Jackson, the[271] second lieutenant of the ship, and the one who had done such good service with his pillow.

"Does it hurt much?" inquired Harry.

"It is not very comfortable, I assure you," replied the student, his face all wrinkled up with pain, "but I don't mind the hurt so much as I do the investigation that is coming."

The first lieutenant seated himself at his desk, to write out his report of the incidents of the night. He went about it with as much earnestness as if he had been the commander of a government vessel, in time of war, and had just come out of a terrible fight. He had nothing to do but to tell the truth in the fewest possible words, and in a few minutes the report was finished. It ran as follows:

"Academy Ship Storm King,
July 16th, 18—.


"It becomes my unpleasant duty to inform you that an attack was made upon this vessel, at half-past ten o'clock, by an organized band of outlaws, calling themselves 'Crusoe men,' and that it was partially successful.

"In accordance with the instructions contained in your letters of this date, I reported to the commanding officer of the yacht for duty and command of the vessel. I at once proceeded to carry out the verbal orders given me before I left the academy, and detailed six privates, two[272] corporals, and as many officers, for guard duty. One sentry was posted on deck, while the officer remained in the cabin, and the corporal in the forecastle, the latter going on deck twice each hour, to strike the bells and see that every thing was snug. At the time the attack was made, private Simmonds was the sentinel on deck, and lieutenant Jackson the officer of the guard. The attacking party, consisting of six men, were led by Samuel Barton, who went by the name of governor. They boarded the vessel from a yawl—the darkness and the howling of the storm effectually concealing their movements from the sentinel, and drowning all sounds of their approach. Private Simmonds called for the corporal, and attempted to prevent the boarding of the pirates, but was obliged to retreat into the cabin, where he was pursued by the governor and a portion of his band; the others, commanded by Thomas Newcombe, going down into the galley, and thence into the forecastle, where they aroused the guard from a sound sleep, and drove them into the hold. The governor's squad numbered only three men, but they were armed with spears, which we found to be quite as dangerous as bayonets.

"The most of the crew were asleep in the hold, and before they could be awakened, the officers in the cabin had been overpowered and crowded into the hold at the point of the spears. The pirates placed themselves between us and our weapons, but we would have succeeded in beating them back but for the arrival of[273] their reënforcements. Some of them turned our own weapons against us, and, being unarmed, we were forced to retreat. The pirates then locked us up in the hold, after which, Thomas Newcombe took command of the vessel.

"Owing to some disagreement with the chief, he was broken, and the management of the yacht devolved upon a member of the band, who answers to the name of Xury. He started down the harbor under a close reefed mainsail, while we in the hold made repeated but unsuccessful efforts to escape, until Thomas Newcombe, wishing to be revenged upon his chief for relieving him of the command, unlocked the door and released us. We at once attacked the pirates, who made but a feeble resistance, and in a few moments they were all secured, except the chief, who jumped overboard rather than to fall into our hands. The vessel was put about by midshipman Richardson, who handled her during the fight, and brought her back to her anchorage.

"I regret to report that lieutenant Jackson, corporal Smith, and private Simmonds, were wounded during the struggle—the former being disabled by a thrust from a bayonet.

"I am sure that the Storm King sustained no injury during the run down and up the harbor, but, in order to establish this fact, I respectfully request that a Board of Survey be ordered to examine into her condition, and also that a Court of Inquiry be convened, to ascertain[274] whether or not the honor of our flag has suffered in my hands

"Very Respectfully,
Your Obd't Serv't
First Lieutenant, A. N.

"Captain William Steele,
Commanding Academy Ship Storm King."

(The letters A. N., which Harry placed after his rank, stood for Academy Navy.)

"How will that do, Jackson?" inquired the first lieutenant, after he had read the report to his wounded shipmate. "I know that the Board of Survey, and the Court of Inquiry will come, whether I ask for them or not; but I have made the request, simply to show the principal that I am willing he should sift the matter as soon as he pleases. I can't think of any order that I have disobeyed, but they are so hard on a fellow here, that I expect to have my appointment revoked."

The first lieutenant placed his report in an official envelope, and, after addressing it to the captain, he went into his state-room and tumbled into bed. He did not sleep much; and neither did Tom Newcombe, who, during the rest of the night, paced up and down his narrow prison like a caged lion. Morning came much too soon for him, and, at the first peep of day, all hands were called, and Harry put off for shore in the jolly-boat. In half an hour he returned with a yawl, and took his[275] prisoners and Bob Jennings on board. The latter was landed outside the academy grounds, and then the first lieutenant pushed off again to take the Crusoe men before the principal. The fisher-boy would have been glad to accompany them, for he wanted to hear what the principal would say to Tom. But other things demanded his attention. The first was, to go home and relieve the anxiety which he knew his mother felt at his prolonged absence, and the other, to secure possession of the Go Ahead No. 2, which had been left in the cave. He started off on a keen run, and in a few minutes reached Fishertown, and burst into the house, where his mother was engaged in getting breakfast.



His sudden appearance took the family completely by surprise. It took somebody else, who was not a member of the family, also by surprise, and that was Mr. Graves, the boat-builder, who had "just dropped in" at that early hour, to inquire if Mrs. Jennings had heard any news of Bob. He felt a great interest in him, he said, and was anxious to know what had become of him. The fisher-boy's mother, however, very soon discovered that he did not care so much about the welfare of her son as about the money Bob had promised to pay him for the Go Ahead No. 2.

Ever since the fisher-boy's disappearance, Mr. Graves had been a very miserable man. He had come to the conclusion that he had been sadly deceived in his customer, and he believed that Bob had run away to avoid paying the debt. This was enough to put him on nettles.

Although he was well off in the world, he was very "close" in all his dealings, and, in his eyes, twenty-six dollars was a small fortune. He had credited Bob for the skiff, not because he wished to assist him, but for[277] the reason that he believed his customer's promise to pay was almost as good as the money. If the fisher-boy had been able to pay cash for his boat, he could have bought her for twenty dollars; but when the boat-builder found that he was expected to wait three months for his money, he had added five dollars to the price of the skiff for interest. It made no difference to him that he was rich and Bob poor. That was no fault of his. He had a right to make as much money as he could, and this was a lawful business transaction.

"I am sorry that it has turned out this way, Mrs. Jennings," said the boat-builder, "but I can't help it. Of course you can't expect me to build fine skiffs, like the Go Ahead No. 2, for nothing! I couldn't make a living by doing business that way."

"I am very sorry that you let Bob have that boat on credit," said Mrs. Jennings.

"So am I, when it is too late. If the boat was here, and in good order, I would take it back; but as it is gone, you, of course, will acknowledge that I ought to be paid for it. I didn't suppose that a boy who bore the reputation of your Robert would become such a rascal! It is plain enough to me that he has run away. I'll warrant that he is in South America by this time, and that you'll never see him——Bobby Jennings!"

The fisher-boy's appearance at this moment proved to Mr. Graves's entire satisfaction that he was not in South America. He stood in the door-way, flushed with excitement, breathing hard after his rapid run, and looking[278] first at his mother and then at the boat-builder, who did not act as if he thought him a very great rascal. As soon as Bob had greeted his mother, he arose and shook hands with him, exclaiming—

"I am glad you have concluded to come back, Bobby."

"Concluded!" repeated the fisher-boy. That one word opened his eyes, and he imagined he knew the object of the boat-builder's visit. "You didn't suppose I had run away, did you?"

"Well, to tell the honest truth, we did, Bobby," replied Mr. Graves, settling back in his chair, as if he was willing to listen to any explanation the fisher-boy had to make. "You see, every thing pointed that way. You go in debt for a splendid little skiff, somebody steals her from you, you don't pay a cent on your note, and you suddenly disappear, and nobody knows were you have gone. What else could we suppose? There are no such things as kidnappers nowadays."

"There was such a thing as a Crusoe band, though!" replied Bob, who was astonished and indignant that any one should suppose him mean and dishonest enough to absent himself on account of a paltry debt of twenty-six dollars. He knew that all his acquaintances would be surprised at his absence, but he had never imagined that they would accuse him of running away.

"There was a—what did you call that band, Bobby?" inquired Mr. Graves, bending forward in his chair, and placing his hand behind his ear.


"What would I run away for?" demanded the fisher-boy, who did not feel disposed to favor his creditor with an explanation, after he had accused him so wrongfully. "My three months are not up yet, Mr. Graves. When the time comes you shall have your money."

"I hope so. I certainly hope so," said the boat-builder, picking up his hat, for he plainly saw that Bob did not want him there. "You will understand, of course, that the fact of your losing the boat does not affect the debt. Have I your promise that you will remain in the village?"

"Certainly, sir. I live here," replied the fisher-boy, rather coldly.

Mr. Graves bowed himself out, and returned to his ship-yard breathing a good deal easier. He was certain that his twenty-six dollars were safe. His mind was easy on that score, but his curiosity had been excited, and he would have been almost willing to give the price of the boat to know where his customer had been, and what he had been doing during his absence.

"Now, Bobby, tell me all about it," said Mrs. Jennings, as soon as the door had closed behind their visitor.

"Before I begin, mother, answer me one question," said the fisher-boy. "Did you believe that I had run away?"

"I did not," was the prompt reply.

Bob drew a long breath of relief. There was at least one person in the world who still had faith in him. Seating himself in a chair by his mother's side, he related[280] his story just as he had told it to the executive officer of the Storm King, and wound up by saying—"I am not sorry for what has happened. I know that I have been kept from my work, but I have found my skiff, and now I am going after it."

Bob did go. He put a piece of candle in his pocket—for the lantern that had been used in the cave was on board the yacht—and started off without waiting for his breakfast, although he had not eaten a mouthful since the previous morning. He went straight to the wharf, and his appearance there occasioned a great commotion among the ferry-boys, who climbed out of their boats, and gathered about him, even neglecting the passengers who were waiting to be carried across the harbor.

"Where have you been, Bobby, an' where's Sam Barton, an' Bill Stevens, an' Jack Bennett, an' the rest of them fellers?" inquired half a dozen of the boys at once.

"If one of you will lend me a boat for ten minutes, and go with me, I'll tell you all about it," was Bob's reply.

Of course, the boys would go with him, and they could spare their boats for ten minutes, or for all day, for that matter. Of the boats offered him, the fisher-boy climbed down into the one that suited him best, and, to the no small amazement of the boys, sculled under the wharf. A half a dozen boats kept close behind him, their crews making unsuccessful attempts to induce Bob to tell them the meaning of his strange movements. The latter said[281] nothing, until he had gathered all the boys about him in the cave, and then he told his story. If he had never had an appreciative audience before, he had one now, and he was obliged to relate over and over again the particulars of his capture and the fight with the dog, as well as all the other incidents that had transpired while he was a prisoner. Every one wondered what had become of the governor, and all were anxious to know what Bob intended to do with the members of the band. But, in this matter, the fisher-boy kept his own counsel.

After the ferry-boys had examined the cave to their satisfaction, and listened to all Bob had to say about Crusoe and his men, they assisted him in getting the Go Ahead No. 2 into the water. When Sam found that he would not be allowed an opportunity to dispose of the skiff, he had taken care to preserve every thing that belonged to her. The sail and the oars lay upon the thwarts, where they had been placed when the skiff was first brought into the cave, and so did the stake to which she had been chained. She was as good as new in every respect, and the fisher-boy could not refrain from shouting with delight, when he saw her floating in the water, under the pier.

Bob's story spread with great rapidity, and he soon found that he was quite a hero in the village. If he had felt so disposed, he could have spent half the day in relating his adventures to admiring listeners. But his time was too valuable to be wasted. He took four[282] or five passengers across the harbor, who made a great many inquiries concerning the Crusoe band; but he answered them in as few words as possible, and, as soon as he could get away from them, he started for home. There he disposed of a hasty breakfast, and, an hour afterward, the Go Ahead No. 2 was anchored on his fishing grounds, and Bob was sitting with his line dangling in the water, thinking over his adventures, and waiting patiently for a bite. But, contrary to his expectations, he soon found that the fish were quite as able to resist the temptation of a bait suspended over the side of his fine skiff, as they had been when it was thrown to them from his old scow. His splendid boat made no difference with their biting; and at night, when he filled away for home, his fish-basket was as empty as when he made his last trip down the bay, in the old Go Ahead. Ferrying was a little more profitable. He carried eight passengers across the harbor that night, by which he made sixteen cents.

The fisher-boy had been indulging in the hope that the loss of his two boats, and his long absence from his work, would operate as a sort of charm to break the "streak of bad luck," that had so long attended him in his fishing and ferrying. But in this he was disappointed. The fish were as shy of his hook as they had been two months before, and one day on the harbor opened his eyes to the fact that his skiff was altogether too small. Morning and evening were the busy times with the ferry-boys, for then the ship-carpenters went[283] to and from their work. There were so many boys in the harbor, that none of them could make more than one trip before the passengers were all carried across, and, consequently, the boy who had the largest and cleanest boat made the most money. For example, the yawl that Sam Barton had used would easily accommodate twenty-five persons, and Bob's skiff would not hold more than nine; so, while Sam made fifty cents with every "full trip," the fisher-boy made only eighteen.

Bob worked early and late, but luck was still against him, and, at the end of the week, he had saved only a dollar, which he paid into the hands of Mr. Graves, who indorsed it on the back of his note. During the second week, he laid by a quarter less, and he began to believe that his mother knew what she was talking about when she told him that it was a great deal easier to go in debt than to get out of it. How many times he wished for the five-dollar bill he had given Tom Newcombe to invest in the lottery!

During the month following, Bob led a most uncomfortable life. He gave up fishing, and finished Mr. Henry's pile of wood, for which he received six dollars, which was also paid to Mr. Graves. The day on which the note fell due came at last, and so did the boat-builder, who, in a business-like way, informed Bob that he still owed him seventeen dollars, and that he would "give him the benefit of the usual three days' grace." The fisher-boy did not know exactly what that meant, but he did know that it was simply impossible for him to[284] raise so large an amount, of money in so short a time. How often did he wish that the forty dollars in gold, which his mother still preserved—although she had more than once been at a loss to know where the next meal was coming from—belonged to him! But he would as soon have thought of breaking into Mr. Newcombe's office, and stealing seventeen dollars, as to use a portion of that to pay for his boat.

On the third day after the visit of the boat-builder, as Bob was sculling slowly about the harbor, looking for passengers, he was hailed by a man on the wharf, who, as he came up, pulled a memorandum-book from his pocket, saying:

"I am collecting for Mr. Graves, and I have a little bill of seventeen dollars against you."

"I can't pay it," replied the fisher-boy, hanging down his head, and looking as mean as if he had been detected in robbing somebody's orchard.

"Well, then, my orders are to give you back your nine dollars, and to take the boat," said the man. "Mr. Graves says he has been sadly deceived in you. You told him a falsehood."

The loss of the boat was a severe blow to Bob, but the knowledge that his reputation had suffered by his failure to keep his promise, was still worse. But that was not all. Mr. Henry and Mr. Newcombe were standing upon the wharf, and there were several ferry-boys close by. The two gentlemen opened their eyes and looked at Bob in great surprise, while one of the ferry-boys, delighted[285] to witness the discomfiture of a rival, whispered,

"Bobby's been tryin' to play the swell!"

"Hurrah for us! There's one more out of the way!" said another.

The fisher-boy laid the oars carefully upon the thwarts, passed the skiff's painter up to the collector, and climbed upon the wharf without saying a word. He took the note and the money the man handed to him, and stood watching him as he sprang down into the skiff, and pulled up the harbor toward the ship-yard. As soon as he disappeared among the shipping, Bob tore up the note, put his money into his pocket, and walked slowly homeward. He wanted to get out of sight of those two gentlemen, and away from the ferry-boys, who kept their eyes fastened on him as if he had been some curious wild animal. He felt like an outlaw, and it seemed to him that every man who passed him on the wharf, looked upon him with contempt.

"I'll always believe what mother says, after this," said the fisher-boy to himself. "I am out of debt now, and, if I don't keep out, I'll—"

"Ah, here you are!" exclaimed a voice, breaking in upon his reverie. "The best oarsman on Newport harbor! We've been looking for you! We want to go across!"

Bob looked up, and found his liberal passenger before him, the man who had paid him the forty dollars in gold by mistake. He had looked and watched for him[286] every time he came into the harbor, and here he was, when he the least expected him. He was accompanied by two gentlemen, whom Bob knew to be sailors, from their style of dress.

"Come, come, boy!" exclaimed the man, talking very rapidly, "the captain and I are in a great hurry, and I know that you can set us over in a little less than no time. Where's your boat?"

"I haven't got any, sir!" replied the fisher-boy, with tears in his eyes. "But do you know how much you paid me when you were here before?"

"Yes; I promised you a dollar, and I gave it to you, didn't I?" said the man, pulling out his pocket-book. "Did I make a mistake? How much do I owe you? Speak quick, for I don't like to have even a small debt."

"You don't owe me any thing, sir," said Bob, as soon as he saw a chance to crowd a word in edgeways; "but I owe you forty dollars in gold, and if you will come home with me, I will pay it to you."

"You owe me forty dollars!" repeated the man. "How does that come?"

"Why, you made a great mistake, sir. You gave me two twenty-dollar gold pieces instead of the two silver half dollars you promised me."

"What a big dunce I was, and what a bigger dunce you are, for telling me of it," said the man, looking at Bob with an expression he could not understand. "Come on, captain, we've wasted time enough."


To the fisher-boy's astonishment, the man turned on his heel and walked off without saying a word more about the money. He shook hands with Mr. Henry, who was still standing on the wharf, and Bob heard him inquire, "Who is that boy?" He did not hear the reply, for the grocer turned his back to him. Bob thought if he had lost forty dollars, and some one should offer to return it, he would pay more attention to the matter; but perhaps the gentleman had so many twenty-dollar gold pieces that the loss of two of them did not trouble him. He talked with Mr. Henry until a yawl, which he had hailed, came up, and then he climbed down into it, saying to the grocer: "I will call at your store this afternoon." Upon hearing this the fisher-boy started for home again, intending to take the money to Mr. Henry, with a request that he would give it to the owner.

Mrs. Jennings was not at all surprised when Bob told her that Mr. Graves had taken his boat away from him. She only said it was "just what she had been expecting," and then listened patiently as the fisher-boy unfolded his plans for the future. They were not very numerous or complicated, for now that his skiff was gone, there was but one way in which he could earn a livelihood, and that was by doing odd jobs about the village. "As for going to sea," said Bob, "I have almost given it up. I never can save thirty dollars, and I'll have to be a fisherman as long as I live."

As he said this, he felt the tears coming to his eyes[288], and, to hide his emotion, he went out of the house, sat down upon the ground, and looked up at his mottoes, under the eaves. "I don't believe Mr. Newcombe told the truth," said he, unconsciously giving utterance to the thoughts that were passing through his mind.

"About what?" inquired a voice behind him. Bob looked up, and there was his liberal passenger again. Without stopping to reply to his question, the fisher-boy sprang to his feet and ran into the cabin. In a few moments he returned with the gold pieces, and found the gentleman trying to read the mottoes. He took the money when Bob offered it to him, without even thanking him, and, placing his finger upon one of the boards, inquired: "What's all this written here?".

"It's my motto," replied Bob, with some hesitation.

"It is written in Greek, isn't it? Read it. I would like to know what it is?"

The fisher-boy hesitated again. He was afraid the gentleman might laugh at him. When he first cut that motto there, he thought it was something worth remembering; but now he had almost lost faith in it. The man repeated his request, and looked at Bob so kindly that he complied and read:

"Be sure you are right, and then go ahead!"

"Do you always live up to that?"

"Not always," replied the fisher-boy, looking down at the ground; "I went ahead once when I knew I was wrong, and got into trouble by it."

"How did you come to select this for a motto?


"I heard Mr. Newcombe talking to Tom just before he sailed in the Savannah. He said: 'Be sure you are right, and then go ahead, and I'll answer for your success in life.'"

"And if Tom had been sensible enough to pay some attention to it, he would have been of some use in the world now," said the gentleman. "He goes ahead when he knows he is wrong, and that's the reason he gets into so much trouble. What's the other motto?"

"Owe no man a penny," replied Bob.

"That's another good one. All the advice I can give you is, to keep them constantly in mind."

As the man said this, he abruptly left Bob, and walked rapidly toward the wharf.

"Well," said the fisher-boy to himself, "he is the queerest man I ever saw."

Bob was astonished at his singular behavior, and about an hour afterward, while he was eating his dinner, he was still more amazed by the appearance of one of the sailors he had seen with Mr. Evans—for that was the name of his liberal passenger—who entered without knocking, and began his business without ceremony.

"I am Captain Coons, master of the ship Spartan, which is to sail from this port for China, day after to-morrow," said he. "Be gone three years, probably. Want a boy, and have been instructed by Mr. Evans, my owner, to pay you a hundred dollars advance. What do you say, Bob? Here's your chance. You[290] needn't mind pumping for salt water about it, for I am in dead earnest. Here's the money if you'll say you will put down your name."

Bob could not say any thing immediately, for he found it impossible to speak. He looked at the roll of bills the captain held in his hand, then at his mother, and being unable to restrain himself any longer, he jumped up and ran out of the house. He did not shout, but he made a standing jump of eight feet and a-half, and then began to haul in an imaginary rope, hand over hand.

"What do I say, Bob?" said he to himself, in an excited whisper. "I say I'll go, and won't I do my best? Captain Coons's boots will shine so that he can see his face in them a mile off; and he'll never have to tell somebody to make the bunks over after me."

The fisher-boy did not say, "I'll soon be second mate, and then first mate, and then captain," as Tom Newcombe had done. His ideas extended no further, just then, than the faithful performance of his duties as boy.

Bob took a good many steps about the beach, and made several more long standing jumps before he worked off his excitement, and then he returned to the house, where he found the captain engaged in conversation with his mother. He saw, at a glance, that the matter had been settled during his absence, for his mother's purse lay upon the table, and it was larger than it had ever been before.

"Those mottoes did it, my lad," said the captain, after he had told Mrs. Jennings that Mr. Evans had heard all[291] of Bob's history from the grocer. "They pleased my owner wonderfully; and he asked me to tell you to bear one thing in mind, and that is, that a steady, honest, industrious boy never wants for friends, be he rich or poor. I shall expect to see you on board the Spartan at six o'clock this evening."

Bob reported to the captain promptly at the hour. A small portion of his advance had been expended for an outfit; but when he stood on the deck of his vessel, and waved his farewell to his mother, he knew that he had left her provided for.

"That's what comes of giving back them gold pieces," said Xury, standing up in his boat and waving his hat to the fisher-boy. "If he had kept 'em, like the governor wanted him to do, he wouldn't be on board that fine ship now."

Every one of the members of the band saw Bob start on his voyage, and it must be confessed that they breathed easier than they had done for many a day, when they beheld his vessel shaping her course down the bay. The principal had dismissed them with a sharp reprimand, and, when they resumed their work in the harbor, they lived in a state of constant fear and excitement, expecting every moment to find Mr. Grimes after them with a warrant. The fact that Bob spoke to them very civilly whenever he met them did not make them feel secure, and not until they saw his vessel fairly out of the harbor, were they satisfied that he did not intend to have them punished for what they had[292] done. Then every one of them was sorry that they had treated him so unkindly, and, if the fisher-boy had come back to the village, he never would have had any more trouble with the old members of the Crusoe band.

Tom Newcombe was there also. In spite of all his remonstrances and threats, the lieutenant had taken him before the principal of the academy, who sternly ordered him to go home. This made Tom more angry than ever, for he imagined the colonel had insulted him by treating him so coldly in the presence of the students, and he determined that he would yet be revenged upon him. What passed between him and his father no one ever knew; but all the clerks remarked that Tom worked harder, and that he spent less of his time in running around. His brain was as busy as usual, and in twenty-four hours after his release he had matured a plan for the organization of another secret society.

The future of a boy of Tom's habits is easily predicted. The only channel in which he ever exhibited any perseverance, was in holding to the belief that "nobody could teach him." To this opinion he clung as long as he lived, and, of course, he often got into trouble. His further adventures shall be related in "No Moss; or, the Career of a Rolling Stone."


Famous Castlemon Books.

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These stories will rank among the best of Mr. Trowbridge's books for the young, and he has written some of the best of our juvenile literature.

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A New Series of Books for Boys, equal in interest to the "Castlemon" and "Alger" books. His power of description of Indian life and character is equal to the best of Cooper.

Transcriber's Notes

Some inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation have been retained.

p. 85: "robs" changed to "ribs" (thumped against his ribs like a trip-hammer)

p. 99: "were" changed to "where" (where he was captured and put into the cave)

p. 126: "possble" changed to "possible" (as soon as possible)

p. 234: "forcastle" changed to "forecastle" (thence into the forecastle)

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Go-Ahead, by Harry Castlemon


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