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´╗┐Title: All Aboard; or, Life on the Lake - A Sequel to "The Boat Club"
Author: Optic, Oliver, 1822-1897
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "All Aboard; or, Life on the Lake - A Sequel to "The Boat Club"" ***

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All Aboard
or
Life on the Lake

A Sequel to "The Boat Club"

By
Oliver Optic

CHICAGO:
M.A. DONOHUE & CO.



PREFACE.


"ALL ABOARD" was written to gratify the reasonable curiosity of the
readers of "THE BOAT CLUB" to know what occurred at Wood Lake during the
second season; and, though it is a sequel, it has no direct connection
with its predecessor. The Introduction, in the first chapter, contains a
brief synopsis of the principal events of the first season; so that
those who have not read "The Boat Club," will labor under no
disadvantage on that account.

The _story_ of each book is entirely distinct from that of the other. As
the interest of the first centers in Tony Weston, so that of the second
does in Charles Hardy. I have tried to make the boys believe that the
path of truth and rectitude is not only the safest, but the pleasantest
path; and the experience of Charles with the "Rovers" illustrates and
supports the position.

Perhaps some of the older readers of these books will think that, in
providing the boys at Wood Lake with a whole fleet of boats, with bands
of music, with club rooms, libraries, and apparatus, I have furnished
them with very magnificent recreations; and that I might as well have
told a "fairy tale" while I was about it. The only excuse I can offer
for this extravagance is, that it would have been a pity to spoil a
splendid ideal, when it could be actualized by a single stroke of the
pen; besides, I believe that nothing is too good for good boys,
especially when it is paid for out of the pocket of a _millionaire_.

The author, grateful to his young friends for the kind reception given
to "The Boat Club," hopes that "All Aboard" will not only please them,
but make them wiser and better.

WILLIAM T. ADAMS.

DORCHESTER, October 25, 1855.



CONTENTS.


CHAPTER.

I. Introduction
II. The New Member
III. All Aboard!
IV. The Fraternal Hug
V. Up the River
VI. Hurrah for Tony!
VII. Commodore Frank Sedley
VIII. The Race
IX. Little Paul
X. A Unanimous Vote
XI. Better to Give than Receive
XII. First of May
XIII. The Lighthouse
XIV. The Conspiracy
XV. The "Rovers"
XVI. The Camp on the Island
XVII. The Escape
XVIII. Wreck of the Butterfly
XIX. The Cruise of the Fleet
XX. The Hospitalities of Oaklawn
XXI. Conclusion



CHAPTER I.

INTRODUCTION.


It can hardly be supposed that all the boys who take up this book have
read the Boat Club; therefore it becomes necessary, before the old
friends of the club are permitted to reunite with them, to introduce
whatever new friends may be waiting to join them in the sports of the
second season at Wood Lake. However wearisome such a presentation may be
to those who are already acquainted, my young friends will all allow
that it is nothing more than civility and good manners.

Frank Sedley is the only son of Captain Sedley, a retired shipmaster, of
lofty and liberal views, and of the most estimable character. He is not
what some people would call an "old fogy," and likes to have the boys
enjoy themselves in everything that is reasonable and proper; but not to
the detriment of their manners or morals, or to the neglect of their
usual duties.

Having been a sailor all his life, he has none of that fear of boats and
deep water which often haunts the minds of fond parents, and has
purchased a beautiful club boat for the use of his son and other boys
who live in the vicinity of Wood Lake.

Some fathers and mothers may think this was a very foolish act on the
part of Captain Sedley, that the amusement he had chosen for his son was
too dangerous in itself, and too likely to create in him a taste for
aquatic pursuits that may one day lead him to be a sailor, which some
tender mothers regard as "a dreadful thing," as, indeed, it is, under
some circumstances.

But it must be remembered that Captain Sedley had been a sailor himself;
that he had followed the seas from early youth; and that he had made his
fortune and earned his reputation as a wise, good, and respectable man,
on the sea. So, of course, he could not sympathize with the general
opinion that a ship must necessarily be a "sink of iniquity," a school
of vice, and that nothing good can be expected of a boy who is sent to
sea. He believes that the man will grow out of the boy; and to his
parental duty he applies the apostolic maxim, "Whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap."

The club boat and the boat club, as means of instruction and discipline,
as well as of amusement, were suggested by an accidental occurrence. The
"Bunkers of Rippleton," a set of idle and dissolute boys, had
constructed a rude raft, upon which they paddled about on the lake, and
appeared to enjoy themselves very much. Captain Sedley, who had
forbidden his son to venture upon the lake on the raft, or even in a
boat, without permission, overheard Charles Hardy, the intimate friend
of Frank, remark that the "Bunkers" had a much better time than they
had, and that boys who did not obey their parents often enjoyed
themselves more than those who did.

A few days after, the boys discovered the club boat, the light and
graceful Zephyr, resting like a fairy shell upon the lake, and in its
use the argument of Charles was effectually refuted. A club was formed
of the boys in the neighborhood, and under the instruction of Uncle Ben,
an old sailor who lived with Captain Sedley, soon became very expert in
the management of the boat. A building was erected for the use of the
association, in which, besides the boat-house, was a club room
containing a library, and furnished with conveniences for holding
meetings for mutual instruction and recreation. A constitution for the
government of the club was adopted, in which the object of the
association was declared to be "the instruction and amusement of the
members, and the acquiring of good morals, good manners, and good habits
in general." It defined and prohibited a great many vices and bad habits
common among boys, so that the tendency of the organization was to make
them better, wiser, and happier.

Their experience upon the lake, while the influence of the association
stimulated them to the strict performance of their ordinary duties, was
both varied and useful. Inasmuch as it reduced their recreation to a
system, the laws of the club acting as a salutary check upon the
waywardness of youth, it afforded an excellent discipline for the mind
and heart, as well as for the muscles.

Among the members of the club was an honest, noble-hearted youth, the
son of a poor widow, by the name of Tony Weston. In an affray upon
Center Island, Tony had taken the part of Frank Sedley against Tim
Bunker, and had thus obtained the ill will of the leader of the
"Bunkers," and is accused of stealing a wallet, which is afterwards
proved to have been taken by the "Bunker" himself. The theft is proved
upon the graceless scamp, and he is sent to the house of correction,
while Tony is borne in triumph by the club to his home.

Near the close of the story, Tony's brother, who has long been mourned
as dead, returns home from California, with a large fortune in his
possession. The brother, George Weston, builds a fine house for his
mother, and, impelled by a warm admiration for Tony's noble character,
purchases a splendid club boat for him, of the size and model of the
Zephyr, which is named the Butterfly.

Tony is a boy whom all my readers will like, and though he is really no
better boy than Frank Sedley, the humble circumstances of his mother
before George returned required a great deal of sacrifice on his part,
and called into action a great many noble traits of character. His life
was a struggle, and his character a triumph over the perils to which
poverty exposed him.

His experience seemed to exemplify the truths of Christianity. He could
forgive his enemy, as when, at the risk of his own life, he plunged into
the lake and rescued Tim Bunker from a watery grave, though Tim was even
then laboring to ruin him. He loved to sacrifice his own comfort to that
of others and found his greatest pleasure in making others happy. He and
Frank are the unconscious exemplars of the boat club--the "men of
character and influence" in their embryo world.

Charles Hardy is a boy of another stamp--one who does things "to be
seen of men." He is sometimes selfish and ambitious; though the
beneficent influence of the organization is working miracles in the
transformation of his character.

The Butterfly was launched in the month of April. The liberality of
George Weston had provided for her a boat-house, similar to that of the
Zephyr, and, like that, furnished with a club room and library, and all
the means for promoting the objects of the organization.

And now, with my old friends refreshed in memory by this review of the
first season, and my new ones put in possession of all that is necessary
to a proper understanding of the situation of the boat club, we are
ready to proceed with our story.



CHAPTER II.

THE NEW MEMBER.


"Order!" said Frank Sedley, as he seated himself in the arm-chair, at
the head of the table in the club room.

At a meeting the preceding week, Frank had again been chosen coxswain of
the club for the first official term. This had been done, not only in
compliment to the noble boy to whose father the members were indebted
for the privileges they enjoyed, but in anticipation of an exciting time
on the lake, in a proposed race with the Butterfly. Frank was
acknowledged to be the most skilful boatman among them, and under his
direction they expected to accomplish all that they and the Zephyr could
possibly attain. They had already learned that mere muscle was not all
that was required to insure their success. Skill, forethought, and the
ability to take advantage of favoring circumstances, were discovered to
be even more desirable than great power.

"Order!" repeated Frank, rapping smartly on the table.

The members suspended their conversation, and all eyes were fixed upon
the president. The affairs of the club, in connection with the
Butterfly, had been freely discussed for several weeks, and everything
had been arranged for the opening of the "summer campaign," as Charles
Hardy rather facetiously called it.

"There are two questions to be submitted for the action of the club at
this meeting," continued Frank, with more than his usual gravity. "They
are questions of momentous consequence, and I have felt the need of
counsel from our director; but my father declines giving me any advice,
and says he prefers that we should discuss the questions independently;
though, as you all know, if our final action is wrong, he will--he
will--"

"Veto it," added Fred Harper.

"Yes, he will not permit us to do a wrong, though he wants us to think
for ourselves, and do the best we can."

"Precisely so; he wants--" Charles Hardy begun.

"Order!" said Frank, with gentle firmness. "The first question is this:
Tim Bunker, who has recently been discharged from the house of
correction, has applied to be admitted as a member of the club, in place
of Tony Weston, resigned. Shall he be admitted?"

"Mr. President, I move that he be not admitted," said Charles.

"Is the motion seconded?"

There was no response. The members all felt that it was a very delicate
matter, and that it required careful deliberation.

"The motion is not seconded, and, of course, cannot be entertained,"
continued the president.

"I move that he be admitted," said Fred Harper.

"Second the motion," added William Bright.

Charles Hardy felt a little nettled, and his first impulse was, to rise
and express his astonishment, as Squire Flutter had done in the "March
meeting," at the motion of his friend on the other side of the table:
but the impulsive youth had learned quite recently that a second thought
is oftentimes much better than a first, and he reserved the expression
of his surprise till a later stage of the debate.

As no one seemed disposed to open the discussion, Frank requested Fred
Harper to take the chair, while he temporarily assumed the position of
one of the disputants.

"Mr. Chairman," said he, "I rise to offer a few remarks in favor of the
motion which is now before the club. Perhaps I cannot better introduce
my own views upon the subject than by relating the substance of the
conversation that occurred when Tim applied to me for admission to the
club. He said that he had had a hard time of it in the house of
correction; but he hoped his long confinement had done him good. He had
firmly resolved to be a good boy. 'But,' said he, 'what can I do? If I
go with the fellows I used to associate with, how can I keep my
resolution? I know I have been a very bad boy, and I want to do what is
right.' I told him that our rules were very strict; that no fellow was
allowed to swear or to use bad language of any kind and that every
member was required to keep straight himself, and help keep the others
straight. He would agree to all this, would sign the constitution, and
my father and the club would soon see that he meant all he said. I
confess that I felt for him. What he said about keeping company with the
'Bunkers'--I suppose we must drop that name now--was true. He could not
be a good fellow with such as they are. Now it won't do any harm to try
him, and he may be saved from the error of his ways. As it is, he has
got a hard name, and people will shun him: and, being discouraged, he
may plunge deeper into vice than ever. This is about all I have to say."

Frank resumed the chair, and several of the members, perceiving the
force of the president's reasoning, expressed themselves in favor of
admitting Tim; when Charles Hardy rose and "plumed himself for a
speech."

"Mr. President: I confess my surprise at the direction this debate has
taken. There's a _destiny_ that shapes our ends--"

"A what?" asked Fred Harper, with a roguish smile.

"I beg the member on the other side will not interrupt me," replied
Charles, with offended dignity. "I quote the line as John Adams used it,
in his celebrated speech, 'Sink or swim.'"

"Who?"

"John Adams."

"I beg the member's pardon, but John Adams never made any such speech,"
answered Fred who, it must be confessed, was rather too fond of
tantalizing the ambitious youth.

"Really, Mr. President, I am surprised that the member should deny what
we all know. Why, the piece is in our reading book."

"Daniel Webster put the speech into the mouth of Adams," added Frank;
"and the patriot is only supposed to have made it."

"It amounts to the same thing," continued Charles, with a slight blush.

"But your quotation was not correct," said Fred.

"Perhaps the member will give me the correct reading of the passage."

"With pleasure; the lines are from Shakspeare:--

  'There's a Divinity that shapes our ends,
      Roughhew them as we will.'

I fancy the lines will not suit the member now," continued Fred, as he
cast a mischievous glance at the discomfited speech-maker.

"Go on, if you please," said Frank to Charles.

"As I was saying, Mr. President, 'There's a Divinity that shapes our
ends'--"

"You were not saying so," interposed Fred.

"Order!" said the chairman. "Proceed."

But Charles Hardy could not proceed. Undoubtedly, when he rose to speak,
he had an idea in his head; but it had fled, and he could not at once
recall it. In vain he scratched his head, in vain he thrust his hands
into his pockets, as if in search of the lost idea; it would not come.

"You were speaking of Tim Bunker," said Frank, suggestively.

"I was; and I was about to say that--that--"

Some of the boys could no longer suppress their mirth, and, in spite of
the vigorous pounding which the chairman bestowed upon the innocent
table, in his attempts to preserve order, they had their laugh out. But
the pleasantry of the members, and a sense of the awkwardness of his
position, roused Charles to a more vigorous effort, and as he was about
to speak of another topic, the lost idea came like a flood of sunshine.

"'There's a Divinity that shapes our ends.' Tim Bunker has chosen the
path he will tread, and does anybody suppose he will ever abandon it? He
will certainly die in the State Prison or on the gallows--my father says
so. We all know what his habits are, and it is as easy for an Ethiopian
to change his _spots_--"

"Skin," said Fred.

"To change his skin, as for such a fellow to be like us. He will lie,
swear,--"

"The chair thinks the member's remarks are not strictly in order,"
interposed Frank, who was much pained to hear his friend use such
violent language.

He saw that Charles was smarting under the effects of the ridicule which
his companions had cast upon him, and that, in his struggle to make a
speech, and thus redeem himself from the obloquy of a failure, he had
permitted his impulses to override his judgment.

"I forbear, then," continued the speaker. "But I beg the club to
consider the probable consequences of admitting such a fellow into the
association. We have thus far enjoyed a good reputation, and we ought to
be very careful how we tamper with our respectability."

"Ahem!" said Fred.

"Order!"

"A good name is rather to be chosen than--than _purple and fine linen_."

"Than what!" exclaimed Fred.

"Great riches," added Frank, with a smile, and even he was forced to
admit "that the member was singularly unfortunate in his quotations."

"You have my opinion, gentlemen," said Charles, "and I don't know that I
have any thing more to say at present;" and, much disconcerted, he sat
down.

But though cast down, he was not destroyed; and in justice to his
companions, it must be remarked that he had frequently annoyed the club
by his attempts to make speeches more learned and ornate than his
capacity would allow. Frank had reasoned with him on his propensity to
"show off," but without effect, so that he did not feel so much sympathy
for him at the present time as he would have felt under other
circumstances.

"The question is still open for discussion," said the chairman.

No one, however, seemed disposed to speak.

"Question!" called Fred Harper.

"Question!" repeated several others.

"Are you ready for the question?" continued the chairman.

"Question!"

"All those in favor of admitting Tim Bunker as a member of the club will
signify it in the usual way."

Ten hands were raised.

"Contrary minded."

Charles, feeling that he was on the wrong side, did not vote against the
measure, and it was declared to be a unanimous vote.

"The other matter, requiring the action of the club, relates to the
proposed race between the Butterfly and the Zephyr. Several gentlemen of
Rippleton feel a deep interest in the two boat clubs, and have proposed
to put up a prize to be awarded to the successful club. I understand
that fifty dollars have been subscribed for this purpose. The question
is, Shall we pull for this prize?"

"When?" asked Fred.

"The clubs may choose their own time."

"It wouldn't be fair till the Butterfly has had a chance to practise a
while."

"Of course not; the Butterfly may accept the proposition or not, and the
club can select their own time."

"I move you that the offer be accepted," said William Bright.

"Second the motion," added James Vincent.

"I make the motion, Mr. President, for the purpose of bringing the
question properly before the club. I have not thought enough about the
matter yet to decide whether I am in favor of it or not," continued
William Bright.

"It is generally supposed that the one who makes a motion is in favor of
it; but we won't mind that now," said Frank, with a smile.

"Mr. President, I must say, I think the proposition looks a little like
gambling," suggested Charles Hardy.

"So I was thinking," added a little fellow, near the foot of the table.

"Suppose we take an informal vote," proposed Charles, who was determined
to get on the right side this time, if possible.

So an informal vote _was_ taken, and every member voted against the
proposition.

Frank Sedley was surprised at this result. Probably he was the only one
who had given any earnest thought to the subject, though the offer was
known to all the boys.

Captain Sedley, who watched over the welfare of the club with paternal
interest, had endeavored, during the winter that was now past, to render
it effectual in developing the moral and mental capacities of the
members. He had given such a direction to the exercises in Zephyr Hall
as he thought would best attain this end. One of the greatest
difficulties with which he had been obliged to contend was the want of
individuality in the boys. Each was disposed to "pin his faith" upon
others. They would not think for themselves, and exercise an independent
judgment. Like thousands in the great world, they "went with the crowd;"
thought, acted, voted, with the majority.

Frank saw the operation of this motive in the "informal vote" which had
just been taken; and he was tolerably certain that he could bring them
all over to the other side, by indicating his own preference.

Calling Fred Harper to the chair again, he opened the discussion by
offering a simile, which, being a parallel case, certainly gave the
question an entirely new aspect.

"At the Rippleton Academy three gold medals and three silver medals are
awarded, every year, for the best scholarship and deportment. Is that
gambling?"

"No," replied half a dozen voices.

"Well, we are to row, in like manner for a prize. We don't put up money
as a stake; the party that gets beaten does not lose anything."

"That makes a difference," added Charles.

"But the prizes in the Academy are given to make the scholars get their
lessons well--to stimulate them in doing their duty," said William
Bright.

"Very true;" and Frank saw, in the faces of the members, that the
current had again set in another direction. "But we only want to prove
that rowing for the prize is not gambling."

"That's all," said Charles.

"The Agricultural Society offers premiums for the best horses, cows,
oxen."

"That's to improve stock," answered William. "Boat racing can only be
for amusement."

"The Horticultural Society gives premiums for the prettiest flowers,"
added Frank; "and my father got one of them last summer."

The boys were staggered again.

"Flowers are cultivated for amusement; at any rate, we don't eat them,
or drink them, or sleep on them," continued Frank.

  "Your bed shall be roses, besprinkled with dew."

added Fred, who never missed his joke. "Besides, we sleep on poppies.
They are a sleepy plant, you know."

"But the real question," said Frank, "is, whether racing for a prize
will not excite hard and envious feelings in the members of the two
clubs. I hope we shall think well of it before we vote; and for that
purpose, Mr. Chairman, I move a recess of half an hour."

The motion was carried, and the boys talked the matter over till the
meeting was called to order again.

"Question!" called several voices.

The vote was immediately taken, and it stood nine in favor and two
opposed to the proposition. And so, on the part of the Zephyr, the offer
was accepted.

The club then adjourned for an excursion on the lake.



CHAPTER III.

ALL ABOARD!


The club had taken their seats in the boat, and were waiting the orders
of the coxswain to haul her out of her berth, when Captain Sedley made
his appearance.

"You are short-handed, Frank," said he, as he observed Tony's vacant
seat.

"Yes, sir; but we have elected a member to fill that place," replied
Frank, as he jumped out of the boat, and hastened to inform his father
of what the club had done.

The members all felt a deep interest in the result of this conference;
and though this was the first excursion of the season, they forgot for
the time the pleasure before them in their desire to know whether the
"director" would approve their action in relation to the new member and
the prize.

Frank and his father entered the club-room together.

"Now, my son, what have you done?" asked Captain Sedley.

"We have discussed both questions to the best of our ability," replied
Frank, with some hesitation.

"Well, what was the result?"

"We have elected Tim to fill Tony's place."

"Indeed!"

"We have; and we await your sanction to our doings."

"Did you think I would sanction such a choice as that?"

"I didn't know. We have fairly considered the matter; have faithfully
examined both sides of the question. If we have done wrong, you know,
father, that you have a veto upon our doings."

Captain Sedley smiled at the matter-of-fact, business-like earnestness
of his son. He felt quite as much interest in the action of the boys as
they did to learn his opinion of it.

"Tim is a very bad boy," said he.

"He _was_; but he has solemnly promised to amend, and become a good
boy," answered Frank, warmly.

"Not much dependence can be placed upon the promises of such boys as
Tim."

"But if no one encourages him to become better, he will not be likely to
improve much, especially when everybody despises and shuns him."

"There is danger that he may corrupt the rest of the club."

"He must obey the requirements of the constitution, or he cannot long
continue to be a member."

"You are right, Frank; I approve your action in this matter, but I
should like to know the grounds upon which you admitted him."

Frank gave him a brief synopsis of the debate, and the anxious father
expressed himself well pleased with the liberal views of the club.

"Men might be oftener reformed in the great world, if people would only
give them a chance to be respectable, as you have done with Tim," said
Captain Sedley. "But what have you done about the prize?"

"We have voted to accept the offer of the gentlemen," answered Frank,
rather doubtfully, as he looked earnestly into the face of his father,
to discover the effect of his intelligence.

"I hope you looked on both sides of this question, as well as the
other."

"We did, father."

Frank stated the different opinions that had been expressed by the
members during the debate, and the fact that they had informally given a
unanimous vote against it. Captain Sedley was much amused by the
narration, in spite of the disappointment he felt at the ill success of
his efforts to make the boys reason for themselves.

"I think your view is correct, Frank; though I am aware that many mature
minds would arrive at a different conclusion. As you say, the envy and
ill will which the contest may excite are the evils most to be dreaded."

"Then you approve our decision?"

"I do."

Frank felt as happy at that moment as though he had been a general of
division, and had won a great victory. The consciousness of having
arrived, unaided by mature minds, at a correct conclusion, was a triumph
in itself. He had exercised his thought, and it had borne him to a right
judgment. He was proud of his achievement, and hastened back to the boat
with the intelligence of the approval.

"What does he say?" asked half a dozen of the members.

"Let us get off first, and then we will talk about it," replied Frank.
"Bowman, let go the painter; cast off the stern lines, there. Now, back
her--steady."

"Tell us about it, Frank," said Charles Hardy, as the Zephyr glided
clear of the boat-house, out upon the deep waters of the lake.

"Ready--up!" continued Frank, and the eleven oars were poised
perpendicularly in the air.

"Down!"

The members had already begun to feel the inspiration of their favorite
amusement, and there appeared to have been nothing lost by the season of
inactivity which had passed away. They were as prompt and as perfect in
the drill as though they had practised it every day during the winter.
Although it was a moment of excitement, there was no undue haste; every
member seemed to be perfectly cool.

"Ready--pull!"

And the broad blades dipped in the water, and bent before the vigorous
arms of the youthful oarsmen.

"Starboard oars, cease rowing--back!" continued the coxswain, with
admirable dignity and self-possession; and the Zephyr, acted upon by
this maneuver, came about as though upon a pivot, without going either
backward or forward.

"Starboard oars, steady--pull!" and the rowers indicated by this command
caught the stroke, and the light bark shot ahead, with her wonted speed,
in the direction of Rippleton village.

"Zephyr, ahoy!" shouted some one from the shore.

"Tim Bunker--ain't it?" asked Charles.

"Yes."

"Humph! he needn't hail us like that. I was sure your father would never
permit him to join the club," continued Charles, who fancied that he
read in Frank's expression the disapproval of his father.

"You are in the wrong, Charley."

"Am I?"

"You are; my father cordially approved our action. Now, Zephyrs, I am
going up to Flat Rock to take him aboard; and I hope every fellow will
treat him well--just as though he had never done anything out of the
way. What do you say?"

"We will," they replied, with one voice.

"And then, if he does not walk straight, it will not be our fault. Treat
him as though he was the best fellow among us. Let nothing tempt us to
forget it."

Frank headed the boat towards the rock in the grove, and in a moment the
bow touched it.

Without waiting for an invitation, Tim jumped into the boat, and took
the vacant seat. Frank did not much like this forwardness: it was a
little too "brazen" to comport with his ideas of true penitence. But he
did not care to humble the "Bunker;" so he said nothing that would wound
his feelings.

"We are glad to see you, Tim; the club has this day elected you a
member, and our director has approved the vote," said Frank.

"Has he?" replied Tim, with a broad grin.

"And, if you like, we will go up to the boat-house, where you may sign
the constitution."

"Yes, I'll sign it," answered Tim, more as though it would be conferring
a favor on the club than as a duty he owed to his new friends.

Frank gave the necessary orders to get the boat under way again. Tim
handled his oar with considerable skill, and before they reached the
boat-house, he had learned to time his stroke with that of his
companions.

When they landed, Captain Sedley took Tim apart with him, and very
kindly told him what would be expected of him in his new relation,
urging him to be true to his good resolution, and assuring him that he
should never want for substantial encouragement so long as he persevered
in well doing. Tim hung his head down while he listened to this kind
advice; his answers were short, but they were all satisfactory, so far
as words could be taken as the index of his intentions.

Frank then read the constitution, and the new member listened to it with
attention. The stringent provisions of the sixth article, which forbade
swearing, indecent language, and other boyish vices, brought a scarcely
visible smile to his lips, and excited a doubt as to the success of the
experiment in the mind of the director.

"Now, Tim, you can sign it," said Frank.

"It's pretty strict--ain't it?" added Tim, with one of his peculiar
grins, as he took the pen that was handed to him. "You know I ain't used
to being quite so strained up as you fellers, and I may kinder break
through afore I know it."

"If you do, you shall be judged kindly and charitably," said Captain
Sedley.

"Well. I'll sign it."

But it was not quite so easy a thing for Tim to sign; at least, to
perform the mechanical part of the act, for he had been to school but
little, and good penmanship was not one of his accomplishments. However,
he succeeded in getting over the form, though it would have puzzled the
secretary to read it, if he had not known what it was.

"Now, Zephyrs, Tim is one of us," said Frank.

"He hasn't got any uniform," suggested Charles.

"He shall have one," replied Captain Sedley, as he wrote an order on Mr.
Burlap, the tailor, to supply him with a uniform.

"All aboard!" shouted Frank. "We will pull up the lake, and see how the
Butterfly gets along. They have been practising for a fortnight, and
they ought to be able to row pretty well by this time."

"With Uncle Ben to show them how," added Fred Harper.

Again the Zephyrs were in their seats, and the boat was backed out into
the lake. The flags were unrolled, and put in their places. The graceful
barge was nicely trimmed, so as to rest exactly square in the water, and
everything was ready for a sharp pull. The weather was cool, and the
boys required some pretty vigorous exercise to keep them warm.

The various commands were given and executed with the usual precision,
only that Tim, who was not thoroughly "broken in," made some blunders,
though, considering his short service, his proficiency was decidedly
creditable.

The Zephyr darted away like an arrow, and the slow, measured, musical
stroke of the oars was pleasant and exciting to the rowers.

"You haven't told us about the other matter yet, Frank," said Charles,
as the boat skimmed along over the little waves of the lake.

"Let us know about it," added Fred.

"About what?" asked Tim Bunker, whose modesty in his new position did
not seem to cause him much trouble.

"We are to have a race with the Butterfly, when Tony gets things to his
mind," replied Frank.

"That'll be fun! Are ye going to put up anything?"

"Put up anything?"

"Yes; what's going to be the stakes?"

"I don't know what you mean, Tim."

"When they race horses, each man bets on his own."

"We are not going to bet; that would be contrary to the constitution."

"Would it? I didn't hear nothing about betting."

"Article second says that one of the objects of the association shall be
the acquiring of good habits in general; and I am sure betting is a very
bad habit."

"Well, I s'pose it is."

"But several gentlemen of Rippleton have subscribed fifty dollars as a
prize to the winner of the race," added Frank; "just as they give medals
in school, you know."

"Well, of course you will win."

"I don't know."

"You are used to your boat, and them fellers ain't."

"We can't tell yet; perhaps the Butterfly will prove to be a faster boat
than the Zephyr, and some of Tony's members are a good deal larger and
stouter than ours. I think the chances are about equal."

"I think likely. What are you going to do with the money if you win?"

"I don't know; we haven't thought of that yet," replied Frank, not
particularly pleased with the question.

"Divide it among the fellers, I s'pose."

"I think not; we had better apply it to some useful purpose,--that is,
if we win it,--such as enlarging our library, buying some philosophical
instruments--"

"What's them?"

"An air pump, and other apparatus of the kind."

Tim did not comprehend the nature of the mystical implements any better
than before; but as his mind was fixed upon something else, he did not
demand further explanation.

"Fifty dollars," said he; "how much will that be apiece. Thirteen into
fifty; can any of you fellers cipher that up in your heads?"

"Three and eleven thirteenths dollars each," said William Bright, who
pulled the next oar forward of Tim. "Three dollars and eighty-five
cents--isn't it?"

"Eighty-four and a fraction," replied Fred, with schoolboy accuracy.

"A feller could have a good time on that, I'll bet," ejaculated Tim.

"And many a poor man would like it to buy bread for his family," added
Frank. "But there is the Butterfly!"

Tim Bunker dropped his oar at this announcement, and was on the point of
rising to get a better view of the Zephyr's rival, when the handle of
William Bright's oar gave him a smart rap in the back.

"Mind out!" said Tim. "Don't you know any better than to hit a feller in
that way?"

"Cease--rowing!" called Frank, as he saw Tim's first involuntarily
double up, and his eye flash with anger.

"It was your fault, Tim, and you must not blame him," added the
coxswain, mildly, but firmly.

"My fault!" and Tim added an expression which I cannot put upon my page.

"Such language as that is contrary to the constitution," continued
Frank. "You stopped rowing without orders."

"What if I did!"

"You should not have done so. No member can do, or cease to do, without
orders; that's our discipline."

Tim cooled off in a moment, made a surly apology for his rudeness, and
the Zephyr continued on her course.



CHAPTER IV.

THE FRATERNAL HUG.


The incident which had just occurred gave Frank considerable uneasiness.
Tim was naturally quarrelsome, and his former mode of life had done
nothing to improve his disposition. He had never been taught that
self-restraint is necessary to preserve social harmony. If anything did
not suit him, he was not disposed to argue the matter in a conciliatory
manner, but to right his wrongs, whether real or imaginary, by physical
force. In this manner he had obtained his reputation as a "good
fighter."

Frank began to fear that Tim had come into the club without a proper
understanding of its duties and requirements. Though he had, with an ill
grace, apologized for his conduct, he seemed to feel no compunction on
account of it; but, on the contrary, he every moment grew more
overbearing and insolent. He could not speak to his companions in a
gentlemanly manner, as they had been accustomed to be addressed. He was
course, rude, and vulgar; and the members, who had received him among
them in the best spirit possible, began to feel some repugnance towards
him.

But what could be expected of him in so short a time? They had no reason
to believe that a boy who had always been a desperado would suddenly
become a gentle and kind-hearted person. His nature wanted refining, and
such a work could not be done in a moment. These reflections came to
Frank's relief, when he had become well-nigh discouraged at the idea of
reforming Tim--discouraged more by thinking of the vast chasm that
yawned between what he was and what he ought to be. Like the pendulum in
the story, he was crowding the work of months and years into a single
instant. A little sober thought in the proper direction set him right.

The Butterfly was darting out of "Weston Bay" as they approached.

"Cease--rowing!" said Frank. "Now, my lads, let us give them three
rousing cheers. All up! One!"

"Hurrah!"

"Two."

"Hurrah!"

"Three."

"Hurrah!"

And then the Zephyrs clapped their hands, long and loudly, and this was
the greeting which the old club gave to the new one. The compliment was
heartily returned by the Butterfly, and then the cheers were repeated
again and again. Every member seemed to glow with kindly feeling towards
the others. Even Tim Bunker for the time laid aside his morose look, and
joined in the expression of good will with as much zeal as his
companions.

"Now man your oars, Zephyrs," said Frank.

"What ye going to do now?" asked Tim, as he grasped his oar with the
others.

"You shall know in due time," replied the coxswain.

Here was another thing which Tim had yet to learn--not to ask questions
of the commander. It was a part of the discipline of the club to obey
without stopping to argue the point. Captain Sedley himself had
suggested this idea, and it had been thoroughly carried out on board the
Zephyr. It was an established principle that "the coxswain knew what he
was about," and that he alone was responsible for the guidance and the
safety of the boat.

Tim did not seem to fancy this kind of discipline. He evidently felt
that he had been born to command, and not to obey. But the consciousness
that he was in the minority induced him to yield whatever convictions he
might have had of his own superiority to the will of the "powers that
be," and he followed the example of the others.

"Ready--pull!" continued Frank.

He and Tony had arranged a little system of "fleet maneuvers," to be
carried out when the two boats met.

To the surprise of all on board,--for they were not "posted up" in
regard to these tactics,--Frank put the Zephyr about.

"Cease--rowing!" said he, when the boat was headed in the opposite
direction.

To the further surprise of the Zephyrs, they discovered that the
Butterfly had executed a similar maneuver, and that the two boats lay at
the distance of nearly a quarter of a mile apart, the bow of one
pointing directly east, and the other directly west.

"Ready to back her!" said Frank, and the boys all pulled their oar
handles close to their breasts, ready at the word to take the reverse
stroke.

"Back her!"

The Butterfly did the same thing exactly, and the two boats rapidly
approached each other, stern first. Tony had certainly made the most of
the time which had been allotted to him for drilling his crew, and they
worked together almost as well as the Zephyrs, who were a little
embarrassed at each new movement by the awkwardness of Tim Bunker.

"Steady--slow," continued Frank, as the two boats came nearer together.
"That will do; cease--rowing. Ready--up!" and the twelve oars gleamed in
the sunshine.

The sterns of the two boats came together, and Frank threw Tony a line,
which the latter made fast.

"Ready--down!" said Tony and Frank, almost in the same breath; and the
oars were deposited in their places on the thwarts.

The two clubs were facing each other as they sat in their seats, with
the respective coxswains standing in the stern sheets.

"Mr. Coxswain of the Butterfly," said Frank, as he removed his hat, and
gracefully bowed to Tony, "in behalf of the members of the Zephyr Boat
Club, of which you were so long a cherished member, I welcome you and
your club, and the beautiful craft in which you sail, to these waters.
May the Zephyr and the Butterfly cruise together in entire harmony; may
no hard words or hard thoughts be called forth by either, but may all be
peace and good-will."

This little speech was received with a burst of applause by Tony's
club, and the boats interchanged volleys of cheers.

"Mr. Coxswain of the Zephyr," Tony began, in reply to his friend's
speech, "I am much obliged to you and your companions for the kind words
you have spoken for yourself and for them. I am sure there will never be
any hard feelings between us, and I assure you if any fellow in our club
attempts to make a row, we will turn him out. Won't we, fellows?"

"Ay, ay! That we will," replied the club, with one voice.

"If we get beaten in a race, we will bear our defeat like men. Won't we,
boys?"

"That we will."

Tony wound up by saying he was not much at making speeches, but he was
ready to do everything he could to make things go off right and
pleasantly.

Three cheers more were given on each side, and the crews were ordered
into their seats.

"Starboard oars, ready--up!" said Frank.

"Larboard oars, ready--up!" said Tony.

"Ready--down!" was then given by one, and repeated by the other. And
then, "Ready--pull!" followed, in like manner.

My reader will readily perceive that the effect of this maneuver was to
turn the boats round in opposite directions, so that they came alongside
of each other, after a few strokes of the oars.

The painter of the Butterfly was thrown on board the Zephyr, and made
fast to the bow ring. The boys were now all brought together, and the
discipline of the clubs was relaxed so as to permit the members to
enjoy a few moments of social recreation.

The Butterfly, as we have said in the introduction, was of the same size
and model as the Zephyr, and, except that the former was painted in
gayer colors, to represent the gaudy tints of the butterfly, the two
boats were exact counterparts of each other.

Her crew had already procured their uniform, and wore it on the present
occasion. It was a pair of white pants, made "sailor fashion," with a
short red frock, and a patent-leather belt. These garments, owing to the
coldness of the weather, were worn over their usual clothes. The hat was
a tarpaulin, with the name of the club in gilt letters on the front, and
upon the left breast of the frock was a butterfly, worked in colors.

The Butterfly, like her rival, carried an American flag at the stern,
and a blue silk fly, with the letter "B" on it, at the bow.

"This is glorious, isn't it, Frank?" said Tony, as he took his friend's
hand and warmly pressed it.

"First rate! There is fun before us this season; and if nothing happens
to mar the harmony which now prevails, we shall enjoy ourselves even
more than we did last summer."

"Nothing can happen--can there?" replied Tony, glancing involuntarily at
Tim Bunker, who seemed to be so amazed at the good will that prevailed
around him as to be incapable of saying anything.

"I hope not; but, Tony, what about the race? Has your club voted on the
question of the prize?"

"Yes."

"What did you do?"

"What have you done, Frank?" asked Tony. There was not the slightest
doubt as to his Yankee paternity.

"We voted to accept the offer."

"So did we, though our members were so afraid of doing something wrong,
that George had to come into the meeting and argue the question with
them. We accepted the offer on condition that you did so."

"Then it is all arranged."

"Yes, except the time."

"We shall leave that all to you."

"We are ready now," replied Tony, with a smile.

"Name the day, then."

"Next Wednesday afternoon."

"Very well."

"Who shall be the judges? We have chosen your father for one."

"And we shall choose Uncle Ben for another."

"Let us choose the other together."

"Agreed."

The two clubs were then called to order, and Frank, at Tony's request,
stated the business to them.

"Please to nominate," said he.

"Mr. Hyde, the schoolmaster," exclaimed a dozen voices.

It was a unanimous vote, and the judges were all elected.

"Now, Tony, let us have some fun."

"We will try our fleet tactics a little more, if you like."

"So I say."

"We will go down the lake with the 'fraternal hug.'"

"The what!" exclaimed Charles Hardy.

"We call our present position the 'fraternal hug.'"

"Hurrah for the fraternal hug!" shouted Charles, and all the boys
laughed heartily.

"Nothing bearish about it, I hope," added Fred Harper.

"We have no bears," replied Frank, as he ordered out his starboard oars.

Tony in like manner got out his larboard oars.

"Now, Frank," said he, "as you are a veteran in the service, you shall
be commodore, and command the allied squadron."

A burst of laughter greeted this sally; but Frank was too modest to
accept this double command, and would only do so when a vote had been
passed, making him "commodore."

Fenders--a couple of cushions, which Frank, in anticipation of this
maneuver, had provided--were placed between the two boats to keep them
from injuring each other, and the order was given to pull. As but six
oars were pulled in each boat, their progress was not very rapid. No
one, however, seemed to care for that. The joining of the two boats in
the "fraternal hug" was emblematic of the union that subsisted in the
hearts of their crews, and all the members of each club seemed better
satisfied with this symbolical expression of their feelings than though
they had won a victory over the other.

When they came abreast of the Zephyr's boat-house, they discovered that
Uncle Ben was on board the Sylph, which lay moored at a short distance
from the shore.

Bang! went the cannon which the veteran had again rigged on the bow of
the sail-boat.

And as they passed down the lake, Uncle Ben blazed away in honor of the
fraternal hug between the two clubs.



CHAPTER V.

UP THE RIVER.


At the end of the lake the boats separated, after giving each other
three hearty cheers.

"Where are you going now?" asked Tim Bunker.

"We will go up the lake again."

"Suppose we try a race?" suggested Fred Harper.

"There will be no harm in it, I suppose," replied Frank, glancing at the
Butterfly.

"Zephyr, ahoy!" shouted Tony. "We will pull up together, if you like."

"Agreed."

The two boats were then drawn up alongside of each other, ready to start
when the word should be given.

"Say when you are ready," shouted Tony.

The rowers in each boat were all ready to take the first stroke.

"Ready--pull!" said Frank; and the crews bent to the work.

"Now give it to 'em!" shouted Tim Bunker, as he struck out with his oar.

"Steady, Tim," said Frank. "Be very careful, or you will lose the
stroke."

"No, I won't. Put 'em through by daylight!" And Tim, without paying much
attention to the swaying of the coxswain's body, by which his stroke
should have been regulated, redoubled his exertions. He was very much
excited, and the next moment the handle of his oar hit the boy in front
of him in the back. Then the boy behind hit him, and a scene of
confusion immediately ensued. Of course no boy could pull his stroke
except in unison with the others; so the whole were compelled to cease
rowing.

"We have lost it," said Frank, good-naturedly.

The boys, seeing how useless it was to attempt to row in the midst of
such confusion, were obliged to wait till order had been restored.

"No, we hain't; pull away!" replied Tim, as He seized his oar, and began
to row with all his might.

"Cease rowing!" said Frank.

"Catch your oars, you sleepies, or they will get in first!" exclaimed
Tim, who continued to struggle with his oar in defiance of the order.

He had already pulled the boat half round.

"I guess the fifty dollars won't come to this crew," added Tim,
contemptuously.

"It certainly will not, if you don't obey orders better than that,"
replied Frank.

"I don't want to have the club beat so easy as that."

"But it is all your fault, Tim."

"You lie!"

"What! what!" exclaimed Frank. "We cannot have such language as that. If
you don't conform to the constitution you have signed, you shall be put
on shore at the nearest land."

"Well, I ain't a going to have it laid to me, when I hain't done
nothing. Didn't I pull with all my might and main? and if the other
fellers had done so too, we should have been ahead of 'em afore this
time," answered Tim, somewhat tamed by the threat of the coxswain.

"We will not talk about that until you say whether you intend to conform
to the rules of the club, or not," added Frank, firmly.

"Of course I do."

Tim was still gruff in his tones; but it was evident that he wanted to
conform to the rules, and that his obstinacy was still struggling for
expression.

"You must not tell the coxswain, or any other member, that he lies,
Tim," continued Frank.

"That was a slip of the tongue."

The Bunker tried to laugh it off, and declared that he was so used to
that form of expression he could not leave it off at once. This was
regarded as a great concession by all.

"Very well; if you will promise to do your best to obey the rules, we
will say no more about it."

"Of course I will," replied Tim, with a laugh, which was equivalent to
saying, "If any of you think I am yielding too much, why, I am only
joking."

"Now, Tim, that point being settled, I repeat that our mishap was caused
by you, though we don't blame you for it. You meant to do your best, but
you didn't go to work in the right way."

"What's the reason I didn't?"

"You broke up the stroke."

"The fellers ought to have pulled faster, then, so as to keep up with
me; if they had, we should have done well enough."

"That is not the way. The coxswain is to judge how fast you may pull
with safety."

"Just as you like. All I wanted was to win the race."

"I understand you; but we can do nothing if the discipline of the club
is not observed."

"I didn't know about that."

"Let us understand one another for the future. You must regulate your
stroke by the motion of my body. You are to see nothing but me; and
whatever happens, you must obey orders."

"Let's try it again. I will do as you say," replied Tim, with a great
deal more gentleness than he had before shown.

"Ready--pull!" said Frank. And away darted the Zephyr up the lake.

Tim pulled very steadily now, and showed a disposition to do as the
others did, and to obey orders. Frank was pleased with the result of the
conference, and began to entertain strong hopes of the ultimate
reformation of the Bunker.

But the race was lost; the Butterfly was almost at the head of the lake.

"There's a chance for the Butterflies to crow over us," said Tim, after
a silence of several moments.

"There is to be no crowing. If we had beaten them, I should not have
permitted a word to be spoken that would create a hard feeling in the
minds of any of them," replied Frank. "And I know that Tony is exactly
of my mind."

"It is no great credit to them to have beaten us under these
circumstances," added Fred.

"Each club must be responsible for its own discipline. No excuses are to
be pleaded. Good order and good regulations will prevent such accidents
as just befell us."

"That is what discipline is for," said William Bright.

"Exactly so. Don't you remember what Mr. Hyde told me when I tried to
excuse myself for not having my sums done with the plea that I had no
pencil?" asked Charles Hardy. "He said it was as much a part of our duty
to be ready for our work as it was to do it after we were ready."

"That's good logic," put in Fred. "If the engine companies did not keep
their machines in good working order, of course they would render no
service at the fire. You remember Smith's factory was burnt because 'No.
2's' suction hose leaked, and the 'tub' couldn't be worked."

"That's it; in time of peace prepare for war."

"Where's the Butterfly now?" asked Tim, who did not feel much interest
in this exposition of duty.

"She is headed up to Rippleton River," replied Frank. "I hope she does
not mean to venture among the rocks."

Rippleton River was a stream which emptied into the lake at its eastern
extremity. Properly speaking, Wood Lake was only a widening of this
river, though the stream was very narrow, and discharged itself into the
lake amid immense masses of rock.

The mouth of this river was so obstructed by these rocks, that Captain
Sedley had forbidden the boys ever to venture upon its waters; though,
with occasional difficulties in the navigation, it was deep enough and
wide enough to admit the passage of the boat for several miles. A
wooden bridge crossed the stream a little way above the lake--an old,
decayed affair which had frequently been complained of as unsafe.

"Tony knows the place very well," said Charles. "He will not be rash."

"But there he goes right in amongst the rocks, and the Butterflies are
pulling with all their might. He is crazy," added Frank, his countenance
exhibiting the depth of his anxiety.

"Let Tony alone; he knows what he is about," responded Fred.

"Heavens!" exclaimed Frank, suddenly, as he rose in his place. "There
has been an accident at the bridge! I see a horse and chaise in the
river."

Tim dropped his oar, and was turning round to get a view of the object,
when Frank checked him. So strict was the discipline of the club, that,
notwithstanding the excitement which the coxswain's announcement tended
to create, not another boy ceased rowing, or even missed his stroke.

"Keep your seat," said Frank to Tim. "Take your oar."

"I want to see what's going on," replied Tim.

"Keep your seat," repeated Frank, authoritatively.

Tim concluded to obey; and without a word resumed his place, and
commenced pulling again.

"Tony is after them; if you obey orders we may get there in season to
render some assistance," continued Frank. "Don't balk us now, Tim."

"I won't, Frank; I will obey all your orders. I didn't think when I got
up," replied Tim, with earnestness, and withal in such a tone that
Frank's hopes ran high.

"Will you cross the rocks, Frank?" asked Charles Hardy.

"Certainly."

"But you know your father told us never to go into the river."

"Circumstances alter cases."

"But it will be disobedience under any circumstances."

"We won't argue the point now," answered the bold coxswain, quickening
the movements of his body, till the crew pulled with their utmost
strength and speed, and the Zephyr flew like a rocket over the water.

"I don't like to go, Frank, and though I will obey orders, I now protest
against this act of disobedience," replied Charles, who was sure this
time that Captain Sedley would commend and approve his inflexible love
of obedience.

"Pull steady, and mind your stroke," added Frank, whose eye was fixed
upon the chaise in the water.

"We may strike upon the rocks and be dashed to pieces," suggested
Charles.

"If you are afraid--"

"O, no! I'm not afraid; I was thinking of the boat."

"If it is dashed to pieces in a good cause, let it be so."

"Good!" ejaculated Fred Harper. "That's the talk for me!"

"The water in the lake is very high, and I know exactly where the rocks
lie. Keep steady; I will put you through in safety."

"Where is the Butterfly now, Frank?" asked William Bright.

"Wait a minute.--There she goes! Hurrah! she has passed the reefs
safely. They pull like heroes. There! Up go her oars--they are in-board.
There are a man and a woman in the water, struggling for life. The man
is trying to save the woman. The chaise seems to hang upon a rock, and
the horse is kicking and plunging to clear himself. Steady--pull
steady."

"Tony will save them all," said Fred.

"Hurrah! there he goes overboard, with half a dozen of his fellows after
him! There are six left in the boat, and they are working her along
towards the man and woman. They have them--they are safe. Now they pull
the lady in--hah--all right! I was afraid they would upset the boat.
They have got her in, and the man is holding on at the stern. Tony has
got a rope round the horse's neck, and the fellows are clearing him from
the chaise."

The Zephyr was now approaching the dangerous rocks, and Frank was
obliged to turn his attention to the steering of the boat through the
perilous passage.

"Steady," said he, "and pull strong. All right; we are through. We are
too late to do anything. They have landed the man and woman, and now
they are towing the horse ashore. Tony's a glorious fellow! He is worth
his weight in solid gold!"

"Can't we save the chaise?" asked Tim Bunker.

"We can try."

"Hurrah for the chaise then!"

"Bowman, get the long painter ahead," continued Frank.

"Ay, ay."

The coxswain of the Zephyr steered her towards the vehicle, which still
hung to the rock, and, by a skilful maneuver, contrived to make fast the
line to one of the shafts of the chaise.

"Ready--pull!" said Frank, as he passed the line over one of the
thwarts.

The crew pulled with a will, and the jerk disengaged the chaise, and
they succeeded in hauling it safely to the shore, and placing it high
and dry upon the rocks.



CHAPTER VI.

HURRAH FOR TONY!


Tony and his six companions, who had been with him in the river, stood
on the rocks shivering with cold, when the Zephyr's crew landed. The
rest of her boys had been sent to conduct the lady and gentleman to the
nearest house, and render them such assistance as they might require.

"You are a brave fellow, Tony!" said Frank, warmly, as he grasped the
wet hand of his friend.

"I am very wet and cold, whatever else I may be," replied Tony, trying
to laugh, while his teeth chattered so that he could hardly speak.

"You had better go home; you will catch cold," continued Frank.

"We must wait for the fellows."

"No, you shall take six of the Zephyr's crew, and pull home as fast as
you can, and we will wait for the rest."

"We can do no more good here; so we may as well go. Thank you for your
offer, Frank, and I will accept it. If you like I will take Fred Harper
to steer down, for I should like to pull an oar myself to warm up with."

"Certainly;" and Frank detailed six of his club, including Fred, who
seated themselves in the Butterfly.

"I don't know about those rocks, Tony," said Fred, as he grasped the
tiller ropes.

"The water is so high, that there is no danger, I will have an eye to
the passage when we get to it," replied Tony, as he took his old place
at the bow oar.

The Butterfly pushed off, and in a few moments after passed the
dangerous rocks in safety. Her crew pulled with energy, and it is quite
likely that they got warm before they reached the boat-house.

It was some time before the rest of the Butterfly's crew returned to the
rocks where they had landed.

"Where's Tony?" asked one of them, a boy of fourteen, but so small in
stature that his companions had nicknamed him "Little Paul," of whom we
shall have more to say by and by.

"They have gone home; we sent six of our fellows with them. They were
too wet and cold to stay here," replied Frank. "You can return in our
boat."

"The gentleman wants to see Tony very much."

"Who is he?"

"His name is Walker; it would do your heart good to hear him speak of
Tony."

"I dare say; but Tony is worthy of all the praise that can be bestowed
upon him. How is the lady?"

"She is nicely, and _she_ thinks Tony is an angel. She declares that a
dozen strong men could have done no more for them."

"She is right; you did all that could have been done by any persons. The
Butterfly's first laurel is a glorious one, and I can congratulate you
on the honors you have won."

"Thank you, Frank," said Little Paul, modestly. "I am sorry you were not
with us to share the honors."

"We should have been, if it hadn't been for Tim Bunker," said Charles
Hardy, a little sourly.

Tim had gone with the Butterfly, or Charles would not have dared to make
such a remark.

"And if you had had your way, we shouldn't have come when we did," added
William Bright, smartly.

"What do you mean, Bill?"

"Didn't you protest against passing the rocks."

"I did, because it was directly in opposition to Captain Sedley's
orders."

"Never mind, fellows," interposed Frank; "for my part, I am glad the
Butterfly had it all to herself. She has just come out, and it will be a
feather in her cap."

"But we saved the chaise," said Charles.

"We pulled it ashore; it was safe enough where it was. The Butterfly
saved the lives of the man and woman, and of the horse. They would have
drowned, and all the glory consisted in saving them. Tony and his crew
deserve all the credit, and I, for one, am happy to accord it to them."

"That's just like you, Frank!" exclaimed Little Paul. "I believe, if the
two boats had changed places, you would have given us all the credit."

"You behaved nobly."

"Just as you would have done if you had been in Tony's place."

"We will talk that over some other time. We are ready to return when
you are."

"I suppose there is nothing more to be done."

They were about to embark, when they discovered a party of men
approaching the place, several of them carrying ropes and poles.

"Hold on;" shouted Farmer Leeds, to whose house the boys had conducted
the lady and gentleman. "We want your boat to get the chaise out of the
river with."

"It is out now," replied Little Paul.

The boys waited till the party reached the river. A clump of trees had
prevented them from seeing the chaise till they had got almost to the
shore; and, as Little Paul expressed it afterwards, "they looked
surprised enough, to see it high and dry upon the rocks."

"I must say one thing, Mr. Leeds," began Mr. Walker; "and that is, you
have smart boys in this vicinity."

"Toler'ble," replied the farmer, with a smile.

"They are men in noble deeds."

"This boating business turns the boys into men; and though, in my
opinion, it would be just as well to set 'em to work in the cornfields,
there is no denying that it brings 'em out, and makes 'em smart."

"My wife would certainly have been drowned without their help."

"I daresay."

"But where is the little fellow that commanded the boat?" asked Mr.
Walker, scrutinizing the faces of the boys.

"He has gone home, sir; he was wet and cold."

"That is right; I am glad he has; I shall go and see him by and by. And
these are the boys that brought the chaise ashore?"

"Yes, sir," replied Little Paul. "This is Frank Sedley, the coxswain of
the Zephyr."

"Well, Master Sedley, I am under great obligations to you."

"Not at all to me, sir. Tony Weston saved you. We only pulled the chaise
ashore."

"But you shall not be forgotten. The other boat is gone, you say?"

"Yes, sir. Tony Weston is the coxswain of the Butterfly."

"And a noble fellow he is, too. He will be a great man one of these
days. It did my heart good to see how cool and collected he was; how
skilfully he managed the boat, when it came down upon us like a race
horse. He gave off his orders like a hero, and they were obeyed with a
promptness and precision that would have been creditable to the crew of
a man-of-war, after a three years' cruise. And then, when he ordered six
of the boys to stay in the boat, and the rest to follow him into the
water, it was really heroic. Over he went, with his crew after him, as
though they had been so many ducks. And in the water, they worked with
as much coolness and courage as though it had been their native element.
I would give half my fortune to be the father of such a son."

"I would give all of mine," added Farmer Leeds. "You don't know half his
worth yet. But there is nothing for us to do here; the men shall haul
your chaise up to the house, and as we walk along I will tell you about
Tony."

"Master Sedley, I shall see you again to-day or to-morrow. Tell Tony
how highly I value his noble service, and tell him I shall call upon him
this evening," said Mr. Walker, as he went away with Farmer Leeds.

"My father would be very happy to have you stop at his house while you
remain in Rippleton," continued Frank, who was not sure that the
farmhouse would accommodate him.

"As to that," interposed Farmer Leeds, "I can't offer you so grand a
house as Captain Sedley's, but such as it is, you are welcome to it."

"Thank you, Master Sedley, for your hospitable invitation; but I think I
will remain with my good friend here." And he departed with the farmer.

"All aboard!" said Frank, and the boys tumbled into the boat, and
grasped their oars.

The Zephyr pushed off, and her cheerful crew pulled merrily down the
river. Frank was conscious that the organization of the boat clubs had
been the means of accomplishing the good work which the crew of the
Butterfly had just achieved. He was aware that some of the people in the
vicinity had cherished strong objections to the clubs, and that Tony had
had considerable difficulty in persuading the parents of his crew to
allow their sons to join. The adventure at the bridge, he thought, would
have a tendency to reconcile them, and to elevate and dignify boating.
At any rate a good deed had been done, and the parents of those who had
taken part in it could not but be proud of the laurels their sons had
earned.

The Zephyr, under Frank's skilful pilotage passed the rocks in safety,
though, as they darted through the narrow channel, he could see their
sharp edges only a little way below the surface of the clear water.

They had scarcely entered the open lake before they perceived the Sylph,
under full sail with a smashing breeze, close aboard of them.

"Frank!" shouted Captain Sedley, who was at the helm, while Uncle Ben
was gazing at them with a very sorrowful face from the half deck.

"Ay, ay, sir!" replied Frank, as he laid the Zephyr's course towards the
sailboat.

Though his father had only spoken his name, there was something in the
tone which could not be misapprehended; but it did not occur to him, he
was so engaged in thinking of the incidents at the bridge, that he had
disobeyed his father's command in passing into the river.

As the Zephyr approached, the Sylph luffed, and came up into the wind,
to wait for her. Frank brought his boat round under the stern of the
sailboat, and "lay to" an oar's length from her.

"Frank," said his father, sternly, "I am surprised that you should
venture among those rocks, when I have expressly forbidden you ever to
go into the river."

"But, father, there was--"

"How could you do such a thing, after I had so carefully warned you--so
positively interdicted it? Suppose your boat had been dashed in pieces,"
continued Captain Sedley, who, though deeply grieved at his son's
apparent disobedience, was too indignant to hear an excuse; for such he
supposed Frank was about to offer--one of those silly, frivolous excuses
which boys sometimes seize upon to palliate their misconduct.

"I protested against it!" said Charles Hardy, rising from his seat.

"Shut up!" exclaimed Little Paul, his cheek glowing with indignation, as
he pulled Charles back into his seat.

"I went to save life, father," replied Frank, almost choked by his
emotions, a flood of tears springing in his eyes and well-nigh blinding
him.

"To save life!" said Captain Sedley, touched by the reply, and far more
by Frank's emotion.

He saw that he had spoken too quick--that his son had not passed the
rocks without a good and sufficient reason.

"Yes, sir," replied Frank, struggling to master his feelings; and then
he related all that had occurred at the bridge; how Tony had saved the
lady and gentleman, and the horse; and how his crew had pulled the
chaise ashore.

"You did right, Frank; forgive my hasty words," said Captain Sedley,
with deep feeling.

"Good, my hearty!" exclaimed Uncle Ben, clapping his hands.

A heavy load had been removed from the mind of the veteran, who had
almost come to believe that Frank _could_ do no wrong.

"Tony's a hero; and shiver my timbers, if he oughtn't to be president of
the United States, when he's old enough," exclaimed Uncle Ben.

"He is a brave fellow. You have done well, both of you. However strict
our orders are, no person should be a machine. Orders should be obeyed
with judgment," continued Captain Sedley.

"That's a fact. I could tell a yarn about that," added Uncle Ben. "When
I was in the old Varsayles, bound round the Horn--"

"Another time we will hear your yarn, Ben," interposed Captain Sedley.
"We will go over and see Tony now, and congratulate him on the honors
the Butterfly has won. Haul in the gib sheet, Ben."

"Ready--pull!" said Frank.

"Who protested now, Master Charles Hardy?" asked Little Paul, as he
good-naturedly punched the forward youth in the ribs.

"Circumstances alter cases," replied Charles, sagely, as he bent on his
oar.

"Fact! but they altered them when the deed was done, not now, when you
have found out that it was all right."



CHAPTER VII.

COMMODORE FRANK SEDLEY.


For a few days all Rippleton rang with the praises of Tony and his
companions. All the particulars of the affair at the bridge had been
given in the Rippleton Mercury, and the editor was profuse in his
commendations of the skill and courage of the Butterfly Boat Club; and
he did not withhold from the Zephyr the credit which was justly due.
Tony was a hero, and his fame extended for many miles around.

Mr. Walker and his lady, who had been rescued from the river, visited
Captain Sedley and the Weston family the next day. I need not tell my
young readers how earnest he was in the expression of his admiration and
gratitude. He was a wealthy merchant, and resided in a neighboring town.
Being as warm-hearted and generous as he was just and discriminating, it
was quite natural that he should give his feelings expression in some
substantial token of his gratitude.

Before he left Rippleton, a check for five hundred dollars was placed in
the hands of George Weston, with directions to give four hundred of it
to the Butterfly, and one hundred to the Zephyr. In the division of the
Butterfly's share, Mr. Walker desired that one hundred dollars should be
given to Tony, and twenty-five dollars apiece to the crew; consenting,
however, to let the whole sum be common property if the club desired.

This liberality was certainly munificent, princely; but Mr. Walker's
wealth was quite sufficient to enable him to gratify his generous
impulses. Tony said he felt a little "ticklish" about taking it, at
first; but George assured him that Mr. Walker would feel hurt if he did
not, and he concluded to accept it.

"But what shall we do with it, George?" asked the young hero, who was
not a little embarrassed by the possession of so much money.

"That is for you to decide."

"What _can_ we do with it?"

"It will buy heaps of candy," suggested George, with a smile.

"Candy!" said Tony, contemptuously.

"You can make a fund of it if you like."

"What for?"

"For any purpose you may wish. By and by, you may want money for
something."

"What shall we do with it?"

"Put it in the Savings Bank."

"But the next thing is, shall we divide it? or let it remain as the
property of the club? I suppose the fellows will all do just as I do."

"Perhaps the money would do the parents of some of them a great deal of
good."

"I think very likely; we will let them vote upon it. Here comes Frank. I
wonder what they are going to do with theirs."

"How do you do, Tony? I have come over to talk with you about the race.
Next Wednesday is the day, you know."

"I had forgotten all about the race in the excitement of the bridge
affair."

"I don't wonder."

"What are you going to do with your money, Frank?" asked Tony. "Your
club met last evening, I believe."

"We voted to buy some philosophical apparatus with it."

"Good! Did Tim Bunker vote for that?"

"He didn't vote at all. He wanted the money divided; but the vote was
unanimous for spending it as I said. By the way, Mr. Walker was
liberal--wasn't he?"

"Princely. He ought to have given you more and us less, though."

"No; he did perfectly right. We did not deserve even what we got."

"Just like you! But come into the club room--Butterfly Hall--and we will
fix things for the race."

Frank and Tony discussed the details of the race, and at the end of an
hour everything was arranged to the satisfaction of both. There was no
difference of opinion except as to the length of the race. Tony, thought
that twice up and down the lake, making an eight-mile race, would be
best; but Frank felt sure that it was too long, and that it would tire
the boys too much. So it was finally agreed that they should pull only
once up and down, making about four miles.

As the Butterfly club were to meet that evening, Frank departed earlier
than he otherwise would have done, so as not to be considered an
intruder.

Tony's club were in high spirits that evening. The praise bestowed upon
them had created a strong feeling of self-reliance in their minds.
Their discipline had passed through a severe ordeal, and it was
pronounced perfectly satisfactory by all concerned. They had done hard
work, and done it well. Their success was the result of their excellent
discipline. It would have been in vain that they had as good a commander
as Tony, if promptness and obedience had been wanting.

"Now, boys," said Tony, when he had called the meeting to order, "we
have arranged all the details of the race, and if you like, I will tell
you about it."

"Tell us," said several.

The chairman proceeded to give them the substance of his conversation
with the coxswain of the Zephyr; and the rules they had adopted were of
course agreed to by all present.

The Butterfly boys, elated with the results of the bridge affair, were
confident that they should win the race. Tony, however, was not so
sanguine. He knew, better than they, how skilful Frank was; and, if the
Zephyr had not labored under the disadvantage of having a new member, he
would have been sure of being beaten.

"There is another subject which comes up for consideration to-night--I
mean the gift of Mr. Walker. He has left it so that it may be divided
among us, or held and used as common property," continued Tony.

The boys looked at each other, as if to pry into the thoughts of their
neighbors. There was a long silence, and it was in vain that Tony called
for the opinions of the members; they did not seem to have any opinions
on the subject.

"We will do just as you say, Mr. Chairman," said Little Paul.

"So we will," added Henry Brown.

"I shall not say," replied Tony. "It is a matter for you to decide.
George says we can put it in the Savings Bank, if we don't divide it,
and keep it till we find a use for it. Perhaps, though, some of your
parents may want it. If they do, we had better give each his share."

"Let us put it in the Savings Bank," said Dick Chester.

But Henry Brown looked at Little Paul, whose father was a very poor man,
and had not been able to work for several months.

"Perhaps we had better divide it," suggested he.

"If you agree to divide it, each member shall have a thirteenth part of
the whole four hundred dollars," added Tony.

"That wouldn't be right," replied Little Paul. "He gave a hundred to
you; and certainly you are better entitled to a hundred than we are to a
penny apiece."

"I will not take more than my share."

"We will only take what Mr. Walker awarded us," said Henry.

"That we won't," added several members.

"No!" shouted the whole club.

"But you _shall_, my lads," said Tony, stoutly. "George and I have
agreed to that."

"But the commander of the ship ought to have a bigger share than the
crew; besides, what could we have done without you?" argued Little Paul.

"And what could I have done without you?"

"It was your skill and courage, as the Mercury says, which did the
business."

"It was your prompt obedience that crowned our labors with success. I
tell you, boys, it is just as broad as it is long. The money shall be
equally divided."

"Then we won't divide it," said Henry Brown.

"Very well; I will agree to that. We shall be equal owners then,"
replied Tony, with a smile of triumph; for in either case his point was
gained.

"But what shall we do with it? Four hundred dollars is a heap of money.
What's the use of saving it up without having some idea of what we mean
to do with it?"

"We can put it to a dozen uses."

"What, for instance?"

"Why, enlarging our library; buying an apparatus, as the Zephyrs are
going to do; giving it to the poor," replied Tony. "But I was thinking
of something before the meeting."

The boys all looked at the chairman with inquiring glances.

"Out with it," said several of them.

"There are lots of fellows round here who would like to get into a boat
club."

"More than twenty," added Little Paul.

"We have money enough to buy another boat."

"Hurrah!" exclaimed several of the members, jumping out of their chairs
in the excitement of the moment. "Let us buy another boat!"

"What shall we call her?" added Dick Chestor.

Several of the boys began to exercise their minds on this important
question, without devoting any more attention to the propriety or the
practicability of procuring another boat. That question was regarded as
already settled.

"Ay, what shall we call her?" repeated Joseph Hooper.

"What do you say to the 'Lily?'"

"The 'Water Sprite?'"

"The 'Go-ahead?'"

"Name her after Mr. Walker."

"No; after Tony Weston."

"You are counting the chickens before they are hatched," added Tony,
laughing heartily.

"The--the--the 'Red Rover,'" said Joseph Hooper.

"That's too piratical," replied Little Paul.

"I wouldn't say anything about the name at present," suggested Tony.

"Wouldn't it be fine, though, to have three boats on the lake?"
exclaimed Henry.

"Glorious! A race with three boats!"

"Who would be coxswain of the new boat?"

"Fred Harper," said little Paul. "The fellows say he is almost as good
as Frank Sedley."

"If we had another boat we should want a commodore," continued Tony.
"And I was thinking, if we got another, that Frank would be the
commodore, and command the fleet. Then there would be a coxswain to each
boat besides."

"That would be first rate."

"Let us have the other boat."

"Hurrah! so I say."

"I suppose we could buy two six-oar boats for our money," added Tony.

"And have four in the fleet?"

"Perhaps three four-oar boats."

"Five boats in the fleet! That would be a glorious squadron!"

The boys could hardly repress the delight which these air castles
excited, and several of them kept jumping up and down, they were so
nervous and so elated.

"Come, Tony, let us settle the business, and order the boats at once,"
said Dick Chester.

"We had better think a while of it. Something else may turn up which
will suit us even better than the fleet. Of course we must consult
Captain Sedley and George before we do anything," replied Tony.

"They will be willing."

"Perhaps they will, and perhaps they won't."

"I know they will," said Dick.

"We will consult them, at any rate. It is necessary to take a vote
concerning the division of the money."

Of course the club voted not to divide; and it was decided that the
money should remain in the hands of George Weston until the fleet
question should be settled.

"Now, boys," said Tony, "next Monday is town meeting day, and school
don't keep. We will meet at nine o'clock and practise for the race,
which comes off on Wednesday afternoon, at three o'clock. Let every
fellow be on hand in season."

The club adjourned, and the boys went off in little parties, discussing
the exciting topic of a fleet of five boats, under the command of
Commodore Frank Sedley.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE RACE.


The day appointed for the race between the Zephyr and the Butterfly had
arrived, and the large number of people congregated on the shores of
Wood Lake testified to the interest which was felt in the event.
Probably the exciting incident at the bridge, which had been published
in the newspaper, imparted a greater degree of interest to the race than
it would otherwise have possessed. It was a beautiful afternoon, mild
and pleasant for the season, which favored the attendance of the ladies,
and the lake was lined with a row of cheerful faces.

"All aboard!" said Frank, as he dissolved a meeting of the Zephyrs,
which he had called in order to impart whatever hints he had been able
to obtain from his father and others in regard to their conduct.

Above all, he had counseled them, in case they were beaten, to cherish
no hard feelings towards their rivals. Not a shadow of envy or ill-will
was to obscure the harmony of the occasion. And if they were so
fortunate as to win the race they were to wear their honors with
humility; and most especially, they were not to utter a word which could
create a hard feeling in the minds of their competitors. Whatever the
result, there was to be the same kindness in the heart, and the same
gentlemanly deportment in the manners, which had thus far characterized
the intercourse of the two clubs.

"All aboard!"

The Zephyrs were more quiet and dignified in their deportment than
usual. There was no loud talk, no jesting; even Fred Harper looked
thoughtful and serious. Each member seemed to feel the responsibility of
winning the race resting like a heavy burden upon his shoulders.

The boat was hauled out into the lake, and once more Frank cautioned
them to keep cool and obey orders.

"Don't look at the Butterfly after we get started," said he. "You must
permit me to keep watch of her. Keep both eyes on me, and think only of
having your stroke perfectly accurate, perfectly in time with the
others. Now, remember, don't look at the Butterfly; if you do, we shall
lose the race. It would distract your attention and add to your
excitement. If she gets two or three lengths ahead of us, as I think she
will on the first mile, don't mind it. Pull your best, and leave the
rest with me."

"Ay, ay!" replied several, quietly.

"Do you think we shall win, Frank?" asked Charles, who had put the same
question a dozen times before.

"We must _think_ that we shall," replied Frank, with a smile. "Here
comes the Butterfly. Now, give her three cheers. One!"

"Hurrah!"

"Two!"

"Hurrah!"

"Three!"

"Hurrah!"

This compliment was promptly returned by the Butterfly, as she came
alongside the Zephyr.

"Quarter of three, Frank," said Tony.

"Time we were moving then," replied Frank, as he ordered the oars out,
and the boats started for the spot where the Sylph, the judges' boat,
had taken position.

They pulled with a very slow stroke, and not only did the respective
crews keep the most exact time, but each timed its stroke with the
other. It was exhibition day with them, and they were not only to run
the race, but to show off their skill to the best advantage. Hundreds of
people, their fathers and their mothers, their sisters and their
brothers, were observing them from the shore, and this fact inspired
them to work with unusual care.

It was a very beautiful sight, those richly ornamented boats, their gay
colors flashing in the bright sunshine, with their neatly uniformed
crews, their silken flags floating to the breeze, and their light,
graceful oars dipping with mechanical precision in the limpid waters. As
they glided gently over the rippling waves, like phantoms, to the middle
of the lake, a long and deafening shout from the shore saluted their
ears. The white handkerchiefs of the ladies waved them a cheerful
greeting, and the Rippleton Brass Band, which had volunteered for the
occasion, struck up Hail Columbia.

"Cease--rowing!" said Frank, as he rose in his seat.

Tony followed his example, though this movement had not been laid down
in the program.

Frank then took the American flag which floated at the stern, and Tony
did the same.

"All up!" said he. "Let us give them three cheers."

"Mind the coxswain of the Zephyr," added Tony, "and let them be all
together and with a will."

"Hats off, and swing them as you cheer."

The cheers were given with all the vigor which stout lungs could impart,
and the flags waved and the hats swung.

The salute was reiterated from the shore, and above the martial strains
of the band rose the deafening hurrahs.

"Ready--pull!" and the boats resumed their slow and measured stroke, and
the band changed the tune to the Canadian Boat Song.

When they reached the judges' boat, the two coxswains drew lots for the
choice of "position," and the Butterfly obtained this advantage. The two
boats then took their places, side by side, about two rods apart, ready
to commence the race.

"Tony," said Frank, rising, "before we start I have a word to say.
Whatever may be the result of the race, for myself and my crew, I pledge
you there shall be no hard feeling among the Zephyrs."

"No, no, no!" added the club, earnestly.

"If you beat, it shall not impair our friendship; there shall be no
envy, no ill-will. Do you all say so, Zephyrs?"

"Ay, ay!"

The Butterflies clapped their hands vigorously, in token of their
approbation of the pledge, and Tony promised the same thing for his
club.

"Now we are ready," added Frank. "Keep perfectly cool, and mind all I
have said. Ready!"

Uncle Ben stood in the bow of the Sylph, with a burning slow match in
his hand, ready to discharge the cannon which was to be the signal for
starting. It was a moment of intense excitement, not only to the crews
of the boats, but to hundreds of spectators on the shore.

It was undeniably true that the Zephyrs, in spite of the warnings which
Frank had given them, were very much excited, and various were the
expedients which the boys used to calm their agitation, or at least to
conceal it. But it was also true that the Butterflies were much more
excited. Discipline and experience had not schooled them in the art of
"being mere machines," and they found it much more difficult than the
Zephyrs to subdue their troublesome emotions.

The eventful moment had come. The oarsmen were bent forward ready to
strike the first stroke, and the coxswains were leaning back ready to
time the movement. Captain Sedley was gazing intently at the dial of his
"second indicator," prepared to give Uncle Ben the word to fire.

"Ready, Ben--fire!"

Bang! went the cannon.

"Pull!" shouted Frank and Tony in the same breath.

Fortunately every oarsman in both boats hit the stroke exactly, and away
leaped the gallant barks.

As Frank had deemed it probable, the Butterfly shot a length ahead of
her rival after pulling a few strokes; but though the noise of the oars
informed his crew of their relative positions, not an eye was turned
from him, not a muscle yielded in the face of the dispiriting fact, and
not a member quickened his stroke in order to retrieve the lost ground.
Even Tim Bunker, who was supposed to have more feeling in regard to the
race than the others, maintained an admirable self-possession. However
much the hearts of the crew beat with agitation, they were outwardly as
cool as though the Butterfly had been a mile behind them.

It is true, some of the Zephyrs, as they continued to gaze at Frank's
calm and immovable features, wondered that he did not quicken the
stroke; but no one for an instant lost confidence in him. "Frank knew
what he was about." This was the sentiment that prevailed, and each
member looked out for himself, leaving all the rest to him.

The Butterflies were quickening their stroke every moment, and
consequently were continuing to increase the distance between the two
boats. Every muscle was strained to its utmost tension. Every particle
of strength was laid out, until Tony, fearful that some of the weaker
ones might "make a slip," dared require no more of them. But they were
already more than two boats' lengths ahead of their rival, and he had
everything to hope.

Still the Zephyr pulled that same steady stroke. As yet she had made no
extraordinary exertion. Her crew were still fresh and vigorous, while
those of her rival, though she was every moment gaining upon her, were
taxing their strength to the utmost.

They rounded the stake boat, which had been placed nearly opposite the
mouth of the Rippleton River, and the Butterfly was still three lengths
ahead. They had begun upon the last two miles of the race. Though the
Zephyr still pursued her former tactics, her rival was no longer able to
gain upon her. The latter had thus far done her best, and for the next
half mile the boats maintained the same relative positions.

Frank was still unmoved, and there was some inward grumbling among his
crew. An expression of deep anxiety had begun to supplant the look of
hope and confidence they had worn, and some of them were provoked to a
doubt whether Frank, in the generosity of his nature, was not intending
to let Tony bear off the honors.

"Come, Frank, let her have, now!" said Tim, who could no longer restrain
his impatience.

"Silence! Not a word!" said the self-possessed coxswain.

It was in the "order of the day" that no member should speak during the
race; and none did, except Tim, and he could easily have been pardoned
under the circumstances.

Not yet did Frank quicken the stroke of the Zephyr, though at the end of
the next half mile she was only two boats' lengths astern of her
competitor, which had lost this distance by the exhaustion of her crew.
They had pulled three miles with the expenditure of all their strength.
They lacked the power of endurance, which could only be obtained by long
practice. "It is the last pound that breaks the camel's back;" and it
was so with them. With a little less exertion they might have preserved
some portion of their vigor for the final struggle, which was yet to
come.

They had begun upon the last mile. The crew of the Butterfly were as
confident of winning the race as though the laurel of victory had
already been awarded to them; and though their backs ached and their
arms were nearly numb, a smile of triumph rested on their faces.

"Now for the tug of war," said Frank, in a low, subdued tone, loud
enough to be heard by all his crew, but so gentle as not to create any
of that dangerous excitement which is sometimes the ruin of the best
laid plans.

As he spoke the motions of his body became a little quicker, and
gradually increased in rapidity till the stroke was as quick as was
consistent with perfect precision. The result of this greater
expenditure of power was instantly observed, and at the end of the next
quarter of a mile the boats were side by side again.

"They are beating us!" said Tony, in a whisper. "Dip a little
deeper--pull strong!"

The exciting moment of the race had come. The spectators on the shore
gazed with breathless interest upon the spectacle, unable, though
"Zephyr stock was up," to determine the result.

Not a muscle in Frank's face moved, and steadily and anxiously his crew
watched and followed his movements.

"Steady!" said he, in his low, impressive tone, as he quickened a trifle
more the stroke of the crew.

The Butterflies were "used up," incapable of making that vigorous effort
which might have carried them in ahead of the Zephyr.

"A little deeper," continued Frank. "Now for it!"

As he spoke, with a sudden flash of energy he drove his oarsmen to their
utmost speed and strength, and the Zephyr shot by the judges' boat full
a length and a half ahead of the Butterfly.

"Cease--rowing!" said he. "Ready--up!"

The Butterfly came in scarcely an instant behind, and her oars were
poised in air, like those of her rival.

A long and animating shout rang along the shore, when the result of the
race was apparent, and the band struck up "See the conquering hero
comes."



CHAPTER IX.

LITTLE PAUL.


"You have won the race, Frank, and I congratulate you," said Tony
Weston, as the Butterfly came alongside the Zephyr.

"Thank you, Tony; that is noble and generous," replied Frank.

"But it is the feeling in our club--isn't it, fellows?"

"Ay, ay, that it is!" shouted Little Paul. "Let us give them three
cheers, to show the folks on shore that there are no hard feelings."

The cheers were given lustily--at least, as lustily as the exhausted
condition of the Butterflies would permit. Each member of the defeated
club seemed to feel it his duty to banish even the semblance of envy;
and it was pleasant to observe how admirably they succeeded.

I do not wish my young readers to suppose that Tony's crew felt no
disappointment at the result; only that there were no hard feelings, no
petty jealousy. They had confidently expected to win the race, even up
to the last quarter of a mile of the course; and to have that hope
suddenly dashed down, to be beaten when they felt sure of being the
victors, was regarded as no trivial misfortune. But so thoroughly had
Tony schooled them in the necessity of keeping down any ill will, that
I am sure there was not a hard feeling in the club. Perhaps they
displayed more disinterestedness in their conduct after the race than
they really felt. If they did, it was no great harm, for their motives
were good, and they were all struggling to feel what their words and
their actions expressed.

"Zephyr, ahoy!" hailed Mr. Hyde, from the Sylph.

"Ay, ay, sir!"

"The prize is ready for the winner."

The oars were dropped into the water again, and the Zephyr pulled up to
the judges' boat.

"You have won the prize handsomely, Frank, and it affords me great
pleasure to present it to you," said Mr. Hyde, as he handed him a purse
containing the prize. "After the noble expressions of kindness on the
part of your rival, I am sure the award will awaken no feeling of
exultation in the minds of the Zephyrs, and none of envy in the
Butterflies. I congratulate you on your victory."

Frank bowed, and thanked the schoolmaster for his hopeful words; and the
Butterflies gave three cheers again as he took the prize. The Zephyr was
then brought alongside her late rival.

"Starboard oars--up!" said Frank.

"Larboard oars--up!" added Tony.

"What now, I wonder?" queried Fred Harper.

"Forward oarsman, step aboard the Butterfly," continued Frank.

"Forward oarsman, step aboard the Zephyr," said Tony.

Then the next member in each boat was passed over to the other, and so
on, till the whole starboard side of the Zephyr was manned by
Butterflies, and the larboard side of the Butterfly by Zephyrs.

"Ready--up!" said the coxswains, as they proceeded to get under way
again.

Thus, with the two clubs fraternally mingled, they slowly pulled towards
the nearest shore, while the band played its sweetest strains. The
spectators still lingered; and as the boats neared the land, they were
greeted with repeated cheers. Then, side by side, they pulled slowly
along the shore, within a few rods of the lake's bank, till they reach
the Butterflies' house, where they all landed.

And thus ended the famous boat race, over which the boys had been
thinking by day and dreaming by night for several weeks. The occasion
had passed; and if it was productive of any evil effects in the minds of
those who engaged in it, they were more than balanced by the excellent
discipline it afforded. They had learned to look without envy upon those
whom superior skill or good fortune had favored, and to feel kindly
towards those over whom they had won a victory. It was a lesson which
they would all need in the great world, where many a race is run, and
where the conqueror is not always gentle towards the conquered--where
defeat generates ill-will, envy, and hatred.

"A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another," said
Jesus--not only love one another when the sky is clear, and the waters
are smooth, but when the clouds threaten, and the stormy sea lashes with
its fury; not only when the arm of friendship and kindness holds us up,
but when all hearts seem cold, when all hands are closed, and all faces
frown upon us. It was this divine command that the circumstances of the
boat race tended to exemplify; and I am sure that both the conquerors
and the conquered were better prepared for the duty of life than if they
had had no such experience.

I do not mean to say that every boat race is a good thing, most
especially when it is made to be a gambling speculation by staking money
on the result--only that this one was, because those who conducted it
made it subservient to the moral progress of the boys.

"Well, Frank, I am glad you won the race," said Tony, with a smile which
testified to his sincerity. "Fortune favored us at the bridge, and gave
us the opportunity of winning the honors."

"And the profits too, Tony. Fifty dollars is nothing to us now," added
Fred, with a laugh.

"Thank you, Tony," replied Frank. "You are so noble that you almost make
me regret we won. But, my dear fellow, you have won a greater victory in
your own heart. I can envy you the possession of such noble feelings."

"Pooh, Frank!"

"I am sure I don't value the victory, because it has been won over you."

"We trained ourselves to _feel right_ about the matter whichever way the
race went."

"Your heart is so near right that you don't need much training. But it
is time for us to return home."

"How about that picnic on the first of May?"

"My father has consented to it."

"So have our folks; we will have a glorious time of it. On Saturday
afternoon, if you say so we will visit Center Island, and set the May
pole."

"Agreed."

"But, Frank, school keeps--don't it?"

"Whew! does it?"

"It did last year; but the committee have talked of giving us the day. I
hope they will. Ask your father; he is one of them."

"I will. We can get the point settled before Saturday."

"I guess so."

"All aboard!"

The Zephyrs hastened on board, and in a few minutes were out of sight.
The Butterfly was hauled into her berth, everything was made "snug" and
tidy, and the boys hastened to their several homes. Of course it was not
easy for them to drive out of their minds the exciting events of the
day, and while all of them, except Tony, were sorry they had lost the
race, they had much to console them. They had won a victory over
themselves; and the consciousness of this triumph compensated for their
disappointment. Each of them, adopting the sentiment of their heroic
young leader, thought what a good fellow Frank Sedley was, and _tried_
to feel glad that he had won.

There was one of them, however, who did not think much about it after he
separated from his companions. Other considerations claimed his
attention; and before he reached his humble home, the race was banished
from his mind. He had a sick father, and the family had hard work to get
along. This was Little Paul.

His mother insisted upon sending him to school while there was anything
left to procure the necessaries of life; and as there was little for him
to do at home, he was allowed to join the club, because his parents knew
how much he loved the sports on the lake, and that nothing but good
influences would be exerted upon him in the association.

Paul Munroe was a good boy, in every sense of the word; and though he
had never been able to do much for his parents, they regarded him none
the less as one of their choicest blessings. As Tony expressed it,
Little Paul's heart was in the right place; and it was a big heart, full
of warm blood.

His father sat in an easy-chair by the kitchen stove as he entered, and
a smile played upon his pale blue lips as his eyes met the glance of his
loving son.

"Well, Paul, did you win the race?" he asked, in feeble tones.

"No, father; the Zephyrs beat. Frank Sedley rather outgeneraled Tony,
and his crew were more used to pulling than we. But Frank is a
first-rate fellow."

"Isn't Tony?"

"That he is! They are both first-rate fellows; I don't know where there
are two other such fellows in the world."

"You are right, Paul; they are good boys, and we shall be sorry to take
you away from them."

Little Paul looked inquiringly at his father. He had more than once
begged to be allowed to work in the Rippleton factories, that he might
earn something towards supporting the family; but his parents would
never consent to take him away from school and confine him in the noisy,
dusty rooms of the mills. His father's words suggested the idea that
they had consented to his request, and that he was to be allowed to work
for a living.

"'Squire Chase has been here to-day," added Mr. Munroe, sadly.

"Has he? What did he say?" asked Paul, a shade of anxiety gathering upon
his fine, manly face.

"We must leave our house, my son," replied the father, with a sigh.

"Won't he wait?"

"No."

"How did he act while he was here?"

"He was very harsh and unfeeling."

"The villain!" exclaimed Paul, with emphasis, as his check reddened with
indignation.

"He is a hard man, Paul; but reproaches are of no use. The note is due
on the first of May; I cannot pay it, so we must leave the house."

"Where are we to go, father?"

"Your grandfather, who has a large farm in Maine, has written for me to
come there; and your mother and I have decided to go."

Paul looked sad at the thought of leaving the pleasant scenes of his
early life, and bidding farewell to his cherished friends; but there was
no help for it, and he cheerfully yielded to the necessity. It was of no
use to think of moving the heart of 'Squire Chase--it was cold, hard,
and impenetrable. He was a close-fisted lawyer, who had made a handsome
fortune in the city by taking advantage of the distresses of others, and
it was not likely that he, having thus conquered all the nobler
impulses of his nature, would have any sympathy for Mr. Munroe in his
unfortunate condition.

The poor man had bought the little place he occupied a few years before
for seven hundred dollars--paying two hundred down, and giving his note,
secured by a mortgage, for the rest. The person of whom he had purchased
the place, whose lands joined it, had sold his estate to 'Squire Chase,
to whom, also, he had transferred the mortgage. The retired lawyer was
not content to remain quiet in his new home, and there repent of his
many sins, but immediately got up an immense land speculation, by which
he hoped to build a village on his grounds, and thus make another
fortune.

Mr. Munroe's little place was in his way. He wanted to run a road over
the spot where the house was located, and had proposed to buy it and the
land upon which it stood. He offered seven hundred and fifty dollars for
it; but it was now worth nine hundred, and Mr. Munroe refused the offer.
The 'Squire was angry at the refusal, and from that time used all the
means in his power to persecute his poor neighbor.

Then sickness paralyzed the arm of Mr. Munroe, and he could no longer
work. The money he had saved to pay the note when it should become due
was expended in supporting his family. With utter ruin staring him full
in the face, he sent for 'Squire Chase, and consented to his offer; but
the malicious wretch would not give even that now; and the land was so
situated as to be of but little value except to the owner of the Chase
estate. The 'Squire was a bad neighbor, and no one wanted to get near
him; so that Mr. Munroe could not sell to any other person.

The crafty lawyer knew that the poor man was fully in his power, and he
determined to punish him, even to his ruin. He hated him because he was
an honest, good man; because his life, even in his humbler sphere, was a
constant reproach to him. The note would be due on the first of May,
and he had determined to take possession in virtue of the mortgage.

Poor Paul shed many bitter tears upon his pillow that night; and from
the depths of his gentle heart he prayed that God would be very near to
his father and mother in the trials and sorrows that were before them.



CHAPTER X.

A UNANIMOUS VOTE.


On the following day Little Paul was missed at school, and some anxiety
was felt by his companions concerning him. It was feared that the
exertion of the race had proved too great for him, and that he was too
ill to come out. All the other boys appeared as usual, and none of them
seemed to be the worse for the violent exercise they had taken.

Before night, however, they learned that Little Paul was quite well, and
had been detained at home to assist his mother. This intelligence
removed their anxiety, and their fears lest boat racing should be deemed
an improper recreation, and dangerous to the health of the boys. Friday
and Saturday passed, and he did not appear at school; but it was said
that his mother was very busy, and nothing was thought of the
circumstance.

On Saturday afternoon the Butterfly club had assembled in their hall,
and were talking over the affairs of the association until the time
appointed for the excursion to Center Island. Little Paul had not come
yet, and the boys began to fear that they should be obliged to make the
excursion with only five oars on one side.

"What do you suppose is the reason?" asked Dick Chester.

"I have no idea; I hope nothing has happened, for Little Paul has not
been absent from school before this season," replied Tony.

"I hope not," added Henry Brown. "Suppose we send a committee to inquire
after him."

This was deemed an excellent suggestion, and Henry and Dick were
immediately appointed a committee of two, by the "chair," to attend to
the matter. They departed upon their mission, and after the boys had
wondered a while longer what kept Paul away, another topic was brought
up--a matter which was of the deepest interest to the young boatmen, and
which had claimed their attention during all their leisure moments for
several days.

I say their leisure moments; for the affairs of the club were not
permitted to interfere with any of the usual duties of the members. At
home and at school, it was required that everything should be done well
and done properly. As may be supposed, this was not an easy matter for
boys whose heads were full of boats and boating; and about once a week
the coxswains found it advisable to read a lecture on the necessity of
banishing play during work hours. "Whatsoever thy hands find to do, do
it with all thy might," was a text so often repeated that it had
virtually become one of the articles of the constitution.

The boys felt the necessity of following this precept. They realized
enough of the law of cause and effect to be aware that, if their home
and school duties were neglected, or slovenly done, boating would soon
obtain a bad reputation; so both parents and teacher found that the
clubs were a great help rather than a hindrance in the performance of
their several functions.

So strongly were the Zephyrs impressed with the necessity of not
permitting the club to interfere with home and school duties, that, at
the latter part of their first season, they had established a rule by
which any member who wilfully neglected his duties should be, for a
certain time, excluded from the club. And this rule was not a dead
letter. One Wednesday forenoon Charles Hardy had wasted his time in
school, and failed in his lessons. On his slate was found a drawing of a
club boat, manned by certain ill-looking caricatures, which explained
the cause of the defection. An excursion had been planned for that
afternoon, and when Charles presented himself at the boat-house, he was
politely informed that he could not go. In vain he pleaded; Fred Harper,
who was coxswain at the time, was very civil and very gentle, but he was
inflexible. And the culprit had the satisfaction of sitting upon a rock
on shore, and seeing what a fine time the fellows were having.

The effect was decidedly salutary, and another case of such discipline
did not again occur. The boys, zealous to keep their favorite sport in
good repute, adopted the regulation for the present year, in both clubs.
Without such precautions as these it was plain that boating would soon
become a nuisance, which neither parents nor teachers would tolerate.
Therefore the members of the clubs made it a point to keep their
"voyages," their plans and schemes, out of their minds at times when
their heads should be filled with, other matters. It was astonishing to
what an extent they succeeded; and boys would often be surprised to see
how well they can do, if they would only set about it earnestly and with
a determination to succeed.

The notable scheme which just now engrossed the attention of the
Butterflies was no less than the establishment of a "fleet of boats"
upon the lake. The dream of half a dozen boats, under command of
Commodore Frank Sedley, maneuvering on the water, performing beautiful
evolutions, and doing a hundred things which they could not then define,
was so pleasant, so fascinating, that they could not easily give it up.

There would be the commodore in his "flag boat," signalizing the fleet,
now bidding them pull in "close order," now ordering a boat out on
service, and now sending one to examine a bay or a harbor. And then, if
they could only get leave to explore Rippleton River, how the commander
of the squadron would send out a small craft to sound ahead of them, and
to buoy off the rocks and shoals, and how the people on the banks of the
stream would stare when they saw them moving in sections against the
sluggish current! Ah, a fleet of boats was such a brilliant ideal, that
I will venture to say more than one of the boys lay awake nights to
think about it.

I will not attempt to tell my young friends all the queer fancies
concerning the squadron in which they indulged. They were essentially
air castles, very beautiful structures, it is true, but as yet they
rested only on the clouds. But the means of realizing this magnificent
ideal was within their grasp. They had the money to buy the boats, and
the only question was, whether George Weston, the "director" of the
club, would permit the purchase.

"What have you done about the fleet, Tony?" asked Joseph Hooper.

"I have spoken to my brother about it," replied Tony, with a smile.

"What did he say?"

"He had no objection."

"Hurrah! We shall have the fleet then! And Tony, we shall go in for
having you commodore part of the time."

"That we will!" echoed half a dozen voices.

"You would make as good a commodore as Frank," added Joseph.

"I guess not," answered Tony, modestly. "Didn't you see how slick Frank
beat us in the race? If I had followed his tactics, we might have stood
some chance, at least."

"Some chance! Didn't we keep ahead of him till we had got almost home?"

"Yes; but that was a part of Frank's tactics. He let us get tired out,
and then beat us. But we haven't got the fleet yet, fellows, and we are
a pack of fools to count the chickens before they are hatched."

"You said George has no objections," replied Joseph, glancing anxiously
at Tony.

"He has not, but he wants to consult Captain Sedley before he consents."

The boys looked a little disconcerted at this intelligence, and a
momentary silence ensued.

"Do you think he will object, Tony?" asked one.

"I am pretty sure he will not."

"Have you said anything to Frank about it?"

"Yes; and he says the Zephyrs will put their money with ours, if we get
the fleet."

"Hurrah! I _know_ his father will consent!"

"I have even got a hint from him that he should not object," added Tony,
very quietly.

"That is glorious! We shall certainly have the fleet then!" shouted
Joseph Hooper.

"I am pretty sure there will be no trouble about it. Almost everybody is
willing to admit now that the clubs are a good thing; that they keep the
fellows out of mischief, and stimulate them to do their duty at home and
at school. So much for our strict regulations. If we can get more boats,
and form more clubs, everybody concerned will be the better for it."

"That's the idea."

"We can get four small boats for our money--can't we?" asked one of the
boys.

"Frank thought we had better get different sized boats," replied Tony.

"For different kinds of service," added Joseph, demurely.

"Say, one eight-oar boat, one six-oar, and two four-oar," said Tony.

"That would be first rate! Then we could take in twenty-two fellows."

"Twenty-three; the commodore would not be the coxswain of any boat, but
command the whole."

The boys grew so nervous and excited during this fine discussion, that
they could hardly keep their seats. In imagination the fleet was already
afloat, and the broad pennant of Commodore Sedley was flying on board
the Zephyr.

"How long before we can get the boats, Tony?" asked a little fellow,
his eyes snapping with delight at the glorious anticipation.

"Perhaps they can be bought ready made. We need not wait for new ones.
In a few weeks, at least before vacation---- Hallo, Paul! I am glad you
have come."

Little Paul looked very sad as he entered Butterfly Hall. With a faint
smile he received the greetings of his friends.

"All aboard!" shouted Tony, as he rose front his chair. "You haven't got
your uniform on, Paul."

"I can't go with you, Tony," replied Little Paul, in a gloomy tone.

"Not go with us! Why not? What is the matter?"

"I must leave the club too," he added, in a husky voice.

"Leave the club!"

"We are going to move Down East."

"That's too bad!"

All the boys gathered round Little Paul, and there was a troubled look
upon their countenances.

"We cannot stay here any longer," continued the poor boy, as he dashed a
tear from his eye.

It was evident to all that some misfortune had overtaken the Munroe
family, and Little Paul's sorrows excited the deepest interest and
sympathy.

Without any solicitation on the part of his companions, the little
fellow told them the story of his father's trials, and the reason why he
was compelled to leave Rippleton.

"When is the money due, Paul?" asked Tony.

"On the first of May. My father has no money end he cannot pay the
note."

"How much did you say it was?"

"Five hundred dollars. It is a great sum for us."

"My father says 'Squire Chase is not any better than he ought to be,"
added Dick Chester, who had returned with Little Paul.

"He is a very hard man," replied Paul. "But I must go home again. I
shall see you before I leave town;" and the poor fellow turned away to
hide his tears.

"Poor Little Paul!" said Tony, when he had gone.

"How I pity him!" added Henry Brown.

"So do I," reiterated Joseph Hooper.

"How much do you pity him, fellows?" asked Tony, seating himself in his
arm-chair.

"So much that we would help him if we could," answered Henry.

"You can help him."

A deep silence ensued.

"Have you the nerve to make a great sacrifice, Butterflies?" exclaimed
Tony with energy.

"We have."

"I move you, Mr. Chairman, that our four hundred dollars be applied to
the relief of Little Paul's father," said Henry Brown, catching Tony's
idea.

"Second the motion," added Dick Chester, promptly.

"Bravo!" shouted Tony, slapping the table with his fist. "That's what I
call noble! But before we do it, just think what a fine thing the fleet
would be. It is a great sacrifice."

"Question!" called Joseph Hooper.

"Think well, fellows," said Tony. "Any remarks upon the subject will be
in order. It is a great question, and ought not to be hastily decided."

"Question!" shouted the whole club, wildly.

"Those in favor of applying the four hundred dollars to the relief of
Mr. Munroe will signify it," said Tony.

"All up!"

"_It is a unanimous vote!_"



CHAPTER XI.

BETTER TO GIVE THAN RECEIVE.


"All aboard!" shouted Tony, as soon as he had declared the vote: and the
boys hurried into the boat to be in readiness to join the Zephyr, which
was already upon the lake.

Tony's spirits were unusually buoyant. The sympathy and co-operation of
the club in regard to Little Paul's father was in the highest degree
grateful to his feelings. Perhaps his companions did not so cheerfully
resign the project of the fleet; perhaps they had acted upon the impulse
of the moment; but they were all to experience the benefit of doing a
good deed, and sacrificing their own gratification for the happiness of
others. Tony felt better for the sacrifice they had made, and probably
the rest of them shared his feelings. He was satisfied that they did not
fully realize what they had done, and with the determination to take a
fit opportunity to talk over the matter with them, he took his place in
the boat.

The Zephyrs were laying on their oars, waiting for the Butterfly when
she backed out of the boat house.

"You are late, Tony, which is rather odd for you," said Frank.

"We had a little business to attend to, which detained us," replied
Tony; "and while we are here we may as well tell you about it. We have
voted our money away."

"For the fleet?"

"No; we have given that up."

"Indeed! Given it up?" exclaimed Frank, not a little surprised at this
declaration.

"Fact, Frank!"

"Something new has turned up, then?"

"Let us lash boats to keep us from drifting apart, and I will tell you
all about it."

The two boats were fastened together fore and aft, and Tony proceeded to
tell the story of Little Paul's father. He spoke loud enough for all the
Zephyrs to hear him, and as his heart warmed towards Mr. Munroe in his
misfortunes, his eyes dilated, and his gestures were as apt and
energetic as though he had been an orator all his lifetime.

"I see what you have done with your money," said Frank, as the speaker
paused at the close of the narrative. "It was like you, Tony--noble and
generous!"

"We gave all our money for the relief of Mr. Munroe; but I didn't even
suggest the thing to the fellows. Henry Brown made the motion, and it
was a unanimous vote."

"Bravo, Butterflies!"

"Have you given up the fleet?" asked Tim Bunker, whose face was the only
one which did not glow with satisfaction.

"Yes."

"There is more fun in helping a poor man out of trouble than in working
a fleet," added Henry Brown.

"So I say," put in Dick Chester.

"Humph!" grunted Tim.

"But, Tony, you said the note was five hundred dollars--didn't you?"
asked Frank.

"I did."

"And you have only four hundred?"

"That's all;" and Tony's eyes rekindled with delight at the anticipation
of what the Zephyrs would do.

"You hear that, fellows."

"Would a motion be in order now?" asked Charles Hardy.

"Hold your tongue, you fool!" said Tim Bunker, in a low tone. "We can
get another boat with our money, and you shall be coxswain of it."

Charles looked at him.

"A motion would be in order; at least we can _make_ it in order,"
replied Frank.

But Charles hesitated. The tempting offer of Tim, the absurdity of which
he did not stop to consider, conquered his first impulse.

"I move you we appropriate one hundred dollars to put with the
Butterfly's money for Mr. Munroe," said William Blight, and Charles had
lost the honor of making the motion.

"Second the motion," added Fred Harper.

Those in favor of giving our money to Mr. Munroe will signify it."

"Vote against it," said Tim, and Charles accepted the suggestion.

"Ten; it is a vote, though not unanimous," continued Frank, as he cast a
reproachful glance at his friend who had voted against the proposition.

He was not surprised to see Tim Bunker vote against it; but that
Charles should receive the advice of such a counselor, and such advice,
too, was calculated to alarm him. His friend had but little firmness,
and was perhaps more likely to be led away by bad influence than any
other member of the club. He was sorry to see Tim exhibiting his dogged
disposition, but more sorry to see Charles so much under his control.

"Hurrah!" shouted Tony, when the vote was declared. "Let us send up to
Mr. Munroe, and tell him what we have done, and get little Paul. They
won't want him now."

"But, Tony, you forget that our doings must be approved by our
directors," said Frank.

"I'll risk them."

"It would be better to have everything right before we promise Mr.
Munroe."

"So it would. Is your father at home?"

"I believe so."

"George is, and it won't take five minutes to obtain his consent. Let go
the fasts forward," said Tony, as he cast off the line astern.

"We will go ashore and try to find my father," added Frank.
"Ready--pull!"

Away dashed the Zephyr towards her boat house, while the Butterfly came
about so that Tony could leap on shore.

Of course both Captain Sedley and George Weston were surprised at the
sudden action of the clubs; but the deed was too noble, too honorable to
their kind hearts to want their sanction, and it was readily given. In
less than half an hour the boats were pulling towards a convenient
landing-place near Mr. Munroe's house.

The poor man was confounded when the committee of two from each club
waited upon him and stated their business. His eyes filled with tears,
and he and Little Paul wept together.

But Mr. Munroe could not think of taking the money at first. He declared
that he would suffer anything rather than deprive the boys of the
gratification which their money would purchase.

"We are a little selfish about it, sir," said Tony. "We want to keep
Paul among us."

"That's the idea," added Henry Brown, who was his colleague on the
committee.

"I can't take your money, boys," replied Mr. Munroe, firmly.

"You will oblige us very much by taking it. My brother and Captain
Sedley both know what we are about. I am sure we shall feel happier in
letting you have this money than we should be made by anything it will
buy. It was a unanimous vote in our club."

"Noble little fellows!" exclaimed Mr. Munroe, with a fresh burst of
tears, as he grasped the hand of Tony.

The matter was argued for some time longer, and finally compromised by
Mr. Munroe's agreeing to accept the money as a loan.

The notes were drawn up and signed by the poor man, whose heart was
filled to overflowing with gratitude at this unexpected relief.

"Now you will let Paul come with us--won't you, Mr. Munroe?" asked Tony.

"Certainly; and I shall never cease to thank God that he has found such
noble and true friends," replied the poor man; and as they took their
leave, he warmly pressed the hands of each member of the committee.

"Cheer up, Paul; don't be downhearted. It is all right now," said Tony.

"I can't be lively," replied Little Paul, whose sadness cast a shade
upon the enjoyment of the others.

"Why not, Paul?"

"I feel so sad; and your goodness to my poor father overcomes me."

"Never mind that, Paul; cheer up, and we will have a glorious time."

But Little Paul's feelings were too strong and deep to be easily
subdued. His pride seemed to be wounded by the events of the day, and
when they reached Center Island, he told Tony how badly he felt about
his father being the recipient of their charity, as he called it.

"Charity, Paul!" exclaimed the noble little fellow. "Look here;" and he
pulled the note he had received from Mr. Munroe out of his pocket. "Do
you call this charity?"

"Perhaps he can never pay you; at least it will be a long time."

"No matter; it is a fair trade. We lent him the money."

And Tony argued the point with as much skill as a lawyer would have
done, and finally so far succeeded in convincing Paul, that his face
brightened with a cheerful smile, and he joined with hearty zest in the
preparations for the May-day picnic.

A long spruce pole, which had been prepared for the occasion by Uncle
Ben, was towed to the island by the Zephyr, and erected in a convenient
place. The brushwood in the grove was cleared from the ground, the large
stones were rolled out of the way, and were used in constructing a pier
for convenience in landing. When their labors were concluded it was
nearly dark, and the boats pulled for home, each member of the clubs
anticipating a glorious time on the approaching holiday, for such the
committee had decided the First of May should be.



CHAPTER XII.

FIRST OF MAY.


May day came--warm, bright, and beautiful. At six o'clock in the morning
the Zephyr and the Butterfly were manned, and the boys went over to the
island to trim the May-pole with evergreen and flowers. The Sylph was
degraded for the time into a "freighting vessel," and under command of
Uncle Ben conveyed to the island chairs and settees for the use of the
guests, tables for the feast, music stands for the band, and other
articles required for the occasion.

About nine o'clock the guests began to arrive, and were conveyed to the
island by the two club boats--the Sylph having gone down to Rippleton
after the band. The Sedleys, the Westons, Mr. Hyde, the parents of all
the members of the clubs who could attend, all the boys and girls of the
school, and a few gentlemen and ladies from the village who had
manifested a warm interest in the welfare of the two associations,
composed the party; and before ten they were all conveyed to the scene
of the festival.

"Have you got them all, Frank?" asked Captain Sedley, as the coxswain
was ordering his crew ashore.

"All but the Munroes, and the Butterflies are going for them by and by."

"Tom is hoisting the signal," added Captain Sedley, pointing to a blue
flag on the shore, which the gardener had been directed to hoist when
anyone wished to go to the Island.

"We will go, Frank," said Tony; and away dashed the boat towards the
main shore.

"Ah, my Butterflies," said a voice, as they approached the landing.

"Mr. Walker!" exclaimed Tony. "Ready--up! Now let us give him three
cheers. I was afraid he would not come."

The salute was given, and acknowledged by Mr. Walker.

"I am glad to see you again, my brave boy," said the gentleman, as he
grasped Tony's hand.

"I was afraid you would not deem our invitation worth accepting."

"I would not have missed of coming for the world, my young friend. Here
is Mrs. Walker; you know her."

Tony shook hands with the lady, and she said a great many very pretty
things to him, which made the gallant little hero blush like a rose in
June, and stammer so that he could hardly make them understand him.

"Shall I help you into the boat, Mrs. Walker?" said Tony.

"You shall, my little gallant; though I shall not be so glad to get into
it as I was the other day."

The boat put off again, and Mr. and Mrs. Walker were filled with
admiration of the excellent discipline of the rowers. They were warmly
greeted by the party at the island, and lustily cheered by the crew of
the Zephyr, which was again manned for the purpose of giving their
liberal friend this complimentary salute.

"Off again, my lads?" asked Mr. Walker, as the Butterflies prepared to
go for the Munroe family.

Captain Sedley explained to him the nature of their present errand; and,
of course, the warm-hearted gentleman found renewed occasion to applaud
the nobleness of Tony and his companions. He could hardly find terms
sufficiently strong to express his sense of admiration, especially when
he learned the sacrifice which they had made.

"A fleet of boats!" exclaimed he. "If it would raise up such boys as
these, it ought to be procured at the public expense. Thank God! I am
rich."

"I understand you, Mr. Walker," replied Captain Sedley; "but I beg you
will not let your generosity do anything more for the boys."

"Captain Sedley, I _love_ those boys! They are good boys, and good boys
are a scarcity nowadays. There is nothing too good for them."

"You are enthusiastic."

"But I tell you, sir, there are no such boys as those in the world!"
exclaimed Mr. Walker, with a gesture of earnestness.

"O, yes, sir; I presume, under the same discipline, other boys would be
the same."

"Then let them have the same discipline."

"It would cost a fortune. It is a very extravagant recreation, this
boating."

"But it makes men of them. I read the constitution of the clubs, and
Tony tells me it is carried out to the fullest extent."

"No doubt of it. There are boys among them, who, under other
circumstances, would be bad boys. I am satisfied the club keeps them
true to themselves and their duty."

"That's just my idea; and these noble-hearted little fellows have
bestowed the money I gave them in such a commendable manner, I mean to
give them as much more."

"That was my own feeling about the matter; but I do not think it is a
good plan to make good all they sacrifice. This fleet scheme was a
cherished project, and it was noble in them to give it up that they
might do a good deed."

"Noble! It was heroic--I was just going to use a stronger word."

"It is good for them to practise self-denial. That is all that makes the
deed a worthy one."

"Exactly so."

"Therefore, my friend, we will not say anything more about the fleet at
present."

"But if they bear it well, if they don't repent what they have done,
why, I should not value one or two thousand dollars. Besides, it might
be the means of bringing a large number of boys within the pale of good
influences."

"That is my own view; and by and by we will talk more of the matter."

Captain Sedley then introduced Mr. Walker to the company, and the
benevolent gentleman took a great deal of pains to inform himself in
relation to the influence of the boat clubs upon the boys. He asked a
great many questions of their parents, and of Mr. Hyde, the teacher.
They all agreed that the young men were the better for the associations;
that the discipline was very useful, and the physical exercise very
healthy; but some of them were afraid their sons would acquire such a
taste for the water as to create a desire to follow the seas. But few of
them considered boating, under the discipline of the clubs, a dangerous
recreation; so that the only real objection was the tendency to produce
longings for

  "A life on the ocean wave,
  A home on the rolling deep."

Mr. Walker tried to make the sceptical ones believe that Wood Lake was
so entirely different from the "rolling deep" as scarcely to suggest the
idea of a ship, or of the ocean. But the disadvantages were trivial
compared with the benefits which all acknowledged to have derived from
the associations, even independently of the libraries, the lectures, and
the debating societies at the halls.

Tony and his companions soon returned with the Munroe family, who were
cordially received by the guests. Captain Sedley expressed his sympathy
for the poor man, regretting that he had not known his situation before.

"I would have bought your place myself rather than have had you
sacrifice your property to the cupidity of such a man," said he.

"You are very good, sir," replied Mr. Munroe; "but I had not the courage
to state my circumstances to anybody. 'Squire Chase is a very hard man;
even when I paid him the money, which the kindness of the boys enabled
me to do, he was so angry that he could scarcely contain himself. He
swore at me, and vowed he would have vengeance."

"He must be a very disagreeable neighbor."

"He is, indeed."

"On with the dance!" shouted Frank, in the most exuberant spirits; and
the rich and the poor man dropped the subject.

The boys and girls had formed a line round the May-pole, and the band
commenced playing a very lively air. As the inspiring notes struck their
ears, they began to jump and caper about, taking all sorts of fantastic
steps, which it would have puzzled a French dancing master to define and
classify. Most of the boys and girls knew nothing of dancing, as an art;
but I venture to say they enjoyed themselves quite as much as though
they had been perfectly proficient in all the fashionable waltzes,
polkas, and redowas. Their hearts danced with gladness, and their steps
were altogether _impromptu_.

Then came the ceremony of crowning the Queen of May, in the person of
Mary Weston, which was performed in the most gallant style by Frank
Sedley. Another dance succeeded, and then came the feast. A great many
good things were eaten, a great many fine things said, and a great many
patriotic and complimentary toasts were drank. The band played "Hail
Columbia," "Yankee Doodle," and many other spirited tunes, and Mr.
Walker was very much astonished, as well as amused, to hear some of the
boys make speeches, flowery and fine, which had evidently been prepared
for the occasion, when they were "called up" by the toasts.

After the feast was over, the party divided itself into little knots for
social recreation. Frank and Mary Weston took a walk on the beach, and
the rest of the boys and girls climbed over the rocks, amused
themselves in the swing which Uncle Ben had put up, or wandered in the
grove. Boys and girls always enjoy themselves at such seasons, and my
young readers need not be told that they all had a "first-rate time."

I do not mean all; for two members of the Zephyr Club had wandered away
from the rest of the party to the north side of the island. They were
concealed from view by a large rock; but if any one had observed them,
he could not have failed to see that they were exceptions to the general
rule--that they were not happy. The two boys were Charles Hardy and Tim
Bunker. Frank had been pained to notice that an unnatural intimacy had
been growing up between them for several days; and he had already begun
to fear that it was in the heart of Tim to lead his weak-minded
associate astray.

"Now, let's see how much there is in it," said Tim.

"I am afraid to open it," replied Charles, as he glanced nervously over
the rocks.

"Git out!"

"I am doing wrong, Tim; I feel it here." And Charles placed his hand
upon his heart.

"Humph!" sneered Tim. "Give it to me, and I will open it."

"We ought not to open it," replied Charles, putting his hand into his
pocket, and again glancing over the top of the rocks. "Besides, Tim, you
promised to be a good boy when we let you into the club."

"I mean to have a good time. We might have had if you fellows hadn't
given away all that money."

"I didn't do it."

"I know you didn't, but the rest on 'em did; so it's all the same. They
are a set of canting pups, and for my part I'm tired on 'em. Frank
Sedley don't lord it over me much longer, you better believe! And you
are a fool if you let him snub you as he does every day."

"I don't mean to," answered Charles. "I believe the fellows all hate me,
or they would have made me coxswain before this time."

"Of course they would. They hate you, Charley: I heard Frank Sedley say
as much as that the other day."

"He did?"

"Of course he did."

"I wouldn't have thought that of him," said Charles, his eye kindling
with anger.

"Let's have the purse, Charley."

Charles hesitated; but the struggle was soon over in his bosom, and he
took from his pocket a silken purse and handed it to Tim.

"We are doing wrong, Tim," said he, as a twinge of conscience brought to
his mind a realizing sense of his position. "Give me back the purse, and
I will try to find the owner."

"No, you don't!" replied Tim, as he opened one end of the purse and took
therefrom a roll of bank bills, which he proceeded to count.

"Do give it back to me! I am sure the owner has missed it by this time."

"No matter if he has; he won't get it again in a hurry," answered the
Bunker, coolly. "Sixty dollars in bills! Good!"

"Give it to me, or I will go to Captain Sedley and tell him you have
it."

"Will you?"

"I will."

"If you do, I'll smash your head," said Tim, looking fiercely at him.
"Don't be a fool! With this money we can have a first-rate time, and
nobody will be any the wiser for it."

"I am afraid we shall be found out."

Probably Charles was more afraid of that than of the wicked act which he
had permitted himself to think of doing. He had found the purse on the
beach a little while before. When he had told Tim of it, the reckless
fellow, still the same person as before, notwithstanding his promises
and his altered demeanor, had led him over to this retired spot in order
to get possession of the purse.

"Nonsense! Nobody will suspect you," replied Tim, as he poured out the
silver and gold in the other end of the purse.

"I never did such a thing in my life."

"No matter; there must be a beginning to everything."

"What would my mother say?"

"She will say you are a clever fellow if you don't get found out. Eleven
dollars and a quarter in specie! That makes seventy-one
twenty-five--don't it?"

"Yes."

"All right! We will just dig a little hole here, and put the purse into
it," continued Tim, as he scooped out a hole in the sand, and dropped
the ill-gotten treasure into it.

Filling up the hole, he placed a large flat stone upon the spot, which
further secured the purse, and concealed the fact that the sand had been
disturbed.

"I am sure we shall get found out," said Charles, trembling with
apprehension.

"Nonsense! Keep a stiff upper lip; don't stop to think, and all will go
well. But, my hearty, if you peach on me, I give you my word, I will
take your life before you are one month older--do you hear?" And Tim's
fierce looks gave force to his words. "Now, we will go back to the rest
on 'em before they miss us. Mind you don't say anything, nor look
anything."

Charles followed Tim back to the other side of the island, and both of
them joined the sports of the day. The afternoon passed away, and
nothing was said of the purse. The owner had not missed it, and Tim
congratulated himself on the circumstance. Charles tried to be joyous,
and though he did not feel so, he acted it so well that no one suspected
him of harboring so vile a sin within his bosom.

"All aboard!" said Frank, and the band commenced playing "Home, Sweet
Home."

In due time the party were all transported to the shore, and everybody
went home highly delighted with the day's amusements. The Zephyr was
housed, and the crew dismissed, but not a word was said about the purse.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE LIGHTHOUSE.


During the month of May, the members of the two clubs continued to spend
many of their leisure hours on the lake; but my young friends must not
suppose that life was to them a continuous holiday; and, because these
books are devoted chiefly to their doings on the water, that boating was
the only, or the principal business that occupied them. They had their
school duties to perform, their errands to do, wood to split, yards to
sweep; in short, they had to do just like other boys. A portion of
Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, and of their other holidays, was given
to these aquatic sports; so that they were really on the lake but a
small part of the time. Probably, if they had spent all their leisure in
the boats, the exercise would have lost its attractions, besides
interfering very much with their home and school affairs. Pleasures, to
be enjoyed, should be partaken of in moderation. Boys get sick of most
sports in a short time, because they indulge in them too freely.

Nothing specially worthy of note occurred in either club till near the
end of the month of May. The intimacy between Charles Hardy and Tim
Bunker was observed to increase, though no one had any suspicion of the
secret which had cemented the bond of their union.

The lost purse was the property of Mr. Walker. At a subsequent visit to
Rippleton, he had mentioned his loss, but he had no idea where he had
dropped it. Tim congratulated his still unwilling confederate on the
success of his villainy. Mr. Walker did not even know whether he had
lost his money in the town or not; so, of course, he had no suspicion of
them.

"You are a first-rate fellow, Charley, but you are too chickenish by
half," said Tim Bunker.

"I don't feel right about it, and I wish I had given up the purse when I
found it."

"Pooh!"

"I meant to do so."

"I know you did. You were just fool enough to do such a thing. If it
hadn't been for me, you would have done it."

"O, I wish I had!"

"Don't be a fool, Charley."

"I would give the world to feel as I felt before I did this thing."

"Don't think any more about it."

"I can't help thinking. It worries me nights."

"Go to sleep then."

"I can't. What would Frank say if he knew it?"

"Humph! Frank again!"

"They would turn me out of the club."

"You are no worse than any of the rest of them."

"They wouldn't steal," replied Charles, warmly.

"Don't you believe it. If I should tell all I know about some of them,
they wouldn't be safe where they are, let me tell you."

"What do you know, Tim?"

"I don't choose to tell."

Charles found some satisfaction in this indefinite accusation; but it
was not enough to quiet his troubled conscience. Life seemed different
to him since he had stolen the purse--he had not got far enough in
wickedness yet to believe that it was _not_ stolen. He felt guilty, and
his sense of guilt followed him wherever he went. He could not shake it
off. Everybody seemed to look reproachfully at him. He avoided his
companions in the club when not on duty with them. He began to hate
Frank Sedley, though he could not tell the reason. William Bright, who
was now the coxswain, Frank's term having expired, was a very strict
disciplinarian, and the guilty boy had grown very impatient of
restraint. He was surly and ill-natured when the coxswain rebuked him,
even in the kindest tones. Everything went wrong with him, for the worm
was gnawing at his heart.

"Won't you tell _me_, Tim?" asked he, in reply to Tim's remark.

"Not now, Charley; one of these days you shall know all about it."

"I am afraid we shall both get turned out of the club."

"No we shan't; if we do---- But no matter.'

"What would you do, Tim?"

"Never mind now, Charley. I have a plan in my head. Captain Sedley told
me the other day if I didn't behave better I should be turned out."

"Then you will be."

"I don't care if I am. If they turn me out, they will make a mistake;
that's all."

There was something mysterious in the words of the Bunker which excited
the curiosity of Charles. He could not help wondering what he would do.
Tim had so much resolution he was sure it was not an idle boast.

"I know what I am about," continued Tim, with a wise look.

"Captain Sedley says you still associate with your old companions,"
added Charles.

"What if I do?"

"That would be ground enough for turning you out."

"Would it? They are better fellows than you long faces, and you will say
so when you know them," replied Tim, speaking as though it were a
settled fact that he would know them by and by.

This conversation occurred one Wednesday afternoon, as the two boys were
on their way to the boat-house. On their arrival, Tim was informed by
Captain Sedley, who was apparently there for that purpose, that he was
expelled from the club. It was sudden and unexpected, and had been done
by the director without any action on the part of the club.

"What for?" asked Tim, in surly tones.

"I find that you still associate with your old companions, which is
sufficient proof that you don't mean to reform," answered the director.

"I don't care," growled Tim, as he turned on his heel and walked out of
the hall.

Charles Hardy was then called aside by Captain Sedley, who kindly
pointed out to him the danger he incurred in associating with such a boy
as Tim.

"I would not have kept company with him if he had not been a member of
the club," replied Charles.

"He was admitted to the club on the supposition that he intended to be a
better boy."

"I was opposed to admitting him," answered Charles, rather sulkily.

"I was very willing the boy should have a fair chance to reform; but
when it became apparent that he did not mean to do better, I could no
longer permit him to endanger the moral welfare of the club. We have
been satisfied for some time; and most of the boys, after giving him a
fair trial, avoided him as much as possible when they saw what he meant.
But you have been growing more and more intimate with him every day.
Why, it was only last night that he was seen with some twenty or thirty
of his old companions. They seemed to be in consultation about
something. Perhaps you were with them."

"No, sir; I was not."

"I am glad you were not. I caution you to avoid them."

"I will, sir," replied Charles, meekly; and he meant what he said.

"I am glad to hear you say so: I was afraid you had known too much of
Tim Bunker," said the director, as he walked towards his house.

Charles entered the hall, and took his seat.

"Those in favor of admitting Samuel Preston to the club will signify
it," said William, as soon as he was in his place.

Eleven hands were raised, and the new member, who stood by the window
waiting the result, was declared to be admitted. The constitution was
then read to him, and he signed it; after which the club embarked for an
excursion up to the strait, where they had agreed to meet the Butterfly.

The particular object of this visit was to erect a lighthouse on Curtis
Island, a small, rocky place, separated from the main shore by "Calrow
Strait," which the readers of "The Boat Club" will remember. The
navigation of this portion of the lake was considered very difficult,
especially through the narrow passage, and it was thought to be
absolutely necessary to have a lighthouse, mauger the fact that the
boats always sailed by day. But as neither craft was insured, it was
necessary to use extraordinary precautions!

A working party of half a dozen was detailed from each boat, consisting
of the stoutest boys, who were landed upon the island. Materials were
immediately gathered and the foundation laid. The structure was to be a
simple round tower, as high as the patience of the workmen would permit
them to build it.

In a short time all the rocks on the island had been used up, and the
lighthouse was only two feet high; but this contingency had been
anticipated, and provisions made for supplying more stone. A large rock
was attached to the long painter of the Butterfly, and she was moored at
a safe distance from the island, while her remaining crew were
transferred to the Zephyr.

A rude raft, which had been provided by Tony, was towed to the shore,
where an abundance of rocks were to be had. It was their intention to
load it with "lighthouse material," and tow it to the island. It
required all their skill to accomplish this object, for the raft was a
most ungainly thing to manage. The Zephyr was so long that they could
not row round so as to bring the raft alongside the bank, and when they
attempted to push it in, the paint, and even the planks of the boat,
were endangered.

"Can't get it in--can we?" said Charles Hardy, after several
unsuccessful attempts.

"There is no such word as fail," replied William. "Bring me the long
painter."

The coxswain unfastened the tow line of the raft, and tied the painter
to it.

"Bowman, stand by with the boat-hook, ready to land."

"Ay, ay!"

"Now, pull steady; be careful she does not grind on the rocks; easy,
there. Four of you jump ashore."

The four forward rowers obeyed the command.

"Now pass this line ashore, and let them pull in on the raft," continued
William.

"Hurrah! there she is!" shouted Frank. "That was done handsomely!"

"We could have done it before, if we had only thought of it," replied
William, laughing. "Now put out the fenders, and haul the boat alongside
the raft."

Four more of the boys were sent on shore to help roll down the rocks,
and two were ordered upon the raft to place them. A great deal of hard
work was done in a very short time; but, as it was play, no one minded
it, as probably some of them would if the labor had been for any useful
purpose. In due time the raft was loaded with all it would carry, and
the boys were ordered into the boat again.

The raft proved to be a very obstinate sailer. After a deal of hard
tugging at the oars, they succeeded in getting it under a tolerable
headway; but the tow line was not properly attached, and it "heeled
over" so as to be in danger of "spilling" its load into the lake.
Prudence and good management, however, on the part of the coxswain,
conveyed it in safety to the island, and its freight soon became "part
and parcel" of the lighthouse.

Two or three loads more were brought, after the lesson of experience
obtained in getting the first, with but comparatively little difficulty;
and at six o'clock the tower received its capstone at a height of six
feet from the ground, and twelve from the water.

The lighthouse was then inaugurated by a volley of cheers. A hollow
pumpkin of last year's growth, containing a lighted candle, was placed
upon the apex; and then the boats departed for home. At eight o'clock,
when the darkness had gathered upon the lake, they saw the light from
their homes, and had the satisfaction of knowing that the light-keeper
was watchful of the safety of vessels in those waters.

As Charles Hardy passed through the grove on his way home, after the
club separated, he met Tim Bunker, who was apparently awaiting his
coming.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CONSPIRACY.


"Well, Charley, my pipe is out," said Tim Bunker, as he joined his late
associate in the club.

"It was rather sudden," replied Charles, disconcerted by the meeting,
for he had actually made up his mind to keep out of Tim's way. "I didn't
expect any such thing."

"I did; I knew old Sedley meant to get rid of me."

Tim always knew everything after it was done. He was a very profound
prophet, but he had sense enough to keep his predictions to himself.

"You did not say so," added Charles, who gave the Bunker credit for all
the sagacity he claimed.

"It was no use; it would only have frightened you, and you are
chickenish enough without any help. But no matter, Charley; for my part,
I am glad he turned me out. He only saved me the trouble of getting out
myself."

"Did you really mean to leave?"

"To be sure I did."

"What for?"

"Because I didn't like the company, to say nothing of being nosed round
by Frank Sedley, Bill Bright, or whoever happened to be coxswain. If
you had been coxswain, Charley, I wouldn't minded it," replied Tim,
adroitly.

"But I wouldn't nose the fellows round," replied Charles, tickled with
Tim's compliment.

"I know you wouldn't; but they wouldn't make you the coxswain. They hate
you too much for that."

"It is strange they haven't elected me," said Charles, musing.

"That's a fact! You know more about a boat than three quarters of them."

"I ought to."

"And you do."

Charles had by this time forgotten the promise he had made to Captain
Sedley--forgotten the good resolution he had made to himself. Tim's
flattery had produced its desired effect, and all the ground which the
Bunker had lost was now regained.

"I am sorry they turned you out, Tim," said he.

"I am glad of it. They will turn you out next, Charley."

"Me!"

"Yes."

"Why should they?"

"Because they don't like you."

"They wouldn't do that."

"Don't you believe it," replied Tim, shaking his head, and putting on a
very wise look. "I'll bet they'll turn you out in less than a month."

"Do you know anything about it?"

"Not much."

They had now reached the end of the grove, and Tim suggested that they
should take seats and "talk over matters." Charles readily assented,
and they seated themselves by the margin of the lake.

"What do you know, Tim?" asked Charles, his curiosity very much excited.

"I only know that they don't like you, and they mean to turn you out."

"I don't believe it."

"Do you mean to tell me I lie?"

"No, no; only I can't think they would turn _me_ out."

"I heard Frank say as much," replied Tim, indifferently.

"Did you."

"To be sure I did."

Charles stopped to think how mean it was of Frank to try to get him out
of the club; how hypocritical he was, to treat him as a friend when he
meant to injure him. It did not occur to him that Tim had told a
falsehood, though it was generally believed that he had as lief tell a
lie as the truth.

"You are a fool if you let them kick you out, as they did me," continued
Tim.

"What can I do?"

"Leave yourself."

"Next week is vacation; and we have laid out some first-rate fun."

"There will be no fun, let me tell you."

"What do you mean, Tim?"

"If you want to be the coxswain of a boat as good as the Zephyr next
week, only say the word," replied Tim, slapping him on the back.

"How can that be?" asked Charles, looking with surprise at his
companion.

"And you shall have as good a crew as the Zephyr; better fellers than
they are, too."

"I don't understand you."

"You shall in due time."

"Tell me what you mean, Tim."

"Will you join us?"

"Tell me about it, first."

"And let you blow the whole thing?"

"I won't say a word."

"Will you promise not to say anything?"

"Yes."

"Will you swear it?"

Tim had read a great many "yellow-covered" books in his time, in which
tall buccaneers with long beards and bloodshot eyes required their
victims to "swear," and he seemed to attach some importance to the
ceremony. Charles "swore," though with considerable reluctance, not to
reveal the secret, when it should be imparted to him.

"You must join our society, now."

"Society?"

"Yes; we meet to-night at eight o'clock, in the woods back of my house."

"What sort of a society is it, Tim?" asked Charles, with a great many
misgivings.

"That you shall learn when we meet. Will you come?"

"My father won't let me go out in the evening."

"Run out, then."

Tim suggested various expedients for deceiving his parents, and finally
Charles promised to attend the meeting.

"You haven't told me the secret yet."

"The society is going to camp on Center Island next week, and we are
going to take the Zephyr and the Butterfly along with us."

"Take them? How are you going to get them?"

"Why, take them, you fool!"

"Do you mean to steal them?"

"Humph! We mean to _take_ them."

"But do you suppose Captain Sedley and George Weston will let you keep
them?"

"They can't help themselves. We shall take the Sylph, and every other
boat on the lake, with us, so that no one can reach us. Do you
understand it?"

"I do; but how long do you mean to stay there?"

"All the week."

"And sleep on the ground?"

"We can have a tent."

"How will you live?"

"We shall carry off enough to eat beforehand." Then you see, we can sail
as much as we please, and have a first-rate time on the island. I shall
be coxswain of one boat, and you shall of the other if you like."

"But we shall have to come home some time."

"In about a week."

"What would my father do to me then?"

"Nothing, if you manage right. If he offers to, just tell him you will
run away and go to sea. He won't do nothing then."

"I don't know about that."

"He won't kill you, anyhow. And you will have a week's fun, such as you
never had before in your life."

"The Zephyrs won't have anything to do with me after that."

"They hate you, Charley, and all they want is to get you out of the
club. You are a fool if you don't leave yourself!"

Charles paused to consider the precious scheme which had thus been
revealed to him. To spend a week on the island, and not only to be his
own master for that time, but command one of the boats, pleased him very
much. It was so romantic, and so grateful to his vanity, that he was
tempted to comply with the offer. But then the scheme was full of peril.
He would "lose caste" with the Zephyrs; though, if Tim's statement was
true, he was already sacrificed. His father would punish him severely;
but perhaps Tim's suggestion would be available, and he knew his mother
would be so glad to see him when he returned, that she would save him
from the effects of his father's anger. His conscience assured him, too,
that it would be wrong for him to engage in such a piece of treachery
towards his friends; but Tim declared they were not his friends--that
they meant to ruin him.

Thus he reasoned over the matter, and thus he got rid of the objections
as fast as they occurred to him. While he was thinking about it, Tim
continued to describe in glowing colors the fun they could have;
occasionally relating some adventure of "Mike Martin," "Dick Turpin," or
other villain, whose lives and exploits were the only literature he ever
read.

But Charles could not fall at once. There were some difficulties which
he could not get over. It was wrong to do as Tim proposed; it was so
written on his soul. The "still small voice" could not be silenced. As
fast as he reconciled one objection, another came up, and something in
his bosom kept saying, "You must not do it."

The more he thought, the more imperative was the command. "Run away as
fast as you can!" said the voice within him. "You are tempted; flee from
the temptation."

"I guess I won't join you, Tim," said he.

"You won't, eh?" replied Tim, with a sneer.

"I think not; I don't believe it is right. But I won't say anything
about it."

"I rather guess you won't. It wouldn't be safe for you to do so."

"I won't, upon my honor, Tim," replied Charles, rising from his seat,
and edging away from his dangerous companion.

"Look here, Charley Hardy; in one word, you've got to join the Rovers."

"The what?"

"That's the name of a society," answered Tim, who had mentioned it
without intending to do so.

It was certainly a piratical appellation, and Charles was not
prepossessed by it in favor of the society. It had a ring of bold and
daring deeds, and his studies had not prepared him to entertain a very
high opinion of Tim's heroes, Dick Turpin and Captain Kidd.

"You can't back out now, Master Hardy," continued Tim.

"I don't want to join you, but I won't say a word."

"Very well, my fine fellow!" and Tim rose and walked away towards home.

Charles did not like this. He was afraid of Tim; afraid that some
terrible thing would happen to him if he did not keep on the right side
of him.

Like thousands of others, he had not the courage to do his duty, and
leave the consequences to take care of themselves. He was more afraid of
the Bunker than of the frowns of an accusing conscience.

"I say, Tim!" he called.

"Well, what you want _now_?" replied Tim, stopping.

"Suppose I don't join?"

"Then you will be in Rippleton jail before to-morrow night; that's all."

"What for?"

"No matter; if you come to the meeting to-night, all right; if you
don't--Rippleton jail;" and Tim hastened away, heedless of Charles's
calls.

Rippleton jail! What could he mean by that? He felt guilty, and his
heart beat so violently that he could hardly breathe. The stolen purse,
which still lay buried on Center Island, seemed to haunt him, and with
that he immediately connected Tim's dreadful threat. His confederate
meant to charge him with stealing it. It was all very plain, and his
conscience told him how justly he would be accused. He could not go to
jail innocent, as Tony had, and be borne home in triumph from the court
by the boat club.

His frame trembled with emotion; and he knew not what to do. There was a
right way and wrong way for him to proceed--the path of duty and the
path of error.

"I will go to Captain Sedley and tell him all about it," said he to
himself, "and tell him that they mean to steal the boats."

This was the path of duty; but he had not the courage to walk in it. He
would be despised even then, and Tim Bunker would certainly be revenged
if he did.

"I _will_ go;" and he actually walked a short distance towards Captain
Sedley's house; but his courage failed him; he dared not do right, and
that evening he joined the "Rovers."

Poor Charles!



CHAPTER XV.

THE "ROVERS."


After Charles Hardy had joined the "Rovers" band, which was composed of
the original Bunkers, with others whom Tim had collected together, his
conscience proved less troublesome. The first wrong step taken, the
second follows with less compunction, and so on, till the moral sense is
completely blunted.

At the meeting he was informed by Tim that he had been admitted to the
society on account of his knowledge of boats. They could not get along
without such a fellow; and he was accordingly appointed "master of
marine," and second in command to Tim himself. These honors and
compliments reconciled him to the society of the Rovers, and he began to
exhibit his energy of purpose in directing the details of the next
week's operations.

Saturday was appointed as the day for stocking the island with
provisions and other necessaries, ready for the reception of the entire
party on Sunday night. Tim and Charles were to attend to this duty in
person.

"Meet me at eight o'clock in the morning over by Joe Braman's landing,
Charley, and--"

"But school keeps; I can't go till afternoon."

"And then the Zephyrs will see what we are about."

"I can't help it."

"Yes you can; can't you 'hook Jack'?"

"I dare not."

"Humph! You are an idiot! Tell the fellows to-morrow that you are going
over to your uncle's, and they will tell the master."

Charles consented, after some argument.

"I will get Joe's boat, and we can pull off to the island and get the
money."

"Where will you buy the things?"

"We must go down to Rippleton. You must get some, and I will get some.
We will buy them at different stores, so no one will know but what they
are for the folks."

"And the tent?"

"We will get a piece of cotton cloth for that, and some needles and
thread. Leave all that to me. Now, be on hand in season."

"One thing, Tim: I may be seen in Rippleton."

"No matter if you are. Bluff 'em off if they say anything."

The Rovers were to "rendezvous"--Tim had found this word in the
"Adventures of the Bold Buccaneer"--at nine o'clock on Sunday evening at
the wood. The arrangements were all completed, and the band dispersed.

On Saturday Charles was true to his appointment, and met Tim on the
north side of the lake. The money was procured, and the provisions were
safely deposited in the boat. It is true, Charles was so much
embarrassed that he well-nigh betrayed the existence of the plot to the
shopkeepers; and he was very glad when this part of the business was
done.

Then a new difficulty presented itself. Suppose the Zephyrs should
visit Center Island that afternoon and discover the stores! They had not
thought of this before, and the risk was too great to be incurred. They
decided to conceal their stores on the main shore till night, and then
carry them off. A convenient place was found for this purpose, and the
articles were landed.

They then repaired to the island to mature their plans.

"Now, where shall we pitch the tent?" asked Charles, when they landed.

"On the high ground near the beach."

"We have no poles. Here is the May-pole; that will do for one."

"We can't pitch the tent, soldier fashion. We must drive down four
forked stakes; then put poles on the forks, and cover the whole with
cloth."

"But where are the stakes and the poles?"

"We can cut them in the woods. We will get Joe Braman's ax, and do it
this forenoon."

"Suppose they should make a raft, and come off to us?" suggested
Charles.

"We have two fast boats, and can easily keep out of their way," replied
Tim. "If they want to fight we can beat them off."

Charles did not approve of fighting, and thought it would be bad policy.
Tim was tolerably tractable now that he was having his own way, and was
not very strenuous in support of his own pugnacious views. When their
plans were fully digested they left the island to prepare the stakes.
Before noon they separated, and the truant returned home about the usual
time.

That afternoon he joined the Zephyrs in an excursion up the lake, and
another lighthouse was erected in the vicinity of a dangerous reef.

"What shall we do next week?" asked Charles, as they were returning
home.

"We are going up the river," replied Frank. "My father has consented to
it."

"Has he? That will be first rate."

"And so has George Weston."

Charles relapsed into deep thought. He was thinking how much better he
could enjoy himself with good boys than with such fellows as the Rovers;
for, though he was "master of marine" among them, he could not help
acknowledging to himself that they were not pleasant companions. They
used profane and vulgar language; were always disposed to quarrel.
Disputes which were settled peaceably in the clubs were decided by a
fight among the Rovers; and the ambitious "master" had many misgivings
as to his ability to control them. Tim could manage them very well; for,
if one was turbulent, he struck him and knocked him down; and Charles
had not the brute courage to do this.

"What are you thinking about, Charley?" asked Frank, pleasantly.

"Nothing," replied Charles, promptly, as he tried to laugh.

"You act rather queerly this afternoon; just as though you had something
on your mind."

"O, no; nothing of the kind."

"I hope you don't regret the expulsion of Tim Bunker."

"Certainly not."

Charles tried to be gay after that; but he could not. There was a weight
upon his soul which bore him down, and he felt like a criminal in the
presence of his companions. He was glad when the club landed, and the
members separated--glad to get away from them, for their happy, innocent
faces were a constant reproach to him.

Sunday was a day of rest; but every moment of it was burdened with a sin
against God and against himself. Every moment that he delayed to repent
was plunging him deeper and deeper in error and crime. Strangely enough,
the minister preached a sermon about the Prodigal Son; and the vivid
picture he drew of the return of the erring wanderer so deeply affected
the youthful delinquent that he fully resolved to do his duty, and
expose the Rovers' scheme.

The money had been spent in part; but, if they sent him to jail, it
would be better than to continue in wickedness. Then he thought what
Captain Sedley would say to him; that the club would despise him; and
that he would not be permitted to join the sports of the coming week--to
say nothing of being put in prison.

But his duty was plain, and he had resolved to do it. He had decided to
suffer the penalty of his transgression, whatever it might be, and get
back again into the right path as soon as he could.

Happy would it have been for him had he done so. On his way home from
church he unfortunately met Tim Bunker, who had evidently placed himself
in his way to confirm his fidelity to the Rovers.

Tim saw that he was meditating something dangerous to the success of his
scheme. Charles was cold and distant. He appeared to have lost his
enthusiasm.

"If you play us false, it will be all up with you," said Tim, in a low,
determined tone. "I can prove that you stole the purse. That's all."

It was enough to overthrow all Charles's good resolution. His fickle
mind, his shallow principle, gave way. Stifling his convictions of duty,
and silencing the "still small voice," he went home: and there was no
joy in heaven over the returning prodigal.

"Charles," said his father, sternly, as he entered the house, "you were
not at school yesterday!"

"I got late, and did not like to go," whined he.

"Where were you?"

"Down at the village."

"Go to your room, and don't leave it without permission."

Charles obeyed. The consequences of his error were already beginning to
overtake him. His father joined him soon after, and talked to him very
severely. He was really alarmed, for Captain Sedley had given him a hint
concerning his son's intimacy with Tim Bunker.

Charles was not permitted to leave his room that afternoon, and his
supper was sent up to him; but his mother brought it, and consoled him
in his troubles--promising to prevent his father from punishing him any
more.

"Now, go to bed, Charley; never do so again, and it will be all right
to-morrow," said the weak mother, as she took her leave.

But Charles did not go to bed. The family retired early; and, taking his
great-coat on his arm, he stole noiselessly out of the house. At nine
o'clock he was at the rendezvous of the Rovers.

It was not deemed prudent to put their plans in execution till a later
hour; and the band dispersed, with instructions to meet again in an hour
at Flat Rock, where the boats would be in readiness to take them off to
the island.

Tim and Charles, with four others, immediately repaired to the place
where Joe Braman's boat, which had been hired for the enterprise, was
concealed. Seating themselves in it, they waited till the hour had
expired, and then, with muffled oars, pulled up to the Butterfly's
house.

The doors which opened out upon the lake were not fastened, and an
entrance was readily effected. The boat was loosed, pushed out into the
lake without noise, and towed down to the Zephyr's house. But here the
doors were found to be fastened; and one of the boys had to enter by a
window, and draw the bolt. The boat was then secured without difficulty.

"Now, Charley, you get into the Zephyr with two fellows, and tow the
Sylph off," said Tim, in a whisper.

"Shan't I get my crew first?"

"Just as you like."

Charles and his two companions got into the Zephyr and worked her down
to the rock, where he received his crew. It was found then that some of
the Rovers had not yet made their appearance, so that there were only
ten boys to each boat.

Although the success of the criminal undertaking required the utmost
caution, Charles found his command were disposed to be very boisterous,
and all his efforts would hardly keep them quiet. After some trouble he
got away from the shore; but his crew, from the want of discipline,
were utterly incapable of pulling in concert. They had not taken three
strokes before they were all in confusion--tumbling off the thwarts,
knocking each other in the back, and each swearing at and abusing his
companions.

"Hold your jaw, there!" called Tim Bunker, in a low tone, from the
Butterfly.

"Cease rowing!" said Charles.

But they would not "cease rowing," and the prospect was that a general
fight would soon ensue in spite of all the coxswain's efforts to restore
order. At last Tim came alongside, and rapping two or three of the
turbulent Rovers over the head with a boathook, he succeeded in quieting
them.

After several attempts Charles got them so they could pull without
knocking each other out of the boat; but he was heartily disgusted with
his crew, and would gladly have escaped from them, even if Rippleton
Jail had yawned to receive him. After half a dozen trials he placed the
Zephyr alongside the Sylph, let go her moorings, and took her in tow.
The Rovers then pulled for the island; but the passage thither was long
and difficult.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE CAMP ON THE ISLAND.


As the crew of the Zephyr tugged at their oars, their imperfect
discipline imposing double labor upon them, Charles had an opportunity
to consider his position. The bright color of romance which his fancy
had given to the enterprise was gone. The night air was cold and damp,
and his companions in error were repulsive to him. There was no pleasure
in commanding such a motley crew of ill-natured and quarrelsome bullies,
and if it had been possible, he would have fled from them. Who plunges
into vice may find himself in a snare from which he cannot escape though
he would.

At last they reached the island, and the Sylph was anchored near the
shore. There was a great deal of hard work to be done; but each of the
Rovers seemed to expect the others would do it.

"Now, Charley, everything is right so far," said Tim Bunker, whose party
had just drawn Joe Braman's boat upon the beach.

"Everything is wrong," Charles wanted to say; but Tim was too powerful
to be lightly offended.

"I can do nothing with such a crew as that," whined he. "They won't
mind, and every fellow wants his own way."

"Hit 'em if they don't mind," replied Tim.

"I think we had better spend an hour in drilling them. We can't handle
the boat as it is."

"We must get the tents up before we do anything else. You go after the
stakes and poles and I will get the provisions."

Before the crews returned to the boats, Tim made a little speech to them
upon the necessity of order; promising, if any boy did not obey, he
would thrash him "within an inch of his life."

"Now tumble into the boats, and, Charley, if any feller don't do what
you tell him, let me know it, and I will lick him for you."

"All aboard!" said Charles.

"Where are we going now?" asked one of his crew.

"No matter; all you have got to do is to obey orders," replied Charles,
sharply.

"Say that again!" said the fellow, with an oath, as he doubled up his
fist, and menaced the unfortunate coxswain with a thrashing.

"Hallo, Tim!" shouted Charles, who dared not venture to carry out the
Bunker's summary policy.

"What's the row?" said Tim, as he hastened to the spot.

"I can't do anything with this crew; here is a fellow shaking his fist
in my face."

"Let him be civil then," added the refractory Rover.

"It was you, was it, Barney?" said Tim, as he stepped into the boat.

"I'll bet it was," replied the fellow, standing upon the defensive.

"Take that, then," continued the "chief," as he brought his fist down
upon the rebel with such force that he tumbled over the side of the boat
into the water. "You want to get up a mutiny--don't you?"

The fellow scrambled ashore, wet through and shivering with cold.

"You'll catch it for that, Tim Bunker!" growled Barney.

"I'll teach you to mind. Now, Charley, put off, and don't be so stiff
with them yet. They are not such chicken-hearted pups as the Zephyrs, I
can tell you;" and Tim stepped ashore.

"Take your oars; if you only do as I tell you, we shall get along very
well," said Charles. "We can't do anything unless you mind."

He then showed them how to get their oars out, and how to start
together; but they did not feel interest enough in the process to pay
much attention to what he said, and several ineffectual attempts were
made before they got a fair start.

"Hallo! Ain't you going to take me?" shouted Barney, from the shore, as
they were leaving.

"Will you obey orders?"

"Yes; but I won't be kicked."

"Nobody wants to kick you," replied Charles, who, deeming that the rebel
had made a satisfactory concession, put back after him.

"This ducking will be the death of me," said Barney, as he got into the
boat.

"A little hard pulling will warm you, and when we get back, we shall
make a fire on the island," answered Charles, in a conciliatory tone,
"Now, ready--pull!"

The Rovers worked better now, and the Zephyr moved with tolerable
rapidity towards the shore; but it was very dark under the shadow of the
trees, and Charles could not readily find the place where the materials
for the tent had been concealed. Each of the crew thought he knew more
about the business than the coxswain; and in the scrape the Zephyr was
run aground, heeled over on one side, and filled half full of water.

It required some time to bail her out; but it was accomplished at last,
the stakes and poles put on board, and they rowed off to the island
again. Tim had arrived before him, and had landed the stores.

"Where are the matches, Tim?" asked Charles.

"What are you going to do?"

"Make a fire."

"What for?"

"Some of us are wet, and we can't see to put up the tents without it."

"But a fire will betray us."

"What matter? We are safe from pursuit."

"Go it, then," replied Tim, as he handed Charles a bunch of matches.

The fire was kindled, and it cast a cheerful light over the scene of
their operations.

"Now, Rovers, form a ring round the fire," said Tim, "and we will fix
things for the future."

The boys obeyed this order, though Barney, in consideration of his
uncomfortable condition, was permitted to lie down before the fire and
dry his clothes.

"I am the chief of the band; I suppose that is understood," continued
Tim.

"Yes," they all replied.

"And that Charley Hardy is second in command. He can handle a boat, and
the rest of you can't."

"I don't know about that," interposed one of them. "He upset the boat on
the beach."

"That was because the crew did not obey orders," replied Charles.

"He is second in command," replied Tim. "Do you agree to that?"

"Yes," answered several, who were willing to follow the lead of the
chief.

"Very well; I shall command one party and Charley the other; each in his
own boat and on the island. Now we will divide each party into two
squads, or watches."

"What for?" asked Barney.

"To keep watch, and do any duty that may be wanted of them."

Tim had got this idea of an organization from his piratical literature.
Indeed, the plan of encamping upon the island was an humble imitation of
a party of buccaneers who had fortified one of the smallest of the
islands in the West Indies. The whole scheme was one of the natural
consequences of reading bad books, in which the most dissolute,
depraved, and wicked men are made to appear as heroes, whose lives and
characters are worthy of emulation.

Such books fill boys' heads with absurd, not to say wicked ideas. I have
observed their influence in the course of ten years' experience with
boys; and when I see one who has named his sled "Blackbeard," "Black
Cruiser," "Red Rover," or any such names, I am sure he has been reading
about the pirates, and has got a taste for their wild and daring
exploits--for their deeds of blood and rapine. One of the truant
officers of Boston, whose duty it is to hunt up runaway boys, related to
me a remarkable instance of the influence of improper books. A few years
ago, two truant boys were missed by their parents. They did not return
to their homes at night, and it was discovered that one of them had
stolen a large sum of money from his father. A careful search was
instituted, and the young reprobates were traced to a town about ten
miles from the city, where they were found encamped in the woods. They
had purchased several pistols with their money, and confessed their
intention of becoming highwaymen! It was ascertained that they had been
reading the adventures of Dick Turpin, and other noted highwaymen, which
had given them this singular and dangerous taste for a life in violation
of the laws of God and man. My young readers will see where Tim got his
ideas, and I hope they will shun books which narrate the exploits of
pirates and robbers.

Two officers were chosen in each band to command the squads. Tim was
shrewd enough to know that the more offices he created, the more friends
he would insure--members who would stand by him in trial and difficulty.
In Charles's band, one of these offices was given to the turbulent
Barney; his fidelity was thus secured, and past differences reconciled.

"Now, Charley, my crew shall put up one tent, and yours the other."

"Very well," replied Charles, who derived a certain feeling of security
from the organization which had just been completed, and he began to
feel more at home.

The stakes were driven down, and the poles placed upon the forks; but
sewing the cloth together for the covering was found to be so tedious a
job that it was abandoned. The strips were drawn over the frame of the
tent, and fastened by driving pins through it into the ground. Then it
was found that there was only cloth enough to cover one tent. Tim's
calculations had been defective.

"Here's a pretty fix," said Tim.

"I have it," replied Charles. "Come with me, Barney, and we will have
the best tent of the two."

Charles led the way to the Sylph, and getting on board of her by the aid
of one of the boats, they proceeded to unbend her sails.

"Bravo! Charley," said Barney. "That's a good idea; but why can't some
of us sleep in this bit of a cuddy house?"

"So we can. Here is Uncle Ben's boat cloak, which will make a first-rate
bed. Don't say a word about it, though, and you and I can have it all to
ourselves."

The sails were carried ashore, and were ample covering for the tent. Dry
leaves, which covered the ground, were then gathered up and put inside
for their bed.

"Now, Tim, they are finished, and for one, I begin to feel sleepy," said
Charles.

"We can't all sleep, you know," added the prudent chief.

"Why not?"

"We must set a watch."

"I am too sleepy to watch," said Charles, with a long gape. "The clock
has just struck one."

"You needn't watch, you are the second in command."

"I see," replied Charles, standing upon his dignity.

"There are four watches, and each must do duty two hours a night. Who
shall keep the first watch?"

"I will," said Barney.

"Good! You must keep the fire going, and have an eye to both sides of
the island."

"Ay, ay."

"And you must go down to the boats every time the clock strikes, to see
if they are all right. If they should get adrift, you know, our game
would be up."

"I'll see to it."

"At three o'clock, you must call the watch that is to relieve you."

"Who will that be?"

"I," volunteered the three other officers of the watches, in concert.

"Ben, you shall relieve him. If anything happens, call me."

Tim and his followers then retired to their tent, and buried themselves
in the leaves. Charles ordered those of his band who were not on duty to
"turn in;" saying that he wanted to warm his feet. The Rovers were so
fatigued by their unusual labors that they soon fell asleep, and Charles
then repaired to the little cabin of the Sylph. Arranging the cloak for
his bed, he wrapped himself up in his great-coat and lay down.

Fatigued as he was, he could not go to sleep. The novelty of his
situation, and the guilt, now that the excitement was over, which
oppressed his conscience, banished that rest his exhausted frame
required. He heard the village clock strike two and three; and then he
rose, unable to endure the reproaches of his own heart.

"What a fool I am!" he exclaimed to himself; and a flood of tears came
to his relief. "To desert my warm bed, my happy home, the friendship of
my club, for such a set of fellows as this! O, how I wish I had not
come!"

Leaving the cabin, he seated himself in the stern sheets of the boat.
The bright stars had disappeared, and the sky was veiled in deep black
clouds. The wind blew very fresh from the north-east, and he was certain
that a severe storm was approaching. He wept bitterly when he thought of
the gloomy prospect.

He had repented his folly, and would have given the world to get away
from the island. Ah, a lucky thought! He could escape! The Rovers were
all asleep; the fresh breeze would soon drive the Sylph to the land, and
he could return home, and perhaps not be missed. It was an easy thing;
and without further reflection, he unfastened the cable, and dropped it
overboard.

The Sylph immediately commenced drifting away from the island. Taking
the helm, he put her before the wind, and was gratified to observe that
she made very good headway.

The clock struck four, and he heard the footsteps of the watch upon the
shore.

"Boat adrift!" shouted Ben, who was the officer of the watch.

The words were repeated several times, and in a few moments he heard
Tim's voice summoning his crew. Then the Butterfly dashed down upon
him, and his hopes died within him. But he had the presence of mind to
crawl back again to the cabin; and when Tim came onboard, he had the
appearance of being sound asleep, so that the chief did not suspect his
treachery.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE ESCAPE.


Monday was a cold, dreary, disagreeable day. The wind continued
northeast; a fine, drizzly rain was falling, and a thick fog had settled
over the lake, which effectually concealed the camp of the Rovers from
the main shore.

An excursion had been planned for the day by the two boat clubs; but the
weather was so unpropitious that it was abandoned. About nine o'clock,
however, the members of the clubs began to assemble at their halls in
search of such recreation as could be found indoors.

Frank opened the Zephyr's boat-house as usual, and great was his dismay
when he discovered that the boat was not in its berth. Calling Uncle Ben
from the stable, he announced to him the astounding intelligence that
the Zephyr had been stolen!

"What does it mean, Uncle Ben?" he asked, in deep anxiety.

"I can't tell you, Frank; only, as you say, it has been stolen. It
couldn't have broken adrift."

"Of course not; and one of the windows is open."

"That accounts for it," replied Uncle Ben, as he walked down the
boat-house and looked out upon the lake. "I will take the Sylph and
hunt it up."

"Let me go with you, Uncle Ben."

"My eyes! but the Sylph is gone too!" exclaimed the veteran, as he
perceived the moorings afloat where she usually lay.

"Strange, isn't it?"

Uncle Ben scratched his head, and did not know what to make of it.

"Here comes Tony, running with all his might," continued Frank. "What's
the matter, Tony?"

"Somebody has stolen the Butterfly!" gasped Tony, out of breath."

"And the Zephyr and the Sylph!"

Several of the members of the club now arrived, and the matter was
thoroughly discussed.

"Who do you suppose stole them!" said Frank.

"Who? why, Tim Bunker of course," replied Fred.

"But he must have had some help."

"Perhaps not; he has done it to be revenged, because your father turned
him out of the club."

"Very likely."

"May be he'll smash them up," suggested William Bright.

"Have you seen anything of Charles this morning?" asked Mr. Hardy,
entering the boat-house at this moment.

"No, sir."

"He did not sleep at home last night."

The Zephyrs looked at each other with astonishment, and most of them,
probably, connected him with the disappearance of the boats. His
intimacy with Tim Bunker created a great many painful misgivings,
especially when Mr. Hardy told them that his son had played truant on
Saturday; and one of the boys had heard of his being seen with Tim on
that day. Various other facts were elicited, which threw additional
light upon the loss of the boats. Mr. Hardy was in great distress. It
was clear that his son had wandered farther from the path of truth than
he had ever suspected.

Frank had gone up to the house to inform his father of the loss of the
boats, and Captain Sedley soon joined the party. He sympathized deeply
with Mr. Hardy, and was satisfied that his son could not be far off. It
was impossible to search the lake, as there were no boats for the
purpose.

As nothing could be done at present on the lake, Captain Sedley ordered
his horse, with the intention of driving round it in search of the
fugitive and of the boats. Mr. Hardy was invited to go with him.

On their arrival at Rippleton they found that Tim Bunker was missing, as
well as a great many other boys. They continued to examine the shores of
the lake till they reached Joe Braman's house, on the north side.

Captain Sedley inquired for his boat; and Joe, after trying to evade the
truth, confessed that he had let it to Tim for a week, but did not know
where he had gone with it. They were sure then that the boys were
engaged in some mad enterprise: and at about eleven o'clock the two
gentlemen reached home, without having obtained any intelligence of
Charles.

"Have you discovered anything, Ben?" asked Captain Sedley.

"Yes, sir; I heard voices in the direction of Center Island."

"They are there, then," replied Captain Sedley, as he repaired to the
boat-house.

About one o'clock the fog lifted, and revealed to the astonished party
the camp of the Rovers. A large fire burned near the two tents, around
which the boys were gathered, for the weather was so inclement as to
render Tim's enterprise anything but romantic.

The Sylph, the two club boats, and Joe Braman's "gondola" lay near the
shore, apparently uninjured.

"This is a mad frolic," said Captain Sedley; "but we may be thankful it
is no worse."

"My boy in company with such young scoundrels!" added Mr. Hardy,
bitterly.

"He is sick of them and the adventure I will warrant."

"I hope so."

"Charles never did like Tim Bunker," suggested Frank.

"What is to be done?" asked Mr. Hardy.

"We can do nothing; they have all the boats. They have managed well, and
we are helpless."

"Can't we build a raft, father?" added Frank.

"If we did, they would take to the boats and keep out of our way. Go to
the house, Frank, and bring me the spy-glass. We will examine them a
little more closely."

"They'll get enough on't afore to-morrow," said Uncle Ben.

"It will cure them of camping out."

"Tim said, the last time he was with us, that we ought to camp out,"
added William.

"The best way is to let them have it out till they are sick on't,"
continued Uncle Ben. "It won't hurt 'em; they won't get the scurvy."

Captain Sedley took the glass on Frank's return, and examined the camp.
By its aid he obtained a very correct idea of their encampment. The
Rovers were at dinner, and he recognized Charles Hardy and several of
his companions. The glass was taken by several of the party; and, after
this examination, even Mr. Hardy concluded that it was best to make a
merit of necessity, and let the foolish boys have out their frolic.

Soon after, the Rovers took to the boats, and pulled up the lake. Then,
the anxious party on shore discovered that Charles was in command of the
Zephyr. With the help of the spy-glass, they were able to form a very
correct idea of the state of feeling on board the boats. There was a
great deal of quarreling in both; and, after they had been out half an
hour, a regular fight occurred in the Zephyr.

About five o'clock they returned to the island, and before dark it began
to rain. All the evening a great fire blazed on the island; but the
frail tents of the Rovers must have been entirely inadequate to protect
them from the severity of the weather.

At nine o'clock the Zephyrs, who had spent the evening in the hall, went
home, leaving Uncle Ben, who had been deputed by Captain Sedley to watch
the Rovers, still gazing through his night-glass at the camp-fires on
the island. Soon after, discordant cries were wafted over the waters,
and it was plain to the veteran that there was "trouble in the camp."
The sounds seemed to indicate that a fight was in progress. After a
time, however, all was quiet again, and the old sailor sought his bed.

During the night it cleared off, and Tuesday was a bright, pleasant day.
It was found in the morning that one of the tents had been moved away
from the other. About nine o'clock all the Rovers gathered on the beach;
but they were divided into two parties, and there seemed to be a violent
dispute between them. One of the parties, as they attempted to get into
the Zephyr, was assaulted by the other, and a fight ensued, in which
neither gained a victory. Then a parley, and each party took one of the
boats and pulled away from the island. It was observed that Charles was
no longer the coxswain. He seemed to have lost the favor of his
companions, and several of them were seen to kick and strike him.

The boats went in different directions--the Zephyr pulling towards
Rippleton. When her crew observed the party who were watching them from
the shore, they commenced cheering lustily, and the coxswain, out of
bravado, steered towards them.

"Who is he?" asked Frank.

"It is Barney Ropes," replied Tony. "He is as big a rascal as there is
out of jail."

"Here they come."

"Suppose we give them a volley of stones," suggested Fred Harper.

"No!" said Frank, firmly.

The boat was pulling parallel with the shore, and not more than ten
rods from it. The Rovers yelled, and indulged freely in coarse and
abusive language, as they approached. Charles Hardy, with averted face,
was pulling the forward oar; but not one of his former companions hailed
him. They pitied him; they were sure, when they saw his sad countenance,
that he was suffering intensely.

Suddenly Charles dropped his oar, and stood up.

"See! Tim Bunker!" shouted he, pointing to the opposite side of the
lake.

All the crew turned their eyes that way, and Charles, seizing his
opportunity, sprang with a long leap into the water.

The act was so sudden that the crew could not, for a moment, recover
from their astonishment, and Charles struck out lustily for the shore.

"After him!" shouted Barney; and his companions bent upon their oars.

But their excitement threw them into confusion, they lost the stroke,
and Barney was such a bungler himself that he could not get the boat
about.

"Bravo, Charley!" shouted the Zephyrs.

"Let him go," said Barney, when he realized that the fugitive was beyond
his reach; and, rallying his crew, he retreated towards the island.

"Hurrah, Charley! You are safe," said Tony, as he waded into the water
to help him ashore.

Charles was so much exhausted when he reached the land that he could not
speak. Captain Sedley, who had observed the occurrence from his library
window, hastened down to the beach.

The penitent Zephyr, in his agony, threw himself on his knees before
him, and in piteous, broken accents besought his pardon. Captain Sedley
was deeply moved, and they all realized that "the way of the
transgressor is hard."

The sufferer was kindly conveyed to his home by Captain Sedley, and his
father and mother were too glad at his return to reproach him for his
conduct. When he had changed his clothes, and his emotion had in some
degree subsided, he confessed his errors, and solemnly promised never to
wander from the right path again. And he was in earnest; he felt all he
said in the depths of his soul. He had suffered intensely during his
transgression; and his friends were satisfied that he had not sinned
from the love of sin. He had been led away by Tim Bunker, and bitter had
been the consequences of his error. He had been punished enough,--the
sin had been its own punishment,--and his father and his club freely
forgave him. He was not a hardened boy, and it was probable that his
experience with the Rovers would prove a more salutary correction than
any penalty that could be inflicted.

From Charles all the particulars of the "frolic" were obtained. After
his unsuccessful attempt to escape in the Sylph, Tim had compelled him
to stay in his tent; and, worn out with fatigue and suffering, he had
slept till nearly nine o'clock. He had passed the day in a state
bordering upon misery. At night a dispute had occurred, ending in a
fight, in which his lieutenant, Barney, had led on the Zephyr party. The
result was a separation, and Charles, deprived of Tim's aid, could no
longer sustain himself. Barney usurped his command, and treated him in
a most shameful manner.

Oh, how bitterly did he repent his folly and wickedness! When they were
about to embark, he attempted to go over to Tim's party. Barney resented
the attempt, and another fight ensued. Then he was kicked into the boat,
for his chief could not spare so able an oarsman.

His mental anguish was so great that he could no longer endure it; and,
in desperation, he had made his escape, as we have narrated. His case
was a hopeful one, and his father cheerfully remitted to Mr. Walker the
amount contained in the lost purse, with the mortifying confession of
his son's guilt.



CHAPTER XVIII.

WRECK OF THE BUTTERFLY.


The next day Mr. Walker arrived at Rippleton himself. The noble-hearted
gentleman seemed to be in unusually good spirits, and the boys noticed
that he and Captain Sedley often exchanged significant glances. They
were all satisfied that something was about to happen, but they could
not imagine what.

Frank and Tony had been requested to invite their friends to assemble at
Zephyr Hall at nine o'clock, on Wednesday morning; so that when Mr.
Walker entered the hall with Captain Sedley, the whole school, to the
number of over seventy, were gathered there.

Charles Hardy was there with the rest; but he seemed to be a different
boy. He had lost that forwardness which had often rendered him a
disagreeable companion. He had been forgiven; Mr. Walker had spoken to
him very kindly, and all his friends treated him as though nothing had
happened; but for all this, he could not feel right. His sufferings were
not yet ended; repentance will not banish at once the remembrance of
former sin and error. There was a deep feeling of commiseration
manifested towards him by his associates. He was to them the returned
prodigal, and they would fain have killed the fatted calf in honor of
his happy restoration.

The Zephyrs and the Butterflies wore their uniforms, and Mr. Walker was
so excited that all the boys were sure a good time was before them;
though, as the boats had not yet been recovered, they were at a loss to
determine the nature of the sports to which they had been invited.

The Rovers still maintained themselves on the island. The rupture
between Tim and Barney had evidently been healed; for both parties
seemed to mingle as though nothing had occurred to mar their harmonious
action.

The boys at the boat-house were not kept long in suspense in relation to
their day's sport. Captain Sedley formed them into a procession, when
all had arrived, and, after appointing Fred Harper chief marshal,
directed them to march down to Rippleton, cross the river, and halt upon
the other side till he came.

When they reached the place they found Uncle Ben there, and soon after
were joined by Captain Sedley and Mr. Walker.

"Follow us," said the former, as he led the way down to a little inlet
of the lake, whose waters were nearly enclosed by the land.

"Hurrah!" shouted Fred Harper, suddenly, when he obtained a view of the
inlet, and the cry was taken up by the whole party.

"The fleet! The fleet!" was passed from mouth to mouth; and unable to
control their excitement, they broke their ranks and ran with all their
might down to the water's side.

Resting gracefully, like so many swans, on the bright waters of the
inlet, lay five beautiful club boats. They were of different sizes, and
fore and aft floated their flags to the gentle breeze.

I will not attempt to describe the wild delight of the boys when they
beheld the splendid boats. The bright vision of a fleet, which they had
so cheerfully abandoned to be enabled to do a good and generous deed,
was realized. Here was the fleet, far surpassing in grandeur their most
magnificent ideal.

Five boats! And the Zephyr and the Butterfly would make seven!

"You have done this!" exclaimed Frank, as Mr. Walker approached.

"Your father and I together did it. Now, boys, if you will form a ring
we will explain."

"Three cheers for Mr. Walker first," suggested Tony.

They were given, and three more for Captain Sedley.

"My lads, I heard all about your giving up the fleet to help Mr. Munroe
out of trouble. It was noble--heroic, and I have since taken pains to
inform myself as to the manner in which you conducted yourself after the
brave sacrifice. As far as I can learn, not a regret has been expressed
at the mode in which your money was applied. Here is your reward," and
he pointed to the boats. "They are the gift of Captain Sedley and
myself. I am sorry that these Rovers have taken your other boats; but it
enables us to observe the difference between good boys and bad boys.
Nay, Master Hardy, you need not blush; for, though you have erred, you
have behaved heroically; you risked your life to escape from them; you
are forgiven."

This speech was received with shouts of applause, and Charles Hardy
stepped forward with tears in his eyes to thank the kind gentleman for
his generosity towards him.

"Now, boys," said Captain Sedley, "we are going to recover the lost
boats."

"Hurrah!" shouted all the boys.

"Two of these boats, you perceive, carry twelve oars each. The crew of
the Zephyr will man the Bluebird."

The Zephyrs obeyed the order.

"The crew of the Butterfly will man the Rainbow," continued Captain
Sedley.

The Butterflies seated themselves in the new boat.

"This is merely a temporary arrangement, and when we get the other
boats, we shall organize anew. We want practised oarsmen for our present
service. While we are absent, Uncle Ben will instruct the rest of the
boys in rowing."

Captain Sedley and Mr. Walker then seated themselves in the stern sheets
of the Bluebird.

"Now pull for Center Island," said the former. "Tony, you will follow
us."

The two boats darted out of the inlet, leaving Uncle Ben in charge of
the "recruits."

The Lily and the Dart were eight-oar boats, while the Dip carried only
four, and was designed as a "tender" for the fleet. Uncle Ben assigned
places to the boys, though there were about thirty left after the oars
were all manned. After an hour's drilling, he got the crews so they
could work together, and the boats were then employed in conveying the
rest of the party over to the boat-house. The others in their turn were
instructed and before noon Uncle Ben had rendered them tolerably
proficient in the art of rowing.

When the Bluebird reached Center Island, Tim had just embarked in the
Butterfly, and Barney was preparing to do the same in the Zephyr. The
Rovers were utterly confounded at this unexpected invasion of their
domain, and hastily retreated from the beach.

William Bright, who was the coxswain of the Bluebird, ran her alongside
the Zephyr, and took her in tow. In like manner they took possession of
the Sylph and the "gondola," leaving the Rovers "alone in their glory,"
with no means of escaping from the island. With the three boats in tow,
they pulled for the beach.

"Now for the Butterfly," said Captain Sedley, as he placed the Sylph in
charge of Uncle Ben, and directed William Bright to steer up the lake.

Away dashed the Bluebird. The excited crew had observed the Butterfly
about a mile off, pulling towards the river. Tim Bunker, at this safe
distance, had paused to observe the movements of the invaders. He was as
much confounded as Barney had been, and seemed to be at a loss what to
do; but when he saw the Bluebird headed towards him, he ordered his crew
to pull for the river.

"Steady, boys," said Captain Sedley, when they had approached within a
quarter of a mile of the chase. "Probably they will run her ashore and
leave her."

But Tim did not mean to do anything of the kind, and was running the
Butterfly directly for the river.

"They will dash her in pieces, I fear," continued the director, when he
perceived Tim's intention. "Pull slowly--put her about, and perhaps they
will return."

The Bluebird came round; but Tim dashed madly on, heedless of the rocks.

"She strikes!" exclaimed Mr. Walker.

"Round again--quick!" added Captain Sedley. "They will all be drowned!
She fills! There they go!"

The Butterfly had stove a hole in her bow; in an instant she was filled
with water, and, careening over, threw her crew into the lake, where
they were struggling for life.

"Your boat is stove, Tony," said Captain Sedley to the coxswain of the
Butterfly, who had exchanged places with Fred Harper, for the chase.

"Never mind the boat; save the boys!" replied Tony.

"Bravo! my little hero!" exclaimed Mr. Walker.

In a few moments the Bluebird reached the scene of the disaster. The
Butterfly was so light that she did not sink; and most of the Rovers
were supporting themselves by holding on at her gunwale. Tim and two or
three more had swum ashore, and one would have been drowned, if
assistance had not reached him when it did.

The discomfited Rovers were rescued from their perilous situation, and
after a severe reprimand, were landed at the nearest shore. Tim made his
escape; but probably none of them have since felt any inclination to
imitate the freebooters.

The Butterfly was towed down to her house, and taken out of the water.
It was found that two of her planks had been stove, and that the damage
could be easily repaired. Mr. Walker proposed sending to Boston for a
boat-builder; but Captain Sedley was sure that Uncle Ben, with the
assistance of the wheelwright, could repair her quite as well.

The Bluebird then returned to the beach, and the boys were dismissed
till three o'clock. The situation of the Rovers on the island was next
discussed by Captain Sedley and Mr. Walker, and it was decided that, as
Tim had escaped, it was not expedient to punish his companions, who were
less guilty. So Uncle Ben, with Frank and Tony, was sent off to bring
them ashore. Barney and his band were glad enough to get off. They
freely acknowledged that they had had enough of "camping out." It was
not what they anticipated. Nearly all of them had taken severe colds,
and since the rain on Monday night, which had spoiled their provisions,
they had been nearly starved. Barney declared that they meant to return
the boats that night, and if Captain Sedley would "let them off" this
time, they would never do such a thing again. Like Charles, they had
been punished enough, and with some good advice they were permitted to
depart. How they made peace with their parents I cannot say; but
probably many of them "had to take it." As for Tim Bunker, he did not
show his face in Rippleton again, but made his way to Boston, where he
shipped in a vessel bound for the East Indies; and everybody in town was
glad to get rid of him.

Thus ended the famous "camping out" of the Rovers. It was a very
pleasant and romantic thing to think about; but the reality was
sufficient to effect a radical cure, and convince them that
"yellow-covered books" did not tell the truth.

At three o'clock the boys reassembled, and the crews were organized and
officers selected. By a unanimous vote, Frank Sedley was chosen
commodore of the fleet. The next morning the Butterfly was repaired, and
the squadron made its first voyage round the lake.

But as the rest of the week was occupied in drilling, and the maneuvers
were necessarily imperfect, I pass over the time till the August
vacation, when the fleet made a grand excursion up Rippleton River.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE CRUISE OF THE FLEET.


The school year was ended; and it was remarked that the school had never
been in a more flourishing condition. The boys, stimulated by the boat
organizations, had made remarkable progress, and parents and committee
sympathized with them in the pleasant anticipations of the coming
vacation.

Since his defection in June, the conduct of Charles Hardy had been in
the highest degree satisfactory. His character seemed to be radically
changed. He did not "put on airs," nor aspire to high places. His pride
had been lowered, and he was modest and gentle; therefore my young
friends will not be surprised to learn that his associates had rewarded
his endeavors to do well by electing him coxswain of the Zephyr.

On the morning of the day appointed for the grand excursion, the
squadron, as it formed in line opposite Captain Sedley's house,
consisted of the following boats, manned and commanded as below:--

Zephyr,    12 oars, (bearing the broad pennant of
    Commodore Sedley,)        Charles Hardy.
Butterfly, 12 oars,           Paul Munroe.
Bluebird,  12  "              Fred Harper.
Rainbow,   12  "              William Bright.
Lily,       8  "              Henry Brown.
Dart,       8  "              Dick Chester.
Dip,        4  " (tender,)    Tony Weston.

My young readers need not be indignant at finding so brave and skilful
an officer as Tony Weston in command of the little Dip, deeming it an
insignificant position for him to occupy; for the tender was to be
detailed on special duty, and the appointment was a marked compliment to
his skill and judgment.

The system of signals established for the use of the fleet was very
simple, and consisted of plain flags of red, white, blue, yellow, green,
orange, and purple, each color being a distinct order. The discipline of
the fleet was of a mongrel character, composed of naval and military
tactics. When the squadron sailed in compact order verbal commands were
given; and when the boats were too far apart for the word to be heard,
signals were used. But these details will be better understood as the
squadron proceeds on its voyage.

The boats were ranged in line, side by side, with the Zephyr on the
right, the Butterfly on the left, and the Dip in the middle, each with
its gay flags floating to the breeze. All the oars were in-board, and
the clubs were waiting for the commodore's orders.

On board the Zephyr, a longer staff than she had formerly used was
erected, on which, half way up, was placed her fly, and at the top the
broad pennant--of blue, covered with silver stars. On this pole the
signals were hoisted, when the pennant had to be lowered for the time.

All eyes were directed to the commodore, who was standing up in the
stern sheets of the flag boat.

"Ready!" said he, in a voice loud enough to be heard the whole length of
the line; and every boy grasped his oar.

"Up!"

It was a beautiful sight to observe the precision with which the oars
were erected. A company of soldiers could not have handled their muskets
with more unanimity.

"Down!" and in like manner the oars dropped into the water.

Those who have observed the manner in which a military officer gives his
orders have discovered the secret of this pleasing concord of action.
Commands consist, except in a series, of two words; and dwelling for an
instant on the first keeps all in a state of readiness to act the
instant the second is given. Frank had studied the matter while
witnessing the evolutions of the Rippleton Guards, and he had adopted
the plan in the club. When the captain said "shoulder," the men knew
what was coming; and at the word "arms," the evolution was performed. So
with "present--arms!" "file--right!" "left--wheel!" etc.; and to these
observations he was indebted for the proficiency of his club, and of the
fleet.

"Ready--pull!" he continued.

The stroke was very slow, and each coxswain was obliged to keep his boat
in line with the others, the flag boat regulating their speed.

When the squadron had reached the upper part of the lake, the pennant
was dropped, and up went a red flag.

"Cease--rowing!" said all the coxswains, except the Zephyr's.

Then the red flag was lowered, and a blue one was hoisted.

"In single line," the coxswain of the Bluebird, which was next to the
Zephyr, interpreted the signal, and his boat followed the flag.

The others came into the line in proper order, and the squadron passed
entirely round the lake.

"Cease--rowing!" exclaimed the coxswains, in concert, as the red flag
again appeared.

Up went a green flag, and the line was formed; then a yellow, to form in
sections of two. In this order the squadron pulled down the lake again,
to the widest part, where various fanciful evolutions were
performed--which it would be impossible to describe on paper. One of
them was rowing in a circle round the Dip; another was two circles of
three boats each, pulling in opposite directions. Then the boats were
sent off in six different ways, forming a hexagon, with the tender in
the center; after which they all came together so that their stems
touched each other, in the shape of a star.

"Now, boys, we are ready for the voyage up Rippleton River," said
Commodore Sedley. "I need not tell you that the utmost caution must be
used. Watch the flags closely, and every coxswain be very prudent."

"Ay, ay!"

"Tony will lead in the Dip, and each boat will place a man in the bow to
look out for buoys, which he will place over rocks and shoals."

"Ay, ay," answered the coxswains.

"Now, Tony, you may go up and mark off the rocks at the mouth of the
river."

The little Dip, which had a picked crew for the occasion, darted away up
the lake, leaving the rest of the fleet to follow.

"Form a line!" shouted Frank, and the boats backed out from their
positions, and in a moment had obeyed the order.

"Ready--pull;" and the fleet moved slowly and grandly up the lake.

The boys were in high spirits. There was something inspiring in the
operations of the squadron that would have moved a more steady mind than
that of a boy of twelve. Every moment was a revelation of the power that
dwelt in them, of the beauty of order, of the grace of harmonious
action. As in the great world, a single intractable spirit might have
produced a heap of confusion, and it was the purpose of the organization
to bring each into harmony with the whole.

The fleet reached the mouth of the river. Tony had placed buoys on the
dangerous rocks each side of the channel, so that the boats, by
approaching it in the right direction, could easily pass through in
safety.

The Dip had been provided with a large number of these buoys. They were
pieces of board, part of them painted red, and part blue, with a line
and weight attached to each. Near the dangerous rock or shoal one of
these buoys was to be located, which would be kept in place by the
weight. The coxswains had written instructions from the commodore to
keep red ones on the starboard side, and blue on the port side, going
up the river, and _vice versa_ coming down.

The Zephyr took position near the rocks to see that every boat
approached the channel in the right direction, as, if they did not, they
would be sure to strike. By these extraordinary precautions, the fleet
passed through in safety, and three stunning cheers announced that the
passage had been effected.

"Here we are, Charley," said Frank, as the Zephyr pulled ahead of the
other boats.

"All safe, thanks to the skill and prudence of our commodore," replied
Charles; and the reader will be struck with the modesty of his language.

"Where is Tony? I don't see him."

"Round the bend, I guess; but here are his buoys all along."

"Signal man, hoist the blue," continued the commodore; and the fleet
followed in single line.

"Here's the bridge; I fancy Tony knows the soundings here," said
Charles.

"Ay, there is the rock on which Mr. Walker's chaise hung. It is almost
out of water, now."

"Did you hear what Mr. Walker said when some one asked him why he did
not sue the town?"

"No; what was it?"

"He said it was the luckiest day of his life when he pitched off the
bridge."

"Indeed!"

"He has thought so much better of humanity since, and it introduced him
to Tony Weston, whom he calls a hero in embryo."

"Mr. Walker is a nice man--a whole-souled man."

"That he is! How many men would have done for us what he did? And I, in
particular, have reason to be grateful to him," said Charles, with a
sigh. "I shall never forget him and your father, wherever my lot is
cast."

"That is manly of you, Charley. But I am sure they have been abundantly
rewarded by your devotion to duty since."

"I have tried to do right."

"You have done well; everybody says so."

"I cannot soon forget what a fool I was to believe Tim's wicked lies. I
suppose I wanted to believe them, or I should not."

"It is a great pity we ever let Tim into the club; but we meant right;
we meant to reform him. Where do you suppose he is now?"

"Somewhere near the Cape of Good Hope."

"My father thinks he has got enough of the sea by this time."

"I dare say. Didn't you ever feel a desire to go to sea, Frank?"

"No; not lately."

"Nor I; Tim Bunker lent me the Red Corsair of the Caribbean Sea, just
before that scrape, and I thought then that I should like to take a
voyage."

"My father will not let me read such books; and since he has told me
what they are, and what their influence is, I don't want to read them."

"There's Tony, with the red flag hoisted."

The red flag had been agreed upon as the signal to stop the fleet, when
the navigation was very hazardous, or impracticable.

"Cease--rowing!" said Charles.

Frank ordered his signal man to hoist the red in the flag boat.

"Can't we go any farther than this?" asked Charles.

"I don't know; we are not more than a mile above the bridge."

"Here comes the Dip."

"Well, Tony, what's the matter?" said the commodore, as the tender
approached.

"I haven't found a clear channel yet. The bed of the river is covered
with rocks," replied Tony, as the Dip came alongside the Zephyr.

"Then we must call this the head of navigation," added Frank, with a
laugh, though he was not a little disappointed to find the cruise up so
soon.

"Perhaps not; there is water enough, but the twelve-oar boats are so
long they can hardly dodge the rocks. The Lily and the Dart can get
through very well."

"Have you sounded clear across?"

"I haven't had time to examine very thoroughly yet. If you let the boats
lay off I will look farther."

"Very well; I will go with you in the Dart," replied the commodore, as
he ordered up a white and a blue flag, which was the signal for the Dart
to close up.

The signal was obeyed, and Frank followed the Dip. After half an hour's
search, a clear channel was found close to the land; so close that the
oars could not be used, and a party was sent on shore to drag them
through with ropes.

The line was formed again, and the squadron slowly followed the Dip as
she examined the river. For the next mile there were no obstructions.

"Twelve o'clock!" shouted Fred Harper from the Bluebird.

"Dinner time, then," replied Frank. "Here is a beautiful grove, and we
will land and dine. Hoist the orange"--the signal to land.



CHAPTER XX.

THE HOSPITALITIES OF OAKLAWN.


The boys all had remarkably good appetites, and therefore dinner was no
unimportant event in the experience of the day. Somehow, boys contrive
to be hungry at almost all times of the day, even without the stimulus
of pulling three hours at an oar. There was something, too, in the
circumstance of dining in a beautiful grove, on the bank of the river,
with their boats floating near them, which rendered the occasion
peculiarly pleasant--which made their cold meat, doughnuts, and apple
pie taste much better than usual.

But the adventure was not yet completed. The head waters of navigation
had not been reached, and their love of exploring did not permit them to
spend any unnecessary time over the meal. Tony and his oarsmen had
reported themselves at the grove, and after "bolting" their dinner, had
resumed their occupation; and the boys perceived the Dip half a mile up
the river before they were ready to start.

"All aboard!" said Frank; and the crews, hastily gathering up their tin
pails, and their baskets, tumbled into the boats.

The Zephyr led off, followed by the other boats of the squadron.

"I see no buoys ahead," said Frank, after they had advanced some
distance. "The navigation must be unobstructed."

"It looks like deep water," answered Charles.

"And Tony's crew are pulling very hard; they are going faster than we
do."

"He is trying to gain time against he reaches a bad place. There he goes
round the bend. Were you ever up here before, Frank?"

"I have been to Oaklawn, which is about four miles from Rippleton. Of
course I never came up the river."

"Wouldn't it be fine if we could get up to Oaklawn?"

"Perhaps we can."

"This is smooth work," continued Frank. "Can't we give a little variety
to the excursion?"

"What?"

"Hoist the yellow, signalman," replied the commodore. "We will pull a
while in sections of two, and sing some songs."

Obedient to the signal, the boats of the fleet came into the order
prescribed, and the boys waked up the hills and the woods with the
earnestness of their song. It was a beautiful and cheering sight to see
them gliding over the clear waters, while their voices mingled with
those of the songsters which nature had given to the hillside and the
forest. Their hearts were glad, and in beautiful unison with the scene
around them.

"Rapids!" exclaimed Frank, when the boat reached the bend. "Up with the
blue!"

"Steady!" added Charles. "Pull slowly."

"Tony has been very busy," continued Frank, pointing to the buoys, that
speckled the waters. I am afraid the cruise is about up."

"Tony has passed the rapids. You know steamboats go down the rapids on
the St. Lawrence River."

"Ah, there is Oaklawn," said Frank, pointing to the spire of a church in
the distance. "We cannot go much farther, I know."

"We have made nearly four miles."

What the commodore had styled "rapids" were not a very formidable
difficulty. Near one bank was a ledge of rocks, over which the waters
dashed with considerable energy; but though there was the same descent
on the other side, no obstruction appeared to check them from attempting
the passage. Tony had accomplished it, and had left no warning to deter
them.

"Shall we go through, Frank?"

"Ay; bend on sharp, and she will leap up like a fawn. Now for it!"

The Zephyrs applied all their strength to the oars, and the boat darted
up the rapids with no other detriment than taking in two or three
pailfuls of water.

The rest of the fleet followed, with the exception of the Lily, without
accident; and she, not having sufficient headway, was carried down
again. By the skill of her coxswain, however, she was saved from damage,
and her second attempt was successful.

The navigation was again tolerably safe, and for half a mile they
proceeded on their way without interruption.

"There's a bridge," said Charles, pointing ahead.

"And there is the Dip, with the red hoisted. Tony seems to have given
it up. He has made fast to the bridge."

On the shore was a crowd of men and boys, who were holding a parley with
the pilot of the expedition; but when they saw the squadron approaching
they seemed petrified with astonishment. The boys thrust their hands
deep in their trousers' pockets, and with mouths wide open stared in
speechless wonder. The arrival of Columbus on the shores of the new
world could not have been more astounding to the natives than was the
coming of the Wood Lake squadron to the boys of Oaklawn.

"Sheer off, Charley, to the port side of the river, and we will come
into line. The river is wide enough here, I believe. Up with the green!"

On dashed the boats in the rear till they came into the line. The river
widened into a kind of pond; but the line stretched clear across
it--making a very imposing appearance.

"Slowly; cease--rowing!" continued Frank. "Ready--up!" and the
sixty-eight oars of the fleet glittered in the sunshine before the
astonished Oaklawners, who were gathered in great numbers on the shore
and bridge.

"Well, Tony, the cruise is up," said Frank, when the Dip came into line.

"Yes," replied the pilot, pointing under the bridge, where the river
dashed its foaming waters down a long reach of half-exposed rocks. "We
can't get over those."

"No; and we may as well land and take a look at Oaklawn. Hoist the
orange. Ready--down!"

Each boat landed its crew at a convenient place, and they were then
marshaled into a procession. They were formed in sections of four, each
crew preceded by its coxswain, with one of the flags on each side of
him. The commodore marched at the head of the company, and in this order
they proceeded through the principal street of the village. Of course
their appearance excited a great deal of wonder, and not a little
admiration. Several of the principal citizens, unwilling that their
guests should depart unwelcomed, got up an _impromptu_ reception, and
the clubs were invited to the Town Hall, where some very pretty speeches
were made by the chairman of the Selectmen, of the School Committee, the
representative to the General Court, and other distinguished
individuals; to whom the commodore replied with a great deal of dignity
and self-possession.

While the speeches were proceeding, the ladies were not idle; and the
boys were next invited to a collation on the green; after which they
marched back to the river and re-embarked. Three times three cheers were
given for the people of Oaklawn, and the word was given to pull for
home.

The boys of the village were not so ready to part with them, and some
twenty of them followed the boats, on the bank of the river.

"I say, Frank, these folks were very kind to us," Charles remarked.

"They were, indeed."

"And the boys seem to enjoy it."

"I suppose not many of them ever saw our boats before."

"Suppose we take them in; they will be very willing to walk home, say
from the grove where we dined, for the sake of the sail."

"Good! I didn't think of that before. Up with the orange!"

The boats landed, and the astonished Oaklawn boys were distributed among
them. They seemed to regard the favor as an unexpected condescension,
and their delight knew no bounds. As Little Paul expressed it, "they
were tickled half to death"; and when they reached the grove it was a
sad and bitter disappointment for them to get out and go home.

"I was thinking of something," said Charles, a little while after they
had landed their passengers.

"What was it, Charley?" replied the commodore.

"That we might invite the boys of Oaklawn to spend a day with us on the
lake."

"Capital!"

"We could give them a picnic on Center Island."

"We will do it; and now that we know the river we can easily come up as
far as the grove after them."

"Or up to the rapids; there is no danger this side of them."

This plan was discussed in all its details, and everything was agreed
upon by the time they reached the lake. The passage down the river had
been much quicker than the upward trip, and before sunset the boats were
all housed, and the clubs had separated.

On the following week the courtesies of the club were extended to the
boys of Oaklawn, as arranged by the commodore, and a very fine time they
had of it. Their guests, numbering over forty, were entertained in every
conceivable manner--the day's sports concluding with a grand race, in
which all the boats were entered, and in which the Butterfly won the
honors.

A new program was made up every week during the vacation. Lighthouses
were built, channels surveyed, shores charted; indeed, everything which
the ingenuity of the boys could devise was brought forward to add fresh
interest to the sports of the lake.

And thus the season passed away, and winter came again. The fleet was
laid up, and the useful and pleasant recreations of the club rooms were
substituted for the active excitement of boating. Lectures were given,
essays were read, debates held, every week; and the progress of the boys
out of school, as well as within, was highly satisfactory to all
concerned.



CHAPTER XXI.

CONCLUSION.


I suppose, as the present volume completes the history of the Boat Club,
that my young readers will wish to know something of the subsequent
fortunes of the prominent characters of the association. It gives me
pleasure to say that not one of them has been recreant to his
opportunities, or abandoned his high standard of character; that the
moral, mental, and physical discipline of the organization has proved
salutary in the highest degree. The members of the boat clubs are now
active members of society. Each is pulling an oar, or steering his bark,
on the great ocean of life. Some are in humble spheres, as in the little
Dip; others are in more extended fields, as in the majestic twelve-oar
boats.

Frank Sedley is a lawyer. His father has gone to enjoy his reward in the
world beyond the grave; and Frank, who was married a year ago to Mary
Weston, resides in the mansion by the lake. His brilliant talents and
unspotted integrity have elevated him to a respectable position, for one
so young, in the legal profession; and there is no doubt but that he
will arrive at eminence in due time.

Uncle Ben is still alive, and continues to dwell at the mansion of the
Sedleys. The boats are still in being, and are manned by the boys
belonging to the school--under the direction of the veteran.

Tony Weston is a merchant. At the age of seventeen he was taken into the
counting-room of Mr. Walker, and at twenty-one admitted as an equal
partner. The man is what the boy was--noble, generous, kind.

Strange as it may seem, only one boy of the whole number has become a
sailor. Fred Harper went to sea when he left school, and was recently
appointed master of a fine clipper ship, bound for India. Little Paul is
a journeyman carpenter. He is in a humble sphere, but none the less
respected on that account. His father, who recovered his health, paid
the notes he had made to the clubs. The money was applied to the
purchase of books and a philosophical apparatus, which rendered the
winter evenings of the clubs still more attractive.

'Squire Chase "worked out his destiny" in Rippleton, and finally was so
thoroughly despised that he found it convenient to leave the place.
Perhaps my readers will be a little surprised when I tell them that
Charles Hardy is a minister of the gospel. He was recently settled in a
small town in Connecticut. The boat club changed his character,--purged
it of the evil and confirmed the good,--and he is now a humble and
devoted laborer in the vineyard of the Master.

Wood Lake is still beautiful, and the remembrances of former days are
still lovingly cherished by Frank and Tony, who reside on its banks. The
Zephyr and Butterfly, though somewhat battered and worm-eaten, are
occasionally seen, near the close of the day, with a lady and gentleman
in the stern sheets of each. The youthful crews are happier than usual,
for one bears the ex-commodore and lady, and the other the hero of
Rippleton Bridge and his lady.


THE END.





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