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Title: The Camp Fire Girls on a Yacht
Author: Sanderson, Margaret Love
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "The Camp Fire Girls on a Yacht" ***

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    [Illustration: Frances and Jane use their Camp Fire Girl training.]



    The Camp Fire Girls On A Yacht

    BY
    MARGARET LOVE SANDERSON

    Frontispiece by
    MAUDE MARTIN EVERS

    The Reilly & Lee Co.
    Chicago


    Copyright, 1920
    by
    The Reilly & Lee Co.


    Made in U. S. A.


    _The Camp Fire Girls on a Yacht_



    CONTENTS


    CHAPTER                                    PAGE
        I  AN INVITATION FOR A CRUISE             7
       II  SERGEANT MURPHY ASSISTS               14
      III  THE BOOJUM                            27
       IV  ANCHOR WEIGHED                        40
        V  AT THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIMS        51
       VI  BETTY WYNDHAM, ACTRESS                63
      VII  EXPLORING GLOUCESTER                  73
     VIII  WHAT FRANCES FOUND                    84
       IX  THE AFFAIRS OF BRECK                  97
        X  HURRICANE ISLAND                     110
       XI  DEBATE AND JUST TALK                 122
      XII  BROTHER AND SISTER                   132
     XIII  JACK’S AFTER-SUPPER SPEECH           141
      XIV  TIM’S FATHER                         152
       XV  TIM’S MOTHER AND DETAILS             163
      XVI  A MOUTH FOR PIE                      174
     XVII  “BOILED” AT ’SCONSET                 181
    XVIII  THE BEGINNING OF TRAGEDY             188
      XIX  THE GOOD OF THE ILL-WIND             198



The Camp Fire Girls On a Yacht



CHAPTER I

AN INVITATION FOR A CRUISE


“Oh! Jack, Ellen, come here this instant!” cried Jane Pellew in so
excited a manner that the mail rider almost fell out of his jumper in
his effort to see what it was that made Miss Jane “take on so.” She
was dancing around the broad old veranda waving one of the letters he
had just handed her.

“Too hot, Sis, and we are too comfortable,” came Jack’s lazy voice
from under the big ash tree that shaded one side of the porch.

“You have enough energy for all of us, so s’pose you come to us,”
Ellen called.

“You won’t be hot for long, but you are going to be very uncomfortable
in a minute.” With the warning, Jane jumped off the porch and landed
in Ellen’s lap, then pulled herself up quickly by means of one hand
entwined in Jack’s thick chestnut hair.

“Shut up and listen!” commanded Jane.

“Nobody has a chance to do anything else with you around,” Jack
reminded his sister.

“Who could do anything else but listen after having a hundred and
thirty pounds of buoyant young Kentucky girl hurled on top of you from
a distance of some ten feet? I don’t believe I shall ever get my
breath again,” groaned Ellen.

“I’ll say you manage pretty well without it,” Jane laughed. “But, as I
was saying, listen and you will hear the most wonderful piece of news
that has happened in the history of mankind,” and she started reading
from the letter she had still managed to keep in her hand:

“Dearest Jane:”

“Bet it is from one of the Camp Fire Girls,” interrupted her brother.

“Keep quiet, I have a good mind not to tell you after all. But I am
such a nice girl I suppose I’ll have to. It’s from Mabel Wing. Now,
let me finish,” pleaded Jane.

    “Dearest Jane:

     “As long as Ellen Birch is staying with you, read this to her,
     as I am so busy I’ll never have time to write two letters
     saying exactly the same thing. I am sending one to Ruth Garnier
     with the request that she read hers to Frances Bliss, who is
     staying at her home.

     “And telegraph me whether you will or won’t, but please do. I
     always do things backwards even in letters. What I mean is
     Daddy is going to give me a cruise on his yacht and I want you
     and Ellen and Jack to come. We will leave City Island, N. Y.,
     July the first, and go till we get bored, up to the Maine coast
     and poke around all those little islands that Daddy says grow
     in the New England waters.

     “Don’t bring any clothes, as there never is any place to stow
     more than the bare essentials. And make Jack bring his banjo
     and, of course, your bathing suits and Camp Fire clothes.

     “I’ll be so disappointed I’ll die if you don’t.

     Hastily,

     “Mabel.”

“As if you couldn’t tell it was ‘hastily, Mabel,’” Jack laughed. “But
I have no idea of bringing your bathing suits and Camp Fire regalia.”

“Goose! That is just the Mabel of it. She writes just as she talks,”
explained his sister.

“What fun for all of us! But we must telegraph right away,” said the
practical Ellen.

“Here comes Father now,” and Jane pointed to a red-wheeled buggy and a
briskly trotting bay horse driven up the shady approach to the
Pellews’ home by the master of the house.

The three of them ran across to meet Mr. Pellew, a man beloved by his
children’s friends as much as he was respected and loved by his own.

“Daddy dear, Mabel wants--” began Jane.

“It will be wonderful!” put in Ellen.

“Is it all right with you if I go too, Dad?” Jack interrupted both
girls.

Mr. Pellew put his hands up to his ears and screamed above the hubbub:
“How can I tell whether it will be wonderful for Ellen and all right
for you or even what Mabel wants if the bunch of you try to rival the
builders of the tower of Babel?”

“Ellen,” suggested Jack, “you tell him; Jane gets too excited.”

Ellen put one hand over Jane’s mouth and told Mr. Pellew of the
interesting trip Mabel and her father had planned for them.

Squirming away from Ellen, Jane flung her arms around her father’s
neck and said, “But we don’t like leaving you when we have been home
from school for only such a short while.”

“It never seems to enter your scatter-brained heads that I might
oppose you in anything,” Mr. Pellew smiled at his daughter.

“You always are keen for us to have a good time,” Jack explained.

“And you went and had such clever good children that they know just
exactly what to do and what is good for them and what is bad for
them,” added Jane.

“Of course you can go and I’ll be mighty glad for my children to have
such a wonderful summer. When do you expect to leave and from what
point?” inquired Mr. Pellew.

“First of July, City Island!” came in chorus from the three.

“Henceforth all my conversation will be nautical. Yo-ho-ho and a
bottle of two per cent substitute. Jack, do you have to have a horn or
a pipe for stage property when you want to execute a briny jig?” and
Jane began to cavort around in what she considered a truly seafaring
manner.

“‘Shiver my timbers!’ and ‘Scuttle her amidships!’ is my contribution
to this, but I am the only person to be allowed to use these choice
phrases until some one can think up better ones. Then, of course, I’ll
be glad to cash in my old ones for the new ones,” was Ellen’s generous
offer.

“Son, you had better order some horses saddled directly after dinner
so you kids can ride over and send the necessary telegrams,” said Mr.
Pellew to Jack.

With an “Aye, aye, sir,” Jack raced toward the stable.

“Home is so beautiful in the summer that I can hardly bear to leave
it,” sighed Jane.

She and her father and Ellen were walking over the close-cut grass and
she cast a rather wistful eye around the lovely lawn that stretched
before the Pellew house. There were great trees whose spreading
branches had shaded her grandparents, her own father and the mother
she couldn’t remember, but loved because of the sweet pictures her
father had of her. Where the lawn stopped the rolling fields of blue
grass began and Jane could see the old mare, on which she and Jack had
learned to ride, grazing contentedly. It was a hobby of her father’s
never to sell the old horses on the place but to treat them as worthy
old pensioners and turn them out on the rich bluegrass pasture lands
that bordered his place. Mr. Pellew had a string of race horses famous
throughout Kentucky, and as Jane put it, she and Jack had “fallen from
the cradle into a saddle.” Their father kept a model stable and Aunt
Min, who took charge of the Pellew home, often complained that the
expense of upkeep for the stable was far greater than that of their
exceedingly well run home.

“Well, of course, I won’t force you to go,” teased her father.

“Why, Jane, I thought you were perfectly wild to go,” Ellen said.

“Oh, that is the way I always behave about leaving home. I am terribly
sentimental over it and always indulge in dramatics when I go away.
You see, I am bats about all the horses and dogs on the place and I
can’t help thinking about Atta Boy, the Denmark colt Dad was letting
me break for my own,” Jane explained. “All the work I have put in on
him will come to nothing if he isn’t ridden regularly this summer, and
Daddy doesn’t have time to do it for me and I wouldn’t trust anybody
else with such a peach of a colt.”

“You honor me, daughter.” Mr. Pellew made a low mocking bow. “To show
my deep appreciation of the fact that you put my horsemanship on the
level with your own, I suppose I will have to promise to ride Atta Boy
every other day for you.”

“I love Kentucky too, Jane, and you can’t know how much it has meant
to me to stay with you. Last summer it was too wonderful with the
other girls here but this summer it has been just splendid with you
and Jack.” Ellen blushed after mentioning Jack, because he had just
been telling her what a wonderful summer it was for him with her
visiting Jane.

“Ellen, did you ever hear this little tribute to our state?” Mr.
Pellew asked and began:

    “Ever see Kentucky grass
    Or hear about its blueness?
    Looks as if the whole derned earth
    Was bursting out in newness.

    Skies and folks alike all smiles.
    Gracious! you are lucky
    If you spend a day in June
    Down in old Kentucky.”

“And the more days you spend in Kentucky the luckier you are,” stated
Jane. “But goodness, I sound like that girl from Virginia who was at
Hillside last year.”

Aunt Min came out on the porch and interrupted the eulogy on the
charms of Kentucky by telling them that dinner was ready. But anyone
seeing the great platter of fried chicken on the table before Aunt Min
would have said that the eulogy might well have been continued in the
spacious old dining room.



CHAPTER II

SERGEANT MURPHY ASSISTS


“Jack! have you your banjo? And Ellen, have you the box of candy Daddy
gave us?” Jane called over her shoulder to the two who were sitting in
the tonneau as they were driving over to the station to catch the
train that was to take them to New York.

“You better keep your eyes on the road if you are to keep us in the
road,” gently reproved Mr. Pellew from his seat beside his daughter.

“We’ve got everything we ought to have, but what have you remembered?
Nothing for a change?” teased Jack, for Jane was an almost proverbial
forgetter.

“Anything important that you have forgotten I can parcel post to you
after I come back from New York,” said Aunt Min, who was to go along
to chaperon them at the hotel in New York. The girls had some shopping
to do and were going up a few days prior to their final departure to
accomplish it.

“Aunt Min, you are a perfect peach, and I am so glad you finally
joined the Camp Fire Girls.” Ellen reached over and patted
affectionately the hand of the woman once disliked by the entire band
of Jane’s friends and now the pet of all of them.

As the car, piloted by Jane, whirled up to the station, a rather fat
young man was seen dashing frantically around, talking first to the
station agent and then to the baggage man, all the time violently
mopping his face with a huge white handkerchief.

“There’s Charlie Preston in a stew as usual,” giggled Jane, pointing
to the distraught young man, who was Mabel’s fiancé.

Suddenly Charlie stopped his gyrations and his face broke into a
really charming smile.

“I was trying to find out from some of these misguided officials if
you all had made arrangements to go on this train, for if you weren’t,
I wasn’t either, but not one word could I get out of them but a polite
‘Speak to you after the train leaves,’ and, saving your presence, Miss
Min, how the deuce would that help me?” Charlie exploded to his
friends. He was a strange mixture of calmness in times of stress and
great irritability and excitability in times of petty trials.

“All aboa’d!” cried the white-jacketed and very black porter.

“Oh! Daddy, good-bye, good-bye, I am going to miss you all the time,
no matter how much fun I am having,” and Jane ruffled Mr. Pellew’s
collar in the last of a series of bear hugs that had begun the night
before.

“Don’t make such rash promises but write me occasionally, and Jack,
you telegraph me as soon as you get to New York. I hope the rooms I
wired for will be all right. And now I am going because I won’t feel
so alone if I leave before the train pulls out,” he said and drove off
with a great show of bravery.

At last they were settled comfortably for the long trip to New York,
Aunt Min with a magazine and the young people planning good times for
the few days they were to be in the city before going aboard the
yacht.

“We can go to see Emmeline Cerrito. Jack, you know she is our
beautiful French friend who is studying for grand opera. She hopes to
make her appearance this fall. Maybe she will sing for us. I don’t
think I’ve ever heard a lovelier voice; have you, Jane?” Ellen loved
music.

“And Sarah Manning is in training at the Presbyterian Hospital; we
will certainly look her up and get her to come to dinner if she can
get any time off,” suggested Jane.

“I want to get something for the ship’s library,” said Charlie, “and I
think Carroll’s ‘Hunting of the Snark’ would be in order. It will help
to comfort me during the first three or four days out. You know I’m
nobody’s able seaman. My last year at college a bunch of us raced a
yacht down to Bermuda and I want to say that, for three days, I wasn’t
anything but in the way.” And poor Charlie winced at the unhappy
memory.

“But that was one of those narrow little racing types,” soothed Ellen,
“and Mabel says her father’s is a regular cruising boat and awfully
comfortable.”

“Anyway, my beamish boy, I’ll stick by you and play ‘Heave-ho, my
hearties’ on the trusty banjo while you lean o’er the rail,” Jack
grinned.

“You boys are rather horrid,” said Aunt Min from behind her magazine.
“And, by the way, I expect to be taken to the theatre every night, so
don’t make too many plans.”

“Tickled to death to take you to any musical comedy you pick and to
any roof garden afterwards,” said Jack. “You know, nothing really
good runs in New York in the summer months.”

“And I suspect that you are not at all sorry,” teased Aunt Min.

“Speaking of plays, that reminds me that Betty Wyndham is at
Provincetown with the Provincetown Players for the summer getting
ready for next winter. She got them to take her on this spring. I know
we will go to Plymouth and if we are that near we just can’t help
going to see Betty,” said Ellen, planning happily.

“So we will really see all of our friends by hook or crook during the
summer.” Then Jane yawned and announced that she was going to crawl
into her berth and go to sleep.

When New York was finally reached, it took two taxis to deposit the
travelers at their hotel. There the little party separated, Aunt Min
going to her room to rest, the boys going out to “see the town,” and
Ellen and Jane going to do their shopping.

“I love the way the New Yorkers hurry along all so intent on where
they are going and so certain they are going to get there in the end,”
said Ellen. “Neither one of us has a really working knowledge of the
city so, no doubt, we will be lost one million times on the way to
Abercrombie & Fitch’s.”

“Then we will just ask some genial Irish cop,” said Jane lightly. “I
have never paid any attention to the ridiculous warnings of people who
say, ‘Never talk to somebody you aren’t certain of.’ I flatter myself
that I can tell at a glance whether a person is the kind of person to
talk to or not.”

Deep in an argument in which Ellen favored getting gray flannel sport
shirts and Jane khaki ones, the two girls got on the subway.

“We have been on here ten minutes, surely we will be there soon,” said
Ellen glancing at her watch.

“So we would,” giggled the irrepressible Jane, “if we were going the
right way. I noticed just now that we were on a car marked Bronx when
we ought to be on a downtown express. I was going to give you to the
next stop to notice it; after that of course I would have told you.”

“Next time we better not talk so much,” observed Ellen wisely as the
girls rose to leave the car.

“Whew! I would like to come up for air. It’s so stuffy down here I
can’t think which way we ought to go. If we just had some working
hypothesis of where we are, then we might dope out some route to
take,” lamented Jane.

Both girls looked round them with rather amused expressions. Finally,
Ellen squealed and punched Jane. “There’s your genial Irish cop; go
over and ask him how we must get to Abercrombie & Fitch’s.”

Jane marched over to the big fat policeman, plainly from Erin. He
grinned invitingly at the world in general and, as she stopped in
front of him, at her in particular.

“Yes, Mum,” he said.

“We took that horrid old Bronx subway and we didn’t mean to,” began
Jane by way of lucid explanation.

“And not the first are ye, young lady, to do the same. Indade, it
looks to me like folks only get to the Bronx by tryin’ to go some
other place,” the big man announced.

Then Jane told him where they did want to go.

“I’m off duty now and it’s goin’ that way I am myself, so if it
pleases ye I’ll just take ye,” said Sergeant Murphy.

Ellen had come up to them and was very profuse in her thanks, but the
Sergeant brushed them aside with a hearty “’Tis nothin’.”

The two girls seated on either side of the big Irishman kept him
grinning with their amusing chatter about nothing. The three of them
were entirely oblivious of the utter unconventionality of the
situation and would have been much surprised if they had heard the old
women across the aisle whispering to one another.

It is certain that Ellen would have been very indignant if she had
known that the young Russian on her left had kept his hand in his
pocket all the way, so firm was the belief in his mind that she was a
pickpocket.

Surprise showed through even the suave manner of the young salesman at
Abercrombie & Fitch’s, but Ellen thought that it was brought forth by
the fact that two girls wanted such a surprising number of men’s
shirts.

As twilight came and with it no Ellen and Jane, Aunt Min began to get
worried and called the boys in consultation. They decided to wait
until time to go down for dinner and, if the girls hadn’t come in
then, to notify the authorities so they might organize a search for
them.

Aunt Min stood wringing her hands and moaning: “Such terrible things
could happen to them. Charlie, don’t you remember that awful Chinaman
that killed a girl in New York and put her in a trunk where they
didn’t find her for ages and ages afterwards?”

“Ellen is so little. Oh! why didn’t I go with them?” and Jack cursed
himself roundly for not taking care of the girl with whom he was in
love.

Charlie was seated in a lounging chair taking the whole affair quite
calmly. “Jack, please behave as though you had some sense. Those girls
are about twenty years old, both of them with the average amount of
intelligence, plenty of money in their pockets, and both on the
outside of a good lunch. So they won’t starve to death and, if they
are lost, they can grab a taxi and come to the hotel. I’m willing to
bet on Plain Jane’s ingenuity to get ’em home even if they are both
dead and in some Chinaman’s laundry bag. Probably what really happened
is that they met someone they know and went some place for tea,” and
Charlie went on peacefully eating chocolate creams.

“Oh! it is all very well for you to talk, but just suppose it was
Mabel Wing who was lost and not Ellen. How about it then?” Jack asked.

“Mabel is too big to lose, so that is one thing I don’t have to worry
about,” answered Charlie.

“Anyway, let’s go down in the lobby and wait,” said Aunt Min and led
the way.

Once there they took seats facing the entrance and glued their eyes to
the door. Consequently, when the girls came in flanking a big
policeman, Aunt Min, Jack, and Charlie rose simultaneously and
advanced upon them.

Aunt Min cried: “Thank heavens, Charlie Preston knows law! Jane
Pellew, what have you done now?”

Jack beside himself was squeezing Ellen’s hand and saying: “Ellen, I
am so glad they didn’t take you to jail first. I just know Charlie and
I can fix it up with the cop.”

Charlie looked at them in a ruminating manner and murmured: “Too
happy-looking for anything to be really the matter. Wish they’d come
on and go in to dinner.”

“You are perfectly ridiculous, all of you. Aren’t they, Sergeant
Murphy?” and Jane received an understanding wink from that son of the
Emerald Isle.

“It was this way,” began Ellen and told of how the big policeman had
taken them from shop to shop, and piloted them around all afternoon.

“So when we finished shopping,” broke in Jane, “I suggested that all
of us go to a movie.”

“And a fine picture it was, Mum,” said Sergeant Murphy to Aunt Min,
“with that Fairbanks lad abusting things wide open with every foot of
reel.”

Jane turned to Sergeant Murphy and shaking his hand said: “Ellen and I
want to thank you for your kindness and also for giving us such a
lovely afternoon.”

“’Tis nothin’,” said Sergeant Murphy. “’Twas myself that had all the
fun.”



CHAPTER III

THE BOOJUM


The first of July was a day so perfect that it might well have been
made to order. The brilliant blue sky held little wisps of clouds that
were scattered by a steady, gentle wind.

“That taxi will never come and I just can’t wait another instant. It
should have been here long ago. I just know we’ll be late,” and Jane
bobbed up from her chair and rushed to the window at the sound of
every car that passed.

Mr. Wing had called them up the night before and asked them all to be
out at City Island by ten o’clock. He planned to have lunch and be on
the way by one.

“Patience, my dear sister, is like--well, something or other--I can’t
remember just what, but it is a good old saying,” Jack flung over his
shoulder as he went to answer the knock of the boy who had come to
tell them that their taxi was waiting.

Mabel and Mr. Wing met them and took them down to the foot of one of
the many little wharves that jutted out in the harbor.

“Frances is already on board. There wasn’t room in the tender for all
of us,” Mabel explained. “Oh! I am so happy I can hardly stand it. It
almost killed me when Ruth couldn’t come. You know she is taking some
sort of social service course this summer and didn’t feel that she
ought to stop right in the middle of it.”

“Yes, it must have been a disappointment,” agreed Ellen. “But maybe
this will cheer you up some. I had a telegram from Anne Follet this
morning saying that she and Ruth would try to be in New York for a few
days when we get back.”

“Splendid, marvelous!” bubbled Mabel, who was hard to depress for
long.

“Miss Pellew,” suggested Mr. Wing, “you come out and have lunch with
us and I’ll have one of the men set you ashore directly after. I’d
like to have you see the boat.”

“You are very kind, indeed,” said Aunt Min, rather hurriedly. “But
couldn’t you point out your boat to me from here?”

“What, you aren’t afraid, are you?” Mr. Wing laughed that delightful
laugh that so often accompanies fatness.

“Yes, I am,” admitted Aunt Min. “But don’t tell the girls or I’ll
never hear the end of it.”

Mr. Wing pointed to a two-master, with a black hull. “She is the
schooner type and was built by a shipbuilder at Gloucester, so she is
as sturdy as a Gloucester fisherman, but her yachty lines give her
more speed. She’s got a big Lathrop engine in her that can kick her
along at ten knots when our wind goes dead on her. She has been almost
everywhere and is perfectly able to go anywhere she hasn’t been.”

It was perfectly plain to Aunt Min that boats and water were Mr.
Wing’s hobby even though she hadn’t understood half of what he had
said, particularly about kicking her along. What was the object in
kicking her along if there was an engine?

“None of this fancy yachting for me,” went on the black yacht’s owner.
“I’m my own sailing-master because half the fun of yachting to me is
the work it entails. Why, I love the feel of the old ‘Boojum’ as she
answers to wheel! And let me tell you she handles quick. She is alive,
every inch of her.”

“Well, I hope there are plenty of life preservers in convenient
places. Thank heavens, all the girls can swim well!” Aunt Min looked
rather dubiously at the “Boojum” and at its owner.

Somehow the black hull upset her. It smacked of the piratical and she
had visions of drawn cutlasses and bearded men with their heads
wrapped up in red rags. It would have been better, she thought, if the
boat had been white, as she imagined all yachts were.

“My dear Miss Pellew, it is safe as safe can be and dry as a bone. It
takes days to get a drop in her bilges,” Mr. Wing hastened to assure
her.

“What in the world could be the advantage of it taking days to get a
drop in the bilges, and what did bilges have to do with life
preservers, and what were bilges anyway?” thought Aunt Min. But she
only said, “Well, that is very nice, I am sure.”

Mabel had been explaining to her young guests that Mr. Wing was taking
the boat out a little short-handed because he wanted all of them to
learn something about sailing. “Daddy says it is exactly twice as much
fun if every man on board has some little work to do. I adore steering
by a point of land, but I just can’t bear to do it by the compass.”

“Much as I hate to tell Aunt Min good-bye, I wish we would shove off.
I am wild to see it on the inside.” Jane’s black eyes snapped at the
prospect.

Soon the young people were seated in the dancing tender and, with many
good-byes to Aunt Min, they scooted through the sparkling stretch of
water that lay between them and the “Boojum.”

“Mabel, how in the world do you ever get over the side and up on
deck?” asked Ellen uneasily.

“She is falling off a lot, I think,” defended Charlie.

“Goose, I didn’t mean that. I mean, how does anybody do it?”

“You see there is a little ladder that they hook on the side whenever
people want to get off or on and when it isn’t being used, it is kept
on deck,” Mabel explained.

Two men in spotless blue denim work suits appeared on the deck as
Mabel finished speaking and lowered the sea ladder over the side of
the “Boojum.”

“Jane, you go first,” whispered Ellen.

“The water is perfectly flat today, but there will be days when it
won’t be, so you might just as well begin by being careful,” explained
Mr. Wing. “Step in the middle of the boat, grab hold of the sides of
the ladder and step up as lightly as you can because, if you give much
of a spring from the tender, it is liable to push us away from the
‘Boojum’.”

“It is nice to know that I have you in my power,” Jane laughed.

However, Jane did not take advantage of her new found power but made
an impressive embarkation on the “Boojum.” Her sureness and quickness
won a gleam of approbation from the keen gray eyes of the bronzed
young sailor, who had offered her a hand, which she smilingly refused.

“Pretty good for a land-lubber, Jane,” applauded Mr. Wing. “Now,
Ellen, see if you can do as well.”

“Ellen, you are so light, you couldn’t push us away to save your
soul,” said Jack rather proudly.

“And I just bounce up from long practice,” giggled Mabel.

With all of them safe on deck, Mr. Wing gave a few orders to the two
men, telling the short Dutchman to serve lunch as soon as it was ready
and the young sailor to haul the tender up in the davits. “And Jack,
you better help Breck. Sorry to put you to work so soon.”

Mr. Wing led the way down the companion into the saloon. “I hope Mabel
can make you fairly comfortable, girls. You will feel a bit cramped at
first, but most people soon accustom themselves to it. She is very
compact and it really is just a matter of adjusting yourself to a
smaller scale. Now I must go above and see that we get under way.
Charlie, Mabel tells me you have been cruising before and I’m going to
depend a lot on you. As soon as you stow your duds, come up and help
Breck and me with the sails.”

“I’m a peach of a crew, I’ll admit,” and Charlie chanted:

    “The crew was complete; it included a Boots--
    A maker of Bonnets and Hoods--
    A Barrister, brought to arrange their disputes--
    And a Broker, to value their goods.

    A Billiard-marker whose skill was immense,
    Might perhaps have won more than his share--
    But a Banker, engaged at enormous expense,
    Had the whole of their cash in his care.

    There was also a Beaver, that paced on the deck,
    Or would sit making lace in the bow:
    And had often--the Bellman said--saved them from wreck,
    Though none of the sailors knew how.”

“What delicious nonsense! What is it?” queried Ellen.

“Mabel, you explain, I’ve got to go, for the ‘Boojum’s’ piped all
hands on deck,” and Charlie scrambled up the companion.

“Your education has been neglected if you don’t know Lewis Carroll’s
‘Hunting of the Snark.’ Why, you do, don’t you, Plain Jane?” demanded
Mabel.

“Brought up on it,” answered Jane. “Must I prove it?”

    “I engage with the Snark every night after dark--
    In a dreamy delirious fight:
    I serve it with greens in those shadowy scenes,
    And I use it for striking a light.”

Suddenly the brown curtains before one of the bunks that were on each
side of the saloon were flung aside, and Frances Bliss poked out a
tousled head and started,

    “But it knows any friend it has met once before;
    It never will look at a bribe;
    And in charity meetings it stands at the door
    And collects--though it does not subscribe.”

“Plain Jane and Ellen, I am just as glad to see you as though you
hadn’t waked me up. Come, salute me.”

Both girls made a dash for their disheveled friend.

“Well, get out of Daddy’s bunk and tell Ellen the tragedy of the Snark
while I take Jane into your little stateroom and show her where she
can scrouge in her clothes,” commanded Mabel.

Frances crawled out of the bunk and began, “Well, my poor little
ignorant friend, it is this way: The Snark was a fabulous creature of
great value, so great in fact that a band of worthy gentlemen set out
to catch it. This band was headed by the noble Bellman who was much
respected by the others. One of these gentlemen was a Baker and was
unfortunate enough to vanish in thin air after the Snark was caught,
because it proved to be a Boojum. Now it is all nice and clear, isn’t
it, my priceless child?”

“About as clear as mud,” laughed Ellen. “I’ll get a copy and read it
so I’ll know what you lunatics are talking about. Anyway, I’m glad I
know where Mr. Wing got that ridiculous name for this lovely boat.”

Mabel had taken Jane into a tiny stateroom with two narrow little
bunks, one over the other.

“The lockers are under the lower bunk and you can put your rough
clothes in there. Bring your suit and hat into my cabin and I will put
them in my closet. Ellen and I are in the ‘Skipper’s cabin.’ It has a
double bunk that folds up against the side of the cabin and has the
only full length closet in the ‘Boojum.’ Consequently, the whole bunch
will have to keep their good clothes in it,” said Mabel. “And now, if
you and Ellen are ready, let’s go up on deck and maybe we can pick up
some dope on how to put up the sails.”

The four girls ran up the companion, the two newcomers giving their
heads a terrific bump on the main boom.

“Mabel, you horrible creature, why didn’t you tell us to duck?” wailed
Jane, holding her throbbing head.

“No use,” answered Mabel in cruel tones. “Daddy says that everybody
has to butt their heads a certain number of times on the main boom of
a yacht and the sooner they begin, the sooner it is over.” Then
relenting a bit, she added, “I’ll warn you to this extent; whenever we
are at anchor and whenever the sails are down, that is just where the
boom is going to be.”

The girls were standing in the cockpit, looking with admiration at the
immaculate deck gleaming in the July sun, and the shining brass work.
“Oh! just imagine keeping a house as clean as this. It would keep you
working every minute,” said Ellen.

Mr. Wing let go the rope he was coiling and turned a beaming
countenance on the girls. “I’ve got a splendid idea,” he said. “You
girls can take entire charge of the metal work on the good ship
‘Boojum’ and, if I see a single dull place on it, I’ll put half of you
in irons and the rest of you on hard tack and water.”

“There are no irons on board but flat irons, girls,” Mabel wriggled an
unbelievable length of pink tongue at her father, “so don’t let him
scare you.”

“Well, anyway I can see by your feet that you are very wise children,”
said Mr. Wing as he went forward to see what Jack had done with the
rope he had been left to coil.

“What in the world does he mean, Mabel?” giggled Frances. “Your father
is the funniest man!”

“He means that we have all got on tennis shoes and that endears you to
the heart of any yachtsman, for it is so easy on the decks. Some yacht
owners keep an extra supply of them on hand so that anybody without
them can be supplied,” explained Mabel.

The good-looking young sailor whom Mr. Wing had called Breck came aft
to the girls and, touching the white cap that covered a very small
part of his crisp black hair, said to Mabel, “Miss Wing, the steward
says that lunch is ready in the saloon.”

“Ah, the low pleasures of the table!” said Mabel with a great show of
licking her chops, then called to the men working up forward, “Hey,
you kids, we are going to lunch and it will be all gone in about two
seconds because the lady crew is hungry as sharks and is not going to
wait for you.”

“You don’t have to,” and, with surprising lightness, fat Charlie
Preston jumped down the galley hatch, ignoring the ladder and had his
feet under the table before the others had time to shut the mouths
that had opened in surprise as he disappeared below.



CHAPTER IV

ANCHOR WEIGHED


Mr. Wing rose from the little table that had been spread in the saloon
and said, “We’ll break the anchor out with the jib as soon as Breck
has eaten. I hate this old engine like poison, though she’s a good old
girl in case of emergency. But I have made it a rule not to use her
unless it is really necessary.”

“What in the world is a jib?” queried Frances with a puzzled
expression. “I thought it was some part of your face because my small
brother used to say ‘If you don’t shut up, Sis, I’ll bust you one in
the jib.’”

“In this case, it is the sail that is fastened on the bowsprit. There
are a lot of things to learn on a boat, but don’t give up because,
before the cruise is over, you girls are going to be able to sail the
ship by yourselves and we men can take it easy; isn’t that right,
Jack?” and Mr. Wing went up on deck to uncover the wheel.

Mabel advised her friends to stay below until the “Boojum” was well
under way. There was always a great deal of excitement on deck
whenever they left a harbor and it might be just as well for all
concerned if they kept out of the way until they got the hang of
things nautical.

Ellen borrowed “The Hunting of the Snark” from Charlie and announced
that she was going to curl up on the transom in the saloon and become
familiar enough with it by supper to beat the others at their own
game.

    “She starts, she moves, she seems to feel
    The thrill of life along her keel,”

sang Frances, “and I’ve just simply got to go up on deck and see what
it looks like when we are going. Is it all right for me to go up now,
Mabel?”

Just then Mr. Wing and Jack settled the question by sticking their
heads down the hatch and demanding the presence of the girls on deck.
Charlie was at the wheel and Breck was mopping up the slime that the
anchor chain had made on deck.

“Mabel, will you take the wheel?” asked Charlie in coaxing tones. “I
want to catch a smoke and it’s against the rules for the man at the
wheel to smoke.”

“Give that buoy a good berth, daughter,” advised her father.

Mabel smiled her assent, for she knew the little harbor as well as her
father, and though she had piloted the “Boojum” out some dozen times
she always got exactly the same warning about the bobbing red buoy.

The “Boojum” slipped gracefully through the water, with all her sails
pulling. Smaller sail boats crossed her bow and their occupants gaily
waved handkerchiefs and hands to the little group on the “Boojum.”

Jack’s lazy length was stretched on a striped deck mattress, while
Ellen, seated near him on a cushion, watched him with thoughtful and
admiring eyes, for in Frances’ breezy western slang, Jack was “easy to
look at.” Charlie talked to his fiancée and Mr. Wing pored over a
chart, mapping out a course from New London to Newport. Jane and
Frances, the two irrepressibles, unhampered by being in love, had
elected to sit as far out on the bow as they could without actually
straddling the bowsprit. They liked the sting of the salt spray on
their faces. Frances pointed to where Mr. Wing was reading the chart
and then she and Jane began in chorus:

    “He had brought a large map representing the sea
    Without the least vestige of land;
    And the crew were much pleased when they found it to be
    A map they could all understand.”

Mr. Wing laughed and, not to be outdone, went on with the ridiculous
tale:

    “‘What’s the good of Mercator’s North Poles and Equators,
    Tropics, Zones, and Meridian Lines?’
    So the Bellman would cry: and the crew would reply:
    ‘They are merely conventional signs.’”

But Mabel interrupted him:

    “‘Other maps are such shapes, with their islands and capes!
    But we’ve got our brave Captain to thank.’
    So the crew would protest--‘that he’s bought us the best--
    A perfect and absolute blank!’

“And now Daddy you come on and take your wheel because here comes a
tug and it has three tows. It always scares me to death to meet one
of those old tugs,” Mabel explained to Jane and Frances as she flopped
down beside them. “They are absolutely unscrupulous--just like road
hogs--always running into yachts on the sound. Whew! it’s good to see
you kids again. Wouldn’t it be terrible if there would ever be a
summer when some of us wouldn’t see each other?” she paused solemnly.

“You talk exactly as though you weren’t going to marry your fat
Charlie in November,” teased Frances. “You will live in Lexington near
Jane and that won’t be so bad, but how about me away out on the ranch?
And it looks as if, in the course of time, that Ellen will come and
live reasonably near Jane, too.”

“Well, my good spinster friend, Frances,” laughed Jane, “I reckon that
as long as we are in the same boat we will have to start a tea-room or
a poultry farm or some other stupid thing that unloved old maids do.
Oh! the tragedy of being an old maid at twenty, and the pain made more
terrible by the fact that we see the happiness of our friends so
plainly.”

“And it will be ever thus, Plain Jane, for where could we ever find a
man worthy of our splendid selves?” asked Frances. “They all fall for
me, of course, but I can’t give them any encouragement, knowing my
own value as I do.”

“If we get to Lloyd’s Harbor in time for a swim to-night, I am going
to duck you both,” threatened Mabel, who was a veritable fish. “In the
meantime, I’ll just get Charlie to make a cat o’ nine tails for me.
Poor child, he will need the protection as much I do.”

“Who needs protection?” asked Charlie, who had come forward to sheet
in the staysail.

“You,” Frances promptly replied, getting a sharp dig from Mabel’s
elbow in reward for her truthfulness. “Wow! Mabel, I thought you were
too well cushioned to hurt.”

“Push their noses in, Mabel,” advised Charlie, “and when you have
finished, bring Jack and Ellen down to earth and tell them to go below
and put on their bathing suits. Lloyd’s Harbor is just around that
point and we will make it in about fifteen minutes. Soon as we drop
anchor, we all want to go over the side. This harbor is a dandy place
to swim.”

The girls dashed below, scrambled into their suits and returned to
their place forward to find that the “Boojum” was nosing its way into
one of the loveliest little harbors on the eastern coast. One side of
the mouth of the harbor was marked by a high bit of wooded land that
sloped gently down to the curved sandy beach.

“The wonderful smell that is in the air,” Ellen whispered to Jack. “I
imagine lotus flowers are like that. The land where it is always
afternoon. Why, I could stay here forever and ever.”

“And I would have to be with you, for lotus-eaters forget all the past
and dream and dream away their lives, and I don’t want to be forgotten
for one little minute.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that, Jack. I couldn’t forget you for an
instant, not if I ate lotus for years and years.”

“Hey, you Jack, stop talking sweet nothings. Mr. Wing has called you
three times to see that the anchor is ready to heave over,” and Jane
gave her brother a shove in the direction of the anchor.

“For heaven’s sake, Jane, I wish you would look at Breck! What on
earth can he be doing?” Frances pointed to where Breck was leaning
over the hand-rail earnestly spitting, with Mr. Wing eagerly watching.

“Mr. Wing,” called Jane, “is there anything I can do for Breck? Lemon
is awfully good for seasickness, Aunt Min says.”

Mr. Wing’s fat face turned purple with the effort not to laugh and
Breck finally chuckled.

“Ridiculous, Jane,” said the “Boojum’s” owner, “that is the sailor’s
best method of telling whether a ship has lost her way or not. You
see, you don’t want to drop anchor while the ship is still moving, and
if you spit over the side you can tell easily how fast you are going.”

“Well, no wonder I didn’t understand! Who would?” demanded Jane.

“It was a perfectly natural mistake, Miss Pellew,” said Breck.

“Jane, as a Camp Fire Girl, you should thoroughly approve of the
infinite resources of nature,” teased Frances.

“I do think it is an awfully good idea, but, didn’t it look funny?”
agreed Jane.

“Breck, you better let out a little more chain,” ordered Mr. Wing.
“And Jane, I’m going to show you and Frances how to let down the
dinghy from the davits, so you girls can be independent of Charlie and
Jack. There is not much chance of getting those two to do anything for
any girls except Mabel and Ellen and there might be a time when you
would want to take the boat when Breck and I were ashore.”

Frances and Jane lowered away at the ropes, taking care, in accordance
with Mr. Wing’s advice, to let the stern hit the water before the bow
so as not to ship any water.

“Watch me, Plain Jane, and profit by my courage,” cried Frances,
grabbing a rope and sliding down it into the water.

“Rather get my head in first,” said Jane; and her body shot out from
the hand-rail, describing an arc before she sank into the water,
leaving barely a ripple.

“Great stuff, you kids, but I am too fat and have to wend my
middle-aged way down the sea-ladder,” and Mr. Wing did it.

Soon all of them were in, Frances, Mabel and Jane, romping around like
young seals, Mabel pursuing the other two, round and round the
“Boojum” in her efforts to duck the two teasers.

“It’s terrible just to be able to do this silly little side stroke,”
wailed Ellen to Mr. Wing and Jack, “when all the other girls swim the
trudgeon, double overarm and Australian crawl just like
professionals.”

“Come on, Jack, let’s teach her,” said the father of one of the envied
ducks.

The two men started teaching Ellen the difficult feat of breathing
with the head on one side when the arm comes up for the stroke and
exhaling with the head under water. Ellen strangled and spluttered
about for a while, as beginners do, time after time, reversing the
order and breathing in under water and choking when she came up for
the breath she was unable to take. After patience on the part of the
pupil and teachers, she began making noble attempts to combine the
breathing with the actual stroke.

Jane and Frances had clambered up over the stern of the dinghy which
had been made fast at the end of the lowered boat-boom and were
engaged in a spirited discussion of the value of salt water swimming
and the value of fresh water swimming.

“Frances, look! Did you ever see such a beauty in your life?” Jane
gasped as she watched a tall, broad-shouldered, slender-hipped figure
in a maroon swimming suit poise itself on the extreme end of the
bowsprit before making the most perfect jack-knife dive either of the
girls had ever seen.

“Whew! the brown of his legs and shoulders against that dark red of
his suit was just too beautiful to be true,” asserted Frances. “And
Jane, do you know who it was? Well, it was Breck and he has no right
to be so gorgeous looking.”

“He uses perfectly good English, whenever he speaks, which is seldom.
What in the world do you suppose he is?” Jane asked.

“I think he is awfully interesting, and I wish I knew something about
him. He makes such a point of being just one of the men employed by
Mr. Wing that I can’t help feeling that he isn’t an ordinary sailor,
Jane.”

“Well, probably if we hadn’t seen him make that peach of a jack-knife
and he hadn’t had that maroon bathing suit but some old faded grey
one, we would probably never have given him a second thought, so let’s
don’t anyway. Come on and get dressed, I am hungry as a shark.” Jane
lightly dismissed the subject that interested her a great deal more
than she cared to admit.



CHAPTER V

AT THE LANDING OF THE PILGRIMS


“I feel just exactly like the Pilgrim Fathers, don’t you, Mr. Wing?”
Jane said as she and Frances climbed up the wharf ladder from the
dinghy.

These two girls and Mr. Wing had grown to be the closest of friends
and it had become a habit for them to take the little dinghy when the
party went ashore, leaving the tender for the others. Mr. Wing had
proved himself a delightful companion. In fact, as Frances said: “He
is every bit as crazy as we are.”

“You will love Plymouth, and then I want to sail you over to
Provincetown, too. It is not nearly so charming as Plymouth, but it is
interesting at that. Primarily, it is a fishing village but a lot of
artists summer there and, sometimes, they have rather good
exhibitions.”

Twilight had just settled over the little town as the three started up
the hill from the water front. There was a great peace about the
streets and a gentle quietness over all the houses. The pilgrims
walked along without speaking, taking in the simple beauty of the
white houses, guarded by tremendous elms.

“And we have the nerve to talk about the Southern homes as if they
were the only homes worth mentioning,” said Jane suddenly. “Of course
these are very different but I like them.”

Mr. Wing smiled. “You know,” he said, “that these houses are to me
very much like the New England people, strong, simple and dignified
and infinitely beautiful.”

“It would be a wonderful place to come and grow very old in and a
wonderful place to have had as your childhood home, but somehow I
can’t imagine it for schoolboys and girls, can you?” mused Frances.

“Well, Jane,” said Mr. Wing, as they neared the center of town,
“Frances and I have a bunch of telegrams and letters to send and, if
you don’t want to bore yourself by waiting around for us, why don’t
you go up to the top of that hill where the graveyard is and look
around--it is very lovely--and then meet us and our daughters and
brothers and friends at the Samoset House in an hour. I thought it
would be kind of fun to have dinner there to-night. It is famous for
its food.”

“That will be dandy, if Frances will promise to send Daddy a telegram
for me saying that Jack and I are still alive and kicking. I have been
having too wonderful a time to write as much as I should and I know he
will want to know what has become of me,” and Jane started up the hill
to the cemetery.

Looking around, she was rather pleased to find that she was the only
person in sight. She went over to a great tree and sank down into the
deep soft grass, leaning her head back against the tremendous trunk.
Jane thought it was a great pity that most people had such a morbid
distaste for the resting place of the dead. She had never seen
anything more beautiful than this high hill covered with old
tombstones and trees whose spreading branches arched above her. A
faint wind rustled among the many leaves and the warm air was filled
with a delicate fragrance.

Suddenly the base of the hill shone with misty lights and an
involuntary exclamation of wonder fell from her lips as she gazed at
the beauty of the scene that stretched before her. Even the
realization that the sudden change had come with the turning on of
the town’s electric street lights failed to mar the enchantment she
felt.

“It would make a perfect illustration for Dunsany’s tale ‘The Edge of
the World,’” announced a man’s voice close beside her.

Jane turned her head with a peculiar feeling that nothing was unusual
with this strange setting. It was Breck.

“Yes, and I would like to see a real artist do a huge canvas of it,
wouldn’t you?” she said.

“If he could get that unreal light that just burst forth,” Breck said.

There was the clang-clang of a passing trolley car and the spell was
broken. Jane’s thoughts came crashing back to reality. What in the
world did Breck know about Dunsany and art? And if he did know about
them, as it was evident that he did, what could be his object in being
a paid sailor on a rich man’s yacht?

However, it was Breck’s business and, if he did not wish to throw any
light on the subject, she would not pry into his affairs but she felt
that he was conscious of the slip he made. Breck’s confusion was
evident, so the girl casually asked what time it was and told him that
she had to meet her friends for dinner and so was going. She smiled
good-bye and walked off down the hill.

Jane left Breck rapt in admiration for a girl who was alive and
interested in everything and thoroughly feminine, but had tact enough
to keep from trying to divine some one else’s secret.

He thought that he couldn’t imagine his sister or any of her friends
refraining in so quietly sympathetic a manner from rushing in where
angels feared to tread. All of these girls had a breezy out-doorsy way
with them that he liked and he wished that that same sister of his
might have joined a Camp Fire organization before she made her very
successful debut. All of which thoughts were strange thoughts for an
ordinary deck-hand to be entertaining in a mystic cemetery when he
ought--if he was to stay in character--to be guzzling a plate of beans
at a “Quick and Dirty.”

The others were waiting for Jane at the Samoset when she got there,
rather out of breath from her fast walk.

“Jane looks so mysterious, I am sure she must have had a million
adventures,” teased Frances.

“You might tell us about them if you did,” Ellen said. “We made a very
ordinary trip from the boat to shore, landing as usual.”

“Well, you know I went to the cemetery and it is almost traditional
that strange things happen in graveyards,” was all that could be
forced from Jane.

“If she won’t divulge the horrid secret, let’s feed. My appetite is
straining on the leash,” suggested Charlie.

Mabel giggled. “Charlie, I didn’t even know you had a leash for it.”

The little party entered the beautifully simple dining room that was
typical of the Samoset and began one of the most delicious dinners in
the history of the cruise.

On the way back to the “Boojum,” Jack said to Ellen, “In all my life I
never tasted anything as good as that duckling.”

And much to his delight she answered, “Yes it was good and it is
cooked by just the recipe my grandmother taught me. I believe you will
like my duckling just as much as you liked the Samoset’s.”

“I’ll adore yours, Ellen.”

Again on deck, Mr. Wing looked at the sky with the searching glance of
a seaman. “We just did make it in time. In about five minutes we are
going to have an awful big rain. Looks like she was coming up to
blow, too. Hope we won’t drag. This is a poor harbor.”

Before the girls had got into their bunks, the rain Mr. Wing had
foreseen was beating in through the open portholes and down the hatch.

Jack and Charlie went rushing about closing portholes and shutting the
hatch. “It is going to be one stuffy night; I never can sleep without
plenty of air,” observed Charlie.

“Stop putting on airs, Charlie; you could sleep if there wasn’t any
air in the whole universe, and you know it,” Jack corrected him.

Jane and Frances, overcome by giggles as usual, were trying to twist
the ventilators in their room so the rain didn’t trickle in on them.

Mabel opened her stateroom door and peered through the crack.
“Children and Daddy, I hate to be horrid, but you have simply got to
stop smoking and go to bed and, if you go to sleep right away, you
won’t miss not smoking. You see, without any air in the place, the
smoke can’t get out and it all seems to come through my door some way.
Anyhow, Ellen and I are simply gasping for breath.”

Moved by the pitiful picture of Ellen and Mabel clutching their soft
throats and writhing on the floor in the agonies of suffocation,
Charlie and Jack immediately put out their cigarettes.

“Greater love than this has no man, that he put out his cigarette to
please a girl,” paraphrased Mr. Wing. “I am going up on deck to see if
they are holding all right. I hear Breck up there and I can finish my
cigar in all the wind and rain. Do you hear that, Mabel? We are going
to have a lively night.”

Frances was almost asleep when Jane asked her, “Do you know whether
Breck has a slicker or not? It must be horrid on deck in all this
wet.”

“Why Jane, how funny! How should I know about what clothes Breck has?
This is the first bad weather we have had.”

In the other cabin Ellen was saying to Mabel, “Ugh! listen to the
wind, and the groaning of the rigging, and the plash, plash of the
water slopping against the poor old ‘Boojum’s’ sides.”

Soon they were all asleep, the wind and rain unheeded. The steward
snored with a series of really interesting variations, with such
carrying powers that it was fortunate that all the seafarers were good
sleepers. The waves had become choppy and hit the “Boojum’s” sides
with angry little smacks. In spite of the lashings on the pilot
wheel, the rudder thudded to and fro.

Suddenly Mabel waked to find herself gouging into the bunk with her
fingernails in much the attitude of some one climbing a steep clay
bank, and her legs entirely out of the bunk. Ellen had slipped down on
top of her and would surely have been on the floor had not Mabel’s
bulk stopped her.

“Daddy,” Mabel called in the purely conversational tone in which one
might say, “Will you have cream or lemon?” “Is this boat right?”

“Why, of course it is. It is the rightest little boat in the Eastern
Yacht Club.” Even when half asleep Mr. Wing was the proud possessor of
“the best little schooner that ever set sail.”

“Wake up quick and see!” commanded Mabel. “Something is the matter
with the boat or my bed is broken and you have to do something in
either case.”

By this time, everybody aft was more or less awake.

“Did you ever hear such fascinating sounds as the steward is making? I
would adore to arrange the orchestration for them and call it
‘Nocturnal Arabesques’ or something,” Jane said to Frances. “But
isn’t it funny, I am sleeping on the side of the ship instead of in my
bunk and the rail around my little bunk is like a ceiling over my head
and my bunk is like a wall! What do you suppose is the matter?”

“I’m just the same way,” giggled Frances. “And I know we ought to feel
excited and be running around with streaming fists and clenched hair
and we just lie here upside down and giggle and talk nonsense. We have
probably hit a rock or something and we will all be drowned like
rats.”

Mr. Wing crawled in their cabin with much the same method a fly walks
along the ceiling. He came in just in time to hear the end of Frances’
speech. “You don’t seem to be making much effort to save yourself,” he
laughed. “But I’ll save you the anxiety you don’t seem to feel and
tell you that nothing serious is the matter. We just anchored in too
shallow water. While the tide was in, it was all right, but the tide
is out now and we are turning turtle and are lying in the mud on our
beam ends. There is no danger; it just means that we will be a bit
upset till the tide comes in. Then we will beat it over to
Provincetown.”

“You girls put on kimonos and come into the saloon. I stuck my head
down the galley hatch and found Breck prying the steward out from
behind the stove where he slipped when we did our flip. I told him to
make some coffee and it will be here in a minute,” Jack announced
thrusting a wet and tousled head into the cabin.

“When I was a kid, I used to wonder how the heathen Chinee could walk
upside down on the other side of the world, but I see now that it was
quite simple compared to this,” Charlie said as he landed the girls on
the least perilous of the transoms.

“You certainly bruised us enough doing it. The last time Mabel
slipped, you steadied yourself by grabbing my left ear,” said Frances
ruefully.

“And my poor head,” laughed Ellen. “Charlie reminded me of the
Bellman, don’t you remember?--

    “‘Just the place for a Snark!’ the Bellman cried,
    As he landed his crew with care;
    Supporting each man on the top of the tide
    By a finger entwined in his hair.”

“You kids are certainly peaches,” and Mr. Wing literally beamed. “Here
you are quoting ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ and laughing and chatting
just as if you weren’t cold and upside down and everything.”

Just then Breck came in with a steaming coffee pot, in some mysterious
way maintaining his equilibrium.

“Fortunately the steward didn’t hear your remark about the
orchestration of his snores, or I don’t believe you would have got
your coffee so soon,” Breck said in an undertone to Jane as he handed
her her cup.

Jane thought, as she sipped her coffee, that perhaps gray eyes were
better suited for twinkling than any other eyes.



CHAPTER VI

BETTY WYNDHAM, ACTRESS


With the incoming tide, the “Boojum” had righted herself and was soon
under way. The tremendous rain had ceased as abruptly as it had begun
and the sun shone valiantly as if to make up to the little party for
the trick the tide, vassal of the moon, had played on them the past
night. The winds had churned the water into choppy little waves that
foamed against the “Boojum’s” eager bow.

“I just adore this jerky motion,” Jane confided to Frances. “But I
wonder how long I’ll adore it. It reminds me of the time I went on a
hunt on a Standard-bred trotter. I got there in time to see the dogs
nab the poor fox, but I’m here to say I took an oath that that was the
last time I would ride anything but a saddle horse.”

“I like this too,” agreed Frances. “It’s the most exciting sail we
have had yet. We are certainly scooting along. Whee! look at the spray
come flying up over the bowsprit. Let’s go and get on the grating. I
don’t believe either one of us is going to be sick, ’specially if we
stay up on deck.”

These two were nearly always to be found lying flat on the grating in
the bow when they were sailing. As a concession to Mr. Wing, they had
agreed to hold on to each other with one hand and on to the grating
with the other.

“Are you two young tars feeling fit still!” Mr. Wing asked them.
“Ellen and Jack are below looking pretty miserable and, of course, no
power on earth will drag them up in the air. Ellen said that, if she
saw the waves, she knew it would be all over with her.”

“Yes, we saw them, when we went below to get extra sweaters. I believe
Jack would like to come up, but he doesn’t want to leave Ellen. Ellen
would be much better off by herself, but she doesn’t like to hurt
Jack’s feelings. There is nothing to do with people like that so we
might as well forget them. It won’t be so long before we fetch
Provincetown and then they will be all right.” And Jane dismissed the
tragedy of the seasick lovers with a grin.

Mr. Wing had been watching a fast little schooner ahead of them. “Hey
you, Charlie!” he called to the man at the wheel. “You stop talking
to Mabel, and watch what you are about. We are pointing lots higher
than that white schooner. Mabel, you come up here and play with these
kids and Charlie and I will see if we can’t overhaul that boat on our
next tack.”

Obediently Mabel slid and skidded along the slippery, slanting deck,
and sat down with one arm around the mast.

“Daddy is so funny,” she said. “We would have got there just as
quickly if we had gone on as we were. We are a little off our course
now, but Daddy likes to use every puff of wind.”

“And I am going to as long as I sail a yacht. If I ever get to running
a steamboat or a ferry to Jersey, I might change, but as long as I run
the ‘Boojum’ she sails.”

“Well hush your fuss and run along now. You can sail backward if you
want to,” giggled Mabel, who always had the attitude that her father
was her kid brother.

“Honestly, Mabel, this is the most wonderful day of all, but then it
seems that every day is better than the last,” said Jane.

“And won’t it be fun to see old Betty Wyndham? We ought to have some
kind of Camp Fire party. The only thing that I have against the
‘Boojum’ is that we can’t have a camp fire on her.”

“But s’pose Betty has got too grown-up to like that sort of thing,”
ventured Frances.

Jane shook her head at this. “I had a letter from her just before we
left and she told me that she had just been to a clambake with some of
the players, and, if she likes that, I know she will like to have a
regular old-timer with us.”

“She will be surprised to see us. Can’t you just see her eyes widening
behind those big bone glasses?” Mabel stretched her own eyes wide.
“And look, I can just see the monument to the Pilgrim Fathers now. We
will be there soon.”

“Oh!” Frances sighed. “Much as I want to see Betty I wish this sail
would never end. I get so excited I can hardly stand it and, when the
spray lands on me, I want to shout.”

“You are just a modern pagan,” said Mabel looking at Frances’ vivid
color and sparkling eyes, “and a mighty pretty one too.”

“Away, thou perfidious flatterer. And me freckled as a guinea egg!
Jane, pinch her for me.”

“You young’uns get the anchor free. We are going to drop it soon as
we lose our way,” called Mr. Wing.

Jane jumped up from her place and took off the ropes that held the
anchor, and, balancing it with one hand in a thoroughly professional
manner, began spitting over the side in the way she had found so
ridiculous in Breck and Mr. Wing a few days since.

“All the way is lost now,” Jane cried in semi-nautical tones that made
Breck smile as he pushed the anchor over the side.

Little fishing boats were moored and anchored all around the “Boojum”
and soon men had come up on all the decks after the fashion of sailors
to see what the latest ship looked like.

Jane and Frances were at the davits, letting down the dinghy as Jack
and Ellen came up from below, looking as Frances said rather “pale and
pellucid.”

“Now, gents,” began Mabel bouncing up to the little group at the
davits, “we girls are going ashore and see Betty and we are going to
have a regular reunion of the Camp Fire Girls and we don’t want any of
you, much as we love you separately and collectively, to bother us.
We’ll take the dinghy and spend the night with Betty if there is room
and if there isn’t we’ll take her to a hotel for, goodness knows,
there isn’t room on board for another thing.”

“And Jane and I are the ablest little seawomen in the bunch so we are
going to row you and Ellen, Mabel,” and Frances steadied the dinghy
with a far-reaching foot and leg, while Jane dropped over the side and
put in the rowlocks. These two had long since waived the formality of
the sea-ladder.

“Breck!” called Jane to the sailor, “you put over the sea ladder and
we’ll row around to starboard and take on our middle-aged passengers.”

“Middle-aged passengers nothing,” shrieked Mabel. “You just hold the
dinghy steady and we’ll get over here. As if I wasn’t doing this long
before you were born!”

“Well, doesn’t that prove your middle age?” teased Frances.

“I’d drop this little grip on your head, Captain Kidd, if I wasn’t
afraid I’d upset my fellow sufferer, Mabel,” announced Ellen, as she
handed the little grip that held their nighties down to Frances. “I am
so thoughtful, none of you remembered that you ought to have
toothbrushes and combs if we are going to stay on shore tonight. How
would you get on in this world without useful me to think about
everything for you?”

“Be sure to allow enough rope for the drop in the tide,” Jane
cautioned Frances as she made the painter fast to a big iron ring sunk
in the dock.

“Plain Jane, now you just hush up. I’d like to know who it was that
tied the dinghy at Newport the time we came back from the movies and
found the poor thing standing on its stern with its nose up in the
air?”

“Let’s go to the post office first, and see if there is any mail for
us at general delivery,” suggested Ellen. “Then we can set about the
search for our little pal Betty.”

Just as the girls were going into the post office, a hurrying girl ran
into them. “Pardon--well of all things!” she cried.

“Why, Betty, what luck. Why didn’t you knock us down?”

“What fun to see you again,” they all said at once and drew amused
smiles from the group in the post office.

“Come on to my room. I’m staying with the dearest little old lady in
the world. Several of the other players have rooms with her too and
we tear off a lot of fun when we aren’t working,” Betty told them as
they went along the street.

“What ducky little houses these are,” Jane said to Frances. “But not
as charming as Plymouth do you think, Betty?”

“I think that the Greenwich Villagers, who come here for the summer,
leave their mark just as they do everywhere. It is really more
attractive in the winter when just the natives themselves are here,”
explained Betty.

Soon they were all in Betty’s neat room, lolling about on the bed,
eating chocolates, and examining Betty’s new snapshots and possessions
and exchanging adventures. After Betty had been duly told of the upset
at Plymouth, they all began to plan how they were to hold their
reunion. At last, they decided on a clambake as the best.

The little old lady who owned the house agreed to let them have a room
with a double bed in it and by doubling up in one room and tripling up
in the other they thought they could pass the night ashore.

As soon as the sun set, the five friends trooped down to the beach
and, gathering driftwood enough to bake all the clams in the world,
started a huge campfire.

“Um, I think baked clams are the most delicious things in the world,”
said Jane as she ate her last one.

“Honestly, children, I am just too glad that you came by to see me. I
was wondering how I was going to get through the summer without seeing
at least some of the Camp Fire Girls,” Betty smiled at the girls.

“I wish you had time to go for a few days’ sail with us. Don’t you
suppose you could?” Mabel begged.

“It is dear of you to ask me and you know there is nothing in the
world I would like better, but I really am too busy. You know I am
working particularly hard so I can get to New York to hear Emmeline
sing.”

“We will see you then at any rate, ’cause we are going to be back in
time for that too,” and Mabel gave Betty a clammy hug.

“Doesn’t that driftwood make the most gorgeously colored flame?” Ellen
asked dreamily. “I always wonder about driftwood, what it was before
it was cast up on the beach.”

“It is rather terrible to think how much of it was once ships, and by
the way, would you mind if I said you a piece I ran across the other
day? It isn’t exactly cheerful but I like it,” and Betty began a
weird minor wail in her rich deep voice--

“Whew! what a blood curdler!” interrupted Jane. “Stop it! stop it! It
gives me the creeps.”

“Let’s save it until a sunny day and have something soothing to go to
bed on,” suggested Ellen, shivering. “Why don’t we end this reunion by
singing some of our own Camp Fire songs?”

The five Camp Fire Girls began their favorite Good Night song:

    “Now our Camp Fire fadeth,
    Now the flame burns low,
    Now all Camp Fire Maidens
    To Slumberland must go.
    May the peace of the lapping water
    The peace of the still starlight,
    The peace of the firelit forest
    Be with us through the night.
    The peace of our firelit faces
    Be with us through the night.”



CHAPTER VII

EXPLORING GLOUCESTER


“Gloucester! Oh, Jane, isn’t it great?” Frances said to Jane as they
stood on either side of the mast while the “Boojum” was picking her
way into the harbor.

Both sides of the harbor were lined with schooners. The sky was barely
perceptible through the rigging of the ships, so tightly were they
wedged in around the docks. At Provincetown the cruisers had learned
of the fishermen’s strike but they had not realized that it meant that
the entire fishing fleet of Gloucester would be riding at anchor in
the harbor.

“Gloucester’s sky line isn’t anything but masts, is it?”

“No, but look Jane! They just let the sails go any way and they are
all spilling in the water and look at all those Irishman’s pennants,”
and Frances pointed out innumerable ropes let to drag in the water.

“The crews must have dropped anchor and dashed ashore without doing a
single thing towards snugging ship. I suppose there is lots to be said
for the fishermen, but I don’t see how they could bear to leave those
dandy schooners all messy like that. And whew! smell the fishy smell.”

Jane and Frances had learned really to love the sea and to have deep
feeling for the ships. It actually hurt them to see these sturdy
fishing boats so deserted.

“Why, do you know, Frances, it seems just as cruel to me as if I had
given Atta Boy a hard run and turned him into his stall and left his
saddle and bridle on and rushed off without rubbing him down and
forgotten to feed him and everything. It doesn’t seem human,” Jane
grew quite indignant.

“Did you notice that long black schooner, the ‘Josephine R,’ how she
was pulling on her anchor chain, looked as if she wasn’t going to
stick around much longer and stand for this careless treatment? I’ll
bet she is an imperious lady.”

There was no sign of life on any of the many boats riding at anchor.
The sun had set and each one should have shown a riding light, but
none did, nor did it seem likely that they would. Yet it seemed that
each boat was in itself alive and indignantly complaining to its
neighbor of the careless treatment it had received at the hands of the
crew. As Frances said, the “Josephine R” looked as though she had no
intention of putting up with such inconsideration.

Jane had been at the wheel all afternoon with Breck near enough and
ready to help her if she got off her course or if she wanted any of
the sails hauled in. Mr. Wing had said that Jane was farther advanced
in her nautical education than any of the other girls because she had
come to the stage where she not only knew when something was wrong
about the sails but she knew just what to do to make it right and
could get almost as much out of the “Boojum” as its owner could.

The silent Breck had become quite talkative, responding to Jane’s
naturalness as everyone else always did. He had told her about
Gloucester and some of the amusing tales about the sportiness of the
Gloucester fishermen even while they were hard at work off the Grand
Banks. They had both read Kipling’s “Captains Courageous” and Jane was
eager to know more of the delightful little town, and the sturdy
independent people who lived in it.

“They know the sailing game better than anybody else in the world and
you can tell a Gloucester crew and ship a long ways off just by the
way she sails. And the risks they take! When most captains give order
to put in a reef or two these Gloucester chaps just crack on more
canvas and walk away. And they know all these waters like you would
know your own top drawer,” he had told her.

And she had laughed at this last and answered that that showed how
little he knew about her, because neither she nor anyone, not even a
Gloucester fisherman, could sail through the conglomerate mess in her
uncharted top drawer.

Then she had asked how he happened to know so much about Gloucester
and had bitten her lip the minute she had said it, for that was the
one thing she had meant not to do, question him about himself.

But Breck had answered her with a smile and a vague “Oh, I stayed here
once.”

As she stood beside Frances, she mentally ran over the little talks
she had had with Breck and realized more acutely how clever he was,
how quick his perception, and keen his observation of people were. How
she would have loved to have him take her through Gloucester and show
her all the narrow little streets that ran back from the water, and
which he had pictured so vividly to her. “Why are things as they are?”
she asked herself. “I know Breck would like to ask me to go ashore
with him tonight because he almost said so and yet he won’t because he
is in Mr. Wing’s employ as a deck hand. As if that would make any
difference, and anyway, I know he isn’t just an ordinary deck hand! He
is twice as nice as anybody I have ever known and if he doesn’t ask
me, I’ve a good mind to ask him to take me myself.”

“Jane! Jane! do stop dreaming, and let’s go below and get supper.
That’s the second time Mabel has called us,” said Frances, giving her
a little shake. “If I didn’t know you weren’t I would certainly say
you were in love. Anyway you have all the symptoms.”

During supper, Jane determined that she would not let ridiculous
little conventionalities prevent the promoting of her new found
friendship with Breck. Clandestine meetings and common intrigue were
entirely foreign to her straightforward self and so she decided that
she would just tell the others that she was going to ask Breck to set
her ashore and go with her to telegraph Aunt Min her next post office
address.

“And Breck has been to Gloucester before and, while we are ashore, I
am going to come right out and ask him if he won’t take me through
some of those little narrow streets on the water front,” she confided
to Mr. Wing up on deck directly after supper.

“Yes, I would if I were you,” Mr. Wing advised her. “I think Breck is
thoroughly interesting, and to be bromidic, he is one of ‘nature’s
gentlemen’ if not one of society’s. Besides, from little things he let
drop one night when we were on the same watch, I believe he took this
job for some definite reason other than for self-support. Often I have
wished he would mix a bit more with us. You are the only one of the
girls he even notices. Sometimes I think he isn’t awfully
happy--anything you can do with him or for him, Plain Jane, will be
heartily approved by the skipper, I can assure you.”

Their conversation was stopped by the appearance of Breck through the
galley hatch. “If you are ready, Miss Pellew, I will be very glad to
take you to the Western Union,” he said very formally.

“Heavens!” thought Jane, “he is all stiff again. How can I unbend him
so he will be limber as he was this afternoon. I will begin with some
clever, original remark about the weather.”

But Breck anticipated her by saying politely, “When we get up as far
north as Portland, I expect we will see some northern lights.” Then
warming to his subject he continued, “I believe you said you had never
been north before. I do hope we have a chance to see the lights then,
because I know you would love them.”

“Unswallowing his poker already,” mentally commented Jane. “This trip
will no doubt turn out all right.” Aloud she said frankly, “Breck, I
love to talk to you. You always sound as if you had knocked about such
a lot--just what I always wanted to do and would have done, no doubt,
if I hadn’t been born Jane instead of John.”

Breck smiled at this open compliment and again compared her with his
blasé sister and her group of friends suffering from a heavy boredom.
“A bit too much, according to some people’s way of thinking,” he
answered rather grimly.

“Well, of course, half of the world doesn’t approve of what the other
half does and disapproval makes an almost impassable barrier against
understanding, but let’s hurry to the telegraph office and then you
will poke around this funny little place with me, won’t you?” Jane
demanded as they clambered up the wharf ladder.

“I am hoping for several replies to messages I sent at the last port,”
Breck told her as they walked along the narrow sidewalk that went past
old and battered warehouses and sail lofts.

“Everything even on land at Gloucester has got to do with sea, ships
or sailors in some way,” Jane said as she observed the different signs
in the shop windows, advertising sailors’ outfits, slickers, rubber
boots reaching to the hip and sou’westers.

At the Western Union office, Jane sat down to write her message to
Aunt Min and Breck went to the desk. Jane heard him ask if any
telegrams for Allen Breckenridge had been received. The clerk gave him
two after the usual frantic search through the files. Over the first
one he read Jane saw him knot his brows into a frown and she was much
relieved when the frown changed into a broad grin at the perusal of
the second message.

“Allen Breckenridge,” Jane thought, “what a peach of a name. I always
thought Breck was a mighty little name for such a big man. I wish to
goodness he would tell me why he is doing what he is. And I wish I
wasn’t so awfully much interested in him.”

“Are you finished now?” he smiled down at her, “because if you are,
let’s get out on the street. All the men off the boats are wandering
around, looking at the barometers in the different shop windows, just
as if they were interested in the weather now as when on board their
schooners. Poor chaps, I reckon they are at a loss for something to
do. These New Englanders don’t know the gentle art of loafing like the
Southerners do.”

“Why Breck,” laughed Jane. “How can you, when you know I am from old
Kentuck’? Aren’t you ashamed?”

“But you are different, you know, certainly different from my notion
of the southern girl. I had always thought of them as lying around in
hammocks and eating chocolates during the day and refusing heartbroken
young men’s proposals most of the night.”

“But they don’t refuse all the young men apparently because I had to
give exactly nine wedding presents this spring. And, besides, I eat an
awful lot of candy,” Jane objected.

“Anyway, I’ll say it again. You are different. Do you mind if I
compliment you in rather a horsy way? You handle yourself better than
any girl I ever saw. I would give a lot to see you on a horse too, by
the way.”

“Thanks, Breck! That is one of the nicest things I ever had said to me
and, of course, I don’t mind, why should I?”

“Oh, just the difference in our positions,” Breck answered, looking at
her very keenly with his clear gray eyes.

“That is the first thing I have heard you say that I didn’t like.
‘Position’ is a ridiculous word and one I don’t choose to recognize.
And, in the second place, you know perfectly well that I was obliged
to hear you ask for messages for Allen Breckenridge, so you evidently
aren’t exactly what you seem, not that it is anything either for or
against you.”

“Forgive me, I knew you would feel like that, but I just wanted to be
sure. Allen Breckenridge is my name, but it seems an awful lot of name
to sail under so I just chopped it off to suit me. Wonder what the
family would say to the mutilation of the name.” Breck chuckled at the
thought.

“If they are at all like the Kentucky Breckenridges, I can tell you.
They would dilate their nostrils and pinch in their lips and say,
‘Really, it doesn’t seem possible that anyone could do such a
ridiculous thing!’” Jane imitated the family hauteur.

“I can see that you know them all right,” Breck said. “They are a
funny bunch, aren’t they?” His face took on the grave look that it so
often wore and that had caused Mr. Wing to confide in Jane that he did
not believe Breck was very happy.

It was a look that Jane hated to see there because she was so
powerless to help him. She could not comfort him in ignorance of his
trouble and her dread of intruding in his private affairs kept her
from trying to discover it. Jane put her arm through his and said,
“It’s getting late, Breck, we had better go back.”

Not until they were again on board the “Boojum” did either of them
realize that, after all, they had seen very little of Gloucester.



CHAPTER VIII

WHAT FRANCES FOUND


“Portland harbor is so beautiful that I hate to leave it,” Ellen said
to the other girls as they were getting under way.

“So do I,” agreed Mabel. “There never was anything so lovely as that
harbor with the lighted bridge running across it.”

“And it just seemed too wonderful to be true for those northern lights
to appear on top of everything else. I would have given anything if
the rest of you had been up on deck to see them too. I didn’t know
what had happened till Breck stuck his head up through the galley
hatch and told me,” Jane said.

“Speaking of Breck,” Frances put in, “have you ever seen anything like
the change in that gentleman? When we first came on board, he was
silent as the grave and solemn as any owl, and now he works around on
deck, whistling and he talks a lot more. And,” she added, “he knows
how to talk remarkably well too.”

“But have you noticed to whom he talks?” inquired Mabel with a teasing
glance at Jane.

“Why no, come to think of it, I hadn’t noticed particularly.”

“As if you would notice anything, Ellen, with Jack anywhere near you.
If I ever get so wrapped up in my fat Charlie, will you all promise to
drown me?” begged Mabel.

“You are both of you unbearable. But promise to drown you? No, it
would hasten your death too much,” and Frances laughed at Mabel’s
pleading face. “The disease is just as bad in you as in Ellen. The
only difference is in the way it affects you. It makes Ellen a little
quieter than usual and you a little noisier.”

The “Boojum” had gathered speed and was roaring along with the spray
coming over the bow and drenching the girls to such an extent that
they were forced to go and sit tamely in the cockpit, a thing that was
distasteful to them all, but particularly to Frances and Jane.

“If our wind and luck hold, we can easily make Vinal Haven tonight,”
said Charlie, looking up from the chart he and Jack had been reading.

“For my part,” announced Frances, “I hope it doesn’t. We have been too
lucky, always doing just what we set out to do. With the exception of
turning over at Plymouth, everything has happened according to Hoyle.”

“Well, we will see if we can’t arrange a little shipwreck for the
bloodthirsty lady from the wild and woolly west,” laughed Jack.

At sunset the “Boojum” was nosing her way through a little group of
islands, lying purple on the dark water. To port lay the largest, its
rocky cliffs taking on weird lights from the sinking sun.

Jane caught her breath in a little gasp of admiration. Reaching for
the chart, she quickly found their whereabouts. “Mr. Wing,” she called
excitedly, “this is just too lovely a spot to pass. The chart says
it’s Hurricane Island and dead ahead is Old Harbor. Can’t we stop here
tonight instead of going on to Vinal Haven. Old Harbor ought to be a
good anchorage. It is protected on three sides by these islands.”

“Why Plain Jane, as far as I am concerned, we can. The others are an
easy-going bunch and generally want to do whatever anybody suggests.
Let me see the chart.”

Jane hung over him until he nodded his head in approval of the
harbor’s description on the chart and then dashed forward to free the
anchor.

“Oh! Breck, did you ever in your life see anything quite as beautiful
as that big island with the sun slipping down back of it?” she asked
him as he leaned against the foremast, looking out for buoys.

“I am mighty glad you asked Mr. Wing to anchor here tonight. I was
just thinking that was just what I would do if I were on my own boat.”

“Can you tell whether those purplish humps on the island are houses or
just huge boulders? It seems a funny place for a settlement and,
besides, there isn’t a single light in any of the windows if they are
houses and not rocks,” asked Jane, peering into the fast-gathering
darkness.

“Tomorrow, if you say so and there is time, I’ll row you over and we
can find out. I don’t believe I ever heard of Hurricane Island before.
It’s a nice adventurous kind of name though.”

Mabel came bouncing along the deck in the way peculiar to her and
broke in with, “Everybody is raving about the beauty of this place
and, of course, I know it is really lovely but nobody will listen to
me and my material thoughts. I have seen one million lobster pots, I
know and, Breck, please try and see tomorrow if you can’t get some for
us. Where there are so many lobster pots, there must be some people
to take the lobsters out.”

The next morning directly after breakfast Jane and Frances took the
dinghy and rowed over to explore a small island running up into a high
peak. Mr. Wing had promised to let the little party stay at this
interesting spot for as long as they liked. The original plan had been
to cruise on to Bar Harbor and then come leisurely back to New York.
With one accord, it had been decided that it would be more fun to stop
at Old Harbor for a few days than to go on to Bar Harbor for, as Mabel
said, “there is nothing at Bar Harbor but clothes and silly little
men,” and Charlie had said, “What about the fluffy little girls?”

Jack and Ellen and Mabel and Charlie had gone out in the tender to
follow some fishermen and make arrangements for getting Mabel the
coveted lobsters. Mr. Wing, the steward, and Breck had stayed aboard
the “Boojum” to keep ship, which meant for Mr. Wing, lying on the deck
mattress and dozing in the sun; for the steward, a general galley
cleaning, and for Breck the filling of many sheets of white paper with
his surprisingly small writing.

“Now that we are here,” Frances said to Jane as she jumped out on the
rocky beach of the island, “I don’t see what in the world we are going
to tie the dinghy to.”

“Why not lug one of these rocks down and set it on the rope? That
ought to hold it,” suggested Jane.

Assuring themselves that the dinghy was made fast, the two friends set
out to see the island. It was literally covered with blueberries, as
they had so often found to be the case in the other little islands
they had seen during the trip.

After eating her fill, Jane announced that she was going to lie down
and go to sleep in the sun.

“Lazy Jane, no sleep for me. I am going to climb to the very top of
the hill and to the very top of the huge rock on top of the hill.
Excelsior! It will be a gorgeous view up there. You ought to come.”
Frances started out with many flourishes of a long stick she had
found.

The warmth of the sun and the sound of the water beating against the
rocks that bordered the island soon sent Jane into a delicious sleep.

Frances clambered up the hill, stopping now and again to look out over
the water, the panorama becoming more beautiful as she climbed higher.
It was difficult climbing too, for there were many loose rocks and
she started several miniature land slides.

On the extreme top of the hill was a rocky plateau, in the center of
which lay a shallow pool of stagnant water. As she drew near, two huge
black crows cawed and flew from its edge.

“Ugh!” she said. “How very gruesome, and how silly for me to be
talking out loud.” Then she heard a little sound as of a sharp,
intaken breath, coming from behind a big, flat rock to the left of
where she stood. She went quickly and leaned over the rock. At the
sight of a man’s prostrate figure she involuntarily drew back.

“Dern the luck,” said the figure in a rather weak voice.

“If you would ask me I would say ‘bless the luck’,” contradicted
Frances, coming forward to see what was the trouble.

At the sound of her voice, the man tried to raise himself on an elbow
but, making a wry face, he gave it up.

“I am in luck now somebody has come, but I have been here since
yesterday afternoon,” he said.

“What in the world happened to you?”

“Slipped on a rock. Think I must have broken my thigh bone; anyway I
can’t move my left leg.”

“It would hurt terribly to move you without a stretcher, wouldn’t it?”

“One thing certain, it couldn’t hurt me any more than just staying
here.”

“Well, then I will go down and get Jane,” announced Frances.

“What good will a Jane do? I don’t want to be rude, but this thing
hurts like the devil.”

“Say whatever you want to; you might be allowed that. I’ll be back in
a jiffy.” Frances shot down the hill with lightning speed. She pounced
on Jane and woke her with a little shake.

Jane rubbed sleepy eyes and raised a critical eyebrow.

“Broken-legged man--up on top--by himself--how in the world can we get
him down?” panted Frances.

“Have to improvise a stretcher,” said Jane, wide awake at once. “Thank
heavens for the blessed old Camp Fire organization. We can take the
oars and slip our skirts on them and that will make a dandy
stretcher.”

“Jane, you are a perfect peach! I never would have thought of that,”
Frances told her friend as they ran down to where they had left the
dinghy.

To their dismay they found that the tide had gone out and the constant
tugging had slipped the rope out from under the rock and the dinghy
was slipping along on the tide about a hundred yards from shore.
Quickly the girls got out of their skirts and, in their jersey silk
bloomers and flannel blouses, waded out into the water toward the
rapidly receding boat.

Giggling a little with excitement, Frances said, “Goodness, but I am
glad we left our shoes on. These rocks would have simply killed our
feet.”

Soon they were in deep water and they struck out with the strong
double over arm that had been the envy of Ellen. In no time, they had
wriggled over the side of the dinghy and were pulling for the island.
This time the two girls dragged the dinghy clear of the receding tide
to be sure that they would have no further misadventures.

Each one taking an oar and a skirt, they started the uphill climb.

“Suppose you hadn’t found him, Frances. Wouldn’t it have been awful?”
and Jane shuddered a little at the thought. “What does he look like?”

“I didn’t have time to notice much but that he had on a heavy gray
sweater and fearfully dirty white duck trousers. I don’t even know
whether he is big or little.”

On reaching the rocky plateau, Jane exclaimed, “Frances, this is the
most moving-picturey place to discover an injured gent I ever saw!”

Frances led her around the big rock and she looked down at the man.
“How much do you weigh?” Jane asked by way of greeting.

The man smiled a little at this and answered, “One hundred and eighty,
but, after no dinner or breakfast, I suppose I have wasted away to a
mere nothing.”

“Well, Frances, that means each of us carries ninety pounds down the
hill. But we can do it as long as we don’t have to do it every day.”

“Of course, I couldn’t think of letting you do such a thing,” objected
the man.

“I would like to know how you are going to help it. To be sure, we
could go back to the boat and get one of the boys, but that would just
delay the game and I know you ought to get that leg set as soon as
possible. Besides, I don’t believe men are any better in an emergency
than girls, ’specially Camp Fire Girls; do you, Jane?”

The girls slipped the skirts on the oars and laid the improvised
stretcher close beside the man. He was able to help them a little
and, without causing him too much pain, they at last had him on the
stretcher.

“I am awfully sorry for you; it will be hard on you going down this
hill, but we will try not to bump you,” Jane promised him.

The man on the stretcher had not lost a bit of his hundred and eighty
pounds, the girls decided as they lifted their load. Both of them were
thankful for their hard muscles and good wind. After what seemed ages,
they reached the beach and set the stretcher in the dinghy. Then both
of them threw themselves flat on the seaweed that the tide had left
and rested and caught their wind. The man had lost consciousness from
the painful journey down and from lack of food.

“No use bringing him to till we get on the boat. It will hurt him
horribly getting him over the side. Another thing, Jane, there won’t
be room enough for both you and me in the dinghy now. You pull a
better oar than I do, so you get in and row the man out and I’ll swim
along out in a minute. I’ll get there soon after you do.”

“But I could come back for you,” objected Jane. “You must be dead
tired.”

“Of course I don’t feel ‘fresh as a daisy,’ but it is no harder for
me to swim out to the boat than it is to row out.”

There was no one on deck of the “Boojum” as Jane brought the dinghy
carefully alongside. She called to Breck and he came up from the
galley.

At his surprised look she said, “Frances found this broken-legged man
up on the top of the hill on that island and we brought him down. He
has fainted or something and I don’t see how we can get him over the
side of the ‘Boojum’.”

“How in the world you two kids did it is beyond me, but I will ask
questions later. Mr. Wing and I can rig up a bosun’s chair and get him
on board all right.”

Breck waked Mr. Wing and they set to work to rig the bosun’s chair and
soon had the man lying on one of the transoms in the saloon.

“Now,” said Mr. Wing, “it yet remains for us to get a doctor to him.”

“Mr. Wing,” said Breck in an embarrassed way, “it wouldn’t do for me
not to tell you this. I have had three years of medicine at Harvard
and was with an ambulance corps in France during the first two years
of the war. What I mean is that I can set the leg and I think I had
better do it before it swells any more. Jane, you get some waste from
the locker to the right of the engine and pack some long planks for
the splints. If it is necessary, we can get him into a cast at
Portland.”

With deft hands Breck got off the man’s shoe and cut away the duck
trousers. Jane, with her head in a whirl, found two suitable boards in
the galley, evidently parts of a box in which provisions had come, and
she mechanically began to pad them with waste. “That makes him about
thirty,” she thought, “because it has been two years since the war. I
hope he doesn’t think of me as a perfect kid. I will be twenty-one in
a month, anyway.”

A wet and bedraggled Frances clambered over the side and appeared in
the saloon just in time to get a weary, grateful smile from the man as
he came to.



CHAPTER IX

THE AFFAIRS OF BRECK


The day after Frances’ adventure on the hilltop found both Jane and
Frances stiff in their shoulder muscles. Aside from that, there were
no ill effects from their long and heavy lift. The man they had
rescued was more than hospitably received by Mr. Wing and had been
urged to make the boat his home until he was able to go down the sea
ladder unassisted. Breck had set his leg with sure skill and the
patient had eaten a hearty breakfast and declared that he was in no
pain at all.

After breakfast, the little party had gathered around him to hear his
story. Out of consideration of his weariness the night before, they
had unanimously refrained from questioning him. However, Frances had
kept Jane awake well into the night with surmises of her find’s looks
and personality.

“What do you suppose he would look like, Jane, with a clean face and a
shave and his hair combed and decent clothes?” she had asked. “He has
such a lot of red hair that I bet he is cross as the dickens.”

“Child,” said Jane with the superior wisdom of one who has lived for
twenty-one years with a wifeless father and a motherless brother, “all
men are cross when they are sick. He is probably quite nice.”

Consequently the strange man’s discoverer was delightfully surprised
when she came down from on deck to hear his story and found him nicely
shaven, with his red hair, which she immediately decided was auburn,
brushed till it shone and his dirty white ducks replaced by a gay
bathrobe of Jack’s.

“I would like to make it awfully interesting,” he began with a grin,
“I feel that the two girls who carried my hundred and eighty pounds
down that hill should have the reward of having saved a movie hero or
the lost heir--anyone, in fact, except just plain Tim Reynolds, who is
doing nothing more romantic than spending the summer with his family
at Nantucket Island. That is I am supposed to be--the fact is I am
proud possessor of a thirty-foot sailboat and, as the result of that,
I had the misfortune, or the fortune rather,” this with a friendly
little nod at Frances, “to sail into Old Harbor and climb up that hill
and break my leg.”

“We are glad you did,” announced Mabel genially and then as everybody
laughed at her she added, “Of course, I don’t mean I am glad he broke
his leg, you all are so silly. Mr. Reynolds, you know I meant that we
are glad you are on board the ‘Boojum,’ don’t you?”

Tim Reynolds nodded reassuringly and begged them not to call him
“Mister.”

“You must let us take you to Nantucket, Tim,” said Mr. Wing.

“I couldn’t think of it, sir, you have been far too good already.”

“But we are going to Nantucket anyway. All of us want to see
’Sconset,” put in Frances.

“There is nothing I would like better, if you are really going there
and I won’t be too much of a care. And, now that I have accepted,
don’t you suppose it would be a good idea to get a message to my fond
parents to the effect that their son is still inhaling and exhaling at
regular intervals?”

Ellen said in her quiet way, “I have just been looking at the chart
and Vinal Haven is only a short distance from here. Why can’t Mabel
and Charlie and Jack and I take the tender and go to Vinal Haven and
send a telegram to the fond parents? I know that they have laid a
cable to Nantucket from Martha’s Vineyard. We could be back in time
for lunch.”

“Isn’t that a good idea?” asked Jack proudly.

“It is if you four can remember what you are going for,” teased his
sister. “Mr. Wing, will it leave you too stranded if I get Breck to
row me over to Hurricane Island in the dinghy? I am wild to know why
there are so many deserted houses there. So far, I haven’t seen a sign
of life.”

“Would you mind very much rowing round the island I stumbled over and
see if my boat is still there? I put over the two anchors; she ought
to hold,” Tim said to Breck.

“And what are you going to do about getting her home?” Frances asked
Tim, coming over to sit on the companion steps as the others went
above.

“We’ve decided enough for one day. Let’s worry about that tomorrow.
Why don’t you tell me how you and Jane happen to be such quick
thinkers and how you happened to have enough grit to get me down that
long hill?”

There was a great noise and bustle on deck, as was always the case
when Mabel was about to do anything. Soon the sound of the tender’s
motor was heard and its wash licked against the “Boojum’s” sleek black
sides. Jane peered down the hatch with intent to ask Frances to come
along with Breck and herself, but on seeing the pleasant conversation
that was beginning, she decided not to interrupt it.

“Let’s go over to Hurricane Island first and come back by the island
of adventure to see if Tim Reynolds’ boat is there,” suggested Breck,
as he pulled the dinghy along with sure strokes.

Watching him, Jane thought how very well he did whatever he set his
hand to do. This was their first moment alone since the startling
disclosure Breck had made about himself the day before. Not that it
had come as a very great surprise to Jane, because she had always felt
that he was some one other than a deck hand and she might have known
that he would have been among the first to offer himself to serve
humanity.

As he rowed, he watched her and, seeing her thoughtful expression,
suddenly asked her, “Jane, what are you wondering about?”

“About Breck,” she said frankly.

“What do you want to know about him?” he asked, smiling at her utter
frankness.

“Whatever he wants to tell me.”

“That is a large order, because do you know, Jane, I want to tell you
everything good or bad that has ever happened to me. I’ve wanted to
tell you several things for some time, but I felt that I had no right
to burden you with my affairs.”

“Breck, you know I’ve wanted to know about you but felt that I had no
right to pry into those same affairs. Do you remember that night at
Gloucester, when you got those two telegrams? I saw you frown at one
and grin at the other. It was all I could do to keep from asking what
had happened, ’specially about the one you didn’t seem to like,” she
confessed.

“The one I liked was from a friend of mine in New York. I left a lot
of stories with him and asked him to get the stuff decently copied and
send some of them around to different magazines for me. The telegram
told me that the Saturday Evening Post had accepted a story and wanted
to see more. That tickled me mightily, because it is the first luck I
have had with a big magazine. The other was from my sister, assuring
me that my father was as mad at me as ever.”

“I wondered why you didn’t write, Breck, you are always so keenly
interested in people’s actions and reactions. I am awfully glad the
Post took the story. Will you tell me why your father is mad at you,
too?”

“To begin with, we have always disagreed from the time he sent me to a
norfolk-jacket-and-buster-brown-collar-country-school-for-rich-little-boys
and I wanted to wear a jersey and go to a public school in town. Not
that I didn’t love the country, because the part of my life I remember
with most pleasure is the summers I spent on my uncle’s ranch in the
west.” Breck’s sunburned face took on the sad look that was so
distressing to Jane. He continued, “A surprising thing happened. Both
of us agreed on my going to Harvard and finally on my going into
medicine. Everything was all right for two years and a half, when, at
Christmas vacation, I decided to spend my holidays with some friends
in New York instead of taking the trip across the continent to spend
the time with my family in California.”

“But surely, just the failure to be with him at Christmas was not
enough to cause a real breach,” Jane broke in.

“No, but what happened next was,” Breck went on. “My two friends and
I had ridiculously large allowances. One night, we thought it would be
fun to go slumming and see how the other half lived. For their sakes,
I hope they have forgotten. For my part, I don’t believe I ever shall.
The wretchedness, the sick misery of those people! At any rate, after
my trip, I became fired with a great desire to do something for those
people and wrote home to Father that I intended to hang out my shingle
in the east side and, of course, practice for nothing. It never
entered my head that Father wouldn’t abet me in such a work. He is
very, very rich indeed and I thought that he would not only continue
my allowance but probably give me large donations from time to time so
that I might be able even to have an infirmary in connection with my
office. My dream was short lived. When I got back to college, I found
a curt note saying that my plan was ridiculous and that my allowance
would be stopped immediately and that he would decline to foot the
bill for my tuition with any such career in view. I wrote him in reply
that I intended to do as I had written him before. He made good his
threat and I stayed on at college for a few months, doing that
supposedly romantic thing, ‘working my way through’ mostly by selling
short things to small magazines. It is something that no one should be
allowed to do too, let me tell you. Why there aren’t more cases of
brain fag among the students that attempt it, I don’t see. Then things
got so rotten on the other side that I couldn’t stand not being in it.
So at last I got over with a bunch of my older friends with a French
ambulance unit.”

Dismissing the part he played in the war as rapidly as possible, he
hurried on to tell of what took place at his return.

“When you came back from overseas, didn’t his attitude change toward
you a bit?” Jane asked anxiously.

“Oh, of course, I suppose he was proud of me in a way. They gave a
huge ball and my sister made me meet all her blasé friends. After
being so close to the realities, all their little affectations and
vanities grated on me terribly. At any rate, after a very melodramatic
scene in which my father offered to forget my silliness at Harvard and
take me in as a junior partner in his tremendous exporting business, I
saw that it wasn’t any use arguing, so I just told them good-bye and
came to New York and got a job as reporter for one of the papers.
Don’t let me bore you to death, will you, Jane? Everybody likes to
talk about himself, I suppose, and it means an awful lot to me to be
able to talk to somebody. I am not whining around for sympathy, you
know that, don’t you?” he said quickly. “And I don’t mean to run down
my family, they are all right in their way. We just don’t hit it off.”

“I know,” Jane said, “some people seem to get born in the wrong
families and some families just seem to have the wrong children. But
how did you happen to come on the ‘Boojum’?”

“I thought that, if I got outdoors, I would be able to write better
stuff. You see, after I had been writing regular newspaper things all
day, I needed to get out and do something else at night besides
sitting in my room and writing at stories. Out on the coast at home, I
had always had a boat of some sort or other and I was crazy about the
water. So I thought that I could make enough money to see me through
the summer, get a chance to do some writing and put in an enjoyable
healthy summer if I signed on as deck hand on some yacht. ‘Boojum’
happened to be the one. So far, it is the best thing that has happened
to me.”

“Wasn’t it awful hard pretending that you were just a plain deck
hand? When we talked about things you knew about, didn’t you want to
butt in?”

“It was harder than I dreamed it would be. I thought that you girls
would be like my sister’s friends and, knowing how rich Mr. Wing was,
I thought that he would run his yacht just as most of the sound
yachtsmen do, as though it was some fragile little boat that couldn’t
stand an all day sail, or rather that he couldn’t. When I found out
what a peach of a bunch you all were and I realized what my position
was, I admit I used to get pretty gloomy.”

“What a shame, Breck, when all of us wanted to be nice to you, but
were afraid to be because we couldn’t bear to have you think we were
the patronizing sort.”

“It wasn’t really bad,” Breck hastened to assure seeing the distressed
look she gave him. “You see, when you girls began to get so keen about
sailing the ship, it left me very little work to do on deck, so I had
lots of time to put in on my writing.”

“Is it hard living in such close quarters in the galley with that
funny little Dutch steward?”

“It is rather interesting. He has been everywhere and has splendid
tales to tell. Do you remember at Plymouth when you said that you
would like to arrange the orchestration of his snores? That is the
only real objection I have to him. He is the best-hearted little
fellow in the world, so I suppose we ought to be ready to forgive him
his only vice.”

“He is a marvelous cook, don’t you think? But look here, Breck, you
are just rowing anywhere, we’ll never get to the island unless we stop
talking,” said Jane coming to the realization that for about half an
hour they had been aimlessly drifting along, Breck occasionally
dipping the copper tipped oars in the water from habit.

As they drew nearer the island they saw that a huge crane hung out
over the water and that there was the remains of quite a large dock.
Several dories and a small catboat were moored in the little harbor. A
great many lobster pots were slung up on the rocks that shelved above
the beach.

“It can’t be entirely deserted or I don’t suppose they would have left
these perfectly good boats. And where there are lobsters there must be
some lobsterers,” said Jane, a little disappointed that it wasn’t
really a deserted island.

“Let’s carry it a little farther and hope that if the presence of the
lobster pots can prove that there are lobsterers, then the presence of
the lobsterers might prove some lobsters,” said Breck, remembering
that Mabel had asked him to try and see if he couldn’t find some for
her.

The water near shore was so clear that they could see the pebbles
gleaming at least ten feet below the surface.

“I wish we had one of those glass bottom boats that the natives row
the tourists around in at some of the South Sea Islands,” Breck said.

“There still doesn’t seem to be any sign of natives on this island to
row us around in even an oak bottomed boat. Shall we just snoop about
and hunt for some one or shall we stand here and yell till some one
materializes?” Jane asked as she stepped out on the beach.

At the sound of her voice, there was a slight movement on one of the
big slabs of granite and a boy of about sixteen, dressed in a gray
flannel shirt and faded dungarees, stood up.



CHAPTER X

HURRICANE ISLAND


Jane went over to him, smiling in her friendly way. The boy slipped
down from his rock with the grace of a wild animal. Jane thought that
she had never seen a more beautiful and charming looking boy. Very
tall and with a small well-set head, he had the unmistakable look of
race.

“I am Jane Pellew and this is Allen Breckenbridge,” said Jane with a
strange little thrill as she realized that she had used Breck’s full
name in the introduction.

She stretched out her hand and it was taken with the greatest poise
and courteousness. “I am Frederick Gray,” he said, dropping her hand
and giving Breck a cordial little nod.

His voice had the peculiar quality of keeping the same tone, never
rising or falling at the end of a sentence, and there seemed to be a
definite spacing between each word. It did not, however, produce the
monotonous, sing-song effect that Jane had so often noticed in the New
Englanders’ voices. The boy’s voice was full and rich and soothing.

“I didn’t see you until you stood up,” Jane told him.

“No wonder, my clothes are just the color of the rocks. I sometimes
feel that I am really part of this island, do you know,” Frederick
Gray said with a trace of wistfulness. “We watched your yacht come in
the other night. I was afraid you would go away without my seeing any
of you.”

Jane wondered who “we” were. She had an odd feeling that the boy was
the only person who stayed on the island, for as he had said, he did
seem such a part of it.

Her wonder was short lived, for as she and Breck and the boy went up a
narrow rocky path, approaching the first of the group of houses, two
tow-headed little boys emerged from the bushes and ran scuttling into
the open door of the house.

Breck called after them reassuringly, “Hey, Buddies! Come back, we
won’t hurt you!”

Frederick Gray smiled and told them that they were his youngest
brothers and that they were afraid because they weren’t used to seeing
anybody but his mother and father and his oldest sister.

“She is away at school now, so they will probably be afraid of her
when she comes back.”

“What in the world is she doing away at school this time of the year?”
said Jane, in surprise.

“I meant college; she is at Columbia in the summer school,” the boy
explained, adding rather proudly, “I am going to New York and live
with her this winter, because Daddy wants me to go to Horace Mann
before I go to Yale.”

“You are sure you have got time to show your island and sure you don’t
mind it,” Breck asked, feeling that if he were the owner of such a
near future he would no doubt be very busy.

“You don’t know how glad I am to see people. I’m always so glad when
people come on the island. It is really a pleasure to show them
around. You know, of course, that this was once a quarry, and at one
time several hundred workmen lived here.”

“We didn’t know it, but we certainly should have if we had given any
notice to that huge crane and all those slabs of granite heaped up on
the beach. The workmen, of course, lived in those cottages?” asked
Breck interestedly.

“I wish Daddy would come out and tell you about it, because he knows
so much more about it than I do, though I was a little boy when we
first came here. There is an awful lot of machinery connected with the
quarry; I never have been interested in it, and so don’t know very
much about it. Daddy knows all about every kind of machine. But I
can’t disturb him now because he is working on his plans for some sort
of submarine detector,” the boy told them as he led them past his
vine-covered home towards a frame building about a hundred and fifty
feet long and fifty feet wide.

“How did you happen to come here to live? You don’t mind me calling
you Fred, do you?” Jane asked as they entered the strangely shaped
building.

“My uncle had the contract to build a sea wall and he knew that
granite was on this island. He found that it would be cheaper to start
a quarry here and carry it over to where they were building the sea
wall than it would be to have to transport it from some other point
much farther away. After the sea wall was finished and there wasn’t
any more use for operating the quarry, my uncle took his workmen and
they went back to their regular working place. Then, you see, my
uncle didn’t like to leave all these houses and machinery without
some one as a sort of overseer, and as Daddy likes to be quiet so he
can work on his inventions, they got together and made arrangements
for us to come out here.”

“Don’t you ever get bored or lonesome,” Breck asked the boy.

“It was more fun before my sister went away, of course, but there
really is plenty to do. I made enough money off lobsters last year to
buy that boat you passed on the way in and then, of course, there are
an awful lot of books Daddy brought with us.”

“Breck,” said Jane, wrinkling her forehead, “why couldn’t Fred sail
Tim Reynolds’ boat back to Nantucket?”

Breck looked at the boy and shook his head. “Too much for him to
handle by himself.”

But the boy’s face lit up at Jane’s words. “What size is she?”

“Thirty feet, Tim said, didn’t he, Jane?”

“I could trim the jib aft and handle her all right,” the boy said with
such confidence that Breck would have believed him if he had said he
intended to give Thomas Lipton and his “Shamrock IV” time and come in
ahead of him.

“Don’t you suppose you could get some other boy to go along with you,
so it wouldn’t work you so hard?” Jane said, rather amused by Breck’s
rapid change of expression.

“Virg Bradford over on the mainland might go. I’ll row over and see
and let you know tonight.” The boy was delighted at the prospect of a
real sail.

“Then suppose you just come in time for supper and we can talk it over
with Mr. Wing and Tim and see what they say,” said Breck, not
considering it worth while to mention consulting Fred’s father, as it
was evident from the boy’s account of the inventor and from his own
quick way of deciding things, that he was the man of the family.

Fred walked them the length of the building, telling them that it was
the polishing room.

“You look mighty thinky,” Breck said to Jane, noticing that she had
wrinkled up her forehead again.

“I believe it is a real thought, too, this time. I was just thinking
that this long building might have been some ancient dining hall. You
know the kind where ‘the eagles scream in the roof trees.’ With all
these cottages and this for a sort of mess room, I don’t see why some
one couldn’t make a lot of money running this place as a sort of
summer colony. It has a marvelous outlook, wonderful boating, and the
swimming would be all right I suppose if you could ever get used to
such freezing water. How about it, Fred?” she asked, turning to the
boy.

“I go in every day and so do Mother and the kids. Dad too, if he
thinks about it,” Fred answered. “I used to think that it was an awful
pity for those houses to be empty in the summer and sometimes I tried
to get Dad to talk about it, but he always said that it wasn’t any
use, because we had enough money and he couldn’t be quiet if there
were a lot of summer people always about.”

“Do you suppose there would be any trouble about renting the island
from your uncle?” Breck asked the boy. He had been looking around at
the attractive cottages with growing interest and a decidedly
ruminating eye, since Jane had suggested the possibility of a
flourishing summer colony. Gradually the thought was taking place in
his mind that it would be an unusual and remunerative way of spending
the following spring and summer. The thought of himself as a rising
young business man was amusing to him as he remembered his position
as a deck hand on Mr. Wing’s yacht. Then he came to the realisation
that such a project would take some capital and he said a smothered
“Damn!”

But Jane heard it. “What? Breck, things in general or some person or
thing in particular?”

“Me first and next my luck, then things.” Then he told her what he had
been thinking, adding that it would give him endless opportunity for
copy and also unlimited time to write but, of course, it was a foolish
impossibility.

“Breck, you are terribly ignorant about business and I don’t suppose I
am much better, but I seem to know that there are such things as
companies and, as long as I thought of it, I think I at least ought to
have a chance to buy some stock. Besides let’s tell Mr. Wing about it,
and when I get home I will talk it over with Daddy. It would be an
awful lot of fun even if we didn’t make much off of it the first year.
I know lots of people at home that are always trying to find some new
place to spend the summer. Dad and I were wondering what I was going
to do with myself just before I left this summer. I don’t appear to
have been born with any special talents and I couldn’t bear the idea
of making my debut. Of course, I couldn’t take the housekeeping over
from Aunt Min, because that’s all she has in her life.”

“Weren’t born with any special talent! Why, Jane, you were born with
the greatest talent in the world, that of making everybody with whom
you come in contact love you. And you just wait till I can offer you a
house to keep,” Breck said, entirely forgetting Fred.

“Wouldn’t these houses be enough to start on?” asked Jane. “I’m young
yet and not much of a housekeeper.” Jane was blushing and her eyes had
a very happy light in them.

“Oh, Jane! What do you mean?” cried Breck, catching the girl’s hands
and drawing her towards him.

“I simply mean that you needn’t wait until you can get any more houses
before--before--you--before--”

“Before what?”

“Before you ask me to keep one for you. Now aren’t we modern, though?
I reckon I’ve done the proposing, but I’m not the least embarrassed
over it. Of course, if you had refused me, I might have felt a bit
shy.”

Jane’s voice was muffled by reason of the fact that Breck was allowing
very little room for speech and her sentences had more punctuations
than a mere writer can put in print.

“Refuse you! Oh, Jane, what a darling you are! I can’t believe this
thing has really happened to me, when I think how miserable I have
been during the last months.”

“Well if you doubt it you can question the witnesses,” laughed Jane.

“Oh, that boy Fred!” exclaimed Breck. “I forgot him.”

But Frederick Gray had beaten a hasty retreat when he saw how matters
were going between his new-found friends and had disappeared around a
boulder, but his little tow-headed brothers were not so nice in their
behavior. Silently they had entered on the love scene and had stood
hand in hand viewing with wonder and astonishment the surprising
carryings on of the Hurricane Island interlopers.

“Ith that girl your thweetheart?” lisped the younger one.

“Yeth, and the thweeteth thweetheart ever,” declared Breck. “Come
back!” he called to Frederick, whose figure he could see in the
distance. “The worst is over, old man. That is, over until next time.
You are going to be a member of this firm, Fred, so you must come and
let us talk it over with you.”

“All right, sir,” said Fred, whose ears were crimson from
embarrassment. He looked at Breck with even more admiration than
before. Any man who could win such a girl as Miss Jane Pellew was
surely a hero in the eyes of the island boy. Fred was almost sorry he
could not help being such a gentleman. When he saw how the wind lay,
he felt it incumbent upon him to turn his back and walk off but he had
a pardonable curiosity about how a man went to work to make love to a
girl like Jane.

Hand in hand, Jane and Breck made their way to the beach. It seemed to
the pair of lovers that the already perfect day was even more perfect
than it had been before. The sky was bluer, the sea more sparkling.
The “Boojum,” riding at anchor in the bay, looked like a fairy ship,
while the gulls that circled around her seemed whiter and more
graceful than ever gulls had been before.

“Oh, Breck, isn’t life beautiful?” said Jane, but in the corner of her
eye was a tiny unshed tear. “It is so beautiful I wish everybody knew
how beautiful it is, all the poor little sick children and tired
mothers.”

“Why, honey, I was just thinking the same thing. I don’t know why
being happier than I’ve ever been in my life should make me think of
the suffering children on the East Side, but it has somehow. Those
gulls shouldn’t make me think of little half-starved children over on
Avenue A. Heaven knows there is nothing white about them, except their
little pinched faces, but they do all the same.”

“I know why you are thinking of them!” exclaimed Jane. “It is because
this place would be such a corking one to bring the kids to. Let’s
have our scheme be not just a money making one but one to help
somebody besides ourselves. Oh Breck, let’s try to have some of those
little creatures here with us every summer.”

“Jane, Jane, what a girl you are!” and Breck wished there weren’t so
many little tow-headed boys on the island, for he felt he’d like to
try to make Jane understand a little better how much he adored her but
the little Grays were trotting along by their side totally unconscious
of how out of place they were.



CHAPTER XI

DEBATE AND JUST TALK


Frances, led on by Tim’s interested questions, had been giving that
wounded young man a glowing account of the Camp Fire movement in
general and of their own group in particular. She had told him of the
splendid effect it had on the spirit of the girls at Hillside, of the
wonders it had worked on the characters of Blanche Shirley and
Emmeline Cerrito.

“And you have no idea how much fun we have had together. Even work is
fun when we all work together. Last year, we were all down on Jane’s
big farm in Kentucky when the harvest had just begun. It happened that
there was an excursion for the negroes scheduled for the same day and
all the hands, house servants, yard boys, stable boys, even down to
the smallest pickaninnies on the place, just took temporary French
leave. Mr. Pellew was terribly upset. You see, he had engaged the
machines and everything. Anyway, Ellen and Mabel got busy in the
kitchen and cooked for simply rafts of people, the rest of us went
out in the fields with Jack and Mr. Pellew and he said that we worked
just as well as the men and that we were lots more conscientious.”
Frances said this with a rather defiant air, because she had often
found that the young men of her acquaintance were inclined to doubt
female prowess in any line other than fancy sewing.

“You sound like a dandy bunch of girls. No one could realize that fact
more keenly than I. But don’t you think it is rather unusual for girls
to be as capable as that? And don’t you suppose the novelty of the
affair had a great deal to do with the girl’s conscientiousness?”
Seeing Frances’ indignant expression, Tim hastened to add, “I am not
stating this as facts. Like Will Irwin’s Japanese school boy, ‘I ask
to know’.”

“All right, then,” said Frances, relenting at his meek tones, “if you
come to the discussion with an humble open mind, I’ll continue to be
pro, and after I have finished I’ll listen to your con.”

“Like a lamb to the slaughter,” announced Tim, folding his brown arms
over his chest. “I’m ready. The battle may begin.”

“Heavens! you have me all confused now. How am I to know whether you
are going to listen like a meek lamb or whether you have entered the
ranks, arrayed in glittering armor, ready to fight to the death. Don’t
be so contradictory in your statements.”

“I crave your indulgence for my mixed metaphors. In the crude parlance
of these modern times, ‘shoot’,” said Tim.

“Resolved: that the female of the species can do as much work as the
male and do it in almost as many branches as the aforesaid male. Two
cousins of mine were with the Vassar College farm unit for twelve
weeks, summer before last, and at the end of the twelve weeks, the
head of the farmerettes mailed out questionnaires to the different men
who had employed the girls as farm hands during the summer. These
questionnaires asked the farmers if the girls were equal to the men as
to strength, interest, conscientiousness and so on. All of the farmers
answered that they were perfectly able to do all the work that had
been set them to do, and that they had been given the work of the men
that were overseas, and that they had accomplished it well; and,
further, that they showed a quickness in learning that the men did
not, and that they were more interested in their work, and far more
conscientious than the men they had formerly employed. When asked if
they would consider employing the Vassar girls at another time, all
the men who had employed the girls said that most assuredly they
would,” and Frances stopped rather out of breath but smiling
triumphantly at her adversary. “We will now hear the other side.”

“Madame, I have the honor to announce that your worthy opponent is
absolutely convinced and begs your forgiveness for his former
unbelief. There will be no rebuttal, ladies and gentlemen,” said Tim
with a grin at a make-believe audience.

He looked at Frances in open admiration, for the vivid pink that the
excitement of a chance argument always brought had flushed her cheeks
and her gray eyes sparkled with amusement at his defeat.

Just then there was a thud on deck and Mabel’s cheery voice called to
find out how the patient was getting along. After making the tender
fast to the boat boom, Jack and Ellen and Mabel and Charlie, followed
by Mr. Wing, came down into the little saloon to tell Tim that the
telegram assuring his family of his safety had been duly sent.

“The girls insisted on our bringing you candy and magazines, but I
have a hunch that it wasn’t you alone they had in view,” said Jack,
unloading himself of many bundles.

“But I knew you would want something to smoke, so I brought along a
couple of cartons of Piedmonts. I hope that it is what you use,” said
Charlie with the complacency of one who has done well.

“Speaking of unselfish devotion,” Ellen spoke up in defense of herself
and Mabel, “who likes Piedmonts more than our own dear Charlie?”

Frances jumped up, grabbed Ellen’s arm and lifted it high over her
head and in her best referee manner began, “One, two, three, four,
five--”

Tim raised a protesting hand, “I’ll report the match to the
authorities, as not one word was said about the ‘gentlemen being
members of this club.’”

“What in the world is society coming to, when its younger members of
both sexes are so familiar with the expressions of the boxing ring?”
Mr. Wing asked.

“Oh, Daddy, Daddy! As if you don’t go to every fight that comes off,
not to speak of the wrestling matches! Who was it I heard saying to
Breck not long ago that he would ‘lay five to one’ on Dempsey in the
Willard-Dempsey fight?” and, withering before Mabel’s onslaught, Mr.
Wing retreated up the companion.

“Listen to this,” said Jack, who had been running through the
magazines while the bout was going on, “It’s called ‘Sails’:

    “If he had seen
    A barkentine
    Beating off a blowy head,
    Or, all a-sheen,
    A brigantine
    Running free by trade-wind sped,
    How could Fulton have dared to dream
    Of steam?”

“That’s rather nice,” Tim said as Jack finished the little verse, “and
it’s just the way I feel. Wouldn’t it have been fine if there wasn’t
any machinery and we could all have gone on living in the woods, in
leopard skins--I rather fancy myself in a leopard skin--”

“You are just the person to make the most fuss if your train happens
to be the least bit late,” Frances broke in on him.

“And sail around all summer in a fast little yacht,” Tim went on, with
a grin at Frances.

“Then about the first of October eat enough to last you until spring
and crawl into your little cave and sleep till warm weather.”

“What a pretty picture,” laughed Mabel. “Glimpse Tim, draped in
leopard’s skin, nimbly going up the shrouds, with a telescope,
development of the modern time, to sit in the crosstree and watch the
races in the sound.”

“People always imagine that whatever time they live in is the very
worst time, and, as for clothes, what could be more uncomfortable than
a leopard’s skin. It would always be getting in the soup or
something,” objected Jack.

“You would hardly have to worry about soup in connection with a
leopard’s skin. What you would probably do would be skip along the
shore and hunt for mussels or hide behind the bushes and jump out on a
frightened little pig and sit down on your haunches and devour him
raw,” decided Frances.

“Consider the bristles,” shuddered Ellen.

“Dinghy abaft our stern, sirs,” announced Mr. Wing to the little group
in the saloon.

The dinghy slipped up to the “Boojum” and Jane went down to join her
friends in the saloon. Breck, after making fast the dinghy, went
forward to the galley. It had been decided between them that it would
be better not to say anything about their plans until after Frederick
Gray made his appearance and the subject of Tim’s boat had been
settled, then Jane had planned to talk to Mr. Wing about the
feasibility of turning Hurricane Island into a summer resort. As to
their proposed partnership, that could wait. In the meantime it was
nobody’s business but theirs.

“How ’bout my little boat?” Tim demanded with such a motherly
expression that they all laughed.

“Right as rain,” Jane assured him. “And, Oh! Tim, she is a darling,
isn’t she? Breck and I snugged ship for you and we have got a boy
coming over tonight to see you about taking her back to Nantucket for
you. ‘Sabrina’ is a lovely name for her too.”

“What sort of boy, Plain Jane?” inquired Mr. Wing.

“A perfect peach of a boy. Breck and I went bats about him. In the
first place, he is a dream to look at--”

“Something more substantial than a dream is going to take my ‘Sabrina’
home,” said Tim.

“Beautiful people have sense sometimes, Tim. Anyhow, he is coming over
tonight and you can see for yourself. He is plenty big and strong
enough to handle her if he is able to get a friend of his to go along
with him. He is awfully interesting and well read and made me feel
awfully ashamed because he didn’t use one drop of slang the entire
time we talked to him, and it must have been at least three hours. His
father is an inventor. His name is Frederick Gray and I asked him to
come to supper. You don’t mind, do you, Skipper?” Jane appealed to Mr.
Wing.

“What about the island--you haven’t said a word about it?” asked Jack.

“Heavens, don’t get me started on the island. I don’t ever want to
stop talking about it. We, I mean I’ve got the most wonderful plan,
but I am not going to talk about it till Fred comes over tonight,”
Jane put them off.

“What about my lobsters?” demanded Mabel.

“We brought you back a whole dinghy full of them. The steward is
getting them out now. Fred gave them to us.”

“I have changed my mind about Fred, then,” said Tim. “I am that fond
of lobsters.”

“Anybody in his right mind would have to like Fred. But wait till you
see him. In the meantime, how long before lunch? I am simply starved!”
and Jane pounced on the candy.



CHAPTER XII

BROTHER AND SISTER


After lunch, Jane, pleading sleepiness, crawled into the port bunk in
the saloon and drew the tan curtains. People are apt to respect a
feigned desire for sleep far more than a genuine desire for thoughtful
solitude and she wanted to think over the events of the morning.

She believed that she owed it to Jack to tell him of her engagement to
Breck and yet she felt a strange hesitancy, for as much as she adored
her brother, she knew that he would neither understand nor approve of
her marrying the quixotic deck hand. The fact that he was a
Breckenridge would not alter the case in the least for her brother.
Jack was one of those steady, easy-going young men with a kind but
peculiarly unsocial outlook. Jane knew that he would have a slight
feeling of contempt for a man who had offered himself in marriage to a
girl whom he could neither support in the fabled “manner she was
accustomed to” nor yet offer a stable income to her.

He would look on the Hurricane Island project as the wildest of wild
ideas. The nomadic life she would probably share with Breck would have
no appeal to the ease-loving young Kentuckian. His dream of perfect
happiness was their lovely old home with Ellen as its mistress and
long evenings spent together by the open fire. Jane realized that her
brother was a typical “country gentleman” of the last century with a
few modern touches in the way of slang. Nor did the differences in
their character make her devotion to him any less, but it did make her
rather dread the interview she had planned to have with him just
before it was time for Frederick Gray to make his appearance. Of her
father’s attitude in the matter, she had no fear. He was of the
opinion that whatever his children did was right. Aunt Min was
radically opposed to any new idea, but when the novelty of a situation
had worn off she softened.

“It may be up-hill work but Breck and I are strong enough to see it
through,” Jane decided. “The worst part will be talking to Jack. I
will never convince him of the fact that I had even more to do with it
than Breck did.”

“Jane has been asleep long enough. I’m going down and make her go
swimming in this icy water with me.”

Frances left the others on deck and went down into the saloon. She
jerked back the curtains to find Jane with her knees drawn up under
her chin, her hands clasped around her ankles.

“What a graceful position to sleep in, Jane. I do hope you had a good
nap.”

“As long as I am caught, I will admit that I withdrew into this shell
to solve the problems of the universe, which being successfully
solved, I want very much to go swimming,” Jane said, undoubling and
emerging from her retreat.

Frances looked at her friend rather quizzically. “But it’s so unlike
our Plain Jane to have problems. Is there anything that I can do? I
mean in the way of solving? I’m rather eager to try that new position
in thinking.”

“It was a very trying experience for me--that thinking--but, having
come to the world-shaking conclusion that the only thing to do in a
case like this is to do what you think is right, especially when what
you think is right is what you want to do, I am not going to worry any
more,” said Jane, catching the bathing suit Frances flung at her.

“What a wise but completely unintelligible Jane it is! But I suppose
I must just abide my time and, finally, the secret will be revealed to
your humble and admiring slave. Ah, well, I can wait if I have to. But
let me say that I have suspected it ever since the night you asked me
if I knew whether Breck had his slicker on or not,” said Frances
solemnly.

“What in the world are you talking about?”

“Don’t you remember that night at Plymouth, when you went up in the
graveyard by yourself, and when you came back I said you looked like
you had had one million adventures? Well, when we returned to the boat
it started raining, don’t you remember? And Mr. Wing and Breck went up
on deck to see something about that interminable old anchor. I was
just about asleep and you woke me up asking me if I knew whether Breck
had a raincoat or not. ‘There is something strange about this,’ sez I
to meself, sez I, and I have been a quiet but interested observer ever
since.”

“You are a darling, Frances, and the world lost a great detective when
we Camp Fire Girls made such a good friend,” and Jane gave her hand an
affectionate little pat.

“Tell me all about it when you feel like it,” and, with Jane’s
promise to do so soon, they went up on deck.

“You lazy ones put on your bathing suits and let’s take the tender and
go over and see Tim’s boat. We can swim from the beach. I feel like
the water won’t be so cold where it’s shallower,” Frances suggested.

The others, having heard Jane’s glowing account of the “Sabrina,”
readily agreed. Soon they were off, leaving Breck, Mr. Wing and Tim to
make Frederick Gray feel at home if he should come before the others
got back, though, as Jane said, Fred had enough poise to carry off
almost any situation.

There was a stretch of sandy beach, flanked by gray boulders, near the
“Sabrina’s” anchorage, and after inspecting Tim’s beautiful little
boat they all went ashore.

Jane whispered to Jack that she wanted to talk to him for a few
minutes and they went over to one of the sunbaked rocks, while the
rest of the crowd stood ankle deep in the cold water, trying to force
themselves into it.

“I’ll never get into it by degrees,” Frances shivered, as she took
three or four tentative steps. “Come on, Mabel, I believe the water
around that farthest rock will be deep enough to make a shallow
drive.”

Jack looked at Jane with surprise. “What is it?” he asked.

“What do you think of Breck?”

“All this mystery to know what I think of Breck?” Jack was amused.
“Why, I suppose he is all right. Never paid much attention to him.
Seems a bit sullen to me. I don’t reckon I’ve said two words to him
since I have been on board.” Jack’s eyes followed Ellen’s little
figure as it ran bravely out into the chilly water, hesitated a
second, made a rather poor surface dive and began swimming shoreward
with very irregular and splashy strokes.

“It is funny Ellen can’t learn to swim,” Jane said as she, too,
watched her friend’s efforts.

“I think she does remarkably well,” Jack said quickly. “But what made
you ask me what I thought of Breck?”

“I simply wanted to know your opinion of your prospective
brother-in-law.”

For a minute Jack looked at her blankly, then laughed as if what his
sister said was a huge joke.

“I am serious, Jack dear, I intend to marry Breck when we get back to
New York and will write Daddy to that effect tonight,” Jane spoke
calmly but with convincing assurance.

“It is preposterous,” Jack said hotly. “It is ridiculous to discuss
it. Of course, Daddy will forbid it. If you insist, he won’t give you
any money and, of course, you could hardly live on a deck hand’s
salary. Besides, what would a deck hand do for a living in the
winter?”

Jane smiled a little at Jack’s ideas about money. “Daddy won’t say a
word in the first place, and you seem to have forgotten that the money
mother left me would allow me to live very comfortably in the second
place, and Breck isn’t a deck hand in the third place. Didn’t you hear
what he said when he set Tim’s leg?”

“No, I was out in the tender, but anybody that has knocked around can
set a leg.”

“What are your objections to him besides his lack of money?” Jane said
a little contemptuously.

“A Pellew would hardly marry--”

“Oh, Jack dear, don’t say it, please,” Jane interrupted him, “it would
sound so stupid and snobbish. It is only fair to tell you that his
full name is Allen Breckenridge, you know the ones that live in
California, and he went to Harvard and studied medicine. Then he had
a fuss with his father and broke with him. He went with a French
ambulance unit in the war. When he came back, he went on a newspaper
and, this summer, he signed up with Mr. Wing because he wanted time to
write and yet he needed money to live on while doing so. The ‘Boojum’
solved the problem. Jack, don’t you see what a peach he is?”

Jack admitted that Breck’s being a Breckenridge altered things
somewhat. But he remained firm in his belief that the affair was an
impossible one.

“But, Jack dear, you mustn’t change your opinion of him just because
he is from one of those terrible things known as a ‘good family’--as
far as that goes, I think it is a terrible family and they have
behaved abominably to him. I want you to like him because he is a
fine, interesting man,” Jane pleaded. She was constantly given
opportunities to regret that her brother was not as open-minded as she
was.

“Jane, please believe that your happiness is my chief concern. What
you have told me of him seems to me condemning. I see him as an
impulsive, unstable person, inclined to drifting.”

“I know that you think I am an incurable romantic and that I see him
in a sort of glamour. I don’t. I have been with him a lot and we have
had long talks. I love him terribly, but I realize he has the usual
quota of faults. What he needs is a steady hand on the reins and,
Jack, you know my hand is fairly reliable. You respect my judgment of
horses, why won’t you respect my judgment of husbands? Of course, what
you have said, what you will say, can’t affect me in the least, but I
do wish you would wish me happiness and say that you will try to like
Breck,” finished Jane.

Jack sat silent for a while, his head in his cupped hands, finally he
said, “Forgive me. I was a rotter to say what I did about Breck’s
being a deck hand. I will like him and try to make him like me. You
are a great little sister and Breck is a mighty lucky man.”

A victory so far, thought Jane, and decided to spare Jack the
Hurricane Island project till Fred came. “You are rather a darling,
Jack,” she said, “and I think Ellen will be a splendid swimmer soon.
Run along down to her now and help her with that scissors kick.”



CHAPTER XIII

JACK’S AFTER-SUPPER SPEECH


After the swim, Jane had had a long conversation with Mr. Wing, with
the result that a place was set for Breck at the table in the saloon.
Purple wildflowers, picked on the island and thrust into a low bowl,
stood in the center of the table and gave a gala air to the saloon.
Ellen had arranged them and said to Mabel that she had not realized
how much she missed flowers till she saw these.

Jane and Breck watched for Frederick Gray on deck, both of them
feeling shy and self-conscious. Finally, his dory slid up alongside
the “Boojum” and the boy, in immaculate white ducks, was soon standing
beside his new friends.

“Everybody is down in the saloon. Let’s go down and get the
introductions over,” Jane said, leading the way.

Frederick Gray had been looking forward all day to the little supper
party. Breck and Jane had delighted him with their warm friendliness
in the morning and he was anxious to see if their friends were as
charming as they were. It was a rare treat to the boy to mix with his
own kind. His father could find little time to spare to his son, so
engrossed was he in his inventions, and the younger children, of
course, kept his mother very busy. She did all the work, as the
isolation of Hurricane Island made the servant question impossible.
Since his sister’s departure for Columbia, he had been far lonelier
than he cared to admit. In fact, he had not realized how alone he was
till he saw this group of natural, kindly people.

“Reading from the left to the right, first row standing are my
brother, Jack Pellew, Ellen Birch, and Mr. Wing. Seated, are Frances
Bliss, Charlie Preston and Mabel Wing. The gentleman lying down is Tim
Reynolds and it is his boat that we want you to take back to
Nantucket,” Jane said in oratorical tones, “and all you
aforementioned, this is my friend Frederick Gray.”

“Mr. Wing,” Fred said, going forward to shake hands with him, “it is
very kind indeed of you to let me be with you tonight. I haven’t seen
so many new people at one time for years.”

“It is great for us to have you with us,” Mr. Wing said. “We were
beginning to need a little new blood, and your coming and Tim’s coming
just started things nicely rolling again.”

Fred could not but feel at home at once with the cordial welcome he
had received and he soon found himself seated by Tim talking of the
trip he was to make with the “Sabrina.” He told Tim that Virg Bradford
had consented to go with him and then he was so eloquent in his praise
of the little “Sabrina” that Tim immediately decided his pet would be
perfectly safe in such appreciative hands. So the few minutes before
supper passed very quickly for Fred and Tim. But they rather dragged
for Jane and Breck, for they felt, as Jane put it, “on pins and
needles,” till they knew how everybody would take it.

The little Dutch steward came in with delicious pea puree and the
little party fell to with a right good will. The lobsters that Breck
and Jane brought back from Hurricane Island formed the special dish of
the meal and were prepared with an interesting sauce of vinegar and
butter that the steward claimed as his own receipt. With the coffee,
Jack rose and announced that he had something to say.

“But we don’t want any after-dinner speeches,” objected Mabel,
“besides this is a supper and who ever heard of after-supper speeches?
Fred is the guest of honor, and he ought to be the one to speak if
anybody has to.”

“You have but to hear me and I know you will think I was justified in
speaking. I’ll make it short and snappy,” Jack promised Mabel, “for I
know you want to talk yourself.”

“Jack, you’re horrid. Shut up and begin,” Mabel commanded.

“Don’t give such confusing orders, daughter,” Mr. Wing said. “Go on,
Jack, I am awfully interested and will keep my daughter quiet if I
have to gag her.”

“Well, it’s this,” Jack began. “In the first place, I haven’t the
faintest idea how a thing like this ought to be done--”

“And we know, of course, that you didn’t expect to be called on at
this meeting,” Charlie interrupted him.

“But the fact is,” Jack ignored him, “that I want to announce the
engagement of my sister, Jane Pellew, to Allen Breckenridge,” and,
quite overcome, Jack sat down.

Everybody was perfectly silent until Frances threw herself into the
breach and saved the situation by saying, “Sloan’s liniment--‘Don’t
rub, let it penetrate’--Jack, you did it so suddenly you simply took
our breaths away. I bid to be first to congratulate both the
contracting parties,” and she jumped up and ran around to Jane and
hugged her and gave Breck’s hand a cordial squeeze.

Frances’ quickness galvanized the little party into life and all the
girls kissed Jane repeatedly and the men wrung Breck’s hand again and
again. Then the questions began, “When did it happen?” “Isn’t it
awfully sudden?” “Wasn’t Jack funny?” “You didn’t know he was going to
do it, did you, Jane dear?”

And Jane was infinitely grateful to Jack for the part he played
because he couldn’t have acknowledged Breck in a more sincere and
gracious manner.

“Why, Breck,” teased Mr. Wing, “I believe you are quite used to having
announcements of this kind made about you. You are behaving like a
professional fiancé.”

“I am scared to death, really,” Breck admitted with a grin, “but I
have been under fire enough to have learned not to let my knees shake
visibly.”

“And I want to tell you right now, that I think that plan of yours and
Jane’s to run Hurricane Island as a summer colony is good and I hope
and believe that you will make a good thing of it. You can count on me
to talk it up because I want my stock in the company to bring in big
returns,” Mr. Wing said, shaking Breck’s hand once more.

Afterwards, Breck told Jane that he felt like the President of the
United States at his inauguration, his hand had been pumped up and
down so much. Jane had laughed and said that she herself felt like
Joffre must have after nearly all the school children in the country
had proudly kissed him.

“Why not have some of these husky males carry Tim up on deck?”
suggested Frances, “I don’t believe it will be too cold. Anyway, there
is a wonderful moon and Jack can take his banjo up and sing to us.”

Her plan was approved and Tim was carefully carried up and deposited
on the deck mattress, while the rest sat around on pillows. Jack came
up with his banjo and started thrumming.

“What shall it be?” he asked. “It is no use you saying, though,
because I don’t know anything but the darky songs I have picked up at
home.”

“As if they weren’t the most tuneful songs in the world!” Ellen added.

“Why not sing that Revival Hymn, Jack dear?” asked Jane.

And Jack began:

    “Oh, whar shill we go w’en de great day comes,
    Wid de blowin’ or de trumpets en de bangin’ er de drums?
    How many po’ sinners’ll be kotched out late
    En fine no latch ter de golden gate?

      No use fer ter wait twel termorrer!
      De sun mus’n’t set on yo’ sorrer,
      Sin’s es sharp ez a bamboo-brier--
      Oh, Lord! fetch the mo’ners up higher!

    W’en de nashuns er de earf is a-stan’in’ all aroun’,
    Who’s a gwine ter be choosen fer ter w’ar de glory-crown?
    Who’s gwine fer ter stan’ stiff-kneed en bol’,
    En answer to der name at de callin’ er de roll?

      You better come now ef you comin’--
      Ole Satun is loose en a bummin’--
      De wheels er distruckshun is a hummin’--
      Oh, come ’long, sinner, ef yon comin’!

    De song er salvashun is a mighty sweet song,
    En de Pairidise win’ blow fur en blow strong,
    En Aberham’s bosom, hit’s saft en hit’s wide,
    En right dar’s de place whar de sinners oughter hide!

      Oh, you nee’nter be a stoppin’ en a lookin’;
      Ef you fool wid ole Satun you’ll get took in,
      You’ll hang on de aidge en get shook in,
      Ef you keep on a stoppin’ en a lookin’.

    De time is right now, en dish yer’s de place--
    Let de sun er salvashun shine squar’ in yo’ face;
    Fight de battles er de Lord, fight soon en fight late,
    En you’ll allers fine a latch ter de golden gate.

      No use fer ter wait twel ter-morrer,
      De sun mustn’t set on yo’ sorrer--
      Sin’s es sharp ez a bamboo-brier--
      Ax de Lord fer ter fetch you up higher!”

Jack had sung the old song delightfully, with the colorful wails of
the darky and deserved the thanks and applause he got for singing it.
He refused to sing any more, saying he wanted to smoke.

“I’ll sing you one,” volunteered Charlie immodestly.

“Oh, Charlie, haven’t you any shame?” giggled Mabel. “I never in all
my life heard of any one suggesting singing or playing himself. It
just isn’t the thing. You are supposed to blush furiously and shake
your head the first time you are asked. Of course, you are asked
again, then you say that you haven’t got your music or you aren’t in
voice or your hands are chapped. On the third request, you allow
yourself to be dragged unwillingly to the piano or the center of the
room, according to your talent. And here you blatantly nominate
yourself. I blush for you, I blush for you.”

“Don’t pay any attention to her, Charlie,” urged Frances. “I didn’t
know singing was among your accomplishments. While I tremble at the
result, we are all brave souls and most humbly I beseech you sing.”

“I may not be a Caruso or a Martinelli, but I do know some plantation
songs, just as everybody below the Mason-Dixon line does, and coupled
with the three cords I know on the banjo I can give a very creditable
performance. Am I among friends?”

With a flourish of the banjo and a reckless expenditure of his three
cords, Charlie began in an effectively low voice:

    “De gray owl sing fum de chimbly top:
      ‘Who-who-is-you-oo?’
    En I say: ‘Good Lawd, hit’s des po’ me,
    En I ain’t quite ready fer de Jasper Sea;
    I’m po’ en sinful, en you ’lowed I’d be;
      Oh, wait, good Lawd, ’twell termorrer!’

    De gray owl sing fum de cypress tree:
      ‘Who-who-is-you-oo?’
    En I say: ‘Good Lawd, ef you look you’ll see
    Hit ain’t nobody but des po’ me,
    En I like ter stay ’twell my time is free;
      Oh, wait, good Lawd, ’twell termorrer!’”

“I take it all back, Charlie,” offered Mabel, “I liked that a lot.”

Fred said a regretful good-bye and, with a promise that he and Virg
would weigh the anchor of the “Sabrina” the minute the “Boojum”
signaled, he dropped over the side into his dory and rowed slowly over
the moon-lit water to the silent Hurricane Island.



CHAPTER XIV

TIM’S FATHER


The “Boojum” and the little “Sabrina” dropped anchor in the harbor at
Nantucket Island almost at the same time. They found themselves in the
midst of a fleet of trig catboats, yawls and splendid motor yachts.
Every male in the island is said to have some sort of boat, and the
catboat seemed to be the choice of the majority. There is a stretch of
land-locked water reaching along one side of the island, and here,
every day, are to be seen races between the many catboats.

Boat after boat slid in, found its mooring, and emptied itself of its
gay-sweatered, picnicking crowd. The boats were so packed and wedged
in that the “Boojum’s” people began to wonder how they could pick
their way into shore with the tender.

Suddenly a speed boat shot out from the landing in front of the club
house and with marvelous skill threaded its way among the moored
boats. As it approached the “Boojum,” a tall gray-haired man, who was
standing at the wheel, raised one hand and waved it at the group on
the “Boojum’s” deck.

“Why, he seems to be coming up alongside,” Mr. Wing said in surprise.

“Ahoy on board the ‘Boojum!’” boomed the man’s deep voice.

“Come aboard,” invited Mr. Wing with a cordial smile and a bewildered
voice.

“It’s Tim’s father, of course,” said Frances, springing forward to
greet him. “They look exactly alike. Jane, run down into the saloon
and tell Tim his daddy is here.”

But Mr. Reynolds, with a Tim-like grin that included them all in its
heartiness, said:

“Please, young lady, let me go see my boy. I’ll be up in a second and
thank all of you for your kindness.”

He had disappeared down the companionway before Frances got her
breath, Mr. Wing following and the rest of the crew close on the heels
of their captain.

Some persons think it is an amusing thing to see two men kiss, but no
one would have been amused to see the gray-haired Mr. Reynolds take
his red-haired son in his arms and kiss him first on one cheek, then
on the other. Tim seemed to like it and not to be a bit abashed.

“How’s mother?” he asked as soon as he emerged from the bear’s hug his
father was giving him.

“In an awful stew about you! When you didn’t come home that night, she
threw a few fits and then, when there was no word from you, she threw
a few more. The telegram that finally arrived only assured her you
were as well as might be expected with a broken leg. Now she is having
an awful time because the telegram didn’t say which leg.”

“Poor little Mumsy! It’s the left one, but since I don’t write or
shave with my toes it doesn’t really make much difference.”

Then Tim introduced his father to the captain and the crew and the
elder Reynolds by his heartiness and honest gratitude soon began to
run his son a close race in their admiration and affection. It doesn’t
take many hours on ship board for people to become very well
acquainted and, already, the inmates of the “Boojum” had begun to feel
that Tim Reynolds was a life-long friend.

“And these two slips of girls carried you down that rocky hill all by
themselves? I don’t believe it! Let me feel your muscle!” said Mr.
Reynolds, putting his hand around Frances’ biceps.

“Jimminy crickets! As hard as steel! Now where did you get your
stretcher? Tell me all about it, every detail. My wife is sure to want
to know everything that can be told. You say Tim was unconscious most
of the time?”

“Yes, sir,” answered Frances, who, having been the one to find Tim,
was tacitly understood to be the one to answer for him. “Either
unconscious or light-headed, but his head was the only thing that was
light, I can assure you. He said he hadn’t eaten anything for a day
and a night, but he must have been breathing heavily all the time
because he certainly hadn’t lost any weight.”

Then she had to tell him how she and Jane made a stretcher with their
skirts and the oars. Here he interrupted:

“What kind of skirts? Tell me what kind and what color. The boy’s
mother will worry my soul out of me if I don’t find out what kind and
what color.”

“Just plain khaki, Camp Fire Girls’ skirts!” laughed Frances. “The
kind we are wearing now, but we must change them soon, as we always
dress up a bit when we go ashore.”

“But, my dear young lady, please don’t! I beg of you don’t change your
skirts.”

Mr. Reynolds’ request was such a strange one the girls could not help
laughing. His manner was earnest, but in his eyes there was a regular
Tim twinkle.

“But why not?” insisted Frances.

“It is this way: you see, of course, when you go ashore it must be to
our home, and I can tell you if you don’t wear those skirts out of
which the stretcher was made that carried our Tim, his mother will
never cease bewailing, to say nothing of Cousin Esther. Of course, you
can tie them up in a bundle and let me carry them ashore, but ashore
they must go. Am I not right, Tim?”

“Well, Mother is right fond of detail and as for Cousin Esther--”
confessed Tim. “If you girls don’t mind--”

“Mind! Of course we don’t mind,” put in Jane. “The only thing Frances
and I don’t like about going ashore is having to doll up. We’ll even
carry Tim ashore as we carried him down the hill if that would help
any.”

“Not me!” cried Tim. “I’ll never cease to be grateful to you for
carrying me as you did, but, remember, I am not unconscious now and
my leg has been set. I’m afraid you’ll jiggle it out of place. I bid
for Breck and Jack to do the carrying this time.”

“We certainly will,” said Breck heartily, while Jack gave Tim a
reassuring pat on his shoulder. “I think, Mr. Reynolds,” continued
Breck, “you had better send for a surgeon as soon as you get your son
home. I am little more than an amateur and think an expert should pass
on my manner of setting bones.”

“Certainly, young man, although I am sure you made a good job of it.
What my boy would have done without your skill I tremble to
contemplate. Tell me--I think Mr. Wing said your name was Allen
Breckenridge--are you related to Preston Breckenridge of California?”

“My father, sir!” and Breck’s face flushed.

“Well now, isn’t that too bad? Not that you are related to Preston
Breckenridge, but that you have come into port just too late to see
your father. His yacht has been anchored here for several days, but
they set sail only this morning. I’ve no idea where they were going.
Didn’t know they were going at all. Meant to see them again. Quite a
party. You perhaps know where they are going?”

“No, sir, I do not know,” answered Breck, the flush deepening on his
countenance. “I thought they were still on the Pacific coast.”

“Well, well! California people don’t think a thing of stepping across
the continent,” declared Mr. Reynolds, suddenly realizing that he had
rather put his foot in it and the good looking young man who had been
so nice about setting his son’s leg was evidently not on very good
terms with his family.

While the general bustle was in process incident to going ashore and
getting the broken-boned Tim ready to be carried off, Breck had time
to whisper to Jane:

“You heard what Mr. Reynolds said about my father’s being in these
waters?”

“Yes, I heard. Aren’t you going to try to find out where he is? Do you
think the rest of your family is along? He said a large party.”

“There is no telling. Gee, I’m glad I wasn’t one of them! I’d rather
swab the ‘Boojum’s’ decks, even do galley work with greasy pots and
pans to be scoured, than have to wait on the fool girls my sister,
Lorna, gathers around her.”

“Lorna! What a pretty name! You never told me her name was Lorna. You
always just said ‘my sister.’ I’ve meant to ask you what her name was
time and again, but when we are together there always seems to be so
many things to talk about I can’t get to it.”

“Yes, honey, and there always will be. That’s what is so nice about
you: we never seem to talk out,” and Breck slid his hand along the
rail and covered Jane’s hand. “We don’t get much time alone, though,
do we? I love the old ‘Boojum,’ love her like a sister or a nice
comfortable maiden aunt, but I can’t say she offers a fellow many
chances to tell a girl how much he thinks of her. Ummhum! Just think
of Hurricane Island! I tell you that’s a great place for love making.”

“How about the little tow-headed Grays? It seems to me on one occasion
they were pretty numerous,” laughed Jane.

“Break away! Break away!” called Charlie, as he emerged from below.

“What did I tell you?” grumbled Breck.

“But you never did tell me if you are going to hunt up your family,”
insisted Jane. “Do you intend to do it?”

“Not on your life! In the first place, they have gone. Mr. Reynolds
said they had sailed this morning. I am too happy to row and if the
Governor and I get together we’ll lock horns, as sure as shooting.”

“Yes--but--”

“But what?”

“I can’t fancy being in the same--same--Gulf Stream with my father and
not trying to see him, even if it meant having a small set-to with him
when I did see him. No doubt he and I are to have some argument at our
next meeting, but I am nearly dead to see him all the same,” and
Jane’s black eyes softened to velvet.

“But perhaps your father is different,” said Breck sadly.

“Different in some ways, but all fathers are more or less alike. I
reckon your father loves you just as much as mine does me. He just
doesn’t know you are grown-up, and you see my father had to let me
grow up because my mother died when I was so young. He thinks I’ve got
lots more judgment than Jack just because he can’t get in his head
Jack is a man. If Jack had been a girl, he’d have realized long ago he
was no longer a child. I’m hoping you are going to be friends with
your father, Breck. It is a terrible thing to carry a grouch around,
especially one against some of your own blood.”

“I know it, honey, but you don’t know what a ragging I got the last
time I saw the Governor. Some day, maybe, it will come right and heal
up, but the place is still pretty sore.”

“But how about Lorna?”

“Oh she is such a--such a--well, I think I won’t say anything about
Lorna. I fancy she is what her environment has made her. She hasn’t
had half a chance with everything on God’s green earth hers for the
asking. Everybody spoils her and she has such a bunch of silly friends
around her flattering her to death that it is hard for the true Lorna
to come out. She was a cute kid years ago and I used to be mighty fond
of her--she was of me too--but now--but never mind. She has
changed--changed a lot.”

“Maybe you changed too,” insisted Jane.

“But she seemed to have so little sympathy for my plans and ideals.”

“Did you have any for hers?”

“But hers were so silly and vapid.”

“Perhaps she thought yours were silly, too.”

“Well, we won’t row about it, honey. I guess I was rather superior and
big brotherish when last Lorna and I met,” said Breck somewhat
ruefully.

“Next time, behave better,” admonished Jane.

“All right, but I can’t see a possibility of any next time for years
to come. When you are given to understand by your father that your
room is more desirable than your company, you are not likely to do
much hanging around after that,” and the young man flushed.

“Poor old Breck! You mustn’t think I’m blaming you. I am sure it isn’t
your fault, but I just have such a strong family feeling myself that I
can’t understand when it is lacking. I know you have it too, and so
has your father--and no doubt poor little Lorna has it. You just can’t
get together on it.”

And Jane began to turn over in her mind how she might help her fiancé
to make friends with his family.



CHAPTER XV

TIM’S MOTHER AND DETAILS


Mrs. Reynolds always insisted that she belonged on Nantucket Island,
although she had been born and reared on the mainland.

“It would take centuries of exile to get a Coffin to acknowledge any
other spot as home,” she would say.

She had inherited a beautiful old house on the main street of
Nantucket Town and it had been almost a religion with her to keep that
house as her grandmothers for generations had kept it. Not a modern
touch was allowed to profane the lovely simplicity of that island
home. Her regret was that only the summers could be spent there. She
would have enjoyed it the whole year round and she resented Mr.
Reynolds’ large law practice that compelled his presence in Boston.

In Boston, Mrs. Reynolds was a fashionable, handsomely dressed woman,
but the moment she entered her ancestral halls she changed her costly
attire for a gown of severe simplicity more in keeping with the
painted floors, rag rugs and cane-bottomed chairs found therein. She
might have been her own great-grandmother in her sprigged muslin dress
with a hemstitched kerchief crossed over her loyal Coffin bosom. The
retinue of servants the Reynolds family found necessary in Boston to
administer to their wants were left on the mainland. Ruling in their
stead was one severe-looking person who claimed distant relationship
with Mrs. Reynolds since they boasted the same great-great-grandmother
Cousin Esther Sylvester was her name. She was the maid of all work,
accomplishing with the utmost ease and precision the labor of cook,
laundress, and housemaid, and at the same time never forgetting that
she was of the same blood as the mistress. The fact that her cousin’s
grandfather had left the island and gone over on the mainland,
amassing a fortune, made not a whit of difference to the independent
Esther, whose grandfather had stayed where he was and, at least, kept
what he had, which was a fourth share in a very likely whaling vessel
and an extremely picturesque fisherman’s cottage at Siasconset. Esther
had inherited this property and, like her grandfather, she had held on
to it. She still owned a fourth share in the whaling vessel and the
picturesque cottage at ’Sconset. To be sure, the whaling vessel was
rotting at the Nantucket wharf, a mute reminder that the wheels of the
world no longer had to be greased with sperm oil. The cottage had
proved a much more valuable asset, as she rented it every summer for
large sums to a great actress who delighted in its simplicity and the
view one could get from its crooked little windows of the quaint old
village streets.

Mrs. Reynolds and Cousin Esther had not only the same
great-grandmothers but also the same insatiable curiosity about the
small and seemingly unimportant details of everyday life. Perhaps it
was something that had been bred in the bones of the original
Nantucket Islanders when, in old days, they had been cut off from the
world for months at a time and their own affairs and the affairs of
their neighbors were of all importance because of the fact that the
affairs of the nation were stale long before they were brought to
their ears. The fact that Amanda Bartlett had broken her best Canton
china teapot was a current event while the news that the men of Boston
had thrown the tea into the bay at the famous Boston Tea Party was
days old before they heard of it.

The telegram telling of Tim’s accident had thrown Mrs. Reynolds and
Cousin Esther Sylvester into a great state of excitement. Not only
were they very uneasy about their darling boy but they did so want to
know how and when and where the accident had occurred. Who had rescued
him? Which leg was broken, etc., etc., etc. Who were the mysterious
persons who had sent the lengthy telegram, evidently not at all
counting the cost? How did they happen to be at Hurricane Island? Were
they white people? If so, why did they say their yacht was named such
a strange outlandish name, “Boojum!” Surely the telegraph operator
must have got it wrong. Perhaps they were Fiji Islanders and not white
persons after all. At any rate, they had rescued the beloved Tim and
were bearing him home in the yacht with the exotic name and the ladies
were determined to be as nice to them as could be.

“Cousin Esther, you had better make extra preparations and be ready
for guests,” suggested Mrs. Reynolds. “You know how Mr. Reynolds loses
his head when he begins to invite.”

“Certainly, Cousin Lucia. I have baked three kinds of pies and have a
cold joint in the larder. I calculate there will be food enough for
all the Boojummers likely to land,” said Miss Sylvester with some
stiffness of manner. She did not at all like suggestions from her
cousin-mistress.

Up the quiet, shady street of Nantucket Town came the Boojummers. Mr.
Reynolds led the way with Mr. Wing. Then came the stretcher bearers,
Breck and Jack, the grinning Tim borne lightly between them. The
others flocked around the point of interest not certain they should
not have stayed away and let Tim have his home-coming without such a
crowd, but when this had been suggested, Mr. Reynolds made so many
protestations there was nothing to do but tag along.

“Well, when you come right down to it,” said Mabel, “I guess there
isn’t anybody to leave out. Father must go to receive thanks for being
near by with the ‘Boojum.’ Of course, Jack and Breck must go to carry
Tim; Frances must go because she found him, and Jane must go because
she helped carry him; Ellen must go to look after Jack, and--”

“And you and Charlie must go along to do the head work,” teased Jane.

“Exactly! Charlie must look after the legal aspect of the case and I
must look after Charlie.”

“Here they come! Here they come!” cried Mrs. Reynolds, peeping through
the living-room window.

“Yes, and it’s a good thing I baked three kinds of pies,” asserted
Cousin Esther, grimly. “I’ll be bound Mr. Reynolds has invited them to
dinner.”

“How pale my Tim looks! I’m afraid I’m going to cry, Cousin Esther,
although I know how he hates for me to.”

“Don’t do it, Cousin Lucia, don’t do it! Remember Great-great-Aunt
Patience who never shed a tear even when they brought home her three
boys all drowned off Sankity. Here’s the smelling-salts. Now bear up!”

Tim was pale in spite of a summer’s tan. The stretcher bearers were as
careful as possible, but every little jolt was painful to the
fractured hip.

“It hurts I know,” whispered Frances.

“Not much, but thank you for thinking about it, all the same.” Tim had
been wondering if any of them realized how much it did hurt.

“Just think how Jane and I bumped you and be thankful our skirts are
where they are instead of stretched on oars and you swung in the
middle.”

“I wonder if Mother is going to weep over me. Poor Mother! It does her
good to cry, but Cousin Esther is so stern with her when she gives
way. Of course I’m not crazy about being cried over, but I can stand
it for the good of the cause. I can stand anything better than
Mother’s suppressed expression. There she is! Yes, she has her
suppressed expression!”

Mrs. Reynolds came slowly from the door. Her instinct was to fly to
her son and throw herself on him, take his red head in her arms and
weep, but, remembering Great-great-Aunt Patience, she held on to
herself, knowing full well the stern Cousin Esther was looking at her
from the small-paned window.

The mother bent over her boy, giving him a restrained peck. But he put
his arms around her and drew her close.

“Come on, old lady, and don’t be so Coffinish. Give us what our
Southern friends call a ‘sho nuf’ kiss.”

That was too much for poor Mrs. Reynolds. Not only did she give Tim a
“sho nuf” kiss but added to it a genuine hug, while the tears fell
fast. What did she care after all for old Great-great-Aunt Patience
and her strength of character that kept her from shedding tears even
if her three sons were drowned off Sankity?

“That’s something like!” declared Tim. “Now you won’t have to get a
headache from restrained emotion. Never mind Cousin Esther. She will
forget it by the time she makes enough pies for all of us.”

Tim then proceeded, with the help of his father, to introduce all the
Boojummers to his mother. After the formal introduction, he began with
the utmost patience to give a detailed account of the accident to the
eager ladies, Cousin Esther having joined them in the living room
where the stretcher bearers had deposited their burden on a long, low
couch.

“And this is the one who found me,” indicating Frances.

“Do tell!” from Miss Esther.

“Now tell me how you found him,” from Mrs. Reynolds. “How you found
him and what you were doing there and how you happened to look behind
the rock--everything! everything! Don’t leave out a thing.”

Frances proceeded with the narrative. When she got to the place where
she went after Jane, her insatiate hostess exclaimed:

“And you tell me what you were doing and what you thought and what you
said; please, Jane!”

With a twinkle in her eye, Jane took up the tale which seemed like a
game of consequences. The improvised stretcher made its appearance in
the story and the distracted mother looked eagerly about as though
expecting the stretcher to tell all it knew.

“Now this is where the petticoats come in!” exclaimed Mr. Reynolds.
“What did I tell you?”

“You made a stretcher out of the oars and your skirts? Remarkable!
Wonderful! What kind of skirts?”

“These we are wearing!” Frances and Jane sounded like a Greek chorus.

“Those identical ones?”

“The same!”

Cousin Esther, who was standing next to Frances, picked up a piece of
her skirt between thumb and forefinger and examined it critically.

“What they call khaki nowadays,” she said sententiously. “It is really
a kind of lightweight sail cloth.”

“And the oars! What kind of oars? I do wish I might have seen the
oars.”

“Here’s one of them,” grinned Tim. “I’ve been lying on it all the way
here and mighty uncomfortable it was, but I felt I must produce it.”
He proceeded to roll over a bit and pull gingerly at a little red oar
that had been concealed up to that moment. “Here it is. Exhibit B! Now
proceed!”

“No wonder you were making faces as we came long,” scolded Frances.
“Why didn’t you let me carry the oar? It wasn’t very good for a broken
hip.”

“Excuse me, please,” put in Breck. “But none of this is very good for
a broken hip. I’m not much of a doctor, but I’m the only one you have
had as yet and I really must insist, Mrs. Reynolds, upon my patient’s
being put to bed and a real surgeon being called in to pass on my
work.”

“Oh, thunder, Breck! Not before grub!” grumbled Tim.

All of them laughed at this and Mrs. Reynolds cried a little more.

“Now you are my own boy again,” she laughed through her tears.

“You remind me, Mother, of Tennyson’s lines,” quoted Mr. Reynolds:

    “Home they brought her warrior dead;
      She nor swooned, nor uttered cry.
    All her maidens, watching, said,
      ‘She must weep or she will die.’”

“It seems to more like Sawyer’s parody on Tennyson,” suggested
Frances:

    “Home they brought her sailor son,
      Grown a man across the sea,
    Tall and broad and black of beard,
      And hoarse of voice as man may be.

    Hand to shake and mouth to kiss,
      Both he offered e’re he spoke;
    But she said, ‘What man is this
      Comes to play a sorry joke?’

    Then they praised him, called him ‘smart.’
      ‘Tightest lad that ever stept.’
    But her son she did not know,
      And she neither smiled nor wept.

    Rose a nurse of ninety years,
      Set a pigeon-pie in sight;
    She saw him eat--‘’Tis he! ’Tis he!’
      She knew him by his appetite!”



CHAPTER XVI

A MOUTH FOR PIE


A surgeon was called in and passed favorably on Breck’s handiwork.
Tim’s fracture was doing as well as could be expected, but he was to
be put to bed for three weeks or more and then, of course, must walk
on crutches for many days to come.

“Isn’t that the limit?” grumbled Tim. “And the ‘Boojum’ will be
sailing away before I know it and I’ll be left here with nothing to
do.”

“You can be knitting,” suggested Frances, “at least your bones can
be.”

“That’s right! Laugh--you don’t care if my hip is broken.” Tim was
cross and miserable and didn’t care who knew it. It was hard right in
the middle of his well-earned summer vacation to be laid up in bed
just when he had made the acquaintance of such a jolly crowd too. He
did not confess to himself that it was Frances and not the whole crowd
that he was going to miss.

Mrs. Reynolds had given her boy the room opening into the living room
for his sick chamber. It had been a sewing room through all the
generations and it was something of a wrench for her to change it, but
a live son weighed more in the balance than all the dead traditions,
even though they were Coffin traditions, and it was nice to have Tim
downstairs where his friends could see him and where, when he once got
up and around on his crutches, he would not have to contend with
stairs. Cousin Esther grumbled, but Cousin Esther was opposed to
change of any sort.

“It is out of reason to take a sewing room for a bed room,” she
objected. “I’d as soon think of making a pumpkin pie with a top crust
or a mince pie without one. A sewing room is meant for a sewing room
and a bedroom for a bedroom. I like things left as our Maker intended
them to be.”

With which bit of theology she let the matter drop, but Tim always
felt out of place in the sewing room. When Frances made the above
suggestion about his bones knitting, he felt a grim satisfaction that
the process was to go on in the sewing room.

“You don’t care a bit,” he repeated, keeping Frances’ hand in his a
moment after the rest of the Boojummers had left his room, having bid
him good-bye before going on a jaunt to ’Sconset.

“Nonsense! I do care! As for you, you are most uncomplimentary,”
declared Frances. “You should be eternally grateful to your
much-abused hip for getting itself broken. How otherwise would you
ever have known the inmates of the ‘Boojum’?”

“Oh, I’d have found you somehow. What is to be is to be.”

“What has been was, you mean.”

“Well then, I’m going to grin and bear it as best I might. But please
come see me when you get back from ’Sconset. Gee I’d like to go over
there with you. It’s a peach of a place. It’s not quite so formal as
Nantucket Town, more rough and ready. When all the summer folk go, I
run over there and visit Cousin Esther sometimes. She loves to have
me, although she is cleaning house most of the time getting rid of the
leavings of the actress who rents her place for the summer. I am sure
it is clean as clean, but she is never content until she has scrubbed
every board three times at least. I’ll get Cousin Esther to ask you to
come too. Will you?”

“But I’ll be gone--out West--home--somewhere by that time.” Frances
tried to draw her hand away but Tim held on to it.

“But sometime would you go if Cousin Esther asked you?”

“Would she make three kinds of pies?”

“Sure! Ten kinds!”

“All right then!” Frances was laughing and blushing but she gave Tim’s
hand a little answering pressure and left the boy happy and not so
indignant with the fractured hip as that member no doubt deserved.
After all, he reflected, there is generally a reason for everything.

“Cousin Esther!” he called after the Boojummers were out of the house,
“please come here a minute.”

“Well, what is it?” and Esther came and stood by his bed, looking down
on the red-haired man that seemed to her still the little boy who had
been the plague and joy of her summers since he was able to crawl. She
tried to look stern, but her eyes were soft in spite of her.

“What do you think of the one called Frances?”

“The one who found you lying up behind the boulder?”

“That’s the one.”

“Well, she ate a piece of every kind of pie. That’s doing pretty well
for a girl born out of New England. She looks as though she came of
good stock not to be seafaring.”

“Her ancestors went West in a prairie schooner and I fancy they had as
much to contend with and more than ours did on the bounding billows,”
laughed Tim. “Will you ask her to come visit you over at ’Sconset?”

“Are you serious, boy?”

“As serious as I ever was in my life. Her last name is Bliss and if
she will have me that will be my middle name for the rest of my life.
Don’t tell Mother. I want to wait and see if she will have me. I don’t
see how she can.”

“I don’t see how she can help it if she has any sense,” declared
Esther with some indignation. “Not have you indeed!”

“Well, if she does, will you teach her how to make pies?” teased Tim.

“Of course, if her mother has neglected to do so.”

“All right Cousin Esther. I’m glad you like her. Please hand me that
scrap book over on the table before you go. It is the deuce and all to
be laid up and not able to wait on myself.”

After Esther went out Tim lay idly fingering the scrap book. He
chuckled to himself as he thought of the way his cousin had praised
the girl he hoped to persuade to love him at some future date.

“A mouth for pie! That’s the way she lauded her,” he laughed. “Nothing
but a mouth for pie! Well a slice from three kinds was going some. I
fancy they must be almost at ’Sconset now. I do wish I could have been
the first one to show her ’Sconset,” he mused. “Where is that little
poem I want?” and he rapidly turned the leaves of the scrap book.

“Here it is! I am going to read it to her some day. It fills the bill
exactly I think.”

    ’SCONSET BY-THE-SEA

    By JEAN WRIGHT

    A queer old fisher village by the sea,
    With long low-lying sand, where great waves boom
    And break the whole year through. Wide moors
    Rich with gold gorse and purple heather bloom.

    The grass-grown, straggling streets run in and out
    Past houses weather stained and strange to see;
    Built in the fashion of a sailor’s heart
    Like to a ship as what’s on land can be.

    And all in front, each housewife’s care and pride,
    A tiny garden. Rows of poppies red,
    Gay flaming hollyhocks and mignonette,
    And good old-fashioned “jump-ups” rear their head.

    Quaint folk, with many a tale of bygone days,
    When men sailed off and sometimes came no more;
    When women stayed at home to work and wait,
    And wear their hearts out on that smiling shore.

    The romance of those other braver days
    Hangs like a halo ‘round the queer old town;
    Shouts in the wind that comes across the sea;
    Sighs in the wind that comes across the down.

    Look out across the tumbling surf toward Spain
    On some clear, lazy, golden, summer day,
    A vague mirage of towers and battlements--
    It is the place to dream one’s life away.



CHAPTER XVII

“BOILED” AT ’SCONSET


The poem Tim read from his scrap-book is an excellent description of
’Sconset. It is a place in which to dream one’s life away in spite of
the fact that it is a very popular summer resort and filled to
overflowing with pleasure and rest seekers. There is many a nook and
cranny behind the ever changing sand dunes where one can get away from
the “madding crowd.” Behind one of those dunes Breck and Jane found a
snug harbor after having taken a dip in the surf.

“Did you ever feel such water?” cried Jane, burrowing down in the
yielding sand. “It isn’t as cold as Hurricane Island, but it has a
stinging, spanking way with it as though it meant to conquer you.”

“Yes, I feel as though parental authority had got after me with the
wrong side of the hair brush,” laughed Breck. “It is a treacherous bit
of beach down at this end and none but good swimmers should venture
here.”

The bathing beach proper was several hundred yards from where Breck
and June had taken their swim. There the island made a sharp curve and
the undertow suddenly was increased as though the old ocean resented
the change of tactics in the land. It was a sparkling, brilliant day,
but the water gave evidence of there having been a storm at sea. Far
out near the horizon were occasional white-caps and as the waves came
closer to the shore they increased in size and fury, each one
seemingly trying to jump on the back of the one in front, foaming and
raging, thundering and booming, breaking on the sand with a final roar
and then endeavoring to drag the whole of Nantucket Island down into
the deep. The sand was coarse and loose and it took a firm,
quick-footed person to get out of the surf safely without being
“boiled.” Boiling is a terrible experience and one often had by the
unwary who does not know the habits of the surf on a shelving beach
with loose and shifting sand. The worst feature about being “boiled”
is the jeering crowd that sits on the beach and screams with laughter
as the poor victim is turned over and over and played with by the
relentless waves like some gigantic cat worrying a poor little mouse.
There is nothing amusing in it but the crowd always finds it so and,
when the poor mouse is cast up on the sands with a final admonishing
spank from the last playful breaker, the ordinary crowd of holiday
makers shows less heart than an ancient audience in a Roman arena. The
victim, if it is a woman, is pretty apt to have lost her stockings in
the struggle, her bathing cap, hair pins, anything in the way of
apparel that is not securely fastened on. No matter what the sex, it
is hard to come out from a real good “boiling” with much religion
left. Ears leveled over with sand, shins, knees and elbows scraped
sore from being dragged back and forth, besides the hurt feelings from
being laughed at, is enough to make one doubt that “whatever is, is
right.”

To the more secluded spot, sought by Jane and Breck, came Mabel and
Charlie. They, too, found it difficult at times to pursue their
love-making on the deck of the “Boojum” where, as Charlie put it,
“somebody was always butting in.”

“Gee! Ain’t this nice? Not a soul around! Come on, Mabel honey, let’s
take a dive and then get on the safe side of one of those friendly
dunes.”

Now Charlie Preston was a fresh-water fish and, while he was a
powerful swimmer, he knew little of the dangers of surf bathing.
While on the “Boojum,” as a rule, the bathing had been done by diving
from the yacht’s deck into the deep sea. Mabel was as at home in the
surf as a seal and could dive under a breaker and come up on the other
side with amazing poise. She never even thought to warn Charlie of the
treachery of the beach but dived in and while her fiancé stood to
watch her prowess and admire her skill a wave took him off his feet
and then began the process of “boiling” described above.

Over and over poor Charlie rolled, struggling and spluttering,
gurgling and choking. He would clutch with desperate hands at the
loose sand and then a relentless wave would dash over him and drag him
back while a playful brother wave would knock him with a resounding
smack up on the beach only to let him be dragged back and rolled over
by yet another one before he could get a footing.

Hearing a great splashing and screaming, Breck and Jane emerged from
behind their friendly dune just in time to see Charlie being boiled to
a king’s taste and Mabel, who ordinarily would have been much amused
at the discomfiture of an unwary bather, was screaming shrilly and
trying to get in to come to the rescue of her beloved Charlie. But
one must bide his time in trying to ride waves. Time and tide waits
for no man, nor does it hurry, and getting back to shore was not as
quick as Mabel would have liked. She made a desperate lunge and, for
the first time in the annals of the Wings, one of that name was caught
in the surf and “boiled.”

Over and over went Mabel and over and over went Charlie again, but in
the confusion they managed to clasp hands and just as Breck, trying to
conceal a grin, came to their assistance they managed to crawl up out
of reach of the spanking waves.

A rueful couple they were, sitting on the beach blinking ludicrously
at each other.

“Well, you needn’t laugh!” spluttered Charlie.

“I’m not laughing! I’m trying to cry, but my eyes are dammed up with
sand,” sobbed Mabel.

“Well, you needn’t laugh, Breck, you and Jane.”

“We are not laughing, old fellow. I would have come sooner if I had
known what was going on,” said Breck. “‘Boiling’ is no joke to my mind
but a serious calamity.”

Breck spoke soberly but he was glad Mabel and Charlie had so much
sand in their eyes they could not see his face. Nobody could help
smiling at their misery.

Jane came to the assistance of her friend with a small pail some child
had left half buried in the sand. This she filled with sea water by
carefully timing an incoming breaker. She had no desire to be caught
as Mabel and Charlie had been.

“Here, honey, wash out your poor eyes.”

“They are getting washed fro-om with-h-in-hin-out-hout-ward,” sobbed
Mabel. “I ne-hever expec-hected to get boi-hoiled.”

“Don’t you mind, darling,” comforted Charlie, who was still panting
but was happy to be alive after such an experience. “Here’s a
moonstone I found buried in my ear. A beauty too! I’m going to have it
set in a ring for you. I’ve heard there were lovely moonstones on this
beach, but I never expected to pick up one by ear.”

“I’m hun-un-gry,” said Mabel, her sobs letting up somewhat. “When I
get scared, I always get hungry. Maybe it is the ‘boiling’ that made
me think about food.”

“Of course,” said Charlie, indulgently. “I’m kind of hungry too. I
tell you what you do: you and Jane wait here and Breck and I’ll go
forage and bring us back a light lunch. We’ll pick up the rest of the
crowd on the way.”

“Not too light,” admonished Mabel.

Breck looked sadly at Jane. There seemed to be no place where he could
go and have a quiet little love-making with his sweetheart. Why should
Charlie and Mabel come and be ‘boiled’ near their dune of refuge? And
why should he have to go hunt food for Mabel? But Jane gave him a
bright little nod of admonition and there was nothing for him to do
but comply. He leant over and whispered to her:

“Don’t go in the water while I am away. Please promise me!”

And she laughingly promised.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE BEGINNING OF TRAGEDY


While Jane and Mabel sat in the sun leaning comfortably against the
friendly dune, a group of people came towards their retreat from the
crowded bathing beach.

“Goodness, I wish they would stay away from here,” grumbled Mabel.
“I’m still panting for breath and I certainly don’t want to move.”

“I reckon they won’t bother us if we don’t bother them,” suggested
Jane. “It looks like a swell bunch.”

“That’s what I’ve got against them. How can a body eat before such
elegance and Charlie and Breck will be back soon with food, I am
thinking. That’s a pretty girl in the Vanity Fair bathing suit and
scarlet cap--and look at the old gent in yachting togs! He must be
postmaster general of all the railroads or something grand. He looks
as though he owned the island and was thinking about annexing the
ocean.”

“He doesn’t seem to take much pleasure in his possessions,” laughed
Jane. “He looks sad to me.”

The gentleman in question was a powerfully built man of about sixty,
with iron gray hair, piercing blue eyes, a high Roman nose that seemed
to flaunt its aristocratic lines and a mouth and jaw of such force and
determination that Jane wondered at the impertinence of a wave that,
having leaped on the back of one of its brothers, came tumbling in all
out of order, wetting the immaculate white shoes of the nabob. He
looked indignant but evidently felt it to be beneath his notice.

Behind him trooped a crowd of young people, five girls and two young
men. The old gentleman was the only one not in bathing costume.

“This is a good place to go in, Father,” said the pretty girl in the
Vanity Fair suit. “I simply could not have gone in with that common
crowd up there.”

“Humph!” whispered Mabel, “that must be the princess.”

“Of course not! Such persons!” spoke up one of the other girls.

“No one knows them,” from another.

“Well, hardly!” drawled one of the young men who seemed to be dancing
attendance on the pretty girl Mabel had designated as “the princess.”

“I hope they can swim and know something about undertow and getting
‘boiled’,” murmured Jane.

“The snobs! It might do them good to get a good drubbing on their
stuck-up persons,” answered Mabel, looking at the interlopers with
round wondering eyes.

The interlopers in turn paid not the least attention to either Jane or
Mabel. If they had been sand fleas or skates’ eggs, their presence
could not have been more completely ignored.

“Sorry you won’t go in, sir,” said one of the young men to the older
man.

“I never learned to swim,” he answered with a certain haughty
indifference of tone which put the polite young man along with the
impertinent wave, the sand fleas, the skates’ eggs, Jane and Mabel,
among the things to be ignored.

“Strange! Your daughter is a beautiful swimmer--”

“Yes, beautiful!” chorused the girls who seemed to be bent on
flattering the pretty daughter.

“She does everything well,” said one of them.

“And your son is--” but what his son was Jane and Mabel could not
hear, as the gentleman turned on his heel and walked off up the beach
puffing vigorously at a long black cigar that Mabel insisted smelt as
though it might have cost a dollar.

“Lorna, darling, I hate for you to get your pretty bathing suit wet,”
said one of the girls, whose manner was even more fawning than the
rest.

“Oh, Lord!” groaned Mabel. “Just listen!”

“Lorna! Lorna!” Jane said to herself. “Could these be Breck’s people?”
Looking after the retreating figure of the impatient old gentleman,
she saw unmistakable lines of resemblance. He could be none other than
the father of the man she had promised to marry.

“Poor Breck! They are certainly difficult,” she said to herself. “But
the father looks sad. I believe he has been suffering, and the girl is
sweet looking and mighty pretty. It is just this lot of flatterers and
sillies that are ruining her. Look at the men! They haven’t a chin
between them and the girls ought to have a good strenuous course in
Camp Fire training to knock the foolishness out of them.”

She said nothing to Mabel about the possibility of their being the
Breckenridges. Mabel was not a marvel of tact and Jane felt that here
was a situation that must be handled delicately. She hoped something
would detain Breck and she could warn him that his father and sister
were on the beach. It might be hard on him to come upon them unawares.
She felt assured, however, that her Breck was equal to any emergency.

“I wish I could get my wind back,” said Mabel. “That ‘boiling’ has
done me up for the day. I wanted to go in the water again but I fancy
I’d better not.”

“You are panting, you poor dear,” said Jane sympathetically.

“I was scared about Charlie. I believe that did me up more than all of
the fancy somersaults I turned.”

“Why don’t you cuddle down and take a nap?” suggested Jane.

“I believe I will,” Mabel curled herself up in the sand and in a
moment was fast asleep.

Jane, glad to have quiet for her thoughts, directed her attention to
the bathers. The pretty Lorna had dived through the breakers and was
riding the waves like a veritable mermaid. She was a good swimmer and
seemed perfectly at home in the surf.

“Isn’t she wonderful?”

“Did you ever see anyone so beautiful?”

The flatterers were forced to shout their compliments in loud tones so
that the pretty Lorna could hear them above the noise of the breakers.

“Come in!” she commanded. The young men looked rather ruefully at the
curling waves and the girls took tentative steps in the direction of
their princess. But tentative steps are fatal on a beach like that
with a heavy uncertain sea. The “boiling” that Mabel and Charlie had
just undergone was nothing to the one that the timid young men and
maidens now were subjected to. It was the fault of one young man who
hesitated and was lost. Over he went and clutching wildly grasped the
arm of one of the girls, who in turn pulled down another and then the
merry war went on.

“Help! Help!” they shrieked.

“I reckon they can help one another,” said Jane grimly.

Just as one victim would stagger to his feet, another would clutch
wildly at his legs and over he would go. In the midst of this
confusion another cry rang out shrill and sharp above the rush of the
waters and the squeals of those being “boiled.”

“Help! Oh, help! I’m giving out!”

Jane sprang to her feet. In her amusement over the laughable
predicament of the unwary she had forgotten all about Lorna. Now she
could plainly see that the girl was in distress. Evidently she had
tried to come in to shore and was being carried out by the undertow.
She had lost her head and was struggling wildly. For a moment her head
with the gay cap and handkerchief went under, a huge wave breaking
over her.

Jane dived through the breakers. She was conscious of the fact that
the father was near her. He had turned and walked back towards the
beach, arriving near the friendly dune just as his daughter’s cry for
help rang out.

“My God! It’s Lorna!” he gasped. “Here!” he cried, grabbing one of the
struggling young men out of the breakers just as he was being thrown
up on the sands by a playful wave. “Here, you! My daughter is
drowning!”

“So am I!” gasped the chinless youth.

“You can swim--go get her! Get her man! I can’t swim a stroke.”

The frantic father was rushing up and down like a raging lion. By that
time, all of the party had come out of the boiling with no bones
broken but with rueful countenances.

“A nawsty beach!” announced the other young man.

“But my Lorna! She is drowning!” bellowed the father.

“Lorna! Lorna!” wailed the girls and the youths shivered and tried to
make up their minds to go in after her but the waves seemed to have
redoubled in force and fury. They rose up like walls and broke on the
shore as though determined to smash anything that dared approach them.

“A rope! A rope! Get a rope!” commanded Mr. Breckenridge. But nobody
seemed to know where to get a rope, so nobody got one. “Will none of
you go in and get my girl? Cowards!”

He beat the trembling young men on their cringing backs and tried to
shove them into the water.

“My God! My God! Why did I never learn to swim?”

The shrieks of the distracted friends of Lorna had at last attracted
some of the people from the regular bathing beach and the crowd began
to surge towards the scene of the disaster.

In the meantime Jane with sure eye and steady stroke had cut under the
combing breakers and reached the spot where last she had seen the
drowning girl. She trod water for a moment and peered through the
clear green waves. Ah, there was a flash of the pretty crimson cap and
handkerchief! Without a moment’s hesitation, Jane dived and came up
bearing a limp trophy.

“I reckon it’s a good thing she’s lost consciousness,” thought Jane.
“She can’t struggle and I have some chance of getting in with her.”

She looked back on the beach as a huge wave raised her aloft with her
burden, and wondered if she could make it. It seemed a great way off.

“Of course you can, Jane Pellew! Keep your mouth shut and breathe
through your nose; don’t fight the waves but let them take you in.
Think of the skates’ eggs that are thrown up on the sands, how fragile
they are and still safe. Think of Breck! Think of Father and Jack and
poor Aunt Min! Think of Lorna and what it will mean to Breck’s father
to have his child safe. Poor man!”

Holding Lorna’s head above water as much as possible, she began her
perilous trip ashore. She must time each wave and endeavor to ride it
instead of being overcome by it. Many times she and Frances had
played the game of saving each other and she was thankful for the
skill she had acquired. But she found it quite a different thing
saving Frances who inadvertently helped herself somewhat and saving
this poor limp girl who flopped so piteously and whose head was so
hard to keep above water.

“If Breck would only come!” her heart cried out.

Among the crowd that gathered on the beach there were many good
swimmers but, as sometimes happens in a crowd, a strange panic had
seized them. The run in the loose sand from the bathing beach proper
had winded most of them too and men and women stood shuddering and
watched the black-eyed girl make her fight.

“She will win! She will win!” they comforted themselves by saying.

“Lord! what pluck!”

“Who is it--the drowned girl?”

“Preston Breckenridge’s daughter. He’s the multimillionaire from
California.”

“Money won’t help him much now.”



CHAPTER XIX

THE GOOD OF THE ILL WIND


Mabel waked up just as Jane triumphantly rode her last wave and was
cast up on the sand still holding on to her unconscious burden.

Lorna’s friends, shrieking and crying, threw themselves on her wailing
and moaning:

“She is dead! She is dead!”

“Give her to me!” sternly demanded her stricken father.

Jane was completely exhausted and lay for a moment with her eyes
closed while the crowd of holiday makers closed in around her,
praising her and lauding her to the skies. But Jane’s work was not
over. As soon as she could pull herself together she was on her feet
and, pushing her way unceremoniously through the crowd, she caught Mr.
Breckenridge by the arm where he stood clasping his Lorna to his
broken heart.

“Don’t listen to them! She is not dead! Give her to me. Give her here,
I say! Mabel!” she called, “come and help me.”

Mabel was there in a moment.

“Push the crowd back and come give first aid to the drowning. You know
how.” Jane spoke authoritatively and Mabel took matters into her own
hands. Lorna’s friends were the hardest to manage as they insisted
upon hanging over her and covering her with kisses.

“You are killing her!” Jane spoke sternly. “Mr. Breckenridge, if you
can’t make these people stop, I’ll not answer for your daughter’s
life.”

And now Mr. Breckenridge took matters into his own hands and pushed
away the curious ones who would crowd in and with no gentle hand
pulled the well-meaning if ill-advised friends away from his daughter.

Then Mabel began the process of bringing to life the seemingly dead.
Many times had she practiced this stunt in classes until she knew how
to do it better than any one of the group of Camp Fire Girls.

“That fat girl will mash her,” wailed one of the friends.

“I may be fat but I’m no fool,” retorted Mabel, who had placed Lorna
on her face with arms above her head and face turned to one side. Then
she had seated herself astride the prostrate body and with clever and
strong hands manipulated her lungs. At first it seemed hopeless. The
friends still wailed and it took all of Jane’s strength, and stubborn
determination, combined with Mr. Breckenridge’s, to hold them back
from what they thought was their dead darling.

“She has just swallowed a lot of water,” Jane comforted the stricken
father. “She wasn’t under water long enough to be drowned. Her heart
is all right, isn’t it?”

“As right as a trivet, my dear.”

His “my dear” gave Jane a little thrill.

“She needs all the air she can get and the more people crowd around
her the harder it will be for her,” she said to the father, and to
herself she wailed: “Where, where is Breck?” and she prayed: “Oh, God,
send Breck.”

And Breck came at that moment. Laden with food and with the rest of
the Boojummers Charlie and Breck had started back to the spot where
they had left the girls. From afar off they saw the crowd and began to
run. Suppose something had happened to Jane or Mabel. Breck remembered
with thanksgiving that Jane had promised not to go in the water again
until he got back.

“Good old Jane wouldn’t break her word for a million,” he said to
himself as he raced to see what was the matter anyhow.

Towering above the crowd he saw the head of his own father and
something in his face told him there was tragedy in the air.

Breaking through the crowd to the space kept open by the exertions of
Jane and Mr. Breckenridge, the son caught his father by the hand.

“Father!” he cried.

“Allen! My son! Look, your sister! She is drowned.”

“No, she is not,” put in Jane reassuringly. “See, her breath is coming
back!” and sure enough as Mabel pressed upon the lungs and then
removed the pressure a sign of animation could be discerned in the
prostrate body. The shoulders heaved slightly and there was a
quivering of the long lashes that rested on the marble cheek.

Mabel began to sob.

“Let me take your place, Mabel, please,” suggested Jane.

“Never!” cried Mabel. “I’m just sobbing because I’m so happy. She’s
trying to breathe.”

“She’s going to live,” Jane whispered to Breck.

“I’ve always wanted to bring somebody back ever since the time it was
Miss Min’s riding skirt and not Miss Min that got drowned,” continued
Mabel, still pressing gently but firmly on Lorna’s lungs and then
releasing the pressure.

“I believe, little sister, you tried to take in the whole ocean,” said
Breck, kneeling by Lorna’s side and taking her hand in his after it
was all over and she had come back to consciousness.

“Oh, Allen! And we have found you at last. We have been searching up
and down the coast for days and days,” she whispered faintly. “Father
didn’t know I understood what he was doing, but he couldn’t fool me.
He has been as restless as a caged lion. He was sure he would find you
at Nantucket Town and when you weren’t there he sailed away, but only
went around the island and put in again this morning.”

This was in such a low tone that nobody except Breck heard it, but
Jane noticed that there were tears in his eyes when he got to his feet
and again grasped the hand of his father.

“Father, I want you to know my friends. This is Mr. Wing. I shipped as
common seaman on his yacht, the ‘Boojum,’ but, by a stroke of good
fortune, I am now--er--eating at the captain’s table.”

Breck went down the line introducing his friends, but with an unwonted
shyness saved Jane until the last. Jane stood by looking on and
blushing in spite of herself. Her bathing cap that the waves had
spared had been lost in the scuffle with the crowd and the importunate
friends and her wealth of blue-black hair had fallen about her
shoulders, making her look very handsome. Mr. Breckenridge looked at
the girl keenly as his son at last turned to her. He took her brown
hand in both of his and said:

“Somehow I don’t need to be introduced to this young lady. I know her
already, all but her name. I know she risked her life for a perfect
stranger and I know she has more grit than any man on the beach, as
much grit as any man I have ever known.”

He leant over and kissed her hand. “I can never repay you, my dear,
whatever your name is. There is no way to repay you.”

“Yes there is, sir,” said Jane blushing furiously but smiling bravely.
“You can give your son and me your blessing, because we are thinking
about getting married.”

It was a good thing the crowd had dispersed and gone back to the safer
beach, because crowd or no crowd Breck put his arm around his dear
Jane and kissed her again and again.

Then Charlie felt he should kiss Mabel because she had done such good
work in resuscitating the drowned. And Mr. Breckenridge thanked her
all over again for her wonderful skill.

“Where did you learn how to do it?” he asked.

“Part of being a Camp Fire Girl,” declared Mabel. “Camp Fire Girls are
just hanging around longing for emergencies to occur so they can get
more beads. You needn’t be grateful to me for resuscitating your
daughter. I have been praying for such a chance for ever so long.”

Everybody laughed at Mabel, who usually put her foot in it and never
could get out a long word without mixing it up.

“And you are a Camp Fire Girl too?” Mr. Breckenridge asked Jane.

“Oh yes, and it was being one that made me able to save Lorna. You see
we practice saving people. Mabel doesn’t mean we want things to happen
but that we want to be near by and able to help if things do happen.”

“I see,” he smiled.

“Well, I’m mighty hungry,” put in the irrepressible Mabel.

“Here are the eats,” whispered Charlie. “Hot-dog sandwiches and long
green pickles and ginger ale, but you have to drink out of the
bottles.”

Jane and Mabel could not help being amused to see the elegant persons
who had been so superior not half an hour before and too refined even
to bathe in the ocean with the common herd actually sitting down on
the beach with them, whom they had so ignored, and sharing the crude
luncheon with ill-concealed gusto.

“Excitement always makes me hungry,” sighed Mabel to one of the
chinless youths who was daintily munching a long dill pickle.

As for Lorna’s flattering friends, they watched to see what she would
do and then did likewise even to the extent of a vulgar hot-dog
sandwich.

“I don’t know whether it is good for anyone who has been so near
drowning to eat such food, but I guess you can try it, little Sister,”
laughed Breck.

The warm sun quickly dried the wet suits. Color came back into the wan
faces and laughter was on the lips that had so recently uttered only
moans. It was a merry party. No one could be stiff and elegant very
long with the Boojummers headed by the amusing and altogether natural
Mabel.

Breck watched with pleasure his sister’s interest in Jane. His
father’s eyes were never off his son’s fiancée and in them it was
plain to read supreme satisfaction and approval.

And is this not a very good place to leave our Camp Fire Girls? They
have had a wonderful summer trying to live up to the principles taught
by their organization. Some of the beads they have won will not show
on their strings but will be what Mabel called “character beads.”

Mr. Breckenridge saw to it that the two young women who saved his
daughter’s life should have something more tangible than just
“character beads.” When they got back to New York, they had hardly
reached their hotel, when each received a package by special
messenger. Each box contained a priceless string of pearls, with Mr.
Breckenridge’s card, on which was written.

              Some Camp Fire Beads
                      For
                  A Brave Girl

“Have you told your father about Hurricane Island yet?” Jane asked
Breck.

“Yes, and he merely wanted to know if you approved and was mighty
disappointed to hear most of the stock was bid for already. I guess
we’ll have to let the Governor in on it for a little.” And Jane smiled
a happy assent.

                             THE END





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