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Title: Go-Ahead - Or, The Fisher-Boy's Motto
Author: Castlemon, Harry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: LAUNCHING THE YAWL.]



_THE GO-AHEAD SERIES._


GO-AHEAD;

OR,

THE FISHER-BOY'S MOTTO

BY

HARRY CASTLEMON,

AUTHOR OF "THE GUN-BOAT SERIES," "THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES," ETC.

[Illustration]

  PHILADELPHIA:
  PORTER & COATES.
  CINCINNATI, O.:
  R. W. CARROLL & CO.



FAMOUS CASTLEMON BOOKS.


 =GUNBOAT SERIES.= By HARRY CASTLEMON. Illustrated. 6 vols. 16mo.
 Cloth, extra, black and gold.

FRANK THE YOUNG NATURALIST. FRANK ON A GUNBOAT. FRANK IN THE WOODS.
FRANK BEFORE VICKSBURG. FRANK ON THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI. FRANK ON THE
PRAIRIE.

 =ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES.= By HARRY CASTLEMON. Illustrated. 3 vols.
 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold.

  FRANK AMONG THE RANCHEROS.
  FRANK AT DON CARLOS' RANCHO.
  FRANK IN THE MOUNTAINS.

 =SPORTSMAN'S CLUB SERIES.= By HARRY CASTLEMON. Illustrated. 3 vols.
 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold.

  THE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB IN THE SADDLE.
  THE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB AFLOAT.
  THE SPORTSMAN'S CLUB AMONG THE TRAPPERS.

 =GO-AHEAD SERIES.= By HARRY CASTLEMON. Illustrated. 3 vols. 16mo.
 Cloth, extra, black and gold.

TOM NEWCOMBE. GO-AHEAD. NO MOSS.

 =FRANK NELSON SERIES.= By HARRY CASTLEMON. Illustrated. 3 vols. 16mo.
 Cloth, extra, black and gold.

SNOWED UP. FRANK IN THE FORECASTLE. BOY TRADERS.

 =BOY TRAPPER SERIES.= By HARRY CASTLEMON. Illustrated. 3 vols. 16mo.
 Cloth, extra, black and gold.

  THE BURIED TREASURE; OR, OLD JORDAN'S HAUNT.
  THE BOY TRAPPER; OR, HOW DAVE FILLED THE ORDER.
  THE MAIL-CARRIER.

 =ROUGHING IT SERIES.= By HARRY CASTLEMON. Illustrated. 16mo. Cloth,
 extra, black and gold.

GEORGE IN CAMP.


_Other Volumes in Preparation._

  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
  R. W. CARROLL & CO.,
  In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



CONTENTS.


  CHAPTER                             PAGE

  I. A RAGAMUFFIN,                       5

  II. A LIBERAL PASSENGER,              19

  III. FISHERTOWN IN COUNCIL,           28

  IV. TOM NEWCOMBE'S PLAN,              36

  V. SAM BARTON'S REVENGE,              49

  VI. GOING IN DEBT,                    58

  VII. TOM ORDERS A NEW BOAT,           70

  VIII. THE GO AHEAD NO. 2,             80

  IX. CRUSOE AND HIS MEN,               94

  X. ANOTHER FAILURE,                  107

  XI. TOM'S NEW YACHT,                 122

  XII. TOM LOSES A DINNER,             136

  XIII. MR. NEWCOMBE'S PRESENT,        147

  XIV. BOB MAKES A DISCOVERY,          159

  XV. BOB A PRISONER,                  175

  XVI. BOB FIGHTS FOR HIS LIBERTY,     185

  XVII. PREPARATIONS FOR THE VOYAGE,   201

  XVIII. THE ATTACK ON THE YACHT,      221

  XIX. CRUSOE AFLOAT,                  236

  XX. THE TABLES TURNED,               251

  XXI. HARRY'S REPORT,                 263

  XXII. CONCLUSION,                    276



GO AHEAD;

OR,

THE FISHER-BOY'S MOTTO.



CHAPTER I.

A RAGAMUFFIN.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Jump in, sir," said Bob.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER II.

A LIBERAL PASSENGER.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"But he made a mistake," said Bob.

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER III.

FISHERTOWN IN COUNCIL.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Then he'll get another, somewhere."

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

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



CHAPTER IV.

TOM NEWCOMBE'S PLAN.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"What is it?" asked Bob.

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

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

"Bob Jennings, our fortune's made."

"Our fortune!" echoed the fisher-boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 "For a Fortune, write to

  "E. H. HARRIS & CO.,

  "_Baltimore, Md._"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Twenty-five hundred," said Bob.

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

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

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

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

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

 [CONFIDENTIAL.]

  BALTIMORE, MD., May 31, 18--.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  Your friends and well-wishers,

  E. H. HARRIS & CO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER V.

SAM BARTON'S REVENGE.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: THE WRECK OF THE GO AHEAD. (Page 55.)]

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

"Why, Bobby Jennings, is that you?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VI.

GOING IN DEBT.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"How did you earn so much money?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VII.

TOM ORDERS A NEW BOAT.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VIII.

THE GO AHEAD NO. 2.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"You'll do what?" exclaimed Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IX.

CRUSOE AND HIS MEN.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The traitor hesitated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER X.

ANOTHER FAILURE.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Nothing for you yet!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"How's the yacht?" asked Tom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Send on ten dollars more for the lucky package.

Tom started up and looked at Bob without speaking.



CHAPTER XI.

TOM'S NEW YACHT.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Has your father bought--"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I do!" was the very dignified reply.

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

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

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

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

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

"Shove off, Mr. Graves!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XII.

TOM LOSES A DINNER.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Of course not!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Then who is to pay for her?"

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

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

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

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

"O no, he doesn't!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIII.

MR. NEWCOMBE'S PRESENT.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Lottery business!" drawled Tom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Then you believe they are honorable business men?"

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

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

"O, now, father," began Tom----

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

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

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

"Is she complete in every particular?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIV.

BOB MAKES A DISCOVERY.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"He was a nigger," said Will Atkins.

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

"Call yourself Muley, then!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Well, if here aint that ar Jennings!"

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XV.

BOB A PRISONER.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: BOB A PRISONER IN THE CAVE. (Page 180.)]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XVI.

BOB FIGHTS FOR HIS LIBERTY.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XVII.

PREPARATIONS FOR THE VOYAGE.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Corporal of the guard!" shouted the sentinel.

"O, now, we'd better leave, I tell you," drawled Tom. "He's calling the
corporal, and the first thing we know we'll get into trouble. We might
be captured."

"Not easy. They can't crowd swells enough into that craft to take us,"
said the chief; but, although he talked very boldly, he evidently
thought it best to get a little farther away from the Storm King, for
he dropped his oar into the water and sculled from the spot. The crew
of the yawl heard a hurrying of feet on the deck of the vessel, as
if the students were taking their stations, in readiness to repel an
attack; but that soon died away in the distance, and then the governor
pulled in his oar and sat down.

"Friday," said he, "you an' that ar Jack Spaniard had oughter be
chucked into the harbor."

"What fur?" asked both the spies at once. "What have we been a doin'
now?"

"What did you do to-day, when you came up here to find out how many
fellers there was on board that vessel?" demanded the chief.

"Why, we jest pulled round," answered Friday. "We didn't raise no fuss."

"Didn't them soldiers speak to you?"

"Yes; an' we told 'em that we was jest lookin' round."

"I was sartin of it!" said the governor. "You've knocked our expedition
higher'n the top of Mr. Newcombe's warehouse. Them 'cademy swells are
on the watch now, an' I reckon we'll see some hot times before we can
call ourselves the masters of that craft. But that sha'n't stop me. I
said I'd sail to our island in her, an' I'm goin' to keep my promise."

The members of the Crusoe band were astonished, and not a little
alarmed, at what had just transpired. To the chief it was as plain as
daylight, that something had happened to arouse the suspicions of the
students, and he imagined it was the careless manner in which the two
spies had executed his orders. In this he was mistaken; for the blame
rested entirely with Tom Newcombe. During the day he had accidentally
run against some of the students on the street, and they, having been
made acquainted with the history of the yacht, could not resist the
temptation to talk to Tom about it.

"Newcombe," exclaimed Harry Green, who acted as spokesman for the
party, "you don't know what you are missing by being shut up in that
office all day. Why don't you ask your father to let you come back to
the institute? We are having high old times there."

"O, I don't care if you are!" drawled Tom.

"And just see here!" continued Harry, pulling an official envelope, out
of his pocket. "Here's my appointment as first lieutenant in our navy."

"I don't care," exclaimed Tom. "I don't want to see it. I can't stop to
talk to you, either, for I am in a great hurry."

"O, we'll not detain you," said Harry. "We'll walk with you. Did you
ever hear of a man being an officer in both the army and navy at the
same time? Well, I am. I am captain of company A, and executive officer
of the yacht. I wanted to be commander of her; but Bill Steele passed a
better examination than I did. The students who are studying navigation
are to act as her crew, and, in a few days, the colonel is going to
put her into commission. He is going to send to Boston for a couple
of small cannon for her, and as soon as they arrive, we're going on a
cruise."

"O, now, I don't know whether you are or not," roared Tom, who had
made several unsuccessful attempts to interrupt Harry. "I'll show you
something before you are many days older. I've got an idea."

"Whew!" whistled the first lieutenant of the Storm King, opening his
eyes in amazement. "Have you organized another society, Newcombe, and
do you intend to go to sea in the yacht as we did in the Swallow?"

Harry, as we know, had formerly been a member of the Night-hawks, and
had taken an active part in Tom's runaway scheme; but the one month
extra duty adjudged by the court-martial had opened his eyes, and as
soon as he had worked out the sentence, he turned over a new leaf. The
result was now apparent. He was the ranking captain at the academy, and
the second in command of the Storm King. He was well acquainted with
Tom, and it was a favorite saying of his that, when he got an idea into
his head, he was dangerous.

"I didn't tell you what I intend to do, did I?" drawled Tom.

"No," replied the lieutenant, "but you have said enough to put me on
my guard. Now, Newcombe, if you want to see some fun, bring on your
society and make an attempt to capture the Storm King. We'll take every
one of you to the academy as prisoners of war."

If any other boy in the village had hinted that it was his intention
to capture the yacht, Harry would have thought it a capital joke; but
coming from the source it did, and knowing that Tom had accomplished
wonders in this line, he deemed it best to be prepared for any
emergency. He returned to the academy immediately, and reported the
matter to the lieutenant-colonel, who, just before dark, sent a guard
of twelve students on board the yacht. It was fortunate for the members
of the Crusoe band that they did not attempt to capture her.

The chief did not relinquish his hopes of being able to take the
vessel, as soon as he was ready to start on his cruise, but he did not
then arrange any plan of attack, nor did he have much to say about
the business in hand, until he once more found himself safe under Mr.
Newcombe's wharf. He guided the yawl to the landing, in front of their
hiding-place, and was about to issue some orders to the band, when
Friday intimated to him in a whisper that there was something unusual
going on in the cave. The chief held his breath and listened intently;
but the noise, whatever it was, had ceased.

"Do you reckon that ar Bobby Jennings has got loose?" he asked,
anxiously.

"If he has, we'd best look out," said Jack Spaniard. "He won't be
ketched as easy as he was before. But I didn't hear nothing."

"Well, I did," said Friday. "I heered the rattlin' of a chain, an' the
dog a growlin' like he was fightin' something."

The chief waited to hear no more, but, stepping cautiously out of the
yawl, he took his stand in front of the door and listened.

There was not a boy in the band who did not believe that their prisoner
had succeeded in freeing himself, and that he was at that very moment
on the point of leaving the cave. We ought, perhaps, to except Tom
Newcombe, who now took no interest whatever in what was going on. He
did not care a straw whether the fisher-boy escaped or remained a
prisoner, as he had come to the conclusion that he could not belong to
a society unless he was allowed to have a hand in the management of
its affairs. The other members, however, preferred that Bob should not
regain his liberty just then; but, although they well knew what would
be the result if he succeeded in getting away from them, there was not
one in the band, no, nor two, who would have dared to go into the cave
to attempt his recapture. Sam Barton did not feel exactly safe, even on
the outside of the door; for, after he had listened a moment, he said,
in a whisper:

"Come up around me, fellers, and stick together. If he comes out, don't
give an inch."

The words were scarcely out of the governor's mouth when the board that
concealed the door was removed, and the fisher-boy crawled slowly out
of the cave, only to fall into the arms of his rival.

"Hold him down, lads," said the chief, as Bob struggled furiously with
his captors. "What's this yere he's got in his hand? A hatchet? Friday,
take it away from him! An' you, Xury, go into the cave an' fetch out
that rope. You were tryin' to get away, were you, Bobby Jennings? We'll
fix you this time. It beats all the world how he got by that ar dog."

"Why, he's killed him," exclaimed Xury, who, on going into the cave
after the rope, stumbled over the body of Sam's favorite. "If he aint
as teetolly dead as a smoked herring, I hope I may never take another
passenger across this harbor."

This announcement created great consternation among the band, and some
of the members were undecided whether to retain their hold upon the
prisoner, or to jump up and take to their heels. From some cause or
other, they seemed to believe that a boy who was brave enough to use a
hatchet, even on a bull-dog, was a dangerous fellow to have about.

"Killed!" repeated the governor, in astonishment. "Be you sartin an'
sure he's dead?"

Xury struck a match in order to satisfy himself on that point; and as
soon as the lantern was lighted, Tom, who was the only one, besides
the boy in the cave, not employed in holding the prisoner, drawled out--

"O yes, he's as dead as a door-nail. If there's going to be so much
quarreling and fighting goin' on, I don't want any thing more to do
with your society."

"There haint been no quarrelin' an' fightin' yet, that I know of," said
the chief, as he held Bob's arms behind him, while Friday tied them
with the rope Xury threw out to them. "I don't allow no such work among
my men. Pick him up an' carry him in, lads," he added, as soon as he
had satisfied himself that his prisoner was once more secure. "Now,
Bobby Jennings, I reckon you'll stay here fur awhile."

The first thought that passed through the fisher-boy's mind, when he
again found himself a prisoner, was, that the governor would revenge
the death of the dog by giving him a thrashing; but, to his surprise,
he had very little to say about it. After seeing his prisoner disposed
of, he examined the oar which had been broken during the fight, looked
at the hatchet Bob had used, and finally, he glanced at the dog. "He
wasn't much account, no how," said he. "Any animal that'll let such a
lookin' feller as Friday whip him in a fair fight, with nothin' but a
boat-hook, wouldn't do much good huntin' goats. Ketch hold of the chain
an' haul him out, lads."

Every member of the band lent prompt and cheerful assistance in
carrying out this order. The dog had not been a favorite with them, and
they were not sorry to get rid of him.

"Now, then," continued the governor, "it's understood that to-morrow
night we'll capture that yacht an' be off fur our island. I don't mind
sayin' this before you, Bobby Jennings, 'cause it aint no ways likely
that I'll be dunce enough to give you another chance to get away from
us."

"But what are we goin' to do with him, governor?" asked Will Atkins.
"If we leave him tied up here in the cave, he'll starve to death; an'
if we let him go when we get ready to start, he'll be sartin to tell
Mr. Grimes of every thing that has been goin' on here."

"Now, you jest let me alone fur takin' care of all such things as
that," replied the chief. "If I haint got sense enough to know what had
oughter be done with him, I aint fit to be the leader of this band.
We'll take him with us, of course, an' land him on some island; an' by
the time he gets back here, we'll be miles an' miles at sea."

"But, perhaps he can't find his way back," drawled Tom.

"That's his lookout, an' not mine. He hadn't no business to go spyin'
round here. If he had minded his own affairs, he wouldn't have been in
this trouble. Atkins, how much money have you got?"

"A trifle over twenty dollars," answered the treasurer.

"You're sure you didn't spent none of it fur candy or pea-nuts!" said
the chief, looking at him very sharply.

"Honor bright, I haint," replied Atkins, who had not forgotten the
whipping he once received for being unfaithful to his trust.

"Twenty dollars aint much to brag on," said the governor, thoughtfully.
"We'd had more if it hadn't been for you, Bobby Jennings."

"How would you have got it?" inquired the fisher-boy, who was greatly
interested in all the proceedings of the Crusoe band, even though he
was held as a prisoner.

"Why, we wouldn't have started on our voyage until next week. That
would have give us time to paint this boat over, an' sell her to
somebody. You've jest cheated us out of fifteen or twenty dollars, by
your spyin' round, 'cause I know I could have sold the skiff fur that.
Now, we'll have to be off at once; 'cause your mother is makin' a
monstrous fuss about you."

"And we'll certainly be found out," drawled Tom. "If I was governor I
would set him at liberty immediately."

"Now, Muley, who asked you fur any advice?" demanded the chief,
angrily. "I am the head man of this band, an' I don't need no mates an'
lieutenants, like they have up to the 'cademy."

"We had oughter have some more grub," said Jack Spaniard, who was
commissary of the band. "We haint got nothing but a few crackers, an'
mebbe they won't last till we find our island."

"Well, it aint best to buy none here," said the chief. "We'll stop at
some city an' lay in a supply. I wonder if we'll go by Boston! Will we,
Muley?"

"O, how do I know!" drawled Tom.

"You had oughter know. You've been to sea, an that's one reason why I
wanted you in the band. What do you say about it, Bobby? Will we see
Boston?"

"I think not," answered the prisoner.

"I wonder where Crusoe's island is, anyhow," said Xury. "Mebbe we'll
find it, if we look around. Do you know where it is, Bobby?"

"The book says it was somewhere near South America," replied the
fisher-boy, who was astonished at the ignorance of the members of the
band, and desirous of learning all their ideas on the subject.

"Is that fur from here?"

"Yes, it is a very nice little journey. You'll be tired of life on
ship-board before you get there."

"But what makes you think that we won't see Boston, Bobby?" inquired
the governor.

"Because you don't know how to sail to get there; and, besides, if you
succeed in capturing the Storm King, you'll be wrecked before you get
out of Buzzard's Bay."

"I'd like to know what's the reason! Didn't them 'cademy swells run
away in the Swallow, an' didn't they go miles an' miles out of sight of
land, an' never got wrecked?"

"They did," replied Bob; "but then, you must remember that there were
some excellent sailors among the students."

"That's so!" said Tom. "I was first-mate of the Swallow during that
cruise."

"Do you know any thing about navigation, Sam?" asked the fisher-boy.

"What's that?"

"It is something every sea captain has to understand. It is the science
that teaches you what course to sail to reach the port you want to go
to, and how to take advantage of the winds and currents."

The governor backed toward his seat beside the flour barrel, and made
no reply. He did not quite understand what his prisoner had said to
him, but he could not help seeing that an obstacle had suddenly arisen
in his path.

"The book don't say that Crusoe knew any thing about that," said Will
Atkins, coming to the assistance of the chief.

"Of course it don't," said the governor, immensely relieved. "But don't
it say something about currents? When Crusoe tried to sail around his
island in his boat, he came near bein' carried out to sea an' lost. If
we don't look out, we might get in as much danger as he was."

"Very likely you'll get in more danger, if you ever go to sea in the
Storm King," said the fisher-boy. "Crusoe never was in any danger, for
no such man ever lived."

"Bobby Jennings!" exclaimed the governor, springing to his feet and
catching up the boat-hook, "if you say that again I'll rap you over
the head. I know better! I know there was such a man, 'cause don't
this book tell all about him? He had a jolly time there on his island,
huntin' goats an' watchin' fur injuns, an' that's the way we're goin'
to live. But we've talked long enough! Get to work, all of you, an'
pack up them things. While you're doin' that, I'll make some spears.
You know," he went on to explain, "that every one of them 'cademy
fellers has a gun with a bayonet on it! Them guns aint loaded, be they,
Muley?"

Tom replied that they were not.

"That's all right!" continued the chief. "I've just thought up a way to
whip 'em easy. I'll have to spile these oars, though."

Bob leaned back against his skiff and watched the preparations for
departure with a good deal of interest. Several small dry goods boxes
had been provided for this very event, and while the band was busy
packing away the outfit in them, the chief employed himself in making
the spears, which he did by cutting down the blades of the oars with
a hatchet. When the first one was completed, he handed it to Tom, and
asked his opinion of it.

"You know all about them bayonets, Muley," said he. "Can they reach as
fur with them as we can with these spears?"

"O, now, how can I tell?" drawled Tom.

"I'm sartin you know all about it, Muley, 'cause you've had a heap
better chance to learn them things than I have. An' you know all about
them winds an' currents Bobby was talkin' about, don't you?"

"Do you suppose I've been to sea for nothing?"

"No I don't; an' that's why I am goin' to make you captain of the
yacht, when we get her. Will you take it, Muley?"

If the governor could have read the thoughts that were passing through
the mind of the new member at that moment, he never would have offered
him the position of captain of the vessel. Tom had concluded that he
had seen enough of the Crusoe band; that he would have nothing more to
do with boys who could not appreciate the honor he conferred upon them
by becoming a member of their society; and the last idea that had taken
possession of him was, that he ought to contrive some way to punish
Sam Barton. The latter almost invariably addressed him in an imperious
tone, as if he regarded it as his right to command, and Tom's duty to
obey, and that was something the new member could not endure. He first
thought he would turn traitor to the society, and expose every thing
to Mr. Grimes, the constable. That would undoubtedly be a good way to
punish the chief, but the latter would, very likely, be revenged by
disclosing the fact that Tom was a member of his band, and that he had
tried to induce him to run away in the Storm King. That was something
the new member wanted to keep secret. If his father heard of it, there
was no knowing what might happen; and if it got to the ears of the
village boys, they never would cease to torment him about it. Besides,
if he took this way of punishing the governor, it would defeat the very
object for which Tom joined the Crusoe band. Sam would no doubt be put
in jail, to be tried for stealing the skiff, and that would leave the
yacht in the hands of the principal of the academy.

He very soon saw that this plan would not work, and the next resolve he
made was, that he would visit the fisher-boy after the band had gone
home, and offer to release him if he would promise that he would not
say a word about Tom's being a member of the society, and that he would
put no obstacles in the way of the governor to prevent him from seizing
the yacht and leaving the village. By this arrangement, he could be
revenged upon the teachers of the academy, and upon the new officers
of the Storm King, and no one would suspect that he had had any thing
to do with the matter. It was by no means certain that this plan would
have worked, had it been put to the test, but still the new member had
decided to try it, when the chief's offer drove all these ideas out of
his head.

"What do you say, Muley?" asked Sam. "Will you take it?"

"I will," replied Tom, eagerly. "I am glad to see that you have come
to your senses. I didn't think you would be foolish enough to try to
take the vessel to sea yourself. You would very soon have got us into
trouble, for it needs somebody who understands the winds and currents
to fill so responsible a position. I'll take it, if you will call me
captain hereafter. I never did like that other name."

"It's a bargain," said the governor. "Now, listen, men," he added,
turning to the band. "Muley's name is changed to cap'n. He is to be
master of the vessel when we get her, an' he is the second officer in
the band till we reach our island."

The boys raised no objections to this arrangement; in fact, they were
delighted with it; for they had been convinced, by what their prisoner
had said, that they could not proceed very far on the journey toward
their island without some competent person to take command of the
vessel; and as they knew that Tom had been on a six months' voyage, and
that he had been second in command of the sloop, during the cruise of
the Night-hawks, they thought he was just the very man they wanted.

"Now, then," said the chief, after all the articles that comprised
their outfit, except the guns, had been packed away in the dry goods
boxes, "that's all we can do to-night. We'll keep the guns out, to
scare them 'cademy fellers. When we board the yacht we'll have a gun,
cocked an' capped, in one hand, an' a spear in the other, an' we'll
make 'em believe that if they raise any fuss, or show fight, we'll
shoot 'em down. But the spears are what we'll have to depend on. The
meetin's out, now."

The governor then carefully examined the ropes with which the prisoner
was confined; after which he ordered the band into the boat, and Bob
was once more left to his meditations.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE ATTACK ON THE YACHT.


Tom Newcombe's feelings had undergone a very great change during the
last ten minutes. He was an officer now, and he no longer thought of
turning traitor to the band, or of releasing the fisher-boy; but he was
willing to use his best endeavors to render the expedition successful.
It was not his intention to long answer to the name of captain; he
preferred to be called governor; and he would use the office Sam had
given him as a stepping-stone to something higher.

Tom had but one object in life. It occupied all his waking thoughts;
he dreamed about it when he was asleep; and from it sprang all these
ridiculous ideas he sometimes got into his head. He wanted to live
at his ease. He desired to engage in some occupation that would run
along smoothly, without any care or exertion on his part, and in which
he would be free from the troubles and perplexities that fell to the
lot of ordinary mortals. He had become greatly interested in Sam
Barton's plan, and he believed that all that was needed to insure him
unbounded happiness for the remainder of his days, was a habitation
on some desert island, in the middle of the ocean, where, in company
with half a dozen congenial spirits, he could while away the hours of
a dreamy existence, with no stern father to demolish his air-castles,
and no merciless village boys to make sport of his grand ideas. Then
there would be nothing to trouble him, and he could pass the time
serenely in hunting goats, squirrels, and quails--he did not intend
to stop until he found an island that abounded in small game of every
description--and when he became weary of the sport, he could lounge
in the shade of his tent, and eat raisins and talk to his parrot.
Although he was not just then on very good terms with Johnny Harding,
Gus Miller, and Harry Green, he would have preferred their society to
the companionship of the ignorant ferry-boys, who were continually
showing the muscles on their arms, and who talked about nothing but the
numerous fights in which they had been engaged.

This, however, was out of the question; and, rather than remain in the
village, to be tormented by his acquaintances, he would go with the
Crusoe band. But, in order to enjoy himself to the fullest extent,
he must be chief of the organization. He had managed societies which
numbered thirty and forty members, and managed them well, too, and he
could not be satisfied with any divided authority. Sam Barton must give
place to his betters--that was a settled fact. There was one point Tom
could not decide just then, and that was how to go to work to induce
the band to break the chief and appoint him in his stead. But in this
he concluded that he would be governed by circumstances, hoping that
when the proper time arrived, something would "turn up" in his favor.
As soon as he became fairly established as chief of the band, Sam must
be disposed of, for he was a dangerous fellow, and might make him a
great deal of trouble. Perhaps the best thing that could be done with
him would be to put him ashore on some island, as he intended to do
with the fisher-boy.

Tom thought these matters over before he went to sleep that night, and
they were the first that came into his mind when he awoke the next
morning. As soon as he had eaten his breakfast, he went down to the
office, and at the door he met two boys, who, he afterward learned,
were the midshipmen belonging to the Storm King. Of course they were
acquainted with the particulars of Tom's business transactions with Mr.
Graves, and, like all the rest of the village boys, they had something
to say about it.

"How are you, Newcombe?" exclaimed one. "We came here to inquire how
much that vessel cost you. She is a beauty, and I am going to build one
exactly like her when I get home."

"Your father is a capital fellow," said the other. "He knows just what
boys want, don't he?"

"O, no, he don't!" drawled Tom. "He don't know what I want; if he did,
he would have given me that yacht. Never mind! You fellows had better
look out."

"We've understood that you have another idea. Why didn't you try to
carry it out last night? You were around there in a yawl."

"O, now, who said I was around there?"

"Why, we heard your voice. We were in hopes you would board us, for we
wanted to see who belonged to your new society. Who are they, Newcombe?
Johnny Harding says he is not a member."

"What's your rank now, Tom? Grand commander, or general, or captain, or
what!"

Tom, too angry to reply, abruptly left the midshipmen, and walked into
the office. They would have followed him, but he slammed the door in
their faces and locked it. As it was early in the morning, none of
the clerks had yet made their appearance, and Tom had the office to
himself. His first duty was to sweep out--a task he never executed
without crying; for his idea was, that every time he performed any
work with his hands, he was disgracing himself. After he left the
midshipmen, he shed a few tears, and grumbled a good deal. "Thank
goodness, this is the last time I shall ever sweep out this office,"
said he to himself. "To-morrow morning, at this time, I shall be within
sight of the ocean, and far away from Johnny Harding, and Harry Green,
and all the rest of the fellows who are continually bothering me about
that yacht. I'll be my own master then, and if I ever touch a broom or
duster again, I'll know the reason why. Of course, the vessel must be
kept clean while we are on our cruise, but I am the captain, and I can
make the others do the work. When we reach our island, somebody will
have to sweep out the cave and tent; but I won't do it, for I'll be
governor of the band by that time. I'll help plant the rice and wheat,
and shoot goats, and keep a lookout for Indians, and have an eye on all
that is going on, for, of course, that is the duty of the governor; but
I'll work when I please, and play when I feel like it; and there'll be
nobody to say to me--? 'Thomas, you'll wear a poor man's clothes the
longest day you live!'"

As was always the case with Tom, when about to engage in any of his
grand schemes, he lived in a state of intense excitement all that
day. He was constantly harassed by the fear, which sometimes almost
amounted to a conviction, that something would happen to defeat the
enterprise. The fisher-boy might succeed in making his escape; or Mr.
Grimes, who, he knew, was closely watching Sam Barton, might discover
something; or the guard of the yacht might be too strong for them, and
he and the rest of the band might be captured, and taken to the academy
as prisoners of war; or the principal, or some of the students, might
call upon Mr. Newcombe and inform him that his son had another idea;
in short, there were a thousand ways in which the affair might get
noised abroad. Tom was especially uneasy whenever any body spoke of Bob
Jennings. No one suspected that he knew any thing about him, but, as
he and the fisher-boy had been seen together a good deal of late, two
or three of the clerks inquired what he had done with his "friend and
partner," and Tom drawled out in reply--

"O, now, is any body paying me for keeping an eye on that fellow?"

The prevailing opinion seemed to be, that Bob, having become
discouraged by the loss of his two boats, and despairing of ever being
able to pay the debt he owed to Mr. Graves, had escaped from his
troubles by running away. Indeed, his mother was the only one in the
village who thought differently. Of course, she could not account for
his disappearance, but she had faith in the good resolutions Bob made
the night he cut his new motto in the boards under the eaves, and she
believed that time would make all things right.

To Tom's relief, the twelve o'clock bell rang at last. He went
home with his father, and, as soon as he had eaten his dinner, he
went up stairs to his room and packed his valise. When this was
accomplished, he went down to the office again, where he lived in a
most uncomfortable frame of mind until six o'clock in the evening.
Then there were two hours more to be passed away in some manner, for
the chief, the night before, had ordered the members of the band to
present themselves on an unfrequented part of the beach, in Fishertown,
at eight o'clock. As the hour approached, Tom felt more and more like
backing out. He was troubled with the most gloomy thoughts, in which
the elements seemed to sympathize with him. About half-past seven,
a furious storm arose. The lightning flashed incessantly, the wind
blew a perfect gale, the rain fell in torrents, the surf roared on the
beach, and the would-be captain of the Storm King, as he stood at his
window and looked out into the darkness, shuddered at the thought of
taking a vessel to sea in the face of such a tempest. It was a wonder
that his courage did not give away altogether; but he recalled to mind
the treatment he had already experienced at the hands of the village
boys, pictured to himself the life of glorious ease he could lead, when
he once became fairly settled on his island, and drawing in a long
breath, he caught up his valise, walked cautiously down stairs and out
into the storm, and, without a single feeling of remorse, turned his
back upon the home he hoped never to see again. Without stopping to
look behind him, he hurried along the streets in the direction of the
beach, being obliged to stop and turn his back to the storm now and
then, to recover his breath. He passed through Fishertown, which seemed
to be entirely deserted, and bent his steps toward a dilapidated cabin
that stood on the beach, so close to the water's edge that the surf
washed over his feet as he approached the door. All was dark within,
but as Tom entered, a voice, which was almost drowned by the whistling
of the wind through the rafters, and the roaring of the waves on the
beach, called out--

"Who comes there?"

"Captain Newcombe," was the response.

The light of a lantern flashed through the darkness, and Tom discovered
the members of the Crusoe band crouching in one corner of the cabin,
drenched to the skin by the rain, which beat in upon them through the
broken roof.

"I am glad to see you, cap'n," said the governor, joyfully. "We were
afraid that you were goin' to back out, but I am satisfied now that you
can be depended on. If the clerk of the weather was a member of our
society, he couldn't have given us a better night. But, cap'n, are you
sure that you can handle the vessel after we get her? It's purty rough
outside, an' many an old sailor would shake his head at the idea of
goin' to sea in such a storm."

"I am not afraid," said Tom. "Just give me one good mate, and I'll take
care of you."

"Well, how will Xury do? He's a good hand with a sail-boat, an' he's
traveled up an' down the bay often enough to know it like a book."

"He's just the man I want," said Tom, who felt that a great
responsibility had been removed from his shoulders.

"Xury," said the chief, "you're first-mate of the yacht, now. Do jest
as the capt'n tells you, an' you won't get us into no trouble. Pick up
your plunder, an' let's make a break; for the quicker we get to work,
the sooner we'll be on our way toward our island."

As the chief spoke, he hid his lantern under his coat, shouldered his
bundle of clothing, and led the way out of the cabin to the yawl, which
was drawn up on the beach, out of reach of the surf. It required the
exercise of considerable perseverance, and the outlay of the united
strength of the band, to launch the boat through the waves, and while
this was being done, Tom began to realize the fact that they had a
most uncomfortable night for their cruise. The wind swept the beach in
fitful gusts, beating the rain and spray furiously into his face; and
when the lightning illuminated the scene, he could see that the sky
was covered with black, angry-looking clouds, and that the waters of
the bay were being tossed about in great commotion, but Tom never once
thought of turning back. Since he received the appointment of captain
of the yacht, a new spirit seemed to have taken possession of him. He
was no longer afraid of facing the bayonets of the guard, and if the
attack on the yacht had proved a failure, he would have been the first
to propose that they should begin their cruise in Sam's yawl.

Regardless of soiling his boots and clothing, he worked as hard as any
of the band to launch the boat, wading in water up to his knees, and
sometimes being almost smothered by the great waves that came rolling
toward the beach. The chief had been thoughtful enough to supply the
yawl with oars, and it was well he did so. Even then, it was a long
time before they succeeded in getting fairly started. Slowly, inch by
inch, they worked their way against the wind and waves, and at last
they reached the harbor, where the water was comparatively quiet. In
ten minutes more they were in their cave, and the governor breathed a
good deal easier when he found that his prisoner had not found means to
effect his escape. Without any unnecessary delay, the band began the
work of carrying the dry goods boxes out of the cave, and stowing them
away in the yawl. This was accomplished in a few minutes, and then the
governor, after putting the volume of Robinson Crusoe carefully away in
the pocket of his pea-jacket, called his followers around him, to give
them their final instructions.

"Now, then," said he, "you fellers must take charge of your we'pons,
an' when we get into the yawl, put them where you can get your hands on
'em at a moment's warnin'. You can depend on these things," he added,
as he distributed the spears he had made the evening before, "'cause
they are as sharp as needles; an' if one of them 'cademy swells gets
punched with 'em, I reckon he'll walk turkey. I don't 'spose we'll
have much chance to use 'em, 'cause it aint no ways likely that them
soldiers are loafin' about the deck in this storm; but, after all,
it's best to be on the safe side. Friday, when we start, you will take
the bow oar. We will come up alongside of the yacht, an' the minute we
stop, you will jump out an' make the yawl's painter fast to something.
While you are doin' that, the rest of us will board her, an' the first
thing them 'cademy fellers know, we'll have 'em fastened up in the
cabin."

"Then, what will we do?" asked Tom; "if we shut the students up in the
cabin, I can't go down there to get to my state-room; and I am not
going to sleep on deck while I am captain. It wouldn't look well."

"Well, then, we'll rush 'em down through the cabin an' into the hold,"
said the chief. "But, whatever we do, we must be lively about it,
'cause it aint best to give 'em a fair show. Now, if we are all ready,
we'll be off. We'll leave your skiff in the cave here, Bobby, an' when
you get back, you'll know where to find it."

"Why can't you let me loose, Sam?" asked the fisher-boy. "I don't like
to go out in this storm with my hands and feet tied. Suppose the yawl
should be capsized, what would become of me?"

"Now, don't you be uneasy," replied the governor. "We'll take care of
you, an' so long as you behave yourself, like a man had oughter do,
we'll see that nothin' don't harm you. Pick him up and take him out,
lads."

In spite of his remonstrances, Friday and Jack Spaniard took Bob up in
their arms, carried him out of the cave, and laid him away in the yawl,
under the thwarts, as if he had been a log of wood. He was far from
being satisfied with the chief's assurance that he would take care of
him. He knew that Sam was a skillful boatman, but the storm was still
raging violently, and in the confusion occasioned by boarding the yawl,
some accident might happen. However, there was no help for it. He was
securely bound, and all he could do was to commend himself to his usual
good luck, and abide the issue.

As soon as he had been disposed of, the band took their places in the
yawl, and the governor once more went into the cave, to make sure that
nothing was left behind. Then, after carefully closing the door, he
sprang into the yawl, and shoved off into the darkness. They went the
entire length of the harbor, and through all the shipping that lay
at the wharves, without accident, and finally, a flash of lightning
revealed to them the Storm King, riding at her anchorage, in the rear
of the academy grounds, which here extended down to the water's edge.

"Give way strong," commanded the chief, in an excited voice. "Friday,
you be ready to jump out with that painter the minute we stop. Bobby
Jennings, one word out of you, an' you go overboard. Remember, lads,
one quick rush, an' she's our'n. Stick together, an' don't be afraid to
punch the first one that shows fight."

The crew bent to their oars with a will, and the yawl skimmed over the
waves like a duck. The governor, who was at the helm, kept the boat
headed up the harbor until he passed the yacht, when he rounded to
under her stern, and ran up alongside of her, without being hailed.

"Way enough," whispered the chief. The oars were taken in and laid upon
the thwarts. Friday sprang up with the painter in one hand, and the
boat-hook in the other. The governor stood in the stern-sheets, holding
his lantern under his coat, and directing the yawl's course through the
darkness, while the rest of the crew caught up their spears and awaited
the further commands of their leader. The yawl continued to approach
the vessel, and presently she was lifted on the crest of a wave, at
the same instant that a flash of lightning showed the Crusoe band
that the sloop's deck was deserted, with the exception of a solitary
sentinel, who, wrapped up in his overcoat, stood sheltering himself
behind the mast.

The next moment, in spite of all the governor's efforts to prevent it,
the yawl was dashed against the side of the vessel with a shock that
would have aroused all the students on board of her, if they had not
been the very soundest of sleepers.

"Boat ahoy!" shouted the sentinel, running to the side, and looking
down into the darkness. "By gracious? corporal of the guard!" he added,
in a louder tone, as another flash of lightning revealed the yawl and
her crew. "Better keep off, if you don't want to get into trouble.
Corporal of the guard!"

"Tumble up lively, lads," exclaimed the governor, and, suiting the
action to the word, he sprang upon the deck of the Storm King, only to
be met by a savage thrust from the bayonet of the guard, who manfully
stood his ground, and shouted for the corporal. Fortunately for the
chief, his man Friday was close at hand. He had made the yawl's painter
fast, and charged upon the sentinel with his boat-hook, just in time to
prevent him from doing the governor a serious injury.

"Forward," shouted the chief, pulling his lantern out from under his
coat. "Drive this yere swell below!"

The rest of the band, having reached the deck almost as soon as their
leader, rushed upon the guard, who, after trying in vain to defend
himself, threw down his gun and retreated into the cabin.

"Foller him up, lads! Foller him up!" shouted the chief, flourishing
his spear in the air. "Cap'n, you an' Friday an' Jack Spaniard look out
for that galley!"

By thus dividing his force, Sam had got the students completely
surrounded. The chief and his squad followed the sentinel down the
companion ladder, while the captain and his men rushed into the galley,
and thence into the forecastle, where they surprised four students,
asleep in the bunks, and a corporal, nodding in his chair. The noise
made by the attacking party, and the bright light that flashed in their
faces, when Tom turned up the lamp that hung suspended from the beams
overhead, aroused the guard, who, upon beholding the intruders, reached
rather hurriedly for their muskets. But they were in the possession
of Friday and Jack Spaniard, who pointed the bayonets at them, and in
savage tones demanded their surrender.

"Tom Newcombe, is that you?" exclaimed the corporal, rubbing his eyes,
and taking a second look at the captain.

"O, yes, it's I," replied Tom, who, excited as he was, could not forget
his usual drawl. "You asked me why I didn't carry out my idea last
night. I am carrying it out now. Get up, and go into the hold. You are
all prisoners!"

"Well, now, I call this a pretty good joke!" exclaimed another, raising
up in his bunk, and looking first at Tom, and then at his ragged
followers. "How did you get by the sentinel on deck?"

"Why, we captured him, that's the way we got by him! And I think you'll
find it's no joke, either, before we are done with you. Get up, and do
as I tell you!" he added, sharply, as he heard the students pouring
into the hold from the cabin.

The guard had no alternative but to obey. They crawled slowly out of
their bunks, and one of them asked, as he gathered up his clothing, and
nodded his head toward Friday and Jack Spaniard--

"Are these gentlemen members of your new society, Newcombe? You must be
running with a delightful crowd, now."

"Go in there, and don't stop to talk!" repeated Tom, stamping his foot
and pointing to the door that led from the galley. The students obeyed
without any further remarks, and as soon as they had disappeared in the
hold, the door was closed and fastened.

Tom was captain of the Storm King at last!



CHAPTER XIX.

CRUSOE AFLOAT.


So thought Tom Newcombe, as he held the door that opened from the
galley into the hold, while Friday locked and further secured it, by
bracing two of the captured muskets against it. Hardly had this been
done, when the noise of a furious struggle came from the cabin, mingled
with shouts and yells; and, at the same time, some one in the hold
threw himself against the door, and tried to burst it open.

"Stand firm, men!" exclaimed a voice, which Tom knew belonged to Harry
Green. "Remember the motto, on our flag, and 'Don't give up the ship!'"

Then came the governor's battle-cry: "Down with the 'cademy swells!
Drive 'em in the hold, an' shut 'em up!"

Tom waited to hear no more. The chief was in trouble, and perhaps
needed assistance. He sprang up the ladder that led to the deck, and
rushed to the companion-way, just in time to see the governor and his
band falling back before a crowd of students, who poured out of the
hold like bees from a hive. The first-lieutenant of the yacht led the
way, flourishing a piece of a chair, with which he defended himself
from the savage thrusts Sam aimed at him with his spear. Close behind
him came a tall, active student, armed with a pillow, which he used
with considerable effect; for, just as Tom reached the top of the
companion-ladder, where he could look down into the cabin, he saw Xury
knocked head overheels by a blow from this novel weapon. Immediately
afterward another of the students disabled Will Atkins by throwing a
quilt over his head, which he had snatched from a bunk in one of the
state-rooms. The muskets of the guard were stacked in the after end of
the cabin, and Tom saw that the students were fighting their way toward
them. If they succeeded in reaching them, the battle would be speedily
ended, and Harry would be able to fulfill his threat of taking Tom and
his band to the academy, as prisoners of war.

"Hurrah!" shouted Harry Green, as he saw two of the attacking party
stretched on the floor of the cabin. "Surrender, Sam Barton! Drop that
oar!"

"Surrender yourself!" shouted Friday and Jack Spaniard, springing down
the ladder and placing themselves beside the chief.

By a dexterous movement with his boat-hook, Friday succeeded in
disarming the first-lieutenant; and Atkins and Xury, having recovered
their feet, each seized a musket and renewed the battle. Tom, thinking
that he could assist the governor without fighting for him, stood at
the foot of the companion-ladder, and called lustily for help from some
imaginary followers.

"Bring the rest of the men in out of the boat!" he shouted, looking up
into the darkness, as if he was addressing some one on deck; "and go
and tell those fellows in the galley to come here."

"Down with the 'cademy swells!" shouted the chief again, encouraged by
the arrival of his reënforcements. "Drive 'em back! Punch 'em in the
ribs!"

If the students had been on equal terms with their assailants, all
the shouting Sam could have done would not have decided the battle
in his favor. The boys composing the guard belonged to the Storm
King, and among them were several officers--lieutenants, masters, and
midshipmen--who would willingly have borne almost any amount of bodily
suffering rather than surrender the yacht. Like all "old sailors,"
they had become strongly attached to their vessel, and they defended
her with as much resolution as they would have exhibited had she been
a human being, capable of appreciating their affection. Besides, their
reputation as officers and seamen were at stake. The result of this
night's work would be brought up at the next examination, either for
or against them; and, if they lost the vessel, it would be regarded
as evidence that they were not worthy of being trusted, and rival
students would have occasion for rejoicing. More than that, although
they were at a loss to imagine what object Tom had in view in seizing
the yacht--for they were certain that he was the prime mover in the
affair--they knew that it was his intention to take her to sea; a
proceeding that would not only endanger their vessel, but the life
of every boy on board of her. The officers of the Storm King had been
appointed after a rigid examination, and, consequently, they were the
best sailors at the academy. They were all worthy of the positions
they held, but it is doubtful if even the promise of promotion would
have induced the bravest of them to take the yacht to sea in the face
of the tempest that was then raging. But, with all these motives to
animate them, the students could not fight unarmed against the weapons
of the Crusoe band. They experienced the same feelings that soldiers
experience in actual warfare; and, indeed, that was not surprising, for
the affair in the cabin was a real battle. Crusoe and his men fought
with the utmost fury--even including Tom Newcombe, who, after calling
upon his imaginary companion on deck, to send down more help, sprang to
the side of the chief, and assisted in driving the students back from
their muskets, which were almost within reach. He also imagined that
he was fighting for his reputation. If the attack failed, he would be
forever disgraced. He would be taken to the academy as a prisoner, it
would become known throughout the village that he was the companion and
associate of young robbers, and then, what would become of him? What
would his father say about it? With Sam, the case was different. He
feared no disgrace, but he did fear Mr. Grimes, the police magistrate,
and the jail. His case was desperate; and it was no wonder that he
fought like a young tiger.

"That's it, lads?" exclaimed the chief, as the students fell back,
when they saw the reënforcements coming down the ladder, and heard Tom
calling for more men. "Down with the 'cademy swells!"

The attack was too furious to be successfully resisted. The students
retreated in confusion, and when the last one had been driven into the
hold, the door was closed and fastened.

"Well done, lads!" exclaimed the governor, leaning on his spear, and
surveying the battle-field, and the valiant warriors who surrounded
him. "We said we'd do it, an' we've kept our promise. Cap'n, I turn the
vessel over to you."

"I say, Newcombe!" shouted the first-lieutenant of the Storm King, from
his prison, "I want to ask you a question."

"Well, ask away," drawled the captain.

"I want to know if you are commander of the yacht now?"

"I am," answered Tom, with becoming dignity.

"Are you going to take her to sea to-night?"

Tom replied that he was.

"It is all up with us, boys," said Harry, turning to his fellow
prisoners. "If Newcombe ever gets the yacht outside the harbor, we're
booked for Davy's Locker, sure. How does he suppose he can manage a
vessel like this in a storm, when he can scarcely handle a little
sail-boat in calm weather?"

"All hands on deck!" commanded Tom, who did not hear what Harry said.
"Bear a hand, and get the outfit aboard! Jump down into the yawl, a
couple of you, and pass up those boxes! Xury, see that they are stowed
away in the cabin and galley!"

The chief and one of his men sprang into the boat, and the first thing
they handed up to their companions on deck was the fisher-boy, who had
lain under the thwarts during the fight, heartily wishing that Sam and
his band might be defeated, so that he would be released. His situation
was a trying one indeed. To be obliged to remain bound hand and foot,
while an ignorant, unskillful young captain was taking him out to sea,
would have tried stronger nerves than his. While the governor and his
men were lifting him to the deck--an operation of some difficulty,
owing to the constant rocking of the vessel--he renewed his entreaties
that they would release his hands and feet, and he even went so far as
to promise that, if allowed the freedom of the deck, he would not make
the least attempt at escape. But the chief would not listen. He was
afraid of his prisoner, and he believed that the only way to prevent
him from doing mischief was to keep him securely bound. Friday and Jack
Spaniard carried him into the cabin, and laid him on the sofa, after
which they returned to the deck to assist in stowing away the outfit.
When the last box had been safely housed in the galley, the chief
sprang over the rail, cast off the painter, and gave his fine yawl up
to the mercy of the waves. "Now cap'n," said he; "we're all ready."

For the first time since receiving his appointment as master of the
vessel, Tom realized that he had something of a task before him. To
begin with, he had at least a mile of harbor to traverse before he
reached the bay. The harbor was very crooked, and, in some places,
too narrow to admit of much maneuvering; and, even in the day-time,
with a fair wind, it would have required the exercise of all his skill
and judgment to take his vessel through the shipping that lay at the
wharves without some accident. One reason why he had declined to assume
charge of the yacht during the trial trip, was because he was afraid he
could not take her safely into the bay, and he would not have thought
of attempting it now had he been in his sober senses. The night was so
dark that he could not see the shore, except when an occasional flash
of lightning revealed it to him; and the wind was blowing directly up
the harbor, raising a sea that, even in that sheltered position, made
it difficult for the captain to keep his feet without holding fast to
something. Tom shuddered when he thought of what they would experience
if they succeeded in reaching the bay, where the wind could have a fair
sweep at them.

"Come, skipper!" said the governor, seeing that Tom did not issue any
orders; "are you afraid to try it?"

"O, no!" replied the captain, arousing himself, and pulling the collar
of his pea-jacket up around his ears, "I was just thinking what was
best to be done. Xury, look around and find a tow-line. Governor, take
two men and get into your yawl; pull around under the bow, and stand by
to take the tow-line."

"What's that fur?" demanded the chief.

"Why, we've got to tow the ship out of the harbor, haven't we?" drawled
Tom.

"Well, if you'll find the yawl fur me, I'll do it. I let her go as soon
as we got the things out, an' there's no tellin' where she is by this
time."

"O, now, what made you do that?" exclaimed the captain. "Who ordered
you to turn her adrift?"

"Why didn't you tell me that you wanted to use her? A nice skipper
you'll make, if you don't look out fur things better than that."

"Here's a tow-line, cap'n," said Xury.

"Very good, sir!" replied Tom. "All hands lay aft to lower the cutter."

In obedience to this order, the crew moved aft, where a very small
boat, that Tom had dignified with the name of cutter, hung at the stern
davits. She was scarcely large enough to accommodate three men, and the
governor, after he had examined her by the aid of the lantern, which he
carried under his coat, through fear of attracting the attention of the
watch on some of the neighboring vessels, shook his head and stepped
back.

"Man the falls," commanded Tom.

"Now, jest look a here, cap'n," said Sam, "if you want a crew to man
that ar egg-shell, you'd best call for volunteers. You don't ketch
Governor Barton in no such craft in a night like this. Why, she'd be
swamped the minute she touched the water."

"O, now, how am I to get the ship out to sea, I'd like to know?"
drawled Tom.

"That's your look out, an' not mine," replied Sam, as he turned on his
heel and walked forward, followed by the rest of the crew. "I aint
master of this vessel."

"It don't look as if I was master of her, either," answered Tom, almost
ready to cry with vexation. "What's the use of having any captain, if
no one will obey his commands?"

"Why don't you give sensible orders, then, like a man had oughter do?
We aint a goin' to get into that ar little boat, an' that's jest all
about it."

Tom did not know what to do. It looked as though the expedition was
to end then and there. What was the use of being captain, if his crew
were to be the judges as to whether or not an order ought to be obeyed?
How he wished that he possessed the physical power of the second mate
of the Savannah! Wouldn't he enforce obedience? Perhaps all that was
needed was a show of authority and resolution.

"Now look here, men," exclaimed the captain, in a voice which he
intended should strike terror to the hearts of every one of the band,
"I am not going to stand any such nonsense. I am the lawful master of
this vessel, and I'll make you sup sorrow with a big spoon if you don't
obey orders. Lay aft, now, to lower away the cutter. Mr. Mate, use a
rope's end on the first man who dares hesitate."

"Yes, I'd like to see Mr. Mate try that on," exclaimed the governor,
fiercely. "Tommy, if you know when you are well off, you won't give no
more such orders as that ar. You aint lord an' master of the whole of
us, if you do command the Storm King. But you aint cap'n no longer. You
can jest take your old name agin; fur I won't serve under no feller who
talks of usin' a rope's end on me."

"O, now, do you suppose I am going to stand that?" whined Tom. "I won't
serve as a sailor. I am the best navigator and seaman in the band, the
only one who knows any thing about the winds and currents, and if I
stay on board this vessel I am going to command her."

"Now, Muley," said the governor, "you haven't yet larnt that I am the
head man in this society, an' if you don't look out, I'll have to give
you a few lessons like I did Will Atkins. You're a foremast hand now."

"Well, I won't be one long," said Tom, who now, being convinced that
he could not rule the expedition, had suddenly determined to ruin it.
"I've got an idea."

If the governor had understood the meaning of this declaration, he
would have paid some attention to it. As he was not yet well acquainted
with Tom, he did not think it necessary to reply to him, for he turned
to his crew, and ordered them to assist him in hoisting the sails.

"O, now, you are not going to try to sail out in the teeth of this
storm," exclaimed Tom, who, ignorant as he was, knew that their chances
for reaching the bay were very slim indeed. "You'll sink the yacht
before you've gone twenty yards."

"That's enough out of you, Muley," returned the new captain, as he and
the crew busied themselves in clearing away the mainsail. "I am master
of this vessel now, an' if you don't move when you're spoken to, I'll
make _you_ sup sorrow with a wooden ladle, an' that's bigger'n a spoon.
Lend a hand here!"

Tom obeyed this order very reluctantly. All his bright hopes had
disappeared, like snow before an April shower. The edict of the chief,
reducing him to the ranks, destroyed all the interest he had ever felt
in the Crusoe band. He no longer desired the success of the expedition;
on the contrary, he resolved to defeat it if possible. He would watch
his opportunity, and, when he could do so without being discovered, he
would slip down into the cabin and liberate all the prisoners. They
could arm themselves with their muskets, which the governor had very
carelessly left scattered about the cabin, and while Crusoe and his
men were occupied in navigating the vessel, they could surprise and
overpower them. This was his new idea. By the time he had thought it
over, the mainsail had been close reefed, and was ready for hoisting.

"Now, then," shouted the governor, "stand by--"

"Hold on," exclaimed Xury. "Mebbe she won't handle well without a head
sail. You had oughter hist one of them jibs."

"No, sir," replied the chief. "It aint best to put up too much canvas
in this breeze. We've got a long voyage to make, an' we must be careful
of our vessel. Muley, you ketch hold of the peak halyard, an' the rest
of us man the throat-halyard. All ready, now! Hist away."

As this order was obeyed, the yacht began to plunge and careen worse
than ever; and presently, a flash of lightning showed Tom that they
were drifting up the harbor.

"Sam!" he almost gasped, "she's dragging the anchor."

"Hist away, lively," exclaimed the chief, in desperation. "If you've
got any muscle at all, show it now;" and catching up his lantern,
he ran forward, intending to slip the chain. But he was saved that
trouble. The cable, which had not been intended to hold the yacht in a
gale of wind, with her mainsail set, parted with a loud snap, and for
a moment the little vessel was at the mercy of the storm. The greatest
excitement prevailed among the crew. The lightning flashed again, and
Sam held his breath in dismay when he saw that the Storm King was being
driven rapidly toward the shore. It was a capital opportunity for him
to make an exhibition of his seamanship, but he had not the slightest
idea of what ought to be done; neither had Tom Newcombe, who stood
holding fast to the peak-halyard, his mouth open, and his tongue
paralyzed with terror. Fortunately for the Crusoe band, for the vessel,
and for the comfort of the prisoners below, there was one boy on board
who kept his wits about him, and that was Xury.

"Belay all!" he shouted, springing to the wheel. "Stand by the
main-sheet! Haul in, fur your lives."

Xury put the helm hard-a-starboard, the boom flew over with a jerk,
prostrating two of the crew who were careless enough to put themselves
in its way, and the next moment the yacht was thrown almost on her beam
ends. But Xury was equal to the emergency. He handled the wheel with a
great deal of skill, and proved himself to be worthy of the position
he held. He "eased her up" without a moment's delay; the Storm King
righted, and the next flash of lightning showed the crew that she was
scudding across the harbor at a terrific rate of speed.

"Bully for you, Xury!" shouted the governor, who never once thought of
the danger they might be in. "We're all right now. From this time on,
you are my first-lieutenant."

"Put a look-out on the forecastle, governor," exclaimed Xury, yelling
with all the strength of his lungs, in order to make himself heard
above the howling of the wind, "I can't see a foot."

"Jerusalem!" shouted Will Atkins, suddenly. "Look out, Xury!"

"Ship ahoy!" came the hail, in startled tones, through the darkness.
"Keep away! Don't run into me!"

"Mind your own business!" shouted Friday, in reply. "This ship has got
her own officers on board."

Xury had been warned just in time to avoid running into a vessel lying
at the wharf. He put the helm to port, but the yacht, being without a
head-sail, obeyed very slowly. By the light of a lantern, which the
governor held over the side, the Crusoe band discovered that they were
rushing by the side of a large ship, and so close to her that they
could almost touch her. But Xury understood his business, and in a
moment more that danger was passed, and the Storm King was scudding
toward the other side of the harbor.

"O, now, I can't stand this," drawled Tom Newcombe, who was utterly
confounded by the recklessness displayed by the Crusoe band. He stood
holding fast to the rail, and, had it been daylight, the governor would
have seen that his face was deadly pale, and that he was trembling in
every limb, as if he had been seized with a fit of the ague. The wind
had carried his cap overboard, but he was so completely engrossed in
thinking over the dangers of his situation that he did not notice that
he was bare-headed, and that the rain was running down his back in
little streams. "O, I know that I shall go to the bottom in less than
five minutes!" cried Tom, involuntarily catching his breath, as the
Storm King careened wildly under a fierce gust of wind. "Then what will
become of those fellows below deck? I am going to start for the cabin,
and, if I live to get there, I'll let them all out. I know Harry Green
can manage the vessel."

As Tom spoke, he let go of the rail and staggered toward the
companion-way. Just as he placed his foot upon the first step of the
ladder, he lost his balance, and pitched headlong into the cabin. He
was much more frightened than hurt by the fall, for he firmly believed
that the yacht had capsized, and that, in an instant more, he would
find the cabin flooded with water. But nothing of the sort happened.
The reckless Xury still kept the Storm King well under control,
and, thus far, by some unaccountable fortune, he had succeeded in
keeping her clear of the vessels at the wharves. Tom clung to the
companion-ladder a moment or two, to make sure that the yacht was
still right side up, and that his absence from the deck had not been
discovered, and then prepared to carry out his new idea.



CHAPTER XX.

THE TABLES TURNED.


Meanwhile, the fisher-boy lay upon the sofa in the cabin, where Friday
and Jack Spaniard had left him, listening to the noise of the storm,
and wondering how many chances there were in a thousand that he would
ever return to Newport. Again and again had he made the most desperate
but unsuccessful efforts to free himself from his bonds, and finally,
becoming wearied with his exertions, and discouraged by his failures,
he settled back on the sofa, and awaited the destruction of the vessel
with all the fortitude he could command.

Occasionally he heard the students moving about in their prison, and
now and then the door would shake and bend, as if the boys were trying
to force it from its hinges. Bob watched and listened, hoping that
they would discover some way of effecting their escape; but the door,
like every thing else about the yacht, had been made at Mr. Graves'
ship-yard, and it was "first-class." It resisted all their efforts, and
at last, the students, like Bob, became discouraged, and sat down to
talk the matter over.

Harry Green was in great trouble. At his own request he had been
placed in command of the guard of the yacht, and now, scarcely more
than three hours after he assumed charge of the vessel, she had been
taken from him. Since he had worked out the punishment that had been
inflicted upon him for taking part in Tom's runaway scheme, he had been
one of the most diligent students at the academy. He was working with
an object in view, and that was, to distance the lieutenant-colonel
at the next examination. As far as his lessons were concerned, he was
already ahead of him in every thing except navigation; and he had
resolved, that, by the end of the next quarter, he would lead his class
in that study also. But his knowledge of books was not the only thing
that would be inquired into. His conduct as an officer--as captain of
company A, and first lieutenant of the Storm King, would be severely
criticised, and especially the manner in which he executed the orders
of his superiors. In his military record, Harry was confident that
he could show a clean score; but there was every prospect that his
career as a naval lieutenant would be brought to a speedy termination.
Colonel Steele, in his capacity as a ranking naval officer, had given
him written instructions to hold the yacht at all hazards in case
an assault should be made upon her, and to bring every one of the
attacking party prisoners to the academy. Harry had failed to obey
these orders, and he was a candidate for a court-martial. The other
officers of the guard were in the same predicament, and so were the
seamen. They all had rivals at the academy, who were working hard to
remove them from their positions on board the yacht, and it was no
wonder that they looked upon the result of the battle as the greatest
calamity that could have befallen them. They had lost their vessel,
and, although there was not one among them who believed that they could
be blamed for that, they felt rather serious, when they reflected that
they would be called upon to prove this to the colonel's satisfaction.
Could they not wipe out the disgrace, and insure their acquittal before
the court-martial, by turning the tables on their enemies? The first
lieutenant thought they could, but he did not know how to do it. He
groped his way to the door--for the hold was so dark that he could
not see his hand before him--threw himself against it with all his
strength, and then called some of his crew to his assistance; but it
was all in vain. They were prisoners, and such they would probably
remain until their captors saw fit to release them.

"What in the name of sense do you suppose Tom Newcombe intends to do
with us, and with the yacht?" was a question that the first lieutenant
had asked perhaps twenty times, and which none of the crew could
answer. They knew that Tom was very angry because his father had
presented the Storm King to the principal of the academy, instead of
giving it to him, and they were also well aware that that was one
reason why he had seized the vessel. But they had never heard a word
about the Crusoe band, and, consequently, they could not imagine where
Tom was going, or why he kept company with Sam Barton and his band of
outlaws. This matter had been talked over until every boy in the crew
had expressed an opinion; and the only conclusion at which they arrived
was, that Tom had got another of his wild ideas into his head, and that
he would be certain, sooner or later, to get them and every body else
on board the yacht into serious trouble.

"I have been with Newcombe on one runaway expedition," said Harry, "and
I shall regret it as long as I live. I don't want to go with him on
another, especially if he is to command the vessel."

"Neither do I," said one of the midshipmen--another old Night-hawk.
"But how shall we get away from him? that's the question! If we could
only take him and all the members of his society to the academy as
prisoners, wouldn't it be----I'll tell you what it is, fellows," he
added, as the sloop gave a tremendous lurch, which threw all the
students into a heap in one corner of the hold, "if we don't get on
deck very soon, and take charge of this craft, she's bound to go to the
bottom."

The wild plunging of the vessel, the noise of the waves washing against
her sides, and the sound of hurrying feet on the deck overhead, sent a
thrill of terror to the heart of every boy in the hold. They knew that
their captors had succeeded in getting the yacht under way, but they
did not fully realize their danger until one of the students, who was
steadying himself by holding on to the mast, which ran up through the
hold, exclaimed:

"Fellows, Newcombe has hoisted some of the canvas, and is trying to
sail out of the harbor in the face of this gale. Just put your hands on
the mast, and see how it quivers!"

As if they were acting under orders, the crew made a rush for the after
end of the hold, and commenced another furious attack upon the door,
but with no other effect than to increase their alarm. There was no
possible chance for escape. Both doors were securely fastened, the
hatch overhead was battened down, and when the yacht was capsized or
sunk--an event which they all believed to be not far distant--nothing
on earth could save them.

"Fellows--" began the first lieutenant.

What he was about to say the boys never knew, for he was interrupted in
his speech by a shout from one of the crew, who had been crawling about
the hold on his hands and knees.

"Hurrah for me!" shouted the student. "Where's the lieutenant? I have
been lucky enough to find a handspike."

"Pass it over here!" said Harry, in an excited voice. "Stand by, now,
and the moment I burst the door open, make a rush, and don't stop until
the vessel is ours. We must take charge of the yacht before Newcombe
gets her into the bay, and we've no time to lose. Keep still, fellows!
Somebody is outside the door!"

The boys held their breath in suspense, and crouched, like so many
tigers, ready for a spring. Some one was certainly busy with the lock.
After a delay that seemed an age to the students, the key turned, the
door opened, and the next moment Tom Newcombe was knocked clear across
the cabin, by a blow from the pillow, in the hands of the tall student,
who was the first to spring into the cabin.

"That was a lucky haul, fellows!" exclaimed the first lieutenant.
"We've got the old boy himself. Secure him at once."

Harry, of course, did not know that Tom had released him and his crew
intentionally, and perhaps it would have made no difference to him
if he had. Like all the rest of the students, he looked upon Tom as
a very dangerous fellow, and he was resolved to capture him, even if
by so doing the other members of the band were allowed an opportunity
to escape. In obedience to the order, half a dozen students threw
themselves upon him, and Tom, stunned by the blow from the pillow, and
astonished at the roughness with which he was handled, did not fairly
recover the use of his tongue until he found himself securely bound
and confined in one of the state-rooms--the apartment that had been
intended for the captain of the vessel, and which he had expected to
occupy under very different circumstances.

The fisher-boy lay upon the sofa a delighted witness of all that took
place; but, although the lamp was burning brightly, and he was in
plain sight, the students were so excited, and so fully occupied in
securing possession of their weapons, and disposing of their prisoner,
that they were not aware of his presence until he aroused them by
saying--"Now, perhaps you will be kind enough to release me!"

Of course the students were kind enough to do it, and they did do it as
soon as they had satisfied themselves that he was not a member of Tom's
band. He was not required to enter into any lengthy explanation, for
the first lieutenant was in a great hurry to finish the work so well
begun; and, besides, the fact that the fisher-boy was bound hand and
foot, was sufficient evidence that he had not assisted in the capture
of the vessel, and that he had been brought there against his will.

"No time to talk, fellows," said the first lieutenant. "How many of
them are there, Jennings?"

"Only five, now that Tom is a prisoner," replied Bob, picking up the
spear that the governor had used during the fight, and making some
feeble attempts to stand on his feet.

"Only five!" repeated Harry, in astonishment. "Eighteen fellows whipped
in a fair fight by one-third of their number! Boys, I think this will
be our first and last cruise in the Storm King. That is bad evidence to
be brought up against us."

"But it wasn't a fair fight," said one of the crew. "They were armed
and we were not."

"Well, they whipped us, anyhow," said the lieutenant, "and now we must
whip them. Stand by to board with a loud cheer! Board!"

The students, yelling at the top of their lungs, sprang up the ladder,
and gained the deck without meeting any of the enemy. The members of
the Crusoe band were so fully occupied in navigating the vessel, that
they had not noticed Tom's absence from the deck, and the noise of the
storm had drowned all sounds of what had been going on in the cabin.

When the first lieutenant reached the top of the ladder, he stopped,
appalled by the scene presented to his gaze. The storm was increasing
in fury every moment, the lightning flashed almost incessantly,
rendering objects about the harbor as plainly visible as if it had
been daylight, and the wind howled as fiercely as ever. By some streak
of luck which the lieutenant could not understand, and which would
not have attended him again had he attempted the same feat, Xury had
succeeded in piloting the vessel safely through the harbor; and when
the students reached the deck, she was on the point of entering the bay.

Harry had witnessed many a tempest, both at sea and on shore, and as
he began to regard himself as quite an accomplished sailor, he was
disposed to make light of storms that were really terrific. But he had
nothing to say about this one. He had never seen such waves in Newport
Bay, neither had he ever seen a vessel so badly handled as was the
Storm King. The mainsail, close reefed, was the only canvas hoisted,
but that was altogether too much for her; besides, Xury was becoming
frightened, and managed the wheel with very unsteady hands. Sometimes
the sail would feel the full force of the gale, and the yacht would
roll down almost to her beam ends; then Xury would "luff" until the
sail was shaking in the wind, when he would fill away again. Harry took
this all in at a glance. He dared not hesitate long, for he saw the
necessity of prompt action.

"Richardson!" he shouted, turning to one of the midshipmen, "take two
men to the wheel, and put her about at once. Forward! and clear the
deck of these pirates."

"Hallo, here!" exclaimed the governor, who just then happened to glance
toward the companion-way. "Here they are, fellers! Down with the
'cademy swells!"

But the chief's battle-cry failed to produce any effect upon his
crew. The lightning showed them that the students had recovered their
weapons, and that was enough to convince them that their voyage was
at an end. Besides, they were not allowed time to make up their minds
whether to fight or surrender, for the students, led by Harry, rushed
forward in a body, and in a moment every member of the Crusoe band,
except the governor, was a prisoner. The latter caught up a hand-spike,
and stood his ground long enough to see his men overpowered, one after
the other, when he dropped his weapon and sprang upon the bowsprit,
where he was followed by half a dozen of the students.

"Surrender, Sam Barton!" exclaimed the foremost. "Your cruise is up,
now."

"Not much, I won't surrender," replied the chief, desperate to the
last. "Better not come too near me!"

The students, not in the least intimidated by this last remark, which
implied that he intended to resist all their efforts to capture him,
continued to follow the chief, who, having retreated as far as he could
toward the end of the bowsprit, suddenly arose to his feet. "Down with
the 'cademy swells!" he shouted, shaking his fist at his pursuers.

For an instant he stood with his arms spread out, balancing himself
on the bowsprit, and then, with another wild cry, he sprang into the
air and disappeared under the bow of the yacht, which, by this time,
had been put about, and was booming along up the harbor at a terrific
rate. A cry of horror arose from all who had witnessed this last act
of the chief, and while one hurried off to report the matter to the
lieutenant, the others ran aft to watch for him as he arose under the
stern. But not one of those students ever saw Sam Barton again. By
the time they reached the stern, the yacht had left the spot where he
disappeared a long way behind, and they were as powerless to assist
him as if he had been in mid-ocean. The chief, in his desperation,
preferred to trust himself to the waves, rather than in the hands of
the students; and, whatever other dangers he might have run into, he
was safe from the clutches of Mr. Grimes. But this incident, exciting
as it was, was soon forgotten. The students had other things to think
of, and the governor's reckless courage ceased to be the topic of
conversation.

The first lieutenant had his hands full. He was filled with
apprehension and trembling with anxiety for the safety of his vessel
and crew, but he did not forget his prisoners, who, being taken in
charge by a guard detailed for that purpose, were marched down into the
hold and locked up.

The sail up the harbor was attended with quite as much, if not more,
danger than the coming down had been. The first lieutenant had too
much at stake to run any risks, and as soon as the crew could be got
together--for, in the excitement attending the battle, and the escape
from the hold, all discipline had been forgotten--he ordered the sail
taken in. This was speedily accomplished, and then the yacht drifted
helplessly about on the waves. But her speed, of course, was greatly
diminished, and the danger attending a collision, if one occurred, was
diminished in the same proportion. Harry's next care was, to send one
of the midshipmen to get the spare anchor up from the hold. This was
an operation of some difficulty. The anchor was weighty, and the first
lieutenant was the only one on board who understood the management of
heavy bodies, and he could not leave the deck. Only a part of the crew
engaged in executing this order. The others were kept on deck, holding
themselves in readiness to "fend off," if there should be danger of
running into any of the vessels at the wharves. The yacht drifted
along, sometimes stern foremost, sometimes sideways, but generally
keeping near the middle of the harbor, and, by the time the midshipman
came aft, to report the anchor ready, they were within a short distance
of the place from which they started on their involuntary cruise.



CHAPTER XXI.

HARRY'S REPORT.


"There!" exclaimed the first lieutenant, drawing a long breath of
relief, as the yacht swung round with her head to the storm, after the
anchor had been let go, "we're back here, and in just as good condition
as when we started, if we except very wet skins and badly damaged
reputations. But the vessel is all right, and that's one thing I can
feel easy about."

Harry left the officer who was second in command of the guard, to make
every thing snug on board, and went below to talk to Tom Newcombe; for,
thus far, he had not heard a word uttered that gave him an insight
into his object in capturing the vessel. As he descended into the
cabin he met the fisher-boy, who, since his release, had made several
unsuccessful attempts to reach the deck to assist the students in
retaking the yacht. But he had not yet fully recovered the use of his
hands and feet, and, he had been obliged to remain inactive in the
cabin.

"Is she all right, now?" asked Bob, as the lieutenant came down the
ladder.

"Yes, and as sound as a dollar," was the reply. "I shall turn her over
to her next executive officer, in just as good condition as she was
received; and that's some consolation."

"I wish you had driven them down here," said the fisher-boy, as he
stood his spear up in one corner of the cabin. "I'd like to have had a
chance at the governor."

"The governor!" repeated Harry, curiously. "Do you mean Sam Barton?
He is overboard. He jumped into the harbor on purpose. I hoped to
command this vessel one of these days," continued the lieutenant, more
interested in his own affairs, just then, than in the fate of the
chief, "but Tom Newcombe has sadly interfered with my arrangements by
this night's work. Wouldn't it be a good plan to pitch him overboard
also?"

"I believe it would," answered Bob. "It might save somebody some
trouble; for he'll be into another scrape as soon as he gets fairly out
of this one, and he will ruin any body who has any thing to do with
him."

"But how came you here a prisoner?" inquired the lieutenant. "You were
not in the fight, were you?"

The fisher-boy's story was a long one; for, in order to enable Harry
to understand how he came to incur the displeasure of Sam Barton, he
was obliged to begin with the story of the passenger who had paid him
forty dollars in gold for catching the steamer. He told all about Tom's
lottery scheme, which made the lieutenant laugh until his jaws ached,
and finally, he came to the Crusoe band. He related the circumstances
connected with his capture; revealed the objects of the organization,
and also the motives that had led Tom Newcombe to become a member, as
far as he was acquainted with them. What he did not know Harry was able
to supply, and thus they got at a complete history of every thing Tom
had done since his expulsion from the society of Night-hawks. Harry was
really amazed to learn that a boy of Tom's years could put any faith in
a lottery, and believe that Sam Barton's idea of hunting up an island
somewhere in the ocean, and leading Crusoe life, could be successfully
carried out.

"I do not know that my chances for promotion are the best in the world
just now," said the lieutenant, as he arose and unlocked the door that
led into the hold, "but such as they are, I would almost give them up
to know what notion that boy will get into his head next. I wonder if
he won't come to the conclusion that the North Pole is 'just the place
he always wanted to go to,' and try to fit out an expedition among the
village boys!"

"If he does he will get plenty of recruits," said Bob.

"Come out here, Friday, Jack Spaniard, Will Atkins, and Exury,"
exclaimed Harry, addressing himself to the prisoners. "Let us have a
look at you. I want to see the boy who was lucky enough to take this
vessel down the harbor in this storm, without smashing her to pieces."

The fisher-boy, while relating the history and exploits of the Crusoe
band, had given the lieutenant the names of the members, just as the
governor had pronounced them.

"By the way, Richardson," continued Harry, turning to the midshipman
who had managed the vessel, while his superior officer was leading the
attack on the pirates, "I have read Robinson Crusoe a good many times,
but I never saw any thing in it about a fellow called Exury. Whom are
you named after?" he added, addressing the reckless pilot.

"After the feller that was with the governor when he ran away in the
boat that had a shoulder of mutton for a sail," was the reply.

The first lieutenant, who was highly amused at every thing he heard
regarding the band, laughed louder than ever. Xury had got things
pretty well mixed up, if he supposed that Crusoe's boat had a shoulder
of mutton for a sail; but, after all, he was not to blame for that, for
he had never read the book, and all his ideas concerning the hero of
the band, and his surroundings, were gained from what he had heard Sam
say on the subject.

"I know who you are now," said Harry, slowly surveying his prisoner
from head to foot, "and I would advise you to discard your real name
and stick to your assumed one. If it will always bring you such luck
as has attended you to-night, you'll be an admiral one of these days.
Richardson, see that these fellows are made comfortable for the night.
They came very near sending us all to the bottom, but that's no reason
why we should not treat them as kindly as we can."

The midshipman took charge of the prisoners, and Harry unlocked the
door of the state-room in which Tom was confined, and went in to talk
to him.

"O, now, I'd like to know what you are going to do with me!" drawled
the prisoner, as the lieutenant untied the ropes with which his hands
and feet were bound. "I always was the most unlucky boy in the whole
world, but this is the worst scrape I ever got into."

"I came in, captain, to tell you that there is a good fire in the
galley, and that you may go in there and dry your clothing, if you feel
so disposed," replied Harry.

"O, now, I won't do it," whined Tom. "I'd rather stay here as I am,
than to go in there and have all those fellows tormenting me. I want
you to quit calling me captain, for I wasn't master of the vessel, nor
governor of the band, either."

"Why, didn't you tell me that you were commander of the yacht?"
demanded Harry.

"O, yes, I did, but I didn't hold the office long, for the governor got
mad at me, and broke me; and then I got mad at him, and let you out.
But I wouldn't have done it, if I had known that you would knock me
down, and then keep me here a prisoner. What are you going to do with
me?"

This was a question that Harry did not like to answer. Although Tom
had caused him a great deal of uneasiness, and had placed the yacht
and her crew in jeopardy he was not revengeful, and, if he could have
had his own way, he would have released his prisoner at once. Bad as
he was, he was the son of the man who had presented the principal of
the academy with the fine vessel of which he had the honor to be the
executive officer, and for that, if for no other reason, Harry did not
want to see him disgraced. But his orders were, to bring the attacking
party to the academy as prisoners of war, and now, that he had captured
them, he could not disobey.

"You are going to put me ashore now, are you not, Harry?" whined the
prisoner, trying hard to choke back his tears. "I'll never do it again."

"I can't!" replied the lieutenant. "I am acting under orders."

"But you must remember that I let you out," said Tom. "I was trying to
make amends for what I had done. What do you suppose my father will
say, when he hears that you marched me to the academy with those low,
ignorant ferry-boys?"

"I don't know. But if those boys were good enough for you while you
were at liberty to do as you pleased, they are certainly good enough
for you now that you are a prisoner."

"But I won't stand it, I tell you," roared Tom, now beginning to cry in
earnest. "I am not going to the academy under arrest, to be shut up in
the guard-house. Now mind what I say, Harry Green! If you don't let me
go at once, I'll square yards with you some day."

"I am not going to stay here to listen to any threats," replied the
lieutenant, placing his hand on the door-knob. "You have been a student
at the academy, and you know what is done with a fellow who does not
obey orders. You had better go into the galley and dry your clothes."

"O, now, I won't do it," shouted Tom, who seemed to be almost beside
himself with rage.

"Well, then, if I will allow you the freedom of the vessel, will you
promise that you will not try to escape?"

"No, I won't do that either. Get out of here! I'll fix you for this!"

Harry, seeing that his prisoner was in very bad humor, left the
state-room, locking the door after him. While he was talking to Tom,
the crew had been employed in setting things to rights, and now the
cabin presented the same scene of neatness and order that it had before
the fight--only one of the chairs was missing, and the center-table had
been pushed against the bulkhead to enable it to retain its upright
position, one of its legs having been broken off during the struggle.
The officer on duty sat at the desk writing, as if nothing had
happened, and a sentinel had been posted at the door of the hold, who
saluted the lieutenant as he passed.

Harry went into the galley, where the crew had congregated to dry their
clothing by the fire, and to listen to the fisher-boy's story. Xury,
Jack Spaniard, Friday, and Will Atkins were there, under charge of
a guard, and they seemed to take matters very coolly answering all
the questions asked them, and even putting in a word now and then, to
assist Bob in his description of the incidents that happened while
he was a prisoner in the cave. Xury, especially, was very talkative.
The crew all looked at him with a good deal of curiosity, and he
held himself very stiffly, believing that he had accomplished a most
remarkable feat, when he piloted the vessel safely through the harbor,
and that it was his superior skill as a sailor, and not luck, that had
carried him through.

The students were as much astonished at Bob's story as their officer
had been; and, after the latter had listened a few moments to their
remarks, he came to the conclusion that, for once in his life, Tom
Newcombe had shown some judgment when he declined to mingle with the
crew. While some of them regarded the whole affair as a stupendous
joke, others were very angry at him, and all believed that no other boy
of his age in the world had so little common sense. Very likely the
prisoner was much more comfortable in his wet clothes than he would
have been by the fire, in the galley.

The lieutenant took off his coat, wrung the water out of it, and
stood by the stove until his clothes were dry, when he returned to
the cabin, where he found the tall student with his hand wrapped up
in his handkerchief, walking up and down the floor. This was Jackson,
the second lieutenant of the ship, and the one who had done such good
service with his pillow.

"Does it hurt much?" inquired Harry.

"It is not very comfortable, I assure you," replied the student, his
face all wrinkled up with pain, "but I don't mind the hurt so much as I
do the investigation that is coming."

The first lieutenant seated himself at his desk, to write out his
report of the incidents of the night. He went about it with as much
earnestness as if he had been the commander of a government vessel, in
time of war, and had just come out of a terrible fight. He had nothing
to do but to tell the truth in the fewest possible words, and in a few
minutes the report was finished. It ran as follows:

  "ACADEMY SHIP STORM KING,
  July 16th, 18--.

  "_Sir_

 "It becomes my unpleasant duty to inform you that an attack was made
 upon this vessel, at half-past ten o'clock, by an organized band of
 outlaws, calling themselves 'Crusoe men,' and that it was partially
 successful.

 "In accordance with the instructions contained in your letters of this
 date, I reported to the commanding officer of the yacht for duty and
 command of the vessel. I at once proceeded to carry out the verbal
 orders given me before I left the academy, and detailed six privates,
 two corporals, and as many officers, for guard duty. One sentry was
 posted on deck, while the officer remained in the cabin, and the
 corporal in the forecastle, the latter going on deck twice each hour,
 to strike the bells and see that every thing was snug. At the time
 the attack was made, private Simmonds was the sentinel on deck, and
 lieutenant Jackson the officer of the guard. The attacking party,
 consisting of six men, were led by Samuel Barton, who went by the name
 of governor. They boarded the vessel from a yawl--the darkness and the
 howling of the storm effectually concealing their movements from the
 sentinel, and drowning all sounds of their approach. Private Simmonds
 called for the corporal, and attempted to prevent the boarding of
 the pirates, but was obliged to retreat into the cabin, where he
 was pursued by the governor and a portion of his band; the others,
 commanded by Thomas Newcombe, going down into the galley, and thence
 into the forecastle, where they aroused the guard from a sound sleep,
 and drove them into the hold. The governor's squad numbered only three
 men, but they were armed with spears, which we found to be quite as
 dangerous as bayonets.

 "The most of the crew were asleep in the hold, and before they could
 be awakened, the officers in the cabin had been overpowered and
 crowded into the hold at the point of the spears. The pirates placed
 themselves between us and our weapons, but we would have succeeded in
 beating them back but for the arrival of their reënforcements. Some
 of them turned our own weapons against us, and, being unarmed, we were
 forced to retreat. The pirates then locked us up in the hold, after
 which, Thomas Newcombe took command of the vessel.

 "Owing to some disagreement with the chief, he was broken, and the
 management of the yacht devolved upon a member of the band, who
 answers to the name of Xury. He started down the harbor under a close
 reefed mainsail, while we in the hold made repeated but unsuccessful
 efforts to escape, until Thomas Newcombe, wishing to be revenged upon
 his chief for relieving him of the command, unlocked the door and
 released us. We at once attacked the pirates, who made but a feeble
 resistance, and in a few moments they were all secured, except the
 chief, who jumped overboard rather than to fall into our hands. The
 vessel was put about by midshipman Richardson, who handled her during
 the fight, and brought her back to her anchorage.

 "I regret to report that lieutenant Jackson, corporal Smith, and
 private Simmonds, were wounded during the struggle--the former being
 disabled by a thrust from a bayonet.

 "I am sure that the Storm King sustained no injury during the run
 down and up the harbor, but, in order to establish this fact, I
 respectfully request that a Board of Survey be ordered to examine
 into her condition, and also that a Court of Inquiry be convened, to
 ascertain whether or not the honor of our flag has suffered in my
 hands

  "Very Respectfully,
  Your Obd't Serv't
  HENRY GREEN,
  First Lieutenant, A. N.

  "Captain WILLIAM STEELE,
  Commanding Academy Ship Storm King."

 (The letters A. N., which Harry placed after his rank, stood for
 Academy Navy.)

"How will that do, Jackson?" inquired the first lieutenant, after he
had read the report to his wounded shipmate. "I know that the Board of
Survey, and the Court of Inquiry will come, whether I ask for them or
not; but I have made the request, simply to show the principal that I
am willing he should sift the matter as soon as he pleases. I can't
think of any order that I have disobeyed, but they are so hard on a
fellow here, that I expect to have my appointment revoked."

The first lieutenant placed his report in an official envelope, and,
after addressing it to the captain, he went into his state-room and
tumbled into bed. He did not sleep much; and neither did Tom Newcombe,
who, during the rest of the night, paced up and down his narrow prison
like a caged lion. Morning came much too soon for him, and, at the
first peep of day, all hands were called, and Harry put off for shore
in the jolly-boat. In half an hour he returned with a yawl, and took
his prisoners and Bob Jennings on board. The latter was landed outside
the academy grounds, and then the first lieutenant pushed off again to
take the Crusoe men before the principal. The fisher-boy would have
been glad to accompany them, for he wanted to hear what the principal
would say to Tom. But other things demanded his attention. The first
was, to go home and relieve the anxiety which he knew his mother felt
at his prolonged absence, and the other, to secure possession of the Go
Ahead No. 2, which had been left in the cave. He started off on a keen
run, and in a few minutes reached Fishertown, and burst into the house,
where his mother was engaged in getting breakfast.



CHAPTER XXII.

CONCLUSION.


His sudden appearance took the family completely by surprise. It took
somebody else, who was not a member of the family, also by surprise,
and that was Mr. Graves, the boat-builder, who had "just dropped in"
at that early hour, to inquire if Mrs. Jennings had heard any news of
Bob. He felt a great interest in him, he said, and was anxious to know
what had become of him. The fisher-boy's mother, however, very soon
discovered that he did not care so much about the welfare of her son as
about the money Bob had promised to pay him for the Go Ahead No. 2.

Ever since the fisher-boy's disappearance, Mr. Graves had been a very
miserable man. He had come to the conclusion that he had been sadly
deceived in his customer, and he believed that Bob had run away to
avoid paying the debt. This was enough to put him on nettles.

Although he was well off in the world, he was very "close" in all his
dealings, and, in his eyes, twenty-six dollars was a small fortune. He
had credited Bob for the skiff, not because he wished to assist him,
but for the reason that he believed his customer's promise to pay was
almost as good as the money. If the fisher-boy had been able to pay
cash for his boat, he could have bought her for twenty dollars; but
when the boat-builder found that he was expected to wait three months
for his money, he had added five dollars to the price of the skiff for
interest. It made no difference to him that he was rich and Bob poor.
That was no fault of his. He had a right to make as much money as he
could, and this was a lawful business transaction.

"I am sorry that it has turned out this way, Mrs. Jennings," said the
boat-builder, "but I can't help it. Of course you can't expect me to
build fine skiffs, like the Go Ahead No. 2, for nothing! I couldn't
make a living by doing business that way."

"I am very sorry that you let Bob have that boat on credit," said Mrs.
Jennings.

"So am I, when it is too late. If the boat was here, and in good
order, I would take it back; but as it is gone, you, of course, will
acknowledge that I ought to be paid for it. I didn't suppose that a
boy who bore the reputation of your Robert would become such a rascal!
It is plain enough to me that he has run away. I'll warrant that he is
in South America by this time, and that you'll never see him----Bobby
Jennings!"

The fisher-boy's appearance at this moment proved to Mr. Graves's
entire satisfaction that he was not in South America. He stood in the
door-way, flushed with excitement, breathing hard after his rapid run,
and looking first at his mother and then at the boat-builder, who did
not act as if he thought him a very great rascal. As soon as Bob had
greeted his mother, he arose and shook hands with him, exclaiming--

"I am glad you have concluded to come back, Bobby."

"Concluded!" repeated the fisher-boy. That one word opened his eyes,
and he imagined he knew the object of the boat-builder's visit. "You
didn't suppose I had run away, did you?"

"Well, to tell the honest truth, we did, Bobby," replied Mr. Graves,
settling back in his chair, as if he was willing to listen to any
explanation the fisher-boy had to make. "You see, every thing pointed
that way. You go in debt for a splendid little skiff, somebody steals
her from you, you don't pay a cent on your note, and you suddenly
disappear, and nobody knows were you have gone. What else could we
suppose? There are no such things as kidnappers nowadays."

"There was such a thing as a Crusoe band, though!" replied Bob, who
was astonished and indignant that any one should suppose him mean
and dishonest enough to absent himself on account of a paltry debt
of twenty-six dollars. He knew that all his acquaintances would be
surprised at his absence, but he had never imagined that they would
accuse him of running away.

"There was a--what did you call that band, Bobby?" inquired Mr. Graves,
bending forward in his chair, and placing his hand behind his ear.

"What would I run away for?" demanded the fisher-boy, who did not
feel disposed to favor his creditor with an explanation, after he had
accused him so wrongfully. "My three months are not up yet, Mr. Graves.
When the time comes you shall have your money."

"I hope so. I certainly hope so," said the boat-builder, picking up
his hat, for he plainly saw that Bob did not want him there. "You will
understand, of course, that the fact of your losing the boat does
not affect the debt. Have I your promise that you will remain in the
village?"

"Certainly, sir. I live here," replied the fisher-boy, rather coldly.

Mr. Graves bowed himself out, and returned to his ship-yard breathing a
good deal easier. He was certain that his twenty-six dollars were safe.
His mind was easy on that score, but his curiosity had been excited,
and he would have been almost willing to give the price of the boat to
know where his customer had been, and what he had been doing during his
absence.

"Now, Bobby, tell me all about it," said Mrs. Jennings, as soon as the
door had closed behind their visitor.

"Before I begin, mother, answer me one question," said the fisher-boy.
"Did you believe that I had run away?"

"I did not," was the prompt reply.

Bob drew a long breath of relief. There was at least one person in the
world who still had faith in him. Seating himself in a chair by his
mother's side, he related his story just as he had told it to the
executive officer of the Storm King, and wound up by saying--"I am not
sorry for what has happened. I know that I have been kept from my work,
but I have found my skiff, and now I am going after it."

Bob did go. He put a piece of candle in his pocket--for the lantern
that had been used in the cave was on board the yacht--and started off
without waiting for his breakfast, although he had not eaten a mouthful
since the previous morning. He went straight to the wharf, and his
appearance there occasioned a great commotion among the ferry-boys, who
climbed out of their boats, and gathered about him, even neglecting the
passengers who were waiting to be carried across the harbor.

"Where have you been, Bobby, an' where's Sam Barton, an' Bill Stevens,
an' Jack Bennett, an' the rest of them fellers?" inquired half a dozen
of the boys at once.

"If one of you will lend me a boat for ten minutes, and go with me,
I'll tell you all about it," was Bob's reply.

Of course, the boys would go with him, and they could spare their
boats for ten minutes, or for all day, for that matter. Of the boats
offered him, the fisher-boy climbed down into the one that suited him
best, and, to the no small amazement of the boys, sculled under the
wharf. A half a dozen boats kept close behind him, their crews making
unsuccessful attempts to induce Bob to tell them the meaning of his
strange movements. The latter said nothing, until he had gathered all
the boys about him in the cave, and then he told his story. If he had
never had an appreciative audience before, he had one now, and he was
obliged to relate over and over again the particulars of his capture
and the fight with the dog, as well as all the other incidents that had
transpired while he was a prisoner. Every one wondered what had become
of the governor, and all were anxious to know what Bob intended to do
with the members of the band. But, in this matter, the fisher-boy kept
his own counsel.

After the ferry-boys had examined the cave to their satisfaction, and
listened to all Bob had to say about Crusoe and his men, they assisted
him in getting the Go Ahead No. 2 into the water. When Sam found that
he would not be allowed an opportunity to dispose of the skiff, he had
taken care to preserve every thing that belonged to her. The sail and
the oars lay upon the thwarts, where they had been placed when the
skiff was first brought into the cave, and so did the stake to which
she had been chained. She was as good as new in every respect, and the
fisher-boy could not refrain from shouting with delight, when he saw
her floating in the water, under the pier.

Bob's story spread with great rapidity, and he soon found that he
was quite a hero in the village. If he had felt so disposed, he
could have spent half the day in relating his adventures to admiring
listeners. But his time was too valuable to be wasted. He took four
or five passengers across the harbor, who made a great many inquiries
concerning the Crusoe band; but he answered them in as few words as
possible, and, as soon as he could get away from them, he started for
home. There he disposed of a hasty breakfast, and, an hour afterward,
the Go Ahead No. 2 was anchored on his fishing grounds, and Bob
was sitting with his line dangling in the water, thinking over his
adventures, and waiting patiently for a bite. But, contrary to his
expectations, he soon found that the fish were quite as able to resist
the temptation of a bait suspended over the side of his fine skiff,
as they had been when it was thrown to them from his old scow. His
splendid boat made no difference with their biting; and at night, when
he filled away for home, his fish-basket was as empty as when he made
his last trip down the bay, in the old Go Ahead. Ferrying was a little
more profitable. He carried eight passengers across the harbor that
night, by which he made sixteen cents.

The fisher-boy had been indulging in the hope that the loss of his two
boats, and his long absence from his work, would operate as a sort of
charm to break the "streak of bad luck," that had so long attended him
in his fishing and ferrying. But in this he was disappointed. The fish
were as shy of his hook as they had been two months before, and one day
on the harbor opened his eyes to the fact that his skiff was altogether
too small. Morning and evening were the busy times with the ferry-boys,
for then the ship-carpenters went to and from their work. There were
so many boys in the harbor, that none of them could make more than one
trip before the passengers were all carried across, and, consequently,
the boy who had the largest and cleanest boat made the most money. For
example, the yawl that Sam Barton had used would easily accommodate
twenty-five persons, and Bob's skiff would not hold more than nine; so,
while Sam made fifty cents with every "full trip," the fisher-boy made
only eighteen.

Bob worked early and late, but luck was still against him, and, at the
end of the week, he had saved only a dollar, which he paid into the
hands of Mr. Graves, who indorsed it on the back of his note. During
the second week, he laid by a quarter less, and he began to believe
that his mother knew what she was talking about when she told him that
it was a great deal easier to go in debt than to get out of it. How
many times he wished for the five-dollar bill he had given Tom Newcombe
to invest in the lottery!

During the month following, Bob led a most uncomfortable life. He
gave up fishing, and finished Mr. Henry's pile of wood, for which he
received six dollars, which was also paid to Mr. Graves. The day on
which the note fell due came at last, and so did the boat-builder, who,
in a business-like way, informed Bob that he still owed him seventeen
dollars, and that he would "give him the benefit of the usual three
days' grace." The fisher-boy did not know exactly what that meant, but
he did know that it was simply impossible for him to raise so large
an amount, of money in so short a time. How often did he wish that
the forty dollars in gold, which his mother still preserved--although
she had more than once been at a loss to know where the next meal was
coming from--belonged to him! But he would as soon have thought of
breaking into Mr. Newcombe's office, and stealing seventeen dollars, as
to use a portion of that to pay for his boat.

On the third day after the visit of the boat-builder, as Bob was
sculling slowly about the harbor, looking for passengers, he was hailed
by a man on the wharf, who, as he came up, pulled a memorandum-book
from his pocket, saying:

"I am collecting for Mr. Graves, and I have a little bill of seventeen
dollars against you."

"I can't pay it," replied the fisher-boy, hanging down his head, and
looking as mean as if he had been detected in robbing somebody's
orchard.

"Well, then, my orders are to give you back your nine dollars, and
to take the boat," said the man. "Mr. Graves says he has been sadly
deceived in you. You told him a falsehood."

The loss of the boat was a severe blow to Bob, but the knowledge that
his reputation had suffered by his failure to keep his promise, was
still worse. But that was not all. Mr. Henry and Mr. Newcombe were
standing upon the wharf, and there were several ferry-boys close
by. The two gentlemen opened their eyes and looked at Bob in great
surprise, while one of the ferry-boys, delighted to witness the
discomfiture of a rival, whispered,

"Bobby's been tryin' to play the swell!"

"Hurrah for us! There's one more out of the way!" said another.

The fisher-boy laid the oars carefully upon the thwarts, passed the
skiff's painter up to the collector, and climbed upon the wharf without
saying a word. He took the note and the money the man handed to him,
and stood watching him as he sprang down into the skiff, and pulled
up the harbor toward the ship-yard. As soon as he disappeared among
the shipping, Bob tore up the note, put his money into his pocket, and
walked slowly homeward. He wanted to get out of sight of those two
gentlemen, and away from the ferry-boys, who kept their eyes fastened
on him as if he had been some curious wild animal. He felt like an
outlaw, and it seemed to him that every man who passed him on the
wharf, looked upon him with contempt.

"I'll always believe what mother says, after this," said the fisher-boy
to himself. "I am out of debt now, and, if I don't keep out, I'll--"

"Ah, here you are!" exclaimed a voice, breaking in upon his reverie.
"The best oarsman on Newport harbor! We've been looking for you! We
want to go across!"

Bob looked up, and found his liberal passenger before him, the man who
had paid him the forty dollars in gold by mistake. He had looked and
watched for him every time he came into the harbor, and here he was,
when he the least expected him. He was accompanied by two gentlemen,
whom Bob knew to be sailors, from their style of dress.

"Come, come, boy!" exclaimed the man, talking very rapidly, "the
captain and I are in a great hurry, and I know that you can set us over
in a little less than no time. Where's your boat?"

"I haven't got any, sir!" replied the fisher-boy, with tears in his
eyes. "But do you know how much you paid me when you were here before?"

"Yes; I promised you a dollar, and I gave it to you, didn't I?" said
the man, pulling out his pocket-book. "Did I make a mistake? How much
do I owe you? Speak quick, for I don't like to have even a small debt."

"You don't owe me any thing, sir," said Bob, as soon as he saw a chance
to crowd a word in edgeways; "but I owe you forty dollars in gold, and
if you will come home with me, I will pay it to you."

"You owe me forty dollars!" repeated the man. "How does that come?"

"Why, you made a great mistake, sir. You gave me two twenty-dollar gold
pieces instead of the two silver half dollars you promised me."

"What a big dunce I was, and what a bigger dunce you are, for telling
me of it," said the man, looking at Bob with an expression he could not
understand. "Come on, captain, we've wasted time enough."

To the fisher-boy's astonishment, the man turned on his heel and walked
off without saying a word more about the money. He shook hands with
Mr. Henry, who was still standing on the wharf, and Bob heard him
inquire, "Who is that boy?" He did not hear the reply, for the grocer
turned his back to him. Bob thought if he had lost forty dollars, and
some one should offer to return it, he would pay more attention to the
matter; but perhaps the gentleman had so many twenty-dollar gold pieces
that the loss of two of them did not trouble him. He talked with Mr.
Henry until a yawl, which he had hailed, came up, and then he climbed
down into it, saying to the grocer: "I will call at your store this
afternoon." Upon hearing this the fisher-boy started for home again,
intending to take the money to Mr. Henry, with a request that he would
give it to the owner.

Mrs. Jennings was not at all surprised when Bob told her that Mr.
Graves had taken his boat away from him. She only said it was "just
what she had been expecting," and then listened patiently as the
fisher-boy unfolded his plans for the future. They were not very
numerous or complicated, for now that his skiff was gone, there was but
one way in which he could earn a livelihood, and that was by doing odd
jobs about the village. "As for going to sea," said Bob, "I have almost
given it up. I never can save thirty dollars, and I'll have to be a
fisherman as long as I live."

As he said this, he felt the tears coming to his eyes, and, to hide
his emotion, he went out of the house, sat down upon the ground,
and looked up at his mottoes, under the eaves. "I don't believe Mr.
Newcombe told the truth," said he, unconsciously giving utterance to
the thoughts that were passing through his mind.

"About what?" inquired a voice behind him. Bob looked up, and there
was his liberal passenger again. Without stopping to reply to his
question, the fisher-boy sprang to his feet and ran into the cabin. In
a few moments he returned with the gold pieces, and found the gentleman
trying to read the mottoes. He took the money when Bob offered it to
him, without even thanking him, and, placing his finger upon one of the
boards, inquired: "What's all this written here?".

"It's my motto," replied Bob, with some hesitation.

"It is written in Greek, isn't it? Read it. I would like to know what
it is?"

The fisher-boy hesitated again. He was afraid the gentleman might laugh
at him. When he first cut that motto there, he thought it was something
worth remembering; but now he had almost lost faith in it. The man
repeated his request, and looked at Bob so kindly that he complied and
read:

"_Be sure you are right, and then go ahead!_"

"Do you always live up to that?"

"Not always," replied the fisher-boy, looking down at the ground; "I
went ahead once when I knew I was wrong, and got into trouble by it."

"How did you come to select this for a motto?

"I heard Mr. Newcombe talking to Tom just before he sailed in the
Savannah. He said: 'Be sure you are right, and then go ahead, and I'll
answer for your success in life.'"

"And if Tom had been sensible enough to pay some attention to it, he
would have been of some use in the world now," said the gentleman. "He
goes ahead when he knows he is wrong, and that's the reason he gets
into so much trouble. What's the other motto?"

"_Owe no man a penny_," replied Bob.

"That's another good one. All the advice I can give you is, to keep
them constantly in mind."

As the man said this, he abruptly left Bob, and walked rapidly toward
the wharf.

"Well," said the fisher-boy to himself, "he is the queerest man I ever
saw."

Bob was astonished at his singular behavior, and about an hour
afterward, while he was eating his dinner, he was still more amazed by
the appearance of one of the sailors he had seen with Mr. Evans--for
that was the name of his liberal passenger--who entered without
knocking, and began his business without ceremony.

"I am Captain Coons, master of the ship Spartan, which is to sail from
this port for China, day after to-morrow," said he. "Be gone three
years, probably. Want a boy, and have been instructed by Mr. Evans,
my owner, to pay you a hundred dollars advance. What do you say, Bob?
Here's your chance. You needn't mind pumping for salt water about it,
for I am in dead earnest. Here's the money if you'll say you will put
down your name."

Bob could not say any thing immediately, for he found it impossible to
speak. He looked at the roll of bills the captain held in his hand,
then at his mother, and being unable to restrain himself any longer,
he jumped up and ran out of the house. He did not shout, but he made a
standing jump of eight feet and a-half, and then began to haul in an
imaginary rope, hand over hand.

"What do I say, Bob?" said he to himself, in an excited whisper. "I say
I'll go, and won't I do my best? Captain Coons's boots will shine so
that he can see his face in them a mile off; and he'll never have to
tell somebody to make the bunks over after me."

The fisher-boy did not say, "I'll soon be second mate, and then first
mate, and then captain," as Tom Newcombe had done. His ideas extended
no further, just then, than the faithful performance of his duties as
boy.

Bob took a good many steps about the beach, and made several more
long standing jumps before he worked off his excitement, and then
he returned to the house, where he found the captain engaged in
conversation with his mother. He saw, at a glance, that the matter had
been settled during his absence, for his mother's purse lay upon the
table, and it was larger than it had ever been before.

"Those mottoes did it, my lad," said the captain, after he had told
Mrs. Jennings that Mr. Evans had heard all of Bob's history from the
grocer. "They pleased my owner wonderfully; and he asked me to tell
you to bear one thing in mind, and that is, that a steady, honest,
industrious boy never wants for friends, be he rich or poor. I shall
expect to see you on board the Spartan at six o'clock this evening."

Bob reported to the captain promptly at the hour. A small portion of
his advance had been expended for an outfit; but when he stood on the
deck of his vessel, and waved his farewell to his mother, he knew that
he had left her provided for.

"That's what comes of giving back them gold pieces," said Xury,
standing up in his boat and waving his hat to the fisher-boy. "If he
had kept 'em, like the governor wanted him to do, he wouldn't be on
board that fine ship now."

Every one of the members of the band saw Bob start on his voyage, and
it must be confessed that they breathed easier than they had done for
many a day, when they beheld his vessel shaping her course down the
bay. The principal had dismissed them with a sharp reprimand, and,
when they resumed their work in the harbor, they lived in a state of
constant fear and excitement, expecting every moment to find Mr. Grimes
after them with a warrant. The fact that Bob spoke to them very civilly
whenever he met them did not make them feel secure, and not until they
saw his vessel fairly out of the harbor, were they satisfied that he
did not intend to have them punished for what they had done. Then
every one of them was sorry that they had treated him so unkindly, and,
if the fisher-boy had come back to the village, he never would have had
any more trouble with the old members of the Crusoe band.

Tom Newcombe was there also. In spite of all his remonstrances and
threats, the lieutenant had taken him before the principal of the
academy, who sternly ordered him to go home. This made Tom more angry
than ever, for he imagined the colonel had insulted him by treating him
so coldly in the presence of the students, and he determined that he
would yet be revenged upon him. What passed between him and his father
no one ever knew; but all the clerks remarked that Tom worked harder,
and that he spent less of his time in running around. His brain was
as busy as usual, and in twenty-four hours after his release he had
matured a plan for the organization of another secret society.

The future of a boy of Tom's habits is easily predicted. The only
channel in which he ever exhibited any perseverance, was in holding
to the belief that "nobody could teach him." To this opinion he clung
as long as he lived, and, of course, he often got into trouble. His
further adventures shall be related in "NO MOSS; OR, THE CAREER OF A
ROLLING STONE."


THE END.



Famous Castlemon Books.


No author of the present day has become a greater favorite with boys
than "Harry Castlemon," every book by him is sure to meet with hearty
reception by young readers generally. His naturalness and vivacity
leads his readers from page to page with breathless interest, and when
one volume is finished the fascinated reader, like Oliver Twist, asks
"for more."


By Harry Castlemon.

 =GUNBOAT SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the following.
 6 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold                       $7 50

(Sold separately.)

 =Frank the Young Naturalist.= Illustrated. 16mo.                  1 25

 =Frank in the Woods.= Illustrated. 16mo.                          1 25

 =Frank on the Prairie.= Illustrated. 16mo.                        1 25

 =Frank on a Gunboat.= Illustrated. 16mo.                          1 25

 =Frank before Vicksburg.= Illustrated. 16mo.                      1 25

 =Frank on the Lower Mississippi.= Illustrated. 16mo.              1 25


 =GO-AHEAD SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold             3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =Go-Ahead=; or, The Fisher Boy's Motto. Illustrated. 16mo.       $1 25

 =No Moss=; or, The Career of a Rolling Stone. Illustrated. 16mo.  1 25

 =Tom Newcombe=; or, The Boy of Bad Habits. Illustrated. 16mo.     1 25


 =ROCKY MOUNTAIN SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold             3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =Frank at Don Carlos' Rancho.= Illustrated. 16mo.                 1 25

 =Frank among the Rancheros.= Illustrated. 16mo.                   1 25

 =Frank in the Mountains.= Illustrated. 16mo.                      1 25


 =SPORTSMAN'S CLUB SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold             3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =The Sportsman's Club in the Saddle.= Illustrated. 16mo. Cloth, extra,
 black and gold                                                    1 25

 =The Sportsman's Club Afloat.= Being the 2d volume of the "Sportsman's
 Club Series." Illustrated. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold     1 25

 =The Sportsman's Club among the Trappers.= Being the 3d volume of the
 "Sportsman's Club Series." Illustrated. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and
 gold                                                              1 25


 =FRANK NELSON SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold             3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =Snowed up=; or, The Sportsman's Club in the Mountains. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25

 =Frank Nelson in the Forecastle=; or, the Sportsman's Club among the
 Whalers. Illustrated. 16mo.                                       1 25

 =The Boy Traders=; or, The Sportsman's Club among the Boers.
 Illustrated. 16mo.                                                1 25


 =BOY TRAPPER SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold            $3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =The Buried Treasure=; or, Old Jordan's "Haunt." Being the 1st volume
 of the "Boy Trapper Series." Illustrated. 16mo.                   1 25

 =The Boy Trapper=; or, How Dave filled the Order. Being the 2d volume
 of the "Boy Trapper Series." Illustrated. 16mo.                   1 25

 =The Mail Carrier.= Being the 3d and concluding volume of the "Boy
 Trapper Series." Illustrated. 16mo.                               1 25


 =ROUGHING IT SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. Cloth, extra, black and gold                   3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =George in Camp=; or, Life on the Plains. Being the 1st volume of the
 "Roughing It Series." Illustrated. 16mo.                          1 25

 =George at the Wheel=; or, Life in a Pilot House. Being the 2d volume
 of the "Roughing It Series." Illustrated. 16mo.                   1 25

 =George at the Fort=; or, Life Among the Soldiers. Being the 3d and
 concluding volume of the "Roughing It Series." Illustrated. 16mo. 1 25


 =ROD AND GUN SERIES.= By Harry Castlemon. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. Cloth, extra, black and gold                   3 75

(Sold separately).

 =Don Gordon's Shooting Box.= Being the 1st volume of the "Rod and Gun
 Series." Illustrated. 16mo.                                       1 25

 =Rod and Gun.= Being the second volume of the "Rod and Gun Series."
 Illustrated. 16mo.                                                1 25

 =The Young Wild-Fowlers.= Being the third volume of the "Rod and Gun
 Series." Illustrated. 16mo.                                       1 25



Alger's Renowned Books.


Horatio Alger, Jr., has attained distinction as one of the most popular
writers of books for boys, and the following list comprises all of his
best books.


By Horatio Alger, Jr.

 =RAGGED DICK SERIES.= By Horatio Alger, Jr., in box containing the
 following. 6 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold            $7 50

(Sold separately.)

 =Ragged Dick=; or, Street Life in New York. Illustrated. 16mo.    1 25

 =Fame and Fortune=; or, The Progress of Richard Hunter. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25

 =Mark the Match Boy=; or, Richard Hunter's Ward. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =Rough and Ready=; or, Life among the New York Newsboys. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25

 =Ben the Luggage Boy=; or, Among the Wharves. Illustrated. 16mo.  1 25

 =Rufus and Rose=; or, The Fortunes of Rough and Ready. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25


 =TATTERED TOM SERIES.= (FIRST SERIES.) By Horatio Alger, Jr., in box
 containing the following. 4 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold
                                                                   5 00

(Sold separately.)

 =Tattered Tom=; or, The Story of a Street Arab. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =Paul the Peddler=; or, The Adventures of a Young Street Merchant.
 Illustrated. 16mo.                                                1 25

 =Phil the Fiddler=; or, The Young Street Musician. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =Slow and Sure=; or, From the Sidewalk to the Shop. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                  $1 25


 =TATTERED TOM SERIES.= (SECOND SERIES.) In box containing the
 following. 4 vols. Cloth, extra, black and gold                   5 00

(Sold separately.)

 =Julius=; or, The Street Boy Out West. Illust'd. 16mo.            1 25

 =The Young Outlaw=; or, Adrift in the World. Illustrated. 16mo.   1 25

 =Sam's Chance and How He Improved it.= Illustrated. 16mo.         1 25

 =The Telegraph Boy.= Illustrated. 16mo.                           1 25


 =LUCK AND PLUCK SERIES.= (FIRST SERIES.) By Horatio Alger, Jr., in box
 containing the following. 4 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold
                                                                   5 00

(Sold separately.)

 =Luck and Pluck=; or, John Oakley's Inheritance. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =Sink or Swim=; or, Harry Raymond's Resolve. Illustrated. 16mo.   1 25

 =Strong and Steady=; or, Paddle Your Own Canoe. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =Strive and Succeed=; or, The Progress of Walter Conrad. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25


 =LUCK AND PLUCK SERIES.= (SECOND SERIES.) In box containing the
 following. 4 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold             5 00

(Sold separately.)

 =Try and Trust=; or, The Story of a Bound Boy. Illustrated. 16mo. 1 25

 =Bound to Rise=; or, How Harry Walton Rose in the World. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25

 =Risen from the Ranks=; or, Harry Walton's Success. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =Herbert Carter's Legacy=; or, The Inventor's Son. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25


 =BRAVE AND BOLD SERIES.= By Horatio Alger, Jr., in box containing the
 following. 4 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold            $5 00

(Sold separately.)

 =Brave and Bold=; or, The Story of a Factory Boy. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =Jack's Ward=; or, The Boy Guardian. Illustrated. 16mo.           1 25

 =Shifting for Himself=; or, Gilbert Greyson's Fortunes. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25

 =Wait and Hope=; or, Ben Bradford's Motto. Illustrated. 16mo.     1 25


 =CAMPAIGN SERIES.= By Horatio Alger, Jr., in box containing the
 following. 3 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold             3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =Frank's Campaign=; or, the Farm and the Camp. Illustrated. 16mo. 1 25

 =Paul Prescott's Charge.= Illustrated. 16mo.                      1 25

 =Charlie Codman's Cruise.= Illustrated. 16mo.                     1 25


 =PACIFIC SERIES.= By Horatio Alger, Jr. 4 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra,
 black and gold                                                    5 00

(Sold separately.)

 =The Young Adventurer=; or, Tom's Trip Across the Plains. Illustrated.
 16mo.                                                             1 25

 =The Young Miner=; or, Tom Nelson in California. Illustrated. 16mo.
                                                                   1 25

 =The Young Explorer=; or, Among the Sierras. Illustrated. 16mo.   1 25

 =Ben's Nugget=; or, A Boy's Search for Fortune. A Story of the Pacific
 Coast. Illustrated. 16mo.                                         1 25


 =The Young Circus Rider=; or, The Mystery of Robert Rudd. Being the 1st
 volume of the "Atlantic Series." Illustrated. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black
 and gold                                                          1 25

 =Do and Dare=; or, A Brave Boy's Fight for Fortune. Being the 2d volume
 of the "Atlantic Series." Illustrated. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and
 gold                                                             $1 25

 =Hector's Inheritance=; or, Boys of Smith Institute. Being the 3d
 volume of the "Atlantic Series." Illustrated. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black
 and gold                                                          1 25


By C. A. Stephens.

Rare books for boys--bright, breezy, wholesome and instructive--full
of adventure and incident, and information upon natural history--they
blend instruction with amusement--contain much useful and valuable
information upon the habits of animals, and plenty of adventure, fun
and jollity.

 =CAMPING OUT SERIES.= By C. A. Stephens. In box containing the
 following. 6 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold            $7 50

(Sold separately.)

 =Camping Out.= As recorded by "Kit." With eight full-page
 illustrations. 16mo.                                              1 25

 =Left on Labrador=; or, The Cruise of the Schooner Yacht "Curlew." As
 recorded by "Wash." With eight full-page illustrations. 16mo.     1 25

 =Off to the Geysers=; or, The Young Yachters in Iceland. As recorded
 by "Wade." With eight full-page illustrations. 16mo.              1 25

 =Lynx Hunting.= From Notes by the Author of "Camping Out." With eight
 full-page illustrations. 16mo.                                    1 25

 =Fox Hunting.= As recorded by "Raed." With eight full-page
 illustrations. 16mo.                                              1 25

 =On the Amazon=; or, the Cruise of the "Rambler." As recorded by
 "Wash." With eight full-page illustrations. 16mo.                 1 25


By J. T. Trowbridge.

These stories will rank among the best of Mr. Trowbridge's books
for the young, and he has written some of the best of our juvenile
literature.

 =JACK HAZARD SERIES.= By J. T. Trowbridge. In box containing the
 following. 6 vols. 16mo. Cloth, extra, black and gold            $7 50

(Sold separately.)

 =Jack Hazard and his Fortunes.= With twenty illustrations. 16mo.  1 25

 =A Chance for Himself=; or, Jack Hazard and his Treasure. With
 nineteen illustrations. 16mo.                                     1 25

 =Doing his Best.= With twenty illustrations. 16mo.                1 25

 =Fast Friends.= With seventeen illustrations. 16mo.               1 25

 =The Young Surveyor=; or, Jack on the Prairies. With twenty-one
 illustrations. 16mo.                                              1 25

 =Lawrence's Adventures Among the Ice Cutters=, Glass Makers, Coal
 Miners, Iron Men and Ship Builders. With twenty-four illustrations.
 16mo.                                                             1 25


By Edward S. Ellis.

A New Series of Books for Boys, equal in interest to the "Castlemon"
and "Alger" books. His power of description of Indian life and
character is equal to the best of Cooper.

 =BOY PIONEER SERIES.= By Edward S. Ellis. In box containing the
 following. 3 vols. Illustrated. Cloth, extra, black and gold     $3 75

(Sold separately.)

 =Ned in the Block House=; or, Life on the Frontier. Being the 1st
 volume of the "Boy Pioneer Series." Illustrated. 16mo.            1 25

 =Ned in the Woods.= Being the 2d volume of the "Boy Pioneer Series."
 Illustrated. 16mo.                                                1 25

 =Ned on the River.= Being the 3d volume of the "Boy Pioneer Series."
 Illustrated. 16mo.                                                1 25


       *       *       *       *       *


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

Some inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation have
been retained.

p. 85: "robs" changed to "ribs" (thumped against his ribs like a
trip-hammer)

p. 99: "were" changed to "where" (where he was captured and put into
the cave)

p. 126: "possble" changed to "possible" (as soon as possible)

p. 234: "forcastle" changed to "forecastle" (thence into the forecastle)





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