All Aboard or Life on the Lake
A Sequel to "The Boat Club"
By Oliver Optic
CHICAGO: M.A. DONOHUE & CO.
"ALL ABOARD" was written to gratify the reasonable curiosity of the readers of "THE BOAT CLUB" to know what occurred at Wood Lake during the second season; and, though it is a sequel, it has no direct connection with its predecessor. The Introduction, in the first chapter, contains a brief synopsis of the principal events of the first season; so that those who have not read "The Boat Club," will labor under no disadvantage on that account.
The story of each book is entirely distinct from that of the other. As the interest of the first centers in Tony Weston, so that of the second does in Charles Hardy. I have tried to make the boys believe that the path of truth and rectitude is not only the safest, but the pleasantest path; and the experience of Charles with the "Rovers" illustrates and supports the position.
Perhaps some of the older readers of these books will think that, in providing the boys at Wood Lake with a whole fleet of boats, with bands of music, with club rooms, libraries, and apparatus, I have furnished them with very magnificent recreations; and that I might as well have told a "fairy tale" while I was about it. The only excuse I can offer for this extravagance is, that it would have been a pity to spoil a splendid ideal, when it could be actualized by a single stroke of the pen; besides, I believe that nothing is too good for good boys, especially when it is paid for out of the pocket of a millionaire.
The author, grateful to his young friends for the kind reception given to "The Boat Club," hopes that "All Aboard" will not only please them, but make them wiser and better.
WILLIAM T. ADAMS.
DORCHESTER, October 25, 1855.
I. Introduction II. The New Member III. All Aboard! IV. The Fraternal Hug V. Up the River VI. Hurrah for Tony! VII. Commodore Frank Sedley VIII. The Race IX. Little Paul X. A Unanimous Vote XI. Better to Give than Receive XII. First of May XIII. The Lighthouse XIV. The Conspiracy XV. The "Rovers" XVI. The Camp on the Island XVII. The Escape XVIII. Wreck of the Butterfly XIX. The Cruise of the Fleet XX. The Hospitalities of Oaklawn XXI. Conclusion
It can hardly be supposed that all the boys who take up this book have read the Boat Club; therefore it becomes necessary, before the old friends of the club are permitted to reunite with them, to introduce whatever new friends may be waiting to join them in the sports of the second season at Wood Lake. However wearisome such a presentation may be to those who are already acquainted, my young friends will all allow that it is nothing more than civility and good manners.
Frank Sedley is the only son of Captain Sedley, a retired shipmaster, of lofty and liberal views, and of the most estimable character. He is not what some people would call an "old fogy," and likes to have the boys enjoy themselves in everything that is reasonable and proper; but not to the detriment of their manners or morals, or to the neglect of their usual duties.
Having been a sailor all his life, he has none of that fear of boats and deep water which often haunts the minds of fond parents, and has purchased a beautiful club boat for the use of his son and other boys who live in the vicinity of Wood Lake.
Some fathers and mothers may think this was a very foolish act on the part of Captain Sedley, that the amusement he had chosen for his son was too dangerous in itself, and too likely to create in him a taste for aquatic pursuits that may one day lead him to be a sailor, which some tender mothers regard as "a dreadful thing," as, indeed, it is, under some circumstances.
But it must be remembered that Captain Sedley had been a sailor himself; that he had followed the seas from early youth; and that he had made his fortune and earned his reputation as a wise, good, and respectable man, on the sea. So, of course, he could not sympathize with the general opinion that a ship must necessarily be a "sink of iniquity," a school of vice, and that nothing good can be expected of a boy who is sent to sea. He believes that the man will grow out of the boy; and to his parental duty he applies the apostolic maxim, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
The club boat and the boat club, as means of instruction and discipline, as well as of amusement, were suggested by an accidental occurrence. The "Bunkers of Rippleton," a set of idle and dissolute boys, had constructed a rude raft, upon which they paddled about on the lake, and appeared to enjoy themselves very much. Captain Sedley, who had forbidden his son to venture upon the lake on the raft, or even in a boat, without permission, overheard Charles Hardy, the intimate friend of Frank, remark that the "Bunkers" had a much better time than they had, and that boys who did not obey their parents often enjoyed themselves more than those who did.
A few days after, the boys discovered the club boat, the light and graceful Zephyr, resting like a fairy shell upon the lake, and in its use the argument of Charles was effectually refuted. A club was formed of the boys in the neighborhood, and under the instruction of Uncle Ben, an old sailor who lived with Captain Sedley, soon became very expert in the management of the boat. A building was erected for the use of the association, in which, besides the boat-house, was a club room containing a library, and furnished with conveniences for holding meetings for mutual instruction and recreation. A constitution for the government of the club was adopted, in which the object of the association was declared to be "the instruction and amusement of the members, and the acquiring of good morals, good manners, and good habits in general." It defined and prohibited a great many vices and bad habits common among boys, so that the tendency of the organization was to make them better, wiser, and happier.
Their experience upon the lake, while the influence of the association stimulated them to the strict performance of their ordinary duties, was both varied and useful. Inasmuch as it reduced their recreation to a system, the laws of the club acting as a salutary check upon the waywardness of youth, it afforded an excellent discipline for the mind and heart, as well as for the muscles.
Among the members of the club was an honest, noble-hearted youth, the son of a poor widow, by the name of Tony Weston. In an affray upon Center Island, Tony had taken the part of Frank Sedley against Tim Bunker, and had thus obtained the ill will of the leader of the "Bunkers," and is accused of stealing a wallet, which is afterwards proved to have been taken by the "Bunker" himself. The theft is proved upon the graceless scamp, and he is sent to the house of correction, while Tony is borne in triumph by the club to his home.
Near the close of the story, Tony's brother, who has long been mourned as dead, returns home from California, with a large fortune in his possession. The brother, George Weston, builds a fine house for his mother, and, impelled by a warm admiration for Tony's noble character, purchases a splendid club boat for him, of the size and model of the Zephyr, which is named the Butterfly.
Tony is a boy whom all my readers will like, and though he is really no better boy than Frank Sedley, the humble circumstances of his mother before George returned required a great deal of sacrifice on his part, and called into action a great many noble traits of character. His life was a struggle, and his character a triumph over the perils to which poverty exposed him.
His experience seemed to exemplify the truths of Christianity. He could forgive his enemy, as when, at the risk of his own life, he plunged into the lake and rescued Tim Bunker from a watery grave, though Tim was even then laboring to ruin him. He loved to sacrifice his own comfort to that of others and found his greatest pleasure in making others happy. He and Frank are the unconscious exemplars of the boat club—the "men of character and influence" in their embryo world.
Charles Hardy is a boy of another stamp—one who does things "to be seen of men." He is sometimes selfish and ambitious; though the beneficent influence of the organization is working miracles in the transformation of his character.
The Butterfly was launched in the month of April. The liberality of George Weston had provided for her a boat-house, similar to that of the Zephyr, and, like that, furnished with a club room and library, and all the means for promoting the objects of the organization.
And now, with my old friends refreshed in memory by this review of the first season, and my new ones put in possession of all that is necessary to a proper understanding of the situation of the boat club, we are ready to proceed with our story.
THE NEW MEMBER.
"Order!" said Frank Sedley, as he seated himself in the arm-chair, at the head of the table in the club room.
At a meeting the preceding week, Frank had again been chosen coxswain of the club for the first official term. This had been done, not only in compliment to the noble boy to whose father the members were indebted for the privileges they enjoyed, but in anticipation of an exciting time on the lake, in a proposed race with the Butterfly. Frank was acknowledged to be the most skilful boatman among them, and under his direction they expected to accomplish all that they and the Zephyr could possibly attain. They had already learned that mere muscle was not all that was required to insure their success. Skill, forethought, and the ability to take advantage of favoring circumstances, were discovered to be even more desirable than great power.
"Order!" repeated Frank, rapping smartly on the table.
The members suspended their conversation, and all eyes were fixed upon the president. The affairs of the club, in connection with the Butterfly, had been freely discussed for several weeks, and everything had been arranged for the opening of the "summer campaign," as Charles Hardy rather facetiously called it.
"There are two questions to be submitted for the action of the club at this meeting," continued Frank, with more than his usual gravity. "They are questions of momentous consequence, and I have felt the need of counsel from our director; but my father declines giving me any advice, and says he prefers that we should discuss the questions independently; though, as you all know, if our final action is wrong, he will—he will—"
"Veto it," added Fred Harper.
"Yes, he will not permit us to do a wrong, though he wants us to think for ourselves, and do the best we can."
"Precisely so; he wants—" Charles Hardy begun.
"Order!" said Frank, with gentle firmness. "The first question is this: Tim Bunker, who has recently been discharged from the house of correction, has applied to be admitted as a member of the club, in place of Tony Weston, resigned. Shall he be admitted?"
"Mr. President, I move that he be not admitted," said Charles.
"Is the motion seconded?"
There was no response. The members all felt that it was a very delicate matter, and that it required careful deliberation.
"The motion is not seconded, and, of course, cannot be entertained," continued the president.
"I move that he be admitted," said Fred Harper.
"Second the motion," added William Bright.
Charles Hardy felt a little nettled, and his first impulse was, to rise and express his astonishment, as Squire Flutter had done in the "March meeting," at the motion of his friend on the other side of the table: but the impulsive youth had learned quite recently that a second thought is oftentimes much better than a first, and he reserved the expression of his surprise till a later stage of the debate.
As no one seemed disposed to open the discussion, Frank requested Fred Harper to take the chair, while he temporarily assumed the position of one of the disputants.
"Mr. Chairman," said he, "I rise to offer a few remarks in favor of the motion which is now before the club. Perhaps I cannot better introduce my own views upon the subject than by relating the substance of the conversation that occurred when Tim applied to me for admission to the club. He said that he had had a hard time of it in the house of correction; but he hoped his long confinement had done him good. He had firmly resolved to be a good boy. 'But,' said he, 'what can I do? If I go with the fellows I used to associate with, how can I keep my resolution? I know I have been a very bad boy, and I want to do what is right.' I told him that our rules were very strict; that no fellow was allowed to swear or to use bad language of any kind and that every member was required to keep straight himself, and help keep the others straight. He would agree to all this, would sign the constitution, and my father and the club would soon see that he meant all he said. I confess that I felt for him. What he said about keeping company with the 'Bunkers'—I suppose we must drop that name now—was true. He could not be a good fellow with such as they are. Now it won't do any harm to try him, and he may be saved from the error of his ways. As it is, he has got a hard name, and people will shun him: and, being discouraged, he may plunge deeper into vice than ever. This is about all I have to say."
Frank resumed the chair, and several of the members, perceiving the force of the president's reasoning, expressed themselves in favor of admitting Tim; when Charles Hardy rose and "plumed himself for a speech."
"Mr. President: I confess my surprise at the direction this debate has taken. There's a destiny that shapes our ends—"
"A what?" asked Fred Harper, with a roguish smile.
"I beg the member on the other side will not interrupt me," replied Charles, with offended dignity. "I quote the line as John Adams used it, in his celebrated speech, 'Sink or swim.'"
"I beg the member's pardon, but John Adams never made any such speech," answered Fred who, it must be confessed, was rather too fond of tantalizing the ambitious youth.
"Really, Mr. President, I am surprised that the member should deny what we all know. Why, the piece is in our reading book."
"Daniel Webster put the speech into the mouth of Adams," added Frank; "and the patriot is only supposed to have made it."
"It amounts to the same thing," continued Charles, with a slight blush.
"But your quotation was not correct," said Fred.
"Perhaps the member will give me the correct reading of the passage."
"With pleasure; the lines are from Shakspeare:—
'There's a Divinity that shapes our ends, Roughhew them as we will.'
I fancy the lines will not suit the member now," continued Fred, as he cast a mischievous glance at the discomfited speech-maker.
"Go on, if you please," said Frank to Charles.
"As I was saying, Mr. President, 'There's a Divinity that shapes our ends'—"
"You were not saying so," interposed Fred.
"Order!" said the chairman. "Proceed."
But Charles Hardy could not proceed. Undoubtedly, when he rose to speak, he had an idea in his head; but it had fled, and he could not at once recall it. In vain he scratched his head, in vain he thrust his hands into his pockets, as if in search of the lost idea; it would not come.
"You were speaking of Tim Bunker," said Frank, suggestively.
"I was; and I was about to say that—that—"
Some of the boys could no longer suppress their mirth, and, in spite of the vigorous pounding which the chairman bestowed upon the innocent table, in his attempts to preserve order, they had their laugh out. But the pleasantry of the members, and a sense of the awkwardness of his position, roused Charles to a more vigorous effort, and as he was about to speak of another topic, the lost idea came like a flood of sunshine.
"'There's a Divinity that shapes our ends.' Tim Bunker has chosen the path he will tread, and does anybody suppose he will ever abandon it? He will certainly die in the State Prison or on the gallows—my father says so. We all know what his habits are, and it is as easy for an Ethiopian to change his spots—"
"Skin," said Fred.
"To change his skin, as for such a fellow to be like us. He will lie, swear,—"
"The chair thinks the member's remarks are not strictly in order," interposed Frank, who was much pained to hear his friend use such violent language.
He saw that Charles was smarting under the effects of the ridicule which his companions had cast upon him, and that, in his struggle to make a speech, and thus redeem himself from the obloquy of a failure, he had permitted his impulses to override his judgment.
"I forbear, then," continued the speaker. "But I beg the club to consider the probable consequences of admitting such a fellow into the association. We have thus far enjoyed a good reputation, and we ought to be very careful how we tamper with our respectability."
"Ahem!" said Fred.
"A good name is rather to be chosen than—than purple and fine linen."
"Than what!" exclaimed Fred.
"Great riches," added Frank, with a smile, and even he was forced to admit "that the member was singularly unfortunate in his quotations."
"You have my opinion, gentlemen," said Charles, "and I don't know that I have any thing more to say at present;" and, much disconcerted, he sat down.
But though cast down, he was not destroyed; and in justice to his companions, it must be remarked that he had frequently annoyed the club by his attempts to make speeches more learned and ornate than his capacity would allow. Frank had reasoned with him on his propensity to "show off," but without effect, so that he did not feel so much sympathy for him at the present time as he would have felt under other circumstances.
"The question is still open for discussion," said the chairman.
No one, however, seemed disposed to speak.
"Question!" called Fred Harper.
"Question!" repeated several others.
"Are you ready for the question?" continued the chairman.
"All those in favor of admitting Tim Bunker as a member of the club will signify it in the usual way."
Ten hands were raised.
Charles, feeling that he was on the wrong side, did not vote against the measure, and it was declared to be a unanimous vote.
"The other matter, requiring the action of the club, relates to the proposed race between the Butterfly and the Zephyr. Several gentlemen of Rippleton feel a deep interest in the two boat clubs, and have proposed to put up a prize to be awarded to the successful club. I understand that fifty dollars have been subscribed for this purpose. The question is, Shall we pull for this prize?"
"When?" asked Fred.
"The clubs may choose their own time."
"It wouldn't be fair till the Butterfly has had a chance to practise a while."
"Of course not; the Butterfly may accept the proposition or not, and the club can select their own time."
"I move you that the offer be accepted," said William Bright.
"Second the motion," added James Vincent.
"I make the motion, Mr. President, for the purpose of bringing the question properly before the club. I have not thought enough about the matter yet to decide whether I am in favor of it or not," continued William Bright.
"It is generally supposed that the one who makes a motion is in favor of it; but we won't mind that now," said Frank, with a smile.
"Mr. President, I must say, I think the proposition looks a little like gambling," suggested Charles Hardy.
"So I was thinking," added a little fellow, near the foot of the table.
"Suppose we take an informal vote," proposed Charles, who was determined to get on the right side this time, if possible.
So an informal vote was taken, and every member voted against the proposition.
Frank Sedley was surprised at this result. Probably he was the only one who had given any earnest thought to the subject, though the offer was known to all the boys.
Captain Sedley, who watched over the welfare of the club with paternal interest, had endeavored, during the winter that was now past, to render it effectual in developing the moral and mental capacities of the members. He had given such a direction to the exercises in Zephyr Hall as he thought would best attain this end. One of the greatest difficulties with which he had been obliged to contend was the want of individuality in the boys. Each was disposed to "pin his faith" upon others. They would not think for themselves, and exercise an independent judgment. Like thousands in the great world, they "went with the crowd;" thought, acted, voted, with the majority.
Frank saw the operation of this motive in the "informal vote" which had just been taken; and he was tolerably certain that he could bring them all over to the other side, by indicating his own preference.
Calling Fred Harper to the chair again, he opened the discussion by offering a simile, which, being a parallel case, certainly gave the question an entirely new aspect.
"At the Rippleton Academy three gold medals and three silver medals are awarded, every year, for the best scholarship and deportment. Is that gambling?"
"No," replied half a dozen voices.
"Well, we are to row, in like manner for a prize. We don't put up money as a stake; the party that gets beaten does not lose anything."
"That makes a difference," added Charles.
"But the prizes in the Academy are given to make the scholars get their lessons well—to stimulate them in doing their duty," said William Bright.
"Very true;" and Frank saw, in the faces of the members, that the current had again set in another direction. "But we only want to prove that rowing for the prize is not gambling."
"That's all," said Charles.
"The Agricultural Society offers premiums for the best horses, cows, oxen."
"That's to improve stock," answered William. "Boat racing can only be for amusement."
"The Horticultural Society gives premiums for the prettiest flowers," added Frank; "and my father got one of them last summer."
The boys were staggered again.
"Flowers are cultivated for amusement; at any rate, we don't eat them, or drink them, or sleep on them," continued Frank.
"Your bed shall be roses, besprinkled with dew."
added Fred, who never missed his joke. "Besides, we sleep on poppies. They are a sleepy plant, you know."
"But the real question," said Frank, "is, whether racing for a prize will not excite hard and envious feelings in the members of the two clubs. I hope we shall think well of it before we vote; and for that purpose, Mr. Chairman, I move a recess of half an hour."
The motion was carried, and the boys talked the matter over till the meeting was called to order again.
"Question!" called several voices.
The vote was immediately taken, and it stood nine in favor and two opposed to the proposition. And so, on the part of the Zephyr, the offer was accepted.
The club then adjourned for an excursion on the lake.
The club had taken their seats in the boat, and were waiting the orders of the coxswain to haul her out of her berth, when Captain Sedley made his appearance.
"You are short-handed, Frank," said he, as he observed Tony's vacant seat.
"Yes, sir; but we have elected a member to fill that place," replied Frank, as he jumped out of the boat, and hastened to inform his father of what the club had done.
The members all felt a deep interest in the result of this conference; and though this was the first excursion of the season, they forgot for the time the pleasure before them in their desire to know whether the "director" would approve their action in relation to the new member and the prize.
Frank and his father entered the club-room together.
"Now, my son, what have you done?" asked Captain Sedley.
"We have discussed both questions to the best of our ability," replied Frank, with some hesitation.
"Well, what was the result?"
"We have elected Tim to fill Tony's place."
"We have; and we await your sanction to our doings."
"Did you think I would sanction such a choice as that?"
"I didn't know. We have fairly considered the matter; have faithfully examined both sides of the question. If we have done wrong, you know, father, that you have a veto upon our doings."
Captain Sedley smiled at the matter-of-fact, business-like earnestness of his son. He felt quite as much interest in the action of the boys as they did to learn his opinion of it.
"Tim is a very bad boy," said he.
"He was; but he has solemnly promised to amend, and become a good boy," answered Frank, warmly.
"Not much dependence can be placed upon the promises of such boys as Tim."
"But if no one encourages him to become better, he will not be likely to improve much, especially when everybody despises and shuns him."
"There is danger that he may corrupt the rest of the club."
"He must obey the requirements of the constitution, or he cannot long continue to be a member."
"You are right, Frank; I approve your action in this matter, but I should like to know the grounds upon which you admitted him."
Frank gave him a brief synopsis of the debate, and the anxious father expressed himself well pleased with the liberal views of the club.
"Men might be oftener reformed in the great world, if people would only give them a chance to be respectable, as you have done with Tim," said Captain Sedley. "But what have you done about the prize?"
"We have voted to accept the offer of the gentlemen," answered Frank, rather doubtfully, as he looked earnestly into the face of his father, to discover the effect of his intelligence.
"I hope you looked on both sides of this question, as well as the other."
"We did, father."
Frank stated the different opinions that had been expressed by the members during the debate, and the fact that they had informally given a unanimous vote against it. Captain Sedley was much amused by the narration, in spite of the disappointment he felt at the ill success of his efforts to make the boys reason for themselves.
"I think your view is correct, Frank; though I am aware that many mature minds would arrive at a different conclusion. As you say, the envy and ill will which the contest may excite are the evils most to be dreaded."
"Then you approve our decision?"
Frank felt as happy at that moment as though he had been a general of division, and had won a great victory. The consciousness of having arrived, unaided by mature minds, at a correct conclusion, was a triumph in itself. He had exercised his thought, and it had borne him to a right judgment. He was proud of his achievement, and hastened back to the boat with the intelligence of the approval.
"What does he say?" asked half a dozen of the members.
"Let us get off first, and then we will talk about it," replied Frank. "Bowman, let go the painter; cast off the stern lines, there. Now, back her—steady."
"Tell us about it, Frank," said Charles Hardy, as the Zephyr glided clear of the boat-house, out upon the deep waters of the lake.
"Ready—up!" continued Frank, and the eleven oars were poised perpendicularly in the air.
The members had already begun to feel the inspiration of their favorite amusement, and there appeared to have been nothing lost by the season of inactivity which had passed away. They were as prompt and as perfect in the drill as though they had practised it every day during the winter. Although it was a moment of excitement, there was no undue haste; every member seemed to be perfectly cool.
And the broad blades dipped in the water, and bent before the vigorous arms of the youthful oarsmen.
"Starboard oars, cease rowing—back!" continued the coxswain, with admirable dignity and self-possession; and the Zephyr, acted upon by this maneuver, came about as though upon a pivot, without going either backward or forward.
"Starboard oars, steady—pull!" and the rowers indicated by this command caught the stroke, and the light bark shot ahead, with her wonted speed, in the direction of Rippleton village.
"Zephyr, ahoy!" shouted some one from the shore.
"Tim Bunker—ain't it?" asked Charles.
"Humph! he needn't hail us like that. I was sure your father would never permit him to join the club," continued Charles, who fancied that he read in Frank's expression the disapproval of his father.
"You are in the wrong, Charley."
"You are; my father cordially approved our action. Now, Zephyrs, I am going up to Flat Rock to take him aboard; and I hope every fellow will treat him well—just as though he had never done anything out of the way. What do you say?"
"We will," they replied, with one voice.
"And then, if he does not walk straight, it will not be our fault. Treat him as though he was the best fellow among us. Let nothing tempt us to forget it."
Frank headed the boat towards the rock in the grove, and in a moment the bow touched it.
Without waiting for an invitation, Tim jumped into the boat, and took the vacant seat. Frank did not much like this forwardness: it was a little too "brazen" to comport with his ideas of true penitence. But he did not care to humble the "Bunker;" so he said nothing that would wound his feelings.
"We are glad to see you, Tim; the club has this day elected you a member, and our director has approved the vote," said Frank.
"Has he?" replied Tim, with a broad grin.
"And, if you like, we will go up to the boat-house, where you may sign the constitution."
"Yes, I'll sign it," answered Tim, more as though it would be conferring a favor on the club than as a duty he owed to his new friends.
Frank gave the necessary orders to get the boat under way again. Tim handled his oar with considerable skill, and before they reached the boat-house, he had learned to time his stroke with that of his companions.
When they landed, Captain Sedley took Tim apart with him, and very kindly told him what would be expected of him in his new relation, urging him to be true to his good resolution, and assuring him that he should never want for substantial encouragement so long as he persevered in well doing. Tim hung his head down while he listened to this kind advice; his answers were short, but they were all satisfactory, so far as words could be taken as the index of his intentions.
Frank then read the constitution, and the new member listened to it with attention. The stringent provisions of the sixth article, which forbade swearing, indecent language, and other boyish vices, brought a scarcely visible smile to his lips, and excited a doubt as to the success of the experiment in the mind of the director.
"Now, Tim, you can sign it," said Frank.
"It's pretty strict—ain't it?" added Tim, with one of his peculiar grins, as he took the pen that was handed to him. "You know I ain't used to being quite so strained up as you fellers, and I may kinder break through afore I know it."
"If you do, you shall be judged kindly and charitably," said Captain Sedley.
"Well. I'll sign it."
But it was not quite so easy a thing for Tim to sign; at least, to perform the mechanical part of the act, for he had been to school but little, and good penmanship was not one of his accomplishments. However, he succeeded in getting over the form, though it would have puzzled the secretary to read it, if he had not known what it was.
"Now, Zephyrs, Tim is one of us," said Frank.
"He hasn't got any uniform," suggested Charles.
"He shall have one," replied Captain Sedley, as he wrote an order on Mr. Burlap, the tailor, to supply him with a uniform.
"All aboard!" shouted Frank. "We will pull up the lake, and see how the Butterfly gets along. They have been practising for a fortnight, and they ought to be able to row pretty well by this time."
"With Uncle Ben to show them how," added Fred Harper.
Again the Zephyrs were in their seats, and the boat was backed out into the lake. The flags were unrolled, and put in their places. The graceful barge was nicely trimmed, so as to rest exactly square in the water, and everything was ready for a sharp pull. The weather was cool, and the boys required some pretty vigorous exercise to keep them warm.
The various commands were given and executed with the usual precision, only that Tim, who was not thoroughly "broken in," made some blunders, though, considering his short service, his proficiency was decidedly creditable.
The Zephyr darted away like an arrow, and the slow, measured, musical stroke of the oars was pleasant and exciting to the rowers.
"You haven't told us about the other matter yet, Frank," said Charles, as the boat skimmed along over the little waves of the lake.
"Let us know about it," added Fred.
"About what?" asked Tim Bunker, whose modesty in his new position did not seem to cause him much trouble.
"We are to have a race with the Butterfly, when Tony gets things to his mind," replied Frank.
"That'll be fun! Are ye going to put up anything?"
"Put up anything?"
"Yes; what's going to be the stakes?"
"I don't know what you mean, Tim."
"When they race horses, each man bets on his own."
"We are not going to bet; that would be contrary to the constitution."
"Would it? I didn't hear nothing about betting."
"Article second says that one of the objects of the association shall be the acquiring of good habits in general; and I am sure betting is a very bad habit."
"Well, I s'pose it is."
"But several gentlemen of Rippleton have subscribed fifty dollars as a prize to the winner of the race," added Frank; "just as they give medals in school, you know."
"Well, of course you will win."
"I don't know."
"You are used to your boat, and them fellers ain't."
"We can't tell yet; perhaps the Butterfly will prove to be a faster boat than the Zephyr, and some of Tony's members are a good deal larger and stouter than ours. I think the chances are about equal."
"I think likely. What are you going to do with the money if you win?"
"I don't know; we haven't thought of that yet," replied Frank, not particularly pleased with the question.
"Divide it among the fellers, I s'pose."
"I think not; we had better apply it to some useful purpose,—that is, if we win it,—such as enlarging our library, buying some philosophical instruments—"
"An air pump, and other apparatus of the kind."
Tim did not comprehend the nature of the mystical implements any better than before; but as his mind was fixed upon something else, he did not demand further explanation.
"Fifty dollars," said he; "how much will that be apiece. Thirteen into fifty; can any of you fellers cipher that up in your heads?"
"Three and eleven thirteenths dollars each," said William Bright, who pulled the next oar forward of Tim. "Three dollars and eighty-five cents—isn't it?"
"Eighty-four and a fraction," replied Fred, with schoolboy accuracy.
"A feller could have a good time on that, I'll bet," ejaculated Tim.
"And many a poor man would like it to buy bread for his family," added Frank. "But there is the Butterfly!"
Tim Bunker dropped his oar at this announcement, and was on the point of rising to get a better view of the Zephyr's rival, when the handle of William Bright's oar gave him a smart rap in the back.
"Mind out!" said Tim. "Don't you know any better than to hit a feller in that way?"
"Cease—rowing!" called Frank, as he saw Tim's first involuntarily double up, and his eye flash with anger.
"It was your fault, Tim, and you must not blame him," added the coxswain, mildly, but firmly.
"My fault!" and Tim added an expression which I cannot put upon my page.
"Such language as that is contrary to the constitution," continued Frank. "You stopped rowing without orders."
"What if I did!"
"You should not have done so. No member can do, or cease to do, without orders; that's our discipline."
Tim cooled off in a moment, made a surly apology for his rudeness, and the Zephyr continued on her course.
THE FRATERNAL HUG.
The incident which had just occurred gave Frank considerable uneasiness. Tim was naturally quarrelsome, and his former mode of life had done nothing to improve his disposition. He had never been taught that self-restraint is necessary to preserve social harmony. If anything did not suit him, he was not disposed to argue the matter in a conciliatory manner, but to right his wrongs, whether real or imaginary, by physical force. In this manner he had obtained his reputation as a "good fighter."
Frank began to fear that Tim had come into the club without a proper understanding of its duties and requirements. Though he had, with an ill grace, apologized for his conduct, he seemed to feel no compunction on account of it; but, on the contrary, he every moment grew more overbearing and insolent. He could not speak to his companions in a gentlemanly manner, as they had been accustomed to be addressed. He was course, rude, and vulgar; and the members, who had received him among them in the best spirit possible, began to feel some repugnance towards him.
But what could be expected of him in so short a time? They had no reason to believe that a boy who had always been a desperado would suddenly become a gentle and kind-hearted person. His nature wanted refining, and such a work could not be done in a moment. These reflections came to Frank's relief, when he had become well-nigh discouraged at the idea of reforming Tim—discouraged more by thinking of the vast chasm that yawned between what he was and what he ought to be. Like the pendulum in the story, he was crowding the work of months and years into a single instant. A little sober thought in the proper direction set him right.
The Butterfly was darting out of "Weston Bay" as they approached.
"Cease—rowing!" said Frank. "Now, my lads, let us give them three rousing cheers. All up! One!"
And then the Zephyrs clapped their hands, long and loudly, and this was the greeting which the old club gave to the new one. The compliment was heartily returned by the Butterfly, and then the cheers were repeated again and again. Every member seemed to glow with kindly feeling towards the others. Even Tim Bunker for the time laid aside his morose look, and joined in the expression of good will with as much zeal as his companions.
"Now man your oars, Zephyrs," said Frank.
"What ye going to do now?" asked Tim, as he grasped his oar with the others.
"You shall know in due time," replied the coxswain.
Here was another thing which Tim had yet to learn—not to ask questions of the commander. It was a part of the discipline of the club to obey without stopping to argue the point. Captain Sedley himself had suggested this idea, and it had been thoroughly carried out on board the Zephyr. It was an established principle that "the coxswain knew what he was about," and that he alone was responsible for the guidance and the safety of the boat.
Tim did not seem to fancy this kind of discipline. He evidently felt that he had been born to command, and not to obey. But the consciousness that he was in the minority induced him to yield whatever convictions he might have had of his own superiority to the will of the "powers that be," and he followed the example of the others.
"Ready—pull!" continued Frank.
He and Tony had arranged a little system of "fleet maneuvers," to be carried out when the two boats met.
To the surprise of all on board,—for they were not "posted up" in regard to these tactics,—Frank put the Zephyr about.
"Cease—rowing!" said he, when the boat was headed in the opposite direction.
To the further surprise of the Zephyrs, they discovered that the Butterfly had executed a similar maneuver, and that the two boats lay at the distance of nearly a quarter of a mile apart, the bow of one pointing directly east, and the other directly west.
"Ready to back her!" said Frank, and the boys all pulled their oar handles close to their breasts, ready at the word to take the reverse stroke.
The Butterfly did the same thing exactly, and the two boats rapidly approached each other, stern first. Tony had certainly made the most of the time which had been allotted to him for drilling his crew, and they worked together almost as well as the Zephyrs, who were a little embarrassed at each new movement by the awkwardness of Tim Bunker.
"Steady—slow," continued Frank, as the two boats came nearer together. "That will do; cease—rowing. Ready—up!" and the twelve oars gleamed in the sunshine.
The sterns of the two boats came together, and Frank threw Tony a line, which the latter made fast.
"Ready—down!" said Tony and Frank, almost in the same breath; and the oars were deposited in their places on the thwarts.
The two clubs were facing each other as they sat in their seats, with the respective coxswains standing in the stern sheets.
"Mr. Coxswain of the Butterfly," said Frank, as he removed his hat, and gracefully bowed to Tony, "in behalf of the members of the Zephyr Boat Club, of which you were so long a cherished member, I welcome you and your club, and the beautiful craft in which you sail, to these waters. May the Zephyr and the Butterfly cruise together in entire harmony; may no hard words or hard thoughts be called forth by either, but may all be peace and good-will."
This little speech was received with a burst of applause by Tony's club, and the boats interchanged volleys of cheers.
"Mr. Coxswain of the Zephyr," Tony began, in reply to his friend's speech, "I am much obliged to you and your companions for the kind words you have spoken for yourself and for them. I am sure there will never be any hard feelings between us, and I assure you if any fellow in our club attempts to make a row, we will turn him out. Won't we, fellows?"
"Ay, ay! That we will," replied the club, with one voice.
"If we get beaten in a race, we will bear our defeat like men. Won't we, boys?"
"That we will."
Tony wound up by saying he was not much at making speeches, but he was ready to do everything he could to make things go off right and pleasantly.
Three cheers more were given on each side, and the crews were ordered into their seats.
"Starboard oars, ready—up!" said Frank.
"Larboard oars, ready—up!" said Tony.
"Ready—down!" was then given by one, and repeated by the other. And then, "Ready—pull!" followed, in like manner.
My reader will readily perceive that the effect of this maneuver was to turn the boats round in opposite directions, so that they came alongside of each other, after a few strokes of the oars.
The painter of the Butterfly was thrown on board the Zephyr, and made fast to the bow ring. The boys were now all brought together, and the discipline of the clubs was relaxed so as to permit the members to enjoy a few moments of social recreation.
The Butterfly, as we have said in the introduction, was of the same size and model as the Zephyr, and, except that the former was painted in gayer colors, to represent the gaudy tints of the butterfly, the two boats were exact counterparts of each other.
Her crew had already procured their uniform, and wore it on the present occasion. It was a pair of white pants, made "sailor fashion," with a short red frock, and a patent-leather belt. These garments, owing to the coldness of the weather, were worn over their usual clothes. The hat was a tarpaulin, with the name of the club in gilt letters on the front, and upon the left breast of the frock was a butterfly, worked in colors.
The Butterfly, like her rival, carried an American flag at the stern, and a blue silk fly, with the letter "B" on it, at the bow.
"This is glorious, isn't it, Frank?" said Tony, as he took his friend's hand and warmly pressed it.
"First rate! There is fun before us this season; and if nothing happens to mar the harmony which now prevails, we shall enjoy ourselves even more than we did last summer."
"Nothing can happen—can there?" replied Tony, glancing involuntarily at Tim Bunker, who seemed to be so amazed at the good will that prevailed around him as to be incapable of saying anything.
"I hope not; but, Tony, what about the race? Has your club voted on the question of the prize?"
"What did you do?"
"What have you done, Frank?" asked Tony. There was not the slightest doubt as to his Yankee paternity.
"We voted to accept the offer."
"So did we, though our members were so afraid of doing something wrong, that George had to come into the meeting and argue the question with them. We accepted the offer on condition that you did so."
"Then it is all arranged."
"Yes, except the time."
"We shall leave that all to you."
"We are ready now," replied Tony, with a smile.
"Name the day, then."
"Next Wednesday afternoon."
"Who shall be the judges? We have chosen your father for one."
"And we shall choose Uncle Ben for another."
"Let us choose the other together."
The two clubs were then called to order, and Frank, at Tony's request, stated the business to them.
"Please to nominate," said he.
"Mr. Hyde, the schoolmaster," exclaimed a dozen voices.
It was a unanimous vote, and the judges were all elected.
"Now, Tony, let us have some fun."
"We will try our fleet tactics a little more, if you like."
"So I say."
"We will go down the lake with the 'fraternal hug.'"
"The what!" exclaimed Charles Hardy.
"We call our present position the 'fraternal hug.'"
"Hurrah for the fraternal hug!" shouted Charles, and all the boys laughed heartily.
"Nothing bearish about it, I hope," added Fred Harper.
"We have no bears," replied Frank, as he ordered out his starboard oars.
Tony in like manner got out his larboard oars.
"Now, Frank," said he, "as you are a veteran in the service, you shall be commodore, and command the allied squadron."
A burst of laughter greeted this sally; but Frank was too modest to accept this double command, and would only do so when a vote had been passed, making him "commodore."
Fenders—a couple of cushions, which Frank, in anticipation of this maneuver, had provided—were placed between the two boats to keep them from injuring each other, and the order was given to pull. As but six oars were pulled in each boat, their progress was not very rapid. No one, however, seemed to care for that. The joining of the two boats in the "fraternal hug" was emblematic of the union that subsisted in the hearts of their crews, and all the members of each club seemed better satisfied with this symbolical expression of their feelings than though they had won a victory over the other.
When they came abreast of the Zephyr's boat-house, they discovered that Uncle Ben was on board the Sylph, which lay moored at a short distance from the shore.
Bang! went the cannon which the veteran had again rigged on the bow of the sail-boat.
And as they passed down the lake, Uncle Ben blazed away in honor of the fraternal hug between the two clubs.
UP THE RIVER.
At the end of the lake the boats separated, after giving each other three hearty cheers.
"Where are you going now?" asked Tim Bunker.
"We will go up the lake again."
"Suppose we try a race?" suggested Fred Harper.
"There will be no harm in it, I suppose," replied Frank, glancing at the Butterfly.
"Zephyr, ahoy!" shouted Tony. "We will pull up together, if you like."
The two boats were then drawn up alongside of each other, ready to start when the word should be given.
"Say when you are ready," shouted Tony.
The rowers in each boat were all ready to take the first stroke.
"Ready—pull!" said Frank; and the crews bent to the work.
"Now give it to 'em!" shouted Tim Bunker, as he struck out with his oar.
"Steady, Tim," said Frank. "Be very careful, or you will lose the stroke."
"No, I won't. Put 'em through by daylight!" And Tim, without paying much attention to the swaying of the coxswain's body, by which his stroke should have been regulated, redoubled his exertions. He was very much excited, and the next moment the handle of his oar hit the boy in front of him in the back. Then the boy behind hit him, and a scene of confusion immediately ensued. Of course no boy could pull his stroke except in unison with the others; so the whole were compelled to cease rowing.
"We have lost it," said Frank, good-naturedly.
The boys, seeing how useless it was to attempt to row in the midst of such confusion, were obliged to wait till order had been restored.
"No, we hain't; pull away!" replied Tim, as He seized his oar, and began to row with all his might.
"Cease rowing!" said Frank.
"Catch your oars, you sleepies, or they will get in first!" exclaimed Tim, who continued to struggle with his oar in defiance of the order.
He had already pulled the boat half round.
"I guess the fifty dollars won't come to this crew," added Tim, contemptuously.
"It certainly will not, if you don't obey orders better than that," replied Frank.
"I don't want to have the club beat so easy as that."
"But it is all your fault, Tim."
"What! what!" exclaimed Frank. "We cannot have such language as that. If you don't conform to the constitution you have signed, you shall be put on shore at the nearest land."
"Well, I ain't a going to have it laid to me, when I hain't done nothing. Didn't I pull with all my might and main? and if the other fellers had done so too, we should have been ahead of 'em afore this time," answered Tim, somewhat tamed by the threat of the coxswain.
"We will not talk about that until you say whether you intend to conform to the rules of the club, or not," added Frank, firmly.
"Of course I do."
Tim was still gruff in his tones; but it was evident that he wanted to conform to the rules, and that his obstinacy was still struggling for expression.
"You must not tell the coxswain, or any other member, that he lies, Tim," continued Frank.
"That was a slip of the tongue."
The Bunker tried to laugh it off, and declared that he was so used to that form of expression he could not leave it off at once. This was regarded as a great concession by all.
"Very well; if you will promise to do your best to obey the rules, we will say no more about it."
"Of course I will," replied Tim, with a laugh, which was equivalent to saying, "If any of you think I am yielding too much, why, I am only joking."
"Now, Tim, that point being settled, I repeat that our mishap was caused by you, though we don't blame you for it. You meant to do your best, but you didn't go to work in the right way."
"What's the reason I didn't?"
"You broke up the stroke."
"The fellers ought to have pulled faster, then, so as to keep up with me; if they had, we should have done well enough."
"That is not the way. The coxswain is to judge how fast you may pull with safety."
"Just as you like. All I wanted was to win the race."
"I understand you; but we can do nothing if the discipline of the club is not observed."
"I didn't know about that."
"Let us understand one another for the future. You must regulate your stroke by the motion of my body. You are to see nothing but me; and whatever happens, you must obey orders."
"Let's try it again. I will do as you say," replied Tim, with a great deal more gentleness than he had before shown.
"Ready—pull!" said Frank. And away darted the Zephyr up the lake.
Tim pulled very steadily now, and showed a disposition to do as the others did, and to obey orders. Frank was pleased with the result of the conference, and began to entertain strong hopes of the ultimate reformation of the Bunker.
But the race was lost; the Butterfly was almost at the head of the lake.
"There's a chance for the Butterflies to crow over us," said Tim, after a silence of several moments.
"There is to be no crowing. If we had beaten them, I should not have permitted a word to be spoken that would create a hard feeling in the minds of any of them," replied Frank. "And I know that Tony is exactly of my mind."
"It is no great credit to them to have beaten us under these circumstances," added Fred.
"Each club must be responsible for its own discipline. No excuses are to be pleaded. Good order and good regulations will prevent such accidents as just befell us."
"That is what discipline is for," said William Bright.
"Exactly so. Don't you remember what Mr. Hyde told me when I tried to excuse myself for not having my sums done with the plea that I had no pencil?" asked Charles Hardy. "He said it was as much a part of our duty to be ready for our work as it was to do it after we were ready."
"That's good logic," put in Fred. "If the engine companies did not keep their machines in good working order, of course they would render no service at the fire. You remember Smith's factory was burnt because 'No. 2's' suction hose leaked, and the 'tub' couldn't be worked."
"That's it; in time of peace prepare for war."
"Where's the Butterfly now?" asked Tim, who did not feel much interest in this exposition of duty.
"She is headed up to Rippleton River," replied Frank. "I hope she does not mean to venture among the rocks."
Rippleton River was a stream which emptied into the lake at its eastern extremity. Properly speaking, Wood Lake was only a widening of this river, though the stream was very narrow, and discharged itself into the lake amid immense masses of rock.
The mouth of this river was so obstructed by these rocks, that Captain Sedley had forbidden the boys ever to venture upon its waters; though, with occasional difficulties in the navigation, it was deep enough and wide enough to admit the passage of the boat for several miles. A wooden bridge crossed the stream a little way above the lake—an old, decayed affair which had frequently been complained of as unsafe.
"Tony knows the place very well," said Charles. "He will not be rash."
"But there he goes right in amongst the rocks, and the Butterflies are pulling with all their might. He is crazy," added Frank, his countenance exhibiting the depth of his anxiety.
"Let Tony alone; he knows what he is about," responded Fred.
"Heavens!" exclaimed Frank, suddenly, as he rose in his place. "There has been an accident at the bridge! I see a horse and chaise in the river."
Tim dropped his oar, and was turning round to get a view of the object, when Frank checked him. So strict was the discipline of the club, that, notwithstanding the excitement which the coxswain's announcement tended to create, not another boy ceased rowing, or even missed his stroke.
"Keep your seat," said Frank to Tim. "Take your oar."
"I want to see what's going on," replied Tim.
"Keep your seat," repeated Frank, authoritatively.
Tim concluded to obey; and without a word resumed his place, and commenced pulling again.
"Tony is after them; if you obey orders we may get there in season to render some assistance," continued Frank. "Don't balk us now, Tim."
"I won't, Frank; I will obey all your orders. I didn't think when I got up," replied Tim, with earnestness, and withal in such a tone that Frank's hopes ran high.
"Will you cross the rocks, Frank?" asked Charles Hardy.
"But you know your father told us never to go into the river."
"Circumstances alter cases."
"But it will be disobedience under any circumstances."
"We won't argue the point now," answered the bold coxswain, quickening the movements of his body, till the crew pulled with their utmost strength and speed, and the Zephyr flew like a rocket over the water.
"I don't like to go, Frank, and though I will obey orders, I now protest against this act of disobedience," replied Charles, who was sure this time that Captain Sedley would commend and approve his inflexible love of obedience.
"Pull steady, and mind your stroke," added Frank, whose eye was fixed upon the chaise in the water.
"We may strike upon the rocks and be dashed to pieces," suggested Charles.
"If you are afraid—"
"O, no! I'm not afraid; I was thinking of the boat."
"If it is dashed to pieces in a good cause, let it be so."
"Good!" ejaculated Fred Harper. "That's the talk for me!"
"The water in the lake is very high, and I know exactly where the rocks lie. Keep steady; I will put you through in safety."
"Where is the Butterfly now, Frank?" asked William Bright.
"Wait a minute.—There she goes! Hurrah! she has passed the reefs safely. They pull like heroes. There! Up go her oars—they are in-board. There are a man and a woman in the water, struggling for life. The man is trying to save the woman. The chaise seems to hang upon a rock, and the horse is kicking and plunging to clear himself. Steady—pull steady."
"Tony will save them all," said Fred.
"Hurrah! there he goes overboard, with half a dozen of his fellows after him! There are six left in the boat, and they are working her along towards the man and woman. They have them—they are safe. Now they pull the lady in—hah—all right! I was afraid they would upset the boat. They have got her in, and the man is holding on at the stern. Tony has got a rope round the horse's neck, and the fellows are clearing him from the chaise."
The Zephyr was now approaching the dangerous rocks, and Frank was obliged to turn his attention to the steering of the boat through the perilous passage.
"Steady," said he, "and pull strong. All right; we are through. We are too late to do anything. They have landed the man and woman, and now they are towing the horse ashore. Tony's a glorious fellow! He is worth his weight in solid gold!"
"Can't we save the chaise?" asked Tim Bunker.
"We can try."
"Hurrah for the chaise then!"
"Bowman, get the long painter ahead," continued Frank.
The coxswain of the Zephyr steered her towards the vehicle, which still hung to the rock, and, by a skilful maneuver, contrived to make fast the line to one of the shafts of the chaise.
"Ready—pull!" said Frank, as he passed the line over one of the thwarts.
The crew pulled with a will, and the jerk disengaged the chaise, and they succeeded in hauling it safely to the shore, and placing it high and dry upon the rocks.
HURRAH FOR TONY!
Tony and his six companions, who had been with him in the river, stood on the rocks shivering with cold, when the Zephyr's crew landed. The rest of her boys had been sent to conduct the lady and gentleman to the nearest house, and render them such assistance as they might require.
"You are a brave fellow, Tony!" said Frank, warmly, as he grasped the wet hand of his friend.
"I am very wet and cold, whatever else I may be," replied Tony, trying to laugh, while his teeth chattered so that he could hardly speak.
"You had better go home; you will catch cold," continued Frank.
"We must wait for the fellows."
"No, you shall take six of the Zephyr's crew, and pull home as fast as you can, and we will wait for the rest."
"We can do no more good here; so we may as well go. Thank you for your offer, Frank, and I will accept it. If you like I will take Fred Harper to steer down, for I should like to pull an oar myself to warm up with."
"Certainly;" and Frank detailed six of his club, including Fred, who seated themselves in the Butterfly.
"I don't know about those rocks, Tony," said Fred, as he grasped the tiller ropes.
"The water is so high, that there is no danger, I will have an eye to the passage when we get to it," replied Tony, as he took his old place at the bow oar.
The Butterfly pushed off, and in a few moments after passed the dangerous rocks in safety. Her crew pulled with energy, and it is quite likely that they got warm before they reached the boat-house.
It was some time before the rest of the Butterfly's crew returned to the rocks where they had landed.
"Where's Tony?" asked one of them, a boy of fourteen, but so small in stature that his companions had nicknamed him "Little Paul," of whom we shall have more to say by and by.
"They have gone home; we sent six of our fellows with them. They were too wet and cold to stay here," replied Frank. "You can return in our boat."
"The gentleman wants to see Tony very much."
"Who is he?"
"His name is Walker; it would do your heart good to hear him speak of Tony."
"I dare say; but Tony is worthy of all the praise that can be bestowed upon him. How is the lady?"
"She is nicely, and she thinks Tony is an angel. She declares that a dozen strong men could have done no more for them."
"She is right; you did all that could have been done by any persons. The Butterfly's first laurel is a glorious one, and I can congratulate you on the honors you have won."
"Thank you, Frank," said Little Paul, modestly. "I am sorry you were not with us to share the honors."
"We should have been, if it hadn't been for Tim Bunker," said Charles Hardy, a little sourly.
Tim had gone with the Butterfly, or Charles would not have dared to make such a remark.
"And if you had had your way, we shouldn't have come when we did," added William Bright, smartly.
"What do you mean, Bill?"
"Didn't you protest against passing the rocks."
"I did, because it was directly in opposition to Captain Sedley's orders."
"Never mind, fellows," interposed Frank; "for my part, I am glad the Butterfly had it all to herself. She has just come out, and it will be a feather in her cap."
"But we saved the chaise," said Charles.
"We pulled it ashore; it was safe enough where it was. The Butterfly saved the lives of the man and woman, and of the horse. They would have drowned, and all the glory consisted in saving them. Tony and his crew deserve all the credit, and I, for one, am happy to accord it to them."
"That's just like you, Frank!" exclaimed Little Paul. "I believe, if the two boats had changed places, you would have given us all the credit."
"You behaved nobly."
"Just as you would have done if you had been in Tony's place."
"We will talk that over some other time. We are ready to return when you are."
"I suppose there is nothing more to be done."
They were about to embark, when they discovered a party of men approaching the place, several of them carrying ropes and poles.
"Hold on;" shouted Farmer Leeds, to whose house the boys had conducted the lady and gentleman. "We want your boat to get the chaise out of the river with."
"It is out now," replied Little Paul.
The boys waited till the party reached the river. A clump of trees had prevented them from seeing the chaise till they had got almost to the shore; and, as Little Paul expressed it afterwards, "they looked surprised enough, to see it high and dry upon the rocks."
"I must say one thing, Mr. Leeds," began Mr. Walker; "and that is, you have smart boys in this vicinity."
"Toler'ble," replied the farmer, with a smile.
"They are men in noble deeds."
"This boating business turns the boys into men; and though, in my opinion, it would be just as well to set 'em to work in the cornfields, there is no denying that it brings 'em out, and makes 'em smart."
"My wife would certainly have been drowned without their help."
"But where is the little fellow that commanded the boat?" asked Mr. Walker, scrutinizing the faces of the boys.
"He has gone home, sir; he was wet and cold."
"That is right; I am glad he has; I shall go and see him by and by. And these are the boys that brought the chaise ashore?"
"Yes, sir," replied Little Paul. "This is Frank Sedley, the coxswain of the Zephyr."
"Well, Master Sedley, I am under great obligations to you."
"Not at all to me, sir. Tony Weston saved you. We only pulled the chaise ashore."
"But you shall not be forgotten. The other boat is gone, you say?"
"Yes, sir. Tony Weston is the coxswain of the Butterfly."
"And a noble fellow he is, too. He will be a great man one of these days. It did my heart good to see how cool and collected he was; how skilfully he managed the boat, when it came down upon us like a race horse. He gave off his orders like a hero, and they were obeyed with a promptness and precision that would have been creditable to the crew of a man-of-war, after a three years' cruise. And then, when he ordered six of the boys to stay in the boat, and the rest to follow him into the water, it was really heroic. Over he went, with his crew after him, as though they had been so many ducks. And in the water, they worked with as much coolness and courage as though it had been their native element. I would give half my fortune to be the father of such a son."
"I would give all of mine," added Farmer Leeds. "You don't know half his worth yet. But there is nothing for us to do here; the men shall haul your chaise up to the house, and as we walk along I will tell you about Tony."
"Master Sedley, I shall see you again to-day or to-morrow. Tell Tony how highly I value his noble service, and tell him I shall call upon him this evening," said Mr. Walker, as he went away with Farmer Leeds.
"My father would be very happy to have you stop at his house while you remain in Rippleton," continued Frank, who was not sure that the farmhouse would accommodate him.
"As to that," interposed Farmer Leeds, "I can't offer you so grand a house as Captain Sedley's, but such as it is, you are welcome to it."
"Thank you, Master Sedley, for your hospitable invitation; but I think I will remain with my good friend here." And he departed with the farmer.
"All aboard!" said Frank, and the boys tumbled into the boat, and grasped their oars.
The Zephyr pushed off, and her cheerful crew pulled merrily down the river. Frank was conscious that the organization of the boat clubs had been the means of accomplishing the good work which the crew of the Butterfly had just achieved. He was aware that some of the people in the vicinity had cherished strong objections to the clubs, and that Tony had had considerable difficulty in persuading the parents of his crew to allow their sons to join. The adventure at the bridge, he thought, would have a tendency to reconcile them, and to elevate and dignify boating. At any rate a good deed had been done, and the parents of those who had taken part in it could not but be proud of the laurels their sons had earned.
The Zephyr, under Frank's skilful pilotage passed the rocks in safety, though, as they darted through the narrow channel, he could see their sharp edges only a little way below the surface of the clear water.
They had scarcely entered the open lake before they perceived the Sylph, under full sail with a smashing breeze, close aboard of them.
"Frank!" shouted Captain Sedley, who was at the helm, while Uncle Ben was gazing at them with a very sorrowful face from the half deck.
"Ay, ay, sir!" replied Frank, as he laid the Zephyr's course towards the sailboat.
Though his father had only spoken his name, there was something in the tone which could not be misapprehended; but it did not occur to him, he was so engaged in thinking of the incidents at the bridge, that he had disobeyed his father's command in passing into the river.
As the Zephyr approached, the Sylph luffed, and came up into the wind, to wait for her. Frank brought his boat round under the stern of the sailboat, and "lay to" an oar's length from her.
"Frank," said his father, sternly, "I am surprised that you should venture among those rocks, when I have expressly forbidden you ever to go into the river."
"But, father, there was—"
"How could you do such a thing, after I had so carefully warned you—so positively interdicted it? Suppose your boat had been dashed in pieces," continued Captain Sedley, who, though deeply grieved at his son's apparent disobedience, was too indignant to hear an excuse; for such he supposed Frank was about to offer—one of those silly, frivolous excuses which boys sometimes seize upon to palliate their misconduct.
"I protested against it!" said Charles Hardy, rising from his seat.
"Shut up!" exclaimed Little Paul, his cheek glowing with indignation, as he pulled Charles back into his seat.
"I went to save life, father," replied Frank, almost choked by his emotions, a flood of tears springing in his eyes and well-nigh blinding him.
"To save life!" said Captain Sedley, touched by the reply, and far more by Frank's emotion.
He saw that he had spoken too quick—that his son had not passed the rocks without a good and sufficient reason.
"Yes, sir," replied Frank, struggling to master his feelings; and then he related all that had occurred at the bridge; how Tony had saved the lady and gentleman, and the horse; and how his crew had pulled the chaise ashore.
"You did right, Frank; forgive my hasty words," said Captain Sedley, with deep feeling.
"Good, my hearty!" exclaimed Uncle Ben, clapping his hands.
A heavy load had been removed from the mind of the veteran, who had almost come to believe that Frank could do no wrong.
"Tony's a hero; and shiver my timbers, if he oughtn't to be president of the United States, when he's old enough," exclaimed Uncle Ben.
"He is a brave fellow. You have done well, both of you. However strict our orders are, no person should be a machine. Orders should be obeyed with judgment," continued Captain Sedley.
"That's a fact. I could tell a yarn about that," added Uncle Ben. "When I was in the old Varsayles, bound round the Horn—"
"Another time we will hear your yarn, Ben," interposed Captain Sedley. "We will go over and see Tony now, and congratulate him on the honors the Butterfly has won. Haul in the gib sheet, Ben."
"Ready—pull!" said Frank.
"Who protested now, Master Charles Hardy?" asked Little Paul, as he good-naturedly punched the forward youth in the ribs.
"Circumstances alter cases," replied Charles, sagely, as he bent on his oar.
"Fact! but they altered them when the deed was done, not now, when you have found out that it was all right."
COMMODORE FRANK SEDLEY.
For a few days all Rippleton rang with the praises of Tony and his companions. All the particulars of the affair at the bridge had been given in the Rippleton Mercury, and the editor was profuse in his commendations of the skill and courage of the Butterfly Boat Club; and he did not withhold from the Zephyr the credit which was justly due. Tony was a hero, and his fame extended for many miles around.
Mr. Walker and his lady, who had been rescued from the river, visited Captain Sedley and the Weston family the next day. I need not tell my young readers how earnest he was in the expression of his admiration and gratitude. He was a wealthy merchant, and resided in a neighboring town. Being as warm-hearted and generous as he was just and discriminating, it was quite natural that he should give his feelings expression in some substantial token of his gratitude.
Before he left Rippleton, a check for five hundred dollars was placed in the hands of George Weston, with directions to give four hundred of it to the Butterfly, and one hundred to the Zephyr. In the division of the Butterfly's share, Mr. Walker desired that one hundred dollars should be given to Tony, and twenty-five dollars apiece to the crew; consenting, however, to let the whole sum be common property if the club desired.
This liberality was certainly munificent, princely; but Mr. Walker's wealth was quite sufficient to enable him to gratify his generous impulses. Tony said he felt a little "ticklish" about taking it, at first; but George assured him that Mr. Walker would feel hurt if he did not, and he concluded to accept it.
"But what shall we do with it, George?" asked the young hero, who was not a little embarrassed by the possession of so much money.
"That is for you to decide."
"What can we do with it?"
"It will buy heaps of candy," suggested George, with a smile.
"Candy!" said Tony, contemptuously.
"You can make a fund of it if you like."
"For any purpose you may wish. By and by, you may want money for something."
"What shall we do with it?"
"Put it in the Savings Bank."
"But the next thing is, shall we divide it? or let it remain as the property of the club? I suppose the fellows will all do just as I do."
"Perhaps the money would do the parents of some of them a great deal of good."
"I think very likely; we will let them vote upon it. Here comes Frank. I wonder what they are going to do with theirs."
"How do you do, Tony? I have come over to talk with you about the race. Next Wednesday is the day, you know."
"I had forgotten all about the race in the excitement of the bridge affair."
"I don't wonder."
"What are you going to do with your money, Frank?" asked Tony. "Your club met last evening, I believe."
"We voted to buy some philosophical apparatus with it."
"Good! Did Tim Bunker vote for that?"
"He didn't vote at all. He wanted the money divided; but the vote was unanimous for spending it as I said. By the way, Mr. Walker was liberal—wasn't he?"
"Princely. He ought to have given you more and us less, though."
"No; he did perfectly right. We did not deserve even what we got."
"Just like you! But come into the club room—Butterfly Hall—and we will fix things for the race."
Frank and Tony discussed the details of the race, and at the end of an hour everything was arranged to the satisfaction of both. There was no difference of opinion except as to the length of the race. Tony, thought that twice up and down the lake, making an eight-mile race, would be best; but Frank felt sure that it was too long, and that it would tire the boys too much. So it was finally agreed that they should pull only once up and down, making about four miles.
As the Butterfly club were to meet that evening, Frank departed earlier than he otherwise would have done, so as not to be considered an intruder.
Tony's club were in high spirits that evening. The praise bestowed upon them had created a strong feeling of self-reliance in their minds. Their discipline had passed through a severe ordeal, and it was pronounced perfectly satisfactory by all concerned. They had done hard work, and done it well. Their success was the result of their excellent discipline. It would have been in vain that they had as good a commander as Tony, if promptness and obedience had been wanting.
"Now, boys," said Tony, when he had called the meeting to order, "we have arranged all the details of the race, and if you like, I will tell you about it."
"Tell us," said several.
The chairman proceeded to give them the substance of his conversation with the coxswain of the Zephyr; and the rules they had adopted were of course agreed to by all present.
The Butterfly boys, elated with the results of the bridge affair, were confident that they should win the race. Tony, however, was not so sanguine. He knew, better than they, how skilful Frank was; and, if the Zephyr had not labored under the disadvantage of having a new member, he would have been sure of being beaten.
"There is another subject which comes up for consideration to-night—I mean the gift of Mr. Walker. He has left it so that it may be divided among us, or held and used as common property," continued Tony.
The boys looked at each other, as if to pry into the thoughts of their neighbors. There was a long silence, and it was in vain that Tony called for the opinions of the members; they did not seem to have any opinions on the subject.
"We will do just as you say, Mr. Chairman," said Little Paul.
"So we will," added Henry Brown.
"I shall not say," replied Tony. "It is a matter for you to decide. George says we can put it in the Savings Bank, if we don't divide it, and keep it till we find a use for it. Perhaps, though, some of your parents may want it. If they do, we had better give each his share."
"Let us put it in the Savings Bank," said Dick Chester.
But Henry Brown looked at Little Paul, whose father was a very poor man, and had not been able to work for several months.
"Perhaps we had better divide it," suggested he.
"If you agree to divide it, each member shall have a thirteenth part of the whole four hundred dollars," added Tony.
"That wouldn't be right," replied Little Paul. "He gave a hundred to you; and certainly you are better entitled to a hundred than we are to a penny apiece."
"I will not take more than my share."
"We will only take what Mr. Walker awarded us," said Henry.
"That we won't," added several members.
"No!" shouted the whole club.
"But you shall, my lads," said Tony, stoutly. "George and I have agreed to that."
"But the commander of the ship ought to have a bigger share than the crew; besides, what could we have done without you?" argued Little Paul.
"And what could I have done without you?"
"It was your skill and courage, as the Mercury says, which did the business."
"It was your prompt obedience that crowned our labors with success. I tell you, boys, it is just as broad as it is long. The money shall be equally divided."
"Then we won't divide it," said Henry Brown.
"Very well; I will agree to that. We shall be equal owners then," replied Tony, with a smile of triumph; for in either case his point was gained.
"But what shall we do with it? Four hundred dollars is a heap of money. What's the use of saving it up without having some idea of what we mean to do with it?"
"We can put it to a dozen uses."
"What, for instance?"
"Why, enlarging our library; buying an apparatus, as the Zephyrs are going to do; giving it to the poor," replied Tony. "But I was thinking of something before the meeting."
The boys all looked at the chairman with inquiring glances.
"Out with it," said several of them.
"There are lots of fellows round here who would like to get into a boat club."
"More than twenty," added Little Paul.
"We have money enough to buy another boat."
"Hurrah!" exclaimed several of the members, jumping out of their chairs in the excitement of the moment. "Let us buy another boat!"
"What shall we call her?" added Dick Chestor.
Several of the boys began to exercise their minds on this important question, without devoting any more attention to the propriety or the practicability of procuring another boat. That question was regarded as already settled.
"Ay, what shall we call her?" repeated Joseph Hooper.
"What do you say to the 'Lily?'"
"The 'Water Sprite?'"
"Name her after Mr. Walker."
"No; after Tony Weston."
"You are counting the chickens before they are hatched," added Tony, laughing heartily.
"The—the—the 'Red Rover,'" said Joseph Hooper.
"That's too piratical," replied Little Paul.
"I wouldn't say anything about the name at present," suggested Tony.
"Wouldn't it be fine, though, to have three boats on the lake?" exclaimed Henry.
"Glorious! A race with three boats!"
"Who would be coxswain of the new boat?"
"Fred Harper," said little Paul. "The fellows say he is almost as good as Frank Sedley."
"If we had another boat we should want a commodore," continued Tony. "And I was thinking, if we got another, that Frank would be the commodore, and command the fleet. Then there would be a coxswain to each boat besides."
"That would be first rate."
"Let us have the other boat."
"Hurrah! so I say."
"I suppose we could buy two six-oar boats for our money," added Tony.
"And have four in the fleet?"
"Perhaps three four-oar boats."
"Five boats in the fleet! That would be a glorious squadron!"
The boys could hardly repress the delight which these air castles excited, and several of them kept jumping up and down, they were so nervous and so elated.
"Come, Tony, let us settle the business, and order the boats at once," said Dick Chester.
"We had better think a while of it. Something else may turn up which will suit us even better than the fleet. Of course we must consult Captain Sedley and George before we do anything," replied Tony.
"They will be willing."
"Perhaps they will, and perhaps they won't."
"I know they will," said Dick.
"We will consult them, at any rate. It is necessary to take a vote concerning the division of the money."
Of course the club voted not to divide; and it was decided that the money should remain in the hands of George Weston until the fleet question should be settled.
"Now, boys," said Tony, "next Monday is town meeting day, and school don't keep. We will meet at nine o'clock and practise for the race, which comes off on Wednesday afternoon, at three o'clock. Let every fellow be on hand in season."
The club adjourned, and the boys went off in little parties, discussing the exciting topic of a fleet of five boats, under the command of Commodore Frank Sedley.
The day appointed for the race between the Zephyr and the Butterfly had arrived, and the large number of people congregated on the shores of Wood Lake testified to the interest which was felt in the event. Probably the exciting incident at the bridge, which had been published in the newspaper, imparted a greater degree of interest to the race than it would otherwise have possessed. It was a beautiful afternoon, mild and pleasant for the season, which favored the attendance of the ladies, and the lake was lined with a row of cheerful faces.
"All aboard!" said Frank, as he dissolved a meeting of the Zephyrs, which he had called in order to impart whatever hints he had been able to obtain from his father and others in regard to their conduct.
Above all, he had counseled them, in case they were beaten, to cherish no hard feelings towards their rivals. Not a shadow of envy or ill-will was to obscure the harmony of the occasion. And if they were so fortunate as to win the race they were to wear their honors with humility; and most especially, they were not to utter a word which could create a hard feeling in the minds of their competitors. Whatever the result, there was to be the same kindness in the heart, and the same gentlemanly deportment in the manners, which had thus far characterized the intercourse of the two clubs.
The Zephyrs were more quiet and dignified in their deportment than usual. There was no loud talk, no jesting; even Fred Harper looked thoughtful and serious. Each member seemed to feel the responsibility of winning the race resting like a heavy burden upon his shoulders.
The boat was hauled out into the lake, and once more Frank cautioned them to keep cool and obey orders.
"Don't look at the Butterfly after we get started," said he. "You must permit me to keep watch of her. Keep both eyes on me, and think only of having your stroke perfectly accurate, perfectly in time with the others. Now, remember, don't look at the Butterfly; if you do, we shall lose the race. It would distract your attention and add to your excitement. If she gets two or three lengths ahead of us, as I think she will on the first mile, don't mind it. Pull your best, and leave the rest with me."
"Ay, ay!" replied several, quietly.
"Do you think we shall win, Frank?" asked Charles, who had put the same question a dozen times before.
"We must think that we shall," replied Frank, with a smile. "Here comes the Butterfly. Now, give her three cheers. One!"
This compliment was promptly returned by the Butterfly, as she came alongside the Zephyr.
"Quarter of three, Frank," said Tony.
"Time we were moving then," replied Frank, as he ordered the oars out, and the boats started for the spot where the Sylph, the judges' boat, had taken position.
They pulled with a very slow stroke, and not only did the respective crews keep the most exact time, but each timed its stroke with the other. It was exhibition day with them, and they were not only to run the race, but to show off their skill to the best advantage. Hundreds of people, their fathers and their mothers, their sisters and their brothers, were observing them from the shore, and this fact inspired them to work with unusual care.
It was a very beautiful sight, those richly ornamented boats, their gay colors flashing in the bright sunshine, with their neatly uniformed crews, their silken flags floating to the breeze, and their light, graceful oars dipping with mechanical precision in the limpid waters. As they glided gently over the rippling waves, like phantoms, to the middle of the lake, a long and deafening shout from the shore saluted their ears. The white handkerchiefs of the ladies waved them a cheerful greeting, and the Rippleton Brass Band, which had volunteered for the occasion, struck up Hail Columbia.
"Cease—rowing!" said Frank, as he rose in his seat.
Tony followed his example, though this movement had not been laid down in the program.
Frank then took the American flag which floated at the stern, and Tony did the same.
"All up!" said he. "Let us give them three cheers."
"Mind the coxswain of the Zephyr," added Tony, "and let them be all together and with a will."
"Hats off, and swing them as you cheer."
The cheers were given with all the vigor which stout lungs could impart, and the flags waved and the hats swung.
The salute was reiterated from the shore, and above the martial strains of the band rose the deafening hurrahs.
"Ready—pull!" and the boats resumed their slow and measured stroke, and the band changed the tune to the Canadian Boat Song.
When they reached the judges' boat, the two coxswains drew lots for the choice of "position," and the Butterfly obtained this advantage. The two boats then took their places, side by side, about two rods apart, ready to commence the race.
"Tony," said Frank, rising, "before we start I have a word to say. Whatever may be the result of the race, for myself and my crew, I pledge you there shall be no hard feeling among the Zephyrs."
"No, no, no!" added the club, earnestly.
"If you beat, it shall not impair our friendship; there shall be no envy, no ill-will. Do you all say so, Zephyrs?"