The Boat-Builder Series.
ALL ADRIFT; OR, THE GOLDWING CLUB.
II. SNUG HARBOR; OR, THE CHAMPLAIN MECHANICS.
III. SQUARE AND COMPASS; OR, BUILDING THE HOUSE.
IV. STEM TO STERN; OR, BUILDING THE BOAT.
V. ALL TAUT; OR, RIGGING THE BOAT.
VI. READY ABOUT; OR, SAILING THE BOAT.
The Boat-Builder Series
THE GOLDWING CLUB
AUTHOR OF "YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD" "THE GREAT WESTERN SERIES" "THE ARMY AND NAVY SERIES" "THE WOODVILLE SERIES" "THE STARRY-FLAG SERIES" "THE BOAT-CLUB STORIES" "THE UPWARD AND ONWARD SERIES" "THE YACHT-CLUB SERIES" "THE LAKE-SHORE SERIES" "THE RIVERDALE STORIES" ETC. ETC.
WITH EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS
BOSTON LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS NEW YORK CHARLES T. DILLINGHAM 1883
COPYRIGHT, 1882, BY WILLIAM T. ADAMS.
All rights reserved.
TO MY GRANDSON
ROBERT ELMER RUSSELL
IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.
"All Adrift" is the first volume of a new set of books, to be known as "THE BOAT-BUILDER SERIES." The story contains the adventures of a boy who is trying to do something to help support the family, but who finds himself all adrift in the world. He has the reputation of being rather "wild," though he proves that he is honest, loves the truth, and is willing to work for a living. Having been born and brought up on the shore of Lake Champlain, he could not well avoid being a boatman, especially as his father was a pilot on a steamer. Nearly all the scenes of the story are on the water; and the boy shows not only that he can handle a boat, but that he has ingenuity, and fertility of resource.
The narrative of the hero's adventures contained in this volume is the introduction to the remaining volumes of the series, in which this boy and others are put in the way of obtaining a great deal of useful information, by which the readers of these books are expected to profit. Captain Royal Gildrock, a wealthy retired shipmaster, has some ideas of his own in regard to boys. He thinks that one great need of this country is educated mechanics, more skilled labor. He has the means to carry his ideas into practice, and actively engages in the work of instructing and building up the boys in a knowledge of the useful arts. He believes in religion, morality, and social and political virtue. He insists upon practice in addition to precept and theory, as well in the inculcation of the duties of social life as in mechanics and useful arts.
If the first volume is all story and adventure, those that follow it will not be wholly given up to the details of the mechanic arts. The captain has a steam-yacht; and the hero of the first story has a fine sailboat, to say nothing of a whole fleet of other craft belonging to the nabob. The boys are not of the tame sort: they are not of the humdrum kind, and they are inclined to make things lively. In fact, they are live boys, and the captain sometimes has his hands full in managing them.
With this explanation, the author sends out the first volume with the hope that this book and those which follow it will be as successful as their numerous predecessors in pleasing his young friends—and his old friends, he may add, as he treads the downhill of life.
DORCHESTER, MASS., AUG. 21, 1882.
CHAPTER I. PAGE A GROWLING PASSENGER 13
CHAPTER II. A SHORT AND DECISIVE CONFLICT 24
CHAPTER III. A BRILLIANT SCHEME MADE POSSIBLE 34
CHAPTER IV. IN THE CABIN OF THE GOLDWING 45
CHAPTER V. A BOAT WITH A BAD REPUTATION 55
CHAPTER VI. THE ROBBERY AT THE HOTEL 66
CHAPTER VII. THE MAN THAT LOOKED THROUGH THE KEYHOLE 76
CHAPTER VIII. THE COLCHESTER CLUB CHANGES ITS NAME 87
CHAPTER IX. A WEATHER HELM AND A LEE HELM 98
CHAPTER X. THE MISSISQUOI IN PURSUIT 109
CHAPTER XI. THE BEGINNING OF THE CHASE 119
CHAPTER XII. A ROUGH TIME OF IT 129
CHAPTER XIII. SAFE UNDER A LEE 140
CHAPTER XIV. EARLY IN THE MORNING 150
CHAPTER XV. THE STRATEGY OF THE CHASE 161
CHAPTER XVI. A GRAVE CHARGE AGAINST THE SKIPPER 172
CHAPTER XVII. DORY DORNWOOD DECIDES TO "FACE THE MUSIC" 183
CHAPTER XVIII. DORY LOCKS HIS PASSENGERS INTO THE CABIN 194
CHAPTER XIX. PEARL HAWLINSHED RESORTS TO VIOLENCE 205
CHAPTER XX. MR. PEPPERS FINDS THE TABLES TURNED 215
CHAPTER XXI. Another Element in the Contest 226
CHAPTER XXII. THE GAME AMONG THE SHALLOWS 237
CHAPTER XXIII. HEADED OFF ON BOTH SIDES 247
CHAPTER XXIV. THROUGH VARIED STRIFE AND STRUGGLES 257
CHAPTER XXV. WIND SOUTH-SOUTH-WEST BLOWING FRESH 268
CHAPTER XXVI. DORY DORNWOOD MANOEUVRES TO ESCAPE 278
CHAPTER XXVII. DORY MAKES A HARBOR FOR THE NIGHT 289
CHAPTER XXVIII. TERRIBLE INTELLIGENCE FROM HOME 300
CHAPTER XXIX. CAPTAIN GILDROCK HAS DECIDED OBJECTIONS 310
CHAPTER XXX. CAPTAIN GILDROCK DILATES UPON HIS NOTABLE SCHEME 321
THE GOLDWING CLUB.
A GROWLING PASSENGER.
"Boy, I told you to bring me some pickles," said Major Billcord, a passenger on a Lake Champlain steamer, to a boy in a white jacket, who was doing duty as a waiter at dinner in the cabin.
"Yes, sir; and I brought them," replied Dory Dornwood, as he took the dish of pickles almost from under the passenger's nose, and placed it quite under his nose.
"No impudence to me, boy!" exclaimed Major Billcord, as he bestowed a savage glance at the young waiter.
"I beg your pardon, sir: I did not mean to be impudent," replied Dory meekly.
"Waiter, bring me a piece of roast beef rare. Now, mind, I want it rare," said the passenger sitting next to the major.
"Yes, sir; in a moment, sir," added Dory, to indicate that he heard the order.
"When I send you for any thing, you should put it where I can see it," added Major Billcord sternly.
"I thought I put the pickles where you could see them," answered Dory, as he started for the pantry to obtain the roast beef rare.
"Here, boy, stop!" called the major. "Where are you going now? Bring me the boiled onions, and I want them well done."
"Yes, sir," replied the waiter, as he darted after the onions, and returned with them in an instant; for he found the dish in another part of the table. "The boiled onions," he added, as he placed them beside the snappy passenger's plate, so that he should be sure to see them.
"Isn't it about time for my roast beef, waiter?" asked the next gentleman.
"In a moment, sir."
"These onions are not half done, boy!" exclaimed the major. "I told you to bring me onions well done, and not raw onions."
"I don't cook them, sir; and I brought such as I find on the table," pleaded Dory, as he started to fill the order of the next passenger.
"Here! come back, boy! I want boiled onions well done, and I don't want any impudence," snarled the major.
Dory brought another dish of onions, and placed them by the side of the gentleman's plate. He repeated the order of the next passenger to assure him that he had not forgotten it, and was in the act of rushing for it, when Major Billcord broke out again.
"These onions are no better than the others: they are not half cooked. Now go to the steward, and tell him I want boiled onions well done."
"Get my roast beef first," added the next passenger.
"Here, waiter! bring me a sidebone of chicken, some green pease, string-beans, pickled beets, boiled cabbage, a plate of macaroni, and any other vegetables you may happen to have; and don't be all day about it," said the passenger on the other side of Major Billcord.
"In a minute, sir," replied Dory.
"Go to the steward at once, and tell him what I want," stormed the major.
"Waiter, bring me a plate of roast stuffed veal, with a specimen of all the vegetables on the bill of fare. Don't leave out any. If you leave out any of them, I will travel by railroad the next time I go north," shouted another passenger.
Dory did not wait to hear any more. He was not a waiter of great experience, and he found that the confusion of orders was rather trying to him. He went to the carving-table, delivered the message of Major Billcord to the steward, and called for the orders he had received. Before he had his tray ready, the steward brought him the onions; and he carried them with the other articles to the table.
"Your onions, sir," said he, as he placed the little dish where the irate gentleman could not help seeing them.
While Dory was serving the other passengers, whose orders he had taken, and while half a dozen others were clamorous for every item on the bill of fare, Major Billcord thrust his fork into one of the odoriferous vegetables brought to him.
"These are not a whit better done than the others were!" exclaimed Major Billcord, dropping his knife and fork in disgust. "What do you mean, boy, by bringing me such onions as these?"
"The steward gave me those onions for you, sir," pleaded Dory, who was certainly doing his best to please all the passengers at the dinner table; and the young waiter had already learned that this was not one of the easiest tasks in the world.
"Don't tell me that, you young rascal! You haven't delivered my message to the steward," growled the irate passenger.
"Yes, sir: I told him just what you wanted, and he sent the dish of onions to you, sir," Dory explained.
"The steward would never have sent me such onions as these. You haven't been to him as I told you. You are an impudent young cub, and you are no more fit for a waiter than you are for a steamboat captain."
"I brought the onions the steward sent; and it isn't my fault that they are not right," said Dory gently, though he did not always speak and act in just that way.
"Is my dinner to be spoiled by the stupidity and carelessness of a boy?" demanded Major Billcord. "If I have any influence on board of this boat, such blockheads shall not be employed as waiters."
"I will get any thing you wish, sir," added Dory, appalled at the remark of the important passenger.
"Don't come near me again! Go, and tell the steward to send another waiter to me," was all the reply the major would give him.
Dory Dornwood intended to deliver even this message to the steward; but he was kept very busy by the wants of the other passengers, so that he could not go at just that minute. He had been instructed to serve all persons at the tables alike; and he was not quite old enough and experienced enough to comprehend that his instructions were to be obeyed in a Pickwickian sense on certain occasions.
Major Billcord sat back in his chair, and watched the movements of the boy-waiter for the full space of fifteen seconds, which he doubtless interpreted as fifteen minutes. It was not to be expected that he could finish, or even go on with, his dinner without the boiled onions well done. Possibly he did not care so much for the aromatic vegetable as he did for his own sweet will. At any rate, he would not touch another morsel of food; and, when the fifteen seconds had fully expired, he was ready to make another demonstration.
"Boy, didn't I tell you to go and call the steward, and tell him to send me another waiter?" demanded Major Billcord, as savagely as though Dory had struck him in the face.
"Yes, sir, you did, and I am going; but we are all very busy, and the passengers want a great many things. I am going now, sir," replied Dory, who thought it might be safer to let the rest of the passengers wait than to anger so great a magnate as the major.
Dory delivered his message, and the steward uttered an exclamation which would have cost him his situation if Major Billcord had heard it. The head of the culinary department went to the place occupied by the important personage.
"If you don't discharge that boy before supper-time, there will be trouble," said the major when the steward presented himself. "He is stupid, careless, and impertinent. He had the presumption to tell me that he did not cook the onions, and it was not his fault that they were not properly done."
Possibly the steward might have voted on the same side of the question, if he had considered it prudent to express an opinion; but he apologized for the cook, and said nothing about the waiter. He explained that he had been to the kitchen for the onions, and had sent the best on the boat to the distinguished passenger.
"Then the young rascal gave them to some other person!" exclaimed Major Billcord. "The boy is not fit for a waiter."
"He is only serving for a week or two, while one of our regular waiters is away. He is the son of one of the second pilots."
"Which one?" demanded the angry passenger.
"Dornwood. He says the boy is a little wild, and he wants to get something for him to do," added the steward. "The boy is rather more than his mother can manage when his father is away, as he is all the season."
"This is not a reform-school, and we don't want any such scallawags on the boat. But you needn't tell Dornwood that I said any thing about his boy," added the major in a low tone.
Of course the steward would not say any thing on such a delicate subject. After dinner Dory Dornwood was called up and discharged. He tried to explain that he had done his best, and had not spoken an impudent word. The steward had been satisfied with him, but it was impossible to resist the influence of such a man as Major Billcord.
Perry Dornwood was the second pilot of one of the night boats for this week; and Dory could not run to his father with his grievance, for he felt that he had a grievance. Possibly it would have done no good if he had. His father had had some trouble with him, and he was more inclined to believe the worst that could be said of his son than the best.
Perry Dornwood the pilot had rather forced himself into the position he occupied. He was a good enough pilot; but he drank too much whiskey to be fully reliable. He was never drunk, at least not when on duty; but he was generally pretty well soaked in liquor. The captain of his steamer did not believe in him, and Perry's position had been nearly lost several times; but some kind of an influence still kept him in his place.
The pilot lived in Burlington. He had a wife and two children, a son and a daughter. Mrs. Dornwood was a most excellent woman, but she was almost discouraged under the trials and difficulties which beset her path in life. Her husband did not half provide for his little family; and it was all the poor mother could do to scrub along, feeding and clothing the boy and girl.
The pilot had work only a portion of the year on the lake, and he was not disposed to find other employment when not so engaged. Even the money he did earn did not all find its way into the expenditures for taking care of the family. It was feared by the good woman that her husband gambled.
Dory—his name was Theodore—was now fourteen years old. His mother had explained to him the condition of the family finances. They had nothing, and Perry Dornwood owed many debts. The boy had been wild, but those who knew him best said there was nothing bad about him. He had looked for work, and his father had found it for him. Now he had lost his place; and his discharge was a very heavy blow to him, though he was wild.
A SHORT AND DECISIVE CONFLICT.
Dory Dornwood appeared to be in no hurry to get home after his discharge. The steamer stopped at Burlington after his fate had been decided, and the steward expected him to take his things on shore. The ex-waiter evidently had other views, for he kept out of sight until after the boat had left the wharf.
When the steamer reached Plattsburg, Dory Dornwood went on shore. He visited all the hotels in the place, and endeavored to obtain a situation as a waiter, or as any thing else—he did not care what—by which he could earn some money to help support the family. He could obtain no situation, though he heard of a place a few miles out in the country where a boy was wanted. Dory had no money,—not a penny; for his father collected his wages. He decided to visit the place at once, so as to be the first to apply for the position.
After he had walked a couple of miles, and had one more to go, he came to a piece of woods through which the road extended. He began to feel very tired, for he had done a day's work before he landed from the steamer. It was now nearly eight o'clock in the evening. He had eaten no supper, and not much dinner; for the events in the cabin had taken off his appetite. With no money and no friends, he was not very clear as to where his supper was to come from. The question of a lodging was involved in quite as much doubt.
The weather was warm; and, if he was compelled to lodge in the woods, it would not be the first time he had slept in the open air. Though he had rather more than his fair share of pride, any farmer would give him a meal of victuals for the asking. But just now he was tired, and he wanted rest. He walked a short distance from the road, and seated himself on a rock. It was not comfortable; and he stretched his body upon the ground, which was covered with a clean carpet of fine needles.
Of course he could not help thinking of the great event of the day; and, while he was considering it, he fell asleep. Possibly his slumber continued an hour; and it might have continued another hour, or even all night, if he had not been disturbed by footsteps near him. The nails in the heel of a heavy boot grated upon a flat rock, and this was the noise that awakened the tired sleeper.
Dory half rose from his reclining posture, and discovered a man moving stealthily towards the road. He was creeping with the utmost care: and probably the scraping of his boot against the rock had admonished him to be more careful; at any rate he acted as though such were the case.
The seeker for a situation was wide awake as soon as he was awake at all. He sat on the ground watching the stranger as he crawled towards the road. It was quite dark, but the opening made by the highway admitted some light from the stars. Dory thought the stranger had something in his hand. If the man had walked right along, the boy would have thought nothing of the fact that he was in the woods after dark; but he was creeping like a cat, and Dory's curiosity was aroused.
He got upon his feet, and walked after the mysterious stranger. He did not care to show himself, and he kept one of the big trees between himself and the man all the time. Near the road a fringe of bushes had sprung up, and in their foliage the man concealed himself. Dory had obtained a better view of what the stranger had in his hand; and, though he was not sure of it, he thought it was a gun. Was the man out hunting in the dark? There were no deer so near the town, and it was hardly likely that the person was gunning in the darkness.
Dory continued to creep from tree to tree until he could not have been more than a couple of rods from the concealed night wanderer. If he had not believed the man had a gun in his hand, he would have left his concealment and gone about his business; for he had come to the conclusion that the affair, whatever it was, did not concern him. But he felt a little bashful about leaving, lest the gun might go off, and the shot accidentally strike him.
The next minute he was confident that he heard footsteps in the road. Before he had time to satisfy himself fully on this point, the gun in the hand of the stranger went off; and its going-off proved to Dory that it was a gun, as he had supposed, and even believed.
"Help! help!" shouted some one in the road; and the voice proved that there was some one there.
Scarcely had the word been uttered before the man in the bushes broke from his place of concealment, and rushed towards the road. Dory was too much interested in the affair to remain at a distance any longer. It was none of his business; but it was plain enough that the mysterious stranger had fired his gun at the person who shouted for assistance from the road. Dory reasoned, that, as he had fired the gun once, he could not fire it again without reloading it; and he had not had time to do this.
But there was some sort of wickedness in progress, and Dory ran with all his might to the road; and, even if he had not run with all his might, it would not have taken him a great while to accomplish two rods. When he came to the opening, he saw one man spring upon another. The former dropped the gun he carried in his hand, and it was plain that he had fired the shot.
The two men clutched each other, though one of them tried to say something to the other. Dory had lots of blood in his veins, and it began to boil as though it was over a hot fire. All his sympathies were with the man who had been attacked. The other had crept upon him like a thief in the night, had fired at him, and then had followed up the attack with a hand-to-hand onslaught.
"Don't, Pearl!" pleaded the man who had been attacked. "Consider what you are doing! You will ruin yourself! You are sure to be discovered, even if you kill me!"
Dory did not wait to hear any more. He had a strong impulse to take a hand in the affair, though it was none of his business. The stranger who had wakened him from his slumbers was back to him, and the boy thought his opportunity at the present instant was too good to be lost.
The supperless wanderer flung himself upon the shoulders of the assailant, and grappled him around the throat with all his strength. He was well aware, that, if he failed at the first dash, his chance would not only be gone, but he would be in danger of being entirely wiped out by his intended victim.
Dory was not a very heavy boy, but he was remarkably active. He dug his knees into the back of the man, and in a moment he brought him to the ground. The stranger then turned his attention to his assailant, and he made short work of him. He seemed only to shake himself, and Dory went half way across the road.
The ex-waiter was on his feet again in an instant. He looked at the assailant, and saw that he had a sort of cloth mask on his face. As the boy sprang to his feet, the stranger was in the act of picking up his gun. He snatched it from the ground, and then fled into the woods. The conflict appeared to be ended.
Dory puffed like a fish out of water. He had been laboring under tremendous excitement, which is not at all strange; for it would have stirred the blood of any one to see another attacked with a deadly weapon.
Dory watched the woods, and rather expected that a bullet would soon be travelling from that direction towards him and the person who had been attacked. But his companion in the road did not seem to be at all alarmed: at least he did not make any haste to seek a safer position.
"It is dangerous being safe just here," said Dory, when he had collected his scattered thoughts, and realized that it was time something was done. "I think we had better move on, or that gun will go off again."
"I don't think it will go off again," replied the man in the road, in a very sad, rather than an alarmed or indignant tone.
"Didn't that man fire at you? Won't he do it again?" demanded Dory.
"I don't think he intended to hit me; though he fired at me, or he fired his gun. I don't believe he fired it at me," answered the stranger in a confused manner.
"If he fired at you, of course he meant to hit you. What in the world should he fire at you for if he didn't mean to hit you?" asked Dory, wondering at the reasoning of his companion in the road.
"I am confident I am right; but we won't say any thing more about it just now," added the stranger, who seemed to be struggling with other emotions than those of fear or indignation.
"That's very queer," said Dory, puzzled at the strange conduct of the man who had been fired at. "I think you will get a bullet through your head if you stay here much longer."
"I am not afraid of a bullet; but I don't think I had better stay here any longer," replied the stranger. "Which way are you going, young man?"
"I was going over to a place they call Belzer's."
"That is a mile from here. Were you going there when that gun was fired?" asked the man eagerly.
"Well, not just at that minute. I was tired out, and I lay down in the woods to rest me. I was going over to Belzer's to see if I could get a place to work. I"—
"You are too late: they hired a boy at Belzer's this afternoon," added the man.
"That's just my luck," added Dory, discouraged at this intelligence.
"The luck shall not go against you this time. You have no errand at Belzer's now; and, if you will walk to Plattsburgh with me, I will make it all right with you; and you shall not be sorry that you did not find a place at Belzer's, which is not a proper place for a boy like you."
"If there is no place there for me, and it is not the place for me, I shall return to Plattsburgh," answered Dory, as he started with the stranger in the direction from which he had come when he took to the woods.
In a short time they came out into the open country; and there was no longer any danger that the attack from the mysterious assailant would be renewed.
"Young man, you have done me a great service; and you have done a greater one to another person," said the stranger.
"Who's that?" asked Dory, puzzled by the strange speech of his companion.
"I mean the one who fired the gun at me," answered his fellow-traveller.
"That's funny!" exclaimed Dory. "You and he seem to be fooling with each other. He shot at you, and didn't mean to hit you; and now I have done him a great service. I suppose you don't mean to pay me for the service I did him," laughed Dory.
"I should be willing to pay you more for what you did for him than for what you did for me."
Dory was bewildered.
A BRILLIANT SCHEME MADE POSSIBLE.
Dory began to think his companion was a lunatic. Certainly he was a Christian man, for he seemed to have nothing but kindness in his heart towards his late assailant.
"I don't want any pay for what I did for either," said Dory Dornwood, as he saw his companion thrust his hand into his pocket, and he feared that his joke had been taken in earnest.
"We will talk about that when we get to Plattsburgh. Will you tell me your name, young man?"
"My name is Theodore Dornwood, though almost everybody calls me Dory. But I don't care what they call me, if they don't call me too late to supper, or don't call me at all, as nobody did to-night," replied Dory. And an emphatic wrenching at his stomach, just at the moment he spoke, compelled him to repeat that ancient witticism.
"You have had no supper, Dory?" demanded his new friend, with much sympathy in his tones.
"Not a bit, and not much dinner," added Dory. "Major Billcord spoiled my dinner. And I dare say he charges me with spoiling his dinner: but I didn't; it was the cook."
The curiosity of his companion was excited, and Dory told the whole story of his experience as a waiter at dinner that day. In answering the questions of the stranger, he told the history of himself and his family. He enlarged upon his efforts to obtain a situation, and declared that he wanted to do something to help his mother, and make things easier for her.
Just as he was finishing his narrative, they reached the front of a farmhouse. The stranger led the way to the door, and knocked. Presently the door was opened by a man with a lamp in his hand. Dory wondered what his companion wanted there; for he had not spoken of making a call on the way to the town.
"Ah! is that you, Basil Hawlinshed?" said the occupant of the house, as the light from his lamp fell upon the face of the stranger,—a stranger to Dory, though he did not appear to be such to the man of the house. "I am glad to see you. Come in!"
"Thank you, Neighbor Brookbine. I am sorry to trouble you: but this young man with me has not been to supper yet; and it makes my stomach turn somersets to travel with any one who has not been to supper when it is after nine o'clock in the evening."
"Come in! come in, Neighbor Hawlinshed! though I suppose you are to be no longer my neighbor. The boy shall have the best supper we can get up for him at this time of night."
Mr. Hawlinshed—for this appeared to be the name to which he answered—and Dory followed him into the house. When he had gone to make preparations for the supper, Dory's companion led him to one side of the room.
"Will you do me a favor, Dory?" said Mr. Hawlinshed.
"I will try with all my might to do it," replied Dory.
"Don't say one word about what happened in the woods while you are in this house," said Mr. Hawlinshed earnestly, and with much emotion.
"Oh, that's an easy one!" replied Dory gayly. "I could do that, and only half try."
"Be very sure you don't speak a word about the matter, or even hint at it in the most distant manner," continued Mr. Hawlinshed with painful emphasis.
"Not a word or a hint, sir. No one shall squeeze it out of me with a cider-press," protested Dory.
Mr. Brookbine came into the room, and Mr. Hawlinshed tried to compose himself. The talk of the two men was upon subjects in which the boy felt no interest. He was more concerned about his supper than about the affairs of the two speakers. But he learned that Mr. Hawlinshed had been a farmer, and had just sold his farm for forty-five hundred dollars in cash. He was going to another part of the State to engage in the lumber business.
Nothing was said which afforded Dory a clew to the strange event in the woods. He fancied it had some connection with the money the farmer had received for his farm. The hungry boy was called into another room by Mrs. Brookbine to eat his supper. He found a plentiful meal on the table, and he did ample justice to it. While he was eating, the farmer's wife, who was a motherly sort of woman, plied him with questions; and he answered all those that related to himself, but he was extremely careful not to betray the confidence of his new friend.
Dory felt like a new creature when he had finished his supper, which he thought was quite good enough to have suited Major Billcord; though he was sure that it would not have suited him, for the simple reason that he was never suited with any thing. Mr. Hawlinshed offered to pay for the meal, and Farmer Brookbine felt insulted by the proposition. The visitor explained that he should not have offered to pay for his own supper, but he had brought an entire stranger into the house. Mr. Brookbine declared that he always gave a meal of victuals to any one who needed it. With many thanks the visitors took their leave, and resumed their walk to town. In less than half an hour they were at a hotel in Plattsburgh.
"I can't stay here, Mr. Hawlinshed," said Dory, as they entered the house. "I have no money to pay my bill."
"Do you think I am a heathen, that I won't pay your bill after the service you have done me?" asked Mr. Hawlinshed with a smile.
"I don't want anybody to pay for me," protested Dory.
"Don't talk so, my boy," added his new friend. "Come to my room, for I want to talk with you."
Dory assented, though he had set his teeth against taking any thing that looked like charity. He followed Mr. Hawlinshed up-stairs, where it appeared that he had a room. It contained a trunk, a valise, and other baggage.
"Dory, you have rendered me a service that you cannot understand; and I am glad you cannot. I should feel mean to the end of my life if I did not attempt to make some slight return for it," said Mr. Hawlinshed, as he seated himself at a table. "I don't think you saved my life, for I don't believe my life was in danger for a moment."
"I don't think I saved your life, but I think your life has been in danger. Why, the fellow might have hit you by accident, even if he didn't mean to," replied Dory. "But the villain went at you as though he meant to tear you in pieces after he had fired the gun."
"It is hardly worth while to argue the question. I am very confident of what I say. My life has not been in danger, but my money was in great peril. I had forty-seven hundred and fifty dollars in my pocket when that person attacked me," continued Mr. Hawlinshed.
"Jerusalem!" exclaimed Dory, who did not remember that he had ever before been near so much money in all his life.
"I should have lost that money if you had not saved it, Dory. This was the point I was coming to. Don't ask me any questions, for I don't want to answer them."
"I won't ask any, if you don't want me to," added Dory, who was very much mystified by the occurrences of the evening.
"So far as I know and believe, you are the only person who saw the affair in the woods. The three who took part in the affray are the only persons on earth who know any thing about it," added Mr. Hawlinshed.
"I did not see or hear anybody around while I was in the woods," replied Dory. "I don't believe anybody else knows about it."
"That is very lucky, and I am only sorry that you happened to witness the sad affair. Now, Dory, I don't want any other person to know any thing about it."
"Nobody shall find out any thing about it from me," protested the boy. "You used me very handsomely, and got a good supper for me when I should have had to feed on wind if I hadn't come across you."
Mr. Hawlinshed looked the boy in the face; for he suspected that Dory was making game of him when he weighed so insignificant a thing as a supper against the help he had given him in the woods. He took out a large pocket-book, which appeared to be filled with bank-bills. From them he selected several bills, and tendered them to Dory.
"What's that?" asked the boy, as he looked suspiciously at the bills. "I don't want any money for any thing I have done."
"Here is one hundred and five dollars," continued Mr. Hawlinshed. "The five dollars is to pay any expenses you may incur in getting home, so that you may have the hundred when you get there."
Dory looked at the money, and the temptation to take it was very great. He could not bring himself to accept money for doing a kind act to a person who needed his assistance. On this ground he stoutly refused to touch the bills.
"Not for saving my life or preventing me from being hurt, Dory, but for saving my money. I shall be very unhappy, and feel mean, if you don't take the money. If I were rich, I should insist upon your taking thousands. This is a very small sum for the service you have rendered, for saving me from a loss which would have defeated the business enterprise I have in view. Take it, Dory, for my sake, if not for your own. It will be a great help to your mother," persisted Mr. Hawlinshed.
It looked easier to Dory than at first. He had saved his companion's money, and prevented him from losing forty-seven hundred and fifty dollars. But it took another half an hour of argument to satisfy Dory that he was not doing a mean thing in taking the bills. He took them at last, and his companion seemed to be happy in the fact that he had done so.
Dory felt rich enough to buy out the New York Central Railroad, or to become the proprietor of half the land that bordered on Lake Champlain. He had an idea of buying out the steamer on which Major Billcord had caused his discharge. At any rate, he must buy out something that would float on the lake, for he was about half boy and half boat.
He put the money into the old wallet he carried; and he doubted if all the money it had ever contained, even before it came into his possession, would equal the amount he had just deposited in one of its compartments. He had scarcely returned the treasure to his pocket, before he thought of the use to which he would apply the whole or a part of the money. It was a brilliant scheme. He had nursed it in his imagination as an unattainable enterprise, but now the money in his pocket rendered it possible.
"I feel better now, Dory," said Mr. Hawlinshed. "I have given you a feather's weight where I owe you a ton, but I hope the time will come when I can do better. I am going to write a letter now, and I want you to deliver it for me to-morrow. Will you do so?"
"To be sure I will," replied Dory warmly.
"I shall leave by the boat going south in the morning; and I want this letter delivered after I am gone," added Mr. Hawlinshed, as he began to write on a sheet of paper on the table.
Dory considered his brilliant scheme.
IN THE CABIN OF THE GOLDWING.
"Here is the letter, Dory," said Mr. Hawlinshed when he had sealed and directed the envelope. "You will have to go about a mile beyond the place where we met last night. Mr. Pearl Hawlinshed," he added, reading the address upon the letter.
"Pearl!" repeated Dory, as he took the letter and read the name for himself.
"That is the name; and the person to whom it is addressed is my son," replied the writer of the missive.
"Your son!" exclaimed Dory, looking intently into the face of his new friend.
"Yes: is there any thing very strange about that? He is my only son, my only child; and his mother has been dead many years."
"Your son!" repeated Dory, as though he was unable to comprehend the relation.
"Pearl Hawlinshed; and he is my son. Is there any thing very strange about it?" asked the father, looking anxiously at Dory.
"But he is the man who fired the gun at you, and then pitched into you," added Dory.
Mr. Hawlinshed manifested a great deal of emotion. He dropped into his chair, from which he had risen when he finished his letter. He appeared to be greatly astonished that his companion had discovered the relationship between himself and the person to whom the letter was addressed.
"How do you know all that, Dory?" asked Mr. Hawlinshed, trying to calm himself.
"I heard you call him 'Pearl' before I took a hand in the affair," replied Dory candidly. "I don't know that I should ever have thought of the name again if you hadn't given me this letter."
"Then it is very unfortunate that I gave you the letter; but I wished to be sure that it reached him," said Mr. Hawlinshed, very much perplexed at the situation. "You know more than I supposed, and I am very sorry for it. The terrible truth is no longer a secret between my son and myself."
"I ought not to have let on that I knew his name," added Dory, who felt that he had made a mistake.
"Since you knew the fact, I am glad that you spoke. You know that it was my son that attacked me, and who attempted to take the money from me," continued the poor father bitterly.
"But it shall be all the same as though I did not know any thing about it," protested Dory. "After one year or ten you will find that I can keep a secret."
"I am willing to trust you, Dory; and I should be willing, even if I could help myself, and were not entirely in your power," added the unhappy father. "Now you will want to know something about the reason why he attacked me, and tried to get my money from me."
"No, sir: I will not ask any thing about the difficulty. I suppose you and your son could not agree, and I know another case just like it. It is your family affair, and it is none of my business."
"It would take me hours to tell the whole story, and it is too painful to dwell upon. You will keep the secret, Dory?"
"I will never hint that I ever heard your name. I will leave you now, so that no one shall know that I ever saw you, or at least that I ever had any thing to do with you."
"But, Dory, when you tell your mother about the money you have, you will have to explain where you got it. I don't want you to tell any lies about it."
"I shall not give her all the money, and perhaps not any of it," said Dory.
"Not give it to her? I have taken you for a boy who wanted to help his mother; and this view of your character has led me to trust you more than I would if you had not told me your story."
"But I shall use the money for her benefit. I am not going to fool it away. I shall make a business with it which will enable me to help her," replied Dory with enthusiasm.
"What is the business, Dory?"
Dory hesitated. There was a contingency about it, and he was afraid that Mr. Hawlinshed would not approve his plan. He was not altogether clear in regard to it himself, and he did not care to commit himself.
"I should like to keep that as my secret. I am going to help my mother; but I am not sure that I can make the plan work, and I don't want to say any thing about it yet."
"But you will have to explain where you got your money," suggested Mr. Hawlinshed.
"I will promise never to say one word about what happened in the woods. I will give this letter to your son to-morrow morning, and then I will bury the whole thing forever. No one shall ever know where the money came from."
Mr. Hawlinshed had a great many doubts, as well he might have had. But he was in a very trying situation himself. His relations with his son were unpleasant. He had no malice or ill feeling towards Pearl, and all he wanted was to conceal the sad act of the young man.
Dory was very tired; and he could not help gaping, he was so sleepy. He shook hands with his new friend, who said they might never meet again. If he returned to the vicinity of Burlington, he should certainly look him up; and he hoped he should find him an honest, industrious, and prosperous young man. Dory left the room.
He kept one hand in his pocket on the wallet which contained the treasure that was to open up the brilliant scheme by which he hoped to support his mother and sister. He went out of the hotel without any definite idea of where he intended to go. It was ten o'clock by this time. He was not penniless now, as he had been before. He was rich enough to spend the night, or even a week or a month, at the Witherill House; but the idea of going there, or to any other public house, did not occur to him.
Though he had five dollars for "expenses," he could not think of paying out a dollar, or even half a dollar, for a night's lodging. That would do very well for Mr. Vanderbilt, but not for him. It would be throwing money away. He walked down to the lake. He was not so sleepy as he had been. Stirring himself had waked him up. As he came to the wharf, his brilliant scheme leaped into his head again.
During his stop at Plattsburgh the day before, he had seen a sailboat, which was to be sold at auction with other effects of its deceased owner. He had looked the craft over, and asked a great many questions about her. Though she was twenty-five feet long, and was handsomely fitted up, the knowing ones said she would not bring a hundred dollars at auction.
She could not have cost less than five or six hundred, but she had a bad name. Her late owner had been drowned in consequence of her upsetting. People said it was the fault of the boat. She carried a lee helm, and upset when there was no excuse for her doing so. She had been known to tip over three times, and she was sure to drown whoever bought her.
Dory looked her over very carefully. He had been about all sorts of boats ever since he was a small boy. In fact, he was a natural water-bird, almost as much so as a duck. He was a born mechanic, and his taste not less than his associations had led him to apply his mechanical genius to boats and boating.
The name of the boat was the Goldwing. Dory had examined her the day before, and he "took no stock" in her bad name. He was very sure that any boat would behave badly if rigged and ballasted as the Goldwing was. He wished he owned her, or that he could obtain the use of her for the season. He was confident that he could redeem her reputation.
In connection with this boat had bubbled up his brilliant scheme. If he had her at Burlington, or at several other points on the lake, he could make five dollars a day, if not six or eight, by taking out parties. Such a business was more to his taste, and afforded a better field for his talents, than tending table in the cabin of a steamer.
But it was no use to think of the Goldwing. If five dollars would have bought her, he had not the money to invest in the enterprise. He had no friend upon whom he could call for aid in such a speculation. He might as well think of buying and running one of the large steamers on the lake.
But since dark that evening the whole aspect of his fortunes had changed. He had over a hundred dollars in his pocket, and the Goldwing was to be sold the next day. He did not wish to put all his little fortune into a boat; but he was determined to have the boat, if she was knocked down for a sum within his means.
The Goldwing lay at the wharf. Dory surveyed her as well as he could in the darkness, and then he stepped on board of her. She had been built on purpose for her late owner, on a model somewhat different from her class of boats on the lake; and this created a prejudice against her in the boating fraternity. Dory had seen her frequently under sail, and he was delighted with her.
She was decked over forward, and had a little cabin in this part of the craft. The doors which opened into this apartment were not locked, and Dory went into it. He lighted a match, and discovered a lantern hanging from a deck-beam. He lighted it, and found that the cabin was furnished with two berths, in each of which was a berth-sack. As he looked over this part of the fitting-up of the boat, he gaped again.
He might as well sleep there as in any other place. He had no fear that the ghost of the late owner would disturb him. He arranged the doors so that they could not be opened without waking him, and then lay down in one of the berths. He was going to think over his brilliant scheme; but, before he had done much thinking, he fell asleep.
He did not wake till the swash of the night boat from the south caused the Goldwing to bump against the wharf. It was five o'clock in the morning. He felt in his pocket, and found that his money was safe. He slept another hour after this, and then went on shore. He got his breakfast at a restaurant, and then started to deliver the letter.
He reached his destination in about an hour. He inquired for Pearl Hawlinshed, and found him without any difficulty. He was about twenty-two years old. He did not look like the ferocious being he expected to find in a man who was wicked enough to fire a gun at his father. He was pale, thoughtful in his look, and was rather inclined to melancholy. Dory thought he had enough to think about, and that it was his duty to be melancholy.
Pearl asked him where he got the letter, and Dory said it had been given him by a man in Plattsburgh to bring out to him. He did not wait to answer any questions; and he felt in honor bound not to inquire into any thing relating to Mr. Hawlinshed, father or son.
He returned in season to attend the auction. It was like a funeral party. Dory made the second bid for the boat.
A BOAT WITH A BAD REPUTATION.
People looked at the boy as he continued to bid on the Goldwing. The auctioneer asked him some questions touching his ability to pay for the boat if she should be knocked off to him. Dory declared he would pay for the Goldwing on the spot if she was sold to him, and his bid was accepted.
There was only one other bidder, and he looked daggers at Dory every time he increased upon his bid. This man evidently expected to buy the boat for fifteen or twenty dollars, and that there would be no one to bid against him. When the figures reached thirty dollars, the other bidder protested that he was bidding against nothing, for no one supposed that a mere boy could pay for the boat. Until this time Dory had not seen the other person who wanted the Goldwing.
"If he don't pay, Mr. Hawlinshed," said the auctioneer, "we will put it up again, and then you can get the boat at your own price; for there don't appear to be anybody else that wants the craft."
When Dory heard the name of the other bidder, he turned, and saw that it was Pearl Hawlinshed. He was greatly surprised, and in his confusion he came very near letting the auctioneer knock off the boat to his rival in the contest for the Goldwing. But he put in another bid; and Pearl followed him up sharply until forty dollars was reached, when he declared that he would not give any more for the boat. Then it was knocked off to Dory at forty-two dollars.
Pearl Hawlinshed looked at the purchaser very savagely, as though he had done him an ill turn in bidding for the boat. But there was still a hope that he could not pay for it. Dory went into the cabin of the Goldwing, and counted out the money; for he did not care to show all he had in his wallet. He was out of sight but a moment; for his money was all in ten-dollar bills, except the five which he had changed to pay for his breakfast.
"Here is the money," said Dory, tendering the amount to the auctioneer. "Please to give me a receipt."
"You have lost the boat, Hawlinshed," said the auctioneer, as he took the money. "If you will come into the steamer office, I will give you a receipt, young man. What is the name?"
"Do you live in Plattsburgh?"
"No, sir: in Burlington."
"Are you buying the boat for yourself?"
"You may make the receipt out to me," replied Dory.
"He is buying her for some other person," said Pearl Hawlinshed. "I should like to know who it is."
The auctioneer did not ask any more questions, but led the way into the steamboat office, where he gave the required receipt. Dory felt that he was now the owner of the Goldwing. If he had owned one of the Champlain steamers, he would not have felt any better. He was anxious to get on board of her, and start her on the way to Burlington. As he went out of the office, he found Pearl Hawlinshed at the door.
"Are you not the boy that brought me a letter this morning?" asked he, looking at the new owner of the Goldwing with a scowl.
"I carried a letter to you this morning," replied Dory, not particularly pleased with the manner of Pearl.
"Where did you get that letter?" demanded Pearl in a very lordly and overbearing tone.
"A man gave it to me; and I promised to give it to you myself," answered Dory. "That is the whole of it, and nothing more need be said about the matter."
"You said you were buying this boat for another man," continued Pearl.
"I didn't say so. I have not said any thing about who I was buying her for," replied Dory, moving towards the side of the wharf where the Goldwing lay.
"Yes, you did! Don't lie about it," said Pearl in a very offensive way.
"I said nothing of the kind," added Dory.
"Didn't he say he was buying the Goldwing for another man, Mr. Green?" continued Pearl, appealing to the auctioneer.
"No, he did not, Hawlinshed," answered the auctioneer. "I asked him if he was buying the boat for himself, and he said I might make out the receipt to him. That was all that was said about it."
"Well, it is all the same thing: he gave the inference that he was acting for somebody else. I should like to know who you bought her for," persisted Pearl.
"I have bought the boat, and paid for her; and I have nothing more to say about the matter," replied Dory sharply, as he walked towards the boat.
"This is a matter that concerns me, and I want to know about it," added Pearl, following the new owner of the Goldwing to the boat. "You brought me a letter this morning; and now you have bought this boat, when I was the only man in this vicinity that thought of such a thing as buying the Goldwing."
"What has the boat to do with the letter?" asked Dory, who thought it was a little strange that he had come in contact with the son of his new friend in connection with the Goldwing.
"That is what I want to know," answered Pearl gruffly. "You see, I don't believe that a boy like you—for you don't look like the son of a gentleman—came over here from Burlington to buy that boat. If anybody over there had wanted her, he wouldn't have sent a boy over here to buy her for him."
"You can believe any thing you like about it," added Dory, as he stepped into the standing-room of the Goldwing.
"I want to know who gave you that letter," said Pearl, pushing the matter.
"I suppose the man that wrote it gave it to me. You got the letter, and you ought to know more about it than I do."
"I know all about him."
"Then I can't tell you any thing."
"But I want to connect that man with this boat."
"You can connect them if you like. Was there any thing about the Goldwing in the letter?" asked Dory, who was quite as much puzzled as Pearl appeared to be.
"None of your business whether there was or not?" exclaimed Pearl savagely; and the letter was evidently not a pleasant topic to him. "I am not here to answer questions."
"Nor I either; and here we are equal," replied Dory, as he took the tiller of the sailboat from the forward cuddy, and inserted it in the rudder-head.
"The man that gave you that letter got you to buy this boat for him," said Pearl. "He knew I wanted her, if you did not."
"The man that wrote that letter never said a word to me about this boat, or any other; and I did not buy her for him," replied Dory, startled by the statement of the waspish young man.
Dory was afraid the events of the day might connect him with the elder Mr. Hawlinshed, who had taken the steamer for the south while he was absent in delivering the letter. He had come to the conclusion that Pearl Hawlinshed was a "hard case," as he must be, or he could not have assaulted his father in the woods. There was plainly a quarrel between father and son, and he did not wish to know any thing more about it. All he cared about the matter was to keep the secret inviolate.
"I suppose if you did it you would lie about it," added Pearl.
"You should not judge me by yourself," added Dory quietly.
"Don't give me any of your impudence, or there will be a broken head round here somewhere," snarled Pearl.
Dory did not want a broken head, and he did not want to give the son of his friend a broken head; and he did not want to quarrel with the waspish fellow. He concluded that it would be the wisest policy to say no more, and he went on with his preparations for getting the boat under way. The wind was blowing very fresh from the north-west.
The Goldwing had a bad reputation in Plattsburgh, and he had his doubts about going across the lake in her. He could see the white-caps down Cumberland Bay, and he decided to put a reef in the mainsail. Pearl Hawlinshed was not disposed to leave. He had obtained no satisfaction from the purchaser of the Goldwing, and he evidently believed there was some trickery by which he had been prevented from purchasing the boat at his own price.
"That boat will drown you if you go out in her to-day," said Pearl; and he seemed to realize some satisfaction from the prospect.
"I may not go out in her to-day," replied Dory, glancing at the white-caps down the bay.
"You were a fool to buy her," added Pearl.
"Am I a greater fool than you would have been if you had bought her?" asked Dory.
"I know just what she wants to make her all right."
"So do I."
Just then a small steamer was seen coming up the bay. She was laboring heavily in the rough waves, and both of them gave their attention to her. She was evidently in the hands of a skipper who did not know how to manage her. The wind had breezed up within an hour, and she had been caught out in the lake. She was within half a mile of the wharf; but Pearl Hawlinshed declared that she would go to the bottom before she reached the pier.
He was quite excited about the steamer, and left the Goldwing to walk down to the end of the wharf, where he could get a better view of the struggling craft. Dory was glad to see him move off. He was as glad to get rid of him as Sindbad was of the Old Man of the Sea. He did not like Pearl: in fact, from what he knew of him, he hated him.
Dory had already hoisted his reefed mainsail. It was shaking and pounding with tremendous energy, as he sat in the standing-room, waiting to decide whether or not he should put out into the lake. But he wanted to get rid of Pearl, and he hoped he should never see him again. While his disagreeable companion was walking down the wharf, he cast off the bow line which held the Goldwing to the pier, and hoisted the jib.
The sails caught the breeze, and the Goldwing darted off from the wharf as though she had been shot from a gun; but she did not exhibit any tendency to go over under her present sail. He ran her outside of the breakwater; and, when he had the boat in a sheltered place, he let go the anchor.
He had got rid of Pearl Hawlinshed, and he was entirely satisfied with himself on this account. He had the Goldwing by himself now, and he immediately proceeded to make another examination of the boat and her furnishings. He got at the ballast, and arranged it to his mind. The fault in the rig he could not correct, but he thought he could overcome the difficulty in this direction in carrying sail.
"Hallo, Dory Dornwood!"
It was the voice of Corny Minkfield; and it came from the little steamer, which had now passed out of danger under the breakwater.
THE ROBBERY AT THE HOTEL.
Pearl Hawlinshed found that his prediction in regard to the little steamer was not verified. She did not go to the bottom in spite of her bad management. It was no fault of her skipper that she did not, for he had certainly done his best to sink her. Dory recognized her as a boat that had been kept for all sorts of uses at Burlington.
If Pearl was not satisfied with what had passed between him and the new skipper of the Goldwing, it was too late to do any thing about it now. The boat was off, and he was confident that her skipper had left the wharf to avoid him; for why should he prefer to lie at anchor at the breakwater when her former moorings were so much more convenient?
Pearl Hawlinshed had been a wayward boy. He had worked on his father's farm; he had tended bar at a saloon; he had worked on the steamers on the lake; and now he evidently desired to try his hand at boating. If the Goldwing was worth any thing, she was certainly worth forty dollars; and it is difficult to see why he limited himself to this sum. Perhaps he had no money to buy her, since he had failed to relieve his father of the amount in his possession.
The Goldwing was gone, and there was nothing to keep him on the wharf. He walked up to the Witherill House, where his father had stopped the night before. He was well acquainted there, and he immediately found himself in demand as soon as he entered the office. There appeared to be a considerable excitement about the house.
"You are just the man I want to see, Pearl Hawlinshed," said the landlord, as he entered the office.
"Well, what is wanted of me?" asked Pearl.
"Where has your father gone, Pearl?" asked the landlord, as though he felt a great interest in the question.
"That is more than I know," replied Pearl.
"But he took the boat going south this morning. Don't you know where he has gone?"
"He is going into a lumber speculation in Lawrence County: that's all I know about it. He is going to lose all his money if he can; and I reckon he can," replied Pearl roughly.
"Do you know who the boy was that was with him last night, Pearl? He was a young fellow about fourteen years old. He came into the house with your father, and went up-stairs with him."
"I don't know who he is. What's the matter?" asked the graceless son, wishing to know more before he committed himself.
"A man was robbed of a hundred and fifty dollars in the house last night. He had the room next to your father; and the boy was seen in the hall about ten o'clock in the evening. We thought he might know something about the money," replied the landlord.
"I have no doubt he knows all about it," added Pearl, delighted to connect the purchaser of the Goldwing with a crooked transaction; for he had no doubt that the boy who was with his father had obtained the money with which he bought the boat by stealing it. "This explains the whole matter. It is all as clear as any thing can be now."
"What is clear, Pearl?" asked the landlord.
"The boy who was with my father last night has just purchased the Goldwing, poor Lapham's boat; and very likely she will drown the boy before noon, as she did Lapham."
"What has all this to do with the robbery? I would rather have given a hundred and fifty dollars than have the thing happen in my house. What has the boat to do with the money lost, Pearl?"
"Why, the boy paid cash for the boat; planked it right down on the nail the moment the boat was knocked off to him," answered Pearl, chuckling his satisfaction at finding Dory in such a scrape.
"Paid cash for the boat, did he? But who is the boy? Does he belong in Plattsburgh?" asked the landlord, beginning to see the relation of the boat to the money.
"The boy says his name is Theodore Dornwood, and that he lives in Burlington."
"Dornwood!" exclaimed the landlord. "That was the name of the pilot that wrecked the Au Sable last night."
"Wrecked the Au Sable?" repeated Pearl curiously.
"Haven't you heard the news?"
"I haven't heard any such news as that. Is she really wrecked? I used to work on that boat," added Pearl, opening his eyes very wide.
"Where have you been all the morning? It has got to be an old story by this time. The Au Sable was run on shore, and sunk. No one was lost; but several were injured,—how many, I don't know."
"But how came she ashore? It wasn't even foggy last night," said Pearl.
"That's the mystery. The boat ran on to a point of rocks. The report thinks the pilot in charge was trying to run the boat over the land. His name was Dornwood; and he must have been either drunk or asleep, or both. But all this is neither here nor there. What about this boy? He may be the son of this pilot for aught we know."
"I don't know any Dornwood. He was not a pilot in her when I was on the Au Sable."
"How do you know that the boy who was with your father bought the Goldwing, Pearl?" inquired the landlord, who had told his news and lost his interest in it till another uninformed person came along. "I don't want to accuse any person of robbing my house without the means of proving the charge."
"Oh, it's all straight, you may depend upon it!" replied Pearl. "I thought the boy looked like a young rascal, and now I know that he stole the money. Of course it is no sale, so far as the boat is concerned. How is that?" asked Pearl, who seemed to realize for the first time, that, if the money paid for the Goldwing was stolen, it would have to be returned to the rightful owner.
"I should say it would be no trade under the circumstances. But you don't tell me how you know it was this boy that was with your father last night in my house," said the landlord impatiently.
"I don't know that he was in your house with my father. He was with my father last night, for he told me so. He brought me a letter from my father this morning. When we were bidding on the Goldwing, I found it was the same boy. That's how I know it; and there is no mistake about it," added Pearl.
"It looks as though there might be something in it. At any rate we will have the thing looked into. Where is the boy now? What has become of him?"
"The last I saw of him he was in the Goldwing, at anchor off the breakwater, on the outside. I have no doubt he is going to Burlington in the boat as soon as the weather is fit for him to sail."
"Perhaps he has gone by this time," suggested the landlord.
"I don't believe he has. It is blowing heavy out on the lake; and the boy knows what sort of a boat the Goldwing is, for I warned him that she would drown him."
"There seems to be no doubt that the boy is the same one that went to your father's room last night, though that don't prove that he robbed the room of one of my guests. I should like to see the boy, and have him explain what he has been about," added the landlord.
"We will have him arrested if he can't tell a straight story," said Pearl. "If you authorize me to do it, I will bring the boy up here; but I may have to get a steamer to chase him, and there will be some expense about it."
"I will pay any reasonable expense," replied the landlord. "You are not an officer, and of course you can't arrest him."
"But I will bring him up here, whether I am an officer or not," continued Pearl. "I am as much interested in getting him back as you are."
"How is that?"
"I wanted to buy the Goldwing; and I expected to get her for about twenty dollars, though her sails cost more than that. The young rascal tricked me out of her. If he stole the money, it is no trade, and the boat will have to be put up again."
The landlord was satisfied that Pearl would bring the boy to the hotel if it were possible. Pearl was very sure that he would do it. Without knowing any thing particular about the Burlington boy, he had taken an intense dislike to him; but he had no suspicion that he was the person who had interfered with his operations in the woods the night before. He hastened down to the wharf, where he found the little steamer that he had seen struggling with the big waves in the lower bay.
"You have had a rough time of it," said Pearl to a man he found on the deck of the boat.
"Rather rough; but we came through all right," replied the man.
"What boat is this?" inquired the thief-taker, as he already regarded himself.
"This is the Missisquoi. A man in Plattsburgh bought her, and I came to fetch her over; but he won't be here till to-morrow night," replied the temporary skipper. "I fetched over a lot of boys from Burlington, and they made things lively on the way."
"Do you know a boy in Burlington by the name of Theodore Dornwood?" asked Pearl.
"Well, I guess I do. Everybody that has any thing to do with boats in Burlington knows all about him. He is a little wild, but he is as smart as a steel trap," replied Captain Vesey, as he was called by courtesy.
"Is he an honest boy?" asked Pearl, as though that were a matter of the utmost consequence to him.
"I guess he is. He is worth two of his father, who was the pilot on duty on board of the Au Sable last night, and tried to take the boat across a p'int of land. He didn't make out, and I guess it will be a bad job for him."
"Where are the boys you brought over?" inquired Pearl, looking about the boat for them.
"You see, they came over here on a lark, and will have to get back the best way they can. We found Dory in a sailboat, anchored off the breakwater. The boys wanted me to put them aboard of her, and I did. Dory says he is going to sail the boat to Burlington, and the rest of the boys are going with him. They are the wildest set of boys on the lake."
"I suppose you don't object to earning five dollars with this boat before you deliver her to her owner?" suggested Pearl in an indifferent sort of way.
"I guess not," said Captain Vesey, with a broad grin on his face. "I never object to making five dollars, or one dollar, for that matter."
"I want to see Dory Dornwood on some particular business; and, if you will put me on board of his boat, I will give you five dollars," said Pearl in an insinuating tone.
Captain Vesey was ready to do it.
THE MAN THAT LOOKED THROUGH THE KEYHOLE.
Pearl Hawlinshed had not looked to see if the Goldwing was where he had last seen her, outside of the breakwater. The water was unusually low on the lake; and, though he saw the topmasts of several boats beyond the breakwater, he was unable to determine whether or not any of them belonged to the Goldwing. Captain Vesey had seen no boat go out, and Pearl concluded that she was still at anchor.
Pearl made his trade with the acting skipper of the little steamer, which was hardly more than a steam-launch. Mr. Button the engineer, who was to remain in the employ of the new owner, was wiping the water off the machinery. He was called, and informed of the arrangement with Pearl. To the astonishment of both, he refused to move the Missisquoi from the wharf.
"I reckon the boat is in my care until she is delivered to the new owner," argued Captain Vesey.
"It don't make any difference to me whose care she is in. I won't go out with a man who don't know any more about handling a boat than you do, Captain Vesey," replied Mr. Button warmly. "It was only by a miracle that we got over here at all. I expected to go to the bottom every minute of the time until we got inside of the breakwater."
"I reckon I know how to handle a steamboat as well as the next man," returned Captain Vesey indignantly.
"That depends upon how much the next man knows about a tug-boat. If the next man don't know any more about it than you do, I don't want to run the engine for him."
Pearl could not help being on the engineer's side of the controversy. He and Dory had agreed that the captain of the Missisquoi did not understand his business. But Pearl Hawlinshed believed that he knew all about a steamer, and all about the lake. He considered himself competent to command one of the large steamers.
"I am going with you, Mr. Button, and it will be five dollars in your pocket, as well as the captain's," interposed Pearl, who was disposed to be liberal with the landlord's money.
"My life is worth something to me; or at any rate it is to my family," replied Mr. Button doubtfully. "Do you know about handling such a boat as this?"
"I know all about it: I used to sail in the Au Sable," replied Pearl confidently.
Mr. Button was doubtless a good engineer, but he was not a very shrewd man. If he had been, he would have asked in what capacity the applicant for the use of the Missisquoi served on board of the Au Sable. Possibly Pearl would have evaded the question, or lied about the matter, for he had simply been a waiter in the cabin for a few weeks. But Pearl thought he knew all about a steamer, and all about the navigation of the lake.
"If you are a steamboat man I have no objection to taking the boat out," added the engineer. "It is a very rough day on the lake, and one has to know something about handling a boat in such big waves."
"But I am the captain of this boat, and I reckon I don't want any boss over me," interposed Captain Vesey at this point.
"We shall have no trouble," added Pearl, as he walked aft with the captain. "I shall not meddle with your management of the boat. I only said what I did to quiet the engineer."
But the boat had to take in a supply of fuel, for which Pearl promised to pay out of the landlord's pocket. She could not leave for a couple of hours. Pearl wanted to go back to the hotel, and attend to some matters in connection with his mission which he had forgotten.
"I am to pay you five dollars, and the engineer five dollars, when you put me on board of the Goldwing," said Pearl, as he was about to leave the boat. "Is that the trade?"
"That's it," replied the engineer; and so answered the captain.
Pearl walked up the pier, and then went down the railroad till he could see outside of the breakwater. He found the Goldwing lay at anchor in the place she had chosen at first. Ten dollars would be a good sum to pay if the Missisquoi was obliged to take him only out to the breakwater. But, the sooner he brought Dory on shore, the sooner the Goldwing would be put up at auction again.
He walked to the Witherill House, and informed the landlord of what he had done, and declared that the boy who had stolen the money should be handed over to him in a couple of hours. The hotel-keeper did not object to the expense; but he wished his representative to be careful how he managed the business, for it was by no means certain that the boy had taken the money.
"I am as certain of it as I am of my own existence," replied Pearl warmly. "I have found out something about the boy since I was here. He has the reputation of being wild, and no one sent him over here to buy a boat. And a fellow like him don't have forty or fifty dollars to invest in boats."
"All that may be; but you can be careful just as well as not," added the landlord.
"He is nothing but a young cub, and has no friends, so that nothing will come of it if he shouldn't happen to be the thief."
"If he has no one to defend him, so much the more reason why he should be fairly dealt with," replied the hotel-keeper,—a sentiment with which Pearl Hawlinshed had no sympathy. "I have seen Moody since you went out, and he says a man was looking into the keyhole of the room next to his about ten o'clock last evening. That was your father's room. Have you any idea who that man was, Hawlinshed?"
"I haven't the least idea in the world," answered Pearl; and possibly the landlord did not notice his confusion when he replied, "Very likely it was this same boy."
"It wasn't a boy, but a man: I asked Moody particularly about this matter."
"I don't know any thing about the matter at all," protested Pearl. "If the man that lost the money saw any thing of this kind, why didn't he tell of it before?"
"I asked him this question, and he says he did not think of it before. The fact of it is, that Moody had been drinking, though he sticks to it that he wasn't drunk. He went into his room at about ten o'clock, and put the money into his trunk, for he was afraid he might lose it. He saw the man looking in at the keyhole of your father's room when he went into his own to put the money in a safe place. He heard voices in the next room when he opened his trunk. The boy was with your father at that time very likely."
"If the man had been drinking, it is not probable that he knows much about the boy or the man," added Pearl.
"He had not got very tipsy, or he would not have thought to look out for his money. But bring the boy up, if you can get him without violence or outrage. If he explains where he got the money to buy the boat, that is the end of the matter so far as he is concerned. In my opinion the man who was looking in at the keyhole of your father's room is more likely to be the thief than the boy."
"Where did the boy get forty-two dollars to pay for the boat, then?" demanded Pearl.
"I give it up," laughed the landlord. "But we are likely to know something more about the case before dinner-time. I called in Peppers, who used to be a detective in New York City; and he is at work on the case now."
"What did you do that for?" demanded Pearl, who did not seem to relish the information. "You set me at work on the case; and now you have called in another person to attend to it, after I have engaged a steamer."
"All I asked you to do was to bring the boy in to be questioned. Peppers won't interfere with any thing that you may do," replied the landlord, not a little surprised at the objection of Pearl.
"What is Peppers doing?" asked Pearl uneasily.
"I don't know what he is doing: at least, I don't know much about it, and he told me not to tell what I did know."
"But you can tell me, for I am at work on the case," said Pearl in a coaxing tone.
"No: I won't tell you any thing. You won't interfere with each other, and it is best for each of you to work on his own hook," replied the hotel-keeper, as he turned to attend to a guest who wished to speak to him.
Pearl saw that it was useless to press the matter any farther; and he was evidently very much disturbed about the turn the investigation had taken during his absence. He was particularly anxious to know what the detective was about, but he was unable to obtain any information from any person. He returned to the steamboat wharf. When he came in sight of the breakwater, he was not a little startled to see the Goldwing dart out from behind the structure, with only a small jib and a reefed mainsail.
He was startled; because not more than an hour had elapsed since he left the Missisquoi, and he expected it would be another hour before she would be ready to go in pursuit of the Goldwing. The latter could sail like the wind if she would only keep right side up, and she would get a long start of the steamer. Besides, Pearl did not like the looks of the big waves on the lake any better than Mr. Button had; and he was not altogether sure that he could manage her any better than Captain Vesey had done.
The Goldwing was running from the end of the breakwater over towards the main shore, and it was possible that Dory intended to make a landing at Plattsburgh. But it was not more than a quarter of a mile from the breakwater to the shore, and he could soon tell what she intended to do. He hastened down the railroad to settle this point. In the furious breeze that was blowing, the Goldwing seemed to leap over the water. If she intended to go up to the wharf from which she had started, she would have to tack in a moment.
Pearl ran with all his might; for it occurred to him that if he could induce Dory to come on shore and go up to the hotel with him, he might save the ten dollars he had agreed to give the captain and engineer, and contrive some way to have it stick in his own pocket. The Goldwing ran within a hundred feet of the shore, and Pearl got behind a car on a side track to ascertain what she intended to do.
Gradually her main sheet was let off, and the Goldwing was headed to the southward. This settled the matter. The boat was not going back to the wharf. Her skipper had evidently run her over in that direction in order to get her under the lee of the shore, where she would not get the full force of the wind.
"Hallo! on board of the Goldwing!" shouted Pearl, as he ran to the water's edge, yelling as loud as he could.
"On shore!" replied Dory, "what do you want?"
"You are wanted at the hotel," replied Pearl.
Dory discovered by this time who it was that hailed him; and he took no further notice of Pearl, who hastened to the wharf.
THE COLCHESTER CLUB CHANGES ITS NAME.
"What in the world are you doing over here, fellows?" asked Dory Dornwood, as the four passengers of the Missisquoi tumbled in over the stern of the Goldwing.
"And what under the breezes of Lake Champlain are you doing in this boat?" shouted Thad Glovering, who was the first to get a footing in the standing-room of the Goldwing.
"What boat is it?" asked Nat Long in a blustering manner.
"What are you going to do with her, Dory?" demanded Dick Short.
"Can't you take us over to Burlington in her?" queried Corny Minkfield.
"How many questions do you think I can answer at once, fellows?" replied Dory. "I am going over to Burlington as soon as the weather is fit; and you can go with me if you like."
"All right, Dory! Hurrah for Dory Dornwood! You are all right, and so are we: only we are half starved, for we haven't had any breakfast this morning," said Thad Glovering.
It must be confessed that the party that arrived in the Missisquoi were not very promising-looking boys. They had a wild, harum-scarum appearance and manner, which fully justified the description Captain Vesey had given of them. In a word, they were evidently wild boys; and in this respect they did not differ much from Dory himself.
They are the boat-builders whose exploits and achievements are to be recorded, and they may as well be introduced at this as at any other time. Thad Glovering was an orphan, who lived with his uncle. As this relative had several children of his own, the added one was a burden to him, for he had but small wages. Thad declared that he was willing to work; but up to this time nothing had been found for him to do. The worst that could be said of him was that he was wild.
Nat Long's father was a deck-hand on a steamer; and, as he was away most of the time, Nat was permitted to have his own way. His mother was dead; and his older sister, who had the care of the family, found herself unable to control him. He was not a confirmed bad boy, and had worked for a year in one place, and done very well. A change in the business had thrown him out of work, and he had been unable to find another situation. Idleness led him into mischief; and, without some kind of control, it was only a question of time when he got into the hands of the law for some crime.
Dick Short and Corny Minkfield were the sons of widows, both of whom had some property. Their mothers were able to support them without work; but work was the one thing they needed, whether it was with the head or the hands.
These five boys lived near together, and they had been cronies from their earliest school-days. Two of them were usually well dressed; and the others were somewhat ragged, and considerably patched, showing the efforts of their protectors to keep them decent. They had all been to school up to the present time, and now it was vacation; and the next thing to be decided by their friends was what should be done with them. Dick and Corny were to go to the high school; but the others must go to work, and earn their own living,—do something for the support of their parents.
Dory had gone to work before the school closed for the summer, and all the boys talked as though they intended to do something. But they did not feel like going to work in vacation time. They had always had great larks on the lake when school did not keep, and they were not disposed to dispense with the good time the present year.
It could not be said that one of these boys was really bad. But they kept all kinds of company; and, in the absence of any strong controlling force, they were in great danger of becoming "hard boys." Sometimes they assisted about the steamers and other vessels; and, by making themselves useful, they obtained the privilege of sailing on the lake. Their associations were not always of the best character. They were all "smart boys;" and wise and steady people who knew them wished they might be put to some useful labor, or be subjected to some salutary control. Mrs. Short and Mrs. Minkfield had both been warned of the peril of their sons; and both had considered the means of redeeming them from the bad company into which their habits threw them. But they had not done any thing beyond reasoning with the boys, who always promised to mend their ways.
Assisted by his four cronies, Dory Dornwood had built a sort of bateau, a flat-bottomed craft, in which they used to row about the lake near the shore. It was a rude boat; for the young boat-builders had few tools, and very inferior lumber for the construction of the bateau. But it would carry them all, and Dory was the captain of the craft. She was called the Colchester; and the boys formed a club for aquatic sports, to which they gave the name of the boat.
Doubtless the Colchester Club gave a great deal of satisfaction to its members. Unfortunately the Colchester broke adrift in a September squall, and went to pieces on Colchester Reef, as reported by the light-keeper. No other boat could be obtained; but the members all said that as soon as they got to work they should give a portion of their earnings for the purchase of a suitable craft for the association. Up to this time they had not gone to work, and the successor of the Colchester did not appear.
Dory proceeded to answer the questions of his fellow-members of the Colchester Club. The boat in which they found him belonged to him; and this was the most astounding statement he made in the course of the interview. They opened their eyes, and stared at Captain Dory, as they called him, in silent wonder. Then they looked the boat over with renewed interest, and seemed to be unable to believe the statement of their companion.
"The Colchester Club shall have the use of her when I am on board," added Dory magnanimously.
"That's handsome; and we shall have the biggest kind of times," added Thad Glovering. "I'll tell you what we'll do, fellows. We will change the name of the club, and call it after this boat. What is her name, Dory?"
"You will find it on the stern, and also on the bowsprit," replied the skipper of the Goldwing. "It isn't a bad name either."
Two of the members of the club looked over the stern, and two others rushed to the bow. The name was of the utmost consequence, and Dory thought it was better for them to read it for themselves than for him to tell it. Besides, there was a good deal of style in the way the name was put on in the three places.
"Goldwing!" shouted Corny Minkfield, who was the first to read the name on the stern. "And there is a gold wing under it."
"Goldwing!" repeated Dick Short, as he read the name on the heel of the bowsprit. "And there is a gold wing here too."
"Isn't that a splendid name for a boat! Goldwing!" exclaimed Nat Long. "I don't think you could find any thing better than that if you should study for a month."
"Or any thing better for a club," added Thad Glovering. "The Goldwing Club! How do you think that sounds, fellows?"
"I don't believe any thing could sound any better," added Dick Short. "But we haven't looked the boat over yet."
All hands proceeded to attend to this duty at once. The Colchester had been a rough, flat-bottomed craft, with neither shape nor comeliness about her. Whatever first-class sailboats the members of the club had seen had been only at a distance; and consequently their ideal of beauty, symmetry, comfort, and convenience in a boat was not very high. The Goldwing was perfection itself to them, though it might not have been to more experienced observers. They were ecstatic in their praises of the Goldwing, and did not believe there was a finer sailboat on the lake than she was.
"You don't mean to say that you own this craft, Dory Dornwood!" said Thad when the party had exhausted their vocabulary of fine words applicable to a beautiful sailboat.
"I have said it once, and I will say it again if it will do any good," replied Dory. "The Goldwing is mine, and she don't belong to anybody else. You can go the last cent you've got on that."
"Get out, Dory!" exclaimed Dick Short, punching the skipper in the ribs. "You are selling us too cheap, Dory."
"I'm not selling you at all!" protested Dory. "I wouldn't take twenty-five cents apiece for you, though that would make a dollar."
"You can't expect us to believe that you own such a magnificent boat as this, Dory, unless you tell us where you got her," said Corny Minkfield very seriously.