Transcriber's Note: This sentence, although probably an error, was left as printed:
I believe you are a little deaf in one eye, Raymond, or else you can't hear in the other.
DOWN THE RHINE;
YOUNG AMERICA IN GERMANY.
A Story of Travel and Adventure.
BOSTON: LEE AND SHEPARD. 1870.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1869, by WILLIAM T. ADAMS, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
ELECTROTYPED AT THE Boston Stereotype Foundry, No. 19 Spring Lane.
TO MY YOUNG FRIEND RALPH OAKLEY, This Volume IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.
YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD.
BY OLIVER OPTIC.
A Library of Travel and Adventure in Foreign Lands. First and Second Series; six volumes in each Series. 16mo. Illustrated.
I. OUTWARD BOUND; OR, YOUNG AMERICA AFLOAT.
II. SHAMROCK AND THISTLE; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN IRELAND AND SCOTLAND.
III. RED CROSS; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN ENGLAND AND WALES.
IV. DIKES AND DITCHES; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN HOLLAND AND BELGIUM.
V. PALACE AND COTTAGE; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN FRANCE AND SWITZERLAND.
VI. DOWN THE RHINE; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN GERMANY.
I. UP THE BALTIC; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN DENMARK AND SWEDEN.
II. NORTHERN LANDS; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN PRUSSIA AND RUSSIA.
III. VINE AND OLIVE; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL.
IV. SUNNY SHORES; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN ITALY AND AUSTRIA.
V. CROSS AND CRESCENT; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN GREECE AND TURKEY.
VI. ISLES OF THE SEA; OR, YOUNG AMERICA HOMEWARD BOUND.
DOWN THE RHINE, the sixth and last volume of the first series of "YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD," is the conclusion of the history of the Academy Squadron on its first voyage to Europe, with the excursion of the students and their friends into Germany, and down its most beautiful river. As in the preceding volumes of the series, brief geographical descriptions of the country visited are given, with a sketch of its history, and of whatever may be peculiar or interesting in its manners and customs. The travellers enter Germany by the way of Strasburg, and visit Freiburg, Schaffhausen, Constance, Friedrichshafen, Ulm, Stuttgart, Carlsruhe, Darmstadt, Baden-Baden, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Mayence, Bingen, Bonn, Coblenz, Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Aix-la-Chapelle; but only the most interesting features of these places are noticed.
The story part of the volume relates mostly to a trip of the squadron from Havre to Brest, and the cruise of the Josephine up the Mediterranean, in which the writer has endeavored to show that even injustice is not to be redressed by resorting to evil deeds; and he is quite sure that the sympathies of his readers will always be with the members of the "Order of the Faithful."
As the author has before had occasion gratefully to acknowledge, the success of this series has far exceeded his anticipations; and in bringing the first series to a close, he again returns his thanks to his friends, young and old, who have so often and so earnestly encouraged him in his agreeable labors,—all the more agreeable because they are so generously appreciated. He intends, during the coming year, to make another trip to Europe, for the purpose of visiting all the countries mentioned in the titles of the second series; for he is not inclined to write about any country until he has seen it. If no unforeseen event intervenes to defeat his plans, the remaining volumes of YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD will soon follow.
HARRISON SQUARE, MASS., October 28, 1869.
I. CONFUSION IN THE SHIP. 11
II. CLOSE QUARTERS. 27
III. A GATHERING STORM. 42
IV. THE YOUNG AMERICAN MUTINY. 57
V. THE ORDER OF THE FAITHFUL. 73
VI. IN THE STEERAGE. 89
VII. THE VISIT TO THE HOLD. 106
VIII. SHORT OF WATER. 123
IX. THE LAST OF THE MUTINEERS. 140
X. WHAT THE RUNAWAYS WERE GOING TO DO. 158
XI. A SHORT LECTURE ON GERMANY. 174
XII. A MYSTERIOUS MOVEMENT. 191
XIII. FROM STRASBURG TO CONSTANCE. 207
XIV. THE STORM ON LAKE CONSTANCE. 224
XV. LADY FEODORA AND SIR WILLIAM. 241
XVI. UP THE MEDITERRANEAN. 260
XVII. HEIDELBERG AND HOMBURG. 279
XVIII. CASTLES, VINEYARDS, AND MOUNTAINS. 296
XIX. COBLENZ AND COLOGNE. 309
XX. HOMEWARD BOUND. 332
DOWN THE RHINE; OR, YOUNG AMERICA IN GERMANY.
CONFUSION IN THE SHIP.
"All hands pipe to muster, ahoy!" screamed the new boatswain of the Young America, as he walked towards the forecastle of the ship, occasionally sounding a shrill blast upon his whistle.
At the same time the corresponding officer in the Josephine performed a similar service; and in a moment every officer and seaman in both vessels had taken his station. The squadron lay at anchor off the harbor of Havre. The students had returned the day before from a delightful tour through France and Switzerland—all except the thirty-one who had preferred to take a cruise on their own account in the Josephine; and these had been performing ship's duty, and making up back lessons, while the vessel lay at anchor in the port of Brest. Perhaps it was not strictly true that these malcontents were sick of the game of running away, but it is strictly true that they were disgusted with the penalty which had been imposed upon them by the authorities of the Academy. It is to be regretted that they were not moved to penitence by their punishment, and that they were ripe for any new rebellion which promised to be even a partial success. They had been deprived of seeing Paris,—which is France,—and the beautiful scenery of Switzerland, by their folly; and they had taste enough to realize that they had sacrificed the best part of a tour in Europe.
Those who had participated in the excursion were enthusiastic in their belief that they had had a good time; and the frequent discussion of the pleasures of the trip did not tend to diminish the discontent of the runaways. It was absolutely intolerable to think they had been compensating for past deficiencies in their studies, while their shipmates were gazing upon the magnificent palaces of Paris, the picturesque cottages, and the sublime mountain scenery of Switzerland. Perhaps their temper was not improved by the reflection that others had been permitted to enjoy what they were not allowed to see, for envy is one of the ugliest and most uncomfortable of human passions. Boys, like men and women, fret because they cannot have what others possess, either as the gift of partial Fortune, or as the reward of their own superior skill and perseverance.
If the runaways had not learned wisdom from their failure, they had acquired discretion. The leaders in the mad scheme could now see just why and wherefore they had failed; and they believed—if they were to have the opportunity to do the deed over again—they could make a success of it. The machinery of the secret organization was now disgusting to them, though it had enabled them to make the capture of the vessel. They were disposed to cast it all aside, and resort to new methods for future occasions. As a general rule, they were wise enough to keep still, and only among themselves did they express their chagrin and disappointment, or suggest that they were not entirely cured of their tendency to run away. The strict discipline of the squadron could not be evaded, and they were compelled to perform all their duties.
It was the beginning of a new term in the school. New officers had succeeded the old ones, or the position of the latter had been materially changed. The members of the order of the Knights of the Golden Fleece found themselves scattered by the new arrangement. Not less than a dozen of them had been transferred to the consort, while Tom Perth, the leading spirit of the runaways, had attained to the dignity of second master of the ship, more by his natural abilities than by any efforts he had made to win a high place. As yet he had found no opportunity to arrange a plan for further operations with his confederates, for Mr. Fluxion, the vice-principal, was in the charge of the schooner, and his eyes and ears were always open. The return of the tourists from their excursion restored the routine on board of the vessels.
Everything was changed, and at first hardly an officer knew where he belonged, or what his duty was. Confusion reigned on board the ship and her consort, while the students were finding and preparing their new berths. Happily, the changes were all made before dinner time, and everything settled down into its wonted order and regularity. After the midday meal was served, all hands were piped to muster, in order that the officers and seamen might be exercised in their new situations. The details of sea duty were well understood by all. Those alone who had been promoted from the steerage to the after cabin were in the dark in regard to their duty, though in these instances the parties had a general idea of what was required of them. But it was necessary to have the crew ready to work together, for the seaman who had hauled on the weather-brace in tacking was now an officer, and the stations of many were new and strange to them.
Shuffles in the ship, and Terrill in the consort, proceeded to execute all the manoeuvres required in handling the vessel, from getting under way to coming to anchor again. Nearly all the officers and crew were zealous to perform their several parts correctly; but there were enough of the discontented ones, who shirked as much as possible, to create considerable confusion. The captain of the Young America was not satisfied with the manner in which the various evolutions were performed; so he began at the beginning, and went over all the ground again, to the great disgust of the runaways in his crew, who had been doing this sort of thing for four weeks, while the others were enjoying the beauties of the mountain scenery.
"What's the matter, Captain Shuffles?" asked Commodore Kendall, when the commander finished the routine a second time, and was still dissatisfied with the result.
"It doesn't work well," replied Shuffles, biting his lip.
"A new broom sweeps clean, they say," laughed the flag officer. "Perhaps you are more particular than your predecessors were."
"I think not. The ship would have miss-stayed under such handling as we have to-day, to say nothing of the clumsy look of it," continued the new captain. "I shouldn't wish to be out in a gale with a crew as slack as ours is just now."
"What's the trouble?" asked the commodore, rather anxiously. "I saw that things did not work well."
"There is trouble somewhere, and I think I can see where it is."
"What is it?"
"Certain parties in this ship don't like me very well, just now."
"You mean the runaways," suggested Paul.
"They are making a mistake if they are slack in their duty," added the commodore, rather indignantly. "They wish to go with us on our next excursion: but I don't think they can win the privilege in this manner."
"Wilton and Howe are doing all they can to make things go wrong," said Captain Shuffles, who was more in sorrow than in anger at the conduct of these worthies. "If they are doing it to spite me, they are only spiting themselves. I am going through these manoeuvres until they are a little more ship-shape, at least."
The new captain ordered all hands to take their stations for getting under way, and Commodore Kendall went aft, though he still carefully observed the conduct of the seamen. The clumsiness, and the intentional blunders of certain of the crew seemed to indicate that there was a conspiracy to defeat the purposes of the commander. First, Howe tumbled down while the hands were walking round the capstan; Spencer stumbled over him, and a dozen boys were thrown in a pile upon them. Then Richmond and Merrick dropped their handspikes overboard, through an open port, when the order was given to restore these articles to their proper places.
Little snarled himself up in the gasket on the fore-topsail yard, and dropped off, as though he had fallen, though he clung to the rope, and was brought up with a jerk ten or twelve feet below the spar. Some of his gang, believing he had really fallen, screamed, and the attention of the whole crew was drawn off from their duty. When the fore-topmast staysail and jib were to be set, somebody had fouled the down-hauls, so that they could not be hoisted. There was a kink in the halyards of the main-top gallant-sail, so that it would not run through the block. Clewlines, clew-garnets, leachlines, and buntlines were in a snarl. The zeal of those who were striving to do their duty faithfully seemed to make the matter worse, and the officers found it difficult to determine who really made the mischief; for the malcontents pretended to be as enthusiastic as their shipmates. Strong expressions and hard words were freely used by the vexed seamen, and certainly such a scene of confusion had never before been observed on board of the ship, even when a large proportion of the crew were green hands.
Captain Shuffles was deeply grieved by the misconduct of the crew; for, standing on the quarter-deck, he could not distinguish between the intentional and the unintentional blunders of the crew, and therefore believed that the disaffection was much more extensive than was really the case. The zealous efforts of one portion of the crew to rectify the mistakes of another portion only increased the confusion, and some of those who were actually doing their best appeared to be the real authors of the difficulty. The captain was drilling his crew in simultaneous movements, and it was difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain exactly the source of the unwonted confusion.
While the routine of evolutions was thus bunglingly performed, the principal and the professors, who had been discussing an interesting question of discipline in the main cabin, came on deck. Perhaps the fact that Mr. Lowington was not on deck had encouraged the conspirators in creating the confusion which pervaded the decks and rigging. As he was the last to ascend the companion-way, he paused on the steps, with his head on a level with the deck, to note the precision of the drill. He was not noticed by the conspirators, and, unfortunately for them, they continued in their career of insubordination. The quick eye of the principal readily detected the nature of the mischief, though it was as impossible for him as for the officers immediately to indicate the authors of the confusion which prevailed throughout the ship.
"This does not look much like going down the Rhine this week," said Mr. Lowington to Commodore Kendall, as he stepped upon the quarter-deck.
"I don't think it does, sir," replied Paul, grieved and indignant at the miserable exhibition of seamanship which the crew then presented.
"This is a strange sight on board of this ship," added the principal, biting his lips with vexation, for, as usual, when the young tars displayed their seamanship, there were plenty of spectators on shore, and on board of other vessels in the roadstead.
"I certainly never saw anything like it since we first began to learn ship's duty in Brockway harbor."
"The crew appear to be hazing the new officers," continued Mr. Lowington, who could not fail to perceive that a large portion of the apparent blundering was intentional.
"Of course there isn't a seaman on board who does not know his duty."
"They are not familiar yet with their new stations, and a little confusion is unavoidable," said Mr. Lowington, willing to make all reasonable allowances.
"But they have already been through the routine two or three times," suggested Paul.
"Are the crew dissatisfied with the election?" asked the principal.
"I have not heard any dissatisfaction expressed; but I suppose some of them don't like Shuffles, especially those who went off in the Josephine."
"There are not twenty of them left in the ship; and it seems as though the whole crew were engaged in this frolic."
At this moment a gang of the waist men, who were walking away with the main-topsail sheets, were suddenly piled up in a pyramid on deck. The second fellow in the line had fallen down; the next had tripped over him, and those that followed tumbled into the heap. It is more than probable that some, whose estimate of the value of good order was not very high, though they were tolerably good boys in the main, were tempted by their love of fun to take part in what appeared to them only a frolic. A scene of violent confusion ensued in this particular part of the deck. Some, who were near the bottom of the pile, were hurt by those who fell upon them, and the tempers of others were not improved by the mishap. Hard words followed, those at the bottom blaming those at the top, and those at the top growling at those at the bottom. Some were rubbing their elbows, others their shins, and all appeared to be anxious to ascertain who had produced the mischief.
"Pipe to muster, Captain Shuffles," said the principal, stepping up to the bewildered commander. "We have had about enough of this."
Shuffles gave the order to the first lieutenant, and it was duly transmitted to the boatswain, whose shrill pipe soon assembled the whole ship's company in the waist.
"We shall catch it now," said Spencer, one of the runaways, to Howe, as they met near the rail, a little outside of the crowd.
"No matter; he is only going to preach to us," replied Howe through the corner of his mouth, while he tried to look as innocent as one of the chaplain's lambs.
"We shall not have a chance to go down the Rhine if we do things in this way."
"I don't want to go down the Rhine; at least, not till I have been through Paris and Switzerland."
"But we want to go ashore with the other fellows, or we shall have no chance to go anywhere."
"Shut up! Don't talk about that here. If we don't go, no one will go. This is bully! We shall get things mixed so that the officers won't know a lamb from a goat."
"Bob Shuffles hasn't made much yet as captain," laughed Spencer.
"We'll get even with him yet," added Howe, still talking through the corner of his mouth, and looking all the time at the principal, who had taken his place on the hatch.
Mr. Lowington, as the rogue had suggested, only intended to "preach." He had observed the insubordination of the crew, and he regretted it exceedingly, for he was as careful of the reputation of the ship as of his own. There was an evident intention on the part of a large portion of the ship's company to haze the new officers. Such a purpose was unworthy of the character of young gentlemen, and he hoped that such conduct as he had just witnessed would be discontinued. In a day or two he purposed to start for Germany, but he could not leave the ship unless he was satisfied that every one on board knew his duty; for on their return they might be compelled, by some unforeseen event, to go to sea at once, and the crew did not appear to know how to set and furl a sail. The officers, from the captain to the lowest rank, appeared to have performed their duty faithfully; and all the trouble was in the execution of their orders. In conclusion, he announced that the drill would be resumed in half an hour, and directed the commander to pipe down.
"That didn't hurt anybody," said Howe, as he walked forward with Spencer. "Let us keep it up."
"We may get caught at it."
"No need of that. Accidents will happen."
"Yes; but they don't happen all over the ship at the same time."
"Well, they may, you know," laughed Howe. "In fact, I don't see how accidents are to be avoided while we have such a fellow as Shuffles for captain. If there is any one in the ship that I despise, it is Shuffles."
"So say we all of us!"
"The snivelling, canting, whining puppy! Have you any idea that his merit-marks made him captain of the ship?" continued Howe.
"I suppose they did."
"Tell that to the marines! Wasn't he acknowledged to be the worst fellow in the ship when we crossed the Atlantic? Wasn't he the ringleader in all mischief and scrapes?"
"But he has reformed."
"Reformed!" sneered Howe. "He has turned hypocrite, if that is what you mean by reformed. I don't believe in that sort of bosh."
"He's the pet of the principal and the instructors."
"Yes; and they have given him marks enough to make him captain, just to show good fellows, like you and me, what a saint can do. It is all humbug! Why, he got more marks than Kendall, Gordon, Haven, and the rest of those cabin nobs, who are fit to enter the senior class in a college. I am satisfied that his merit-roll was doctored so as to make it come out as it did."
"I don't believe Lowington would do any such thing as that," suggested Spencer, shaking his head.
"Don't you? Well, I do. What's the use of talking! Didn't Shuffles jump from the steerage into the captain's state-room?"
"Any other fellow may do the same thing. Look at Tom Perth, who lost a heap of marks for running off in the Josephine, as the rest of us did. He is second master. If it hadn't been for our scrape, very likely he would have been captain."
"Don't you believe it."
"If Lowington had not been fair, and let every fellow go just where his marks carried him, Perth would not have had a place in the cabin."
"O, the principal only wanted to break us up by taking our best fellow away from us. He couldn't drive Tom Perth, and now he's going to lead him—bait him with sugar and offices."
"Some of the fellows say Shuffles can't handle the ship without the help of the principal," said Spencer.
"Of course he can't!" exclaimed Howe. "Hasn't he proved that already? If Paul Kendall had been captain, he would have spotted every fellow that made any trouble. Let us keep it up, Spencer, and we shall soon prove that Shuffles can't handle the ship. That will be enough to satisfy me."
The approach of an officer interrupted the conversation; but Howe passed from one to another of the malcontents, and instructed them what to do in the next drill. They were to create all the confusion they could in the discharge of their duty. They were to misunderstand the orders, and to blunder in the execution of them, in such a manner as to conceal their own agency in the mischief, and divide the responsibility of it among their companions. The runaway crew of the Josephine, mortified at their failure, were still fretting because they had not visited Paris and Switzerland. They were ready to listen to evil counsels, and regarding Howe as their leader since the promotion of Perth, they promised to follow his instructions to the letter.
"What are we going to make by it?" demanded Sheffield, who doubted the policy of the proceeding.
"We are going to prove, in the first place, that Shuffles can't handle the ship," replied Howe.
"Perhaps you may prove it, even if you don't believe what you prove."
"But I do believe he can't handle the ship."
"I don't. I hate Shuffles as bad as any fellow, but I believe he is as good a sailor as any person on board, man or boy."
"That's all in your eye!" retorted Howe, contemptuously. "He may be able to get along while we are lying in port, but I should like to see him work the ship in a gale of wind."
"He can do it," answered Sheffield, confidently. "But he is a flunky, and spoiled all our fun in the Josephine. I am willing to throw him over for being a hypocrite, and selling us out as he did. What else are we to gain?"
"We shall help along our chances of going down the Rhine, and," whispered Howe, "of seeing Paris and Switzerland."
"I don't see it."
"Well, I do. If we cave in and pretend to be lambs when we are lions, we shall have to do duty while the rest of the fellows are having a good time on shore. If we show that we are still wide awake, Lowington will take us with him, because he will not dare to leave us on board."
"He will leave Fluxion with us."
"Not much! I heard some of the fellows say that Fluxion was going to Italy to see his mother, or his sister, or somebody that is sick there."
"I heard that."
"If it is true, Lowington will not leave us behind, especially if he finds we are not as gentle as lambs."
"Perhaps not; but as the matter stands, we are already condemned to stay on board during the rest of the season."
"I know that; but Lowington will let us off."
"He will be more likely to do so if we behave well."
"Not he! Don't you believe it."
"They say Shuffles is teasing him to remit the rest of the penalty."
"That's so; and Lowington promised to consider the matter. Tom Perth told me this; and he heard Shuffles talking to the principal about it."
"Humph! I don't want to go on those terms," replied Howe, in disgust. "That's some more of Shuffles's cant! One of his sensations! He thinks he whipped us out on board of the Josephine, and now he wants to be magnanimous with his victims. If we go with the crowd, it will be because Lowington is afraid to leave us behind. We are not a set of babies, Sheffield, to be whipped and sent to bed when we are naughty. Neither are we sailors before the mast, to be kicked here and there, at the pleasure of our masters. What do you suppose the fellows came to Europe for, if it was not to see the country? Are we to be left on board just because we went on a little lark? Not much!"
"That's all very good, but it won't go down," laughed Sheffield.
"I'm not going to eat humble pie for any one. Do you mean to tell me I am not as good a fellow as Bob Shuffles?"
"I didn't say you were not."
"Am I not his equal?" demanded Howe.
"I suppose you are, if you behave as well."
"Behave as well!" sneered the orator. "I behave well enough, and I'm not going to be put down, nor beg my rights of Bob Shuffles. If I am left on board, for one, when the fellows go down the Rhine, I intend to break things."
"Don't break your own head."
"Let me alone for that. If our fellows have any spirit at all, they will not be left behind. In the next drill, things will be mixed, and no one can tell who makes the mischief. Our fellows are not the only ones that don't like Shuffles, and you will find that about half the crew will help snarl things up. Now, keep your weather eye open, Sheffield. Take my advice, and don't whimper. Our fellows have a little business in Paris and Switzerland, and we shall attend to it in a week or two. There goes the pipe. Mind your eye, Sheffield."
The boatswain's call sounded through the ship, and officers and crew hastened to their stations.
The malcontents in the ship were, apparently, the most zealous seamen on board. Certainly no one would have suspected them of organizing any mischief, they looked so innocent and so determined to do their duty promptly. Howe, Wilton, Little, and others had done their work thoroughly and secretly. They had arranged at least a dozen different tricks for making confusion among the crew. To each one of the discontented a part had been assigned, which he was to perform in such a way as to conceal his own agency.
Captain Shuffles was planking the quarter-deck with the commodore. Everybody could see that he was not entirely at his ease. His position was a novel one to him, and he was oppressed by its responsibilities, especially since the crew had behaved so badly at the first drill. He could not help knowing that a portion of the crew were opposed to him, and would do anything they could to annoy him. The situation was a difficult one; for, at the commencement of his term of office, he did not wish to have any of the seamen punished for neglect or disobedience, even if he could discover the guilty ones.
Mr. Lowington was not on deck. He had purposely gone below, for he wished the new captain to act on his own responsibility, and overcome the difficulty alone. This was in accordance with his previous course, when, even in a gale of wind, he permitted the young officers to handle the ship without any dictation. Though the action adopted by the boys was not always in accordance with his own judgment, he never interfered unless an obvious and dangerous blunder was made. His policy had worked well thus far, and he was disposed to continue it. In the present instance, he was no better informed than the captain in regard to the real cause of the difficulty. He believed it was merely the effect of a fun-loving spirit on the part of the crew; a mere disposition to haze the new officers a little, and perhaps prove what they were made of. He hoped the new officers would satisfy them, and, if necessary, send a dozen or twenty of the mischief-makers to the mainmast for punishment.
"All hands, up anchor, ahoy!" piped the boatswain, after he had received the order from the captain, through the proper officers.
Those whose stations were at the cable and capstan sprang to their places with unwonted alacrity.
"Bring to, forward!" added the first lieutenant, giving the order to attach the messenger. "Ship and swifter the capstan bars!"
As it was not intended to get the ship actually under way, only a portion of the work indicated by the orders was really executed. The form of hooking on the messenger was gone through with, as also were the various preparations for catting and fishing the anchor. The capstan bars were inserted in the pigeon-holes.
"Heave round!" shouted the first lieutenant; and the order was repeated by the second lieutenant, whose station is on the forecastle.
Everything appeared to be progressing with proper order and regularity, and Captain Shuffles hoped the warning words of the principal had produced an impression upon the minds of the mischief-makers. But appearances are very deceptive. While the hands were walking around the capstan, four of the bars suddenly came out of the pigeon-holes at the same instant, and a dozen of the seamen were thrown, apparently with great violence, upon the deck. The bars, confined at one end by the swifter, swung round and cracked the shins of others, and a scene of confusion ensued, which set at nought all ideas of discipline.
No one was badly hurt, but every one was excited. Those who were not concerned in the plot caught the spirit of mischief from the others, and, with but few exceptions, the crew joined in the sport. The seaman who originated the trouble had simply neglected to insert the pins which confine the capstan bars within the pigeon-holes, or had left the bars with the heads against the pins. As nearly all joined in the frolic, there were none to inform against others, and it was simply impossible for Leavitt, the second lieutenant, or Ellis, the first master,—under whose eye this breach of discipline had occurred,—to determine who the ringleaders were.
Shuffles and the commodore were intensely annoyed at this scene, and immediately went forward. By this time, those who had been thrown upon the deck, which included nearly all at the capstan, had picked themselves up. The Knights looked even more innocent than those whom they had dragged into the scrape, and the high officers from the quarter-deck were no wiser than the lieutenant and master. In the midst of the confusion, Howe and Wilton had removed the pins from the bars, which still remained in the drumhead of the capstan.
"Mr. Leavitt, how did this happen?" demanded Captain Shuffles.
"Half the bars dropped out of the capstan all at once, and the hands were thrown down," replied the lieutenant, who was hardly less annoyed than the captain.
"Were the bars pinned in?"
"I supposed they were, sir."
Captain Shuffles walked up to the capstan. Not a single pin was inserted.
"Let your midshipman see that the bars are properly pinned and swiftered next time," said the commander, as he walked aft to resume his place on the quarter-deck.
"Unship the bars!" said Leavitt; and they were restored to the rack, leaving everything as it was before the drill began.
The crew were piped to muster, and the order to weigh anchor repeated. The capstan bars were shipped, and this time, the midshipman whose station was on the forecastle satisfied himself that they were securely pinned, and so reported to the second lieutenant. As the rogues had made no provision for this state of things, they were thrown upon their own resources for the means of defeating the operation a second time. Commodore Kendall had placed himself in position to watch the movement, and the officers in charge had pinned their eyes wide open, fully resolved that the authors of the trouble should not escape a second time.
Directly abaft the capstan was the fore-hatch, over which lay the path of those who walked around at the bars. Ordinarily the hatch was closed when the capstan was used; but, on the present occasion, a plank had been placed across the aperture, to avoid the necessity of putting on the hatch, and thus excluding the air from the kitchen, where the cooks were baking their daily batch of bread.
"Heave round!" said the first lieutenant.
"Heave round!" repeated the second lieutenant; and the hands at the capstan began their circular march.
By some means not observed by the vigilant officers, the plank over the fore-hatch slowly travelled along until one end of it barely caught on the combing of the hatch. Half a dozen seamen had given it a kick with their heels as they passed over it, and it was soon in condition to drop into the steerage below. Little stepped upon it, and down it went. Releasing his hold of the bar, he dropped upon the steps below, and disappeared. Sheffield followed him, and then Ibbotson. The hands at the other side of the capstan took care that the party should keep moving. A few well-disposed boys, when they came to the hatch,—which was not more than four feet wide,—leaped across it, as any of them might have done, if they had not been infected with the spirit of mischief.
"Avast heaving!" shouted the second lieutenant.
At this instant one of the lambs was on the combing of the hatch, and he must either go over or hang by the bar; so he pushed along, and his movement brought another into a similar position. Seeing how the case was, the rogues kept the capstan going, in spite of the commands of the officers, until two thirds of the gang had dropped into the steerage. It was finally suspended by the efforts of the excited officers, who took hold of the bars with their own hands, and counteracted the efforts of the rogues.
The young rascals in the steerage pretended to be hurt more seriously than they were, though some of them had struck the steps or the floor below with force enough to make them feel a little sore. They began to limp, and to rub their shins and shoulders, their heads and arms, very vigorously, as though they believed that friction was a sovereign remedy for aching bones.
"Why didn't you stop, Hunter, when I ordered you to do so?" demanded Leavitt, indignantly.
"I couldn't, sir," replied the lamb, speaking only the simple truth.
"Yes, you could! I will report you for disobedience."
"I was right over the hatch, and I had either to go down or jump over: I couldn't stop there."
"And you did the same thing, Hyde," added the officer.
"I couldn't help it, sir," replied he. "When Hunter got over, he dragged me so far that I couldn't stop."
"Why didn't you let go, then?" demanded Leavitt, angrily.
"I was afraid the next bar would hit me in the head."
Both of these boys were ordinarily models of propriety, and they had not, for an instant, intended to do anything out of order. The real culprits were all at the foot of the stairs, rubbing their limbs and making the most terrible contortions, as though their legs, arms, and heads were actually broken. The officers had all seen Hunter and Hyde pushing along the bars after the order had been given to stop. They seemed to be guilty, and they were required to report at the mainmast to the first lieutenant, for discipline. The second lieutenant then went down the fore-hatch, where the appalling spectacle of a crowd of sufferers was presented to his view.
"Are you hurt, Little?" he asked, turning to the most prominent victim of the catastrophe.
"Yes, sir," groaned Little, twisting his back-bone almost into a hard knot, and trying to reach the seat of his injury with both hands at the same time.
"How happened you to fall through?" inquired Leavitt, more gently than he had spoken on deck, for the sight of all this misery evidently affected him.
"I don't know, sir," answered Little, with one of his most violent contortions. "I was looking up at the fore-yard arm, and—ugh!—the first thing I knew, I was—O, dear!—I was down here, with that—ugh!—with that plank on top of me."
"Are you much hurt?"
"I don't know. It aches first rate," cried Little, with a deep, explosive sigh.
"Well, go aft, and report to the surgeon."
"I don't want to go to the surgeon. He mauls me about to death. I shall be better soon."
"On deck, all who are able to do so!" added Leavitt. "Bennington, you will ask Dr. Winstock to attend to those who are hurt, and report to the first lieutenant."
But it did not appear that any one was so much injured as to require the services of the surgeon, for the whole party went on deck at the order. Little still writhed and twisted. Howe rubbed his knee, and Spencer nursed his elbow. Commodore Kendall, who had witnessed the whole affair, did not see how it was possible for them to tumble down the hatchway without injuring themselves, and he was willing to believe that the appearance was not deceitful. He had kept his eyes fixed upon the crew as they walked round the capstan, but he was unable to determine whether the mishap was the result of accident or intention.
Again the captain came forward; but after consulting with Paul, he returned to the quarter-deck without making any comments. The two lambs had reported to the first lieutenant, and the matter had gone to Captain Shuffles, who directed the culprits to be sent to the principal. They went into the steerage, and knocking at the door of the main cabin, Mr. Lowington came out, and heard their statement. They were ordered to their mess-rooms to await an investigation.
The hatchway was closed, and the order to man the capstan was given a third time. The injured seamen had in a measure recovered the use of their limbs, and though they still limped and squirmed, they took their places in the line. Either their will or their ingenuity to do mischief failed them, the third time, for the form of heaving up the anchor to a short stay was regularly accomplished. The commodore and all the officers in the forward part of the ship watched the operation with the keenest scrutiny, and when it was successfully finished, they hoped the end of all the mishaps had come.
"Pawl the capstan! Unship the bars! Stations for loosing sail!" continued the first lieutenant. "Lay aloft, sail-loosers!"
The nimble young tars, whose places were aloft, sprang up the rigging.
"Man the boom-tricing lines!"
But the boom-tricing lines appeared to be in a snarl, and it was some time before they were ready for use, being manipulated by some of the mischief-makers.
"Trice up!" shouted Goodwin, the executive officer.
Up went the inner ends of the studding-sail booms.
"Lay out!" added Goodwin.
"Lay out!" repeated the midshipmen in the tops; and the seamen ran out on the foot-ropes to their several stations for loosing sail.
At the same time, the forecastle hands were loosing the fore-topmast staysail, jib, and flying jib, and the after-guard, or quarter-deck hands, were clearing away the spanker.
"Loose!" said the executive officer; and the hands removed the gaskets, stoppers, and other ropes, used to confine the sails when furled.
"Stand by—let fall!" was the next order.
At this command all the square sails should have dropped from the yards at the same instant, but as a matter of fact, not half of them did drop. Sheets, buntlines, bowlines, lifts, reef-pendants, and halyards were fearfully snarled up. Some of the seamen on the yards were pulling one way, and some another; some declared the snarl was in one place, others in another place. The rogues had realized an undoubted success in the work they had undertaken. Vainly the midshipmen in the tops tried to bring order out of confusion. Those who were actually laboring to untangle the ropes only increased the snarl.
The condition of affairs was duly reported to the captain, who had become very impatient at the long delay. The masters were then sent aloft to help the midshipmen unravel the snarl, but they succeeded no better. It was evident enough to all the officers that this confusion could not have been created without an intention to do it. An accident might have happened on the main or the mizzen-mast, but not on every yard on all three of the masts.
"What are you about?" asked Perth, who had been sent into the main-top, as he met Howe.
"We have come to the conclusion that Bob Shuffles can't handle this ship," whispered the ringleader of the mischief, with a significant wink.
"You are getting us into a scrape."
"Well, we all are in the same boat."
"Don't carry it too far," suggested Master Perth.
"Carry what too far?" demanded Robinson, the midshipman in the top, who had heard a word or two of the confidential talk—enough to give him an idea of what was in the wind.
"Dry up, old fellow," said Perth, with some confusion, as Howe, who had come down from the yard to cast off a line, sprang back to his place.
"What did you mean by that remark of yours?" inquired the midshipman.
"I told Howe not to carry the end of the buntline too far. It was wound three times around the topsail sheet."
"Was that what you meant?" asked Robinson, suspiciously.
"Don't you see that buntline?" replied Perth. "It is fouled in the sheet, and he was pulling it through farther, so as to snarl it up still worse."
"All right," replied the inferior, who, however, was far from being satisfied with the explanation.
"All right!" retorted Perth, smartly. "Is that the way you address your superior officer. One would think I was responsible to you for my words and actions."
"I didn't mean that," added Robinson.
"What did you mean?"
"I only said all right to your explanation."
"You did—did you?" said Perth, severely. "Then you called me to an account, and now you acquit me!"
"I beg your pardon. Whatever I said, I did not mean anything disrespectful," pleaded Robinson.
"Is this the kind of discipline among the officers? If it is, I don't wonder that the crew get snarled up. I don't like to blow on a fellow, but I'm tempted to send you to the mainmast."
"I didn't mean anything."
Master Perth turned from his abashed inferior, ascended the main rigging, and with a few sharp orders, compelled the topmen to unsnarl the ropes. He was afraid the midshipman would report what he had said to the captain, and he had attempted to intimidate him into silence by threatening him with a similar fate.
"On deck!" hailed Perth from the top. "All ready in the main-top, sir," he added, when the third lieutenant answered his hail from the waist.
After a delay of half an hour, a like report came down from the fore and mizzen-tops. The masters returned to their stations on deck, and everything was in readiness to continue the manoeuvre. Captain Shuffles was in earnest conversation with Commodore Kendall. A more unsatisfactory state of things could not exist than that which prevailed on board of the Young America. The conduct of the crew amounted almost to mutiny. Those who had maliciously made the mischief, and those who had been engaged in it from a love of fun, had succeeded in confounding those who meant to do their duty. It was impossible to tell who were guilty and who were innocent; for three quarters, at least, of the crew seemed to be concerned in the confusion.
"It is clear enough that they are hazing me," said Captain Shuffles, sadly. "I don't know that I have done anything to set the fellows against me."
"Certainly not," replied Paul, warmly. "You have only done your duty. I have no doubt those fellows who ran away in the Josephine are at the bottom of it. If I am not very much mistaken, I saw Howe, on the main-topsail yard, tangling up the buntlines and sheets."
"I have heard that these fellows intended to get even with me," added Shuffles, with a smile, as though he had not much fear of them.
"I should keep the crew at work until they did their duty. I would keep them at it night and day, till they can get the ship under way without any confusion," added Paul, earnestly.
"I intend to do that, but I do not like to be hard upon them."
"There is no danger of your being too hard."
"Whether I am hard or not, I'm going to have the work done in ship-shape style, if we drill till morning. All hands, furl sails," said he to the first lieutenant.
The boatswain's call sounded through the ship. The necessary orders were given in detail, and after considerable confusion, the sails were all furled, and the ship restored to its original condition.
"Pipe to muster," continued the captain.
Under this order all the officers assembled on the quarter-deck. Captain Shuffles addressed them in the mild tones in which he usually spoke, as though he was not seriously disturbed by the ill conduct of the crew. Assigning a lieutenant, a master, and a midshipman to each mast, he directed them to set each sail separately, without regard to others. They were to set the topsails first, then the other sails up to the royals. Other officers were directed to drill the seamen stationed at the head sails and the spanker.
During this conference Howe and his associates were congratulating themselves upon the success of their vicious schemes, and encouraging each other to persevere if another drill was ordered. They were curious to know what the captain was doing with the officers on the quarter-deck; but they concluded that it was only a meeting to "howl" over the miserable discipline of the ship. But their wonderings were soon set at rest by the boatswain's call of "All hands, make sail, ahoy!"
They sprang to their stations as zealously as though they had no thought but for the honor of the ship. They soon discovered that a new order of proceeding had been introduced. The masters and midshipmen perched themselves in the rigging, where they could see the movements of every seaman. The adult forward officers—Peaks, the boatswain, Bitts, the carpenter, and Leech, the sailmaker—also went aloft, and stationed themselves on the topmast-stays, so that, besides the lieutenants on deck, the commodore, and the past officers, there were three pairs of sharp eyes aloft to inspect the operations on each sail.
Howe and his associates were not a little disconcerted at this array of inspectors, and still more so when the order was given to loose only the topsails. Peaks, on the main topmast-stay, caught Howe in the very act of passing the gasket through the bight of the buntline. The veteran tar came down upon him with such a torrent of sea slang, that he did not attempt to repeat the act. The topsails were then set as smartly and as regularly as ever before. After the inspectors had seen all the sails set and furled in detail, the topsails, top-gallant sails, and courses, with the jib and spanker, were set as usual, when the vessel got under way.
By the time the routine in detail had been practised two or three times, the officers began to know where to look for the mischief-makers. Peaks had exposed the ringleader, and the conspirators were finally beaten at their own game. But Captain Shuffles was not satisfied; and when the crew were dismissed from muster, he hastened to the main cabin to consult with the principal.
The conspirators, at close quarters, had lost the day, and discipline was triumphant.
A GATHERING STORM.
"Mr. Lowington, I should like to go to sea for a day or two," said Captain Shuffles, when he had obtained the ear of the principal.
"Go to sea!" exclaimed Mr. Lowington. "Why, I thought you were all in a hurry to go down the Rhine."
"I am not at all satisfied with the discipline of the ship," answered the new captain. "It requires about as many officers as seamen to execute any manoeuvre, and I think we need more practice in ship's duty before we make any more tours on shore."
"How did you succeed in your second drill?"
"We went through with it after a while; but it was only with two officers in each top, and the adult forward officers on the stays, that we could set a single sail."
"Have you ascertained who is at the root of the mischief?"
"Howe, for one."
"The runaways, probably," added Mr. Lowington, thoughtfully.
"I have no doubt all of them were concerned in it; but at least half the crew took part in the mischief. We finally went through all the forms with tolerable precision. Two or three days' service at sea will enable us to put everything in good working order. The officers also ought to have a little practice in their new stations."
"When do you wish to go to sea?"
"Immediately, sir," replied Shuffles.
"Yes, sir. I think any delay would be injurious to discipline. The crew have been hazing the officers now for two hours, and have had the best of it most of the time. If we went to sea without any delay, I think it would be understood."
"You are right, Captain Shuffles. Where is Commodore Kendall?"
"In the after cabin, sir."
"Send for him, if you please."
The commander sent one of the waiters to call Paul, who presently appeared.
"Captain Shuffles wishes to go to sea to-night," said Mr. Lowington, with a smile, as the young commodore entered the cabin; "and I think he takes a correct view of the situation."
"To-night!" exclaimed Paul, whose thought immediately flashed from the ship to the Hotel de l'Europe, in Havre, where Mr. and Mrs. Arbuckle and Grace were domiciled, having come down from Paris by the morning train, to be in readiness to start with the ship's company for the Rhine.
"I know what you are thinking about, Paul," laughed the principal. "You may go on shore, and invite the Arbuckles to join us; or, as we can work the ship very well without a commodore, you may stay on shore with them until our return."
"Invite them to go with us," suggested Shuffles. "I think the presence of our friends will have a good effect upon the crew."
"I should be very glad to have them go with us," replied Paul.
"It is a little doubtful whether we return to Havre again, for Brest would be a better place for the vessels to lie during our absence in Germany," said Mr. Lowington.
"We cannot sail at once—can we?" asked Paul.
"We can get off this evening," replied Mr. Lowington. "Let the stewards of the ship and the consort go on shore, and get a supply of fresh provisions. The commodore, in the mean time, can wait on the Arbuckles. I see no difficulty in getting off by sunset."
"It will be rather short notice for the Arbuckles," suggested Paul.
"They are ready to go to Germany at an hour's notice, and it will require no more preparation for this voyage. You can go on shore at once, Commodore Kendall. Captain Shuffles, you will hoist the signal for sailing; send a boat to the Josephine, and I will give you a letter for Mr. Fluxion."
The arrangement agreed upon, Captain Shuffles went on deck, and directed the first lieutenant to pipe away the commodore's barge. The third lieutenant was detailed to serve in this boat. As its crew went over the side, Captain Shuffles saw that Howe, Spencer, and four others of the runaways were of its number, under the new station bill. This fact induced him to send Peaks with the lieutenant in charge, so as to guard against any mischief. The third cutter was sent to the Josephine, with the principal's letter. In this boat, Little was the only runaway. The first cutter soon after left the ship with the steward, to bring off a load of fresh provisions.
As the third cutter was obliged to wait for Mr. Fluxion to write an answer to Mr. Lowington's letter, the crew were allowed to go on board of the Josephine. The sight of the signal for sailing, which had been hoisted on board of the Young America, caused no little excitement in the consort, as, in fact, it did on board of the ship. It looked like a very sudden movement, for all were anticipating their departure for Germany by the next or the following day. The principal had told them they would leave in a few days, and not a word had been said about going to sea in the interim.
"What's up?" asked Greenway, one of the runaways, who had been transferred to the Josephine, as Little came on deck.
"I don't know—only that we are going to sea," replied Little. "We have had high times on board of the ship."
"What have you been doing?"
"Hazing Shuffles," said Little, in a whisper.
"And I'll bet that is the reason why we are going to sea, instead of going to Germany," answered Greenway, with something like disgust in his looks and in the tones of his voice.
"No matter; we have proved that Shuffles can't handle the ship. He had to call on old Peaks to help him before he could get the main-topsail set."
"But if you play these games we shall be left on board while the rest of the fellows go down the Rhine."
"Not much! Fluxion is going to Marseilles to see his grandmother, or somebody else, and if we only make mischief enough, Lowington won't dare to leave us on board."
Little explained the views of Howe, which he had adopted as his own, to the effect that the more mischief they made, the better would be their chances of joining the excursion to Germany. Greenway was foolish enough to take the same view of the question. If the vice-principal was obliged to go away, Mr. Lowington would not dare to leave the runaways with any other person.
"But we don't want to go to Germany," added Little.
"Simply because we have not been to Paris and Switzerland," replied the little villain, as he led his companion to the forecastle, where no one could overhear them. "We are going to have the time we bargained for when we sailed in the Josephine. If we go with the rest of the fellows, we intend to take French leave of them as soon as we find an opportunity to do so. On the whole, I had just as lief stay if Fluxion is not to have the care of us, for we can slip through the hands of any other man in the squadron."
"There is some money in Paris waiting for me," said Greenway.
"There is some waiting for a lot of our fellows," replied Little. "I intend to claim mine as soon as the party begin to go down the Rhine."
"What's the plan? How are the fellows to get off?" asked Greenway.
"Every one must manage that to suit himself. We had better go in little parties of three or four."
"O, no; it's better to keep together," protested Greenway.
"I don't think so. If we attempt to do anything together again, we shall be watched. We must look out for our chances."
"But our fellows are separated now, and we can't do anything alone."
"Yes, you can. When you see a good opportunity to start for Paris, start. That's all you have to do."
"I don't like this way."
"It's the best way. Don't you see that when we are missed we can all be caught in a bunch again. If we go in a dozen different squads, they will to chase us in as many different directions. If we start with the fellows for Germany, we shall step out as we have the chance to do so. I don't believe in more than two or three going together."
"But some of us may not have any money," suggested Greenway.
"Then they must borrow some of those who have it."
"Lowington got hold of two or three drafts, or bills, sent to the fellows."
"Only two or three," replied Little, lightly. "Those fellows can either borrow, or go with the lambs."
The Knights of the Red Cross, afterwards of the Golden Fleece, had written to their fathers, asking them for remittances to be sent to Paris, where, after sailing around to Marseilles in the Josephine, and going the rest of the way by railroad, they were to get their letters. Most of their parents had complied with the request, but two or three of them had taken the precaution to inform the principal of the fact, and the bills had been cashed, the proceeds being placed to the credit of the students in whose favor they had been drawn. As long as the boys wrote home, the fathers and mothers seldom communicated with the principal. Most of the rogues had been informed in their letters from home that the money wanted had been remitted, and awaited their order in Paris. The runaways, therefore, would be in funds sufficient for their stolen excursion as soon as they could reach their destination. The only thing that disturbed them was the difficulty of obtaining enough in the beginning to pay their railroad fare to Paris.
While Little was instructing Greenway in the programme for the future, the crew of the third cutter were called away, and the conference was abruptly closed. The purport of the letter which the officer in charge of the boat bore to the principal, was, that Mr. Fluxion did not desire to leave the consort for his visit to Marseilles until the close of the week. Howe was perhaps nearer the truth than he really believed when he declared that Mr. Lowington would not dare to leave the runaways on board of either vessel in charge of any other person than the vice-principal. He had been strongly inclined to grant the petition of Shuffles in their favor; but when it was almost proved that the party were the cause of all the confusion which had occurred on board of the ship during the afternoon, that they were in a mutinous frame of mind, he was not willing to encourage their insubordination. He was much disturbed by the difficult problem thus thrust upon him. Dr. Carboy, the professor of natural philosophy and chemistry, who had spent several years in Germany, had volunteered to take charge of the runaways, and he seemed to be the only person who was available for this duty. He was no sailor, and only a fair disciplinarian, and Mr. Lowington had not entire confidence in his ability to manage thirty of the wildest boys in the squadron—discontented under the punishment to which they were subjected.
Though everything was orderly on board of the ship, there was a great deal of suppressed excitement, not to say indignation, for the crew did not like the idea of keeping watch and reefing topsails, instead of voyaging down the beautiful Rhine. The movement looked like a punishment, and many of the crew felt themselves to be entirely innocent of the blunders and failures made in handling the ship. They had done their best, and thought it was not fair to punish the innocent with the guilty. Doubtless it was not fair; but it was a question which related to the discipline of the crew, as a whole, and not a dozen of those who had made the mischief could be identified, even by the seamen who had worked in the rigging with them, much less by the officers.
The mischief-makers themselves did all they could to foment this spirit of discontent among those who were ordinarily well disposed. They assumed the responsibility of declaring that the trip into Germany had been indefinitely postponed. Probably, with the self-conceit incident to human nature, they really believed they were no worse than the best of the crew, and they desired to involve all their shipmates in the odium of the insubordination which had taken place.
"No Rhine, except pork rind," said Little, as he met Raymond in the waist, after the latter had expressed his dissatisfaction at the new order of things.
"Do you think so?" asked Raymond, who had read enough of the splendid scenery of the Rhine to make him very anxious to see it.
"A fellow that isn't blind can see—can't he?—if he opens his eyes," demanded Little. "What did the new captain do this afternoon, the very minute the crew were dismissed from their stations?"
"I don't know. What did he do?" inquired Raymond, curiously.
"Didn't he rush down into the main cabin? Didn't he have a long talk with Lowington? Then, wasn't the signal for sailing hoisted at once? I tell you this is all Shuffles's doings."
"Why should Shuffles want to go to sea any more than the rest of us?" asked Raymond.
"Why should he? Isn't he the captain of the ship now? Doesn't he want to try on his new authority, and see how it fits? Don't he want to punish the crew because they didn't drill well this afternoon? I believe you are a little deaf in one eye, Raymond, or else you can't hear in the other. It's all as plain as the figure-head on a French frigate," continued Little, with enthusiasm enough to convince any dissatisfied seaman.
"Perhaps it is as you say."
"I know it is."
"The drill was very bad. Every fellow knows that."
"What if it was? Whose fault was it?"
"I don't know whose fault it was; but everything went wrong, and I suppose the new captain is not satisfied with the state of discipline on board. I should not be, if I were he."
"Two of your little lambs are cooped up in their state-rooms now for disobedience of orders."
"Who are they?"
"Hunter and Hyde."
"Two of the best fellows in the ship—never got a black mark in their lives," said Raymond.
"O, well! The new captain will put you pious fellows through a course of sprouts that will open your eyes. Shuffles is a liar and a hypocrite. He has his reward, while an honest fellow, like me, will stick to his bunk in the steerage till the end of the cruise."
"I don't believe Shuffles is a liar, or a hypocrite. You don't like him because he broke up your cruise in the Josephine."
"That's not the reason. I am willing to obey the orders of all the officers, but I don't like to see the crowd punished for nothing," replied Little, leading the auditor back to the original topic.
Raymond was not yet a good subject for the mischief-maker to work upon, though, like a majority of the crew, he was dissatisfied with the change in the programme. Going to sea meant strict discipline; and after making up their minds to have a good time on shore, it was not pleasant to think of hard work and hard study for the next week or two.
"There comes the commodore's barge," continued Little, as he pointed to the boat, which was rapidly approaching the ship. "The Arbuckles are on board, with all their trunks. What do you think of that, Raymond?"
The mischief-maker looked triumphant. The pile of baggage in the boat seemed to furnish sufficient testimony to clinch the argument he had used.
"That looks like a long cruise, certainly. I suppose they are going with us," replied Raymond, with a sorrowful and disappointed look.
"To be sure they are. In my opinion we are going to sail for Belfast, to convey the Arbuckles home. You won't see any Rhine, except a pork rind, on this cruise. If the fellows have any spunk at all, they won't stand this thing."
"Stand it! What can they do?" asked Raymond, who really believed the crew to be unfairly treated.
"Don't you know what they can do? Who works the ship?"
"We do, of course."
"Who would work her if we did not?"
"Well, I suppose she would not be worked at all," replied Raymond, smiling.
"Then, if all the fellows respectfully refuse to man the capstan, or to unloose a sail, till they have their rights, who will get the ship under way?"
"We are not going to do anything of that sort," answered Raymond, rather indignantly. "It would be mutiny."
"You needn't call it by that name, if you don't wish to. Lowington promised the fellows a trip down the Rhine. Now, because the new captain could not handle the ship, we are to be sent off to sea. If the fellows had any grit at all in their bones, they would show Lowington that they are not slaves to him, or any other man."
"I think we won't talk any more about that," said Raymond, as he moved off, for the bold speech of the mischief-maker alarmed him, and caused him to realize that he was listening to one of the ringleaders of the runaways.
The commodore's barge came up to the gangway. The ladies were assisted up the steps, and the trunks hoisted on board and stowed away in the after cabin. The two state-rooms, which had been built for the use of the commodore and the past officers, were appropriated to their use.
If Raymond, and such as he, were not willing to listen to the mutinous counsels of the runaways, he was not the less dissatisfied and discontented. The arrival of the Arbuckles, with their baggage, indicated that the trip to the Rhine had been abandoned. Perhaps the well-disposed students could have submitted to this disappointment, if it had not been inflicted upon them as a punishment. It seemed to them that they were to suffer for a whim of Shuffles. The runaways had taken pains to disseminate this idea among the crew, as they had also succeeded in involving the whole of them in the mischief which induced the principal to go to sea that night.
All over the deck and throughout the steerage, the boys were grumbling and growling like regular old salts, whose prerogative it is to find fault. When Howe and Spencer returned in the barge, they readily perceived the state of feeling on board. Little told them what he had said and done, and convinced them that the whole crew were ripe for a strike. The entire ship's company were discussing their grievances, and even a large portion of the officers were dissatisfied. Very likely the sudden elevation of Shuffles had created a feeling of jealousy in the minds of a portion of them.
The mischief-makers were prompt in taking advantage of this state of feeling in the crew. They fanned the flame of discontent, and it was not difficult to convince their shipmates that they were very hardly used; that the new captain was imposing a heavy burden upon them. Some of the best disposed of them were in favor of waiting upon the principal, and representing their view of the case to him; but the more impetuous ones laughed at this plan. Shuffles was the principal's pet, and he would support his protege against everybody else on board. The students talked as boys talk, and acted as boys act. At that moment Shuffles was the most unpopular fellow on board, for it was understood that he had proposed and advocated the obnoxious measure. The ship's company were willing to believe that Mr. Lowington had yielded his assent to please the new captain, rather than because he deemed it necessary to go to sea himself.
By the time the first cutter returned, a large majority of the students had decided that something should be done. They could not agree upon the precise step to be taken. Some advocated a protest, others a respectful refusal to do duty; and a few went in for a square mutiny. The provisions were transferred from the cutter to the ship, and the boat was hoisted up before the perplexing question could be settled.
"After supper, let every fellow go to his mess-room. Don't answer the boatswain's call to weigh anchor," said Raymond, who had made considerable progress in rebellion since his conversation with Little.
"Ay, ay! That's the talk!" responded half a dozen of the group, who had been anxiously discussing the question.
"No, no!" added half a dozen others.
"Why not?" demanded Raymond of the opponents of the plan.
"Because the Arbuckles are on board, for one reason, and because it will be mutiny, for the second," said Tremere, who volunteered to be spokesman for the opposition. "Mr. Arbuckle has taken us through Switzerland, and paid all the bills, and has invited us to another excursion on the same terms. Now, when he comes on board with his family, to take a little sail with us, we refuse to do duty. It looks like contempt and ingratitude to him."
"It has nothing to do with him," replied Raymond, warmly. "Here is the whole matter in a nutshell. Mr. Arbuckle invited us to take a trip into Germany, and Mr. Lowington promised that we should go. Then, because we don't drill quite as well as the new captain wishes, he insists upon going to sea. The cruise down the Rhine is given up, and we are to carry the Arbuckles to Belfast."
"Who says we are going to Belfast?" demanded Tremere.
"All the fellows say so."
"That doesn't prove that we are going there. I go for obeying orders, wherever we go."
"No, no!" replied a dozen of the group.
"We don't intend to do anything wicked," said Raymond. "When the boatswain calls, we don't answer—that's all. Then the officers will want to know what the matter is, and we shall have a chance to explain our position. When we get fair play, we shall be all right, and return to duty."
The group separated, and while the ship's company were waiting for the supper call, those in favor of the strike used all their influence to carry their measure, while those who were opposed to it remained passive.
THE YOUNG AMERICA MUTINY.
It was impossible for the advocates of the mutiny to determine what success had attended their efforts, when the crew were piped to supper. Howe and Little were delighted to find the work in which they were interested progressing so finely. Nearly the whole crew were arrayed against the new captain, and in half an hour the grand explosion would take place. Not more than twenty of the students were expected to respond to the boatswain's call to get under way, and it would be impossible to go to sea. The seamen went below at the supper call, but most of them were too much excited to eat their usual allowance.
The officers, who were to take their supper at a later hour, were all on deck. Paul Kendall was seated by the side of Grace Arbuckle, enjoying a pleasant chat, while her father and mother were in conversation with the principal. Captain Shuffles was planking the deck, apparently engaged in deep thought. Possibly the events of the afternoon disturbed him, for he had already received a hint that the ship's company were much dissatisfied at the idea of going to sea. He could not see why they should be. If the crew did their duty, and everything worked well, the squadron would proceed immediately to Brest, and the cruise need not last more than two days. He knew the programme himself, but he forgot that it was the policy of the principal to keep the destination of the ship a secret, as a general rule, until she was out of sight of land. The Arbuckles had brought their baggage with them, because the party was to proceed to Brest, and would not return to Havre.
Popularity is certainly a very insecure possession; for, three weeks before, Shuffles had been the favorite of the whole ship's company. Now, he was the most unpopular person on board; partly, it is true, because he was misunderstood. Both officers and seamen regarded him as the cause of the present movement. Most of them believed, or at least feared, that the trip to the Rhine had been abandoned, and that the new captain was responsible for this change in the programme. They concluded that he preferred to exercise his new authority, to roaming on shore, where he was, practically, no more than any other student. It was true that Shuffles had suggested to the principal the idea of going to sea, as a measure for perfecting the discipline of the crew. Mr. Lowington had permitted the captain to fight his own battle with the crew, and he fully believed that a little sea service was necessary, after the disorder and insubordination which had prevailed in the ship during the drill. Some of those who complained the loudest had permitted their love of fun to get the better of their discretion, and had joined in the disorder which prevailed during the drill. Many well-disposed boys had assisted the conspirators against the peace of the ship by joining in what appeared to them to be but a mere frolic, while it was, in fact, an organized attempt to make mischief. They had encouraged the spirit of insubordination, without supposing they were engaged in anything more than a mere lark, involuntary on their part, and suggested only by the circumstances of the moment.
From the captain's stand-point, the confusion had a very grave aspect; while from that of the seamen, it was a matter of trivial consequence. The commander was mortified to find the discipline so weak; and he could have no confidence in himself or his crew until his orders were promptly obeyed. He was thinking only of the welfare of the ship and her crew. He had no intention of punishing the students, when he suggested the plan of going to sea,—only of perfecting the discipline. It seemed to him just as though three weeks on shore had demoralized the ship's company. Though he was now aware that the runaways had done what they could to make trouble, the confusion seemed to be too extensive to be accounted for by their agency. Two of the best boys on board had been sent to the mainmast for disobedience; and it was clear that the runaways had not produced all the trouble.
The commodore fully sustained him, and believed that it was best for the ship to go to sea. If the students had forgotten the ropes, or were so much embarrassed in their new stations, that they could not set a sail or get up the anchor without making a mess of it, the ship ought to go to sea. On the return of the excursionists from Germany, it might be necessary to put to sea without an hour's delay, as the principal had suggested. Shipwreck and disaster might follow if the crew were not in working order. It was a plain case to the captain.
Paul Kendall had explained the situation to the Arbuckles as mildly as he could. He had told them that the seamen were a little disorderly, and that it was necessary to have them in perfect discipline before they went to Germany. Without intending to do so, he had produced the impression on their minds, that the trip would be given up unless the boys performed their duty to the entire satisfaction of the principal. In talking with the officers, they had expressed their fear that the proposed excursion would not take place. Perhaps the guests were not far from right; for certainly the students would not be allowed to step on shore if the discipline of the ship was not satisfactory. Miss Grace was sadly disturbed at the thought of depriving the students of the pleasure of seeing the Rhine, its wonders and its beauties.
"Why, I thought your crew were in perfect discipline, Captain—no, I mean Commodore—Kendall," said she, as they sat upon the quarter-deck, discussing the great question of the hour.
"They are, generally," replied Paul. "But you know we are a little world by ourselves, and we have our troubles just like other people. It will be all right, I hope, in a day or two. The students get a little wild sometimes."
"Captain Shuffles is such a noble fellow, I should think they would all wish to do their best. I'm sure I should, if I were a sailor in your ship."
"Shuffles is a capital fellow," added Paul, who was certainly more pleased to praise the commander himself, than to have his fair companion do so.
"I shall never forget his noble conduct on that terrible night when the steamer was burned," said Grace, warmly.
"Probably none of us will ever forget it. But I am sorry to say that there is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the new captain, just now, even among the officers," added Paul.
"I'm very sorry."
"But it is not his fault; really it is not," continued Paul, fearing that he had said too much.
"I'm sure it is not," protested Grace. "I wonder if I have any influence with the officers."
"I think you have: indeed, I know you have with one of them," replied Paul; but he began to choke before he had uttered the last clause of the sentence.
"With one of them?"
"Yes, with all of them; but perhaps more with one than with others," stammered Paul, studying the seams in the quarter-decks.
"Who is he, pray?" asked Grace, rather timidly.
"With the commodore," answered he, desperately.
"Thank you, Commodore Kendall. Then we will both use our influence to have the captain set right with the officers and the crew."
"Well, it is not exactly the right thing for so dignified a personage as the commodore to persuade his inferiors that his views are correct. He issues orders, and others obey them," laughed Paul. "But really I cannot, in courtesy, meddle with the discipline of the ship."
"I'm going to meddle with it, if I can do anything to set Captain Shuffles right," said Grace, who was very confident that it was quite impossible for her noble preserver to do, or even think, anything wrong.
"The officers will do their duty, whatever they think," added Paul. "In due time they will be satisfied that the captain is right. I fully agree with him, and think that the ship ought to go to sea."
"Of course, I expect to find you on the right side, Commodore Kendall," said Grace.
"Certainly I'm always on your side," he replied, becoming astonishingly bold for him.
"Then we are both on Captain Shuffles's side. Who is the officer standing near us?"
It happened to be Master Perth; and Miss Arbuckle called him, intent upon finding some one who was not on the captain's side. Paul, however, did not think it was in accordance with the dignity of the commodore of the squadron to listen to any criticism of the captain's action, and he reluctantly left the pleasant seat he occupied by the side of the young lady. If there was any one on board who hated Shuffles, Perth was he.
"I wanted to get acquainted with you, Mr. Perth; for it seems to me I have not met you before," she began.
"Probably not, Miss Arbuckle, for I was not one of the party who went to Paris and Switzerland with you," replied the second master.
"Indeed!" exclaimed she, understanding, without further explanation, why he was not one of the party, and that he was one of the runaways, though she could not exactly comprehend how he happened to be an officer if he had been a rebel.
"I had the honor to command the Josephine during a portion of the time the ship's company were absent," laughed he, with anything but penitence for his past offences.
"I am very sorry you were not with the others."
"So am I, for one reason—it deprived me of the pleasure of seeing your pretty face for three or four weeks," said Perth, lightly.
"Perhaps I shall change my mind if I find your absence saved me from such annoyance as I feel at the present moment," replied Grace, blushing, and looking much displeased.
"I beg your pardon! I meant no offence," stammered Perth.
Grace smiled again; for she did not believe he would again venture to indulge in an impudent compliment.
"I am very sorry to learn from what you say that you were one of the runaways," she continued.
"I was one of them—I may say that I was the chief of them," replied Perth, without a blush.
"Of course you are very sorry for it, and very glad that Captain Shuffles brought you back."
"That's an open question," laughed Perth. "I don't think Shuffles made much by what he did. I don't believe any fellow makes anything by being a hypocrite, and selling out his friends."
"I don't think so, either. But you certainly cannot mean to say that Captain Shuffles is a hypocrite, or that he ever betrayed his friends?"
"I suppose I ought not to say anything to you about it, knowing that he is a strong friend of yours."
"Whatever you say, Mr. Perth, shall not be repeated. I have been told that some of the officers are opposed to the new captain; and I do not see how it can be true, when he is so noble and good."
"Noble and good!" ejaculated Perth.
"Certainly. You know what he did for me on the night the steamer was burned."
"There isn't a fellow on board that would not have given all he had for a chance to do the same thing for you," protested Perth.
"But all the students like him."
"I don't believe he has twenty friends in the ship."
"Then they do not know him as I do," replied Grace, indignantly.
"They know him better than you do. He's smart, and a good officer; but when you have said that, you have said all that can be said," continued Perth, bluntly.
"I am sorry to hear you say so," added Grace, really grieved, even while she was incredulous. "I am afraid you are prejudiced against him because he broke up your plan to run away with the Josephine."
"He didn't break it up. Our fellows disagreed among themselves; that's the reason why we had to come back," explained Perth, whose pride did not permit him to acknowledge that he had been beaten by the superior skill and energy of Shuffles. "Now, all the fellows are on the very verge of mutiny, because he insists upon taking the ship to sea, instead of going down the Rhine."
"I'm sure he is doing no more than his duty," persisted Grace, stoutly. "It appears that Mr. Lowington thinks he is right, or he would not send the ship to sea. I am really sorry to hear you speak so unkindly of your captain, for I must say that I cannot believe a word you say about him."
"Thank you," replied Perth, dryly.
"I think you are sincere in your belief," added she. "Paul Kendall says that the captain is right."
"Well, he is commodore, you know, and must believe everything the principal says," laughed Perth. "It is not quite proper for any of us to have opinions of our own, but you see some of us have them."
Perth was certainly good-natured, whatever else he was, and as Grace said no more, he touched his cap, and passed on. The devoted admirer of Shuffles's nobleness and goodness was greatly disconcerted by the blunt statements of the second master, who had declared that the ship's company were almost in a state of mutiny against the captain. She continued her inquiries among other officers; but, though some of them thought it was quite unnecessary to go to sea, they all spoke very handsomely of Shuffles. It was plain enough that Perth had injured himself more than the object of his calumny, by what he had said.
"Are you ready to go to sea, Miss Arbuckle?" asked the captain, as he came on deck, and touched his cap to her.
"I am quite ready; indeed, I am afraid I am more ready than many others on board of this ship," she replied. "I am sorry to hear that some of the officers and seamen are very much displeased at the idea of going to sea."
"So far as the seamen are concerned, it is their own fault, for they have not done their duty," added the captain.
"Not the fault of all of them, I hope."
"Not all, certainly; but if they don't know their stations, they must learn them. If you are all ready to go, I think we will be off," said Shuffles, as he glanced at his watch. "You will get the ship under way, if you please, Mr. Goodwin," he added, addressing the first lieutenant, who was standing near him.
"I really hope there will be no trouble, Captain Shuffles," continued Grace.
"There can be no trouble. All sailors grumble, you know, Miss Arbuckle, and our boys imitate their elders in this respect. They will growl for a while, but just as soon as they work the ship with skill and promptness, we shall put into Brest, and make our trip down the Rhine. I think we shall not be at sea beyond a couple of days."
"I hope not, for the sake of the crew."
"All hands, weigh anchor, ahoy!" shouted the boatswain, as his sharp pipe rang through the ship.
Less than thirty of the seamen answered to the call, and it was apparent that a very large majority of them had chosen to follow the evil counsels of the runaways, or the foolish counsels of other discontented spirits. It was the first time since the ship went into commission that any considerable number of the crew had failed to respond to the call. Shuffles was confounded, and the first lieutenant actually turned pale. It looked like such a mutiny as the Chain League had planned.
"Pipe again," said Shuffles, as quietly as he could.
Again the boatswain sounded the call, and repeated the order, but with no better success than before. Not another seaman appeared upon deck.
"What does this mean?" said the commodore to the captain.
"As near as I can interpret it, the greater part of the crew do not intend to obey orders," replied Shuffles.
"It certainly looks so."
"Mr. Goodwin, will you inquire of those who obeyed the order, whether their shipmates heard the call?" continued the captain, laboring very hard to appear cool and collected, as a commander ought to be in every emergency.
Paul Kendall's curiosity prompted him to follow the executive officer to the waist, where the seamen who had obeyed the call were waiting for orders. He was unwilling to believe the evidence of his senses, though he knew that there was considerable disaffection on board.
"Did the rest of the crew hear the boatswain's pipe?" asked Goodwin of the faithful few.
"Yes, sir," replied Tremere.
"Where are they now?"
"In the mess-rooms."
"Why don't they obey?"
"They say they don't want to go to sea: they say they haven't done anything to deserve punishment, and they object to being punished," replied the spokesman.