HOPE AND HAVE;
FANNY GRANT AMONG THE INDIANS.
A Story for Young People.
AUTHOR OF "RICH AND HUMBLE," "IN SCHOOL AND OUT," "WATCH AND WAIT," "WORK AND WIN," "THE RIVERDALE STORY BOOKS," "THE ARMY AND NAVY STORIES," "THE BOAT CLUB," "ALL ABOARD," "NOW OR NEVER," ETC.
"For we are saved by hope."—ST. PAUL.
BOSTON: LEE AND SHEPARD, (SUCCESSORS TO PHILLIPS, SAMPSON & CO.)
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by WILLIAM T. ADAMS, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
ELECTROTYPED AT THE BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY, 4 Spring Lane.
MY YOUNG FRIEND,
RACHEL E. BAKER,
IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.
THE WOODVILLE STORIES.
IN SIX VOLUMES.
A LIBRARY FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.
BY OLIVER OPTIC.
1. RICH AND HUMBLE. 2. IN SCHOOL AND OUT. 3. WATCH AND WAIT. 4. WORK AND WIN. 5. HOPE AND HAVE. 6. HASTE AND WASTE.
The fifth volume of the Woodville stories contains the experience of Fanny Grant, who from a very naughty girl became a very good one, by the influence of a pure and beautiful example, exhibited to the erring child in the hour of her greatest wandering from the path of rectitude. The story is not an illustration of the "pleasures of hope;" but an attempt to show the young reader that what we most desire, in moral and spiritual, as well as worldly things, we labor the hardest to obtain—a truism adopted by the heroine in the form of the principal title of the volume, Hope and Have.
The terrible Indian massacre which occurred in Minnesota, in 1862, is the foundation of the latter half of the story; and the incidents, so far as they have been used, were drawn from authentic sources. Fanny Grant's experience is tame compared with that of hundreds who suffered by this deplorable event; and her adventures, in company with Ethan French, are far less romantic than many which are sufficiently attested by the principal actors in them.
Once more, and with increased pleasure, the author tenders to his juvenile friends his thanks for their continued kindness to him and his books; and he hopes his present offering will both please and benefit them.
WILLIAM T. ADAMS.
HARRISON SQUARE, MASS., July 16, 1866.
CHAP. I. The Naughty Girl. 11
CHAP. II. Thou shalt not steal. 25
CHAP. III. Letting the Cat out. 39
CHAP. IV. Fanny the Skipper. 52
CHAP. V. Down the River. 66
CHAP. VI. Kate's Defection. 79
CHAP. VII. The Soldier's Family. 93
CHAP. VIII. The Sick Girl. 107
CHAP. IX. Hope and Have. 120
CHAP. X. Good out of Evil. 135
CHAP. XI. Penitence and Pardon. 148
CHAP. XII. The New Home. 162
CHAP. XIII. The Indian Massacre. 176
CHAP. XIV. The Indian Boy. 190
CHAP. XV. The Conference. 204
CHAP. XVI. The Young Exiles. 218
CHAP. XVII. The Night Attack. 231
CHAP. XVIII. The Visitor at the Island. 244
CHAP. XIX. The Indian Ambush. 257
CHAP. XX. Conclusion. 270
HOPE AND HAVE;
FANNY GRANT AMONG THE INDIANS.
THE NAUGHTY GIRL.
"Now you will be a good girl, Fanny Jane, while I am gone—won't you?" said Fanny Grant, who has several times before appeared in these stories, to Fanny Jane Grant, her namesake, who has not before been presented to our readers.
"O, yes, Miss Fanny; I will be ever so good; I won't even look wrong," replied Fanny Jane, whose snapping black eyes even then beamed with mischief.
"I am afraid you don't mean what you say," added Miss Fanny, suspiciously.
"Yes, I do; I mean every word of it, and more too."
"You make large promises; and I find when you promise most, you perform least."
"But, certain true as I live, I won't do a single thing this time," protested Fanny Jane. "Won't you believe me?"
"You have deceived me so often that I do not know when to trust you."
"I have turned over a new leaf, and I mean to be just as good as ever I can be."
"If you are not good, Fanny Jane, I shall feel very bad when I return. I have done a great deal for you, and I hope you will think of it if you are tempted to do wrong during my absence. This time, in particular, I wish you to behave very well, and not do any mischief. You know what father says about you?"
"He don't like me," pouted Fanny Jane.
"When you are good he likes you."
"He scolds me all the time."
"He never scolds you; he reproves you when you do wrong, and I am sorry to say that is very often indeed. He says, if you do not behave better, he shall send you back to your uncle at the west."
"I don't want to go there."
"But you must, if you do not do better. He would have sent you before if I had not interceded for you."
"If I hadn't begged him not to do so."
"I won't be sent back to my uncle's, any how," replied Fanny Jane, sharply; for the intimations of what might be, roused a spirit of resentment, rather than of penitence, in her mind.
"We will not talk about that now, Fanny Jane. We are going to Hudson to spend a week. The strongest objection to our visit was, that you would not behave well while we were gone."
"O, I will behave well!"
"We intend to trust you once more. If you disappoint me this time, I shall not be able to say another word in your favor; and I am quite sure father will send you off to Minnesota just as soon as we get back."
The carriage was waiting at the door; Bertha was already seated, and Fanny, having done all she could to insure the good behavior of the troublesome young miss who had become her peculiar charge, hastened to join her sister, and they were driven away towards the railroad station.
In the two tall and elegant ladies, seated in the Woodville family carriage, our readers would hardly recognize Bertha and Fanny Grant, for eight years have elapsed since they were introduced, as children, to our young friends. Bertha maintains her pure and beautiful character, and is still a blessing to the family, and to the neighborhood in which she resides. Fanny is taller and prettier than her sister; and, having put away her childish follies, she is quite a dignified personage.
Mighty events had transpired since they were children, and the country was entering upon the second year of the great civil war, which desolated the sunny South, and carried mourning to almost every household of the free North. Richard Grant had already distinguished himself as a captain in a popular New York regiment, of which the Rev. Ogden Newman, whilom Noddy, was the chaplain.
Mr. Grant had retired from active business, and had been succeeded by Mr. Sherwood, his clerk, who, having a high appreciation of the excellent character of Bertha, was about to enter into more intimate relations with his employer and predecessor in business. Bertha was to become Mrs. Sherwood in June, and, as Mr. Grant had reluctantly accepted a financial mission from the government, which compelled him to visit Europe, it had been arranged that the bridal tour should be a trip across the Atlantic, in which Fanny was to accompany them. If the general conduct of Miss Fanny Jane Grant had been sufficiently meritorious to warrant the extending of the privilege to her, doubtless she also would have been one of the party, for she had been for two years a member of the family.
Fanny Jane was a distant relative of the Grants of Woodville. Mr. Grant had two cousins, John and Edward, the latter of whom—the father of the wayward girl—had died three years previous to her introduction to the reader. At the time of his decease, he was in the employ of the wealthy broker, as a travelling agent. Just before his death, which occurred in a western city, while conscious that his end was near, he had written a letter to Mr. Grant, begging him to see that his only child was properly cared for when he could no longer watch over her.
Edward Grant's wife had been dead several years. At her decease Fanny Jane had been committed to the care of her father's brother, then residing in Illinois. Mr. Grant, impressed by the solemn duty intrusted to him by his deceased cousin, promptly wrote to the child's uncle, who was dependent upon his own exertions for his daily bread, offering any assistance which the orphan might need; but no demand was made upon him.
A year after the father's death, Mr. Grant's business affairs required him to visit the west, and he improved the opportunity to satisfy himself that the charge committed to him by the dying father was well cared for. On his arrival he was not pleased with the relations subsisting between Fanny Jane and her aunt. Mrs. Grant declared that the child was stubborn, wilful, and disobedient, needing frequent and severe punishment. On the other hand, Fanny said that her aunt abused her; worked her "almost to death;" did not give her good things to eat, and whipped her when she "did not do anything."
Mr. Grant was a prudent and judicious man. He conversed with each party alone, and, being then in doubt, he consulted the uncle. John Grant's testimony, in the main, confirmed that of his wife, though he was willing to confess that the aunt "might have been a little hard on the child." Mr. Grant was far from satisfied; he thought it more than probable that Fanny was wilful, but he could not endure to think of her being abused. The sacred duty imposed upon him could not be trifled with, and, as the only method by which he could meet the demands of his conscience, he decided to take the orphan to Woodville with him.
The uncle and the aunt, who had no children of their own, objected to this procedure, both because they did not wish to part with the child, and because her withdrawal from their care implied a condemnation of their former treatment of the orphan. Mr. Grant, however, succeeded in overcoming both of these objections, and they consented that Fanny should remain at Woodville for two years; Mrs. Grant assuring the benevolent broker that he would be glad to get rid of her in less than six months.
Fanny had behaved so well during the stay of Mr. Grant at her uncle's house, that he was completely deceived in regard to her real character. The presence of so important a person as the wealthy broker, who had been represented to her as a person hardly less dignified than the President of the United States, had overawed her, and put her on her best behavior. Her kind friend, therefore, was unable to realize that the orphan girl was half so bad as she was described to be by her aunt.
Edward Grant, while in the employ of the broker, had often visited Woodville, and being especially pleased with the person and the manners of Miss Fanny, had named his own daughter after her. On the arrival of the orphan at her new home, it was deemed fitting that Miss Fanny should have the especial care of her namesake, then only ten years of age. Fanny Jane, amid the novelties of the great house, and the beautiful grounds, was so much occupied for a few weeks that she behaved very well; but when she grew weary of horses and boats, house and grounds, she astonished her young mistress by conduct so outrageous that Miss Fanny wept in despair over the miserable failure she made in governing her charge.
Miss Bertha was called in to assist in taming the refractory subject; but it was soon found that Fanny Jane had none of the chivalrous reverence which had rendered the wild Noddy Newman tolerably tractable, and her failure was as complete and ignominious as that of her sister. Mr. Grant was finally appealed to; and the sternness and severity to which he was compelled to resort were, for a time, effectual. But even these measures began to be impotent, and the broker realized that the uncle and aunt had understood the case better than himself.
As a last resort, he threatened to send the wayward girl back to her uncle, who had now removed to Minnesota; for it would be better for such a child to put her down to hard work, and to keep her constantly under the eye of her guardians. This threat was more efficient than all the other means which had been used to keep the child within the bounds of common decency; but even this had grown stale upon her.
Miss Fanny, finding that her failure involved no disgrace, renewed her exertions to reform her pupil and charge. With the utmost diligence she instructed her in her moral and religious duties, and endeavored by love and gentleness to win her from the error of her ways. Sometimes she felt that there was much to encourage her, at other times she despaired of ever making any impression upon her pupil. Her father induced her to persevere, for he had hope. He remembered what Edward Grant, her father, had been when a child; that he was accounted the worst and most hopeless boy in the town where he resided; but in spite of this unpromising beginning, he had become a very worthy and respectable man. Such a change might in due time come over the daughter, and Mr. Grant frequently impressed upon Fanny the necessity of perseverance, and of remitting no effort to reach her pupil's moral and spiritual nature.
If Miss Fanny did not improve her pupil, she did improve herself, for the more of love and truth we impart to others, the more we have for ourselves; making the very pretty moral paradox, that the more of love and truth we subtract from our store, the more we have left in our own heart.
Fanny Jane was undoubtedly a very naughty girl. We do not mean to say that she was merely rude and unlady-like in her manners; that she was occasionally angry without a just cause; that she had a few bad habits, and a few venial faults: she was impudent to her benefactors; she was untruthful, and even dishonest. Not only to Fanny and Bertha, but also to Mr. Grant, she was openly defiant. She used bad language, told falsehoods by wholesale, and had several times been detected in stealing valuable articles from the house.
Yet with all her faults and failings, there were some good traits in Fanny Jane, though they seemed like the two grains of wheat in the bushel of chaff. What these redeeming features of her character were, we shall let our story disclose. One meeting the wayward girl on the lawn for a moment, or spending a few hours in the house with her, would have been deceived, as Mr. Grant had been, for her black eyes were full of animation; her manner was spirited, and her answers were quick and sharp. She was light and rather graceful in form; she did not appear to walk; she flashed about like a meteor. She was bold and daring in her flights, and as strong as most boys of her years. She would not run away from a rude boy; she laughed in the thunder storm, and did not fear to go through the glen at midnight.
Bertha and Fanny had gone up to Hudson to spend a few days with the family of Mr. Sherwood's father, previous to their departure for Europe. This visit had been talked about for a fortnight, and the wayward girl knew that it was to take place. Contrary to her usual custom, she made the fairest of promises to her kind mistress, who, from this very readiness, suspected her sincerity; and her fears were more than realized.
Fanny Jane stood at the open door gazing at the carriage until it disappeared beyond the hill. Her black eyes snapped under the stimulus of certain exciting thoughts which agitated her mind. When the carriage could no longer be seen, she slammed the front door, and bounded like a gazelle across the entry to the library of Mr. Grant, which she entered, closing the door behind her.
"O, yes! I'll be good!" laughed she; "I'm always good! Send me to my uncle's? I should like to see them do it! I won't go! There are not men and women enough at Woodville to make me go!"
Then she bounded to the windows in the library, one after another, and looked out at each. She closed the inner blinds of one, before which the gardener was at work on the lawn.
"I can do as Miss Berty did, if worse comes to worst," said she, throwing herself into a great armchair. "She went to live out, and had her own way, and I can do the same; but I won't be as poor as she was. Ha, ha, ha! I know their secrets," she continued, as she crawled under the desk, in the middle of the room, and pushing the middle drawer out, took from a nail behind it a key. "They needn't think to cheat me."
She sprang to her feet again with the key in her hand, laughing with delight at her own cunning.
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.
Fanny—as we shall call her when she is not in the company of her namesake—revelled in the possession of the key, and congratulated herself on her own shrewdness in obtaining it. She applied it to one of the drawers of the desk. Though her devoted young mistress had been faithful to the last degree in her efforts to instil good principles in the mind of her pupil, Fanny appeared to have no scruples of conscience. She did not hesitate, did not pause to consider the wickedness of her acts.
The drawer was unlocked and opened with an eager rather than a trembling hand. She seemed to fear nothing, and to be intent only on obtaining possession of some coveted treasure. As she pulled out the drawer, she was startled by a very unexpected incident. A great black cat, suddenly released from imprisonment, sprang out of the drawer, and, terrified by the appearance of the naughty girl, ran around the room several times, and then disappeared through an open window. The cat was a stranger to her; it was not a Woodville cat; and, though Fanny was not frightened, the presence of the animal in the drawer was suggestive.
"I am not so sharp as I thought I was," said she to herself, quite soberly. "The housekeeper must have seen me when I was looking for that key; but she needn't think I am afraid of a cat!"
Fanny sneered at the thought, and after glancing at the window through which the cat had made her escape, she turned to the drawer again, but it was empty; or it contained only a great card, such as those used in the Sunday school, on which was painted, in large black letters,
THOU SHALT NOT STEAL!
This card, which must have been placed there for her especial benefit by some member of the family, rendered it certain that her intentions were suspected, if not known.
"That's a gentle hint not to take anything from that drawer," said Fanny to herself. "There is nothing there, and of course I must take the hint; but they can't cheat me. There is money somewhere in this desk, and I must have it."
Perhaps, under ordinary circumstances, she would have been moved by the expedient which had been used to deter her from stealing. The commandment of God, staring her in the face at the very moment when she expected to place her hand upon the forbidden treasure, might have reached her conscience if she had not been engaged in a deeply-laid plan for revelling in stolen joys. As it was, she was only disappointed at not finding the money which the drawer had been supposed to contain.
"Fanny Jane!" called Mrs. Green, the housekeeper, from the entry.
It was not prudent to be seen in the library, and, hastily closing the drawer, and restoring the key to the nail under the desk, she stepped out at one of the long windows upon the piazza.
"Fanny Jane!" repeated the housekeeper.
"Here I am," said the guilty girl, entering the front door.
"It is time for you to get ready for school," added Mrs. Green.
"I'm not going to school to-day."
"Not going to school? Why not, miss?"
"Because I don't want to go."
"I think you are going," said the housekeeper, firmly.
"And I think I am not going!"
"Very well; then I will send for Mr. Long," added Mrs. Green, with a coolness and decision which were not without their effect upon the stubborn girl.
Mr. Long was a constable, and outside of his official duties, he was often employed in various miscellaneous offices by Mr. Grant. He lived in a small cottage adjoining the Woodville estate. This man was a great bugbear to Fanny, who had a very proper and wholesome regard for the strong arm of the law.
"I don't care for Mr. Long," said Fanny, shaking her shoulders in defiance; but this was only a vain boast.
Mrs. Green rang a bell for the man-servant who was employed in the house. This was more than the naughty girl could endure, for she knew that Mrs. Green would do all she promised.
"You needn't send for Mr. Long," interposed Fanny, doggedly. "I'll go to school."
"I thought you would; but you may do as you please."
"I'll go, but I want fifteen cents to buy a new copy-book."
As Mrs. Green knew that Fanny needed a new copy-book, she did not object to this request, and went into the library to procure the money. Instead of going up stairs to prepare herself for school, as the housekeeper had told her to do, Fanny went out upon the piazza again, and looking through the window, saw Mrs. Green open a closet in the library, and, from a drawer there, take out the money she had asked for. The housekeeper locked the drawer and the closet door, placing the key of the latter in a vase on the mantel-piece, and the key of the drawer under one of a row of volumes on a book shelf. All these precautions had been rendered necessary by the presence of the dishonest girl in the house.
Fanny, having carefully observed where the keys were placed, ran up stairs, and presently appeared, dressed for school. Mrs. Green gave her the money for which she had asked, and having satisfied herself that the refractory girl had actually departed for school, she went up stairs to attend to her usual duties. Fanny went as far as the road, and then, instead of turning to the left, she went to the right, and keeping in the shadow of the trees, reached the rear of the mansion. From this point she crept round to the piazza, from which she passed into the library.
"She can't cheat me!" said Fanny, again congratulating herself upon her own cunning. "She'll find, before night, that I'm too much for her."
The wicked girl then went to the vase, and taking from it the key, opened the closet. From the place where she had stood, she could not determine exactly under which book the key of the drawer had been placed; but after raising half a dozen of them, she found the object of her search. The drawer was opened, and on the top of several bundles of papers lay a pocket-book. Her eyes snapped with unwonted fire as she discovered the prize.
She opened it, and found a great roll of bills; in one of the pockets there was a mass of currency. There was no great staring placard, with "Thou shalt not steal" printed upon it, but the words seemed to be spoken from her own breast—seemed to be thundering in her soul. But Fanny was excited by the prospect of the stolen joys, in which she had been revelling in anticipation for a fortnight, and she heeded not the voice from her breast, and silenced the thunder-tones that rolled through her soul.
"Shall I take it all?" whispered she, as she gazed on the great pile of "greenbacks and currency." "I may as well be hung for an old sheep as a lamb," she added, as she gathered up the money, and thrust it into her pocket.
A noise in the entry startled her. She closed the drawer, locked it, and restored the key to the place where she had found it. The closet door was secured in like manner, and the key returned to the vase. Passing out of the library as she had entered, she made her way back to the road, and walked towards the school-house. Before she reached it, however, she turned down a lane leading to the river. It was a lonely avenue, completely shaded by trees, which concealed her from the view of the people in the adjoining houses. Increasing her pace to a bounding run, she soon reached the Hudson.
Seated on a stone, near the river, was a girl of fourteen, who had evidently been waiting for Fanny. In her hand she held a couple of books, which indicated that she also had been sent to school.
"Where have you been? Why didn't you come before?" asked the girl, as she rose at Fanny's approach.
"I couldn't come before," replied Fanny.
"Why not?" demanded the other, whose name was Kate Magner.
"No matter why not," answered Fanny, rather testily, for she was not yet quite willing to confess what she had done in the library of the mansion-house.
"Haven't the folks gone away?"
"Yes; they all went off in the morning train. Where is Tom?"
"I don't know."
"But we want him; we can't get along without him."
"He said he would come."
"But he is late."
"So are you."
"I couldn't help it."
"I suppose he can't, either. But what are we going to do, Fan?" asked Kate, who did not seem to be satisfied with the present prospect of the enterprise, whatever it was.
"We are going to have a good time."
"You said that before; but I want to know what we are going to do. You asked me to meet you here at half past eight. You come at nine, and I don't see that anything is to be done. I shall catch it for playing truant from school, and all for nothing."
"You shall have the best time you have had in your life."
"I don't know about that. Why don't you tell me what you mean to do?"
"I am almost afraid to tell you, Kate."
"Afraid of what?"
"I'm afraid you won't dare to go with me."
"Did you ever do anything I was afraid to do?" said Kate, with a sneer.
"But this is a greater thing than we ever did before. We may be gone a long time, and we are certain to be found out."
"What do you mean?" demanded Kate, apparently appalled by this frank statement of the difficulties of the enterprise.
"I thought it would scare you," laughed Fanny.
"But it don't scare me."
"Yes, it does."
"I will do anything that you dare to do," replied Kate, stung by the flings of her companion.
"You shall have the greatest time that ever was, but you must take the consequences after it is all over."
"If you can, I can."
"Come with me, then," continued Fanny, as she moved along the bank of the river towards the Woodville landing pier.
"I won't go a step till I know what you are going to do."
"I'm afraid you will back out."
"No, I won't; I solemnly promise you that I will go with you anywhere you please."
"I have got some money," added Fanny, in a very mysterious manner.
"Pooh! that ain't much!" sneered Kate.
"Well, I've got five dollars."
"Where did you get it?"
"I found it."
"On the floor."
Kate probably had her doubts in regard to the finding of the money, but she did not ask any troublesome questions, and repressed whatever of righteous indignation might have risen in her soul.
"What are you going to do with it?" she asked.
"We will have a good time with it."
"But where are you going?"
Fanny glanced at her companion, and hesitated to reveal the brilliant project, fearful that it might be disapproved.
"We will go over to Whitestone, or down to Pennville, and buy something. But where is Tom? We must have him."
"What do you want of him?" asked Kate, rather petulantly.
"We must go over in a boat, and we want him to manage it for us."
"Perhaps he will come; he promised to do so."
"We will go up to the landing-place; perhaps he is up there."
The two girls walked up to the Woodville pier; but Tom Magner was not there. He seemed to have no relish for the society of the interesting young ladies engaged in a brilliant enterprise; and if he had made any appointment to meet them, he neglected to keep it. Fanny was very much disappointed at his non-appearance, much more so than the young gentleman's sister, who, not knowing the extent of the enterprise, was in blissful ignorance of its perils and difficulties. Tom Magner was an almost indispensable part of the plan; but the young knight did not come, and the project must be abandoned or carried out without him.
"I am afraid he won't come," said Fanny, after impatiently waiting for half an hour.
"I know he won't now. I don't believe he intended to come at all," replied Kate.
"He is a mean fellow, then."
"We can get along without him. We shall have more money to spend ourselves."
"But how shall we get over to Whitestone?"
"We can go up the river and take the ferry."
"Yes; and the first person we meet may be your father, or some of the Woodville folks. No, Kate, we must not be seen; if we are, all our fun will be spoiled."
"For my part I don't want Tom, or any other boy with us. I think boys are hateful!"
"So do I; but I only want him to manage the boat. Don't you think you could go up and find Tom?"
"I don't think I could," said Kate, indignantly.
"Where is he?"
"At school, I suppose."
"Couldn't you tell the teacher that your father wants him?" suggested Fanny.
"No, I could not! I should be caught myself. I believe you want to get me into trouble."
"I'm sure I don't, Kate, for that would get me into trouble. What shall we do?"
"We will go up to the ferry. We can see who is in the boat before we go on board."
"I won't do that if we don't go at all."
And so the brilliant scheme seemed to be defeated for the want of a boatman; but Fanny was too bold and enterprising in mischief to give up without a struggle.
LETTING THE CAT OUT.
"Pooh! I shall not give it up so!" exclaimed Fanny, when it was certain that Tom Magner did not intend to join the party.
"What will you do?" asked Kate.
"Go to Pennville, of course."
"How will you get there?"
"In the boat; we will take the Greyhound."
"You know we can't do anything of the kind, Fanny Grant."
"I know we can," replied the resolute girl.
"But who will manage her?"
"I will manage her myself."
"Yes; I know how to manage a boat as well as any of them. I have sailed enough to understand the whole thing," added Fanny, as she led the way to the pier, off which the sail-boat was moored.
"Do you think I will risk my life in a boat with no one but you to manage it?"
"But I know how to handle the boat as well as any one," persisted Fanny. "There isn't much wind, and I'm sure there is no danger."
Kate Magner had a great many doubts, but the vision of cakes and candy, lemonade and ice-cream, which her companion's money would purchase, tempted her to yield. The breeze was apparently very light, and it seemed hardly possible that the boat could be upset. She wavered, and Fanny saw the advantage she had gained.
"If we don't get along very well, we can hire some boy or man to manage the boat for us," continued the resolute girl, pressing the point upon her yielding companion. "There are some men and boys fishing over there, and they will be very glad to make some money."
"That will be the best way. If you will get one of those men to manage the boat, I will go with you; for there isn't any fun in being drowned, or in being run over by a steamboat."
"Very well, I will do that," replied Fanny, her black eyes snapping with renewed vigor.
Ben, the boatman, who usually haunted the pier and the boat-house like a familiar spirit, had added many infirmities to his burden of cares during the eight years which have intervened since we first knew him, and he was now confined to his house by an attack of rheumatism. There was no one near, therefore, to interfere with the execution of Fanny's plan. The Greyhound was moored a short distance from the pier, at which the small skiff, which served as her tender, was fastened. The two girls were about to embark in the little boat, when footsteps were heard at the upper end of the pier.
Fanny started, released her hold of the painter of the skiff, and at once realized that her brilliant project was in imminent danger of being defeated. She turned to observe who the intruder was, and to her horror and consternation, discovered that it was Mr. Long, the constable, the greatest bugbear in the world to her on ordinary occasions, and especially so in the present instance, when her conscience accused her of a very wicked deed.
There was no opportunity to retreat, for the enemy was between her and the main land. She had been so intent upon the argument with her more cautious companion, that she had not noticed the approach of the constable until his feet struck upon the planking of the pier. The money she had stolen was in her pocket, and it felt just like a coal of fire, which was soon to create a conflagration that might burn her up. She very much desired, just then, to get rid of this evidence of her crime, and she would have dropped the roll of bills into the water if it would have sunk to the bottom, and disappeared from the sight of the terrible man who was approaching.
Fanny did not doubt that the loss of the money had been discovered by Mrs. Green, and that she had sent for the constable to arrest her and put her in prison—a threat which the housekeeper had injudiciously made on a former occasion, when the naughty girl had been guilty of a similar fault, but a threat which Mr. Grant would not have permitted to be carried out. This terrible punishment appalled Fanny, but she did not entirely lose her self-possession. She had done a very great wrong; she had staked everything upon the success of the present venture. She was entirely satisfied that Mr. Grant, on his return, would send her to her uncle in Minnesota, and she had prepared herself for the worst. Her object, therefore, was to escape present defeat, and she hoped, cornered as she was by the constable, that some means of getting out of the dilemma might be presented to her.
"We are caught," said Kate, as Mr. Long moved down the pier.
"Not yet," replied Fanny, with more confidence than she actually felt.
The consciousness of being the leader in the enterprise led her to put on a bold face in order to inspire her friend with confidence, if for no other purpose.
"What shall we do?" demanded Kate, nervously.
"Keep still; don't you say a word."
"What are you doing here, Fanny, at this time of day?" asked Mr. Long, as he approached the girls.
"I'm not doing anything," replied Fanny, boldly.
"Why are you not at school?"
"The teacher sent us down to get some green branches to put over the clock. We are going to have some visitors in school this afternoon," replied Fanny, promptly.
"Did she send the other girl, too?"
"Yes; she sent both of us."
"I want to see you, Fanny; come with me," continued the terrible constable, beckoning her to follow him up the pier.
"What do you want of me?"
"I wish to speak with you a moment."
"I can't stop long, for we must hurry back with the boughs," added Fanny, who had no relish for a confidential conversation with such a man, for she at once surmised its topic.
"Are you looking for green boughs out on the end of that pier?" said he.
"We only went out there for a moment," pleaded Fanny, as she followed Mr. Long, but it was with the intention of darting away from him at a favorable moment.
But the constable stopped before he reached the head of the pier, which effectually prevented her retreat unless she jumped into the water.
"What do you want of me, Mr. Long?" she asked, with increasing boldness.
"Fanny, you have been very bad again," began the tormentor.
"No, I haven't."
"Yes, you have; and you needn't attempt to deny it."
"What have I done?"
"You know what you have done."
"I haven't done anything," protested she, speaking for the sake of speaking, rather than because she had any confidence in the impression her words would produce upon the mind of her tormentor, and all the while thinking how she could break away from the constable.
"'Thou shalt not steal,'" said Mr. Long, impressively.
"What do you mean by that?" demanded Fanny. "Do you mean to say that I steal? If you do, you are very much mistaken."
"Fanny, if you didn't steal anything, it was only because you did not find anything to steal."
What could he mean by that? She was perplexed, but she began to hope that he did not know what she had done.
"I do not want to steal," said she; and now she spoke for the purpose of drawing out her accuser, to ascertain how much he did know.
"You have been guilty of stealing several times," continued the constable, assuming a very stern and virtuous aspect.
"I never meant to steal anything."
"But you meant to steal this time: the cat is out of the bag."
The constable's stern features relaxed a little, and there was something like a smile playing upon his face, as if in faint appreciation of a joke.
"The cat is out of the drawer, if that is what you mean," said Fanny, laughing, and now greatly encouraged by the new aspect of the case.
"That is what I mean."
"But I didn't let the cat out," protested Fanny.
"Fanny, you are lying to me, and you know you are," added Mr. Long, sternly.
"I hope to die if it isn't just as I say!" persisted the wicked girl, earnestly. "Mrs. Green let the cat out of the drawer, and I had a good laugh over it."
Fanny began to laugh very heartily. The constable was staggered, and it was evident that he was not smart enough to deal with one so shrewd and clever as the wayward girl.
"What are you laughing at?" asked Mr. Long.
"I was laughing to think of the poor cat as she jumped out of the drawer and ran away. What did you put her in there for? Were you afraid she would steal the meat or the milk? Could that cat read, Mr. Long? Were you trying to teach her one of the ten commandments?"
"Do you mean to tell me, Fanny, that Mrs. Green let the cat out of the drawer?"
"Yes, she did. Poor pussy mewed awfully in the drawer, where you put her. Perhaps she was saying over the commandment you gave her to learn; but Mrs. Green didn't understand her lingo, and let her out."
"Fanny, I am going up to see Mrs. Green, and if you have told me a lie, it will be all the worse for you," said Mr. Long.
"You can ask Mrs. Green herself."
"I will ask her. You meant to steal: you were seen watching Mr. Grant when he had the key of the drawer."
"And you set a trap to catch me; but you caught Mrs. Green!" laughed Fanny.
"I don't believe a word of your story; but I am willing to be sure before I do anything."
"What are you going to do?"
"I shall take care of you; you will know what I mean when I have proved the case."
"You ought to have told Mrs. Green where you put the cat, for the poor creature would have starved to death before I let her out."
"We shall see. Mr. Grant told me to take care of you if you did not behave yourself while the family were away. I will go up and ask Mrs. Green about this matter, and if I find you have not told me the truth,—and I don't believe you have,—I shall take care of you."
"When shall I see you again?" asked Fanny, with the most brazen impudence.
"You will see me sooner than you will want to see me, if you have been doing wrong."
"But I shall not be here when you come back. We are going right up to school now."
"I can find you, wherever you are," replied the constable, confidently, as he walked away towards the mansion.
Fanny was entirely relieved of all her fears; she was even jubilant over her success in cheating her persecutor. Her conscience did not trouble her now. She readily comprehended the details of the plan by which she was to be detected, if she attempted to steal from the library. Of course, the constable would soon find out that she had not told the truth, and that Mrs. Green knew nothing about the cat in the drawer.
After the announcement that the family were to be absent a week, had been made, it was observed that Fanny was in unusually good spirits. Miss Fanny had detected her in the act of looking through one of the library windows, while her father was paying a bill in the room. Mr. Grant, wealthy as he was, had always been very methodical in his business affairs. He kept a sum of money in a drawer for household expenses, to which Mrs. Green and his daughters had access. When anything was paid out by any member of the family, the amount was put down on a paper in the drawer. After the advent of Fanny Jane, and after she had been detected in some small pilfering, the key of this drawer was concealed as we have described.
Miss Fanny at once suspected the motive of her wayward charge, and told her father of the fact, on the day before the departure of the family for Hudson. Mr. Grant, more desirous of reforming the wicked girl than of anything else, consulted Mr. Long. Mrs. Green was told where she might find money for the payment of the household bills, and admonished to be very careful in concealing the keys; but nothing was said to her about the cat and the commandment. If Fanny did attempt to steal, the case was to be managed by the constable, who had been instructed to take her to his own house, and keep her in close subjection until the return of the family.
The cat belonged to Mr. Long, who was confident that the animal, when released by the act of the thief, would run home, when her presence would inform him of the culprit's deed. The cat—true to her domestic instinct—had run home; but the constable had not immediately seen her. As soon as he discovered the tell-tale pussy, he hastened over to Woodville, expecting to find Fanny penitently studying the commandment, which was the moral of Mr. Grant's stratagem; but before he reached the house he saw two girls on the pier, and recognized Fanny as one of them.
Willing to be entirely fair, and deeming it possible that Mr. Grant's plan had failed, he went up to the house to consult Mrs. Green, while Fanny rushed down the pier to join her companion in mischief.
FANNY THE SKIPPER.
"What did he want of you, Fan?" asked Kate Magner, with a curiosity not unmixed with anxiety, as her leader in mischief joined her at the foot of the pier.
"O, never mind that," exclaimed Fanny, in reply. "We have no time to talk about it now."
"But what did he say?" demanded Kate, who thought her present action ought to be governed in some measure by the words of the constable.
"He didn't say much; it is all right now. Come, jump into the boat. We haven't a moment to lose."
"I want to know what he said before I get any deeper into the mud," persisted Kate; but we are compelled to acknowledge that her scruples were mere worldly prudence, and were not called forth by the upbraidings of an awakened conscience.
"You can't back out now, Kate. I made it all right with Mr. Long," replied Fanny, with energy, as she drew the skiff up to the steps, ready for her more timid companion to embark. "Now, get in, and don't waste another instant in talking about nothing."
"You are keeping everything to yourself. If you don't tell me what Mr. Long wanted of you, I won't get into the boat. Was it about the money you found?" asked Kate.
"No; he didn't say a word about that. He only asked me why I was not at school."
"What did you tell him?"
"I told him the teacher sent us down to get some green branches to put over the clock, for we were to have visitors at school this afternoon."
"Did he believe you?"
Kate laughed; she appreciated what she regarded as the joke of a clever deception; the wickedness of the act did not disturb her.
"Of course he believed me—why shouldn't he? He has gone up to ask Mrs. Green if I went to school."
"But he will find out all about it."
"No, he won't; besides, if he does, we shall be a mile off when he gets back here again."
"Didn't he say a word about the money you found?"
"Not a word, Kate. Now, jump in, or we shall certainly get caught. We shall have time enough to talk about these things when we get away from the pier."
Kate was satisfied, and stepped into the skiff. All her fears related to the money in the possession of her friend, which, she was almost certain, had been stolen. She was moralist enough to understand that even if the money had been found on the floor, as Fanny represented, it was just as much stolen as though it had been taken from Mr. Grant's pocket-book. Kate had not engaged in this theft, and she was not willing to bear any of the blame on account of it. If the crime had already been discovered, she did not wish to expose herself to the peril of helping to spend the money. According to Fanny's statement, nothing had been found out, and she got into the skiff.
Fanny had been among the boats a great deal during her residence at Woodville, and rowing and sailing were suited to her masculine taste. She was a girl of quick parts; her faculty of imitation was highly developed, and generally what she had seen done she could do herself. She could row cross-handed very well, and she had no difficulty in pulling the skiff out to the Greyhound's moorings. Kate stepped on board of the sail-boat, and Fanny, fastening the painter of the skiff at the stern, began to bustle around with as much confidence as though she had been a skipper ever since she left her cradle.
She had often sailed in the Greyhound with Ben and others, and she knew precisely what was to be done in order to get the boat under way. She understood how to move the tiller in order to make the craft go in a given direction, and had an indistinct idea of beating and tacking; but she was very far from being competent to manage a sailboat.
The stops were removed from the sails, under the direction of the adventurous Fanny, and the foresail hoisted. It was a more difficult matter to cast off the moorings, but their united strength accomplished the feat, and the Greyhound, released from the bonds which held her, immediately drifted to the shore, for her unskilful skipper had not trimmed the foresail so that it would draw.
"I thought you knew how to manage a boat," said Kate, contemptuously.
"So I do," replied Fanny, as she gathered up the fore-sheet, and trimmed the sail.
"What are you doing in here, then?"
"I only came in here to get a fair start," added the skipper, not at all disconcerted by the mishap.
"Folks don't generally run the boat ashore before they start," sneered Kate, who certainly had no confidence in the seamanship of the feminine skipper.
"That's the way they do it!" exclaimed Fanny, triumphantly, as the sail began to draw, and the boat moved off from the shore. "Now, we are all right. That's just the way I meant to make her go."
The wind came from the Woodville side of the river, but it was very light, and the Greyhound moved but slowly. Fanny was entirely satisfied with herself now, and was confident that she could manage any boat that ever floated. It was a very easy thing, she thought, and she did not see why folks made such a "fuss" about sailing a boat; anybody could do it, if they only thought they could. But the Greyhound did not move fast enough for her impatient temperament, and, against the remonstrances of her more prudent companion, she insisted upon setting the mainsail.
"Mr. Long may be after us soon, and we must get along as fast as we can," said she, as she took the throat halliard, and gave the peak to Kate. "Now, hoist away. We are as good sailors as any one need be."
The mainsail was set, and the Greyhound began to travel through the water pretty rapidly, much to the delight of Fanny. She had been deceived in regard to the force of the wind; under the lee of the shore, where it was obstructed by the bank, by the trees, and by the buildings, the breeze was very light: out in the middle of the river the wind was quite strong; but the boat had not yet begun to feel its full force.
"Now she goes beautifully!" exclaimed Fanny, as she observed the effect by the added sail.
"She goes very well; but don't you see how rough the water is out in the middle of the river?" replied Kate, rather anxiously, though she was not willing to acknowledge the full extent of her fears.
"But why don't you go down the river more, and keep out of that rough place?"
"I like the waves! It's splendid to hear them beating against the boat."
"It may be when you have a man in the boat with you," answered Kate, sceptically.
"What are you afraid of?"
"I'm not afraid; but I think folks ought to be very careful when they don't know anything about boats."
"But I know all about boats. Don't you see how beautifully she goes? I wish she would go a little faster."
"She goes fast enough," said Kate, as she listened to the ripple of the waves against the bow.
"She might go a little faster; besides, we are in a hurry."
"We are going fast enough, Fan."
"The faster the better! I suppose, when Mr. Long goes over to the school and finds we are not there, he will come down to the pier after us. We want to be out of sight when he gets there."
"Why should he come after us? I thought you said it was all right," demanded Kate, nervously.
"He will go over to the school to find out whether the teacher sent us after the boughs."
"I wish I had not come," continued Kate, gloomily.
If she had known the whole truth, and understood the full extent of her bold companion's plans, she would have been still more dissatisfied with the situation.
"Here, Kate, you take the tiller a moment," said Fanny, as she rose from her seat in the stern-sheets.
"What are you going to do now?" asked Kate, nervously.
"I'm going to hoist the other sail."
"We don't want it hoisted. We are going fast enough."
"We can just as well go faster; and I want to get out of sight before Mr. Long sees us," replied Fanny, persuasively, though her bright eyes snapped with increasing lustre under the excitement of the moment.
"I won't touch the tiller; I say we go fast enough. You want to drown me—don't you?"
"If I drown you, I must drown myself—mustn't I?"
"I won't touch the tiller; I don't want the other sail hoisted," persisted Kate.
"What are you afraid of? I didn't think you were a coward. If I had, I shouldn't have asked you to come with me."
"I'm not a coward, any more than you are. I don't see what you want to hoist the other sail for; we are going like fury through the water now."
"We need more head sail," answered Fanny, using an expression she had borrowed from the nautical speeches of Ben, the boatman.
"No, we don't need more head sail," replied Kate, who, however, had not the most remote idea of the meaning of her friend's language.
"Take the tiller, Kate, and don't bother me."
"I will not."
"Then I will hoist the sail, and let the boat take care of herself while I do it. If she is upset, it will be your fault,—not mine."
Fanny was resolute; she had a will, as well as a way, of her own. She did not want any advice, and she was not willing to take any. She looked upon her companion as a weak-minded, poor-spirited girl, and she treated her opinions and her wishes with the utmost contempt, now that she had her completely in her power. It was useless for Kate to attempt to oppose her.
"I don't know anything about the tiller, as you call it. I don't even know what it is, and I'm sure I couldn't tell what to do with it," continued Kate.
"That's a good girl!" replied Fanny, in patronizing tones, when she saw that her companion was disposed to yield.
"I don't want to touch it."
"But you must."
"Must! Who says I must?"
"I say so; if you don't, we may be upset."
"I have gone far enough, Fan Grant; I don't want to go any farther: I want to go on shore again!" exclaimed Kate, now completely disgusted with the venture, for in addition to the perils of wrong doing, she found she must submit to the impudence and the arrogance of her friend.
"Well, why don't you go on shore?" replied Fanny, with the utmost coolness and self-possession.
"You know I can't. Turn the boat round, and let me go back to the land."
"I think not."
"I have had enough of this thing."
"Will you take the tiller, or will you let the boat upset?" added Fanny, with firmness and decision. "You can't go on shore again till I get ready to let you. I command this vessel, and if you ever want to put your foot on the dry land again, you must mind what I say."
"Please to let me go back," pleaded Kate.
"I won't please to do anything of the kind. Take the tiller, I say."
"What shall I do with it?" asked the poor girl, cowed down and subdued by the force and decision of her companion.
"Sit here," replied Fanny, pointing to the corner of the stern-sheets, where the helmsman usually sits. "This is the tiller," she added, indicating the serpent-shaped stick attached to the rudder, by which the boat is steered. "Keep it just as it is, until I tell you to move it."
"I don't know how to move it."
"When I say right, move it this way;" and Fanny pointed to the starboard side. "When I say left, move it the other way."
Fanny watched her a moment to see that her instructions were obeyed.
"We don't want this any longer," said she, unfastening the painter of the skiff and throwing it into the water, thus permitting the boat to go adrift.
"What did you do that for?" demanded Kate, as the Greyhound dashed on, leaving the skiff behind to be borne down the river by the tide.
"We don't want the skiff, and dragging it behind keeps us back some."
"What did you bring it for, then?"
"To keep Mr. Long from chasing us in it. All the rest of the boats are hauled up, and he will have to find one before he can come after us."
Fanny went forward, and having fearlessly removed the stops from the jib, which required her to crawl out a little way on the bowsprit, she hoisted the sail, and carried the sheet aft to the standing-room, as she had often seen the boatmen do. The effect of this additional canvas was immediately seen, for the Greyhound had now reached the middle of the river, where she felt the full force of the wind, which was fresh from the north-west, and came in puffs and flaws.
When the Greyhound went out from the shore, her sails were over on the right hand side; that is, she took the wind abaft the port beam. The boat was now careened over nearly to her rail, and was darting through the water like a rocket. Kate trembled, but Fanny was delighted.
"Now we will go down the river," said Fanny, as she took the tiller.
Suiting the action to the word, she put the helm up just as a flaw of wind came sweeping over the waves. The boat came round; the three sails, caught by the flaw, suddenly flew over, filled on the other side, and the Greyhound careened till she was half full of water.
DOWN THE RIVER.
Putting a boat about, as Fanny had turned the Greyhound, is nautically termed gybing her. It is a dangerous manoeuvre when the wind is fresh, and should never be attempted by young or inexperienced boatmen. By putting the boat about in the opposite direction, hauling in the sheet as the sail flutters, the danger may be wholly avoided. The boat's head should always be turned in the direction from which the wind comes. But a person who does not understand the management of a boat should no more attempt to handle one than an unskilful person should attempt to run a steam engine.
Fanny Grant knew but little about a boat, and it was fortunate for her and her companion in mischief that the wind was not strong enough to carry the Greyhound wholly over. If she had careened only a little more, she would have filled with water and sunk, for she was heavily ballasted. As it was, she was half full of water, and the situation of the young ladies, if not perilous, was very uncomfortable.
"O, Fanny!" screamed Kate, in mortal terror, as the Greyhound heeled over, and the water rushed in over the washboard.
"Don't be scared," replied Fanny, with wonderful self-possession. "It's all right, and there is no harm done."
"We shall be drowned!" gasped Kate.
"No, we shall not be drowned. Don't you see the boat stands up like a major? Don't be frightened. I understand it all."
"No; you don't know anything about it. The boat is almost full of water, and we shall sink to the bottom."
"I tell you she is doing very well. Pooh! that wasn't anything! She often takes in the water like that."
"What shall we do?" moaned Kate.
This was a question which appealed even to Fanny's prudence. Without answering in words, she let go the halliards, and hauled down the foresail. After the boat came about, she had not righted the helm, and the Greyhound had been thrown up into the wind as she heeled over and took in the flood of water. She now lay with her sails flapping, and Fanny cast off the main-sheet, rather to stop the fluttering than to avoid further peril. Fortunately, this was the proper course to pursue.
"What shall we do?" repeated Kate, expecting every moment that the treacherous sails would carry them over again, and that they would soon find their way to the bottom of the river.
"Bale out the water," replied Fanny, taking a pail and a dipper from the cuddy forward. "Now go to work, and we shall soon be ready to sail again."
"I don't want to sail any more," whined Kate.
"Dip away as fast as ever you can. Don't stop to talk about it now."
Fanny took the pail herself, and gave the dipper to Kate, and both of them went to work with a zeal which promised soon to free the Greyhound from the burden under which she was laboring. There was a large quantity of water in the boat, and the process of dipping it out was very slow. Fanny was afraid that this accident would throw her into the power of her great enemy, the constable; and this was the only fear which troubled her. The perils of the mighty river had no terrors to her while she had a plank under her feet.
Kate was utterly disconsolate and hopeless, and Fanny was obliged to use all her ingenuity to keep her in working condition. To show her confidence, she sang like a nightingale, as she dipped out the water; and Fanny was an excellent singer. She labored hard to prove to her desponding companion that there was no danger, and at last she succeeded in restoring Kate to a tolerable degree of self-possession.
When about half the water had been dipped out, Fanny trimmed the sails, and headed the boat down the river, to the utter consternation of her timid associate, who was heartily sick of the adventure, and longed to put her feet on the dry land again.
"Now, Kate, you take the pail, and I will use the dipper; I can work and steer the boat at the same time," said Fanny, when the Greyhound was under headway again.
"The boat is going down the river, Fanny!" exclaimed Kate, as she took the pail.
"Of course she is," replied the bold skipper. "Where did you expect her to go?"
"But you are not going any farther—are you?"
"To be sure I am. Do you think I am going to back out now?"
"We shall certainly be drowned!"
"I don't want to go any farther," moaned Kate, who felt like one going to execution.
"I can't help it if you don't. I'm going down to Pennville," answered Fanny, still dipping up the water from the bottom of the boat.
"I won't bale out any more then," ejaculated Kate, as she dropped the pail, and looked as though she actually meant what she said.
"Very well; then I won't," added Fanny, throwing down the dipper.
"If you will go back, I will bale out the water as hard as ever I can."
"But I will not go back," replied Fanny, firmly. "Do you think I am going home to be shut up for a week, or sent back to my uncle, without having any fun at all? If you won't bale, I won't. I guess I can stand it as long as you can."
"Do go back, Fanny," begged Kate.
"I tell you I will not. You don't know what I am going to do yet."
"I can't stop to talk about it now. If you don't take the pail and bale out the boat, I will hoist the other sail."
"If you will keep still, and mind what I say, I won't hoist the sail. We go along with only these two sails just as easy as anything can be, and there isn't a bit of danger."
Kate, to avoid the greater evil, submitted to the less; and, as the Greyhound, now going very steadily under her jib and mainsail, continued on her course, she was soon freed from the water within her. The boat went along so well that Kate gathered a little courage, and ventured to hope that they might not be drowned, after all.
"You mustn't turn her round again, Fan," said she.
"What shall we do? We shall run ashore if I don't turn her."
"Can't we lower the sails when you turn her?"
"There is no need of that," replied Fanny, cheerfully. "I made a little mistake before, but I understand all about it now."
"What was the mistake, Fan?"
"I didn't turn her the right way," replied the confident skipper, who had been studying up the cause of the mishap and had reasoned out the correct solution. "I shall know just how to do it next time, Kate, and you needn't be the least grain scared. See here," said she, putting the helm down, and bringing the boat round till her head was thrown up into the wind.
"That's the way it is done," continued Fanny, proudly. "Don't you see how easily she does it? There isn't a bit of danger now;" and she brought the boat round to her course again.
Kate was terrified at the very mention of turning the boat; but when she saw that the feat was accomplished without upsetting or even taking in any more water, her confidence was in a great measure restored. Fanny's exhibition of her skill produced the intended effect upon her companion, and the feminine skipper's easy and self-reliant way confirmed the impression. Fanny had learned more about the management of a boat in that brief half hour than she had ever known before, for the consciousness that her own life and that of her passenger depended upon her skill, sharpened her perceptions and quickened her judgment to such an extent that those moments of thrilling experience became equivalent to months of plodding study when the mind is comparatively dull and heavy.
Mr. Long, the constable, evidently did not hurry himself in the investigation of Fanny's case; for when he had satisfied himself that the wicked girl had deceived him, and had reached the Woodville pier, having first visited the school, as the shrewd girl had intended he should, the boat was not in sight; or, at least, nothing could be seen of her but the white sails, which he could not identify, and the fugitives were in no present danger on account of his movements. He did not know whether the Greyhound had gone up or down the river; and he had no boat in which to follow her.
Fanny felt that she had won a victory, for she did not realize that success in a wicked cause is failure and defeat. She congratulated herself on the feat she had accomplished, and she was vain enough to boast to her associate of what she had done; of her skill in managing the boat, and her shrewdness in planning the enterprise; and it is quite certain that if she had been less resolute and courageous, the expedition would have ended in failure almost at the beginning.
"But you haven't told me what you are going to do yet," said Kate, when she had sponged out the bottom of the well, dried the seats in the standing-room, and taken her place by the side of Fanny.
"I will tell you now," replied Fanny. "What do you suppose your father will do to you when he finds out that you played truant, and went on the river with me?" she added, apparently, but not really, avoiding the subject.
"He'll kill me!" answered Kate, with emphasis.
"No, he won't."
"I don't know what he will do, then."
"He will punish you in some way—won't he?"
"Yes. I don't know what he will do."
"Well, Kate, we must bring him to terms," added Fanny, with the most impudent assurance. "If you will mind what I say, he will not punish you at all. Will you do it?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know! Do you want to go back and be whipped like a baby, be shut up for a week, or something of that kind?"
"Of course I don't."
"And I will tell you how to get rid of all these things, and make your father as glad to see you as though you had been a good little girl all your life, and had been away on a long journey."
"You said you would tell me."
"And so I will, if you are strong enough to bear it."
"Well, I am."
"Don't go home for a week or ten days. Your folks won't know where you are. When they find out you went with me in a boat, they will think you are drowned; and when you go back, they will be so glad to see you that they won't say a word."
It would have been impossible for a girl who had been brought up by a loving mother to conceive of such a cold-blooded and diabolical proposition. Fanny had no mother, no father. Even the remembrance of the former had passed from her mind; and her father, while he was living, had been away from her so much that she hardly knew him as a parent. Her antecedents, therefore, did not qualify her to comprehend the loathsome enormity of the course she proposed to her companion.
"I can't stay away from home a week, let alone ten days," replied Kate, who, bad as she was, was shocked at the proposition.
"Yes, you can."
"Where shall I stay?"
"Stay with me."
"Where will you stay?"
"We will go down to New York city."
"To New York city!"
"That's where I intend to go," replied Fanny, coolly.
"You don't mean so, Fan?"
"Yes, I do; and I have meant it all the time."
"But you said we were going to Pennville."
"We are; and when we get there we will take the cars for New York city. We shall be there before twelve o'clock."
"But what shall we do when we get there?" demanded Kate, who was absolutely appalled at the magnitude of Fanny's scheme.
"We will have a good time, in the first place. There are plenty of shops where we can get cakes, and candy, and ice-cream; we can go to the museum, the theatre, and the circus; we can go to Central Park, and all the fine places in the city."
"But where should we live?"
"There are hotels enough."
"What should we do at a hotel? Besides, it would take lots of money."
"I've got money enough."
"Five dollars wouldn't pay for our living a week. They ask three or four dollars a day for living at a hotel."
"I've got more than five dollars," answered Fanny, rather cautiously.
"Have you? How much have you got?"
"I don't know exactly."
"You don't know!" repeated Kate, very confident now in regard to the means by which the money had been obtained, which, with this added revelation regarding the amount, she did not believe had been found on the floor. "You don't know!"
"I haven't counted it."
"Fan, you didn't find that money on the floor!" exclaimed she.
"I found it, anyhow," said Fanny, turning her head away from her companion.
"Where did you find it?"
"In the drawer, if you must know," replied Fanny, desperately.
"Fanny Grant, you stole that money!" said Kate, as though she had made a great discovery.
It was no discovery at all. She had been reasonably confident that the five dollars, which Fanny acknowledged to be in her possession, had been stolen, or, if not actually stolen, that it had been obtained in a manner entirely at variance even with a very low ideal of common honesty. She was willing to enjoy the good things which might be bought with the five dollars, but she was not disposed to bear the responsibility of the theft, either as principal or accessory. If, when the day of reckoning came, she could make it appear that she did not know the money had been stolen, she would escape the penalty and the odium of being a thief, or a receiver of stolen goods.
Like many others, she could hold up her hands in holy horror at the crime made public, while she was willing to wink at or compromise the crime for her own benefit in the secret chambers of her own heart. If she had been taught in ancient Lacedaemonia that it is not a crime to steal, but a crime to be found out, she could not have been more faithful to its base policy.
Fanny heard the charge, but made no reply, pretending to be occupied in watching the course of the boat.
"You stole that money, Fanny Grant!" repeated Kate, with even more emphasis, and more holy horror than before.
"Well, what if I did?" answered Fanny, who was disposed to have her associate as deep in the mud as she herself was in the mire; and she knew that it would be impossible to deny the fact when she exhibited the great roll of bills in her pocket.
"I didn't think you would steal money, Fanny."
"You would yourself, if you got a chance."
"No, I wouldn't; I'm bad enough, I know, but I wouldn't steal."
"Yes, you would! You needn't pretend to be so good. You will never be hung for your honesty. I know you."
"Do you mean to say I would steal?" demanded Kate, not a little mortified to be thought so meanly of.
"I know you would. Who stole the strawberries the other day?"
"That wasn't money," pleaded Kate.
"It was all the same."
"I wouldn't take money. I'm not a thief."
"You flatter yourself."
"I wouldn't. But, Fanny," she added, willing to change the subject, "I shouldn't dare to go to New York city."
"Something might happen to us."
"What can happen to us?"
"I don't know; but I'm afraid to go. What should we do with ourselves for a whole week?"
"Have a good time; that's what we are going for?"
"I can't go, Fan."
"Yes, you can; and you must. You have got into the scrape so far, and you are not going to leave me alone now. You promised to go with me."
"But you did not tell me what you were going to do."
"I have told you now; and if you attempt to back out, you shall bear half the blame."
"I didn't steal."
"I don't care if you didn't; you shall bear your share of the blame. You shall go with me."
"What will my mother say?"
"She will say you are a naughty girl, and punish you for what you have done. If you go with me, she will be so glad to see you when you get back, that she won't say a word. She will find out what you are made of then; if you go back now, she will see that you are nothing but a chicken at heart, and she will punish you, as you deserve to be for deserting your friend."
"My mother would feel awfully if I did not come back to-night," continued Kate, thoughtfully, even sadly; and she was sincere now.
"She will get over it."
"She would feel dreadfully."
"So much the better; the worse she feels the more glad she will be to see you when you do go back."
Kate saw that it was useless to reason with her companion on this point; besides, there was a certain sacred feeling in her heart which Fanny could neither understand nor appreciate, and she was unwilling to expose it to the rude reproaches of one who seemed to have no heart. She was too timid, rather than too conscientious, to engage in such a gigantic scheme of wickedness as that which Fanny had indicated; and we must do her the justice to add, that the blessed influence of a mother's love, stronger and deeper in her heart than principle, asserted its sway, and to give her mother a week of pain and anxiety was revolting to her.
She was fully determined not to go to New York city, and to get home as soon as she could. But Fanny had so much to say about "backing out," and "deserting her friend," that she deemed it prudent not to mention anything about her resolution. She knew her companion well enough to believe that it would be useless to attempt to persuade her to abandon her brilliant scheme; and Fanny was so resolute and self-willed that she might find a way to compel her to go with her, whether she was willing or not.
"Do you want to know how much money I have got?" asked Fanny, after a silence of some minutes, during which Kate had been thinking what she should do.
"I should like to know," replied Kate, who, however, was really indifferent after she had decided not to partake of the good things which the stolen money could purchase.
"You take the tiller then, and I will count it. Keep it just as it is," said Fanny, resigning her place to her fellow-voyager.
The boat was going along very easily with the wind on the starboard quarter, and did not need much attention. She was approaching Pennville, and the cruise was nearly finished. Fanny took the roll of bills from her pocket, and proceeded to count it. The notes were nearly all "greenbacks," with a few small bills on the state banks. There were twenties, tens, and fives, and the thief was almost frightened herself when she ascertained the amount she had obtained.
"One hundred, one hundred five, one hundred and ten," said Fanny, as she counted the money; "one hundred and ten——"
"Why, Fanny Grant!" cried Kate, horrified at the greatness of the sum.
"Fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty——"
"They will send you to the state prison for stealing so much money!" added Kate, trembling as the large numbers were mentioned.
"The more the better," replied Fanny, trying to keep cool, though she was much agitated herself, as, measuring the crime by the amount of the money, she realized how guilty she had been.
She finished the counting; and the whole sum was one hundred and seventy-three dollars and eighty-five cents.
"There is a great deal more than I thought there was," said she.
"Why did you take so much?" asked the terrified Kate.
"I didn't know how much there was."
"You will have all the constables in the county after you before night."
"And after you, too."
"I didn't steal it."
"Well, you were with me, and I will give you some of it."
"I don't want any of it."
"No, I don't; I don't think it is fair for you to try to make it out that I helped you steal the money, when I didn't, and when I didn't know anything about it."
"You knew I had some money before you got into the boat. You are scared—that's all."
"I am scared, and I wish I hadn't come."
"I wish you hadn't, because you are so frightened; but now you have gone so far, you can't back out. You want to return to Woodville, and tell them I stole the money."
"No, I don't."
"I'm never going back to Woodville again. They have been talking about sending me to my uncle's, in Minnesota, and I'm not going to be sent there."
"What shall I do, then?" demanded Kate, awed and astonished at the desperate purpose of her friend.
"I will see that you get back home all right. Here is some money to pay your passage," added Fanny, counting out a portion of the bills.
"I don't want that."
"Very well," answered Fanny, putting the bills in her pocket; and she looked so firm and so "ugly" that Kate was actually afraid of her.
The Greyhound had nearly reached the pier at Pennville; but Fanny did not intend to land at any public place, and she ran the boat up to the bank of the river, a short distance above the village, grounding it lightly on a kind of beach she had chosen as a landing-place. Fanny took the boat-hook in her hand, and jumped ashore.
"Now, Kate Magner, before we go any farther, we must come to an understanding. If you think you are going to leave me to bear all the blame, you are mistaken."
"I don't mean any such thing," replied Kate.
"Yes, you do; you mean to betray me."
"No, I don't."
"Why didn't you take the money I offered you, then?"
"I don't want it."
"You are in the boat, and I am on the land. If you don't take the money, I will push the boat off, and she will carry you away—I don't know where."
"Don't do that."
"Will you take the money?"
"Yes, I will," answered Kate, who was more afraid of the boat than she would have been of a demon.
"Take it, then," said Fanny, handing her the little roll of bills she had taken from the package for this purpose. "There is twenty-one dollars."
Kate took the money, and thrust it into her pocket.
"Now we are both just the same. You have taken some of the money, and you are just as bad as I am. You can't back out now, if you want to do so."
This was only an expedient on the part of the resolute mistress of the expedition to prevent her companion from deserting her, rather than to insure an equal division of the punishment for stealing.
"What shall we do now?" asked Kate, as she landed from the boat, which Fanny held with the boat-hook.
"We will go up to the railroad station, and take the train for New York city."
"But what are you going to do with the boat?"
"I don't care anything about the boat. I have had all I want of her. But I think I will let the sails down, and fasten her to the bank. If they should find her, she might betray us."
Fanny lowered the sails, and fastened the painter to a stake on the bank. The two girls then started for the village, which was about a quarter of a mile below the place where they had landed. When they had gone a short distance, they saw a man mending a boat on the bank of the river. Kate took particular notice of him, for she was already planning the means of her deliverance from the arbitrary sway of her companion.
The two girls were very well dressed, and it was not an uncommon thing for young ladies to manage their own boats on the Hudson; so, if they had been seen to land from the Greyhound, no notice was taken of the circumstance. They were not likely to be molested, except by their own guilty consciences. They walked directly to the railroad station, and ascertained that the train would leave in half an hour. Fanny, anxious to conciliate her associate, and accustom her to her new situation, invited her to a saloon, where they partook of ice-creams; but partial as Kate was to this luxury, it did not taste good, and seemed to be entirely different from any ice-cream she had ever eaten before.
When it was nearly time for the train to arrive, Fanny bought two tickets, and they joined the crowd that was waiting for the cars. Kate seemed to be so fully reconciled to the enterprise, that her friend did not doubt her any longer; she had no suspicion of her intended defection.
"I am almost choked," said Kate, when the whistle of the locomotive was heard in the distance. "I must have a drink of water."
"You have no time."
"I won't be gone but a second," replied Kate.
"I will wait here—but be quick."
Kate went into the station-house, and passing out at the door on the other side, ran off towards the river as fast as her legs would carry her. She reached the outskirts of the village before she slackened her pace, and then, exhausted and out of breath with running, she paused to ascertain if Fanny was in pursuit of her. No one was to be seen in the direction from which she had come, and taking courage from her success, she walked leisurely towards the place where the Greyhound had been left.
The man she had passed on her way down was still at work on his boat, and Kate, telling him such a story as suited her purpose, engaged him to sail the Greyhound up to Woodville. They embarked without any interruption from Fanny, and in a couple of hours she was landed at the pier from which she had started. Kate paid her boatman three dollars from the money which Fanny had given her, and then walked up to the mansion.
She told Mrs. Green the whole truth, and gave her the eighteen dollars remaining in her possession. She then went home to make peace with her mother, to whom also she told the whole story, blaming Fanny for everything except her own truancy, and pleading that she had been led away in this respect.
Mr. Long was still engaged in the search for Fanny, though the loss of the money in the closet had not been discovered till Kate appeared.
THE SOLDIER'S FAMILY.
Fanny stood on the platform in front of the station-house, waiting for the return of Kate. She had no suspicion that her friend had deserted her, and was at that moment running away as fast as she could. The train was approaching, and with the nervousness of one not accustomed to travelling, she feared they might be left. The cars stopped, and Kate did not return. Fanny rushed into the station-house in search of her. She was not there! she was not in the building; she was not to be seen from the open door.
Then Fanny realized that her companion's courage had failed, and that she had deserted her. The bell on the locomotive was ringing, and the train was in the act of starting. Fanny was quick and decisive in her movements, and she bounded out of the building, and stepped upon the train after it was in motion. She was angry and indignant at the defection of Kate, and, taking a seat in the car, she nursed her bitter feelings until her wrath had expended itself.
Kate's desertion affected the plans of the runaway, for in a few hours, at most, what she had done, and what she intended to do, would be known at Woodville. Mr. Long would take one of the afternoon trains for the city, and the whole police force of the great metropolis would be on the lookout for her before dark. Constables and policemen were now more than ever Fanny's especial horror, and she trembled at the very thought of being arrested for the crime she had committed.
Fanny was a girl of quick, bright parts. She had read the newspapers, and listened to the conversation of her elders. She was better informed in regard to the ways of the world than most young persons of her age with no more experience. She knew all about the telegraph, and the uses to which it was put in the detection and arrest of rogues. Though it was hardly possible for Kate to reach Woodville, and inform the people there where she had gone, yet circumstances might conspire against her so as to render the telegraph available. Mr. Long might have discovered in what direction the fugitives had gone, and followed them down to Pennville. He might have met Kate there, and learned her destination. It was possible, therefore, that a despatch might reach the city before she did, and an officer be waiting for her at the railroad station.
She was too cunning to be entrapped by any such expedients; and when the train stopped at Harlem, she got out, with the intention of walking into the city. Deeming it imprudent to follow the principal street, in which some of the terrible policemen might be lying in wait for her, she made her way to one of the less travelled thoroughfares, in which she pursued her way towards the city. The street she had chosen led her through the localities inhabited by the poorer portions of the population. The territory through which she was passing was in a transition state: broad streets and large squares had been laid out, in anticipation of vast improvements, but only a little had been accomplished in carrying them out. There were many tasty little houses, and many long blocks of buildings occupied by mechanics and laborers, and occasionally a more pretentious mansion.
In some of the most ineligible places for building, there were houses, or rather hovels, constructed in the roughest and rudest manner, apparently for temporary use until the march of improvement should drive their tenants into still more obscure locations. Fanny passed near one of these rude abodes, which was situated on a cross street, a short distance from the avenue on which she was journeying to the city. In front of this house was a scene which attracted the attention of the wanderer, and caused her to forget, for the time, the great wrong she had committed, and the consequences which would follow in its train.
In front of the house lay several articles of the coarsest furniture, and a man was engaged in removing more of the same kind from the hovel. He had paused for a moment in his occupation, and before him stood a woman who was wringing her hands in the agonies of despair. Fanny could hear the profane and abusive language the man used, and she could hear the piteous pleadings of the woman, at whose side stood a little boy, half clothed in tattered garments, weeping as though his heart would break.
Fanny was interested in the scene. The woman's woe and despair touched her feelings, and perhaps more from curiosity than any other motive, she walked down the cross-street towards the cottage. Being resolute and courageous by nature, she had no fear of personal consequences. She did not comprehend the nature of the difficulty, having never seen a tenant forcibly ejected from a house for the non-payment of rent.
"You'll kill my child! You'll kill my child!" cried the poor woman, in such an agony of bitterness that Fanny was thrilled by her tones.
"Isn't it a whole year I've been waiting for my rint?" replied the man, coarsely. "Didn't ye keep promisin' to pay me for a twelvemonth, and niver a cint I got yet?"
"I would pay you if I could, Mr. O'Shane."
"If ye could! What call have I to wait any longer for me money?"
"My husband has gone to the war, and I haven't heard a word from him for a year; but I'm sure he will send me some money soon—I know he will."
"What call had he to go to the war? Why didn't he stay at home and take care of his childer? Go 'way wid ye! Give me up me house!"
Mr. O'Shane broke away from her, and, rushing into the house, presently returned bearing a dilapidated table in his hands.
"Have mercy, Mr. O'Shane. Pity me!" pleaded the woman, when he appeared.
"I do pity ye; 'pon me sowl, I do, thin; but what can a poor man like me do?" replied the landlord. "I live in a worse house nor this, and work like a mule, and I can't make enough, for the high prices, to take care of me family. Didn't I wait month after month for me rint, and sorra a cint I iver got? Sure it isn't Mike O'Shane that would do the likes of this if he could help it."
"But I will pay you all I owe, Mr. O'Shane."
"That's what ye been sayin' this twelvemonth; and I can't wait any longer. Why don't ye stir yoursilf, and go among the rich folks?"
"I can't beg, Mr. O'Shane."
"But ye better beg than chate me out of me honest dues. Go 'way wid ye! Pay me the rint, or give me the house; and sorra one of me cares which you do."
"I would move if I could. You know that my poor child is very sick. For her sake don't turn me out of the house to-day," added the woman, in the most beseeching tones.
"Didn't I wait six months for the child to die, and she didn't die? She won't die. Sure, don't she sit in the chair all day? and what harm would it do to move her?"
"I have no place to move her to."
"That's what's the matter! Now go 'way wid your blarney, and don't be talking to me. It's Mike O'Shane that has a soft spot in his heart, but he can't do no more for ye. That's the truth, and ye must move to-day."
The landlord went into the house again, for more of the furniture. As he had represented, it was, doubtless, a hard case for him; but it was infinitely harder for the poor woman, and Fanny was too deeply interested now to leave the spot. What she had known of human misery was as nothing compared with the suffering of this poor mother.
"What's the matter, ma'am?" asked Fanny of her, when the harsh landlord had gone into the house.
"This man is my landlord, and he is turning me out of the house because I cannot pay him the rent," sobbed the woman. "I wouldn't care, if it wasn't for poor Jenny."
"Who is Jenny?"
"She is my daughter. She has been sick, very sick, for nearly a year, and she cannot live much longer. The doctor gave her up six months ago."
"How old is Jenny?"
"She is fourteen; and she is such a patient child! She never complains of anything, though I am not able to do much for her," replied the afflicted mother, as her tears broke forth afresh at the thought of the sufferer.
"Haven't you any place to go if this man turns you out of the house?" asked Fanny.
"No, no!" groaned the woman, bursting out into a terrible paroxysm of grief.
"I know it's hard for you, Mrs. Kent, but it's harder for me to do it than it is for you to have it done," continued Mr. O'Shane, as he came out of the house with a rocking chair in his hands.
"O mercy! that is poor Jenny's chair!" almost screamed Mrs. Kent. "What have you done with her?"
The mother, in her agony, rushed into the house to ascertain if any harm had come to her suffering daughter, who had been deprived of the easy chair in which she was accustomed to sit. Fanny was moved to the depths of her nature—moved as she had never been moved before. She couldn't have believed that such scenes were real. She had read of them in romances, and even in the newspapers; but she had never realized that a man could be so hard as Mr. O'Shane, or that a woman could suffer so much as Mrs. Kent. Between her grief and indignation she was almost overwhelmed.
"You are a cruel man," said she, with something like fierceness in her tones.
"That's very foine for the likes of you to say to the likes of me; but it don't pay me rint," replied Mr. O'Shane, not as angry as might have been expected at this interference.
"You ought to be ashamed of yourself to do such a mean thing!" added Fanny, her black eyes snapping with the living fire of her indignation.
"Shall I let me own childer starve for another man's childer?" answered the landlord, who, we must do him the justice to say, was ashamed of himself.
"How much does the woman owe you?" demanded Fanny.
"A matther of a hundred dollars—for a whole year's rint. Sure, miss, it isn't many min that would wait a twelvemonth for the rint, and not get it thin."
"And her daughter is sick?"
"Troth she is; there's no lie in that; she's got the consoomption, and she's not long for this world," replied the landlord, moving towards the door of the house, again to complete the work of desolation he had begun.