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YOUNG AMERICA AFLOAT.
A STORY OF TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE.
WILLIAM T. ADAMS
BOSTON: LEE AND SHEPARD.
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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.
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TO GEORGE WEBSTER TERRILL
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.
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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.
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Outward Bound is the first volume of "A Library of Travel and Adventure in Foreign Lands," and contains the voyage of the Academy Ship "Young America" across the Atlantic. The origin and progress of this aquatic institution are incidentally developed, and the plan is respectfully submitted to the consideration of those who are interested in the education and moral training of the class of young men who are the characters in the scenes described in this work. Besides a full description of the routine and discipline of the ship, as an educational and reformatory institution, the volume contains a rather free expose of the follies and frailties of youth, but their vices are revealed to suggest the remedy.
The story includes the experience of the officers and crew of the Young America, eighty-seven in number, though, of course, only a few of them can appear as prominent actors. As the ship has a little world, with all the elements of good and evil, within her wooden walls, the story of the individual will necessarily be interwoven with that of the mass; and the history of "The Chain League," in the present volume, of which Shuffles is the hero, will, it is hoped, convey an instructive lesson to young men who are disposed to rebel against reasonable discipline and authority. In the succeeding volumes of this series, the adventures, travels, and "sight-seeing," as well as the individual and collective experience of the juvenile crew of the Academy Ship, will be narrated. They will visit the principal ports of Europe, as well as penetrate to the interior; but they will always be American boys, wherever they are.
The author hopes that the volumes of the series will not only be instructive as a description of foreign lands, and interesting as a record of juvenile exploits, but that they will convey correct views of moral and social duties, and stimulate the young reader to their faithful performance.
HARRISON SQUARE, MASS., November 2, 1866.
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I. THE IDEA SUGGESTED 11
II. THE YOUNG AMERICA 27
III. THE ENSIGN AT THE PEAK. 43
IV. OFFICERS AND SEAMEN. 59
V. OUR FELLOWS. 75
VI. THE FOURTH OF JULY. 91
VII. HEAVING THE LOG. 106
VIII. OUTWARD BOUND. 122
IX. THE WATCH BILL. 138
X. MAKING A CHAIN. 154
XI. THE GAMBLERS IN NO. 8. 170
XII. THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL. 186
XIII. PIPING TO MISCHIEF. 202
XIV. ALL HANDS, REEF TOPSAILS! 218
XV. AFTER THE GALE. 233
XVI. THE WRECK OF THE SYLVIA 248
XVII. PEAS AND BEANS 263
XVIII. THE RESULT OF THE BALLOT 280
XIX. MAN OVERBOARD! 299
XX. THE END OF THE CHAIN LEAGUE 318
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YOUNG AMERICA AFLOAT
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THE IDEA SUGGESTED.
"There are no such peaches this side of New Jersey; and you can't get them, for love or money, at the stores. All we have to do is, to fill our pockets, and keep our mouths closed—till the peaches are ripe enough to eat," said Robert Shuffles, the older and the larger of two boys, who had just climbed over the high fence that surrounded the fine garden of Mr. Lowington.
"What will Baird say if he finds it out?" replied Isaac Monroe, his companion.
"Baird," the gentleman thus irreverently alluded to, was the principal of the Brockway Academy, of which Shuffles and Monroe were pupils in the boarding department.
"What will he say when he finds out that the King of the Tonga Islands picks his teeth with a pitchfork?" added Shuffles, contemptuously. "I don't intend that he shall find it out? and he won't, unless you tell him."
"Of course, I shall not tell him."
"Come along, then? it is nearly dark, and no one will see us."
Shuffles led the way down the gravelled walk, till he came to a brook, on the bank of which stood the peach tree whose rich fruit had tempted the young gentlemen to invade the territory of Mr. Lowington with intent to plunder.
"There they are," said the chief of the young marauders, as he paused behind a clump of quince bushes, and pointed at the coveted fruit. "There's no discount on them, and they are worth coming after."
"Hark!" whispered Monroe. "I heard a noise."
"What was it?"
"I don't know. I'm afraid we shall be caught."
"No danger; no one can see us from the house."
"But I'm sure there's some one near. I heard something."
"Nonsense! It was only a dagger of the mind, such as Baird talks about," answered Shuffles, as he crawled towards the peach tree. "Come, Monroe, be quick, and fill your pockets."
This peach tree was a choice variety, in whose cultivation the owner had been making an elaborate experiment. Mr. Lowington had watched it and nursed it with the most assiduous care, and now it bore about a dozen remarkably large and beautiful peaches. They were not quite ripe enough to be gathered, but Shuffles was confident that they would "mellow" in his trunk as well as on the tree. The experiment of the cultivator had been a success, and he had already prepared, with much care and labor, a paper explanatory of the process, which he intended to read before the Pomological Society, exhibiting the fruit as the evidence of the practicability of his method. To Mr. Lowington, therefore, the peaches had a value far beyond their intrinsic worth.
Shuffles gathered a couple of the peaches, and urged his companion to use all possible haste in stripping the tree of its rich burden.
"Hallo, there! What are you about?" shouted some one, who hastened to make his presence known to the plunderers.
Monroe began to retreat.
"Hold on!" interposed Shuffles. "It's no one but Harry Martyn."
"He can tell of us just as well as anybody else."
"If he does, he will catch it."
"What are you doing?" demanded Harry Martyn,—who was a nephew of Mr. Lowington, and lived with him,—as he crossed the rustic bridge that spanned the brook.
"Don't you see what I'm doing?" replied Shuffles, with an impudent coolness which confounded Harry.
"Stop that, Shuffles!" cried Harry, indignantly. "My uncle wouldn't take ten dollars apiece for those peaches."
"That's more than he'll get for them," added Shuffles, as he reached up and gathered another peach.
"Stop that, I tell you!" said Harry, angrily, as he stepped up, in a menacing attitude, before the reckless marauder.
"Shut up, Harry! You know me, and when I get all these peaches, I've got something to say to you."
Shuffles was about to gather another of the peaches, when Harry, his indignation overcoming his prudence, grasped his arm, and pulled him away from the tree.
"What do you mean, Harry Martyn?" exclaimed Shuffles, apparently astonished at the temerity of the youth. "I can't stop to lick you now; but I'll do it within twenty-four hours."
"Well, don't you touch those peaches, then."
"Yes, I will touch them. I intend to have the whole of them; and if you say a word to your uncle or any one else about it, I'll pulverize that head of yours."
"No, you won't! You shall not have those peaches, anyhow," replied the resolute little fellow, who was no match, physically, for Shuffles.
"If you open your mouth——"
"Hallo! Uncle Robert! Help, help! Thieves in the garden!" shouted Harry, who certainly had no defect of the lungs.
"Take that, you little monkey!" said Shuffles, angrily, as he struck the little fellow a heavy blow on the side of the head with his fist, which knocked him down. "I'll fix you the next, time I see you."
Shuffles consulted his discretion rather than his valor, now that the alarm had been given, and retreated towards the place where he had entered garden.
"What's the matter, Harry?" asked Mr. Lowington, as he rushed over the bridge, followed by the gardener and his assistants, just as Harry was picking himself up and rubbing his head.
"They were stealing your peaches, and I tried to stop them," replied Harry. "They have taken some of them now."
Mr. Lowington glanced at the favorite tree, and his brow lowered with anger and vexation. His paper before the "Pomological" could be illustrated by only nine peaches, instead of thirteen.
"Who stole them, Harry?" demanded the disappointed fruit-grower.
The nephew hesitated a moment, and the question was repeated with more sternness.
"Robert Shuffles; Isaac Monroe was with him, but he didn't take any of the peaches."
"What is the matter with your head, Harry?" asked his uncle, when he observed him rubbing the place where the blow had fallen.
"Shuffles struck me and knocked me down, when I called out for you."
"Did he? Where is he now?"
"He and Monroe ran up the walk to the back of the garden."
"That boy shall be taken care of," continued Mr. Lowington, as he walked up the path towards the point where the marauders had entered. "The Academy is fast becoming a nuisance to the neighborhood, because there is neither order nor discipline among the students."
The thieves had escaped, and as it would be useless to follow them, Mr. Lowington went back to the house; but he was too much annoyed at the loss of his splendid peaches, which were to figure so prominently before the "Pomological," to permit the matter to drop without further notice.
"Did he hurt you much, Harry?" asked Mr. Lowington as they entered the house.
"Not much, sir, though he gave me a pretty hard crack," answered Harry.
"Did you see them when they came into the garden?"
"No, sir? I was fixing my water-wheel in the brook, when I heard them at the tree. I went up, and tried to prevent Shuffles from taking the peaches. I caught hold of him, and pulled him away. He said he couldn't stop to lick me then, but he'd do it within twenty-four hours. Then he hit me when I called for help."
"The young scoundrel! That boy is worse than a pestilence in any neighborhood. Mr. Baird seems to have no control over him."
Suddenly, and without any apparent reason, Mr. Lowington's compressed lips and contracted brow relaxed, and his face wore its usual expression of dignified serenity. Harry could not understand the cause of this sudden change; but his uncle's anger had passed away. The fact was, that Mr. Lowington happened to think, while his indignation prompted him to resort to the severest punishment for Shuffles, that he himself had been just such a boy as the plunderer of his cherished fruit. At the age of fifteen he had been the pest of the town in which he resided. His father was a very wealthy man, and resorted to many expedients to cure the boy of his vicious propensities.
Young Lowington had a taste for the sea, and his father finally procured a midshipman's warrant for him to enter the navy. The strict discipline of a ship of war proved to be the "one thing needful" for the reformation of the wild youth; and he not only became a steady young man, but a hard student and an accomplished officer. The navy made a man of him, as it has of hundreds of the sons of rich men, demoralized by idleness and the absence of a reasonable ambition.
When Mr. Lowington was thirty years old, his father died, leaving to each of his three children a quarter of a million; and he had resigned his position in the navy, in order to take care of his property, and to lead a more domestic life with his wife and daughter than the discipline of the service would permit.
He had taken up his residence in Brockway, the early home of his wife. It was a large town on the sea shore, only a few miles from the metropolis of New England, thus combining all the advantages of a home in the city and in the country. For several years he had been happy in his peaceful retirement. But not wealth, nor even integrity and piety, can bar the door of the lofty mansion against the Destroyer of the race. His wife died of an hereditary disease, which gave no indication of its presence till she had passed her thirtieth year. Two years later, his daughter, just blooming into maturity, followed her mother down to the silent tomb, stricken in her freshness and beauty by the same insidious malady.
The husband and father was left desolate. His purest and fondest hopes were blighted; but, while he was submissive to the will of the Father, who doeth all things well, he became gloomy and sad. He was not seen to smile for a year after the death of his daughter, and it was three years before he had recovered even the outward semblance of his former cheerfulness. He was rich, but alone in the world. He continued to reside in the home which was endeared to him by the memories of his loved and lost ones.
When his wife's sister died in poverty, leaving two children, he had taken them to his home, and had become a father to them. Harry Martyn was a good boy, and Josephine Martyn was a good girl; but they were not his own children. There was something wanting—an aching void which they could not fill, though Mr. Lowington was to them all that could be asked or expected of a parent.
Mr. Lowington busied himself in various studies and experiments; but life had ceased to be what it was before the death of his wife and daughter. He wanted more mental occupation; he felt the need of greater activity, and he was tempted to return to the navy, even after his absence of ten years from the service; but this step, for many reasons, was not practicable. At the time when his garden was invaded by the vandal students from the Brockway Academy, he was still thinking what he could do to save himself from the inglorious life of ease he was leading, and, at the same time, serve his country and his race.
Shuffles had robbed his garden of some of his choicest fruit; had struck his nephew a severe blow on the head, and threatened to inflict still greater chastisement upon him in the future. Mr. Lowington was justly indignant; and his own peace and the peace of the neighborhood demanded that the author of the mischief should be punished, especially as he was an old transgressor. It was absolutely necessary that something should be done, and the retired naval officer was in the right frame of mind to do it. Just then, when he was wrought up to the highest pitch of indignation, his anger vanished. Shuffles at sixteen was the counterpart of himself at fifteen.
This was certainly no reason why the hand of justice should be stayed. Mr. Lowington did not intend to stay it, though the thought of his own juvenile depravity modified his view, and appeased his wrath. He put on his hat and left the house. He walked over to the Academy, and being shown to the office of the principal, he informed him of the depredations committed in his garden.
"Who did it, Mr. Lowington?" demanded the principal, with proper indignation in his tones and his looks.
"I need not have asked. That boy gives me more trouble than all the others put together," added Mr. Baird, with an anxious expression. "And yet what can I do with him?"
"Expel him," replied Mr. Lowington, laconically.
"I don't like to do that."
"It would be an injury to me."
"It would offend his father, who is a person of wealth and influence. When Shuffles came to Brockway ten other boys came with him. He was expelled from another institution, which so incensed his father that he induced the parents of ten others to take their sons out, and send them to me. If I expel Shuffles, I shall lose about a dozen of my students, and I can't afford to do that."
"But must the neighborhood suffer from his depredations?"
"I will talk with the boy; I will keep him in his room for a week."
"I'm afraid the boy needs severer measures. If this were the first, or even the third time, I would, not say so much."
"My dear sir, what can I do?"
"The boy needs strict discipline. If I were still in the navy, and had him aboard my ship, I could make a man of him."
"I don't think anything can be done."
"Something must be done, Mr. Baird. My garden shall not be robbed with impunity."
"I will do what I can, Mr. Lowington."
But the owner of the stolen fruit was by this time satisfied that nothing would be done. The principal of the Brockway Academy had not force nor influence enough to control such a boy as Shuffles. Mr. Lowington took his leave, determined to apply to another tribunal for the correction of the evil. That night the peach thieves were arrested, and put in the lock-up. The next day they were tried, found guilty, and sentenced to pay a fine and costs, which Mr. Baird promptly paid. Within a week Mr. Lowington's stable was burned to the ground. Shuffles was seen near the building just before the fire broke out; but it could not be proved that he was the incendiary, though no one doubted the fact. He was arrested, but discharged on the examination.
"You see how it is, Mr. Lowington," said the principal of the Academy, as the two gentlemen met after the examination. "It would have been better for you if you had not prosecuted the boy for stealing the peaches."
"I don't think so," replied Mr. Lowington. "I must do my duty, without regard to consequences; and you will pardon me if I say you ought to do the same."
"If I expel the boy he would burn the house over my head."
"Then you think he burned my stable?"
"I don't know; it cannot be proved that he did."
"I have no doubt of the fact. I have no ill will against the boy. I only desire to protect myself and my neighbors from his depredations."
"I think you were very unfortunate in the method you adopted, Mr. Lowington," replied the principal of the Academy. "It has reacted upon yourself."
"Shall this boy steal my fruit and burn my buildings with impunity?" added Mr. Lowington, with considerable warmth.
"I applied to you for redress, Mr. Baird."
"I told you I would talk with the boy."
"Such a reprobate as that needs something more than talk."
"What would you do with him, sir?" demanded Mr. Baird, earnestly.
"I hardly know. I should certainly have expelled him; but that, while it protects the Academy, does not benefit the boy."
"It would only harden the boy."
"Very likely; and his remaining will harden a dozen more by his influence. Mr. Baird, I shall be obliged to take my nephew out of your institution," added Mr. Lowington, seriously.
"Take him out?"
"I must, indeed."
"Why so?" asked Mr. Baird, who was touched in a very tender place.
"Because I am not willing to keep him under the influence of such an example as this Shuffles sets for his companions. As the matter now stands, the young rascal has more influence in the Academy than you have. You cannot manage him, and you dare not expel him. The boy knows this, and he will not leave his advantage unused."
"I hope you won't take Harry out of the school," said Mr. Baird.
"Others may do the same."
"I cannot help it; with my view of the matter, they can hardly do otherwise."
"But you see, sir, what the effect of this step must be."
"Mr. Baird, I must be frank with you. You have declined to expel Shuffles, while you know that his influence is bad. You asked me what you should do? and I told you. Now, you prefer to retain Shuffles, but you must lose others. Permit me to say that you should do your duty without regard to consequences."
"I cannot afford to lose my scholars."
"Your position is a difficult one. I grant, Mr. Baird; but without discipline you can do nothing for yourself or the boys."
Mr. Lowington went home, Harry was taken from the Academy, and a dozen parents and guardians followed the example of the advocate for discipline. Mr. Baird was in despair. The institution was falling to pieces for the want of discipline. The principal had not the nerve to enforce order, even with the limited means within his reach. He went to see Mr. Lowington and begged him to assist in stemming the tide which was setting against the Brockway Academy. The retired naval officer became deeply interested in the subject of school discipline in general, especially in its connection with the education of rich men's sons given to insubordination. He pitied poor Mr. Baird in his perplexities, for he was a good man and an excellent teacher.
In the mean time Shuffles grew worse instead of better. Finding that he could have his own way, that the principal was no match for him, his influence for evil was stronger than Mr. Baird's for good. The worthy schoolmaster had finally resolved to expel his troublesome student, when Mr. Lowington one day surprised him by offering to buy out the Academy at a price far exceeding its value. He gladly accepted the offer as the best solution of the problem, and the naval officer became principal of the Brockway Academy.
Mr. Lowington did not expel the refractory pupil at once. He waited for an overt act; but Shuffles found the anaconda of authority tightening upon him. He attempted to vindicate himself before his fellow-students by setting fire to a haystack on the marsh, belonging to the new principal. A searching investigation followed, and Shuffles was convicted. Mr. Lowington wrote to the boy's father, announcing his expulsion. Mr. Shuffles went to Brockway full of wrath, and threatened the new head of the institution with the loss of a large number of his scholars if he disgraced his son by expelling him. If the boy had done wrong,—and he supposed he had,—let him be talked to; let him be confined to his room for a day or two; but he must not be expelled; it was a disgrace to the boy.
The principal was as firm as a rock, and Mr. Shuffles was calm when he found that threats were unavailing. Mr. Lowington pointed out to his visitor the perils which lay in the path of his son. Mr. Shuffles began to be reasonable, and dined with the principal. A long and earnest consideration of the whole matter took place over the dessert. The fiat of expulsion was revoked, and young Shuffles was turned over to the ex-naval officer, with full power to discipline him as he thought best. Mr. Lowington had converted the father, and he hoped he should be able to convert the son.
After dinner, Mr. Shuffles went down the bay with his host in the yacht. On the way they passed the school ship Massachusetts, to which boys are sentenced by the courts for crime and vagrancy, and on board of which they are disciplined and educated. Mr. Lowington explained the institution to his guest.
"An excellent idea," said Mr. Shuffles.
"It is just the place for your son," replied Mr. Lowington.
"But it is for criminals."
"Robert is not a criminal."
"If he is not now, he soon will be, if he continues in his present course. If I had him on shipboard, I could make a man of him."
"Then I wish you had him on shipboard."
"Perhaps I may yet," replied the principal, with a smile. "I did not purchase the Academy with the intention of becoming a pedagogue, in the ordinary sense of the word. I have no intention of remaining in it."
"I hope you will."
"I have been thinking of fitting up a vessel like the school ship, that rich men's sons may have the benefit of such an institution without the necessity of committing a crime. I could do more for the boys in a month on board ship than I could in a year at Brockway."
This was the first mention which Mr. Lowington made of his plan, though he had been considering it for several weeks. Mr. Shuffles hoped that this idea of a nautical academy would be reduced to practice; for he now felt that it was just what his son needed. The project was discussed during the rest of the trip.
The history of the scheme, from its inception, need not be followed in detail. Many persons were consulted in regard to it; there were plenty to approve, and plenty to disapprove; but in October the keel of a four hundred ton ship was laid down. The object of this marine institution was thoroughly explained, and before the ship was ready for launching there were applications for every berth on board of her.
The idea was exceedingly popular among the boys, all of whom were anxious to be students on board, especially as it was already hinted that the ship would visit Europe. To parents it held out for their sons all the benefits of a sea voyage, with few of its disadvantages. It would furnish healthy exercise and a vigorous constitution to its pupils.
In March of the following year the ship was at anchor in Brockway harbor, ready to receive her juvenile crew.
THE YOUNG AMERICA.
With Mr. Lowington, the Academy Ship, which was the name he usually applied to the idea he had matured, and thus far carried into effect, was not a speculation; he did not intend to see how much money could be made by the scheme. It was an experiment in the education of rich men's sons, for only rich men could pay for scholarships in such an expensive institution.
The Brockway Academy was to be continued, under the management of a board of trustees. An accomplished teacher had been selected by Mr. Lowington, and the school, under its present administration, was in a highly prosperous condition. Only ten of its pupils had been transferred to the Academy Ship, for it required no little nerve on the part of parents to send their sons to school on the broad ocean, to battle with the elements, to endure the storms of the Atlantic, and to undergo the hardships which tender mothers supposed to be inseparably connected with a life on shipboard.
For six months Mr. Lowington had studied upon his plan, and it was hardly matured when the new ship came to anchor in Brockway harbor. During this period he had visited the principal cities of the Northern States, those of the southern section being closed against his operations by the war of the rebellion then raging at the height of its fury. He had interested his friends in his bold enterprise, and boys with, whom the experiment was to be inaugurated were gathered from all parts of the country.
The securing of the requisite number of pupils was the first success, and what he had regarded as the most difficult part of the enterprise. More than half of them had been obtained before it was deemed prudent to lay the keel of the ship. The details of the plan had been carefully considered during the winter, and when the ship was moored at Brockway, the organization of the school, its rules and regulations had all been written out. The boys began to arrive about the first of March, and by the first of April all of them, eighty-seven in number, were on board.
Mr. Lowington was naturally very anxious for the success of his experiment, and for months he had labored with unceasing diligence in perfecting his plan, and carrying it into operation. In this occupation he had found the activity he needed; and he may not be blamed for believing, all the time, that he was laboring for his country and his race.
If it has been inferred from what has been said of Mr. Lowington, of his domestic afflictions, and of his views on the subject of discipline, that he was an austere, cold, and unsympathizing man, a wrong impression has been conveyed. The boys of the Brockway Academy, when they came to know him, loved him as much as they respected him. He was not the man needlessly to abridge the harmless enjoyment of youth, or to repress its innocent hilarity. He watched the sports of the students with interest and pleasure, and encouraged them by all the means in his power. He was fond of humor, enjoyed a harmless joke, and had a keen appreciation of juvenile wit. He was a good companion for the boys, and when they understood him, he was always welcome to the play-ground.
The new ship had been duly christened Young America at the launching, by Miss Josey Martyn—a name which was rapturously applauded by the boys. She was one hundred and eighteen feet in length, and of about four hundred tons burden. She had been built as strong as wood, iron, and copper could make her. For a ship, she was small, which permitted her to be light sparred, so that her juvenile crew could handle her with the more ease. She had a flush deck; that is, it was unbroken from stem to stern. There was no cabin, poop, camboose, or other house on deck, and the eye had a clean range over the whole length of her. There was a skylight between the fore and the main mast, and another between the main and mizzen masts, to afford light and air to the apartments below. There were three openings in the deck by which entrance could be obtained to the interior of the ship: the fore hatch, the main hatch, and the companion-way, the two former being used by the crew, and the latter by the officers.
The between-decks, which is the space included between the upper and the lower deck, was fitted up for the accommodation of the officers and crew. Descending by the companion-way—which in the Young America extended athwartships—on the right, at the foot of the stairs, was the officers' cabin, occupying the part of the ship nearest to the stern. This apartment was twenty-eight feet long, by fifteen in breadth at the widest part, with four state rooms on each side. The mizzen mast passed up through the middle of it. This cabin was richly but plainly fitted up, and was furnished well enough for a drawing-room on shore. It was for the use of the juvenile officers of the ship, fifteen in number, who were to hold their positions as rewards of merit. The captain had a room to himself, while each of the other apartments was to accommodate two officers.
On the left of the companion-way, descending the stairs, was the "old folks' cabin," as it was called by the students. It was in the locality corresponding to that occupied by the ward room of a man-of-war. Though the after cabin is the place of honor on board a ship, Mr. Lowington had selected the ward room for himself and the teachers, in preference to the after cabin, because it was next to the steerage, which was occupied by the larger portion of the pupils, and because the form of the ship did not contract the dimensions of the state rooms. This cabin was twenty-two feet long and fifteen feet wide, with no waste room, as in the after cabin, caused by the rounding in of the ship's counter. On the sides were five state rooms, besides a pantry for the steward, and a dispensary for the surgeon.
The forward room on the starboard side was occupied by Mr. Lowington alone; the next on the same side by the chaplain and doctor; and each of the three on the port side by two of the teachers. This cabin was elegantly finished and furnished, and the professors were delighted with its cheerful and pleasant aspect.
From the main cabin, as that of the "faculty" was called, were two doors, opening into the steerage, fifty-two feet in length by fifteen feet in width of clear space between the berths, which diminished to nine feet abreast of the foremast. This apartment was eight feet high, and was lighted in part by a large skylight midway between the fore and main mast, and partly by bull's eyes in the side of the ship. There were seventy-two berths, placed in twelve rooms, opening from passage-ways, which extended athwartships from the main steerage, and were lighted by the bull's eyes. There were no doors to these dormitories, each of which contained six berths, in two tiers of three each. It was intended that the six boys occupying one of these rooms should form a mess. Between the gangways, or passages, were mess tables, which could be swung up against the partition when not in use.
The steerage was neatly and tastefully fitted up, and furnished, though not so elegantly as the cabins. It was to be the school room, as well as the parlor and dining room of the boys, and it would compare favorably with such apartments in well-ordered academies on shore. There was plenty of shelves, pouches, and lockers, under the lower berths, and beneath the bull's eyes at the head of the main gangways, for clothing and books, and each boy had a place for every article which regulations allowed him to possess.
Forward of the foremast there were two large state rooms; that on the starboard side having four berths, for the boatswain, carpenter, sailmaker, and head steward; and the one on the port side with six, for the two cooks and the four under stewards, all of whom were men skilful and experienced in their several departments. Forward of these was the kitchen, from which opened the lamp room, a triangular closet in the bow of the ship. Mr. Lowington had taken the idea of locating the cooking apartment in the extreme forward part of the vessel from the Victoria and Albert, the steam yacht of the Queen of England.
The hold beneath the berth deck contained the water tanks, bread room, chain lockers, and a multitude of store rooms for provisions, clothing, and supplies of every description needed on board during a long voyage.
The Young America was to be officered and manned by the students. They were to work the ship, to make and take in sail, to reef, steer, and wash down decks, as well as study and recite their lessons. They were to go aloft, stand watch, man the capstan, pull the boats; in short, to do everything required of seamen on board a ship. Mr. Lowington was to lure them into the belief, while they were hauling tacks and sheets, halyards and braces, that they were not at work, but at play. The labor required of them was an essential element in the plan, by which the boys were to obtain, the necessary physical exercise, and the discipline they so much needed.
By the first of April the last of the students had reported to the principal on board, and the professors, as the boys insisted upon calling them, had taken possession of their state rooms. Though some of the pupils had been on board nearly a month, the organization of the ship had not been commenced; but classes had been formed in some of the studies, by the teachers, and the pupils recited every day. The boatswain had instructed the boys in rowing, and some temporary regulations had been adopted for the eating and sleeping departments. But not a boy had been allowed to go aloft, and nothing more than ordinary school discipline had been attempted.
The boys, as boys always are, were impatient at this delay. They wanted to be bounding over the ocean—to be on their way to some foreign port. They were anxious to work, to climb the rigging, and stand at the wheel. As yet they knew very little of the purposes of the principal, and had but a faint perception of the life they were to lead in the Academy Ship. It was understood that the officers were to be selected for their merit, and that the ship, some time or other, was to cross the ocean; but beyond this, all was darkness and uncertainty.
"To-morrow will be the first day of April," said George Wilton, as he walked the deck of the Young America with Richard Carnes, a dignified young gentleman of seventeen. "Mr. Lowington said we should go to work on that day."
"If he said so, then of course we shall go to work," replied Carnes.
"I'm tired of waiting," added Wilton. "I think this is a stupid kind of life. We are not even tied to a bell rope here."
"You will get discipline enough as soon as the crew are organized."
"I suppose we shall. Do you think we shall go to sea to-morrow?"
"Go to sea to-morrow!" exclaimed Carnes.
"Shuffles said so."
"How can we go to sea to-morrow? The crew don't know the mainmast from a handspike. They couldn't do anything with the ship now; they don't know the ropes."
"You do, Carnes."
"Well, I know something about a ship," replied the dignified young gentleman, who had made one voyage up the Mediterranean with his uncle.
"I was pretty sure we should get out into blue water by to-morrow."
"Shuffles said so."
"He is mistaken."
"What are we going to do?"
"I don't know? I'm content to wait till orders come."
"I don't want to wait any longer," added Wilton.
"What are you talking about, fellows?" asked Shuffles, joining them, as they walked forward.
"Didn't you say we were going to sea to-morrow, Shuffles?" asked Wilton.
"Of course we are."
"Who says so?" demanded Carnes.
"All the fellows say so."
"It can't be true."
"Why not? We are not going to stay here forever."
"In my opinion, we shall stay here some weeks, if not some months," added Carnes.
"To pursue our studies, in the first place, and to learn our duty as seamen, in the second."
"I don't believe I shall stay here a great while longer," said Shuffles, with evident disgust. "There's no fun lying here."
"You can't help yourself," added Wilton.
"Perhaps I can't, but I can try," said Shuffles, as he glanced towards the shore.
"All hands ahoy!" shouted Peaks, the boatswain, as his shrill whistle rang through the ship.
The boys had been taught the meaning of this call, and they gathered in the waist, eager to know what was to be required of them.
Mr. Lowington stood on the raised hatch over the main scuttle, where all the students could see him. It was evident that he had some announcement to make, especially as the following day had been assigned for organizing the ship's company. The boys were silent, and their faces betrayed the curiosity which they felt.
"Young gentleman," the principal began, "this ship will go into commission to-morrow."
"Don't know what you mean, sir," said Paul Kendall as Mr. Lowington paused to observe the effect of his announcement.
"I did not suppose that many of you would understand the expression. In the navy, a ship is said to go into commission when the captain takes his place on board, and the crew are organized for duty. When this takes place, the ensign is hoisted. To-morrow, at twelve o'clock, we shall display the colors at the peak. With us, going into commission will only mean the organization of our school. From that time, we shall observe the discipline of a man-of-war, so far as the ship and crew are concerned."
"Shall we go to sea then?" asked Wilton.
"I think not," replied Mr. Lowington, laughing. "We shall not leave the harbor till every officer and seaman knows his duty. You shall have enough to do to-morrow, young gentlemen."
"When shall we be able to go to sea?"
"I don't know. There are many ropes in the ship, and you have a great deal to learn before I shall be willing to trust you with the anchor at the cat-head."
"What is the cat-head, sir?" asked Kendall
"Do you wish to go to sea without knowing what the cat-head is?" replied the principal. "You shall know in due time. To-morrow we shall select the officers, fifteen in number, who are to occupy the after cabin."
This announcement created a decided sensation among the eighty-seven boys gathered in the waist, for the subject had been full of interest to them. The after cabin had thus far been a sealed book; the door was locked, and they had not even seen the inside of the apartment. They were curious to visit this cabin, and to know who were to occupy it.
"After the organization of the school, it is my intention to give these offices to those who obtain the highest number of merit marks, which will be given for good conduct, good lessons, and progress in seamanship. The best boy, who is at the same time the best scholar and the best seaman, shall be captain. We have no marks now by which to make the selection, and I intend to have you elect him the first time, reserving to myself the right to veto your choice if it is obviously an improper one."
As Mr. Lowington uttered this last remark, he glanced, perhaps unconsciously, at Shuffles, who stood directly in front of him.
"Young gentlemen, the ballot will take place to-morrow morning, at nine o'clock. I have given you this notice, that you may be able to consider the matter and, if you choose, to make nominations for the several offices," continued the principal.
"What are the offices, sir?"
"The first and most important one, of course, is the captain. The others are four lieutenants, four masters, two pursers, and four midshipmen."
"What are they to do?" asked Kendall.
"I will not explain their duties now; it would require too much time. I mentioned them in the order of their importance. Now, young gentlemen, you should select your candidates for these offices by merit, not by favor. I am aware that a few of you have been to sea, but probably none of you are competent to handle a ship; and your choice should be based mainly on good character and good conduct. I hope I shall be able to approve the choice you may make. You are dismissed now."
"Three cheers for the principal!" shouted one of the boys.
"Silence, young gentleman! Let me say now, that no expressions of approbation or disapprobation are to be allowed."
The boys separated into groups, and immediately gave their attention to the important subject suggested to them by Mr. Lowington. It must be acknowledged that violent symptoms of "log-rolling" began to be exhibited. There were fifty, if not eighty-seven young men who wished to be captain, and sit at the head of the table in the after cabin. Some of them went down into the steerage, and in five minutes there was a confused jabbering in every part of the ship.
"For whom shall you vote, Wilton?" asked Shuffles in a group of half a dozen which had gathered around one of the mess tables.
"I don't know? whom do you go for?" replied Wilton.
"I rather think I shall go for Bob Shuffles. In my opinion, he is the best fellow on board," replied the owner of that name.
"That's modest," laughed Wilton.
"Do you know of any fellow that would make a better captain than I should?"
"You don't know the first thing about a ship."
"What odds does that make? I can learn as fast as anybody else."
"Do you expect every fellow to vote for himself?" asked Howe, another of the group.
"Of course I don't; I expect them to vote for me," answered Shuffles, with great good-nature.
"You are rather cheeky, Shuffles."
"What's the use of mincing the matter? Here we are, half a dozen of the best fellows in the ship. We can't all be captain; but one of us can be just as well as not."
"That's so," added Howe, approvingly. "But who shall that one be?"
"I am the one, without a doubt," said Shuffles.
"I don't see it," interposed Monroe, shaking his head; and he was the young gentleman who had assisted the aspirant for the captaincy to rob Mr. Lowington's favorite peach tree.
"What have you got to say about it, Ike Monroe? Do you expect us to go for you?"
"I didn't say so."
"That's what you meant."
"I've just as much right to the place as you have, Bob Shuffles."
"Do you think you could make the fellows stand round as I can? But hold on; fellows, don't let us fight about it. We are just the best six fellows on board, and if we have a mind to do so, we can have this thing all our own way," continued Shuffles.
"I don't see how," said Philip Sanborn.
"Don't you know how the politicians manage these things?"
"I'll tell you, then."
"But the principal said we must go according to merit, and elect the fellows who were the best fitted for the offices," interposed Howe.
"Exactly so; that's just what we are going to do. I'm going to be captain; can you tell me of any better fellow for the place?" demanded Shuffles, who, putting aside the jesting manner in which he had commenced the discussion, now assumed an earnest and impudent tone.
"Didn't you hear what Lowington said when he wound up his speech?" asked Wilton.
"About vetoing our choice if it was not a proper one."
"What of it?" asked Shuffles, innocently.
"Don't you think he would veto you?"
"Me! Not he! Lowington knows that I'm smart; I was too smart for him once, and he knows it. He won't veto me. We have been the best of friends lately."
"I don't believe he'll have a chance to veto you," said Wilton.
"What do you mean?"
"I don't believe you will be elected."
"I know I shall, if we manage it right. Let us look at it," continued Shuffles, as he took a pencil from his pocket. "Got a piece of paper?"
Monroe gave him a piece of paper, and the wire-puller began to make his calculations.
"Eighty-seven votes," said he, writing the number on the paper. "Necessary to a choice, forty-four. Here are six votes to start with."
"For whom?" asked Monroe.
"For me, for captain, first, and for each of the others for whatever place he wants; say for Wilton for first lieutenant; Howe for second, Sanborn for third, Monroe for fourth, and Adler for first master. What do you say to that, fellows?"
As with the political "slate," there was some difference of opinion in regard to the minor officers, even after Shuffles' claim to the captaincy had been conceded But this disposition of the spoils was finally agreed to.
"Now we want thirty-eight more votes," Shuffles proceeded.
"Just so; and you might as well attempt to jump over the main royal yard as to get them," added Adler, who, having been assigned to the office lowest in rank, was least satisfied with the "slate."
"Hold on; we haven't done yet. There are nine more offices. Now we will pick out some good fellow that will work for us, for each of these places; then we will promise him six votes if he will go our ticket, and do what he can for us."
"That will give us only fifteen votes," said Adler.
"I think that will be doing very well to start with. Then you five fellows can electioneer for me, and I'll do the same for you."
"I think we have made one mistake," added Sanborn. "Most of the fellows will go for Carnes for captain. He is an old salt, and has more influence than any other student in the ship. We ought to offer him some place."
"Make him purser, if you like," said Shuffles, contemptuously.
"That won't go down. Make him first lieutenant."
"And shove me out?" demanded Wilton, indignantly. "I don't see it!"
"Nor I," added Shuffles. "I won't vote for Carnes, any how. He's a snob and a flunky."
It was useless to resist the fiat of the chief wire-puller; the ticket remained as it had been originally prepared; and the young gentlemen proceeded to distribute the rest of the offices.
THE ENSIGN AT THE PEAK.
The students on board of the Young America were between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. By the regulations, no boy under fourteen or over seventeen could be admitted, and they averaged about fifteen. They had, therefore, reached the years of discretion. Among them were a great many who were disposed to be wild boys, and not a few who had found it difficult to remain in similar institutions on shore. They were not criminal or depraved, but simply wild; with a tendency to break through reasonable restraint; with a taste for mad pranks, and a contempt for authority.
Of this class, who were a trial and a torment to the teachers of the ordinary high schools and academies, the larger proportion would have scorned to steal, or commit any wanton outrage upon the persons or property of others. There were many high-minded, noble-hearted young men, who could not tamely submit to authority, and were prone to insubordination, and who only needed the right kind of discipline to make them earnest and faithful men and useful citizens. There were few, if any, dunces or blockheads among them, for a life on shipboard had no attractions for such boys. They were, almost without an exception, wide-awake, bold, daring fellows, who had a taste for stirring events; fellows who wanted to climb the Rocky Mountains, visit the North Pole, and explore the Mammoth Cave. They were full of fun and mischief and it would have been easy at any time to get up a party among them to march the principal's cow into the parlor of the Academy; to climb to the belfry on a winter's night, and fill the inverted bell with water, where it would freeze solid before morning; or to convey the occupants of the hen-coop to the recitation room.
It was Mr. Lowington's task to repress the mischief in these boys, to keep them occupied with work and play, and to develop their moral and mental capacities. He had doubtless taken a heavy load upon himself but he felt that he was to labor for his race and his country. At least one half of his students were too wild to attend the ordinary public or private schools, or to profit by them if admitted. With such material, his work could not be a sinecure. But he had a taste for it, and he gave his whole heart and soul to the performance of his duties.
When the students were gathered on board the Young America, they were mostly strangers to him, though he had communicated personally or by letter with the parents of all of them. He had read and listened to the stories of their pranks and peccadilloes, but when they came together, he hardly knew one from another, and was not prejudiced against any individual by the terrible accounts of him related by parents, guardians, or teachers. He purposed to give them the opportunity to select their own officers at first, in order to win a more cheerful obedience from them, and because the students knew each other better than he knew them.
After the announcement of the principal that the voting would commence on the following morning, nothing else was talked of on board. The qualifications of various members of the school were discussed by groups of excited voters; and we must do them the justice to say that most of them considered the matter unselfishly and with a single eye to the public good. Perhaps it is a little remarkable that not a single student, outside of the little group of wire-pullers that gathered in the steerage, thought of Shuffles for the position of captain; and the "log-rollers" were likely to have up-hill work in electing themselves to the six principal offices. But they went to work, and labored very diligently till bed-time in carrying their point.
While none thought of Shuffles in connection with the highest position, many mentioned the dignified young gentleman, who had made one voyage up the Mediterranean—Richard Carnes. He had been on board a fortnight, and had won and retained the respect of all his companions.
Before the little band of wire-pullers in the steerage had made up the "slate" to suit their minds, the crowd on deck had agreed upon Richard Carnes for captain, and were busy in discussing the qualifications of others for the subordinate offices, when the log-rollers separated, and went to work upon their mission.
"How are you going to vote for captain, Kendall?" said Wilton, stopping up to the young gentleman who had proposed so many questions to the principal, and who had been so honest in confessing his ignorance of nautical matters.
"For Carnes, of course."
"Humph! I wouldn't vote for him," sneered the wire-puller.
"He's too stiff; he'll put on airs, and be a tyrant over us."
"No, he won't."
"You see if he don't. I say, Kendall, are you up for any office?" continued Wilton, with a certain appearance of slyness which the straightforward young gentleman did not exactly like.
"Yes, you. Wouldn't you like a room in the after cabin?"
"Perhaps I would," answered Kendall, thoughtfully; and the place was certainly very inviting to him.
"They say the after cabin is a perfect little palace."
"I dare say it is."
"You can just as well go in there, if you like."
"I don't see how that can be. I don't think I'm fit to be an officer. I am from Cincinnati, and I never saw a ship till I came east three weeks ago."
"None of the fellows know anything about a ship. All of us will have to learn."
"Carnes knows all about one."
"No, he don't. He made one voyage, and knows just enough to talk salt. He's a good fellow enough, but he isn't fit for captain. If you want to be an officer, Kendall, and have a berth in the after cabin, you can, just as well as not."
"Well, I would like such a place; I can't deny it; but I don't think the fellows will go for me."
"They will, if you say so."
"If I say so! I'm not going to ask them to vote for me," replied Kendall, warmly; for he was no politician and had a vein of modesty in his composition.
"You needn't say a word to any one. If you will go for our ticket, it will be all right. Half a dozen of us have talked this matter over, and we have concluded that you would be the best fellow for second master."
"Have you?" asked Kendall, who could not help being gratified to learn that even half a dozen of his companions had thought him worthy to be an officer of so high a rank as second master. "I'm very much obliged to you."
"All you have to do, is to go for our ticket."
"What do you mean by your ticket?" demanded Kendall, who was rather confused by the technical terms of the wire-puller.
Wilton explained that his little party had selected a candidate for each of the offices; and if all the fellows agreed to it, there would be fifteen votes for their ticket, to begin with.
"Well, what is your ticket?" demanded Kendall, impatiently. "If they are all good fellows, I will go for them. Of course you mean to vote for Carnes for captain."
"Not exactly," replied Wilton, with evident disgust. "We shall put up a better fellow than he is for captain."
"Why, all the boys are going for him," added Kendall, astonished to find there were any who did not believe in Carnes.
"No, they are not."
"I thought they were."
"He will not be elected, and you need not throw your vote away upon him, because, if you don't want a place in the after cabin, there are plenty of fellows who do," added the wire-puller, with apparent indifference.
"But I do want it."
"Then all you have to do, is to go for our ticket."
"I think Carnes will make the best captain."
"Very well; if you think so, you have a right to your own opinion. I haven't any mortgage on it."
"Whom are you going to run for captain?"
"It's no use to talk any more about it, if you are going for Carnes," replied Wilton, as he turned to move away.
The wire-puller was playing a part. Paul Kendall was a noble little fellow, and was already a great favorite on board, not only with the boys, but with the principal and the professors. Wilton knew that he had a great deal of influence, and it was important to secure him for their ticket. If he could tell others that Kendall was going for their men, it would induce many to join their party. The "favorite," though he was an honest, noble-hearted fellow, was still human, and a berth in the after cabin was a strong temptation to him.
"I'm not going to say I'll vote for a fellow till I know who he is," added Kendall. "If he's the right person, perhaps I'll go for him, though I wanted to see Carnes captain."
"Carnes can't be elected, I tell you. We are going against him."
"Whom are you going for, then?"
"For Bob Shuffles," replied Wilton, desperately, for he did not wish to mention his candidate till he had won the assent of his companion.
"Shuffles!" exclaimed Kendall, with something like horror mingled with his astonishment; "I shall not go for him, anyhow."
"I don't think he is the right person for the place."
"I do; he's a first-rate fellow—none of your milk and water chaps, that swallow camels and strain at gnats."
Kendall had some decided objections to Shuffles, and he positively refused to vote for him, even to obtain the coveted position in the after cabin. Wilton argued the matter with much skill and cunning; but his logic and his eloquence were both wasted.
"Well, if you won't go for Shuffles, you must be content with your place in the steerage," added Wilton.
"I won't go for him, any how," said Kendall, firmly.
"You are making a mistake."
"I don't think so. I'm bound to vote for the best fellow, and I'm sure Shuffles isn't the right one."
"See here, Kendall; don't say a word to the others that I spoke to you of this little matter. I thought you would go with us, or I shouldn't have said anything to you."
"Not say anything? Why not?"
"Because it will be better to keep still."
"I shall not do anything of the kind. You have got up a plan to defeat Carnes, by giving the offices to fellows who will vote against him. You wish me to keep still, while you carry out your plan. I can see through a cord of wood, when there's a hole big enough."
"I mentioned this thing to you in confidence."
"You didn't say a word about confidence; and I didn't promise to keep still. I won't keep still. I think it is a mean trick to buy up the votes of the fellows, and I'll blow the whole thing higher than a kite."
"You'll catch it if you do," said Wilton, in a threatening tone.
"Catch what?" demanded Kendall, with a very pretty exhibition of dignity.
"Bob Shuffles will give it to you."
"Give what to me?"
"Give you the biggest licking you ever had in your life," answered Wilton, angrily, "You are so stupid, you can't understand anything."
"I think I can understand the licking, when if comes. That's a game that two can play at."
"What do you mean, you little bantam? Do you think you can whip Bob Shuffles?"
"I had no idea of whipping him; and I have no idea of his whipping me, either."
Kendall was spunky. Wilton could make nothing of him by threats or persuasion; and he turned away from him to seek a more promising field of labor. Kendall took off his cap, scratched his head as he reflected upon the event which had just transpired, and made up his mind that it was an insult to an independent elector to attempt to buy his vote with the paltry consideration of an office. He was sorry that he had been even tempted by the proposition of the wire-pullers, and thankful that his sense of honor and decency had prompted him to decline it when asked to vote for an improper person. True to his promise, he made all haste to expose the conspiracy, as he regarded it, against Carnes.
When the students turned in that night, the wire-pullers had found a sufficient number of candidates for all the offices on the terms set forth in the compact, each of whom had promised to use his influence for the entire ticket. Shuffles had made a very pretty calculation, to the effect that each of the fifteen candidates could influence at least two votes besides his own for the ticket, which would inevitably elect it. But during all this time Paul Kendall had been laboring like a Trojan for Carnes, and had induced his friends to do the same.
At nine-o'clock in the morning, the polls were opened for the election of officers. A box was placed on the fife-rail, at the mainmast, in which the ballots were deposited, under the inspection of Professor Mapps.
"Have all the students voted?" called the professor, when the voting was suspended. "If so, I declare the poll closed."
It was a moment of intense excitement on the spar deck of the Young America when Mr. Lowington stood up on the hatch to announce the vote. There was a pleasant smile upon his face, which indicated that it would not be his painful duty to veto the choice of the independent electors.
"Young gentlemen, your balloting appears to have been conducted with entire fairness," said he, "and I will proceed to declare the result. Whole number of votes, eighty-seven; necessary to a choice, forty-four. Paul Kendall has five; Charles Gordon has seven; Robert Shuffles has twenty-two; Richard Carnes has fifty-three, and is elected captain of the Young America for the succeeding three months."
The party who had worked and voted for Carnes applauded the result most lustily, and gave three cheers for the new captain, which, on this exciting occasion, were not objected to by the principal. Shuffles's jaw dropped down, and his lip quivered with angry emotion.
"That little whipper-snapper of a Kendall did that," said Wilton, in a low tone, to the disappointed candidate. "I was afraid of this when I saw him blowing about the deck."
"I'll settle it with him when I get a good chance," growled Shuffles, as he went to the rail and looked over into the water, in order to conceal his disappointment and chagrin.
"Young gentlemen will bring in their votes for first lieutenant," said Professor Mapps, as he placed the box on the fife-rail again.
The boys marched around the mainmast, and deposited their ballots for the second officer, as they had done before. The friends of Shuffles rallied again, hoping that something might yet come of the compact they had made with him, and gave him their votes for first lieutenant, though, in his chagrin, he declared that he would not accept the position. Fortunately for him, he was not called upon to do so; for Charles Gordon was elected by a very large majority. As the election proceeded, it became evident that there was no office for Shuffles. Paul Kendall was elected fourth lieutenant and the announcement of the vote was greeted by even more hearty applause than had been bestowed upon the captain.
At the conclusion of the balloting, Shuffles found that not a single one of the wire-pullers, or of the candidates nominated by them, had been elected. The attempt to bribe the independent voters, by giving them office, had been a signal failure; and it is to be hoped that Young America, when fully developed, will stick to his principles.
"Captain Richard Carnes," said Mr. Lowington, as he stepped upon the hatch, after the voting had been concluded.
The young gentleman thus addressed came forward, blushing beneath the honors which had been bestowed upon him. The principal took his hand.
"Captain Carnes, I congratulate you upon your election to the highest office in the gift of your companions; and I congratulate your fellow-students also upon having so good a young man to handle the ship. You have been modest, and they have been wise. I congratulate you both. Young gentlemen, I am satisfied that your captain will be just, courteous, and gentlemanly, in his relations with you; and I hope you will yield a willing and cheerful obedience to his orders, and to those of all your superiors. Let me say that this business is not a farce; it is not mere boys' play; for as soon as the officers and crew are fully trained and instructed, all ship duty will be carried on without assistance from me or others. When necessary, I shall advise the captain what to do, but I shall not do it myself; neither shall I needlessly interfere with the discipline of the ship.
"This is the last time an election of officers will be permitted, for it is liable to many objections, not the least of which are the bribery and corruption by which some have attempted to obtain office."
Mr. Lowington looked at Shuffles, as though he knew all about the method to which he had resorted to secure an election; but we are quite sure that Paul Kendall had never lisped a word of it to him, or to any of the instructors.
"On the first day of July, young gentlemen, all the offices will be vacant; and they will be awarded strictly in accordance with the marks you may obtain. There will be no veto upon the result of the merit roll. These places, therefore, are open to all. We have no aristocracy on board. Every student in the ship is a candidate for the captaincy. Now, if the officers elect will follow me to the after cabin, I will install them into their new positions; after which I will proceed to organize the crew."
The door of the after cabin, which had hitherto been a mystery to all the boys, was unlocked by the head steward, and Mr. Lowington, followed by the officers, entered. The students on deck were ordered forward, and were not even permitted to look down the companion-way, for the principal intended to keep the after cabin exclusively for the officers; and no one not entitled to admission was to be allowed to cross its threshold. He believed that this mystery, and this rigid adherence to the division line between officers and crew, would promote the discipline of the ship, and enhance the value of the offices—the prizes for good conduct, and general fidelity to duty.
"Captain Carnes, this is your state room," continued Mr. Lowington, opening the door of the room farthest forward on the starboard side. "As the commander of the ship you are entitled to an apartment by yourself."
"Thank you, sir," replied the captain, as he stepped into the room.
"You will find on the hooks your uniform as captain. There are three suits, from which you will select one that fits you."
Captain Carnes entered and closed the door. If he did not feel like a king, he ought to have felt so.
Mr. Lowington then gave the next room to the first and second lieutenants, who were to occupy it together; and they were also directed to clothe themselves in the uniforms deposited there for their use. The third state room was given to the third and fourth lieutenants, and the fourth to the first and second midshipmen. The forward room of the port side was assigned to the first and second masters; the next to the third and fourth; the third to the two pursers, and the last to the third and fourth midshipmen.
In a short time the officers came out of their rooms clothed in their uniforms, which consisted of a blue frock coat, with brass buttons, and blue pants. The cap was of the same material, with a gold band around it. Thus far the uniforms were all alike; but there were distinguishing insignia to indicate the rank of each. All the officers had shoulder-straps, by which their positions were designated. The captain had two anchors; the first lieutenant had one anchor, with four stars, one above, one below, and one on each side; the second lieutenant had the anchor with three stars—none above; the third lieutenant, one star on each side of the anchor; and the fourth lieutenant one star below the anchor. The captain also wore five narrow gold bands on each of his coat sleeves; the first lieutenant four, and so on, the fourth wearing but one band.
The shoulder-straps of the masters contained no anchor; only the stars, one for each grade, the first master having four stars; the fourth only one. The rank of the pursers was indicated by the outline of a parallelogram for the second, and two of the same figure, one within the other, for the first. The straps of the midshipmen contained gilt numbers, from one to four, designating their grade.
The officers presented a very elegant and dashing appearance in their new uniform; and if some of them did not feel a little vain, it was because they were less human than boys usually are.
"What are we to do, sir?" asked Kendall of the principal, after the uniforms had been duly criticised.
"Nothing, at present."
"Nothing! Why, I feel like a counterfeit gold dollar, in this rig, when I know no more about a ship than I do about the inside of the moon."
"You will learn in due time. You will go on deck now, young gentlemen; and remember that, as officers, you are not to be familiar with the crew while you are on duty."
"Can't we speak to them?" asked Kendall, who was not disposed to be so exclusive as naval discipline required him to be.
"Not while you are on duty, except when it is necessary to do so. We will now assign the berths in the steerage to the crew."
As the boys came on board, they had taken the berths as they pleased. Shuffles had selected a room, and invited his "cronies" to occupy the bunks it contained with him. The berths were now to be distributed by lot. Professor Mapps had provided seventy-two slips of paper, on each of which he had written a number. The boys were mustered into line, and drew out these numbers from the package. As each student drew his slip, the purser wrote down his name in a book, with the number he had drawn.
In the steerage, each berth had its own number, which was also applied to a locker, and a seat at one of the mess tables. When the drawing was completed each student had his berth, his clothes locker, and his seat at meals. Many of them were extremely dissatisfied when they found that they had been separated from their "cronies;" but the principal was firm, and would not allow a single change to be made.
By this time it was twelve o'clock, and Boatswain Peaks piped all hands to muster. The ensign was hoisted, and saluted with three cheers, in which all hands, young and old, joined. When this ceremony was finished, the crew were piped to dinner, and the officers went to their cabin, where the steward had set the table for them for the first time. They dined like lords, though upon the same fare as their companions in the steerage.
OFFICERS AND SEAMEN.
After dinner the organization of the crew was continued. All hands were "piped to muster," and by this time most of those who had been disaffected at the drawing of berths had recovered their natural equanimity, and all were intensely interested in the arrangement of the details. None of the boys knew what was coming, and their curiosity kept them in a continuous state of excitement.
"All who have drawn even numbers will take the starboard side of the ship," said Mr. Lowington from his perch on the hatch. "All who have drawn odd numbers will take the port side."
"This is the starboard side, my lads," added Mr. Fluxion, the instructor in mathematics—who, like the principal, had been a naval officer,—as he pointed to the right, looking forward.
Some had already forgotten their numbers, and there was considerable confusion before the order could be obeyed.
"Young gentlemen, the books will be opened to-day; and a student who forgets his number again will lose a mark," said Mr. Lowington. "Are they all in their places, Mr. Fluxion?"
"They are, sir," replied the instructor, who had just counted them.
"Young gentlemen, you are thus divided into two equal parts—the starboard and the port watches. Now form a straight line, toe the crack, and call your numbers in order, beginning with the starboard watch."
The boys eagerly followed this direction, though some assistance was required from the instructors in repressing their superfluous enthusiasm.
"Very well," continued Mr. Lowington, when the students were formed in two lines. "Every boy in the starboard watch whose number is divisible by four, step forward one pace. Number three in the port watch, do the same. Mr. Mapps, oblige me by seeing that every alternate boy in the line steps forward."
"The line is formed, sir," replied the instructor, when he had carried out the direction of the principal.
"Each watch is now divided into two parts—the first and second parts, as they will be called. Now, young gentlemen, the clothing will be distributed, and each student will put on his uniform at once."
The four lines were then marched down into the steerage, each under the charge of an instructor, to a particular locality, where the head steward and his assistants had deposited the clothing for each watch and quarter watch. The uniform consisted of blue seaman's pants and a heavy flannel shirt or frock, such as is worn in the United States navy. To each student the following articles were served out:—
1 pea-jacket. 1 blue cloth jacket. 1 pair blue cloth pants. 1 pair blue satinet pants. 1 blue cap. 1 straw hat, of coarse, sewed straw. 1 Panama hat, bound. 2 knit woollen shirts. 2 pair knit woollen drawers. 2 white frocks. 2 pair white duck pants. 4 pair socks. 2 pair shoes. 2 black silk neck-handkerchiefs.
These articles were given to the boys, and they were required to put on the every-day uniform; after which they were directed to arrange the rest of the clothing in the lockers belonging to them. The contractor who had furnished the goods was present with four tailors, to attend to the fitting of the clothes, which were all numbered according to the size. In a short time the students began to come out of their rooms, clothed in their new rig. They looked intensely "salt," and there was no end to the jokes and smart things that were said on this interesting occasion. Even Shuffles hardly knew himself in his new dress.
The frock had a broad rolling collar, in each corner of which was worked an anchor in white. The black silk neck-handkerchief was worn under the collar, and not many of the boys had acquired the art of tying the regular sailor's knot. Boatswain Peaks not only stood up as a model for them, but he adjusted the "neck gear" for many of them. Bitts, the carpenter, and Leech, the sailmaker, who were also old sailors, cheerfully rendered a valet's assistance to such as needed help.
Agreeably to the directions of Mr. Lowington, the shore suits of the students were done up in bundles, each marked with the owner's name, and the head steward took them to Mr. Lowington's house for storage.
Rigged out in their "sea togs," the students began to feel salt, as well as to look salt. Some of them tried to imitate the rolling gait of the boatswain when they walked, and some of them began to exhibit an alarming tendency to indulge in sea slang.
"There, my hearty, you look like a sailor now," said Peaks, when he had rolled over the collar and tied the square knot in the handkerchief of Wilton.
"Shiver my timbers, but I feel like one," laughed the embryo seaman.
"What's that, young gentleman?" demanded Mr. Lowington, who happened to be within hearing; "what did you say?"
"I said I felt like a sailor, sir."
"What was the expression you used?"
"I only said shiver my timbers, sir."
"You stole that expression from a yellow-covered novel. Did you ever hear Mr. Peaks, who has been a sailor all his lifetime, use such language?"
"I'll be bound he never did," added Peaks.
"No, sir. I don't know that I ever did."
"Some sailors do use such expressions; but it is gross affectation for these young gentlemen, who never saw a blue wave, to indulge in them. If you please, Wilton, you will not use such language. It is simply ridiculous. Mr. Peaks, you will pipe all hands to muster again."
The shrill whistle of the boatswain sounded through the ship, and the boys tumbled up the ladders, eager to learn what was to be done next. As they formed in lines, they presented a novel and picturesque appearance in their jaunty uniform. Most of them had already learned to wear their caps canted over on one side, and not a few of them, perhaps as much from necessity as because it was a sailor's habit, hitched up their trousers, and thrust their hands deep down into the side pockets.
The students were again formed in watches and quarter watches, each of which classes and sub-classes was indicated on the uniforms. All the starboard watch wore a small silver star on the right arm, above the elbow, and the port watch the same emblem on the left arm. The first part of each watch had a figure 1, under the star, and the second part a figure 2 in the same position.
The rest of the day was spent in the organization for ship's duty, which was far from completed when the sun went down. The next day every boy was kept so busy that he had no time to grumble. The instructors attended to the lessons in the steerage with one watch, while the other was on deck acquiring seamanship. In the course of the month, as the boys learned their duties, and the capabilities of each were ascertained, they were assigned to their stations in the various evolutions required in working the vessel.
Boatswain Peaks had taught the boys, a few at a time, how to set a sail, reef and furl it. They had been gradually accustomed to going aloft, until the giddy height of the main royal did not appall them, and they could lay out on the yards without thinking of the empty space beneath them. By the first of June, all the petty officers had been appointed, and every student had his station billet. When the order was given to unmoor ship, to make sail, or to furl the sails, every one knew where to go and what to do. The station billets were cards on which the various evolutions of the ship had been printed in a column on the left, while the particular duty of the owner of the card was written against it. The card was kept by the student, and he was expected to learn its contents so that he could take his place without stopping to consult it, when an order was given. Here is a specimen of the cards:—
- PORT WATCH, NO 21, WILLIAM FOSTER, Second Part. Captain of the Forecastle. + REEFING. Head Bowlines. TACKING OR WEARING. Forecastle. Let go head bowlines. Let go and shorten in foretack and belay it. GETTING UNDER WAY. Head Bowlines. Downhauls and head-sheets. ANCHORING. Head Bowlines, Sheets and Tacks. Downhauls. LOOSING SAILS. Foretopmast Staysail. FURLING. Head Bowlines and Downhauls, Staysail. MOORING AND UNMOORING. Forecastle. BOAT. Professor's Barge, stroke-oar. MESS. No. 11. +
The crew had been in training a month before an attempt was made to set more than one sail at once; but by this time the officers knew the orders, having practised every day since the organization. The petty officers had been appointed, and had, to some extent, become familiar with their duties.
The boys still continued to wonder when the Young America would go on a cruise, for they were very anxious to see the blue water, and to roll on the great waves of the Atlantic; but they were so constantly occupied with ship's duty and their studies, that the time did not hang heavily on their hands. Two months of constant practice had made tolerable seamen of them, and the discipline of the ship went on regularly. The young officers, as Mr. Lowington had promised, began to conduct the evolutions and give the orders.
On the 1st day of June, after breakfast, the students were thrown into a fever of excitement by an unusual order, and they ventured to hope that the ship was to leave her moorings.
"Mr. Gordon, you will pipe all hands to muster," said Captain Carnes to the first lieutenant.
"Pass the word for the boatswain," added Gordon to one of the midshipmen, who stood near him.
This call was answered, not by Peaks, who no longer performed the duties of boatswain, but by one of the students, who had been appointed to this position.
"Pipe all hands to muster, boatswain," said the first lieutenant, as the petty officer touched his cap to him.
"All hands on deck, ahoy!" shouted the boatswain, as he piped the call.
This was an unusual order for that time of day, the forenoon being appropriated to study for each watch in turn; and those who were below hastened on deck to ascertain what was to be done.
"All hands, stations for loosing sail!" piped the boatswain, when ordered to do so by Gordon.
The first lieutenant was in charge of the ship, under the direction of the captain. The second lieutenant stood on the forecastle, where he was attended by the boatswain. The third lieutenant was in the waist, and the fourth on the quarter deck, near the mizzenmast. These were the stations of the officers whenever all hands were called. Mr. Lowington and the instructors stood near the companion-way, watching with interest this first attempt to make sail all over the ship.
"Lay aloft, sail-loosers!" shouted Gordon; and his order was repeated by the officers at their several stations.
The little tars who belonged on the topsail and top-gallant yards sprang up the rigging like so many cats, excited beyond measure by the scene of activity around them.
"Lower yardmen in the chains!" continued Gordon and his order was passed, along by the officers. "Aloft, lower yardmen!"
In a moment the crew were in their places; the studding-sail booms were triced up with the usual system, so that the sails could be reached.
"Lay out!" continued the first lieutenant; and the boys walked out on the foot-ropes to their stations on the yards. "Loose!"
The ropes by which the sails were secured to the yards were removed at this order, and the topmen held the sails in their places.
"All ready on the forecastle, sir," reported Foster, who was captain of that part of the ship.
"All ready in the foretop."
"All ready in the maintop."
"All ready in the mizzentop," reported the several captains of the tops, in their proper order.
These reports were passed to the first lieutenant in charge of the deck, by his subordinates.
"Let fall!" shouted Gordon, highly excited; and the sails dropped from the yard. "Overhaul your rigging aloft! Man sheets and halyards! Sheets home, and hoist away!"
These orders were passed from mouth to mouth among the officers, and return reports made, according to the strict discipline of the navy. They were promptly executed by the crew, though of course not without some blunders; and the Young America was covered with her cloud of canvas. Mr. Lowington commended the officers and crew for the promptness and skill they had displayed in their first concerted attempt at making sail. He then directed Captain Carnes to furl. Both evolutions were then repeated, until a proficiency satisfactory for one day was attained.
"Not going to sea, after all," said Shuffles, when the crew were dismissed from muster.
"No," replied Wilton. "I'm tired of lying here, and if we don't go to sea soon, I shall take myself off."
"I'm with you."
"I thought we were going to have some fun on board, but we don't do anything but study and shake out topsails."
"Do you know how you stand on marks, Wilton?" asked Shuffles.
"No; not very high, though."
"Don't you think you shall get into the cabin next term?"
"I know I shall not. I haven't tried for anything."
"On the first of next month, you know, new officers will be appointed, and I suppose the crew will be messed over again."
"I don't care, I'm getting tired of this thing, I had a better time at the Academy before we came on board."
"There isn't much chance for any sport. Hardly a fellow has been allowed to go on shore since we joined the ship."
"Well get up a mutiny, if things don't improve."
"I was thinking of that very thing myself," said Shuffles, in a low tone.
"A mutiny!" exclaimed Wilton, who had used the word in jest.
"Just for fum, you know," laughed Shuffles.
"You don't mean any such thing?"
"Not yet, of course."
"Do you at any time?"
"We want something more exciting than this kind of a life. Here we are, kept down and treated like common sailors. We have to touch our caps and make our manners to Dick Carnes and the rest of the flunkies in the after cabin. My father pays as much for me as Dick Carnes' father does for him, and I don't think it is fair that he should live in the cabin and I in the steerage."
"If you get marks enough, you can have a berth in the cabin," replied Wilton.
"Marks! Confound the marks! I'm not a baby. Do you think a fellow seventeen years old is going to be put up or put down by marks?" said Shuffles.
"I thought you had been working for a place in the cabin."
"So I have, but I don't expect to get it. I never studied so hard in my life, and I believe I haven't had a bad mark since I came on board, Lowington thinks I have reformed," laughed Shuffles. "And so I have."
"What do you want to get up a mutiny for, then?"
"I shall not, if I get a decent position; if I don't, I'm going in for some fun."
"But do you really think of getting up a mutiny?" asked Wilton, curiously.
"I was thinking the other day what a fine thing it would be if our fellows had the ship all to themselves."
"What could we do with her?"
"Go on a cruise in her."
"We couldn't handle her; there is hardly a fellow on board that knows anything about navigation."
"Of course, I don't mean to do anything yet a while; not this year, perhaps. One of these days, if we stay on board, we shall know all about a ship. Fifteen or twenty of the fellows are studying navigation. We are going to Europe some time or other. When we do, we can take the ship, and go it on our own hook."
"I don't believe you mean anything of the kind, Bob Shuffles."
"I've been thinking about it, anyhow. We can lock Lowington and the rest of the old folks into their cabin while they are at dinner; and there are enough of us to handle Peaks and Bitts."
"I think you are crazy, Shuffles."
"We should have a high old time if we could get possession of the ship. We wont say a word about it yet."
"I think you had better not."
"We might go round Cape Horn into the Pacific, and have a splendid time among the beautiful islands of the South Sea."
"Of course all the fellows wouldn't join you."
"We could put those ashore somewhere who did not agree with us."
"You know the penalty of mutiny on the high seas."
"Bah!" said Shuffles, contemptuously. "It would be nothing but it lark. No one would think of hanging us, or even sending us to prison for it. My father is rich enough to get me out of any scrape."
"So is mine; but I don't think it would be quite safe to go into a mutiny."
"Not yet, my dear fellow. You can think it over."
"But I'm tired of this kind of a life. I liked it first rate in the beginning. Do you think Lowington really intends to go to sea with the ship?"
"I know he does."
"If he don't go pretty soon, I shall run away, and go to sea in earnest."
"Don't say a word about the mutiny at present, Wilton. By and by, if things go right, or if they don't go right, we may want to take some stock in such an enterprise."
"I don't see it yet, but of course I shall keep still."
It is doubtful whether even so daring a young man as Shuffles, who had the temerity to do almost anything, seriously contemplated getting up a mutiny. Very likely his untamed and vicious imagination had revelled in such an enterprise; had pictured the delights of the rover's life at sea; but a boy of ordinary common sense could hardly think of engaging in such a mad scheme.
The last week of June, with which month ended the first school term on board of the Young America, was devoted to examinations and reviews in all the studies for which extra marks were given. On the last day the instructors made up the merit lists, and on the morning of the 1st of July all hands were mustered, and the result declared. Most of the officers, all of whom had studied with unremitting diligence in order to retain their positions, were reinstated in their offices. The third lieutenant, however, fell out, having failed in his reviews, and to the astonishment of all, Robert Shuffles was found to be entitled to the place. The first and second lieutenants exchanged ranks, and Paul Kendall fell to the position of second master. Three of the tenants of the after cabin were compelled to move into the steerage, and three of the crew were transferred to the officers' quarters.
Many were disappointed, and perhaps some were disheartened, for the competition had been a severe struggle; and as much depended upon natural ability as upon energy and perseverance. But the Young America was a world by herself. She had all the elements of society within her wooden walls, and success and failure there followed the same rules as in the great world of which she was an epitome.
After the officers had been duly installed in their positions, the petty offices were given to those having the highest number of marks among the crew. It was certainly democratic for the late third lieutenant to become captain of the foretop, and for a second master to become coxswain of the professors' barge; but these young gentlemen, though disappointed, submitted with a good grace to their misfortune.
The student having the highest number of marks among the crew was allowed to have the first choice of berths in the steerage; the one having the next highest number had the second choice, and so on, until all the numbers had been appropriated. At the conclusion of the reorganization, Mr. Lowington made a speech, "comforting the mourners," and reminding all the students that, on the 1st of October, there would be another distribution of the places of honor. He hoped those who had failed to attain what they aspired to reach would not be discouraged, for, after all, they had been gaining knowledge, and thus the real end of the school had been reached.
"How about the mutiny?" said Wilton to the new third lieutenant, when both were off duty in the evening.