THE YACHT CLUB SERIES.
* * * * *
THE YACHT CLUB;
THE YOUNG BOAT-BUILDER.
AUTHOR OF "YOUNG AMERICA ABROAD," "THE ARMY AND NAVY SERIES," "THE WOODVILLE STORIES," "THE STARRY FLAG SERIES," "THE BOAT CLUB STORIES," "THE LAKE SHORE SERIES," "THE UPWARD AND ONWARD SERIES," ETC., ETC.
WITH THIRTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS.
BOSTON: LEE AND SHEPARD, PUBLISHERS. NEW YORK: LEE, SHEPARD AND DILLINGHAM.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, BY WILLIAM T. ADAMS, In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
* * * * *
Brown Type-Setting Machine Company.
MY YOUNG FRIEND
CHARLES H. HASTINGS,
OF NEW YORK,
This Book is Affectionately Dedicated.
The Yacht Club Series.
1. LITTLE BOBTAIL; OR, THE WRECK OF THE PENOBSCOT.
2. THE YACHT CLUB; OR, THE YOUNG BOAT-BUILDER.
3. MONEY-MAKER; OR, THE VICTORY OF THE BASILISK.
4. THE COMING WAVE; OR, THE HIDDEN TREASURE OF HIGH ROCK.
5. THE DORCAS CLUB; OR, OUR GIRLS AFLOAT.
(The sixth in preparation.)
"THE YACHT CLUB" is the second volume of the YACHT CLUB SERIES, to which it gives a name; and like its predecessor, is an independent story. The hero has not before appeared, though some of the characters of "LITTLE BOBTAIL" take part in the incidents: but each volume may be read understandingly without any knowledge of the contents of the other. In this story, the interest centres in Don John, the Boat-builder, who is certainly a very enterprising young man, though his achievements have been more than paralleled in the domain of actual life.
Like the first volume of the series, the incidents of the story transpire on the waters of the beautiful Penobscot Bay, and on its shores. They include several yacht races, which must be more interesting to those who are engaged in the exciting sport of yachting, than to others. But the principal incidents are distinct from the aquatic narrative; and those who are not interested in boats and boating will find that Don John and Nellie Patterdale do not spend all their time on the water.
The hero is a young man of high aims and noble purposes: and the writer believes that it is unpardonable to awaken the interest and sympathy of his readers for any other than high-minded and well-meaning characters. But he is not faultless; he makes some grave mistakes, even while he has high aims. The most important lesson in morals to be derived from his experience is that it is unwise and dangerous for young people to conceal their actions from their parents and friends; and that men and women who seek concealment "choose darkness because their deeds are evil."
HARRISON SQUARE, BOSTON, May 22, 1873.
CHAPTER I. DON JOHN OF BELFAST, AND FRIENDS 11
CHAPTER II. ABOUT THE TIN BOX 28
CHAPTER III. THE YACHT CLUB AT TURTLE HEAD 46
CHAPTER IV. A SAD EVENT IN THE RAMSAY FAMILY 63
CHAPTER V. CAPTAIN SHIVERNOCK 81
CHAPTER VI. DONALD GETS THE JOB 99
CHAPTER VII. LAYING DOWN THE KEEL. 117
CHAPTER VIII. THE FIRST REGATTA. 135
CHAPTER IX. THE SKYLARK AND THE SEA FOAM. 153
CHAPTER X. THE LAUNCH OF THE MAUD. 171
CHAPTER XI. THE WHITE CROSS OF DENMARK. 189
CHAPTER XII. DONALD ANSWERS QUESTIONS. 207
CHAPTER XIII. MOONLIGHT ON THE JUNO. 226
CHAPTER XIV. CAPTAIN SHIVERNOCK'S JOKE. 244
CHAPTER XV. LAUD CAVENDISH TAKES CARE OF HIMSELF. 264
CHAPTER XVI. SATURDAY COVE. 283
CHAPTER XVII. THE GREAT RACE. 302
CHAPTER XVIII. THE HASBROOK OUTRAGE, AND OTHER MATTERS. 320
THE YACHT CLUB;
THE YOUNG BOAT-BUILDER.
DON JOHN OF BELFAST, AND FRIENDS.
"Why, Don John, how you frightened me!" exclaimed Miss Nellie Patterdale, as she sprang up from her reclining position in a lolling-chair.
It was an intensely warm day near the close of June, and the young lady had chosen the coolest and shadiest place she could find on the piazza of her father's elegant mansion in Belfast. She was as pretty as she was bright and vivacious, and was a general favorite among the pupils of the High School, which she attended. She was deeply absorbed in the reading of a story in one of the July magazines, which had just come from the post-office, when she heard a step near her. The sound startled her, it was so near; and, looking up, she discovered the young man whom she had spoken to close beside her. He was not Don John of Austria, but Donald John Ramsay of Belfast, who had been addressed by his companions simply as Don, a natural abbreviation of his first name, until he of Austria happened to be mentioned in the history recitation in school, when the whole class looked at Don, and smiled; some of the girls even giggled, and got a check for it; but the republican young gentleman became a titular Spanish hidalgo from that moment. Though he was the son of a boat-builder, by trade a ship carpenter, he was a good-looking, and gentlemanly fellow, and was treated with kindness and consideration by most of the sons and daughters of the wealthy men of Belfast, who attended the High School. It was hardly a secret that Don John regarded Miss Nellie with especial admiration, or that, while he was polite to all the young ladies, he was particularly so to her. It is a fact, too, that he blushed when she turned her startled gaze upon him on the piazza; and it is just as true that Miss Nellie colored deeply, though it may have been only the natural consequence of her surprise.
"I beg your pardon, Nellie; I did not mean to frighten you," replied Donald.
"I don't suppose you did, Don John; but you startled me just as much as though you had meant it," added she, with a pleasant smile, so forgiving that the young man had no fear of the consequences. "How terribly hot it is! I am almost melted."
"It is very warm," answered Donald, who, somehow or other, found it very difficult to carry on a conversation with Nellie; and his eyes seemed to him to be twice as serviceable as his tongue.
"It is dreadful warm."
And so they went on repeating the same thing over and over again, till there was no other known form of expression for warm weather.
"How in the world did you get to the side of my chair without my hearing you?" demanded Nellie, when it was evidently impossible to say anything more about the heat.
"I came up the front steps, and was walking around on the piazza to your father's library. I didn't see you till you spoke," replied Donald, reminded by this explanation that he had come to Captain Patterdale's house for a purpose. "Is Ned at home?"
"No; he has gone up to Searsport to stay over Sunday with uncle Henry."
"Has he? I'm sorry. Is your father at home?"
"He is in his library, and there is some one with him. Won't you sit down, Don John?"
"Thank you," added Donald, seating himself in a rustic chair. "It is very warm this afternoon."
Nellie actually laughed, for she was conscious of the difficulties of the situation—more so than her visitor. But we must do our hero—for such he is—the justice to say, that he did not refer to the exhausted topic with the intention of confining the conversation to it, but to introduce the business which had called him to the house.
"It is intensely hot, Don John," laughed Nellie.
"But I was going to ask you if you would not like to take a sail," said Donald, with a blush. "With your father, I mean," added he, with a deeper blush, as he realized that he had actually asked a girl to go out in a boat with him.
"I should be delighted to go, but I can't. Mother won't let me go on the water when the sun is out, it hurts my eyes so," answered Nellie; and the young man was sure she was very sorry she could not go.
"Perhaps we can go after sunset, then," suggested Donald. "I am sorry Ned is not at home; for his yacht is finished, and father says the paint is dry enough to use her. We are going to have a little trial trip in her over to Turtle Head, and, perhaps, round by Searsport."
"Is the Sea Foam really done?" asked Nellie, her eyes sparkling with delight.
"Yes, she is all ready, and father will deliver her to Ned on Monday, if everything works right about her. I thought some of your folks, especially Ned, would like to be in her on the first trip."
"I should, for one; but I suppose it is no use for me to think of it. My eyes are ever so much better, and I hope I shall be able to sail in the Sea Foam soon."
"I hope so, too. We expect she will beat the Skylark; father thinks she will."
"I don't care whether she does or not," laughed Nellie.
"Do you think I could see your father just a moment?" asked Donald. "I only want to know whether or not he will go with us."
"I think so; I will go and speak to him. Come in, Don John," replied Nellie, rising from her lolling-chair, and walking around the corner of the house to the front door.
Donald followed her. The elegant mansion was located on a corner lot, with a broad hall through the centre of it, on one side of which was the large drawing-room, and on the other the sitting and dining-rooms. At the end of the great hall was a door opening into the library, a large apartment, which occupied the whole of a one-story addition to the original structure. It had also an independent outside door, which opened upon the piazza; and opposite to it was a flight of steps, down to the gravel walk terminating at a gate on the cross street. People who came to see Captain Patterdale on business could enter at this gate, and go to the library without passing through the house. On the present occasion, a horse and wagon stood at the gate, which indicated to Miss Nellie that her father was engaged. This team had stood there for an hour, and Donald had watched it for half that time, waiting for the owner to leave, though he was not at all anxious to terminate the interview with his fair schoolmate.
Nellie knocked at the library door, and her father told her to come in. She passed in, while Donald waited the pleasure of the rich man in the hall.
He was invited to enter. Captain Patterdale was evidently bored by his visitor, and gave the young man a cordial greeting. Donald stated his business very briefly; but the captain did not say whether he would or would not go upon the trial trip of the Sea Foam. He asked a hundred questions about the new yacht, and it was plain that he did not care to resume the conversation with his visitor, who walked nervously about the room, apparently vexed at the interruption, and dissatisfied thus far with the result of his interview with the captain.
What would have appeared to be true to an observer was actually so. The visitor was one Jacob Hasbrook, from a neighboring town, and his reputation for honesty and fair dealings was not the best in the world. Captain Patterdale held his note, without security, for thirteen hundred and fifty dollars. Hasbrook had property, but his creditors were never sure of him till they were paid. At the present interview he had astonished Captain Patterdale by paying the note in full, with interest, on the day it became due. But it was soon clear enough to the rich man that the payment was only a "blind" to induce him to embark in a doubtful speculation with Hasbrook. The nature and immense profits of the enterprise had been eloquently set forth by the visitor, and his own capacity to manage it enlarged upon; but the nabob, who had made his fortune by hard work, was utterly wanting in enthusiasm. He had received the money in payment of his note, which he had expected to lose, or to obtain only after resorting to legal measures, and he was fully determined to have nothing more to do with the man. He had said all this as mildly as he could; but Hasbrook was persistent, and probably felt that in paying an honest debt he had thrown away thirteen hundred and fifty dollars.
He would not go, though Captain Patterdale gave him sufficient excuse for doing so, or even for cutting his acquaintance. The rich man continued to talk with Don John, to the intense disgust of the speculator, who stood looking at a tin box, painted green, which lay on a chair. Perhaps he looked upon this box as the grave of his hopes; for it contained the money he had just paid to the captain—the wasted money, because the rich man would not embark with him in his brilliant enterprise, though he had taken so much pains, and parted with so much money, to prove that he was an honest man. He appeared to be interested in the box, and he looked at it all the time, with only an impatient glance occasionally at the nabob, who appeared to be trifling with his bright hopes. The tin chest was about nine inches each way, and contained the private papers and other valuables of the rich man, including, now, the thirteen hundred and fifty dollars just received.
Captain Patterdale was president of the Twenty-first National Bank of Belfast, which was located a short distance from his house. The tin box was kept in the vaults of the bank; but the owner had taken it home to examine some documents at his leisure, intending to return it to the bank before night. As it was in the library when Mr. Hasbrook called, the money was deposited in it for safe keeping over night.
"I'm afraid I can't go with you, Donald," said Captain Patterdale, after he had asked him all the questions he could think of about the Sea Foam.
"I am sorry, sir; for Miss Nellie wanted to go, and I was going to ask father to wait till after sunset on her account," added the young man.
Mr. Hasbrook began to look hopeful; for the last remark of the nabob indicated a possible termination of the conversation. Donald began his retreat toward the hall of the mansion, for he wanted to see the fair daughter again; but he had not reached the door before the captain called him back.
"I suppose your father wants some more money to-night," said he, feeling in his pocket for the key to open the tin box.
"He didn't say anything to me about it, sir," replied Donald; "I don't think he does."
Hasbrook looked hopeless again; for Captain Patterdale began to calculate how much he had paid, and how much more he was to pay, for the yacht. While he was doing so, there was a knock at the street door, and, upon being invited to do so, Mr. Laud Cavendish entered the library with a bill in his hand.
Mr. Laud Cavendish was a great man in his own estimation, and a great swell in the estimation of everybody else. He was a clerk or salesman in a store; but he was dressed very elegantly for a provincial city like Belfast, and for a "counter-jumper" on six or eight dollars a week. He was about eighteen years old, tall, and rather slender. His upper lip was adorned with an incipient mustache, which had been tenderly coaxed and colored for two years, without producing any prodigious result, though it was the pride and glory of the owner. Mr. Cavendish was a dreamy young gentleman, who believed that the Fates had made a bad mistake in his case, inasmuch as he was the son of an honest and industrious carpenter, instead of the son and heir of one of the nabobs of Belfast. He believed that he was fitted to adorn the highest circle in society, to shine among the aristocracy of the city, and it was a cruel shame that he should be compelled to work in a store, weigh out tea and sugar, carry goods to the elegant mansions where he ought to be admitted at the front, instead of the back, door, collect bills, and perform whatever other service might be required of him. The Fates had blundered and conspired against him; but he was not without hope that the daughter of some rich man, who might fall in love with him and his mustache, would redeem him from his slavery to an occupation he hated, and lift him up to the sphere where he belonged. Laud was "soaring after the infinite," and so he rather neglected the mundane and practical, and his employer did not consider him a very desirable clerk.
Mr. Laud Cavendish came with a bill in his hand, the footing of which was the sum due his employer for certain necessary articles just delivered at the kitchen door of the elegant mansion. Captain Patterdale opened the tin box, and took therefrom some twenty dollars to pay the bill, which Laud receipted. Mr. Hasbrook hoped he would go, and that Don John would go; and perhaps they would have gone if a rather exciting event had not occurred to detain them.
"Father! father!" exclaimed Miss Nellie, rushing into the library.
"What's the matter, Nellie?" demanded her father, calmly; for he had long been a sea captain, and was used to emergencies.
"Michael has just dropped down in a fit!" gasped Nellie.
"Where is he?"
"In the yard."
Captain Patterdale, followed by his three visitors, rushed through the hall, out at the front door, near which the unfortunate man had fallen, and, with the assistance of his companions, lifted him from the ground. Michael was the hired man who took care of the horses, and kept the grounds around the elegant mansion in order. He was raking the gravel walk near the piazza where Nellie was laboring to keep cool. As we have hinted before, and as Nellie and Don John had several times repeated, the day was intensely hot. The sun where the man worked was absolutely scorching, and the hired man had experienced a sun-stroke. Captain Patterdale and his visitors bore him to his room in the L, and Don John ran for the doctor, who appeared in less than ten minutes. The visitors all did what they could, Mr. Laud Cavendish behaving very well. Michael's wife and other friends soon arrived, and there was nothing more for Laud to do. He went down stairs, and, finding Nellie in the hall, he tried to comfort her; for she was very much concerned for poor Michael.
"Do you think he will die, Mr. Cavendish?" asked she, almost as much moved as though the poor man had been her father.
"O, no! I think he will recover. These Irishmen have thick heads, and they don't die so easily of sun-stroke; for that's what the doctor says it is," replied Laud, knowingly.
Nellie thought, if this was a true view of coup de soleil, Laud would never die of it. She thought this; but she was not so impolite as to say it. She asked him no more questions; for she saw Don John approaching through the dining-room.
"Good afternoon, Miss Patterdale," said Laud, with a bow and a flourish, as he retired towards the library, where he had left his hat.
In a few moments more, the rattle of the wagon, with which he delivered goods to the customers, was heard as he drove off. Don John came into the hall, and Nellie asked him ever so many questions about the condition of Michael, and what the doctor said about him; all of which the young man answered to the best of his ability.
"Do you think he will die, Don John?" she asked.
"I am sure I can't tell," replied Donald; "I hope not."
"Michael is real good, and I am so sorry for him!" added Nellie.
But Michael is hardly a personage in our story, and we do not purpose to enter into the diagnosis of his case. He has our sympathies on the merit of his sufferings alone, and quite as much for Nellie's sake; for it was tender, and gentle, and kind in her to feel so much for a poor Irish laborer. While she and Donald were talking about the case, Mr. Hasbrook came down stairs, and passed through the hall into the library, where he, also, had left his hat. In a few moments more the rattle of his wagon was heard, as he drove off, indignant and disgusted at the indifference of the nabob in refusing to take an interest in his brilliant enterprise. He was angry with himself for having paid his note before he had enlisted the payee in his cause.
"How is he, father?" asked Nellie, as Captain Patterdale entered the hall.
"The doctor thinks he sees some favorable symptoms."
"Will he die?"
"The doctor thinks he will get over it. But he wants some ice, and I must get it for him."
"I suppose you will not go in the Sea Foam now?" asked Donald.
"No; it is impossible," replied the captain, as he passed into the dining-room to the refrigerator.
The father was like the daughter; and though he was a millionnaire, or a demi-millionnaire—we don't know which, for we were never allowed to look over his taxable valuation—though he was a nabob, he took right hold, and worked with his own hands for the comfort and the recovery of the sufferer. It was creditable to his heart that he did so, and we never grudge such a man his "pile," especially when he has earned it by his own labor, or made it in honorable, legitimate business. The captain went up stairs again with a large dish of ice, to assist the doctor in the treatment of his patient.
Donald staid in the hall, talking with Miss Nellie, as long as he thought it proper to do so, though not as long as he desired, and then entered the library where he, also, had left his hat. Perhaps it was a singular coincidence that all three of the visitors had left their hats in that room; but then it was not proper for them to sit with their hats on in the presence of such a magnate as Captain Patterdale, and no decent man would stop for a hat when a person had fallen in a fit.
Captain Patterdale's hat was still there; and, unluckily, there was something else belonging to him which was not there.
ABOUT THE TIN BOX.
Captain Patterdale worked with the doctor for a full hour upon poor Michael, who at the end of that time opened his eyes, and soon declared that he was "betther entirely." He insisted upon getting up, for it was not "the likes of himself that was to lay there and have his honor workin' over him." But the doctor and the nabob pacified him, and left him, much improved, in the care of his wife.
"How is he, Dr. Wadman?" asked the sympathizing Nellie, as they came down stairs together.
"He is decidedly better," replied the physician.
"Will he die?"
"O, no; I think not. His case looks very hopeful now."
"I thought folks always died with sun-stroke," said Nellie, more cheerfully.
"No; not unless their heads are very soft," laughed the doctor.
"Well, I shouldn't think Laud Cavendish would dare to go out when the sun shines," added the fair girl, with a snap of her bright eyes.
"It isn't quite safe for him to do so. Unfortunately, such people don't know their own heads. I will come in again after tea," said the doctor, as he went out of the house, at the front door; for he had not left his hat in the library.
"I am so glad Michael is better!" continued Nellie. "When I saw him drop, I felt as cold as ice, and I was afraid I should drop too before I could get to the library."
"Did you see him fall, Nellie?" asked her father.
"Yes; he gave a kind of groan, and then fell; he was—"
"Gracious!" exclaimed Captain Patterdale, interrupting her all of a sudden.
He turned on his heel, and walked rapidly into the library. Nellie was startled, and was troubled with a suspicion that her father had a coup de soleil, or coup de something-else; for he did not often do anything by fits and starts. She followed him into the library. It was a fact that the captain had left his hat there; but it was not for this article, so necessary in a hot day, that he hastened thus abruptly into the room. Nellie found him flying around the apartment in a high state of excitement for him. He was looking anxiously about, and seemed to be very much disturbed.
"What in the world is the matter, father?" asked Nellie.
"Where is your mother?"
"She has gone over to Mrs. Rodman's."
"Hasn't she been back?"
"No, certainly not; I was just going over to tell her what had happened to Michael, when you came down."
"Who has been in here, Nellie?"
"I don't know that anybody has. I haven't seen any one. What's the matter, father? what in the world has happened?"
"I left my tin box here when I went out to see to Michael, and now it is gone," answered Captain Patterdale, anxiously. "I didn't know but that your mother had come in and taken care of it."
"The tin box gone?" exclaimed Nellie. "Why, what can have become of it?"
"That is just what I should like to know," added the captain, as he renewed his search in the room for the treasure chest.
It was not in the library, and then he looked in the great hall and in the little hall, in the drawing-room, the sitting-room, and the dining-room; but it was not in any of these. He knew he had left it on the chair near where he was sitting when he went out of the room. Then he examined the spring-lock on the door of the library which led into the side street. It was closed and securely fastened. The door shut itself with a patent invention, and when shut it locked itself, so that anybody could get out, but no one could get in unless admitted.
"Where were you when I was up stairs, Nellie?" asked Captain Patterdale, as he seated himself in his arm-chair, to take a cool view of the whole subject.
"I was in the hall most of the time," she replied.
"Who has been in the library?"
"Let me see; Laud Cavendish came down first, and went out through the library."
The captain rubbed his bald head, and seemed to be asking himself whether it was possible for Mr. Laud Cavendish to do so wicked a deed as stealing that tin box. He did not believe the young swell had the baseness or the daring to commit so great a crime. It might be, but he could not think so.
"Who else has been in here?" he inquired, when he had hastily considered all he knew about the moral character of Laud.
"That other man who was with you—I don't know his name—the one that was here when I came in with Don John."
"He went out through the library. I thought he looked real ugly too," added Nellie. "He kept fidgeting about all the time I was here."
"And all the time he was here himself. He went out through the library—did he?"
Captain Patterdale mentally overhauled the character of Mr. Hasbrook. It was unfortunate for his late debtor that his character was not first class, and between him and Laud Cavendish the probabilities were altogether against Hasbrook. He had evidently been vexed and angry because he failed to carry his point, and his cupidity might have been stimulated by revenge. But the captain was a fair and just man, and in a matter of this kind, involving the reputation of any person, he kept his suspicions to himself.
"Who else has been in the library, Nellie?" he asked.
"No one but Don John," replied she. And whatever Laud or Hasbrook might have done in wickedness, Nellie had too much regard for her friend and schoolmate to admit for one instant the possibility of his doing anything wrong, much less his committing so gross a crime as the stealing of the tin box and its valuable contents.
Captain Patterdale was hardly less confident of the integrity of Donald. Certainly it was not necessary to suspect him when the possibilities of guilt included two such persons as Laud and Hasbrook. Donald was rather distinguished, in school and out, as a good boy, and he ought to have the full benefit of his reputation.
"You don't think Don John took the box—do you, father?" asked Nellie, as her father was meditating on the circumstances.
"Certainly not, Nellie," protested the captain, warmly; "I don't know that anybody has taken it."
"I know Don John would not do such a thing."
"I don't believe he would."
"I know he would not."
Her father thought she was just a little more earnest in her uncalled-for defence of the young man than was necessary, and for the first time in his life it occurred to him that she was more interested in him than he wished her to be; for, as Donald was only the son of a poor boat-builder, such a strong friendship might be embarrassing in the future. However, this was only the shadow of a passing thought, which divided his attention only for a moment. The loss of the tin box was the question of the hour, and "society" topics were not just then in order.
"I have no idea that Don John took the box," replied Captain Patterdale. "I am more willing to believe either of the other two who were in the library took it than that he did. But he was the last of the three who went out through this room. He may be able to give me some information, and I will go down and see him. He and his father were going off in the new yacht—were they not?"
"You need not say a word about the box to any one, Nellie, nor even that it is lost," added the captain. "If I do not find it, I shall employ a skilful detective to look it up, and he may prefer to work in the dark."
"I will not mention it, father," replied Nellie. "What was in the box? Was it money?"
"I put thirteen hundred and fifty dollars into it, but I took out twenty to pay the bill that Laud brought. It contains my deeds, leases, policies of insurance, and my notes, and these papers are really more valuable to me than the money. Luckily, my bonds and securities are in another box, in the vault of the bank."
"Then you will lose over thirteen hundred dollars if you don't find the box?"
"More than that, I am afraid, for I shall hardly be able to collect all the money due on the notes if I lose them," replied the captain, as he left the house.
He walked down to the boat shop of Mr. Ramsay. It was on the shore, and near it was the house in which the boat-builder lived. Neither Don John nor his father was at the shop, but a sloop yacht, half a mile out in the bay, seemed to be the Sea Foam. She was headed towards the shore, however, and Captain Patterdale seated himself in the shade of the shop to await its arrival, though he hardly expected to obtain any information in regard to the box from Donald. While he was sitting there, Mr. Laud Cavendish appeared with a large basket in his hand. The counter-jumper started when he turned the corner of the shop, and saw the nabob seated there.
"Going a-fishing?" asked the captain.
"Yes, sir; I'm going over to Turtle Head to camp out over Sunday," replied Laud. "How is Michael, sir?"
"He is much better, and is doing very well."
"I'm glad of it," added Laud, as he carried his basket down to a sail-boat which was partly aground, and deposited it in the forward cuddy.
Captain Patterdale wanted to talk with Laud, but he did not like to excite any suspicions on his part. If the young man had taken the box he would not be likely to go off on an island to stay over Sunday. Besides, it was evident from the position of the boat, and the fact that it contained several articles necessary for a fishing excursion, in addition to those in the basket, that Laud had made his arrangements for the trip before he visited the library of the elegant mansion. If he had taken the box, he would probably have changed his plans. It was not likely, therefore, that Laud was the guilty party.
"Are you going alone?" asked the captain, walking down the beach to the boat.
"Yes, sir; I couldn't get any one to go with me. I tried Don John, but he won't go off to stay over Sunday," replied Laud, with a sickly grin.
"I commend his example to you. I don't think it is a good way to spend Sunday."
"It's the only time I can get to go. I've been trying to got off for a month."
"Saturday must be a bad time for you to leave," suggested the captain.
"It is rather bad," added Laud, as he shoved off the bow of the boat, for he seemed to be in haste to get away.
"By the way, Laud, did you notice a tin box in my library when you were there this afternoon?" asked the nabob, with as much indifference in his manner and tone as he could command.
"A tin box?" repeated Laud, busying himself with the jib of the sail-boat.
"Yes; it was painted green."
"I don't remember any box," answered Laud.
"Didn't you see it? I opened it to take out the money I paid you."
"I didn't mind. I was receipting the bill while you were getting the money ready. You know I sat down at your desk."
"Yes; I know you did; but didn't you see the box?"
"No, sir; I don't remember seeing any box," said Laud, still fussing over the sail, which certainly did not need any attention.
"You went out through the library when you came down from Michael's room—didn't you?" continued the captain.
"Yes, sir; I did. I left my hat in there."
"Did you see the box then?"
"Of course I didn't. If I had, I should have remembered it," replied Laud, with a grin. "I just grabbed my hat, and ran, for I had been in the house some time; and I got a blessing for being away so long when I went back to the store."
"You didn't see the box, then?"
"If it was there, I suppose I saw it; but I didn't take any notice of it. Why? is the box lost?"
"I want to get another like it. Haven't you anything of the sort in the store?"
"We have some cake and spice boxes. They are tin, and painted on the outside."
"Those will not answer the purpose. It's a very hot day," added the captain, as he wiped the perspiration from his face, and walked back to the shade of the shop.
Mr. Laud Cavendish stepped into the sail-boat, hoisted the sails, and shoved her off into deep water with an oar. Captain Patterdale thought, and then he did not know what to think. Was it possible Laud had not noticed that tin box, which had been on a chair out in the middle of the room? If he had not, why, then he had not; but if he had Laud had more cunning, more self-control, and more ingenuity than the captain had ever given him the credit, or the discredit, of possessing, for there was certainly no sign of guilt in his tone or his manner, except that he did not look the inquirer square in the face when he answered his questions, though some guilty people can even do this without wincing.
Captain Patterdale watched the departing and the approaching boats, still considering the possible relation of Laud Cavendish to the tin box. If the fellow had stolen it, he would not go off on an island to stay over Sunday, leaving the box behind to betray him; and this argument seemed to be conclusive in his favor. The captain had looked into the boat, and satisfied himself that the box was not there; unless it was in the basket, which appeared to contain so many other things that there was no room for it. On the whole, the captain was willing to acquit Mr. Laud Cavendish of the act, partly, perhaps, because this had been his first view of the matter. It was more probable that Hasbrook, angry and disappointed at his failure, had put the box into his wagon, and returned to the neighboring town, where, as before stated, his reputation was not first class, though, perhaps, not many people believed him capable of stealing outright, without the formality of getting up a mining company, or making a trade of some sort. But Donald had been the last of the trio of visitors who passed through the library, and the captain wanted to see him.
The Sea Foam, with snowy sails just from the loft, and glittering in her freshly-laid coat of white paint, ran up to a wharf just below the boat shop. Donald was at the helm, and he threw her up into the wind just before she came to the pier, so that when she forged ahead, with her sails shaking in the wind, her head came up within a few inches of the landing-place. Mr. Ramsay fended her off, and went ashore with a line in his hand, which he made fast to a ring. Captain Patterdale walked around to the wharf, as soon as he saw where she was to make a landing.
"Well, how do you like her, Sam?" said Donald to a young man of his own age in the standing-room with him.
"First rate; and I hope your father will go to work on mine at once," replied the passenger.
"You will lay down the keel on Monday—won't you, father?"
"What?" asked Mr. Ramsay, who had seated himself on a log on the wharf.
"You will lay down the keel of the boat for Mr. Rodman on Monday—won't you?" repeated Donald.
"Yes, if I am able; I don't feel very well to-day." And the boat-builder doubled himself up, as though he was in great pain.
The young man in the standing-room of the Sea Foam was Samuel Rodman, a schoolmate of Donald, whose father was a wealthy man, and had ordered another boat like the Skylark, which had been the model for the new yacht. He had come down to see the craft, and had been invited to take a sail in her; but an engagement had prevented him from going as far as Turtle Head, and the boat-builder and his son had returned to land him, intending still to make the trip. By this time Captain Patterdale had reached the end of the wharf. He went on board of the Sea Foam, and looked her over with a critical eye, and was entirely satisfied with her. He was invited to sail in her for as short a time as he chose, but he declined.
"By the way, Donald, did you see the green tin box when you were in my library this afternoon?" he asked, when all the topics relating to the yacht had been disposed of.
"Yes, sir; I saw you take some money from it," replied Donald.
"Then you remember the box?"
"Did you notice it when you came out—I mean, when you left the house?"
"I don't remember seeing it when I came out," answered Donald, wondering what these questions meant.
"I want to get another box just like that one. Did you take particular notice of it?"
"No, sir; I can't say I did."
"You didn't stay any time in the library after you came down from Michael's room, did you?"
"No, sir; I only went for my hat, and didn't stay there a minute."
"And you didn't notice the tin box?"
"No, sir; I didn't see it at all when I came out."
"Then of course you didn't see any marks upon it," added the captain, with a smile.
"If I didn't see the box, I shouldn't have been likely to see the marks," laughed Donald. "What marks were they, sir?"
"It's of no consequence, if you didn't see them. The box was in the library—wasn't it?—when you went out."
"I don't know whether it was or not. I only know that I don't remember noticing it," said Donald, who thought the captain's question was a very queer one, after those he had just answered.
The nabob was no better satisfied with Donald's answers than he had been with those of Laud Cavendish, except that the former looked him full in the face when he spoke. He obtained no information, and went home to seek it at other sources.
"I think I won't go out again, Donald," said Mr. Ramsay, when Captain Patterdale had left. "I don't feel very well, and you may go alone."
"Do you feel very sick, father?" asked the son, in tones of sympathy.
"No; but I think I will go into the house and take some medicine. You can run over to Turtle Head alone," added the boat-builder, as he walked towards the house.
"Can't you go any how, Sam?" said Donald, turning to his friend.
"No, I must go home now. I have to drive over to Searsport after my sister," replied Sam, as he left the yacht, and walked up the wharf.
Donald hoisted the jib of the Sea Foam, shoved off her head, and laid her course, with the wind over the quarter, for Turtle Head—distant about seven miles.
THE YACHT CLUB AT TURTLE HEAD.
The Sea Foam was a sloop yacht, thirty feet in length, and as handsome as a picture in an illustrated paper, than which nothing could be finer. It was a fact that she had cost twelve hundred dollars; but even this sum was cheaper than she could have been built and fitted up in Boston or Bristol. She was provided with everything required by a first class yacht of her size, both for the comfort and safety of the voyager, as well as for fast sailing. Though Mr. Ramsay, her builder, was a ship carpenter, he was a very intelligent and well-read man. He had made yachts a specialty, and devoted a great deal of study to the subject. He had examined the fastest craft in New York and Newport, and had their lines in his head. And he was a very ingenious man, so that he had the tact to make the most of small spaces, and to economize every spare inch in lockers, closets, and stow-holes for the numerous articles required in a pleasure craft. He had learned his trade as a ship carpenter and joiner in Scotland, where the mechanic's education is much more thorough than in our own country, and he was an excellent workman.
The cabin of the Sea Foam was about twelve feet long, with transoms on each side, which were used both as berths and sofas. They were supplied with cushions covered with Brussels carpet, with a pillow of the same material at each end. Through the middle, fore and aft, was the centre-board casing, on each side of which was a table on hinges, so that it could be dropped down when not in use. The only possible objection to this cabin, in the mind of a shoreman, would have been its lack of height. It was necessarily "low studded," being only five feet from floor to ceiling, which was rather trying to the perpendicularity of a six-footer. But it was a very comfortable cabin for all that, though tall men were compelled to be humble within its low limits.
It was entered from the standing-room by a single step covered with plate brass, in which the name of the yacht was wrought with bright copper nails. On each side of the companion-way was a closet, one of which was for dishes, and the other for miscellaneous stores. The trunk, which readers away from boatable waters may need to be informed is an elevation about a foot above the main deck, to afford head-room in the middle of the cabin, had three deck lights, or ports, on each side. At one end of the casing of the centre-board was a place for the water-jar, and a rack for tumblers. In the middle were hooks in the trunk-beams for the caster and the lantern. The brass-covered step at the entrance was movable, and when it was drawn out it left an opening into the run under the standing-room, where a considerable space was available for use. In the centre of it was the ice-chest, a box two feet square, lined with zinc, which was rigged on little grooved wheels running on iron rods, like a railroad car, so that the chest could be drawn forward where the contents could be reached. On each side of this box was a water-tank, holding thirty gallons, which could be filled from the standing-room. The water was drawn by a faucet lower than the bottom of the tank in a recess at one side of the companion-way. The tanks were connected by a pipe, so that the water was drawn from both. At the side of the step was a gauge to indicate the supply of fresh water on board.
Forward of the cabin, in the bow of the yacht, was the cook-room, with a scuttle opening into it from the forecastle. The stove, a miniature affair, with an oven large enough to roast an eight-pound rib of beef, and two holes on the top, was in the fore peak. It was placed in a shallow pan filled with sand, and the wood-work was covered with sheet tin, to guard against fire. Behind the stove was a fuel-bin. On each side of the cook room was a shelf eighteen inches wide at the bulk-head and tapering forward to nothing. Under it were several lockers for the galley utensils and small stores. The room was only four feet high, and a tall cook in the Sea Foam would have found it necessary to discount himself. On the foremast was a seat on a hinge, which could be dropped down, on which the "doctor" could sit and do his work, roasting himself at the same time he roasted his beef or fried his fish. Everything in the cook-room and the cabin, as well as on deck, was neat and nice. The cabin was covered with a handsome oil-cloth carpet, and the wood was white with zinc paint, varnished, with gilt moulding to ornament it. Edward Patterdale, who was to be the nominal owner and the real skipper of this beautiful craft, intended to have several framed pictures on the spaces between the deck lights, a clock in the forward end over the cook-room door, and brass brackets for the spy-glass in the companion-way.
On deck the Sea Foam was as well appointed as she was below. Her bowsprit had a gentle downward curve, her mast was a beautiful spar, and her topmast was elegantly tapered and set up in good shape. Unlike most of the regular highflyer yachts, her jib and mainsail were not unreasonably large. Mr. Ramsay did not intend that it should be necessary to reef when it blew a twelve-knot breeze, and, like the Skylark, she was expected to carry all sail in anything short of a full gale. But she was provided with an abundance of "kites," including an immense gaff-topsail, which extended on poles far above the topmast head, and far beyond the peak, a balloon-jib, a jib-topsail, and a three-cornered studding-sail. The balloon-jib, or the jib-topsail, was bent on with snap-hooks when it was needed, for only one was used at the same time. These extra sails were to be required only in races, and they were kept on shore. One stout hand could manage her very well, though two made it easier work, and six were allowed in a race.
Donald seated himself in the standing-room, with the tiller in his right hand. As soon as he had run out a little way, his attention was excited by discovering three other sloop yachts coming down the bay. In one of them he recognized the Skylark, and in another the Christabel, while the third was a stranger to him, though he had heard of the arrival that day of a new yacht from Newport, and concluded this was she. He let off his sheet, and ran up to meet the little fleet.
"Sloop, ahoy!" shouted Robert Montague, from the Skylark, as Donald came within hailing distance.
"On board the Skylark!" replied the skipper of the Sea Foam.
"Is that you, Don John?"
"What sloop is that?" demanded Robert.
"The Sea Foam."
"Over to Turtle Head."
"We are bound there; come with us."
"Hold on a minute, Don John," shouted some one from the Christabel.
Each of the yachts had a tender towing astern, and that from the Christabel, with five boys in it, immediately put off, and pulled to the Sea Foam.
"Will you take us on board, Don John?" asked Gus Barker, as the tender came alongside.
"Certainly; I'm glad to have your company," replied Donald, who had thrown the yacht up into the wind.
Three of the party in the tender jumped upon the deck of the Sea Foam, and the boat returned to the Christabel. Each of the yachts appeared to have half a dozen or more on board of her, so that there was quite a party on the way to Turtle Head. The sloops filled away again, the Skylark and the new arrival having taken the lead, while the other two were delayed.
"What sloop is that with the Skylark?" asked Donald.
"That's the Phantom. She got here from Newport this forenoon. Joe Guilford's father bought her for him. She is the twin sister of the Skylark, and they seem to make an even thing of it in sailing," replied Gus Barker.
"You have quite a fleet now," added Donald.
"Yes; and we are going to form a Yacht Club. We intend to have a meeting over at Turtle Head. Will you join, Don John?"
"I haven't any boat."
"Nor I, either. All the members can't be skippers," laughed Gus. "I am to be mate of the Sea Foam, and that's the reason I wanted to come on board of her."
"And I am to be one of her crew," added Dick Adams.
"And I the steward," laughed Ben Johnson. "I am going down into the cook-room to see how things look there."
"You will join—won't you, Don?"
"Well, I don't know. I can't afford to run with you fellows with rich fathers."
"O, get out! That don't make any difference," puffed Gus. "The owner of the yacht has to foot the bills. Besides, we want you, Don John, for you know more about a boat than all the rest of the fellows put together."
"Well, I shall be very glad to do anything I can to help the thing along; but there are plenty of fellows that can sail a boat better than I can."
"But you know all about a boat, and they want you for measurer. We have the printed constitution of a Yacht Club, which Bob Montague got in Boston, and according to that the measurer is entitled to ten cents a foot for measuring a yacht; so you may make something out of your office."
"I don't want to make any money out of it," protested Donald.
"You can make enough to pay your dues, for we have to raise some money for prizes in the regattas; and we talk of having a club house over on Turtle Head," rattled Gus, whose tongue seemed to be hung on a pivot in his enthusiasm over the club. "Every fellow must be voted in, and pay five dollars a year for membership. We shall have some big times.—We are gaining on the Skylark, as true as you live!"
"I think we are; but I guess Bob isn't driving her," added Donald.
"She carries the same sail as the Sea Foam. I would give anything to beat her. Make her do her best, Don John."
"I will," laughed the skipper, who had kept one eye on the Skylark all the time.
He trimmed the sails a little, and began to be somewhat excited over the prospect of a race. The Christabel was three feet longer than the other yachts, and it was soon evident that in a light wind she was more than a match for them, for she ran ahead of the Sea Foam. Her jib and mainsail were much larger in proportion to her size than those of the other sloops, but she was not an able boat, not a heavy-weather craft, like them. The Sea Foam continued to gain on the Skylark, till she was abreast of her, while the Phantom kept about even with her. But then Robert Montague was busy all the time talking with his companions about the Yacht Club, and did not pay particular attention to the sailing of his boat. The Sea Foam began to walk ahead of him, and then, for the first time, it dawned upon him that the reputation of the Skylark was at stake. He had his crew of five with him, and he placed them in position to improve the sailing of his craft. He ordered one of his hands to give a small pull on the jib-sheet, another to let off the main sheet a little, and a third to haul up the centre-board a little more, as she was going free.
The effect of this attention on the part of the skipper of the Skylark was to lessen the distance between her and the Sea Foam; they were abeam of each other, with the Phantom in the same line. The Christabel was about a cable's length ahead of them.
"She's game yet," said Gus Barker, his disappointment evident in the tones of his voice, as the Skylark came up to the Sea Foam.
"This is a new boat, and I haven't got the hang of her yet," Donald explained. "Haul up that fin a little, Dick."
"Ay, ay," replied Dick, as he obeyed the order.
"Steady! that's enough," continued Donald, who now narrowly watched the sailing of the Sea Foam, to assure himself that she did not make too much leeway.
"That was what she wanted!" exclaimed Gus, when the yacht began to gain again, and in a few minutes was half a length ahead.
"But not quite so much of it," replied Donald, when he saw that his craft was sliding off a very little. "Give her just three inches more fin, Dick."
The centre-board was dropped this distance, and the tendency to make leeway thus corrected.
"She is gaining still!" cried Gus, delighted.
"Not much; it is a pretty even thing," added Donald.
"No matter; we beat her, and I don't care if it's only half an inch in a mile."
"But the Christabel is leading us all. She is sure of all the first prizes."
"Not a bit of it. She has to reef when there's a capful of wind. In a calm she will beat us, but when it blows we shall wax her all to pieces."
"Hallo!" shouted Mr. Laud Cavendish, whose small sail-boat was overhauled about half way over to Turtle Head. "Is that you, Don John?"
"I believe so," replied Donald.
"Where you going?"
"Over to Turtle Head. Want us to give you a tow?"
"No; you needn't brag about your old tub. She don't belong to you; and I'm going to have a boat that will beat that one all to splinters," replied Laud.
"All right; fetch her along."
"I say, Don John, I'm going to stop over Sunday on Turtle Head. Won't you stay with me?"
"No, I thank you. I must go home to-night," answered Donald.
Mr. Laud Cavendish knew very well that Donald would not spend Sunday in boating and fishing; and he did not ask because he wanted him. Besides, for more reasons than one, he did not desire his company. The Sea Foam ran out of talking distance of the sail-boat in a moment. Robert Montague was doing his best to keep up the reputation of the Skylark; but when the fleet came up to Turtle Head, she was more than a length behind. The jib was hauled down, the yachts came up into the wind, and the anchors were let go.
"Beat you," shouted Gus Barker.
"Not much," replied Robert. "We will try that over again some time."
"We are willing," added Donald.
The mainsails were lowered, and the young yachtmen embarked in the tenders for the shore. Turtle Head is a rocky point at the northern extremity of Long Island, in Penobscot Bay. There were a few trees near the shore, and under these the party purposed to hold their meeting. Though the weather was intensely hot on shore, it was comfortably cool at the Head, where the wind came over five or six miles of salt water cool from the ocean. The boys leaped ashore, and hauled up their boats where the rising tide could not float them off. There were over twenty of them, all members of the High School.
"The Sea Foam sails well," said Robert Montague, as he walked over to the little grove with Donald.
"Very well, indeed. This is the first time she has been out, and I find she works first rate," replied Donald.
"I want to try it with her some day, when everything is right."
"Wasn't everything right to-day?" asked Donald, smiling, for he was well aware that every boatman has a good excuse for the shortcomings of his craft.
"No; my tender is twice as heavy as yours," added Robert. "I must get your father to build me one like that of the Sea Foam."
"We will try it without any tenders, which we don't want in a race."
"Of course I don't know but the Sea Foam can beat me; but I haven't seen the boat of her inches before that could show her stern to the Skylark," said Robert; and it was plain that he was a little nettled at the slight advantage which the new yacht had gained.
"I should like to sail her when you try it, for I have great hopes of the Sea Foam. If my father has built a boat that will beat the Skylark in all weathers, he has done a big thing, and it will make business good for him."
"For his sake I might be almost willing to be whipped," replied Robert, good-naturedly, as they halted in the grove.
Charley Armstrong was the oldest member of the party, and he was to call the meeting to order, which he did with a brief speech, explaining the object of the gathering, though everybody present knew it perfectly well. Charles was then chosen chairman, and Dick Adams secretary. It was voted to form a club, and the secretary was called upon to read the constitution of the "Dorchester Yacht Club." The name was changed to Belfast, and the document was adopted as the constitution of the Belfast Yacht Club. The second article declared that the officers should consist of a "Commodore, Vice-Commodore, Captain of the Fleet, Secretary, Treasurer, Measurer, a Board of Trustees, and a Regatta Committee;" and the next business was to elect them, which had to be done by written or printed ballots. As the first three officers were required to be owners in whole, or in part, of yachts enrolled in the club, there was found to be an alarming scarcity of yachts. The Skylark, Sea Foam, Phantom, and Christabel were on hand. Edward Patterdale and Samuel Rodman had signified their intention to join, though they were unable to be present at the first meeting. The Maud, as Samuel Rodman's new yacht was to be called, was to be built at once: she was duly enrolled, thus making a total of five, from whom the first three officers must be chosen.
The secretary had come supplied with stationery, and a slip was handed to each member, after the constitution had been signed. A ballot was taken for commodore; Robert B. Montague had twenty votes, and Charles Armstrong one. Robert accepted the office in a "neat little speech," and took the chair, which was a sharp rock. Edward Patterdale was elected vice-commodore, and Joseph Guilford captain of the fleet. Donald was chosen measurer, and the other offices filled to the satisfaction of those elected, if not of the others. It was then agreed to have a review and excursion on the following Saturday, to which the ladies were to be invited.
The important business of the day was happily finished, and the fleet sailed for Belfast. Having secured the Sea Foam at her mooring, Donald hastened home. As he approached the cottage, he saw a doctor's sulky at the door, and the neighbors going in and out. His heart rose into his throat, for there was not one living beneath that humble roof whom he did not love better than himself.
A SAD EVENT IN THE RAMSAY FAMILY.
Donald's heart beat violently as he hastened towards the cottage. Before he could reach it, another doctor drew up at the door, and it was painfully certain that one of the family was very sick—dangerously so, or two physicians would not have been summoned. It might be his father, his mother, or his sister Barbara; and whichever it was, it was terrible to think of. His legs almost gave away under him, when he staggered up to the cottage. As he did so, he recalled the fact that his father had been ailing when he went away in the Sea Foam. It must be his father, therefore, who was now so desperately ill as to require the attendance of two doctors.
The cottage was a small affair, with a pretty flower garden in front of it, and a whitewashed fence around it. But small as it was, it was not owned by the boat-builder, who, though not in debt, had hardly anything of this world's goods—possibly a hundred dollars in the savings' bank, and the furniture in the cottage. Though he was as prudent and thrifty as Scotchmen generally are, and was not beset by their "often infirmity," he had not been very prosperous. The business of ship-building had been almost entirely suspended, and for several years only a few small vessels had been built in the city. Ramsay had always obtained work; but he lived well, and gave his daughter and his son an excellent education.
Alexander Ramsay's specialty was the building of yachts and boats, and he determined to make a better use of his skill than selling it with his labor for day wages. He went into business for himself as a boat-builder. When he established himself, he had several hundred dollars, with which he purchased stock and tools. He had built several sail-boats, but the Sea Foam was the largest job he had obtained. Doubtless with life and health he would have done a good business. Donald had always been interested in boats, and he knew the name and shape of every timber and plank in the hull of a vessel, as well as every spar and rope. Though only sixteen, he was an excellent mechanic himself. His father had taken great pains to instruct him in the use of tools, and in draughting and modelling boats and larger craft. He not only studied the art in theory, but he worked with his own hands. In the parlor of the little cottage was a full-rigged brig, made entirely by him. The hull was not a log, shaped and dug out, but regularly constructed, with timbers and planking. When he finished it, only a few months before his introduction to the reader, he felt competent to build a yacht like the Sea Foam, without any assistance; but boys are generally over-confident, and possibly he overrated his ability.
With his heart rising up into his throat, Donald walked towards the cottage. As he passed the whitewashed gate, one of the neighbors came out at the front door. She was an elderly woman, and she looked very sad as she glanced at the boy.
"I'm glad you have come, Donald; but I'm afraid he'll never speak to you again," said she.
"Is it my father?" gasped the poor fellow.
"It is; and he's very sick indeed."
"What ails him?"
"That's more than the doctors can tell yet," added the woman. "They say it's very like the cholera; and I suppose it's cholera-morbus. He has been ailing for several days, and he didn't take care of himself. But go in, Donald, and see him while you may."
The young man entered the cottage. The doctors, his mother and sister, were all doing what they could for the sufferer, who was enduring, with what patience he could, the most agonizing pain. Donald went into the chamber where his father lay writhing upon the bed. The physicians were at work upon him; but he saw his son as he entered the room and held out his hand to him. The boy took it in his own. It was cold and convulsed.
"I'm glad you've come, Donald," groaned he, uttering the words with great difficulty. "Be a good boy always, and take care of your mother and sister."
"I will, father," sobbed Donald, pressing the cold hand he held.
"I was afraid I might never see you again," gasped Mr. Ramsay.
"O, don't give up, my man," said Dr. Wadman. "You may be all right in a few hours."
The sick man said no more. He was in too much pain to speak again, and Dr. Wadman sent Donald to the kitchen for some hot water. When he returned with it he was directed to go to the apothecary's for an ounce of chloroform, which the doctors were using internally and externally, and had exhausted their supply. Donald ran all the way as though the life of his father depended upon his speed. He was absent only a few minutes, but when he came back there was weeping and wailing in the little cottage by the sea-side. His father had breathed his last, even while the doctors were hopefully working to save him.
"O, Donald, Donald!" cried Mrs. Ramsay, as she threw her arms around his neck. "Your poor father is gone!"
The boy could not speak; he could not even weep, though his grief was not less intense than that of his mother and sister. They groaned, and sobbed, and sighed together, till kind neighbors led them from the chamber of death, vainly endeavoring to comfort them. It was hours before they were even tolerably calm; but they could speak of nothing, think of nothing, but him who was gone. The neighbors did all that it was necessary to do, and spent the night with the afflicted ones, who could not separate to seek their beds. The rising sun of the Sabbath found them still up, and still weeping—those who could weep. It was a long, long Sunday to them, and every moment of it was given to him who had been a devoted husband and a tender father. On Monday, all too soon, was the funeral; and all that was mortal of Alexander Ramsay was laid in the silent grave, never more to be looked upon by those who had loved him, and whom he had loved.
The little cottage was like a casket robbed of its single jewel to those who were left. Earth and life seemed like a terrible blank to them. They could not accustom themselves to the empty chair at the window where he sat when his day's work was done; to the vacant place at the table, where he had always invoked the blessing of God on the frugal fare before them; and to the silent and deserted shop on the other side of the street, from which the noise of his hammer and the clip of his adze had come to them. A week wore away and nothing was done but the most necessary offices of the household. The neighbors came frequently to beguile their grief, and the minister made several visits, bearing to them the consolations of the gospel, and the tender message of a genuine sympathy.
But it is not for poor people long to waste themselves in idle lamentations. The problem of the future was forced upon Mrs. Ramsay for solution. If they had been able only to live comfortably on the earnings of the dead husband, what should they do now when the strong arm that delved for them was silent in the cold embrace of death? They must all work now; but even then the poor woman could hardly see how she could keep her family together. Barbara was eighteen, but she had never done anything except to assist her mother, whose health was not very good, about the house. She was a graduate of the High School, and competent, so far as education was concerned, to teach a school if she could obtain a situation. Mrs. Ramsay might obtain work to be done at home, but it was only a pittance she could earn besides doing her housework. She wished to have Donald finish his education at the High School, but she was afraid this was impossible.
Donald, still mourning for his father, who had so constantly been his companion in the cottage and in the shop, that he could not reconcile himself to the loss, hardly thought of the future, till his mother spoke to him about it. He had often, since that bitter Saturday night, recalled the last words his father had ever spoken to him, in which he had told him to be a good boy always and take care of his mother and sister; but they had not much real significance to him till his mother spoke to him. Then he understood them; then he saw that his father was conscious of the near approach of death, and had given his mother and his sister into his keeping. Then, with the memory of him who was gone lingering near and dear in his heart, a mighty resolution was born in his soul, though it did not at once take a practical form.
"Don't worry about the future, mother," said he, after he had listened to her rather hopeless statement of her views.
"I don't worry about it, Donald, for while we have our health and strength, we can work and make a living. I want to keep you in school till the end of the year, but I—"
"Of course I can't go to school any more, mother. I am ready to go to work," interposed Donald.
"I know you are, my boy; but I want you to finish your school course very much."
"I haven't thought a great deal about the matter yet, mother, but I think I shall be able to do what father told me."
"Your father did not expect you to take care of us till you had grown up, I'm sure," added Mrs. Ramsay, who had heard the dying injunction of her husband to their son.
"I don't know that he did; but I shall do the best I can."
"Poor father! He never thought of anything but us," sighed Mrs. Ramsay; and her woman's tears flowed freely again, so freely that there was no power of utterance left to her.
Donald wept, too, as he thought of him who was not only his father, but his loving companion in study, in work, and in play. He left the house and walked over to the shop. For the first time since the sad event, he unlocked the door and entered. The tears trickled down his cheeks as he glanced at the bench where his father had done his last day's work. The planes and a few other tools were neatly arranged upon it, and his apron was spread over them. On the walls were models of boats and yachts, and in one corner were the "moulds." Donald seated himself on the tool-chest, and looked around at every familiar object in the shop. He was thinking of something, but his thought had not yet taken definite form. While he was considering the present and the future, Samuel Rodman entered the shop.
"Do you suppose I can get the model of the Sea Foam, Don John?" inquired he, after something had been said about the deceased boat-builder.
"I think you can. The model and the drawings are all here," replied Donald.
"We intend to build the Maud this season, and I want her to be as near like the Sea Foam as possible."
"Who is going to build her?" asked Donald, his interest suddenly kindled by the question.
"I don't know; we haven't spoken to any one about it yet," replied Samuel. "There isn't anybody in these parts that can build her as your father would."
"Sam, can't I do this job for you?" said Donald.
"Yes, I. You know I used to work with my father, and I understand his way of doing things."
"Well, I hadn't thought that you could do it; but I will talk with my father about it," answered Samuel, who appeared to have some doubts about the ability of his friend to do so large a job.
"I don't mean to do it all myself, Sam. I will hire one or two first-rate ship carpenters," added Donald. "She shall be just like the Sea Foam, except a little alteration, which my father explained to me, in the bow and run."
"Do you think you could do the job, Don John?" asked Samuel, with an incredulous smile.
"I know I could," said Donald, earnestly. "If I had time enough I could build her all alone."
"We want her as soon as we can get her."
"She shall be finished as quick as my father could have done her."
"I will see my father about it to-night, Don John, and let you know to-morrow. I came down to see about the model."
Samuel Rodman left the shop and walked down the beach to the sail-boat in which he had come. Donald was almost inspired by the idea which had taken possession of him. If he could only carry on his father's business, he could make money enough to support the family; and knowing every stick in the hull of a vessel, he felt competent to do so. Full of enthusiasm, he hastened into the cottage to unfold his brilliant scheme to his mother. He stated his plan to her, but at first she shook her head.
"Do you think you could build a yacht, Donald?" she asked.
"I am certain I could. Didn't you hear father say that my brig contained every timber and plank that belongs to a vessel?"
"Yes, and that the work was done as well as he could do it himself; but that does not prove that you can carry on the business."
"I want one or two men, if we build the Maud, because it would take too long for me to do all the work alone."
"That was the yacht that father was to build next. I asked Sam Rodman to give me the job, and he is going to talk with his father about it to-night."
Mrs. Ramsay was rather startled at this announcement, which indicated that her son really meant business in earnest.
"Do you think he will let you do it?" she asked.
"I hope he will."
"Are you sure you can make anything if you build the yacht?"
"Father made over three hundred dollars on the Sea Foam, besides his day wages."
"That is no reason why you can do it."
"All his models, moulds, and draughts are in the shop. I know where they are, and just what to do with them. I hope you will let me try it, mother."
"Suppose you don't make out?"
"But I shall make out."
"If Mr. Rodman refuses to accept the yacht after the job is done, what will you do?"
"I shall have her myself then, and I can make lots of money taking out parties in her."
"Your father was paid for the Sea Foam as the work progressed. He had received eight hundred dollars on her when she was finished."
"I know it; and Captain Patterdale owes four hundred more. If you let me use some of the money to buy stock and pay the men till I get payment on the job, I shall do very well."
"We must have something to live on. After I have paid the funeral expenses and other bills, this money that Captain Patterdale owes will be all I have."
"But Mr. Rodman will pay me something on the job, when he is satisfied that the work will be done."
The widow was not very clear about the business; but she concluded, at last, that if Mr. Rodman would give him the job, she would allow him to undertake it. Donald was satisfied, and went back to the shop. He opened his father's chest and took out his account book. Turning to a page which was headed "Sea Foam," he found every item of labor and expenditure charged to her. Every day's work, every foot of stock, every pound of nails, every article of brass or hardware, and the cost of sails and cordage, were carefully entered on the account. From this he could learn the price of everything used in the construction of the yacht, for his guidance in the great undertaking before him. But he was quite familiar before with the cost of everything used in building a boat. On a piece of smooth board, he figured up the probable cost, and assured himself he could make a good job of the building of the Maud.
The next day was Saturday—two weeks after the organization of the yacht club. There had been a grand review a week before, which Donald did not attend. The yachtmen had taken their mothers, sisters, and other friends on an excursion down the bay, and given them a collation at Turtle Head. On the Saturday in question, a meeting of the club at the Head had been called to complete the arrangements for a regatta, and the Committee on Regattas were to make their report. Donald had been requested to attend in order to measure the yachts. He did not feel much like taking part in the sports of the club, but he decided to perform the duty required of him. He expected to see Samuel Rodman on this occasion, and to learn the decision of his father in regard to the building of the Maud.
After breakfast he embarked in the sail-boat which had belonged to his father, and with a fresh breeze stood over to Turtle Head. He had dug some clams early in the morning, and told his mother he should bring home some fish which he intended to catch after the meeting of the club. As the boat sped on her way, he thought of his grand scheme to carry on his father's business, and everything seemed to depend upon Mr. Rodman's decision. He hoped for the best, but he trembled for the result. When he reached his destination, he found another boat at the Head, and soon discovered Laud Cavendish on the bluff.
"Hallo, Don John!" shouted the swell, as Donald stepped on shore.
"How are you, Laud? You are out early."
"Not very; I came ashore here to see if I couldn't find some clams," added Laud, as he held up a clam-digger he carried in his hand—a kind of trowel fixed in a shovel-handle.
"You can't find any clams here," said Donald, wondering that even such a swell should expect to find them there.
"I am going down to Camden to stay over Sunday, and I thought I might fish a little on the way."
"You will find some farther down the shore, where there is a soft beach. Do you get off every Saturday now, Laud?"
"Get off? Yes; I get off every day. I'm out of a job."
"I thought you were at Miller's store."
"I was there; but I'm not now. Miller shoved me out. Do you know of any fellow that has a good boat to sell?"
"What kind of a boat?"
"Well, one like the Skylark and the Sea Foam."
"No; I don't know of any one around here. Do you want to buy one?"
"Yes; I thought I would buy one, if I could get her about right. She must be cheap."
"How cheap do you expect to buy a boat like the Sea Foam?" asked Donald, wondering what a young man out of business could be thinking about when he talked of buying a yacht.
"Four or five hundred dollars."
"The Sea Foam cost twelve hundred."
"That's a fancy price. The Skylark didn't cost but five hundred."
"Do you want to give five hundred for a boat?"
"Not for myself, Don John. I was going to buy one for another man. I must be going now," added Laud, as he went down to his boat.
Hoisting his sail, he shoved off, and stood over towards Searsport. Donald walked up the slope to the Head, from which he could see the yacht club fleet as soon as it sailed from the city.
Donald seated himself on a rock, with his gaze directed towards Belfast. His particular desire just then was to see Samuel Rodman, in order to learn whether he was to have the job of building the Maud. He felt able to do it, and even then, as he thought of the work, he had in his mind the symmetrical lines of the new yacht, as they were to be after the change in the model which his father had explained to him. He recalled a suggestion of a small increase in the size of the mainsail, which had occurred to him when he sailed the Sea Foam. His first aspiration was only to build a yacht; his second was to build one that would beat anything of her inches in the fleet. If he could realize this last ambition, he would have all the business he could do.
The yacht fleet did not appear up the bay; but it was only nine o'clock in the morning, and possibly the meeting of the club would not take place till afternoon. If any one had told him the hour, he had forgotten it, but the former meeting had been in the forenoon. He was too nervous to sit still a great while, and, rising, he walked about, musing upon his grand scheme. The place was an elevated platform of rock, a portion of it covered with soil to the depth of several feet, on which the grass grew. It was not far above the water even at high tide, nor were the bluffs very bold. The plateau was on a peninsula, extending to the north from the island, which was not unlike the head of a turtle, and the shape had given it a name. Donald walked back and forth on the headland, watching for the fleet.
"I wonder if Laud Cavendish was digging for clams up here," thought he, as he observed a spot where the earth appeared to have been disturbed.
The marks of Laud's clam-digger were plainly to be seen in the loam, a small quantity of which remained on the sod. Certainly the swell had been digging there; but it could not have been for clams; and Donald was trying to imagine what it was for, when he heard footsteps near him. Coming towards him, he discovered Captain Shivernock, of the city; and he had two problems to solve instead of one; not very important ones, it is true, but just such as are suggested to everybody at times. Perhaps it did not make the least difference to the young man whether or not he ascertained why Laud Cavendish had been digging on the Head, or why Captain Shivernock happened to be on the island, apparently without any boat, at that time in the morning. I do not think Donald would have given a nickel five-cent piece to have been informed correctly upon either point, though he did propose the question to himself in each case. Probably Laud had no particular object in view in digging—the ground did not look as though he had; and Captain Shivernock was odd enough to do anything, or to be anywhere, at the most unseasonable hours.
"How are you, Don John?" shouted the captain, as he came within hailing distance of Donald.
"How do you do, Captain Shivernock," replied the young man, rather coldly, for he had no regard, and certainly no admiration, for the man.
"You are just the man I wanted to see," added the captain.
Donald could not reciprocate the sentiment, and, not being a hypocrite, he made no reply. The captain seemed to be somewhat fatigued and out of breath, and immediately seated himself on the flat rock which the young man had occupied. He was not more than five feet and a half high, but was tolerably stout. The top of his head was as bald as a winter squash; but extending around the back of his head from ear to ear was a heavy fringe of red hair. His whiskers were of the same color; but, as age began to bleach them out under the chin, he shaved this portion of his figure-head, while his side whiskers and mustache were very long. He was dressed in a complete suit of gray, and wore a coarse braided straw hat.
Captain Shivernock, as I have more than once hinted, was an eccentric man. He had been a shipmaster in the earlier years of his life, and had made a fortune by some lucky speculations during the War of the Rebellion, in which he took counsel of his interest rather than his patriotism. He had a strong will, a violent temper, and an implacable hatred to any man who had done him an injury, either actually or constructively. It was said that he was as faithful and devoted in his friendships as he was bitter and relentless in his hatreds; but no one in the city, where he was a very unpopular man, had any particular experience of the soft side of his character. He was a native of Lincolnville, near Belfast, though he had left his home in his youth. He had a fine house in the city, and lived in good style. He was said to be a widower, and had no children. The husband of his housekeeper was the man of all work about his place, and both of them had come with their employer from New York.
He seldom did anything like other people. He never went to church, would never put his name upon a subscription paper, however worthy the object, though he had been known to give a poor man an extravagant reward for a slight service. He would not pay his taxes till the fangs of the law worried the money out of him, but would give fifty dollars for the first salmon or the first dish of peaches of the season for his table. He was as full of contradictions as he was of oddities, and no one knew how to take him. One moment he seemed to be hoarding his money like a miser, and the next scattering it with insane prodigality.
"I'm tired out, Don John," added Captain Shivernock, as he seated himself, fanning his red face with his hat.
"Have you walked far, sir?" asked Donald, who was well acquainted with the captain; for his father had worked on his boat, and he was often in the shop.
"I believe I have hoofed it about ten miles this morning," replied Captain Shivernock with an oath; and he had a wicked habit of ornamenting every sentence he used with a profane expletive, which I shall invariably omit.
"Then you have walked nearly the whole length of the island."
"Do you mean to tell me I lie?" demanded the captain.
"Certainly not, sir," protested Donald.
"My boat got aground down here. I started early this morning to go down to Vinal Haven; but I'm dished now, and can't go," continued Captain Shivernock, so interlarding with oaths this simple statement that it looks like another thing divested of them.
"Where did you get aground?" asked Donald.
"Down by Seal Harbor."
"About three miles from here."
"Do you think I lied to you?"
"By no means, sir."
Donald could not divine how the captain had got aground near Seal Harbor, if he was bound from Belfast to Vinal Haven, though it was possible that the wind had been more to the southward early in the morning, compelling him to beat down the bay; but it was not prudent to question anything the captain said.
"I ran in shore pretty well, and took the ground. I tried for half an hour to get the Juno off, but I was soon left high and dry on the beach. I anchored her where she was, and I'm sorry now I didn't set her afire," explained the captain.
"Set her afire!" exclaimed Donald.
"That's what I said. She shall never play me such a trick again," growled the strange man.
"Why, it wasn't the fault of the boat."
"Do you mean to say it was my fault?" demanded the captain, ripping out a string of oaths that made Donald shiver.
"It was an accident which might happen to any one."
"Do you think I didn't know what I was about?"
"I suppose you did, sir; but any boat may get aground."
"Not with me! if she did I'd burn her or sell her for old junk. I never will sail in her again after I get home. I know what I'm about."
"Of course you do, sir."
"Got a boat here?" suddenly demanded the eccentric.
"Yes, sir; I have our sail-boat."
"Take me down to Seal Harbor in her," added the captain, rising from his seat.
"I don't think I can go, sir."
"Don't you? What's the reason you can't?" asked the captain, with a sneer on his lips.
"I have to meet the yacht club here."
Captain Shivernock cursed the yacht club with decided unction, and insisted that Donald should convey him in his boat to the place where the Juno was at anchor.
"I have to measure the yachts when they come, sir."
"Measure—" but the place the captain suggested was not capable of measurement. "I'll pay you well for going."
"I should not ask any pay if I could go," added Donald, glancing up the bay to see if the fleet was under way.
"I say I will pay you well, and you will be a fool if you don't go with me."
"The yachts haven't started yet, and perhaps I shall have time to get back before they arrive."
"I don't care whether you get back or not; I want you to go."
"I will go, sir, and run the risk," replied Donald, as he led the way down to the boat.
Shoving her off, he helped the captain into her, and hoisted the sail.
"What boat's that over there?" demanded Captain Shivernock, as he pointed at the craft sailed by Laud Cavendish, which was still standing on towards Searsport.
Donald told him who was in her.
"Don't go near her," said he, sternly. "I always want a good mile between me and that puppy."
"He is bound to Camden, and won't get there for a week at that rate," added Donald.
"Don't care if he don't," growled the passenger.
"I don't know that I do, either," added the skipper. "Laud wants to buy a boat, and perhaps you can sell him yours, if you are tired of her."
Donald did "shut up," and decided not to make any more talk with the captain, only to give him civil answers. Ordinarily he would as soon have thought of wrestling with a Bengal tiger as of carrying on a conversation with such a porcupine as his passenger, who scrupled not to insult man or boy without the slightest provocation. In a few moments the skipper tacked, having weathered the Head, and stood into the little bay west of it.
"Don John," said Captain Shivernock, sharply, fixing his gaze upon the skipper.
The captain took his wallet from his pocket. It was well filled with greenbacks, from which he took several ten-dollar bills—five or six of them, at least.
"I will pay you," said he.
"I don't ask any pay for this, sir. I am willing to do you a favor for nothing."
"Hold your tongue, you fool! A favor?" sneered the eccentric. "Do you think I would ask a little monkey like you to do me a favor?"
"I won't call it a favor, sir."
"Better not. There! take that," and Captain Shivernock shoved the bills he had taken from his wallet into Donald's hand.
"No, sir! I can't take all that, if I do anything," protested the skipper, amazed at the generosity of his passenger. The captain, with a sudden spring, grasped a short boat-hook which lay between the rail and the wash-board.
"Put that money into your pocket, or I'll smash your head; and you won't be the first man I've killed, either," said the violent passenger.
Donald did not find the money hard to take on its own merits, and he considerately obeyed the savage order. His pride, which revolted at the idea of being paid for a slight service rendered to a neighbor, was effectually conquered. He put the money in his pocket; but as soon as the captain laid down the boat-hook, he took it out to count it, and found there was fifty dollars. He deposited it carefully in his wallet.
"You don't mean to pay me all that money for this little job?" said he.
"Do you think I don't know what I mean?" snarled the passenger.
"I suppose you do, sir."
"You suppose I do!" sneered the cynic. "You know I do."
"Fifty dollars is a great deal of money for such a little job."
"That's none of your business. Don John, you've got a tongue in your head!" said Captain Shivernock, pointing his finger at the skipper, and glowering upon him as though he was charging him with some heinous crime.
"I am aware of it, sir," replied Donald.
"Do you know what a tongue is for?" demanded the captain.
"It is of great assistance to one in talking."
"Don't equivocate, you sick monkey. Do you know what a tongue is for?"
"What's a tongue for?"
"To talk with, and—"
"That's enough! I thought you would say so. You are an ignorant whelp."
"Isn't the tongue to talk with?"
"No!" roared the passenger.
"What is it for, then?" asked Donald, who did not know whether to be alarmed or amused at the manner of his violent companion.
"It's to keep still with, you canting little monkey! And that's what I want you to do with your tongue," replied Captain Shivernock.
"I don't think I understand you, sir."
"I don't think you do. How could you, when I haven't told you what I mean. Listen to me." The eccentric paused, and fixed his gaze earnestly upon the skipper.
"Have you seen me this morning?" demanded he.
"Of course I have."
"No, you haven't!"
"I really thought I had."
"Thought's a fool, and you're another! You haven't seen me. If anybody in Belfast asks you if you have seen me, tell 'em you haven't."
"If the tongue isn't to talk with, it isn't to tell a lie with," added Donald.
"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the captain; "you've got me there."
He produced his wallet again, and took a ten-dollar bill from the roll it contained, which he tendered to Donald.
"What's that for?" asked the skipper.
"Put it in your pocket, or I'll mash your empty skull!"
Donald placed it with the other bills in his wallet, more than ever amazed at the conduct of his singular passenger.
"I never allow anyone to get ahead of me without paying for my own stupidity. Do you go to Sunday School, and church, and missionary meetings?" asked the captain, with a sneer.
"I do, sir."
"I thought so. You are a sick monkey. You don't let your tongue tell a lie."
"No, sir; I don't mean to tell a lie, if I can help it, and I generally can."
"You walk in the strait and narrow way which leads to the meeting-house. I don't. All right! Broad is the way! But one thing is certain, Don John, you haven't seen me to-day."
"But I have," persisted Donald.
"I say you have not; don't contradict me, if you want to take that head of yours home with you. Nobody will ask whether you have seen me or not; so that if a lie is likely to choke you, keep still with your tongue."
"I am not to say that I have seen you on the island?" queried Donald.
"You are not," replied the captain, with an echoing expletive.
"Why not, sir?"
"None of your business! Do as you are told, and spend the money I gave you for gingerbread and fast horses."
"But when my mother sees this money she will want to know where I got it."
"If you tell her or anybody else, I'll hammer your head till it isn't thicker than a piece of sheet-iron. Don't let her see the money. Hire a fast horse, and go to ride next Sunday."
"I don't go to ride on Sunday."
"I suppose not. Give it to the missionaries to buy red flannel shirts for little niggers in the West Indies, if you like. I don't care what you do with it."
"You don't wish anybody to know you have been on the island this morning—is that the idea, Captain Shivernock?" asked Donald, not a little alarmed at the position in which his companion was placing him.
"That's the idea, Don John."
"I don't see why—"
"You are not to see why," interrupted the captain, fiercely. "That's my business, not yours. Will you do as I tell you?"
"If there is any trouble—"
"There isn't any trouble. Do you think I've killed somebody?—No. Do you think I've robbed somebody?—No. Do you think I've set somebody's house on fire?—No. Do you think I've stolen somebody's chickens?—No. Nothing of the sort. I want to know whether you can keep your tongue still. Let us see. There's the Juno."
"Somebody will see your boat, and know that you have been here—"
"That's my business, not yours. Don't bother your head with what don't concern you," growled the passenger.
The Juno was afloat, but she could not have been so many minutes, when Donald came alongside of her. It was now about half tide on the flood, and she must have grounded at about half tide on the ebb. This fact indicated that Captain Shivernock had left her at four o'clock in the morning. The owner of the Juno stepped into her, and Donald hoisted the sail for him. The boat was cat-rigged, and about twenty-four feet long. She was a fine craft, with a small cabin forward, furnished with every convenience the limited space would permit. The captain seated himself in the standing-room, and began to heap maledictions upon the boat.
"I never will sail in her again," said he. "I will burn her, and get a centre-board boat."
"What will you take for her, sir?" asked Donald.
"Do you want her, Don John?" demanded the captain.
"I couldn't afford to keep her; but I will sell her for you."
"Sell—" it is no matter what; but Captain Shivernock suddenly leaped back into Donald's boat, and her skipper wondered what he intended to do next. "She is yours, Don John!" he exclaimed.
"To sell for you?"
"No! Sell her, if you like, but put the money in your own pocket. I will sail up in your boat, and you may go to Jerusalem in the Juno, if you like. I will never get into her again," added the captain, spitefully.
"But, Captain Shivernock, you surely don't mean to give me this boat."
"Do you think I don't know what I mean?" roared the strange man, after a long string of expletives. "She is yours, now; not mine. I'll give you a bill of sale as soon as I go ashore. Not another word, or I'll pound your head. Don't tell anybody I gave her to you, or that you have seen me. If you do there will be a job for a coffin-maker."
The captain shoved off the boat, and laid her course across the bay, evidently to avoid Laud Cavendish, whose craft was a mile distant; for he had probably put in at Searsport. Donald weighed the anchor of the Juno, and sailed for Turtle Head, hardly knowing whether he was himself or somebody else, so amazed was he at the strange conduct of his late passenger. He could not begin to comprehend it, and he did not have to strain his logic very much in coming to the conclusion that the captain was insane.
DONALD GETS THE JOB.
Whether Captain Shivernock was sane or insane, Donald Ramsay was in possession of the Juno. Of course he did not consider himself the proprietor of the craft, if he did of the sixty dollars he had in his pocket. She had the wind over her port quarter, and the boat tore through the water as if she intended to show her new skipper what she could do. But Donald paid little attention to the speed of the Juno, for his attention was wholly absorbed by the remarkable events of the morning. Captain Shivernock had given him sixty dollars in payment nominally for the slight service rendered him. But then, the strange man had given a poor laborer a hundred dollars for stopping his horse, when the animal leisurely walked towards home from the store where the owner had left him. Again, he had given a negro sailor a fifty-dollar bill for sculling him across the river. He had rewarded a small boy with a ten-dollar bill for bringing him a despatch from the telegraph office. When the woman who went to his house to do the washing was taken sick, and was not able to work for three months, he regularly called at her rooms every Monday morning and gave her ten dollars, which was three times as much as she ever earned in the same time.