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Little By Little - or, The Cruise of the Flyaway
by William Taylor Adams
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CHAPTER VIII.

PAUL TAKES A COLD BATH.

The limits of our little volume do not permit us to follow Paul Duncan into the minutiae of his prosperous business, and we are reminded that great events in his experience are yet to be introduced. He was successful in his undertaking, though, like all in this inconstant world, he was subjected to trials and disappointments. There were some days when it was so rough off the rocks that he could not fish; and there were others when he had to travel many miles before he could sell his fish. During John's vacation, his receipts amounted to about two dollars a day, which went a great way in counter-balancing the ill luck of the next week. On an average, he earned about a dollar a day.

He had won a reputation in Bayville which helped him a great deal in disposing of his merchandise. People saw him working hard to supply the place of his father, and they were glad to encourage him, as there are always found enough who are willing to help those that help themselves. The sympathy and kindness of his neighbors were a great assistance to him, and no doubt without them his fish would have oftener been a drug in the market.

Paul inherited some portion of his father's mechanical skill; and on the first stormy day after he set up in business, he commenced his contemplated improvements upon the old boat. She was a very poor subject to work upon, but he got out the wood for building a half deck over her, which he fitted on as he had opportunity. A short bowsprit was added to her rig, and his mother made him a jib, which he cut out himself. Thus refitted, the old boat, though her main defects could not be remedied, was much improved, and worked better than before. She was far from coming up to the young fisherman's ideal of a trim craft, and he cherished a strong hope that before many years had passed away, he should have the satisfaction of sailing such a boat as his fancy had already clearly defined. The time was closer at hand than he suspected.

One day, early in the month of July, Paul was making his way home from the rock in a smart blow. While he was fishing, the wind had hauled round to the northeast, and continued to freshen till it became a reefing breeze. He had got but a small fare of fish, for the heavy sea had interfered with his operations. He disliked to leave the fishing ground, but it was sufficiently evident to him that a storm was approaching. He had often promised his mother that he would be very careful, and the present seemed a proper time to exercise that caution. John was with him, and in spite of this bold youth's most earnest protest, he got up the anchor and made sail for home.

"What are you afraid of, Paul?" demanded John, with evident disgust.

"You are a pretty sailor! Don't you see it is going to blow a young hurricane?"

"What if it does? I should like to be out in a blow once. I want to know what it's like," replied the reckless boy.

"You may know now, before you get home. Don't you see the white caps on the waves off to windward?"

"I like the looks of them, and it's fun to skip over them."

"I don't want to worry mother. She's at the window by this time, looking out for the boat. Do you think there is any fun in making her uneasy? Besides, I don't think it is safe to stay here any longer. There comes the Flyaway under jib and mainsail."

"What of it?"

"She went down to be gone all day. What do you suppose she's coming back for at this early hour?"

"I suppose Captain Littleton didn't want to make the women seasick," promptly replied John.

"Would the foresail make them sick? She has taken the bonnet off her jib too. Captain Littleton knows when to expect a gale, and we shall have it soon."

So it seemed by the working of the little boat, for she tossed up and down on the waves like a feather, and thrust her bows under so far, that John had to waste some of his enthusiasm upon the baling kettle. Paul had not hoisted the jib, for the mainsail was all the old craft could stagger under, and her youthful skipper expected soon to be obliged to reef. The Flyaway was at the eastward of the island, driving over and through the waves like a phantom. The spray was dashing over her bows, and her jib was wet several feet above the boltrope. She was working to windward till she could clear the island, when she would have the wind free into Bayville Harbor. Perhaps some of my non-nautical young readers will need to be informed that working to windward means sailing in a zigzag line in the direction from which the wind blows.

The Flyaway ran close in to Rock Island, and tacked at the very spot where Paul had just been lying at anchor, and his boat was not more than the eighth of a mile distant from her. The boys could distinctly see the ladies and gentlemen on board of her, and replied to signals of recognition that were made to them. There were several children on her deck, and Paul identified Carrie Littleton in a little girl of ten, who was waving her handkerchief to him. As the yacht came up into the wind, and before the boom swung over, the young lady jumped upon the taffrail to obtain a better view of them. To the horror of all who saw the accident, the heavy spar struck her on the shoulder, and she was knocked overboard. The Flyaway, catching the wind, flew from the spot, and when the little girl rose to the surface of the water, she was out of the reach of those on board of her.

"Heavens and earth!" shouted Paul, jumping up from his seat, as he beheld the catastrophe. "There is Carrie Littleton knocked overboard by the boom!"

"O, dear! She will be drowned!" gasped John.

"Take the helm, John! Don't blubber! Quick!" cried Paul, as he leaped forward, and brailed up the sail. "Now, hard down! Lively!"

The boat, which was making very good headway, came about, and was headed towards the island. Shaking out the sail again, she bore down towards the unfortunate girl. In the meantime, the Flyaway had luffed up; though she was nearer to Carrie than Paul's boat, she was rapidly drifting to leeward. Her tender, which was a light canoe, had been placed upon deck, and the crew were launching her; but as they did so, by the clumsiness of some one engaged in the operation, she filled as she struck the water, and they were obliged to haul her up again with the halliards.

Before they had made fast to the painter of the canoe, Paul had reached the scene of the disaster, but poor Carrie had sunk beneath the angry waves. She had evidently been injured by the blow of the boom, and was unable to make any exertion.

"Now mind your eye, John!" shouted Paul as he dashed off his coat and shoes. "When I dive, throw her up into the wind."

"Look out, Paul; don't do that," remonstrated his brother. "You will be drowned yourself. Fish her up with the boathook. Mother will——"

The intrepid youth, disregarding the terror of his brother, dived over the bow of the boat the moment he saw the form of the poor girl, which was revealed to him by the white dress she wore. John obeyed the instructions he had received, but before Paul reappeared, with the drowning child in his arms, the boat had drifted some distance from the spot.

"Haul aft your sheet!" gasped Paul, when he had regained breath enough to speak.

John obeyed, but his terror had almost paralyzed his arm, and his action was not so prompt as it might have been; but the boat slowly gathered headway, and moved towards the struggling youth. Paul battled manfully with the big waves, which repeatedly swept him under, and determined to die rather than drop his helpless burden.

As the boat came down upon him, Paul supported Carrie with one arm, and grasped the gunwale with the other.

"Luff up!" said he. "Now, catch hold of her, and help haul her in," he added, as the boat came up into the wind.

John did his best, but he was not strong enough to draw the lifeless form into the boat. Bidding him hold on for his life, Paul leaped into the boat, and drew her in.

"Keep her away for the yacht," cried Paul, as he placed the form of the poor girl—for he was not certain that it was still animated by the vital spark—in the bottom of the boat.

Turning her face down, in order to let the water run out of her mouth, he used all the efforts his knowledge and his means would permit to promote her restoration. In a few moments the boat came alongside the Flyaway, though John, in the excitement of the moment, stove her gunwale in, and had nearly added another calamity to the chapter of accidents.

Captain Littleton jumped into the boat as she struck the side, and seizing the beloved child in his arms, leaped back upon deck, and then rushed into the cabin.

"Hand up your painter, Paul, and come on board, both of you," said Captain Gordon, the skipper of the Flyaway.

"Ay, ay, sir," replied Paul, too much interested in the fate of poor Carrie to think of parting company with the yacht.

The fishing boat was made fast at the stern of the Flyaway, and she stood off again to clear the rocks around the island. All the party on board had followed Captain Littleton into the cabin, to learn the condition of his child, or to render assistance in restoring her. It was very fortunate that Dr. Lawrence was one of the company, for he was a very skilful man, and under his direction the measures for the relief of Carrie were conducted.

The Flyaway had reached her berth at the mouth of the river before the efforts for the child's restoration promised to be effectual. It was found that the blow of the boom had not seriously injured her. In an hour after the yacht reached her moorings, she was able to speak, and the doctor ordered her to be taken home.

Before the yacht reached her berth, a pair of anxious eyes, from the chamber window of the cottage, had discovered the dingy old boat towing at her stern. The mother's heart almost failed her, as her imagination pictured some dreadful calamity that had happened to her boys. Filled with dreadful forebodings, she seized her shawl and bonnet, and hastened to the landing, in the rear of Captain Littleton's house. They were bringing home the boat in which her boys had gone out, and she feared that one or both of them had been lost. She tried to believe that the yacht had overtaken them, and that Captain Littleton had invited them on board; but her fears were stronger than her hopes.

When she reached the landing place, she saw that the gunwale of the old boat was stove, and her heart sank within her. There were several persons at the landing, and she told them what she feared. One of them took a skiff and rowed out to the yacht. Paul and John were both in the cabin, and when the messenger came alongside, the captain called them on deck. Seeing Mrs. Duncan on the shore, they got into their boat, and soon joined her.

"I never was so glad to see you before in my life!" exclaimed the delighted mother, clasping them both to her bosom. "Why, Paul, you are as wet as a drowned rat! You have been overboard; I know you have!"

"That's so, mother; but I didn't upset nor fall overboard. I went over of my own free will."

"Yes, he did, mother," interrupted John. "Carrie Littleton was knocked overboard by the boom, the Flyaway's boat got swamped, and she drifted to leeward, and we came about, and bore down on her, and Paul dived after her, and I worked the boat, and we hauled her in, and took her on board the Flyaway—didn't we, Paul?" and John sputtered as though his own mouth had been full of salt water.

"We did," replied Paul.

"You will catch your death a-cold, Paul. Do come home now."

"I must take the boat round."

One of the bystanders, all of whom had listened with eager interest to the particulars of the accident, volunteered to perform this service for him; and Paul, shivering with cold, ran home, followed by his mother and John.

"Where is Paul Duncan?" demanded Captain Littleton, after the doctor had ordered his daughter to be carried ashore.

"Gone, half an hour ago, sir," replied Captain Gordon.

"God bless him!" fervently ejaculated the grateful father; and he proceeded to give directions for the removal of Carrie.



CHAPTER IX.

PAUL BECOMES SKIPPER OF THE FAWN.

The heroic act of Paul, in saving the life of Carrie Littleton, was the principal topic of conversation in Bayville for the next week. Of course it was the unanimous vote of the people that Paul was a hero, and there was some talk of giving him a complimentary dinner, and making speeches at him; but the good sense of the strong-minded men and women of the place prevailed, and he was not treated with the honors that turn the head of a third-rate politician. But everybody thought something ought to be done, and after a full week had passed by, everybody wondered that Captain Littleton did not do something; that he did not make Paul a present of a gold medal, or give him a check for a hundred dollars. The gossips could not find out that he had done anything more than thank Paul, with tears of gratitude in his eyes, for the noble service he had rendered him. The captain had the reputation of being a very liberal man, but the glory of his good name seemed to be rapidly passing away.

Paul attended to his business as usual, and seemed to give but little heed to the compliments that were showered upon him. When any one spoke to him about his gallant deed, he tried to turn it off, declared he had only done his duty, as sentimental heroes generally do, and he did not think he had done any very great thing, after all. But notwithstanding all this seeming indifference, Paul was proud of the act that had made him famous. He was conscious that he had done a noble deed; and his own heart assured him he deserved the praise which was so liberally bestowed upon him.

Above all, he was grateful for the opportunity of serving Captain Littleton, who had been so kind to him and to his mother. He was happy in the thought of having saved that darling child from a watery grave, and he had given the fond father a good reason for being his friend as long as he lived. Paul never thought of any reward; he hoped Captain Littleton would not give him anything, for that would deprive him of one half the satisfaction the act had afforded him.

Another week passed by, and still, to the astonishment and disgust of the gossips of Bayville, Captain Littleton took no further notice of Paul's heroic deed. Mrs. Green, who was Mrs. Duncan's nearest neighbor, ventured to suggest that the captain was a mean man, and she wouldn't have thought it of him.

"What would you have him do?" asked Paul, to whom Captain Littleton's reputation was as dear as that of his mother, or even of his dead father.

"What would I have him do?" repeated the old lady. "Why, he ought to give you a hundred dollar bill, all for your own. At least he ought to give you fifty."

"I don't want anything, Mrs. Green," said Paul stoutly.

"That's nothing to do with it. He could just offer it—couldn't he? He is a rich man, and a hundred dollars is no more to him than a hundred cents to me. It is downright mean, there."

"I don't think so, marm. Captain Littleton has done everything he could for mother and for me, and I'm sure I was glad to have a chance to do something for him."

"That may be; but it don't look well for a rich man like him to let you save his little daughter from drowning, and then only say thank'ee for it."

"I think it does, Mrs. Green, and I hope he will let the matter rest just where it is."

"There is no danger now but what he will. If he ever meant to do anything for you, he would have done it before now."

"I am perfectly contented, marm, and I only wish the neighbors were as easy about it as I am."

"It ain't none of the neighbors' business, I know," added Mrs. Green, a little tartly; "but I can't look on and see such meanness without speaking of it. It don't make no difference who I say it to, neither; I had just as lief say it to Captain Littleton, as say it to you and your mother. That is just what I think, and I may just as well speak it as think it."

It was a remarkable fact, under the circumstances, that Mrs. Green never did give Captain Littleton the benefit of her opinion on this subject. Perhaps she wronged him by her silence, thus denying him the practical advantage of her criticism for the direction of his future life. But Paul never liked Mrs. Green so well after this, for she had spoken ill of him whom he honored and esteemed.

Our young fisherman, apparently unmoved by the honors that clustered around his name, pursued his humble avocation with pride and pleasure—with pride, because he had been successful by his own unaided exertions; with pleasure, because he was actually relieving his mother from the entire burden of supporting the family. Since the rescue of Carrie, perch, tom-cod, flounders, and tautog had been in greater demand than ever, for many of the rich people bought fish, even when they did not want them, just for the sake of patronizing the young hero; and the poor people ate fish oftener than they would if their admiration for the little fish merchant had been less.

The long summer vacation had commenced, and the boys were let loose from school for six weeks. John felt as though he had been emancipated from a dreadful drudgery. He could scarcely repress his exuberant joy, as he carried home his books on the last day of the term. Paul reproved him for his dislike of school, and told him he might see the day when he would appreciate the advantages of a good education.

"I don't dislike school," growled John, though it was a good-natured growl.

"Yes you do; you hate school," added Paul. "If you did not, you would not be so glad to get away from it."

"'Not that I love Caesar less, but I love Rome more,'" replied John, laughing.

"What do you mean by that?" demanded Paul, amused at the attitude into which his brother threw himself as he uttered the quotation.

"Not that I love school less, but I love fishing more; that's the idea," replied John.

"I hope you will get enough of it in six weeks, then."

"I hope so, but I don't believe I shall. At any rate, I'm going every day, and I'm going to be first mate of the Blowout."

"The what?"

"The Blowout; that's what I have christened the old boat."

"That's a very beautiful name."

"And she's a very beautiful boat," laughed John. "I wish you had a better one."

"So do I; perhaps I may have, one of these days."

"Somebody's got a new one, Paul," added John.

"There is one moored off Mercantile Point. Did you see her?"

"No; whose is she?"

"I don't know; I saw her come up the bay as I came home from school. She's a perfect beauty."

"We will go over and see her by and by," said Paul, for a new boat was an object of interest to him, and he always improved the opportunity to inspect any strange craft that visited the bay. "But, John, we must be off early on Monday morning, and the jib of the Blowout, as you call her, wants mending. We will go down and sew it up."

The brothers repaired to the beach, where the old boat was now high and dry upon the sand and taking a little box containing the thread, needles, and wax for mending the sail, they commenced their labors. Their busy hands soon completed the task, and the Blowout was otherwise prepared for duty on Monday, for Paul never went near the boat on Sunday. They were now ready to visit the new craft; but when they had pushed their boat down into the water, Paul saw a gentleman enter the cottage of his mother.

It was Captain Littleton; and Paul delayed their departure, thinking that he might want to see him. Presently his friend appeared on the bluff.

"Are you busy, Paul?" he shouted.

"No, sir; I will be with you in a moment."

"Stay where you are;" and Captain Littleton descended the steep path which led to the beach. "You were going out—were you?"

"We were, sir; but it is of no consequence," replied Paul. "John says there is a new boat over by the Point, and we were about going to see her."

"Very well, I will go with you;" and Captain Littleton stepped into the boat.

"Our boat is not a very nice one for you to sail in," apologized Paul.

"I have been in worse ones than this, Paul; and I have seen the time when I would have given all I had in the world for even so dingy a boat as this."

"When was that, sir?" asked John, very promptly; for he stood his ground, unawed by the dignity of the richest man in Bayville.

"Get your boat under way, and I will tell you about it," replied Captain Littleton.

Paul shook out the mainsail, and then pushed off the boat, while John hoisted the jib. The former then took his place at the helm, and the latter seated himself amidships, both eager to hear the story of the captain. It was fortunate for them that the old Blowout was a very heavy sailer; otherwise they could not have obtained the whole of the story, which was long and very interesting and exciting. We have not space to repeat the story, but it was all about a shipwreck, and clinging to a broken spar for forty-eight hours, without food or water, and being rescued when life was nearly gone.

"So you see, Paul, I should have been very comfortable even in a worse boat than yours," added the story-teller, as he completed his narrative.

"I should like to be shipwrecked once," said John, musing.

"Should you, my fine fellow?" exclaimed the captain.

"I should, sir, just to see how it would seem."

"It would seem very uncomfortable, my boy; and I recommend you never to express such a wish again. Many shore people think there is something very fine and romantic about the sea, or even about a wreck; but half a day's experience would teach them better. For my part, I was very glad when I escaped the necessity of going to sea, even as master of a vessel."

"There is the new boat," interrupted Paul, as the Blowout rounded Dog Island, which had before concealed the new craft from their sight.

"Isn't she a ripper!" exclaimed John.

"Don't use such words, John," added Paul, in a low tone.

"She's a very fine boat," said John.

"She has a broad beam, but she looks as though she would sail well;" Paul continued.

"Keep her away a little; we will go on board of her if you like," said Captain Littleton.

Paul, though he would not have ventured on board of the new craft if he had been alone, ran the Blowout alongside of her, for he was satisfied that the presence of his friend would free him from the charge of trespass. John made fast the painter to the new boat, and the party leaped on board.

"Isn't she a beauty!" ejaculated John.

"A perfect beauty," added Paul, with enthusiasm. "She will sail like a bird."

"You see she has air chambers at the bow and stern," said Captain Littleton. "You cannot sink her."

The boys examined her from stem to stern, and their eyes sparkled with pleasure, as they rested upon her useful and elegant appurtenances. John looked over her gracefully rounded stern, and found there the words, FAWN—BAYVILLE, in raised gilt letters; and he immediately gave utterance to his opinion that the Fawn of Bayville couldn't be beaten.

"How do you like her, Paul?" quietly asked Captain Littleton.

"First rate, sir; she is the finest boat I ever saw."

"Do you think she would sail well?"

"I know she would."

"Suppose we try her. You may hoist the fore and main sails."

"Does she belong to you, sir?"

"She belongs to a friend of mine; but we will try her."

Paul and John hoisted the sails, and got everything in readiness to slip the moorings, when the captain wished John to take the Blowout over to her berth, and they would take him on board again. He consented, and the two boats were soon headed towards the beach; but the Fawn made three rods as often as the Blowout made one.

At last John worked the clumsy old boat up to the beach, and jumped on board the Fawn. The language with which he expressed his satisfaction at her performance under sail was not very elegant or well chosen; but it undoubtedly expressed his opinion, so that no mistakes in regard to his meaning could have been excused.

"You like her, do you, Paul?" asked Captain Littleton for the tenth time.

"Very much indeed. She is a beauty! Who owns her, sir?"

"She belongs to a young friend of mine—one Paul Duncan."

"Sir! What!"

"Exactly so, Paul. She belongs to you, and henceforth you are to be the skipper of the Fawn."



CHAPTER X.

PAUL AND JOHN ARE VERY MUCH EXCITED.

Paul was overwhelmed with astonishment and delight at this unexpected declaration. His eyes filled with tears, and he could not utter a word to express the gratitude that filled his heart.

"Yes, Paul, you shall hereafter be the skipper of the Fawn," repeated Captain Littleton.

"And I shall be first mate!" exclaimed John, jumping up and clapping his hands with rapture.

"Yes, and you shall be first mate, John; for I have not forgotten that a part of my debt of gratitude for the rescue of my daughter is in your favor, my fine fellow. The Fawn shall be owned between you."

"Thank you, sir," replied John; "but it was Paul that saved Carrie."

"If you had not handled the old boat well, Paul could not have saved her. You are fairly entitled to a share of the honor of that noble exploit."

"But, Captain Littleton," interposed Paul, "I do not want to be paid for what I did. It was only my duty to save Carrie."

"Everybody does not do his duty in such a trying time as that was, Paul. But I have not said a word about paying you."

"I know you have not, sir; but I suppose that is what you mean."

"I mean nothing of the kind, my boy. I could not pay you. There lies the Flyaway," continued the Captain, pointing to his beautiful yacht; "she cost me six thousand dollars. If I were called upon to decide which I would lose, Carrie or the Flyaway, which should I choose?"

"The Flyaway, of course."

"Then the Flyaway would have been but a small compensation for my child. Nay, if I were called upon to decide between my child and all I am worth in the world, I would sacrifice all my earthly possessions for her. Then, if I paid you all I could pay you, it would be all I have, Paul. You will not, therefore, consider this boat as a reward for saving Carrie's life."

"I didn't mean that, sir," stammered Paul, "but——"

"But you thought I meant it. I did not. I shall never be able to discharge the debt of gratitude I owe you."

"We will call it square, if you please, sir," said John.

"We will not, my fine fellow," added the Captain, laughing at John's matter-of-fact speech. "I had been thinking of making you a present of a boat before this event happened, Paul; but I confess, the gift was hastened by your daring act. The long and the short of the whole matter is, that we will consider the Fawn a memorial of the rescue of Carrie, and not a reward. She is a strong, well-built, and safe boat, and I think will just answer your purpose. By the way, how do you like her name?"

"First rate, sir."

"I think I heard you suggest that name for a boat once."

"It is just the name I should have given her," replied Paul, so excited by the extraordinary event of the hour, that he could hardly keep his seat.

"I am glad, then, that she suits you in every respect. Now, if you will put me ashore near my house, I will leave the Fawn and her owners to their future destiny."

Paul landed Captain Littleton on the pier behind his house, and after pouring out his thanks for the magnificent gift, they parted company. The Fawn was headed away from the rocks, and again stood out into the bay before the fresh breeze.

"I say, Paul, isn't this a stunner?" exclaimed John, suddenly jumping up from his seat, after he had remained silent and motionless for the full space of five minutes—a most extraordinary occurrence with him.

"What do you mean by a 'stunner,' John," asked Paul, with dignity.

"Well, what a—what a—what a thundering thing this is!" sputtered John. "Only to think——"

"I wish you wouldn't use those slang phrases. You let them out before Captain Littleton, just as though he were one of the fellows."

"He's one of 'em, anyhow. He's a trump!"

"Will you quit using slang words?"

"I'll try."

It must not be supposed that Paul was always so particular in regard to the choice of words; but at the present time, the idea of being owner of such a craft as the Fawn, and being the friend of such a man as Captain Littleton, inspired him with a dignity he did not always possess.

"Talk like a gentleman, if you can, now there is some prospect of your becoming one," continued Paul.

"I will try; but I want to talk about the boat now. Isn't she a—a beauty! I should like to try her with the Snowbird."

"Very likely we may have a chance. She's too good to go a fishing with," said Paul, glancing around him at the cushioned seats in the standing room.

"It won't hurt her any; we can take the cushions out when we fish."

"We must use her for that, I suppose. But Jack Starr lets his boat, which is not half as good as this, for four dollars a day. Perhaps we can do a little business of this kind."

"Very likely we can; folks always want to go down in the best boat."

"We can suit them, then. Where are you going now, Paul?"

"I am going to run in, and let mother see her."

"Good! Won't her eyes stick out?"

"She will be surprised," replied Paul, in tones of gentle rebuke.

The Fawn was run carefully upon the beach, and John was despatched for his mother. While he is absent, we will improve the opportunity to give our young readers a better idea of the new boat than they have yet obtained. She was about eighteen feet long, and very broad for her length. Her bow was very sharp, and her build combined the advantages of being a safe boat and a fast sailer. She was schooner-rigged, carrying a jib, foresail, and mainsail; and there was a staysail in the cuddy for use when the wind was light.

The deck of the Fawn extended over about half her length, and under it was a cuddy, or small cabin, containing two berths, both of which were furnished with proper bedding. There were four lockers, or closets, accessible from the standing room, where the boys could keep their fish lines, knives, spare ropes, and other articles required on board.

The Fawn was rather large for a boy of Paul's age to handle, but as this fault would be corrected in a year or two, Captain Littleton thought it would be well to prepare for the future as well as the present. But the rigging was so arranged that the new boat was hardly more difficult to manage than the old one, and she was capable of saving at least one half the time which the Blowout occupied in going to and returning from the fishing ground.

While John was absent, Paul again examined every part of the Fawn. He looked into all the lockers, sounded the copper air-chambers, lay down upon each of the berths, and hoisted the mainsail, just to see how easily it could be done. The examination was satisfactory in every respect.

"Mother, mother!" shouted John, as he rushed breathless into the house, where Mrs. Duncan was getting tea; "come down to the beach just as quick as ever you can."

"What is the matter, John? What has happened?" asked Mrs. Duncan, alarmed by his earnest manner.

"Come down quick, mother; don't stop a minute!"

"What has happened?"

"Nothing, mother; only come."

"Is anything the matter with Paul?" she inquired, as she hastily grasped her sun-bonnet, and followed John out of the house.

The enthusiastic youth did not wait for the more tardy steps of age, but tumbled recklessly down the steep path, and leaped into the boat.

"Where is mother?" demanded Paul.

"She is coming. I wish we had a cannon; we would fire a salute."

"No use of burning powder for nothing. There she comes."

But it was some time before Mrs. Duncan could reach the beach, and John occupied the interim in various antics, such as running up the shrouds of the Fawn, hoisting and lowering the jib, lying down on the bobstay, and finally in tumbling overboard while attempting to perch himself on the end of the bowsprit. This accident did not in the least disturb his equanimity, and he had just shaken himself, like a Newfoundland dog, when his mother reached the beach.

"Whose boat is that, Paul?" asked Mrs. Duncan, who, during the last moments of her walk, had been gazing with admiration upon the trim craft.

"Mine, mother," replied Paul, with assumed indifference.

"Mine, too," added John.

"We own her together," said Paul.

"Own her together? What do you mean by that? Haven't you learned better than to make sport of your mother, boys?"

"It is ours, certain true, mother!" cried John.

"You don't mean so?"

"It is a fact, mother," replied Paul.

"Why, where, what in the world——"

"That's it, mother; I knew you'd come to it," interposed John. "To make a long story short, Captain Littleton made us a present of her."

"Dear me!"

"Isn't she a beauty?"

"I should think she was."

"Come, mother, we are going to take you out to sail in her. You shall try her right off," said John. "Jump aboard."

"But I can't jump aboard. The water is knee-deep around her. Besides, supper is almost ready."

"Never mind the supper. Jump in."

"I can't jump in. Where have you been, John? You are as wet as a drowned rat!"

"I fell into the tub just now; but never mind that."

"But I do mind it; and you must go up and have on dry clothes before you go anywhere."

"We will go up and have supper, and after that we will take you out," said Paul.

John was disposed to rebel at this step; but Paul was firm and decided, and made fast the Fawn to the stake in the beach. When they reached the house, the young rogue, sorely against his will, was compelled to retire to his chamber and change his clothes. Even then, dripping as he was from the effects of his cold bath, when Paul went up to call him to supper, he found him standing at the window, in his wet garments, gazing with intense interest upon the Fawn, as she lay moored at the beach.

Paul, notwithstanding the flutter of emotions in his bosom, ate his supper with dignity and propriety, and several times admonished his brother that he behaved more like a young monkey than a reasonable human being. Yet Paul was excited, and so was his mother. The former talked of the good times he should have down the bay, and the latter speaking of the forethought of Captain Littleton in having the copper air chambers placed in the boat. She was glad the Fawn was a lifeboat, and she could feel a great deal easier, now, when her boys were away on the water.

Supper was finished, and John, in his impatience to get on board the boat again, condescended to wipe the dishes, while Paul cleared off the table. Matters thus expedited, the party were ready to embark, and repaired to the beach for that purpose. John was absolutely frantic in his efforts to perform his duty as the first officer of the Fawn, and in his eagerness had nearly drowned his mother, and swamped the boat. If the halliards of the new craft had not been new and strong, he would certainly have broken them in hoisting the sails. Paul was disgusted at his conduct, and it was only when he threatened to put him on shore that the mate subsided into the appearance of a tolerable calm.

The party had a very pleasant sail; but John almost cried with vexation, after the boat was properly secured at her moorings, to think he could not go on board of her again till Monday morning. Paul was scarcely less excited than his brother; but the consciousness of being the head of the family restrained any outbreak of enthusiasm on his part.

His thoughts ran deeper and extended farther into the future.

As he retired that night, he examined the columns of his account book, and had every reason to be satisfied with his success. His excitement had moderated, and he looked upon the Fawn as a new blessing, and in his heart thanked God, from whom all his blessings came.

He regarded his fortune as already made, for little by little, he felt sure of achieving it.



CHAPTER XI.

PAUL'S FIRST CRUISE IN THE FAWN.

At breakfast time the next morning, John Duncan was among the missing. His mother had charged him, when he first got up, to study his Sunday school lesson, which, in the extraordinary excitement of the preceding evening, had been neglected. Paul searched for him in their chamber, and in all the other apartments of the house; but he was not to be found.

Neither Paul nor his mother had any fears that he had run away or committed suicide; so that his absence produced more of indignation than alarm.

"He must have gone down to the boat," suggested Mrs. Duncan.

"If he has, I will throw him overboard."

"O, no, my son! you would not do that."

"He has no business on board the boat on Sunday."

"That is very true, Paul; but I suppose he cannot keep his thoughts away from her. I don't much wonder, either."

"I don't know as I am very much surprised myself," added Paul, whose second thought was more reasonable than the first.

When he considered how many times his thoughts had wandered to the beautiful Fawn, and how many times he had permitted himself to anticipate the pleasure of the first cruise in her, during the morning, he was more charitable towards his younger brother, who had only done what he had thought.

"I will find him," said Paul, taking his cap.

"Don't be harsh with him, Paul, for he means right, only he has not so much strength of mind as you have."

"I won't be hard upon him."

"Because you are older than he is."

"I won't be a hypocrite, mother, and I may as well own that, while getting my lesson, I could not help thinking of the new boat. I don't want you to believe I am better than I am."

"It is very natural that you should think of her; but you must try not to do so. It is almost a pity the boat had not come on Monday, so that you could have had a whole week to think about her before Sunday."

Paul ran down to the beach, and discovered that the door of the cuddy of the Fawn was open. Jumping on board, he found John stretched out upon one of the beds, apparently very busily engaged in studying his Sunday school lesson.

"What are you doing here, John?" demanded Paul, though his tones were very gentle.

"I am getting my lesson," replied John, as demurely as though he had not chosen an unusual place for the exercise.

"Have you got it?"

"All but two questions."

"What made you come here?"

"I couldn't help thinking of the boat, and I made up my mind that I could get my lesson here better than anywhere else."

"I'm afraid you haven't studied it much."

"Hear me say it, then," said John, jumping up, and handing Paul the book.

"Not now; breakfast is ready. But I want to have an understanding with you, as you are part owner of the Fawn, that neither of us go on board of her on Sunday, unless there is some strong reason for it. Will you agree to it?"

"I shan't want to after to-day."

"No matter; will you agree to it?"

"Yes; but there was a strong reason this morning."

"What was it?"

"Why, I wanted to see her."

"That's no reason at all. I have just as hard work as you have to keep away from her; but we mustn't do everything we want to do. Come, lock the cuddy, and let us go up to the house."

"That's honest, and not a bit like preaching," said John to himself, as he locked the cuddy, and followed his brother up the hill.

"I am trying to make money, John, but I don't believe money is all we have to live for."

"Of course not; there is a good deal of fun to be had in this world, that costs money instead of bringing it in," answered John, very soberly; and it was evident that his thoughts were not upon his Sunday school lesson.

"I wasn't speaking of fun. Up to the time I went to sleep last night I was thinking how I should make money; this morning, the first words I saw when I opened the Testament to get my Sunday school lesson, were, 'For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?'"

"I guess you had the nightmare last night, and have got the blues this morning," said John, trying to get up a laugh, in which, however, he did not succeed very well, for it is hard, even for a tolerably well-disposed boy, to make fun of serious things.

"I mean just what I say, John; you needn't laugh. I feel that we have something else to live for besides money. It is a very pleasant thing to make money——"

"Little by little," added John, adopting his brother's favorite motto.

"But I wouldn't be a rich man, if I had to be as mean and selfish as old—no matter who. He is poorer than I am now, with his hundreds of thousands. I mean to lay up good principles——"

"Little by little," interpolated John.

"Little by little, if you please; but even a little every day will make a good man one of these days. A good thought every day will make a man rich in good principles; at any rate, my book says so."

"How can a fellow help thinking of the boat, if it is Sunday?"

"We must try to think of our lesson, and when we go to church, of what the minister says. I am going to try and not think of the Fawn again till I wake up to-morrow morning."

"I am willing to try, but it's no use. I wish Sunday was over, and Monday had come."

How many boys and girls have thought the same thing! That Sunday, whose moments seemed so heavy, was a golden opportunity which may have passed never to be recalled. We are indebted to the still hours of the quiet Sabbath, to the leisure moments of our daily life, nay, to the sleepless couch of pain and suffering, and to the bitter time of woe and bereavement, for some of the best and truest thoughts which illuminate our mortal pilgrimage, and which give birth to our good resolutions. A single instant may produce an impression upon the heart which shall last to the end of life.

The words of the Scripture which Paul had read and heard read a hundred times, without feeling the tremendous truth they contain, were now full of meaning. They seemed to connect themselves with his individual future, and to have produced an impression which the excitement of possessing the new boat could not overcome. He was in the right frame of mind to receive such an impression, and it had an important influence on all his subsequent career.

As the family seated themselves at the breakfast table, Mrs. Duncan improved the opportunity to enlarge upon the duties we owe to ourselves and to others, in connection with the Sabbath day. It is true that John's levity occasionally detracted from the effect of the lessons; but it was not wholly lost, even upon that wayward youth.

Paul struggled hard with his thoughts during the day, and he was surprised, when night came, to find how successful he had been. It had been a good day to him, and he had profited by the instruction it afforded him; for the first step towards moral or spiritual improvement is to fasten the mind earnestly upon some moral or religious topic.

Long before the sun rose the next morning, Paul and John were on the beach. And when Mrs. Duncan rang the bell out of the window for them to come to breakfast, they had dug a bucket of clams, and had prepared the Fawn for her first trip down the bay.

"You won't be anxious about us now, mother, for we have a boat that can't sink," said Paul, as he took the luncheon prepared for them.

"I shall feel easier now."

"Besides, you know we have two good berths on board the boat, and we should be just as comfortable, if out all night, as though we were in our own beds up-stairs."

"That may be, but I hope you will never stay out all night, when you can help it."

"We shall not, mother; you may depend upon it; but we might get aground; or the wind might die out, and the Fawn is too large to be rowed up."

"I shan't worry about you, if I can help it, for I know you are very careful, Paul."

The boys hastened down to the boat, and Mrs. Duncan went out upon the bluff to see them off. The wind blew fresh from the southwest when they started, and the Fawn went out under jib and mainsail only; but even with this sail, she flew like a racehorse over the waters.

"Shall I hoist the foresail, Paul?" asked John.

"I think not; she is doing very well."

"But she will do better with the foresail."

"Let well enough alone."

"I want to see her do her best."

"I have promised mother a hundred times that I would be careful; and if she should see us put on all sail in this wind, though there might not be any danger, she would think we were going straight to the bottom. We will not hoist the foresail."

This answer satisfied the impatient boy, and in a short time they reached the perch ground; but either there were no fish there, or they had not got the hang of the new boat; for the fishermen could hardly get a bite. After trying for an hour, and catching only half a dozen small perch, the boys became disgusted with their ill luck, and it required but little persuasion on the part of John to induce Paul to get up the anchor, and go farther down the bay.

An hour's sail brought them to a reef of rocks, which was quite a noted locality with the fishermen. The Fawn was anchored in a safe place, and the young fishermen threw over their lines. Better success attended their efforts here, and in three hours they had caught eight dozen fine perch, besides ten handsome rock-cod.

While they were fishing under the lee of the rocks, they had scarcely noticed that the wind had been steadily increasing, and that it was producing a heavy sea in the bay.

"We shall have a chance to find out what kind of a sea boat the Fawn is," said Paul, as he weighed the anchor.

"I am glad of it," replied John.

"The wind is freshening every moment," said Paul, casting an anxious glance to windward.

"Hope it will blow a gale."

"I think we shall get more than we want."

"Not more than I want, at any rate."

Paul hoisted the jib, and the Fawn rushed out among the white-capped waves; but she walked over them so majestically, that John declared she could weather any gale that ever blew. For a time she breasted the foam of the head sea in a most gallant manner; but the wind came in fearful gusts, increasing in violence every moment till Paul came to the conclusion that it was no longer safe to carry the jib and mainsail, and proposed to set a reefed foresail. John scouted the idea, but he did not want the mainmast blown out of her, and consented to the change.

John took the helm, and Paul, after lowering the jib and mainsail, hoisted the reefed foresail. The boat rode easier then; but as the wind and tide were both against them, it was soon discovered that she made no headway. As the gale steadily increased in fury, Paul would not attempt to carry any more sail, though John insisted that she could bear the jib and a close-reefed mainsail.

It was evident to Paul that, unless he put on more sail, he could not beat up to Bayville against the tide; but it was clearly imprudent to carry any more sail, and for two hours more the Fawn struggled with her hopeless task without making a single mile.

"What are you going to do, Paul?" asked John, impatient, but not terrified by their situation.

"We can't beat up in this sea."

"I know that."

"We will run over to Farm Island, and anchor under the lee of the high bluff;" and he headed the Fawn in the direction indicated.



CHAPTER XII.

PAUL SLEEPS ON HIS WATCH.

Farm Island was about two miles distant, and as the Fawn had the wind on the quarter, it required but a short time for her to reach her haven of safety. Under the high bluff on the seaward side of the island, the water was comparatively tranquil; and here Paul anchored.

"We are all right now," said he, with a feeling of relief, as he took in the foresail.

"When do you suppose we shall get home?" asked John.

"I don't know; we will not borrow any trouble, so long as we are in a place of safety."

"Mother won't think we are in a place of safety," added John.

"Yes, she will: I have often told her that when a gale came on, I should always get into a safe place, and keep quiet till it was prudent to run home."

"It is lucky we are in the Fawn instead of the Blowout."

"We should not have gone down so far in the old boat. I felt so safe in this craft that I did not mind much about the weather."

"We have been safe enough all the time; and if you would only have put on the jib and reefed mainsail, we should have been at home by this time."

"I did not think it was prudent to do so. I may have been mistaken; if I was, I have erred on the safe side."

"I suppose we must sleep on board," said John.

"If you don't like the idea, you can go on shore, and sleep at the farm house."

"But I do like the idea; we have good beds, and I had just as lief sleep here as in my own bed at home. In fact, I am rather glad we are caught."

"I thought so," said Paul, laughing; "but there it one thing we are not prepared for."

"What is that?"

"Supper."

"I wish we had a frying pan and a furnace; we could have some fried perch for supper."

"As we have not those things, we must make the best of what we have. Our luncheon is all gone; but there are two or three crackers in the locker, which I threw in from the old boat."

"We shan't starve before morning," replied John, whose philosophy was proof against an empty stomach.

"I know that; but it would be a good deal better to have some supper, if we could get it."

"Can't we go on shore?"

"No, we can't land on this shallow beach. It wouldn't be safe to get aground here."

Both boys were very hungry, for it was now nearly night and they had taken their lunch in the middle of the day. The crackers were eaten, and washed down with a drink of cold water from the jug; but it was a dry and unsatisfactory supper and Paul resolved in future to keep the Fawn provisioned for such an emergency as the present.

The wind still blew with undiminished violence, and the black clouds indicated rain. By and by the darkness came on, and there was no longer any prospect of getting home before the next day. Just before dark, a man hailed them from the shore, and offered them a bed at the farm house; but Paul thanked him and declined the offer, at the same time hinting that they had nothing on board to eat.

"Come ashore, then, and get some supper," replied the man.

"We can't get ashore; we draw too much water," answered Paul.

"I will bring you off then."

The man pushed a skiff into the water, and soon came alongside the Fawn.

"You have got a fine boat here," said he.

"Yes, sir; she is a very nice boat."

"But this is pretty heavy weather for boys to be out. Whose boat is she?"

"She belongs to us."

"To you?" replied the man, apparently much astonished.

"Yes, sir; she was given to us by Captain Littleton."

"O, ho! so you are Paul Duncan."

"Yes, sir."

"And I understand why he gave it to you. Come, boys, you must go up to my house and stay with me to-night. I should rather have Paul Duncan under my roof than the governor of the state."

"We must stay on board, sir, to look out for the boat. If anything should happen to her in the night, I should never forgive myself for deserting her. We have a nice place to sleep," continued Paul, opening the doors of the cuddy, and pointing to the two berths.

"That looks very comfortable, but there is not much fun in sleeping on board a small boat such a night as this will be. But come up to the house, and have some supper."

"Thank you, sir; we will do that, for we are both very hungry. Stop a moment. John, hand out two or three of those rock-cod. Won't you take these, sir?"

"I am much obliged to you for them. Though we live so near the fish we don't have much time to catch them," replied Mr. Drake,—for that was the name of the farmer,—as he threw the fish into his skiff.

The two boys got into the boat with him, and he rowed them on shore. They were warmly welcomed by Mrs. Drake and the children, and a nice supper was soon placed before them; but all the arguments and expostulations of the farmer and his wife could not induce them to spend the night at the house. Paul was too fearful in regard to the safety of the Fawn to leave her, and John was too deeply smitten with the romantic idea of sleeping on board, to think of spending the night in any other manner. Mr. Drake, therefore, reluctantly put them on board their boat again.

"Now, Paul, we are in for it," said John, as he saw the farmer land, and draw up his skiff upon the beach.

"Yes, and it is going to be a very dirty night. I think the wind has shifted since we went ashore," replied Paul.

"So do I; we feel it as much again as we did."

"It blows full as hard as it has any time to-day."

The boys sat down in the standing room, and had a long talk about home and mother, and wondered what she would think because they didn't come home. It was now quite dark, and there was not a single star to relieve the gloom of the scene. John even went so far as to admit that it "looked kind of pokerish," and he was glad they were in so comfortable a place.

"Come, Paul, isn't it time to turn in?" asked John, after they had come to the unanimous conclusion that it was a decidedly stormy night.

"You can turn in, John, if you want to," replied Paul.

"Ain't you going to sleep any to-night?"

"I have no idea of leaving the Fawn to take care of herself in such weather as this."

"Are you going to sit up all night?" asked John.

"It isn't customary, I believe, on board ship, for all hands to turn in, and let the vessel take her chance."

"There is no danger here."

"If we both go to sleep, we may wake up and find ourselves nowhere. Suppose the wind should change to the eastward; we should be fully exposed to all the fury of the storm."

"I didn't think of that. Suppose we watch by turns, then."

"Very well; I will keep the first watch, and you may turn in as soon as you please."

"What is that?" asked John as he heard three strokes of a bell.

"There is a large ship at anchor off there."

"But it isn't three o'clock yet. Her clocks must be out of order."

"Three bells; that is half-past nine o'clock."

"I don't understand it; how should three bells mean half-past nine?" inquired John, who did not like to leave any nautical subject till it had been fully investigated.

"It begins to rain, and we may as well sit in the cuddy;" and they both retreated to the little cabin, and seated themselves on their berths. "If we only had a lantern to hang up in here, we should be perfectly at home."

"We will bring one next time; but about the bells, Paul?"

"Well, they have two watches on board ship, which are called the larbord and the starbord watches. In large vessels, they are under the care of the first and second mates. The twenty-four hours, on board ship, are divided into five watches of four hours each, and two dog-watches of two hours each. During these watches, the bell is struck every half hour; that is, one bell at half past eight; two bells at nine, three bells at half-past nine; and so on, till twelve, when it is eight bells, at which time one watch goes below, and the other comes on deck. At half past twelve the bell strikes one again; at one it strikes twice, and so on. Do you understand me?"

"I think I do; but when are the dog-watches?'

"From four to six, and from six to eight in the evening. They always strike the bells by twos, as you heard just now. But, John, it rains like fury."

"So it does, but it is a dry place in this cabin."

"I wish we had a lantern, for it is as dark as a pocket in here. It would make it so much pleasanter. But you must turn in now, or you will not be able to stand your watch."

"I think I will."

John took off his boots, and placed himself under the blanket and comforter of his berth, for there were no sheets. He gaped several times, and tried to continue the conversation with Paul; but the poor fellow, worn out with the fatigue and excitement of the day, was soon fast asleep. Paul listened to the sound of his heavy breathing, between the splashes of the waves as they broke upon the bow of the boat, till he began to feel sleepy himself, and then, wrapping the greatcoat, which he always carried with him, closely around his body, he went upon deck to see if there was any change in the weather or the position of the boat.

It was clear to him that the wind had been hauling round to the eastward, for the Fawn tumbled about as she had done out upon the open waters of the bay As he lay down upon the deck to examine the cable, so as to assure himself that it was not chafing the boat, a huge wave broke over the bowsprit, and he would have been drenched to the skin, if his coat had not been water-proof.

The rain continued to pour down, and Paul retired to the cuddy again. It was a weary, lonely watch, and he was so tired he could hardly keep his eyes open. But it seemed to him that the violence of the gale was subsiding, and he again went upon deck to satisfy himself on this point. There was still a heavy sea, but he was satisfied that the wind had very sensibly abated. Six bells sounded from the ship as he returned to the cuddy.

Throwing himself on his berth, he listened for a while to John's sonorous snores, and before he was sensible of the danger of his position, he was sound asleep himself. Worn out by the labors of the day, he could no longer keep his eyes open.

He woke with a start,—for he was conscious that he had forsaken the post of duty,—and hastened upon deck. Eight bells from the ship told him it was midnight. The wind had nearly subsided, but it rained very hard, and the heavy sea continued to break over the bow of the Fawn.

John was still sleeping like a log, and Paul, though it was time for the larboard watch to be called, had not the heart to wake up his brother. As the gale had subsided, the boat seemed to be no longer in danger, and he decided to turn in and finish his nap. But while he slept, the wind, which had abated only to come with still greater violence from another quarter, steadily increased in fury, till it blew a gale from the northeast.

The pitching of the boat soon startled Paul from his slumbers, and he rushed out into the standing room to find that the Fawn was rapidly dragging her anchor, and was in imminent peril of being dashed to pieces on the rocky shore.



CHAPTER XIII.

PAUL MAKES A NIGHT RUN IN THE STORM.

"John, John!" shouted Paul, when he realized the dangerous situation of the Fawn.

But the first mate of the craft slept too soundly to be disturbed by mere words, and the skipper had to shake him before he came to his senses.

"What is the matter, Paul?" asked he, as soon as he could get his eyes open and realize where he was.

"Put on your greatcoat and shoes, and come out here and be lively about it," cried Paul.

John obeyed, and before he was ready to join Paul in the standing room, he began to apprehend the state of affairs on board, for the furious wind and the angry waves that stormed against the hull and rigging of the Fawn told their own story.

"What's the trouble?" he asked, as he joined his brother.

"Don't you see there is a gale of wind down upon us?" replied Paul, sharply.

"Well, what of it?" demanded the young salt, with provoking indifference.

"A good deal of it; the boat has dragged her anchor, and at this rate will be upon the rocks in fifteen minutes! Come, be alive, and don't stand there like a log."

"What shall I do? You are the skipper, and I am ready to do anything you say," replied John, who was by this time fully awake.

"Can we pay out any more cable?"

But this was a useless question, for Paul knew very well that the cable was all out. Our young readers may not all understand the meaning of Paul's question. If the vessel rides at anchor with a short cable, her motion, as she rises and falls with the sea, raises up the shaft of the anchor, which has a tendency to detach the flukes, or points from the bottom. But Paul had been careful the night before to give the Fawn all the cable he could spare; and it was evident, therefore, that the anchor was not heavy enough, or that there was no holding-ground at the bottom.

"There is only one thing we can do, John," said Paul, desperately, after he had fully examined the situation of the boat.

"Say on, then," replied John; "I am ready for anything that you say."

"We must get up the anchor, and leave this place."

"Up it is, then."

"But this is an awful bad time, and an awful bad place to hoist a sail."

"Let her drive; we shall go it well enough. It blows like all-possessed: but what's the use of having a life boat, if you can't go out in her when it blows?"

"Stand by the fore halliards, then," cried Paul. "The sail is close-reefed, just as we used it yesterday."

The foresail was hoisted, and slammed with tremendous fury in the fresh gale. The boys then grasped the cable, and it required the full effort of their united strength to weigh the anchor; but the task was accomplished at last, and Paul leaped to his place at the helm. Laying her course parallel with the shore of the island, the Fawn dashed over the furious waves, within ten rods' distance from the breakers on the beach. In a few moments she passed beyond the reach of this peril, and rushed out among the billows of the open bay.

It was a fearful night even for strong men to venture upon the stormy sea; it was doubly perilous for these two boys; yet they had no choice, for to avoid a greater danger they had chosen the less. But the Fawn behaved in a very gallant manner, and her noble bearing promised to achieve all that could be done for the safety of the young fishermen. Notwithstanding the violence of the gale, she rested buoyantly on the top of the waves, and did not seem to labor in her course.

"Do you know where you are, Paul?" asked his brother, after they had sat in silence for half an hour.

"Certainly I do; there is South Point light dead ahead."

"Yes; but there is any quantity of rocks between us and the light."

"I know that; but I know where they are just as well as I know where the kitchen is, when I get into the house. Don't talk to me now, John; go below and turn in, if you like."

"Don't you want me?"

"No."

Paul did not think that John could act upon this suggestion, in such a storm and in the midst of so many perils; but he did, and as the young skipper heard no more from him, he concluded he was asleep.

"What a fellow!" thought Paul. "He could sleep in the midst of an earthquake or a tornado. Well, let him sleep; he is tired enough."

The Fawn dashed madly on, yet under perfect control, and the gallant skipper, when he saw through the deep darkness, the white breakers on Rock Island, felt entirely relieved from the responsibility which had before almost crushed his spirits, for it was plain sailing after he had passed that point and the dangerous reefs which environed it. If the Fawn could stand such a sea as that, she could stand anything, and her character was fully established for the future.

His spirits rose as he neared South Point light, which was not more than a mile and a half from his mother's house. He whistled merrily, to give expression to his satisfaction, as he passed the light, for he and the boat were now safe beyond a peradventure. Taking an extra turn in the foresheet, he laid the course of the boat a little closer to the wind, which soon brought her into the comparatively still water behind Long Island.

He saw the cottage of his mother now, and a light was burning in her chamber. He was grieved to see this, for he feared she might be sick, or that in her anxiety for the safety of her boys, she had sat up all night thinking of them. But in a few moments, he let go the anchor off the beach, and lowered the foresail. After making everything secure on board, he hauled the old boat, which he had moored there in the morning, alongside. John was still asleep; neither the paying out of the cable, nor the noise of Paul's feet, as he furled the foresail, had roused him from his deep slumbers, and the skipper decided to let him finish his night's rest on board.

Sculling the old boat ashore, he ran up the hill, and knocked at the side door of the cottage.

"Who's there?" asked his mother.

"Paul."

The door was opened, and the fond mother clasped her son to her heart, while the great tears coursed down her furrowed cheeks.

"I am so glad you have got back!" exclaimed she; "I was sure you were drowned. Where is John? He isn't with you, Paul! O, he is——"

"Fast asleep on board the Fawn, mother."

"Then he is safe."

"Yes; safe—yes."

"You have had a terrible time of it—haven't you?"

"Not very bad, mother; the wind and tide were against us, and we couldn't get up without carrying more sail than I thought it was safe to carry; so I ran under the lee of an island, and anchored."

"But what did you start back in the night for?"

"The wind hauled round to the northeast, and blew so that we dragged our anchor, and had to make sail to keep off the rocks."

"And John is safe, you say?"

"Perfectly safe. But why are you not in bed, mother?"

"I couldn't sleep in such a tempest as this, when I knew my boys were on the water."

"Well, go to bed now, then, for I must go on board again and clean my fish."

"You shall do nothing of the kind! I will warrant you haven't had a wink of sleep all night long."

"Yes; I slept two or three hours."

"Go right up-stairs, and go to bed, then. You will kill yourself, working all night, and losing your sleep."

"But John is asleep in the cabin of the Fawn. Shall I leave him there? Suppose the boat should go adrift?"

"Well, then, go down to the boat, and go to bed there. You needn't clean your fish yet."

Paul decided to adopt this suggestion, and in a few moments he was snoring with his brother in the little cabin of the boat.

It was six o'clock when the first officer of the Fawn began to show signs of life, and it was fully quarter past six before he realized, in the fullest sense, that he was still in the land of the living. An unpleasant dream that the gallant craft had been dashed in pieces on Rock Island reef, and that he, the before mentioned first officer of the schooner Fawn, had been thrown upon the rocks, where an enormous green lobster, about the size of a full-grown elephant, had seized him in one of his huge claws, and borne him down among the rock weed and devil's aprons for his breakfast, happily proved to be a mere fantasy of his slumbering faculties.

John sat upon his berth and congratulated himself upon his escape from the claw of the lobster. Then the occurrences of the night, the run off the lee shore, and the white-capped billows that had growled so in the gloom, began to come to his recollection, and he realized that they had had a tough time of it. But it was all right now, for though the rain pattered upon the deck above him, the boat did not pitch much. And there was Paul fast asleep in the other berth; of course it was all right, or he would not be there.

"But where are we?" thought John. "That's the next question. The last thing I remember was, that we were driving like mad over the rough sea. Then Paul told me to turn in; and I did, but I could hardly keep in my berth, the boat rolled and pitched so. Of course Paul couldn't get up while the wind blew so, and he must have anchored under some island. I wonder where we are."

At last John came to the conclusion that he could find out by simply walking out of the cuddy into the standing room. Acting upon this brilliant idea, he soon ascertained that the Fawn was at anchor near the beach of Bayville. He was somewhat astonished at the fact, and then paid a very high, though inaudible, compliment to the sleeping accommodations of the Fawn, whereof he was first mate.

He then returned to the cuddy,—he and Paul invariably dignified the little place as the cabin,—and found that Paul still slumbered. He was considerate enough not to wake him, for he knew that he had had a hard time of it; but it occurred to him that their mother might be desirous of knowing whether they were still in the land of the living or not, and he decided to go up to the house and reveal that important fact. It was very affectionate of him to think of his mother, after he had been snoring like a trooper all night; but John, in spite of his waywardness, was a kindhearted boy, and he came to the unanimous conclusion—he and John—that it was not right to let his mother worry any longer about them. She would be astonished to see him alone, and would immediately make up her mind that Paul was drowned; and he should have the pleasure of informing her that his brother still lived, and was fast asleep in the cabin of the Fawn, whereof he was captain, and he, the speaker, was first mate.

John, on his arrival at the house, walked into the kitchen where Mrs. Duncan was getting breakfast; walked in as he who does the ghost in Hamlet walks in—with the confident assurance that he is about to create a sensation.

"Well, John, you have got back. Did you sleep well, my son?"

"First rate," growled John. "Why the deuce isn't she astonished?" thought he. "She ought to be astonished to see me come home after being on the briny deep all night."

"You had a hard time of it—didn't you, John?"

"Well, rather hard; I slept like a log all night—except about half an hour. You didn't expect to see us back—did you?"

"I was a good deal worried till Paul came up and told me you were safe, and that you were asleep in the cabin."

"O, ho! so Paul has been home—has he? That accounts for it. Paul is asleep in the cabin now."

"Let him sleep—he needs rest," replied Mrs. Duncan; and it was after nine o'clock when the family breakfasted that morning.



CHAPTER XIV.

PAUL SCOLDS THE FIRST OFFICER OF THE FAWN.

After breakfast the young fishermen cleaned their perch and cod, and before dinner had disposed of the lot. From the proceeds of the sale, Paul purchased a small lantern, which was suspended in the cabin of the Fawn, for the darkness of that gloomy night was not soon to be forgotten.

The next day was clear and pleasant, and the boat went down as usual, and for more than a fortnight, no event worthy of a place in the history of Paul's fortunes occurred. The new boat worked admirably in every respect, and the boys were as proud of her as England has ever been of the Great Eastern. During these two weeks Paul had taken down three fishing parties, and had given them so good satisfaction, that his services in this line promised to be in demand. As he received four dollars a day for her, including the wages of himself and the first officer, he always welcomed such jobs, and John liked the fun of it even better than fishing, especially when there were any ladies in the party, for it was very amusing to him to see them in the agonies of sea sickness. He took a malicious delight in stowing them away in the berths in the cabin; yet in spite of the fun he made of them John would do all he could to assist them.

Just before the arrival of the Fawn in the waters of Bayville harbor, Paul had been unanimously elected a member of the Tenean Boat Club. He was very grateful for the honor conferred upon him, but his business was such that he could not often pull an oar in the boat. The members of the club all treated him with a great deal of consideration, though they were all the sons of rich men; and Paul felt that, if he was not their equal in worldly possessions, he could hold his head up with the best of them in the management of a boat.

One day, when the young fisherman called at the house of Major Kettle to sell fish, he met Thomas in the garden, who unfolded to him a magnificent project in which the Teneans—as the members of the Boat Club were generally called—were about to engage.

"We think of going on a cruise in the Flyaway," said Thomas.

"Where?"

"I don't know where yet; but we mean to be gone a week or ten days."

"Who is going with you?"

"Captain Littleton, I suppose, though I had just as lief he would stay at home."

"Of course he wouldn't let a lot of boys go off for a week in the yacht, without some one to take care of them," said Paul, with a smile.

"We can take care of ourselves; we don't want any one to take care of us."

"How many of you are going?"

"Ten or twelve; we want you with us."

"But I can't go."

"Yes you can; why not?"

"I have to attend to my business."

"You can afford to take a vacation of a week or two, I should think."

Paul shook his head. He was delighted with the idea, and would have been very glad to go, but he could not think of neglecting his business to go away upon a pleasure excursion.

"You must go, Paul; the fellows all want you to go, and we shall have a first-rate time."

"I have no doubt you will; and I should be very glad to go with you if I could; but it is of no use for me to think of such a thing."

"It is not fully decided that we are to go yet; but Captain Littleton and my father have consented to let us have the Flyaway. We shall know all about it next week."

Paul continued his walk, but the project of the excursion in the Flyaway haunted his imagination, and it required a great deal of self-denial for him to forego the anticipated pleasure. He felt that the summer season was the harvest time of his business, and he could not afford to waste a week or two in idle play. "Little by Little," was his motto, and he was not willing that any of those "littles" should slip through his fingers.

When they went down in the Fawn the next day, he told John about the excursion, and that he had been invited to form one of the party.

"But I can't afford to go," he added.

"Why not? It won't cost you anything."

"I shall lose my time, for the Fawn will lie idle at her moorings while I am gone."

"No, she won't. I will go a fishing in her every day."

"I think not, John."

"Do you think I can't manage her?" demanded the first officer, indignant that such an aspersion should be cast upon his nautical skill.

"She's too heavy a boat for you to manage alone."

"I will get a couple of fellows to help me; they will be glad enough of the chance."

"I dare say they will; but you are not quite old enough yet to run the boat yourself."

"What odds does it make how old I am, if I only know how to handle her? Could you work her any better if you were a hundred years old?"

"But you are reckless, careless, John; you know you are."

"I don't think I am; but I will promise to be very careful. You may take the foresail off, if you please, before you go; then you will be sure I shall not carry too much sail."

"I don't intend to go; so it is of no use to talk about it."

"You are a fool if you don't; that's all I have to say."

"You have a right to your own opinion, John."

"I wish I had a chance to go. I would give all my old shoes, if I could only be one of the party. What a glorious time they will have!"

Paul was of precisely the same opinion, but the idea of letting John run the Fawn during his absence was not for a moment to be tolerated. He would certainly run her on the rocks, or carry sail till the wind took the masts out of her.

As it was a very pleasant day, Paul decided to run down below, and try his luck among the cod and haddock; and they went farther out than they had ever been before. A fine lot of fish, including a mammoth cod, that had required the strength of both of them to pull out of the water, rewarded their enterprise.

The wind was very light, and instead of getting home before the tide turned, as Paul had calculated, they were two miles below Rock Island, when the ebb tide set in against them. To add to this misfortune, the wind entirely died out, and they were forced to come to anchor, to prevent drifting down with the tide. With a good wind they were only two hours' sail from home; but, as it was, there was a prospect of spending another night in the cabin of the Fawn—not a very unpleasant alternative, John thought, especially as they had a lantern, and plenty of provisions on board.

The cod and haddock had all been dressed, and there was nothing for the boys to do; so Paul went into the cabin and stretched himself on his berth. He had placed two or three books on board for such an emergency as the present, and he was soon absorbed in the contents of one of them. He did not read long, for a hard day's work is not a good preparation for literary labors. The book fell from his hand, and to the music of the flapping sails he dropped asleep.

It is a noticeable fact that fishermen can sleep twenty-four hours on a stretch. Many years ago, we went down a-fishing in one of the pinky-stern schooners, which were much more common then in the waters of Massachusetts Bay than at the present time. The crew consisted of the skipper and three men, the former of whom was an old, weather-beaten fisherman, who had roughed it on the coast from his boyhood. We went down one night intending to fish the next day, and return by sunset; but unfortunately a heavy rain kept us at our anchorage off Spectacle Island for twenty-four hours. The old skipper got out of his berth and ate his breakfast about ten, and after going half way up the companion ladder, to smell the weather, turned in again, and slept till four, when he was called to partake of a greasy chowder. As soon as he had disposed of a reasonable allowance for four hearty men, he tumbled into his berth once more, and was not visible again till the next morning. The rest of the crew slept about two thirds of the time. They were the sleepiest men we ever encountered during their leisure; but even the old skipper suddenly joined the "wide-awakes" when we reached the fishing grounds.

Paul had already contracted this fisherman's habit, and while the Fawn lay at anchor, he slept like a rock. After amusing himself for an hour on deck, John went below to take an observation, and to announce the prospect of "a breeze from the south-ward," for he had discovered a gentle ripple on the water at a distance. But when he saw that Paul was "having his watch below," he quickly returned to the standing room, closing the cabin doors behind him.

"There is a capful of wind," said he to himself, "and I will just show the skipper of the Fawn that I can handle her as well as he can."

He waited till the breeze reached her, and then, with as little noise as possible, he weighed the anchor, and took his place at the helm.

"All right, Captain Duncan; you can finish your snooze at your leisure," muttered he, congratulating himself upon the fact that he had got off without waking Paul.

The wind freshened into a nice little breeze, and the Fawn, close-hauled rippled merrily through the water. Still Paul slept on, unconscious of the progress she was making, while John was jubilant over the success of his trick. He was obliged to tack so as to go to the windward of Rock Island, but he twice accomplished this manoeuvre without disturbing the sleeper.

The boat was now up with Rock Island, and John, who could never see why Paul always wanted to keep half a mile away from this dangerous reef, laid her course very near the rocks.

"All right, my boy," said John, who had a bad habit of talking to himself when there was no one present to whom he could address his remarks; "won't Captain Duncan be astonished when he comes out of the cabin?"

And Captain Duncan was astonished when he came out, for just as the rash first officer arrived to the conclusion that the boat had run clear of all the dangers of the navigation in that quarter,—

Bump! went the Fawn on a hidden ledge.

"What are you about?" cried Paul, angrily, as he rushed out of the cabin.

"About got aground, I should say," replied John, a good deal more astonished than he had calculated Paul would be.

"Let go your sheets! Take the boat hook, and let us push her off, if we can," cried Paul.

Both the boys went to work, and after a few moments of hard labor, succeeded in pushing the Fawn off the ledge upon which she had struck.

"I suppose this is a specimen of your management," said Paul, as he hauled the sheets home, and seated himself at the helm.

"Rather bad management, I am willing to own," replied John, who felt that his reputation as a skilful navigator had departed in the twinkling of an eye.

"Next time, when you undertake to sail the Fawn without me, don't you do it. You would be a pretty fellow to run the boat if I were away a week; there wouldn't be a board left on her ribs in three days."

"It hasn't hurt her any, Paul."

"I suppose it hasn't; but it would have been just the same if it had been blowing a ten-knot breeze."

But John felt that, if it hadn't hurt the Fawn any, it had hurt himself a great deal; and he made a tremendous great resolution to be more careful in the future. The boat reached her mooring in good season, notwithstanding the detention.



CHAPTER XV.

PAUL GOES ON A CRUISE IN THE FLYAWAY.

"There has been a gentleman here to see you," said Mrs. Duncan, when Paul went to the house.

"Who was he?"

"He left his name and residence on a piece of paper, and wants you to call and see him this evening," replied Mrs. Duncan, handing him the address of the gentleman.

"Charles Morrison, Chestnut Street, third house from the depot," said Paul, reading the paper. "What does he want?"

"He said something about hiring your boat next week."

"What, the Fawn?"

"I suppose so; but he wants to see you, at any rate."

"Does he want me to go with her?"

"I'm sure I don't know."

After supper Paul went to see Mr. Morrison, and found that he wanted the Fawn for the whole of the following week, and that he did not want a skipper. He was going down to Bleakport to spend a week, and he wanted a good boat, which he could not procure at the place. He offered to pay fifteen dollars for the use of her, and to restore her in as good condition as when he took her.

This was certainly a good offer, and Paul concluded that he could not do better; but he was not prepared to give a decided answer, and promised to see the gentleman again the next evening.

On his return home he found Henry Littleton and Thomas Nettle waiting for him. The arrangements in regard to the excursion in the Flyaway had been completed, and the two boys had come to urge Paul to join them.

"When do you sail?" asked Paul.

"Next Friday."

"And how long shall you be gone?"

"About eight or ten days," replied Henry Littleton. "My father is going with us."

"I have got a good offer for the use of my boat next week," answered Paul, musing, "and I don't know but I will go."

"That's right, Paul; we must have you with us, at all events."

"Father says we ought to have you with us," said Henry.

"I will talk with my mother about it, and if she is willing, I think I will go."

"We have talked with your mother already, and she is perfectly willing you should go."

"I will let you know to-morrow."

The boys left him, saying he must certainly go with them, and Paul went into the house to talk over the matter with his mother.

"Do you think I can go, mother?"

"To be sure you can go," interposed John. "What is the use of talking about it?"

"I didn't ask you John," said Paul, with a smile.

"I don't see why you can't go," replied Mrs. Duncan. "I suppose there is no more danger of your getting drowned than there would be if you stayed at home."

"He will certainly be drowned, mother," added John.

"We shall be safe enough."

"Then you had better go."

"I have got a chance to let the Fawn for fifteen dollars; and that would be about as much as I should make if I stayed."

"And if you let her, I shall go skipper. Shan't I?" demanded John.

"I think not; Mr. Morrison will be his own skipper."

"Then I won't agree to it. I am part owner of the Fawn," said the first mate, pouting like a school-girl.

"You agreed to let me manage the Fawn at the beginning," added Paul. "You can't do anything with her alone, except run her on the rocks."

"I don't want you to manage me out of her in that manner," growled John. "I have as good a right in her as you have, and I don't mean to stay on shore here a whole week, sucking my fingers, when there is fun to be had."

While they were discussing this important question, which even threatened a rupture in the partnership between the young fishermen, Captain Littleton was admitted by Mrs. Duncan.

"What's the matter, boys? You are not quarrelling, I hope," said Captain Littleton, as he entered the room, for he had heard a portion of one of John's excited speeches while at the door.

"O, no, sir," replied Paul. "I have got a chance to let the Fawn for a week, and John is opposed to my doing so."

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