Little By Little - or, The Cruise of the Flyaway
by William Taylor Adams
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"Is he? I am sorry for that. Mr. Morrison spoke to me about a boat for the week, and I recommended him to you. I had a motive for doing so, for I want you to join the excursion in the Flyaway. I thought you would like to go, if you could do so without any loss."

"Thank you, sir. I should like to go very much; and when I got this chance to let the Fawn, I about made up my mind to go."

"Then it is all right; but I am sorry John will not consent to the arrangement."

"I don't want to stay on shore a whole week," pouted the first mate of the Fawn. "If they would only take me as skipper, I should like it first rate. What shall I do with myself for a whole week on shore?"

"I don't see as I can go, then," added Paul.

"Well, I don't want to keep you from going, Paul;" and a better feeling seemed to be roused in John's bosom.

"I can't afford to let the Fawn lie idle for a week, in the busy season," continued Paul.

"Can't I go a-fishing in her while you are gone?"

"Certainly not; you can't have my share to smash up on the rocks," said Paul, a little tartly. "You know you ran the boat on the rocks this very afternoon."

John felt a little lame here, and he did not venture a reply. He had sacrificed his reputation as a navigator by carelessly attempting to run too near the reef, and he felt that his brother's conclusions were correct.

"Well, at any rate, I won't keep you from going in the Flyaway, whatever I do. I will agree to let her to Mr. Morrison."

"That's generous, John. You have got the right kind of a heart beneath your jacket, though you have an odd way of showing it sometimes," said Captain Littleton.

"John means right, sir," added Paul.

"I like to have a little fun myself, as well as the rest of the fellows," continued John, "but I am willing to stay at home for Paul's sake."

"That's the right feeling, my boy," replied Captain Littleton; "and if your mother is willing, you may go in the Flyaway."

"Hoo-ray!" shouted John, jumping out of his chair, and performing some gymnastic feats that astonished the visitor and the family. "I may go—mayn't I, mother?"

"I have no objection, if Captain Littleton thinks it is safe."

"He will be as safe as my own son, Mrs. Duncan," added the captain.

"Hoo-ray!" shouted John again.

"Come, my son, behave yourself, or they won't want such an unmannerly fellow in the company."

"I will be as polite as a French dancing-master."

John was in luck again, and for the following three days he talked of nothing but the cruise of the Flyaway. Even sailing in the Fawn seemed tame to the idea of going off one or two hundred miles, and visiting towns and cities he had never seen, and had never before expected to see. He could hardly sleep nights, and when he did sleep, it was only to dream of being out of sight of land, or of occupying a berth in the cabin of the yacht.

Paul concluded his bargain with Mr. Morrison, and made all his preparations for an absence of a week or ten days—a longer time than he had ever been away from home before. He cleaned up the Fawn for Mr. Morrison, and split wood enough to last his mother a fortnight. It had already been decided that the yacht should go to the eastward, and visit Gloucester, the Isles of Shoals, Portsmouth, and Portland; and to be prepared for the excursion, he carefully studied all the maps and books he could procure, which gave any information in regard to these places.

The Flyaway was to sail on Friday at high water. For more than a fortnight, Captain Gordon had been training the boys of the Tenean Club to serve as "able seamen" on board the yacht. There were twelve of them, including Paul, who were to join the party. More than half of them were sixteen or seventeen years old; so that they were strong enough to do all the work required in the management of the vessel. They were all well trained, and every one of them knew his duty on board.

Besides Captain Gordon, who was to command the yacht, there was Captain Briskett, who had for many years been the master of a coasting vessel, and knew every rock and shoal between Boston and Eastport. Dick, the colored steward, was to retain his place during the cruise. Captain Littleton was to go as a passenger. John Duncan was nominally appointed cabin boy.

Friday came, and the officers and crew of the Flyaway were all on board. The anchor had been hove short, and the mainsail hoisted; the hour for sailing had arrived, and she only waited the coming of Captain Littleton. He had gone to Boston that morning, and his return was momentarily expected.

When the amateur crew had grown very impatient at his non-arrival, he appeared; but only to inform them that he had just received a telegraphic despatch from New York, which would compel him to start for that city in the afternoon.

"Now, boys, what is to be done?" asked he. "Will you postpone the trip for a week?"

"I suppose we must," replied Henry; but the faces of the whole crew were wofully elongated.

"I must give it up altogether, then," added Paul, bitterly disappointed; and John was ready to howl at the idea of not going.

"I will see what can be done," continued Captain Littleton, as he called Captain Gordon.

For a few moments they were engaged in earnest conversation together, and the boys waited with anxious interest for the result of the conference.

"Captain Gordon thinks he can take care of you, and I have concluded to let you go without me."

"Hurrah!" shouted several of the boys.

"But, boys, I must put you on honor to behave well during the cruise. Will you do it?"

"We will."

"And obey the orders of Captain Gordon in all things, whether you are on board or on shore?"

"We will," replied all the boys at once.

"Very well; I shall trust you. If I return soon enough to join you at Portsmouth, I shall do so. Good-by, now, and a pleasant cruise to you;" and Captain Littleton went over the side.

"Good-by, sir," replied the crew.

"That's first rate—isn't it?" whispered Tom Nettle, as the captain departed. "I am glad he isn't going."

"So am I," replied Frank Thompson.

"We shall not have him watching us all the time. Let me tell you, there is fun ahead now," added Thomas.

Captain Briskett, who was to be first officer of the Flyaway, as well as pilot, summoned them to the windlass to heave up the anchor; and in a few minutes the yacht was standing down the harbor under all sail. The Teneans gave three rousing cheers, and then distributed themselves in various parts of the deck to enjoy the exciting scene.

"All hands aft," said Captain Gordon, when the yacht had reached the open bay.

"Ay, ay, sir," replied several, as the crew took their places in the standing room.

"Now, boys, we must make our arrangements. When a ship goes to sea, it is customary to divide the crew into two watches. I shall take the starboard watch, and Captain Briskett the larboard. Each of us will choose a man in his turn till all are taken."

"Go on," said Captain Briskett.

"Henry Littleton," replied the skipper.

"Paul Duncan," added the pilot.

And so they proceeded till all the boys were chosen, except John, who resented the slight thus put upon him. To satisfy him, therefore, he was taken into the captain's watch.

"There are only eight berths in the cabin, boys, and you must draw lots for them," continued the master; "but they are all wide enough to hold two each. Now, if you want to pair off, you can do so."

Lots were drawn, and Paul and Henry were to occupy the same berth. Again John found himself thrown out of the calculation; but the captain said he would make a bed for him on a locker, and he was satisfied. The boys then went below to see their berths, which had all been numbered for the occasion.



When the Flyaway had passed Farm Island, and reached the fishing ground, she lay to, for the purpose of enabling the crew to catch a few cod and haddock, for the chowder and fry. But cod and haddock are singularly obstinate at times, and persistently refuse to appreciate the angler's endeavors in their behalf. They were so on the present occasion, and it was two hours before the chief of the culinary department could say there were enough to satisfy the ravenous appetites of the sixteen persons on board. Some of the boys had actually decided that fishing was a nuisance, but they were just as fond of chowder as those who enjoyed the fun even of catching only one fish per hour.

As fast as they were caught, Dick dressed them and prepared them for the chowder pot or the frying pan. There were some queer fish caught, including quite a number of sculpins, "a wolfer eel,"—so Captain Briskett called him,—and a large catfish. The latter was an ugly monster, having dangerous-looking teeth, with which he laid hold of everything that came in his way. There was also in the collection a large skate, or ray, which called forth some rather large fish stories from the two experienced skippers on board.

As the culinary department was now supplied, the yacht stood away for Gloucester, which was to be her first port. They had a fine wind, and before the chowder was ready, the Flyaway was in sight of the Reef of Norman's Woe.

"Dinner is ready," said Dick, at last, for the stomachs of the boys had been in a state of rebellion for two hours.

There was a grand rush for the cabin; but, to the astonishment of the hungry crew, Captain Gordon placed himself at the companion way, and would not permit a single one of them to go below.

"That's not the way to do on board ship," said he. "Are you all going below at once?"

"Why not?" asked Tom Nettle.

"Suppose we should have occasion to tack, or to take in sail in a hurry? Have we got to wait for you to finish your plate of chowder?"

"We are all as hungry as bears, Captain Gordon," added Frank Thompson. "We can't stand it any longer."

"Part of you must stand it half an hour longer. Captain Briskett has the helm, and the larboard watch will remain on deck, the starboard watch go below."

The captain's watch tumbled down the companion way, ranged themselves round the table, and went to work as though they had not eaten anything for a month. As they are doing very well, we will return to the deck, and listen a few moments to the remarks of the mate's watch.

Paul had seated himself by the side of the helmsman, and was asking questions in regard to the reef, the depth of water in the harbor, and other questions of interest only to nautical persons. The rest of the watch had gathered in a group on the forecastle. It was unfortunate that so many of the refractory spirits had been chosen into the same watch; but there were Tom Kettle, Frank Thompson, and Samuel Nason, all three of whom had once been expelled from the club for misconduct, and only been readmitted on their solemn promise to mend their manners, and behave like gentlemen in future.

"I don't like it," said Tom; "and if the rest of the fellows will back me up, I will go below and have dinner with the crowd."

"I will back you up, for one," said Frank.

"And I, for another," added Samuel.

"But Captain Gordon gave a good reason why some of us should remain on deck," suggested one of the boys.

"No, he didn't. What is there to do? We shan't have to touch a sail this hour—see if we do," retorted Tom.

"But we might have occasion to do so, and for one, I am willing to observe the discipline of the vessel," said Charles Lawrence.

"I don't like the idea of having old Gordon domineering over us for a week," added Frank. "I don't care so much about the dinner as I do the spirit the old fellow exhibited. He placed himself before the companion way, just as though he had been the captain of a ship, and we were all common sailors."

"We will cure him of that before we have been with him many days," added Tom.

"I'll bet we will," answered Frank; "and I think the present is the best time to begin. How many of you will make a grand rush into the cabin?"

There were only four of them who were willing to take this rash step.

"Come on, then," said Tom, "I will go if there is only one fellow to back me up."

"We will follow you," added Frank. "Go ahead, Tom!"

"You had better count the cost before you go any farther," interposed Charles Lawrence. "You know we all promised to obey Captain Gordon in everything he directed, whether on shore or on board."

"We didn't expect he was going to treat us like servants—like dogs."

"Captain Littleton wouldn't let him domineer over us in that style if he were here. Come on, boys," said Tom, as he led the way aft.

"Where are you going, boys?" demanded Captain Briskett, as the rebellious watch appeared in the standing room.

"Going below to get our dinner."

"Not yet; you must wait till the watch is relieved. You heard the captain's orders."

"We don't care for the captain's orders. We are not going to be treated like dogs."

"But it is necessary that one watch should be on deck all the time."

"Can you tell me why it was necessary to have the starboard watch go to dinner first?"

"I cannot; it is the captain's business to order, and mine to obey," replied the mate.

"It isn't our business to obey any such orders as that," said Tom. "Come, Paul, let us all go below, and have our dinner."

"I shall obey orders," replied Paul, decidedly.

"On deck, there! What's the matter?" called Captain Gordon, from the cabin.

"There is a mutiny in the larboard watch," replied the mate, with a smile.

Tom and Frank did not wait for any more explanations, and began to descend the ladder into the cabin.

"Stop, boys! what does this mean?" demanded Captain Gordon, rising from the table.

"It means that we are going to have our dinners; that is all," replied Tom, who had by this time reached the cabin floor.

"But my orders were, that the larboard watch should remain on deck."

"We don't care for that."

"You don't, eh?" And Captain Gordon was evidently very much surprised, for whatever he had expected, he certainly had not anticipated a mutiny the first day out.

"Wasn't my order a reasonable one?" he continued.

"No, sir! It was not."

"It is necessary that one watch should be on deck while the vessel is under sail."

"That may be; but it wasn't necessary that your watch should go to dinner first," replied Tom.

"Will you return to your duty, or not?"

"No, sir!"

"You had better consider well what you are doing, Tom, before you go any farther. Captain Littleton placed me in command of the yacht, and expressly directed me to do everything I have done, so far; and especially to keep one watch on deck all the time, while we are under sail. Now, those of you who are willing to return to your duty and obey orders, as you promised Captain Littleton, go on deck again."

Not one of the four boys accepted this polite invitation.

"Then I am to settle this question with these four," added the captain.

"There's no settling about it; we are going to have our dinner; that's all," said Tom, pushing forward towards the table; but Captain Gordon placed himself before him, and prevented his farther progress.

"I have asked you to return to your duty; now I order you to do so; and I am going to be obeyed, even if there are some broken heads to bind up afterwards," replied the captain. "Briskett, let Paul take the helm and come below."

"Stand back, and let me pass" cried Tom, his face flushed with anger.

But instead of standing back, Captain Gordon seized him by the collar and threw him down. This was the signal for Frank to step in, and do battle for his friend. He was a stout fellow, and there was, for a moment, a prospect of a smart little battle but the brawny pilot suddenly destroyed this prospect by laying both hands on the second mutineer, and dragging him on deck. Captain Gordon followed him with Tom, the two other refractory spirits not deeming it prudent to keep the promises they had made on deck only a few moments before.

Captain Gordon tied Tom's hands behind him, and Frank was presently reduced to the same ignominious condition. The other two were ordered to take their places by the side of the prisoners, and they deemed it prudent to obey.

"All hands on deck!" shouted the captain, as he took the helm from Paul. "Ready to go about!"

All the boys wondered what was to be done next; but the orders were promptly obeyed, and they took their stations as they had been instructed to do when the yacht was to go about. In a few moments the Flyaway, which had by this time passed the reef, and was standing up the harbor, was put about, and headed towards the open sea. No one ventured to ask any questions; but as soon as the mate had been restored to the helm, he fastened the prisoners to the rail, and gave the starboard watch orders to finish their dinners, and led the way to the cabin.

"He will have to pay dearly for this," growled Tom, when the captain had gone below. "My father is half owner of the Flyaway, and if he doesn't get turned off, it won't be his fault."

But Frank did not make any reply. His father did not own half the yacht, and he began to think he had "barked up the wrong tree," as he afterwards expressed it. He did not exactly know what to make of things, and couldn't understand why the yacht had been put about, and headed towards home. It was rather ominous, and he wished himself out of the scrape, or rather that he had not embarked in such a stupid enterprise.

Captain Gordon finished his dinner in silence, and as his brow looked as stormy as a thundercloud, not one of the boys in his watch cared to question him in regard to his future course.

When the starboard watch had finished their dinner, they went on deck; and the captain ordered Dick to carry some of the chowder up for the rebellious portion of the other watch, while the mate, and those of his party who "stuck by the ship," went below.

When dinner was over, and all hands had returned to the deck, Captain Gordon announced his intention to return to Bayville at once.

"We haven't been gone a week yet," said Henry Littleton.

"Your father told me, if any serious difficulty occurred on board, to return home without delay. These fellows have chosen to disobey orders the first day out; and I think that is a serious matter."

"Do you hear that, Tom?" said Frank, in a whisper, to his fellow-prisoner.

"I don't care; the sooner he goes home the sooner will he be discharged."

"But we shall lose all our fun, any way."

"Can't help it; I won't be treated like a servant by my father's servant," replied Tom, loud enough to be heard by the captain.

"Your father can do what he thinks best when I get home, but while I command a vessel all hands obey orders."

"Come, Tom, don't let us spoil all the fun. We will pay him off at another time. Don't let us break up the cruise," whispered Frank. "He's got us where the hair is short, and we can't help ourselves."

Tom at first refused to "back down," as he and his party elegantly expressed it; but Frank's suggestion to pay him off at another time at last prevailed with him, and he consented to join with his companions in trouble in an apology to Captain Gordon, and a promise to obey orders without grumbling in future. Frank therefore made overtures for a capitulation; but the captain at first declined to listen to them, and it was only upon the urgent request of the rest of the party that he finally consented to pardon the offenders and continue the cruise. It was only because he did not like to punish the innocent with the guilty, he declared, that he reversed his former decision; but if any further difficulty occurred, they would know what to expect.



It was with more than the usual alacrity that the crew flew to their stations when the order was given to come about, and the Flyaway was soon retracing her course towards Gloucester. It was about sunset when this step was taken, and the yacht was some ten or twelve miles from Norman's Reef. She would have made a quick run of this distance, but the wind had all died out, and there was a perfect calm upon the sea. There was but little prospect of their getting to Gloucester that night, and they were too far out to anchor.

Before dark the captain had some misgivings as to the propriety of his course in continuing the cruise, for Tom and his companions seemed to be sulky, and he had several times observed them in close communication on the forecastle. But he felt perfectly competent to manage them, however refractory they might prove to be; yet he feared their misconduct would destroy all the pleasure of the trip. He resolved to treat them as well as though nothing had happened, but at the same time to keep a sharp lookout upon them.

"All hands aft," called Captain Gordon; and the crew, including the mutineers, promptly obeyed the summons. "Boys," he continued, when they had all assembled in the standing room, "I propose, during this trip, at the suggestion of Captain Littleton, who would have carried out the plan if he had come with us,—I propose to instruct you a little in the practical duties of seamanship to give you something to think about, while we are idling around the decks. You see that bell, over the windlass?"

"Ay, ay, sir."

"That's a very important thing on board a ship, for by it is regulated everything that takes place, especially the watches. As we are likely to be out to-night, or at least a part of the night, I intend to keep a regular watch on board, just as they do in any well-regulated vessel. Indeed, it is absolutely necessary to do so. We can't all turn in and sleep while the vessel is on her course; some of us must be on deck all the time. Therefore we had better have things done up in shipshape order."

"That is just what we want," said Henry—a sentiment which was responded to by a majority of the crew.

"Very well," continued the captain, consulting his watch; "it wants a few minutes of eight o'clock, at which time we will strike eight bells, and set the watch."

"Which watch, captain?" asked Tom Nettle, in rather surly tones.

"There is a rule about this matter, my lad, as there is about everything aboard ship. I shall follow this rule," replied Captain Gordon, without even looking at the speaker.

"What is the rule?" asked Henry, rather because he wished to turn the captain's attention away from Tom, than because he was impatient to know the rule.

"The captain's watch, which is the second mate's in ships, takes the first, and the first officer's the second, on the outward voyage; on the homeward voyage the order is reversed. The starboard watch is the captain's; therefore it is my first watch to-night. It will be from eight to twelve; when the larboard watch will come on deck, and remain till four; then the starboard again till eight."

"That isn't fair," said Edward Freeman.

"Why not, my boy?" asked the captain, with a smile; for he readily perceived the objection the speaker was about to urge.

"The starboard watch will be on deck eight hours of the night, while the other watch will be up only four hours."

"Just so, my lad; but to-morrow night the order of the watches will be reversed. Give me your attention for a moment, and I will explain the matter. Continuing from the point where I left off, the starboard watch will be on duty from eight to twelve; the larboard from twelve to four; when the starboard will come on deck; but——"

"That will bring things just as they were the preceding night, and the starboard watch will be on duty eight hours, as before," interrupted Edward, thinking he had caught the captain this time.

"To avoid this difficulty, the watch from four to eight in the afternoon is divided into two, called the dog-watches."

"That makes it all right."

At this moment, Captain Briskett, who had gone forward for the purpose, struck the bell eight times.

"Eight bells! All the starboard watch, ahoy!" shouted Captain Gordon. "All the rest of you had better go below and turn in; while you sleep, pay attention to it, for when we call you, we shall want you."

The mate and his watch all went below; but, though they took to their berths, the excitement of the occasion was too great to permit them to sleep. There was a great deal of "skylarking" done in the cabin, as well as on deck, during the next hour, but one by one the boys below dropped asleep, and those on deck were soon tired of play, and called upon Captain Gordon to "spin a yarn." He was good-natured enough to comply with their request.

The watch on deck soon came to the conclusion that "sailoring" was not particularly funny at night, for there was a good deal of gaping, and not a little impatience for the eight bells that would relieve them for a while. At six bells there was a prospect of a little wind, and the yacht began to ripple through the water. The wind increased steadily till they had quite a lively breeze.

"All the larboard watch, ahoy!" shouted the captain down the companionway, at eight bells.

"Ay, ay," replied Briskett.

But it was no easy task to rouse the sleepers, and even when they were awoke, some of them declared they were not going on deck again that night. They concluded, however, after the experience of the first day, that it would be better to fall in with the discipline of the vessel. They found the Flyaway making good progress through the water, which in some measure waked them up, and reconciled them to their situation. In two hours more, she came to anchor in Gloucester harbor, and the watch were permitted to go below. A lantern was hoisted on the forestay, and all hands were soon asleep.

Our limited space does not permit us to transfer the log of the Flyaway to our pages, and we must hasten on to more exciting events than the ordinary working of the vessel. The party spent the forenoon at Gloucester, and after dinner made sail for Portsmouth, arriving there at about nine o'clock in the evening; or rather at the mouth of the river, for they anchored off Kittery Point. On Monday morning, the Tenean, which lay upon deck, was put into the water, and the club pulled up to the city.

While they were absent, the wind veered round to the northeast, and there were some signs of a storm. It had been the intention of Captain Gordon to run over to the Isles of Shoals in the afternoon, but the weather was so inauspicious that he declined to carry out his purpose. The club spent the afternoon, therefore, rowing about the bay, in fishing, and in visiting the objects of interest on shore, including, of course, the Pepperell monument.

Unfortunately, Tuesday proved to be no better day than Monday; and in addition to the prospect of a storm, there was a dense fog outside the harbor. As Captain Gordon had been particularly cautioned to incur no needless risks, he positively refused to leave the harbor, though the boys had teased him from sunrise to do so. Even Henry and Paul were vexed at the delay. They had thoroughly exhausted Portsmouth, Kittery Point, and the Navy Yard; had visited Fort Constitution, Fort McClary, and the Lighthouse; in fact, there was not a single point of interest left to be visited.

All the forenoon the boys did not intermit their persuasions to induce the captain to proceed on the cruise; but he was as firm as a rock, and declared that, if they all went down on their knees before him, he would not "budge an inch."

After dinner, Captain Gordon, probably to escape the importunities of his crew, announced his intention to walk up to Portsmouth, and called for volunteers to accompany him. Captain Briskett, Henry, and Edward were all that were disposed to go with him, and he departed, leaving the rest of the crew to amuse themselves in the best way they could.

Hardly had they disappeared behind the hill on shore, before Paul noticed that Tom Nettle and the other mutineers on the first day out were gathered in a group around the heel of the bowsprit. They were engaged in earnest conversation, but in tones so low that he could not understand them. Presently Tom called one of the boys who were fishing over the port rail, and then another, and another, till all on board but himself had been admitted to the conference. Even John Duncan was permitted to share the confidence of the party.

Paul at once came to the conclusion that they were plotting mischief; but he could form no idea of the nature of the plot—whether it was to rob a hen-roost on shore, or capture the wooden fort that frowned upon them from the heights above. He was sorry to see John permitted to enter this conclave of mischief; but because his brother apparently acquiesced in the plan, he hoped that no serious roguery was intended.

The details of the mysterious scheme seemed to have been all arranged, for presently the boys separated into groups; but Paul heard Tom say the tide would begin to run out in half an hour. What this meant he could not possibly imagine, unless the boys intended to run away in the Tenean, and wanted the ebb tide to help them out of the river.

"John," said Paul, when the conspirators separated.

"Well, what do you want, Paul?" demanded John, in rather surly tones, as he joined his brother.

"There is mischief brewing there, and I warn you not to engage in it."

"Mischief?" queried John. "What do you mean by mischief?"

"Don't you know what mischief means?"

"Rather think I do."

"These boys are getting up some trick; don't you have anything to do with it."

John made no reply.

"What is the game?" asked Paul.

"Can't tell."

"Can't you indeed?"

"No, I can't."

"You know we all promised to obey Captain Gordon."

"I am not going to disobey him."

"If there is anything wrong going on, it is your duty to tell of it."

"O, you can't pump me; so it's no use to try," replied John, walking away, and joining the principal conspirators in the forecastle.

"But what are you going to do with Paul?" were the first words that saluted his ears, as John joined them.

"I don't know. What can we do with him?" said Tom, to whom the question of the previous speaker had been addressed.

"Of course Paul won't join us," added Frank.

"No; you might as well attempt to capture Fort Constitution as to make him join us."

"Are you sure we can't bring him over?"

"Don't say a word to him about it, or he will prevent us from going."

"He can't do that."

"He would find a way; he might jump overboard, and swim to one of these vessels and get assistance."

"But we want Paul; and if we keep him on board, he will join us after a few hours."

"You mustn't hurt him any way," interposed John; "if you are going to do anything of that sort, I shall let the cat out of the bag."

"We won't hurt him," replied Tom.

"I'll tell you what we will do. We will get him to go down into the cabin under some pretence, and then fasten him down," said Frank.

"That will do first rate."

"But Dick is on board too; what shall we do with him?"

"Fasten them both down below."

Paul, from the frequent glances bestowed upon him by the plotters, was satisfied that he was the subject of their remarks; but this did not disturb him, for, firm in his purpose to do right, whatever might happen to him in consequence, he was prepared for any event which the conspirators might bring to pass. He was sorry to find that mischief was brewing at all, and pained to see his brother a consenting party to it.



Before the half hour which the conspirators had indicated as the favorable time for carrying out their mysterious project had elapsed, Tom Nettle and Frank Thompson went below to prepare the way for the execution of their scheme. In the cook room, which occupied the fore part of the hold of the yacht, Dick was busily engaged in scraping potatoes. This seemed to be the favorite occupation of the steward, for he spent a large share of his time between meals in this employment; and fried potatoes was the standard dish for breakfast, dinner, and supper.

"I'm glad you come down, Tom; I want to use you a few moments," said Dick, as the two boys entered the cook room.

"Well, what do you want, Dick?"

"I want you to help me move the stove; the pipe is loose; and if you will just hold it while I slide the stove back two or three inches, it will make it all right. Just hold the pipe up while I push the stove back."

"I have just cleaned up, Dick," replied Tom, who never hesitated at a white lie, and not often at a black one. "Paul is on deck, and in just the trim to do a job of that kind."

"No matter, then; I will call him," replied Dick; and the two boys presently returned to the deck.

"Just what we wanted," said Frank.

"Don't say a word, and Dick will call him down in a minute."

But the steward seemed to forget that he intended to make a change in the position of the stove, for he did not call Paul, as the conspirators were anxiously waiting for him to do. The tide had turned, and there was no obstacle in their way except the presence on deck of him to whom they had not dared to breathe a word of moral treason.

"Paul," said Tom, at last, when his patience was completely exhausted, "Dick wants to see you down below."

In order to make the request seem like one just made, he had lain down upon the fore hatch, which opened into the apartment where the steward was at work, thus seeming to be in communication with him.

"What does he want?" asked Paul, unconscious of the trick which was about to be played off upon him, and rather pleased than otherwise at the prospect of some employment to relieve the monotony of his situation.

"He wants you to help him move the stove."

"Never mind it now, Paul," interposed the steward from below; "any time before I make the fire to get supper will do."

"I will go now; I have nothing else to do," replied Paul, as he descended the companion ladder.

"Now is our time!" exclaimed Tom. "You look out for the fore hatch, and I will take care of the companion way."

"Ay, ay, Tom, and be quick about it."

At a signal from the chief conspirator, the slide was drawn and the fore hatchway covered up, thus making Paul and the steward prisoners below.

"What does that mean?" said Paul.

"I don't know; some mischief, I suppose," replied Dick. "They are playing off a trick upon us."

"We are prisoners, anyhow," continued Paul, glancing at the closed hatchway.

"All the same to me; don't mind them at all, and they will soon get sick of the fun."

"But what are they about?" added Paul, as he heard the creak of the windlass on deck. "I'm afraid they are up to some serious mischief."

"Can't help it; 'tain't my fault, and I never meddle with what don't concern me. All I got to do is to cook the victuals, and take care of the cabin."

Dick was utterly indifferent in regard to the conspirators, and went on scraping his potatoes, as though nothing unusual was in progress. As long as they had not carried off his cooking stove, or separated him from the ice chest, he was perfectly contented, and undoubtedly would call all hands to supper at the proper time, precisely as though everything was proceeding in a proper and regular manner on board the Flyaway. Dick prided himself upon minding his own business; and if the yacht had been seized by a gang of West India buccaneers, his culinary operations would have proceeded with their accustomed order and promptness.

It was not so with Paul; for the creaking of the windlass, and the activity that seemed to be manifested on deck, had already suggested to him a suspicion in regard to the purpose of the crew. He was not long left in doubt, for the sounds from above soon indicated that a portion of the conspirators were hoisting the mainsail. But he found it very difficult to accept the conclusion that these indications forced upon him. The boys on deck were certainly getting the yacht in readiness to sail; yet it seemed scarcely credible to him that they intended to run away with her. A scheme so bold and wicked passed his comprehension, and he was not prepared to believe that even Tom and Frank had the hardihood to carry it out. But the evidences were fast increasing; he heard the voice of Tom Nettle, as he stood at the helm, issuing his orders with as much assurance as though he had been regularly placed in authority.

Presently he heard the anchor strike against the hawse-hole, and the jib rattling up the stay. He could no longer cherish a hope that their purpose was less criminal than he had feared. He almost cried with sorrow and vexation when he considered that his brother John was one of the mutineers.

"They are running away with the yacht," said he to his fellow-prisoner.

"That's none of my business," replied Dick, with his accustomed stoicism. "All I got to say is, that supper will be ready at six o'clock; because why—that's the time Captain Gordon told me to have supper."

"But do you mean to let them run away with the yacht?"

"Don't see that I can help myself;" and the steward suspended his labors for a moment, glancing at Paul as though he had a vague suspicion that he might be in some degree responsible for his inactivity.

"I think we have a duty to perform," continued Paul.

"What can we do?"

"We must get the vessel away from them and take her back to her anchorage."

"But we can't do that. We are prisoners here; can you break through that hatchway?"

"Then you are willing to do something?"

"Certainly I am," replied Dick. "If you can tell me what to do, I will do it."

Paul seated himself by the side of the steward, and proposed to him that, at a suitable time, they should make an effort to recover the yacht, and return her to her lawful commander. Dick consented, but he was afraid they would have no opportunity to put the plan in execution, for they could hardly overcome the eleven mutineers. Yet each pledged himself to the other to do whatever could be done; but it was agreed that they should not attempt anything without a reasonable prospect of success.

There was a stiff breeze from the northeast, and the prisoners saw the yacht lying over upon her side, which gave some indication of the rate at which she was passing through the water. They knew how dense was the fog outside, and they had some fears that her reckless managers would run her upon the rocks, which was not a pleasant prospect to them, confined as they were in the cabin.

An hour by the clock had elapsed since the yacht got under way, and it was evident from her motion that she was laboring through a heavy sea. Paul had begun to be uneasy, for he had very little confidence in the seamanship of Tom Nettle, who, he judged, was the new master of the Flyaway, and he was in momentary expectation that she would strike upon a rock, and the cabin be filled with water.

When the yacht first got under way there had been a great deal of confusion on deck. Frank had rebelled at the authority of Tom, and claimed the right to command; but this dispute had been settled, and new causes of difficulty had appeared every moment. But now the conspirators were very quiet, and Paul perceived that they had come to realize the full peril of their position. He could hear their low and earnest tones, as they consulted together in the standing room. More than once he had heard his own name mentioned, but he could not hear enough of the conversation to determine what they intended to do with him. We will leave Paul and his fellow-prisoner below for a time, and notice the condition of things on deck.

The weather was decidedly threatening. The wind was increasing in violence, and there was a heavy sea. In short there was every indication of a regular northeaster. Tom Nettle had the helm, but his face no longer wore the confident assurance which had given him the victory over his rival in the contest for the command, and which had strengthened the doubting hearts of his more timid followers. His eye was restless, and his movements uneasy. He was not a stupid boy—only a reckless one; and he could not help seeing that he was leading those who had trusted in him into hardship and perils which neither party had foreseen.

The Flyaway was lying close to the wind, under jib and mainsail, and was completely enveloped in the dense fog that covered the ocean. Her bowsprit was slapping the waves, and the spray sweeping the entire length of the deck. Frank Thompson was lying out upon the bowsprit, wet to the skin, peering through the fog to give timely notice of breakers, or of any vessel which might lie in the path of the yacht. The rest of the crew were seated in the standing room, most of them engaged in watching the anxious face of Tom Nettle, whose boasted seamanship was now put to the severest test.

The Flyaway dashed on, and the faces of the rebel crew became more and more anxious every moment. Another hour elapsed, and the wind continued to freshen, and the sea to rise. Dense volumes of fog rolled by the vessel, and the mutineers were all wet to the skin. John Duncan was the only one who seemed to enjoy the scene, and it was evident at times that even he had some painful misgivings in regard to the future.

"Hard a-lee! hard a-lee!" shouted Frank, suddenly jumping down from the bowsprit, and making the most violent gestures.

Tom, startled and confused by the frantic movements of Frank, unfortunately put the helm the wrong way; and the yacht, getting the wind more a-beam, plunged deeper than ever into the huge waves.

"The other way, you confounded fool!" roared Frank, as he let go of the jib sheet.

The bewildered helmsman obeyed this order; but the movement had been so long delayed that the whole crew could hear the roar of the breakers ahead of the yacht. With the assistance of his companions Tom put the helm hard-a-lee, and the Flyaway came up into the wind.

But Frank had made a greater blunder, if possible, than the confused skipper; for when he had cast off the jib sheet, long before he should have done so, the sail had blown out as far as it could, carrying the end of the sheet with it.

My young and non-nautical readers must not suppose that a sheet is a sail; it is a rope. The jib-sheet is the rope attached to the lower part of the sail, by which it is hauled in or let out, as occasion may require. On the Flyaway this rope ran through a double block, or tackle. The sail was now slapping and banging in the fresh wind, so that Frank could not get hold of it; for the heavy block threatened to knock his brains out, as it thrashed in every direction.

In consequence of this blunder, when the yacht came up into the wind, and there was no jib to help her round, she fell off, lost her headway, and drifted helplessly towards the rocks. Tom was appalled at the danger that menaced them, and gave all sorts of orders; but none of them were heeded by the panic-stricken crew.

"Draw the slide, and call up Paul," gasped the disheartened skipper; and his order was understood and instantly obeyed.



"Help us, Paul, if you can," cried Tom, as the prisoners rushed up the ladder. "You take the helm, Dick."

"Me!" exclaimed the steward. "I don't know no more about handling a vessel than I do about making a watch. Paul must help you."

"Forgive me, Paul, for shutting you up down there, and get us out of this scrape if you can."

At this moment the keel of the Flyaway grazed upon a rock, and then bumped heavily as she sank down with the sea.

"We are lost! We shall all be drowned!" exclaimed Frank Thompson.

Paul's quick eye instantly measured the peril that menaced the Flyaway, and though she continued to thump and grind on the rocks at the bottom, he did not lose all hope of saving her. The first thing was to secure the jib sheet. Seizing the guy rope which was used to haul out the main boom, he ordered all hands forward. At the end of the line there was a large iron hook, which, with a dexterous throw, he succeeded in fastening to the block. The sail was then hauled down, and the truant sheet effectually secured.

The coast line, upon which they were in danger of being dashed to pieces, extended northeast and southwest, and the yacht was still some twenty rods distant from the breakers. Paul ordered the jib to be hauled hard up on the weather side, which caused the vessel's head to swing round with the wind; then, as the sheet was eased off, she slid over the rock, and for a moment ran down parallel with the coast, and before the wind.

When this manoeuvre had been successfully accomplished, Paul ran to the helm, and giving the necessary orders, the Flyaway was soon braced sharp up, and standing away from the breakers.

"Three cheers for Paul Duncan!" shouted Tom Nettle, when he realized that they had escaped the terrible fate which a moment before had hung over them. "One!"

"Hold your tongue, Tom!" replied Paul, sharply. "Try the pump, and see whether she leaks any."

The cheers were not given in the face of this sharp rebuke, and Tom hastened to obey the order which Paul had just issued. The examination revealed the gratifying fact that the Flyaway was still sound, and made no water. She had only bumped a few times in deep water with the action of the waves.

"You can take the helm again, Tom," said Paul, when the survey was completed. "If you wish to make me a prisoner again, I will go below."

"I do not," replied Tom.

"I am not one of your number, but I should like to ask what you intend to do?"

"We calculated to go to Portland," replied the chief of the conspiracy.

"To Portland?"

"That is what we intended."

"That is not what you told us," said one of the boys. "You said you would only run out a little way, and return before Captain Gordon got back."

"That was only to get your consent to the plan, you spoonies," said Frank.

"You are smart sailors, I must confess," replied Paul, with a sneer. "It was easy enough to get out of the harbor, but not so easy to get back again."

"We depended upon you," said Tom.

"Did you, indeed? Do you expect me to join in such a miserable scrape as this?"

"We will do just what you say now."

"Will you? You are very kind. After you have got into a difficulty you can't get out of you want me to join the company. You expect me to pilot you down to Portland—don't you?"

"We will obey your orders, Paul; go anywhere you please," said Frank.

"That is a great deal easier said than done. What can I do, what can anybody do, in this fog? You thought you knew everything, Tom, better than Captain Gordon. I hope you have got enough of it."

"Captain Gordon was right," replied Tom; and this sentiment was responded to by all the mutineers.

"I'm glad you have come to your senses, even at the eleventh hour," continued Paul; who, finding the conspirators were all upon the stool of repentance, was disposed to treat them a great deal better than they deserved.

"I shall not go to Portland, or attempt to go there, for I do not consider myself competent to pilot a vessel in these waters," said he. "I shall take the Flyaway back to Portsmouth harbor as soon as I can get there."

"Wherever you say, Paul, we will go," answered Tom.

It was no easy matter to run back to the harbor they had left in the dense fog that then prevailed, and Paul was sorely tried to determine what course he should take. From his study of the chart and the information derived from Captain Briskett, he had obtained a tolerable idea of the coast and of the dangerous ledges and islands in the vicinity. This knowledge, however, was of little use to him while the fog lasted. He had no doubt that the island upon which the mutineers had so nearly wrecked the Flyaway was Boon Island, or one of the Isles of Shoals. The yacht was now headed east by north by the compass, and a few hours upon this course would bring them to the coast of Maine.

"Two of you go forward, and keep a sharp lookout ahead," said Paul. "Tom, you will take the helm, while I go below and look on the chart."

"Ay, ay," replied Tom, reassured by the coolness and self-possession of the newly-appointed skipper.

"I would give a good deal to be out of this scrape," continued Paul.

"So would I," frankly added Tom. "I was a fool to think I knew more about navigation than Captain Gordon. What do you suppose will become of us?"

"I can't form any idea," answered Paul, as he descended the ladder.

He found that the closet which contained the chart was locked; but he felt that the circumstances in which he was placed fully justified him in forcing open the door, and he lost no time in doing so. With the chart in his hand he returned to the deck.

After questioning Tom in regard to the course he had sailed since leaving Kittery Point, he came to the conclusion that the land astern of them was one of the Isles of Shoals, for they never could have made Boon Island without tacking. But he could not see how, with the wind northeast, and the yacht close-hauled, she had brought up on the Isles of Shoals. Tom helped him solve this difficulty by declaring that he had not been very particular in keeping her close up to the wind.

Having satisfied himself on this point, the youthful skipper proceeded to decide upon his future course. If he continued to sail towards the north, he was in danger of running upon Boon Island. The night was coming on and it promised to be a night of peril.

There were only two methods open to the young navigator. He must either attempt to make Portsmouth harbor again, or stand out to sea. In the dense fog, it would be extremely perilous for him to try to find the port from which they had sailed; and on the other hand, it seemed scarcely less perilous to go to sea with the prospect of a gale before him. It was an anxious moment for poor Paul, for he felt that the safety of the yacht and of his misguided companions were in his keeping, and before God he felt responsible for them. He tried to hold a consultation with Tom and some of the larger boys, but they were utterly incapable of giving him any advice. They were completely bewildered, and looked up to Paul as children to a father, in the midst of the dangers into which they had so recklessly and criminally plunged.

The heart of the young captain was full, as he thought of his mother and his friends at home. He felt his own weakness, his own ignorance, and, stealing away from his companions he went below, and, on his bended knee, looked to Heaven for that strength and that knowledge which Heaven alone can give in the hour of peril. He prayed for himself, for his brother, and for all his companions; but especially did he ask God to give him wisdom to guide the frail bark through the perils that environed her.

The prayer gave him resolution, and, as though his earnest supplication had been heard, he felt competent to decide between the two courses which alone were left open to him. The shore was studded with dangers; and the broad ocean, though lashed into fury by the increasing tempest, was preferable to a lee shore. The Flyaway was a stiff sea-boat, and if well-managed, would ride out any gale that would be likely to come upon them at this season of the year.

On his return to the deck, therefore, he ordered all hands to stand by the jib sheet while he took the helm himself. His directions were so skilfully given, and so well obeyed, that the Flyaway came about as handsomely as though Captain Gordon himself had controlled the manoeuvre. Her course was laid exactly east, and the compass was placed in a convenient position for use.

Dick now summoned the crew to supper. Several of them looked at Paul, but no one ventured to leave the post of duty till explicit orders had been given to that effect. Half the boys were permitted to "pipe to supper," while the other half were to remain on duty.

After the meal was disposed of, Paul gave the helm to Tom, and went forward to make his arrangement for the night. The foresail was reefed in readiness for use in case it should blow too hard for the vessel to carry the jib and mainsail; the fore hatch was carefully secured to guard against the peril of "shipping a sea;" and such other preparations were made as the occasion required.

On his return to the standing room, Paul found that Tom could not steer by compass, and he was obliged to take the helm himself. Among the appointments of the Fawn, there was a compass; and Paul, more for the purpose of familiarizing himself with its use than from any necessity had often steered by it. The knowledge which the youthful mariner had thus gained was now invaluable to him, and he was thankful that he had obtained it.

A long and tedious night was before him, even though the perils of a gale should not be added to his present trials. The steward, at his request, brought him up an oil-cloth coat belonging to Captain Gordon, and thus protected from the penetrating mist, he gave himself up to the long and anxious watch before him.

Darkness came down upon them, and the Flyaway still rolled and pitched in the heavy head-sea. The wind did not sensibly increase, and Paul dared to hope that the gale would not break upon them. At nine o'clock he bade half the boys go below and turn in, assuring them they would be called at one o'clock. The order was obeyed, but not one of the boys could sleep until nearly half of their watch below had expired.

Hour after hour Paul kept his position at the helm, till the clock in the cabin indicated midnight. The watch on deck had taken turns at the lookout on the bowsprit. No event had occurred to disturb the monotony of the scene, except that they narrowly escaped being run down by a large schooner. The fog had begun to dissipate, and by one o'clock they had passed entirely out of it; but the wind had increased in violence, and at this time it blew a fresh gale.

All hands were called up, and after an hour of hard labor, the jib and mainsail were taken in, and the reefed foresail set. Now, though the wind blew a gale, the Flyaway behaved so well that Paul ventured to send the watch which had served from nine o'clock below. At four o'clock, the yacht having run ten hours to the eastward, the clouds began to disperse, the wind suddenly abated, till it became almost a calm, and there was every appearance of fair weather. At this time Paul put the Flyaway about, and laid her course due west.



At sunrise the sky was clear, and there was not a particle of fog to be seen in any direction; but the wind had all died out, and there was a perfect calm upon the ocean. The yacht was out of sight of land, and Paul judged that she was from eighty to a hundred miles to the eastward of the Isles of Shoals. There was not a sail to be seen, and the crew were awed by the feeling that they were alone upon the ocean. Perhaps not one of them had ever been out of sight of land before, and many of them had serious doubts whether they should ever see the shore again.

After the Flyaway had rolled and pitched for an hour in the heavy sea that still prevailed, a breeze sprang up from the southwest. The bonnet was rove on the jib, and the yacht began to dash merrily over the waves. Paul ate his breakfast, and remained on deck till nine o'clock, though he was almost exhausted by the fatigue and incessant watching of the previous night; but he had trained Tom and Frank so that they could steer by compass, and at the suggestion of the former, he went below to obtain the sleep he so much needed.

As the wind continued to blow steadily from the southwest, the yacht held her course, and the young commander was permitted to sleep till two o'clock in the afternoon, when, much refreshed, he again appeared on deck. Land was in sight over the weather bow, and the boys were in excellent spirits—or rather would have been, if the record of their misconduct could have been obliterated. Frank and Tom had recovered their wonted cheerfulness, and when they sighted the land, had begun to think of the probable consequences of the mutiny in which they had been the ringleaders. It was clear enough that Captain Gordon would immediately return home, when he recovered possession of the yacht. The cruise was, therefore, about up, if they returned to the port from which they had sailed; and strange as it may seem, Frank was actually trying to persuade his companions to run for Portland.

They had all enjoyed their sail during the day, and been pleased with the novelty of their situation. It was not pleasant for them to think of the frowns of Captain Gordon, and of being compelled to sail at once for home. A majority of them would have been in favor of continuing the cruise, if that oppressive sense of having done wrong had not operated against the scheme. But the most the adventurous leader—brave and skilful now that it was fine weather and plain sailing—could accomplish, was to induce the others to consent if Paul would agree to the plan.

"Of course he won't agree," replied Frank, pettishly. "There are enough of us to have our own way about it."

"You had your own way yesterday, and we came within one of being wrecked," said one of them.

"That wasn't my fault," growled Frank.

"Whose fault was it, then?" demanded Tom.

"Yours, of course; didn't you put the helm the wrong way when I told you to put it hard-a-lee?"

"And you let go the jib sheet long before you ought to have done so. That's what made all the trouble. If it hadn't been for Paul, some of us would not have been here to talk about it now."

"You are a spunky fellow, Tom," sneered Frank.

"So are you, when there is no danger near."

"How many fellows will go to Portland?" asked Frank, desperately.

There was no response, and the conversation was here interrupted by the appearance of Paul. There were enough of them who would gladly have seen the bow of the Flyaway pointed to the north, instead of the west, but the influence of Paul was so powerful that no one but Frank would consent to take the command from him.

"What land is that?" asked Tom, as the skipper joined the group in the standing room.

"The Isles of Shoals. Keep her away a couple of points, Frank," replied Paul.

"I shall keep her as I think best," answered Frank, gruffly; for he was smarting under the disappointment he had just experienced.

"Are you going to run her on the island?" said Paul, astonished at the rude answer he had received.

"I don't know as it is any more your business than mine where I run her."

"What is the matter, Frank? What ails you? What makes you so ill-natured? I hope I haven't done anything to give you reason for any ill feeling."

"He wants us to go to Portland," said one of the crew.

"I thought you had got enough of cruising on your own hook," added Paul, with a smile.

"I'm not going back to be snubbed by old Gordon; and the rest of the fellows wouldn't, if they had any spunk at all. Come, Tom, let's keep her away for Portland."

"I will not," replied Tom, decidedly; "at least, I will not unless Paul thinks we had better go there."

"I do not think so," interposed Paul. "You have done wrong, and all of you had better get in the right path as soon as possible."

"I am willing," said Tom.

"So am I," replied half a dozen others.

"The fact is, fellows," continued Tom, very earnestly, "I have had a lesson which will last me as long as I live. This is the meanest scrape I was ever concerned in, and when I get out of it I will try to do better. You needn't grin, Frank Thompson; I am ashamed of what I have done, and I confess that I am heartily sorry for it. I did more thinking last night than I ever did in seven years before."

"Humph!" sneered Frank.

"I don't care what you say, Frank; if it is in my power to reform my life, I mean to do it."

Tom continued his remarks in quite an eloquent strain, declaring that, in the perils of the stormy night through which they had passed, he had thought of all the wrong he had ever done, and resolved to be a better boy. Above all things, he said, he had learned the necessity of obedience; and that because he had refused to obey Captain Gordon, he had been glad to obey the orders of Paul Duncan, a boy like himself.

"That schooner is bearing down upon us," said Samuel Nason, pointing to a vessel over the weather quarter.

The stranger was evidently a fisherman, and had now approached within hail of the Flyaway. In a few moments more she had come near enough to enable the boys to distinguish the persons of those on board of her.

"Captain Littleton!" exclaimed Tom, who was the first to recognize him.

"Ease off the jib sheet!" shouted Frank, as he cast off the main sheet himself, and put the helm up, so as to carry the yacht away from the schooner.

"What are you doing?" demanded Paul.

"Do you think I am going to throw myself into the hands of Captain Littleton and old Gordon? I'll bet I ain't," replied Frank.

"What are you going to do?" asked Tom.

"Get out of his way, of course; the Flyaway can outsail that craft, and we may as well have our cruise out as be snubbed by any of 'em. Ease off that jib sheet, I say. Come, Tom, show your spunk."

"I will, but in a little different way from what you want," said Tom, seizing the helm, and attempting to restore the yacht to her former course.

"No, you don't," growled Frank, dealing him a heavy blow, which Tom promptly returned; and then commenced a struggle between them for the possession of the tiller.

Frank was the largest and strongest boy on board, and for a moment the victory leaned to his side. Paul, who had seconded Tom's movement by hauling in the main sheet, now rushed to the conflict, assisted by several of the larger boys. After a severe engagement, Frank was knocked down, and held till his hands and feet were tied.

This turbulent spirit thus secured, Paul took the helm, and the yacht was brought to her course again. By this time the schooner had lowered her boat from the stern davits, and Captain Littleton and his companions were pulling towards the Flyaway.

"What does this mean?" demanded the captain, sternly, as he leaped over the rail. "Paul," he continued, as he discovered his young friend at the helm, "I am astonished to see you here."

The boys hung their heads with shame, and Paul preferred to let some other person vindicate him from the implied charge.

"Will you explain this, Paul?" said Captain Littleton. "If it had been my own son, I could not have been more surprised."

"Paul is innocent, sir," interposed Tom, stepping forward. "Frank Thompson and myself are the guilty ones. He and I got up the scrape; we fastened Paul and Dick in the cabin, and deceived the rest of the fellows. We kept Paul a prisoner till we had nearly wrecked the Flyaway, and then we called him up, and he saved the yacht and all our lives."

"That sounds like a true story, Tom, and I am glad to find you have the manliness to acknowledge your guilt. Paul, your hand; I have been grieving over you all day, and now I am rejoiced to find you are still true to yourself and the good character you have hitherto borne."

Paul gave the captain his hand, and thanked him for the kind words he had spoken.

"What was the quarrel I witnessed just before I came on board?" asked Captain Littleton.

"Frank Thompson wanted to run away from you, and have the cruise out," replied Paul. "Tom and all the rest of the party opposed him, and finally took the helm away from him by force."

Paul proceeded to give a more detailed account of the events which had transpired on board of the Flyaway since her departure from Portsmouth harbor. Tom and the other mutineers expressed their sorrow for what they had done, and were ready to submit to such punishment as the captain thought it necessary to inflict upon them. But Paul told him how penitent they had been, that Tom had promised to reform his life, and he thought they had already been severely punished for their misconduct by the terrors of the long and anxious night they had passed through. This he proved by showing that all of them had refused to follow Frank's plan of continuing the cruise.

"But they punished you more than they punished themselves, by keeping you on deck all night," said Captain Littleton.

"It was not punishment to me, for I was innocent, and they were guilty," replied Paul.

"You are right, my boy; it is guilt that makes us cowards in the midst of peril. You plead so strongly for them, Paul, that I shall forgive all except Frank. He must be a passenger in that fishing schooner, which is bound for Boston. When I arrived at Portsmouth this morning, I learned from Captain Gordon that the boys had run away with the yacht. I supposed, of course, you had wrecked her in the gale and the fog, and I chartered that vessel, which was on the point of sailing for Boston, to go in search of you. I thank God you are all safe."

Frank Thompson, in spite of his earnest protest, was put on board the schooner, and the Flyaway's head was turned to the north. Captains Gordon and Briskett resumed their places, and Henry Littleton spent the whole afternoon in listening to Paul's animated narrative of the cruise of the yacht to seaward.

In the course of the night the Flyaway reached Portland. But we have not space to detail the adventures of the Teneans in the harbor, or to give the particulars of the race between them and the North Star Boat Club. On the following Saturday night the Flyaway arrived at Bayville, and Mrs. Duncan once more pressed to her heart her darling boys.



For several years Paul pursued his calling as a fisherman; and as he grew older the business became more profitable. Before he was twenty-one, the mortgage on the house was paid off; and when he was free he had saved up quite a handsome sum of money, with which he purposed to extend his operations. But when he was on the point of purchasing a schooner of sixty tons, a situation as second mate of an ocean steamer was offered to him, with the promise of certain advancement as he became qualified to fill more important positions. He concluded, after mature deliberation, to accept the offer, and the fishing business was entirely given up to John, who continued it for several years, with good success.

If my young reader's imagination is vivid enough to accomplish the feat, let us step forward nine years which will very nearly bring our story up to the present time. It is easy to jump over a long period of years in this manner on paper, but not so easy for the mind to realize the number and the importance of the events which may transpire in this time. Though we step forward over long years of toil and care, of joy and sorrow, of severe trial and patient waiting, and behold the Paul Duncan of to-day, it will be hard to believe he is not still a boy, and the skipper of the Fawn, as we have seen him in the pages of our story.

He is no longer a boy, and we can scarcely believe that he with the bushy whiskers, and the strong, well-knit frame, is the young navigator of our tale. Yet it is he; and in order that our young friends may be properly introduced to him, we will step back a day.

Ah, you don't recognize Bayville; you don't feel at home there; for everything is changed since the young fisherman sold his wares in its streets.

Where is the cottage of Mrs. Duncan, do you ask? Well, about two years ago, it was pulled down to give place to the more elegant structure that occupies its site. It is a very beautiful residence; not very elaborate or very costly, it is true, but a beautiful residence for all that.

Who lives there now? Mrs. Duncan, of course; and she is still an active woman, and as affectionate a mother as can be found in the whole country. You recognize in the elderly gentleman who has just rung the front door bell our old friend Captain Littleton. He is still hale and hearty, and makes a regular call every day at the home of Mrs. Duncan. He is in a hurry to-day, and has a newspaper in his hand.

"The Marmora has arrived," he exclaims, as he enters the room where the old lady is seated.

"You don't say so!"

"Arrived this morning, and is at the wharf in New York by this time."

"I'm so glad!" replied Mrs. Duncan, pulling off her spectacles, and wiping away the moisture in her eyes. "When will they be home?

"To-morrow morning."

And on the following morning, Captain Littleton and Mrs. Duncan were at the railroad station, waiting the arrival of the train which was to bring the absent ones. They were not very patient, but at last the cars appeared, and stopped at the station.

"There they are!" cried Mrs. Duncan, as she stepped forward and grasped the hand of the gentleman with the strong, well-knit frame and bushy whiskers. A beautiful lady is leaning upon his arm, and when she sees Captain Littleton, she throws herself into his arms, just as the young ladies in the romances do.

But you wish to know about this lady, and we hasten to inform you that it is Mrs. Paul Duncan, late Miss Carrie Littleton. No doubt you expected all this when the young fisherman jumped overboard and rescued her from a watery grave; and it would be a great pity to disappoint you, especially when a few dashes of the pen will make all right with them and with the sympathizing reader.

Captain Duncan and lady were escorted to the residence of Mrs. Duncan by their happy parents, and attended by sundry brothers and sisters, all intensely delighted with this pleasant reunion. I will not tell you how happy everybody is at the house on the point; but if the reader wishes to hear about the last trip of the Marmora, he must "call at the captain's office," and obtain the particulars from him. It was the quickest passage which had yet been made, and Captain Duncan was almost as proud of his ship as he was of his wife.

Little by little, Paul Duncan had worked his way up from the position in which we left him ten years before, to the command of one of the finest ocean steamers that sailed out of New York. He was exceedingly popular with the public, and was often quoted as the noblest specimen of a gallant captain, and, at the same time, a true Christian gentleman. He is not rich, as wealth is measured in our day, though he has some property, and receives a liberal salary from the Steamship Company; but in the higher and truer sense, he is rich—rich in the possession of a noble and lofty character, and a faith which reaches beyond the treasures of this world.

John Duncan still continues to follow the fishing business, and owns a fine schooner, which is engaged in mackerel catching most of the time. He is the same bold, daring fellow that we knew on board the Fawn,—which, by the way, is the name of his schooner,—and is noted for carrying sail longer than any other skipper in the fleet, thus putting the nerves of his crew to the severest trials.

Now, reader, if you like the character of Paul Duncan, build up one like it. Be true to yourself, to your parents, and to your God; be patient and persevering, and you will obtain your full measure of success, though like him you are obliged to win it LITTLE BY LITTLE.


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