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Full text of "A Year in a Yawl: A True Tale of the Adventures of Four Boys in a Thirty-foot Yawl"

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L^ 



A YEAR IN A YAVL 



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1 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 



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1 


- ■ 

A YEAR IN A 


* 


w 


YAWL 






A TRUE TALE OF THE 




1 ■ 


ADVENTURES OF FOUR BOYS 






IN A THIRTY-FOOT YAWL 






BY 






RUSSELL DOUBLEDAY 






FROM THE LOG OF 






CAPT. RANSOM 


■'' 




^b^ 






~;j^H|^^ 






^ 






NEW YORK 






GROaSRT & DUNLAP 




1 


PUBUSHERS 






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79G193 



CormGHT, 1901, tr 
DOUBLEDAT, PAGE ft Oa 

OCTOSBKt X9M* 



CONTENTS 

OHAPTm FAMi 

I. Ths Launching of the Sohkhe • • • 1 

II. The liAUNCHiNa of thb Boat • • • 11 

III. OuTWABD Bound 26 

lY. An Adybntubb in St. Louis • • • 43 

y. A Perilous Situation 62 

VI. An Arctic Adventure 83 

yn. Sailing with Frozen Rigging . • • 108 

VIII. An Igt Storm off "Sunnt" Baton Rouge . 131 

IX. On Salt Water at Last • • • .144 

X. Riding a Monster Turtle • • • .164 

XI. Lost on Captive Island • • • • 186 

XII. Fighting a Man-eating Shark • • • 307 

Xin. A Thrilling Fourth of Jult Celebration 327 

XIV. A Race with a Gale • . • . . 345 

XV. Captured by "Liberty*' • • • • 363 

XVI. From New York to Albany . • . 380 

V 



CKAPTSB PAOa 

XYII. Along thk "Baginq Canal" • . . ^8 

XVIII. In thb Grip of Iron and Stonk . • . 817 

XIX. A Stobut Night on a Sinking Pile-Dbiyib 884 

XX. HomwASD Bound. • • • . 864 



\ 



I 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 

" We are Under Way at Last " . Pr(mtupUc9 

• PACING PAGB 

**. . . THE Boat was Launched" . . . .22 

Taking Soundings.—" . . . Frank Shouted, 
* Three Fathoms I' " 145 

John Gomez's Cabin. — " A Cottage Thatched 
with Palm Branches " 204 

" The Tall, Straight Shaft of the Cape Fear 
Light" 253 

Chesapeake Bay . 270 

On the " Raging Canal."—" * Step Lively ' 
Once More Got Going" .... 300 

** Looking for Port Stanley " . . . .330 



J 
J 



V 



NOTE, 

AektutwUdgmmit art du* U Mr, Thct, A. Hin*^ Mr, 
Clinton P. Townttnd^ and Miu KaHurint R, Canstani 
/9r thtuuoftkt fhotografht ^nitd in this bcoik. 



> 



) 

'< 



A YEAE IN A YAWL 



CHAPTER I 



THE LAUNCHING OF THE SCHEME 



In the shadow of a big apple tree four boys 
lay on the grass studying a map of the United 
States. One of the group was talking vehe- 
mently and pointing out a route of some sort-' 
with a stnbby carpenter's pencil; the other thre^ 
were watching with eager interest. 

" That sounds aU right," said one of the fonr 
as he rose to lean on his elbow, " but you can't 
do it with a little boat like yours. I doo't believe 
you could do it anyway, Ken." 

" Well, I couldn't do it in a steam yacht,'* the 
boy with the pencil returned, " for obvioiB rea- 
sons. But I can and will make that trip." 

" I admire your pluck, Ken," the third boy ex- 
claimed. " It took conaiderable gumption to 
plan and build a craft like yours alone; but I 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

feet on the water-line^ nine feet wide^ and three 
feet draught with her centre-board up. His idea 
was to make her yawl-rigged and as strong and 
staunch as good material and careful workman- 
ship could ensure. 

For a workshop he had to be content with a 
woodshed at the back of his father's house, a 
good three-fourths of a mile from the Lake shore 
of St. Joseph, Michigan. 

Fortunately, he was able to get some extra 
fine white oak, well seasoned, from a nearby 
mill; and though it was tough and tried the tem- 
per of his home-made tools, this very toughness 
and hardness stood the young ship-builder and 
his crew in good stead later. 

He built a steaming-box to bend the ribs and 
planking of his boat out of rough lumber, and 
made an old stove, with a section of big pipe 
plugged up at both ends, serve as a boiler to make 
the steam. Thus equipped, he began the work 
ujiaided of building a thirty-foot yacht in which 
to cruise around on Lake Michigan and the 
waters tributary to it. With great labor and 
care the keel was steamed, bent, and laid on the 
blocks; then one by one the ribs were put in 
place. It was slow work, but it was extremely 
interesting to this young naval architect and ship- 
builder, and as his boat grew his ideas enlarged. 

4 



THE LAUNCBIXt 



■ OF THE SCHEME 



To be a naval architect had been his ambition 
ever since he had left high schooh To become 
a designer and builder of ahipe was his aim in 
life, and ae he worked alone at hia little ship, he 
wondered how he was going to get the experience 
that would be needed to design vessels for various 
uses and differing conditions. About lake craft 
he knew something, but of ocean and river vea- 
sela he was entirely ignorant. He made np hia 
mind that he must see and study the different 
Hnd of craft in their native waters. 

One day, as he was working on the planking 
of hia boat, the inspiration came to him. He 
had pulled the plank out of the long steam-box, 
hot, damp, and more or less pliable, and with 
great labor made it fast to the cut-water with a 
hand vise. As he bent the plank from rib to rib y 
he secured it until it was in place and followed 
the designed curve. He stood a minute facing 
the bow to see if the curve was true. It really 
began to look like a boat and les.^ like a skeleton. 

" This is going to be a pretty smart craft," 
he said to himself as he eyed hia work lovingly. 
"She'll be strong and handy, roomy and sea- 
worthy, and fit to go most anywhere." 

" By Jove I " he said aloud, slapping his knee 
by way of emphaaia, and sitting down suddenly. 

"Why not? " The idea was ao bold that he 



A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

he had had a particularly hard tussle with a 
plank that had to be both bent and twisted into 
position. "This is almost too much for me 
alone; and I can't sail around to the Atlantic by 
myself. Whom shall I get to go with me? '' 

He leaned up against the workbench to think. 
The yawl, almost fully planked, now stood up 
higher than the builder's head. The newly 
placed timber still steamed and gave out an 
odor dear to the wood-worker. There was no 
sound except the hiss of steam in Ifhe steam-box. 
Suddenly the door of the shed opened and three 
heads appeared. 

"Hello, Ken, what are you doing? Holy 
smoke! look at that; isn't she a beauty? " Frank 
Chauvet didn't even stop to take breath between 
his sentences. 

" Hullo, you chaps. Come in," returned Ken, 
making a place for them on the bench. " The 
very fellows I want to see," he said to himself. 
"What do you think of my boat? Look out, 
Arthur, you'll sit on that adze if you don't be 
careful. You've got to look before you sit in this 
shop." 

The third boy was meanwhile walking around 
the boat, inspecting her critically, feeling the 
wood, measuring the thickness of the timbers, 
and eying the shape with an approving glance. 

8 






THE LAVNCBING OF THE SCHEME 

" Say, Ken, where are you going to take her? 
[ Arctic regions? Slie's built strong enough to go 
f around the Horn." Clyde Morrow looked up at 
I his friend inquiringly. " Ken, did you do all 
thia yourself? She's great, simply greatl " 
■' Yep — sure — you knew I was building a 
Lhoat. Why didn't you come around before?" 
E Then, before they had time to answer, he went 
" Clyde, you said she was strong enough 
to go around the Horn; she's got to be strong 
enough to make a journey almost as long and 
quite as trying." He paiiaed a minute and 
eyed his friends one after the other. Frank and 
Arthur were sitting side by side on the work- 
bench. Clyde was leaning against the boat. 
Ransom himself faced them, half leaning, half 
sitting on a large block of iron that served as an /■ 
anvil, ' 

"What do you think about cruising to the 
Atlantic and back in that boat? " Kenne& 
, pointed to the yawl, " Circumnavigating the 
Eastern half of the United States, in other 
' words." 

"What!" cried Arthur and the other two 
[ boys. "You're crazy! " Clyde added, 

" No, I'm not; it can be done and I'm going 
[ to try to do it." Kenneth spoke confidently and 
I with a smile at his friends' incredulity. 



1 YEAR IN A YAWL 

^^Wake up, old man/' said Frank with a 
laugb; '^ that's a nice dreamy but you're likely to 
fall out of bed." 

" Listen; I've studied this thing out and it can 
be done. "Wait a minute," he interrupted him- 
self to say as Clyde opened his mouth to speak. 
" You know what I want to be and what I want 
to do, and there is no way of seeing all kinds of 
boats and experiencing all kinds of weather and 
conditions of water and climate except by seeing 
and experiencing them." He laughed at the 
lame finish of his sentence. ^* The best and most 
thorough way of doing it, it seems to me, is to go 
in a small boat that you have built yourself and 
see everything at first-hand. What a cruise it 
will be! I wish I could go to-morrow." 

"What! do you really mean to go?" said 
Frank. " Why, you're clean daft. Ken." 
* "Not on your life," answered Ransom 
sturdily. " Look here." 

I He reached down a well-thumbed atlas from a 
sh^lf and led the way out of doors and under the 
apple tree. Then spreading it out, he began to 
explain what was in his mind. 



10 






y 



CHAPTEE n 



THE LAUNCHING 01' THE BOAT 

" You shall be my mate, Arthur," said Ken- 
[ neth, who from that time his friends were apt 
I to call Cap. " You spoke first, but to show 
I that there is no partiality, Frank shall be navi- 
f gator and Clyde chief-quartermaster." 

" No, I'd rather be the crew," Frank pro- 
tested; "that would be more exclusive and leas 



" I'll vote to be cook; then I'll have you ail in 
I :iny power," and Clyde pointed exultingly at the 
I other three. 

" "Well, none of you can be anything for ai, 
I good while yet. Come and look at the boat.'' 
I All four started toward the shop. " I tell yoii 
I -what, you can all be ship-carpenters, shvp- 
I wrighte, riggers, fitters, caulkers, and generally 
I lard hustlers for a couple of months before ''we 
I graduate to our high positions," and Bansom led 
on to their " Argo." 

After going over the plans of the boat to- 
I gether, and talking of all the pleasures and dan- 
11 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

gers in prospect, the four separated; Frank, 
Arthur, and Clyde going to tell their people 
and ask their permission to join the expedition, 
an ordeal which they dreaded with all their 
hearts. Kenneth lingered a while to think over 
the happy outcome of his afternoon's talk, and 
to plan anew his building, for from now on he 
had efficient assistants. He felt for the first time 
that his would be a great responsibility.; for if 
anything happened to any of his friends he would 
be to blame. 

The thoughtful mood soon wore off, however, 
and when he locked up the shop, and went into 
the house, he was radiant with pleasure. * 

" Father! Arthur, Clyde, and Frank said that 
they would go with me." Kenneth burst into 
the room with his news. 

^^ That's good," was his father's reply. " If 
the Morrows and Chauvets will let their sons go, 
t^at is, of course " 

" But you will speak a good word for me, won't 
you, father?" Kenneth smiled at him confi- 
dently. 

*lTe-e-es, if you think you must go." The 
eldtiir Bansom looked at his son rather sadly. 

** Why, of course. I thought that it was all 
settled. Is anything the matter? What is it? " 
Kenneth was excited and worried; the possibility 

12 



t 
\ 



THE LACNCHINa OF THE BOAT 

P of a final refusal from hia father had never oc- 
curred to him. 

" Wait a minute, son." Mr. Eansom pulled 

his boy down on the arm of his big leather easy 

chair. " The fact is, your mother and I have 

been talking over this projected cruise of yours, 

and — though you may not realize it — it ia hard 

for US to have you, our youngest and last, go 

away upon so long and dangerous a trip." He 

stopped for a moment and looked into the boy's 

fast saddening face. " We promised that you 

should go, and go you shall, if you insist, but you 

fiae pretty young to undertake such a journey, 

rand your mother and I thought that you might 

jgive it up for a while. We knew that you would 

3 disappointed "—the father held up his hand 

■io check the words which were juat ready to 

»ur out of the boy's mouth — " and so we ■ 

it that we would try to make it up to you 
1 some other way. If you will be willing to 

■ give up your project for a while, at least, your 
tmother and I have decided to deed over this 

■ house and place to you, and your assigns, for- 
f aver," and he.Bmiled at the legal phrase. 

" Give me the house and grounds if I don't 
f go? Father, what ran I say? I thank you aw- 
fully, but I would like to think it over a bit be- 
\ fore I answer. It is rather sudden." Thd boy 
18 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

grabbed his father's hand, and then went upetalra 
to his own room. 

He was touched, and very grateful, but griev- 
ously disappointed. He had set his heart on the 
trip, had persuaded his friends to go with him, 
and now he must give it all up. "What seemed 
hardest of all, was that he would have to tell his 
companions that the whole thing was off. The 
photographs of boats that lined the walls of the 
room, and the plan of his own boat, laid out on 
the table, seemed a mockery to him. " "Well, I 
won't take the house any way," he said to him- 
self. *^ If they want me to stay as badly as that, 
I won't go, of course; but " 

A minute or two later he came into the room 
where his father and mother were sitting read- 
ing. 

*^I'll stay,'' he said, standing before them. 
^ I didn't know you wanted me to, so much; but 
I can't take the house; I don't want to be paid to 
stay — ^but you're terribly good to me." 

It was hard to give up gracefully, and he 
dropped rather dejectedly into a chair. 

^^By George, mother! " Mr. Hansom said to 
his wife, " that boy is the right sort, and I think 
that we ought not to spoil his chance. I vote we 
let him go." 

Kenneth looked eagerly at his mother. She 

14 



I 



TBE LAnNCHINB OF THE BOAT 

said nothing, but he read plainly in her face that 
though she feared to let him take the voyage, 
she would not refuae bis wish. 

He could not say a word; but he had to go 
out, unlock the door o£ hie shop, and tell his boat 
confidentially what bricks big father and mother 
were. He just had to tell something. 

The nest morning the other three boys came 
with long faces and disgruntled tempers. Their 
parents, one and all, were against the trip, and 
declared that Kenneth's father and mother were 
crazy to let him go on such a journey. 

Kenneth said nothing of his experience of the 
night before, but felt absolutely sure now of hia 
parents' backing and encouragement. 

" Don't you give up like that, fellows," he 
said cheerfully, slapping his roate-to-be on /' 
his shoulder, to stir him up. " If you don't have 
confidence yourself, how can you expect other 
people to believe in you and the success of the 
trip? " 

" But — " began Frank. 

" Bear a hand with this stick, will you ? " Ken- 
neth interrupted. 

"Arthur, open that trap at the end of the 
eteara-box, please. That's it — in she goea! " 
"With a will, Frank and Kenneth pushed th^long 
plank into the box, ^ 



/ 



A YEAR IN A 7AWL 

*' A few more of those, and the body of the 
boat will be complete. But there's a lot more 
to be done, and we've got to keep at it." Ran- 
som stopped, went to a far comer, and poked 
among some old boards; he finally picked out 
one, and showed it to the boys. 

" I move that we make this our motto. All 
those in favor will signify as much by saying 
' aye.' " 

Four " aye's " rang out vigorously. 

"Contrary minded will signify by saying 
' no.' 

" It is moved and carried, that this shall be our 
motto, and we'll nail our colors to the — ^the — 
wood-shed." 

" Hear! Hear! " laughed the three at the end 
of Ken's speech; but when he nailed up the 
board bearing this motto in clear letters: 



KEEPING EVERLASTINGLY AT IT 
BRINGS SUCCESS, 



there was a cheer that cleared the air amazingly, 
and chased away the gloom that had bid fair to 
settle over the company. 

" I believe that my father will be able to con- 

16 



TBB LAVNCEING OF THE BOAT 

vince joTir people that our trip '\s feasible," said 
Kenneth from his place on top of a ladder. 
" Anyhow, let's get to work. For ' keeping ever- 
lastingly at it brings success.' " Soon all the 
noiae3 the young sliipbuildera made seemed to 
Toice that motto. 

It was a long time before the three got permis- 
aion to go, but their evident determination, and 
their continual "keeping at it," aided by Mr. 
Kansom'a support, finally brought success. All 
this time the four worked like beavers. The 
planting was completed, the cabin laid out and 
built, the deck laid, and the cockpit floored. 

" Well, I'll be jiggered I " Kenneth exclaimed 
one day. " I never thought — how are we going 
to get her down to the water? " 

Immediately the noise of hammer and saw, ,• 
the dull clap of wood, and the sharp ring of iron ' 
ceased, and all four stood open-mouthed, speech- 



" Why, it's a good three-quarters of a mile to 
the nearest water," gasped Frank. 

" And think of that hill down to the ravine 
between," added Clyde. 

" She must weigh three tons," wailed Arthur. 

" Oh, I guess Johnson, the house mover, will 
do it," Kenneth suggested. " Let's go and see 
him." But Johnson wanted a prohibitive, price 

a 17 



A TEAR JN i TAWL 

for moTing tbe boat to the launching waya, so tEa 
crew decided to tackle the job themaelvea. 

Then the trouble began. The sidea of the 
shop had to come down to allow the yawl to be 
moved out, and a track had to be built that 
would safely bear the great weight. 

Deapite all, however, the boat was finally 
loaded, and under the eyea of all the towna- 
people who could get away from their work, the 
first atage of their journey began. 

All went well for a time. A sturdy team was 
hitched to the wheeled truck, and the progress 
over the first part of the smooth, level road was 
easy. Passera-by were apt to quote passages 
about " sailing the raging meadows," and about 
young tara who preferred to do their sailing 
ashore. But Ransom and his friends were good- 
natured and too busy to heed anything but the 
overland trip of their precious craft. 

"When the brink of the hill leading down to 
the ravine was reached, the team was stopped 
and a consultation waa held. The alope was al- 
most thirty degrees, and a bridge at the bottom 
had to be paased slowly, or the great weight 
might go through the planking. 

" Make her fast to that tree," suggested 
Arthur, "with a block and fall, and pay out 
gradually till she geta to the bottom; then re- 



4 



^tSE LAUNCHINO OF THE BOAT 

T^^me operation and make fast In front, liitcH 
the team to the line and haul up." 

" Great head, Art! We'll do it." And Ken 
started back to the shop for the block and fall. 

The road curved just before descending to the 
ravine, and a big tree grew in the bend. A line 
made fast to it would lead straight down. It 

s most adavantageously placed. A aling waa 
' pnt around the tree, and another waa run about 
the boat herself just below the rail. To each of 
these a block was attached. The captain went 
over each rope carefully to see that all was right, 
tight, and strong. Frank drove the horses, 
which were to back with all their might; Clyde 
L*watched the boat herself; while Kenneth and 
LTthur tended the line, and stood prepared to 
lay out slowly. 

"Let her go; slowly now, e-e-e-asy!" yelled 
lansom to Frank with the team. 

Kenneth and Arthur took in the slack, and 
4>raced against the strain. The horses began to 
move slowly and fihe truck slid gradually over 
flhe creat of the hill; the line tightened and the 
blocks clucked sleepily under the strain. 

" Go e-e-e-asy! " yelled Hansom. 

The truck was going faster; he and Arthur 
Muld hardly hold it back. 

"Easy tihere; pull up, Frank," The hoiaea 



/■ 



t 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

were straining back with all their might, but the 
weight of the boat was pushing them on faster 
than they wanted to go. 

" Stop, Frank! She's running away! " 

But there was no stopping her from before — 
the horses were fairly off their feet. The run- 
ning Une was beginning to bum Kenneth's and 
Arthur's hands. She was running away, sure 
enough, and to certain destruction^ «he was not 
stopped at once. 

Frank's face was pale and anxious as he 
shouted and strained back on the reins, trying 
to stop his team; Clyde, utterly impotent, ran 
from side to side, looking in vain for a stick or 
log with which to check the wheels. Kenneth 
and Arthur clung desperately to the line, which, 
in spite of all, they could not control. 

The speed of the boat was certainly growing 
faster and faster every second. The work of 
months and the means of a glorious trip was 
going to destruction. 

" Here, Arthur, quick! I'll try to hold, while 
you take a double turn round that other tree — 
quick — quick! " cried Kenneth, his anxiety al- 
most taking away his voice for the moment. 

Arthur turned to obey. "Quick — ^for the 
love of Moses, quick! " 

Just in time, Arthur got the turns round the 

90 



'r ■- 



THE LAUNCHIXO OF THE BOAT 

I tree, for Kenneth could not stand the strain on 
his hands longer and he dropped the rope. Hia 
weight off the restraining line, the truck almost 
pushed the horses over on their heads. But the 
slack was taken up in a minute, and though the 
line creaked ominously under the strain, and 
stood as taut as a harp Btring, it held; the truck 
slackened speed. 

" Kick me round the block, will you, Arthur, 
for a. chump," Ransom said as he came up to his 
friend, bandaging hia blistered hands with hia 
handkerchief as he spoke. " To let a weight 
like that go without taking a turn, was about the 
most foolish thing that I ever did. Let her go, 
easy, now." 

The other three boys said nothing for a while, 
hut when the bottom of the hill was reached all ' 
were rather limp. 

To drag the boat out of the valley was about 
as difficult as letting her down into it, and it con- 
sumed the balance of the daylight. The close 
of the second day saw the boat resting on the 
launching ways, and tlie hoys were triumphant. 

" If the rest of our journey is as slow as this," 
Arthur remarked as he put on hia coat td go 
home, " we'll be ancient mariners beforft we j 
cover the 6,000 miles." ', 

The following day the boat was launcheiij and I 
21 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

as she nodded her acknowledgments to the 
pretty girl who had just named her " Gazelle," 
it was evident to all that the title fitted her like 
the coat of white paint that glistened on her 
sides. 

The hearts of Captain Kenneth and his friends 
glowed within them when they saw the boat at 
which they had labored so isteadily floating in her 
natural element as gracefully and daintily as if 
she had been bom in it. 

When their friends had gone, the four sat in 
the cosey cabin and congratulated each other by 
looks and handclasps rather than words. They 
felt that they were fairly started, now that their 
craft was afloat; but it was two good long months 
before she was ready to take her trial trip; and 
) two weeks beyond that before all was ready to 
-.start in earnest. Eigging and final finishing 
took much time, and the placing of the necessary 
eiores seemed an endless job. 

v" Well, boys," Eansom said, as the other three 
cdine aboard on the morning of October 27, 
18i^8, " this is the day that we say good-by to old 
Sti,Joe." 

* Grab my bag, will you. Ken? " came by way 
of answer from Arthur. "Look out! If you 
dump the buttons from my sewing kit, Fll have 
jov3^ heart's blood." 

22 



THE LAUXCniNO OF THE BOAT 

" Don't you worry. Ill be careful enc 

I "Was Kanaom'3 answer, " I'll have 
F torrow before long." 

And 80 they laughed and chatted, and put on 
a brave front in order to conceal the alight un- 
easiness that lingered persistently in the back- 
L, ground of all their thoughts. 

It was three o'clock before complete arrange- 
ments were made, and all hands were right glad 
that there was so much to do. Home waa inex- 
pressibly dear to those four boys, and though 
they looked forward to their trip with real en- 
thusiasm, when the parting really came they 
found it a good deal of a wrench. 

The wind was coming out of the north in a 
Plusin ess-like way, and the sea it banked up was 
■iBot of the sort to tempt the fair-weather sailor. 

"All ready, boys?" sang out Captain Ran- 

Biwm from his place at the tiller. 

" All ready! " was the answer, 

* Arthur, stand by to tend the jib sheet; 

frank, stand at the halliards; Clyde, go forward, 

k. up the mud-hook and cat it. I'll tend the 



The boys jumped to do his bidding. The 
indlass creaked and the yawl began to eat up 
lilie anchor cable. 

" She's broke I " came the cry from forward as 
38 



A TEAR IN A 7AWL 

for moving the boat to the kuncliing ways, 80 tlie 
crew decided to tackle the job themselves. 

Then the trouble began. The eidea of the 
shop had to come down to allow the yawl to be 
moved out, and a truck had to be built that 
would safely bear the great weight. 

Despite all, however, the boat was finally 
loaded, and under the eyes of all the towns- 
people who could get away from their work, the 
first stage of their journey began. 

All went well for a time. A sturdy team was 
hitched to the wheeled truck, and the progress 
over the first part of the smooth, level road was 
easy, Pasaera-by were apt to quote passages 
about " sailing the raging meadows," and about 
young tars who preferred to do their sailing 
ashore. But Ransom and hia friends were good- 
natured and too busy to heed anything but the 
overland trip of their precious craft, 

"^Tien the brink of the hill leading do^vn to 
the ravine was reached, the team was stopped 
and a consultation was held. The slope was al- 
most thirty degrees, and a bridge at the bottom 
bad to be passed slowly, or the great weight 
might go through the planking. 

"Make her fast to that tree," suggested 
Arthur, "with a block and fall, and pay out 
gradually till ^e gets to the bottom; then re- 



TBE LA.UNGHINO OF TBE BOAT 

verse the operation and make fast in front, bitch' 
the tfiam to the line and haul up." 

" Great head, Art! We'll do it." And Ken 
started back to the shop for the block and fall. 

The road curved just before descending to the 
ravine, and a big tree grew in the bend. A line 
made fast to it would lead straight down. It 
was most adavantageously placed, A sling was 
put around the tree, and another was run about 
the boat herself just below the rail. To each of 
these a block was attached. The captain went 
over each rope carefully to see that all was right, 
tight, and strong. Frank drove the horses, 
which were to back with all their might; Clyde 
watched the boat herself; while Kenneth and 
Arthur tended the line, and stood prepared to 
pay out slowly. 

"Let her go; slowly now, e-e-e-asyl " yelled 
Ransom to Frank with the team. 

Kenneth and Arthur took in the slack, and 
braced against the strain. The horses began to 
move slowly and the truck slid gradually over 
the crest of the hill; the line tightened and die 
blocks chicked sleepily under the strain. 

"Go e-e-e-asy! " yelled Ransom. 

The truck was going faster; he and Arthur 
could hardly hold it back. 

"Easy (here; pull up, Frank," The horsea 



CHAPTER ni 



OUTWARD BOXnO) 



It was a quiet group of boys that stood in the 
cockpit of the " Gazelle," and watched the shores 
of their native town fade from view. They had 
persevered in their scheme in spite of discour- 
agement from their elders and ridicule from 
their companions. They had undertaken a seem- 
ingly impossible thing. What would the out- 
come be? 

It was well that the young adventurers could 
not foresee what the future had in store for 
them, for stouter hearts even than theirs might 
have hesitated at the prospect. 

As it was, none of them had forgotten that 
" Keeping Everlastingly at it Brings Success," 
and all four meant to follow that motto to the 
end. 

" Clyde! " Ransom suddenly interrupted the 
reverie into which they had fallen. " I think I 
once heard you say that you would like to be 

2« 



OVTWARD BOmo 



vjk. Now's jour chance. Go ahead and be 



" My, what a memory you have! " the other 
answered, with a wry face. " But wait until 
yoii try some of my cooking, then the aniile will 
travel my way. I'm sorry for you." And Clyde 
disappeared down the companionway. 

The storm Which had just passed left the sur- 
face of the Lake very imeasy, and the little yacht 
was tossed from the crest of one huge wave 
to another like a chip; but she bore the rough 
usage splendidly, and hardly shipped water at all ; 
the spray which her sharp spoon how dashed up 
as she flew into the white caps was all the wetting 
her deck showed. 

" Say," came a muffled voice from below, " I'll 
mutiny if some one doesn't come down and hold 
the things on the stove. The coffee-pot is trying 
to jump into the saucepan's lap. Hello! On 
deck there! Come down and sit on the — " 
The owner of the voice showed a very red and 
wrathful face at the foot of the ladder. Frank 
went below at once, and soon the sound of voices 
mingled with that of clattering tins and chinking 
pottery. Then the odor of steaming coffee and 
frying bacon came through the half-closed com- 
panionway. Kenneth and hia mate began to 
lose interest in the set of the sails, the curre of 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

the rail, and the angiy look of Ibe water. Fre- 
quent glances, thrown at the opening from which 
such satisfying aromas penetrated, betrayed the 
direction in which their thoughts had strayed. 

*'A11 hands below to supper," was the wel- 
come cry. " Except the skipper, who will stay 
on deck and steer, I suppose." 

So the cook got even. 

■ The table, hinged to either side of the centre- 
board trunk, bore a goodly store of " shore grub." 
The ship's stove was steaming away in the galley, 
way forward almost under the deck. On either 
side of the cabin the bunks were ranged; good, 
wide bunks with generous cushions. They 
served as beds by night and couches by day, the 
bedding being rolled up under the deck and con- 
cealed by curtains. Under each bunk was a 
wide chest or locker, and, besides, a row of 
drawers was built forward, so that each mem- 
ber of the crew had ample room wherein to 
stow his belongings. A man-of-warsman would 
be at a loss to know what to do with so much 
space. 

The cabin was fourteen feet long, nine feet 
wide at the widest part, and six feet high. Any 
member of the crew could stand upright without 
fear of his upper story. 

The skipper saw all this in his mind's eye as 

28 



OUTWARD BOUND 

Ke fondled the tiller (a boat's most sensitive, sym- 
pathetic spot) and watched the sails pufQng to the 
breath of the breeze. He grew hungrier every 
minute, but every minute the wind grew 
stronger and the waves higher, so that his in- 
terest in the behavior of his boat returned and 
' increased, until he forgot about the complainings 
I of his stomach altogether. The " Gazelle " 
I seemed to know that her maker's eye was upon 
her, for she showed off in brave style. Sbe rose 
on the waves aa lightly as a cork, and swept along 
L at a surprising rate of speed. 

Frank and Arthur soon came climbing up on 

I deck, and then Ransom had his turn below. In 

I spite of Clyde's protestations, he was no mean 

L cook, and if " the proof of the pudding lies in the 

eating," the crew were certainly satisfied with 

iJbeir first meal aboard. 

" How are we going to work this thing? " said 
Arthur, as Ransom's head appeared above the 
hatch coaming. " We certainly won't get in to 
Chicago before morning." 

" We'll divide up the night into regular 
Irwatches, Four on, four off. See?" explained 
f Kenneth. 

"But who's who?" queried Clyde, from the 
f foot of the companionway ladder. 

" Artbur and I will be the starboard watch, 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

you fend Frank will be the port. That satisfac- 
tory? '' 

^^ Sure/' the other three responded. 

^ Well, suppose the port watch goes on duty 
for the second dog watch — from six to eight — 
while the starboard watch does the dishes? '' 

" I never heard of a starboard watch washing 
dishes," said Frank. " But I think they could 
not be better employed." 

Kenneth and Arthur went below and began 
to " wrestle " pots and dishes, while Frank and 
Clyde sailed the boat. 

The yacht rolled a good deal, and the amateur 
dishwashers found it difficult to keep the water in 
the dish pan. But if the yawl pitched, it was 
not unduly, and she always recovered herself 
easily. Her poise was well-night perfect. 

Though the off-and-on plan was carried out, 
there was little sleep for either watch — ^the ex- 
• perience was too new — ^and when Chicago was 
^, reached late the next morning, all hands were 
glad to lay up for a while and rest. They con- 
sidered that the trip had now fairly begun, inas- 
much as people had predicted that the "Gazelle '* 
would never cross even the Lake in safety. The 
boys took advantage of city prices and bought all 
sorts of things and stowed them aboard the yacht. 
. There was enough stuff aboard to stock it small 

do 



OUTWA.RD BOUND 

store for a year, yet the yawl did not seem to be 
overburdened, 

■' Hear ye'r goin' through to ther canal? " It 
was the evening of the second day when a burly, 
bearded chap shouted this in a fog-horn voice to 
Arthur. " Want a tow through, Cap? " 

" Here, Ken, is a fellow who wants to tow ub 
C the canal," Arthur shouted down the open 
I batch to Bansom. 

They did want a tow, and the agreement was 
soon made, so the tugboat man departed con- 
tent. 

The following afternoon a little tubby, snub- 
nosed, pointless tug steamed up, and the boys 
recognized their tugboat man in the pilot house. 

" Hello, Capl " was his greeting. " Ready? " 

"Hello, Captain I "Ransom responded. " "All 
ready. Give ua a line." ,-' 

The hawser was hauled aboard and made fast 
to the capstan bitts forward, and soon the yacht 
was on her way once more. 

All of the boys had seen the Chicago River 
before, but never had any of them come so close 
to the shipping. There were whalehacks for 
freight, and whalebacks for passengers, steam- 
boats, Great Lake, grain, and passenger steamers, 
little tugs towing barges ten times their size; 
sailing craft of all kinds. It was bewildering, 



y 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

and how the little tug ever found a way through 
the labyrinth was a marvel. All went well, 
however, though the boys held their breaths 
whenever there was a particularly close shave, 
and so were almost continually in a state of sus- 
pended animation. 

It seemed as if miles of craft of various kinds 
had been passed, when they came up to an enor- 
mous grain steamer which was fast aground. She 
was surrounded by a mob of puffing tugs, which 
had been working since the day before to get her 
oflF. The steamer and her escorts took up most 
of the stream, but a narrow lane remained open 
at one side just wide enough to allow the tug and 
the " Gazelle " to pass through. There was 
barely room between the towering sides of the 
great-freighter and the heavily-timbered side of 
the river-bulkhead, but there seemed to be no 

'•^danger that the great vessel would get off and 
3^1 up the narrow passageway. The boys, there- 
fore, told their tug to go on. 

. 'The tug entered the open lane and puffed 
steadily ahead, the yacht following a hundred 
feet behind. The towboat passed on, and the 
" Gazelle " came abreast of the freighter's stem. 
It overshadowed the small craft just as a tall 
office building would dwarf a news-stand beside 
it. The four boys gazed at her gj^eat iron sides 

33 



onrn^ARu bound 

in admiration and wonder; they could almoat 
touch it 

"I wonder will they ever get her o£E! " ex- 
claimed Arthur. " She looks as if she was built 
on to the bottom." 

" Say, Ken, look! " It was Frank who 
grabbed Ransom's arm and pointed to the great 
ship's counter. " Isn't she moving now? " 

She certainly was. The freighter's stern was 
swinging round; slowly at first, but gaining in 
speed every moment. The tug was going ahead, 
and the iron sides were closing down on the little 
yacht irresistibly. It was a horrible trap which 
the tug, by reason of the long towline, had es- 
caped. The boys realized their danger, and 
shouted to the captain of the tug. He imme- 
diately rang for full speed ahead. It was a grim 
race to escape destruction. 

Faster the tug churned on, but nearer and^ 
nearer came that terrible iron wall, until 
bumped against the yawl's white aides. Eotn 
yachtpnd freighter were edged in to the spilesof 
the bulkhead until there was but three feet of 
open water between. Men on the freighterj.,1 
ashore, and on near-by vessels saw the <" 
They shouted words of encouragement and warn* ■, 
ing; but even as they did it, they knew that it-j 
was of no avail. Nearer and nearer the feai 



1 YEAR IN A YAWL 

iron wall approached, inexorably. The boys 
saw that the boat was doomed to certain destruc- 
tion, and perhaps death lay in wait for them, but 
they could do nothing. 

They were being drawn into the very jaws of 
the trap, and the crew looked at the smooth sides 
of the freighter for a foothold or a hanging rope 
that they might cling to, and then to the slimy 
bulkhead. Each had picked out a place for him- 
self to spring for when the time should come. 
Suddenly the movement of the great ship's stem 
stopped. She quivered a moment and was still. 
She had grounded just in time, and the " Ga- 
zelle " slipped through with not three feet to 
spare. 

The shout that went up from the onlookers 
was like the sudden escape of long pent-up steam 
— ^it was a glad cry of relief, and the boys echoed 
it in spirit, but could do nothing but wave their 
ipaps in answer. 

It had been a narrow escape, and the crew of 
the " Gazelle " were thankful enough to come 
out of it alive. To the shouts of the onlookers, 
however, they waved their caps airily, as if it was 
an e very-day matter to escape from the jaws of 
death. 

After this all went well. The tug and its 
light tow made such good time that the entrance 

84 



OVTWABD BOVXD 

lock to the Illinois and Michigan Canal was 
reached by nine o'clock. All hands turned in 
except Ransom, who was to take the first four- 
hour watch. But, from time to time during the 
night, various members of the crew waked 
with a feeling that there waa a house crushing 
them. "Whether this was caused by the experi- 
ence with the ship, or the pancakes which Clyde 
constructed for supper, this chronicler does not 
pretend to state. 

Early the following morning, the boys paid 
their canal fees, and passed through the lock. 

" How long is this canal, Ken? " Frank asked, 
after they had tied up in the basin. 

"Ninety-8L\ or seven milea,~'I think," he an- 
swered. 

" Walking good ? " was Clyde's question. "I . 
don't see a crowd oi tug men crying like hack- / 
men at a depot, ' Tug, sir.' ' Tow, sir.' ' Tak^ 
you through quick, sir! ' " ;' 

" You're right," said Kenneth, with a smile.' 
"It's pretty late for shippuig, I hear; but pai- 
haps that steam freighter that we heard was co^^ 
ing through will give us a lift. Let's waitjl 
while and see." 

They did, and the freighter good-naturedlyj 
gave them a tow all the afternoon. But gooc 
things, like everything else, have an ending, ■ 
35 



A. TEAR IN A YAWL 

and the following morning found thiem tow- 
less. 

A good half of this ninety-six mile canal the 
boys towed their boat by hand — they were their 
own mules, as Arthur expressed it. Two towed, 
and two stayed aboard, steered, and tended ship. 
The starboard and port watches took turns. 

The hunting along the way was good, and 
many a plump duck tried the carving abilities of 
the cook and tickled the palate of the passengers. 

Seven days of towing by hand, and friendly 
helps from passing steamers, brought them to La 
Salle, the end of the canal and the Illinois River. 

Letters from home reached them here, and 
gladdened their hearts mightily. It was one of 
the consolations of this trip that every few days 
they received word from home, and were able 
\^ to send messages to the anxious ones who were 
\leit behind. 
* Though the boys were somewhat footsore from 
their unaccustomed walking and their amphib- 
ious journeying, they were gaining weight 
steadily, and would have made splendid " after " 
pictures for a tonic advertisement. 

The night on which they reached La Salle 
was cold, and, after getting their letters, the four 
friends made all ship-shape on deck, and then 
went below, closing the hatch behind 'them. 

86 



OUTWARD BOUND 

3ter a rousing supper, to which, needless to say, 
they did fuU justice, the table was cleared, dishes 
put away, and in a twinkling the place was 
turned into a reading saloon or a lounging room. 
The swinging lamp shed a soft glow on the warm 
coloring of the cherry woodwork and cushioned 
bunks. The light on the table was ample, and 
the boys set out to answer the pile of letters they 
had received. It was a great temptation to tell 
hair-raising tales of every little happening that 
they had met with, but from the first it was 
agreed that the pleasant things alone should be 
detailed at any length. For a time, the scratch- 
ing of pens on paper was the only sound, 
other than the comfortable, subdued creak 
of the throat of fhe main boom on the mast, 
which made itself beard as a passing gust 
struck the yawl. Presently, however, one 
of the pens stopped scratching, and its owner / 
added a new element to the soft sounds — that 
of heavy breathing and an unmistakable snorS. 
Soon ail but Ransom were stretched out on their 
bunks, fully clothed but sound asleep. He still 
struggled to write, keeping awake by force of fiat 
in eye. He, too, was almost dozing, the gust 
had passed, and the boom was quiet, the low hum 
of the lamp was the only sound to be lieard. 
Thump, thump! The thud of 



A YEAR IN A 7AWL 

heavy jarred the four out of their doze with a 
start. Then a scraping sound followed, and a 
couple of thumps at theii^ very feet. It was 
startling, and Ransom scrambled to his feet and, 
followed by his three companions, who, half 
asleep as they were, looked about with dismayed 
faces, rushed on deck, expecting to find them- 
selves on shore and in imminent danger. But, 
instead, they found a comfortable old log, with 
some branches clinging to it, that had floated 
down stream and had merely knocked oflF some 
of the " Gazelle's " white paint in passing. 

** That's one on us," laughed Kenneth in a 
relieved manner. " Let's turn in." 

When the boys got up the next morning, they 

f oimd a layer of snow on deck, and a thin skin 

of ice on the still water. It was high time to be 

, on their way, so they shipped their mast again, 

> bent on the sails, and set up the rigging in a 

i hurry, and the following day were well on their 

'^ay down the river towards the Mississippi. 

■ The Illinois Kiver is broad and shallow, and in 

Order to keep enough water in the stream to float 

lie grain boats down to the great river, enormous 

dams are built at inter/als. A lock at each dam 

allows the vessels to drop to the lower level. 

Leading to each lock is a canal a himdred yards 

or so long. 

88 



OVTWARU BOUND 

The " Gazelle " made good way down ihe 
riverj but each dam was approached with much 
care. A tack missed, the boat would in all prob- 
ability go to her destructiou. 

They had but three more dams to pass, and 
ware sailing along with a beautiful breeze acroea 
stream to their starboard hand. Several hun- 
dred yards above the lock, Arthur blew a lusty 
blast on the bom to notify the gatekeeper of 
their approach. Again he blew, and at last they 
saw the man come out of his house and begin to 
work the levers that opened the enormous gates. 
The '' Gazelle " swept on, straight as an arrow, 
for the gate, every stitch drawing, her forefoot 
fairly spuming the water, and the small boat — 
" His Nibs " — bobbing gaily behind. 

The yacht was sailing faster than they real- 
ized, and suddenly the boys saw that lihey 
would reach the gate before it was opened wide 
enough to admit them. There was but one , 
thing to do. With a warning shout of " hard-a- ■ 
lee," Kenneth bore down on the tiller, the other 
boys hauled in the slieeta, and in a minute tbe ' 
boat was heading out and up the stream. It was 
quick work, but for a time all seemed well. Then 
the wind slackened and a swift current caught 
them. The boat began to drift down stream 
, toward the dam. To the alarmed boys the cur- 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

rent seemed as swift as a mill race. It was carry- 
ing them at a terrific rate straight for the dam 
and to what seemed must be certain death. Now 
they could see the ugly heads of the logs sticking 
out of the water at the brink of the falls, and 
jagged stones which turned the stream to foam 
in a hundred places. 

Still the wind lagged, and the current in- 
creased in speed. The boys looked from one to 
the other. Each knew that nothing could be 
done, but instinctively they hoped that some- 
thing would intervene to save them. But what 
could save them now? With pallid faces and 
hearts that beat fast, they agreed to stick to each 
other and the ship. 

Still the stream ran on and the breeze lagged. 
The line of white that defined the edge of the 
falls could now be distinctly seen, and the roar 
of the water drowned all other sounds. They 
began to give up hope. It seemed as if nothing 
could help them — surely nothing could. 

Kansom was watching the bit of bunting— the 
i fly — at the mainmast head. He saw it straighten 
> out and begin to snap. 

' '^ Boys! " he exclaimed, " there's a chance yet. 
look! " 

Even as he spoke, a puff of wind struck them, 
the sails rounded out, and the backward speed of 

40 



OUTWARD BOUND 

the yacht slackened. Inch by inch, she began 
to gain on the current. Her crew felt as if they 
were pushing her along; their nerves and muscles 
were tense. Soon they saw that they were mak- 
ing real headway. If the wind held they would 
be safe yet. It was a gallant fight that the spruce 
" Gazelle '^ made — a fight for her life and the 
lives of her crew, and still the wind held strong 
and true. She gained. 

At last it was safe to come about. " Hard-a- 
lee," sang out the steersman cheerfully, as he 
headed the boat up into the wind. The " Ga- 
zelle " paused a moment in apparent indecision, 
her headsails flapping, then around she came and 
headed straight for the now widely open gates. 



41 



CHAPTER IV 

AN ADVENTITBE IN ST. LOUIS 

Though the adventure with the dam shook the 
young sailors' nerves somewhat, still it served to 
give them increased confidence in their boat. 
Distinctly, a craft that behaved so well under 
such trying circumstances was worth sticking to, 
they argued, and not unreasonably. 

When the boys saw how little shipping there 
was moving, they reaUzed that winter was com- 
ing apace, and that if they were to enjoy the 
\ balmy South without a spell of Arctic journeying 
no time must be lost. A skin of ice on the water 
was now a common occurrence, and it took a con- 
"^ siderable amount of courage to crawl out from 
under the warm blankets and go on deck to wash 
/ o' mornings. 

Therefore, the stops along the Illinois Kiver 
were cut as short as possible, and only the diflScul- 
ties of navigating a strange stream prevented 
them from sailing at night. As it was, not a few 

42 



\ 



atW ADVBNTDRE IN ST. LOVIS 

lieka that would otherwise have been carefully 
avoided were taken in order to gain time. 

At Beardstown, Illinois, they came to two fine 
bridges across the stream, but built too low to 
allow of even the " Gazelle's " short spar passing 
underneath. 

The yacht was sweeping along at a merry 
pace, wind astern, and current aiding. Frank, 
who was doing look-out duty forward, caught 
sight of the up-stream bridge first, and blew a 
long, unmelodious note on the ship's fog horn. 

"What do you think of that for nerve?" 
shouted Frank to his companions in the cockpit 
aft, " Here we are, four chaps in a thirty-foot 
toy boat, blowing a horn to make a thousand-ton 
bridge make an opening for us." 

"Yes, we're little, I know, but oh, my!" 
Arthur answered. " Just give thera another 
blow. They are fearful slow. Guess they don't 
know we're in a hurry." 

The yacht sped on at a splendid gait, and the 
draw opened none too soon, for the " Gazelle " 
slid through before the great span had stopped ■, 
BwingiBg round. She made a gallant sight, her J 
mainsail and jigger spread out wide wing and I 
"wing and rounded out like the cheeks of Boreas, ■ 
iier round, spoon bow slipped over rather than '.. 
cut through the water, and the easy lines of her U 
4S 



) 

) 



A ttJAR 12f A YAWL 

Stem left but little wake behind. " His Nibs/' 
towing behind, made enough fuss, however, to 
supply several boats many times its size. It fairly 
strutted along in its importance. 

The pedestrians on the footpath forgot in their 
interest to be impatient at the delay caused by 
the opening of the bridge, and watched the yacht 
flying along, more like a live creature than a 
thing of mere wood and canvas. 

A few hundred yards below, another bridge 
spanned the stream, and Frank, still forward, 
blew another long, open sesame blast. In an- 
swer, the draw began to move; so slowly, how- 
ever, that the crew were troubled. It seemed as 
if it would never open in time to let them 
through. But the boys figured that the draw 
moved faster than they realized, and that the 
space was wider than it seemed. They there- 
fore held on their course, and the " Gazelle," 
appearing to understand that she was watched, 
fairly outdid herself. Her crew became exhila- 
rated, and watched with flushed cheeks and shin- 
ing eyes the water as it rushed past. " Great 
Scott, look at that! " suddenly Frank shouted. 
'^ Come about, for Heaven's sake! " The other 
three looked where he pointed, and saw that the 
draw had stopped moving and that it would be 
impossible to go through the narrow opening. 

U 



AH ADTENTURE IN ST. LOUIS 

"he men on the bridge, seeing the danger — it 
rwaa growing each second so terribly imminent — ■ 
1 worked desperately to set the machinery which 
1 turned the bridge going. 

The boat was within seventy-five feet of the 
ft low trusses that would undoubtedly shatter its 
[ Bpars to kindling wood and tear the sails to rags, 
I and still the " Gazelle " flew along, joyously 
I careless of all save the buoyancy of the moment. 
I She was sailing down the right aide of the river 
I in order to follow the motion of the draw, which 
i from left to right. The pier which sup- 
j ported the middle span was in mid-stream — a 
I massive stone structure with a prow like the ram 
I of a battleship; planned, in fact, to break up and 
eparate the ice. 
" Come about, Ken, quick, or you'll carry 
I away your stick," Frank waved his arma and 
[ pointed frantically to the bridge. 

Ransom paused a minute and measured the 
distance between hia craft and the bridge, 
glanced at the stone pier and hesitated. He was 
pale, but outwardly calm. At last he put the 
tiller over to port, and the gallant Httle craft ■ 
swung round on her heel like a dancer — her 
pace slackened; but the current and wind still 
I carried her onward nearer and nearer the bridge, 
I her momentum spinning her round until she was , 
45 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

headed straight for the beak of the stone pier, 
jutting out wicked and green with river slime. 
On she went, her crew watching breathlessly 
to see if she would come round and tack into 
the wind in time. Yes, she would! No; 
no; yes ! Half a dozen times in as many 
seconds the chances changed, but still she swept 
on. 

Suddenly, with a bump that threw all four 
boys prone on the deck, she struck the pier, and 
as they lay half dazed, she slid up the inclined 
stone, greased, as it was, with slime, until the 
forward part of her underbody was clear out of 
water and her stem deep in. With a jar, the 
motion ceased, and then she began to slide back- 
ward. Deeper and deeper went her stem, until 
it seemed as if she would dive backward. At 
last, she slid oflF altogether, and turned round into 
the wind by the impact with the pier, and began 
to pay oflF on the other tack. Eansom jumped 
up and seized the tiller, amazed and delighted 
that the boat still held together, and that he and 
his companions were uninjured. The draw now 
commenced to swing again, and Kansom, watch- 
ing it over his shoulder, saw it open wider and 
wider till the channel was clear. Then he put 
the boat about again, and she sailed calmly 
through the gap; Arthur at the main sheet, 

46 




AN ADTENTVRE IN ST. LOVIB ' 

Clyde tending the jib, and Frank forward aa 
before. 

A prolonged cheer rose from the men on the 
draw, and a faint shout came down the wind 
from the people on the other bridge. 

Cheer on, if the gallant little ship was not 
racked to pieces and strained beyond repair. 

*' Arthur, get below and aound the pump," 
said Kanaom, anxiously. The mate flew down 
the companionway, and the boys on deck aoon 
heard the suction of the pump and the swish of 
the stream thrown in the centre-board trunk. It 
was a time of suspense until the Bucking aound 
was heard that betokened that she was dry. The 
good Michigan white oak held true, and beyond 
L BOme slackened stays and a broken tumbuckle, 
1 the yacht was uninjured. 

"By George, boys!" exclaimed Arthur, as 
I lie came from below, "she's the stuff! Yon 
can't hurt her. She's as sound as can be — ^not , 
a seam started." 

From here on, the Illinoia was plain sailing. . 
"Wafted by favoring winds and a swift current, 
the " Gazelle " made fast time and reached tha 
Mississippi on Thanksgiving Day, 

" Boys," said Ransom, as he came up from 
examining the charts, " if we have luck to-day, 
■we'll be sailing on the Mississippi." 



X YEAR IN A 7AWL 

" A mighty good way to celebrate the day," 
suggested the mate. 

" I wonder what it looks like/' Clyde specu- 
lated. 

" Oh! I think it's very broad, and very muddy, 
with low banks covered with colored people sing- 
ing songs to a banjo." This was Arthur's con- 
tribution. 

" No, I think that we'll find the banks lined 
^tt woodpiles; with here and there a plantation 
landing " 

"And boats, great flat-bottomed things," 
Frank interrupted Clyde to say; " with tall chim- 
neys instead of stacks belching rolls of black 
smoke." 

" You fellows have been reading Mark Twain, 

S and think you know it all," Kenneth remarked 

from his place at the tiller. " But where do you 

suppose we are now? Look around." 

X 

\ The boys had been so busy making up an 
> imaginary river, that they did not notice when 
(they passed a low point and entered into what 
ippeared to be a wider part of the stream. 

" Why, you don't know the Mississippi when 
you see it. Let's give three cheers for it," cried 
the captain. 

"Hip-Hip, Hurrah!" The cheers rang out 
together, with a will. 

48 



AN ADVENTURE IN ST. LOUIS 

" Now, three more for the boat." 

Again they rang out — -undignified, perhaps, 
but fitting, in that they voiced the thanksgiving 
which all four of the crew felt, hut could not 
express in words. 

As the sun aanlc, turning the brown waters of 
the mighty river to crimson and gold, the 
" Gazelle " dropped her anchor in a little cove 
and rested, while her crew partook of mallard 
duck, shot during the day — their Thanksgiving 
dinner. 

" People said we wouldn't he able to cross the 
Lake safely, eh? " said Frank, exultingly; " and 
here we are anchored to the bottom of the Mis- 
isaippi. We're the people," 

" Going to take on a pilot, Ken? " suggested 
[ Arthur. 

"Surel" returned the captain. ""Who will 
give up his berth to bam? " 

" Ob, I guess we can get along without one," i 
Arthur interposed hastily. " Clyde, give me ■ 
some more duck." 

"This mallard is all right, Clyde," remarked 
Kenneth rather thoughtfully. " But I coa* 
fess I'd swap it for a home-made pumpkiii 
pie." 

" Now, drop that, Ken," said Clyde, " I objeoSi 
to your invidious compariaona. It isn't a squares 
4 49 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

Illinois River they passed under the great Eads 
Bridge and anchored a little below St. Louis. 

"Who's going ashore?" Clyde looked 
around from one to the other of his companions. 
"I think it is our turn. The starboard watch 
ought to have a loaf once in a while, you know." 

"Not by a jugful! Hasn't the port watch 
been at the helm all day? " Arthur was more 
vehement than it was necessary he should be. 

" Well, we did all the dirty wo A; cooked the 
meals and washed the dishes." Frank was get- 
ting interested. 

" Here, here, let's quit this squabbling. We 
all have worked hard, and we all want to go 
ashore, and each has an equal right, but some of 
us must stay." Kansom realized that quarrel- 
ling would spoil the trip quicker than anything 
else. 
\ The three stood in an attitude that said as 

N 

\ plainly as words: "What are you going to do 

(about it? " 

) " Leave it to these." Kenneth showed four 
ends of rope yam sticking out of his closed hand. 
T These yams are of different lengths. The two 
that get the shortest will have to stay aboard — 
the lucky two who pull the longest can go ashore. 
See?" 

" Ijfc ^oes," the three answered. 

52 



AN ADVENTURE IN ST. LOUIS 

The upshot of it was that Clyde and Frank 
went ashore, and the other two remained to keep 
ship and do chores. 

It was late when " the liberty party " returned 
with pockets bulging with letters and papers, 
with heads full of the things they had seen, and 
tongues aching to tell of thorn; and last, but not 
least, with able-hodied appetites and stomachs 
ready for the meal which the " left-behinders " 
had prepared. 

It would be hard to tell whether the tongues 
or the knives and forks won the race, but cer- 
tainly both did valiant service. By way of com- 
pensation, the starboarders washed the diahea, 
while the port did the heavy looking on. Soon 
things were cleared away, and the hinged table 
was lined with boys reading letters, 

" Look at this," said Kenneth, after a time of 
quiet, broken only by the crackle of stiff paper. 
" I had hoped that this would show up about this , 
time. We need it in our buainesa." 

It was a check for $125, and was expected ; 
to last them many weeks. The money that Ken- . 
neth had saved for this trip had been left in his ' 
father's hands, to be forwarded from time to ' 
time as needed, and almost every cent of the 
little hoard had its particular use. 

" Well, don't be proud," exclaimed Arthur, 



/" 



\ 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

^ you are not the only one/' and he flourished a 
money order. 

Frank, too, produced one. 

"We are bloated bondholders," the captain 
said smiling. " But we won't spend it on riot- 
ous living now, or we'll have to eat and drink 
Mississippi Kiver water later." 

Arthur was imder the weather next day, so 
Hansom went ashore alone, taking the precious 
check and money orders with him. He rather 
despaired of finding any one who would identify 
him so that he could cash the check; but as luck 
would have it, he met an acquaintance on the 
street who made him all right with the bank 
officials at once. John Brisbane was a pleasant 
fellow and knew the city thoroughly. He towed 
Ransom round the town and showed him most 
of the sights, and even introduced him to some 
Mississippi pilots. They listened to his tale of 
what he and the crew had done and intended still 
to do with polite incredulity for a while, but 
finally concluding that he was telling them a 
" tall story," they began to jeer openly. 

"That's right," Eansom protested earnestly, 
a little vexed but still smiling. " We are plan- 
ning to go around the Eastern United States, 
and we'll do it, too." 

After the river men saw that he was in eam- 

54 



AN ADVENTURE IN 8T. LOVIU 

' est, and tliat he really intended to put the trip 
tijrougli, they began to tell him things about the 
liver: where to look for this bar, how to avoid 
that eddy, and where deep water ran round the 
other bend. Indeed, they gave him ao much 
information about the Miaaissippi between St. 
Louia and New Orleans that he was bewildered, 
and felt as if he were waking up from a dream 
wherein aome one was reading a guide-book of 
the river, while another called off the soundings 
of the charts. 

When he finally bid good-by to the pilots 
Ransom felt thankful to get away with his 
reason intact. 

Then John Brisbane showed him the Post 
Office, and after bidding him good-bye and good 
luck, went off. 

Kansom found that he had barely time to cash 
his money orders, and feared that when he got 
on the end of the long line in the crowded wait- 
ing-room the window would be closed before he 
got to it. 

One by one the people stepped up to the nai^ 
row window and held what seemed to be long 
conversations with the oiRcial behind the glass. 
First it was a woman with a baby, which had to 
be held by some one else while the motlier signed 
her name, the baby meanwhile objecting vigor- 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

oudy; then a man with a lot of bundles, which 
he was constantly dropping and as often picking 
up, delayed the Une; and then one thing and an- 
other until Hansom, who watched the hands of 
the big clock approach nearer and nearer four 
o'clock, fingered his money orders nervously 
and grew nearly frantic with apprehension. 

At last he reached the window and got his 
money just in time. He put it in the inside 
pocket of his coat and buttoned it up, but pulled 
it open again when he went over to the stamp 
window to buy stamps for the crew and for him- 
self. The crowd was unaccountably thick, and he 
wondered at it, as a man was pushed against him 
so heavily that he grunted. The stamps once 
bought, he rushed out to buy some greatly 
needed supplies for the ship's larder. 

" It's lucky I got that money," he said to him- 
self, as he opened the door of a grocery shop. 
*' We would have about starved to death if it had 
not come." 

" How much is it? " Ken asked of the grocery 
man when the goods had been selected. 

" Three forty-eight," was the reply. 

Eansom went into his vest pocket, where he 
usually carried a small amount of money for 
everyday purposes, and pulled up two quarters, 
a nickel and two pennies. 

66 



AN ADrEXTURB ly ST. LOUIS 

" Fifty-seven cents," he laughed, while the 
grocery man watched him narrowly. 

"Well, it is lucky that check came. What 
we should have done without it, I don't know." 
He reached for his inside pocket as he spoke. 
" But it did, so it's all right. How much did 
you " 

He stopped in the middle of the sentence — 
the pocket was empty I He ran his hand way 
down in — ampty. He turned the pocket inside 
out — not a thing in it. Then he felt each pocket 
in turn rapidly, then carefully — ^no money. 
The grocery man began putting away the things 
which Kenneth had bought, Kansom did not 
notice him, but kept up his frantic search — no 
result. He stopped to think. The perspiration 
stood in drops on his brow, and a leaden weight 
had settled down on his heart as he realized that 
he had "heen robbed of over a hundred dollars of 
his earnings; every cent of which waa needed to 
carry him through. He felt sure that his pocket 
had been picked at the Post Office. Then the 
thought came to him with crushing force that ha 
had lost the money of the other boys, and thaf! 
he would have to make it up out of what waa left 
of his small hoard at home. 

" Perhaps I dropped it," he thoug'ht to him- 
, self, and he rushed back to fhe Post OfBce to aee. 
57 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

He searched the big room desperately, and 
was so evidently troubled that the watchman 
asked him what he was looking for. 

" I lost some money here; have you seen any- 
thing of it? I will pay a reward." 

The man looked at him incredulously, and 
then laughed in his face. 

"Found any money? I guess not! Why, 
there's been a thousand people in this room to- 
day. Foimd any money? Just listen to that! " 
He broke into a laugh again, and turned his back 
on the distracted boy. 

Kenneth wandered aimlessly out into the cor- 
ridor, every nerve racking with agony. As he 
walked along, he saw among a lot of names, titles 
of departments and court rooms, "U. S. Marshal." 

"I guess ril ask him; he ought to know if 
there are pickpockets aroimd here, and he may 
help me," and suiting the action to. the word. 
Ransom made for the room. 

The assistant marshal, a small, keen-eyed, 
albeit kindly man, was just closing the office 
when the boy burst in. 

"I have lost some money," Hansom began 
right away. " Stolen out of my pocket, I 
think." 

" When?^' — ^the question came out like a pis- 
tol shot, 

W 



AN ADVENTURE IN ST. LOUIS 

" Tliis afternoon, when I " 

" Where? " the other interrupted in the same 
sharp way. He acted as if he was specially in- 
I terested. 

" Down-fitairs, in the money order and stamp 
room." Kansom was getting even more ex- 
cited — the other's manner was catching. 

" Describe it." 

Eanaom paused to think a minute, and then 
began slowly as the denominations of the bills 
came to him. 

" One twenty, eight tens, four fives, two twos 
and a doUar bill — then," and he paused again, 
" there was besides two fives and five twos and 
three fives." 

Aa he spoke, the marshal began fingering the 
combination of the safe, his back to Kenneth; 
but the boy was so engrossed that he did not 
notice what he was doing. 

" Well, you've got a, good memory, youngster, 
here's the money." As he spoke, the marshal 
turned and handed out a bunch of bills and some 
letters, 

"What!" the boy exclaimed amazed, hia 
cheeks flushing, and his breath coming in quick 
gasps as he dropped into a ohair. " Oh! " 

"Your name is Kenneth, you said?" The 
official was smiling, " Well, I am going to 



f 



A TEAR IN A 7AWL 

name my youngest Kenneth^ so that he will al- 
ways come out on top — congratulate you." 

He put out his hand^ and Kenneth^ half dazed 
with his unexpected good fortune, grasped it with 
both his. In his gratitude he felt the useless- 
ness of words; and though he tried on all the dif- 
ferent ones he could think of that would apply 
to the situation, not one of them seemed ade- 
quate. 

" How did it happen? " his curiosity made him 
ask at last. 

" Oh, I saw a fellow in a dark comer looking 
over something," the marshal explained, "and 
I did not just like his looks; he must have been 
a green hand to be looking at his graft in the 
open like that; so I went up to him and asked 
him if he had found something. The fellow 
looked up, saw my uniform, and got a case of 
cold feet right away. ^Yes,* he said, half 
scared, ' I found this by the money order win- 
dow.' All the same, he still held onto the wad — 
he hated to give it up — ^so I remarked, quiet like, 
*I guess you found it in somebody's pocket.' 
Well, I got the roll quick enough then, and put 
it in the safe; but I never expected the owner 
would run it to earth as quickly as you did." 

Kenneth thanked him again, and gave him a 
bill from the roll which he was holding. 

60 



AN ADVENTURE IN 8T. LOUIS 

The marshal had to finally cut off his torrent 
of thanks with a short, " Young man, this office 
closed an hour ago.'* 

Ransom from the door shouted an invitation 
to visit the yacht, and then went back to the gro- 
cery man and made him do up the things he had 
ordered before with elaborate care; he paid his 
three dollars and forty-eight cents and went off, 
the most thankful boy in town. 



/ 

f 



.1.. 

t 



61 



X 



r 



} 






CHAPTER V 

A PEBILOTTS SITUATION 

Though Kenneth was elated enough when he 
left the centre of the city and started for lihe 
river front, his heart sank within him when he 
caught sight of the water. The swift current 
was carrying great pieces of ice, which gleamed 
white against the dark stream. The ice cakes 
were close together, and as the boy thought of 
the scant three-eighths of an inch thickness of 
*' His Nibs's " sides, he despaired of reaching the 
yacht anchored on the other ^ore. 

"But what shall I do?" he asked himself. 
" The boys haven't any boat, and I've got the eat- 
ables." 

It seemed hard that he should fall from one 
nerve-racking experience into another, with 
scarcely a breattiing space between times. 

For the next five minutes or so he studied the 
surface of the water, hoping that a time woidd 
come when the ice ran less thick; but he realized 
that each minute of waiting was precious day- 



A FBRIL0V8 SITUATION 

light lost, Eunning down the sloping bank of 
the levee, he tumbled hia bundles into the frail 
little boat, unmoored her, and pushed out be- 
tween two monster river steamboats. 

For a minute he paused to pull himself to- 
gether, saw that all was snug on hoard, settled 
hifl cap more firmly on his head, and prepared 
for the struggle to come. 

Then out from the shelter of the huge boata 
he shot — nerves tense, eyes alert; "His Nibs" 
was on its best behavior, and obeyed its master's 
slightest touch, as if it understood the desperate 
situation. The rowboat was short, and so could 
spin around like a top on occasion. 

The river seemed bent on destroying the boy 
and his little craft. It hurled great chunka of 
sharp-edged ice at him in quick succession, but 
he always succeeded in dodging them somehow. 
Twisting t'hia way and that, now up stream, now 
down, he made his way painfully over toward 
the "Gazelle," lying so peacefully at anchor in 
the little cove near the other shore. A warning i 
shout told the three boys that the captain they ' 
were so anxious about was returning, and they 
rushed on deck to greet him. It was well they 
did so, for he had hardly strength enough to 
throw them " His ITibs's " painter and climb 
aboard. 



/" 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

" Boys," said Kansom, after lie had told of his 
adventures, '^ St. Louis is a nice city, but let's get 
out It's hoodooed for me." 

In spite of Ransom's determination to leave 
St. Louis at once, however, it was several days 
before the ice permitted them to move from theii* 
anchorage. Many friends had been made in the 
meantime, and nothing unpleasant occurred, so 
that it was with a feeling of regret rather than 
of joy that the voyagers finally pulled up the 
mud hook and began in earnest the sail down the 
Mississippi. 

The newspapers had found out that the " Ga- 
zelle '* and her crew were in port, and many of 
the inhabitants knew about and were interested 
in the little craft and her youthful sailors. 

The channel followed the city side of the 
river, and as the " Gazelle " got under way the 
steamboats lining the levee, bow in, stem out, 
gave her a rousing salute on whistles of varying 
tones. People on deck waved their hands and 
shouted '' Good luck! " and " God speed! " 

The ice was still very much in evidence, and 
kept the steersman busy on the lookout; but Ken- 
neth managed in spite of that to enjoy the atten- 
tion w'hich they received. 

" St. Louis is not so bad a place, after all," he 
declared with a change of heart. 

64 



^ 



A PESILOVS aiTUATIOlf 

The ioe gave the youngBters a great deal of 
trouble. It was neceaaary to keep on the watch 
continually, and to luff or tack every little while 
to avoid slamming into a jagged-edged piece. 
The channel was very crooked, and crossed con- 
tinually from one aide of the stream to the other. 
The " Father of Waters " had a decided mind 
of his own, and no matter how carefully and 
laboriously a straight channel was dredged, 
he was quite likely to abandon it and make a 
new one. 

The boys found the course a continual puzzle, 
and fairly gasped when they thought of the 
lj200 miles of it atiU before them. But though 
the experience was trying, it was valuable, and 
especially so to Ransom, who learned just what 
a boat can do under numerous and ever varying 
eircumatances. It was the most intimate sort of 
experience; their very existence depending upon 
Hurmounting each difficulty in turn. 

The first afternoon's run was thirty-eight 
miles, which, considering the many delays on ac- 
count of ice, the " crossings " and their imfamili- 
arity with the river's peculiarities, the boys 
thought very good. It was a rather trying sail, 
however, and all hands were glad when a snug 
little bend opened up — deep enough to give shel- 
ter to the yacht. 



J. FEiR IN A YAWL 

All four of tlie boya were by this time wefl 
seaeoned sailors. They had had aome hard 
knocks, had been through many close ahavea, 
knew what it was to be cold, hungry, and tired; 
but as time went on they had become closer and 
closer friends. They learned to put up with 
each other's little peculiarities, and shook down 
into a harmonious ship's company — a cheerful 
atmosphere prevailed that promised final success, 
and was not only an inspiration to themaelvea 
but to all who saw it. Their solid friendship was 
to be sorely tested. Just how solid it was, was 
shortly to be proved in a most unexpected man- 



Each had his special duties to perform, and 
as the voyage grew in length each became more 
and more proficient. This was especially true 
of the cook, Clyde. Not that he was a poor one 
at the start, for he "had shipped with the recom- 
mendation that in ten minutes he eould eooV a 
meal that the four could not eat in ten days. 
This was a little far-fetched, however, for the 
" rules and regulations " very plainly stated that 
any one who could not satisfy his appetite in five 
hours would be obliged to wait until the next 
meal. Nevertheless, the cook was very modest, 
and explained his improvement by saying that it 
was due to his becoming familiar with hia guar- 



A- PERILOUS 8ITUA.TI01f 

ters. In proof of which, he showed some pan- 
cakes which were not only round but also flat. 
In the heginning, owing to the listing of the ves- 
sel under the pressure of the wind on her sails, 
the batter would run to one side of the pan, and 
the pancakes were often quite able to stand alone 
on end. 

ITone of the boys could handle a needle vary 
daftly at first, but tbey soon became very good 
tera. They even progressed so far in the 
I art that they began to openly boast of their skill. 
I Fr ank returned one night from a hunting trip 
t ashore with a number of ducks and a ahy look 
I about him which his companions were at a loss 
to account for, until they discovered an unbecom- 
ingly big tear in his trousers. After supper he 
tackled the gap with a big needle and a couple of 
I yards of linen thread. He wanted to have it 
I good and strong, he explained. 

Frank did not bother to take his trousers off, 
but began to sew the rent baaeball-seam fashion, 
and though the result was not elegant as regards 
3 looks, he certainly accomplished his object, 
I and he was justly proud of his achievement. 
" Any of you fellows want any sewing done? " 
he remarked airily, as he sawed off the end of 
the thread. " I am going to paint on the main- 
pail, in beautiful, gilt script letters, 'Monsieur 
87 



A. TEAR IN A 7AWL 



Chauvet, Modes,' and rig you fellows up in natty 
sailor uniforms to ferry my customers over to 
me.^^ 

" Well, I don't know,'' Arthur remarked (he 
had been busy writing while Frank was em- 
broidering); "I can sew (lo) a little, myself; 
listen." 

He dodged a pillow, a spool, a ball of tarred 
twine and a book, and then began the following: 

G-azellO) Gazelle, 

She^ll run pell mell, 

With every stitch a-drawing, 

O^er waters smooth 

And waters rough, 

The seas her forefoot spuming. 

Gazelle, Gazelle, 

She^s quite a swell ; 

But yet there^s no denying, 

If needs she must 

Do it or bust, 

She'll be at anchor lying. 

Gazelle, Gazelle, 

You must do well. 

On you depends our winning ; 

For 'tis our boast, 

From lake to coast. 

You'll bring us through a-spinning. 

68 



A PERILOUS SITUATION 

" For the sake of the song we'll forgive the 
Kpim, if you never let it occur again," said Ran- 
rsom judicially. 

It was late when they turned in that night, 
and Ransom was just on the verge of dozing off 
when lie heard a great rustling in Frank's bunk 
across the cabin. Clyde and Arthur were 
asleep, so Ransom whispered, " What's the mat- 
ter, old man? " 

" Oh, Ken, I'm in trouble," There was a 
I tnd of gurgle in his voice that stilled the 
[captain's anxiety. "If ever I get toploft- 
■ jeal, you just pipe up a aong about a fellow 
• "that sewed his outer clothes to his under- 
clothes." Then followed a savage, ripping 
sound, which bespoke a tragedy, and all was 
still again. 

In spite of their best efforts, it seemed as if the 

elements were against tlie young voyagers. One 

day a heavy mist fell, and made the following of 

t the channel nothing more nor less than a game 

f of blindman's liuff, with the fun excluded, and 

' a few sand bars, rocks and snags thrown in to 

make it interesting. Another day the snow fell 

80 heavily that they had to tie up, the channel 

marks teing obscured. Here they went ashore 

and visited the town of Herculaneura, a mining 

Tillage, where Arthur and Kenneth took in the 



A. TEAR /.V A YAWL 

lead-fimelting fumaces, wliile Frank and Clyde 
stayed aboard. 

Just before dark some river steamerB passed 
and showed them the channel, and the boys 
gladly took advantage of their lead. The gov- 
ernment dredges afforded Kenneth and liia 
friends an opportunity to get acquainted with a 
new kind of craft, which the young ship designer 
was especially glad of. The government's 
dredging and snag-pulling boats are among the 
largest and moat expensive in the world. It 
takes an endless amount of money and effort to 
harness the JJjssissippi, and the government is 
making a great fight to keep the river free of 
obstructions. 

At Wittenberg, Missouri, where the boys tied 
up for a night, they got some much appreciated 
information from the usually taciturn river men 
about the Grand Tower Whirlpool. It was a 
spot which they had heard of way back in the 
Illinois Eiver towns, as one of the moat danger- 
ous places on the old Mississippi. 

It is the graveyard of many a fine river packet, 
and it can hardly be wondered at that our cruisers 
dreaded it greatly. A eharp bend in the river 
makes an eddy that has terrible suction power. 
To the left the water shoals rapidly, the bottom 
ia covered with rocks, and is the resting place of 



A PBRILQVH SITUATION 

Bnags, logs and all the debris that menace naviga- 
tion. Between this " Scylla and Charybdis " is 

■ the narrow channel. It is a spot to make even 
the experienced steamboat man think of his acci- 
dent insurance policy, and it seemed almost 
madness for the young sailors, aided by the 

jvrind alone, to attempt to run the dangerous 

■place. 

The next morning dawned bright and clear, 

I'Half a gale was blowing straight down stream 

P- — that is, straight down stream when the river 
happened to flow north and south. Little white- 
caps were puffed up from the brown flood, and 
streaks of ripples showed where the wind got a 
favorable slant. It looked squally, and it re- 
quired all the resolution that the boys possessed 
to make the trial, the outcome of which would 

Umean success or destruction. But they knew 

■that indecision went hand in hand with failure, 

I and they took their courage in both hands inan- 

[fuUy and prepared for the ordeal. 

" You can keep her going with a wind like thia 

I back of you," a new-found friend shouted aa he 
t off the line. " You'll have plenty of steer- 

r Hge way. PoUow the marks, and you're O. K." 
The last words grew fainter and fainter aa the 
* Gazelle " fled away before the wind like a bird. 

_ Ser motion was so swift, so sure, that the sailors 
71 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

she bore took heart and watched eagerly for the 
marks that would tell of their approach to the 
dread spot 

"There's the beacon," shouted Frank, who 
was on lookout duty forward. 

£enneth shifted the helm a little and bore 
nearer to shore. 

" There's the other one,'' yelled Frank, " off 
our port bow." 

Again the tiller was moved, this time a trifle 
to starboard. 

The wind was blowing dead aft, almost a 
gale, and the "Gazelle" fled before it like a 
frightened thing. The speed of the current, 
too, increased. They were going like a race 
horse. Floating cakes of ice were left behind 
in a trice; the trees on shore flashed past like 
spectres. It was a terrible pace. They passed 
a point, and there in the curve of the bend the 
whirlpool seethed — a veritable cauldron of tum- 
bling, foaming, riotous water. To the left the 
water wjw broken and frothy. The tough roots 
of uprooted trees reached out of the worried 
stream, and black rocks protruded like ugly 
teeth. 

Between the two places of destruction ran a 
smooth, swift, straight channel, and for this the 
" Gazelle " headed like a well-aimed arrow. In 

73 



A PERILOUS SITUATION 

an infltant she was speeding tlirough. To the 
right the whirlpool twisted and tossed — on the 
other side gaped the rock-toothed shoal. 
Straight on flew the boat, swifter and swifter, 
her crew quiet and steady, ready for whatever 
might come. 

In a moment it was over, and the yacht waa 
Bailing smoothly on the comparatively still waters 
' beyond. 

"Good work, old girl! " Kenneth exclaimed 
half aloud. With each trial the boys had gained 
confidence in the boat until they had come to 
have an affection for her that made them wish 
there was some personal way of showing her 
their trust and regard. 

The channel beyond Grand Tower waa 
straight, deep and broad. The " Guzelle " 
hounded along, the breeze astern, at such a swift 
pace that she covered the twelve good miles to 
Devil's Island in one hour. 

The crew were in high glee now, and enjoyed 
every minute to the full; but, after all, they 
merely served to prove the truth of the proverb: 
" Pride goeth before a fall." 

The water shoaled rapidly, and all at once, 

without warning of any Idnd, the yacht stopped 

as if some giant's hand had grasped her keel and 

suddenly stayed her flight. Why it did not 

78 



/ 






•v 



^ 



A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

shake the masts off from her, the crew could 
jiever understand. 

" Pull up the board, Clyde! '^ Kenneth shout- 
ed to that member of the company, who was 
below when the shock came. The boy picked 
himself up, and pulled at the line which ran 
through a pulley made fast to the deck beams, 
and through a corresponding block on the centre- 
board. He tugged and tugged, but the weight 
of the wind on the sails jammed the board in its 
trunk, and he could not move it. 

The canvas was lowered and then the board 
came up. Arthur took " His Nibs " and an an- 
chor which he intended to drop overboard some 
distance from the yacht, when it would serve as a 
kedge to pull her over the obstruction, but be- 
fore the mate got far enough to drop the hook, 
the sails, which had been raised meantime, caught 
the strong wind and hurried the yacht over the 
', bar. 

> The " Gazelle " bounded forward. 
"^ "Heave over the anchor, Art!" Kenneth 
; shouted, as he jumped to the tiller. But the 
'. iron was so heavy and the speed of the yacht so 
/ great that the slack was taken in before the mate 
could obey the command. In an instant " His 
Nibs " was capsized and the mate was swim- 
ming round iu the cold water in company with 

74 






-1 PEBILOVa 8ITVXT10N 

the cakes of ice. He soon found that the water 
only reached to hia waist, however, and he waded 
qniekly to " His Nibs," tailed the boat out, and 
paddled over to the " Gazelle," which had mean- 
time come up into the wind and was fast to the 
anchor dropped when the small boat capsized. 

" Well," said Arthur, as he scrambled aboard, 
" maybe I got excited, but I kept cool all right," 
He chuckled at his wit, though his teeth chat- 
tered suggestively, and he had a blue look which 
hia friends did not like to see. A sharp rub 
down, a change of clothing, and a cup of hot cof- 
fee brought him around in short order. 

After this experience luck seemed to be with 
the boys. They sailed down the wide river, 
crossing from side to side as the channel dictated, 
but with favoring winds and bright skies. The 
great stream was never monotonous, especially 
to the crew of a sailing craft. It is full of 
surprises and interests; its channel turns and 
L. twiffta many times in a mile and changes every 
t day. 

But woe betide the vessel that depended on 
a misplaced beacon. It was this that nearly, i 
very nearly, ended the career of the " Gazelle " 
and her crew. At Goose Island, on the Missouri 
side, they ran aground, having laid their course 
according to a misplaced light. 



"X 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

It was a very serious situation which these 
youngsters had to face. The boat was caught 
hard and fast in a stream running from four to 
five miles an hour, carrying great chunks of ice 
that struck all obstacles with the force of bat- 
tering rams. The bar was aknost in midstream, 
too far away from shore to hail. A small boat 
of " His Nibs's '' strength would not live in the 
ice ten minutes. It was about as grim a predica- 
ment as could be imagined. All the sails were 
spread, the board raised, and the crew, with the 
exception of the man at the helm, shoved with 
oars for hours j but the " Gazelle " did not budge 
an inch. 

Then they tried to take an anchor out, but 
*' His Nibs '' was no sooner put overboard than a 
big cake of ice came along and gave the light 
little craft such a terrific thump that the boys 
pulled her in hurriedly — ^they could not afford 
to run any risks with the only means they had of 
reaching shore. 

Hour by hour the cold increased, until it got 
close to the zero mark, and as the weather became 
colder the streams supplying the Mississippi 
froze up, and the water of the great stream grew 
less and less. 

The boys worked with desperation — stayed up 
late at night and rose at daybreak, hoping for a 

7e 



r 



A PERILOUS SITUATION 

rise of water or a favorable slant of wind. The 

increased cold made it necessary to keep the oil 
Btove burning, and the fuel began to get low. 
While sailing along the river, whose banks were 
lined with towns, the hoys did not laj in a great 
stock of provisions; they thonght it better to get 
them in fresh as frequently as possible. 

" Well, Ken," Clyde remarked the third day 
of their Imprisonment on the bar, " we will have 
to live on raw potatoes and river water pretty 
soon. My oil is about gone, and everything 
else is almost eaten up." 

" There is one more thing to do," the captain 
said at length. " Throw out our pig iron ballast. 
I hate to loee it, but it is the only thing left to 
do." 

All of the boys showed the effects of tremen- 
dously hard work, of the fight with cold and ice, 
with wind and water, but Kenneth was particu- 
larly worn. On him fell the responsibility. 
The others were in bis care, and if anything hap- 
pened to them he knew he would be held ac- 
countable. The constant strain, the lack of ' 
sleep — he was up all hours of the night — and his 
anxiety, told on even his rugged health. He 
grew perceptibly thinner in three days, dart 
rings showed under his eyes, and little things 
vexed him unwarrantably. They were all irri- 
77 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

table, and it speaks well for their closely knit 
friendship that no words arose betw^een them. 

"Well, boys," Kenneth said,- cheerfully 
enough, " let's play our last card. Let's turn to 
and throw over the ballast." 

It was hard work lugging the heavy sash 
weights that made up the ballast from below and 
throwing them over the side. There was at least 
half a ton to be discarded, and by the time the 
last of it was overboard the boys thought that 
there must have been tons. 

Guess, then, how their hearts leaped with joy 
when at last, after three weary days, the " Ga- 
zelle " floated over the bar and into deeper water. 
But it was a short-Uved triumph, for they speedi- 
ly found that there was another bar across the 
channel — the low water almost bared it, and they 
realized that they were trapped in a little basin 
a half-mile from shore, with absolutely no pro- 
tection from the ice, which was running heavier 
") and heavier. 

To anchor and wait, trusting to Providence, 
was all that they could do. So two anchors were 
dropped, and the boys faced the situation. The 
weather continued piercing cold. The oil gave 
out altogether, and then the crew had to live on 
cold things and exist as best they could in the 
cold cabin. 

78 



\ 

I 

S 



i 



A PERILOUS SITUATION 

The strain was even harder to bear than the 
cold and hunger. Great chunks of ice came 
sailing down on them continually, and the boys 
wondered each time if the " Gazelle " would be 
able to stand another such hard knock. 

The bar beyond caught the majority of tho 
larger chunks, and soon an ice gorge was formed 
that honrly grew bigger until the " Gazelle's " 
stern was not twenty yards from it. Each new 
cake added to the heap, and formed new teeth, 
which were ever moving in the rushing current 
— ^teeth which would grind up any living thing 
in a very few moments. 

The second night after the " Gazelle " got 
afloat the boys were in the cabin, and all but 
Kenneth had fallen asleep from sheer exhaus- 
tion — the recurring bumps of drifting cakes of 
ice not disturbing them in the least. But Ran- 
som could not sleep. He could not forget the 
horrible danger which they were in, nor could 
he shut his ears to the sound of crunching ice 
just behind the yacht. 

Of a sudden there came a jar with a new qual- 
ity in it. Eanaom rushed up the companion- 
way, grabbing his woollen cap as he ran, then for- 
ward over the icy deck. He found the ragged, 
frayed end of the anchor cable hanging over- 
board. The constant rubbing of the ice had 
79 



:/ 



A 7EAB IN A YAWL 

weakened it, and the extra heavy floe had com- 
pletely sundered it. There was but one anchor 
now to depend on; if that should fail them, it 
would mean instant destruction to the yacht and 
certain deal^ for her crew. 

It was too great a risk to run — ^that other an- 
chor must be found somehow^ and its holding 
power made good again. 

Kealizing that his companions would tiy to 
deter him from the desperate undertaking which 
he had in mind, Eansom did not call his friends, 
but quietly launched " His Nibs " from the stem, 
in spite of the current and the remorseless ice, 
and drawing her forward by the painter he got 
in at the bow and prepared to feel for the parted 
anchor cable with a boat hook. He pulled hand 
over hand on the cable of the other anchor, and 
finally gained a point where he thought he might 
begin to reach for the sunken line. It was well 
past midnight, and so dark that everything had 
to be done by sense of touch only. Intensely 
cold, the oars, the line he was holding, and the 
boat hook — everything, in fact, was coated with 
a slippery skin of ioe. 

Holding on by one hand to the anchor cable 
and the boat hook with the other, Kenneth be- 
gan to grope for the other lina His right arm 
ached with the exertion of feeling on the bot- 

ao 



A PERILOUS SITVATIOK 

torn with a heavy boat hook, While his left 
wrist seemed about to break with the strain put 
upon it; the cold nipped at his exposed face 
and wet, mittened hands. But still he perse- 
vered, At last he felt the touch of the line at 
the end of his pole; he began to haul in slowly — 
holding with his elbow the pole as he took a fresh 
hold further up. Suddenly a huge floe struck 
the little boat, dragging the anchor line out of 
his grasp, and pulled him backwards into the bot- 
tom of the boat. The current swept him back 
past the " Gazelle " and on toward the gnashing 
teeth of the gorge. 
6 



81 



CHAPTEE VI 

AN ABCTIO ADVENTUBB 

**Arthur^— Clyde — ^Frank! 0-o-o-oh boys! " 
It was a despairing cry that rang over those 
dismal, freezing waters. " Helpl '* 

It was too late — ^no help from the " Gazelle " 
could save the boy in his frail craft. The cur- 
rent had swept him beyond the reach of any one 
on board, even if a soul had been awake to hear 
his call for help. 

The grinding, crushing, gnashing sound of the 
crumbling ice on the gorge grew nearer and 
nearer. 

Kenneth scrambled to a sitting posture, and 
searched with groping hands in the darkness for 
the oars. At last he found them. No — only 
one — a misplaced brace deceived him. Again 
he searched, with desperate haste. He could 
hear the lap of the water on the piled-up floes 
now. The other oar was not there; he dimly re- 
membered now that he dropped it when he fell 
backward. 

82 



AN ARCTIC ADVENTURE 

Putting out bis one oar he began to acull with 
it, but tbe boat had drifted round broadside to 
the current, and he could not head it away from 
the inexorable wall of ice now so close. At last 
he gave the struggle up and trusted to Provi- 
dence. He comprehended how puny and futile 
hia own strength was compared to the power of 
these mighty odds. The boat drifted nearer and 
nearer to what seemed certain destruction. 
Ransom crouched low, prepared to spring to any 
cake that might bear his weight — it was his only 
chance. He grasped the painter of the boat in 
Ilia hand, and as soon as he felt the first bump of 
the broken ice against " His Nibs'a " side, he 
Sprang at a white surface that showed dimly be- 
fore him. By some lucky chance, or rather 
owing to a merciful God, it was a large floe, 
which, though it tottered and tipped dangerous- 
ly, did not capsize. It bore the boy's weight 
bravely. For a minute Kenneth paused for 
breath, then 'he noticed that "His Nibs" was 
being battered and ground by the constant action 
of the ice. He peered into the darkness to see 
how large his floating island was, and stepped 
cautiously this way and that to test its stability. 
It swayed frightfully, but the boy determined to 
risk adding the extra weight of the small boat. 
Inch by inch he drew it over the slippery surface, 



A YEAR Iff A YAWL 

and deeper and deeper sank the ice island ( 
that side until it was submerged a half a foot or 
so. Kenneth stood on the sharply inclined slip- 
pery ice in imminent danger of sliding ofE. 
Though it was zero weather, the perspiration 
stood out on his forehead in beads, and ran into 
his eyes till it blinded him. Gradually " HLa 
Niba " was hauled up till it rested beside him, 
for the time, at least, secure. 

For a space he rested his aching limbs and 
hraiBed back. The white shape of the " Ga- 
zelle " could be faintly made out through the 
gloom, so near and yet absolutely unattainable. 
Never before had the boy— the designer, builder 
and owner of the craft — so yearned for her. 
She was cold, cheerless, and in extreme peril her- 
self, but she seemed a very haven of rest and 
eecnrity to the castaway. 

Kenneth knew that he must fight for his own 
life and that no aid would be forthcoming from 
the yacht, and be began to study the situation. 
Grim enough he foimd it. A strong current 
bore down on the gorge, carrying ice and debris 
of every kind, grinding away at the edge of Han- 
som's floe. It was evident that it would break 
up eventually, and the boy prayed that it would 
last till be should find some other refuge. He 
noticed that bite of wood and fragments of loe 



^.V ARCTIC ADVENTURE 

floated off to the right after colliding with the 
obatruction. This set him to thinking. There 
muat be some break through, that caused the cur- 
I rent to swerve. He looked long and intently to 
[ the right, but could make out nothing in the 
I darkness. He felt aure, however, that there 
I muat be a channel somewhere, and he deter- 
L mined to find it. With great and laborious care 
he launched the boat and sprang into it. Fend- 
ing off from the teeth of the gorge vrith hia oar, 
he worked his way gradually to the right. Twice 
he had to jump to a floe and haul hia boat out 
from between two grinding cakea. But in apite 
of the labor, of darkness, of weary limbs, and 
hands numbed with cold, he gained, until at last 
he reached the gap and waa carried through. 
He floated nearly a mile before he could make 
his way to shore. It was bleak enough, but he 
uttered a fervent " Thank God " as he set foot 
on solid ground. The river bordered a cornfield 
at this point, and many of tlie rotting stacks were 
Btill standing. Kenneth made for one of these 
and burrowing into it, sank down to rest. He 
was desperately weary and almost unbearably 
cold, but thankful to his heart's core for hia 
I escape. 

" If I could only rest here till morning," ha 
f^ thought It was a sheltered spot, and he began 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

to feel the reaction followmg his tremendous ex- 
ertions. He was languid and drowsy, and his 
fast stiffening muscles cried out for rest. It was 
a temptation the sorely tried boy found Lard to 
resist; but tlie thought of his friends aboard the 
yacht, their state of mind when they discovered 
his absence, and the loss of their only means of 
reaching shore, urged him on and gave him no 
peace. His imagination pictured the hazardous 
things the boys might do if he was not there to 
calm them. Aa he lay curled up on the frozen 
ground, under the atiflingly dusty stalks, visions 
rose of the boys jumping overboard and attempt- 
ing to swim ashore; of their setting the "Ga- 
zelle " adrift in the hope that she would reach 
the bank. Many other waking dreams disturbed 
him, most of them absolutely impracticable, but 
to his overtired and excited imagination pain- 
fully real, and his anxiety finally drove him out 
of his nest into the biting cold again. 

Then Kenneth stopped to think, to plan, a 
minute. He had but one oar — he could not row 
against the strong current and floating ice — he 
could not drag the boat through the water, the 
shore was too uneven and fringed, moreover, 
with ice. Bare fields and brown waters sur- 
rounded him, there was no sign of human habi- 
tation, there was no help to be had, and he must 



I 



AN ARCTIC ADVENTURE 

reach the yacht that night — but how? He stud- 
ied hard, and could think of but one way — to 
drag the boat overland till he was above the 
' Gazelle's " anchorage, then launch it and drift 
down with the current- 
How great the distance was he did not know, 
but he realized that it waa a long way and that 
the journey could only he made by the hardest 
kind of work, under the most trying of circum- 
etancea. 

His very body revolted at the cruelly hard ex- 
ertions, every nerve and muscle crying for rest; 
but hia will was strong, and he forced his aching 
body to do his bidding. 

" Hia Niba " weighed but seventy-five pounds 
with her entire equipment, but what the boat 
lacked in avoirdupois it gained twofold in 
bulkiness. There waa some anow on the ground, 
and this helped somewhat to slide the small craft 
along on its strange overland journey. 

So began the hardest experience Kanaom had 
ever yet encountered. Facing the stiff wind and 
zero temperature, he slowly dragged the dead 
weight over the thinly frosted ground. Oh, so 
slowly he crawled along; now going round an 
obstruction, now climbing over a stump — for- 
ever hauling the reluctant boat along. Every 
hundred yards the nearly exhausted lad 



A YEAR IN A 7AWL 

stopped to catch his breath and rest under a heap 
of cornstalks or a mound of rubbish, burrowing 
like an animal. His hands and feet ached with 
cold, several times his ears lost their sense of 
feeling and had to be rubbed back to life with 
snow. 

He grew dizzy with f aintness, for it will be 
remembered that he, with the other boys, had 
had insufficient food for days, and he had not 
eaten a morsel since six o'clock. His back 
ached, his legs ached, his head ached, he was 
utterly exhausted; but still he kept on doggedly. 
At last he reached a point on a line with the 
** Gazelle; " he could lust make her out silhouet- 
«d .gau.;. tl.. »„b™ Ay. He W hi. jo,^ 
ney was nearly at an end, and he went forward 
with a last desperate gathering together of his 
powers. At length, judging that he was far 
enough up stream to launch, he shoved *^His 
STibs's " stem into the water with fear and trem- 
bling, for the little craft had passed through a 
trying ordeal, scraping over rough ground, 
stones and sticks. Hansom could not see if the 
frail craft leaked, but it certainly floated. He 
jumped in and pushed off, still anxious but hope- 
ful, feeling that he was homeward bound. The 
** Gazelle '^ was still afloat — the thought cheered 
him. 

88 



AN ARCTIC ADVENTURE 

With the single oar ia hand he sat in the Btom 
fiheets, and using it as both a rudder and a pro- 
peller, he avoided aome floes and lessened the 
ehock of contact with others. 

At last the " Gazelle " loomed up ahead, 
I serene and steady — the dearest spot on earth to 
the castaway. 

" All right, boys," Kenneth shouted huskily 
as he drew near, " I'm O. K." 

There was no response. 

"His Nibs" awept alongside and Kenneth, 
grasping at the shrouds, stopped himself and 
clambered stiffly aboard. AU was quiet. His 
imagination pictured all sorts of horrible mishaps 
to the crew, and he ran aft, stopping only to 
secure " His Nibs." Yanking open the frosted 
hatch, he pulled open the door and rushed 
I below. 

A chorus of snores greeted him. Not one of 
them knew he had been gone four hours. 

Kenneth did not disturb them; but after haul- 
ing the small boat on deck out of harm's way he 
crawled into his bunk and fell into the stupor 
of utter exhaustion. 

Early next morning all hands were wakened 

. by the bump and crash of ice, and another day 

of anxiety began. The morning after, however, 

L found an improvement in the conditions — the 



M 



^ 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

ice had almost stopped running and the weather 
moderated. ^ His Mbs " was launched and the 
bottom was sounded for half a mile in every 
direction, in hopes that a channel might be found 
to shore, or down the river to a more Aeltered 
spot But bars obstructed everywhere. There 
was no water deep enough to float the yacht at 
her present draft, except in the basin in which 
she rested. 

" Well, here goes the rest of our ballast," said 
Bansom, after the last soundings had been taken; 
and all hands began with what strength they had 
left to heave over the iron. By taking down the 
rigging and tying it together, it was found that 
a line could be made fast to shore. The sturdy 
little anchor was raised and the "Gazelle,'^ 
working her windlass, was drawn to the bank. 
In her lightened condition she floated over the 
bars. Once more they were safe, and the boys 
felt that God had been good to them to bring 
them through so many perils. 

Frank, the nimrod of the party, went ashore 
and shot a rabbit; a fire was built, and soon all 
hands were feasting on hot, nourishing food — 
the first for many days. How good it tasted 
only those who have been nearly starved can 
realize. 

The sleep which the four voyagers put in the 

90 



A.V ARCTIC ADVMTVBE 

nigbt of the IStli o£ December, 1898, was like 
that of hibernating beara, and fully as reatful. 

Kenneth and Arthur drew the long strands of 
yam this time, and set off to find Commerce, 
Missouri, ten miles across country. 

It was a long walk, but the two boys enjoyed 
it hugely — indeed, it was a relief to be able to 
walk straight ahead without having to stop to 
turn at the end of a cockpit or the butt of a bow- 
sprit. 

For the first few miles the talk was continuous, 
and many were the jokes about the mockery of 
the phrase " The Sunny South " when the mer- 
cury lingered about the zero mark. Bnt as they 
neared the end of their journey they talked less, 
and put more of their strength into the unaccus- 
tomed exercise of waiting. 

Reaching the town, they telegraphed home 
that all was well — a message which they knew 
would relieve much anxiety. They also wrote 
to the postmasters along the line to send mail to 
the crew at Commerce. Then, for the first time 
in two months, they slept in a bed — a luxury 
they felt they fully deserved. The boarding- 
house at which they had put up was a clean, 
pleasant place, and the bed — the feather variety 
— seemed veritably heaven to them. 

Two pleasant girls were also staying at this 



A 7EAR IN A YAWL 

house; and the boys had the added pleasure of 
feminine socie^. They talked to the interested 
maidens of their adventures until the girls' faces 
flushed and their eyes brightened — ^yes, and 
moistened even — ^with sympathy when they were 
told of an especially trying experience. 

They had had many interested listeners all 
along the line, but the hero-wortfhipping look in 
lie eyes of the two girls was particularly sweet 
to the boys. 

" Say, Ken,'' Arthur said comfortably, as he 
tumbled into bed, " let's stay a week." 

" Yes, this bed is immense, isn't it? " 

"Oh, hang the bed!" Arthur growled. 
" You're the most material duffer; there is some- 
thing besides creature comforts in this world, 
after all, you know," 

" No, I am not. I appreciate a pretty audi- 
ence as much as" — ^Ransom interrupted him- 
self with a yawn — "you do, but whaz-zer use 
of discussing " 

Another yawn stopped his speech, and at the 
end of it he was sound asleep. 

" H'm ! " grunted Arthur in disgust, and he 
turned his back upon him. 

The purchases the two made the next day 
weighted their backs but lightened their pockets, 
and Bansom had to telegraph for more money. 

92 



AN ARCTIC ADTENTUKE 

It took considerable resolution to break away 
from the pleasant society at the boarding-house 
and trudge the long milea to the yawl carrying a 
heavy pack. But they summoned up courage, 
and with a pleasant good-bye and a grateful 
" Come again " ringing in their ears, they once 
more started out on their adventures. 

At the end of three days they were back again, 
Kenneth to receive his money order, which was 
due by that time, and the mate to help carry more 
supplies. That night they told more thrilling 
tales and took part in a candy-pull. The next 
day Arthur had to return alone. Kenneth's 
money order had not come, so he had to wait 
for it. 

" Why didn't I work the money order 
racket? " said Arthur, as he reluctantly shoul- 
dered his pack. " Ransom's in luck this time," 

For a week Kenneth waited for word from 
home; then he began to get nervous; he did not 
know if all was well or not. Letters came for 
the other boys, but none for him. He got more 
than nervous; he became ahsolutely anxious. 
Moreover, he wanted to get under way again. 
The little town of Commerce, with ita 1,600 peo- 
ple, he had explored thoroughly; made excup- ' 
eions into the woods and had some good shooting; 
but in spite of unaccustomed pleasures he was 



A TEAR JN A 7AWL 

restless. He wanted to be moving down the 
river again. Whether it was the lack of news 
from home or some other cause, he could not tell, 
but he had a foreboding of some impending dis- 
aster. At the end of the sixth day of his stay in 
the little Missouri town Frank appeared. An 
anxious look was on his face. 

"My! Fm glad to see you, Ken," said he. 
*' We wondered what had become of you, so I 
traipsed over to see." 

Keimeth explained the difficulty. "Every- 
thing all right aboard the ^ Gazelle *? " he asked. 

" Well, no," Frank said reluctantly. " When 
are you coming back? " 

" To-morrow, I hope. But what's the matter 
aboard! " Kenneth remembered his forebod- 
ings. " Don't keep me waiting; what is it? " 

" The fact is, Arthur's sick, and neither Clyde 
nor I know what to do for him." 

" What's the matter with him? " 

" I don't know. He has a bad cold and some 
fever, I guess, and he seems kinder flig'hty." 
Frank began to reveal his anxiety. " When he 
showed up the other day after walking from here 
he talked sort of queer about the game you 
played on him, the girls you met, and about a 
feather bed — ^got 'em all mixed up. Had a ter- 
rible cough, too. He's in bed now." 

H 



^ 



AN ARCTIC ADTENTVBE 

" I msh I could go back with you, but I will 
have to wait for that money — I need it," 

Frank returned alone after taking a good rest, 
and Ransom waited for news from home. 

Late in the afternoon of the next day it came. 
Cheerful, helpful letters from the dear onea in 
Michigan. The money order came too. 

Kenneth bought his supplies, and, after bid- 
ding hia friends good-hye, started out on the long 
journey. During his stay in Commerce the 
weather had softened, the frost had come out of 
the ground, and thick, sticky mud made walking 
difficult. The boy stepped out in lively fa^ion, 
in spite of the eighty-five pound pack he carried 
and the heavy rubber boots he wore. He for- 
got the weight and discomfort in his anxiety to 
get to the yacht and the sick friend aboard of 
her. 

It was four o'clock when he started, and he 
had not been on his way much over an hour be- 
fore the darkness fell, and ho had to pick his way 
warily. Of necessity he moved slowly, and the ; 
pack grew heavier with every stride. The ' 
sticky mud held on to his rubber boots so that 
his heels slipped up and down inside until they 
began to chafe and grow tender. An hour later 
he was still walking — more and more slowly un- 
der the weight of the pack, which seemed to have 
BO 



A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

acquired the weight of a house. Blisters had 
formed on his heels and were rapidly wearing off 
to raw flesh. 

When he hailed the " Gazelle '* at seven 
o'clock, after three hours of most agonizing 
trudging, he was very nearly exhausted and his 
heels were bleeding. The absolute necessity of 
reaching Arthur soon and of applying the Kttle 
knowledge he had of medicines, had kept him 
from going under, and had given him courage to 
go on his way. 

"Thank God, you've come!" was Clyde's 
greeting when he came to ferry Kenneth over. 

" How's Arthur? " was the skipper's first in- 
quiry. 

" Crazy; clean crazy, and awful sick." Clyde 
was clearly greatly worried. 

" Oh! I guess he'll come out all right." Ran- 
som saw that it was his play to put on a cheerful 
front and conceal the anxiety, the physical weari- 
ness and pain he felt. " You can't kill a Mor- 
row, you know." 

They stepped aboard, and the first thing the 
captain heard was his friend's incoherent mut- 
tering. 

Arthur lay tossing on his bunk in the chilly, 
musty cabin, half clothed and in very evident 
discomfort. His eyes were open, and it cut Ken- 



AK ARCTIC ADVENTURE 

nett to the quick to see that there was not a sign 
,of recognition in them. 

AH weariness and pain were forgotten in the 
work which followed to make the aick boy more 
comfortahle. Hot soups were prepared and fed 
to him. Ransom had luckily provided a medi- 
cine chest for just such an emergency, and now 
he drew on it6 resources wisely. 

It was midnight before Arthur was quieted 
and asleep. During the entire evening the 
three boys were as busy as they could be, cook- 
ing, heating water, cleaning up and setting 
things to rights. Then only could a council be 
held and the situation discussed in all its bear- 
ings. 

" "Well, Doc," said Frank, smiling wanly, 
" what do you think is the matter with Art? " 

" I wish I was an M. D." No wish was more 
fervently spoken. " Oh ! Arthur has a bad cold, 
I think," Ransom began his diagnosis, " and 
his nerves are used up. Too much ice pounding 
and threatening, and not enough sleep." 

" What shall we do? " Clyde asked. " These 
are pretty small quarters to care for a sick man." 

" We'll spoil his rest cluttering round," sug- 
gested Frank. 

" Well, I think that if we put him ashore in a 
hospital he would miss us and the familiar things 
7 97 



» 



A IMAM a A YAWL 

mwDd; he wouid here notbing to tldnk of but 
ktniBel^ and he vonld worry \mnatM woEBe," 
'Sjeanedi ezprened hii eonTietioiis with em- 
phttUL 

^Bnt he would get better care,'' Frank ob- 
jeeted 

^Ohy I think we ean look oat tar him all 
the skipper interposed, ^ and I honestly 
that if he came to himflRlf in a hospital 
with strange people round, nnrses and thingSy he 
wonld think that he was terribly sick, and the 
thought of it might really do him up. If we 
keep him aboard — and I promise yon that I will 
norse him with all-fired care — (Kenneth spoke 
so earnestly that his friends were touched and 
reached forth hands of fellowship) — ^I think that 
when he comes to and finds himself with us and 
on the old ^Gazelle/ he will pull himself to- 
gether in great shape and brace up. As long as 
Arthur has his nerve with him, he's all right 
We have had a tough time of it, and he has lost 
his grip a bit; but I am dead sure that if we stick 
by him he will pull through all ri^t'' 

" It's all right, old man," Clyde said heartily. 
^ We are with you. Ain't we, Frank? " 

Frank said nothing, but got up and crossing 
the cabin took the skipper's right hand while 
Clyde took the left. The three gripped hard for 

98 



AJf ARCTIC ADVENTURE 

[ a second in Bilence. It was a compact to stand 
[ together through the trials that they knew were 
I coming. 

It was a etrange scene: the little cabin, dimly 
I lighted by the ewinging lamp; the sick boy ia 
the corner bunk forward on the starboard side 
lay breathing heavily, hia flushed face in deep 
shadow. The three boys aa£ on Kanaom's bunk 
in a row on the opposite side, the soft light 
ehining on their anxioua faces, their hands still 
I clasped. Outside the great river rushed, and 
\ the " Q-azelle " tugged at her moorings, the rud- 
' der slatted, the booms creaked against the maats 
and the rigging bummed an answer to each pass- 
ing gust. 

It was a time to try the temper of the young 
, Toyagers, and bravely they stood the test, 

"Well, what's the matter with turning in!" 
It was Kenneth's voice that broke the stillness. 

Not till Frank and Clyde had begun to snore 
had Kansom time to care for his aching heela. 
To pull off his boots was trying, but when he 
L came to take off his stockings he could hardly 
I anppresa a. cry of agony. The blood had clotted 
and stuck to the raw spot, and it felt as if he was 
pulling the nerves out by the roots. It was a 
long time before the burning pain allowed him to 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

At the first opportunity the voyage was oon- 
iinued; and it was with a feeling of relief almost 
amounting to hilarity that the line ashore was 
cast off, and the " Gazelle," her bowsprit point- 
ing down stream, got under way again. That 
treacherous place, fraught with so many perils, 
such weariness, pain, and amdety, was behind 
them at la^t. 

They were headed for the land of promise, the 
real " Sunny South." 

Even Arthur seemed to be less fretful, less 
exacting. Perhaps the swish of the water along 
the yacht's smooth sides was soothing, or maybe 
the heave of the little craft as she felt the pres- 
sure of the wind, comforted the sick boy. Cer- 
tainly, it had that effect on his more fortunate 
companions. 

When the " Gazelle " flew past the mouth of 
the Ohio River and anchored just below, the 
\ crew felt that they were really getting there. 
They visited Cairo, and though they were im- 
pressed with the advantage of its superior loca- 
tion at the junction of the two great rivers, they 
were glad that they did not live in its low-lying 
streets. 

At Columbus, Kentucky, the crew made the 
acquaintance of a physician and dentist, who 
travelled about the South in a private car. 

100 






^ 



AN ARCTIC AbVENTtlRE 

Though Kenneth felt that his diagnosis of Ai^ 
thur'a case was correct, he was mighty glad to 
have a physician confirm it. Arthur improved 
slowly — too slowly. He had a genuine case of 
nervous prostration. At times he was delirious, 
and then be lived over again all the horror of the 
yacht's long imprisonment in the drifting ice. 
The poor boy's malady made him esasperatingly 
irritable and hard to please, so that the cabin of 
the " Gazelle " was hy no means the cheery home 
it bad been. 

But the captain's cheerful fortitude and deter- 
mination to see the thing through in spite of 
hostile elements, scant means, sickness and utter 
ignorance of the stream, inspired the husy mem- 
bers of the crew so that they worked together in 
beautiful harmony. 

On the afternoon of Christmas Day the " Ga- 
zelle " drew abreast the front of Columbus, Ken- 
tucky, and while Frank and Clyde went ashore 
for mail, Kenneth stayeci aboard to look after 
the invalid mate and cook the Christmas dinner. 
As the fragrant odor of broiling game and steam- 
ing coffee rose, Kenneth thought of the far-away 
Michigan home; of Lis father, mother and rela- 
tives gathered round the ample, homely table; 
of the snatches of cheerful talk and gentle raU- 
leryj of the warmth and comfort and love. 
101 



■ ■ ■ ■ m^^mm^t^mmmam 



V 



% 



1 

^ 



A YEAH IN A VAWL 

" Say, Ken/* sounded a plaintive voice from 
the other side of the cabin, ^^ where are the bojst 
What are we waiting here for? Give me a 
drink, will you? '* 

It was a painful awakening, but Bansom sat- 
isfied Arthur's wants, soothed him, and braced 
himself with the determination that win he must 
and win he would in spite of all obstacles. 



lOd 



CHAPTER Vn 



I 



BAILINO WITH FKOZEN KIGQING 

From Columbus, Kentucky, to Memphis, Ten- 
nessee, as the crow flies ia, approximately, but 
one hundred and twenty-five miles, but by river 
it is two hundred and twenty-eight tortuous, puz- 
zling miles. This distance the " Gazelle " made 
in nine days, including delays caused by fog, ad- 
verse winds and extra careful sailing on account 
of the sick boy. 

The " Tather of Waters " the party found to 
be an absorbingly interesting stream. At every 
turn (and on an average there was a turn about 
every other minute, it seenied to them) they saw 
something new, something strange and interest- 
ing. As they cruised along, people told them of I 
river towns which the Mississippi had now left ' 
far inland as it had gradually formed a new chan- 
nel and straightened its course. Others told of 
farms which had contributed a third or even 
foiir-fif tha of their acreage in a single year to the 
midermining current of the stream; the land not 



A YMAR tlf A tAWL 

infrequently being added to another farm not 
far below. The changes in the stream played 
all sorts of pranks with the boundaries of States. 
A man living in Missouri might in a single night 
find his property switched over into Kentucky or 
Tennessee, the boundary line, the Mississippi 
having carved for itself a new channel and cut 
its way through a bend. 

After leaving Columbus, Kentucky, the ^ Ga- 
zelle " found herself on a straight piece of water 
with a strong wind on the starboard quarter. 
Eansom claimed that every point of sailing was 
the " Gazelle's '' best — running, reaching and 
beating to windward, all best — but, at any rate, 
she skimmed along this day like a bird. Ken- 
neth was at the stick, while Frank held the Mis- 
sissippi guide to watch out for beacons and chan- 
nel marks. For once all was clear, the channel 
straight and no dangerous shoals marked. It 
was a relief to strike such a good piece of river. 
The air was bracingly cold, and all three of the 
boys felt exhilarated. 

"How is it down below. Art?" Frank in- 
quired cheerfully. " How is it with the ' land- 
lubber lying down below, below '? " 

" I'm below, all right." The voice was weak 
but vehement. " Still, I object to being called 
a land-lubber. I'll show you fellows one of 

104 






SAILING WITH FROZEN RIGGIKQ 

these days that I'm as good a sailor as any of 
you." 

" Art is getting touchy," said KennetH. 
" He'll be all right soon, I am willing to bet." 

"Will you look at that! " exclaimed Clyde, 
who had been gazing forward for some time, 
" Just wait until I get my gun." 

He pointed to a black object that was bobbing 
np and down in the brown flood. It looked like 
an animal swimming against the strong current. 
While Clyde went below. Hansom shifted his 
helm in order to get nearer, and before he 
realized it they were bearing down on the 
object at terrific speed. The yacht, going 
with the current, was making almost ten miles 
an hour. 

" Sheer off, for heaven's sake, Ken! " sang out 
Prank. "Quick! " Then as the yacht yawed 
to starboard she passed the black thing which had 
excited Clyde's hunting instincts. 

"Gee! you ought to know a 'sawyer' when 
you see it, by this tiVne." Frank's tone was full 
of superior disgust. 

" How did you find out what a sawyer was, 
ITr. Smarty? " Clyde was trying to conceal his 
gun behind him, and he looked foolish. " What 
is it, any way? I bet you don't know." 

"Don't I, Just! It's a piece of timber, one 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

end of whichy water-logged, sinks to the bottom 
and is partly buried; the current overcomes the 
buoyancy of the wood from time to time and 
causes the upper end to sink; this makes the 
motion like a man sawing wood — ^hence the 
name/' 

"Thanks, Professor." Clyde made a mock 
bow. " But all the samee, the captain himself 
didn't know what it was, and pretty near punched 
the boat's bottom full of holes." 

As they went southward the character of the 
country changed. The high, heavily timbered 
bluffs, often bold with jutting rocks, so character- 
istic of the upper river, began to give way to 
more easy slopes. The stream broadened and 
the level rose higher each day. Often, as the 
" Gazelle " sped along, a river steamer was met 
ploughing along up the great stream. Her long 
gangways raised up before her like horns (long 
gangways made necessary by the gently sloping 
banks and absence of docks); her tall stacks, side 
by side, running athwartships, bore between 
them the insignia of the line, an anchor or a 
wheel. The stacks ended in a fancy top, 
which Kansom said reminded him of pictures of 
the trimming the little girls of long ago wore 
round the end of their pantalettes. The river 
boats are very shallow, and very wide for their 

toe 






BAILIVQ WITH FROZEN RIGOINQ 

length, but in apite of tlieir unboatUke appear- 
ance and their great thrasbing wheels, they make 
good time. Sometimea a speed of fifteen milea 
an hour against the current, and twenty-five with 
the stream, is attained. 

Kenneth congratulated himself repeatedly 
that he had started on this trip, for he realized 
that in no other way could he have gained so 
much information about shipping. 

They stopped several days at Memphis, partly 
to give Arthur a quiet rest, partly because the 
weather conditions were against them. 

At the levee a mmiber of boats were nosing 
the bank, their long gangplanks outstretched be- 
fore them hke great arms. A constant stream of 
roustabouts trundling bales of cotton, rolling bar- 
rels, lugging boxes, went up the gangways. The 
mate stood near at hand, in a conspicuous spot, 
where he could see and be seen, and so belabored 
the toiling men with torrents of words, that it 
seemed as if he was the motive power of the en- 
tire procession. The negroes seemed not to no- 
tice him at all, but moved along at a steady, 
rhythmical gait. 

Frank and Clyde stood watching. They mar- 
velled at the amount of stuff carried ahoard. " I 
bet they work the same racket that the spec- 
tacular shows employ," Clyde said after a while. 
107 



A YMR Ilf A YAWL 

'* If you look aft there somewhere, you would 
see the same niggers carrying the same bundles 
and things ashore again." 

" Oh, come oflf ! " exclaimed the other. 

" Yes, sure; they form an endless chain." 

Frank vouchsafed him no further reply, but 
suggested that they try to get on board and see 
for themselves. 

" Can we come aboard? " Frank shouted to the 
mate when he stopped to take breath. 

" I reckon you can," was the answer. " Look 
out, you yellow-livered son of a bale of cotton! 
Do you want to knock the young gentlemen over- 
board?" 

The two boys got on deck and out of range of 
the mate*s rapid fire of invective as soon as they 
could. As luck would have it, they ran up 
against a pilot the first thing, to whom they told 
something of their trip. This the boys f oimd, as 
usual, to be an open sesame, and their newly dis- 
covered friend showed them over the steamboat, 
and pumped them for stories about their trip. 
From the hold, which was har(Jly seven feet 
deep, to the hurricane deck and the pilot house 
they went. The wheel house reached, the pilot 
was in his own domain, and he made them sit 
down while he pumped them dry. He marvelled 
that a boat of the "Gazelle's" draught could 

108 



8A.TUS0 WITH FROZEN RIGGING 

come through at this stage of the water, with 
only sails for motive power. 

Prom the great brass-bound steering wheel 
to the tall boilers, which could not find room in 
the hold, and showed half their circumference 
above the first deck, the boat was full of interest 
to the young voyagers. 

" Jiminy! what a lot she carries," Clyde ex- 
elairaed, as he noticed the pile of cotton bales, 
boxes and barrels which was rapidly growing, 
till it seemed as if it would fill the boat from her 
bhmt bow to stem post. 

" She'll carry a thousand tons without turning 
a hair," said the pilot calmly, as he shook their 
hands. " Tell your captain to come aboard if he 
cares to." 

Kansom did " care to," and he went over the 
craft from keel to flagstaff; noticed her construc- 
tion, and marvelled at her shallownesa — it was 
part of his business as well as his pleasure, and 
he wondered how the steamboat mate's talk 
would sound if the oaths were left out. Ho im- 
agined it would simply be intermittent silence. 

In describing it afterwards, he said that the 
mate's language was like a rapid-fire gun with a 
plentiful supply of blank ammunition. 

Arthur improved rapidly, and by the time 
they had explored Memphis — visited its fine 



ime i 
old\. 



A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

Southern mansions, the busy cotton market, and 
hobnobbed with the steamboat people — ^he 
seemed much more like his old self, though his 
painful thinness and weakness showed how seri- 
ously ill he had been. 

After staying at Memphis for ten days, the 
" Gazelle '' spread her sails, and slipped down the 
river on her way to the sea. 

At Peters, Arkansas, the boys spied a cabin 
boat tied up in a little cove, and there was a big 
" 26 '' painted on its side. 

" Well, this is luck! " said Kenneth. " There 
are the chaps we saw above Philadelphia Point. 
Hail them, Frank." 

^'Hulloo, twenty-six!" Frank's shout rang 
out in the frosty air. " Is the boss in? " 

A head appeared at the door of the cabin. 
" The boss is in, who wants to see him? " it said. 

The " Gazelle " rounded to, and tied up to the 
bank a little below the cabin boat. As soon as 
the sails were furled, and everything made ship- 
shape, all four boys visited their friends, and 
for the greater part of a week spent most of their 
time aboard the roomy, warm house boat. Ar- 
thur improved wonderfully, and all hands began 
to gain weight and grow fat on the game which 
they shot. 

The crew of the " Gazelle " were almost won 

110 



SAJLINO WITS FROZEN EIOGINQ 

over from the more atrenuous life of sailing, to 
the free and easy cabin-boat life, which is the 
nearest approach to tramping that a dweller on 
the water can come to. All along the river the 
I boys saw cabin boats drifting alowly along down 
I stream, or tied up in the shelter of little coves 
near some town. Boats of varying degreea of re- 
spectability composed this fleet. Boats well 
tuilt, clean and always brightly painted, homes 
of fairly proaperoua families, whose head worked 
on shore while the home was afloat, in such man- 
ner saving rent and taxes. Boats built of bits 
of timber, boards, and rusty tin, shanties afloat, 
the temporary homes of the lowest order of river 
people. Theatres, dance halls, dives of various 
sorts, churches, stores — all had their representa- 
tives on the mighty stream. A great host of no- 
madic people that followed the heat to lower 
river in winter, and ran up stream from it in sum- 
mer. 

Hany of the river people were like the dwell- 
ers of No. 26, merely temporary members of the 
river community, who took this method of seeing 
the river, and resting from the stress of business. 
It was with a feeling of regret that the boys 
at last took leave of their hosts and went aboard 
their thoroughly cleaned and freshened yacht. 
AH hoped that the " good-by " they shouted 

m 



A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

over the fast widening strip of water would prove 
after all to be only " au revoir." 

*' There's no use talking, boys," the skipper 
said gravely, " we've just got to hump ourselves 
and get south, where it's warm, so that we won't 
have to bum so much oil. It's simply ruinous." 

" All right; if you keep healthy, Art, and we 
don't run aground, and the boat don't get holes 
punched in her with the ice," Clyde remarked, 
" we may see New Orleans before the glorious 
Fourth." 

*' It's no joke, Clyde," said Ransom. " I'm al- 
most busted, and I won't have enough to carry 
me through the Gulf if we don't hurry." 

'' like the old coon who hurried up to finish 
his job before his whitewash gave out," laughed 
Frank. 

But in spite of good resolutions and ardent 
hopes, progress was slow. Head winds sprang up, 
dense fog shut down, obscuring channel marks, 
even snow fell — the weather was certainly 
against them. 

" The ^ Sunny South,' " Ransom quoted scorn- 
fully one morning when he put his head out of 
the companionway and got a block of snow down 
his neck. " They have a funny brand of sun 
down here." Yet as he looked shoreward, his 
eye rested on an old Southern mansion. Fluted 

113 



SAILING WITH FROZEN RlQQlSa 

colunina supported its double portico, wide- 
Bpreading trees from which hung in festoons the 
(to Northern eyes) weird Spanish moss, clustered 
thickly around it; beyond were cotton fields, the 
■whitenes3 of the blossoms riyalling the freshly 
fallen snow. 

" Say, fellows, pinch me, will you? " Kenneth 
shouted down to his friends. " I've got a bad 
dream, I guess, AU bands on deck to shovel 
snow." Kenneth's shout was very fierce. Frank 
appeared with a broom, Clyde with a dual pan, 
and Arthur brought a scrubbing brush. 

"Pipe sweepers, mate," commanded the cap- 
tain. 

Arthur's whistle was a failure, for the simple 
reason that one cannot pucker the mouth to 
■whistle and laugh at the same time, but the crew 
understood, and all hands turned to and swept 
the decks free of snow, 

"Pipe breakfast," was the next order. This 
was not necessary, however; all four boys tried to 
get through the two-foot mde companionway at 
once, and all four stuck wliile the tantalizing odor 
of steaming coffee filled their nostrils. Clyde 
fell out of the bunch to the cabin floor, which re- 
lieved the jam, and gave the others a chance. 

At Vickaburg the boys tied up for four days, 
, and visited the hone of contention between the 
8 113 



A IBAB IS A YAWL 

North and the South so many years ago. They 
found many reminderB of the great siege — earth- 
works still plainly visible, the old stone bouse 
where Grant and Pemberton met to arrange for 
the surrender of the town. Most impressive of 
all was the great national cemetery-— a great city 
of the dead. Then the boys realized as they 
never could by any other means the terrible 
struggle, the bravery shown on both sides, and 
the despair of the besieged as they were hemmed 
in more and more closely by the Union lines, 
while their ammunition gave out and the food 
grew scarce. The travellers found that the war 
was still the chief topic of conversation in tbe 
South, and they got a point of view new to them. 
Events were still dated on the " time of the war," 
so it seemed as if tbe great conflict had taken 
place but a few years ago. There was a new 
topic, however, that the Northern boys could talk 
about without the least danger of giving offence. 
In the war with Spain, the sons of the Union and 
the Confederate soldier fought side by side, and 
the people on both sides of Mason and Dixon's 
line were equally proud of their achievements. 
As the " Gazelle " got under way and sailed 
down stream, tbe boys looked back at the heights, 
while their thoughts carried them back to the 
time when Porter's fleets lay at anchor iu about 



I 



SAILING WITH FROZEN BiaOfSG 

le same position and waited for l^e etorm of iron 
from the guns mounted there to ceaae. But the 
wind was blowing half a gale, and their attention 
was called back with a jar from the past to the 
very practiftal present. The stream was now very 
full, and there was little danger of nmning 
aground, so Kenneth determined to sail in spite 
of the freshening wind and the steady drizzle 
that froze as it fell. It was Arthur's turn at the 
fltick, but it was just the kind of weather to hurt 
one weakened by illness, so Kenneth took his 
place, and sailed the boat. The wind a little 
abaft the beam (another of the best points of sail- 
ing, according to Ransom), the little boat sped 
on, racing, seemingly, with the billows the gale 
kicked up. 

The other three boys stayed below in comfort, 
while the captain, wrapped in a big ulster and 
crowned with a yellow sou'weeter, keld the tiller, 
and looked the part of the weather-beaten mar- 
iner down to the ground. 

The wind waa steady and very strong, so that 
the yacht keeled over before it, and almost buried 
her lee rail under; the sails rounded out to the 
blast, and as the rain froze on them, the rigging, 
the spars and the deck, she looked like a great 
candied boat, such as the confectioners like to 
display in their store windows. It was exhila- 
115 



I 



A. TEAR IN A YAWL 



rating, this flying along in the wintry air, but the 
frozen rigging and stiffened sheets made sailing 
difficult and dangerous. It would be impossible 
to reef, and difficult to lower the canvas under 
these conditions. #. 

With eyes alert, and ready hand on tiller, Ken- 
neth watched for snags, for reefs or for sand 
bars, while the cold rain dashed into his face in 
spite of the close-drawn sou'wester. Mile after 
mile the good craft sped on — swift, sure and 
steady. Past islands low lying and gray in the 
mist, past forests of cypress, white and glistening 
with frost, the gray moss hanging from the 
branches sleet covered and crackling in the wind. 
It was a run to remember, a run that stimulated, 
yet at the same time left the steersman surpris- 
ingly tired, as Kansom found when he tried to 
work his stiffened limbs and help furl the can- 
vas. 

" I wish that this sail had a few hinges," Frank 
complained, as he thumped it in a vain endeavor 
to roll it up compactly. ^^ Might as well try to 
roll up a piece of plank." 

It took over an hour to get things stowed prop- 
erly that under ordinary circimistances could 
have been disposed of in fifteen minutes; and 
though the captain firmly intended to write up 
his log that night, it was only by the exercise of 

116 



/ 



HAILIlfO WITH FROZE}' RIQOI^<t 

\a good deal of will power that he kept awake 

Itill supper was over. 

The following day the " Gazelle " lay close to 

Itbe levees of Natchez, having covered the dis- 

I tance of ninety-three miles in less than a day and 
Hhalf. 
Thia old town the boys thought the most beau- 

t tiful that they had seen. The stately old man- 

L Bona were surrounded by gardens, and trees grew 

I Bveiywliere. 

The town crowned the last of the heights of 

^the Mississippi, and the view from the bluff ia 

' one of the finest anywhere along the river. Be- 
fore starting on the cruise the boys had read 
about the places they were likely to visit, and 
they recalled that Natchez was one of the earliest 
settlements on the river. They remembered, too, 
that the Natchez Indians, perhaps the most in- 
telligent of their race, were one of the ten first 
tribes to run foul of the white man's civilization. 
Swift and sure pacification, by means of the 
sword, was their lot. 

" Natchez under the hill," aa the cluster of 

^ bouses occupying the narrow strip of land be- 
tween the river and the steep slope is called, was 
as unattractive and foul as Natchez proper waa 
beautiful and wholesome. Not many years ago 

[ it bore the reputation of being one of the hardest 






A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

their ears. The hum of the rigging, the slap of 
the waves against the sides, the quick snap-snap 
of the tight drawn halliards against the masts — 
all contributed to the mighty chorus in honor of 
the gale. 

Of a sudden there was a heavy thud and then 
a sliding sound — a sound different from all the 
other voices of the storm. 

"What was that?'' It was hard to tell 
whether it was one voice or four that uttered the 
words. The boys sprang to their feet, and stood 
for a brief moment listening. 



190 



I 



CHAPTER Vin 



TI0T8T0EMOFF "STJSNT" BATON EOUGB 

On tlie alert but motionless, tiie four boya 
waited for a repetition of the strange noise, won- 
dering what it meant. The wind still shrieked; 
all the pandemonium of sound continued, but the 
queer sound was not repeated, neither was the 
unusual jar, 

Kenneth was the first to move. He jumped 
to the conipanionway, and pushed at the hinged 
doors leading on deck, but they did not move. 
Glued with the frost, they refused to open. He 
put hia shoulder against them, and pushed with 
all his might. The expected happened — the 
doors opened suddenly, and Kenneth found him- 
self sprawling on the floor of the cockpit. He 
skinned his shin on the brass-bound step of the 
companionway ladder, and his funny bone ' 
tingled from a blow it got on the deck. The 
boy tried to rise to his feet, but a sudden swing of ■ 
the boat made him slip on the icy boards and fall , 
swiftly down again. From his prone position, he 
HI 



A TEAM tW A YAWL 



It^ked xrfmoA kim. The I^ir ccRniiig vp 
throti^ tKe open compmiociwaj gleazned jellow 
tm, the ice<!oated7 ^[«eniiig bocKzi^ and the foiled 
waSL propped up in the cioteh. As Sansom^s ejes 
heeame acca^oined to the dadneas, he saw what 
it wad that had ^artled them aH "^ His ^Nlbe," 
haaled up on the narrow strip of deck aft of the 
mdder poet, had slipped when the ** Gazelle" 
had made a sodden plunge, and sliding on the icj 
rail had thumped into the cockpit. Perfectly 
safe, but ludicrously out of place, the little boat 
looked like a big St. Bernard in a lady's lap. 

^Look! '' the prostrate captain called to his 
friends. " * His Xibs ' was getting lonesome and 
was coming down into the cabin for the sake of 
sociability/' 

The other three crawled on deck, having 
learned caution through the skipper's mishap, 
and crouched in the wet, slippery cockpit while 
they looked aroimd. 

The gale, still increasing rather than abating, 
was raising tremendous seas. The " Gazelle " 
rolled, her rails under at times, and her bowsprit 
jabbed the white-capped waves. 

'^ 1 am going forward to see if the anchors are 
O. K/' Kenneth spoke loudly enough, but the 
wind Hiiatched tlie words from his mouth and the 
boys did not hear what he said. 

m 



Ay tC'St STORM OFP *'StJNNT*' BATON ROVO^ 

Kansom managed to get on his feet, and, 
grasping the beading of the cabin, he pulled him- 
self erect. A quick lurch almost threw him 
overboard, but he reached up and grabbed the 
boom overhead just in time. Holding on to this 
with both arms, he slowly worked himself for- 
ward. 

The other boys, crouching in the cockpit, won- 
dered what he was up to. They watched his 
dim figure crawling painfully along, a^d once 
their hearts came into their throats as, his feet 
sKpping from under him, he hung for an instant 
from the icy boom almost directly over the rag- 
ing river. The Kght streaming from the cabin 
shone into their strained, anxious faces and 
blinded them so that they could hardly see the 
figure of " Ken," on whom they had learned to 
rely. At last he disappeared altogether behind 
the mast and was swallowed up in the blackness. 

"Ken! Comeback! Comeback!" Arthur, 
who was still weak, could not stand the strain; he 
could not bear to think of what might happen to 
his friend. 

The wind shrieked in derision — so, at least, it 
seemed to the anxious boy — ^the elements com- 
bined to drown his voice. The gale howled on; 
the rain froze as it fell, and the waves dashed at 
the boys like fierce dogs foaming at the mouth. 

133 



/ 



1 



A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

Frank, at last feeling that he must know what 
had become of Bansom, sprang up, and grasping 
the icy spar, crept forward. Many times he lost 
his foothold, but always managed somehow to 
catch himself in time. Slipping and sliding, 
fighting the gale, he reached the mast. The 
journey was one of only twenty feet, but the gale 
was so fierce and the exertion of keeping his foot- 
ing so great that he arrived at the end of it out 
of breath and almost e^austed. It was inky 
black, and only with difficulty could he distin- 
guish the familiar objects on the forecastle — ^the 
bitts, and the two rigid anchor cables leading 
from it. Lying across them was Kenneth, 
gripping one, while the yacht's bow rose and 
fell, dashing the spray clear over his prostrate 
figure. 

"What's the matter, Ken?" Frank shouted, 
so as to be heard above the wind. " Are you 
hurt? Brace up, old man! '' 

The other did not speak for a minute; then he 
answered in a strained voice: " Give me a hand, 
old chap, will you? Fve hurt my foot — 
wrenched it, I guess; pains like blazes." 

That he was pretty badly hurt, Frank guessed 
by the way in which he drew in his breath, as he 
shifted his position. 

" Got a go<5d hold there, Frank? Grab those 

124 



^ 



lis" lOY STORM OFF -SUNNY" BATON ROVGE 

iliards. It's terrible slippery — Oucbl Easy, 
:now." 

It was a difficult job tbat Frank had in hand. 
The ice-covered decks could not be depended 
on at ail; if the boys began to slide, they would 
slip right off the sloping cabin roof into the 
water; the boat was jumping on the choppy seas 
like a bucking horse, and the wind blew with 
turricane force. Kenneth could help himself 
iardly at all, and Frank struggled with him till 
the sweat stood out on his brow in great beads. 
At last botb got over the entangling anchor 
cables, and breathing hard, hugged the stick as 
if their lives depended on it, which came very 
near being the ease. 

" You — had — better — leave — me — - here — 
old^ — - chap," panted Kenneth. " My — ankle — 
hurts — Hke — tbe — old — Harry. Can't— 
travel — much." 

" What did you do to it? " 

" Got — caught — - under — - cleat — on — the 
; — of — tbe — bowsprit." 
Gee I that's tough! " sympathized Frank. 

" Gave it a terrible wrench. Regular monkey 
wrench." It was a grim situation to joke 
about. 

"Leave you here? " said Frank, coming back 

to Ken's suggestion. "I guess not! What do 

135 



X TEAR IN A 7AWL 

you take me for, anyway? I know how to work 
it, all right. You hang on to the mast a min- 
ute." 

Releasing his grip on Ransom, Chauvet 
picked up the end of the peak halliard coiled at 
his feet, and with great difficulty straightened 
out its frozen turns, for he had but one free 
hand — ^he could not release his hold on the sail- 
hoop that he grasped for an instant. Taking the 
stiff Une, he passed it around his body and then 
around the boom. Holding on by his legs 
to the mast, he worked away at the frozen line 
imtil he had knotted the end to the main part — 
made a bowline. The loop was around his 
waist and the boom. 

"Now, Ken, we're all right — ^I have lashed 
myself to this spar, and my hands are free. I'll 
yell to Clyde," and suiting the action to the word 
he shouted aft. 

Ransom hung on to the line about Frank's 
waist, while Frank half held, haK supported him. 
Slowly they moved along, stumbling, often 
swinging with the boat, till the rope cut into 
Chauvet's body cruelly. It was exhausting work. 

Soon Clyde came stumbling, slipping and 
fighting forward against the gale, and in a min- 
ute was helping Frank to support the gritty cap- 
tain. 

m 



AN IC7 STORM OFF "SVyNY" BATON SOUGB 

It was a tiankful group that dropped into tlie 
warm, bright cabin- — dripping wet and numbed 
with cold, out of breath, well-nigh exhausted, 
but thankful to the heart's core. 

Arthur cut the shoe from Ransom's Bwelling 
ankle, and then bound it tightly with a cloth 
saturated with witch hazel. 

" Chasing anchors on atormj nights seems to 
be fatal for me," Kenneth remarked, aa he lay 
on his bunk regarding his bandaged foot. " I'll 
give you fellows a chance next time — I don't 
■want to he piggish about it." 

Presently the cabin light was turned down and 
all hands got into their bertha. Not a tongue 
moved, but braina were active; not an eyelid 
felt heavy, but the boys reaolutely kept them 
closed. The atorm raged on; gust aueceeded 
gust, the rain beat down on the thin cabin 
roof with increasing fierceness. It was a try- 
ing night, and each of the four boys was glad 
enough to see the gray light come stealing in 
through the frosted port lights. They had 
all thought that they would never see day- 
light again, though each had kept his fears to J 
himself. 

The wind still roared and the rain poured } 
down, t)nt the yacht tossed and rolled less vio- 
lently; her movements were slower and sluggish, 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

qidte unlike those of the usually sprightly, light 
" Gazelle." 

"Sea must have gone down," commented 
Clyde, in a casual way, as he noted that the others 
were awake. " Queer, wind's blowing great 
guns, too." 

Kenneth sat up suddenly and bumped his head 
on the deck beam above. This made him wince, 
and he drew his game foot suddenly against the 
boat's side. Kenneth made so wry a face that 
his friends could not help laughing outright-— 
an honest laugh, in spite of the sympathy they 
felt. 

"Both ends at once." The captain tried to 
rub his head and his ankle at the same moment, 
and found it a good deal of a stretch. 

" There is a new bar to be charted here." His 
finger went gingerly round the bump on his fore- 
head. 

" Frank, go on deck, will you, and see if things 
are moderating. I'd like to get into some cove 
or another." 

Chauvet made his way to the ladder and 
shoved the doors with all his might; but it was 
only after repeated blows with a heavy rope fen- 
der that tbey opened. 

"Great Scott!" he shouted. "Look here. 
Ice! Why, there's no boat left — it's all ice! 

128 



AH ICT STORM OFF "SDyNY" BATON RODGB 

Well, I'll be switched — why, we'll have to chop 
lier out, or she'll sink with the weight of it — 
she'a down by the head now." 

Fresh exclamations of amazement followed as 
each "head appeared in turn from below. It was 
true. The yacht was literally covered with iee, 
from one to six inches thick at the bow, where 
the apray combined with the rain to add to the 
layers of white coating. The sluggiah move- 
ment of the vessel was explained — the weight of 
the ice burdened her. Here was a pleasing con- 
dition of things. 

The boys snatched a hasty breakfast, and tak- 
ing hatchets, hammers — anything with a sharp 
, edge — they attacked the ice. Even Eansom in- 
sisted upon taking a hand. The boat was very 
beautiful in her glassy coating. The rigging, 
fringed with icicles, and the cold, gray light 
shining on the polished surface, made it loot like 
a dull jewel. The boys, however, saw nothing 
of the beautiful side of it. There was a mighty 
]ob before them; a cold, hard, dangerous job, and 
they went at it as they had done with all the pre- 
vious difficulties which they had encountered — 
■with courage and energy. 

Golder and colder it grew, until the thermome- 
ter registered five degrees below zero. The yacht 
still rolled and pitched so that the boys found it 



I 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

" We can't hold a service aboard," he said to 
Ardiur, who appeared on deck about the same 
time. " But let's dress ship for a thanksgiving 
offering." 

AU four agreed with alacrity, and for the next 
hour scarcely a word was spoken except as one 
fellow sung out, " Where is that swab? " or an- 
other, " Who's got the bath-brick? " Hardly a 
day passed (except when the boat was in actual 
danger) that the " Gazelle " did not get a thor- 
ough cleaning — ^brasses shined, decks scrubbed, 
cabin scoured, bedding aired, dishes well washed 
and even the dishcloth cleaned and spread to dry. 
But this was a special day, and the yacht was as 
sweet within as soap and water, elbow grease and 
determined wills could make her. The crown- 
ing of the work came when the " Gazelle " was 
decked in her colors; the flags spelling her name 
in the international code fluttering in the breeze, 
and above all Old Glory — surely a splendid em- 
blem of what these youngsters gallantly typified, 
American perseverance, pluck and enterprise. 
It was a proud crew that lined up on lie bank to 
admire their achievement, and their hearts were 
filled with gratitude to Providence that they had 
been brought through so many dangers safely. 

" Kin I hab one of dese yer flags? " Some one 
pulled at Kenneth's sleeve, and he looked down 

US? 



AN 107 STOBM OFF -'iiUliNY" BATON BOVQB 

into & small, black, kinky-hair framed face. It 
was a little pickaninny, scantily clad and shiver- 
ing in the keen air. 

" What do you want it for? " 

Embarrassment showed on every shining fea- 
ture of the little face. 

" Fob — fob a crazy quilt," she managed to say 
at last. 

Kansom could not spare one of hia flags, but be 
dug into a locker and pulled out a piece of red 
flannel (a token of bis mother's thoughtfulneas) 
which pleased the black youngster almost as 
much. The visits of the darky population were 
frequent that day, and the many requests for 
" one of doze flags " suggested the thought that 
the first black youngster bad spread the newa 
that the ship's company could be worked. 

Two days later the ice had almost disappeared 
and the " Gazelle " left her snug berth for the 
last stretch of her ]*ourney to the Crescent City. 
The delay seemed to add to the yacht's eagemesa 
to be gone, for she sped on her way like a horse 
on its first gallop after a winter in the stable. 

On, on she flew, drawing nearer to her goal, 
scarred from contact with ice, snags and sand- 
bars, but still unhurt, triumphant. Surely the 
sun was rewarding their persistence; for he no 
longer hid his face from them, but shone out in 



all mellowness and geniality. Their worvies fled 
at his warm touchy and their hearts sang his 
praises. 

The " Gazelle " seemed glad as she forged 
ahead^ as if to say, " Hurrah ! I have conquered, 
I have stood old Mississippi's bumps and jars! 
All these are of the past, and now for Old 
Ocean! " 

Light after light was passed and marked off on 
the list, and soon the last one shone out. It had 
no name, so as they lustily gave three cheers for 
the last of the little beacons which had so long 
been their guides and dubbed it " Omega," the 
" Gazelle " sped on with only the smoke of the 
great cotton market as a guide. New Orleans 
was in sight. 

The pillars of smoke — the smoke of the city 
of their dreams — ^led them on. They could 
hardly realize that that dim cloud, that dark 
streak in the distance was really the city which 
they had striven so hard to reach. 

A feeling of great satisfaction came over them 
as the " Gazelle " responded to the tiller, which 
was thrown hard down, and headed into the wind. 
A few flaps of the sails in the evening breeze, the 
sudden splash of the anchor forward, followed 
by the swir of the cable as it ran through the 
chocks, and the creaking pulleys as the sails were 

184 



A.N IC7 STORM OFF ••SUN};¥" HATON ROVGB 

lowered, was the music in honor of the " Ga- 
zelle's " successful voyage from far away Michi- 
gan to New Orleans. 

The trip of one thousand eight hundred milea 
had been full of incident and aomo satisfaction, 
purchased, however, at the price of severe toil 
and many hardships, with a decided preponder- 
ance of troubles over pleasures. Sickness had 
Tisited the crew at a time when their location 
made medical aid impossible; the most severe 
! winter recorded, accompanied with the ice packs 
and low stages of water, made it seem many times 
as if all hands were indeed candidates for admis- 
sion into the realms of " Davy Jones's locker." 
But all this was now of the past; for here was the 
" Gazelle " anchored in a snug cove in the out- 
skirts of the Southern metropolis safe and sound, 
the captain and crew strong, well, happy, and in 
all ways improved by their struggles. 

The sun was still two hours high when Ken- 
; neth and Frank rowed ashore in " His Niba " and 
I scrambled up the steep side of the high levee 
which protects the city from inundation. 

As they looked back on the " Gazelle " ho 
peacefully riding at her anchorage, they felt like 
giving three lusty cheers for their floating home. 
Beyond the yacht and moored at the docks were 
two immense ocean-going steamships, while a 



A YEAR IN A tAWL 

short distance up the river was a full-rigged ship 
with loosened canvas falling in graceful folds 
from the yards. The scene was a pleasing one^ 
and the two hoys drank it in with all their eyes; 
they loved the sea, and these monster boats had 
a peculiar charm for them. But the " clang, 
clang *' of a bell suddenly awakened them from 
their reverie, and they started in all haste to get 
down town for the maU they knew must be wait- 
ing. 

The anchorage was at CarroUton, one of the 
suburbs of New Orleans, so the boys had a splen- 
did opportunity of seeing the city on their long 
trolley-car journey to the main Post Office. The 
batch of mail that was handed out to them glad- 
dened their hearts, and it took considerable reso- 
lution to refrain from camping right out on the 
Post Office steps and reading their letters. They 
remembered, however, their promise to Arthur 
and Clyde to bring back with them the where- 
withal to make a feast in honor of their safe 
arrival in the Crescent City. 

" Gee! Fd like to know what's in those let- 
ters." Frank gazed at them longingly as they 
walked along. "Look at the fatness of that, 
will you? " 

"I've got a fatness myself," retorted Ken- 
neth, holding a thick letter bearing several 

186 



r 
/ 



i..V IC7 STORM OFF - SUNXT - BATON BOUOE 

stamps. "We have just about time enough to 
buy some truck and get back. What do you aay 
to some oystera? " 

" That goes," was Frank's hearty endorse- 
ment. 

Oysters were cheap, they found, so they 
bought a goodly supply, and for want of a better 
carrier put them in a stout paper bag. 

The two boys started out bravely, with the bag 
of oysters between them, each carrying a bundle 
of papers and mail under their arms. They saw 
many things that interested them — quaint old 
buildings with balconies and twisted ironwork, 
and Duraberg of picturesque, dark-skinned peo- 
ple wearing bright colors wherever it was poa- 
fiible. 

Frank and Kenneth were so interested in 
watching what was going on about them — the 
people, the buildinp, and all the hundred and 
one things that would interest a Northern boy in 
a Southern city — that they forgot all about the 
load of oysters till they noticed that the people 
who met and passed them were smiling broadly, j 

" Have I got a smudge on my nose, Frank? " 
asked Kenneth, trying vainly to squint down that 
member. 

" No. Have I? " Frank's answer and ques- 
tion came in the same breath. 

m 



i. TEAR IN A YAWL 

"Well, what in thunder are these people 
grin 

There was a soft tearing sound, and then a hol- 
low rattle. The boys looked down quickly and 
saw that the damp oysters had softened the paper 
so that the bag no longer held them, and they 
were falling, leaving a generous trail behind 
them. 

Frank and Kenneth scratched their heads; 
there were no shops near at hand, the bag was no 
earthly use, they were a long way from the an- 
chorage, and the oysters were much too precious 
to be abandoned. 

" What's the matter with tying up the sleeves 
of this old coat and making a bag of it? " Frank's 
inventive brain was beginning to work. 

" That's all right, if you don't object," was the 
reply. 

An hour later two boys, one of them in his 
shirt sleeves, came stumbling along in the dusk 
toward the levee near which the " Gazelle " was 
anchored. 

" ^ Gazelle ' ahoy! " they hailed. " Have you 
got room for a bunch of oysters and a couple of 
appetites? " 

Evidently there was plenty of room, for " His 
Nibs " came rushing across to take all three over, 
the " bunch of oysters " and the " two appetites " 

199 



Ay ICY BTOiCM OFP "SUNNT" BATON ROtJQB 

to the yacht, where they found two more appe- 
tites eagerly waiting their coming. 

Hansom and his friends had planned to stay 
but ten days in New Orleans; just time enough to 
put in a new mast and refit generally for the long 
eea voyage before them. Their good intentions, 
however, were balked at every turn. The par- 
ents of ail the boys, except Ransom's, besought 
them to return; made all sorts of inducements to 
persuade them to give up the trip; did every- 
thing, in fact, except actually command them, A 
death in Clyde's family made it imperative that 
he should go back, and it grieved the boys to have 
him leave. Clyde was as disappointed as any; 
and as he boarded the train to go North lie said 
" I'd give a farm to be coming instead of going." 

The crew was now reduced to three, and Ran- 
som feared that Clyde's return would influence 
the others and break up the cniise. 

The letters to Prank and Arthur grew more 
and more insistent, until one day Chauvet came 
to Ransom. " Ken," said he, " this is getting 
pretty serious. My people come as near saying 
that they'll disown me if I don't come back aa 
they can without actually writing the words. I 
want to go the rest of the way and play the whole 
game, and it would be a low down trick to leave 
you stranded here without a crew." 



\ 



A YEAR ixV A VAWL 

"Well," said Kenneth, as he sat down by 
Frank's side on the levee in the warm sunshine, 
"you'll have to do as you think best, but — ^I 
never told you that my father and mother offered 
me their house if I would give up the trip, did 

Frank opened his eyes at this. 

" No, I didn't, biit it's a fact; and when I told 
them that I didn't have to be paid to stay and 
would not go if they felt so strongly about it, 
they came right around and said, ' Go, and God 
bless you/ " 

Kenneth's eyes moistened a little as he harked 
back to the time, and a vivid picture of his far 
away Northern home arose before him. " Well, 
old chap," he continued, laying his hand on 
Frank's knee, " they have been with me heartily 
ever since, and I believe that your people would 
feel the same about you and be proud of your 
pluck, too." 
"^ The two looked each other in the eyes a min- 

ute — one fair, the other dark — ^utterly dissimilar 
in appearance, but both possessed of indomitable 
will and courage — ^then Frank's hand slowly 
sought that of his friend and gripped it hard. 

" Ken, I'm with you." 

" Good," was the other's only answer. 

Arthur's decision was soon made when he 

140 



1 iJV WY STORM OFF "SU.VJVr" BATON ROVGB 

I iound that Kenneth and Frank had determined 
j to put it through. The tliree were knit together 
I in a bond of fellowship hard to break. 

The equinoctial storms were raging through 

I tte Gulf at this period, and the hoys made good 

I use of the time to buy, shape, and put in place a. 

I new mainmast; to tighten up the rigging and 

I repaint the boat's sides, covering up the scars 

made ty the inhospitable river. " His Nibs " 

■waa also refitted, bo that the staunch little craft 

looked like new, and was much admired. The 

hoys rambled all over the old city, from the 

above-aurface, tomb-like cemetery, to the lively 

Creole quarter. Ransom visited many ships in 

port and studied the Knea and construction of 

ocean-going vessels, river craft and lugger fish- 

I ing boats. All sorts of craft congregated at this 

ft harbor for all kinds of purposes — for cotton, for 

r Bugar, for every sort of commodity, in fact, even 

down to mules. Eansom watched them all, 

went aboard some and talked with the mates and 

engineers. His intelligent questions won him 

courteous, thoughtful answers. He took notes, 

made sketches, and in every way possible took 

advantage of this opportunity to fit himself for 

his life's work. 

At last, on the first of May, 1899, the stormB 
having passed, the " Gazelle " being as fit and 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

trim as a boat could be, the crew bade good-by 
to the many friends they had made, cast off from 
their moorings and started for the salt sea. 

For two days they sailed through the delta of 
the Mississippi, and then entered that dangerous 
short cut to the Gulf, Cubit's Gap — ^a passage 
flanked on either side by shoals which even the 
" Gazelle " could not sail over. It was lined by 
tJie skeletons of wrecked vessels, and made the 
boys hesitate a little before taking the risk. 
But "nothing venture nothing gained," they 
thought, and a successful venture meant almost 
a hundred miles gained. 

The weather conditions were good and the 
vote was unanimous in favor of trying; so, on 
reaching the cut, the " Gazelle " turned to port 
and entered the dangerous channel. 

"Good-by, old Mississippi!" Kenneth said, 
half aloud. ^' We are ocean bound at last." 

It was all done very quickly, and never a feel- 
ing of reluctance came over them as they care- 
fully picked their way among the shoals of the 
pass. 

The run through the sand point, which the 
current of the river has forced out into the Gulf, 
was some six miles long. By careful sailing the 
" Gazelle " ran this distance without mishap; and 
then spread out before her was the great Gulf 

m 



AX ICT STORSt OFF "SVyNY" BATOH ROUGB 

of Mexico! Ahead for several miles was tlio 
shallow ahoal. Debris of every kind surrounded 
■theni. Everything was so lonesome. Not a sail 
in sight or anything to make them feel that the 
world was peopled. 

A flock of sea birds rose from the water, and, 
■with a pecuUar cry, flew far away as if fright- 
ened by a sight seldom seen, and for a moment 
made it seem as if they were " alone on a wide, 
wide sea." 

The sea was calm, bo, taking a sounding pole 
aboard " His Niba," Frank, with chart before 
him, measured the depth. The " Gazelle," under 
shortened sail, followed siowly in hia wake, often 
luffing quickly to avoid a bar, and surely, though 
slowly, winding her way. So intricate did the 
path become at times that it was necessary for 
them to east anchor and explore ahead for depths 
sufficient to float the yacht, but at last, just aa 
the sun waa sinking in the distant west, their la- 
bora were rewarded by success, for careful sail- 
ing and constant sounding were necessary, but at 
last the cheery cry of " No bottom," came from 
their pilot ahead, and in a few minutes the 
staunch "Gazelle" was gliding along on the 
long, rolling surface of the open Gulf, afloat at 
last on the great salt sea. 



J« 



CHAPTER IX 

Oir SALT WATEB AT LAST 

*^ Hurrah for the sea; the blue^ salt sea; the sea 
that we strove to reach! '' shouted Kenneth at 
the top of his voice. 

"Hurrah! " shouted the other two boys, and 
all three clasped hands and danced about in glee. 

" Isn't this worth working for? " inquired the 
captain, as he swept his hand round, tracing the 
horizon line. 

Off in the distance lay the Bird Islands, and 
still further the Breton Islands showed faint and 
hazy in the fast deepening dusk. The wind was 
a mere caressing zephyr, and the sea rolled in 
good-naturedly, soothingly, even. 

"What's the matter with this, boys? Let's 
anchor here. Heave the lead, Frank, and see 
if it's all right." 

Frank reached under the cockpit seat and took 
from its rack the lead and line. " Aye, aye, sir," 
he answered, in mock servility. Hooking his 
left arm round the port stays, he stood on the rail, 

144 



OjV 3ALT WATEB AT LAST 

the long strip of lead dangling from his right 
hand; the left hand held the coil of line. For a 
minute he stood poised there while the " Ga- 
zelle " curtseyed her acknowledgments to the 
long swelU, a picturesque figure silhouetted 
against the warm glow of the setting sun. Then 
he began to swing hia right arm slowly and stead- 
ily, the lead just clearing the water. "When it 
was swinging well forward he let it go, and as the 
line slipped through hia fingers he watched for 
the bits of colored cloth that indicated the depth. 
Down, down it went, until all but the leather 
strips had disappeared in the water. Then the 
line slackened, and the leadsman knew that bot- 
tom had been reached. Beginning to pull in 
the line Prank shouted, " Three fathoms! " 

" Stand byl Let go your anchor! " ordered 
Kenneth, as soon as Frank had reeled in the lead- 
line. 

"Let her go! " 

There was a splash, then a hum and swish of 
ieftvy rope as the anchor cable whipped through 
the chocks. 

"Let go your mizzen haliiardsl " The creak 
of the blocks told that the order had been 
obeyed. Arthur let the jigger go at the same 
time. For a few minutes not a word was spoken 
— all the mouths were full of cotton rope— 



10 



145 



JL YEAR IN A YAWL 

their fishermen friends; spuds, as the boys called 
the potatoes; coffee, bread, without butter, and 
a treasured pie, rather the worse for wear, but 
keenly relished for all that. What was left of 
the meal would not have satisfied a bird, and the 
diflh-wasliiiig that night was an easy job. 

All three of the boys felt that their f im was 
really only just beginning. The cruise down 
the Mississippi seemed like a nightmare as they 
looked back upon it. Cold, unending exertion, 
sickness and imminent danger, coupled with a 
necessity for great economy, had taken all the 
zest out of the enjoyment they might have had. 

Something has been said about Kansom's 
financial condition; the same thing was true of 
the other boys. Clyde and Arthur hoped and 
expected to make some money along the way to 
help pay expenses, as did Kenneth and Frank; 
but fortune was against them and they had to 
get along as best they could on the small sums 
they possessed. From St. Louis to New Orleans, 
taking in all expenses, including extra oil needed 
to keep from freezing, medicines and extra 
nourishing food for the invalid Arthur, the 
total cost per week per boy was a dollar and a 
half. 

It was no wonder, then, that the three 
thought that a happier time wa$ coming. Smil- 

149 



ON SALT WATER AT LAST 

ing, sunny skiea above them, clear, buoyant, salt 
water under them, a tried and true ship their 
home, and a ship's company that could be abso- 
lutely relied upon. What more was to be de- 
sired! 

The night was divided into four watches of 
four hours each, and Kenneth went on deck to 
take the first trick from eight to twelve. 

And so the young fresh- water sailors passed the 
first night on the briny deep, A peaceful, rest- 
ful, invigorating night, that marked the begin- 
ning of a new series of experiences. 

Arthur went on at midnight (eight bells), and 
Prank, in turn, relieved Arthur at four o'clock 
(eight bells of the morning watch). It was 
Frank, then, wlio put his head into the after 
hatch and roused " bII hands " at six o'clock, 
which Arthur and Kenneth called an unholy 
hour. 

"I wonder if there are any sharks around!" 
said Arthur, as he stood on the dew-wet deck 
looking overboard. "Gee! that water looks 
tempting. Here goesl " Almost with a single 
sweep of his hands he had pulled off his duck 
jumper and trousers, and the last words ended in 
a gurgle as he hit the water. 

" Beat you in," was Frank's only comment to 

Kenneth, who came on deck that minute. It 

149 




A TEAR IN A YAWL 

was a dead heat. As for sharks, the thought of 
them did not enter the beads of the three boys, 
aa they ducked and dove, splashed and swam, 
shouted and squealed, with pure delight. It 
would have upset the equilibrium of any self- 
respecting shark; at any rate, none made their 
appearance that day. 

It was a very airy costume that the crew wore 
that morning while they scrubbed down decks, 
coiled down tackle, cleaned out " His Niba," and 
put the little ship to rights generally. 

Kenneth and Arthur got the " Gazelle " un- 
der way, while Frank went below to get break- 
fast. The course was shaped for Biloxi, Missis- 
sippi, and the yacht settled down to the two days' 
run. The wind was fair and true, and the yacht, 
spreading out her wings, sped between the 
many islands that dotted the waters, and picked 
her way through the intricate channels daintily. 
They anchored off Barrell Key that night, and 
made the acquaintance of two fishermen — Aus- 
trians — ^wlioae lugger was anchored close by. 
The boys accepted their invitation to fish with 
them next morning, and while they did little 
more than contribute considerable looking on, 
they got a good mess of fish. These Trank 
Bpeedily turned into an Appetizing breakfast, the 
incense from which was still rising when the 



ON SALT WATER AT LAST 

boys bid their fishermen friends good-by. In 
a very short time the mast of the lugger had 
dwindled to a matehstick, and the swift, rakish 
little hull disappeared below the horizon. 

It was juat dark enough to make it difficult 
to distinguish the channel marks when thej 
reached Biloxi Harbor, but the " mud hook " 
waa dropped in a safe place, and Frank and Ken- 
neth went ashore to look for mail and to tele- 
graph home the news of their safe arrival. They 
had been unable to send word for the better part 
of a week, and the loss last year, about the same 
time, of the "Paul Jones,'' a large launch, in the 
waters through which the " Gazelle " had navi- 
gated so serenely, would, the boys knew, make 
their parents dread this part of the cruise. It 
was partly a feeling of triumph, partly a desire to 
relieve anxiety, tliat Kenneth experienced when 
he hurried to wire home. 

The teredo, that terrible little insect that 
turns the bottoms of vessels into sieves, and un- 
dermines the woodwork of wharves in Southern 
waters, was very much on the mind (metaphori- 
cally, of course) of the young captain. He had 
no desire to feed the staunch " Gazelle " to the 
voracious little borer. Many times he had been 
warned to copper paint the bottom of the yacht, 
and, though he dreaded the job, the sooner 



A TEAR IK A YAWL 

it was done the better. A sloping sand beach lay 
to one side of Biloxi, and onto this the ^^ Gazelle '' 
was hauled at high tide^ her ballast unloaded, 
and as the water fell she careened to one side. 
The starboard side was exposed firsts and to the 
delight and satisfaction of Kenneth and his 
friends, there was hardly a scratch in the clear, 
hard wood. All hands immediately fell to work 
scraping off the marine growth that had formed. 
It was a three hours' job, but when it was finished 
the boys felt so virtuous that satisfaction stuck 
out like the paint on their faces. " Pride Com- 
eth before a fall," but the oyster shell cut which 
Kenneth's foot received, seemed to him a fall en- 
tirely out of proportion to the pride. 

Invincible to the terrible teredo, the *^ Ga- 
zelle " sailed out of Biloxi Harbor bound for Mo- 
bile. She reached her destination the same day, 
just as the sunset gun of Fort Morgan boomed 
out, and the Stars and Stripes came fluttering 
down its staff. 

The " Gazelle's " ensign came down at the 
same instant. "You see, we are recognized," 
Kenneth remarked airily, as he waved his hand 
in the direction of the cloud of gunpowder smoke 
that still hovered over the muzzle of the old 
smooth-bore. 

There was some discussion as to who should 

153 



Olf SALT WATER AT LAST. 

go ashore and inspect the fort — the grassy slope 
that led up to the massive, red-gray pile was very 
inviting — but eventually the strands of rope 
yarn decided for them that Kenneth should not 
go. Whereupon he declared that he ought not 
to walk on his injured foot, any way. After 
rowing close in to the grassy ramparts of the fort- 
ress, Frank and Arthur decided that they did not 
care to visit it either. Whether Uncle Sam's 
soldier, who paced along close to the water and 
carried a gun, had anything to do with their sud- 
den change of plan, is not for the writer to say, 
hut Ransom noticed that the two would-be visi- 
tors seemed to be disinclined to talk about the 
matter. 

The fishing vr&& bo good in Mobile Say that the 
boys could literally stand at their hearthstone (if 
a boat can be said to have a hearthstone — galley 
■hatch would be more correct), and catch their 
breakfast. If they could have been satisfied to 
live on fish alone, life would have been too easy. 

" We will grow scales if we eat much more 
£sh," said Kenneth, the last day of their stay in 
Mobile Bay. 

" That's a good scheme," enthused Arthur (he 
of the fertile imagination). " Then we could 
make no end of money exhibiting ourselves aa 
the only original mermen." 



A YEAR IN A 7AWL 

Notwithstanding the possibilities o£ this enter- 
prise, the throe boja laid in a goodly supply of 
plain shore bread, potatoes, even a pickle or two, 
and filled the water breakers with fresh water — 
it would be two daja before the next town could 
be readied. 

Bright and early, Arthur, who had the morn- 
ing watch, called all hands, and weighing anchor 
the " Gazelle's " bowsprit was turned seaward. 
The long eand bar leading out from Mobile har- 
bor was marked at its outer end by a wliistling 
buoy, that sped the parting guest most mourn- 
fully and welcomed the coming one with a dirge. 
The wave-driven billows produced a most melan- 
choly whistle, and the boys were glad when they 
had turned to port and were beyond the sound 
of it. 

Fickle fortune smiled on these 'hard-used voy- 
agers at last. Blue skies overhead, the clear 
waters below, a delicate light green that reflected 
into the white sails, or a deep verdant color that 
was restful to the eye, and showed off to advan- 
tage the tints of the jewel-like fish that swam in 
its depths. The warm aun — too warm at times 
— was a joy after the long sunless days on the 
Mississippi, though it tanned their skins the color 
of the cherry-finished cabin. 

Two days out from Mobile they were sailing 



ox HALT WATEIt AT LAHT 

along in a light breeze, almost dead aft. Frank 
held tlie tiller and was having little to do; Ken- 
neth lay on his stomach in the cockpit, studying 
the chart, with its multiplicity of figures showing 
depths of water; Arthur was below putting a 
very conspicuous background into a pair of his 
duck trousers. 

" How's the weather up there, old man? " Ar- 
thur shouted to Frank. 

" All right, ail right I " came the answer, 
drowsily. " Not much wind, but hotter than 
blazes." 

" But there's going to be trouble, all the 
Bamee — 'glass ' shows it." 

Kenneth came tumbling down to see, and, 
sure enough, the barometer was falling faat. It 
did not seem possible that a storm could be com- 
ing. The air was bright and clear, the long, easy 
Bwells suggested nothing but good treatment, and 
the breeze was almost caressing in its softness. 
But it was the calm before the storm. Presently 
the warmth began to go out of the air, and a 
chilliness that made the boys shiver crept into it. 
A darkening came up in the southwest which 
gradually deepened and spread until the whole 
heavens were deep blue-black, against which the 
scudding clouds ahowed white and ominous. 
From time to time the boys heard a distant rum- 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

bling^ and streaks of zigzag lightning flashed 
across the gloom. It was the first time the " Ga- 
zelle " and her crew had encountered a blow on 
the salt water, and they looked to the shore for a 
shelter. Vicious little blasts — ^advance pickets 
of the squall — ^blew sharply across the sea, and 
picked up little puffs of spray which instantly 
disappeared in vapor; the " Gazelle " trembled 
under these slaps of wind like a spirited horse 
under the touch of a nervous driver. 

The shore was without a vestige of shelter, 
and there was nothing to do but to ride it out. 

Kenneth took the tiller, while Arthur and 
Frank made haste to reef down. The mainsail 
was lowered altogether and furled, the jib was 
reefed twice, and the jigger hauled inboard and 
reefed also. "His Nibs" was hauled aboard 
and lashed down tight. Oil-skin coats and sou'- 
westers were " broken out " of the lockers, and 
the hatches were shut tight and battened down. 
The boat would have to do the rest to bring them 
through safely, and all had confidence that she 
would be perfectly able to do so. 

These preparations were made none too soon. 
In an instant the sharp little puffs of wind gave 
way to a whooping gale that picked up the sea 
and the yacht alike, and swept them like chaff 
before it along shore. Then came the rain — a 

156 



ON SALT WATER AT LAST 

deluge, a cataract, that shut down on everything 
like night. The sea rose up about them like 
moving hills, the wind buffeted them so that the 
yacht jarred with the blows, and the rain closed 
in on them, a watery stockade. It drenched 
the crew crouched in the cockpit through and 
through, and dashed into their faces a thonsand 
stinging darts. 

The squall lasted for an hour without a let up. 
The " Gazelle " rode the waves beautifully, and 
took the buffetinga of wind and rain like the 
Btnrdy craft she was, without a murmur. The 
sharp flashes of lightning gave Kenneth momen- 
tary glimpses of the shore, by which he managed 
to steer. Otherwise they were going it blind. 

At length they noticed that the volleys of 
thunder seemed less near and the lightning less 
frequent and the onslaught of the rain darts not 
80 sharp. The squall began to die down as 
quickly as it rose; astern, a faint light showed, 
while ahead the gloom was as deep as before. 
The rain grew less and less, and then passed en- 
tirely, the sun cleared bia brow and shone down 
amiably through a blue aky, the wind calmed 
to a steady breeze, rain-washed and cool. Only 
the troubled sea remained as a reminder of the 
tempest. 

Frank got up and shook himself. " I wish we 
157 



JL TEAR IN A YAWL 

had a wringer aboard/' he said. " Fd like to put 
myself through it. Ugh! Fm wet." 

As the sun dropped into the sea the " Gazelle '* 
ran over the bar and anchored just inside of Pen- 
sacola Harbor. The ebb tide prevented them 
from going up to the town. 

The shelter was slight, and the sharp squall 
of the afternoon raised the sea to an uncom- 
fortable degree of motion. The " Gazelle " 
tossed and rolled, not having the steadying ad- 
vantage of spread canvas. The boys were glad 
enough when the sun rose and the tide allowed 
them to sail up to a sheltered anchorage off the 
city itself. 

The thing about the city of Pensacola that 
seemed principally to attract the boys' interest 
was a large ice-manufacturing plant, the mana- 
ger of which presented them with a sizable cake. 
This to boys who had been drinking luke-warm, 
rather brackish water, was a real boon. 

After leaving Pensacola Harbor they turned 
to port, and found anchored just round the bar 
a fleet of vessels flying the yellow quarantine 
flag; but the " Gazelle," having a clean bill of 
health, gave them a wide berth and sped on. 

The rather intricate passage into Santa Kosa 
Sound was run without mishap, and then began 
one of the most delightful day's sail of the cruise. 

158 



ox SALT WATER AT LAST 

They passed a strip of saud bills twenty miles 
long, for the most part covered with tall, waving 
grasB, live oaks and palms, but showing glimpses 
here and there of tlie white gleaming sand. The 
main land along the Sound is a government res- 
ervation, and is thickly planted with live oaks, 
forming a solid wall of green almost twenty 
miles long — a hedge, as it were, with irregular 
top, showing where some ambitious tree has 
grown above its fellows. Between is a strip of 
water five miles wide, smooth and clear, light 
green in its shallows, shading into the deep blue 
that marked the channel. 

Along this path of beauty flew the " Gazelle," 
her white aides and sails gleaming against the 
tinted water. 

A fleet of fishing boats were sailing ahead 
when the " Gazelle " entered the Sound, their 
graceful shapes skimming over the water, 

Kenneth stood up in his place at the helm and 
looked at them. "The 'Gazelle' has proved 
herself seaworthy," he said, rather proudly. " I 
bet she can beat that bunch of boats ahead." 

There were no takers, but all hands watched 
the gap of water between the yacht and hindmost 
craft eagerly. The wind was astern, and with her 
sheets well out, the yawl flew after the fishing 
fleet. For an hour there was little change in the 

isg 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

relative positions of the pursuer and the pur- 
sued; then the boys noticed that the distance 
was lessening. On they flew up the broad, rib- 
bon-like channel, until they were almost able to 
read the names on the stems of the working 
boats. 

^^ We're not so slow," Kenneth cried, as the 
" Gazelle " drew alongside, his eyes shining with 
pleasure. 

** Adios," shouted a swarthy man standing in 
the stem sheets of a lugger. " Fine boat, yours; 
you want swap? " A set of white teeth shone as 
he smiled sunnily. 

The three boys took off their caps and waved 
a salute. " No, thank you; we're bound up the 
Atlantic coast, need deep draft boat," Kenneth 
answered. 

" Atlantic, that boat? no! " the other said, half 
to himself; and the last the boys saw of him he 
was still shaking his head emphatically. 

" Doesn't know the boat, does he, boys? " Ken- 
neth laughed. 

The fishing fleet was soon left behind, and the 
" Gazelle " was once more sailing alone. The 
sun began to sink lower and lower, gaining depth 
of color as it dropped, until the whole narrow 
path of water blazed and sparkled with opalescent 
tints. The boys were almost intoxicated with 

160 



I 



O.V SALT WA.TES AT LAST 

the delight of it, and did not notice how abruptly 
the sound was narrowing down. The sunset's 
glory waa short-lived, and the crew found them- 
aelvea in an intricate, crooked channel, utterly 
strange to them. They had almost decided to 
anchor, when they noticed a large schooner, a 
mere shadow, gliding ahead of them. 

" We'll follow her wake," declared Kenneth, 
" She knows the channel if we don't." 

Like hounds on the trail they followed the 
schooner through the deepening dusk, until the 
flapping of canvas told them that she had come 
into the wind, and the clank of chain cahle 
through the hawse pipes betrayed the fact that 
she had anchored. 

Bright and early the next morning the rollick- 
ing three were overboard taking an awakening 
bath. After bidding their guides of the night 
before good-by, they began to pick their way 
among the bars and coral rocks to the open Gulf. 
It was trying, careful work, requiring constant 
watchfulnesa, frequent sounding and much tack- 
ing to and fro; but the " Gazelle " was rid- 
ing the long swells of the open sea by eight 
o'clock. A long sail was ahead of them, and 
they hoped to make the distance to St. Joseph's 
Bay by nightfall, a run of about eighty milea. 
But alasl the wind forsook them, and hour after 



U 



161 






1 YEAR Ilf A YAWL 

hour they rolled on the long^ oily Bwells under 
the brazen sun. 

" I am tired of loafing around. I am going to 
do something." Arthur got up from his place 
on the deck aft and looked round for a sugges- 
tion. 

Frank and Kenneth started at this sudden dis- 
play of energy. 

^* What are you going to do? " Kenneth asked. 

"Fish," was Arthur's laconic answer, as he 
caught sight of a stout line with a big hook bent 
on it. 

" Going to catch minnows? " Frank suggested 
facetiously. 

" No, whales." 

Arthur went below and dug out of the locker 
the end of a piece of pork, then dropping the 
tackle and bait into " His Nibs," he pushed off. 

Kenneth roused himself. " Say, Arthur," he 
called, "better fish from the yacht; we might 
catch a breeze and leave you." 

" Oh, go away," the mate answered. " There 
isn't a breeze within two hundred miles of here." 

Arthur rowed off a hundred yards or so, baited 
his hook and dropped it overboard. 

" Well, if he isn't the greatest freak," Frank 
remarked lazily. 

For some time the two boys on the yacht 

162 



ON SALT WATER AT LAST 

watched him, then, as nothing happened, they 
moved their gaze and half dozed in the warm, 
salt air. 

Of a sudden there was a cry and a thump as of 
wood against wood. They looked quickly, and 
saw Arthur hanging on to the line, which 
stretched out before him tight as a harp string. 
The boat was rocking dangerously, and the oars 
banged together. 

" What's the matter? " both boys shouted. 

" I have caught something,'^ was the answer. 

He certainly had caught something; and the 
" something *' was carrying him rapidly away 
from the " Gazelle *' out to sea. 



198 



OHAPTEK X 

BIDIKa A MONSTEB TUBTLE 

Arthur, after rowing away from the yacht, 
dropped his baited hook overboard, and for a 
time waited eagerly for something to happen; 
but as the water remained as before, the sun 
shone down with unabated ardor, and the heat 
waves danced over the shining sea, he soon lost 
interest, and sat drowsily holding the line loosely 
in his hand, his white canvas hat drawn over 
his eyes. 

Suddenly there was a jerk, and the line began 
to bum through his fingers; he gripped it hard, 
and was nearly pulled overboard. The thing at 
the other end, surprised at resistance, stopped an 
instant and gave Arthur time to recover him- 
self. 

^^ Gee! Fve get something," he shouted. He 
certainly had, or something had got him; it wag 
some time before he could make up his mind 
which it was. 

The fish began to move. Arthur determined 

164 



BlDINa A MONSTER TURTLE 

he should not, and the consequence waa that they 
all moved, the fish, " His Niba " and Arthur, 
straight for the open Gulf. 

"Here, where are you going?" Kenneth's 
voice came faintly over the water to him. 

" I don't know," Arthur shouted back, his 
lyes on the taut line. 

" Cut loose! " The voice from the yacht was 
fainter. Arthur thought that he must be mov- 
ing away fast, but he determined that he would 
not give up. He watched the Hue closely, and 
presently noticed that it was taking a longer and 
longer slant; evidently the fish was coming to 
the surface. " His Nibs " rushed along at a 
great rate, its bow low down with Arthur's 
"weight and the stress of the towing; its stem was 
^ almost out of water. The line rose slowly until 
it was almost parallel with the surface. Arthur 
watched it excitedly as it cut the water like a 
knife and the drops were thrown aside by its 
vibrations. At length a sharp fin rose out of 
the water, and cut a rippling V in the blue aea. 

" By Jove ! it's a shark," said Arthur between 
his teeth. 

The boys on the yacht evidently saw, too, for 
a faint cry reached the ears of the boy in the 
boat. "Let him gol " they shouted. "Let 
, him go! " 

les 



I 



A TMAM a A TAWL 

Tn be hoffd i£I6ar Anknr did not 
hm fafcatk faj y^fcing die wovds alood; 
be Beedfid an ids drength CO koU on to the snail 
line. Tbe eord cut bk fingasy and the poll 
made bia anna adie, but be would not ghre in. 
^Tbat bcart mnit get tired dune time,'' be 
thonght. Suddenlr the fin tamed, there was a 
miniatme wbiiipooi behind it, and Arthnrs aims 
were neaify wrenched out as the diark pot hefan 
to pcRt and atmck out in a new direction. Ar- 
tbnr lodged npv saw that thej were heading 
straight for the ^Gazelle,'' and he took cour- 
age. 

^ If beHl <ml7 go near enon^'^ thong^ the 
boy; but the capture was not to be counted on, 
as it dashed from side to side and made rushes 
this way and that, in a vain endeavor to get away 
from the maddening hook. Its general direc- 
tion, however, was toward the yacht Arthur 
shouted: ^ Soak him, if you get a chance. Fm 
nearly done/' 

In one of its mad rushes the shark came with- 
in ten yards of the yacht, when Frank, making a 
lucky cast with the heavy sounding lead, landed 
it on the beast's most vulnerable spot, the 
nose, and stunned him. Arthur got out an oar 
and paddled over to the yawl, iMinded the line 
over to Frank and got aboard. Frank made the 

166 



RIDING A MONSTER TURTLE 

line fast to the bitts forward, then cried exult- 
ingly : " Go ahead, old tow-horse, and tow away. 
Pleased to have you, I'm sure." The shark's 
gameness was broken, however, and after a 
few heroic struggles to get free, came within 
easy sight of Frank, who speedily put a bul- 
let into him and ended the tragedy. They 
pulled the great j&sh alongside and measured 
him. 

" A good twelve-footer, I bet," Frank asserted, 
after measuring the big tiger of the sea with an 
oar. "And look at that jaw! Jonah could 
only have got past those teeth in sections." 

"Well, you did do something," Kenneth re- 
marked, as he glanced at the long, lithe creature 
floating alongside. " But I did not expect you 
to catch a towboat." 

" Suppose — say, I've got a bright idea " — • 
Frank looked up from his inspection of Arthur's 
catch — "suppose we drop a couple of baited 
lines forward, made fast to the bitts, catch a 
team of sharks and get towed to our next port, or 
why not the whole distance?" 

" It might be all right to start, but how the 
mischief would we stop? " Arthur rubbed his 
muscles, strained in the efforts which he had al- 
ready made in that direction. 

" Oh, just anchor, hobble our team by the tails 

167 






and go on about our business. It's as simple 
as can be. They could soon be taught port and 
starboard." 

" Coming down to plain facts, I wish we had 
a breeze; even a foot-pump would help us." 
Kenneth shielded his eyes from the glare and 
looked over the glittering blue waters for a wind 
ripple. 

" Yes, like that fellow back in Michigan, who 
proposed to put a motor in his boat with an air 
blower, so that when the wind gave out he could 
blow himself along." 

Only enough breeze ruffled the smooth waters 
of the Gulf to allow them to creep back into 
harbor and wait for a new day. 

The shark was cast loose, in spite of Arthur's 
impractical protest that he wanted to keep it as 
a souvenir. 

The next morning all hands were up early and 
were greeted as they came on deck by a spank- 
ing southwest wind. It was more than a breeze ; 
it might be ranked as a reefing wind, but the 
" Gazelle " was under-canvassed and so hoisted 
full sail safely. The whole aspect of the sea had 
changed. Deep, blue and rippling under the 
steady wind, it had lost the brazen glare of the 
day before. The palms along shore waved their 
graceful fronds in gentle salutation, and the 

168 



RIDINO A MONSTER TURTLE 

frhite-crested breakers made obeigance at tbeir 

"Up ancbor, and away, boys!" Kennetb 

shouted, exbilarated by tbe ozone in the air. 

Prank and Arthur started to work the small band 

' windlasa. " Put your backs to it, toys; we'll be 

ff tbe sooner." 

In a minute the anchor broke ground, the 

L^acbt began to pay off, and was under way in 

\ earnest. 

"Gee! this is better than your old sbark-tow- 

ing scheme," Arthur said, as be and Frank coiled 

down the gear and made all snug for the long 

, day's run, " There's nothing like a ■wind-jam- 

Imer, say I." 

" Eight you are, Art," Frank acknowledged. 
"My! I am hungry, thougb; my breastbone is 
flat against my spine." 

" Well, it's up to you, old man," Kenneth 
sang out from his place in the cockpit. " Chase 
it along; I feel as if I could eat Arthur's shark." 
As the day wore on, the waves grew larger, 
long, rounded rollers, that at times crested and 
were blown into spray by the wind. Huge, tum- 
bling, rolling hills they were, like great playfel- 
lows, mighty but amiable. The boys felt a kind 
of fellowship for them, and enjoyed watching 
fhe blue-green slopes that rose and fell, now hid- 



A tBAJt I2f A YAWL 

determinedly^ and set to work again. A dozeii 
lines^ perhaps^ were written, then his eyes were 
irresistibly drawn again to the ever-changing 
pictures of sea and sky in the oval frames. 

" Better give it up, old man," Frank shouted 
down the hatch, laughing. " Save your log till 
you can't do anything else, or until it's too dark 
to see. This is better than a hundred logs. Come 
on deck and see it all. You can tell about it 
later." 

"I can't resist; that's a fact," Kenneth an- 
swered, coming on deck. " This beats anything 
I ever even heard of. Don't the old boat sail 
through, though? Steady as a church — skates 
up and down the waves as if she enjoyed it." 

The boys went below only to eat. Frank and 
Kenneth washed dishes, because Arthur was sail- 
ing — ^this was according to the unwritten law, 
that iiie one who sailed was excused from house 
work, light or otherwise. The cook did not have 
to wash dishes, though he was perfectly welcome 
to do so if he desired. 

The boys saw the sun rise that morning, and 
it was shedding its last glowing rays over the rest- 
less waters when they made the harbor of St. 
Joseph's Bay. " Eighty miles in one day is not 
bad going for a thirty-foot boat," said Ransom, 
exultingly, after measuring the charts. 

172 



RIDING A MONHTER TURTLE 

" Sure not," cliimed in Arthur. " If we could 
I do that every day, the rest of the cruise would 
K an easy thing." 

" Let's see," said Frank, counting on hia fin- 
gers; " eighty miles a day for thirty days would 
be 2,400 miles; at that rate wo have only got 
about two months' more cruising, including 
stopa." 

" I liate to obstruct this beautiful two months' 

rip, but think of yesterday and add a couple of 

■months." Kenneth, in hia usual matter-of-fact 

Imanner, was throwing cold water upon these ex- 

I "travagant dreamers. 

St. Joseph's Bay, a deep indentation in tbe 

coast, afforded the young sailors a splendid 

anchorage, sheltered and easy o£ access. The 

rollers beat steadily on the beach outside, the 

L loaring proclaiming the majesty of the sea; 

r but within all was calm and atill — gentle rollers 

L rocked the yacht just enough to soothe — and the 

t three youngsters slept like hibernating bears. 

The soft breeze hummed gently through the 

rigging, the little waves lapped caressingly 

against the boat's sides, fiahes bumped their noses 

inquiringly against her bottom. " His Niba," 

made fast by a long painter, went on little excur- 

Bions of its own as far as the line would reach, 

L;like an inqubitire dog; but the boys slept 

J78 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

through it, perfectly unconscious of all the in- 
teresting nocturnal goings in. It was not until 
the warm sun came shining through the port 
lights, and upon the open hatch, that they finally 
waked up. 

" Seven bells, boys; up, all hands — ^rise and 
shine — shake a legl " Kenneth shouted, rubbing 
his own eyes to pry them open. It was seven 
o'clock, and a long day's sail to Appalachicola 
was before them. Each boy, as he rolled out of 
his bunk, shook off the few clothes he had on and 
flopped overboard. In a minute, the sleepy dust 
was washed out of their eyes, and the boys 
sported about like seals in the clear, warm salt 
water. 

Frank climbed on deck and dove off, making 
a clear arching leap like a hunted fish; but his 
feet had hardly disappeared before his head 
showed above the surface again. 

« my, you couldn't sink in this water if a 
mill-stone were hung round your neck," he splut- 
tered, shaking the water out of his eyes. 

Through St. George's Sound — a piece of water 
something like the Santa Eosa, separated as it is 
from the Gulf by a narrow strip of sand— they 
sailed to Appalachicola, then on along the har- 
borless coast to Cedar Keys. It was a piece of sail- 
ing that Kenneth dreaded. That long, curving 

174 



RIDING A MONSTER TURTLE 

Btrip of coast without one adequate shelter along 
its entire length, was not pleasant to think of in 
connection with an onshore gale. Kenneth ex- 
amined the charts as the yawl sailed along, and 
noticed that the water was very shoal far from 
shore. 

" How deep do you suppose it is off here ? " he 
called up to Frank, who was steering. 

"I don't know; it must be pretty deep, for 
we are five or six miles from shore," Frank 
answered. " But I can see bottom just the 
game; look at that seaweed waving as if the 
breeze was blowing on it. How deep is it, any 
way? " 

" Well, you may not believe it " — Kenneth 
rolled up the chart and started aft to show the 
helmsman — " but it's only seven or eight feet. 
Pretty near as flat as a floor; about a foot a mile 
drop, I estimate." 

" Why didn't we walk? " suggested Arthur, 
" aa the Irishman said, when he saw the diver 
coming up out of the water at ElHs Island." 

They anchored that night about five miles 
from shore, in seven feet of water, and the 
treacherous old Gulf was afe calm as a park lake 
under a summer zephyr. 

All the next day, a roaring wind from the 
nortlhweat wafted the three along; and night,|pw 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

them safely anchored off the mouth of the 
Suwanee Eiver. 

A star-studded sky hung over them as all three 
boys came out on deck after all was snug and 
ship shape. Kenneth got out his guitar, and to 
the accompaniment of its softly-strummed chords 
the boys sang: 



(( 



Way dowD upon the Suwanee Eiver, 
Far, far, away." 



The spell of the quiet was on them all, and as 
the sound of their young voices died away, and 
only the hum of the strings, the lap of the rip- 
pling water, and the soft whirr of the breeze were 
in their ears, a feeling of sadness came over them 
as they realized that they were indeed far, far 
from home. 

Arthur lay flat on his back, gazing up into the 
immeasurable sky; Frank lay along the rail, look- 
ing into the clear, black, velvety depths of the 
ever shifting water; Kenneth, absorbed in his 
brown study, watched the bow of the small boat 
abstractedly as the sharp stem cleaved the cur- 
rent of the tide, making little waves that glowed 
with phosphorescence. 

' For a while, no word was spoken, then 
" Jhew! " snorted Frank. " I knew this was too 

176 



klDrXCf A MOBSTER WHrLil 

good to last. Wliat have we run up against, a 
fertilizer factory? " 

" I thing do," answered Arthur, holding his 



"Dee! did it worde thad a dead rad." Ean- 
some had his nostrOa closed also, as his manner 
of speech indicated. 

The stench drove the three boys into the cabin, 
where, with closed doors and hatch, they swel- 
tered until a shift of wind made it possible for 
them to breathe the outer air again. They 
looked in the direction from wliich the odor had 
come, and saw the anchor light of a vessel swing- 
ing, and then, as their eyes became accustomed 
to the darkness, they made out the deeper ^adow 
of the vessel heraelf. 

Not till morning did they find out that the 
fragrance came from a sponge schooner. Though 
they hesitated some time, at last their curiosity 
overcame their squeamishness, and, after wash- 
ing down decks, breakfasting, and cleaning up, 
Arthur and Frank (Kenneth having, as usual, 
drawn the short yam) took " His N"ibs " and 
rowed over to the schooner. Kenneth watclied 
hia comrades from the " Gazelle," and saw them 
row very gingerly up to the trim vessel until the 
small boat's stem almost touched the larger 
boat's side, when they half turned to go away, 



13 



177 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

tut, evidently gathering up their resolution, they 
hailed a man on deck and went aboard. Later, 
Bansoni; himself, had a chance of investigating 
the work. As he climbed the schooner's sides, 
he found sponges of many sizes and shapes strung 
around the rigging in various degrees of decom- 
position. A big West Indian negro explained 
to him that they were hung up to rot the animal 
matter out of the fibrous substance which made 
the home of the multitude of small creatures. 
A very imsavory occupation, but one that pays 
quite well, the big fellow told Kenneth, and in- 
vited him to go sponge-fishing with him. Ran- 
som accepted, and, getting into a small boat, they 
rowed some distance from the schooner. Putting 
a long, slender pine pole with a hook^on one end 
into the boy's hands, the negro suggested that he 
try his luck. " This is easy," Kenneth said to 
himself, as he slipped it into the water and began 
to feel about on the bottom. Soon the end struck 
something soft, and, with a little thrill that always 
comes to the fisherman when he gets booked to 
something, he began to haul up, slowly and care- 
fully. Under instructions from the negro, he 
pulled up inch by inch. The thing he had on 
his hook was a dead weight, utterly unlike the 
active fish, but he thought that he detected a 
tremor in even this inert mass. Slowly, and 

178 



RIDIXG A MONSTER TURTLE 

more slowly, he raised tlie pole until he could 
dimly see a yellow-brown substance through the 
sunlit water. At last his catch was almost on the 
Burfaee, when the negro began to laugh loudly. 
" What's the joke? " Kenneth began, then he 
stopped, as he caught a clear gKmpse of his treas- 
ure trove. An enormous mouth gaped at him, 
and two protuberant eyes that shone like jewels 
gleamed in the sunlight, a brown, flat body cov- 
ered with warts and excrescences of varioua 
kinds flopped feebly on the surface. " Holy 
smoke, what have I struck?" Kenneth .ex- 
claimed, feeling that be had a waking night- 
mare. The thing slid off from the hook, and 
scaling down through the water was aoon lost to 
view. 

"Ugh! " said the boy, ahivering in remem- 
trance. " What was that? " 

" j^gle-fiah, I reckon. Scare yer? " the other 
replied. 

Though Kenneth tried again, be could not 
!baul up a sponge. There was a knack to it that 
completely baffled him. 

All through this part of the Gulf, the boys 
found the sponge fishermen and their crewa — 
many of whom were West Indian negroes — 
great, hig, strong fellows, who seemed to find the 
odoriferous life healthy. The shallow water, 



1 YEAR IN A YAWL 

smooth and clear^ produced good sponges^ and 
the fiffhermen came to reap the harvest from all 
directions. 

Even in the town of Cedar Keys, the boys 
could not get away from the horrid odor. The 
town, formerly a great cedar-producing place, 
and the site of a large pencil manufactory, had 
become the sponge fisherman's port of call. 

" For heaven's sake, Ken, let's get our mail, 
bur grub, and our water, and clear out of this 
place," Arthur said, the afternoon that they en- 
tered Cedar Keys Harbor. " It seems to me that 
sponge is mixed up with everything I eat, drink, 
smell, taste, see, and touch. It's awful! " 

^^I'm willing," the skipper answered, "if 
Frank votes aye." 

"Aye! Aye!" Frank shouted emphatically, 
with no loss of time. 

Soon after dawn the next day, the mud-hook 
was pulled up, and the " Gazelle " stood for the 
open Gulf. She sped along as if she, too, was 
glad to get away into the free, sweet air of the 
Southern sea. 

It was a six days' sail to Charlotte Harbor, a 
little below Tampa. A sail full of incident; of 
friendly races with fishing boats; exhilarating 
bouts with sharp little squalls that called for 
quick work and unerring judgment; and an en^ 

180 



r 
\ 



niDING A MONSTER TURTLE 

I traiicing view of an ever-changing semi-tropical 
I coast. 

A Bcliooner with which they had been sailing 
hour after hour, headed into the harbor which 
opened up invitingly before both vessels. 

" We might as well go in too," suggested Ran- 
Bota. " There's plenty of water, and we might 
take a chance at a turtle or two. "What do you 
flay?" 

So they rounded the lighthouse and sailed up 
the channel with their companion ship, like a 
team of horses. Together the jibs came down, 
and together the anchor chains rattled through 
the chocks. 

They learned from the lighthouse keeper that 
turtles were plentiful at this time of year, and 
that they crawled up on the beach at night to lay 
their eggs. 

All three boys wanted to go, but one had to 
stay and keep ship. So after supper they drew 
lota. 

" Thia yarn-pulling busineaa is getting to be a 
sort of one-sided joke," declared Ransom, ag- 
grievedly. " I believe the strand I choose gets 
shorter when I take it." 

" Hard luck, old man," Arthur and Frank 
said sympathetically, as they got into the suibII 
boat and pushed off. 

181 



JL YEAR IN A YAWL 

Kenneth watched the boat as it skimmed the 
placid water, a dim shadow in the deepening 
gloom, and listened to the rhythm of the dipping 
oars and creaking rowlocks, with a sense of lone- 
liness that he found hard to shake off. The boat 
finally disappeared in the darkness, and the 
sounds faded into the general murmur of the 
water. Soon a light showed on the beach and 
went swinging along, eclipsed at regular inter^ 
vals by the legs of the carrier. The boys had 
lighted the lantern, and shouldering their guns 
were on their way to the turtles' haunts. 

Ransom wrote his log and finished some let- 
ters; then, taking some pillows on deck, was soon 
lulled to sleep by the soft wind and the gentle 
swing of the waves. 

Loaded down with hatchets, guns, and re- 
volvers, Frank and Arthur looked as if they were 
on a pirating expedition; they went prepared for 
whatever might turn up. Bears are fond of 
turtle eggs and coons dote on them; so there was 
a reasonable chance of the boys interrupting 
somebody's feast. 

Side by side they walked, talking in low tones; 
both felt the tingling excitement that goes with 
hunting adventures day or night. 

Once, Frank caught sight of a dark something 
flopping in the water just beyond the tiny break- 

182 



kIDING A ilOliSTBR TVRTLS 

era, and, half wild with excitement, he up with 
his rifle and shot at it. Arthur raised the lan- 
tern, and they saw that it was a small shark 
caught in the shoal water. 

" One on you, old man," laughed Arthur. 
" Think it was a sea serpent? " 

After walking an hour or more, they rounded 
the point that protected the harbor, and were 
Boon treading the sand of the outer beach. 

" This must be the place," whispered Arthur. 
They walked more cautiously, and looked for the 
parallel trenches in the sand that they had been 
told marked the passage of the giant turtles. 

The damp, salt air blew into their faces, and 
made the flame of the lantern flicker, and east 
imcouth shadows on the sloping beach. 

" There's one! " cried Arthur, giving his com- 
panion a grip on tlie arm. "Lookl" And they 
both started on a run for the dark object that lay 
BO still. 

" Oh, come off; don't you know the differenca 
between a patch of sand grass and a green turtlal 
What about the laugh this time? " 

" That's all right; I know a shark when I »e« 
it. This lantern flickere— By Jove! look at 
that! " Arthur stopped in his tracks and grabbed 
I the light out of Frank's hand. 

There were two deep tracka in the aand that 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

paralleled each other — ^unmistakable sign of a 
monster turtle. Both boys followed the trail on 
the run^ only to find that Madam Turtle had been 
and gone, also that bruin or coon had feasted 
royally on the eggs. 

A hundred yards further on, they came to an- 
other track, and with excitement less strong, but 
still with nerves and muscles tense and hearts 
throbbing, they followed fast. The moon broke 
from the clouds and silvered the crescent sea, the 
wind-tossed palms showed black against the sky, 
and the beach shone white under the light. 
" Hurrah ! " Frank shouted. " Now we can see.^^ 
The pale gleam showed a dark shape ten yards 
from them that moved awkwardly. '^ There she 
is. Art. Come on! ^^ 

In a minute they had come up to a giant tur- 
tle, which, on their approach, drew in its head, 
then shot it out again, its beaked mouth opening 
and closing wickedly. 

" Shoot it, Frank! ^' Arthur cried, utterly flus- 
tered. ^'Hit him in the eye! Hit him some- 
where, quick! ^' 

" No; let's get hold of his shell and flop him 
over on his back, then we've got him." Taking 
hold of the huge creature's shell, just back of the 
crooked hind legs, they heaved and strained to 
turn her over. It was no use, the beast was too 

184 



BIDINa A M0N8TER TURTLE 

heavy, and the turtle, objecting to this treatment, 
started for the water. 

" Shoot it, Frank; it'll get away! '' 
Frank did as he was bid, but the bullets had 
no apparent effect — the great creature waddled 
on even faster than before. 

"Arthur, almost beside himself with excite- 
ment, jumped on to the broad, rounded back, and 
yelled like an Indian, swaying to and fro in his 
efforts to keep his balance on the living platform. 
Then suddenly realizing that he held a hatchet 
in his flourishing right hand, he reached forward 
and struck it deeply into the snake-like skulL 



r 
J 



f 



185 



CHAPTER XI 

LOST ON CAPTIVE ISLAIH) 

Charlotte Harbor was so flooded with moon- 
light that the little wind ripples shone like 
frosted silver. The " Gazelle," lying peacefully 
at anchor, floated like a shadow on the placid 
water. Kenneth lay asleep on the cabin roof, 
where he had moved from the more cramped 
position in the cockpit. Soundly as a tired man 
should, he slept; then, disturbed by dreams of 
battles with wind and wave, he stirred, working 
his arms and legs like a dog who has visions 
of the chase. At first he moved uneasily, but 
still lay in the same position, then, still dead 
asleep, began to work over to the yacht's rail. 
A long, strong roller came in from the Gulf and 
rocked the yawl so that the deck sloped sharply; 
there was a sudden great splash, and then all was 
still, the ripples circling away from the agitated 
spot. Suddenly the waters began to show signs 
of a struggle below, and an instant later a be- 
draggled white figure splashed to the surface and 

186 



p 



LOST O.V CAFTIFB ISLAND 

began spouting and spluttering. Kenneth 
coughed and wheezed as he got rid of a large 
quantity of warm, salt liquid, and between gasps 
called himself all the names his water-soaked 
brain could think of. He finallj piiUed him- 

I Belf up on deck — rather weakly — and lay down 

[ in the cockpit to rest a minute, 

"Well, I'll be jiggered, if that wasn't the 
greatest fool stunt! I am mighty glad the other 
fellows were not around. I should never have 
heard the last of it." 

He turned to go below, and, as he did so, he 
heard the far distant crack of a rifle. 

"Must be aomething doing with the turtles," 
be thought. 

The rifle shot which Ransom heard was fired 
by Frank at the great turtle, which,, in spite of 
the hatchet in its skull and the boy on its back, 
was making for the sea, determined to escape. 
The hatchet, half buried in the thick bone, had 
no more apparent effect upon it than the drop- 
piog of an oyster shell on it would have had. 

" Shoot him again, Frank I " shouted Arthur 
from his perch. " We've simply got to stop 

The boy took careful aim at the sinister black 
eye, the only vulnerable spot visible, and fired. 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

With a heave that threw Arthur from his feet, 
the great creature made its last struggle for free- 
dom, throwing the sand in showers and digging 
great holes in the coarse sand, then, folding 
its legs and tail beneath its roof-like shell, it 
died. 

For a minute, the victor gazed at his victim, 
and then, wiping away an imaginary tear of re- 
gret, went to search for eggs. In a hollow near 
the spot where the hunters had found Mrs. Tur- 
tle, her eggs were unearthed — several dozen of 
them. The boys put them in a canvas bag which 
they carried, and went on to hunt for more shell- 
backs. 

Before long they came again upon the tell-tale 
tracks in the sand, and found a turtle at the end 
of them; smaller, but one even more active than 
the other. 

It was with great difficulty that they managed 
to get a long piece of driftwood under the shell, 
and by the aid of this leverage " end her ovei*." 
Frank and Arthur immediately rushed forward 
to end her misery, and received a shower of sand 
in their faces that nearly blinded them. They 
retired out of range in confusion, and dug the 
sand out of eyes, ears, and mouths. With 
powerful sweep-like strokes, the turtle clawed 
the beach in its efforts to right itself, and scooped 

188 



LOtiT ON CAPTIVE ISL.iXD 

the sand until it liad dug boiea for each of its 
four legs, BO deep that the coarse grains were 
bejond its reach, and it lay helplessly sprawling. 
With a single hatchet stroke, turtle number 
two was despatched, and the victors sat a minute 
beside their game to rest, 

" Gracious! I'd like to have these turtles in 
Chicago," remarked Prank, with speculative in- 
stinct. " Just think of the gallons of green tur- 
tle soup they would make; and it coat twenty- 
five cents a half-pint platefull Holy smoke, 
we would be millionaires in no time." 

"But what are we going to do with them 
now?" Arthur had a way of coming dowu to 
realities with a sickening thud. 

As if in answer to the question, the lighthouse 
keeper came towards them out of the fast bright- 
ening dawn, and showed them how to dismember 
the creatures. 

Taking two great hama, the two boys slung 

them on a pole stretched between them, and 

'Started back to the place where they had left 

**IIia Nibs." The pieces of turtle meat, the 

\ guns, lantern, and bag of eggs made 3uch a heavy 

I load that they were glad enough when they 

reached the spot where the small boat had been 

\ left. 

Arthur and Frank looked out over the water 
18D 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

and saw the ^^ Gazelle " Bwinging at anchor^ glori- 
fied in the warm colors of the sunrise. 

"What's the matter with Ken?" Frank ex- 
claimed, pointing with his gun barrel at the fig- 
ure on the yacht's deck, which waved and ges- 
tured frantically. 

"He is pointing at something. What's the 
matter with the chump? He is shouting." Ar- 
thur stopped to listen. The faint sound of a 
voice came over the harbor, but they could not 
make out what it said. 

"He is pointing." Arthur was shading his 
eyes and looking intently. " What, in the name 
of common sense, is — • By George, look at ^ His 
Nibs.' " Arthur was pointing now at the little 
boat, which, like a mischievous youngster, was 
bobbing airily about a short distance from shore. 

" Jove! it's well we came along when we did; 
that little tub would have been out to sea in a 
minute." 

As it was, Arthur had to swim for it, and only 
caught the truant after a long race. " The next 
time I leave you alone," he said, as he pulled 
himself over the stern, " I am going to make you 
fast to a ten-ton anchor." 

It was a merry feast that the reunited three 
enjoyed that morning. Turtle steak, which Ken- 
neth declared to be equal to porterhouse and 

in 



LOST O.V CA-PTIVE ISLAND 

much like it in flavor, was the piece de risistancej 
but the talk and chaff were the garniBhings that 
made the meal worth while. 

" You have got to wash dishes, old man," Ken- 
neth said to his mate, when every vestige of the 
breakfast had disappeared, " while Frank and 
I get this old houae-boat under way." 

" Gazelle, Grazelle, 
She'll run pell-meU 
With every stitch a-drawing ; 
O'er waters smooth, 
And waters rough. 
The aeaa her forefoot Bpurning." 

He Bang light-heartedly as he went on deck. 

Soon Arthur heard the cheep, cheep of the hal- 
liard blocks as the mainsail was hoisted, then the 
metallic clink of the ratchet on the capstan; 
Frank's cry, " She's broke ! " was followed by the 
Bwiftwhirrof the jib halliards hauled taut and the 
creak of the blocks as the mainsail was sheeted 
home. Then the slap, slap of the little waves 
against the yacht's sides as she heeled to the 
fresh breeze told Arthur that they were under 
way again. 

" There's no use talking, this beats farming," 
Arthur said to himself. " But, Je-ruaalem, we 
had it hard on the Old Mississippi. I don't han- 
ker for any more of that." 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

After getting under way, the order was: " All 
hands and the cook prepare meat." There was 
a large amount of turtle meat left that was too 
valuable to be wasted. The flesh was cut up into 
strips, thoroughly sprinkled with salt, and hung 
up in the rigging, where the sun shone full upon 
it, to dry. It was not a very appetizing job, nor 
did the yacht herself present a very attractive 
appearance, but the product turned out all right. 
Turtle meat and turtle eggs were on the bill of 
fare for some time. 

Kenneth made the unsavory remark that if the 
meat-preserving experiment proved a failure, the 
" Gazelle " would be about as fragrant as a 
sponge-fishing boat. 

After a four hours' run, Frank, who climbed 
up into the port rigging, glass in hand, made out 
Captive Island, a low-lying strip of land that just 
showed above the surface of the water. 

As they drew nearer, they could see that it was 
densely wooded — ^palms tossed their feathery 
heads; the great live oaks stretched out their 
mighty arms sturdily; and here and there a cedar 
stood out black in contrast with the lighter 
greens. 

" I'd like to explore that island," said Arthur. 
" What's the matter with laying off there for the 
night? " 

192 



LOST ON CAPTURE ISLAND 

" All right; harbor is good and water enough," 
Kenneth admitted, after looking at the charts. 

The anchor was let go into three fathoms, off 
a sort of rude landing, which they afterward 
found waa built by a man who lived on the island 
and raised vegetables for the northern market. 

After supper, Frank and Arthur went aahore, 
but soon returned, driven away by mosquitoes. 
Frank declared that he had seen enough of that 
place at close quarters, and that if the skipper 
and Arthur wanted to explore, he waa satisfied to 
fltay and tend ship. 

" Why," said he, " except where the fellow has 
hia vegetable patch, the whole place ia a. morasa 
right down to the water's edge. I guesa there 
is a beach on the Gulf side, now I think of it," 

" That's it — that beach! That's what I want 
to explore," Arthur waa of an investigating 
turn of mind. 

It was unnecessary to go through the usual 
plan of drawing lots to determine who shoidd go 
and who should stay; Frank stuck to his previous 
statement that he would not go " chaaing round 
in that miserable mud hole." After all the 
morning's work was done, the skipper and the 
mate got into " His Nibs " and rowed off. 

The little landing waa a primitive affair, hard- 
ly strong enough, the two boys thought, to allow 



1 ttJAR m A liAV^L 

of very heavy shipments being made from it; but 
it was sufficiently sturdy to bear their weight 
without a tremor. From it led a path through 
tilled land^ green with the young shoots of a 
freshly-planted crop. This road Kenneth and 
Arthur followed for some distance. Fields 
crowded it closely on either side, then it 
branched, and the boys found themselves walk- 
ing on a narrow strip of solid ground, hemmed 
in on both sides by a morass so deep and uncanny 
that they shivered. Tall palmettos grew out of 
the slimy ground, and vines twisted and wound 
in every direction like thin, green serpents; gray 
moss hung from the brancfhes everywhere, like 
veils placed to hide some ghastly mystery. The 
path was well trod and firm, and the two boys, 
feeling that it must lead somewhere, went on 
quickly. For an hour, they travelled through 
the swamp, the way winding in and out among 
the trees wherever the earth was firm. 

" I wonder if this is another case of ^ Lost in 
the Dismal Swamp,' '' said Arthur, whose looks 
belied his cheerful tone. 

" N"o; this path is perfectly clear. It will be 
easy enough to get back, if we want to," Ken- 
neth replied. " Getting cold feet? " 

" No, sure not; but I would like to get out into 
the open, all the same.'' 

194 



LOST 0.V CAPTIVE tULAXD 

Thfl thick trees shut out all the breeze there 
■was, and the damp, currentlesa air waa heavy 
with the odora of decaying vegetable matter. 
Perspiration was running down the boys' faces, 
and epots of dampness began to show on the 
backs of their white jumpers. 

"Hurrah!" shouted Kenneth, "there's the 
beach." 

A rift in the trees showed the blue sky, 
and the invigorating sound of surf reached 
their ears. Soon tbcy came upon a stretch of 
Band that shone white under the morning sun 
— smooth and hard and clean as a newly-swept 
floor. 

In a minute tlie two were running races up the 
beach that stretched before them like a straight- 
away track. They ran and frolicked from the 
pure joy of living. Tinder the clear aky and 
shining sun, they forgot the gloomy forest and 
the stagnant marsh. Not till they were all out 
of breath, did the rollicking skipper and his un- 
dignified mate stop fo rest; then they stretched 
at fuU length on the clean sand, and gave them- 
selves lip to the joys of doing nothing, when 
there was no need to work imder the stress of an 
exacting conscience. 

Neither of the boys realized how long they 

had lain there, supremely comfortable as they 

195 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

were, until the pang of hunger began to make 
itself felt. 

" Look at that, Ken,'* Arthur exclaimed, point- 
ing to the sun long past the meridian. " Why, 
it must be afternoon.'' 

^^My stomach feels like it,'' the other ad- 
mitted. " Better be going back, I guess." 

They got themselves up, and began walking 
leisurely along the beach, stopping now and then 
to pick up a shell or to dip their bare feet in the 
up-running waves. 

" This is the place. Ken," said Arthur, turn- 
ing to two tall palmettos growing on the edge of 
the forest. 

'•' No, that isn't it," the other replied. " There 
was a crooked cedar near the path where we came 
out." 

" I bet it's the place," Arthur said positively. 
" Let me prove it to you." 

When they reached the trees mentioned, they 
glanced beyond them, and saw the thick black 
ooze of the morass. A pale fungus thrust out 
of the mud here and there added to the dismal 
aspect of the place. 

" Ugh! " Arthur shivered. 

" I told you so," Kenneth jeered; *^ not a sign 
of a path." 

They walked on, looking for the crooked 



LOST ON CAPTIVE I.HLAND 

cedar, but not one could be seen. Everywhere 
were palmettos, straight and tail, swaying in the 
treeze and beckoning like sirens alluring them to 
the destruction that lurked just beyond. 

Every little opening that looked aa if a path 
might lead from it was searched eagerly, but the 
black swamp always stared them in the face 
■whenever they looked beyond the first line of 
trees. Hour after hour they searched, at first 
hopefully, then doggedly, driven on by the feel- 
ing that they must do something — that if they 
hunted carefully enough and persistently the 
way would surely 'be found. 

The sun sank lower and lower, and the feather- 
like fronds of the trees cast longer and longer 
shadows over the beach; still the boys searched 
for that mysterious path. Thirst was added to 
ravenous hunger that increased every minute. 
The long walk through the woods, and later the 
almost continuous exposure to the sun, had 
brought on a longing for water that was getting 
well nigh unbearable. 

" What fools we were not to mark the treea 
where we came out," Kenneth wailed, as they 
dropped down on the sand, worn out, "We 
were so glad to get out of the place that we did 
not think about getting through again." 

" We can't go around," Kenneth said, tliink- 



A TEAR llf A TAWL 

ing aloud; ^ the swamp comes right down to the 
water on all sides of the island but this. I guess 
we have got to stick it out all night, old man." 
Kenneth laid his hand on his friend's shoulder. 

" My, but Fm thirsty! " was the mate's only 
comment 

With the suddenness peculiar to the tropics, 
the sun went down in a blaze of color, and in its 
stead came a cloud of mosquitoes, bloodthirsty 
and poisonous. Without protection of any kind, 
the boys suffered terribly — ^f aces, hands, and feet 
were soon covered with the itching little spots, 
that spread until their whole bodies were covered 
with the bites of the pests. Their thirst in- 
creased until their mouths seemed like dry ovens 
lined with dust and cracked with heat. Hun- 
ger, too, assailed them — ^the hunger of healthy 
appetites long unappeased, gnawing, and weak- 
ening. 

Kenneth gathered some half -green wood from 
the edge of the forest, built a fire, and in the 
dense smoke they sat as long as they could, or 
until they choked. 

Then, in order that one, at least, might rest, 
they took turns in brushing the invading mos- 
quitoes from each other. While one rested, the 
other plied a palm branch ; and so they passed the 
long night— interminable it seemed. 

198 



*4 
♦ 



LOUT ON CAPTIVE ISLAND 

At length the gray dawn began to steal over 
the sea, and the boys, weak with hunger, and al- 
most frantic with parching thirst, thanked God 
for it. They knew that with the appearance of 
the sun the mosquitoes would go, and with the 
hope that " springs eternal," longed to begin the 
Beareh for the path again. 

Soon the heavens were lighted with the glory 
of the sunrise, and the waters, tinged with its 
colors, heaved and tossed like a great surface of 
iridescent molten metal — constantly changing, 
showing new shades that ran into one another, 
dimpled, flamed, and faded. 

Arthur and Kenneth could appreciate the 
beauty of the scene in a dull sort of way only, 
They suffered terribly; the pangs of hunger and 
the tortures of thirst drove all else from their 
minds. 

A plunge in the cool surf, however, freshened 
them up greatly, though it took all their resolu- 
tion to resist the temptation to drink the in- 
tensely salt water. 

As they were about to begin their search 
anew, they noticed a little black dog trotting 
about near the edge of the woods. The boys 
were very much pleased to see the little beast. 
He was frisky and well fed — evidently the pet 
of some household — and the lost ones were 
1Q9 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

glad of even this remote connection with civili- 
zation. 

Kenneth suddenly made an exclamation; he 
tried to whistle also^ but his parched Ups would 
not admit of it 

" IVe got an idea, Art. listen.'^ 

Arthur stopped trying to make friends with 
the little visitor. 

" That dog got here somehow; he must have 
come along some path, and he will know the way 
back. We have got to make him go home, then 
we will follow. See? " 

Arthur did see, and changed his tactics accord- 
ingly. " Go home ! " he shouted. But the dog 
suddenly grew very friendly, wagged his tail, 
and came trotting across the sand towards them. 
It was most exasperating. " Go home ! " both 
shouted at once, and waved their arms menacing. 
The dog evidently thought it some kind of ,a 
game, and he frolicked about as if it was the 
greatest fun imaginable. "It wonH do," mut- 
tered the older boy, and he stooped as if to pick 
up a stone. This was an old game that the dog 
fully understood. Many a time had he chased 
a stick into the water. He danced about and 
barked joyfully. 

"There, you miserable little critter, go 
home! '' Kenneth threw a pebble that struck 

200 



LOUT ON CAPTIVE ISLA^SD 

just before the dog's nose, and he stopped in 
astonishment. Another well-directed stone 
changed his doggie joy and confidence to fear, 
and, lowering his tail, he began to alink towarda 
the woods and the swamp. 

The boys' hearts beat high with hope, though 
they felt ashamed to treat such a friendly little 
beast so unkindly. A well-feigned angry shout 
and threatening gestures were enough to make 
their involuntary friend turn tail and run for 
home. Once started, he ran in earnest, and fear- 
ful that they would lose sight of him before he 
showed the path, the boys rushed after, panting 
and almost fainting with hunger and thirst. 
Once they thought that they had lost their guide, 
and their hearts sank; but, in a minute or two, 
they saw him enter the woods, and they carefully 
marked the place, so that they were able to fol- 
low without trouble. The entrance was a moat 
unlikely place, and they had passed it many 
times, but soon they saw clearly a well-beaten 
path leading through the maze of tree trunks 
and veiling moss. 

With hearts full of thankfulness, they fol- 
lowed along, faint, dizzy, and well-nigh ex- 
hausted, but withal hopeful and happy once 
more. At no great distance they came to a com- 
fortable plantation house, and there in the front 



JL YEAR IV A YAWL 

yard — ^bleesed siglit! — ^was a well with tin dipper 
hanging on the pump box. The water, cool 
and clear, was the most delicious thing that 
they ever tasted, and the remembrance of that 
draught of plain well water will always linger 
with them. As they drank, their canine friend 
eyed them from behind the comer of the house, 
and thou^ they did their best to show their 
gratitude, he mistrusted and would have none 
of them. 

After thanking the good people of the house, 
they went on, and at last reached the landing. 
It took nearly all of their remaining strength to 
row out to the "Gazelle," and though Frank 
pUed them with questions showing the effects of 
his long night of worry, they could hardly an- 
swer him intelligently, until he had strengthened 
them with black coffee and some food. 

As soon as the skipper and mate had recovered 
their strength, they weighed anchor and sailed 
away from the island that had so nearly been the 
scene of their death. 

Down the coast they sped, nearer and nearer 
the long point that divides the Gulf of Mexico 
from the Atlantic Ocean. The boys grew more 
and more impatient as they drew gradually 
nearer to the old ocean. The stops were as brief 
as possible; they merely touched to get fresh 

202 



LOST O-V CAPTIIB ISLAND 

water and buy fruit or necessary food. There 
were no towns of interest to visit — mere clusters 
of fisliermen's huts. 

Cape Romano, that point around which the 
waters of the Gulf continually froth and rage, 
was passed in safety, though the "Gazelle" 
tossed about roughly, and had, for a time, a tussle 
with the seas that tested her thoroughly. 

Now began the trip through that maze of in- 
tricate channels of the Ten Thousand Islands, 
where many a good vessel has been lost — a place 
that was once the refuge of pirates, and even 
now retains the flavor o£ bloodthirsty tales. On 
one of these islands, or keys, the boys landed in 
search of fresh water. After walking a while, 
they came to a snug little cove or inlet, aud were 
surprised to find a graceful sloop anchored cosily 
therein. Prom the cove led a well-boaten path, 
which, Frank and Kenneth following, came to a 
picturesque cottage thatchedwithpalm branches. 
It was weatherbeaten, but looked comfortable. 
A young woman was standing in front, and 
in answer to their polite questions about water 
and the easiest of the many puzzling channels 
■to follow, suggested that they ask " John," 
and pointed with her thumb over her shoulder 
to the open door of the hut. Needing no second 
invitation, their curiosity fully aroused by the 



A YEAR Ilf A YAWL 

strange remoteness of this little home^ they 
stepped on, and looked through the door into the 
larger of the two rooms the house contained. 
There, prone on the floor, stretched on a gray 
rag carpet, lay an old man; his complexion was 
brown, dark, and rich in color as century-old 
mahogany; his thick, white hair — ^bushy and 
plentiful — ^framed a face seamed and lined, but 
keen and full of vigor. The old man stirred at 
the sound of the boys' step, then rose and went 
toward them inquiringly. 

" The young lady said that you knew all about 
the coast, and could tell us the best way to get 
through the islands," Kenneth began. 

" Yes, I do know something of the coast," and 
the old man smiled, as if at a joke too private to 
be told. 

He asked the boys about themselves, and was 
much interested in their tale of pluck and their 
plans for the balance of the cruise. After they 
had finished their recital, he, in his turn, began 
an account of the channels, harbors, shoals, tides, 
and currents, that showed an acquaintance with 
the coast along the Gulf that was indeed marvel- 
lous. His voice was clear and fuU, and he ges- 
tured freely as he talked with the animation of 
a young man. 

Both of the boys instinctively imderstood that 

204 



LOST OS CAPTIVE ISLAND 

there was something extraordinary about him, 
although thev could not tell what it was. 

He expressed a wish to see the boat that had 
been built so far away from the warm clime she 
was now visiting, so the youngsters filled their 
breaker at a spring near the cottage and led the 
way to the beach where they had landed. It was 
quite a long walk, but the old native tramped it 
as sturdily as the young men themselves. The 
*^ Gazelle" lay swinging idly at her anchor; a 
sight to make her owner's heart glad. 

The old man seemed much pleased with the 
yacht, and complimented her builder. Then he 
talked about boats in general, displaying such a 
knowledge of vessels of all kinds that Kenneth's 
curiosity finally overcame him, and he asked if 
their host would not tell him some incident that 
they might put down in the log in remembrance 
of the visit — ^hoping that he might in some way 
reveal his history. 

" Well, boys, how old should you say I am? " 
He looked quizzically from one to the other. 
Frank guessed eighty; Kenneth eighty-five, and 
he was afraid he was stretching it 

^ Well," said he, ^^ my name is John Gomez, 
and if I live till Christmas — as I hope I shall — 
m be a hundred and twenty-three." 

Frank and Kenneth could do nothing but gaze 



it TEAR IN A YAWL 

at him open-mouthed. ^ Holy smoke! '' at last 
ejaculated Frank. 

" Now, there's something to put down in your 
log," said John Gomez. " Gk)od luck to you." 

He shook the hoys' hands with a hearty grip, 
and went off. 

^ Well," said Frank, as he and Kenneth got 
aboard " His Nibs " and pushed off, " a hundred 
and twenty-three, think of it! I bet that old 
chap has a history." 

And he had. 



900 



CHAPTER XII 



FIGHTIH'G A MAN-EATING SHAKE 

It was some time before the boys heard abont 
old John Gomez; but the tales that were current 
from Mobile to Key West would fill a book. Ac- 
cording to one story, he was the only surviving 
member of a pirate crew — one of the many that 
formerly cruised about in the watera of the Gulf 
of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. The crew of 
this ship had a disagreement about the division 
of the spoils, and a great fight followed. All but 
Gomez were slain, and though he waa badly 
wounded, he hid the great treasure which was in 
his hands, and so carefully that no one had ever 
been able to learn its whereabouts. The old 
man had never alluded to the subject; and it was 
feared that his secret might die Avith him. Some 
said that the young woman the boys saw with the 
old man waa a relative, others declared that she 
WB8 merely a guard stationed to secure the secret 
should the centenarian by any chance let it drop 
unawares, Gomez's genera! appearance did not 
«7 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

a little to give credence to these stories; his looks 
were certainly of the piratical order — a lean, sal- 
low face, keen, piercing black eyes, gold rings in 
his ears, and a watchfulness that never 3ed, 
were characteristics which he had in common 
with light-fingered gentlemen of seafaring 
tastes. 

Over a year later, the boys read a newspaper 
clipping describing his death. He was drowned 
while sailing alone in his sloop on the open Gulf. 
But they never heard that any of the treasure 
was ever found. 

For several days the voyagers travelled among 
the Ten Thousand Islands, winding in and out 
through the labyrinthine channels. It was a 
journey full of incident. Islands of every size 
and shape — ^green islands and islands bare of ver- 
dure — crowded the sea. 

A whole week passed, and the boys did not 
see the least sign of a white man. Every vessel 
of sufficient size stood out into the Gulf to avoid 
the winding passages. They ran across several 
Seminole Indians, tall, splendid fellows, who 
considered the coils of bright-colored cloth on 
their heads sufficient covering for the whole 
body. 

At last they sighted Cape Sable, and they 
knew that with a favorable wind the ^^ Gazelle '' 

208 
I 



FIGBTIXG- A MAN-EATllfG SHARE 

would soon be ploughing tlie watera of tlie At- 
lantic Ocean. 

Off Cape Sable tlie " Gazelle " ran into a fleet 
of fishing boats, and for an hour the boya and the 
men of the fishing boata swapped yarns; then 
they busied themselves laying in a stock of cocoa- 
nuts against future need. 

It waa a straight run from Cape Sable to 
Grasay Key, one of the long chain of islands 
which drip off the end of the Florida peninsula. 
At last, only the narrow island lay between the 
" Gazelle " and the Atlantic Ocean. The great 
body of salt water Kenneth and his crew had so 
perseveringly fought to gain was almost in sight, 
and the deeper note of its thundering surf could 
at tirae3 be plainly heard. What might befall 
tliem on the greater tide they knew not,' but with 
undaunted courage all were impatient to ven- 
ture, and to learn. ■ 

The " Gazelle " reached her secure anchorage 
just as the storm, which had been threatening 
several days, broke with terrible fury. Shel- 
tered as they were, the joy of the boys at reach- 
ing the last obstacle to their way to the Atlantic, 
gave place to awe as they heard the roar of the 
wind and felt the shock of the beating aurf on 
the coral shores outside. Tor three days a heavy 
wind prevailed — ^too strong to allow of the " Ga- 



U 



309 



i YEAR IN A YAWL 

zelle " venturing out. In fact, the seaa bad 
been swept free of all craft as if by a gigantic 
broom. Then the boys were forced to live on 
an almost purely vegetable diet of cocoanuts and 
oatmeal — a liberal supply of weeviU in the laat 
constituting the only foreign element in the 
otherwise strictly vegetable nature of the food. 
At the end of the three days, the wind subsided 
enough to allow the yacht to crawl out of her 
hole, and with wings spread wide, she entered 
the dangerous passage that led to the almost 
limitless waste of waters of the grand old ocean. 

It was a proud moment for Kenneth when hia 
yacht sailed out on the broad Atlantic — pride in 
his boat, pride in the crew, and a pardonable 
satisfaction with his oivn good work, 
! "All hail to Old Ocean! " shouted the crew 
aa the " Gazelle," with a shake that was like the 
toss of the head, bounded into the embrace of the 
Atlantic's long billows. 

" Well, we did it! " cried the mate exultingly. 
" Sailed to the ocean." 
1 " And we will sail back, too," added Frank. 

" But we have a trick or two to turn yet." 
Eenneth foresaw experiences before them dur- 
ing the long coast-wise trip. 

The voyage up the Hawk Channel to Miami, 
on Biaeayne Bay, seemed long only because of 



FIOBTINO A MAN-EATISO SBARK 

their short anpply of food; and when they an- 
chored off that southemioost town on fhe main- 
land of Florida, they were ready to tackle any- 
thing in the shape of eatables except oatmeal and 
cocoanuts. 

For many, many days the boys had not been 
able to send word to tteir people in far off Michi- 
gan; nor had they heard from home. At Miami 
a big batch of mail awaited them; and they at 
once eatiafied a hunger for home news and civi- 
lized food. Day by day the boys had added to 
their letters, until Uncle Sam received almost as 
much mail matter as he had brought. 

For two days the Ixtys enjoyed the comfort of 
a safe anchorage in a port, and all hands got a 
good rest, many good feeds, and a good hair-cut 
apiece. When their unkempt shaggy locks were 
ahom, the places protected from the aun showed 
white in contrast to their tanned skins. 

" Arthur, yoti look like Bamom's piebald 
'boy," said Frank, pointing a derisive finger at 
tim, 

" Well, you look as if you needed a good scrub. 
You started all right, apparently, but you must 
have got tired," 

"Every man his own hair brusTi," said Ran- 
som, running liis fingers appreciatively through 
his stiff, closely cropped hair. " If I could only 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

reach my feet with my head I would always 
have a shine." 

" That's all right; you can reach mine," and 
Arthur put up his foot to prove it. 

The fame of the young sailors and their 
staunch craft had preceded them, so they made 
many friends in the far Southern town, and 
spent the days very pleasantly. The place was 
a great shipping point for pineapples — crates of 
the spiky fruit being shipped by the thousands 
to Northern cities; and now, for once in their 
lives, the boys had their fill of them — great, 
juicy, luscious things ripened in their own warm, 
native sun. 

In spite of all these enticements, Kenneth and 
his crew were eager to begin their long cruise up 
the coast, and in spite, also, of many invitations 
to stay, they weighed anchor and got under way 
the second day after they had entered the famous 
harbor. The bay, though large, was full of bars, 
and these and great masses of seaweed made it 
difficult to keep to the deep water. 

A fine breeze was blowing, and the " Gazelle," 
her booms well to port, sailed off handsomely. 
Her crew, rested, well fed, and at peace with all, 
were in high spirits, and proud of the fine appear- 
ance their yacht m'ade. Kenneth at the stick, 
Frank tending sheets, Arthur below making all 

212 



FIOilTlNU A MAA-fATiyo i^'HARK 

snug for the coming tussle with old ocean — all 
were in high feather. The " Gazelle " waa sail- 
ing her best, skimming over the water at good 
speed, like a graceful gull, when suddenly she 
struck bottom, and stopped with a jar. There 
she stuck, all sail spread and everystiteh drawing, 
but as hard on the bar as though she had heen 
rooted to it. This was too common an experi- 
ence to give the boys any uneasiness, hut the de- 
lay was vexatious, and they tried every means 
t/hat experience suggested to shove her into deep 
water. The tide was falHng, and they soon saw 
that there was nothing to do but wait until it 
changed to flood, and released them. A long 
day of waiting waa before them, and since with 
the falling water the yacht careened more and 
more, there was no comfort in staying aboard of 
her. 

" What's the matter with a swim! " Frank Bug- 



" I'll beat you in," Kenneth responded. 

In a trice, all three were overboard. 

Farther on the bar was entirely bare, and a 
smooth, hard sand beach was left. One side 
sloped suddenly into deep water, and made a 
splendid diving place. 

For an hour, the three swam in the warm salt 
sea, and then Ken and Arthur, growing a little 



A TEAR /.V ± yilVZ, 

weary of the sport, went on shore and lay bask- 
ing on the beach. Frank, however, not satisfied, 
continued to float about. 

Arthur and Kenneth talked comfortably for 
some time, then, becoming interested, fell into a 
lively discussion, which Arthur suddenly inter- 
rupted with, " Why, look at Frank. What in 
the world is the matter with Mm? " 

" Oh, he's just fooling. Splashing around for 
exercise," Kenneth answered indifferently. 

It was Frank's peculiar motions that had at- 
tracted Arthur's attention. He swam around in 
circles, then he stopped and splashed and made 
a great to-do. After that, he swam ahead for a 
little, only to stop and begin all over again hia 
previous absurd tactics. 

" He's not fooling. Ken; something ia the mat- 
ter with him. Perhaps he has got cramp." Just 
as Arthur stopped speaking, Frank seemed to re- 
gain his senses, and swam straight ahead in an 
entirely rational and dignified, if somewhat 
speedy, fashion. 

Then, all of a sudden, he began to lash about 
with arms and legs anew. Hia feet and hands 
flew ahout like flails, and beat the water into 
white foamy lather. The two boys watched the 
antics of their friend with growing alarm. All 
at once they saw something that stirred them to 



FiauTixa A HA:i-E4.TiNa hhark 

instant action — the sharp triangle of a shark's fin 
cutting through the water juat behind Frank's 
wildly waving arms. 

The water was delightful, and Frank was not 
ready to come in when Arthur and Kenneth had 
had enough, so he dived over and swam outwhere 
the tide was several times over his head. Once 
he dived down and tried to reach bottom, and, as 
he rose toward the surface, his heart laboring for 
air, his face turned up, he saw a sinister shadow 
slowly swaying in the yellowish-green water al- 
most above him. For an instant his heart sank, 
and cold chills ran up and down his spine. Never 
had he seen so large a Shark, and for a moment 
he almost lost his presence of mind. Then, with 
a rush, his courage returned, and working arms 
and legs with frantic zeal, he shot up to the sur- 
face, and began splashing ahout to frighten the 
shark off — a plan that he had heard was some- 
times successful. For a while the man-eater, sur- 
prised by these tactics, was held at bay, then, as 
Frank grew weary of his efforts and stopped to 
rest, the monster drew slowly nearer, and began 
to turn on his back to allow his long, under-cut 
jaw to work. 

" He'U have me in a minute," thought Frank. 

and he began a new movement — turning sud- 

213 



A reAB tif A YAWL 

denly, he swam straight for the sharky arms and 
legs going like miniature paddle-wheels. It was 
a bold move, and life or death depended on its 
success or failure. Straight at the ugly^ cruel 
head he swam, and directly away from shore. 
For a moment the shark lay still, its fins slowly 
waving, its evil eye watching its enemy; the 
curved line of the wicked mouth was partly vis- 
ible. Nearer swam the boy. Nearer, till he 
could almost feel the current set in motion from 
those powerful fins. "I am a goner, sure," 
thought Frank; but he determined to play the 
game out to the end, and kept on. Where were 
Kenneth and Arthur? Why did they not come 
to his rescue? he wondered, with a fearful dread 
at his heart. 

Surely the shark was backing away from his 
onslaught. In spite of aching limbs and labor- 
ing lungs, the boy increased his efforts, and fol- 
lowed after the retreating tiger of the sea. He 
had been struggling for a long time, and his 
whole body ached with the exertion; he felt that 
he could not keep up much longer. Once, when 
his mouth was open, gasping for breath, he had 
splashed it full of water, and had had to stop a 
minute to cough it out. His heart was beating 
like a trip hammer, and each move seemed to 
take the last ounce of his strength. 

216 



FIGHTWa A MAN-EATIXG SHARK 

The boy felt that lie must give up, and won- 
dered vaguely if a shark made quick work of a 
chap, and what his people at home would think of 
hia end. Just as he seemed at the very last gasp, 
he felt the clutch of Kenneth's hand on his hair, 
and the firm grip warm on hia bare arm. 

Then, half dead witii fatigue and dazed with 
horror, the limp figure was dragged into the 
small boat by Kenneth's sturdy anna. 

Feebly, the exhausted boy was able to say: 
" You came in the nick of time, oM man; I could 
not have lasted much longer." 

Kenneth answered not a word, but thought 
with a shudder of how close he had come to mis- 
taking his friend's frantic movements for playful 
antics. He reached out his hand and grasjied 
the other's fervently — it was a grip of thankful- 
ness and affection on both sides. 

Though Frank's escape was narrow, the re- 
covery of hia high spirits was almost immediate, 
and soon the three friends were running races on 
the exposed sand bar as if one of them had never 
been in peril of his life, let alone a short hour 
before. 

"With the returning tide, the " Gazelle " 
atraightened up, and after a few strong pulls on 
the anchor, which had been previously dropped 
for that purpose, she slipped off into deep water. 



A TEAR IX A YAWL 

It was still early afternoon, so with an eased sheet 
and light hearts the ^ Gtizelle " and her gallant 
crew passed through the channel, out on the open 
ocean. 

^Look at that old lighthouse; that's a fine 
tower, but I don't see any signs of a lantern." 
Frank pointed to a tall shaft like a great chimney 
that rose from a cluster of palm trees. The yacht 
was slipping past the long point that forms one 
of the barriers between the ocean and Biscayne 
Bay. 

" That must be the old Cape Florida light a 
fellow in Miami told me about/' said Ransom, 
gazing at the tall, graceful tower that pierced 
the blue. 

" That tower has a story to tell. This place 
was full of Indians, I don't know how long ago, 
and the lighthouse keeper and his assistant, a 
colored man, were in mortal terror of them. 
They thought, however, that they had a safe re- 
fuge, if worse came to worse, in the tower. One 
day a big bunch of the red savages came up and, 
after shooting a while at the men in the keeper's 
house, set it afire. To save themselves from 
being roasted alive, the two men took refuge in 
the lighthouse itself and climbed up the long, 
winding flights of wooden stairs to the lantern 
room on top. For a time it seemed as if they 

218 



FIGHTING- A MAN EATISG SHARK 

were safe, but the ingenious devils soon hit upon 
the plan of setting fire to the stairs and platforms 
inside the tower. The door open at the bottom 
and top, the lighthouse became a veritable chim- 
ney, and the flames licked up the dry woodwork 
in a flash." 

" Gracious! "What happened to the men? " 
Prank interrupted Kenneth to aak. 

"When it got too hot inside," Ransom con- 
tinued, " and when the platf onn they were stand- 
ing on inside began to smoke, they climbed out 
on that narrow little run-around outside ; you can 
see it from here." 

The skipper pointed to the tower and the little 
balcony running round it near the top. 

" Phew I That would be an unpleasant place 
to stay with a fire burning in the tower inside and 
a lot of savages looking for your gore hanging 
'round waiting for you to drop oflt." 

" But they didn't drop off," Kenneth went on 
to say. " They stuck to the little balcony till 
the Indians got tired waiting and began shooting 
at them with their bows and arrows. The men 
lay fiat on the boards, as close to the bricks as 
they could get, but before long the assistant got 
an arrow through his heart and the keeper him- 
self was shot in the shoulder. The Indiana, 
thinking that both were done for, went away, 



H 7EjLR m A TAWL 

leaving the wounded man with the dead one, 
high up on a lonely tower, the only means of 
reaching the ground burned away, without food, 
and entirely without shelter." 

" Did he die up there ? " both of the other boys 
inquired at once. 

" Almost, but not quite. Some of the settlers 
near, fearing trouble, followed the Indians in 
force, and a daring chap climbed up the charred 
stumps of the supports inside the tower, and low- 
ered the body of the negro and the almost lifeless 
keeper to the ground." 

"What a story!" Frank shuddered as he 
looked at the tall shaft. 

"But it's true. The place has never been 
used since. See, there's no sign of life there." 

The boys watched the tower till it sank below 
the curve of the earth, and for a long time sat 
silent, thinking of the keeper's awful plight. 

Kounding Cape Florida, the yacht sailed north 
along the treacherous East Coast of Florida. With 
scarcely any harbor and a strong sea beatingstead- 
ily on shore, the boys watched with dread for the 
" glistening calm," when the wind dies out sud- 
denly, leaving a heavy sea setting in to shore. 
But luck was with th^n, and three days after 
leaving Biscayne Bay they had reached St. 
Lucie's inlet to Indian Eiver, and were standing 

220 



FIOHTING A MANEATiya SHARK 

off and on before the thundering breakers that 
guarded the pass to the calm water beyond. 

On the chart, laid out in beautiful lines, clear 
figures, and delicate shadings, the course through 
those raging billows was plain enough to the 
haven beyond; but the real look of the place was 
very different. 

" WelUboys, shall we do it?" Kenneth's mind 
was already made up, but he wanted the con- 
firmation of his friends. " It's win out or bust, 
you know." 

" The chart says that there's water enough. I 
am willing to risk it." Pluck was Frank's long 
suit, that was sure. 

" "Water enough? I should say so." Arthur 
gazed at the spouting breakers, which stormed 
the beach like ranks of white-plumed warriors. 
" I am game, if Ken says so." 

For answer, Kenneth shifted the helm and 
headed straight for the seething breakers. 

Arthur went forward and clung to the rigging 
to watch for the channel marks, while Frank lay 
aft with the skipper to tend sheets and be handy 
for any emergency. The hatches were closed 
tight and all movable gear ^shed down. 

Like a war horse eager for the fray, the " Ga- 
zelle " dashed for the first line of tumbling 
watery breastworks. Rising like a gull on the 

m 



i 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

uplift of the first wave, she topped it and swung 
down into its trough and then up the slope of the 
next. Straight as an arrow, steady and sure as 
the sweep of a true wind, the yacht slipped over 
the white crests of the great waves one after the 
other, on through the narrow, troubled waters of 
the inlet, to the calmer waters of Indian River, 

" Say, that was just great,'^ was Frank's honest 
compliment to the boat's performance. "I'd 
like to do that again." The faces of all three 
were damp from the salt spray and shining with 
exhilaration and enthusiasm. 

As Kenneth was about to drop his anchor, his 
eye caught sight of a queer-looking craft that 
was gKding over the smooth water in the rapidly- 
deepening dusk. 

"Let's travel along with our friend over 
there," he said, pointing to the strange vessel. 
" She may be able to give us some pointers about 
this creek." 

The " Gazelle " was the faster sailer, and had 
just about come abeam of the stranger, when 
they heard her anchor go overboard. The yawl's 
mud-hook immediately followed suit. While 
Frank was getting the supper, the skipper and 
his mate rowed over to what proved to be a broad- 
beamed sharpie. After hailing, the boys were 
invited to come aboard by the one person visible. 

223 



FlallTIXG A MAX-EATINO S3ARK 

Climbing a ladder thrown over her square sides, 
the two found themaelves in a very comfortable 
cabin lined with shelves, on which were ranged, 
in orderly rows, the stock of a well-appointed 
grocery store. 

The skipper-proprietor was a jovial fellow,hav- 
ing the characteristics of both of his trades — the 
trader's Yankee shrewdness and love of gossip, 
combined with the open, hearty, yarn-spinning 
qualities of the sailor. He gave Ransom and 
his friend many useful hints about navigating 
Indian Eiver, with every ahoal and indentation 
of which he was familiar, and ended by selling 
them quite a stock of provisions. " Combining 
buflineas with pleasure," he said, as he handed 
Arthur the packages — ^flour, salt, sugar, and 



Next morning, the two boats travelled along 
in company for a time, then, as the sailor-grocery 
man stopped to solicit a customer ashore, the 
" Gazelle " sped on alone. 

Sailing along the queer, elongated, inland bay- 
like river was not an unmixed pleasure. A para- 
dise for fishermen it was; also the haunt of mos- 
quitoes that were provided with bills long and 
strong enough to " pierce anything and clinch 
on the other side." The crew was compelled 
to live in the amoke of turning, half-dried cocoa- 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

nut husks at times; but when the captain could 
stand this no longer, he resorted to an invention 
of his own. Wrapping himself in a blanket up 
to his neck, Kenneth stuck his head into a large 
tin cracker box which he had pierced full of holes 
and draped with cheese cloth. Though it was 
like a continuous Turkish bath in the tropical 
weather, the skipper declared that it was better 
to steam than to be eaten alive. 

To compel yachtsmen to make use of their ser- 
vices, the watermen were in the habit of destroy- 
ing the channel marks, so our sailors spent much 
time sounding out the deep water — a task which 
the hot sun and the voracious mosquitoes made 
far from pleasant. 

Mosquito Lagoon is reached from Indian 
River by what is called Haul Over Canal, once 
in good repair, but when the " Gazelle " nosed 
her way to it she found that it was half filled with 
sand, and too shallow to allow her to pass 
through. 

It was a question whether they would retrace 
their steps or dredge a deeper channel through 
the sixty-foot-wide l^ar to the short cut. 

The discovery of the old blade of a cultivator 
among the junk of the ballast helped the boys to 
decide in favor of dredging a channel. For two 
days they worked waist deep in the water, the 



FiaBTlS'O A MAN-EATIXG SUARE 

hot Bun beating on their backs and necks, the 
mosquitoes humming a merry tune in their ears, 
and the stinging " aea nettles," or jelly fish, irri- 
tating the akin of arms and legs. Added to these 
discomforts was the constant danger of being 
stung by the " atingaree," whose slightest touch 
means a poisoned wound and sometimes feaifiil 
suffering and death. 

But the " Haul Over " was completed at 
length, and the crew shouted themselves hoarse 
when the " Gazelle " floated in the deep water 
of Mosquito Lagoon. 

Game of all sort abounded In the lagoon. The 
waters teemed with brilliantly hued fish. Her- 
ons and flamingoes were frequently seen Stalking 
about at a distance in their ridiculous disjoint- 
edly dignified fashion, while pelicans, their huge 
pouches distended with fish, were everywhere. 

After leaving New Smyrna, which claims to 
be the oldest town in the Foiled States, and 
proudly shows au old mission to substantiate it, 
the yacht reached the outlet to the ocean. An 
ugly place, through which the water rushed in 
never-ceasing fury. Jagged rocks fretted the 
water into foam in every direction; and blocking 
the channel at one side, lay the boiler of a 
wrecked steamboat; beyond, the breakers roared 
as if hungry for their prey. 



IS 



S35 



JL YEAR IN A 7AWL 

On the morning of the Fourth of July, the 
^ Gazelle " slowly approached the inlet, while 
her crew prepared for the struggle. With every- 
thing snug, rigging as taut as the nerves of the 
skipper and his crew, the gallant little ship swept 
to the battle. 



*^26 



CHAPTER Xin 



A THBILLING FOUKTH OF JULY CELEBRATION 



With everything drawing, the " Gazelle ' 
rounded the point which had obscured the view 
of the inlet, and then her crew got the first clear 
sight of the danger they were so aoon to en- 
counter. There flowed the atrip of water con- 
necting lagoon with ocean, running out to the 
parent sea like a mill race; for the tide was on the 
ebb. When the raeing current and the incom- 
ing breakers met, there was a crash that could be 
heard an incredible distance; spray was hurled 
high in air, and the watery foes seemed to dash 
each other to vapor! To the left of the channel 
was tlie black dome of the boiler of a wrecked 
boat, blocking half the passage. 

Right through this must the '• Gazelle " go. 
Could she get past the huge obstructing cylinder 
of iron? Would she live to get through those 
terrifying, battling seas? These questions each 
boy asked himself as the yacht, answering her 
helm, readily pointed her bowsprit straight for 



1 YEAR IN 1 YAWL 

the opening. With " Old Glory *' flapping at the 
peak in honor of Independence Day, she flew 
swiftly on. A good breeze was blowing, aind, 
aided by the swift ebb tide, the good boat was 
soon in the midst of the fray. On they sped, 
with wind and tide aiding, the " Gazelle " sim- 
ply flying until she was well on her way in the 
vortex of the racing chute. Just before loomed 
the huge round dome of the boiler, and the 
breakers warred beyond. All was going well, 
when suddenly the wind failed, and Kenneth, 
looking up to note the cause, saw a great sand- 
dune that rose a barrier to the friendly breeze. 
The yacht, carried by the tide alone, moved on 
until she reached the first roller, which struck 
her fairly forward, twisting her around so that 
she rolled in the trough of the sea. 

The boys realized that if help did mot come 
immediately, they were doomed to destruction, 
either by beingdas-hed to pieces against the boiler, 
or by being carried broadside into iJhe breakers 
and then being hammered to fragments. With no 
wind to give steerage way, they were utterly help- 
less. Nearer and nearer the yacht drifted, nearer 
to encounter the two perils. The national ensign 
hung at the peak limp and dispirited; and Ken- 
neth, watching it. to see if some stray breeze 
might not straighten out its drooping stripes, 

228 



^-J TBRlLLim FOCRTB OP JtJLT CELEBRATION 

wondered if their luck had failed them at last. 
All was done that could be done — the three 
youngsters were in the 'hands of Providence; and 
the skipper watched " Old Glory," dimly feeling 
that it was a sort of talisman that would bring 
rescue. 

Nearer and nearer they drifted to the great 

I iron dome; louder and louder sounded the surf. 
Then, a miracle! The flag moved as if stirred 
by an invisible band, the outer corner flapped, 
the stripes straightened out, and the blue field of 
the jack stood flat— the succoring breeze had 
eomel It was close work, but the "Gazelle" 
might yet be saved. If she could be got about in 
time she would just scrape the boiler and take 
the breakers head on. 

With a warning cry to Arthur, who stood for- 
ward, Kenneth threw the helm hard over, and 
the mate let go the jib. Swift and light as a 

t dancer the good boat spun about, filled, and 
streaked off on t!ie other tack. Just clearing the 
boiler, ahe headed into the combing waves that 
rose high against the blue sky. For an instant 
she struggled against the rush of flying spume, 
'her canvas drawing bravely; then she forged on, 
breasting the hill of water. For another instant 
she was enveloped in foam, then shaking herself 
free she dashed into the next, and ao on to safety. 



H 7EAR IN A VAWL 

Though drenohed from ma£(thead down^ she rode 
the greai seas to the rolling billows of outer 
ocean, and " Old Glory '^ snapped triumphantly 
at the peak. 

Beyond the breakers all was plain sailing. 
The rollers were high and long, but the great 
hill-like slopes were gradual, and the " Quzelle " 
coasted up and down them with a lightness and 
ease that suggested wings. 

" Why don't we celebrate ? " said Frank in an 
aggrieved tone. 

Three rousing cheers and a tiger rang out in 
response, and several rounds were fired from the 
ship'fi miniature dannon, which made up in fuss 
what it lacked in feathers. 

It was good to be sailing on the broad Atlantic, 
where the sand-bars ceased to trouble and the 
mosquito did not exist. The water traversed was 
constantly ohanging. Inland sound succeeded 
open gulf, and boundless ocean followed inland 
waters. There was no danger of monotony, for 
the problems of navigation were constantly aris- 
ing to the young navigators. Hour after hour 
the yacht sailed along, rising and falling on the 
swinging sea. The land was a mere irregular 
line on the horizon, which disappeared now and 
then as a rising hill of water hid it from the 

sight of the crew. 

230 



A TBRILLING FOUBfS OF JULY OELEBRATWS 

Aa tlie aun aank over the distant land, the 
clouds arose until they formed a black mass that 
shut out the light and east a heavy gloom over 
all. 

" We're in for the usual T"ourth of July storm, 
I guess." The captain looked rather anxiously 
at the gathering clouds. 

" Can we make harbor before it strikes U3? " 
Arthur inquired. 

" We'll try it," Kenneth answered, and auit- 
ing the action to the word, he eased his aheeta 
and headed directly for shore. 

The force of the wind increased as they drew 
nearer the shore; they were flying along in com- 
pany with the scraps of water snatched from the 
wave crests. The clouds grew bea^'ier and more 
, dense, and the light fainter and fainter, until the 
, boys could no longer make out the marks leading 
I to harbor. 

For a few minutes Kenneth held on the same 
eouree; then, as the light grew dimmer and dim- 
mer, and the wind gathered weight every min- 
ute, he wondered whether it would be possible to 
make hai'hor. 

"We'll be on shore in a minute, and I can 

• hardly make out that point now," the skipper said 

' aa he looked long into the gloom. " I would 

rather be out at sea than near an unknown coast 



A TBAJt Ilr A tAWL 

with an on-shore gale like this blowing; are you 
with me, boys? " 

" Sure ! '' Arthur and Frank answered to- 
gether in a single breath. 

The " Gazelle^s '' helm was put down and she 
started in her fight to windward. !N'ot until they 
faced the wind did the boys realize how hard 
it was blowing; the spray dashed into their faces 
cut like knives, and the roaring was almost 
deafening. Slowly but steadily the " Gazelle " 
thrust her way into the wind and away from the 
thundering breakers. Soon heaven's pyrotech- 
nics began, and the boys on their wee chip of a 
boat, on an ocean dashed to foam, were treated 
to an exhibition of fireworks that threw into the 
shade all the poor efforts of man to do honor to 
the nation's birthday. It was rather terrifying, 
but when the thunder ceased and the rain 
stopped, the air had such a clean^ washed smell, 
that the boys were glad to be out in it, though all 
hands were wet to the skin and the yacht's sails 
dripped like trees after a heavy rainfall. It was 
late when harbor was made, and all hands were 
glad enough when things were ship-shape and 
they could turn in for the night, declaring, each 
one, from captain to cook, that the Fourth had 
been fitly celebrated. 

A few days later, the " Gazelle " anchored off 



I 



A TBRILLIKG FOURTH OF JULY CELEBSATIOK 

St. Augustine, that ancient city of tlie Spaniards, 
and modem winter resort. Now it was deserted 
ty its Northern visitors, but it still hummed 
in a subdued sort of way, uuexcited by the 
hope of Xorthern dollars. Kenneth and his 
frienda found that even in summer the habit 
of charging three prices still clung to the 
people of the town, so they made liaste to get 
away. 

Straight out to sea the young mariners went, 
planning to make port at Fernandina, nearly on 
the line dividing Georgia and Florida. It was a 
longer run than the captain had anticipated, and 
it was nearly dark when they came near to " the 
haven where they would be." 

" "What do you say, boys," Kenneth inquired 
of his companions; " shall we try for it? " 

" It is getting pretty dark," suggested Frank. 
"Can't see the buoys marking the channel." 

" That's right; look at the glass. Art." 

" Going down like thunder/' reported the 
mate emphatically, 

" let's try for it," said Arthur. 

" I'd rather be in harbor if we are going to 
have another Fourth of July storm," Frank sug- 
gested, changing his ground. 

" "Well, I'm sorry to go against the judgment 

pi you fellows, but I think that we had better 

203 



A. TEAR IV A 7 AWL 

Btay outride than run up against a lot of shoals 
in the dark we know nothing about" 

The captain pronounced his opinion with an 
air of one who has considered the subject and 
bas finally made up his mind. 

Though the other two disagreed with Ken- 
neth, they had long ago realized that there must 
be a head to an expedition like this, and they 
were wilUng to abide by the skipper's judgment. 

" All right, old man," Frank repUed. " ShaU 
I hang out the side lights? " 

" Please. Light up the drug store." Frank 
winced at this ancient joke, and went below to 
fill and trim the red and green lights. 

The little thirty-foot yacht, with her precious 
freight, continued her course out to sea in spite 
of the falling barometer and the almost absolute 
surety of a storm to come. It was surely a bold 
thing to do — many a skipper of a larger craft 
would have hesitated before going out upon the 
open ocean in the face of a storm at night, when 
harbor was so close at hand. But Kenneth had 
absolute confidence in the vessel he had so 
thorou^ly tested and in the courage of his tried 
and true companions. 

Not till midnight did the storm reach its 
height; then the " rains descended, and the floods 
came." The wind blew a fearful gale, and the 

334 



A. THSILLINO FOURTH OF JULY CBLEBElTlOti 

' pitchy blaeknesa, rent at times by vivid lightning, 
closed in around the tossing yacht like a mighty 
hand. 

Only those who have passed through one of 
the sudden storms which arise so frequently in 
those waters can form any idea of its vicious 
fury. The wind shrieked, the waves increased 
in power and volume, until the " Gazelle " sank 
out of sight behind them, or was raised to a dizzy 
pinnacle from which she coasted down, her bow- 
sprit pointing almost directly to the bottom. 
The wind-driven rain cut so that it was impoa- 
eible to face it; and though the boya were clad in 
oilskins, from closely tied sou'weaters to bare 
ankles, the wet penetrated the seams, ran down 
their necks, and drenched them through and 
through. All hands were on watch that night; 
the hatches were battened down tight. They 
tried their best to keep to windward, but the 
tossing of the boat shook them round the narrow 
cockpit like dice in a box. Conversation was im- 
possible; the wind snatched the words from their 
mouths and carried them out of hearing in- 
stantly. All was dark except for the fitful flash 
of lightning and the dim radiance of the bin- 
nacle lamp in Eenneth's face as he swayed over 
it to watch his course. 

One, two, three hours passed, and the fury of 



the Storm increased. It was a terrible strain on 
the young mariners, and each wondered in his 
inmost heart if they would come out of it alive. 
Somehow, they did not quite believe they would. 
Battered and bruised, wet, chilled, and utterly 
weary of buffeting with wave and wind, they 
clinched their teeth and by sheer force of will 
kept up their courage. 

"What's that?" Kenneth's voice sounded 
weak and far off, but the accent was sharp and 
anxious for all that, and unmistakable. 

There was a sharp crack that the three heard 
clearly above the howling wind and snarling sea. 
Something had parted, some vital part had given 
way. The " Gazelle " sailed less surely, she 
staggered up the steep sea slopes more heavily. 
Anxiously the three boys looked forward, up- 
ward, all around to find the cause; they dared 
not stand up to investigate, they could only look 
and long for a lightning flash to reveal the 
damage. 

" There, look! " Frank sliouted, and rose half 
way to his feet, only to be dashed violently to the 
deck again. 

A flash showed that the main gaff had broken 
in the middle, and was flapping heavily against 
the stout canvas of the mainsail. 

The three boys stared at each other question- 

286 



A THRILLINO FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIOS. 

ingly, though only an occasional flash o£ light- 
ning revealed their faces. Each knew that some- 
thing must be done — that unlesa the mainsail was 
lowered very soon it wonld be torn to tatters by 
the jagged ends of the broken gaff; or the broken 
spar banging around with the awaying of the 
yacht might injure some of the standing rigging 
and weaken the mainmast stays. 

The tempest had not abated in the slightest, 
the wind still roared a gale, and the rain came 
down in a steady flood; the " sea rose mountains 
high." 

" Take the stick, Arthur." Kenneth made a 
funnel of his hands and roared to the mate. He 
had conceived a plan to reach the halliards at the 
foot of the mast and lower the broken stick. Haz- 
ardous as the plan was, it must he done. 

Kenneth tied a stout line around his body, 
and, taking a turn round a cleat close to the 
companionway, he gave the end to Frank. 

" Pay out slowly, but be sure you keep a turn 
so that if I should go overboard you'd have me^ — ■ 
flee? " Kenneth shouted in his friend's ear. The 
other answered that he understood, and grasped 
the skipper's arm a second, a token of devotion 
and confidence that had a world of meaning in it. 

Crasping the windward rail that ran round the 
[ roof of the cabin, Kenneth, flat on hia face, be- 
gs? 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

gan the perilous joumey. It was scarcely fifteen 
feet, a mere step, but a journey to the North 
Pole could have hardly been more dangeroua. 
Crawling, creeping, rolling, the boy painfully 
made his way along. Frequently he was 
drenched with water and had 1 hold on to the 
Blender rail with might and main. The wind 
beat the rain in hia face; the motion of the yacht 
wrenched at bis hands as if trying to make him 
let go; the broken gaff slatted and slapped over 
hia head, threatening to fall and knock him 
senseless. At length the plucky boy reached the 
mast, and shouting to Frank to let go the line, 
lashed himself securely to it. Arthur brought 
the boat up into the wind for a moment, though 
there was imminent danger of being swamped, 
while Kenneth let go the halliards and the main- 
sail came down with a run. Frank sheeted home 
the lowered boom, making it solid in its fore and 
aft position. Then came the hardest part of aU 
— furling the mainsail. How it was done Ken- 
neth could scarcely tell. He came within an ace 
of being dashed overboard twenty times; but he 
escaped at last to reach the cockpit, safe but 
utterly exhausted. " The Gazelle," under head 
Bails and jigger only, rode out the gale. Dawn 
showed the atorm-wom boys the entrance to a 
safe harbor, into which they thankfully crept, 



i TBEILLING FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION 

and for half the day they slept the deep, dream- 
less sleep of utter weariness. 

Six days later the " Gazelle " sailed into the 
harbor of Savannah, Kenneth having repaired 
the gaff in the meantime. She had little of the 
look of a boat that had passed through a storm 
which would have been serious for a vessel five 
times her size. Her crew, however, showed the 
effect of the battle with the elements; their 
white working suiis were decidedly dingy, and 
the white rubber-soled shoes they wore were 
Borely in need of pipe-clay. 

The harbor of Savannah was full of veasels of 
all sorts and conditions — schoonera, two, three, 
and four masters; trim coastwise steamers, and a 
migratory " tramp " or two. Kenneth took ad- 
vantage of the day to examine as closely as pos- 
sible the lines and construction of the boats in 
harbor, and so added to the store of information 
which he had come so far to find. 

The morning of the " Gazelle's " departure for 
waters new an English tramp churned out of the 
harbor. As she went past the yacht, Kenneth 
and Arthur, who were on deck, noticed a man 
working far aft, coiling down some lines. Sud- 
denly the man dropped his work, leaped the rail, 
and, with arms high in air, jumped into the seeth- 
ing water. Arthur, who was nearest, jumped in- 



A. TEAR IN A YAWL 

to " His Nibs," cast loose the painter, and rowed 
frantically to the place where the man had dis- 
appeared; but before he could reach the spot he 
had risen, waved his arms, and sank again. It 
was hardly a minute before the sailor came up 
once more, but to the anxious boys it seemed 
hours. He rose within easy reach of the boat, 
and grasped it with a fervor that dispelled the 
idea of suicide at once. Arthur helped him in 
and rowed him over to the dock, where a burly 
policeman arrested him for attempted suicide. 
The rescued man looked out across the harbor 
and saw his ship steaming off without him, and 
seemed glad to be within the clutch of the law. 
The Englishman, for so he proved to be, had 
been so attracted by the American seaport, that 
he had taken the risk of drowning for the sake 
of reaching " the land of the brave and the home 
of the free." 

Full of watermelon and in high glee, the 
young sailormen in their trim little ship weighed 
anchor, sailed down the Savannah River, and out 
on the broad Atlantic on the way to Charleston, 
South Carolina. 

Two days after leaving Savannah the "Ga- 
zelle " dropped anchor off Charleston, and for 
forty-eight hours the boys went from place to 
place in the fine harbor, visiting the various 

240 



» 



A THRILLING ^FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION 

points of interest. Fort Sumter, into which the 
first shot of the Civil War was fired, stood peace- 
fully on its island — deserted, a mere relic of for- 
mer greatness. The yacht took shelter behind it 
when a sharp squall came up as she was starting 
out on her next run northward. 

It was the season of squalls, apparently, for 
they had hardly been twenty-four hours out 
from Charleston, when Kenneth, observing the 
mercury of the barometer dropping rapidly, put 
in to the nearest harbor. Bull Bay, to avoid a 
Btormy nigh't at sea. Instead of a storm, how- 
ever, the wind fell flat, and for two days the 
yacht was unable to get out. 

The harbor was a beautiful one; but the lack 
of wind and a blazing sun made life aboard al- 
most unendurable. 

" I'd give a farm for an icecream soda," said 
Arthur wearily. 

Just then Frank came from below. " I heard 
you fellows say that it was too hot to eat; it's 
lucky you feel so, for the larder is about empty." 
Frank had been looking for the wherewithal to 
get supper. 

" You don't mean to say that you haven't any- 
thing to eat? " said Kenneth and the mate al- 
most together- — their appetites suddenly return- 
ing with lamentable strength. 
18 241 



A YEAR JS A YAWL 

" I've got some beans." 

" What's the matter with beans? " Arthur 
appeared relieved. 

A movable oil stove with a makeshift top was 
rigged on deck, in order to give the cabin a 
chance to cool, and a pot containing the precious 
beans waa set over to cook. 

"While the skipper and Frank went a^ore to 
explore, Arthur stayed aboard to keep company 
■with the beans. The two iound what Frank de- 
clared to be bear tracks, and for some distance 
thej followed them; but Bruin did not show him- 
self. Returning to the jacht, they found Arthur 
still brooding over the beans, and since there waa 
scarcely anything else to do, the three boys sat 
under the awning rigged over the main boom, 
and did their best to keep the pot from boiling by 
persistent watching. 

It wa3 getting near seven o'clock, and the boya 
were already wishing that the beans were done, 
when they saw a little steamboat coming up the 
bay. She looked familiar, and aa she came near, 
all three boys watched to see if they knew her. 
At length she drew abeam, and they read her 
name on the paddle-box. A St, Augustine boat 
on her way to Washington. The yacht and the 
steamboat had left together, and the yacht had 
reached Bull Bay two days ahead. The boat 
2^ 



-1 TBRlLLIXa FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION 

went on her way, and the boys were congratu- 
lating themselves on their good speed, when tlie 
awells from the steamboat began to come rolling 
in. The " Gazelle " commenced to away. " The 
beans," cried Arthur, and reached for the handle 
of the pot. Alas, too late! the thing tottered and 
fell overboard, and Arthur, thinking of nothing 
but the precious food about to be lost, reached 
far out after it. A big roller coming in at that 
precise instant tipped him over, too, and be went 
head firet right into the pot full of beans that 
had not yet had time to sink. 

Arthur rose to the surface the sorriest looking 
creature that a mere human being could ever 
manage to be. His hair was plastered with beans, 
his face framed with them, and the expression 
on his countenance was woebegone in propor- 
tion to the unpleasantness of his predicament. 
Frank and Kenneth roared with laughter, but 
Arthur, probably not having the same sense of 
humor under the circumstances, did not see the 
joke, and the annoyance on his dismal, bean- 
beplastered face added greatly to their mirth. 

Supplies must be procured at once, somehow, 
Bomewhere, or the crew would be in danger of 
starving to dcatJi : so the young sailors took ad- 
vantage of the rising wind to get out of Bull 
Bay and continue their journey. 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

The weather conditions were of the best when 
Kenneth and Arthur turned in, so Frank took 
the hebn alone. The pale gleam of the starlit 
sky served but to emphasize the darkness, and 
Frank, steering far out to sea to avoid the long 
bar of Oape Remain, found it hard to keep awake. 
It was very late at night, and Arthur and Ken- 
neth were below, sleeping soundly, when lihey 
were both awakened by a loud cry from Frank. 

Kenneth rushed on deck just as the "Gazelle'^ 
rose on the crest of a great breaker. 

" Put her about," he shouted. " We^re going 
ashore. Quick! " 

Frank put the tiller hard over, and the yacht, 
responding, spun round, the boom came over 
swiftly, and, taking Kenneth unawares, knocked 
him overboard. 

^^ Arthur! " Frank yelled down the compan- 
ionway, " come up; Ken's overboard! '' 



944 



CHAPTER SIV 



A RACE "WTTH A GALE 



"Ken, where are jon? " Frank's voice was 
almost drowned by the roaring of the breakers. 

It waa totally dark, and though both boy^ 
strained their eyes to the utmost, not a sign could 
they see of the skipper, who had vanished in the 
twinkling of an eye — knocked out of existence, 
seemingly, by the swinging blow of the boom. 

Again they shouted, in unison this time. 
Surely Kenneth muat hear them, they thought, 
if lie waa still alive and above water. 

"HuUoa! " The voice was startlingly near. 

The two looked about quickly in the direction 
from which the sound earae, and beheld the skip- 
per hanging on to the end of the boom, far to 
leeward; his white nigh-tgown wet and clinging 
to his long legs, which were waving frantically 
in the effort to help their owner to crawl along 
the boom towards the yacht. From time to time, 
as the yawl rolled, the clinging figure was dipped 
in the sea, and then as suddenly dragged out and 
315 



A TEAR IN A TAWL 

swung about like a wet rag on the end of a 
stick. 

For a minute Frank and Arthur stood stupe- 
fied, then tte humor of the situation dawning on 
them they began to laugh. 

This Was too much for Kenneth'3 patience, 
and he shouted wratlifully: 

" Trim in that sheet and help me in, will jou, 
you duffers? Do you think I am doing this for 
your amusement? " 

So they hauled in the boom and the dangling 
captain with it, and landed liim safely on deck 
without a scratch. 

With her head turned away from the shoal, the 
" Gazelle " ran off into deeper water. It was a 
narrow escape for all hands, but especially so for 
Ransom, whose quickness in grasping the spar 
as it swung over saved his life. Soon he could 
laugh with the boys over his funny appearance. 
But he realized, as they could not, bj what a nar- 
row margin he escaped. 

After rounding Cape Komain, the " Qazelle " 
sailed along without a mishap of any kind for 
a day; then the barometer indicated that there 
was trouble brewing— in fact, the very atmos- 
phere had the feeling of suppressed excitement 
that almost always precedes a severe storm. Ran- 
som decided that it would be wise to get into a 
■Si8 



± RACE WITH A QALE 

slieltered spot, so he steered for the mouth of 
Cape Fear River. It was a most difficult place 
to get into; but once inside, the yacht was per- 
fectly protected from any kind of atorm except, 
perhaps, a cyclone. 

No sooner had the anchor been dropped than 
the wind began to raiae its voice from the soft 
,whir-r-r of the summer breeze, to the shrill, high 
shriek of the gale. 

" For once," said the skipper, " my foresight 
was better than mj hindsight." 

" Good work, old man. I always knew yon 
were a wonder," Frank laughed. " All the same 
I'm glad we're inside." 

" Mate, put this man in irons. He shall live 
on bread and water for ten days, due punishment 
for insubordination and disrespect for a superior 
officer." Kenneth put on a very grave and ju- 
dicial air, but could not quite control a twitch- 
ing of the corners of his mouth, which enlarged 
to a wide grin when the mate, in obedience to hia 
command, tackled the " crew," and in the scuffle 
that followed went overboard with his prisoner. 

" Never mind the water, mate," Ransom 
called when the two dripping boys reached ths 
deck. " He has had enough of that, perhaps." 

For a week the " Gazelle " lay storm-bound 
off the little town of Southport, on the Cape Fear 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

River, In spite of the rain which fell almost 
continuously, the boys explored every nook and 
cranny of the harbor, and pushed up the shallow 
creeks, and examined the sand hills that pro- 
tected the shipping from the onslaught of the 
ocean. 

The Frying-pan Shoals, extending out into the 
ocean from the mouth of the Cape Fear River, 
are responsible for more wrecks than perhaps any 
other reef on the Atlantic coast. Kenneth got 
chummy with the pilots who make Southport 
their headquarters, and they gladly gave him 
much lore about the channels, beacons, and the 
ins and outs of the intricate passages all along the 
coast. The government requires every vessel 
above a certain tonnage to Jake on a pilot; or to 
be more correct, the vessels are required to pay 
the pilot's fee whether his services are accepted 
or not. As the channel is very difficult, and the 
fee has to be paid in any case, the skippers 
usually turned the responsibility of navigating 
their vessels into port over to the pilot. The 
charges are rated according to the ship's depth 
— the more water she draws, the more difficulty 
is experienced in sailing her over the bars, and 
the pilot's fee is proportionately large. 

One day, Kenneth and the mate rowed 
against the heavy wind a mile and a half to the 

248 



A RACE WITH A OALE 

outer bar, and tlien went over to the Cape Fear 
Light. 

The keeper waa inclined to be churlish at £rBt, 

but as soon m Ranaom began to tell him a little 
about the cruise, his manner changed instantly; 
abort answers and bored expression gave way to 
lively interest and voluble requests for more 
experiences. 

" I tell you, Art," Kenneth began in an aside 
to the mate, " a short yarn about the cruise is 
worth a hundred open sesames." 

The keeper led the two boys up the winding 
fftair of the lighthouse tower, and as they went 
round and round, tbey could hear above the ring 
of their feet on the iron steps the howling of the 
wind about the shaft. The power and majesty 
of it made tliem pause a minute to hsten, and 
then they felt the shock of the blast, which made 
even that sturdy tower quiver. When the top 
was reached, and a clear unobstructed view could 
be had, the breath of the youngsters was taken 
away by the awful fury of the elements battling 
below them; even the lighthouse keeper was 
awed by it, and kept silence. From the beach, 
a little below the foot of the tower, seaward, as 
far as the eye could reach throiigh the mist and 
spray, the ocean tossed and rolled. Great hills 
of water, green and angry, rose as though pushed 



A rfl/fl IS A 7 AWL 

Up from below, their cresta Taahed into foam and 
then blown into vapor by the gale; wave suc- 
ceeded wave, until a mighty host of waters, rank 
on rank, impelled by the wind, daahed them- 
aelvea to foam on the ever-reaisting shore. 

"Oh, this is a fierce place, and no mistake." 
The honeet keeper's words took much of the sub- 
limity out of the scene for the boys. " And a 
terrible place for wrecks," he continued. " The 
Frying-pan Shoals run out about twenty-five 
miles, and vessels are all the time running afoul 
of them," 

"And in weather like this?" Kenneth in- 
quired. 

The keeper made a significant gesture that 
told, without a word, the horrors of shipwreck, 
of the despairing efForta of the sailors to work the 
vessel off the lee shore when the breakers first 
were seen or heard; of the canvas blown to tat- 
ters, the dreadful roar and overpowering rush 
of the waves driving the vessel on nearer the 
shoal, staving the boats and washing the crew 
overboard; and, finally, the sickening jar and 
shuddering scrape of the ship on the reef. All 
this the boys saw as the keeper pointed to ths 
seething waters, and to the ribs of a wrecked ship 
showing black against the white foam of the 
breakers, 



± RAGE WITH A GALE 

Many, many places he pointed out to them 
where good ships rested never to sail again. 

Arthur and Kennetii went back to the yacht 
with solemn faces and thoughtful minds, and 
very thankful that the " Gazelle " lay peacefully 
at anchor, safe. 

Though the boys had many pleasant times 
Bailing about the harbor in one of the small boats 
with which the place was filled — clamming, fish- 
ing, and swapping stories with the pilot* — -all 
hands were glad when the storm abated, and they 
were able to weigh anchor and sail out to aea. 
The sis-sided lighthouse looked very different 
when the boys saw it the second time. The inlet 
was little troubled by the heavy rolling seas out- 
side and reflected the tall, straight shaft of the 
Cape Fear Light. 

The wind had fallen to a strong, steady breeze 
that kept the "Gazelle" going at a splendid 
rate, under all sail reefed once. The sea still 
showed the effect of the week-long storm. Great, 
long billows rose and fell, but the yacht coasted 
gaily over them with many low bows and grace- 
ful recoveries. 

It was a straightaway sail to Beaufort, North 
Carolina, and the 120 milee across the broad 
curve in "the land offered, in all its length, not 
one good harbor. 

901 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

The wind held true, and gi*adually the seas 
flattened out until cruising became a pleasure. 
Old Ocean seemed bent on making the last sail 
which the boys should take on its waters as pleas- 
ant as possible. The sun sank^ and all the skies 
lit up in honor of his departure; then deep black 
night succeeded, with none of the uncanny feel- 
ing of mystery which so ofttimes comes with 
darkness, but softly and peacefully. The boys 
felt that the darkness was almost caressing, Hke 
a comfortable robe thrown round them, and they 
looked f orwurd to a long night's sail with a sense 
of security. 

The cabin lamp was lighted, and the mellow 
glow poured out through the hatch and dead 
Hghts; the saiKng Ughts bUnked their red and 
green eyes forward, warning other night prowl- 
ers of the sea. Arthur handled the tiller, while 
Frank and Kenneth lounged easily on either side 
of the cockpit. Arthur was sailing by compass, 
for not a sign of land could be seen — all was ut- 
terly dark, except where a sea crested near 
enough to catch the light from one of the lamps. 

Steadily the " Gazelle " sailed on, swaying 
slowly to the swing of the seas, a veritable cradle 
motion. Kenneth and Frank felt its influence 
and dozed off; Arthur's duty kept him awake, 
but all his resolution was required to keep up. 

252 



A. RACE WITH A QALE 

Suddenly, out of the gloom ahead, loomed a 
shape) soft and formless — a huge shadow moving 
and bearing iovra on the tiny " Gazelle." 

" Great Scott! " exclaimed Arthur. 

"What is it?" Kenneth woke instantly. 
" Put her over, quick. Hurry." 

For the first time since her journeying began, 
the yacht seemed to hesitate, while the great 
black shadow, which gradually assumed the form 
of a vessel, bore swiftly down on her. It seemed 
as if minutes had elapsed before the headaaila 
began to flap and the yawl turned away from her 
impending doom. Still, the great hulk bore 
down on them silently, without a light showing, 
the swelling canvas of her sails just indicated by 
a hghter shade. 

"Schooner, ahoy! " Ransom shouted, making 
a megaphone of his hands. " You're running ua 
down. Bear up quick! " 

A lantern showed high above them on the rail 
of the schooner, and a woman's shriek rang out, 
clear and ahrill — an uncanny sound to hear at 
such a time. There was a creak that told of a 
shifted helm, and the schooner swimg to port, 
and cleared the yacht by a few scant inches. 

As the vessel slipped by, silent as a shadow, 
two white faces showed over the rail high above 
the " Gazelle." Not a word of excuse did they 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

utter — ^probably too dazed by the narrow escape 
to speak. 

" Those people ought to be jailed/' growled 
Bansom in his honest indignation. ^^ Sailing 
without any light." 

" Guess they learned their lesson, look! " Sure 
enough, there was the red gleam of the port 
light glancing over the waves as it was being 
fitted into its box. 

The next afternoon the ^ Gazelle " sailed into 
Beaufort harbor, and the boys bid good-by to 
Old Ocean. For a thousand miles they had 
sailed over its rough waters in all sorts of 
weathers, in a boat scarcely thirty feet long. It 
was an achievement to be proud of. Not many 
boys could point to such a record. 

^^Ohl we are the people! " said Frank, jus- 
tifiably elated. ^^ It's easy from now on; no more 
storms, no more breakers, no more broken spars." 

^' Don't you get a swelled head," the skipper 
warned. « There is always a pin point ready for 
every bubble." 

The " Gazelle " lay at anchor off Beaufort for 
several days, while the boys roamed about the 
quaint old town. Situated just a little below 
Cape Hatteras, that terrible storm centre, the 
little city got full benefit of the stormy on-shore 
gales, and there were many signs of the lashings 

254 



A RACE WITH A OALE 

it had received. At one place on Front Street, 
facing seaward, were some poplar trees whoae 
very name suggests unwavering uprightness, but 
these were bent in a semicircle over the houses 
— a humble acknowledgment of the power of the 
tlast. 

The harbor was full of small craft. Boats of 
every description flitted here and there, like 
graceful white-winged dragon-flies. Kenneth, 
for once in his life, saw enough boats, and he got 
many ideas that he hoped to turn to good account 
later, when he, himself, should become a full- 
fledged designer. 

The night before the " Gazelle " spread her 
■wings to continue her journey, the three boys were 
lying about on deck after supper enjoying the 
evening breeze. It was just about dusk, and sky 
and water were assuming their most beautiful 
opalescent tinta. It was a time to encourage sen- 
timent, and each of the boys felt a trifle of pleas- 
ant sadness as they thought of the far-off homes 
and the loved ones there. Off in the distance 
some people were singing a familiar college air. 
It was all so like some of the evenings the boys 
had spent off old St, Joe that the unfamiliar 
things about them changed their shapes and posi- 
tions till they almost dreamed that they were in- 
deed at home. The voices came nearer, and a 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

trim white yacht, that carried the singers, rose 
out of the dusk and sped swiftly towards them. 
When the two boats were within a hundred yards 
of each other, the singers changed their tune to 
" Michigan, My Michigan." 

This completed the spell, and for the first time 
the captain and crew had a genuine case of home- 
sickness. Neither of the three boys dared to 
look the other in the face. 

"'Gazelle,' ahoy!" 

The hail rang clear and sh^arp over the smooth 
water, and its suddenness woke the boys from 
their day dreams instantly. It was long since 
they had heard fliat hail. 

" Aye — ^who goes there? " was the answer. 

"A friend!" 

" Approach, friend, and let us look at you." 

The yacht swooped round the " Gazelle's " 
stem and headed up into the wind, her sails flap- 
ping. She dropped her anchor, and soon the 
yawl's deck and cabin were filled with gay visi- 
tors. One of them knew some of Kenneth's 
people, which acquaintance both visitors and vis- 
ited considered quite sufficient. 

The boys hated to weigh anchor next morning 
and leave the pleasant place and the friends they 
had just made, but the thought of the thousands 
of miles yet to be traversed urged them on, 

256 



A RACE WITH A QALE 

" And just think of leaving those watermelons 
at two centa each!" The sadness in Arthur's 
voice told of his sincere regret. 

The first day's sail brought the voyagers to the 
end of Core Sound. They were just below Hatte- 
ras and inside, but it looked as if the stormy old 
cape was not going to allow them to pass without 
giving them an experience to remember him by. 
The wind was rising rapidly and the massing of 
the heavy clouds cast a shadow over all. 

" We're in for another blow, I guess," said the 
skipper, as he pulled on his sticky oil-akins. 
" This old boat is getting tried out pretty well." 

As the " Gazelle " flew past the Royal Shoal 
light, the keeper and hia family waving good 
luck, the gale was blowing its best out of the east, 
and, close-hauled, she flew along in a smother of 
foam, her lee rail awash, her sails hard as if 
moulded tin, her rigging taut and humming like 
harp strings. 

Just before she reached GuU Shoal light, her 
gaff snapped again, and, with reduced canvas, 
she hurried along. Frank and Arthur lay for- 
ward to look for channel marks, and for whatever 
troubles might chance, while Kenneth steered. 
The heavy clouds shut down on them like night. 
The darkness seemed thick enough to cut, and 
not a thing could be seen but the white-capped 
17 S57 



J 



A TEAR IS A YAWL 

waves that daabed madly by them. They were 
like a man who, being pursued, nins at full speed 
through a perfectly dark passage that is not fa- 
miliar to him — he must run on, yet he knows not 
at what moment he may dash himself against a 
■wall or trip and fall headlong. It was a time of 
breathless excitement and constant, unnerving 
fear lest the yacht, flying along at almost railroad 
speed, should run into one of the numerous 
shoals that lay spread like a net for the unwary, 
and dash herself to pieces. 

The heavy rain obliterated every sign of a 
channel mark, and the thick storm clouds shut off 
the Bun as completely as a total eclipse. Ken- 
neth had to steer by compass only. 

Frank and Arthur peered ahead, their hands 
raised to shield their eyes from the driving rain. 
A long ahoal ran out into the sound, and all hands 
were trying to make out the lighthouse that 
marked it. 

Kansom thought it the hardest blow he had 
ever known, and he wondered how long the 
sturdy little craft he sailed could stand the 
strain. The wind tugged at the canvas, tried all 
the stays, but, beyond the makeshift ga£E, appar- 
ently, could find nothing vulnerable. It seemed 
as if the squall lasted hours, but when the rain 
finally stopped and the wind lessened in force, 



I 



A RACE WITB A QAhE 

the boys saw the dim outlines of the lighthouae 
off the port bow, and they knew it could not bars 
lasted much over two hours. Aa they passed the 
light, the keeper rang his bell in salute, and 
I shouted his congratnlations. 

" It's the worst short storm I have seen in 
' many years," he Shouted. " You're lucky to gat 
through safe." 

When the mate went below to put on some dry 
elothes, he (ooked at the tin clock, and discovered 
that the " Gazelle " had covered the distance be- 
tween the two lights — sixteen miles — in about 
an hour and a quarter. 

At Stumpy Bay they stopped to make a new 
gaff, and then, after a two days' lay off there, 
they went on to Coin Jock, North Carolina. 

A fleet of barges, loaded with watermelons, 
going through the canal leading through the Dis- 
mal Swamp, to Norfolk, offered to give the boys 
a tow — an invitation which they hastened to ac- 
cept. Not till nine o'clock did the procession 
start, with the " Gazelle " at the end of the long 
line of boats. It was a dark, lowering night, and 
not a thing could the boys see of the country 
through which they were passing. The light of 
the boat ahead was their only guide. 

The yacht was snapped to and fro on the end 
pf the long line of boats like the end boy on b, 



A YEAR IN A 7AWL 

Bnap-the-whip string. About midnight the rain 
began to come down in a perfect deluge, and the 
word was passed aft to each boat to anchor till 
things cleared. 

Though the boys could see little but the j'agged 
outlines of the trees against the stormy sky, they 
voted the surroundings dismal enough to merit 
the name. 

Just before daylight, the fleet got under way 
again, the little " Gazelle " tagging on behind 
like a reluctant boy hanging on to his mother's 
hand when she takes him shopping. 

At Norfolk Kansom and his shipmates found 
a goodly company of vessels of all sorts, all rigs, 
and every nationality. The red-and-black storm 
flag was flying from every signal station along 
the coast, and the vessels had hastened to cover 
in Hampton Roads and Norfolk harbor. 

Returning from the Post Office, where Ken- 
neth and the mate found a goodly batch of pre- 
cious home letters awaiting them, they had great 
difficulty in making headway against the gale 
that was already blowing. The anchorage 
reached, they realized anew how cosey and com- 
fortable the ^^ Gazelle's " cabin was. 

" Let's have a watermelon in honor of — ^well — 
to celebrate this occasion." It was Arthur, of 
course, who suggested this. 

260 



A. RACE WITH A GALE 

" In honor of what occasion? " Frank winked 
at the skipper. 

" The watermelon and the fellows who gave it 
to us." 

So each boy, a section of pink fruit in one 
hand and a letter in the other, began the absorb- 
ing process of eating and reading. 

The wind was playing high jinks outside, but 
the young tars in their snug cabin heeded it not a 
bit. 

Not till a stream of pink melon juice squirted 
over the written page which he was reading, did 
Kenneth look up — his attention distracted. The 
darkness of the cabin made him look for the 
cause. 

To port, flashes of the gray, stormy light were 
sifting in through the oval windows when the 
yacht rose to the top of a wave; then he turned 
to the right and looked out. A great black wall 
shut off every particle of light — it was as if the 
yacht had been built against a high board fence. 

Kenneth jumped up and ran on deck. 

" Look oiit, boysl " he shouted down the hatch 
after a moment. " The big schooner just to star- 
board of us la dragging her anchors and will be 
down on us in a minute." 



CHAPTER XV 

CAPTUKED BY "LIBEBTY" 

When Arthur and Frank came on deck in an- 
swer to Kenneth's siunmonS; the wind nearly 
took their heads off — it blew in their ears and 
deafened them. They found it hard to breathe 
against it^ and its force nearly took them off their 
pins. 

" What's the trouble, old ma " 

Frank stopped in the middle of the word as he 
caught sight of the black bulk of the schooner, 
slowly bearing down upon them. Scarcely 
twenty feet of worried and wind-swept water 
separated the two vessels. 

IN'earer and nearer she came, until, to the ex- 
cited eyes of the crew, it seemed as if the big 
boat would swallow the smaller one whole. 

The mate went forward, a big clasp knife in 
hand, to cut the cable, if that extreme move be- 
came necessary. 

Kenneth had shouted to the captain of the 
schooner at the outset, and all hands were trying 

d62 



CAPTURED BY "LIBERTY" 

everything to atop her backward progress. There 
was no time to raise sails and beat out of the dan- 
ger, and it certainly looked as if the " Gazelle " 
would be crushed like an egg-ahell, or else cut 
adrift to nin the very probable chances of being 
dashed against the spiles of the piers. 

It was a strange situation. In the harbor, be- 
tween two populous cities, Norfolk and Ports- 
mouth ; in the midst of a large fleet of seaworthy 
boats, humming with life, one great bully of a 
vessel was slowly closing down on a smaller one. 
Tens of thousands of people almost within call, 
yet none could stir hand or foot to help. Nor 
could the crew of either craft do aught to pre- 
vent imminent peril. 

The " Gazelle " tugged at her moorings, as if 
she realized the danger, and longed eagerly to be 
free. 

The crew of the schooner hung over the rail 
aft, watching the n-arrowing strip of water. 

The suspense was tremendous, and each boy 
showed the effects of it according to his tempera- 
ment, Kenneth stood with tightly-shut fists and 
clinched jaws, but otherwise showed no signs of 
the anxiety he felt; Frank could not keep still, 
but twitched, rose, and sat down again a hundred 
times, while the rain ran down the locks of long 
black hair over his face unheeded; Arthur, who 



A TEAR IN A TAWL 

waa forward, ready to cut the cables if neceasary, 
was possessed with the desire to do something; 
he found it hard to wait, and appealed to Ken- 
neth many times to know if he should aever tie 
anchor line. 

The movement of the large ship was so gradual 
that it seemed aa if the moment of contact would 
never arrive. If the end would only come 
quickly, or if they could do something to end the 
suspense ! Anything would be a relief. They 
watched with Btaring eyes the slow approach of 
the larger vessel — so slow that the movement waa 
scarcely perceptible. 

Suddenly, Frank spoke in the startled tone of 
one who wakes from a nightmare. 

"She isn't moving I The anchor must have 
caught at last." The three tried to measure the 
distance between the boats to see if Frank's asser- 
tion was really true. 

" Tou are right, old man," Kenneth said at 
last. " Luck is with us again." 

It was a mighty narrow escape — the space be- 
tween the two boats could almost be covered by 
an active jumper. 

Later in the day, the schooner which had 
threatened to crush the yacht was the means by 
which she waa saved from another danger. 

It waa growing dark when the captain of the 



CAPTURED BY " LIBERTY " 

schooner hailed the " Gazelle," and told Kenneth 
that he wanted to shift his anchorage. The wind 
■was atill blowing a gale, and the waves slapped 
viciously at everything that withstood them. 

The " Gazelle " was holding fast to the bottom 
with two anchors, but when the boys tried to raise 
the largest, it stuck, and could not be moved, ao 
the end of the cable was buoyed and let go. Im- 
mediately the yacht began to drag the anchor 
that remained, as if it were but a heavy stone, 
and then drifted swiftly toward the bulkheads of 
the wharves. Again the possibility of a smaah- 
np confronted them. 

" On board the achoonerl " Kenneth shouted 
against the wind in the direction of the larger 
craft. But the wind carried the words back to 
him mockingly. Again he shouted: "We're 
dragging anchor. Throw us a line; throw us a 
line! " 

It seemed ages before any one appeared; then 
the face of the captain showed itself. He im- 
mediately grasped the situation, and in the nick 
of time threw a long line to them. Arthur 
caught it and made it fast, while the captain did 
likewise on the schooner. Once more the " Ga- 
zelle " was saved; she swung on the end of the 
long rope like the cork on a fiah line. 

For a week the storm continued; ao for many 



^ 



A TEAR /.V A- TAWl, 

days the captain aad crew of the yacht had noth- 
ing to do but go aight-Beeing, to write letters, and 
play games. Whenever the weather permitted, 
" Hi3 Nibs " was brought alongside, and one or 
two of the boya went ashore. 

On one aide of the narrow harbor was Norfolk, 
one of the big and growing cities of the South. 
Her docks were filled with ocean-going and 
coaatwiae craft, steamers, and sailing vessels of 
every rig- Situated on a fine harbor, a point 
from which railroads radiated, within easy reach 
of the coal fields and iron mines, and but a short 
distance from the great ship-building yards at 
Newport News, it prospered exceedingly. There 
was little about it that suggested the Southern 
city, except the multitude of colored people that 
roamed the streets. Across the atream-like har- 
bor lay Portsmouth, a much smaller place, on a 
lower scale of development. In its Navy Yard 
many of the ships that did such good service 
duringthe war with Spain were fitted out. Then 
its shops were kept going day and night; the 
workmen swarmed like bees in and out of the 
buildings; and the place resounded with the loud 
gong-like ring of blows on cavernous boilers, and 
the sharp tap-tap of the riveters. It was quite 
different when the boy^ visited it; many of the 
shops were closed, and the marines, clad from 



CAPTURED BY " LIBBRTT' 

head to foot in rubber, who paced to and fro in 
front of the old stone buildings had little to do, 
for there were few frolicsome jackiea to make 
trouble for them. 

Kenneth, Arthur, and Frank visited the ship- 
ping, the oyster markets, where hundreds of the 
trim oyster sloops and schooners were unladen 
weekly, the Navy Yard; St. Paul's, the old stone 
churdh, built in 1739, Which still bore high in 
its tower the round shot fired into it during the 
"War of 1812, and last, but far from least, the 
watermelon fleet. 

" How's business? " they inquired interestedly. 

" Kotten," was the reply, and the truth of it 
was evident in the piles of discarded fruit about. 

Great, luscious melons were selling at $3.30 
per hundred, and buyers were hard to find at 
that. Whether the boys went singly or by twos, 
they always returned laden to their utmost capac- 
ity with the great green fruit. 

The tenth day after their arrival at Norfolk, 
Kenneth got up early and in a voice fit to wake 
the dead, roared: "Up all hands, break your- 
selves out of your tunks there. This is the day 
"we ' move de boat '; up all hands." 

The other two got up yawning and stretching, 
to find the sun streaming warmly through the 
lights. Breakfast was cooked and eaten, dishes 



i. YEAR IN A YAWL 

washed and put away^ decks scrubbed^ brass 
rubbed; and rigging examined. The bugler 
aboard the U.S.S. " Texas/' anchored but a s;hort 
distance off, was just blowing reveille When the 
boys began to heave on the anchor cable. But it 
was long after the shrill boatswain's call to mess 
had sounded aboard the "Texas" before the 
" Gazelle's " crew gave up the task of hauling 
aboard the anchor. The boys hauled and tugged, 
till it seemed as if the bow of the " Gazelle " 
would be pulled down to keep company with the 
anchor, but not an inch would it budge. It was 
provoking that when wind and tide favored, 
and pleasant weather promised, they should be 
held to land. Kenneth stood with frowning 
brows looking along the straight cable, while the 
perspiration stood in beads on his face — gazing as 
if he would pierce the green-brown flood with his 
glance, and see what held the mud-hook fast. 
Arthur and Frank stood by silent and hot — ^f or 
the sun beat down fiercely; all three were dry of 
fiiiggestions, for everything had been tried. 

"Oh, let's try once more; then if the pesky 
thing won't come up we'll cut adrift and leave 
it." Kenneth was at the end of his patience. 

Once more the windlass was set going, and 
with the aid of three pairs of strong young arms 
the heiavy manila line was tautened imtil the 

268 



CAPTURED BY "LIBERTY" 

yacht's bow was pulled a foot or more below the 
normal water line; but not an inch would the old 
anchor budge. But just as the boja were on the 
point of giving up in desperation, the rollers from 
a passing tug tossed the yacht and gave an extra 
heavy pull on the line; then suddenly the yawl 
regained her level and inch hyinch the refractory 
anchor was yanked up. A great water-soaked 
log clinging to one of the flukes revealed the 
cause of the trouble when it reached the surface. 
Free at last from the grasp of the land, the 
"Gazelle" threaded her way past trim, converted 
yacht-gunhoats (which looked little like the 
venomous terriers of war they were), the grim 
"Texas," whose peaceful white coating of paint 
belied her destructive, deafh -dealing power, and 
past the 'hattered " Reina Mercedes," which, in 
spite of every effort of her former owner, was 
destined to become a useful member of Uncle 
Sam's Navy. Indeed, yachts, steamers, steam- 
boats, and sailing craft of every description, were 
passed by the " Gazelle " on her way to the open 
bay, the famous Hampton Roads. Many hands 
■were waved in salute to the little craft and her 
sturdy crew, and not less numerous were the 
toots of the whistles which greeted them, for the 
fame of their trip had spread until the little 
white yawl was almost as well known to the 



A ysi-R IN A TAWL 

shipping population as the members of the white 
squadron. 

When the aun of August 22d sent its last rays 
over the beautiful Hampton Eoads, the " Ga- 
zelle " had rounded Old Point Comfort and left 
the picturesque old Fortress Monroe astern. 

Long after sundown, the " Gazelle " wended 
her way up the broad Chesapeake Bay, one of a 
thousand craft that sped over its smooth waters.- 
Soon, the moon rose in perfect splendor, and as 
the boys sat in the cockpit, spellbound by the 
beauty of the scene, they saw a great Baltimore 
clipper, square rigged, every sail spread, come 
sailing down the broad path of moonlight; lean- 
ing a trifle to the strength of the breeze, every 
sail rounded out and bathed in sUvery light, her 
keen prow turning the phosphorescent waves 
like a ploughshare; she made one of the finest 
pictures mortal man ever beheld — a sight that 
made the boys' sailor-blood stir within them, and 
they stood spellbonnd until the great ship swept 
majestically by, silent, except for the splash of 
the waves as she spurned them aside, or for the 
creak of a block under the strain of swelling 
canvas. 

Till long after midnight, the yacht beld her 

course — sailing by the light of tbe moon; then 

she dropped anchor in one of the innumerable 

870 



h 



* 



CAPTURED B7 "LIBERTY" 

indentations tkat mark the coast line of the 
bay. 

It was late the next morning when the three 
young mariners rubbed their eyea open, but they 
might as well have turned in again, for hardly a 
breath of wind was stirring, and the swift tide 
was ru nnin g out^-^lown stream. 

For three days the wind failed them, then a 
breeze sprang up that made the resisting tide of 
no avaiL 

The " GazeBe " sailed along past sandy 
beaches and rocky points, past fascinating 
marshy nooka, and blufE headlands, at what 
seemed a good round gait until a slim, rakiah- 
looking craft went by so quickly that the yacht 
might just as well have been anchored, ao great 
was the contrast in speed. 

" Well, I'll be switched," was Kenneth's sur- 
prised ejaculation. Never had he seen his boat 
left behind so quickly before. " Bet she's got a 
gasoline engine stowed aft there somewhere." 

" No, the ' Gazelle ' is foul with weeds and 
things." 

" We'll have to lay her up and scrape her 
then," was Kenneth's determined reply. He 
could not have his craft beaten like that, with- 
out a protest. 

The cause of aU this dissatisfaction flew by like 



A. TEAR IN A YAWL 

the shadow of a swiftly moving cloud. Her 
masts were raked sharply aft, and her two enor- 
mous leg-o'-mutton sails were out of all propor- 
tion to her beam, the boys thought. The hull was 
built of several — five or six — large logs hollowed 
out and cleverly joined with peculiarly shaped 
wooden pegs that held the connecting logs closely 
together. It was a new sort of craft to Ransom, 
and his respect for the Chesapeake Bay fisher- 
man increased as he realized the careful sea- 
manship required to keep a " Bugeye " right-aide 
up. Past the mouth of the Potomac River, which 
led directly to the national capital, sailed the 
three boys, though they longed with all their 
might for a sight of Washington, and it took 
all their resolution to keep headed up the bay. 
Old Annapolis, the seat of the Naval Academy, 
and the place where so many naval heroes have 
been educated, was left without a visit; but each 
boy promised himself that he would return and 
see everything some time. The names Dewey, 
Sampson, Schley, Evans, PhUip, Hobaon, and a 
host of others were on everybody's tongue at 
that time, and yet the three young mariners (so 
pressed for time were they) could not visit the 
place where these great men were educated. 

Just before reaching Chesapeake City, the 
yacht was beached, and when the tide receded, 



CAPTURED By •'LIBERTY" 

the boys found barnacles and aca moss to the 
thickness of three-fourths of an inch or more on 
its bottom. The planking beneath, however, 
was as sound as could be, and showed not a sign 
of the many terrific strains to which it had been 
Bitbjected, 

At Chesapeake City the yacht entered the 
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, the Haul Over 
Canal, as it is generally called. 

Kenneth was told that he would have to pay 
eleven dollars for the privilege of passing 
through the lock and for the hire of five mules 
to tow the yawl through, 

" But I don't want a tow through," he pro- 
tested. 

" But yer got ter." The driver was very em- 
phatic. " The law aays yer got ter take a tow 
troo." 

" The ' Gazelle ' is light; one mule would be 
enough, and you have five." 

"Ter gotter have five. But we'll snake yer 
troo quick." This last was said with the air of 
one who is conferring a great favor, 

" The first time I ever drove five-in-hand," 
Baid Arthur, laughing, as the driver whipped up 
and the yacht began tearing through the water. 
It was a pleasant ride througli that short eanal. 
The mules kept on at a steady trot, and the trees, 



IB 



273 



A TEAR IN A TAWL 

with an occasional house, went flying past. At 
sis o'clock, the lock opening iato the Delaware 
River at Delaware City was reached; but as the 
tide was wrong the " Gazelle " did not float into 
t3ie historic stream till several hours kter. 

The river was full of moving craft when the 
" Gazelle " swung into the stream. Great ocean- 
going steamers, disreputable looking tramp 
steamships, trim schooners of every size, and 
here and there a yacht. A scene full of anima- 
tion and color — of busy boats and busy people — 
very different from the easy-going life which the 
boys had just left on the Southern water courses. 

Towns with factories whose smoking chimneys 
told of active work, dotted the river bank every 
mile or two, and between were fields of flourish- 
ing crops — not a foot of ground was wasted. 

Head winds delayed the little craft much, and 
the smoky haze that hung over the great city of 
Philadelphia was not sighted until the fourth day 
after leaving Delaware City. 

" We're just in time. Look I " Frank pointed 
through the rainlike fog that greeted the young 
voyagers on their first visit to the City of 
Brotherly Love. 

"What — Say, that's fine I" 

It was an ejaculation that the sight before 

them exti^ted involuntarily. Anchored in two 

974 



CAPTURED BY "LIBERTY" 

long lines, lay a great fleet of Uncle Sam's dogs 
of war. Painted white, they looked like great 
ghosts of ships through the fog; all was gray 
except where the beautiful red, white and blue 
showed dimly through, or where the red, yellow 
and blue signal flags on the flagship made spots 
of color in the general dulneaa. In and about 
darted the man-o'-war launches like the restless, 
ever-moving insecta which one sees on pUcid 
pools in eummer. 

It was Philadelphia's tribute to the victorioua 
hosts in the war with Spain, and the boys came in 
just the nick of time to take in all the goings on 
— the parades of soldiers and sailors and the atill 
more interesting, ever restless procession of the 
multitude of people from every direction. 

Everything was open, from the United States 
Mint, Independence Hall, wliere Congress first 
met, to Cramp's shipyard and the University 
of Pennsylvaniu buildings. During the three 
days our mariners lay off the city, they saw it all. 
Kenneth would have been at Cramp's shipyard 
to this day if Arthur bad not pulled him off by 
main force. The great enclosure from which so 
many of America's famous ships have been 
launched had a strong fascination for him, and it 
was with the greatest diiflculty that he could tear 
'himself away. 

2TS 



A YEAR IX A YAWL 

Under way once more, tiie " Gazelle " 
reached Borden town, where she entered the 
Delaware and Raritan Canal, Surprised and de- 
lighted at the small canal fee, Kenneth paid the 
$2.80 and, with a long line, he and Arthur began 
to tow to Trenton (six miles). Aa luek would 
have it, Kenneth and bis friends met the owner 
of the etoam yadit " Cora " at Trenton, who was 
also going through the canal. 

The story of the trip thus far, and the plans for 
the remainder of the journey so interested the 
" Cora's " master, that he wanted to hear more 
of it and offered to tow the " Gazelle " through 
for the sake of the society of her captain and 
crew. The hoys thought thiR more than a fair 
exchange and '' accepted with pleasure." The 
" Gazelle " seemed to feel the importance of her 
position, and Strutted behind the graceful 
" Cora " as (though she were merely following 
the larger and more fashionable vessel, and was 
not submitting to anything so undignified as 
towing. 

" The old boat will get bo stuck up with her 
five-mule team and now her steam-yacht tow, 
that she'll outgrow her headsails." 

" Wait till she strikes the Erie Canal, when her 
fall cometh. It's lucky if we get even one horse 
to tow her then." 

876 



CAPTURED BY "LIBERTY" 

Along the broad canal the two yachts went at 
a pace that the boya thought too fast, for little 
opportunity waa given to them to see the many 
interesting things that they passed so quickly. 

At New EruDSftick, the end of the canal, the 
" Gazelle's " crew bid their kind friends good- 
by, and, hoisting sail, went on alone. As they 
drew nearer and nearer the Metropolia — the city 
which they had heard about all their lives, but 
had never seen, and which, next to their own 
homes, was the place of all others that they de- 
sired to reach — their nerves tingled with excite- 
ment, and the good round pace which the " Ga- 
zelle " was making, seemed all too alow. 

When darkness fell they were but seven 
miles below New Brunswick, on the Raritan 
River, anchored in a spot that seemed alisolutely 
remote from civilization, above all far from a 
great city, so quiet waa it. Undisturbed by sight 
of any one, tlie three youngsters made the night 
hideoua with their jubilant songa, bawled at the 
top of their voices. Well might they be joyful, 
for surely the thing accomplished more than jus- 
tified their exultation. 

In a thirty-foot boat they had braved the 
treacherous Gulf and the savage Atlantic, trav- 
elled dangerous waters without a pilot ; mere boys 
who had never seen salt water before this cruise, 



A TEAR IN A TAWL 

with barely enough money to pay the narrowest 
expenses and buy the cheapest poasible food; and 
now they were within a day's sail of New York, 
sound and well, with a boat under them that was 
as fit as when ahe had slipped into the fresh 
waters of far-off LaJce Michigan. 

"Hip! Hip I Hurrah 1 " they shouted over the 
placid waters of the Karitan Kiver; and well they 
might. 

Next day Kenneth steered his craft past Perth 
Amtoy into the Arthur Kills back of Staten Isl- 
and, and that evening aaw them anchored o£E 
Elizabethport. Pretty much the same sort of 
feeling that rouses a child on Christmas morning 
at daybreak, brought Kenneth, Arthur, and 
Frank on deck before the sun bad fairly started 
his day's work. It was September 7th, and the 
red and black sweaters ivith the word " Gazelle " 
embroidered on the breast were found very com- 
fortable in the chill morning air. A haze hung 
over everything, and the boats that were moving 
slipped about as if on tiptoe, fearful lest the 
sleeping millions be wakened too aoon. 

As the " Gazelle " rounded Bergen Point, 
Jersey City, and sailed into the Upper New 
York Bay, boats seemed to spring out of the 
very water, ferryboats, sailboats, tugs; never had 
the boya seen so mauy craft in motion before. 

am 



CAPTURED 87 " LIBERTY" 

A haze still hung over the water, and objects 
only two hundred yards off could be seen but 
dimly. 

" There's the Statue of Liberty," Arthur cried 
excitedly. 

Sure enough, the great statue stood before 
them — her torch held on high, the heavy vapor 
wreathed about her like beautiful, filmy drapery. 

Putting helm to starboard, the " Gazelle " 
turned to go inside Bedloe's Island. 

" Look, can't you see a tall building over 
there? " 

All the boys looked for the jagged sky line 
which they had seen pictured so often, and soon 
became so intent that they forgot to watch where 
they were going. 

With a sudden bump and a sickening jar, the 
" Gazelle *' stopped abort. She was hard and fast 
on the cruel rocks. 



CHAPTER XVI 

FBOK NEW YOEK TO ALBANY 

With the very shadow of the great Liberty 
statue stretching over them, their good ship was 
fast on the rocks and threatening to spring aleak 
any moment. Shipwreck at the gates of Amer- 
ica's greatest city stared the boys in the face. 
Sand bars, ice, great waves, and fierce winds, had 
been encountered, but not till New York Harbor 
received them so inhospitably, had the "Ga- 
zelle's " keel struck rock. 

Quick work was necessary if the yacht was to 
be saved, for even now the rollers from passing 
steamboats were causing her to pound. 

Without a word, Kenneth jumped forward 
and lowered jib and mainsail, and then, without 
stopping to take off any clothes, sprang over- 
board. "Come on, boys," he cried. In an- 
other instant all three were lifting and pushing 
the heavy hull to get her off the rocks into the 
deep water of the channel — straining with all 
iJheir might. Hot work it was, in spite of the cool 

280 



FROM NEW YORK TO ALBANY 

water that wet tliem above their waists. Ee- 
luctantly the yacht began to slide backward. 
Lifted by the roUerB, and pushed by three sturdy 
backa, she ahpped towards the channel till the 
boys found themaelvea without a footing and 
hanging on the boat for support. She was afloat 
onee more. 

" Thank God! " said Ransom fervently, as he 
cKmbed on deck, dripping and shivering in the 
chill morning air. Once more the good ship 
had stood the test, 

A few minutes were spent in putting on dry 
clothes, then on up New York Bay they went. 

All was plain sailing until the yacht's straight 
bowsprit had poked itself round old Fort William 
Henry on Governor's Island. Then the fnn 
began. 

The two great currents from the North and 
East Rivers met off the fort, each carried an im- 
mense number of craft of all sorts going in every 
direction. Whistles tooted and bells clanged, 
paddlewheels and churning propellers turned the 
green waters into frothing chaos. 

Kenneth and his friends were bewildered, and 
they wondered how they were ever going to pilot 
the diminutive " Gazelle " through that intricate 
labyrinth of shifting vessels. 

The monster "Kaiser Wilhelm der Orosae," 



A. YEAR IS A YAWL 

her huge hull dragged byscveral tugp (reminding 
one of a big piece o£ bread being moved off by 
ante) blocked the way to starboard; while one of 
the swift Sandy Hook boata daahed by to port, 
leaving a great wave aatem. The Long Island 
Sound boats, veritable floating hotels, wore juat 
rounding the Battery on the way to their piers 
ahead, and to and fro the tug-boats puffed on 
erratic courses; buttles they were that seemed 
to be weaving a net from which the yacht could 



"Phew! " whistled Kenneth, who was steer- 
ing. " How the deuce are we going to get 
through this, I would like to know! " 

" I don't see, unless we sink and we go under- 
neath." Arthur's brows were puckered with per- 
plexity, curious to see, but perfectly simple to 
understand. 

" I don't know how, but we always do get out 
of our scrapes somehow; still- — ■ Well, will you 
look at that, in the name of common sense! " 
Frank stopped from sheer astonishment. 

The yacht was speeding down a narrow lane 
between two great outgoing shlpa, a great 
schooner and an Englisli tramp, her way clear for 
once, when a tug appeared across the opening, 
and at the end of a long towline, a half-dozen 
canal boats strung out — a barrier six hundred 
283 



FROM NEW YORK TO ALBANY 

yards long at least, Kennetli trimmed in his 
sheets quickly, put Jiis helm to starhoard, and 
started to go aronnd the end of the tow, but no 
sooner had the yacht gathered headway in the 
new direction, than a big ferryboat ran from be- 
hind the tramp, and she had to luff quickly to 
avoid a collision. 

" This 13 getting tiresome, to eay the least," re- 
marked Kenneth in a vexed tone. " I gueaa we'll 
liave to follow Arthur's suggestion and make a 
submarine trip of it." 

" Look at that sloop there; she goes right along 
and the steam craft get out of her way." Arthur 
pointed out a well-loaded oyster toat. " If we 
only had our nerve with us we'd "be all right." 

" It takes nerve, though; but here goes, we 
have the right of way." 

Sure enough. "Whenever there seemed to be 
no escape from an accident, and the yacht 
pluekily pushed on, the steam vessels shifted to 
one aide ever so slightly and allowed her to pass. 

At first the excitement was too great for com- 
fort, hut as they proceeded up the river un- 
harmed, it began to be exhilarating. Great ferry- 
boats crossed their bowa so near that they could 
almost jump aboard; tugs steamed by so close 
that tbe crews of tbe two boats easily " passed the 
time o' day " in an ordinary tone of voice. Huge 



A 7EA.R IN A. TAWL 

steamers passed that nught have stowed the 
" Gazelle " on one of their decks without in- 
conveniencing their promenading paasengera in 
the slightest. 

" And yet," said Frank, iDending his head far 
back in order to see a steamer's rail, " this little 
boat weathered some storms that would make 
even that vast hull tremble," He voiced the 
thought that all of them had in mind. 

With eyes "bright with intereat, the boys saw 
the graceful sweep of the Brooklyn Bridge, the 
tall, red, square tower of the Produce Esehange, 
the brownstone spire of historic Trinity Church 
set in the midst of, and almost dwarfed by, the 
higher buildings about it. Towering ten, twenty, 
thirty stories high, the great office buildings 
made a skyline strangely jagged and bold. As 
the yaeht sailed northward, the city flattened 
out somewhat, and the moving network made 
by the wakes of the shifting boats became more 
open. 

Off Seventy-second Street, at the beginning of 
Kiverside Drive, the anchor was dropped, and 
now out of the stream of passing craft, the crew 
stopped to take a quiet breath and recover from 
the excitement of navigating a great waterway 
full of swiftly moving vessels of every nationality 
going to and from every part of the world. 



FROM NEW TOBK TO ALBANY 

A week of sightseeing followed. Now, per- 
haps, for the first time, the boys longed for 
money with a longing not bom of need, but at 
the sightof the many attractive things that can be 
bought for small sums, and the interesting shows 
which their empty pockets did not permit them 
to enjoy. Of the free shows, hardly one escaped 
them, the museuma, both of Art and Natural His- 
tory, the New York Zoo in Bronx Park ; then tho 
great buildings and the public parks all received 
their share of attentiou. Though comparisona 
may be odious, the boys put the Natural History 
and Metropolitan Art museums beside the Field 
Columbian Museum in Chicago, and discussed 
hotly among themselves the relative merits of 
each. 

" His Nibs " waa a hard-worked boat those 
days, because from four to sis times a day it 
ferried the boys to and from the yacht. Perhaps 
it was owing to the fact that it was tired of so 
much work, that it floated itself into the atten- 
tion of a couple of young wharf rats one even- 
ing. Kenneth had come ashore alone, and made 
the small boat fast to the landing close to the 
ehore end of a long, closely built Wharf. For 
perhaps three hours he was away, and when he 
returned it was after eleven o'clock and black 
night. Reaching the landing, he saw that the 



A TEAR IS A TA'WL 

boat was miasing, and bis beart sank, for be bad 
an affection for tbe little craft tbat bad done ita 
work BO bravely; besides wbicb, he could ill 
afford tbe money to replace it. Suddenly be 
awoke to tbe fact tbat just beyond his aigbt, a 
boat was being rowed hurriedly away. Running 
down tbe Btringpiece to tbe end of tbe pier, he 
saw two young reprobates paddling off with all 
tiieir might in " His Nibs." "What should he 
do? Not a policeman in sight, not a boat in 
which be could follow, near at hand; he feared 
be would have to let bis boat be taken before bis 
very eyes. But all at once a thought struck him 
and tbe humor of it made him smile as ho started 
to put it into operation. With a big clasp knife 
be carried in bis pocket he thoug'bt that he might 
bluff tbe thieves into thinking that it was a re- 
volver, and so scare them into returning the 
stolen property. 

Running out to the end of the pier, where bis 
figure would be silhouetted against the distant 
light, be pulled out his knife, and holding it as if 
it were a revolver, pointed it at the " wharf rata." 

"Where are you going witih that "boat?" he 
shouted in stern tones. 

No answer, though the thieves stopped rowing. 

" Tou return tbat boat or I'll—" Kenneth 

left his sentence unfinished, but be flourished hia 

S86 



FROM NEW TORE TO ALBANY 

impromptu revolver so fiercely that the boat 
stealers were evidently cowed. 

" Get that boat back, and be quick about it, 
"Ko fooling, or I'll shoot you full of holes." 
Kenneth could hardly keep his face straight 
when he saw them back water and turn to go 
back to the landing. " I was juat in time," he 
said to himself, as he followed along on the 
stringpiece. " If they ever got under a dock 
it would be all day with ' His Nibs.' " Arriving 
at the float the boys (they were hardly out of 
lieir 'teens, Kenneth thougjht) started for the 
street on a run. Ransom stayed not for pursuit, 
but jumped into the boat and pushed off. Once 
the two stopped to look back, but a threatening 
move with the knife sent them on with renewed 
speed. 

" Well, that's the best joke," Kenneth said to 
himself, and he stopped rowing to pat the pocket 
where he had dropped the knife- 
September 14th broke bright and clear, with 
a t«uch of the keen autiunnal vigor in the air. A 
good strong 'breeze was blowing, and the boys 
weighed anchor with light hearts, for they were 
beginning the last fifteen hundred miles of their 
seven-thousand mile journey. On, up the Hud- 
son River, the good yacht sped, the smooth green 
lawns of Riverside Park on one side, and the 



A YEAR ly A YAWL 

frowning cliffs of Jersey Heights upon the other. 
Soon the dome of Grant's Tomb was paaaed, 
dazzling white and gleaming in the morning 
Eun. 

Hour after hour the little boat sailed up the 
majestic stream, a mere moving mote on the 
hroad watery ribbon. To the east, the land 
sloped gently to the stream, an undulating green 
country dotted here and there with towns and 
clumps of factory buildings. On the western 
shore, the giant Palisades stood bluff and impres- 
sive, a solid stone wall from two hundred to five 
hundred feet high and fifteen miles long. 

The boyB speedily became mere animated ex- 
clamation points, for hardly a minute passed that 
did not disclose some new beauty, some unex- 
pected vista. 

The breeze held fair all day, and the night 
being clear, the young navigators sailed on till 
long after sundown. The close attention and 
long day's sail made captain and crew very tired, 
so that when they turned in rather late they 
slept like logs. 

At seven o'clock next morning all aboard were 
as thoroughly at home in the land of Nod as if 
they intended to spend the rest of their days 
there. Old Sol was shining brightly over the 
eastern hills, the summer breeze had not gained 



FROM NEW YORK TO ALBAJfF 

its full strength and made but a ripple on the 
smooth surface of the river. It was a quiet, peace- 
ful scene that had not a suggeBtion of noise or 
turmoil of any kind. 

Of a sudden there was a tremendoua report, 
an explosion that rent the air, then in quick aue- 
cession, like a veritable bombardment, numerous 
detonations followed. The first fairly shook the 
boys out of their snug bunka, and they tumbled 
out on deck wide-eyed, fearing they knew not 
what. The air was filled with a tremendous roar 
that echoed and reechoed across from one height 
to the other. 

' Frank exclaimed when he 
" We're done, sure." 
f the cliff seemed to be com- 
Blast after blast went off, 
each seeming louder than tJie preceding one, and 
with each report the earth shook, and fountains 
of dust, smoke, and hits of rock flew up. 

All three boys stood dazed, amazed, almost 
unnerved, indeed, until they realized that the 
rock waa being blasted out of the cliff for paring 
purposes. 

" That's a nice way to wake a fellow up," said 
Arthur in a tone of supreme disgust, when the 
last charge had been fired and Che smoke had in 
part cleared away. 

19 289 



" Good Heavens! " 
turned to the west, 

The whole side o 
ing down on them. 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

" I guesa that's about the only thing that would 
have waked us, though," said Kenneth, yawning, 
" Will you look at that acar in the face of the 
cliff; that's what I call a blooming shame." A 
great, broad, red-brown scar on the abrupt rise, 
abowed bare beeide the green and gray rocks on 
either side. 

Suddenly Frank burst out into a laugh and ran 
quickly below. " Look at that big boat com- 
ing down the river full of [wople, and then get 
helow, you're unfit for publication." 

Kenneth and Arthur looked as they were hid- 
den, then suddenly realized that they were atiU 
clad in their abbreviated night clothes. In- 
stantly, all that could be seen of the three lads 
was their entirely respectable heads, and when 
the steamboat went by, these three nodded a 
greeting, and three arma, browned by the sun, 
waved in salute. 

The next morning found the yawl at Pongh- 
keepsie. Behind them were the mountains that 
Jiave guarded the stream for centuries, Storm 
King, old Dunderberg, and the lesser heights. 
West Point, with the fine buildings of the 
United States Military Academy crowning 
its high plateau, lay below them. Anchored 
almost in the shadow of the great Poughkeepsie 
Bridge, one of the most wonderful structures 



FROM SEW TORS TO JtBiST 

in the world, &e boys thought they were oer- 
tainlj getting their money's worth in the mght- 
seeingline. 

Their tongaes kept op a continual clatter until 
long after dark. 

" Did you ever see anything like that view at 
West Point!" 

" Wasn't that a dandy, big flte&mboat that 
passed us near Xewburgh? " 

" I tell you that big mountain near PeekskiH 
was great Made a fellow feel like two for a 
nickel." 

And so the talk went on, until finally tirsd 
nature overcame even the excitement of novel 
experiences, and they fell asleep. 

The seventy-sis miles to Albany was covered 
the nest day, in spile of the adverse current; and 
at nightfall the " Gazelle " was anchored almost 
within sight of the Empire State's Capitol build- 
ing. 

The £rst thing Kenneth did at Albany the 
next morning was to apply to State Superin- 
tendent of Public Works Partridge for a permit 
to go through the Erie Canal — the long link in 
the chain that was to carry the cruisers to their 
native lakes again. Colonel Partridge was so 
cordially interested in the cnijae, that he intro- 
duced Kenneth and his friends to some new«- 



2«I 



B. 



A YBAR IN A YAWL 

said in a tone that auggeated more clearly than 
words, " or it will be the worse for you." 

Kenneth thought of the roll of bills in his 
pocket, and glanced at the dark water below him, 
then like a flash it occurred to bim that the bum 
had taken him for a sailor — a man-o'-waraman — ■ 
and a plan auggented itself to him which he im- 
mediately proceeded to put into execution. 

It was rather difficult for him to assume the 
gruff, husky voice of a hard drinker, but he man- 
aged it pretty well. " Sorry I can't 'commodate 
you, mate," he aaid, gruffly, " but I'm busted — 
clean, and looking for a berth. Got shore leave, 
and blew in all my dough. Got jagged and don't 
know how to get back to the ship." 

The boy almost gagged at the language, but 
he played the game well, and the bluff worked, 
for the drunk was satisfied. He said something 
about " hard luck when a bloke hasn't got the 
price of a drink in his clothes," and slouched off. 
Ransom breathed a sigh of relief, but not till he 
was safe aboard the yacht did he feel entirely 
comfortable. 

The Erie Canal begins at Albany, but the boya 
had been told that they had better enter the big 
ditch at Troy, about seven miles up the river. 

No sooner had the " Gazelle " come to a stop 
inside the canal basin than captain and crew were 



I 



FROM NEW YORK TO ALBANY 

by people wanting to get the jot of tow- 
ing tliem to Buffalo. 

" Take you through for a hundred and ten dol- 
lars, air," said one. 

" Oh, g'wan," aaid another, " he's robtiing yer. 
I'll take yer through for aeventy-five," 

" And I've got twenty," Banaom said to him- 
self. 

The lowest offer was aixty-fiye dollars, and at 
that they would have to tag on to the end of a 
fleet of grain boats that could not possibly get 
through inside of two weeks. Every minute was 
precious now, for before very long ice would 
form and navigation would be closed on the lakes. 

It was a discouraging outlook, but the boys, 
nevertheless, made ready for the long trip across 
the State. With the aid of a derrick, the yawl's 
masts were taken out, her rigging dismantled and 
running gear unrove and neatly coiled. By 
nightfall, the " Gazelle " was completely im- 
rigged and reminded one, as Frank suggested, of 
** a man whose head bad been shaved." 

" If you won't pay the price to be towed 
through, what are you going to do?" Arthur 
asked when al! were sitting in the cabin. 

" Tow her by hand," Kenneth asserted. 

" What, four hundred miles by hand? " 

« Tup! " 



A. 7EAB IN A YAWL 

^ Well, I pass I " said Frank. 

^^ I'll be hanged if I want to be a mule all the 
way to Buffalo/' said Arthur in a manner sug- 
gestive of antagonism. " I wouldn't mind it for 
forty or fifty miles; but four hundred! Well, I 
guess nof." 

There was gloom in the little cabin that night, 
in spite of the brightly burning lamp. 

With the morx^ng, came a friend who was a 
friend indeed. An old canal man had read the 
story of the cruise in an Albany paper, and ad- 
miring the pluck of the boys had proceeded to 
look them up. 

" I'll tell you what to do," said he, when he 
learned of their predicament. "You buy a 
horse at this end and sell him at the other." 

"Buy a horse; what do you take us for, 
millionaires? " Arthur voiced the sentiments of 
the crowd. 

"Naw," responded the newly-found friend, 
T^ith a twinkle in his eye, as he surveyed the far 
from fashionable clothes they wore; "you don't 
have to be a Vanderbilt; you can buy a horse for 
twenty dollars, perhaps less." 

It ended by Ransom going off with the man 
to search for a good, cheap nag. At the end of 
an hour or so the skipper returned, leading a 
horse by a rather dilapidated bridle. The beast 

296 



FROM NEW YORK TO ALBANY 

walked without a limp^ and seemed healthy; but 
by h»r looks one would think that she had more 
that the stipulated number of ribs — they were 
so very much in evidence. 

" Good gracious, look at the boneyard Ken is 
leading! '' Frank laughed derisively. 

" What is it? " Arthur asked impolitely. 

" Ifs our one-horse-power engine. It's name 
is ' Step Lively ^; if is going to tow us to Buffalo; 
and it cost twelve dollars, harness included. 
* Dirt cheap, sir.' " 

Frank and Arthur laughed him to scorn; but 
next morning they hitched up "Step Lively '^ 
and started on their way. 



297 



CHAPTER XVn 

ALONG THE "BAGESTa CANAL " 

" It's fourteen miles from Schenectadj to Troj, 
And that's a blame long walk, mj boy/' 

Kenneth sang as he walked along behind ^^ St^ 
Lively," who, true to her name, set off at a good 
pace. 

Arthur and Frank lay back in the cockpit and 
shouted remarks to the captain on the tow path. 

^^ You just wait," he yelled back; " I'll bet our 
one-horse-power engine will be fatter when we 
get to Buffalo than she is now." 

Forward on the deck house of the mastless 
yacht was stowed a generous bale of hay and bags 
of ground feed; fuel for the one-horse engine. 

Twenty-five miles were covered the first day, 
and at dusk the faithful beast was stalled in a 
shed close to the big ditch with a plentiful supply 
of feed. She was apparently very content with 
her lot, and the scoffers had to admit that, per- 
haps, after all, the old nag was a good investment. 

298 



ALOHa THE "BAdlUa CANAL" 

The canal wound its sinnoua way through the 
Ifeautiful Mohawk Valley, the land of Goshen of 
the Empire State; great undulating fields of cul- 
tivated land lay on either side of the narrow strip 
of water. " Step Lively's " slow but steady pace 
gave the boys a full opportunity to see the coun- 
try through which they were passing and they 
agreed that it was well worth coming ao far to 
view. 

I Each took a turn driving the horse one hour on 
and two hours off — ^watch and watch all day. At 
night the old mare was comfortably bedded 
down in some old barn on the canal bank and all 
hands slept undisturbed. 

" Step Lively " knew the canal much better 
than did the boys, for she had been over the tow- 
path many times, and driving meant little more 
than keeping her at a steady even pace, which, 
though slow, ate up the miles at a aatiafactory 
rate. 

" Let's see, who runs the engine first to-day ? " 
Bansom looked around at the other two one 
morning. 

" Not I," said Arthur. " I held the throttle 
the last hour, and put her up for the night." 

" Jfor I," protested Frank. " I 'tended sheet 
and was at the helm the hour before," 

" Well, then, I suppose it's up to me to handle 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

the ritbons/' and Kenneth stepped ashore to 
start the old mare on her day's work. " You've 
got your metaphors well mixed up; a fellow over- 
hearing us talk couldn't tell whether we had a 
locomotive, a boat, or a horse to tow us." 

In spite of the parleying, the " Gazelle " was 
soon moving along once more. Ransom walked 
behind the mare, reins in hand, or walked just 
ahead, setting the pace. The long line stretched 
behind, sagging in the water, making long rip- 
ples on the placid water ahead of the yacht's keen 
prow. Frank, with his hand on the tiller, kept 
the boat in the middle, while Arthur, having 
nothing else to do, lay prone, basking in the sun. 

" Say, Art," Frank inquired drowsily, " did 
Ken read to you that part of his father's letter 
where he warned us not to get wrecked on the 
canal? " 

" Yes," the other answered, " and I thought it 
the most fooUsh piece of advice I ever heard. 
Wrecked in this old ditch! I would as soon 
think of being wrecked in a bath tub." 

But later they both had cause to remember 
the warning. 

When the hour was up, Kenneth came aboard, 
Frank took the reins, and Arthur his place at 
the stick. Frank had not been driving long 
wlien he met a four-horse team pulling a train 

aoo 



ALOXQ TBB - RAGiyO CANAL" 

of three heavy canal boats. The driver stopped 
accommodatingly, and allowed his tow line to 
Bag so " Step Lively " and the yacht could pass 
over it. Frank thanked him and went over, but 
hardly had the mare's heels got over tho 
stranger's line than be whipped up and tautened 
it. Kenneth, who was watching, said, " Look at 
that chap, Art; he thinks he is going to soap ' His 
Nibs ' off with his line, but you watch," 

The small boat was towing behind the larger 
boat, and the driver of the four-horse team fig- 
ured that when his tow-rope had passed under 
the " Gazelle " it would snap up and yank " His 
Nibs " from ber fastenings. Soon the tow-line 
could be felt rubbing along on the yacht's keel, 
then, for an instant, there was a pause, while 
hoth teams pulled with all their might in oppo- 
site directions; the tow-linea tautened like harp 
strings, and the water was sent flying in al! direc- 
tions by the vibration. Suddenly the stranger's 
line parted, cut in two by the " Gazelle's " sharp 
plate rudder; the four horses almost £el! on their 
heads, and the driver, who was riding one of 
them, barely escaped a ducking in the canal. Re- 
lieved of their accustomed burden, the team 
started off on a run, and the driver, picking him- 
self up, ran after them, swearing loudly, and 
ever and anon turning to shake his flst at the 



i. YEAR JN A 7AWL 

"boys. These threatening gestures were received 
with roars of laughter, which continued long 
after the runaway team and the angry driver had 
disappeared round a bend. 

All along the canal small stores were kept for 
the convenience of the canal men and their fami- 
lies. Food was cheap, and therefore abundant, 
and the boys thrived imder the easy life, the 
nourishing fare, and the open-air exercise. In 
spite of the eight or ten miles of walking each of 
them put in every day, they began to get fat. 
^' Step Lively *^ also showod signs of her good 
care; her ribs became less evident, and her coat 
showed signs of glossiness. 

Considerable affection had sprung up in the 
boys' hearts for their " one-horse-power engine,*' 
as they called their steed. She was such a faith- 
ful old beast, and did her work so uncomplain- 
ingly. It was with real grief and alarm, there- 
fore, that Kenneth saw early one morning that 
the stall the mare had occupied was empty and 
the ring bolt to which her halter had been made 
fast was pulled clear out of the decayed wood. 

Delayed by a visit to friends chance had 
thrown in their way, the skipper had risen at 
3 A. M. in order to make up for lost time. But, 
lo and heboid! the steed had fled. Without a 
horse they could not proceed, and there was not 

3Q2 



ALONQ TBE "BAGIsa CAML" 

enough money in the crowd to buy another — 
even at twelve dollars. 

" We are certainly up against it," Kenneth 
eaid to himself, ae he examined the damp ground 
for hoof prints. He found a few marks, but 
these were lost in the lush grass surrounding the 
stable, and all hope of tracing the nag by that 
means had to be given up. 

A howl of dismay went up from the other two 
when the skipper told of their loss. 

" I het she's five miles off by this time." 

" We'll never see her again," was Arthur's 
comforting prophecy. 

It was a very serious situation. Over two hun- 
dred miles of canal remained to be covered, the 
cold season was coming on fast, and there was 
not a minute to be lost if the homestretch of the 
journey was to be traversed this year. The com- 
bined funds could payfor neither tow nor another 
horse, and " Step lively," -their sole dependence, 
was gone. 

" After breakfast, when it gets light," aaid the 
skipper, putting his plan into words, " we'll di- 
vide up, each will go in a different direction, and 
perhaps we will round her up." 

It was a gloomy breakfast the boys hurried 
through that morning. The gray light of early 
morning turned the cabin lamplight a sickly yel- 



JL YEAR IN A YAWL 

low and showed the faces of the boys frowning 
and dejected. ^ 

While Kenneth was downing the last mouth- 
ful of coffee, they heard the hollow thump, thump 
of a horse's hoofs on the bridge just above them. 
Bansom rushed on deck to ask the driver of the 
supposed team if a stray horse had been seen, 
and, to his utter surprise and delight, foimd 
" Step Lively " on the canal bank gazing at the 
yacht, as if to say, " Well, boys, I've had a bully 
time; but let's be going." 

The skipper nearly fell overboard in his eager- 
ness to reach the land and see if it was indeed 
the faithful old beast. Sure enough, there was 
no mistaking that drooping imder lip and re- 
signed pose. 

^^ Well, old nag, you deserve a ten-acre lot to 
rest your old bones upon and a lump of sugar 
f re^h every hour, but you've got to get a gait on," 
and Kenneth Ransom, chief hostler, chief coach- 
man, and skipper, harnessed her up. 

As the boys proceeded on their journey, the 
horse developed a bad tendency to interfere, and 
to prevent a raw sore from forming, a boot was 
put over the place where the hoof came in con- 
tact with the other leg. 

It became the duty of the boy who drove the 
last hour, when stabling " Step Lively," to take 

804 



ALONG THE " RAQING CANAL" 

off the boot, if left on all night the leg would 
swell, and the horse would) in consequence, go 
lame next day. As a penalty for the breaking 
of this rule, it was decreed that tbe offender must 
■wash diahes every day for a week. 

Before the boys had this understanding with 
each other, the poor old mare started her day's 
■work with a lame leg several times, but after the 
rule -was made their memories improved, and 
" Step Lively " was soon well again. 

One evening it was Arthur's turn to put the 
horse up for the nigbt. He did it with considei^ 
able grumbling, for he was in a hurry to get be- 
low in the snug little cabin. The wind blew 
round the big deserted barn where the horse was 
to be stabled for the night; it whistled round the 
eaves and rattled the loose boards of the walls. 
At a little distance was an old inn or hotel, that 
was also deserted and stood black and desolate 
in the gloom; one of the few remaining window 
panes caught the last gleam of the setting sun 
and glowed with the redness of an evil eye. 
Arthur made haste to get aboard, and once 
helow, allowed himself the luxury of a good 
ehivep. 

" Phew! that's an uncanny place," he said, aa 
he sat down to the meal Frank had already pre- 
pared. 



A TEAR IN A lAWL 

Hansom kickecl Ohauvet under the table, to 
put liiia on to the game. " Tea, I hear the house 
is haunted," The wind howled, as if to confirm 
the fact, and a puff came down -the companion- 
way hatch and made the lamp flicker. 

Frank and Kenneth kept up a fire of ghost ator- 
ies, so that their own hair showed a tendency to 
rise, while Arthur was visibly imnerved, 

As the wind gave a particularly weird shriek, 
Kenneth made a scratching noise on the centre- 
board trunk. 

"What's that?" said Arthur, startled. 

" What's what? " Frank inquired, innocently. 

" That noise— hear it? " — Arthur paused to 
listen — " sounds like a person or dog scratching 
to get in," 

" Oh, it's your imagination, I guess." 

" By the way. Art, did you take the boot oS 
'Step Lively'?" 

" Sure! " he answered. 

" I'll bet you didn't; too much of a hurry to get 
out of the wind and aboard." 

" I know I did — at least I think I did." 

" Gee, that's a queer noise," Kenneth inte^ 
rupted the inquiry to say. The wind made a 
noise like one in torment, and the light flickered 
again. 

" m give you two dollBis if you go out and 
306 



I 



ALOSa THE "SAGINa OAHAL" 

make sure. It's up to you, and don't forget the 
week's dishwaahing if we find the boot on in the 
morning," 

The thought of a week of dishwaahing braced 
the mate, and, lightiag a lantern, he puahed open 
the companionway door and went out. 

Almost immediately he waa back again, white 
and shaking. " Say, boya, saw something queer 
in there — something white moving round — 
sure 'b you're born I " 

" Did you find out about the boot? " inquired 
Eanaom, inexorably. 

"No; didn't wait," 

" You bad better go and find out." 

" I wouldn't be hired to go in there." 

" Well, we'll find out." Frank wore a superior 
air, but be kept close to Kenneth for all that. 

The whispers of the wind grew into shrieks as 
they approached the bam, and, as Prank reached 
out bis hand to grasp the door-catch, a damp leaf 
slapped hia face. Opening the door cautiously, 
they poked in their heads and looked. Startled, 
they saw a dim gray shape in the middle of the 
big open space, and as they were about to turn 
and run, the ghost stamped hard and whinnied 
gently. " Step Lively " was glad to see some- 
thing alive and human. 

"Hullo, old beast, broke loose, did you?" 



A YEAR i.V A YAWL 

Kenneth was very bold; went up to the hoiM, 
felt her leg. 

" Boot's o£f, all right, but we've got the laugh 
on Art." 

" He pretty nearly got the laugh on us," Frank 
remarked, honestly. 

" Saw your ghost, old man," Kenneth re- 
marked airily when they entered the cabin, " and 
tied her up good and strong this time." 

" Tou don't mean to say it was the mare? " 
Arthur had visions of the guying he was bound 
to get. 

■' Yep, Let's call her ' Ghost ' after this. 
Wliat do you say, Frank! " 

" Oh, quit! rii wash dishes if you let up." 

It was only necessary to say ghost to Arthur 
after this episode to reduce the swelling of hia 
head to the humblest proportions. 

" Step Lively " settled down to good, hard, 
steady work after her various adventures, and the 
" Gazelle " made her way over the " raging 
canal " at a good round pace. 

The boys met many people on the way; soms 
were pleasant and courteous, and a few were in- 
clined to make disagreeable remarks. To these 
the boys paid no attention, and the remarks fell 
flat, having nothing to feed upon. 

The locks, by means of which the boats passed 



I 



ALONG TEE ■• BAOINQ CANAL" 

from one level to another, were encountered at 
frequent intervals. Occasionally, a lock tender 
would be disinclined to take the trouble to let the 
yacht pass, and made it as hard for the boja as 
possible. And at one time it seemed certain that 
both the yacht and a member of the crew would 



One afternoon the boys approached the great 
■wooden portals of a lock and blew a horn to notify 
the keeper that they wished to enter; he was a. 
surly chap, and grumbiingly act to work to ad- 
mit the yacht. The " Gazelle " once inside, the 
heavy wooden barriers were closed, two lines 
were run from the bitts forward to snubbing 
posts, in order to keep her straight in the lock; 
and Arthur, with a long, heavy pole in hand, 
stood ready to fend her ofF from the rocky sides. 
Frank looked after the horse, while Kenneth 
helped the keeper. Usually the water from 
the higher level was let in gradually, but this 
keeper was in an ugly temper, and allowed the 
water to come in with a rush. The " Gazelle," 
bouyant, rose light as a cork, and Arthur pushed 
with all his might on the stout pole to keep her 
from being dented by the cruel roeka. The 
water came boiling into the baain, and the yacht 
rocked and strained at her mooring lines. Sud- 
denly one of them parted, and, the strain being 



A YEAR IN A 7AWL 

■Unequal, she swung aharply to one side. Ar- 
thur pushed with might and main, but the side- 
long swing of the three-ton boat was too mucb 
for him; his pole was eaught against the side of 
the lock and he was jerked orerboard into the 
seething pool. 

" Art's overboard I " cried Frank. " He will 
he crushed, sure." 

" Shut off the water, for heaven's aakel " 

They looked into the narrow baain, but not a 
sign could they see of him. The water swirled 
and eddied, formed little whirlpools, dashed 
miniature breakers against the rocky walls, and 
receded. All the time the yacht swung nearer 
and nearer the masonry, and the boys knew that 
unless he escaped by a miracle Arthur would be 
crushed between. 

For a minute the two boys gazed helpless, then 
a plan occurred to the skipper, which he pro- 
ceeded to execute instantly. Taking the broken 
end of the parted line, all the slack possible hav- 
ing been let out, he stood on the capstone of tbe 
lock and measured the distance between it and 
the unsteady yacht. It was a long leap under 
the most favorable circumstances, and the handi- 
cap of the heavy rope and the heaving deck of 
the vessel, such a long way out and so far below, 
made the chances of f ailiu^ infinitely greater — 
810 



ALOUe THE "RAQISO CANAL" 

and failure in this case meant almost certain 
death. Per an instant he hesitated, theo, fearful 
lest his resolution should fail him if he waited 
longer, he sprang over the tossing, swirling water 
straight for the yacht's deck. With scarcely six 
inches to spare, he landed with a jar that dazed 
him for a second. AVith the line atill in his hand, 
lie ran forward and made it fast to the bitta, so 
that the " Q-azelle " once more swung straight in 
the pool. 

"Do you see him?" Frant cried anxiously 
from the shore. 

Kenneth looked into the bubbling water for 
signs of the mate. It was hardly more than a 
minute or two since the skipper had cried, " Shut 
off the water! " but Arthur might have met his 
doom in even that short time. 

" I am afraid he's a goner," Ransom answered. 
" I can't see him." 

" You can't lose me! " 

It was Arthur's familiar voioe, and came from 
below aft somewhere. 

" Where are you? " 

" Astern here, having a swim." 

Kenneth rushed aft and caught sight of tha 
mate's legs thrashing around under the overhang. 

With rare presence of mind he had done the 

one thing that could save him. Finding himself 

811 



^ 



A 7EAB JN A 7AWL 

overboard, he swam with awift strokes aft and 
cluBgj in spite of the twisting and rocking of the 
yacht, to the rudder. The overhang protected 
him from all harm, and beyond a chill produced 
by the cold water he was unhurt. 

The lock-keeper, thoroughly scared by the con- 
sequences of his ill-temper, tried to make amends 
by letting in the water so gently that the " Ga-* 
zelle " reached the upper level with scarcely a 
tremor. 

" These very narrow escapes are trying, to say 
the least," Frank remarked, as " Step Lively " 
once more got going. 

" Yea, if we really had any skin on our teeth 
it would have been worn off long ago," said 
Arthur, as he appeared on deck in diy clothM, 
smiling cheerfully. 

While the " one-horse motor " could not be 
classed as a high-speed engine, the old maio 
plugged along with a steady gait that covered the 
miles at a speed sufficient for the purpose. It 
was a great trip, and the boys agreed that it would 
be hard to find a better way to see the country. 
Many of the important cities of the Empire State 
were cut in two parts by the canal, and as the 
boys passed through at the two-mil es-an-honr 
pace, they had plenty of time to go ashore and 
see things — the great electric works of The 
313 



u 



ALOSa TBB "RAGING CAN Ah" 

General Electric Co. at Schenectady, the optical 
and camera works at Rochester, Troy, Schenec- 
tady, Utica, Home, Syracuse, Rochester, and a 
score of other towns whose names are familiar all 
over the United States were visited. 

They passed many sorta of vessels carrying car- 
goes of freight over the great water highway of 
the State. Canal boats, laden with lumber and 
grain, in fleets, single file, drawn by teams of 
from two to six mules, eastward bound, the water 
within eighteen inches of the decks. Forward 
on many of the boats was a box-like compartment 
for the steedfi when off duty, and it was a com- 
mon thing to see the head of a mule sticking out 
above the deck, "viewing the landscape o'er." 
Whole families lived aboard these queer vessels; 
clothes were washed and spread to dry on the 
little backyard-like piece of deck over the cabin- 
house. Sometimes boxes of brilliant geraniums 
were placed to protect the family from the public 
gaze, and occasionally, under an awning spread 
over the cabin roof, a woman sat and sewed, 
rocking a cradle with her foot. 

There was a constant procession of boats of 
many kinds, floating high as a rule when going 
westward, but laden down within a foot or two 
of the scupper holes when eastward bound. 

One morning the " Gazelle " passed three im- 




A YEAR IN A YAWL 

mense iron grain boats tied up to the stone-lined 
bank. They were empty, and loomed up be- 
side the yacht like small mountains. 

Later that same day they had occasion to re- 
member those boats. 

They made a good day's run, and night found 
them tied up to snubbing posts placed for the 
purpose; their lanterns displayed, they went to 
bed, each with a hght conscience and heavy eye- 
lids. The open-air exercise and active appetites 
made the boys sleep solid as logs. The grain 
boats they saw in the morning came along, towed 
by a steam barge; tooted for the lock to be 
opened, and two of the boats passed through. But 
the boys never stirred. The third boat was left 
to her own control, and, being without sails or 
steam, ahe drifted with the wind unhampered. 
Unladen, her high sides offered a splendid sur- 
face to the breeze, and she drifted sidewise to- 
wards the " Gazelie." Black and remorseless, 
she awimg towards the little yacht nestling close 
to the rock-lined bank of the canal. The grain 
boat's one human passenger sat sleepily on a 
great cleat aft and dozed. The boys slept on, all 
unconscious of their impending doom. Slowly, 
slowly, she drifted nearer, until she touched the 
" Gazelle's " sides. The ironclad's bulk was 
great, and, drive?} by the wind against her tall 



ALOSG THE " BAQINQ CASAL" 

Bides, she pushed the yacht steadily until the 
smaller boat was hard against the shelving rocky 
bank. Still the preaetire continued, and she be- 
gan to be pushed up out of the water by the tre- 
mendous squeeze. All three boya were stirred 
into wakefulness by the firat upward lift. 

The first sound that reached their ears was the 
groaning of the timbers under the tremendous 
grip of stone and iron. 

Instantly the words of the elder Kanaom 
flashed into Kenneth's mind. 

" Look out and don't get wrecked on the 
canal," he had written. 

Something, the boy knew not what, held hia 
beloved vessel in its grip. Some tremendoua 
power waa crushing his vessel as a strong hand 
grinds an almond shell to fragments. The 
tongued and grooved cherry woodwork of the 
cabin creaked, snapped, and, as they looked, 
was forced out at the joints by the fearful 
pressure. 

With a cry that was half a groan, Kenneth 
rushed on deck, followed lay Arthur and Frank. 
The great iron sides loomed above them black 
and implacable. 

For an instant he stood dazed, uncomprehend- 
ing, then he realized the situation — realized that 
the mighty floating fabric of iron, forced by the 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

wind beyond the power of homan liands and 
human brains to check it, was slowly grinding 
the doomed yacht to kindlings. He could not 
bear to think of his vessel a wreck, and, for a 
moment, covered his eyes with his hand. 



816 



OHAPTEK SVin 

IN THE QEIP OF IRON AND STONE 

The great veasel squeezed the yacht even 
tighter, and the boys could feel the deck under 
their feet bent upward by the pressure- 
It was intolerable. Kenneth's vessel was actu- 
ally being destroyed under him and no move of 
■his could prevent it. 

Beside himself with despair and rage, he 
shouted at the blank wall of the grain boat, and 
in blind fury put hia hands against it and pushed 
— ^hia puny atrengt.h against a thousand tons. 

" It's a wonder you boya don't go to sleep after 
a day on the path." The apeaker'a head showed 
over the rail of the barge. 

The fearful mockery of his words drove poor 
Kenneth almost crazy, and he shouted at the man 
words that had no meaning — inarticulate sounds 
tbat voiced bia agony. 

Still the eruah continued, until the yacht was 
forced almost out of water and her deck was 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

squeezed into a sharp, convex curve. The poor 
boat groaned, as if in pain. 

The man on the barge looked down on the ter- 
rified boys calmly, stupidly; perfectly aware that 
by no act of his could he avert the catastrophe. 

But still the pressure continued. The boys 
gathered their scattered wits together, and, with 
energy that seemed futile even as they called, 
shouted for help. 

Then came an answering shout, a sound of 
moving feet on the grain bargees deck, a sharp, 
urging call to a team, the snap of a whiplash. 
The barge began to slide off, and the " Gazelle," 
released from the powerful grip, settled down. 
Kenneth and his friends stood poised, ready to 
spring ashore when the vessel — ^her seams opened 
to the flood — should sink. 

With a slowness that was nerve-racking, lihe 
iron monster moved away until the yadht was 
wholly released; with a groan that was like a sigh 
of relief she settled to her normal water line, 
bobbed up and down a little, as if to adjust herself 
to her more comfortable position, and floated 
quietly and safe. 

Kenneth could not believe his eyes, but rushed 
below, and, pulling up the square trap in the 
cabin floor, thrust his hand far into the bilge, 
expecting to see the water come bubbling out of 

318 



IN TBE QRIP OF IRON AND STONB 

the well. He waa beside hiniseli with joy to find 
no oozing seams, no leaking crannies — she was 
dry. 

He shouted aloud to his friends on deck the 
joyful news, and they came tumbling down, in- 
credulous, to feel and see for themselves. 

Again the wonderful little craft had stood the 
test, the most severe in her varied experience. 
The sturdy timbers, so carefully steamed, bent, 
and joined together, squeezed all out of their 
rightful shape, sprang back to their designed 
lines as aoon as released from the awful pres- 
sure. 

When the commander of the fleet came back 
and offered to make good any damage his boat 
had caused, the boys were too full of joy and 
gratitude to exact any damages. 

Beyond the started joints in the hardwood fin- 
ish of the cabin, the yacht was unhurt, and they 
could not conscientiously ask for money even if 
they wished. 

The fleet captain went off, and, as the bai^e 
slipped off into the night, the voice of the man 
on deck came back to the boys: "Ye blamed 
fools, why didn't ye punch a hole in her and go 
home like gentlemen on the money you'd get? " 

Ruin his boat! Kenneth would almost as will- 
ingly cut off bis right hand. His fingers itched 
810 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

to clutch and shake the man who made suoK ft 
degrading proposition. 

Once more the crew and their faithful boat 
liad escaped destruction as if bj a miracle. Once 
more the hand of Providence had appeared 
strong in their behalf, and they were grateful — 
too much affected to apeak of it, except in a sub- 
dued undertone. 

Soon after this " Step Lively " made her ban- 
ner run of thirty-one miles in one day. Arrived 
at the busy Httle city of Lockport, the " Gazelle " 
began the steep ascent of the series of atep- 
like locks to the top of a large hill and the upper 
level, rive double locks opened one into fhe 
other; one aeries for descent the other for aaeent 
of the hill. Each lock raised or lowered the ves- 
sel in it fifteen or twenty feet. It was a splendid 
piece of engineering that the boys, after their 
many miles of canal journeying, could fully ap- 
preciate. 

" Say, this is easy," said Arthur. " Just like 
going upstairs." 

" Yea; only it's no work," suggested Frank. 

" It's like some of the sudden trips I have 
made upstairs when my father had a grip on the 
seat of my trousers; that was easy, till after- 
wards," and Kenneth rubbed himself reflectively. 

Beyond the " lock step " — as Frank face- 



m TBE GRIP OF IRON AND STOSB 

tioualy called the series of water lifts— the canal 
■waa cut out of the solid rock; tlie walla of stone 
rising sharply on either side of the water, the 
tow-path was a mere ledge cut between the ditch- 
and the embankment. It was a gloomy sort of 
place, especially since the rain had fallen re- 
cently, the rocks were black with dripping water, 
and the tow-path slippery with mud. The road 
■where " Step Lively " toiled along was narrow 
and several feet above the surface of the water, 
& strong wind was blowing down the gorge-like 
cut, and made it hard for the old mare to pull the 
yacht. Frank was driving, and urged the beast 
along with voice and slap of rein. All went well 
imtil the horse atumtled over a atone, slipped, 
and, in her struggle to recover her feet, slipped 
atill more, and finally she slid over the edge and 
plunged into the canal with a mighty splash. 

Frank stood on the bank and hopped about 
like a hen whose chicks have proved to be ducks 
and have just discovered their native element; 
he stiU held on to the reins, and when the old 
Ihorse splashed towards the bank pulled with all 
ids might. The sides of the canal were as steep 
as a wall, and the poor beaat could not get the 
Blightest foothold. She gazed at Frank with an 
appealing eye and struggled valiantly to reach 
dry ground, only to fall back till aU but her 



A YEAR IV A TAWL 

snorting nose was submerged. " Don't push, 
ju3t Bhovel " cried an unsympathetic looker on. 

" Why don't you put boats on his feet? " sug- 
gested another. 

Trank was at bis wit's end. He tried in every 
way to extricate the poor beast from its predica- 
ment, but since she could not fly it could not be 
done. 

The " Gazelle," carried on by the impetus she 
still retained, came alongside of the struggling 
amphibious steed, and Frank threw the reins 
aboard. 

"Well, this heats the Dutch! " Kenneth ex- 
claimed, as the three hoys looked helplessly down 
on the poor beast swimming gamely in her un- 
natural element — a pathetic but ludicrous sight. 

" What the deuce shall we do? " Frank did 
not know whether to laugh or cry, and his face 
was curiously twisted in consequence. 

" Well," said the skipper at last, " I guess the 
tower will have to be towed till we find a sheli-ing 
bank and the order can be reversed again." 

All hands seemed to appreciate the humor of 
the situation except " Step Lively," and she back- 
pedalled with all her might. Kenneth and Ar^ 
thur took the place of the tow-horse on the path, 
and fouud it hard work to pull the heavy boat 
through the water and a refractory horse that in- 



IN TBE GRIF OF IRON AND STONE 

aisted on swimming backward as hard as she 
could. As they strained and tugged, puffed and 
sweated they lost the funny aide, and agreed that 
it was " blamed serious." At this juncture " Step 
Lively " woke up to the situation, and swam with 
instead o£ against her masters, and then all was 
lovely. 

The people the strange proceasion met were 
very much amused, and they did not hesitate to 
make comments. 

" Turn about'a fair play, ain't it? " said one. 

" About time the boat towed a while; put her 
on the path," said another. 

At length a sloping place was reached, and the 
old horse scrambled out. It was hard to teU 
which was more relieved— at any rate, " Step 
Lively " took up her regular occupation with 
alacrity, and the boys went back on board with 
a sigh of relief. For fear the faithful old beast 
would catch cold, she was kept going, and so 
escaped harm. 

At Tonawanda, on the Niagara Kiver, Kea- 
neth sold the horse to a man who contracted to 
tow them to Buffalo and Lake Erie. And so 
they parted with " Step Lively " for three dol- 
lars. She had entirely lost her hat-rack appear- 
ance, and seemed almost as sorry to leave he^ 
young friends as they were to dismiss her. 



A TEAR /A- A TAWL 

From Tonawanda the canal followed along the 
Niagara Eiver. The beautiful, broad stream, 
smootli and placid, looked little like the torrent 
a little farther below that rushed madly down tlie 
ateep incline, and then made that stupendous 
leap. 

" Is this the Niagara River? " one boj a^d 
another. Its calmueBS was disappointing. 

At Buffalo the " Gazelle " entered her native 
waters once more — on lake water, but still a 
thousand miles from home. 

Twelve daja from Troy to Buffalo, three hun- 
dred and fifty-two miles — not a bad record con- 
sidering tlie one-horse motor. 

The boys cast anchor within the shelter o£ 
Buffalo's breakwater October 10, 1899, and 
looked over the strange, green waters of Lake 
Erie. They immediately went to work, stepped 
the masta and set up tbe rigging for the last stage 
of their long journey. A tliousand miles of 
lakes stretched between them and old St. Joseph, 
yet the young voyagers felt that they were almost 
'home. They forgot for a time that the great 
inland seas were sure to be swept by gales tbat 
would increase in force and frequency as tlie sea- 
son advanced, until the freezing blast closed up 
navigation altogether, and the waters, now 
tracked in all directions by vessels of every de- 



IN THE GRIP OF IRON AND STOKE 

ecription, would be deserted — left to the howl- 
ing winds, the grinding cakes of ice, and the 
screaming gulls. 

It was a serious situation that stared them in 
the face, did they but realize it. The sharp 
gales on the lakes were to be dreaded even more 
than the tempest on the ocean, for laud, never 
Tery far off, surrounded on every hand, and a lee 
shore was an im mine at peril, 

A mere zephyr toyed with the flag at the " Ga- 
zelle's " masthead as she lay at anchor — too soft 
to waft the yacht a mile an hour — so it was not 
strange that Kenneth aud his crew forgot for a 
time that the lake, now so calmly sleeping, would 
soon rise in its anger and lash itself into white 
foam. 

The lack of wind gave the crew an opportunity 
to visit Niagara Falls, and they took time to drink 
in a full measure of this moat magnificent of Na- 
ture's wonders, a sight that they will remember 
all their daya — the crowning spectacle of their 
trip. 

After a three days' stay at Buffalo, the breeza 
sprang up, the boys raised the anchor, and the 
"Gazelle," her sails spread to the freshening 
wind, sped out of harbor and away on the last lap 
of her race round the Eastern haK of the United 
States. 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

"Hurrali!" the boya shouted, and, clasping 
hands, congratulated each other. 

The " Gazelle " acted as if she felt that her 
native waters bore her once more, and skimmed 
along as lightly as the gulls that circled in the 
clear, cool air. Straight across the lake she flew, 
aped by an ever-increasing wind, until the point 
off the Welland Canal, on the Canadian side, was 
reached. With a snap characteristic of her, she 
came about and started off on another tack, then 
stopped suddenly with a jar that knocked the 
boys to their knees. Hard on the roekat There 
was not a minute to spare if the good yacht was to 
be saved. "With a spring, Kenneth let go the 
mainsail halliards, and the slatting sail came 
down on tJhe nm, while Arthur lowered the jib. 
It was quick work, but these young men had had 
the training that made them decide rapidly and 
act effectively. 

The sails down, the yacht rested more easily, 
but still she pounded, the waves dashing her 
heavily on the cruel ledges. 

Kenneth jumped overboard, clothes and all, 
followed by Frank and Arthur. Putting their 
shoulders to the yawl's stem, they pushed with 
might and main. At length the heavy boat 
moved, and, as in New York Harbor, they 
'pushed, walking after till the yacht floated claar 



IS THE QBIP OF IRON AND STONB 

and ihey had to hold on to keep from sink- 
ing. Through the clear water the rocka lurked 
just under the surface in every direction, and 
only by the most careful manceuvring could the 
yacht be sailed to safety. The sails were hoisted 
once more, Kenueth took the helm, and, after 
a time, Frank and Arthur went below to put on 
some dry clothes. The October wind blew keen 
and sharp, the skipper, crouching in the atern to 
present as little surface to it aa possible, thought 
lie would freeze to death — hia wet clothes stuck 
to him and the cold wind seemed to go directly 
to his vitals. 

" H-h-h-hurry up I " he shouted to the boya be- 
.low through his chattering teeth. "I-i-i-i'U 
sh-sh-shake the boat to p-p-p-pieeea if you don't 
g-g-g-get a m-m-m-move on." 

By this time the " Gazelle " waa clear of all 
danger, and was coasting over the rollers at splen- 
did speed. 

Aa the day wore on the wind increased in force, 
and tlie lake, true to its reputation, waa lashed 
into waves both high and short. It was the kind 
of sea that makes a small boat like the yawl pitch 
and toss most uncomfortably; "but, in spite of it 
all, she made good speed. With a clear course 
ahead, though the weatter waa threatening, 
£enneth kept on for Port Stanley, on the 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

Canadian shore. About two-thirty in the 
morning the skipper calculated that the light 
marking the harbor they sought should be 
visible, but not a sign of it could Arthur, on 
look-out duty, see. The skipper, in spite of 
the tossing sea, shinned the mast, and from 
its elevation caught a glimpse of the gleaming 
light. 

Coming down on deck, he shouted to Frank at 
the wheel: " We're over-canvassed; we'll have to 
reef down." 

The* wind made it hard for him to be heard. 

"Keef in this sea? You're crazy, you can't 
doit!" 

" We've got to do it," the captain answered. 
'* Art, give us a hand on the mainsail." 

The mate obeyed, and together they crawled 
forward. Dark as pitch, they had to work by 
sense of touch alone. Each knew the position of 
every line, every rope, as he knew the location of 
his eyes and his mouth, but the choppy sea made 
it impossible to stand an instant unaided. Ar- 
thur gripped the standing rigging with his legs 
as he lowered the mainsail, and Kenneth clung 
desperately to the boom as he began to tie the 
reef points. 

The " Gazelle " jumped and thrashed about 
like a bucking horse, and the darkness enveloped 

828 



IN THE GRIP OK IRON AyD STONE 

everything. Of a sudden, the boat gave an aw- 
ful luroh, and Kenneth heard a sudden thump 
against the yacht's side and all was still. In- 
stantly he missed Arthur — nowhere could he be 
seen. 

"For heaven's sake, luff — ^luff! " he cried to 
Frank. " Art's overboard." 

The boat shot up into the wind and lay 
there quivering, while Kenneth, dread lying 
like a weight on hia heart, sought for his 
friend. 

" What's the trouble? " a voice called from the 
other side of the boat. " Anybody hurt? " 

" For heaven's sake, where are you, Art? " 

''Over here. "What's the trouble?" 

"My, but I'm glad you're O. K.! Thought 
you were overboard, sure." 

" Oh, I guess it was that wooden fender you 
heard; it went over in that last jump." 

The " Gazelle " went better under her reduced 
canvas, and reeled off the miles like the steady 
aea-boat she was. 

" Well, wc did not see much worse sea on ths 
ocean, did we, boys? " Kenneth had a sort of 
pride in his native waters, and took satisfaction, 
even in its rough moods. 

They were certainly formidable. Short, highj 
and following one another in quick succession. 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

the waves tossed the yacht about as a man ia 
thrown in a blanket. 

Daylight soon came to cheer the young mari- 
nersy and revealed the Canadian shore but a few 
miles to starboard. At two o'clock in the after- 
noon the " Gazelle '^ sailed into Port Stanley. 
Once safely inside, the wind rose shrieking, as if 
enraged because the yacht had escaped. For 
three days they lay at anchor, stormbound — ^three 
days that would have been much enjoyed if Ken- 
neth had not been so anxious to go on. Food 
was plenty and the people kind, but the thought 
of the terrible winter, whose breath, even now, 
could be occasionally felt, urged them on and 
took the edge off their enjoyment in the hospi- 
table place. 

To Kondeau Harbor was a sixty-mile run, and 
when the " Gazelle " pushed her bowsprit past 
the protecting point of Port Stanley, it looked 
as if there would not be wind enough to carry 
her the distance by nightfall. But a fair breeze 
soon sprang up, and they sped along at a good 
pace. The lake seemed to be on its good be- 
havior — ashamed of the temper it had shown for 
the last three days, perhaps. It took little at 
that time of year to rouse Old Erie to a howling 
rage. At five-ten in the afternoon the boys saw 
that the pleasant mood that had lasted all day 

830 



m m 


1 




i 


UHIKINU FOIL POUT SVAS,.EM.~-{Fi.gf 330.) 


^ 



I 



IN THE GRIP OF IRON AND STONE 

was giving way to a very ugly temper, and tliere 
were six miles more to cover before shelter could 
be reached. 

" Look ai those clouds over there," said Frank. 
" We're going to have a head wind and all aorta 
of troublea." 

" Sure thing! " echoed Arthur. 

" Oh, come off! I'll bet you four to one we'll 
be inside by six o'clock." 

Kenneth saw, too, that there was to be a high 
wind in the wrong direction. 

"Done! " cried Frank and Arthur together. 
" You're a chump, Ken. AU those miles with a 
head wind? I guess nit." 

"Tou Just watch your Uncle Dudley." The 
skipper meant to do his level best to win bis reck- 
lesa wager. 

The goal was in plain sight, and Kenneth took 
his place at the helm, determined to be on a line 
at least with those piers by six o'clock. The 
wind was rising steadily and swinging more and 
more ahead. The yaeht, seeming to realize what 
waa expected of her, settled down to her work 
and slipped off into the eye of the breeze like a 
witch. Each minute the wind hauled more and 
more ahead, until the boat, her sheets already 
closely trimmed, seemed to sail right square into 
the teeth of it. The gray bulkhead was yet a 



A YEAR nf A YAWL 

long way off, and the minutes were slipping by 
at an alarming rate. Arthur grinned as he called 
out, " Five-thirty." 

It was a race against time with a vengeance. 
More than the settling of a friendly wager was 
involved. The clouds to the southwest had an 
ugly look, and the line of dull gray showed 
against the bright blue straight as if drawn by a 
ruler. 

Nearer and nearer they came to " the haven 
where they would be," but faster and faster flew 
the minutes. 

"Five-forty-five!" Arthur called, clock in 
hand. 

" Can she do it? " Kenneth asked himself. 
Only fifteen minutes more, and the black edge 
of the squall so close. 

Then the wind died down. 

" I told you sol " said Frank, exultingly. 

Kenneth knew that it was but the calm before 
the storm. "You just wait," he said; "you 
haven't got this cinched yet." 

"Five-fifty!" droned Arthur. "Ten min- 
utes more." 

Kenneth said nothing, but kept a siharp 
weather eye open for squalls. 

" Five-fifty-seven! " called the timekeeper. 

Off to port the skipper saw the water scuffed 

833 



IS THE GRIP OF IRON AND STOXE 

up, as if a thousand ailvery fifihea suddenly sprang 
up. 

" Here she comes," Kenneth said to himBelf, 
" and she's a hummer! " 

All at once the blast struck them. 

Whoo! 

The " Gazelle " laid over before it till her lee 
freeboard, high as it was, was buried under, and 
the water lapped alongside the deckhouse. The 
boat fairly flew alajig, great sheets of spray shoot- 
ing out from her bow, the sails standing stiff as 
if moulded out of metal. " His Nibs," towed 
behind, was almost lost in the smother of spray, 
and her painter stretched out to the larger boat 
straight and stiff as a steel rod, without a sag in it. 

My, she was going ! 

The " Gazelle " was over-canvassed for such a 
blow, but she could not atop then. 

Kenneth sat at the tiller like a jockey on a 
racing horse — his gaze fixed, his face pale, his 
muscles tense. Eeady to luff and save his boat, 
if need be, but determined to drive her to the 
finish if steady canvas and honest manila could 
stand the strain. 

" You can't do it. Ken! " Frank cried. 

" But I will," he answered grimly. " Arthur, 
keep your eye on that clock." 



CHAPTER XIX 

A STORMY NIGHT ON A SINKING PILE-DBIVEB 

Plunging, then darting like a frightened deer, 
the " Gazelle '^ raced for her goal; the long piei* 
of Bondeau Harbor was just off her starboard 
bow. 

Could she make it by six o'clock? 

Frank and Arthur thought no, Kenneth would 
not admit, even to himself, that he was beaten. 

Laying way over before the blast, she rushed 
along. The water churned up by her bows 
rushed white above her lee rail, the weather rig- 
ging, taut with the strain put upon it, vibrated 
Uke the bass strings of a harp, the lee rigging 
sagging in proportion. 

Kenneth leaned forward, his face eager, his 
hand grasping the tiller so hard that the knuckles 
showed white through his tanned skin. Frank 
and Arthur lay far out to windward — as far out 
as they could get. 

" Six o'clock! " cried Arthur, looking up from 

384 



A 8T0RM1 NIOBT ON A. SINKING PILE-DRIVBB 

the clock he held in his hand, " And, by Jove, 
you've won! " 

Rounding the Ughthoiise pier, the yacht 
slipped in behind the crib and rested in emooth 
water. 

" "Well, old man, I take my hat off to you," 
and Frank suited the action to the word. " That 
was the finest bit of sailing I ever saw. Ken, 
you're a dandy." 

Kenneth was still breathing quickly with the 
excitement and exhilaration of the race with 
time. His satisfaction in the performance of his 
boat wag only secondary to the pleasure he felt 
in his friends' praise. 

Again luck had serv'ed them well. For the 
next three days a storm raged over the lake that 
made the boya very thankful that they were shel- 
tered in a safe harbor. This tempest was a fore- 
runner of what was to come — a foretaste of what 
the young mariners were likely to experience. 
The sudden storms for which the lake region was 
famous at this time of year had begun, and would 
continue until navigation was closed altogether 
by the formation of ice. 

A railroad had been doing some construction 
wo-k near Rondeau Harbor, and had been mak- 
ing use of a few large scows, a steam barge, and 
a pile-driver from Detroit. With the closing 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

down of the work, several of the working crew 
had deserted and left the captain of the boats 
short handed. That was his reason, therefore, 
for his request to Ransom for help. 

" Lend me one of your men," said he. 

" Wo," answered Kenneth. " But if my ship- 
mates agree, I'll help you out, if you give us a 
tow to Detroit." 

"Sure; that's easy," the other responded 
heartily. All hands agreed, and the bargain was 
closed there and then. 

The wind had calmed down when the strange 
fleet started out next afternoon. It was headed 
by the steam barge, then came the top-heavy pile- 
driver, then a scow, and, finally, the " Gazelle " 
herself, reluctantly following along, as if averse 
to being in such direputable company. 

The three boys drew lots to see who should 
stay on the scow; the mate was the unlucky one, 
but, in spite of the protests of the other two, Ken- 
neth insisted on filling the post himself. To his 
surprise, he found that he had been assigned 
to the pile-driver instead of the scow, and, 
though he realized that it was hardly fair deal- 
ing on the part of the captain, it was not a time 
to go back on his agreement. So he boarded 
the pile-driver. 

" If she leaks," the captain diouted through a 

886 



A STORMY NtQBT ON A BlUKUfa PILE-DRIVER 

megaphone to Kenneth, "you had better get up 
steam in the boiler and start the siphon going." 

The boy nodded, to indicate that he under- 
stood, and made his way aft to the little house, 
where he found a amall boiler, hoisting engine 
and the necessary siphon. 

" Jove ! " he said to himself, '' I am getting 
more than I bargained for." 

The run to Detroit was about a hundred miles. 
A hundred miles in an old tub of a pile-driver on 
Lake Erie in the stormy season I Kenneth's 
thoughts were not very eheerful, but he set to 
work to find out all about the strange craft of 
which he was captain, crew, engineer, and fire- 
man. 

Comparatively smooth when the queer proces- 
sion started, after sundown the wind began to 
rise, and the sea with it. 

Kenneth, from his post, could see the lights on 
his own boat swinging as she rolled on the waves. 
The towering structure that carried the weight of 
the pile-driver made 'the craft top-heavy, and 
Tery unwieldy iu the sea. It Jumped and jarred, 
swung from side to side, and spanked the rollers 
with its blunt bow. Prom time to time Kenneth 
sounded to see if his craft was leaking, and was 
comforted to find that all was dry. 

The wind increased in force, and the water rose 



J. lEAR in A YAWL 

Hgher each minute with the speed characteriatic 

o£ the Great Lakea. The sky was overcast, and 
the darkness shut down on the rolling waters like 
a black blanket. The steam barge ahead snorted 
away, heading into the wind, and the old scow 
of a pile-driver kept its distance hehind. Ken- 
neth felt very lonely, and longed to be aboard 
the " Gazelle," the light from whose cabin he 
caught fleeting glimpses of as she swung a little 
to one side. 

For perhaps the twentieth time, he sounded 
the pump, and found this time, to his alarm, two 
inches of water in the shallow hold. He waited 
a few minutes and tried again — three inches. 

" Phew, this won't do! " he said, half aloud. 
" I'U have to start that old siphon going." 

By the time the fire was fairly going there was 
four inches in the hold, and when steam was up 
and the pump had begun to throw its four-ineh 
stream, the water had gained two inches more. 

With an energy born of desperation, Kenneth 
piled the wood into the furnace and kept the 
head of steam up. The old pump worked well, 
and, for a time, held the water even. Kenneth 
stood in the little house watching the steam- 
gauge, while the pump sucked, wheezed, sput- 
tered, and the thick stream gushed overboard. 

Again he tested the depth of water in the hold. 



A. STORMY NIOBT OS A SINKING PILBDRIVER 

and found, to bis horror, that it was gaining, in 
Bpite of the steady working of the pump. More 
wood went into the roaring, cavemoua furnace, 
and the needle of the steam-gauge pointed higher 
and higher; the pump worked furiously, but stiU 
the water gained. 

Kenneth went out to see if he could get help 
if the worat came to the worst. The old steam- 
barge ahead was making heavy weather of it, 
and every man on board was intent on keeping 
her going. Just astern, the scow spatted the 
waves doggedly, her flat bows presenting to the 
boy on the pile-driver a front black, forbidding, 
and hopeless. Far behind, the " Gazelle" bobbed 
serenely over the choppy waves. 

The wind was blowing hard, and the waves 
raised their heads in anger on every side, deter- 
mined, it seemed to the toy alone on the leaking 
boat, to have his life. He looked about for a 
small boat he could resort to in case of dire need; 
there was none, not even a raft; but he caught 
sight of a broad new board. With the deftness 
of long experience, he knotted a rope about it to 
which he could cling, and hauled it aft close to 
the cabin door, where he could jump for it in case 
of need. 

There was work to do inside; moreover, it waa 
warm and light, if lonely. Sounding again, Ran- 



A. YEAR IN A YAWL 

6om found eight inches of water in the hold. It 
was gaining slowly, and he knew that it was only; 
a question of time before the scow's buoyancy 
would be overcome and it must sink. Above the 
howling of the wind, the crackling and snapping 
of the fire, the wheeze and deep-breathing sound 
of the pump, Kenneth could hear the swash and 
gurgle of the water in the hold — a, sickening 
sound that weighed on his heart like lead. When 
the boat rose on a wave, the water below rushed 
peU-mell aft and came with a thud that jarred 
the whole structure against the stem; then, tilted 
the other way, it rushed against the bow, until 
the boy thought that the ends would be knocked 
out of her. 

" Well, I guess my name is Dennis this time! " 
he said aloud. " This old tub won't stay on top 
long." The sound of his own voice made him 
more lonely than ever, as there was no response, 
no answering voice to cheer and comfort him. 
Many trying experiences and frequent dangers 
had been encountered, but seldom had he faced 
peril alone. He longed for the companionship 
of his friends. 

Kenneth sat on an old soap box and listened 
to the dreary sound of the water splashing in 
the hold, and to the wind-devils shrieking out- 
side. He was utterly depressed and hopeless, 

349 



A STORMY NIGHT O.V i SllfKlXO PILE-DSIVEB 

As he sat with his head in his hands, his elbows 
on his knees, he thought that he heard the sound 
of human speech among the voices of the atorm. 
He sat erect, and listened with all his might 

"Ahoy, aboard the pile-driver!" the voice 
died away in the wind; but again it made itself 
heard above the din: " Ahoy, there, Cap I " 

Kenneth rushed out and forward. 

A man was standiug on the after-part of the 
barge, megaphone to hia mouth, bawling that 
they were going to get under the lee of Peelee 
Island and lay up for the night. 

With renewed courage, Kenneth went back to 
hia stoking, and kept the old pump going until 
the water-logged rolling of the crazy craft be- 
came less violent and, finally, ceased altogether. 

" Thank heaven, we are in some kind of a har- 
bor! " said Kansom fo the man who eame to re- 
lieve him. He was thankful to his heart's core. 
Coming on deck, he found that they were along- 
side a long pier. He scrambled ashore and hur- 
ried aboard the " Gazelle," weary, but supremely 
happy to be alive and on his own craft again. 

The skipper could hardly keep awake long 
enough to tell the boys his adventures, and he 
bad travelled far into the " Land of !N"od " before 
the other two turned in. 

"When the three arose the day was far ad- 
341 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

vanced. The leak in the pile-driver had been 
found and plugged, the wind had died down, and 
the sea flattened out to the long, slow swell that 
bore no resemblance to the tempestuous waves of 
the previous night. Under smiling skies, on 
smooth water, the voyage to Detroit was a delight. 
Many stately steamers passed them, bound to and 
from Lake ports. 

In the early evening, the electric lights of De- 
troit appeared, perched on tall, slender poles; 
they looked in the darkness like clusters of stars 
hung in the sky. 

" Michigan, My Michigan! '^ The boys sang 
in their hearts, if their lips did not form the 
words. Once more they were in their native 
State, and straight across to the West lay old St. 
Joe — so near by land, so far by water. 

The anchor down, all three boys got into " His 
Nibs," eager to set foot on dear old Michigan 
soil again. The little boat staggered bravely 
to shore with her precious freight. Kenneth 
stayed, and went back to the yacht after he had 
put his foot down good and hard on Michigan 
land. The other two boys went on for mail and 
supplies. 

Eager to reach home, they stayed but a day 
and a half at Detroit. 

Under her own canvas, the " Gazelle " sailed 

842 



A arORUT NtGBT ON A BINKINO PILE-DBIVBa 

Up the Detroit River to Lake St. Clair, then 
across that fine sheet of water to the St. Clair 
Biver, the eonnectiiig link between Lakes Huron 
and Erie. 

Frequent rain squalls had made sailing diffi- 
cult and disagreeable, but the yacht made good 
way, and, in apite of the uncomfortable weather, 
the bojs were in a very cheerful frame of mind. 
In Michigan waters, off the Michigan coast, they 
felt that they were indeed on the home-stretch. 

As the yacht was almost entering the river, the 
mate pointed off excitedly towards the flats. 
" What's that? " he cried. " Look, Ken, quick! " 

A very black pillar, like thick smoke, writhed 
between sea and sky; the surface of the lake rose 
in a cone, roee to meet it, and the sky narrowed 
down like a funnel. All the time it was twisting 
fimoualy, and the water about it was much agi- 
tated. It moved steadily across the lake in a 
direction that seemed to lead to the " Gazelle." 

" Great king ! " exclaimed the skipper. 
" That's a waterspout, sure. "We are done for 
if it strikes us, just as sure as shooting! " 

The comrades watched the watery column 
anxiously. They were greatly relieved, at length, 
to see it swerve to one side, sweep across the laka 
and apparently go to pieces on the further shore. 

" Well, we can say, if any one asks us if we 



± tiSAJt I2f A YAWL 

saw a waterspout, ^ Yes, we did. Would any one 
else like to ask any questions? ' " The mate put 
on an air that imitated the cheap lyceum lec- 
turer to the life. 

Just before making Port Huron, where the 
St. Clair River enters Lake Huron, the boys 
encountered the ugly rapids that make the 
navigation of this strait so difficult. It was a 
mile long, and a very trying run for a sailing 
vessel, even under the most favorable circum- 
stances. A large steamer had sunk in the 
channel a few weeks before, and nearly blocked 
it. The wind, strong, as usual, was blowing 
dead ahead. It was a beat to windward with 
scarcely room to come about; one tack was 
hardly taken before another one had to be 
made. By the time that the end of the obstruct- 
ing vessel was reached, " the crew's " hands, so 
he declared, were worn through to tlie bone, from 
the frequent and rapid handKng of the jib sheet. 

" Great Scott! " cried the mate from his look- 
out forward. "We are running down a 
steamer! " 

Sure enough, a great grain boat was coming in 
the opposite direction, and would soon be upon 
them. 

"It's all right," called out Ransom, reassur- 
ingly; " we're clear of the wreck now." 

344 



A STORMY XIGBT OX A BIXKINO PILE-DRIVER 

The words had hardly been spoken before the 
wind died out, as if by magic, and the sails 
flapped about limp and helpless. The great boat 
had blanketed the " Gazelle " as completely as if 
a wall had been built in front of her. The cur- 
rent was setting back toward the abandoned steel 
steamship, and the yacht drifted with alarming 
speed toward the obstruction. 

" I'll gybe her," Kenneth said to himself, 
" and retrace our steps till we get to the open. 
Then we'll wait till there are no other boats mov- 
ing." Aloud, he shouted: " Look out, boys! I 
am going to gybe." 

Just as he spoke, a blast of wind slipped by 
the grain boat, caught the yacht, and slammed 
the boom over with terrific force. Kenneth ex- 
pected to see the masts go out of her; but every- 
thing held, and she raced along the aide of the 
sunken ironclad, luffed up under her stem, and 
lay quivering, but safe. 

The " Gazelle " sailed up the narrow passage 
on the starboard side of the wreck, while the 
steamer passed to port. The yacht ran the 
rapids successfully, and was soon speeding along 
over Lake Huron with an offshore beam wind. 
The sixty miles to the Government harbor of 
refuge at Harbor Beach, was covered at night- 
fall. 



A TEAR IN A YAWL 

The next night brought them to the entrance 
of Saginaw Bay. So far the winds had been 
favorable and the water smooth, and the boys 
made daily steps sixty miles long in their journey 
towards home. 

They longed for home with a desire that 
amoimted to an ache. Neither would admit to 
the other how much he felt; but it was hard 
sometimes to keep the tears back as something 
occurred to bring up visions of the little city on 
the bluff. 

Saginaw Bay had a bad reputation. Storms 
were apt to bluster about its wide mouth, and 
strong winds were continually blowing across it. 

Though the low barometer indicated that bad 
weather was coming, Kenneth decided that he 
could not wait, and he pushed on across the 
treacherous bay. At night, and in a place noted 
for its stormy weather, with bad weather threat- 
ening, it may have been foolhardy to attempt the 
run; but the spirit that lay behind the " Ga- 
zelle's" motto — " Keeping everlastingly at it 
brings success '' — made the retracing of their 
steps to a safe harbor a thing dead against the 
boys' principles. 

For once, the reputation of the locality seemed 
to be false; even the glass appeared to be at 
fault, for the wind scarcely amounted to a sum- 

m 



A STORMT NIGHT OH A SINKING FILE-DRIVER 

mer zephyr, and the waves were long and 
emooth. 

The other boys were yawning, and at ten- 
thirty Kenneth sent them below, promising to 
call them if need be. The skipper sat with the 
tiller over his kneea, thinking. There was but 
little to do — a glance at the sails to see if all was 
drawing well, and an occasional look out for 
other craft was all the attention the business in 
hand required. Por almost twelve long months 
he and his friends had lived aboard the little 
craft they had learned to think of as a second 
home — through strange waters, along unfamil- 
iar shores, experiencing all conditions of cli- 
mate, and seeing all sorts of people. Dangers 
innumerable had been encountered and passed 
safely, and now Kenneth said to himself: " We 
are almost home." The trip was well worth 
while, he thought; he had gleaned information 
that he believed be could not have secured any 
other way, and his sketch book was full of plans 
of all sorts of craft he had inspected. 

In almost perfect silence, surrounded by dark- 
ness, he sat thinking and dreaming. A vision 
bright as a picture appeared in his mind's eye, 
and in it he saw his future career. A builder of 
swift steamers and sturdy cargo boats, of sailing 
craft of every rig, and all was good. 



A TEAR JN A YAWL 

He was so wrapped up in his thoughts that for 
a time he did not notice the ominous silence, the 
fitful, light puffs* of wind that lapsed between the 
calms, the sticky feeling in the air, the many 
signs which bespeak a brewing storm. Not till 
the mainsail flapped in answer to a change in 
direction of the fitful wind did the skipper realize 
that trouble was coming. In an instant, the long 
vistas of his pleasant dreams disappeared, and he 
became the sailor of a small boat off a dangerous 
coast, with a storm threatening. 

A puff of wind, that made the " Gazelle " 
quiver, came out of the north, and Kenneth, 
one hand on the mainsheet, the other on the til- 
ler, prepared for the tussle. 

In a few minutes the squall broke in earnest, 
and the yacht staggered under it like a man bear- 
ing a heavy weight. She was carrying too much 
canvas, so the captain called the boys. The 
weather was calm and serene when they went 
below, and they were mightily surprised to find 
the boat pitching and rolling, and the wind tear- 
ing at the rigging as if bent on destruction. 

Waking from a sound sleep and coming from 
a warm, bright cabin into the outer air, where 
the cold wind devils held their revels, was con- 
siderable of a shock, and both thought that it was 
a great deal worse than it really was. The work 

348 



A BT0RU7 NIOBT 07f A. SmKlNO PILB-DBIVSB 

of furling the mainsail was very difficult, and did 
not tend to allay their fears. 

" By George, Ken, we can't last long in this! " 
said the mate, after looking Into the blackness 
and listening to the howling wind. 

" Yes, I see our finish! " said the other. 

"Pshaw! The 'Gazelle' haa been througb 
worse than this," answered the skipper. " See 
the pace she's setting? She's going like a cup 
defender." 

But in spite of hia reassuring words, Kenneth 
was troubled. Their course led them through 
the trough of the seas, and every minute it 
seemed as if the little vessel would be engulfed 
by the huge waves. To turn back was impos- 
sible, to steer to one side would bring them on a 
lee shore, a turn to starboard would carry them 
out of their course, and far upon the open lake. 

There was nothing to do but to face the situa- 
tion, to be vigilant and trust to good fortune. 

Home, that seemed so near to them a short 
time ago, now appeared utterly unattainable. 
The " Gazelle " rolled along, now sinking deep in 
the watery vaJley, now rising high on the top of 
a foam-crested hill. The motion was sickening, 
and continued so long that it seemed as if they 
had forever been rising and falling in the heav- 
ing billows. 

»9 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

Chilled to the bone, wet through from the 
wind-blown spray, weary from the battle with 
the elements, it was like a strong hand stretched 
out to a drowning man when Arthur shouted out, 
"Light, ho!" 

" Where away? " cried KennetL 

" A little off the port bow. No, it's gone ! " 

All three boys strained their eyes to catch a 
glimpse of the will-o'-the wisp. 

"There it is!" 

"Where?" 

"No, it's gone!" 

The wind beat the spray into their faces and 
snatched at their clothing. 

" There it is, sure 1 " Kenneth spoke exult- 
ingly. " It's Tawas Light — at least, it oug'ht to 
be there." 

On a point of land like a crooked finger, the 
boys saw plainly, when the yacht rose to the top 
of a wave, the steady, clear gleam of the yellow 
flame. 

Like a tired bird, the " Gazelle " crept inside 
the shelter and anchored; her crew lowered the 
sails and dropped into their bunks. Utterly ex- 
hausted, they fell asleep instantly, forgetting all 
troubles. 

When morning came, there was not a sign of 
the storm; the sky blue and clear, a few fleecy 

850 



A STORIIY SIGHT OS A BINKIA'l} I'lLE-DRlVER 

tlouda floating serenely about in it, the Lake be- 
low gently undulating and reflecting in a deeper 
tone the azure of the heavens. 

With the sunshine came new confidence, and 
the boja laughed at their fears of the night be- 
fore. 

" Let's get under way and hurry home, for 
■we're only a little way off now." The mate was 
in a very jubilant frame of mind. 

For several days the yacht sailed along the 
coast of the Lake Huron side of the great Penin- 
sula of Michigan — close enough to see its 
beautiful shores, its rugged rocks, and dark, al- 
most black, evergreens. 

At Presque Isle they put in for provisions. 
They found a beautiful harbor, but not a sign of 
a settlement, and no place to huy food. The 
need of provender drove them forth in spite of 
a storm, which an unusually low barometer in- 
dicated was soon due. It wai planned to make 
harbor at Cheboygan, some sixty-five miles away, 
but while passing Eogers City the yawl ran into 
a calm and floated idly. Great clouds were 
banked up to the northeast, which spread rap- 
idly till the whole heavens were overcast. The 
water had the oily, smoky, treacherous look that 
precedes a storm. Kenneth ordered in the jib 
and jigger, and tied three reefs in the main- 



A YEAR IN A YAWL 

sail. !N'o sooner had the last knot been tied^ 
when^ with a howl that was deafenings the squall 
struck them. It was a terrible blast. The " Ga- 
zelle," being without headway, careened before 
it; farther and farther she went; she sank till 
her rail was on a level with the water, and it 
came bubbling through the scuppers; still the 
pressure continued. She dipped to leeward till 
her deck was covered and the waves lapped the 
deck house. 

" Look out, boys! Be ready to jump. She's 
going over, sure! " For the first time, Kenneth 
lost confidence in his boat; no craft, he thought, 
could stand such a test. All hands climbed to 
windward, ready to jump away from entangling 

rigging- 
Farther and farther she listed under the fear- 
ful blast; the water was on a line with the cabin 
roof now, and began to ooze through the oval 
port lights into the cabin. 

"With muscles tense, ready to spring away, 
Kenneth still stood at his post, the tiller in one 
hand the other clasping the cockpit rail, to keep 
from sliding off into the waves. 

With a thrill of hope, he felt the tug 
of the tiller — the indefinable touch when a 
boat is in motion. The " Gazelle " was 
making way at last! But still her decks 

353 



-A STORMY NWHT ON A SINKING PILE-DRIVER 

sloped at the fearful angle and the squall blew 
undiminished. 

The mate stood close to " His Nibs," lashed on 
deck, bared knife in hand — ^ready to cut the 
ropes that bound her. 

Her deck half submerged, her cockpit partly 
filled, the water creeping through the ports into 
the cabin, the " Gazelle " surged slowly along. 
The crew clung on the sloping decks, waiting for 
the last sickening lurch that precedes a capsize. 
28 



853 



CHAPTER XX 



HOMEWABD BOUND 



The boys did not need the captain's cry: "Look 
out for yourselves, boys; she's going over! " to 
tell them that they were in fearful peril. It had 
come to the time when it was every man for him- 
self, and each looked for a chance to escape. 

But Hansom clung to the helm, and noted, 
with an awakening of hope, that his boat was 
increasing her speed. Little by little she gained, 
and inch by inch she straightened up, in spite of 
the knock-down blows she got from the blast. 
Faster and faster she slipped along, the energy 
of the wind driving her ahead, rather than over. 
The water was on a line with the rail once more, 
and the self -bailing valves in the cockpit began 
to empty it. 

Arthur put his knife in his pocket and 
crouched down by the windward rail, while 
Frank assumed a natural attitude, and began to 
take a more cheerful view of things. 

"Thank God!" exclaimed Kenneth, fer- 
vently. "We're safe once more.'' 

854 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

" That was the cIoBest call we ever had," said 
the mate. 

It was some time before the white squall let 
up, and, when the wind died down, the boys found 
themselves off Hammond's Bay life-saving sta- 
tion, and, thankful for the respite, they headed 
in for the refuge provided by the Government. 

A channel cut through the solid rock led to a 
little lagoon, and through thia the "Gazelle" was 
dragged by the good fellows of the station. 

It was well that the yacht sought this refuge, 
for a storm that would have sent the staunch 
little craft to the bottom lasted three days and 
held sway over the Lake. 

The enforced stay was not irksome in the leaat, 
for there were a great many tales to tell and to 
hear, and the life savers were good fellows. 

But with each day's delay the longing for 
home grew stronger, though it seemed as if the 
elements deliberately conspired to hold them 
back. 

After leaving Hammond's Bay, they went on 
up the Lake Huron coast. Storm after storm 
broke over them, adverse winds beset them, and 
squalls dogged their wake; but at last they 
reached the very tip of the Peninsula, and 
passed through the Straits of Mackinac, 

The feeling of exultation the sea-worn cruisers 



A YEAR IN A 7AWL 

felt when tlie keel of tlieir boat once more 
ploughed the waters of Lake Michigan is beyond 
all description. Words could not express the joy 
and satisfaction they felt. 

Before a high gale and a nasty sea, the " Ga- 
zelle " ran into Little Traverse Bay — ^the first 
harbor on the western shore of Michigan. Sail- 
ing along the coast, it seemed as if they were al- 
most home; that the bluffs of old St. Joe were 
but a little way off, and that they had but to fire 
their cannon to get an answering salute from 
their friends, the life-saving station men. 

Putting in at Old Mission, the boys visited 
Kenneth's friends several days, whUe the storm 
king reigned outside in his royal rage and bluster. 

At every stopping place, all along the line, 
they received letters, urging them to hurry, for 
the winter season was so close at hand, when no 
man may sail on the Lakes. Their people were 
anxious to have them home. The long, danger- 
ous trip, the frequent lapses in the correspond- 
ence (enforced, of course, but none the less hard 
for the watchers at home to bear), the stories of 
storm and disaster at sea, all combined to wear 
down the patience and courage of the relatives 
at home. The long stress of violent weather at 
the end of a fearfully prolonged journey, had 
worn on the nerves of the captain and crew also, 

856 



and they all had a bad attack of homeaiekness. 
The longing for homti when it is near at hand, 
tut just beyond the reach, is the hardest of all 
to bear. 

A abort spell of good weather succeeded the 

days of storm, and the " Gazelle " sailed out of 

Old Mission for home. The boys' friends lined 

the shore and waved them " God speed," and the 

, three youngsters afloat answered with a cbeer, 

' their faces bright, their hearts aglow with antici- 

I pation. They were going Home. 

The people ashore watched the little vessel, 
Iher white sides and sails gleaming in the morning 
I as she slipped off like a live thing, dancing 
over the short wavelets daintily. They watched 
till she disappeared behind the point. 

"Word was sent to St. Joseph that the " Ga- 
j zelle " was on her way again, and the people of 
the next port of call were on the look-out for her. 
All the newspapers of the Western coast 
towns had printed stories about the three Michi- 
gan boys who had circumnavigated the Eastern 
United States in their Michigan boat, and most 
of the inhabitants of these towns were familiar 
■with the story, and took pride in the achieve- 
\ ment. 

The " Gazelle " had hardly been out of Old 
Mission sLx hours when a storm rose that speed- 



i. YBAR IN A YAWL 

ily developed into a hurricane. Vessels of every 
kind sought harbor — steamships, schooners, 
whalebacks, every sort of craft — hurried for 
shelter; but no word was brought of the little 
yawl. She was not reported; no one had seen 
her since she had sailed so jauntily out of Old 
Mission harbor. The papers were full of the 
havoc wrought, of the shipping damaged, and 
lists and estimates of the value of the property 
destroyed by the tempest were published; but no 
mention was made of the " Gazelle " — ^neither in 
the list of vessels lost or vessels saved did her 
name appear. 

Frantic with anxiety, the parents of the crew 
sent telegrams along the Michigan and Wiscon- 
sin coasts on both sides of the Lake, asking for 
news. Then the papers began to take it up, and 
in large type they printed: 

"WHERE IS THE ^GAZELLE'?" 

"STILL NO NEWS OF THE MISSING 

YAWL." 

One stormy morning, after the newspapers 
had been printing headlines like : 

"^GAZELLE' UNDOUBTEDLY LOST,^^ 

the look-out at Manistee life-saving station saw 

358 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

a small vessel, closely reefed, Bcudding across the 
angry seas like a gull. 

The look-out called to his mate: "What do 
you make her out to be? " The other shielded 
his eyes from the sharp blasts of the spray. 

" Yawl rigged, twenty-five or thirty feet, 
carrying jib and jigger. Looks like she had only 
three men aboard — never saw her before." 

" Yawl rigged, you say? " The first life-saver 
stopped to look. " Thirty feet— sure, that's her. 
Do you know what that 13? " He turned excit- 
edly to the other. " Why, that's the ' Gazelle,' 
Been round the United States pretty near. 
Papers are full of it." 

Soon the news was flashed from town to town 
thtft the " Gazelle " was safe. The houses of 
gloom in St. Joseph brightened, and eyes 
dimmed with tears sparkled with joy. Soon the 
" Gazelle " herself fiew into port and dropped 
anchor safe and sound. 

The people of Manistee turned out to do the 
young sailors honor. 

Again, as if by miracle, the staunch boat had 
triumphed over the elements. With two anchors 
down, and several improvised ones out, she had 
ridden the terrific gale safely. 

Nest day the little ship started out again, 

feverishly impatient to get home. Kenneth 

3:9 



A. TEAR JN A YAWL 

waited only long enough for the wind to die down 
a little and to get some very badly needed sleep. 

With gales before them, behind them, battling 
with them from every side, the dogged crew kept 
on, ever heading southward. 

Late one day, each of the three families re- 
ceived a telegram that thrilled them. " At South 
Haven. All well! " it read. Only twenty miles 
away now! 

It was over a year since the " Gazelle," her 
colors flying, her unstained sails showing white, 
had sailed out of St. Joseph harbor, and yet, in 
spite of their eagerness to get home, in spite of 
the yearning of their parents to have them home, 
they must needs spend a day in fixing up. Ken- 
neth was determined to have his vessel look well 
when he entered the home port. 

But, alas! with only twenty miles of the seven 
thousand to go, it seemed as if they were doomed 
to wait yet another day. A gale was blow- 
ing, and the rollers dashed themselves to 
spume against the bulkheads protecting the 
harbor. 

" You can't do it," the life-savers told the cap- 
tain. " Youll never get between those break- 
waters aUve in this wind." 

" Yes, we will." Kenneth's mind was made 
up. A spirit of reckless daring took possession 

360 



I 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

of him, and he could and would get to St. JoeepH 
tliat day. 

"We'll do it, won't wo, boys?" KennetK 
turned to the crew that had never failed him. 

" Sure I " was the laconic, hut all-sufficient 
answer. 

" Shake! " said the captain, and they gripped 
firm hands all around. 

" Put in a single reef in the main," the captain 
ordered, " and hoist away." 

The boya looked at him a bit doubtfully, but 
obeyed without a word. The jigger set, the 
anchor was hauled aboard and the jib haHiarda 
made taut. 

Slowly she began to make headway, her sails 
filled, and, heeling gracefully to the wind, she 
headed for the narrow way between the break- 
waters. 

People ashore shouted and cheered, and the 
boys acknowledged the salute by waving their 
caps on high. 

"Hurrah, for the last twenty miles!" Ken- 
neth shouted suddenly, then settled himself for 
the struggle to come. 

It was a dead beat out to the open lake through 
the three-hundrod-foot-wide channel between 
the long piers. The wind blew so hard that the 
spray obscured the piers from sight at times, and 



A YEAR tK A YAWL 

it seemed impossible that any vessel propelled b 
sails could make way against it. 

Kenneth planned to clear the south pier with 
the first long tack. As the yacht sped down to- 
wards the opening to the lake— choked as it was 
with the smothering seas — he realized that he 
had undertaken a very hazardous thing — realized 
that failure to clear the breakwater on that tack 
would mean instant destruction against the bulk- 
head. 

Ab they came nearer and nearer the rock- 
ballasted spiles, Kenneth noticed that his boat 
was not pointing as high up into the wind as 
usual, and that no matter how hard he jammed 
the helm over, she would not head right. In- 
stead of making the long angle that would bring 
her clear of the end, the " Gazelle " was heading, 
in apite of ail her skipper could do, twenty feet 
in. The yacht acted queerly, but was making 
tremendous speed. Nearer and nearer she came 
to the spiles partly obscured by the spray; nearer 
and nearer, till the very slap and hiss o£ the 
waves against them was heard. 

The " Gazelle " was pointed straight at a 
group of logs some twenty feet from the end. 
Kenneth was puzzled and worried, almost fran- 
tic, indeed — never had hia boat acted in this way 
before. 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

Deapaia'ingly he looked acrosa at the rapidly 
narrowing strip of foam-fleeked water, when bis 
quick eye caught a glimpse of the jib sheet 
caught on the hitts. 

"The jib sheet is fouled. Quick, clear it! 
lively now, boyal " 

In an instant it was done. The sail flew out 
to its rightful position, and the " Gazelle," like a 
racehorse that has been pulled in too much, 
bounded forward, straight for the end of the 
pier. In a smother of foam, amid a swirl of 
angry waters, the good yacht dashed into the 
open lake, missing the end of the pier by a bare 
yard. 

Kenneth could not hear the cheer that rose 
from the hundred throats ashore, but be could 
feel it, and he was grateful. 

A little over two hours later, the straining eyes 
of three boys aboard a little yacht caught sight, 
through the mist and spray, of a white tower on 
a high bluff, and the words " There it is! " passed 
from mouth to mouth. A little later, and a 
fringe of people could be made out on the top 
of the bluff, and aome yellow-clad figures on the 
end of the long breakwater, where the life-savera 
took their stand. 

There waa moisture in the bo^' eyes that 
could not come from the spray, for it wafl salt, 



1 YEAk lif A tAWL 

and a lump in their throats thai; would not 
down. 

Suddenly there was a movement among the 
figures on the beach^ a ripple in the long line 
bordering the bluff. A flash of white showed 
here and there. In three places along the line 
bits of color waved — red, and blue and yellow — ^ 
and the eyes that watched so eagerly for those 
colors, dimmed so that only a blur was left. 

The yacht was sailing gallantly — speeding 
over the whitecaps in a way that rejoiced her 
builder's heart. The Stars and Stripes, made by 
loving hands, once bright and lustrous, now dim 
but glorious, spread out flat by the gale. 

Nearer she came to the harbor entrance — 
nearer to her home port. The faint sound of 
people cheering came over the seething sea to the 
home-coming trio. The steadfast colors waved, 
and the steadfast hearts answered each other 
across the water. 

Kenneth headed as if to cross the harbor's 
mouth. Past the long pier the " Gazelle " 
flashed, and it seemed as if the boys could hear 
the people groan. A little beyond, Kenneth put 
her helm down, and she spun round on her heel, 
heading straight for the inner basin. With 
sheets eased, the water boiling at her bow, the 
waves flowing swiftly alongside, every stitch 

864 



HOMEWARD BOUND 

drawing, every fibre in the rigging straining, the 
'* Gazelle '^ raced with the flying spray into port. 
Her crew, exhilarated, thankful, jubilant, could 
hear nothing but the cheers of their friends, 
while the brave bits of color waved them a wel- 
come that had been waiting a long year — the best 
welcome of all. 



THE END 



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