|Chapter Title||DECISION AND DEPARTURE.|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||The Boys' Yacht|
THE BOYS' YACHT.
[IN SEVEN CHAPTERS.]
DECISION AND DEPARTURE.
Dr. Parkhurst leaned forward perauasi eely, and regarded Mra Maynot with the authority of an
intimate family adviser.
"No, no, Doctor!" interrupted Ftra. Maynot* " I couldn't stand it. Such a separation would be too cruel, and I have just nursed hian through-"
"Tut, tut, wife !" broke in Mr. Mcynot "What's the use of calling in a doctor if you don't follow bia
The case stood thus : Harry Muynot waa an only child, and had juat recovered from hia third attack of measles. This disease seemed to havo left him good for nothing. He could not study and had not the heart to play. The old family doctor had jua* recommended a trip to China in a sailing-vessel by way of euro, and Mrs. Maynot, who regarded the sea aa tho great enemy of mankind, and especially of mothers, waa ahockod at the proposal.
Tho Maynets lived in the thriving New England village of Sweet Pern, and wero what is ?called well oiC, but not rich. The problem of a 8ick boy and a aca-voyage wa8 a serious one.
" Now he a sensible woman, Mrs. Maynot," began .the Doctor again. " Tour son won't be worth a pound of pickled herring uniese he has ozone to breathe. Ozone doesn't grow in an asparagus bed It's to be found on the salt water. The boy must go to sea, if he ia to be good for anything."
Doctor Parkhurst spoke forcibly, and Mrs. May. not gasped.
An uncertain rap at the library door brought the little group of troubled people to sudden self
"Tes," began the Doctor, composedly, "the cranberrp crop will be the best known for years."
A tall, awkward boy walked Blowly into the room looking inquiringly about In one hand he held a morning newspaper, and in'the other he carried a little terrier, which barked at the Doctor with the air of a dog that has discovered n rat.
"Well, my boy!" The Doctor came forward and (lifted one hand to the boy's shoulder, while with the other he tried to ward off Trot, the terrier, who waa greedily tugging at the flap of hia trousers. " What a tall boy you are getting to be ! Ton need colour and fleah. Flesh, sir, and colour ! I may as well tell you I'm going to make a sailor of you, and send you to China !"
" Ton don't mean me to be a sailor, do you ?" said Hal, slowly.
There was not much dismay expressed in the boy's tone. He was, like many boys, very much interested in what he knew nothing about, and looked at life on the ocean OB the ideal of manly
" Well, not exactly a real Bailor, Harry," an- swered his father, with a twinkle in his eye. " I don't think your mother would let you ship aa any thing leas than captain.
The boy failed to catch the joke.
"Ia captain ! Well, Go Greaham, you know, is a captain. His father owns a forty-footer. He runs it." Harry spoke with more animation than he had exhibited for months before.
'* I should like to go to sea," Harry went on decidedly. " I saw a nice notice of a boat for sale .to-day. I was just 'reading about it."
" Let's have it," said his father encouragingly.
Harry placed in hia father's hand the following alluring advertisement:
OB, SALE: Thestanch, safe cruiser .ffiiiieuñnfe,
thirty feet on water line. This yacht is not a mad racer, but a safe boat. The anxious mother may sleep peacefully with her son on board. She is fully found. Her sails are not too large. This bargain doeB not Ship water every time a zephyr ripples the sea. Come and see her with pocket hook in hand. Ton will buy at sight. The owner lays off the ferry-landing in Marblehead, always
When Mr. Maynot had finished reading thia breezy and rather unparsable notice, Harry heaved a deep sigh, and looked wistfully at the Doctor.
" Oh no !" cried Mrs. Maynot. " Anything but a crazy boat that will capsize if you look at it !"
"Come, dear Mra. Maynot," said the Doctor gently, " listen to reason. Perhaps the boy has struck juat the right thing. Wouldn't you rather he stayed on this coast than that he should go to China ? Isn't a safe harbour every night better than Cape Horn ?"
" Tea," admitted the mother, faintly, " bnt-" Her husband and the Doctor continued to repre- sent to Mrs. Maynot the advantage of their plan, and after a few more " buts," she surrendered.
"If this boat ia a good one, the only thing needed is a safe and responsible sailing-master," mused
" I have sent for-the man we want," replied Mr,
In a few minutes an elderly man with a distinct nautical shuffle, and with a red handkerchief tied in a sailor's knot over his throat, walked into the
" How long is it, Phin, since you gave up the sea ?" Mr. Maynot opened the subject promptly.
'. It's five year come next November, sir."
" Do you think you have forgotten how to handle
a boat f "
The reply came slowly, with inexpressible sar-
" When you forgit to spell ' can,' I'll forgit ter box my compass. I ain't given to boastin', but I can steer a ehip from Salem to Fernandina with my
The two gentlemen exchanged meaning glance». " Ton may put the paper on the table and leave the room, Harry,4' said Maynot. " And you, my dear," turning tenderly-to his wife, "hadn't you hatter look after the boy a few minutes ? The Doctor and I want to have a few words in private Captain Scrod."
Phineaa Scrod, ex-captain of the stanch brig Susan Jinks, departed that noon to inspect and, if it was found a fair purchase, to buy the ÍKittiewinl. If the yacht were purchased, Doctor Parkhurst agreed to share the expenses, and to send his son Algernon to keep Harry company.
Two days of great anxiety passed. Captain Phin had disappeared without a word. Hal nervously weeded his father's garden, aaaisted by Non Parkhurst and Trot, the terrier, who, wishing to help his master, invariably pulled up the peaa
and left the purslane.
On the morning of the next day a postal-eard, blotched and scrawled, came with the mail. Thia waa handed around the family with much interest and curiosity. It waa deciphered as follows :
Bant the Kitttwink for 487-60 cents. Will sleap on board tonite and begin flxin Her up. i think she's a bargane and A dandie.-PHINEAS SCROD.
" Goin' to take all this a-yacHtin' ?" asked the Marblehead driver, somewhat impertinently, as he dragged a huge Saratoga, two other trunks and
four values down the gangway upon the bobbing
« Certainly," replied Mr?. Maynot, with dignity. I She sat down upon the Saratoga, and looked for the
boat. Mr. Maynot, Doctor Parkhurst, the two boys and Trot were looking, too.
Where was Scrod ? Who could pick out the Kitficwink from this maze of craft ?
Harry approached a gentleman who wore a New York Yacht Club cap, and whose uniform blazed
" Excuse me, sir," Harry said, " but can you tell me which boat is the KilliewinTc Î"
Harry waved his hand impressively toward several large yachts flying their pennants at anchor
" Is she a new Burges1) or a Fife ?" inquired the gentleman, courteously.
" No, sir, I think not. She is-ah-a fore-and aft sloop."
Harry struggled with the only maritime term he had learned from his friend Go Gresham, of the forty-footer. The gentleman laughed outright, and said he thought perhaps that yacht had not yet como into harbour.
*' Hullo ! Good-mornin' to you all ! Is that yourn ? AU them trunks1. Ha! Ha ! That's a good
tin on you."
The voice waB unmistakable ; but how account for this independence of tone ? Phin was a changed man. The trim bra3s-buttoned suit and the sea air had transformed him from a shuffling gardener into the master of hiB profession. Where he once obeyed he now commanded. His employers regarded him with curiosity and deference.
" But where's the yacht ?" cried the united family. |
" Yacht ! You aint got no yaoht ! You own a ship ! No teaspoon about her. Thar she are !"
Pbineas extended his hand loftily, and to the consternation of the two boys, he pointed out a black sloop, not a biscuit's throw from the landing.
There was no impressiveness about the Killiewink In fact, she was particularly ugly j and to Hal's mind her baw resembled that of a Chinese junk, aB shown in the illustrations in his physical geography.
The Kittieviink was nothing less than a sword fisherman turned into a yacht : any sailor could see that at a glance. The contrast between this dingy, black boat, built for business, and the smart pleasure yachts fitting gracefully about, was cer- tainly severe. But the old sailor, in spite of the boat's extreme want of beauty, recognized in her a depth and beam and sea-worthiness that could outstand a dozen fancy playthings or racing
machines of her inches.
Skipper Scrod could not have made a better choice for his purpose, if he had searched the coast from Machias to Martha'B Vineyard.
The boys gazed on the idol of their dreams in silence. Who could brag about that thing before them ? Their pride was shattered as if by dyna- mite. They even felt ashamed to be seen on the float. Hal actually dropped a tear, while Non hurriedly choked down hiB disappointment.
*' Look here ! Don't do that !" exclaimed Scrod, anxious over his purchase, and taking Hal by the arm. " I tell you she can't be beat. Here's some thin' yon can count on, and you folks'll set easy. She's built for sea, and these here boys will be safe, while city swells on fancy yachts, are wreckin'
an drowndin' an scarin' their mas."
The two fathers nodded approvingly at Phin's outburst, and the boys tried to cheer up. The Kittieviink was better than no boat at all ; besides, they realized that that there was a difference be teen five hundred dollars and four thousand, the cost of many a yacht of her size. .
" You can't squeeze these chists down the'-toan hole," said Phin, looking dubiously at the baggage. " I guess we'll empty 'em on the wharf, and I'll take tho necessaries aboard. Here, Hal, hold this painter, while I heave some bags into the dory."
" I don't Bee any painter," said Harry, looking helplessly about for some one with a pot and brush ready to be held.
" Don't laugh at him," said Scrod, politely, look- ing around the landing. .' He haiut been salted but he'll learn. Here, this is the painter." He thrust a rope into Hal's hands. " That holds the djry. Hold on to it now, and don't drop the painter overboard !"
What a delightful bustle there was, putting things in the old craft ! Upon certain points Mrs. Maynot insisted. Whatever else was left, she had 1 bought two life-preservers. These should go ; also a dozen cans of her own tomatoes, and a soap-
Scrod threw the soapstone into the dory, grum- bling, " It'll come in handy for a sinker, maybe."
To Hal had been assigned the bunk on the right side of the boat-the starboard side-which meant that he was regarded as the owner or captain.
"Two bells ! Will ye take a little chowder abroad, mum ?" Skipper Phin called to Mrs. Maynot, who was sadly watching the party from the shore. The only answer he had was a faint groan, and the bark- ing of a very hungry terrier. But the boys' fathers accepted the proposition with eagerness.
Phin had been a ship's cook in his prentice days, and the chowder was perfect.
To be occupied in the cabin of any boat for the first time carries some sort of an interest with it, I and sustains the emotions j but to sit down to eat
ah ; there is the test.
< " Say, Non ! I feel a little dizzy. Isn't it queer ?"
said Hal, after about two mouthfuls of soup and
one of hardtack.
" So do I," echoed Algernon Parkhurst, sadly.
Phineas, from the forecastle, winked at the elder
I " I don't know what ia the matter," continued Hal, with an air as if he had been insulted.
" Neither do I," seconded Non, with a curious growing dislike to food in general and ohowder in particular.
" Let's go on deck," said Hal, apologetically.
| So these young seamen tried to escape their in- evitable fate. They went forward of the mast, where there could be no disturbing odour of the dinner, and looked about for employment. They noticed a strange looking can, resting upon a coil of rope with an air as if it were not to be disturbed. That was enough to " stump" any boy.
" Let's throw it overboard and see it float," sug gested Non, eager for any diverson.
They cast off the rope from the bitt, and holding
ene end threw the white can into the water.
Pretty soon they tried to pull the can in ¡ but the rope tugged in their hands furiously. Had a shark swallowed the can? Perhaps they had hooked the sen-serpent !
" Something awful is the matter," gasped Hal, straining with all his might. " O Phin, come np
here, quick !"
One never waits at sea for the second call, and Phin rushed to the deck. At a glance he took in the situation. The boya had east off the'mooring of the Kittieviink, and had not the skipper grasped the slippery cable at the last moment, the boat would have drifted on the rocks. Ina trice the sailor, with several strong overhand pulls, had brought the cable in again, and fastened it securly
on its bitt.
By this time the two fathers were on deck. Then Baid the skipper to the boya :
" Look a-here now ! Tou might ha' wrecked her or stove her in. Don't you boys touch a line aboard her without my orders until you learn somethin' or I'll caat the job up. Ter fathera 've gin you to me to keep, an' I'll keep you or I'll go."
Thia episode went a long way to confirm the two fathers' good opinion of Phin.
Phineaa now prepared to row the gentlemen ashore. Trot ran out to meet them as they landed.
" Where are the boys ?" asked Mrs. Maynot looking up from her book.
" I told them to stay on board. Really, Molly,' said Mr. Maynot, soothingly, " I thought it would be easier for you not to say good-by,"
The novel dropped to the floor of the boat- house. Trot seemed to understand that he, too, had been deserted, for ho sot up a Beries of ba'eful
Phineaa Scrod was already rowing back rapidly. The Kittiewinh awung with the wind at her mooring. The two boys waved their capa and yelled to keep up the general courage ; but Mra Maynot did not turn. She walked slowly away with her face to the land. She could not bear to look at the Kittiewinh again. Neither her husband nor her Doctor knew
how to comfort hor at that moment.
At this melancholy crisis there was a piercing squeak, a splash, and a gurgle. Trot had jumped from the landing and was swimming madly after the receding boat, with half-choked yelps. The boys' shouts had intensified his growing conviction that he waa wanted elsewhere than at Sweet Fern. Thus was another member added to the crew of
(To be continued.)