Chapter 19006569

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter TitleTHE WONDERFUL HAPPENS.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article19006569
Full Date1892-02-13
Page Number8
Corrections0
Word Count3079
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)
Trove TitleThe Boys' Yacht
article text

MERCURYJUNIOR.

THE BOYS' YACHT.

[IN SBVBN CHAPTBBS.]

CHAPTER V.

THK WONDERFUL HAPPBNS.

Mr. and Mrs. Maynot sat at their silent breakfast. Home had seemed dull to them since Hal had been away. New lines of care had sprung to Mrs. Maynot's face during the last few weeks.

The troubled mother who seldom mentioned Hal ?without a sigh, had hidden from her husband many toars ot anxiety, and had repressed many words of worry and fear. She felt, now that the boat was purchased, and the boys were in it, and Hal was growing strong, that she must make the

best of a bad business.

Mrs. Maynot had an intuition that her husband concealed beneath a bluff manner a solicitude as keen as her own ; that he, too, looked any moment for the letter or telegram that should announce

disaster.

This morning Mr. Maynot face was concealed by the morning paper. He was reading the account of the yacht-race of the preceding day. The American love of coming in ahead had got the better of his anger toward the boys, and the story of the rescues they had effected was really thrilling. He was proud of the Kittiewink's performance.

It was plain that it had been a most perilous one, hut the night message he had sent to Marblehead ?would prevent all future racing. Meantime he thought it would merely increase his wife's distress if he lead her the account of the boys' adventures.

Mrs. Maynot glanced furtively at her husband. She knew he was reading about the yacht-race, and she felt that he was not showing the disappro- bation of this dangerous sport that a father should

show.

" Henry !" she began at last. " Will you eat your breakfast ?"

" Presently, my dear. They did magnificently ! I am proud of Phin and the Kitliewink."

"Do you think, my husband,"-this was the method of address which Mrs. Maynot adopted when

she wa» especially severe,-'* do you think that , you will see your bon alive again if you continue to approve of this wicked recklessness ? I am surprised !" '

Mr. Maynot's defence was cut short by a stamp- ing of feet in the hall, and without ceremony Doctor Parkhurst rushed in, his face broad with

smileB.

" Good morning ! What glorious news ! How proud you must be of your son, Mrs. Maynot ! I see the papers call him the Coptoin, and pay high tributes to his seamanship and courage. They're well deserved, too, that's plain. My prescription works like a charm, you see! I'm proud.of the boys ! They're clip? of the old Pilgrim stump !"

How long the exuberant Doctor would have gone on in praise of the boat, the skipper, the captain, and his own son no one can say ; but a violent ring at the doorbell interrupted him.

Mr. Maynot left the room to answer the summons. Very soon he came back, his face ashy pale.

Mrs. Maynot gave one look, and then a scream.

"Hasiteome? Tell me everything! Tell me

the worst !"

Without a word hi handed her the telegram he had just received, it read as follows :

"Boys and dory disappeared. Oars found ashore. A hundred men arc searching rocks. Five nets are dragging harbour, Marblehead yachtsmen have organised a search-under Gresham. Come or telegraph immediately.

PHINEAS SCKOD."

When Hal and Non had been told by the Captain of the Giand Banks fisherman that they were bound on a trip to the Banks, they did not at once grasp the full meaning of the words. They looked from face to face in the group upon the deck.

How far away were the Grand Banks ? How long did " a trip" last ? Why did not the men simply turn the schooner about, and take the boys back

to their own harbour and the Kittiewink ?

" But arn'tyou going to take us back, Captain?" Hal's tone expressed great surprise.

Some of the men said that the Captain ought to take them back. There was a good deal of talk about it on deck. One good-natured fellow pleaded .with the Captain. »

" We might land 'em in Gloucester, sir. ' Twon't lose us a great many hours."

But the Captain of the Samuel T. Woodburn was also three-quarters owner of this one-hundred-and twenty-ton Banker, and a few hours mi^ht mean to him a two days' slant of favourable wind, a quicker trip, and better Bhares. When a fisherman once starts on a trip, ho allows nothing to interfere with

it or him.

The Captain shook his head.

" Here young 'uns ! Go down in the cud. You're safer here than ye be on shore. It's enough I've saved your bones from bein' picked by dog-fish. You'll have to go with us until we meet something that'll take you back, or until we fetch up to Newfoundland for bait. We'll treat you first-rate, an' your mother won't know ye when ye get back."

The Captain meant well. He could hardly understand what agony he was inflicting upon the parent of these reckless, and luckless lads. As long as they were alive, he reasoned, were was the

harm ?

Lantern in hand, one of the crew led _ the way below. The sickening odour of fish, bilge-water and stale palt Binóte the boys as they approached the companionway.

Hal had begun to waver between the deaire to get home and the fascination of a new adventure ; but this unbearable odour instantly dispelled the

romance. <

Non broke his silence. He stopped and whispered a word to his companion. Hal nodded.

" Look here" said Hal, " we don't want to go down there ! We want to go home ! You've got to take us 1 My father will pay you for the time you lose-if you're mean enough for that."

The vessel was headed out toward the wide sea, Behind them Marblehead light blinked farewell. The men gathered around the boys. One of them ventured to urge the case.

" I guess he's good for it, Cap'n. Eastern P'int aint more'n ten knot too. You could land 'em on the rocks there."

"Land ua anywhere! Please do!" said Non. JBufc the Captain looked doubtfully at the lad.

*' Will your dad pay me for my hull trip if I go out of y way to land you two ?"

Hal, not knowing that a successful trip of fish was sometimes worth ten thousand dollars, answered emphatically : *

" Of course he will !"

" Will your dad pay me three thousand dollars for my share to set you*on shore ?"

The men grinned. Hal was silent.

" I guess you'd better go below then and make yourself to home."

" I won't go !" Hal's anger was roused. He felt that the Captain was deeply, perhaps criminally, wronging them. Non carne to Hal's side and took ¿is hand. The Captain scowled.

" We won't go down in that dirty hole !" Hal exclaimed. " You ought to take us ashore. You know you ought ! My father will have you arrested for kidnapping us. Oh, put us ashore !

The Captain laughed aloud and turned away.

" You'd better turn in," said the man who had

interceded for them. ".¿Perhaps we'll meet a boat to-morrow a-runnin' in with a full fare, an' we'll put you aboard. You're all right. It's no use to look

so white about the gills."

" Ob, thank you !" said Hal, tremulously.

The boyB went below and took what cheerless comfort they could. A wide bunk had been pre- pared for them, where they could sleep together. As they left the deck ahead wind sprung up; a foggy Northeaster had set in, to hinder the passage of"the Woodburn,. It WBB as if the element entered their protest against this cruel proceeding.

Hal and Non turned in sadly. Of what use was further appeal ? Like the crew, they threw them- selves into their hard bunk, and tried to sleep.

It was impossible. The cabin light bobbed here and there, smoking, flaring and rattling. The beams creaked; the wind moaned above them. The nightmare was capped by the blasts of'the fog-horn, blown at irregular intervals above duting this first long night. The sails flapped, men trampled the decks, and muffled oaths pene-

trated below.

. Several times the boys thought the boat had been run into, and marvelled how the crew could sleep so soundly and snore so loudly. The thick fog swept down the open companionway, and the ? dampness chilled them to the bone.

At the first struggles of dawn, the boys/ clasping

¿»cb. other, fell a fitful doze from sheer exhaustion.

»

During the day their distress increased. Non could not get on deck ; he was to sick. The monotonous fog, the head-wind, the choppy sea, the impatient Captain, the ceaseless toot of that anxious horn, their distance from home-these and many other distresses combined to make the two more miser- able even than when they were adrift in the dory.

The morning of the second day brought a clear sky. With a horizon in view came hope ; but the day brought no sigh of land.

It was their first experience of the immensity of ] the waters. The boys were very unhappy. They felt that they were cut off from home and all the

world.

Before breakfast a sail hove in sight ; but after coming near it hove off to the westward.

During the whole morning the boys scanned the horizon intently. The sailors now began to share their eagerness. Seamen are superstitious, and it had been remarked that bad weather had come with the two lads.

The Captain was as ready as the rest to get rid

of them. So much was in their favour.

Towards noon they sighted another vessel. " She's in from the Banks !" cried one.

" She's the Fredony," said another, " bound to

Gloucester."

" No, she's belongs down East," insisted a third. Each man clung to his opinion. Presently Cruinpy, the sailor who had been kind to the boys and who had kept quite still, keenly watching the advancing vessel, said slowly :

" She's a seiner, she is, with a full trip o' mackerel

from Nova Scotia."

The two fishing schooners rolled toward each other. It did not take long for them to close I together. The boys eyed the seiner with beating

hearts. When the black stranger was quite near there was a flurry on board the Woodburn which the boys could not understand.

A flag had been hoisted on the mast of the seiner, It stopped and fluttered half-way up.

" How many did you lose ?" was the first question from the Captain of the Woodburn.

" Two, off the bow while a-reefin', "

The answer came mournfully, and there was a pause, but not a long one. The next question

meant business.

" How ranny barr'l ?"

" Two hundred A No. One, off Halifax." " Where are you bound ?" " Gloucester."

At this answer Hal was about to shriek, " Take us there !" when Cruinpy restrained him " You jest wait ! The skipper'11 fix'itall right."

" I want you to take two kids in I picked np a-driftin' out to Kingdom Come," said the Captain.

" Send 'em aboard all-fired quick, then. There's six of 'ema-comin' after me. I've got to make the market first. Fish are skarse now."

Before they knew what had happened, the boys were bundled overboard in a dory. Their own was given them to tow. The good-byes were scant ; only Grumpy leaned over the rail and called, " Good luck to ye, little shipmates !"

Hal was too much confused to answer, but he waved his cap. Afterwards he remembered that ho did not even thank Grumpy ¡ but at that moment he remembered nothing except that be was on a great mackerel schooner, homeward bound.

The revulsion of feeling when they were actually speeding toward the land was intense. Hal and Non, very quiet, and feeling queer about the eyes and throat, took a long farewell look at the ship that had saved them. There was a fascination in seeing her spread her gay sails, and bear away

towards an unknown fate without them.

It did not take the boys long to find out that they had fallen into good hands. A crew who have lost two shipmates at sea are apt to be considerate, and a Captain with a big haul is very likely to be good-natured. Then, too, it was thought to be good luck to return home with the same number as that with which they had started out.

The next morning the boys awoke with land in sight. Time flew as merrily as the schooner. It was not yet noon. The vessel, with all canvas set in order to make Gloucester before night, was bowling along at an eight-knot gait, and now and then sending the spray over her weather bow.

The boys, who were lying flat by the sharp prow,

and who had ducked for the twentieth time to escape a shower-bath, espied directly in their course a little boat at a distance rising and falling in the choppy sea.

" Is she a yacht ?" asked Non.

One of the crew gave a critical look and answered that it was no yacht but probably a hand-liner off the rocks ; whioh meant that the boats business was fishing in shoal, rockyTbottom for cod.

" It's a fishing-boat," said Hal. uneasily, ' ' built like-Non !'she isibuilt like'the Kittiewink !"

Non nodded sadly, but Hal was not satisfied. An unlikely thought cam? to him. He ran up and down the deck, and even climbed a little up the tarred rigging to get a better view.

His first impression deepened into conviction, then into certainty. Hal ran to the Captain excitedly.

" Isn't that the Kittiewink, Captain ?" asked the boy.

He forgot thit his insignificant boat was not the

best known vessel on the coast.

"TheKittiewlto?"

" The Kittiewink. It is the Kittiewink ! ' It's my boat ! I'm Captain of her. It's the Kitiiewink w.Vf.' wink !" Hal yelled for joy.

" It's Scrod at the helm !" shrieked Hal.

" Scrod !" jeered a sailor, " I guess it's Halibut or Porpns !"

Presently the boys saw a dark little object moving slowly up and down upon the roof of the cuddy.

" It's Trot !" Hal Bcrearaed. " That's the way he always marches up and down, looking for me, when I'm not on board !"

" But how carne the Kittiewink here ?" Non demanded.

" I'm sure I don't-"

" Ahoy there ! Is that the Mollyblink ?" bawled the Captain.

" Aye ! Aye !" screamed a well-known voice. " Have you seen two boys an' a dory anywheres ?"

" Luff up there, Cap'n Codfish ! Look here ! Are these them ?"

The Captain and crew were almost as much excited as the boys. It was a wonderful meeting.

" O Phin-we're safe !" called Non.

" Luff her up ! Bear away there ! Down with the helm ! Ease the main sheet ! Haul in on the jib ! Throw out the anchor 1 Take us aboard !"

Hal glibly gave these preposterous orders to show that he and his were at last one. Nothing more was needed to prove bis identity.

Phineas looked at the boys, and seemed to be dazed. He rubbed his hand over his forehead.

" Be I a-dreamin' or a-dyin' ?" he said, too low for the boys to hear ; " be them my boys ?'.'

Hal and Non could only see his lips move.

Meantime, Trot had begun to fly about in an ecstasy of excitement. He yelped and howled both at once, spun round and round, and over and over, and was evidently about to leap over the gunwale of the Kittiewink into the sea.

This performance on Trot's part settled it in Scrod's mind. "Them's my boys!" he said, at the same time catching up the little dog and throw- ing him into the cuddy.

" Hurry up, Phin ! Make the jib-sheets fast !" called Hal, impatiently and importantly.

" I guess that's you. Now I kin face your father. Phin Scrod trembled from head to foot. His mate, Black Tarr, the Grand Banker from Marble- head, had to come and take the wheel from him.

"He's nit»h tuckered out. Don't mind him," slid Black Tarr, apologetically, " you see we'd given 'em up !"

" But how in the world did you.get here?" demanded Hal, half au hour after. The mackerel schooner was now bowling along toward Gloucester under full sail. The boys and Trot were snuggling together on the deck of the Kittiewink leaning against the boom of their own main-sail, the happiest creatures afloat on the Atlantic.

Phinea3 Scrod looked Hal solemnly in the eye.

" I don't think he meant to hurt me," said the skipper, slowly, " but he did. Them's the orders on which the Kittiewink set out to s'arch fur two lost boys on the Atlantic ocean."

Phineas handed to Hal a soiled and crumpled telegram, dated on the day of the disaster :

" To Phineas Scrod, yacht Kittiewink, Marblehead, Mass. On receipt of this, Hart to sea. Search for boys. * I have lost faith in you.-B. Maynot."

" But he come himself," added Phineas ; " that was the wo*st ov't. And she come. I had to face 'era both. He chartered a Bteam tug an' put to sea to hunt you up of his own account. Go Gresham went alon¿ of him, to help look for ye. He got ahead of me. He's in Portland, nigh as > I can reckon. But she took to the Atlantic coast."

"What?" cried Hal.' "My mother took to

what?"

V The Atlantic coast," replied Phineas, without a smile. " She's just s'archin' the coast of New England, that woman is. But she's ashore. She's travellin' along from place to place, seein' if she can't hear anything from yon. Where 6he is now

I'm sure I don't know."

(To b* continued.)