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Produced by Annie McGuire

[Illustration: HARPER'S



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Tuesday, April 27, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50
per Year, in Advance.

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[Begun in No. 19 of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE, March 9.]


A True Story.




Hurrah for the Mediterranean! Hurrah for the tideless sea! with its
sunny skies and sparkling waters, blue and bright as ever, while English
moors and German forests are being buried in snow by a bitter January
storm! Well might one think that these handsome, olive-cheeked,
barefooted fellows in red caps and blue shirts, who cruise about this
"summer sea" in their trim little lateen-rigged fruit boats, must be the
happiest men alive. Yet there was once an English sailor who, plunging
into a raw Channel fog on his return from a twelvemonth's cruise in the
Mediterranean, rubbed his hands, and cried, gleefully, "Ah, this is what
_I_ calls weather! None o' yer lubberly blue skies _here_!"

Frank, having seen for himself that the Straits of Gibraltar are
thirteen miles wide, instead of being (as he had always thought) no
broader than the East River, was prepared for surprises; but he could
not help staring a little when Herrick told him that this bright,
beautiful, glassy sea is at times one of the stormiest in the world, and
that many a good ship has gone down there like a bullet, "as you'll see
afore long, mayhap," added the old sailor, warningly.

The sunset that evening, however, seemed to contradict him point-blank.
It was so magnificent that even the careless sailors, used as most of
them were to the glories of the Southern sky, stood still to admire it,
and pronounced it "the finest show they'd ever seen, by a long way." Not
a cloud above, not a ripple below; the steamer's track lay across the
glassy water like a broad belt of light. All was so calm, so clear, so
bright, that it was hard to tell where the sea ended and the sky began.
The ship seemed to be floating in the centre of a vast bubble.

Suddenly the sun plunged below the horizon like a red-hot ball, and a
deep voice muttered in Frank's ear,

"We're a-goin' to catch it!"

At that moment, as if to bear out this gloomy prophecy, the boatswain's
hoarse call was heard:

"Stand by topsail sheets and halyards! Man the down-hauls! Clear away,
and make all snug!"

Instantly all was bustle and activity. While some stripped the yards and
clewed up the sails, others battened down the hatches, looked to the
lashings of the boats, and made everything fast. Still, though he
strained his eyes to the utmost, not the least sign of a storm could
Frank see, and at last he whispered to Herrick,

"How _can_ they tell that it's going to be rough?"

"The glass is falling, lad, and that's always enough for a sailor; but
there'll be more'n _that_ afore long. Ay, sure enough - see yonder!"

A streak of pale phosphorescent mist had just appeared on the port bow,
which spread and spread till it blotted out sea and sky, and all was one
dim, impenetrable pall. From the far distance came a strange, ghostly
whisper, while the sea-birds, which had hitherto kept close to the
vessel, flew away with dismal shrieks.

"Below there!" roared the boatswain. "Tumble up there, smart!"

Up flew the men, each darting at once to his own post - and not an
instant too soon. A huge white cloud seemed to leap upward through the
inky sky like smoke from a cannon, a long line of foam glanced like a
lightning flash across the dark sea, and then came a rush and a roar,
and over went the ship on her beam ends, and every man on board was
blinded, deafened, and strangled, all in one moment, while crash
followed crash, as doors, sky-lights, and port-shutters were torn away
or dashed to atoms.

Frank, who was just stepping out of one of the deck-houses when the
storm burst, was spun across the forecastle like a top, and would have
gone overboard had not a sailor clutched his arm, and pressed him down
on the deck by main force till the ship righted.

"Lie snug, young 'un," said his rescuer, "for them 'white squalls' ain't
to be sneezed at, that's a fact. Look at my shirt."

This was easier said than done, for honest Bill had no shirt left to
look at, except the collar and wristbands, all the rest having been torn
clean away.

But as Austin glanced round him he saw other proofs of the wind's force
even more convincing than this. Two of the boats had been literally
smashed to pieces, the strong-iron davits that held them being twisted
like pin-wire. Down in the engine-room the flying open of the furnace
doors had flooded the whole room with blazing coal, and four of the
tubes had burst at once, scalding several firemen so severely that they
had to be carried to the surgeon forthwith.

Suddenly a cry for help was heard from the wheel-house. Three or four
brave fellows rushed across the reeling deck at the risk of their lives,
and tearing open the door, found one quartermaster lying senseless and
bleeding in a corner, while the other, with a broken arm, was actually
keeping the wheel steady with _the remaining hand and his knee_, which
he had thrust between the spokes!

But the stout-hearted crew, not a whit daunted, coolly set about
repairing damages. The injured men were carried below, the decks cleared
of the fragments of wreck, and the coals drawn from the furnaces, into
which the firemen, swathed in wet blankets, crept by turns along a plank
(relieving one another as the stifling heat overpowered them) to close
the flues again by hammering strong wooden plugs into the leaks.

By twelve o'clock the gale was at its height. Even with four men at the
wheel, the _Arizona_ could barely hold her own against the tremendous
seas that came thundering upon her like falling rocks, and old Herrick
himself began to look grave.

"Get out a drag!" shouted the officer of the watch.

The boatswain repeated the order, to the no small amazement of our hero,
who, having always associated a drag with the wheel of a coach, was
puzzled to imagine how it could be applied to a ship.

But he was not long in finding out. Pieces of timber from the broken
boats, worn out sails, old iron, and various odds and ends were hastily
gathered into a heap, lashed together with chains, and launched
overboard, with two strong hawsers attached. The chains and pieces of
iron made the buoyant mass sink just deep enough, to steady the vessel,
and keep her head up to the wind, which toward night-fall began to show
signs of abating.

Just before darkness set in, a Spanish bark crossed their bows. The
storm had left its mark on her upper spars, which were terribly
shattered; but the crew, instead of clearing away the wreck, were
groaning and praying around a little doll-like image of the Virgin,
while their officers vainly urged them to return to their duty.

"Skulkin' lubbers!" growled old Herrick; "they should git what that
feller in the song got. D'ye mind it, Frank, my boy?

"'The boatswain he rope's-ended him, and "Now," says he, "just work!
I read my Bible often, but it don't tell men to _shirk_;
The pumps they are not choked as yet, so let us not despair:
When all is up, or when we're saved, we'll join with you in prayer."'"

The next morning they sighted the craggy islet of Zembra, which Jack
Dewey, the wit of the forecastle, said should be called "Zebra," for its
cliffs were curiously veined with stripes of blue, red, and black, as
regular as if painted with a brush. A few hours later appeared the
larger island of Partellaria, standing boldly up from the sea in one
great mass of cloud-capped mountain, with the trim white houses of the
little toy town scattered along its base like a game of dominoes.

By sunset that evening the gale seemed to have fairly blown itself out.
But now came another enemy almost as dangerous. A little after midnight
the ship was hemmed in by a perfect wall of fog, through which neither
moon nor star was to be seen; and all that could be done was to set the
bells and fog-horns to work, making an uproar worthy of a Chinese

About three in the morning came a faint answering chime of church bells;
and the _Arizona_, "porting" her helm, kept circling about the same spot
for two hours more ("playin' circus," as Jack Dewey said), till the
morning breeze suddenly parted the fog, displaying to Frank's eager eyes
the rocky shores of Malta, and the entrance of Valetta Harbor.

"There's _one_ thing here as you're bound to see, lad," said Herrick,
"and that's a sort o' under-ground tunnel, like ever so many streets
buried alive, and pitch-dark every one of 'em. They calls it the
Cat-and-Combs [Catacombs]. I never could tell why, for it ain't got
nothin' to do with combs, nor yet with cats neither. But you've got to
take guides and lights with yer, and stick mighty close to 'em, or ye're
a gone 'coon. Guess _I_ ought to know that!"

"Why, did _you_ ever get lost there?"

"That's jist what I did, sonny, though I can't think how; but, anyway,
there I was, all to once, right away from the rest, and all alone in the
dark. I tried to holler, but my throat was so dry with the dust and what
not that I made no more noise nor a frog with a sore throat. 'Twarn't
pleasant neither, I can tell ye, to feel my feet kickin' agin skulls and
bones in the dark, and to think how _my_ bones 'ud be added to the
collection 'fore long, when the rats had picked 'em clean. At last I
concluded that I'd jist make matters worse by steerin' at hap-hazard,
and that my best way was to anchor, and wait for the rest o' the convoy.

"Jist then I spied _two eyes_ a-shinin' in the darkness, and 'fore I
could say 'Knife,' slap came somethin' right in my face, givin' me sich
a start that I jumped five ways at once. But by the soft, furry feel, I
guessed what 'twas; so I sang out, 'Puss! puss!' and the thing came
rubbin' agin my feet, and what should it be but a stray cat! Thinks I,
'Here's somethin' to keep off the rats, anyhow!' and I sat down in a
corner, and took the cat in my lap, and, if you'll b'lieve me, off I
went sound asleep! Fust thing I knew after that, all my mates was around
me agin, laughin' like anythin' to find me nussin' a cat that way. But I
wouldn't go that job over agin, not to be made a Cap'n!"



Kan Si was the first lady who carried a fan. She lived in ages which are
past, and for the most part forgotten, and she was the daughter of a
Chinese Mandarin. Who ever saw a Mandarin, even on a tea-chest, without
his fan? In China and Japan to this day every one has a fan; and there
are fans of all sorts for everybody. The Japanese waves his fan at you
when he meets you, by way of greeting, and the beggar who solicits for
alms has the exceedingly small coin "made on purpose" for charity
presented to him on the tip of the fan.

In ancient times, amongst the Greeks and Romans, fans seem to have been
enormous; they were generally made of feathers, and carried by slaves
over the heads of their masters and mistresses, to protect them from the
sun, or waved about before them to stir the air.

Catherine de Medicis carried the first folding fan ever seen in France;
and in the time of Louis the Fourteenth the fan was a gorgeous thing,
often covered with jewels, and worth a small fortune. In England they
were the fashion in the time of Henry the Eighth. All his many wives
carried them, and doubtless wept behind them. A fan set in diamonds was
once given to Queen Elizabeth upon New-Year's Day.

The Mexican feather fans which Cortez had from Montezuma were marvels of
beauty; and in Spain a large black fan is the favorite. It is said that
the use of the fan is as carefully taught in that country as any other
branch of education, and that by a well-known code of signals a Spanish
lady can carry on a long conversation with any one, especially an

The Japanese criminal of rank is politely executed by means of a fan. On
being sentenced to death he is presented with a fan, which he must
receive with a low bow, and as he bows, _presto_! the executioner draws
his sword, and cuts his head off. In fact, there is a fan for every
occasion in Japan.



I suppose there are few boys who have not heard of Westminster Abbey,
and who do not know that within its ancient and splendid walls the Kings
of England are crowned, and the great, the wise, and the brave of every
age are buried. But few, perhaps, are aware that the Abbey also contains
the oldest and one of the most famous boys' schools in the world. It is
true that the statutes of the school, as they now exist, are of a less
remote date than those of Eton and Winchester schools - being framed by
Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth - but they no more represent the origin of
Westminster School than the Reformation represents the origin of the
English Church.

Westminster Abbey was built by Edward the Confessor, and the Master of
the Novices sitting with his disciples in the western cloister was the
beginning of Westminster School. It was, without doubt, this school that
Ingulphus - the writer of a famous chronicle (A.D. 1043-1051) - attended;
for he tells us that Queen Edith often met him coming from school, and
questioned him about his grammar and logic, and always gave him three or
four pieces of money, and then sent him to the royal larder to refresh
himself - two forms of kindness that a school-boy never forgets.
Ingulphus afterward became the secretary of William the Conqueror. In
his day there was no glazing to this cloister, and the rain, wind, and
snow must have swept pitilessly over the novices turning and spelling
out their manuscripts. They had, indeed, a carpet of hay or rushes, and
mats were laid on the stone benches, but it must have been a bitterly
cold school-room in winter.

At the Reformation, Henry the Eighth drew up new plans for Westminster
School, and Elizabeth perfected the statutes by which the school is
still governed. It was to consist of forty boys, who were to be chosen
for their "good disposition, knowledge, and poverty, and without favor
or partiality"; and even at the present day there is no admission as a
"Queen's Scholar" at Westminster except by long and arduous competition
between the candidates for the honor.

No one who has witnessed the mode of election will ever forget it. The
candidates are arranged according to their places in the school, and the
_lowest two boys_ first enter the arena. The lower of these two is the
challenger. He calls upon his adversary to translate an epigram, to
parse it, or to answer any grammatical question connected with the
subject. Demand after demand is made, until there is an error. The
Master is appealed to, and answers, "It was a mistake." Then the
challenger and the challenged change places, and the latter, with fierce
eagerness, renews the contest. Whichever of the two is the conqueror,
flushed with victory, then turns to the boy above him, and if he be a
really clever lad, he will sometimes advance ten, fifteen, or twenty
steps before he is stopped by a greater spirit. This struggle - which is
peculiar to Westminster, and highly prized by its scholars - frequently
extends over six or eight weeks, and the ten who are highest at its
close are elected "Queen's Scholars," in place of those advanced that
year from Westminster to Oxford or Cambridge.

This mental tournament is a very ancient custom, for Stow says that the
Westminster scholars annually stood under a great tree in St.
Bartholomew's Church yard, and entering the lists of grammar,
chivalrously asserted the intellectual superiority of Westminster
against all comers; and Stow, as you very likely know, died about A.D.
1600. There is, therefore, as you may see, a very great honor in being a
"Queen's Scholar"; besides which, the prizes to be divided among them
are very valuable. These consist of three junior studentships of Christ
Church, Oxford, tenable for seven years, and worth about £120 a year;
Dr. Carey's Benefaction, which divides £600 a year among the most needy
and industrious of the scholars in sums of not less than £50, and not
more than £100; and three exhibitions at Trinity College, Cambridge, of
yearly value about £87, tenable until the holder has taken his Bachelor
of Arts degree. The Queen's Scholars are partially maintained by the
school; but all other boys, of which the average number is about one
hundred and fifty, pay very handsomely for their education.

[Illustration: A VIEW OF WESTMINSTER.]

The government of this school is an absolute monarchy in the hands of
the Head-Master, though the Dean and Chapter of Westminster can exercise
a certain control of the Queen's Scholars, and the reigning sovereign of
England is by the statutes Visitor of the School. In 1846 the father of
one of the Queen's Scholars complained to her Majesty that his boy had
been cruelly treated by three of the other scholars, and she ordered an
immediate trial, and punishment of the guilty parties.

Westminster, from its earliest records, has been famous for its Masters.
Before the great Camden - the Pausanias of England - were Alexander
Nowell, Nicholas Udall, and Thomas Browne. Nowell was Master in Queen
Mary's reign, and Bonner intending to burn him, he fled for his life. On
Elizabeth's accession he again became Master, and was also one of
Elizabeth's preachers, and reproved her so plainly that on one occasion
she bade him "return to his text." You know, boys, it is so easy and so
natural for school-masters to tell people when they are wrong, and the
Masters of Westminster have been noted for the habit.

Dr. Busby's name is forever associated with Westminster, and he ruled
the school with his terrible birch rod for upward of fifty-seven years.
"My rod is my sieve," he said, "and who can not pass through it is no
boy for me." So many able boys, however, passed through it, that he
could point to the Bench of Bishops, and boast that sixteen of the
spiritual lords sitting there at one time had been educated by him. The
height to which he carried discipline is exemplified by his accompanying
King Charles through the school-room _with his hat on_, because "he
would not have his boys think there was any man in England greater than
himself." Dryden was one of Busby's scholars, and received from the
great Master many a severe flogging, yet Dryden always spoke of Dr.
Busby with the greatest reverence. Flogging is now only administered on
very grave occasions, by the Head-Master, and in the presence of a third
party, who must be one of the boys.

In Dr. Busby's time the upper and lower schools were divided by a
curtain, about which there is a remarkable story. A boy, having torn
this curtain, was saved from one of Busby's terrible floggings by his
school-mate assuming the fault, and bearing the rod in his place. This
brave lad in the civil war took the King's side, became implicated in a
futile rising, and was condemned to death at Exeter. But his judge
happened to be the very boy whose place he had taken under Busby's rod,
and he was not unmindful of the favor, for he hastened to London, and
begged from Cromwell his friend's life. If you will get No. 313 of the
_Spectator_, you can read the whole story, and it is a very beautiful as
well as truthful one.

[Illustration: THE SCHOOL-ROOM.]

The school-room at Westminster is one of the most interesting rooms in
the world. It was the dormitory of the old monks; and when I saw it,
thirty years ago, its walls were quite covered with the names of boys
who had studied there, and who had cut with their penknives these rude
autographs. Many of the names have since become famous all over the
world, and will never be forgotten. At that time "John Dryden" was deep
and plain in the solid bench where he cut it, for not one of all the
thousands of Westminster boys who have sat in his place since have been
mean or thoughtless enough to deface it.

The dormitory of the Queen's Scholars stands where the granary of the
monks stood, and is a chamber one hundred and sixty-one feet long by
twenty-five broad. It is interesting because it is the theatre where for
centuries the "Westminster Play" has been acted. This "play" was
expressly ordered by Queen Elizabeth for "her boys," and those of
Terence were chosen by her. In 1847 there was a movement to abolish the
"Westminster Play," but a memorial, signed by more than six hundred old
Westminsters, pleaded for its continuance, and it is still one of the
great features of a London Christmas.

Westminster is pre-eminently a classical school, but no school has a
longer or more splendid list of great scholars. Of Church dignitaries it
counts nine Archbishops and more than sixty Bishops: among the latter
Trelawney, Francis Atterbury (the friend of Pope, Swift, and Gay), Isaac
Barrow, and the witty, loyal Dr. South, who, when but an Upper Boy at
Westminster, dared to read the prayer for Charles the First an hour
before he was beheaded. Still more famous was Prideaux, the great
Oriental and Hebrew scholar, and the wise Dr. Goodenough, whose sermons
before the House of Lords elicited the lively epigram from some
Westminster boy,

"'Twas well enough that Goodenough before the Lords should preach,
For sure enough that bad enough were those he had to teach."

Among famous lawyers, Westminster educated Lane, the eloquent defender
of Strafford; Glynne, the great Commonwealth lawyer; the Earl of
Mansfield, the pride of Westminster School, and the glory of Westminster
Hall, Lord Chief Justice of England for more than thirty years; and the
late Sir David Dundas. Among statesmen, Westminster counts the younger
Vane, whom Milton so nobly eulogizes, as

"young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom no better senator e'er held
The Roman helm";

Halifax, the accomplished "Trimmer" of the Revolution, about whom you
must consult Macaulay; Warren Hastings; Sir Francis Burdett; Sir James
Graham; and John, Earl Russell.

Among warriors, five of the seven officers not of royal blood who rose
to the rank of Field-Marshal between 1810 and 1856 were Westminster
boys, and one of these five was Lord Raglan.

Her list of literary sons is so long that I can only name a few of the
best-known names - Rare Ben Jonson, Cowley, George Herbert, John Dryden,
Christopher Wren, John Locke, the two Colmans, Richard Cumberland,
Cowper, Gibbon, and the all-accomplished Robert Southey.

The chief amusement of Westminster boys is boating; for which the
proximity of the Thames affords great advantages; also cricket, racket,
quoits, sparring, foot-races, leaping, and single-stick. The school has
always been noted, also, for the strong bond of fraternity uniting the
boys: to the end of life Westminster boys acknowledge this tie, and in
many a national crisis it has been, "All Westminsters together!"



"I have hunted high and low for that check, Sam, and I can not find it."

"I thought it was careless, when I saw you parading it about here."

"Well, you see, I felt rich. Father never sent me such a lot of money

"It was your birthday, wasn't it?"

"Yes, and the governor came down handsomely. He knows I am saving up for
a trip to the Adirondacks. Well, if it is gone, it is gone."

"It could not go without hands; but I hope it will turn up yet. In
future you had better put such documents in a safe place."

Will Benson heard this conversation between two fellow-clerks in the
warehouse where he also was employed, and it troubled him much. He was a
young fellow about fifteen or thereabouts, but so steady and reliable a
youth that already many matters of importance were intrusted to him. He
had seen Charlie Graham nourishing a check about, and had heard him
talking very largely of his plans, etc. He had also seen the valuable
bit of paper lying about, and had asked Charlie to pocket it; but he had
also seen some one else do that in a very quiet way, and it had so
peculiarly affected him that when Charlie asked him about it, he had
colored up violently, and was so confused, that had Charlie been of a
suspicious nature, he would have had good reason to suppose that Will
knew more about the affair than he cared to tell - which was the truth.

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