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St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. V, August, 1878, No 10. online

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"Of course. Sell 'em the whole cargo."

"Sell them? Why not make them a present?"

"We may need the money to get home with. They're a splendid lot. Enough
for the whole cabin full."

"Dat's a fack. Capt'in Dab Kinzer's de man for me, he is."

"How much then?"

"Twenty-five dollars for the lot. They're worth it. 'Specially if we
lose Ham's boat."

Dab's philosophy was a little out of gear, but a perfect rattle of
questions and answers followed, in French, and, somewhat to Frank
Harley's astonishment, the bargain was promptly concluded.

How were they to get the fish on board? Nothing easier, since the little
"Swallow" could run along so nicely under the stern of the great
steamer, while a large basket was swung out at the end of a long,
slender spar, with a pulley to lower and raise it. Even the boys from
Long Island were astonished at the number and size of the prime, freshly
caught blue-fish to which they were treating the passengers of the
"Prudhomme," and the basket had to come and go again and again.

The steamer's steward, on his part, avowed that he had never before met
so honest a lot of Yankee fishermen. Perhaps not; for high prices and
short weight are apt to go together where "luxuries" are selling. The
pay itself was handed out in the same basket which went for the fish.

The wind was not nearly as high as it had been, and the sea had for some
time been going down.

Twenty minutes later, Frank Harley heard, for he understood French very
well:

"Hallo, the boat! What are you following us for?"

"Oh, we wont run you down. Don't be alarmed. We've lost our way out
here, and we're going to follow you in. Hope you know where you are."

And then there was a cackle of surprise and laughter among the steamer's
officers, in which Frank and some of the passengers joined, and the
saucy little "fishing-boat" came steadily on in the wake of her gigantic
guide.

"This is grand for us," remarked Dab Kinzer to Ford, as he kept his eyes
on the after-lantern of the "Prudhomme." "They pay all our pilot fees."

"But they're going to New York."

"So are we, if to-morrow doesn't come out clear and with a good wind to
go home by."

"It's better than crossing the Atlantic in the dark, anyhow. But what a
price we got for those fish!"

"They're ready to pay well for such things at the end of the voyage,"
said Dab. "I expected they'd try and beat us down a peg. They generally
do. We only got about fair market price, after all, only we got rid of
our whole catch at one sale."

Hour followed hour, and the "Swallow" followed the steamer, and the fog
followed them both so densely that sometimes even Dick Lee's keen eyes
could with difficulty make out the "Prudhomme's" light. And now Ford
Foster ventured to take a bit of a nap, so sure did he feel that all the
danger was over, and that "Captain Kinzer" was equal to what Dick Lee
called the "nagivation" of that yacht. How long he had slept he could
not have guessed, but he was suddenly awakened by a great cry from out
the mist beyond them, and the loud exclamation of Dab Kinzer, still at
the tiller:

"I believe she's run ashore!"

It was a loud cry, indeed, and there was good reason for it. Well for
all on board the great French steamship that she was running no faster
at the time, and that there was no hurricane of a gale to make things
worse for her. Pilot and captain had both together missed their
reckoning, - neither of them could ever afterward tell how, - and there
they were stuck fast in the sand, with the noise of breakers ahead of
them and the dense fog all around.

Frank Harley peered anxiously over the rail again, but he could not have
complained that he was "wrecked in sight of shore;" for the steamer was
anything but a wreck yet, and there was no such thing as a shore in
sight.

"It's an hour to sunrise," said Dab to Ford, after the latter had
managed to comprehend the situation. "We may as well run further in and
see what we can see."

It must have been aggravating to the people on the steamer to see that
cockle-shell of a yacht dancing safely along over the shoal on which
their "leviathan" had struck, and to hear Ford Foster sing out: "If we'd
known you meant to run in here, we'd have followed some other pilot."

"They're in no danger at all," said Dab. "If their own boats don't take
'em all ashore, the coast-wreckers will."

"The Government life-savers, I s'pose you mean?"

"Yes, they're all along here, everywhere. Hark! there goes the distress
gun. Bang away! It sounds a good deal more mad than scared."

So it did, and so they really were - captain, pilot, passengers and all.

"Captain Kinzer" found that he could safely run in for a couple of
hundred yards or so; but there were signs of surf beyond, and he had no
anchor to hold on by. His only course was to tack back and forth, as
carefully as possible, and wait for daylight, as the French sailors were
doing, with what patience they could command.

In less than half an hour, however, a pair of long, graceful,
buoyant-looking life-boats, manned each by an officer and eight rowers,
came shooting through the mist, in response to the repeated summons of
the steamer's cannon.

"It's all right now," said Dab. "I knew they wouldn't be long in coming.
Let's find where we are."

That was easy enough. The steamer had gone ashore on a sand-bar a
quarter of a mile from the beach and a short distance from Seabright, on
the Jersey coast; and there was no probability of any worse harm coming
to her than the delay in her voyage, and the cost of pulling her out
from the sandy bed into which she had so blindly thrust herself. The
passengers would, most likely, be taken ashore with their baggage, and
sent to the city overland.

"In fact," said Ford Foster, "a sand-bar isn't as bad for a steamer as a
pig is for a locomotive."

"The train you was wrecked in," said Dab, "was running fast. Perhaps the
pig was. Now, the sand-bar was standing still, and the steamer was going
slow. My! what a crash there'd have been, if she'd been running ten or
twelve knots an hour with a heavy sea on."

By daylight there were plenty of other craft around, including yachts
and sail-boats from Long Branch, and "all along shore," and the Long
Island boys treated the occupants of these as if they had sent for them
and were glad to see them.

"Seems to me, your're inclined to be inquisitive, Dab," said Ford, as
his friend peered sharply into and around one craft after another, but
just then Dabney sung out:

"Hullo, Jersey, what are you doing with two grapnels? Is that boat of
yours balky?"

"Mind your eye, youngster. They're both mine, I reckon."

"You might sell me one cheap," continued Dab, "considering how you got
'em. Give you ten cents for the big one."

Ford thought he understood the matter, and said nothing; but the "Jersey
wrecker" had "picked up" those two anchors, one time and another, and
had no objection at all to talking "trade."

"Ten cents! Let you have it for fifty dollars."

"Is it gold, or only silver gilt?"

"Pure gold, my boy, but seein' it's you, I'll say ten dollars."

"Take your pay in clams?"

"Oh, hush, I haint no time to gabble. Mebbe I'll git a job here, 'round
this yer wreck. If you want the grapn'l, what'll you gimme?"

"Five dollars, gold, take it or leave it," said Dab, as he pulled out a
coin from the pay he had taken for his blue-fish.

In three minutes more the "Swallow" was furnished with a much larger and
better anchor than the one she had lost the day before, and Dick Lee
exclaimed:

"It jes' takes Capt'in Kinzer!"

For some minutes before this, as the light grew clearer and the fog
lifted a little, Frank Harley had been watching them from the rail of
the "Prudhomme" and wondering if all the fisher-boys in America dressed
as well as these two.

"Hullo, you!" was the greeting which now came to his ears. "Go ashore in
my boat?"

"Not till I have eaten some of your fish for breakfast," replied Frank.
"What's your name?"

"Captain Dabney Kinzer, of 'most anywhere on Long Island. What's yours?"

"Frank Harley, of Rangoon."

"I declare!" almost shouted Ford Foster, "if you're not the chap my
sister Annie told me of. You're going to Albany, to my uncle, Joe
Hart's, aren't you?"

"Yes, to Mr. Hart's, and then to Grantley, to school."

"That's it. Well, you just come along with us, then. Get your kit out of
your state-room. We can send over to the city for the rest of your
baggage after it gets in."

"Along with you, where?"

"To my father's house, instead of ashore among those wreckers and
hotel-people. The captain'll tell you it's all right."

It was a trifle irregular, no doubt, but there was the "Prudhomme"
ashore, and all "landing rules" were a little out of joint by reason of
that circumstance. The "Swallow" lay at anchor while Frank got his
breakfast, and such of his baggage as was not "stowed away," and,
meantime, Captain Kinzer and his "crew" made a very deep hole in their
own supplies, for their night of danger and excitement had made them
wonderfully hungry.

"Do you mean to sail home?" asked Ford, in some astonishment.

"Why not? If we could do it in the night and in a storm, we surely can
in a day of such splendid weather as is coming. The wind's all right
too, what there is of it."

[Illustration: THE WELCOME ON THE BEACH.]


CHAPTER XIII.

The wind was indeed "all right," but even Dab forgot, for the moment,
that the "Swallow" would go further and faster before a gale than she
was likely to with the comparatively mild southerly breeze which was
blowing. He was by no means likely to get home by dinner-time. As for
danger, there would be absolutely none, unless the weather should again
become stormy, which was not at all probable at that season. And so,
with genuine boyish confidence in boys, after some further conversation
over the rail, Frank Harley went on board the "Swallow" as a passenger,
and the gay little craft slipped lightly away from the neighborhood of
the very forlorn-looking stranded steamer.

"They'll have her off in less'n a week," said Ford to Frank. "My
father'll know just what to do about your baggage, and so forth."

There were endless questions to be asked and answered on both sides, but
at last Dab yawned a very sleepy yawn and said: "Ford, you've had your
nap. Wake up Dick there, and let him take his turn at the tiller. The
sea's as smooth as a lake, and I believe I'll go to sleep for an hour or
so. You and Frank keep watch while Dick steers."

Whatever Dab said was "orders," now, on board the "Swallow," and Ford's
only reply was: "If you haven't earned a good nap, then nobody has."

In five minutes more the patient and skillful young "captain" was
sleeping like a top.

"Look at him," said Ford Foster to Frank Harley. "I don't know what he's
made of. He's been at that tiller for twenty-three hours, by the watch,
in all sorts of weather, and never budged."

"They don't make that kind of boy in India," replied Frank.

"He's de best feller you ebber seen," added Dick Lee. "I's jes' proud of
'im, I is."

Smoothly and swiftly and safely the "Swallow" was bearing her precious
cargo across the summer sea, but the morning had brought no comfort to
the two homes at the head of the inlet, or the cabin in the village. Old
Bill Lee was out in the best boat he could borrow, by early daylight,
and more than one of his sympathizing neighbors followed him a little
later. There was no doubt at all that a thorough search would be made of
the bay and the island, and so Mr. Foster wisely remained at home to
comfort his wife and daughter.

"That sort of boy," mourned Annie, "is always getting into some kind of
mischief."

"Annie," exclaimed her mother, "Ford is a good boy, and he does not run
into mischief."

"I didn't mean Ford; I meant that Dabney Kinzer. I wish we'd never seen
him, or his sail-boat either."

"Annie," said her father, reprovingly, "if we live by the water, Ford
_will_ go out on it, and he'd better do so in good company. Wait a
while."

Summer days are long, but some of them are a good deal longer than
others, and that was one of the longest any of those people had ever
known. For once, even dinner was more than half neglected in the Kinzer
family circle. At the Fosters' it was forgotten almost altogether. Long
as the day was, and so dreary, in spite of all the bright, warm
sunshine, there was no help for it; the hours would not hurry, and the
wanderers would not return. Tea-time came at last, and with it the
Fosters all came over to Mrs. Kinzer's again, to take tea and to tell
her of several fishermen who had returned from the bay without having
discovered a sign of the "Swallow" or its crew.

Stout-hearted Mrs. Kinzer talked bravely and encouragingly,
nevertheless, and did not seem to abate an ounce of her confidence in
her son. It seemed as if, in leaving off his roundabouts, Dabney must
have suddenly grown a great many "sizes" in his mother's estimation.
Perhaps that was because he did not leave them off too soon.

There they sat, the two mothers and the rest, looking gloomy enough,
while, over there in her bit of a brown house in the village, Mrs. Lee
sat in very much the same frame of mind, trying to relieve her feelings
by smoothing imaginary wrinkles out of her boy's best clothes, and
planning for him any number of bright red neck-ties, if he would only
come back to wear them.

The neighbors were becoming more than a little interested and even
excited about the matter; but what was there to be done?

Telegrams had been sent to other points on the coast, and all the
fishermen notified. It was really one of those puzzling cases where even
the most neighborly can do no better than "wait a while."

Still, there were nearly a dozen people, of all sorts, including Bill
Lee, lingering around the "landing" as late as eight o'clock, when some
one of them suddenly exclaimed:

"There's a light, coming in."

And others followed with: "And a boat under it." "Ham's boat carried a
light." "I'll bet it's her." "No, it isn't." "Hold on and see."

There was not long to "hold on," for in three minutes more the "Swallow"
swept gracefully in with the tide, and the voice of Dab Kinzer shouted
merrily: "Home again! Here we are!"

Such a ringing volley of cheers answered him! It was heard and
understood away there in the parlor of the Morris house, and brought
every soul of that anxious circle right up standing.

"Must be it's Dab!" exclaimed Mrs. Kinzer.

"Oh, mother," said Annie, "is Ford safe?"

"They wouldn't cheer like that, my dear, if anything had happened,"
remarked Mr. Foster, but, in spite of his coolness, the city lawyer
forgot to put his hat on, as he dashed out of the front gate, and down
the road toward the landing.

Then came one of those times that it takes a whole orchestra and a
gallery of paintings to tell anything about, for Mrs. Lee as well as her
husband was at the beach, and within a minute after "Captain Kinzer" and
his crew had landed, poor Dick was being hugged and scolded within an
inch of his life, and the other two boys found themselves in the midst
of a tumult of embraces and cheers.

Frank Harley's turn came soon, moreover, for Ford Foster found his
balance, and introduced the "passenger from India" to his father.

"Frank Harley!" exclaimed Mr. Foster, "I've heard of you, certainly, but
how did you - boys, I don't understand - - "

"Oh, father, it's all right! We took Frank off the French steamer after
she ran ashore."

"Ran ashore?"

"Yes; down the Jersey coast. We got in company with her in the fog,
after the storm. That was yesterday evening."

"Down the Jersey coast! Do you mean you've been out at sea?"

"Yes, father; and I'd go again, with Dab Kinzer for captain. Do you
know, father, he never left the rudder of the 'Swallow' from the moment
we started until seven o'clock this morning?"

"You owe him your lives!" almost shouted Mr. Foster; and Ford added,
"Indeed, we do."

It was Dab's own mother's arms that had been around him from the instant
he made his appearance, and Samantha and Keziah and Pamela had had to
be content with a kiss or so apiece; but dear old Mrs. Foster stopped
smoothing Ford's hair and forehead, just then, and gave Dab a right
motherly hug, as if she could not express herself in any other way.

As for Annie Foster, her face was suspiciously red at the moment, but
she walked right up to Dab, after her mother released him, and said:

"Captain Kinzer, I've been saying dreadful things about you, but I beg
pardon."

"I'll be entirely satisfied, Miss Annie," returned Dabney, "if you'll
ask somebody to get us something to eat."

"Eat!" exclaimed Mrs. Kinzer, "Why, the poor fellows! Of course they're
hungry."

Of course they were, every one; and the supper-table, after all, was the
best place in the world to hear the particulars of their wonderful
cruise.

Meantime, Dick Lee was led home to a capital supper of his own, and as
soon as that was over he was rigged out in his Sunday clothes, - red silk
neck-tie and all, - and invited to tell the story of his adventures to a
roomful of admiring neighbors.

He told it well, modestly ascribing pretty much everything to Dab
Kinzer; but there was no reason, in anything he said, for one of his
father's friends to ask, next morning:

"Bill Lee, does you mean for to say as dem boys run down de French
steamah in dat ar' boat?"

"Not dat, not zackly."

"'Cause, if you does, I jes' want to say I's been down a-lookin' at her,
and she aint even snubbed her bowsprit."

(_To be continued._)




GERTY.

BY MARGARET W. HAMILTON.


Ugh! How cold it was! - sleet driving in your face, wind whistling about
your ears, cold penetrating everywhere! "A regular nipper," thought Dick
Kelsey, standing in a door-way, kicking his feet in toeless boots to
warm them, and blowing his chilled fingers, for in the pockets of his
ragged trousers the keen air had stiffened them. He was revolving a
weighty question in his mind. Which should he do, - go down to "Ma'am
Vesey's" and get one of her hot mutton pies, or stray a little farther
up the alley, where an old sailor kept a little coffee-house for the
benefit of newsboys and boot-blacks such as he? Should it be coffee or
mutton pie?

"I'll toss up for it!" said Dick, finally; and, fumbling in his pockets,
the copper was produced ready for the test.

Just then, his attention was suddenly diverted. Close to him sounded a
voice, weak and not very melodious, but bravely singing:

"There is a happy land
Far, far away,
Where saints in glory stand
Bright, bright as day!"

Dick listened in silence till the last little quaver had died away, and
then said: "Whew! That was purty, anyhow. Where is the piper, I wonder!"
He looked about for the musician, but could see no one. He was the only
person in the alley.

Again the song began, and this time he traced the voice to the house
against which he had been leaning. The window was just at his right, and
through one of the broken panes came the notes. Dick's modesty was not a
burden to him, so it was the work of only a moment to put his face to
the hole in the window and take a view.

A small room, not very nice to see, was what he saw; then, as his eye
became used to the dim light, he espied on a low bed in the corner a
little girl gazing at him with a pair of big black eyes.

"I say, there! Was it you pipin' away so fine?" began Dick, without the
slightest embarrassment.

"If you mean, was I a-singin'? - I was," answered the child from the bed,
not seeming at all surprised at this sudden intrusion upon her privacy.

"I say, who are you, anyhow?"

"I'm Gerty, and I stay here all the day while mother is away washing;
and she locks the door so no one can't get in," explained the girl.

"My eye!" was Dick's return. "And what are you in bed for?"

"Oh, I have a pain in my back, an' I lie down most of the time," replied
Gerty in the most cheerful manner possible, as if a pain in the back
were the one desirable thing, while Dick withdrew his head to ponder
over this new experience.

A girl locked in a room like that, lying in bed with pain most of the
time, with nothing to do, yet cheerful and bright - this was something
he could not understand. All at once his face brightened. Back went his
eyes to the window.

"I say, got anything to eat in there?"

"Oh yes, some crackers; and to-night maybe mother'll buy some milk."

"Pooh!" said Dick, with scorn. "Crackers and milk! Did you ever eat a
mutton pie?"

"A mutton pie," repeated Gerty, slowly. "No, I guess not."

"Oh, they're bully! Hot from Ma'am Vesey's! Tip-top! Wait a minute," - a
needless caution, for Gerty could not possibly have done anything else.

Away ran Dick down the alley and around the corner, halting breathless
before Ma'am Vesey.

"Gi'e me one, quick!" he cried. "Hot, too. No, I wont eat it; put it in
some paper." The old woman had offered him one from the oven.

"Seems to me we're gettin' mighty fine," she said; for Dick was an old
customer, and never before had he waited for a pie to be wrapped up.

"Never you mind, old lady," was his good-natured, if somewhat
disrespectful, reply; and, dropping some pennies, he seized his treasure
and was off again.

Gerty's eager fingers soon held the pie, which Dick dexterously tossed
on the bed, and Dick's eyes fairly shone as he watched the half-starved
little one swallow the dainty in rapid mouthfuls.

"Oh, I never in all my life tasted anything half so good! Don't you want
some?" questioned the child, whose enjoyment was so keen she feared it
hardly could be right.

"No, indeed!" - this with hearty emphasis. "I've had 'em. I'm goin' now,"
he added, reluctantly, "but I'll come back again 'fore long."

"Oh, do!" said Gerty, "an' I'll sing you some more of 'Happy Land,' if
you want me; and I know another song, too. I learned them up to the
horspital when I was there. You see, I was peddlin' matches and
shoe-strings, and it was 'most dark and awful slippery, and the horses
hit me afore I knowed it; and then they picked me up, and I didn't know
nothin', and couldn't tell where I lived, and so they took me to the
horspital; and the next day I told 'em where mother was, and she came.
But the doctors said I had better stay, and p'r'aps they could help me.
But they couldn't, you know, cos the pain in my back was too bad. And
mother, she washes, and I watch the daylight, and wait for night, and
sing; and when the pain aint too bad, the day don't seem so very long."

"My eye!" was all Dick could say, as he beat a hasty retreat, rubbing
the much appealed-to member with a corner of his ragged coat.

"Well, them's hard lines, anyhow," he soliloquized, as he went to the
printing-office. "An' she's chipper, too. Game as anything," he went on
to himself. "Now, I'm just goin' to keep my eye on that little un, and
some o' my spare coppers'll help her, I guess."

How he worked that night! His papers fairly flew, he sold them so fast;
and when, under a friendly street-lamp, he counted his gains, a
prolonged whistle was his first comment.

"More'n any night this week," he pondered. "Did me good to go 'thout the
pie. Gerty'll have an orange to-morrow."

So, next morning, when the last journal had been sold, a fruit-stand was
grandly patronized.

"The biggest, best orange you got, and never mind what it costs." Then
but a few moments to reach Gerty's alley, and Gerty's window.

Yes, there she was, just the same as yesterday, and the pinched face
grew bright when she saw her new friend peering at her.

"Oh! you're come, are you?" joyfully. "Mother said you wouldn't, when I
told her, but I said you would. She wouldn't leave the door unlocked,
cos she didn't know nothing about you; but she said, if you came to-day,
you could come back to-night when she was home, and come in."

"Oh, may I?" said Dick, rather gruffly; for he hardly liked the idea of
meeting strangers.

"Yes," went on Gerty; "I'll sing lots, if you want; and mother'll be
glad to see you, too."

"All right; mebbe I'll come. And say, here's suthin for ye," and the
orange shot through the window.

"Oh, my!" she gasped, "how nice! Is it really for me?" And Dick
answered, "Yes, eat it now."

Half his pleasure was in watching her eager relish of the fruit; and as
Gerty needed no second bidding, the orange rapidly disappeared, she
pausing now and again to look across gratefully at Dick and utter
indistinct expressions of delight.

"Now shall I sing?" she asked, when the last delicious mouthful was


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Online LibraryVariousSt. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls, Vol. V, August, 1878, No 10. → online text (page 8 of 11)