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BOB THE CASTAWAY

Or, The Wreck of the Eagle

By

FRANK V. WEBSTER

AUTHOR OF "ONLY A FARM BOY," "THE BOY FROM THE RANCH,"
"THE NEWSBOY PARTNERS," "THE YOUNG TREASURE HUNTER," ETC.

ILLUSTRATED

1909







Books for Boys by FRANK V. WEBSTER

12mo. Illustrated. Bound in cloth.

ONLY A FARM BOY, Or Dan Hardy's Rise in Life
TOM THE TELEPHONE BOY, Or The Mystery of a Message
THE BOY FROM THE RANCH, Or Roy Bradner's City Experiences
THE YOUNG TREASURE HUNTER, Or Fred Stanley's Trip to Alaska
BOB THE CASTAWAY, Or The Wreck of the Eagle
THE YOUNG FIREMEN OF LAKEVILLE, Or Herbert Dare's Pluck
THE NEWSBOY PARTNERS, Or Who Was Dick Box?
THE BOY PILOT OF THE LAKES, Or Nat Morton's Perils
TWO BOY GOLD MINERS, Or Lost in the Mountains
JACK THE RUNAWAY, Or On the Road with a Circus

Cupples & Leon Co., Publishers, New York





CONTENTS


CHAPTER
I BOB MAKES TROUBLE
II ANOTHER PRANK
III A STRANGE PROPOSITION
IV TALKING IT OVER
V A JOKE THAT WENT WRONG
VI MRS. HENDERSON'S DECISION
VII BOB IS DELIGHTED
VIII GETTING READY
IX BOB'S LAST LAND JOKE
X OFF ON THE TRIP
XI THE "EAGLE" SAILS
XII SOME JOKES ON BOB
XIII BOB TRIES A PRANK
XIV MR. TARBILL GETS A SHOCK
XV THE STORM
XVI WRECK OF THE SHIP
XVII ADRIFT IN SMALL BOATS
XVIII BOB ON AN ISLAND
XIX FINDING MR. TARBILL
XX MAKING THE BEST OF IT
XXI MORE ARRIVALS
XXII AFLOAT ONCE MORE
XXIII A SERIOUS LOSS
XXIV DAYS OF HOPELESSNESS
XXV HOMEWARD BOUND - CONCLUSION





CHAPTER I

BOB MAKES TROUBLE

"Bob! Bob!" called a woman in loud tones, as she came to the
kitchen door, her arms, with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows,
covered with flour. "Bob, I want you to go to the store for me. I
need some more lard for this pie-crust."

There was no answer, and the woman looked across the big yard at
one side of the cottage.

"Where can that boy be?" Mrs. Henderson murmured. "I saw him here
a little while ago. He's never around when I want him. I
shouldn't be surprised but what he was planning some joke. Oh,
dear! I wish he was more steady, and wasn't always up to some
mischief. Still, he's a good boy at heart, and perhaps he'll grow
better when he gets older."

She rubbed her left cheek with the back of her hand, leaving a big
patch of flour under one eye. Then she called once more.

"Bob! Bob Henderson! Where are you? I want you to go to the
store."

"Here I am, mother. Were you calling me?" asked a boy, emerging
from behind a big apple tree.

He was not a bad-looking lad, even if his nose did turn up a bit,
though his hair was tinged with red, and his face covered with
freckles. His blue eyes, however, seemed to sparkle with mischief.

"Did I call you?" repeated Mrs. Henderson. "I'm hoarse after the
way I had to shout - and you within hearing distance all the while!
Why didn't you answer me?"

"I guess I was so busy thinking, mom, that I didn't hear you."

"Thinking? More likely thinking of some trick! What's that you've
got?"

"Nothing," and Bob tried to stuff pieces of paper into a basket
that was already filled to overflowing.

"Yes, 'tis too something. You're making some more of those paper
snappers that the teacher kept you in after school for the other
night. Bob, can't you settle down and not be always up to some
trick?"

"I wasn't making these for myself, mom, honest I wasn't,"
expostulated Bob, with an innocent look that did not seem in accord
with the mischief in his blue eyes. "I was making 'em for Jimmy
Smith."

"Yes, and Jimmy Smith would pop 'em off in school, and when he got
caught he'd say you gave 'em to him, and you'd both be kept in.
Oh, Bob, I don't know what will happen to you next!"

"Why, I wasn't doing anything, honest I wasn't, mom. Oh, how funny
you look with that patch of flour on your cheek! Just like a clown
in a circus, only he has white stuff all over his face."

"Well, I must say, Bob Henderson, you're not very complimentary to
your mother, telling her she looks like a circus clown."

"I didn't say you did, mom. You only look like half a clown."

"That's just as bad."

Bob took advantage of this little diversion to hide the paper
snappers behind the tree while his mother was wiping the flour off
her face. The snappers were oblong pieces of stout wrapping paper,
folded in such a way that when swung through the air they went off
like a bag blown up and crushed between the hands. Bob was an
expert in their manufacture.

"Come," went on Mrs. Henderson, when she was satisfied that her
face was no longer adorned with flour, "I want you to go to the
store for some lard. Tell Mr. Hodge you want the best. Here's the
money."

"All right, mom, I'll go right away. Do you want anything else?"

Now Bob usually made more of a protest than this when asked to go
to the store, which was at the other end of the village of
Moreville, where he lived. He generally wanted to stay at his
play, or was on the point of going off with some boy of his
acquaintance.

But this time he prepared to go without making any complaint, and
had his mother not been so preoccupied thinking of her housework,
she might have suspected that the lad had some mischief afoot - some
scheme that he wanted to carry out, and which going to the store
would further.

"No, I guess the lard is all I need now," she said. "Now do hurry,
Bob. Don't stop on the way, for I want to get these pies baked
before supper."

"I'll hurry, mom."

There was a curious smile on Bob's face, and as he got his hat from
the ground before setting off on the errand he looked in his pocket
to see if he had a certain long, stout piece of cord.

"I guess that will do the trick," murmured the boy to himself.
"Oh, yes, I'll hurry back all right! Guess I'll have to if I don't
want Bill Hodge to catch me."

There was a cunning look on Bob's face, and the twinkle in his eyes
increased as he set off down the village street.

"I hope he doesn't get into mischief," murmured Mrs. Henderson, as
she went back to her work in the kitchen. "If he wasn't such an
honest boy, I would be more worried than I am about him. But I
guess he will outgrow it," she added hopefully.

Bob Henderson, who is to be the hero of our Story, was the only son
of Mr. and Mrs. Enos Henderson. They lived in Moreville, a
thriving New England town, and Bob's father was employed in a large
woolen mill in the place.

Bob attended the local school, and he was a sort of leader among a
certain class of boys. They were all manly chaps, but perhaps were
inclined more to mischief than they should be. And none of them
was any more inclined that way than Bob. He was rather wild, and
some of the things he did were unkind and harmful to those on whom
he played jokes.

Bob was always the first to acknowledge he had been in the wrong,
and when it was pointed out to him that he had not done what was
right he always apologized. Only this was always after the
mischief had been done, and he was just as ready half an hour later
to indulge in another prank.

Nearly every one in Moreville knew Bob, some to their sorrow. But
in spite of his tricks he was well liked, even though some nervous
women predicted that he would land in jail before he got to be much
older.

It was a pleasant afternoon in June, and Bob had not been home from
school long when his mother sent him after the lard. As it
happened, this just suited the youth's purpose, for he contemplated
putting into operation a trick he had long planned against William
Hodge, the proprietor of the village grocery store.

So Bob trudged along, whistling a merry tune and jingling in his
pocket the money his mother had given him.

"He'll be as mad as hops," he murmured, "but it can't do much harm.
He'll turn it off before much runs out."

This may seem rather a puzzle to my young readers, but if you have
patience you will soon understand what Bob meant, though I hope
none of you will follow his example.

As Bob walked along he met another lad about his own age.

"Hello, Bob," greeted Ted Neefus. "Where you goin'?"

"Store."

"What store?"

"Bill Hodge's."

"What fer?"

"Lard."

"Want me t' go 'long?"

"If you want to," and there was a half smile on Bob's face. Ted
knew the meaning of that smile. He had more than once been
associated with Bob in his tricks.

"Kin I watch ye?" he asked eagerly.

"What for?" asked Bob with an air of assumed indignation. "What do
you think I'm going to do?"

"Oh, that's all right," returned Ted. "I won't say anythin'. Let
me watch, will yer?"

"I don't s'pose I can stop you," replied Bob, with an appearance of
lofty virtue. "The street's public property. I haven't any right
to say you shan't stand in front of Bill's store until I come out.
You can if you want to."

"Maybe I won't then!" exclaimed Ted.

"Better not walk along with me," advised Bob. "Folks might think
we were up to something."

"That's so. Like when we burned some feathers under the church
when they were having prayer meeting."

"Don't speak so loud," cautioned Bob. "You'll give things away."

Thus admonished, Ted took a position well to his chum's rear.
Meanwhile Bob continued on and was soon at the grocery store.

"Good-afternoon, Mr. Hodge," he said politely.

"Arternoon," replied Mr. Hodge, for he was not fond of boys, least
of all Bob Henderson. "What d' you want?"

He had an air as if he was saying:

"Now none of your tricks, you young rapscallion! If you play any
jokes on me you'll smart for it!"

"Mother wants a pound of lard - the best lard, Mr. Hodge," said Bob.

"I don't keep any but the best."

"Then I want a pound. It's a fine day, isn't it?"

"I don't see nothin' the matter with it. 'Tain't rainin' anyhow.
Now don't you upset anything while I go fer the lard. I have t'
keep it down cellar, it's so hot up here."

Bob knew this. In fact, he counted on it for what he was about to
do. No sooner had the storekeeper started down the cellar stairs
than Bob pulled from his pocket a long, stout piece of cord. He
quickly fastened one end of it to the spigot of a molasses barrel,
which stood about half way back in the store. Then he ran the cord
forward and across the doorway, about six inches from the floor,
and fastened the other end to a barrel of flour as a sort of anchor.

By this time Mr. Hodge was coming upstairs with the lard in a thin
wooden dish, a piece of paper being over the top. Bob stood near
the counter piling the scale weights up in a regular pyramid.

"Here, let them alone," growled the storekeeper. "Fust thing you
know they'll fall an' mebby crack."

"I wouldn't have that happen," said Bob earnestly, but with a
lurking smile on his lips. "How much is the lard, Mr. Hodge?"

"Fourteen cents. It's gone up."

"Something else will be going down soon," murmured Bob.

He paid over the money, took the lard and started out. As soon as
he reached the front stoop of the store he gave a hasty look
around. He saw Ted dodging behind a tree across the street.
Suddenly Bob opened his mouth and let out a yell like that which an
Indian might have given when on the warpath. It was a shriek as if
some one had been hurt. Then he jumped off the porch and hid
underneath it, one end being open.

An instant later Mr. Hodge, thinking some accident had happened,
rushed to the front door of his store. But just as he reached it
he went down in a heap, tripped by the string Bob had stretched
across the opening.

The storekeeper was more surprised than hurt, for he was quite
stout and his fat protected him. As he got up, muttering vengeance
on whatever had upset him, he went to the door to look out. There
was not a person in sight.

"It must have been that pesky Bob Henderson!" he exclaimed. "He's
always yellin' an' shoutin'."

He turned back into the store, rubbing his shins. As he did so he
uttered an exclamation of dismay. And well he might, for the
spigot of the molasses barrel was wide open, and the sticky brown
fluid was running all over the floor.




CHAPTER II

ANOTHER PRANK

"Drat that boy!" cried Mr. Hodge. "I'll make him suffer fer this.
I'll have him arrested fer malicious mischief, an' I'll sue his
father. I'll see if I can't put a stop to sech nonsense."

He did not waste time in words, however, but hastened to shut the
spigot of the molasses barrel to stop the wasteful flow. However,
two gallons or more had run all over, the floor, making a sticky
pool.

Meanwhile Bob had crawled out from under the stoop and had crossed
the street to Join Ted.

"Did you see anything?" he asked.

"Did I?" asked Ted. "Well, I should say I did. It was great.
How'd ye think of it?"

"Did I do anything?" asked Bob innocently. "I thought Bill Hodge
stubbed his toe and fell. Probably he slipped in some molasses."

"Did you pull the spigot open?"

"Me? No, I didn't, but maybe the string did. I guess I've got to
hurry home with this lard. Mom wants to make some pies."

Bob got home much sooner than his mother expected he would. He
gave her the lard, and then went out under the apple tree where he
had left the paper snappers.

"He's back quick," mused Mrs. Henderson. "I don't see how he had
time to do any mischief. Perhaps he didn't play any tricks on any
one this time," for Bob seldom went through the village but what he
did so. However, Mrs. Henderson was mistaken, as we know.

During this time Mr. Hodge was busy wiping as much of the molasses
off the floor as he could with old cloths and pieces of newspaper.
While he was doing this a customer came in and inquired:

"What's the matter? Molasses barrel spring a leak, Bill?"

"Leak? No, it was that pesky Bob Henderson. Wait till I git hold
of him! I'll make him smart. An' I'm goin' to sue his father."

"What did he do? Why, Bill, you walk lame. What's the matter, got
rheumatiz?"

"It's all on account of Bob."

"What did he do?"

"Came here for some lard. When I was down cellar gittin' it he tied
a string to the molasses barrel spigot and stretched it across the
doorway."

"What, the spigot?"

"No, the string. Ye know what I mean. Then he went out on the
stoop an' yelled like sin. I thought somebody was killed an' I run
out. I tripped over the string an' it pulled the spigot open. I
barked my shins, an' when I looked in the store, after seein'
nobody was hurt, the molasses was runnin' all over. Oh, wait till
I git hold of that pesky boy!"

"I s'pose if you hadn't been so curious to see who was killed it
wouldn't have happened," observed Adiran Meelik.

"Curious! Ain't I got a right to run an' see who's killed in front
of my store?"

"I s'pose so. But there wasn't anybody killed; only you came near
being."

"That's so. I'll bring an action against Bob Henderson's father
for damages for personal injuries, that's what I'll do. Then
there's the wasted molasses."

"That boy plays too many tricks," observed Mr. Meelik as he took
the brown sugar he had come in to purchase and walked out.
"Altogether too many tricks. Still," he added with a smile, "I
would like to have seen Bill stumble and watched his face when he
seen that molasses runnin' to waste."

The storekeeper lost no time in putting his plan into action. But
as he was a cautious man, and did not want to waste money hiring a
lawyer to bring suit if he could collect damages without doing so,
he decided to call on Mr. Henderson himself.

A short time after Mr. Hodge had succeeded in cleaning up as much
of the molasses as possible his wife came in to relieve him of
tending the store, as was her custom. She had had an early supper,
and was to remain in the place until Mr. Hodge had also satisfied
his appetite. By this arrangement there was no need of hiring a
clerk. They lived in some rooms over the store.

"Your supper's ready, William," she said.

"I guess supper'll have to wait to-night."

"Why?"

"'Cause I'm goin' to see if I can't collect damages from Enos
Henderson fer what his son done."

"What's that?"

Mr. Hodge explained, and his wife agreed with him that it would be
wise first to try what a personal demand would do.

It was about six o'clock when Mr. Hodge reached the Henderson home.
Mr. Henderson stopped work at five, and he was at supper when the
storekeeper entered. Bob knew the object of the visit, and, making
an excuse that he wanted to see one of his boy chums, was about to
leave the table.

"My business is with him, too," said Mr. Hodge in rather surly
tones.

"With Bob?" asked Mr. Henderson, and his heart sank. He realized
that his son must have been up to some prank in which the
storekeeper was involved, for Mr. Hodge was not a person to pay
friendly calls.

"Yes. I've come t' see if ye'll settle my claim fer damages
without a lawsuit."

"A lawsuit?" inquired Mr. Henderson, now becoming quite alarmed,
while Bob's mother grew pale. Bob himself, not a little frightened
as the result of his joke, sank down in a chair.

"I want damages fer personal injuries, as well as fer five gallons
of molasses that run to waste."

"It couldn't have been more than three gallons," interrupted Bob.
"Molasses runs awful slow, and the spigot wasn't open more than
three minutes."

"It runs fast in hot weather," observed the storekeeper.

"What is it all about?" asked Mr. Henderson.

Then Mr. Hodge explained, dwelling on the pain he had suffered as a
result of the fall from the string that tripped him and on the loss
of the molasses.

"I want ten dollars damage," he concluded. "A dollar fer the
molasses an' the rest fer personal injuries."

"I am afraid I cannot afford to pay so much," said Mr. Henderson,
who, while he made good wages, was trying to save up enough to pay
for his home.

"Then I'll sue ye."

"I would not like you to do that, but I cannot afford to pay ten
dollars - at least not now. I have some interest to meet this week."

"Well, maybe I might take a little less," said Mr. Hodge, as he saw
a prospect of Bob's father coming to a settlement. "I'll make it
eight dollars, an' ye can pay me in installments."

"I suppose that will be fair," admitted Mr. Henderson. He spoke
very quietly, but he was much exercised over what had happened.

"Can ye pay me anythin' now?" asked Mr. Hodge eagerly, rubbing his
shins, which, to tell the truth, were only slightly bruised and did
not hurt him in the least now.

"I could give you two dollars. But first I want to ask Bob if he
is responsible for this."

To his sorrow Mr. Henderson did not have much doubt of it.

"Oh, I guess he won't deny it," said the storekeeper.

"Did you do this, Bob?" inquired his father.

"I - I guess so, but I didn't mean anything."

Bob was not so happy over his prank as he had been at first.

Mr. Henderson said nothing. He took two dollars from his wallet - a
wallet that did not have any too much money in it - and handed the
bills to the storekeeper, who eagerly pocketed them.

"When kin ye give me some more?" he asked.

"Next week. I am sorry, Mr. Hodge, that my son did this."

"So am I. But I s'pose boys will be boys."

Mr. Hodge seemed in better mood. The truth was, he had not
expected to receive any money, and as he was a sort of miser, it
made him feel better to think he was going to get damages without
having to pay a lawyer. In reality, not more than fifty cents'
worth of molasses had run to waste.

When the storekeeper had left Mr. Henderson further questioned Bob,
getting all the particulars of the trick.

"I'm sorry, dad," said Bob when he had finished his recital.

"That is what you say every time, my son. You said it after you
frightened Mrs. Anderson's cow and they had to have the
veterinarian for the animal, but that did not pay his bill. I had
to settle for it."

"I know, dad. I'll not do it again."

"And that's another thing you always say, Bob. Now this is getting
serious. You must mend your ways. This will be quite a heavy
expense to me. I was going to spend that two dollars for a new
pair of shoes. Now I will have to wait."

"I'm sorry, dad."

"But that doesn't give me my shoes."

Mr. Henderson spoke gravely, and Bob felt quite badly over what he
had done, for he loved his father and mother very much, and would
not intentionally pain them. The trouble was he was, like many
other boys, thoughtless. He did not count the consequences when
indulging in pranks.

A little later, after giving his son quite a severe lecture, and
obtaining his promise to be better in the future, Mr. Henderson
prepared to go to bed. Bob also retired to his room, for he felt
in no mood to go out with the village boys that night.

"I'm sure I don't know what to do with Bob," said Mrs. Henderson to
her husband when she was locking up the house. "I'm afraid he'll
get into serious trouble."

"I hope not. I think I must punish him severely the next time he
plays any tricks."

"He is too big to whip."

"I know it. I must think of some other method."

Bob fell asleep, resolving to mend his ways, or at least to play in
the future only harmless tricks to which no one would object. But
in the morning his good resolutions had lost some of their power,
like many others made during the night.

That day in school Bob snapped several of the paper crackers, and
in consequence was kept in. However, his mother was visiting a
neighbor, and when he came home late that afternoon she did not see
him.

That evening Ted Neefus called for Bob. They were chums of long
standing.

"Let's take a walk," suggested Ted.

"Aw, that's no fun."

"What'll we do then?"

Bob thought a few seconds.

"I'll tell you," he said. "We'll put a tic-tac on Mrs. Mooney's
window. She lives all alone, and she'll think it's a ghost
rapping."

"Good! Come on. Have you got some string?"

"Sure."

So you see how poorly Bob remembered his promise of the night
before, and with what thoughtlessness he again started to indulge
in a prank - a prank which might throw a nervous woman into
hysterics. Yet in this Bob was just like thousands of other
boys - he "didn't mean anything." The trouble was he did not think.

So the two boys, their heads full of the project of making a
tic-tac, stole quietly through the village streets toward the
cottage of the Widow Mooney.




CHAPTER III

A STRANGE PROPOSITION

Perhaps some of my readers may not know what the contrivance known
as a "tic-tac" is like. Those of you who have made them, of
course, do not need to be told. If you ever put them on any
person's window, I hope you selected a house where there were only
boys and girls or young people to be startled by the tic-tac. It
is no joke, though at first it may seem like one, to scare an old
person with the affair. So if any boy or girl makes a tic-tac
after the description given here, I trust he or she will be careful
on whom the prank is played.

To make a tic-tac a long string, a pin and a small nail are all
that is required. A short piece of string is broken from the
larger piece, and to one end of this latter the pin is fastened by
being thrust through a knot.

To the other end or the short cord is attached the nail. Then the
long string is tied to the short string a little distance above the
nail.

With this contrivance all made ready Bob and Ted sneaked up under
the front window of the widow's house. It was the work of but a
moment for Bob to stick the point of the pin in the wooden part of
the window-frame so that the nail dangled against the glass. Then,
holding the free end of the long string, he and Ted withdrew to the
shadow of some lilac bushes.

"All ready?" asked Ted.

"Sure. Here she goes!"

Bob then gently jerked the string. This swung the nail to and fro,
and it tapped on the window-pane as if some one was throwing
pebbles against the glass. This was kept up for several seconds.

The widow, who was reading in the dining-room, heard the tapping at
the glass. It startled her at first, and then, thinking some one
might be at the door, she conquered her nervousness and opened the
portal. Of course she saw no one, and the string was not observed.
Neither were the boys, hidden in the bushes.

"We fooled her," chuckled Ted, for they could see all that happened.

"Sure we did," added Bob. "Wait till she goes in and we'll do it
some more."

Somewhat puzzled, the Widow Mooney closed the door. No sooner was
she back in the dining-room than the tapping at the pane was


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