Oliver Optic.

All aboard : or, Life on the lake ; a sequel to The boat club online

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consist, except in a series, of two words ; and dwell-
ing for an instant on the first keeps all in a state of
readiness to act the instant the second is given.
Frank had studied the matter while witnessing the
evolutions of the Ripple ton Guards, and he had
adopted the plan in the club. "When the captain
said " shoulder," the men knew what was coming ;
and at the word " arms," the evolution was per-
formed. So with " present — arms ! " " file — right ! "
"left — wheel!" &c. ; and to these observations he
was indebted for the proficiency of his club, and of
the fleet.

44 Ready — pull ! " he continued.


The stjoke was very slow, and each coxswain was
obliged to keep his boat in line with the others, the
flag boat regulating their speed.

When the squadron had reached the upper part
of the lake, the pennant was dropped, and up went
a red flag.

" Cease — rowing ! " said all the coxswains, except
the Zephyr's.

Then the red flag was owered, and a blue one
was hoisted.

" In single line," the coxswain of the Bluebird,
which was next to the Zephyr, interpreted the signal,
and his boat followed the flag.

The others came into the line in proper order, and
the squadron passed entirely round the lake.

"Cease — rowing!" exclaimed the coxswains, in
concert, as the red flag again appeared.

"Up went a green flag, and the line was formed ;
then a yellow, to form in sect, ons of two. In thig
order the squadron pulled down the lake again,
to the widest part, where various fanciful evolutions
were performed — which it would be impossible to
describe on paper. One of them was rowing in a


circle round the Dip ; another was I wo circles of
three boats each, pulling in opposite directions.
Then the boats were sent off in six different ways,
forming a hexagon, with the tender in the centre ;
after which they all came together so that their stems
touched each other, in the shape of a star.

" Now, boys, we are ready for the voyage up Rip-
pleton River," said Commodore Sedley. " I need
not tell you that the utmost caution must be used.
Watch the flags closely, a^id every coxswain be very

"Ay, ay!"

" Tony will lead in the Dip, and each boat will
place a man in the bow to look out for buoys, which
he will place over rocks and shoals."

"Ay, ay," answered the coxswains.

"Now, Tony, you may go up and mark off the
rocks at the mouth of the river."

The little Dip, which had a picked crew for the
occasion, darted away up the lake, leaving the rest
of the fleet to follow.

" Form a line ! " shouted Frank, and the boats
backed out from their positions, and in a moment had
obeyed the order.


" Ready — pull; " and the fleet mo\ed slowly and
grandly up the lake.

The boys were in high spirits. There was seme-
thing inspiring in the operations of the squadron
that would have moved a more steady mind than that
of a boy of twelve. Every moment was a revelation
of the power that dwelt in them, of the beauty of
order, of the grace of harmonious action. As in the
great world, a single intractable spirit might have
produced a heap of confusion, and it was the purpose
of the organization to bring each into harmony wi*".h
the whole.

The fleet reached the mouth of the river. Tony
had placed buoys on the dangerous rocks each side
of the channel, so that the boats, by approaching it in
the right direction, could easily pass through in safety.

The Dip had been provided with a large number
of these buoys. They were pieces of board, part
of them painted red, and part blue, with a line and
weight attached to each. Near the dangerous rock
or shoal one of these buoys was to be located, which
would be kept in place by the weight. The cos-
Bwains had written instructions from the commodore


to keep red ones on the starboard side, and blue ou
the port side, going up the river, and via versa
coming down.

The Zephyr took position near the rocks to see
that every boat approached the channel in the right
direction, as, if they did not, they would be sure to
strike. By these extraordinary precautions, the fleet
passed through in safety, and three stunning cheers
announced that the passage had been effected.

" Here we are, Charley," said Frank, as the Zephyr
pulled ahead of the other boats.

" All safe, thanks to the skill and prudence of our
commodore," replied Charles ; and the reader will be
struck with the modesty of his language.

" Where is Tony ? I don't see him."

" Round the bend, I guess ; but here are his buoys
all along."

" Signal man, hoist the blue," continued the com-
modore ; and the fleet followed in single line.

" Here's the bridge ; I fancy Tony knows the
■oundings here," said Charles.

" Ay, there is the rock on which Mr. Walker' 3
chaise hung. It is almost out of water, now."


" Did you hear what Mr. Walker said when some
one asked him why he did not sue the town ? "

" No ; what was it ? "

" He said it was the luckiest day of his life when
he pitched off the bridge."

" Indeed ! "

"He has thought so much better of humanity
since, and it introduced him to Tony Weston, whom
he calls a hero in embryo."

"Mr. Walker is a nice man — a whole-souled

" That he is ! How many men would have done
for us what he did ? And I, in particular, have reason
to be grateful to him," said Charles, with a sigh. " I
shall never forget him and your father, wherever my
lot is cast."

" That is manly of you, Charley. But I am sure
they have been abundantly rewarded by your devo-
tion to duty since."

" I have tried to do right."

" You have done well ; every body says so."

" I cannot soon forget what a fool I was to believe
Tim's wicked lies. I suppose I wanted to believe
them, or I should not."



" It is a great pity we ever let Tim into the club ;
but W3 meant right ; we meant to reform him. Where
do you suppose he is now ? "

" Some where near the Cape of Good Hope."

" My father thinks he has got enough of the sea
by this time."

" I dare say. Didn't you ever feel a desire to go
to sea, Frank ? "

" No ; not lately."

" Nor I ; Tim Bunker lent me the Red Corsair
of the Caribbean Sea, just before, that scrape, and
I thought then that I should like to take a voy-

" My father will not let me read such books ; and

since he had told me what they are, and what their
influence is, I don't want to read them."

'* There's Tony, with the red flag hoisted."

The red flag had been agreed upon as the signal to
stop the fleet, when the navigation was very hazard-
ous, or impracticable.

" Cease — rowing ! " said Charles.

Frank ordered his signal man to hoist the red ia

the flag boat.



" Can't we go any farther than this r " asked

" I don't know ; we are not more than a mile
above the bridge."

" Here comes the Dip."

" "Well, Tony, what's the matter? " said the com-
modore, as the tender approached.

" I haven't found a clear channel yet. The bed
of the river is covered with rocks," replied Tony, as
the Dip came alongside the Zephyr.

" Then we must call this the head of nav ; gation,"
added Frank, with a laugh, though he was not a
little disappointed to find the cruise up so soon.

" Perhaps not ; there is water enough, but the
twelve-oar boats are so long they can hardly iodge
the rocks. The Lily and the Dart can get througl
very well."

" Have you sounded clear across? "

" I haven't had time to examine very thoroughly
yet. If you let the boats lay off, I will look far-

" Very well ; I will go with you in the Dart-/'
replied the commodore, as he ordered up a white antf


a blue flag, which was the signal for the Dart tc
close up.

The signal was obeyed, and Frank followed the
Dip. After half an hour's search, a clear channel
was found close to the land ; so close that the oars
could not be used, and a party was sent on shore to
drag them through with ropes.

The line was formed again, and the squadron
slowly followed the Dip as she examined the river
For the next mile there were no obstructions.

" Twelve o'clock ! " shouted Fred Harper from the

" Dinner time, then," replied Frank. " Here is a
beautiful grove, an d we will land and dine. Hoist
the orange " — the signal to land.




The boys all had remarkably good appetites, and
therefore dinner was no unimportant event in the
experience of the day. Somehow, boys contrive to
be hungry at almost all times of the day, even with-
out the stimulus of pulling three hours at an oar.
There was something, too, in the circumstance of
dining in a beautiful grove, on the bank of the river,
with their boats floating near them, which rendered
the occasion peculiarly pleasant — which made their
cold meat, doughnuts, and apple pie taste much
better than usual.

But the adventure was not yet completed. The
head waters of navigation had not been reached, and
their love of exploring did not permit them to spen^
anv unnecessary time over the meal. Tony and his
oarsmen hud teported themselves at the grove, ami


after "boltingr" their dinner, had resumed their occu-
pation ; and the boys perceived the Dip half a mile
up the river before they were ready to start.

"All aboard ! " said Frank ; and the crews, hastily
gathering up their tin pails and their baskets, tum-
bled into the boats.

The Zephyr led off, followed by the other boats of
the squadron.

" I see no buoys ahead," said Frank, after they
nad advanced some distance. " The navigation must
be unobstructed."

" It looks like deep water," answered Charles.

" And Tony's crew are pulling very hard ; they are
going faster than we do."

" He is trying to gain time against he reaches a
bad place. There he goes round a bend. Were you
ever up here before, Frank ? "

" I have been to Oaklawn, which is about foui
miles from Rippleton. Of course I never came up
the river."

** Wouldn't it be fine if we could get up to Oak-

" Perhaps we can."


'* This is smooth work," continued Frank. Can't
we give a little variety to the excursion ? "

" What ? "

" Hoist the yellow, signalman," replied the com-
modore. " We will pull a while in sections of two,
and sing some songs."

Obedient to the signal, the boats of the fleet came
into the order prescribed, and the boys waked up the
hills and the woods with the earnestness of their
song. It was a beautiful and cheering sight to see
them gliding over the clear waters, while their voices
mingled with those of the songsters which nature
had given to the hill- side and the forest. Their
hearts were glad, and in beautiful unison with the
scene around them.

" Rapids ! " exclaimed Frank, when the boat
reached the bend. " Up with the blue ! "

" Steady ! " added Charles. " Pull slowly."

" Tony has been very busy," continued Frank,
pointing to the buoys, that speckled the waters. I
am afraid the cruise is about up."

" Tony has passed the rapids. You know steam-
boats go down the rapids on the St. Lawrence River. "


"Ah, there is Oaklawn," said Frank, pointing to
the spire of a church in the distance. " We cannot
go much farther, I know."

" We have made nearly four miles."

What the commodore had styled " rapids " were
not a very formidable difficulty. Near one bank was
a ledge of rocks, over which the waters dashed with
considerable energy ; but though there was the same
descent on the other side, no obstruction appeared to
check them from attempting the passage. Tony had
accomplished it, and had left no warning to deter

" Shall we go through, Frank ? "

" Ay ; bend on sharp, and she will leap up like a
fawn. Now for it ! "

The Zephyrs applied all their strength to the oars,
and the boat darted up the rapids with no other det-
riment than taking in two or three pailfuls of water.

The rest of the fleet followed, with the exception
of the Lily, without accident ; and she, not having
sufficient headway, was carried down again. By the
skill of her coxswain, however, she was saved from
damage, and her second attempt was successful.


The navigation was again tolerably safe, and foi
half a mile they proceeded on their way withou

" There's a bridge," said Charles, pointing ahead.

" And there is the Dip, with the red hoisted
Tony seems to have given it up." He has made
fast to the bridge."

On the shore was a crowd of men and boys, who
were holding a parley with the pilot of the expedi-
tion ; but when they saw the squadron approaching
they seemed petrified with astonishment. The boys
thrust their hands deep in their trousers' pockets,
and with mouths wide open stared in speechless
wonder. The arrival of Columbus on the shores of
the new world could not have been more astounding
to the natives than was the coming of the Wood
Lake squadron to the boys of Oaklawn.

" Sheer off, Charley, to the port side of the river,
and we will come into line. The river is wide
enough here, I believe. Up with the green ! "

On dashed the boats in the rear till they came into
the line. The river widened into a kind of pond ;
but the line stretched clear across it — making a very


•' Slowly ; cease — rowing ! " continued Frank.
u Ready — up!" and the sixty-eight oars of the
fleet glittered in the sunshine before the astonished
Oaklawners, who Were gathering in great numbers
on the shore and bridge.

" Well, Tony, the cruise is up," said Frank, when
the Dip came into line.

"Yes," replied the pilot, pointing nnder the bridge,
where the river dashed its foaming waters down a
long reach of half-exposed rocks. "'We can't get
over those."

" No ; and we may as well land, and take a look
at Oaklawn. Hoist the orange. Ready — down ! "

Each boat landed its crew at a convenient place,
and they were then marshalled into a procession.
They were formed in sections of four, each crew pre-
ceded by its coxswain, with one of the flags on each
side of him. The commodore marched at the head
of the company, and in this order they proceeded
through the principal street of the village. Of course
their appearance excited a great deal of wonder and
not a little admiration. Several of the principal
citizens, unwilling that their guests srould deparf

£50 ALL A^OAKjt), OK

unweloomed, got up an impromptu reception, and the
clubs were invited to the Town Hall, where some
very pretty speeches were made by the chairman of
.he Selectmen, of the School Committee, the repre-
sentative to the General Court, and other distin-
guished individuals; to whom the commodore replied
with a great deal of dignity and self-possession.

While the speeches were proceeding, the ladiea
were not idle ; and the boys were next invited to a
collation on the green ; after which they marched back
to the river, and reembarked. Three times three
cheers were given for the people of Oaklawn, and
the word was given to pull for home.

The boys of the village were not so ready to part
with them, and some twenty of them followed the
boats, on the bank of the river.

" I say, Frank, these folks were very kind to us,"
Charles remarked.

" They were, indeed."

" And the boys seem to enjoy it."

" I suppose not many of them ever saw our boata

" Suppose we take them in ; they will be very


willing to walk home, say from the grove where we
dined, for the sake of the s&ul."

" Good ! I didn't think of that before. Up with
the orange ! "

The boats landed, and the . astonished Oaklawn
boys were distributed among them. They seemed to
regard the favor as an unexpected condescension, and
their delight knew no bounds. As Little Paul ex-
pressed it, " they were tickled half to death ; " and
when they reached the grove, it was a sad and bitter
disappointment for them to get out and go home.

"I was thinking of something," said Charles, a
little while after they had landed their passengers.

" What was it, Charley ? " replied the commodore.

" That we might invite the boys of Oaklawn to
Bpend a day with us on the lake."

" Capital ! "

"We could give them a picnic on Centre Island."

" We will do it ; and now that we know the rive j
we can easily come up as far as the grove aftei

* Or up ta the rapids ; there is no danger this side
of them."


This plan was discussed in all its details, and
every thing was agreed upon by the time they
reached the lake. The passage down the river had
been much quicker than the upward trip, and before
sunset the boats were all housed, and the clubs had

On the following week the courtesies of the fleet
were extended to the boys of Oaklawn, as arranged
by the commodore, and a very fine time they had of
it. Their guests, numbering over forty, were enter-
tained in every conceivable manner — the day'a
sports concluding with a grand race, in which all
the boats were entered, and in which the Butterfly
won the honors.

A new programme was made up every week dur-
ing the vacation. Lighthouses were built, channels
surveyed, shores charted ; indeed, every thing which
the ingenuity of tne boys could devise was brought
forward to add fresh interest to the sports of the

And thus the season passed away, and winter
came again. The fleet was laid up, and the useful
and pleao-ant recreations of the club room* were

II FF 03 THE LAKE. 253

substituted for the active excitement of boating:
Lectures were given, essays were read, debates held,
every week ; and the progress of the boys out of
school, as well as within, was highly satisfactory to
all concerned.



254 AT-L AB0A21D* OS



I suppose, as the present volume completes the
history of the Boat Club, that my young readers will
wish to know something of the subsequent fortunes
of the prominent characters of the association. It
gives me pleasure to say, that not one of them has
been recreant to his opportunities, or abandoned his
high standard of character ; that the moral, mental,
and physical discipline of the organization has proved
salutary in the highest degree. The members of
the boat clubs are now active members of society.
Each is pulling an oar, or steering his bark, on the
great ocean of life. Some are in humble spheres, as
in the little Dip ; others are in more extended fields,
as in the majestic twelve-oar boats.

Frank Sedley is a lawyer. His father has gone zo
enjo) his reward in the world be^ ond the grave ;


and Frank, who was married a year ago to Mary
Weston, resides in the mansion by the lake. His
brilliant talents and unspotted integrity have ele-
vated him to a respectable position, for one so
young, in the legal profession ; and there is no
doubt but that he will arrive at eminence in due

Uncle Ben is still alive, and continues to dwell at
the mansion of the Sedleys. The boats are still in
being, and are manned by the boys belonging to the
school — under the direction of the veteran.

Tony Weston is a merchant. At the age of seven-
teen he was taken into the counting room of Mr.
Walker, and at twenty-one admitted as an equal
partner. The man is what the boy was — noble,
generous, kind.

Strange as it may seem, only one boy of the whole
number has become a sailor. Fred Harper went to
sea when he left school, and was recently appointed
master of a fine clipper ship, bound for India. Little
Paul is a journeyman carpenter. He is in a humble
sphere, but none the less respected on that account.
His father, who reco-vered his health, paid the notes


he had made to the clubs. The money was applied
to the purchase of books and a philosophical appa-
ratus, which rendered the winter evenings of the
clubs still more attractive.

'Squire Chase "worked out his destiny" in Bip-
pleton, and finally was so thoroughly despised that
he found it convenient to leave the place. Perhaps
my readers will be a little surprised when I tell them
that Charles Hardy is a minister of the gospel. He
was recently settled in a small town in Connecticut.
The boat club changed his character, — purged it of
the evil, and confirmed the good, — and he is now a
humble and devoted laborer in the vineyard of the

Wood Lake is still beautiful, and the remem-
brances of former days are still lovingly cherished by
Frank and Tony, who reside on its banks. The
Zephyr and Butterfly, though somewhat battered and
worm eaten, are occasionally seen, near the close of
day, with a lady and gentleman in the stern sheets
of each. The youthful crews are happier than usual,
for one bears the ex-commodore and lady, and the
other the hero of Rippleton Bridge and his lady.

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Online LibraryOliver OpticAll aboard : or, Life on the lake ; a sequel to The boat club → online text (page 10 of 10)