Oliver Optic.

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

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Frank could do no wrong.

" Tony's a hero ; and shiver my timbers, if he
oughtn't to be president of the United States, when


he's old enough," exclaimed Uncle Ben.

" He. is a brave fellow. You have done well, both
of you. However strict our orders are, no person
should be a machine. Orders should be obeyed with
judgment," continued Captain Sedley.

" That's a fact. I could tell a yarn about that,"
added Uncle Ben. " When I was in the old Var-
sayles, bound round the Horn "

" Another time we will hear your yarn, Ben,"
interposed Captain Sedley. " We will go over and
see Tony now, and congratulate him on the honors
the Butterfly has won. Haul in the gib sheet,

" Ready — pull ! " said Frank.

" Who protested now, Master Charles Hardy ? *
isked Little Paul, as he goodnaturedly punched the
forward youth in the ribs.


" Circumstances alter cases," replied Charles, sagely,
as he bent on his oar.*

" Fact ! but they altered them when the deed was
done, not now, when you have found out that it was
all right."




For a few days all Rippleton rang with the praises
of Tony and his companions. All the particulars
of the affair at the bridge had been given in the Rip-
pleton Mercury, and the editor was profuse in his
commendations of the skill and courage of the But-
terfly Boat Club ; and he did not withhold from the
Zephyr the credit which was justly due. Tony was
a hero, and his fame extended for many miles

Mr. Walker and his lady, who had been rescued
from the river, visited Captain Sedley and the
Weston family the next day. I need not tell my
yuung readers how earnest he was in the expres-
sion of his admiration and gratitude. He was *
wealthy merchant, and resided in a neighboring
town. Being as warm hearted and generous as he


was just and discriminating, it was quite natural
that he should give his feelings expression in some
substantial token of his gratitude.

Before he left Rippleton, a check for five hundred
dollars was placed in the hands of George Weston,
with directions to give four hundred of it to the
Butterfly, and one hundred to the Zephyr. In the
division of the Butterfly's share, Mr. Walker desired
that one hundred dollars should be given to Tony,
and twenty-five dollars apiece to the crew ; consent-
ing, however, to let the whole sum be common prop-
erty if the club desired.

This liberality was certainly munificent, princely ;
but Mr. Walker's wealth was quite sufficient to en-
able him to gratify bis generous impulses. Tony
said he felt a little "ticklish" about taking it, at
first ; but George assured him that Mr. Walker
would feel hurt if he did not, and he concluded to
accept it.

" But what shall we do with it, George ? " asked
the young hero, who was not a little embarrassed by
the possession of so much money.

" That is for you to decide."


" What can we do with it ? "

" It will buy heaps of candy," suggested George
with a smile.

" Candy ! " said Tony, contemptuously.

" You can make a fund of it if you like."

" What for ? " ■

" For any purpose you may wish. By and by you
may want money for something."

" What shall we do with it ? "

" Put it in the Savings Bank."

" But the next thing is, shall we divide it ? or let
it remain as the property of the club? I suppose
the fellows will all do just as I do."

" Perhaps the money would do the parents of
some of them a great deal of good."

" I think very likely ; we will let them vote upon
it. Here comes Frank. I wonder what they are
going to do with theirs."

" How do you do, Tony ? I have come over to
talk with you about the race. Next Wednesday is
the day, you know."

" I had forgotten all about the race in the excite-
ment of the bridge affair."


" I don't wonder."

" What are you going to do with your money,
•Frank?" asked Tony. " Your club met last even-
ing, I believe."

" We voted to buy some philosophical apparatus
with it."

" Good ! Did Tim Bunker vote for that ? "

" He didn't vote at all. He wanted the money
divided; but the vote was unanimous for spending
it as I said. By the way, Mr. Walker was liberal —
wasn't he ? "

" Princely. He ought to have given you more
and us less, though."

" No ; he did perfectly right. We did not deserve
even what we got."

" Just like you ! But come into the club room —
Butterfly Hall — and we will fix things for the

Frank and Tony discussed the details of the race,
and at the end of an hour every thing was arranged
to the satisfaction of both. There was no difference
of opinion except as to the length of the race. Tony
thought that twice up and down the lake, makiig an


eight-mile "ace, would be best ; but Frank felt sure
that it v as too long, and that it would tire the boys
too much. So it was finally agreed that they should
pull only once up and down, making about four

As the Butterfly club werfe to meet that evening,
Frank departed earlier than he otherwise would have
done, so as not to be considered an intruder.

Tony's club were in high spirits that evening.
The praise bestowed upon them had created a strong
feeling of self-reliance in their minds. Their disci-
pline had passed through a severe ordeal, and it was
pronounced perfectly satisfactory by all concerned.
They had done hard work, and done it well. Their
success was the result of their excellent discipline.
It would have been in vain that they had as good a
commander as Tony, if promptness and obedience
had been wanting.

" Now, boys," said Tony, when he had called the
meeting to order, " we have arranged all the details
Df the race, and if you like, I will tell you about it."

" Tell us," said several.

The chairman proceeded to give them the sub-


stance of his conversation with the coxswain ci ths
Zephyr ; and the rules they had adopted were of
course agreed to by all present.

The Butterfly boys, elated with the results of the
bridge affair, were confident that they should win
the race. Tony, however, was not so sanguine.
He knew, better than they, how skilful Frank was ;
and, if the Zephyr had not labored under the disad-
vantage of having a new member, he would have
been sure of being beaten.

" There is another subject which comes up for
consideration to-night — I mean the gift of Mr.
Walker. He has left it so that it may be divided
among us, or held and used as common property,"
continued Tony.

The boys looked at each other, as if to pry into
the thoughts of their neighbors. There was a long
silence, and it was in vain that Tony called for the
opinions of the members ; they did not seem to have
any opinions on the subject.

" We will do just as you say, Mr. Chairman,*'
said Little Paul.

" So we will," added Henry Brown.
8 *


" I si all not say," replied Tony. " It is a mattei
for you to decide. George says we can put it in the
Savings Bank, if we don't divide it, and keep it till
we find a use for it. Perhaps, though, some of your
parents may want it. If they do, we had better
give each his share."

" Let us put it in the Savings Bank," said Dick

But Henry Brown looked at Little Paul, whose
father was a very poor man, and had not been able
to work for several months.

*' Perhaps we had better divide it," suggested he.

" If you agree to divide it, each member shall
have a thirteenth part of the whole four hundred
dollars," added Tony.

" That wouldn't be right," replied Little Paul.
1 He gave a hundred to you ; and certainly you are
better entitled to a hundred than we are to a penny

" I will not take more than my share."

"We will only take what Mr. Walker awarded
us," said Henry.

w That we won't," added several members.


•*No!" shouted the whole club. ?

" But you shall, my lads," said Tony, stoutly

44 George and I have agreed to that."

" But the commander of the ship ought to have a
bigger share than the crew; besides, what could we
have done without you ? " argued Little Paul.

" And what could I have done without you ? "

" It was your skill and courage, as the Mercury
says, which did the business."

" It was your prompt obedience that crowned our
labors with success. I tell you, boys, it is just as
broad as it is long. The money shall be equally

" Then we won't divide it," said Henry Brown.

" Very well ; I will agree to that. We shall be
equal owners then," replied Tony, with a smile of
triumph ; for in either case his point was gained.

" But what shall we do with it ? Four hundred
dollars is a heap of money. What's the use of sav-
ing it up without having some idea of what we mean
to do with it? "

" We can put it to a dozen us 3s."

" What, for instance ? "


" Why, enlarging our library ; buying an appara«
/as, as the Zephyrs are going to do ; giving it to tht
poor," replied Tony. " But I was thinking of some-
thing before the meeting."

The boys all looked at the chairman with inquir-
ing glances.

" Out with it," said several of them.

" There are lots of fellows round here who would
like to get into a boat club."

" More than twenty," added Little Paul. ■

" We have money enough to buy another boat."

" Hurrah ! " exclaimed several of the members,
jumping out of their chairs in the excitement of the
moment. " Let us buy another boat ! "

" What shall we call her ? " added Dick Chester.

Several of the boys began to exercise their minds
on this important question, without devoting any
more attention to the propriety or the practicability
of procuring another boat. That question was re
garded as already settled.

" Ay, what shall we call her ? " repeated Josepl

" What do you say to the ' Lily ? ' "


" The ' Water Sprite ? ' "

"The 'Go-ahead?'"

" Name her after Mr. Walker."

"No; after Tony Weston."

" You are counting the chickens before they are
hatched," added Tony, laughing heartily.

" The — the — the ' Red Rover,' " said Joseph

" That's too piratical," replied Little Paul.

" I wouldn't say any thing about the name at
present," suggested Tony.

" Wouldn't it be fine, though, to have three boats
on the lake ? " exclaimed Henry.

" Glorious ! A race with three boats ! "

" Who would be coxswain of the new boat ? "

" Fred Harper," said Little Paul. " The fellows
say he is almost as good as Frank Sedley."

" If we had another boat we should want a com-
modore," continued Tony. " And I was thinking,
if we got another, that Frank would be the com-
modore, and command the fleet. Then there would
be a coxswain to each boat besides."

" That would be first rate."


" Let us have the other toat."

" Hurrah ! so I say."

" I suppose we could buy two six-oar boats foi
our money," added Tony.

" And have four in the fleet ? "

" Perhaps three four-oar boats."

" Five boats in the fleet ! That would be a glori-
ous squadron ! "

The boys could hardly repress the delight which
these air castles excited, and several of them kept
iumping up and down, they were so nervous and
so elated.

" Come, Tony, let us settle tfie business, and order
the boats at once," said Dick Chester.

"We had better think a while of it. Something
else may turn up which will suit us even better than
the fleet. Of course we must consult Captain Sed-
ley and George before we do any thing," replied

" They will be willing."

" Perhaps they will, and perhaps they won't."

" I know they will," said Dick.

" We will consult them, at any rate. It is nece*


sary to take a vote concerning the division of the

Of course the club voted net to divide ; and it
was decided that the money should remain in the
hands of George Weston until the fleet question
should be settled.

" Now, boys," said Tony, "next Monday is town
meeting day, and school don't keep. We will meet
at nine o'clock and practise for the race, which comes
off on Wednesday afternoon, at three o'clock. Let
every fellow be on hand in season."

The club adjourned, and the boys went off in little
parties, discussing the exciting topic of a fleet of five
boats, under the command of Commodore Frank




The day appointed for the race between the Zephyi
and the Butterfly had arrived, and the large number
of people congregated on the shores of Wood Lake
testified to the interest which was felt in the event.
Probably the exciting incident at the bridge, which
nad been published in the newspaper, imparted a
greater degree of interest to the race than it would
otherwise have possessed. It was a beautiful aiYer-
noon, mild and pleasant for the season, which favored
the attendance of the ladies, and the lake was lined
with a row of cheerful faces.

" All aboard ! " said Frank, as he dissolved a meet-
ing of the Zephyrs, which he had called in order to
impart whatever hints he had been able to obtain
from his father and others in regard to their conduct.

Above all. he had counselled them, in case they


were beaten, to cherisn no hard feelings towards
their rivals. Not a shadow -of envy or ill will was
to obscure the harmony of the occasion. And if
they were so fortunate as to win the race, they were
to wear their honors with humility ; and most espe-
cially, they were not to utter a word which could
create a hard feeling in the minds of their competi-
tors. Whatever the result, there was to be the same
kindness in the heart, and the same gentlemanly de-
portment in the manners, which had thus far charac-
terized the intercourse of the two clubs.

« All aboard ! "

The Zephyrs were more quiet and dignified in
their deportment than usual. There was no loud
talk, no jesting ; even Fred Harper looked thoughtful
and serious. Each member seemed to feel the respon-
sibility of winning the race, resting like a heavy
burden upon his shoulders.

The boat was hauled out into the lake, and once
more Frank cautioned them to keep cool and obey

" Don't look at the Butterfly after we get started,"
eaid he. " You must permit me to keep watch of


her Keep both, eyes on me, anc think only of
having your stroke perfectly accurate, perfectly in
time with the others. Now, remember, don't look
at the Butterfly ; if you do, we shall lose the race.
It would distract your attention, and add to your
excitement. If she gets two or three lengths ahead
of us, as I think she will on the first mile, don't
mind it. Pull your best, and leave the rest with

" Ay, ay ! " replied several, quietly.

"Do you think we shall win, Frank ? " asked
Charles, who had put the same question a dozen
times before.

" We must think that we shall," replied Frank,
with a smile. "Here comes the Butterfly. Now,
give her three cheers. One 1 "

" Hurrah ! "

" Two ! "

" Hurrah ! "

"Three "

" Hurrah ! "

This compliment was promptly returned by ths
Butterfly, as she came alongside the Zephyr.


M Quarter of three, Frank," said Tony.

"Time we were moving then," replied Frank, as
he ordered the oars out, and the boats started for
the spot where the Sylph, the judges' boat, had taken

They pulled with a very slow stroke, and not only
did the respective crews keep the most exact time,
but each timed its stroke with the other. It was ex-
hibition day with them, and they were not only to
run the race, but to show off their skill to the best
advantage. Hundreds of people, their fathers and
their mothers, their sisters and their brothers, "were
observing them from the shore, and this fact inspired
them to work with unusual care.

It was a very beautiful sight, those richly orna-
mented boats, their gay colors flashing in the bright
sunshine, with their neatly uniformed crews, their
silken flags floating to the breeze, and their light,
graceful oars dipping with mechanical precision in
the limpid waters. As they glided gently over the
rippling waves, like phantoms, to the middle of the
lake, a long and deafening shout from the shore
saluted their ears. The white handkerchiefs of the


ladies waved them a cheerful greeting, and the Rip-
pleton Brass Band, which had volunteered for the
occasion, struck up Hail Columbia.

" Cease — rowing ! " said Frank, as he rose in his

Tony followed his example, though this movement
had not been laid down in the programme.

Frank then took the American flag which floated
at the stern, and Tony did the same.

" All up ! " said he. " Let us give them three

"Mind the coxswain of the Zephyr," added Tony,
" and let them be all together and with a will."

" Hats off, and swing them as you cheer."

The cheers were given with all the vigor which
gtout lungs could impart, and the flags waved and
the hats swung.

The salute was reiterated from the shore, and above
the martial strains of the band rose the deafening

"Ready — pull!" and the boats resumed their
bIow and measured stroke, and the band changed the
tune to the Canadian Boat Song.


When they reached the judges' boat, the two cox-
Bwains drew lots for the choice of " position," and the
Butterfly obtained this advantage. The two boats
then took their places, side by side, about two rods
apart, ready to commence the race.

" Tony," said Frank, rising, " before we start I
have a word to say. "Whatever may be the result of
the race, for myself and my crew, I pledge you there
shall be no hard feeling among the Zephyrs."

" No, no, no ! " added the club, earnestly.

" If you beat, it shall not impair our friendship ;
there shall be no envy, no ill will. Do you all say
bo, Zephyrs ? "

"Ay, ay!"

The Butterflies clapped their hands vigorously, \d
token of their approbation of the pledge, and Tony
promised the same thing for his club.

'* Now we are ready," added Frank. " Keep per-
fectly cool, and mind all I have said. Beady ! "

Uncle Ben stood in the bow of the Sylph, with a
burning slow match in his hand, ready to discharge
the cannon which was to be the signal for starting


It was a moment of intense excitement, not onlj to ths
crews of the boats, but to hundreds of spectators on
the shore.

It was undeniably true that the Zephyrs, in spite
of the warnings which Frank had given them, were
very much excited, and various were the expedients
which the boys used to calm their agitation, or at
least to conceal it. But it was also true that the
Buterflies were much more excited. Discipline and
experience had not schooled them in the art of " being
mere machines," and they found it much more diffi-
cult than the Zephyrs to subdue their troublesome

The eventful moment had come. The oarsmen
were bent forward ready to strike the first stroke,
and the coxswains were leaning back ready to time
the movement. Captain Sedley was gazing intently
at the dial of his "second indicator," prepared to
give Uncle Ben the word to fire.

"Ready, Ben — fire!"

Bang went the cannon.

" Pull I " shouted Frank and Tony in the same


Fortunately every oarsman in both boats hit the
stroke exactly, and away leaped the gallant barks.

As Frank had deemed it probable, the Butterfly
shot a length ahead of her rival after pulling a few
strokes ; but though the noise of the oars informed
his crew of their relative positions, not an eye was
turned from him, not a muscle yielded in the face of
the dispiriting fact, and not a member quickened his
stroke in order to retrieve the lost ground. Even
Tim Bunker, who was supposed to have more feeling
in regard to the race than the others, maintained an
admirable self-possession. However much the hearts
of the crew beat with agitation, they were outwardly
as cool as though the Butterfly had been a mile be-
hind them.

It is true, some of the Zephyrs, as they continued
to gaze at Frank's calm and immovable features, won-
dered that he did not quicken the stroke ; but no one
for an instant lost confidence in him. " Frank knew
what he was about." This was the sentiment that
prevailed, and each member looked out for himself,
caving all the re&t to him.

The Butterflies were quickening their stioke every


moment, and consequently were continuing to in?

crease the distance between the two boats. E\erj

musclt. was strained to its utmost tension. Every

particle of strength was laid out, until Tony, fearful

that some of the weaker ones might " make a slip,"

dared require no more of them. But they were

already more than two boats' lengths ahead of their

rival, and he had every thing to hope.

Still the Zephyr pulled that same steady stroke.
As yet she had made no extraordinary exertion. Her
crew were still fresh and vigorous, while those of hei
rival, though she was every moment gaining upon
her, were taxing their strength to the utmost.

They rounded the stake boat, which had been
placed nearly opposite the mouth of Eippleton River,
and the Butterfly was full three lengths ahead. They
had begun upon the last .two miles of the race.
Though the Zephyr still pursued her former tactics,
her rival was no longer able to gain upon her. The
latter had thus far done her best, and for the next
half mile the boats maintained the same relative po-

Frank was still unmov T ed, and there was some


inward grumbling among his crew. An expression
of deep anxiety had begun to supplant the look of
hope and confidence they had worn, and some of
them were provoked to a doubt whether Frank, in
the generosity of his nature, was not intending tc
let Tony bear off the honors.

" Come, Frank, let her have, now ! " said Tim,
who could no longer restrain his impatience.

" Silence ! Not a word ! " said the self-possessed

It was in the " order of the day " that no member
should speak during the race ; and none did, except
Tim, and he could easily have been pardoned undei
the circumstances.

Not yet did Frank quicken the stroke of the
Zephyr, though at the end of the next half mile she
was only two boat lengths astern of her competitor,
which had lost this distance by the exhaustion of
her crew. They had pulled three miles with the
expenditure of all their strength. They lacked the
power of endurance, which could only be obtained
by long practice. " It is the last pound that breaks
the camel's back ; " and it was so with them. With


a little less exertion they might have preserved som£
portion of their vigor for the final struggle, which
was yet to come.

They had begun upon the last mile. The crew
of the Butterfly were as confident of winning the
race as though the laurel of victory had already
been awarded to them ; and though their backs
ached and their arms were nearly numb, a smile of
triumph rested on their faces.

" Now for the tug of war," said Frank, in a low,
subdued tone, loud enough to be heard by all hia
crew, but so gentle as not to create any of that dan-
gerous excitement which is sometimes the ruin of
the best laid plans.

As he spoke the motions of his body became a
little quicker, and gradually increased in rapidity
till the stroke was as quick as was consistent with
perfect precision. The result of this greater expendi-
ture of power was instantly observed, and at the end


of the next quarter of a mile the boats were side by
side again.

*' They are beating us ! " said Tony, in a whisper
"'Dip a little deeper — pull strong ! "


The exciting moment of the race had come. The
spectators on the shore gazed with breathless interest
npon the spectacle, unable, though " Zephyr stock
was up," to determine the result.

Not a muscle in Frank's face moved, and steadily
and anxiously his crew watched and followed his

" Steady ! " said he, in his low, impressive tone,
as he quickened a trifle more the stroke of the

The Butterflies were "used up," incapable of
making that vigorous ^effort which might have carried
them in ahead of the Zephyr.

" A little deeper," continued Frank. " Now
for it ! "

As he spoke, with a sudden flash of energy
he drove his oarsmen to their utmost speed and
strength, and the Zephyi shot by the judges'
boat full a length and a half ahead of the But-

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Online LibraryOliver OpticAll aboard : or, Life on the lake ; a sequel to The boat club → online text (page 4 of 10)