Oliver Optic.

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

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" He did not sleep at home last night."

The Zephyrs looked at each other with astonish-
ment, and most of them, probably, connected him
with the disappearance of the boats. His intimacy
with Tim Bunker created a great many painful mis-
givings, especially when Mr. Hardy told them that
his son had played truant on Saturday ; and one of
the boys had heard of his being seen with Tim on
that day. Various other facts were elicited, which
threw additional light upon the loss of the boata


Mr. Hardy was in great distress. It was clear that
his son had wandered farther from the path of truth
than he had ever suspected.

Frank had gone up to the house to inform his
father of the loss of the boats, and Captain Sedley
booh joined the party. He sympathized deeply with
Mr. Hardy, and was satisfied that his son could not
be far off. It was impossible to search the lake, as
there were no boats for the purpose.

As nothing could be done at present on the lake,
Captain Sedley ordered his horse, with tne intention
of driving round it in search of the fugitive and of
the boats. Mr. Hardy was invited to go with him.

On their arrival at Rippleton they found that Tim
Bunker was missing, as well as a great many other
boys. They continued to examine the shores of the
lake till they reached Joe Braman's house, on the
north side.

Captain Sedley inquired for his boat ; and Joe,
after trying to evade the truth, confessed that he
had let it to Tim for a week, but did not know
where he had gone with it. They were sure then
that the '>oys were engaged in some mad enterprise ;


and at about eleven o'clock the two gentlemen
reached home, without having obtained any intelli-
gence of Charles.

" Have you discovered any thing, Ben ? " asked
Captain Sedley.

" Yes, sir ; I heard voices in the direction of Cen-
tre Island."

" They are there, then," replied Captain Sedley,
as he repaired to the boat house.

About one o'clock the fog lifted, and revealed to
the astonished party the camp of the Rovers. A
large fire burned near the two tents, around which
the boys were gathered, for the weather was so
inclement as to render Tim's enterprise any thing
but romantic.

The Sylph, the two club boats, and Joe Braman's
■" gondola " lay near the shore, apparently uninjured.

" This is a mad frolic," said Captain Sedley; " but
we may be thankful it is no worse."

" My boy in company with such young scoun-
drels ! " added Mr. Hardy, bitterly.

" He is sick of them and the adventure 1 wiD


" I hope so."

" Charles never did like Tim Bunker," suggested

" What is to be done ? " asked Mr. Hardy.

" We can do nothing ; they have all the boats.
Fhey have managed well, and we are helpless."

" Can't we build a raft, father ? " added Frank.

" If we did, they would take to the boats and keep
out of our way. Go to the house, Frank, and bring
me the spy glass. We will examine them a little
more closely."

" They'll get enough on't afore to-morrow," said
Uncle Ben.

" It will cure them of camping out."

" Tim said, the last time he was with us, that we
ought to camp out," added William.

" The best way is to let them have it out till they
ire sick on't," continued Uncle Ben. " It won't hurt
'em ; they won't get the scurvy."

Captain Sedley took the glass on Frank's return,
and examined the camp. By its aid he obtained a
rery correct idea of their encampment. The Hovers
r ?re at dinner, and he recognized Charles Hardy and


several of his companions. The glass was taken by
several of the party ; and, after this examination
even Mr. Hardy concluded that it was best to make
a merit of necessity, and let the foolish boys have out
their frolic.

Soon after, the Rovers took to the boats, and
pulled up the lake. Then, the anxious party on
shore discovered that Charles was in command of
the Zephyr. With the help of the spy glass they
were able to form a very correct idea of the state
of feeling on board the boats. There was a great
deal of quarrelling in both ; and after they had been
out half an hour a regular fight occurred in the

About five o'clock they returned to the island, and
before dark it began to rain. All the evening a
great fire blazed on the island ; but the frail tents
of the Rovers must have been entirely inadequate to
protect them from the severity of the weather.

At nine o'clock the Zephyr3, who had spent the
eveoing in the hall, went home, leaving Uncle Ben,
who had been deputed by Captain Sedley to watch
the Rovers, still gazing through his night glass at


the camp fires on the island. Soon after, discordant
cries were wafted over the waters, and it was plain
to the veteran that there was " trouble in the camp."
The sounds seemed to indicate that a fight was in
progress. After a time, however, all was quiet
again, and the old sailor sought his bed.

During the night it cleared off, and Tuesday was
a bright, pleasant day. It was found in the morn-
ing that one of the tents had been moved away from
the other. About nine o'clock all the Rovers gath-
ered on the beach ; but they were divided into two
parties, and there seemed to be a violent dispute be-
tween them. One of the parties, as they attempted
to get into the Zephyr, was assaulted by the other,
and a fight ensued, in which neither gained a vic-
tory. Then a parley, and each party took one of the
boats and pulled away from the island. It was ob-
served that Charles was no longer the coxswain. He
seemed to have lost the favor of his companions, and
several of them were seen to kick and strike him.

The boats went in different directions — the Zephyr
pulling towards Rippleton. When her crew observed
(he party who were watching them from the shore.


they commenced cheering lustily, and the coxs\*ain 5
out of bravado, steered towards them.

" Who is he ? " asked Frank.

" It is Barney Ropes," replied Tony. " lie is as
big a rascal as there is out of jail."

" Here they come."

" Suppose we give them a volley of stones," sug-
gested Fred Harper.

" No ! " said Frank, firmly.

The boat was pulling parallel with the shore, and
not more than ten rods from it. The Rovers yelled,
and indulged freely in coarse and abusive language,
as they approached. Charles Hardy, with averted
face, was pulling the forward oar ; but not one of
his former companions hailed him. They pitied
him ; they were sure, when they saw his sad coun-
tenance, that he was suffering intensely.

Suddenly Charles dropped his oar, and stood up.

" See ! Tim Bunker ! " shouted he, pointing to the
opposite side of the lake.

All the crew turned their eyes that way, and
Charles, seizing his opportunity, sprang with a long
leap into the water.


The act was so sudden that the crew could not,
for a moment, recover from their astonishment, and
Charles struck out lustily for the shore.

" After him ! " shouted Barney ; and his compan-
ions bent upon their oars.

But their excitement threw them into confusion.
They lost the stroke, and Barney was such a bun-
gler himself that he could not get the boat about.

" Bravo, Charley ! " shouted the Zephyrs.

" Let him go," said Barney, when he realized that
the fugitive was beyond his reach ; and, rallying his
crew, he retreated towards the island.

" Hurrah, Charley ! You are safe," said Tony, as
he waded into the water to help him ashore.

Charles was so much exhausted when he reached
the land that he could not speak. Captain Sedley,
who had observed the occurrence from his library
window, hastened down to the beach.

The penitent Zephyr, in his agony, threw himself
on his knees before him, and in piteous, broken
accents besought his pardon. Captain Sedley was
deeply moved, and they all realized that " the way
of the transgressor is hard."


Tl e sufferer was kindly conveyed to his home by
Captain Sedley, and his father and mother were too
glad at his return to reproach him for his conduct.
When he had changed his clothes, and his emotion
had in some degree subsided, he confessed his errors,
and solemnly promised never to wander from the
right path again. And he was in earnest ; he felt
all he said in the depths of his soul. He had suf-
fered intensely during his transgression ; and his
friends were satisfied that he had not sinned from
the love of sin. He had been led away by Tim
Bunker, and bitter had been the consequences of his
error. He had been punished enough, — the sin had
been its own punishment, — and his father and his
club freely forgave him. He was not a hardened
boy, and it was probable that his experience with the
Rovers would prove a more salutary correction than
any penalty that could be inflicted.

From Charles all the particulars of the " frolic "
were obtained. After his unsuccessful attempt to
escape in the Sylph, Tim had compelled him to stay
in his tent ; and worn out with fatigue and suffering,
he had slept till nearly nine o'clock. He had passed

220 • ALL ABOARD, Oft

the day in a state bordering upon misery. At night
a dispute had occurred, ending in a fight, in which
nis lieutenant, Barney, had led on the Zephyr party.
The result was a separation, and Charles, deprived
of Tim's aid, could no longer sustain himself. Bar-
ney usurped his command, and treated him in a most
shameful manner.

O, how bitterly did he repent his folly and wicked-
ness ! When they were about to embark, he at-
tempted to go over to Tim's party. Barney resented
the attempt, and another fight ensued. Then he was
kicked into the boat, for his chief could not spare so
able an oarsman.

His mental anguish was so great that he could no
longer endure it ; and, in desperation, he had made
his escape, as we have narrated. His case was a
hopeful one, and his father cheerfully remitted to
Mr. Walker the amount contained in the lost purse,
with the mortifying confession of h^ son's guilt.




The next day Mr. Walker arrived at Rippleton
oimself The noble-hearted gentleman seemed to be
in unusually good spirits, and the boys noticed that
he and Captain Sedley often exchanged significant
glances. They were all satisfied that something was
about to happen, but they could not imagine what.

Frank and Tony had been requested to invite their
friends to assemble at Zephyr Hall at nine o'clock,
on Wednesday morning ; so that when Mr. Walker
entered the hall with Captain Sedley, the whole
school, to the number of over seventy, were gathered

Charles Hardy was there with the rest ; but he
seemed to be a different boy. He had lost that for-
wardness which had often rendered him a disagreeable
companion, He had beei] forgiven ; Mr. Walker


had spoken to him very kindly, and all his friends
treated him as though nothing had happened ; but
for all this, he could not feel right. His sufferings
were not yet ended ; repentance will not banish at
once the remembrance of former sin and error. There
was a deep feeling of commiseration manifested
towards him by his associates. He was to them the
returned prodigal, and they would fain have killed
the fatted calf in honor of his happy restoration.

The Zephyrs and the Butterflies wore their uni-
forms, and Mr. Walker was so excited that all tb j
boys were sure a good time was before them ;
though, as the boats had not yet been recovered,
they were at a loss to determine the nature of the
sports to which they had been invited.

The Rovers still maintained themselves on the
island. The rupture between Tim and Barney had
evidently been healed ; for both parties seemed to
mingle as though nothing had occurred to mar their
harmonious action.

The boys at the boat house were not kept long in
suspense in relation to their day's sport. CaptaiD
Sedley formef th,"m into a procession, when all had


arrived, and, after appointing Fred Harper chief
marshal, directed them to march down to Ripple*
ton, cross the river, and halt upon the other side till

he came.


When they reached the place they found Uncle
Ben there, and soon after were joined by Captain
Sedley and Mr. Walker.

" Follow us," said the former, as he led the way
down to a little inlet of the lake, whose waters were
nearly enclosed by the land.

" Hurrah ! " shouted Fred Harper, suddenly, when
he obtained a view of the inlet, and the cry was
taken up by the whole party.

" The fleet ! The fleet ! " was passed from mouth
to mouth ; and unable to control their excitement,
they broke their ranks and ran with all their might
down to the water's side.

Resting gracefully, like so many swans, on the
bright waters of the inlet, lay five beautiful club
boats. They were of different sizes, and fore and
aft floated their flags to the gentle breeze.

I will not attempt to describe the wild delight of
ihe toys when they beheld the splendid boats. The


bright vision of a fleet, which they had so cheerfully
abandoned to be enabled to do a good and generous
deed, was realized. Here was the fleet, far surpass-
ing in grandeur their most magnificent ideal.

Five boats ! And the Zephyr and the Butterfly
would make seven ! • •

" You have done this ! " exclaimed Frank, as Mr.
Walker approached.

" Your father and I together did it. Now, boys,
if you will form a ring we will explain."

" Three cheers for Mr. Walker first," suggested

They were given, and three more for Captain

" My lads, I heard all about your giving up the
fleet to help Mr. Munroe out of trouble. It was
noble — heroic ; and I have since taken pains to
inform myself as to the manner in which you con-
ducted yourself after the brave sacrifice. As far as
I caa learn, not a regret has been expressed at the
mode in which your money was applied. Here is
your reward," and he pointed to the boats. "They
are the gift of Captain Sedley and myself. I an?


sorry that these Rovers have taken your other boats ;
but it enables us to observe the difference between
good boys and bad boys. Nay, Master Hardy, you
need not .blush ; for, though "you have erred, you
have behaved heroically ; you risked your life to
escape from them ; you are forgiven."

This speech was received with shouts of applause,
and Charles Hardy stepped forward with tears in his
eyes to thank the kind gentleman for his generosity
towards him. •

" Now, boys," said Captain Sedley, " we are going
to recover the lost boats.

" Hurrah ! " shouted all the boys.

" Two of these boats, you perceive, carry twelve
oars each. The crew of the Zephyr will man the

The Zephyrs obeyed the order.

*' The c r ew of the Butterfly will man the Rain-
bow," continued Captain Sedley.

The Butterflies seated themselves in the new boat.

" This is merely a temporary arrangement, and
when we get the other boats, we shall organize anew.
We want practised oarsmen for our present service


While we are absent, Uncle Ben will instruct the
rest of thp boys in rowing.

Captain Sedley and Mr. Walker then seated them-
selves in the stern sheets of the Bluebird.

"Now pull for Centre Island," said the former.
" Tony, you will follow us."

The two boats darted out of the inlet, leaving
Uncle Ben in charge of the " recruits."

The Lily and the Dart were eight-oar boats, while
the Dip carried only four, and was designed as a
"tender" for the fleet. Uncle Ben assigned places
to the boys, though there were about thirty left
after the oars were all manned. After an hour's
drilling, he got the crews so they could work to-
gether, and the boats were then employed in convey-
ing the rest of the party over, to the boat house.
The others in their turn were instructed; and before
noon Uncle Ben had rendered them tolerably pro-
ficient in the art of rowing.

When the Bluebird reached Centre Island, Tim
had just embarked in the Butterfly, and Barney was
preparing to do the same in the Zephyr. The Ro-
vers vere utterly confounded at this unexpected


invasion of their domain, and hastily retreated from
the beach.

William Bright, who was the coxswain of the
Bluebird, ran her alongside the Zephyr, and took her
in tow. In like manner they took possession of the
Sylph and the " gondola," leaving the Rovers " alone
in their glory," with no means of escaping from the
island. With the three boats in tow, they pulled
for the beach.

" Now for the Butterfly," said Captain Sedley, as
he placed the Sylph in charge of Uncle Ben, and
directed William Bright to steer up the lake.

Away dashed the Bluebird. The excited crew
had fi observed the Butterfly about a mile off, pulling
towards the river. Tim Bunker, at this safe distance,
had paused to observe the movements of the invaders
He was as much confounded as Barney had been,
and seemed to be at a loss what to do ; but when he
saw the Bluebird headed towards him, he ordered his
crew to pull for the river.

" Steady, boys," said Captain Sedley, when they
had approached within a quarter of a mile of the
chase. " Probably they will run her ashore and
leave her."


But Tim did not mean to do any thing cf the
kind, and was running the Butterfly directly foi
the river.

•'They will dash her in pieces, I fear," continued
the director, when he perceived Tim's intention.
1 Pull slowly — put her about, and perhaps they
rill return."

The Bluebird came round ; but Tim dashed madly
m, heedless of the rocks.

" She strikes ! " exclaimed Mr. Walker.

" Round again — quick ! " added Captain Sedley
"They will all be drowned! She fills! Ther-
they go ! "

The Butterfly had stove a hole in her bow ; m an
instant she was filled with water, and, careening over,
threw her crew into the lake, where they were strug-
gling for life.

" Your boat is stove, Tony," said Captain Sedley
to the coxswain of the Butterfly, who had exchanged
places with Fred Harper, for the chase.

" Never mind the boat ; save the boys ! " replied
* *ny.

" Bravo ! my little here ; " exclaimed Mr. Walker


In a few moments the Bluebird reached the scene
of the disaster. The Butterfly was so light that she
did not sink ; and most of the Rovers were support-
ing themselves by holding on at her gunwale. Tim
and two or three more had swum ashore, and one
would have been drowned, if assistance had not
reached him when it did.

The discomfited Rovers were rescued from their
perilous situation, and after a severe reprimand, were
Landed at the nearest shore. Tim made his escape ;
but probably none of them have since felt any incli-
nation to imitate the freebooters.

The Butterfly was towed down to her house, and
taken out of the water. It was found that two of
her planks had been stove, and that the damage
could be easily repaired. Mr. Walker proposed
sending to Boston for a boat builder ; but Captain
Sedley was sure that Uncle Ben, with the assistance
of the wheelwright, could repaL. her quite as well.

The Bluebird then returned to the beach, and the
boys were dismissed till three o'clock. The situa-
tion of the Rovers on the island was next discussed
by Captain Sedley ani Mr. Walker, and it was


decided tha',, as Tim had escaped, ;t was not expe-
dient to punish, his companions, who were less guilty.
So Uncle Ben, with Frank and Tony, was sent off
to bring- them ashore. Barney and his band were
glad enough to get off. They freely acknowledged
that they had had enough of "camping out." It
was not what tl-ey anticipated. Nearly all of them
had taken severe colds, and since the rain on Monday
night, which had spoiled their provisions, they ha/
been nearly starved. Barney declared that they
meant to return the boats that night, and if Captain
Sedley would " let them off" this time, they would
never do such a thing again. Like Charles, they had
been punished enough, and with some good advice
they were permitted to depart. How they made
peace with their parents I cannot say ; but probably
many of them " had to take it." As for Tim Bunker,
he did not show his face in Rippleton again, but
made his way to Boston, where he shipped in a vessel
bound for the East Indies ; and every body in town
was glad to get rid of him.

Thus ended the famous " camping out " of the
Rovers. It v^s a very pleasant and romantic thing


to think about ; but' the reality was sufnck it to effect
a radical cure, and convince them that " yellow-cov-
ered books " did not tell the truth.

A 4 : three o'clock the boys reassembled, and the
«rews were organized and officers selected. By a
unanimous vote, Frank Sedley was chosen commo-
dore of the fleet. The next morning the Butterfly
was repaired, and the squadron made its first voyage
ronnd the lake.

But as the rest of the week was occupied in drill-
ing, and the manoeuvres were necessarily imperfect,
I pass over the time till the August vacation, wher,
the fleet made a grand excursion up Ripplstaa




The school year was ended ; and it was remarked
that the school had never been in a more flourishing
condition. The boys, stimulated by the boat organi-
zations, had made remarkable progress, and parents
and committee sympathized with them in the pleas-
ant anticipations of the coming vacation.

Since his defection in June, the conduct of Charles
Hardy had been in the highest degree satisfactory.
His character seemed to be radically changed. He
did not "put on airs," nor aspire to high places.
His pride had been lowered, and he was - modest and
gentle ; therefore my young friends will not be sur-
prised to learn that his associates had rewarded his
endeavors to do well by electing him coxswain of
the Zephyr.

On the morning of the day appointed for th«


grand excursion, the squadron, as it formed in line
opposite Cap lain Sedley's house, consisted of the fol-
lowing boats, manned and commanded as below : —

Zephyr, 12 oars, (bearing the. broad pennant of

Commodore Sedley,) . . Charles Hardy.

Butterfly, 12 oars, .... Paul Munroe.

Bluebird, 12 " Fred Harper.

Rainbow, 12 " William Bright.

Lily, 8 " Henry Brown.

Dart, 8 " Dick Chester,

Dip, 4 " (tender,) . . Tony Weston.

My young readers need not be indignant at finding
so brave and skilful an officer as Tony Weston in
command of the little Dip, deeming it an insignificant
position for him to occupy ; for the tender was to be
detailed on special duty, and the appointment was a
marked compliment to his skill and judgment.

The system of signals established for the use of
the fleet was very simple, and consisted of plain flags
of red, white, blue, yellow, green, orange, and purple,
each color being a distinct order. The discipline of
the fleet was of a mongrel cbiracter, composed of
20 *


naval and military tactics. When the squadxo*
sailed in compact order, verbal commands were
given ; and when the boats were too far apart for the
word to be heard, signals were used. But these
details will be better understood as the squadron
proceeds on its voyage.

The boats were ranged in line, side by side, with
the Zephyr on the right, the Butterfly on the left,
and the Dip in the middle, each with its gay flags
floating to the breeze. All the oars were in-board,
and the clubs were waiting for the commodore's

On board the Zephyr, a longer staff than she had
formerly used was erected, on which, half way up,
was placed her fly, and at the top the broad pennant
— of blue, covered with silver stars. On this pole
the signals were hoisted, when the pennant had to be
lowered for the time.

All eyes were directed to the commodore, who was
standing up in the stern sheets of the flag boat.

" Ready ! " said he, in a voice loud enough to be
heard the whol° length of the line; and every boy
grasped his oar


It was a beautiful sight to observe the precision
vvitl which the oars were erected. A company of
soldie *s could not have handled their muskets with
more uuanimity.

" Down ! " and in like manner the oars dropped
into the water.

Those who have observed the manner in which a
military officer gives his orders have discovered the
secret of this pleasing concord of action. Commands

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Online LibraryOliver OpticAll aboard : or, Life on the lake ; a sequel to The boat club → online text (page 9 of 10)