Is he really going to work

Have you ever heard of Squirreltown? It is a town of quaint homes in
the woods, in which little animals live together as contentedly as
though they were human beings. The whole town is roofed over by leafy
bowers, and carpeted with wild flowers. All day long butterflies flit
about in the shimmering sunlight, and by night thousands of fairies
come out to dance in the pale moonlight.

In this town there once dwelt a young red squirrel named Tiny. He lived
with his mother near the top of an oak tree. Mrs. Redsquirrel was a
poor but industrious widow. Although red squirrels are said to be the
most mischievous animals of the forest, she had taught Tiny to conduct
himself in a proper way. In fact, he was much better behaved than
Chatty Chipmunk, who lived in the ground at the foot of the tree.

One morning early in the autumn, while the weather was yet warm, Tiny’s
mother said to him, “You must bestir yourself, Tiny! Now is the time to
gather acorns, seeds, and other food for the winter.”

As he sat sipping water from a hollow acorn, he observed how anxiously
his mother gazed at him. “Why do you look so sad?” he asked.

“I am getting too old to work,” she answered, and she wiped the tears
from her black eyes. Then abruptly she turned to look through the
window. It was a small hole covered with a silken curtain that had been
woven by a spider.

“Please don’t cry, mother,” implored Tiny. He put down his acorn, went
over to his mother and drew her down upon a little couch made of moss.
“I am willing to work hard to support you. Perhaps some day I shall
become great. Who can tell?”

“But I want you to have a fine education,” said his mother, looking
with pride at her son, “and we have no good schools!”

“Perhaps a fairy may find me a good school. I can work to pay my way!”
cheerfully suggested Tiny. “I have heard that those who do this make
the best students.” He fanned his mother with a small peacock feather.
He thought that she might drop into a doze, for he knew that she had
not been sleeping much of late, but just then a persistent rapping at
the tree began.

“It must be Mr. Woodpecker,” said Mrs. Redsquirrel with a sigh. “Every
day he comes over to rap this tree. The noise makes my head ache.”

“Please sit still. I’ll go outside to see what he wants,” said Tiny,
hastening from the room.

“Hello!” he cried lustily.

Mr. Woodpecker did not answer. He was digging his long, straight,
pointed beak into the bark of the tree. His stiff tail was spread out
to prop his body, for woodpeckers would not be such good climbers if
they had no tails. He was black and white, and wore a jaunty scarlet

“Sir,” said Tiny, “You annoy my mother. Furthermore, Mr. Graysquirrel,
who owns this tree, will make you pay dearly for all the damage you are
doing to his property.”

“Ha, ha!” laughed Mr. Woodpecker, turning his head to one side and
looking down at the squirrel. “I am not destroying property. I am
digging into the bark to find insects. Mr. Graysquirrel, your landlord,
told me that I might have all I could find. He said it was they who
greatly annoy his tenants. Pardon me for disturbing your mother.”


“Go away! and do not come back again,” commanded Tiny, vexed at the
bird’s display of good humor. “Hush, Tiny!” called Mrs. Redsquirrel,
thrusting her dainty nose through the window. “I am glad that Mr.
Woodpecker is so kind as to destroy those horrid insects. I thought at
first that he was tapping the tree because he wished to trouble me. We
animals are always ready to imagine disagreeable things.”

Tiny came back into the house and to cover his chagrin began to get the
storeroom in order.

His mother gathered up the nut-shell cups and placed them in a
hollow gourd. As they worked she talked. “Mr. Woodpecker is a clever
creature,” she said. “I never before saw a bird that could use his bill
with such ease and swiftness.”

Tiny did not reply. He was thinking very hard, and the idea that he was
going to support his mother made him feel very important.

“Woodpeckers do a great deal of good by destroying grubs and insects,”
his mother went on. “I have heard that in a far-away land there lives
one kind that feeds chiefly on acorns, and stores them away for the
winter as squirrels do. They make small holes in the soft bark of dead
trees and place the acorns in these holes by pounding them with their

“Now I am ready to start,” interrupted Tiny. “Perhaps I can get Chatty
Chipmunk to go with me.”

“If you do, don’t let him lead you into bad company!” warned Mrs.
Redsquirrel. “He is very mischievous. He causes his parents much

At that moment Peggy and Bushy Graysquirrel came running into the
room, without stopping to knock at the door.

“Good morning, Mrs. Redsquirrel,” said Peggy.

“We are going over to the Beech Hotel to spend the day with the
Blacksquirrel family,” said Bushy, too much excited to draw a long
breath. “Come along with us, Tiny. We will play ripple.”

“What is ripple?” asked Mrs. Redsquirrel.

“Oh, it is a fine game!” exclaimed Peggy. “All the squirrels get out on
the bough of a tree. Each one throws a nut or a pebble into the brook,
and the one that makes the biggest circle gets the prize.”

“Do you want to go, Tiny?” asked his mother.

“No, mother,” said Tiny bravely. “I like to play ripple, but I must
gather our winter store before the cold rains begin.”

“Please come with us,” coaxed pretty Bushy, flashing her dark eyes
straight into his own.

“I cannot go,” he declared stolidly, turning his back upon her.

“Is he really going to work?” asked Bushy, looking from one to the
other in a bewildered way.

“Yes, I am going,” replied Tiny, and he took down his hunting bag from
the wall.

Another moment a little red squirrel ran down the tree and was lost to

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During the following week, Dory’s class in the Goldwing made trips in
the boat after the close of the labors in the shop. One of the members
took charge of the sloop in each of these trips, and the lesson was
still “Beating to windward.” In this way, all of them learned how to
work a boat to windward; and it was the most difficult lesson for them
to learn, for it required a great deal of judgment.

One student would steer so close to the wind that the boat was cramped,
and could not get ahead; while another let her get so far off the wind,
that she failed to accomplish what she was competent to do. It required
a great deal of practice to enable the different skippers to hit the
golden mean. They did remarkably well, though not one of them became
proficient at once.

On the return from the excursion, they had some experience in sailing
before the wind, and in all directions between that and close-hauled.
Matt Randolph was always out at the same time in the Lily, with his
class. Although the latter was a schooner, the lesson was precisely the
same. She carried a crew of twelve, and they were all stationed as in
the Goldwing. The foresail was handled in the same manner as the
mainsail. The only question that could come up on board of her, that did
not have to be considered on the sloop, was whether or not, in a blow,
the foresail should be set.

During the week, there was an examination of the five burglars, and all
of them were fully committed for trial. The Plattsburg robberies were
fastened upon them, and some of the money and other property found on
board of the La Motte was restored to the owners. There was a great deal
of difference of opinion in regard to the relative guilt of the robbers,
for it did not appear that Sangfraw and Wickwood had any thing more than
a criminal knowledge of the deeds of the other three. Besides, they were
truly repentant, and told all they knew about the schemes of their
companions, who denied all they could to the last.

At the trial, some weeks later, Spickles got seven years in the State
Prison; the two who actually assisted him in his enterprises, received a
sentence of five years; while the remaining two were let off with only
one year. The chief of the Nautifelers Club, who was the author and
finisher of all the schemes, both of pleasure and plunder, preserved his
self-possession through the trial; but by the time he was shut up for
seven long years, he began to wish that he had followed the course in
life which Matt Randolph had marked out for himself.

Thad Glovering trained the party on board of the La Motte, in the
management of the vessel; and at the end of a couple of weeks, they left
Beech Hill, to undertake a cruise without his aid. They were very much
pleased with what they saw of the institution; and they left the school
much wiser, morally and intellectually, than when they came there.

On the following Saturday morning at daylight, Dory and his class were
on board of the Goldwing for an entire day of sailing, and were going to
Plattsburg. The sloop had been provisioned for the cruise; and the party
were in a high state of enthusiasm, for it had been promised them a week
before. Dory had rigged out the flying jib-boom, and put all the “kites”
on board, so that the sloop could make the best of a light wind.

At four o’clock in the morning, when the party were ready to sail, there
was scarcely a breath of air. Thad had taught them all there was to
learn about a gaff-topsail, and they had worked the parts and methods
over in their own minds. But when they came to apply their knowledge,
they found that practice was quite different from theory.

“Bend on the gaff-topsail-halyards,” said Dory, after the mainsail had
been set.

This place had been assigned to Archie Pinkler; while Con Bunker was
stationed at the tack, and Syl Peckman at the sheet. Dory had put all
the running-rigging in place for handling the extra sails, but Archie
did not know where to find the halyard. Both ends of this rope were made
fast at the rail, on the port-side of the mast.

“You will always find the halyards there, Archie; and it is not
necessary for you to learn about any other rigging connected with the
gaff-topsail at present, though you can’t help picking up all the other
parts as they are brought into use. Now overhaul the halyards, and see
that they are not foul, so that you can hoist the sail without any

The instructor would not allow any one to assist him; and he soon had
the rope in running order, and bent it on the sail. When he had hauled
the sail up so that the lower clews were just above the deck, Dory
stopped him.

“Now, Con, bend on the tack,” continued the skipper.

“We don’t bend any thing: what’s the use of having such a word?”

“That’s my son Yoppa’s name,” added Hop, laughing.

“Bend is the nautical word for make fast, and that is the particular
reason why I use it. Would you have me say, ‘Tie the halyard to the
sail’? Bend it on, Con.”

“I don’t know where to look for it.”

“The end you bend on to the sail is on the port-side, and the end you
haul upon is on the starboard-side. It is made fast abaft the cleat used
for the halyard, and you never need make a mistake. When Archie hoists
the sail to the mast-head, you will stand by the tack on the
starboard-side, and haul the rope over the gaff. The sheet is made fast
to a cleat on the main-boom, Syl; and, as the sail goes up, you will
haul on it just enough to prevent the rope from fouling. Hoist away,

The setting of the sail was a decided success; and with less system, the
whole affair might easily have been snarled up, as it often is.

The anchor was weighed, the jib was hoisted, and the Goldwing remained
just where she had been at her moorings. There was no wind at all in the
lower regions; but the gaff-topsail soon filled, and the boat began to
move, though it could hardly be seen. Then Dory ordered the crew to set
the jib-topsail. This sail was fitted with snap-hanks, by which it could
be set upon the main-topmast-stay. Ash, as the best sailor in the party,
was sent out on the bowsprit to hook on the hanks. The halyard, which
led down the mast, was attached to it; and the sail went up into its
place, with the upper clew close to the topmast-head.

The upper part of the jib-topsail filled, and the motion of the sloop
was increased a little. Dory had a balloon-jib, which could also be used
as a spinnaker, in the cuddy. The Goldwing slowly moved towards the
creek; and, without the lofty sails she carried, she would not have
moved at all.

“It is part of a boatman’s trade to know something about the weather,
for I don’t think we shall have an up-and-down breeze much longer,” said
Dory, as he looked about him. “The wind is about west now, and it is
very likely we shall have showers before night.”

“Old Prob tells us all about the weather,” added Ash.

“But you don’t have Old Prob at your elbow all the time. Showers come up
in the west more than from any other quarter, and the clouds will tell
you what to expect. When a squall approaches, you can always see its
action on the water before it reaches you, unless you happen to be under
a weather-shore, which will shelter you to some extent. But you must
look out for your boat before you see the squall on the water. The
clouds will let you know that it is time to take in all kites.”

In the river they got more wind, and the boat soon reached Lake
Champlain. By that time, it was blowing moderately from the west. With
her extra sails set, the Goldwing rushed rapidly through the water, with
the breeze on the beam. It continued to freshen; and after the sloop had
passed Split Rock Point, she had all she could carry. Ash Burton had the
helm, and the boat heeled over so that the rail occasionally went under.
It was exciting sailing.

“Now, I should like to know where the danger comes in,” said Archie, as
he saw a little spray slop in over the washboard.

“It don’t come in at all if the boat is properly handled,” replied Dory.
“It would not be prudent to let her fall off a great deal.”

“What would happen if she did fall off too much?” asked Con.

“Nothing at all, unless she were brought round far enough to place her
keel in line with the direction of the wind. Then, with the sails
trimmed as they are now, the boom would be likely to be carried over to
the opposite tack. It would fill on the other tack with a shock, which
might upset her. But even a blockhead would not let her do that.”

“Suppose she did upset?” queried Ben Sinker.

“If she went over just here, she would go to the bottom in nearly four
hundred feet of water. But she will not be allowed to play you such a
trick as that. You might just as well drive your horse over a precipice
as let the boat upset,” said Dory confidently.

“The boat is now down to her washboard; and it would not take much of a
flaw to put the board under, and fill the standing-room with water,”
added Archie.

“There comes a flaw; you can see it on the surface of the lake,” replied
the skipper. “Now see what Ash does.”

The gust of wind struck the sails; the boat heeled over till the water
came up to the top of the washboard; but, as Ash pulled the wheel
towards him, the head of the boat went to windward, and the pressure was
eased off. Dory asked the helmsman to put the helm a little farther
down. Then the sails all began to shake, and the sloop instantly came up
to an even keel.

“It looks easy enough,” said Archie.

“It is easy enough, if you only mind what you are about. It takes some
strength at the wheel to keep her from doing that, as she carries a
weather-helm; so that you can’t upset her in the way I explained, unless
you mean to do so,” continued Dory.

But Dory was a prudent skipper, and he ordered the jib-topsail to be
taken in. Thus relieved, she went along swiftly and very comfortably. By
nine o’clock they arrived at Plattsburg, and spent a couple of hours
there. But they were more interested in sailing the boat than they were
in wandering about the streets of the town, though they were much
pleased with their visit to the beautiful garden of Fouquet’s Hotel.

The return-trip was about the same thing till the Goldwing was in the
widest part of the lake, off Burlington. Then the black clouds began to
roll up in vast masses in the west, and the skipper said they looked
like wind. The gaff-topsail was taken in, the flying-jib was furled. The
lightning was terrific, and the thunder suggested earthquakes.

“We are in for it, sure,” said Archie Pinkler; “and I don’t like the
looks of things about this time.”

“We are all of six miles from the land; and the wind is dying out, as it
often does before a tempest; and there is no backing out,” said Dory.
“We shall have to take whatever comes, and do the best we can. The
greenhorn, on board of a ship, when a sudden storm came up, said he
thought he would take a biscuit, turn in, and call it half a day. He was
not allowed to do so, and you will not. Our safety requires that every
fellow should do his duty, and there is no shirking it.”

“But why don’t you take in sail, Dory?” asked Archie nervously.

“Because there is no need of it yet, and we may not have to take in sail
at all. Why don’t you take medicine before you get sick? You need not be
nervous, Archie. We are all right; and I feel as much at home on board
of the Goldwing, as I should in my room at Beech Hill.”

Suddenly what breeze there had been died out, and the sloop lay
motionless on the water. Dory told the crew to take in the jib, and
instructed those stationed at this sail to stow it and secure it with
the utmost care, so that it should not be blown out by the squall.

“There is the Marian,” said Ash, as he saw her coming out from

“What does she come out for when there is going to be a squall?” asked

“Because she will be safer out in the lake than at a wharf there, though
she might get behind the breakwater. She will do very well in a squall.
All she has to do, is to keep out of the trough of the sea, if it comes
on very hard,” replied Dory. “At the very worst, in a hurricane, she
would put her head up to the sea, and keep her engine going. She will be
all right unless her engine breaks down.”

The lake was as smooth as glass, and the boat lay “like a painted ship
upon a painted ocean.” The members of the class looked at each other,
and some of them were doubtless afraid.

“Man the peak-halyards,” said Dory quietly. “Keep perfectly cool, and
there is no particular hurry.”

Syl and Hop went to the station indicated, but they were told to do
nothing till the order was given; though the sail might as well be
furled as set, so far as any use of it was concerned.

“It is coming now,” said Dory, as he pointed to the New-York shore. “You
can see the clouds of dust it is stirring up on the land.”

A moment later, it struck the water, and the commotion could be seen.

It looked like a dense light cloud sweeping over the surface, while a
roaring sound came in advance of it. Dory gave the order to let go the
peak-halyards, and take in the jib.

“Now we are all right,” said the skipper, as soon as the order was
executed. “Here it comes. Hold on to your hats, and keep down in the

The cloud swept down upon the sloop, and the squall struck her. Dory
took the wheel himself. The mainsail flapped and banged with tremendous
violence; but the boat was headed right into it, and no harm came from
it. The water did not pile itself up into big waves at first. Almost as
soon as it had come, it was over. A few moments later, Dory filled away
with the mainsail: the peak still dropped, just holding wind enough to
give her steerage-way.

“Is that all there is of it?” asked Archie, when the shock was over.

“That’s all; but it was only a light squall, and sometimes they hold one
for a much longer time. But we have not got to the end of this thing
yet, for there is another behind it.”

The skipper let the boat fall off till she was headed for Juniper
Island, about two miles distant. In less than ten minutes he had
anchored her under its lee, with all sail safely stowed. As the skipper
predicted, there was another squall, which continued to rage for full
fifteen minutes. The waves mounted to a great height, and the spray
dashed over the island. But the Goldwing was safely sheltered, and the
students enjoyed the wild commotion of the water. Later in the day, the
wind went around to the north-west; and the sloop, under a reefed
mainsail only, made her way to Beech Hill.

These instructions were continued all summer in the two sail-boats; and
long before the end of the season, even Archie Pinkler was allowed to go
out as skipper of the Goldwing. All the members of the classes became
competent boatmen; and then they were as much at home on the lake,
whatever the weather, as Dory himself.

Tom Topover sailed the Lily, and knew all about his business. He had
become a very respectable sort of fellow, as had also all his former
companions in mischief and crime.

As usual at the close of the summer term, there was a grand occasion to
wind up the work of the school-year. Mr. Plint, Mr. Bridges, and Mr.
Rithie, who had kindly served as examiners in former years, rendered the
same service at this time. Two of them had taken students into their
employ; and in the speeches they made in the great hall of the
boat-house, they explained what progress these students had made as
architect and engineer.

Others from at home and abroad spoke of the moral as well as the
industrial benefit of the institution. Without mentioning any names, an
orator described the miracle which had been wrought in the life and
character of such students as Tom Topover and Nim Splugger. The shops
were visited; and in the afternoon, there was a grand excursion in the
steamers and sail-boats, as the wind happened to be fresh.

The inevitable ball followed in the evening; and all the young ladies
from the town, and not a few from Burlington, danced till the small
hours of the morning. It was not a matter of toilets, and people
declared that Dory Dornwood and Lily Bristol were the best-looking
couple on the floor, though Oscar Chester and Marian Dornwood were
hardly less attractive.

The Beech Hill Industrial School continued its good work for years
longer. The principal selects such students as need the instruction and
discipline, and are not likely to obtain their training at other
institutions. He is a public benefactor; and the old students, who
annually attend the closing exercises of the school, are grateful for
what the institution has done for them.

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“Ready about!” shouted Dory, with more vim than he usually put into his

But there was nothing to do, for any one except Ash at the wheel; for
the skipper had not stationed the crew for tacking. He had not had time
to do so. The lower block of the main-sheet ran on a traveller, which is
an iron rod set a couple of inches above the taffrail, or piece across
the top of the stern. The ring under the block plays freely, or travels
on it, from one side to the other. As the wind carries the sail and boom
over, the sheet-block follows it. Of course, the sheet is trimmed so the
boom may be at the right angle with the keel, on whichever tack the boat
may be.

Dory explained the working of the sheet, and gave the names of the parts
of the rigging used. He took hold of the jib-sheets himself, and gave
the order to put the helm to port. As the sails began to shake, he cast
off the lee-sheet, and passed over to the other side of the

“Hard a-lee!” he continued, which meant that the helm was to be put down
as far as it would go.

The Goldwing came about handsomely, as she always did under fair
treatment: the boom went over to the starboard. The skipper then hauled
in the port, which had become the lee, sheet, as the sail went over. The
breeze was lively, and the boat worked quickly.

“Meet her, Ash,” said Dory; and the helmsman threw the wheel over till
he could feel the pressure of the water on the rudder as the sails

“What do you mean by ‘meet her’?” asked Archie.

“The helm was hard down when I gave that order,” replied the skipper.
“If it had remained in that position, it would have been hard up after
the sails filled, and the sloop would have continued to swing around
till she was before the wind; and it would take time to get her back to
her proper course. As soon as the boat begins to catch the wind on the
new tack, the helm must be shifted to meet her. When the boat was on the
starboard-tack, all the pressure of the water was on the weather-side of
the rudder, as the Goldwing carries a weather-helm. As soon as the boat
begins to swing, this pressure is removed. There is none to speak of on
either side. But as soon as she begins to fill on the port-tack, the
pressure comes on that side.”

“And you feel it the instant it begins to bear on the rudder,” added

“You want the sails to fill on the new tack, and she should be met with
the helm before she has fallen off much beyond her proper course. In a
light wind, when the boat moves sluggishly, she may fall off somewhat
before she feels the pressure on the rudder.”

“She isn’t on any thing, and I don’t see how she can fall off,” said
Archie, the critic.

“Yes, she is on something: she is on the wind, and she falls off when
she goes to leeward. As Ash says, he can feel the pressure as soon as
the sails fill; and we sail a boat quite as much by the feeling as by
the use of the eyes. Mr. Herschoff, who built the Sylph, is one of the
best boatmen in the country, and he is totally blind. Of course, he has
to work the boat entirely by the feeling; and those who have good eyes
do it largely in the same way. Practice alone can give you this skill.”

“Thad said the keel and the rudder balanced the sails, and kept up a
sort of equilibrium,” added Syl.

“That was quite right. When you see a fellow on a tight-rope in the
circus, with a long pole in his hands, you may observe that he keeps
lifting one end or the other. He throws the weight of the pole, the ends
of which are loaded with lead, to one side or the other to preserve his
balance. You shift the helm for the same reason. You can tell what the
boat is doing with your eyes shut after you get used to her. When a flaw
of wind comes, it throws a boat with a weather-helm up into the wind;
and if you were blindfolded, the tiller or the wheel would tell you all
about it.”

“What do you do when the flaw comes?” asked Archie.

“Meet it with the helm if it is not too stiff for her.”

“Suppose it is strong enough to capsize her if she keeps her course?”
Hop inquired.

“Let her come up into the wind a little more than the course requires.
If you let her up far enough, of course you will spill the sail, and the
flaw can do her no harm. This is what sailors would call ‘touching her
up,’ and that is just what we do when the wind comes too strong for the
boat. You could keep her balanced, even in a hurricane, for a moment or
two with the sails drawing just enough to give her steerage-way.
Generally, flaws don’t last more than a moment, and you fill away as
soon as they pass. You may have to work sharp to keep her from filling
on the other tack.”

“A fellow has got to do it before he will know how,” added Hop.

“Now, Con, I will station you at the port jib-sheet, and you, Hop, at
the starboard,” said the skipper.

“Why don’t you say the weather and lee sheet?” asked Archie.

“Because they would have to change places every time we tack. The
lee-sheet is sometimes on one side, and sometimes on the other, as you
may see for yourself,” answered the skipper. “Ready about! That is
simply the order for those who have any thing to do in tacking to be
ready to do it; just as the military officer gives a warning
‘Attention–company!’ ‘Shoulder–arms!’ Not a soldier moves till the
last word is uttered. Ready about!”

The two sheet-hands took hold of the ropes, and the helmsman was ready
to move the wheel. At the command, “Starboard the helm,” Ash put it down
a little, and the head of the boat crawled gradually up into the wind.

“Hard a-lee!” said Dory. “Cast off all but one turn on the lee-sheet,
Hop. Let go the lee-sheet!” added the skipper a moment later, when the
jib shook in the wind. “Haul in on your port-sheet! Trim it down! Meet
her with the helm!”

The change from one tack to the other was quickly made. The sloop worked
to perfection, and the students had mastered the lesson in tacking. As
they had to beat through a part of the narrow channel to the river, they
had plenty of practice in a very short time.

“There is no need of all these orders after you have learned your duty.
There is a sort of buncombe in using them in a small craft, or in any
craft except a man-of-war. ‘Ready about’ should always be used. After
that, on board of a ship, ‘Let go and haul’ is about all that is
necessary, and it will do here. Let go the lee-sheet, and haul on the
weather, supplies the ellipsis,” said Dory, as the Goldwing came out
into the river where she had more sea-room.

“I think I understand it now,” added Archie.

“I think you do, all but the practice,” replied the skipper. “I shall
resign my office now as captain, and ask Ash to fill my place for a
while. You may take the wheel, Ben Sinker; and I shall not say a word,
unless you are likely to upset the boat.”

Ben went to the wheel, and Ash assumed the position of skipper.

“Where shall we go?” asked the new captain.

“After you get out of the river, go up the lake, and that will be a dead
beat to windward,” answered Dory.

“The wind has almost died out,” said Hop, as he looked about him.

“Not much!” replied Ash.

“When you are running in a boat before the wind, there seems to be
little or no breeze,” said Dory, who did not abandon his function as
instructor. “When you ride in a carriage in a hot day, with the wind,
you feel the heat. So in a boat. I have been nearly roasted on the lake
in this boat when I was going before the wind, while it would be
comfortably cool on the wind. The motion of the boat kills the breeze.
Some boatmen make Hop’s blunder, and put on more sail than they can
bear; and then it is a dangerous error.”

“Haul in on the main-sheet! A pull on the lee jib-sheet!” said Ash, when
the Goldwing came to a bend in the river, which made it necessary to
brace up the boat a little more.

After the change of course, the breeze came fresher; and Hop realized
his mistake, by experience. The sloop went rapidly down the river with
the wind about on the beam, or across the width of the boat, and out
into the lake. The waves were lively there; and they were short and
choppy, giving the boat a jerky motion.

“I suppose you know where the bottom is, out here, Ash,” said Dory.

“I think I do; and it is pretty near the top of the water for a mile. I
shall hold her on her present course till we have made about that
distance from the mouth of the river.”

“About half a mile from the point will cover it, but it is best to be on
the safe side. When Diamond Island shuts in Split Rock Light, you are
all right for any course except south,” added Dory.

“I suppose nobody but Ash is expected to understand that remark,” said
Archie. “Shuts it in!”

“In other words, when you can see Split Rock Light over Diamond Island,
you are far enough from the shore to avoid the shoals off Field’s Bay,”
Dory explained.

“I can understand that,” added Archie.

“If the light were not more than two feet above the water, we could not
see it all when we come to the position described, for it would be shut
in. I have about two hundred ranges written down in a book at home, and
this is one of them. Sometimes they put two lighthouses on a shore. If
one shut out the other, you could tell, in one case, how far north you
had gone. When I am going into the river with the Sylph, I don’t run in
till I have brought the tip of the point in range with the white chimney
on Paucett’s house. The more of these ranges you learn, the better you
will be qualified to sail a boat on Lake Champlain.”

It was nearly dark when the Goldwing returned to the school; but every
member of the class had taken his turn in sailing the boat, and each
thought he knew as much as Dory about it.

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“My occupation is gone, like Othello’s,” said Thad Glovering, when the
students assembled on the wharf after the lecture. “Dory can teach his
own flock now.”

“But I have another class for you,” interposed the principal, who
happened to hear the remark. “The remnant of the Nautifelers Club have
decided to have their excursion on the lake, and they will remain in the
vicinity of the school. They don’t know how to handle a schooner, and
you may make sailors of them, Glovering. You may take two of the
students with you, or three.”

“Corny Minkfield, Nat Long, and Dick Short, if you please,” suggested

The principal assented, and the party went on board of the La Motte. The
schooner was put in order, and Dory suggested that her first trip be
made to obtain the hatches which had been left on the beach at
Camp-Meeting Point. The new skipper set his crew at work; and, as the
wind had moderated to a lively breeze, she went off under a whole
mainsail and jib.

The class of unskilled boatmen, as they all were except Ash Burton, were
on board of the Goldwing. Dory shoved off the sloop; and when she had
drifted some distance from the wharf, he let go the anchor.

“What in the world is that for, Dory? I thought we were going out on the
lake to take a lesson in sailing,” said Ben Sinker.

“So we are; but I thought we would begin at the beginning,” replied
Dory. “It is as necessary to know how to come to anchor as it is to do
any thing else in sailing a boat.”

“All you have to do is to throw it overboard when you want to stop,”
said Archie.

“Suppose you were coming into Beechwater with a lively breeze, such as
we have to-day, how would you manage to anchor in the middle of it?”
asked the skipper.

“When we got to the middle of the lake, I should drop the anchor,”
answered Archie.

“And a pretty mess you would make of it! If you were coming in under jib
and mainsail, you would take in the jib some time before you reached the
locality where you wished to anchor. Then, as you near the anchorage,
you would come to, or throw her up into the wind, thus spilling the
mainsail. When the boat had lost her headway, or most of it, you would
let go the anchor. If you kept the sail drawing, you would drag the
anchor, get aground, or run into some other craft.”

“Suppose you are caught in a sudden squall?” asked Ash.

“You should not allow yourself to be caught in a sudden squall. A
boatman should be always on the lookout for such things. Squalls don’t
come out of a blue sky; and when the weather is threatening, the skipper
should get ready for it.”

“But suppose the skipper was careless, and did get caught?” persisted

“In that case, he would not let go the anchor; for he could not well do
any thing worse than that with his sails set. If the skipper can’t haul
down the jib, he should not anchor. But he could take in sail quicker
than he could get the anchor to bite.”

“Bite? Does the anchor bite? I shall be afraid of it,” said Archie.

“It would not bite you; but an anchor is said to bite when it gets hold
at the bottom of the lake. You don’t anchor in a squall unless you have
got the sails down. More of that farther on. I have told you how to come
to anchor under ordinary circumstances. You must make your plan for
doing so beforehand.”

“I think I could anchor her,” said Archie.

“It is not a dangerous operation. If the wind blows hard, you need a
long rode, which means a long cable. In a blow, there is a heavy sea,
and the motion of the boat causes a constant jerking on the anchor. With
a short rode, it may lift it so that the flukes are detached from the
bottom, especially if it be rocky. The longer the cable, the less the
slant of the rope. In Lake Champlain, the water is four hundred feet
deep in some places.”

“Where, Dory?” asked Ash.

“In the middle of the lake, between Essex and Wing’s Point; and it is
nearly that off Split Rock Point. Fifty fathoms, or three hundred feet,
would be a very long cable in these waters: but it would be useless
anywhere out in the middle of the lake. It is almost three hundred feet
deep within a stone’s-throw of Thomson’s Point. The moral of all this
is, that you must know the bottom of the lake as well as the top when
you want to anchor. As a general rule, you must run into some bay for
the purpose.”

“But a fellow may be caught out in the middle of the lake when the bad
weather comes,” suggested Ash.

“Then he must take his chances; but he need not be caught if he looks
out in season. If it looks like bad weather, get under a lee if you can.
Don’t anchor off a lee-shore if it can be avoided. Look out in season.
That will do for anchoring till we get caught in a tight place. Now we
will get under way. Take the stops off the mainsail.”

“What is a gasket, Dory?” asked Ash.

“Some boatmen call the stops a gasket. Properly, a gasket is the rope
used to fasten the sail to the yard or boom when it is furled. Sometimes
the gasket is made of strips of canvas sewed together, or ropes plaited
into a flat shape. I want you all to have your stations, so that, when
the order is given, it can be executed without calling any names. Archie
Pinkler and Con Bunker may take the throat-halyards, and Syl Peckman and
Hop Cabright the peak-halyards. These are your stations in hoisting or
lowering the mainsail. Ben Sinker will stand by the main-sheet, overhaul
it, and make it fast when told to do so. Ash Burton will take the

The students designated took their places; and the mainsail was hoisted,
though the skipper was obliged to give a good many directions. Then he
required them to lower the sail, and go through the routine again. The
second time the work satisfied him, and it was done in half the time it
required the first time.

“This is precisely the way they get a ship, or any larger vessel, under
way,” continued Dory. “The first thing is to set the principal sails,
never including the head-sails.”

“What are the head-sails?” asked Con.

“In a sloop, the term applies to the jib only. In a ship, it may include
all the sails forward of the mainmast. In getting under way, the next
thing to be done after the principal sails are set, is to heave up the
anchor to a short stay; though we don’t generally take the trouble to do
this in small boats. It means simply to get the anchor nearly up, which
is indicated by the cable being something near up and down.”

“What’s the use of doing that?” asked the critical Archie.

“Because it is generally necessary to work lively after most of the
sails are set. After the sails are shaken out on board of a ship, they
don’t want to wait a long time to heave up the whole of the cable.
Archie and Syl shall have their stations at the cable, and Con and Hop
at the jib-halyards. Now, just to show how it is done, you may heave up
the anchor to a short stay; that is, haul in on the cable till the bow
of the boat is nearly over the anchor; but don’t trip it.”

“Trip it?” queried Archie, though the meaning of the term was clear
enough to all of them.

“Just as you would trip a fellow up on shore; lift the mud-hook from the
bottom,” added Dory rather impatiently. “When you get the cable in the
position required, Archie, it will be your duty to report the fact by
saying, ‘Cable up and down.'”

Archie and Syl hauled in on the cable? the latter pulling upon the rope,
and the former coiling it up as it came in, as directed by the skipper.

“Cable up and down,” reported Archie, prompted by Syl.

“Con is strong enough to hoist the jib alone; and Hop will overhaul the
downhaul, and see that it runs out clear as the sail goes up. Then, as
soon as the sail is well up, Hop will pass the halyard under the cleat,
while Con swigs up; but not yet,” continued the skipper.

The hands at the jib made every thing ready to hoist the sail.

“Now the two hands at the anchor will be ready to trip it. The moment it
is clear of the bottom, Archie will say, ‘Anchor a-weigh.’ Then I shall
give the order to hoist the jib. Are you all ready there?”

“All ready,” replied Archie, who was getting up a deep interest in the

“Trip the anchor,” added Dory in a quiet tone.

“Anchor a-weigh!” shouted Archie.

“Hoist the jib,” continued the skipper. “Keep on with your work at the
anchor, Archie and Syl, and don’t leave it till you have stowed it away
in its place, and coiled up the cable, so that it will run out freely if
we have occasion to anchor again in two minutes. On a boat, ropes should
not be snarled up, but every one of them should be properly disposed for
use at any moment.”

The cable led through a block under the bowsprit. When it came
home,–which is the nautical expression used when any thing is hauled up
to the point where it belongs, or as far as can be,–an iron hook was
thrown over one of the arms, and the anchor was hauled inboard by a line
attached to it. This arrangement made it easy to weigh the anchor.

While the two hands were at the anchor, Con and Hop were hoisting the
jib. Ash was directed to put the helm a-lee, and Ben to stand by the
main-sheet. The moment the anchor was clear of the bottom, the jib began
to fill, and the head of the boat swung off.

“Stand by the jib-sheets, Hop, while Con coils up the jib-halyards,”
said Dory, after they had “swigged up” the rope.

But the jib-sheets led aft, and Dory trimmed them down himself. It was a
dead beat to windward to get out of Beechwater, and the two sails were
close-hauled. In a moment every thing was in good order, the cable and
the halyards had all been disposed of, as directed, and Ben had made a
very nice coil of the spare part of the main-sheet on the floor of the
standing-room. The crew were surprised to see with how little fuss the
boat had got under way. Dory knew how, and every thing seemed to work to
a charm for that reason.

“Now what tack are we on?” asked the skipper.

“On the starboard-tack,” replied all of them in one breath, for they had
profited by the instructions of Thad in the morning.

“Right. And the act of getting under way, as we did, is called ‘casting
on the starboard-tack,'” added Dory.

“Well, we couldn’t cast on any other,” suggested Hop, as they were all
seated in the standing-room.

“It would have been just as easy to cast on the port-tack as on the
starboard,” replied the instructor.

“It seems to me that it is just as the wind happens to hit the sails on
one side or the other,” added Hop.

“There is no happen about it. I cast on the starboard because it gives
us the longest tack in this pond. When any boat or vessel is at anchor,
she points her nose directly into the wind. Then it is as easy to cast
on one tack as the other.”

“But after the mainsail is set, the boat keeps flopping one way and the
other,” said Con.

“If you make fast the main-sheet, it will. In that case, you are to take
advantage of the right moment to trip the anchor and set the jib. It is
sometimes necessary to sway off the boom to get her in position.”

By this time the Goldwing was nearing the shore on the west side.

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Ripples and his four companions were glad to find they were not involved
in the disaster which had overtaken the other half of the Nautifelers
Club. When the crowd on the wharf dispersed, they remained; for their
plans for the immediate future had been sadly deranged. But they were at
liberty to go where they pleased.

After they had discussed their situation for a while, they went into the
boat-house, hoping to find Captain Gildrock there. But no one was there.
It was so near dinner-time that the boats did not go out again that
forenoon. The La Motte, deserted by everybody, lay at the wharf; and
they went on board of her. But the principal soon appeared, and invited
them to dine with the students, which they thought was very kind of him.

After dinner he went to the wharf with them again. They had put their
bags and valises on board of her; and so far, they had been unable to
make up their minds what to do. The principal went into the cabin of the
schooner with them. On the table was mounted a cask of beer, which the
party had opened when they were prevented from coming on deck.

“When a lot of young men fasten themselves to a beer-keg, it is not at
all difficult to tell what will become of them,” said the principal, as
he seated himself on the locker in front of the berths. “It is to them
just what whiskey is to older men, and the whiskey, in this country, is
pretty sure to follow the beer.”

“I never thought there was any great harm in beer,” replied Ripples.

“I should say that it helped your friend Spickles into the lock-up. Of
course, he had some bad tendencies; but they were stimulated by his
beer. I may be wrong, but I do not believe he would have made so short a
career of evil without the help of beer.”

“Let’s throw it overboard, fellows,” suggested Ripples to his

“All right!” shouted several of them, impressed by the lesson which the
principal drew from the fate of Spickles.

A couple of them hastened on deck with the half empty beer-keg, and
threw its contents into the lake. The others searched for more of the
article; and they found two kegs of it in the hold, which followed the
first lot.

“No more beer for me!” exclaimed Ripples.

Two of the others said the same thing, and two said nothing; but all of
them seemed to be satisfied that beer was a dangerous luxury for young
men. The principal enlarged a little on the subject. He said that men,
old as well as young, were sometimes led so near the abyss of crime as
to be saved, even when they were hanging over it. They went far enough
to see into it, and the sight reformed them. He thought the five before
him ought to take warning from the fate of their companions; and they
had apparently accepted the warning.

“You came up to the lake to spend your vacation, I understand,”
continued Captain Gildrock.

“Yes, sir: that is what we came for. It seems now that Angy had planned
a series of robberies, from which he was to obtain the funds to carry on
the excursion for a couple of months; but we knew nothing about that. We
are all sons of men of standing in New York, and I begin to think we
were to furnish the respectability for the crowd.”

“Very likely,” added the principal with a smile. “If Spickles had
reached the schooner without being discovered, he would have been at
Ticonderoga this morning before you left; that is, if the violent storm
had not upset his calculations. He would have taken your party on board;
and with the proceeds of the burglaries, amounting to several thousand
dollars, he would have been able to run the schooner all summer.”

“I had no suspicion that he was such a fellow,” added Ripples, shaking
his head. “But I confess that I am greatly disappointed at the failure
of the excursion, though I have no doubt it is the best thing in the
world for us.”

“So far as the excursion that was planned in New York is concerned, it
is certainly a godsend to you that it failed; and even if half of your
club had not come to grief, the result would have been the same. A month
or two in company of such fellows as the burglars, guzzling beer, would
have taken you a long way down towards a life of dissipation and evil.”

“I begin to think so myself. I suppose my father will read about this
affair in the newspapers; and I am sure it will make him shake,”
continued Ripples. “I will write to him as soon as I get a chance, and
tell him all about it.”

“If you will give me his address, I will give him my impressions of the
matter,” said Captain Gildrock.

“Thank you, sir: you are very kind, and I should be glad to have you
tell him that his son has not been guilty of any crime. But I suppose we
might as well go home: our fun here is spoiled,” replied Ripples.

“The proposed excursion, as you understood it, was certainly an innocent
one. For what time had Spickles chartered this vessel?” asked the

“For two months; and paid down for one month.”

“As you are a part of the party, it seems to me that the schooner
belongs to you for the time it was engaged; and there is nothing to
prevent you from making the excursion around the lake, and remaining
upon it as long as you please,” suggested the captain.

“There is only one thing in the way of doing that: we have no skipper,
and we are not competent to handle the vessel. Angy was the only one of
us who knew how to handle a schooner, though Mack and Chuck knew
something about the business,” replied Ripples.

“If you will remain in the vicinity of Beaver River, I will furnish a
person to instruct you in managing the vessel. You are welcome to remain
as long as you please at the school,” added the principal.

Ripples and his companions thanked the captain for this privilege, and
manifested a good deal of interest in the affairs of Beech Hill. By this
time the students had gathered in the schoolroom to attend to the
lecture which had been suspended, and the guests of the institution were
invited to be present.

“I have fully explained to you all that it is possible to have you
comprehend in regard to a ship, or any square-rigged vessel, without
actual practice,” the principal began, as he took his place on the
platform. “As I said this morning, I prefer to tell you what you want to

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, at least a dozen hands were
raised; and it was plain that the students were primed with questions in
regard to nautical matters, and wanted their information from competent

“What is sailing on a bowline? I found it in a book the other day,”
asked Bark Duxbury, when the principal nodded to him.

“You pronounce it as though it were two words. Say bo-lin,” replied the
principal, as he went to the blackboard, and drew one side of a topsail,
showing the leech.

“The main to’ bowline is what I want to know about,” added Bark.

“You have been trying to put yourself into the pickle,” added the
principal with a smile, as he noticed the manner in which he clipped out
the p. “This is the leech of the main-topsail, we will suppose, though
it will answer just as well for any other sail. These are the bridles,”
he added, as he drew three lines of unequal length from the leech at the
lower part.

Then starting a line from above the upper one, he carried it so as to
touch the outer end of each of the short ones, and continued it in a
curve for some distance from the leech.

“The long line is the bowline, and the short ones are the bridles. The
bowline leads to the foremast, and through a block down to the deck. All
the square-sails may be provided with bowlines, which lead forward,
either to a mast or to a stay. They are used only on the windward-side
of the ship.”

“What are they for, sir?”

“They are used only when the ship is close-hauled; and by them the leech
of the sail is hauled forward so as to catch all the wind there is,”
replied the principal.

“I don’t know about close-hauled,” said Rag Spinner.

“Tell him, Ash Burton.”

“A vessel is close-hauled when she is sailing as nearly as she can to
windward, as when she is beating,” answered Ash.

“Precisely so; and a vessel is sailing on a bowline when she is as close
to the wind as she can get. On a taut bowline is the same thing.”

“Is it proper to use that expression about a boat, the Goldwing or the
Lily?” asked Bark.

“It might pass if you wished to be extra salt, though it is hardly
applicable. In fact, bowlines are but little used nowadays.”

“What is scudding under bare poles?” asked Sam Spottwood.

“It is a literal expression, and means sailing without any sail set. In
a heavy gale, a very heavy one, when a ship can carry no sail, she
sometimes scuds before the wind.”

“What is wearing?” inquired Archie Pinkler.

“Do you know what tacking means?”

“Yes, sir: it is changing from one tack to another.”

“To the other, for there are only two tacks in this sense. But which way
do you come about?”

“Stick her head right up into the wind,” answered Archie, using an
expression he had learned that morning.

“Right, my boy: you are quite a sailor. Sometimes the head of the vessel
will not come about: it may be on account of a current, or a want of
head-sail. In that case, she has to wear around the other way, with the
wind, instead of against it. Box-hauling, in a square-rigged vessel, is
wearing by backing the head-sails, those on the foremast.”

The students continued to ask questions of this kind till the clock
struck two, and then they were dismissed to sail the boats.

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