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
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
“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,”
“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.