by Horatio, Jr. Alger
Author of "Tom Temple's Career,"
"Tom Thatcher's Fortune," "Tom Turner's Legacy,"
"The Train Boy," Etc.
A. L. BURT COMPANY, PUBLISHERS
ROBERT COVERDALE'S STRUGGLE
A FISHERMAN'S CABIN
"Robert, have you seen anything of your uncle?"
"I suppose he's over at the tavern as usual," said the woman
despondently. "He drinks up about all he earns, and there's little
enough left for us. I hope you won't follow in his steps, Robert."
"You may be sure I won't, Aunt Jane," said the boy, nodding
emphatically. "I wouldn't drink a glass of rum for a hundred dollars."
"God keep you in that resolution, my dear boy! I don't want my sister's
son to go to destruction as my husband is doing."
My story opens in a small fishing village on the coast of one of the New
England States. Robert Coverdale, whom I have briefly introduced, is the
young hero whose fortunes I propose to record.
He is a strong, well-made boy, with a frank, honest face, embrowned by
exposure to the sun and wind, with bright and fearless eyes and a manly
look. I am afraid his dress would not qualify him to appear to advantage
in a drawing-room.
He wore a calico shirt and well-patched trousers of great antiquity and
stockings and cowhide shoes sadly in need of repairs.
Some of my well-dressed boy readers, living in cities and large towns,
may be disposed to turn up their noses at this ragged boy and wonder at
my taste in choosing such a hero.
But Robert had manly traits, and, in spite of his poor clothes,
possessed energy, talent, honesty and a resolute will, and a boy so
endowed cannot be considered poor, though he does not own a dollar,
which was precisely Robert's case.
Indeed, I may go further and say that never in the course of his life of
fifteen years had he been able to boast the ownership of a hundred
John Trafton, his uncle, was a fisherman. His small house, or cabin, was
picturesquely situated on the summit of a cliff, at the foot of which
rolled the ocean waves, and commanded a fine sea view.
That was perhaps its only recommendation, for it was not only small, but
furnished in the plainest and scantiest style. The entire furniture of
the house would not have brought twenty-five dollars at auction, yet for
twenty-five years it had been the home of John and Jane Trafton and for
twelve years of their nephew, Robert.
My readers will naturally ask if the fisherman had no children of his
own. There was a son who, if living, would be twenty-three years old,
but years before he had left home, and whether Ben Trafton was living or
dead, who could tell? Nothing had been heard of him for five years.
Mrs. Trafton's affections had only Robert for their object, and to her
sister's son she was warmly attached—nearly as much so as if he had
been her own son.
Her husband's love of drink had gradually alienated her from him, and
she leaned upon Robert, who was always ready to serve her with boyish
devotion and to protect her, if need be, from the threats of her
husband, made surly by drink.
Many days she would have gone to bed supperless but for Robert. He would
push out to sea in his uncle's boat, catch a supply of fish, selling a
part if he could or trade a portion for groceries. Indeed he did more
for the support of the family than John Trafton did himself.
"It's about time for supper, Robert," said his aunt; "but I've only got
a little boiled fish to offer you."
"Fish is good for the brains. Aunt Jane," said Robert, smiling.
"Well, I suppose it's no use waiting for your uncle. If he's at the
tavern, he will stay there until he is full of liquor and then he will
reel home. Come in and sit down to the table."
Robert entered the cabin and sat down at a side table. His aunt brought
him a plate of boiled fish and a potato.
"I found just one potato in the cupboard, Robert," she said.
"Then eat it yourself, aunt. Don't give it to me."
"No, Robert; I've got a little toast for myself. There was a slice of
bread too dry to eat as it was, so I toasted it and soaked it in hot
water. That suits me better than the potato."
"Haven't you any tea, aunt—for yourself, I mean?" Robert added quickly.
"I don't care for it, but I know you do."
"I wish I had some. Tea always goes to the right spot," said Mrs.
Trafton; "but I couldn't find a single leaf."
"What a pity!" said Robert regretfully.
"Yes," sighed Mrs. Trafton; "we have to do without almost everything. It
might be so different if Mr. Trafton wouldn't drink."
"Did he always drink?"
"He's drank, more or less, for ten years, but the habit seems to have
grown upon him. Till five years ago two-thirds of his earnings came to
me to spend for the house, but now I don't average a dollar a week."
"It's too bad, Aunt Jane!" said Robert energetically.
"So it is, but it does no good to say so. It won't mend matters."
"I wish I was a man."
"I am glad you are not, Robert."
"Why are you glad that I am a boy?" asked Robert in surprise.
"Because when you are a man you won't stay here. You will go out into
the world to better yourself, and I shan't blame you. Then I shall be
left alone with your uncle, and Heaven only knows how I shall get along.
I shall starve very likely."
Robert pushed back his chair from the table and looked straight at his
"Do you think. Aunt Jane," he demanded indignantly, "that I will desert
you and leave you to shift for yourself?"
"I said, Robert, that I shouldn't blame you if you did. There isn't much
to stay here for."
"I am sorry you have such a poor opinion of me, Aunt Jane," said the boy
gravely. "I am not quite so selfish as all that. I certainly should like
to go out into the world, but I won't go unless I can leave you
"I should miss you, Robert, I can't tell how much, but I don't want to
tie you down here when you can do better. There isn't much for me to
live for—I'm an old woman already—but better times may be in store for
"You are not an old woman, Aunt Jane. You are not more than fifty."
"I am just fifty, Robert, but I feel sometimes as if I were seventy."
"Do you know, Aunt Jane, I sometimes think that brighter days are coming
to both of us? Sometimes, when I sit out there on the cliff and look out
to sea, I almost fancy I can see a ship coming in laden with good things
Mrs. Trafton smiled faintly.
"I have waited a long time for my ship to come in, Robert," she said.
"I've waited year after year, but it hasn't come yet."
"It may come for all that."
"You are young and hopeful. Yours may come in some day, but I don't
think mine ever will."
"Have you anything for me to do, aunt?"
"Not at present, Robert."
"Then I'll study a little."
There was an unpainted wooden shelf which Robert had made himself and on
it were half a dozen books—his sole library.
From this shelf he took down a tattered arithmetic and a slate and
pencil, and, going out of doors, flung himself down on the cliff and
opened the arithmetic well toward the end.
"I'll try this sum in cube root," he said to himself. "I got it wrong
the last time I tried."
He worked for fifteen minutes and a smile of triumph lit up his face.
"It comes right," he said. "I think I understand cube root pretty well
now. It was a good idea working by myself. When I left school I had only
got through fractions. That's seventy-five pages back and I understand
all that I have tried since. I won't be satisfied till I have gone to
the end of the very last page."
Here his aunt came to the door of the cabin and called "Robert."
"All right, aunt; I'm coming."
The boy rose to his feet and answered the summons.
ROBERT AND MRS. JONES
"Are you willing to go to the village for me, Robert?" asked his aunt.
"To be sure I am, aunt," answered the boy promptly. "I hope you don't
"I thought you might be tired, as you were out all the forenoon in the
"That's sport, Aunt Jane. That doesn't tire me."
"It would if you were not very strong for a boy."
"Yes, I am pretty strong," said Robert complacently, extending his
muscular arms. "I can row the boat when the tide is very strong. What
errand have you got for me to the village, aunt?"
"I have been doing a little sewing for Mrs. Jones."
"You mean the landlord's wife?" questioned Robert.
"Yes; I don't feel very friendly toward her husband, for it's he that
sells strong drink to my husband and keeps his earnings from me, but I
couldn't refuse work from her when she offered it to me."
Mrs. Trafton spoke half apologetically, for it had cost her a pang to
work for her enemy's family, but Robert took a practical view of the
"Her money is as good as anybody's," he said. "I don't see why you
shouldn't take it. She has enough of our money."
"That's true, Robert," said his aunt, her doubts removed by her young
"Is the bundle ready. Aunt Jane?"
"Here it is, Robert," and the fisherman's wife handed him a small
parcel, wrapped in a fragment of newspaper.
"How much is she to pay for the work?"
"I hardly know what to ask. I guess twenty-five cents will be about
"Very well, Aunt Jane. Any other errands?"
"If you get the money, Robert, you may stop at the store and buy a
quarter of a pound of their cheapest tea. I am afraid it's extravagant
in me to buy tea when there's so little coming in, but it cheers me up
when I get low-spirited and helps me to bear what I have to bear."
"Of course you must have some tea, Aunt Jane," said Robert quickly.
"Nobody can charge you with extravagance. Anything more?"
"You may stop at the baker's and buy a loaf of bread. Then
to-morrow—please God—we'll have a good breakfast."
"All right, aunt!" and Robert began to walk rapidly toward the village,
about a mile inland.
Poor woman! Her idea of a good breakfast was a cup of tea, without milk
or sugar, and bread, without butter.
It had not always been so, but her husband's intemperance had changed
her ideas and made her accept thankfully what once she would have
It must be said of Robert that, though he had the hearty appetite of a
growing boy, he never increased his aunt's sorrow by complaining of
their meager fare, but always preserved a cheerful demeanor in the midst
of their privations.
I have said that the settlement, which was known as Cook's Harbor, was a
fishing village, but this is not wholly correct. A mile inland was a
village of fair size, which included the houses of several summer
residents from the city, and these were more or less pretentious.
Several comfortable houses belonged to sea captains who had retired from
active duties and anchored in the village where they first saw the
The cabins of the fishermen were nearer the sea, and of these there were
some twenty, but they were not grouped together.
I have said that the main village was a mile away. Here was the tavern,
the grocery store and the shops of the tailor and shoemaker. Here was
centered the social life of Cook's Harbor. Here, unfortunately, the
steps of John Trafton too often tended, for he always brought up at the
tavern and seldom came home with a cent in his pocket.
Robert was no laggard, and it did not take him long to reach the
Just in the center stood the tavern, a rambling building of two stories,
with an L, which had been added within a few years.
During the summer there were generally boarders from the city, who
considered that the invigorating sea air, with its healthful influences,
counterbalanced the rather primitive accommodations and homely fare with
which they must perforce be content.
By hook or crook Nahum Jones—or Nick Jones as he was called—had
managed to accumulate a snug competence, but much of it was gained by
his profit on liquor.
He was a thrifty man, whose thrift extended to meanness, and his wife
was thoroughly selfish. They had but one child—a daughter—who bade
fair to be an old maid.
Though Robert had made no objection to carry the work to the tavern, he
didn't enjoy his visit in anticipation.
He disliked both Mr. and Mrs. Jones, but felt that this must not
interfere with his aunt's business.
He went round to a side door and knocked. The door was opened by the
"Well, Robert," she said abruptly, "what's wanted?"
"Is your mother at home?"
"I suppose she is."
"Can I see her?"
"I don't know—I guess she's busy. Won't I do as well?"
"I would rather see your mother."
Upon this Selina summoned her mother, not thinking it necessary to
invite our hero into the house.
"Oh, I see!" said Mrs. Jones as she glanced at the bundle in Robert's
hand. "You've brought back the work I gave your aunt."
"Let me look at it."
She took the bundle, opened it and ran her eye rapidly over it.
"It'll do," she said. "Might have been better done, but it'll answer."
She was about to close the door, as if her business with Robert was at
an end, but this did not suit our hero.
"It will be twenty-five cents," he said in a business-like tone.
"Were you afraid I would forget to pay you?" asked Mrs. Jones rather
"No, ma'am, but I supposed you would like to know how much it would
"Very well; now I know."
If Robert had been easily abashed he would have dropped the matter there
and suffered her to take her time about paying, but he knew that his
aunt's intended purchasing must be made with ready money and he
"I would like the money now," he said, "for I am going to the store to
"It seems to me you are in a great hurry," said Mrs. Jones
"So would you be, Mrs. Jones," said Robert bluntly, "if you were as poor
as my aunt."
"Folks needn't be poor if they are smart," said the landlord's wife.
"I suppose you know where my uncle's money goes?" said Robert
Mrs. Jones did know, and, though she had not much of a conscience, she
felt the thrust and it made her uncomfortable and therefore angry. But
it also gave her an idea.
"Wait a minute," she said and left Robert standing in the doorway.
When she returned, which was in a short time, her thin lips were
wreathed with satisfaction.
"You can tell your aunt there won't be any money coming to her," she
"Why not?" demanded Robert in great surprise.
"Mr. Jones tells me that your uncle is indebted to him, and he will
credit him with twenty-five cents on account."
"What does my uncle owe him for?" demanded the boy with flashing eyes.
"For drink, I suppose," said Mrs. Jones rather reluctantly.
"For drink!" repeated our hero. "Are you not satisfied with taking all
my uncle's earnings, but you must get my aunt to work her fingers to the
bone and then keep back her money in payment for your rum?"
"Upon my word, Robert Coverdale," said Mrs. Jones sharply, "you are very
impudent! How dare you speak to me in that way?"
"How dare you treat my aunt so meanly?" retorted Robert with righteous
"I won't stand your impudence—so there! Your aunt needn't expect any
more sewing to do," said the angry landlady.
"She wouldn't take any more of your work if that is the way you mean to
"I won't stand here talking with you. I'll get Mr. Jones to give you a
horsewhipping—see if I don't!"
"He'd better not try it," said Robert with flashing eyes.
The door was slammed in his face, and, angry and disappointed, he walked
slowly out of the tavern yard.
THE WIND BROUGHT GOOD LUCK
John Trafton was sitting out on the porch of the tavern when his nephew
came out of the side gate.
"There's your nephew, Trafton," said old Ben Brandon, who, like John
Trafton, frequented the barroom too much for his good. "Hasn't come here
for his dram, has he?" added the old man, chuckling.
John Trafton's curiosity was excited, for he had no idea of any errand
that could bring Robert to the tavern. A suspicion crossed his mind, the
very thought of which kindled his indignation. His wife might have sent
to request Mr. Jones not to sell him any more liquor. He did not think
she would dare to do it, but she might. At any rate he determined to
He hastily left the porch and followed Robert. Presently the boy heard
his uncle call him and he turned round.
"What's wanted, uncle?" he inquired.
"Where have you been, Robert?"
"I called to see Mrs. Jones."
"What did you want of Mrs. Jones?"
"It was an errand for Aunt Jane."
"Will you answer my question?" said Trafton angrily. "What business has
your aunt got with Mrs. Jones?"
He still thought that his wife had sent a message to Mr. Jones through
the wife of the latter.
"She had been doing a little sewing for Mrs. Jones and asked me to carry
the work back."
"Oh, that's it, is it?" said John Trafton, relieved. "And how much did
the work come to?"
"You may give me the money, Robert," said the fisherman. "You might lose
it, you know."
Could Robert be blamed for regarding his uncle with contempt? His
intention evidently was to appropriate his wife's scanty earnings to his
own use, spending them, of course, for drink. Certainly a man must be
debased who will stoop to anything so mean, and Robert felt deeply
ashamed of the man he was forced to call uncle.
"I can't give you the money, uncle," said Robert coldly.
"Can't, hey? What do you mean by that, I want to know?" demanded the
"My aunt wanted me to buy a little tea and a loaf of bread with the
"What if she did? Can't I buy them just as well as you? Hand over that
money, Robert Coverdale, or it will be the worse for you."
"I have no money to hand you."
"Why haven't you? You haven't had a chance to spend it yet. You needn't
lie about it or I will give you a flogging!"
"I never lie," said Robert proudly. "I told you I haven't got the money
and I haven't."
"Then what have you done with it—lost it, eh?"
"I have done nothing with it. Mrs. Jones wouldn't pay me."
"And why wouldn't she pay you?"
"Because she said that you were owing her husband money for drink and
she would credit it on your account."
As Robert said this he looked his uncle full in the eye and his uncle
flushed a little with transient shame.
"So aunt must go without her tea and bread," continued Robert.
John Trafton had the grace to be ashamed and said:
"I'll fix this with Jones. You can go to the store and get the tea and
tell Sands to charge it to me."
"He won't do it," said Robert. "He's refused more than once."
"If he won't that isn't my fault. I've done all I could."
Trafton turned back and resumed his seat on the porch, where he remained
till about ten o'clock. It was his usual evening resort, for he did not
think it necessary to go home until it was time to go to bed.
Though Robert had no money to spend, he kept on his way slowly toward
the village store. He felt mortified and angry.
"Poor Aunt Jane!" he said to himself. "It's a shame that she should have
to go without her tea. She hasn't much to cheer her up. Mrs. Jones is
about the meanest woman I ever saw, and I hope Aunt Jane won't do any
more work for her."
It occurred to Robert to follow his uncle's direction and ask for credit
at the store. But he knew very well that there would be little prospect
of paying the debt, and, though a boy, he had strict notions on the
subject of debt and could not bring his mind, even for his aunt's sake,
to buy what he could not pay for.
When we are sad and discouraged relief often comes in some unexpected
form and from an unexpected quarter. So it happened now to our young
Walking before him was an elderly gentleman who had on his head a Panama
straw hat with a broad brim.
He was a Boston merchant who was spending a part of the season at Cook's
Harbor. As his custom was, he was indulging in an evening walk after
There was a brisk east wind blowing, which suddenly increased in force,
and, being no respecter of persons, whisked off Mr. Lawrence Tudor's
expensive Panama and whirled it away.
Mr. Tudor looked after his hat in dismay. He was an elderly gentleman,
of ample proportions, who was accustomed to walk at a slow, dignified
pace and who would have found it physically uncomfortable to run, even
if he could be brought to think it comported with his personal dignity.
"Bless my soul, how annoying!" exclaimed the merchant.
He looked about him helplessly, as if to consider what course it would
be best to pursue under the circumstances, and as he looked he was
relieved to see a boy in energetic pursuit of the lost hat.
This boy was Robert, who grasped the situation at once, and, being fleet
of foot, thought it very good fun to have a race with the wind.
He had a good chase, for the wind in this case proved to be no mean
competitor, but at last he succeeded and put his hand on the hat, which
he carried in triumph to its owner.
"Really, my boy, I am exceedingly indebted to you," said Mr. Tudor, made
happy by the recovery of his hat.
"You are quite welcome, sir," said Robert politely.
"You had a good run after it," said Mr. Tudor.
"Yes, sir; the wind is very strong."
"I don't know what I should have done without you. I am afraid I
couldn't have overtaken it myself."
"I am afraid not," said Robert, smiling at the thought of a man of the
merchant's figure engaging in a race for a hat.
"I could run when I was a boy like you," said Mr. Tudor pleasantly, "but
there's rather too much of me now. Do you live in the village?"
"Out on the cliff, sir. My uncle is a fisherman."
"And do you ever fish?"
"Sometimes—a little, sir."
"But you don't expect to be a fisherman when you grow up?"
"Not if I can find anything better."
"A bright-looking lad like you ought to find something better. Please
He drew from his vest pocket a two-dollar bill, which he placed in
"What!" exclaimed our young hero in astonishment. "All this for saving
your hat? It is quite too much, sir."
Mr. Tudor smiled.
"You will no doubt be surprised," he said, "when I tell you that my hat
cost me fifty dollars. It is a very fine Panama."
"Fifty dollars!" ejaculated Robert.
He had not supposed it worth two.
"So you see it is worth something to save it, and I should undoubtedly
have lost it but for you."
"I am very much obliged to you, sir," said Robert. "I wouldn't accept
the money if it were for myself, but it will be very acceptable to my
"I suppose your uncle does not find fishing very remunerative?"
"It isn't that, sir; but he spends nearly all of his money at the
"I understand, my boy. It is a very great pity. I, too, had an uncle who
was intemperate, and I can understand your position. What is your
"There is my business card. If you ever come to Boston, come and see
Robert took the card, from which he learned that his new acquaintance
was Lawrence Tudor.
When Robert parted from Mr. Tudor he felt as if he had unexpectedly
fallen heir to a fortune. Two dollars is not a very large sum, but to
Robert, nurtured amid privation, it assumed large proportions.
He began at once to consider what he could do with it, and it is to his
credit that he thought rather of his aunt than himself.
He would buy a whole pound of tea, he decided, and a pound of sugar to
make it more palatable. This would last a considerable time and take
less than half his money. As to the disposal of the remainder, he would
consider how to expend that.
In a long, low building, with brooms, brushes and a variety of
nondescript articles displayed in the windows and outside, Abner Sands
kept the village store.
It was a dark, gloomy place, crowded with articles for family use. The
proprietor enjoyed a monopoly of the village trade, and, in spite of
occasional bad debts, did a snug business and was able every year to
make an addition to his store of savings in the county savings bank.
He was a cautious man, and, by being well acquainted with the
circumstances and habits of every man in the village, knew whom to trust
and to whom to refuse credit. John Trafton belonged to the latter
Mr. Sands knew, as everybody else knew, that all his money was invested
in liquor and that the chance of paying a bill for articles needful for
the household was very small indeed.
When, therefore, Robert entered the store he took it for granted that he
meant to ask credit, and he was all ready for a refusal.
"What do you charge for your tea, Mr. Sands?" the boy asked.
"Different prices, according to quality," answered the storekeeper, not
thinking it necessary to go into details.
"How much is the cheapest?"
"Fifty cents a pound."
"Do you call it a pretty good article?" continued our hero.
"Very fair; I use it in my own family," answered Abner, looking over his
spectacles at his young customer.
"I guess I'll take a pound," said Robert with the air of one who had
plenty of money.
"A pound?" ejaculated Abner Sands in surprise.
A pound of tea for one in John Trafton's circumstances seemed to Mr.
Sands an extraordinary order. Considering that it was probably to be
charged, it seemed to the cautious trader an impudent attempt to impose
upon him, and he looked sternly at our young hero.
"We don't trust," he said coldly.
"I haven't asked you to trust me, Mr. Sands," said Robert
"You don't mean to say you're ready to pay for it cash down, do you?"
asked Abner, his countenance expressing amazement.
"Yes, I do."
"Show me the money."
"I'll show you the money when I get my tea," said Robert, provoked at
Mr. Sands' resolute incredulity. "I've told you I will pay you before I
leave the store. If you don't want to sell your goods, say so!"
"Come, come! there ain't no use in gettin' angry," said the trader in a
conciliatory tone. "Your trade's as good as anybody's if you've got
money to pay for the goods."
"I've already told you I have, Mr. Sands."
"All right, Robert. You shall have the tea."
He weighed out the tea and then asked:
"Is there anything more?"
"Yes, sir. How do you sell your sugar?"
"Brown sugar—eight cents."
"I guess that will do. I will take a pound of brown sugar."
"Your folks don't generally buy sugar. I didn't know you used it."
"We are going to use a pound," said Robert, who did not fancy the
"Well, I'd jest as soon sell you a pound as anybody as long as you've
got the money to pay for it."
Robert said nothing, although this remark was made in an interrogative
tone, as if Mr. Sands still doubted whether our hero would be able to
pay for his purchases.
There was nothing to do, therefore, but to weigh out the sugar.
The two bundles lay on the counter, but Mr. Sands watched them as a cat
watches a mouse, with a vague apprehension that our hero might seize
them and carry them off without payment.
But Robert was better prepared than he supposed.
From his vest pocket he drew the two-dollar bill, and, passing it across
the counter, he said:
"You may take your pay out of this."
Abner Sands took the bill and stared at it as if some mystery attached
to it. He scrutinized it carefully through his spectacles, as if there
was a possibility that it might be bad, but it had an unmistakably
"It seems to be good," he remarked cautiously.
"Of course it's good!" said Robert. "You don't take me for a
counterfeiter, do you, Mr. Sands?"
"It's a good deal of money for you to have, Robert. Where did you get
"Why do you ask that question?" asked our hero, provoked.
"I was a leetle surprised at your having so much money—that's all. Did
your uncle give it to you?"
"I don't see what that is to you, Mr. Sands. If you don't want to sell
your tea and sugar, you can keep them."
If there had been another grocery store in the village Robert would have
gone thither, but it has already been said that Abner Sands had the
monopoly of the village trade.
"You're kind of touchy this evenin', Robert," said Abner placidly, for
he was so given to interesting himself in the affairs of his neighbors
that he did not realize that his curiosity was displayed in an
impertinent manner. "Of course I want to sell all I can. You've got
considerable money comin' back to you. Don't you want to buy something
"I guess not to-night."
"As long as you've got the cash to pay, I'm perfectly ready to sell you
goods. Lemme see. Fifty-eight from two dollars leaves a dollar'n
"Forty-two," corrected Robert.
"I declare, so it does! You are a good hand at subtraction."
Robert felt that he could not truthfully return the compliment and
prudently remained silent.
"There is your money," continued the trader, putting in Robert's hand a
dollar bill and forty-two cents in change. "Your uncle must have been
He looked questioningly at our hero, but Robert did not choose to
gratify his curiosity.
"Is it so very lucky to make two dollars?" he asked, and with these
words he left the store.
"That's a cur'us boy!" soliloquized Mr. Sands, looking after him. "I
can't get nothin' out of him. Looks as if John Trafton must have turned
over a new leaf to give him so much money to buy groceries. I hope he
has. It's better that I should get his money than the tavern keeper."
Mr. Sands did not have to wait long before his curiosity was partially
gratified, for the very man of whom he was thinking just then entered
"Has my nephew been here?" he inquired.
"Just went out."
"I thought you might be willing to let him have what little he wanted on
credit. I'll see that it's paid for."
"Why, he paid for the goods himself—fifty-eight cents."
"What!" exclaimed the fisherman, astonished.
"He bought a pound of tea, at fifty cents, and a pound of sugar, at
eight cents, and paid for 'em."
"Where'd he get the money?" asked Trafton.
"I am sure I don't know. I supposed you gave it to him. He's got more
left. He paid for the articles with a two-dollar bill and he's got a
dollar and forty-two cents left!"
"The young hypocrite!" ejaculated John Trafton indignantly. "All the
while he had this money he was worryin' me for a quarter to buy some tea
and a loaf of bread."
"Looks rather mysterious—doesn't it?" said the grocer.
"Mr. Sands," said the fisherman, "I've took care of that boy ever since
he was three year old, and that's the way he treats me. He's a young
"Jes so!" said Mr. Sands, who was a politic man and seldom contradicted
"The rest of that money belongs to me by rights," continued the
fisherman, "and he's got to give it to me. How much did you say it
"A dollar and forty-two cents, John; but, seems to me, you'd better let
him keep it to buy groceries with."
"I must have the money!" muttered Trafton, not heeding this advice,
which was good, though selfish. "I guess I'll go home and make the boy
give it to me!"
And he staggered out of the store, and, as well as he could, steered for
"GIVE ME THAT MONEY"
From the village store Robert went to the baker's and bought a loaf of
bread for six cents, making his entire expenditures sixty-four cents.
He was now ready to go home. He walked rapidly and soon reached the
humble cabin, where he found his aunt waiting for him.
She looked with surprise at the three bundles he brought in and asked:
"What have you got there, Robert?"
"First of all, here is a pound of tea," said the boy, laying it down on
the kitchen table. "Here is a pound of sugar and here is a loaf of
"But I didn't order all those, Robert," said his aunt.
"I know you didn't," answered her nephew, "but I thought you'd be able
to make use of them."
"No doubt I shall, but surely you did not buy them all for twenty-five
"I should say not. Why, the tea alone cost fifty cents! Then the sugar
came to eight cents and the loaf cost six cents."
"Mrs. Jones didn't pay you enough to buy all those, did she?"
"Mrs. Jones is about as mean a woman as you can find anywhere," Robert
said warmly. "She didn't pay me a cent."
"Why? Didn't she like the work?"
"She said uncle owed her husband money for drink and the work would part
pay up the debt."
But for the presence of the groceries, this would have had a
discouraging effect upon Mrs. Trafton, but her mind was diverted by her
curiosity, and she said apprehensively:
"I hope you didn't buy on credit, Robert? I never can pay so much
"Mr. Sands isn't the man to sell on credit. Aunt Jane. No, I paid cash.
And the best of it is," continued our hero, "I have some money left."
Here he produced and spread on the table before his aunt's astonished
eyes the balance of the money.
Mrs. Trafton was startled. The possession of so much money seemed to her
"I hope you came by the money honestly, Robert?"
"What have I ever done, Aunt Jane, that you should think me a thief?"
asked Robert, half amused, half annoyed.
"Nothing, my dear boy; but I can't understand how you came to have so
"I see I must explain, aunt. A strong wind blew it to me."
"Then somebody must have lost it. You shouldn't have spent it till you
had tried to find the owner."
"I'll explain to you."
And he told her the story of the lost hat and the liberal reward he
obtained for chasing and recovering it.
"Think of a straw hat costing fifty dollars, aunt!" he said
"It does seem strange, but I am glad it was worth so much or you
wouldn't have been so well paid."
"This Mr. Tudor is a gentleman, aunt. Why, plenty of people would have
given me only ten cents. I would have thought myself well paid if he had
even given me that, but I couldn't have brought you home so much tea.
Aunt Jane, do me a favor."
"What is it, Robert?"
"Make yourself a good strong cup of tea tonight. You'll feel ever so
much better, and there's plenty of it. A pound will last a long time,
"Oh, yes, a good while. I shall get a good deal of comfort out of that
tea. But I don't know about making any to-night. If you would like
"If you'll make some, I'll drink a little, Aunt Jane."
Robert said this because he feared otherwise his aunt would not make any
till the next morning.
"Very well, Robert."
"Don't let uncle know I've brought so much money home," said Robert with
a sudden thought.
"Because I don't want him to know I have any money. If he knew, he would
want me to give it to him."
"I don't think he would claim it. It was given to you."
"I'll tell you why I am sure he would."
And Robert told how his uncle demanded the scanty pittance which he
supposed Mrs. Jones had paid for the sewing.
Mrs. Trafton blushed with shame for her husband's meanness.
"Drink changes a man's nature completely," she said. "The time was when
John would have scorned such a thing."
"That time has gone by, aunt. For fear he will find out that I have the
money, I believe I will go and hide it somewhere."
"Shall I take care of it for you, Robert?" asked Mrs. Trafton.
"No, Aunt Jane; he would find it out, and I don't want to get you into
any trouble. I know of a good place to put it—a place where he will
never find it. I will put it there till we need to use it."
"You must buy something for yourself with it. The money is yours."
Robert shook his head decidedly.
"I don't need anything—that is, I don't need anything but what I can do
without. We will keep it to buy bread and tea and anything else that we
need. Now, aunt, while you are steeping the tea, I will go out and
dispose of the money."
Here it is necessary to explain that though John Trafton started for
home when he heard from Mr. Sands about Robert's unexpected wealth, he
changed his mind as he passed the tavern. He thought he must have one
He entered and preferred his request.
"Trafton," said the landlord, "don't you think you've had enough?"
"Not quite. I want one more glass and then I'll go home."
"But you are owing me several dollars. Clear off that score and then you
may have as much as you will."
"I'll pay you a dollar on account to-morrow."
"Do you mean it?"
"Yes. Bob's got some money of mine—over a dollar. I'll get it to-night
and bring it round tomorrow."
"Of course, Trafton, If you'll keep your credit good, I won't mind
trusting you. Well, what shall it be?"
John Trafton gave his order and sat down again in the barroom. He felt
so comfortable that he easily persuaded himself that there was no hurry
about collecting the money in his nephew's hands. Robert was at home by
this time and would have no way of spending the balance of his cash.
"It's all right," said the fisherman; "I'll wait till ten o'clock and
then I'll go home."
Meanwhile Robert went out on the cliff and looked about him. He looked
down upon the waves as they rolled in on the beach and he enjoyed the
sight, familiar as it was, for he had a love of the grand and beautiful
"I think if I were a rich man," thought the poor fisherman's boy, "I
would like to build a fine house on the cliff, with an observatory right
here, where I could always see the ocean. It's something to live here,
if I do have to live in a poor cabin. But I must consider where I will
hide my money."
At his feet was a small tin box, which had been thrown away by somebody,
and it struck Robert that this would make a good depository for his
money. Fortunately the cover of the box was attached to it.
He took the money from his vest pocket and dropped it into the box. Then
he covered it, and, finding a good place, he scooped out the dirt and
carefully deposited the box in the hole.
He carefully covered it up, replacing the dirt, and took particular
notice of the spot, so that there would be no difficulty in finding it
again whenever he had occasion.
Having attended to this duty, he retraced his steps to the cabin and
found that the tea had been steeped and the table was covered with a
neat cloth and two cups and saucers were set upon it.
"Tea's all ready, Robert," said his aunt cheerfully. "The smell of it
does me good. It's better than all the liquor in the world!"
Robert did not like tea as well as his aunt, but still he relished the
warm drink, for the night was cool, and more than ever he rejoiced to
see how much his aunt enjoyed what had latterly been rather a rare
About nine o'clock Robert went to bed and very soon fell asleep.
He had not been asleep long before he was conscious of being rudely
Opening his eyes, he saw his uncle with inflamed face and thickened
"What's wanted, uncle?" he asked.
"Where's that money, you young rascal? Give me the dollar and forty-two
cents you're hiding from me!"
MAN AGAINST BOY
As Robert, scarcely awake, looked into the threatening face of his uncle
he felt that the crisis had come and that all his firmness and manliness
Our hero was not disposed to rebel against just authority. He recognized
that his uncle, poor as his guardianship was, had some claim to his
In any ordinary matter he would have unhesitatingly obeyed him. But, in
the present instance, he felt that his aunt's comfort depended, in a
measure, upon his retention of the small amount of money which he was
fortunate enough to possess.
Of course he had thought of all this before he went to sleep, and he had
decided, in case his uncle heard of his good luck, to keep the money at
For a minute he remained silent, meeting calmly the angry and impatient
glance of his uncle.
"Give me that money, I tell you!" demanded the fisherman with thickened
"I haven't got any money of yours, Uncle John," said Robert, now forced
to say something.
"You lie, boy! You've got a dollar and forty-two cents."
"I haven't got as much as that, but I have nearly as much."
"Have you been spending any more money?"
"I bought a loaf of bread for six cents."
"Then you've got a dollar and thirty-six cents left."
"Yes, I have."
"Give it to me!"
"You want to spend it for rum, I suppose, uncle."
"Curse your impudence! What difference does it make to you what I do
Robert rose to a sitting posture, and, carried away by just indignation,
"I mean to keep that money and spend it for my aunt. There ought to be
no need of it. You ought to support her yourself and supply her with all
she needs; but, instead of that, you selfishly spend all your money on
drink and leave her to get along the best way she can!"
"You young rascal!" exclaimed his uncle, half ashamed and wholly angry.
"Is that the way you repay me for keeping you out of the poorhouse?"
"I can support myself, Uncle John, and for the last two years I've done
it and helped Aunt Jane besides. There isn't any danger of my going to
the poorhouse. I would leave Cook's Harbor tomorrow if I thought Aunt
Jane were sure of a comfortable support, but I am afraid you would let
Robert had never spoken so plainly before and his uncle was almost
struck dumb by the boy's bold words. He knew they were deserved, but he
was angry nevertheless and he was as firm as ever in his determination
to have the money.
"Boy," he said, "you are too young to lecture a grown man like me. I
know what's best to do. Where did you get the money?" he demanded with
sudden curiosity. "Did you find it in any of my pockets?"
"There wouldn't be much use in searching your pockets for money. You
never leave any behind."
"Where did you get it then?"
"Mr. Tudor, who boards at the hotel, gave it to me."
"That's a likely story."
"He gave it to me because I ran after his hat, which was blown off by
the wind, and brought it back to him. It was a very expensive hat, so he
"I know; it is a Panama hat."
"That's what he called it."
"Did you have that money when I saw you coming out of the tavern yard?"
"When you got it, why didn't you come and bring it to me?"
"Because it was my own money. You had no right to claim it," said Robert
"He is right, John," said Mrs. Trafton, who had listened uneasily to the
conversation, but had not yet seen an opportunity to put in a word in
"Shut up, old woman!" said the fisherman roughly. "Well," said he,
turning to Robert, "I've heard what you've got to say and it don't make
a bit of difference. I must have the money."
"I refuse to give it to you," Robert said, pale but firm.
"Then," said John Trafton with a curse, "I'll take it."
He snatched Robert's pants from the chair on which they were lying and
thrust his hand into one pocket after the other, but he found nothing.
He next searched the vest in the same manner, but the search was equally
"You needn't search, for I haven't got the money," said Robert.
"Then where is it?"
"It is safe."
"Did he give it to you, Jane?" demanded the fisherman, turning to his
"Do you know where it is?"
"Boy, where is that money?" demanded Trafton, his face flushed. "Go and
get it directly!"
"I can't. It isn't in the house."
"Where is it then?"
"I hid it."
"Where did you hide it?"
"I dug a hole and put it in."
"What made you do that?"
"Because I was afraid you would get hold of it."
"You were right enough there," said John Trafton grimly, "for I will get
hold of it. Get right up and find it and bring it to me."
Here Mrs. Trafton again interposed.
"How can you ask such a thing, John?" she said. "The night is as dark as
a pocket. How do you expect Robert is going to find the money in the
Though John Trafton was a good deal under the influence of liquor, he
was not wholly deaf to reason and he saw the force of his wife's
In fact, he had himself found sorry trouble in getting home from the
tavern, familiar as the path was to him, on account of the intense
"Well, I guess it'll do to-morrow morning," he said. "I must have it
then, for I've promised to pay Jones a dollar on account. I said I
would, and I've got to keep my promise. Do you hear that, you young
"Yes, I hear it."
"Then mind you don't forget it. That's all I've got to say."
And the fisherman staggered into the adjoining room, and, without taking
the trouble of removing his garments, threw himself on the bed and in
five minutes was breathing loud in a drunken stupor.
Mrs. Trafton did not immediately go to bed. She was troubled in mind,
for she foresaw that there was only a truce and not a cessation of
In the morning her husband would renew his demand upon Robert, and,
should the latter continue to refuse to comply, she was afraid there
would be violence.
When her husband's heavy breathing showed that he was insensible to
anything that was said, she began.
"I don't know but you'd better give up that money to your uncle," she
"How can you advise me to do that, aunt?" asked Robert in surprise.
"Because I'm afraid you'll make him angry if you refuse."
"I can't help it if he is angry," answered Robert. "He has no right to
be. Don't you know what he said—that he wanted to pay a dollar to the
"Mr. Jones shall never get a cent of that money," said Robert firmly.
"But, Robert," said his aunt nervously, "your uncle may beat you."
"Then I'll keep my distance from him."
"I would rather he would have the money than that you should get hurt,
"Aunt Jane, I am going to take the risk of that. Though he is my uncle
and your husband, there's one thing I can't help saying: It is a
contemptibly mean thing not only to use all his own earnings for drink,
but to try to get hold of what little I get for the same purpose."
"I don't deny it, Robert. I don't pretend to defend my husband. Once he
was different, but drink has changed his whole nature. I never had any
reason to complain before he took to drink."
"No doubt of it, aunt, but that don't alter present circumstances. I
have no respect for my uncle when he acts as he has to-night. Come what
may, there's one thing I am determined upon—he shan't have the money."
"You'll be prudent, Robert, for my sake?" entreated Mrs. Trafton.
"Yes, I'll be prudent. To-morrow morning I will get up early and be out
of the way till after uncle is gone. There is no chance of his getting
up early and going a-fishing."
The deep and noisy breathing made it probable that the fisherman would
awaken at a late hour, as both Robert and his aunt knew.
She was reassured by his promise and prepared to go to bed. Soon all
three inmates of the little cabin were sleeping soundly.
THE NEXT MORNING
Robert rose at six the next morning and half an hour later took his
breakfast. It consisted of fish, bread and a cup of tea, and though most
of my young readers might not be satisfied with it—especially as there
was no butter—Robert thought himself lucky to be so well provided for.
When his breakfast was finished he rose from the table.
"Now I'm off, Aunt Jane," he said.
"Where are you going, Robert?"
"I'll earn some money if I can. We've got a little, but it won't last
"It won't be very easy to find work, I am afraid."
"I shall be ready for anything that turns up, aunt. Something turned up
yesterday when I didn't expect it."
Just then the fisherman was heard to stir in the adjoining room, and
Robert, not wishing to be near when he awakened, hastily left the cabin
to avoid a repetition of the scene of the previous night.
Mrs. Trafton breathed a sigh of relief when her nephew was fairly out of
About an hour later her husband rose and without needing to dress—for
he had thrown himself on the bed in his ordinary clothes—walked into
the room where his wife was at work.
"Where's Robert?" he asked.
"He had his breakfast and went out."
"How long ago?"
"About an hour ago."
John Trafton scowled with disappointment.
"Is he round about home?"
"I don't think he is."
"Did he say where he was going?"
"He said he would try to find a job."
"Why didn't you keep him? Didn't you know I wanted to see him?"
"You didn't ask me to keep him," said Mrs. Trafton nervously.
"I see how it is," said the fisherman; "you're in league with him."
"What do you mean by that, John?"
"You know well enough what I mean. You don't want him to give me that
Mrs. Trafton plucked up courage enough to say: "You ought not to ask for
"Why shouldn't I ask for it?" he demanded, pounding forcibly on the
"Because he means to spend it for things we need and you want it to
spend at the tavern."
"There you are again—always twitting me because, after exposing myself
to storm and the dangers of the sea, I take a little something to warm
me up and make me comfortable."
To hear John Trafton's tone one might think him a grievously injured
"For two years, John Trafton, you have spent three-fourths of your
earnings at the tavern," said his wife quietly. "You have left me to
suffer want and privation that you might indulge your appetite for
"You seem to be alive still," he said with an ugly sneer. "You don't
seem to have starved."
"I might have done so but for Robert. He has brought me fish and bought
groceries with what little money he could earn in various ways."
"Oh, it's Robert always!" sneered Trafton. "He is an angel, is he? He's
only done his duty. Haven't I given him the shelter of my roof?"
"You haven't given him much else," retorted his wife.
"I've heard enough of that; now shut up," said the fisherman roughly.
"What have you got for breakfast?"
Mrs. Trafton pointed to the table, on which, while her husband had been
speaking, she had placed his breakfast.
"Humph!" said he discontentedly, "that's a pretty poor breakfast!"
"It is the best I can give you," said his wife coldly.
"I don't care for tea. I'd as soon drink slops."
"What do you prefer?"
"I prefer coffee."
"I have none in the house. If you will bring me home some from the
store, I will make you a cup every morning, but I don't think you would
like it without milk."
"Do you think I am made of money? How do you expect me to buy coffee?"
"With the money you would otherwise spend for drink."
"Stop that, will you?" said Trafton angrily. "I'm tired of it."
A moment later he said in a milder tone:
"When I get that money of Robert's I will buy a pound of coffee."
Mrs. Trafton said nothing.
"Do you know where he has hidden it?" asked her husband after drinking a
cup of the tea which he had so decried.
"Didn't he tell you where he was going to put it?"
"You are sure he didn't give it to you to keep?"
"I am very glad he didn't."
"Why are you glad?"
"Because you would have teased me till you got it."
"And I'll have it yet, Mrs. Trafton—do you hear that?" said the
"Yes, I hear you."
"You may as well make up your mind that I am in earnest. What! am I to
be defied by a weak woman and a half-grown boy? You don't know me, Mrs.
"I do know you only too well, Mr. Trafton. It was an unlucky day when I
"Humph! There may be two sides to that story. Well, I'm going."
"Where are you going? Shall you go out in the boat this morning?"
"Oh, you expect me to spend all my time working for my support, do you?
No, I am not going out in the boat. I am going to the village."
"To the tavern, I suppose?"
"And suppose I am going to the tavern," repeated the fisherman in a
defiant tone, "have you got anything to say against it?"
"I have a great deal to say, but it won't do any good."
"That's where you are right."
John Trafton left the cabin, but he did not immediately take the road to
First of all he thought he would look round a little and see if he could
not discover the hiding place of the little sum which his nephew had
He walked about the cabin in various directions, examining carefully to
see if anywhere the ground had been disturbed.
In one or two places he thought he detected signs of disturbance, and,
bending over, scooped up the loose dirt, but, fortunately for our hero,
he was on a false scent and discovered nothing.
He was not a very patient man, and the fresh disappointment—for his
hopes had been raised in each case—made him still more angry.
"The young rascal!" he muttered. "He deserves to be flogged for giving
me so much trouble."
From the window of the cabin Mrs. Trafton saw what her husband was about
and she was very much afraid he would succeed. She could not
help—painful as it was—regarding with contempt a man who would stoop
to such pitiful means to obtain money to gratify his diseased appetite.
"If I thought my wife knew where this money is I'd have it out of her,"
muttered the fisherman with a dark look at the cabin, "but likely the
boy didn't tell her. I'll have to have some dealings with him shortly.
He shall learn that he cannot defy me."
John Trafton, giving up the search, took his way to the village, and, as
a matter of course, started directly for the tavern.
He entered the barroom and called for a drink.
Mr. Jones did not show his usual alacrity in waiting upon him.
"Trafton," said he, "where is that dollar you promised to pay me this
"Haven't got it," answered the fisherman, rather embarrassed. "I'll
bring it to-morrow morning."
"Then to-morrow morning you may call for a drink."
"You ain't going back on me, Mr. Jones?" asked John Trafton in alarm.
"You are going back on me, as I look at it. You promised to bring me a
dollar and you haven't done it."
"I'll tell you how it is, Mr. Jones. My nephew, Robert, has the money,
but he was gone when I woke up this morning. I shall see him to-night
and give you the money."
"You needn't wait till then. I saw Robert pass here only half an hour
ago. He's somewhere in the village. Find him and get the money and then
I'll talk with you."
There was no appeal from this decision and Trafton, angry and sullen,
left the tavern to look for Robert.
ROBERT BECOMES A PRISONER
One of the most tasteful houses in Cook's Harbor was occupied in summer
by the family of Theodore Irving, a Boston lawyer, who liked to have his
wife and children in the country, though his business required him to
spend a part of the hot season in the city.
The oldest son, Herbert, was about a year younger than Robert, a lively
boy, fond of manly sports and thoroughly democratic in his tastes. He
had scraped acquaintance with our hero, making the first advances, for
Robert was not disposed to intrude his company where he was not sure it
would be acceptable.
When Robert came to the village to avoid meeting his uncle. In passing
by the house of Mr. Irving he attracted the attention of Herbert, who
was sitting on the edge of the piazza.
With him was another boy of about his own age, a cousin named George
Randolph. He had come to Cook's Harbor to spend a fortnight with his
cousin, but the latter soon found that George was very hard to
He was seldom willing to engage in any amusement selected by his cousin,
but always had some plan of his own to propose. Moreover, he was proud
of his social position and always looked down upon boys whose dress
indicated a humbler rank than his own.
The two cousins were sitting on the piazza doing nothing. Herbert had
proposed croquet, but George pronounced it too warm. He also declined
ball for a similar reason.
"It seems to me you are very much afraid of the sun," said Herbert.
"I don't care to get tanned up. It looks vulgar," said George.
"I like to have a good time, even if I do get browned up," said his
"Then I don't agree with you," said George in a superior tone.
Just then Robert was seen approaching.
"There's a boy that will play with me," said Herbert, brightening up.
"There—the one that is just coming along."
"That boy? Why, he isn't dressed as well as our coachman's son!"
"I can't help that; he's a nice fellow. Bob, come here; I want you."
"You surely are not going to invite that common boy into the yard?"
protested George hastily.
"Why not? He has been here more than once."
By this time Robert had reached the gate.
Herbert jumped up and ran to open it.
"I am glad to see you, Robert," said Herbert cordially. "Are you in a
"Then come in and have a game of croquet."
"All right, but you'll easily beat me."
"Never mind; you'll learn fast. Bob, this is my cousin, George Randolph.
George, this is my friend, Robert Coverdale."
George made the slightest possible inclination of the head and did not
stir from where he was sitting.
"He doesn't look very social," thought Robert, greeting his friend's
"Here, Bob, select a mallet and ball. Shall I start first?"
"If you please. Won't your cousin play?"
"I'm very much obliged, I'm sure, for the invitation," said George, "but
I'd rather not."
"George is afraid of being tanned by exposure to the sun," explained
Herbert. "I hope you are not."
"I don't think the sun will make me any browner than I am already," said
"I agree with you," said George in a sneering tone.
Robert looked at him quickly, struck by his tone, and decided that he
had no particular desire to become any better acquainted.
The game of croquet proceeded and Herbert was an easy victor.
"I told you I should be beaten, Herbert," said Robert.
"Of course; I am much more used to the game than you. I will give you
odds of half the game. You shall start from the other stake on the
return course and I will try to overtake you."
He came near succeeding, but Robert beat him by two wickets.
After three games Herbert proposed ball, and Robert, who felt more at
home in this game, agreed to it.
"You'd better join us, George," said his cousin.
"No, I thank you. I have no inclination, I assure you."
"I don't see what fun there can be in sitting on the piazza."
"You forget that I have an opportunity of witnessing your friend's
His tone made it clear to Robert that this was a sneer, but he had too
much self-respect and too much regard for Herbert to take offense at
"You mean my awkwardness," he said. "You are quite welcome to the
amusement it must afford you."
George arched his brows in surprise.
"Really this ragged boy is talking to me as if he considered me his
equal," he thought. "It is Herbert's fault. He should not treat him so
familiarly. I really don't care to be in such company."
"You must excuse me, Herbert," said George, rising with suitable
dignity. "As you are provided with company, you can spare me. I will go
into the house and read for a while."
"Very well, George."
"I hope I haven't driven your cousin away, Herbert," said Robert.
"I don't care whether you have or not, Bob," said Herbert, "I'm awfully
disappointed in him. Papa invited him to visit us, thinking he would be
company for me, but, instead of that, he objects to everything I
propose. I find it very hard to entertain him."
"He doesn't appear to fancy me," said Robert.
"Don't mind him, Bob. He's a mean, stuck-up fellow, if he is my
"Perhaps he is not to blame. I am only a poor boy, belonging to a
fisherman's family. I am afraid I am not a suitable associate for you or
him," said Robert with proud humility.
"No more of that talk, Bob," said Herbert. "You're suitable for me,
anyhow, and I like you twice as much as my cousin. I don't care how you
are dressed, as long as you are a good fellow."
"At any rate, you are a good fellow, Herbert," said Robert warmly. "I
liked you the very first day I saw you."
"And I can say the same for you. Bob. Well, never mind about George.
Leave him to his book. We'll amuse ourselves better."
As Robert was playing he caught sight of his uncle on his way to the
tavern. He knew, therefore, that he could return home without danger of
annoyance, and he excused himself to Herbert. As it was doubtful whether
he could get anything to do in the village and as the boat would not be
in use, he concluded to go out and see if he could not catch a few fish
for his aunt's dinner.
"Well, come and play with me again very soon, Bob," said his friend.
"I will, Herbert. Thank you for inviting me."
"Oh, I do that on my own account! I like your company."
Robert went home and spent a short time with his aunt before setting out
on his fishing trip. He only meant to go out a short distance and there
was plenty of time before noon.
He was just getting out the boat when, to his dismay, he heard a
familiar but unwelcome voice hailing him.
"Where are you going?"
"I am going a-fishing. I thought you were not going to use the boat."
"Well, I am," said the fisherman shortly. "Are you ready to give me that
"No, uncle," said Robert firmly.
"I have a right to it."
"You don't need it and aunt does," answered our hero.
"Well, never mind about that now. You can go out with me."
Considerably surprised at getting off so easily, Robert jumped into the
boat with his uncle and they pushed off.
"Pull for Egg Island," said John Trafton.
Egg Island, so called from its oval shape, was situated about three
miles from the cliff on which the fisherman's cabin stood and probably
did not comprise more than an acre of surface. It was rocky, partly
covered with bushes and quite unoccupied.
Robert was puzzled, but did not venture to ask his uncle why they were
going to this island.
In due time they reached the rocky isle and the boat was rounded to
"You may jump out and get me a good-sized stick," said the fisherman.
Robert obeyed, though he feared the stick was to be used on his back.
He had scarcely scrambled up the bank than he heard the sound of oars,
and, looking back hastily, he saw his uncle pushing off from the
"I'm going to leave you here, you young rascal, till you agree to give
me that money," said John Trafton triumphantly. "I'll let you know that
I won't be defied by a boy."
Already the boat was several rods distant.
Robert sat down on a rocky ledge and tried to realize his position. He
was a prisoner on Egg Island and there he must stay till his uncle chose
to release him.
ALONE ON AN ISLAND
Of course our hero's position was not to be compared with that of one
left on a lonely island in the Pacific, but it was not agreeable. He was
only three miles from the mainland, but there was no chance to cross
this brief distance. He had no boat, and though he could swim a little,
he would inevitably have been drowned had he undertaken to swim to
Robert had read "Robinson Crusoe," and he naturally thought of that
famous mariner on finding himself in a similar position.
He had never been on Egg Island before and he knew it only as he had
seen it from the mainland or from a boat.
"That's a mean trick of Uncle John," said Robert to himself. "If I had
suspected what he was after I wouldn't have got out of the boat."
Just then he saw the boat turn, the fisherman pulling for the island.
Robert felt relieved. He was not to be left on the island after all. He
sat still and waited for the boat to approach.
"Well, how do you like it?" asked Trafton when he was within a few
"Not very well," answered our hero.
"You wouldn't care to stay here, I suppose?"
"I will take you back into the boat if you will promise to give me that
It was a tempting proposal, and Robert was half inclined to yield. But,
he reflected, his uncle had no claim to the money, and, if he secured
it, would spend it for drink, while his aunt would lose the benefit of
it. He summoned all his courage and answered:
"You have no right to the money, uncle. I can't give it to you."
"If you don't, I will row away and leave you."
"Then you will be doing a very mean thing," said Robert with spirit.
"That's my lookout. Just understand that I am in earnest. Now, what do
"I say no," answered our hero firmly.
"Then you may take the consequences," said his uncle, with a muttered
curse, as he turned the head of the boat and rowed rapidly away.
Robert watched the receding boat, and for an instant he regretted his
determination. But it was only for an instant.
"I have done what I thought to be right," he said, "and I don't believe
I shall have cause to repent it. I must see what is best to be done."
He got up and set about exploring his small island kingdom.
It was very rocky, the only vegetation being some scant grass and some
whortleberry bushes. Luckily it was the height of the berry season and
there was a good supply on the bushes.
"I shan't starve just yet," he said cheerfully. "These berries will keep
me alive for a day or two, if I am compelled to remain as long."
There was this advantage about the berries, that, in a measure, they
satisfied his thirst as well as his hunger.
Robert did not immediately begin to gather berries, for it was yet
early, and too short a time had elapsed since breakfast for him to have
gained an appetite. He wandered at random over his small kingdom and
from the highest portion looked out to sea.
Far away he saw several sails, but there was little chance of being
rescued by any. If he were seen, it would not be supposed that he was
confined a prisoner on an island so near the mainland. Still Robert did
not feel that he was likely to be a prisoner for a long time.
There were other fishermen, besides his uncle, at Cook's Harbor, and by
next morning, at the farthest, he would be able to attract the attention
of some one of them as he cruised near the island.
But it would not be very pleasant to pass a night alone in such an
Not long before a sloop had been wrecked upon the southwest corner of
the island, and though no lives were lost, the vessel itself had been so
injured that there had been no attempt to repair or remove it.
In coasting near the island Robert had often thought he would like to
examine the wreck, but he never had done so. It struck him now that he
had a capital opportunity to view it at his leisure. Of leisure,
unfortunately, he had too much on his hands.
There was a patch of sand at the corner where the sloop had run ashore
and the frame of the vessel had imbedded in it. A portion had been swept
away, but a considerable part still remained.
Robert clambered down and began to make an examination of the stranded
"I suppose it belongs to me if I choose to claim it," he said to
himself. "At any rate, no one else is likely to dispute my claim.
Wouldn't it be jolly if I could find a keg of gold pieces hidden
somewhere about the old wreck? That would keep aunt and me for years and
we wouldn't feel any anxiety about support."
This was very pleasant to think about certainly, but kegs of gold pieces
are not often carried on sloops nowadays, as Robert very well knew.
The chief use the old wreck was likely to be to him was in affording
materials for a raft by which he might find his way to the mainland.
Our hero made a critical survey of the wreck and tried to pull it apart.
This was not easy, but finally he was enabled to detach a few planks.
"If I only had a saw, a hammer and some nails," he thought, "I could
build a raft without much difficulty. But I don't see how I am going to
get along without these."
For the hammer he soon found a substitute in a hard rock of moderate
size. There were nails, but they were not easy to extricate from the
planks. As to a saw, there was no hope of getting one or anything that
would answer the purpose of one.
Robert worked hard for a couple of hours and in that time he had
accomplished something. He had extricated half a dozen planks of unequal
length, secured a supply of nails, more or less rusty, and thus had
already provided the materials of a raft.
The grand difficulty remained—to fashion them into a raft which would
convey him in safety to the shore of the mainland.
I have said that he had no saw. He had a jackknife, however, and this
was of some use to him, particularly in extricating the nails. It was
slow work, but he had all day before him.
When the two hours were over he began to feel hungry. It was not far
from the time when he was accustomed to take dinner, and he set about
satisfying his hunger.
He went from bush to bush, plucking the ripe berries and eating them.
They were very good, but not quite so hearty as a plate of meat and
potatoes. However, he would have had no meat if he had been able to sit
down at home.
After dinner—if his repast of berries can be dignified by such a
name—Robert sat down to rest a while before resuming his labors on the
He finally lay down with his head in the shadow of an unusually large
bush, and, before he was fully aware of the danger, he had fallen
asleep. When he awoke he saw by the position of the sun that it must be
about the middle of the afternoon.
He jumped up hastily, and, first of all, took a hasty glance around to
see if he could anywhere descry a boat. But none was to be seen.
"I must set about making my raft," he decided. "It is getting late and I
don't know how long it may take me."
It proved to be slow and rather difficult work. Robert was pounding away
with his stone hammer when, to his great joy, he descried a boat
rounding the corner of the island.
It was rowed by a single boy. When he came near Robert recognized him as
George Randolph—the cousin of his friend Herbert.
It happened that George was very fond of rowing and had a boat of his
own, which he rowed a good deal in Boston Harbor.
He had long had an ambition to row to Egg Island and had selected this
day for the trip. He had not asked Herbert to accompany him, being
desirous of saying that he had accomplished the entire trip alone.
Though George had not seemed very friendly, Robert did not for a moment
doubt that he would be willing to help him in his strait, and he was
almost as delighted to see him as he would have been to see Herbert
himself. There would be no need now of the raft, and he gladly suspended
work upon it.
Rising to his feet, he called out:
George paused in his rowing and asked—for he had not yet caught sight
Then George, turning his glance in the right direction, caught sight of
the boy he had tried to snub in the morning.
ROBERT COMPLETES THE RAFT
"What do you want of me?" asked George superciliously.
"Will you come to shore and take me into your boat?" asked Robert
"Why should I? You have no claims on me," said George. "Indeed, I don't
"I was at Mr. Irving's this morning, playing croquet with Herbert."
"I am aware of that, but that is no reason why I should take you into my
boat. I prefer to be alone."
If Robert had not been in such a strait he would not have pressed the
request, but he was not sure when there would be another chance to leave
the island, and he persisted.
"You don't understand how I am situated," he said. "I wouldn't ask such
a favor if I were not obliged to, but I have no other way of getting
back. If you don't take me in, I shall probably be obliged to stay here
"How did you come here?" asked George, his curiosity aroused.
"I came in a boat with my uncle."
"Then you can go back with him."
"He has gone back already. He is offended with me because I won't do
something which he has no right to ask, and he has left me here
"Isn't your uncle a fisherman?"
"I don't care to associate with a fisherman's boy," said George.
Robert had never before met a boy so disagreeable as George, and his
face flushed with anger and mortified pride.
"I don't think you are any better than Herbert," he said, "and he is
willing to associate with me, though I am a fisherman's boy."
"I don't think much of his taste, and so I told him," said George. "My
father is richer than Mr. Irving," he added proudly.
"Do you refuse to take me in your boat then?" asked Robert.
"I certainly do."
"Although I may be compelled to stay here all night?"
"That's nothing to me."
Robert was silent a moment. He didn't like to have any quarrel with
Herbert's cousin, but he was a boy of spirit, and he could not let
George leave without giving vent to his feeling.
"George Randolph," he broke out, "I don't care whether your father is
worth a million; it doesn't make you a gentleman. You are a mean,
"How dare you talk to me in that way, you young fisherman?" gasped
George in astonishment and wrath.
"Because I think it will do you good to hear the truth," said Robert
hotly. "You are the meanest fellow I ever met, and if I were Herbert
Irving I'd pack you back to the city by the first train."
"You impudent rascal!" exclaimed George. "I've a good mind to come on
shore and give you a flogging!"
"I wish you'd try it," said Robert significantly. "You might find
yourself no match for a fisherman's boy."
"I suppose you'd like to get me on shore so that you might run off with
my boat?" sneered George.
"I wouldn't leave you on the island, at any rate, if I did secure the
boat," said Robert.
"Well, I won't gratify you," returned George, "I don't care to have my
boat soiled by such a passenger."
"You'll get paid for your meanness some time, George Randolph."
"I've taken too much notice of you already, you low fisherman," said
George. "I hope you'll have a good time staying here all night."
He began to row away, and as his boat receded Robert saw departing with
it the best chance he had yet had of escape from his irksome captivity.
"I didn't suppose any boy could be so contemptibly mean," he reflected
as his glance followed the boat, which gradually grew smaller and
smaller as it drew near the mainland. "I don't think I'm fond of
quarreling, but I wish I could get hold of that boy for five minutes."
Robert's indignation was natural, but it was ineffective. He might
breathe out threats, but while he was a prisoner his aristocratic foe
was riding quickly over the waves.
"He rows well," thought our hero, willing to do George justice in that
respect. "I didn't think a city boy could row so well. I don't believe I
could row any better myself, though I've been used to a boat ever since
I was six years old."
But it would not do to spend all the afternoon in watching George and
his boat or he would lose all chance of getting away himself before
With a sigh he resumed work on the raft which he had hoped he could
afford to dispense with and finally got it so far completed that he
thought he might trust himself on it.
Robert was a little solicitous about the strength of his raft. It must
be admitted that, though he had done the best he could, it was rather a
rickety concern. If the nails had been all whole and new and he had had
a good hammer and strong boards he could easily have made a satisfactory
But the materials at his command were by no means of the best. The nails
were nearly all rusty, some were snapped off in the middle and his stone
did not work with the precision of a regular hammer.
"If it will only hold together till I can get to shore," he thought, "I
won't care if it goes to pieces the next minute. It seems a little
shaky, though. I must try to find a few more nails. It may increase the
strength of it."
There was an end of a beam projecting from the sand, just at his feet.
Robert expected that probably he might by unearthing it find somewhere
about it a few nails, and he accordingly commenced operations.
If he had had a shovel or a spade, he could have worked to better
advantage, but as it was he was forced to content himself with a large
shell which he picked up near the shore.
Soon he had excavated a considerable amount of sand and brought to the
surface a considerable part of the buried beam. It was at this point
that he felt the shell strike something hard.
"I suppose it is a stone," thought Robert.
And he continued his work with the object of getting it out of the way.
It was not long before the object was exposed to view.
What was Robert's surprise and excitement to find it an ivory
portemonnaie, very much soiled and discolored by sea water!
Now, I suppose no one can find a purse or pocketbook without feeling his
pulse a little quickened, especially where, as in Robert's case, money
is so much needed.
He immediately opened the portemonnaie, and to his great delight found
that it contained several gold pieces.
As my readers will feel curious to know the extent of his good luck, I
will state definitely the amount of his discovery. There were two gold
ten-dollar pieces, two of five, one two-dollar-and-a-half piece and
fifty cents in silver. In all there were thirty-three dollars in gold
Robert's delight may be imagined. If he had felt in luck the day before,
when he had been paid two dollars, how much more was he elated by a sum
which to him seemed almost a fortune!
"I am glad George didn't take me on board his boat," he reflected. "If
he had, I should never have found this money. Now, I don't care if I do
stay here all night. Uncle had little idea what service he was doing me
when he left me alone on Egg Island."
Though Robert expressed his willingness to spend the night on Egg
Island, he soon became eager to get home so that he could exhibit to his
aunt the evidence of his extraordinary luck.
He anticipated the joy of the poor woman as she saw assured to her for
weeks to come a degree of comfort to which for a long time she had been
Robert examined his raft once more and resolved to proceed to make it
ready for service. It took longer than he anticipated, and it was nearly
two hours later before he ventured to launch it. He used a board for a
paddle, and on his frail craft he embarked, with a bold heart, for the
A FRIEND GOES TO THE RESCUE
Leaving Robert for a time, we will accompany George Randolph on his
George did not at all enjoy the plain speaking he had heard from Robert.
The more he thought of it the more his pride was outraged and the more
deeply he was incensed.
"The low-lived fellow!" he exclaimed as he was rowing home. "I never
heard of such impudence before. He actually seemed to think that I would
take as a passenger a common fisherman's boy. I haven't sunk as low as
George was brought up to have a high opinion of himself and his
position. He really thought that he was made of a different sort of clay
than the poor boys with whom he was brought in contact, and his foolish
parents encouraged him in this foolish belief.
Probably he would have been very much shocked if it had become known
that his own grandfather was an honest mechanic, who was compelled to
live in a very humble way.
George chose to forget this or to keep it out of sight, as it might have
embarrassed him when he was making his high social pretensions.
Falsely trained as he had been, and with a strong tendency to
selfishness, George had no difficulty in persuading himself that he had
done exactly right in rebuking the forwardness of his humble
"He isn't fit to associate with a gentleman," he said to himself. "What
business is it of mine that he has to stay on the island all night? If
his uncle left him there, I dare say he deserved it."
George did not immediately land when he reached the beach, but floated
here and there at will, enjoying the delightful sea breeze which set in
from seaward. At length, however, he became tired and landed. The boat
did not belong to him, but was hired of a fisherman living near by, who
had an extra boat.
The owner of the boat was on hand when George landed. He was, though a
fisherman, a man of good, sound common sense, who read a good deal in
his leisure moments and was therefore well informed. Like many other New
England men of low position, he was superior to his humble station and
was capable of acquitting himself creditably in a much higher sphere. It
is from persons of his class that our prominent men are often
It may be mentioned here that, though George's father, as he liked to
boast, was a rich man, the boy himself was very mean in money matters
and seldom willing to pay a fair price for anything. He was not above
driving a close bargain, and to save five cents would dispute for half
"So you've got back young man?" said Ben Bence, the fisherman. "Did you
have a pleasant trip?"
"Quite fair," answered George in a patronizing tone. "I rowed over to
Egg Island and back."
"That's doing very well for a city boy," said the fisherman.
"I should think it was good for any boy or man either," said George,
annoyed at this depreciation of his great achievement.
"Why," said he, "I'm out for four or five hours sometimes. I don't think
anything of rowing from fifteen to twenty miles, while you have rowed
"I don't expect to row as far as a man," said George, rather taken
"The best rower round here among the boys is Bob Coverdaie," said the
"What can he do?" asked George with a sneer.
"He can row ten miles without feeling it," said Bence.
"Does he say so?" asked George in a meaning tone.
"No, but I have seen him do it. He's been out with me more than once.
He's a muscular boy, Bob is. Do you know him?"
"I have seen him," answered George distantly.
"He's a great chum of your cousin, Herbert Irving," said Bence, "and so
I thought you might have met him."
This subject was not to George's taste, and he proceeded to change it.
"Well, my good man," he said patronizingly, "how much do I owe you?"
"So I am your good man?" repeated Ben Bence with an amused smile. "I am
much obliged to you, I am sure. Well, you were gone about two hours, I
"I don't think it was quite as much as that," said George.
"I guess twenty-five cents will about pay me."
"Twenty-five cents!" repeated George, all his meanness asserting itself.
"I think that is a very high price!"
"Did you expect to get the boat for nothing?" asked the fisherman,
"Of course not. I wouldn't be beholden to a fisherman," George said
"Indeed! How much did you calculate to pay?"
"I think twenty cents is enough."
"Then the only difference between us is five cents?"
"Then you can pay me twenty cents. I can live without the extra five
George, pleased at gaining his point, put two ten-cent pieces in the
hands of the owner of the boat, saying:
"I don't care about the five cents, of course, but I don't like to pay
"I understand, Master Randolph," said the fisherman with a quizzical
smile. "In your position, of course, you need to be economical."
"What do you mean?" asked George with a flushed face.
"Oh, nothing!" answered Ben Bence, smiling.
The smile made George uncomfortable. Was it possible that this common
fisherman was laughing at him? But, of course, that did not matter, and
he had saved his five cents.
George got home in time for supper, but it was not till after supper
that he mentioned to Herbert:
"I saw that young fisherman this afternoon."
"What young fisherman?"
"The one you played croquet with this morning."
"Oh, Bob Coverdale! Where did you see him?" asked Herbert with
"On Egg Island."
"How came he there?" inquired Herbert, rather surprised.
"He went there in a boat with his uncle. I expect he's there now."
"Why should he stay over there so long?"
"It's a rich joke," said George, laughing. "It seems his uncle was mad
with him and landed him there as a punishment. He's got to stay there
"I don't see anything so very amusing in that," said Herbert, who was
now thoroughly interested.
"He wanted me to take him off," proceeded George. "He was trying to
build a raft. I told him he'd better keep at it."
If George had watched the countenance of his cousin he would have seen
that Herbert was very angry, but he was so amused by the thought of
Robert's perplexity that he did not notice.
"Do you mean to say that you refused to take him off?" demanded Herbert
in a quick, stern tone that arrested George's attention.
"Of course I did! What claim had he on me?"
"And you deliberately left him there, when it would have been no trouble
to give him a passage back?"
"Really, Herbert, I don't like your way of speaking. It was my boat—or,
at least, I was paying for the use of it—and I didn't choose to take
him as a passenger."
"George Randolph, do you want to know my opinion of you?" asked Herbert
"What do you mean?" stammered George.
"I mean this, that I am ashamed of you. You are the most contemptibly
mean fellow I ever met, and I am heartily sorry there is any
relationship between us."
"I consider that an insult!" exclaimed George, pale with anger.
"I am glad you do. I mean it as such. Just tell my mother I won't be
back till late in the evening."
"Where are you going?"
"I am going to get a boat and row to Egg Island for Bob Coverdale," and
Herbert dashed up the street in the direction of the beach.
"He must be crazy!" muttered George, looking after his cousin.
Herbert Irving reached the beach and sought out Ben Bence.
"Mr. Bence," he said, "I want to go to Egg Island. If you can spare the
time, come with me and I'll pay you for your time."
"What are you going for, Master Herbert?"
Upon this Herbert explained the object of his trip.
"Now, will you go?" he asked.
"Yes," answered the fisherman heartily, "I'll go and won't charge you a
cent for the boat or my time. Bob Coverdale's a favorite of mine, and
I'm sorry his uncle treats him so badly."
Strong, sturdy strokes soon brought them to the island.
"Bob! Where are you. Bob?" called Herbert.
There was no answer. The island was so small that he would have been
seen if he had been there.
"He must have got off," said Herbert. "George said he was building a
"Then I mistrust something's happened to the poor boy," said Bence
gravely. "He couldn't build a raft here that would hold together till he
reached the mainland."
Herbert turned pale.
"I hope it isn't so bad as that," he said. "Let us row back as quick as
A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE
As they were rowing back they scanned the sea in every direction, but
nowhere did they discover any signs of Robert or his raft.
"Perhaps," suggested Herbert, breaking a long silence, "Bob is already
He looked inquiringly in the face of his companion to see what he
thought of the chances.
"Mayhap he is," said Ben Bence slowly, "but I mistrust he found it too
rough for the raft."
"In that case——" said Herbert anxiously and stopped without answering
"In that case the poor boy's at the bottom of the sea, it's likely."
"He could swim, Mr. Bence."
"Yes, but the tide would be too strong for him. Just about now there's a
fearful undertow. I couldn't swim against it myself, let alone a boy."
"If anything has happened to him it's his uncle's fault," said Herbert.
"John Trafton will have to answer for it," said the fisherman sternly.
"There ain't one of us that don't love Bob. He's a downright good boy,
Bob Coverdale is, and a smart boy, too."
"If he's lost I will never have anything more to do with George
Randolph. I will ask mother to pack him back to Boston to-morrow."
"George ain't a mite like you," said Ben Bence.
"I hope not," returned Herbert hastily. "He's one of the meanest boys I
ever met. He might just as well have taken poor Bob off the island this
afternoon, if he hadn't been so spiteful and ugly."
"It would serve him right to leave him there a while himself," suggested
"I agree with you."
There was another pause. Each was troubled by anxious thoughts about the
When they reached the shore Herbert said:
"I'm going to Mr. Trafton's to see if Bob has got home."
"I'll go with you," said the fisherman briefly.
They reached the humble cabin of the Traftons and knocked at the door.
Mrs. Trafton opened it.
"Good evening, Mr. Bence," she said. "I believe this young gentleman is
Master Herbert Irving? I have often heard Robert speak of him."
"Is Robert at home?" asked Herbert eagerly.
"No, he has been away all day," answered his aunt.
"Do you know where he is?" inquired Ben Bence soberly.
"Mr. Trafton wouldn't tell me. He said he had sent him away on some
errand, but I don't see where he could have gone, to stay so long."
It was clear Mrs. Trafton knew nothing of the trick which had been
played upon her nephew.
"Tell her, Mr. Bence," said Herbert, turning to his companion.
"Has anything happened to Robert?" asked Mrs. Trafton, turning pale.
They told her how her husband had conveyed Robert to Egg Island and then
treacherously left him there, to get off as he might.
"Was there any difficulty between Bob and his uncle?" asked Ben Bence.
"Yes; the boy had a little money which had been given him and my husband
ordered him to give it up to him. He'd have done it, if he hadn't wanted
to spend it for me. He was always a considerate boy, and I don't know
what I should have done without him. Mr. Bence, I know it's a good deal
to ask, but I can't bear to think of Robert staying on the island all
night. Would you mind rowing over and bringing him back?"
As yet Mrs. Trafton did not understand that any greater peril menaced
"Mrs. Trafton, we have just been over to Egg Island," said the
"And didn't you find him?"
"No; he was not there."
"But how could he get off?"
"He was seen this afternoon making a raft from the old timbers he found
in the wreck. He must have put to sea on it."
"Then why is he not here?"
"The sea was rough, and——"
Mrs. Trafton, who had been standing, sank into a chair with a startled
"You don't think my boy is lost?"
"I hate to think so, Mrs. Trafton, but it may be."
From grief there was a quick transition to righteous indignation.
"If the poor boy is drowned, I charge John Trafton with his death!" said
the grief-stricken woman with an energy startling for one of her usually
"What's this about John Trafton?" demanded a rough voice.
It was John Trafton himself, who, unobserved, had reached the door of
Ben Bence and Herbert shrank from him with natural aversion.
"So you're talking against me behind my back, are you?" asked Trafton,
looking from one to the other with a scowl.
His wife rose to her feet and turned upon him a glance such as he had
never met before.
"What have you done with Robert, John Trafton?" she demanded sternly.
"Oh! that's it, is it?" he said, laughing shortly. "I've served him as
"What have you done with him?" she continued in a slow, measured voice.
"You needn't come any tragedy over me, old woman!" he answered with
annoyance. "I left him on Egg Island to punish him for disobeying me!"
"I charge you with his murder!" she continued, confronting him with a
courage quite new to her.
"Murder!" he repeated, starting. "Come, now, that's a little too strong!
Leaving him on Egg Island isn't murdering him. You talk like a fool!"
"Trafton," said Ben Bence gravely, "there is reason to think that your
nephew put off from the island on a raft, which he made himself, and
that the raft went to pieces."
For the first time John Trafton's brown face lost its color.
"You don't mean to say Bob's drowned?" he ejaculated.
"There is reason to fear that he may be."
"I'll bet he's on the island now."
"We have just been there and he is not there."
At length Trafton began to see that the situation was a grave one, and
he began to exculpate himself.
"If he was such a fool as to put to sea on a crazy raft it ain't my
fault," he said. "I couldn't help it, could I?"
"If you hadn't left him there he would still be alive and well."
John Trafton pulled out his red cotton handkerchief from his pocket and
began to wipe his forehead, on which the beads of perspiration were
"Of course I wouldn't have left him there if I'd known what he would
do," he muttered.
"Did you mean to leave him there all night?" asked Bence.
"Yes, I meant it as a lesson to him," said the fisherman.
"A lesson to him? You are a fine man to give a lesson to him! You, who
spend all your earnings for drink and leave me to starve! John Trafton,
I charge you with the death of poor Robert!" exclaimed Mrs. Trafton with
Perhaps nothing more contributed to overwhelm John Trafton than the
wonderful change which had taken place in his usually gentle and
submissive wife. He returned her accusing glance with a look of
"Come now, Jane, be a little reasonable," he said. "You're very much
mistaken. It was only in fun I left him. I thought it would be a good
joke to leave him on the island all night. Say something for me,
Ben—there's a good fellow."
But Ben Bence was not disposed to waste any sympathy on John Trafton. He
was glad to see Trafton brought to judgment and felt like deepening his
sense of guilt rather than lightening it.
"Your wife is right," he said gravely. "If poor Bob is dead, you are
guilty of his death in the sight of God."
"But he isn't dead! It's all a false alarm. I'll get my boat and row
over to the island myself. Very likely he had gone to sleep among the
bushes and that prevented your seeing him."
There was a bare possibility of this, but Ben Bence had little faith in
"Go, if you like," he said. "If you find him, it will lift a great
weight from your conscience."
John Trafton dashed to the shore, flung himself into his boat, and, with
feverish haste, began to row toward the island. He bitterly repented now
the act which had involved him in such grave responsibility.
He was perfectly sober, for his credit at the tavern was temporarily
Of course those who remained behind in the cabin had no hope of Robert
being found. They were forced to believe that the raft had gone to
pieces and the poor boy, in his efforts to reach the shore, had been
swept back into the ocean by the treacherous undertow and was now lying
stiff and stark at the bottom of the sea.
"What shall I ever do without Robert?" said Mrs. Trafton, her defiant
mood changing, at her husband's departure, to an outburst of grief. "He
was all I had to live for."
"You have your husband," suggested Ben Bence doubtfully.
"My husband!" she repeated drearily. "You know how little company he is
for me and how little he does to make me comfortable and happy. I will
never forgive him for this day's work."
Ben Bence, who was a just man, ventured to represent that Trafton did
not foresee the result of his action; but, in the sharpness of her
bereavement, Mrs. Trafton would find no excuse for him.
Herbert, too, looked pale and distressed. He had a genuine attachment
for Robert, whose good qualities he was able to recognize and
appreciate, even if he was a fisherman's nephew.
He, too, thought sorrowfully of his poor friend, snatched from life and
swept by the cruel and remorseless sea to an ocean grave. He, too, had
his object of resentment.
But for George Randolph, he reflected, Robert would now be alive and
well, and he resolved to visit George with his severest reproaches.
While all were plunged in a similar grief a strange thing happened.
The door of the cabin was closed by John Trafton as he went out.
Suddenly there was heard a scratching at the door, and a sound was heard
as of a dog trying to excite attention.
"It must be my dog Dash," said Herbert. "I wonder how he found me out?"
He advanced to the door and opened it. Before him stood a dog, but it
was not Dash. It was a large black dog, with an expression of
intelligence almost human. He had in his mouth what appeared to be a
scrap of writing paper. This he dropped on the ground when he saw that
he had attracted Herbert's attention.
"What does this mean?" thought Herbert in great surprise, "and where
does this dog come from?"
He stooped and picked up the paper, greatly to the dog's apparent
satisfaction. It was folded in the middle and contained, written in
pencil, the following message, which, not being directed to any one in
particular, Herbert felt at liberty to read:
"Feel no anxiety about Robert Coverdale. He is safe!"
Herbert read the message, the dog uttered a quick bark of satisfaction,
and, turning, ran down the cliff to the beach.
Herbert was so excited and delighted at the news of his friend's safety
that he gave no further attention to the strange messenger, but hurried
into the cabin.
"Mrs. Trafton—Mr. Bence!" he exclaimed, "Bob is safe!"
"What do you mean? What have you heard?" they asked quickly.
"Read this!" answered Herbert, giving Mrs. Trafton the scrap of paper.
"Who brought it?" she asked, bewildered.
Ben Bence quickly asked:
"What do you mean?"
"I know nothing more than that a large black dog came to the door with
this in his mouth, which he dropped at my feet."
"That is very strange," said Bence.
He opened the door and looked out, but no dog was to be seen.
"Do you believe this? Can it be true?" asked Mrs. Trafton.
"I believe it is true, though I can't explain it," answered Ben. "Some
dogs are wonderfully trained. I don't know whom this dog belongs to, but
whoever it is he doubtless has Robert under his care. Let us be thankful
that he has been saved."
"But why don't he come home?" asked Mrs. Trafton. "Where can he be?"
"He was probably rescued in an exhausted condition. Cheer up, Mrs.
Trafton. You will no doubt see your boy to-morrow."
"I feel like giving three cheers, Mr. Bence," said Herbert.
"Then give 'em, boy, and I'll help you!" said old Ben.
The three cheers were given with a will, and Herbert went home, his
heart much lighter than it had been ten minutes before.
THE CRUISE OF THE RAFT
It is time we carried the reader back to the time when Robert, after
launching his rude raft, set out from the island of his captivity.
Notwithstanding his rather critical situation, he was in excellent
spirits. The treasure which he had unearthed from the wreck very much
elated him. It meant comfort and independence for a time at least, and
in his new joy he was even ready to forgive his uncle for leaving him on
the island and Randolph for not taking him off.
"I've heard of things turning out for the best," was the thought that
passed through his mind, "but I never understood it so well before."
Robert possessed a large measure of courage and he had been used to the
sea from the age of six, or as far back as he could remember, but when
he had rounded the Island and paddled a few rods out to sea he began to
There was a strong wind blowing, and this had roughened the sea and made
it difficult for him to guide his extemporized raft in the direction he
Had it been his uncle's fishing boat and had he but possessed a good
pair of stout oars, he would have experienced no particular difficulty.
He would perhaps have found it rather hard pulling, but he was unusually
strong for his age, and, in the end, he would have reached the shore.
But with a frail raft, loosely put together, and only a board to row or
paddle with, his progress was very slow.
He did make a little progress, however, but it was so little that, at
the end of fifteen minutes, he seemed as far off from the little cabin
on the cliff as ever.
"It's hard work," said Robert to himself. "I wish I had a boat. If it
were smooth water, I could get along with a raft, but now——"
He stopped short, as the raft was lifted on the crest of a wave, and he
nearly slid off into the water.
He looked back to the island and began to consider whether it would not
be best, after all, to paddle back and trust to being taken off the next
morning by some fisherman's boat.
No doubt that would have been the most sensible thing to do, but Robert
was very reluctant to relinquish his project.
Had he not devoted several hours to constructing the raft he was trying
to navigate and should he allow this time to be thrown away?
Again, the prospect of passing a night upon Egg Island was not very
inviting. There was nothing to fear, of course, for the island was too
small to be infested by wild animals or even snakes. He could no doubt
sleep some, even if his bed were not very comfortable.
Robert looked back. By this time he was half a mile, at a rough guess,
from Egg Island, and between his raft and the mainland there intervened
probably two miles and a half of rough sea.
"If I can get within half a mile of shore," thought our young hero, "I
won't care for the raft any longer. I will plunge into the waves and
swim to the shore."
He looked toward the shore.
There, in plain view, was the humble cabin which he called home. Inside
doubtless was his aunt, worrying perhaps about his absence.
"How delighted she will be when I tell her of the money I have found!"
thought Robert joyfully. "Come, Bob, brace up now and push out boldly
With his eyes fixed on the cabin, our young hero used his paddle with
such energy that, in the course of half an hour or thereabouts, he was
about a mile farther on his way.
He had gone half way, and though he was somewhat fatigued, he was strong
and muscular, and the chances were that he would be able to hold out
till he reached the boat landing.
But now a new danger threatened itself.
The assaults of the sea had strained heavily the raft, which he had not
been able, for want of nails, to make strong and secure.
Robert's heart beat with quiet alarm as he realized that there was small
chance of his frail craft holding together till he reached shore.
The danger was hardly realized before it came.
A strong wave wrenched apart the timbers, and Robert Coverdale found
himself, without warning, spilled into the sea, a mile and a half from
Instinctively he struck out and began to swim, but the distance was
great and he was impeded by his clothes.
Looking neither to the right nor to the left, but only straight ahead,
he swam with all the strength there was left to him, but he found
himself weakening after a while and gave himself up for lost.
THE HERMIT OF THE CLIFF
The last thing that Robert could remember was the singing of the waters
in his ears and a weight as of lead that bore him downward with a force
which he felt unable to resist.
But at the critical moment, when the doors of death seemed to be
swinging open to admit him, he was firmly seized by a slender, muscular
arm, extended from a boat shaped somewhat like an Indian canoe and rowed
by a tall, thin man with white hair and a long white beard.
In the dusk our hero had not seen the boat nor known that help was so
near at hand. But the occupant of the boat had, from a distance, seen
the going to pieces of the raft, and appreciated the peril of the brave
swimmer, and paddled his boat energetically toward him just in time to
rescue him when already insensible.
Pale and with closed eyes lay Robert in the bottom of the boat. The old
man—for so he appeared—rather anxiously opened the boy's shirt and
placed his hand over his heart. An expression of relief appeared on his
"He will do," he said sententiously and turned his attention to the
Half a mile from the cliff on which stood the fisherman's cabin was
another, rising to a greater height.
To this the stranger directed his boat. He fastened it and then, raising
our hero in his arms, walked toward the cliff.
There was a cavity as wide as a door, but less in height, through which
he passed, lowering his head as he entered. Inside the opening steadily
widened and became higher. This cavity was about ten feet above the
sandy beach and was reached by a ladder.
On he passed, guided amid the darkness by a light from a lantern hanging
from the roof. The front portion of the cavern seemed like a hall,
through which a narrow doorway led into a larger room, which was
furnished like the interior of a house. Upon a walnut table stood a
lamp, which the stranger lighted. He took the boy, already beginning to
breathe more freely, and laid him on a lounge, covered with a buffalo
skin, at the opposite side of the apartment. From a shelf he took a
bottle and administered a cordial to Robert, who, though not yet
sensible, mechanically swallowed it.
The effect was almost instantaneous.
The boy opened his eyes and looked about him in bewilderment.
"Where am I?" he inquired.
"What can you remember?" asked the old man.
"I was struggling in the water," he answered. "I thought I was
Then, gazing at the strange apartment and the majestic face of the
venerable stranger, he said hesitatingly:
"Am I still living or was I drowned?"
He was not certain whether he had made the mysterious passage from this
world to the next, so strange and unfamiliar seemed everything about
"You are still in life," answered the stranger, smiling gravely. "God
has spared you, and a long life is yet before you if He wills."
"And you saved me?"
"How can I thank you? I owe you my life," said Robert gratefully.
"I am indebted to you for the opportunity once more to be of use to one
of my race."
"I don't understand how you could have saved me. When I went down I
could see no one near."
"On account of the dusk. I was not far away in my boat. I saw your peril
and hastened to your assistance. Fortunately I was not too late. Do you
know who it is that has saved you?"
"Yes," answered Robert.
"You have seen me before?"
"Yes, but not often."
"How do people call me?"
"They call you 'the hermit of the cliff.'"
"As well that as anything else," said the old man. "What more do they
say of me?"
Robert seemed reluctant to tell, but there was something imperative in
the old man's tone.
"Some say you are crazy," he answered.
"I am not surprised to hear it. The world is apt to say that of one who
behaves differently from his fellows. But I must not talk too much of
myself. How do you feel?"
"I feel weak," answered Robert.
"Doubtless. Swimming against such a current was a severe strain upon
your strength. Let me feel your pulse."
He pressed his finger upon Robert's pulse and reported that the action
"It means exhaustion," he said. "You must sleep well, and to-morrow
morning you will feel as well as usual."
"But I ought to go home," said Robert, trying to rise. "My aunt will
feel anxious about me."
"Who is your aunt?"
"I am the nephew of John Trafton, who has a small house on the cliff."
"I know. He is a fisherman."
"Don't disturb yourself. Word shall be sent to your aunt that you are
safe. I will give you a sleeping draught, and tomorrow morning we will
Somehow Robert did not dream of resisting the will of his host. The old
man had an air of command to which it seemed natural to submit.
Moreover, he knew that to this mysterious stranger—the hermit of the
cliff, as the fishermen called him—he was indebted for his life, and
such a man must necessarily be his friend. Robert was, besides, in that
condition of physical languor when, if he had felt disposed, he would
have found it very difficult to make resistance to the will of another.
"First of all," said the old man, "you must take off your wet clothes. I
will place them where they can dry, so that you may put them on in the
With assistance Robert divested himself of his wet garments. As we know,
he had little to take off. The stranger brought out a nightgown and then
placed our hero in his own bed, wrapping him up in blankets.
"Now for the sleeping draught," he said.
From a bottle he poured out a few drops, which Robert swallowed. In less
than three minutes he had closed his eyes and was in a profound
The old man regarded him with satisfaction as he lay breathing
tranquilly upon the bed.
"He is young and strong. Nature has been kind to him and given him an
excellent constitution. Sleep will repair the ill effects of exposure. I
must remember my promise to the boy," he said.
Turning to the table, he drew from a drawer writing materials and wrote
the brief message which, as we have already seen, was duly delivered,
and then walked to the entrance of the cavern.
He placed a whistle to his lips, and in response to his summons a black
dog came bounding to him from the recesses of the grotto and fawned upon
"Come with me, Carlo; I have work for you," he said.
The dog, as if he understood, followed his master out upon the beach.
They walked far enough to bring into clear distinctness the cabin on the
"Do you see that house. Carlo?" asked his master, directing the dog's
attention with his outstretched finger.
Carlo answered by a short, quick bark, which apparently meant "yes."
"Carry this note there. Do you understand?"
The dog opened his mouth to receive the missive and trotted contentedly
The hermit turned and retraced his steps to the cavern. He stood beside
the bed and saw, to his satisfaction, that Robert was still sleeping
"It is strange," said he musingly, "that I should feel such an interest
in this boy. I had forsworn all intercourse with my kind, save to
provide myself with the necessaries of life. For two years I have lived
here alone with my dog and I fancied that I felt no further interest in
the affairs of my fellow men. Yet here is a poor boy thrown on my hands,
and I feel positive pleasure in having him with me. Yet he is nothing to
me. He belongs to a poor fisherman's family, and probably he is
uneducated, and has no tastes in common with me. Yet he is an attractive
boy. He has a well-shaped head and a bright eye. There must be a
capacity for something better and higher. I will speak with him in the
He opened a volume from his bookcase, to which reference has not as yet
been made, and for two hours he seemed to be absorbed by it.
Closing it at length, he threw himself upon the couch on which Robert
had at first been placed and finally fell asleep.
THE HOME OF THE HERMIT
When Robert awoke the next morning he found himself alone. His strange
host was absent, on some errand perhaps.
After a brief glance of bewilderment, Robert remembered where he was,
and with the recovery of his strength, which had been repaired by sleep,
he felt a natural curiosity about his host and his strange home.
So far as he knew, he was the first inhabitant of the village who had
been admitted to a sight of its mystery.
For two years the hermit of the cliff had made his home there, but he
had shunned all intercourse with his neighbors and had coldly repelled
all advances and checked all curiosity by his persistent taciturnity.
From time to time he went to the village for supplies, and when they
were too bulky to admit of his carrying them, he had had them delivered
on the beach in front of the entrance to his cave dwelling and at his
leisure carried them in himself.
He always attracted attention, as with his tall, slender, majestic
figure he moved through the village, or paced the beach, or impelled his
frail boat. But speculation as to who he was or what had induced him to
become a recluse had about ceased from the despair of obtaining any
light upon these points.
No wonder then that Robert, admitted by chance to his dwelling, looked
about him in curious wonder.
Cavern as it was, the room was fitted up with due regard to comfort and
The bed on which our hero reposed was soft and inviting. The rough stone
floor was not carpeted, but was spread with Turkish rugs. There was a
bookcase, containing perhaps two hundred books; there was a table and
writing desk, an easy-chair and a rocking-chair, and the necessarily
dark interior was lighted by an astral lamp, diffusing a soft and
pleasant light. On a shelf ticked a French clock and underneath it was a
bureau provided with toilet necessaries.
No one in the village knew how these articles had been spirited into the
cavern. No one of the villagers had assisted. Indeed, no one, except
Robert, knew that the hermit was so well provided with comforts.
Our hero found his clothes on a chair at his bedside. They were drier
and suitable for wearing.
"I may as well dress," thought Robert. "I won't go away till I've seen
the hermit. I want to thank him again for taking such good care of me."
He did not have to wait long, however. He had scarcely completed his
toilet when the hermit appeared.
"So, my young friend, you arc quite recovered from your bath?"
"That is well."
"I think, sir, I had better go home now, for my aunt will be anxious
"I sent a message to your aunt last evening. She knew before she went to
bed that you were safe."
"Thank you, sir!"
"I am not apt to be curious, but I wish, before you leave me, to ask you
a few questions. Sit down, if you please."
Robert seated himself. He felt that the hermit had a right to ask some
questions of one whom he had saved.
"How came you so far out at sea on a frail raft? If you had been
shipwrecked, that would explain it, but as you have not been to sea, I
cannot understand it."
"I found myself on Egg Island, without any means of getting off. So I
made a raft from the timbers of the wreck and launched it. I thought it
would last long enough for me to reach land."
"It was a hazardous enterprise. But how came you on the island? Surely
you did not swim there?"
"No, sir. My uncle carried me there in his boat. He refused to take me
off unless I would give up some money which I wanted to spend for my
"Was the money yours?"
"Yes, sir. It was given me by a gentleman living at the hotel."
"Your uncle—John Trafton—is not a temperate man?"
"No, sir. He spends all the money he earns on drink, and my aunt and I
have to live as we can."
"What a fool is man!" said the hermit musingly. "He alone of created
beings allows himself to be controlled by his appetites, while
professing to stand at the head of the universe!"
Robert felt that he was not expected to answer this speech and remained
respectfully silent till his host resumed his questioning.
"And you," said the old man abruptly, "what do you do?"
"Sometimes I go out with my uncle's boat and catch fish for use at home.
Sometimes I find jobs to do in the village which bring in a little
money. I am always glad of that, for we can't buy groceries without
money, and my uncle never gives us any. My aunt is very fond of tea, but
once for three weeks she had to do without it."
"That was a pity. There are some who find great comfort in tea."
"It is so with Aunt Jane. She says it puts new life in her."
"Have you any money now?"
"Oh, I forgot to tell you of my good luck!" said Robert eagerly. "Just
before I left the wreck I dug up this," and he displayed the purse with
the gold pieces in it. "It would have been a pity if I had been drowned
with all this in my pocket."
"My poor boy, your young life would have outweighed a thousandfold the
value of these paltry coins. Still I do not depreciate them, for they
may be exchanged for comforts. But will not your uncle seek to take them
"He will not know that I have this money. I shall not tell him."
"It will be better."
For a brief time the hermit gazed at Robert in thoughtful silence and
"How old are you?"
"Have you ever thought of life and its uses—I mean of the uses of your
own life? Have you ever formed plans for the future?"
"No, sir. It did not seem of much use. I have had to consider how to get
enough for my aunt and myself to live upon."
"So your uncle's burdens have been laid on your young shoulders? Have
you no aspirations? Are you willing to follow in his steps and grow up a
fisherman, like your neighbors?"
"No, sir. I should be very sorry if I thought I must always live here at
Cook's Harbor and go out fishing. I should like to see something of the
world, as I suppose you have."
"Yes, I have seen much of the world—too much for my happiness—or I
would not have come to this quiet spot to end my days. But for a young
and guileless boy, whose life is but beginning, the world has its
charms. Do you care for books?"
"I have never looked into many, sir, but that is not my fault. I have
half a dozen tattered books at home and I study in some of them every
day. I have been nearly through the arithmetic and I know something of
geography. Sometimes I get hold of a paper, but not often, for my uncle
takes none and does not care for reading."
"Look among my books. See if there is any one you would like to read."
Robert had already cast wistful glances at the rows of books in the
He had never before seen so many books together, for Cook's Harbor was
not noted for its literary men and book lovers. He gladly accepted the
His attention was quickly drawn to a set of the Waverley novels. He had
often heard of them, and an extract which he had seen in his school
reader from "Rob Roy" had given him a strong desire to read the story
from which it was taken.
"I should like to borrow 'Rob Roy,'" he said.
"You may take it. When you have read it, you may, upon returning it,
"Then I may call to see you, sir?"
"I shall be glad to have you do so. It is an invitation I never expected
to give, but you have interested me, and I may be able to serve you at
"Thank you, sir. If you should ever want any one to run errands for you,
I hope you will call upon me. I should like to make some return for your
"That is well thought of. You may come to me every Tuesday and Friday
mornings, at nine o'clock, and carry my orders to the village. I do not
care to go there, but have had no messenger I could trust. For this
service I will pay you two dollars a week."
Robert was astonished at the mention of such liberal payment.
"But, sir, that is rather too much," he began.
"Let it be so," said the hermit. "I have money in plenty and it does not
bring me happiness. In your hands it may do good."
"It will be a great help to me, sir."
"It is understood then. I will not detain you longer. Go home and
gladden the heart of your aunt."
Robert left the cavern, more than ever puzzled by his brief acquaintance
with the mysterious recluse.
THE FISHERMAN'S TEMPTATION
It is needless to say that Robert received a joyful welcome from his
aunt. Her joy was increased when her nephew showed her the gold which he
had found upon the island.
"You see, aunt," he said, "it wasn't such bad luck, after all, to be
left on the island."
"God has so shaped events as to bring good out of evil," answered Mrs.
Trafton, who was a religious woman and went regularly to church, though
her husband never accompanied her. "But I am afraid your uncle will try
to get the money away from you."
"I don't want him to know it, aunt."
"I shall not tell him, Robert, but he may find out."
"That is not all. I have got regular work to do which will bring me in
two dollars a week."
Then Robert told his surprised aunt the story of his engagement by the
hermit, who for two years had been the mystery of the village.
"It never rains but it pours, you see, aunt," he said cheerfully.
He wondered how his uncle would receive him and whether he would make a
fresh demand for the small sum of money which had been the cause of the
But John Trafton had been thoroughly alarmed by the consequences of his
former act and he had, besides, such experience of Robert's firmness
that he concluded it would not be worth while to carry the matter any
further. He greeted Robert sullenly.
"So you are back?" he said gruffly.
"Yes," answered the boy.
"Who took you off?"
"I put off on a raft and should have been drowned but for the hermit. He
"You deserved to be drowned for putting off on a raft."
"Did you think I was going to stay on the island?" asked Robert with
spirit. "If I had been drowned it would have been your fault."
"None of your impudence, boy!" said John Trafton.
And then he dropped the subject without referring to the money.
During the day Robert called on Herbert Irving to thank him for his
interest in his behalf.
George was in the yard, but his valise was in his hand and he seemed on
the point of departure. He scowled at Robert, but didn't speak.
"I'm glad to see you back, Bob," said Herbert warmly. "What an old
rascal your uncle is! Now tell me all about how you escaped."
While Robert was telling the story the stage drove up and George got on
"Good-by, George!" said Herbert.
George did not deign a reply and rode sullenly away.
"He doesn't find that the climate of Cook's Harbor suits him," said
"He doesn't seem very happy about going," said Robert. "I didn't expect
he would notice me, but he did not bid you good-by."
"The fact is George and I have had a flare-up," said Herbert. "I was
disgusted with his heartlessness in refusing to take you from Egg
Island, and I told him so pretty plainly. He accused me of insulting him
and threatened to lay a complaint before my mother. I requested him to
do so. Considerably to his surprise, she took my part and reproved him
for his selfish and disagreeable pride. This was too much for the young
gentleman, and he gave notice that he should return to the city. No one
attempted to keep him, and he has felt compelled to carry out his
threat, a good deal to his disappointment."
"I am sorry you are losing your visitor on my account, Herbert."
"You needn't. Though he is my cousin, I am glad to have him go."
"But you will feel lonely."
"Not if you come to see me every day, Bob."
"If we didn't live in a poor cabin, I would ask you to visit me."
"Never mind about how you live; I will come. It isn't the house I shall
come to see, but you. Some time when you are going out fishing I wish
you would take me along."
"With all my heart, if you will come."
To Herbert alone Robert confided his discovery of the purse of gold.
It was about a week before Robert had occasion to use any of his gold.
By that time he had spent the balance of the money given him by Mr.
Lawrence Tudor and was forced to fall back upon his gold, having as yet
received nothing from the hermit, who knew that he was not in immediate
want of money.
Abner Sands was standing behind the counter in his grocery when Robert
"What can I do for ye, Robert?" asked the trader.
"You may give me two pounds of tea and six pounds of flour."
"I s'pose ye've got the money," said Sands cautiously.
"Of course I have."
"You're doin' well now, Robert, I take it?" said the trader.
"Better than I used to," answered Robert.
He did not choose to make a confidant of Mr. Sands, who was a man of
great curiosity and an inveterate gossip.
When the goods were done up in separate parcels Robert took out the
two-dollar-and-a-half gold piece and passed it to the grocer.
"Why, I declare, it's gold!" exclaimed Mr. Sands wonderingly.
"Yes, it is gold."
"Of all things, I didn't expect to get gold from you, Robert Coverdale.
I reckon you've found a gold mine!"
"Perhaps I have," said Robert, smiling.
As he put his hand in his pocket another gold piece dropped to the floor
and he picked it up hastily, provoked at his carelessness, not, however,
before the astonished trader had seen it.
He was sorely puzzled to know how a poor boy like Robert could have so
much money in his possession and put one or two questions, which our
"The tea and flour came to a dollar and a quarter," said the shrewd
trader, "and that leaves a dollar and a quarter to come to you."
He tendered Robert a one-dollar bill and twenty-five cents.
After Robert went home Mr. Sands searched his brain in trying to guess
where he could have obtained his gold, but the more he thought the
darker and more mysterious it seemed. While in this state of perplexity
John Trafton entered the store.
He had seen Robert going out with two large parcels, and he came in to
learn what he could about them.
"How d'ye do, Sands?" he said. "Has Bob been in here?"
"Did he buy anything?"
"Two pounds of tea and half a dozen pounds of flour. Seems to have
"Does he?" inquired Trafton eagerly.
"I thought you knew. Why, he paid me in gold!"
"In gold?" ejaculated Trafton.
"To be sure! He give me a two-and-a-half gold piece, and that wasn't
all. He dropped a ten-dollar gold piece by accident, but picked it right
"You don't mean it?" said the fisherman, astounded.
"Yes, I do. But I s'posed you knew all about it."
"I only know what you've told me. The fact is that boy hasn't a spark of
gratitude. It seems he's rolling in wealth and leaves me to get along as
"Nephews ain't generally expected to provide for their uncles," said
Abner Sands dryly.
But John Trafton did not hear him. As he left the store an idea entered
his mind. He knew that Robert had found a friend in the hermit, and he
decided that the gold came from him.
If that was the case, the hermit must be rich. Who knows but he might
have thousands of dollars in the cave? The fisherman's eyes sparkled
with greed and he was assailed by a powerful temptation. His credit at
the tavern was about exhausted. What a pity he could not get some of the
gold, which appeared to do its possessor so little good!
JOHN TRAFTON'S NEW PLAN
With the new but unlawful purpose which he had begun to entertain John
Trafton resolved to find out all he could about the hermit, and he
rightly judged that Robert could give him more information than anybody
He decided to go home early and question his nephew cautiously. If he
could find out something about the hermit's habits and peculiarities it
would help him in his plan, for there was no beating about the bush
He acknowledged to himself that he meant to enter the cave, and if he
could only find the gold, which he was persuaded the occupant owned in
large quantities, to enrich himself at his expense.
His imagination was dazzled at the prospect. All his life he had been
working for a bare living. Probably, in his most prosperous year, not
over three hundred dollars in money had come into his hands as the
recompense of his toil.
Probably there are few people who do not, at some time, indulge in
dreams of sudden wealth. This time had come to John Trafton, and,
unfortunately, the temptation which came with it was so powerful as to
confuse his notions of right and wrong and almost to persuade him that
there was nothing very much out of the way in robbing the recluse of his
"It don't do him any good," argued the fisherman, "while it would make
me comfortable for life. If I had ten thousand dollars, or even five,
I'd go away from here and live like a gentleman. My wife should be
rigged out from top to toe, and we'd jest settle down and take things
John Trafton was not very strict in his principles, and his conscience
did not trouble him much. Even if it had, the dazzling picture which his
fancy painted of an easy and luxurious future would probably have
carried the day.
It was only eight o'clock in the evening when the fisherman lifted the
latch of the outer door and entered the cabin.
His wife and Robert looked up in surprise, for it was about two hours
earlier than he generally made his appearance.
Another surprise—his gait and general appearance showed that he was
quite sober. This was gratifying, even if it was the result of his
credit being exhausted.
During the preceding week it may be mentioned that he had worked more
steadily than usual, having made several trips in his boat, and had thus
been enabled to pay something on his score at the tavern.
John Trafton sat down before the fire.
His wife was mending stockings by the light of a candle which burned on
the table at her side and Robert was absorbed by the fascinating pages
of Scott's "Rob Roy."
A side glance showed the fisherman how his nephew was employed, and,
rightly judging where the book came from, he seized upon it as likely to
lead to the questions he wanted to ask.
"What book have you got there, Bob?" he inquired.
"It Is a story by Sir Walter Scott, uncle."
"Never heard of him. Does he live in Boston?" asked Trafton.
"No, he was a Scotchman."
"Some Scotchmen are pretty smart, I've heard tell."
"Scott was a wonderful genius," said Robert, glowing with enthusiasm.
"I dare say he was," said the fisherman placidly. "Where did you get the
"I borrowed it of the hermit."
This was the name which Robert used, for even now he had no knowledge of
his mysterious friend's name.
"Has he got many books?"
"A whole bookcase full."
"He must be a rich man," suggested John Trafton with apparent
"I think he is," said Robert, wondering a little at his uncle's newborn
interest in his new acquaintance, but suspecting nothing of his design
in asking the question.
"It stands to reason he must be," continued the fisherman. "He doesn't
do anything for a living."
"Then, of course, he's got enough to live on."
"Besides, all his furniture is very nice," cried Robert, falling into
the trap. "He seems not to mind money and talks as if he was always used
"I s'pose he pays you for running of errands for him," said Trafton.
"Yes," answered Robert reluctantly, for he feared that his uncle would
ask to have the money transferred to him. But the next words of Trafton
"That's all right," he said. "You can spend the money as you please. I
don't ask you for any of it."
"Thank you, uncle," said Robert warmly.
Mrs. Trafton regarded her husband in surprise. He was appearing in a
character new to her. What could his sudden unselfishness mean?
"I only asked because I didn't want you to work for nothing, Bob," said
his uncle, not wishing it to appear that he had any other motive, as his
plan must, of course, be kept secret from all.
"I wouldn't mind working for nothing, uncle. It would be small pay for
his saving my life," Robert said with perfect sincerity.
"He wouldn't want you to do it—a rich man like him," returned the
fisherman complacently. "It's the only money he has to spend, except
what he pays for victuals. I'm glad you've fallen in with him. You might
as well get the benefit of his money as anybody."
"Uncle seems to think I only think of money," Robert said to himself
with some annoyance. "I begin to like the hermit. He is very kind to
He did not give utterance to this thought, rightly deeming that it would
not be expedient, but suffered his uncle to think as he might.
"Does the hermit always stay at home in the evening?" asked the
fisherman after a pause.
"Sometimes he goes out in his boat late at night and rows about half the
night. I suppose he gets tired of being alone or else can't sleep."
John Trafton nodded with an expression of satisfaction.
This would suit his plans exactly. If he could only enter the cave in
one of these absences, he would find everything easy and might
accomplish his purpose without running any risk.
It was clear to him now that the gold of which the trader spoke was
given to his nephew by the hermit. He was justified in thinking so, as
there was no other conceivable way in which Robert could have obtained
it. He coveted the ten-dollar gold piece, but he was playing for a
higher stake and could afford to let that go for the present at least.
The fisherman lit his pipe and smoked thoughtfully.
His wife was not partial to the odor of strong tobacco, but tobacco, she
reflected, was much to be preferred to drink, and if her husband could
be beguiled from the use of the latter by his pipe then she would gladly
John Trafton smoked about ten minutes in silence and then rose from his
"I guess I'll go out on the beach and have my smoke there," he said as
he took his hat from the peg on which he had hung it on entering the
"You're not going back to the tavern, John?" said his wife in alarm.
"No, I've quit the tavern for to-night. I'll just go out on the beach
and have my smoke there. I won't be gone very long."
When Trafton had descended from the cliff to the beach he took the
direction of the hermit's cave.
Of course he had been in that direction a good many times, but then
there was nothing on his mind and he had not taken particular notice of
the entrance or its surroundings.
It was a calm, pleasant moonlight night and objects were visible for a
considerable distance. Trafton walked on till he stood at the foot of
the cliff containing the cave. There was the rude ladder leading to the
entrance. It was short. It could be scaled in a few seconds, and the box
or chest of gold, in whose existence Trafton had a thorough belief,
could be found. But caution must be used. Possibly the hermit might be
at home, and if he were, he would, of course, be awake at that hour.
Besides, the cave was dark and he had no light.
"When I come I will bring matches and a candle," thought the fisherman.
"I can't find the gold unless I can see my way. What a fool this hermit
must be to stay in such a place when with his money he could live
handsomely in the city! But I don't find fault with him for that. It's
so much the better for me."
He turned his eyes toward the sea, and by the light of the moon he saw
the hermit's slender skiff approaching. The old man was plainly visible,
with his long gray hair floating over his shoulders as he bent to the
"He mustn't see me," muttered the fisherman. "I had better go home."
A DESPERATE CONFLICT
About eight o'clock the next evening John Trafton sat in the barroom at
the tavern enjoying himself in the manner characteristic of the place.
All day long his mind had been dwelling upon the plan which he had so
recently formed, and he felt a feverish desire to carry it out.
"One bold stroke," he said to himself, "and I am a made man. No more
hard work for me. I will live like a gentleman."
It was rather a strange idea the fisherman had—that he could live like
a gentleman on the proceeds of a burglary—but there are many who, like
him, consider that nothing is needed but money to make a gentleman.
That very night John Trafton decided to make the attempt, if
circumstances seemed favorable. He shrank from it as the time approached
and felt that he needed some artificial courage. For this reason he
visited the tavern and patronized the bar more liberally than usual.
Trafton had prudently resolved to keep his design entirely secret and
not to drop even a hint calculated to throw suspicion upon him after the
But there is an old proverb that when the wine is in the wit is out,
and, though the fisherman indulged in whisky rather than wine, the
saying will apply just as well to the one as to the other.
Among the company present in the barroom was one man who had been in the
village a day or two, but was a stranger to all present.
He was a short, powerfully made man, roughly dressed, with a low brow
and quick, furtive eyes that had a look of suspicion in them.
He had naturally found his way to the tavern bar and proved himself a
liberal patron of the establishment. Therefore the landlord—though he
did not fancy the looks of his new guest—treated him with politeness.
Somehow the conversation on that particular evening drifted to the
probable wealth of city people who made their homes at Cook's Harbor
during the summer. It was afterward remembered that the roughly dressed
stranger had introduced the subject in a casual way.
"It's my opinion," said Ben Barton, "that Mr. Irving is our richest
"What makes you think so, Ben?" asked the landlord.
"The way he lives partly. He's got everything that money can buy.
Besides, I heard his boy say that his father's watch cost him five
hundred dollars. Now, it stands to reason that a man don't wear a watch
like that unless he's got the money to back it."
"There's something in that," the landlord admitted.
The stranger seemed interested.
"Does this Irving stay down here himself?" he asked.
"No, he only comes down Saturday to stay over Sunday."
"Does he have much silver in the house?"
"I don't know. Why?" inquired Ben Barton, turning a surprised look upon
"Because a real, tiptop rich man generally has plenty of plate,"
answered the man after a pause.
"I guess he doesn't keep it down here," said Barton. "It's likely he's
got plenty in the city."
The stranger shrugged his shoulders.
"Does his wife wear diamonds?" he asked.
"Not down here. There wouldn't be any occasion."
"Does he get his groceries here or in the city?"
"He sends them down here by express."
The stranger seemed to lose all interest in the Irving family.
Two or three summer residents were mentioned who were supposed to be
rich, but it did not appear that any of them kept valuables at their
John Trafton had not taken any part in the conversation hitherto, and if
he had been prudent he would have continued to remain silent, but a man
excited by drink is not likely to be discreet.
He broke silence when there came a lull in the discussion.
"There's one man you haven't mentioned," he said, "who keeps more money
on hand than Mr. Irving or any one else you have spoken of."
"A man in the village here?" asked the landlord.
"He means you, Mr. Jones," said Ben Barton jocosely. "Ain't we all of us
bringing you money every day? You ought to have a pile by this time."
"So I might if all that were owing me would pay up," retorted the
As Ben was one of his debtors, this was felt to be a fair hit, and there
was a laugh at his expense.
"P'r'aps Trafton means himself," suggested Ben by way of diversion.
"I wish I did," said the fisherman. "Well, I may be rich some time;
stranger things have happened."
"I can't think of any stranger thing than that," said Ben.
And the laugh now was at Trafton's expense, but he didn't seem to mind
By this time the general curiosity was aroused.
"Who is this rich man you're talkin' about, Trafton?" asked Sam
"The hermit of the cliff," answered the fisherman.
There was a general rustle of surprise.
"What reason have you for saying that?" asked Mr. Jones, the landlord.
By this time, however, John Trafton began to suspects that he had been
imprudent and he answered with a mysterious shake of the head:
"I've no call to tell you that, but I've got my reasons."
"Can't you tell us, John?" asked Ben Barton.
"I might, but I won't; but I stand by what I've said."
"Doesn't your boy do errands for the hermit?" asked the landlord.
"Suppose he does?"
"And he goes into the hermit's cave?"
"Perhaps he does and perhaps he doesn't."
"I know he does, for I was on the beach a day or two ago and I see him
a-climbin' the ladder and goin' in," said Ben Barton.
"You'll have to ask him about that," said the fisherman.
"Whereabouts is his cave?" asked the stranger, who had listened intently
to what had been said.
One of the party described its location fully.
"Then I've seen it," said the other. "I was walking on the beach this
morning and I wondered what the ladder was for."
He asked various questions about the hermit and his mode of life, which
excited no wonder, as the curiosity about the hermit was shared by all.
John Trafton allowed himself to say one thing more that increased this
"I won't tell all I know," he said, "but I can tell you this hermit
lives like a prince. He's got handsomer furniture than there is in any
house in Cook's Harbor."
No one had told the fisherman this, but he knew the statement would make
a sensation and chose to embellish what he had heard from Robert.
"That's a strange idea to furnish a cave that way," said the stranger.
"It may be strange, but it's true."
"Do you think he keeps a good deal of money by him?" asked the stranger
with evident interest.
John Trafton nodded significantly.
The conversation now drifted into other channels. The stranger ordered
another glass of whisky and went out.
"Where is that man staying?" asked Cummings.
"Not here," answered the landlord. "I don't like his looks and don't
care where he stays as long as he don't ask for a room here."
"You don't mind selling him drink, landlord?"
"Not as long as he's got money to pay. That's a different matter."
A few minutes later John Trafton left the tavern.
He had drunk considerable, but not enough to make him incapable of
action. The drink excited him and nerved him for the task he had in
view, for upon this very evening he had decided to force an entrance
into the hermit's mysterious residence, and he hoped to be well paid for
He had to pass his own cabin on the way. He glanced toward it and saw a
light shining through the window, but he took care to keep far enough
away so that he might not be seen.
Half a mile farther and he stood opposite the cavern. There was the
ladder making access to the cave easy. He looked for the hermit's boat,
which was usually kept fastened near the entrance to the cave, and to
his joy he saw that it was missing.
"The old man must be out in his boat," he said to himself. "All the
better for me! If I am quick, I may get through before he gets back."
With a confident step he ascended the ladder and entered what might be
called the vestibule of the cave.
He halted there to light the candle he had brought with him. He was
bending over, striking the match against his foot, when he was attacked
from behind and almost stunned by a very heavy blow.
He recovered himself sufficiently to grasp his assailant, and in an
instant the two were grappling in fierce conflict.
"I never thought the old man was so strong," passed through the
fisherman's mind as he found himself compelled to use his utmost
strength against his opponent.
A TRAGEDY ON THE BEACH
It is hardly necessary to say that the man with whom the fisherman was
engaged in deadly conflict was not the hermit. It was the stranger who,
in the tavern, had manifested so much curiosity on the subject of the
rich residents of Cook's Harbor.
He was a desperado from New York, who, being too well known to the
police of that city, had found it expedient to seek a new field, where
he would not excite suspicion.
He had arrived at the cave only a few minutes before the fisherman and
had already explored the inner room in search of the large sum of money
which Trafton had given him to understand the hermit kept on hand.
He had no candle, but he found a lamp and lighted it.
He was in the midst of his search when he heard the entrance of the
fisherman. He concluded, very naturally, that it was the hermit, and he
prepared himself for an attack.
He instantly extinguished the lamp and stole out into the vestibule. It
was his first thought to glide by the supposed hermit and escape, but
this would cut him off from securing the booty of which he was in
He resolved upon a bolder course. He grappled with the newcomer,
confident of easily overcoming a feeble old man, but, to his
disagreeable surprise, he encountered a vigorous resistance far beyond
what he anticipated.
Neither of the two uttered a word, but silently the fierce conflict
"I must be weak if I cannot handle an old man," thought the professional
burglar, and he increased his efforts.
"If he masters me and finds out who I am, I am lost!" thought John
Trafton; and he, too, put forth his utmost strength.
The fisherman had the disadvantage in one respect. He was wholly unarmed
and his opponent had a knife.
When he found that Trafton—who was of muscular build—was likely to
gain the advantage, with a muttered oath he drew his knife and plunged
it into his opponent's breast.
They were struggling just on the verge of the precipice, and Trafton,
when he felt the blow, tottered and fell, his antagonist with him.
"The old fool's dead, and I must fly," thought the burglar.
With hasty step he fled along the sands till he came to a point where he
could easily scale the cliff. Reaching the top, he walked quickly away
from Cook's Harbor.
Half an hour later the hermit beached his boat, fastened it and
proceeded to his quarters. He was plunged in thought and observed
nothing till he stumbled against the fisherman's body.
"Some drunken fellow probably," he said to himself.
He lit a match, and, bending over, was horror-stricken to see the fixed
features and the blood upon the garments of the unfortunate fisherman.
"There has been murder here! Who can it be?" he exclaimed.
He lit another match and took a closer look.
"As I live, it is Trafton, Robert's uncle!" he cried. "What mystery is
here? How did the unhappy man come to his death?"
He was not long left to wonder alone, for Robert, as was not unusual
with him, had been taking an evening stroll on the beach, and, seeing
his employer, came up to speak to him.
"Good evening, sir," he said, as yet innocent of the sad knowledge which
was soon to be his. "Is anything the matter?"
"Robert," said the hermit solemnly, "prepare yourself for a terrible
surprise. A man has been killed and that man is——"
"My uncle!" exclaimed our hero in dismay.
"Yes, it is he!"
"How did it happen, sir?" asked Robert, a frightful suspicion entering
"I know no better than you, my boy. I have just arrived from an evening
trip on the water. I was about to enter my quarters when I stumbled over
your uncle's body."
"What could have brought him here?"
"I cannot tell, nor can I conjecture who killed him."
"It can't be he," thought Robert, dismissing his fleeting suspicion.
"What shall I do, sir?" he asked, unprepared, with his boyish
inexperience, to decide what to do under such terrible circumstances.
"Go and summon some of your neighbors to carry the poor man to his home.
Meanwhile break the news to your aunt as you best can," said the hermit
in a tone of quiet decision.
"But should I not call the doctor?"
"It will be of no avail. Your uncle is past the help of any physician.
Go, and I will stay here till you return."
The startling news which Robert brought to the fishermen served to bring
men, women and children to the spot where John Trafton lay, ghastly with
Well known as he was, the sight startled and agitated them, and, in
their ignorance of the real murderer, suspicion fastened upon the
hermit, who, tall and dignified, with his white hair falling upon his
shoulders, stood among them like a being from another world.
Trafton's habits were well known, but the manner of his death enlisted
"Poor John!" said Tom Scott. "I've known him, man and boy, for a'most
fifty years, and I never thought to see him lying like this."
"And what will you do with his murderer?" asked his wife in a shrill
Mrs. Scott was somewhat of a virago, but she voiced the popular thought,
and all looked to Scott for an expression of feeling.
"He ought to be strung up when he's found," said Scott.
"You won't have to look far for him, I'm thinkin'," said Mrs. Scott.
"What do you mean, wife?" asked Scott, who was not of a suspicious
"There he stands!" said the virago, pointing with her extended finger to
As this was a thought which had come to others, hostile eyes looked upon
the hermit, and two or three moved forward as if to seize him.
The old man regarded the fishermen with surprise and said with dignity:
"My friends, what manner of man do you think I am that you suspect me of
such a deed?"
"There's no one could have done it but you," said a young man doggedly.
"Here lies Trafton at the foot of your ladder, with no one near him but
you. You was found with him. It's a clear case."
"To be sure!" exclaimed two or three of the women. "Didn't Robert find
you here, standin' by the dead body of his uncle?"
The hermit turned to our hero, who stood a little in the background, and
"Robert, do you think I killed your uncle?"
"I am sure you didn't," said Robert, manfully meeting the angry glances
which were now cast upon him.
"I am glad to have one friend here," said the hermit—"one who judges me
better than the rest of my neighbors."
"He doesn't know anything about you and he's only a boy!" said Mrs.
Scott, thrusting herself forward with arms akimbo. "I allus said there
was something wrong about you or you wouldn't hide yourself away from
the sight of men in a cave. Like as not you've committed murder
"My good woman," said the hermit with a sad smile, "I am sorry you have
so poor an opinion of me."
"Don't you call me good woman!" said Mrs. Scott, provoked. "I'm no more
a good woman than yourself! I tell you, friends and neighbors, you'll do
wrong if you let this man go. We may all be murdered in our beds!"
She was interrupted by the arrival of Mrs. Trafton, who had not been
apprised of the tragedy from considerations for her feelings, but
hearing the stir and excitement, had followed her neighbors to the spot
and just ascertain what had happened.
"Where is my husband?" she cried.
All made way for her, feeling that hers was the foremost place, and she
stood with startled gaze before her dead husband. Ill as he had provided
for her and unworthy of her affections as he had proved, at that moment
she forgot all but that the husband of her youth lay before her, bereft
of life, and she kneeled, sobbing, at his side.
The hermit took off his hat and stood reverently by her side.
"Oh, John!" she sobbed, "I never thought it would come to this! Who
could have had the heart to kill you?"
"That's the man! He murdered him!" said Mrs. Scott harshly, pointing to
The widow lifted her eyes to the man of whom she had heard so much from
Robert with a glance of incredulity.
He was too proud to defend himself from the coarse accusation and
returned her look with a glance of sympathy and compassion.
"I never can believe that!" said the widow in utter incredulity. "He has
been kind to my boy. He never would lift his hand against my husband!"
The hermit looked deeply gratified.
"Mrs. Trafton," he said, "you are right. I had no cause to harm your
husband, nor would I have killed him for Robert's sake, whatever wrong
he might have done me. But, in truth, I know of no reason why I should
seek to injure him."
"If you are an innocent man," persisted Mrs. Scott, "tell us who you are
and what brought you here."
"Yes, tell us who you are!" echoed two others who had always felt
curious about the hermit.
"I do not choose to declare myself now," said the hermit gravely. "The
time may come when I shall do so, but not now."
"That's because you're a thief or murderer!" exclaimed Mrs. Scott,
"Wife, you're goin' too far!" said her husband.
"Mind your own business, Tom Scott!" retorted his wife in a tone with
which he was only too familiar. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself
tryin' to screen the murderer of your next-door neighbor."
"I am doing nothing of the kind. There's no proof that the hermit of the
cliff murdered John Trafton."
"You must be a fool if you can't see it," said Mrs. Scott.
Robert Coverdale was shocked to hear his friend so abused and he said
"Mrs. Scott, I don't know who murdered my poor uncle, but I know the
hermit did not. He has been a good friend to me, and he is no
"Go home and go to bed, boy!" said Mrs. Scott violently. "You take that
man's part against your poor uncle."
Robert was provoked and answered with energy:
"I would sooner suspect you than him. I never heard the hermit say a
word against my uncle, while only yesterday you called him a drunken
This so turned the tables on Mrs. Scott that she was unable to return to
"Well, if I ever!" she ejaculated. "Tom Scott, are you goin' to see your
wife sassed by a boy?"
"It seems to me, wife, that the boy is in the right in this instance,"
answered Tom, who had a sense of justice.
"So you turn against your lawful wife, do you?" exclaimed Mrs. Scott
violently. "I'll come up with you yet. See if I don't."
Tom Scott shrugged his shoulders with resignation.
"I've no doubt you will," he answered with a half smile.
"My friends," said the hermit with calm dignity, "as it appears that
some of you suspect me of this dastardly deed, I am quite willing to
submit to any restraint you may desire till the groundlessness of the
charge appears. You may leave a guard here in the cave or I will
accompany you to any of your own houses. I certainly have no desire to
escape while such suspicions are entertained."
Robert indignantly protested against such a step, but the hermit stayed
"Robert," he said, "it is better. It will do me no harm, and, under the
circumstances, while the matter is involved in mystery, I admit that it
is perfectly justifiable and proper. My friends, I am in your hands.
What will you do with me?"
Mrs. Scott expressed her opinion that he should be strung up
immediately, but no one seconded her.
It was decided that two of the fishermen should remain at the cave that
night to prevent any attempt at escape on the part of the hermit.
The body of the murdered fisherman was carried to his own cabin and
properly cared for till the coroner, who must be brought from a
neighboring town, should make his appearance.
MR. JONES MAKES A CALL
When morning dawned a new face was put upon the matter. Steps were
discovered leading from the scene of the murder along the beach and up
the cliff. There were also discovered signs of a struggle in the cave,
and it became clear that there had been a conflict and that one of the
two concerned had escaped.
Of course it could not have been the hermit, for he was now in custody.
Moreover, a fisherman who had been out in his boat in the evening
remembered meeting the hermit rowing at about the time the murder must
have been committed.
These discoveries cleared the hermit, but the question arose:
"Who was this other man?" There was no difficulty in solving this
question. There were plenty who remembered the stranger who had spent a
part of the previous evening in the barroom of the tavern, and his
evident curiosity as to the wealth of the hermit was also remembered.
The real state of the case was now pretty well understood. This stranger
had suddenly resolved to rob the hermit and had secretly found his way
to the cavern.
But how did he happen to find the fisherman there and what was the
object of the latter?
Then it was remembered that Trafton also had seemed much interested in
the supposed hoards of the hermit, and, when his own want of money was
considered, it was suspected that he, too, went on an errand similar to
But he was dead, and his neighbors, who knew that he must have yielded
to the force of a sudden and new temptation, did not care to speculate
upon his object.
They were disposed to spare their old neighbor and charitably drop a
veil over his attempted crime, which had brought upon him such fearful
Of course the hermit was released from custody, and there was not a
person in the village who did not acquit him of all wrong except Mrs.
Scott, who could not forgive him for proving her suspicions groundless.
"You may say what you will," she said perversely, "I know the man's a
burglar, or a murderer, or something else bad."
"He couldn't have murdered John Trafton, for we traced the murderer's
steps on the beach. There is no doubt it was that stranger we saw in the
So said her husband.
"I don't care whether he murdered John Trafton or not," said Mrs. Scott.
"I'm sure he's murdered somebody, and I'm ready to take my Bible oath of
"What makes you so prejudiced against the poor man? He hasn't done you
any harm, Mrs. Scott."
"I don't like the airs he puts on. He looks at you jest as if you were
dust beneath his feet. What right has he to look down upon honest
people, I want to know?"
But Mrs. Scott did not succeed in creating a prejudice against the
hermit, whose courageous and dignified bearing had impressed all who
observed his manner in this trying crisis.
When the funeral was over the hermit called in the evening upon the
widow of John Trafton. It was the first he had ever made upon any of his
neighbors and it excited surprise.
Robert brought forward the rocking-chair and invited the visitor
cordially to sit down.
"Mrs. Trafton," said the hermit, "I want to thank you and Robert for the
confidence you showed in me at a time when all others suspected me of a
terrible deed. You were the ones most affected, yet you acquitted me in
"Just for a moment I suspected you when I saw you standing by the dead
body of my uncle," said Robert, "but it was only for a moment."
"I respect you for your fearless candor, my boy. You were justified in
your momentary suspicion."
"I am ashamed of it. You had been such a kind friend."
"It was only natural. And now, my friends, what are your plans? How will
you be able to maintain yourselves?"
"I don't think it will make much difference," began Robert
"My husband did very little for our support," said Mrs. Trafton. "Not
more, certainly, than his own food amounted to. You know, sir, I think
Robert must have told you the unfortunate habits of my poor husband. He
was enslaved by drink, and he spent nearly all he earned in the
"Yes, I knew what your husband's habits were," said the hermit gently.
"It is a great pity he could not have lived to change them."
"I am afraid he never would," said the widow.
"They had grown upon him from year to year, and he seemed to get weaker
and weaker in purpose."
"I had a brother who was equally unfortunate," said the hermit. "There
are few families who are wholly free from the evils of intemperance. But
have you formed any plans?"
"I suppose we can get along as we have," answered Mrs. Trafton. "With
what you kindly pay Robert, and what he can pick up elsewhere, and the
sewing I do, I think we can get along."
"Do you own this cottage?" inquired the hermit.
"Then you will have no rent to pay."
"No, I don't know how we could do that."
The hermit looked thoughtful.
"I will see you again," he said as he rose to go.
On the whole, Mrs. Trafton and Robert were likely to get along as well
as before John Trafton's death. Robert could use his uncle's boat for
fishing, selling what they did not require, while regularly every week
two dollars came in from the hermit.
It was a great source of relief that no rent must be paid. The
fisherman's cabin and lot originally cost about five hundred dollars and
the household furniture was of little value. The taxes were small and
could easily be met. So there seemed nothing to prevent their living on
in the same way as before.
Some time Robert hoped and expected to leave Cook's Harbor. He was a
smart, enterprising, ambitious boy, and he felt that he would like a
more stirring life in a larger place.
He was not ashamed of the fisherman's business, but he felt qualified
for something better. It did not escape his notice that most of his
neighbors were illiterate men, who had scarcely a thought beyond the
success of their fishing trips, and he had already entered so far into
the domain of study and books as to feel the charm of another world—the
great world of knowledge—which lay spread out before him and beckoned
him onward. But he was not impatient.
"My duty at present," he reflected, "Is to stay in Cook's Harbor and
take care of my aunt. I am young and strong, and I don't mean that she
shall want for any comforts which I can get for her."
He soon learned, however, that there was one great mistake in his
Robert was sitting by the door reading, after his return from a fishing
trip, about a week after his uncle's funeral, when he heard the steps of
some one approaching.
Looking up, he saw advancing toward their humble residence the stout,
ponderous figure of Nahum Jones, the landlord of the village inn.
It was not often that Mr. Jones found his way to the beach. Usually he
kept close to the tavern, unless he rode to some neighboring town.
Therefore Robert was surprised to see him.
Nahum Jones nodded slightly, and, taking off his straw hat, wiped the
perspiration from his forehead.
"Here, you, Bob," he said, "Is your aunt at home?"
"Yes, sir!" answered Robert, but not cordially, for he felt that Mr.
Jones had been no friend of his uncle.
"Well, tell her I've come to have a talk with her, do you hear?"
"Yes, I hear," answered the boy coolly.
He rose from his chair and entered the house.
"Aunt Jane," he said, "here is Mr. Jones come to see you."
"What? The tavern keeper?" asked his aunt in great surprise.
"What can that man want of me?"
The question was answered, not by Robert but by Nahum Jones himself.
"I want to have a little talk with you, ma'am," said the burly landlord,
entering without an invitation and seating himself unceremoniously.
"I will listen to what you have to say, Mr. Jones," said the widow, "but
I will not pretend that I am glad to see you. You were an enemy to my
"I don't know what you mean, Mrs. Trafton. Did he ever tell you that I
was his enemy?"
"No, but it was you who sold him liquor and took the money which he
should have spent on his own family."
"All nonsense, ma'am. You women are the most unreasonable creatures. I
didn't ask him to drink."
"You tempted him to do it."
"I deny it!" said the landlord warmly. "I couldn't refuse to sell him
what he asked for, could I? You must be a fool to talk so!" said the
"I'll trouble you to speak respectfully to my aunt, Mr. Jones," said
Robert with flashing eyes.
"Mind your own business, you young rascal!" said Nahum Jones, whose
temper was not of the best.
"I mean to," retorted Robert. "My business is to protect my aunt from
"Wait till you're a little bigger, boy," said Jones with a sneer.
Robert involuntarily doubled up his fist and answered:
"I mean to protect her now."
"Mrs. Trafton," said Nahum Jones, highly irritated, "you'd better
silence that young cub or I may kick him out of doors!"
"You appear to forget that you are not in your own house, Nahum Jones,"
said the widow with dignity. "My nephew has acted perfectly right and
only spoke as he should."
"So you sustain him in his impudence, do you?" snarled Jones, showing
"If that is all you have come to say to me, Mr. Jones, you may as well
"By George, ma'am, you are mighty independent!"
"I am not dependent on the man who ruined my poor husband."
"No, but you're dependent on me!" exclaimed the landlord, pounding the
floor forcibly with his cane.
"Will you explain yourself, sir?"
"I will," said Mr. Jones emphatically. "You talk about my not being in
my own house, but it's just possible you are mistaken."
"What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Trafton, startled.
"I mean this, that I hold a mortgage on this house for two hundred
dollars, and that's as much as it will fetch at auction. What do you say
Robert looked and felt as much troubled as his aunt. On his young
shoulders fell this new burden, and he was at an utter loss what could
"I thought I'd shut you up, you young cub!" said the landlord, glancing
maliciously at Robert.
"You haven't shut me up!" retorted Robert with spirit.
"What have you got to say, hey?"
"That you ought to be ashamed to take all my uncle's earnings and then
steal his home. That's what I've got to say!"
"I've a great mind to give you a caning," said Mr. Jones in a rage.
"You'd better not!" said Robert.
He was as tall as the landlord, and though not as strong, considerably
more active, and he did not feel in the least frightened.
Nahum Jones was of a choleric disposition, and his face was purple with
rage, but he hadn't yet said all he intended.
"I give you warning, Mrs. Trafton," he said, shaking his cane at our
hero, "that I'm going to foreclose this mortgage and turn you into the
street. You've got yourself to thank, you and this young rascal. I came
here thinking I'd be easy with you, but I don't mean to stand your
insulting talk. I'll give you four weeks to raise the money, and if you
don't do it, out you go, bag and baggage. Perhaps when you're in the
poorhouse you may be sorry you didn't treat me better."
"Oh, Robert, what shall we do?" asked the poor woman, her courage
failing as she reflected on the possibility that the landlord's
prediction might be fulfilled.
"Don't be alarmed, Aunt Jane; I'll take care of you," said Robert more
cheerfully than he felt.
"Oh, you will, will you?" sneered Mr. Jones. "Anybody'd think to hear
you that you were worth a pile of money. If your aunt depends on you to
keep her out of the poorhouse, I would not give much for her chance."
"You won't have the satisfaction of seeing either of us there," said
"You needn't expect my wife to give you any more sewing," said Mr.
Jones, scowling at the widow.
"I don't think my aunt wants any, considering she hasn't been paid for
the last work she did," said Robert.
"What do you mean by that? I credited your uncle with twenty-five cents
on his score."
"Without my aunt's consent."
Mr. Jones was so incensed at the defiant mien of the boy that he rocked
violently to and fro—so violently that the chair, whose rockers were
short, tipped over backward and the wrathful landlord rolled
ignominiously on the floor.
"Here's you hat, Mr. Jones," said Robert, smiling in spite of himself as
he picked it up and restored it to the mortified visitor.
"You'll hear from me!" roared the landlord furiously, aiming a blow at
Robert and leaving the room precipitately. "You'll repent this day, see
if you don't!"
After he had left the room Robert and his aunt looked at each other
gravely. They had made an enemy out of a man who could turn them out of
The future looked far from bright.
THE HERMIT'S SECRET
Mr. Jones, in his anger at Robert, regretted that he must wait four
weeks before he could turn him and his aunt out of the house. It would
be a great satisfaction to him to see the boy without a roof to shelter
him, reduced to becoming a tramp or to take refuge in the poorhouse.
"By George, I'll humble the young beggar's pride!" exclaimed Mr. Jones
as he hastened homeward from his unsatisfactory interview.
It must be admitted that Robert had not been exactly respectful, but, on
the other hand, it is quite certain that the landlord had been rude and
rough in manner and speech.
Why, then, did not Mr. Jones foreclose the mortgage instantly and
gratify his resentment? Because in the instrument there was a proviso
requiring a notice of four weeks.
However, he felt that it would make little difference.
"They can't raise the money in four weeks," he reflected. "There's
nobody round here who will lend them the money, and they don't know
anybody anywhere else."
So, on the whole, he was satisfied. Four weeks would soon pass, and then
his thirst for revenge would be sated.
"What makes you so sober, my boy?" asked the hermit when Robert made his
regular call upon him the next day.
"I feel anxious," answered the boy.
"But why need you? You told me your uncle did very little for the
family. I think you will be able to take care of your aunt. If not, I
will help you more."
"Thank you, sir; you are very kind. But we thought when you called the
other day that we owned the house and would have no rent to pay."
"Were you mistaken about this?" asked the hermit quickly.
"It seems so. Mr. Jones, the tavern keeper, has a mortgage on the
property and threatens to foreclose in four weeks unless the money is
paid. Of course, we can't pay him, and I suppose we shall be turned
"How large is this mortgage?"
"Two hundred dollars."
"That is not a very great sum."
"It is very large to us. You know how poor we are."
"But have you no friend who will lend you the money?"
"Are you sure of that?" asked the hermit with a peculiar smile, which
inspired new hope in Robert. Then, without waiting for a reply, the man
"If you are willing, I will pay this mortgage when the time comes, and I
will be your creditor instead of Mr. Jones."
"How can I thank you?" exclaimed Robert joyfully. "My aunt will be
"Tell her then, but no one else. It will give Mr. Jones a surprise."
"It won't be a pleasant one. He was very rude and impolite and said he
hoped to see us in the poorhouse."
"I don't believe you will ever go there, Robert," said the hermit,
looking earnestly at the strong, energetic face of the boy before him.
"No, sir, I don't believe we will. But you are doing a great deal for
us, sir. How can I ever repay you? If there was anything I could do for
you I should be glad."
"Perhaps you can," said the hermit in a musing tone.
"Let me know what it is, sir, and I'll be glad to do it."
"Have you ever wondered," asked the hermit abruptly, "why I have left
the haunts of men and retired to this out-of-the-way spot?"
"Yes, sir. I have thought of that often."
"Your curiosity is natural. I am not a poor man—in fact I should be
called rich. Poverty and pecuniary troubles, therefore, have nothing to
do with my strange act—as the world considers it. In my life there have
been two tragedies. I was married, at the age of thirty, to a very
beautiful young lady, whom I tenderly loved. I made my home in a city of
considerable size and lived as my means warranted. One evening, as my
wife stood before the open grate, dressed for a party, her dress caught
fire, and before help could arrive she was fatally injured. Of course
the blow was a terrible one. But I had a child—a boy of five—on whom
my affections centered. A year later he mysteriously disappeared, and
from that day I have never heard a word of him. When search proved
unavailing, I became moody and a settled melancholy took possession of
me. I could not endure the sight of other parents happy in the
possession of children, and I doomed myself to a solitary life,
wandering here and there till, two years since, I chanced to find this
cave and made my home here."
"How old would your son be now?" asked Robert with interest.
"About your own age—perhaps a little older. It was this and a fancied
resemblance which attracted me toward you."
"Had you any suspicion that your son was stolen?" asked Robert.
"Yes. In particular I suspected a cousin who would be my probable heir
in case my boy died. But I could never prove anything, and the man
expressed so much sympathy that I was ashamed to avow any suspicions.
But Charles Waldo was a covetous man, insatiable in his greed of money
and absolutely cold and unsympathetic, though his manner was plausible.
He hoped that this second blow would kill me, but he has been
"If the boy is living, perhaps he knows where he is," said Robert.
"If he abducted him—yes. He would not kill him, for he is too cautious
a man and has too great fear of the law."
"Where is Mr. Waldo now living?"
"In Ohio. He has a large farm and a moderate amount of money
invested—some twenty thousand dollars perhaps—so that he is able to
live at ease. He was disappointed because I would not give him the
charge of my property, but with the lingering suspicion in my mind I
could not make up my mind to do it. He also sought a loan of ten
thousand dollars, which I refused."
"How then does he expect to be your heir?" asked Robert.
"Two-thirds of my property is entailed and must be left to him if my boy
"If he really stole your son, he must be a wicked man," said Robert with
boyish indignation at the thought.
"Yes, for he has wrecked two lives—mine and my boy's."
"Have you no hope of ever again seeing your son?"
"Only a slight one. I have thought of a plan in which I need your
"If I can help you, sir," said Robert heartily, "I will do so gladly."
"I do not doubt it, Robert," said the hermit kindly. "I will explain my
meaning. If Charles Waldo knows anything of my lost boy, he must, from
time to time, hold communication with him, and if he is watched he may
some day reveal his hiding place."
"Why do you not go out to where he lives and watch him?"
"It would do no good. It would only put him on his guard. I intend this
office for you."
"For me?" exclaimed Robert in amazement.
"Yes, you are young, but you have natural ability, and shrewdness. At
any rate, you are the only one I have to send. It is a desperate chance,
but I shall feel better satisfied when I have tried it."
"I will follow your instructions whenever you wish," said Robert, his
heart beating at the prospect of seeing something of that world of which
he had seen so little and heard so much.
"My instructions will be few. I must trust much to your shrewdness. You
will need to visit the town where my cousin lives to observe his habits
and any unusual visitors he may have—in fact, try to arrive at the
knowledge of the secret, if there is one, connected with my boy's
"What was your son's name?"
"Julian Huet. My own name is Gilbert Huet, but this information is for
your ear alone."
"I will not mention it, sir."
"You need not feel anxious about leaving your aunt. I will see that her
wants are provided for during your absence."
"Thank you, sir."
"And the mortgage shall be paid when it comes due."
"I wish I could be here to see Mr. Jones disappointed."
"You can hardly be back so soon. It may take you six months. The task is
one that will require time. By the way, I do not wish you to mention to
your aunt the nature of your errand. Merely tell her that you are
traveling on business for me."
"Very well, sir. How soon do you wish me to start?"
"At the beginning of next week."
"I am afraid, sir, I have no clothes that are fit to wear," said Robert
"You will provide yourself in Boston with a suitable outfit. You will be
supplied with an ample sum of money, and I will instruct my bankers to
honor any drafts you may make."
"You will be spending a great deal of money for me, Mr. Huet."
"I am rich, and living as I have each year this made me richer. I will
not grudge ten, twenty, fifty thousand dollars if you find my boy or
bring me a clew which will lead to his discovery."
Robert was dazzled. It was evident that the hermit must be very rich. He
walked home in high spirits. He was on the eve of an exciting journey
and he enjoyed the prospect.
TWO PERSONS ARE SURPRISED
"Aunt," said Robert, his face aglow with excitement, "I am going to make
a journey. I hope you won't feel lonely while I am away."
"A journey!" exclaimed Mrs. Trafton in astonishment.
"Yes, I am going away on business for the hermit."
"Where are you going?"
"To Boston first."
"To Boston? Land's sake! How can a boy like you find your way round in
such a great city as Boston?"
"A boy of my age ought to be able to take care of himself."
"Why, child, you'll lose your way! There's ever so many streets and
roads. I went to Boston once, and I got so puzzled I didn't know whether
I stood on my head or my heels. If there was some older person going
with you, now——"
"Aunt, don't make a baby of me. I guess I can get along as well as
"Well, you can try it. When will you be back?"
"When I get my business done."
"You won't be gone over two days, I calculate."
"I may be gone two months or more."
"Well, I never!" exclaimed the astonished woman, staring at Robert as if
she thought his mind was wandering. "What sort of business is it that's
going to take so long?"
"The hermit wants it kept secret, Aunt Jane."
"But how am I going to get along without you?" asked his aunt in dismay.
"I can't go out fishing, and the money I earn by sewing is almost
Robert smiled, for he knew he could allay his aunt's fears.
"The hermit will pay you five dollars a week while I am gone, and here
is the first week's pay," he said, drawing from his pocket a bill.
"Well, I must say your friend the hermit is a gentleman. Five dollars a
week is more than I can spend."
"Then save a part of it if you like, aunt."
"But what shall I do, Robert, if Mr. Jones comes upon me to pay the
mortgage when you arc gone?" said his aunt, with new alarm.
"The hermit has agreed to pay off the mortgage and take one himself for
the same amount."
"He is very kind, Robert. Don't you think that I ought to call and thank
"What! Call at the cave?"
"No, aunt," said Robert hastily. "He would not like to have you. You can
wait till you see him. But mind you don't tell anybody—least of all,
Mr. Jones—that you will be able to pay the mortgage. As he is so mean,
we want to give him a surprise."
"Just as you say, Robert. I am glad we'll be able to disappoint him, for
he is certainly a very mean man. Now, when do you want to start for
"But how am I going to get ready your shirts and socks so soon?"
"I shall not take any of them."
"Robert Coverdale, you must be crazy. You can't wear one shirt for two
months if you're going so long."
"I don't expect to, aunt," said the boy, smiling. "I am going to buy a
whole outfit of new things when I get to Boston. The hermit wants me
"He must be awful rich!" said the good woman, whose ideas on the subject
of wealth were limited.
"All the better for us, Aunt Jane, as he is willing to spend some of his
money for us."
Mrs. Trafton was considerably excited by the prospect of Robert's
journey, and, notwithstanding what he had said, occupied herself in
washing his clothes and making a small bundle for him to carry, but
Robert declined taking them, with a smile.
"You see, aunt, my clothes wouldn't be good enough to wear in Boston,"
he said. "Just keep them till I get back. Perhaps I may need them
"I'll lay 'em away carefully, Robert. When you get a little larger I
guess you'll be able to wear some of your uncle's clothes. His best suit
might be made over for you. He hadn't had it but six years, and there's
a good deal of wear in it yet. I might cut it over myself when you're
"Better wait till I come back, aunt," said Robert hastily.
He knew the suit very well. It was snuff-colored and by no means a good
fit, even for his uncle, while under his aunt's unpracticed hands it
would probably look considerably worse when made over for him.
It must be confessed that Robert's ideas were expanding and he was
rapidly growing more fastidious. He instinctively felt that he was about
to turn a new leaf in his book of life and to enter on new scenes, in
which he was to play a less obscure part than had been his hitherto in
the little village of Cook's Harbor.
But no such change had come to his aunt. She still regarded Robert as
the same boy that he always had been—born to the humble career of a
fisherman—and she examined her husband's best suit with much
complacency, mentally resolving that, in spite of Robert's objection,
she would devote her leisure time to making it over for him.
"He can wear it for best for a year or two," she thought, "and then put
it on every day. I am sure it will look well on him."
In the evening Robert went to the cave to have a farewell interview with
the hermit—or Gilbert Huet, to give him the name which was properly
"You may write to me about once a week if you have anything to say,
Robert," said the hermit.
"How shall I direct you, sir? Shall I use your name?"
"How am I known in the village?"
"They call you 'the hermit of the cliff.'"
"Then direct your letters to 'The Hermit of the Cliff.' They are not
likely to go astray."
Mr. Huet gave Robert his instructions and finally produced a roll of
"You will find two hundred dollars in this roll, Robert," he said. "You
can buy a wallet to keep it in when you reach Boston."
"Two hundred dollars!" exclaimed the boy in amazement.
"You won't find it so large a sum as you suppose when you are required
to pay traveling expenses. You need not try to be over-economical. I
prefer that you should stop at good hotels and put on a good appearance.
But I warn you to keep your mouth shut and tell your business to no one.
I depend upon your discretion not to fall into the hands of knaves or
adventurers. I know that I am putting unusual confidence in a boy of
your limited experience, but I have no one else to trust, and I feel
that you may be relied upon."
"I hope I shall not disappoint you, Mr. Huet."
"Well, Robert, I will bid you good night and God bless you! We don't
know what lies before us, but if you succeed, I will take care that your
career shall be a fortunate one."
Robert walked slowly back to his humble home, almost wishing that the
night were over and his journey actually begun.
There was but one way out of Cook's Harbor—that is, by land. A stage
left the village every morning for Kaneville, six miles distant, a small
station on a road which terminated many miles away in Boston.
The stage started at seven o'clock, so Robert was forced to get up
betimes, take an early breakfast and walk up to the tavern.
Mr. Jones, the landlord, was standing on the piazza when Robert made his
He had no proprietary right in the stage line, but the driver generally
stopped overnight at the tavern and the horses were kept in his stable,
so that he had come to assume a certain air of proprietorship.
As Robert was climbing up to take a seat by the driver Mr. Jones, with a
frown, called out:
"Look here, you young rascal, come right down!"
"Why am I to come down, Mr. Jones?" said Robert independently.
"Because I tell you to. We can't have any boys stealing rides."
"Is this stage yours?" asked Robert, surveying the landlord with
"No matter whether it is or not," retorted Jones, red in the face. "I
tell you to come down. Do you hear?"
"Yes, I hear."
"Then you'd better come down double quick or I'll give you a taste of a
"I advise you to mind your own business, Mr. Jones," said Robert hotly,
"and not interfere with the passengers by this stage."
"You're not a passenger, you young beggar!"
"I am a passenger—and now you'd better stop talking."
"Have you got money to pay your fare?" asked the landlord, beginning to
suspect he had made a fool of himself.
"When the driver calls for the fare it will be time enough to tell."
"Luke," said Mr. Jones to the driver, "you'd better take that boy's fare
now. He wants to swindle you out of a ride."
"You may take it out of this," said Robert, tendering a five-dollar
"I guess we'll let it stand till we get to Kaneville," said Luke,
gathering up the reins.
Robert darted a glance of triumph at the discomfited and bewildered
landlord, and his journey was begun.
The latter, on Luke's return, learned to his further surprise that
Robert had gone to Boston. On reflection, he concluded that Mrs. Trafton
must have some relatives in the city from whom they hoped to borrow
enough money to raise the mortgage.
"But he won't succeed, and in four weeks I shall turn him and his aunt
out of doors," Mr. Jones complacently reflected.
AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE
When Robert arrived in Boston he was at first bewildered by the noise
and bustle to which, in the quiet fishing village, he was quite
unaccustomed. All that he knew about the city was the names of the
It was not necessary, however, that he should go in any particular
direction. He decided, therefore, to walk along, keeping a good lookout,
and, when he saw a clothing store, to go in and provide a new outfit.
He was sensible that he was by no means dressed in city style. His
clothes were coarse, and being cut and made by his aunt—who, though an
excellent woman, was by no means an excellent tailor—looked countrified
The first hint Robert had of this was when two well-dressed boys,
meeting him, simultaneously burst out laughing.
Robert was sensitive, but he was by no means bashful or timid.
Accordingly he stepped up to the boys and demanded with kindling eyes:
"Are you laughing at me?"
"Oh, no, of course not," answered one of the boys, rolling his tongue in
"Certainly not, my dear fellow," said the other, winking.
"I think you were," said Robert firmly. "Do you see anything to laugh at
"Well, to tell the truth," said the first boy, "we were wondering
whether you import your clothes from Paris or London."
"Oh, that's it," said Robert good-humoredly, for he was aware that his
clothes were of strange cut. "My clothes were made in the country and I
don't think much of them myself. If you'd tell me where I can get some
better ones I will buy a suit."
The boys were not bad-hearted and were won over by Robert's good humor.
"You're a good fellow," said the first speaker, "and I am sorry I was
rude enough to laugh at you. There is a store where I think you can find
what you want."
He pointed to a clothing store. In front of which was a good display of
"Thank you," said Robert.
He entered and the boys walked on.
If Robert had been better dressed he would have received immediate
attention. As it was, he looked like a poor boy in want of work and not
at all like a customer.
So, at all events, decided a dapper-looking clerk whose attention was
drawn to the new arrival.
"Well, boy, what do you want?" he demanded roughly, approaching Robert.
"Civil treatment to begin with," answered Robert with spirit.
"If you've come for a place, we don't want any scarecrows here."
It appears that the firm had advertised for an errand boy that very
morning, and it was naturally supposed that Robert was an applicant.
"Are you the owner of this shop?" asked Robert coolly.
"No," answered the clerk, lowering his tone a little.
"I thought so. I'll tell my business to somebody else."
"You'd better not put on airs!" said the clerk angrily.
"You are the one who is putting on airs," retorted Robert.
"What's the matter here?" asked a portly gentleman, walking up to the
scene of the altercation.
"I was telling this boy that he would not do for the place," answered
"I believe, Mr. Turner, that you are not commissioned to make a
selection," said the gentleman.
And Turner retired, discomfited.
"So you want a place?" he said inquiringly to Robert.
"No, sir, I don't."
"Mr. Turner said you did."
"I never told him so."
"Here, Turner," said the gentleman. "Why did you tell me this boy wanted
"I supposed he did. He looked like it, sir."
"I don't want a place. I want to buy a suit of clothes," said Robert.
"If that young man hadn't treated me so rudely, I should have asked him
to show me some."
"Look here, Mr. Turner," said the gentleman sternly, "If you have no
more sense than to insult our customers, we can dispense with your
services. Mr. Conway, will you wait on this young man?"
Turner was mortified and slunk away, beginning to understand that it is
not always safe to judge a man or boy by the clothes he wears.
Mr. Conway was more of a gentleman and civilly asked Robert to follow
"What kind of a suit would you like?" he added.
"A pretty good one," answered Robert.
He was shown several suits and finally selected one of gray mixed cloth
of excellent quality.
"That is one of our most expensive suits," said Conway doubtfully.
"Will it wear well?"
"It will wear like iron."
"Then I will take it. How much will it cost?"
Conway named the price. Robert would have hesitated about paying so
much, but that he was acting under instructions from the hermit.
"Shall we send it to you anywhere?" asked Mr. Conway, a little surprised
at Robert's readiness to pay so high a price.
"No, I should like to put it on here."
"You can do so—that is, after paying for it."
Robert drew out a wallet and from his roll of bills took out sufficient
to pay for the new suit.
Mr. Conway went to the cashier's desk. The two had a conversation
together. Then the stout gentleman was called to the desk. Robert saw
them open a copy of a morning paper and read a paragraph, looking at him
after reading it. He wondered what it all meant.
Presently Conway came back and asked him to walk up to the desk.
Robert did so, wonderingly.
"You seem to have a good deal of money with you," commenced the stout
"Yes, sir," answered Robert composedly.
"A great deal of money for a boy dressed as you are," continued the
Robert began to understand now, and he replied proudly:
"Do you generally ask your customers how much money they have?"
"No, but yours is a peculiar case."
"The money is mine—that is, I have a right to spend it. I am acting
under orders from the gentleman who employs me."
"Who is that?"
"No one that you would know. He lives at Cook's Harbor. But I didn't
come in here to answer questions. If you don't want to sell me a suit of
clothes, I will go somewhere else."
"To be plain with you, my boy," said the stout gentleman, not unkindly,
"we are afraid that you have no right to this money. The Herald of
this morning gives an account of a boy who has run away from a town in
New Hampshire with three hundred dollars belonging to a farmer. You
appear to be the age mentioned."
"I never stole a dollar in my life," said Robert indignantly.
"It may be so, but I feel it a duty to put you in charge of the police,
who will investigate the matter. James, call an officer."
Robert realized that he was in an unpleasant situation. It would be hard
to prove that the money in his hands was really at his disposal.
Help came from an unexpected quarter.
A young man, fashionably dressed, had listened to the conversation of
which Robert was the subject.
He came forward promptly, saying:
"There is no occasion to suspect this boy. He is all right."
"Do you know him?" asked the proprietor politely.
"Yes, I know him well. He is in the employ of a gentleman at Cook's
Harbor, as he says. You can safely sell him the clothes."
The young man spoke so positively that all suspicion was removed.
"I am glad to learn that it is all right," said the clothing merchant.
"My young friend, I am sorry to have suspected you. We shall be glad to
sell you the suit, and to recompense you for the brief inconvenience we
will take off two dollars from the price."
"Thank you, sir."
"It would not do for us to receive stolen money, hence our caution."
Robert did not bear malice, and he accepted the apology and dressed
himself in the suit referred to, which very much changed his appearance
for the better.
In fact, but for his hat and shoes, he looked like a city boy of a
He felt fortunate in getting off so well, but he was puzzled to
understand where he could have met the young man who professed to know
him so well.
He left the store, but almost immediately was tapped on the shoulder by
the young man in question.
"I got you off well, didn't I?" said the young man with a wink.
"I am much obliged to you, sir," said Robert.
"You don't seem to remember me," continued the young man, winking
"Good reason why. I never saw you in my life before nor you me."
"But I thought you said you had met me at Cook's Harbor?" said Robert in
The young man laughed.
"Only way to get you off. You'd have been marched off by a policeman if
This seemed rather irregular to our hero. Still he knew that he was
innocent of any wrongdoing, and as the young man appeared to have acted
from friendly motives he thanked him again.
"That's all very well," said the young man, "but, considering the scrape
I've saved you from, I think you ought to give me at least twenty-five
"But the money isn't mine," said Robert, opening his eyes, for he could
hardly have expected an application for money from a young man so
"Of course it isn't," said the young man, winking again. "It belongs to
the man you took it from. I'm fairly entitled to a part. So just give me
twenty-five and we'll call it square."
"If you mean that I stole the money, you're quite mistaken," said Robert
indignantly. "It belongs to my employer."
"Just what I thought," said the other.
"But I have a right to spend it. I am doing just as he told me to do."
"Come, young fellow, that won't go down! It's too thin!" said the young
man, his countenance changing. "You don't take me in so easily. Just
hand over twenty-five dollars or I'll hand you over to the police!
There's one coming!"
Robert certainly did not care to have the threat executed, but he did
not choose to yield.
"If you do," he said, "I'll tell him that you did it because I would not
give you twenty-five dollars."
This did not strike his new acquaintance as desirable, since it would
be, in effect, charging him with blackmail. Moreover, he could bring
nothing tangible against our young hero. He changed his tone therefore.
"I don't want to harm you," he said, "but I deserve something for
getting you out of a scrape. You might spare me five dollars."
"I got my suit two dollars cheaper through what you said," said Robert.
"I'll give you that sum."
"Well, that will do," said the other, finding the country boy more
unmanageable than he expected. "I ought to have more, but I will call it
square on that."
Robert drew a two-dollar bill from his pocket and handed it to the
"That I can give," he said, "because it was part of the price of my
"All right. Good morning!" said the young man, and, thrusting the bill
into his vest pocket, he walked carelessly away.
Robert looked after him with a puzzled glance.
"I shouldn't think a young man dressed like that could be in want of
money," he reflected. "I am afraid he told a lie on my account, but I
thought at the time he had really seen me, even if I couldn't remember
Soon Robert came to a hat store, where he exchanged his battered old hat
for one of fashionable shape, and a little later his cowhide shoes for a
pair of neat calfskin. He surveyed himself now with natural
satisfaction, for he was as well dressed as his friend Herbert Irving.
He had by this time reached Washington Street and had just passed Milk
Street when he met George Randolph, who looked as consequential and
conceited as ever.
"Good morning, George," said Robert.
George looked at him doubtfully.
How could he suppose that the boy before him, dressed as well as
himself, was the poor fisher boy of Cook's Harbor?
"I don't seem to remember you," said George civilly.
"You met me at Cook's Harbor," he explained. "I am Robert Coverdale."
"What! not the young fisherman?" ejaculated George incredulously.
"You haven't come into a fortune, have you? What brings you here?"
demanded the city boy in great amazement.
"I am in the city on business. No, I haven't come into a fortune, but I
am better off than I was. Can you recommend me a good hotel?"
"I don't know about the cheap hotels."
"I don't care for a cheap hotel. I want a good one."
More and more surprised, George said:
"You might go to Young's."
"I will go there. Thank you for telling me."
"I don't understand how a boy like you can afford to go to such a hotel
as that," said George, looking very much puzzled.
"No, I suppose not," returned Robert, smiling.
"If you don't mind telling me——"
"I am sorry I can't, but my errand is a secret one.
"Did my uncle send you?"
"No, neither he nor Herbert knows of my coming. I didn't have time to
see Herbert before I came away."
"Are you going to stay long in Boston?"
"No, I think not. I am going to New York or Albany."
"It seems queer to me."
"Very likely. Good-by! Thank you for directing me."
George had been remarkably civil, but in a boy like him that is easily
explained. He was civil, not to Robert, but to his new suit and his new
"It's the strangest thing I ever heard of," he muttered as he walked
away. "Why, the young fisherman is dressed as well as I am!"
ON LONG ISLAND SOUND
Had he possessed plenty of leisure, Robert would have been glad to
remain in Boston long enough to see the principal objects of interest in
the city and its vicinity, but he never for a moment forgot that his
time was not his own.
He had entered the service of the hermit, and every day's delay was so
much additional expense to his employer. True, Gilbert Huet was a rich
man, as he had himself acknowledged, but Robert was conscientious, and
felt that this would not justify him in gratifying himself at the
expense of the man who had so trusted him.
Robert felt proud of this trust—this very unusual proof of confidence
in a boy so young and inexperienced as he was—and he was ambitious to
justify it. I am sure, therefore, that he would have had little
satisfaction in postponing it out of regard to his own pleasure.
There were two ways of going to the West, which, it will be remembered,
was his destination—by the way of Albany or New York City.
Finding that it would not matter much how he went, Robert decided upon
the latter. It would enable him to see the great city of which he had
heard so much, and who knows but, in this great metropolis, which
swallows up so many, he might hear something of the lost boy?
He decided, therefore, to go at once to New York, and, after some
inquiry, he fixed upon the Fall River route.
This includes railroad travel to Fall River, a distance of about fifty
miles, where the traveler embarks on a great steamer and arrives in New
York after a night on Long Island Sound.
Guided by an advertisement in the daily papers, Robert made his way to
the Old State House, at the head of State Street, and, entering the
office of the steamboat line, asked for a ticket.
"Will you take a stateroom also?" asked the clerk.
"Is that necessary?" asked Robert, who was unused to traveling.
"No, it's not necessary. Your ticket will entitle you to a comfortable
berth, but in a stateroom you have greater privacy."
"What is a stateroom?" asked our hero.
The clerk was rather surprised by this question, but decided that Robert
was not accustomed to traveling and answered politely enough:
"It is very much like a room in a hotel, only much smaller. There is a
berth and a washstand, and you can lock yourself in. There is greater
security against robbery, for you hold the key and no one can enter it
without your knowledge."
As Robert carried considerable money belonging to Mr. Huet, he felt that
he ought to take this precaution, if it were not too expensive.
"How much must I pay for a stateroom?" he asked.
"You can get a good one for a dollar."
"Then I will take one."
"Number fifty-six," said the clerk, handing him a card with the number
penciled on it. "What's your name?"
So Robert walked out of the office with his passage engaged.
This was on the morning after his arrival, and as the steamboat train
did not start till afternoon, this afforded him a chance to spend
several hours in seeing the city.
First he went to the Common and walked across it, surveying with
interest the large and noble trees which add so much beauty to a park
which, in size, is insignificant compared with the great parks of New
York and Philadelphia, but appears older and more finished than either.
He rode in various directions in the cars and enjoyed the varied sights
that passed under his notice.
At half-past four he paid his bill at the hotel and took a car which
passed the depot from which the steamboat train for New York starts.
The train was an express, and in little more than an hour he boarded the
beautiful Sound steamer.
He was astonished at its magnificence as he went upstairs to the main
saloon. As he was looking about him in rather a bewildered way a colored
man employed on the boat inquired:
"What are you looking for, young man?"
"Where shall I get a key to my stateroom?"
He was told, and, opening the door, he found himself in a comfortable
little room with two berths.
"I can pass the night here very pleasantly," he thought. "There is some
difference between sleeping here and on a sailboat."
Once, in company with his uncle, he had been compelled to pass the night
on the ocean in a small sailboat used for fishing purposes.
Robert left his valise in the stateroom and went into the saloon.
A gong was heard, which he found was the announcement of supper. It was
now past seven o'clock and he felt hungry. He accordingly followed the
crowd downstairs and ate a hearty meal.
When he went upstairs again the band soon began to play and helped to
while away the time. Some of the passengers read papers, others read
books and magazines, while others from the outer decks watched the
progress of the large boat as it swiftly coursed over the waves. In this
last company was Robert.
Without being aware of it, our hero attracted the notice of one of his
fellow passengers, a man possibly of thirty-five, tall and thin and
dressed in black. Finally he accosted Robert.
"A fine evening!" he remarked.
"Yes, sir, very fine."
"You are going to New York, I suppose?"
"Do you tarry there?"
"Not long. I am going to Ohio."
"You seem young to travel alone. Perhaps, however, you have company?"
"No, sir," Robert answered. "I am traveling alone."
There was a look of satisfaction on the man's face, which Robert did not
see. Even if he had he would not have known how to interpret it.
"It is pleasant to go to New York by boat," said the stranger. "I prefer
it to the cars; that is, when I can get a stateroom. Did you secure
"You are more fortunate than I. I found they had all been taken. I would
not care so much if I were not suffering from fever and ague."
"I suppose you have a berth?" said Robert.
"Yes, but the berths are exposed to draughts and are not as desirable as
Robert did not know that, so far from this being the case, the great
fault of the ordinary berths was a lack of air.
"I suppose your stateroom contains two berths?" said the stranger.
"Yes, I believe so."
"I may be taking a liberty, but I have a proposal to make. If you will
allow me to occupy one of them I will pay half the cost of your room. It
would oblige me very much, but I would not ask if I were not sick."
Robert did not entirely like this proposal. He preferred to be alone.
Still he was naturally obliging, and he hardly knew how to refuse this
favor to a sick man.
"I see you hesitate," said the stranger. "Pray think no more of my
request. I would not mind paying the entire cost of the room, if you
will take me in. It cost you a dollar, did it not?"
"Then," said the man, drawing a dollar bill from his pocketbook, "allow
me to pay for it and share it with you."
"I ought not to be selfish," thought Robert. "I would rather be alone,
but if this man is sick I think I will let him come in with me."
He so expressed himself, and the other thanked him warmly and pressed
the dollar upon him.
"No," said Robert, "I can't take so much. You may pay for your
"You are very kind," murmured the other.
And, replacing the bill in his pocketbook, he took out a half dollar and
tendered it to our hero.
Half an hour later both repaired to stateroom No. 56.
As they entered the room the stranger glanced at the two berths and said:
"It is only fair that you should occupy the best berth."
"Which is the best berth?" asked Robert.
"The lower one is generally so considered," said the other. "It is a
little wider and it is less trouble to get into it. I will take the
"No," said Robert generously. "You are sick and ought to have the best.
I am perfectly well, and I shan't mind climbing into the upper one."
"But it seems so selfish in me," protested the stranger, "to step into
your stateroom and take the best accommodations."
"Not if I am willing," responded Robert cheerfully. "So it is all
"How kind you are!" murmured the invalid. "Though we have met so
recently, I cannot help feeling toward you as if you were my younger
Robert thanked him, but could hardly reciprocate the feeling. In truth,
he had taken no fancy to the man whom he had accepted as roommate and
was only influenced by compassion for his reported sickness.
They undressed and retired to their berths. As the stranger was about to
step into his he said:
"It is only fair to tell you my name. I am called Mortimer Fairfax and I
am a partner in a business firm in Baltimore. Are you in business?"
"Not exactly," answered Robert, "though I am traveling on business just
"I believe you didn't mention your name," said Fairfax.
"My name is Robert Coverdale."
"An excellent name. I know a family in Philadelphia by that name. Are
"Then suppose we go to sleep?"
"All right. Goodnight!"
Then there was silence in the stateroom.
It was not long before Robert's eyes closed. He had gone about
considerable during the day and was naturally fatigued. Generally he had
no difficulty in sleeping soundly, but to-night proved an exception. He
tossed about in his narrow berth and he was troubled with disagreeable
dreams. Sometimes it happens that such dreams visit us to warn us of
Robert finally dreamed that a pickpocket had drawn his pocketbook from
his pocket and was running away with it, and he awoke with a sudden
start, his face bathed in perspiration.
It was midnight. The band had ceased playing for two hours and all who
had staterooms had retired to them. Only here and there in the main
saloon a passenger lay asleep in an armchair.
There was a scanty light, which entered the stateroom through a small
window, and by this light Robert, half rising in bed, saw a sight that
Mr. Mortimer Fairfax, his roommate, was out of his berth. He had taken
down Robert's trousers from the nail on which he had hung them and was
in the act of pulling out his wallet, which he had imprudently left in
This sight fully aroused the lad, and he prepared for action.
Fairfax was half bent over, and Robert, who was deeply incensed, threw
himself from the upper berth, landing on the back of his roommate, who
was borne to the floor, releasing the garment with a startled cry.
"What did you do that for?" he asked nervously.
"What business had you with my pocketbook, you thief?" demanded Robert
Mortimer Fairfax, who had supposed Robert to be fast asleep, saw that he
was in a scrape, but he was a man fertile in expedients, and he
instantly decided upon his course.
"What do you mean?" he inquired in a tone of innocent bewilderment.
"What do I mean?" retorted our hero. "I want to know what business you
had with my pocketbook in your hand?"
"You don't mean to say that I was meddling with your pocketbook?" said
Fairfax with an air of surprise.
"That is exactly what I do say, Mr. Fairfax. If I hadn't waked up just
as I did, you would have had all my money, and I should have been
penniless. That is the sort of fever and ague that troubles you, I
"My young friend," said Fairfax, "I am shocked at what you tell me. I do
not blame you for accusing me. If I were in your place and you in mine,
I should no doubt act in the same way. Yet I am entirely innocent, I can
"It don't look much like it," Robert said, rather astonished at the
man's effrontery. "When I find you examining my pockets and taking out
my pocketbook, it looks very much as if you were trying to rob me."
"True, it does. I admit it all. But if you knew me, you would see how
groundless, nay, how absurd such suspicions are. Why, I am a rich man. I
am worth fifty thousand dollars."
"Then why did you try to rob me?"
"I did not. It was only in appearance. Did you ever hear of a
"It is one who gets up in his sleep and is entirely unconscious of what
he does. From early youth—from the days of my innocent boyhood—I have
been a victim of this unfortunate malady."
"Do you often steal in your sleep?" inquired Robert sarcastically.
"Not often, but I have done it before. Once, when a boy, I got up and
took a purse from the pocket of my uncle, who occupied the same room
"What did your uncle say?" Robert asked with some curiosity.
"He was angry till my mother assured him that I was a somnambulist and
not responsible for what I did at such a time. Then we had a good laugh,
"Do you mean to say, Mr. Fairfax, that when you had your hand in my
pocket just now you were asleep?"
"Sound asleep. I had no idea that I was out of my berth."
"You seemed to wake up pretty quick afterward!"
"To be sure I did! I rather think you would wake up, too, if I should
jump upon your back from the top berth! But I forgive you—don't
apologize, I beg. I should have been misled, as you were, if our
situations had been changed."
Certainly Mr. Mortimer Fairfax was cool.
In his limited acquaintance with the world Robert had never dreamed of
the existence of such a character, but he was gifted with shrewd common
sense, and he did not for an instant believe the story which the other
palmed off upon him.
"Mr. Fairfax," he said, "shall I tell you what I think of your story?"
"Yes, if you please."
"I don't believe it."
"What!" exclaimed Fairfax sadly. "Is it possible you believe that I
would rob you, my kind benefactor?"
"I don't pretend to be your benefactor, but I haven't a doubt about
"My dear young friend," said Fairfax, putting his handkerchief to his
eyes, "you grieve me deeply—indeed you do! I had thought you would
understand me better. You do not consider that I am a rich man and can
have no object in depriving you of your little store of money. Let us go
to bed and forget this unpleasant little circumstance."
"No, Mr. Fairfax, you cannot stay here any longer. I insist upon your
dressing yourself and leaving the stateroom!"
"But, my young friend. It is the middle of the night!"
"I can't help it!" said Robert resolutely.
"And, in my delicate health, it would be dangerous."
"I don't believe you are in delicate health, but I can't help it if you
are. You must go!"
"You forget," said Fairfax in a different tone, "that half of the
stateroom is mine. I have paid for it."
"Then I will return the money. Here it is."
"I prefer to remain here."
"If you don't go," said Robert energetically, "I will call for help and
report that you tried to rob me!"
"You will repent this unkind treatment," said Fairfax sullenly, but he
proceeded to dress nevertheless, and in a few minutes he left the
Robert locked the door after him and then, returning to bed, he said
with a sigh of relief:
"Now I can sleep without fear. I am sure that fellow is a rascal, and I
am glad to be rid of him."
A BAGGAGE SMASHER'S REVENGE
When Robert awoke in the morning it was eight o'clock and the steamer
lay quietly at its pier. Almost all the passengers had landed and he was
nearly alone on the great steamer.
Of course Mortimer Fairfax had gone with the rest; in fact, Fairfax was
one of the first to land. He had passed the remainder of the night in
the saloon, anxious, as long as he remained on board, lest Robert should
denounce him for his attempted theft.
Robert was a stranger in New York. He was instantly impressed by what he
could see of the great city from the deck of the steamer. He took his
valise In his hand and walked across the gangplank upon the pier. At the
entrance he was accosted by a hackman.
"No," answered Robert.
"I will carry you cheap."
"What do you call cheap?"
"Where do you want to go?"
This hotel had been suggested by the hermit.
"All right! Jump in!" and the hackman was about to take Robert's
"Wait a moment," said the lad firmly. "I haven't agreed to ride. What do
"Two dollars! How far is it?"
"About five miles!" answered the hackman with unblushing falsehood.
"Is there no stage that goes to that part of the city?"
"No; your only way is to take a carriage."
Though Robert had never before been in New York, he felt convinced that
this was untrue and said quietly:
"Then I will walk."
"It is too far, young man. Nobody walks up there."
"Then I'll be the first one to try it!" said Robert coolly.
"Wait a minute, youngster! I'll take you for a dollar and a half."
Robert did not answer, but crossed the street.
"Carry your bag, sir?" said a boy of about his own age, who seemed to be
waiting for a job.
"Do you know the way to the Astor House?" asked Robert.
"I ought to."
"How far is it?"
"Half a mile."
"That hack driver told me it was five miles."
The boy grinned.
"He thought you were green," he said. "Say, boss, shall I carry that
"How much do you charge?"
"I'll take it to Broadway for a quarter."
"All right. I'll pay it."
"I see," thought Robert, "I shall have to look out or I shall be
cheated. It seems to cost a good deal of money to travel."
As Robert walked along he asked various questions of his young partner
as to the buildings which they passed. On reaching Broadway he said:
"I don't care about riding. If you will walk along with me and carry the
valise I will pay you a quarter more."
"All right. Only pay me the first quarter now," said the boy
"Just as you like. Are you afraid I won't pay you."
"I dunno. I was served that way once."
"How was it?"
"I was carryin' a bag—a thunderin' big bag it was, too—for a man to
this very hotel. I'd carried it about a mile; when we got there he took
it and was goin' in without payin' me.
"'Look here, boss,' I says, 'you haven't paid me.'
"'Yes, I did,' he says. 'I paid you when you took the bag.'
"Then I knew he was a beat, and I made a fuss, I tell you, and follered
him into the hotel.
"'What's the matter?' asked one of the hotel men, comin' forrard.
"'This boy wants me to pay him twice,' he says.
"Of course, the hotel people took up for the man and kicked me out of
the hotel. I didn't blame them so much, for who'd think of a gentleman
cheatin' a poor boy?"
"That was pretty hard on you," said Robert in a tone of sympathy. "He
must have been a mean man."
"Mean? I guess he was. But I got even with him, and I didn't wait long
"How was that?"
"I got an egg and I laid for him. Toward night he come out, all dressed
up like as if he was goin' to the theayter. I follered him, and when I
got a good chance I just hove it at him. I hit him just in his bosom,
and the egg was spattered over his face and clothes. He gave a yell and
then I dodged round the corner. Oh, it was rich to see how he looked! I
guess he'd better have paid me."
Robert could not help laughing, and did not find it in his heart to
blame the boy who had chosen this summary way to redress his
"I hope," he said, "you haven't got any eggs with you now."
"Why, ain't you goin' to pay me?"
"Oh, yes, I mean to pay you. I wouldn't cheat a poor boy. I'm a poor boy
His guide looked at him in surprise.
"You a poor boy, with them clo'es?" he repeated. "If you was a poor boy
you wouldn't pay me for carryin' your baggage."
"But would carry it myself?"
"So I would, but I wanted somebody to guide me to the hotel. I am
traveling for a gentleman that pays the bills."
"Oh, cricky! ain't that jolly? Wouldn't he like me to travel for him?"
"I guess not," said Robert, laughing.
"If he should, just give a feller a chance."
"I might, if I knew your name and where you live."
"I left my cardcase at home on the planner, along with my jewelry, but
my name's Michael Burke. The boys call me Mike. I live at the Newsboys'
Lodge, when I'm at home."
"All right, Mike; I'll remember."
The remainder of the walk was enlivened by conversation of a similar
kind. Though Mike was not much of a scholar, he was well informed on
local matters, and it was upon such points that Robert wished to be
When they reached the hotel Mike uttered an exclamation of surprise.
"Say, do you see that man in the doorway?" he asked eagerly.
"What of him?"
"He's the very man that cheated me out of my pay—the man I hit wid an
egg. Here he is again."
Robert surveyed the man with curious interest. He was a man of middle
age, well dressed, but with a hard, stern look upon his face. He was by
no means one likely to attract strangers.
"How do you know it is the same one?" asked Robert in a low voice.
"He's got the same look. I'd remember him if it was a dozen years, but
it's only six months."
"But you might be mistaken."
"I'll show you whether I am. Come along."
When they entered the vestibule of the hotel Mike paused a moment and,
in hearing of the stranger, said:
"Last night, as I was walkin' along, I seed a man hit wid a rotten egg.
He looked mad enough to kill the one that throwed it."
The stranger wheeled round and regarded Mike intently.
"Boy," said he, "I think I've seen you before."
"Maybe you have," answered Mike coolly. "Lots of people has seen me."
"Did you ever carry a valise for me?"
"Maybe I did. I've carried lots of 'em."
"I think you once brought a valise for me to this very hotel."
"How much did you pay me for doin' it? Maybe I could tell by that."
"I don't know. I presume I paid you liberally."
"Then I guess it was some other boy," said Mike, grinning.
The gentleman looked puzzled, but just then a young man came up and
spoke to him, addressing him as "Mr. Waldo."
Robert started at the sound of this name. He remembered that this was
the name of his employer's cousin, who was suspected of abducting the
boy of whom he was in search.
Bidding good-by to his young guide, he registered his name and then
turned over the pages back. In the list of arrivals for the day before
he came upon this entry:
"Charles Waldo, Sullivan, Ohio."
"It's the very man!" he said to himself in excitement.
TWO IMPORTANT DISCOVERIES
Charles Waldo was the name of the hermit's cousin, who was suspected of
kidnapping the boy who stood between him and the property. It was to
find this very man that Robert was sent out by Gilbert Huet.
Robert felt that he was fortunate in so soon running across this man and
decided that as long as Mr. Waldo remained in the hotel it was his
policy to remain also.
He did not see how he was to find out anything about the missing boy,
but resolved to watch and wait in the hope of obtaining a clew. He did
not wish to attract Mr. Waldo's suspicions, but took care to keep him in
The next morning he observed Mr. Waldo in the reading room at the rear
of the hotel talking with another person—rather a pretentious-looking
man, with black whiskers and a jaunty air.
At the news stand he bought a copy of a morning paper and took a seat
sufficiently near to hear what was said.
Though Waldo and his companion spoke in low tones, neither was
apprehensive of being heard, as it was hardly to be presumed that any
one within hearing distance would feel an interest in what they had to
"As I was saying"—this was the first sentence which Robert heard from
Mr. Waldo—"it is entirely uncertain when I shall derive any advantage
from my cousin's estate. During his life he holds it."
"How is his health?"
"I suppose he is well. In fact, I don't know but he is likely to live as
long as I do. There can't be more than five years' difference in our
"That is a discouraging outlook."
"I should say so! But there is one chance for me during his life."
"What is that?"
"He may be declared insane. In that case the management of the estate
would naturally be transferred to me as the direct heir."
"But is there any ground for assumption that he is insane?"
"Yes. Ever since his son's death he has acted in an eccentric way—made
a hermit of himself and withdrawn from society. You know grief brooded
over often terminates in insanity. Then there was his wife's terrible
death, which had a strange effect upon him.
"I did not understand that the boy died."
"Well, he disappeared. He is undoubtedly dead."
"It is his being out of the way that makes you the heir, is it not?"
"Of course," answered Waldo.
"Then all I can say is that it was mighty fortunate for you," said his
"It hasn't done me any good yet and may not. These hermits are likely to
live long. Their habits are regular and they are not tempted to violate
the laws of health. I tell you, Mr. Thompson, it's a tantalizing thing
to be so near a large fortune and yet kept out of it."
"I suppose you pray for your cousin's death, then?"
"Not so bad as that, but, as he don't enjoy the property, it is a pity I
"How much does the estate amount to probably?" asked the other with
"Well, it can't be less than two hundred thousand dollars."
"Whew! That's a great fortune!"
"So it is. If I get it, or when I get it, I won't mind doing as you ask
me, and setting you up in a snug business."
"You could do it now, Mr. Waldo. You are a rich man," said Thompson.
"You are mistaken. I may have a competence, but nothing more."
"You've got a fine farm."
"That don't support me. Farming doesn't pay."
"And money in stock and bonds."
"Enough to make up the deficiency in my income. I assure you I don't lay
up a cent. I can't do it."
"May I ask what is your errand in New York?"
"I want to speak to you about that. I want to find my cousin."
"Don't his bankers know where he is?"
"If they do, they won't tell. I suppose they are acting under orders
"Suppose you find him?"
"Then," said Charles Waldo significantly, "I shall raise the question of
his sanity. It won't be a difficult matter to prove him insane. It only
needs a certificate from a couple of doctors. I think I can find two
parties who will oblige me."
"I say, Waldo, you're a cool, calculating fellow!" Thompson was about to
use another word, but checked himself. "I wouldn't like to stand in your
"Nonsense! I only want to do what is right."
"And it very conveniently happens that you consider right what is to
your interest. I say, have you any idea how the boy came to disappear?"
"Of course not! How should I?" answered Waldo uneasily.
"I don't know, but as he stood in your way, I thought——"
"You think too much," said Waldo.
"Oh, I don't mean to censure you. I suppose if I had been in your place
I might have been tempted."
"I know nothing about the boy's disappearance," said Waldo hastily; "but
let us drop that. I sent for you because I saw that you could serve
"Go on; if there's money in it, I am your man."
"I shall pay you, of course; that is, I will pay you fairly. We will
speak of that hereafter."
"What do you want me to do? Is there anybody you want to disappear?"
"Hush! You go too far, sir. I want to find out the whereabouts of
Gilbert Huet. It is important for me to know where he is."
"Can you give me a clew?"
"If I could I should not need to employ you. Come up to my room and I
will communicate further with you."
The two left the reading room and Robert was left to digest the
important information he had received.
"What a rascal that man is!" he reflected. "After stealing Mr. Huet's
boy, he wants to put him in a madhouse. I must let him know, so that he
may be on his guard. I don't believe they will think of looking for him
at Cook's Harbor."
By a curious coincidence the room assigned to Robert was next to that
occupied by Mr. Waldo, and when the boy was about entering it, some
hours later, he saw the gentleman going in just ahead of him.
As the latter placed one hand upon the door he drew his handkerchief
from his coat pocket, and in so doing brought out a letter, which fell
upon the floor, without his seeing it.
Passing into his room, he slammed the door, leaving the missive lying in
"It is a mean thing," laughed Robert as he stooped down and picked it
up, "to examine a letter not intended for me, but he is such a scamp
that I'll do it in this case, hoping to learn something that will help
me find this poor boy."
And so, without any compunctions, Robert took the letter—which had been
opened—into his room and read, with feelings which may possibly be
imagined, the following letter:
"DEAR SIR: I feel oblidged to rite to you about the boy I
took from you. You told me he would work enough to pay for
his keep, and did not want to pay me anything for my
trubble. Now, Mr. Waldo, you are mistaken. The boy ain't
tuff nor strong, and I can't got more'n half as much work
out of him as I ought. He don't eat much, I kno, but the
fact is I need a good strong boy, and I shall have to git
another, and have two to feed, if things go on so.
"You told me I might be strict and harsh with him, and I am.
He says he has the headache about half the time, but I don't
pay no attenshun to that. If I did, I wouldn't git any work
done. One day he fainted away in the feald, but it's my
opinyun he brought it on a-purpose by not eatin' much
"I tell you, Mr. Waldo, it is very aggravatin' to have such a
shifless boy. Now, what I want to ask you is, if you can't
allow me a dollar, or a dollar and a half a week to make it
square. I'm willin' to take care of the boy, but I don't
want to lose money by it. I kno you give him his clo'es, but
that don't cost you much. He ain't had a suit for a year,
and he needs one bad.
"I'm sure you will see the thing the way I do, if you are a
reasonable man, as I have no reason to doubt you are; and so
I remain yours to command, NATHAN BADGER.
"To MR. CHARLES WALDO."
Robert could hardly express his excitement and indignation when he was
reading this letter. He felt sure that this poor boy, who was so cruelly
treated, was the unfortunate son of his friend, the hermit, who ought to
be enjoying the comforts of a luxurious home. As it was, he was the
victim of a cruel and unscrupulous relative, influenced by the most
"I will be his friend," Robert resolved, "and if I can I will restore
him to his father."
He looked for the date of the letter and found it. It had been written
in the town of Dexter, in Ohio. Where this town was Robert did not know,
but he could find out.
"I won't wait for Mr. Waldo," he said to himself. "I know all I need to.
I will start for Ohio to-morrow."
As for the letter, he resolved to keep it, as it might turn out to be
important evidence in case of need.
He could not understand how Mr. Waldo could be careless enough to mislay
so important a document, but this did not concern him. It was his
business to profit by it.
THE BOUND BOY
The town of Dexter was almost entirely agricultural. Its population was
small and scattered. There were no large shops or manufactories to draw
people to the place. Many of the farmers were well to do, carrying on
agricultural operations on a considerable scale.
Among the smaller farmers was Nathan Badger. He was fond of money, but
knew no better way to get it than to live meanly, drive hard bargains
and spend as little as possible. In this way, though not a very good
farmer, he was able to lay by a couple of hundred dollars a year, which
he put away in the County Savings Bank.
Mrs. Badger was a fitting wife for such a man. She was about as mean as
he was, with scarcely any of the traits that make women attractive. She
had one, however—an indulgent love of her only child, Andrew Jackson
Badger, who was about as disagreeable a cub as can well be imagined. Yet
I am not sure that Andrew was wholly responsible for his ugliness, as
most of his bad traits came to him by inheritance from the admirable
pair whom he called father and mother.
Andrew Jackson Badger was by no means a youthful Apollo. To speak more
plainly, he was no beauty. A tow head and freckled face often belong to
a prepossessing boy of popular manners, but in Andrew's case they were
joined to insignificant features, small ferret eyes, a retreating chin
and thin lips, set off by a repulsive expression.
There was another member of the family—a bound boy—the same one
referred to in Mr. Nathan Badger's letter. This boy was, five years
previous, placed in Mr. Badger's charge by Charles Waldo.
I do not want my young readers to remain under any uncertainty as to
this boy, and I state at once that he was the abducted son of Gilbert
Huet, the hermit of Cook's Harbor, and the rightful heir to a large
At the time of our introduction to Bill Benton—for this is the name by
which he was known—he had a hoe in his hand and he was about starting
for the field to hoe potatoes.
He was a slender boy, with delicate features and a face which indicated
a sensitive temperament. His hair was dark brown, his features were
refined, his eyes were blue and he looked like a boy of affectionate
temperament, who would feel injustice and harshness keenly. This was
indeed the case. He lacked the strong, sturdy character, the energy and
self-reliance which made Robert Coverdale successful. Robert was not a
boy to submit to injustice or wrong. He was not easily intimidated and
could resist imposition with all his might. But Bill—to call him by the
name given him by Mr. Waldo—was of a more gentle, yielding disposition,
and so he was doomed to suffer.
He was certainly unfortunately situated. Mr. Badger required him to work
beyond his strength and seldom, or never, gave him a kind word. The same
may be said of Mrs. Badger. It was perhaps fortunate for him that he had
a small appetite, for in the Badger household he would have been unable
to gratify the hearty appetite of an average boy.
The table was very mean and the only one who lived well was Andrew
Jackson, whom his mother petted and indulged. There was always something
extra on the table for Andrew, which it was well understood that no one
else in the family was to eat.
Mr. Badger did not interfere with his wife's petting. If he had a soft
place in his heart, it was for Andrew, who seemed to his partial parents
a remarkably smart and interesting boy.
To Bill Benton he was a cruel tyrant. He delighted in making the life of
his father's bound boy intolerable, and succeeded only too well. He was
stronger than Bill, and, backed by the authority of his father and
mother, he dared do anything, while Bill knew that it was useless to
resist. Still, gentle as he was, sometimes his spirit rose and made a
"Where are you going, Bill?" asked Andrew as the bound boy started off
"I am going to hoe potatoes, Andrew."
"No, you're not; I want you to go and dig some worms for bait. I am
"But your father told me to go to the field at once."
"I can't help that. He didn't know I wanted you."
"He will scold me if I don't go to work."
"That is my business. I tell you to go and dig some worms."
Poor Bill! He knew very well that if Andrew got him into a scrape, he
would not help him out, but leave his father to suppose that Bill
disobeyed of his own accord—if necessary, stoutly asserting it, for
Andrew was by no means a boy of truth.
"I would rather not go, Andrew," said Bill uneasily.
"Then take that!"
And Andrew brutally struck him with a whip he had in his hand.
The bound boy flushed at this indignity. Gentle as he was, he resented a
"Don't you do that again, Andrew!" he said. "I won't stand it!"
"You won't stand it?" repeated Andrew tauntingly. "What will you do
about it, I'd like to know?"
"You have no right to hit me, and I won't submit to it," said Bill with
a spirit which quite astonished the young tyrant.
He laughed scornfully and repeated the blow, but with more emphasis.
Even the most gentle and long-suffering turn sometimes, and this was the
The bound boy lifted the hoe and with the handle struck Andrew so
forcibly that he dropped upon the ground, bellowing like a calf.
Like most bullies he was cowardly, and the unexpected resistance and the
pain of the blow quite overcame his fortitude, and he cried like a
It must be confessed that the bound boy was frightened by what he had
done. Too well he knew that he would suffer for his temerity. Besides,
his compassion was aroused for Andrew, whom he thought to be worse hurt
than he was.
He threw down the hoe and kneeled by the prostrate boy.
"Oh, Andrew, I hope I didn't hurt you!" he cried. "I ought not to have
"You'll catch it when father comes home!" screamed Andrew furiously.
"You almost killed me!"
"Oh, Andrew, I'm so sorry. I hope you'll forgive me."
By this time Mrs. Badger had come to the door, and Andrew, catching a
glimpse of her, gave a yell as if in extreme anguish.
His mother came flying out of the house.
"What's the matter, my darling?" she cried in alarm.
"Bill knocked me down with a hoe, and I think I'm going to die!"
answered Andrew with a fresh burst of anguish.
Mrs. Badger was almost paralyzed with astonishment and wrath. She could
hardly believe her ears. What! Her Andrew assaulted by a beggarly bound
"Bill knocked you down with a hoe?" she repeated. "You don't mean it?"
"Yes, I do. Ask him if he didn't."
"Bill Benton," said Mrs. Badger in an awful voice, "did you strike
Andrew with a hoe?"
"Yes, ma'am, and I'm sorry for it, but he struck me with a whip first."
"No doubt he had a good reason for doing it. And so you tried to murder
him, you young ruffian?"
"No, I didn't, Mrs. Badger. He had no right to whip me, and I defended
myself. But I'm sorry——"
Andrew set up another howl, though he no longer felt any pain, and his
mother's wrath increased.
"You'll end your life on the gallows, you young brute!" she exclaimed,
glaring wrathfully at the poor boy. "Some night you'll try to murder us
all in our beds. The only place for you is in jail! When Mr. Badger
comes home, I will report the case to him. Now, go to work."
Poor Bill was glad to get away from the infuriated woman.
Andrew was taken into the house and fed on preserves and sweetmeats by
his doting mother, while the poor bound boy was toiling in the hot sun,
dreading the return of his stern master.
Nathan Badger was not far away. He had driven to the village in the
buggy, not that he had any particular business there, but at present
there was no farm work of a pressing nature except what the bound boy
could do, and Mr. Badger did not love work for its own sake.
In spite of his parsimony, he generally indulged himself in a glass of
bitters, of which he was very fond, whenever he went to the village. His
parsimony stood him in good stead in one respect, at least, for it
prevented his becoming a drunkard.
I have said that Mr. Badger had no particular business at the village,
but this is not strictly true. He had business at the post office.
Some time since he had written to Mr. Waldo, asking for a money
allowance for the care of Bill Benton. He knew very well that he was not
entitled to it. He was at no expense for the boy's clothes, and
certainly Bill richly earned the very frugal fare, of which he partook
sparingly, and the privilege of a hard bed in the attic. But it had
struck him as possible that Mr. Waldo, not knowing the falsehood of his
representations, would comply with his request.
"If I can get a dollar or a dollar 'n' a half for the boy's keep," Mr.
Badger soliloquized, "I can make a good thing out'n him. A dollar a week
will come to fifty-two dollars a year, and I can't put a cent into the
savings bank. A dollar 'n' a half will come to—lemme see—to
seventy-eight dollars a year! That, in five years, would be three
hundred and ninety dollars, without counting the interest."
Mr. Badger's eyes glistened and his heart was elated as he took in the
magnificent idea. But, alas! he was counting chickens that were not
likely to be hatched.
When sufficient time had elapsed for an answer to be due, he went to the
post office every day, but there had been unusual delay. At last an
answer had been received that very morning.
Mr. Badger tore open the envelope in eager haste, but there was no
remittance, as he had fondly hoped. The contents of the letter also
threw cold water on his aspiring hopes, as may be seen from the
following transcript of it:
"MR. NATHAN BADGER: Your letter is received asking me to pay
you a weekly sum for the boy whom I bound out to you some
years ago. I can hardly express the surprise I felt at this
application. You certainly cannot forget that I furnish the
boy's clothes, and that all you are required to do is to
provide him board and lodging in return for his work. This
is certainly a very good bargain for you. I need not say
that the work of a boy of fifteen or sixteen years will
amply repay you for his board, especially if, as I infer
from your letter, he is a small eater. Generally farmers are
willing to provide clothes also, and I think I am dealing
very liberally with you in exempting you from this
"You seem to forget one thing more: For three years, on
account of the boy's being young, and so unable to work
much, I allowed you fifty dollars a year, though I could
readily have found another man to take him without this
allowance. Under the circumstances I consider it very
extraordinary that you should apply to me at this late day
for an extra allowance. I am not made of money, and whatever
I do for this boy is out of pure benevolence, for he has no
claim upon me; but I assure you that I will not be imposed
upon, therefore I say 'no' most emphatically.
"One other thing. You say the boy doesn't work as much as he
ought to. I can only say this is no business of mine. You
have full authority over him, and you can make him work. I
don't believe in pampering boys and indulging them in
laziness. I recommend you to be strict with William—to let
him understand that you are not to be trifled with. Such
would be my course. Yours, etc.,
Nathan Badger was deeply disappointed. He had made up his mind that Mr.
Waldo would allow him at least a dollar a week and had complacently
calculated how much this would enable him to lay aside. Now this dream
Of course he could have given up the boy, for he was not formally bound
to him. But this he did not care to do. The fact was that Bill earned
his board twice over, and Mr. Badger knew it, though he would not have
admitted it. It was for his interest to keep him.
He went home deeply disappointed and angry and disposed to vent his
spite on the poor victim of his tyranny, even had there been no
plausible excuse for doing so.
When he reached home he was met by Mrs. Badger with a frowning brow.
"Well, Mr. Badger, there's been a pretty scene since you went away."
"What do you mean, Cornelia?"
"Bill has nearly killed Andrew Jackson."
"Are you crazy, wife?"
"No, I am in earnest. The young rascal attacked poor Andrew with a hoe
and nearly killed him."
"Then he must be crazy!" ejaculated Mr. Badger. "Where is Andrew? I want
his account of it. If it is as you say, the boy shall suffer."
THE VICTIM OF TYRANNY
Andrew Jackson made his appearance with a piece of brown paper over an
imaginary bruise on his head and eye and the carefully assumed
expression of a suffering victim.
"What is this I hear?" asked his father. "Have you had a difficulty with
"Yes," answered Andrew in the tone of a martyr. "He knocked me down with
a hoe, and if mother had not come out just as she did I think he would
have killed me."
"What made him attack you?" asked Mr. Badger, exceedingly surprised.
"I asked him if he would dig some fish-worms for me."
"Couldn't you dig some yourself?"
"I s'pose I could, but he knew better than I where to find them."
"He said he wouldn't. I told him that I would tell you about his
impertinence. Then he hit me with the hoe as hard as he could."
"Was that all that passed?"
"I don't quite understand it. You are surely stronger than Bill. How did
it happen that you allowed him to strike you?"
"He had a hoe and I hadn't anything," answered Andrew meekly. "He was so
furious that he wouldn't have made anything of killing me."
"I always thought he was rather mild and milk-and-watery," said Nathan
"You wouldn't have thought so if you'd seen him, Mr. Badger," said his
wife, drawing upon her imagination. "He looked like a young fiend. Dear
Andrew is right. The boy is positively dangerous! I don't know but we
shall be murdered in our beds some night if we let him go on this way."
Mr. Badger shrugged his shoulders, for he was not quite a fool, and
"That thought won't keep me awake. He isn't that kind of a boy."
"Oh, well, Mr. Badger, if you are going to take his part against your
own flesh and blood, I've got no more to say."
"Who's taking his part?" retorted Mr. Badger sharply. "I'm not going to
uphold him in attacking Andrew, but I'm rather surprised at his
mustering spunk enough to do it. As for his doing us any harm, that's
"You may change your mind when it's too late, Mr. Badger."
"Are you afraid of him?" asked her husband contemptuously as he regarded
the tall, muscular figure of his wife, who probably would have been a
match for himself in physical strength.
"I can defend myself if I am awake," said Mrs. Badger. "But what's to
hinder his attacking me when I'm asleep?"
"You can fasten your door if you are afraid. But that isn't my trouble
with him. There's something more serious, Mrs. B."
"What is it? What's he been doin'?"
"It isn't he. It's Charles Waldo. I'm free to say that Mr. Waldo is the
meanest man I ever had dealings with. You know I wrote to him to see if
he wouldn't allow me something extra toward the boy's keep."
"Well, read that letter. Or, stay, I'll read it to you."
Mr. Badger took the letter from his pocket and read it aloud to his wife
and son. Mrs. Badger was as much disappointed as her husband, for she
was quite as fond of money as he.
"What are you goin' to do?" she asked.
"I can't do anything," answered Mr. Badger in deep disgust.
"Will you keep the boy?"
"Of course I will. Between ourselves, he more than earns his victuals;
but, all the same, Mr. Waldo is perfectly able to allow us a little
"You must make him work harder," suggested Mrs. Badger.
"I mean to. Now, we will settle about this little affair. Where is
"Out in the field, digging potatoes," said Andrew glibly.
"Go and call him."
"All right, sir."
And the boy prepared to obey the command with uncommon alacrity.
Poor Bill, nervous and unhappy, had been hard at work in the potato
field through the long forenoon, meditating bitterly on his sad
position. So far as he knew, there was no one that loved him, no one
that cared for him. He was a friendless boy. From Mr. and Mrs. Badger
and Andrew he never received a kind nor encouraging word, but, instead,
taunts and reproaches, and the heart of the poor boy, hungering for
kindness, found none.
"Will it always be so?" he asked himself. "If Andrew would only be kind
to me I would do anything for him, but he seems to hate me, and so does
Mrs. Badger. Mr. Badger isn't quite so bad, but he only cares for the
work I do."
The poor boy sighed heavily as he leaned for a moment upon his hoe. "He
was roused by a sharp voice.
"Shirking your work, are you?" said Andrew. "I've caught you this time.
What'll my father say to that?"
"I have been working hard, Andrew," said Bill. "I can show you what I
have done this forenoon."
"That's too thin. You're lazy, and that's all about it. Well, my
father's got home, and now you're going to catch it. Maybe you'll knock
him down with a hoe," said Andrew tauntingly.
"I'm sorry I hit you, Andrew, as I told you; but you shouldn't have
struck me with a whip."
"I had a perfect right to do it. I'm your master."
"No, you're not!" returned Bill with spirit.
"We'll see whether I am or not. Come right up to the house."
"Who says so?"
"My father told me to call you."
"Very well, I will come," and the bound boy shouldered his hoe and
followed Andrew wearily to the farmhouse yard, where Mr. and Mrs. Badger
One look at the stern faces of the pair satisfied Bill that trouble
awaited him. He knew very well that he could not hope for justice and
that one word from Andrew in the mind of his parents would outweigh all
he could say.
"Here comes the young ruffian!" said Mrs. Badger as soon as he came
within hearing distance. "Here comes the wicked boy who tried to kill my
"That is not true, Mrs. Badger," said Bill earnestly. "I was only
"You hear, Mr. Badger. He as much as tells me I lie! Do you hear that?"
demanded the incensed woman.
"Bill Benton," said Mr. Badger sternly, "I hear you have made a savage
and brutal attack on Andrew Jackson. Now, what have you to say for
"He struck me twice with a whip, Mr. Badger, and I got mad. I didn't
mean to hurt him."
"You might have killed him!" broke in Mrs. Badger.
"No, I wouldn't, ma'am."
"Contradicting me again! If there was ever a boy looked like a young
fiend, you did when I came out to save my boy from your brutal temper.
Oh, you'll swing on the gallows some day, sir! I'm sure of that."
To an unprejudiced observer all this would have been very ridiculous.
The delicate, refined-looking boy, whose face showed unmistakable
gentleness and mildness, almost carried to an extreme, was about the
last boy to whom such words could suitably have been addressed.
"Andrew Jackson, did you strike Bill with a whip?" asked Mr. Badger,
turning to his son.
"No, I didn't," answered Andrew without a blush.
"How can you tell such a lie?" said Bill indignantly.
"Mr. Badger, will you allow this young ruffian to accuse your own son of
falsehood?" cried the mother.
"Did you have a whip in your hand, Andrew?" asked his father.
Andrew hesitated a moment, but finally thought it best to say he did.
"Did you strike Bill with it?"
"You see how candid the poor boy is," said his mother. "He tells you
that he had a whip in his hand, though many boys would have denied it.
But my Andrew was always truthful."
Even Andrew felt a little embarrassed at this undeserved tribute to a
virtue in which he knew that he was very deficient.
"Bill Benton," said Mr. Badger sternly, "it appears that you have not
only made an atrocious assault on my son, but lied deliberately about
it. You shall have neither dinner nor supper, and tonight I will give
you a flogging. Now, go back to your work!"
"Ho, ho! You'll hit me again, will you?" said Andrew triumphantly as the
poor boy slowly retraced his way to the field.
As the bound boy walked wearily back to the field he felt that he had
little to live for. Hard work—too hard for his slender
strength—accompanied by poor fare and cruel treatment, constituted his
only prospect. But there seemed no alternative. He must keep on working
and suffering—so far he could foresee.
He worked an hour and then he began to feel faint. He had eaten but
little breakfast and he needed a fresh supply of food to restore his
strength. How he could hold out till evening he could not tell. Already
his head began to ache and he felt weary and listless.
He was left to work alone, for Mr. Badger usually indulged himself in
the luxury of an after-dinner nap, lasting till at least three o'clock.
As he was plodding along suddenly he heard his name called in a cheery
Looking up, he saw Dick Schmidt, the son of a neighbor, a good-natured
boy, whom he looked upon as almost his only friend.
"Hello, Dick!" he responded.
"You're looking pale. Bill," said his friend. "What's the matter?"
"I don't feel very well, Dick."
"You ought not to be at work. Have you had dinner?"
"I am not to have any."
"Why not?" asked Dick, opening his eyes. "I knew old Badger was mean,
but I didn't think he was mean enough for that!"
"It's a punishment," Bill explained.
"For hitting Andrew Jackson with a hoe and knocking him down."
"Did you do that, Bill?" exclaimed Dick in great delight, for he
disliked Mr. Badger's petted heir. "I didn't think it was in you! Shake
hands, old fellow, and tell me all about it."
"I am afraid it was wicked, Dick, but I couldn't help it. I must have
hurt him, for he screamed very loud."
"Better and better! I know how he treats you, Bill, and I tell you it'll
do him good—the young tyrant! But you haven't told me about it."
Bill told the story, to which Dick listened with earnest attention. He
expressed hearty approval of Bill's course and declared that he would
have done the same.
"So you are in disgrace," he said. "Never mind. Bill. It'll all come out
right. It is worth something to have punished that young bully. But
what's the matter, Bill? What makes you so pale?"
"I think it's going without my dinner. The hard work makes me hungry."
"Just wait a minute. I'll be back in a jiffy!"
Dick was off like a shot. When he returned he brought with him two
slices of bread and butter, a slice of cold meat and two apples.
"Eat 'em, Bill," he said. "They'll make you feel better."
"Oh, Dick! I didn't want to trouble you so much."
"It was no trouble, old fellow."
"What will your mother say to your taking all this?"
"She'll be glad of it. She isn't so mean as Mrs. Badger. I say, Bill,
you must come over and take supper with us some time. There's plenty to
eat at our house."
"I should like to, Dick, if Mr. Badger would let me."
"Don't talk any more till you have eaten what I brought you."
Bill obeyed his friend's directions, and, to Dick's great satisfaction,
ate all that had been brought him with evident appetite.
"I feel a good deal better," he said as he took the hoe once more and
set to work. "I feel strong now."
"It's lucky I came along. I say. Bill, is that your only punishment?"
A shadow came over Bill's face.
"I am to be flogged this evening," he said. "Mr. Badger told me so, and
he always keeps his word."
Dick set his teeth and clinched his fists.
"I'd like to flog old Badger," he said energetically. "Are you going to
"I can't help it, Dick."
"I'd help it!" said his friend, nodding emphatically.
Bill shook his head despondently.
The whipping seemed to him inevitable, and there seemed to be no way of
"What time do you expect he will whip you—the old brute?" asked Dick.
"He waits till nine o'clock, just after I have gone to bed."
"Then will you follow my advice?"
"What is it?"
Dick whispered in Bill's ear the plan he had in view. There was no need
to whisper, but he did it to show that the communication was
This was the plan:
Bill was to go to bed as usual, but in about fifteen minutes he was to
get out of the window, slide along the roof of the L and descend to the
ground, when Dick was to meet him, escort him to his house and allow him
to share his room for the night.
"Then," said he, "when the old man comes up to tackle you he'll have to
pound the bed and get his satisfaction out of that. Won't that be a
Bill smiled faintly. It seemed to him a daring defiance of Mr. Badger,
but, after all, he wouldn't fare any worse than he was sure of doing,
and he finally acquiesced, though with serious doubts as to the
propriety of the plan.
"Don't say a word to let 'em know what you're going to do. Bill—mind
"No, I won't."
"You'll be sure to find me waiting for you outside the house, just at
the back of the barn. I'll give you some supper when you reach the
When the bound boy came from work in the evening he met stern, cold
looks from Mr. and Mrs. Badger, but Andrew Jackson wore a look of
triumphant malice. He was gloating over the punishment in reserve for
the boy whom he so groundlessly hated.
"Ain't you hungry?" he said tauntingly.
Bill looked at him, but did not answer.
"Oh, you needn't answer. I know you are," said the young tyrant. "You
didn't like it very much, going without your dinner. You ain't going to
have any supper, either. If you're very hungry, though, and will go down
on your knees and beg my pardon, I'll get you something to eat. What do
"I won't do what you say," said Bill slowly. "I don't care enough for
supper to do that."
"You don't?" exclaimed Andrew angrily. "So you're stubborn, are you?
Anyhow, you can't say I haven't given you a chance."
"You're very kind!" said the bound boy sarcastically, in spite of his
"Of course I am," blustered Andrew Jackson. "Most boys wouldn't be,
after the way you treated me."
"You want the satisfaction of having me beg your pardon," said Bill,
looking full in the face of the petty despot.
"Yes, I do; and I mean to have it."
"You can, upon one condition."
"What's that?" asked Andrew Jackson, his curiosity overcoming his
"If you'll beg my pardon for striking me with your whip, I'll beg yours
for hitting you with the hoe."
Andrew fairly gasped for breath at this daring proposal, and he looked
for a moment as if he were in danger of having a stroke of apoplexy.
"You saucy beggar!" he ejaculated. "How dare you talk to me in that
impertinent way? I'll tell father to give you the worst flogging ever
you had to-night—see if I don't!"
And the boy left to report Bill's new insolence to his mother.
Bill crept up to bed a little earlier than usual. He knew that Mr.
Badger would not ascend to his humble room to administer the threatened
punishment till nine o'clock or later.
Through a refinement of cruelty that humane gentleman chose to let his
intended victim lie in an anxious anticipation of the flogging, thus
making it assume greater terror.
In fact, he probably would not return from the village till nine o'clock
or later, and this was an additional reason why he put it off.
His absence made it easier for Bill to carry out the plan which had been
formed for him by his trusty friend, Dick Schmidt, and escape from the
He accomplished his escape unnoticed about half-past eight o'clock.
Dick was waiting for him behind the barn. He had been a little afraid
that Bill would repent the promise he had made and back out. When he saw
him he welcomed him gladly.
"I was afraid you wouldn't dare to come, Bill," he said.
"I shan't be any worse off," said the bound boy. "Mr. Badger was going
to give me a flogging, anyway, and he can't do any more than that as it
"What an old brute he is!" exclaimed Dick.
"He isn't as bad as his wife or Andrew Jackson."
"That's so! Andrew is a mean boy. I'm glad you hit him."
"I am sorry, Dick."
"Don't you think he deserved it?"
"Yes, but I don't like to be the one to do it."
"I wouldn't mind it," said Dick, "but he's precious careful not to get
into any muss with me."
"You're not bound to Mr. Badger."
"If I were, he wouldn't dare to order me round. Catch him bulldozing
"You're more plucky than I am, Dick."
"You're too good-natured, Bill—that's what's the matter with you."
"I hate fighting, Dick."
"What did Andrew say to you when you came home from work?"
"He wanted me to go down on my knees and beg his pardon for hitting
"Why didn't you knock him down?" said Dick quickly.
"I told him I'd do it——"
"What!" exclaimed Dick Schmidt in the deepest disgust.
"If he'd beg my pardon first for striking me with a whip."
"That's better. I thought you wouldn't be so much of a coward as to beg
"He didn't accept the offer," said Bill, smiling.
"No, I suppose not. Was he mad?"
"He looked as if he was. He called me a saucy beggar and threatened to
tell his father."
"I've no doubt he will. He's just mean enough to do that. I say. Bill,
it's a pity you don't work for my father."
"I wish I did, Dick, but perhaps you'd boss me, too."
"Not much danger. We'd be like brothers."
While this conversation was going on the two boys were walking across
the fields to Mr. Schmidt's farm. The distance was not great, and by
this time they were at the back door.
As they went in Bill's eyes glistened as he saw a nice supper laid on
the kitchen table, waiting for him, for Dick had told his mother of the
guest he expected. He decided to say nothing of the circumstances that
led to the invitation. He might safely have done so, however, for Mrs.
Schmidt was a good, motherly woman, who pitied the boy and understood
very well that his position in Mr. Badger's family must be a very
"I am glad to see you, William," she said. "Sit right down and eat
supper. I've got a hot cup of tea for you."
"I'll sit down, too, mother. I only ate a little supper, for I wanted to
keep Bill company."
Presently the boys went to bed and had a social chat before going to
"I wish," said Dick, "I could be where I could look on when old Badger
goes up to your room and finds the bird flown."
If Dick could have been there, he would have witnessed an extraordinary
THE BATTLE IN THE ATTIC
About ten minutes after Bill Benton left his little chamber an
ill-looking man, whose garb and general appearance made it clear that he
was a tramp, came strolling across the fields. He had made some
inquiries about the farmers in the neighborhood, and his attention was
drawn to Nathan Badger as a man who was likely to keep money in the
Some tramps are honest men, the victims of misfortune, not of vice, but
Tom Tapley belonged to a less creditable class. He had served two terms
in a State penitentiary without deriving any particular moral benefit
from his retired life therein. His ideas on the subject of honesty were
decidedly loose, and none who knew him well would have trusted him with
the value of a dollar.
Such was the man who approached the Badger homestead.
Now it happened that Mrs. Badger and Andrew Jackson had gone to make a
call. Both intended to be back by nine o'clock, as neither wished to
lose the gratification of being near by when Bill Benton received his
flogging. As for Mr. Badger, he was at the village as usual in the
Thus it will be seen that as Bill also had left the house, no one was
left in charge.
Tom Tapley made a careful examination of the house from the outside, and
his experienced eyes discovered that it was unprotected.
"Here's luck!" he said to himself. "Now what's to prevent my explorin'
this here shanty and makin' off with any valuables I come across?"
Two objections, however, occurred to the enterprising tramp: First, it
was not likely at that time in the evening that he would be left alone
long enough to gather in his booty, and, secondly, the absent occupants
of the house might have money and articles of value on their persons
which at present it would be impossible to secure.
The front door was not locked. Mr. Tapley opened it, and, finding the
coast clear, went upstairs. Continuing his explorations, he made his way
to the little attic chamber usually occupied by the bound boy.
"Nobody sleeps here, I expect, though the bed is rumpled," he said to
himself. "There's two boys, I've heard, but it's likely they sleep
together downstairs. I guess I'll slip into bed and get a little rest
till it's time to attend to business."
The tramp, with a sigh of enjoyment, for he had not lately slept in a
bed, lay down on Bill's hard couch. It was not long before drowsiness
overcame him and he fell asleep.
In the meantime the three absent members of the family came home. First
Mrs. Badger and Andrew Jackson returned from their visit.
"Your father isn't home yet, Andrew," said his mother.
"I hope he will come soon, for I'm sleepy," said Andrew.
"Then you had better go to bed, my darling."
"No, I won't. I ain't goin' to lose seein' Bill's flogging. I hope
father'll lay it on well."
"No doubt the boy deserves it."
"What do you think he had the impudence to say to me, mother?" asked
"I shall not be surprised at any impudence from the young reprobate."
"He wanted me to beg his pardon for strikin' him with a whip, as he said
"Well, I never did!" ejaculated Mrs. Badger. "To think of my boy
apologizing to a low, hired boy like him!"
"Oh, he's gettin' awful airy, ma! Shouldn't wonder if he thought he was
"There's nothing but a flogging will subdue such a boy as that. I ain't
unmerciful, and if the boy showed a proper humility I wouldn't mind
doin' all I could for him and overlookin' his faults, but when he
insults my Andrew, I can't excuse him. But there's one thing I can't
understand: He didn't use to be so bold."
"I know what has changed him, ma."
"What is it, Andrew?"
"It's that Dick Schmidt. Dick treats him as if he was his equal, and
that makes him put on airs."
"Then Dick lowers himself—though, to be sure, I don't hold him to be
equal to you! The Badgers are a better family than the Schmidts, and so
are the Coneys, which was my name before I was married."
"I wonder whether Bill's asleep?" said Andrew.
"You might go to the foot of the stairs and listen," said his mother.
Andrew followed his mother's advice, and, opening the door at the foot
of the attic stairs, was astonished to hear the deep breathing which
issued from Bill's chamber.
"Ma," he said, "Bill is snoring like a house afire."
"Reckless boy! Does he make so light of the flogging which your father
has promised him?"
"I don't know. He's gettin' awful sassy lately. I do wish father would
"I think I hear him now," said Mrs. Badger, listening intently.
Her ears did not deceive her.
Soon the steps of the master of the house, as he considered himself,
were heard upon the doorstep, and Mr. Nathan Badger entered.
"I'm glad you've come, pa. Are you goin' to flog Bill now?"
"Yes, my son. Get me a stout stick from the woodshed."
Andrew Jackson obeyed with alacrity.
Armed with the stick, Mr. Badger crept upstairs, rather astonished by
his bound boy's noisy breathing, and, entering the darkened chamber,
brought the stick down smartly on the astonished sleeper.
In about two minutes Mrs. Badger and Andrew, standing at the foot of the
stairs, were astonished by the noise of a terrible conflict in the
little attic chamber, as if two men were wrestling.
There was the sound of a heavy body flung on the floor, and the voice of
Mr. Badger was heard shouting:
"Help! help! murder!"
"The young villain's killing your father!" exclaimed the astonished Mrs.
Badger. "Go up and help him!"
"I don't dare to," said Andrew, pale as a sheet.
"Then I will!" said his mother, and she hurried upstairs, only to be met
by her husband, who was literally tumbled downstairs by the occupant of
the attic chamber.
Husband and wife fell together in a heap, and Andrew Jackson uttered a
yell of dismay.
In all the confidence of assured victory, Mr. Nathan Badger, seeing the
dim outline of a figure upon the bed, had brought down his stick upon it
"I'll l'arn you!" he muttered in audible accents.
It was a rude awakening for Tom Tapley, the tramp, who was sleeping as
peacefully as a child.
The first blow aroused him, but left him in a state of bewilderment, so
that he merely shrank from the descending stick without any particular
idea of what had happened to him.
"Didn't feel it, did yer?" exclaimed Mr. Badger. "Well, I'll see if I
can't make yer feel it!" and he brought down the stick for the second
time with considerably increased vigor.
By this time Tom Tapley was awake. By this time also he thoroughly
understood the situation or thought he did. He had been found out, and
the farmer had undertaken to give him a lesson.
"That depends on whether you're stronger than I am," thought Tom, and he
sprang from the bed and threw himself upon the astonished farmer.
Nathan Badger was almost paralyzed by the thought that Bill Benton, his
hired boy, was absolutely daring enough to resist his lawful master. He
was even more astounded by Bill's extraordinary strength. Why, as the
boy grappled with him, he actually felt powerless. He was crushed to the
floor, and, with the boy's knee upon his breast, struggled in vain to
get up. It was so dark that he had not yet discovered that his
antagonist was a man and not a boy.
Nathan Badger had heard that insane persons are endowed with
extraordinary strength, and it flashed upon him that the boy had become
The horror of being in conflict with a crazy boy so impressed him that
he cried for help.
Then it was that Tom Tapley, gathering all his strength, lifted up the
prostrate farmer and pitched him downstairs just as Mrs. Badger was
mounting them, so that she and her husband fell in a breathless heap on
the lower stairs, to the indescribable dismay of Andrew Jackson.
Mrs. Badger was the first to pick herself up.
"What does all this mean, Mr. Badger?" she asked.
"That's what I'd like to know," said Mr. Badger ruefully.
"You don't mean to say you ain't a match for a boy?" she demanded
"Perhaps you'd like to try him yourself?" said her husband.
"This is very absurd, Mr. Badger. You know very well he's weak for a boy
of sixteen, and he hasn't had anything to eat since morning."
"If you think he's weak, you'd better tackle him," retorted Nathan. "I
tell you, wife, he's got the strength of a man and a strong man, too."
"I don't understand it. Tell me exactly what happened."
"Well, you saw me go upstairs with the stick Andrew Jackson gave me,"
said Mr. Badger, assuming a sitting position. "I saw the boy lyin' on
the bed, snoring and I up with my stick and brought it down pretty hard.
He quivered a little, but that was all. So I thought I'd try it again.
He jumped out of bed and sprang on me like a tiger, grinding his teeth,
but not saying a word. I tell you, wife, he seemed as strong as a horse.
I couldn't get up, and he sat and pounded me."
"The idea of being pounded by a small boy!" ejaculated Mrs. Badger.
"Just what I'd have said a quarter of an hour ago!"
"It seems impossible!"
"Perhaps it does, but it's so."
"He never acted so before."
"No, and he never hit Andrew Jackson before, but yesterday he did it. I
tell you what, wife, I believe the boy's gone crazy."
"Crazy!" ejaculated Mrs. Badger and Andrew in a breath.
"Just so! When folks are crazy they're a good deal stronger than it's
nateral for them to be, and that's the way with Bill Benton."
"But what could possibly make him crazy?" demanded Mrs. Badger
"It may be the want of vittles. I don't know as we'd orter have kept him
without his dinner and supper."
"I don't believe a bit in such rubbish," said Mrs. Badger, whose courage
had come back with the absolute silence in the attic chamber. "I believe
you're a coward, Nathan Badger. I'll go upstairs myself and see if I
can't succeed better than you did."
"You'd better not, wife."
"Oh, don't go, ma!" said Andrew Jackson, pale with terror.
"I'm going!" said the intrepid woman. "It shan't be said of me that I'm
afraid of a little bound boy who's as weak as a rat."
"You'll find out how weak he is," said Mr. Badger. "I warn you not to
"I'm goin', all the same," said Mrs. Badger. "You'll see how I'll tame
him down. Give me the stick."
"Then go if you're so plaguy obstinate," said her husband, and it must
be confessed that he rather hoped his wife, who had ventured to ridicule
him, might herself meet with a reception that would make her change her
Mrs. Badger, stick in hand, marched up to the door of the attic and
called out boldly:
"Open the door, you young villain!"
"How does she know I'm young?" thought Tom Tapley, who was on guard in
the room. "Well, now, if she wasn't such an old woman I should feel
flattered. I guess I'll have to scare her a little. It wouldn't be
polite to tumble her downstairs as I did her husband."
"Have you gone crazy?" demanded Mrs. Badger behind the door.
"Not that I know of," muttered the tramp.
"Perhaps you think you can manage me as well as Mr. Badger?" she
"I should smile if I couldn't," commented Tom Tapley. "That woman must
think she's extra strong to be a match for me!"
"I'm coming in to whip you till you cry for mercy!"
"Really, she's a pretty spunky old woman!" thought the tramp. "If I
can't hold my own against her, I'll sell myself for old rags!"
Mrs. Badger pushed open the door, saw dimly the outline of the tramp and
struck at it with the stick.
But alas! the stick was wrenched from her hand, a pistol, loaded only
with powder, was discharged, and the intrepid lady, in a panic, flew out
of the room and downstairs, tumbling into her husband's arms.
Nathan Badger was delighted at his wife's discomfiture. She couldn't
taunt him any longer.
"I told you so!" he chuckled. "How do you like tacklin' him yourself, my
dear? Wouldn't you like to try it again? Ho! ho!"
"Mr. Badger, you're a fool!" exclaimed his wife sharply.
"It strikes me you're a little in that way yourself, Mrs. Badger. Did
you give him a floggin'? Ho, ho! you were in a great hurry to come
"Mr. Badger, he fired at me with a pistol. I tell you he's a dangerous
boy to have in the house."
"Oh, no, Mrs. Badger, you can manage him just as easy!"
"Shut up, Mr. Badger! How did I know he had a pistol? I tell you it's a
serious thing! Before morning, you, and Andrew Jackson, and me may be
At this awful statement Andrew Jackson burst into a terrified howl.
"I'll tell you what we'd better do, Mr. Badger. We'll go into our room
and lock ourselves in."
"Let me come in, too," said Andrew. "He'll kill me! He hates me!"
"Yes, my darling, you may come, too!" said his mother.
So the valiant three locked themselves up in a chamber and listened
But Tom Tapley was already out of the house. He made his escape over the
roof, fearing that the neighborhood would be roused and his safety
So passed a night of unparalleled excitement in the Badger homestead.
ATTACKED IN THE REAR
Early the next morning the three Badgers held a council of war.
It was unanimously decided that something must be done, but what that
something should be it was not easy to determine.
Mr. Badger suggested that the town constable should be summoned.
"The boy has committed assault and battery upon our persons, Mrs.
Badger," he said, "and it is proper that he should be arrested."
"Shall I go for the constable?" asked Andrew Jackson. "I should like to
have him put in jail. Then we should be safe."
"The constable would not be up so early, Andrew."
"Besides," said Mrs. Badger, "we shall be laughed at for not being able
to take care of a single small-sized boy."
"You know what he is capable of, Mrs. Badger. At least you did when you
came flyin' down the attic stairs into my arms!"
"Shut up, Mr. Badger," said his wife, who was ashamed when she
remembered her panic. "You'd better not say anything. He got you on the
floor and pounded you—you a full-grown man!"
"I'd like to pound him!" said Badger, setting his teeth hard.
"It's a pity if three of us can't manage him without calling in a
constable," continued Mrs. Badger, who, on the whole, had more courage
than her husband.
"What do you propose, wife?" asked Nathan.
"I propose that we all go up and seize him. He is probably asleep and
can't give any trouble. We can tie him hand and foot before he wakes
"Capital!" said Mr. Badger, who was wonderfully assured by the thought
that his young enemy might be asleep. "We'll go right up."
"He may be awake!" suggested Andrew Jackson.
"True. We must go well armed. I'll carry the gun. It will do to knock
the pistol out of his hand before he gets a chance to use it."
"Perhaps so," assented Mrs. Badger.
"And you, Andrew Jackson, what can you take?"
"I'll take the poker," said the heroic Andrew.
"Very good! We had better arm ourselves as soon as possible or he may
wake up. By the way, Mr. Badger, where is the ball of twine? It will be
useful to tie the boy's hands."
"If his hands are tied he can't work."
"No, but I will only keep them tied while I give him a thrashing. You
can take possession of his pistol and hide it. When he is thoroughly
subdued we will untie him and send him to work."
"Without his breakfast?" suggested Andrew.
"No, he has already fasted since yesterday morning, and it may make him
desperate. He shall have some breakfast, and that will give him strength
Andrew Jackson was rather disappointed at the decision that Bill was to
have breakfast, but on this point he did not venture to oppose his
The plan of campaign having been decided upon, it only remained to carry
Mr. Badger took the old musket and headed the procession. His wife
slipped downstairs and returned with the kitchen broom and a poker. The
last she put in the hands of her son.
"Use it, Andrew Jackson, if occasion requires. You may be called upon to
defend your father and mother. Should such be the case, do not flinch,
but behave like a hero."
"I will, ma!" exclaimed Andrew, fired perhaps by the example of the
great general after whom he was named. "But you and pa must tackle him
"We will!" exclaimed the intrepid matron. "The disgraceful scenes of
last evening must not again be enacted. This time we march to certain
victory. Mr. Badger, go on, and I will follow."
The three, in the order arranged, advanced to the foot of the stairs,
and Mr. Badger slowly and cautiously mounted them, pausing before the
door of the room that contained, as he supposed, the desperate boy.
"Shall I speak to him before entering?" he asked in a tone of
indecision, turning back to his wife.
"Certainly not; it will put him on his guard. Keep as still as you can.
We want to surprise him."
To account for what followed it must be stated that Dick Schmidt
awakened his visitor early and the two went down to breakfast. Mr.
Schmidt was going to the market town and found it necessary to breakfast
at five o'clock. This happened fortunately for Bill, as he was able to
obtain a much better breakfast there than at home.
When breakfast was over he said soberly:
"Dick, I must go back."
"Why do you go back at all?" said Dick impulsively.
"I must. It is the only home I have."
"I wish you could stay with me."
"So do I, but Mr. Badger would come after me."
"I suppose he would. Do you think he will flog you?"
"I am sure he will."
"I'd like to flog him—the brute! Don't take it too hard, Bill. You'll
be a man some time, and then no one can punish you."
Poor Bill! As he took his lonely way back to the house of his tyrannical
employer in the early morning he could not help wishing that he was
already a man and his days of thraldom were over. He was barely sixteen.
Five long, weary years lay before him.
"I'll try to stand it, though it's hard," murmured Bill. "I suppose he's
very mad because I wasn't home last night. But I'm glad I went. I had
two good meals and a quiet night's sleep."
It was not long before he came in sight of home.
Probably no one was up in the Badger household. Usually Bill was the
first to get up and Mrs. Badger next, for Andrew Jackson and his father
were neither of them fond of early rising.
The front and back doors were no doubt locked, but Bill knew how to get
He went to the shed, raised a window and clambered in.
"Perhaps I can get up to my room without anybody hearing me," he
He passed softly through the front room into the entry and up the front
stairs. All was quiet. Bill concluded that no one was up. He came to the
foot of the attic stairs, and his astonished gaze rested on the three
Badgers, armed respectively with a gun, a broom and a poker, all on
their way to his room.
"Were they going to murder me?" he thought.
Just then Andrew Jackson, who led the rear, and was therefore nearest to
Bill, looked back and saw the terrible foe within three feet of him.
He uttered a loud yell, and, scarcely knowing what he was about, brought
down the poker with force on his mother's back, at the same time
"There he is, ma!"
Mrs. Badger, in her flurry, struck her husband with the broom, while her
husband, equally panic-stricken, fired the musket. It was overloaded,
and, as a natural result, "kicked," overthrowing Mr. Badger, who in his
downward progress carried with him his wife and son.
Astonished and terrified, Bill turned and fled, leaving the house in the
same way he entered it. He struck across the fields and in that moment
decided that he would never return to Mr. Badger unless he was dragged
there. He felt sure that if he did he would be murdered.
He had no plans except to get away. He saw Dick Schmidt, bade him a
hurried good-by and took the road toward the next town.
For three days he traveled, indebted to compassionate farmers for food.
But excitement and fatigue finally overcame him, and he sank by the
roadside, about fifty miles from the town of Dexter, whence he had
started on his pilgrimage.
BILL BENTON FINDS A FRIEND
Late one afternoon Robert Coverdale reached Columbus on his Western
trip. The next day he was to push on to the town of Dexter, where he had
information that the boy of whom he was in search lived.
The train, however, did not leave till eleven o'clock in the forenoon,
and Robert felt justified in devoting his leisure hours to seeing what
he could of the city and its surroundings.
He took an early breakfast and walked out into the suburbs.
As he strolled along a little boy, about seven years old, ran to meet
"Please, mister," he said, "won't you come quick? There's a boy layin'
by the road back there, and I guess he's dead!"
Robert needed no second appeal. His heart was warm and he liked to help
others when he could.
"Show me where, bub," he said.
The little fellow turned and ran back, Robert keeping pace with him.
By the roadside, stretched out, pale and with closed eyes, lay the poor
bound boy, known as Bill Benton.
He was never very strong, and the scanty fare to which he had been
confined had sapped his physical strength.
Robert, at first sight, thought he was dead. He bent down and put his
hand upon the boy's heart. It was beating, though faintly.
"Is he dead, mister?" asked the boy.
"No, but he has fainted away. Is there any water near by?"
Yes, there was a spring close at hand, the little boy said.
Robert ran to it, soaked his handkerchief in it, and, returning, laved
the boy's face. The result was encouraging.
Bill opened his eyes and asked in a wondering tone:
"Where am I?"
"You are with a friend," said Robert soothingly. "How do you feel?"
"I am very tired and weak," murmured Bill.
"Are you traveling?"
"I don't know."
Robert thought that the boy's mind might be wandering, but continued:
"Have you no friends in Columbus?"
"No. I have no friends anywhere!" answered Bill sorrowfully, "except
"I suppose Dick is a boy?"
"Where have you been living?"
"You won't take me back there?" said Bill uneasily.
"I won't take you anywhere where you don't want to go. I want to be your
friend, if you will let me."
"I should like a friend," answered Bill slowly. Then, examining the
kind, boyish face that was bent over him, he said, "I like you."
"Have you had anything to eat to-day?" asked Robert.
"Will you go with me to my hotel?"
"I have no money."
"Poor boy!" thought Robert, "it is easy enough to see that."
Bill's ragged clothes were assurance enough of the truth of what he
"I must take care of this poor boy," thought Robert. "It will delay me,
but I can't leave him."
He heard the sound of approaching wheels, and, looking up, saw a man
approaching in a wagon. Robert signaled him to stop.
"I want to take this boy to the hotel," he said, "but he has not
strength enough to walk. Will you take us aboard? I will pay you a fair
"Poor little chap! He looks sick, that's a fact!" said the kind-hearted
countryman. "Yes, I'll give you both a lift, and I won't ask a cent."
There was some surprise felt at the hotel when Robert appeared with his
new-found friend. Some of the servants looked askance at the ragged
clothes, but Robert said quietly:
"I will pay for him," and no objection was made.
When Bill was undressed and put to bed and had partaken of a refreshing
breakfast he looked a great deal brighter and seemed much more
"You are very kind," he said to Robert.
"I hope somebody would do as much for me if I needed it," answered
Robert. "Do you mind telling me about yourself?"
"I will tell anything you wish," said Bill, who now felt perfect
confidence in his new friend.
"What is your name?"
"Bill Benton; at any rate, that's what they call me."
"Don't you think it's your real name, then?"
"Have you any remembrance of your real name?" asked Robert, not dreaming
of the answer he would receive.
"When I was a little boy they called me Julian, but——"
"Julian!" repeated Robert eagerly.
"Can you tell what was your last name?" asked Robert quickly.
Bill shook his head.
"No, I don't remember."
"Tell me," said Robert, "did you live with a man named Badger in the
town of Dexter?"
The sick boy started and seemed extremely surprised.
"How did you find out?" he asked. "Did Mr. Badger send you for me?"
"I never saw Mr. Badger in my life."
Bill—er perhaps I ought to say Julian—looked less anxious.
"Yes," he said, "but he treated me badly and I ran away."
"Did you ever hear of a man named Charles Waldo?"
"Yes, he was the man that sent me to Mr. Badger."
"It's a clear case!" thought Robert, overjoyed, "I have no doubt now
that I have found the hermit's son. Poor boy, how he must have
"Julian," said he, "do you know why I am traveling—what brought me
here? But of course you don't. I came to find you."
"To find me? But you said——"
"No, it was not Mr. Badger nor Mr. Waldo that sent me. They are your
enemies. The one that sent me is your friend. Julian, how would you like
to have a father?"
"My father is dead."
"Who told you so?"
"Mr. Waldo. He told Mr. Badger so."
"He told a falsehood, then. You have a father, and as soon as you are
well enough I'll take you to him."
"Will he be kind to me?"
"Do not fear. For years he has grieved for you, supposing you dead. Once
restored to him, you will have everything to make you happy. Your father
is a rich man, and you won't be overworked again."
"What is my father's name?" asked Julian.
"His name is Gilbert Huet."
"Huet! Yes, that's the name!" exclaimed Julian eagerly. "I remember it
now. My name used to be Julian Huet, but Mr. Waldo was always angry
whenever any one called me by that name, and so he changed it to Bill
"He must be a great scoundrel," said Robert. "Now, Julian, I will tell
you my plan. I don't believe there is anything the matter with you
except the want of rest and good food. You shall have both. You also
want some new clothes."
"Yes," said Julian, looking at the ragged suit which now hung over a
chair. "I should like some new clothes."
A doctor was called, who confirmed Robert's opinion.
"The youngster will be all right in a week or ten days," he said. "All
he wants is rest and good living."
"How soon will he be able to travel?"
"In a week, at the outside."
During this week Robert's attention was drawn to the following paragraph
in a copy of the Dexter Times, a small weekly paper, which he found in
the reading room of the hotel:
"A DESPERATE YOUNG RUFFIAN.—We understand that a young boy
in the service of Mr. Nathan Badger, one of our most
respected citizens, has disappeared under very extraordinary
circumstances. The evening previous to his departure he made
an unprovoked attack upon Mr. and Mrs. Badger, actually
throwing Mr. Badger downstairs and firing a pistol at Mrs.
Badger. He was a small, slight boy, but the strength he
exhibited was remarkable in thus coping successfully with a
strong man. Mr. Badger thinks the boy must have been
suddenly attacked by insanity of a violent character."
"What does this mean, Julian?" asked Robert, reading the paragraph to
his young protege.
"I don't know," answered Julian, astonished. "I spent the last night
before I came away with my friend Dick Schmidt."
In a few days Julian looked quite another boy. His color began to return
and his thin form to fill out, while his face wore a peaceful and happy
In a new and handsome suit of clothes he looked like a young gentleman
and not at all like Bill Benton, the bound boy. He was devotedly
attached to Robert, the more so because he had never before—as far as
his memory went—received so much kindness from any one as from him.
"Now," thought Robert, "I am ready to go back to Cook's Harbor and
restore Julian to his father."
ONCE MORE IN COOK'S HARBOR
Various had been the conjectures in Cook's Harbor as to what had become
of Robert Coverdale.
Upon this point the hermit was the only person who could have given
authentic information, but no one thought of applying to him.
Naturally questions were put to Mrs. Trafton, but she herself had a very
vague idea of Robert's destination, and, moreover, she had been warned
not to be communicative.
Mr. Jones, the landlord, supposed he had gone to try to raise the amount
of his mortgage among distant relatives, but on this point he felt no
"He won't succeed," said he to his wife; "you may depend on that. I
don't believe he's got any relations that have money, and, even if he
has, they're goin' to think twice before they give a boy two hundred
dollars on the security of property they don't know anything about."
"What do you intend to do with the cottage, Mr. Jones?"
"It's worth five hundred dollars, and I can get more than the interest
of five hundred dollars in the way of rent."
"Is anybody likely to hire it?"
"John Shelton's oldest son talks of getting married. He'll be glad to
hire it of me."
"What's to become of Mrs. Trafton?"
"I don't know and I don't care," answered the landlord carelessly. "The
last time I called she was impudent to me; came near ordering me out of
the house till I made her understand that I had more right to the house
than she had."
"She puts on a good many airs for a poor woman," said Mrs. Jones. "It's
too ridiculous for a woman like her to be proud."
"If anything, she isn't as bad as that young whelp. Bob Coverdale. The
boy actually told me I wasn't respectful enough to his precious aunt. I
wonder if they'll be respectful to her in the poorhouse—where it's
likely she'll fetch up?"
"I don't see where the boy got money enough to go off," said Mrs.
"He didn't need much to get to Boston or New York. He's probably
blackin' boots or sellin' papers in one of the two."
"I hope he is. I wonder how that sort of work will suit the young
"To-morrow the time's up, and I shall foreclose the mortgage. I'll fix
up the place a little and then offer it to young Shelton. I guess he'll
be willin' to pay me fifty dollars a year rent, and that'll be pretty
good interest on my two hundred dollars."
"Have you given Mrs. Trafton any warning?"
"No, why should I? She knows perfectly well when the time is out, and
she's had time to get the money. If she's got it, well and good, but if
she hasn't, she can't complain. Oh, there's young Shelton," said the
landlord, looking out of the window.
"I'll call him and see if we can make a bargain about renting the
"Frank Shelton!" called out Mr. Jones, raising the window.
The young fisherman paused.
"Come in; I want to speak to you."
Frank Shelton turned in from the street and the landlord commenced his
"Frank, folks say you're thinkin' of gettin' married?"
"Maybe I shall," said the young man bashfully.
"Whereabouts do you cal'late to live?"
"Well, I don't know any place."
"What do you say to the Widder Trafton's house?"
"Is she goin' to leave?"
"I think she'll have to. Fact is, Frank, I've got a mortgage on the
place which she can't pay, and I'll have to foreclose. You can have it
as soon as you want it."
"How much rent did you cal'late to ask, Mr. Jones?"
"I'd ought to have five dollars a month, but, seein' it's you," said the
politic landlord, "you may have it for fifty dollars a year."
"I'll speak to Nancy about it," said the young fisherman. "I don't want
to turn Mrs. Trafton out, but if she's got to go, I suppose I might as
well hire the house as any one else."
"Just so. I tell you, Frank, I'm offerin' you a bargain."
Just then Frank Shelton, who was looking out of the window, exclaimed in
"Why, there's Bob Coverdale!"
"He just walked by, with a smaller boy alongside."
"You don't say so!" uttered Mr. Jones, hardly knowing whether to be glad
or sorry. "Well, he's come in time to bid good-by to his old home. I'll
go up to-morrow, first thing, and settle this matter. I s'pose they'll
try to beg off, but it won't be any use."
Robert had written to the hermit from Columbus a letter which conveyed
the glad tidings of his success. It filled the heart of the recluse with
a great and abounding joy.
Life seemed wholly changed for him. Now he felt that he had something to
live for, and he determined to change his course of life entirely. He
would move to Boston or New York and resume the social position which he
had abandoned. There he would devote himself to the training and
education of his boy.
And Robert—yes, he would richly reward the boy who had restored to him
the son lost so long. He would not yet decide what he would do for him,
but he felt that there was no reward too great for such a service.
He knew on what day to expect the two boys, for Robert had informed him
by letter. Restless, he waited for the moment which should restore his
son to his arms. He took a position on the beach in front of the
entrance to the cave and looked anxiously for the approach of the two
No longer was he clad in his hermit dress, but from a trunk he had drawn
out a long-disused suit, made for him in other days by a fashionable
tailor on Broadway, and he had carefully trimmed and combed his
"My boy must not be ashamed of my appearance," he said proudly. "My
hermit life is over. Henceforth I will live as a man among men."
Presently his waiting glance was rewarded. Two boys, one of whom he
recognized as Robert, descended the cliff and walked briskly toward him
on the firm sand beach.
He did not wait now, but hurried toward them. He fixed his eyes eagerly
upon the second boy.
Julian had much improved in appearance since we first made his
acquaintance. It does not take long to restore strength and bloom into a
boy of sixteen. He was slender still, but the hue of health mantled his
cheeks; he was no longer sad, but hopeful, and in his delicate and
refined features his father could see a strong resemblance to the wife
he had lost.
"Julian!" said Robert Coverdale, "that's your father who is coming. Let
him see that you are glad to meet him.
"Mr. Huet," he said, "this is your son."
"You do not need to tell me. He is too like his mother. Julian, my boy,
Heaven be praised that has restored you to me!"
It is hardly to be expected that Julian should feel the rapture that
swelled the father's heart, for the thought of having a father at all
was still new and strange, but it was not long before he learned to love
The poor boy had received so little kindness that his father's warm
affection touched his heart, and he felt glad and happy to have such a
"God bless and reward you, Robert!" said Mr. Huet, taking the hand of
our hero. "You shall find that I am not ungrateful for this great
service. I want to talk to my boy alone for a time, but I will come to
your aunt's house to supper with Julian. Please tell her so, and ask her
to let it be a good one."
"I will, Mr. Huet."
From Julian his father drew the story of his years of hardship and ill
treatment, and his heart was stirred with indignation as he thought of
the cruelty of the relative who had subjected him and his son to that
long period of grief and suffering.
"Your trials are over now, Julian," he said. "You will be content to
live with me, will you not?"
"Will Robert live with us?" asked the boy.
"Do you like Robert?" asked his father.
"I love him like a brother," said Julian impulsively. "You don't know
how kind he has been to me, father!"
"Yes, Robert shall live with us, if he will," said Mr. Huet. "I will
speak about it to him tomorrow."
"Will you live here, father?"
"Oh, no! You must be educated. I shall take you to Boston or New York,
and there you shall have every advantage that money can procure.
Hitherto I have not cared to be rich. Now, Julian, I value money for
Together they went to Mrs. Trafton's cottage to supper.
"What makes you look so sober, Robert?" asked Mr. Huet, observing that
the boy looked grave.
"I have heard that Mr. Jones will foreclose his mortgage to-morrow."
"Not if you pay it," said Mr. Huet quietly. "Come with me after supper,
and I will hand you all the money you require."
Robert was about to express his gratitude, but Mr. Huet stopped him.
"You owe me no thanks," he said. "It is only the first installment of a
great debt which I can never wholly repay."
THE LANDLORD'S DEFEAT
About ten o'clock the next morning Mr. Nahum Jones approached the
Sitting on a bench outside was Robert Coverdale, whittling. He had put
on his old clothes, intending it to be for the last time. He wanted to
surprise Mr. Jones.
"There's Bob Coverdale," said Mr. Jones to himself. "He don't look much
as if he was able to pay the mortgage. I guess I've got the place fast
"Is your aunt at home, young man?" he asked pompously.
"Yes," answered Robert, continuing to whittle.
"You might say 'yes, sir.'"
"All right. I'll remember next time."
"You'd better. Tell your aunt I want to see her—on business,"
emphasizing the last two words.
"Come right in, sir."
Mr. Jones, with a patronizing air, entered the house of which he already
considered himself the proprietor.
Mrs. Trafton was engaged in making a pudding, for she had two boarders
now, Julian and his father, who were to take their meals in the
fisherman's cottage till they got ready to leave Cook's Harbor.
"Good mornin', ma'am," said Mr. Jones.
"Good morning. Will you take a seat?" she said quietly.
"I can't stay long, Mrs. Trafton. I called on a little matter of
"Very well, sir."
"I suppose you understand what it is?"
"Perhaps I do, but you had better explain."
"I have made up my mind to foreclose the mortgage I hold on this place,
and I should like to have you move out within three days, as I am going
to let it."
"Indeed! To whom do you intend to let it?"
"To Frank Shelton. He's goin' to be married, and this house will suit
"And what am I to do, Mr. Jones? You surely do not mean to deprive
Robert and me of our home?"
"It isn't yours any longer, or won't be. Of course, you can't expect to
stay here. I haven't forgotten how you talked to me when I was here
before nor how impudent your boy was."
"Meaning me?" asked Robert with a grave face.
"Of course I mean you!" said Mr. Jones sharply.
"I haven't said anything impudent to you to-day, have I?"
"No, but you'd ought to have thought of that before. It's too late
"You won't turn us out on the street, will you, Mr. Jones?"
"Haven't I given you three days to stay? If you want my advice, I should
say that you'd find a good, comfortable home in the poorhouse. Your boy
there might be bound out to a farmer."
"I don't know any farmer that wants a boy," said Robert meekly.
"I'd take you myself," said Nahum Jones, "if you wasn't so impudent. I'm
afraid you're a little too airy for me."
"Wouldn't you let the house to me, Mr. Jones?" asked the widow. "It's
worth a good deal more than the face of the mortgage."
"You couldn't get a dollar more, in my opinion," said the landlord. "As
to takin' you for a tenant, I haven't any assurance that you could pay
"What rent do you want for it, Mr. Jones?"
"Five dollars a month."
"Five dollars a month, when you say it's only worth two hundred
"I'm goin' to fix it up a little," said Mr. Jones, rather nonplussed.
"I think, Mr. Jones, we won't move," said Robert.
"Won't move?" ejaculated the landlord, getting red in the face. "You've
got to move."
"Who says so?"
"I say so, you young whelp!"
"No hard names, if you please, Mr. Jones. The fact is, my aunt doesn't
fancy going to the poorhouse. To be sure, if she could have your society
there it might make a difference."
"You'll repent this impudence, Bob Coverdale!"
"How am I impudent?"
"To talk of my being in the poorhouse!"
"You spoke of Aunt Jane going to the poorhouse."
"That's a different matter."
"At any rate, she won't go!" said Robert decidedly.
"Won't? We'll see about that. How are you going to help it?"
"By paying the mortgage," answered Robert quietly.
"You can't do it," said Mr. Jones, his jaw drooping.
"You are mistaken, Mr. Jones. If you'll write a receipt, I am ready to
pay it now—principal and interest."
Robert drew out a roll of bills from the pocket of his ragged vest and
began to count them.
"Where did you get this money?" ejaculated the landlord.
"I must decline telling you, Mr. Jones. It's good money, as you can see.
I think you'll have to tell Frank Shelton he can't have the house unless
he wants to hire of my aunt."
Nahum Jones hated to take the money that was offered him, but there was
no loophole to escape. The good bargain was slipping from his grasp. The
triumphant look faded from his face, and he looked exceedingly ill at
"I'll come up with you for this, Bob Coverdale!" he muttered angrily.
"For what? Paying you money, Mr. Jones?"
"You know what I mean."
"Yes, I do know what you mean," returned the boy gravely. "This money is
in payment for liquor furnished to my poor uncle—liquor which broke up
the happiness of his home and finally led to his death. You laid a plot
to deprive my aunt, whom you had so much injured, of her home, but you
have been defeated. We don't care to have anything more to do with
There is no need of recording the landlord's ill-natured answer. He was
angry and humiliated, and, when he got home, snapped up Mrs. Jones when
she began to make inquiries about the new property. He felt the worse
because he had been defeated by a boy.
HOW IT ENDED
"Robert," said Gilbert Huet later in the day, "next week Julian and I go
to Boston, where we shall try to make a home for ourselves."
Robert looked sober.
"I shall feel very lonely without you," he said.
"You are to go, too, Robert," said Julian quickly.
"If you will. Julian wants your society, and so do I."
Robert's face flushed with eager delight.
"But my aunt?" he said.
"I have been speaking to your aunt. In fact, I invited her to accompany
us, but she says she is used to Cook's Harbor and cannot leave it."
"I don't like to leave her alone."
"Then I'll tell you what you can do. I understand that young Frank
Shelton is seeking for a home where he can take his promised wife. I
advise you to enlarge the cottage, putting on another story and perhaps
an L also. This will give you plenty of room for your aunt and the young
couple, who will be company for her."
"Yes," said Mrs. Trafton, "I always liked Frank Shelton and his wife
that is to be. The arrangement will be very agreeable to me."
"But," objected Robert, "how can I build an addition to the house? I
have no money."
"I beg your pardon," said Mr. Huet, smiling, "but I don't think a young
gentleman worth ten thousand dollars can truthfully say he has no money.
I hope, Robert, you are not growing mean."
"Ten thousand dollars!" ejaculated Robert, his eyes wide open with
"I don't understand you, Mr. Huet."
"Then perhaps you will understand this."
Mr. Huet handed Robert a slip of paper, which proved to be a check on
the Merchants' Bank, of Boston, for the sum of ten thousand dollars,
payable to Robert Coverdale or order. It was signed by Gilbert Huet.
"You see, you are rich, Robert," said Julian, smiling with joy at his
friend's good fortune.
"Oh, Mr. Huet, I don't deserve this," said Robert, his heart full.
"You must let me judge of that, my dear boy. Say no more or you will be
depreciating Julian's value. You have restored him to me, and I consider
him worth much more than ten thousand dollars."
Of course, Robert joyfully accepted the munificent gift so cordially
offered. By Mr. Huet's advice, he invested the money in good
dividend-paying securities and monthly sent his aunt twenty-five
dollars, which, with the rent, made her quite easy in her
The additions were made to the cottage, and Frank Shelton and his wife
were glad to hire the house, thus providing Mrs. Trafton with society as
well as adding to her income.
As for Robert, henceforth he shared in all the educational advantages
which Julian enjoyed.
Mr. Huet took a house, engaged an excellent housekeeper and at length
enjoyed a home.
One letter he wrote to Charles Waldo—a scathing letter denouncing him
for his infamous conduct and threatening severe punishment if he ever
again conspired against his happiness. Mr. Waldo did not answer the
letter for very shame. What excuse or apology could he possibly offer?
Three years later Robert and Julian made a vacation journey westward.
"I should like to call on my old friend Nathan Badger," said Julian.
"So should I," said Robert. "I want to see how he looks."
The Badgers could not at first be convinced that the elegant young
gentleman, introduced as Julian Huet, was no other than the bound boy,
Bill Benton; but he recalled so many incidents of his past life that
they credited it at last.
"You were always a favorite of mine, Bill—I mean Mr. Julian!" said the
farmer, who had a wonderful respect for wealth.
"And of mine!" chimed in Mrs. Badger. "And I'm sure my Andrew Jackson
loved you like a brother."
Andrew Jackson, a gawky youth, no more prepossessing than his boyhood
promised, winked hard and looked enviously at Julian.
When the latter drew from his pocket a silver watch and chain and asked
Andrew to accept it for old acquaintance sake he was quite overcome and
said he liked Julian "better than any feller he knew!"
"Then you forgive me for hitting you with a hoe, Andrew?" said Julian
"I don't care for that," said Andrew Jackson stoutly, "and I guess you
more'n got even with us that time you stayed with Dick Schmidt and
father tried to thrash a tramp—thinking it was you—and got thrashed
Then Andrew Jackson fixed an admiring glance on the watch he had coveted
"Boys will be boys!" said Mr. Badger with a fatherly smile. "Andrew
Jackson don't have no ill feelings."
It was the way of the world. Julian was rich now and had plenty of
friends. But he had one true friend whom money could not buy, and this
was Robert Coverdale, the young fisherman of Coolers Harbor, prosperous
henceforth and happy, as he well deserved to be.
A. L. Burt's Catalogue of Books for Young People by Popular Writers,
52-58 Duane Street, New York
BOOKS FOR BOYS.
Joe's Luck: A Boy's Adventures in California, By HORATIO ALGER, JR.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
The story is chock fall of stirring incidents, while the amusing
situations are furnished by Joshua Bickford, from Pumpkin Hollow, and
the fellow who modestly styles himself the "Rip-tail Roarer, from Pike
Co., Missouri." Mr. Alger never writes a poor book, and "Joe's Luck" is
certainly one of his best.
Tom the Bootblack; or, The Road to Success. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
A bright, enterprising lad was Tom the Bootblack. He was not at all
ashamed of his humble calling, though always on the lookout to better
himself. The lad started for Cincinnati to look up his heritage. Mr.
Grey, the uncle, did not hesitate to employ a ruffian to kill the lad.
The plan failed, and Gilbert Grey, once Tom the bootblack, came into a
comfortable fortune. This is one of Mr. Alger's best stories.
Dan the Newsboy. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price
Dan Mordaunt and his mother live in a poor tenement, and the lad is
pluckily trying to make ends meet by selling papers in the streets of
New York. A little heiress of six years is confided to the care of the
Mordaunts. The child is kidnapped and Dan tracks the child to the house
where she is hidden, and rescues her. The wealthy aunt of the little
heiress is so delighted with Dan's courage and many good qualities that
she adopts him as her heir.
Tony the Hero: A Brave Boy's Adventure with a Tramp. By HORATIO ALGER,
JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Tony, a sturdy bright-eyed boy of fourteen, is under the control of
Rudolph Rugg, a thorough rascal. After much abuse Tony runs away and
gets a job as stable boy in a country hotel. Tony is heir to a large
estate. Rudolph for a consideration hunts up Tony and throws him down a
deep well. Of course Tony escapes from the fate provided for him, and by
a brave act, a rich friend secures his rights and Tony is prosperous. A
very entertaining book.
The Errand Boy; or. How Phil Brent Won Success. By HORATIO ALGER, JR.
12mo, cloth illustrated, price $1.00.
The career of "The Errand Boy" embraces the city adventures of a smart
country lad. Philip was brought up by a kind-hearted innkeeper named
Brent. The death of Mrs. Brent paved the way for the hero's subsequent
troubles. A retired merchant in New York secures him the situation of
errand boy, and thereafter stands as his friend.
Tom Temple's Career. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
Tom Temple is a bright, self-reliant lad. He leaves Plympton village to
seek work in New York, whence he undertakes an important mission to
California. Some of his adventures in the far west are so startling that
the reader will scarcely close the book until the last page shall have
been reached. The tale is written in Mr. Alger's most fascinating
Frank Fowler, the Cash Boy. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.
Frank Fowler, a poor boy, bravely determines to make a living for
himself and his foster-sister Grace. Going to New York he obtains a
situation as cash boy in a dry goods store. He renders a service to a
wealthy old gentleman who takes a fancy to the lad, and thereafter helps
the lad to gain success and fortune.
Tom Thatcher's Fortune. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
Tom Thatcher is a brave, ambitious, unselfish boy. He supports his
mother and sister on meagre wages earned as a shoe-pegger in John
Simpson's factory. Tom is discharged from the factory and starts
overland for California. He meets with many adventures. The story is
told in a way which has made Mr. Alger's name a household word in so
The Train Boy. By HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price
Paul Palmer was a wide-awake boy of sixteen who supported his mother and
sister by selling books and papers on the Chicago and Milwaukee
Railroad. He detects a young man in the act of picking the pocket of a
young lady. In a railway accident many passengers are killed, but Paul
is fortunate enough to assist a Chicago merchant, who out of gratitude
takes him into his employ. Paul succeeds with tact and judgment and is
well started on the road to business prominence.
Mark Mason's Victory. The Trials and Triumphs of a Telegraph Boy. By
HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Mark Mason, the telegraph boy, was a sturdy, honest lad, who pluckily
won his way to success by his honest manly efforts under many
difficulties. This story will please the very large class of boys who
regard Mr. Alger as a favorite author.
A Debt of Honor. The Story of Gerald Lane's Success in the Far West. By
HORATIO ALGER, JR. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
The story of Gerald Lane and the account of the many trials and
disappointments which he passed through before he attained success, will
interest all boys who have read the previous stories of this delightful
Ben Bruce. Scenes in the Life of a Bowery Newsboy. By HORATIO ALGER, JR.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Ben Bruce was a brave, manly, generous boy. The story of his efforts,
and many seeming failures and disappointments, and his final success,
are most interesting to all readers. The tale is written in Mr. Alger's
most fascinating style.
The Castaways; or, On the Florida Reefs. By JAMES OTIS. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.
This tale smacks of the salt sea. From the moment that the Sea Queen
leaves lower New York bay till the breeze leaves her becalmed off the
coast of Florida, one can almost hear the whistle of the wind through
her rigging, the creak of her straining cordage as she heels to the
leeward. The adventures of Ben Clark, the hero of the story and Jake the
cook, cannot fail to charm the reader. As a writer for young people Mr.
Otis is a prime favorite.
Wrecked on Spider Island; or, How Ned Rogers Found the Treasure. By
JAMES OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Ned Rogers, a "down-east" plucky lad ships as cabin boy to earn a
livelihood. Ned is marooned on Spider Island, and while there discovers
a wreck submerged in the sand, and finds a considerable amount of
treasure. The capture of the treasure and the incidents of the voyage
serve to make as entertaining a story of sea-life as the most captious
boy could desire.
The Search for the Silver City: A Tale of Adventure in Yucatan. By JAMES
OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Two lads, Teddy Wright and Neal Emery, embark on the steam yacht Day
Dream for a cruise to the tropics. The yacht is destroyed by fire, and
then the boat is cast upon the coast of Yucatan. They hear of the
wonderful Silver City, of the Chan Santa Cruz Indians, and with the help
of a faithful Indian ally carry off a number of the golden images from
the temples. Pursued with relentless vigor at last their escape is
effected in an astonishing manner. The story is so full of exciting
incidents that the reader is quite carried away with the novelty and
realism of the narrative.
A Runaway Brig; or, An Accidental Cruise. By JAMES OTIS. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.
This is a sea tale, and the reader can look out upon the wide shimmering
sea as it flashes back the sunlight, and imagine himself afloat with
Harry Vandyne, Walter Morse, Jim Libby and that old shell-back, Bob
Brace, on the brig Bonita. The boys discover a mysterious document which
enables them to find a buried treasure. They are stranded on an island
and at last are rescued with the treasure. The boys are sure to be
fascinated with this entertaining story.
The Treasure Finders: A Boy's Adventures in Nicaragua. By JAMES OTIS.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Roy and Dean Coloney, with their guide Tongla, leave their father's
indigo plantation to visit the wonderful ruins of an ancient city. The
boys eagerly explore the temples of an extinct race and discover three
golden images cunningly hidden away. They escape with the greatest
difficulty. Eventually they reach safety with their golden prizes. We
doubt if there ever was written a more entertaining story than "The
Jack, the Hunchback. A Story of the Coast of Maine. By JAMES OTIS. Price
This is the story of a little hunchback who lived on Cape Elizabeth, on
the coast of Maine. His trials and successes are most interesting. From
first to last nothing stays the interest of the narrative. It bears us
along as on a stream whose current varies in direction, but never loses
With Washington at Monmouth: A Story of Three Philadelphia Boys. By
JAMES OTIS. 12mo, ornamental cloth, olivine edges, illustrated, price
Three Philadelphia lads assist the American spies and make regular and
frequent visits to Valley Forge in the Winter while the British occupied
the city. The story abounds with pictures of Colonial life skillfully
drawn, and the glimpses of Washington's soldiers which are given shown
that the work has not been hastily done, or without considerable study.
The story is wholesome and patriotic in tone, as are all of Mr. Otis'
With Lafayette at Yorktown: A Story of How Two Boys Joined the
Continental Army, By JAMES OTIS. 12mo, ornamental cloth, olivine edges,
illustrated, price $1.50.
Two lads from Portsmouth, N. H., attempt to enlist in the Colonial Army,
and are given employment as spies. There is no lack of exciting
incidents which the youthful reader craves, but it is healthful
excitement brimming with facts which every boy should be familiar with,
and while the reader is following the adventures of Ben Jaffrays and Ned
Allen he is acquiring a fund of historical lore which will remain in his
memory long after that which he has memorized from textbooks has been
The Siege of Havana. Being the Experiences of Three Boys Serving under
Israel Putnam in 1762. By JAMES OTIS. 12mo, ornamental cloth, olivine
edges, illustrated, price $1.50.
"At the Siege of Havana" deals with that portion of the island's history
when the English king captured the capital, thanks to the assistance
given by the troops from New England, led in part by Col. Israel
The principal characters are Darius Lunt, the lad who, represented as
telling the story, and his comrades, Robert Clement and Nicholas Vallet.
Colonel Putnam also figures to considerable extent, necessarily, in the
tale, and the whole forms one of the most readable stories founded on
The Defense of Fort Henry. A Story of Wheeling Creek in 1777. By JAMES
OTIS. 12mo, ornamental cloth, olivine edges, illustrated, price $1.50.
Nowhere in the history of our country can be found more heroic or
thrilling incidents than in the story of those brave men and women who
founded the settlement of Wheeling in the Colony of Virginia. The
recital of what Elizabeth Zane did is in itself as heroic a story as can
be imagined. The wondrous bravery displayed by Major McCulloch and his
gallant comrades, the sufferings of the colonists and their sacrifice of
blood and life, stir the blood of old as well as young readers.
The Capture of the Laughing Mary. A Story of Three New York Boys in
1776. By JAMES OTIS. 12mo, ornamental cloth, olivine edges, price
"During the British occupancy of New York, at the outbreak of the
Revolution, a Yankee lad hears of the plot to take General Washington's
person, and calls in two companions to assist the patriot cause. They do
some astonishing things, and, incidentally, lay the way for an American
navy later, by the exploit which gives its name to the work. Mr. Otis'
books are too well known to require any particular commendation to the
With Warren at Bunker Hill. A Story of the Siege of Boston. By JAMES
OTIS. 12mo, ornamental cloth, olivine edges, illustrated, price $1.00.
"This is a tale of the siege of Boston, which opens on the day after the
doings at Lexington and Concord, with a description of home life in
Boston, introduces the reader to the British camp at Charlestown, shows
Gen. Warren at home, describes what a boy thought of the battle of
Bunker Hill, and closes with the raising of the siege. The three heroes,
George Wentworth, Ben Scarlett and an old ropemaker incur the enmity of
a young Tory, who causes them many adventures the boys will like to
read."—Detroit Free Press.
With the Swamp Fox. The Story of General Marion's Spies. By JAMES OTIS.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
This story deals with General Francis Marion's heroic struggle in the
Carolinas. General Marion's arrival to take command of these brave men
and rough riders is pictured as a boy might have seen it, and although
the story is devoted to what the lads did, the Swamp Fox is ever present
in the mind of the reader.
On the Kentucky Frontier. A Story of the Fighting Pioneers of the West.
By JAMES OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
In the history of our country there is no more thrilling story than that
of the work done on the Mississippi river by a handful of frontiersmen.
Mr. Otis takes the reader on that famous expedition from the arrival of
Major Clarke's force at Corn Island, until Kaskaskia was captured. He
relates that part of Simon Kenton's life history which is not usually
touched upon either by the historian or the story teller. This is one of
the most entertaining books for young people which has been published.
Sarah Dillard's Ride. A Story of South Carolina in 1780. By JAMES OTIS.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"This book deals with the Carolinas in 1780, giving a wealth of detail
of the Mountain Men who struggled so valiantly against the king's
troops. Major Ferguson is the prominent British officer of the story,
which is told as though coming from a youth who experienced these
adventures. In this way the famous ride of Sarah Dillard is brought out
as an incident of the plot."—Boston Journal.
A Tory Plot. A Story of the Attempt to Kill General Washington. By JAMES
OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"'A Tory Plot' is the story of two lads who overhear something of the
plot originated during the Revolution by Gov. Tryon to capture or murder
Washington. They communicate their knowledge to Gen. Putnam and are
commissioned by him to play the role of detectives in the matter. They
do so, and meet with many adventures and hairbreadth escapes. The boys
are, of course, mythical, but they serve to enable the author to put
into very attractive shape much valuable knowledge concerning one phase
of the Revolution."—Pittsburgh Times.
A Traitor's Escape. A Story of the Attempt to Seize Benedict Arnold. By
JAMES OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"This is a tale with stirring scenes depicted in each chapter, bringing
clearly before the mind the glorious deeds of the early settlers in this
country. In an historical work dealing with this country's past, no plot
can hold the attention closer than this one, which describes the attempt
and partial success of Benedict Arnold's escape to New York, where he
remained as the guest of Sir Henry Clinton. All those who actually
figured in the arrest of the traitor, as well as Gen. Washington, are
included as characters."—Albany Union.
A Cruise with Paul Jones. A Story of Naval Warfare in 1776. By JAMES
OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"This story takes up that portion of Paul Jones' adventurous life when
he was hovering off the British coast, watching for an opportunity to
strike the enemy a blow. It deals more particularly with his descent
upon Whitehaven, the seizure of Lady Selkirk's plate, and the famous
battle with the Drake. The boy who figures in the tale is one who was
taken from a derelict by Paul Jones shortly after this particular cruise
was begun."—Chicago Inter-Ocean.
Corporal Lige's Recruit. A Story of Crown Point and Ticonderoga. By
JAMES OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1,00.
"In 'Corporal Lige's Recruit,' Mr. Otis tells the amusing story of an
old soldier, proud of his record, who had served the king in '58, and
who takes the lad, Isaac Rice, as his 'personal recruit.' The lad
acquits himself superbly. Col. Ethan Allen 'in the name of God and the
continental congress,' infuses much martial spirit into the narrative,
which will arouse the keenest interest as it proceeds. Crown Point,
Ticonderoga, Benedict Arnold and numerous other famous historical names
appear in this dramatic tale."—Boston Globe.
Morgan, the Jersey Spy. A Story of the Siege of Yorktown in 1781. By
JAMES OTIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"The two lads who are utilized by the author to emphasize the details of
the work done during that memorable time were real boys who lived on the
banks of the York River, and who aided the Jersey spy in his dangerous
occupation. In the guise of fishermen the lads visit Yorktown, are
suspected of being spies, and put under arrest. Morgan risks his life to
save them. The final escape, the thrilling encounter with a squad of red
coats, when they are exposed equally to the bullets of friends and foes,
told in a masterly fashion, makes of this volume one of the most
entertaining books of the year."—Inter-Ocean.
The Young Scout: The Story of a West Point Lieutenant. By EDWARD S.
ELLIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
The crafty Apache chief Geronimo but a few years ago was the most
terrible scourge of the southwest border. The author has woven, in a
tale of thrilling interest, all the incidents of Geronimo's last raid.
The hero is Lieutenant James Decker, a recent graduate of West Point.
Ambitious to distinguish himself the young man takes many a desperate
chance against the enemy and on more than one occasion narrowly escapes
with his life. In our opinion Mr. Ellis is the best writer of Indian
stories now before the public.
Adrift in the Wilds: The Adventures of Two Shipwrecked Boys. By EDWARD
S. ELLIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Elwood Brandon and Howard Lawrence are en route for San Francisco. Off
the coast of California the steamer takes fire. The two boys reach the
shore with several of the passengers. Young Brandon becomes separated
from his party and is captured by hostile Indians, but is afterwards
rescued. This is a very entertaining narrative of Southern California.
A Young Hero; or, Fighting to Win. By EDWARD S. ELLIS. 12mo. cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.
This story tells how a valuable solid silver service was stolen from the
Misses Perkiupine, two very old and simple minded ladies. Fred Sheldon,
the hero of this story, undertakes to discover the thieves and have them
arrested. After much time spent in detective work, he succeeds in
discovering the silver plate and winning the reward. The story is told
in Mr. Ellis' most fascinating style. Every boy will be glad to read
this delightful book.
Lost in the Rockies. A Story of Adventure in the Rocky Mountains. By
EDWARD S. ELLIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
Incident succeeds incident, and adventure is piled upon adventure, and
at the end the reader, be he boy or man, will have experienced
breathless enjoyment in this romantic story describing many adventures
in the Rockies and among the Indians.
A Jaunt Through Java: The Story of a Journey to the Sacred Mountain. By
EDWARD S. ELLIS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
The interest of this story is found in the thrilling adventures of two
cousins, Hermon and Eustace Hadley, on their trip across the island of
Java, from Samarang to the Sacred Mountain. In a land where the Royal
Bengal tiger, the rhinoceros, and other fierce beasts are to be met
with, it is but natural that the heroes of this book should have a
lively experience. There is not a dull page in the book.
The Boy Patriot. A Story of Jack, the Young Friend of Washington. By
EDWARD S. ELLIS. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, illustrated, price $1.50.
"There are adventures of ail kinds for the hero and his friends, whose
pluck and ingenuity in extricating themselves from awkward fixes are
always equal to the occasion. It is an excellent story full of honest,
manly, patriotic efforts on the part of the hero. A very vivid
description of the battle of Trenton is also found in this
story."—Journal of Education.
A Yankee Lad's Pluck. How Bert Larkin Saved his Father's Ranch in Porto
Rico. By WM. P. CHIPMAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"Bert Larkin, the hero of the story, early excites our admiration, and
is altogether a fine character such as boys will delight in, whilst the
story of his numerous adventures is very graphically told. This will, we
think, prove one of the most popular boys' books this season."—Gazette.
A Brave Defense. A Story of the Massacre at Fort Griswold in 1781. By
WILLIAM P. CHIPMAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00
Perhaps no more gallant fight against fearful odds took place during the
Revolutionary War than that at Fort Griswold, Groton Heights, Conn., in
1781. The boys are real boys who were actually on the muster rolls,
either at Fort Trumbull on the New London side, or of Fort Griswold on
the Groton side of the Thames. The youthful reader who follows Halsey
Sanford and Levi Dart and Tom Malleson, and their equally brave
comrades, through their thrilling adventures will be learning something
more than historical facts; they will be imbibing lessons of fidelity,
of bravery, of heroism, and of manliness, which must prove serviceable
in the arena of life.
The Young Minuteman. A Story of the Capture of General Prescott in 1777.
By WILLIAM P. CHIPMAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
This story is based upon actual events which occurred during the British
occupation of the waters of Narragansett Bay. Darius Wale and William
Northrop belong to "the coast patrol." The story is a strong one,
dealing only with actual events. There is, however, no lack of thrilling
adventure, and every lad who is fortunate enough to obtain the book will
find not only that his historical knowledge is increased, but that his
own patriotism and love of country are deepened.
For the Temple: A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by's. J. SOLOMON. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00
"Mr. Henty's graphic prose picture of the hopeless Jewish resistance to
Roman sway adds another leaf to his record of the famous wars of the
world. The book is one of Mr. Henty's cleverest efforts."—Graphic.
Roy Gilbert's Search: A Tale of the Great Lakes. By WM. P. CHIPMAN.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
A deep mystery hangs over the parentage of Roy Gilbert. He arranges with
two schoolmates to make a tour of the Great Lakes on a steam launch. The
three boys visit many points of interest on the lakes. Afterwards the
lads rescue an elderly gentleman and a lady from a sinking yacht. Later
on the boys narrowly escape with their lives. The hero is a manly,
self-reliant boy, whose adventures will be followed with interest.
The Slate Picker: The Story of a Boy's Life in the Coal Mines. By HARRY
PRENTICE. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
This is a story of a boy's life in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. Ben
Burton, the hero, had a hard road to travel, but by grit and energy he
advanced step by step until he found himself called upon to fill the
position of chief engineer of the Kohinoor Coal Company. This is a book
of extreme interest to every boy reader.
The Boy Cruisers; or, Paddling in Florida. By ST. GEORGE RATHBORNE.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Andrew George and Rowland Carter start on a canoe trip along the Gulf
coast, from Key West to Tampa, Florida. Their first adventure is with a
pair of rascals who steal their boats. Next they run into a gale in the
Gulf. After that they have a lively time with alligators and Andrew gets
into trouble with a band of Seminole Indians. Mr. Rathborne knows just
how to interest the boys, and lads who are in search of a rare treat
will do well to read this entertaining story.
Captured by Zulus: A Story of Trapping in Africa. By HARRY PRENTICE.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
This story details the adventures of two lads, Dick Elsworth and Bob
Harvey, in the wilds of South Africa. By stratagem the Zulus capture
Dick and Bob and take them to their principal kraal or village. The lads
escape death by digging their way out of the prison hut by night. They
are pursued, but the Zulus finally give up pursuit. Mr. Prentice tells
exactly how wild-beast collectors secure specimens on their native
stamping grounds, and these descriptions make very entertaining
Tom the Ready; or, Up from the Lowest. By RANDOLPH HILL. 12mo, cloth,
illustrated, price $1.00.
This is a dramatic narrative of the unaided rise of a fearless,
ambitious boy from the lowest round of fortune's ladder to wealth and
the governorship of his native State. Tom Seacomb begins life with a
purpose, and eventually overcomes those who oppose him. How he manages
to win the battle is told by Mr. Hill in a masterful way that thrills
the reader and holds his attention and sympathy to the end.
Captain Kidd's Gold: The True Story of an Adventurous Sailor Boy. By
JAMES FRANKLIN FITTS. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
There is something fascinating to the average youth in the very idea of
buried treasure. A vision arises before his eyes of swarthy Portuguese
and Spanish rascals, with black beards and gleaming eyes. There were
many famous sea rovers, but none more celebrated than Capt. Kidd. Paul
Jones Garry inherits a document which locates a considerable treasure
buried by two of Kidd's crew. The hero of this book is an ambitious,
persevering lad, of salt-water New England ancestry, and his efforts to
reach the island and secure the money form one of the most absorbing
tales for our youth that has come from the press.
The Boy Explorers: The Adventures of Two Boys in Alaska. By HARRY
PRENTICE. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Two boys, Raymond and Spencer Manning, travel to Alaska to join their
father in search of their uncle. On their arrival at Sitka the boys with
an Indian guide set off across the mountains. The trip is fraught with
perils that test the lads' courage to the utmost. All through their
exciting adventures the lads demonstrate what can be accomplished by
pluck and resolution, and their experience makes one of the most
interesting tales ever written.
The Island Treasure; or, Harry Darrel's Fortune. By FRANK K. CONVERSE.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Harry Darrel, having received a nautical training on a school-ship, is
bent on going to sea. A runaway horse changes his prospects. Harry saves
Dr. Gregg from drowning and afterward becomes sailing-master of a sloop
yacht. Mr. Converse's stories possess a charm of their own which is
appreciated by lads who delight in good healthy tales that smack of salt
Guy Harris: The Runaway. By HARRY CASTLEMON. 12mo, cloth, illustrated,
Guy Harris lived in a small city on the shore of one of the Great Lakes.
He is persuaded to go to sea, and gets a glimpse of the rough side of
life in a sailor's boarding house. He ships on a vessel and for five
months leads a hard life. The book will interest boys generally on
account of its graphic style. This is one of Castlemon's most attractive
Julian Mortimer: A Brave Boy's Struggle for Home and Fortune. By HARRY
CASTLEMON. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
The scene of the story lies west of the Mississippi River, in the days
when emigrants made their perilous way across the great plains to the
land of gold. There is an attack upon the wagon train by a large party
of Indians. Our hero is a lad of uncommon nerve and pluck. Befriended by
a stalwart trapper, a real rough diamond, our hero achieves the most
By Pike and Dyke: A Tale of the Rise of the Dutch Republic. By G. A.
HENTY. With illustrations by MAYNARD BROWN. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges,
"Boys with a turn for historical research will be enchanted with the
book, while the rest who only care for adventure will be students in
spite of themselves."—St. James's Gazette.
St. George for England: A Tale of Cressy and Poitiers. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"A story of very great interest for boys. In his own forcible style the
author has endeavored to show that determination and enthusiasm can
accomplish marvellous results; and that courage is generally accompanied
by magnanimity and gentleness."—Pall Mall Gazette.
Captain Bayley's Heir: A Tale of the Gold Fields of California. By G. A.
HENTY. With illustrations by H. M. PAGET. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges,
"Mr. Henty is careful to mingle instruction with entertainment; and the
humorous touches, especially in the sketch of John Holl, the Westminster
dustman, Dickens himself could hardly have excelled."—Christian
Budd Boyd's Triumph; or, The Boy Firm of Fox Island. By WILLIAM P.
CHIPMAN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
The scene of this story is laid on the upper part of Narragansett Bay,
and the leading incidents have a strong salt-water flavor. The two boys,
Budd Boyd and Judd Floyd, being ambitious and clear sighted, form a
partnership to catch and sell fish. Budd's pluck and good sense carry
him through many troubles. In following the career of the boy firm of
Boyd & Floyd, the youthful reader will find a useful lesson that
industry and perseverance are bound to lead to ultimate success.
Lost in the Canyon: Sam Willett's Adventures on the Great Colorado. By
ALFRED R. CALHOUN, 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
This story hinges on a fortune left to Sam Willett, the hero, and the
fact that it will pass to a disreputable relative if the lad dies before
he shall have reached his majority. The story of his father's peril and
of Sam's desperate trip down the great canyon on a raft, and how the
party finally escape from their perils is described in a graphic style
that stamps Mr. Calhoun as a master of his art.
Captured by Apes: The Wonderful Adventures of a Young Animal Trainer. By
HARRY PRENTICE. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
Philip Garland, a young animal collector and trainer, sets sail for
Eastern seas in quest of a new stock of living curiosities. The vessel
is wrecked off the coast of Borneo, and young Garland is cast ashore on
a small island, and captured by the apes that overrun the place. Very
novel indeed is the way by which the young man escapes death. Mr.
Prentice is a writer of undoubted skill.
Under Drake's Flag: A Tale of the Spanish Main. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"There is not a dull chapter, nor, indeed, a dull page in the book; but
the author has so carefully worked up his subject that the exciting
deeds of his heroes are never incongruous nor absurd."—Observer.
By Sheer Pluck: A Tale of the Ashanti War. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
The author has woven, in a tale of thrilling interest, all the details
of the Ashanti campaign, of which he was himself a witness.
"Mr. Henty keeps up his reputation as a writer of boys' stories. 'By
Sheer Pluck' will be eagerly read."—Athenaeum.
With Lee in Virginia: A Story of the American Civil War. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"One of the best stories for lads which Mr. Henty has yet written. The
picture is full of life and color, and the stirring and romantic
incidents are skillfully blended with the personal interest and charm of
By England's Aid; or, The Freeing of the Netherlands (1585-1604). By G.
A. HENTY. With illustrations by ALFRED PEARSE. 12mo, cloth, olivine
edges, price $1.00.
"It is an admirable book for youngsters. It overflows with stirring
incident and exciting adventure, and the color of the era and of the
scene are finely reproduced. The illustrations add to its
By Right of Conquest; or, With Cortez in Mexico. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by W. S. STACEY. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.50.
"The conquest of Mexico by a small band of resolute men under the
magnificent leadership of Cortez is always rightfully ranked among the
most romantic and daring exploits in history. 'By Right of Conquest' is
the nearest approach to a perfectly successful historical tale that Mr.
Henty has yet published."—Academy.
For Name and Fame; or, Through Afghan Passes. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"Not only a rousing story, replete with all the varied forms of
excitement of a campaign, but, what is still more useful, an account of
a territory and its inhabitants which must for a long time possess a
supreme interest for Englishmen, as being the key to our Indian
The Bravest of the Brave; or, With Peterborough in Spain. By G. A.
HENTY. With illustrations by H. M. PAGET. 12mo cloth, olivine edges,
"Mr. Henty never loses sight of the moral purpose of his work—to
enforce the doctrine of courage and truth, mercy and loving kindness, as
indispensable to the making of a gentleman. Boys will read 'The Bravest
of the Brave' with pleasure and profit; of that we are quite
The Cat of Bubastes: A Story of Ancient Egypt. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"The story, from the critical moment of the killing of the sacred cat to
the perilous exodus into Asia with which it closes, is very skillfully
constructed and full of exciting adventures. It is admirably
Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Tale of Fontenoy and Culloden. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"Ronald, the hero, is very like the hero of 'Quentin Durward.' The lad's
journey across France, and his hairbreadth escapes, makes up as good a
narrative of the kind as we have ever read. For freshness of treatment
and variety of incident Mr. Henty has surpassed himself."—Spectator.
With Clive in India; or, The Beginnings of an Empire. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"He has taken a period of Indian history of the most vital importance,
and he has embroidered on the historical facts a story which of itself
is deeply interesting. Young people assuredly will be delighted with the
In the Reign of Terror: The Adventures of a Westminster Boy. By G. A.
HENTY. With illustrations by J. SCHONBERG. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges,
"Harry Sandwith, the Westminster boy, may fairly be said to beat Mr.
Henty's record. His adventures will delight boys by the audacity and
peril they depict. The story is one of Mr. Henty's best."—Saturday
The Lion of the North: A Tale of Gustavus Adolphus and the Wars of
Religion. By G. A. HENTY. With illustrations by JOHN SCHONBERG. 12mo,
cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"A praiseworthy attempt to interest British youth in the great deeds of
the Scotch Brigade in the wars of Gustavus Adolphus. Mackey, Hepburn,
and Munro live again in Mr. Henty's pages, as those deserve to live
whose disciplined bands formed really the germ of the modern British
The Dragon and the Raven; or, The Days of King Alfred. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations by C. J. STANILAND. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"In this story the author gives an account of the fierce struggle between
Saxon and Dane for supremacy in England, and presents a vivid picture of
the misery and ruin to which the country was reduced by the ravages of
the sea-wolves. The story is treated in a manner most attractive to the
The Young Carthaginian: A Story of the Times of Hannibal. By G. A.
HENTY. With illustrations by C. J. STANILAND. 12mo, cloth, olivine
edges, price $1.00.
"Well constructed and vividly told. From first to last nothing stays the
interest of the narrative. It bears us along as on a stream whose
current varies in direction, but never loses its force."—Saturday
In Freedom's Cause: A Story of Wallace and Brace. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"It is written in the author's best style. Pull of the wildest and most
remarkable achievements, it is a tale of great interest, which a boy,
once he has begun it, will not willingly put one side."—The
With Wolfe in Canada; or, The Winning of a Continent. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"A model of what a boys' story-book should be. Mr. Henty has a great
power of infusing into the dead facts of history new life, and as no
pains are spared by him to ensure accuracy in historic details, his
books supply useful aids to study as well as amusement."—School
True to the Old Flag: A Tale of the American War of Independence. By G.
A. HENTY. With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE 12mo, cloth, olivine
edges, price $1.00.
"Does justice to the pluck and determination of the British soldiers
during the unfortunate struggle against American emancipation. The son
of an American loyalist, who remains true to our flag, falls among the
hostile red-skins in that very Huron country which has been endeared to
us by the exploits of Hawkeye and Chingachgook."—The Times.
A Final Reckoning: A Tale of Bush Life in Australia. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations by W. B. WOLLEN. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"All boys will read this story with eager and unflagging interest. The
episodes are in Mr. Henty's very best vein—graphic, exciting,
realistic; and, as in all Mr. Henty's books, the tendency is to the
formation of an honorable, manly, and even heroic character."
The lion of St. Mark: A Tale of Venice in the Fourteenth Century. By G.
A. HENTY. With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth, olivine
edges, price $1.00.
"Every boy should read 'The Lion of St. Mark.' Mr. Henty has never
produced a story more delightful, more wholesome, or more
Facing Death; or, The Hero of the Vaughan Pit. A Tale of the Coal Mines.
By G. A. HENTY. With illustrations by GORDON BROWNE. 12mo, cloth,
olivine edges, price $1.00.
"The tale is well written and well illustrated, and there is much
reality in the characters. If any father, clergyman, or schoolmaster is
on the lookout for a good book to give as a present to a boy who is
worth his salt, this is the book we would recommend."—Standard.
Maori and Settler: A Story of the New Zealand War. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by ALFRED PEARSE. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"In the adventures among the Maoris, there are many breathless moments
in which the odds seem hopelessly against the party, but they succeed in
establishing themselves happily in one of the pleasant New Zealand
valleys. It is brimful of adventure, of humorous and interesting
conversation, and vivid pictures of colonial life."—Schoolmaster.
One of the 25th: A Tale of Waterloo. By G. A. HENTY. With illustrations
by W. H. OVEREND. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"Written with Homeric vigor and heroic inspiration. It is graphic,
picturesque, and dramatically effective… shows us Mr. Henty at his
best and brightest. The adventures will hold a boy enthralled as he
rushes through them with breathless interest 'from cover to
Orange and Green: A Tale of the Boyne and Limerick. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by GORDON BROWNE, 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"The narrative is free from the vice of prejudice, and ripples with life
as if what is being described were really passing before the
Through the Fray: A Story of the Luddite Riots. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations by H. M. PAGET. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"Mr. Henty inspires a love and admiration for straightforwardness, truth
and courage. This is one of the best of the many good books Mr. Henty
has produced, and deserves to be classed with his 'Facing
The Young Midshipman: A Story of the Bombardment of Alexandria. With
illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
A coast fishing lad, by an act of heroism, secures the interest of a
shipowner, who places him as an apprentice on board one of his ships. In
company with two of his fellow-apprentices he is left behind, at
Alexandria, in the hands of the revolted Egyptian troops, and is present
through the bombardment and the scenes of riot and bloodshed which
In Times of Peril. A Tale of India. By G. A. HENTY. With illustrations.
12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"The hero of the story early excites our admiration, and is altogether a
fine character such as boys will delight in, whilst the story of the
campaign is very graphically told."—St. James's Gazette.
The Cornet of Horse: A Tale of Marlborough's Wars. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.
"Mr. Henty not only concocts a thrilling tale, he weaves fact and
fiction together with so skillful a hand that the reader cannot help
acquiring a just and clear view of that fierce and terrible struggle
known as the Crimean War."—Athenaeum.
The Young Franc-Tireurs: Their Adventures in the Franco-Prussian War. By
G. A. HENTY. With illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"A capital hook for boys. It is bright and readable, and full of good
sense and manliness. It teaches pluck and patience in adversity, and
shows that right living leads to success."—Observer.
The Young Colonists: A Story of Life and War in South Africa. By G. A.
HENTY. With illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
No boy needs to have any story of Henty's recommended to him, and
parents who do not know and buy them for their boys should be ashamed of
themselves. Those to whom he is yet unknown could not make a better
beginning than with this book.
The Young Buglers. A Tale of the Peninsular War. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.
"Mr. Henty is a giant among boys' writers, and his books are
sufficiently popular to be sure of a welcome anywhere. In stirring
interest, this is quite up to the level of Mr. Henty's former historical
Sturdy and Strong; or, How George Andrews Made his Way. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"The history of a hero of everyday life, whose love of truth, clothing
of modesty, and innate pluck, carry him, naturally, from poverty to
affluence. George Andrews is an example of character with nothing to
cavil at, and stands as a good instance of chivalry in domestic
Among Malay Pirates. A Story of Adventure and Peril. By G. A. HENTY.
With illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"Incident succeeds incident, and adventure is piled upon adventure, and
at the end the reader, be he boy or man, will have experienced
breathless enjoyment in a romantic story that must have taught him much
at its close."—Army and Navy Gazette.
Jack Archer. A Tale of the Crimea. By G. A. HENTY. With illustrations.
12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"Mr. Henty not only concocts a thrilling tale, he weaves fact and
fiction together with so skillful a hand that the reader cannot help
acquiring a just and clear view of that fierce and terrible
Friends, Though Divided. A Tale of the Civil War<
By G. A. HENTY. With illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price
"It has a good plot; it abounds in action; the scenes are equally
spirited and realistic, and we can only say we have read it with much
pleasure from first to last."—Times.
Out on the Pampas; or, The Young Settlers. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"A really noble story, which adult readers will find to the full as
satisfying as the boys. Lucky boys! to have such a caterer as Mr. G. A.
Henty."—Black and White.
The Boy Knight: A Tale of the Crusades. By G. A. HENTY. With
illustrations. 12mo, cloth, olivine edges, price $1.00.
"Of stirring episode there is no lack. The book, with its careful
accuracy and its descriptions of all the chief battles, will give many a
schoolboy his first real understanding of a very important period of
history."—St. James's Gazette.
The Wreck of the Golden Fleece. The Story of a North Sea Fisher Boy. By
ROBERT LEIGHTON. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
A description of life on the wild North Sea,—the hero being a parson's
son who is appreciated on board a Lowestoft fishing lugger. The lad has
to suffer many buffets from his shipmates, while the storms and dangers
which he braved on board the "North Star" are set forth with minute
knowledge and intense power. The wreck of the "Golden Fleece" forms the
climax to a thrilling series of desperate mischances.
Olaf the Glorious. A Story of the Viking Age. By ROBERT LEIGHTON. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
This story of Olaf the Glorious, King of Norway, opens with the incident
of his being found by his uncle living as a bond-slave in Esthonia; then
come his adventures as a Viking and his raids upon the coasts of
Scotland and England, his victorious battle against the English at
Maldon in Essex, his being bought off by Ethelred the Unready, and his
conversion to Christianity. He then returns to Pagan Norway, is accepted
as king, and converts his people to the Christian faith.
To Greenland and the Pole. A story of Adventure in the Arctic Regions,
By Gordon Stables. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
The unfailing fascination of Arctic venturing is presented in this story
with new vividness. It deals with skilobning in the north of Scotland,
deer-hunting in Norway, sealing in the Arctic Seas, bear-stalking on the
ice-floes, the hardships of a journey across Greenland, and a successful
voyage to the back of the North Pole. This is, indeed, a real sea-yarn
by a real sailor, and the tone is as bright and wholesome as the
adventures are numerous.
Yussuf the Guide. A Story of Adventure in Asia Minor. By GEORGE MANVILLE
FENN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
This story deals with the stirring incidents in the career of a lad who
has been almost given over by the doctors, but who rapidly recovers
health and strength in a journey through Asia Minor. The adventures are
many, and culminate in the travellers being snowed up for the winter in
the mountains, from which they escape while their captors are waiting
for the ransom that does not come.
Grettir the Outlaw. A Story of Iceland. By's. BARRING-GOULD. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"This is the boys' book of the year. That is, of course, as much as to
say that it will do for men grown as well as juniors. It is told in
simple, straightforward English, as all stories should be, and it has a
freshness and freedom which make it irresistible."—National Observer.
Two Thousand Years Ago. The Adventures of a Roman Boy By A. J. CHURCH.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"Prof. Church has in this story sought to revivify that most interesting
period, the last days of the Roman Republic. The book is extremely
entertaining as well as useful; there is a wonderful freshness in the
Roman scenes and characters."—Times.
Nat the Naturalist. A Boy's Adventure in the Eastern Seas. By GEORGE
MANVILLE FENN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
Nat and his uncle Dick go on a voyage to the remoter islands of the
Eastern seas, and their adventures are told in a truthful and vastly
interesting fashion. The descriptions of Mr. Ebony, their black comrade,
and of the scenes of savage life, are full of genuine humor.
The Log of the Flying Fish. A Story of Peril and Adventure. By HARRY
COLLINGWOOD. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.
"This story is full of even more vividly recounted adventures than those
which charmed so many boy readers in 'Pirate Island' and 'Congo
Rovers.'…There is a thrilling adventure on the precipices of Mount
Everest, when the ship floats off and providentially returns by force
The Congo Rovers. A Story of the Slave Squadron. By HARRY COLLINGWOOD.
12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"The scene of this tale is laid on the west coast of Africa, and in the
lower reaches of the Congo; the characteristic scenery of the great
river being delineated with wonderful accuracy. Mr. Collingwood carries
us off for another cruise at sea, in 'The Congo Rovers,' and boys will
need no pressing to join the daring crew, which seeks adventures and
meets with any number of them."—The Times.
Boris the Bear Hunter. A Tale of Peter the Great and His Times. By FRED
WISHAW. 12mo. cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"This is a capital story. The characters are marked and lifelike, and it
is full of incident and adventure."—Standard.
Michael Strogoff; or, The Courier of the Czar. By JULES VERNE. 12mo,
cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"The story is full of originality and vigor. The characters are
lifelike, there is plenty of stirring incident, the interest is
sustained throughout, and every boy will enjoy following the fortunes of
the hero."—Journal of Education.
Mother Carey's Chicken. Her Voyage to the Unknown Isle. By GEORGE
MANVILLE FENN. 12mo, cloth, illustrated, price $1.00.
"Undoubtedly one of the best Mr. Fenn has written. The incidents are of
thrilling interest, while the characters are drawn with a care and
completeness rarely found in a boy's book."—Literary World.
For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publisher, A. L, BURT, 52-58 Duane Street, New York.