The Cruise of the Sally D - James Otis - ebook
Opis

The Cruise of the Sally D written by James Otis or James Otis Kaler who was an American journalist and author of children’s literature. This book was published in 1991. And now republish in ebook format. We believe this work is culturally important in its original archival form. While we strive to adequately clean and digitally enhance the original work, there are occasionally instances where imperfections such as missing pages, poor pictures or errant marks may have been introduced due to either the quality of the original work. Despite these occasional imperfections, we have brought it back into print as part of our ongoing global book preservation commitment, providing customers with access to the best possible historical reprints. We appreciate your understanding of these occasional imperfections, and sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book.

Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS
czytnikach certyfikowanych
przez Legimi
Windows
10
Windows
Phone

Liczba stron: 302

Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:

Androidzie
iOS

The Cruise of the Sally D By

James Otis

Table of contents

CHAPTER I. UNCLE BEN'S ADVICE

CHAPTER II. THE RESCUE

CHAPTER III. WAR DECLARED

CHAPTER IV. A MATTER OF BUSINESS

CHAPTER V. AN UNWELCOME VISITOR

CHAPTER VI. A PITCHED BATTLE

CHAPTER VII. UNCLE BEN'S ARRIVAL

CHAPTER VIII. UNCLE BEN'S "PLAN"

CHAPTER IX. THE STRANDED SCHOONER

CHAPTER X. MR. ROWE'S PROPOSITION

CHAPTER XI. "FOR SALE"

CHAPTER XII. SHIPOWNERS

CHAPTER XIII. WRECKING

CHAPTER XIV. A WAR OF WORDS

CHAPTER XV. A NEW MEMBER

CHAPTER XVI. "THE BABY"

CHAPTER XVII. THE LAUNCHING

CHAPTER XVIII. THE TRIAL TRIP

CHAPTER XIX. THE FIRST CRUISE

CHAPTER XX. GETTING EVEN

CHAPTER XXI. AT THE PORT

CHAPTER XXII. FREIGHTING LUMBER

CHAPTER XXIII. THE FAMILY HOME

CHAPTER XXIV. THE "HOUSEWARMING"

CHAPTER I. UNCLE BEN'S ADVICE

Uncle Ben picked up a bit of driftwood, and began to whittle it to a fine point. The boy looked at him anxiously.

"Well," said Uncle Ben at last, "I never allowed that a lad had the right to run away from his home, an' I've lived nigh to sixty years, man an' boy, consekently it stands to reason that I oughter know how much trouble is likely to come from sich didoes."

"Huh!" the boy broke in, "you don't call the 'Sally D.' a home, do you? I guess you wouldn't if you'd lived on her a spell."

"No," said Uncle Ben, "after what you've told me I don't. An' Cap'en Doak was only your stepfather at the best of times. Now that your mother's dead it don't appeal to me that he's any relation whatsoever, so, consekently ag'in, an' holdin' that a schooner can't be called a house, which same is necessary to the makin's of a home, what's wrong with your sneakin' off unbeknownst to Cap'en Doak before the 'Sally D.' weighs anchor?"

"But where could I go, Uncle Ben? I haven't got so much as one cent in this wide world, an' there's never a single person who would take me in. Besides, s'pose I sneaked off while the 'Sally D.' is lying here, I couldn't get away from the island, 'less you should set me across to the mainland."

"I wasn't countin' that you would leave the island, Sammy. What's to hinder your stoppin' right where you are, an' helpin' me out in the lobster fishin'? I'm allowin' that Apple Island ain't the worst place in the world, 'specially when you compare it with the 'Sally D.'s' cabin while Cap'en Doak is ragin' 'round findin' a lot of fun in knockin' you fore 'n' aft by way of exercise. Now, I don't wanter be taken as meanin' that I think lobster fishin' is a very encouragin' business for a bright little shaver like you; but it goes way ahead of the lay you've got with that stepfather of yourn. What your mother ever saw in Eliakim Doak to make her willin' to marry him, 'specially after she'd been on what you might call terms of friendly acquaintance with your father, beats me."

"Mother did it all on my account," Sam cried quickly, his eyes filling with tears as he spoke of his "best friend." "You know we had nothin' left but the house when father died, an' Cap'en Doak made her believe that he would give me a start in the world with a good education."

"All of which he perceeded to do by gettin' the little money ye had inter his own hands an' squanderin' it," Uncle Ben exclaimed as he angrily splintered the result of his handiwork. "Speakin' from your mother's end of the trade, it was a mighty good thing she died less'n a year after she hitched up with Cap'en Doak, though it come tough on you. Does he allow that you're to spend your life—or the best part of it—as cook aboard the 'Sally D.,' with never a cent in the way of wages, when you, an' he, an' everybody knows he squandered full fifteen hundred dollars of your money, for I've been told he sold the house at that figger?"

"He says that he's bound to take care of me," the lad replied, as if anger was rapidly getting the better of him.

"An' he's doin' it by keepin' you aboard that ramshackle old schooner, which is likely to drop inter pieces any minute, an' savin' what he'd otherwise have to pay as wages to a cook!"

"He'd serve me out terribly if I should try to run away from him," Sam said half to himself, with a tremor as of fear. "If I sneaked off while the 'Sally D.' laid at anchor here, he'd know just where I was."

"Well, an' s'posen he did?" Uncle Ben asked sharply, looking down at the lad as if in anger. "S'posen he did, what good would it do him? I don't allow that I own this 'ere island; but I pay rent for it, which amounts to much the same thing, an' Eliakim Doak would soon find out that he couldn't tromp over me! Sneak off inter the bushes this very hour, lad, so's to give me a chance to talk to the old heathen in what you might call a sensible way, an' I'll guarantee he'll up anchor without raisin' any very considerable of a row."

"An' what then?" the boy asked as he looked over his shoulder apprehensively, much as if fearing his stepfather might suddenly have come within ear-shot.

"Why then me an' you'll strike out for ourselves. I own the shanty yonder, the dory on the beach, two hundred or more lobster-pots, with cars an' what lawyers call 'other appurtences,' an' you shall have a fair share of what money comes in the way of Apple Island. I'm allowin' it would be a favor to you, though that ain't the chiefest reason why I'm makin' it. I'd like to have for mate a decent lad like you, for it's lonesome here sometimes—that much I'm willin' to admit."

"Why is it that you never had a mate, Uncle Ben? I've heard lots of folks puzzle over the same question."

"I reckon you have, lad, for this 'ere coast of Maine is mightily given to gossip. I've had the question put to me time an' time ag'in; but never felt called on to answer it till now, when it may be we're likely to come together as mates. First an' foremost, why did I come off here nigh to forty years ago an' settle down to catchin' lobsters, when it seems as if a man what was put inter this world to help others as well as himself mighter done better? It was all on account of my havin' been the rankest kind of an idjut when I was young, same's you are."

"Oh, come, Uncle Ben, you don't think I'm as bad as all that," said Sam Cushing, smiling.

"Well, you got to prove it," grinned Uncle Ben. "Anyway, I couldn't figger out that book learnin' would do me any good, an' I didn't get it when I might, consekently I wasn't fitted for much of anythin' else. Howsomever, I made up my mind that even a lobster catcher might lead a clean life, an' I never run up agin any who might be willin' to go inter the business an' at the same time come to my way of thinkin'; therefore an' consekently I never took on a mate; never so much as offered so to do, till you come to me this mornin' with the story of what Eliakim Doak was doin' in his own behalf."

"But I couldn't really be a mate of yours, Uncle Ben!" the lad said with a deep indrawing of his breath, as if the honor was far too great for him.

"Why not? All I ask of a mate is that he shall live, so far as he's able, in the way the good God allowed he oughter, an' from the first time you landed on this 'ere island I've said to myself that you was a decent kind of a lad who wouldn't knowin'ly go wrong. Mark ye, Sammy, I don't set myself up as bein' any better'n my kind; but this you can go sure on: that I don't reckon on bein' worse. I've allers had an idee of considerable weight in my mind, an' you might be the beginnin' of my runnin' it out, so to speak."

"What do you mean, Uncle Ben?" the lad asked curiously.

"That's what I ain't goin' to say offhand, my boy. We'll wait an' see if there's any chance of its workin' out the way I've figgered it in my mind. The question is whether you're minded to run away from Cap'en Doak an' the 'Sally D.,' takin' your chances on Apple Island with me?"

"If you think I won't be a bother an' if you're willin' to——"

"In case I hadn't been willin', or hadn't figgered in my mind how things might turn, I wouldn't have made the offer, lad," and once more Uncle Ben fell to whittling a pine stick as if his very life depended upon fashioning it into a certain shape within the shortest possible space of time. "An' it ain't any one-sided offer, Sammy Cushing, 'cause I'm allowin' that your comin' would be a pleasure an' a profit to me, as Deacon Stubbs would put it, to say nothin' of the fact that you'd be livin' a more decent life than will ever fall to your share aboard the 'Sally D.'"

"It'll be a big thing for me," and Sam looked timidly in the direction of the slovenly schooner which lay at anchor in the little cove near by Uncle Ben's oddly-constructed dwelling. Sam was trying to screw his courage to the sticking point of running away from the selfish stepfather who had abused him sorely since that day when the grave closed over the earthly form of his mother. "It'll be a big thing for me if it can be done; but I'll smart for it if Cap'en Doak ever gets his hands on me ag'in."

"If he does, I'll be there to take a share in the business," Uncle Ben said mildly, his usually mild blue eyes taking on the hue of steel. "Come up to the shanty an' we'll fix you out for runnin' away, which shouldn't be necessary, seein's there's nothin' to run from."

Then the old man closed his knife with a sharp click, as if to show that the important business conference was finally closed, and went with a certain well-defined air of resolution toward that collection of shanties of which he was the proud architect, and which had served to shelter him from the storms and sunshine such as had visited the coast of Maine during the forty years just past.

The captain of the "Sally D." was stretched out at full length on the top of the cabin, apparently asleep, when the old man and the boy skirted the shore of the cove on their way to Uncle Ben's home, but that he had been keeping a watchful eye on the surroundings could be told when he cried sharply:

"Are you goin' to loaf away the whole day ashore, Sam, or do you count on comin' somewhere nigh to doin' your share of the work? It strikes me things are at a pretty pass when the cook of a schooner can spin yarns here an' there while he should be wrastlin' with dinner!"

"Don't let him rattle you," Uncle Ben said warningly to Sam, and in a louder tone he addressed the half-stupefied captain of the "Sally D." "I'm allowin' that the boy has earned the right to do pretty nigh as he pleases, while you're layin' here when the fishin' oughter be good outside."

"I'll lay here till I feel good an' ready to get under way!" Captain Doak cried angrily, and Uncle Ben replied placidly:

"Then by the same token the boy will stay ashore till he gets tired of decent company."

Captain Doak raised himself on one elbow as if thoroughly astonished that any one should dare speak to the owner and commander of the "Sally D." in such a manner; but evidently did not think it necessary to make reply, for he fell back on the deck once more, and Uncle Ben said to his young companion in a tone of disgust:

"Leave the poor, miserable creeter alone, Sam. If it wasn't for raisin' a row that wouldn't be seemly, I'd advise tellin' him offhand what you count on doin'; but the smoothest way is allers best, so you shall sneak off as has been agreed, till he leaves the cove."

"An' then?" Sam asked in a tone of fear.

"When he comes back, if so be he does, an' which seems likely, I'll be the one to deal with him, for by that time I'm allowin' we'll have the right to count you out of it. But you can make up your mind that he won't raise any great of a row, seein's he's got sense enough to know on which side his bread is buttered. I've got a lease of Apple Island, an' there's no fisherman comes ashore without my say-so, while I pay the rent."

Having thus thoroughly defined his position, Uncle Ben led the way into the odd collection of building, saying as he took from the rude cupboard a generous amount of eatables:

"Here's what'll keep you from bein' hungry for a couple of days, lad. Strike inter the bushes near the spring, an' I'll pass the word when the 'Sally D.' has weighed anchor."

In a timid manner, as if afraid of being caught in what seemed like an act of insubordination against lawful authority, Sam gathered up the food Uncle Ben had laid on the table, and then hurriedly, as if actually fleeing for his life, he ran toward the thickest of bushes which marked the centre of the island.

CHAPTER II. THE RESCUE

There was no idea in Sam Cushing's mind as he ran at full speed in the direction of the thicket which grew very nearly in the middle of the island that he was doing anything wrong in thus endeavoring to hide from his stepfather. Although the lad had not spoken, save to Uncle Ben, of the cruel treatment received from the captain of the "Sally D.," through fear lest people might think he was "whining," he knew full well that if his mother was alive she would advise him much as the old lobster catcher had done.

It was the fear of what Captain Doak might be able to do in the way of punishment that had prevented him from attempting to escape from his besotted, cruel taskmaster; but now, with Uncle Ben to aid him, the situation was changed very materially, and but for the fear that his stepfather would succeed in recapturing him, the lad would have been more nearly happy than at any time since his mother went out from this world into the beyond.

Fear of what Captain Doak would do in case he succeeded in laying hands on him once more served to lend fleetness to the lad's feet and to strengthen his courage, while he took good care not to loiter within sight of the "Sally D." and to make thorough search for the best possible hiding-place.

From a distance the thicket appeared to be dense, but once he was among the bushes there seemed to be a woeful lack of opportunities for concealment in case careful search of the place should be made. Hurrying feverishly forward without coming upon that for which he sought, he passed entirely through the clump of evergreens, finding himself on that side of the island facing the open ocean before it seemed as if he had really begun the search, and then he would have turned in alarm to gain such poor shelter as the bushes afforded, had he not seen, rising and falling on the heavy swell, that which so attracted his attention as to render him forgetful, for the moment, of what the "Sally D.'s" commander might be able to do.

Hardly more than a hundred yards outside the long line of creamy foam which marked the eastern ledge, was what appeared to be a partially shattered boat.

"She's wrecked," said Sam. "I wonder where she came from. Hullo!"

The boy gave a start of surprise, and looked intently at a dark spot among the wreckage. "There's some one there!" But it was not possible for Sam to gain a very good view of the shipwrecked person, because nothing save his head could be seen above the surface, and even that was hidden now and then as a curling wave submerged it.

Now indeed had Sam forgotten that such a man as Captain Doak ever had an existence. He understood in a twinkling that unless immediate aid could be given, the sufferer would be beaten to death upon the jagged rocks, if indeed any life yet remained.

Dropping the food Uncle Ben had given him, he ran swiftly seaward until arriving at the water's edge, and then, throwing off his clothing, he made ready for what must necessarily be a struggle. By wading just inside the reef he came to the point where it seemed most probable the shattered boat would be cast ashore.

By this time it was possible for him to see that he who had fallen into such a sore plight was a lad of about his own age, who waved his hand feebly once, as if imploring aid.

"I'll bring you ashore, never fear!" Sam cried, hoping by such words to animate the boy, who was evidently on the verge of exhaustion. "Don't let go the boat till I've got a good grip on you!"

Once more the lad waved his hand, and even though he had been inclined to speak, there was no opportunity, for by this time his frail support had been caught up by the green waves as they made a dash for the rocks.

"Keep your wits about you!" Sam cried cheerily as he ventured a few paces further into the sea, and the words were hardly more than spoken before the stranger lad was lifted high in the air.

Accustomed as he was to the surf, Sam knew exactly what should be done, and he performed his task as well as Uncle Ben, skilful surfman though he was, could have done it. Bending his body until he was very nearly in a stooping posture, and at the same time taking good care that he had a secure foothold, Sam allowed the wall of water to pass entirely over him, when he stood erect once more, ready to meet the receding wave as it drew back the half-drowned boy.

Deftly he seized him by the collar of his woolen shirt, which, fortunately, was unbuttoned at the throat, and then came the struggle for life, when the treacherous undertow tugged at his legs and the weight of the lad he was bent on rescuing, flung seaward by the heavy wave, threatened to overwhelm him. It was no slight task Sam had undertaken; but thanks to his experience in battling against the surf, he finally succeeded in dragging the stranger beyond reach of the next hungry wave, and then fell on the sand beside him, with not sufficient strength remaining to stand upright.

No longer than while one might have counted thirty did Sam remain thus inactive, and then, still panting from his recent struggle, the lad gave all his attention to the boy whose life he had saved.

"I reckon you're all right now," he said, with an effort to speak cheerily, "an' the sooner you move around a bit so's to get rid of the salt-water cargo you must have taken aboard, the better you'll feel."

"It don't seem as if I'd ever get back the use of my legs," the lad said, but without making any effort to follow the advice given, and Sam replied with a hearty laugh which had in it more of relief than mirth:

"This ain't the time to give in beaten, when you're out of your troubles. 'Cordin' to the looks of that boat you must have been washin' 'round quite a spell."

"Since jest before daylight this mornin', an' it's pretty hard work to make myself believe that I haven't been overboard a whole week."

"How did it happen?"

"My boat was run down by the Boston steamer—leastways, I believe it must have been that. I went out alone to bait trawls, 'cause we was short-handed aboard the 'Flyin' Fish,' an' there was no dory-mate for me——"

"Who sent you out alone in the night baitin' trawls?" Sam cried indignantly.

"Why, Cap'en Moses, of course; he allowed, seein's how it was good weather, that I might do the job."

"How long have you been sailin' with sich a cap'en as that? He'd make a good mate for Cap'en Doak!"

"This was my first voyage, an' I ain't much of a sailor, 'cause I've never been to sea before."

"What's your name?"

"Tom Falonna."

"Where do you live?"

"That's what I don't rightly know, since I cut loose from Mother Sharkey's place. You see, I did chores there for my board, but it seemed as if I oughter earn more'n that, so I got a chance to ship on the 'Flyin' Fish' for a short cruise. I was to get ten dollars a month, if I turned to in good shape, so that's why it seemed all right for me to try my first at runnin' trawls alone. Now I'm afraid I shan't find Cap'en Moses again. Where am I?"

"On Apple Island, with the best man, except my father, who ever lived. He'll see to it that you don't take any more chances of bein' run down in the night by a steamer, but——"

Sam ceased speaking very suddenly. For the first time since sighting the young fisherman he remembered that Captain Doak had an existence, and a disagreeable memory it was indeed.

Hurriedly he told Thomas Falonna of all that had happened within the past four or five hours, concluding by saying as he looked around timidly:

"I've got to hide somewhere till the 'Sally D.' weighs anchor, an' there's no tellin' but that Cap'en Doak is close at hand this very minute!"

The rescued lad sprang to his feet, but with some little difficulty, apparently putting from his mind all thoughts of self as he realized that the boy who had rendered him such great service was in sore need of aid, and followed to the best of his ability when Sam ran back to where he had left the food given him by their Uncle Ben.

"I couldn't find a place to hide in the bushes, an' it's lucky I didn't, else I wouldn't have seen you," Sam said hurriedly when the two were together once more. "It won't do for me to hang 'round here very long!"

"Why don't you go up behind them big rocks? I reckon you could keep out of sight by dodging from one to the other, even if the old brute was pretty close to your heels," Falonna suggested as he pointed to several huge boulders just under the break of the land, and Sam caught at the idea without delay.

Five minutes later the two lads were hidden fairly well, save in event of a systematic search, and it was Tom Falonna who ate the food with which Uncle Ben had provided Sam, for the rescued lad had not tasted even water since the night previous.

"I tell you this stuff is mighty good; but you needn't be afraid I'll take more'n a fair share, 'cause it may be quite a spell before your stepfather gives over huntin' after you."

"Take what you want; I'll get along all right if I don't have another mouthful till to-morrow, for it hasn't been so very long since I had dinner, an' you're needin' twice as much as we've got here. Tell me where your folks are?"

Tom's story was not a long one. He had been born in Bavaria, and when only a few weeks old was taken aboard ship by his parents, who were emigrating to this country. Both father and mother brought from their native land the germs of fever; were taken sick during the voyage, and died in the quarantine hospital very shortly after having been brought ashore. Tom did not have a very clear idea of how he, as a small baby, contrived to live; his first memories were of the woman he called "Mother Sharkey," with whom he found a home, such as it was, until a few days before being cast up on Apple Island, when he had shipped as a green hand aboard the "Flying Fish."

Although the recital did not occupy more than two or three minutes, it had hardly come to an end when Sam started up in alarm as if to take to his heels; but Tom forced him back behind the rocks as he asked in a whisper:

"What's the matter now? You'll be seen unless you're more careful!"

"Don't you hear that man talkin'?" Sam whispered in a tremulous voice. "That's Cap'en Doak, an' he's after me!"

"There's somebody with him."

"Yes, it's Uncle Ben."

"Then what makes you jump around so much? If the old lobster catcher is half as good a man as you think, he'll see to it your stepfather won't kick up too much of a row."

"I don't know whether he can stop Cap'en Doak when he gets goin' right strong, for he's terrible sometimes."

"Well, keep behind the rock, an' don't leave this place till you're certain he's got his eye on you. I've hid from Mother Sharkey so many times that I know how it oughter be done."

By this time the lads could hear plainly the voices of the two men, and but few words were needed to explain why Uncle Ben was in such bad company.

"I know he's somewhere on the island, an' I'll hunt him out if I stay here a week!" Captain Doak was saying angrily.

"You'll do nothin' of the kind, Eliakim Doak, an' that I'm tellin' you for a fact. I've allowed you to come across here rather'n have an up an' down row; but even if you got your hands on the boy you shouldn't take him away, an' that you can count on. As for stoppin' ashore here any length of time, that's for me to say. So long as I pay the rent, this 'ere island is my private property, an' if you're on it an hour from this time I'll bring suit agin you for trespass as sure as my name's Ben Johnson!"

"I'm allowin' to do pretty nigh as I please," Captain Doak cried in a rage, and Uncle Ben replied in a placid tone as he turned to retrace his steps:

"'Cordin' to my way of thinkin', Eliakim, you're makin' the biggest kind of a mistake, an' I'm goin' to take the trouble to prove it before another half hour goes over our heads."

The lobster catcher was some distance on his way to the opposite shore before he ceased speaking, and then, peering cautiously out from behind the rock, Tom could see that the master of the "Sally D." was decidedly disturbed in mind, for he stood irresolutely, shifting from one foot to the other as if uncertain exactly what course to pursue.

"What can your Uncle Ben do if the cap'en turns real rusty?" Tom asked in the softest of whispers, and Sam replied with a sigh of anxiety:

"It seems to me as if he can't do anythin', for there's nobody else on the island."

"Well, he's made a right good bluff of it, anyway, an' has got this pirate of yours guessin' mighty hard," Tom whispered in a tone of satisfaction, after which he turned his attention to spying upon the commander of the "Sally D."

CHAPTER III. WAR DECLARED

Captain Eliakim Doak remained as if in deep thought for several moments after Uncle Ben left him with what, from such a placid man as the old lobster catcher, was a most emphatic threat. Bluster as he might, and even Deacon Stubbs had been heard to say that the commander of the "Sally D." was stronger at blustering than he was at fighting, he understood full well that it would be in the power of Uncle Ben to make matters very inconvenient, if not absolutely disagreeable for him.

As a matter of course Uncle Ben as the owner or lessee of the island had no right to forbid vessels to anchor in the coves; but it was for him to say who should be permitted to come ashore, and the fisherman who could not take aboard his water supply from this particular place would be put to great inconvenience. Until to-day Uncle Ben had welcomed any who pleased to visit the island, and was ever ready to lend a hand when it was needed, therefore it can readily be seen that for business reasons, if for no other, Captain Doak could not well afford to seriously offend the old lobster catcher.

The question to be decided in Captain Doak's mind was as to which would be the greater loss, Sam's services, which did not cost him anything in the way of money, or Uncle Ben's friendship, which really meant the shutting out of Apple Island's conveniences from the "Sally D." and her commander.

It was evident that Captain Doak decided he could get along without the lobster catcher's friendship better than he could the cook to whom he paid nothing, for after a brief time of hesitation and thought he said sufficiently loud to be heard by those who were hiding behind the rocks:

"If that old lobster thinks I'm dependin' on him for fresh water, he'll soon find he's mistaken, an' as for his standin' up with Sam agin me, I'll let him know that it's a job he'd better not tackle!"

Then, as if having forgotten that he had crossed the island in search of the runaway, Captain Doak followed rapidly in Uncle Ben's footsteps, and Sam whispered to his new-made friend:

"There's goin' to be a big row now for sure. The cap'en has got his back up, an' I'm afraid Uncle Ben will get the worst of it."

"It kinder strikes me that we're bound to take a hand in it, 'cordin' to all you've said 'bout both of 'em," Tom replied in a matter-of-fact tone. "If your boss gets the upper hand things are likely to be warm for you, so the play is to put in what licks we can for the other one."

"We couldn't do anything!" Sam exclaimed with a long-drawn sigh. "Cap'en Doak would chew us all up before we'd even winked."

"I ain't so certain of that. I've never seen a row yet, an' I've been mixed up with a lot of 'em in my day, when a boy didn't have a chance to make considerable of a showin', if he was willin' to pitch in. Come on before it's too late! Your boss has got inter the bushes by this time an' won't be likely to know what we're up to if we keep our wits about us."

Sam, not believing it would be possible to lend aid to Uncle Ben, and not eager to come any nearer his stepfather than might be absolutely necessary, would have refused to leave his place of concealment, but Tom had stepped out from behind the rocks as he spoke, setting off at once in the same direction as that taken by Captain Doak.

"Keep close behind me an' I'll show you how to work a trick or two," Tom said, as if to show that he had taken command of the party, and then he walked at such a rapid pace that Sam could not have taken the lead even had he been so disposed.

It was not difficult to follow the commander of the "Sally D." without attracting his attention; the threat made by Uncle Ben had aroused Captain Doak's anger to such an extent that he appeared to have forgotten Sam entirely.

Until the angry fisherman had passed through the thicket Tom kept reasonably close to his heels, but when he came out into the open, on the slope which led to the cove, it became necessary for the boys to hang back until quite a distance in the rear. Therefore, when he turned sharply to the left around the shed in which Uncle Ben stored his fuel, the lads no longer had him in view.

In order to advance with the least danger of being seen Tom had made a wide detour to gain the shelter of a stack of lobster-pots, with no idea in mind that there was any necessity for moving rapidly. But suddenly he heard the voice of Captain Doak, raised high as if in anger.

"Now there will be a row, an' if we don't take a hand Uncle Ben is bound to get the worst of it!" Sam cried, as he urged Tom forward by gripping his arm firmly. "Come on! We've got to help Uncle Ben!"

His own fears were forgotten in the desire to aid the old man who had been so kind to him.

The boys arrived on the scene at the exact moment when their services were most needed by Uncle Ben, for the master of the "Sally D.," apparently half crazed by anger, was rushing toward the lobster catcher with clenched fists.

"I reckon here's where we get our work in!" Tom cried, as if delighted by the evidences of trouble, and catching up the first missile that came to his hand, which proved to be a lobster-pot buoy, with a half-inch rope made fast to one end, he ran between the two men, swinging the heavy weapon in a threatening manner.

So blinded by his rage was Captain Doak that he apparently did not see the newcomers until Sam, armed with a heavy stake, pressed close by the side of his friend, and then, suddenly recognizing the truant cook, the commander of the "Sally D." sprang forward to seize him.

"None of that, or I'll let this 'ere buoy come agin your head!" Tom cried threateningly. He swung his improvised weapon yet more vigorously, and Captain Doak fell back a few paces, for a single blow from the heavy missile would have inflicted a serious wound.

"Why didn't you stay in the bushes?" Uncle Ben asked sharply of Sam, and before the latter could reply Captain Doak shouted:

"Get aboard the schooner, you young idler, an' when I've settled with this Ben Johnson I'll 'tend to your case in sich a way that you won't try to give me the slip ag'in!"

"He'll stay where he is! An' if you raise your hand against him we'll see what the law can do toward makin' you pay over to the lad the money what belongs to him from the sellin' of his mother's house!" Uncle Ben cried, as he pulled Sam toward him, at the same time looking in bewilderment at Tom, as if wondering where he had dropped from.

Angry though Captain Doak was, he could understand without too great a mental effort that the odds were against him.

"If you think you can carry matters with sich a high hand, Ben Johnson, keep on tryin', an' before you're many days older I'll show you what claim I've got on that idle, worthless Sam. You've run agin the wrong man when you tackle me, an' I'll straighten out things on this 'ere island if I never wet another line this season."