The River Fury - H.A. Cody - ebook
Opis

It was a windy day and why not go out with your boats to the sea? Sail sags were filled, people began to act, and for a long time the boats beat heavily downstream. The race began in earnest, and the spirit of rivalry revived the hearts of these tumultuous river drivers. Captain Nat was driving, and his eyes shone with pleasure as he gradually turned away from his rival.

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Contents

CHAPTER I. The Flag-Signal

CHAPTER II. Creek House

CHAPTER III. “Why Didn’t You Shoot?”

CHAPTER IV. The Rivals Meet

CHAPTER V. The Launching

CHAPTER VI. Faith’s Defender

CHAPTER VII. The Passenger

CHAPTER VIII. Treachery

CHAPTER IX. Justice

CHAPTER X. The “Wig-Wag”

CHAPTER XI. Ghosts

CHAPTER XII. When the Storm Raged

CHAPTER XIII. At the Old Barn

CHAPTER XIV. Following Footsteps

CHAPTER XV. In His Workshop

CHAPTER XVI. At the Shipyard

CHAPTER XVII. The Rescue

CHAPTER XVIII. Half-Mast

CHAPTER XIX. Suspected

CHAPTER XX. “What a Fury!”

CHAPTER XXI. “Unto the Hills”

CHAPTER XXII. The Cruelty of Jealousy

CHAPTER XXIII. Tom’s in a Hurry

CHAPTER XXIV. A Friend in Need

CHAPTER XXV. A Scrap of Paper

CHAPTER XXVI. At Dead of Night

CHAPTER XXVII. Knights of the Great Logs

CHAPTER XXVIII. Faithful Until Death

CHAPTER XXIX. The Hole in the Sand

CHAPTER XXX. “Specimens”

CHAPTER XXXI. The Night Visitor

CHAPTER XXXII. The Island

CHAPTER XXXIII. Entrapped

CHAPTER XXXIV. Revelations

CHAPTER XXXV. Free

CHAPTER XXXVI. Captain and First Mate

CHAPTER I. The Flag-Signal

Dawn found them drifting down stream on the ebb of a lazy tide. There were twelve in all, squat, battered river craft, deal-laden from mills up river. They had come out of the night, shadowy and spectral, with sails empty, and a veil of land fog shrouding spars and masts. With the lifting sun, the air cleared and the sails gleamed white. Between soft verdant banks they glided steadily onward. Tall trees of elm, ash, birch and maple reflected their graceful forms in the liquid mirror at their feet, as if dipping their colors to the passing boats. As the vessels drifted, the sun rose higher and slowly dispelled the tenuous wreathes of hovering fog.

At the turn of the tide a breeze winged in from the sea. The sagging sails filled, men roused to action, and ere long the boats were beating strongly down stream. The race was now on in earnest, and the spirit of rivalry animated the hearts of those rugged rivermen.

The Flying Scud was leading, with the Snag close astern. Captain Nat stood at the wheel, and his eyes shone with pleasure as he gradually drew away from his rival. He was in a fine rollicking mood, and his face, tanned by wind and sun, beamed with animation. His strong lithe body of over six feet in height was perfectly erect, and his broad shoulders were squared as he steered the Scud on the short tack across the river. His head was bare, and his wealth of black hair was tousled by the careering wind. The joy of victory glowed in his eyes, and a smile wreathed his face as he heard the angry words of his defeated rival behind. He was as proud of his achievement on this inland river as had been his father years before when he had raced a fleet of clippers around the Horn, and brought the Nestor home as victor.

With a word to Tom Burden, his shipmate, Nat brought the Scud sharply around, and soon she was thrashing through the water on her long-leg run for a cove far off in the distance. Tom stood watching the Snag as she fell farther astern, and his old weatherbeaten face wrinkled into a smile.

“Say, Nat, it’s too bad we can’t hear Ru now. The air must be blue with his cussin’.”

“He boasted that he’d beat us on this run down,” Nat replied. “But Ru Tettle will never see the day when he can lick the Flying Scud with that old tub of his. Look where he is now. I wonder–”

He stopped suddenly and stared straight before him. His eyes had caught sight of a flag far ahead fluttering in the breeze. Tom saw it, too, and knew its meaning.

“I guess Ru’s boast’ll come true, after all,” he drawled. “That flag’s upsot our reckonin’.”

“It has, Tom,” Nat agreed. “It must be important. Mother would never signal without some good reason. It is the first time she has done it this summer. I hope there’s nothing wrong.”

“True, Nat. Yer mother’s not the kind of a woman to git scary over a mouse or a cut finger. Yes, ye’d better go ashore. But I do hate fer Ru to win out. He’ll boast of it, an’ say how he beat us, without explainin’ the reason. But it can’t be helped. When yer mother sets the signal there’s to be no goin’ by.”

With his eyes fixed upon the flag and his hands gripping the wheel, Nat ran the Flying Scud into the calmer water of the cove. Here he brought her up to the wind, and Tom dropped the anchor. Behind came the other boats, with the Snag in the lead. Like gray hawks they seemed swooping down upon their prey. Then sharp orders rang out, swinging booms creaked, sails flapped, and they were off upon another tack. Ru was at the wheel of his boat, and as he passed, he shouted out words of triumph and derision which caused Nat’s cheeks to flush and his hands to clench hard upon the spokes. Tom shook a gnarled fist after the boaster.

“Ye dirty shin-flint!” he roared. “Jist wait till I git me hands on ye.”

“Never mind that thing now,” Nat ordered. “Mother’s waiting for me on shore. You stay here, and I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Mrs. Royal stood beneath the shade of a large maple tree and watched her son as he stepped ashore and pulled the small boat up on the sandy beach. There was reason for her motherly pride as Nat came to where she was standing and kissed her. He was so big, strong and manly that she seemed small by his side. Her careworn face brightened as she returned his caress.

“I am glad you have come,” she told him. “But I am sorry that I have brought you ashore. Perhaps it was foolish of me to put up the flag.”

“What is the matter, mother? Nothing wrong, I hope.”

“You can judge for yourself. It is about our sheep. They have been worried for several nights. In fact, two of them have been quite badly torn.”

“What, was it a bear?”

“No. It was our new neighbor’s dog. He is a big savage brute, and runs about at night, that is, when his mistress is not with him. He jumped out of the yard last night when I shouted at him.”

“He did! Have you spoken to its owners?”

“Oh, no. I am afraid to do so. They are a strange lot, and will not associate with their neighbors. Although they have been here only two weeks, they have antagonized all they have met.”

“Who are they, anyway, mother? And where did they come from?”

“I do not know for sure. It is rumored, however, that they came from the States. They are seldom seen in the day-time, but prowl around at night. Henry Saunders told me only yesterday about their mysterious doings. Boats come and leave their shore after dark, and lights are often seen moving between the house and the river. Henry and several others have been trying to find out what it all means, but so far they have learned nothing.”

“How many are there in this strange family?”

“Three, so I have heard. Old Mr. Sarason is an invalid who never leaves the house. Bob, his son, a big powerful fellow, and a daughter, Sylvia.”

“How do they make a living?”

“I do not know. But they must have money as they do no work.”

“Have you seen any of them, mother? I am getting quite curious about them.”

“I have seen only the daughter, and that at a distance when she is out with the dog. She spends much of her time on the river in a small boat, and is very venturesome. She is certainly a good sailor, for she goes out no matter how rough the water.”

“Does she take the dog with her?”

“I cannot say. Anyway, it’s on shore at night and very active. If something isn’t done to stop it, we shall lose our sheep. And we can’t afford that, as I have been hoping to make something from them to help pay the balance on our boat.”

“It’s a hard struggle to lift that mortgage, mother. But this summer, if things go well, we may do it. Then, I suppose, I shall be bound to the river for life.”

They were walking from the shore up to the main road. Mrs. Royal understood the meaning of her son’s words, and she was worried.

“You are tired of the river, Nat. Is that it?”

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